cops. world leaders. G20. far*east movement. (p2)

Things were very different on my side of the fence. There was no protesting, no vandalism, no people on the street (other than all the officers). After spending 8 hours inside what was a rather peaceful environment, it was really hard for me to believe that so much damage was done merely 3-4 blocks away. So continuing on with my story, it was time for me to leave the safety zone and go home.

I ended up leaving the hotel at around 8:30pm with one of the bellmen who had just finished his shift. Figured it was safer to have some company. We walked all the way down to Lake Shore to exit the security zone and shared a taxi home from there. By the time I got home I was fairly exhausted, but I went online to read more about what had happened on the other side of the fence earlier in the day. What I saw and read was mind-boggling. Having been at the heart of the G20 all day and not having seen any of the riot, I couldn’t find a way to comprehend what had happened. While I was struggling to find some understanding, my homie Danny called me out to show me his videos of the riot on Queen St. He told me he wasn’t able to get to the New Era store for FM’s meet & greet because the cops had blocked off the street. I figured we were out of luck.

There we were sitting at a Timmies and it was close to midnight. The “Animal” album was sitting on the table as we talked about some of the songs on it. Then he was going to show me the riot videos. Before he hands me his camera, he warns me about the gory image I’m about to see. I say “whatever” and turn my attention to the screen. THIS was the “gory image” I saw:

My initial reaction was “WHAT THE HELL?!?!” (Where’s all the crazy people on the street that I’m supposed to see?!) THEN I clued in…he tricked me!! lol Turns out he did make it to the store just in time when the riot had died down. AND he got my CD signed! :D

After a pretty crazy Saturday, I was on very little sleep going into Sunday. I just hoped that the protests wouldn’t extend far on Queen St. to affect Far*East Movement’s gig @ Tattoo. Danny and I met up with Adrienne and Robin for dinner before heading over to the venue. Not knowing when show time was, we got there pretty early, and Adri & Robin stuck around until about 12:30p when they had to get going.

Danny and I spent the remainder of the time securing my spot at the far left side of the stage. Through experience I’ve found that to be the best spot when I’m at the front because I can get most of the stage into the frame. When you’re front and center, there’s no way of getting everyone on stage with a basic digi-cam. Anyway, I totally wasn’t feeling the music that was being played while we waited and can say I was actually BORED listening to it. But given how long I’ve waited for FM to come to Toronto, I wasn’t going to miss it for the world!

It was crazy when FM finally hit the stage. Their music alone gets you hyped and they know how to work the crowd. It was exactly the way I imagined it to be. My only complaint is that their set was TOO SHORT! Even though I spent the majority of my time watching the performance through my camera, it was still worth it. Like most shows I go to, I have a very vague memory of the performance itself since I’m so focused on taking pictures. I’m always about the photos because to me it helps bring back memories of what I felt at that moment in time. FM was so full of energy that catching them at the right time with the right lighting was difficult. Out of the 140 pix I took, barely half of them were decent.

By the time it was over, I was pretty hyped but exhausted. It had been a crazy weekend of seeing world leaders and seeing my favourite music group perform live. That’s pretty damn cool. There was really nothing more I could ask for. Danny asked me to go with him for a smoke break, so we stepped outside. Then SURPRISE! Kev Nish from FM comes outside, asks Danny for a smoke, and we end up chatting with him! Could my weekend get any crazier?! We hung around chatting and took some pics before Danny and I left. The guys were super cool and totally down-to-earth. Their response to hearing my CD being short-shipped shows how great they are at taking care of their fans.

When I finally got home, I was dead tired. But I was so pumped from everything that I was totally wired and couldn’t sleep. I went into work at 7am that morning with NO sleep and put on my usual morning playlist (which happens to be entirely FM lol). As I was listening to “Get That Money”, I thought about how crazy it was that only hours ago I was there meeting the guys who made the song. (We were talking about how unbreathable Kev’s jacket is lol) To know that I was talking with the people whose voices I’ve listened to repeatedly for the last 2 years is just CRAZY. Although a lot of what I experienced this weekend was not expected, I’m thankful for everything that happened. This weekend has been the best thing to happen to me in a really long time.

cops. world leaders. G20. far*east movement. (p1)

June 26, 2010. It’s going down in my books as one of those days I’ll never forget. And no, I’m not referring to the protests and riot that took place on this date. I’m talking about what I witnessed inside Fortress Toronto on this day when all hell broke loose just outside of it.

