Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The New Town & Country

Went to the newly-reopened Town & Country today, thanks to an invitation from my friend Heather. They've re-opened after being closed for about six weeks for renovations by the new owners. The overall structure of the place is still the same, but they have all new lampshades and cuttlery, all proudly from Ikea, according to the waitress. It was good to see that most of the old staff are there including Val and the one of chefs, Jamie.

The prices on all their items are excellent, I didn't see anything on the new menu that was over $10. One thing that's disappointing is that they don't have the all-day breakfast anymore. Now there's no place downtown besides the Seathreat where you can get brakfast any time of day.

The 'favourites' from the old menu are still there, like the house burger and salads and Shish Touk, and then there's the asian items, divided into appetizers like a dish mushrooms and peas and things in a cream saucd and various kind of chicken wings like spicy mustard, and the main course menu wich has a lot of curries and stir fries. The Shawarma stir-fry sounded really good, and sounds like something they invented.. Lebanese-Indonesian fusion, anyone?

I ended up getting the Balinese Chicken, which was chicken and veggies like snow peas and broccoli served with rice that came in a perfectly-shaped blob of sticky rice on another plate which I felt bad about disturbing. Normally I guess you're supposed to put the stuff on top of the rice, but I've always preferred dumping the rice into the stuff, personally. The food was very good, I especially noticed that the vegetables were nice and crips and not over-cooked at all.

One ip: If you're going with a girl you're looking to impress don't order the curries or you'll have a runny nose all through the meal. The spiciness was just about perfect for my taste, which is a little spice-tolerant than the general population I think. If they offered the options of mild to medium to hot that would be a good improvement. The guy whom I guess is the new owner came out of the kitchen to ask how everything was, and if I thought it was too spicy, I told him it was just right. Then the chef came out and asked the same thing. I think they're concerned about our largely wimpy PEI palates.

The portions were also very generous, especdially for what you pay. It's right along the lines of Leo's Thai place where $8 can get you enough rice and whatever to feed two people easily.

I just realized I forgot to eat the irish cream chocolate mint stick thing that came with my coffee. D'oh.

Anyway, definitely check the place out, it's good to see it open again, and the cleaned-up decor is a very nice improvement.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Weekend Update

As I mentioned in the post below, Sabrina had a few friends of ours over for dinner today. She made all the food and it was all very good. Soup and bruschetta to start, the soup was a pureed vegetable soup that was only a little spicy, and the pesto sauce only caused a horrible allergic reaction in one person, which is only 20%, not a bad casualty rate, really. (Fortunately it was nothing a little antihistaments couldn't handle.) So today I got to learn that most pesto contains walnuts.

After that we had salad with strawberries in it and vegetarian lasagna, and dessert was blueberry tarts. Sabrina did a great job with the food, everyone was satisfied, even the one who was distressed at the idea of a meal that contained no meat at all.

Afterwards a few of us went to see Ghost Rider, which, well, what can one say about this movie other than that it delivers exactly what it promises, a skeleton on fire riding a motorcycle. And that's all I was hoping for. I wanted to say I liked the plot better when it was called Spawn but.. I actually didn't.When we got home Sabrina pretty much went to bed, she's not feeling too well. If I catch this flu that people are getting I will kick holes in walls, I am not getting sick, damnit. So for the next hour I had the real pleasure of doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen and dining room while listening to CBC Radio 2's "Two New Hours" program, where they play new composers' works. This week they had an interview with and played a performance of some of Jennifer Higdon's work which Sabrina said reminded her of Fantasia.

For some reason I really like doing dishes, when I was living in Fredericton I would do whatever dishes were on the counter next to mine just so I could swish my hands around in warm water for longer. I also am getting worse and worse for putting things away and tidying up around the kitchen, tonight it was probably because I wanted to listen to the end of the radio show. I thought I would get to sleep right away afterwards, but of course no such luck, so here I am.


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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nimue + Blueberry Tarts

Sabrina's neice was at our dinner party tonight.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

What a superb movie this was. Before going to see it I made a point of not watching any trailers or reading a single thing about it so everything that happened would be completely new. The opening titles set the stage of the film as a fantasy, but then you're sent right into the middle of Spain during the last years of the Civil War, and through the movie you're continually forced to move your mind between appreciating the fantastic creatures that make up one storyline and the human ugliness that intertwines with it through the film.

Despite it being aimed squarely at adults, this movie is every bit a true fairy tale fantasy, as if David Cronenberg were able to tell a fantastic tale with all his style but without mocking or desecrating the subject or the setting.

The twisting plot, where you can place your belief squarely in reality or enjoy the story as it's told to you reminded me a lot of Mulholland Dr., complete with elements that influence one world from the other, and the bigger mystery of the underlying psychological state of the main character. Lynch and Cronenberg teaming up would be unstoppable, but Guillermo del Toro beat them to it, apparently.

I'm going to find this when it comes out on DVD so I can watch it enough times that I don't need to read the subtitles and can just watch the story as it unfolds and try and wrap my head around the whole thing.

