Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy F'in Holidays!!!





And a happy new year to all!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

nasty loos





This is the first in what will hopefully be a long and intriguing
series that focuses on some interesting restaurant and bar bathroom
designers. This is one of the great luxuries my newfound connected
mobility affords!!

What we have here is creative lighting placement, and a bold decision
to not apply finish to the ceiling. Remarkable design!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

my iphone, 2 weeks later

Yes, it still totally kicks ass. Its amazing to have this ubiquitous device that i can use to extend my brain everywhere i go. Perhaps it will wear off yes, but i have to hand it to apple, i'm discovering something new everyday.

From my brother for xmas i got a ipod/phone -> rgb cable so i can stream the videos from it directly to my tv. Hopefully they make the api's available to developers soon to be able to do this. Then you'll actually be able to use the device as a controller, with the big screen being your game. THAT will be cool (its been done already, but not in an apple/eula friendly way).

Very, VERY happy. Best XMAS EVER!!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finally!!!





A complete device in my pocket. Long have I waited for this moment,
and whilst I am paying dearly for it, I'm certain the benefits will
quickly surpass the costs.

Behold, my unified device!!! (not the one in the picture, the one
taking it... The phone in the pic is the trusty monopurpose device
I've used for the past few years - while trusty, I'm happy to see it go)

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

gym quitter

I quit the gym yesterday. Marched right in to my local good life, informed them of my cancellation, waited patiently for a bit, was apologized to for waiting patiently, told them it was too much money to spend on not going to the gym, signed a paper, and was outta there.

I'm not sure how i feel about this.

Its not that i don't like working out, its that i don't like not working out. I also don't like spending 60$+/month on not working out. I'd prefer to spend 30$/month on working out sometime. Yes i'm cheap, but i just reached the limit of spending for a service i wasn't using.

A recent posting on elgin street makes me want to check out the Y. Or perhaps that gym on bank street, i've heard its affordable.

Anyone know of any other inexpensive gym solutions out there?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

teff gluten free pizza crust

Its been a while since we've attempted anything of the sort, but i think the crusts prepared last night were likely the best ever made (by us). I'm selfishly noting this recipe more for myself as i'm likely to forget it the next time i need to make one.

This recipe borrowed technique and substance heavily from here and here. When i "adapt" recipes i tend to "round up" many different quantities because of ease of memory. I actually took some of my original memories and multiplied them by 1.5 in order to make enough pizza for 3 crusts last night, but i was off and the recipe below is only healthily good for 2.

Teff Gluten Free Pizza Crust

2 cups dark Teff flour
2 cups white rice flour
2 cups starch (i used corn and potato)
3 tbl xantham gum
3 tbl instant dry yeast
1 tbl salt
3 tbl oil (i used promiscuous olive oil)
3 tbl honey
1.5 cups white soy milk
1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup or more
extra white rice flour and corn meal for dusting
extra oil for rubbing

If you don't know about Teff, its likely the our favorite and the most flavourful gluten free flour. I believe it comes in both dark and light, although we've only seen the dark. Bob's Red Mill sells it, its what we use, and thats about the only place i've ever seen it.

Start by adding the flours, starch, xantham gum and salt to a large round bottomed bowl. Sift gently.
In a cup add the 1/2 cup of water and honey and mix. Ideally you heat it up for a better mixture, but i was too lazy. Then add the yeast and mix to coat all the yeast (this didn't work well for me, but not a biggy in the end).
After a few minutes when the yeast has started to bubble, add it to the soy milk and oil. Then about 1/3 cup at a time add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring to soak as much of the dry as possible.
Once all the wet is in there, mix with your hands into a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time, if it gets too wet add more flour. I kneaded heavily for about 5 minutes.
The target is to have the mixture in your hands slightly tacky to ensure a moist crust. When you're just about done add a generous pinch of flour to your hands and coat the outside of the ball with the flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for as long as you can bear, 30 minutes is likely enough.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. When its about ready, unwrap the ball and cut in half with a sharp knife, reseal half for 2nd crust. Place uncut side down onto a lightly floured and corn mealed surface and roll out into as good a circle shape as possible to about 13" or so, adding more flour as necessary. Then roll the likely cracked looking edges in to form a circle of about 11" to 11.5" in diameter. Gently coerce the dough with a spatula onto your cooking surface (we just have a metal pizza plate with little holes on it which works well). If a bit of it rips, don't worry!!! Once you get it on, mush down the suffering parts and you'll never know after the baking.

Add some oil to a small bowl and brush on the edges and middle of the pizza. Bake for 8 minutes on its own, then pull it out, add your sauce, toppings, etc., bake for another 10 minutes, then possibly broil for 1 or 2, and its ready to go.

Makes 2 hefty 11" pizza crusts.

For pizza flavours the net has no end of sources, i suggest Stephen Cooks, he hasn't been around much but his archives have some of the best bizza recipes ever, ie here and here.

I should also note that the plan was to make 3 pizzas. Well after i realized the first recipe was going to be good for only 2, i decided to make a different kind of crust. With light buckwheat flour and too late added zantham gum, i ended up with a crust that barely held together but ended up working in the end too, although clearly wasn't as flavourful as that wonderful teff!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

hall tree bench





New bench for the entrance way. This took us a long time to track down one for a semi-reasonable price, but we had to have one. When we toured the house the previous owners had one in this spot, and we new we needed one too... well need is a strong word, but it sure gives the place an air of sophistication, old worldiness, and charm. I love it!!

