Friday, May 19, 2006

People SUCK!

So yesterday I got on the train at King Station around 5:10pm, as I have for the last ten months since working downtown. It's mostly empty but there's usually a lot of people at King Station heading out from the core at that time... so within seconds all the seats are gone and I find myself standing shoulder to shoulder with a train full of people - that's normal, that's to be expected, I can live with it.

I grab a pole with my right hand, ensuring that I stand on the left side of it thereby leaving lots of room for other standing commuters to use the pole. I pull out my Metro and continued to read from where I'd left off that morning just as the train pulls into Queen Station. I didn't look up, there was no need to, I wasn't in anyone's way who wanted to leave and was clearly out of the way of anyone entering the train... suddenly something pokes me in the side, it's a bag, I look up and there's a woman standing to my right, she looks at me, we make eye contact, no apology or anything so I shift a bit to my left to avoid being prodded by this bag of hers and continue reading.

A few minutes later, she starts bracing against me, possibly trying to get me to move even further left... I can't, not unless I want to end up standing on top of the nice lady to my left so I hold my ground and resist her brace - all this while I continue reading as though I hadn't even noticed her.

We get to College Station and the seat in front of the lady to my left vacates, she doesn't move to sit... so under normal TTC etiquette either the person to the left of her or the right of her takes the seat next. Seeing that I am standing to the right of her, I politely ask her if she'd like the seat she shakes her head a polite no, but she looks tired so I ask "Are you su.." - [I never made it to "re" part of "sure" and I'll explain in a second] - now usually at this point if she says she's sure, I'll take the seat. But just as the last part of the word sure was about to come from my lips the fat cow to my right does the unthinkable, she shoves past me and the poor woman [who looked like she was about to keel over] and fastened her fat a$$ into the seat. Now usually I don't call people fat or cows or anything like that but I was/still am very pi$$ing made at the lack of courtesy of this woman. Just who the hell do people think they are that they can shove and push their way into seats not remotely meant for them. Then to make things worse, she looks up from the seat at both of us with this very casual look. I honestly wanted to smack her, I think it was a good thing I was distracted long enough by the poor woman next to me almost keeling over and me trying to help her regain her balance - otherwise I'd have gotten myself arrested for slapping the cow.

So TTC cow, if you're reading this, know that I think you're absolutely despicable, and the next time you try that shit - I AM going to tell you what an inconsiderate PoS you are.

Too... much... energy...

I'm hyper today.




It's possibly the Chai tea... or maybe it's because it's only a few hours before the starting of the long weekend!!!


But back to the tea, I tried it for the first time a few months ago and have been hooked. It's really good, especially with milk [not to mention I manage to sneak in one of my servings of calcium with each cup].

Try it sometime. :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

I invited my family over for a late lunch on Sunday, for Mother's Day --> Mom, Dad & Stef (Bunny is still in Quebec on his french learning course). Most of you probably know that my love for Thai food knows no bounds, what you don't know is that I armed myself with some Thai cookbooks last week, went grocery shopping and attempted to make some Thai dishes for Mother's Day. :)

By now you're probably thinking, "well isn't SHE ambitious", and you're probably right. I WAY underestimated the amount of time it would take to prepare everything!!

Here's some of the items I tried together with their ratings based on taste after preparation:

Rating Scale:
1 - You couldn't *possibly* have followed the recipe
2 - Ok, but something's just not right here
3 - Good, but you've got to tweak this one a bit
4 - Pretty darn good!
5 - So good I can't stop eating!

Green Mango Salad - Rating 4
This turned out pretty good. I was a bit worried at first as the mangoes that I ended up with weren't as green as I'd hoped and so they made slicing through the mangoes as suggested in the book damn near impossible, but the in the end the mangoes were just near perfect. Next time I am going to try to get a cross somewhere between the green ones I wanted and the ones I ended up with.

