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Bicyles + tram tracks = Shredded knees + bruised egos

August 13th, 2008 by Raj

I’m going to give you the ending to this story before I begin to tell it, not because it’s some clever film noir script, but because if my Mum reads the title she’ll freak out and worry that I’m lying in a ditch yet somehow able to write this post with my dying breaths. So, obviously the end is that I’m fine. I’m nursing a rather swollen right knee, feeling extremely stiff and sore the day after but I’m alive and walking and there’s no stitches.

Now for the story behind said injuries. The so called “Summer” here in Toronto seemed to last the first week I was here amidst the humid heat wave of mid 30’s, pffft, whatever… mid 30’s. Since that first week there’s been a mixture of rain that seems scheduled to start at 5pm each day and torrential downpour that just ruins the entire day. With that said I haven’t really had the opportunity to ride my lovely new bike to work; that is, until yesterday.

It was such a beautiful day, the sun was out, some light cloud cover of the fluffy white variety adorned the sky and a cool breeze flowed over me as I rode through the streets of downtown Toronto. So there I was, happily riding down King St heading towards work, a small bird had perched itself on my shoulder, the two of us whistling to the tune of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” when all of a sudden a car door begins to open about 10 metres in front of me.

Now I can’t blame this guy for causing what was about to ensue but it was the catalyst. The door opened gently as they’d obviously not checked for anyone coming, be it car or bike for that matter, and I did what any cyclist would do, check my left shoulder and swerve out to avoid smashing into the door. That was all well and good, no problems getting out of the way there but in swerving out of the way of the car door I’d managed to get my bike tires firmly lodged in the rather deep rut of Toronto’s street car (tram) tracks.

From realizing I had my tires caught in the track and picking myself up off the ground to a resounding yell of “f@#k” took about 3 seconds, most of which was spent sliding along the asphalt in a sort of baseball like position on my right knee and shin. Brushing myself off inspecting the scene I’d remarkably not scratched any part of the bike frame nor any of my body besides the now large hole in my jeans and a sort of cheese grated knee. I was pretty happy with my fall skills, who knew that those two months in Boy Scouts would actually pay off!

The worst part of it all, other than today’s throbbing pain and swelling, is that because I’d passed the car a while back and slid so far on the ground it looked like I’d fallen off for no reason what so ever to those viewing the spectacle. I just looked like a complete numpty that didn’t know how to ride a bike. Good thanks!

Filed under Canadian Tales, Other having 4 Comments »

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Canadian Coffee: It’s just that bad

August 2nd, 2008 by Raj

Canadian Coffee = FAIL

Lets for a moment forget the fact that I’ve started a new job that has me slowly taming the beast known to the technorati as “Drupal” into a well trained, obediant King Charles Spaniel and concentrate on the rather unbelievable fact that I haven’t had coffee in about a month!

Yes children of the Internets I know it’s a hard fact to comprehend that I Raj “let’s-have-a-coffee” Sanchez could have been turned away from such a wonderful socially accepted addiction. You must be asking yourself “Why? What has happened to my little friend Raj to turn him away from his only true friend, coffee?” Well that’s a fantastic question really, why don’t you pull up your favourite Japanese-restaurant-sitting-cushion and get all settled in while I explain in intricate detail the justification in my passing on the joe.

Coffee in Canada sucks. Explanation over.

OK, I’ll go into a little more detail. If I wanted brown water I’d go down to the street and scoop out a cup from the nearest mud pool I can find. Why and more importantly “how” people can drink percolated coffee is beyond me! Yes it costs about CAD$1.50 for a jumbo mug of the garbage but that’s no reason for the millions of Tim Hortons’ franchises that exist here in plague proportions putting the US’s Starbucks chain to shame. Dare you ask for a “latte” you might find that you’re given something that resembles frothed milk but 9 times out of 10 it came out of an automated machine the likes of which you’d find in a Shell service station midpoint Melbourne and Adelaide.

There is one place I’ve found that does a good coffee, even if the late does come in a glass cup the size of a small water tower, and that’s the hotel I stayed in last year whilst I was visiting, The Drake. I’ve had about three there now and they’re generally pretty on the money.

Now before everyone (well mostly Canadians) out there starts screaming and rushing me in a mob like fashion I open up the comments section of the post to all of you T.dotters to please, please, tell me where I can get a good coffee!

P.S. If you tell me to go to Starbucks, Second Cup or any other chain that serves crap I’ll hunt you down and pour said establishments scolding muck in your lap ;)

Filed under Canadian Tales, Other, Rant having 3 Comments »

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All good things must come to an end

July 20th, 2008 by Raj

It has nothing to do with the entry

Just like a “Two-piece-feed” with a side of Popcorn Chicken and a Pepsi Max from KFC all good things must unfortunately come to an end; and for me my rather obtuse metaphor relates to my time over the last seven weeks of basically being a bum.

You see on Monday I will once again join the sheepish herd that is man-kind in their Monday to Friday work routine of early rising, nose to the grind stone, sleep and repeat. Really though I can’t complain, I’ve had an amazing time since leaving Australia. I’ve explored Toronto, ducked off to New York for a week, I’ve had fantastic fun albeit rather fuzzily remembered fun due to an array of alcoholic boissons (That’s French for beverages people, see I’ve been learning too!).

