thrawn had been trying to convince me to go to an Ottawa Senators game with him for quite some time. i had alway put it off thinking that obtaining tickets three months into the season would be virtually impossible. the Senators have been playing amazingly well during the first few months and have virtually stayed at the top spot since the season started. the new goalie, Dominik Hasek, and the new forward, Dany Heatley have been an excellent addition to the team. this year they must win the Stanley Cup.
the Toronto Maple Leafs have been the Senators' nemesis ever since the Sens team started playing in 1992. Sens have been kicked out of the playoffs by the Leafs 4 times in 5 years. this year, though, things are different. as Don Cherry said, Sens are no longer intimidated by the leafs. he pointed to a specific instance where a Senator bodychecked a Leaf player in front of the Leafs bench, looked up at the entire Leafs team and grinned at them before skating away.
after beating the leafs 7-0 on january 21st, the two arch rivals had another match scheduled on the 23rd of january. senators had beaten the leafs 3-2, 6-5, 8-0, 8-2, and then 7-0, this next match would be the sixth between the two teams with ottawa winning every single match. awesome! the sixth match would also be the last match between the two teams before the playoffs and since the leafs had just lost a day ago by a score of 7-0, the january 23rd match was sure to be exciting.
so i was very surprised when i found tickets for sale on craigslist. after getting a confirmation from the person that yes they are still available, i asked dooh to go pick up the two tickets. usual price for those seats is actually higher so we were very lucky. dooh was very helpful and went out to get the tickets within half an hour of my calling him. with the tickets in hand thrawn and i were eagerly awaiting for the 23rd.
which also happened to be Election day in canada and the first time i voted in an election. last time i was in ottawa and Elections Canada had my permanent address as the Mississauga so i was unable to vote unless i travelled from ottawa to mississauga. in any case, i was looking forward to this year's vote and was pretty excited about it.
after taking the day off, thrawn and i went to a primary school close to our house to cast our votes. the whole process was actually quite disappointing. i was expecting something grand and spectacular but it was very quiet and boring.. no mobs, molotov cocktails, music, crowds etc. just a hello, step this way, here's a pencil and a ballot ( made out of flimsy grey recycled paper that wasn't event cut properly on the edges ), step behind that cardboard box and choose the person you want to vote for. when you're done fold it and bring it to me. they didn't even ask for id.. i just told the old lady at the table what my name was and she used a worn-out ruler to cross out my name from the list of registered voters she had in front of her; a bunch of paper print-outs stapled together. very anti-climactic. but i will definitely vote again.
after voting we started the long 4 and a half hour journey to ottawa. i had seen the Corel Centre before while driving past it but thrawn had never seen it before. the building is huge and i really regret i never went there with lunato earlier when both of us were in ottawa. also, recently Scotiabank and the Ottawa Senator's owner made a multiyear deal and renamed the Corel Centre to Scotiabank Place. horrible name in my opinion.
the match was to start at 730 and we were inside at 630. the place is huge and so open.. it was almost scary to see so many seats and such a huge open roof. the venue has a maximum capacity of more than 20,000 people and has been sold out consistently for the past few matches. we bought two coke bottles, paying $4.25 each for a single coke bottle.. thats the most i have ever paid for coke. crazy prices in there.
the game itself was awesome. the thousands of people, the incredibly loud crowd noise, the electrifying atmosphere, the GO SENS GO chants, and the Senators team... everything was full of awesome. the intro before the team skates onto the ice is one of the coolest things i have experienced. suddenly all the lights turn off and the crowd starts cheering and then there are bright red lights across the entire arena that turn on and off along with the sound of a beating heart. its very loud and you can feel you body shake because of the defeaning sound. i wish i had recorded more of it but i was worried about filling up my 256 MB memory card.
i didn't realize that there would be no commentary during the game. 4 years of watching hockey on tv had given me the illusion that every hockey match would have commentary as well. but when we're watching it live, its quiet.. well not quiet, the crowd is loud enough, but you dont hear the commentators. the seat to our left was emtpy and on the right was an elderly and very friendly couple. the people on our right and left were both SENS fans so that made the experience even more enjoyable. oh and the washroom stalls have an amusing notice in there.. i took a picture so you can see what im talking aboot. overall, both of us had an excellent time... especially when Senators scored first.. and then kept on scoring for a 4-1 lead :)
the game ended at 4-3 so toronto finally managed to score some goals. so far toronto has scored 12 goals and ottawa has scored 36 goals during the matches between the two teams.. woooohooooo go sens go!
