Friday, December 28, 2007

Visit to London, Ontario

It's been lots of fun for the past few days in London!!!!!

I have been chillin' and had a great time Boxing Day shopping with Norm. I got some Tommy Hilfiger jeans for $40, on sale from $115?!?! Sweet. And now they can replace my jeans that had a massive hole in an unsavory location (i.e. the crotch) haha. Also found a couple of Cars toys I didn't have, Old School Ramone and Ghostlight Ramone, good times.

Today lots of nice walking with my family and then tonight I went out with Ans and it was super awesome. We chatted for about 2 hours solid about our jobs, what kind of work we are doing, how it compares to other experiences we've had, how we are enjoying the atmosphere at our jobs, and challenges and stuff like that. It was awesome to hear all about how Ans is doing, he's working at GE in Peterborough and it sounds like he's doing an awesome job.

Then we went to Judy Tran's family's restaurant, and chilled there, Annie Kim (also from our high school) was there too and it was great to catch up and talk a bunch and it was Judy's birthday so extra awesome to hang out with her on her special day. Fun times.

Tomorrow I am going to Waterloo!!!

Haha slot machines in the Vegas airport

The dinner I ate in Detroit, a hot dog, a muffin and some juice!!

Mom on Dad's lap, haha

Mom and Dad!!!!!

Me and my Sister Norma

Haha this napkin says "Sweet times!"

Lights in Victoria Park

Me and Slamma

Ans at William's Coffee Pub

Me at William's

Doing some classic poses with Ans, Judy and Annie

Some chicken balls that Judy's brother made for us

Ans and Annie

Judy trying to open some Champagne

Ans after opening the Champagne and shooting the cap across the room!!

Post #901, the 400th Post of 2007

I just noticed that I'd posted 399 posts this calendar year and I wanted to give some love to this post and make it feel special. :) Anyway yeah, looks like this year has been a year of mad blogging.

I started the blog in April 2005 when I was moving to San Francisco for the first time, and posted 206 times in 2005, then 295 in 2006.

This year was a busy one, finishing my 5 years of school, graduating, backpacking in Europe for 3 months, the start of the "Mike Jutan in Europe" video blogging/YouTube series, and then of course, moving to San Francisco for my first full-time, post-University job!! Pretty awesome stuff. So it's been a crazy year, and thanks to all you eager Jutan Clan blog readers. You guys are nuts/awesome. I can't believe that photos of the food I ate for dinner, pictures of me in random places and the odd political/social trend rant mixed with some movie reviews is garnering this much attention. Thank you for your emails and as always, if you keep readin', I'll keep writin'.

Cheers to another year of me bloggin' like a fiend, and you kind/awesome peeps wanting to keep in touch with me and my life. I hope you all had good times with your families over the break and you all have a Happy New Year. Rock and roll.

The plan for Jutan in 2008

Since I'm still in the PST time zone, it's 4:23am and I am wide awake. Anyway instead of going to sleep or not blogging, I figured I'd blog. Good times.

Anyway I had a really long chat tonight with the Jutan Clan about what my plans are for getting myself a little better settled in San Francisco in the New Year... I've got a plan (now don't worry, this isn't New Years resolution-y, I'm actually going to do this stuff) of a few things I want to take care of as soon as I get back to San Francisco...
  1. Plan for a 2 week trip to South Africa
  2. Weight training
  3. Getting my apartment completely unpacked and organized
  4. Making more quiet, relaxed time for myself
  5. Start grocery shopping at better places
Now since I'm pretty much making a list I'm going to break these down a bit more and plan it out a bit... just want to get my ideas out here now so I have something to follow...

