Friday, January 24, 2014

The Talent of Time, That Thief That Delays, We'll Come Back Tomorrow & Tear Down Your Ways

It's been a long time since I've indulged in one of my over-worded rants. I could be getting soft and sentimental in my old age, I suppose. But something happened the other day, and it's a regular occurrence that brings out my bitchy confrontational side - so if you're someone guilty of this, consider yourself warned.

Swanson-isms always work for me.

I was headed north up Roncy on the 504 King streetcar a few mornings ago. It was about 9am, it was cold, and people were cranky. It happens.

A woman came on with her toddler in a stroller. She was very polite, excused herself as she strolled by and thanked those who moved for her. And her little one? Super cute. Chubby and curly-headed, squirming in the seat.

Now as I said, it's around 9am. So it was packed. Standing room only. A nice man gave the woman his seat, and I stood nearby. Then as kids do, her son began to scream. Not a lot, by any means - because we all know kids can really scream if they want to. Just some slight squealing.

And then the looks started.

Being the nutbar observer that I am, after I smiled in sympathy toward the woman, I saw no less than 5 other passengers give her the absolute worst evil eye you can imagine. Death stares and muttering under their breath directed solely at her. The mother was doing her best to make her child quiet down, and the bitchy stares just worsened. And this pissed me right off.

Even Zoidberg thinks you're a dick.
While I fully understand that not everyone has the nurturing parental gene, the part of some people that makes us want children & drives us to care for them, there is still such a thing as regular ol' compassion. What exactly do these people expect her to do? Shove a sock in her toddler's mouth? Smack him in the head and tell him to shut the hell up? Or should she have stayed home, just because a couple of cries from her child might briefly annoy a few assholes on a crowded public transit car?

I think it should be the opposite - if you can't handle a few minutes of noise from a kid who doesn't know any better, and if you can't show respect to a mother who is obviously doing her very best (and has much more on her plate than to worry about you), then maybe you should stay home. Because you're an idiot, and you've obviously overlooked the "public" part of public transit.

To all the moms out there, I offer you all the respect in the world. Being a parent is hard work, so kudos to all of you for taking on that massive job - especially when things get rough in public. Because in case the judgy jerks on the TTC have forgotten... we were all children once. We all screamed, we all squealed, and we all made our parents' lives extremely hard at times.

Wonder how these people would feel about their own mothers being treated poorly for just "being a mom".
It's worth a thought.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Born With Insight & A Raised Fist

Awhile back I started posting some of my favourite albums - either recent favourites, or those that have been at the top of my list forever. But there's a pretty important album that I've not yet posted about, and it must be time.

Let me just take you back a couple of decades. It was 1992, your ol' pal Kris was a mere 9 years old. And an album came along that kinda changed everything. Rage Against The Machine's self-titled.

If memory serves me, the first Rage song my sister ever put on one of my infamous mixed tapes was Bombtrack. And that one song was enough to hook me. So much so, in fact, that it often became part of my internet handles (Y'know... once the internet happened. That's right young readers, I was alive before internet.).

My first-ever blog on LiveJournal/DeadJournal was written by Bombtrack_99; whichever first chat software had been popular, I was Bombtrack_Kris. We should all be highly surprised that this blog you're currently perusing is not called Bombtrack Ramblings. Just sayin'.

I was first hooked to that song, then the rest of the album (come on, what kid doesn't love the end to Killing In The Name? Though I'm more partial to the beginning.), and then there was Zack De La Rocha.

Oh, Zack. How I loved him. In school I'd write his name all over my books - as well as Chino Moreno's and other musicians, respectively - often alongside random Rage lyrics. Because, well... the rage is relentless. And I was born with insight and a raised fist. Also? There's nothin' proper about your propaganda. Fools follow rules when the set commands ya. And so forth.

I'm sure these lyrics all over my books would have caused some concern with my teachers, had they been paying attention.

He wanted to free Tibet. I wanted to have his children.

As I got older my Zack love, while still strong, also gave way to my Tom Morello love.

The dude is just awesome. Ask Springsteen, he'll tell ya.

Tom Morello - he's cooler than you.
And so this Rage Against The Machine fandom has been going on for 22 years. Through all albums that followed their self-titled (Yes, I even like the Renegades album - I'm that person), but I always come back to the first. This one. It has constantly stuck with me as an all-time favourite. I wasn't the least bit surprised when I randomly threw the album on the other day, and still knew every word to every song.

