Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dusting Off The Old CD's Sunday

One of those sit quiet and be still fall Sundays watching the darkness fall early, whether we want it to or not.

Rummaging through the CD cabinet and resurrecting old favourites.

Harlequin. Ahh.... Sweet Home Manitoba!
Best seen live in their natural habitat (aka a Trashcona social) but the Greatest Hits CD is a way to soothe the homesickness.

Pretty in Pink Soundtrack. What the '80s were all about. Grrrr... now where is my Psychedelic Furs cassette....

Madonna. Ray of Light. The words that go through Sheena's head each and everytime she buckles up and brings her tray table forward....
Faster than the speeding light she's flying
Trying to remember where it all began
She's got herself a little piece of heaven
Waiting for the time when Earth shall be as one

And I feel like I just got home
And I feel
And I feel like I just got home
And I feel

Quicker than a ray of light
Quicker than a ray of light
Quicker than a ray of light

And what's on right now. My old friend, the wit of the 4th year seminar class, the woman who could poke holes in Mulroney's economic policies with a straight face even after getting a beehive do earlier in the day.... Ellen Reid. The Dummy, The Brainiac... my missing friend.

Sheena's recommendation du jour: Scour the world for a copy of her 2001 solo offering "CinderEllen". It's fricken brilliant. Frighteningly well written.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sheena's Fashion Tips #1

Hot off the uber-chic cobblestone runways of San Antonio, Texas, SheenaVision is proud to have the exclusive rights to '07s hottest trend in the accessory world:

The Blingadillo

The basic model available for a paltry $16.95 US, but the fashion-forward trendistas Sheena interviewed this week had clearly gone couture on its ass, facilitating a full range of personal expression to be shouted to the the world.

Just take care not to drop this treasure on the ground. Lest it be mistaken for roadkill and scooped up by the local BarBeQue Hut.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Remember the à la Mode!!!!

Good thing Sheena learned about these webcams BEFORE lounging about in her Nick Hill "Discount Everything" T-shirt and gitch. Overlooking the historic and beautiful Alamo from the haunted and elegantly creaky Menger (Note to self: Don't call it the Minger hotel in mixed company...) Sheena has enjoyed a few evenings of Riverwalk bar-hopping, wine-sipping, duck eating mayhem. Find of the week: Zinc Wine Bar where the Domaine Chandon Etoile Rose Brut is free poured tableside and tours of the wine cellar welcomed upon request. Other notable stops included Boudros where the duck reigned supreme and the Landing Jazz Bar at the Hyatt featuring Jim Cullum and his band. Good fun.

Disappointment of the week was my failure to locate the highly sought Kinky Friedman campaign stickers. Sheena's patient fan-base will have to wait until a return visit in a couple of weeks for her to fulfill her mission.

Because everyone knows the definition of politics, right?

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Give a Damn is Busted

l really wanna care
l wanna feel somethin
lemme dig a little deeper
nope, sorry, nuthin

you can say you got issues
you can say you're a victim
it's all your parents fault
after all you didn't pick em
well maybe oprah's got time to listen
my give a damn's busted

Free Shiner Bock and Patron Margaritas. Geeks wearing cowboy hats. Mechanical bull. Real Texas Longhorn bulls in the attached rodeo ring. Pool Tables, a home fry/Tater Tot self-serve buffet and... camembert?

It's Corporate Function Night at Cowboy's Dance Hall. 70,000 square feet of pure unadulterated fun. If the endless repetition of perky yelps instructing the left-footed and non-jiggy how to line dance falls into that category.

And why do places still insist on this black light bullshit in dark corners. Looking at some hot guy and all you see is five years of embedded cat hair in his Ralph Lauren linen sport coat. And Sheena looks like a fucking dalmation with her fringy jacket over a black tank top. Pilling sucks.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

No BooHoos at Boho

Not in the mood for cooking last night, so after picking up the dry-cleaning and unwinding over a couple of pints at The Local, we rolled right next door to BOHO. Walked by this place a million times and always intended to go in. Didn't regret it, we had a lovely meal.

Started with their signature champagne cocktail: The Boho Cocktail - bubbly, OJ with a splash of Grand Marnier and brandy. Yummy with a distinct kick. Didn't want to fill up too soon, so skipped appetizers and munched some of the nice baguette. Would have preferred olive oil to the butter pats, so just enjoyed it plain.

