Echinacea, Apsirin and Pho

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I hate this feeling. Like I’m here, but I’m not. Like someone cares. But they don’t. Like I belong somewhere else, anywhere but here, and escape lies just past that snowy window, cool and crisp as the February air.

Status: good. woke up this morning feeling better than I thought I would. Let me explain: I like pho, but apparently something in pho doesn’t like me. Had a big bowl on Wednesday evening, and while eating it I thought, “maybe this isn’t such a good idea”, but I did it anyway. You know, because I’m awesome like that. As the day wore on yesterday, my face became really flushed and I could feel inflammation inside of me, not to mention that I felt like I was coming down with something. As all of this was piling on I’m thinking to myself, I’d really like to get through these next few weeks without any downtime from being sick (so why’d you eat the pho, bro?).  In any case, I took some echinacea and some aspirin followed by a good night’s sleep and woke up this morning feeling no worse for wear. Crisis averted.

Dates.

Tentative plans to hang out with The Tardy Girl on Saturday night (I’ll have to come up with a better descriptor because I’d prefer not to use real names). She doesn’t drink, so it’ll be a dry date, but I’m okay with that. I’d like to cut back in any case. Sunday will see the return of The Blonde Girl (ditto above), who I’m convinced is a party girl on top of everything else which is presentable and practical about her. Her original request was to hang out late on Friday night, but I just don’t want to fuck up my weekend with a hangover on Saturday. I hope you understand. Less enthused about this meeting, but let’s see how this goes.

Career.

With a great amount of hesitation, I pulled the trigger on interim living accommodations for when I first arrive on the island. Let the self-loathing begin. It’s a stupid amount of money which is tempered slightly by offsetting income I wouldn’t have earned otherwise by moving straight into my place. I had some cheaper options on the table, but felt that they were too far afield and frankly too much of a downgrade. I also opted not to take my cousin up on his offer because of the length of time I’d be staying at his place. A few weeks is fine, but I just felt like 2 months was tearing the ass out of it a little bit. I’m convinced that I’d end up overstaying my welcome, and I’d like to maintain the integrity of that relationship if I can. Besides, I haven’t cohabitated with anyone in, oh, 30 years and am not really keen on losing some personal space, even if only temporary.

Anyway, it’s done. I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this decision for weeks to come.

Photography.

Working my way through the next set of photos from my weekend outing, and suddenly realising that it’s all about the photography right now. To the detriment of my writing. That’s okay because I’d like to dispose of the equipment before I leave and I need a little lead time for that.

Posted to IG for the first time in a while this morning. Not overly impressed with the above photo, but thought it fell into the category of “good enough”. I have better ones to share from the weekend outings, and I haven’t even touched the photos I took on Wednesday. So, I have lots to work on. On top of that it’s such a beautiful warm day that I’m going to head out this afternoon and take more photos in Chinatown and Kensington.

Writing.

Right now I’m listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast where he interviews Neil Gaiman, and there are two things that immediately jump out at me. The two of them in particular, and Stephen King touched on this as well, have found places to write which are outside of their homes, so they can have that separation between home and work life. Tim described it as a malaise, and I suppose that’s true. For me, it may be some of what fuels my lethargy at times. So, that’s the first thing.

The second is the word count produced by Neil Gaiman. While he didn’t provide an exact daily word count, his process seemed much different than Stephen King’s, and the time he takes to work through the process is much longer. On that note, John Green was very similar to Neil, although he specifically called out his word count which was 2k per month.

That gave me a bit of comfort. I don’t feel so far out of left field now. There is room for improvement, of course, but at least it sounds like I’m on the right track.

Ok, I’m going to end it here and go and take some photos….

 

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Riding the Wave

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Status: excellent. riding a wave of, uh, what is the oppostite of lethargy? A quick Google search reveals that it is vigor or energy. How about energy and interest? Yes, riding a wave of energy and interest. Fully aware that time is growing short and that I’m doing the usual: scurrying around trying to get everything done on my list at the last minute before I leave. That said, I do have enough time to get it all done, so……

Photography.

Finished processing all of the photos from Comicon and started on the newer sets which I took last weekend. Should be able to bang them out quite quickly because there are fewer good ones.

