Thursday, August 31, 2006

Less sappy observations

This is a truly impressive student-made video of Radiohead's Packt Like Sardines In a Crushed Tin Box.

Also, here's a killer live version of Radiohead's Talk Show Host.

Completely unrelated, but also sap-free, Bruce Campbell's If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor was a thoroughly enjoyable read that, if anything, has turned me into a bigger fangurl than I already was. Shame I only saw the Amazon price now, 'though, I paid cover price for the durn thing.

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Must be turning into a sap

I'm sure Cute Overload is a favourite among this crowd, but I had to share this pic locally:


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Daily bunnification

For those who think Matt's just a cranky old man (probably because he presents himself as such, and I usually agree), I thought I'd share a bit of ASCII art he's in the habit of sending me when I'm having an especially poopy day:


Update: translating ASCII to HTML sux.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A personal, dairy-free history

Emma's current post about various "granola" products -- and my ensuing list of alternative food shops -- has inspired me to give a rundown of my personal foray into this world, resulting from my non-dairy lifestyle.

I have never liked milk, but loved cheese and the occassional ice cream. Around 1999, my first and last foray into the marvellous world of McFlurries resulted in excruciating pain. This was my first hint that dairy was going to be problematic, but as I could still eat cheese and ice cream without any difficulty, I simply chose to avoid lower-fat milk products since these seemed to cause the most trouble for my digestive system. Towards the end of 2003, I found that I was having problems digesting even my beloved cheese or ice cream dishes, and so, opted to eat these less frequently. The last straw came in late 2003/early 2004 when a bag of Cheetos (Heaven knows there are negligible milk derivatives in those things) resulted in what I have affectionately come to refer to as "milk pain" -- I have yet to experience worse pain than the kind that comes from eating dairy products. Aside from one (unbelievably painful, but emotionally necessary) relapse around June of 2004, I have avoided dairy since then, gradually coming to the point of using non-dairy margarine at home, just to ensure that my digestive system isn't under constant assault by "trace milk ingredients". Seemingly contradictingly, I seek out commercial foods which clearly state that they "May contain trace milk products" as this is a sure sign that the effort was made to eliminate dairy during processing -- it's dairy-free shorthand.

Alterative-food shops are ideal for people avoiding milk products, because they often carry foods that will have, clearly printed on them, "Dairy-free" or "Vegan". Vegan foods do not contain any animal-derived ingredients (even honey!), and to that end, vegan cookbooks have become very helpful to me. My current favourite is Sinfully Vegan: 140 Decadent Desserts to Satisfy Every Vegan's Sweet Tooth because it makes cheesecake attainable for me again. :)

As stated on Emma's blog, my current alternative-foods grocery of choice is the Ambrosia Natural Foods store, about a half-hour walk north of my place. Their selection isn't as diverse as the average Noah's Natural Foods, but it's within walking distance and contains the basics.


Monday, August 28, 2006

The teeniest of fluffies


Thursday, August 24, 2006

I may end up being sent home early

I got called in to work at normal time today to help out a co-worker with her project and was asked to complete my assigned tasks by 11:30am. That done, I spent a half-hour tidying up my email inbox and my computer's files, then had a bite to eat at my desk. This brings me to 12:30pm, with nothing to do and little to no chance that I'll have something to work on today. Odds are good that I'll be sent home early again.

I've been taking the free-time opportunities this week to get some of the errands and chores done which have been piling up as a result of being unable to accomplish them during my (socially-packed) weekends. As a result, I'm finding I'm nowhere near as stressed about my "To Do" list as I was on Monday. Case in point, I went and had my hair cut yesterday and made it home relatively early, leaving me free to look for some of mom's birthday gift today (I'm supposed to meet Caty at the Eaton Centre after work).

I still don't know when I'm going to cram in a trip to the Ex with Caty, but I've already bought the passes, so I'll be trying to iron that out tonight, I imagine.

In the random thoughts category:

  • I've noticed that my friends don't update their blogs as often as I do, hm

  • ugh, is there anything to eat at Red Lobster that isn't drenched in butter or cheese?