Sheena had the duck - three slices of tender med-rare duck breast with a blueberry sauce, with yummy mashed patates and very crisp peas on the side. Happy with the pick. El Chaperone had the lamb, and as good as the duck was, he totally won this night. Big tender chunks of lamb sirloin, beautifully pink and tender. Of course we had to share samples, and made a big wet spot on the pristine table cloth, and spent the rest of the evening hiding the jus stain from the headmistress.

One beef: Sheena gets irritated at restaurants who print their wine list on the same menu as the food. It means they take away the wine list after ordering, and well.. Sheena likes to mix it up during various courses of the meal. I had to ask for the menu back because I wanted some red with the duck (Inniskillin Pinot Noir - nice, but wished more of the wine list was available by the glass). And then after ordering that they took it away again! Grr... Please, please - keep the wine list separate and don't keep taking it away because people will keep on ordering if they see something they like!

Oops, maybe 2 beefs. While the foodies among us love the open concept kitchen, and BOHO's setup is very very nice, this doesn't mean that diners have any interest in hearing the staff bickering that goes with food preparation. None of us care who is "supposed to be on that" or who isn't keeping the bread cut fast enough. Take it outside already.

Speaking of taking it outside, Sheena couldn't help laughing when the queen bee/head mistress of the establishment seemed to go into panic mode when El Chaperone went outside for a between-course smoke just as the molten chocolate lava cake was coming out of the oven. So she ran after him to let him know dessert was waiting. Funny. In a control freak sort of way, but still funny.

(With port on the side... ah..pure chocolately bliss)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Best of the Ouest

Maybe Sheena should have called this "Stupid Bar Tricks - Part 4", but it's not "her" stupid bar trick. Why the hell every decent hotel room in Ottawa is full this week is beyond me. But here I am. In the Best Western in the armpit of the Outaouais watching guys in Tip Top suits from the '90s try to impress the barmaid with some undetermined thing with a napkin and a wine bottle. She's trying to one-up him by turning a napkin into a rubber chicken shape. So far she's winning.

I wish I knew exactly what he's trying to do. Break it? Get the cork out? He's awfully determined, to the point where I think he's forgotten about the fact that Colorado is beating Toronto on the above-bar-mounted flat screen TV.

But, the Pinot Grigio is only $6 a glass, it's not too gross, the glasses are surprisingly good quality, and well, as per SheenaVision's passim: Free Wireless Fills the Empty Soul.

Update: Well holy shit. This was the trick, and after a painful production in front of the crowd of a dozen, he finally pulled it off.

Fuck. Now here come the card tricks. Where's one of Jan Wong's oppressed when we need him.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saturday Chez Sheena

Gather round folks and get your caloric intake calculators warmed up. Saturday was Sheena's Welcome Back To GrownupLandVille dinner.

Shopping: Another hour well spent at the Cheese Boutique ... started with a Bouq Emissaire which is now on Sheena's official staples list along with the Ace Bakery Baguette (the most perfect bread under $3). Timed it right and got a fresh loaf still hot and steaming...

Cheese Boutique also has a Wine Shoppe in-house (retail arm of Andres/Peller selling the Peller, Hillebrand, Trius products). Picked up a Trius Brut for $24 - cold even. One of my fave Canadian sparklies and always reminds of the first time I toured their cellars and saw walls and walls and walls of the aging bottles, wondering how fast I'd die if an earthquake hit and the carbon dioxide all released at once.

Time to sample new stuff too: Bought a hunk of their house pate - chicken liver. Very nice and smooth, not overly liverish. Some peppercorn zing and crunch on top. Also picked up a small piece of caribou/pork/fig country style pate. Really yummy and the dried fruit added a nice sweetness that went well with the nutty crackers Sheena adores.

New cheese of the day: Quebec's Petit Sorcier. Just out of the Cheese Boutiques aging cellar. $9 for a half a wheel. Still undecided on this one. On the way home, I wondered if maybe some wet camping gear had been forgotten from that one weekend in August. Or if maybe my driving companion let one go. Nope. It's the cheese. Even this morning after opening the fridge, the first thought was "Jesus, that cat box needs a cleanup". But it was the Petit Sorcier. Cursing my kitchen.

Picked up a couple of strip loin steaks at the meat counter. First time buying from the meats section. Pricey, but they looked lovely.

Liquid Notes:
With Cheese and Pate Appetizers: Trius Brut - lovely as always.

While Cooking: Sir Perry - Pear Cider bought last week. Perfect companion to chopping and fussing activities. A little more subtle than apple ciders and funny name.

