Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Double Down Invades Arteries of Canadians

The nation should be a little fatter by now as KFC's Double Down climbed up to the colder side of the border from the state side yesterday. Fortunately for our hearts, this load of fat and awesomeness is only here for a limited time.

I have tried eating it myself and it really seems like I'm eating something out of a cartoon. Having to replace both buns with, well, two (2!) fried chicken breasts really makes the whole thing greasy. So greasy, its almost guaranteed more napkins will be used compared to eating a regular sandwich or burger due to the fact everything that comes in contact with the Double Down will automatically be marinated with grease. Having no bread also doesn't help you soak up all the grease, or rather, it just lets you soak up all the grease. The weak-stomached will simply feel like throwing up at this point. The lack of any fibre also lets you taste all the sodium head on! All the cheese and the bacon in the middle simply lets you taste all that saltiness it is advised you should have a beverage with you as you will get thirsty very quickly. It also tastes like a heart attack, in your mouth.

As I was having one for lunch, I was staring at the "cooked-in-trans-fat-free-canola-oil" sign in an attempt to try to make myself feel better.

It didn't really work.

The funny part is, it's got less calories than the Burger King's Whopper! The Double Down contains 540 Calories with 30 grams of fat while the Whopper has 660 calories with 40 grams of fat. While this absolutely doesn't means jack, it's also an interesting find. If you're prepared to taste what heart attack really tastes like, at least do it with some diet coke 'cause that stuff helps! just have some green tea with it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yet Another Film Camera

"I swear, this is the last film camera I'll buy. No more fooling around like some collector." That is what I keep telling myself and it doesn't really seem to be working.

So enter the Minolta XG-A: now another part of my "sin of indulging."

I picked this little guy up about a week ago, and am quite happy with it. I've wasted used up a few rolls of film at Nuit Blanche that took place over the weekend and I've gotta say, this one is a keeper. Due to the lack of having a good scanner, I don't have any of the shots I took with the Minolta XG-A in digital form. There are simply negatives and prints, which I am more than happy with (for the most part).

So far, I picked up only one lens for it and see no reason to pick up another one (and I hope it stays that way for a while). The 50mm f/1.7 offers me plenty of versatility, low-light capability being one them. While it is not a zoom lens, I have a pair of perfectly fine legs that can "zoom" for me. The lack of zoom is really a fair price to pay for the sharpness in the lens you get in return.

I suppose the major reason why I'm going to be using this (for fun) is the viewfinder size. It's an actual viewfinder of a traditional SLR, what's not to like? I did a quick comparison with a Canon 5d Mk. II's viewfinder and almost lost a heartbeat due to the gap of difference between the two. For a second, I even thought I was comparing the viewfinder to a Canon 7D until my colleague stated otherwise. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I can't believe I was missing out on all this (analogue) fun for so long!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


That word used to be more flexible. It could actually be used to express something- anything you're proud of. But now, things are a little different.

When the word "Pride" is used, and I say it with a capital P, one of two things come to people's mind; gay Pride and national Pride. Those two aren't exactly bad things, or bad types of pride, but with the way our society has constructed itself around the word Pride certainly comes with its drawback. The draw back is simple. We have limited ourselves verbally so we can't really use the word Pride for anything else effectively. Yes, one can say he is proud of his career success. That nearly does not have the same impact as one saying he is proud to be gay or his nation.

It took a while for our society to accept gay people, and we should all be glad we can accept this change in our society instead of sticking to the old traditional ways all the time. However, one can say out loud in the streets, "I'm PROUD to be gay!" and people can cheer. If one were to yell out, "I'm PROUD to be straight!" not much will really happen depending on what city you are in. That's the kind of impact I'm talking about. Sexuality wise, you can't be Proud, unless the church hates doesn't love you too much and others who totally love you for it.

The national Pride is what really gets to me and starts to really draw lines for people, which has its own ups and downs. Canada, especially Toronto literally is full of people from all over the world. People can be Proud to be whatever nationality they're. Hey, it's something you can't change so you might as well like it, right? I mean, it even brings a community together. It also separates said community from other communities, marking borders within the country, and even down to the city itself. When you go over board on this national Pride, you stop to see others as individuals as well as yourself. You begin to generalize and just throw the word "individualism" out the window. You also see other nations as nation full of faults and imperfection and think your people are God's greatest creation (Unless you're Jewish, in which case I can understand)! Even if you do suck up some of that national Pride and admit your country of origin does have some issues, you'd want Canada to do something about it. By a messy looking protest/march no less. Canada has enough issues of its own.

