Friday, October 30, 2009

A Touch More Heat

Well, as inspired by yesterday's post, I made some jambalaya last night. This would be the... 3rd time I've made it. First inspired by the terrible concoction I received at the once great Southern Accent (seriously, it was as if they'd just slopped some pre-made rice, pasta sauce, and meats together instead of slow-cooking them), I was further angered when I realized how simple it was.

And it had some heat last night. Just the right amount - you could feel it, but it didn't cause pain and suffering.

The beauty of jambalaya is that it's pretty versatile and forgiving. My version, with a couple additions you won't usually find (namely mushrooms and zucchini).

The whole thing gets made in one pot, so make sure you use one big enough for your purposes. Also, note that measurements are all approximate.

1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 or 4 stalks of celery, chopped
1/3 of a zucchini (store bought size), sliced and quartered
3 or 4 white mushrooms, cubed
3 cloves garlic - chopped
1/2 lb chicken breast (about 1 good-sized boneless, skinless half-breast), cubed
1/2 lb Louisiana/andouille/spicy sausage, sliced and halved
1/2 lb uncooked, peeled shrimp (the good kind, not those stupid rings), cut in halves or thirds
Salt, pepper, and spices to taste
1 large can tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
4 cups poultry stock
2 cups uncooked long grain white rice

- Heat oil and butter in the pot over medium heat
- Add celery, pepper, and onion, and some salt
- Cook until softened
- Add chicken and sausage, cook until chicken is white
- Add zucchini and mushrooms, cook for a few minutes until starting to soften
- Add garlic and cook until you can smell the garlic (a couple minutes tops)
- Add spices (I used [deep breath] - kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, ghost pepper salt, habanero salt, roast garlic salt, habanero powder, sweet smoked paprika, marash pepper, mexican chili powder, chipotle chili powder, and ancho chili powder)
- Add canned tomatoes, cook until bubbling
- Add 1/2 stock and bring to boil
- Add rice and stir to distribute it
- Reduce heat to med-low and cover, stirring occasionally
- At first, check and stir regularly, to avoid sticking. If rice is sticking to bottom, pull back the jambalaya so you can see bottom and drizzle more oil in, repeat in a few spots and stir, scraping the bottom as you go. If you're using a pot that's prone to scratching, I suggest a wooden or plastic utensil
- As the liquid absorbs in the rice, check the rice for texture. Add more stock as needed, stirring each time and recovering for a few minutes.
- Taste the rice (try to avoid the other stuff) to gauge if you like the level of tomato. If not, add tomato paste to taste. I used the whole can cuz I likes me my tomato flavour.
- Once the rice is the texture you like, reduce heat to low and add the raw shrimp. Stir the shrimp in and cover for 5 minutes.
- Check the jambalaya, if the shrimp is cooked, it's good to go.

Total time after everything is prepped is about an hour of cooking. This is largely due to the rice needing time to absorb the liquid. I like adding the liquid in stages and stirring until it's absorbed - much like risotto. Alternately, you can just dump all the liquid in and let it absorb like when you cook rice regularly.

Regardless of how you do it, you should reduce the amount of stirring your doing as you progress, unless you want the rice to me more of a goopy mush that is.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not So Hot

As with most things in life, heat is something we adapt to. Which heat am I talking about? Spice.

I often find myself looking for the next step up in spicy when I cook for myself. I'm not one of those guys who grows his own super-hot peppers, or tries to break the record for most suicide wings eaten in 20 minutes (in fact, I tend to stay at the "hot" level when it comes to wings), I like heat, not pain.

I'm sadly disappointed when it's not there as advertised.

There's a fantastic sausage maker that operates out of the St. Lawrence farmers market on Saturdays - Gaucho's Chorizo. Delicious offerings, no filling, lean, and one hell of a variety of flavours. Honey garlic? Easy. Red wine and fennel? Sure. Beer and cheese? Right here. Etc, etc.. They also have their hot ones. Hot chorizo, spicy Louisiana, and their top of the heap - Internal Combustion. I picked up an IC a few weeks ago and fried it up last night.