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By al - 10:47 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

What's That Smell?

When we moved in to the house in January we came across a mixture of incandescent and compact fluorescent lightbulbs, presumably the incandescents were being replaced by the newer less energy-hungry bulbs as they burnt out.

However when I was in the shower this morning, I heard a slightly disturbing low-pitched crackling sound, and the roomm got slightly dimmer. One of the newer bulbs had just died a prolongued, painful-sounding death, leaving its twin and one of the old incandescents still running. And here I thought these more expensive bulbs were supposed to last ten times longer than the old style bulbs who's technology hasn't changed in about 100 years or so.

That's all well and good, I continue showering, but then I notice a really strong smell, like a combination of marshmellows left too long on a bonfire and blazing electric death. In about 30 seconds the roomm had filled with this really awful smell from teh dead lightbulb. I figure it was probably wise to take the bulb out, so I get out of the shower, dry off enough so I don't risk being electrocuted, and reach for the now-deceased symbol of modern energy-wise housekeeping. And it's incredibly hot, like much hotter than the other compact fluorescent still alight right next to it. I think this can't be good, and shut the lights off and slowly remove the bulb hwich was pretty clearly still drawing power as the other lights were stil on, and the smell was still coming out of the thing.

Is this the normal end to these little technological beacons or was this one somehow defective? I've actually never been in the roomm when one of these has gone kablooie so I have no idea.

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By al - 3:20 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Hate Weather

Come on delivery truck guy, don't wimp out, my new 20" iMac is supposed to get here tomorrow and of course that's when a big storm is supposed to hit.

*Crosses fingers*

By al - 3:01 p.m. | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Memos: Hot Action Edition

  • I've been loving A/V's Hot Action CD lately. It's the perfect thing to play loudly through my AirTunes to get me moving more quickly while I do laundry or pick up around the house.

  • Last night I watched a bunch of episodes from Season 2 of "The Office" (UK) and then watched a documentary that came with my DVD set. The funniest part about the documentary was the rest of the cast saying that the reason the atmosphere worked so well was because they were genuinely annoyed by Ricky Gervais almost all the time. I can completely understand this. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to stand the guy in real life, either.

  • So the Apple TV is apparently only Component Video or HDMI only. Is there a similar box already out there that will work with regular TVs and can grab video from a computer on the lan and display it on the TV, hopefully with a remote and decent UI? Any suggestions would be welcome. What about XBox Media Centre? I've heard contra Ming's doubts that it's still perfectly alright for playing modern compressed videos.. I should read more about people's real life use of it.

  • Almmost certainly getting an iMac this week. Was on the phone with the Little Mac Shoppe on Friday and am going to go in either Monday or Tuesday to make the order.

  • Everything electronic that Sabrina has purchased has failed to work for one reason or another. So apparently I'm now re-purchasing everything, and they all seem to work. Odd. Who knew that a "Magnasonic" DVD player wouldn't be quite up to scratch? Seriously - Magnasonic. They don't even try anymore.

  • Currently reading The Changing Face of China by John Gittings. It's rather slower going than I had thought. There is a rather unpredictable rhythm in the narrative switching between illustrative anecdotes which can be read rather quickly and more concrete information that needs to be read more slowly if one wants to retain a proper timeline of causes and effects. The book also manages to stay neutral on the verdict of the rightness or wrongness of China's current path and simply presents the events as they occurred, noting deviance from Mao's philosophies and goals but not passing judgment. I'm still only about halfway through, perhaps I'll write more when I've finished.

  • I haven't had any desire to write about politics lately. Not sure what changed, I used to always have something to say about whatever was in the news. I still read my usual political blogs, Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars, Hulabaloo being the best ones. But perhaps I just don't think I have much to say that isn't just reiterating some brilliant piece by Digby or Tristero or whatever super talented writer has decided to tackle a subject before I've gotten to it. Canadian politics perhaps is just in a lull at the moment, but at the same time there isn't quite the level of absurdity pervasive in our politics as exists in America which makes reading about it so entertaining.

    On that note, Raul Duke at The Immortals Co-Opt has been kicking all sorts of ass lately. Go read the last few entries.

  • I couldn't leave the house yesterday because I was waiting for the oil man all day, and today I slept in into the afternoon. I needed to catch up since I was not getting much sleep through the week, just lying in bed unable to even begin to feel tired, as happens with me from time to time. So other than some house cleaning I haven't really done much this weekend. And now I'm looking down the barrel of my alarm clock going off tomorrow and having to go back to work again. Not pleased. *sigh*

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Snow Cake

Most movies have characters in them that don't mean anything to me. Everyone is attractive or extraordinary or utterly virtuous, characters meant to play a role or illustrate an archetype. To an extent so are the characters in this movie, they could each be identified by a single word, but this movie is different somehow.

I just erased about 3 paragraphs because I don't want to go and describe the progress of the story if there's even a single person reading this who might end up going to City Cinema this week to see it. I'd be taking away from your experience if you did.

