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Saturday, 31 December 2016

BLOG -- Recap of December

December was part-busy with hang outs and shopping for gifts, and part-trying to finish up as many remaining Resolutions I had (i.e. zooming home after work and "hibernating"). 

It was kinda rough partway through, so thank goodness I had really nice times wedged between.


Outings/Events in December:
- Attended the staff Christmas party. I won an e-reader from the raffle.

- Celebrated a friend's birthday x2 (two different friends, lol).

- Hung out with a friend x3 xD

- Had a game day with my sister, her husband, and a friend xD (Played Overcooked for PS4) 

- Attended a hockey game for the first time (Marlies vs. Little Devils -- Marlies won! [4-1]).

- Made a cake from scratch for the first time. Next time I will probably use a cake mix, lol.


Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn achievements / news: 
-I took advantage of the free 4-day login campaign to do the Holiday event.


Exposures:
- (Snack): Swiss Chalet-flavoured chips -- I'm not a big fan of the actual chalet sauce at Swiss Chalet, but I like this!


Finished...
Watching:
(Anime): Tattoon Master -- It was okay. Good animation and really nice music at times. 

- (Anime Movie): Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies -- It was okay. It rehashes a lot from the Dragon Ball series, though. 

- (Anime Movie): Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure -- Ditto for this movie.

- (Anime Movie): Dragon Ball: The Path to Power -- Ditto for this movie, too, though the animation here seems more updated.


Playing:
- (Mobile): Dragon Quest II -- This was okay. I had to use an FAQ close to the end.

- (PSVita): Persona 4 Golden -- Hands down, one of the best games I've ever played. I spent about 150 hours into it and enjoyed every bit (supposedly the average playtime is much less... lol). I am so proud of myself for maxing all social links, reading all books, and maxing out my character's attributes on my first playthrough. I can play more relaxed whenever I go through it again. Naoto was my girlfriend on the first playthrough. I think I will go for Chie next, lol.


Reading:
- (Book): Cassie and Tonk by GMB Chomichuk & Justin Currie -- This is a picture book that I bought from Fan Expo. The story is simple, sweet, and touching. The artwork is great as usual


Currently... 
Playing (not all at once):
- (PS4): Dragon Ball Xenoverse
- (PS4): J-Stars Victory Vs+
- (PS4): Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
- (PS4): iDOLM@STER: Platinum Stars 
- (PS4): Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
- (PS4): Akiba's Trip 
- (PS3): Borderlands 2
- (3DS): Story of Seasons
- (3DS): Fantasy Life
- (3DS): Shantae
- (GBA): The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition   
- (PSP): Persona
- (PSP): Patapon 
- (PSP): Corpse Party
- (PSVita): Persona 4: Dancing All Night
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PS2): Atelier Iris 2 
- (PC): UnEpic  
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend
- (PC): Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- (Mobile): Dragon Quest III


Watching:
- (TV Show): The Walking Dead (Season 6)
- (TV Show): Orphan Black (Season 3)
- (TV Show): Criminal Minds (Season 10)
- (TV Show): Six Feet Under (Season 1 - Episode 3)
- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho (don't remember)
- (Anime): Log Horizon (episode 3)
- (Anime): K-On! Season 2 (episode 19)
- (Anime): Get Backers (episode 3)
- (Anime): The Highschool Life of a Fundashi (episode 7)
- (Anime): Persona 4: The Animation (episode 4)



Reading:
- (Manga): Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori (Volume 11)


That's it for December. Here are some pics I took this month plus a YouTube video.


 A dish I had at Mariachi's for lunch. It was very yummy! 

One of the backgrounds from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. 
I see Luffy from One Piece! xD

All the ingredients I used to make the cake. Yes, I used some Coca-Cola, lol.

An amusing shot of Persona 4 Golden.


Me (with a grey box over my face) at the staff party.
I am wearing a Harry Potter-themed tie.
I was a bit tempted to show this without the grey box, but...

A "Let's Play" Youtube video of Overcooked from LetsPlay. I haven't watched 
the full video (about 30 minutes long), but the first few minutes does give 
an idea of our initial impressions of playing the game, lol.

