Friday, May 26, 2006

Getting in the mood...

Clear out those dirty thoughts...

I'm talking about
The World Cup of course.

I'm sure there will be lots of posting and comments over the next few months about football, and if you look back to the beginning of this blog, you'll see that posting number 3 perhaps gave you a sense of how serious us Brits take footy.

With only 13 days and 21 hours to go, what better way (for England fans of course) to get in the mood than to have a peek at these Eng-Ger-Land videos at (I think they work best with Internet Explorer). Special thanks to my converted England-fan wife for tracking these down - of course, her favourite is the Embrace track (which is the official one - "a little slow, but bloody good").

I must warn those readers that aren't truly appreciative of the football world - some of these are a little dodgy, but you can't complain about the creativity and clever lyrics.

Nice new snazzy kits eh lads ! Everyone fork over another 60 quid ! Pic at the top is from the World Cup site and is from yesterday's pre-tournament friendly loss to Belarus (no worry lads, just testing out some of the newer players!).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Visitor

Is it just me ? Am I that much of a socialite ? Maybe I just prefer the company of others over my own.

You may know that I like to play the host - in my home and in my city. So I'm often puzzled/peeved with friends when I'm visiting their city and they don't seem to be keen on getting together.

I hope I don't offend a few readers here, but tonight is a good example. I think that I'd mentioned to quite a few *friends in Ottawa that I'd be in their fine city this week. But I find myself dining alone this evening. Don't get me wrong, I like the opportunity to go solo away from home on occasion. Tonight, I must say I'm a little disappointed (although it gives me an opportunity to write this blog post, and the food and service here at Empire Grill never disappoints). Can't be too hard on the Ottawa folks because I tried to connect with a few visiting Brits tonight as well - not sure if they were avoiding an ex-pat or I fell victim to transatlantic communication blues.
*work friends, that is. I sometimes feel like I'm being a real prat trying to drag them away from their families for a drink or dinner. Perhaps I'm overstepping that "work friend" line a little with people who I consider friends (having spent many hours talking about a vast array of topics and of course sharing a lotta laughs and a few drinks), but maybe I'm more of a work colleague/acquaintance to them.

But, give my US colleagues a lot of cred here, turns they returned the call almost immediately. Feel a little bit of a urban snob though, but didn't feel like hanging out in the West end !

Live updates...US colleague puts out dinner invite for tomorrow; Brit lad returns email (comm probs).
When it comes down to it, I guess I just like to be the centre on attention ! Wounded ego signing off.

Endnote: although this latest experience relates to the potential tenuous relationship one has with work friends or ex colleagues, I feel pretty bold here, so I feel I can extend this feeling to "other types of friends" !

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Making plans

A friend of mine said an interesting thing yesterday (he admitted today, that he heard it from someone else, and perhaps you've heard it before).

When you make plans, God laughs at you.

It goes against most modern, organized thinking, but quite likely, is the real story for the unpredictable screenplay of life. Personally, I find this thought quite difficult to absorb as I am quite a detailed person and do quite a lot of planning - what does it mean, throw it all out of the window - and "just go with the flow" ? No, you can't just leave it all up to chance, but it probably means there's a limited return on making plans any more than 3 weeks out. But, it doesn't mean you can slack off either. To survive and thrive in this world, you've gotta be on your toes and be ready for the opportunity when you see it (kind of a soccer analogy).

What happens when you're faced with an unpredictable situation, a surprise guest or a golden opportunity ? You hope that this is where your instinctive nature kicks in and you adapt to the situation and it turns out just great ! The funny thing is that you don't get to enjoy the buildup, the anticipation of it all.

Vacations are a good example, lots of planning and anticipation (actually this is sometimes the best part), but the actual vacation doesn't live up to expectations or most often, is quickly forgotten. And sometimes, things just don't go as planned. However, sometimes the way it turns out becomes a long lasting story that is retold over and over with old friends, remember the time...

Of course, not all surprises are good and it is often these unpleasant surprises that are the real tests in our lives. We definitely can't plan for these events (nor do we want to), so all we can do is be prepared (there's a difference, I think) and get on with it.

So, some advice for the day, put down the daytimer, connect with a buddy that has the spirit of spontaneity or even take a cue from your kids (they are great non-planners) and take a ride someplace new, consider an unusual recommendation, take the time to look at something new, call the person who just sent you that last email or accept the invite. I'm sure it will be memorable and you'll have a story to tell.

So I'm sitting here in a hotel bar in Ottawa, making plans for the evening...what ? Gotta go and see what happens next !

Spontaneously written by PJMixer.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

No soup for you !

Hopefully this very famous line rings a bell with the majority of you.

It's from one of the best Seinfeld episodes ever -
The Soup Nazi. Although I don't think the real Soup Man approves of the episode title, the fact is the soup is fantastic.

I'm just finishing a bowl of the Tomato Wild Rice here at my office. My office happens to be attached to the Eaton Centre here in Toronto and the debut location for
The Original SoupMan in Canada.

I had my doubts, had good could soup really be ? Well, let me tell you, it's good enough to write about ! It's not just soup, it's a meal, full of rich flavours, every bite is a joy, you don't want to get to the bottom of the bowl and you can't wait to sample the next one on the menu. I'm not kidding folks ! I had he Beef Barley last week and I'm still talking about it to my wife !

A little costly perhaps, but worth every penny, classy establishment for saying it's situated in the food court. I talked to the proprietor this afternoon, and the deal is this. The soups are made in Indianapolis, then shipped to Canada. All international food import rules taken care of. Soup Man downstairs simply reheats the soup and serves from the cauldrons on display. Delivered in a number of sizes (including a litre container I can take home for some lucky guests soon), with fresh bread, fruit and a little chocolate bar. Perfection !