1. Plan for a 2 week trip to South Africa
This involves some MAJOR cost savings and has implications on a lot of stuff:
  • Take muesli cereal into work for a snack
  • Finaaaallly start preparing my own lunches for work
  • "Skim" money off the top of my paycheque every week, transfer it to my ING Direct Savings Account, don't touch it
  • Do taxes early to get my refund earlier if possible
  • Actually plan the trip, decide if I am going for sure, decide what airport I am meeting Norm (my sister) in, and then planning to travel together from there
  • Organize Visa requirements
  • Save, save, save: stop spending on stuff I don't need, delay those purchases until later
  • Pay Mom and Dad back the rest of the money I owe them (that I borrowed for Europe) as quickly as possible
  • Likely skip things I wanted to do like the Xavier Rudd concert, skiing in Tahoe, traveling with friends, etc. I HAVE to make tradeoffs... if I want to go to South Africa, the money has to come from somewhere. I can't do *everything*, so I need to cut down where I can.
2. Weight training
  • Continue my 1 hr/day of biking to and from work throughout the winter
  • Join the gym at work, go regularly with Matt Parrott... or...
  • Start rock climbing again, go with Ian from work and Sivanny (who is moving to San Francisco)
3. Getting my apartment completely unpacked and organized
  • Just get this done asap
  • Get empty boxes/bags ready for the following: stuff to keep packed, stuff to sell on Ebay, stuff to throw out, stuff to unpack
  • Take care of stuff to unpack (more posters, stuff to hang on walls)
  • Sell "Ebay box" of stuff on Ebay
  • Pack away "stuff to keep packed" into a nice box and put it in my dining room as a table
  • Buy a Vacuum for the rugs and hardwood floors
4. Making more quiet, relaxed time for myself
  • The last 2 months (Nov and Dec) have been INSANE. I have been bounding from one major event to the next, flying to multiple states, traveling a lot, partying a lot with friends, eating in restaurants waaaaaaaay too much, spending too much money... it's been really fun but insane. I neeeeeeeeeed a "Shabbos" - I need to give myself the chance to relax and collect my thoughts after the week at work.
  • When I go places on the weekend don't ALWAYS call people to hang out, start doing some stuff on my own again
  • Continue reading the novel I am reading now, start reading more
  • Continue blogging, cause it rocks
  • Stop wasting so much time on the computer doing unnecessary stuff
  • Go to Costco and stock up on some nice food, frozen salmon, etc.
  • Start cooking more, fancier dinners, different recipes for myself
  • Make my weekends a bit more calm, cool and collected
  • Start biking in the Golden Gate Park
  • Do activities on the weekend that I really want to do, rather than joining up with big groups all the time
  • "Take time for solitude" as Larry Smith told me... and give my mind some time to wander and be creative rather than constantly doing stuff and occupying myself with 100 things to do
  • Take walks in the park
  • Go to the beach more
  • Continue renting movies from work and watching them in the evenings
5. Start grocery shopping at better places
  • The local grocery stores near my house are both expensive, and the one has overpriced stuff and bad produce, and the other one never has any sales.
  • Make a point to go to Trader Joes or Whole Foods, better prices, better food, much bigger selection
  • Make a point to go once a week or once every 2 weeks for produce, ingredients for muesli, and so on. I can bike there most likely, and can take back stuff in a backpack. Or take the bus there and take a lot of stuff home
  • This will affect other major items like saving money (not wasting on local overpriced store) and making time for myself (buying nicer ingredients and making nicer food)
  • Also, try to talk to Rachel and Justin and go to Costco to stock up on supplies.
Anyway that's about it for now. Lots of other stuff I want to sort out soon too, but this is a good start.

Video Post: Grand Canyon

Here are a couple of videos, one of the drive along the highways and one at the top of the Grand Canyon. We drove on Route 66 for a bit!!!!!!!!! It was soooooooo cool.

Looks a bit like a real life version of the Pixar movie Cars, eh?!?!!

Awesome view at the top of the Grand Canyon

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Queen is on YouTube

Yes this is true. I just saw an article and had to check it out.

Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas Message this year is on... YouTube?!!!!!!!!!
Check out the new YouTube Channel: The Royal Channel!!

Didn't see that one coming. Pretty cool!

Goodbye Vegas, Hello Canada!

