Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What kind of disgusting creatures work in my office?

The other day, I was on one of the elevators in my office building - I believe it must have been first thing in the morning (elevator rush hour, if you will) as the car was jam-packed. I steadied myself on the handrail and on the underside of said railing, my unsuspecting fingers detected a wad of gum! Ewwwwwwwwwwwww. What kind of pig would do such a thing?
If that wasn't repulsive enough, a few days later, I was walking down the hall towards my desk when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed (smack-dab in the middle of the wall) yet another heavily masticated piece of gum! I didn't touch this one, so I guess it was slightly less offensive (to my physical self, though no less damaging to my soul), but still - gross!

Today, I was accompanying a visitor from another company to my boss's office and on the way we had to side-step a half-eaten green lollipop (and its stick!) in the middle of the floor - nice impression to make on guests, huh?

One day a few weeks ago, I went into the bathroom and there was a used, feminine hygiene product on the floor - COME ON! - I almost puked. Needless to say, I found another washroom in which to do my business...

Are my co-workers such heathens that they can't be bothered to utilize GARBAGE CANS!!

Perhaps they erroneously believe they're so busy & so important that they can't waste their precious time properly disposing of trash.

Either way, I have a message for the offending barbarians: If I catch you in the act, I'm going to rub your nose in it - whatever it is. Don't think I won't - it's the only way you're going to learn.

Don't say you haven't been warned...

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Poopypants Chronicles: MORE Stuff My &%!: Boyfriend Says

From the "Stuff My $*#@ Boyfriend Says" files...

"You know, if I ever retire - like to the country or something - I would make sure that my house had, like, CIA-level security. I would want to be able to SECURE THE PREMISES. There would be lasers - a perimeter fence - with censors! - everything!!!"

Unsolicited (entirely serious) declaration whilst the movie "Scream" rolled by on the TV. I feel safer already.


"I probably would have had a 'Twinkie Log' if the line-up hadn't been so big - because it's a great idea - it's something I'd make at home if I had the space & ingredients - I could use the Slap Chop for the nuts. And, of course, I'd need sticks. Sticks are what most people are missing if they want to make Twinkie Logs at home - they can't just go out in to the forest and get sticks for their Twinkie Logs."

Random announcement made several hours after an afternoon spent at the CNE, where we (some of us more than others) pondered all the disgusting, deep-fried food available to visitors.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm not certain that this woman is truly dedicated to weight loss.

The other day, after work, I was at the library, checking out some books. Yes, I still go to the library, usually a couple of times/week - I love it there. It's like nirvana - wordvana -yeah, that's it!

Ahhhhh, books.

In the check-out line in front of me stood a rather portly/out-of-shape woman checking out two books:

Somehow, I suspect she isn't 100% dedicated to achieving fitness. Best of luck to her.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Poopypants Chronicles: Mmmmmmm Cookies - Part II

Tonight, Poop baked up another batch of delectable Pillsbury cookies.

He just walked in to the living room, with a handful of sweet-smelling, chocolate chippity goodness and mumbled, "I suspect the recommended serving of cookies is less than 8...oh well..."

He then declared, with supreme confidence, "But that's the great thing about being an adult - being able to eat as many cookies as you want, any time you want!"

And that shiny pearl of wisdom was brought to you by Poopypants, Pillsbury & potent potables!

You're welcome!

Tom's Dairy Freeze (aka What I Did This Summer)

Remember the first week of school, how they'd always make you write that stupid "What I Did This Summer" essay and share it with the class?


Actually, that sounds like a pretty fun summer!

Anyway, if I were to write one of those essays, come September 2010, it would go something like this:


Tom's Dairy Freeze is a place in my 'hood - mid-way between Park Lawn & Royal York on The Queensway - and I love it! I'm not the only one, either - online, there are tons of uniformly positive reviews of Tom's and at night, in the summer, there's always a huge line-up, right up 'til midnight (closing time).

Obviously, the quality of the product they serve is what keeps people coming back - the ice cream is unbelievable! (No offense, Dairy Queen, but Tom's treats are infinitely superior, at least in my opinion). They have everything you'd expect from an ice cream parlour - delectable soft serve (chocolate, vanilla or swirly, twirly combo!), choice of cones (waffle or regular), sundaes, banana splits - they even have a version of DQ's Blizzard - the Super Shake.

Actual conversation between Poop & the obviously disdainful (though less disgruntled than most teenaged food service workers) cashier:

Poop: What's a 'Super Shake'?

Cashier: Oh! It's, uh, sorta like a McFlurry or a Blizzard - only - obviously - way, WAY better!

I recently tried their 'Super Shake' - the Smarties variety - and it was awesome!

Note for my American readers: When I say "Smarties" I am referring to the colourful candy-shelled/chocolate-in-the-middle Canadian version - not the repulsive, uber-sweet, comes-in-a-roll U.S. version.

Contrary to their wholly reasonable prices, Tom's portion sizes are HUGE! If you are inspired to visit Tom's, after reading this glowing recommendation, be forewarned & repeat after me: ALWAYS ORDER SIZE SMALL. My Super Shake was a "Small" and it still lasted a week, in the freezer, serving as dessert for several nights in a row!

Tom's evokes nostalgia - it's like throw-back to a simpler time. It says right on its sign that it opened in 1969, which is entirely believable - it doesn't look like it's been renovated or updated at all in the time since - which is a good thing! Real retro! And it's not just the look of the building, it's the whole 'feel' of the place.