The barest hint of spice. I was ready for eye-watering, tissue-grabbing heat. Not even a sniffle. The sausage was tasty for sure, but not hot.

I was also saddened that I had apparently not used enough ghost pepper infused salt on my fried potatoes, as they also lacked heat (but were delicious). Next time, I'll also toss in some habanero powder, as the hot cayenne ain't doing it.

There's my favourite mustard place at St. Lawrence too (in the south market). When I first tried them years ago, I was tearing up with their mild mustards. The last time I made a purchase there, I tried their XXX hot mustard and shrugged. The woman behind the counter missed me trying it and asked what I was looking for. "Something hot." "Have you tried the XXX?" "Yah, not doing it for me." She was shocked. She pointed me to their hot russian, and IT had some bite. Nice! So I bought it, and it sat in my pantry for months. Then I noticed it had popped its seal and honey was leaking out. I opened it, it was fine, and put it in the fridge. But sadly... the heat was gone. I'm not sure if just mellowed over time, or if I once again had moved up the Scoville scale in my tolerance, or a combination of both, but I was disappointed.

I have a bottle of "Super hot" horseradish I bought for a roast beef sandwich. I nearly wept when I opened it the day I bought it and discovered barely any FLAVOUR let alone heat.

So now? I'll stick with the thai chili infused pickles in my fridge. Not burning, but still hot. Might be time for more Jambalaya. Have to remember to pick up shrimp...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What AC Needs

So Pauly put up a link to this NY Times article about the "death spiral" of Atlantic City.

How appropriate.

It's a piece that touches on some of the problem areas of the city by the sea, but offers little in solutions or depth. What it does give the impression of, however, is that the decision-makers in town have absolutely no idea how to fix anything.

My suggestion? An enema.

Think big? Think HUGE. AC needs to be flushed out. Entire neighbourhoods, within a block of the boardwalk, need to be razed and rebuilt. The confusing and terrible road system in there needs to be redesigned. The garbage that is visible at every turn needs to be cleaned up.

In short - someone actually has to give a shit about the place.

And maybe, in that rectal torrent, they'll get the casino owner's heads out of their asses. My visit in August, a weekend where the biggest thing going on was the Atlantic City food festival with some celebrity chefs, floored me with the cost. Your boardwalk hotels - and there's not ONE that rises above a mid-level strip hotel in Vegas - were asking more per night than I've paid for twice the quality in the desert. Freebies? Ha. You can't even park for free. And the receipt-swap trick (pay for parking at one hotel, it's good for parking at another) isn't advertised anywhere.

And it's not like these are rookie operators. Harrah's doesn't know how to do the little things to keep people happy? I just lost $1000 in your casino, and now I'm being dinged $10 for parking? Fuck that.

The casino floors are so ultra-80's-cheesy that it hurts to walk through some of them. The smell of desperation saturates the air as you pass seniors pulling their pensions away.

There's a simple reason the Borgata is suffering less than the rest of the city - they have a fucking clue. They do it right. You walk onto the floor and feel like money. You want to wander around, see what the place has to offer, and eventually find a chair and offer up some lucre at the altar of the gambling gods.

The rest? They feel like the casinos your grandmother warned you about. Unsafe, dirty, and untrustworthy.

Burn it to the ground, collect the insurance, and build something people will want to visit. Not something where they want to find a clean shower to wash off the filth and despair they've absorbed during their brief stay.

Yet still, I keep eying the cheap flights from YYZ to ACY...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Economic Thought For The Day

The Great Depression was ended by WWII, not by any monetary policy considerations of the administration of the time. WWII ended it not by upping military production (which is just more government stimulus), but because the rest of the world's major manufacturing base was destroyed, leaving the US/Canada to pick up the slack for the world. Our still intact production lines had the rest of the developed world as consumers.

Now? Well, unless you see another global war where the "West" remains untouched coming, it'll take some old-fashioned time and common sense to restore financial stability.

Sports Weekend!

Hey! It's time for more exciting sports talk.

