Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Black is the New Brown

4 hours to kill in Via 1 this evening so Sheena pulls out the stash of newspapers that have been collecting for the last 48 hours to catch up on some reading. One of the papers (and I don't remember which one) had a little blurb on something that caught my attention. Fired up the Club Car Wi-fi (so far great signal) and continued my self-education on this important matter.

Yes. The world has now been made safe for black toilet paper.

According to Fox News online, this steaming new product is cleaning up in Europe, laying waste to the traditional white and pastels found in hot bistros and bars. It's wiped out the competition from more traditional brands in Portugal, France and even Australia where it is sold online. Plans are to flush it through the distribution channel in the US and Canada next year and I can't possibly see how sales would tank in the current culture of designer housewares.

But as one who enjoys a good curry. A hearty salad. And has a streak of lactose intolerance, Sheena has but one question:

How exactly does one know when one is 'done'?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Old Home Week

Yeah yeah, whatever. So I've only been a non-Ottawaiian for 2 weeks, but it still was an odd thing to drive up the Queensway to downtown and NOT turn off the usual exit to go home.

Lunch with the old homies today at what is normally a Friday kind of place. Ye Olde Prescott Hotel. Because it was a Tuesday, and not a Friday, we stuck to pints and not quarts with our midday repast. And oddly we all got borderline healthy specials and not the usual Friday selection of Meebs.

Strolled down Elgin Street after work to Mags & Fags for some periodical shopping. Over to Woody's to just sit in the open window and quaff a few while shrieking at 7 week old pug puppies. No draft before 5 though. Weird, man..

Saw a most beautiful sunset over the Gatineaus from a perspective never seen as a resident. Had dinner in the hotel restaurant. Which was a stupid decision. Crap food and would have preferred to have gone out, but my inner Becky came out after spending $36 for a blow dry at Amalfi Spa and didn't want to take a chance of ruining it in case the humidity stayed in the tornado zone all evening.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sheena's Travel Tip #2:

Stop and smell the roses and don't be an asshole.

For short haul trips between Ottawa & Toronto, Sheena often prefers to ride the rails in the comfort of Via One rather than spending the same four hours at double the price standing in a security lineup at the airport. I feel strongly that responsible corporate citizens must strive to spread the burden of particular consumption habits equally between Via 1 and Maple Leaf Lounges.

So when a good bud who was down in Toronto on business over the weekend had to drive back early from TO, I cancelled the train ticket and rode shot-gun.

Once past the clogs at Pickering & Oshawa, was clear sailing. Hot, sunny, cranking the tunes, catching up on girl-talk, reading the paper, putting the feet up on the dashboard and winking at truckers. Not forgetting to get receipts at Tim Hortons, though...

Wondered who'd win in a roadside cage-match. The Colborne Big Apple or these guys. Got a craving for fruit salad.

Stopped for dinner in Brockville. Was introduced to the joys of Don's Fish and Chips. Wow. Excellent pictures if you click on the link. Big old bathtub full of fresh cut potato just waiting to be thrust into boiling oil. Henry Ford worthy production line ending up in a hand-twisted bag of fries & fish, then wrapped in two layers of last Friday's National Post and presented in a big bundle held together by butcher's tape. Kept the lap warm and cozy until we drove down to the water front and had our little picnic. Watched the sun set.

Piled back into the car and jumped out at the hotel. Waited in line to check in. I was relaxed, dressed casual, felt a little warmed by all the sun on my face during the drive. Digestion of the greasy fish making me happy and sleepy.

The guy checking in ahead of me was ragging on the front desk clerk over the signage in the parking lot. Her mouth said, "yes sir, that is inconvenient". But her eyes said "f**k off you arrogant sack of s**t who couldn't get a b*** j** if you whipped out your gold covered d*** in a w****h**** full of hungry R**************s".

He moaned about not needing this kind of hassle after 4 hours of travel and snapped at her when she asked for an updated mailing address. As Sheena stepped up to check-in, the girl says "normally I'd ask how you are, but now I'm afraid to hear the answer". I smiled, said "I'm great... I was just on the road for 4 hours...."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Day in Happyplacevilleland

What do you get when you cross the QEW with a car full of Aussies? A 2-4 of wine and a magnolia bush.

