Friday, September 28, 2012

Honey Boo Boo... What the heck?

This plain just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong.

One of my Facebook friends posted something recently about the TLC reality show: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I had never heard of it before and went to their website to find out more about it.

Here's what it says,

About the Show
Take an inside look into life with "Honey Boo Boo" where the six-year-old pageant sensation (Alana Thompson) proves that she is more than just a beauty queen.

My goodness... Has it come down to this? Our lives have gotten so bad we have to resort to watching this rubbish to start feeling better about ourselves? Is that it? This is just reinforcing the stereotype of the uncouth American to the rest of the world. And you wonder why so many people feel disdain towards you?

P.S. - Whoever thought up the idea of beauty pageants for children should be cracked across the head with a bat.

P.P.S. - The Learning Channel... what is wrong with you? What are we learning here? We're not learning anything except how ridiculous Americans can be. When mothers and their children dress up like clowns that's what you're portraying.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Steve's Birthday

It was Steve Quan's birthday recently. I know him through Lawrence Chui. He's part of the group of young professionals who attend Richmond Hill Christian Community Church.

I was chatting with my friend, Dickie, (who also knows Lawrence and Steve) and he mentioned they were taking Steve out to dinner on Sunday. I hadn't done anything with their group in awhile so I thought I'd join them.

I arrived at 6:00 (half an hour early) from Fairview Mall where I had gone to kill some time after volunteering at the boarding home (where I go every other Sunday afternoon). Of course I was the first one there.

A couple with a baby arrived next. Unfortunately I can't remember their names.

There were other new faces as well, plus some old, familiar ones. Glen was there. So was Ernest, Wanmy, Pastor Fred and his two boys, John, Ken and Elaine, Rebecca and Bobby (from RHCCC). Of course Dickie and Big Jon came too. They're ex-CPCers who started attending the fellowship up there.

It was nice seeing everyone again and sharing a meal together. I know Steve really appreciated everyone coming out in his honour.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Open House Day

My housemate, her friend, Markus and I went to eat lunch at Echo Sushi this afternoon. It's located on the west side of Yonge, a few blocks south of Eglinton (just south of St. Louis Bar and Grill). They have all-you-can-eat sushi for $13.99 for lunch.

Markus and I got there first. Naomi came a bit later having taught her Japanese school class earlier that morning. I ordered my usual salmon nigiri and a variety of maki rolls such as the green and red dragon rolls and the rainbow roll. They have a variety of raw fish, barbecued eel and avocado and other items in them. I absolutely love sushi.

I ordered a bit too much the second round. I was able to finish it, but it took some effort. I probably could have done with one less maki roll. I guess my eyes are bigger than my stomach. It was great nevertheless.

We topped our meal off with green tea ice cream and a delicious mango pudding. I also had a piece of deep fried banana which was so-so.

Afterwards we were walking back to our place when we passed an Open House sign at the corner of Yonge and Manor Road. It was for a place on 80 Manor Road East. Curious, we decided to take a look.

As we were walking east on Manor Road we came upon another house having an open house, number 38. So we went in.

It was beautiful, both inside and out, having been recently renovated. Though approximately 1387 sq. ft. (not including the 667 sq. ft. finished basement), the 3-bedroom, 2-storey house was quite small.

One bonus was the absolutely huge, two-level deck in the backyard complete with 6 person hot tub.

80 Manor Road East was quite a bit larger. I can't remember the exact size, but I believe it was between 2000-2500 sq. ft. It also was recently renovated having been extended a significant amount out into the backyard.

While the finishes weren't as nice as number 38, it did have size going for it. The master bedroom on the second floor was quite large. As well it had a room in the converted attic with a 2-piece (toilet and sink).

The basement was also finished and, if one wanted, it could easily be converted into a legal basement apartment. Though it would take a long, long time to get your money back because this place was going for $1.6 million. That's what Markus was considering doing.

My advice to him would have been - Just buy three 2-bedroom condos for $500K a piece at the new 50-storey Menkes buildings nearby and live in one and rent the other two out. You'd probably have an easier time making your money back that way.

Anyway, these homes were beautiful, but beyond my means. It was fun to walk through them and pretend what it would be like to live in them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cover Band at Scruffy Murphy's

After dinner at Rancho Relaxo my friend and I still felt like having a beer. So we went up to my neighbourhood to a bar called Scruffy Murphy's.

We ordered a pitcher of Rickard's Red and some sweet potato fries to munch on. I was still a bit full from the Mexican food, but the fries were tasty. Cold beer and sweet potato fries? How could anyone resist?

We talked and watched a bit of U.S. college football on the TV until some musicians came and set up their equipment. Turns out they had a cover band booked for the evening.

I don't know who they were, but they were pretty good. They played a bunch of songs that I liked. I can't remember any offhand. They were from a few years back. Probably the 90's and early 2000's.

The patrons at the bar seemed to like them too. Quite a few of them were up dancing. Since I had my camera I took a bunch of pics of the band. It was fun.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rancho Relaxo

I went to dinner at Rancho Relaxo with my friend on Saturday. We had a Living Deal voucher (I believe that was the company) that was good for $40 worth of food, but no alcohol unfortunately. I pretty much had my heart set on Mexican food and beer.

