I don’t know what happened this week, but for some reason I had a full slate of lunch meetings and the odd thing was that every restaurant we went to served girl food.
Now please understand, there is nothing wrong with girl food, and you know what, once in a while it’s all good to get in touch with ones feminine side, but 5 days in a row!! It was a bit too much to take at the end.
This blog post is for the guys, in case you find your self out with the boys and looking to have yourself some boy food. Here are some signs to look for.
If on every table, the restaurant has a picture of a Bellini. Know in your hear you are about to eat serious girl food.
Purple pendant lights.
Strawberry, arugula, goat cheese salad is on the menu.
Also on the menu are favorites like butternut squash ravioli, turkey/avocado sandwiches, and yes, yes, yes, sliders.
Menus have code words in them, so before you enter the restaurants check the menu for words like, “Share” or “Couscous” or “Quinoa” or my favorite “Chickpea Humus Dip” (oh man…) and of course last but not least “Sangria”.
Of course, you can just skip to the dessert section of the menu and look for deep friend ice cream or an old fashioned mile high apple pie. If they are on, you are probably good to go. If however you see an apple crumble or a triple chocolate anything, you have been warned…
Tonights dinner was an outing as well, this week was over done with restaurant food, and unfortunately for me it was at a girl restaurant (Milestones) where all of the above almost applied, I settled for the chicken breast in mushroom and cream sause, sigh…. I could not wait till I got home to detox with one of these, a nice cold beer or two (The mug fits a liter ).
Well its lent, and its time to give something up. Technically speaking one should be fasting and on some food diet, and if one wants to do lent old school, one should follow a Greek Orthodox diet (its so complicated, you need a priest to explain it ).
Personally I am doing this not from a religious point at all, I am simply doing this as a social media experiment, and so, here it goes, I am giving up FB and Twitter, foursquare, etc, for lent.
First, my reasons why I think this is a good idea
10) A break from it all has got to be good!
9) A time to see what it was like before the madness started
8 ) Less urge to keep checking the phone
7) Maybe I can go a full day without recharging my iPhone
6) Time to connect with people for real, wanna socialize? Lets go for a beer, or pick up the phone and lets chat, or email, say something more than 140 characters long
5) More quality time with others, you get my 100% undivided attention
4) Would anyone care? Really? If you stop tweeting tomorrow for 40 days, will the sky fall? I don’t think so, I dont think many will notice, lets see..
3) I want to see if I lose followers, I am no social media super star, but if I disappear for a while, what will happen, anything?
2) More family time. Many times, I find that people and myself included are half tuned to the world around them, always on email, on FB, on Twtr. This will surely help
1) I want to be social again. The number one reason to take a break is this. As I go to events, from private dinners to big gatherings, people in the room don’t talk to each other, everyone is on the phone, fingers doing the talking. Social media has made people really anti-social in real life. I want to be social
Here are my rules:
No FB. No tweeting, no foursquare, nothing. If you message me and don’t get an answer I am sorry, you have to wait. If you need to get a hold of me, post a reply on this blog post and I will track you down offline and we can chat for real.
So who is with me? Are you social enough to take an social media break?
I live 64.3 km from the US boarder, closest town to Ottawa is Ogdensberg NY.
Magic happens when you cross this boarder.
Apple, the tech world darling, sells the iPhones 4S in Canada, and the main feature or reason you would want to buy this phone does not work here, SIRI unfortunately does not do any geo based tasks, because we are in Canada. Dear Apple do not sell into a market you cant service no matter how cool you think you are.
Cars, they are cheaper in the US, and we are not talking about $500 bucks, we are talking thousands, the Nissian Xterra has 11K price difference, that is enough to buy another car. Go check it out, visit the US and Canada site and see. All cars are like this, you can get a Range Rover worth 55K in Ottawa for 35K, all you have to do is go for a 64.3 K ride. Oh they say there is no demand in Canada, well in Ottawa there are 1M people who live here, compare that to 3000 in Ogdensberg. Who you kidding?
