July 19, 2014

  • The last bridesmaid dress ever


    Source: http://rlv.zcache.com/always_the_bridesmaid_pin-rd7593f899cf24f1b8bd5d27c71df79aa_x7j3i_8byvr_324.jpg

    The day has arrived. Today, Cookie girl, my oldest friend, is getting married. We’ve known each other since we were 5 years old. And this is the absolute LAST bridesmaid dress I will ever wear. I know there are so many people who think being a bridesmaid is *such* a great honour, but when you have as many bridesmaid dresses as I do, you will realize that it is more burden than honour.

    MS2
    Source: http://s3.amazonaws.com/
    designs.weddingpaperie.com/original/1264/MS2.jpg

    At some point in history, I think it was an honour. You were important/special enough to the bride that she wanted you to be involved…and you wanted to be involved. But I’ve become very jaded over the years. And nothing has jaded me more than the last wedding I was in. It made me realize that not all my friends are considerate. Not all my friends want me to be a part of their day because I’m important to them. Some “friends” are self-absorbed, inconsiderate, selfish brats who think that because they’re the bride, everyone has to accommodate their insanity. And by some, I mean one. And yes, she was most definitely, a Bridezilla.


    Source: http://www.hadaraboutique.com/Blog%20images/bridezilla.png

    To be honest, I have no regrets being a bridesmaid for the first four friends that asked me. The first wedding was probably the best wedding I’ve ever been a part of. The second was an out of town wedding. The third was a big traditional Chinese wedding with all the bells and whistles. The fourth was my bff’s. So yeah…no regrets AT ALL.

    But that fifth wedding…FUCK…I TOTALLY should have stuck with my initial response (which was “HELL no!”). After that nightmare (starting with the bridal shower and ending with the reception), I was so traumatized, it took me almost a month and 100 L of ice cream to recover. She didn’t even ask her best friend to be her Maid of Honour. She asked me…of all people. WE AREN’T EVEN CLOSE!!! Caving when she said that there was no one else she could ask is probably the BIGGEST regret of my life. And I’m not the type that has regrets.

    Thankfully, Cookie girl is NOTHING like Bridezilla. She’s one of the most considerate people I know. So even though for years, I had been trying to plant the idea of not asking me to be a bridesmaid in her mind, I knew that when the day came, I would have to say yes. And despite all my moaning about it, I’m not opposed to being a part of her wedding party.

    But the purpose of this blog post, is to set forth in stone (figuratively) that I will NEVER agree to be a bridesmaid/maid of honour again.


    Source: http://www.weddingpartyapp.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Will-you-be-my-bridesmaid-box-chanel-powder-pearls-wedding-party-blog.jpg

    Not for anyone. This post makes it official. If I am the only friend you have and you need a bridesmaid, I WILL STILL SAY NO!!


    Source: http://sr.photos3.fotosearch.com/bthumb/CSP/CSP207/k2078647.jpg

    I will gladly, chip in $100 so that you can hire a bridesmaid. But I will not be slowly walking down any more aisles in satin or chiffon bridesmaid dresses. I’ve paid more than my dues. I’m done.

July 13, 2014

  • It’s Not Epic

    Approximately 6 weeks ago, I started reading A Game of Thrones. I was never planning on reading it. I don’t watch the show and I’m fairly picky when it comes to epic fantasy fiction. In this genre, I’m particular to Tolkien, and all other series just haven’t been able to gain even a foothold in my favour. Rowling was able to get pry open the door slightly, but she closed the door on herself with the fifth book, as her goal shifted from writing a good story to trying to be completely unpredictable no matter how ludicrous. So what if a 15-year old guessed what you were going to write? If that arc was going to make the best story, GO WITH IT!!

    But I digress.

    When I posted on Facebook that I had purchased the Game of Thrones 5-volume series, several of my friends asked me to tell them my opinion on it. I only decided to read it because recently, Linwood Barclay had been tweeting about it. Linwood Barclay was my favourite columnist from the Toronto Star. He retired from The Star to dip his own pen in the world of mystery novels and he has found quite a bit of success. That said, if I selfishly got to choose, he’d still be writing satirical columns in The Star, three days a week. Anyway, I figured if he liked it, maybe I would crack it open and see what all the hype was about.

