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Day 3 of the Juice Reboot

I’ve never bought this many vegetables for the juicing reboot. Actually, come to think of it, I’ve never bought vegetables. Joyce had to give me a crash course on grocery shopping and how to pick out good fruits and such.

And argh, it sucks so hard. The first three days are always the hardest.

The breakfast juice one isn’t so bad. I just throw in 4 carrots, 2 apples, and a lemon. It’s actually pretty tasty. Like apple juice. It’s the lunch and dinner ones that are almost killing me.

I’m trying to alternate between these two:

Kale, a cup of spinach, a couple of celery stalks, a cucumber, an apple, and I round it out with a lemon.

2 apples, 2 cucumbers, more kale, and some parsley.

Just before I go to bed, I throw in the berry one which is mostly grapes and blueberries.

No rice, no pasta, or any of that stuff. Although, I probably picked a bad time to do this since BlizzCon is this upcoming week.

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Reboot!

I think I’m going to give this a shot. Bought a juicer and everything and will give the 5 day juice plan a go. The next couple of days are going to suck.

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On Friends

Joyce made a passing statement about the people on her phone. Many of them are individuals that she’s lost touch with. I look at my phone and realized there are people who I talk to daily and weekly, people who I talk to periodically, and there are people who I just don’t really speak with at all anymore.

That’s okay. It’s hard to maintain a close connection to a large number of people. Most of us have a circle of 4 – 6 really good friends that we maintain a constant contact with. She remarked that with some people neither her nor the other person made attempts to stay in touch or keep up with the other regularly.

The way I see it, life is shorter than we realize. I want to be able to build experiences with people that I enjoy being around and cutting off parasites that are a drain on me. People will come and go and that’s okay. See, I maintain friendships because I believe people have something to bring to the table. I might value one person’s insights into life or philosophy. I may have a friend who is easy going and is down to hangout. Others provide their own forms of support or have an awesome personality of their own. When I reach out to people, it’s because I think there’s something there that’s worth it. They make me feel more at ease or good about myself. But it’s got to be a two way street because all relationships take two to make it work. If you’re the one putting in all the effort and the other isn’t, then it’s time to rethink what you’re getting out of it and if it’s worthwhile to maintain it when you can be investing that energy elsewhere with someone who is more willing.

Why be friends with people who can’t seem to be bothered to do the same for you? You’re worth something too. We all have something to bring to the table and it’s just a matter of figuring out what.

Me for instance, I just like planning trips and events. Seriously, I’m already laying down the groundwork for BlizzCon 2014, New Year’s, and next year’s birthday.

And that’s the low down on friendships.

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What is the Low Down?

Took me several years, but I finally figured out a solid name for my blog. Instead of just Matt’s blog, I decided to tag it as the Low Down (because, y’know, it plays well with my name and all). What to put on here? Probably stuff that isn’t gaming related. I contribute to enough sites for those as it is (like Gamefront, WoW Insider, and my own World of Matticus).

In other news, the US Government’s closed. I’m a little incredulous. I’ve been following the story from assorted angles and the like (left, right, center, etc) but I have a bit of a Canadian slant on things. It won’t reopen until one side gives way and this is all about the ACA. The way I see it,  the ACA became law. I see a lot of discussion saying it was unfair or wasn’t done properly or whatever. But my understanding is that it passed through both houses (after some heavy modification) and was upheld by the US Supreme Court. The time for debate passed. 

At least the dollar’s dropped some. Managed to pick up some more US currency, whee!

BlizzCon in a little under a month and I can’t wait to see my friends and colleagues from the last time I was there (which was two years ago). It’s supposed to be around 30° down there in November. That’s the latest in the year I’ve ever been to California and I’m not sure how to dress. I’m worried about climate control (sweating), so I need to layer strategically.

Vests? I think so!

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Wyn showed me an app called Moves. I was originally debating either a Fitbit or Jawbone’s Up because I was looking around at a few of them when I was in the Apple Store in San Francisco. It’s simple and straightforward. All it tracks is movement. I don’t have to enter anything per trip or whatever. Even if I roll my chair, it still tracks it as movement.

However, there is a neat option where you can set it to calculate calorie burn. Just need to enter certain information about yourself.

Right now it’s only available for the iPhone (master race). Android version should be coming along pretty soon.

Preeeetty cool! It’s also 2794 steps to walk to Starbucks and back home.

