Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nothing Simple

How does one make a tuna melt?

I assume that it's a can of tuna, some mayo, salt, pepper, maybe green onion and celery? Mix it together, put it on a bagel and cover with some cheddar?


Or there's me.

Can of tuna. Check.
Green onion. Check.
Celery. Check.
Pepper. Check.

Roasted garlic salt. Check.
Sweet smoked paprika. Check.
Ground coriander seed. Check
Fresh thyme. Check.
Dried dill weed. Check.
Cayenne pepper. Check.

Mayo? Ummm.
How about Miracle Whip? Mixed with some sesame oil, thai fish sauce, soy sauce, and Susie's Original hot sauce? Check.

Combine. Put on top of sourdough bagel.

Grate some cheese. Three varieties of applewood smoked English cheddar, gruyere, and some delicious herbed cheese I forgot I had. Cover the tuna with it.


And to think... I was craving baked beans earlier. Forgot about those...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Edible Disaster

I'm easily distracted.

Look, that dog has poofy tail, etc., etc..

This can be a problem when preparing dinner.

Like last night.

I decided I'd pull out a steak for dinner. The thing about deciding this at 6pm is that it needs to thaw somehow. On goes the oven, out comes the cast iron and foil.

But I'd also received a box full of cables from the nice delivery person (I assume they were nice, as I'm not the one who takes deliveries). Contained were 3 cables that I'd been waiting for to once again enhance my home theatre experience. So, with the steak thawing in a warm oven, I pushed back the unit and got to work. Cables hooked up, testing commenced. Hmm... that isn't working. Try something else. That works. But why not the other? Back to the other... still not working. Figure it out and stick with the second option. But now the remote needs to be reprogrammed. And while I'm doing that, there's those other things I wanted to fix on it. Wasn't I doing something else?

SHIT! Steak! 2 hours later!

Steak is thawed, warm, and looking a bit grey. It's not cooked, due to the incredibly low heat, but it's on its way. Too late to make it simple and good, so a marinade has to be rushed into production because this baby's going to get cooked.

Waste of a nice piece of meat... sigh.

So comes together a marinade. Vinegar, horseradish, dijon and smokey mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, piri-piri sauce, honey, worcestershire, sundried tomato + hemp pesto, oil. Steak gets sliced and dumped in. Inside is still red at least.

As it soaks, potato is cut up, onion sliced, garlic mashed, and fried potatoes are begun.

Relax a bit, now that dinner is on its way. Combine half a dozen types of fruit (raspeberries, blackberries, pineapple, cherries, grapes, banana) with some sugar and a splash of citrus for dessert. Let it sit in the fridge.

Heat up another cast iron pan for the steak. Not the grill as usual, due to the marinade and desire to not spend all night scrubbing sticky marinade from between raised parts.

Vegetable oil, olive oil, and butter. Steak goes on and sizzle and spurts. What the hell, all the marinade goes in too. Toss in some onion and garlic and it's damned near a stew.

Cook away.

Remove meat. Crank heat on marinade to reduce. Dish potatoes... something's missing.


Grab broccoli, steam in microwave.

Pour sauce on meat. Plate broccoli.

Dinner is served.

It wasn't what I'd originally wanted. The marinade was sweet and acidic, but not overpoweringly so. Had just a bit of spice too. All-in-all, salvaged, but not fantastic.

Filled the hole though.

Then I notice my remote was still plugged in... programming not quite finished.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Well, At Least It's Got Me Watching

I've been peppering Twitter with my thoughts on this whole Leno-NBC-O'Brien brouhaha. Why? Because it's Twitter, and not everything I say there will be Earth-shatteringly important.

Here neither. Which is why I'm going to combine those thoughts...

I've been a fan of Conan's since he was writing for SNL, and then the Simpsons. Of course, I had no idea I was fan of his, because he was little more than an off-screen writer (his appearance as a waiter in the "Five-Timers Club" sketch notwithstanding). Then this gawky red-pompadoured guy took over Letterman's spot on late night, and I had no idea who he was. His monologues were awkward, and his conversations with the fat co-host were stilted. But a couple times each show, he did something so quirky that I took notice. Or he made an off-the-cuff comment that was hilarious. I stuck around, and these tall Irish geek became my favourite late night host.

Leno? Never really a fan. The odd chuckle, usually at others' expense, but generally bland and boring. When Branford Marsalis left the show and Kevin Eubanks came in, the ass-kissery became so obvious that I couldn't bother watching and stuck with Dave when I watched something at 11:35. Plus, the fact that he'd pissed off Letterman and lost him The Tonight Show didn't sit well either.

So my bias is clear.

The disdain for Leno from the rest of late night and other celebs who should know a bit about him tells me that he's made more than a few enemies of the years. At the very least, he hasn't made friends. The fact Zucker and the NBC brain trust think he's the second coming tells me that he's spent most of his time kissing the right asses for his career instead of being genuine to the rest of his community.

The tales of him being a nice guy are sounding more and more like he's a nice guy to his fans, but not in reality.