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after the match we found out that the conservatives were sure to win the election and form a minority government. doh.. that robot stephen harper is not my idea of a prime minister. it took us about an hour to get out of the massive parking lot and we headed home. i drove first thinking i will drive to within 200km of toronto and then give it to thrawn. the weather was ok so the roads were fine. but we almost had a head-on collision with a deer on highway 416. that highway is incredibly dangerous at night. this was the third time i've almost been in a bad accident on that highway.
this time the deer was in the middle of the road facing away from the car. i saw some sort of an object in the middle of the road and it took about a second, a long long second, to realize its a deer looking away from me. the deer looked back towards the fast approaching car. as soon as i realized there is a live animal right in the middle of the road my brain stopped thinking and i lost direct control over what i was doing. i really felt as if i had given up control over my body and my instincts had taken over and were guiding my hands and feet. i started turning right to avoid colliding with the deer. the stupid animal also realized that it should not remain standing in the middle of the road..... and jumped right. omfg wtf holyshit godamn.. actually there wasnt even time to utter a single word.. everything was happening so fast. with any voluntary control over myself i felt my hands turn the wheel left and i managed to avoid hitting the deer by a mere 5 or 6 cm.. literally.
the entire episode took about 2 seconds.. one.... two. there was no time to brake but i know i lifted my foot from the gas pedal. the car speed was about 110 km/hour and high beams were on. i shudder to think what would have happened if the front headlights were not on high beam. or if there was snow on the road.. but i wouldn't be driving at that speed if there was snow on the road. three incredibly short seconds and i missed colliding with a deer at 110 km/h by a mere 5-6 cm. we coasted to a slow 60 km/h while i asked thrawn if he was ok. he was, of course, freaked out as well but he was ok and he kept saying, 'man, we really missed it by that much.' very scary incident... but thankfully with no injury to anyone.
the rest of the journey was uneventful. my plan was to drive to within 200km of toronto and then give to thrawn but i started feeling very sleepy after passing kingston so i just stopped the car and handed it over to thrawn. there is no point in risking anything just to get home a few hours early. i told thrawn again and again that just stop somewhere if you start feeling sleepy.. and then curled up on the back seat and amazingly fell asleep. it wasnt a very comfortable sleep since i woke up repeatedly but still the rest was very welcome as i was pretty exhausted by that time.
i should write to my MP and urge him to do something about highway 416. twice i've almost collided with a deer; one living, one dead. and once during winter i was carpooling and the car spun out of control and almost landed in a ditch. 416 needs fences around it and needs to be cleaned more often. it doesn't have as much traffic as 401 so once it snows the snow ust stays on the road and doesnt melt away. please fix this!
we reached home around 4 in the morning and both of us directly went to bed happily knowing that the Ottawa Senators had beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs yet again.. unbeaten since 2004!!
on the morning of my birthday on the 13th, i heard glass breaking sound. i went outside my room to my mom to see what happened and there were so many pieces of glasses on the floor in the kitchen.
"mom, are you o.k?"
