Cover photo by Robin, used under Creative Commons license

“Oh my God, it’s the slutty Oompa Loompas.”

We squeezed in a few more movies over the past week, two of which had an unintentionally common theme.

The To Do List (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was about Aubrey Plaza, a high school valedictorian, attempting to become sexually experienced before college while working as a lifeguard at her local pool. It was very dirty, and very funny.

The Lifeguard (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was about Kristen Bell, a former high school valedictorian, attempting to reset her imperfect life while working as a lifeguard at her local pool. It was a little funny, but also clumsily serious.

Edge Of Tomorrow (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a surprise. I figured this was another paint-by-numbers Tom Cruise sci-fi whatever, but when I saw the 90% RT rating we decided to give it a go. It was actually really good: entertaining, clever, funny in parts, interesting in its WWI and WWII parallels (the “Angel of Verdun” felt like a mashup of two iconic WWI battles, for example), and Emily Blunt is just…*wistful sigh*. Really, though, you should see this.

On a separate but movie-related theme, we stumbled into something yesterday by accident which we wish we’d discovered earlier: the Bell Members Lounge at the TIFF Lightbox. All these years as contributing members and no idea that quiet little oasis is up there, far from the madding crowd. But we know now.


Cover photo by Robin, used under Creative Commons license

"I'm gonna peace you in the side of the fuckin' head if you don't give us the dog."

After having been negligent in the movie-watching department for the last several months, we’ve been on a tear the past week:

  • The Lincoln Lawyer wasn’t quite as rubbish as the preview suggested, but it wasn’t anything to write home about either. Strong supporting cast though.
  • Red State was disappointing. It just never seemed to get anywhere with what it was trying to say, despite having scads of material to work with given its Sex/Religion/Politics themes. A miss for Kevin Smith.
  • Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol was surprisingly impressive. From the second it began it never let up with all the action, gadgetry and crazy ass stunts you’d imagine. See it in IMAX if you have the option. Paula Patton: new girlfriend du jour. Oh, and a six-minute Batman preview!
  • The American remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was excellent. David Fincher made the story even darker, Trent Reznor’s score was all technology and foreboding, Daniel Craig played Blomqvist more like a real reporter and (ironically) less like James Bond, and Rooney Mara might have even been a better Lisbeth Salander than Noomi Rapace. Definitely worth seeing.
  • The Debt was one we hadn’t heard much about but decided to see based on the cast. Not mind-blowing, but a solid enough movie about spycraft and revenge.
  • Your Highness was one of the shittiest movies I’ve seen in yonks. What in the blazing Hibernian Jesus has happened to David Gordon Green?!?
  • Last Night (surely the most common movie title ever) was something Nellie watched and I kind of paid attention to for all the Keira Knightley. It didn’t seem terrible, but I’ve already forgotten pretty much the whole movie except how great it (the cast, the shots, New York) looked.
  • If you’ve seen the preview for Our Idiot Brother you’ve seen most of the funniest parts, but it was still amusing enough. Paul Rudd’s Paul Rudd, and the supporting cast is good, but it choked a little on its own adorableness. Interesting trivia: director Jesse Peretz was the original bass player for The Lemonheads. OK, well, interesting to me anyway.

Starter this, you GoDork

I had my eyes checked today for the first time since I was…I don’t know, maybe 12? I’d probably have to ask my mother.

Anyway, it turns out my eyes are still primo quality. I did all the little tests and he told me that, barring any accidents, my vision should be fine for at least another ten years. I was actually a tiny bit surprised; I figured that 28 years of looking at computer screens had probably taken a toll on my eyes. Then again, neither of my brothers wear glasses, and they’re both older than me. I guess we should thank our parents for making us eat all those carrots as a kid…


Some music-related goodies for you:

  • Download this Rebekah Higgs song. It’s the catchiest thing I’ve heard in weeks. Oh, and…girlfriend du jour. [via Chromewaves]
  • For a while now Carrie Brownstein, of the late lamented Sleater-Kinney (one of the very few great rock bands to go out at their peak) has been blogging for NPR. It’s been a good read so far. She even made with the funny today. Check out the blog.
  • Download this Mogwai cover of The Pixies’ “Gouge Away”. It’s about six different kinds of good. There’s just something sublimely menacing about Black Francis lyrics sung with a Glaswegian accent. [via Stereogum]


