A transplanted Vancouverite looks at life in the urban smog that is Toronto

Monday, September 04, 2006

Good Riddance

I've tried several times to post this via Google Video, but it hasn't worked thus far. Therefore, this is the next best option.


Hopefully it'll make you laugh. Silly good fun, I say!

I'm beginning life at Regent College tomorrow. I'm a bit nervous at starting yet another year of school. For those who don't know, this will mark my 8th consecutive year of postsecondary education, and overall, 21 consecutive years of school! What's kept me even willing to do scholastic studies over that many years are, first, the 4 month summers--can't beat that. I'm also a fan of the fairly flexible hours you get as a student--by the time you're a grad student, those hours are extremely flexible indeed. And, oh yeah, I suppose a general curiosity about the subjects I purport to study are important as well.

I begin this Master of Christian Studies degree without a very clear sense of what I'm gunning for. Well, i'll be feeding my mind, which isn't a bad thing, and I'll also be able to better think Christianly about many aspects of life; this is also a good thing. However, I realize that not having a 'goal,' however hazily defined it may be, can also be foolhardy and reflect a lack of planning about one's future. The words "Worship Pastor" get thrown around a lot by myself and my friends, but I haven't seriously sat down, reflected, and spent time with God about this. This, I realize, is important when wanting input about my future! I also feel a calling to live a simpler, less hectic lifestyle, which is not only reassuring for my parents, but will enable me to take school and my responsabilities at church and elsewhere seriously. This simpler mode of living is going to stretch me, I think. But I feel it's the right thing to do--and it'll also help me put into practice several of the many theological things I learned over the past year.

Well, I'm going to put these self-indulgent musings to rest for the time being. I won't promise to be better at keeping in touch via this blog, but I'll try.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

6 Days in August

This isn't the "big post" that I promised last week (as i've said before, I'm just a tease when it comes to this stuff). However, I just want to let the blog universe know that me and Jeremy are climbing the Grouse Grind three times on Monday, August 7th. We're hoping to raise money and awareness regarding the hell on earth that's going on in Darfur and Chad (where many refugee camps are located) at the moment.

The Darfur genocide is a dreary situation that has dragged on and on for almost 3 years now, yet it doesn't generate anywhere near the outrage and coverage that's afforded to countries such as "Israel," "Iraq," "Iran," or even "Lebanon." Heck, even North Korea has received more attention with regards to media attention. To borrow a phrase from Rodney Dangerfield, Darfurians just can't get any respect around here.

The so-called peace deal or ceasefire signed in early May has had the perverse effect of increasing the violence against citizens and instability in the region. It's almost enough to get you depressed and immobile in the face of overwhelming evil and, perhaps worse, general indifference exhibited by ordinary citizens and politicians. However, I think me and Jer both agree that this reaction isn't very justifiable, hence our triple trek up the Grouse Grind on Monday.

We've decided to give the donations to MSF (http://www.msf.ca). Alternately, you can give the money to me and I'll ensure that it goes to the Vancouver branch. Tax receipts will be provided.

To prep for this, why don't you peruse the following editorial:

You can also amuse yourself by playing this videogame, which does a good job of describing the fear and violence that many Darfurians face on a daily basis.

After you're done this, you can follow the action (or inaction, depending on how you view it) in Darfur by following these blogs: http://www.passionofthepresent.org and http://coalitionfordarfur.blogspot.com.

Sorry for the lack of links, but I'm super tired at the moment.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dragonball Adventures

I'll have something slightly more substantial in the coming days (I'm such a tease), but I was at Dragonball the other day, and one of the running jokes that me and Jeremy (and Eric and Nathan and Sarne) have is trying the most oddball combinations of flavors, such as Starfruit and Strawberry, or Black Plum and Red Bean. This experimentalism is partially due to our inquisitive and exploratory natures--the excitement of exploring relatively uncharted waters such as durian and green tea ice cream, as well as the satisfaction of finding an unconventional mix that works well, is immensely satisfying. The other (and likely more compelling) reason why we like to do this is because we're there so often, and plain strawberry gets boring after awhile. Our latest obsession centres on mixing flavors with the same beginning letter, such as Black Plum, Blueberry, and Black Sesame. You can also try this with Green Apple, Green Tea ice cream, and Green Lotus with green apple coconut jelly. But I think I might have come up with something that trumps them all. I saw "horlic" as a menu item, which is a conventional enough bbt flavor. I turned to Jer and I asked him if Garlic would be worth trying out in the future.