"yeah, i just hit the glass with my elbow while i was doing dishes. by the way, there will be so many good things coming this year for you"
"breaking a glass is a sign of good luck, some people do it on purpose. it just happened on your birthday morning so it's a sign of good luck for you"
"oh really? true or not, i will take it"
by now i truly believe it. i had wanted to change my position at my work and it happened recently. i am still working for same ministry but different work in a different office which is what i have wanted for so long. i miss my ex-coworkers a lot though.
i have wanted to learn skiing (i have gone skiing twice long time ago and i sucked at it) and i went on a ski trip with my new coworkers last weekend. we all enjoyed the weekend there and i can ski now without falling continuously:)
also recently, we, my coworkers and i, chipped in 10 dollars each to make big money for a game. the winner will get all the money and feel happy about it during the upcoming lunar new year holiday. the game is like this. you draw as many vertical lines as the number of people taking part in the game. then everyone is given a random number and they go and put one horizontal line in the slot assigned to them. this horizontal line can be drawn anywhere from the top most part of the vertical lines to the bottom part. basically you make a ladder in your slot without knowing what the final result will be like because everyone else can make their own ladder as high or as low as possible. once everyone has drawn a line then we start climbing these ladders which have become stairs now because all the ladders are all connected. the game stops when you cannot climb any higher and whichever ladder you stop in is the winner. i chose the 5th ladder without expecting so much but surprisingly i became the winner and got the money!!! see? lucky me..
talking about sikander...it was the first birthday to spend without him ever since i have know him. when i was talking to him the night before my birthday i told him, "i know you are in Korea right now, where are you?", "no lunato,i wish but i am not", "you you sneaky.. you are gonna come to my office tomorrow, aren't ya? i am on 11th floor, don't get lost"
hehe instead of him, a package arrived here for my birthday. best pictures collection since we've known each other and very good taste of picture frames, cds with his korean handwriting on it (some letters didn't make sense:) and sweets..thank you sikander.. when i get home after a long day, i sit at my table looking at what you gave me. all your presents refresh me and make me realize that smiling makes everyone look pretty and happy :)
so everyone smile~~
bucky is the name of the cat that did this to skid's left and right arm. they were fighting with each other and bucky kept leaping and clawing at his arms or something. looks painful but skid assured us all that its ok and nothing to worry about. just temporary scratches that will heal in a few days. no pain no gain or something.
i had asked him to bring his playstation 2 along with him because i wanted to see if i could hook it up to my Dell 2405 monitor. and indeed i can. lots of people on shack have said that ICO is one of the best roleplaying games ever made so i wanted to play that as well. skid had it so he brought the ps2 and ICO along with him. i played probably half an hour of ICO before i stopped. the reason i stopped was because the game really is very good. the atmosphere in the game, the music, the visuals, and the huge open spaces create a gaming experience that i've never had before. so i stopped after about 30 minutes into the game because i know lunato would love the game too and i want to play it later on with her watching events unfold with me. the same stupid reason made me delay playing half life 2 for a long time. but eventually i gave in and started playing hl2 and it was truly a masterpiece. i'll just replay both half life 1 and then half life 2 and continue with ICO later with lunato.
skid's flight to moscow via frankfurt was today at 5 and he wanted to be at the airport by 2-230 pm. my hearing test was at 430 pm so everyone's schedule worked out well. i dropped him at the airport, wished him well, and went home before heading to the hospital. it was really nice having both siblings at home for a few days. both thrawn and i spent more time with skid that we had had for a long time now. we also watched King Kong at the theatre and skid fell asleep during the first hour. i nudged at him and he woke up, smiled, and asked me if the big monkey had shown up yet :P
on the way to the airport skid was talking while i was driving. he was on my right and i felt as if he is talking quietly or had stopped talking mid-sentence. so i turned to look at him and saw his lips were still moving but i could barely hear what he was saying.. "hey hey now you're just being mean and deliberately talking quietly to make fun of my right ear's hearing ability !" hehe but in fact he was just mumbling and i wasn't losing my hearing nor was he teasing me... so he says !!