After I went a stellar 100% in last week's NFL picks (I'm assuming), I'll once again go with the "I couldn't give less of a shit if I was constipated" line of picking this weekend. And the winner is... me!

But hey, there's always the NHL. Which in Toronto means The Leafs. Which means sucking. 0-6-1. The only winless team in the league. 1 point in 7 games. Worse than the fucking Islanders and Wild. Seriously. Wow.

And they play the Canucks tomorrow night. Who aren't exactly tearing up the league themselves so far. Can a full week off, playing dodgeball and getting beaten up in the media help the mighty Leafers? Probably not. They're still starting their third-string goalie, still have no offense, no depth, and a defensive line that can't seem to get on the same page.

Can the Canucks lose? Sure. But it won't be due to any efforts from the boys in blue and white. We just don't have a very good team. But I have faith. They can achieve 11th place by the end of the season, I'm sure of it!

Me? I'll be drinking Whisky tonight, eating organ meats, and then sleeping. Tomorrow? I try and squeeze into my nice suit and head off to a wedding. Maybe the bride or groom have some hot cousins or coworkers I haven't met...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lucky Jersey

I've written at length in the past of a regular home game I play in. Just a dude having people over, nothing fancy, but there's a trophy with the winners' names inscribed on the base (an extra level had to be added last season), and a ToC at the end of the year. Last year saw me take down 3 regular games and the ToC with relative ease, and turn a very tidy profit for a $20 rebuy that averaged around 11 players. Especially considering I only played in 5 or 6 games (and one of the non-wins was a 2nd place)

This year has been less successful. I've seen 2nd place, but it was in a game with only 6 people, so we went with winner-take-all. Turnout has been down, and I once again missed a bunch of games to start the season. In short - no cashes at all so far.

Until Sunday.

A bachelor party the previous night had made my attendance at the game tentative, but after half an hour of semi-conscious internal debate, I opted to get out of bed and head out. After all, this was the penultimate game of the season, and I needed the points if I wanted a shot at the ToC.

A couple tournaments ago, I realized what had changed in my game - my wardrobe. See, after a couple games last year, I opted to come as full douchebag to the games. Full Tilt hockey jersey, Bodog cap, and sunglasses indoors. I figured looking like a complete poseur would be beneficial to me. Most of the guys got the joke, but even so, I won that first game. So I wore the outfit to every subsequent game and met with much success.

This year? I opted to dress normally, figuring the joke had run its course. No success. Last game, I wore just the cap, but achieved nothing. So this time the jersey came out, but the cap was replaced with my relatively new Maple Leafs hat (which is obviously the cause of them sucking so much this season). I informed everyone there of the reasoning behind the jersey, and by the end of the game was asked not to wear it next time, having systematically destroyed the other players.

The makeup of this game has changed over the years. Many of the regulars from last year cycle in and out, with newer guys showing up more frequently. This round had a complete newcomer (to this game, but not poker), and a few guys who had been there once or twice before, mixed with a few of us old guard. Of the 4 newish players, it didn't take long to figure them out.

The returning champ from last time isn't a particularly good player. He's aggressive, but often loose as hell. I stacked him twice during the rebuy period and knocked him out in 4th or 5th place, usually with 2nd pair or TP with a mediocre kicker beating his shitty ones.

The older guy was very by the book. Not Vegas-regular-rock style, but not hard to get a read on, and he was able to fold to pressure when he wasn't holding a strong hand. This came in handy a couple times.

The guy next to me was there for fun. He had some game, but played a pretty wide range of starting hands and wouldn't get off top pair if you pushed him. He essentially blinded out and went down to the hammer from the chipleader (not me).

And the last new guy was your typical younger player who takes the game too seriously. He was overly-tight and prone to complaining about his "bad luck" and the terrible play of those around him. He had one solid outburst when QTo beat him about what terrible hands the guy (mr. won't get off TP) played. The response of "complain all you want, who has more chips?" was the perfect riposte and shut him up for the rest of the game.

The rest I knew well from before, and had beaten them all at some point.