Because, as you already know... the rage is relentless.

(And yes... Maynard being on this track does help make it my all-time favourite.)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Maybe I'm Just The Thing To Break My Own Fall

Its been awhile since I've posted a blog for Samba Days. They recently sent me a new product they've just launched, called Gift Card Offers - a discounted gift card program for various highly rated restaurants, spas and services.

So I decided to check out Hapa Izakaya, since I'd never been before. I brought along my sister and brother-in-law, and we were not disappointed in the slightest.
Spicy Baja Rolls

First off, I'd like to say that although me and chopsticks have never been friendly (ie - I'm too uncoordinated to be able to actually use them properly. I blame my left-handedness. Shh.), I decided not to wimp out and use a fork.

That's right. For the first time ever, I ate an entire meal with chopsticks. I am horribly un-cultured. And stubborn.

But I did it! Sorta.

Seesters with Sake Punch

As I practiced my chopstick-age (new verb!), we had some drinks - delicious Sake Punch for the girls, organic draught sake on tap for the boy - and ordered some items off of the "Hapa Hour" half price app menu. This was my first-ever izakaya experience, so my sister and brother-in-law made sure we had a little of everything so I could try new things.

Every bit of it was fantastic.

Tuna Avocado Salsa Dip


After the Hapa Hour items, we ordered from the main menu. (Some items we tried that I didn't post photos of were the Gindara, Ika (squid), Beef Tataki, and  Black Sesame Tan Tan Noodle. All delicious.)

Little did we know that we also ordered items that came with mini blowtorches.

Here, the server is lighting up the aptly-named Firecracker Roll.

...and then another one set fire to the Aburi Saba (mackerel).

I might start lighting all of my food on fire, because it's just damn fun to watch.

Although too full to properly think straight, we split some desserts afterward. This is the Matcha Brulee, and the Ichigo Chocolate Fudge behind it.

Overall, my first izakaya experience was awesome. Amazing food, really friendly and fantastic staff, and I even managed to make peace with my evil chopstick nemesis. Nuthin' like progress!

If you'd like to try out Hapa Izakaya with a Samba Days card, visit and check out the selection. Or, grab one in the gift card section at select Rexall, Pharma Plus, Loblaws and Sobeys.

Pretty sure I'm going to order another one soon and go back for more. Wanna come?

Friday, January 10, 2014

I'll Tip My Hat To The New Constitution, Take A Bow For The New Revolution

Up until last year, I did not cook. Refused. Hated it. Somehow managed to stay alive without it (and yes - I live alone.) But that's all changed, and now I cook all the time. Still, sometimes the entire procedure is awkward and hilarious - technically, I'm still learning. 

Oh, you learned how to cook when you were 5? Cool. I'm learning at 30.
Because of said awkwardness, I've decided to blog some of my kitchen activities for a few reasons - one, so you can laugh at my attempts. Two, to document and prove to the non-believers that I AM actually cooking. And three - to show other chicks (and dudes) living alone that you can cook this stuff just for yourself, even when you lack skills or have to improvise ingredients. And I do. Every damn time.

So, today? We're gonna cook a chicken. My first one ever.

I had thought I was being smart, buying chicken breasts, roasting them, freezing them and then thawing them one by one to use in sandwiches, salads, and other crap (a year ago, this would've sounded impossible). But as my sage & trusted food advisor and sister Stephanie told me, it's better to buy a small, whole chicken for cheap, and use every damn bit of it.

So I bought one. And realized had no idea how to cook it.

Using a recipe and tips from said cooking advisor/sister, as well as this recipe here, I got cookin'.

First off... it was traumatizing. I've never really looked at a whole chicken from these angles. It made wonder briefly why I'm not vegetarian. And sadly I made the rookie mistake of naming him George. Oh, George.

Look away. LOOK AWAY!
The recipe calls for a lemon. I didn't have any left. So instead, I put part of a spanish onion and some garlic cloves in the cavity. Yup, the cavity. Shudder. I had to do things to this chicken that you would likely only see in the paid porn your Uncle Roger watches. And this chicken didn't even buy me dinner first. (Though technically he was providing me with a meal or two... ok, I take it back. We're cool, George.)