I could go on, but I'll end it here. Pride should be available to be used in a sentence that has nothing to do with homosexuality or patriotic national love and still have an impact of using the word to its full meaning. In fact, if it takes a word for this society to accept gay people into it, go head, take it. Heck, take other words, too. A lot of colours were already taken, anyway (and I am actually not being sarcastic).

But keep in mind a few things about national Pride (because that's the one I'm really attacking here). Keep individualism in mind. Because you want to be proud of what you did, not what your country did a long, long time ago. If your country wins something like.. let's say the World Cup. If your country wins the World Cup, that doesn't automatically make you a better soccer player, either. Sometimes, it's more about where you're heading instead of where you came from. You only have (little) control over one of the two so you should focus on that instead.

By the way, I am Proud of being able to say this stuff people like to dodge talking about. I even say this nonsense in person, too. I should be Proud of that one at very least.

Or shouldn't I..?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2nd Place

I was once a healthy man.

No, I didn't date a succubus somewhere in my youth... or if I did, I just didn't realize it, but over the many years after high school (which was... holy crap! I'm old) my fitness level have been shot down to zero. So I've been running here and there since last week, sometimes with a friend. It's great running again. I'm by no means as close to being fast as my days back in track, but I'll climb the ladder again.

Ironically, after my run, I felt woken up instead of feeling tired as I have been feeling lately. My stress is gone and I can think straight again. The answer for all my stress and tiredness was always in front of me, and I haven't taken up on that answer again until now. But this whole, running-again-diving-to-the-memory-of-my-youth got me remembering 2 important things about running; why you practice in a team, and who you're really chasing after.

We all had individual races back then. Some short distance, some long distance. Yet, we were told to practice and train as a team. Some were faster than others and the level difference was clear, but the coach didn't seem like he cared. I didn't really understand until near the end. We train as a team because we can encourage one another to sprint that one last lap or run a little further. Another reason is that, well, its relaxing. You're training for a competitive game, but this is the only time you're not actually competing against anybody. It eases your mental side, greatly reducing any kind of stress or pressure. Not to mention we were representing the same school.

The second thing I remembered, and this is probably the most important one to remember and always keep in mind fresh on the surface is who you're chasing after. This has to do with more of the mental side of things rather than physical side of things. In a race, you chase after the person in front you. If you're first, then you can feel the pressure of those behind you, waiting to run past you should they be given a chance. Friendly rivalry is one thing, but if you end up concentrating on just getting faster than another person you know, that's where it all goes down hill. Even if you do get faster than the person you chase after, you're done. You now have no more goals and can quit anytime. Not really achieving the speed you could achieve.

The real person you should be chasing after is yourself. Or to put it more accurately, yourself of near future. The you whom is just a little faster, can run that much further, and that much better than your current self. You always chase after that person, even if you made it to first place. Keep chasing after that person and you will grow almost endlessly. Because even if you do pass that person and gain the 1st place, you'll realize another one of your future selves and be back in 2nd place again. Likewise, you must also keep in mind the person behind you. The you of yesterday. That guy is what you used to be, a little slower than your current self. You slack off, and he will take your place and you'll have to start from scratch.

Either way, instead of chasing after that future self, I should be chase after my past self and get my speed back, then work on getting faster. I suppose you can say I'm in 3rd place rather than 2nd.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hell, It's About Time

No, this post has nothing to do with the launch of a game called StarCraft 2. This post is rather a reference to my previous post about wanting to shoot film. I finally found a good deal on a film camera. An old range finder, actually.

No, I did not magically come across a yard sale as I intended to (not that I was expecting one). A friend of mine actually had one he wasn't using and decided to sell it to me for a good price. I bought films later on and was ready to rock. Or wind the film to get the shutter ready.

My new baby's name is Yashica Electro 35. Runs on F-stop priority with a fixed 45mm f/1.7 lens. I've been actually using it for about a week now and realized the huge difference between how I shoot with the film and digital. With digital, I tend to take at least 3-4 shots of the subject, at different angles, and don't really care about the photo's value. It doesn't matter if it's a good shot or not, I take it.

When I have my Yashica out with me, I carefully think about the importance, or the "value" of the shot before taking it. "How important is this shot to me?" A question, after a brief moment of being drowned in motion of thought, I either take the shot or don't depending on my answer. What comes after that is the most exciting part. There is no screen on the camera (obviously) due to the whole thing being.. well, film. I have been asked by a few friends to see if they can see how the photo turned out, only to stare at the back of my yashica with the reflection of their own facial expression: blank. Anyway, back to the exciting part. I don't know if the shot was over/under exposed or even focused properly. This curiosity mixed with a hint of fear is rather exciting.

