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May 2024

January 30, 2006

Weekend Activities

Filed under: Cooking,Movies — Bob @ 9:14 pm

Friday night I cooked dinner again, beef steaks from the local butcher with Bernaise sauce and a tomato salad. We opened a bottle of Cambria 2004 Pinot Noir which was worth remembering. Yummy!

We were pretty lazy on Saturday. I did some design work on an electronics project (a custom USB device for robotics) while Eileen cleaned her office and worked on her next book. Later in the afternoon I caught an episode of the new BattleStar Galactica. It was the third episode of the second season, and excellent as expected. I’m still not exactly sure where the religious storyline is going but I’m willing to hang in there to find out. I also realized I missed episode two. I was quite unpleased I had missed that episode. I was willing to buy the episode, I figured it was worth a few bucks for the instant gratification. The iTunes Store does carry BSG episodes, but its not for sale in Canada. Stupid. So I set off to find a viable download online. It took all night to get the episode using a BitTorrent feed (that link takes you to the software, not to the torrent download, but whatever). I eventually watched the missing episode and it was really good. Better than I expected, and I had high expectations. Also let it be known that its time to bring television show downloads to Canada. Are you listening, Apple?

Meanwhile Eileen went out to dinner and a film with our good friend Allison while I stayed home to watch the Canucks. They went to see Memoirs of a Geisha and raved about it. I want to go too so she’ll have to sit through it again. Apparently this won’t be a hardship at all. Eileen got home in time to see the end of the hockey game. Enough said about that ugliness!

Sunday was a bit more ambitious. I made breakfast: scrambled eggs with cream cheese and scallions, turkey sausages, toast and tea. We read the New York Times and phoned my mother to catch up on her news. Seems everything is going well with her despite an injury to her spine (two damaged vertebrae that will take some time to heal). I worry about her as she lives alone, but seems to be doing ok. Eileen and I are planning a visit in May. We’re waiting for the end of winter; spring arrives late in Michigan compared to Vancouver. :^)

In the afternoon we attended the first birthday party for Tobias’ and Sharon’s daughter Isabel. They served monkey cake (not made from real monkeys) and we had lots of fun catching up with them and their friend Pidge. We met lots of other nice folks too. Eileen and I realized it’s been a long time since we’ve seen either Sharon or Isabel and she is getting big (Isabel, not Sharon). She already tears around the house like she owns the place, and just about ready to start walking. Just great!

Sunday evening was spent watching The Constant Gardener. Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz are wonderful actors that bring true passion to very passionate roles. Its a deep story but the pacing is off, at least in the first two thirds of the film. Still worth viewing though, as the last third is simply amazing. The background scenery is simultaneously stunning, frightening, intriguing and inspiring. Eileen rented the DVD this time and I’m really glad she did. I probably would not have rented it, as you might remember I was always going to prefer using the video on demand service. I found the DVD extras really informative especially the section that described how and where it was filmed – they filmed in Kenya, often in places that were not “dressed” as sets. They filmed real people in their real villages as part of the backdrop to the actors in the foreground. Stunning, unique and welcome.

And then it was Monday, and back to work.

December 27, 2005

Christmas Joy

Filed under: Books,Cooking,Hockey,Holidays — Bob @ 11:02 pm

Christmas has been really great this year. The fun started on Christmas Eve with a dinner party with a few friends. After much debate about the menu we started with a green salad with pear and bleu cheese with a vinaigrette. I then cooked halibut fillets crusted with pine nuts, basil and Parmesan cheese. Its a recipe from Karen Barnaby’s The Passionate Cook. This was served over a bed of fresh angel hair pasta with a basil-lemon sauce plus some asparagus on the side (I make my own pasta and have a nice little hand-crank machine to roll it out and cut it into various sizes). For dessert I made chocolate lava cakes – one of Eileen’s favorites! Our friend Alan brought over a bottle of red wine made by a friend who lives in Napa Valley. Apparently its all the rage in Napa to make your own wine, and this was a really nice one. Reputed to be an award winner for home made wine in the region, it was nothing to sneer at I can assure you. Also had a bottle of Gewurztraminer from Poplar Grove here in British Columbia that was nicely paired with the halibut.

