OK – wait over

31 03 2013

Well done – your wait is over.

Here’s some snaps of the chocolate nests made from Shredded Wheat and melted chocolate, as per Aunty Beeb.

IMG_0236 IMG_0237 IMG_0238

 





Of Death Star and Doncaster

31 03 2013

So we all trekked off to the Auto Show on Friday. Quite a pleasant day out. We then went to the Bellaggio Café for lunch, opposite Canada Place in Vancouver. Near the Giant Blue Sperm. (It’s Art. It’s also German. Just sayin’…)

I have to say that the food was pretty good. The spelling though?! Interesting at the very least. It’s no connection at all with Bellagio (one g) in Las Vegas. There were no fountains or Dale Chihuly glass art.

Now I’m a big fan of Eddie Izzard‘s work. Mainly his stand-up, but also his straight acting. Up there with the best bits though is “Darth Vader in the Death Star canteen”. So famous in fact that it has been done in Lego and re-enacted word perfect by pre-pubescent boys a thousand times on YouTube. If by some fate of nature you’ve made it through life thus far without having seen it, try this video. If you’re well aware of Jeff, Sir Lord Vader of Cheam, then read on. Or eat cake. Your choice.

Now, I’d never actually heard of Penne Arrabbiata prior to Eddie Izzard, and I’ve never seen it on a menu. I thought it was one of those made up names. I once tried ordering the popular-in-Canada Alfredo sauce with my pasta on a trip to Northern Italy to howls of laughter and questions as to who in the name of all that is edible was this Alfredo chap?! Same with Latte – unknown in small town Italy.

Imagine my surprise then to see Penne Arrabbiata on the menu in Bellaggio’s. I opted in the end to share a proper Italian-style pizza (less crust than topping, unlike typical North American 2″ deep doughy monstrosities) with Mrs E., so can’t attest to the quality of the Arrabbiata sauce. Nor, I’m afraid can I attest to what a chocolate mouse tastes like. Even if serverd with ice-cream. Look carefully at Royal Chocolate in the photo…

Chocolate rodents on the menu at Bellaggio Café

Chocolate rodents on the menu at Bellaggio Café

Our waitress was very attentive but unfortunately it was other staff who delivered the actual orders. These others seemed to think it odd that we might want side plates in order to share our chicken wings, or regular plates off which to eat our pizzas. On the first attempt we were given teacup saucers!
The actual waitress, as I mentioned, was very attentive though. She was also English. Better – she was from Yorkshire. I know this because she told me so. Years ago, a French Canadian once told me that one need never ask if someone was from Yorkshire, as they’ll have already told you. C’est vrai! She’d married a bloke from Leeds it seems.

Over the space of our lunch we both politely circled around and determined our origins. I’d been in Canada 12 years, she 4. I was from “near Bradford” (in galactic terms at least – actually Silsden), she “from Doncaster”. My sister was born in Doncaster. Later, I said I’d spent my first 4 years in a village called Skellow, but couldn’t recall how close to Donny it actually was. It’s a suburb, she said. It’s where she’s really from! We agreed it was indeed a small world, and went our separate ways.

I just checked on Google Maps at what the old street looks like now. The one I spent my first four years on. Learning not to eat Play-Doh, alongside other life lessons. Watching the Vietnam war on black and white TV.  The old house is still there – and yes: that’s the A1 in spitting distance over the road. The Great North Road built by the Romans, and used ever since for moving untold volumes of goods North/South in England. “Go play in the fast lane of the A1” was a common repost when I was at school in later years. It really was incredibly possible…

Where QE spent his early years

Source: Google Maps – Where QE spent his very early years





Are you patient?

31 03 2013

Every year, my kids go all sentimental about the UK and dig up an old Easter favourite “edible craft” from the BBC.

Here’s the link and the attendant photo.

Shredded Wheat Nests.

Source: BBC GoodFood – Shredded Wheat Nests

If you’re patient, I’ll post a couple of photos of their version when they come out of the fridge…

 





Snow joke

31 03 2013

Yesterday, my son joined me for another trip up The Snow Shoe Grind, up Grouse mountain. This is actually a hike up to the top of Dam Mountain, and despite having achieved the summit all but one of the 8 or so times I tried (I was on a timetable the first time I attempted it), I’d never seen the supposedly amazing views from the top. Despite the many adverts and photos, I’d also never seen “The Eye of the Wind” turbine up Grouse, except from a long distance, like driving over the Lions’ Gate Bridge.

But yesterday was a lovely day. Mid to high teens easily. We walked in T-shirts. The snow was terrible – like a snow cone mostly, and even like slushy porridge near the chalet where it was less protected from the sun. I think this will be the last snowshoe trip of the season. It was just too hard going in the slush. Even at the top, where arguably it should be coldest.

The view, however was amazing. We could see all the way to White Rock. We could see Washington State’s Mount Baker. And we could see the wind turbine!

A lovely day out “bonding” with the boy too. Topped off with the traditional London Fog tea latte, and a fruit scone when we got back to the chalet. (He had chicken strips and chips). In places the snow was down to the tarmac, and the timing post for the SSG was poking out a good metre, rather than being buried under the snow like in previous times earlier in the season.

But you know what this means? The regular Grouse Grind is hovering just over the horizon!

The view from Dam Mountain... with labels

The view from Dam Mountain… with labels





‘Overcast’: A film for the Wet Coast

31 03 2013

Came across this on DesignTAXI. Looks like it was a University project perhaps. A few seconds in there were several hints the live action parts were filmed in the UK.

The styling seems influenced by the Pink Panther shorts, I thought.

‘Overcast’: An Adorable Animated Film About A Man Followed By A Cloud – DesignTAXI.com.

