Anyone going to NYC this week?

January 29, 2007 at 7:17 pm (General)

If so, do you have room in the car? I ask because Paul Weller is in concert tonight til Wednesday.
I never saw him when he was with The Jam, nor with Style Council. Who knows when the next time will come.

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His name is… Squirrel

January 22, 2007 at 7:02 pm (General)

Since the departure of our much-beloved Frances, the milliner and I have considered getting another pet. In fact, perhaps two pets, if only so they don’t get lonely during those hours when we’re not home. We’re special that way.
Naturally, I wanted another Maine Coon, but was open to suggestions. And, of course, a dog. Something big. That slobbers all over you. And takes up half the bed. And is way too huge to require much exercise. But first of all, a cat.
So, relying on a certain yulblogger’s suggestion, we headed out to SPCA Montérégie, a non-euthanasia shelter. Looked around one of the cat rooms, were attacked (in a friendly way, mind you) by some cats, smelled at by others, and completely ignored by the rest. One cat was sleeping, woke up when we got near, and latched on when we picked him up, nuzzling on ear lobes and hugging us madly. So, we told the folks we wanted him, paid, and left him for the week while he was to get another vaccination. And, therefore, I present, Squirrel.
His Name Is Squirrel
Tiny little thing, a bit of a complainer, but not loud at all. He just requires a lot of love. His name, apparently, comes from the fact that he was found under a bird feeder, trying to jump up to get the seeds. Of course, if ever we get another pet, we have to call it “Moose,” but with a Russian accent.
BTW, if anyone is thinking of adopting a(nother) pet, really, go to the SPCA Montérégie: they especially need help these days.

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Do you really want an answer to that?

January 18, 2007 at 2:50 pm (TV)

Last night, watching the train wreck that was the Seattle auditions of American Idol, the milliner turns to me and, despairingly, asks, “Why are most of the crazy ones all redheads.”

Of course, the sage (mmmm, sage) advise of Robert Benchley came to mind: “Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.”

Unfortunately, my keen sense of tact did not get into gear, so I laugh uproariously.

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Saturday night is not alright for first dates

January 17, 2007 at 7:53 pm (Food, General)

Notes from a branché resto-slash wine bar:

  1. Get seated next to vaguely familiar politician conversing with a holdover from the Kajagoogoo days of new wave ’80s. Realise vaguely familiar politician is, ahem, Andrew ClearWood. Date does not seem to be going well, Andy’s credit card is already on the bar by the time they’re eating their first tapas. Fifteen minutes later, they leave, taxi boy out the front, fearless leader to the back, where he goes to bathroom. Comes back out when he senses the coast is clear. No visible signs of grinding teeth.
  2. Their seats are taken up about 10 minutes later, this time by a somewhat attractive mid-40s woman and an older, distinguished-looking gentlemen. Said woman is wearing a white wool dress that’s even shorter than anything I’ve seen on women down on Ontario east of St-Hubert. (Now I know what they mean when they say mini-skirts shouldn’t be worn by anyone over 25, much less 45.) Short skirts on cold nights? Not a good idea: no one is turned on by blue lips, facial or otherwise. She’s draping herself drunkenly over the gent, who is neither welcoming nor throwing off her advances. Instead, he seems to be drinking heavily in order to catch up to her state of being, which, it turns out, is a complete act, as she proves by calling and speaking coherently to her children (I’m guessing here) when he steps away.
  3. A couple then sits between drunk couple and us, looking fearful and uncertain, now that they’re away from the friendly confines of the hip restos of St-Laurent and Sherbrooke. They look like they’ll be heading to Shed Café for drinks afterwards. He’s dressed in the requisite various shades of black, completely indistinguishable from the regular crowd of night vultures. She’s gorgeous, perfect skin, looks like Vanessa Williams at the Golden Globes, except that she allows herself to occasionally eat more than one meal a day. She carries most, if not all, of the conversation, he smiles absently at her, probably wondering what his chances are for a little somethin somethin at the end of the night and also whether it’s worth waiting out. Because? While she does carry the conversation, it’s mostly all about her. From what I’m gathering, she’s recently discovered the joys of therapy. And is re-evaluating her life, starting a conversation and deciding that, no, they shouldn’t talk about that, and getting angry at him when he feigns interest. Because she doesn’t want to talk about it.

The milliner and I decide at this point that, while the food and wine are really good in a nice setting, we’ve had enough.
Oh, and we adopted a cat.

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I’m surprised there was no mention of this

January 16, 2007 at 4:21 pm (General)

I’m confused.

Snow finally fell on the city yesterday, enough to remain on the ground for over 24 hours. In fact, the entire country, and many of the fly-over states down south, were hit by variations by awful weather, and I haven’t seen a single blog that mentions it.

No news stories, either. No one seemed to even speak of it.

Weird.