One weird thing is that the mirror has what look like stains in it. The stains are like dark streaks that appear to be underneath or behind the mirror. Anyone ever seen that? Nothing seems to get rid of them...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

wired

I've recently discovered that all the wiring in my new house is pretty crappy.

In the front part of the house some of the outlets appear grounded, but a lot of the wire in use is really old - one large casing surrounding a single high gauge copper wire. It looks like its all NMD style from the box in the basement, but when you get to the endpoints, its not like that. They've skipped some switch boxes too meaning theres no neutral in them, meaning no fancy dimmers/timer/etc.. That kinda sucks.

In the back of the house, all the wire is groundless completely, from the box even.

There are 2 panels, but i think its only 60amps to the house. The breakers flip in the kitchen regularly.

I may eventually rip it out bit by bit and replace it all with good new wiring. I was thinking, if i had to run brand new wiring to the upstairs, back, etc., should i bother running additional cable at the same time? Being a tech guy a few years ago, i would've said resoundingly YES. However now with the advent of wi-fi, i'm not sure its worth the hassle or expense. Wi-fi rocks, i don't think i need data cable throughout the house anymore... in a few years? Mabye... mabye i'll need some 10Gbit rated cable but if wi-fi keeps pace, and or wi-max takes off, i'll never need data cable throughout my house.

Whos with me!!! Down with data cable!!! Up with late 20th century electrical standards!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

street art

I get really annoyed at badly placed defacement of public or private property. In a totally contradictory statement, i think some graffiti "art" is very cool - checkout some of the pieces listed here, its all really good. But i still can't stand the constant tagging of say underneath the percy street queensway bridge. Whats the point?? Its ugly (to me) and a total waste of many peoples time.

Anybody watching the US election results? I guess its not exciting enough for this canadian, hence i'm surfing the internet.

One other thing i've been thinking about lately is why so many washrooms in restaurants and bars are in such a state of disrepair. I guess if i used my washroom hundreds of times a day it would look a little more run down, but why not put proper mouldings up, or caulk with at least some care? I think i may make it a project to take some dingy pictures of some of the more nasty potties in ottawa... could be fun!!! Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

no 16th floor?

short floors

At 160 Elgin there is no button in the elevator to get the 16th floor. I find this very intriguing. I have in fact heard of the secret real world way to get there, but i'm going to forget about it and hope that the real way is something like is done in being john malkovich.

If you ever have to go to 160 Elgin, i encourage you to go the the 16th floor. It may shock and appall you!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

don't wok this way





I've always had issues with this wok. Basically when it dries or is dried, it always develops rust spots. Right before use i always have to reclean it to wipe off the spots, but this seems weird and leaves me feeling unsettled.

I've "tried" seasoning it, but i don't think it worked, or i did it horribly wrong. So the question is - do i throw it out and get a new one, or can this thing be fixed??

Monday, October 13, 2008

new look n feel

I spruced up ye old uberor this morning... its not the prettiest, but it is a little modern. If you read this by rss, maybe you'd like to followthru and tell me what you think. Bonus points to anyone that recognizes the new crown molding i installed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

mice - part 2





So as i was finishing writing of that previous post what do you think happened?

Out of the corner of my eye the little guy ran under my keyboard!!! YES right in front of me!!! I blurted some very unmasculine sounds and then settled. "Did that really just happen?". I investigated, and low and behold the guy was under my keyboard.

I promptly flipped it over, grabbed a nearby mug, and enveloped the little guy. He was slower than expected, and pretty cute, but not so cute that i didn't let him go in the backyard, into what is likely a much harsher climate than inside with my two cats.

Poor mouse... the world is a harsh tough place at times. I hope he makes it out there.

mice

I guess theres mice in my house. I found Winston this morning with a mouse in his mouth. Then he played around with it for a bit, but it looked pretty healthy. I went to get mouse catching instruments. When i came back the mouse was gone!!! I think it went in to the vent, we have old school floor vents that have big square holes, possibly big enough for mice. I'll likely through some humane traps in there and see what i find, any pointers are most appreciated.

My fear is that Winston incurred enough damage to the mouse that its now going to rot in the vent - that would not be cool.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

live maps has quite the resolution

Check out the neighbourhood at microsoft's live maps. The resolution is crazy kickass!!! When i close in on my house, i can see my old tenants car in the driveway!!!

The same address at google maps.

Has microsoft finally surpassed google at something?? At least with google you can do "bank and gladstone", but the resolution at live maps trumps that i think.

Friday, October 3, 2008

my coffee maker has a "come drink me" beep!!

I made some coffee with our new cuisinart coffee maker this morning. There are several awesome things about this coffee maker:

  1. it pours well

  2. the breaker flipped when i turned the microwave on which is on the same circuit as the coffee maker, at the same time the coffee maker was brewing. I moved the coffee maker over to another circuit, and it picked up right where it left off, brewing, with the correct time.

  3. 2 hours after it first beeped to tell me it was done brewing, it beeped again, and turned off the heater... i took this to read "come drink whats left of me!!!". There is an auto-shutoff mode, but i guess this is the default behaviour, and i love it.

