Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Schmecks in the City II

Devastated last night to see that Sheena's favourite theatre district bistro Les Sans Culottes West (aka The Men Without Pants) is closed. Replaced by yet another fucking sushi bar. The "East" location may or may not still be open. Didn't go check it out. Les Sans Culottes was the ultimate chick dining experience. While one ponders the menu, they'd bring out a big metal sausage tree. Yep - 4 or 5 types of sausage hanging there, to be cut to your taste. Then they hand you a big knife. And you can cut and hack and saw to your little hearts content. Sheena will miss this place very very much.

So reversed direction and walked back a block to The Paramount. One of the first Ian Schrager artsy fartsy places that can charge double the average nightly rate while offering half the comfort experience. Last time Sheena stayed there she uncharacteristically removed every trace of mascara before check-in lest she sully the starched white suite interior. I guess they can also up the price by not having any signage whatsoever on the door. You just "know" where it is.

Grabbed a couple of papers and sat up in the Library Bar. The soundtrack was kind of an 80s Worst-Of compilation. Not even in a retro-ironic sense. Like bad shit - Duran Duran, T-Pau, ABC, and the coup-de-grace: Haircut 100.

Overlooked the lobby and people watched for hours. Menu was spectacularly pedestrian, but ingredients were perfect, carefully presented and of high quality. Had caesar salad and the cheese plate. Huge strips of anchovy, which Sheena finds a little much in large quanities, so just rubbed them all over the crisp romaine, beautiful sharp parmesan and garlicky croutons. Cheese plate was a nice selection of complemented by the yummiest ripest strawberries ever encountered in the month of January. Menu on the surface was a bore, but execution was fun and flawless.

Now inspired to go buy some new furniture...

Lord Gimme A Sign Ughnn Ughnn...

Saw this on the side of a garbage can on 47th W. Thought it was a poster for a play. Wondered what happened to the 'other' Baldwin brothers. Stephen apparently launched a book last fall and advertised it on garbage cans.

So Sheena checked out Make sure your sound is turned down low when clicking here. Yep, that's Jesus rap. Clicked on his MySpace page and read his New Year's salutation:

In the last few weeks of 2006 ... I got as quiet as I could ... getting as much rest as possible ... and seeking the Holy Spirit ...

This is what I heard Him say ... 2007 will be the year of JOY ... !!!

If I focus ... to the best of my ability ... to seek Holiness ... in this new year ... my experience and blessings ... will be greater then ever before ... ! I pray the same for all of you .. !

Thank You ... " JESUS " ..... !!!

Turns out that Stephen got Jesus after 9/11. Mixing rap, skateboarding metaphors and the journey from "hard core party boy" to "hard core man of faith", his book "The Unusual Suspect" apparently did half decent on the NY Times best seller list last year.

Hmmm.. Didn't know about this personal transformation. Reading snippets of Chapter 1 (online here...) Sheena learns that the Playboy Mansion was ripe with "paganism that hangs in the air and the sexual exploitation of women gives the place an energy and power that is just pure evil..." Sounds like Robert Downey Jr. had more fun than Baldwin did that night.

First few pages are a reasonably interesting read. Celebrity guilt, I suppose. He looks more like Alec in his latest pics...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Walkin Around in Times Square

Token Can Con and Celebotomy pics while walking to dinner...

Schmecks In The City I

Dinner last night at Cellini at 54th E between Park and Madison Ave last night at the recommendation of a Chicago chum who'd eaten there before. Excellent call. They graciously accomodated a group at short notice. Crowd in the upstairs dining room all tables of local banker/moneyish types out for a bite after a tough day of whatever.

Reasonably priced Italian reds (we stuck to a Sangiovese at $42/bottle throughout the night). Wonderful rustic breads and cheesy foccacia with olive oils, along with a complimentary antipasto plate with excellent olives and big hunks of parmigiano.

For appetizer had carpaccio (thin pounded to a parchment transparency pulp beef, umm.. like rawish) with arugula and artichoke hearts, with yet more lovely shaved parmigiano.