I fondly remember trips to the ice cream parlour with my dad, on summer evenings, when I was growing up; I usually had a small cone or a small sundae, except on special occasions, like the last day of school, when I was allowed to order anything I wanted (which often resulted in a tummy ache, but the memories are still fond).

Tom's is a "drive up" spot - no interior seating - you park, walk up to the window & get in line to place your order (don't worry, even though there's always a line, they are really fast!). Then, you can hop back in your car & take your treat home or you can have a seat at one of Tom's many picnic tables (which are almost always packed with smiling, ice-cream-filled people).

Tom's only takes cash. And you might be surprised by the scene that greets you - even though it's always busy, the many customers are happy, milling about, eating their ice cream - no petty arguments or nasty glares - just dairy-fueled joy!

Hey - I just had a thought - perhaps if everyone on the globe had access to ice cream like they serve at Tom's, we'd be able to achieve some semblance of world peace!! Unless all those stupid war-mongers are lactose-intolerant. Boo. Oh well. It was an idea.

Anyway - if you're in Toronto, I highly recommend Tom's Dairy Freeze!

P.S. Every single picture/image in this post was taken from the internet without the owner's permission. Think of it as an homage, rather than a theft.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The worst book I've read in a long time.

I am a voracious reader - as I'm sure I've mentioned, I usually have 3 books on-the-go and I alternate between them, depending on mood (and purse size) - usually a non-fiction selection (eg.biographies), a non-intellectually-taxing, story-driven book (see: Best Seller List, mysteries etc.) and a thinking book (important literature, replete with symbolism, inscrutable plotlines and pretentious, critical acclaim).

At the end of June, we did a road-trip through upstate New York and down to the Baltimore area to enjoy some concerts (Furthur in Rochester, Phish x 2 at Merriweather, Phish at CMAC) and visit with friends whom we get to see way too infrequently. We had a fantastic time, saw some electrifying concerts and enjoyed plenty of local delicacies. I had hoped to devote a blog to the wonder & craziness of that trip, but this post is related entirely to a book that I purchased, on a whim, on the trip home.

I've always been a big fan of mafia/mob stories - Godfather, Goodfellas, Sopranos etc. I am endlessly entertained by these tales - I can't NOT watch Goodfellas when it's on TV - the compulsion is almost other-worldly. I own the box set of The Sopranos - and I have no idea how many times I've watched each episode - I even watch it when it's on TV (which is ridiculous, with all the censorship - "Forget you, TV Censors!).

Anyway - I saw this book and I thought, "Hey, that sounds entertaining!"

As I'm sure you have guessed, I could not have been more wrong.

The book was called "Family Affair - Greed, Treachery and Betrayal in the Chicago Mob" by "Sam Giancana and Scott M. Burnstein" (see picture of book above).

What we can deduce from the differing font sizes of the authors' names, "Scott M. Burnstein" is the alleged 'writer' who was pulled in to help Mr. Giancana with his elocution skills. And if that's true, Mr. Burnstein should have his writing credentials revoked, because this book was horrendous.

Story-wise, it was unfollowable. They did a horrible job of introducing the characters (which is an important element in seducing a reader) and they kept jumping between eras in the narrative - which is often an effective literary technique - but since they'd given us virtually no time to get to know the characters, it was extremely confusing. 

Then there was the bad writing/editting factor. I've never seen a more poorly written/editted book. And I've read a lot of books. This book was replete with grammatical errors, spelling errors, malapropisms - it was awful!

There were innumerable mis-uses of the apostrophe - repeat after me: An apostrophe never makes it plural!

There were several instances where the verb & the noun did not agree.

More than one case where they simply used the wrong word - for example, "flairs" instead of "flares", "wracket" instead of "racket" and, my personal favourite, "rouges" where they intended to use "rogues".

I tried to follow the story, with great difficulty - about 1/4 of the way in, I realized that the book was unreadable - but, by then, I had become interested in seeing just how many mistakes I could find.

So I carried on - I think I made it about half-way through before I stopped torturing myself & gave up.

Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend it.

The Poopypants Chronicles: Mmmmmm Cookies!

We went grocery shopping last week and Poop was really excited because he had a coupon for a FREE Pillsbury product (and, as you know, he adores great deals - and there's no greater deal than 100% off!).

He chose some ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough (though he somehow forgot/neglected to use the coupon - which just means that some time in the not-too-distant future he's going to be coming home from Sobey's with another package of cookie dough!)

These are not the same "ready-to-bake" cookies I remember from my childhood. You can't really tell from the picture, but, this is a relatively flat package and the dough is separated into squares, that you simply separate and drop on the pan and when baked, become nice, round cookies!

The other night, Poop had the munchies and decided it was time to bake the cookies.

He was so eager for his snack to be ready, he turned on the oven light and situated himself on the kitchen floor in front of the stove, cross-legged, to watch his cookies bake through the oven window - sorta like a TV show that emits a delicious,  chocolatey scent!

He couldn't stop babbling in amazement (semi-coherently) about the wonder of the cookies turning from squares into circles..."They were square - now they're circles - that one's still square! - That one's a circle!"

Long story short: The cookies were delicious.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Need to beat the heat? Enjoy an icy brew from time to time? This post's for YOU!

Those of you who mis-read the title and thought you were entering the "Need to Beat the Meat?" zone - please feel free to leave now - that's going to be tomorrow's entertainment.

Today, however, I have a treat for all of you out there who are sick & tired of sweating your collective asses off in this sauna of a summer and have dreams of a tall, cold one - on a stick! - to assuage those rivulets of perspiration, coursing down your glistening torsos...damn, where was I? Oh yeah - The Hopsicle!

