Sunday, December 30, 2007

xmas giving, and why giving is often flawed

I had a great xmas this year. I enjoy getting together with family, exchanging presents, a little consumerism, a little recycling, giving, etc.. All the stuff related to family and friends is great, absolutely great.

The upcoming rant has little to do with xmas, its just bad timing for xmas. I participate in this little group formerly called "Free Cycle" or Full Circle Ottawa. In theory, its great. You post when you have something to offer, or when you're looking for something particular. I've posted and successfully "freecycled" a lawnmower, file folders, and a few other things. But lately, i'm sick of it. Its not as easy as it sounds to give something away.

The rule of thumb seems to be, if you're offering something, state where you live and methods for delivery - either pick up, or drop off, or both. I always state pick up only... i'm sure if i were trucking this stuff all over town i could get rid of it much easier. I guess i'm not that nice, and don't want to spend 5 bux in gas to go to the east end... perhaps i should.

Another part of the problem is the email communication medium, which is used initially, but really should be taken out of the loop and replaced by the phone after the first exchange. Perhaps this is all i need to do in the future, but for the time being i'm pissed. Email is lazy, and not very time relevant. I post, an hour later someone responds saying they can pick it up. Then i see it, say when can you come, and 2 days later i get a response...

The reason why i'm mad now is because i've been trying to get rid of this old stereo system since boxing day. Here's how it's gone down:

  • I post around 10am on boxing day saying the stereo is in semi-working condition, available for pickup in centertown.


  • I get the first response at 10:20, saying the person can pick it up before 1pm today. The 2nd person to respond sent at 10:30am


  • I respond to the first person at about 10:40, saying i'll be home, heres my address, come and get it.


  • I wait... eventually at 3:45 the guy responds and says he just got home, and can pick it up on saturday.


  • I respond to the 2nd person saying it is still available, but she's mostly asking about the stereo, and where i'm located (which was in my original email).


  • At around 7pm, someone else responds, saying they're interested.


  • Still following up with the 2nd person now on the 27th, this is what they wrote at 11:44 am: hi a wiill try to get a ride right away thanks where do u live exactly does cd player also work thanks


  • I respond, saying i'll be around, with my address, but the person never shows up nor sends another message.


  • I'm pissed, but wait until friday... i send another message to person #1 saying if they can pick it up saturday morn, its theirs.


  • I don't get a response as of saturday morn, so begin comms with person #3.


  • Person #1 responds saying they can pick it up THIS morning (sunday) between 10 and 11 (getting less specific, should be a sign...), and i say fine.


  • Person #3 responds, i respond and say i've already committed to giving it to person #1, and they respond saying how disappointed they are.


  • Sunday morning rolls around, early, because i woulda slept a few more hours, and person #1 says something came up and to give it to someone else.



ARRRGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need a xmas ceasar and pack of smokes. I don't have the heart to respond to person #3 after their "i'm so disappointed" email, the f*in stereo is hitting the curb on my way out to buy new shit likely made in china. I'm not in a freecycling mood right now.

This is NOT the first time this has happened. People troll these lists, respond to things they would like, with no way of getting them, and no real commitments to picking them up - they're free after all!

I think this rant has been therapeutic. In the future, i'll give people my phone number at the first exchange, and will not accept any pick up times more than 24 hours away, perhaps even none the next day... i welcome any other suggestions too. I also realize the silliness of posting this on my blog and not in their forum, but this was mostly for me to rant and now thats done and i'm selfish and frustrated right now... less so now though!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Facebook spam/viral letter

I got the following message sent to me by a friend on facebook yesterday:

Attention all Facebook membeRs.
Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,
There have been many members complaining that Facebook
is becoming very slow.Record shows that the reason is
that there are too many non-active Facebook members
And on the other side too many new Facebook members.
We will be sending this messages around to see if the
Members are active or not,If you're active please send
to other users using Copy+Paste to show that you are active
Those who do not send this message within 2 weeks,
The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more space,
If Facebook is still overpopulated we kindly ask for donations but until then send this message to all your friends and make sure you send
this message to show me that your active and not deleted.

Founder of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg


I suppose it was only a matter of time... i don't use facebook nearly as much as a used to. Actually, i guess i never really *used* it, i just spent time there. Techcrunch posted the following funny video that pretty much sums up how i feel about facebook these days.

It was a novelty, its worn off for me, but i'll occasionally still use it as a tool when i need to send a message out to friends in a manor more trusted than email... and so my picture is next to my message. Actually, its less reliable than email, moreso now though that they include the message in their notification email, but a lot of people likely don't read them or have the notifications disabled.

In a totally unrelated note, google talk has added translation - this is very cool. You can now in theory IM people in different languages, and have google talk translate for you. Do i have any non-english readers that would care for a conversation???

Friday, December 14, 2007

Winston is helping me study





I'm writing this 6 hour 250 question exam tomorrow. I've been studying for it for roughly 3 months. It has basically swallowed all my free time. Pass or fail, I will be very glad when it is through.

If i pass, i will definitely have my cats to thank. They've helped me through some tough times.

If i fail, i will definitely have my cats to blame. They've definitely caused me to waste lots of time.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

garbage man stuck in snow





The scene last monday during the massive snowfall. This is right outside my house. I thought about helping, but i didn't. It didn't take them too long to get out.

They still haven't "cleared" the snow from my street yet, i guess i don't live near any rich/influential people. Hopefully this week they'll clear the rest of it away.

