Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ruler of the Universe

This cat does not look amused.

Day two of doing tax stuff. Thanks to a night of Warcraft I didn't really sleep at all last night and fell asleep at James' place while taking a "fifteen minute" break that lasted three or four hours. Data entry can be prety boring and to get around that a bit today's subject for taking pictures was the cat of the house.

I used to have a cat when I lived with my parents. I also had a dog, a couple of hamsters, turtles, even some fish. Not all at the same time. For this blog's purpose it's really the dog and the cat that are important here. My dog, Lucky, named that because he escaped death a number of times before we adopted him was a pretty smart border collie.

He seemed pretty happy for the most part with the exception of the mail man. Lucky tried clawing through the door trying to get at this invader that was dropping off stuff at our door. It didn't help that my uncle that lived with us was also a mail man. I suppose that confused the dog to no end. The dog was pretty energetic and liked to be involved with whatever us humans were doing. Eating, taking drives in the car, sleeping on the bed or couch depending on where you were. Lucky was a people dog.

On the flip side my cat was not a people cat unless that person had food or smelt like food. The differences between the dog and cat were like a guy on a vacation and a guy from a prisoner of war camp. I received an email a number of years ago which I'll paraphrase below.

The Dog's thoughts

Car ride... yay!!! Walks... yay!!! Food... yay!!! Attention...yay!!!

The Cat's thoughts

Day one hundred and fifty-nine. I've been stuck in this hell hole for months. They think they'll break me with their crappy ass food from the tin and their catnip drugs in the small furry delivery system but I think I've got something to use against them. The small human, the boy, has a thing called allergies. His eyes swell up and he can't breathe. This afternoon when they go out I'll make sure shed my fur on all their dark clothing. Then when the boy is having an attack I'll escapr to the outside world in all the confusion.

The Toaster's Maiden Voyage

The new Toaster.... with bagel option!

While running across the map in World of Warcraft, I decided to toast a bagel with my new toaster. Actually the truth is I lost track of time and missed going to the supermarket for groceries. Whoops. The only thing I had in the fridge were some bagels with cream cheese.

It's about 5:00am. I'm just trying to get my character, "Toastie" the gnome mage, into a safe place to sleep before I logout. Yes, your character can gain experience even when you're logged off.

The first toasted bagel using above toaster

The design of the toaster is interesting. I'm not sure I like the ovalness to it as it takes up more space than the rectangular Betty Crocker toaster, but I do like the fact that the toast goes in on an angle. This means that, in theory, the crumbs all collect on the bottom crumb tray. Plus, the toast doesn't have to totally work against gravity by popping straight up. The other bad thing is that the power cord is real short (just under 3 feet) and I'm not too crazy about the unit being made out of plastic.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

WoW, I'm an Idiot

My ingenious plan on allowing the run key to be pressed

Sometime during my "Why is my back hurting?" 16 hour marathon of playing World of Worldcraft I came up with the idea to place a roll of dimes on the keyboard. This would allow the character to keep running forward while I, in the "real world", went off to grab a bite to eat, or use the facilities. There was a point where my character kept dying as I tried to take on four or more radiation poisoned gnomes, wolves, or wheat harvesters at any given time.

In the game you are resurrected as a ghost. Your job is to float back to your dead corpse to come back to life. Sometimes the corpse is all the way on the other side of the map. It literally takes minutes to navigate back. Enough time to put the kettle on, or eat a toasted bagel (more on this later). The key being pressed down by an object other than your finger was brillant in that you could be free to do other things. Unfortunately my well thought out soon to be marketed idea fell by the way side as I realizeed that hitting the NUM LOCK key would put the character on autopilot. D'oh!!!!!

I started playing in the afternoon and kept going until about 5:30am. Granted I did make two levels today. 14 to 16. Woo hoo! There's something very satisfying about being able to knock the bajeezus out of some evil creatures terrorizing the local farmers and other innocent bystanders.

The sun comes up, goes down, comes back up again. I'm not talking about the game although there is a day and night thing happening. No I'm talking about the real world outside my apartment. It's no wonder my back is sore. I haven't moved in hours. It's like Neo (from the Matrix) only there's no tubing to allow me to eat and the other thing. At least not yet... Getting up to move every now and then is a good thing. They should have a dating expansion pack for this game then you really wouldn't have to move away from the computer. Oh yeah there's the going out and finding work and making money thing.