Did my hostessly duty today and introduced the Antipodeans to the joys of VQA. More of a touring day than a serious buying day. Thank God, because Sheena wasn't thrilled with many of the selections today. Maybe the good stuff is hidden under the counter on American long weekends....

Started at the crack of noonish at Peninsula Ridge at the north tip of Beamsville. Bit of a lineup. Checked out the Inox Chardonnay (what they call their non-oaked). Cabernet Franc and their flagship blend Arcanum (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Franc). All OK, but not inspired to buy anything.

Thirty Bench was next. Renovations to their tasting room. Girl behind the counter seemed to think we gave a flying f**k about her cholesterol levels. And the glasses were dry. Used to collect their Bench Blends and Reserve Merlots & Francs pretty consistently in the late '90s. Quality has gone downhill. Didn't buy, but one of the Aussies picked up an american oak cab franc in a nicely sized 500ml bottle for $16.

Up to Angels' Gate. This place keeps getting better. Lovely inexpensive Gamay Noir at $12 (good price but there are better in Niagara). Bought two Gewurtztraminers which are beautifully floral with a hint of banana. Aussies liked it too and everyone picked up a couple.

New find last September was Fielding. Oh my... what a pretty place. Pinots are gorgeous. Like a cup full of cherry flavoured rubies. The place has only been opened a year, in fact this weekend was the 1 year anniversary. Tasting room overlooks the Toronto skyline view over the lake and the natural light offsets the wine colours just beautifully. Their better stuff served in the stemless Riedels and makes for fun swirling in the sparkly light. Minimizes breakage. That's important in Sheenaville.

Then the obligatory stop at Daniel Lenko's. Sigh. Let's not dwell on the rugged features, piercing blue eyes, stubborn maverick streak or just dirty-enough-to-be-manly fingernails. Few things already sold out, and disappointing news that he's discontinuing his lovely Rose. I always loved the Rose with his ma's kielbasa.Loved his crack about the KGBO. He hates selling to the money-grubbing socialized distribution system. Viognier a bit pricy, but the nicest one in Ontario. Floral and spicy. $34. Raspberry late harvest surprised the Aussies. Thought it was flavoured ice wine. They took a few home as souvenirs. Spend some time outside sitting with Helen his ma. She loves out-of-towners and my gracious Aussie friend promised to write her and send her a postcard. Got free apricot jam out of the deal. Score.

Over to Malivoire to meet up with a few more peeps. Ladybug Rose is a perpetual favourite, but didn't buy any because it is now readily available at a few of the restaurants I like (including the new Preston Street Stoneface Dolly's in Ottawa).

Picked up a couple of Courtney Block Gamay and a Pinot Gris. Still sufficiently stocked up on the wonderful Rosemary Wine Syrup to get me through the first few weeks of Mojito season. I think.

Creekside was odd. I buy their Sauvignon Blanc by the case and have done so for several years. They seem to have had particularly bad luck in the last year and many of their wines had to be blended with imported product. Still yummy and very drinkable at decent prices, but not VQA. If I wanted Chilean Sauv Blanc I would have day tripped to Santiago when I was in South America. Hmm.. something seems fishy over there.

Shock of the day was the recent gentrification of the Jordan Hotel. Now, Sheena is a big fan of staying relevant and cutting edge. But not with taverns. I like my waitresses surly. Nobody needs yet another Bass on tap. Crab cakes in a biker bar? Please... the guy with leather chaps who looked as stunned as I was at the lack of vinyl chairs probably had more crabs than those little deep fried hockey pucks. Grrr.... sometimes intelligent design doesn't get it right.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Viva Glock Vegas

A couple of Sheena's readers have noticed the odd reference to an incident in Vegas in posts passim and have asked for more info. I chose today to tell the story because in just a few short hours, it will be the 8 month anniversary of the afore-mentioned activity and only the first time that the three members of the Robbery-With-Use Customer Focus Group will be properly re-united on the patio of a beverage serving establishment since Sept '05.

It all started so innocently. Cashed in a few points to take the crewe down for the only Champ Car Race of the season that our schedules permitted us to coordinate. Had great seats. Grabbed Paul Tracy's ass and took a few pics with Sebastian Bourdais.