Thanks for reading! As usual, if you have any questions / comments about anything, feel free. :)

Tomorrow will be another blog as I re-visit my Resolutions... and the year overall. Stay safe and Happy New Year! :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

BLOG -- My Trip to Ottawa

It's a bit overdue (though I know there are other blogs that are wayyy more overdue than this one -- they will come, I promise!)... but here's my blog on my trip to Ottawa. Speaking frankly, I never imagined that I would ever travel to Ottawa... for any reason! I don't really think of much when I think of Ottawa. So I surprised even myself when I hopped on a 5-hour bus ride there... just to attend a music concert! I mean... I don't really do stuff like this. I'm just a shy, withdrawn, awkward, weird girl. What happened?! 

Anywho... it happened and now I'll talk about it.


First pic I took while in Ottawa. This is Bank Street. 


PRE-TRIP PREPARATIONS
For the longest time after buying the concert ticket, I held off on buying my bus ticket and booking a hotel. The concert was happening on a Friday and I was debating whether to get on a bus ride back to Toronto on Saturday or Sunday. I was also debating hopping on a bus back to Toronto on Friday night right after the concert. All that was going through my mind was: How much money did I want to spend on this trip? I am going there mainly for Marianas Trench after all... In the end, I decided to give myself one full free day and get back to Toronto Sunday afternoon. I was thinking, What are the chances I'd ever be back there?

After that I bought my bus ticket. This is something you do not want to leave to the last minute! I went with Greyhound and bus prices for it went up slightly since the last time I checked. 

Next thing was finding a place to stay. This stressed me out a bit since I didn't find any hotels close to the concert venue. I was really worried about getting back to the hotel safely after the concert. Just the thought of walking through unfamiliar streets all by myself in the middle of the night unnerved me.

After I chose my hotel, I looked up things to do in Ottawa... which I will cover later on.


BUS EXPERIENCES
This was my first time getting on a bus leaving Toronto... by myself. Ahh, so scary! The bus ride to Ottawa was uneventful. I played on my 3DS for most of the trip. 

The bus ride back to Toronto was horrible. There is a no-smoking policy on the bus and somebody smoked on the bus... twice. Considering that the weather that day was too cold to open the windows... and everybody on that bus was stuck there till we reached our destination... It was really terrible.


THE HOTEL
The hotel I stayed at was Capital Hill. Location-wise, it was really close to the downtown area. Other things-wise, well... I kinda think my hotel stays in Japan have spoiled me a bit. Like -- for once I actually had to use the mini toothbrush set I packed. I probably could have gotten one if I asked, but it would have been nice if it was already there. Also, there were no pajamas. I had to make do with whatever clothes I brought. What's up with that?! Lol.

I will give them points for their bed and blankets. That was really warm and comfy.

One thing to note is that on top of being charged for your nights' stay, you also get charged an extra $200 deposit -- just until you check out. Supposedly, the extra $200 is charged in case the hotel room gets messed up or ends up smelling like cigarettes. The hotel rooms are smoke-free.

Would I ever stay there again? Probably not. Unless the other hotels are much more pricier.


My hotel. This room is meant for one person, 
but the bed still has two pillows, lol. 

****************************************************************************

So below is an itinerary of my whole trip. This section is more for me for completeness' sake, so it may not be interesting to you. After the itinerary is a summary of my free day in Ottawa.

SUMMARY OF EACH DAY *ALL TIMES MENTIONED ARE APPROXIMATIONS*

DAY 1: FRI. NOV. 18, 2016 (CLEAR SKIES)
5:30 AM -- Woke up
7:15 AM - 7:54 AM -- Subway to Dundas station (Greyhound bus boarding stop)
9 AM - 9:15 AM -- Got in line; boarded the bus
9:15 AM - 2:24 PM -- Travel to Ottawa!
2:24 PM - 3 PM -- Walked to the hotel (checked in)
3 PM - 3:30 PM -- Lounged around the hotel room
4 PM - 5 PM -- Dinner at New Generation Sushi
5:15 PM - 5:26 PM -- Waited for bus
5:26 PM - 5:36 PM -- Bus 7 to Lansdowne Park / TD Place
6 PM - 10:22 PM -- Everything Marianas Trench! ^__^ <3
10:22 PM - 10:46 PM -- Back to the hotel
12:32 AM -- CRASHED