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Finally got around to changing my domain name. I think it’s much more fitting!

Anyway, as a follow up to my recent predicament, I decided to just go for it. I leave around 8:15 and usually my raid’s able to take care of themselves. My greatest fear is that my raid team can’t kill any bosses without me.

Seriously.

Like number one fear.

Over broccoli.

Because a GM thinks of their guild like their baby. A guild being able to kill hard mode bosses without their leader is like a dad watching his child walk for the first time. Well, okay maybe not quite. But you know, close enough. Turns out I should just leave raid more often because it seems they get more done without me being there.

Speaking of volleyball, there wasn’t that many people there last week which is weird since they were at capacity for the past month. Maybe people got tired of facing off against me or something. Oh well, either way, lots of fun. Think I injured my back slightly. I dove and landed awkwardly. Got the point though.

I also met a cutie girl. More on this later. All I managed to do was stutter a hi. We ended up playing on the same team and I set her up for some awesome kills. My goal next week is to say something other than Hi. I CAN DO THIS!

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Check out the story on CNET.

As Apple’s fall product reveal approaches, alleged images of the new iPhone parts are appearing with greater frequency. The latest is plastic packaging for an iPhone 5C, which appeared on the Chinese WeiPhone discussion forum. The 5C could be the rumored lower-cost, plastic-encased iPhone that could show up along with an updated iPhone 5, expected to be call the 5S.

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Things to Keep in Mind When Renting

This is a reference for me for when I eventually make the jump to the real world. Sourced r/toronto.

There’s three key questions you need to answer: 1. Can I afford to live there 2. Do I want to live there 3. Do I want to rent from her/him.

Can I afford to live there

  • Figure out what you can afford in terms of rent, it’s worth sitting down with a spreadsheet, how much do you make, how much is food, gas, public transit, etc. Don’t forget monthly costs like internet, utilities, television, etc.
  • When you’re looking at apartments note what’s included, and what’s not. Clearly you can afford a little more rent when utilities are included. When you’re splitting utilities across several units (common in a lot of student style housing) you may end up paying more for the actions of people you can’t control.
  • Utilities included offers very reliable pricing, but you generally pay a slight premium for it.
  • It’s worth considering your transportation costs when choosing where to live. My girlfriend and I spent a bit more on rent to be near UofT, but she also stopped needing a metropass.
  • There’s no rent control in buildings built after like 1991, after the first year they can just jack up the rent as much as they want.
  • The first week you move in will be expensive (either for you, or for your dad if he’s helping out). You’re going to need cleaning supplies, grocery staples, hand towels, dish soap, a plunger, maybe some new furniture, etc. Depending on your financial situation you may want to delay moving out a month to save up for that first expensive month.
  • Window coverings (curtains) can be expensive to buy if they don’t come with the unit. Some leases explicitly forbid non-standard coverings.
  • If you’re paying to heat the apartment check out the windows for drafts, especially in older houses. That’s a great way to lose a LOT of heat and money. I’ve used that plastic wrap stuff over windows in the winter before to save money on utilities.
  • Ask to see a utility bill from the current tenant. I think most show you some history. Depending on how the house is heated there will be a lot of fluctuation. If, for example it’s heated with gas, but cooled with electricity, gas will be high in the winter, and electricity in the summer.

Do I want to live there

  • If you’re in a house that’s been remodeled to have multiple apartments note the type of floor. Wood floors above you can make for unintentionally noisy people above.
  • Try to visualize where your furniture will fit in an apartment you’re looking it. We saw a great place, then realized there was no way to make the living room work with the furniture we had.
  • Turn on the tap and bath full stream cold, then flush the toilet for an idea of the water pressure.
  • Laundry in unit/in building/none can be a major deciding factor for us. Decide how willing you’re going to be to lug your laundry to a laundrymat when it’s -10C
  • Consider where you’ll buy food, how you’ll get there and back.
  • My girlfriend’s last place had roaches, the landlord brought in an exterminator, who put like small brown dots of stuff in a bunch of places. Think brown toothpaste being applied through a 1mm hole. That stuff was still visible months later, but they never saw bugs again. Our current place has that same brown stuff in a few places, but we’ve never seen bugs. So while I can tell it was an issue before, it’s been fully resolved and I’ve seen nothing in my year plus.
  • Smoke rises, pot and cigarette. Ask if smoking is permitted in the building, or on the property.
  • Consider the amount of natural light, especially in your bedroom and living rooms. Dark rooms = unhappy rooms. Lamps (much more so than most ceiling lighting) can do a lot for a room. My old living room became easily 4x better when I put a lamp in the corner.