I haven't had any roll of films developed yet. I think I will end up developing them either this weekend or the next. This will be interesting.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Film VS Digital

It has always been there; traditionalists vs revolutionists; acoustic guitarists vs electric guitarists; and pretty much anything mechanical vs electrical. Film and Digital photography is no exception.

I have been using a digital camera (somewhat seriously) for the last 3 years or so and have never really tried to learn much about film photography or get into it. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, back in the dark ages, people have used film- yes, film with cameras that take said film to take photographs, got the negatives developed, which were then printed. No? You don't remember? Maybe you saw it in a movie somewhere, think harder.

I was always interested in film, and no, film isn't dead... yet. I studied some history about film, but I never got to experience it first-hand. This could possibly be one of those things I regret in my life and I don't normally have regrets. I mean the closest I got to working with film was actually shooting an already-developed roll of film as my subject last year (which ended terribly, so no photos of that).

Even though we're in a age of digital now (where we take $%^& load of %^&$ photos and paste them on facebook or we never see it again as it gets buried in the hard drive somewhere), I still want to shoot film. Just once or twice to say that, "Yes, I remember when I shot film." Maybe I'll come across a yard sale and buy an old Minolta for cheap. However, I haven't ran into a yard sale for 5 years. I have bad luck with them. I should seek alternatives. People might say I'm wasting my time and money or some might even tell me not to dare hold a film camera with my digital-infested hands (is that even possible?).

But I'll do it, should the chance rise.

Because I for one, don't really give a damn about this Film Vs Digital nonsense. Nor will I care to change the way people think about it. Getting people out of this troll war isn't going to make my photos look any better, either so I'll leave them be. I just have a feeling time will be better spent if I beat a dead horse instead. Or take a picture of it... using film.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sad Ending... Or Is It?

By June 27th, I will be dead.

On facebook, that is.

By deleting my account right before the clock hits midnight on June 26th, I will destroy a good portion of my existence, in a formless and otherwise be non-existing realm called internet. Well, not 100% will be destroyed as I will still keep this blog.

Myself and facebook always had this awkward relationship. The kind of relationship between two co-workers at a job, where they don't talk to each other unless the job required them to, and just work. There's a bit of awkwardness, and while not exactly hate between the two, but some sort of tension created by the inability to start being friendly because of silly hesitation or shyness. The fact that I only have 45 "friends" is good proof of that as I never really aimed to have over 200 "friends" as everyone else. But no one really aims for it. It just happens. Maybe I wanted to have a little more control even though I was swimming with the current.

The real reason why I'm quitting facebook is to keep my rights to my information, and especially my photos from slipping through these hands as type and click them away. Even though I only posted about 10 photos in my "album" and they were rather crappy shots that I couldn't really care less about (compared to my other photos per say), I still don't want to lose anymore. If I don't have an account, then I can't upload. Simple.

Furthermore, I find going to a pub with my real, existing friends more enjoyable than posting on someone'e wall. If someone really wants to contact me, they'll find a way to contact me. If not, there's a good chance I don't even want to talk to that person in the first place.

Sure, as most facebook-defenders would say, "Yea but, using facebook, I was able to find people I went to middle school with and we post on each other's walls every blue moon. This stuff is great. *Goes back to playing farmville*" If I wanted to keep in contact with people I knew from any schools that I attended, I wouldn't need facebook's aid as I would have gotten the information before we were even separated. And yes, I do in fact, "dislike" farmville.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


This past week, I have been walking. A lot.

I walked to Lake Shore on the West side from Downtown, I walked home, walked others home, etc on more days than not during the past week. I even feel like buying one of those "step-counters" to see how much mileage I get out of my legs alone in week. To many people in this city, walking appears to be a chore. Even when one asks me of directions, and if my answer is something on the lines of, "15 minutes to the East" or "3-4 blocks down South," the one who asked frowns as if I told him/her something I shouldn't have.

I walk pretty fast and that credit goes to my slightly longer than average legs I have. I normally don't turn around when I walk because I'm busy looking ahead while passing by people. Even when I have plenty of time to get to my destination, I can't help it but to haul-ass over there. Often, wondering why no one else seems to be walking a little faster. It gets me frustrated sometimes because I just can't seem to get around them when they form some kind of wall in front me, but that's my problem, so I just find a way to go around them.

I go around people instead of asking them to move aside with the words, "Excuse me" since it just doesn't seem to work anymore. Not only are people slow, but appear to be deaf as well. headphones, cell phones, or chatting to another and simply forgetting about the surrounding is also the trend in the city. One trend, I cannot follow, not out of will, but simply because I can't. Even when I have my headphones on, the volume level is relatively low. So low, I can hear the person next to me loud and clear most of the time.

