Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Book LIst

  • The Prince
    Nicollo Machiavelli 2006.12.08

  • Last Chance to See
    Douglas Adams 2006.11.04

  • The Brothers Karamazov
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky 2006.10.29

  • Not a big list, but I was stuck on The Brothers Karamazov for most of the year...

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    I was having trouble getting on to on the weekend so I haven't updated in a while.

    We've attended a bunch of Christmas parties in the last few days. On Saturday night was the VPC Christmas dinner. It's for all the management at the press centre, and it's usually really well done. It's one of the few parties that still invites partners. We met up with Ram and Teresa, and cabbed it from their house. Any time you're out with Ram, it's a big drinking night, and this was no exception. It was at an italian banquet hall on Highway 27 north of 7. The food was great -- three courses, I had the caesar salad, porcini risotto, and veal picatta. It was an open bar and we seemed to end up near the bar having shooters most of the night. We were doing okay until Glenn had us try the grappa. I'm still acquiring a taste for that.

    The VPC party usually winds down around 11pm so we joined Ram and Teresa at a bar near Yonge and Eglinton (the one right beside Spacco's). Had a Keith's and talked with John (his company did the tiling at our house). We're still waiting for the backsplash in the kitchen to be grouted and I keep forgetting to bug him. Got Rob's phone number (I think he's the supervisor of the crew). We headed home around 1ish.

    On Monday there were a couple of parties. My group (about 10 of us) went out for lunch at Houston's. I had a 14oz prime rib, and some beers. Our department dinner was at 5:30pm (and it was a cash bar), so the plan was to go for lunch and eventually find our way to the dinner restaurant. Dinner was pretty good, although only four hours after lunch, so I was really stuffed. It was Monday night and after dinner, some people wanted to watch the NFL game, so we found our way to the Keg at York and Adelaide. I got home around midnight.

    So after all the partying, I thought I would take it easy on Tuesday night. However, Tanya and Tony had their first kid, Natasha, on Monday afternoon (7pounds, 9 ounces), and so we went to see them at St. Mike's. Everyone was doing well, Tanya looked really relaxed and not at all like she had just had a baby. Marissa and Bernice were also there, and we hadn't seen them in a while, so we all headed to the Flatiron for a drink or two.

    Here's some pictures of our tree:

    We've been looking for a cool angel for the top of the tree, and I found this one for $7.20 at Linens and Things! Every year Heather and I buy an ornament for each other, and the two doves on the turtle is the one I got for Heather this year (our 2nd Christmas -- two turtle doves, get it?)

    Well I should go cook dinner. I'm trying to make the porcini risotto and veal picatta like we had on Saturday night.

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    Here's a couple pics from Leo's visit on Saturday:

    We decorated our tree on Friday night, and it looks quite good. Maricar got it for us from a lot outside the city (near where she works). It's a 9' balsam fir, and it fits perfectly in the front corner of the living room. Unfortunately there's no presents yet under the tree with my name on it.

    Last night Maricar had a big dinner party. It was six courses with a wine pairing for each course. Three courses (& wine pairings) were from the LCBO website, and the wine matched really well. It was a lot of fun, and I was stuffed at the end of the night.

    Heather and I walked around Queen St E this afternoon, taking advantage of the nice weather (about 8C and sunny). Had lunch at Cafe Vert, which was really good. We were searching for a burger place, but the first couple places were closed on Sundays, so we ended up there. There was a sign on Reliable Fish'n'chips that it's going to be on HGTV's Restaurant Makeover, so it was closed. After we browsed for a star to top the tree, but didn't find anything. However, we did stop into a few new stores (Pentimento, and We) that were pretty cool. The strip between Eye Spy and Okay Okay is now completely full of stores -- most of them newly opened in the last year.

    Just watching the Cowboys-Saints game. I've never seen Reggie Bush play before, he looks pretty good. Anyways, going to watch the rest of the game.

    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    We had a great time at Wanderlust on Thursday night. This was the street festival organized by the businesses on Queen E, between Pape and Jones. Maricar and Trishia's brother Robin joined us. We started around 8pm at Toast (had appetizers and wine), and worked our way east. Had some complimentary drinks and snacks -- specialty coffees at Ethel, chai liqueur at Eye Spy (we'll have to look for this at the LCBO), wine tastings at Wild Thyme, fluke at Sushi Marche. By then it was 10pm, the end of the festival. Had great buttered rum drinks at Okay Okay, then pizza and a pitcher of Keiths at Stratenger's and finally some beer at Maricar's (she's into Tuborg Gold after having it at the beer festival).