  4. Its white, and reasonably sexy.

  5. There is no fifth thing.



My coffee maker is smarter than me, this is great (or scary)!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

signage

I really don't like seeing election signs everywhere... but i'm torn because i'd likely forget about the election if i didn't see them everywhere. And i'm pretty sure i should care about the election, and vote and stuff. But i'm pretty self involved lately, so that would be out of character.

I'm afraid i have no solution to this problem. Luckily i have few other problems right now. I'm a little sick, and the fridge delivery guy scratched up the floor. Other than that, everything's great.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

incognito

So very incognito... so little time to blog. This past month of august was the biggest and best month of my life. Many things happenned, but i'll summarize briefly:
- i'm engaged
- we bought a house, a single house for just us (and the kitlets)
- i'm busy unpacking
- and working many hours at my job that pays for all of the above

YAY LIFE!!! We just got cable back yesterday so this is the first time i've really hung out near a connected computer since we moved. Being wired again is GREAT i can look up stuff like epinions fridge reviews. Does anyone write a review for a fridge they actually LIKE? Very few...

I won't excuse my busy-ness. If you're reading this, you're likely on rss, so this isn't out of your way. All i do is complain about busy-ness... well, i'm not complaining anymore, i'm thankful! Yay full plates!!

Hope all is well with folks that are reading this.

Monday, August 4, 2008

treasure in my ceiling??





Yesterday i was replacing a loose ceiling fan mount in my ceiling, which is the floorboards for the 2nd level of my house.

In order to see what was going on, and for general curiosity, i snapped a few shots of this forbidden area. A few "studs" over, i spotted what looked like a miscellaneous chunk of wood sitting on top of the lath. I snapped a few other up close shots and inspected them with my camera. I sweatily decided it was simply a chunk of wood, and continued with my work and finished up the job.

Now that i'm looking at the pictures, i'm not so sure. I'm pretty sure its actually a wooden box, and i'm pretty sure there are mythical treasures inside. Some things that are likely inside include:
- diamonds
- old rare DC comic books
- ancient coins
- a map to atlantis

There are couple more related fotos on flickr.

Friday, August 1, 2008

not if you was the last immigrant grocer on earth... honey!!

I've had this video embedded in my brain since i was a wee tike, watching the first "music videos" ever to hit the mainstream. Only bits and pieces of the beginning of it can i remember... so i googled for a bit, and found it.

The only problem is, YouTube stalls on it for me!!! It gets about 2 seconds in, then it stalls! You can drag around throughout to catch a bit of the video, it is there, but it keeps stalling!!!

Let me know if the video works for you. Hopefully the massive traffic my site will generate towards the video will make those folks at google wake up.



Update:

I guess that massive outpouring of hits to YouTube from my site caused those guys at google to wake up.

Gimme a bottle of anything. And a glazed donut. To GOOOO

Ok mabye its not as good as i remember it being... oh well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

text messages to prevent identity theft?

I think if the banks and credit card companies really wanted to prevent identity theft, they'd offer a service (i'd pay!!!) where they send you a text message every time something happens in your account.  You'd ignore most of them when you're out and about spending freely, but would easily make note of the one made when you're on the couch.

Does anyone know of services like this at their bank or outside of it??

Thursday, July 3, 2008

what my cats do all day



Pretty much what i did too. That and clean the basement.

Off to bluesfest, yay tv on the radio!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

vacation

I'm off work for a week!!

I booked this time off a few months ago knowing this would be a good time to not work.  Boy was i right!!!  I don't have anything creative to say so i'm going to reproduce the list i created in my (home) workbook:
  • Fix iron post footings under awning
  • Clean garage
  • Do something with my canoe (anyone want a 16/17ft plasticish canoe)
  • Figure out how to finish my mud room
  • Clean the exterior of my house
  • By pressure washer
  • Paint outside awning
  • Paint outside doors
  • Fix light in mudroom
  • Add spice racks to kitchen
  • Fix front window sill
One additional thing - i was at the airport recently with time to kill, and picked up a magazine called Fine Homebuilding.  Considering what i'm occupied with lately, this is pretty much the best magazine EVER.  They've got tons of online features too:

Skinny house (great for centertown)

Drywall tips

Testing electrical testers!!!

Yay tools!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

itinerary of an unplanned weekend

I've decided to refuse any and all plan invitations this weekend.  Nothing will be planned.  This means i have nothing to do, and nothing is expected of me.  There are some things i *may* do, but only if whimsicality guides me in that direction.  Hence things i'm going to do this weekend:
  1. Refuse offers of things to do
  2. Ensure i don't plan on doing anything
  3. Annoy people with my frivolity
So i'm not planning on going to go to art in the park, or finish my kitchen, or play wii, or laze around.  Its going to be super!!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

plumbing rules!!!





The uppers are up, the base is in, the double sink expansive and nice, things are coming together. Mostly just finishing touches this weekend!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ottawa real estate - now with locations?

Just stumbling over to the ottawa real estate site this morning, it seems a major change has occurred.  They are now listing the LOCATION of every house being listed!!!  Not sure what's up here, but it was the major reason i had an agent before...  they'd help me actually locate the listings i was interested in.