Beautiful day yesterday which was accompanied by warmer weather, so last night I decided to head down to Chinatown and Kensington Market to take photos. Realised that even though it is warmer, an hour or so in 3c temperatures is still a bit of a challenge. I’m not going to buy warmer equipment, because it’s a bit late in the day for that. I’ll just tough it out, but for future reference I’ll need to invest in the proper attire relevant to the shooting location. If I’m going to be outside for any length of time, then I need to be comfortable otherwise the process just becomes too uncomfortable and I won’t stick with it.

Totally forgot that most restaurants are cash-only in that neck of the woods, and of course I rarely carry any cash with me. Stopped into Pho Hung for some pho – they were super busy relative to the other places nearby, so took that as a good sign. The food was good, atmosphere as expected. I mean 10 bucks for a large bowl of pho means I’m not expecting it to set the world on fire, but it was good solid fragrant yumminess. Unfortunately, the evening soured a little when it was to pay the bill. No cash on me meant that I had leave the camera at the restaurant and travel all the way home to get some cash and then travel all the way back. Not impressed, but the good news is it had darkened by the time I had returned, so it was a good opportunity to take a few night photos of Chinatown, which was on my shot list, so box ticked. There was a silver lining after all.

Date.

The blonde girl reached out to me yesterday suggesting we make plans on Friday. I haven’t responded, and that speaks volumes about my interest in getting together with her. Despite the fact that it’s really late on Friday, and I don’t want to mess up my Saturday with a late, potentially boozy night, I think I’d rather hang out with the tardy woman who talked me off the ledge. Will mull it over some more, but I should respond to her text shortly. It’s rude to leave her hanging like that.

Writing.

This afternoon. I promise.

 

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Jacobs & Co Steakhouse – Toronto – March 23, 2019

Jacobs & Co Steakhouse blends the timeless steakhouse experience with the sleek modernity of a new generation. The elegant piano bar is a nod to the past, while streamlined yet comfortable décor ensures the experience of every guest is warm and modern. Executive Chef Danny McCallum sources select cuts from the best ranches throughout North America, Australia and Japan, adapting the menu each evening to ensure each guest’s culinary experience reflects the standards that Jacobs is renowned for. A key feature of the dining room is the Dry Aging Room, where each cut is finished to its most perfect state. Guests delve into the fascinating world of steak, selecting their cut by region, age and ranch. Meals are complete with classic choices such as Caesar salads prepared tableside, a raw bar of oysters and chilled seafood, and unpretentious and knowledgeable hospitality. It is no wonder the restaurant is one of Zagat’s top rated in Toronto. Dining at Jacobs & Co never goes out of style.

Address: 12 Brant Street Toronto, ON M5V 2M1
Website: https://jacobssteakhouse.com/

Menu:
1. Parusso 2014, DOCG Barolo
2. Canadian Prime Angus-P.E.I. – 8oz Tenderloin
3. Mushrooms – sauteed mixed varieties
4. Duck Fat French Fried Potatoes –  tarragon

Follow Me:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/A_G_Ferguson
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrew_g_fe…
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/franklag19101967

 

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Wednesday: Feeling Human Again

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Status: it’s Wednesday, so I’m feeling human today. finally. Sharp, well rested, productive. I actually meditated this morning, which I haven’t done since Saturday. Need to get into the habit of practicing self-compassion and forgiving myself when I don’t meet expectations. Rather than use it as an opportunity to spiral down into self-flagellation and self-loathing; it’s best to use it as an opportunity for fresh start. Forgive, reset and then try again.

Photography.

Hit the ground running this morning. Almost finished processing the photos from Comicon, and I actually have some really good ones which are fit for sharing. I’ve also found the right workflow/process and settings for these kinds of photos, and it brings out a lot of the detail, colour and depth. They look really good. Finally feel like I’m getting the hang of Lightroom and am truly understanding the function of each setting. Need to do some more work with the Tone Curve, but that will come with time and practice. The good news is that I’m lightyears ahead of where I was when I first started using that software.

Career.