    Despite the rain, there was a really good turnout. Most stores were full of people. From our count, more than half the participating stores have opened in the last year (when we moved here), including two that had their opening for Wanderlust. It reminded me of the vibe at the first Lollapalooza -- no one knew what to expect because it was the first one, but afterward everyone was talking about it. (Although in this case, "everyone" was just the neighbourhood). Anyways I hope they have it again next year.

    The variety drinks had hangover written all over it, but the pizza helped out. I only worked a half day on Friday because Heather and I went to Scholar's Choice for their sale on December 1st. Took the opportunity to take Heather to the pizza place in Fortino's up at Hwy 400 & 7 (it's near VPC and I go there for lunch on occasion). It's the best stone-oven pizza in Toronto. Then onto Scholar's Choice where we completed most of our Christmas shopping (it's a great place for children's gifts).

    We watched the federal Liberal's leadership convention on Friday evening and most of Saturday. It was quite interesting, especially the Saturday. Heather and I had both felt Stephane Dion could win back in the summer. I think he's a good choice. We wrote our Christmas cards in between the convention happenings.

    I just figured out that Heather and I moved into our house exactly one year ago today! Happy anniversary to the house!

    Monday, November 27, 2006

    We had another LCBO recipe on Saturday, Dijon Pork Chops with Glacé Cherries, and it turned out pretty good. Once again the recommended wine was a great accompanionment. I had to look up kirsch (a cherry brandy). I had raspberry brandy downstairs so used it instead. The recipe calls for way too much flour in the sauce (I only used 25% of what it said). Also had to look up frenched green beans. Some websites said to use a "specialty green bean frencher". I don't own such a tool, so just cut the beans in half length-wise.

    After we met up with Marissa at Mill Street Brewery, which is in the Distillery District (about a 30 minute walk west from our house). We usually have Mill St beers (I like the Mill St Organic) when we're out having a drink. The brewery has been around for a while, and they've just opened the on-site pub. It has a really nice atmosphere, and we'll probably be making a trek or two down there when the weather warms up.

    Last night we went to see Casino Royale at the Beaches Cinema (where they've dropped prices to $9.95!) I liked it, but not so much after the poker game finished. The opening scene was really good, as was the first chase scene in Madagascar.

    This Thursday some of the stores in the neighbourhood are having a little street festival, that they've called Holiday Wanderlust. It stretches along Queen E between Pape and Jones. We live near Pape, and Maricar lives near Jones, so we think it's custom-made party just for us.

    Leo (the neighbour's cat) has been visiting quite a bit lately. He's now waiting in the morning for us to check the mail, and he bounds into the house when the door is opened. Usually he just meows around for a few minutes, checks out the scene in the backyard (he's figured out how to peek through the blinds on the back door), peers into the basement, and then leaves for the rest of his obviously busy day.

    We finally had a nice weekend, so I was able to start on winterizing things. Drained the hose and turned off the outside tap, and wrapped our evergreens in burlap. I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but Maricar (who is much more knowledgeable on these things) said the tips would get cold burn and brown on their tips.

    We're having asian chicken pot for dinner tonight, I'd better get cooking.

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    My new passport came in today, and so I can now go traveling again! (Heather and I are going to Morocco in the new year, when she completes her dissertation.) There's a few new things in the new passport -- the photo is scanned and printed (instead of the actual physical photo that I submitted), there's a bar code, and my signature is also scanned and printed. I completed the application online, and submitted in person at the Passport office downtown. There was no line-up at all. It's actually $10 cheaper to have the passport mailed (instead of picking it up in person), and today it appeared.

    Heather and I have added Indonesia to the short list for our honeymoon (it's the only place on the list so far). It meets all the criteria: beaches (Bali), ruins (Boronbudur, the last major ruin on my list), cool natural sites (Kelimutu).

    Maricar's coming over for dinner shortly, and we're having the grilled steak with bourbon sauce. I bought Jack Daniel's so it will be a true bourbon sauce, and not a whiskey-based sauce. I had the guy at the meat counter cut a 2" t-bone steak for me. He really enjoyed cutting the special order.

    I got my car back last Friday, and it looks as good as new. They replaced the damaged panels, so it looks better than it did before, because there's no normal wear-and-tear (little nicks from stones etc). There were only two things that I liked about the rental Chrysler 300 -- the trunk could hold both my golf clubs and my hockey bag at the same time, and it took regular gas.

