Sunday, March 30, 2008

We won our Ultimate game tonight, 31-23, against the #2 team in our league. We played really well on defense, and for the most part played smart on offense. The other team likes to go deep to their girls, but we were aware of that and the help defense took away that play.

After we went to Betty's (the game was at the Docks) and had some food and drink and played a game of cards.

Earlier this afternoon Heather and I had lunch at The Real Jerk, an original landmark in the neighbourhood. My vote for best roti in Toronto still goes to Island Foods in my old hood, but this is a close second (and within walking distance of our home). I was stuffed after.

On the way to lunch, passed by Rowe Farms which was having their grand opening and giving out free tastings. Sampled a few meats, which were great, but pricey. I'm not willing to pay $11 for a package of bacon, even if it is organic and all that good stuff. But I suspect there are plenty of people in the neighbourhood who are. Their pricing was only in pounds (I'm more familiar with metric prices), so I don't know how their steaks compare to Loblaws for prices. Stuff I could compare, like the bacon, was expensive.

Did our taxes this afternoon (exciting times in the Heather-Eric household, a weekend of cleaning out the bathroom cupboard and income taxes). Used QuickTax online, which I've liked in the past, but this year should be called SlowTax.

Also bought this product to measure electricity consumption. Supposedly Canadian Tire carries a similar product, but the staff aren't aware. Tried looking for it yesterday at Canadian Tire, and today phoned them. So just paid the shipping fee and bought it online. I want to see how much electricity a few things use in standby mode -- the TV, computers, my Blackberry recharger etc.

Here's some more pics from the past week (Heather took the two of Leo):

Leo reviewing the latest chapter in Heather's dissertaton

Leo snuggled in with Heather

Yet another picture of the Queen St bridge over the DVP

Mercury Espresso Bar
Heather & I walked around Queen E yesterday around 6pm, which made for nice lighting for pictures. Noticed that these two sets of buildings (on the south side of Queen, just east of the DVP) are mirror images:

I wonder if there was originally a building in the middle that connected them? The façades have been kept in really good condition. I can't believe that I've just noticed the symmetry. F'Coffee is in the bottom of the west building, behind the TTC shelter.

The buildings are just east of the Edge Lofts. The strip mall opposite the buildings (on the north side of the street) also looks like it will be redeveloped (there's a public notice up). Hopefully at some point someone will buy the Edwin Hotel and fix it up. Then the entrance to Queen East across the DVP (I don't think it qualifies as Leslieville) will look really nice.

We walked by Cajun Corner and Heather commented that she'd be really sad if they moved -- and then we saw the note that they are moving, up to Laird and Eglinton. We've only actually bought something from there once, so it's not like it will inconvenience us; but it was nice to have the variety in Leslieville. They also sponsored the annual Cajun festival in Jimmie Simpson Park. (I can't remember if that happened last year?)

I found out how to use MP3s as customized ringtones on my BlackBerry (the songs have be stored in the ringtone directory, which I think is silly -- I can choose a default ringtone from my SD card, so why not a customized one?). So on Thursday evening Heather and I spent a couple hours trying to choose the ringtone for Heather (the one that will ring on my phone when she calls). It's not just a favourite song -- it also has to be identifiable and sound cool in the first few seconds. We wanted Back in Black, but AC/DC isn't sold on iTunes, so settled for Sweet Child of Mine.

We lost our Ultimate game last Wednesday, against the top-ranked team. They're pretty tall and use their height, which makes them hard to beat. It was JP's last game before he heads off to England. I missed hockey on Thursday because I was in a late meeting at work.

Friday was Teresa's (Ram's wife) 40th birthday party, at the Ultra Supper Club (where the Bamboo used to be). They've really fixed the place up nicely. It was very convenient to get there -- straight across Queen on the streetcar. Heather was working on her dissertation so we had dinner and then I headed out. We had our weekly dinner last night instead -- a picnic of cheeses, smoked oysters and olives with a baguette and a bottle of pinot noir. We were hoping to get bread from the Brick Street satellite bakery at Logan and Queen, but you need to be there at 8am. We're not up at 8am on Saturdays, so settled for Ace Bakery from Loblaws.

We tried the hot chocolate at Ambience Chocolat yesterday. It's really good, but very rich. Heather thought it was like drinking the flourless chocolate cake at Barrio's. We should have split a small, but for some reason I bought the large size. We also picked up some bonbons for after dinner, but with the large hot chocolate I was chocolated-out.

We gave the house a spring cleaning yesterday. Finally went through the bathroom cupboards and threw out half the stuff. It was annoying me lately because every time I'd try to reach for something, half the cupboard would unceremoniously fall out and clang around the bathtub. Not sure if throwing out expired products fit in with Earth Day but whatever.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm still not 100% and spent most of the long weekend resting about. Yesterday Maricar hosted a wine-and-cheese as a going-away party for JP. JP's off to England for six months (while his girlfriend finishes a program), and then they're off somewhere for a year. I didn't have much to drink (or much cheese either). A lot of people from our sports teams were there and it was odd to see people not in sports wear.

