Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nntza, nntza, nntza

There was a period of time where hitting the clubs was a common occurence for me and it was one of my favourite things to do.  Now, while I still love dancing, the club scene isn't really for me all that much anymore.  Occasionally, perhaps to reminisce and combat my new decade, I will go see if I'm missing anything.  I'm not.
A few weekends ago, Paul and I went to Ivy - some new supper/dance club in Burlington and while the music and atmosphere were decent, I spent most of my time observing and making a face.

The next morning, I reviewed the notes I furtively had taken on my Blackberry and these were my impressions of the club scene:

- "I'm a stylist"  There was this girl in an ill-fitting bandage dress in the bathroom who kept commenting on all the other girls' outfits with this loud disclaimer.  Yeah, I'm sure you are.  Hey, look at me, I put my own outfit together too.  All the zippers are done all the way up and the shirt isn't on backwards.  I'm sure Hollywood will be calling soon.

- There's always that one man who has his shirt unbuttoned just one button too many.  The gold chains didn't help, but he was probably trying to showcase them.  On advice from the professional stylist.

- A highlight of the night was seeing something shiny on the floor and mistaking it for a toonie.  Yep, I bent down and picked it up to be sure.  Finding change is actually a highlight of any day.  Finding actual bills, well that's just another level of euphoria.

- Paul and I were joking that we hadn't been at a club in so long that the only songs we know are really old ones or really new ones.  By 'really new ones' I mean anything we heard on the car ride there.  Apparently there is already a remix to that Goyte song. Tell your friends.

- At a club that is billed as an "older crowd", you see a couple different things.  First, there was a birthday celebration at one of the booths and someone had brought balloons that were emblazoned with "50" - if you advertised your age as over 22 at a regular club, you might be kicked out.  Second, at "older" clubs they'll play House of Pain's Jump Up and when you look around no one is actually jumping.  Maybe some people stand on their tiptoes or raise their glass a little higher, but gone are the days of bouncing around.  That's how you break hips.

- The strange opposite to the clientele at this older club was that annoying girls still weave themselves through the bar while holding hands like preschoolers.  There was gaggle of at least 8 girls who took several minutes to walk past me, all clutching to the person in front of and behind them.  Seriously, all that was missing was a teacher up front and felt nametags pinned onto their skanky dresses.

- Dude, don't wear a trenchcoat to the club.  And don't pop the collar.

Can we leave yet?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Waxing Poetic

The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum - I've never really seen the point.  People get that it's just wax, right?  It's the same thing as walking though a room full of cardboard cut-outs and if I wanted to do that, I'd just go to my neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart where a random Justin Beiber cut-out works the cosmetics counter.  It freaks me out everytime I see it.

When I was living in New York City, the Madame Tussauds in Times Square would put out on the sidewalk a different figure every day.  And so, even though it seems very dumb and even though he would never look at the camera, Tracy and I took a picture.  However, it is not as dumb as paying $30 to tour the museum.  They're not REAL, people!!!

(Man, what was I thinking with those teeny tiny sunglasses?)

I've always thought that the likenesses weren't quite spot on.  By this I mean, they look like a melting version of the best impressionist working the clubs off the Vegas strip.

However, it seems like they finally got one right:

As opposed to this utter failure. I'll give anyone $5 right now if they can identify who this celebrity wax figure is meant to be:

Another time while in New York City (or probably the same day, judging from my outfit) we actually met Scary Spice.  Those who know me, know how major a life event this was.  However, any time anyone sees the picture (proudly displayed in my kitchen, near the .... spice rack, if you will) they automatically think it's a wax mannequin.

But all I have to do is whip out the first picture that she and I took together, just moments before, and it is clear that it was all too real:

I think her exact words after our first attempt were, "Bollocks, that was shitty.  Let's try again.  And then let's be best friends.  Will you replace Ginger?" 

Stag Winner

As I've already mentioned, I detest stag and does.  But when a Friday night appears and three of your best friends show up at your door to whisk you away to a border town with the promise of $3 drinks and a couch to crash on, you don't often argue.  Especially because I now work at home, and some days pass by without talking to anyone.  By 5pm I am usually craving human interaction.
So I went.  I didn't even complain.  Eye rolling and making sure not to touch the door handles is not technically complaining.

It was pretty staggy and doey, although extremely well-attended.  That's the beauty of a small town.  You know what isn't a beauty of a small town?  Hockey jerseys acting as shirts.

There was an activity at this event that I hadn't seen before - hammering a nail into a log.  That's about it.  Since I wanted to be supportive and because the food hadn't come out yet, I stepped up to the plate.  The game was affectionately called "Aaron's Whack Off".  I hope Aaron was the groom.

I did pretty well and my name went up on the scoreboard (aka piece of construction paper taped to the cinderblock wall).  I then lost, then won, then lost, then won (!) money at Crown & Anchor and cringed through some tiny person stepping on my toe.  Fair to middling night all around.

