Thursday, March 27, 2008

New and improved!
Does anybody ever market something new and worse?

I've been spending most of this week tweaking my website:

  • the front page, which previously featured a static image of some of my work, now makes use of hyperlinks (Dan suggested an image map, I went with CSS)

  • my resume has been updated to reflect some of the new software I've been working in, and to include some freelance clients of mine (again, with hyperlinks)

  • my portfolio has been updated to showcase 3 new pieces (nothing special, but good for exhibiting my range)

  • My HTML-based GIF "buttons" have been replaced with Flash buttons (with rollover effects)

  • I've done away with the cheesy gradients on the headers and developed a vector-based abstract design that's fluid to 1680 pixels, and shouldn't look truncated beyond that

I'm vexed to report that the site looks like a hot mess in IE7 — well, a lot of my meticulous spacing is for naught, any way — but as most of the people I'll be sending to my website are smart enough to be using Firefox or Safari, I'm not going to let browser compatibility be too big a concern for me (this time). Screenshots are welcome.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why the compulsion for such healthy menu options today?

Yesterday, a discussion I was having with Bruce about Good Friday food customs got us talking about fish 'n' chips places. I mentioned that Duckworth's Fish & Chips Ltd. has the best fish 'n' chips I've ever had, he brought up Highland Fish & Chips, which he used to frequent when he was attending night classes at U of T's Scarborough campus. This is when I had the bright idea to compare the two. We both agreed we'd best invite our sisters along, or risk destroying all attempts at civility during our respective Easter dinners.

We soon had our younger siblings in tow and were on the road! Jess suggested a third fish 'n' chips establishment — St. Andrew's Fish & Chips — which is when Caty and I solidified our plans to split a single order of halibut 'n' chips (with gravy, if it was available) at each place, so that we'd end up each having eaten 1-1/2 fish 'n' chips meals by day's end.

Our first stop was the aforementioned Highland Fish & Chips, which had good, fresh-cut halibut, homemade fries and gravy, as well as a large selection of Scottish fare, including haggis(!) which I was tempted to place an order for, but decided against. Jess' mushy peas order came after our frazzled waitstaff member was reminded that she had forgotten that part of the order.

Next up, we went out to St. Andrew's Fish & Chips and were immediately giddy that the signage on the way in indicated service of the elusive deep-fried Mars bar, as well as deep-fried Cadbury Cream Eggs(!) Unfortunately, our server informed us that, due the high volume of orders expected for Good Friday, they would serve neither item that day. Undaunted, Caty and I placed our second order of halibut, fries and gravy. Caty and Jess split an order of toffee pudding with custard sauce for dessert, and I took a Lactaid so that I could get a taste. I thought the dessert, as a whole, worked well, as the pudding was a bit bland, but the custard was a bit overly sweet.

Leaving St. Andrew's, Bruce began to see the error of his ways as far as lacking an eating strategy was concerned. Having just eaten two orders of fish 'n' chips with gravy, he was starting to feel considerably uncertain about being able to continue on with the task at hand. Begging for a break from deep-fried yumminess, we opted for a grease-eating reprieve and headed out to Fu Yao Supermarket, where I took some lovely pictures of, you guessed it, fish.

We proceeded on to our final planned destination, Duckworth's, which was expected to close within the next hour. From the street, we could see that the line-up went out the door and past three neighbouring establishments, so we lost the nerve to complete our comparison.

Mission: incomplete

Verdict: Caty and I deemed St. Andrew's the best of the three establishments, having had Duckworth's fish 'n chips previously and finding their fish to be on par with St. Andrew's, but their fries lacking, when compared to either of the other two places. Armed with the knowledge that St. Andrew's also serves the Unicorn of Desserts — the deep-fried Mars bar — we vowed that we would all return to share this experience.

Addendum: By evening, I had eaten one order of fish 'n' chips with gravy, the peeled and chopped kiwis I'd had for breakfast and the tangerine I had at my parents' place. I was starving! Erroneously, I then proceeded to eat a modestly-sized package of Chicharon/Tsitsaron (ew!) with a bowl of soup for a late-night dinner. Reflecting on the disgusting amounts of fat I'd ingested during the course of the day (cut, at least with some produce!) made me decide to eat considerably more healthily today.

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Soup and sandwich, ghanima-style

After the atrocious food I subjected my body to yesterday (more on that later), I decided I'd go ridiculously healthy with my food choices today. Shown here is today's breakfast: homemade, mostly-organic butternut squash and carrot soup, a churrasco chicken, organic avocado and organic tapenade grilled sandwich on bread from Carousel Bakery, and two small wedges of Ramembert cheese that I picked up at The Big Carrot with Caty last weekend.

I was partly inspired by Slashfood's blended soup tips, and partly inspired by the impressive selection of organic vegetables at Harbourfront Organic Foods to make my own soup. Here's a list of the ingredients used:

  • leeks, white parts only, roughly chopped and sauteed

  • one cube organic, low-sodium vegetable bouillon

  • a lot of ginger (enough that all the soup's heat comes from it), grated

  • a pinch of saffron

  • two small organic butternut squashes, cubed and roasted

  • one bunch organic rainbow carrots (including purple!), cut into large chunks and roasted

  • organic sweet onion, roughly chopped and roasted

  • one head organic garlic, pulled into cloves, peeled and roasted

  • water, as necessary

The colour's not as orange as I would have liked, but I would've had to abstain from using rainbow carrots to obtain it, so overall I'm pleased with the result. The purple carrots just seemed to taste "fuller". Out of all the (admittedly few) soups I've made, this has been my favourite so far.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One more day

TELUS seems to like me enough to have had me fill in for a vacationing employee this past Monday, and to request that I fill in for another employee who'll be away tomorrow. This, fortunately, makes up for the two days of work I missed last week while I was recovering from a truly heinous head cold. Naturally, me coming down with the sniffles meant that Matt came down with a case of the flu. Needless to say, our place was party-central last week. :)

So, tomorrow's my last day at TELUS indefinitely. I'm hoping that when the actual studio supervisor returns from maternity leave in mid-April (perhaps not so coincidentally when the current freelancers' contracts expire), I'll be hearing about a more permanent role. Realistically, I doubt it'll happen, but I think it's worth exploring the possibility.

A trip to St. Lawrence Market today yielded a lot of food purchases (and inspiration!) Watch this space.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tips from a dairy-free kitchen

Of course, you can also try non-cow's milk dairy products, to see if the issue is simply one of the type of milk you're ingesting.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

In response to crochety, old men

You Know What's Stupid?

Kudos to Roy for pointing this out.