The game lacked any stellar hands of note. I had pairs that held, and those that lost. I turned a straight or two to beat A-high callers. My stack fluctuated, and when it got short, my all-ins held up. I generally let the defending champ and one of the other veterans of the game keep the attention on them and their large stacks while I stayed around the average, using my table image (tight, calm, usually with a playable hand) work for me to stay ahead of the blinds. I knew that as long as I stayed away from being short, the "champ" would implode and the chipleader would be a ripe target.

I stacked the defending champ with KQ vs his Q7o (JQJ board). And after we each did our share of KO's, it was me and the chipleader, who had become less intimidating as he gave away some of his chips in attempts to bully and they got laundered by the fish to me. By the time we were HU, his lead was far from secure.

A couple hands went his way, and then I stepped up the aggression. I let him bet into me before re-raising him out of pots. Then I played a hand weakly to induce his retaliation re-raise. It worked like a charm with him going all-in. I quickly called with top pair and a draw vs his bluff. I took it down, but he had me covered by a couple blinds. A bit more back and forth kept him alive before I found the ducks. A cheap flop of A2x sooooted was seen, and he pushed his air into my bottom set, and that was all she wrote.

The only hand that came off as odd was a KO of the host by me. I was dealing and held AJd. He got all-in on the 3-way flop of two diamonds. The brick turn got me betting out and scaring out the older guy, leaving us HU. He flipped over Kx for nothing, and I flipped over the two burn cards in front of me... which were AJo. I stopped for a second and cocked my head. "Those aren't my cards... OH! THESE are my cards!" as I flipped over my hole cards DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME. The table found it all quite amusing that both my cards and the burns were AJ. My A-high held, the old guy congratulated my bet to get him out, and I happily raked in the chips.

All-in-all, the win catapulted me to 4th in the standings, which makes me a lock for the ToC. The money covered either the weekend's entertainment expenses (a club known to the Eh-Vegasers of a couple years ago) or my poker buy-ins for the home game for this season. Either way, it was break-even poker!

Also, it continues the trend of me recreating a groove. Poker is becoming fun again as I'm once again finding my game and profiting from it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Picks?

Here are this weekend's NFL picks:

I don't give a shit about any of the games, and wouldn't be watching them even if I did. Since the only world that exists is the one I observe, there are therefore no games, which means everybody wins.

That was easy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How'd I Do?

Two turkey dinners down, and a ton of leftovers staring me in the face, what else is there to do but see how my fairly random NFL picks went?

Just remember kids - always brine your turkey before roasting. You won't regret it.

CIN @ BAL - Baltimore - Cincy?? What? This is like the year of the Bengals
WAS @ CAR - Carolina - Carolina!
CLE @ BUF - Cleveland - Cleveland! Held to 6 points and they win by 3. Ha!
PIT @ DET - Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh!
DAL @ KC - Dallas - Dallas!
MIN @ STL - Minnesota - Minnesota! Man, do the Rams ever suck.
OAK @ NYG - New York - New York! Wow, talk about a whuppin'.
TB @ PHI - Philadelphia - Philadelphia! I'm on a roll!
ATL @ SF - San Francisco - Atlanta. So much for the roll.
HOU @ ARI - Houston - Arizona. Things were looking good there for awhile.
NE @ DEN - Denver - Denver! See Dawn, this is why I don't pick the Pats.
JAC @ SEA - Jacksonville - Seattle. Wow, could I have been MORE wrong?
IND @ TEN - Tennessee - Indianapolis. Whoops.
NYJ @ MIA - New York - Miami. What?

8 right again. Talk about average. This system needs some refinement.

Friday, October 09, 2009

NFL Picks Week 5!

Skipped last week, because I don't give a shit. Doing this week because I still don't.

CIN @ BAL - Baltimore - Bengals still suck

WAS @ CAR - Carolina - Panthers are still awesome creatures

CLE @ BUF - Cleveland - I just can't bring myself to pick Buffalo

PIT @ DET - Pittsburgh - Lions fear rainbows. It's a fact

DAL @ KC - Dallas - Cowboys are worth more as a team than the Chiefs. Also, US history

MIN @ STL - Minnesota - Remember when the Rams were good?