That was until my luck began to change.

Apparently my five hammer whacks had earned me a spot in the championships...against the mother of the bride.  So we had a Whack Off Off.  "I will cruuuush her."  Because we were both equally terrible, it took five rounds for me to beat her, but the pride was extraordinary.  Oh, she'll be fine - she can experience the pride of seeing her daughter walk down the aisle.  Or something.  All good, except for my friends now calling me the Whack Off Queen.  Although there are worse nicknames.

In addition to the pride that stayed with me all the way until the cake was cut, I received a $25 gift card to McDonald's.  Oohhhh yeeaaah.

But that's not all!  My night just kept getting better - I won the booze basket!  It was filled with a couple hundred dollars worth of random booze -  I know the exact amount because I returned it all at the LCBO the next day for things I actually like/am too cheap to try on my own.  I don't know who actually drinks Tequila Rose or Sour Puss, but I'm sure there were a couple of townies giving me the evil eye as I paraded the (heavy) basket around the legion hall.

I guess all it takes to make me enjoy the dreaded stag and doe is a little victory and free Big Macs and Chambord.  But, please don't make me go again.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

His & Hers

What are the chances? Yeah, what are the chances that we both dressed like middle-aged government workers with their finger on the pulse of the hot colour of spring: tangerine?

We're kindred spirits.

Deets About the Eats

One of my New Year's resolutions (since I was 15 years old) is to eat better. This year I got a little more specific and gave myself a break with the details. I resolved to at least "make proper meals as often as possible". Living alone with no set dinner times or requirement to fulfill the four food groups is both an awesome freedom and a license to be lazy. Often I'll end up calling cheese and crackers or cut up pieces of ham a complete dinner. So, I have made a concerted effort to make real meals.

I've discovered that to take the task on for every day of the week is quite the chore. Especially for one person. I've been inviting people over randomly and at the last minute to help me eat my dinner. It makes all the effort a little more worth my time and effort. Plus they usually bring wine because they think it's a real dinner "party".

Seriously, to cook a three-piece meal takes up every element on my stove, including the one that doesn't work, and my oven. It's not at all hard, but the amount of time and dirty dishes one plate produces is irritating.

Another layer of the challenge is my ongoing lifelong goal to make every single recipe in all of Barefoot Contessa's seven cookbooks. So, I view each meal as an opportunity to knock a dish off the list. This is why I attemped meatloaf. I never liked it as a child and as an adult, it just seemed incredibly dull. A brick of meat. That's it. Why would I want to eat that?

However, Ina Garten's turkey meatloaf was pretty great. But even though I halved the recipe, I still ended up with a huge loaf. I ended up using slices as bread for the next week. Ever tried a bacon/meatloaf sandwich? Well, don't.

Another way I'm accomplishing both my goals is by hosting dinner parties. I've always enjoyed hosting parties, but the dinner party is great because it's more intimate and I get to be the little hostess in the apron. Yeah, I like this part. My goal is to host one a month with different guests.

The March party was my first formal dinner party of 2012 and it was a great time. It was particularly challenging as one guest was gluten free, another was pregnant, and another still was a vegetarian who is allergic to sugar. Faced with serving salad and water, I came up with a gluten-free turkey lasagna as the main course. I have always wanted to attempt a lasagna and it was incredible. I was shocked - even the Italian guest approved. I also made a caesar salad with anchovy dressing and strawberry French tarts with créme Anglaise - all homemade. We washed things down with Tom Collins cocktails.

I also took the plunge for Easter and took on the large family dinner - I did my first pork loin. It's so fun being this age when everything I make is "my first". I'm sure when I'm in my fifties I'll be so sick of meatloaf and pork loin.

After all this food talk, I'm pretty famished now. Grilled cheese anyone?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hip To It

Easter dinner conversation:

Brother: I was at the cottage and this fox came up to me while I was shovelling the car out. So, I was trying to think of ways to keep it there and I had some Cheerios in my trunk so I fed them to him. Right out of my hand!

Sister: You had Cheerios just randomly in your trunk?

Mother: Oh, he has so much junk in his trunk.


Mother and grandparents look bewildered.


Later we taught Mom that WTF stands for "Why The Face?"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Synagogue Revamp



This is what I do. I save lives. Lives of the parties. One Chiavari chair and overused photo booth at a time. And I carry very heavy binders. You can't teach this kind of genius.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lowest of the Low

When I used to have a job that required me to leave the house and my pyjamas in the morning, I would often listen to the radio shows on my drive to work. Virgin Radio 99.9 has a recurring spot where they indulge paranoid or rightfully worried people who want to confirm whether or not their partner is cheating on them. Have you heard this?

