Winters Here and Special Coffee's at Work

Sunday, October 29

Before you read this you should know that I like winter. Now I'll complain about the cold as much as the next person but when it comes down to it I love winter and when I've been in places that don't really have it I feel like something is missing. Some people find that attitude annoying so there's the warning.

Winter always feels like a time to retreat into your warm home, your friends, your mind. It's been snowing here on and off for the last couple weeks but in the last two days we finally got that first snowfall that stays on the ground blanketing the whole world in a white wrap that muffles everything except the crunch under your shoes. As it usually goes the cold and snow came right before Halloween leaving me running around as a zombie cheerleader freezing while trying in vain to catch a cab, But that's a story for another day.

The spirit that comes out of people with the first snowfall was in the air at my restaurant today. A big table came in and were clearly coming down off a party last night. Aren't we all! Wearing pj's and all talking about the night before, a guy asked us if we had baileys. We didn't but we suggested he walk down to the liquor store and grab a bottle if he wanted it. He promptly did that and when he got back he not so discretely went around the restaurant helping out anyone who wanted a little warm up in their coffee.

I stood behind the counter taking a quick break from the busy restaurant sipping my baileys and coffee from a stranger and watching the snow fall out our fogged up windows while all the customers did the same. Something about cold, snowy winters creates these surreal moments and you can't help but love them.
nicholas, 3:32 PM | link | 3 comments |

Thursday Reviews - La Double vie de Varonique

Thursday, October 26

The Double life of Veronique is an older movie from Krzysztof Kieslowski. By older I mean 1991 so I could only find it in VHS at my local video store. Not having watched a VHS in a very long time I was surprised how bad the quality seems and how faded the colours looked so I would like to track down a DVD copy of the film to get the full experience.

In any case I've been wanting to see this film for months ever since seeing The Three Colours Trilogy earlier this year. The story plays off the idea of having a double in the world. Basically there is a Polish Weronika and a French Veronique who have lived similar lives and are inexplicably connected. Both are talented singers, young and in love and both have this odd sense of connection like neither is alone in the world. When Weronika in Poland dies, Veronique in France suddenly feels alone and lost for no particular reason. I won't give you all the details but you can get the gist of it from that.

The story telling in the film is like a fairy tale with a narrative that weaves, almost unreasonably, the lives of it's characters together while exploring the strange connections between family, lovers and some unseen unconscious connection between some people. Irene Jacob's plays both the Polish and French versions of Veronique and is captivating. I fell in love with her a little in Red from the Three Colours Trilogy which is another film where Kieslowski dives into the strange connections between people and the even stranger ones that go unseen to most of us.

The cinematography in the film is beautiful with shadow heavy lighting and shots emphasizing a duality of perspective. The music is beautiful as it must be with both Veronique's being talented singers and the repeated song throughout the film that both characters happen to be working with will be stuck in your head for days.

I'm not sure why but I love Kieslowski's films. They're heavy with imagery and dream like story telling and always seem to give a stark but hopeful look at what it is to be a person these days.
nicholas, 9:05 AM | link | 1 comments |

Thursday Reviews - Songs For Snow

Thursday, October 19

Well I think I was a little abitious thinking that I could do a weekly review of on Monday's. I've failed to get my act together on the last two Mondays so I've decided to move my reviews to Thursday. Thursday is a much more manageable day for me as it leads nicely into the weekend giving all or you time to check out the review and me a few weekdays to find something to review.

It started snowing here this week and with the grey sky, cold weather, scarf and mittens I find myself looking for some music to suit the mood. I have to thank everybodycares for introducing me to both these singers this summer. He runs one of the best music blogs you'll find if you like great music. I didn't pay much attention to either of these at the time but I think this music likes the snow.

Husbands, Love Your Wives is a Seattle based singer who seems to do acoustic home recording of pretty much the most adorable little songs ever. They're romantic, heartbreaking and they dance with the snow. I don't think she has a cd out yet but I'm waiting for it and have already told my brother in Seattle to keep his ears open. You can hear and download a few tracks off her myspace and if like me you're looking for something to play while you walk to work at 5AM while it's snowing this was made for you.