Amazon, does not want to sell us the new Kindle, and if you make a mistake of buying one and shipping it to the UPS store like I did and bringing it across the boarder, you can’t watch movies, listen to music or buy apps. Sad.
Dont get me started on Hulu, the fiasco called Netfilx, Spotify, the list goes on and on and on, you are Canadian, sorry, download laws, blah blah blah.
Gas is cheaper, yup, we sell Oil to the Americans, we are building a 2000 KM pipeline to send oil from Canada to the US, and somehow it ends up being 25% cheaper on the other end
Even simple things like cheese, chocolate, coffee, are cheaper in the US. The list is long
And other things do not even exist here, because we are in Canada. Even Canadian companies can’t sell in Canada. Get this, if you go an buy a table from Cymax.ca a Canadian company out of Vancouver. This happened to me folks, a $115 table would have cost me over $130 in shipping and duty and fees, DUTY? its a Canadian company, well the government of Canada does not understand these basic things, the company has shop in the US so you are out of luck. Very well then, you can go to Amazon.ca which also is a sad display of bad service (because we are in Canada) and buy the same table, from the company, and Cymax ships the table to Illinois, where someone brokers this and ships to Ottawa tax and duty free, probably at a loss to Cymax as they have to pay the cost of shipping and hefty referral fees to Amazon. Bravo Canada
The list goes on and on, and with technology, its making it more noticeable that we Canadians are getting the short end, and I am tired of it. Aren’t you?
Subway likes to call their staff who put sandwiches together “Sandwich Artists”.
What is a Sandwich artists anyway, the word artist means or at least conjures images of something grand. To be an artist, you assemble something unique in your mind, your thoughts are then manifested into some physical form that requires great skill. To be an artist, you put, your heart, mind and soul into a finished product
Now lets see, the Subway Sandwich.
The bread, pre made and frozen, you just gotta heat it up, no artistry here
The filling, pre made and frozen, you just gotta defrost, no artistry here
The Veggies, pre cut, you just gotta put it in the bun, no artistry here
So what is left for the artist to do, well maybe the combination of different fillings will create mouth watering combinations only a true food artisit can create. Alas, you the person standing have to tell “Artist” what to put in the bun. You my friends, the customer, is the real artist at Subway, but get no credit for it….
I mean, come on, why do they need to come up with dumb names like that, its insulting to the staff. If I was to work there and they told me that this is your job title, I would think they are making fun of me. Seriously don’t you think?
Any way, from one artist to the other. If you find your self standing at a Subway looking to order something. Here is my recommendation
Foot Long, Honey Oat Bread, Veggie Sub (Trust me)
Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Green Pepper, Easy on the Onion, Heavy on the Black Olive, Heavy on the Green Olive, Easy on the Hot Pepper, Light Mayo, Salt, Pepper.
You know when you go some where, or ask someone to do something and they do it, and then you go, thank you? Well there are two responses that really bug me.
Lets start with the ones that dont bug me
Thank you – You are welcome: Ah life is good, I like what you did, and I thank you, and you say, you are welcome, as in this was not that bad, and you are welcome please come again, lets do this again
Thank you – No problem or No Sweat or Any time: Ah life is good, I like what you did, and I thank you, and you say, no problem, as in this was not a problem really, lets do this again.
Thank you – You Bet: Again, same thing, I thank you, and you say you bet as in, you can count on me to do this, lets do this again, this was fun.
The one I REALLY Like, Thank you – My Pleasure: God forbid someone likes their job out there in the service industry and actually lets you know that you thanking them is not needed, doing the work was pleasurable and they can wait to do it again. How refreshing.
Now the NASTY.
Thank you – Yup. YUP? What kinda reply is this, Yup? as in “yes” as in you should thank me? If I go to your store and buy something and I say thank you, and you say Yup, as in you should thank me for letting you come to my store and buy my burger. I promise, I will never come back. You may as well just hire a teen and get her to chew gum and roll her eyes when I ask her for a bag to put my burger and fries in.
