Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm getting old

It was nice weather this past weekend, so I planned to do quite a bit in the front and backyard. Unfortunately I twinged my back on Sunday and have spent most of the time since then lying on Heather's Pilates mat. I'm hoping to be mobile enough tomorrow to get to work, as I'm getting quite bored.

Last Wednesday was our last Ultimate for the winter season. The game was for 6th place (6 vs 7), and at 9:30pm, so we decided to head out for dinner and beers before the game. It was a really good time at Fionn's. There was seven of us, and because Ram was out I knew that there would be shooters at some point.

On Thursday I made a trip to a real nursery (the Sheridan Nurseries in Mississauga), along with Maricar and Sab. We were like kids in a candy store, picking up all sorts of plants, checking each others' carts to see what cool stuff we had found. We almost had to force ourselves to leave. I bought a lot of ground cover, and a signature plant, some type of elephant ear Colocasia esculenta?. Had to wait until Saturday to plant in the garden. I also rearranged the rocks (including my big 300-pound signature rock) (gardening is all about the signature pieces :) ), which is most likely what caused my back pain later on. Decided to remove the wood chips that we had had in the past -- the ground cover tends to grow over the wood chips, but not root effectively.

I decided to hire someone to cart away the construction debris from last summer's front porch projects. The prices were all similar, so just went with 1-800-GOT-JUNK. They arrived promptly on Sunday morning, and carted it all away in about 10 minutes. Much easier than renting a van, loading it up, taking it to the dump, waiting in line... for about $100 more, which I felt was well worth it. (Last time I ripped my jacket, which meant I didn't save money at all by doing it myself.)

I then started cleaning the air conditioner (the web comes in very handy to learn about stuff like this). That's when I pulled something in my back and had to call it a day (more like three days so far).

Anyways, Heather and I are about to start dinner.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Sunday Ultimate team was out tonight (Monday night) at Alice Fazooli's downtown for the awards for winning Sunday Ultimate. It's not really an awards ceremony; it's more just a bar where you pick up t-shirts for winning. (It's not really a bar as I will explain shortly).

The t-shirts looked great, and it's always nice to wear during the season before the game, showing that at one point we actually played for a winning team.

But to the bar thing. They supposed had seven beers on tap, but on this night they were out of Keiths, Stella, and Heineken. Half way through the night, they ran out of all their beers, except Guiness and Coors Light. In a bar!

We were very disappointed so went to another bar. They were also out of a few beers, with the excuse that they served five days worth of volume over the weekend (which was the first nice patio weekend after the winter).

But it's not as if the nice weather hadn't been predicted all week. Plus, how hard is it to go to the beer store and buy a keg of beer? We went home sober.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Got out golfing for the first time on Saturday, and shot 91! We went to Deerfield, and it was great weather for mid-April (21C). I started off okay on 1, sitting about 50 yards out after my 3rd shot:

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But I hit my wedge thin, and put it over the green into the water. I hit a poor next shot and 4-putted for a 10. However, the rest of the round I was really consistent, until 18 when I tried to force a par to break 90, and double-bogeyed. I mis-hit only 2 irons all day, which is good for me. The tees were slightly up (they're letting the grass take on the regular tee blocks), but 91 is still my 3rd best ever score.

I didn't need to check out the greens on my BlackBerry because I've played Deerfield so many times it could be called my home course.

(Normally when goling I'd say ...about 50 yards out lie-ing 3..., but I couldn't figure out how to spell the word so I wrote sitting)

We're in between winter and summer seasons in Ultimate, so Trishia organized a pick-up game up at Coxwell and Cosburn. About 40 people showed up, so we split into two games. It was fun, and I was exhausted afterwards. It took a while to get used to playing outdoors (the wind becomes a factor).

Last week Heather and I were talking, and we couldn't name 5 people who lived in Toronto who had a Bell land line. It was only a few years ago (2002) that I ditched my land line for a cell phone and it was unusual at the time -- now it's the other way around.

I cleaned up the front yard this afternoon, finally picking up the leaves from autumn. The pine needles from our Christmas tree are everywhere, and not easy to sweep or rake. I had planned to head to a proper garden centre (e.g. Sheridan Nurseries) with MC today, but there wasn't time with Ultimate at 1pm. So we're planning for later this week, maybe Thursday after work (hockey doesn't start till May 1). In prior years I've just gone to Loblaws and Home Depot, which causes our garden to look like every other garden in the neighbourhood.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well I just installed GoogleGears, although I haven't gone off-line to try it out. (Google has something called GoogleDocs, which allows web-based software for documents and spreadsheets. As a comparison, in the old days, email was actually stored on your computer. Then web-based email such hotmail or gmail came along. GoogleDocs is like web-based Word or Excel.)

Heather and I used GoogleDocs to plan our wedding, and it was the best thing ever. We didn't need to email a spreadsheet back and forth and keep track of who had the latest version. The only thing was when we didn't have internet access, we couldn't see our stuff. Now with GoogleGears we can.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We win!  We won our Ultimate game and so we're the champions of Sunday Competitve 6s!  Woo-hoo!!!  Just out for some food and drink after the game...

