Monday, March 31, 2008

Contraband Cheese

Yes, SheenaVision fans, tis true. What you see pictorialized today is smuggled cheese. Each creamy bit just a little bit contraband. Every sharp pungent sliver a criminally tasty morsel.

An unexpected stumble upon a Whole Foods en route to BWI on Friday afternoon, and in Sheena caved. Like a sink hole on a Florida highway. Like Stephan Dion on a point of principle. Like Nick and a bad seed.

Wrapped in double plastic and carefully placed into the loving cradle of the OSB, nary a dog sniff tipped me off to The Man.

Today's featured selections:

Hendricks Farms, Telford PA - the Cheddar Blue (top). Neat. A blend of - duh - cheddar and blue. Microproduction. Check out the Hendricks site for ecologically friendly animal sensitive practices and philosophy.

Humboldt Fog from Cypress Grove Not new to SheenaVision - was the first one to disappear (bottom). Let it stand at room temperature for a few hours, until it was dripping and forming a foggy white puddle all over my slate board. As I lay awake on Saturday night, I fantasized about a big hunk of Humboldt Fog taking a swing at my Bouq Emissaire, fighting for the honour of my hand in marriage. The two gooey grey stallions determined to win Sheena's favour. Ok. Ok. Maybe I should have eaten a bit earlier in the evening.

Sotoccenere with Truffles: (right) Semi-soft and aromatic. Nummy in an earthy sophisticated kind of way. Like a louche sweat-pants grey Prada tank top casually half-tucked into jeans.

Neal's Yard Dairy Irish Coolea (left) Almost in Mimolette league, but a not quite as sharp or dry. Probably not aged as long. I like a sharp hard cheese that splinters into shards when you try to cut it. Good without any crackers.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour: Next Year Will be even Better!

Heh heh.. thanks Elvid.

Philadelphia PA) Millions of Americans perished in flames during Earth Hour. The hour was meant to get people to conserve energy and fuel but it only led to an agonizing death for 299 million people across the country.Americans were foolish enough to light candles, torches, dollar bills, foreclosed houses, etcetera to repel the unfamiliar darkness. No one informed the ignorant citizenry that fires are hot and can kill.No fire department responded to any emergency during the Earth Hour; it was thought more important to save fuel.The horrific flames were visible from space. "You could see each section of the country go up in flames depending on the time zone. It was very dramtic and pretty. Too bad we didn't have any marshmallows with us." said Yogi Smoagie aboard the International Space Station. Greenpeace volunteer Cathy Dummlap was philosophic about the whole thing: "Yes, so many died, but a polar bear cub recently drowned because of global warming. Greenpeace is very sorry about the cub. We are looking forward to the next Earth Hour and hope it's just as successful!"

Memo: Attn: US Airways - Re: Fucking Right Off

None of Sheena's vast international readership will be shocked as she repeats that she is a Points Whore. I like gold status and premier levels and VIP passes and personal concierge service and the free perks that come with these things. But I am also sensitive to being careful with resources, whether mine or parties in which I have a vested interest.

Sometimes these two things converge in what really should be a Win-Win situation. Sheena speaks today of US Airways, and their participation in her favourite perk program of all, the Star Alliance network/Aeroplan.

US Airways is often the "low cost option #2", meaning she saves a couple of hundred bucks by not flying Air Canada or United, but still getting the same # of points. In fact, sometimes even more, because of the propensity for US Airways to use their Philly, Charlotte or Pittsburgh hubs for connections. So if travel is not time sensitive, I'll save the cash, do a connection and still end up with more points and segments towards next year's status. Good shit, eh?

The problem is, however, that US Airways is a shitty airline. With the possible exception only of Delta, this is who loses my luggage most. This is where connections get hosed. This is where at least 1/3 of the time my flights are cancelled and they rebook me on American, losing all points goodness entirely.

Friday night was a new barometer of low.

Arrive at the Baltimore Terminal D. Have a bit of time to kill before boarding. Head to the US Airways Lounge. Find this:

That's right. US Airways can't get no likker license at BWI. And it may take "several months". Something smells fishy. And it ain't the stewardess.

And despite the illusion of free tampons, it was empty. Both levers.

Arrive - get this, the shock in the shock and awe without a doubt - we arrive in Toronto 30 minutes early. Yee ha, eh?

Problem was that Friday was the first day for US Airways to operate out of the Star Alliance home terminal - Pearson Terminal One. Until Friday, it had been in Terminal Three. Which sucked because no club lounges to use over there with Star Alliance flights. So when I heard about the switch a couple of weeks ago, it's like - yee hah. Cheaper flights, more points and free booze and wireless. Maybe this will win me back in the months to come, but today I'm still cranky.