I don't think ottawa agents will like this very much.  I actually don't think sellers will like this very much as it's far easier to spot fake gems, like this place - great looking house, shite location.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

running on pasta

I ran the 10k yesterday and it was a good time.  I had been training for 8 weeks or so, roughly running 5 days a week, it was a long haul.  Over now though!!!  Yay!!!  I finished well ahead of where i expected, i attribute 25% of that to good weather, 25% of it to a better starting position, and 50% of that to healthy lungs.  Finally, empirical evidence that i'm healthier now that i don't smoke!!!!

Mostly so i remember next year, i'm going to boringly note what i ate.  Friday morning i was at rocking johnny's for breakfast taking my car in, followed by a medium 2nd cup cappuccino.  When i got home i started pigging out on pita and hummus and tabouleh, and pretty much ate that all day long, with the inclusion of one kaiser roll sandwhich of left over genoa, provalone, and hot n sweet mustard.  Around 6 o'clock, i cooked for the first time in over a month a very dilectable de cecco fettucine dish that had:
- 2 bbq sliced sazloves lamb sausages
- 2 bbq sliced sazloves chorizo sausages
- 4 chopped roma tomatos
- 1 head of long raddiccio, chopped
- one large shallot diced
- 1/2 bunch of fresh oregano leaves
- lots of salt and pepper
- garlic infused oil (about 30 minutes)

All raw but the sausages added to the pasta at the end, very darn tasty.  Ate a bunch of that friday night for dinner, then when i was alone, i picked away at it some more around 10pm.  Then i had some mango sorbet.  Saturday morning around 9am i had breakfast i prepared the night before - mango coconut granola, frozen berry fruit, and a few corn flakes.  Then coffee...  couldn't avoid the coffee on race day!!  At 1pm i had leftovers of the pasta, not too much but a decent human sized portion.  At 3:30pm i went to the store, bought 2 gatorade's, and proceeded to finish just one of them before about 5:45.  I also drank water throughout the day.

This all seemed to work pretty well, but i still think there was too much food sloshing around in my tummy.  Should've eaten a smaller lunch...  also, i had to pee.  I peed twice in the hour before the race, but it still wasn't enough.  I have to be good and STOP drinking fluids by about 5pm i think.  Then i've got a hope of purging my body.

The pot i used to clean the pasta is still dirty.  Its a little too big to wash in the bathroom...  i'm hoping plumbing will be restored today.  Guess i should get to work - first things first...  make some coffee!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

too early

I have a big problem with assumptions, and a real hate for being late.  Those two flaws collided when i was 1 week, 30 minutes early for my eye appointment this morning.  Its in my schedule for next week, yet i woke up assuming it was this morning.  I need start double checking things and assuming i know whats going on...  not only was i one week too early, but i would've been 30 minutes early had it been this week!!!

I also ordered some new shoes, i didn't even think when i put the size in...  the size was wrong.  If i had used my brain, i woulda realized i shoulda checked my shoe size.

Whats up with all this?  Am i in too much of a rush these days?  Too presumptuous??  Have scatterbrain syndrome?  Yesum.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

nicotine nihilism and transcending tobacco

So every day i change, and every day gets a little different, sometimes harder, most of the times easier. I'm coming to terms with things better now, not so angsty, more understanding. Running long distances helps put things in perspective, and i've been doing a lot of that lately.

I can scoff instead of resent the brooding 17 year old fashionista i pass at 7am in the percy underpass, with her frail grip on her morning smoke. I can accept that most smokers live in complete denial that their butts are garbage and pollution, and they'll always be on the sidewalk to be avoided or flattened once again by my heavy feet. I can smile at the 20-something hip government dude on his way to the archives, halling back on heaven - his initial reason to get out of bed in the morning. Or the older more somber folks outside early in the morning at that weird group home with the awful green awning and park bench on glebe ave.. And all my friends and family and everyone else i know that smokes, i can accept it. I will probably still get annoyed if they interrupt a perfectly good conversation, activity, or pastime, to "take a break" and satisfy their addiction, but i'll learn to deal with it.

Its really amazing though how long it took my body to recover from it, but now that i'm through the worst, how much more efficient my body is... its really great, i wished i had done it sooner, but am very thankful its at least done with. My lungs work way better, my digestive system is definitely more functional, and i'm stronger. And i get more done because i'm taking less breaks... an arguable benefit.

When something has been a part of me for almost half my life, its hard to let go, and i'll be doing it forever (or at least as long as i did it for). And now, i'm happy about that too.

I do have to say though, without the smoke breaks to take from hardcore renovations, beers sure are going down smoother.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

kitchen update

subfloor complete!

So the subfloor is done, i finished it mostly last weekend. Now to the walls.

don't hide this at home

Found this electrical nasty in the wall... not cool. I was hoping to resuse wire, but when i found this i realized the whole chunk had to come out. Luckily theres ton's of junction boxes waiting to be poked in to in the basement so i don't need to run it back to the main breaker, but its still annoying.

Ate this x2 one night this week, it was large - leftover bbq chicken thigh, mango, sweet n hot mustard, bun, it was delectable:

renovation meal

Thats all for now, back to work!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

the kitchen is renovatorbing

The kitchen reno is underway. As with most kitchen renovations, i'm quite eager to get this overwith. I'll just post pics for now, discuss later, too tired... quite drained today as works busy and i have many issues to work out.

