Friday, 27 February 2009

£1 Charge for the Loo Pls

Did anyone read the Metro/news today? If you did, I’m sure you came across a disgusting article about Ryanair wanting to charge it’s passengers £1 to use the toilet. The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary has been quoted saying that they’re trying to find ways to keep costs down so £1 will actually save you pennies in the long run. And that if the train stations can do it why couldn’t they?. I’m sorry but if I’m paying for a service –especially when I have no other option BUT to use their toilet- I don’t want to be worried about having a £1 coin. Flying in itself can be very uncomfortable for some and the added pressure and costs of this suggestion is utterly ridiculous! They already charge you for checking in luggage..which if you’re going for more than 5 days somewhere you ‘re likely to incur heavy penalty fees for this service.

‘According to the Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates the aviation industry in the UK, Ryanair would not be breaking the law by introducing the charge.’ How is this possible? Restaurants are required to provide a toilet to their patrons and you’re not even ‘trapped’ there! But in an air tight, nowhere else to go aircraft you’re going to be required to pay to use the loo. It’s mind boggling. Really.

I know what I’m doing - I am boycotting Ryanair. There service is crap anyway, they’re always late (based on my personal experience), the seats are uncomfortable and one would think that during the current economic climate the focus would be on ‘service’ and improving the experience, not hindering it. Let’s not take this lying down. Who’s with me?

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Viva Las Vegas

Having never been to Vegas, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I came well versed, having watched Ocean’s Eleven and Thirteen, as well as haven listened to Elvis’ song about the town. I think I was fully prepared??. I was there for a work meeting, so I can’t say my experience was quite as wild as it could have been. However, a couple days in Sin City, and I was ready to leave.

Some things you should know:

  • Flyers for hookers will be handed to you as you walk the Strip, pretend that you are totally offended and that the man next to you/with you is your significant other. It’s quite funny how apologetic the street vendors will be.
  • Try a $1 Margarita at Bill’s Saloon once. AND ONLY ONCE.
  • If you are into Cirque, the O show at the Bellagio is the best..every other show is just creepy…seriously.
  • PURE is the best nightclub; Moon is cool in the summer (retractable roof).
  • The Hofbrahaus is better in Munich..or at least that’s what I will soon find out.
  • Shopping is for the ultra rich, so window shopping is your best bet. The malls with regular stores are DEPRESSing.
  • Terminal 2 of the Vegas airport has a Burger King and Pizza Hut, that both close at 7pm (ugh!). PRAY that your flight doesn’t get delayed - mine did
  • Mandalay Bay has an awesome aquarium. Check it out….Bellagio fountains are a good photo-opp.
  • I stayed at the Wynn - not worth the cashola. Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace or even Luxor also have beds and you can visit the Wynn whenever you like.
  • For $100 you can shoot guns at THE GUN STORE (google it) its worth going
  • Bottle service trumps waiting in line anyday. The service/hospitality is worth it.
  • Jermaine Dupri likes getting is pic taken…his body guard, not soo much…teheh
  • James Carville is skinnier in person - is that possible?
  • Mix restaurant at Mandalay Bay is amazing…best meal you will ever have.
  • Prostitution is legal…you never know where they will show up. Your room? Don’t put it past them.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

JO Mamma kept this one a secret - Cilantro Relish

What is that green goo and What am I to do with it?

Enter Cilantro relish. After all, everything tastes better with a little Cilantro. Courtesy of Michael Smith, this recipe can be paired with anything you can imagine (nachos, quesadillas, steak…you name it).

  • Spicy Cilantro Relish
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tsp of cumin seed
  • 1 x small green chili

Place ingredients into a bowl and blend with a handheld blender or alternately puree in a food processor

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm now that tastes good

Monday, 16 February 2009

Canadian Fashion - where is the colour at?

My French teacher is from Morocco and has worked and traveled all over the world. She loves her life in Toronto and has even started to get used to the January snowfall. What she doesn’t understand is why Canadians choose to wear such depressing colours? When is the last time you saw someone wearing clothing that wasn’t Grey? Brown? Black? or Beige?

I tried to defend my fellow citizens by explaining that we don’t really have shops that carry the bright oranges, yellows etc that are commonly seen in Africa and parts of Europe. She disagreed. From pink to purple to bright green, Canadian stores are full of bright coats, shoes and hats for the season. She was right. Zara and H&M, Forever 21 and Club Monaco, all have bright colours on display that the shopper cannot miss.

So why the drab clothing? I made the argument that professionally, Canadians may feel grey, black, white etc are more appropriate for the workplace. True, but then how do Europeans pull it off? Incorporating some colour into your wardrobe, doesn’t decrease your professionalism. A purple scarf or yellow gloves, doesn’t make you trashy. She is right. Why don’t we brighten up our lives by introducing some colour into our closets? After all, I am getting pretty tired of the slush and the clouds and the grey of the season. I could totally go for a pink coat right about now

Friday, 13 February 2009

Lipstick Effect

I was going to write an article today but then I was sent this and you know what? It’s pretty much what I wanted to say (but more elegantly of course). I find this to be very true. I take pleasure now, given the economic situation, in buying toiletries (and apparently I’m not alone). Gnawing over which body wash smells better for hours or contemplating which colour I should paint my nails this week. During trying times we need something to take our minds off the ‘doom & gloom’ - I personally blame the news; can’t we just talk about something else already? Please! Surely it’s not news if already know its happening.