(Note: The remainder of this post was pithily composed by the folks over at - reprinted without anyone's permission)

 The Hopsicle!

Take a can of beer.

Lift tab, tilt back, consume, repeat.

A well-worn formula, easily mastered. Yet in these dangerous times, we feel it may be necessary to unmaster it.

Warning: this involves a samurai sword.

Introducing The Hopsicle Experience, a frozen can of beer, sliced in half and served like a Push Pop for big kids, launching today at Diablo Royale Este.

Now, the thing about the hopsicle is that it looks like your standard can of Tecate: Red. Cylindrical. Icy cold. Except the barman-witchdoctors at Diablo have taken the “icy” bit quite literally, injecting the beer with simple syrup and lime juice, jamming a wooden stick into the hole of the can and then putting it in the freezer. For four days.

The result is a genuine beer popsicle, which the bartender must saw in half with a serrated steak knife (or samurai sword) to open. Then it’s up to you to push the wooden stick upward to dispense the hopsicle in true Push Pop style, and decide if you want your savory sweet frozen joyride bathed in tequila as well (note: you want this).

And on certain days, when those same barman-witchdoctors are feeling especially inspired, they may take their creation one step further and turn over an entire margarita machine to the conjuring of potent beer slushies.

No samurai sword required.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What'd I Ever Do to That Stupid Bee?!

The other night, after work, I was merrily walking down my street, greeting neighbours, petting dogs - I think I might have even been whistling - and, out of nowhere, I got stung by a bee, right through my pants!

Pretty disrespectful, on the part of the bee - it wasn't like I was frolicking through a flower garden or swinging a bat at his friggin' beehive, I was innocently walking down the sidewalk!!! Grrrrrr...I thought we had a deal?!

It's been a week now and I'm still a trifle nervous when I'm walking home. Who's kidding who here? For the first couple of days after this occurred, I must have looked like a seriously paranoid meth-freak, with my head whipping around every time I saw something - anything! - out of the corner of my eye. The BEES! THE BEES ARE COMING!! RUN! RUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!

Anyway - when it happened, it was a huge shock, I almost fell over, it hurt so much and it took me a minute or 2 to even figure out what had occurred (I guess adrenaline starts pumping through your body in response to the venom entering your system and, combined with the surprise & the pain, it left me feeling a little dazed).

I had to walk the rest of the way home with one pant leg hiked up to mid-thigh becase the pant brushing against the sting area was akin to repeatedly poking myself with one of those metal marshmellow roasting sticks that had been sitting in a fire for an hour.

It hurt & itched for several days - it's still somewhat itchy - but it's clear that I'm not allergic, since I didn't have one of those anaphylactic reactions & stop breathing. Yay!!

It was odd, though - the day after The Beecident, the actual "bite site" resembled little more than a mosquito bite - a small bump, almost no redness - it appeared to be healing nicely! However, the day after that, it had swollen into a monstrosity - 3 or 4 inches in diameter & swollen up from the leg signifcantly, red (almost purple) in colour. When I absentmindedly went to scratch the area, my hand glanced the gargantuan growth and it was so unexpected (and huge) that I actually jumped up off my chair! (How much do I love hyperbole? Love x infinity!!)

 It's much better now, but you can still see remnants of the protruberance on my leg - a rude reminder.

I'm still bitter- stupid bee. This isn't over.

Beware of bees! (see picture)

P.S. (A week after the beecident) I spotted this mockery in a storefront on my way home from work - clearly put there at the behest of the IBC (International Bee Coalition) to further frighten me. I bet bees fly out of these Backpacks of Evil as soon as you unzip them. Nefarious backpack bees! Run like the wind! Ruuuuuuuuuuuun!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Poopypants Chronicles: Shit My Boyfriend Says

That website (book, TV show, cult etc.) "Shit My Dad Says" is pretty hilarious.  It never fails to crack me up.

I recently realized that I could run a similar website called "Shit My Boyfriend Says" - Why? Cuz he's just as amusing as the crotchety sage from "Shit My Dad Says" and it's selfish of me not to share these ridiculous nuggets (teehee) of wisdom with the rest of the world!

For example, the other day he declared, "Anytime you want to keep doing exactly what you're doing, but make it juuust a little more hilarious? Simply wiggle your bottom!"

He further elaborated, "Imagine yourself waiting in line at the bank - BORING! But then, imagine yourself in line at the bank, but wiggling your bottom - FUN!"


Saturday, June 05, 2010

I Stink.

No, really - I actually stink.

This is not a self-deprecating, false modesty, attention/compliment-seeking thing - I seriously smell really bad!

In your mind, right now, if you're picturing me, imagine cartoon stink lines emanating from my armpit-region (see artist's rendering at right). 

I don't know what the fuck is going on - a few weeks ago, I was on the subway heading home from work and I noticed a seriously unpleasant odour, that distinct sickly-sweet-sweat-scent, that I immediately attributed to the guy sitting next to me (it couldn't be me - duh!). Shortly thereafter, he got off the train -  and the horrifying realization came over me that he was gone and yet the stink remained! Oh no!

Obviously, my deodorant had failed me that day. *shudder* I figured I just hadn't put enough on or something. It happens. So, naturally, I made extra sure to apply an adequate deodorant volume in subsequent days...but, lo and behold, I was mortified to realize that the stink was becoming part of my daily routine.


I surmised that perhaps I'd developed some sort of immunity to my current deodorant brand (Can that happen? I mean, if you can build up a tolerance to drugs and if you can develop an immunity to iocane powder, why not anti-perspirant?), so I went out and bought a whole new variety. My fingers & armpits were crossed in hopes that this would solve the Mystery of the Stink.

