Monday, January 30, 2012

Salmon Burgers - YUM!

I was in Saskatoon this weekend, and on Sunday night Robyn and I made salmon burgers!

They turned out AWESOME. And they were wickedly easy to make. We chopped about 650g of boneless, skinless salmon in a food processor, then mixed in (by hand) 1/4 cup chopped green onions, about 1/4 cup feta cheese (more would have been good), an egg, a cup of bread crumbs, a shot of lemon juice, and as much fresh dill as we could muster. Which was one package from the grocery store.

We formed patties and fried them in 1-2tbsp of olive oil in a pan for about 4 minutes per side. Also, I made "homemade tartar sauce****" which has four emphasis stars because really I just cut up pickles into tiny bits and mixed them into mayonnaise.

We found the recipe in Looneyspoons and it would have been way better if we had all of the ingredients (lemon zest, for one) BUT they were still amazing. Robyn made homemade buns (pictured) the day before so they were extra-awesome!

A very simple recipe: will make again!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The McDonald's Wet Chocolate Caulk Pie

Most mornings in Montreal I grab a medium coffee with two milks from the McDonald's in the mall below my office. Plain McDonald's coffee (not the fancy McCafe stuff - I haven't tried it) is actually pretty good. And cheap! And all the cups have an air insulation layer inside. And the lids don't suck, like Tim Hortons.


Recently McDonald's has introduced what - to me - looks like the most vile and disgusting product ever to hit the shelves: The Oreo Pie.

Each day when I order my coffee, I have to look at a menu like this (this is not the exact menu, just an image that showed up on Google):

Maybe it's just me, but that picture is GROSS. Yeah yeah fast food is all gross etc, but come on - this is especially unpleasant to look at. The exterior cake looks overly moist while the cake near the frosting looks rock solid.

And the frosting... I can't look at it without thinking of this:

There you have it: The McDonald's Wet Chocolate Caulk Pie. Am I insane though? Does that picture look gross, or am I overreacting? I can tell you that the idea of an Oreo pie sounds great, in theory. It's just when I gaze upon the menu picture in the morning, I suppress the urge to gag.


Bonus: while searching for images for this blog, I found this insane cake recipe that combines ice cream sandwiches, Cool Whip, crushed Oreos and Jello chocolate pudding. Strangely, this homemade gargantuan calorie feast looks much more appetizing than McDonald's Wet Chocolate Caulk Pie.

Blog link:

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Fine Meat Sauce

For supper tonight - and for several of my lunches next week - I made a meat sauce using ground-up hot Italian sausage in my wok. It turned out awesome:

Ingredients: 1 package Bowtie pasta, 450g spicy Italian sausage broken (skins removed, broken apart while frying), one red pepper, one onion, green onions, 5 huge mushrooms, can of diced tomatoes, can of tomato paste, and a shot of balsamic vinegar for aroma and flavour. Seriously, balsamic vinegar is awesome in Italian meat sauces.

Turned out great, will make again!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Wise Cubical Visitor

There's an older gentleman at my office in Montreal who enjoys getting to know random people on this floor. He'll wander by my cubical a few times per week and chat with me, but before wandering away he usually tries to pass along some wisdom.
He's a totally nice guy and I mean no offense to him whatsoever, but the magnitude of his wisdom varies greatly day-to-day.
Today I said I'd like to "settle down" in Saskatoon. He said that was unlikely; once you start accepting travel assignments (as I have in Montreal), you never want to stop moving around. This pushed me deep into thought, as right now I DO I want to settle down in Saskatoon and I can't see that changing. I focused my thoughts inward and tried to think of a scenario where I'd want to pick up and move. I couldn't think of anything, but he still made me challenge an important idea that I hold true.
Yesterday he told me to take my dress shirts out of the dryer when they're still damp so I could skip ironing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Guitar! So Metal.

I bought a new guitar today with some money I got from my parents for Christmas!!!!

It is a Jackson Rhoads RR3, made in Japan, with a Floyd Rose licensed tremelo and Seymour Duncan humbuckers (pickups). The guitar was designed by the late Randy Rhoads, who played with Quiet Riot in the late 70s and Ozzy Osbourne in the early 80s, before a dying in a plane crash in 1982.

Although Randy Rhoads designed the Jackson Rhoads guitar, he (tragically) never played it. He played the prototype and sent feedback to the guitar makers, but died before the revised prototypes were completed. Although Rhoads was only 25 when he died, he had a massive impact on the metal scene with some original guitar work in classic songs like Crazy Train, Diary of a Madman and Mr. Crowley.

