Archive for April, 2011


Posted: April 30, 2011 in Miscellaneous, Uncategorized

Sorry no chance to do a proper blog today folks. Been a busy past couple of days with the UFC in Toronto. Yesterday was an eventful day with the MMA Expo and today I’m sitting at the live event, blogging this quickie in-between fights. Hope everyone is having a weekend as good as mine! See you soon.


Hi, my name is Oscar.  And I’m an addict.

My drug of choice is a wonderful little device known as a Blackberry.  Or a “Crackberry”, which is the more appropriate term for the case of this addict.  If you’re a proud owner of a Blackberry as well, you may very well know exactly what I’m talking about.  Oh yes, you know damn well what I’m talking about!

Let me just say that I used to frown at the idea of these so-called smartphones; maybe I’m old fashioned but I was one to say that a cell-phone is just that…a phone!  Why on earth would I need a fancy gadget with all these useless tools, when all I really want to do is just make a phone call?!  Besides, I’m not in the mood to read the in-depth novel that is the instruction manual.  Who wants a steep learning curve when all I really need to do is punch in a few numbers…a simple phone will do just fine.  And screw text messaging!  Boy, was I wrong.

I was introduced to Veronica, my “Blackberry Torch” (yes, I named it…don’t you judge me), in December of last year and we’ve been an inseparable item ever since.  My jealous girlfriend will attest to that fact (ironic because it was a gift from her); she seems to think I neglect her and spend more time on the phone than I do with her.  Silly, right?  Ok, so maybe she isn’t so wrong, but it’s just so pretty, shiny, sleek and sexy…and did I say pretty? 

All joking aside (for now), even though I’m not a techy-nerd, this apparatus is extremely useful!  In an attempt to justify my enamor and infatuation, I’ve highlighted some great reasons for my endless praises:

  1. An organized existence: Need to make and appointment?  Don’t have a calendar handy?  How about alerts to remind you of those pending engagements, meetings or important days?  Well, with a few clicks of your phone, you can do that all and you will never forget your girlfriend’s birthday or anniversary again!  That comes in handy, trust me.
  2. Stay in the social loop/What’s APPening?: If you’re a Facebook and Twitter addict, just download the applications and keep in touch with your circle of friends 24/7.  I happen to love the WordPress application, which allows me to blog directly from the device.
  3. You have mail: Don’t have a computer handy?  No problem!  A Blackberry pushes all your emails thru and notifies you in real-time when you receive new messages – and those annoying forwards.  Sending e-mails is just as easy.
  4. Let’s chit chat: No longer is text messaging the hottest trend.  With a Blackberry, you are part of an elite and exclusive club that comes with its own chatting platform known as Blackberry Messenger, or BBM.  Maybe this one is not that important, but it’s pretty cool to have a phone that comes with a unique identification number and barcode utilized for adding other Blackberry users to your BBM.  Exclusivity is the appeal here folks!
  5. Type away: The “QWERTY” keyboard is a personal preference for anyone that is a Blackberry lover.  I’ve tried phones that are strictly touch keyboard and I find that typos are abundant (and I don’t even have fat fingers).  There is something great about feeling those physical keys and pushing down on them to type out messages.  There is a slight learning curve, but I can type almost as fast as I do on a regular keyboard now.
  6. Real men don’t ask for directions: The Blackberry comes with a very useful built-in map that can get you out of any dead-end!  Who needs to ask for directions or resort to Mapquest when you have a personal GPS right in your phone?  I’m particularly fond of this one because my sense of direction is worse than that of a blind person in the middle of the Sahara.
  7. Say cheese: I used to think that camera phones were over-rated.  Until I realized that most people don’t walk around with their digital cameras; cell-phones on the other hand, are almost always on your person.  I will never miss a spontaneous “Kodak moment” again thanks to my trusty Blackberry!

So there you have it!  It’s not only a material possession; it really does have its useful perks. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to her.  I’m getting withdrawals…

I’ve just discovered this wonderful, quaint, charming village called Giethoorn – known as the Venice of Holland.  Practically all transport, with the exception of a bike trail, is done by water throughout one of its many canals.  Seeing the beautiful pictures is enough to convince me that this is a must see place before I die so I had to share.  Has anyone been?  If so, tell me about it!