Before I turn this post into a complete rant, I'll get back to the topic. People consider walking as chore. It is evidently so as charity events will raise money for #km run/WALK. I find that part a little ridiculous, but at least it's better than nothing.

Walking is by no means a hobby of mine, but it's something I'll never refuse to do. I need to walk from point A to point B at some point in my life to get something done and I know it. It's something we naturally do, so it may be better to accept it and try to be less negative towards it. It's just a walk, no one is begging you to sprint.

After all, doesn't everyone want someone that enjoys "long walks by the beach?" Well, perhaps not, but it isn't going to stop me from liking it anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fireworks: One of My Weaknesses

I'm normally all-in for green, environmentally-healthy stuff. However, I have the tendency to let fireworks slip right through that "rule" of mine. It creates plenty of smoke where it explodes and it also causes hell of a noise pollution, but it's so shiny!

Anyway, instead of celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday this weekend, I also let my eyes take in the pleasure of watching lights exploding in the sky by Ontario Place. Like everyone else. Cheers.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Priceless Photo Gifts

I love photo gifts. I really do. I think they can be as thoughtful and valuable as hand-made gifts, if done right. And to those with a busy life style, but still want to show their friends, family, and significant others that they care, it can be done so via purchasing a photo gift with the right photo on it.

For those that are not too familiar with photo gifts and don't know where to get'em, you're in luck (as long as you live in Canada). Black's Photography offers quite a selection of photo gifts. So much, that you can probably fill the whole room with photo gifts... which is very, very creepy if you really think about it.

And like all good things in life, there is also a downside. You want to plan ahead is it normally takes 2 weeks for these photo gifts to be completed and shipped to the store you ordered from (followed by you going there and picking it up), which doesn't make it easy to be a last-minute gift. Needless to say if you order something for Christmas, you might get it back after the new year. Sometimes, never, as the order might even get lost in the busy Christmas season.

While I was scanning through these somewhat unique collection of photo gifts such as poker chips ($10 for one poker chip is bit outrageous), book marks, and so on, one item in particular got my attention.

A photo cutting board.

As you probably guessed it, it's a cutting board with a photo on it. What strikes me as odd is that, the example of photo they used is all the same photo for each gift idea, and the cutting board gets no special treatment of this rule as it has a picture of someone's kid on it. Yes, it is suggesting you to slap on the photo your child on a cutting board. Only very special kind of parents would do this. And we can only hope they're in jail.

But perhaps we can have some fun with this. I myself enjoy cooking and I'm sure someone out there enjoys it as much as I do, if not more. Since putting on a photo of your child (or anyone else's) is a mere suggestion, you're free to put any other photo you pick (as long as it isn't pornographic). Here are my suggestions that some people might be able to use.

I'll let your imagination do the rest with these suggestions.

Who knows? A cutting board with your ex's face on it might make that tedious lettuce chopping, just a little more enjoyable. Have a (or the) devil for a mother-in-law? there can be a little stress-relief exercise of chopping whatever you want in the kitchen.

Now, let your imagination go wild and put a photo on that cutting board that you think is best for you. Remember, the whole point of photo gifts is to be extremely personal. So go pick something that really hits you on the spot (in a bad way)!

Now if you excuse me, I'm gonna go find a picture of an arm with slashes and cuts all over it to slap on to this photo cutting board. What? don't give me that look like I'm putting a picture of someone's kid on there. That's just sick.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What The Hell Is "Final Price"?

I've been busy with a few things for a bit. As I predicted earlier, the month of April was pretty hectic for me and I still have a few things to round up in terms of editing and what not. Thankfully, this is the last day of April. Actually, the last day of April just passed about an 2 hours and half ago for me here. Time to start a new month!

Anyway, on with the topic of today's post instead of sad excuse(s) for not posting on regular bases. It seems to me that consumers (of the city of Toronto to say the least) have changed. To say it frankly, they've gotten cheaper. A few may be missing a few screws in the head, but when ever I'm at any store, I come across this typical situation. I've quickly made a comic (via MS Paint so bare with the quality) to show you such situation.

Alright, so the last column never really happens. And yes, we are still in a recession despite what the media is hiding, but here is the break down of it if anyone is buying anything in a shop. You go in to the store, you pick out the item you want with or without a help of an employee of the said store. Then you pay for it and move on. Instead, we have people asking what the "final price" is after looking at a price right next to the word "sale". Has the good chunk of our population forgotten how to read numbers? I don't seem to understand how anyone can stoop that low and ask such a foolish question. And better yet, there are others that could be actually needing the help of that employee somewhere else in the store; such as a guy wanting to ask if they have specific item on stock because he is willing to pay the price on the tag and move on with his life.

