Monday, August 28, 2006



This past weekend was great. And now for the stories for those of you who didn't attend.

Thursday night liz dropped me off at the Delta Chelsea in Toronto. The room was on the 20th floor and had a fabulous view of the city. Mark was there and we started on the cigars and whiskey then Tom arrived and we headed out for chinese food.

Amazing duck, fabulous noodles and some very delicious crispy beef along with a few other things like soup and spring rolls. Tom ended the meal with a hearty belch everyone in the restaurant could enjoy. Huzzah!

Then it was back to the hotel for some more refreshments and sleep.


Slept in until around 11 or 12 or so and Jason arrived. So Mark, Jason, Tom and I headed out for breakfast at golden griddle and then took a long at the old maple leaf gardens and found out it was being turned into a loblaws (grocery store). There was even a tasteless poster on the wall stating that 'our bakers might be caught for icing'... ugh..

Anyway we then walked down to the harbour front to take a 2 hr cruise around the harbour. At one point we thought we were going to be late but apparently the cruise company had given mark a boarding time that was half an hour earlier than the actual boarding time. So we arrived with plenty of time to spare.

The ship was magnificent. A large ship with four masts and a nice open deck (and full bar!). She set off on a course along the shore line, through the channel between TO and the island airport then out towards the back of the barrier islands then back to bearth. As we got going it was a fairly interactive cruise with us helping to raise the sails etc. (I would have also enjoyed being interactive with some of the crew gigdy gigdy gigdy ALLLL RIGHT!). So with more cigars in hands and about 3 G&Ts we cruised the migthy waters of lake Ontario.

That night liz and her friend andy met us and we all went out the the 'THEATAH' looking very spiffy. We saw Spamalot. The music based on the Monty Python classic 'Search for the Holy Grail'. While the first act was a bit slow and kitchie the second act really picked it up and it was freakin' awesome. Very funny, very fun, good music and a few interesting new twists.

Then on to food. Mark made reservations for us at Barberian's Steak House. Apparently a Toronto landmark since 1959. THE BEST STEAK... EVER. The food was deliousious, the decor very warm and homey, the service impecable, the food phenominal. It was a perfect choice!

After this it was back to the Hotel for more whiskey and chatting. Liz and Andy went home as liz had her shower the following day. Andy came back on saturday for the rest of the celebrations.


Woke up around 11 in order to meet the larger crowd of about 20 people at st. lawrence markt. After having some second cup, and some fabulous fresh cut back bacon sandwiches we moved on to the distillery district. Unfortunately the distillery mark had booked us a tour of called at the last minute to tell him the place was being renovated and would not be available for a tour. So we had some beer (Mill Street Tankhouse ale, chocolate porter and a few others) then wandered around the district before lunch.

We ran into a friendly penguin (pictures soon available) a few interesting shops and an amazing art gallery specializing in glass and sculpture. Daniel Ferandes does what he always does and found a piano and started playing. The old crabby art curator came over to pooh pooh his playing. Luckily the day was saved when a young curator came over and said 'let him play he's good'. Of course he's good, he's daniel fernandes.

Lunch was at the mill street oyster bar or something like this. Good food and more mill street ales and beers.

After lunch was the big game. We piled into 2 cars and 2 vans and headed to lazer quest. I must admit, I was skeptical, I haven't done this since I was about 17 (TEN YEARS AGO... SHUDDER). That said when the game began it all came back to me and we had a 'very zappy birthday' I mean great time! We had some excersice, shot each other and general had fun. It was great.

Supper was highlight. Not just because the food was great but also because of the 'entertainment'. A four course moroccan meal, with a bottomless glass of leffe brun, and 'interactive' belly dancers. Hot ones too. BEST EVENT EVER. The Sultan's Tent was the restaurant and true to the name our party of 20 people had its very own 'tent' inside the restaurant where we were served and entertained like sultans.

And then... the drunkenness. First was the BierMarkt which has an aweseom array of biers from belgium and many other countries. It also had a pretty good band playing and 2 bachelorette parties. While this was fun I still had sandals on and due to this fact didn't feel 'inspired' enough to stay and crash the bachelorette parties. That and the plan was to bar hop, see toronto, and generally be a rowdy road show. We then went next door to scotland yard, beer; then wandered into the loose moose on front street which was strangely quiet, Guiness + Guiness; then wandered up John street to Smokeless joes which was much smaller than expected, MORE BELGIAN 10.5% Bier. OH YEAH!.

