Archive for April, 2008

No more TTC talk for a bit.  I’m burned out.  I’ll just keep riding it to get to and fro and we’ll let sleeping dogs lie until the world explodes again.

Our household is now in possession of  not one, but TWO genuine TFC jerseys and an official TFC fan scarf.  This makes us even more awesome than we were before, and it means that as a Leafs fan and a Habs fan, we can cheer for a winning team with great fans (for a change).  Ouch.

I’ll be sporting my new gear on Thursday when I join Jared in the stands for the home game against New York  I plan on singing the fan songs, enjoying at least one Scotch Egg and some other weird, tasty and totally unhealthy foods and watching the home team take advantage of loud fan base to win a game.

I’d love to go into more detail, but a day of long meetings awaits.

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Let’s start the weekend round-up on Friday night where our upstairs neighbours treated us to awesome steaks from the St. Lawrence Market.  We ate a great meal on the patio (moving in once it got chilly later in the evening) and hung out for a few hours.  We even walked the dog to nearby parking lot as an excuse to spy on a movie shoot.

Saturday morning came early, thanks to our canine guest, who apparently thinks that 5am on a Saturday is playtime.  After a lot of yelling, cursing and barking on the part of various tenants of our house, we eventually got up and started a day of errands that included a car wash, buying garden stuff at Canadian Tire, and starting the process of gutting our backyard to include some basic landscaping.

On Saturday night, a few of us braved the TTCless streets (in our cars, of course) to go and see Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  If you’re thinking about seeing it, you should probably ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Did you like “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”?  ‘Cause this is basically the same movie
  2. Can you handle infrequent full-frontal male nudity?
  3. Do you like to laugh?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, then you’ll get your money’s worth out of this movie.  Keep your ears peeled for the funniest line of the movie which is about Ghandi… and puppets.

Sunday was church, followed by helping the former tenants of Pembroke Castle move to The Shuter Shack (their new house).  It was sad seeing the Castle empty out again, but the guys’ new digs are pretty awesome and I’m looking forward to invites for BBQs and some hot and heavy Wii action (is that an unfortunate sentence?).

We finished off our weekend by enjoying some burgers on the patio and watching some TV like old people.  It was a pretty great weekend, all things considered.  Now, I’m back into the swing of the work week as angry as ever with the TTC and looking forward to getting some herbs to plant in the window boxes on our deck.

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Yeah, I know Earth Day was a few days ago, but this is not an environmental post.  First, let me say that I am indeed in favour of blue water, green grass and … rocky rocks(?) and will continue to be so in the future, unless David Suzuki’s head busts through my kitchen wall and he starts lecturing me about caulking.  Weirdo.

Last night, a few of us cool cats (Danielle, Jared, Andy, Kiernan, Wendy and Danielle P.) hit up the Renaissance Cafe at Woodbine and Danforth for an intimate little musical event.  The venue is certainly one-of-a-kind, and it reminds me of a cross between a small town donut shop, your childhood friend’s basement that was renovated in 1972 and the youth room at a church filled mostly with old people.  In other words, it’s AWESOME.

First up was M.Mucci, a one-man act who started with an electric guitar and moved to an acoustic.  His first two songs were very soundtrack-like and anthemic.  Although they were sombre and had very little ebb and flow, they were beautifully played.  His last song was far more upbeat and every foot in the joint was tapping.

The second act was our very own Silver Speakers (aka Tyrone, aka the other guitarist in Slow Like Big Hams) who donned a bandana and proceeded to rock the house, as usual.  After seeing a few of his shows, I can safely say that last night was the most comfortable I’ve seen Tyrone on-stage, and the best I’ve seen him play guitar.  He had a really “on” night.  Good job, man.

The closing set was by a bluegrass band called William & Polly, and they were fantastic (caution: that link is a MySpace page).  I might be biased because they had all my favourite instruments lined up on stage, which from left to right were: ukelele, mandolin, guitar, banjo, harmonica and a concertina (like a small and more awesome accordian).  Still, if you listen to a couple of their tunes, I’m sure you’ll agree.  They played a mix of their own tunes and some bluegrass standards, some religious and some not.  Their voices were amazing, especially “Polly’s”, and they are both amazing musicians.  I picked up their EP for $5 and I’m hoping to have them come and play at our church sometime.

So, in summary… I must get a mandolin and a ukelele and I really should get off my ass, write some songs and play a room sometime.

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I didn’t go camping once in 2007.  I just realized that on my ride into work this morning, and I had to run through the entire year on fast forward in my head to make sure that was true.  I remember handling my camping gear a lot, but that had more to do with moving and picking up some new stuff (which requires repacking everything at cataloging it in my obsessively compulsive list).  That made me profoundly sad.

Mark my words, this will not happen again in 2008.  I have a few new toys to try out and after over a year, I’m betting my tent will need some fresh air.  I’m pretty sure I washed it after my last trip, but it’ll still be pretty stuffy after all that time.

This also means that Danielle and I have never been camping together, and it’s something we’ve both talked about a great deal and are looking forward to.  I don’t think a canoe trip is in the cards, but maybe a long weekend at Bon Echo, Silent Lake or Sandbanks Provincial Parks would scratch that itch.

It just feels like it’s been forever since I’ve spaced out sitting beside an open fire listening to the crackle of the wood and the sounds of the night.  I also miss not having to shower and eating beef jerky and M&Ms for a meal.

