Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patty's Day at Sanjay's

Nothing says drunk better than wearing crazy glasses

I thought to myself "The party starts at 2 in the afternoon? Wow, how drunk are we supposed to get?". Granted being Sunday you can't really drink into the night especially if you have to work on Monday morning. So I suppose that an early start might actually be in order.

A series of delays made my punctual arrival at 2pm not happen. Bad planning on my part to leave the house early enough combined with construction nuttiness down by the harborfront were to blame. I ended up arriving at almost 3pm.

Only two people had shown up before me, then as the day progressed more people arrived. Sanjay had gone all out making a rum punch, preordering samosas and chicken wraps. It was an interesting crowd as well and the topics of conversation went from archery, to government intervention, to traffic congestion, to how people knew each other (the usual party banter I suppose).

At some point in the evening the Wii was turned on and the Michael Jackson experience was booted up. While the girls that played the game did pretty well with the dance moves my goal was to try to score as many points by doing as little movement as possible. A) I just wanted to see if I could do it, B) I was feeling lazy, C) the Wii doesn't actually know what the rest of your body is doing, just your hand.

I was hoping that "Blame it on the Boogie" was one of the songs available but alas it wasn't on the list.

Sanjay snorting/laughing

the Shamrock Shake

I left the party around 10pm. With work the next day I'd have to get out of bed by 5:00am. I needed to get as much sleep as possible. The Dundas West subway station has a McDonalds take out restaurant in it and it was there I managed to grab a Shamrock Shake. It tasted more chemically then I remembered. It was also a darker shade of green then past shakes I've had there. I was disappointed.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dim Sum... Denied

As you've probably guessed from reading past posts, I like eating dim sum. If you didn't know this you do now. So it shouldn't be a surprise to read that when Dave sent a message through Facebook to go try out a dim sum place on the Danforth I promptly answered "What time?".

closed during the week of march break</>

Arriving at the location we found that the restaurant was closed for March Break. When Dave told me first there was denial. I had to check the sign myself. Then there was anger "those dim sum bastards!". Then acceptance "Where do you want to eat now?"

We walked a bit east and found a place called "The Works", a gourmet hamburger establishment. Seeing no other options close by we decided to try it out.

They had free refill drinks that come in measuring cups. "Hmmm. What will the burgers be like?" I thought to myself. The menu was pretty impressive. You could spend a while customizing your burger, from the bun, to the type of patty (beef, chicken, mushroom, veggie, elk), number of patties, condiments, and the side.

To make things easier you could also select a preconfigured burger. I ordered the Rick Mercer with mushrooms and upgraded the fries to a poutine with Montreal smoked meat. The order took about 15 minutes from the time we ordered to the time the food appeared on the table.

I think I found my new favorite hamburger place. It's a little pricey, my total came to $25 after tip. The burger was really good. The poutine was above average. Yes, I'll go again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Meanwhile... at the comic book lounge

Big Joe and Roger sort through comics to ready them for tomorrow sales

671 Gerrard street east used be known as the Black Cat book store. (79 20.9721 N 43 39.9619 W) it's now a Vietnamese food store I think. The Black Cat bookstore was a second hand bookstore that not only sold books but second hand comics and it was there that I bought some of my first issues of Spider-man, Richie rich, and Batman.

Some of the comics had writing in them (as in some kid drew in them with pen), some of them had sections cut out where there used to be coupons. Overall they were in used and mediocre shape. At the time it didn't matter as long as I could follow the story of Peter Parker, Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne. The owner didn't really sell the comics for a profit and I think I bought some of them for 20 to 25 cents at the time.

 When I think about it now that was a pretty good deal as the comics were pretty old even back then as they sported prices of 12¢ or 15¢ on the covers. They may have been from someone's collection. I'm not sure why they were sold so cheaply. Maybe because a new comic was about 25¢ a the time and the owner didn't think he could make money on them. Maybe it was because they were so beat up or maybe he just wanted to get rid of them? I'm not sure which, I'll just remember that I liked the guy and I bought a lot of comics from him.

As I grew older collecting comic books became more of a serious hobby then just casual reading. I started buying comics in "mint" condition (I actually looked for corner damage and page creases before the purchase), sometimes I'd speculate and buy multiples, putting them in plastic bags, supporting them with card board backs, then indexing them and storing them in boxes. It was like I was practicing to making time capsules for a living. It was the kid's version of the stock exchange. What comics would be worth more or less in the future.

I stopped collecting comics around the time The Amazing Spider-man #300 was printed, that was years ago. (I'm writing this post just shortly after #700 was released last December). A comic a month, you can do the math.

Roger being camera shy

And so now that you know all this it shouldn't be a surprise that me finding a place like the comic book lounge had me a bit enthusiastic. Bold colors and captions with superheroes, comic books reminiscing value, and surrounded by peers of the same caliber. Yes, when I say peers I'm saying comic book nerds.

The comic book nerds

Side note: it has been my observation that comic book nerds have evolved over the years. This could also be due to the people I tend to hang around with so take this information with a grain of salt.

Being a comic book nerd used to be synonymous with being a person that repelled the opposite sex. I'm not talking to the depths of the repelling as if you were into computers, But having both interests would be a double whammy. It's not that people reading comics didn't want to be attractive or have a mate but collecting stuff like comic books or isolating oneself programming put you in a place not accessible to others. You were considered weird. 

Over time things of nerddom became recognized as cool. What that meant was the inclusion of the fairer sex. Yes, girls or women, started to accept nerdy things. I think it was around the time of Star Trek the next generation. Society could see women in science roles or as the action role model in space and as a result girls embraced the coolness of science fiction and all the nerdy things that go with it. Nerdy guys now had something in common to talk to these girls about. It wasn't weird anymore. Or if it was weird the people that embraced the weirdness became a larger pool.