Idolizing Stars

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Rants
Tags: , , ,

Despite the typical North American’s frenzied schedule, a majority of us always seem to find time to gaze at the stars.  Sadly, I’m not talking about our solar system.  We’ve become a society –for as long as I can remember– obsessed and invested in the lives of people that have no significance to us – celebrities.

The media –the culprit behind it all– is known for sensationalizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous, as well as the pitfalls of stardom.  The latter usually being more “news-worthy”, for no reasons other than the pure fascination of watching someone crash and crumble.

Really, why do we find ourselves caring so much about what’s happening in the tabloids?  Being guilty of it myself at one point or another, it truly does intrigue me.  Do we, the archetypal working class, use it as some form of pleasurable escape from our chaotic daily affairs?  Perhaps living vicariously with notions of a lavish and prodigal existence thanks to these seemingly larger than life individuals?  Are we just naturally hard-wired to admire, adore and ultimately worship?  Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe we enjoy seeing them humanized in the gossip magazines and entertainment shows? 

I’m sure countless reasons can be argued, but I believe the constant interest in celebrity figures is an unhealthy fixation. 

It is even harder to deviate from the circus when the media does an exemplary job at spreading it to the masses and distracting from the real issues (I sound like a conspiracy theorist now).  I find myself being up-to-date and almost always informed of the celebrity mania, even if I don’t intend to.  I hear it on the radio when I’m out for a drive; I see it on the news when trying to keep up with current events around the world; similarly, I read it in the newspaper, even though I’m only looking for information on the latest elections in Canada.  It’s EVERYWHERE!

In recent “news”, the downward spiral of Charlie Sheen has ironically raised his popularity and exposure.  So much that he has gone on tour and sold out shows – as if he has anything worthwhile to say.  He really doesn’t, but people are eating it up!  I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard the word “winning” –a term popularized and coined by the troubled star himself—by my peers.  Sorry Mr. Sheen, but I fail to see how losing your job, struggling with drug addictions, and fighting for custody of your children exemplifies any form of “winning”. 

What is more troubling is the fact that children –although I don’t have any myself— wrongfully look up to many of these stars.  Sure, there are some celebrities that represent a wholesome persona and have a positive attitude that might make them suitable role models, but in a time where even Disney channel personalities are getting caught in scandals, examples are scarce.  Prime parenting is a must, especially at such a young age when they are easily influenced by everything. 

Of course one can look at a celeb and see a great success story; someone who grew up with hardships, but never gave up on their dreams and ultimately made it with their drive and talent.  It sounds fantastic and works well for an aspiring individual.  But why the media focus on instilling worship for famous people, who are grossly overpaid, when real heroes –that don’t get enough recognition– can be found in our own backyard?   Teachers, firefighters, policemen and scientists are great, realistic examples of this.  It’s just a shame that the current generation –and future generations to come— know more about Lady Gaga and the cast of Jersey Shore, instead of Einstein, Newton and Galileo.  Youngsters and adults alike (yes, even grown-ups) nowadays can’t tell you about legitimate news and real global issues that can have some effect on them, but they can tell you Kobe Bryant’s shoe size and which celebrity just got caught cheating.  There is just something fundamentally wrong about all of it  

Look, I’m not pretending to come off as some uptight, pretentious snob that doesn’t enjoy the various forms of entertainment out there.  Of course I do!  I love to watch good movies, exceptional dramas on television, sports when I can, and enjoy music from some of my favourite artists.  I even “follow” a couple celebs on Twitter, although I’m not really sure why (told you I was guilty of it as well).  I guess celebrity gossip is the equivalent of junk food; it tastes good from time to time, but ultimately it just isn’t healthy for you.  You can definitely enjoy it moderately, but one needs to stay away from the overblown hype and stick to the real world – and I don’t mean the MTV show.

