August 2009 review

Another month has gone by and it’s time for another month in review (though we’re almost into the middle of September already!). I probably sound like a broken record, but August has been another busy month. I’ve come to the realization that too often I try to over pack my schedule and don’t always have the chance to do everything that I intend. Unfortunately, that means that some of the projects that I’m working on tend to get a bit neglected and fall off my radar for a bit, but on the plus side, I am starting to get a little more organized in terms of tracking the projects I’m working on, deciding what the next tasks are, and most importantly, executing them. I think I’m learning to become less focused on always being in control, and accepting the fact that I need to be more adaptable to the changing situations. I think a pretty good summary of my approach to this month has been like that Nickelback song, If Today Was Your Last Day.

So without further ado, here’s a recap of some of the fun, interesting, and exciting things that happened to me in August.

1. Algonquin Backpacking Trip
In the middle of the month, I took a 5 day backpacking trip up to Algonquin. It was magnificent, being able to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax after a hard day’s trek by a warm campfire and crystal clear, and calm lake. With the only noise coming from the crackling of the campfire and call of the loon on the lake, it was pure bliss each night, as we were blessed with warm, sunny, and beautiful weather, without nary a rain cloud in sight. This is what camping in Ontario is supposed to be all about, and it did not disappoint. In my opinion, I don’t think there’s too much better than hanging out by a campfire with good food, good company, beautiful weather, hardly another soul in sight, and feeling the calm and soothing power of nature. In terms of food, we packed in an enormous amount of food and paid the price for it on some of our 15k treks, but it was worth all the effort. In fact, we could’ve packed in a little bit more food in order to be fully satisfied on our last dinner, but we were saved by another camper in the neighbouring campsite who had packed in some extra cold cut sandwiches and graciously offered to share them with us.

2. A Relaxing Weekend at the Cottage
The weekend after my Algonquin trip, I got a last minute invite to a friend’s cottage for the weekend. Again, it was a pleasure to have a chance to get away from the city, leave whatever projects, thoughts, and work behind in the city, and just enjoy a simple life of swimming, eating, napping, and reading. Unfortunately, when I got back Sunday night, it was right back into the grind of work, but the escape was definitey worth the trip.

3. End of summer BBQ
Summer is slowly coming to an end, and I had the opportunity to host another successful BBQ. Again, I tried to do too much, and cook too much food and too many different kinds of food, but overall, it turned out great! Some of the most popular items (to be included for the next bbq included:

  • grilled corn with homemade chive butter
  • Korean short ribs
  • mini brushetta burgers
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Grilled veggies
  • Sangria
  • homemade lime gelato (recipe here)

4. United Way Rouge Ball
Earlier on in the month, we were contacted by a classmate of ours to become a sponsor for the upcoming United Way Rouge Ball in November. It seems like a great event, and so I’m giving it a bit of a plug here: What is Rouge and who is GenNext?

A masquerade ball: “An evening of mystery in mask” with an unmasking at midnight. There is music, an extensive silent auction, and a lounge which provides the opportunity for education and additional musical guests.

GenNext is a program of United Way Toronto with the mandate to engage people in their 20s and 30s with United Way through giving and volunteering. Led by a Cabinet of volunteers who are GenNexters themselves, and supported by a United Way staff person, the group is committed to raising awareness and supporting the work of United Way Toronto, its partners, and member agencies, by developing and participating in volunteer and fundraising events. Read more here.


5. Fairlawn Healthy Living Show
Here’s another plug for an event I’ll be participating in, this time for those in the Lawrence Park area at the end of September (26th).We’ll be setting up a booth at the Fairlawn Healthy Living Show to promote our business and also get some reaction and feedback to our educational curriculum. Read more about it here (pdf).


6. Toronto Bicycling Network bike ride
At the beginning of the summer, my uncle had given my family a membership to the Toronto Bicycling Network and I’ve been meaning to go out on a ride with them for a while. Well the opportunity finally came around and it was a great experience getting out there for some exercise, meeting some new people, and check out this organization. If I get some more time in the future, I’ll definitely be heading out on some more rides with TBN.


7. Visiting an organic farm
As part of exploring new opportunities for my business, I had the chance to visit an organic farm a little outside of Toronto. It was a neat property, and I think we may be trying out a new supplier for some organic seedlings for next year. Nancy and I took a nice day trip out to meet this guy, and it was interesting talking both about farming, and business as he had quite an extensive business background and experience before venturing into the farming world.