  • I'm thinking I might revert to wearing my hair curly this fall/winter, it's friendlier to the cuticles

  • The Eraser is a seriously good album

  • I had a homeless guy compliment me the other day, I think he was more impressed that I was "tanned" than "good looking"

  • I'm thinking of adapting my Tortilla Strata to be gluten-free for when Tim, Laur and the kids come over next month

  • SQUEE! The Comic Con is fast approaching

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All quiet on the Western front

I seem to have gotten the hang of things at work, which means that I'm usually slightly ahead of my co-workers during project turnaround time. If I'm very lucky, I get to leave in about 5 minutes. Actually, I think that's a good sign to start packing up. ;)


Monday, August 21, 2006

Not as productive as I would have liked.

Biologically (damn female cycle), I just haven't been feeling up to snuff for the past several days. On Friday, I bailed on lunch with Bruce and post-work festivities with Laurie. Matt's youngest sister came and stayed with us on Friday night, but I couldn't find the energy to get off the couch, never mind be a good hostess. Saturday, Matt and I contributed to the general melee which was Kev and Michelle's moving-party, but ended up leaving early. Finally, yesterday was Matt's grandmother's annual birthday party (I've been going every year since we started dating), and I opted not to chance going there, either.

I regained enough energy yesterday to cook up a pizza-casserole (which, I've discovered, is actually a ratatouille -- no eggplant -- with chicken thrown in), but didn't get any laundry or vacuuming done, which I was hoping to be able to get to. Really, I spent most of yesterday on the couch, watching The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (almost done, Em!), and finding that I was still near-exhausted for most of my day.

I think part of the problem is the sheer volume of stuff which crops up during the summer. I'm a little psychologically overwhelmed by the number of social engagements I'm supposed to cram into the next few weeks. For some reason (of course), there's next to nothing to do after the Labour Day weekend, but I've got so much to do until then that I'm finding that I don't have a spare moment to think, I'm so busy planning for the next thing. For example, Stacy and Dan's wedding is this weekend, but because mom's birthday is on Friday, I have to be packed on Thursday night, which is also when I'm going to have to get my hair cut (although I haven't made the appointment yet).

Ah well, at least the ratatouille was tasty.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

A typical ghanima post...

Know who's the best? Me! I'm the best! I am! ;P


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Okay, seriously... know you're a good cook when the lunch you bring in to work is the steak, mashed potatoes and brocolli you made last night, you nuke it to warm it up and it's *still* perfectly cooked. Damn, I'm awesome. :)

Update:This was dinner from the night before. The steak was marinated in light soy sauce, a little sea salt, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Oh, and a head of garlic. :)


I hate being spoken to like I'm a child

You'd think, given that I've been working here for 2-1/2 months now, meeting deadlines on 2 of the 10 major projects I've been contracted to work on (never mind the countless smaller projects I've since undertaken and completed), that I would be treated like I know what I'm doing. While the Big Cheese around here likes my work, treats me like an intelligent human being and seems to respect that I'm well aware of how to complete my job, the underlings still serve to frustrate. Someone whose title I can only assume is something like, "Director, Content Management" took it upon herself to explain to me how to complete tasks I've already completed at least twice to get the past two projects done.

Previously, when I've encounted this behaviour in work-peers, it's most often been because they need things explained to them this thoroughly so that they can understand their projects. Yes, I suppose I ought to feel pity for them -- life is so hard for them that every little task they undertake is a complete mystery to them until someone explains it down to the minutest detail, regardless of whether or not they've already learned the task -- but really, I'm usually just pissy that they waste my time with their overwrought descriptions of things.

I could be doing much more important tasks, like working on the current project, than having to listen to you, then being irritated enough that I have to vent on my blog before continuing with my assigned tasks. So thanks, "Director, Content Management", for probably being stupid enough that you can't imagine doing anything better than wasting my time. I'm sure the company thanks you for wasting their money, too.