I found the movie much more powerful than most films I've ever seen. There are some people who, when I meet them or hear them speak I am completely unable to know what they are like inside, how their thoughts work, what drives their actions. And there are other people whom I feel like I know very deeply, even if I've only had the briefest of encounters with them. The two main characters in this film would fit into the latter category for me. Yet they're so fundamentally different, one being a middle-aged man trying to move beyond his past and with no one in his life that he's close to, and another an autistic woman who loses her daughter but is more concerned with how she's going to deal with the garbage that needs to be taken out than with the emotions everyone else is going through at the same time.

My empathy circuits were firing on all cylinders but in two directions simultaenously. I felt like I could get inside the heads of both those characters equally, and understand the tension but also the positive value of the characters coming up against each other and learning to accept each other. I really must have a dual nature, it would explain why people confuse me so much but at the same time why I can feel so attached to people somehow.

There's something in the mind of the screenplay writer that I think I could really identify with.

Link: Snow Cake at IMDB.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

so the hell continues

Okay now I am on my own computer, but my hard drive has been wiped and the case to my twon is now off, because we tried replacing the net work card...I am using a boot up cd of ubuntu.
There is a reason I am a chemistry geek and not a computer geek. The reson is fear. I have no fear of hitting my computer. I can hit and through it and the worse that will happen is it will not work. In chemistry, I could burn myself, cause an explosion or hurt other people, depending on what I through. For the sanctity fo my career, I will break many fewer things when things go wrong in chemistry then I would with a computer.
Now after my short lived rant...the net work card was not the problem but the issue was related to software not hard ware. I could scream, I have nothing but doss on my computer at this point and the windows install cd I had won't boot on the cleaned up hard drive....grrrrrrrrrr.
So as Al patiently waits to get his ipod back because all of my photo and word documents on there...I remain firmly planted in electronic hell.
On a good note I bought a table and chairs (al it is a bit bigger than the size you emtnioned...but lenth wise it is shorter than I am tall and I think if we want we can tuck it under the window in the office dinning room.

By Sabrina - 5:59 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Lazy Journalism Pet Peeve

Dear working and aspiring journalists,

When you use Wikipedia as your only backgrounder for a story, we can tell. At least click on one of the references in the article and include, say, one additional fact.

By al - 11:13 a.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, February 05, 2007

your favorite

What is your favorite Wennie the Pooh character?

By Sabrina - 7:07 p.m. | (3) comments | Post a Comment


I'm pretty sure the expiry date on my yoghurt is covered over by a sticker that says "For quick sale $1.50".

Would it be unwise of me to eat it anyway?

I'll let you know.


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By al - 3:48 p.m. | (3) comments | Post a Comment


I thought I would make some kind of tiny statement to the world and go and see a movie by myself tonight while the masses drooled in front of their televisions watching grown men chase a ball around.

Fittingly City Cinema was more jammed than I've ever seen it on a Sunday night. Lots of people with the same idea of doing something different, I'm sure.

As for the movie, I had heard some pretty critical reviews of it, but I've always been fascinated by Robert Kennedy so I thought I should see the film anyway. It turned out to be less terrible than I had feared it might be going in, but still not great by any stretch.

The acting was top-notch from everyone. Only a few characters got the 'perfect model of a human being' treatment. The rest were all both good and bad, selfish, weak, inconsiderate at times, unsure of themselves. The way the idea of Bobby Kennedy actually becoming president representing this great hope in all of their lives that there might actually be a future better than the present was ever-present as we see the various unfolding subplots.

Unfortunately this wasn't up there with films like Traffic or Robert Altman's films in weaving a greater story from a series of small ones. At the end we're left with memories of a few simple stories that never quite built on each other well enough.

This just makes me wish for a more focused biopic of Robert Kennedy's life. I hope this film doesn't hurt the chances of something like that being made in the near future.

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By al - 12:01 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I hate not having my internet conection. using al's computer briefly to check email is okay...but man it is not the ideal. All the setting I have on my computer are not necessarily the same for Al. and well...I just want to sit down and use my computer.

to note I really do like the new place but it has seemed like electronic hell since we arrived here.
At first Al lost his phone and the recharging post in my phone broke, so for a few days we were with out internet and with out phones.

tried to by a DVD player and the door would not open. Tried to return and buy a new one and the remote won't work.

As for my computer, Windows will not connect to internet and my burner seems to have given up the gost.

To help with all the fun issues I can't seem to get the light bulbs out of the light fixgture in the kitchen. I know that sounds stupid but when I try to turn the light bulb the entire fixture moves too. and I am not tall enought to hold on to the fixture and the light bulb.

well okay so the electronic hell may take some time to fix...I think I should invite over every geek I know to fix my computer and see what happens...I could end up with my computer back the way I like it. Working...or you know some supped up version that will not only conect to the internet but take it over.

By Sabrina - 12:05 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, February 03, 2007

okay this was a huge deal to get me back to the ability of posting.

By Sabrina - 1:18 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

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