Sheena lurves the 3-car wide nose to tail contact that the mile plus speedway venue offers. Road courses are OK, but the pure adrenaline rush of the big ovals really needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

"I love the smell of methane in the morning", my racing companion Pat McKittie sighs, as the waft of fumes comes into the stand after the leader pack zooms by in a blur.

And then the race was over, so we piled onto the shuttle bus that took us back to the strip. It was about midnight, and we hemmed and hawed about going out. Token beer at Harrah's but we were tired and didn't even feel like partying.




Back to the hotel. About a block off the strip. I blame Steve Wynn, actually and his goddamn new golf course behind the new hotel.

From behind the bench at the bus stop, on what was a busy, well lit street, buddy jumps out with a gun already drawn. Sheena rolls her eyes and says "You've GOT to be kidding". We hand over our shit. He runs back behind the bushes. Purses - gone. Cell phones - gone. Blackberries - gone. Prada wallet - gone. Credit cards - gone.

All we have left is the bag with Bubba the Bobble head and a disposable camera. Err.. thanks Pat. Way to go.

So, we run/walk/pole-slide our way back to the hotel (which we can see, about a block away) and call Grissom. Kudos to the LVPD. Hottie and his sidekick were there in minutes, taking down our personal deets.

"Are we on COPS again", I wondered aloud. Helicopters circling with million watt search lights scouring the empty lot next to the golf course.

"Did you get my phone number right,".. "Do you need my email. Should we call you tomorrow for an update?". Err.. thanks Evita.

The milk of human kindness flowed in the form of a stranger in the lobby who emptied his wallet with whatever cash he had in hand and gave it to us for food and phone calls. We protested, but when we turned around he was gone with the cash in front of us. We teared up over the humanity of our angel in a cheap suit. Thank god for him. We really needed that beer the next morning.

We sat up all night phoning to cancel shit. Tired but couldn't sleep. None of wanted to shut off the light.

As we cancelled credit cards, one of us found out that Buddy had used it minutes later at a 7-11 for gas and some goods. I knew it. Taquito-eating Glock wielding bastard.

May some crack-ho mistake his sausage for a Big Bite.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Free Wireless Fills the Empty Soul

Skipped the cocktail party at the yacht club in favour of a long overdue nap after last night's Chocotini party and a quiet Sheena-alone-time dinner in the hotel bar. (House pinot grigio, crab cakes and calabrese salad with olive oil). Thank God for free wireless.

1. The Apprentice IX: You were never even hired, arsewipe

2. I didn't know Big Daddy's Crab Shack even HAD a kid's menu

3. Stephen Harper will be an international force to be reckoned with when he makes THIS Aussie radar.

I'm glad he said it because I also wondered if perhaps the infomercial fantasy of 2 'n 1 vibrator and margarita-maker had actually come true.

5. DAMN YOU, Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs.

Monday, May 22, 2006

George Bush Addresses the NRA

Chicago was on the table for a ground breaking speech today dishing up a recipe for success, and served up with a standing ovation. On the menu was a renewed focus on stock issues such as Iraq and immigration. Left a few dissenters stewing. Didn't get a chance to roast him as they wanted. The Commander in Chef asserts his authority yet again.

No. America has not bit off more than it can chew.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Top of the Cock

One of Sheena's Happy Places is the Signatures Lounge on the 96th floor of Chicago's John Hancock Tower. Missed sunset tonight, dammit, but had a couple of newbies who were shocked and awed over the view. Lights below, lights above, a true feeling of being on top of the world. Pictures don't do it justice.

My fourth or fifth trip there. Was introduced to it 3 years ago by an old high school chum. Have made an effort to go back there everytime I darken the Windy City's doors. Toasted a very special 21st birthday there last year, a lovely way to start an evening that ended up with newly-legal ass flat on the floor of a discount hotel.

Not particularly special munchies - basic lounge fare that is satisfying and not overly pricy: spinach dip, cheese platter, guac & chips. A place where nobody really cares about the menu. Just that they have a good window seat.