And it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he's getting The Tonight Show back. NBC doesn't want O'Brien, and while Conan might want the show, he certainly doesn't want NBC. Plus, he's never been hotter than he is now. The rage and sorrow he and his staff are feeling is coming out exactly how it should with that talent - in comedy. Biting, scathing, backhanded comedy. What's NBC going to do? Fire him?

He's got the support of fans, cohorts, and decision-makers elsewhere who see his commercial appeal and talent. He'll find something. All the posturing between him and the NBC brass will result in a lower buy-out than he'll like, but that will buy him the ability to find work immediately instead of down the road.

Leno and NBC? No way this looks good on them. Leno comes off as a small, greedy man in this. He gets his show back that he never wanted to give up. Hey, I called him a douche days ago. It's nice that the world's catching up.

NBC gets some audience back, but loses the last dedicated audience they'll get from this generation at that time slot. The 60+ crowd falling asleep to Jaywalking will die off eventually. The 30+ crowd that knows who the masturbating bear is have a longer lifespan, and more money to spend in that time.

NBC just looks like a bunch of out-of-touch morons. Zucker's gone within the year, barring some miracle shows giving them ratings.

And when Conan does land on his feet, it will be big. It'll be his Tonight Show crew that's in tow with him, but they'll be given free reign. None of the constraints of 55 years of tradition and an audience to appease. None of the awkwardness of his first show, or nervousness of the big one. He'll hit the ground running, with people salivating for what he has to offer.

It'll take time, but eventually, he'll once again find a niche that we can cruise in. No doubt Team Coco will be there to cheer him on.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Walk

It's become a tad colder here in Toronto of late. Almost as if it's seasonal. Phrases like "wind chill" are being heard frequently these days.

I was walking home last night, and had opted to bundle up. Coat done up, scarf wrapped up to my nose, and ears covered. I'm fighting with a cold you see, and didn't want to offer it more ammunition.

The thing about that configuration is that all my breath gets funneled upwards. Being a warm-blooded creature, my breath is hot in comparison to the outside temperature. Being myopic, I've been known to wear glasses. This was the case last night.

So the glasses instantly fogged up, causing a near-complete lack of vision. I dropped my head and peered over the rims of my spectacles and saw the world through the usual vaseline smear that is my near-sightedness. Without some sort of corrective lens in place, my vision is at best, rudimentary. Colours and the roughest ideas of shapes are visible.

So I had a choice, the fogged-up non-vision of my glasses, the blurry impressionism of my warped eyes, or I could take my nose out of my scarf.

I didn't have enough tissue left for the last option to be pleasant. Besides, I knew the walk home like the back of my hand, and after listening to talk about the role of absences in film, I figured this would be an interesting way to see the world.

So I walked, peering over my frames at the blurred surroundings I passed. People I couldn't discern from the dark background until they were a few feet away, and whose faces I'd never see, passed me by, seeing their world clearly. Cars became moving headlights, and my eyes were constantly watching the ground in front of me for splotches of shadow that could be ice. At one point, I nearly got angry at a parking meter for not moving, until I realized what it was.

The soundtrack to my promenade was the voices of those I passed and the noises a city makes on a cold winter night. It was a playlist that was both soothing and revealing. Echoes of John Cage sitting silently at a piano.

Eventually, I was a few blocks from home and decided to drop the scarf and readjust my glasses. I was passing through an area I'd rather be able to see than not. As the fog on my lenses cleared, the remaining, partially-frozen condensation shattered the world into crystalline shapes. Lights sparkled, and reflections were moving bursts. Slowly, the world came into focus around this stained glass filter. The tower that symbolizes my city stood solitary against the night sky in front of me, welcoming me back to the world of the sighted.

I turned a corner, pulled the scarf back up, and returned to the far more interesting world I'd just left. Knowing I had only a block left before the warmth of my home cleared everything back up again.

Sometimes, the world needs to be seen from a different perspective.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Every Freaking Time

I'll be the first to admit when I'm not playing well.

I'm not playing well.

But beside my poor play, I'm once again playing with decks that contain 12 aces, but none of them coming to me. Seriously, how many times can I take a pair against A-rag and see the A hit by the river? Oh, that's right... EVERY time.

Shove the dollar up your ass.

Which, lucky for me, led to a break-even night. Which is far better than my usual returns, or lack thereof, of late.

It boils down to boredom. I fire up a game because I THINK I want to play, then at some point, I realize I really want to play something else, or watch something, or sleep, or SOMETHING other than click the fold button for half an hour before mixing it up by raising a middling hand and folding to two re-raises.

Then, of course, I realize I have a few hundred sitting on Bodog, and I never play there, because the client is SOOOOOO terrible. Maybe trying to figure out an efficient means of using it will present an interesting challenge.

WPBT Golf Pics!

Alright, they're FINALLY up. I said they'd be up by Sunday... I just didn't specify WHICH Sunday.

