Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's been a lazy weekend. On Friday night it was Maricar's birthday. Trishia had organized dinner at Six Steps, which had a Winterlicious menu. It was freezing out, one of the coldest nights of the winter so far, about -20C. We were going to take the TTC, but it was too cold.

The dinner was okay. Heather and I shared the appetizers of calamari and beef carpaccio. The carpaccio was served with pickled mushrooms, which I didn't think went too well. We had the same main, roasted chicken served on a sage-flavoured latke. It was okay. The dessert had excellent presentation, wrapped in chocolate like a package. Overall, nothing I liked better than how I make it, with the exception of the dessert presentation. But it was still worthwhile for a night out.

We rented Miller's Crossing last night. It's one of my favourite movies, and Heather had never seen it. At first the video store guy couldn't find it, but then he realized it was under the featured director rack (it's a Coen brothers movie).

This afternoon I was rearranging some of the IKEA shelves in the basement, to make room for another wine shelf. I originally only had space for 16 bottles, but we're now up to about 20 on hand. I had it all figured out, then realized that I had two different sizes of Gorm shelves. So there will be a trip to IKEA in the near future.

Tonight's the Sunday Ultimate finals, us against The Enemy (our nemesis). It should be a good game.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We tried out a new recipe on Monday evening, pork chops with a coffee-paprika-cayenne rub, with an apricot sauce. Brant at the LCBO had to think for a while about a match for coffee (went with a red with a smoky taste). I had planned ahead and bought the pork on Sunday and so applied the rub so it could sit for 24 hours.

Monday evening I barbecued the pork, made up the apricot sauce (had to add a bit of brown sugar to sweeten it), and we had a nice little dinner. It tasted really good, and we thought we'd add it to our repertoire, as Heather likes to say. Until we were wide awake at 2am, wired from the caffeine. Next time I'll have to look for decaffeinated coffee for the recipe...

We actually made the finals in Sunday Ultimate! There's only six teams in the division, and we started the season off quite poorly, 0-4-1 (four losses and a tie). We won our next game against The Enemy (our nemesis team), and then won our final game of the season against the 2nd place team to squeak into 4th and the playoffs with a 2-4-1 record. This past Sunday was the semifinal, and we played the unbeaten 1st place team, and actually won! The game was tied at the buzzer, but there's no ties in the playoffs, and so it was next point wins, which we got.

Unfortunately I managed to mess up my left rotator cuff during the game. I was reaching out to catch the disc, and got fouled and fell on my outstretched arm, which is not good for a rotator cuff. Anyways, I sat out my game on Tuesday and I'll miss hockey tomorrow, and hopefully it will be okay. So far it seems much better.

The Enemy also won their playoff game, and so we'll play them on Sunday at 7pm. It should be a good game.

Heather had a dentist appointment this afternoon (at One Yonge where I work) so she worked from the cafeteria until I was done. The cafeteria overlooks the lake and Toronto Islands and is one of the better views around. Anyways, we both felt like pub food so headed up to Fionn's for dinner.

I looked up the painting I liked by Michael Snow, it's called Man Examining a Line. Turns out Michael Snow is the guy that did the geese in the Eaton Centre, and the sculptures at SkyDome (or whatever it's called now). Who knew.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So I've started using Dropbox, which allows you to sync files to the cloud, and other computers. I was looking for a free alternative to back up Heather's dissertation. Also, I've never tested a restore from the existing cloud backup that I set up for Heather, because it's a bit onerous. With Dropbox, it's very easy. I also want to install it at work, to use it as a shared folder instead of emailing myself documents. However I'm not sure if our firewall at work will allow it. I surfed around and there's very few negative comments about Dropbox, mostly from people who dislike that you can't specify which folders to backup.

(If you check it out and want to sign up, if you click here we'll both get an extra 250MB free.)

Heather and I had a little day trip to the AGO. We both wanted to see the changes by Frank Gehry, and the permanent collection (neither of us were too interested in the King Tut Exhibit). The building and new windy staircases themselves look quite cool, but we didn't like how difficult it was to navigate around from floor to floor. Plus with the King Tut Exhibit on the 3rd floor, you have to take the elevator to get to the 4th and 5th floors! Not a very good design.

My favourite pieces were Evan Penny's Stretch #1 and Michael Snow's picture (something about a man looking a at a string, I can't remember the title). The Galleria Italia was also really cool.

After we went to the Village Idiot Pub for a drink (right across the street from the AGO). It's a nice little pub, with emphasis on little.

We rented The Brothers Bloom, we both really liked it.

Well I should go get ready for Ultimate.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

There's an app for that

I was re-typing all my old travel emails so I could post them on my travel blog, when Lloyd suggested looking at OCR'ing them. I googled and sure enough, there's a few on-line OCR services. The most popular one was, which turns out to be a Google project. Anyways it worked really well and took only a fraction of the time to fix up the formatting.

I was at Loblaws yesterday and they were sampling a haddock dish. I liked it so much I bought some haddock for lunch (Heather was having brunch with Nadine so I was on my own for lunch). I liked that so much we had it for dinner tonight. It's pretty simple, mixed mushrooms with garlic and shallots, white cooking wine, lemon juice and parsley, and the haddock is just salted and peppered and then fried. Anyways it was really good.