DAY 2: SAT. NOV. 19, 2016 (WARM-ISH; 13-ish degrees Celsius)
6:30 AM -- Woke up
9 AM - 9:30 AM -- Wandered along Elgin Street to the Rideau Canal
9:30 AM - 10:47 AM -- Walked along Rideau Canal to Bank Street
10:47 AM - 11:40 AM -- Walked up Bank Street to Laurier Street
11:40 AM - 12 PM -- Winter parade along Laurier Street
12 PM - 12:30 PM -- Walked to Burger n' Fries Forever
12:40 PM - 1 PM -- Back to the hotel
1 PM - 3 PM -- Ate lunch while playing Style Savvy: Fashion Forward
3 PM - 5 PM -- Wandered around Parliament Hill, Sparks Street, Financial area
5 PM - 6 PM -- Dinner at Genji Japanese Restaurant
6 PM - 6:10 PM -- Bought a donut at Tim Hortons
6:10 - 6:15 PM -- Back to the hotel
7 PM - 11 PM -- Napped
12 AM -- Ate the donut
1:45 AM -- CRASHED

DAY 3: SUN. NOV. 20, 2016 (COLD WET SNOW; 2 degrees Celsius)
7:30 AM -- Woke up
9:15 AM -- Checked out of the hotel
9:15 AM - 9:40 AM -- Walked to Ottawa Central Station (Greyhound bus boarding area)
9:48 AM -- Boarded the bus
9:52 AM - 3:40 PM -- Travel to Toronto!



****************************************************************************

As I mentioned earlier, I'm just going to go in detail for my free day in Ottawa. Friday I already kinda covered in my Marianas Trench blog and Sunday all I did was check out of the hotel and make the 40-minute walk to the Greyhound bus area in the biting cold weather.


OTTAWA -- SATURDAY NOVEMBER 19

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Well... giving myself a free day at this time... was ill-timed. From my limited research, there were only three places I was thinking about checking out and they were all closed for either maintenance or for renovations... :/

So what did I do? I put on my sneakers, turned on PokemonGO on my phone, left the hotel, and just... walked, lol. I figured if I didn't see anything interesting along my walk then at least I would have progressed a bit with PokemonGO. 

You can see below my walking routes. Route 1 (purple route) I did before lunch. Route 2 (orange route) I did after lunch. I was planning on walking back to the hotel on Route 1, but as I was walking I ran into a Winter parade. It was an amusing surprise. 

The walks were okay, but they would have been nicer with some company.


My walking routes. Route 1 was about a 4-hour walk, hahaha...
Let's just say I caught a lot of pokemon on that particular walk.

PLACES VISITED:

"Bridge of Locks"


I'm not sure if this has an official name so I'm calling it "Bridge of Locks". I happened upon this bridge early on, and it was probably the most interesting sight from my walk.

At first I thought this was a bridge where you put on a lock to "lock away" a secret. But after inspecting the locks more closely, I realized the locks symbolized everlasting love -- the hope for it, at least. I wonder if anybody has ever put on more than one lock... ??

If I ever find myself upon this bridge again, I think I will put on a lock anyway -- and promise everlasting love to myself! Hahaha... >_>

The sight of Rideau Canal, overlooking this "bridge of locks".


Rideau Canal


About half of my walk was spent strolling along the Rideau Canal. I wouldn't say it's anything spectacular -- but it does have a nice, calming feel to it. I especially enjoyed seeing the ducks moving around in the water. It was also interesting to look across the canal and see all the different architecture.

One thing I should mention is that when I was neared Bank Street & Lansdowne Park / TD Place (Marianas Trench's concert venue), the traffic lights got kinda wonky. Something about it made crossing the lights not very intuitive... at least to me. Maybe I'm just weird?


Bank Street


So where I was in Ottawa, Bank Street was the street. It's pretty much where all the main shops are. I even saw a comic book shop and a video game shop on that street. Also buses seem to run quite frequently, to my benefit (when I needed to use it to get to the Marianas Trench concert and back to my hotel afterwards).


A chocolate bistro at Landsdowne Park. I kinda wished I tried it out.

A bench I saw while walking up Bank Street.
I think it's really sweet.
I think you can read the words if you click on the image.

The Comic Book Shoppe. I did not wander in... 
'cuz I had nothing to buy... lol.


Parliament Hill Area


So supposedly everybody checks this out when they visit Ottawa, so I did, too... for about a few minutes. The building looks nice... that's... it...

I think somebody needs to give me a history lesson so I might appreciate this building a bit more... ^-^''

Another building.

A nice sight.


Sparks Street


This was a neat street. The architecture was different and it gave a warm and romantic feel, at least to me. After walking through it once, I waited until evening so I could walk through it again with all the lights on.

