yeah maybe

05Apr10

Perhaps I should actually bother to make some use of this site I pay annually for. The usual happens, something worth logging occurs, I decide that I will in fact write about it, then time decides it won’t have me doing no such thing. I could always make the time, but then It would be my fault, and I can’t have that now.

What’s new? Well after looking at my last post, a lot. It’s well into the new year, Olympics have visited our city and left, I don’t think I even remember them. Most importantly I was given the task of running my own JJ Bean location. Talk about a whole new package of challenges and headaches! I’m learning a lot however, things nobody tells you about until it hits you in the face, unfortunately coffee knowledge is falling to the wayside, feeling a bit left out in that department. Every day something goes wrong, and I’m the one who has to fix it. When I can fix it, it feels great, but having to just wait on someone you called for an answer that you know isn’t going to rectify anything soon just drags your day into the ground. My time off becomes extra valuable now, but valuable in a way that I don’t want to do anything with it, just relax, and be useless. It’s kind of dangerous.

Maybe I need some time off soon?

freshly rigged

06Nov09

Meet “Hubert” my new baby. He’s just over a month old now and is up to all sorts of trouble. I’d go into more details but then I’d just be bragging, and I don’t do that. *Ahem*

Nearly at the end of my guard duty down on Powell street. Ironically the knickers I mentioned in my previous post that I decided would be excellent as part of my cycling getup have yet to be acquired. In a strange twist of fate compounded by the generosity of mothers I was on the receiving end of not one, but two pairs of these elusive cycling shorts. However, I underestimated the girth of my gut and the sizing was highly inaccurate thus returning my gifts for exchange was the only option. Despite not having access to the shorts for the fall months I will still happily commute to my new position this coming January. Yes, another relocation, another store.

This time, instead of simply holding down the fort, I will be officially put in charge. This is both exciting and a little sad. I will miss working with the great people at both Main street and Powell street locations. My destination, come the new year, will be across only one bridge unto the edge of the downtown core along Davie street. I’m looking forward to the challenges (not including the 2010 Olympic chaos) and opportunities this will bring me. The most amazing part of all this? I don’t recall doing any ass kissing. How does that happen?

As for now I’m keeping focused on wrapping things up neatly where I am and looking forward to a more relaxed next month or so. My girlfriends’ birthday is fast approaching. I always have great ideas throughout the year for birthdays, then as the date itself draws near I draw blank. Maybe I should start writing things down. Speaking of my girl, I think I’ll brave the cold wet November Vancouver weather and visit her at work. The free dinner that comes along with the visit ain’t none too bad neither.

Well, this is it. I have accepted a new position at work, so for the next two months I will be hauling my sleep deprived self all the way down to Powell & Victoria. The big news is that I’ve been placed in charge for this hiatus. I always knew it would happen eventually, just not so sudden. I’m a bit excited, bit anxious, and kind of bummed out to be leaving Main street for the fall. Thankfully the current manager has left me in good hands, even preparing an imposing twelve page guide book to answer any of my questions.

Since my commute has now tripled in length, and the weather is on a decline from the awesome summer we’ve had, my bicycle is in need of some upgrades. First step will be to re-install the rear fender to keep any and all rainwater from hitting my underside. There is absolutely nothing enjoyable about spending a day at work with bit’s of mud and grit stuck to your butt while your underwear below is still damp and clingy.

On that note my current riding apparel is somewhat lacking in rain protection. Weather proofing my ride to work is essentially my main concern. For this I’ll need a longer breathable jacket. My current rain jacket is a tad short for me when riding, I could get around this probably with just a longer shirt below that I’m willing to let get soaked. Next on the list would be some decent riding pants or shorts. I have a pair in mind that would be quite decent, pair them up with some warm socks on colder days, perfect.

Other improvements I’d like to have would be a new and better fitting helmet, replace my brake pads for when the wet weather hits, and possibly a rear wheel rack for saddle-bags. It will only be two months however, so purchasing a set of saddle-bags (or even just one!) is a bit of an investment when I already have a capable bag and I really don’t need to be hauling that much paraphernalia to work. On the days when the weather is really just too horrible that riding safely is questionable there is, thankfully, a rather efficient bus route that likely can get me there quicker than two wheels as it’s never quite busy that early in the morning.

Kilimonjaro Dark Jazz Ensemble - Mutations EP

I’ve been listening to this album on and off for the past month and every time it gets better. Some delicious brooding and sinister tones mixed with an eeriness reminiscent of film noir spliced into a documentary about things bad people do. It’s a very well produced release and I look forward to future releases from this project. I know there is one on the way.

New Commute

08Sep09

The lazy days of Summer are over. Scarves and boots are being dug out of closets, a surplus of solitary occupied vehicles have joined the stuffed to capacity buses and trolleys on the streets, and rain is in the forecast.