The film is by James Lancett and Sean Weston. Let’s hope we see more from them in the future.





Here Today, Goo Tomorrow

31 03 2013

This little collection is just for Sheriji.

Happy Easter one and all!

cadbury creme egg commercials – YouTube.





Another one bites the dust

31 03 2013

Hot on the heels of the news that my favourite Amazon alternative “Book Depository” had been acquired by them, I learnt last night that Goodreads, the hitherto independent book-lover’s site has gone the same way.

One perspective can be read here: Amazon buys Goodreads: We’re all just data now – Salon.com.

I loved the classic response to Otis Chandler, the CEO of Goodreads, remarking, “Today I’m really happy to announce a new milestone for Goodreads. We are joining the Amazon family.”

It ran ” ‘Joins’. Ha. Ha. Good one. Like Poland ‘joined’ The Third Reich.”

Wonder what Guy Montag would think of it all…





And so the wheel turns

30 03 2013

What a lovely weekend so far! Highs of 17, despite a cool start.

It was Good Friday. (It’s good any day, in my book…) Mrs E and I took our two remaining offspring and their friends to the Vancouver International Auto Show. Don’t worry – First Born is away at University, she’s not met a gruesome end or anything.

The last time I went to a motor show, it was at the massive National Exhibition Centre in the UK’s Birmingham. Maybe it’s because I was only about 13, but I remember it as being humongous! A whole day to even begin to scratch the surface. There were lorries and fire engines and all manner of things. Not just cars.

Vancouver Auto Show was a much more leisurely affair despite claiming to be Canada’s third largest. (Perhaps the fourth largest is some pub car-park). We got there good and early, safe in the knowledge that Vancouver doesn’t really rise until early afternoon. We spent about 2½ hours there in all… and saw everything. It was just the one large room. The crowds were only just arriving as we left. It didn’t close until 10pm, so I felt a little sorry for the floor staff. A very long day… especially on a Bank Holiday!

Mrs E had gone to scout out a replacement for our aging Honda Pilot. Now the kidlings are moving on to their own things we don’t need such a bus any more, and she delighted in sitting in the driver’s seat of various more sensibly sized offerings from Subaru, VW, Honda and Mazda. Oh – and Mercedes, Audi and BMW… just because she could. It really was a very pleasant couple of hours. No sales pressure at all. Most weird! It was slightly bizarre that all the gear knobs were missing from the manual cars. I couldn’t decide if they had been stolen, or removed to prevent them being stolen. I suppose I could have asked. The staff might have enjoyed the distraction.

I entered every competition I could, and managed to get a sly chuckle from the young lady at the ICBC stand. She was a bit of a hipster with large framed glasses with no lenses. Along with a couple of other folk I’d encountered at other stands, she was bemoaning the temperamental behaviour of the tethered iPads being used for data entry. “Be patient – it’s an iPad” seemed to be all that was needed to explain things. I has pressing, she was pressing, she was holding my finger to press. All to no avail. In the end, I tried my bestest “finger-tip caress”. The word “caress” seemed to cause her fits of giggles. But it didn’t work either. In the end, we found that if you sneaked up on the iPad and pressed the on-screen button when it wasn’t looking, it seemed to work OK. And no – I didn’t get her phone number. Number 3 offspring was there watching.

Chevrolet had a couple of concept cars on show, and were asking people to vote on them. I asked the young lady what it was all about and she explained that they were testing market reception to the Code 130R and Tru140S in Toronto. My face caused her to think, and then she blurted “I mean Vancouver”. Chevrolet claim Vancouver was their Canadian debut for the concept cars so I can only think she herself was the Torontonian. The show runs 10am to 10pm and was already a few days old. I’ve staffed trade shows. I know the evenings can be, er, fluid. I suspect she was just tired. Very tired.

One of the first booths we went to was Fiat. The cinquecento (500 to you) looks very familiar to my European eye, though I wait to see how resilient the famously rustable Italian bodywork proves on the Wet (sic) Coast. I did happen to notice that the booth manager had done their job well, and the “500” logo was parallel with the floor on all four wheel hubs. A little detail to be sure, but just helped to show that care had been taken.

The highlight for me of course were the “super cars”, or “exotics” as they were being billed.  (Believe it or not – I know next to nothing about cars. Or sport. Or the finer points of beer. My manhood has been called into question on more than one occasion due to these facts). There was the Jaguar F-type; the Aston Martin Vanquish; Lotus Evora; Lamborghini Gallardo; some Maserati or other (not that big on them); ditto some Ferrari (red of course)… but then, oh – delight! The McLarens. A brace of MP4-12Cs. One in red, one in a lovely shade of grey.

The Aston Martin was modelled in “Silver – Skyfall Silver”. With obsidian black and spicy red interior.

But the wheels! The wheels were all over the place on the “exotic” cars!

It was as if to say “Look, if you’re paying $15k for a Fiat, we’ll put some effort in and make the car look the best it can. If you’re willing to pay $300k for the McLaren though… Come on… who care’s if it even has wheels?!”

They have a point, perhaps.





5 Reasons Being Left-Handed Screws You for Life | Cracked.com

29 03 2013

Thanks to first-born for texting the happy news that left-handers die sooner than righties.

Great!

As if being born left-handed doesn’t bring enough lifetime trauma from using scissors, cups and everything else designed for righties. Now I learn I get to exit stage left sooner than contemporary righties.

5 Reasons Being Left-Handed Screws You for Life | Cracked.com.

We’re more likely to go insane too.
Wibble





Hilarious Zoo Portraits by Yago Partal | Bored Panda

29 03 2013

You’ve got to love it when creativity meets digital manipulation…

Hilarious Zoo Portraits by Yago Partal | Bored Panda.