Heres the snakiness that is the plumbing coming from the floor:
nice, plumbing?

Heres the whole first layer of floor torn off (more to come):
whole floor exposed

Heres the old rad - before cleaning:
old non-artistic rad

Heres where i pulled the cabinets from... now to fix *this*:
was there once a window?

The uppers removed:
the uppers, down

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

more malicious mother nature mangling

So this morning, i was greeted with a missing car and a parking ticket.  Totally my bad.  55$ because one of our cars was parked on the street, and of course (i should know!), street sweeping was in full force.  The car was moved about a block away, with a 55$ ticket attached.  Not the end of the world, totally my bad.

After i brought the car back, i went for more running.  On my way back, this time at the dead end planters of clemow ave. just east of bank, i found another John's Sweeping truck parked and running.  I think there may have been a reason it was idling - there was a worker wielding a hose attacked to the truck, and blasting snow and ice with water.  Hence, its possible the truck was idling to charge a compressor or something, in order to facilitate pressure/heat/etc..

I may be very wrong, but this is how this looks to me - burning gas on a truck, to pressurize water stored and trucked around in its tank, to blast ice that will easily thaw on its own, to then clean the streets with the truck that is burning gas.  Does this strike anyone else as ridiculously counter productive and so anti-green it makes me want to vomit?

I don't want to see anyone loose their job's, or get in trouble, or anything, but things have to change, and in my opinion, the city should start with stuff like this.  Just like i'd be more than happy to shovel my sidewalk in the winter to save a few bux, i would LOVE to save a buck or 2 (or not even!) and sweep my own road.  I'd even pay the bylaw charge for not sweeping my own road!!!!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

john's sweeping smog

Isn't there some bylaw in ottawa that prohibits engine idling for vehicles when the temperatures are not extreme?

I was on my way home from a run this morning, and midway through the glebe i could smell diesel fuel.  Once i finally got to the percy underpass i found the source - right outside the city's vehicle lot (or whatever there way) there was a "John's Sweeping" truck sitting in the middle of the road, idling.  No one in it, it was just sitting there running.

I probably should give the benefit of the doubt, by my hippocratic hypochondriac lungs despise anything other than tasteless or fresh smelling air, and i was pissed.

If there are such bylaws, they should be doubled for gas guslers such as these.  If these types of trucks/services "require" their engines to warm up/idle before service, the city should give incentives to companies that do not use these types of trucks.

Lazy idlers...

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

all of the subatomic pieces come together

The cats are getting a little out of control these days. In an effort to be "stern" and to convey my sense of disapproval, i often grimace or put on a mean face. I also attempt to "shush" the "meeeooeeehhh's" and "reeeeehhh's" that are meant to convey something to *me*, that i'm too dull or incognizant of.

It got me thinking this morning. Human's have this incredible ability to smile and form a variety of other highly elaborate facial expressions. Cats (and most other animals i'm assuming) do not. I'd like to think my cats are smiling sometimes, or are frowning, but the reality is they lack this ability to convey emotions with their faces (i could be wrong, please let me know if your cat can smile for real). If they're happy or they're sad, its the same face (although their eyes being slightly closed or twitching or whatever may convey something, their mouths/cheeks do not seem to). This begs the question - can cats sense our emotions through our facial expressions?

I think cats can sense emotions, or at least i'd like to believe this. Before i ever had cats, i'd heard they're great at sensing when your down, and spending some quality time snuggling with you. What are they using to determine this? The sad look on your face, or is something deeper? Or is it total nonsense, a coincidence brought on by human's sponge-like emotions willing to accept any gesture as one of love when we sorely needed reinforcement?

I think another scientific cat experiment is in order. The next time i need to be stern, i'm going to do so smiling. If i get a different response, i'll have to conclude that my cats are in fact, cognizant of my facial expression. If not, i'll have to scientifically conclude that they are not, and it will be a great day for science. I likely will fail to mention the results here, you'll have to see the journal of nature for that.

btw, the title is inspired by when you smile by the flaming lips

Saturday, March 29, 2008

to destroy and rebuild

Thinking of housing recently, combined with the fortuitous position of owning (well the bank owns most of it) property in an urban core, add on to that the fact the structure is not well built nor brick, i've been toying with the idea of knocking it down and starting over. Building 2 semi-detached in its place, or convincing one (or more) of my neighbours to do the same and build some kinda modern/oldstyle/eco dwelling structure.

My imagination does wander when i consider the possibilities. 2 properties on my street could easily house a 3 home townhome unit, one where the original owners of their properties might (in theory) be able to pay off a good chunk of their mortgage with the profits from the sale of the extra unit.

Now may seem like the wrong time to be thinking of this considering all the work i've put into it. But that type of mentality lacks vision, and i'm very pro-vision. Perhaps not now, but it must always be an option for the future. While it would sadden me to lose some of the charm of these old houses, many things can be rebuilt using old styles (at a price of course), and the practicality gained with new building methods (little drafts, warm walls and floors, cleaner air, better concepts (open anyone??)) certainly outweigh the loss of charm.