the hearing test was a routine test. i was told to sit on a stool inside a big metallic soundproof chamber with huge headphones on both my ears. the doctor played random beep boop sounds in the left and right ears and i was to press a button that i held in my hand if i even thought i heard something. the different sounds went from louder to quieter and the doctor tested the left ear and then the right ear. only one test was uncomfortable. the doctor started talking into the headphones and kept increasing the volume. i was to ask him to stop when the sound became unbearable. that test was also for both ears and really was the only uncomfortable test during the entire 20 minute test. this doctor's diagnosis was that the hearing in my left ear is also not 100% and should be checked out. doh :(
the results will go to dr. beard in a few days and then we'll see what he recommends. usually if nothing is wrong then patients don't get called for a follow up appointment to "discuss results"
i had my second appointment with Dr. Beard at the Credit Valley Hospital today at 920 AM. he is an ENT specialist and my family doctor had arranged an appointment with him to get my sinuses checked and see if there can be another solution for my allergies other than Claritin. last time i saw him was on december 9th last year and he gave me a prescription for a nasal spray called Flunisolide. i had to use it twice daily in the morning and at night before going to bed. i don't really know if it is better than Flonase since during winter my allergies are virtually nonexistant. summer/spring is when the allergy season starts and i start suffering.
the doctor injected some solution into my nostrils (oww oww) and then nasally probed me with some weird piped instrument that was pushed into my nostril far more than i ever though possible. apparently the nasal cavity is huge and the doctor needs to take a good look inside to see whats going on in there. the inspection seemed to last for an eternity and was a bit painful but not as much as it would've been without the solution that has numbed everything in there. in any case, i found out that my nose really is unusual. i sort of already knew that but this was official confirmation from a specialist.
the nasal cavity has three turbinates on each side. these turbinate are big folds that protrude from the sidewalls of the nose. they are shaped as folds and are actually quite important. they warm inhaled air before it enters our lungs and they also filter and clean the air from pollutants that might be dangerous if they enter our lungs. this is accomplished by the millions of tiny cilia, very small hairs, that are spread all over the turbinates. these turbinates change their size periodically depending on a number of factors. during a cold, infection, or allergic reactions, they enlarge because of the blood that flows to the region to fight the infection via white blood cells.
usually the turbinate that is in front of the nose is the one that gets enlarged and swollen for people suffering from allergies. in my case it is the farthest most one that is swollen. that is unusual and that is why the doctor put me on the spray for a month to see what happens instead of following "normal procedure" and operating on the closest turbinate to ease air flow and breathing. however, after a month's use the problem still persists. now i have an option to either choose surgery or just keep on using claritin and the new spray each year like the past 7, 8 years. i chose surgery.
since dr. beard is an ENT, an ear-nose-throat specialist, last time i was at his office i asked him to take a look at my left ear because i had had a funny hollowy underwater kind of sensation in it for about a week. i had assumed that it would go away automatically but it hadn't. when the doctor took a look at it he had told me that my ear drum seems to have excess fluid behind it which is giving me that undewater feeling. however, it should fix itself soon enough and there isn't much to worry about.
it hadn't fixed itself during the course of the month so the doctor took a closer and more detailed look. he asked me if i had had any ear disease during childhooh and i replied with a negative before i corrected myself and told him about the repeatedly ear cleaning appointments me and my older brother used to have at an ENT in saudia in 1988 or 1989. i don't remember how it started but i remember going to the ENT more than a couple of times and during each session he would use a very loud and very powerful suction ear vaccum that he would put in each ear to suck out lots of mucus. ugh. it was extremely painful and i would cry really loudly every single time.
apparently i had an ear disease back then and it has physically caused damage to my left ear. a bone, called the incus, is missing in my ear. a bone that virtually every human being has in his ear is missing in my left year... *cries* but it is not something to be really upset about. "you won't loose any more hearing than you have already" ... omfg.. what ? the doctor asked me which ear i can hear better out of. i told him that i've never felt a difference. he then used a tuning fork and placed it near my left ear and then my right ear and wow, i felt a huge difference between the two. over the past twenty something years my body and adapted itself to cope with this hearing disability and i just never noticed it. now i know why i suck at counterstrike.. i just can't hear the enemy crouching up on me from my left :P
so, since i am scheduled for surgery on march 30th anyways, the doctor decided to operate on my ear at the same time. the excess fluid, i've no idea what kind of fluid, behind my ear drum is causing the ear drum to stick to the fluid and is also blocking a small tiny tube that goes from the ear to my nasal cavity. this tube is called the eustachian tube and it lets air through the nose to the ears to equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere. because of the excess fluid, this tube is blocked and no air is passing through. the doctor will drill a small hole in my ear and put a tiny cylindrical object with a hole in its middle in my ear. this will ensure easy and continuous passage of air in my ear and fix the problem. this tiny object will stay in my ear for about a year and then automatically fall out. if the hole collapses after that, then the doctor will put something permanent inside.