Perhaps I'm more sensitive to this topic because of years of sad experience in retail. But why is it that people don't seem to learn, and instead they forget things that everybody should know? The price of what you pay is on the list, then plus tax. Simple as that. By the way, tax is still 13% as I hear that question in shops more often now than ever: "What's the price after tax?" or "Can I not pay tax?". And yes, you can calculate the price after tax from a regular cellphone now a day (it's legal so don't be afraid to give it a shot!), but that knowledge also seems to be on a level of lost art of some sort. By the way, not paying tax is indeed illegal unless you're a native (chances are, you are not), which HST will also screw when Canada day comes around regardless of your origin.

But can anyone really blame these "smart" shoppers? All they are looking for is a good deal. Maybe in a few years, people will even try to negotiate with a waiter of a restaurant for the price of their meals and it'll be considered normal. Who knows? Even still, I still have a few words of advice; If you're looking for a deal and truly want to negotiate the price of a product or service, go buy a car before HST kicks in. That's one place I can think of where negotiating the price seems normal so you can pay a fair amount of money instead of a godzilla-sized price for the car. And lastly, if you truly want to be a smart shopper sniping out those good prices of the stuff you want to buy, learn to be patient to find those good deals in a place other than retail. Ebay and the rest of the internet exist for a reason and contrary to most urban myths, it's not as devil-ish as people make it appear to be. Happy shopping.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

End of April

It's been a few weeks since Spring arrived (kind of) to the city of Toronto and while we do have some windy/wet days here and there, it's safe to say that it is getting warmer (quite slowly). That also means the Sakura (cherry blossom trees) bloomed not too long ago. Actually, it's been a week or so since they bloom, I just haven't had the chance to post this yet -.-;;

On the bright side, before heading to work last Wednesday, I took some photos of the cherry blossom trees near the infamous Robarts Library (they have many old and rare books) in U of T territory. Despite posting just one photo with this blog post, I took a good amount of photos that I am somewhat satisfied with. Unfortunately, most of them are cliche shots that everyone else probably took from the same angle since I didn't want some ugly looking building (*ahem* Robarts Library) to be in my frame.

While taking these photos, for some reason, I started thinking about what a good photo is. And quite frankly, after looking at some of the shots that my friend took (he takes photographs for various magazine and newspaper companies), I started to grasp the idea of a "good photograph." As it gets warmer, I plan on taking my camera out more often. Hopefully, someday, someone can take a look at one of my photos I took and say, "That's a good photograph."

Well, that and a cheque for it will be nice XD

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Hate Perfectionists- Oh Wait, That's Me Too!

For the last week or so, I've been rather busy with several things. Actually, just two things; my day job and editing a short documentary for a co-worker of mine (and hopefully it'll be published!). The editing is done (for now), but even still, I think it's safe to say the busy days (and nights) are here to stay for a while.
I'll be quite honest on my thoughts about editing any video: I hate it. Yes, I get better every time I edit something, but it's tedious, time-consuming, and worst of all, it brings out the perfectionist-side of me. In the film and broadcasting industry, that's the mindset you need to have; you simply cannot stop with "just good enough" work, you need to aim and achieve the "perfect" work. My co-worker saw that in me and requested for my help as an editor, which I took up on since it was for a good cause either and hey, it may help to get my name out there, who knows?
But going back to the perfectionist-side of me, here. I hate it for several reasons. First, when I get into my "perfectionist-mode" every single one of my cells in my body is trying to defy my philosophy called, "No human is perfect." It also reminds me of somebody I used to know in the past who was a perfectionist. For some reason seeing a perfectionist used to get me pissed off back then, but I guess I just regret how I didn't understand why we all need to be perfectionists sometimes.
Anyway, here is my advice to all the perfectionists out there: Don't forget that we can't be perfect in an imperfect world and sometimes, things are most beautiful because it is imperfect.
Well, time for me to get some sleep while I still can. I barely slept for the past week due to editing -.-;;

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Harmonized Sales Tax Waiting To Screw Us All On Canada Day.