Unfortunately, not all the lights turned on when evening came, so the magical-ish street turned all dark and seedy-looking. Until the lights are fixed, this street is best walked through during the day.


A random chair on Spark Street. I'm sure there is some 
meaning for it, but I don't know what it is.


*********************************************************************************************
FOOD PLACES
*********************************************************************************************
NEW GENERATION SUSHI

Location: 150 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa (close to Elgin Street & Laurier Avenue West) Google Map
Contact: (613) 565-8998
Website: http://www.newgenerationsushiottawa.ca/
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): None that I know of
Price Range (for a main dish): Mid-High (Around $11-$20 for lunch sets; California Rolls: $6.50; Dynamite Rolls: $9; Salmon Sashimi [3 pieces]: $6)
Restaurant Size: Very small
Recommend? Standard

Brief Impression
This place was pleasant enough. I'll say right now -- it was the better of sushi places I hit in Ottawa, hahaha...

The server was pretty attentive and the place looks clean. Inside the atmosphere was a cross between modern and old. You can't see from my picture but behind the main counter was a flat screen showing various items on their menu. But then off to one side of the wall was a huge black board with the menu items written on. It made me think of a chalkboard.

I probably wouldn't go back due to the slightly high price of their items, but food-wise, it was decent. I can actually eat it, lol...

What I Ate / Drank ...
Salmon Sashimi -- This was decent.
California Roll -- This too.
Teriyaki Roll -- I think I would have liked to eat this just as a dish instead of as a roll.


This is water. Yes, they serve water in a bottle.
Before I made any orders, the server placed this on my table 
and I had to double-check that it was water.
"No, it's vodka," he said jokingly.

 California Rolls, Salmon Sashimi, Teriyaki Rolls.


BURGER N'FRIES FOREVER

Location: 329 Bank Street, Ottawa (close to Bank Street & Gilmour Street) Google Map
Contact: (613) 230-3456
Website: https://burgersnfriesforever.com/
Type(s) of Cuisine: Burgers and fries
Specialty (if any): Burgers and fries
Price Range (for a main dish): Low-Mid (my poutine was $10.75 after tax)
Restaurant Size: Very small
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
I'd say it's your typical burger joint. So... a food place that offers a bunch of wacky burgers and fries. They also have a secret menu which you can access on their website. They also have a bunch of poutine on their menu.

The service was quick and friendly. I ordered a small bacon poutine from their secret menu. I ordered it to go and it was a good thing. That small bacon poutine turned out to be a 2-hour eating venture... and even by then I couldn't finish it... I was too full. "Small" my butt! Lol.

The poutine was very good. I'd recommend this place if you are in Ottawa and are craving a burger or fries. 

My bacon poutine. Don't let it fool you! It was like an endless abyss!


GENJI JAPANESE RESTAURANT

Location: 175 Lisgar Street, Ottawa (close to Elgin Street & Lisgar Street) Google Map
Contact: (613) 236-2880
Website: http://www.genji.ca/
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): None that I know of
Price Range (for a main dish): Med-High for lunch; High for dinner (Around $12-$20 for lunch sets; California Rolls: $8.25; Spicy Dynamite Rolls: $13.95; Salmon Sashimi [3 pieces]: $11)
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? NO

Brief Impression
Am I being too mean? I am judging this place based on one food item. I was too full from the bacon poutine so I was only able to order one thing from here, and I was so glad in the end that I didn't order more... hahaha...

Okay, I will give Genji props for atmosphere. It was very elegant inside. The server was also really nice and friendly.

This is where my positive impression flies out the window: the price and the food. I ordered the salmon sushi pizza. It was $12.25 before tax so I was anticipating something nice and yummy. Instead I get a dish where everything was deep fried... even the top part! It felt like I was consuming heavy grease and oils. I did not like it at all.

I'm looking at the online menu right now... and I see a little sun symbol next to the food item... but I don't see a legend for the icon. Aggg...

I may give this place one more chance if somebody treated me, but I can't imagine going there myself. Especially not with those dinner prices. Genji seems to have favourable reviews on Yelp so maybe I just tried the wrong item. If you've been there and feel differently, let me know! :)

The Salmon Sushi Pizza.
I felt like I was eating grease and oil... ughhh... 


TIM HORTONS

Location: A couple minutes' walk from my hotel (not going into any more details here, lol)
Type(s) of Cuisine: Western
Specialty (if any): Donuts and coffee?
Price Range (for a main dish): Low
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Standard

Brief Impression
Tim Hortons is Tim Hortons. I went in here, 'cuz I saw a poster advertising a new donut flavour so I thought, 'Why not?'. I also liked that there was pretty much no line, not like how it would be if I was in Toronto.

