Leave My Bananas Alone!

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I thought it was a one-off. I thought that it would happen once and never again.  How sadly I misjudged Hollywood.  How sadly I thought their greed had limits.

They have gone and defiled my banana again–though this time it seems a bit more fitting, if only because of the colour.

For those of you who missed my lament (perhaps rant would be a better word) the last time this happened, please click here.

Posted in advertising, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Disney, food, rant | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Financial Acumen

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Today’s Perfect Moment is not what it seems. It wasn’t this lunch.  Well, it was kind of this lunch, but it wasn’t this lunch.  Have I confused you enough?  That’s good, because I am confusing myself.

The lunch itself was just okay. I don’t want to publicize this fast food outlet or criticize it.  The Panini could have been toasted more, and I would have adjusted the toppings somewhat, but they didn’t ask for my input.  Oh well, it is what it is. Instead, Today’s Perfect Moment celebrates my financial cunning, or financial dexterity,   Maybe I mean my financial acumen.  This is an area I write so seldom about that I am not sure I have the proper vocabulary at my disposal.  Today’s Perfect Moment is about a good deal.

Let’s put it this way, Today’s Perfect Moment is about having a really good coupon and using it. The coupon read that if I bought a drink I would get the Panini sub for free.  Usually those stupid coupons say  buy a sub and a drink and get another sub free.  This time I only had to buy a drink.  As you can see, I chose orange juice.

I would love to hear about a great deal you got.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bargain, food, subway | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cider with Hemmingway

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The end of my day became very social. While waiting for a friend to have some drinks with, I was invited to have drinks with some other friends.  I think that is what they call a “win-win” situation.  Although both social events were great, and the second one was longer and situated far from the dungeon of work, I have give the nod to this one pictured here.

Why? you might ask innocently.

Basically, I find it quite Hemmingwayesque to have found myself having a drink in the work kitchen at the end of a rather long day.   It’s probably the wrong idea and about as far from Hemmingway as you can get.  It could be that this image was brought about by the co-worker who supplied the libation.  He speaks Spanish and had the opportunity to turn it loose in front of us.  I suppose there are alternatives.  If drugs had been involved, I would have considered calling it a Hunter S. Thompson moment.

Once you add the information that we were drinking homemade cider–which was better than any mass-produced, store bought cider I have ever had–you can see why it took top honours and became Today’s Perfect Moment.

I wonder what the students would have thought.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, drinks, food | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perfect Moments of the Near Past

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I’m laying catch up with the Perfect Moments.

Sunday’s Perfect Moment was a combination of three great things (in no particular order):  Japanese food, an interesting cafe, and friends from a long time ago.  Having reunited with an old friend, whose original (and apparently intense) friendship only lasted four months, we made plans to get together with another mutual friend who she had contact with, but I had lost touch with.

We went to a lovely Japanese restaurant (Sakawa Coffee), which did not feature either sushi or sashimi, but did a nice job with Tonkatsu, grilled fish and other Japanese cooking. It was a small place, but it had a decent amount of atmosphere.  As a bonus, the ownership and staff were Japanese from Tochigi and I could practice my language skills.

We later went to a cafe (The One and Only Cafe I believe it was called) to drink some wonderful beverages. Mine was the standard one seen here, whereas  one of my companions had a blood red cup of tea–I had never suspected his vampire tendencies before.

Catching up was great. Time has passed, but there were enough things to remind me that as distant as it seems, some things are easily recoverable.

Sadly, the chance to meet them required a bus ride, followed by two subway rides and a shuttle bus ride, which was redeemed only by the attractive woman in the distinctive athletic wear standing beside me as I precariously clung to the hand bar, not even remotely succeeding in reading my book. I am going to have to blame the bus driver rather than my distractions.