Since Rancho Relaxo is pretty much the only Mexican restaurant I know, by default, it's my favorite. It's located on College Street, a block west of Spadina. Just north of Kensington Market and Chinatown.

As usual I had the Enchilada de Casa with steak. It's steak wrapped in a soft corn tortilla with melted cheese, sour cream and their house salsa. It's served on a piping hot plate with rice, refried beans and house salad.

My friend tried the Pescado de Corona. It's a pan-fried filet of Atlantic Grouper smothered in a smooth avocado mousse. I tried some. It was good. Not as good as my enchilada, but good still. I guess I'm just partial to enchiladas here, so nothing can top them. It was also served with rice, refried beans and house salad.

Since we couldn't use the voucher towards alcohol we scanned the dessert selections. One of their specialties is Deep Fried Ice Cream, so we ordered that. It's vanilla ice cream battered and deep fried with cinnamon and honey/agave drizzled on top. Yummy with a capital Y.

I tried to order the Chocolate Cheesecake as well, but they didn't have that. So we tried the Chocolate Fudge Cake. They didn't have that either. They did have Volcano Cake. So we had that. It was very good too. It's a chocolate cake with soft chocolate goop inside. I guess the best way I can describe it. We had it with water because their coffee machine was out of order too.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Snack Sized portions - The Genius of Marketing

A few years ago we were Super-Sizing everything... now it seems the trend is Snack-Sized items. Oh how times have changed.

I'm sure McDonalds with their snack-sized McFlurry, Haagen-Dazs with their Vanilla and Almond snack-sized ice cream bar or Tim Hortons with their Toasted Chicken Minis aren't looking out for your waistline. No, they're looking out for their bottom line. And what easier way than reducing the size of their products?

Under the guise of showing concern for your well being by cutting calories the companies are just cutting costs (and increasing their profits). How smart is that? You put a new spin on things and turn out looking like the good guy.

In the long run I suppose it's a good thing. Overall, as a society, we're way too big. We need to shift our way of thinking to eat healthier food in moderation and to exercise. So if increasing profits for big corporations is one way to kick start the movement then so be it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Massey Tower Condo

Last Sunday, as I previously wrote, I hung out with Kerry in the afternoon after church. We saw at bit of the NBA 3x tournament as well as visiting the Massey Tower condo sales office on Yonge.

In a previous life the Canadian Bank of Commerce did business here. It was first built in 1905 and is a truly beautiful building.

The new 60-storey Massey Tower will use the former bank as it's entrance lobby off Yonge. As with many of the suites, it will be designed by renowned interior design team Cecconi Simone. We walked through the 645-square-foot One Bedroom plus Den model suite and it was, well... sweet. High end for sure. And the prices reflect it.

A 377-square-foot shoebox they call a Junior One Bedroom will start at $366,000. A 643-square-foot Junior Two Bedroom unit on the 60th (Penthouse level) will start at $570,250. And a 882-square-foot Three Bedroom unit will set you back $601,000 (starting price). There are floor and view premiums as well.

Unfortunately lockers aren't available, so you'll have to store all your extra junk in your parents' basement. And there are a limited number of spots in the above ground parking. They will be a mechanical elevator type of unit. So you won't actually drive your car up a ramp to get to your spot. Parking spots are only available for suites over 800-square-feet and will cost you a lofty $69,000.

A great looking condo in a great location with prices to match.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

NBA 3 on 3

The NBA sponsored a 3x (three on three) tournament here in Toronto again. I believe they've had them here in the past too. This one was at Yonge/Dundas Square last Sunday. I hooked up with Kerry again after church. After lunch we wandered around the city.

Like last week we went by City Hall and Nathan Philips Square. I went to see if Richard was sitting in his usual spot, but he wasn't. I haven't seen him in awhile. I hope he's doing alright. I'm sure he must be.

We walked into City Hall to use the bathrooms. While there I took some photos of the nail sculpture on the wall (on the right side as you enter). I've never taken a shot of it all these years it's been there. It's called Metropolis and was created by David Partridge in 1974. It was created using more than 100,000 "common nails" as the City of Toronto website puts it.

After that I wanted to go through the Eaton Centre back to the Massey Tower sales office on the east side of Yonge (just north of Queen Street). We were there last week to see the model suite. It's on the site of the old Canadian Bank of Commerce.

The building hasn't been occupied in over 20 years I believe and was in neglect. Now they're restoring it and it'll be the lobby for the new condo. I'll be writing a bit about that later.

Next we walked up to Yonge/Dundas Square where we discovered the 3x tournament. It was interesting to see. They had different categories depending on your skill level. Some players were quite high level. Probably former college players.

Of course there were fun activities for the kids too. And a DJ blasting out the tunes. Something for all ages. The atmosphere was hopping.

We stayed for about half an hour before retreating back to the food court at the Eaton Centre to relax with our $1 McDonalds soft drinks.