How to Cook

1. Buy one of these for about 2 bucks (give or take):

2. Then buy one of these (maybe a buck or so...)

3. Boil item #1 with item #2 for about 5 minutes.

4. Add 2 cups of meat.
5. Add 2 cups of veggies.
6. Add a cup of water. Or more, if you like it saucy and not thick.
7. If you don't eat meat, skip #4 and add extra #5.
8. Simmer for an hour, throw a handful of Cilantro on top.
9. Serve over your choice of starch. Rice, bread, pasta. Sheena doesn't really give a rat's ass which one you pick.

The Gladstone vs. The Drake

After a cooking a beef curry dinner that tested the limits of the North Atlantic pasty-white palate belonging to the trusted El Chaperone, we embarked on a neighbourhood stroll in search of refreshments and entertainment.

Almost 10pm, and the lineups and crowds had started coming out in full force on Queen W. Wasn't in the mood for queuing, so after pressing our noses up against the windows of the Gladstone House Hotel we hemmed and hawed about whether to watch Karaoke for free, or cough up 8 bucks each for the monthly Swamperella hoe-down in the ball room.

I can't remember exactly which tune sent us running from the ironically named Melody Room, but we'd quickly had our fill of amateur night and ventured into the paid entertainment zone.

We wanted to like the Cajun Dance party, but there was something just a little off about the evening. The crowd made me edgy and a little weirded out. There was a sense that the predominantly female (at least we THINK most of them were female) crowd was trying too hard to cast a country schtick feel into the room. Pretending it was authentic and not camp. Trying to mix it up with a few old-timers who were genuinely trying to enjoy a bit of social dancing.

And when a larger than life grey haired eco-dyke went down on a twisted ankle and insisted the staff bring her scads of ice packs so she could put her feet up on the table, Sheena rolled her eyes and wondered aloud if the big production hissy fit was to ensure plenty of witnesses for the inevitable insurance suit.

So the frazzled soul was soothed over lunch today by the dark-wooded plush-chaired cigar-tainted environs of The Drake Hotel. Had a glass of pinot grigio and Grilled Salmon Caesar Salad. Warm cheese buns on the side, crisp crunchy lettuce, more salmon than I could finish. The Coq D'Or is the kind of place that old couples go to on a sunny Sunday and still order the 4oz Executive Martinis at noon because they've been doing it together for 40 years. Read the Tribune and saved the pull-out celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the The Jungle. Wondered why some cities get such kick-ass newspapers and others don't.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cross-Border Shopping

This weekend so far has been a flurry of email and telephone activity with Sheena's preferred source of imported goods from Mosquitoba. My Winnipeg spy is coming out for a visit next week and we are now in the active planning stages to ensure that her OSB is filled with treats and treasures that will please her hostess.

Old Dutch Chips. (Plain Ripple ONLY). That's a given. No debate necessary on this point.

But then there's the beer discussion. Beer is heavy and awkward to put into carry-on luggage and risky to put into checked luggage. So acknowledging that perhaps 1, maximum 2 six-packs is the limit, this decision requires particularly serious analysis and consideration.

The contenders:

1. Labatt's Lite. For the last freakin' time: NO, IT IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME OF BLUE LITE. Please quit trying to convince me. Blue and Blue Lite have an icky bitter taste that LabLite does not have. Very refreshing when ice cold in the summer. Quit bugging me about this already.

2. Club. Another Labatt product. Manitoba specific. A few beer rating sites say it's just like Blue, but I think it's a bit stinkier, actually.

3. Standard Lager. A Manitoba only Molson Brand. Unfortunately Molson's publicly refuses to list it on their official site. It is relagated to the category of "Molson also brews and distributes a number of other great beers which are not listed above".
Can't even find a decent picture in google images. But the label looks exactly like Budweiser, which was kind of funny when Bud first came to Canada in the middle 80s and we Winnipeggers were all confused. The beer of choice to be ralphed up on your neighbourhood Mennonite Brethern church.

4. Fort Garry. Good Pale Ale, not keen on the "light", and will only drink their "Dark" out of pitchers at the Vendome Hotel. It just tastes better that way, especially if Mary pours it.

Oh, and if my spy happens to be reading this post, please DO keep in mind that if any whiff of THIS shit darkens my doorway... you're sleeping on the floor.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Creating Efficiencies in Media Content Repurposing

Ottawa SunShine Girl, April 22
Toronto SunShine Girl, May 19

And this whole trend of splotz imitation belly button jewelery is pretty gross.

