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The Abstract Art of Tipping

In: Topher, Travel & Leisure

There’s a nice little pub around the corner from my house. While I rarely sit down and have a drink there, it is the perfect place to pick up off-sale beer before a house party. I’ll walk in to the retail side of the pub and pick out a six of something and make my way to the cash register. Right beside the register is a menacing little tip jar. This makes me nervous, and I’ll tell you why.

I don’t necessarily think the person sitting behind the register deserves a tip. I mean, I opened the fridge, I chose the beer, and I carried it to the counter. What part of that transaction requires extra payment. Whenever I see a tip jar though, I feel the societal pressure to contribute. I fear it makes me look like a cheapskate if I don’t “support counter intelligence”. Maybe I’m the only one that isn’t tipping? I think of it this way though: Would I tip the clerk in a clothing store for ringing up my purchases? No, I wouldn’t.

I certainly would tip a bartender in the bar, but there’s a difference between providing me a service (a service which I will probably be requesting again in the immediate future), and doing your job. I think that it’s a little disrespectful to even place a tip jar on the counter. There are certain places where you should not have to worry about gratuities. Fast food restaurants, clothing & retail stores, and convenience stores have no business asking for top-ups.

There are other areas where I’m confused if I should tip or not…

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I Love You, Phillip Morris

In: Movies, Topher


When I think of hot on screen couples I would like to see, Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor wouldn’t top the list. But this new movie, “I Love You, Phillip Morris” looks incredible! I love when Jim Carrey does roles where he’s not trying to appeal to the widest audience. Films like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Bruce Almighty” are good films, but give me “Cable Guy” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” any day. This trailer makes me think I’m going to love Phillip Morris as well. These are the types of films that “Brokeback Mountain” was supposed to pioneer the way for. It only took four years!

Meet the Project Runway Designers

In: Topher, TV Shows


Following my initial Project Runway 6 post, here a bunch of teaser clips of all the designers from the new season. The designers are paired up into 8 different commercials. The music is a little dramatic, and it sounds a bit cheesy around the fifth or sixth time, but it’s nice to hear the designers talk about how they got into fashion.

My Name is Topher, and I’m a Project Runway watcher.

To Buy or Not To Buy

In: Behind The Cast, Topher

House hunting is hard. Don’t let anyone else tell you different. Unless of course you have oodles of money and can afford anything you want.

I’ve been looking to upgrade my rental studio apartment into a comfortable one-bedroom condo for about 6 months now. The US has recently appeared to hit the bottom of its housing decline and things are starting to stabilize. In Vancouver, we had a period of about four months in the beginning of the year where it looked like we were going to follow in our southern neighbors footsteps. Since the spring though, due to low interest rates and sparse inventory, prices have enjoyed a moderate price bump.

There’s tonnes of speculation as to what’s going to happen in the next few months. Either Vancouver will follow cities like San Diego, Phoenix and Miami, and the prices will start to drop again, or maybe it really is a unique city and this year’s price decreases were an anomaly.

Click to read the rest of the article

Project Runway Season 6: Meet The Designers

In: Topher, TV Shows

After what seems like decades of legal battles between the Bravo and Lifetime networks over who owns what, Project Runway will be back on the air August 20th for its sixth season. Not only is there a new network, but also a new city! Gone is the New York Parson’s school of design, and in comes the new studio in sunny Los Angeles.

Of all my T.V. guilty pleasures, PR takes the cake. I can’t get enough. The past five seasons have been so well produced, with some huge talents showing their garments at New York Fashion Week. Even the two seasons of the Canadian version have been top notch. From all the fashion inspired puns, to the back-stage cat-fights, Project Runway is reality T.V. at its best. Since the competition is based on clothing, there is a visual aspect that we the viewer can judge the contestants on. I hate shows like Top Chef, where you can only really cheer for a personality, since there’s no way for you to know if their food was any good or not.

The designers for season six have been announced. In just over a month, host Heidi Klum, mentor Tim Gunn, and returning judges American designer Michael Kors, and editor of Marie Clair Nina Garcia will be critiquing the latest garments on the catwalk. 16 hopefuls will compete to determine who will be the next great American designer [sic]. Well, to be the next winner of Project Runway anyway. Judging from some of their personal styling, we’re in for another Fabric-lous season.

Click to check out this season’s designers


The Onion consistently has been producing hilarious videos for a while now, and one of their latest ones is just awesome. What if news show pundits were rated in real-time by the viewers? Although this video is supposed to be satire, I don’t think it’s that far off from what really happens.

Polaris Music Prize Short List

In: Music, Topher

The short list for this years Polaris Music Prize was released today. The Polaris prize is a $20,000 award given annually to the best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label.

The award was established in 2006, and previous winners include Final Fantasy’s He Poos Clouds, Patrick Watson’s Close to Paradise, and Caribou’s Andorra. Every year dozens of artists are nominated, which eventually is shaved down to a smaller short list. Previous nominees include The Arcade Fire, Feist, Shad, Stars, The Junior Boys, and Broken Social Scene.

I usually play close attention to the nominations for this prize. The jury that votes for the prize collectively have pretty good tastes in music, and I typically find one or two bands that I start to listen to.

Click to see this years nominees

Ultimate Frisbee!

In: Sports & Health, Topher

For a few months now, I’ve been playing on an Ultimate Frisbee league with a bunch of people from my work. We play other teams from all over the city, and it’s been quite enjoyable.

I was a little skeptical at first. To be completely honest, I considered Ultimate to be sort of a sport for dorks, ranking right up there with darts and Magic: The Gathering. Vancouver seems to have a lot of people that play though, especially at my work. There’s the team that I play for, but there are people I work with who play on one or more other teams as well.

The rules aren’t quite what I expected. When I first joined, I just assumed it was like football, but with a frisbee (sorry, disk. Frisbee is a brand). I assumed wrong. First off, it’s a non-contact sport. This was the biggest challenge for me to grasp at first since I’m used to playing soccer and basketball. If you’re familiar with basketball, in Ultimate, you’re not even allowed to set a pick. If another person is blocking you from running, that’s a foul.

There’s quite a few more rules that I’m not entirely sure of, but I’m learning every week.

Read more about Ultimate Frisbee

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