It was as though I had spent the day in a completely different world. When I arrived at Union Station that morning, the streets were calm and quiet. The only sound I heard were the raindrops that fell onto my umbrella. I was only about three intersections away from work, but this usually short walk felt unusually long on this day. Alone I walked down the street inside the “cage”. I passed by many officers – some who stood alone while others were in small groups. Every officer I spoke to was pleasant and patient. I knew my day was off to a good start. It was raining pretty hard at the time. I particularly remember walking pass a group of four officers and feeling bad for them. For a moment I had the urge to offer them my big umbrella, but I didn’t. I just continued walking to the next checkpoint.

When I finally arrived at the hotel, I was surprised by all the commotion in the lobby. Machines had been set up for security screening, and no one was allowed to enter the hotel without being screened. It was like the airport. Due to the fact that our hotel is attached to the convention centre where the summit was to be held, and the fact that we had at least 4 countries’ delegates staying at our hotel, it had to be highly secured. There were RCMPs and police officers from different provinces scattered around the lobby, along with our own hotel security and members of secret services. Throughout the course of the day, I learned how to distinguish the differences between the different types of uniformed men.

I had only been at work for barely half an hour when my co-workers pointed out the motorcade that was passing by our store window facing a deserted Front Street. Escorted by police on motorcycles and in a cruiser, we knew that a VIP was about to turn into our hotel. Standing just outside our store, we were able to look down into the lower lobby. I was extremely surprised that the first VIP I’d see was China’s President, Hu JinTao. His motorcade pulled up to the doors of the lower lobby and, with his entourage of about 10-12 body guards, he was whisked into the hotel. His hair was slicked back with everything in place and his trademark smile was worn on his face.

At 1pm, everyone was expecting the U.S. President to arrive and was hoping to catch a glimpse of him. It was almost an hour later when we finally got word that he had indeed arrived at our hotel, but he was whisked through a secret entrance. Bummer, eh? Strangely though, at that same time I actually felt more disappointed that I wasn’t at Far*East Movement’s meet & greet than not getting the chance to see Obama. But that’s the next part to my story. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

After a while, I started to pick up on the cues of when a VIP would soon arrive. Security would heighten in the lobby and then I would hear the sound of the police motorcycles making their way down the street, followed by the motorcade. Looking down into the lower lobby, I would see the black cars pull up. The flashing white lights at the bottom of the cars soon became familiar to me. I witnessed the arrival of Britain’s new Prime Minister, David Cameron, who only had about 3-4 bodyguards with him. He came upstairs and walked right pass our store to reach the board rooms. He was a young looking guy compared to most of the other world leaders. I also watched the arrival and departure of South Korea’s President, Lee Myung-bak, who was with his wife, entourage of about 10 bodyguards, and many other officials.

Then I heard about the protest that had turned violent – the burning of the cop cars and all the vandalism. A tv was placed just outside my store in the hotel lobby to show the soccer games. When the U.S. vs. Ghana game was over, it started showing the chaotic streets to the north of us. At one point, I looked outside my store window; Front St. was still like a ghost town. Police were out there patrolling, but that was about all the action there was. When dinner time came around, motorcades came to take VIPs over to the Royal York for their gala dinner and our hotel became quiet again.

With the riot in the city, our hotel was on lockdown indefinitely and there was no public transit in the area. It was at that point that I started to worry about how I was going to get home. I figured the rioters had to get home somehow and I didn’t want to encounter any of them en route. I decided to stay in the hotel until I felt it was safe for me to leave. After all, our hotel was probably the safest place in the city at the time.

