Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How I torture myself every Christmas

I always know it’s Christmas when all the appalling perfume and cologne commercials flood the airways. They’re the same cookie cutter nonsense - obtuse, vague, pretentious and incoherent pretending to be edgy. The Christmas decorations that pop up in Sept are the shots across the bow warning us we are about to be inundated with the worst of Christmas excesses.

That being said ... I will now pivot on my melodramatic sense of indignation, plunge headlong into irony, and tell you how I torture myself every Christmas by dreaming of the epitome of luxurious excess – the Christmas Hamper from Fortnum and Masons ... but Harrods’s will do in a pinch. The best ones are not exportable, but that doesn’t stop me from ogling them.

Photo of Fortnum & Mason's  Imperial Christmas HamperI spend hours wandering through the condiments offered, special Christmas cakes and snacks and debating the merits of various coffees and teas. Hey, some people shop for shoes, I shop for food. But the cheese offerings! Oh be still my cholesterol levels! The cheeses. When I was in the UK, oh so many years ago, I’d pop into cheese shops and have them recommend a cheese. Then I’d spend the day merrily munching away on cheese and fresh bread. That’s one of the greatest pleasures in the world. The Christmas hampers offer a dizzying array of choices. But my favourite is the one in the above picture – the Imperial Hamper for £6,000.00 – dream big or go home is my motto. 

After I examine the contents of each hamper, I invariably conclude it's more fun to pick and choose specific items & create my own dream hamper. For some reason, any phantom hamper tends to be loaded down with the 3 Cs - cookies, cakes, and condiments. I always start with F&M Christmas chutneys and Piccadilly Piccalilli – 2 bottles of each please and work my way through the list. And yes, I like Christmas fruit cake. Not that awful dreck you find around here ... real, whiskey soaked fruit cake. A couple of those makes it to the list along with at least one Christmas pudding. Then there are the biscuits, teas and coffees, chocolates, marmalades ... Last year’s imaginary hamper must have weighed at least 200 lbs. before I satisfied my lust. Sigh ....

Maybe one year I’ll treat myself to a small box of goodies ... just the most wanted in my list. Maybe next year.

 

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Want to buy me a Christmas present?

I stumbled across some of the absolute coolest presents ever. Suck UK has an amazing collection of quirky presents for the hard to buy person. I love this mug:

mycuppa  tea mug

A tea or coffee mug with a pantone strip to help you match your tastes.  Any designers in your life? Get it here: http://www.suck.uk.com/products/mycuppamugs/

 

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I dunno, it still looks like a penis being waved at me

There's a piece of sculpture on St. Clair W, near Avenue road. It's pretty sizeable, and when I walk past it, on the sidewalk this is what I see: Sculpture of reclinging man on St. Clair and Ave Road

No problem, you say ... Well .. when I stop in to have a coffee at the Starbucks inside the building, this is what I see: Sculpture of reclinging man or maybe a penis on St. Clair and Ave Road

Is it me, or does that look like a goliath sized penis being waved at everyone in the store?

Nice optical illusion by the way. Bravo to the artist for pulling this off.

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Can we calculate the pressure of the average Godzilla foot stomp?

Godzilla destroying a city  I spent 2/3 of the day sitting around waiting for the next appointment … then sitting around waiting some more. Cooling your heels, waiting for shit to happen is far more tiring than actual work. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Waiting, waiting and more waiting. So while I was testing out which chairs were the most comfortable (why yes I did spend about 40 min playing musical chairs) and driving people around me a little loopy with my constant shuffling about, I began to wonder what it would be like if Godzilla came stomping through the city.

Since I was 2 floors below ground at the time, I figured not much would happen to me, aside from the utter shock of having Godzilla ransack Toronto. While there is an atrium that looks straight up, we could take cover, away from the open area. Lots of hallways leading away from the lounge area. As long as we avoided the middle we'd be pretty safe. Then again the average foot stomp of an irradiated, mutant lizard might exert enough pressure to cave the entire ceiling in. First, he’d have to knock the 18 story building to the ground. A couple swipes with his tail would destabilise the structure quite nicely. The building is wide, old and pretty damned solid, so I figured about 3 tail blows would turn the building into a giant Jenga building. If Godzilla was fighting say, Mothra, once the two started wresting each other, the building would come down in 15 minutes. If Mothra flapped her giant wings hard enough, the building would be toast in less than 5 minutes from the sonic blasts. 

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Read more: Can we calculate the pressure of the average Godzilla foot stomp?

Life is conspiring against me ... and an update on the building demo across the road

I’ve been so busy lately, I’ve not had a lot of time to do anything but go back and forth, back and forth…. The subway sucks by the way. I’ve not had a lot of time in the past month, especially the past 2 weeks, to do anything but rush around trying to get things done. Which means … Bitter Grounds has suffered a bit. By the time I get home, all I want to do is poke around reading silly stories on the internet. Thinking has been too much work. I’m working on a couple of articles and now have a backlog of photos etc to post for the next few crazy weeks. Hopefully things won’t stay this way much longer.

In the meantime, the construction work across the street is moving along at a steady pace. The old CHUM building is gone, just a bit of brick and rubble left. This morning they started digging out the foundation. I have to admit, I've become fascinated with the entire process. It’s pretty impressive to watch. 3 big diggers clawing away at the dirt. I have dozens of photos of the work at various stages and have cherry picked a handful that will turn into stunning pieces of digital art. I was on the balcony about an hour ago and noticed the basement levels are starting to peak out of the ground. It’s going to be interesting to see how they dig out the walls.

And finally, it’s definitely fall here: View of the ravine from balcony

Cold … ugh … I’m never ready for it.

 

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"Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life."

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