(and thank you to my eagle eyed reader Fender who apparently has an knack for these sorts of things)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fly-Ho Smackdown

In a cage match of frequent flyer VIP lounges, the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge wins hands down over United's Red Carpet Club. In Sheena's recent unscientific survey of North American Star Alliance lounges, here's the scorecard. Data for US Airways Club lounge is incomplete and not included in this analysis.

Free Wireless?
MLL - Yes, usually great signal though since changing providers recently, a touch flaky, at least in Pearson. (Updated on May 21: the new 'sesame' wireless provider at least in the Terminal 2 Pearson US departure MLL sucks ass. Twice in the last week it hasn't worked).
RCC - No. T Mobile in most, but Verizon in others and Canadian credit cards verboten. Annoying.

Free Booze?
MLL - Yes. Selection varies depending on location, but generally drinkable wines, decent bar brands of hard stuff. Larger locations have 'pour-your-own Guinness' which is funny to watch.
RCC - No. Though some top end United frequent flyers have coupons they can use.

MLL - much better in recent months. Hot soups during dinner hours, cheese, crackers, snacks and salads/sandwiches
RCC - lucky if you can scare up a piece of fruit or stale tasting sesame snack pack.

MLL - many locations refurbished over last couple of years. Massage chairs, ergonomically sensitive Steelcase workstations.
RCC - Grandma's basement

Guest Policy?
MLL - pretty good, usually no hassle.
RCC - unpredictable and inconsistent.

Feminine Protection?
MLL - free tampons
RCC - inconsistent. Only Stayfree maxi pads in PHL (with wings, natch...)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Biggest Crack in America

Dinner last night at Twenty 21 on Market Street in the City of Brotherly Love.

The city where you can eat a cheese-steak on the sidewalk for breakfast on the way to work. The city with a taxi driver strike. The city with a subway line called the
Septa, whose name makes me think of an underground cesspool. The city who appears to have succeeded with a waterfront redevelopment to balance working industrial ports with leisure and tourism.

Twenty 21 is one of the hot trendy places these days and it was quite lovely. The bar features one of the tallest walls of booze a few of us had ever seen.

The wine list was extensive and highly imaginative. Sheena was a guest this evening and didn't get to pick the wine, which is probably a good thing because it would have taken an hour to make a decision. The odd and eclectic wine list was a perfect foil to the odd and eclectic menu. Chicken Liver Terraine in a perfectly-scalped egg cup? Yum... kind of like haute Toast Soldiers... Stinging Nettles and a smoked oyster in the vichyssoise? Ok, what the hell. Medium rare duck breast in a cabbage roll? Bring it on. Oxtail risotto? Hmm... can you hold the oxtail, one of my companions asked.

Most of the evening I sipped on a Lodi CA Zinfandel. The 2003 Earthquake Zin is not something I would have selected. It was a massive wine, and I was stunned to see it listed as 15.9%. It needed to sit in the glass for at least a half hour to settle down and open up the dark fruity hotness that almost burnt my mouth. A bit much for the duck, but enjoyable as the evening progressed. A decanter would have been nice.

Lodi is a central Californian region, known mostly for el cheapo jug wines. Very dry, hot, usually needs irrigation. But a few premium wineries have begun to emerge. Probably worth throwing on the to-do list next time I'm in California, looking for the Big One.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cell Phones I've Loved and Lost

Sitting in the Maple Leaf Lounge at Pearson this afternoon when suddenly the blood runs cold.
Where's the Crackhoberry? On the kitchen table.. I'm pretty sure. I hope.


I've asked repeatedly for someone to invent cell phone woolly strings like Grandma used to make for our mittens when we were little. Tie the mittens together with a long string that you'd pull up through the sleeves of your coat so they'd never go astray. I swear to God, there's a market opportunity here for the taking.

Sheena is not unknown to the process of missing cell phones. I remember once when we changed carriers so I got a new phone number which I promptly and responsibly then communicated to colleagues, friends and associates. My inbox went over its limits with hardy-har-har attempts at humour. "So.. what'd ya do this time.. nudge nudge wink wink".

