Guu with Garlic Mini Review

Fri, Aug 21st 2009 12:31 am
To continue the trend of the constant Japanese restaurant hopping, today we went to Guu with Garlic, or otherwise known as the one on Robson St. Thankfully we'd made reservations yesterday, because the lineup accumulated very quickly.

Sat down and immediately discovered that it's quite loud. Not that the music was loud, or the diners, but the servers and chefs. Similar to Zakkushi, the entire staff greets the customers as they come in, but the servers also shout all the orders to the cooking staff in loud Japanese.

Also similarly to Zakkushi, Guu is something like a tapas place. There's a selection of different appetizer-type dishes that you can choose from. We got quite a few of them and shared everything. The beef carpaccio, tuna tataki, and okonomiyaki stood out most for me. Also good were the ebi mayo, the croquette, and the takoyaki. For dessert, we had the special pear cheesecake, which was quite good, although the cheesecake itself seemed suspiciously store-bought. Regardless, it was tasty.

Prices were pretty fair, if a little on the high end. Altogether, it came out to about $20 per person, for 5 people. Not too bad, although a little strange considering it's a bunch of smaller appetizer-sized dishes. Overall, quite an interesting experience. In the end, I think I preferred Zakkushi, though.

Zakkushi Mini Review

Wed, Aug 19th 2009 12:02 am
After having all that Japanese food yesterday, went out and had even more today. It wasn't intentional. It just so happened that one of the highly recommended places was Japanese.

Today we went to a place called Zakkushi, a Japanese charcoal-grill place. Basically, they offer a selection of skewers that are selected individually (or they have a set option). They've also got some main dishes that are different from the usual fare at Japanese restaurants around here. Though we didn't get to try those, it'll be worth a try some other time.

Another thing of note was the bathrooms. Call me weird for writing about the bathroom of a restaurant, but the bathroom is just as much a part of the restaurant as the rest of it. Sort of. Anyway, it's really crazy. They've got this crazy miniature fountain, and the tap of the sink is actually a bamboo (fake?) spout from the fountain. Photos will be added once I install my card reader drivers.

Overall, it was quite tasty, and the decor was definitely top notch. The entire staff was also very friendly, and quite enthusiastic. One of the servers would notify the other staff, and they would all then exuberantly greet guests as they came and left. All in all, a good experience (minus the bill but that's our problem, I suppose). Planning to go back again soon and hopefully will try some of the main dishes.

Canada Line and Bakudans

Mon, Aug 17th 2009 11:14 pm
Today, as most Vancouverites are well aware, was the grand opening of the Canada Line of the Skytrain. For the more unaware, it now connects Richmond Centre and YVR airport to the rest of the Skytrain system, all in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. According to the site, it takes about 25-26 minutes to get from Richmond Centre/YVR airport to the Waterfront, which is quite impressive indeed. Then again, the part that actually takes people to the Waterfront isn't new.

There was purported to be a large selection of festivities to celebrate the grand opening. From the looks of it, it definitely looked like something to check out.

But alas, upon arrival, it was discovered that the lines were just too ridiculously long. We arrived at around 3:00pm, still during the (working) day. But the line went all the way outside, around a bit, and down the way. Shouldn't people be working at this time?

We didn't really consider standing in line for that long worth a couple free rides on the Skytrain, because let's face it, it's sure as heck not going anywhere. Not to mention, I was pressed for time with a dinner appointment at 5:00 pm.

After deciding to come back next week, we proceeded to go to Tenku, a small food stand in the middle of some parking lot. It was quite sketch, to be honest. They serve something called bakudanyaki, a fried...something or other purportedly from Japan.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

It looks like a baseball-sized takoyaki with extra filling to me. It was pretty good, but it wasn't outstanding. Mostly it's the novelty about it.

So we didn't get to go on the Canada Line for opening day (for free!), but I think the bakutanyaki was better than waiting in line in the sun for sitting on a Skytrain. That's just me, though.

Falling Away

Fri, Jul 24th 2009 12:02 am
It's been a while. Sometimes exciting stuff happens by the handful, and other times, it feels like I'm just rolling along without really noticing what's going on. Right now would be the latter.

So here's what's been going on, all in a neat little list that is no indication whatsoever of how life really is (unordered and very not-neat-and-tidy):
  • Found a job. Woo.