We had dinner at Hanoi Three Seasons (up at Gerrard and Broadview), our favourite Vietnamese restaurant, one evening last week. (I was sick and felt like pho). Turns out they're moving closer to us. The restaurant owner also has a furniture store (Hanoi Chic) on Queen E (near where All Most Antiques was). He's building a 3rd floor on the building, and then turning the store into a restaurant. I noticed the liquor application is in the window already. The waitstaff at Three Seasons said they're planning to open before summer.

Heather and I went for a walk on Good Friday, and there were a surprising number of stores and restaurants open. Looks like Native Organics didn't make it -- there was a legal notice in the window that their store had been repossessed by the building owner. I wasn't surprised, as I was never impressed by their selection or freshness of produce.

It's pretty boring being sick.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I played around with my template quite a bit today. It doesn't seem to be working if you use Explorer on a PC (the blog title is supposed to be opaque). I'm thinking of changing the blog title to be a pic instead of text so that it's standard across all browsers, but need to figure out how to use Photoshop to create that.

I also changed the URL of my blog. If you go to the old URL you will get redirected to

My blog header picture is now the same dimensions as It seems to be more of a standard dimension. Picasa links to the maximum size of 800 pixels, so the header pic comes out slightly smaller than

Monday, March 17, 2008

I noticed I lost another friend on Facebook, I'm down to 86. I check my account maybe once a week now. I've never even created a bookmark for Facebook.

So the bonbons from Ambience were really good! Much more convenient than js bonbons which is in the northeast end of the city. ("northeast end" in a downtown context, meaning Spadina Rd and Dupont). Heather and I have a sentimental attachment to js bonbons, as that's where Heather bought chocolates when she came over for dinner on our 2nd date. We also had js bonbons as our wedding favours. Ambience has a smaller selection (which I'm sure will grow). Now all I need is a fresh pasta place like the Pasta Pantry I had nearby when I lived at Yonge and Davisville.

Didn't go out for St Patrick's Day because I'm still recovering from my cold / flu.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

So published one of my pics! Cool!! I had to refresh the page a few times to see it (Heather hit it in the first five tries, it took me over 40), but it's there. It's the picture of Leslieville in the snow.

I was in Minneapolis on Tues-Wed-Thurs for work. One of our vendors (DTI) holds an annual meeting to get input from key customers, and I was representing us. I had the Thursday afternoon free, as the meetings ended at noon, and the first direct flight to Toronto left at 6:30pm. Except there's not much to do in Minneapolis on a weekday afternoon in the winter. I ended up going to the Mall of America, just to see what it was all about. It was generic suburbia on a large scale. Decided I'd rather sit in a generic airport waiting lounge, so headed back to the airport to wait for my flight.

The flight was uneventful. However, the customs area at Terminal 1 had the largest line-up I've ever seen there -- I estimated about 3,500 people in line, which took me 45 minutes to get through.

I picked up a cold somewhere along the way, so this weekend is also a write-off (last weekend was all about snow shoveling).

Went for a walk this afternoon with Heather to get some air. Walked along Queen E to the DVP and back. Took pictures of two of the three-part artwork Time: And a Clock, by Eldon Garnet.

The new siding on the community centre in the 2nd pic is a real improvement over the peeling paint they've had in the past. If only the Shopper's on Queen and Carlaw would do something about their image. I suspect that now that the new Shopper's at Lakeshore and Leslie is open, the property at Queen and Carlaw will be redeveloped. It's a pretty big tract of land, which is mostly parking lot right now.

There were quite a few people out and about on Queen E. Leslieville will be quite busy once the weather warms up! Looked like Rasputin Vodka lounge has opened up. If I was feeling better it might have been cool to head there for an after-dinner drink. There was a new chocolate place, Ambience Chocolat, near Broadview, so we bought a half-dozen bonbons for dessert tonight. Rowe Farms has their sign up which looked really nice (Leslieville Cheese Market should take some notes).

Well I think I may take a nap and try to kill off this cold.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

My new goal is to get a header photo published on Heather put me onto the site, and they have some really cool header photos. I've had the same pic on my blog for a while and it was getting stale, so I took some pics last night in the snow storm. Futzed around in Photoshop to figure out how to crop to a specific dimension. My blog's header aspect ratio is 9.25:1 and is about 5.5:1, which takes some getting used to when looking for pictures. The next thing is to figure out how to get a rotation on my blog so that I can have a few pics in circulation.

I also have been trying to change my blog address to Right now it's set up as a redirect, so if you go to you'll end up here, but the URL in your browser says I tried following the directions in blogger but got an error. I have to do more reading on setting up my domain.