    Friday evening we met up with Kristin (Heather's close friend from her PhD program) and her family et al for drinks at Hemingways. (She was celebrating her convocation). I met a few people in Heather's circles for the first time, that I only had pictures in my head from Heather mentioning them in stories. Afterwards, Heather, Reuven and I went for a bite at the Rebel House. It is an anomaly, a bar with actual history in Toronto. I liked it.

    I made Shepherd's pie for the first time last Tuesday. It turned out quite well. Only later did I find out that I really made Cottage pie.

    Anyways I should go start cooking.

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    I dropped my car off on Tuesday at Bayview Steeles Auto Collision. My rental car is a Chrysler 300. I have no feel for the road in the thing, I'm floating around somewhere in the lane. It doesn't even have heated seats. It'll take about 8 - 10 days for my car to be repaired. Because the other driver was at fault, my deductible was waived, so it's not costing me anything.

    On Thursday our hockey game was on the big ice on Rink A. We lost 3-0. Most of the team (including me) came out flat -- nobody had energy, which was made worse with the big ice. I had a couple good chances to score but couldn't get the handle on the puck. We also had three guys returning from injuries, so they weren't in game shape yet. (I couldn't use that excuse though).

    Wednesday night I ran another Operations Tour of the Star. My group supports all the computer systems that are used to put the paper together at One Yonge, and then to print it at VPC (our print facility north of Toronto at Hwy 400 & 7). I work with all the groups along the way, so it's easy for me to put together the tour. Years ago (when I first started at the Star in 2000) it used to be run by a director, and the tour was named after her (the "Audrey Burke tour"). She retired in 2001, and I've been running the tours since then. The participants are mostly new hires, from all over the Star. It starts at 8pm at One Yonge, goes to VPC around 11pm, and ends at a distribution drop site around 2:30am. The "drop site" is actually just a parking lot where the trucks meet the carriers to give them the papers. Most people find it amazing after seeing all the high-tech stuff involved in producing the paper, that the last step is so low-tech. But that's how the paper gets to your door.

    We have had a lot of rain over the last week, and most of the leaves have now fallen. Wednesday morning was the biggest falling of leaves -- the backyard looked like after a snow fall, except instead of a smooth covering of snow, everything was covered with yellow leaves. I'm not sure what to do with the leaves in the front -- it's all a flower garden covered with wood chips, so it's not possible to rake. I thought about just leaving the leaves to compost, but I didn't want them blowing all over the neighbours. I'll have to see what other people do.

    Tried another LCBO recipe last night, Roasted Veal Chops with Mushroom Sauce and Truffle Oil. The recommended wine wasn't available, but the LCBO guy suggested a similar wine, Vincent Girardin 2004 Pinot Noir from Bourgogne. The wine was good, but we weren't that impressed with the recipe. I think the flavours were supposed to be subtle (especially the truffle oil), but Heather and I prefer recipes with a BAM!!!.

    Still trying to decide what to do today. I may start organizing the basement, or I may just read my book. I'm almost done the Douglas Adams book.

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Here's the damage to my car:

    I took Friday off to take the car to the BMW-recommended body shop (Bayview Steeles Auto Collision (BSAC)). Their quote is somewhat higher than the Aviva-recommended body shop; so BSAC has to come to an agreement with Aviva. Then I can drop the car off and get a rental. BSAC thinks it will take 8 - 10 days for the repairs. (I have to check if my insurance has a maximum amount for the rental period.)

    Friday turned out to be a poor choice of day to take a vacation day. There was a problem with a water main on our street and we received a note late Thursday that our water would be off from 9am - 5pm on Friday. So I was up early on my day off to be out of the house by 9am. We went to Okay Okay for breakfast; then took the car to BSAC.

    The rest of the day we had planned to spend shopping for winter clothes. I got most of my stuff from Max's (on the NW corner of Queen and Pape, about one minute from our house). Went to Island Foods for lunch because Heather had never been to this Toronto landmark (the best roti in Toronto). Then shopped briefly on Queen W before calling it a day.

    Got back home around 4pm, and the water wasn't on yet. I talked to the water guys out on the street, and they said it wouldn't be on for at least 3 - 4 hours! We had Tony's 40th birthday party to be at at 8pm, so this was a bit of an inconvenience. We freshened up at Maricar's, taking our bathroom baskets and towels to her house like we were going to the spa.

    Tony's party was pretty good. We had missed dinner with the water problems, so spent most of the party around the food table. We got home pretty late, around 3:30am.

