NOvember™ close + year in review

November 30, 2009

» NOvember™ is now over, just in time for my birthday celebrations (tonight). Technically, NOvember™ ended around 7pm last night when we met our friend Tom for a beer at a local watering hole. I didn’t have a problem shaving a few hours off the tail end of NOvember™ because Tom was only in town for the weekend (for an art event in which he had a performance piece) and I was excited to see him. What’s a few hours off the top of my willpower anyway?

I was surprised how little the pint of Wellington Dark and two pints of Cobblestone Stout affected me. I expected to be under the table after one. I, however, wasn’t surprised the Cobblestone had the unpleasantly sharp tang all Mill Street Brewery beers have. I think I might be turning into one of those douches who refuses to drink anything other than Guinness.

The real reason I didn’t have a problem caving-in at the 11th hour of NOvember™ is it really wasn’t a cave-in at all. If it weren’t for Tom’s visit, I wouldn’t have had a problem going the distance. And if it weren’t the pan-denominational festival of socially enforced gluttony approaching, I think I would have merrily continued on my abstemious way (thank you for the word Robert). A weird thing happened at about the three-week mark, I absolutely stopped craving everything I’d given up. The idea of eating or drinking any of that crap seemed, actually, absurd.

Still, not going out for a drink with a friend would have been even more absurd. It’s all about balance. Though, perhaps, three pints isn’t really much of a balance.

I’m not sure if I’ll observe NOvember™ next year. It’ll depend on how much I indulge myself during Spocktober™—which I’m most definitely going to observe (though I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to entail).

» As mentioned above, it’s my 37th birthday. It occurs to me it’s been quite an eventful year, though quietly so. Some highlights:

  • Mandi. I seem to have finally found a woman who wants to stick around for the long haul plus I’m actually happy about that. I bet nobody saw that coming.
  • Nerd Hurdles. I seem to have finally produced something which resonates with people. Though that is, I believe, mostly to due to Mandi’s involvement. Just think. All those years I wasted on music, writing, and art, it was podcasting I was destined to shine brightest at. Who knew? Well, no one could know because even a few years ago podcasting didn’t exist. Now we’re on the Simply Syndicated network and things continue to look up. That is, more people and not less are tuning in every month.
  • I started painting again. Sort of. I guess I’ve painted a whole four pictures this year. Two were presents and two are hanging up in my apartment. One, The Caffienist, I made into greeting cards which sold quite well at Canzine this year. The other is to the right (The Lonely Woodsman. Click on it ro enlarge).
  • I grew a beard and stopped cutting my hair.
  • I “came out” about my bisexuality mistakenly thinking everyone knew already. I assumed no one would care and no one did. It certainly didn’t get as much coverage as when Fergie made the same claim. A story I was much more excited about when I thought they meant Sarah Ferguson. I’m still disappointed about that.
  • I read the Harry Potter books. All of them. Something I said I’d never do.
  • I started Tweeting. In. Several. Places. Something else I said I’d never do.
  • I went to three weddings. The first was the best.
  • I started writing music reviews for Simply Read.
  • I made some proper (not Windows Movie Maker) short films. By “some” I mean two. And by “short” I mean short.
  • That is about it. Let me know if I forgot anything.


November 30, 2009

Yeah, it’s a lobster trap up in a tree. You got a problem with that, landlubber?

Dundas Dining: The Friendly Thai

November 29, 2009

One of the appeals of Dundas Dining in the Junction is dodgy atmospheres and awkward interactions with the wait staff. You always have a story to tell. Which is important when you’re blogging restaurant reviews. sadly, The Friendly Thai offered us no stories.

The atmosphere is slick, modern and hip and the staff professional. Unless I wanted to nit-pick, I couldn’t really fault our waiter. If I did want to nit-pick, which I don’t, I might suggest he was a smidge too attentive at the start of the meal and a little too inattentive at the end. This was probably due to us being the only people besides himself in the restaurant at the time (it was early in the evening). What else was he going to do but be attentive? Once the six o’clock shift showed up, their attention was focussed on Christmas staff schedules. But I said I didn’t want to nit-pick. They were loud about it though. But not too loud. Mandi feels bad for the staff that weren’t there to be in on the discussion though. She feels like they were getting screwed.

As I mentioned, The Friendly Thai is hip and modern in decor. It has a little of the feel of a lounge with only a single dragon and some bamboo to give the place a hint of the Orient. They were playing The Stills instead of the usual Exotic Sounds of Thailand type CD which was a little weird, but since I’d forgotten I rather like The Stills, I didn’t mind.