Going home was better as it required an additional shuttle bus, which I abandoned when I saw the crowds and set off on food. I arrived later and definitely sweatier, but I was happy not to get on that bus.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, coffee, ethnic food, food, friends, friendship, Japanese, restaurant | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Weekend Book Review

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Before I start this post, there ate two things you should know. The first is that I am not a book blogger or book reviewer.  I like books but I rarely read reviews.  I pick them off the shelf at the library (or occasionally the bookstore discount table) because the title or the author or (gasp) the cover looks good to me.  I read the blurb and if it feels good, I take it home and start on it.  I like talking about books, but rarely feel compelled to write about them.  My blog is not really about books anyway.

The second thing that you need to know about me and books is that I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. It is pretty hard for the real world to compete with the fictional ones.  Okay, a grisly murder or an incredible scam probably competes, but rarely can the real world assemble a cast of characters that a good piece of fiction can.

I rarely do book blogs/reviews, but in this case I will make an exception–because I enjoyed the book so much.

The Once-cent Magenta (subtitled Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World) by James Barron is a great tale of how this stamp came to be, who has owned it and how it was sold throughout its history. You wouldn’t think the history of a postage stamp, printed only because the real stamps had been lost at sea, would be an interesting story, but it is.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a Dan Brown page turning thriller, but since the stamp carries such a high price tag, no doubt some interesting people have been interested in owning it.  This is the only British stamp not to be part of the Royal stamp collection–since there’s only one of them and it is owned by an American.

I am not a stamp collector, but every time I read a book about stamp collecting, I become interested in it again. This happens when I read the Keller novels of Lawrence Block, which feature the stamp collecting hit-man Keller, and they happened after I read this book.

My coworkers were in disbelief when I told them this book was good. I guess it comes down to the writer James Barron.  He is witty without being condescending, which seems harder and harder to do in this era.  The jokes don’t come at the expense of the people in this book but rather the whole situation.  I admire that about his writing above all else.  He is a New York Times reporter, so I am sure he knows a good story when he sees one.  He also knows that the story is the centerpiece, not his ego.

What is it about collecting something rare? What is it that makes people want it so bad?  In the book, he wrestles with that question.  I can’t say you will find an answer, but you will have at least gotten a better look at it than most people.

This book has stirred up an interest in stamp collecting in me. If it lasts, I guess I will be starting a new hobby.  Please check out these two posts from my other blog to see what I mean.  Hobby InspirationInadvertent Collection.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, books, collecting, reading, review, stamps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fortune Cookies

I have complained before about the lack of fortune in my fortune cookie,  There have even been better fortunes in my cough candies (see here).  However, very recently I got these.  Looks like my life is going to get interesting.

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, luck, Omens | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

New Topics of Conversation…Finally

English teachers, especially new ones, love to talk about grammar and teaching. With the summer upon us and an huge influx of teachers for the busy summer season, things can get loud in the teacher’s room.  The debates about the Oxford comma alone can eat up a lot of time.  Unfortunately, as of late, I have had a “been there, done that attitude.  This might be the wrong attitude.  I know it certainly isn’t nurturing of the new “talent” but sometimes, enough is enough.  Sometimes, I just don’t want to talk about gerunds and infinitives or the many uses of the present perfect.  Sometimes, I want to be stimulated.

So that leaves us at today. Today’s Perfect Moment was a conversation at work that wasn’t about work.  Despite being held by a group of unfed and caffeine deprived ESL teachers, not a word of grammar was spoken.  It was highly articulate and liberally spiced with profanity.  I can’t change that truth, so there is no point in lying about it here.

The topic, in case you were curious, was about countries where women did not take their husband’s name at the time of marriage. While I don’t have an opinion one way or the other, most of the women speaking were not allowed to take their husband’s name, and consequently did not have the same family name as their children.  As you can imagine, this creates a few problems while travelling.

I didn’t participate very much in the conversation, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  Why can’t every break time be like that?

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, conversation, ESL, teaching, Toronto, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Girl Who Ate Sushi

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I know I shouldn’t stare. And, on the face of it, she probably thought I was staring because she was an attractive young woman.  That wasn’t the case at all.  I was staring because she was doing something I had never seen being done on my bus before.  I’ve seen lots of interesting stuff on my bus and from my bus windows, so you know that this is going to be good.

