May 01, 2004

Games Night

Had fun at Trev's playing board games with Dave and Rucell. We played Life (which has changed somewhat in the years since I was 10), Clue (which was a bit too mental for my tastes) and Settlers of Cataan.

Had fun, but really tired now.

Posted by JAY at 12:22 AM

May 02, 2004

Anniversary Lamb Leg

It was my parent's anniversary, and one of the things I made was a roast leg of lamb. Lisa made a trifle for dessert. To make this lamb, I ground up garlic, sage, parsley, black pepper and olive oil. I rubbed it over the lamb and baked it at 350 degrees.

Posted by JAY at 06:40 PM

Anniversary Mussel Pasta

This was the other course, a pasta (rotini) with mussels steamed in champagne. I also added portobello mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers. It was tossed in the same herb pesto that the lamb was coated in.

I could've used more herbs - I meant the dish to turn out looking a bit more green. The mussels were good, though.

Posted by JAY at 06:55 PM

Customer Service

Ugh. Had a yucky experience at the Dominion/A&P grocery store in the town where I live. It retrospect, it was funny. When it happened, I was pissed. It cost me about $2.50 and half an hour of time. Names have not been changed to protect the identity of the rude.

The register wasn't working, and wouldn't read my cards. I insisted that the problem was with the card reader, as I had just used the card(s) at other stores. Amanda was very professional and courteous, even though she was new and due for a break. She called the cashier monitor, Gwen.

Gwen sucked. Read on.

Gwen refused my request to be rung in at another register and insisted that the problem was with my cards were being declined. Gwen patently did not believe me and it showed. She wanted me to use the bank machine outside the store, which I told her would cost me an extra $2.50 in Interac and convenience charges (it wasnít my bank). She insisted and followed me out to the bank machine. I showed her the ATM receipt with the card number but she still insisted it was my cards. I paid with the cash that I withdrew.

Of course, the next customer behind me also wanted to use his credit card and, of course, it failed on both readers (register and Interac reader) too. At that point, Gwen called a higher supervisor who promptly used the empty register beside me to successfully swipe his card. The supervisor apologized gracefully to me for the extra trouble. Gwen, however, was nowhere to be seen.

Honestly, the extra $2.50 on a $30 purchase didnít bother me as much as the arrogant refusal to believe that it could be anything but that my 2 cards weren't working. Argh. Stupid people.

Posted by JAY at 10:27 PM

May 03, 2004

Movie: Osama

Soapbox warning!

Southlake Cinemania showed Osama today, one of the first movies out of post-Taliban Afganistan. Siddiq Barmak's film unrelentingly depicts the hopeless plight of impoverished women under the Taliban.

Inventively filmed to incorporate the filming process into the story, the film is bleak and unforgiving. Uncomfortably, I'm aware of my ignorance with any rebuttal to the film's emotional argument. Certainly, it raises important issues with regards to the role of women in strictly Shara Islam. However, its timely release and popularity could be misused to justify a war that was never about human rights.

Like medicine, it may not be what I wanted, but it could be what I needed.
Certainly a significant film.

Posted by JAY at 11:14 PM

May 07, 2004

Movie: Super Size Me!

Super Size Me! is an entertaining documentary/reality show about obesity and fast food (specifically McDonalds) in America.

Its gimmick is that the film's subject/maker, Morgan Spurlock, is eating solely at McDonalds for one month. Thankfully, the gimmick works, due to Spurlock's sense of humor and timing.

As his health deteriorates for the entertainment of the viewing audience, the movie depicts many of the problems that are causing an obese America. The result is quite funny - but it leaves me craving a double quarter-pounder! Those things are awesome!

The documentary isn't as strident as Michael Moores' tend to be. It is very entertaining and reasonably informative - and recommended! There's not much in way of rebuttal from the food industry, but they were at least given the opportunity to participate.

Posted by JAY at 11:39 PM

Debate: Smoking

So after watching Supersize Me, Dave and I started debating the liberty of cigarette smoking in pubs. Dave (a non-smoker) argued that smoking in bars should be allowed because cigarettes are legal. I (also a non-smoker) argued that since second-hand smoke affects the health of everyone around them, legislating against smoking in public was fair game.