"Take that you troll!" Whack, Whack, Whack.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lead a Fish to Water

If you lead a fish to water will it drink?

Seeing this fish can only mean one thing. It's tax time again and I've been recruited into helping James input his tax receipts. Due to being a tad bored while James figures out various receipts thanks to faded ink or bad hand writing my mind would wander a bit. I would take out the camera and start shooting. The really only thing of interest in the room is the fish, the same fish I shot the year before, and the year before that.

I placed my glass of water next to the tank and the fish would actually swim over to it like he was inspecting it or willing it to move. I honestly don't know. My brain was pretty much putty by the end of the evening.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Angie Visits

Angie's clothes sample

Angie came to town from Nova Scotia today for some convention going on this weekend at the International Center. Due to procrastination over the week I forced myself to get up at 5am to clean the apartment and make space for her to drop off her luggage and crash. Luckily the apartment cleaning was started last month so finishing wasn't too much of a challenge. You can actually eat off the bathroom floor again.

The big challenge was to get all the stuff off the floor that I'd been organizing but had not got a change to finish. Bills, tax forms, recipts, that sort of thing. Lots of envelopes. My parents bought me a shredder for Christmas. Shredder? Who needs a shredder? How much paper does one require to have a shredder? I suppose my parents were concerned about identity theft. Not that I leave anything with my name lying around in the garbage anyway.

Well whatever. A shredder I got and a shredder I used. It was actually in some weird way fun to throw in documents, post it notes, old business cards, photos that didn't turn out, and anything else I could stuff into the machine without it getting stuck. I suppose I could use the resultant little papers as kindling next time we have a barbecue.

Angie arrived at around 11am. Which was perfect timing as the floor just finished drying. There was that lemony mister Clean scent throughout the apartment. You could see your face in the toilet bowl. Woo hoo. A job well done, as I pat myself on the back.

A special thanks goes out to Marc as I managed to wrangle him into helping me transport new shelves to the apartment last night from the nearby Home Depot.

For the most part once Angie arrived all we did was eat. Went for Dim Sum during the late morning (the Pearl Court on Gerrard, east of broadview) and then went for all you can eat Indian food at 7pm. By 9:30 we fell asleep. Around 2am I woke up, as I don't sleep more than 5 hours, and went into the other room to play WoW. With earphones on the only thing you could hear was the padding of the keys and the odd "Take that you." whispered by me as I smashed a creature's head in.

I noticed my neck started to hurt. Went to look at the clock. It was 7:30am. Angie was starting to wake up. We went to breakfast at around 9:30am at the local family restaurant and by 11:00am she left for the trade show.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Art gallery on a snowy night

The LandymoreKeith Art Gallery

Friday night. Another gallery opening at LandymoreKeith gallery. Met up with Anna-lea to get back my London tourist kit (basically the AZ guide map book, a tube map, and my Oyster card*). It was snowy today making walkiong rather difficult. Even with my boots I was sliding around. I managed to get to the gallery for the designated 8pm meet time.

It was packed. See all the condensation on the window in above picture. Some familiar faces. Then there was this guy in the crowd. I was sure I saw him somewhere else. TV person? Movie person? Later on someone in the room told me it was Atom Egoyan. Ooooh.

Atom Egoyan? Yes, it is.

That's the great thing about being a Canadian director, you can for the most part just blend in without people popping out of the woodwork asking for your autograph. That is unless you go to the local comic/sci-fi convention.

*Oyster card is the tube pass, a public transportation rechargeable swipe card. Kind of like Toronto's version of the TTC metropass but only better.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dentist Fun

Dave, post dental work

Today's fun was to accompany my cousin Dave to the dentist. They were going to extract his wisdom teeth and had to gas him. In order to do the operation someone was required to be available to take Dave home afterwards. That someone was me.