Unrelated note: I’ve been busy and haven’t had a chance to blog in almost a week.  I apologize if my first post back is somewhat of a downer rant, but this topic was heavy on my mind and I needed to let some of it loose.  Thanks for stopping by!

Study Mode

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Images, Miscellaneous

The past few days have been a bit on the hectic side; my girlfriend and I both, have upcoming exams and tests.  Mine being work related and hers pertaining to school.

Needless to say, the brains are about ready to explode with heaps of accumulated information.  There is only so much room in there to store it all before we go into overload!

I guess this is nothing more than a quick, explanatory post on why I’ve had very limited time to dedicate for the blog this week.  Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself assuming that anyone actually misses my posts, but just in case in you were wondering…  🙂

See you soon!

Future nurse learning about acute diseases...not fun!

Getting my snobby geek-on with my gf's glasses!

I’ve been thru my share of relationships.  Most of which have finished by me being at the receiving end of a nonsensical excuse for a break-up.  The kind that makes any sort of reasoning, an internal mental struggle that can drive you mad – madness released only by painful acid disguised in the form of tears.

But I promise, I’m not as bitter as I sound; in hindsight, those broken relationships ended for one reason or another –no matter what those reasons were—and it was all for the best.  I’m at a different, happier place in my life now and any attempts at finding cause for past failed romances are useless and irrelevant. 

But what happens when people refuse to close the chapter?  Refuse to close one door and open another one, as they say.  This occurs frequently and makes for a miserable existence on the part of the jilted lover – and sometimes, the heartbreaker.  While I have never placed myself in that position (I let sanity prevail), I can certainly empathize with those that feel distraught over a break-up.  Being dumped, unexpectedly especially, is a difficult pill to swallow; so difficult in fact, that many can’t swallow at all, and are left with the bitter taste in their mouth — or they ultimately end up choking on it. 

My break-ups are handled in a cliché fashion: take it as a learning experience and move on…that works best for me.  Yes, I can understand it’s advice that fits the “easier said than done” idiom category.  What I can’t understand is how some broken up lovers come to a mutual agreement that pursuing an amicable friendship is a healthy form of “moving on”.  I realize that couples turned pals, are possible, and don’t always turn into an affair of scorned ex boyfriends or girlfriends unleashing venomous words guided by hurt egos and pride; the nature of the break-up along with many other things can be taken into consideration when examining these successful alliances. 

But I’m speaking from a personal point of view.  I just can’t fathom being friends with someone who was so much more at one point – I have enough friends as it is anyway.  If you don’t share children, a mortgage or anything else that binds the two of you, say your goodbyes and don’t look back.  Avoid complications, drama and further heartache.  Erase them from your facebook, delete their numbers and toss the photographs, but that’s just me I guess. 

The whole “let’s just be friends” concept post-love, is nothing but awkward when I think about it.  The fact is, the relationship has failed on ALL fronts.  A relationship that consisted of romance AND friendship – you can be friends without romance (until you cross that line), but romance doesn’t exclude friendship.  What makes someone feel that friendship, after parting ways romantically is going to be sunshine and daisies, when you’ve already had your chance at both? 

I find that people who long for the friendship-ever-after, usually have ulterior motives and let’s face it, if the break-up wasn’t mutual, feelings linger for one or both parties. 

Common reasons for wanting to have a platonic relationship with your ex, despite still having feelings for them are:

1. Refusing to let go of the past-Yah, you have great memories and a history, but that’s the key word.  It’s history.

2. Monitoring an ex’s activities and whereabouts-Stop it!  This is unhealthy and borderline stalker behavior.

3. A false sense and usually misguided hope of “starting over” and getting back together-You’re never going to be happy as long as you have this mentality and live in the comfortable confines of a blissful daydream.

None of the abovementioned will benefit the broken-hearted.  If you find that you’re on that boat, do yourself a favour and disconnect yourself from the person that has said their goodbyes already.  Don’t miss out on a better opportunity at love because you’re giving VIP status to someone who doesn’t deserve your heart.