    So for everyone that asked me to tell them my opinion on these books, here’s the short version.

    If you even remotely care about good grammar, and want a truly robust epic, told with the full backdrop of a detailed depiction of the world in which the story is told, don’t waste your money or time on this. Seriously. Just don’t.

    If you want something gory and flashy, this is the series for you. I’m pretty sure you’d be better off watching the TV series (I hear the production is absolutely gorgeous), but as a book, you’d really only be able to extract it’s full entertainment value if you can overlook the atrocious grammar and the printed…dramatic…pauses. There are so many ellipses, he should have recorded this as an audio book.

    To be fair, the central line of the story is not bad. And there are some moments of sheer literary brilliance. But Martin is very frugal with these gems so instead of being a crown, shimmering with an abundance of jewels, it’s more like a defect, shunted off to the side even though there are a couple of gems still encrusted on it.

    I apparently greatly offended someone earlier this week because I called this story, “swill for the low brow.” But I stand by my opinion that this is no more than popular fiction. It’s not Tolkien. It’s not Hemingway (and I don’t even like Hemingway). It’s not Dickens. It’s NOT even Douglas Adams. BUT…that’s not to say it’s not popular. It’s hugely popular. But I’d be hard pressed to believe that it would be as popular as it is right now were it not for HBO and a sensationally talented production team. This might be a TV drama for the ages (though I’m not entirely convinced), but it is most definitely NOT something that will be on the English Lit reading lists of the future. Literature this is not.

    There are two major things I strongly dislike about this series (besides the grammar thing). The less controversial reason of the two is the killing off of main characters. Be warned, there will be spoilers. If you haven’t read the book or watched the series, proceed at your own peril.

    The series opens essentially focused on Ned Stark. And for the most part, I’d say the first book did a pretty good job of creating his story arc and developing his character. It drew you into his internal conflicts and encouraged the reader to invest in him emotionally. By brutally beheading him at the end of the first book instead of later in the series, I became bitter and annoyed. Essentially, Martin made me invest all that time in a character that will not grow or develop beyond everything he’s already told me. But I gave it a chance, and I started reading the second book. There’s a lot of mention of Ned Stark: so much so that I thought I was reading a girlfriend’s emo pining over an ex-boyfriend. Nothing is going to change. Nothing is going to grow from this. Stop talking about him and move on! And after getting two thirds of the way through book two, what happens? Martin kills off Bran Stark. Now, I can invest further with the belief that he might reincarnate Bran through his direwolf, but honestly, I don’t care. Killing off characters just as they achieve enough development for me to give a shit is not the best way to convince me to keep reading. But yes, I’m well aware that he wasn’t writing specifically for me. I’m just giving my opinion on his choices.

    The more controversial reason for my strong dislike of the series is his depiction of women and the fringe of society. This series feeds you all the things that modern day society shuns (at least officially). This series doesn’t do what a documentary or history book does. It doesn’t say, “mass gang rapes happened when villages were pillaged.” It vividly glorifies it like it’s not only expected during a pillage, but it’s the best part. I’ve been told that, “surely” I *must* know, that the point of the book is to say life was tough back in medieval times. Yes, I know times were tough. But that’s not what this series is trying to tell me. It’s telling me to revel in it, because these are the things that were accepted, once upon a time. In your modern, every day life, you can’t rape, pillage, or exhibit prejudices against dwarves and those born out of wedlock. So read this series, because all these things are included AND acceptable. There’s even some incest if the mass gang rapes aren’t enough. It’s not exactly a flattering depiction of men in positions of power either. But I’m sure all those white guys complaining about reverse sexism LOVE this.

    I’m on page 786 of the second book, and I can safely say I’ve lost interest. I’ve actually started skimming through chapters because I just don’t care about the details. I’ll probably stick it out and finish this book, but I don’t know that I’ll bother starting the third. I could go read something else that is better written (because that grammar shit matters to me) and higher quality.