Next, that guy got the massage of his life. Some olive oil, salt, pepper, butter, some Herbes de Provence because I didn't have whatever the hell the recipe called for .... and again, back to the cavity & more awkward massaging. I feel dirty. But we do gross things for the sake of our inner fat kids.

At least I do.

"You're putting me where?!" Sorry dude.
After being rubbed, herbed & completely violated, the chicken was thrown in the oven at 450 for fifteen minutes. (I don't yet have a roasting pan. I improvised, yet again.) After, I turned it down to 375 and the waiting game began. Meanwhile, I tackle the whole reason I used to hate cooking - the cleanup. And so, I'm a constant cleaner. I clean while I cook and after. Since I'm dealing with George, The Chicken With Potential E. Coli & Salmonella, I disinfected the entire kitchen ASAP. And then took a blowtorch to it.

Germs, guys. Germs. Don't be stupid.

After nearly an hour, the temperature of the chicken is supposed to be 165 degrees. But I don't have a friggin' meat thermometor, no matter how pervy and hilarious its name is. So I tend to slightly overcook sometimes, just to be safe. (And because I like things overcooked, ok? Geez.).

However, this chicken came out completely perfect. I secretly high-fived myself and then it took all my willpower to stop eating the damn thing right then and there. Like the good little girl I am, I put some of the meat in the freezer for future meals. Boom. Preparation. You're welcome, Future Kris!

And here's my George, with a sweet tan from his trip to the oven.

So there ya have it. The Culinary Idiot learned how to cook a chicken, and it actually turned out awesome. (And yes I WILL be making a broth with George's remains, since I use chicken broth in a lot of my dishes. But I won't bother blogging it. You've been spared.)

The rogue bread tag really adds a touch of class to this photo

Until next time. George the Chicken bids you adieu.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

And So Today, My World It Smiles

And here it is, my first post of 2014. I've been sick since the 1st, so this year can only get more awesome.

I'm sure some of you are expecting some kind of resolution post - it makes sense right after a new year begins, and I assume I've done it before. But I've bored you all with introspective resolution-y type posts over and over this year, so I won't bother doing the obvious.

Instead, I'm giving a bit of thanks. Cuz 2013 was one nutbar roller coaster of a ride, and it's only right to thank the people (and possibly inanimate objects and/or cartoon characters) who shared the year with me.

To somewhat steal from Jimmy Fallon (though I'd rather steal the Roots), my thanks:

Thank you:

- to the most obvious of all, my family and friends for being generally awesome. You're all the bee's knees.

- to the people still reading this blog, through its reincarnations over the years and sometimes awkward subject matter. Come for the wonky epiphanies, stay for the tunes. Then come back for the ice cream. (I should really blog about ice cream. DAIRY INTOLERANCE BE DAMNED!)

- to the internet weirdos who continue to steal my photos and use them as their own. You guys keep me busy! You've also forced me to finally put watermarks on all my pictures. And I should thank the random kind strangers who contact me to let me know about these imposters. Proof that while the internet is full of psycho hosebeasts, it's also home to some helpful folks. So thanks.

-  to my dog, who loyally sits beside me at my desk all day everyday though I talk to her as though she's a person, sing songs with the lyrics changed to be about her, & pace around my apartment muttering incoherently in different languages while brainstorming. Best office bitch ever.

- to coffee. Because it's coffee. And it's just darn swell.

- to 90's rap songs for reminding me that if I still know all the lyrics, and I don't even listen to rap, my memory can't be all that shot. Thanks, Method Man.Uh... Mr. Meth, sir.

- to my carefully curated Rdio playlists for further fueling my music obsessions. I can't quit you, baby.

- to OHIP. If you were a person, I'd hug you and bake you a cake. Without you, I'd be approximately five bajillion dollars in debt, or potentially dead. So yeah... your cake is comin'.

- to my parents. Because they're better than absolutely everyone. These are just facts.

- to my team and clients at The MediaHaus. Collectively, you've kept this little train going. I promise not to make a caboose joke here, but you get the gist. You're all fantastic.
- and finally, to my one true love... food. Never change. Except when I'm cooking you, please change to "cooked".

Yeah. Thanks.

This filler post was brought to you by head congestion and Tylenol Cold & Sinus. 

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