Friday night, from the small window of first hand observation I had was pretty miserable. We sat at the gate for 27 of the 30 early minutes we'd made up. The gate agents couldn't find us. The pilots were vocal and pissy. They gave us updates every 5 minutes passing the blame to terminal and gate staff. The luggage was long unloaded before the jetway started to move. What got the collective rile of the passengers up was the announcement from the cockpit that they were now using their cell phones to call US Airways operations HQ because of non-response in Toronto.

But my luggage did show up, fully intact, so thank god for small miracles. Especially with $40 bucks worth of smuggled cheeses and 2 fully declared Dead Arm Shirazes '05 safely tucked between the layers of pinstripes and cashmere.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Forbidden Skate

OMG. Sheena is creaming her pants just recalling Thursday night's dinner. A repeat visit to Kali's Court ( when another place couldn't take the group that had now doubled in size. Some bigwig movers and shakers, so we went with what we knew and loved from earlier in the week. Since this night Sheena was NOT on the hook for the bill, she ordered the thing that had caught her eye last Tuesday. "The Forbidden Skate".

Truly one of the more memorable meals of 2008 to date. Yes, a little girly squeal was emitted from my Clinique Brick Red lipsticked mouth... And despite the greyhairs and pundits surrounding me, Sheena looked up and said "I'm sorry, I know this is really geeky, but I have to take a picture of this..." They nodded and concurred, and even looked over a little enviously since they ended up with a bouillabaisse that subsequently rendered a $700 tweed jacket into a week's supply of preppy ass wipe.

I poked delicately at what looked like a white taffeta skirt. The skate wing had been carefully seasoned in butter and garlic and some subtle mystery spicing the waiter swore he'd try to figure out but was considered proprietary and secret intellectual property of le chef.

Tucked under the bridal bustle of ray was the forbidden part of the dish. A rare Chinese black rice known as "forbidden rice". Very nutty and crunchy. Lovely texture and mild flavour. A light butter sauce and a handful of lightly wilted greens topped it off.

And then the orchid. One perfect lovely orchid. Made me wish I could have ordered a viognier paired just with the orchid.

I wonder if an all-flower diet will get me into bikini shape for my as yet unnamed beach vacation in late April...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Whoa, Trippy.

Russian Scrabble

Just a Three Dressed Up As A Nine

The Zeitgeist of the Winnipegger...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Good Bye Earl...

Sheena the prairie babe hereby and thoroughly does declare that she misses EARLS. I know, I know...chain restaurants ain't cool, but Earl's on Main in Winnipeg, and the downtown Calgary location hold special places in Sheena's black ashen covered heart.

The Bellinis...

The smoked chicken quesadilla with amazingly thin crispy fries on the side and what I had forgotten was the most heartbreakingly lovely swirly blend of sour cream and jerk sauce...
Asking the waitress which of the six currencies in my wallet she prefers as a tip...

Oh the memories... of the Xmas party lists planned and ripped up... of the birthday party pictures taken and destroyed.. of the gang sitting around the bar playing Which Sex in the City Character Are You?

(err... Samantha.. duh, eh?)


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thanks Mom!

Sheena's Easter Present. Except in vinyl, not 8-track. Now if only I had something to play it on...

I've Had The Song "Tarzan Boy" In My Head All Day...

After a precarious start (aka... 4am wakeup call; 5am rental car ignition start; 6am customs clearance, 7:30 boarding; 8am deplaning; 10am eventual take off on Dash 8 #2...) landed in Baltimore and will be here much of the week.

So when one of the group suggested crab - ie, when in Rome blah blah blah, we all said giddyap and he went off to make a reservation. He came back all pumped because the restaurant offered to send a car over to get us. Even though it was only about a 15 minute walk, and it was brisk but sunny out.

Then we remembered, Oh Yeah. It's downtown Baltimore. Where those things just aren't done.

Up pulls a stretch white limo. Sheena gulped. Realizing odds were good that she was going to get stuck with the tab tonight.

Dinner was lovely - the food, the decor, the charming hostess who gave us an architectural history lecture on how the premises was saved and reconstructed from bits and pieces of machines shops and warehouses from the fairly recent gentrification of the waterfront.

Paper thin tuna tartare... manhattan seafood chowder... a perfect Mackintosh apple stuffed with roasted beets... interesting appetizers all around.

