Monday, July 25, 2005

Ain't no sin

When you hear sweet syncopation
And the music softly moans
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around in your bones

When it gets too hot for comfot
And you can't get an ice cream cone
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around your bones

Just like those bamboo babies
Down in the South Sea tropic zone
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around your bones

Attempting to make Aloo Maatar

I'm trying to make Aloo Maatar without a recipe. It's a gamble I know, but I bought chick peas and green peas and what else do you need? Right now i'm boiling the chick peas and green peas. Then I figure i'll drain them and then sautee them with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Ok - here's the update, it's looking like what i'd get at an Indian joint. Here's the recipe so far -

Half a red onion - diced
Half a head of garlic - crushed
1 can Ro-Tel extra spicy diced tomatos and peppers
1 can chick peas
1 can green peas
1 jar curry sauce
Salt
Pepper
Oregano

- Boil the chick peas and green peas together until water boils, then let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain the chick peas and green peas and then add in a jar of curry sauce
- Add in the onion, garlic, pepper, salt and oregano and stir together
- Set to low and let simmer

Let me go eat it and then i'll tell you how it is.

Ok - i'm back. It was fantastic! I'm a curry master.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Grills vs. BBQs

While I continually find new things that are different between the U.S. and Canada, the one item that gets me is that they call grills BBQs. Maybe this a little thing, and maybe i'm wrong - but I always though the object outside that you cooked on was a grill and that you could make BBQ chicken on a grill, and that you grilled steaks on a grill, etc... but all along, it was a grill. I'm not trying to say it's as deep as an argument like how furniture is Oriental and people are Asian - but come on - it's a grill.

Regardless of what you call them - i'm looking for one. Home Depot has a Broil-Mate natural gas model for $329 CDN - so that might be the one to get. Tomorrow I have to call Kitchener Utilities and see if they can run the gas line out to where i'd like the grill and if that's a go, then i'm heading out to start pricing. Canadian Tire has some models that i'd like to take a look at too -

From Home Depot there is this model - from Broil Mate.

Personally i'd just like an old school newspaper grill like they have in Kazakhstan. Nothing beats fresh (and I mean freshly slaughtered and hung from a tree) lamb cooked over yesterday's local section. Wash it down with a warm German beer - oh, c'est si bon.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Three weeks to closing



I've only got three weeks left until closing and then the fun can begin. Last night we went to Ikea to get some ideas of what's out there, what works, and what doesn't. Right now i'm kind of locked in for darker furniture because of the trim in the living and dining rooms - but that can always be changed.



I'm trying to get an exact date on when the house was built, all I know is that the current owner says it's at least 80 years old. Chris the plumber said it was more like 90 to 95 years old. He based this guess on the plumbing - so it's kind of like an paleontologist saying a bone is 1,000 years old - they just know, right. There are two normal size bedrooms, and two smaller rooms that could be bedrooms if you were 1/2 your size. One will become an office and the other has been dubbed "The Library". We're trying to find a psychiatrist chair - this was Heather's idea - and then a nice big bookcase. From the library, you take another flight of stairs to the finished attic, which I am thinking about naming the "Ann Taylor Loft" - in honour of the clothing store.

There's only one bathroom - well, technically there are two. There is a free standing toilet in the basement. I've been calling it a three peice bath; toilet, washer, dryer. The plumber recommended that we have that taken out and move the washer there. I'm going to call him this week and make an appointment for that. The other project there will be the replacement of some steel pipes with that fancy new plastic pipe. Those plastic pipes are the new hotness.

Other than that, I have two big projects - gutting and redoing the kitchen and restoring the hardwood floors in the living and dining rooms. We do so much cooking that a better designed kitchen wouldn't be a waste of an expense and hell, for the hardwood floors - they just look cool.

Enough for now - have a great weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Representing the West Side



Here's a group picture of my brother's Peace Corps friends in Mongolia. He just updated his blog over at Khansella. He also posted a link to a new photo gallery (link after the jump). My brother is in the center of each pic (he has a beard, if that helps).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Poop

I didn't know this, but apparently Victoria is pumping a lot of, well, a lot of shit into the Pacific Ocean. One group has been trying to drum up public interest, but it wasn't until they introduced a giant talking poo mascot that anyone noticed. Read more - Poop in Victoria, BC

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Things to know before moving to Waterloo

- You can avoid pouring scolding hot coffee on yourself if you finish the coffee before trying to “roll up the rim to win” at Timmy’s. If you drink coffee, you will become addicted to Timmy’s. There is no way around it. But if you like your Starbucks, then there are two here – both full service. One is the Chapter’s Book Store (think Borders) and the other is near Fischer-Hallman and Ottawa St.

