Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sushi & Bento again

I joined John and Terri at Sushi & Bento for lunch. Today I had the Soft-Shell Crab Roll, always a favourite (pictured above), and the White Tuna(!) Roll. The inclement weather must have been the reason that the place was overflowing during the lunch hour — it's no fun to go too far for lunch on a day like today. As always, the food was great (and so pretty)!


I think I just wet myself

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the now-defunct (sadly) Guns 'n' Roses doing a live performance, sans orchestral accompaniment, of November Rain.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Just like mom used to make...
...if she ever made dim-sum dumplings, that is

Terri has been trying to convince me — for a few weeks now — to try a Chinese place in Chinatown she was hearing raves about. She had heard of Mother's Dumplings through a review in NOW Magazine. A quick search on Google Maps revealed their location: north of Dundas, east of Spadina. We ventured boldly forth during our lunch hour to try a sample of their fare.

Mother's Dumplings is a spacious hole-in-the-wall sort of eatery, with seating for about 8 parties of 6 people each. Apparently, all of the food is home-made, something which is evident upon tasting the food. Uncertain of portion sizes, Terri and I ordered:

  • 12 Pork and Chives dumplings

  • 12 Beef and Chives dumplings — I wasn't paying attention when Terri ordered this, so I Might Be Wrong

  • 6 pieces Lamb Shui Mai

  • 1 Green onion pancake

  • 1 order of Fried Rice

The shui mai/siu mai were generously-sized, the dumplings were gyoza-sized, the "pancake" (as suspected) wasn't a flapjack-style pancake, but resembled a potato-pancake. In other words, there was a helluva lot of food! The taste was as generous as the portion sizes, and the prices were unbelievably cheap.

Verdict: This is definitely an eatery to go back to again and again.


Monday, November 27, 2006


Matt and I dropped by Stacy and Dan's new condo on Friday night, after work, to offer up our opinions on the colour schemes they were considering. It's a fairly spacious unit in one of the Menkes properties just south of Sheppard, on Yonge. It was funny, seeing the same fixtures and trim used in their new place as the place Emma and I were in on Byng. It's also got a useful layout, which is increasingly rare in Toronto condos. Afterwards, we got treated to a lovely sushi dinner on the same street that my favourite, Korean-owned, Japanese grocery store is on.

I got up relatively early on Saturday and got some work done on a Christmas project for one of the people I'm giving to, then had a four(!) hour nap before it was time to pick up Caty for our visit out to John and Terri's. They've done a lot of work on their place since we were there last— it looks great. John, of course, will probably be completing renos in that house 'til his kids put him in a home. Later in the evening, the Arney/Genge clan joined us. It's always a pleasure to see them. The trip out was lengthy enough that Terri offered to put everyone up for the night, but our carload had every intention of sleeping in our own beds that night. It's just as well — Caty's cat allergies were acting up by the time we left, and I doubt I would have lasted much longer, myself.

Yesterday I burned through all the chores I've been neglecting for the past week-and-a-half: laundry, vaccuuming, grocery-shopping, errand-running and cleaning the guest washroom. The only thing that kept me motivated was the knowledge that I'm not going to have to worry about chores for another week-and-a-half, which is good because Matt and I are celebrating six years of being a couple this Tuesday, and then his friend Laura is going to be staying with us on Thursday night. I'm also hoping to finish printing and trimming the Comp-Sci-friends calendar this week, which will give me a week to have them bound.

The turkey and trimmings aren't going to concern me 'til next week, then I've got 'til Christmas to finish the aforementioned project.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sleeping with alligators, bitten by mosquitos

Work has been incredibly busy this week. The February project, which was originally due next week, has had its deadline bumped to the end of this week. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I work a full week's worth of hours by the time I leave today.

I find that when work is stressful, I end up eating a lot more crap than I usually do — I think it's a "comfort food" reflex. On top of my bad eating habits, I haven't been to the gym yet this week, and it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to find the time to do so before Saturday, either. At least I've been making a point of pushing myself during my daily walks.