    To quote a friend’s reaction when he heard I had started reading the series: “Isn’t that a form or torture? Just watch the tv show.”

    Sage advice. I should’ve listened.

July 9, 2014

  • Ignorance is only bliss if you know how to use it

    Disclaimer: This rant may lead you to accuse me of snobbery. But I care nothing for your accusations. It’s a legit rant. And if you feel the need to defend A Game of Thrones, go write your own blog post. I am not inclined to have this brain-numbing conversation more than once.

    I read a LOT of classics. So many, that I put a library in my house. My favourite book is Pride and Prejudice. I have multiple editions of my favourite classics. Yeah…I’m one of those people. So while I might not be an authority on literature, I’m enough of an aficionado to know what is good literature.

    So when you condescendingly say this to me (in defense of the countless, ridiculous, over-the-top, mass-rape scenes in A Game of Thrones), you can bet every cent you have that I am judging you.

    It’s an unforgiving world. It’s not meant to be our world of progressive thinking. Surely that wasn’t lost on you?”

    Because what? You thought I was reading A Game of Thrones as a literal reflection of modern day society? Because the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is literally about a green light at the end of an upstate New York pier? Or because the saying, “Have your cake and eat it too” is a literal statement about cake? If you read A Game of Thrones for more than the shiny, gory, bloody, glitz that it is…you’ll realize that Martin’s portrayal of women — even “strong” women — is quite insulting. But this rant isn’t about the particulars of the story. It’s about the staunch, determination of the ignorant.

    Sure, I get that it’s your knee-jerk reaction to my opinion that GoT is nothing compared to Lord of the Rings. And yeah, I responded that A Game of Thrones is swill for the low brow when you claimed it was more interesting than LoTR. Believe me, I can see why you were offended. But saying:

    The only thing really separating the two is age. LOTR would not be as popular or beloved in this day and age.

    clearly shows that you don’t know the difference between popular and classic. This is like saying Nickelback will out last Mozart…or Lindsay Lohan is more elegant than Audrey Hepburn…or Teletubbies is better than Sesame Street. UHM HELLO!!! NEVER!!! A Game of Thrones may make for excellent television (or so I’m told, since I have never watched), but the books are not classic literature.

    This is the third conversation in as many days where someone has tried to assert some level of expertise in areas where they have no knowledge.

    You want to be indignant? You want to be offended? Go. Be indignant. Be offended. Passive-aggressively write mean things about me on your FB wall. I don’t care. I don’t try to talk you out of your ignorance. I’m more than willing to let you publicly flaunt your lack of knowledge. But don’t waste my time. We don’t need to “discuss” it. Really.

June 26, 2014

  • Whose fault is it?

    Sometimes, I read the news and think to myself, “Really, America?” And then I have to remind myself that most Americans that I know are not this uhm…what’s a good diplomatic word? Oh, challenged.

    But these are the things that make the news, and these are the things that are truly embarrassing. Every country has embarrassing idiots…but not every embarrassing idiot at fault tries to sue someone else for their own stupidity. That sort of thing does tend to be uniquely American.

    Take, for example, this couple.

    Let’s get the primary fact out of the way. Yes, the BA ticketing agent messed up by putting the couple on a flight to Grenada instead of Granada. Com’on, BA. Get yo’ shit together. Sure, it’s probably just the American accent thing that tripped you up, but you’re an airline. You know you should be referring to destinations by name *and* airport code, just so there’s no confusion. It would’ve been better for you in the long run if you had just re-routed them to Granada and put them up in a hotel for a day or two to make up for it. Your offering was a bit meager.

    CORRECTION: So, turns out BA did offer to fly them to Granada for free on top of this offering. So it’s not that meager. This couple is just downright ridiculous!

    ba
    Source: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/4/8/1270728062708/A-British-Airways-plane-l-001.jpg

    HOWEVER…

    Maybe the couple should take a bit of responsibility on this.

    When the e-ticket said “Grenada” without a “country” listed, the couple didn’t think to ask? There aren’t multiple spellings for Granada. And the only way this could possibly escape one’s notice is…IF THEY DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO SPELL GRANADA IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    spelling
    Source: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/49/93/0b/49930b155e769097025dbdd2f1ac959d.jpg

    Moving along…so, at the airport, the couple had to followed the signs that all said “Grenada”. They didn’t think anything about this at all? And when they got to the gate and boarding for “Grenada” was called, they didn’t notice?!