We stopped by speakers corner wher they boys forced me to do a 2 minute improv with the key words moist and duck hunting. I think considered I had about 15 drinks in my at that point I did pretty well. After that all I remember is ending up in a fountain and sinking barret's privateers with tom most of the way back to the hotel during a torrential downpour.



The six people that remained went for breakfast. It was good. We all departed to go home and recover.


To everyone who helped plan this weekend, to everyone who helped contribute to this weekend and otherwise make it a success THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

A special thanks to Mark who from what I hear from just about everyone was the main driver in bringing everything together. Just amazing Mark great job.

Another special thanks to Mark, Tom and Jason for keeping me company at the hotel during the evenings, smoking the cigars and drinking the whiskey!

Honestly, we should use the email distribution list and at least twice a year have a 'larger than life' weekend like this. It was most sithum! Thanks again!



Thursday, August 24, 2006


So this weekend is the big day. My Bachelor party which has been appropriately named by various folks in the title.

Its going to be over 2.5 days (thurs night, friday and saturday). And While I do know very very few details I do know that there will be drinkie-poohs tonight, a full day tomorrow, Spamalot tomorrow night with a small group of intimates including Liz :), and then saturday which I've been told will be a heluvalot of fun with a good dose of enjoyable debauchery kicked in for good measure.

I'll give you all a recap next week if I survive!



Monday, August 21, 2006


Liz and I celebrated 5 years being a couple on saturday (scary) and after a low key malaysian meal went to see the movie. It was excellent. It was a very quiet and low key 5 years (given that there will hopefully be a wedding in 4.5 months) but a very good one!

See this movie. Stop what you are doing, put down the paper, the frying pan or the work in front of you and GO SEE THIS MOVIE.



Friday, August 18, 2006


"The minority Conservative government is withholding an announcement about future federal AIDS programs until thousands of delegates now in Toronto at an international conference about the disease get out of town."

"Unfortunately, the issue has been so politicized this week that this is probably not the time for us to make additional announcements,” Mr. Harper told reporters Wednesday night during an official visit to Whitehorse."

Nothing politicizes an issue more than a head of government saying something has become politicized and acting/or refusing to act because of that. Go Harper....



Monday, August 14, 2006


I got this from Wil Wheaton's blog (linked below). It also compliment's Kirk's most recent post!

Isaac I think you especially will enjoy this.



Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Liz wanted to see her old professor Marla and her kids who she used to baby sit for. They live in Saratoga NY (which is very near to my childhood summer haunt of Lake George I thought what a perfect opportunity to get away back to the beutiful adirondak mountains of NY state

We left on a perfect saturday morning, stopped in ST. Albert for cheese curds, then we stopped in at a small nature center in Adirondack park and took in a nice hiking trail around a lovely march. We also went through lake placid where neither liz or I have ever been. I picked up some cigars and we walked around the lovely little town. We had supper here and suffered from the absolutely enormous portion sizes in the US. That said my 20oz Prime Rib was excellent and about 90% meat so I was happy. The restaurant also features a micri brewery that makes some excellent beers.

We arrived in Saratoga around 10pm and were sleeping shortly thereafter. The next day we went canoeing, swimming and hiking in lake moreau state park. That evening liz and I cruised the Saratoga horse mansions and the main street taking in chocolate shops, and browsing for restaurants. While it was a hard choice we eventually settled on one italian place that would not let our noses go. The smell of the food from this place was just something else! The meals were great but again, the portion sizes are just too big south of the boarder.

Before we went back to Marla's we hit up the local artsy coffee shop "Common Grounds" which is fabulous. Its everything you could want in a coffee shop. Food (breakfast, lunch, snackables), about 25 varieties of coffee from around the world, close to 30-40 types of tea and excellent iced drinks. I brought back two pounts of coffee with me. Stuff I've never even seen before!

That night liz and I got a little misdirected and when we asked for directions the guy just said 'look it'll take me as long to explain it as it will be for me to drive you so you might as well get in'. We did and it was all good. I've said this for years, New Yorkers (both city and state) are some of the friendliest folks around.

On the way back I also picked up a case of 'Saranac' pale ale from Saranac brewery This stuff RAWKS. It tastes like an english ale in a bottle. Most english ales don't even taste like english ales in a bottle! I'm already thinking of ways to find stores closer to Ottawa in NY state that feater the wide variety of what saranac produces. I'd also love to go on a brewery tour.