The Toronto Star threw together a very sloppy piece today about the condo boom. The piece is subtitled “As the cost of homes skyrocket, more prospective homebuyers are giving up dreams of bungalows with white picket fences and are seeking alternatives,” but nothing in the piece supports this notion. There are tons of stats about how many condos are being sold, but apart from two anecdotal stories there’s no research to suggest this is why people are buying condos.

I own a condo. I know other people who own condos. I’ve never, ever spoken to someone who really wanted a house but just couldn’t afford one and, in desperation, bought a condo instead. I’m sure lots of people want to own a house and still be downtown, but when that doesn’t work out they don’t sulk and buy a condo. They move to Whitby. The condo owners I know bought one because they want to be downtown. They want ten minutes on the subway instead of 90 minutes on the 401. They don’t want to shovel walks and prune dead branches. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with living way out there (though it’s clearly not for me); the people who really want a house are willing to do it, and good on them. It’s exactly my point.

Condos aren’t low-priced substitutes for expensive houses. The suburbs are. Unfortunately the Star perpetuated that myth without backing it up, which means I’ll have to put up with the occasional condescending remark from a suburbanite (e.g., “Oh, well, everybody needs a starter home!”) when I mention I live in a condo.

[tags]eye test, rebekah higgs, girlfriend du jour, carrie brownstein, mogwai, pixies, gouge away, toronto condos[/tags]

"This is my first torture."

The weekend of awesomeness continued today. We both slept in a little before going for breakfast at Fran’s and picking up groceries on the way home. We dropped the bags and walked over to the Scotiabank theatre to see Rendition (imdb | rotten tomatoes). It was ok…a little heavy-handed and too scattered to really flesh out most of the characters, but worth watching. Weird part was the couple in front of us. They alternated between fooling around and taking phone calls. It was distracting and, frankly, confusing. And the dude had Sideshow Bob hair. Anyhoo.

After the movie we decided to stop at Smokeless Joe’s for a couple of beer (Great Lakes Pumpkin Spice Ale for Nellie, Hacker-Pschorr Dunkel Weiss for me) and a late lunch. We got there at 3:40 and the place was empty. I mean, literally empty…even the staff was nowhere to be seen. Finally a guy showed up; turns out they don’t open until 4, but he let us stay. When we left 90 minutes later only one other customer had come in, so it was like we had the bar to ourselves all afternoon. Fun.


Late last night we finally watched The Last King Of Scotland (imdb | rotten tomatoes), and I’ll say the same thing every other critic and person I know has said: pretty good movie, but Forest Whitaker was amazing. Pretty decent performances all around, and a good job recreating the Uganda of the time, and Kerry Washington is my girlfriend du jour, but really, it’s Whitaker who steals the show. As usual. Looking at the man’s imdb profile it’s almost hard to believe he hadn’t won many awards until this film. He should have won an Emmy just for his role on The Shield two seasons ago.


Christopher Hume, the Toronto Star’s architecture critic, wrote up our building yesterday. He gave it an A, which is nice to hear.

Sitting on the northwest corner of Church and Adelaide Sts., this is one of the most elegant condo towers in Toronto. It isn’t fancy and the materials – glass and steel – aren’t expensive; what makes this building attractive is the elegance and simplicity of its form. At 45 storeys , it’s one of those rare structures designed to take advantage of height, indeed, height is what makes it so appealing.

Up close, there’s just enough detailing to maintain a sense of engagement. Glass Juliet balconies, perforated banding, operable windows and other touches enliven surfaces that could otherwise be sterile and boring. Just as important, the utilitarian functions have been hidden away from the main facades on Church, Adelaide and Lombard. Keeping in mind that the original proposed site was the park surrounding St. James’ Cathedral (which would have been disastrous), the final location across the road and slightly north is perfect; a rare happy ending.