I heard on CBC that it costs ottawa 3 million dollars every time we have 20 cm of snow or more. I hate to say it, but i'd excpect for 3 million dollars the snow would be gone by now. Mabye its 3 million dollars over 4 months? Theres no way they've spent it all already.

Monday, November 26, 2007

iTunes feels iAncient

Is it just me or is iTunes the absolute worst piece of casual software available on windows (i don't have a mac, so i can't speak to its effectiveness on its native platform)?

I started using my girlfriends iPod mini a year or so ago, and its pretty sweet. The interface is decent, its light, does what i expect, never skips, its cool. My first annoyance was when i wanted to put music on it. It was a new computer, so of course with its shite drm it has to trash everything thats on there. I've heard there's ways around this, if anyone has quick links for the future i would be much obliged.

Adding stuff and syncing is relatively painless i must admit. Drag the stuff in there, if its "checked" it means it'll show up on the iPod if you sync. But whats with the massive album art? Showing me 25 items on the screen is somewhat of a ridiculous use of space... this may be there "pretty" view and speak to my laziness for not investigating other options, but i have high standards for out of the box software!!!

All that i've mentioned i can handle. What i CANNOT handle is update software that is ridiculously in my face, and constantly FAILS!! Its now iTunes 7.5 that is trying to be installed, and it always fails for one reason or another. I don't have the time or patience to try to fix it, i only have the time or patience to bitch about it, cause thats what i feel like doing right now. I'd get a mac for that sweet icon scroller thingy at the bottom, but if iTunes is my main music software, i think i'll stick with my windoze.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"let me finish!!!"

How many times have you been a conversation, or been listening to one and heard the words "let me finish!!" usually in an excited tone.

Its seems us humans have a very strong tendency to interrupt people when they are talking. This obviously annoys/angers people, and sparks them to chime out the aforementioned words.

Cats on the other hand, do not have this problem. I just conducted an experiment with my occasionally noisy cat Ruby. She gets into winy moods where she mixes up her speech with a variety of murmurs, mechs, and meows. My experiment reveals if i wait for her to finish what she's saying, then launch into conversation with her (maintaining eye contact), no matter how long i go for (within reason, up to 20 seconds or so) she won't interrupt me and will stay attentive and focused on me. Only when i complete my speech will she then, normally within a few seconds, respond with some of her usual noises. I think she's agreeing with me.

In some ways cats are far more polite than humans.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

1 year old cats!!!

Its true. Our adorable ex-kittens are now cats. Winston and Ruby turn 1 today, and i'm very excited. I don't specifically have anything planned except a few extra rub downs, and slight lenience of my military rule.

Heres Ruby this morning, she's always moving so without flash, this is as good as i could do:
1 year old ruby!!!

And here's the big dub, proud as always.
1 year old winston!!!

This is them at 8 weeks - yes, they were adorable then, and are just as adorable now as far as i'm conerned:
awww

Happy birthday Winston and Ruby!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

tricky toliets

I was in the manx briefly for dinner last night. Every time i go pee there (which is likely every time i go), i wonder how many times a night someone ventures into the wrong washroom. I always have to think about it and do association in my own way. This process always degrades to remembering that men have to walk slightly farther than women to do their business.

Anyone want to comment on what associations they use? I can never remember what those symbols mean or who they stand for, maybe someone can enlighten me. If i had some memory pillar to attach those symbols to i'd be less fearful of walking in on the opposite sex doing their business.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

hayden at bsi





A few of us took the country drive this past thurs out to wakefield to see perhaps my first favorite singer songwriter, Hayden.

Apparently he's been busy and just finished his new album "yesterday". It was his first show in 3 years. He didn't practice. It showed. I love the guy, i think he's great, he's still a great storyteller, but i was a little peeved at how many times he fucked shit up, or had to start over. The first time its funny and shows a bit of personality and humanity, but the 10th time its annoying and shows a lack of respect. The tickets were not cheap (18 bux i think), and its a tour to get out there. He should've practiced.

I'm sure he lost a fan or two that night. He didn't loose me, but i'll certainly think twice about going to see him the next time he's around... i'll probably go anyway. And i will get his new album. At least i know he's human. Like me!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mother Mother is the best thing since sliced gluten-free bread

mother mother tee
Myself and several accompaniments had the incredible pleasure of seeing the newest best band ever Mother Mother at zaphods last night.

We've been listening to their album for the past 6 months or so since my buddy turned me on to them after hearing them on cbc radio 3. Hot damn, they are imo the most diverse and talented sound since arcade fire, for darn sure. Its sooo good, and now i realize there is ridiculous talent as well as amazing song writing. Its hard to tell sometimes, but last night proved all.

We gushed over them all night. They actually opened for 2 other far inferior bands. Dragonette, who features Martina Sorbera (apparently the daughter of our late finance minister) either greatly benefited from accompanying vocal tracks, or was flat out lip syncing. Catchy, but not a live performance. The other dudes, Most Serene Republic or something, had some cool sounds, but very little vocal talent/hooks to keep me interested. We left mid way through their performance. No idea why the gigs were ordered as such, Mother Mother stole the show shortly after 8pm when they started in on "Legs Away" and playing half their album and 2 other songs i've never heard. In that half hour there were no other sounds in the universe worth listening to.

As i was saying, we gushed hard. After their show they were mostly just swag selling and hanging out... i bought a t-shirt as we attempted to book them for future birthday parties; tour pending, it was something they seemed quite open to. Some autographs were signed.

They're from Vancouver, and likely won't be back till next spring. We all must go again!!! YES!!!

