New Thing #298: Eat a Payday Bar



This will probably seem weird to all my American friends, but we don’t really have Payday bars up here in Canada. But you don’t have Coffee Crisps and that really is strange.

However, while I was in a candy shop on the Danforth tonight I came across one and snatched it up. And it is nothing like what I expected. It’s not even a chocolate bar. Chocolate never even enters into the equation.

It’s like someone just extruded some caramel onto a floor covered in peanuts and called it a day. It’s the most boring and hard to digest candy bar I’ve ever had.

Do people really eat these things?


New Thing #297: Louis CK Standup


The first time I ever saw Louis CK he was complaining to Conan O’Brien about how everyone is so bored with how amazing the world has become. I instantly fell in love with him. Or at least watching clips of him on talk shows; something he shares in common with my much beloved Norm MacDonald.

However, unlike Norm’s terrible forrays into network comedy, I’ve recently taken to Louis’ F/X series which is a dark, raw and utterly hilarious commentary on today’s world. 

And then he went and self-produced, self-edited and self-published a comedy show from the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Just for that I had to give him $5. I love that he circumvented the entire entertainment industry and has already been wildly successful at it. 

And better yet the show was funny as hell. He really feels like the George Carlin of our time. He never shies away from a joke and always pushes it one step too far, somehow never being mean about it. 

I know there’s at least one of his other shows on Netflix so I know what I’m doing this weekend. Well, other than Christmas I mean.

New Thing #296: Watch a Bollywood Film


Today at work we were served a sumptuous feast of take out Indian food; a thanka you from our CD for all our work this year. I ate way too much and regretted it nearly immediately. And then I ate some more.

While we chowed down on our aloo gobi and naan we watched the Bollywood hit Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, or as it’s known here: Straight from the Heart. Once I figured out how to get English subtitles going everyone was entranced, in a weird, but good way.

I’m not going to think that just by watching some of a single Bollywood movie that I know what they’re all like, but I’m under the impression that there’s a flimsy storyline that acts as a jumping off point to the next song and dance routine. So in that respect, it’s just like any Western musical out there. Which is probalby why I liked it.

I sort of wish I didn’t have to leave and could have watched the entire thing but I had crap to get done. So, Netflix, don’t fail me now!

New Thing #295: Make Homemade French Fries



When it comes to deep frying food I’m a bit of a noob. OK, I’ve pretty much never done it.

Much like the meat slicer when I was a kid, the thought of hot oil bursting into flames or popping upwards toward my open eyeball mostly scares the shit out of me. Plus I’ve watched too many deep fried turkey incidents on Youtube over the years to be entirely comfortable with the method.

But then I found myself with about $4 worth of excess potato slices after I cubed some up for roasting tonight and really didn’t want to see them go to waste. So I guess my fears can be conquered for little to no monetary value.

So I hand cut about a pound of potatoes, poured all the oil I had into a pot, stuck a candy thermometer in there and made me some french fries.

With an eye on the temperature and a handy knowledge of my oil’s smoke point as reference I calmly fried up two batches, and then shared them with my family.

They were a hit.

If not for the excess amount of oil needed and reams of paper towels that I went through, I could see making these on a semi-regular basis. At the very least, we’re in for some damn good steak frites this winter.


New Thing #294: Wilfred


I can see the pitch line for Wilfred now:

“It’s Fight Club but instead of Brad Pitt there’s a dude dressed up in a dog suit”.

What I can’t see is how that ever convinced anyone to make this into a TV series.

It’s completely irreverant, played pretty deadpan and the doesn’t pull any punches with the humour. And the actor who plays Wilfred deserves an emmy for this. I think I love love this show. 

Overall, this has been a pretty good year for new, outlandish television. And thankfully there’s not a laughtrack to be had in the lot of them.

New Thing #293: iTunes Match



Ok, I really wanted to have a great new experience using iTunes match tonight, but it would seem my actual new experience would be complete frustration with iTunes match tonight.

Actually, that’s not completely fair, I’m just bummed that it’s been roughly five and a half hours and I’m only about 3/4 of the way through the process of logging all my songs. Granted, there’s nearly 8000 of them, but still, I was hoping this would be a quick and painless process.

Then again, having access to those songs at any time on the go on my phone is pretty damned cool. And it seems to work pretty well, even over 3G; better even than rdio does. I can’t be sure how successful the whole thing is until the entire process is finished and I can see what gaps there are in my library, but for now it seems more than adequate.

Plus I can download all of my lower bitrate “imported” music at 256kb so that’s a pretty damned good bonus for $30.  

New Thing #292: Elementary School Christmas Concert


With my daughter in her first year of JK we were treated to our first ever school Christmas concert tonight. In what can only be described as an act of mercy, they split the event by grade so as not to, ahem, overwhelm the audience with the entire student body.

What we did get to see was our daughter recite five poems (some vaguely seasonal, some utterly nonsensensical), but fun none-the-less. It’s the type of thing no sane human being would enjoy if it weren’t for the fact that their kid is up there yelling their heart out. Almost in unison with the rest of the kids. Or in some cases, no where near it.

Really, the best you can hope for is that there’s no tears and no one wets themselves, so in that regard I think tonight was a complete success.

New Thing #291: Diablo III Beta



Oh god! Diablo III, Diablo III, Diablo III !!!

Yeah, I’ve been pretty excited about this one ever since it was announced. I played the hell out of Diablo and Diablo II when I was a youngn’, and even when I wasn’t as much of one. My father still backs up his Diablo II characters weekly, just in case. So the excitement for clicking on monsters until they die runs in the family.

Lucky for me, one of my coworkers happened to get access to the Diablo II Beta recently and he booted it up for me on his laptop at work tonight.

It wasn’t long until I was completely sucked back into that world, about five or six seconds actually. Everything is more streamlined than previous games but still feels like you want it to, just bigger and prettier. Which is exactly what I want out of another Diablo game.

This game can not come out soon enough. Or at least I hope that I get a beta key of my own soon. Please Blizzard? Pretty please?

New Thing #290: Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout



How could I possibly resist a giant 750ml bottle of Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout this Christmas season? With its beautiful bottle and wonderfully illustrated label it just screams winter pick me up. And even though I don’t often go for stouts when I sit down for a pint, this one knocks my socks off.

The chocolate definitely hits you harder than the cranberry, but that’s not a bad thing; it is double after all. If I really poke around I think I can taste the cran, but to be completely honest, I’m not sure. But I don’t care. It’s rich and bursting with flavour, but there’s a lightness and a crispness to it as well. 

And best of all, there’s leftovers. Well, at least there is at the moment.

New Thing #289: Galaxy Nexus from Google



I’ll be the first to admit that ten minutes with a phone is no way to review it, but I can at least garner a first impression.

And at least I can say that the Galaxy Nexus from Google is the first Android phone I’ve held that I didn’t immediately take a disliking to.

I actually love the light weight of it compared to the iPhone although I’m not sure I actually enjoy the huge screen. I like the compactness of my iPhone and the Nexus just seems a little too big to me.

It runs on Ice Cream Sandwich, so it’s the most up to date operating system I’ve used for Android and it’s finally just as snappy as iOS. The vertical scrolling multitasking bar is a very nice alternative to the static icons for iOS and I actually like the non-physical buttons that help you navigate your way around.

But I have to say, when I think of a phone that would tempt me away from my iPhone it’s not this one. It just doesn’t seem to offer anything I can’t get with my iPhone for my normal daily use.

Windows Phone 7 is still what catches my eye on that front with it’s unique take on a mobile operating system.

Man, it’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore!

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