The design and integration to the neighbourhood were almost as important to us as the unit itself. We’re glad it turned out so well.


  • Original weight: 233
  • Weight last week: 222
  • Weight this week: 221.5

I did get to the gym three times this week and did lots of walkin’ around the city this weekend; I believe what kept me to a scant half pound dropped was the steady influx of Hallowe’en candy to the office

[tags]rendition, smokeless joe’s, last king of scotland, forest whitaker, girlfriend du jour, spire condominium, christopher hume, toronto star, fatblogging[/tags]

Hey, "fucdown" works too

I’m copying this from my brother (who, in turn, got it from Scienceblogs). The idea is to find five Google searches that return your blog as the first hit. It didn’t take me long at all to come up with these:

  1. girlfriend du jour
  2. skirl tiff
  3. fieramosca toronto orecchiette
  4. nellie lake oesa
  5. coniption fit tim adam

That last one might be cheating because ‘conniption’ is purposely misspelled both on my blog and in the search, but I didn’t see no rulebook.

[tags]fucdown, girlfriend du jour, skirl, tiff, fieramosca[/tags]

MARS! I mean…BELL!!

I installed Flock over the weekend, and so far I’m liking it. I had a quick look at earlier versions and didn’t think much of it, but this release candidate for v1.0 is pretty good. The integration with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube (among others) is great. The biggest downside so far is that I miss all the Firefox extensions…AdBlock, better downloaders, etc. Hopefully someone develops more extensions for Flock soon; I’d like to keep using it.


There’s a giant billboard that I see every day on my walk home. It’s an advertisement for a book. The title is “Think Big and Kick Ass.” The author is one Donald Trump, but his name is displayed simply as “Trump.” Sorry…”TRUMP.” The cover picture is TRUMP yelling at somebody, or something. Presumably he was in mid ass-kick when the picture was taken. Perhaps he was kicking the photographers ass. Perhaps TRUMP was thinking big, and devising a plot to kick the ass of every photographer in the world.

Anyway, all I can think every day as I pass this billboard is that an obnoxious muppet with all the money in the world is still just an obnoxious muppet. Sorry…MUPPET.


Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in. I’d all but given up on Heroes; lo and behold they bring in my girlfriend du jour, Kristen Bell. So much for not watching.

[tags]flock, donald trump, think big, kick ass, heroes, kristen bell, girlfriend du jour[/tags]

Maybe Howard Hughes rides the rocket?

It’s warm outside. Crazy warm. July warm. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the start of sweater weather, but we’ve actually got the fan running right now. 32 degrees? That’s nutty.


I forgot to mention: yesterday, on our way to meet CBGB for breakfast before the ladies went shopping, Nellie and I saw a water bottle rolling around the floor of the subway. Except it wasn’t filled with water anymore. It was filled with something yellow. I double-checked the label (from a distance, naturally) and it wasn’t apple juice or ginger ale or anything else. The water had been replaced by…well, I guess someone just couldn’t hold it.


Today’s been a day of high-caliber relaxation. We slept until 10, and have spent the entire day catching up on our TV backlog. THE ENTIRE DAY. Oh, and I may have been too harsh in my indictment of the new TV shows…Dirty Sexy Money isn’t bad, and Life is actually pretty good so far. Anyway, today’s one of those great vacation days…no school, no work, no planning, no errands, no stress…just chilling and regeneration.


Yesterday — which wasn’t exactly stressful either — we watched Shut Up And Sing (imdb | rotten tomatoes), the documentary about the Dixie Chicks following Natalie Maines’ dig at President Bush just as the Iraq war kicked off. It was, as advertised, very good. There wasn’t much new information (to me, anyway) and the uproar wasn’t quite as intense as I had thought — or it wasn’t portrayed that way, at least — but there was lots of interesting subject matter: details of the backlash, their disgust with the country music establishment, and the recording of their most recent album. Bonus: Rich Rubin and his dreadlocked dog make an appearance! Oh, and Natalie Maines is my girlfriend du jour.

[tags]toronto weather, pee in a bottle, dirty sexy money, life, dixie chicks, shut up and sing, girlfriend du jour[/tags]