Monday, August 14, 2006

T'iefing my sister's work

Wanted to let you all know that I've hand-picked some of the photos Caty took while she was in France and posted them up to my Flickr account, since she won't be able to do so herself, for at least another month. These were photos, out of the ones she wanted re-sized for web, that I thought were striking. I know nothing about who's in them or where they occurred, so go bug Caty if you want backstory.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Beach-y goodness

Yesterday was my annual birthday-celebration at the beach, and while the turnout wasn't as high as in previous years, I had a great time nonetheless. The group got the chance to meet someone new (always a welcome occurrence), there was an impromptu bringing -- and cooking -- of Korean beef and shrimp, the footballs got tossed around, and everyone went for a dip (or three) in the water. Caty and I swam out to the second boundaries -- the bright orange ball buoys -- as did Matt and Mike, and Matt and Em. The Nerf football was thrown around in the "shallows", becoming quite waterlogged in the process.

As always, everyone contributed to the fun and I had a blast. There's really little else I'd rather do than hang out at the beach with friends and family. :)

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Friday, August 11, 2006

It's almost the weekend!

I love the weekend following my birthday. For longer than I can remember, that's been the weekend I go to the beach. Initially, it was a big, family bash -- yet another excuse for my aunts, uncles and cousins to get together in a social calendar which, at its height, seemed to include family gatherings once a week. It was from them that my love of insanely big parties developed. In the past decade, my relatives have opted out of attending. Summer, I know is a busy time for people, and while I've always loved the water, most of my extended family don't swim and don't much care to. I can understand why they can't justify the hour-long trip to a beach where they'll likely just end up sitting out of the sun and uninterested in the water.

I guess some time in the past 6 years or so (I seem to date almost everything, I've noticed, either pre-Matt, or post-Matt), I thought it might be fun to invite friends out, so I invited them. This was a very smart decision on my part (they call me "Leah the Modest", you know), as it's given new life to the excursions. My birthday celebration is once again insanely huge and a helluva lot of fun.

I look forward to this weekend unlike I look forward to the weekend any other time during the year. I can only hope everyone who comes along finds half as much enjoyment in it as I do. As you keep coming out, I'm going to guess you might. To those who can't attend, your presence will be missed, but we won't let that stop us from enjoying ourselves. See most of you tomorrow, then! :)

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

With gratitude

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday today, it really did help balance out some of the awfulness of having to stay at work late. As always, I realize how fortunate I am to have such good friends and family to see me through.

To those of you who didn't wish me a happy birthday, you're very, very bad friends. ;P

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Hawkestone dock
plus, early birthday presents!

Matt and I decided last week that it would be fun to head back out to Hawkestone dock with Caty, to catch up and get some sun and swim in. Our party yesterday was small, but enthusiastic enough for many.

The waves were choppy (which always makes for a fun time), and we got to witness, first-hand, a group of teenage boys take their bikes off the dock via a ramp they'd built. Stunt-biking abounded. Particularly impressive were the backward flips into the water.

Emma got me this canning set as an early birthday present. Thanks, Em! No more jury-rigging a method of picking up sterilized jars for me! When she gave it to me, I realized I'd also not blogged about the fact that Caty returned from France with an early birthday present for me, a 750 mL bottle of Hoegaarden! She says she found it in a grocery store in Tours. I will never again underestimate the boozy traits of the French. ;P

I think I'll probably end up lazing about the apartment today, maybe get a bit of cooking done ('though not with the Ontario apricots -- they turned before I got to them), but it's best I try to relax, as the next two days at work are probably going to be hellish.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Homemade pseudo-jambalaya

I know the jambalaya purists out there would kick my ass about even pretending this is like their official dish, but it's undoubtedly the basis for what I've made. So how does this differ from the Paella-inspired risotto I made a few weeks back? A few ways: 1)brown Basmati rice, not white Arborio; 2)no peas; 3)ham; 4)chopped Jalapeno pepper; and 5)Ontario tomatoes(!) instead of salsa. The verdict: yum!

I also picked up some Ontario apricots. I'm thinking I might make a pie with those.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006 type.

15 minute walk to subway station. No trains running north up Yonge. Walk (on the PATH, thank God) to Eaton Centre. Mildly air-conditioned tourist-trap mall. Tour 3 lowest levels to avoid rush-hour idiots. Get on subway 1-1/2 hours after leaving work. Train not air-conditioned. People fanning themselves in subway car in vain attempt to keep cool. Hop off train at Eglinton because heat is unbearable. Choose to wait for next train (air-conditioned!). Too late to get home via underground path at office tower. Extra 5 minutes in heat added to walk. 2 popsicles for dinner. Need a shower.

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