all this seems so scary. both operations are quite delicate so the doctor recommended general anesthesia instead of local.. meaning i will be sleeping while they operate. it will be easier for both the doctor and the patient but it means i will have to go to the hospital two hours in advance and then stay there two hours after surgery. the op itself might take an hour at most but the doctor said it basically takes away the entire day and i should make sure i have nothing to do that day except rest and relax.
he assured me that i have nothing to worry about and if i want i can cancel both operations and just continue as is. keep using nasal sprays and leave my hearing as is. neither is any sort of threat to my general health, however, the surgeries would definitely help and i chose surgery. my allergies are worsening each season and any sort of relief would be more than welcome.
i had taken half the day off work and later in the afternoon i went to pick up skid from the airport. he was arriving from vancouver by air canada. he has a flight to moscow on the 12th from toronto but on the way back, 24th, he's going directly back to vancouver which is a bit sad. i would've preferred he come back to toronto first and then to vancouver but the tickets were already booked and couldn't be changed or updated.
i really do wish this trip does him some good. i can't imagine how hard it would be for him but i'm sure it is something he must do to get some sense of closure. i don't really know what to do.. if i should talk to him or wait until he wants to talk or maybe he doesnt want to talk about it and bring up memories and what not. sigh, such a sad tragedy and i wish i can help in any way i can. time heals all.. i hope it does its work soon enough.
i was living and studying in ottawa during the 2004 canadian federal election. i had never had the privilege to vote in an election so i was pretty excited that as a candian citizen i now have the right to vote and i was looking forward to doing so.
unfortunately when i called Elections Canada to ask for information about voting, the representative told me that my permanent residence is mississauga so i am not allowed to vote in ottawa. it was too late to ask for a special absentee ballot so the only way i could participate would be to physically go to mississauga on election day. since i was a poor student i decided it wasn't worthwhile to travel 500 km there and then 500 km back just to cast a single vote. i patiently waited for the next federal elections.
paul martin is the current prime minister and is running for re-election as the Liberal party leader. the liberals are the oldest political party in canada and their policies are in the middle of the political spectrum. the last two prime ministers have been liberal as well. the current government stole a lot of money while martin was a finance minister. the gomery report exonerated him of any direct wrong doing but he is still held liable for the waste of millions of dollars since he is the current leader of his party. his government has also wasted billions on the gun registry program which doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot of good for Toronto. martin, if elected, promises to give $5.1 billion to aboriginals, ban handguns, hire more rcmp officers, adopt tougher sentences for gun crime, allocate $13 billion for 5000 new canadian troops, forgive debts owed by foreign government, pay half of the tuition for 1st and last year of all college and university students, cut green house gases, decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, pledge $805 million over 5 years for direct federal health funding, spend $9 billion on a National Waiting Times Reduction Strategy, give $810 million to research hospitals, and cut corporate income taxes by $30 billion in the next 5 years. what i like about the liberal government is how it is willing to say NO to the US and is actively going after canada's interests regardless of whether they match US interests. his government said no to joining the stupid missile shield program and said no to sending troops to Iraq and is actively working to get back the billions of dollars US owes canada over the softwood lumber dispute. good to see someone having the backbone to say no to US hegemony.