- You need to use a container of some kind for the bags of milk. Just cutting a hole in one and placing it in the fridge does not work.

- Highway 85 was formally Highway 86. There are signs everywhere for it. It’s been like two years now but they leave the signs up for us newcomers.

- For some reason, liquor measurements are in ounces while everything else is in metric. Thanks, just when I get the hang of things I have to deal with a 20oz , 40oz and this whole “mickey” concept.

- Finding a doctor is easy if you have a lot of time – go to http://www.cpso.on.ca/Doctor_Search/dr_srch_hm.htm and you can search for one.

- Social Insurance Number – you can download the form you need at http://www100.hrdc.gc.ca/forms/nas2120e.pdf and then go the office at 409 Weber Street West, Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 4L6 to get your card.

- Your application for OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Program) can be downloaded from http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca and then the best office is this one; 1400 Weber Street East, Unit 2B N2A 3Z8. You’ll need your social insurance card and driver’s license first.

- For your driver’s license – you’ll need to go to the Drive Test office at 1405 Ottawa Street N., Unit 11 Kitchener, ON N2A 3Z1. They have a website too at http://www.drivetest.ca/en/home.aspx and it lists what you’ll need. Basically, all you need is your current driver’s license and $50 dollars. They do an eye test and take your old license and that’s it. If you want to still have a Texas license, then I recommend getting a second one know – just say you lost your first one.

- If you like chicken wings then there is only one place to go and that’s Morty’s Pub (http://www.mortys.com/) on King Street. They have daily specials and a good selection of beer on tap. They’re other food is great too.

- If you are a beer drinker then the best place to go is McMullen’s on Princess Street right off King Street in uptown Waterloo. They have an insane collection of beers and a great special every night – large nachos or large pizza and a pitcher for $21. Can’t beat it.

- That brings up another good point – there is no “happy hour” in Ontario. Apparently there is a law against it. But if you’re looking for cheap mixed drinks and don’t mind being in a fire hazard then go to Phil’s on King Street. It’s a big university bar, but it’s cheap.

- Speaking of cheap – the least expensive, yet healthy and great meal is a pita from the Pita Factory (http://www.pitafactory.com/franchise_info.htm) in the University Plaza off University Avenue. The plaza has a great number of restaurants, including BD’s Mongolian Grill (http://www.bdsmongolianbarbeque.com/) (a buffet place), a couple Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian places as well as a William’s Coffee Pub (http://www.williamscoffeepub.com/) which oddly enough is part of chain partly owned by Mark Lee’s partner from Descartes.

- If you’re into movies they have some options for you. First, the shock of the century is that a regular night time movie ticket is $13. Yes, $13 – but they have matinees, so it’s ok. As for videos – they have Blockbuster up here too and they have no late fees. There is also a chain owned by Rogers (they do cable and mobile phones too). If you’re into weird movies or hard to find DVDs and tapes, then the place to go is Generation X Video (http://www.genxvideo.com/) on Regina Street – they have a mind blowing selection. For independent films, check out the Princess Cinema on Princess Street. They have almost every independent film that comes out. For movie times, go to Front Row Centre (http://www.frontrowcentre.com/).

- Speaking of Regina Street – they pronounce things oddly here. Regina is pronounced “ragina” and Weber Street is pronounced “weeber”.

- Dancing – if you like dancing there are many places to go. The more seasoned set do it up at a place called The Flying Dog (http://www.theflyingdogwaterloo.com/). It’s a restaurant and a bar and a dance club. There is a teeny bopper club called “The Rev” that is next door, they’re both owned by the same people, but they are entirely different crowds. If you’re more in to lounges then I suggest either the Vault (it’s an old TD Canada Trust bank with the vault as a VIP room) or Starlight. They’re both on King Street in uptown Waterloo and both have a really great set of music on most nights. The Vault is newer and therefore more empty. Starlight is a pretty famous place here in Waterloo and many bands come there to perform.

- Of course with drinking comes late night food. They have taco bell, but why go there if you’re in Canada? There is the aforementioned Pita Factory, which is open till 4am. You can find pizza places open too – but if you like your food greasy then you must go to Sonny’s on the corner of University and Weber Street. They have quite possibly the best hamburger you’ll ever have and sometimes the not-such-in-a-good mood Greek owner is there. Good times for all.

- Traffic. It’s usually light except for highway 8 near the 401 on every afternoon. It gets backed up pretty heavily, but usually there is no reason to go near there unless you’re heading to London or Toronto. Also, when people here say London they mean the Ontario one, not the England one.

- Taxis – call Waterloo Taxi, 886-1200.