I had the crab cakes as main. As Frommer says "giant lump crab held together with little more than a prayer and not even a hint of Old Bay". It was pure crab. No filler. Side of grilled tomato and asparagus on the side. The waiter, unfortunately, has something very long and pointy stuck up his ass and clearly was not of the persuasion to be enjoying it. He rolled his eyes when we didn't order four courses each and fawn over the wine list (it was a long day.. gimme a break).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More Things from under Baba's Bed

Family weekend in Winnipeg. Slowly sifting through the relics and remnants of the precious possessions of Sheena's Crazy Baba. Boxes of papers, old books, bags and bags of knitting unfinished and fabric scraps unsewn. Bank statements from before I was born. CNR handbooks from an era when long term disability was worth 24 cents a day. Dresses and sweaters that would make Foucault weep.

And this.

Sheena's Gido. c. 1945, before he married Baba.

Wanne Eickel, Germany

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Legend of Hair Cut Island

A few days ago Sheena unpacked some old boxes and was pleasantly surprised to find some old pictures. She turned to the other person in the room and softly exclaimed... 'that was one of the best days of my life...'

Moments later she was on the innerdnets hotline to The Beast.

Sheena: "I found them".

The Beast: "Found what".
Sheena: "The pictures of haircut island".

The Beast: "OMG. You have to send them to me. That was one of the best days of my life...."

It was many years ago. We were in our earlyish 20s. It was the Summer of Road Crew and Fishing Camps. The one and only pogey cheque Sheena ever collected in her whole life. A last minute Greyhound Bus trip over the Canadian Shield, only to be picked up late at night in pickup truck playing David Wilcox. That was when I hated David Wilcox. He's OK now.

While The Beast charmed rich Americans and earned tip money, Sheena wandered around, sleeping late, keeping a low profile in the crew cabins, listening to far too much Bobby Brown for anyone's good.

At last. The long awaited Day Off.
We got up early and packed a lunch. We did that a lot back then. Always packed a lunch. And a litre of wine, that got warm by 9am, which is when we cracked it open after a strenuous 10 minute canoe paddle. A lazy float in the sun. Glad to be away from it all. Two pals catching up on missing months of gossip and banter and the kind of oneupmanship only a couple of chicks with ambitions bigger than their station can muster.

We saw a little island up ahead. Full bore ahead. This is where we intended to skinny dip and suntan and nap in the warmth. Get a bit wasted and make sand castles or something.

We paddled up to a little cove and dragged the canoe up onto the beach. Fucking Fuckity Fuck. There were people already here. Bloody hell. Our fun ruined.

A half a dozen pot bellied middle aged guys standing in a circle down the beach from us. The suckitude potential of the day hit us square in the eyes.

And then the men moved aside. And we saw the Secret of Hair Cut Island. On the beach was a chair. And on the chair a man. And the man on the chair was getting a haircut. And then he got up, and another man sat down. He too got a hair cut.

The Beast and I looked at each other, a little bewildered. This is not how we expected our day to unfold. But here was our destiny, in all its trimmed and razored glory.

They had beer. They had speed boats. They offered to tow the canoe. And so off we went. A day trolling the open waters, enjoying the hospitality of well groomed men. Peeing in the water, getting a sunburn, and taking home a story that no one ever really believed.

Until today...

Take Off Lufthansa 747 Boston to Frankfurt

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Poems from the Shoe Box Under The Bed

Two English Poems


The useless dawn finds me in a deserted street-
corner; I have outlived the night.
Nights are proud waves; darkblue topheavy waves
laden with all the hues of deep spoil, laden with
things unlikely and desirable.
Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals,
of things half given away, half withheld,
of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act
that way, I tell you.
The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds
and odd ends: some hated friends to chat
with, music for dreams, and the smoking of
bitter ashes. The things my hungry heart
has no use for.
The big wave brought you.
Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily
and incessantly beautiful. We talked and you
have forgotten the words.
The shattering dawn finds me in a deserted street
of my city.
Your profile turned away, the sounds that go to
make your name, the lilt of your laughter:
these are the illustrious toys you have left me.
I turn them over in the dawn, I lose them, I find
them; I tell them to the few stray dogs and
to the few stray stars of the dawn.
Your dark rich life ...
I must get at you, somehow; I put away those
illustrious toys you have left me, I want your
hidden look, your real smile -- that lonely,
mocking smile your cool mirror knows.