This weekend was a write-off with the storm. Spent a lot of time shoveling. The Star was filled with stories about the weather. I think the most amazing fact is that it's snowed on 75% of the days in winter.

We actually didn't lose at hockey this past Thursday! Dave (our captain) sent out an email prior to the game about not showing up if we didn't think we had a chance to win. I guess it got everyone fired up, because we came out with one of our best efforts of the season, and tied 2-2. I had a great chance to score in the 2nd period but the puck was bouncing and the pass skipped over my stick. It's the third game in a row that I've had a great scoring opportunity, although I don't have any goals to show for it.

I've been in a lot of lunch meetings lately at work. Usually lunch is ordered from the cafeteria. I dislike the food from there and rarely eat the stuff. Fortunately the new directors share my like for food and so last meeting I had us order take-out from a real restaurant. We went with Bellissimo's, which everyone enjoyed. We're downtown Toronto, so there's no shortage of good places to get take-out from. It's also cheaper than getting catering from the cafeteria.

On Friday evening Heather and I couldn't decide what to cook for our Friday night dinner, so we ended up going out to Gio Rana's. It was one of the first places to migrate to Leslieville, and is usually busy. (We were supposed to go there for our first date in 2005 but it was closed on Mondays). The food was pretty good and the atmosphere was hopping as normal. (I find the atmosphere very similar at Gio Rana's and L'il Bacci.) After dinner went to Barrio's for dessert and a beer. We hadn't been there in a while either. The flourless cake was excellent as before. However, the local art that normally hangs on the walls wasn't there -- I wonder if they're in between artists?

Well I should start making dinner. My game is at 9pm tonight so want to finish eating by 8pm. We're having tom yum goong (thai shrimp soup). Mmmm.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Well it looks like I should avoid blogging-while-drunk, judging by the spelling mistakes. Although, the keys on a blackberry are rather small and it was cold outside. (I also forgot to mention that I was out on my own as Heather was working on her dissertation).

I had to cancel my Operations Tour of the Star this evening because it's snowing yet again. This is the 2nd time I've tried to schedule an Operations Tour for the new IT directors and had it cancelled because of weather. The operations people keep reminding me that although we couldn't make it for the tour, they still manage to get the paper out.

Heather and I went for a walk down Queen E last week, and noticed a few more storefront developments. The faux stone façade on the building between Prohibition and Jilly's is finally being replaced! Neither of us were big fans of the façade. The location has been vacant for as long as we've lived in Leslieville. On the down side, it looked like the Toronto Free Gallery just west of the Burger Shoppe is no longer there. Their website doesn't mention anything.

There's proposals to build two 11-storey lofts at the corner of Dundas and Carlaw. I think it will be really good for the area. Right now it's a 24-hour gas station and a vacant lot. It's a perfect corner for intensification as it's surrounded by old industrial buildings and converted lofts. It's also the intersection of two transit routes (Dundas streetcar and Carlaw bus).

Closer to home, they've finally started construction on the lofts on the southeast corner of Queen and Pape. I think the sign that says "Occupancy Fall 2007" is still up though. Might miss that date. Again, it will be good to have people living there instead of an empty lot.

We won our Ultimate game last Sunday, against the last-place team in the league. On Sundays we play at BMO field (home of the Toronto FC). The bubble is large enough for three fields, and it's one of the best artificial turf I've played on. The scoreboards are a bit complicated, and we usually end up keeping score manually. After our game we went for a quick drink at Brazen Head, a new-ish pub in my old hood (King West). They've done up the place nicely, and I'm sure it will make a mint in the summer. There's two large rooftop patios and a whole lot of single 30ish people living in Liberty Village. Heck, the bar has been busy on both Sunday nights that we've been there on cold snowy nights in February.

Leo dropped by a few times on Sunday, purring away madly. We finally had to boot him out as he kept jumping on places he's not allowed -- the counter, bed, couch... He came by for another visit with Heather today and he was back to normal. Good ol' Leo. On a sad note, our neighbour's dog Molson passed away this week. Our neighbours had had him for twelve years, so he was like a family member to them.

Well I should get ready for bed.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

First streetcar in 20 minutes; lotsa drunken people on board including me

Saturday night in TO

So tonight was our night out for Bernice's bday and we had dinner at Bungalow in my old hood at King and Strachan.  Dinner was pretty good and then we went to the Velvet at which point I ended up pretty hammered and now I'm waiting for the streetcar home.

Been a while since I've been west of Yonge and have forgotten about the whole testostorone scene.  East of Yonge is generalluy couples and west is singles and I rarely make it west nowadays.

The streetcar in went past the fire on Queen
W and the entire streetcar moved to the south side to see the remains.  It was pretty sad to see;  almost the entire block was being razed.  

Well I will update tomorroq with more.