    The irony? In another article, the husband was quoted as saying they had been dreaming about going to Granada for a long time. If that’s true, why don’t they know how to spell it?

    But hell, who cares about that pesky detail! Let’s just sue the airline!

    bart_frivolous_lawsuit
    Source: http://filichiainsuranceagencysucks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/bart_frivolous_lawsuit.jpg

June 15, 2014

  • I just spent $30 on a stray cat

    No. I didn’t buy a cat. I spent $30 on cab fare, taking a stray cat that I found on my street to the Toronto Humane Society. If I hadn’t decided to walk home from Tabulé on Queen, I wouldn’t even have found the cat.

    As I walked up my street, I saw a cat in the middle of the sidewalk. Normally, I don’t think anything of it. Most cats usually run off when someone approaches. The friendly ones will come up to people hoping for a little ear scratch. But this cat curled up like a ball on the sidewalk. It’s not normal behaviour. When I got closer, I said, “Hi kitty.” and put my hand out for it to sniff. She didn’t even look up, but meowed the loudest wail of a meow ever. I knew there was something wrong with her.

    I thought about calling the Humane Society but honestly, I don’t know how long it would take for them to send someone to pick up this cat. She wasn’t wearing a collar, so it’s not like I could find her home. So I decided to walk home and grab the cardboard box in which my collection of A Game Of Thrones books was delivered. I figured if the cat was still there when I got back, I would take her to the Humane Society.

    Sadly, when I got back, there she was, hiding under a parked car. It was really hard to coax her out without looking like I was trying plant a bomb under the car (I know, I watch too many crime dramas). Eventually, she did come out and I scooped her up with my left hand and put her in the box. She jumped out the first time, but she was in no condition to run away, so I put her back in the box and headed to the bus stop. After waiting a few minutes, I flagged down a cab.

    Stray cat

    Why did I spend $30 on a cab to take this cat to the Humane Society? Because she was injured. She could barely walk. She was horribly skinny. When I picked her up, I could feel her ribs. There was no flesh at all. Just fur, skin and bones. She couldn’t have been more than 5 lbs. A cat this size should weigh at least 5 lbs.

    20140614_230704

    At dinner, I was telling my friend that I hate taking cabs. I only actively choose to take cabs when I’m in a rage and don’t have the patience that is necessary for taking public transit. And not 5 hours later, I was in a cab, with a stray cat that I put in box.

    Why was I in a rage, you ask? I wasn’t pissed at the cat, if that’s what you’re thinking. Everyone knows, I’m not a cat person. While I don’t hate cats, I’m most certainly not a fan. But, it doesn’t matter that I’m very allergic to cats. And it doesn’t matter than even now, 2 hours after dropping off the cat, my entire left arm is itchy. I was not going to leave this cat to die in the street

    Stray Cat

    I’m pissed at people. This cat is a stray. Where do stray cats come from? Either someone just threw their cat away, or people didn’t spay/neuter their cats, resulting in kittens that no one wants. Regardless, it’s irresponsible, negligent people that create this stray cat problem.

    Stray cat

    I’m not a hero. I’m not looking for anyone to pat me on the back. And I can’t save every stray cat or rescue every unwanted dog. But this problem wouldn’t be nearly so bad if people were more responsible.

    Anyway, I’ll be calling the Humane Society in a couple days to see how the kitty is doing. In the meantime, please spay/neuter your pets.

    Bob Barker
    Source: http://www.bite.ca/
    wp-content/uploads/2012/07/BobBarker.jpg

January 19, 2014

  • It’s like a Top Chef challenge

    So the apartment has a full-kitchen. I was really excited about having an apartment with a full kitchen for a whole week ON THE WEST COAST!! You know there’s gonna be a lot of seafood cooked in this apartment. But after having cooked my first dinner here, I gotta say, it’s quite the challenge.

    Full kitchen!! Yay!!!