- There are two great parks in the area. Queen Victoria Park in Kitchener is very beautiful, except for the scary statue of Queen Victoria. The other is the giant RIM Park (http://www.city.waterloo.on.ca/RL/FacilityServices/RimPark/) in Waterloo. It’s off University Avenue and has a great trail for biking, walking, jogging, rollerblading; the Grey Silo golf course (pretty pricy); an ice rink and softball fields. There are many team sports here, all the majors like softball and volleyball and of course hockey.

- Grocery Stores. There are three major chains here; Zehrs, Sobeys and PriceChopper. Zehrs and Sobeys are really nice (except for the 24 hour Sobeys near the office, which is kind of decrepit). PriceChopper is cheap, and it shows – so avoid it. The Zehrs attached to the Conestoga Mall has the best selection, including a great choice of organic products. The Sobeys near Fisher-Hallman Blvd has fresh made sushi each day.

- Alcohol. Bring some with you because it is expensive here. In Ontario they have a state run two tier system which actually functions really nicely. The beer selection here is unparalleled – I’ve only seen better in large university towns such as Madison, WI. Beer in packages of 24 cans/bottles or higher can be purchased at the Beer Store (http://www.thebeerstore.ca/). This is the place you see in the movie “Strange Brew” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086373/). Smaller packages and more imports can be found at the LCBO (http://www.lcbo.ca/) – which is also the only place to buy liquor. They have an impressive and often rotating selection of imports and you can also build your own six pack if you choose from their collection of single bottles. They also have a quarterly magazine that has great recipes and entertaining ideas. Wine can be bought at the LCBO or at select supermarkets, such as the Zehrs on University near highway 85. As for brining alcohol in to Canada, you are limited to one liter or one case of beer per trip – so always bring something with you. Also, they call cases “two-fours”.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Kathy in Canada / Constantine / Pilot Pita

This post will cover four topics.

Topic 1: Kathy In Canada
Kathy Hall from the GBG Austin office has moved up here to Waterloo - breaking my 18 month streak of being the only person from a U.S. GBG office to move up. It's a bitter sweet moment for me - i'm sad to see my streak end, but happy to see someone else make the move. I would make some kind of analogy here, but I can't think of one. Anyways - me, her, and her friend Carole went to Morty's Pub for lunch. I wasn't able to force myself to order something different - I had to order the buffalo chicken sandwich, in a wrap and baked with a side salid with vinagrette dressing. I'm a creature of habit.

Topic 2: Constantine
Me and Laurie rented the Keanu Reeves film "Constantine" tonight. It was actually better than either of us expected. The basic plot is that John Constantine (Reeves) can see demons and angels. When he was young, he took his own life - but was brought back and now he is doomed to go to hell when he really does die again. He gets involved with a detective (Rachel Weiz, "The Mummy") who's twin sister recently jumped off a building. They do battle against demons and blah - blah - blah, the devil gets his due. The guy who played the devil is the guy who played the crazy doctor in "Minority Report". He's the best thing in the movie.

Topic 3: Pilot Pita
On the way to Blockbuster, we decided to try Pilot Pita in the Phil's plaza on King St. This is the first time in Waterloo i've tried somewhere else for pitas other than Pita Factory in University Plaza. On a scale of 1-10, i'd give them a 7. The service was fantastic, and the pitas were very good and beautifully prepared. At Pilot Pita, they stir your choosen ingredients in a bowl first, then put them in a pita - which means no biting into big chuncks of lettuce. If you're in the area - go there and support a locally owned business.

I was actually going to write something about John Roberts being nominated for Supreme Court associate justice - but honestly, i'm fucking paranoid about writing something that could be flagged by the government. I'm a paranoid person sometimes.

You know what, i will say something about this - Roberts is from Buffalo, NY - and chicken wings are from Buffalo, NY - so he can't be all that bad. I love chicken wings.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Whatever happened to Amy Smart?

I'm watching TBS on a Sunday night - just finished up laundry. (side note, man this a boring blog). Anyway, I'm watching TBS and "Road Trip" is on. It's a pretty good movie - i've probably seen it thirty or fourty times and I also own the DVD. Maybe I actually have more than a casual appreciation for this film.

That's not the point. The point is that Amy Smart is in this movie and I can't remember that last time I saw Amy Smart in a movie. So now i'll go IMDB and see what's up.

(back.)

Ok, well she's apparently making three films coming out next year. There's this party scene, and it's completely unrealistic. I went to what was once the #1 party school in America (Florida State University), and honestly I never even heard of a party like this. Sure, there were some with live bands, but not with the lighting and sound system present here.

Enough about this, there are some pictures posted to the right. Keep it real.