Photo by enigmabadger, used under Creative Commons license

2012 annual report: mobile

Did last year’s trend of consuming less media and consuming more wine & food continue in 2012? Yes. Did it maybe accelerate a little? Probably. Am I okay with this? Mostly.I mean, I am a little bummed that I missed some great movies this year, but I plan to spend the next week or so catching up. Still, I saw only 54 new films this year, down from 69 last year, and we rarely make a point of seeing films in theatres anymore. While it doesn’t feel like film is fading into a secondary pursuit the way that music has, it’s not quite at the top of my list anymore either. Actually — and somewhat surprisingly — music made a bit of a comeback this year: 14 new albums purchased versus 9 last year. It’s still nothing like it was a few years ago, though. I suspect this is the new normal. Also the new normal: I read far more tweets and news feeds than anything else, but still managed to consume a few books for fun, including Matterhorn11/22/63, The Psychopath Test, and Unbroken.

Caloric consumption continued unabated, though. We tried quite a few new (for us) places in Toronto, including Swirl, Goods & Provisions, Trevor, E11even, Midfield Wine Bar, Salt, Enoteca Sociale, The Oxley, The Beer Academy, Loire, Bestellen, Wvrst, Morgan’s On The Danforth, Bar Hop, AAA, and The Stockyards. Midfield, Enoteca, Bestellen, Wvrst, and AAA instantly became favourites. Some  favourites hosted a few special occasions too, like Jacobs & Co. for both Nellie’s birthday and our anniversary; a 10-course dinner paired with Rogue beer at Beerbistro; and our second try at the world’s top-rated beer at Bar Hop.

Really, though, this year’s recurring theme was about being ambulatory. Nellie and I took off on five weekend trips around Ontario (Prince Edward County; our friends’ cottage on Bat Lake; an aborted camping stay in Bon Echo; two visits to Niagara’s wine country), four trips out of the country (New Orleans with friends to see the Final Four; Sedona and the Grand Canyon just before I spoke at a conference in Phoenix; New York; Amsterdam & Brussels), and Nova Scotia for Christmas. There was no monster trip in there like Australia last year, and only the Amsterdam half of our European trip was remarkable, but the atmosphere of New Orleans, the beauty of Arizona, and the blast of NYC more than met our travel experience quota. In addition to Phoenix I logged a handful of quick trips  for work (San Francisco; Chicago; Washington DC; New York; London) but tight schedules kept me from exploring much beyond a few watering holes and restaurants.

Not that there wasn’t fun to be had right back here in Toronto, like Hot Docs, the Session 99 craft beer festival, TIFF (including a once-in-a-lifetime Jason Reitman table read), Nuit Blanche, a killer Jack White concert, and the 100th Grey Cup. We watched the Oscars with our friends T-Bone and The Sof, hosted a few little soirées at our place to kill our wine collection, tried to change our friend Lisa’s mind about beer, watched some March Madness with CBJ+M, introduced our friend Kaylea to Midfield, had a tiny 15-year Dalhousie reunion, sipped our way through a Zinfandel tasting, watched some stand-up comedy with MLK & CBGB, and made one of my favourite baristas happy by giving him a bayonet. Of course, getting to and from these things was a lot more enjoyable this year because of one of my favourite new things about the city: Uber.

Funnily enough, it was right here in Toronto that the most significant movement of all happened: after five and a half years in our first home we bought a new one. We remained in the same neighbourhood — the same building, in fact — but acquired more space for ourselves, the cats, and of course the wine. We’ve been in it less than a month, and it feels more and more like home each day. After three months working through the unpleasant mechanics of buying one home whilst selling the one you’re in, it feels good to actually enjoy the new home rather than just planning for it.

The thread of movement, whether it was across an ocean or down the stairs, which ran through this year is likely to continue into the next, as we’ve given ourselves the ambitious goal of seeing all seven continents before I turn 40. That gives us less than three years to see four more continents, but we have a plan. We begin that journey next year, and fully expect our movement from this point on to present more of an adventure than previous excursions; perhaps that’s an early prediction for next year’s theme.

However you fared in 2012, I wish for you a moving 2013. Happy new year, everyone.


Photo by enigmabadger, used under Creative Commons license

In absentia

My blog host had a little hiccup on Sunday, which means two things:

  1. Accented characters are displaying strangely right now. Not sure why just yet. Character code set something or other. Fix is coming forthwith; in the interim please don’t report me to the Ministry of Bilingualism.
  2. The post I’d written on Sunday about Sons of Anarchy has disappeared, as the hosting service went to last good backup, and I’ve spent more time fixing than writing, so it’s been — ye gods! — 10 days since my last blog post.