They rule!!!! Check out some tracks on their site. Note the following picture is the best pic i could get as i was mostly too busy listening in complete awe...

mother mother at zaphods

Friday, September 21, 2007

up early on a saturday

If this isn't a sign of age and responsibility what is. Waking up early (its 6:22am) on a saturday morning, tossed and turned, couldn't get back to sleep. Mostly because i'm not all that hungover and i'm excited about laying the fresh cedar for my balcony today.

What do people do at 6:22am on a saturday? Is there anything to do? I think i'll see what the grinders are up to...

I will indeed be posting pics later of the balcony, it should be pretty sweet.

One things for sure, i'm not all that interesting at 6:22am on a saturday.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

nominal vs. dimensional??

One additional thing i should mention about Google Sketchup from my previous post, is that i put all the lumber sizes in in their "true" sizes. Otherwise, i wouldn't know exact distances and size of things!!! Am i not right here?

For instance, a 2x4 is not truely 2 by 4 inches. Its "about" 1.5 by 3.5 inches. How could i put in a piece of lumber that IS 2 by 4 inches into my drawings and expect sketchup to tell me the proper distances?

I understand if you measure everything "on center" you should be ok, but what about if simply want to measure the entire width of the structure?

If someone can clear this up for me i'd appreciate it.

balcony building and getting a building permit in ottawa

Ever since i've owned my house, i've known that i've needed to have some work done to its rear end. As you can see in the picture, which was taken shortly after i took possession, theres always been a door leading to nowhere. The original owner even nailed a few 2x10's up there for me to "get started" on an awesome balcony. Thanks!!! Unfortunately after discussion and research, nailing to the side of a non waterproof surface is probably not a good idea for a structurally sound chill pad for apt. #2.
addition 1

So this year, the main plan was to get er done. I started early on researching and discussing with an experienced friend of mine exactly "how" i was going to do it. I went through a few basic structures and ideas:
  • Build it on top of the existing structure

  • Build it with supports in the ground

  • With or without stairs?


  • In the end, i settled on a no stair, but extended balcony that is NOT supported by the structure underneath. Basically if it was, it would of required engineer's help to verify the integrity of that structure, and that structure was highly suspect. The previous owner did an "ok" job on everything done, and i just didn't trust it.

    So late last year i realized if i was going to build a balcony up there, i should probably ensure that the roof was good. Because it would really suck to have to tear down the balcony to fix a leaky roof. And the roof was already leaky. So i had the roof replaced. Which was not cheap, but at least i trust it now. Its properly flashed all around, and is in good shape. Earlier this year, i also decided to have eavestrophing installed on the roof above the door. That part of the roof is the lowest point so a lot of water attracted down that wall, and would be onto the roof, causing more water issues. I thought that was a good idea, and i'm happy with the result.

    Then came the building permit. From conception and farting around on the city of ottawa's web site to issuance, it was many months. But i got it in the end.

    The problem with the building permit, is the plans. The application itself is nothing, but it must be accompanied by plans of what you're going to do. Which makes sense. But is not trivial. I do believe you can get home depot and/or rona type stores to do plans for you for "free", but i kinda wanted to do this all myself. As i said i have a friend who helped conceptualize what the thing would look like, and then i just needed a tool to put it together. In retrospect i would have been MUCH easier to have someone else do it, but i was stubborn and like doing things myself so i understand them.

    Enter Google Sketchup. Is there anything google can't do? I mean this tool is amazing. In a nutshell, its a layman's CAD tool. You can design pretty much anything in it, and if you really want to, import it into google earth (which apparently has a flight sim built into it, but i haven't tried it). So if you design a house or a building, you can plop it down in the googleverse and see what it looks like. I have not done this. But what i did do, was design the whole thing in sketchup, as well as site and floor plans where necessary.

    Perspective
    The end result is pretty sweet. After quite a few hours i developed a model of the entire balcony including every piece of lumber to be used, proper angles, railing, etc.. I thought this was a much cleaner idea than drawing up some crappy sketches that would no doubt need to be updated during the permit talks. And i was right about that!
    Side view

    Getting the building permit was quite an ordeal. Once the drawings were done and i had filled out the application, here's a summary of how it went down:

    1) Show up at city hall on a friday morning.

    2) No lineup, ask to submit an application for a building permit.

    3) The lady looks it over, tells me it'll be 80 odd dollars, and calls the dude from the back.

    4) The dude spends a few minutes looking it over, and takes issue with a few points. My footings were not deep enough (originally i had 4 foot holes, they needed to be 6 feet), and i needed to properly quote building code sections for the blocking and railing, or have a proper diagrams that showed screws and specifics.

    5) I asked where i can see the building code

    6) He said it was for sale "over there".

    7) I said gee thanks.

    8) I then thought about it, and decided to go to the library. They did not have the 2006 building code, but they had the 1997 + amendments.

    9) I spent some serious time going through all the different schematics coming up with a now different railing plan. The lady at the library was very nice as i didn't have my card, but let me borrow one of their photocopy cards, and i just payed what i spent when i left. How trusting!!!

    10) I choose a model i liked, made photo copies of all the appropriate sections, and went home.

    11) I then updated my model with the footing adjustments and changes to the blocking and railing, printed it off again, and went back.

    12) They accepted the application!!! Yay!!! I paid the 80 odd dollars.

    13) About 6 business days later, i get an email from someone at the city that was assigned to my application. It contained a pdf of issues, which included, among a few other things, that the photocopies from the old building code needed to be from the 2006 building code. Arg!!!