Read on for the arguments/counter arguments.
(I've left comments open on this one, so that Dave can correct me if he wants to.)

Dave: Cigarettes are legal
and thus should be allowed in bars, just like drinking.

My response to this is that when you start affecting other people, rules are always involved. Second hand smoke affects others, including the workers there. Drinking affects only yourself. If you do start to affect others (by driving, or even just being belligerant), legislation applies.

Me: Canada legislates a safe work environment

Dave's response was that many jobs are dangerous (like window washing on skyscrapers) and it's the choice of the worker to work in a smoking bar since the majority of work environments are smoke free. My response is that whenever there is danger, safety measure are legislated. The only reason that the majority of work environments are smoke free is the legislation that has been passed thus far.

Dave: Should cigar bars be allowed to open, then?

I'm not sure. The easy answer would be that you take the cigars home to share with your friends. However, I acknowledge that interaction with strangers is fun too. In Ireland, they're allowed to smoke on the patios, so I guess that's the compromise that I'd suggest.

I think that's the gist, but please do read the comments for any clarifications/further discussions. I'll incorporate any corrections and leave the comments untouched.

Posted by JAY at 11:55 PM

May 09, 2004

Shrimp Cream Sauce

The main course for the Mother's Day Dinner was Shimp Cream Sauce over penne. It was yummy :) The side dishes were another leg of lamb (it's still on sale), braised leeks with more shrimp and steamed asparagus.

Posted by JAY at 06:44 PM

Mother's Day Cake

Made a black forest cake for dessert on Mother's Day. I cheated with canned cherries, but it still tasted good. Making the chocolate curls was a pain in the butt and I made too many. There's still a bowl of them in the freezer. And yeah, that's a lot of whipped cream.

Posted by JAY at 06:52 PM

May 10, 2004

Agatha Raisin

and the Day the Floods Came, by M.C. Beaton

I really, really enjoy these mysteries. They're intelligently hilarious. Strangely, though, I only remember that when one of the books happens across my path and I can't put it down.

The protagonist is an immature, middle-aged, semi-retired woman who desperately wants to be loved. She considers herself a crack mystery solver, but she never manages to get any of the credit.

A memorable cast of re-curring characters and a deceptive variety of suspects make this a hard book to put down. Unfortunately, they mystery isn't often as inscrutable/neat as my fave, Agatha Christie. Still, highly recommended.

Posted by JAY at 09:45 PM

May 14, 2004

Restaurant: India House

Picked up dinner at India House, on the north-east corner of Yonge and Mulock in Newmarket. It was a tasty buffet, though things were still being set up - they're not licensed to serve alcohol yet, for example.

The selection at the buffet was pretty small. Butter chicken was a bit odd, as it looked like the chicken in the sauce had been baked in red tandoori seasoning first. It tasted good, though. Curried lamb was very nice. Pureed spinach with paneer was good. Curried vegetables and chick peas rounded out the buffet.

Fresh naan bread dotted with spiced butter was a highlight, though they were still baking it and it didn't come until near the end of the meal. The dessert, a liquid rice pudding, could have been a bit more heavily spiced.

I wonder if the menu changes daily - I'd think it must as one would get bored with the same thing every day and not return. I'll have to check. For $15 + tax and tip, it was a reasonably priced meal and something that Newmarket doesn't already have.

Posted by JAY at 10:00 PM

May 15, 2004

Movie: Troy

Saw Troy today with friends.

It was entertaining - the battle and fight scenes were impressive, the characters and plot were classic (sort of). The dialogue and acting was pretty clunky, with the exception of Peter O'Toole, who gave an impressively spiritual portrayal of Troy's King Priam.

I can't approve of all of the alterations made to the classic, but that's to be expected, I suppose. The coins over the eyes were a bit jarring - I could handle the odd anachronism, but they were doing it all the time, emphasizing the ritual that didn't exist yet.

Maybe a wait-for-dvd-release... it just wasn't that good. Of course, the best parts of this film were visual, so maybe seeing it on a big screen is worthwhile.