The worst of all replies is Uh Huh.
Thank you – Uh Huh. I mean that is just taking rude to unprecedented new hight. Uh Huh is like Yup but but now instead of the rude teen chewing gum, just keep that same person in the same job they hated as a teen for another 40 years and ask them for some good customer service.
If you use Yup or Uh Huh please dont, if you dont like my post, its ok, Your Welcome.
Today about 5000 people a few of them my friends ran the Ottawa Marathon, I was supposed to be among them. My journey to the marathon started about two and half years ago, back then and in way still today, I thought runners are weird. Two and a half years ago, I tore my Achilles heel playing soccer, a year after that, I was sick and tired of sitting on a couch and decided to do something I never even considered.
I remember that day, I was watching TV and it was showing some people running, and I thought that is it, I need to get off the couch and get back in shape. Thanks to Google, I found out that Ottawa had a race in May that had a 10K run, and right there, I signed up. That was a big personal challenge given that I could not run longer than 1K, thanks to the Running Room, I finished it in a good time. Just as the 10K went, so did the half marathon.
The marathon is the next logical challenge, and I need a challenge. So with that, another sign up, another Running Room sign up as well, and the training started. In the process I pleaded with my friend Cindy to sign up and run it with me, and she did, and thank God for that, if it was not for her, it would have been horrible to do the long runs, maybe would have never finished any of them.
I trained a lot, over the last year, the runs that I tracked totalled 152, 962KM, and I burned 104,491 calories. I swallowed enough of the awful Gu, ate Sharkies, I took epson salt baths, 3 shoes, got knee pain, did physiotherapy, you name it.
This of course could not have happened with out the full support of my wife who was there every step of the way. From laundry to watching the kids, to picking me up in odd places all stinky, to bailing out on a late dinner party cause I have to wake up early for a run tomorrow.
4 days ago, I got sick, thought it was the usual flu, turned out to be an infection that is off all things not common. I slept all of Thu, most Friday, and most of Sat. But through it all, I wanted to run the race. What made it worse was all the media coverage of the race, my friends calling wishing me luck, the closer we got to the race, the more I wanted to run it. Worse of all, if I miss it, the next race is God knows when and I am not training again for it, that is it, its over! On Saturday I told everyone I am not running, but I had not given up. I set up my alarm clock as if I was running. I woke up at 2:00 am with a bad fever and it was then that I realized this is not gonna happen, turned the alarm off and sadly went back to sleep.
What bothers me about not running the race the most is the fact that I got this weird infection that prevented me from even failing. I feel like I got robbed of an experience and for that I was extremely disappointed. I was also robbed from fulfilling my goals 1) to finish the race, 2) to hand off the medal to someone I am been dyeing to give it to, 3) to run it with my friend.
As the day progressed, I got happier as I saw my friends email, facebook and tweet their results, I am so glad for them, and I grew determined to run a marathon, I started looking for one next week even, hmmm Winnipeg is in 3 weeks, why not, I have family there.
I realize now that today was just not meant to be, for one I would have robbed Cindy from having a good race as i usually struggled with my runs post 30K, (She did an AWESOME 4:13), maybe it was a sign I was not fully ready, maybe I needed that one extra reason to finish strong, regardless it was just not meant to be. Its not the first time I am hit with a set back, but now, add to my 3 reasons to run a marathon, a new one. Now its personal, no matter how painful retraining is…
Pain is temporary – Quitting is forever.
As an update to this post: Two weeks after the Ottawa Marathon, I signed up and completed the Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg Manitoba. It was every thing I expected and worse but its done, kick that off the bucket list.
The schools and school board have a problem, the problem is a few vocal parents are pissed that the school allows vending machines. Follow the money, these machines make money for the schools so they don’t want to lose that revenue. Lets educate the young ones, but keep the machines and if the education does not work we get to keep them vending machine customers.