Any thoughts?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Last night

Originally uploaded by jonchristomlin.
Alright, I'm slowly posting pics on Flickr, as that's much easier than sending zipped folders of various photos to people. Look for photos under "jonchristomlin"

Monday, June 19, 2006

La fin du monde

I'm in Toronto for one more week before taking off to the green pastures of Vancouver. I'd get all nostalgic looking back at my experiences in TO and blogging about them here, but I'm not doing that now. Right now I'm beyond tired and all this sentimental reflection will have to wait for a future post.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hoops I did it again

To follow up on that last post, i graduated today. Had to be there at 8:30 AM for gown rental, so as a result I had to wake up at 7 AM today for breakfast, which is a time I hardly ever volunteer to be awake, but I guess graduation's an important enough reason for this. As I type this, however, i feel like a sack of bricks that no cup of coffee could ever revive.

Some deja vus today-I slept over at Chestnut, home for me during the 2004-5 academic year. The breakfast buffet brought back a lot of memories, primarily of bacon, hash browns, eggs, fruit, yogurt, and bad coffee. But I also remember how i used to stuff myself silly back then--nowadays my breakfasts are more modest, and when i tried to load up today my stomach couldn't handle it.

In addition to gastronomic details, the girl sitting next to me at graduation also did her undergrad degree at UBC, lived in the same suburb (Richmond), and also went to the same incentive high school (Grades 8-10) as my younger sister! That's pretty amazing, and entirely appropriate considering how many Vancouverites I know that are living here (the vast majority of whom I didn't know when I actually did live in Vancouver).

So what have I been doing with my parents? 2 actions--walking and eating, the former partially redeeming the latter, if you ask me. In addition, mom and dad also helped me clean and partially pack up yesterday. I recycled 2 boxes worth of paper and newsprint yesterday, and I was flipping through them it seemed as if each paper, be it articles, essays, newspapers, readings, whatever, triggered memories from the past 22 months, memories which I've been very happy to experience and wouldn't trade for much in this world. Some of these recollections I've shared with you over this blog, but due to a combination of laziness, lack of time, beer, fellowship, and Hoops, most of them reside only with me.

Monday, May 29, 2006

We are Breathing the Breath

That 35-book recap of my gatherings from the (to me, at least) legendary Yonge Street Mission book "sale" will have to wait. It's 2:53 AM (according to my computer) and sleep awaits, or at least is a bit more enticing than going through each book and writing a sentence or two about them. If you're a semi-regular reader of this blog (and I only post enough for you to be a semi-regular at any rate) you'll know that I often say stuff such as "I'll talk more about this or that in a future post" but never really deliver on it. One of these days, I just may come through on one of these, but don't really hold your breath. I'd promise to blog more about the awesome day I had exploring Chinatown East/Regent Park/Cabbagetown last Thursday, but those adventures (which included about 4 hours of walking) will likely only survive via oral tradition, so please ask me about them when you see me!

Today was a crazy packed day. Not only was there a wildcat strike from transit workers today, but temperatures spiked to stupid levels--not stupid in the "how did the goalie let the 35-foot wrist shot by him" scenario, but the "why is the coach pulling the goalie in the first minute of the third period when the score is tied and the team is shorthanded" stupid. Think unfathomable, as in 41 degrees Celsius (adjusted after humidex), temperatures which should only really be considered in countries such as the United Arab Emirates. Needless to say, walking around outside was rather unpleasant. Locals here tell me "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" to which I respond by checking my return ticket to Vancouver. Now don't get me wrong, I intensely and wholeheartedly enjoy Toronto's plethora of pleasures, but the combination of heat, blaring sun, and humidity is almost enough to cancel all of them outright. The 30 minute walk from Yonge Street Mission on Gerrard E and Parliament to Treasure House on Queen and Spadina almost took me out of commission. I think I'll be able to adjust my walking strategy appropriately (from speedwalk like hell to walk deliberately and periodically duck into buildings with air conditioning), but man, what a learning curve this is going to be.

I also discovered that I'm not graduating on the 20th, as was originally thought by many bright minds including my sister and ordinary minds such as myself. Being a recipient of an MA degree and not an M.Mus has not only left me ill-equipped to discern my actual date of graduation but also means that I've been jerked from all my other peers whom I know from undergrad and are graduating on the 20th. I don't even know if my other classmate graduating is even going to be at the ceremony. As my dad put it, "That means you don't need to hang around afterwards and take pictures." No, I don't think so.

The past day has been spent reworking plans and trying to make sure that I'm actually graduating on the correct date, which has been amended to the 9th of June. I'm still technically leaving for Vancouver on the 26th, but my parents are now going to be with me for the middle of June (7-19th).

Other than that, my day was uneventful. Anyone have anything exciting happening in their lives?