I just figured out a practical use for my BlackBerry, which is to get an overhead view of traps on a golf course (see, watching the Masters does have some good). I've installed GoogleMaps, so can get satellite images on my BlackBerry. With the built-in GPS I can see my location on the golf course. The only thing I can't do is get the distance to the pin. GoogleMaps tries to find the distance using roads, there's no option for distance to target. However the satellite imagery is much better than the pictures of holes on scorecards at most golf courses. With improved club selection I should be able to lower my handicap considerably... (just thinking, I'll have to google for a scorecard app for BlackBerrys)

We're in the finals in Ultimate tonight, at 8:30pm. We were 1-1 against the other team in the regular season. If we can play good switch-defense we should do well.

Had a good couple of dinners on Friday and Saturday. On Friday picked the wine first and then tried to match a dinner. Sheri at the LCBO recommended a shiraz, and suggested a peppery meal. So went with pepper steak with mushrooms, and grilled asparagus. It turned out pretty good. Last night tried out another LCBO recipe, balsamic onion stuffed pork loin with grilled radicchio and corn on the cob. I wasn't too keen on the pork loin (though Heather liked it), but the vegetables were excellent. I'll need to grill the radicchio a bit more next time to get rid of the bitterness.

My kill-o-watt came in the mail a couple days after I ordered it. I've been recording the energy consumption of all of our electrical stuff (TV, coffee maker, rechargers), to see what draws electricity when plugged in (but on standby / off). I tried to figure out whether I should record watts, volts, amps etc, but I still am confused. I recorded watts. So far the cable box is the biggest user while off, using 18 watts when off. The TV uses 7 watts when off. Everything else I've measured uses 0 - 2 watts, which is close to the target of the One Watt Initiative.

Anyways I should get ready for the game.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Our blue bin arrived today (we requested the medium), and it's not as big as the ones that were delivered earlier in the week. However, it's still too big to wheel on our path to the "side" of the house. It's not ideal to carry, and it won't be possible to wheel it around the alley in the winter (if we get a lot of snow). So for the summer we're good; but I'll have to think of where to put the blue bin in the winter.

I tried a new recipe on Saturday that worked out pretty good. Actually it wasn't a recipe, but a menu item I saw in at the Waterside Cafe: bourbon pork chop with mango-raisin chutney, with sweet potato frites and mixed vegetables.

I made a simple bourbon glaze with butter, brown sugar and Jack Daniel's; chopped up mango, raisins coriander and red chili for the chutney, and made sweet potato chips in the oven (sliced the sweet potato as thinly as I could, and then baked at 375F on a baking sheet brushed with olive oil). Had zucchini, eggplant and red pepper in my vegetable mix.

The CSI-Greg-lookalike (Victor) at LCBO Vintages on Queen's Quay recommended a riesling kabinett, which was slightly sweet and matched the sweetness of all the meal. The whole meal went together really well.

Well I'm off to make dinner (grilled lamb chops with sweet potato and flat beans)(and corn on the cob -- first of the season).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Our street started to receive the new blue bins today. It looks like only the large size (the default if you didn't tell the city your size preference) were delivered today. They're huge. They look larger than some of the houses on our street. It looks like they were designed for the suburbs. At least the city is allowing one free size change until November. Also looks like we're getting similar options for garbage cans.

We won at Ultimate last night in the semi-finals, 26-21. It was a really fun game, and well-played by both teams. It was one of our best games, both offensively and defensively. The finals are next week, against the team we beat the previous week. Looks like we're peaking at the right time! After went to Brazen Head for a few drinks and food.

It was a full weekend, with spring finally arriving. There's still snow piles in the front (the north side of the house), but enough has melted that it was possible to do some outside work.

I removed the remains of a fence post at the end of the backyard, which was starting to annoy me because I'd bump over it parking. The previous owners had put up 4x4 posts and a fence which I removed during our first spring (2006). At the time I just cut the post at the bottom close to the concrete base. Over the last couple years, it's risen (or maybe the surrounding ground has eroded). I started digging on Sunday, and it turned out that the concrete base was 3' deep and about 12" in diameter -- it must weigh about 300 - 400 pounds. There was no way I was going to lift it out (and then what to do with it?), so I dug the hole a bit bigger, and buried it. (I took pics before covering it up so I know where it is in case we want to build something there in the future).

I also built a little flower bed in the small area between our neighbour and our front path. When it warms up we'll actually plant flowers.

On Sunday we had lunch at the Burger Shoppe, which was a bit of a disappointment. Heather was hoping to have a chicken burger, but they were out of whole wheat buns, so she had the chicken salad. The salad was frozen (!) (I think their fridge is too cold), and served in a disposable container (supposedly biodegradable). The girl serving us was clueless, and didn't seem to understand our request that because we were eating in, we didn't want to get our food in a large brown paper bag. The burger was good, and the fries were great (they make the best fries).

There's a couple new things we noticed on Queen E:

• The vacant building on the NW corner of Queen and Curzon has a liquor application in the window! It used to be a medical centre (judging by the taped-over signs). The application is for both indoor and outdoor -- the east side of the building would be a great place for a patio, and is currently an eyesore.

• The dollar store beside The Citizen (or The Comrade, I confuse the two) is shutting down

(Just signed the mayor's petition to ban private ownership of hand guns.)

Well we're going to start dinner (steak, baked potato, creamed spinach) so I'll continue later on.