Book Quote

Posted: April 16, 2011 in Quotes
Tags: , , ,

Diane Setterfield

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”

-Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

What strange and unique tales Gabriel Garcia Marquez has woven together in “One Hundred Years Of Solitude”.  It tells the story of the Buendia family and chronicles their lives (and deaths) in the mythical town of Macondo.

I must admit that apprehension took over before I decided to dive into this book, only because I am aware of its “classic” status in literature –- there is a greater sense of pressure to like it, you see.  Regardless of my hesitation, I unleashed the pages, welcomed them with open arms and found myself –early on– enjoying the story.  Ah yes, it was going to live up to expectations! I was convinced that a well-deserved 5 star rating –-and nothing less– was going to be my final verdict.

Fast forward 175 pages or so from what was a marvelous beginning –-disappointment started to rear its ugly head on this Nobel Prize recipient. Before you decide to crucify the reviewer however, read on and let me explain.  After all, I’ve still given it a favorable review.

As I already mentioned, the beginning of the story was absolutely engaging. Gypsies, oddities, magic, a mystical town and ghosts of times past, set the stage for what I was hoping would be a memorable read.  Marquez’s words are so exquisite, vivid and beaming with imaginative descriptions that I was left in awe.  The writing really is a thing of beauty; it must have been a task for Gregory Rabassa, who is responsible for the Spanish to English translation. 

It is no secret that Marquez thrived on the “magic realism” technique and executes it flawlessly in this book.  In fact, many credit him for introducing a wide audience to this form of writing, although he was not the first to use it.

My criticisms however –and I have a few– are not with the words on the page, but rather with the style he chooses to convey them.  I do apologize in advance to the literary elites, who love this book, for what I am about to say, but the style is simply preposterous.  The story consists of very little dialogue between characters, which bothered me slightly, considering he introduces us to many different generations of the Buendia family and a bunch of other players with important roles to fulfill.  Some of those never-ending, dialogue-less paragraphs stretched more than a couple of pages long (unheard of) –and whatever happened to avoiding run-on sentences?  Try –reading aloud– the sentence that begins on page 323 and ends of page 325! What a chore, huh?  Here I thought I was reading a book, but I also found myself exercising breath control skills when vocalizing those sentences; I might as well be doing Yoga.

The lack of engaging the characters in conversation made me feel disconnected and indifferent towards them –-with the exception of Ursula, who was the rock of the family, even on her last days when she was surrounded by the blackness.  The truth is that Marquez has created tormented individuals that are not very likeable at all.  Having some of them venture into the taboo territory of incest and pedophilia may also contribute in disturbing and turning readers away.  In addition, some may find the story a little difficult to keep up with due to many of the characters having the same name or a derivative of it.  I imagine the family tree at the beginning of this book (tactfully placed there) will be visited often by unsuspecting readers; reverting a couple of pages for a friendly reminder might be the norm when trying to distinguish one Buendia from the next.

Although there is no real plot, the imaginative stories within the book keep the reader interested as we move along, but it gets fairly repetitive (about as fun as listening to a broken record) and redundant in feel.  You will find parts that are engrossing and exciting to read while others are so dull that they can cure insomnia; very somber in mood, but you can expect to be somewhat depressed with a title like “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, right?

I am accustomed to reading books in no more than a few sittings.  I fly by them with the speed of a jet, but this particular book was laborious to get through.  I found myself putting it down far too many times simply because the aforementioned style kept on feeding me long paragraphs that needed to be read carefully and absorbed thoroughly; thus making it a not so enjoyable read at times (and no, I don’t have a short attention span). 

I am in tune with the fact that the majority of my complaints are just a matter of taste; the repetition of names, lack of dialogue, extended paragraphs and “stream of consciousness” technique are all deliberately crafted that way by Marquez as an “effective” method of telling his story and symbolic meanings, but not everyone will enjoy it.  The saving grace for this book and what helped me through it was the beautiful words Marquez uses to bring it to life. If you aspire to be a great writer or if you simply want to be enchanted by an artistic view of writing, visiting his work is a must.

Yes, I realize it is a personal classic to many (almost everyone), and the accolades for it are abundant, but not for me – I am perfectly content with being in the minority and calling it merely, a “good” book.

3 out of 5