    Saturday was a write-off. We got up around 10am, had breakfast, and went right back to bed. Woke up again around 4pm, in time to run the errands we had planned. We went to Tomi Kro's for dinner, to celebrate Heather completing her latest chapter. It was excellent as usual. We had a different waitstaff, and our usual waiter came over to make sure that our new waitress was taking care of us. She recommended a very good wine match, so we think we'll be in good hands no matter who is serving us in the future.

    We lost our hockey game on Thursday, which meant I was 1-2-1 for the week. (Craig and I have a goal to have a 3-0 week). (We had a doubleheader last Sunday, so had four games in the week).

    Just watching the rest of the Patriots-Colts game and then I'm going to bed.

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    I was in a little fender bender this morning on my way to work. No one was hurt, but I spent most of the day sorting things out. I was westbound on Eastern and the lady who hit me was trying to turn left (eastbound) from Heward, and she didn't look to her left as she made her turn. I braked and had come to a stop when she hit the front passenger-side corner of my car. She had just started from her stop sign, so wasn't going very fast (maybe 15km/h). She was very apologetic and agreed it was her fault, and so we exchanged insurance info. Both cars were still drivable.

    This is the first time I've been involved in an accident, and was really impressed by the efficiency of the collision reporting and insurance process.

    First I drove over to the Toronto West collision reporting centre near the QEW and Islington. I was in-and-out of there in about thirty minutes. The collision reporting centres are for accidents where no-one is hurt (amongst other things) and the main purpose is to have the police report for insurance. (It saves having the police show up at every little fender bender). They then sent the report automatically to my insurance company.

    Drove to work, and called my insurance company. They took the details, and gave me contacts to get an estimate, and for a rental while the car is being repaired. Because the other driver is at fault, my deductible is waived.

    The body shop already had my file (from the insurance company) when I showed up to get the estimate. (They send it direct to the insurance company).

    I am going to take the car to the BMW dealership-recommended body shop, which unfortunately is up at Bayview and Steeles. I called the car rental company and they also had my file from the insurance company. I qualify for a luxury rental (because I'm insuring a BMW), and the insurance company pays the car rental company directly.

    Later in the day my insurance broker called to see if I was okay.

    Everyone that I dealt with today was very courteous and professional. I was thinking of switching my car insurance to combine it with my house insurance; but after the great customer service I think I will stay with my current insurer (Aviva).


    Today is Hallowe'en and it's the first time I've lived in a house since I moved out from my parents to go to university. Heather and I weren't sure how many kids to expect, and planned for 100. The first 36 got full-sized chocolate bars, and the rest were snack-sized chips. We ended up having 53 kids throughout the evening, the busiest time was around 7pm. Met a lot of the neighbours who were taking their kids around. (Leslieville is really friendly!)

    Eleven months and 984 pages later, I finally finished reading The Brothers Karamazov. It was okay, I preferred Anna Karenin (I know it's a different author, but they're both Russian classics). Now I can get on with my backlog of books to read -- next is a Douglas Adams book that JP lent to me.

    Doaner got Leaf tickets to yesterday's game, and called me around 3pm to see if I was free. Of course before I accepted I asked if they were box seats. They weren't, but I went anyways. The seats were actually pretty good, thirteen rows up behind the Leaf bench. But we had to get out of the seats and line up to buy beer, and use the same washrooms as everyone else. (Although the washrooms are common for box seats at the ACC -- it's at the Skydome that there's a washroom in each box). The Leafs won, and we spent most of the game heckling McCabe. I think he was a minus-2 in a 4-2 win. (I was being a box-seat-snob just to bug Doaner).

    We came back home after the game (Heather was wrapping up working on her disseration for the night, and was giving her chapter a final edit). We ordered pizza and played a game of Scrabble. Doaner won 430-422 with a 7-letter word on his last turn.

    We played a double-header on Sunday Ultimate. The weather was terrible yet again -- there was actually a wind warning! I've never heard of a wind warning before that. My legs were tired after the game, but by dinner I was okay.

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    It's a dreary Saturday afternoon, cold and rainy and windy. I was planning to take the construction waste to the dump (from all the work I've done to the front of the house this summer), but decided against it when I saw the forecast yesterday. Maricar (she has a construction waste too) and I are going to rent a van from Home Depot some day soon before winter. We both still have room on our 1 tonne exemption from the city to use up before the end of the year.

    Yesterday afternoon went to the bar across the street from work with some of my team. At one point Alex, DT and I were point at the screen on DT's laptop, talking about how the PDF-merging script referenced shell variables. Ram thought we were all a bunch of IT geeks.