August was a particularly busy month for me and my girlfriend. Beginning in July and into the next month we’ve been hosting visitors on our cat slashed orphaned piece of sectional sofa. Our first guest was my girlfriends best friend who not only spent her two weeks of vacation just to come visit, but traveled all the way from Atlanta, Georgia just to do it. That’s a special friendship right there. Myself, I was working a fair bit during this time thus enabling old the ladies an abundance of time to hang out and make the most of it.

My personal rewards for keeping my nose to the grindstone this summer was two separate trips to my family’s cabin on Adams Lake. The first trip I took was immediately after our first visitor said her farewells. Leaving my beautiful girlfriend behind, I collected my three best friends and we trundled up to the cabin with a trunk full of food, sleeping bags and beer. Essentially we spent the better portion of the week doing as little as possible, however, one feat of epic proportions was a hike we took up one of the nearby hills.

I’m not a hiker or any kind of woodsman really and the hill we chose to climb has defeated me in past summers, but this time we were ready.

fake smile is fake

Despite my smile in the picture, I was in most likely hood quite miserable and only smiling because of that fantastic hat.

This past week my girlfriend and I have been playing host for her best friend visiting all the way from Atlanta, GA. Today they both left for an overnight trip to Victoria so I’ve finally got a bit of time to spit out a post. There isn’t a lot of free time in a one bedroom apartment occupied by three twenty-somethings and a devilish little cat, so I’d better take advantage while I can. There won’t be another chance for a whole week yet.

My girlfriend has been handling a lot of cooking in our less than half a kitchen these past few days. Several amazing breakfasts have been prepared with spreads of scrambled eggs loaded with ham and cheese, stacks of fluffy little pancakes with or without fresh blueberries, expertly cooked bacon done en mass in the oven (way better than pan frying), and all accompanied with toast and fruits. I like breakfast.

Numerous stir-fries over rice were lovingly prepared, but so far the trio of oven baked pizzas have been the highlite for dinner time. Fresh ingredients sizzling on a crust sized just big enough for an individual (well probably too big), is a genuine treat. It’s rather expensive to make your own pizza at home in comparison with ordering, especially once you factor in the convenience of just picking up the phone, or even typing in your order! Yeah, I’ve done it.

Pancakes!
Stack of Pancakes waiting to be devoured!

Myself, I tried to recreate a batch of quesadillas using a recipe I created a month ago. Here’s the breakdown.

  • Chicken breast marinated in honey, garlic & onion barbeque sauce
  • Carmelized yellow onions
  • Smoked gouda cheese
  • Avocado
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Black beans

Combine all of the above in a flat tortilla folded in half and you have yourself a truly decadent pseudo-mexican feast. Unfortunately yesterday, when I tried to recreate this masterpiece, I forgot a few key steps like carmelizing the onions before hand, marinating the chicken so it would be more tender, and the gouda I chose wasn’t the same as before thus did not melt, instead remaining semi-solid. Next time I’ll get it right.

in a flux

01Jul09

Well I survived the competition last week. There were a lot of things I was unprepared for, that unless I had previously participated, I don’t think I would’ve ever figured out. The little things, the details, small bits you neglect to pay attention to are what really gets you in the end. I ranked a respectable fifth place, if you consider that all the rules weren’t adhered to as well I would be up there in fourth! Not bad for my first try. The judges’ score sheets are an invaluable little bit of scrutiny that I’ve already applied to my daily routine at work!

Me!

Speaking of the judges, I do not envy them. Well specifically I do not envy the sensory judges, they had to consume a ridiculous amount of caffeine across the two nights. I don’t think my boss got an hour’s rest in the next two days, the coffee took its toll. I think that the technical judging, while not an easy task, puts a lesser impact on the body. Watching a contestant so closely, making note of every little flick of the wrist and checking for real specifics when they barely have time to glance at their scoresheets must certainly be no simple job. Kudos to all the judges those nights, we (really) couldn’t have done it without your participation.

The most fun I had was watching everybody else compete. There were plenty of unique touches and styles from everybody, I just kept thinking “I wish I’d done it more like that” during everyone’s routine. There was a great spread of variety in the signature drinks with ingredients including, but not limited to rosemary, applesauce, tobacco, pancreas glands, cream cheese and even a mojito inspired beverage with fresh mint and ginger (my favourite of the drinks I tasted).

Next year, I’ll be ready.

Me!

My Dad, on the other hand, had himself quite the rush the next night. He was a fighter in Contenders White Collar Fight Night 7. It was his first fight, and he did it at the tender age of fifty five! Three one-and-a-half minute rounds, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but even just watching, those are very long ninety second rounds.

He won his match with a four to one vote from the judges. It was a strange moment of being proud of my dad, strange because of the unconventional circumstances. Seriously, whose father voluntarily begins training to fight the same year he plans to retire? He did great, kicked some ass, took some punches, and walked out tall, and all for charity. Ok, I’m sure that wasn’t his primary reason.

I wish I could post some pictures but I was without a camera that night. Maybe when I get ahold of some, I’ll update this post.

Updated: Here’s a few snaps of my old man in action. Age is clearly but a number.

White Collar Fight Night 7
White Collar Fight Night 7
White Collar Fight Night 7

the in-house

22Jun09

Tomorrow evening I will be participating in the JJ Bean Coffee Roasters in-house barista competition. The desirable outcome of this event will be to select 2? 3? baristi to represent our company in the upcoming Western Regional Barista Competition in August. My nerves are an absolute wreck.

Competition is something I’m unfamiliar with, it is foreign territory fraught with perils and opposition. Basically I’ll be stepping far out of my comfort zone, a zone I’ve lovingly padded with cushions and candies over the past year down at my workplace. A constant plague of tiny, yet fully reasonable, doubts is nagging at the back of my mind, telling me I’m forgetting this or that. I need to relax, and soon.

The night itself (actually the span of two nights) should be a lot of fun. Once my fifteen minutes is up and my stomach has settled I can get down to cheering on my fellow workmates doing what they do best. Everyone says not to be stressed because everyone I’ll be performing for are friends, and most know what it’s like to be in that very same spot. I think it’s for this exact reason that I am a nervous wreck, my reputation is at stake! I’m kidding, I don’t have a reputation, or at least one that does me any grace.

A barista competition is basically broken down into three parts, serving twelve delicious beverages, being efficient and clean, and entertaining your judges. Cram all of the above into a fifteen minute span that feels all too short and you have an embarassingly brief description of what the competition involves. I would go into more detail but there is plenty of information to be found with even the quickest google.

Right now I’m heating up some milk and steeping some star anise for my signature drink tomorrow. So far everyone who’s tried it has reacted favourably to the taste. I found this surprising since anise is quite often an acquired taste, but even my girlfriend, who loathes anything similar to licorice, enjoyed the drink. Combined with tapioca syrup to sweeten and orange zest the drink is a nice burst of taste and smell on the senses. Hopefully the judges agree.

Wish me luck!

Crumbled star anise seed pods

Almost eleven-o-clock at night on a Sunday and I’ve got a strange craving for a sugar loaded grape Crush soda. Let me pause before continuing so I can collect one of these delicious treats.

Several minutes pass

Well so much for that idea. The grocer across the street probably hasn’t had a carbonated grape drink pass through it’s automatic sliding door since Capers/Whole Foods moved into the neighbourhood a couple years ago. Now that I think about it, the last time I even saw a Crush Grape soda was in a hardware and lumber supply store, stacked in 24-pack flats in the center of the aisle, next to orange, root-beer, cream-Soda, and probably some sort of lime flavoured variant.

Tonight is one of those rare nights where I’m able to enjoy some modest spurts of productivity amidst the barrage of online distractions. Between a rampant deluge of Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook status updates, e-mails, and Blog posts I barely have time to copy and paste. I’m being overly dramatic, I don’t follow Twitter at all.

As for the previously mentioned productivity, I was able to churn out a few work related bits in illustrator. Nothing really fancy, just replacing some worn out signage and thought I would use this opportunity to give it a little charm instead of the tired center-aligned Times New Roman or Comic Sans notices that every office computer hooked up to a printer has spit forth at one point or another. I really enjoy spending the time it takes dragging out vertices and setting up guides to produce something in Illustrator. Far too little of my time has been invested in this interest lately and I can really tell a lot of my interface muscle memory is now atrophied.

Jarboe - Mahakali

“MAHAKALI”, ( Kali is the feminine of “kala”- “darkness”, Maha is “great” ) is named after the mythical indian goddess of death and destruction, as mentioned in the Mahabarata and other indian epics. – The Living Jarboe

last man to fly

10Feb09

While working diligently on my up and coming design studio I of course come across lots of goodies I would like to procure, you know, for research materials. Books are always a welcome addition to any home and something I feel I should spend more time with. This being said, my time should really start veering away from the general wizards and warrior themes I often find myself returning to.

On occasion. with varying degrees of success, I have dug into a few pieces of classic literature. After picking up a copy of Bulgakovs The Master and Margarita I found my interest waning around half-way through. Since then I haven’t returned to the book nor picked up any new ones. I intend to change that in the upcoming months, just with less challenging themes, or even without words. Hahah.

Pride and Prejudice AND ZOMBIES

Now we’re talking! Okay maybe this would be too ridiculous to read as I’m neither a huge fan of Jane Austen or Zombies. I mean Zombies are pretty cool, but I think best served as plot devices in late night movies or video games. Let’s investigate further.

Calma - The Art of Stephan Doitschinoff

Hey, now this is nice. Two years ago I posted about Stephan Doitschinoff and literally, just this minute I stumbled across a book of his work. Tempting, very tempting.

Vania - Vania Zouravliov

The reason I stumbled across that last book was due to scouring up information on Vania Zouravliov who also has a book of work available on the same site. Furthermore there is one print in particular I find enchanting, for obvious reasons.

Black Cat - Vania Zouravliov

So if you have a spare two hundred Euros lying around you can send to me via paypal. I can trade you with $1.65 in Canadian Tire money. Hey, it’s good to spend on Ebay, who knew?

One little piggy - 2009