These distraught people, usually women, would call in and spill their story about neglect, recent gym memberships, long hours at work and their suspicions of infidelity to the most heartless voices on the other end. Then the radio hosts put their plan into action: they call the alleged offending partner and offer them up a bouquet of roses or some night on the town in exchange for answering a short survey. Then, once the idiot agrees, they ask them who they want to send the flowers to/go out on the town with and every single time I listened, the person named someone other than their spouse/partner. At this point, the spouse/partner, who has been listening in along with most of the commuting GTA, freaks out and the offender is bewildered, caught in the act and completely blindsided. This is the premise. These are my problems with it.

1. Have these people never heard of mature communication? Or biting the bullet and asking their partner for honesty? You know, having a grown up conversation instead of throwing them under the bus and "catching" them in a most inappropriate way.

2. The radio hosts obviously see this as a great sport and they're out for blood. And ratings. The female one always offers the insincere 'last chance out' where she clearly does not want to provide this sniffling girl with any other options. Who came up with this idea of airing dirty laundry and involving complete strangers and sharing the unfortunate news with loved ones in the worst way possible?

3. What kind of idiot accepts a free anything after answering a survey that consists of 3 questions about their latest oil change? Nothing is free, buddy. Hang up! And who sees a survey call at 7:30am as legitimate anyway? How these dolts haven't managed to trip up all on their own and get caught is a mystery to me.

4. Granted, infidelity is one of the worst things you can subject someone to and it is the least respectful way to treat a partner, but this caper is very low as well. Blindsiding someone you love on the radio, in public, about any part of your relationship is just so repugnant. It makes me so uncomfortable to listen to this level of distress and pain, that I always change the dial right away. And this level of distress and pain in the morning? Before donuts, cocktails or lattes? Not cool.

5. Who's to say that because John Doe said some other girl's name when faced with the opportunity to send free flowers, it means he is cheating? Maybe he wants to send flowers to a friend who's having a hard time...perhaps someone's who's just been cheated on. Boo ya! Or maybe there are other extenuating circumstances or reasons to give the guy a chance to explain. Instead, the wronged chick freaks out, berates and accuses him in the public forum and probably locks him out of their house.

6. Why would anyone call someone named Mad Dog for advice or assistance in their life?


And this is why I like Winners:


I've lived in my house for two years now and I'm finally filling my walls.

Project #1:

Living room - I had been collecting these empty ornate frames at garage sales for several years and was unsure what to do with them. I also bought some frames with paintings and after the disappointment of not finding any proof that they were priceless works of art or had treasure maps hidden behind them, I had quite the collection.

I came up with this idea and spray painted some of them high-gloss black. It's my favourite project in the house. And very inexpensive. Nevermind about all the holes I'll have to repair in the plaster one day.

Project #2:

The gallery wall has been done everywhere, but I still really like it and thanks to IKEA, it's pretty easy. The hardest part is getting them all even and level. But by the time you get to this wall in my basement, you've likely already knocked your head on the low ceiling, so your perception might be skewed just enough.

This is my favourite picture I've taken - it was from my last LG Fashion Week when I worked in events in Toronto. It was a snapshot of my what my days there consisted of - all-access pass, stilettos, lattes, phone. The only thing you can't see that clearly is the stress, lack of sleep and snobby models. But they're there.

Makin' Bacon

I like bacon. Quite a bit. I can't think of any savoury food that would not be improved with the addition of bacon. Crispy, please.

So, when I first went to Chuck's Burger Bar on Locke Street I was quite surprised when I balked at the bacon burger. Not a beef burger with bacon atop, but a full patty made solely of bacon. Chopped up and formed, I suppose. For some reason, I couldn't do it.

But I persevered. Why do people climb Everest? Because it's there. While it took me three more visits to Chuck's before I could order it, I finally did, head high, challenge accepted.

This is how it arrived:

This is how it was when I threw in the towel:

It was quite awful. Really quite awful. It had a bouncy consistency and tasted like fat, not the smokey, crispy bacon I enjoy. It was like a grizzle cake. I ended up having to remove it and enjoy the bun, Brie and other toppings on their own. I thought I would feel like a failure, but really, just because you can, doesn't mean you should, Chuck's. I get why they offer it, but it's so bad.

It reminds me of one Christmas when I bought someone bacon flavoured envelopes and lip balm. Fail.

Speaking of pork, this advertisement baffles me:

This is the tactic the Pork Board is taking? And furthermore, there's even the need for a Pork Board? They have bacon, people! They don't need any public relations assistance. As long as people stay clear from bacon burgers, regular bacon is their golden ticket.

So, how exactly is this meant to encourage pork purchases? It "fits"? With my flip cell phone? Even I don't have one of those anymore. With my girls' nights out? Cosmopolitans, Manolo Blahniks and sausage links - a natural combination. With buying a house? Unless I am moving next door to a slaughterhouse, I'm not too concerned with pork and its production when I'm considering knob and tube wiring and whether the house comes with its own recycling boxes. With getting married??!! Sure, whether or not they like bacon will certainly be a determining factor in my mate selection, but the two in this ad look a little too smug. What - did they invent bacon? Everyone knows Francis Bacon did that. You know, and empiricism.