What can I hold you with?
I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the
moon of the jagged suburbs.
I offer you the bitterness of a man who has looked
long and long at the lonely moon.
I offer you my ancestors, my dead men, the ghosts
that living men have honoured in bronze:
my father's father killed in the frontier of
Buenos Aires, two bullets through his lungs,
bearded and dead, wrapped by his soldiers in
the hide of a cow; my mother's grandfather
--just twentyfour-- heading a charge of
three hundred men in Peru, now ghosts on
vanished horses.
I offer you whatever insight my books may hold,
whatever manliness or humour my life.
I offer you the loyalty of a man who has never
been loyal.
I offer you that kernel of myself that I have saved,
somehow --the central heart that deals not
in words, traffics not with dreams, and is
untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.
I offer you the memory of a yellow rose seen at
sunset, years before you were born.
I offer you explanations of yourself, theories about
yourself, authentic and surprising news of
I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the
hunger of my heart; I am trying to bribe you
with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.

- Jorge Luis Borges (1934)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jersey Girl

So after running into the dark Bavarian night from the Fighting Lederhosens, having not crapped in a week, and a little bleary eyed after no sleep and free booze, Sheena clears US customs and realizes she has no ticket home.

Fukkit. Let's Rock.

Hopped the train from Newark "Liberty" International into Manhattan. $15 one way. Sat beside an aging poet type who madly scribbled left handedly into his plain notebook with a black pen. Wondered if he was writing about me.

Late lunch at Grand Central Station. Oyster Bar was closed FCS, so sat at the balcony bar at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse. Had a garlic toast thingy with gorgonzola puddle of creamy dip and side Caesar salad. And a glass of fave Napa bubbly "J".

More time to kill. Keep walking. Grab a newspaper and veg out at the lobby bar at The Roosevelt. Drank with a very famous politician (Not Eliot Spitzer...)

Landed 32 hours after initial expected ETA. Still made it to work on time the next day after 4 hours sleep.

Weiner Art and The Fighting Lederhosens

So maybe Sheena forgot to mention it, but she was in Germany most of the week before this one. German food constipates me, but the fried potatoes are so delish that I have a hard time resisting when out and about.

After 24 hours in Boston, Sheena Lufthansaed it to Frankfurt and then later Munich, landing at 9am and proceeding directly into meetings after just enough time to shower and not throw up due to no sleep and jetlag.

Vegetarians should probably not visit Bavaria or prepare to just roll over and die. The liver balls were lovely.

"Hey look over there"
"Bar fight"
"Holy shit"
"Love to get a picture of that but I'd probably get beaten to a pulp"
The table of 300 pound Lederhosen guys got dissed by some skinny asshole not wearing Lederhosen and after face to face spittle exchange worser than a basement dwelling political bloggers flamewar, the little guy got bouncered out, but not before turning back and saying something rude and clearly yo 'mama tinged at Lederhosen guy.
The frosted window of the Brauhause prevented us from gawking directly, but somebody did a face plant into the bike rack out front and it wasn't Lede Boy...

Fly Herpa Air...

Sausage Fest beyond Sheena's wildest dreams...

Time to go home! Bye!

Then the fun began. Connection from MUC to JFK hosed due to bad snowstorm in Toronto last weekend. I hopped the flight and after 4 glasses of free Champagne in the Lufthansa VIP lounge before 9am kinda just winged it as to whether I'd get back to Canada anytime in particular...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lying Bastards

I'm sorry. If it was "International Women's Day" then how come nobody is wearing skirts and heels. EH?

Saturday, March 08, 2008


My hair looks its absolute hottnessist after being stuck in a ponytail bun for 11 hours having been shaped by humidity and that mild sweaty low grade fever that sets in with jetlag and sleep deprivedness.

I think this is why I'm so successful, actually.

Week in Munich Recap

  • Lose digital camera upload gizmo and burst like a girl full of lite beer at her cousin's wedding with backlogged blogposts.
  • Eat way too much meat and potato and feel bloated 24/7.
  • Annoy her male compadres with sausage jokes at dinner.
  • Die for a non-flash camera when 2 fat liederhosen guys duke it out at the bar and one goes face plant into the bike rack
  • Realize there is no fucking way in hell Sheena is getting home due to cocksucking snow storms in GTA and book a night in NYC en route just to spite Mother Nature
  • Fall in love with the free Bouvet Brut in the Lufthansa Lounge at 8:30am on a Saturday morning
  • Vow to one day learn just enough German to use the S-Bahn automated ticket dispenser without having small children point and laugh
  • Wonder why we don't have mini-serving personal sized liverwursts for home use in Canada.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Your Daily SheenaVision Public Service Announcement:

Pancake Tuesday Special At Sam 'N' Ella's Family Diner!!!

Aunt Jemima Pancake and Waffle Mixes Recalled
Potential salmonella contamination in product
The Editors at HealthDay
Potential salmonella contamination has prompted the recall of some batches of Aunt Jemima pancake and waffle mixes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly and others with weakened immune systems. In healthy people, salmonella infection can cause fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recalled products, made by the Quaker Oats Co.