Amusing aside: A friend of mine once purchased one of those deodorant crystal things - oh, naturelle! After using it for a while, she began noticing a reccurrent & persistent odour - and, upon taking a whiff of the crystal, realized that it had absorbed the smell of her perspiration and she was actually APPLYING stink to her clean body!! EEK!

Anyway...the first day I tried out the new deodorant (not the "crystal" version), Poop & I spent a lovely, sunny, Saturday afternoon going to a bunch of "open houses" (condos, townhouses etc.). (Note: I had not yet told him about my recent scentual revelations.) We arrived home, I walked by him and he exclaimed, "Whoa! You stink!"

Thanks. You don't need to tell me that, I'm not hard of smelling.

The question is this: Can a person suddenly develop an insidious stink? And, the second question is: How can I solve this smelly dilemma? I can't live like this!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Secret Language of Real Estate

As you may or may not know, I've been hunting for a new home to purchase - not sure whether it will be a house or townhouse or a condo yet, but the hunt is on!

Once the search began, it became immediately obvious that real estate agents (and the industry at large) speak a language all their own - an encrypted code designed to sell, SELL, SELL! by  relying on subterfuge & peoples' perceived stupidity.

I'm not sure who they think they're fooling, though....the code is about as hard to crack as an unboiled egg....

Should you ever find yourself looking for a new home, here's a quick guide to The Language of Real Estate:

Cozy  =  Tiny

"Open Concept" = No walls.

"Loft-Style" = See "Open Concept" & add stairs (or a bunk-bed style ladder).

"Boutique Building" = Built sometime between World Wars I & II

"Perfect for first-time buyers..." = Small and/or dirty and/or requires $$$$ in repairs

"Contents Included" = You clean this shit up.

"Juliet Balcony" = Floor-to-ceiling window that opens, but is blocked by a railing (Note: Seriously? Do people fall for this?)

"Condo Alternative" = A house too small for anything more than 1 or 2 adults & possibly a dog.

I'm forgetting a bunch. I'll add more as they come to me.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My Experience With Amway

I made a joke today on a friend's Facebook page about her being a "vampire crossed with an Amway salesperson" - based on her unrelenting status updates encouraging folks to donate blood, not in a harrassing kind of way, but definitely friendly/aggressive...but, also, with an undertone of "make the sale, no matter what".

The part about her being a "vampire" was obviously a reference to her NEED FOR BLOOD..the "Amway salesperson" part was a reference to everyone's image of a person who comes to their door selling Amway - conciliatory, fawning & deadly.

I had this fuzzy image of the Amway salesperson, ingrained in my mind, from the time I was young - I'm not sure why...movies, rumours, books - I have no idea. It became much more clear on February 14th, 1995.

I was in university, finishing up my last year at Queen's. My boyfriend (we'll call him Rocky) and I had plans that night for Valentine's Day (probably the last time I pretended to/or actually did give a shit about that particular Hallmark holiday).

We had dinner reservations for 7 pm. I got a call that afternoon from Rocky - he said he had received a call from an old friend, who was passing through town and "had something important to talk to him about" and that he and his fiancee wanted to stop by and wondered if he had plans.

Rocky told him that it was Valentine's Day and that we were going out for dinner. They said they only wanted to stop in for a few minutes, it wouldn't take too long, but he really needed to talk to Rocky. My boyfriend surmised that this guy was going to ask him to be in his wedding. OK. I was cool with that.

I arrived at Rocky's house during a crazy snowstorm, well ahead of our dinner reservation.

His friends arrived about an hour later than they said they'd arrive - but we still had some time to make our reservation.

We all met, exchanged pleasantries, chatted for about 20 minutes. The chit-chat waned and the fiancee said, "Honey, do you want to get the stuff from the car?"

My "this is weird" radar started beeping.

Rocky's friend went out to the car (in the still burgeoning snowstorm) and came back with a flipchart and markers and a box full of crap. 

I suspected this was not a "Can you be my best man?" kind of visit.

He set up his shit and started his spiel. I remember it, almost to the letter.

"Do you ever drive down the 401?"

Me & Rocky: Yes

"Who is working at the fast food restaurants there?"

Me & Rocky: Um...students?


At this point, I was freaked. I knew this dude was a scammer and he was using his previous relationship with my boyfriend to sell us something.

And I was pissed off.

At this point, our dinner was fucked. And that they were using their friendship to scam someone (us!), use someone (us!) and ruin their night (ours!)!

They carried on with their presentation...they tried to convince us that the only way to have any successful way through life was by joining their team...though it took them forever to actually mention "Amway".

Once they finally named the brand, I excused myself politely, and retired to Rocky's room. His roommate Terry visited me at one point (with a rum & Coke for me, thank you very much, Terry...wherever you are, thank you!) and we were both blown away by their ridiculous display. We commisserated.

Shockingly, afterwards, Rocky was  completely pissed off at me for "being rude".
Yep. I was rude. Oops.

And that was my experience with Amway. :)

Poop's Birthday Weekend

This past weekend was Poop's birthday (Yay!) and since we hadn't planned any sort of celebratory extravaganza (due to all sorts of crappy stuff that's been going on lately), we made a last-minute decision to take off to Niagara Falls for the weekend.

We both took Friday afternoon off and hit the road for Niagara around 3 pm. Unfortunately, being Friday, rush hour out of the city started at about 2 pm. We were stuck in some pretty nasty traffic all the way to Hamilton (and beyond?). It was, as you can imagine, frustrating. Moral of the story for us: Always take the 407.

