Thursday, October 09, 2014

Foursquare export for dummies

I use Foursquare to keep track of where I go when travelling. After my recent trip to NYC, I wanted to export the place names of where I went.

This is how you do it:

1) go to and copy the RSS link to your clipboard
2) go to
3) paste the link from (1) and append ?count=30 
or however many places you visited and want exported. The feed will be in reverse chronological format.
4) enter path expression //item/title
5) select No for "Include the XML item type in output" dropdown
6) copy and paste the ouput to some editor that lets you do a search & replace. Replace extraneous xml tags with blank.

Maybe I'll make a little web app to do all this in one step.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Roundup: Toronto Restaurants

Here are some restaurants in Toronto that I believe are a must visit for tourists.

Kensington Market, Chinatown:
- Mother's Dumplings (yelp)
- Tibet Cafe (yelp)
- Pho Hung (yelp)
- Fresh Spadina (yelp)
- Hibiscus (yelp)
- Poetry Jazz Cafe (yelp)
- Big Fat Burrito (yelp)

Ossington Strip:
- Pho Tien Thanh (yelp)

- Grand Electric (yelp)

The Beach, Leslieville:
- Burger's Priest (yelp)
- Ceili Cottage (yelp)

- Guu Izakaya (yelp)

Monday, October 10, 2011

foreman Procfile troubles

Having trouble with your foreman Procfile? Make sure the file is saved in unix mode.
I had a worker process defined and I was getting this:

19:38:23 worker.1 | rake aborted!
'9:38:23 worker.1 | Don't know how to build task 'resque:work
19:38:23 worker.1 |
19:38:23 worker.1 | (See full trace by running task with --trace)

I ran dos2unix and the problem went away.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Google App Engine billing rant

So I signed into Google App Engine after a year of hiatus and lo and behold I find out I owe $116.28. I wish I had gotten an email telling me that I'm being billed every month, so I could do something about it. Real sneaky Google...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bishnu Yoga Teacher Training Course

A few people have been asking me about the Yoga teacher training course I recently finished. It lasted from October 2009 to June 2010. The studio is Hot Yoga Challege at 720 Spadina Ave at Bloor St. W. The website is This is the first Bikram yoga studio in Canada but as of 2008 (roughly) they cut ties with Bikram for reasons that deserve another blog post.

[Guru at work]

I would say it's a decent teacher training course. I had a full time job, a contract on the side and a baby on the way at the same time. So I had trouble memorizing the script on time. Usually about 4 postures per week had to be memorized and recital tested every Saturday. Aranka is strict but was quite forgiving and very patient with me. Still the pressure from Aranka was stressful on me. I liked Sasha more when he was lecturing or testing us. Although he was strict in other ways, there was a level of wisdom about him that I appreciated.
Aranka taught us some other yoga as well including videotaped lectures on Yin Yoga and chakra meditation. I still do chakra meditation now as it helps me to de-stress and recharge. There was never any lack of material to learn that's for sure.
Internship is part of the course so I taught about 10 classes at the end. It did help me gain confidence with speaking in front of an audience. Now I just don't have time to do it. But my goal wasn't necessarily to teach. More to become a better student.

Hope that helps you decide if you want to take this course. Best wishes. Namaste.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Moving scam

Yesterday was not a good day. This post will explain my experience with one moving company based in Ontario, Canada.

Business info:

Movers on Demand, Inc.

416 919 6683

WHOIS info for domain name:






Customer experiences:

Problem explanation and dispute position:

Two weeks before the moving date, we researched various moving companies and decided on one called "Movers on Demand, Inc."

The company website ( advertised that an estimate will be made before the moving date. This was never done. Over the phone a quote was given for approximately $265.

The moving date was set for December 17 at 10 am.

On the date of the move at 10am when the movers did not show up, we called to confirm the time. We were told the movers would be coming in the afternoon. We said that is not good enough and we were told they would come at 11:30am. They did show up at 11:30am but this was 1.5 hours late. Furthermore only 2 movers were present instead of the 3 promised over the phone.

It took 2.5 hours to load the truck. 20 minutes to drive to the new house. Once at the new house the movers sat in the truck for about 10 minutes. Upon emerging they presented us with an invoice for $855 before taxes with a breakdown as follows:

Labour at 45/hour - 360

Travel time - 45

Stairs - 180

Appliances - 30

Piano - 60

Special handling - 30

Assembly/dismantling - 60

Heavy Items - 90

The movers would not unload the truck until we paid the invoice.