In which I fall asleep during my own dinner party

Yes, yes, I’m aware. I’m sensitive to the fact that this blog has turned into little more than a diary of shit I do daily weekly, or a dump of what songs I’m listening to or movies I just watched, instead of what I’m thinking. I had to go back almost five months to find a blog post that took the real live brain cells required to form an opinion. This stems from the fact that I have no time to actually think any more, just run around like an idiot, rest up for the following day and go back to reacting.

I should have more than this. I should be able to formulate interesting thoughts and analysis out of the books I’m reading, like The Imperfectionists or Blood Meridian or Ill Fares The Land. Or the music I’m listening to like The National or Titus Andronicus or Mates of State or Sleigh Bells. Or the TV I’m watching like Treme or Friday Night Lights or True Blood. Or the movies I’ve been watching, like Wanted or The Taking of Pelham 123 or Public Enemies. Okay, maybe not the movies. But still, work hours aside, I’m getting outside stimuli that should be fostering thoughtful writing. Even the G20 or a trip to Halifax or a day visit to the islands…but nothing. Actually, that’s not true; the G20 gave me plenty of ideas to write about. It’s just that every time I thought about writing I didn’t have time, or I just didn’t feel like it.

So maybe that’s it. Maybe my appetite for blogging is just dead. I started doing this nine years ago, before I even knew what blogging was and I had to write custom software to automagically transfer my thoughts to the interweb, so perhaps ze magic has disappeared. I feel like…like…oh, fuck it. Aaaaaaaaand VENN!!

Gone quiet

You might have noticed that I’m hardly blogging these days. I’m also not reading most of my news feeds, and I don’t even turn on my Twitter client anymore most of the time.


In short: work. I’m spending more hours than usual in the office these days (late evenings, and Sunday is now a regular work day) and when I’m there I’m either away from my desk or busy as ass. Even when I’m not in the office work dominates my thoughts.

You know what else? I love it. I love my work right now. It’s not without the occasional frustration, of course, but overall it just feels good.

So, things like blogging and my news junkieism are falling away. And, to be honest, I don’t really miss them that much. Also, with Nellie working equally long hours we’ve found ways to make the most of our few moments together, like dinners at North 44 or, uh, pouring IV fluids into our cat. So yeah, everything’s coming up Milhouse.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I am gonna enjoy the hell out of those three days off over Christmas.

The guys dressed in brown are just ridiculous

I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging more lately. I have interesting topics lines up, really I do, but Wii Sports Resort is sucking up ALL MY GODDAMN TIME!!!!!1! More specifically, level 19 of the Swordfighting showdown. I cannot beat it. I got to 94% once, and have never gotten that close again. I’ve been hurling a lot of curse words in general direction of the TV/Wii, and am constantly on the verge of throwing the Wii remote through my window in a fit of anger.

Your regularly scheduled blogging will resume once I figure out a way to kill all these cartoony little bastards. Stay tuned.


Sorry for the lack of blogging this weekend. I have lots to write about, I just didn’t want to be in front of a computer. It was too nice outside. There were dogs and patios and barbecued meats. There was Kings and True Blood and The Hangover. There was sunshine and friendly visits and relaxation. There was the end of the hockey season and, just now, the end of the basketball season. There was running and strolling and utter domination at Wii boxing.

Most of all there was a relaxing weekend, and the blog just felt like work. So did Twitter, apparently.

Maybe tomorrow.

Twitter and the Monkey Man

Since I stayed home sick today and had little better to do in between nose-blowing than read, I just finished A Fine Balance. I can tell it’s going to stick with me. It’s too bad I waited so long to read it, but I’m glad I finally did. I even learned a little history along the way. I knew precisely nothing about The Emergency in India in the mid-70s, likely because I was a month old when it began, but it’s a fascinating period in time, and Mistry spun within it an equally fascinating story with wonderful, tragic, inspiring characters.


You may have noticed some odd blog posts recently. Since I find my thoughts more scattered these days, a situation which lends itself more to Twitter than to the blog, my blog will automatically consolidate my daily (sigh…) tweets into a single post. Just in case you’re wondering.

Sinuses > self-actualization, apparently

Sorry. I know it’s been drab and boring here lately. It’s just taking forever to get out from under this goddamn cold. Maslow was right, it’s hard to be spontaneous and creative when your body just wants to lie down and ingest unholy medicines. It’ll get better — I’ll get better — soon, I promise.

In the meantime, I want to draw your attention to a widget you might not have seen, especially if you only read this blog by RSS feed: the bottom widget on the right side of the page shows which book I’m reading right now. Clicking on it takes you to the excellent Shelfari, which you should use if you’re at all into books.