Main was on the recommendation of Chicago guy as well. The "Imbustata". Described as "Baked pasta, roasted capon, veal shiitake, spinach, mozzarella, tomato Bechamel sauce", it was lovely if not just an eensy bit bland. Kind of like a giant lasagne strip wrapped around yummy nicely textured filling, wrapped like a Christmas present with nice sauce to top it off. Perhaps because it was described as the house speciality, so nearly half the table jumped on the bandwagon.

Ouch Baby.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Meet Me At the Hyphen

Dinner last night at Oscar's Brasserie in the Waldorf-Astoria last night. Wandered around the lobby, bought a newspaper, admiring the opulence of an era long gone. Oscar's is one of the more casual restaurants in the hotel. Still lovely and impeccable service. Had homestyle Chicken Pot Pie to take the chill off the bones. Couple of Sauvignon Blancs. They only charged me for one. Yay! Should have ordered the signature 1896-invented Waldorf Salad, but needed some warmth. Maybe go back tomorrow and buy the cookbook.

Crowd was an interesting mix of shopaholic 20-something women probably from the suburbs, emaciated middle aged women with their bored teenage sons, and vaguely familiar looking film producers discussing funding and labour issues, confessing that he was "raised Canadian", quickly lowering his voice as Sheena snapped her head out of her New York Post.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Take Off From the Great White North

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Canadian Man

The Canadian man is quiet. The Canadian man is strong. The Canadian man is at peace with himself, his family, and the gentle creatures that surround him. He asks for little except respect. He works hard to survive, to provide, to feel free. The Canadian man is not afraid of dirt on his boots or under his nails. The Canadian man has a look in his eye that sees beyond his back yard.

Sheena fears the Canadian man has become a perpetual adolescent. A professional class of typists and gossips. The Canadian man needs to stop and think. About where he came from and where he wants to be. Before the Canadian woman simply does without.

This post inspired by a tag by Joanne on thing started by Kdough

Six Weird Things About Me

This topic presented to you courtesy of a challenge posed by
JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie.

Six Weird Things About Sheena:

1. I have never eaten a Big Mac. Condiments have always been a bit of an issue for me. To this day will only eat plain hamburgers and hotdogs. Cheese, lettuce and tomato are acceptable, however.

2. My previous work history includes modelling, Canadian Forces private in the summer militia, Russian-language wordprocessor and janitorial assistant. That was all in the same year.

3. I have been to 6 of the 7 continents. And intend to hit Antarctica in the next 12-24 months. I actually have no interest whatsoever in being in a cold remote rocky place, I just want to step on the ground, cross it off my list and get the hell out of there.

4. My first engagement broke off because he had an arranged marriage that he accidentally forgot to tell me about.

5. I get grossed out by squishy things that touch the outer part of the inside edge of the jar. Like jam or peanut butter or mayo - when scooping some out of the container with a knife, I can only touch the mayo that is in the middle of the jar. So when I throw out an 'empty' jar, it is probably 25% full, just clinging to the jar edges.

6. I lost my last baby tooth when I was 15. Turns out it grew upside down and they had to surgically remove it from the roof of my mouth.

Now Sheena tags:
The Petite Gourmand
Kierk the Slackass Bastard
The Georgia Cheek
Winnipeg Wine God

Friday, January 26, 2007

Interview with a Porn Writer

Please note that the links on today's post are NOT work safe or appropriate for young impressionable or old uptight readers.....

Today Sheena chats with Romantic Heretic, Drinking Buddy and Smutmeister Extraordinaire: Rob Graham.

Sheena: Hey Rob. Congrats on the upcoming publication of your first book. This erotic literature thing is going really well for you, how did you get started?

Rob Graham: That’s a long tale. I’d been creating stories for years, but as a gamer. I liked role playing games, mostly as the Dungeon Master or what ever it’s called. So I was used to creating plot, settings, and conflicts. Wrote stories on occasion but very rarely. I drifted away from that a few years ago. So I was looking for a new creative outlet.

I’d been spending a lot of time at, for just the reasons you think. The site had a bulletin board connected to it and I started participating in a sub-forum called ‘The Author’s Hangout’ figuring I’d meet interesting people there. I was right.

Neat. But... you weren't an author, were you.

No. After a couple of months I started to feel guilty. So I decided to do a story with an idea bouncing around my head. I sat down and wrote it. I posted it with the title "Fatima".

I got a lot of positive feedback for it. So I wrote some more. And kept getting more nice feedback. I enjoyed it so much I kept on writing.