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Last night was the final soccer game of the playoffs, and we coasted (with two quick goals just before shootouts were set to break the 0-0 tie) to a third-place finish overall. Not too shabby for my first season every playing organized soccer.

Our team is set to play pick-up outdoor soccer for the summer at Central Technical School (on Bathurst, just south of Bloor) every Sunday afternoon, so it looks like the good ol’ fashioned ZLF soccer banner might be making a reappearance here. The games are open to everyone, since we all believe that the more IS the merrier.

The bulk of our team is hoping to stick together and play in the same men’s league in the fall and winter sessions next year, so that gives me a few months to get better at defense and to start learning a few basic striking skills. It would be nice to not go another season without scoring a goal, but I’m still happy with my performance in the backfield.

One thing I won’t miss about this soccer season is the infrequent late night scheduling of games with 11:15pm starts. After those games, I got home around 1am and couldn’t fall asleep until around 2, after being jacked up from running around. This was the case last night, and I’m practically a zombie today. Apparently, men sleep better if they get exercise at least three hours before bedtime (according to a recent story reported on CBC.ca, which was not the case last night.

So today, in my sleep-deprived haze, I’ll just keep repeating a mantra made famous by ‘No Fear’ t-shirts: “Third place is the second loser”, and smile smugly.

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I grew up in a family that has a love of animals.  Our backyard was home to many birds, thanks in part to a variety of trees and plants and to birdfeeders and a birdbath.  Also, in my memory, there was always a cat in our house.  That means that by default, I was a cat person.   Granted, our cats behaved more like dogs than cats but when my family finally got a dog (after I’d moved out), it took some adjustment on my part.

Dogs require a lot more attention and care.  They need to have their food monitored and they need to be let out to go to the washroom… often.  They decide when the whole house will wake up in the morning, and they also decided when to make lots of noise when they perceive a threat.  On the plus side, not many cats will play fetch and you don’t get much exercise walking a cat, unless you count the battle you’d have to fight to get a leash on one.

So far, despite the extra work and the early mornings, our dog-sitting experience hasn’t soured us off getting a dog of our own, although we’re rethinking getting a puppy.  I like that Danielle can go for a walk or a run in the evening, and I feel much better about her going if she has a dog with her.  I also feel that our home is much safer while we’re gone during the day.  Also, it’s pretty great when you scratch a dog just so behind the ears and his leg twitches and he starts to drool.  They’re pretty easy animals to please.

Tia, the dog

I’d like to think that our temporary roommate likes us too, and as much fun as we’re having, I can’t help but wonder how hard it will be for both of us to say goodbye in a few weeks.   I’m sure that will speed up our decision to get a dog of our own.

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It appears as though the TTC transit strike has been averted, although the union members still have to ratify the deal which apparently resulted in them getting nearly everything they asked for, which is awesome.  Well, it’s awesome if you’re a TTC union member.  If you’re not, you can look forward to more of what TTC union president Bob Kinnear called overpriced fares and poor customer service.  How he could say that while calling this end to the hostage negotiations a win is beyond me, but I’m willing to cede that it was pure bravado and I wonder how he is able to sit down with cahones that big.

Still, without a transit strike, I had plenty to get mad about this weekend.  On Saturday morning, I went to the mechanic to have some basic service done on our car.  I arrived 15 minutes before the pre-arranged 11:30 appointment, and got home at nearly 4pm.  They had put the car up on the hydraulics to work on it, but the guy who does the wheel re-alignment went on a long lunch, so it stayed up there for a long time.  At least I got to spend the best part of a beautiful day in a waiting room.

My weekend got better from there.  Danielle’s mom, sister and step-dad were in from Montreal on their way to Minnesota so we had house guests for a night and they dropped of our new roommate.  We’ll be dogsitting their lab for three weeks.  So we got to play with the dog and enjoy a steak dinner and some great company.

On Sunday, we headed up to Barrie to visit with my parents and Uncle and Aunt who were staying at a resort up there.  It was a short trip, but a great day for a drive (except that gas is somewhere around $15 a litre).

Now that it looks like “Roll Up the Rim to Win” is effectively over at Tim Hortons, stay tuned here for a painfully detailed breakdown of my 2008 results, including pie chart goodness (mmmm, pie) and intense statistical analysis.  It’s the second coolest useless thing you’ll see this week (after Facebook Chat.  Meh).

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I swear that Canada’s journalism junta is trying to kill me.  First, they report that in spite of the Worth A Million campaign, the TTC Union is going to walk off the job on Monday in a strike.  That means that for at least a day, they won’t even be worth the inflated cash fare of $2.75 that riders have to pay to be treated like garbage.  Awesome.

Next, they report that Nalgene will stop making their wonderful bottles (it’s near the bottom of that article), phasing out production over the next few months.  Nooooooo.  Does this mean that campers will have to go back to drinking water from aluminum army surplus canteens or from old Coke bottles?  I, for one, plan on buying up Nalgene bottles before they disappear completely from this earth.

So on Monday, while I walk the 6km to my office in the spring sun and heat, I plan on taking liberal gulps of water from any number of Nalgene bottles.  That way, when I get really ill from Bisphenol A poisoning, I too will be worth a million… in civil litigation fees.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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