Hey! PSA (of cunty Canadian Cecelia co-blogger fame) and JJ!

Bhinder Dundat!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Oh For Fuck's Sakes

As Sheena sits in her Munich hotel room, having napped maybe 2 hours in 36 hours, reading plaintive cries from her peeps en route that they may or may not actually make it across the pond for morning meetings. Itchy and cold with spartan linens that just feel dirty. Constantly looking at her skin for bed bug bites, too tired to eat anything more than earthy liverwurst from the deli across the street, feeling like her 3 days off last week never happened, eyes sore, brain fried, but so thankful for the glamour life she leads.

Germany awaits air and rail strike travel chaos
Tue Mar 4, 2008 2:19pm EST
BERLIN, March 4 (Reuters) - German unions called on Tuesday for airport and rail service strikes across the country which could disrupt travel for millions and hurt the economy.
The Verdi union said workers at eight airports, including Frankfurt, will strike on Wednesday to increase pressure on the government to agree to an 8 percent wage hike for some 2 million public-sector workers.
The ARV airport union said the strikes, which will affect luggage handlers, fire service workers and ground transportation staff, could dent competitiveness in Europe's largest economy.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Blogs of Death

Sheena's humble reminder to her blogosphere peeps to sometimes take a deep breath and get some perspective on life.


February 26, 2008 -- No one seems to know why Paul Tilley, the 40-year-old creative chief of ad agency DDB Chicago, jumped to his death from the window of the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago on Friday.
But that hasn't stopped a barrage of finger pointing on several advertising blogs at the center of a controversy about what role, if any, they played in Tilley's suicide.
Most of the anger appears to be directed at two sites - Agency Spy and Adscam - that subjected Tilley to scrutiny leading up to his death. Both bloggers defended their coverage yesterday.
"I see in the comments of this post that many will point fingers at this blog for Mr. Tilley's death. That is unacceptable," Agency Spy wrote in a posting.
The defense was in response to readers who blamed the public scrutiny and "snarky" comments for driving Tilley over the edge or - at least - contributing to the pressure-cooker atmosphere in the ad industry.
One commentator wrote on AgencySpy: "Trust me... as someone who's known Paul for over 20 years... he heard and felt all those comments and whispers."
The controversy reached the upper echelons of the ad agency world, when Nina DiSesa, the chairman of McCann Erickson New York, jumped in to complain about the blogs.
"These hateful advertising blogs seem to be written by people who are bitter about the business," DiSesa wrote on AgenCySpy.
Although AgencySpy doesn't disclose its blogger, George Parker, a veteran ad executive, writes AdScam.
"I suggest anyone who still feels pissed off at me and Agency Spy should contact DDB Chicago," Parker wrote on his blog yesterday. "They know why he committed suicide. And it didn't have anything to do with what he read on a blog."
Both blogs drew on internal memos Tilley had sent around the agency to critique his management style, with one calling him "demoralizing" and suggesting he take lessons in motivational speaking.
Tilley, who is survived by his wife and two children, fell from the Fairmont Hotel next door to DDB. Colleagues said he gave no signs of being depressed, although he took a couple of personal days on Thursday and Friday.
Rick Carpenter, the CEO of DDB Chicago, said Tilley's job was secure and he seemed happy after a big client presentation went well on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

New England Cheese Plate

The Irish waitress @ the Boston hotel tonight couldn't pronounce any of it, but yumster yummy yum.

Smoked cheddar with chestnut honey drizzle.
Onion Chutney (meh.. could live without)
Chocolate goat cheese (far right - OMFG, like cheese cake x 1 million billion trillion)
Roquefort crusted chevre
Great Hill bleu

Saturday, March 01, 2008

But I Know It When I See It

Spent a couple of hours at the
National Gallery in Ottawa this week. Had been a few years since the last visit. Paid the $9 bucks each and did the regular permanent collection.

Patio Furniture Art - courtesy of Brian Jungen.

Here's a little sumpin-sumpin to get the cranky old man blood boiling.... xoxoxo Sheena

Holy crap. Hope THAT one was a scheduled c-section....A Girl
Hung out at the Norval Morrisseau exhibit, in memoriam - with his passing last year. (errr... who dat - eds.) Canada's own artistic treasure with a legacy needing preservation.

Other cool shit in the Contemporary Gallery...

30 minute video clip "Der Lauf der Dinge" - see it here (in 3 parts...)

Shopping Drunk in IKEA