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Nevada City, CA

January 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm (General)

Back in the mid-nineties, I was a bit of an Ani D fanatic, finagling tickets through work to see her concerts. It just so happened that in the winter of ’96, she was playing in Burlington, VT. So, of course, I call up her publicist, who gets me tickets and, bonus, a copy of “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere,” a collaboration she made with Utah Philips, an interesting mix of ole timee folk and hip hop (or whatever style of music it is. I can’t classify the kind of music kids are listening to these days. And get off my damned lawn!). Off to Burlington I go, amidst all the Green State lugs.
Afterward, TPDGA was a regular on the cd player, including the song Nevada City, CA, a stream-of-consciousness ditty about living in, well, Nevada City, California, a small mining town near the Sierras. Apparently, over time, it’s become a “new-age chronosynclastic infindibulum,” i.e. an epicenter of NARPs (new age rural professionals). Drumming circles, Robert Bly, high colonics, spelt cookies, holier-than-thou attitudes, etc.
What am I getting at? Well, this: yesterday, I get home, go through my mail, and come across a postcard inviting me to “discover” a book called, wait for it, “The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda, as remembered by His (notice the capital ‘H”?) Disciple, Swami Kriyananda.” Quite a mouthful, that.
And just where would this publisher be located? That’s right. Nevada City, CA. Weee!
I don’t know why I’m on their mailing list, to tell the truth. Because, remember, no matter how new age you get, old age is gonna kick your ass.

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Baby steps

January 10, 2007 at 7:39 pm (Introduction)

I’ve started this blog as an offshoot from my blog at, you guessed it, Blogger, which I’ve been maintaining for the past five years.

Everyone seems to be migrating over here, and if there’s a lemming, that would be me.

Let’s see what happens, m’kay?

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Unfortunate irony

January 9, 2007 at 7:49 pm (General)

Walking around the Plateau on Sunday, window shopping (refurbished and stained teak antique doors imported from India on Quebec-made armoires is the new black, don’t you know), I couldn’t help but notice the multitudes of pedestrians, cyclists and inline skaters out in the sun.
So, yup, the weather has gone to hell (almost literally!), yet it’s the “outdoorsy” folks who are taking advantage of it all.

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Christmas Ice Cream

January 3, 2007 at 1:34 pm (Food)

A few years ago, the milliner and I were doing some holiday groceries. The cart was pretty full, I’m thinking “gosh, do we really need that second jar of water chestnuts,” I’m building up a sweat from pushing the cart, looking forward to finally getting out of there. However, Ms. Milliner was making a bee-line for the freezer section, where she latched on to one of the last remaining containers of the chain’s Christmas Ice Cream.

I had never heard of it, but quickly discovered the succulent joy of crushed candy canes and chocolate bits in a vanilla ice cream. Yup, it went straight to my hips (actually, more like my stomach), it was expensive as all get-out, and we found out later that it went on sale a couple weeks after the holidays, albeit somewhat stale.

So, when I bought the ice-cream attachment for our mixer, my first thoughts was, “damn, we’re running out of room for all these attachments.” My second thought, however, was “gee, I wonder if there’s any hockey on the tube tonight.” But my third thought, finally, was, mmmm, christmas ice cream. So, we came up with the following recipe. Normally, this would be an all-cream recipe, but we’ve substituted half the cream for milk, meaning you can have a double serving at only half the calories. (That’s how it works, right?)

Christmas Ice Cream

  • 2 cups 35% (heavy) cream
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean (you could use Tahitian vanilla, but it’s expensive and, because the emphasis here isn’t on the vanilla, buy a cheaper bean if you can find it.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 candy canes crushed up in food processor
  • 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet (70%) chocolate

Seed the vanilla bean, i.e. cut it along the seam, dig out the seeds with the tip of a knife, and add to a pan with the milk and cream. Heat the cream mixture just to under a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the eggs yolks become white.

Strain out the cream, and slowly add to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Refrigerate the custard overnight. The next day, place the custard in a sorbetière (ice cream maker), adding the candy canes and chocolate towards the end.

Finally, as always, enjoy! It’s probably the only thing that’s even marginally cold this winter.

Christmas ice_cream

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Taxi karma at its finest

January 2, 2007 at 8:52 pm (General)

Stumbling home from New Year’s eve’s festivities, the situation was pretty desperate, what with all the rain, the icy roads, and drunken Americans in hotel lobbies, all vying (and almost coming to blows) for an elusive cab. We head down to René-Lévesque, hoping that our luck will change. We duck under another hotel awning, wondering how the fuck we’re going to get home and, if we do end up walking, just how sick we’ll be when we get there.
Along come a trio of (you guessed it) Americans, lost and unable to find their auberge. We strike up a conversation, we give them directions to their destination, and start showing them the way. And then, miracle of miracles, a cab pulls up. Score! Fifteen minutes later, we’re home, soaked to the bone, but home nonetheless.
Okay, that might not count as karma, per se, but I’ll take what I can get.

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