Cell Phone #1.
Suspected Burnt in an Industrial Accident. Raided a hotel mini bar after the lounge shut down. Played hoops with balled-up ripped pages of "Toronto Life" magazine in the light fixture until something started smelling funny. Phone unseen the next day.

Cell Phone #2.
Crushed Under the Wheels of a NYC Taxi Cab. Dinner and dancing out somewhere in the 70s in Manhattan. Remember some rube saying at the beginning of dinner that "this one's on him". Pitchers of cosmos later, cell phone is gone.

Cell Phone #3.
Drowned in New Jersey. Game 7 of the World Series couple of years ago. Bar-hopping on the streets of Princeton. Compadres are all from Boston. Red Sox win for the first time since man invented fire. Running to the "good bar" for the ninth inning with full beers in pockets. After seeing buddy soak his leather jacket with the running backspash, put MY beer in my purse. Forget about it. Next day tell the cell phone looker-after that my phone doesn't work because I dropped it. Leave out the part about dropping it into my purse which is full of beer.

Cell Phone #4.
Plain Old Boring Lost it. Forgot it in a taxi cab in Denver.

Cell Phone #5.
Robbed at Gunpoint in Las Vegas and Lose All of My Worldly Possessions Rather than Risk a Hot Metal Cap in My Ass. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


The first bottle of wine opened in the new apartment today was the 1998 Strewn Cabernets. A good choice. 1998 was by far the most spectacular vintage of the '90s for Niagara reds and so far only 2002 seems to be in the same league. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon/45% Cabernet Franc.

Cab Franc is one of the flagship varietals for Strewn and it does fairly well in Niagara overall. Quite rare to see it in Napa but have stumbled across it a couple of times in Sonoma & Healdsburg. Traditionally more of a blending wine, but Strewn, Marynissen Estates, Pilliterri and a few others seem to be able to pull something big and magical out of it in VQA land.

The two Cabs has a deep rich colour just starting to develop that nice bricky old red tinge. Kind of a dark cocoa nose but an interesting but yummy roasted pepper thing going on. I think it is probably perfect now to a year or two from now.

The Strewn 1998 straight Cab Franc was known as the 'Cellar Monster' and was the first time Sheena paid more than $30 for a Canadian wine. Have a half dozen or so tucked away somewhere in one of these boxes but I confess it still gives me the willies because it snores when it's sleeping. I need to make sure it's not that box under the bed.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Stop the Madness

Here is a fun game for all of Sheena's readers who enjoy a little retro '80s musical interlude now and then.

How many celebs can you spot?

So far I've managed to identify Guys from 'New Edition', Whitney Houston, Stacey Keach , Casey Kasem.

No cheating and looking at the credits.. that'll ruin ALL the fun...

George Smitherman, we hardly knew ye.

Hockey Talk

Sheena's travelled to many risky and scary locations around the world in her day, but nothing gives her the willies quite like the destination she bravely returned to last night in an effort to spend quality time with beloved friends. Where the 416 splits from the 417. Where the clotheslines fear to tred.
Yes. It was Drinking Night in Kanata. Where souls are sucked from unsuspecting bureaucrats and dogs have the vote. Where the non-drivers die in cold winters, and poseur teenagers never knew that angst isn't just a brand of German speakers.

We watched hockey. Sheena hasn't really seen much hockey this year so in between alternating glasses of Creekside Sauvignon Blanc and Maleta Meritage and we flipped around the creatively sourced satellite channels to settle on the Sharks vs. Oilers game. Oil wins. Elizabeth May investigating.

But what caught our attention was the commercials. The ad for Gillette's new women's razor was a particular curiousity.

"Why would they be advertising for pink and purple women's razors during the Stanley Cup", suburban guy inquired.

"Because women watch hockey too, you know", suburban lady said somewhat indignantly.

"A minority of viewers though", he retorted. "It's probably just for Mother's Day weekend".

"Hang on a second", Sheena interrupted. "Does that razor vibrate"?

Suburban guy heads snaps back to the TV. Yep. A Vibrating Razor.