After our guests left we opened gifts. I gave Eileen a gold and silver necklace, a bracelet and a book on photography. We recently purchased a new Kodak 850 digital camera and she is quite interested to learn about all its settings and knobs, so the book will help quite a bit. She had spotted the bracelet quite a while ago and I remembered it in time for Christmas. Nothing is worse than remembering that perfect gift idea just in time for New Year’s Day.

I must have been a very good boy this year. Some highlights: a new iPod, some really cool square martini glasses, the book Roving Mars by Steve Squyres and gift certificates for the Sherline store. Wow!

Christmas Day we went out to brunch at the Sutton Place hotel. This was a new thing this year; we’ve gone to the Hotel Vancouver for the last few years but decided to try something new this year. It was really good with lots of tasty food including some excellent smoked salmon and poached eggs but the atmosphere didn’t quite do it for me. Plus they didn’t have scrambled eggs on the buffet (seems silly but sometimes it’s the little things that matter). Next year I think I will vote to go back to Hotel Vancouver. Its about $25 more per plate but I would definitely say its worth it. Plus their Santa is way better.

I’ve been reading my new book quite a bit. Roving Mars is the tale of the two latest Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity told by Steve Squyres, the Principal Investigator for the science mission. Two things I didn’t fully grasp about this (or any) space mission: for every one that launches there are a dozen that get canceled along the way; and every mission at NASA is more politically motivated than scientifically motivated. The background material for this mission is well written. I think the quality of the writing drops off a bit for the last two thirds of the book (landing and exploration) but its still very enjoyable and highly recommended.

The gift certificates for the Sherline store are greatly appreciated. I’ll be using those very soon, there are a few accessories for my Sherline mill and lathe that I desire to fill out my toolbox. I’ll write more about that when I make my selection.

The new iPod will replace my original iPod. This new model is fantastic – thinner than the original model by half and the interface is just as slick. I’ve been downloading videos to watch too, the most interesting being “Glimpses of How it’s made” from MAKE magazine. Cool, although I think watching video really eats the battery. Some experimentation is definitely required. Sadly here in Canada we don’t get the ability to download video programming from the iTunes Music Store, so the amount of video content is limited to things like video podcasts and DVDs that I can rip on my own.

On Boxing Day we started the World Juniors Hockey Tournament. We saw Canada vs. Finland at 4pm then raced across town to catch a Canucks vs. Flames game at 7pm. Canada won (5-1) and the Canucks lost (2-1). Both games were really exciting to watch, even if it was heart-breaking to watch the Canucks get beat at home again. Its now 5 straight losses at home and they are now 7th place in the division. Sigh.

Today (the 27th) was very quiet. No specific plans other than to hang out at the house. I read a little bit and worked on my latest robot project (more later when its complete). Eileen did some shopping. Soon I’ll start cooking dinner but I’m not sure what yet – Eileen will happily tell me what to cook, I’m certain. :^)

December 4, 2005


Filed under: Cooking,Hockey — Bob @ 9:34 pm

Eileen got me to cook dinner again tonight; I tend to make dinners on the weekend while she usually does it on the weekdays. Its a pretty good system as she is home first most nights during the work week but of course we are both home during the weekend. She picked up these amazingly thick beef filets from the local butcher. I cooked them up with garlic mashed potatoes plus a Bernaise sauce.

First time making this type of sauce so I was a bit worried; it didn’t really thicken up until I applied a bit of heat after the boiling water went in. The result was really excellent actually. Way better than what you can get in those silly little packets for sale in the grocery store spice aisle. This is probably a good candidate for Christmas Eve when we’re planning a dinner party with a few friends.

To accompany the dinner we opened a bottle of Sebastiani Pinot Noir 2003 that we discovered at Liberty Wines today. Wow, its an excellent wine for a dinner like this. Another good candidate for the wine cellar.

Now we are waiting for the start of the third period for the Cancucks against the Boston Bruins. All tied up at 2 goals right now. Hope those guys are going to come out and play for the last twenty minutes. Somewhat disappointing because the first period was 2 – 0 with the Canucks playing very strong against the Bruins. The second period was unsettling, at best.

[fast forward, the game just finished]

The team fought very hard in the third period. Shots on goal were 15 – 2 in favor of the Canucks. They win 5 – 2 after 20 minutes of hard work. They really earned this win. Now they are off until Friday when the team will play Ottawa. A very long stretch without playing but they should spend the time drilling and reviewing the second period from this game to figure out why they allowed two unanswered goals. We’ll be at the game on Friday, it should be a very exciting game!

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