Sadly, I didn’t find the courage to ask her if I could photograph her.

So, while lamenting the exit of an incredibly beautiful woman from the bus, I noticed that one of the people entering was carrying a tray of sushi. Feeling peckish and loving sushi (though I love sashimi more–the fundamental difference being only slight and not worth going into here in detail) I couldn’t help but stare.  I was even considering stopping and getting some for my own dinner.  What a great idea to take some sushi home.

Then she opened the tray, precariously balanced it on her lap while opening the soy sauce, and proceeded to eat the sushi, with full chopstick dexterity. She grasped the tray in her left had and pried the sushi off the tray with her right.  When necessary, she reached for the slightly open aforementioned soy sauce package and doused her sushi some more.

I have trouble eating my Cliff Bar or drinking coffee from my travel mug.

It was a rather troubling end to my day and I really didn’t think I would have anything to write about for Today’s Perfect Moment. Fortunately, something pretty good found me.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, eating, ethnic food, food, Japan, Japanese, public transportation, sushi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

On the Road

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The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  While that may be true, it isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable.  Also, outside of the 401, Yonge Street and downtown Toronto, not really applicable for the roads in Ontario.  The roads themselves are straight, but you generally have to make a bunch of turns to get where you want to go.

Today, I decided to make more turns than were necessary. I don’t know if it was because I recently watched the movie version of On the Road, or if I am just tired of the roads I travel.  Either way, I chose to make a few more turns, go through a few small towns and glimpse a different perspective on the journey.

It seemed like a good thing to do. The sights were unfamiliar but not too unfamiliar.  There were different gas stations scattered among the typical chain stores.  There were different yards with different cars.  There were different fences, from white picket to gnarly wood to dull mostly brown boards, with only a handful askew.  With different bends in the roads came unfamiliar speed traps (thank you fellow drivers).  With hard to read road signs, the open road beckoned.

Also

Today is a day worth noting here at the blog.  I have had the same number of page views as I had all of last year.  I guess that means the blog is growing.  I like that.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blogging, blogposts, driving, review, success, view | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rebuilding Aurora

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I wish they had put a hole in the boards and not made me take this picture from the side through a chain-link fence.  Oh well.  There is still that little boy in me who can stop and look at construction sites. I suppose that is in all of us.  If it isn’t, why not?  Where has your sense of wonder gone.

Enough berating. That wasn’t my intention for starting this post.  I meant to write about construction and building and rebuilding.  This all came from my walk yesterday.  My town, arguably a commuter town to Toronto with only slightly better real estate prices, has lots of new buildings going up.  At the same time, lots of businesses in the downtown area have closed or are under new management.   The lot in the photo above held a supermarket when I first moved to town.

While stopping to take these construction photos a couple of guys in car asked me “Which one is yours?” thinking that I was buying a condo. When I explained, the car passenger lamented that things had really changed here in the last ten years.

I chuckled and said, “Forget about the last ten years. Things have changed a lot in the last year.”

While I might grumble at the use of good fertile farmland for housing developments, I am not against change. While I feel bad when businesses go under, I know that it was a failure of the business plan, or poor location, or frankly an under needed product.  I hope the new business will be more successful.

Sadly, in the downtown of my town, there seems to be less success. While more and more people move here, and more condos are built in the downtown area, things don’t seem any better.  Maybe it is the lack of parking.  Maybe it is the lack of foot traffic.   I mean, lots of cars go by, but I saw very few people walking.  It was a beautiful day, but that didn’t seem to mean much.  Maybe the rents and taxes are too high. That’s something for the politicians to consider.

Where’s the perfect moment in all of this?  Like I started this post, there is this little boy inside of me who stops to look at construction.  Unfortunately there is this adult in me that also stops to ponder the consequences.

 

Posted in achievement, adapting, adversity, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Aurora, buildings, business, constructions, Toronto Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments