New Thing #124: Get a Manicure

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It’s Pride Weekend here in Toronto, so it seemed like the perfect excuse (and let’s face it) alibi for getting my nails done. Right down to the glittery, ruby red nail polish. They didn’t have enough colours to make a rainbow and that seemed like the second most fabulous choice.

Shauna had me go to Sugarmoon, her favourite salon in the city. They treated me right, not laughing too much at just how foreign the whole process was to me.

Much like getting the professional shave, I didn’t realize how much of a production a manicure is. What with the lotions and the massages and the instruments. Oh how many instruments it takes to shape your nails!

But what a nice, relaxing way to start the long weekend.

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New Thing #123: Rolo Nesquik

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I’ve been saving this Rolo flavoured Nesquik for a day like today when I’m feeling bummed out. I figured it would be both a simple new thing to try and hopefully brighten my day a bit in the process. 

And I was right on both counts. 

This stuff is just sweet enough to taste like you’re drinking a liquified Rolo without being so sweet that you wake up with diabetes in the morning. 

It’s silky smooth and pretty refreshing. I hope this one sticks around.

 

New Thing #122: turntable.fm

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I heard about turntable.fm on the Bombcast (a video game podcast I listen to). It basically breaks down like this: you enter a visualized chat room where you and others get a chance to add songs into the playlist.

There are tones of rooms dedicated to various music genres. They end up play out like an interesting mix tape from a friend. Or a stranger actually, since it’s all in beta right now and you can only access it if one of your Facebook friends have already done so. 

Which leads me to its biggest problem: you can’t use it outside of the United States. Luckily, through the magic of internet proxies, I am able to use it at work. Which kind of sucks since I like it so much but won’t be able to play around with it at home. 

New Thing #121: Town Hall Square

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There’s a neat little urban park called Town Hall Square a couple of streets back from the office that I work at. 

Armed with a Hawaiian Slice, rootbeer and my buddy Stuart, I ventured into to the rather well grown greenery. Peppered with benches and raised concrete beds, the park has plenty of seating. The oversized pots make for an almost Alice in Wonderland feel to the whole place.

I’m pretty sure that the park is one of those green areas demanded of the condos that surround it by the city. It’s also nice that it sits atop the location of the original Yorkville Town Hall and includes a couple of plaques to commemorate the spot.

It’s nice to enjoy another little oasis on another fine, sunny, summer afternoon.

New Thing #120: Bluffer’s Park

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After Shauna’s Grandfather’s 95th birthday extravaganza (aka dinner out at the Swiss Chalet) we stopped for a quick jaunt around Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough. 

I had no idea just how expansive a park it is, with beaches, ponds, tons of ducks and geese and some stunning views of the Scarborough Bluffs from below. And one very angry Red Winged Blackbird. What a jerk.

Plus I got to show Audrey how to skip stones for the first time which was particularly fun for me. For the first six years of my life I lived right next to Lake Ontario. I spent much of my time down by the water skipping stones with my own father. I’m still not as good at it as he was, and probably never will be, but I was still the king of skipping to my own daughter tonight. 

And best of all, the running up and down the beach and through the bushes equated to one tuckered out toddler when we got home. No coaxing to bed necessary this evening.

All in all it was the perfect place to watch a sunset with my family tonight.

New Thing #119: Gone With The Wind

I honestly never thought I’d be writing about how much I enjoyed Gone With The Wind.

It’s everything I hate in a movie: a period piece, poofy dresses, stereotypical depictions of races and, of course, technicolor.

But damn if this isn’t a magnificent piece of film making.

The cinematography, location shots, hordes of extras, and compelling characters had me rapt.

And I know I’m late to the party on this one but Clark Gable is one charming MF’r.

PS. I realize that I introduce the movie in the video as being 75 years since it’s release. What I meant to say is that it’s 75 years since the book was published.

New Thing #118: The Bata Shoe Museum

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Here’s a place I never saw the allure of before today: The Bata Shoe Museum

Somehow, in my mind, I always pictured a big room filled with designer shoes on the walls. Pretty much a giant Keds with merchandise more suited for the Sex in the City crowd. I suppose that the word museum in the name should have tipped me off, but who thought you could possibly have enough to say about shoes to devote an entire building to it?

Well, it turns out they do and they did.

Anything and everything worn by humans since we crawled out of the muck was on display. To prove the point, the final piece in the winding road of footwear history were two awful high tops worn by Justin Bieber. And don’t get me started on the Nickelback display.

Moving on though, I was delighted by the roaring 20s display. Flapper girls danced on screens while raucous music accompanied my stroll through some fine art deco inspired heels. The care and love that went into every rhinestone makes me ache for the days when things weren’t mass produced. Plus I’m pretty sure the ladies that were in front of me had danced in some gin joints back in the day themselves.

$14 was a little steep for the experience but that doesn’t seem to stop the tourists from entering in droves. 

All in all I enjoyed it much more than ever I expected to.

New Thing #117: Chocolate Ice Cubes

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My wife sent me a not so subtle hint to make these chocolate ice cubes yesterday when I came downstairs and found all of the ingredients laid out on the island. 

Tonight we popped them out and dropped them in some milk with a little bit of vanilla flavoured simple syrup. Soon we were sipping some mighty fine chocolate milks through dinner. As the cubes melted, the milk took on a wonderful, silky chocolate flavour. A few stirs here and there and the flavour and colour became more and more rich. 

So of course the next step was to make a cocktail with them. A little vodka, a cube in our mini-shaker and a gentle shake later and I’m happy to report that I’m enjoying the best tasting chocolate martini I’ve ever had. 

And, as you might expect, Audrey is over the moon at the revelation that we now have frozen chocolate in the freezer.

New Thing #116: Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys

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Aside from the hits that everyone knows, I’d never sat down to listen to the entire Pet Sounds album by The Beach Boys before. Ok, I’ll admit it, I’ve never sat down to listen to any entire album by them before. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of their music, but they’re not the type of band that I need more than a tune or two of at a time.

But damn it if Rolling Stone Magazine doesn’t slot this album in as the second best ever recorded. In fact, it’s slotted right in between Revolver and Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles; two albums in my top ten. 

So I secluded myself in my bedroom, turned off all the lights and strapped on my stereophonic headphones to try and get in the mood. You know, to really focus on the complexities and undercurrents of the record. And to avoid my mother…wait, I’m not sixteen any more am I?

Maybe my room’s not dark enough or Audrey’s constant renditions of Lady Gaga tunes have burrowed too deeply in my brain because I just don’t get it. The albums fine. But that’s about it. I’m not being harsh, just nothing stood out as being amazing to me on a gut level.

New Thing #115: St. Elmo’s Fire

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As I was sitting eating a totally excellent sushi dinner with some co-workers tonight “Man In Motion” came on the radio and I realized, as I do whenever I hear that song, that I’ve never actually seen St. Elmo’s Fire.

Three things are abundantly clear having finally sat down to watch it tonight:

1. They really got their money’s worth out of that song
2. If I were a 16 year old girl in 1985 I would have this poster hung on my wall, in my locker and possibly on the ceiling over my bed
3. I am not a 16 year old girl in 1985 and this movie has not aged well at all

Bonus 4th observation: I still hate Andie MacDowell.