"A-ha". Sheena nodded in full comprehension. "Now we know why they're advertising for this during the game. It's so all the men can run out, buy one for their wives and say 'Honey, I still got a couple more weeks of playoff coverage to watch.... But this'll hold ya till then..."

Now if one of my readers can recommend how to get pug hair out of a fake Hermes bag, please do advise.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

As The Worm Turns

My trusty Winnipeg spy tipped me off to the new controvery du printemps. As is often the case with the cyclical nature of the Red River's flood and conquer tendencies, this is projected to be another cankerworm invasion year. A full blown invasion is an awful and disgusting thing. Unable to walk down any city street within 5 blocks of the river.

Sidewalks slimy and slippery with the low hanging goo. Only saving grace is the Dutch Elm Disease which mercifully is killing off the old hardwood, allowing one to walk undisturbed in the dead centre of some city streets. Pray for no traffic. Wondering if in other cities the tree branches move and make munching noises in the dark. That weird wiggly feeling for hours after getting home, wondering if one slipped down the shirt, beneath the bra strap. Or worse.

Running in peaks every 5-6 years, there is nothing grosser than a cankerworm boom year.

Now even Winnipeggers - believe it or not - still often confuse the Canker Worm (see the green loner type to the right)...

with the Tent Caterpillar (the groupthink clique slave herein pictured below)

Now, both kinds of bush munching, tree climbing, cob-webby dripping worm is pretty gross and quite rightfully deserved to be Chemical Alied out of the Kildonans to preserve the hairspray and hoodies of my peeps over at MMC, KE and West K. But the new insecticidal measures announced this week might just be that step too far.

The Winnipeg Sun has recommended that the public move to:


Citizens seeking to save their plants should purchase a BTK biological pesticide and shoot back. And they're advised not to let the worms' tiny size fool them.
"You're looking at a couple of weeks before they get big," said entomologist Taz Stuart. "As they get bigger, you'll see them hanging from threads."

BTK? Where have we heard that term before.

Nope. Not this guy:

More like THIS guy:

Yeesh. Looks like a tried and true killer alrighty. Leave it to Sam Katz to go with a proven winner. Yay Team!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ah Yes, Of Course. If It's May... It Must Be the Tulip Fest

Perhaps it's the lingering back ache from the unfortunately paved parking lots in the Central Sierras, or perhaps it was watching the ambulance haul away the stair-tumbling dishwasher at the boring but safe Swagman Jack's Bar & Grill on Elgin Street, but tonight Sheena chooses to wear her curmudgeonly millinery.

Without fail we all endeavour to promote the Tulip festival whenever possible to all listeners as a time "to really see Ottawa", especially when communicating with foreign colleagues and associates. "Yes, yes... everything is so clean, and pretty, and well-maintained, and clean and pretty, and blah blah clean, blah blah well-maintained, and so on and so forth and more of the same". Enough already. The last time Sheena had anything remotely to do with the Tulip Festival we got tanked up and saw Kim Mitchell in cold pouring down rain at Major's Hill Park and then the next day walked off the hangover by going to the Humane Society to get a kitten.

Well, that cat died of old age some time ago and Kim Mitchell kinda looks like poor old Felix in his last days, now that I think about it.

Why Canadians insist upon letting the Dutch control their cultural calendar is beyond this observer's comprehension. Anyone who's flown KLM knows what I mean. Frickin' cheese sandwiches up the wazoo. At least one can feel part of the Amsterdam scene by crossing the bridge into Hull, but je digresse....

Here's a list of the officially sanctioned Corporate Friends. Hope they got the memo this week that they won't be allowed to give away any of those free passes. I mean, let's face it. Sheena lurves Trooper as much as the next gal, but anyone who can't find a way to see them for a tenth of the price at their local classic rock dive where you can at least buy a Black Label draft is just a big wanker.

We're here for a good time, not a long time, Baby.
May the squirrels gnaw your bulbs.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Love Canal

"Giddyup", Sheena shouted at her NYC cabbie this afternoon. Only had an hour between meeting and airport and my OSB mentor and I needed one more stop. "To the mother ship", we whispered and he dropped us exactly where we asked. Canal & Broadway, in Chinatown, the spiritual home of unspoken dirty little secrets.