The unloading time is assumed by the movers to be the same as the loading time. By those calculations, the total labour is 5 hours. However the invoice labour cost of 360 was based on 8 hours. Their explanation for this was to point out the contract terms where it stated a minimum of 4 hours per trip. This is then multiplied by 2 to get the minimum labour of 8 hours. We talked on the phone to the supervisor Kevin and we disagreed on the reasoning for multiplying and the result of 8 hours. We also disagreed on the surcharge for "Piano" as the piano involved is actually a digital keyboard that came apart and is not nearly as heavy as a conventional upright piano. Kevin agreed to take $45 off the labour charge and to remove the "Special Handling" charge of $30. The subtotal was therefore reduced to $780. After 13% taxes and a $20 credit card surcharge, the total charged to my VISA was $901.40.

Our position is that the labour should be for 5 hours and that the piano charge should be dropped. The subtotal should therefore be adjusted to $660.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Improv Report Lesson 1

Last week I signed up for Improv 101 at the Impatient Theatre Company. It cost CAD $150 for 8 lessons, once a week. Last night I ventured out to the first lesson. Here are my impressions.

The studio is located on Queen St W. at Roncesvalles. After some searching I found a plain door wedged between two storefronts with barely a sign. Good thing I was on time. 6:30pm. A flight of stairs led me to the studio lobby. I walked into a small room where a few people had assembled together. Someone that resembled an instructor greeted me. I forgot the name almost instantly, later to be reminded that it's Erin. Erin Lovely.

As quickly as I forgot her name, we were directed to another room. The Green room I think it was called, had chairs around the walls so everyone quickly sat down. Across from me were two men talking and smirking. I couldn't quite identify their nationality but soon found out they were Iranian: Jubin and Amir. In all there were only about 6 people so far. I was underwhelmed. Gradually more people showed up. Just as I was getting comfortable in my chair Erin decides to move us to another room. And so we follow to the Blue room.

The Blue room has, no surprise, blue walls. It's now about 6:45 and we are Jubin, Amir, Steven, Adiam, Giovanni, Dahlia, Neelam, Heather, Jenny. Erin hands out two pieces of paper. A course overview and a disclaimer. She reads the disclaimer aloud for the next 15 minutes. Each of us also gets a pass card for free show admissions, which we are encouraged to attend.

The rest of the class is a series of games, a 15 minute lunch break, more games. Finally, 3 hours later we share what we liked best about the class and what we took away.

Game 1: Zip, Zap, Zup
We all stand in a circle. Someone starts with yelling Zip and at the same time clapping hands in the direction of someone across. That someone across has to repeat with Zap. And then Zup and again Zip and so on.

Game 2: Zip, Zap, Zup with increasing loudness
By the end we're all yelling at the top of our lungs. And the window is open.

Game 3. Zip, Zap, Zup with throwing objects
Same as before but throwing or kicking imaginary objects instead of clapping.

Game 4: Slow-mo Samurai
Lights off. Pretend we're all samurai with big swords. Slowly retrieve the sword from the back with two hands and kill everyone around you. You can block with your elbows. If you're hit, slowly die. You can attack as you're dying.

Game 5: Chinese Throwing Stars
Stand in a circle and throw imaginary chinese stars at each other. Catch the stars with a clap and throw back at someone else. Add sound effects. If you fail you go in the middle of the circle and everyone throws stars at you and you die very slowly.

Game 6: Mnemonic Devices
We sit in a circle and go clockwise thinking up nicknames for each other. Giovanni is Don Giovanni of the Arts. Dahlia is Dahlicious. Neelam is decided on Vaneelam. Jenny is Je ne sais quoi. I am Gorillia. Amir is A-Miracle. Jubin is Ju-Ju-Bean. Steven is Steve-o-Meiser. Adiam becomes Adiamo.
Each of us then has to recite everyone's aliases.

Game 7: I love ___
One by one we stand up in the middle of the room and say what we love for 2 minutes. I got carried away here and mentioned some non PG-rated stuff.
I enjoyed this game because there was so much support and positive energy in the room. Audience had to clap and yell "yay" if they also shared your love.

Game 8: Panels
3 teams of 4 go on virtual stage and pretend to be a panel of experts on a topic chosen by the audience. Erin, our instructor is the panel moderator.
The topics were: Snake Caesarean, Nosepickers, Animal Paws. I was Dr. Strange, an expert on cataloguing animal paws around the world. I need lots of improvement here.