Alright, so I didn't post anything last weekend since I was busy with some stuff, but it's not the end of the world... since I'm writing one right now to make up for it. As mentioned in my previous post, it is getting warmer here in Toronto and people are indeed traveling.. at least to Toronto. This is a season to be dealing with many people wanting to check prices of things (+tax) with little to no english, which makes things really interesting, and wanting to either bang my head against a wall or their heads against it instead. It does get quite annoying when they look at me with a weird look when I give them the price including tax, which is clearly more than what's on the price tag (by 13%). Believe it when I say this: if it were up to me, products all over Canada would have price, tax amount, followed by the total of what you're paying on the price tag. Now, if that were to happen, that would be being quite honest as well as being efficient, but we that just wouldn't be a city in North America, now would it?
Talking about the tax also springs another question in the air: HST (Harmonized Sales Tax). Instead of dealing with both GST and PST, it simply combines both taxes. This means you still pay 13% tax minus the steps of paying 7% + 8%.
So if it makes things simple, why do 74% of Ontarians oppose it? Once HST hits Ontario (on July 1st, 2010), you will end up paying full 13% tax on things like your milk, food that costs less than $4 before tax, and many other things, chipping you away of those pennies here and there, which adds up in the long term. So there you have it, fellow Ontarians.
I do have a solution, though: move.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Is (Almost) Here and That Means...

Most people are starting think about traveling and there is one thing just about everyone brings on a trip regardless of where they go: Camera. With the technology enhancing faster than a guy on steroids, many people feel pressured to upgrade to a new camera as it makes what their current camera to be.. more or less an artifact. If you feel somewhere on the similar lines yourself, perhaps this post could help you on picking out the right camera, without spending anymore than you need to. Here are the things you should be watching for:

1. Megapixel
I'm going to quite frank here; megapixel isn't everything. Do not be tempted to get a camera over another simply because "it has a higher megapixel." It certainly does have a difference on resolution of the photo you take, but if you're not going to print anything higher than an 8x10, you don't need to stress too much over the amount megapixel; 10MP should be more than sufficient (most models now a days are at least 12-14MP on average). If you're not planning on printing your photos (SHAME ON YOU!) and want to just post it on facebook and/or myspace like rest of the population, you really don't need to worry about megapixel at all as those websites shrink the size down the moment you upload your private public moments to the web.

2. Battery
There are two types of batteries today's cameras run on: Lithium ion or AA batteries.
Lithium ion types are those blocky looking rechargeable battery that usually comes with the charger and as long as you fully charge and discharge them, they should be good for about 4-5 years. Your cellphones are also running on same type of battery if it helps to understand. It's also important not to lose the battery or the charger as it can cost you around $70 and up to replace either the battery or the charger (remember, it's suppose to last you 4-5 years). The cameras that run on lithium ion batteries tend to be more pricey compared to the ones that run on AA batteries.
The AA batteries should be self explanatory, but don't forget there are single-use and rechargeable in AA section as well. Though, you would have to buy them on your own, the cameras that run on AA batteries tend to be more affordable. If you find yourself outside in the wild a lot, it may not be a bad idea to stick with a camera that runs on AA batteries as you can carry many back up batteries. If you're a tree hugger and care about the environment, perhaps the lithium ion batteries should be your choice.

3. Brand
When it comes to brand of the camera, Sony pops up quite a lot. While I think Sony digital cameras are finally coming along nicely, there are better ones out there in terms of quality and what you pay for them. Don't get me wrong, Sony makes great other products such as LCD TV's and camcorders. I would say the only thing Sony's got over the other brands in cameras is the style of how it looks, which makes it more appealing, but when you take a photo, is your camera in your shots? Not really (unless you shoot a mirror to take a picture of yourself).
So what other brands are there you should consider? There are plenty. Canon has been making cameras since God knows when. While I do like Nikon DSLR's, I don't think their point-and-shoots are any better than Canon's point-and-shoots. Panasonic has been coming up nicely as well. If you're looking into Panasonic, chances are, you're looking at a camera with a massive zoom, while having a body small enough to travel with. Finally, don't forget the old school Pentax. Just because they don't have an ad, doesn't mean they are crap. So the question is, you want to pay for brand or quality? Ask your salesman at a camera store for some insights and do your research as well (incase the salesman is bias towards certain brand, which is understandable, but you want a camera for yourself, not him/her!).

4. Zoom
I promise, it's almost over. Just like megapixel, zoom doesn't determine how good a camera is. It's easy to be carried away by the numbers in their features end up spending for features that you never end up using in a camera. Zoom is something that men go for more than women and obviously, the bigger the zoom, the more money flies out of your wallet. Either way, if you're just taking pictures of your family, friends, and all the regular stuff, you really won't need anything more than 3 or 5x zoom. I mean, when are you going to use a 10x zoom on a family shot? if you need to zoom in at a situation like that, just step up to them. If you come across what of those once-in-a-blue-moon situations where you DO need something on the lines of 10x zoom (like a bird standing far, far away), just take the shot at the max zoom your camera has, then blow it up later on your computer. Even with 10MP, that should still be pretty darn clear (as long it's focused). If you're a sucker for taking lots and lots of landscape shots, maybe 10x zoom is the one for you (don't forget to buy a tripod!), other than that, people rarely use anything beyond 5x zoom so think about what kind of shots you're going to be taking with the new camera. Oh, and remember: never, never use digital zoom. It lowers the quality of the photo way too much. I suggest turning digital zoom off if you can. Trust me on that one.