Cashew Nut Chicken with Steamed Rice - Rating 2
Well the rice turned out well if that counts for anything... *laugh*

Bah! I followed the recipe exactly [well I made one substitution, I used chili powder in place of chili paste - where the hell can one find chili paste I ask??!], but something wasn't quite right with this one. The soy sauce turned everything a dirty colour so presentation was the first thing to go, also I think the orange wedges I used were a bit too big, but that aside the flavour never came through that I was expecting - ah well next time I'm going to tweak this one a bit.

Grilled Coconut Salmon - Rating 3
This turned out okay, a change from the asparagus, lemons & onions salmon that Kev usually makes, but finished in half the time - yet I still managed to over grill it - altogether it was good.

Pad Thai - Rating 2/3
I couldn't decide how to rate this one, a few things went wrong, the recipe called for the noodles to be soaked in cold water for at least an hour [instead of boiling on the stove] - I soaked them for about 70mins but it wasn't enough, next time I'll do about 2 hours. The next problem was that it seemed to be missing some kind of sauce for the noodles - I'm wondering if it's peanut sauce of some kind... but it WAS a very tasty dish once you got past the not-soft, somewhat dry noodles.

Chocolate dipped strawberries - 5
I used dark chocolate for these and they were smashing. The key to heating chocolate is to take it out of the microwave before it melts completely, stirring it to finish the melting by hand. The key to perfect strawberries is to pat them completely dry before dipping them in chocolate. If you're going to try this, resist the urge to add liquer to your chocolate, this kills the texture of the chocolate.

Almond-Eggwhites-Sugar cookies - 4
These were so simple to make. I got them out of the "Heart Smart" cookbook by Bonnie Stern. There were four ingredients --> almonds, egg whites, sugar and vanilla. These turned out really well, but next time I think I'll stick to white sugar instead of brown sugar as the brown sugar burned around the edges.

What I learnt:

1. Some fresh herbs and spices such as Basil, Mint & Coriander SHOULD NOT be frozen in an attempt to keep them fresh - even if their packages are sealed. Bad, bad idea. Red peppers, green onions yes, the above list not so much. See I thought that by washing and preparing some of the items ahead of time I'd save on prep time the actual day... let's just say it's a good thing I'd left a good portion of the herbs in the fridge afterall.

2. You can make chewier cookies if you reduce the baking time on the almond cookies.

3. That the next time I think it's going to take 2 hours prep time, give myself 3 hours instead.

Everything considered, my parents ate it, no one had to be rushed to the hospital and we had a very good mother's day at home, relaxing and conversing with the folks. We also spoke with Granny ( she's in Saskatchewan) and Bunny (who had apparently spent the morning watching Scooby Doo in french - the poor kid, he has to speak french for his entire six week stay, even when they go out on the town, one thing's for sure he's probably not going to pick up any girls like that! *laugh*)

Fun times, fun times.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Well the Conservative budget came out today and as expected the lower tax bracket got raised. It's now sitting at 15% until June 30th after which time it will go to 15.50% - which levels things off to about 15.25% for the 2006 tax year. The full 15.50% to take effect in 2007. It could be worse I suppose, it could have been reinstated to 16%.

There's a few other things thrown in that affects me:

- a transit credit for employees [so basically your lowest tax rate times the amount you paid for transit passes - the catch is that you'd have to buy a monthly pass for this to benefit you, so if you're like me and using tokens sometimes works out cheaper to commute to work, you're on your own.

- a Canada Employment Credit - basically $1000 per year times your lowest tax rate, but for this year it's only $500, we won't see the $1,000 until next year... but the real kicker is that because it takes effect from July 1 this year we'll only get half of the $500 so basically it's at $250 which equates to a lousy $38 this year. This one smelt like a "re-elect me please" tax cut as Canadians look forward to their $155 for this same credit next year.

- 1% cut in the GST, this will more than likely do squat to affect my life BUT I figure if they can start the mentality that maybe the 7% is too high then they MIGHT work that mentality down to about 4%? Wishful thinking, I know.