We had booked a room at the "Country Inn & Suites", located directly across the street from Casino Niagara. We've never stayed there before (I believe it's relatively new) but we'd definitely go back - we got a great deal (total bill for 2 nights, including tax & parking etc. was less than $180). The room was more than adequate, very comfortable beds/pillows, nice decor (though those olde tyme TVs that aren't flat actually sorta freak me out now: WHAT IS THAT THING?!! IT'S SO BIG!).

We learned, upon checking in, that there was a big "dance competition" occurring in Niagara Falls that weekend - which explained the 8-year-old girl in the lobby with the slicked-back hair and sporting eye makeup akin to Cleopatra.

We actually saw a number of hyper little girls wearing makeup (and unhappy brothers & dads caddying tap shoes & sparkly costumes) over the course of the weekend. I think several of them were in our hotel. The accomodating desk clerk put us on the 7th (top) floor, assuring us it was the "quietest" floor - and it was, til Sunday morning, when I came dangerously close to unleashing a string of expletives on the noisy assholes in the hall who woke me up...

Anyway, we arrived at the hotel around 5:30 on Friday and after checking in to the hotel, headed over to the casino for dinner & subsequent shenanigans. We tried to get a comp (some quantity of $$ from the casino) to eat at Lucky's (the "steakhouse" at Casino Niagara - Note: despite being designated a "steakhouse", they have wonderful vegetarian, seafood & pasta dishes, too), but we were informed we needed to gamble for a bit before we could get any freebies. We played for a little bit, then opted for the buffet - which was disgusting, but quelled the hunger pangs temporarily.

Friday night at Casino Niagara is ""Ladies Night" - which means they hold draws for prizes (for the women) and try to give all the ladies roses when they arrive. I had to turn down no fewer than 4 pink roses - who wants to carry a friggin' flower around all night? (Carrying a flower around all night would seriously impede my ability to gamble my money away as quickly as possible - you'd think that casino management would realize this floral gift program is to their money-grubbing detriment!)

I love Niagara Falls in general and the casino specifically. The cross-section of people is unfailingly amusing. For example, you very rarely see such a high concentration of mullets in one place nowadays. I also love the fact that I get ID'd everytime I go there - and they're always surprised when they find out my actual age.

Poop played poker for a few hours, I played some slots & some Caribbean Stud - neither of us had much good luck that night, so around 12:30 we decided to leave and get something to eat - after our wholly unsatisfying buffet experience, we were hungry again. We decided on Kelsey's - because it was nearby and because it had a huge patio (and it was an absolutely beautiful night). And while I normally try to avoid this type of conveyor-belt/chain restaurant, it was actually quite good. I had a Cosmopolitan and some sort of cheese/spinach dip thing served with crispy pita pieces - tasty & filling. Poop had a Jack & Coke and a brilliant innovation called "Buffalo Perogies" - basically, perogies tossed in buffalo wing sauce - genius! All in all, an enjoyable end to a fun evening.

We headed back to the hotel and crashed pretty quickly...and slept soundly til we were awakened by the alarm on the Iphone in the morning...Poop had set it to go off in time so that he could partake of the "Free Breakfast" that was included with the cost of our room, the availability of which ended at 10:30 (he really loves a good deal and hates to miss out). Poop went downstairs and got us some egg sandwiches and yogurts - not bad! Though he was somewhat dejected since one of the brochures promised a waffle station - he was really looking forward to making (and eating!) his own waffles. Poor Poop. Didn't they know it was his birfday weekend?!?!!

We lazed around for a bit, debating what we should do with our Saturday. We decided to go to Dave & Buster's and spend exhorbitant amounts of money so we could play games. Wheeee!

The forecast was calling for a storm and the sky over the falls was threatening to open up and pour at any second - every time I looked out the window it appeared that the velocity of the wind had increased - litter was flying everywhere and little girls in spandex & hooker makeup looked like they were going to blow away! We decided to wait for a bit before heading out, to see what was going on with the weather, since neither of us brought an umbrella nor did either of us feel like participating in a tornado. As it turned out, we didn't have to wait very long - the storm was over as quickly as it started (though it sure poured down hard for a few minutes) and we were off on our next adventure.

Before leaving the hotel, we raided the brochure area of the lobby and ripped out some Dave & Buster's coupons from one of the tourist guidebooks. We love our great deals!

Stepping outside was a bit of shock - the humidity was atrocious, particularly for early May - hot & sticky. I definitely didn't need the fleece jacket I'd brought with  me!

We walked over to Dave & Busters and had a great time, playing skeeball, air hockey, a random shooting-at-monsters game (that made my hands really sore) and a basketball free-throw game where you get as many baskets as possible in a certain amount of time.

I was at a disadvantage in all of our competitions, never having played any of these games before, whereas Poop grew up playing them! He was incredulous that I didn't have any experience with skeeball or air hockey - I guess you just can't comprehend the "growing up in Dryden" experience unless you've been there...we 5-pin bowled in Dryden, we snowmachined in Dryden, we fished in Dryden - we did not play skeeball in Dryden!!

One odd occurrence while we where there: A woman carrying a baby who (along with her family) followed us from game to game, watching us as we laughed, hooted & hollered and, in my case, liberally used four-letter words. There was even a long, intense air hockey rally that they got a bit too into (emotionally) - when I eventually scored on myself (yes, I'm that kinda girl), they appeared devastated!