    14) I bought the damn 2006 building code. 150$. Now i'll have it forever. Or at least until 2012 when a new one comes out and this one becomes useless reference material.

    15) I made photocopies of the newly revised sections, which looked to be identical to me, and now proceeded to communicate with this nice lady via faxes and emails.

    16) We sorted out the remainder of the issues over the next week and a half, mostly to do with floor plans, and "is it a fire exit", etc..

    17) Roughly a month after the initial application, i was back at city hall signing the real permit. I got my original plans and faxes stamped, and a sheet to put up on my window saying i'm a wicked permit holder.

    All in all it wasn't a horrible experience, and i understand why the back and forths occurred, and i understand why you need to quote from the new building code, but they really should make the building codes available for perusal at city hall. That part is ridiculous.

    Once i had the permit i was assigned an inspector. I discussed with him what inspections i need. I needed an excavation, framing, and final inspection. I have had the excavation inspection, and it went very smoothly - he didn't even measure the awesome 6 foot depth. I dug 2 perfectly deep 6 feet by 2" diameter holes and he didn't measure them!!! O well, at least i know they're the real deal.

    There will be more boring assed balcony discussion to come, you can bet your bottom beam on that.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    patch day 1

    So i've decided to quit smoking. Like really quit. None of this smoke sometime, and not others. I've been debating for a while, and decided to give it a kick.

    In order to "setup for success", i've got the patch. I'm not a heavy smoker, so i'm starting on nicoderm, stage 2. I was told by my doctorb to hit that for 2 weeks, then stage 3 for two more weeks after that.

    I put my first patch on this morning. Within five minutes i was buzzin like crazy. All morning i was on a massive rush, this stuff is addictive man!!!! I took the patch off a few hours ago cause i didn't want the "vivid dreams" the box suggested were a possibility... it also suggested "insomnia", so probably not.

    The day was fine... one day, not a problem. A week or two will be tricky. 1 year is what will be tough. I figure, one day at time.

    Yay exercise!!! And being able to taste food again, that'll be sweet.

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    pasta from the gods





    Desperately low on substance in the fridge, i needed to eat something... and i needed it fast.

    One of the beauties of having a house, and some yard, is the veggie garden. This year i planted a bunch of tomato plants, basil, red peppers, lettuce, and cilantro. The tomatos have been good allthough a little sparser than i would've expected (considering i planted 13 plants), the basil has been great, cilantro had its times (remember to pick flowers!!!), and the lettuce much the same as the cilantro. The peppers are just coming in full force now.

    So back to lunch. I needed some, and had very little in the fridge. Some sundried tomatos was about all that was in there. So i went out to the garden, picked a bunch of basil, and the one tomato i could find. I came inside, pulled some shallots out, and sauted them down with some balsamic till tender. Then added sliced sundrieds and garlic. Of course s & p and oil al mucho. Once done, i took the whole bit along with the pile of washed basil, into the cuisinart with you!!! They had a bit of a pesto party in there they did. Cooked the de cecco pasta (the spooled fettuccine, best dried pasta money can buy), spooned directly into the original saute fry pan, added the pesto, and voila, lunch. Chopped my one tomato on top, some red pepper flakes, and now it is in my tummy, but not before taking this pic on top of my new filing cabinet. What a way to kick off what will likely be paradigm shiftastic weekend.

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    omg all your can eat sushi in ottawa

    When i was in Vancouver a few weeks ago i got to partake in the glorious transcendence that is all you can eat sushi. It was good, great, amazing... but now, upon my return, i have heard of not one, but 2 all you can eat sushi restaurants in Ottawa!!! Yes, its true!!!!!

    Having heard that, and having spent the vast majority of my weekend 5 feet underground under extreme physical duress (more on this later), i knew the only thing that would appease me was a mountain of raw fish. It was risky, considering the place we were going hadn't been open long, but i was game.

    The place we went was on carling between maitland and the 417. It is called 1000 Sushi Islands. O man, we were not disappointed.

    There's just nothing like the tenderness and flavour of fresh raw salmon sashimi (i don't know how they get it here so fast, but man i'm glad they can!!!). The texture is like a really thick al dente noodle, but a little more forgiving. The smell, o so good. No need to bathe in soy/wasabi, these babies are islands unto themselves. The quality told me right away that this place was legit. Their seaweed salad was probably the best i ever had. Tempura, of which we tried the shrimp and squid (i know, squid tempura, wow!!!), and it was all delightful. They did rainbow rolls which were killer, and their spice salmon rolls were a little different as far as ingredients, but man were they good. Unagi. Awesome. The pieces were a little small, but it was ALL YOU CAN EAT!!!! SO WHO CARES!!!! The only thing that didn't blow me away was their hand roll thingys, but i'm not a big fan of those anyways.

    The service was good, but it seemed one or 2 of the things weren't what we ordered, or stuff we ordered went to the wrong tables. They come around and fill your water and tea quite regularly, as well as take additional order sheets whenever you have new ones ready (i think we went through 4 sheets). No liquor license yet, but pops are included with the buffet, as is everything - nothing on the menu had a price, except the whole buffet which was 20.99 for fri-sun, and 19.99 (lunch was cheaper, and there are kids and seniors discounts). The menu does say you'll be charged for what you don't eat, but i assume this is only if there are piles of things untouched (if anyone has experience with this i'd love to hear about it).

    So ya, 1000 Islands Sushi is an ALL YOU CAN EAT sushi place. Its in ottawa. I think the food was better than sushi 88. Which might mean i never go back there, as even being the cheapest sushi restaurant in town i've never left there with a bill under 50 bux, and never full, and our bill was 43 and change... o man. I'm totally stoked.

    The best thing about it: sushi full. Normally when i'm full, and i mean stuffed, with other types of food, i kinda want my body to digest. I go for indian buffet, i stuff myself on 2 plates or so, and i feel like i'm going to die. I recognize it is not healthy to eat so much in a sitting, but when i do so with sushi, i feel like i'm in heaven. No bloating, no barfing, no tooting, no burping, no nothing. Just pure peace. Pure sushi full. And this is something you only get with all you can eat, cause i never eat "enough" at a regular place to reach this level of gastronirvana. O baby, ottawa has never seen so bright.

    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    sonotube dimensional annoyances

    I've bought some sonotube's lately. Not branded "sonotube", likely cheap rip offs, i got 8" versions from both rona and home depot. The ones from rona are actually smaller than 8"'s, would probably make a 7.5" concrete form. The ones from home depot are a little bigger than 8", likely to make and exactly 8" concrete form. Am i the only one bringing a tape measure to these places to pick stuff out cause whatever dimensions are printed on whatever are not to be trusted??

    While not the most exciting thing to happen to me lately, i thought it was worth mentioning. Its been a great summer, but now its time to build!!! I'm building a balcony in my backyard, i'm all permit ready, and now i have to dig 6 feet into the ground in 2 places. This isn't going to be pretty.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    so hard for it honey

    This video came to mind recently and i thought i would share this massive flashback with the rest of you.

    Monday, July 9, 2007

    do not safedrop

    I've had some dealings with the post office lately, i'm hoping someone can shed some light on some possibilities i have not considered.

    A few months ago i placed an order with amazon.ca for 8 or 9 music cd's. About a week and half after i received their shipment email, i still had not received them. I checked canadapost's tracking site, and it said the parcel was delivered to the recipient a week ago. I phoned canada post, and they said they can't do anything, i should call amazon. So i did, and they said "this happens", and said they'd resend the entire parcel. It surprised me how easily they agreed to do this, but whatever, i was happy.

    This time I followed this tracking number a little closer, and when canadapost said this package had been delivered and it had not, i grew worried. I called amazon again, and again they were very nice. They said they rarely send a parcel 3 times, but made an exception for me cause i really wanted these cd's (they also would've just refunded my money at this point). The availability of one of the cd's was a little off, so they graciously offered to split the shipment up into 2 chunks.

    Again, i followed the tracking info, the bulk of the items being the first thing shipped. I added myself as an email recipient for updates on changes to the status of the package tracking. When i got the email telling me this package was delivered i was home. I of course went straight outside, again to find no package waiting for me. My guess is this info isn't "up to the minute", and likely was reported delivered the previous day (when i was not home).

    A few days later, the lone late cd did arrive in my mailbox. My mailbox is pretty standard, big enough to fit a small parcel, but any larger parcel would stick out the top. I've gotten books from amazon before, and they did stick out the top. This was the first time i've ever had any issues.

    I called amazon again, they were apologetic, but we both agreed there was nothing left for them to do. They refunded my money, and someone out there might very well have 3 copies of neon bible, joel plaskett's new cd, and a variety of other kickass albums. I ordered all the missing cds again, this time shipping them to my work, and they arrived safely there within 5 or so days.

    So what happened? Is it possible that "bad people" stole these parcels off my doorstep 3 times, when previous amazon packages that were sticking out of my mailbox arrived in my safe hands? This is the only possibility i can possibly accept. Did someone in the middle (ie an employee) scam them? Unlikely considering the parcel did arrive to my work. Is it possible amazon never actually sent them? Very unlikely considering canada post did note tracking info. Can anyone think of any other possibilities?

    I was told by someone (can't remember who) that you can request canada post not deliver parcels to your door without a signature. I called canada post and asked about this. They said i can not do this, but i can ask that parcels not be left at my house. They referred to this practice as "safedrop" (not sure whats safe about it though!). You are allowed to request that letter carriers "do not safedrop". The lady asked me to put a note on my mailbox that says "do not safedrop" and that she would put a request in to the depot marking my address with this same bit of info. So i did these 2 things. I got a call today from the local centertown postal outlet. The lady there informs me that letter carriers never leave parcels that do not completely fit in the mailbox. I said... ok. I didn't know what else to say, as well, i had no additional ideas. I was tired, frustrated, and bewildered.

    With the package that i did successfully get delivered to my office i debated filling it with cat poo, arming my house with cameras, eagerly hoping to catch a culprit... but i lost interest. The cat poo woulda been fun, but some possible outcomes could've been disastrous for my property, so i opted against it.

    I really hope it isn't skids walking by scoping out folks' mailbox's in hopes of treasures... i really really hope this isn't the case... but the whole situation has added to my cynicism, which was sparse before but increasingly grows as i do. Which kinda blows.

    Friday, June 22, 2007

    regrets

    I may have mentioned this before, but i don't often have regrets. Serious ones that is... i may regret calling a bet, or not paying more attention to some zinfandel's flavour, but i rarely am sickened by a choice made badly.

    Recently though, i was. I decided to get a full refund on my roger water tickets as i knew he would be playing the same night as the sens, game 5. That was a big mistake as one of my coworkers told me i basically missed one of the 10 best shows he's ever seen, and he's seen a lot. One of my childhood dreams was to see this guy, and i set aside the one best chance i'll have to do so. Damn.

