A home away from home…away from home.

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

**Obligatory paragraph explaining how dang disappointed I am that I haven’t blogged in so long, and how nice it is to be back and blah blah blah**

It’s now been a month and a half since I landed back in the Great White North and it feels great to be home. Of course if you read the title you may intuit that while things are great they aren’t the same. I am back from Korea, yes. But I am living away from home, at home, for the first time. You could call me on that previous statement by saying, “what about University?” but that’s not the same.

This time I’m in Canada living away from home and it’s time to keep figuring life out. This is way different…this is going to be interesting.

So begins the next chapter.



Getting back home…

•September 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

It’s been a long time since I had the motivation to sit and type a single word. It seemed for so long that I had nothing to say and when it comes to writing and sharing ideas stagnating for a second can throw a wrench into the engine of creativity. So to get back on the horse I forced myself to sit and just spit out whatever came to mind.

The first three words to pop into my head were “getting back home.” I didn’t know what it meant at first. I was confused as to why that’s what I thought of but as I’m writing it’s becoming pretty clear.

For almost two years I have been on a personal departure. I packed up in October 2008 and flew 10000 km to live and work in a land I knew nothing about. The impetus for coming is mute at this point because after 693 days I can say that I’m not the man I was when I left.

I shed insecurities, refined future goals, grew my knowledge more than I thought I would, enjoyed more genuinely funny, moving and serious moments than I could have imagined and forged many lasting relationships along the way. While all this has been an excellent journey I have come to realize that all the great times, relationships and personal breakthroughs come at a price. They all take a little piece of you. The drip is so slow that you don’t realize it right away, but like waking up after a wreck of a night you come to and feel a little less than normal.

So begins my mini-journey of snapping out of the daze I’ve been in and picking up the little pieces here and there that I’ll need to take back with me. It’s not a matter of making up for lost time, rectifying regrets or making apologies. All it amounts to is taking the time to evaluate the beginning and the end and understanding that being intact is more important than attempting to reach the next rung on the ladder. It’s a matter of remembering who you were when you took your detour and remembering the way home. It’s easy to get there but somewhere along the way buried under all the trips, booze and beautiful moments you forget what it means to truly be a part of your own life at home…your real home.

What will I really do when I get back? Will I truly be better than when I left? Have I grown in ways that will genuinely contribute to my life and my family? Am I going to matter in ways that will fulfill me?

It’s these questions that mandate the reclamation of yourself before being re-inserted into real life. While they may seem heavy and morose, they are questions that we all ask ourselves without knowing it and only when they need to be answered do we care.

I’m taking the time to do all this and it feels fantastic. If you have the time you should too.

GRG (35)

Top Ten “Gave me goosebumps” lines in movies.

•June 8, 2010 • 2 Comments

If you watch enough movies and have a beating heart then I’m sure there have been many moments watching films that gave you goosebumps. Whether it was a line that scared you, inspired you or just outright confused you into oblivion the fact remains it gave you chills and you never forgot it. These are my gave me goosebumps lines, in more or less no particular order.

10) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 1990

The first Turtles movie was and remains a phenomenal movie. It’s dark, gritty and funny in all the right places. The chill goes through my body though when the Turtles are at the cottage with April O’Neal and Casey Jones. Raphael is nursed back to health, the Turtles have the vision of Splinter and as the sunrises the Turtles gather in a semi-silhouetted line and all Leo says is:

“It’s time to go back…”

9) There Will Be Blood – 2007

There Will Be Blood is a chilling movie through and through but the most disturbing line comes about 2/3 of the way through the film. The scene is between Daniel Plainview and his “brother from another mother” as they drink whisky in the fire light. Plainview talks about his unbridled lust for power and the greed in his heart when he drops the line that makes my spine slither:

“I can’t keep doing this on my own with these…people [disturbing laughter]”

8 ) The Shining – 1980

The Shining is one of the scariest and creepiest films ever released. This movie solidified Jack Nicholson as an icon and set the standard for the surreal. There are a million creepy moments in the movie, but for me the most bone-chilling comes when Jack is following his baseball bat wielding wife up the stairs. He is possessed and out of his tree when he says this and makes me poop my pants a little bit:

“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in…Gonna bash ’em right the fuck in!”