8. Reading More Interesting Books
Despite all the projects and activities on my plate in August, I still found some time to get through a couple of books. For those of you interested in business and sports, I would recommend the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis. For the more business and marketing oriented, I would highly encourage you to check out Seth Godin’s The Dip, and Tribes, as well as Martin Lindstrom’s book, Buy-ology


9. Gavin ‘Fun’ Chan
As August wound to a close, that also meant the end of the ultimate season. To wrap up the season (before playoffs), some of the people on my Tuesday team went for a “fun” run. And what was supposed to be a short trail run, followed by a team dinner ended up turning into quite an adventure as Gavin “fun” Chan lived up to his nickname. We were supposed to go on a short run from Riverdale park, up past Bloor and then back down to the park, but for whatever reason, Gavin decided that he wanted to keep on running. So he ran, and he ran, and when he hit the Lakeshore, he decided that the run wasn’t fun enough, and kept on running! Despite hitting a fork in the road, not waiting for us to catch up, and not knowing which direction to go in, he decided to keep on going all the way to Ashbridges Bay! Luckily, as we stopped various other people on the trail to see if they had seen Gavin or not, one of them had the foresight to take down our cell number, and then by a stroke of luck, came across Gavin and called us so we could arrange to meet him along the trail.


10. Interesting Toronto nightlife experience
Also this month, I had a fun and interesting night out on the town. I’m all for trying out new things, and was able to go to a place I would normally not have a reason to be going to. One of my friends was in town for the weekend from D.C. and brought with her a bunch of friends and her new GF. They had their schedule mostly planned for the evening and so another friend and I had arranged for us to go out and meet them at the bar where they were hanging out. While it’s not often that I’m one of less than a handful of guys in the bar, it was really an interesting experience being around a different group of people than I would normally interact with. Thanks for visiting Kate and I’m sure I’ll see you soon, be it in T., D.C. or ADK.


Looking Forward
Looking forward, September is going to be another super busy month (in a good way). There will be lots of changes happening both personally and professionally, and I’m looking forward to whatever the future holds for me.

The Most Atrocious Parking Job

Last night, I witnessed one of the most bone-headed parking jobs ever. It was so bad that it defies logic and common sense, and something that left me wondering how these kinds of people still exist in the world today. Now I will be the first one to admit that I’m not perfect and some (many) of my parking attempts are pretty atrocious. This one though, takes the cake for the person’s lack of judgment and lack of common sense.

What made this the worst parking job I’ve ever seen, and something so bad that I’m taking the time to rant about it?

It was a white pickup truck that was parallel parked on the street smack in front of my driveway, preventing both cars in a two-car driveway from getting out. I don’t know what he was thinking when he decided that blocking a private laneway would be ok while he went in for an appointment at my neighbour’s house across the street. It was kind of like this picture, but much worse. (link to image)

Here’s what made this parking spot even worse than you thought possible.

1. There were no other cars parked on the street in 100 meters in all directions.
My neighbour’s driveway even had an empty spot for him to park in. And if he really wanted to park on the street, all he had to do was move 3 meters forward, 3 meters backward, or ANYWHERE else on either side of the street and he would’ve been in the clear. Even moving 1 meter in either direction would have allowed one car to exit from my driveway (though at an awkward angle). It seems he purposely chose the spot that would make it physically impossible for any car to leave my driveway without driving on and ruining the lawn.

2. There were two cars in plain view in the driveway before he got there.
They weren’t in the garage, but in plain view and clearly his parking in front of my driveway meant that they would be preventing from leaving. It’s not like the cars in my driveway appeared out of nowhere. They were there long before he even showed up or thought about visiting my neighbour’s house.

3. He parked right in the middle of the driveway
He didn’t even attempt to park along the curb or give even a little bit of space to allow one car to get out. He decided that right smack in the middle of someone’s driveway – who you’re not even going to visit – would be an ok place to park. That kind of logic just boggles my mind. Who (besides this guy) does that sort of thing?!

4. He knew he would be spending a significant amount of time away from his vehicle.
He was contractor (there was binder of some of his products sitting in the front seat) and was inside my neighbour’s house on a sales call. These kinds of appointments don’t take just a couple of minutes. And it’s not like running into the corner store to pickup some bread on the way home. He was giving a sales presentation.

5. He arrived early for his appointment
When my neighbour opened up the door, he mentioned that as he was coming home and pulling into his garage, he saw the offending car already blocking my driveway and thought it was strange to be parked that way. It’s not like he was in a rush to park and get to his appointment, he arrived early and was there before the homeowner even got home!

6. His action showed a complete lack of common sense and common courtesy
There were so many other spots he could have chosen. He had time to do a better parking job, but he didn’t. That just screams laziness, stupidity, incompetence, and complete lack of empathy for his fellow citizens.

I’m going to take solace in the fact that he probably won’t be getting the job from my neighbor and therefore won’t be back in my neighbourhood again. Hopefully he learns from this experience or sees how stupid his actions were. This turned into a really long rant, and if you want to read more, you can check out my other rant on Indian telemarketers.