    Another regret i have, but not nearly as serious, is not writing in here enough... i've said that before though haven't i!!! Well, i'm not going to vow to do anything about this one, but i tell you, if mr. waters comes back to the shite old corel centre again (or place d'scotia whatever), i'm there.

    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    jaks kitchen redux





    Ok, so i've now been a few times. Went for breakfast there last weekend, and what can i say, it was much improved, so much in fact, that i almost want to remove all my previous reservations about the switch over.

    To summarize, there were a ton of homies, the fruit was massive, juicy and better than ever, there were specials, one of which i had, and hot damn it, it was overflowing with what it promised. We were out on the balcony, and hot diggidy the service was almost too god in that my coffee never got below half... below HALF!!! I don't even like drinking that much coffee!!! Ya, it was really good.

    Partially by chance and partially because of that previously quite large breakfast, we hit it up for dinner last week as well. Again, not disappointed in the least, in fact quite delighted (i need to start using words like 'delighted' when i order bottles of white wine instead of bottles of beers). Non spicy curried cream farfalle!!! Giddeup!!! The mussels were rippin hot too (not like spicy hot, like sexy hot), with pancetta and portabellas in a red wine kickass broth, they were unlike any mussels i've eaten recently (including the ones i had at savanna last night, which you'll likely hear about elsewheres). And the wine, i think we just had house wine, not even bottles, was super crisp and perfect.

    So, since i'm just an individual who has little moral responsibility to the community at large and can bounce from one location, to the next, and then back again, i am in the business of second chances, as they often bear juicier fruit, and damn, this time it was falling from the trees. I can't help but feel a little flushed or perhaps setup, as my original posting is on their cork board, but i'm going to pretend no link up was made and these were just natural changes and in no way directed at yours truly. Bye bye stoneface, hello jak. Thank goodness for second chances, proximity will no longer be the only thing bringing me back (again and again).

    Wednesday, April 4, 2007

    bye bye stoneface

    So it's official, "Jaks Kitchen" has moved in down the street, replacing the iconic original location of "Stoneface Dolly's" gourmet homestyle eatery. I am, tres triste. I've been going for brunch still, albeit not as often, regularily over the past few months during the long transition. I've got a few things to say about the changes, and what i like and dislike. I realize some of the things that have changed will improve over time given that it is technically a new restaurant, but i'm going to mention them anyways.

    Good Changes
    Fruit - the new fruit is good. Big chunks of cantelope and pineapple. The fruit has gone from a whole variety, big pieces to small, on the plate to a bowl, and then back again. I actually can't remember how it was originally, but i remember the occasional blueberry. Now i'm not so sure this is a good change.
    Renos - they did some renovations that gave the place a bit more space, which is definitely good.

    Ambivalent Changes
    Decor - i really liked the old art, then the transitional chunky art, and now i like the mirrors. The new paint is nice too.
    Service - the old girls and guys served great, and so are the new. I miss the old cause they knew me of course, and i'm saddened the new may not get to know me as quickly, but i can't hold that against them.
    Coffee - perhaps it hasn't changed, i'm not sure, but its still damn good.

    Negative Changes
    Service Times - No matter how busy it used to be, i used to be able to be in and out in 30 min or so. Last time, i was waiting at LEAST 30 min just for my food, and it wasn't that busy.
    Homies - they don't even call them homies anymore!! They used to have chunks of onion and peppers in em, at least on occasion, and they just tasted better. The new ones are probably healthier tho, less butter, but the old ones definitely tasted better
    Omlettes - um, hello?? Can i have cheese in my omellete. Both myself and my friend got omlettes, her the goat cheese, me the fruilano (now called peppers and spinach). Neither of us could taste the cheese, and my friend asked them to check that it was in there... they said it was. I'm skeptical. Mine was just not cooked right, the egg was too cooked, and i don't think the spinach was saute'ed at all before going in. Thats just a no-no, especially when you can't taste the cheese.
    Portions - the portions are smaller, not by much, but by a little
    Coffee Creamers - different company now, used to be organic creamers, now its just regular stuff.
    Brunch Specials - there is a complete lack of these alltogether! The specials before were what i went for, only occasionally did i not get the semi-special eggs blackstone or mexican fritatta. Now, there are no specials, and thats just uninspired.

    Let me now say this. Breakfast, was awesome, no doubt about it! One of the best breakfasts in ottawa, was and still is. But when you mess with a winning formula, even just a little, its liable to piss a few people (aka me) off. I will go back, i will grow to love it i'm sure, but i'm a little bitter that such an awesome place would every change, even a little bit.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    top uberalbums of 2006

    I've been reading pitchforkmedia for some time, mostly for their top albums reviews (2006, 2005, 90s). 2006 is no different, i'm supremely interested in all they recommend. And thanks to a friend of mine, i discovered another music site, short list of music, that has also catalogued their favorite albums of the previous few years (in no particular order).