Do I want to rent from her/him

  • I like to go back after the showing and ask the tenants about the landlord when he’s not standing there.
  • "Showing the apartment" landlord is always nice, "maintaining the apartment" possibly less so.
  • You can search here http://app.toronto.ca/InvestigationActivity/setup.do?action=init[1] to see previous situations where the tenant asked the city to investigate to force the landlord to do something. I’d consider records there to be a bad sign.
  • If you see multiple properties listed by the same landlord, you can search them all for complaints to get a broader view.
  • Don’t sign weird leases. The price you see advertised is the price you should pay. If other things come up with rent discounts, maintaining the garden for pay part of the year, or other chicanery, it’s likely just a ploy to allow them to raise your rent more at the end of the term.

General Tips

  • Places tend to go quickly if you’re near UofT, like, someone will put in an application same day as showing.
  • Ask the landlord to re-cylinder the lock when you move in. It changes what key is needed, but is relatively cheap.
  • If the landlord says anything like "I’ll change the carpet when you move in" write it into the lease.
  • If you’re buying furniture at Ikea figure it all out online, then walk in the exit and just grab things from the warehouse directly.
  • If you’re cooking for 1 a toaster oven can be cheaper to warm up than a whole oven. Also less waste heat in hot summer months
  • I don’t rent parts of houses if the landlord is in another part (for example, someone renting out their basement apartment). The difference in power makes me uncomfortable.
  • Buy a plunger when you do your big buy. Then it just looks like you’re setting up a new house. When you buy a plunger at the 24hr Shoppers at 3:00am looking annoyed everyone will know what’s happening. Buy the one with the long handle.
  • Some utility companies offer a way to normalize your payments, so rather than having a few super high heating bills in the winter, you pay a bit more year round. This can be helpful for budgeting, but tricky if roommates come and go.
  • Keep your curtains closed in the summer and open in the winter. The sun heats what it hits, bad in the summer (when your A/C has to fight the heat), good in the winter (when it helps your heater).
  • If you buy the cheapest furniture you can, expect it to last a year or two. The next step up does pretty well in quality. Furniture you find at Goodwill or garage sales that’s made of real wood is an order of magnitude stronger than particle board crap you’d buy new.
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Volleyball or WoW?

It’s no secret that I run a guild. A guild is basically a gaming organization where players come together and commit to scheduled events such as killing really big dragons. We schedule our dragon killing times three times a week. This week, I had to end our “raid” (that’s what we call scheduled dragon killing time) a little early because of attendance and because we were short key players.

As a result, I decided to head over and play drop in volleyball at the recently built community center. It was pretty full. There were three courts with six teams and enough extra people left over for one sub per team. I managed to quickly fill in for a team. The skill level and ages of players were all over the place. There were some really good plays and some lazy ones. Kinda par for the course. Ended up with something like 5 aces, 1 return ace, and no blocks because I wasn’t able to jump that high.

I had an incredible amount of fun tonight though playing with all these new people. I really want to be able to keep coming back and playing week after week. My raid finishes at 9 PM. Volleyball starts at 830 but it seems to be picking up. There were 42 people that showed up. With 3 courts, that’s around 12 players per court resulting in 7 players as subs. That means I’d have to leave and get there around 815 to even try to get a spot.

There’s the conundrum. I can’t really just abandon my raid a little halfway over the night. If we had more numbers with a steadier roster, then I wouldn’t feel as bad. We’ve lost two players recently to work and real life and we’re a little precarious at the moment. Another couple more are out on vacation and won’t be back for a few weeks. Me not being in the lineup is going to hurt our ability to function from a numbers standpoint. Not only that, I’m the current leader in charge. I don’t really have a number two player in mind who has shown the willingness and ability to lead. So if I take off early to go play volleyball, I feel like I’m bailing out on the team and my responsibilities. I wish they changed their schedule so that Volleyball was on Wednesdays instead.

The only way I can think of to really reconcile this to keep recruiting until we’re back in the green numbers again. But even then, the coaching team is just not at a level where I can comfortably sit out later on a regular basis.

Oh well, it was fun at least for the night.

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