Last week my older kid, declared that she will pack her own lunch. Great, but why? Because the teacher said we have to pack our lunch so we know that the food we eat is healthy. How will the teacher know? She will check our lunch. Ok… This teacher has time to check everyone’s lunch? And what is wrong with the lunch I pack, I mean I do a good job, Anyway fine, at least the kids take responsibility and learn how to pack a lunch. As a side note, my kids help us cook, and can run circles around kids twice their age.
This week, our younger kid had a melt down, why? because we never pack her a litterless lunch. What is a litterless lunch you ask? Its a lunch where nothing goes to waste including the packaging. Not only is it healthy, its good for the planet and will save all future generations. For each litterless lunch you bring you get a start. Teacher checks every lunch, seriously, is that what these people are paid to do. Teachers are not parents. Their jobs is to teach math, science, etc… Long story short and ours has no stars. What makes this worse is that the kid down the street has 3 stars so far, 3 STARS!!!! Lets call him Henry for now.
Now lets compare lunches.
On day one, our lunch failed, because I packed a banana, a sandwich, and Yogurt. That is a double fail because the sandwich was packed inside in a ziplock bag, and that produces litter, and of course the Yogurt which produces litter because the Yogurt container is plastic.
Henry got a star, because his lazy parent bought him a muffin from Tim Hortons, and since Tim Hortons packs their crap inside a paper bag, Henry gets a star, my kid gets nothing. Bravo!
Actually 3 times in a row, Henry got, a Muffin, a Muffin and a Doughnut = 3 stars. Our kid managed to get no Stars because I packed her food healthy but not litterless lunch
I am willing to bet that Henry is going to be a good vending machine customer when high school comes around
So what is the lesson, healthy home made/packed lunch does not beat junk in a paper bag.
There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
Believe it or not, a stairway to heaven does not get you there, we all know money can’t buy you everything especially a spot on the good side of the after life.
I know why old people go early to church and hog the front benches, they go as much as possible as well, its very simple, the clock is ticking and they are cramming for the finals. When younger, meh, lets have fun. There is a constant struggle between good and evil, that devil wants you to sin and God wants you to live a wholesome life.
In other news, I was in Toronto a.k.a the center of the universe attending a tweetup and on the way back a friend pointed out the most amazing thing. I mean sure Toronto claims to be a melting pot, but boy does this take it up a notch.
If you are standing on the corner of Bloor and St Helens (oh the Irony of this) the address of 1313 bloor (like come on 13 13, isn’t 13 some sort of devilish number) stand an establishment named Club Paradise, I am sure for some, they are in heaven when they enter.
You guessed it, Club Paradise, is a strip club, address 1313 Bloor, seriously I cant get over the irony. What is more ironic about this place is that it shares the building with another tenant. ready?
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
Did some one think, oh look sinner, lets rent the space next door and open up a church? or the other way around? Do people go for a lap dance and then a confessional? How does this work?
Both are promising paradise as well, sheesh…
Isnt it Ironic, 1313 bloor and St Helen, a church and strip club share a building, COME ON, seriously….
I come to Vegas a lot, been there at least 15 times for work, and in general, I am not a fan. Dont get me wrong I get the attractions, the shows, the FOOD, oh my, the food, but in general, if you come here alone, its a sad place, especially if you are like me, dont gamble, not a drinker, not a smoker, and to go to a fancy restaurant alone is just not fun.
Last night was the last night at a convention I was attending in Vegas. One of the vendor has sponsored a dinner at Stratosphere and we got an invite. By the time the trade show floor closed, I was beat. To start with, I am operating on a 3 hour time difference, and add to that 12 hours of standing on my feet, and the thought of 2 more hours of being on my feet was just revolting. So at the last minute (when I saw that the dinner was going to be 80% vendors, 20% customers) I decided to bail out, grab a quick bite, and head back to my room to catch some much needed rest, Oh and catch up on the hundreds of emails that have pilled up since I left.