Mint Fudge Brownie Donut. It was good! 


And that's my Ottawa trip! Lol... I know. Besides my attending the Marianas Trench concert on Friday, not much happened for the rest of the trip.

One thing I kinda like about Ottawa is that overall, it feels much more slower paced than Toronto. Hah -- unless you bring your own entertainment, not that much happens in Ottawa. While that could be seen as boring to some, it does give a chance to sit back and really think about things or a chance to really drink in the surroundings. Of course, maybe I feel that because I am just visiting and am not seeing such sights everyday.

All in all, I don't know if I would ever visit Ottawa again. I don't really have to check out the places that were closed for maintenance / renovations. Maybe if Marianas Trench did another concert there and I felt up for another 5-hour bus ride.

Here is a breakdown of my spending in Ottawa, excluding Marianas Trench expenses:
Hotel stays (2 nights): $291.54
Greyhound bus ticket (roundtrip): $99.44
Total foods (Fri. dinner, Sat. lunch, Sat. dinner, Sat. snack): $56.15

Total spending in Ottawa: $447.13.


Thanks for reading! If you read to the end you are amazing! :)

As always, feel free to comment on anything. I think I got maybe one or two blogs left before the new year.

Anywho, thanks again and have a good rest of the week :)

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

BLOG -- Recap of November

November was a busy time for me. It's quite rare, but I had outings every weekend. Haha, not much time to rest. It's not bad though. I enjoyed all my outings, except for maybe my dentist appointments, hahh... the people are good, but *sniffle* so painful, lol.

I can't believe it -- one more month to finish up my New Year's Resolutions. The pressure's on!! >_<'''


Outings/Events in November:
- Helped my sister at a Japanese bazaar.

- Celebrated a friend's birthday x2 (two different friends, lol).

- Visited a friend's place and watched Swiss Army Man and played video games xD 

- Dentist appointment x2 (so painful, lol).

- Visited Ottawa for one weekend.

- Had a really nice dream ^_^ (nothing lewd!)

- Attended Marianas Trench concert in Ottawa

- Got new desks at work. I feel so exposed now >_<!

- Went karaoking by myself.


Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn achievements / news: 
-My subscription expired halfway through the month.
-I'm one pony away from getting the Kirin mount!


Exposures:
- (Food place): Banh Mi Boys -- Nicely priced and decent food. The kimchi fries were too spicy for me, though :(

- (Food place): Real Thailand -- It was okay, but I don't think I'd go back.

- (TV show): Kim's Convenience -- I've only watched the first three episodes so far and it's not bad. There's a part of it that feels very real and uneasy, which is interesting. I don't think many shows do that.


Finished...
Watching:
- (Movie): Doctor Strange -- Not bad... but he's no Iron Man, lolol. I like some of the ideas explored and the humour.

- (Anime): Black Butler II -- It was pretty good up until the end. Just like with the first season, the end just left a bad taste for me.

- (Anime): Black Butler II OVA -- I liked the last episode and some of the second-last episode. Everything else was just... ewww, lol.

- (Anime): Trigun -- I think the manga is way better. Way more serious and thought-provoking. The opening theme is very catchy, though. 

- (Anime): Ghost Hound -- Very slow-paced and creepy, but lost some umph in the second half. *sigh* It had so much potential. 

- (Anime): Phantom the Animation OVA -- It's okay. Pretty good music, though.

- (Anime): Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo -- This is worth at least one watching. It is very good, but also dark. I tip my hat to... *insert spoiler* T_T


Playing:
- (3DS): Style Savvy: Fashion Forward -- I'm still playing it, but I saw the credits so I'm counting it as game finished.