There are a fair number of published authours at the Hangout, and they were pushing me to publish. Eventually they browbeat into doing so. I was rejected the first couple of times, but they kept pushing and I kept trying. Finally I was successful.

So, any particular favourites you'd like to share with SheenaVision?

I have several favourites, depending on the category. I occasionally indulge in what I call ‘Short Pieces of Smut’. Just short little stories for no other purpose than to titillate the reader.

My favourite in that category is "Bed of Roses"

Heh heh... Rob said "Titillate".

My favourite in the romance genre is "The Orange Slip". This one is interesting because it’s one of those rare romances written from a man’s point of view. What inspired this is interesting as well.

Oh? What was the inspiration?

I was working at The Distillery District and went into the The Blue Dot Gallery. Saw this picture. This picture really struck a cord. It is, to me, a very erotic picture. I started wondering “Who is this woman? Who is she smiling at? Why?” Answering those questions eventually grew into the story.

J.T. Winik is the artist, hmm... I like her stuff...

Sometimes I like going into areas that I’m not entirely comfortable with. "Librarian" is the best of these.

The piece that means the most to me though is, "I Can’t Have Her" The woman who inspired this died last year. She was 36.

I'm sorry to hear that, Rob. I remember you talking about that when it happened. Very sad.

On a cheerier note, tell us about "In The Dark".

It is an anthology of vampire stories I wrote over the last year, posted on Literotica. They share a story arc of a vampire, Georges Belleveau, the woman he fell in love with, Diane Patterson. The stories received a lot of good feedback and developed a following through the whole series.

The first story I wrote, Abyss, I entered in the 2005 Halloween Contest at Literotica. It won. A damn good trick considering there were over 160 entries, and some entries were by great writers. More importantly, those same writers commented on how good Abyss was. That's when I started to believe my work might be of publishable quality. And I got very caught in the main character. I kept wondering what happened to him after the first story. The ideas just kept coming and I just kept writing them down. It’s a lot of fun.

How can people buy the book?

They can go to the Aspen Mountain Press site, on the ‘New Releases’. It will also be available at Fictionwise

But why Vampires?

I’m fascinated with power, it’s as simple as that. They are very powerful and erotic creatures. They’re also the most human of the supernatural monsters. This allows me to explore both power and humanity.

My vampire, Georges, is also very restrained and responsible. He has to be. If his power is let loose, people die and in an unpleasant manner. He knows his power is only a relative thing. If it’s discovered what he is, he’ll be destroyed, if he’s lucky. So he’s careful.

And again, emotion drives him. He likes people and not just for dinner. When his power and dark nature get the better of him he feels a lot of guilt. Just like humans should do.

Oi! I should shut up now, or you’re going to get a looooong lecture on ethics and history.

Ok, you can pontificate on that topic over beer next time.

I remember once you said it was much more difficult to write a piece for a female audience than male, why do you think that?

For a lot of men, in my opinion, sex is pretty much a physical thing. So it's pretty easy to write for them. Putting ‘Tab A into Slot B’ as we refer to it in the smut industry.

Ha ha. You make it sound like Ikea Furniture.
“Wanna f**k?”
(several hundred words
describing a blow job, missionary position, doggy style and perhaps anal)

See? Too easy. But a lot of guys get off on that.

For women you need the whole shebang. You need characters. You need plot. You need conflict. You need emotions. You need the sex scenes to be richly described.

So, for guys, you need only involve the head. The head at the other end. With women you need to seduce them, draw them in, engage them. It’s not even a head thing, it’s a heart thing. A good erotica writer catches a woman’s heart.

Even if you’re chaining her to a table and teasing her with vibrating toys for an hour, or two.

That's really sweet, Rob.

Where's my Sheena story, anyways...

Working on it.

Cool. See you soon. Good luck with the book sales. I hope you hit the Valentine's Day rush.

Thanks, Sheena. It was a pleasure as always.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Friendly Giant

Sitting with the usual suspects at Sweaty Betty's after work, debating what to do for dinner. "Has to be quick or take-out", Sheena demanded. Because tonight was a special night. "How about The Lakeview"? Walked past it a million times lately on Dundas W and Ossington. Some noses 'round the table crinkled. Have read some sketchy reviews, but recall seeing a "New Management" chalkboard sign last weekend, plus a cool blog entry with neat pictures of it lately, but shelved the idea for tonight.