71 shots from the inaugural WPBT Winter Golf Scramble, or whatever you want to call it.

Standard Flickr set here


Slideshow here

I hope you like 'em.

Now, back to Israel pics... those are only 4 months overdue. Then to finish Iceland from 2.5 years ago.

Monday, January 04, 2010


How was your New Year ringing-in?

I had a blast. Then I hit that drinking zone where it all goes down like water. I have a vague recollection of downing a glass of champagne in one shot because someone needed an empty glass (I was going to wash it), and then not knowing where the extra champagne glass (it was really a martini glass) came from. Not too long after, that hit me... or maybe it was the 4 or 5 gin martini (min 3oz each) variations, or the other glasses of champagne, or whatever else I may have drank.

Naw, it was the downed glass.

I'm not sure how long I was in the washroom before someone came to rescue me, but it was too long to be considered polite on my part. Granted, it was dry heaves, and I'm very courteous when misusing a friend's facilities. One well-placed comment had me up on my feet and on the couch with water in-hand, beginning my recovery.

I don't remember how the light saber got to someone else, but they needed it.

My very bestest friend got me home, fed my cats so they wouldn't eat me in my sleep, and left me to my own devices, which at this point were starting to click back into place. Combined with some pre-departure prep (close the blinds now, turn off the alarms, make sure there's plenty of water in the Brita, etc.) I might have seemed relatively capable when I poured myself under the covers.

Later in that first day of 2010, I was even able to stumble around and drag a brush across my teeth, pour a pint glass full of water, and toast up a bagel. Granted, I had the cream cheese half on before I realized I hadn't yet toasted the frozen thing.

It took 3 hours to eat that bagel, between naps and lying down to fight off the nausea. But the NHL Winter Classic looked pretty awesome at Fenway Park in HD. Shame they couldn't get the fans closer. But when the sun was setting and the players' shadows were cast across the ice, it reminded me of my childhood days on frozen lakes. You know, if I lived near a lake, it froze, and I could skate, none of which would be true. Still, the imagery was strong enough that some Canadian genetic memory must have kicked in.

After around 11pm, and many hours of extra sleep, I was able to stay upright for extended periods of time. So I stayed up until 4am or so. I even enjoyed some homemade chai tea that previously mentioned bestest friend made me for Christmas. Of course, I forgot the tea part, but the chai part was awesome.

Saturday was nearly normal. Up at the crack of 1:30pm, and plans for a "Not New Years" party that evening. I lazed about for a few hours, watched the latest Doctor Who special, and felt sad that David Tennant was leaving.

Off to the party, which started off like we were a group of strangers trying to make small talk instead of friends who had known each other for, in some cases, nearly 20 years. Eventually though, once the kid went to bed (5 is an odd age, do we have to start watching our language now? What topics can she begin to understand? Do her parents care?), conversation picked up as normal.

I got home around 3:30am, and hit my floor button on the elevator. I'm sure I did. I was stone sober, and not that tired. I hit the right floor.

The door opened, I walked out and noticed that my neighbours had a wreath on their door. Odd that I hadn't noticed it before.

I walked to my door, and there was a Santa hanging on my door. I *KNOW* I didn't have one of those, and my first thought was "Did someone randomly put up Christmas decorations on people's doors?" Then I looked at the number. I was one floor too high. No... I knew I hit the right number. I'm a creature of habit and never go to that number floor anywhere.

So I walked back to the elevators and hit the down button. The light turned off, and the door opened.

Except it didn't.

It sounded like it opened, and the button reacted like it opened, but the door was still closed. I hit the button again. The light turned off and the door opened.

Except it didn't.

I touched the door to make sure I wasn't insane. Nope, it wasn't open. Only the inner door of the elevator was opening, but the outer one wasn't catching.

Busted elevator.

But you know that chill down your spine when things aren't right? I had that. My head went to that "maybe you're dreaming" state of feeling. I hit the button again. Nada.

So I walked to the stairwell and cautiously opened the door, half-expecting a deranged madman to be waiting for me, hook for hand and teeth gnashing. But the stairs were empty. I quickly walked down a floor and turned to my door. Double-checked the number and walked in, where I was greeted by my cats.

So at least I knew I was home. But the haze in my brain remained. I chalked it up to my odd hours, fed the cats, and crawled into bed.

Up at the crack of 3:30pm Sunday, I was still a bit off-kilter. It was dad's birthday, so I had places to be in a few hours. I managed to waste more time than I had playing games and futzing with some new Photoshop plugins, and neglected to do minor things like eat or drink.

This might have contributed to the feeling of disconnect I was experiencing, and the sense of needing more sleep despite getting a dozen hours of the stuff.

Night was uneventful, except I forgot gifts again, but remembered butter. Home, waste time until 3am, try to sleep, alarms go off, and I'm strangely tired for only 4 hours of sleep (note: not strange). Up, out, and the subway announcement experiencing a Doppler Effect reminded me that 2010 is going to be a little bit odd. Maybe they're trying to make contact already...