What instant gratification has been making you happy?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Book Review: Outliers

Fan of Malcolm Gladwell? Then you may have already realized that Outliers has clearly reached its Tipping Point. Or maybe Malcolm Gladwell has. No offence Mr Gladwell. I do like your writing style. Your ability to be concise makes you truly an extraordinary author. I have been a fan from the start. Blink and The Tipping Point were well written observations of phenomenon that very few can put into words. Outliers, however, is a different story. I think some valid points are made in this book and there are some very interesting displays of trends (good hockey players being born in the beginning of the calendar year for example). As a society, we should spend a lot more time looking at relationships and correlations to further our understanding and development in areas such as education, science and politics. However, what Outliers lacks is a proper conclusion, a way to tie all of these trends/relationships together. This book allows the reader to comprehend why millionaires are millionaires and how many successful people were able to be in the right place at the right time. But hindsight is 20/20, and looking back is a lot easier than looking forward. It gives one hope that they may be the next outlier. False hope. As you will never really know who the outliers of 2008/2009 will be until another author is able to look back at your life and comment on your likelihood to stand out from the crowd. For all I know, maybe we are all outliers in some form or another.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Blind Love

Speaking of sharing, I can’t keep this to myself any longer – I've been listening to ‘Blind Pilot’, and they’re truly sublime; with heartfelt lyrics and catchy chords they’re reminiscence of ‘The Format’ and ‘Bright Eyes’. The duo consisting of Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowsk from Portland, Oregon; are college mates that wanted to take their love of music off-the-beaten path of the normal ‘touring band’ in the USA and decided to embark on a West Coast bike tour. A year later here we are.

One listen and I was sold – what are you waiting for? Check them out

Come to the UK guys will ya?

Sharing Is Caring: Story Telling Time

On my way to work this morning I saw a pigeon - don’t even get me started with these annoying winged-rats…let’s just say they’re not my favourite bird. And why is it that they actually act like Londoners? Like we should be moving around them – do they want to get hurt? Anyway where was I before I got sidetracked? Oh right, so on my way to work I saw a greedy pigeon hording the largest pile of breadcrumbs I’d ever seen (that is, outside a bakery of course). He was happily eating away while his mates were desperately searching for something to eat else where. This got me thinking. Why are WE so greedy? Why couldn’t that pigeon invite his friends to share in his ‘treasure’? There was definitely plenty to go around. Why is it so hard to share the good things in our lives? When we find a bargain (for example) we tend to keep it to ourselves and eager to gloat to anyone who asks instead of spreading the word so everyone can benefit. People would rather keep things for themselves than share even if they could never finish or use all of something. Why is that? I don’t have answers; I can say that if we all try a little bit harder to be kinder to each other there’d be less waste and happier people. As I always say sharing is caring. Let’s care about those around us.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Change Has Come...To America

Change has come to America. People are now interested again in politics. The first family is young, optimistic and hopeful. This change couldn’t happen at a better time as many Americans and citizens of the world have lost confidence in our neighbours, in our politicians and in our economy. We aren’t worrying about our next trip, or what size TV we are going to buy. We are worrying about our jobs and our future.

Despite the hard times, people are still somewhat optimistic as they put their faith and trust in a man who will lead them through the darkest days. This time, the president will get it right…right? We won’t be making jokes about Obama the way Bush was mocked for the past eight years. Or will we?

Here is a letter the Bush twins wrote to Obama’s daughters in the Wall Street Journal. When I read some excerpts of the letter, it gave me another look at the life of a presidential family. The Bush twins remind Obama’s daughters to not get lost in the man the public knows. To remember who their Dad really is. That’s weird, because I could have sworn America knew Mr. Bush really well. We saw him at his worse moments and his best. After eight years of press conferences, debates, elections and public appearances, we were pretty sure we knew who Mr. George Bush was. What we didn’t know, and will never know is what happened behind closed doors of the White House - the loneliness, the guilt, the apprehension and the regret. Feeling alone in a room full of people. Knowing that no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone. Being ridiculed and judged in front of the whole world, including your closest friends and family. I applaud the Bush twins for having the courage to publicly defend their father and letting the Obama girls know they may one day have to do the same:

Monday, 2 February 2009

Ear Candling: Update

Ok so I got it done…just kidding; I chickened out. However, my Mom did go to a local salon to get the ear candling procedure done. Forty five minutes and fifty bones later….nothing. My Mom often experiences pressure in her right ear and was hoping to alleviate this pressure through ear candling.
For 45 minutes you lie on your side (on a bed/comfortable chair) and wait as a lit candle (placed close to your ear) burns. The idea behind this procedure is that the candle is supposed to loosen the wax buildup in your ear so it flows out into a cone. At the end of the procedure, a lot of wax had come out into the cone. However, whether it was my mom’s wax or the candle’s wax, one will never know. The procedure is safe and harmless, however, whether there is any real need for it, remains to be seen.
The ancient art of ear candling has been around for centuries and some people swear by it. A simple Q tip every day in the ear will not eliminate years of debris and wax buildup that our ears (being open organs) are prone to. Apparently the procedure needs to be done a couple months apart for a year, and then once a year from then on, to get the full benefit. At $50 a pop, I don’t think it’s likely to be apart of my Mom’s regimen.