Decided to fall back on a good old reliable. Friendly's on Queen W - between Dovercourt and the Drake hotel. If they have a web site, I sure as shit couldn't find it. Big fat greasy Banquet Burgers for $6.95. Gyros. Liver 'n Onions. All cooked by some big guy who hangs around the front door smoking when it's not busy inside. Watched some All-Stars hockey on the massive screen TV while we waited for dinner to be greasified. Great place to learn Eastern European slang from the newly arrived hottie blonde waitresses.

Not for those with sensitive colons. But cheap and fast and consistent. Sometimes that's a good thing.

Oh.. and some may wonder... WHY is tonight a special night? Because it's a CAT-astrophe.... Sheena gets two guest pussies for the week to complement her existing fur covered pettable purring machine.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Separated at Birth: Personal Hygiene Edition (Updated!)

Updated, thanks to dear virtual friend Elvid who so graciously sent me a pic of the visual that made Sheena stand up and shriek.

Watching CBC News last night and New York Times reporter John F Burns is being interviewed. Sheena has no idea what he said. The resounding "Holy Crap What's With the Hair Do" reverberating through the room drowned out whatever observations he was offering to the nation.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bring The Noise

Watching the Bloodshot Records Anniversary DVD and whoa, baby. Not nearly enough nekkid hillbilly remakes of Public Enemy songs, Sheena often says.

The Unholy Trio

Watch the Video here...

Still trying to confirm if these are the same guys from Bum Fights #4.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Scrubbed By The Washboard Of The Lord

True to their word, the fine proprietors of The Dakota Tavern (SheenaVision Passim) have opened a full service kitchen to kick off 2007. Friday night Sheena stopped in for a bite. A Tex-Mex inspired simple and inexpensive offering - Jerk Chicken Quesadillas, Sirloin Burritos, range of appetizers including guacamole, queso fundido (warm and gooey multi-cheese dip with chips). The side of Mango salsa with the Quesadilla was excellent. As was the side of homemade baked Mac 'n Cheese.

El Chaperone tried to be funny and ordered the Macarena and Cheese. Sheena rolled her eyes. But the staff loved the idea and started dancing to it and thought maybe they'd do a spicy version of it and call it that. Cripes.

Today we checked out the first ever and now regular weekly Bluegrass Sunday Brunch. Sheena cannot recall the last time bruch was so much fun. Well, maybe that Saturday morning Jalapeno Pancake Breakfast during
SXSW hosted by Mojo Nixon...

Food was fun and not the typical brunch offering. When you sit down, they'll bring over a big old platter of eggs, beans, salsas, chorizo/chili, warm tortillas to make your own breakfast fajitas. Cornmeal muffins and big heap of fruit salad on the side. The size of the food heap varies depending on how many people sit down. Family style, tables pushed together. Or as some commented, like summer camp when you were a kid. Coffee and screwdrivers flowed abundantly.

Musical entertainment by Washboard Hank. The vibe was so incredibly nice. Fun bluegrass and gospel standards as only a man with a bell on his head can deliver. Very family friendly. The toddlers doing that joyful wiggly bum dance that we all seem to forget once we hit kindergarten. Dads with trucker caps reading "Pimp My Tractor" throwing their sons in the air, as Moms sipped mimosas made from bubbly kept cool on ice in a John Deere pail.

Sheena swooned.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

High Fibre Communications

Big exciting news in the nerdosphere this week is the announcment of the new Apple phone. Industry pundits discuss whether this will have an effect on the ruling king of the wireless, the Blackberry. Whenever Sheena goes overseas, her signal usually roams on Orange.

So it struck me. Why does the communications business want me to put all this fruit in my ear. I wash every day. Use Q-Tips regularly. No dirt buildup in there. Not at risk of scurvy. Ain't gonna rezone as an agricultural business. No, grandma, I CAN'T grow potatoes in there.

Sheena just hopes this whole fruit naming fad stops. Now I have a recurring nightmare of going out to buy a new phone and accidentally coming home with an unnaturally ergonomical 5-setting vibration mode wireless device called The Banana.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Looking Over the Ledge...

