Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad!

29 years today!

[standing ovation]

Does anyone have funny stories from the wedding party/parties? You can't tell me it wasn't a serious shindig - if there's a party in Arnprior, I want to hear about it!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Has anyone seen the movie 300?

This movie will go down as an ultimate movie night anthem. Ingredients: beer, steak, 300.


One of a few sketches I've done up of current inspiration: Henry Moore's sculpture, 'The Helmet'.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hooray for Architecture!

Application Status: Decision Made
Decision: Institutional Acceptance

Wooohooo! The suspense is over, and Carleton will regret this decision forever. I can't wait to get back into the fantastical world of university. I also can't wait to continue my undeniable reign of four-square. Carleton was the only place I applied to; I shudder at the thought of another year of work had they rejected me, but that was part of the plan. Let the year of consolidation collide head on with Thesis!

Esbjorn Svensson Trio

By a stroke of luck, I caught EST, a Nordic band live at Vicar Street, last Friday. If you like jazz, check out their myspace. A big part of the appeal is the light show which may have outdone the music so if you aren't fully impressed, I can tell you the live show is worth hearing/seeing instead.

St. Paddy's Day

The revered religious holiday St. Paddy's Day flew by this past weekend. This was The Genuine Article - nothing could be more Irish than St. Paddy's Day in Dublin! The Irish however kept a low profile. They've just about had enough of this pomp every year, and a lot of 'em booked town. Around this time, the city. is. mayhem. The place was filled with people. The parade was pretty eclectic but entertaining, with Carnivale-esque costumes and oddly enough, a number of USA marching bands from Universities of Tennessee, Illinois, and Nebraska. The NYC Council also made a surprise appearance. Almost immediately, the crowds stampeded through the streets to the nearest pub. We bolted for the Stag's Head and watched the Rugby finals which was cunningly timed with St. Paddy's Day. This is when the resident Irish came out of the woodworks and patriotically cheered their lungs out for the national team. James and I noticed that for the first time, Dubliners have lived up to their name of being chatty folk. Until now this has been somewhat elusive... some situations just stir up a new spirit in people.

It took the weekend to fully recharge.

Lisbon: Part Deux

I'm gonna zip through this bit because I'm kinda fallin behind the times! At last, Portugal shared a bit 'o sun. We did plenty of walking around the town, presumably conquering the place in a couple of days. Taking the Tram 28 was a nice cross-section of the city. We saw (and did) some Fado dancing at the Lusa Club, famous for various Portuguese up-and-comer performers. Met some Canadians here too. Visited the Jeronimus Monastery, ancient property of the Knights Templar. The ceiling vaults were mezmerizing. The Expo '98 site was spectacular. Some respect to Alvaro Siza's Pavilion. The Calatrava Train Station wasn't quite as impressive but still sharp. On the way back to Porto, we saw the new Casa da Musica by Rem Koolhaas and luckily caught the Porto Symphony Orchestra. Typical archie students, we were more interested in the building than the music. If you haven't already, be sure to check out the photo album more pics!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Portugal: Porto a la Pluie

Jessie and I took this past week off for a long-anticipated vacation to Portugal where we mainly explored Porto and Lisbon. You can find a fair sized photo album from the column on the right which I linked up. (Jess took most of the pics, so I can't claim all the credit, but the reaaally good ones were probably mine).

J arrived Friday evening and we took off bright and early the following morning for the capital city of Porto. Upon arrival we bolted for the city centre, wide-eyed as ever. After snapping some pics, we grabbed a bite to eat, a Portuguese specialty: churrasco (grilled chicken). These people give new meaning to chicken, fries and salad. Our lunch was a gloriously generous helping of good simple food. We pushed on to find a decent campground. Ended up taking a bus part of the way out to a site along the coast, south of the city, however we hopped off the bus when I instinctively (and incorrectly) thought we missed our stop. My typically
spectacular navigational skills failed me here, despite Jessie's cautioning. Soooo, we ended up marching for a helluva while with backpacks and all through the Porto outskirts. At last we found our campground and crashed for the night.

The next day we popped in to town and had a fantastic bus rides as we zipped around the winding streets. The bus was blazing through tiny alleys, barely nipping the parapets off of residents' homes, and stopping along the way to vent at the lousy oncoming drivers. The view of the city by bus was the best part. On the way in, we got completely drenched. So as we got a rainy and hazy view of the city, we took shelter for a quick espresso, soup and salad. J ordered this really good potato and kale soup. Afterwards, e pretty much charged through the city as the weather reluctantly eased up on us. Saw the main churches/cathedrals, climbed the church towers, explored tiny streets and alleyways, visited the amazing Lello Bookstore. It was a full up day with cheap cheap cheap wine to top it off. This was also the end of our tent, as it leaked like a sieve that night in the rain.

The following day, we checked in to a hotel right in the city centre which was a huge relief after sleeping on acorns and a rained-in tent. Then headed off on a daytrip out to Braga, to the Bom Jesus Sanctuary (it means 'Good Jesus' - don't worry, they like Him here). At Bom Jesus, you're meant to climb 1000 steps to the top of a hill overlooking the city, while stopping along the way at several hexagonal chapels. If you're really devoted, you're meant to climb the steps on your knees. We had none of that ofcourse. In the guidebook, the site looked warm, orange, red and yellow etc. But when we got there, we were a tiny bit dampered because it was grey and cold, and pouring. This was THE rainiest day we had all week and on the climb up, we were waterlogged! It was really beautiful though, despite our wingeing. We headed back to town and got ready to head to Lisbon.

This was the end of our time in Porto leaving it with the hope that Lisbon would bring more sunshine... (part 2 coming, but maybe after St. Paddy's Day).