All that activity made us very thirsty (a sad commentary on our physical fitness), so we ventured out to the Clifton Hill area to grab a tasty beverage and a snack. The area is pretty much always overrun with tourists, from all over the world, but none of them annoyed me (much). I do try to be a good Canadian ambassador as much possible, you know!.

We grabbed some soft drinks (mmmm..fountain soda..) and a hard, salty pretzel (with mustard, of course!) and found a seat. We were impressed with how well they maintain the area - probably 20 or more park benches/picnic tables where we were situated and every single bench had a garbage can beside it - I know people will still litter (lazy assholes) but this certainly must reduce the urge!

We returned to D & B to use up the rest of our credits. I just assumed we'd give all pf our prize tickets to some kid when we were finished - I know I wasn't interested in anything from the "prize" area? Apparently, Poop had other ideas and the birfday boy gets what he wants! He used our meagre allocation of tickets to purchase a maple, moose-shaped sucker. He saved it for the drive home on Sunday where he proceeded to eat an entire antler & half the moose's head before asking me to take it away and never let him near it again (see pic).

After our D & B adventure, we decided to get some ice cream cones - seemed like a hot day/birthday kind of thing to do - I got a Rocky Road cone (Gross - I had no idea there were marshmellows in Rocky Road. I'm not sure what I thought it was going to be, but that wasn't it!) and Poop had something else, that escapes me at the moment, cuz I'm so upset thinking about a delicious ice cream cone opportunity spoiled by marshmellows!! ARGH!!

We went back to the hotel to relax for a while (i.e. so Poop could have a 2-hour nap) and shower before dinner. Our plan for the evening was to go to Mamma Mia's, an Italian place that we used to frequent, but haven't been to in a few years, and then go back to the casino. I was also looking forward to having a nice, relaxing bubble bath - I haven't bathed in ages (well, I've washed myself, but I only have a shower at my house, so I almost never get to have a bath!) so it was going to be a treat!

To my surprise & delight, Dirty Dancing was on the TV! And, even though I've seen it about 175 times and I know all the dialogue by heart (and it's always somewhat bittersweet to watch, since both Jerry Orbach and Patrick Swayze are with Phil Hartman now), naturally, I had to watch it. It was as delightful as ever.

We had a nice dinner at Mamma Mia's - Poop's newfound love of Eggplant Parmesan is a revelation. He declared Mamma Mia's version to be "melt-in-the-mouth delicious". My dinner wasn't spectacular, but it was OK. Here's a picture of Poop holding up the "candle" on the table (it wasn't lit, so we looked at it more closely and realized it was plastic and had a switch that needed to be turned on - classy!).

The whole weekend was a lot of fun - thanks, Niagara Falls! Happy birthday, Poop!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What I've Been Up To....

When not out enjoying the weather, or semi-enjoying sporting events*, the past 2 weeks have been dominated by Dexter. Dexter the TV show and Dexter Morgan, the character. We rented the season 1 DVDs over Easter weekend and now we're in the middle of the second season.

As you can probably surmise from that last stat, we looooove this fucking show.

And I now have a small crush on a soulless, fictional serial killer.

Just another day in the life of Patchoulia!

I've also been going to the gym quite a bit, after work. The gym I go to is at my office, which is obviously the epitome of convenience There are no excuses not to work out - except on those days when you forget your t-shirt at home, on top of the dryer - exercising in a metallic satiny blouse somehow just doesn't do it for me.
 It's a pretty good facility, despite a distinct insufficiency of group fitness classes that appeal to me (Yogalates, anyone? WTF is a yogalate? Is that some kind of new-age coffee beverage?).

The gym has decent equipment in pretty good quantities - even during the "rush" periods, you can usually get on a machine or use the weights you need.

Best of all, it only costs $5 every 2 weeks and it's taken right off my paycheque!

Recently, the fitness centre staff have been sending out regular emails reminding members to lock up their stuff because they've been experiencing a lot of thefts lately. There are signs all over the locker room as well,  reminding us to lock up our belongings or risk losing them.

The other night, I had to take a squirt** before working out, so I hauled all my crap (backpack, jacket, purse) into the bathroom stall with me before heading to the locker room. I did what I had to do, got changed, locked up my stuff (per posted warnings) and proceeded to get sweaty.

Later, after I'd finished working out, I opened my locker and realized that my purse wasn't there. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I'd left it hanging on the coat-hook in the bathroom stall. Then I started hyperventilating - after all, we've been led to believe that the gym at our office is a veritable wonderland for thieves! My purse has EVERYTHING in it - keys, money, my new passport, 4 different awesome lip glosses!!! NOOOOO!!!!

I checked the purse was gone. I quickly gathered my (remaining) belongings and went over to the gym office, hoping against hope that someone might have turned it in. Two employees were inside the office, chit-chatting (get back to work, ya lazy buggers!) with the door open, and, as I approached, I noticed my purse sitting on the floor beside one of the desks. Yay!!!

I was so relieved! Despite making it ridiculously easy for them to rob me, I somehow avoided being hit by the Mount Pleasant Club ring of thieves. Woohoo! My possessions were intact inside my purse.

Thank you, to whoever saved my purse for me. Your karma was just kicked up a huge notch.

*The Jays are doing well, started on the road...not doing as great at home, but doing OK. The Raptors ended their season this week and we had a good time, watching them win their last regular season game, but not making it into the playoffs...again..