So how did I get home? And what happened to the Far*East Movement meet & greet?

To be continued…

badged…ready for the red zone

Okay, so I’ve got my non-delegate/non-protester outfit ready and I’ve got my badge. In two days, we’ll know if I’m successful in getting into work and whether or not I’ll make it out alive. (I suppose I really shouldn’t be joking about that, eh?) Over the past few days, I’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook statuses saying things like, “4-day weekend thanks to the G20!” Here I’m thinking…Great! While everyone who works downtown gets to flee for their lives this weekend, I’ll be heading right into the red zone where it’ll be immersed by RCMPs. Although I personally don’t think anything big is going to happen, you just never know right? At this point, I’m just hoping that the protests are going to be civilized and not violent.

The only thing that I’m unhappy about regarding this whole security setup is how inconvenient it will be for me to get around this weekend. One of my favourite music groups, the Far*East Movement, happens to be in town the same time as the G20 summit. They have a scheduled gig at Tattoo Rock Parlour for Sunday night and (no doubt about it) yours truly will definitely be there, but it was just last night that their meet & greet was announced for Saturday afternoon, and of course I’ll be stuck at work at that time. I don’t know if it makes me feel better or worse that they’re going to be just 3 intersections away from my store. If I can manage to get in and out of the security zone during my break, I might actually get to meet them. If not, I’m going to miss a very rare opportunity. ~sigh!

When I first found out FM was coming to T.O. about two months ago, I was literally going ape. Remember last August when I revealed my summer love of 2009? He’s a member of FM! I had considered ordering their “Animal” album at the time, but later decided not to since I already got all their best songs on iTunes. However, I did make a vow that if they EVER came for a show in Toronto, I would get their album. I kept my word, ordered a copy, and now have it in my hot little hands. I ordered another copy for my buddy Danny but unfortunately only 1 of the 2 copies I ordered was sent to me. I’ll have to figure out a way to have Danny get that one CD signed for the two of us lol

This is very exciting! I’ve already spent the last 2 years waiting for FM to come to Toronto, so this weekend is going to be MASSIVE. :D

movie time!

It had been a while since I was last at the movies. For months I was waiting eagerly for Shrek Forever After and Sex & the City 2 to come out, but for one reason or another I didn’t end up seeing either of them. The one movie I actually saw turned out to be one that I didn’t plan on seeing at all, and let me tell you…it did not disappoint.

If you haven’t gone to see Toy Story 3 yet, you MUST go see it NOW. I saw it on opening day with my friends from work and was extremely surprised by how great it was. Most movies suck by the time its third installment comes out. Even with Shrek’s success, I’d have to say that its 2nd & 3rd installments weren’t nearly as good as the first Shrek movie. I probably wouldn’t even want to see it if it wasn’t for its sentimental value. So with Toy Story 3, I wasn’t excited about it at all. But wow, what a surprise! I found myself laughing through most of the 2 hours, and although I didn’t actually cry at the end of the movie, I’ll admit it sure hit a soft spot. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I have to say that the Mr. Tortilla part was HILARIOUS! Do not miss it lol

Another computer-animated movie that I’m really looking forward to is Despicable Me. Anna was telling me about it after she saw an advance screening of the movie and she says it’s really good. Its trailers look promising too. Check them out if you haven’t already. “IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!!!” lol

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a missing piece to my childhood

I’ve always liked playing games. Video games, board games, just games in general. But it’s the one thing I didn’t do very much of while growing up. Even though I’m an only child, I was never spoiled by my parents with toys or clothes. They only ever spoiled me by putting me in Mandarin classes, math classes, dance, painting, swimming, and piano lessons. I guess they didn’t think I was going to learn very much out of video games. There was also no point in buying me board games when most of them require two players. Needless to say, most of my childhood was spent doing a lot of things that taught me a lot but weren’t a whole lot of fun.

