New Thing #145: Mac OS X Lion



Some might say that I’m an Apple Fanboy, and for the most part, they’re probably right.

Sure, I surround myself with Apple products and try to convince people to come over to the other side whenever I can. But I also admit when I don’t like something they’ve done. That’s why the new Lion operating system is a really weird one for me to talk about.

On one hand there seem to be a ton of little improvements that I think will make my life easier when I’m working, on the other hand there’s features that I just don’t get.

What I do like is that, for $30 and a quick install, my old MacBook Pro feels snappier than it has in years. I might actually use Spaces now that they’re essentially married to Expose and some of the new Finder views make it much more powerful that it used to be. It might actually be worth the $30 just to get the new Mail app. It’s instantly the best email client I’ve used. Sorry Sparrow.

But then there’s Launchpad, which is essentially an iPad view for your apps which just feels, well, stupid. I already have all the apps I use in my dock and I usually launch them a keyboard shortcuts anyway.

I’m going to give this new method of backwards scrolling a week or two to see if I can get used to it, but I don’t quite get what was wrong with the old way to begin with. Scratch that, I’ll give it another day, it’s already driving me nuts.

Full screen apps seem like a great idea, but it’s funny that we’ve come full circle back to my Amiga multi-tasking days. My Magic Mouse now seams to serve a purpose as a few handy gestures have been built into the OS, so that’s a bonus.

All told, it seems pretty good, but nothing here is blowing me out of the water yet. 

UPDATE: I’ve just switch scrolling back to normal.


New Thing #144: Ritz Carlton Toronto Bar



My colleague and good friend Shelly is moving to South Africa and she had her going away party at the Ritz Carlton. 

The bar is pretty cool, although as expected pricey. Ok, very pricey.

If I weren’t watching my wallet it might just be the go-to patio in the city. It’s away from the street and there was a lovely breeze flowing during this heat wave. Also, it has an amazing view of the CN Tower.

I just wish it weren’t so damned expensive for a beer!

New Thing #143: Catherine Demo


Tonight I thought I’d try out the demo for Catherine, a Japanese puzzle/platformer/dating sim…I think. It’s hard to tell.

What isn’t hard to tell is that nobody does crazy better than the Japanese.

As I struggled through just the first two levels on Easy I witnessed a man in his underwear with rams horns trying to outrun giant disembodies hand that were trying to stick him with a fork. Oh, and later on it looks like a killer baby tries to eat you. And you can text message your girlfriend. Did I mention it’s Japanese?

Crazy tough gameplay and an absolutely weird animé inspired storyline…I might actually need to pick this one up.

New Thing #142: Blueberry Buck Cocktail



I must once again thank my friend Steve for turning me onto another lovely cocktail. This time the Blueberry Buck, perfect for the fresh blueberries that Shauna brings home from the farmer’s market this time of year.

I would have sampled it sooner had I been able to obtain some Ginger Beer in my end of town this weekend but no one seemed to stock it. As luck would have it though, the Metro near my work had a sale going on today. Armed with my new found soda and the rest of my fresh ingredients I went to work.

Thankfully I own an immersion blender so the muddling work was a simple button press away from being complete. The mint grows in abundance in my back yard and I’m always looking for an excuse to chop a bit down. And the lemon, well let’s just say there was one in my crisper that’s been dying to be juiced for a while. 

I have to say, this just might be the best summer drink I’ve ever had. It’s light. It’s refreshing. It’s (mostly) natural. And it sure is purty to look at. I’m going to go make myself another one. Oh, and I suppose Shauna too, that girl’s alright.

New Thing #141: The Projection Booth



The old Gerrard Cinema (which I’d never actually been to) has been reborn as The Project Booth, an independent theatre for the east end.

They had a pay-what-you-can family event going on today to give the locals a chance to check out the joint. It also provided some much needed relief from the heat. 

I grabbed a coffee from Grinder East a few doors down and headed in. The new marquee hasn’t quite been installed yet, and having never been there before I didn’t quite know what to expect. Inside though, it’s wonderful.

It’s a bit like stepping into a time capsule of what it used to be like for me to go see movies in my home town. There’s a giant popcorn maker at the concession stand, the seats are gigantic, with tons of leg room. The screen isn’t four stories high either, but the room’s perfectly proportioned to the screen. It felt personal, unlike the megaplexes we see movies in today.

But it’s not just the theatre itself that’s impressive, I had a long chat with the owner and he has big plans for the place. His enthusiasm for cinema, and specifically Grindhouse and horror movies shone through. What’s more, they plan on being open seven days a week so there should always be something interesting to see on a moment’s notice.

I’m hoping that they get a chance to show The Rocky Horror Picture Show some time before my blog is finished. I’ve never actually managed to get to a live screening. The concrete floors of the theatre would make picking up all that toast a breeze.

I really hope that The Project Booth is successful. They seem to have the right idea for it and their hearts are definitely in the right place. Now I just need to find some time to go see a movie there!

New Thing #140: Monster Nitrous Energy Drink



Once a month I have a Monster energy drink. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with it re-energizing me. I just like the taste of the orange one. But I saw this weird little skinny can of Monster Nitrous in the grocery store today and picked it up. Mostly because it had a very weird little contraption on top for opening it. And I’m pretty sure there’s no reason for it to be weird except to get people like me to pick it up out of curiosity.

The nice surprise though is that this is basically a slightly tastier version of the orange one that I normally treat myself to. I think I just found the new thing I sneak into the grocery cart when Shauna’s not looking.

New Thing #139: Breaking Bad


I’ve meant to watch this show for years but two things kept me from it: 

  1. It means another hour a week that I have to devote to watching television 
  2. I heard that it’s dark as hell

Well both those things are true and I have a lot of catching up to do if I want to get up to speed with it.

The thing is, although it’s brilliantly written, performed and shot it just makes me feel bad. I know that’s the point, but, wow it’s dark. And if something is too dark for me to watch that’s saying something. 

All that being said, it easily has the best opening scene of any pilot I have ever watched. It’s embedded above.

New Thing #138: Hold a Bearded Dragon


When I got to my company summer party tonight the last thing I thought I’d be holding was a bearded dragon lizard. But here we are.

What a cutie!

New Thing #137: Jelly Babies


I love Doctor Who. There. I said it.

Recently I found out that the Jelly Babies that the Doctor used to keep in his pocket weren’t just a slang British term for jellybeans. I knew I had to get my hands on some sooner or later.

As luck would have it, I came across a bag in a candy shop on the Danforth tonight. Wowsers! These things are stupendous!

New Thing #136: Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey


Dear god, don’t drink this stuff straight. Ever.

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