    First, there obviously isn’t a stocked pantry. All I have at my disposal are two little salt and pepper shakers, and few bags of sugar that are actually for coffee (but I used one bag in tonight’s meal). So when I went to The Market on Yates, I had to also pick up real salt (I bought I nice oak smoked salt), garlic, shallots, etc…not just the main things I wanted to cook. The funny thing is when we got back to the apartment and I started to prep the food, I realized I FORGOT TO BUY THE BACON!!! I wasn’t planning on buying a cooking oil because I was just going to cook the fish in bacon fat.

    Luckily, Chinatown is really close by so we walked over and picked up some canola oil. While we were there, we also got some legit Asian instant noodles. Because you never know when you’re going to need instant noodles. And since we could, we bought some fresh rice noodles and soya sauce.

    $0.69 for the Mama noodles, and only $0.39 for the Nissin Black Garlic noodles. Damned good stuff.

    Back to dinner. So at The Market on Yates, I wanted to find a fresh fish that I can’t easily get at home. I will go to the The Fish Store sometime this week, but it was already closed by the time we went shopping so I had to settle for the selection at The Market. The only fish I didn’t recognize was the grey cod. The lady at the fish counter was nice enough to show me each piece I asked to see and then agreed to cut a piece for me when I indicated that they were all too big. This $8 piece of fish should be enough for both my mom and me. I then picked up some Brussels sprouts and grape tomatoes as the side.

    I didn’t have any red wine vinegar, so I bought grape tomatoes. Honestly, this dish could’ve used a bit of bacon. I really wish I hadn’t forgotten to buy bacon.

    Do you know how challenging it is to cook with *only* serrated knives and a non-functioning hood fan? Especially with a heat-activated sprinkler head RIGHT ABOUT YOU? Let’s just say there was a lot of me walking out to the balcony with a screaming hot, stainless steel pan because I didn’t want to flood the unit. I’m sure the people in the back alley were wondering what the hell I was doing, standing on the fire escape, flipping sizzling rice noodles.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t realize that we didn’t have any paper towels in the unit. But luckily, I still had a pack of utensils from my Air Canada flight, so I opened it, took out the napkin and made do with that to dry the fillet.

    And the knives? They’re all serrated. ALL OF THEM. Mincing garlic, dicing shallots…even halving Brussels sprouts… SUCH A CHALLENGE!! It was like a Top Chef challenge, on Guy’s Grocery Games. Improper tools, less than perfect cooking environment, and limited (non-existent) pantry.

    Anyway, I’m not posting a recipe since it really was a make-it-up-as-I-go-along type of affair. But my mom (who is so damned picky) really enjoyed it…and more importantly, I didn’t set off the smoke detector…so I’m calling it a success. ;-)

    Just looking at it makes me want another piece of fish.

October 31, 2013

  • Just shoot me

    I can’t believe that this was even a freaking question.

    My boss asked me to print out a single page from a 200-page pdf. A pdf to which he has access. I am not an admin assistant. And I’ve repeatedly said I am adamantly opposed to doing these menial tasks. But whatever. I printed it and threw it on his desk without even responding to him.

    THEN…

    He asks me if I could take the sheet of paper to the multifunction to scan and email it to him.

    The original document is an unlocked pdf. We both have Adobe Standard which means we can manipulate the pdfs. WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU ASKING ME TO SCAN AND EMAIL YOU A HARDCOPY WHEN WE ALREADY HAVE IT ELECTRONICALLY!!!

    YOU IDIOT!!!

    And if he had just said, “I need only this page to email to someone,” I would’ve sent him the one page electronically instead of killing a tree.

    AND WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU ASKING ME DO THIS ANYWAYS!??! If you say you don’t need an admin assistant, then do it yourself! Cuz I’m not your admin!

    I hate working here. I really do.


    Source: http://is.gd/5kL4Jc

October 28, 2013

  • T-16

    These days, I feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. So many things to do…so little time.