    Last night Heather and I went for a late beer at Leslie Jones. There is a nice atmosphere in the place, but at $18 (including tip) for two bottles of beer, I don't think we'll become regulars. We had a Steamwhistle and Stella, which are a premium and an import, but still, $18 is a bit pricey for Queen East.

    Thursday night we had a really late (11:30pm) hockey game. We defaulted because we only had five skaters and goalie (you need six in case of co-incidental minors). The other team had three full lines (!) and so gave us a couple players and we just played for fun. My legs were really tired after the game.

    I've reached page 832 in my book. I'm going to try to finish it this afternoon. Later this evening Heather and I have dinner plans at Tomi Kro (our favourite restaurant). Yummy!

    Sunday, October 22, 2006

    I finished putting in the grate (for scraping snow off your boots) on the front deck yesterday. Here's a couple pics of the railing and grate:

    I'm happy with how the railing turned out. I'll have to wait until next spring to paint it (the same white as the door frame).


    Heather and I tried out a couple recipes from the LCBO, and both were amazing. On Friday night we had grilled steak with bourbon sauce. The recipe calls for a 2" t-bone steak, so I requested a special cut at the meat counter at Loblaws. The steak weighed 950g! (Later on I realized it was a recipe for four people). The sauce turned out really well (I used Crown Royal instead of bourbon). We paired it with a bottle of wine I had purchased a couple weeks ago (Liberty School cabernet sauvignon). It was a great sipping wine, but didn't work that well with the food.

    We learnt our lesson and on Saturday tried another recipe, but this time had the wine recommended with the recipe. Made asian-style chicken and rice pot, and had the Hillebrand Gewurztraminer. It was an amazing match with the food, one of the best we've had. Next time I'll use a bit less hot sauce, because it turned out very spicy.


    We played Ultimate today in constant rain and drizzle. We won 19-17, but we again didn't play well as a team. We continue to run into the throwing lanes, can't form a stack worth a bean, and make questionable choices of throws. My rec team from last summer was better at team fundamentals than the ones I play on now.

    Heather and I are just about to head out to Fionn's for dinner. I was exhausted after the game (more from the rain and cold than from running) and didn't feel like grocery shopping or cooking.

    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    Leo (the neighbour's cat) just dropped in for a little visit a few minutes ago. I was taking out the recycling and saw Leo on the sidewalk. I called his name and he trotted over, up our walkway, and in through the door to see Heather. I think he was over-stimulated with all the new sights and smells (Leo's only been in our house a couple times), because he was walking around meowing quite a bit. Heather let him out, and now he's sitting at the top of the stairs of the deck, watching the scene on the street.

    I scored a goal in hockey tonight, a little tip-in on a shot from the point. I score most of my goals on deflections like that. We ended up winning 2-0. I almost had a 2nd goal -- Craig drove towards the net with the puck, and was checked into the goalie, I put the rebound in the net, but then the ref called Craig for interference for running into goalie. Anyways the other team wasn't that good, so I had an extra second to look up when I had the puck which makes a difference for me. After just Craig and I went up for pizza and beer. We talked mostly about last night's Ultimate game, which we lost.

    Last night we played the top team in our league, and we could have won but we made a lot of unforced errors. The final was 14-12. We went out to Fionn MacCool's on the Esplanade. The Leaf game had just let out so the bar was pretty busy. They even had live celtic music!

    Went to Fortino's today for lunch. Fortino's is actually a grocery store a la Loblaws, but the location at Hwy 7 and Weston Rd has a pizza and panini counter. They make their pizzas to order in a stone oven. It's the best pizza I've had. Some time I'll have to drive up with Heather on a Saturday (although the lady's warned me that "the kids" work on the weekend and they're not as good as Rocco).

    I've been reading more of my book The Brothers Karamazov, I'm now on page 724. My goal is to finish before the end of November (before the one-year mark since I started reading it).

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    I built the railing on the front deck between us and our neighbours over the weekend, and it looks pretty good. Unfortunately it's been raining daily since then, so I haven't been able to paint (or at least prime). I'm pretty sure I'll have to wait until spring. There's one more small project for the front deck, and that's installing the grate for scraping the snow off your boots. Maricar saw the idea in a magazine. I (actually, Marciar) saved one of the old metal air vents when the house was gutted. I just have to cut a hole in the deck, and drop in the vent. (I'm also going to build a nice little frame to make it look better). In the winter when we come home with our boots full of snow, we'll just scrape them over the grate, and the snow will fall under the deck. It's a pretty cool idea.