Reading:
- Nothing this time


Currently... 
Playing (not all at once):
- (PS4): Dragon Ball Xenoverse
- (PS4): J-Stars Victory Vs+
- (PS4): Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
- (PS4): iDOLM@STER: Platinum Stars 
- (PS4): Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X 
- (PS3): Borderlands 2
- (3DS): Story of Seasons
- (3DS): Fantasy Life
- (3DS): Shantae
- (GBA): The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition   
- (PSP): Persona
- (PSP): Patapon 
- (PSP): Corpse Party
- (PSVita): Persona 4 Golden
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PS2): Atelier Iris 2 
- (PC): UnEpic  
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend
- (Mobile): Dragon Quest II


Watching:
- (TV Show): The Walking Dead (Season 6)
- (TV Show): Orphan Black (Season 3)
- (TV Show): Criminal Minds (Season 10)
- (TV Show): Six Feet Under (Season 1 - Episode 3)
- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho (don't remember)
- (Anime): Log Horizon (episode 3)
- (Anime): K-On! Season 2 (episode 3)
- (Anime): Get Backers (episode 3)



Reading:
- (Manga): Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori (Volume 9)


That's it for November. Here are some pics I took this month plus a YouTube video.


 This was a funny day. For some reason, my friends and I spotted 
so many people walking around with cameras. I took this shot, 'cuz a 
few people took pictures in that direction. I really wonder what they saw, lol

Kimchi fries. It was good but too spicy :(

Donut from Krispy Kreme. This was okay until I got to the middle. There was 
too much chocolate filling and it made it too sweet, blahhh, lol.


A live clip of Marianas Trench performing "Sing Sing", 
one of my favourite songs so far. There is a drum solo at the beginning.
Really funny tidbits are at 2:48 and 5:02.
Also: Josh's (main vocalist) outfit here is hottttt, hahaha <3


Thanks for reading! As usual, if you have any questions / comments about anything, feel free. :)

Have a good rest of the week! :)

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

BLOG -- Marianas Trench and The Last Crusades Concert @ TD Place Arena (November 18, 2016)

Well... this last Friday, I did something that I normally don't do: I got on a 5-hour bus ride to Ottawa -- just to attend a concert! I know, I know. To some this is nothing crazy, but for me, who is such a noob to travelling, who often feels anxious towards travelling to new places, and especially by myself... well, it's kinda major.

Most times I just wait for the concert to come to Toronto, and Marianas Trench did come way back in March. But I wasn't so exposed to their music at the time and dismissed it. The amusing thing (at least to me) was that I consciously decided not to look into the band, while wondering in the back of my head if I would later regret it. *sigh* I really need to stop second-guessing myself!

Do I regret it? Yes and no. Yes, because I missed their March concert. No, because due to missing that concert in March, I ended up having my own little adventure -- just to see them.

This popped up at the end of concert. I'm just posting it here so when 
I share this entry on Facebook, this pic will be used instead of the next one, lol...


Me and Marianas Trench
**This section is a little bit long and probably not that interesting for you so feel free to skip it to the actual concert if you want.**

My first exposure to Marianas Trench was months ago when I decided to listen to the radio during work (back in early March, before their Toronto concert. I don't listen to the radio at work anymore). Two of their songs were often played on the radio: "This Means War" and "One Love". While the former didn't do anything for me back then, the latter left a lasting impression and a flicker of interest to delve deeper into the band's discography... which I didn't do. Not delving deeper caused me to not attend their Toronto concert. *siiigh*

Then fast-forward to months later where I found myself in a really sad state. When I am in such a state and can still think kinda properly, I try my best to be careful of my actions. I don't want to end up associating something I enjoy to a sad time. That meant I couldn't play video games. Or watch movies or anime. In the end I went with singing / listening to music (which makes a lot of sense. It's one of my main emotional outlets), but it can't be music I already know. It has to be new so if I don't like the music I won't have to listen to it again, and then nothing I enjoy listening to normally will remind me of that sad time. Marianas Trench suddenly came to mind. They can take that fall, I thought. I'll give them my sadness, and I won't have to listen to them again. Little did I know...

I went onto YouTube and watched their lyric video to "Who Do You Love?". After crying through the song a few times, I proceeded to buy their latest album (Astoria) on iTunes and what I got was a surprise: a mix of upbeat 80s-like poppy tunes and heartfelt ballads. Where there was a song to draw out my sadness, there was another to lift my spirits and get me in a dancing mood.

When I got to "Dearly Departed", it affected me strongly. For a week or so, I cried like crazy every time I listened it. And then when I found out that the song made reference to Josh's (main vocalist) own experience and his own called off engagement, I cried more. Then and there I thought, I want to listen to this song performed live... so I checked Marianas Trench's site for tour dates... cursed that I missed the Toronto concert... and bought tickets for the Ottawa concert.