While waiting in the waiting room (go figure) we noticed a girl wobble out of the operation room to try to get her coat. Her mother, I think it was her mother, had to catch her as she lost balance. I wondered if I'd have to prop Dave up after his operation. When someone faints it's actually good to let them lie on the ground so blood can get to their head. That doesn't mean I'd let Dave drop like a sack of potatoes (where does that line come from?) but it would mean that I'd let him sprawl out over the office floor and I'd make sure his head was in a position so he didn't choke on his gob if it got to that.

Unfortunately when Dave got out of the operation they let him lie down in a small cot before letting him go. No embarrassing pictures of him drooling this time round. Oh well. After dropping him off at home I ended up walking down to the nearby Home Depot to look at shelves. To get there I walked over a train bridge.

The sun was going down, the air was crisp, I think Dave said it was -7 degrees C. It was probably colder. At least it felt like it.

Sun setting looking off the train bridge

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Samosas To Go

A place on Gerrard that offers Indian snacks

A while ago I was introduced to this place or rather the vegetable samosas of this place by the owner of Hutoshi (the hair salon). Cheaper than a chocolate bar or a bag of chips, at 70 cents each, they're a pretty good snack.

I pass by the store on a regular basis but for some reason haven't gone in nearly enough since I've known of their existence. Maybe it's too far away, it's not really it's only five blocks down the road, but I usually only pass the store when I'm on the streetcar.

It's funny how we get used to taking the same route to work, school, the camera store. We miss places like this that are right next to or close to our home. When's the last time you walked around the place you live and actually looked around (and not at the ground)? Granted if living in a suburb with a lot of houses you may walk and just see more rows of houses but maybe there's a power line you never noticed, something as simple as a fire hydrant, a new stop sign, a dog that barks too much.

Don't feel bad if it's been a while or maybe even never. You're in good company. Along with me, I have friends. One person lived in a city for a year and didn't get a chance to meet any of his next door neighbours or see the city other than places to buy food and the trip to work. Another friend of mine wanted to know where there was a place that played jazz only to find out there was one a block away.

Playing Wow is all about exploring and seeing what's where. I figured today I would go out and do it in the real world. First stop, the samosa store.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Alter Ego

La Super la Fun = World of WarCraft played in the dark with the sound cranked up

Not finding a Nintendo Wii on sale anywhere, and this is after of over a year of resistance, I finally broke down and bought the World of Warcraft or WoW (not to be confused with the Women of Wrestling). It had come down in price to a mere $20, which at first seems quite reasonable for a game but that $20.00 only allows you to play the game for a month. To keep playing you keep paying. Every month.

Blizzard, the company that makes the game, makes it pretty easy to bill the game play directly to your credit card. In fact you cannot install and play the game without entering your credit card number unless you buy a pre-paid two month gaming card (ranging from $30-$40 CAN). It's something they don't mention on the box. The billing is a automatically reoccurring cost. I'm not so sure that I'm thrilled with that.

To save from being billed on your credit card you can always cancel your game service before the free 30 days run out. But seriously who remembers to turn off the card at the right time. Chances are they'll ding you for at least an extra month's game play because you missed the stop date by a day.

The Hook

It's kind of like crack. The first hit is free, more or less, after that you pay, pay, pay. What? You have friends? Blizzard gives you two coupons that have serial numbers that work for 10 days so your friends can install the software using your CDs and play for free.

It took a total of five hours to install. You have to install the game from 5 CDs then once it's done you may have to, depending on the version that is on your CDs, download a few patches to get your software up to the current version. The game takes up about 6 gigabytes of hard drive space.

The Good stuff

WoW is huge. The map is incredibly large. UncaringBear has been playing this thing for at least a year and still plays. There is no way you could finish this game in one night, one week, and that's if you play 24 hours a day. The immense size of the game is almost worth the game play fee and unlike TV cable you can actually talk to your friends across the world (literally). The game not only has a chat module built in but you can also send WoW currency to other players with a note attached to it via mail. This is good if the other player is not online.

The End Result

Hopefully this won't take over my life but it seems with just the few hours I've played this there's a good chance of that happening. Not since Diablo II have I played an RPG this entertaining. Kind of reminds me of the old days when UncaringBear and I played MarioKart until the sun came up. My fingers were cramped for at least three days after that.