I ran to my room, put on my running shoes, jeans, T-shirt, and I headed down the Las Vegas Strip from the Wynn Resort. About 1K or so, I stopped at a mall that has a bunch of things that are cheap, When in Vegas, I prefer to eat with the locals if possible, not into spending $100 on a bogus meal. The mall is like your standard strip mall, there is a CVS, A couple of restaurants, etc… Yum, Thai food, can dig me some Pad Thai. I walked in and ordered the vegetarian Pad Thai, which was loaded with Tofu (which for the record, is bad for you). Any how, $7.99 later and I got me a giant take out container of noodles, a fork and chopsticks and some napkins. Since the restaurant was a good walk from the hotel, I decided to eat while I was walking and kinda stroll and take it easy. I stuck my fork in, and started eating.
Not even 100 meters into my walk, I heard some one saying to me, “Hey, if you dont finish that, can I have the left overs?” I looked over, and saw this older man, maybe 55ish, beard, homeless for sure, and my heart just broke. There is no way, I am going to eat all that, but by the time I am at my full, I am 1K away from him.
“I’ll split it with you”, So, I ripped off the top of the take out container, and split the meal and gave it to him. Since I was using the fork already, I asked,
“do you want to use the chop sticks?”
“I can’t eat with that”.
How is this man gonna eat this food. “Do you want to use my folk? I already used it?”.
“I dont care man, I am starving”
Very well, here is my fork. Problem is, how am I gonna walk and eat with chop sticks, impossible. And by the time I get to the hotel my food will just not taste good.
“Can I sit here and eat with you?” I asked,
“You sure, you wanna do that?.
“Yea, why not”
“Well no one wants to talk to a guy like me”
“I dont mind, if you dont mind”
So, I sat with him, had dinner, talked about everything under the sun. From the lack of work in Vegas, to how security and cops give him a hard time, how he gets little help, how he has no idea where his kids are, but misses them a lot and would do anyting to see them. And of course our grand discussion about Tofu and why its bad for you, and he could not understand why I ordered it, if it’s as bad for me as I say, but he did not care, it was food and never mind all this “bull shit research”.
Vegas is a fun town, if you come with friends, but its also a nasty town and has a very dark side. 500 meters from where I had dinner is Encore, one of the most glamorous hotels in Vegas, you would walk by and see the odd person spinning a slot machine at $100 per pull. Or walk a bit more and check out the 300K Ferrari at the Wynn, or grab a bite at Alex for $200 a meal. What a difference in perspective, and makes you take a hard look at whats around you and yourself.
Thank you Bill my vegas homeless friend for that experience, it was by far the most enjoyable experience ever in this miserable town.
I know my way around a stove, I have in the past attempted meals and dinners fit for the pro’s. If you think of dishes that are thought to be hard to pull off such as risotto, polenta, or fois gras, well I am proud to say, I can whip those without looking up a recipe.
I am not shy to go the distance and make things from scratch either. Ice cream? done. Cheese? Yup, be it simple mozzarella or complicated Parmesan, I have done it. Churn my own butter? check. Cure my own ham? yup. Make ginger ale? oh yea. Home made pasta? come on, that’s child play. Ketchup? no problem. Name it, odds are I have done it. I am not afraid to cook in quantities either, from private 2 person dinners, to feeding more than a 100 people from a home kitchen, I am proud to claim success.
I am no chef, but I say all this to make the point, I CAN COOK.
Today however, I attempted to make some thing very simple or so I thought…. Today I attempted to make hand pulled Chinese noodles. Before the attempt, my friend and I spent a lot of time researching, studying, watching youtube videos, planning every move. We even discovered a secret required ingredient that we got sent to us all the way from China. When it comes to meals, this one took the most to prepare for, we were ready.
We started by making the dough, and things looked good. We even made progress twisting the dough, but then something went off. After almost 1 hour of kneading and attempting to pull the noodles, it was clear, there will be no hand pulled noodle dinner. A big giant fail. Problem is, we don’t know what went wrong and how to fix it, all we can do is try again. My only consolation for the time being is this video.
I cant believe it, I got beaten by a noodle. I am willing to try again, Who is in?