Thursday, October 20, 2016

Retrospective Drinking

For those who follow my other blog, Beer O'Clock, I have to acknowledge that I haven't posted a review in more than a month, but I have a couple of reviews written and I will publish them in the coming days.

I haven't stopped trying new beer and making notes: I just haven't typed up those notes.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, through Untappd, you know that I haven't stopped drinking beer. As of this blog post, I have checked in on the social-media beer database 1,456 times with 802 distinct brews. I started using the app more than four years ago.

I don't drink a lot: I drink often.

When I think about the various beer that I've consumed in my lifetime, my thoughts have occasionally turned to the beer that I drank when I lived in South Korea: Hite, OB Lager, and Cass were the three major beers that could be found in corner stores in 1997 to 1999. These were the ones I drank on a regular basis, when I wasn't drinking soju, mokolli, or when I could find imported wine.

And reflecting on these beers, I wondered: is it fair to log these brews on Untappd? If you use that app, have you retroactively added a beer to your database records?

I haven't logged those Korean brands, but I would like your input: what do you think?

While I wait, I might have beer number 1,457.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Short Conversation

I'm not a tall man. DW isn't tall either, so it comes as no surprise that we have petite daughters. Still, it doesn't keep them from trying.

Here's a recent phone conversation that I had with my youngest squirt:

DD13: "Hi, Dad, I'm very tall."

Me: "What makes you say that."

DD13: "I'm wearing very tall heels. I'm tall, now."

Me: "You think that makes you tall?"

DD13: "Yes. I'm so tall that I had to bend low to throw something in the garbage bin. I'm so tall."

Me: "But artificially so."

DD13: Pauses. "I don't want to talk to you anymore."

Me: "Okay. Take care, shorty."

DD13: "I'm going to hang up on you now." Hangs up.

Monday, October 17, 2016


It's been a few weeks since I wrote about our home renovations, and many friends, family members, and work colleagues have asked me about the progress with our kitchen and family room. The last time that I blogged about the work, we had finished the first coat of finish on our hardwood floors and had covered up the dulled builder's white and the burnt red on our walls.

Lots has happened, since then, but in other ways, things have slowed as we wait for contractors and we pick at some of the work ourselves.

Work also slowed, a couple of weekends ago, after I fell from a ladder while I was touching up some of my flaws from painting in our first week. I didn't hurt myself, luckily, considering I fell onto the hardwood from about four or five feet up, and was holding a paint brush, trying not to let it hit our new floors.

The electrician has come once, to install new switches and outlets. He couldn't finish the work because our cabinets hadn't been installed, and he needs to add puck lights to some cabinets, pot lights on the ceiling that would run where our counters and future island wouldn't. He'll be back to do that in the next week or so.

Last week, the cabinets and island were put in place, and we started to get excited because we could finally envision the final results. But we have a long way still to go and our schedule has been delayed because of schedule conflicts with some of the contractors.

Here's what's left to be done:
  • We've ordered the counter tops but are waiting for them to come and make templates.
  • Our sink has been ordered but we're waiting for it to arrive. Once we have it, the plumber can come and install it and our new dishwasher.
  • The backsplash tiles haven't been chosen yet. DW and I haven't agreed on a pattern. But we have until the counter is installed to make our choice.
  • Our range hood has been ordered but hasn't arrived. Once we have it, the electrician will come to install it, set in the pot lights, and wire the island.
  • The dry waller will fix the ceiling and the wall where it was damaged for electrical and when we removed the old backsplash tiles. This will happen after the electrical work is done but before the range hood is installed.
  • The tile guy will install whatever tiles we decide to get.
  • A gas line will be fed in to where our gas range will go.
So, there's still lots to do, but here's a peek at the progress we've made:

Since I shot these photos, all of the doors have been installed, with all the knobs and handles. Our new microwave oven is in the island but hasn't been hooked up yet. That huge slab of cardboard contained extra backboard for the back of the island, and has since been returned to the store because we didn't need it.

We've also removed the remainder of the exhaust vent because it needs to be moved to where the new stove will go, plus it was too small for a gas stove. DW and I are handling the replacement of that pipe. 

This weekend, we purchased a new sofa for the family room. Our next task is to install the base boards around the family room so that we can move our furniture and TV back in place: I haven't watched network television in more than a month (and it's slowly starting to kill me).

Onward we go...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Face

I look in the mirror and another face looks back at me. It's older, tired, worn. The cheeks sag, look depressed. The jaw line is dark, round, full.

It's not attractive, not that my face ever was. But the old face held youth. A smile. Bright, ever-observing eyes.

That old joke from my days in elementary school comes to mind: Is your face hurting you? 'Cos, it's killing me.

That was the locker-room talk that my friends and I had. Cheap jokes that made fun of each other. Occasional talk of girls in class: "Did you check out so-and-so's butt in those jeans? Nice!" Sure, it was immature and wrong, but we never bragged about wanting to force ourselves on anyone. That's not locker talk that I've ever heard. Ever.

But I digress...

I was talking about my face.

I've always looked younger than my 51 years. Sure, I walk like a 90-year-old man, hobbling on my deteriorating feet, but my face has always looked young.

I have usually kept a clean-shaven face, which adds to my youthfulness. There have been times, on vacations, where I've left my razor at home. On a couple of Movembers, I have grown a moustache in support of prostate-cancer awareness. For a couple of months, when I was at home, on parental leave with my first-born, I grew a goatee.

But facial hair has never stayed long, I've never tried to grow a full beard.

On Friday, September 30, in the early hours of the morning, a rose from bed, got in the shower, and shaved, in the dark, with my eyes closed, as I always do. Before six, I dressed and hopped in my car and drove to work.

It's not uncommon for me to not shave on a weekend, especially if I have no formal plans. With the tear-down of our kitchen in full swing, I wore faded jeans and a paint-stained t-shirt on October 1. My hair, though recently cut, went unwashed, and as I pulled down cabinets and pried backsplash tiles, I became sweaty and covered in dust.

If I were to walk the downtown streets, appearing as I did, you might think I was homeless.

I didn't shave, that weekend, and when Monday came, I decided not to shave again, as I readied myself for work. For nearly two weeks, now, I haven't so much as touched my razor. A scraggly mix of salt-and-pepper whiskers covers my cheeks and makes my neck itchy. I haven't decided to grow a full beard, so much as I have given up on maintaining a smooth face.

The longer I wait, the longer the hairs grow, the more challenging it becomes to return my face to normal. The last time that I had used my electric razor, around the time that my youngest daughter cut my hair, the device fizzled out and stopped working. It was a gift that I had received about 35 years ago, at Christmas, when my first peach fuzz started coming in. That old Braun razor owed me nothing, had served me well over the decades.

Two weeks in, my beard is still patchy but the whiskers are too long to simply remove with a triple-bladed, manual shaver. Anyone who has tried to shave this much knows that after a couple of millimetres, the cut whiskers get clogged between the blades and the razor ends up pulling out as many whiskers as it cuts. It becomes painful, labour-intensive, and slow.

At this point, if I am to shave, a new electric razor is in store. I'm going to need one, anyway, because even if I decide to keep the beard, I'm going to need to groom it. I'm going to have to remove the scratchy hairs from my neck.

It's getting into sweater season, after all.

Not many people have seen my face, lately. My family, of course, as have my co-workers. And, a few neighbours. I'm not showing my face around my friends. Not yet.

The question, for now, is this: should I shave or should I grow?