  • Job is in Markham. Boo.

  • Possibly found a room to rent that will allow me to have a fatty bunny. Will have to go and check it out tomorrow.

  • Screwed for finals. That's not really new, is it?

  • Trying to find my 'happy place' with my drawing. That's not going very well at all.

  • August 13. Mark your calendars.

Happy Why-Are-We-A-Country Day

Thu, Jul 2nd 2009 12:57 pm
Went out last night around 10:30 or so to go light some fireworks after picking up a friend who's in town visiting from Edmonton. Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, this meant I missed the big fireworks show at Columbia Ice Fields at 10:00. Turns out that wasn't the worst of the night, though.

Picked up some overpriced Roman candles and sparklers before heading out to pick up the Edmonton buddy. Somehow we missed the street we were supposed to be looking out for and ended up on some country highway just south of Kitchener. New Dundee or something really sketch. After being lost for at least a good 30 minutes, finally found friend's house and got him. Then began the search for a place to light off the Roman candles and sparklers. This was about 11:40, mind, and legally we only had 20 minutes to light them off.

Finally after a few minutes of driving, we pulled over on some other sketchy highway and just lit the sparklers and Roman candles. Pretty sure the few cars that passed us thought we were up to no good or something. Or they just didn't care. I would have thought it was pretty shady. While we were there, got a call from a roommate saying that the fire alarm was going off at the apartment, but nobody seemed to be filing outside. Well, that sucks, but apparently the fire department was on the way, so it wouldn't be so bad.

After bumming at a Tim's for an hour or so, went back to the apartment, when we discovered, horrifyingly, that the fire alarms were broken and still going off. At that point it was about 4 hours in. We went inside and it was definitely not a sound we could sleep over. Roommates explained that the fire department had come by already and determined that there was no ffre, but they refused to reset the alarms unless the building management came in person. Tried to call the Emergency After-Hours phone number left on an old memo, but that number just went to some random 24-hour line in Toronto that apparently didn't even manage our building, and had virtually no information whatsoever on what to do. Well, that's just great.

After trying to figure out what to do while taking turns slamming the button to 'snooze' the alarm inside the suite for an hour and a half or so, miraculously, it stopped. This was around 3:00 or 3:15 or so. Just to make sure, went outside to see if the fire department had come back or building management had come. Thankfully it was the building superintendent and he'd turned off the fire alarms. (I'd thought maybe the fire alarms had just been going off for so long that this in turn had further broken them down.)

Had an oddly civil discussion with him (too tired to make a scene), and discovered that the monitoring company in charge of the alarm system in this building had failed to notify the superintendent. He told us that he'd fired them immediately and that a new monitoring company would be starting today. However, he also did mention that Waterloo is the only city in Ontario where the fire departments will not reset the alarms unless the building management arrives in person. Apparently, he also manages buildings in 30 other cities, and for all of them, the fire department will just reset the system once they determine there was no real fire. So we basically had to deal with the fire alarm going off in our building for no good reason for a total of 5 hours.

You got us good, Waterloo. Scoreboard says:

Waterloo: 5363456
Us: 0

Robots in Disguise!

Mon, Jun 29th 2009 03:17 pm
Went almost-last-minute to see 'Transformers: Rise of the Fallen' yesterday. Of course, we didn't go in expecting a decent plot or anything like that. With that in mind, all the action scenes were CG-riffic and had bad-ass robot fight scenes.

There were obvious flaws in the so-called 'plot' as well, especially near the end, but that's not all too surprising. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have cared anyway, since I really just went in to watch the robot-ass-kicking scenes. Megan Fox in all sorts of revealing clothing and slow-motion running was a big bonus, too, of course! =D

We also noticed that this movie was very improperly rated. If memory serves me correctly, the first movie had one instance of a cuss word and some 'suggestive' themes - this one went all-out on the suggestive scenes and there was not a shortage of swear words. They did, however, hold back on the F-bomb. How considerate of them (?).

The music was decent as well, although only memorable because most of the soundtrack scores just sampled parts of Linkin Park's new single, "New Divide". There was also a song by The Fray that they seemed to have forgotten to leave room for and decided to just shove it in for a very short period of time in post-production. Green Day's "21 Guns" was also included a number of times, but for the life of me, throughout the movie I couldn't remember the title or the artist and it bugged me. Now I know, thanks to our friend Google!