We tried out Sophie for lunch today. It's the café on the SE corner of Logan and Queen, near Leslieville Cheese. It opened up a few months ago and we've always liked the look inside. The look was somewhat familiar, and we realized today it's because it's all IKEA. The tables, chairs, cutlery, flatware etc. I do like the style though. The food was great, and the service was good too.

I was at the LCBO on Saturday buying wine (we had Adnan and Snejzana over for dinner), and I got ID'd. I asked the cashier "Really?" and she insisted. Then she said "oh" when she saw my date-of-birth and that was it.

We have a late Ultimate game tonight, 11pm, and I should go get ready.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I was sick today and missed work. I actually got sick quite quickly last night -- I was at Loblaws and started feeling ill, and by the time I got home I was out. Missed Ultimate (we had an 11pm game). Today I slept most of the day, and I'm starting to come around.

On Saturday I went down to Burlington to visit Doaner. When we graduated we agreed to get together every year for a steak dinner, but we haven't been that consistent. I think it's been at least three years since we last got together just the two of us. Anyways it was a good time catching up. As usual we played Scrabble (Doaner won, although it came down to the last few tiles), we had t-bone steaks and then headed out to play darts (warming up for Wonderboy). Stayed overnight at Doaner's, had bacon and eggs and then headed home around noonish.

We finally had a decent time for an Ultimate game, 7pm on Sunday. We won against The Enemy, who have been our arch-nemesis the last few years. It's always fun to play against them, although both our teams have had a bit of turnover, the core players are still there. Went out to Brazen Head after for dinner. I was looking forward to having wings (with all the late games, I'm usually eating dinner beforehand). Unfortunately for me, they had changed their wings! They're now big and breaded. I asked the waitress to let her manager know I preferred the old wings. Apparently it's just a temporary problem with the wings supplier and they'll be switching back.

Forgot to mention, I took the Audi in to the dealership at the start of winter, because the seat heaters take about five minutes to heat up, and the brakes squeal for the first few times braking. Audi said the seats were "up to Audi specs", and gave me a pamphlet about how it's normal for brakes to squeal. I should have asked them if they also had pamphlets about why people don't return to Audi for their next car.

I've been typing in the old travel emails from Russia-Mongolia-China-Nepal (that I found print-outs in my storage) and putting them on my travel blog. I kept the writing style and punctuation as it was, including spelling errors. They were written just as email was becoming popular, and Gerry and I were still figuring email out as a medium (all my emails began with "How's it going?"). Gerry and I took turns writing the emails home, so half were written by him.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

We lost at hockey tonight, 2-1. It was a good skate, we had nine guys + a goalie, which meant two full forward lines and three D. The other team had about four full lines -- I've never seen that many players on a rec team, and for a 6:30pm game too! It was really cold out on the ice -- my toes and fingers were frozen until about the 3rd period.

We all went upstairs for pizza and beer after. Unfortunately the pizza oven was broken yet again. Everyone was disappointed, it was like we just lost a playoff game. This is the 3rd time the pizza oven has broken over the last couple years. We were trying to figure out what actually breaks on an oven -- none of us had ever had an oven break.

We won our Ultimate game on Tuesday. After the game, we arrived at Brazen Head just in time to see Team Canada tie up the game in the World Juniors final; only to see them then lose in overtime. The bar was pretty packed with people there to watch the game. It reminded me of a Leafs playoff game (I hope I'm not dating myself)


Years ago when I travelled through Russia, Mongolia and China with my friend Gerry, it was just as web-based email was becoming popular (this was in 1997). We created a Hotmail account for us to share (individual email addresses still being a bit nouveau). Every week or so when we found an "internet café" we'd send out a group email. My sister would print off the emails at work, and mail them to my parents, so they could get an update about our little trip.

Fast forward to now: Gerry and I have been trying to find anyone with a copy of these emails. We tried getting into our old account, but we couldn't remember the password. I don't think it would matter though, as back then, email systems didn't automatically keep sent emails (it took up too much disk space). None of our friends had copies of the emails either (I think the hotmail limit was 2MB or something silly, so no one actually filed emails, you just read them and deleted them).

Finally I thought to look in a box I keep in the basement with odds and ends from each trip (things like bus transfers, museum ticket stubs etc). And there they were! Surprisingly, there were only eight emails for a four month trip. (Nowadays I might have eight blog entries in two weeks of traveling). I'm planning to re-key them into my travel blog.

Well I should get ready for bed.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Testing geotagging blog posts

Well let's see if the geotag works. There should be a link at the bottom of this post which shows where I posted from.

Friday, January 01, 2010

We had a little dinner party last night for New Year's Eve. MC, Robin, Stephane, Sab, Trishia and Dave and the two of us, all snugly fit around our table for six.

It turned out rather well, all the wines were great matches too.

We weren't feeling too bad this morning considering. It was snowing big fluffy flakes, and looked nice for a walk. However when we got outside the cold wind made us think otherwise. Most places were closed (except for a few like Lady Marmalade which was packed). We walked up to East Chinatown and had dimsum at what used to be called Grand Restaurant (it has a new name now that I forget).

I got a Magic Bullet mixer (as seen on TV!) for my Krys Kringle gift from my high school friends Christmas party a couple weeks ago. I've never actually seen the commercial, or heard of it before. I finally took it out of the packaging. We've tried it a couple times and it works pretty good. I made the asparagus soup with it.