As Your Lady.mp3

Bobby Baby is a Swedish singer that would fall into what I would call electro pop. I like her songs and cruising through her website you'll find a ton of downloads. A plus since I doubt you'd find her cd in Canada. There's something very simple but piercing about the sound and lyrics and I love her voice. I'd love to hear this playing in a lounge someday soon but for now I'll have to settle for it playing in my bedroom.

In Ten Years From Now (acoustic).mp3
Bye Bye Snow.mp3

This music video for her song Goodbye Love seems fitting for the season. Enjoy it all.
nicholas, 11:08 AM | link | 3 comments |

I Guess It's Morning

Wednesday, October 18

So that's what 4:30 AM looks like.

It's been a very long time since I've had to set my alarm clock that early but today was the day. Actually the last time I remember seeing that time was in the summer and I was still awake from the day before, needless to say having more fun than this morning. I've rediscovered that setting a 4:30 AM alarm as you go to bed at midnight may actually be more painful than getting up the next morning. But, I had to do it because someone has to make coffee for the masses. I hope they appreciate it because it was cold and snowing as I rode my bike in and I get to do it again on Friday. Thank God it's a coffee shop. I took home my free pound of beans for the week today and it will be going to good use.
nicholas, 3:03 PM | link | 1 comments |

The Stars Are Talking to Me

Sunday, October 15

I don't really believe in horoscopes but I do like to read them because I think they're kinda fun and sometimes are just vague enough to be applicable to life.

This one was mine in Vue Weekly this week and I like it so I've decided it's true. Being a horoscope skeptic allows me to pick and choose which ones I believe. It's handy, you should try it.

The phase you're entering may prove to be ridiculously confounding - ridiculous both in the sense of absurdly extreme and very funny. Yet the immediate future also promises to provide you with unprecedented opportunities to outgrow limitations you may have imagined were permanent. To honor this synergistic blend of slapstick confusion and juicy potential, I'm offering you two pieces of advise. The first is from Eleanor Roosevelt. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." The second is from Edward Teller; "When you get to the end of all the light you know it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly."

While I would prefer the last line was, "either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will learn how to fly" it's still pretty good and I'll take it for this week.
nicholas, 8:11 PM | link | 3 comments |

Chai Talk - The New Barista

Tuesday, October 10

Location: Whyte Ave Starbucks
Rating: **/5

I like to have odd jobs. Some people think it's strange that I worked in a bakery and made muffins all summer, that I serve in what has got to be the strangest little greasy spoon restaurant with giant 20 year old fish in a tank and now I'm a barista at Starbucks. I won't lie, I thought the job was going to be pretty easy but man was I wrong. Luckily Starbucks steps up with the most intensive training program I've ever seen including e-learning and I have a complementary life insurance plan to boot in case one of those steamers explodes in my face I guess.

After my fourth training shift today I picked up my free drink. I've been trying a few different things but today was a day that required chai. I've had the Starbucks chai before and knew what to expect so decided to mix it up a little with a Grande, half sweet, no fat, tzao chai. And yeah that's how you would call it, I think, I get a little mixed up on the order of it still sometimes. As I headed out the door into the construction zone that is Whyte Ave these days, I was glad I opted for a chai. It's been a cold and rainy day and with night the slight drizzle was turning into ice crystals as it fell. Luckily I could keep my hands warm on my chai since I didn't bring mits to work today. Seriously it's the beginning of October and I wished I had them. As I passed the pan handlers wrapped in blankets asking for change I enjoyed the warm milk and foamy texture. Half sweet is the way to go with a Starbucks chai but it really just comes out like a steamed milk and I think next time I'll just get a vanilla cream (steamed milk with a shot of vanilla syrup).

As I walked home I popped in my headphones and listened to M. Ward's cd, Post War. With the late night walk home from work, my breath clouding out into the ice crystals falling on the wet street it seemed the perfect soundtrack. I finished my chai mainly because I didn't get to eat diner and needed something to fill my stomach. In the end I still have trouble calling any store bought chai I've ever had an actual chai. Still it was nice to have on a dark, cold walk home and free so who's complaining? Not me.
nicholas, 9:48 PM | link | 1 comments |

So Much to Give Thanks For, Where to Start

Sunday, October 8

I'm not gonna lie, this Thanksgiving weekend did not start out particularity special nor did I have anything remotely special planned. I work the whole weekend at two different jobs and was hoping to make time for a little sleep. Today it came together for me though. I work everyday this long weekend which is a little sad but also means I get to serve a bunch of people in the same situation. This meant today a slow restaurant full of Brits, exchange students, and a few people from South America. We chat about the weather, which has been ridiculously nice and fall like, and talk about family and friends far off.

