Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ms. Vickies, you are a naughty seductive temptress.

Dear Ms. Vickies Jalapeno potato chips: This weekend, I'm going to ravage you like a man who hasn't eaten Ms. Vickies Jalapeno potato chips in 46 days. Stupid Lent**.

I went through potato chip withdrawal for the first 2 weeks before the shakes finally subsided. I would walk into the pantry absent mindedly 3 or 4 times an hour, and reach for the unopened bag of delicious chips before realizing I was participating in this exercise in restraint. Ms. Vickies, you are a naughty seductive temptress.

Also, if you read my previous post about Mr. Van Damme, apparently his actual last name is Van Varenberg. Jean-Claude Camille Francois Van Varenberg. Camille?! No wonder he became a martial artist. Imagine the number of asses that needed kicking in school, with a name like that to make fun of.

**Technically, I'm the stupid one for lenting myself of chips when I'm not even Catholic. Stupid George.

Monday, March 25, 2013

_my drop kick homage to Van Damme, c. 1990_

I was out jogging in the late afternoon today, when a fatass in a white Pontiac Sunfire gave me a drive by heckling. The bastard rolled down his window, squeezed his pudgy face out of it, and heckled me with some unintelligble high pitched yelling while he passed me. I slowed my pace for a second in confusion... I was slightly disoriented, and momentarily thought I had travelled to some alternate universe where obese men cruising the streets of suburbia in an old white Sunfire was considered cool. But alas, I regained my senses and realized HA - there IS NO.SUCH.UNIVERSE! Seriously, a Sunfire! The most pathetic excuse of a vehicle a man could ever drive. Google 'Is a sunfire' and see what the auto fill comes up with, and the page results for those autofills. He may as well have been wearing a dress, sporting a perm, and pounding Taylor Swift through the tinny speakers.

Sadly, I got over my confusion too late to chase the unlikely bully down and dropkick his car into oblivion, Van Damme Style. You know THE KICK, where JCVD jumps and spins and does the splits while connecting with a vicious back heel, and the victim's face does one of those slow motion mouth wiggles as teeth and spit fly in 3 different directions. Only, in this case, it would have been the Sunfire's radiator exploding into a fountain of green gatorade from the impact of my drop kick homage to Van Damme, c. 1990. Sorry Mr. Damme*, I let you down.

*Do you think he goes by Mr. Damme or Mr. Van Damme? Is Van a middle name, or an additional surname? Why didn't they teach us these important facts in school?

And in a completely unrelated matter, this is a photo I took of stuff . Good times.

Random French Facade

Three overlapping exposures, taken with a Diana mini on Ilford XP2 Super 400 film.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

_Prince William buys a latex ball gag_

If you are reading this post because the subject line actually intrigued you... well, read on. One of the perks of using Blogger is that you get access to some interesting statistics for your blog. This includes page visits, what country your audience is visiting from, what browser they use, and even what their favourite type of underwear is. Okay, you don't actually get that last one, but that's about all that google can't tell you. One of the other interesting things is that you get information on how people found your site - including some of the strange keywords that people actually look up. Below is an example of how a couple people found my blog today (they ended up on a post about Tytus' birthday party from a few years ago):

Strange search terms

So the next time you decide to look up some random topic that pops into your head, keep in mind that googling isn't as anonymous as it seems, and people can quite easily see what you're looking up. When you get the urge to look up potentially embarrassing keywords like 'Prince William buys a latex ball gag**' you may want to do that on someone else's computer. Just saying.

**Dear Royal family: please don't sue me for defamation. I don't actually think Willie looks like a ball gag kind of dude. Strikes me as more of a leather chaps man. But that's his business, and who am I to judge.

Adventures in Fooding - Sushi at Red Ember, Calgary

Blogging our fooding adventures is almost becoming a weekend tradition... we've been dining out a lot lately, and tonight I present you with some photos from our latest adventure at Red Ember, a great little Sushi restaurant in Kensington. While the parking situation was a little confusing for this place, the rest of the evening was pretty much spot on perfect.

The sashimi was fresh, reasonably priced ($34.95 for 24 pcs), and very generously portioned. And for fans of Uni (sea urchin), it's currently in season, and you can get very large portions of fresh Uni for $3.95/ piece. YUM! The menu was fairly standard, offering the gamut of your typical Japanese appetizers, sunomonos, sushi/ sashimi, and rolls, but there were some unusual items that we hadn't tried before as well. These included Akimo (monkfish liver with ponzu sauce, topped with grated daikon and chives), and the house Red Ember roll (a tuna and salmon roll, tempura battered and fried, sliced into 6 pieces, laid onto their sides, and then each topped with one of six different ingredients - seaweed salad, chopped scallops, spicy tuna, spicy salmon, mango salad, and spicy crab). All told, our meal came to a shade over $100 including drinks, and we were rolling out of there stuffed like overloaded suitcases. The wait staff were friendly and attentive, and while we were paying the cheque, inquired if we enjoyed our meal. Our reply was a resounding, "We'll definitely be back."