The Bitter Way

A skateboarder uses the TTC bench as a skid platform

WARNING: Rant to follow

As a kid I would be spanked when I did something really bad, misbehaved, or was deemed a general nuisance. My Dad would put the fear of God in me just by reaching down to his belt buckle. It wasn't done for the enjoyment of beating ones offspring, it was to teach the little s__t to behave. If the hand went to the belt, I had done something wrong. Pretty simple.

There was no misunderstanding. When the belt came off you knew that you did something bad. Maybe you didn't know what it was but after a few beatings you'd find out. You were conditioned to be good.

Thanks to my "programming" ideas like "Treat someone like you'd want to be treated.", "Take care of things that don't belong to you like they do.", "Make sure when borrowing stuff from someone that they get the stuff back in the same or better condition.", "Don't litter", "Don't stand on the streetcar or bus seats with boots on." and the whole slew of other things that make me a better human being.

When I see others that take no responsibility for their actions it disgusts me.

A few years ago I lent my Star Wars laser disc box set to a person. As it was a collectors item (and $300 when I bought it) I had kept it in near mint condition for the many months I had it. When I got it back one of the laser disc sleeves was warped and had water damage on it. Did the person I lent the set to try to compensate me in some way or even apologize? No he blamed his kid for spilling water on it.

Hello? If you borrow something I don't care who destroys it when it's in your possession. It's your responsibility. It's bad enough the thing doesn't come back that way it went out but blaming the damage on someone else? Who's taking care of the kid in the first place. Nice parenting, way to go.

As that happened long ago (in a galaxy far, far away) I still get steamed when I think of that incident and other incidents like it. Today there were some guys on skateboards skateboarding on the Spadina platform hogging about a third of the platform area to do their stunts.

If I were mayor of Toronto I would try to issue tazers for the TTC task force to put an end to these little upstarts. Either that or sick my belt wielding Dad on them (and their parents). That'll learn 'em.

People that you meet...

Michael, one of the audience at the Bloor Theatre

I saw "The Fountain" today at the Bloor theatre. It was an afternoon (4:30) show. With a membership that translates to $4.00. Not too shabby. Despite mixed media reviews I thought the movie was pretty good. Without getting into too much detail it's essentially a love story,. Throw in some what happens after death questions to the audience and "viola", "The Fountain".

After the movie I met a photographer by the name of Michael, a friend of Emmanuel. He was in the audience and became part of our small discussion group after the movie. Emmanuel on the hunt for some book stopped into a bookstore just east of the theatre. It was at the Pita Pit next door that I bumped into Melissa and Alan. Small world.

Melissa and Alan at the Pita Pit

Fun Pho You

Darryl looks at our piece of food art.

Sometime later after the Horseshoe I ended up at a local Pho place on Spadina eating dinner with Darryl. I can't remember the name of the place only that it has a picture of a train on the main sign and a bunch of really gaudy Christmas lights in the front window. The food is/was pretty good and reasonably priced.

It didn't take long before Darryl started drawing on his plate with the various sauces. I finished the masterpiece by adding the mustache and mouth. This is the second time we've gone to this place and were entertained by the food.

A close up view

Darryl makes a spring roll into a puppet
photo taken December 17, 2006

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stuff We Love

"We Love" at the Horseshoe

Tonight at the Horseshoe a band called "We Love" performed. The girl doing the lead vocals had a voice that was reminiscent of Pat Benatar. She was great. The last song performed was a cover of Billy Idol's "Eyes without a face". The rendition of this song was good, there were even people in the audience humming along. The thing that bugged me a bit was the singer's voice would trail off while singing the verse "eyes without a face", it sounded more like "eyes without a fa...". The clipped singing reminded me of Diana Krall.

Maybe it was the sound set up, maybe it was the band, but the instruments sounded like mush. It was hard to make out each instrument from one another. It was unfortunate considering the energy the guitarists seemed to be putting into their performance. They had a good stage presence, not just talking heads strumming guitars.

As with any new bands, with a little more fine tuning and some pointers from the local photographer I think they could be on to something.

Leanna Gets Fresh

A mango shake for lunch at Fresh

For lunch I met up with Leanna. As I'll pretty much eat anything, with the exception of liver as a solid, I left the choice of where to eat with her. She choose Fresh. Fresh is a vegetarian restaurant. Leanna is not a vegetarian. Not that I'm against vegetarian food but I have to ask...