Now THAT would be a big project.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

misc springtime a.d.d. babble

I've been recently informed by the dear Aggie, that she would like it if i blogged more. I really should. Here's a start.

I'd blog more if i had an iPhone and an unlimited data plan. Those things are likely quite sweet (never actually played with one, only iTouch, and it is sweet), but apple annoys me. iTunes annoys me. The macbook air is a pretty sweet looking and feeling computer though. I definitely see an additional mac product in my arsenal within the next 2 years (i currently have a first gen iPod mini, that is all).

Similarily i would also blog more if i could do so via SMS or text messages... or perhaps i wouldn't. I've been using twitter here and there, mostly just to get techcrunch's tweets on my cell. They'll send you the tweets of any individual via SMS, and thats pretty sweet. I should really look into more useful tweets, ie for the weather in ottawa or something.

I got a letter from rogers today about their new charges for excessive downloads, my plan will run an extra 2$/GB for all GB's over 60 up to a max of 25$. Apparently my nov and dec were under, but i used ~180GB in januaray, ouch. As of only yesterday i was talking to them to reduce my monthly bill, got 10$ off by giving up tbs (or peachtree, whats up with that). Now i'll likely have another 25$ on it every other month. Ahhh cable monopolys. Is it time to go DSL? Likely yes...

I have work to do tonite, so i was planning on hitting up some dirienzo's sandwiches as they're cheap and easy. But my lunch today consisted of a loeb greek salad and one of their ciabatta demi-bagettes. Its a lot of tasty bread really (and good value too, 1.39 per), i didn't feel like any more. So what did i do? I stopped by sazloves and got some of their chicken souvlaki skewers. I wanted to make a recent recipe i learned from the Urban Element's indian class (an amazing experience i shoud've blogged about), a very high taste to complexity ratio'd basmati rice recipe, but had no basmati rice. I did have reserve minute rice. Which worked great surprisingly enough. I was missing a bunch of other stuff, but in the end the rice was perfect. I bbq'ed outside with no jacket, broke some hard ice away, drank some sleeman, and had a merry old time. When it came to eating, i positioned the rice chicken and taziki (i forgot about the taziki, they recommended it on their label, i fell for it, no regrets), put the leftover chicken in the microwave (not to cook, but so the cats wouldn't hair all over it), and i sat in front of my computer, read local ottawa blogs, eat scrumptiously, and feel very rich for the experience.

I also should say that the spring/summer will be an exciting time, hopefully some reno's, lots of work (its been busy lately), getting my summer tires on (yay!!!), etc..

I have nothing concise to say.

Oh, i do want to get jamie olivers' newish book, i had a peek at it and it talks about skills/notes for growing misc veggies and stuff. The part about the british hunt kinda turned me off, but i think i can look past it into the sometimes vain mr. olivers dreamy pictures of cooking food over an open garden barby. 40$, but i think i'll actually learn something from it.

Here's a misc picture i'm really happy with, but whose tone and attitude totally does NOT jive with that of this posting:
river bench

One final thing. I've been going to the gym, and listening to some podcasts, cbc's search engine for one. I may or may not of heard this there, but when i read a blog posting and want to refer to it i say "you should check out so and so's latest blog posting". I don't say "you should check out so and so's latest blog". Am i wrong? I would assume that someone's "latest blog" means they started a new blog with a separate URL and so forth, and it has new/different content than their other blogs. If anyone agrees with me please honk.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

mitten birds

On my way to work today someone drove inappropriately. Shortly thereafter i drove past him and gave him the bird. I don't think he noticed. Then i realized i was wearing mittens. So even if he had noticed, he likely would've thought me weird. Then i laughed about it as what he did was not all that bad, so i was glad i was wearing mittens.

I was just outside breaking ice on top of the drainage grates near my house. I'm practically equidistant from the grates on either side of me which kinda sucks. Hopefully this winter will wash away soon, and i'll do everything in my power to speed the process.

Friday, February 22, 2008

R. I. P. Cam Kong

Just as soon as i mentioned my adoration for #705, an era has come to an end.  Why is it all good restaurants must go by the wayside?  Hopefully if this is anything like stoneface, the new tenant will be just as good...

To the point, Cam Kong is no longer - it has been replaced by a similar Vietnamese restaurant called "Fuscian" i believe.  Apparently the owners retired.  We went there a couple nights ago, and were shocked and bewildered for a few minutes before we sat down in a blur and decided to stay. 

They do have a hot n sour vietnamese soup, and were very happy to do a veggie variety upon our request.  The staff was very helpful, and very accommodating.  And the food was pretty darn good.  The soup was not quite like a #705, slightly less tangy and oily, not as addiction satisfying, but good nonetheless.  They told us that we can ask for extra hot stuff for next time, and i definitely will.

When i was in the Dominican, perhaps even on the day they shut their doors, i had a dream.  I had a dream that Cam Kong was closing (i only knew at this point that renovations were occurring), and i actually tried to get a job there in order to learn their secrets.  This is how obsessed i was/am.  I was desperately in need of that soups power, and was frantically dreaming of the 2nd to worst case scenario.  The worst case being, they'd be closed when i go home, no chance to sneak in and steal a peak at their fantastic flavours...

Rest in peace Cam Kong, i'm sure i'll think of you always.