5. Video Mode
Yes, most, if not all cameras now come with a Video Mode (or Movie Mode). Watch out though, there are two kinds now: HD (High Definition) and SD (Standard Definition). This feature, depending on what definition the camera shoots at, will make about a $100 difference in cameras that shoot HD or SD. If you like to shoot a lot of HD movies with the camera and have an HDTV at home, maybe you wouldn't mind vomiting up the extra cash. If you go for mainly photos and barely any videos, maybe it's not worth spending the extra. Think about important video quality is to you and how far you're willing to go.

There are obviously more things you should be looking for whether it is feature or quality, but that all depends on what kind of shots you want to take with the new camera. Oh, right. One more thing before I sign off: if your camera stills works great, not too old, and you're happy with it, you may not really need to upgrade to a new camera. But that's all up to you. Have fun.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Planning Well To Be Well Wasted

St. Patrick's Day is not too far away and many people are planning to get wasted at a bar on said day night whether they know the history of St. Patrick's Day or not. Although, I'm sure they wont remember much by the morning after, so I shall spare your eyes with a history lesson (it's really, really boring and I don't know why tortured myself by reading up on it) and skip to the next on the list of matter.

From observing (of what I can remember) the last few St. Patrick's Days, I figured this year's should be somewhat different or rather, well planned. It appears that as simple as it sounds, "let's go drink." isn't something a lot of people can do without some difficulties. Don't get me wrong: it's the "let's go" part I'm worried about, not the "drink" part.

In the past year's my buddies and I have gone to pubs on St. Patrick's Day. This year, we decided to party in one of their places instead as it'll have more breathing room, and practically no wait time on your drinks. Not to mention it is also financially sound, it might be a wise choice for anyone to do the same (depending on whose place you're crashing).

What I also decided to do is to slowly buy liquor at the LCBO in small amounts after work now and then so by next Wednesday (St. Patrick's Day), I would have the amount of liquor I desire to have. If anyone was at an LCBO on St. Patrick's day, they very well know the only thing more chaotic than that would be a Walmart on Black Friday where pregnant ladies get trampled over the crowd.

My last tip (not really a tip) is to actually enjoy the drinks as well as the time you're spending that evening. Far too many young people are just drinking to get drunk. That's fine; that's what young people do (according to the mass media)... but it's fine only if the booze is some low-quality trash that you paid a dollar per bottle for. If you're aiming for to have some class (regardless of age), at least enjoy the drinks (I can't really explain this well until you really figure out how to, but I guess that comes with age... or drinking plenty in the past) and make sure you bought some good quality booze. And by no means mistake it with enjoying the taste of it.

Either way, I hope your St. Patrick's Day will be a blast as well and if you're planning on partying in as I am, don't forget the food colouring (green or blue depending on beer colour) to amp up the spirit of things.

Now here are some random facts about St. Patrick's Day:
- Many places are dyed in green colour on St Patrick's Day, one of them being the famous Chicago River.
- The original colour of representing St. Patrick's Day was actually blue, not green.
- St. Patrick's birth-name is Maewyn Succat.
- St. Patrick's Day was originally celebrated by the Roman Catholics in celebration and tribute to St. Patrick's actions through his time of serving God, as they would feast on the day. Now, many people simply get drunk without knowing any of this and the people of the church are fighting a struggling battle to win back the glory of the day and it's symbol. I may not be a religious man, but I will cheer the church on from the side... by drinking.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Up Is Higher Than Up in the Air and Why You Watch a Film

The 82nd Academy Awards is now behind us. Needless to say James Cameron’s Avatar took quite the spotlight but, was painfully beaten against The Hurt Locker. Even still, that doesn’t mean the society sees James Cameron’s Avatar any differently than before. Up in the Air wasn’t anywhere near cloud 9, but was as good as being 6 feet under compared to Up. A Pixar animation flew higher than George Clooney; I’m having hard time believing it, but that’s because I don’t really look up to anything Pixar or Disney related… no matter how high they go up.

Putting all the award talk and puns aside, lately, I’ve been thinking about why people go watch a film. Is it to get away from reality or is it something simple as feeling the joy of watching something blowing up? Perhaps it’s really different from person to person, but there is something just about everyone has in common when it comes to watching a film; what the film makes everyone feel.