What's with women and eating vegetables?

I'm basing this question on all the females I know that I've ever eaten with, gone to dim sum with (dim sum has very little vegetables - more on this later), gone to a restaurant with, etc, etc.

The girl is always the one ordering the steamed greens, the mixed vegetables, the big ass salad. Why?

Another example that comes to mind is that mothers telling us not to forget to eat our vegetables or asking if we've been getting enough greens. Maybe we don't live with them anymore but it seems to concern them. Our fathers, or at least my dad, might ask us... order us to finish our meal but I don't think I've ever heard him ask about my green intake.

Is this because women in general are more in touch with their leafy consumption? Are guys in general more carnivorous? Are women more concerned about the junk they put into their bodies compared to us male counter parts, on average I mean.

When I think about it most of my female friends are in fact more in touch with what they eat. Some for weight loss reasons, skin completion, or they don't eat heavy foods in general (meat versus plant) as it tires them out.

Woman are generally smarter than men and live longer lives. I would like to think it's because they take better care of themselves rather than us dying from them nagging us to an early grave asking things like "Did you order any vegetables?".

Blogging before Breakfast

The Breakfast Place

Okay so I didn't go to sleep right away. Decided to grab some grub first. I'll have to remember to visit after 8:30 more often. There was only one other customer there this morning.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cat Training

Humbert, the cat patient

Sometime yesterday during the dim sum extravaganza I offered, no volunteered, to take care of Rick's cat Humbert while he and Sabrina went on vacation. Little did I know that meant sticking a needle into a diabetic feline. I don't like needles and I really don't like using them on living creatures. I draw the line at using syringes on puff pastries.

Rick, the cat, and Sabrina

Sabrina demonstrated the needle insertion procedure on Humbert. The cat didn't seem to mind and was more interested in eating food than running away. Well that's good. Humbert is a pretty friendly cat that sort of reminds me of the family cat I had when I was a kid.

Woo Hoo! I've finally caught up the blog to the present day. It's 7:22am, monday morning now. Going to get some sleep.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dim Sum Bonanza

Dim sum camera A angle

Today marks the first time in ten years of being out of credit card debt. It's one of the many things that I've been trying to do to get my life "back on track". As it's been something I've been working on for the last few weeks and was big news, I wanted to celebrate by taking my friends out for lunch (dim sum). No this didn't mean I was going to rack up my cards again. I never got the chance (more on this later).

Dim sum camera B angle taken by Alan

There were 14 of us, probably a new dim sum club record. As I tried taking the bill to the cashier, Kyoko came up trying to take the bill away. She was being pretty grabby. I successfully managed to push her away. Seconds later as I started to punch in my pin number on the interact console, three thugs by the name of Tony, Alan, and Darryl, grabbed my card and each arm and dragged me away from the cashier. Geez. Instead of me paying for them, they all chipped in and paid for me.

Thanks people. It's nice to have friends.

After doing the usual Tim Hortons coffee, they didn't serve iced cappacino's - damn them, and hitting the local Best Buy (Dundas, east of Bay) Colin and I ended up in the computer corridor on College street. He was looking for some crossfire info on the ATI graphics cards.

Next up, "The Pursuit of Happyness" at the theatre at Eglinton and Yonge. A movie that was okay if you like your heart strings being pulled and you know how it ends before even stepping into the theatre. After the movie I found myself at his apartment playing with a remote controlled helicopter.

Colin and his battery operated helicopter

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lens Looking

The micro 105mm lens and it's depth of field

Went to downtown camera today to look at lenses. Found out that Graham, the sales paerson that knows me by first name and ex-neighbor, is no longer working at the store. I'll have to figure out what happened to him. Maybe that's why he asked for my card a few days ago.

I managed to play with the new 105mm VR lens. I've been toying with getting that lens to shoot a sequel to "Macho Baby!". But as it isn't really bring money in, it's just a hobby, the lens can wait. Because of the smashed 18-70mm kit lens I did pick up the 28-70mm 2.8 lens as a replacement. It cost a pretty penny but I've been eyeing it for a while and I need it for upcoming jobs. At least that's how I justified it in my brain. I still need to get that SB-800 fixed or replaced.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ice Slippery, Movie Bad

Slippery iced over drive way

I woke up early this morning and had breakfast at the local restaurant. Later on in the evening I went over to Leanna's place to watch a bad movie on TV called "Step Up". A bad dance movie geared to teenagers with bad uniform lighting. Despite that the company was enjoyable.