    Booked 2 contractors so that Home Reno phase 2 can hopefully be done before the end of 2013. Sorted out the great contact lense debacle and got 5 free pairs in the meantime. Confirmed hiking boots were delivered. Travel Clinic appointment this Saturday. Gotta buy non-medical travel insurance and sew Canada flags on my backpack.

    I think all the prep is going well…but still lots to do.

    Picture the Alice in Wonderland white rabbit panicking…I sorta feel like that…but in a good way.


    Source: http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110816111508/
    disney/images/8/80/White_Rabbit_KHREC.png

    T-16 days until Operation World Domination!

October 22, 2013

  • Roast Pork Chops

    I don’t usually buy whole pork loin roasts, least of all ones that are already frenched. But it was on sale, so I thought, sure…why not.

    Usually if I have a whole roast, I brine it, but I opted for a dry rub this time. In my dry rub, I used kosher salt, brown sugar, fresh cracked pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, dried mint and oregano. I covered the whole loin with it, drizzled some olive oil on it, covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 2 days.

    Before throwing it in the oven, I set it on the kitchen counter for 2 hours so that it comes up to room temperature.


    Source: http://instagram.com/p/fv4wpNuq68/

    I preheat the oven to 500 F turned it down to 275 F as soon as I closed the door after I put the loin in the oven. I let it go for an hour because 275 is pretty low. Opening the door unnecessarily would make the cooking process painfully long.

    After an hour, I checked the internal temp. It was at 45 C (yeah…I used the C thermometre instead of the F…that’s roughly 113 F). For perfect, it needs to finish at 63 C/145 F. So I rolled the loin onto it’s side so give the bottom some heat and threw it back in the oven at 300 F for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the internal temperature was 55 C. I turned it back so that the rack was on the bottom and finished it at 325 F after 15 minutes.


    Source: http://instagram.com/p/fwMXuSuq5P/

    It came out at 60 C, which means after 20 minutes of resting, it’ll be a perfect 64 C in the centre.

    And yup…it was pretty close to perfect.


    Source: http://instagram.com/p/fwRpL3uqwW/

    I roasted the whole loin so that I could put it in sandwiches or take it for lunch over the course of the week. But if you were serving this for your friends/family at dinner, you can pair it with a nice mushroom and thyme gravy (well…that’s what I would pair it with) and serve it with roasted root vegetables.

    Bon appetit!!

September 26, 2013

  • I didn’t like it

    I might be the only one, and judging by the speed at which everyone leapt to their feet for the standing O, I probably was, but I didn’t like it.

    Before all the Itzhak Perlman fans scream in uproar, let me start with the fact that I truly believe he is a great violinist. However, everyone has less than stellar performances, and music is quite subjective. So while everyone else in Roy Thomson Hall may have loved Itzhak’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, I did not.


    Source: Violin

    This is a piece to showcase the violin…the soloist. But I felt like the entire orchestra was held back, suppressed both in volume and speed to the point where they sounded bound and gagged. The piece didn’t flow lyrically with grace and ease, but dragged cumbersomely with odd pauses in some spots and awkwardly rushed passage to catch up. There were times, too many times, when the orchestra was out of sync with the violin. This was even more noticeable when the violin solo had its “dialogue” with the flute solo and clarinet solo. It was, as the Chinese euphemism goes, like a duck and a chicken trying to have a conversation.


    Source: Duck & Chicken

    Many things about tonight’s performance threw me off. Aside from the over all timing being messed up, there was also the matter of odd volume drops from the orchestra. This concerto already has very few full orchestra passages. So when the orchestra passages are being played, I expect that they should be prominent. Instead, the first bar came out the way I expected, only to be suddenly stifled for the remaining bars as if Peter Oundjian had shushed them.


    Source: Metronome

    Source: Shush

    *sigh*

    Maybe I just went into this expecting too much. It’s one of my favourite violin concerti, and I listen to it every Sunday with my morning coffee (in place of going to church…yes, I know, I’m a bad Catholic). So yes, I did bust out the iPod on the subway and listen to the Joshua Bell version of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto…just to make myself feel better. This night wasn’t supposed to go this way. And as much as it pains me to have to say anything bad about the TSO, I have to be objective. I can’t say it was good if I didn’t like it. I just can’t.