Comic merch and Captain America

Having said that I would like to point out that there still exists people that are still deemed strange even by today's nerd standards.  There are levels of nerdom and awkwardness that most people are unaware of.  Characters from "The Big Bang Theory"?  Pffft...  watered down versions of the real versions.  I mean come on.  They have clean clothing for one.

The Comicbook lounge is located at 587a College Street on the south side.  Located west of Bathurst and just east of Clinton.  It's on the second floor so look for the sign on the street for the entrance.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Darryl's Silver Anniversary

Today was the anniversary of the zamboni which also indicates that yesterday was Darryl Gold's birthday and tomorrow is Rob Pincombe's birthday. These birthday facts have been stuck in my head since the mid 90s when Darryl, Rob, Bruce and I, all worked on the NHL hockey rule book for distribution on CD ROM (for the Apple and PC platforms). Last week I was invited via email to eat cake.

The party took place at Kathy's house which was located just south of where I used to live when I lived on Euclid. Up until today I had never met Kathy and today I had made a weird discovery.

A few years ago when living in the neighborhood there was this cat that I referred to as "Stubby" mainly because the cat had a stub for a tail. This friendly cat would pop out of wherever it was hiding when it heard me walk toward it. I have a set of keys that jingle on my camera bag when I walk almost sounding like wearing spurs.

It turns out Kathy used to be the owner of "Stubby" who's real name is "Phoebe" (coincidently the same name as the fat dog I took care of in Boston). The cat was then given to a Portuguese woman who kept feeding the cat against Kathy's wishes. Sadly the old woman died and since the time of Phoebe being given away Kathy acquired a dog named "Sushi". Phoebe drops by the house every now and then but disappears for days at a time. Kathy thinks Phoebe has a new owner as the cat seems to be well fed.

I've always wanted to know where the cat lived and who the owner was. Now I know.

Darryl and Rob blow out candles

Darryl and Rob fist bump

Rob and Jill

Judy and Darryl in the kitchen

Gudrun zombie attacks Bruce</>

People clumping near the piano

the crazy "staged" party photo

Kathy and Darryl

Monday, March 04, 2013

At least the Chili smells good

Chili in a jar

Ever have one of those days where you get a choice between two or more doors, you pick one thinking it's the right one, then as you start to walk through it slams in your face?..  hard.  Life is like the "Let's make a Deal" game show, you get options, you choose and then for better or worse you live with the consequences.

That happened to me today. The door of life whacking me in the face that is. I had gotten three job offers, all of which started today. The job (or door) I picked would go until September, it was with a crew I liked working with, so it seemed like the obvious choice of the three. As it turned out the obvious choice isn't always the best choice as my job ended about five hours in. My boss called me into his office to say they had hired someone else to replace me. (Insert door slamming sound here)

While a bit saddened by the lost of a potential six month gig with a great film crew and a gig that could have potentially put me back to a healthier financial standing there was a part of me that felt relief as there usually is when a great responsibility is taken off one's shoulders.

After being told I was being replaced, I finished up what I had to do, sent off an email to the guy replacing me to bring him up to speed and went home. I think I felt more stunned than anything else as I've never lost a job in this fashion ever. I take my work pretty seriously which is why this seemed so out of left field.

Before leaving for work I had started a batch of chili in the slow cooker. It was the first thing to greet me at home and wow, did it smell good. Here's the recipe...

Basic Meat Chili

  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 can of chickpeas (540ml, 19 fl oz)
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans (540ml, 19 fl oz)
  • 1 can of crushed or diced tomatoes (796ml, 28 fl oz)
  • 4 tablespoons of crushed red pepper (or less if you're wimpy about hot spices)


  1. chop carrots, onions and bell pepper and place into slow cooker.
  2. add crushed chili pepper and meat
  3. add cans of beans (including water), chickpeas(including water), and tomatoes
  4. stir
  5. turn slow cooker on and let cook for at least 8 hours

While losing the job was kind of like being punched in the gut, I have to remember that just because things don't work out there are positive things that can still happen. Looking at the bright side, the first item to list in the "Hooray" column was that I wouldn't have to commute two hours every morning and two to three hours at night to return home. Yes, three hours! this was because the Mississauga transit doesn't run after midnight and depending on how late work went, the subway stops running, meaning I would have to walk and take the alternative night bus routes. While I did do this all last season when I wasn't mooching a ride from some crew member that felt sorry for me I can say without blinking that I did not enjoy the commute home. The mooching part while in good company was just that mooching. I hate leeching. The longest it took to get back home and to bed was three and a half hours. So yay, no commuting.

I also have to remember back to the time I didn't get work on Total Recall (the film). Had I gotten that job I would not have been free to work in Boston for five glorious months and I would have never met the amazing crew of R.I.P.D., never would have met Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, or Kevin Bacon's dog. I would not be able to say I worked along side some of the amazing guys at Rhythm & Hues on one of their last movies or be reunited with the guys at Image Engine. It is something I will remember for years. Those guys at R&H by the way, Derek, Jeff, Adam were all great to work with.

Other things like experiencing my first Black Friday shopping experience, exploring the Freedom Trail, seeing the U.S.S Constitution, and the rest of Boston with it's history, culture, and food. Yes, the food, from the almost extinct Hostess Twinkie, to the lobster tail filled cream puffs at Mike's Pastry, to the best Clam Chowder at Cheers (I know, who would have guessed). All this because I didn't get hired to work on Recall.

So, Let's see what's behind door number two...