Originally I was supposed to shoot Emmaunels movie night at the ROM. The movie was "Groundhog Day". For some reason or other the ROM had killed the event at the last minute.

Early morning in the hood.

Leanna preps dinner

Leanna serves the kids first

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Short Time AGO

Laer messes with authority

We went to the Art Gallery of Ontario tonight. We being Laer, Ellaine, Emmaunel and I. It being Wednesday means that after 6pm the AGO is free. At least most of it is free. The exhibit on Ansel Adams and Alfred Eisenstaedt was not free, It was $15.

The thing that I found that was kind of dumb on the Art Gallery's part was that they sold prints of the photos just outside the exhibit. Why would anyone want to pay $15 to see the photo exhibit when they could just look at the prints in the souvenir shop?

Henry Moore sculptures surronded by cartoon drawings of an exotic dancer by Julian Opie.

Getting in for free to see the rest of the Art Gallery was a savings of $5, the amount you would have to pay should you want to look at the art at any other time. I thought $5 was a rip off just to see three rooms of art. I guess I'm a bit spoiled after finding out that the museum's in London are free and much, much larger in size.

Here you can see the dancer poles are lined up with the ceiling architecture

Monday, January 15, 2007

Destruction of Property

My smashed UV lens filter ring after taking pilers to it to remove it from my 18-70mm lens.

Crap! Just after putting my camera on a counter and hearing the guy in front of me yell "look out", eyes widening, then hearing a smash, I turned around to see my D200 on the floor. "Crap, crap , craaap!" I thought to myself. The UV filter, thank godness I even had one on, was shattered. The SB-800 flash smashed in. My brain tallied the damage in monetary terms. This was going to financially hurt. This little accisdent would end up costing mee tens times the amount I'd take in tonight.

I might have looked quite calm when this all occurred. The last thing I wanted the client to think was that I just destroyed my gear before his event started. He had just asked if we could take some shots of him before the main event started. I asked him for ten minutes to get ready and moved over to the garbage container to remove the remaining glass still lodged in the filter ring.

Upon closer inspection the UV filter ring, made of metal, had been squished into the plastic 18-70mm lens destroying the threads and cracking the outer glass on the actual lens. Luckily the crack was along the edge. Taking pictures could still be done with no flaws. That was something but without repairing the threads I'd never be able to use another filter.

The SB-800 had suffered the lost of the wide angle dispersion plastic flap. It still worked otherwise but I wondered how much that would set me back. The falling of the camera over the counter side was all due to having that stupid Gary Fong light dome on, attached to the flash and making my camera top heavy. That and me being stupid enough to place the camera on the counter in the first place.

Lucky for me I brought all my lenses to the job as well as all my flashes. I swapped the busted SB-800 with my only other good one. I have a third where the camera shoe is bent thanks to some idiot on set trying to help me wrap my equipment and not knowing how to slide the flash off. Instead he tried tugging it off resulting in the bent metal piece.

Thankfully the camera survived. Not even a scratch on the body. That was a relief. I manged to shoot the book launch without any other incidents occurring.

"Aspirations", one of the books being launched

This girl stayed behind these tables all night watching other people eat and drink food.

Lisa gets her book signed by the author, Sanjay Burman

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Snow Finally

My garden gnome finally sees snow

I went to the Bloor Theatre to meet up with Marc, Emmaunel and Colin to see the movie "Stranger than fiction". There's a scene that involves cookies which made me think of a transaction between me and the girl that involved cookies. I wondered what reconstituted cookies from the freezer would taste like.

After the movie Colin and I walked down to the College street computer stores. Not really looking to buy anything we just walked from store to store. Like a few pieces of meat that plopped onto the sidewalk in front of us, two birds were attacking each other. It was the oddest thing I've seen in a while. I managed to sneak up on them to grab a quick shot of them in action before they took their fight to the air.