I remember reading something along that line back in high school, “People go to theatres not to enjoy the film, but to feel.” If you think about it, it does make sense. Take the film District 9 for example. In case you weren’t forced to watch it as I was, I’ll fill you in the details. Basically a guy gets infected by some alien oil and starts transforming into the alien race that crash landed floated on Earth. I’m sure I don’t need to explain the rest (and spoil it) at this point. Despite not winning any awards, people loved the film. Hold on, let me rephrase that. People loved what they felt while watching the film.

As you probably and accurately guessed by this point, when the main character starts turning into one of the aliens, the humans simply run rather painful and inhuman experiments on him until he realizes he is strong enough to beat people up and run away, later establishing somewhat of a friendship with other aliens so that they can go back to the ship (in not so friendly road up ahead). Feared by humans and hated by aliens is the situation the main character seems to face most of the time, which at that point, to you fellow audience of the film, you will feel sorry and rather sympathize with him. We like how that feels when we feel it, because unlike the human race presented in the film, we, who sympathize with the main character are understanding and kind. In short, District 9 made us feel like we’re better human beings compared to before we watched the film. Whether we realize it or not, that feeling puts somewhat of a "rush" in our minds. You can call it a form of an ego-boost, if you will.

Whenever I try to explain that to a friend or something, it somehow gives the impression as if I’m saying, “Shame on you!” but it’s not anything like that (I swear!). There’s absolutely no reason why anyone should feel on the lines of being an idiot if they didn’t notice it either. And who knows? Maybe without realizing any of this, a person can enjoy a film to its fullest potential. But ask yourself the question: What makes you watch films and/or what are you looking for in a film? And don’t say the classic “good looking, funny, and non-smoking” =P

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dangerous hobby

I have a confession: by the summer, I’ll be broke thanks to this bloody hobby of mine. Just to clear some stuff in the air, this hobby I am referring to is not porn or anything illegal (but it might as well be for me). It’s photography (or trying to take good photos).

Since I was a film student back in my college times, my program also had a photography course among all the other video and literature related courses and I was forced to spend most of my OSAP (loans for Canadian students by government) money on a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera that most people know as the-big-camera-for-pros-thingy. I wasn’t too accepting to the idea of photography back then as I favored video far more than photos. So I started skipping the photography course and didn’t learn much anything for the first few weeks. In fact, I skipped so much that my program coordinator had to track me down and ask me if whether I’m going to drop the class or not.

I decided to show up for class for once and try to catch up since the camera had already been bought and learned nothing as I barely understood a thing. Needless to say my first assignment (which surprisingly, involved submitting the photos you took based on the limitations/topic given by the prof.) was a failure. That just left a bitter taste in my mouth so I decided to do some research and get the knowledge I needed to prove I can do this. That’s when I also found out you can just learn this stuff on the internet instead of going to college for it. After getting some knowledge into my brain, it was the time to build up the experience and skills. I took pictures for a whole week and did nothing but. And it worked.

After that, I would just show up to the photography class only to leave a few minutes later after handing in my assignments (photos). It was quite rare for me to figure out a reason to stay in the class for the full duration. What I didn’t figure out was that I had already become a whore for photography without even realizing it.

Few years past since then I worked at many retailer stores part and full-time that carried cameras while getting a few gigs on film or music video sets here and there, which had helped me on building up the product knowledge while also getting discounts on accessories for my camera and prints (you know? A photo print?). I would just decide to pick a day and do nothing but take pictures. Just walk around and take pictures as if that’s all I needed to do in my life. I would also bring my camera often on movie sets and take photos of the scenes and props.

Now, I decided it’s time for an upgrade and to expand my collection (which doesn't consist of much at the moment). I just landed a new job at another camera store and every time I look products, whether it’s a bag or a lens or a tripod, I simply add on to this mental list of things to buy in the back of my head.

I am trying my best to resist the urge since I need a new camcorder by this summer to shoot my short films and I need to save up all the money I can get for my new camcorder, but it may appear I am too weak at heart for my forever burning passion for photography. Time can only tell for now. If you’re another poor soul that’s been drugged up and now addicted by photography, I’m sure you understand exactly what I’m going through as it is equivalent to a girl shopping for shoes: it never ends.

Before I go back to watching the Hockey game right now, I have an advice for those whom are not placed with the curse of loving photography (and probably didn’t sympathize with a word I typed), find a hobby that won’t suck out the cash in your wallet as much as this. Might I suggest origami? You only need to buy paper: Simple and affordable. =]

Friday, February 19, 2010

Prologue of the blog.

This post is a test, really. Now, what will I blog about here? Perhaps I'll talk about the latest world issues, tips on electronic and other techy stuff, and just my 2 cents on things (but no rant).
Expect a new post on
daily weekly basis for some random posts that might be useful to you. Catch you around some other times, bloggers.

Signing out.