    We finally played an Ultimate game on Sunday. Craig and I played the whole game because one of the other guys pulled a back muscle and the other guy was hungover. (There's three guys & two girls on the field on Sundays). It was fun to actually get playing time again. We won 17-10, and after went to check out Leslie Jones on Queen E. They've finally got their liquor license. The owners did a nice job of renovating the place, reminding me of a smaller version of Czehoski's. It's three minute walk from our house, and I can see Heather and I going there for a beer or two in the evenings. They don't have beer on tap yet though.

    I'm at VPC the rest of the week, trying to sort out a few things. The big news yesterday at work was the resignation of the publisher and editor-in-chief. It was neat on the 5th floor (where Editorial is located) shortly after the email from Goldbloom around 5:30pm yesterday; the only times I've seen it as busy was 9/11, and after Honderich resigned. It's amazing that Jagoda (Jagoda Pike, the new publisher) is only the 8th publisher in the 114 year history of the Star -- and I've worked under three of them! Anyways, I'm sure there'll be more announcements in the next few weeks. It's a very interesting time to be working there.

    Heather's just finished her writing for the day, so we're off to cook dinner (cedar-planked pacific salmon, with steamed rice and a lemon-butter-parsley sauce, and side of steamed broccoli with melted cheddar).

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    My stew is bubbling away on the stove. Right now it's the meat, marrow bones and soup mix (barley etc). Later on I'll add carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onion. Rather simple, but we like it.

    I was at VPC all day. I only had a couple meetings, and it's a little quieter up there, so I was able to catch up on a lot of my paperwork from the last couple weeks. The only thing I dislike is that it takes 45 minutes to drive in rush hour.

    We finally played a decent team in Ultimate on Wednesdays. We won 17-14, although our fundamentals (especially on offense) are still not so great. We clog the throwing lanes, can't stack worth a bean, and we make poor choices on throws. Most of the players on the team can throw and catch really well, which makes up for (also likely the cause of) our lack of strategy. We had seven guys which was too many. (A couple guys didn't want to rotate to have maximum six guys a game, so we're all playing in every game).

    The forecast keeps on changing for this weekend. I am hoping to build the railing between the houses and finish stripping the paint on the middle rear post. Then I'm just hoping for one more day with the temperature over 10C so that I can prime everything before winter. (If I'm really lucky, then I'll get two nice days and I can paint as well, but I think it's too late in the season).

    Well I better go get the vegetables ready for my stew.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    It's the end of the Thanksgiving long weekend. Heather and I just finished dinner (lamb with rosemary, with sweet potato and green beans). We also had a little infestation of little bugs, that looked like baby mosquitoes. They were all over the back door, and about a hundred flew in as I was going in-and-out to barbecue the lamb. They were all over the ceiling, and we weren't sure how to get rid of them. Tried painter's tape to catch them, which sort of worked. Then I used the hand vac, which was very effective. I was nabbing them in mid-air. They're all gone now; we've just left the back kitchen lights on for the rest of the night, and I'll vacuum up anything that's remaining at that point.

    The weather was perfect the last three days, about 21C and sunny. On Saturday went golfing waaay up north at Heritage Hills (about 90 minutes north of Toronto, where the 400 splits to Highway 11 and 400). There was a frost delay, so we had breakfast and finally teed off around 11am. I hit the ball fairly well, and my putting was on. Shot 96, but could easily have been in the low 90s. It's probably my last time out this season. I should have taken my camera, because the scenery was beautiful. The leaves had all changed to red and orange, and the sky was a perfect blue. The course was in nice shape, but I thought it was a bit pricey being so far away from Toronto and October ($79 including cart).

    Yesterday and today I worked on the front deck. Replaced the front two posts with 6"x6" new posts, and used my brand new heat gun to remove the paint from the rear two posts. The heat gun was really cool; the paint just scraped off. (It wouldn't have worked different substrates like brick). The heat gun's quite dangerous though; there's no visual cue of the heat, and I can see it being easy to accidentally burn yourself. But I made it through unscathed. Used Elmer's wood filler to patch up the holes. Unfortunately it may be too late in the season to paint the rear posts (the temperature is forecast to drop to a high of 12C tomorrow). I still want to finish the railing between us and our neighbours before winter.

    Oh yah, I scored two goals on Thursday! We won 3-1, it was a fun game. Only Craig and I went up for wings and pizza after the game. Heather was trying to watch the game on the web, but they don't have it fully working in real time yet. (The scorekeeper is supposed to be hooked up so as a goal is scored, it's available on the web).