**Dexter's sister is a bit of a potty-mouth...not as charming about it as I am, but a pretty good cusser nonetheless. Anyway. One of the episodes had a female character indicating her need to expel some urine by saying, "I need to take a squirt" and I thought it was such a charming & sophisticated phrase that I simply needed to use it as soon and as often as possible. You're welcome.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Pasta w/Mushrooms & Spinach in Rosee Sauce

Last night, I created a delicious dish for dinner: Bruschetta alongside garlicky pasta w/mushrooms & spinach in rosee sauce.

Bruschetta was pretty basic....chopped up tomatoes, minced garlic, chopped fresh basil, minced red onion, olive oil, salt & pepper on fresh bread from the Cheese Boutique. Mmmmm.

For the pasta sauce, I sauteed the mushrooms & spinach for a few minutes (w/some garlic & chili flakes) until much of their inherent water evaporated and then set them aside. I added some olive oil to the same pan and sauteed some more garlic (I really do love garlic) and a medium-sized onion.

Once the onions started to soften, I added a large can of diced tomotoes, some tomato paste, oregano, chili flakes, chopped fresh basil & some black pepper. I let that simmer while the pasta was cooking.

When the pasta was almost ready, I pureed the sauce in the blender (in 2 batches) so it would mix seemlessly with the cream, then put it back in the pot on low heat and slowly stirred in the cream. It was a thing of beauty. Once the sauce had heated thoroughly, I stirred in the previously sauteed mushrooms & spinach.

Voila! Veggie rosee Sauce a la Patchoulia! It was quite divine!

(My food pornography-phography skills need a lot of work, so I had to steal a reasonable facsimile picture off the internet...)

mushrooms (to your taste)
spinach (to your taste)
1 onion
garlic (to your taste)
chili flakes (to your taste)
1 can diced tomatoes
tomato paste (1/2 small can)
3/4 tablespoon oregano
basil leaves, chopped (several)
olive oil for sauteeing
cream (half small carton)

What does heaven taste like, you ask?

Ah, Good Friday. What's so good about it? We get the day off work, of course! (I know, I know, I'm going to hell...that's not news...).

I left work a bit early yesterday (thank you, boss!) and took a nice long walk...I was WAY too hot, though. I definitely didn't need a coat!

Along the way I picked up some gifts @ Chapters and then picked up some mail at the post office that required my signature. The delivery turned out to be my passport, which was somewhat surprising, since I'd mailed in my renewal form only a couple of weeks ago - that was fast!

Incidentally, my new passport contains the worst, most hideous picture I've ever seen. You might think I'm exagerrating, but you could not be more wrong. When I say this is the worst picture I've ever seen, I'm not even limiting the comparison to pictures of myself - I can confidently proclaim that this is the most putrid picture ever taken of anyone, anywhere in the world, in the history of the universe.

After I ran my errands, I walked home and we took Kuda to the dog park for some frolicking (stick-throwing, trail-running, doggy-friend-making etc.)

Upon returning home, we commenced our daily debate on what we were going to have for dinner. I swear to god, if I didn't love eating so much, I'd survive by ingesting nutrient-rich pills or subsist on those meal-replacement shakes, and be done with the whole, stupid decision-making process/daily argument.

I won't bore you with all the meals & restaurants that were discussed & rejected before we finally made our decision, which was to go out to eat. We chose Classico Pizza & Pasta, in our neighbourhood (it's located in Bloor West Village, near Jane, for those of you in Toronto).

We've eaten there a few times and enjoyed it a lot. Their pizza is reeeally good and they also have a variety of pasta dishes.  They also serve one particular appetizer that we adore...I can't remember what it's called, but it's like a spring roll filled with cheese that you dip in a tart vinaigrette. Sounds like an odd combo, but the different flavours complement each other very well and it is AMAZING! Unfortunately, it wasn't on the menu last night (Poop seems to recall that it was previously on a list of specials inserted into the menu, so perhaps they only serve it occasionally...I hope it comes back!).

When we arrived, we realized that they'd opened their patio (Yay! Patio season!) which effectively doubled their capacity...good thing, too, cuz it was packed! We hadn't realized that they have live music on Thursday nights...I don't know the musician's name, but he was playing guitar & singing (later joined by a sax player); they were pretty good and it created a nice ambience.

It was a little chilly on the patio, but we had our fleeces on, so it wasn't too bad. Besides which, there were 2 tables full of families inside the restaurant with their unleashed (and, by "unleashed", I don't mean "let loose", I mean "not on leashes", as I would prefer), screeching children running rampant and I had no interest in being anywhere near that.

We ordered a couple of glasses of Shiraz (it was their "featured" wine that night, which worked out well, since it's my fave!). Poop ordered a Greek salad to start and I decided on the soup of the day. It was tomato something or other...not worth was very bland, I barely touched their credit, the server offered to take it back and bring me the other soup to try, but I wasn't interested.

The pizza was delicious (tomato sauce, tons of broccoli, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese); we ended up eating half and taking the rest home, which made for a delicious lunch the next day!

As we ate, I fell victim to the power of suggestion; I witnessed several other patrons receiving fancy coffee (with whipped cream on top!) and I simply needed to have one, too (or I might have died, you understand). Poop decided to order creme brulee for dessert; I've never had creme brulee, but it always looks like so much fun when they set it on fire - and the end result is always so lovely to look at. :)

I received my fancy coffee (with whipped cream & Bailey's) and Poop got his creme brulee (they didn't bring the blow-torch to the table, which was disappointing).

My coffee was delectable and I was convinced to try Poop's dessert, after much pestering. How was the creme brulee....?

Let me put it this way: If you believe heaven exists, this is what it would taste like.

I attempted some trickery....I mentioned that I thought I detected poison & it would be better for Poop if he didn't eat any more of it - I was, in essence, saving his life - but he didn't fall for it.