Two birds fighting each other.

Colin Marsh walks the College street computer corridor.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Toaster Day

Sadie's Diner counter

I stopped off at Sadie's diner (located at 504 Adelaide) to drop off some pictures for Al (the owner) from the opening. He and his brother were working the kinks out of using the cash register when I got there. I took a few pictures, dropped off a few picture CDs and left.

The front window

On my way home I decided to go to the depressing Gerrard square mall to shop for a toaster and bumped into Trinh, a person I haven't seen in ages. While walking between Home Depot and Zellers we talked about who we've seen from high school, what we've been up to, and what my toaster mission specs were.

For all the years I lived on my own I've never owned a toaster. The closest thing is my sandwich maker, basically a waffle iron for heating sandwiches or making those crazy apple pies with apple sauce and two slices of wonder bread or the mini pizza pockets. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

It's kind of odd that a person that likes toasted bagels so much wouldn't have a toaster until now but I guess it's just that I've never thought about it before. There was always a camera thingy to buy or maybe a DVD. I never knew toasters were so cheap. It wasn't until visiting London that I noticed you could buy a Toaster from Sainbury's for under seven pounds.

At Home Depot the least expensive toaster was $15.95. It took up the least room, which is ideal for me as I have a small amount of counter space, but at the same time had large enough bread openings to toast bagels. It even had a bagel mode that could be set using a flimsy plastic lever. I looked at the Betty Crocker device a bit more closely and noticed that, for the most part, it was all made of plastic.

The cheap plastic housing spurred me on to check the other models. Some where aluminum, others looked like other forms of metal. They all had plastic bottoms. I ended up going back to Zellers, dragging Trinh with me, and picking up the hamilton beach toaster. It too, was made with a plastic bottom but it had a crumb tray. Although a little bit bigger because it was oval shaped instead of rectangular and twice the price at $39.95 I still went with it.

After the shopping spree on my toaster I ended up going to Trinh's place which is conveniently located pretty close to the mall. Once there I found out that she and Lenny have two kids. Both are still in their "cute" and "I want to share everything with that stranger with the camera" stage.

Playing with scissors

Lenny feeds the kid

Trinh in the kitchen

After the short visit at Trinh's it was off to home to drop off the Toaster and pick up batteries to go back to the west end to the launch of the Opium Lounge. It's just a name, they don't actually sell Opium (for all those europeans that might be reading this thinking that Toronto is a cool drug using city like Amsterdam - sorry it's not).

Emmanuel and Lisa at the Opium Lounge

The Opium lounge is sandwiched between two other clubs on Richmond. Unfortunately the front of the lounge looks like a big wall with curtains. It ended up that we along with maybe four others not including the owners showed up.

The music was too loud to really have any conversation so we eventually left for food. Emmanuel and I ended up at Swatow, the usual late night eatery. I was starving and ordered 111A (Shrimp and Lobster on rice), the Singapore noodles, a small bowl of chicken corn soup, and a side order of pan fried dumplings. Emmaunel in contrast ate a very small bit. We left after I ordered a beef stew on rice to go.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Goodbye Charlotte

Charlotte's friends attend the "goodbye" party.

Pauper's Pub. 6:30pm. A bunch of us showed up to say our good byes and happy wishes to Charlotte. Charlotte is off to teach in Korea. How long will she be gone? No one really knows.

Charlotte and probably the best picture of Pete.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Island Fools

Goo and Gnat at Island foods

Today's lunch with Gudrun (goo) and Natasha (Gnat) at island foods was the highlight of my day. Bumping into Leanna on the streetcar on the way to Island foods in the west end would rank a very close second.

My top five favorite Roti places in Toronto are...

  1. Island Foods - King, east of Dufferin

  2. Roti Palace - Bathurst, south of Bloor

  3. Coconut Grove - Dundas, east of University

  4. Albert's - Queen, east of Bathurst

  5. D+D foods - Gerrard, west of Greenwood

I'm not really sure what it is about a roti that I like. It's one of those foods my father introduced to me as a kid and I guess it just stuck. The shell of the roti has to be soft and flavourful which is why some of the obvious roti places that people think of in Toronto are not listed. I'm not really fond of roti shells that are hard or tough.