The budget had other items, none of which will affect me including the universal child care policy that the Conservatives ran on which basically promotes the at-least-one-stay-at-home parent lifestyle; the removal of the cap off scholarships and bursaries [previously at $500 for non related courses and $3,000 for related courses]; some kind of deduction for tools [which dad might actually like hearing if he's going to start his business up].

Oy. It should be an interesting year for accountants and their clients alike but an even more interesting year for the Conservatives.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The goldfish died

We rescued it from Leana's birthday party on Saturday night, brought it home and placed it in a bigger container and was planning on getting food for it on Monday, but it passed away on Sunday night.

We came home and he looked like he wasn't doing so well so I went on the computer to look for home recipes for food as I thought it was because we hadn't fed it right away, about two minutes later, as I was still sitting on the computer he died. Stef told me his died around the same time even though he'd fed it so I don't think lack of food is what killed them, they were probably just traumatized from the banging of the table or the loud music. :(

I'm not good at dealing with the loss of life so I didn't go look at it, Kev took care of it. Thank god the fish had only been in the house for less than 24 hours, otherwise I'd have been a complete mess. Poor fishy, rest in peace. :(

Racing in the City and Poker!

On Sunday morning I got up around 7:00am and started prepping for the "Race in the City" event that I was participating in that day - Sandra had asked me to be her teammate a while back and even though I had no idea how involved it was I was totally looking forward to it. Kev and Steve were still asleep as I snuck out to meet San. The race turned out to be an absolute blast!! :)

Some of the fun and interesting challenges included:
1. Busking at the Spadina station with the requirement that we get at least one coin of any denomination - San sang "Sesame Street" while I played [possibly very badly] the tune on the flute.
2. Standing on a wooden podium at Nathan Phillips Square and giving a joint 30 second dialogue about what "Race In The City" is all about to passersby [even though what we really wanted to do was score some Indian Food from the Sikh Festival that day].
3. Finding a typo on a plaque at a museum which features an old fashioned printing press.

What I learnt:
1. That E.J. Lennox spelt out his name and the word "Architect" in the corbels under the roof of the Old City Hall building at Bay and Queen... and that if you look closely enough you can actually see the letters mixed in between the other decorative elements.
2. That my little brother knows how to use google image search. :) Thanks to him we got the last flag with the lion on it.
3. That there is a publicly funded film house right across the street from "Paramount Theatres"in downtown Toronto!
4. That people would not give you a single penny, no matter how nicely you ask/explain what it is that you're doing and why you need it. Unbelievable!
5. That people cheat, we could ask others for help but we were supposed to use the TTC to get around, one team had their own personal driver that day, another team which phoned in with the wrong answer, stood at the pay phone and listened to others give their correct answers rather than going back and looking for the answer themselves.

All in all it was a good time, and even though I was totally exhausted by the end of the race and my legs felt like I'd been beaten with a stick... it was still a blast. :)

I spent the rest of the day visiting at Ken and Liv's place chatting and playing Poker. I played badly and was the second person out but it was still a good time. :)

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Newfie came to visit

It’s been a while since I posted, all for a lack of time, as its truly been incredibly busy at our home in the past few days. Steve Smith [aka “ramairsedan” - Kev’s friend from Newfoundland] arrived in Toronto on the 21st. I met Steve for the first time late in the evening on Friday as the guys stumbled home from a night of hitting various pubs in the city – they brought with them stories – including light banter and teasing – apparently the Newfie was camped in the washroom after having a few pints of draft beer. :)

I liked Steve right away, saying he’s a great guy is an understatement, even though he’s younger than the rest of us by a few years you wouldn’t know it, he was a perfect gentleman and very well mannered.