"You didn't actually pay money for that, did you?" "Is that friggin Howard Dean"? "What the hell is that shit"? Sheena asked her cooking companion as he put on the '45 proudly sourced over at Babel Books & Music on Ossington. "AAAHHHHH! Turn that crap off!"

Yeah, so maybe David Bowie ripped off the "Stardust" part from him, maybe he's the Godfather of Psychobilly, maybe T-Bone Burnett guest drummed, but that doesn't make it good...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Little Separated At Birth On the Prairies

Thanks to Merk for the tip on where to buy a good quality synthetic fibre rug that can be handed down from decade to decade

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Stupid Bar Tricks #5

Sitting in the corner at Sweaty Betty's (SheenaVision passim...) and it occurred to us that the coffee table where our drinks and feet resided was not in fact a coffee table at all, but an old cedar trunk.

"I wonder what's in there". "I dunno". "Check". "OK".

It wasn't locked, but I don't think it had been opened in a long time because the clasps were tough to move. So El Chaperone took out his keys and tried to wedge the stubborn ones open with his keychain. Alas, the challenge proved to be too overwhelming for his authentic Che Guevara bought-at-the-little-museum-in-Alta Gracia-his-childhood-home keychain. Piece of cheap Commie shit. Probably made in China.

The door finally spring free.

"I wonder if you can fit a person in there". "I dunno". "Check". "OK".

Before long, all the other patrons lined up to take their turn. Some skinny young guy and girl could even BOTH fit in at the same time. That was cool. Great ice-breaker. Try it some day. Before the New Government of Canada passes a law against this too...

Uruguay? Am not. UR-uguay...

A return visit to Cafe Taste on Queen W. last night after watching Canada kick Ruskie ass in the Juniors Hockey Championship. Even better than the first time. Busy chatty place with cozy atmosphere and nice art for sale.

Three of us split the way more interesting cheese plate - chevre with cranberry chutney, a bleu, and some brie on very yummy olive bread and sesame/flax ultra thin crackers. Nobody else liked olives, so Sheena indulged, putting the pits on the table because we didn't get any side plates. Not from a can.

Yes, that is a real ram's horn as candleholder.

Presentation was quite lovely, though as we looked more closely at the wooden serving board that the cheese was on, realized it was some kind of painted board. Wondered what kind of paint it was. And whether they still used lead in paints. And if maybe that's why it tasted so good. Memories of childhood, perhaps.

Squabbled over wine selection. I wanted a white with the cheese plate and they wanted red. Decided it was just best if we all got our own glass. They were out of the Malivoire Pinot Gris, so pointed to another selection and asked what the hell it was. The manager/server/bartender beamed and proudly described what was to become Sheena's first encounter with a Uruguayan wine. The Don Pascual Viognier was pleasant enough, but I wouldn't exactly run out and buy a case. But now my curiousity is piqued, and might seek out others. Cheap enough.

Had the same thing as last visit, because I regretted being too full and not finishing it the first time. Goat cheese, walnut spinach salad. Highly recommended.

Made crank calls to French people, making fun of their names. Then off to the pub for a nightcap. More to follow.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

VIP Treatment

Starving and achy getting off the Greyhound bus late on Wednesday night, Sheena was too hungry to wait to get home, so she implored El Chaperone to please stop somewhere close.

Looking up, thinking "Hey! I really need to bring some people I know here", Sheena opened the door to a very cozy and warmly lit pub, packed with artsy student types chatting and laughing.

The Village Idiot Pub on Dundas & McCaul has a great food menu, excellent beer and likker list, and crappy overly Flashed website.

The Australian 2-flush speed toilets were fun to see again. Left button for a light #1 worthy flush; right button for a heftier #2.

Steak sandwich seemed to be a whole shaved cow on a bun.

And the crispy frites on the side of the Shepherd's Pie were a thoughtful touch.

I mean, who would have thought that french fries dipped into mashed potatoes could be so delish.

Monday, January 01, 2007

...Or Maybe Little Marvin the Martians

New Year's Eve party last night and someone brought these edible penguins for the hors d'oeuvres table. Sheena laughed her ass off and played with them when nobody was looking. Didn't eat any though, because olives out of a can are a sin against God and nature.

Here's the instructions.