Need to finalise living accommodations for the first two months I’m on the island. My cousin has offered to let me stay with him, but honestly I’m not really keen on doing that. If it was for a short stay of a few days or weeks, I’d accept the offer, but it’s for 2 months, which I think is a bit excessive. Kinda feel like I’m heavily imposing on them for that length of time. The alternative is to rent a place for the punishing amount of $10k, which is double what I’m paying right now. To be fair, when everything is said and done the net amount is actually $3.8k, but still, I’m a bit reluctant to pull the trigger on that place.

In any case, best to make a decision now and settle the matter, rather than leave it to the last minute and limit my options.

Date.

The coffee date yesterday with the woman from our attempted Saturday meeting was surprisingly good. She’s very attractive. Profusely apologetic for the previous faux pas. Submissive and insecure. Self worth seems quite low. Smart and articulate. Engaging comversationalist. A little lost, but has deferred to pragmatic choices and pursuits rather than using it as an excuse to drift. I can relate to that. Still really impressed that she was able to talk me down from the ledge after being so late for our first meeting. I rarely give second chances or change my mind once it is made up, but she did it. The coffee date segued into dinner and we spent a few enjoyable hours together chatting. Will definately see her again.

Writing.

Heh. What writing. I don’t really see these blog/journal posts as real writing, despite the fact that I’m getting about 2.5k words per week doing it. Which is actually pretty good. Per what I’ve written above, I think I’m going to follow my own advice: forgive, reset and try again. Lower expectations and work on the zero draft……

 

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Toronto Comicon 2019 – Legendary Comics Writer and Editor Denny O’Neil

Toronto Comicon as presented by FAN EXPO Canada has now grown to become a spectacular 3 day event!

Located in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the show will be boasting unique exhibitors, presentations, workshops, and many celebrity guests.

Toronto Comicon is owned by FAN EXPO HQ, one of the largest entertainment convention groups in North America. Collectively it hosts over 500,000 fans annually at FAN EXPO Canada, FAN EXPO Dallas, Calgary Expo, FAN EXPO Regina, MEGACON Orlando, FAN EXPO Boston, Edmonton Expo, MEGACON Tampa Bay, Dallas Fan Days, Toronto Comicon, and FAN EXPO Vancouver.

Comic fans you don’t want to miss this! Denny O’Neil is stepping into the spotlight. This comic book writer and editor worked principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics from the 1960s through the 1990s, and was Group Editor for the Batman family of titles until his retirement. His best-known works include Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman with Neal Adams, The Shadow with Michael Kaluta and The Question with Denys Cowan. As an editor, he is principally known for editing the various Batman titles.

Toronto Comicon: https://www.comicontoronto.com/

Follow Me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/A_G_Ferguson
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrew_g_ferguson/
Website: https://andrew-g-ferguson.com/

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Poor Start

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Status: overslept this morning. this after a poor day yesterday which saw me do sweet-fuck-all. Actually, not completely, but I didn’t prioritise the things I wanted to work on and just focused on the admin stuff because it’s easy to the tick the boxes and feel like I’m accomplishing something. I didn’t really feel all that bad yesterday; a bit groggy, but lethargic, which seems to be par for the course.

And here’s the real crux of the issue. I keep on doing the same thing over and over again, and then when I fail to meet expectations I beat myself up over it. I don’t think this is really productive behaviour, so going forward I’m going to shift expectations for Monday during the few weeks I have left as a free man and shift some of the creative work to Saturday, which I’m doing anyway. Let’s see if that works.

Writing.

A quick proofread of the Aquaman review this morning and minor tweaking and off it goes into the world. I haven’t decided if I’ll post it to other review sites.

After that, not much writing happening. I didn’t even create a blog post yesterday. See above. I’ll remedy that starting today and the rest of the week. I have a limited training schedule this week, so ostensibly have a little extra time to devote to this.

Photography.

Had a good weekend for photography. Tried something new on Saturday night; run-and-gun. I just cleared my mind and had fun with shooting anything that looked interesting while letting go of expectations. I also found that using the LCD on the back of the camera made it easier for me to frame and compose my shots; I could actually see what they’d look like before (or while) shooting. Briefly reviewed the shots yesterday and I think I have a few good ones. Will do some more of that.

Dates.