In related news, for lunch i chopped a tomato, an avacado, and a green mango.  To them, i added lime juice, and salt and pepper.  I then scooped it into tortilla chips and had a splendid time.  Thats what i call a goooooooood lunch.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

pineapple

One thing the dominican left me with was a taste for pineapple. There was an abundance of fresh pineapple down there, and i ate a ton of it. I wasn't a fan until a few years ago when i realized i liked pretty much all foods, and now i can't get enough of it.

I picked up a pineapple for the first time in my life yesterday, a PC organic pineapple for 4.99$. From costa rica i believe. Let me tell you, worth every penny.

I followed this and this about preparing and storing it. Its true what the guy says about the sweet stuff being concentrated at the bottom. Now i understand - in the dominican, i'd learned to eye the sweeter fruit as the fruit that was a brighter, wetter yellow. I cut up this pineapple i bought, very simple, stored all the top rings, and proceeded to make the bottom one very large (almost 2inches). Then i ate it. Damn it was heaven. Then i slurped up all the residual cutting juices - definitely do your cutting on a plate from which you can drink later.

If you want a sweet treat, and some good fruit for a few lunches, treat yourself - for the price of a pint you can have a little chunk of yellow heaven.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

after the beach rush

I'm back from the dominican, once again fully submersed in the canadian winter. My tan is not nearly as good as i was hoping, but i did get some reading in which i am very thankful for.

I've noted my food experiences at the very dormant DCFD blog.

Besides the occasional sudoku and kakuro puzzles, i managed to read Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near. While some of it is far fetched, if even a quarter of it holds true this century will be very interesting. I recommend and future sci-fi looking folks to take a read of it.

There isn't much more to say about it. We did pretty much nothing except eat, drink, sleep and read, it was great. No activities, no excursions, no thrills, it was perfect. We did catch bits of a few of their entertainment shows, most notable was "Dirty Dancing" where their crew reenacted various scenes and showed bits of the movie. Definitely some talented folks working down at the Sirenis tropical suites resort.

Hopefully the cold will be gone in a few weeks and i can get my spring on. Hoping to do some good reno's this spring, kitchen being one of them, front facade transformation the other (red door anyone!!).

On da beach

Sunday, February 3, 2008

le nordik, and then the beach

Just a quick note to say a couple things.

One, go to le nordik spa in chelsea if you have not been. If you don't like pampering yourself, or are awkward, or don't like people, just get over yourself and go. If you have a job with benefits including massage, its a free trip for you. Just go, and from the moment you walk into that eucalyptus steam bath, you won't regret it.

And two, i'm hitting the beach, for a week, real soon. Down south, where the weather is warm, and there is very little snow. Hopefully there won't be much here when i get back.

Bye for now!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

#705 at camcong

I'm basically addicted to #705 at camcong right now. Its their spicy veggie soup. It is occasionally hit or miss, possibly depending on my mood, but lately its been bang on. Lots of veggies, right amount of noodles, quite spicy, not too greasy, no massive chunks of galangal, lots of good tofu, its really really good. However, i was quite disappointed last night when we showed up at 8:10, and they were closed. Still had customers, but closed. Their sign says they close at 9pm. But its private enterprise, they can do whatever the pump they want. And because they have one of the best most addictive products in ottawa to myself right now, i can't afford to boycott based on this one early close...

So we went down to new pho bo ga la and i got a much more traditional s9, pho with bbq pork and shrimp wonton's. Not nearly the same addictive soup, but good nonetheless.

I think spicy foods are addictive to me. A few years ago, i wasn't much of a fan. Now i actually crave them... another sign of my feverously addictive personality.

We're going to the dominican republic in a few days. Its going to be boring as hell, and perfect as hell. It'll give me time to come to terms with many things, including my various food addictions. And to read some books, get a tan, listen to tunes, brainstorm, tune out, swim, and hopefully not get food poisoning or anything worse.

Friday, January 18, 2008

hypocrisy and the non-smoker

I was walking out of my building at work today, and a few steps in front of me were 2 folks, smokes in hand. Before opening the door to the outside, the first lady lights her smoke, ensures it is lit, then proceeds to open the door. Not only did i have to wait a second or two for them to proceed, i had to hall in her ass air.

I was in the midst of a conversation, and quite taken offguard, and meek, so i didn't say anything. All i could muster was a dirty snarl... which i'd like to believe is quite out of character. But holy fuck, whats with people?

This lady, who'd been smoking at least 10 years by the looks of her, should be fuckin capable of lighting her life stick on fire with a bit of breeze on a zero degree day... but no, she decided she should light it inside so all folks that have to walk through for the next hour, not to mention the folks in her midst (ie me), will have the unpleasant experience of halling back her ass air. The air she breathes is ass, she exhales ass, death, and intoxication, and feels its her absolute privilege to do so.

Well, its not a privilege, its not a right, its a demon. One that haunts people every second of every day, and infects those around them in ways their blindness renders them unable to see. How would you feel if you were in the midst of an intense emotional conversation with someone, really breaking ground, and then you find out that they're really only invoking a steadily declining 50% of their brain on the conversation. That more and more they're mind is actually drifting off into other areas, areas that are beginning to manipulate their coherent then-and-now. This is the mind of an addictive personality, one that smokes at least once every hour or two, every single day of their lives, and feels it is there right/privilege/gift to interrupt any and every experience of their lives, every hour or two, to satisfy the urge. Its not their fault that other non-smokers are inconvenienced by this, they have to put up with it, cause its the smokers right.... ha!!