Now, there are some theories out there alleging that buying a fake Prada gives Osama a new pair of wings, but really now.. you have to admit... the visual of al-Zarqawi carrying a panty-pink fake Chloe bag is one worth the $25US.

Pre 9-11 knockoffs were pretty blatant and open. Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton the preferred brands. Bloomberg has gone to lengths to clean up the hawker stalls in recent years to the point where routine "lock downs" occur confiscating the mimicked booty and scaring away the tourists.

So one must be little more discreet, and creative, and willing to rummage through the bottom layers. The preferred brands have shifted too. Dolce & Gabbanna, Hermes in bright spring colours are the hot movers right now.

Quality, of course, is very hit and miss. Cash only, no refunds. In fact, don't expect your vendor to be there tomorrow. Had grand success in recent years with the $20 fake Kate Spade cowprint purse. (My unfortunate victim in last fall's gunpoint robbery in Glock Vegas). Less pleasing was the 30 buck faux Fendi tote bag, which broke a seam after a couple of uses. Da bling bling glow in the dark turn your arm green Rolexes less obvious, but out there for the determined shopper.

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A Moody Manhattan Monday

Is it the Sheensters imagination or is that David Blaine guy a bit of a head case? The big news tonight is that the Brit Breathholder missed his world record by about 2 minutes. After a week of underwater escapades and diligent anaerobic training with the likes of good diving buddy Kirk Krack, apparently his months long regime of practicing in Meat Packing District back alley dumpsters failed as he unexpectedly gasped when a passerby played J-Lo on a boom box.

Luckily, we missed the whole tragic event because the tableside-crafted guacamole (spicy, medium or mild) and hand-shaken fresh squeezed Margaritas at Dos Caminos on Park Avenue kept us distracted with the giggle-snorts of le 'fish taco' and other assorted delicacies that appeal to the higher intellectual types with whom Sheena consorts. The opportunity to turn up one's nose at all bovine items not Argentinian also proved irresistable, as the trio of carnitas tacos issued their siren call.

Afterwards at an Irish Pub, we watched the tuxedo clad men and lollypop-headed matrons leave Carnegie Hall. Wonder who was playing tonight. Momentarily feel guilty for spending a Manhattan evening eating & drinking with friends rather than taking in the more serious cultural offerings that the Big Apple has to offer.

Shrug. Order another pint and resume joking with the British tourists at the next table. Realize none of the people crossing the street are smiling. Lose the regret.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

"Go Ahead, Make My Eggs"

Easy on Queen W & Roncesvalles was where Sheena had a late breakfast, 'brunch', as they say in some circles. A busy little place with an extensive and creative menu, good coffee with free refills and a decor that can only be described as 'inspired by that locked room in your weird uncle's basement'.

Posters from car-themed violent movies of the 70s with particular emphasis on Peter Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Dennis Weaver, Steve McQueen decorate the walls, a distraction while one tries to decide between many tempting breakfast offerings.

The place was full when we arrived, but the tables turned quickly and efficiently, so the wait was only a couple of minutes. While waiting, we gawked at what everyone else was eating and it all looked fab.

We settled on two of the house specialties: Toast Soliders pour monsieur (though Sheena confesses she was surprised at the militaristic themed dish in such an artsy part of town), and West Coast Eggs Benedict which featured smoked salmon instead of ham and God Be Praised, black caviar topping.

There is no better way to start the weekend-after-a-two-week-vacation than caviar for breakfast. Despite offering Caesars, pints of Wellington microbrew and house wine, there was no mention of Mimosa anywhere. Sheena gave pause before ordering her eggs, because she had never had caviar without bubbly before. But. In the spirit of pushing one's envelope, testing the limits, growing as a human being, she proceeded, regardless.

The clientele looked very much to be of the Old School Saturday Night Bath tradition. Alas, this was Saturday breakfast and not Sunday's.

The large, loaded plates arrived. Fresh fruit and home fries. Though the potatoes were a little overly al dente for my liking. The little green Made in China toy soldier accompanying the toast strips and eggs looked more like a signalman than a sniper. One of the few disappointments.

Guy in the corner who looked like a young Fidel Castro was reading Atlas Shrugged. Only a few pages into it. Wondered if he was doing it for ironic effect, or if he was just looking for the dirty bits.

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