In the end, came out of the theater with my CG-riffic robotic action fight scene cravings sated, but that was about it. Oh, and Shia screaming like a little girl will be one thing that won't be forgotten, and will always bring some laughs.

Up

Sun, May 31st 2009 11:54 am
Got to see Up last night. As per usual, Pixar did not disappoint. Only they can make me cry in the beginning of a movie. I mean, uh... I didn't cry. *cough*

The short at the beginning was awesome as well. They took such a common theme/idea and somehow went further with it and made a very entertaining, and very cute short film. Honestly, it takes amazing storytelling skills.

The actual movie itself was cute and quite sentimental. Of course there were plenty of funny scenes as well. Unfortunately, I don't think there were as many memorable lines other than the ones from the trailer, but it was still good no less. Not to mention, what kid hasn't dreamed of flying off to a far-off country with a mass of multicoloured helium balloons? =D

The 3D unfortunately wasn't as hard-core as I thought it would be, but it did make for some really cool stuff in some of the scenes. The movie is definitely worth a watch in theaters for the 3D regardless.

Overall, Up doesn't make it to the top of my Pixar list, but it was still very enjoyable, and I will still buy the DVD when it comes out and watch it over and over again. Sometimes I just can't help--

SQUIRREL!

Major Meltdown

Sat, Apr 18th 2009 01:26 pm
The ASUS laptop that I got in 2007 broke down yet again. It was showing some...interesting behaviour all of a sudden on Monday night. Almost similar to what happened to it last year, but with a slight twist.

Won't go into the details of what went wrong since that might fill up an entire page of this blog, but long story short, took it in to the notebook repair center in Markham on Wednesday. The guy who took it in told me that it would take a day at most, which I found a little strange considering last year it took them over 2 weeks, but regardless he reassured me that I wouldn't need a loaner in the meantime. Got a call from them 2 hours later and was told that it was repaired. Good, right? Well, sort of. I figured either they didn't think there was anything wrong, or they just replaced the motherboard at random.

Got it back Thursday, and booted it that night. There was a message that showed up before the POST screen that never used to be there that said something about "Engineering use only - not for production". That ticked me off because I thought they'd given me a test use motherboard or something, which is not exactly good practice. Called them the next day and told them, and was told to bring it in again. After looking it up a bit, figured out that they'd given me the motherboard for the newer model, the W7Sg and it was whining about drivers. Got friend to drive there and ask for a CD with the drivers loaded on it, but they said they didn't have it. Met up with him (bus was late and then I ran) and showed them the pre-POST message. Was told it was just a setting in the BIOS which would go away once it was changed.

Later, friend realized that the problem with WinXP not booting was because the BIOS had the HDD setting as "Enhanced", a.k.a. SATA and not "Compatible", a.k.a. IDE, which XP really doesn't like. Once that was fixed, it started up again, which was a huge relief since it means I don't have to reinstall XP. Also found out that the video card was upgraded to a 9300M instead of the 8400M that came with it.

Still having some issues installing Intel Matrix Storage Manager and changing the drive setting back to SATA, but at this point I give up. Eff this.

Feed Me, Baby

Wed, Mar 11th 2009 04:59 pm
Procrastinating PDEng as per custom, and decided to finally get around to creating an RSS/ATOM feed.

Subscribe so you can know when my next sporadic update is! =D

Snowboard Ontario

Fri, Mar 6th 2009 05:59 pm
Went to Horseshoe Resort yesterday with the company, subsidized. First time snowboarding in Ontario. Had to rent since I didn't get to bring my own from Vancouver, but it wasn't all bad. The equipment weren't complete crap, just the bindings were frustrating.

The 'mountain' itself was...different. There were quite a few lifts and surprisingly a moderate number of runs, but unfortunately they were all quite short. Guess that's to be expected, though. In the end, felt like we were on the lifts more than we were on the runs. Plus the lifts were really shady and really slow. At least I can say I've been on a black diamond...even though it was probably a blue by Vancouver standards at best.

All in all, though, it was better than I was expecting. Next year might consider actually bringing my board and going more often. But then I'd need a car or somebody with a car. There's always gotta be an obstacle.
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