gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for October 2005

An evening of murder

October 26, 2005 @ 22:57 By: gordon Category: General

I went to a dinner with a bunch of people from work this evening. The highlight of the evening was a 1940’s-style radio play. There were four actors in the company, one who was the “director”, a sound guy and two radio actors. Five people were drafted from the audience to read roles cold, including me. One of the five was the sound effects guy.

I’d never done something like this before, but I must say it went quite well.

Before the main feature, there were a number of short bits involving people from the audience to get people into the mood. I was conscripted to play Dr. Evulon, a Bond-esque villain with a henchman who was played by the director of my division at work.

All in all, it was a great evening! I had a lot of fun and according to my coworkers apparently I’m quite good at that sort of thing. 🙂

The show was put on by BigTime Productions, who deserve a plug, so here it is. 🙂


October 16, 2005 @ 11:26 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

Kathy and I took part in the Go And Get ‘Em 7 geocaching event in Ottawa Friday night and Saturday. We did four caches Friday night and then checked up on our cache (GCQXR7) before calling it a night. Saturday, we did another six caches and then met up with everyone else at a local restaurant.

The weather was damp, ranging from light drizzle to torrential downpour. Friday night, we ended up doing some urban off-roading to get to one of the caches. Who’d have thought one could go bouncing along muddy tracks like you’d find in the middle of a forest in the urban part of Ottawa?

Pictures are available here.

Ordering steaks in Ottawa restaurants

October 10, 2005 @ 12:34 By: gordon Category: General

Over the last couple of months, I have been to a number of restaurants that serve steaks. Each time, I have ordered a steak — sometimes a filet mignon, sometimes a New York strip, sometimes a simple steak sandwich — and I have always ordered it medium. Not well-done. Not rare. Not raw. Medium.

The first memorable occasion was a few weeks ago at a family restaurant at the big box mall in Kanata. My meal arrived and I started at one end of the steak. The end I started at was medium, but the closer to the centre I cut, the rarer it got to the point where it was bleeding. (I’m not sure, but I may have heard it moo, too.)

I brought this to the attention of the server who apologized, took it away and showed it to the manager who showed up at the table almost immediately, apologized and agreed that “something had gone wrong” and offered to remove it from the bill with no prompting at all. No problem, occasionally this sort of this happens, right?

A couple of nights ago, I went to the Kelsey’s in the South Keys big box mall with Kathy and a couple of friends from the US. I ordered a Kelsey’s Steak Sandwich which is described as “a 6 oz. flatiron steak rubbed with house spices and cracked black peppercorns. Topped with grilled red onions piled on garlic Vienna bread, brushed with ancho pepper mayonaise” , cooked to medium.

A 6 ounce steak is usually fairly foolproof. It’s not so thick that it requires that extra bit of time to cook it properly that a rounder cut such as a nice medallion of beef tenderloin.

Well, I was wrong. Our meals arrived and I cut the first piece off and, yes, it was quite rare — mooing and cowbells rare. Summoning over the server, I point this out. She takes it away and returns a few minutes later with the plate.

The first sign that this was going poorly was the fact that this was a completely different piece of meat that the first steak sandwich. Cutting into it, it was ever rarer than the first steak sandwich.

By this point, the other people around the table were about halfway through their meals. I summoned over the waitress, a task which itself took a fair bit of effort to accomplish, and asked her to ask the manager to drop by the table. NB: I did not tell her why I wanted to see the manager.

She passed by the table a couple of minutes later and said the manager would be by shortly. At this point, my friends are just about finished their meals.

A couple of more minutes pass and the manager finally shows up. Without my having told the server why I wanted to see her, she said she knew that I wanted to talk about the steak sandwich. (This leads me to think that the server knew that the second steak sandwich was not cooked properly yet she served it anyways.)

She and I discuss the situation and she offers to bring out something else to eat. By this time, I’ve been completely put off eating anything else from their kitchen. It takes about 14 minutes to prepare a steak to medium, so that’s really not an option. I point out that my friends have pretty much finished their meals and that she can simply remove it from the bill and we’ll call it an evening. One other disturbing part of this is that she was crouched down while we talked and was actually resting her chin on the edge of the table. The thought of her face at food-level quite removed any remaning appetite I might have had.

This is not the first time that I, or people I know, have experienced poor food quality like this at this particular Kelsey’s. In the past, a friend found a piece of glass in his drink and when he pointed it out to the restaurant management we were extremely unsatisfied with their response.

Needless to say, I am not going to rush back to this Kelsey’s anytime soon, nor am I going to recommend it to my friends.

Last night, I went to the Red Lobster on Merivale with Kathy, my aunt, uncle and grandfather for dinner. Not being a huge seafood fan, I opted for the turf part of the surf-and-turf menu and ordered a nice, 10 ounce steak. This time, I ordered it between medium and medium-well. Though not a fan of beef cooked past medium, I decided that this would be a better option than going through the headaches of yet another undercooked steak.

Well, I’m happy to report that the steak was cooked precisely as ordered: slightly more than medium, but not quite medium-well. And it was a very good meal, all-round!

Looking back at the first 100 caches

October 05, 2005 @ 12:06 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

On my way home from Toronto on Sunday, I did a number of geocaches at rest stops on the 401. One of those caches was my 100th find. Since my first find in April 2004, I have gone geocaching in three provinces, four states and three countries. I’ve also done a webcam cache, logged a benchmark in Key West and attended a 24-hour geocaching event in Ottawa. About a dozen travel bugs have gotten rides from me and I’ve released three of my own, one of which has since gone AWOL. 🙁

Another of my travel bugs has visited exotic places such as BC, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and France and has logged almost 20000km in the process.

In terms of caches hidden, I assumed ownership of one cache and placed two others. A third and possibly a fourth are in the works.

Geocaching has allowed me to see places I would not otherwise have seen. In particular, the series of virtual caches through Glacier National Park in Montana led me and my parents to some amazing locations.

What other activity could get someone out at 2am to go slithering down muddy slopes in the woods with a small flashlight in search of a Tupperware container containing trinkets you could probably find in your local dollar store?

Buddy, can you spare a tenner?

October 01, 2005 @ 11:04 By: gordon Category: General

This morning, while l was walking from the hotel in Toronto to the conference location this morning, I was greeted at the comer by a streetperson. He said he was trying to get home and could I spare some change? I replied that unfortunately, I didn’t have any coins on me and wished him a good day. As I continued on, I heard him say ”that’s ok. I could take a bill.”

What’s next? “Buddy, can you spare some change? I also take Interact.” ???