Another server remembered an open bottle of champagne in the back of the cooler that needed to be used up so mimosas with pink grapefruit juice toasted thanksgiving morning. It seemed fitting to me for some reason looking out the window on Whyte Ave, seeing the leaves falling and the chill in the air blowing in our open door. I know I'll be moving on soon but that mimosa at work on a Sunday morning at one of the craziest and most nonsensical places ever will stick with me.

As always on Thanksgiving I miss my family and my friends who are in many ways part of my family. I was looking back to last year when I was in India and saw I said pretty much the same thing but in any case enjoy your turkey, wine and friendship. That's what this weekend is all about!

And don't worry Mom. I got my Thanksgiving diner thanks to Jill and her family so I'm full of turkey and ready for a nap as it should be.

nicholas, 10:29 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday Review (On a Thursday) - Fast Food in my Belly

Thursday, October 5

In the last week I've eaten more fast food than I did all summer. I ended up at Wendys twice, A&W, and eating one of my sinful pleasures, mall Chinese food. Most of this was outside of my control as my busy week and impaired decision making caught up with me. After having such an unlikely culinary treat I've decided it's time for a Fast Food review.

Wendys has always been one of my favorite fast food stops. For one thing there's one only two blocks from my house and those Jr. Bacon Cheese Burgers have got to be the tastiest and cheapest fast food out there. After the Shout, Out Out..... concert on Friday as I stumbled home Jessica and I had to stop to sample them. After working all day and missing a couple of meals I needed my 2AM lunch otherwise I'd probably not be feeling so good as I tried to serve customers the next morning. As always my little Jr.'s did the trick and I left happy and full. My next Wendys stop was on the way back from Calgary. My Mom and I had a rental car and 4 hours until her flight out of Edmonton so we decided lunch would sadly be the Wendys drive through in Airdrie. As we pulled in to the drive through we saw a sign that is popping up all over Alberta these days. "Drive Through Closed Due to Lack of Staff". So we jumped out of our budget car only to find a line, 20 deep waiting for their burgers inside. They moved the line along amazingly fast and people were in good spirits partly because there were about four signs apologizing for the inconvenience but that Wendys was operating with only minimal staff. I elected to have the big brother of the Jr. and ordered the Big Bacon Classic. While tasty the fries were not fresh and eating fast food while in a car when you'll be sitting for another 3 hours is never the best plan. In the end though Wendys quality and service under difficult oil boom conditions were impressive.

A&W was another story. After getting to Calgary on Tuesday I had a couple of hours before heading to my job interview. My Mom and I searched but could not find a Subway which left us walking into the tinniest A&W ever. The fry cooks were having a very loud conversation about there partying that everyone could hear and it was about 10 C in the place so my fries and toes were freezing by the time we bolted for the door.

szechuan Chinese in West Edmonton Mall has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. Last night I had to run off and buy some new pants. At around 8pm I realized I had not eaten yet and the allure of the food court was calling me. I loaded up the plate with sweet and sour pork, ginger beef, shanghai noodles and a spring roll. While it was far to much food and had clearly been sitting out for a few hours, it seriously met my craving and left me feeling full and a little sick for hours after. Just the way I remembered!
nicholas, 8:26 AM | link | 0 comments |


This website is pretty cool. They let you try out their facial recognition software to see what celebrities you look like. It asks for a straight on picture with a straight face. First, I realized I have no pictures of myself with a straight face. I always have a huge grin or am doing something ridiculous. Second, I realized that every picture I have of me is one of me at a party. Below is me partying in India and my friends Tomoe actually took the photo. I think this was the night we tried to make mohito's but the Indian mint we bought in the market ended up tasting like skunk. Mmmmm!

So apparently I'd make a pretty girl and can I tell you how much it hurts that Paris Hilton is on there but I also got Madonna so for sheer coolness factor I'm cool with that. I'm waiting for the day when someone comes up to me and says, "hey, you look a bit like Madonna you know."

nicholas, 8:13 AM | link | 3 comments |