Kev threw a party at our place on Saturday night so as to give the PreciZion members a chance to come on over and meet Steve – it was a small crowd but fun none-the-less. I missed most of the party though, as I wanted to get through a few outstanding tax returns before partaking in the festivities, when I finally joined the crowd… I, [along with many others] was made an honorary Newfoundlander [I even got an official certificate] – I had to eat the hard bread, drink the screech, wear the hat and say, “long may your big jib draw” as Kev and Steve snapped photos [photos that had better not make it on to the internet!!]. It ended up being a late night, but all had a good time. Rene, Bruce and Steve were spending the night so I got fresh linens for them, towels and bath soap and went to bed shortly after the last guest had said goodnight – by then I was totally pooped, as it had been a truly long day.

In the morning, Sunday 23rd, I came downstairs around 11:30am to find Rene and Steve chatting in the living room – turns out they had been up since around 10am and Bruce had already taken off as he’d had prior plans for the day. I went to wake Kevin and then got started on breakfast - we ate, showered and then Rene took off – he was heading back to Barrie and had about an hour ahead of him.

We were thinking of bringing Steve down to the Beaches for the day but it was pouring rain so we brought him to Vaughan Mills mall instead – it was our first time at the mall as well so it was a little adventure, and as it turns out we also found that Bass Pro shop that Ken was telling me about – he’d said they have the camping fans that I was looking for. We spent about two hours at the mall and then left to drop Steve at the hotel so he could meet up with his parents. When we got to the hotel he invited us up to meet his folks and we got to chatting with them [they are super nice folks] – they ended up inviting us out for dinner and as we dined at “Tony Romas” we got a chance to learn a bit more about Newfoundland and the way of life there. We also found out that his dad had taken part in the 29th Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, held in Bannerman Park in the town of St John last year where they attempted to set a new world record for the number of accordionists playing. We’d read about it in the newspapers here in Toronto so it was cool to actually meet someone who had partaken in the festivities there. His mom also scrapbooks so, of course, it was neat talking to her about some of the stuff she’s done. I promised her to take quite a few pics of Steve’s trips around Toronto with us, thanked them for dinner and then finally bade them g’night. Looking at my watch I realized I’d missed “Grey’s Anatomy” but it was worth it and besides I figured I’d get Kev to do a download. :)

The next day I met up with Ruth for lunch at Markel’s place, which is always fun, the guys [Kev, Ken, Bruce, Marcus] joined us as well and we got to talking about houses and the ascending prices. Ugh. We’re thinking of moving up our start-looking date but we’re not sure as yet, we keep saying that we should… but we keep procrastinating. We really should decide one way or another.

Friday night was a blast -> Steve, Ken, Liv, Marcus, Bruce, Kev and I went to the Armadillos Restaurant & Pub after work for dinner and drinks. And by drinks I mean that I had a fruit juice or two as the guys went through seven pitchers, yes, SEVEN pitchers. It was a good time; we talked, told stories and watched the hockey game in HD. Steve, having learnt his lesson with the draft, stuck with rum and coke… and everyone was still in good spirits when we left the bar around 10:30pm or so. [We brought Steve & Bruce back to our place where they crashed on the couches for the night.]

The plan was to head to Wonderland on Saturday with Bruce, Steve, my parents and my brothers, for BMO day at the park, but my parents ended up not being able to make it as they wanted to help Julie out with transporting stuff for the party that evening so at the last minute we changed the plans – we picked up Bunny and Stefan in our car and Steve rode with Bruce as we headed to Wonderland for the day [I’d managed to score last minute tickets for the guys]. I had a funnel cake and got as far as the Vortex before calling it a day, the guys tried a few other rides including the Tomb Raider ride [which they totally underestimated], Drop Zone & The Bat. Top Gun wasn’t working at the time but the tickets I scored give us entry again between the months of May and June so Kevin will definitely have his share of thrills once again.

We had a "Sweet 16" birthday party to attend on Saturday evening... so we left the park [and Bruce and Steve] early to drop Bunny and Stefan off and to head home to get dressed, we got to the party totally exhausted, spent a few hours taking pics of the birthday girl and mingling, rescued a goldfish that was a centrepiece and headed home shortly after 10pm.

Can you spell exhausted?