OAK @ NYG - New York - Oakland had to travel a long way to get their asses kicked

TB @ PHI - Philadelphia - Eagles, as a species, are kinda awesome

ATL @ SF - San Francisco - I can only assume there are 49 of them, which is more than 37

HOU @ ARI - Houston - Houston once banged 600 guys. That's impressive.

NE @ DEN - Denver - In memory of both John and Bob

JAC @ SEA - Jacksonville - Jessie Jackson knew MLK Jr.

IND @ TEN - Tennessee - In honour of Sam McGee

NYJ @ MIA - New York - Unless rocked by a hurricane. [guitar riff]

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jays Post-Mortem

How do you measure a season? By expectations going in vs final result? Or by the peak of your hopes vs the rocky cliff they fell down?

The Blue Jays had a season that fell right into the expected results at the beginning of the season. They went 75-87, finishing 4th in the AL East. At least they were miles ahead of Baltimore.

But for a couple months there, they looked liked winners. The pitching was unstoppable, and the hitters were actually hitting. Perhaps everyone had underestimated these birds.

But my usual mantra at the beginning of the season was "talk to me in August" because I had little faith in the team maintaining its lofty standards, especially once their scheduled toughened up.

And I was right. The hitting collapsed, and the big names in the lineup never found a groove. Pitching? It was surprisingly good for a team that started 6 or 7 rookies and didn't have a steady closer for the duration of the season.

But the season was marred by J.P. Ricciardi's ham-fisted handling of the Roy Halladay situation. Now I don't think he had intended to start the firestorm when he made his comment about listening to trade offers, but he's an idiot when it comes to dealing with the media and said exactly the wrong thing for stability. Giving the impression that you're willing to trade your one legitimate star tells the team you've given up on them now and in the future. It screws with your ace's mind and Halladay's performance from the height of the trade talks forward showed that and likely cost him the Cy Young this year.

And J.P. was rewarded for his incompetence by being fired. It's about fucking time. The guy has shown time and again that he's all talk, but a poor judge when it comes to creating a team that plays well together. Big contracts, long terms, and regularly poisoning the clubhouse at the worst possible times with his blabbering to whoever put a mic in front of him had what remained of the fanbase up in arms. Good riddance to him.

Now someone do something with Vernon Wells.

But there were a few highlights in the season - Ricky Romero, Aaron Hill, and Adam Lind. Ricky's got rookie-of-the-year consideration for a 13-9 record, although his 4.30 ERA is a bit high. Hill - 36 HR, 108 RBI, 37 2B. Lind - 35 HR, 114 RBI, 46 2B and a .305 average, and .526 slugging.

And of course Halladay was excellent as always, even with his JP dip. 17-10, 2.79 ERA, 9 complete games, 4 shutouts, and 239 innings pitched. The man's a workhorse and the model of consistency.

And the Jays were in the top 10 in the league for nearly every offensive category. Hell, they were in the top 5 for some of the key ones.

Running through so many rookie starters showed something else - depth. Most of these guys came up too young and still performed. There's at least a couple future stars among those arms, and next year could present a good problem for the manager - who's in the rotation. If one assumes Halladay will be back, that leaves 4 spots. Romero is a shoe-in, and then there's the 3 guys who have missed this season - Marcum, McGowan, and Litsch. With those 5 starting, it leaves a glut of young pitchers from this season who provide either depth or trade bait. Of course, those last three have to recover first.

Because our team pitching stats aren't nearly as impressive as the hitting ones. Take out Halladay and they're downright dismal. It's tough to put together good numbers when you never know who's going to start the next game.

So, what happens next? Does Cito get another shot in the dugout? Who gets to determine the direction of this team with a new GM and President on the way? Will ownership still back the team now that Ted Rogers is gone? Can we get through a season without half the team being decimated by injuries? A healthy, happy Jays team is a decent one. Better than the Yankees or Red Sox? No, but there's a ton of potential in there that could at least be competitive.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Nuit Blah

The first weekend of October in Toronto has been the time of Nuit Blanche for the past 4 years. I've gone to the last two.