With Dinner - perhaps a lesser wine than the lovely steaks deserved, but was curious to open this bottle that had been sitting around for a while. The 20 Bees Cabernet-Merlot. This is Canada's answer to the cartoon-animal-label screwtop phenomenon. For $13 bucks, could do worse, and at least it is VQA meaning that your money is supporting local growers and bottlers. Wine maker Sue Ann Staff did some half decent stuff over at Pilliterri's over last few years. Worth a shot.

Other Wine Notes from Last Week:
Tried the Vogo Pinot Grigio. About $14. An OK white wine. But the bottle is the classiest fucking thing I've seen in ages. Feel like you're drinking expensive cologne or something.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sheena's Travel Tips - #5

Don't go to Orlando.

Sheena confesses to finding "communities" that are economically dependent on the industry of fake experience to be depressing and disturbing. Las Vegas falls into this category too.

The one bright spot today was a lovely lady at the United Red Carpet lounge at MCO who listened patiently to my sob story about being forced to fly increasingly low-rent US Scareways against my will, and finding out that they had no VIP Club in the terminal. The surly and unhelpful desk agent said it had been wiped out in the hurricane a couple of years back. The prospect of spending 3 hours in the midst of pink frothy Jon Benet princesses and baby strollers and sports-team-logo-laden bubbas nearly pushed Sheena over the edge.

Until she remembered one day that she had a fairy god mother grant her one wish. So she closed her eyes tightly, pulled out her passport and little orange and blue card and wished with all her might on the Star of Alliance.

And the magic doors opened as if by the hand of God. And shitty Fetzer Pinot Grigio began to flow, among stacks of pretzel packs big enough to choke a president, the free wireless destroying my brain cells and the gentle hum of CNN white noise soothing the savage soul within.

Method and apparatus for forming a fluid projection screen

US Patent #5,368,228 for the above mentioned engineering marvel was in its full glory this week as Sheena gave up and allowed her sorry ass to be dragged to a theme park.

Laughed and screamed on the Rock 'n Roll Rollercoaster (thank you Aerosmith for your surely handsomely rewarded official brand endorsement). Accidentally grabbed the arm of the guy beside me on the Tower of Terror during a particularly thrilling free-fall. (Now, am I cured of that recurring dream of the out-of-control elevator as my companions assured me I would?)

Ended the evening at the special effects show Fantasmic. Now this caught Sheena's attention. The entire spectacle wove together themes and characters from popular movies built into the Fantasia Mickey Sorcerer Theme. The heretoforementioned patent is in fact the smooth wall of water onto which the animation is projected. Very neat. Though somewhat disrespectful of the $40 blow-dry.

But then the creepy stuff started. Flame throwing dragons, images of Satan collecting skeletal souls. Very apocalyptic. At the end I turned and said "Who the Hell would take their kids to see that sort of thing?" Obviously almost every other adult sitting in our section. Walked out feeling very weird. This wasn't funny or entertaining. This was a horrific cartoonized version of Armageddeon. Maybe nobody else reads Revelations anymore. But I hope if it happens in our lifetime, these people won't be expecting Mickey to banish the Anti-Christ.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Drink Question.

WTF is "Yoo-Hoo" and why is it wasting valuable space in the mini-bar?

Where's the Sophia Champagne in a Can? Where's the Wax Lips? Where's the adult entertainment pack?

Is this something like Ovaltine? Postum? Quik? Tell me!

God I hate family friendly manufactured experience communities.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sheena's Travel Tips - #4

When planning a morning flight, take great heed to also appropriately plan one's activities the evening beforehand.

Consider avoiding transportation carriers specializing in low cost leisure travel particularly to destinations favoured by families with small children.

Listening to the slapstick morning-inappropriate humour of the pimply faced cheerleaders on Westjet whereby they encourage the entire self-loading-freight community to shout at the top of their lungs "ORLANDO" so that the pilot doesn't accidentally set a flight path to Saskatoon is not how Sheena likes to endure the after-effects of the previous evening's Latin dance party.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Parkdale Winos

In a taxi going west on Queen a few days ago and noticed a little spot that I had not remembered seeing before. Mentally made a note to go check it out, and Friday I fulfilled that mission.

Cafe Taste on Queen W, just a few doors west of the Cadillac Lounge is a cozy place that would have gone unnoticed if it weren't for the sidewalk signing appealing to Sheena's baser instincts. A wine bar? In East Parkdale? With cheese and homemade breads and everything? Yep.

Beautiful atmosphere. Little candle lit tables. About 1/2 full on a Friday night. Lovely black and white ink framed artwork on display (for sale - very very reasonable prices averaging $200 including lovely framing). My favourite one was marked sold, but if it wasn't I honestly may have walked out with it.