7) Gladiator – 2000

Gladiator was a blockbuster smash and had some incredible set pieces, action scenes and lines. The most badass and crowd pleasing line is the one that Maximus (Crowe) drops on Caesar when he is forced to reveal his identity. Caesar wants to know who this man only known as “Gladiator” is, because he is killing EVERYTHING. He forces Maximus to take off his helmet and then the eye-popping line is dropped:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius.  Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.
And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next”

6) Remember the Titans – 2000

This movie is one of the best dramas let alone one of the best football movies out there. The moment that gets me in this film is the moment that the team finally comes together. Bertier and Julius (the main players on the team) share the responsibility of the left side of the ball on defense. During the night practice after a long, arduous and racially tense journey they make a big play and Bertier gets pumped up and starts the simplest and most rousing chant of the whole movie. This is when they come together, and shit, I’m a sucker for heart-warming moments:

“Bertier: LEFT SIDE! [pause, waiting for reaction], Julius: [hesitation] STRONG SIDE!, Bertier: LEFT SIDE!, Julius: STRONG SIDE!” (Repeat)

5) Event Horizon – 1997

Event Horizon is one of the scariest flicks I’ve seen. It’s a horror film set in deep-space. Throw in some inter-dimensional travel to a place that very closely resembles hell, gored flesh, meat hooks and Dr. Grant from Jurassic Park looking like he got run over by a lawnmower and you have a recipe for a pretty terrifying movie. The creepiest line comes when Dr. Grant returns from the depths of darkness as the kingpin of the demons and is all gored-up. His eyes have been gouged out yet he continues to function. Another crew member sees this and asks him where his eyes went and he replies:

“Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see…”

4) The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (TLA) – 2004

This was an obvious one for anyone who knows me even a little bit. I take any opportunity I can to tout TLA as the best movie ever, and my favourite film. The moment that gives me chills and tugs at the ol’ heart strings is right near the end of the film. (If you haven’t seen this movie, skip this one because SPOILERS). Steve (Bill Murray) locates the Jaguar Shark that killed and ate his best friend and colleague and even though all of the people around him have suffered through a dysfunctional few weeks of trekking, he brings them together to go down and kill the Shark. All the characters in the film pile into his little submarine and they encounter the huge beast. Sigur Ros’ Starlafur begins to play and the shark passes over the vessel. Steve says this simple line that sums up the whole film and breaks down into tears:

“I wonder if he remembers me…”

3) Saving Private Ryan – 1998

The greatest war movie and possibly the most epic film of all time clearly has to have some fantastic moments in it. The one that takes the cake and delivers the goosebumps is Tom Hanks’ (Cpt. Miller) last line to Matt Damon (Pvt. Ryan). Throughout the film Miller’s’ team slugs through the French country side trying to locate one guy, Pvt. Ryan, and they lose a lot of lives along the way. The film ends after an intense confrontation in a small town whilst protecting a bridge. Almost everyone dies except 2 other soldiers and Pvt. Ryan. With his dying breath Miller says to Ryan:

“Earn this…earn it.”

2)Forrest Gump – 1995

This movie is a heart-wrencher to begin with and throughout the film there are so many moments that give you either a frog in the throat or make you sigh from a place of deep sadness. The moment for me comes when Forrest rescues Bubba from the jungle during Viet Nam. Forrest holds Bubba in his arms as Bubba convulses and stares into the middle distance. He is losing lots of blood and the end doesn’t look bright, then he says this:

“…I wanna go home Forrest…”

1) The Lion King – 1994

This movie could make Sug Knight cry so if you think you are so tough that you won’t admit this flick made you sniffle, GTFO. Is there any more tragic moment in a Disney movie than when Mufasa is murdered by Scar? Scar throws Mufasa into a canyon being stampeded by wildebeests and he is trampled to death. Simba finds his father after the last wildebeest trots off and says the most heartbreaking line of the film:

“Dad? Dad come on. Dad Get up. Dad, we gotta go home”

Share your goosebump moments in the comments! I want to hear them all. Hell there might be some I’m missing that would have made my top ten had I thought hard enough.

Honourable mention:

“I didn’t save mine.” – Adrian Brody – The Darjeeling Limited

“I’m finished!” – Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood

“I think we’re destined to do this forever.” – Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

“I remember.” – Old Rachel McAdams – The Notebook (I said I’m a sucker for heart warmers)

“Get away from her you bitch!” – Sigourney Weaver – Aliens

“First you have to give up, first you have to *know*… not fear… *know*… that someday you’re gonna die.” – Brad Pitt – Fight Club

“Man oh man…man oh man oh man **BLAM**” – Kevin Spacey – American Beauty

“No, not without incident…I’m coming **BLAM**” – Christian Bale – Equilibrium


FYI: Comet McNaught

•June 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I caught this through APOD (Astronomy picture of the day, via NASA). APOD posts the latest and most interesting pictures from the world of astronomy. I have seen everything from distant galaxies to gorgeous skylines and sunsets closer to home. If you are at all interested in the night sky definitely check out APOD. Anyways, this caught my eye and I had to share because it’s not everyday we get to see a comet.