And that's my story with Marianas Trench. First they were a one-hit song band with "One Love". Then an intended "scapegoat" for my sadness. Now they are more -- a small light that can lift me; a healing darkness for my sorrow (twisted as this may be, it makes me feel a little bit less alone when I listen to their sad songs and can sympathize/empathize with them); energy that makes me want to move; and more.

Aside from "One Love", "Who Do You Love?", and "Dearly Departed", my favourite song on the Astoria album is "Shut Up and Kiss Me". I love the upbeat-ness and the lyrics. I also really like "Yesterday", "When We Were Young", and "Forget Me Not." My heart totally goes out to Josh for "Forget Me Not".

P.S. If you actually read this long, long section... thank you and you're awesome!! :)


The Little Details
Date of Concert: November 18, 2016
Venue: TD Place Arena (Ottawa, Ontario)
Time: 7:00 PM (Doors open 6:00 PM)
Ticket Price Total: $82.85
Seating: Section 21, Row C, Seat 14

Before 6:00 PM -- Concert Jitters
Well... I am in Ottawa for the first time and by myself. Of course a travelling noob like me would be getting jitters, especially since TD Place seems far from my hotel. More than worrying about getting to the venue, I was worried about getting back to the hotel. I did not want to think about possibly missing the last bus and then having to walk back to the hotel late at night.

One neat thing about buying event tickets for TD Place is that the ticket will allow you to use Ottawa's bus system (OC Transpo) for free three hours before and after the event. You just show your ticket to the bus driver when you get on. I'm not really sure if this allows free transit for all buses, but definitely for bus 1 and bus 7, which would take you to TD Place.

I got on the bus at Bank St. and Slater St. and the whole ride took me about 10 minutes.

6:00 PM-ish -- @ TD Place Arena
Once inside the TD Place, I headed straight to the merchandise shop, where a small crowd was already forming. The shop was selling various T-shirts and shirts, a necklace, wristbands, buttons, their Astoria album, and other things. The "hot" item was a drumstick signed by each Marianas Trench member. It was selling for $25 and I could have gotten one, but didn't want to think about where I'd put it during the concert. It was too long to fit in my purse, lol. The drumsticks sold out before the end of the concert. I regret not getting it just a little bit.

After buying some items, I went to my seat and waited patiently for the pre-show.

The merchandise shop! It was quite crowded.


View of the stage from my seat.
Before the pre-show, there was a DJ on stage playing a bunch of 80s tunes.

7:00-ish PM -- Pre-show 1 (Repartee)

Repartee

So Repartee wasn't bad. They did some catchy numbers and the vocalist had a pretty voice. I also thought they were very fitting with the concert overall, having a kind of old school, 80s electronic feel. Unfortunately none of their songs except for maybe the last one ("Dukes") clicked with me.

7:22 PM-ish -- Intermission
Nothing happened here. I stayed in my seat and listened to the 80s music that was playing. I was smart this time and did not bring my 3DS. My shoulder would get too achy if I had it -- assuming that I'd be standing up and moving about later on.

7:40-ish PM -- Pre-show 2 (Shawn Hook)

Shawn Hook

I guess Shawn Hook is well known-ish? A huge chunk of the audience cheered for him when he appeared. And I must admit: his opening number was very well done, though I don't know what it was called. Just like with Repartee, I thought he was a good fit for the concert, his music also having an 80s feel to it.

8:20 PM -- Intermission
Same thing as the earlier intermission. I just stayed in my seat and daydreamed while listening to the 80s music. When the lights started dimming, the audience started cheering wildly and began getting off their seats, myself included.

8:45-ish PM -- Marianas Trench

Marianas Trench! <3 <3 <3

They opened the concert with "Astoria", which did a really great job of building excitement. I personally enjoyed seeing the neon palm trees getting outlined. Here, take a look at this short clip below. You might need to click the "Play" button a few times.

video
Short clip of Astoria and some of the palm trees getting outlined.
My phone is crap for taking videos... or I just haven't 
figured out how to use it properly, lol.

I wish I could give a full setlist, but I went into this concert only being familiar with songs from their latest album. And they played a mix of old and new tunes. Whatever they played, though, the audience responded with wild cheers and strong enthusiasm!