Posted by JAY at 11:06 PM

May 17, 2004

Movie: La Grande Seduction

A Quebecois movie directed by Jean-Francois Pouliot, this movie is quietly funny and well acted. The premise is that Saint Marie-la-Mauderne needs to lure a doctor into its tiny welfare town in order to attract a factory.

To this end, the villagers cooperate to make Sainte Marie attractive to the new doctor, hoping to get him to sign a 5 year contract. Their plans involve much hastily planned deception that is humourously portrayed.

The actors do a great job, especially the lead plotter Germain (Raymond Bouchard) and the doctor (David Boutin). Both of them are ruthless and somewhat selfish, though in different ways. Predictably, they're also very sympathetic as they pursue their goals. A large cast of funny characters fill out the tiny island.

There are no cheap laughs here - everything is character driven. I liked that a lot, though a friend of mine didn't and got rather loudly bored. But the consensus of the Southlake Cinemania crowd seemed to enjoy the movie, and so did I.

Posted by JAY at 10:27 PM

May 24, 2004


Update: caught them the next day on camera - busted! Sadly, runt was nowhere to be seen.

On my walk today, I noticed a cute family of Canada geese. Then, as I walked futher up the path, I saw a little gosling struggling along alone. I chased it back (without touching it) to its family, but the parents were hostile and kept driving it away when it tried to join them. Maybe something was wrong with it - it was a good deal smaller than the others.

I felt bad for the little gosling and had a spirited conversation with the parents (involving much hissing on both sides). Unfortunately, they knew that I couldn't report them as I didn't have my digicam with me; they didn't take me seriously at all. The family eventually swam off, but by that time the adults had chased the gosling far enough away that it didn't notice them leaving. Aw.

Posted by JAY at 05:10 AM

Color My World

I spent the entire long weekend repainting the interior of the house (aka the Prison Beige, as that's the only color on the entire floor). The last time the family didn't listen to my suggestions, they ended up settling on a hideous bright orange beige (it seems like an oxymoron, but it's not!) for the finished basement.

So this time, they more or less let me choose.

I kept a pale beige for the foyer and hallway. A cool grey-blue for the family room and a more sophisticated coffee-cream color for the dining room. Mom wanted green in the kitchen, so we chose a minty cool one that should feel bright. I'm not too sure about that choice.

However, all was not well in color-land...

(Stay tuned tomorrow - this story isn't over yet, it's just waiting for my digicam to come home!)

Posted by JAY at 05:21 PM

May 25, 2004

Resolution Update

This entry will be revamped as time progresses, rather than clutter up the entire journal. The extended entry text will hold the past info.

Weeks 19: Perfect week

Swam every weekday, did the rest, too... and still gained 2 pounds!! Aargh!

Weight: 160lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 2lbs gane
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 5lbs

Weeks 19: Success

Swam 4 times, did the rest, too...

Weight: 158lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 1lbs loss
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 7lbs

Weeks 17-18: 2 weeks of Ultra-success

Did everything, swam 4x/week and walked 3x. Almost made it 5x, but got sick. Only ate out once/week. I'm still sick this week, though, so I haven't swam. Hopefully I'm better by Wednesday.

Weight: 159 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 2 lbs loss
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 6 lbs

Weeks 14-16: Hey, I was sick...

I swam a bit (twice) in the final week, but was sick for the first 2. It actually was timed pretty well, since my swim pass ran out at the same time. And while I wasn't eating at first, I ended up eating like a horse. Argh.

Only weighed the last week...

Weight: 161 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 2.5 gain
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 4 lbs

Week 13: Failure... but...

Only swam ONCE, and yet, lost a lot of weight.
Don't know if this is a delayed effect from last week's exercise or my sickness, because I ate a LOT this week.

Whatever, as long as it continues!

Weight: 158.5 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 2.5
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 6.5 lbs

Week 12: Success

Did all the right things, and still GAINED a pound. Argh!

Weight: 161 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 1
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 4 lbs

Week 11: Sorta Success

Only swam 2x, but I sorta figure that pushing the van to the mechanic's garage counts for the rest. Did my walks and weights, and didn't eat out ONCE! Still no more weight loss, though, which is starting to get frustrating.

Weight: 160 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 0
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 5 lbs

Week 10: Semi-Success

Ate out waaay too much. Actually, ate too much, period. Swam 3 time, though, and got my walks.
It's worth a 0.5... and though I'm still 160lbs, it's a more emphatic 160lbs.
This nex week is gonna be tough though, with my car kaput.

Weight: 160 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 0
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 5 lbs

Week 9: Success

Totally made it this week. Swam 4x, walked 3x. Bought 2 lunches, and one was just a grilled chicken wrap today at the ROM.

Weight: 160 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 1
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 5 lbs

Week 8: Success

I was short one walk, but I made up for it with an extra swim (4 days this week). Unfortunately, my eat-outs were McDonalds and Swiss Chalet, of the eeevil french fries.

Still no weight loss, though.

In the bad news/good news department, it looks like I have the non-6-pack kind of abs. Rats! On the other hand, it's the first time in my life that I can see a hint of them...

Weight: 161 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 0
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 4 lbs

Week 7: Unavoidable Failure

I tried my best, but it wasn't meant to be this week. I was away 3 days for training, where I basically had to buy my food. I swam twice, but the hotel pool was too small to merit much exercise. I did end up walking a lot, as the hotel was a few blocks away from the training locations, and I wandered Square One for about 3 hours.

Surprisingly, my weight didn't go up. Probably because I didn't do any weight training Wed-Fri.

Weight: 161 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 0
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 4 lbs

Week 6: Success

Well, close enough, anyway. I only bought lunch 2x, and didn't buy dinner at all. However, Trev treated me to dinner (thanks, Trev!) when we went shopping for his Valentine's Day dinner. I'm not sure whether the food resolution was a monetary or dietary one, but I think it was mostly monetary.

My weight is down further than it has ever been, which is good. I wonder if this is what's known as yo-yo dieting!

Weight: 161 lbs (W00t!)
Net loss/gain from last week: 4 lbs gained
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 4 lbs

Week 5: Utter, Utter Failure!

Well, on my Week Of Rest, I didn't swim or walk. I ate at Swiss Chalet, Mary Browns (twice!) and The Golden Bell. I made Cinnamon Buns and a huge curry. Unsurprisingly, I'm back up to 165 lbs. Sigh.

Weight: 165 lbs (boo!)
Net loss/gain from last week: 3 lbs gained
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 0 lbs

Week 4: success!
I forgot to weigh this week - so we'll see next week.
I didn't get out to walk once, but other than that, did everything else. I figure I did enough moving stuff at work and shovelling snow to make up for that.

Week 3: success!
Total success, went walking yesterday and today (pure misery, it's COLD!) and swam Tues/Wed/Thurs. I haven't eaten out this week at all...

Weight: 162 lbs (yay!)
Net loss/gain from last week: 3 lbs lost
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 3 lbs

Week 2: semi-success
I'm somewhat discouraged this week, cuz I managed to undo any progress so far...

Did the swimming and the strength training, but it was too darned cold to do the walks. Only bought 1 lunch, but kinda bought 1 1/2 dinners - one dinner was just a salad.

I wonder if I'm not eating enough - on 2 days, I skipped all meals except dinner, because I didn't have anything to pack.

Weight: 165 lbs (nooo!)
Net loss/gain from last week: 2.5 lbs gain
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 0 lbs

Week 1: success!
Weight: 162.5 lbs
Net loss/gain from last week: 2.5 lbs
Net loss/gain from 165 lbs: 2.5 lbs

Monday: strength training, packed curry
Tuesday: swimming, pork and rice
Wednesday: swimming, Swiss Chalet (yum!)
Thursday: walk, strength training, pork and rice (it was a BIG roast)
Friday: swimming, walk, lamb chops
Saturday: strength training

Posted by JAY at 05:19 PM | Comments (6)


There was a present waiting for me when I got to work today - a 17 inch LCD monitor! Awesome! The only problem is that I use DualHead, and I wasn't sent two LCDs. Heh, and not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it had an always on blue pixel in the upper left quad. But with a resolution of 1280x1024, it's cool... Now I have to decide whether to keep the second old monitor that you see to the right.

Posted by JAY at 07:24 PM