Next week, I'll have to go swimming twice.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Relaxing, yet strangely productive, weekend


I'm still undecided on whether or not Friday went as well as I would have liked. I ended up having a great time, but it started off pretty miserably. I took the day off for a dentist's appointment in the morning. Fridays off are always a great way to start the weekend, but less so when you discover that you've got a cavity. With no food in my stomach, I decided to proceed with a lower jaw freezing to get the cavity filled same-day. I was warned not to eat until the freezing had worn off, as others have apparently caused a great deal of damage to their inner-cheek and tongue while attempting to eat beforehand. I was therefore eating breakfast at 1pm, then set up the office to accomodate the scanner I purchased. I had a quick snooze in time for Bruce to call me up to say that he didn't think we'd be able to watch Cedar — a band that one of my co-workers is in — play that night. Finding a solution to his problem, he called me back to say we were on. My jaw still felt bruised from where the needle went in, but I was optimistic that it would feel better by the following morning.

The band that opened for Cedar was really quite miserable, but Cedar, themselves, played a great set. Sadly, the bar emptied once they finished, leaving the solo musician who followed them to call it an early night four songs into his set.

The ladies behind the bar seemed to like me a great deal. I suspect they're used to their bar being a beer-joint for the neighbourhood men, so it must have been quite refreshing that I was dreaming up shots they'd never heard of. They were kind enough to give me a free shot for providing a bit of liveliness to their evening.

Bruce and I walked back to Bloor station from the bar, and it was then that I noticed the alcohol had caused the bruised sensation in my jaw to dissipate. Lovely, lovely booze. :P


Matt and I intended to get some grocery shopping done (our fridge is pathetic, at the moment), but ended up taking a leisurely stroll through the local mall instead.

I spent the rest of my day working on the calendar for the Comp-Sci crowd. It's not finished, but it's coming along nicely.


The Santa Claus Parade was on, so I decided to go to mom and dad's to watch it with my family. Dad was kind enough to have picked up a carton of vanilla soymilk and a non-dairy chocolate bar for me, so I made enough hot chocolate for everyone. Dad's and mine had a touch of cognac in it, since the corporate spirit of the parade can be a bit much to take while stone sober. Caty and I revelled in making wisecracks about the lack of continuity (or even seasonal relevance) between the floats. It's become a tradition for us. :)

I also got caught up on my BSG and am relieved that there won't be any new episodes until the first week of December — I love the show, but I have things to do!


I guess the calendar was weighing a lot of my mind, so the fact that I got as much work done on it as I did has taken a lot of pressure off. I'm now almost done taking care of everyone's gifts. I still have to get something for Matt's family, and finish another project, but that'll be the last of it. While Matt and I wait to hear from the reception space we're trying to book, I've managed to get the rest of my To Do list mostly taken care of.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sad bunny


The bunny is quite sad, maybe because he won't get to leave work early and go for a swim like I will. Poor bunny.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I have utmost respect for anyone who gets this involved in the artistic process. It's the magic of Pinky:St, but as an original concept, handcrafted in wood.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Word, Big Bird:

Oh, the (Lack of) Humanity


Monday, November 13, 2006

Good lunch

I originally planned to try out the Mexican place at King and Bathurst over lunch today, but found it closed. Some weeks I've been going to The Kitchen Table at King and Bathurst to buy sandwich-fixings. Today's choices: mild Genoa salami, a half-loaf of rye bread, Nature Valley maple granola bars, LU raspberry Pims (jaffa cakes), a "vegetable" (read: potato with a little carrot and green onion) latke, a red pepper and four honey tangerines.

For lunch, I made a salami and tahini on rye, 1/4 of a red pepper (sticks) and the latke. My dessert was comprised of a few of the Pims.

I don't know what made me think to try tahini and salami together, but I'm glad to say that they make an excellent pairing. The tahini adds a richness to the meat (instead of cheese, which I can't have) without adding to the salt content of the sandwich. I imagine I'll be having salami and tahini sandwiches for the lunch for the rest of the week.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Movie Review - X-Men III: The Last Stand

Terri warned me. She said that the final installment in the X-Men movie franchise was rental quality at best. Just the same, Chris Claremont's run on the X-Men, resulting in the Dark Phoenix Saga featured some of the best writing I've ever had the pleasure of reading. With this in mind, my mentality was one of, "How bad could it be? The plotlines have been handed to the screenwriters on a silver platter." Despite this fact, X-Men III was utterly terrible.