Smoking is great in so many ways, and so bad in so many more ways. Its fuckin pathetic, and its people like the lady smoking in the entranceway that give smokers a bad name. Now that i'm not really one of them, i see it/them in a different light. I miss it. And i'm a total hypocrite. I'm beginning to get insulted when someone would rather spend time destroying their body and satisfying a pathetic urge to bring chemical happiness to their lives than spend that time with me. But thats what it does. It makes you feel there is nothing else more important. Well, life is more important. There is a time and place for everything, and if the smoking culture around here wasn't so god damn all encompassing and controlling, it wouldn't be so bad. But everyone around here feels its their right to do it all the time, anywhere, anytime.

I can't believe i used to throw my butts out the car window. Totally acceptable for me and all my friends. How fucking blind was i? Why is the world my ashtray? My city, streets, sidewalks. As if i just pitched my nasty butts. Thats fucking pathetic, as was i.

I could totally go for a smoke right now. I wouldn't blow it in anyones face. I wouldn't smoke it inside. I'd put the butt in the ashtray/garbage. It would make me *feel* good. It would provide pleasure, and it would be sweet for a little while. But i can't go through the ridiculous lifestyle/introspective interruption it causes again. It is a huge part of who you are. If you're defined by your actions, what does it mean if a third of your actions for your entire life are to satisfy a pathetic chemical urge? So massive it's scary. And it kills you physically too...

I'm hoping the cravings go away at some point. Sorry i'm a hypocrite, maybe i can quit that too at some point.

Monday, January 7, 2008

bitchin bout broth

I needed to get some vegetarian broth on sunday for a soup i was going to make. Nothing fancy, just some good old gluten free, relatively low sodium broth. Gluten free cause of allergies, and low sodium because i like seasoning things myself.

I found myself in loblaws. I'm finding less and less reason to shop at loblaws these days. I needed a few other things, a cuke, broccoli and cauli... their broccoli, while cheap, was shit as only the dregs were left, and no cauli was to be found. Their cukes (english that is) were small and pathetic. I decided to bail on produce and get it at farm boy down the road, and headed for broth and soy milk.

I first went into the "organics" or specialty section (this is the south keys loblaws btw). In there i did find 2 types of broth, but only the PC organic type was available in the veggie variety. I was SHOCKED and APPALLED to learn that the organic PC veggie broth has over 900 mg of sodium in a cup... WHAT!!! This is RIDICULOUS!!! Why the hell do they need to lace it so badly!!! I can't in good conscience buy that, thats just way too salty considering i needed at least a litre... i kept looking.

I went to the regular broth section... i found some cambells veggie broth in a smaller, likely half litre container. If i recall, it said it was at 400 or 500 mg... but of course, the serving size changed to 2/3 of a cup, making it better, but still about 700 mg sodium per cup. Not to mention their deception, how could i ever support such a product with deceptive portion manipulation!!! Bastardos!!!

At this point i just want to point out that i'm not a massive fan of salt, and seeming obsession with low sodium products is not primarily because of health. I simply want to use ONLY enough of it to bring the flavours out, and for this purpose i am greatly respectful of its powers.

Anyways, now i'm bitching herbivorously the loblaws name under my breath... i head to the soy milk section, to find out all they have is the shite silk stuff left, no regular so good, and definitely no so nice. I'm pissed. I got the obligatory cereal and some pompadum's as a constellation prize, hit the self serve isle, and hoped i'd never have to enter again save to use that coin changing machine if it doesn't charge too much (anyone know what it charges, it doesn't say...?).

So to farm boy. Ahhh farm boy. I don't care if your garlic comes from china too, i'm still shopping there. I found everything i needed. Organic veggie broth, "Pacific" brand... it ended up tasting decently enough, and was *only* 530 mg of sodium per cup. I found my so nice regular milk, which was convenient too as i wasn't sure they'd have it. Got some bananas, a beefy english cuke, and was out in no time saving 4c because of my supplied bag.

In closing, loblaws is getting under my skin, and farm boy is climbing the ranks. I still prefer herb n spice where possible, but if i have specific needs and need to go out anyways to say the depot or liquor stores, i'm gonna opt to save a few bucks at the bigger stores (most of the time). But what pisses me off the most is the amount of sodium in broths... i guess thats the flavour, and better tasting broths will sell more, but people are wising. I even overheard someone in loblaws NOT buy something because it contained "modified corn starch"... this is a good sign.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

i love food

I think food is likely my favorite thing in this world (when i say thing, i'm excluding people and interactions between them). It is just so good.

I planned on doing the lemon cleanse again this year. I started today. I will likely stop today too. I love food too much now. I also don't have much motivation for doing it, short of saying i wanted to, and i wanted to give my stomach a break. But i'm all confused now... just like the nicotine angels call down to me for company, so do the food sirens request i swallow them post chew. Oh my god i love food so much.

I would love to have some more camcong soup right now. It was my last meal last night. I'd also settle for peanuts in the shell.

I'll get through today, i'd feel like a mofo if i couldn't. But tomorrow is another school day...