After another stop in Lake placid on the way hope (shopping at the very reasonable outlet mall) we went home where the real adventure began...



Friday, August 04, 2006


I've been thinking on a number of things that i've observed both in the course of my professional day and in society in general. I've come to realize that while life 100 years ago was far far from perfect and people had far fewer protections (both physical and legal) than they do today in our society, at a macro level I've come to think that the western society of 100 years ago was much healthier than our society today.

Allow me to expand on three examples.

The first is the extreme focus on the individual. While I fully support the rise of the politial legal paradigm that resulted in the protection of individual human rights in this country and numerous others in the 'western world' we must also acknowledge the negative side effect of this paradigm. That is we have moved from a desire to protect people to one where the individual is held up in society as the centre of its own universe. Each individual equally diserving of whatever that individual feels they diserve. As a result we see people more concerned with ipods, email, and material goods than the overall health of their communities.

100 years ago most people did not have very much in the way of material wealth. Even 50 years ago my parents, neigher of them, had a car, a tv or fancy gadgets. What they did have was closeness with their neighbours and a togetherness with the community in which they lived. Things that impacted their community also impacted them quite strongly. They cared about the greater good.

Again at a macro level we see that government has gone from from trying to maintain services and programmes that maintained a strong society to a focus on ensuring individuals can do what they want. The result, at least to me, seems to be a decaying health care system, a decaying pension system and general decay across areas that are designed to make society strong.

Secondly our society has seemed to move from place where we valued knowledge to one where we value information. There is a distinct and very important difference between the two. Knowledge is fundamentally about exploration and discovery. Information is about accumulating, storing, managing, using, and/or distributing what is already known.

What initially made western society strong, and what we currently lack, is an overwhelming desire for knowlege to better our SOCIETIES and better our decision making. At the macro level this has resulted in a pscychological shift in our society from a place 100 years ago where the wealthy would spend like druken sailors on any number of foolish projects designed to revolutionlize society. Most of them turned out to be crap, but some, the light bulb, the air plane, the automobile etc. turned out to work pretty well. Most people in society are now soley focused on using what exists as trying to discover new things, new ways of doing things is inherently risky and financially draining. Instead of driving for knowledge, we simply use and reuse information. We have substituted increasing knowledge for improving the speed at which we convey information.

What made western society great was its ability to risk all for innovative and immaginative ideas to better society. What we have no is a society where individuals are so risk adverse that knowlege is substituted for information. This is a major reason for why our societies seem faster and have more gadgeths but also why our society seems to be less secure and less innovative than that our of our grandparent's generation.

Lastly, we have moved rapidly away from societies that demanded results in both business and government to one that is focused solely on discussing and recommending results. The bottom line of this means that more work is done, but less is ultimately accomplished despite calls for constant and increasing finanacial resources to get things done.

As the individual is now the most important actor in our society, governments fear intruding into the bubble of the individual or in any way offending them as they fear an information backlash by those individuals who oppose them. For fear of offending, bad press, or otherwise making some individuals a little uncomfortable governments now choose to provide information about what they are doing but never ever announcing that something has been accomplished.

Because we now deal in information and not knowledge governments and individuals fear experimenting with ideas that might help for fear that they might hinder. The result is a perpetual process where nothing is bettered and for fear of failed idea experiments, our social systems are left to rot slowly. Never being improved because of a lack of knowledge and innovation and for fear of the backlash of the all powerful individual.

In order for Canada, western society and ultimately the world to progress beyond its current state of stagnation (a tornado in a tin cup that does not move is still stagnant) we must return at least in part, to a collective state of mind that values 'the greater good' of the community while respecting individual rights; that values knowledge and information; and most importantly that puts governing and social emphasis on results and not just endless process.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Last night, despite the temperature outside which was approximately equivalent to the core of a small star liz and I added some new plants to the garden (requiring some relocation of existing plants) including a dwarf evergreen which we hope will grow as we settle into our house and lives over the coming months and years (as a married couple).

We also began the first leg of the remodelling of our front room. Its not so much that we had the room modelled before as we wanted to do something with it. We've painted it (some touch ups and edges still to go) and we will then have to figure out exactly how we want to do the bookshelves _that liz wants to make/install her(our)self(ves). Anyway fun times.

Also, even with the AC on (set at 25C) it was a night to sleep on the main floor. I don't care how hot it is i'm not cooling the house for the top floor, that's energy and financial suicide.