Fun fact: The tail ALWAYS streams AWAY from the Sun.

Comet McNaught was spotted by a man named Robert McNaught (you get to name comets if you discover them, badass!) and the giant ice ball is barreling towards the Sun. It’s got a large tail and it’ll be visible to the NAKED EYE soon! It’s very rare that a comet is visible without the aid of binoculars or telescopes so try not to miss this one. The last one I remember is Hale-Bopp and that was 13 years ago.

To see the comet in the Northern Hemisphere you’ll have to look up at the sky just before sunrise in late June, and after sunset in July. I must say I’m really excited for this one because I missed the eclipse this year and the Leonid meteor shower, so I’m hoping for a nice fat view of McNaught.

Next time your drinking til the sun comes up make sure to take a break from looking at the ground for balance, and look up to the sky to check out McNaught.


image source: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Trailer impressions – Vanquish

•June 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The latest game by Shinji Mikami, of Resident Evil and Devil May Cry fame, is called Vanquish. Vanquish is a futuristic 3rd-person shooter set in a destroyed San Francisco. The game is still under development but the latest trailer just dropped so I’m here to tell you all about it.

No...it's not Master Chief.

(Unfortunately the embedding for the video is not working and Gametrailers.com has the exclusive trailer, so go HERE to watch it)

From what I can gather from the trailer, the Russians have used some sort of huge anime-style space laser to take out San Francisco and all the little balloon holding children that dwell in it. Of course it’s your job, being the armor clad gun-junkie that you are, to single-handedly take out the entire opposing army and save the world.

The trailer opens with the quintessential badass general giving his pre-shoot-stuff speech which of course is terribly voice-acted and poorly written (it is a Japanese game after all, “G’s over there.”). However once the action gets going Vanquish really struts its stuff.

"Juuuuust gonna take a peak *PIP PIP PIP Dead*"

The combat looks to be cover-based but frantic none the less. Your suit is able to boost you around the map and it looks as if you have context-specific moves that can be executed when in certain situations. The weapons seem varied and abundant with everything from assault rifles to handheld blue mortar explosive death bringers (that’s the name for the weapon I’m pretty sure).

The huge set pieces have obviously been influenced by many different famous Japanese and American media icons. There is some bullet time in there, shadow of the colossus and the most obvious influence for one boss fight is Macross Plus.

The one downside is that this game will not support multiplayer but Mikami has blown our minds before with single player heaven, so no big deal.

Vanquish looks like it’s going to rock some socks. I can’t wait to play this one!

In case you missed the first live-action trailer, here it is:


One Shot! Dose of Science

•June 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Japanese solar moon-bots, Java-related misconceptions, nosey Europeans and more! This is your semi-regular dose of science. Read on, learn and impress your friends with the most trivial knowledge!

1) Stem cells may cure deafness, thanks to those Ivey League prep-boys at Stanford.

Can you hear me now?...

Scientists at Stanford led by Kazuo Oshima, MD, PhD have successfully generated inner-ear hair cells that very closely resemble the cells that most animals have in their inner-ears. The hair cells bend at certain wavelengths of sound and mechanical motion gets converted into electrochemical signals which are interpreted as sound in the brain. The scientists believe that it will be possible within a decade to produce these cells in the millions to stem and possibly cure deafness. Science is fuckin’ awesome.

Article link: http://www.physorg.com/news192974218.html

2) Coffee doesn’t really boost alertness…according to the Tea-drinkers over in Bristol UK

(sorry, had to take that shot! lol).

uhhh...what she said.

A study of 379 people in Bristol showed that after caffeine deprivation a shot of caffeine had little to no effect on the alertness, or vigilance of the participants. They were given either caffeine or a placebo and apparently coffee just isn’t the ticket. They also commented that the caffeine only brought the Java-Junkies up to normal levels of alertness. Pffff! Like us coffee drinkers need it that bad…I’m fine without it, totally fine. Seriously, I’m ok without a coffee, well I would be better if I had one, just a taste…a sip, maybe just one small coffee to keep me going. Whatever, Bristol…

Article link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7797972/Coffee-does-not-make-the-brain-more-alert.html

3) Japanese scientists devise a Solar-belt to harness the power of the Sun, from the Moon.

They swear they've never seen Star Wars. I'm skeptical.