I’m not sure why we look at menus at Thai restaurants because Mandi always gets the Pad Thai and I always get the Green Curry, but we did look at the menu and it had all the usual suspects on it. A few weeks back we went to Baan Thai and had the same thing. You might remember, my curry had frozen vegetables on it. This curry was made with fresh vegetables. It wasn’t as spicy though and the coconut sauce was perhaps a shade too thick and rich. It was still good though and lacked a giant pile of canned bamboo shoots, which I abhor, and Baan Thai excels in.

How did Mandi’s Pad Thai compare? “They’re both fine. It’s fine. I think I was more impressed with Baan Thai because my expectations were so low. I feel like Pad Thai is kind of meh always.” Fair enough.

The bottom line is The Friendly Thai is as good a Thai restaurant as you’re likely to stumble upon in Toronto (by my experience) as any. A safe bet. But not the best Thai you’ll ever have.

And no stories to tell your friends, just a pleasant time.

4 Pads out of 5 Thais

TwitFic #1: Bookish Types

November 27, 2009

I’ve been writing five-part short fiction on the Mr. Dapper’s Tweets of Wisdom for the past several weeks. 140 characters of drama every monday through friday. I suppose they end up being what we used to call “postcard fiction” but I wonder if that even exists anymore, in the internet age. I’ve decided to start compiling them here every Friday. This was the first installment:

He met her at a mutual friend’s book signing. They soon found themselves bound together like the pages that surrounded them.

They spent years turning their days into volumes of poetry. They agonised over each metaphor and delighted in unexpected rhymes.

Until one afternoon, pages began to fall out of the book of their life like dry, brittle leaves from a dying tree. Suddenly indecipherable, her familiar words drifted over his head. He wondered what had cracked their spine; dissolved their binding’s glue.

She supposed they’d simply read too much into their fateful meeting. Between the lines there was, it turned out, only empty space.

THE house of faith

November 27, 2009

Look no further this is The House of Faith, not just a generic knock-off. This is the real deal in faith houses. You won’t find this kind of faith in a box-store. Support the little guy.

I especially like the packing tape cross on the window. I guess you don’t need a real cross when you have faith.

Vacant Retail Space

November 26, 2009

Sometimes when a store is vacant for a while the landlord will put in a window display to inspire potential renters; give them an idea of how their shop might look. This sure gave me a few ideas.

Maximum Woman

November 25, 2009

Feminine Velocity and Event Horizon were already taken as names, I guess. Because Maximum Woman is going to be the hands-down winner of Worst Plus Size Fashions Retail Name of The Year well into the next decade. I suppose once you’ve wrested that crown from Adddition-Elle‘s hands, you wouldn’t want to give it up.


November 24, 2009

Some of you might have noticed a button in the menu titled “Torontoddities” that went to a page with no content other than a vague promise of things to come. That has changed.

After a lengthy delay, I’ve finally created a proper home for my Torontoddities photolog. I realized it was really going to have to be a blog of its own, hence the delay. Not that it was much of a hassle to build it in the end. I just excel at procrastination. 

But procrastination be damned, I’ve started uploading some of the old pictures (originally posted to my Facebook) this week. So far there are two entries. More to follow, daily perhaps or thrice weekly (more likely).

Torontoddities: Coat Hangers at Play

November 24, 2009

Caution! Coat hangers at play! This sign is posted near the entrance of a back alley so one might have to assume sometimes the botched abortions escape and have a tendency to run into traffic.

NOvember™ Update

November 23, 2009

There’s just a little under a week left of NOvember™ and I’ve managed to stick to the rules I set out for myself. At this point it’s not going to be any great feat to finish up the month. In fact, it’s already getting hard to imagine where I was eating all that bread and sugar originally. It seems absurd. I even feel like I’ve forgotten how to prepare a meal that is anything but a simple clumping together of vegetables, rice and some form of protein.

If I were going to stick to this strict diet, I’d clearly have to look at some cookbooks and get some ideas for incorporating a little more variety into the week’s menu plan. Last night, out of desperation, I put curry on mashed potatoes just so I wouldn’t be eating rice. It’s delicious, by the way.

I will say this about NOvember™, it’s sapped the spice from my life. Not being able to indulge in a piece of chocolate at lunch, a pint of ale after work, an americano on the weekend… it all adds up to a rather dampened existence. It’s also interesting that I seem to have taken to eating far too many servings of fruit and nuts per day.

I seem to be able to find dietary loopholes and I substitute one form of unbalanced eating for another. I’ve averaged about six clementines a day on top of various servings of other fruits and berries. I clearly like “sweet” whether it’s Halloween candy or Christmas oranges. And I think if I observe NOvember™ next year, I’ll have to include peanuts on the list. It’s amazing I’ve managed to lose weight instead of gain.

Which was part of the impetus for taking NOvember™ on. Quality Street season is about to swing into action and I’m ready to meet it head on.

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