And... I'm back in Canada!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vegas was fun but soooo crazy. It was a really good idea to balance the craziness/lights/action/people/insanity/crowds/gambling/noise in Vegas with the quiet/calm/nature of Red Rocks every other day, and the trip to the Grand Canyon too.

I headed out of Vegas this morning and found FREE internet at the Vegas Airport which was a BIG surprise since everything else in Vegas is 2x the regular price anywhere else.

It was a long and eventful and crazy flight, I eventually got to Detroit and then wasn't able to switch onto an earlier bus so I had to wait for a couple hours and didn't realize that all the good food and exciting stuff at Detroit airport is on the other side of the security gate. Oh well. Then headed back to London on the bus and chatted to a really interesting girl from Denmark who goes to school at Western for the entire bus ride back. Good times.

I got home and my parents are soooooooo happy to see me, and my sister was so tired she had already gone to bed. Tomorrow my sister Norma and I have the time-honoured tradition of going to the mall and laughing at people getting worked up during crazy Boxing Day shopping, making fun of random people, and generally laughing at the insane consumerism. Oh yeah, and some Koya Japan for lunch, of course. I can't wait.

So now it's pretty late in EST time, so I better get some sleep. Norm is going to want 110% of my attention tomorrow, all day, schlepping around the mall (haha). I can't wait, but yeah I am going to need some decent sleep to brave the crowds tomorrow.

Looks like the plans are finally falling together for New Years in Toronto. Sweet.

Last night in Vegas

Last night we got back to Vegas after the long drive from the Grand Canyon and checked into our hotel for the night which was Treasure Island, it was soooooooooo fancy and really a lot classier and more impressive than the Excalibur where we stayed earlier. The rooms were really nice, the casino was fancy and it was generally a really slick place. The art in the rooms was way less tacky and we even had a flat screen TV!! Pretty cool stuff.

We wandered around a bit, took more photos of the Venetian and The Mirage and other casinos in the area and then went to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner. John had never been there before... crazy!!!!!! We got some awesome food, I got a Toohey's New which was really nice and I haven't had one of those since I was in Australia. Good stuff. Then down to the casino for a bit of random card stuff, John played blackjack a bunch and I watched, and then wasted another few bucks on slot machines, which was silly/a waste of money, but kindof fun.

Then back to Treasure Island to get packed and ready to go.

Hoover Dam at night

The lights as we drove into Vegas at night

The view from our sweeeeeeet hotel room

Super awesome hotel room, this one was the best of the whole trip

Fancy TV


Even the bathroom rocked

haha "ti" sticker (for "Treasure Island") on the toilet paper roll, haha

Wynn Casino

Treasure Island

Treasure Island sign

Venetian Casino

The Palazzo and the Wynn

"Canals" in the Venetian

The Venetian was super cool

Me at the "Venice Canals"

Canals and Gondola rides, soooooo tacky, but reaalllly cool

Treasure Island

Another pic of the Venetian

The Mirage

Toohey's New!!

Dinner at the Outback

The Venetian was probably the nicest looking casino in Vegas

Grand Canyon Day 2

Day 2 in the Grand Canyon we went to a bunch more lookouts, and it was really cool. We had a few short walks, and met some South Africans who live in Toronto (awesome), and then headed out of the park. We stopped for some food at one of the only places that was open on Christmas Day and continued back all the way to Vegas. I drove the majority of the way which was great, the Honda Accord we rented was awesome and I was pretty happy that I could handle such a long drive. It was about 220 miles or so, I drove all the way from Williams, Arizona back to Las Vegas. Sweet!!

Williams, Arizona back to Las Vegas, Nevada

It was nice to see more of the Grand Canyon from different areas and then the drive back was really fun and the scenery was great.

Grand Canyon 1

Grand Canyon 2

Me at the Grand Canyon

Me and John at the Grand Canyon

Crazy walking trails down the Grand Canyon

Scary sign

Me at the Grand Canyon


Another cool pic

This was sooooooooo cool


Hilarious Flintstones campground on the way back to Vegas

Haha Flintstones campground

John wondering why I keep taking photos of our lunch