Last year the major complaint was how spread out the event was. Major exhibits were scattered throughout the three "zones", requiring a ton of walking to see anything, and the TTC's schedule not being over helpful for the influx of people.

So this year, the compressed the major commissioned works. This might not have been such a good idea.

My night started in Zone C - out of the way of the majority of the crowd. It wasn't packed, and had some decent exhibits around. I had no desire to stand in lines at this point, as you could easily blow through the night having only seen a few exhibits.

Sadly, I moved the Zones A and B, right in the main part of downtown. It was crammed full of drunk teenagers looking for excuse to be assholes. The exhibits were less than impressive, and frankly, the whole experience was annoying. To the point where getting in a line for a Tarot reading in the Sheraton hotel was an appealing option because it meant a rest without a bunch of alcohol-fueled tools all over the place.

A & B weren't a total bust, I got some decent shots, and saw a few exhibits I wanted to see. But my main problem is that I didn't do nearly enough research.

If I had, I'd have stayed largely away from the centre and stuck to the independent projects on the outskirts. Cabbagetown (an actual part of the city, not an art installation involving bowls of coleslaw) looked chill and cool. Food Jammers were at the University, and some much more interesting installations were scattered north of the fracas that was the Yonge-Dundas area.

So next year? Better planning is required on my part. I may skip the core entirely, or at least until 3 or 4 AM, when the crowds die down. Still, as I scan through my pics (yah, I'll get those up too), I can't say it was a waste of my time, it just could have been better spent.

Oh, and I'll also be sure to bring my flask next year.

Monday, October 05, 2009


As with any city of size, mine has its share of the homeless. As with any city of size where we experience Winter, these displaced individuals migrate to warmer locations as the temperature drops - shelters, coffee shops, malls, and the subway.

I was heading home from a rather uneventful birthday party on Friday, a couple stops away from my destination, when I saw him. As the homeless go, he wasn't in the worst shape. He was mostly upright, walking straight, and wasn't giving off a stench that would clear the car. But the front of his hoodie was covered in something. I just glanced, and assumed it was vomit. Then he approached me. I tensed, expecting a request for change, perhaps accompanied by an exhortation if his woe. But when I looked at him, I realized something was wrong. It wasn't vomit staining his blue top, but blood - lots of it. The gash across the right side of his face, the length of his cheek bone, was the obvious source. It would add yet another scar to his already worn face.

"Excuse me, but can you take me to the hospital and be a witness for me?"

How do you say no to someone covered in blood and bleeding from their face, especially when their request doesn't take you that far off your intended route?

So I agreed. This began a litany of despair and injustice. My new acquaintance had visited the hospital in question a number of times, and had been unjustly accused of various threats and acts of violence. His rights as a human had been trampled on. Security had manufactured a story of him threatening them with a knife, they'd denied him treatment, they'd sent him to jail for 5 days, they'd pushed him into a car, they'd spit on him in front of a doctor, laughed at his ailments, and they'd beaten him with extend-o-sticks. He felt less than human and was too proud to let them win.

Tonight he'd been kicked in the face, opening up stitches from earlier surgery to repair a broken cheek bone. That he was injured and needed medical help was not in question. So he was returning to the hospital that had treated him so unfairly. But this time he was prepared - he had me as a witness.

He told me of his past, the money and business and family and dog he'd lost on his way down. He related how he's been ignored by those whose job it is to help those in need. Through it all, I recognized that he was leaving out his own personal responsibility in these misfortunes. I know a sociopath when I hear one. What sense of guilt and pity I had originally felt was being replaced with a sense of adventure and curiosity in how the events of that night would play out. A new story could enter my rapidly tiring repertoire.

As we walked through the automatic doors to the emergency room, the reaction from the staff was instantaneous. This man was a known entity, and none too welcome. The fact he had some clean-cut white guy with him however, seemed to be cause for pause. Did I mention he was of Middle-eastern descent? Not an immigrant, but the skin tone was there. If this played a role or not with the Asian nurse and all-white security team, I don't know.

