Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Traffic jam

Being stuck in traffic is one of the most frustrating experience in anyones day. The fact that you are wasting your time and are powerless to do anything about it can make one go crazy. A recent study done in the United States states that people waste about 72 hours a year in traffic. Wouldn't you love to have three days of your life back. Now, I thought traffic in Toronto was bad (it is one of the worst cities for traffic congestion in North America) but then saw the following pictures of traffic jams from around the world. For a complete listing, check out this link.

Sao Paula, Brazil


Moscow, Russia

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

got roti?

I went out to dinner with my family a few weeks ago at a Hakka restaurant. My family does not eat out often and when we eat at home, it is usually at different times. You would probably guess that there were many silent moments while we waited for our dinner to be served. During one of those silent moments, as my siblings played games on their cell phone, I noticed a women in front of us eating her meal with roti. I have never seen roti being served at a Hakka restaurant so I glanced over the menu again looking for the roti menu item, but did not find it.

I thought to myself ... 'this lady must have brought the roti herself'. My mom mentioned that this lady is probably a 'hardcore roti-er' and does not eat rice. I would consider myself the opposite, a 'hardcore chawal-er' or rice eater, but would never go the extreme of bringing my own rice, otherwise I would be a # 1 FOB. I can understand people bringing their own drinks, or spices to restaurants, but I cannot accept roti. I just came to the conclusion that such an event could only occur in Brampton. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Going green

This week the United Nations held a climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia. The goal of this conference is to bring together representatives from all countries and agree on a roadmap to fight climate change.

Climate change is a topic on everyone mind these days. It seems that the latest trend involves involves "being green" - environmentally friendly. Governments, corporations, individuals are all making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. So, I would also like to announce my effort that I am making to become more environmentally friendly.

A pet peeve of mine is the unnecessary printing at work. I notice people consistently printing emails, articles, and books, which could be easily read from their computer screen (don't even start me on the misuse of colour printing). Now, I tend to read a lot of tutorials on the Internet for configuring applications so it is convenient for me to print out the article and follow the instructions, but once I am done with it, I end up recycling the article.

I have decided to not print anything unless it is required for documentation. I have found that setting up another monitor (dual monitor) has made it easy for me to avoid printing articles.

The nice thing with a dual monitor is you can drag and drop applications between the monitors, basically you have increased the allowable space for your monitor by 2. If your interested in setting it up, you can follow the instructions here. Now, you may argue that another monitor requires extra energy, but I do shut it down when I leave work and as the picture above indicates, I am focusing right now on saving the trees :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I visited the dentist today to get my seventh tooth extracted. This tooth had not grown out all the way and had been causing pain for some time now. I have always had positive experiences and rarely felt any discomfort during any visits. Even the first six teeth that I had extracted were not that bad. In-fact, when I got my wisdom teeth out, I was given laughing gas, which would trigger laughter as I felt discomfort. I felt like Joker from Batman, laughing internally without making any noise ... lol.

Dentists have always been nice to me, reassuring me during painful moments, and keeping things positive during negative times. However, sometimes I feel dentists are too nice. I have never understood why dentists make conversations during a visit. I am a nice guy and don't want to be rude, so I express facial acknowledgment of discussions, obviously unable to make verbal confirmation.

During a visit a few months ago, the dentist told me her story of the issues she faced with her cell phone provider. It was an entertaining story, but I wonder if she felt odd talking without any feedback from the talkee, or perhaps, she needed to take her mind off looking at patients teeth. Hopefully, I did not eat gobee and roti before visiting :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Like most working folks, my morning routine involves the consumption of coffee. I was downtown for work last week near Yonge and Church street and as you can see from the picture, I had to make a choice between Starbucks and Tim Hortons. Both places were directly across from one another.

As I walked towards the intersection, I observed the people who had purchased coffee. People in suits or dressy office clothes had Starbucks coffee, while the casually dressed person had Tim Hortons. I concluded this observation with the following thoery: Starbucks is for the social elite and Tim Hortons is for the average worker.

As I finally arrived at the intersection, I made the decision to head towards Starbucks (the line was shorter and the workers are nicer too). Now, I am not even close to looking like a social elite, but if I ever want to become one, a good start would be to look and do the actions of one :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crazy about the Raptors

I have been a Toronto Raptors fan since the creation of the franchise, witnessing both highs and lows. From being one shot away from the Eastern conference finals, to my blogging strike and Vince Carter (enough said).

After last years surprise performance, the expectation for the Raptors are high this year. It seems that the casual fan is becoming a hardcore fan. I have already been to two games this year (Raptors are undefeated this year when I attend a game) and the atmosphere is awesome. All my friends are talking about the Raptors and wanting to attend games this year. The actual game and the events around the game are entertaining to see live in-person. The music, contests between the breaks, and free give-aways keep fans enthusiastic throughout the game. For me, the most entertaining part away from the game is "The Raptor" mascot. His stunts and personality are amusing to all fans. He was voted best mascot last year.

Just like Toronto, the Raptors are an international team, featuring players from Argentina, Spain, Italy, and Slovenia. Fans from all parts of the world in Toronto are embracing the team. Toronto will always be a hockey city, but this basketball team is probably more likely to win a championship before the Leafs.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Are you loonie?

One of the biggest stories this year in Canada has been the rise of the Canadian dollar. It is currently trading at $1.06 US. No one would have thought this would be possible when the dollar was trading at above sixty cents US five years ago. The rise in the price of oil (almost $94.45 US a barrel) and strong commodities has helped pushed the loonie above par against the American greenback. However, the biggest reason of this surge is due to the weakness in the US dollar, which has been caused by a slumping housing market.

In recent months, there has been a public outcry from consumers over the lack of adjustment in retail prices in Canada. Many consumers are spending their money across the border in Buffalo, where wait times are about two hours. Financial advisor's are advising people to exchange their money before they cross the border to avoid the "American exchange rate, i.e. one-for-one. You will also find out that when you exchange money at the bank, they will charge you a 2.5% service charge, so you will never get the current rate.

A high loonie is bad news for some people, such as those who are in the manufacturing sector, which is an export-drive business. Importers now found the price of goods in Canada are more expensive and will look at other places to import similar goods. A recent article in the Toronto Star talked about the effect of salaries on European basketball players who are paid in US dollars. The Toronto Raptors center, Rasho Nesterovic signed an 8 million dollar per year contract which was paid in US dollars two years ago. He spends his off-season in Europe, so he converts that money into Euros. That same contract is now worth 1.5 million dollars less after the exchange rate.

The majority of Canadians feel a sense of pride over the rise of the loonie. When Canadians visited the US previously, Americans always felt that their currency was superior to the Canadian dollar. Now, the tables have turned, and it is not clear how long it will lost. However, I will not stay silent and will let our neighbors to the south know the value of their dollar :)