    There's a detached house on our street that just went up for sale. Surprisingly, they're only asking $389K! A house on Pape around the corner recently went for $589K. I think this one will go for $450K - $475K. Maybe they're asking low to attract a offers and a bidding war?

    Anyways, that's it for now!

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    My Wednesday Ultimate game is a later one this week, so I'm just waiting for Maricar to pick me up in a little bit.

    We were supposed to start with the byes for the guys this week, but one of the guys didn't want to miss any games, so we're all showing up tonight to talk about how to split up playing time. If there's too many guys I may just sit out and watch the game.

    Work has been pretty busy, there's been a few problems, but it's also budget time for 2007. I've been at the Star for a few years, and budgeting gets easier year over year, so it's not so bad. The operating budget was due yesterday, and capital budgets are due Friday.

    It doesn't seem like we should be coming up on the Thanksgiving long weekend already. But yet here it is. Heather'll be finishing off a chapter of her dissertation, and I have a construction project for the rest of the deck. The weather so far looks good. Hopefully my little project won't take the whole weekend, and I can find someone to golf with. (Oh yah, I should mention, Jonathan (Heather's sister's husband in PEI) broke 90 yesterday! Cool! We both started golfing around the same time, and are at the same level. When I visit PEI we try to get out a couple times).

    There's been unusually loud rainstorms the last two nights. Our skylight sounds nice in the rain, it's normally very soothing. However, the last two nights around 6am, we've been woken up by the rain. The first night I actually got out of bed to see if there was a hole in the roof, because it sounded like it was pouring into a puddle inside the house. But it was just the rain on the skylight.

    Dinner turned out really well tonight. A couple nights ago, Heather and I walked down to Betty's (in Heather's old neck of the woods), because it was a really nice evening and there won't be too many more this season. It's only about a 25 minute walk east, veering south onto King St. Anyways, we were there for wings; but the special was penne with bacon & mushrooms in a cream sauce. That sounded really good and almost swayed us. We had the wings; but I planned to make the penne later on -- which was tonight. I used double-smoked bacon and shiitake mushrooms; along with onion, parsley, white cooking wine and Heather's 5%-tastes-like-10% cream that she uses in her coffee (instead of buying cream and wasting the rest). It was really tasty.

    Anyways, I should get ready for Ultimate.

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    We had our Sunday Ultimate game called because of rain this afternoon. We were up 9 - 4 at half, and then most people decided they didn't want to continue. This season's Ultimate seems to be jinxed, I have yet to get in a good game. Last two Sundays there were problems with the permits, this week rained out; and on Wednesdays there's way too many guys. On Wednesdays we've decided to sit out two guys a week, so that we only have six guys (there's four guys, two girls on the field on Wednesdays). I've put together a schedule and emailed it out.

    On Tuesday we had Singapore curried noodles with shrimp, a recipe from the LCBO Food and Drink magazine. We've found some really good recipes in the magazine, (also available online).

    On Thursday we had a late hockey game, a scheduled 11:30pm start. However, when we got there, we found they were running a game behind. We didn't get on the ice until 12:15am. Fortunately players on both teams stuck around, and we won 2-0, in a good game. The league is now managed by Canlan Ice Sports, and I can't say I'm impressed. They have a 5-minute OT even in regular season (so I can see the games being delayed every week), and the ice has been in bad condition the first two weeks.

    I decided to take Friday off, partially because of the late hockey game, and also because I have a lot of vacation to use up this year. I painted a 2nd coat on the door frame (so that's done now), and tried to figure out how to replace the rest of the posts on the front deck. There's six posts, three against the house (3"x6"), and three out front (6"x6"). Two are ours, two are the neighbours, and the middle two are shared. I replaced our front 6"x6" in spring, because it was rotting and falling off the support. The replacement is pressure-treated with chamfered corners, so it doesn't really match the rest. I found some lumber yards that sell 6"x6" with non-chamfered corners (although not square); but couldn't find anyone who would rip those into 3"x6"; or anyone that sold 3"x6". The originals are about 50 years old, and are true 3"x6".

    So after discussing with Heather, we decided to re-replace the 6"x6" front posts with non-chamfered pressure-treated posts (both ours and the shared one); and strip the paint from the 3"x6" rear posts. I also have to replace the old railing / divider that separates the deck from the neighbour. I've heard different opinions on painting pressure-treated wood, and I'm going with the "leave it out for a season" one. I'll paint the posts and railing in the spring (white, to match the window and door frame).