Decent but not overly innovative wine list. I ordered off the specials board and enjoyed my Malivoire Pinot Gris. El Chaperone struggled with the beer selection and fell back to the D'arenberg D'arrys Shiraz, which was a real treat to see on the menu.

Started with the cheese plate and was very happy with the perhaps unsurprising choices of old cheddar, bleu cheese and havarti, but the quality and quantity made up for the lack of imagination. Sheena confesses to have been utterly spoiled by the Fat Cat Bistro's cheese plates.

Next was the mushroom-cauliflower soup. A mistake, not because of the soup (was pretty good) but because our spoons remained undelivered to the point of getting cold, and we were compelled to start just dipping the bread into it and that filled us up faster than we wanted.

Main course for me was an incredible grilled chicken/goat cheese salad with lots of spinach (I ate it not asking the origin and wondered about it all night but I didn't get any bloody diarrhea so I guess it wasn't Californian). Nice light soy sauce and plenty of toasted walnuts. I really loved it and regretted being filled up by the soup/bread. Will get it again, bien sur.

The manager was very hospitable and told us about his regular wine tasting nights. Going to check into it for sure. Also have free wireless, and he assured me the signal was great. Anyone else interested in getting the schedule, contact

Hmm... Next tasting is Aussie Night later this month. Hope I'm in town for it. Maybe a little SheenaVision live blogging hotstove during the tasting? Wanna come with?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Staring Outside the Window

Last spring, Sheena moved into a new office with a window facing the neighbouring low-rise building across the parking lot. Not much to see really, few cars. Occasional delivery truck. The guys working in the building across the lot use their backdoor right outside my window to come out for smoke breaks, shoot the shit, have a coffee out in the sun.

Then Sheena started noticing that a couple of these guys in fact were not smoking. Not drinking coffee. And would come out even when raining. And they bring binoculars with them.

After the third, fourth, fifth time distinctly noticing the binocular-watching I finally mentioned this to El Chaperone, asking his opinion as to why they might be doing this.

"Do you think maybe they're chemtrail spotting?. "I dunno", he said. "What time are they out with their binoculars"

"Usually first thing, sometimes end of day too".

"Oh," he replied. "Probably not chemtrail spotting then. They usually only start spraying after 10am."

I believed him. He knows some pilots and they've told him where the chemtrail button is on an Airbus.

And so the summer moved on. Some days binoculars, some days not. Started inventing names for some of them. Bald skinny guy ("Putin") was a favourite. This last week seemed to be particularly active. Few days ago a whole gang of them out back, passing the binoculars from person to person. Seemingly pointed right at my window. That was it.

I charged into the office next door and told the guy in there that enough was enough. There were guys out there with binoculars pointed at my window. "Did you flash them" he asked. "No." I replied. Turns out the previous female occupant of that space had also been weirded out by the exact same behaviour last year.

Then he looked up at me and he said "Birds". Huh? I asked. "Birds" he said. Those guys are out there with binocular watching birds. Birds as in Sienna Miller/Kate Moss? Birds as in what is being flipped at them by women in windows? No, he said. Birds as in the wildlife in the area. They're just watching the birds.

Oh. Well that actually made sense. And then I walked back down the hallway. Thinking that crap. Here it is the first week of October already. It's fall, and a chill is in the air. And that it is migration season and the birds are all leaving. And that very soon my old neighbours would have nothing to look at. And I felt sad.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wanda Jackson: Queen of Rockabilly

What can you say about a 5 foot nothing lady pushing 70 that has Elvis's promise ring, is a cult figure to hip rockers and Japanese teenagers, and can still belt out the tunes like nobody's business? That maybe, just maybe she should succeed in her campaign to make it to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.

El Chaperone coughed up the $30/ea (egads...) to see Wanda Jackson at the Cadillac Lounge on Queen W. Great fun. Wanda is a fire-cracker. A no B.S, big-haired, big-voiced, Born Again bombshell. Introduced by her manager/husband of 45 years, the mostly under 35 crowd was enthusiastic and adoring. She recognizes that this neo-rockabilly subculture has rescued her career, and unabashedly showers affection on the kids. Only odd thing was that her eyebrows never moved. Botox? lift? Oh whatever. She was still a hoot and I'd see her again. Though maybe not for $30....

Treasure of the evening was the opening act/Wanda backup band the Toronto-London based The Rizdales. What sweet music. And vocalist/fiddler Tara Dunphy was glowingly beautiful in her last gig before the baby arrives.

From there, we spilled into the streets and wandered into Nuit Blanche....