After about three to four tunes, Josh (main vocalist) said something along the lines of, "This next song will be a bit cheeky..." Then the music to "Shut Up and Kiss Me" began. As Josh started to sing, he walked to the far left of the stage (the same edge where I was sitting)... and stepped down into the crowd!!!!!!! Then he continued walking through the crowd while singing, getting closer to my seat -- k-kyaaaa!!~~~ Of course he continued walking past, but I was standing so close to him for that brief moment... Hahaha... xD *doki doki doki!*... ^_______________________________^ <3

I found it very amusing that the audience was doing their best to sing along, but then fangirly screams would suddenly explode from whichever area Josh was wading through. For once, I was thankful to be sitting close to the edge seats instead of being in the center.

video
A clip of "Shut Up and Kiss Me". You can see how close Josh was to my seat. 
I could have tried reaching out to him, but... I don't know. I'd feel weird about that, lol.

After "Shut Up and Kiss Me", Josh ended up in front of a piano that was located in the middle of the lower audience area. How come I did not notice this before?! Lol. He then began to play a slow, sorrowful melody. When he started singing "One Love" over the sad melody, the audience slowly joined in, myself included. I could feel Josh's pain, and I wanted to give my "support" through my singing. Kinda like, 'Please don't be so sad. Here is my voice. Please take some comfort in knowing that you're not singing alone.' Lol... well, you know I'm weird. Though... I'm sure I'm not the only one who sung along, feeling that way.

One thing I really enjoyed about the concert was Josh making small conversations and intros to songs every now and then. One thing he talked about briefly were concert goers who don't know how to dance well. He then demonstrated a couple dance moves he saw, one involving swinging finger-guns while shaking the pelvis. He then followed it up with saying, "Don't stop -- I love your energy." :)

Another thing I really enjoyed was the audience overall. They were really passionate, singing along to everything. Every now and then Josh would stop singing and you could hear the audience supplying the lyrics and hitting the notes well.

One paranoid thing is that I could swear Josh was giving me the "evil eye" whenever I crappily recorded clips of his performance on my phone. I'm sure he wasn't looking at me specifically, but he did look at my general area with a slightly disapproving look. Lol -- it's probably just me feeling a little bad about recording and not moving as much like I wanted to. I did lose myself a couple times, though! Waving my arms around, singing along to whatever songs I knew, and "dancing".

Josh singing "Celebrity Status". I like the backdrop design, lol.

Josh while singing "Pop 101". Do you see his Triforce tattoo? xD

Another pic. This is currently my phone's lock screen, lol. xD

Josh while doing "Who Do You Love?". I like that they 
played their music video during this number.

10:00-ish PM -- Encore
The encore was great! Three songs were played. I didn't recognize the first two, but the last -- whoa! It was like a wave, splashing my body with sheer awe. I really was just standing there, my core deeply shaken. It was haunting, exciting, and moving all at the same time. A very great sendoff. The show ended around 10:22 PM.

video
The first encore song. A clip of Josh and the audience singing "Good to You".

video
The second encore song. A clip of "Haven't Had Enough". Next time 
I'll be singing along, too!

video
A clip of their last encore number, "End of an Era". The video starts right side up 
and then gets turned sideways. I tried fixing it in Windows Movie Maker, 
but no dice. I'm sorry. :( There's something really haunting 
but moving about this. And of course I stop recording 
right in the middle before the buildup, mwa hahaha. ;)

Overall Experience
Well -- I will say: it was totally worth travelling to Ottawa to see Marianas Trench. They were sooooooooo awesome! I have even more respect (or is it major concern?) for Josh after finding out that he did the concert while still recovering from a throat infection. *bows head deeply* Thank you so much! I hope you make a full recovery!

In the end they didn't perform "Dearly Departed", the song that drove me to attend their concert, but it is okay. I believe they performed many of the songs "Dearly Departed" referenced, which was something I also really wanted to hear.

As of this writing I have bought the rest of Marianas Trench's discography off iTunes. Next time I want to be singing along to every song and getting super excited! :)

Congratulations! You've made a Marianas Trencher out of me, lol. <3

The trip back to the hotel was okay. I caught a bus and got back to my room around 10:46 PM.

Items I bought from the merchandise shop.
Tour T-shirt: $35
String bag: $20
Button set: $5
Guitar pick necklace: $10
Total spent: $70
I normally don't buy tour T-shirts or any T-shirts with logos or anything, 
but I made an exception today. That T-shirt became part of my pajama wear 
during my stay in Ottawa -- I enjoyed the concert that much. <3


If you've made it this far, thank you so much for reading! :)
My next blog will be covering my brief stay in Ottawa. It should be up either this coming Sunday or the next one -- depending on how much rest I still need, lol.

Anywho, thank you again and have a great week! :)