"What is it tonight?" asked the exasperated nurse. He related the meeting of foot-to-face that he had experienced, and then, immediately and unprovoked, launched into a higher-volume tirade against the security guards watching him. The potential for disaster was escalating.

I was asked who I was. My response of "just a guy who saw someone covered in blood" seemed enough to placate the staff. They confirmed I was just a passer-by and told me I could leave. I opted to stay. As much as I knew I wasn't getting the whole story from our victim, I also knew he wasn't lying. The frustration and dislike written on the faces of every employee there told me that if I left, this man would find himself, at the very least, untreated on the street. Besides, I'd promised I'd see this through for him.

The knife escapade was related by the staff to him - "You need to be searched given your history. You pulled a knife on us."

"That never happened! These guys made up the knife!"

"I was there."

"Did you see the knife?"

"No, but they did."

"They're liars!"

I got the feeling it was being related more for my benefit, to make me aware of the type of individual I had aligned myself with.

The arguments and accusation went back and forth, and security had created a perimeter around the guy. He was becoming increasingly agitated and accusatory, and the security team was rolling their eyes, communicating "here we go again" as clearly as if they sang it. Just as things looked to come to a head, which would have resulted in him being escorted outside, he FINALLY said what he should have said right away, "A nurse can search me."

The nurse behind the counter responded with "fine, I'll search you." And he put on some gloves and walked around the counter. Security tightened and the guy started to lose it again. Then the nurse took charge.

"TALK TO ME. I'm here to save your life. I don't care what your beef is with them, take that to the police if you want to complain. They're here to protect me from you. If you don't do anything threatening, we'll all be fine."

He proceeded to search him. Going through his sweaters and pockets and patting him down. When nothing of interest was found, he checked with the head security guard if everything was cool. It was agreed that all was fine. Patient registration could commence.

As he relayed his story, and security relaxed, one of the guards mumbled to nobody in particular while passing me, "he probably cut himself."

He was registered with minimal effort, and asked me to stay a bit longer. I sat across from him as he thanked me. "If you weren't here, I wouldn't have gotten in." I believe this. He told some of his stories with this security team again, raising his voice so they could hear. I suggested he stay calm and everything would be cool. He saw the wisdom in this and calmed down.

A few moments later, he was called beyond the double doors to the treatment areas. I asked if he was okay from here and he thanked me again. Not once did he ask for a handout among his tales of woe. All he wanted was to be treated the same as anyone else would when they walk into a hospital bleeding from their face. He just wanted to feel like he was still a human being.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Weekend Cometh

How do people with lives do it all the time?

Been a busy week. Maybe not, but has seemed that way due to some alcohol consumption and nontraditional sleeping habits.

Tonight is a friend's birthday party, which should be partially populated by other friends, which should lead to a few beverages being consumed and good times had. Which will have to be cut off at some point as I need to be up tomorrow in time to make it to the farmers' market to pick up sausage meat for Thanksgiving stuffing (that's next weekend up here in Canadia). Then I must return home and sleep more, for Nuit Blanche kicks off Saturday night at 6:55pm and runs until dawn Sunday. I plan to be wandering the city for many an hour, snapping photos as I go. There are a ton of incredibly cool installations to be seen, and I'll need to be well-rested.

Which of course leads to Sunday, where some shopping is planned on zero sleep. With luck, some sleep shall be had at some point, and a few hours will remain to kick back, creating the illusion of a weekend. For starting Monday, it's non-stop Thanksgiving prep as people will descend on my humble abode for dinner the following weekend, and there will be much to do.

Hell, the week after that is a bachelor party, and a wedding the weekend after that. Then it's Halloween. October... who knew it could be so busy?

But I hear Bodog has a new client... perhaps I'll give it a try before heading out tonight.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Small World

I was reading a Canadian personal finance blog over the Google Reader, and the RSS embedded ad that came up was this:

Yup. Checkraising the Devil and apparently a hell of a stock picker to boot!