    Also looked at replacing the gutters and downspouts. The brown paint is peeling on the current ones, and they're dented and bent. I checked out Home Depot and found that replacing them with vinyl isn't that expensive. But that may have to wait until spring (along with replacing the green shingles over the deck with black, and replacing the painted green wood shingles against the 2nd floor exterior with cedar shingles).


    Yesterday Heather and I went to the 1st Annual Leslieville Catfish festival, down at Jimmy Simpson park. There was a pretty good turnout from the community. We had catfish, coleslaw and sweet potato frites which were excellent. Tried three different hot sauces, one of which was extremely hot. Heather burnt her tongue on the hottest one. Got home before the rain started.


    Ordered some more loose leaf tea from Capital Tea. Heather also added some chai tea and a peppermint tea to the order.

    Anyways, I should go cook dinner. We're having spaghettini with clams in a white wine sauce. The clams are canned bar clams straight from PEI; I haven't found them sold in Toronto yet.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    We had a little adventure tonight because the power went out, from about 8pm to 10pm. I was outside heating the barbecue when there was a big gust of wind, and then the power went. It looked to be just on our street.

    Fortunately, with a gas stove and the barbecue, it didn't really affect Heather and me. We had cedar-planked salmon, with steamed rice and a butter / lemon / parsley sauce, and green beans. Also we were lucky that the rice had just finished cooking when the power went.

    My flashlight was packed away in my travel box, so we had to use my cell phone as a light to get to it; then we found the candles etc. (The flashlight is now stored in a more accessible spot in the kitchen). We had a nice candle-lit dinner, with music from iTunes on my Mac.

    I was surprised at how little needed to be reset when the power came on. The alarm system has a battery, and actually worked the whole time. The washing machine knew the power had gone out, and I just had to hit start and it continued in the middle of a wash cycle. The cable box is digital and sets the time automatically. The only thing I had to set was the clock on the oven!


    Thursday was the first hockey game of the winter season. I was slightly out of shape, because my Ultimate teams have way too many guys and so I don't get enough playing time. Most of the team came out flat, and we lost 7-2. Oh well.

    Friday was the minus-1 anniversary for Heather and me. I surfed around to see if there was any standard gift (like paper for the 1st anniversary), but the only thing I found was another person's blog, and a screen saver that counts down for the year. We had a nice dinner at home.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    I took this picture in Quebec City on our trip:

    I hardly spent any time taking the picture, it was more just a point and shoot. I've found most of my favourite pictures are the ones where I've spent the least time composing them.

    Last night I was at a couple work functions. First was a dinner with a vendor at Romagna Mia. I had to leave early because the publisher had invited all the people involved with the launch of Star PM to the Star's box to see the Jays vs Yankees. Dinner at the restaurant wasn't too bad, very traditional italian. Luckily the food arrived before I left for the baseball game.

    The food at the box was less appetizing, despite the invite to enjoy "fine foods and potables". The potables (Keiths in my case) were good, though. I actually watched an inning or two of the game (I gave up on baseball after the strike). I was surprised at how big all the players are now. Almost all the players were over 6'0".

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    A new home for my blog...

    It's been a while since I last updated here. July was pretty busy, and Heather and I went on a two-week vacation at the end of August. I didn't want to start up in August and then have a break, so I just took a break from blogging until now.

    A very quick update:

    o Heather and I went on a visit the nieces and nephews tour at the end of August. First to Boston to visit Lloyd (my brother), Mina and 4-month-old Tristan. Then to PEI to see Heather's family (including 8-month-old Claire). Short stops in Quebec City and Montreal, then to Ottawa to see Nalini, Brendan and our nephews Declan and Darcy. It was a very fun trip.

    o The exterior front of the house is getting nearer to completion. I finally removed all the old paint off the brick (RemovAll works great!!), and I've painted the door and door frame. I'll post a pic soon. I'm trying to decide what to work on next (most likely the covering over the front deck).

    o This season I'm playing Ultimate on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings, and hockey on Thursdays.

    o Work's going pretty good, there have been some reorganizing at the corporate level that could present some good opportunities for me. But I'll have to wait and see how this evolves.

    o I'm STILL reading the Dostoyevsky book. I'm on page 633 of 985. Some people may remember I started reading this book in Zanzibar on my Africa trip last November. I have a backlog of books to read when I'm done.

    This is my blog so anyone interested in how Heather's doing will have to email her :)

    I was planning to apply the 2nd coat of paint to the front door today after work, but it's raining and really humid, and so not the best conditions for drying. So instead I've set up this blog.