Let’s get all the stereotypes out-of-the-way shall we? The Japanese have developed a futuristic plan to harness space energy through use of autonomous robots shot into space. Not quite sure where sexy scantily clad renegade school-girl space pirates fit in, but I’m sure they’re in the footnotes of the plan. The plan is rather genius actually; Send up the payload and robots (hehe, load) and some robots assisted by humans to build a huge solar belt that would collect raw solar energy (since the Moon has virtually no atmosphere) and beam the energy through microwave radiation or laser transmission back to Earth. Sounds far-fetched and it would be a massive undertaking, but if pulled off, within a few generations the Earth could be truly powered by clean energy!

Article link: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/luna-ring-solar-power-plant-on-the-moon.php

4) Most intimate linking of man and machine demonstrated in the lab

(If you make a Blade Runner joke I’ll be really upset)

Nano-transistor, pfff! More like BA-nano-transistor....*cough*

Scientists at the University of California have developed a transistor (a very common electrical component found in virtually all devices) from carbon nanotubes that they then successfully inserted into an artificial structure very similar to a human cell. The transistor powered the cell demonstrating great potential for future nano-scale (nano means a billionth) medical applications. Imagine a world where cancer or HIV could be cured by telling defective cells what to do with nano-sized cell-controlling transistors. Also…my childhood fantasy of being T-1000 seems that much closer now…oh, technology *sigh*.

Article link: http://news.discovery.com/tech/transistor-cell-membrane-machine.html

5) 6 volunteers enter an isolation chamber to simulate space travel to Mars

"Dude, you said that was your fin last time...and we're smaller than a roll of quarters..."

This sounds like the synopsis that would accompany “Even Horizon 2: The Horizoning.” However, this is in fact true. To test the limits of the human psyche as it is contained in a small metal box for over a year, 6 volunteers are enduring 18 months cooped up together in an experiment dubbed “Mars500” (as they will spend 500 days locked up together. They are hoping to shed light on what space travel to Mars would do to the human mind on such a long journey. The subjects will also be on a 20 minute communication delay with the outside world to simulate the time it would actually take for a radio transmission to reach Earth. I must say these guys are brave as hell because we all know that 18 hours with the wrong people, let alone 18 months, can drive you batshit insane. Godspeed gentlemen.

Article links: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10197470.stm (via BBC) http://mars500.imbp.ru/en/index_e.html (via Mars500 site)

6) Proposed EU legislation would give the government the power to monitor all internet searches in the EU

(might be a bit of a walk to get this one)

This one is a little touchy but relevant. There is a written declaration circulating EU parliament that is gaining momentum. The declaration touts support for new legislation to combat sexual abuse, child pornography and internet predators but is rousing controversy in other more open arenas, like the internet. The legislation imposes stricter monitoring laws on internet activity and promises more crackdown on the assholes that use the net to commit heinous acts. However, the problem stems from the fact that the legislation is slightly loaded and carries with it the power for the government to monitor ALL internet searches. At first glance I was up in arms, but after thinking about it for a bit I am more torn. While I would like the internet to stay neutral and relatively private, what harm is it to me if the government sees that I look up the definition of some words, search for concert dates or even yes, surf legal porn to help police the shitbags of the world? The problem is that it is a slippery slope and this would set HUGE precedents. Like I said, I’m on the fence, but read it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Article link: http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/urging-meps-to-withdraw-their-written-declaration-29-signatures/

BONUS: This is how the latest Facebook privacy update effects you

"Don't tag me bro!"

Get into your privacy settings and fix them if you haven’t! (Info on settings and what to change HERE)

Science is the business.


Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Well, this blew me away today…

•May 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

If you know me well enough you know that I love the Universe. Yeah, I said it. I’m constantly reading articles, listening to podcasts and seeing pictures that make my mind melt. The aspect of the Universe that gets me the most is the sheer scale of it (not that there is a finite size to it, but that’s for another post).

If only LOST was this simple...

The Universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old and bigger than imagination can fathom. The Milky Way Galaxy, our home, holds about 100 billion stars and is 100 000 light-years across. So, take that dinky laser pointer off of your desk, shine it from one end of the Milky Way and it would take over 1300 human lifetimes to get to the other side.


Remember…that is only our galaxy. Got that in mind? Good. Now look at this.

...We're gonna need a bigger boat indeed

This is an image taken recently by Herschel (one of the newest and most advanced satellites) and depicts what looks like static on a really messed up LCD TV. The colourful dots range from white, to blue to red and the more red the dot, the more distant it is (this is due to the red-shifting of light as it travels long distances). EACH dot is a galaxy, some like ours, that contain anywhere from 100-400 billion stars. Feel small yet?

Due to the fact that the galaxies are so far away, we can estimate that this snapshot of time is essentially looking back 10-12 billion years ago.

That’s a lot of lifetimes.


Image sources: 1, 2, 3