    In order to "give something back" to the community and at the advice of this same friend, i've decided to cross reference the 2 lists this year, looking for hip similarities, exclusions, and things that i already think are large, or think i will probably think is large at some point during 2007.





















































































































    AlbumPitchfork RankOn LonglistLargeLikely to become Large
    Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time12YesYes
    Belle And Sebastian - The Life Pursuit30Yes
    Cat Power - The Greatest28Yes
    Danielson - Ships31YesYes
    Girl Talk - Night Ripper34Yes
    Hot Chip - The Warning26Yes
    Joanna Newsom - Ys3YesYes
    Liars - Drum's Not Dead6YesYes
    Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor32YesYes
    Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast47Yes
    TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain2YesYes
    The Decemberists - The Crane Wife41YesYes
    The Knife - Silent Shout1Yes
    Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet21
    Beach House - Beach House16
    Booka Shade - Movements50
    Boris - Pink9Yes
    Brightblack Morning Light - Brightblack Morning Light36
    Califone - Roots & Crowns27Yes
    Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country45Yes
    Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury7
    DJ Drama & Lil Wayne - Dedication 237
    Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies18
    Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra Of Bubbles49
    Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things39
    Ghostface Killah - Fishscale4
    Grizzly Bear - Yellow House8Yes
    Herbert - Scale35
    J Dilla - Donuts38
    Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye11
    Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds25
    LCD Soundsystem - 45:3322
    Lily Allen - Alright, Still29
    M. Ward - Post-War46
    Man Man - Six Demon Bag20Yes (Zaphods, tonite!)
    Mastodon - Blood Mountain42
    Mission Of Burma - The Obliterati33
    Peter Bjorn And John - Writer's Block24Yes
    Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That13
    Scott Walker - The Drift10
    Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped43Yes
    Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming15
    T.I. - King19
    Tapes 'N Tapes - The Loon40
    The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America5Ya, Duh??
    The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home48
    The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes44
    The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine17
    Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet14
    Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass23
    Against Me! - Americans Abroad Live In LondonYes
    And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - So DividedYes
    Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & RollYes
    Beck - The InformationYes
    Beirut - Gulag OrskestarYesYes
    Bonnie Prince Billy - The Letting GoYesYes
    CSS - Cansei De Ser SexyYes
    Country Teasers - The Empire Strikes BackYes
    Cursive - Happy HollowYes
    Dabrye - Two/ThreeYes
    Dead Heart Bloom - Dead Heart BloomYes
    Editors - The Back RoomYes
    Field Music - Field MusicYes
    Forgive Durden - WonderlandYes
    Jeremy Enigk - World WaitsYes
    Kidd Jordan - Hamid Drake + William Parker- Palm Of SoulYes
    Kimya Dawson - Remember That I Love YouYes
    Love Is All - Nine Times That Same SongYes
    Mates Of State - Bring It BackYes
    Mew - And The Glass Hand KitesYes
    Midlake - The Trials Of Van OccupantherYes
    Mohair - Small TalkYes
    Mute Math - MutemathYes
    Neil Young - Living With WarYes
    OOIOO - TaigaYes
    Peeping Tom - Peeping TomYes
    Raconteurs - Broken Boy SoldiersYes
    Regina Spektor - Begin To HopeYes
    Roots - Game TheoryYesYes
    Secret Machines - Ten Silver DropsYes
    Serena Maneesh - Serena ManeeshYes
    Skream - SkreamYes
    Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYoYes
    Teddybears - Soft MachineYes
    The Blow - Paper TelevisionYes
    The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of ControlYes
    The Hush Sound - Like VinesYes
    The Stills - Without FeathersYes
    The Strokes - First Impression Of EarthYes
    The Velvet - Teen Cum LaudeYes
    The Weepies - Say I Am YouYes
    Tom Waits - OrphansYesYa, but its not really 2006
    Vaux - Beyond Virture Beyond ViceYes
    We Are Scientists - With Love And SqualorYes
    Wolfmother - WolfmotherYes
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your BonesYesYes
    the Bronx - The BronxYes



    If you've got any suggestions for albums to check out on the list, let me hear em. Or perhaps if you know of a better way of presenting this massive tabular data on a blog, cause i agree this is nasty.

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    lunchtime





    Not much has changed, not much is new. Life has been very good lately. As evidence of this, i will present this image, my lunch on this march 16th 2007.
    - de cecco tagliatelle, comes in spools, best dried pasta you can buy
    - 3 large mushrooms, sliced
    - 8 cherry tomatos, halved
    - a bunch green onions, 1.5 inch pieces
    - 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    - half red pepper - unnecessary
    - pinches of hot peppers
    - tons of s & p
    - large bunch parsley, chopped
    - a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil
    - a bit of wine, a bit of broth, optional, unnecessary

    1 Start water on high, start fry pan on med-high
    2 add shrooms n pepper, cook for a few min
    3 add pasta to water when boiling
    4 add oil and s n p n hot peppers to pan
    5 a few min later add rest of stuff to fry pan
    6 keep on kookin!
    7 when pasta done, spoon directly into pan, add a bit more oil, combine

    Eat!!! This may not be everyones cup of tea, but a refreshing pasta lunch like this revitalizes me like nothing else.

    I'm working from home today, it rules. Things of note:
    - Apparently my blog is worth a little over 500 bux:
    - Its getting warmer! Soon to start running in prep for 10 million K!!!
    - House stuff mostly on hold, trying to find people to build a deck for you can be hard work.

    Monday, March 5, 2007

    inspired by seahorses

    I think this is pretty inspiring. Even without him ever earning a dime for it, I think its beautiful, and sad to think of what was happening to those precious baby seahorses (being chewed up).

    I think its also scary and great that CBC calls it news!!!

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    cats attacking

    Ok, now that i have cats, its time to mix that and youtube and show you all what my cats can do. This is just the first vid, no edits, but i think it speaks for itself if you can wait through the first dark 15 seconds.

    Tuesday, February 6, 2007

    idea - returnable take out bins

    Thanks to the ontario's governments great new idea/plan to return various liquor bottles to the beer store, i've come up with another idea.