stephen harper is the conservative party leader and a robot. they were 2nd place in the 2004 election and forced a minority liberal government and also called the No Confidence vote which toppled the current government and led to an election. the conservative party is an amalgamation of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance Party.. and they are on the right of the political spectrum. they believe in individual rights and want to run businesses with little interference fro the government. the liberal party is portraying harper as a george bush junior and some of the quotes from stephen harper that the liberals show in their political ads are pretty disturbing. in any case, harper wants mandatory minimum sentences for all drug crimes, a sex offender registry, raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 year of age, support NORAD and improve relations with the US, create a veterans Bill of Rights, introduce elections for senate vacancies instead of appointments, make scholarships tax free, make univerity textbooks tax deductible, give tax credits to transit users, introduce Clear Air Act, cancel the Kyoto Accord, promote alternative fuel research, get rid of the gun registry, support 3 year prohibition on stem cell research, cut back hospital waiting lists, not legalize marijuana, reduce GST by 1% right away and later another 1%, reduce small business tax rate, and give $1200 per year for child-care. my main problem with harper is that he would've joined the stupid missile shield program and would've sent canadian troops to iraq. i am a big supporter of the UN and what it stands for and i would not have been pleased to see canadian troops dispatched to Iraq. also, harper is a robot with artificial eyes and that is scary too.
gilles duceppe is the leader of the Bloc quebecois party which is a left wing social party that only concerns itself with issues relating to quebec's interests. his party's ultimate goal is the separation of canada and creation of quebec as its own country... selfish fuck. quebec even has its own National Assembly and the liberal scandal that toppled martin's government was about a government sponsorship program in the province of quebec to raise canadian patriortic sentiments and promote national unity. it really angers me to see an entire province wanting to separate from canada. we've had two referrendums, once in 1980 and once in 1995 about quebec separation and both times the 'No' side won. if it happens again you can be sure i'm going to go and vote No. in any case, ducceppe wants to uphold the Kyoto accord, increase education funding and ban Canadian forces from entering a war declared illegal by the UN. thats good but this crazy idea of making quebec a country is nothing but crazy. you've failed twice... give it up and plz be part of canada kthnx.
jack layton and his moustache are the leaders of the New Democratic Party. it is a left wing party and advocates social democracy. however, they have never formed a government and have only a handfull of members of parliament. they are portraying themselves as the third choice and as the party for the "working families" of canada. i like him and i like the way he talks, argues and debates. i would gladly vote for him but i know he will not win enough votes to form a government and i worry that his plans might actually require a tax increase for working families to pay for all the program he wants to start. in any case, layton and his moustache want to create aboriginal-only seats in parliament, create national sex offender registry, create a national victims' bill of rights, launch anti-gun and anti-drugs ad campaigns and programs for the misguided youth, increase pay for armed forces, create replacements for NATO and NORAD, scarp anti-terrorism act, oppose missile defense, make it law for a parliament vote before canadian troops are sent abroad, cancel agreements for american soldiers to enter canada during an emergency, abolish the senate, lower voting age to 16, reduce tuition fees by 10%, allocate $4 billion for post secondary education, reduce greenhouse emissions, sell the government's share of Petro Canada, build wind turbines, allow gst rebates on environmentaly friendly cars, stop flow of public money into private health care, allocate $1 billion/year transfer to provinces for home-care services, remove gst from family essential like children's clothing and medicine, school supplies, books, magazines, etc, and ensure that all canadians who make less than $15,000 do not have to pay federal income tax. good plans but how will he pay for all of this ? he seems like the most likeable person from these four candidates so i would like to vote NDP.
the general consensus seems to be that everyone is sick of 12 years of liberal rule and liberal corruption and scandals. the conservatives seem to be on track for winning this thing and i really dont want harper to be the next pm. so i will probably vote liberal just to make sure the conservatives stay out :(
there are five people running for election in my riding. canada is divided into 308 ridings that cover the entire country with each riding representing one member of parliament. whoever gets the most votes in a riding becomes the member of parliament. whichever party has the most members of parliament wins the election and that party's leader becomes the next prime minister. my riding has Wajid Khan from the liberal party, Raminder Gill from conservative party, Jim Caron from NDP, Otto Casanova from the Green Party, and Peter Creighton from the Progressive Canadian Party. this riding is full of indian and pakistani families and i am sure either khan or gill will win the riding. khan is the current MP and is running for re-election.
election day is 23rd January 2006. lots of time to make up my mind and figure out who i will vote for. don't forget to vote!!