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Thursday, March 14, 2013


I sold a photograph for the first time today. It was a photo I shot in Montreal of the old port and skyline last March. This picture isn't anything special but someone found it appealing enough to want to buy it. Click below to view a larger version.

Montreal Old Port and Skyline

While I've done engagements and weddings in the past, this is the first time I'd been contacted by someone about purchasing a photograph I took for my own personal enjoyment. It's pretty exciting. And although I didn't sell it for an arm and a leg, I do plan on donating all of the money to cancer research, in a show of support to my uncle, who is bravely undergoing several cycles of chemo at the moment. A reminder to all of us - we never know what tomorrow will bring, so remember to throw caution to the wind every once in a while and live a little.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Big Taste Calgary - Downtown Food

We had such a good time pretending to be pretentious foodies last weekend at Market, that we headed out again for another sampling of The Big Taste Calgary festival, this time trying out the menu offerings at Downtown Food. We'd driven past this venue numerous times, lamenting the closure of the arthouse cinema (The Uptown) next door, but didn't know anything about this great little restaurant hidden in plain sight. Like many eateries that have sprung up recently, Downtown Food features locally sourced ingredients, and serves up many delicious house made items from scratch.

As part of Big Taste Calgary, Downtown Food was offering a 3 course dinner menu ($35) and a 6 course gourmet menu w/ wine pairing ($85). Many of the dishes were tinged with Asian flavours and ingredients, but the cuisine overall was modern and well balanced. Between the two set menu offerings, we shared: a fresh seasonal oyster seasoned with daikon, caviar, and hot sauce; beet (not beef) tartare with shallots, topped with shiso greens, and served atop a swirl of garlic aioli, along with a cumin crisp on the side; cured hamachi with sea asparagus, horseradish and edamame puree, and topped with a bit of roe; house cured duck breast ham with smoked cheddar and black truffle, served atop a thin crostini and honey drizzle; a trio of pork - braised pork shank, pork loin, and crispy pork rind, served with kohlrabi puree, mushrooms, and a bit of siracha; roast miso cured sablefish with French lentils, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, topped with a handful of greens; creme brulee lemon tart with cassis sorbet and a shortcrust pastry chip; triple chocolate mousse topped with Oreo crumble; and finished with a bonus house made marshmallow with shaved coconut. As before, I'm not a proper food critic, so I'll spare you the superlatives and metaphoric comparisons that a food blogger might try to induce your salivary glands with, and instead leave you with some photos. But I will say that the roast miso cured sablefish was undoubtedly the star of the entire evening - perfectly cooked (crispy exterior, moist and flaky interior), with just the right balance of sweet and savoury flavours. I would go back just for this dish alone.

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The presentation of this oyster was a bit overly stark, but the flavour was great, and made up for it. Unfortunately, the oyster was balanced upon a bed of what appeared to be zested daikon and so when I took a rather large forkful and discovered it was in fact, salt, I had to find a way to discreetly purge it before my arteries solidified on the spot.

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By far our favourite dish of the night - roast miso cured sablefish. So good, it gets two photos.
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Alright folks, time to go lose an hour of sleep. MDT-->MST.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Zero Visibility

No photos to share with you tonight, but Tytus and I headed out to Lake Louise on Sunday to ski the 40+ cm of fresh powder that fell over the last couple days. The snow was phenomenal and conditions were mostly awesome, minus the ridiculous flash wind gusts that barrelled through, bringing crazy whiteout conditions. Take a peek.

Alright, I feel like a 93 year old complaining about my sore knees. Time for bed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Big Taste Calgary Festival - Market

Foodies Unite! It's currently The Big Taste Calgary festival... so Anita and I went out for a dinner that wasn't Pho or Vermicelli (I sort of have an addiction to Vietnamese cuisine). We hit up one of Calgary's newer joints, Market, on 17th Ave SW. It's located in the space of the former Yardhouse, and is decorated in a chique but minimalist black and white scheme, and features a menu from Executive Chef Geoff Rogers. Top Chef fans will soon be able to catch this guy in action on the latest season of Top Chef Canada.

As part of The Big Taste festival, Market was featuring a special 5 course dinner for $85, with wine pairings. The courses progressed from light and refreshing to hearty and meaty, capped off with a rustic-ly elegant dessert. I'm not a food blogger, so I won't bore you with my tasting notes on each of the dishes, but they were mostly spot on great. Green salad with honeycomb vinaigrette, butternut squash soup topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and chives, Pork Belly served on a bed of beans and topped with octopus, Bison Flank served atop pressed potato with onions and crispy roasted Brussel sprouts, followed by Chocolate Pot Au Creme. The servings were just the right size to leave you satisfied without feeling like a gluttonous pig. The wine pairings were decent Okanagan area offerings, complementing the locally sourced - within a province to either side - ingredients in the dishes. Overall, an enthusiastic two thumbs up! Calgary's dining scene continues to grow, and Market is a welcome addition to the casual but upscale set.

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