I bought the guitar from Italmelodie in Montreal where a guy named Dino was super helpful, letting me play on a crappy practice amp (to simulate the crappy amp I have here in Montreal) and a huge Marshall stack in a soundproof room. He was great - he left me alone to play for 40 minutes or so, stopping by every once in a while to ask how I was doing or tell me he liked a song I was playing (I was playing a lot of Randy Rhoads stuff, and he's a huge fan). A+++ would shop again! 

It is hard to take a picture of yourself holding a guitar and also looking cool.

Here's a little video I recorded this evening. I'm playing part of a song called Paraphrase by Swedish guitar sensation Yngwie Malmsteen. I couldn't get an cut with no mistakes so I said "eff it" and uploaded this version. 

I've only put a few hours of play into this guitar but I already love it. The action is super low and the notes just jump off the fretboard. My Gibson SG has no tremelo/whammy bar so it will take some time to get used to the whammy on the RR3. The only downside: it's not easy to play sitting down. But that's okay, sitting is not very metal. I might upload a few more videos of me playing guitar in the future, we'll see! 

Thanks Mom and Dad! 

Friday, January 6, 2012


I was talking to Robyn on the phone the other night and I asked her, "have you ever just walked around without your glasses on? I walked home without my glasses today and it was awesome."

She laughed and said no, but that her sisters sometimes did and they called it "blindwalking."

I was excited to hear that other people without glasses sometimes do this too, and that it's not just me being crazy.

My vision is fairly poor: I'm nearsighted with a -4.5 and -5.5 prescription on whatever scale prescriptions are on. In layman's terms, I need to have my looking-balls about 10 inches away from size 12 font to have any hope of reading it. To have any hope of recognizing a person when I'm not wearing contacts or glasses, they need to be less than 5 feet away (and they need to be even closer for me to figure out if they're making eye contact).

When I walk around without glasses, it's like being teleported into a colourful, blurry, and isolating world. Why isolating? When your vision is poor and you don't wear your lenses, you can't see people's eyes, which prevents you from seeing their intentions. You don't pick up any social cues like eye contact, smiles, raised eyebrows, etc. Everyone is just a blob moving from A to B and you're moving around in this fuzzy version of reality. This isolating feeling is strangely (and consistently) peaceful, even in a busy, loud place like downtown Montreal.

The thing I love most about terrible vision (no sarcasm, I promise!) is lights. Lights on cars, street lights, digital billboards, neon signs, and Christmas trees all look more magical. When I look at a Christmas tree in low light without my glasses, I can't make out the ornaments. Rather, I see a tree covered in GIANT orbs of colourful light. This is one of my favourite things to do at Christmas - take of my glasses and look at trees.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Difficult Day

I just got back to Montreal, and so far today I've had what Eugenie Fernandes would call A Difficult Day.

I'll get all of my complaining out of the way at once:

  • My Saskatoon apartment's sink is backed up. We can't drain anything, and whatever our upstairs neighbour drains comes up through our sink. Oh joy! Here's my attempt at plugging the sink with Gladware to prevent overnight floodage (it didn't work)
  • I slept poorly last night, due to the one-man highland dance troupe living upstairs. 
  • One of my flights was cancelled so I was bumped to a later flight, guaranteeing that all of my daylight hours were spent in airplanes or airports. 
  • My bags were last on the carousel (#firstworldproblems)
  • The drug store in my building wouldn't sell me a box and bubble wrap because only the post office (inside the drug store) is allowed to sell them?? Umm, the post-related inventory is mixed right into the stationary isle, why can't I give you some money in exchange for some shipping supplies?! "Oh, the post office part is closed, so you can't have the items on this shelf in this open store."
  • Most strangely, apparently my apartment's management showed my apartment to at least one "client" while I was on Christmas break in Saskatoon. What? People were in my apartment? Okay, there was an advance notice of this visit slipped under my door, but when they visited a week later would they not have seen that undisturbed, unopened notice on the floor? No consent was given to enter and I did not see the notice until today. I am very annoyed. Nothing is missing, but how do you feel when someone enters your personal space without permission? It's creepy. I called the "agent" and left a message asking her how many people were in here and when. These so-called clients are welcome to see my apartment but only if I have actually received the notice and only if I actually give consent. 
Life is not all bad; I suppose my tiredness just magnified all of these relatively minor issues. On the upside, today I saw some friends on the plane who I haven't seen for a long time, and I had a really, really, really great Christmas break at home in Saskatoon. Lots of food and fun with friends and family (eff, that's some fine alliteration!). 

I should have some interesting, non-complainy blog posts up within the next week or two. Happy New Year!