The good: um, the special effects were really well done and sometimes impressive

The bad: Oh, where to start?

  • Character development ranged from weak to downright non-existent

  • The motivations for various characters' decisions are left to be inferred by the viewer, rather than explored

  • The "bad guys" were stereotypical (honestly, they've all got tattoos?!), despite the fact that the "grey area" between right and wrong was a major theme

  • The plot was rushed

  • Even for a movie based on a comic book franchise, suspension of disbelief was a very difficult thing for the viewer to attempt

  • Screenwriter: "I know! Let's kill off the characters anyone has any interest in!"

  • Halle f***ing Berry

So, I've firmly established that I have a hate-on for Halle Berry. Yes, we all know she looks fabulous in a bikini, or a skintight leather costume, or whatever the fetishists have decided to dress her in in the latest action/adventure she's featured in. You cannot, however, tell me that she's worthy of receiving dialogue. I winced each and every single time she was on screen, hamming things up. The woman has no idea how to act, something that's key in a movie about comic book superheroes. Hear me out: if your movie is about men and women prancing around in tights, destroying things by flicking their wrists, your actors should be trying to convince the audience that this is believable. Hugh Jackman, as Wolverine, exudes a cool confidence. When he's fighting evil, he wears a leather one-piece and makes fists to extend his claws — 'cause that could actually happen. In contrast, every time I saw Halle Berry getting screentime, I thought, "Oh good, Halle Berry's going to pretend that she's Storm again." Apparently, this means that Storm doesn't speak in any regular rhythms or cadences, is constantly finding something to do with her hands, and is standing as close to the key dialogue-giver in each moment as she possibly can. All this time, I thought Storm was a regal character, when it turns out she's actually an attention-whore. Who knew?

Thank Heavens the likelihood of a continuation in the franchise is low.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Swimming is relaxing

Most of the reason that Extreme Fitness was as appealing to me as it was is their saltwater pool. Those who know me are well aware of the fact that I'm a water-rat (or water-baby, if you'd rather I use that euphemism). Yesterday, on my way to the gym for my fifth swim in five weeks, it occurred to me that — while I'm constantly torn between going for my swim or accomplishing tasks/unwinding at home — I crave the exertion and resultant exhaustion which results from going swimming. Week after week, I contemplate going home instead, and week after week the urge to swim wins out. I've found an activity that I don't want to slack on, a fact which means that I get regular cardio, get out of the apartment, get some time to "meditate" and usually get to bed "on time".

Yesterday's challenge was to try, "blind" of course, to improve my form. I imagine I'll be working at that for the next few weeks.

I'm currently sorting out whether or not I want to try going twice a week. I'm not a fan of carrying my swim gear in to work, but it's really hard to find time on the weekends, which are still full of social engagements. Hm.


Monday, November 06, 2006

More ketchup.

I think I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to have free time again until after the wedding reception.


  • Fabric shopping with mom — exasperation results in slight urge to kill

  • Early dinner with mom, Q Dim Sum — urge to kill fades, replaced with warm, full, sated feeling

  • Housewarming at Kev and Michelle's — good times, drunken Mike, surprisingly lively game of charades (which I still dislike, for the record)


  • Trip to the Yonge and Eglinton Solutions to buy drawer organizers — de-cluttered utensil drawer ensues

  • Get "caught up" on Battlestar Galactica eps — now only two behind

  • Plug away at Christmas project — can't believe I like my friends enough to do this once a year ;)


  • Juggle three projects at once at work — inefficiencies most evident during "crunch" time

  • Pending: swim — can hardly wait to burn off the day's frustration

  • Hoping to catch some early Zs — might be nice to show up for work on time, for a change

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Not enough hours in the day

Nope, that about sums it up, really. I'm still trying to figure out how living with someone else means that all of the free time you used to have gets completely used up, while you've barely dented the To Do list. I'm really perplexed as to just where the time gets sucked dry.