I gave it a shot.

I love you, creme brulee.

Ooooh thinkin' about all our younger years, there was only you & me, we were young & wild & custardy....**


**Bryan Adams' ode to creme brulee

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Julie & Julia & Julia

We watched the movie Julie & Julia on the weekend. I was definitely disappointed, I was expecting more. Meryl Streep's performance was, as usual, beyond reproach, but, overall, I found the film to be pretty dull. I didn't become emotionally invested in the characters, so I didn't really care what happened to them. On a positive note, it was quite lovely to look at, the portion of the film focusing on Julia Child (set in France) was particularly beautiful.

One thing that happens to me when I watch a film or TV show whose characters are based on (or allegedly portraying) "real" people is that I become sort of obsessed with finding out the "real" story. Historically, very few filmic portrayals of famous figures are done without some degree of artistic license, and I find myself wanting to know more, needing clarity as to what actually happened, wondering where they ended up etc etc.

At the end of Julie & Julia I immediately reached for the computer to find out how Julia Child ended up becoming the famous chef & TV personality "Julia Child" (the film focused on a brief period in her life when she first moved to France, learned to cook "the French way" at the Cordon Bleu and collaborated on her first cookbook).

I also became curious about the "Julie" of the title, who became quite well known back in 2002 for her food blog, the "Julie/Julia Project". If you've read the book on which the film was based, or seen the movie, you already know the story: In her 2002-2003 blog, Julie Powell chronicled her endeavours to prepare each of the recipes contained within Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a 1-year period.

My preliminary internet search for Julie Powell turned up a plethora of ink* on the author & her 2nd book, Cleaving, that had been released in the latter half of 2009.

*Can we still refer to written press as "ink" even if there's no ink involved and it only exists in cyberspace? Ladies & gentlemen, my pointless conundrum/aside of the day....applause, applause, applause...

In reading the (mostly) scathing reviews of her new book and profuse indictments of the author herself (moreso for her attitude and "shocking" stories she reveals in Cleaving, than for her writing) I became intrigued. The Julie Powell being described in these pieces - foul-mouthed, unapologetically self-centered,  brazenly adulterous - bears little resemblance to the bland, saccharine-sweet, semi-endearing, pathetic, oft-victimized Julie Powell portrayed in the film. The real Julie Powell sounded eminently more appealing and my interest was piqued.

I figured that I should start from the beginning and hoped that the original "Julie/Julia Project" blog was extant on the internet. I wasn't sure it would be, considering its contents were made into a book  (you know...cow, milk, free $$$...etc.) However, a bit of searching revealed that it is still out there and set upon my quest to read the entire project, from beginning to end...which I accomplished in less than 48 hours.

You could say I was a trifle obsessed.

I'm not sure why I found it such compelling reading. But, I suppose it shouldn't be all that surprising, considering its popularity during its original incarnation (apparently becoming one of's most visited blogs ever, with hundreds of thousands of hits during that first year alone).

I will confess, I did speed-read parts of it...and, by speed-read, I mean, I only skimmed certain portions. Since I have no interest in French cuisine, either preparing it or consuming it, the sections devoted to the minutiae of the recipes - ingredients, cooking methods etc. - were quite tedious & extremely repetitive (butter, anyone?).

Besides which, consuming all of that French cooking (writing) in one sitting can't be good for one's arteries.

So, as I read through the blog entries, I did skip what I considered to be the more rote sections and went straight to what I considered the meat of the saga: The successes & failures, trials & tribulations of Julie Powell in both her kitchen & her life.

I can see why so many people became fans of the blog, it was quite entertaining. And, other than her penchant for using the word "phase" when she meant to be using the verb "faze" (as you know, this type of faux pas is anathema to me), I thought it was exceptionally well-written.

I actually found her voice as a writer to be alarmingly similar to my own: Self-deprecating (yet superior), self-aware (yet self-absorbed), witty (yet whiny) and replete with mother-fucking expletives. Odd dichotomies, to be sure, but, as the douchebags at my old job were wont to say: It is what it is.

Additional similarities became apparent when I visited her current blog "What Could Happen?" ( I was immediately taken aback by the subtitle of the blog: "Musings from a Soiled & Narcisstic Whore" - because I had literally *just* hung up the phone after speaking with a gentleman about pre-planning my funeral and I had told him that I wanted almost that EXACT phrase carved into my tombstone! What are the odds??!

Just kidding. I'm not pre-planning my funeral (I'm totally getting cremated).

But....whore? Yes. I have been characterized as such.

Narcisstic? Who me? Me me mememememe!!! Look at MEEEEEEEEE!!

Soiled? Hmm. I'd say spoiled. Or rotten. But, close enough.


I'm definitely going to read Cleaving, despite the plethora of negative reviews I came across. I have to assume that the detractors are puritanical, morally superior, vegetarians: Who *doesn't* want to read a sordid tale of extra-marital S & M, interspersed with first-hand accounts of what it takes to become a butcher?! That's gold,!!

The bottom line result of this week's obsession is that I plan to try more new things in the kitchen. And not be thwarted when I see an unfamiliar ingredient listed in a recipe (So what if I only use it ONCE?! Big deal!)

And I will share these endeavours with the world...why not...if she can do it, I can do it!

Plus, I desperately need to get working on a project of some kind, so that those business cards that I had printed up with my title listed as "Project Manager" won't just big fat falsehoods. I hate handing out falsehoods when I'm networking.

Until tomorrow, lovelies!
 ~ Julia Patchoulia