Had two coffee dates this weekend; and with that I’m going to take a break from the dating app for awhile. First date on Saturday was 26 minutes late. How do I know that? She told me. I actually waited for 15mins and then left thinking that I’d been stood up (again). She contacted me 3 hours later (I mean, seriously, three hours? I gave you my cell number, so you could have contacted me sooner, but whatever.) and apologised. I let it sit, not really wanting to hear it, but responded kindly and then the conversation picked up from there. Full marks to her for the way she approached the apology. It’s pretty difficult for someone to change my mind and I rarely give second chances, especially after they’ve been cavalier with my time (which I take as a lack of respect for me), but she did it. Good job to you, young lady, we’ll try again this afternoon. At 6pm, to be exact.

The second date on Sunday was in stark contrast to that one, arriving 30 minutes early! Good for her. Really attractive with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Not really my type as I prefer the darker features, but the conversation was easy and we got along well together. The parental issues are apparent; she spent quite a bit of time complaining about her emotionally unavailable mother with no mention of her father. She’s quick to apologise for things which don’t warrant one and I can feel her pressing for acceptance from me. Given her background that’s not surprising. She’s also a very smart high agency individual who doesn’t seem to take ‘No’ for an answer. Bit of a mystery to me why she would want to work for one of these McFinance houses when she clearly has what it takes to be an entrepreneur and work for herself, but I’m sure she has her reason. We’ll definitely get together again.

 

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Aquaman (2018) – Movie Review

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I’ve been big fan of Aquaman ever since I started reading about his adventures in DC Comics (hah, Adventure Comics) when I was a very young kid. I grew up on an island where the ocean was the centre of my universe, its all I knew, so reading stories about heroes fighting crime in these large concrete jungles in parts of the world I’d never visited was completely alien to me. You’re basically telling me tales of people living on the moon, and I couldn’t relate to that. But, heroes that fought crime in the ocean? That was literally my backyard and something that my young mind could wrap its head around.

The other part of the story that resonated with me was Arthur’s bi-racial and bi-cultural background. He had a foot in both worlds, but was treated like an outsider by each one. That was also a feature of my childhood, growing up as a minority on an island without much of a tie to the culture of the majority.

So, Aquaman was my guy.

The thing that impressed me the most about the film was the ambitiousness of the filmmakers. They didn’t hold back at all when making this movie. Given the underperformance and tepid reception of the DCU films to date (with the exception of Wonder Woman), it’s reasonable to expect that the studio would have scaled back the production budget and made a smaller film to reduce their risk and ensure that it turned a profit. But, they didn’t. They fully committed to the project and it shows; this is a very expensive looking movie.

The other thing that impressed me was how closely the film sticks to the source material. Based upon the rebooted DC Comics New 52 series from the creative team of Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Paul Pelletier, they changed very little from the book. Inculcating Jason’s Hawaiian heritage into the role of Arthur Curry and changing the sequence of events around Atlanna’s time spent on the surface world with Tom Curry (which is cleaner and works better than the comic book) are the only deviations, the rest is exactly like the source material.

In this day and age where they’re trying to generate broad appeal amongst an audience that has a casual relationship with the character and his world, that’s no small feat.

The filmmakers also give us the viewing audience an extensive look at Aquaman’s universe, taking us from his birthplace in Amnesty Bay to Atlantis and then on to all (or most) of the remaining undersea kingdoms all while introducing us to the main characters from those places. This could have easily caused the film to feel overstuffed, but it doesn’t. It really felt like world building, which is something that Marvel has done very well with the MCU, and that allows them to tell stories beyond the typical origin stories going forward. I think this is really important for the ongoing viability of the character because not a lot of people are familiar with him and his universe.

All that said, it is a bit of a silly movie, but in a good way. At no point during the film did I find it hard to suspend my disbelief. It wasn’t trying to be anything other than what it is; a big, bombastic summer blockbuster tentpole movie. You’re not going to find Shakespeare here, but you will find a superhero fantasy film with a little Greek mythology, Lord of The Rings, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and a smattering of horror elements. It blends together seamlessly and creates something unique amongst the superhero genre, not to mention unique amongst the typical origin story we’ve seen many times.

The bottom line is that this movie is fun and engaging, visually stunning with great action sequences supported by a compelling enough story without leaning too heavily on comic book tropes, all while staying very faithful to the source material.

This is for me the best DCU movie to date and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next installment with James Wan at the helm.

 

5 out of 5 stars

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