Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Boxing Day Madness

Yes, it's true. I'm a sucker for Boxing day sales. It is the one day of the year when my cheapness overrides my lazy tendencies. (For you American readers, Boxing Day is the Canadian equivalent of Black Friday.) Case in point, this Boxing day I woke up at 4:40 am (thank you honey, for waking me when my alarm didn't go off) with only about three hours of sleep. This was in an effort to be at Futureshop early enough to beat the crowds for the 6:00 am opening.

But it was worth it. I got a wireless router and an LCD panel for the home computer.

I also picked up a hard drive at Staples, only to return it the next day (wrong connector type) and returned to Futureshop to get one there. So now the home computer is up and running, after about a year of not working.

Of course, there was a full day of shopping to follow my early morning expedition, but to be honest, I was getting pretty tired and had to rely on my wife to stay focused. Overall, we had a pretty good haul this year. Were the holidays good for the rest of you?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thank you Mr. Temple, for the introduction

Years ago I was introduced to what seemed at the time to be a very boring, tedious computer game. With real time strategy games all the rage, why on earth should I pay attention to a turn based game? It didn't make sense, but people refused to stop talking about it, so I was compelled to at least try it out. Needless to say, I got hooked on the game in a big way.

Yes, I am aware that there is a fourth installment to this game franchise. But that doesn't exist yet for us Mac users, and quite frankly, I'm kinda glad. We finally get the Play the World expansion pack for the Apple OS at the end of the year, so we have lots of gaming goodness to get caught up with before we move to Civ IV.

The only real problem with the game is the amount of time it eats up. I hear that in Civ IV, they have a built in alarm clock so you can be reminded to quit occasionally. I do like that I can play for an hour at a time and slowly work at a game though, which is good since most games take days to complete. It's really too bad I'm not a playtester for this sort of thing - I'd be the most dedicated employee ever.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lobsters for Christmas

So we got a couple lobsters this weekend, to be eaten over the holidays. So that meant a little preparation was in order. This photo was taken after they were cooked, but before they were shelled.

That's right, we didn't eat them immediately after cooking. We picked out the meat and froze it for now. Probably the day before we plan to eat them we will thaw them out (it's only a few days away) and eat creamed lobster. For those of you who aren't familiar with this dish, think of New England Clam Chowder, then remove all the veggie bits so you are left with the shellfish in a rich cream broth. Let the lobster flavour infuse into the cream overnight and serve over mashed potatoes or molasses brown bread, with side orders of things like carrots, corn, or other vegetables.

This is a traditional dish from the Atlantic provinces that started because many of the families were too poor to buy foodstuffs like beef or chicken, but had things like lobsters in abundance. Remember, most people made their living as fishermen in those parts. Even though lobsters were readily available, some families still had to make a little bit stretch between a lot of hungry mouths, which is why it was served over 'fillers' like potato or bread. But for me this holiday season, serving lobster this way is more of an opportunity to enjoy a taste of 'home.'

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Snow in the courtyard

It's no wonder we put up lights and decorations for the holiday season. Everything else is so dark and drab that we need a bit of colour. At least snow is white (well it starts out that way) which reflects what little light we get. Otherwise, my picture would be even darker.

The view from my office window isn't any better. The homeless guys have added some extra tarps and such to their tent, and look to be surviving the cold fairly well. They don't seem to be disturbing anybody, which is much more than can be said for the summertime vagrants.

That being said, we are down to ten days before Christmas. We aren't going anywhere this year, which makes this the first Christmas that we celebrate in our condo. We didn't even decorate last year because we were away. All that will change this weekend though. We'll make our place all Christmassy and pray that our pets don't kill themselves by eating the ornaments. We have already banned tinsel from the house, based on past year's experience.

Hey, wouldn't it be neat if the homeless guys decorated their tent for the holiday? If they do, I'll be sure to post a picture.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

All you can eat ribs

So last night after doing some shopping, we decided to eat at Montana's cookhouse. I, of course, decided to have the all-you-can-eat-ribs since it was a Wednesday, and that is the Wednesday special.

Holy crap, they's got some good ribs there. I skipped breakfast this morning, and will probably have to go vegetarian for a week, but man was it worth it.

After about the third extra helping of ribs, one of the waiters asked me if I had a hollow leg. All I know for certain is that I might have ribs once or twice a year, so when I do, I like to eat 'em. My wife was thoroughly entertained which I suppose is good, since she doesn't eat beef or pork. It's okay though, because I got her a treat while we were at the mall. And yes, she also ate at the restaurant.

Montana's serves three types of ribs, with at least three different sauces. I had some pork back ribs (less fatty than side ribs) and a beef rib. I tried all of the sauces liked them all equally. I must say, the beef rib was monstrous in size. It comes as a single rib, instead of a rack of about eight pork ribs. I had the staff wrap the beef bone in foil, so I could bring it home for my dog. I really should try to get a picture of this little dog gnawing on a bone that is easily as long as she is. Well, it used to be - she's been at it for a while now.

If my mouth still waters at the thought of those ribs, does that make me a glutton?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Brian Rogers sucks as a Realtor...

...and I'll tell you why: When we were looking to buy a home, we contacted Brian Rogers and his crew. Multiple times. We did not hear back from them. Not regarding the listed houses we were interested in, or to hear about any other homes they could show us. (That would have been nice.)

Fast forward to now. We found a condo and have been there for little over a year. A couple months ago, the phone calls from Brian Rogers and crew started. They were wondering if we were interested in selling our condo. We politely declined the first few times, but thought it was odd that we were suddenly being contacted by this team, since they clearly wanted nothing to do with us before.

But Brian doesn't take 'no' for an answer. After the third or fourth call, I got tired of hearing my name mis-pronounced and tired of telling them the same thing. So I started to get 'less polite' and requested that they stop calling me on this. If I wanted to sell my home, I was perfectly capable of locating a realtor for the job.

So then they sent a guy to knock on our door, to offer us the same pitch. Unbelievable. Again, we told him 'no' and I was surprisingly polite to the guy. In addition to the junk mail flyers we usually get from about four different realtors (Brian's team included,) we started to get personalized letters informing us of how much other units in our complex have sold for and would we like them to sell our condo for us please? Brian would be 'honoured' to serve us.

At what point does this stop being advertising and start being harrassment?

For the record: I will NEVER do business with Brian Rogers or his team. They simply do not treat me with the respect I would expect as a client and clearly do not listen. I would not reccomend their services to anyone, and would go so far as to reccomend any of several other quality realtors, like Pat and David Dyck, with Century21. I will also actively monitor further communication received from Brian Rogers and his crew and document it here. Way to piss off your client base, Brian.