A few weeks ago, I finally bought myself a Nintendo DSi. I say “finally” because it’s something I’ve been wanting to get for a long time (you might even remember me writing about it 3 years ago). It never ended up happening because I couldn’t find a white DS available at the time and I didn’t want to settle for a pink one. Then the DSi came out, and after much debate I opted not to spend my money on another toy that I probably didn’t need. But I couldn’t deny the fact that I really wanted one. A part of me just really wanted to have my own video game console.

In the past 3 years, there have been many occasions where having a DS could’ve been useful in helping me waste time. Like that 15-hour flight to and from Hong Kong where my on-board entertainment screen wasn’t working. More recently, while I was home for 8 weeks with my vision crisis, I kept thinking how great it could’ve been if I had a DS as an alternate form of entertainment since I was only able to see things clearly within 30cm. So soon after I got better, I went and bought myself a white DSi. I told myself I wasn’t going to wait any longer. (And if I did, I’d probably never be able to get my hands on a white one again.)

To most people, buying a toy may be a very petty thing. But it wasn’t just about a toy to me. It was about getting something that I always wanted as a child, something I never had. It may be completely useless and a waste of time & money, but at least I can say I found myself the missing piece to my childhood.

nobody’s singing to me

Have you heard of Charice? I only learned about her recently when her album was being played at the store, and I must say she has a beautiful voice. After reading about her and her humble upbringing in the Philippines, a part of me feels grateful that Charice is now able to live her dreams of being an international singer. She may not have the most beautiful face, but she’s a very talented young woman with great vocals. If you haven’t yet heard of her, do check out her stuff.

There’s been a lot on my mind lately and I’ve been wanting to write about it. I just haven’t been very motivated. Lately, I’ve been dealing with things in a bit of a nonchalant manner. It’s usually a sign that something is making me feel unhappy and I think it’s because of work.

I’ve been there for just about 8 years now, and I can honestly say I love doing the work that I do. I’ve always found it fulfilling, even though poor management is bothersome sometimes and I am unfairly compensated in my opinion. Apparently experience and seniority means nothing. With all these minimum wage increases I’m now working just 50 cents more than a newbie, even though I’ve been with the company for 8 years. How does that make any sense?! But anyway, I’ve remained at this job because I genuinely enjoy it and I’ve always said that I’ll continue working at a job until I no longer feel happy working there. It seems I am close to that point now. Maybe it’s time to start looking for a change.

welcome to this world, Kalani!

Congratulations to both Anasha and Omar on the arrival of their baby girl, Kalaniah!! Born on June 5th, 2010 at 6:42am, she weighed 4 pounds 15 ounces. Both mother and daughter are doing well.

It was a quite a surprise when Anasha called me in the afternoon on Friday (her birthday) and told me her water broke. That’s definitely a birthday to remember eh; imagine spending your birthday going through labour. Anna and I went to visit Anasha and Kalani at the hospital on Saturday. It was exciting to meet my little god-daughter for the first time. She is just precious. Luckily for Anasha, Kalani is quite a quiet baby. She kept her cool and slept through most of the two hours we were there, while the other two babies who shared Anasha’s room at the hospital cried consistently. (“Imagine going home with THAT!” LOL)

And so the journey begins for this new life.

trashed! …political garbage

It’s here! It’s finally here! :D

About half a year ago, I started working on a small side project. You might remember me mentioning it in a previous post that I was working as a cover consultant for McGuinty’s book. Well, the wait is finally over…the book has finally been printed! And I received a copy of it in the mail the other day. It was extremely exciting to have the final product in my hands, signed by Gordon McGuinty himself!

I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to see this project come to life. Prior to reading Trashed! (more accurately, its manuscript) I had very little interest in waste management, but after reading the book I found it to be quite an interesting topic. Not only does Mr. McGuinty’s book talk about his 14 year journey in the Adams Mine project, it also includes many interesting stories that are very inspiring. I think the book is a must read for anyone who is involved or is interested in business, politics, the media, the environment, and of course waste management. Did I mention I love the fact that it’s printed on high quality, ultra smooth paper? :)

The book is currently only available for order through its website. For more information, visit: