June 03, 2004


I almost bought a house...

It was a new detached, closing mid 2005. Not a bad price, either, $250K. Great location, within walking distance of groceries, hardware stores and the bus station.

Unfortunately, there was a clause in the Purchase and Sale Agreement that said that "the purchase price in the Agreement may be increased or adjusted by certain additional costs or charges". I'm pretty sure that they just mean the normal closing costs (paving, meter installation, hookup, etc), but that's not what it says.

I told them if they could strike or amend the clause to be more specific, I'd take it. But they talked to their lawyers who refused to modify it. Other purchase agreements that I've seen itemize the closing costs in the contract.

Posted by JAY at 08:14 PM

June 05, 2004


Reading Emily and Lauren, I've decided that I will remain single forever. (Er, if either of you ladies come across this - it's not just you or in any way your fault... you're just the only public sources that I can quote!)

Me. Single. FOREVER.

Someone send me a link back to this place if I ever write that I'm seeing someone! (I mean, after all, it's not like I have any current prospects!)

Posted by JAY at 11:19 AM

June 10, 2004

Apartment Hunting

View image
Started apartment hunting today. I have the feeling that I'm going to regret letting this one slip through my fingers, but I didn't want to commit to the first one I saw. It's about 3 minutes walk from my office!

Grr, for some reason, Image::Magick doesn't seem to be working right now on my site, so no thumbnails.

Posted by JAY at 08:01 PM

June 12, 2004

Apartment Hunting Cont'd

So Dave was kind enough to take me apartment hunting today. I had lined up 3 to go see today. The first one was the best. It was a basement apartment on a walkout lot, backing onto forest. It was clean and well appointed and owned by a friendly young couple. The current tenant had a very affectionate kitten that was very cute. Unfortunately, it was a bit far from where I work.

The other 2 were dreadful. One was too distant from work and smelled wierd. The other one was expensive, run down and didn't have any access to laundry facilities.

Posted by JAY at 10:34 AM

June 13, 2004

Restaurant: Stir Fry King

After looking at apartments in Newmarket, Dave wanted to look at condos in Toronto. We were around my regional headquarters at lunch, so I suggested a stripped down looking Chinese restaurant that I had noticed being busy with Asians the last time I was there for training.

It was really good.

The smells when entering the restaurant more than made up for its bare-bones (but clean) appearance. In fact, I was tempted to just say "get me whatever it is that's smelling so good!"

Instead, I took a look through their extensive menu and selected "Crab meat withi e-fu noodles" for $8.95. Dave selected a baked curry chicken dish. Now, $8.95 is pretty cheap for crab, so I feared getting fake crab, but I couldn't really ask wtihout being insulting.

Fortunately, it just meant that the crab meat was sparing in the pasta. And it didn't matter, because it was flavoring all the pasta. It tasted good enough that I gave Dave a taste of them and he agreed. Highly recommended.

Dave's curry was more pedestrian, using pre-blended curry powder that lacked any distinctive qualities. It still tasted good, and it had been broiled in the oven until the potatoes had a nice crust on them.

Service was friendly - I was especially impressed when the servers were handling "problem customers" at the next table. Even after the customers were rude and a pain, the servers tried to run after them with a forgotten belonging. The meal included free jasmine tea. Our meal came to $20 + tip, and the portion sizes were very generous. In fact, I would have only eaten 1/2 of my plate - but it tasted too good and I stuffed it all in. I can't wait to go back!

Stir Fry King
Yonge Street, North of Sheppard
on the West side

Posted by JAY at 10:42 AM

June 14, 2004

Apartment Found

Turns out I got the first apartment. Yay!

Signed the papers on lunch break from work. The landlord dude seems pretty nice. I didn't think the tenancy agreement was very clear, so I re-wrote it. He just took a brief glance at it before signing it. Too bad I didn't include the soul of his first born or something. I only made it for 6 months and told him that I'd like to stay longer, but if it sucked, I was outta there. He seemed pretty comfortable with that - a good sign.

Anyway, I gave him first/last month's rent and he called before cashing it to see if I had changed my mind and make sure that I had the money in the bank already. So yeah, looks good. Moving in July.

Posted by JAY at 06:54 PM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2004

Author Talk: Wayson Choy

This evening I was invited to hear author Wayson Choy talk about his life and writing experiences. Karen recently gave me his novel, The Jade Peony, a character driven novel describing life in Vancouver's Chinatown in the 1930s. The event was hosted by the East Gwillimbury Friends of the Library at the Town Hall council chambers.

He spoke movingly about being "lucky", looking for signs and learning the writing craft. He also spoke entertainingy about race and growing up as a "banana" - Chinese on the outside and "white" on the inside. He mentioned that when talking to other visible minorities he found that they usually had a similar food related term: oreo, apple (native), etc. And one day he met a caucasian Scottish man who grew up in China. Apparently, he was termed an "egg"!

Posted by JAY at 09:54 PM

June 18, 2004

Movie: Zatoichi

Saw The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, a subtitled Japanese movie that is very much the product of the writer/director/star Takeshi Kitano.

Gory yet very plot driven, this film was a pleasure. Musical interludes sometimes fall a bit flat, but others work. Shot very simply, most of the time the movie's artifice (special effects, etc.) blends seamlessly into the rest of the movie.

The wandering blind warrior wanders into a town that is rife with corruption and gang warfare. He quickly makes friends and enemies with the town's inhabitants, which include a kindly aunt who does a lot with a rather limited role, a gambler and two geishas.

Schizo in tone, there's a lot of action, melodrama and comedy. Really cool.

Posted by JAY at 11:03 PM

Stir Fried King Redux

We went back to Stir Fried King for dinner after the movie and tried a couple more dishes.

Apparently, 'special' is a euphemism for 'mystery organ meats" because that's what was in the Special Congee ($3.75 for a huge bowl - and it wasn't even the "super bowl" from the menu!). It tasted pretty much like standard congee - a thick rice peasant soup.

I ordered "Shrimp, Scallop and Squid in Bird's Nest" ($15). It was ok, but nothing exceptional. The nest noodles were different - noodles made of some sort of root vegetable rather than rice or wheat flour. I also tried a mixture of chicken scallops and shrimp bound together with milk and egg and steamed.

We preferred what we had the first day, but still enjoyed ourselves. We ended up without any major starches - mostly because we had no idea what we were ordering.

Posted by JAY at 11:31 PM

June 22, 2004

Hotel Meeting

At a hotel in North York this evening for a meeting.

Gave a presentation today that they tell me went well. Have one tomorrow that will probably suck.

And stay tuned for the story of how the lowly CS-01s beat the eeevil CS-03s in a 3 set match of shuffleboard!

Ugh, sleep now.

Posted by JAY at 11:45 PM

June 25, 2004

Restaurant: Swatow

20040902SwatowSoup.jpgThis is one of my favorite restaurants. (Toronto.com)

There's no ambience, service is perfunctory but very efficient, and you may be asked to share a table if the restaurant is busy (it always is).

But the food is both cheap and great. And that makes up for everything!

I love the Swatow roasted duck with special sauce (item 135 on the menu). It's a boneless 1/2 duck that is lightly fried and served over pineable. Just $10! It's maybe a bit dry, but the sauce remedies that. The duck fat has been rendered out of it, so it's not as greasy as duck usually is.

This time out, we also got the Swatow special soup (item 1 on the menu). For $5 it's a full meal in a bowl. An excellent broth contains abundant noodles with fish and pork balls, a shrimp dumpling and some fish slices. It also has various organ meats that can be eaten or avoided at your preference. Strangely, the includsion of liver doesn't negatively affect the taste of the broth - it is likely added at the end. I could barely finish the large bowl - I left back some broth and mourned that I was too full to drink it.

Only cash is accepted here, no interac, no credit!
Try to get there early, as it fills up quickly.

309 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T2E6
Phone: (416) 977-0601

Posted by JAY at 11:52 PM

June 26, 2004

Rucell's Birthday

Went to Rucell's birthday today.

It was a lot of fun, out near the lake and with an overwhelming amount of good food. Poor Rucell must've been cooking all night! We had beautiful weather too.

I especially liked the fried rice and coconut confection. There were also bbq'ed meats, stews and other stuff. We talked with some of her friends and hung out there till late.

Posted by JAY at 11:00 PM

June 29, 2004

These are a few of my...

... favorite businesses to deal with! They deserve mega-kudos.

The JBlog Awards!

Webhosting: NearlyFreeSpeech.net has the fairest prices, practical billing and the best support I've encountered, bar none. This thread in their forums illustrates how fast they responded on a Sunday, no less, to my problems with uploading thumbnails. They had a faster turnaround than I did with my feedback!

Usenet: Easynews is the most complete, longest retaining, most interactive news service there is. They constantly evolve their offerings. For example, awarding download quota for feedback. They also give quota for distributed computing hours (finding a cure for cancer, etc), which also gives them free advertising as the highest ranking team on grid.org. Finally adding a web interface to search all of usenet for my info!

And my favorite restaurants, Dhaba, Swatow and Golden Bell for being fairly priced and yummy!

Posted by JAY at 12:15 AM | Comments (1)

My country, she is safe!

Relatively speaking, that is. It's escaped the socially backward clutches of the "Conservatives" - who were really just the Alliance/Reform in disguise.

As I was mentioning earlier to a colleague, the best outcome was a Liberal minority (punish them for that corruption) with the NDP holding the balance - better them than the Bloc. The Bloc made significant gains, but that was perhaps unavoidable. If at all possible, the NDP should use their new power to achieve their goal of proportional representation. I have the feeling that more people would vote NDP if they could choose Liberal as a second choice.

We'll see how this ends.

Posted by JAY at 11:12 PM | Comments (1)