    The amount of garbage i create has gone down considerably since i've got a compost.  The most massive thing that gets added to my garbage these days is take out bins, styrophoam, and i guess the tops of the metal ones.  What if various environ-concious restaurants (ie green door, table) joined a program where their take outs were actually decent plastic/pyrex/ceramic containers with good tops (microwavable of course) and charged a deposit for them, say, 5$.  Each of the bins/containers would have some sore of id/barcode/something on the bottom so as to discourage falsifying them for the 5$.  Any store that took part could have the (dirty) containers returned to them.

    I'm thinking a place like the yangtzee could cut down massively on landfill if they did this.  Think about the amount of landfill they take up in a night for their hot and sour soup take outs?  I must take up a cubic metre a year just on those styrophoam things...  i'd gladly pay a 5$ deposit for each thingy, could exchange them with the delivery guy after the first purchase, etc..

    Well?  Would it fly??  Been done?

    Sunday, February 4, 2007

    hot peppers service for 12 not so hot

    Last night myself and a whole bunch of friends went to hot peppers for a birthday celebration. We sat upstairs in the very delightful decor. I'm writing this post, because, well, i'm disgruntled at the service we recieved. It wasn't necessarily bad, and my expectations are probably too high, but o well, i'm gonna mention it anyways cause its kinda funny.

    Ordering drinks alone was a bit of an ordeal. Most of the beer selections we asked for weren't available. Some people weren't even told, their beers just didn't show up. Someone ordered coconut water, and it took 10 minutes (or more) for the girl to to tell us, upon a remind, that they didn't have any. I had hogardden, and it arrived pretty promptly. Some people ordered caesars thinking they had sake in them. But no, those are the special "hot peppers" caesars, and when finally ordered were pretty kickass. The regular ones were really good too.

    I ordered the tom yum, and as i remembered, it was awesome. Everyone ordered something different, some shared, some not. The food was, really good. Not the best ever, but i've never had the best ever thai (as i think i've previously mentioned). Thai is normally pretty large, but never "blow you away". Lots of flavour, lots of kick, lots of love, but i guess as a personal feeling is missing that savourness that i've found in other dishes that just make me die and go to heaven (fettucine carbonara comes to mind... mabye i'm just missing dairy ::))).

    Anyways, it took a while to get our food, in general. Me and my gf ordered 2 dishes, and some rice. To start, we got one dish. 10 minutes later everyone else had (almost) everything, and we still had our only dish that we had been picking at, sans rice. We had to remind about the rice when our other dish arrived, and it showed up shortly thereafter. Anyways, the food was really good, as i said.

    One of my friends ordered 2 dishes, and was going to share 1 of them with another. Only one of them ever showed up. When everyone was almost done he reminded her, she was apologetic, and offered to get it then. He declined, and then she offered to have it prepared to go free of charge. He declined that too, stubborn yes, but whatever, he was kind of annoyed and didn't want to carry it around for the rest of the night (we were going elsewheres after).

    She was very slow with the bills, but did bring out our custom cake as we asked. I only ended up getting 2 drinks over the 4 hours because it was just slow. In the end, everyone was dinged for a 15% gratuity on their food orders. Fair enough, it probably told us this on the menus. But the funniest thing was for my friends bill, the one that missed an order, she forgot to add the 15%. She had the gaul to approach him after, tell him that she forgot it, and informed him that he didn't tip enough to cover it.... he was a little confused, and basically brushed it off, without paying. I think if lacked the competance to charge someone for gratuity who probably wouldn't pay it, you shouldn't approach them after to pay it. It was ballsy though, i'll give her that!

    Anyway... i just felt the need to rant about this. Again, food, awesome, service, less than so. I guess its hard to get good service for 12 people. The girl was just serving us and another relatively large table, but i guess it was a little too much. I should say she was very kind and very nice, but just a little less than prompt.

    Saturday, January 20, 2007

    winston & ruby

    So, we now have cats. They are named winston and ruby. We were originally only going to get one, but we ended up being faced with choice, and in the face of choice, we decided to opt out and just take em both.
    they sleep all day

    Ruby stretchin

    Winston is the grey and white boy, and ruby is the more spotty girl. They are both adorable. So ridiculously adorable.

    They had their first shots today. It went very well, but they were tired for the rest of the day for sure.

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    the original stoneface


    Apparently this, the original location, was sold to a couple a few months ago. They've slowly been changing this n that, and as we arrived last weekend there was no art on the walls, different paint inside, and a different cook n sou. The sign is supposed to change soon (if it hasn't already) to "jaks kitchen" (not sure of the spelling). This blows imo, the new owners are going to be more evening menu focused, which is ridiculous cause they make shiteloads on their weekend brunch. Hopefully it doesn't change too much and they get a chef that can make homies, cause the dude there this weekend could NOT! That and they were almost out of potatos, they were out of sourdough, and their fruit sucked too. None of these are good signs that encourage growth or continuance of one of my favorite weekend rituals.

    Change blows.

    Sunday, January 14, 2007

    don't rent "jekell + hyde"

    Rented a really crappy movie tonite, "Jekell + Hyde".  It was ridiculously awful.  No redeeming qualities at all.  It did have a plot, a plot that was basically fully revealed in the first minute of the movie.  There was a twist or a turn, but i didn't care.  I didn't care about the characters, i didn't care about the suspense, i didn't care what happenned, i just wanted it to end.  The only good part about it was the salsa i was eating whilst getting annoyed watching its crappinness.

    There is news, to be reported soon.  It involves kitties...  once i've recovered from the crappinness of this movie i will report massively.