So what’s the job and more importantly why aren’t I working at the bookstore (Chapters) like I’d planned essentially continuing the life of freedom? Well you see, life doesn’t always go as planned, even for casual free-loaders like myself. In a nutshell if I was to take a part time job I’d be living in a dwarf’s shoebox that has newspaper for carpet and seven other people whom also claim certain vermin infested areas of said space. Having upgraded in quality of living I also needed to upgrade my employment expectations saying goodbye to my dreams of lattes & books to welcome the cold hard reality of my world of professional comfort, PHP programming.

It’s not that bad really, in fact I’m quite looking forward to the job to be honest. I’ll be working for a media agency called “ClimaxMedia” in a nice converted warehouse not far from where I live. An easy commute on the road bike I’m yet to purchase but I promise I’m definitely getting! Climax’s main office is in the next city over, Mississauga, and have just setup in Toronto so it’s an interesting time to come into the company.

Now with a new home, new job, new mobile phone on a ridiculous three year contract and new furniture I’ve really settled in and whilst there’s always cracks of home sickness that creep in from time to time I’m still really excited about what’s to come!

Filed under Canadian Tales having 4 Comments »

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I have a home… finally!!

June 27th, 2008 by Raj

Toronto

It’s taken three weeks, ten return bus rides between Toronto & Hamilton, twenty seven home visits, over 30 kilometres walked and one custom written web application to map Craigslist entries onto Google Maps but I have finally, FINALLY, found somewhere to live!

Canada unfortunately doesn’t have a great way of finding real estate options. There’s no realestate.com.au or Flate Mate Finder instead you have a whole heap of crappy websites relevant to a company that owns a couple of apartment buildings (sorry, “condos” as they say) or the basic listing style of Craigslist or Kijiji (some retarded Craigslist rip off that eBay recently bought).

From what I found, and what others told me Craigslist was by far the best in terms of number of listings so I went with that, trawling through page after page starting in the lower CAD$500 to begin with. Let’s just say that CAD$500/month isn’t exactly up to what I’d call “livable” conditions. I’m not being a snob here, I’m just saying that if I’m paying you for somewhere to live and you’re giving me a basement the size of a kitty litter box and I’m sharing the house with 6 other people I’d like to know what the other CAD$490 I’m giving you each month is actually for!

Quite obviously my search began to escalate on the fiscal scale and as each week passed and each day turned into another depressing venture I quickly broached my “live-in-Canada-and-not-work-much” limits entering “find-a-real-job-you-bitch”. Now looking at apartments over CAD$750/month I at least guaranteed I’d be living somewhere that had a laundry that didn’t require coins to operate and there’d be no more than 3 people in the house/apartment.

At the end of my tether and only a few days to go before the end of June (they only rent starting on the 1st or if you’re lucky the 15th of each month here) I pushed CAD$800 and looked at what are considered “upper class” condos in downtown Toronto. My last visit entailed trekking between four different options and quickly began liking what I saw, pools, gyms, party rooms on the rooftops of 30 story buildings, and nice new apartments with floors that your feet didn’t stick to as you walked through the kitchen. Unfortunately, the fact that I liked them meant that so did a million other people and I often found myself coming up against others in a war for the available space.

My charisma not being a particularly strong point, especially when I’m exhausted from walking in this freakish Canadian weather all day, was not going to help me. Luckily the 2nd to last place I looked at contained two delightful gents who seemed to be on the same wavelength as myself. One a graphic designer and computer science grad, the other a film grad, into their sport and a PS3 in the lounge. The clincher, once I was in, I offered to buy Metal Gear Solid 4 for all of us to play!

Thanks jebus that’s all over! Now it’s off to New York for a week of fun with Dansie, Jimmy & Aimes.

Filed under Canadian Tales having 7 Comments »

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I make an appearance on CommandN

June 24th, 2008 by Raj

So while most of you are under the impression that I haven’t been doing anything other than drinking and sleeping here in Toronto last week I popped into the office’s of MGImedia to catch up with Amber Mac and CommandN co-host Will Pate filming a new episode. Unbeknown to me I was to be dragged in at the end to tell a rather embarrassing story of one of my first days here in Toronto when I went shopping… you’ll see.

Filed under Canadian Tales having 3 Comments »

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Mother fraker it’s hot!

June 7th, 2008 by Raj

Now I’m hardly the type of guy to complain (stop laughing) so rather than relay my lovely, fun-filled plane ride half way around the world I thought I’d point out a little discovery I’ve made here only one day into my Canadian journey. It’s hot; it’s mother frakin’ hot; so fraking hot that I’m a tad worried that I might have gotten off in the wrong country or something?!

To all those people that constantly took pleasure in reminding me just how cold it was going to be here in Canada I say “You were wrong bitches!”. Now I take no pleasure in pointing out this fact, nor am I enjoying the fact that today Toronto bear fruits to it’s hottest June day in recorded history! Thank you global warming! Maybe that Al Gore guy is on to something after all?! Hmmmm…

It wasn’t that bad really (33 degrees with 47% humidity), I wore jeans after all, but that may have had something to do with the fact that I only bought one pair of shorts with me and when I pulled them out they kinda needed a wash. That in mind I waded through the steaming heats and went downtown to the Eaton Centre to buy a new pair of shorts only to come back with new shorts, a belt, a new jumper, a prepaid phone (it was cheaper to buy a $70 phone that came with $50 free credit than a SIM separately for $40 and $50 credit) and a bag of Doritos! Ahhhh what a day.

Well that’s all so far folks, I’ll leave you with this photo showing off the view from my quite lovely hotel room…

Filed under Canadian Tales, Rant having 2 Comments »

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