Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Another Bad Dining Experience

I just came back from yet another bad dining experience. What is it with the food services industry these days, anyway? Have all the good chefs and cooks committed suicide, leaving only the crappy ones to cook the food I and others eat? I am really starting to wonder if it is possible to get a good meal in this town any more. I should note that I am not deliberately going out looking for bad dining experiences. I would be happy to never have one ever again for the rest of my life.

Tonight, my son and I went to the Swiss Chalet at 1899 Cyrville Rd., Gloucester, Ontario, near the Costco, as a bit of a change of pace. I have had many good meals there in the past, and I was in the mood for some roasted chicken. It is not gourmet dining, but the food is usually edible. Except for tonight, that is. My son was not very hungry, so he just ordered a plate of fries and a drink. I ordered their “special”, which consists of a soup or salad, quarter chicken, fries, a dinner roll, and a slice of blueberry pie for dessert. I ordered a Diet Pepsi with no ice, as I don’t like my fountain pop to be watered down by melted ice, which makes it taste gross.

This is where the “fun” begins. First, our drinks arrived, and mine is quite warm. A short time later, my salad arrives, which, sadly, is a plate of lettuce with a small wedge of a small tomato and a couple little shavings from a carrot, and a few small chunks of celery. Not exactly what I would call a salad. I just wish I had thought to take a picture of it. It was one of the most pathetic salads I have ever seen in my life. I mean, who calls a plate of lettuce with a slight bit of garnish a salad?

Next, my main course arrived. The dinner roll was warm, but a bit hard, so I asked for some butter for it. The waitress returned a short time later with two butter packages, both of which were obviously fresh from the freezer, as they were hard as a rock and quite unusable. As well, the chicken was a bit on the over-cooked end of the spectrum, as the skin was quite hard to cut through. I finally managed, and the little bit of meat underneath was hardly worth the effort. I was quite hungry, so I ate it anyway. I managed to eat a few french fries as well, but the majority of them were over-cooked and burnt, obviously left in the fryer too long. I mentioned all this to the waitress, who talked to the manager, and she informed me that our entire meal was free.

Once my son finished as many of his fries as he was able to, we left. The waitress didn’t even offer to give me the slice of pie that came with my meal. Consequently, I left the restaurant still hungry. I have informed my son that the next time I suggest that I want to eat there, that he should promptly talk me out of it. That is one restaurant location I will not be returning to, ever. I may try a different location, as they are owned and run independently, so this is not a poor grade for the entire franchise.

Update (June 19, 2010): I was contacted by Swiss Chalet’s Guest Services division, and as an apology for the poor service, they have sent me a pair of $25 gift cards, good at any of their parent company’s restaurants, which comprise of Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, Montana’s Cookhouse, Milestones, and Kelsey’s.

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I’m back!

Sorry for the long absence.  For the last year or so, things have been, shall we say, challenging, for lack of a better word. But there have been some positive changes in my life too. However, this is really difficult to write. I have been out of practice due to a living environment that is not conducive to writing, and very few other options. However, as of a few weekends ago, I am much more mobile in my computing, so if my home working environment is not helping, I now have options for relocation.

For this exciting privilege, I owe a great debt of gratitude to my parents, my sister, and my best friend for all chipping in and getting me this wonderful laptop for my birthday. I was so surprised by this great act of generosity that I was speechless and almost in a state of shock for several minutes. Now that I finally have Lappy (the name I have given to my laptop) set up and have software installed, I can now get back to something I have really missed – writing.

On that note, the world is saddened by the death this week of three icons of the 1970’s and 1980’s. First was the famous sidekick of Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon. He died on June 23, 2009. Then, on June 25th, 2009, Farrah Fawcett finally succumbed to the cancer she had been fighting against for several years. Then, as bad timing would have it, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, collapsed in his Los Angeles home with what seems to be a cardiac arrest or some other possible cardiac problem. The world will know more after the autopsy is performed and the results are made public. It should not be forgotten that we also lost another icon of the 1970’s, David Carradine, of “Kung Fu” and “Kill Bill” fame, on June 3, 2009. For those of my generation, and my parents generation, it has been a very sad month indeed.

Consequently, with all this happening, and everything else that is happening in the world, I could remain silent no longer. It is time once again to rant and rave against the evils and injustices in the world, both real and imagined. Stay tuned. Things are about to get interesting.

Why The Political Party System Needs To Die

I have been closely following Canadian politics over the last few years, and things are getting much worse in the House of Commons and in provincial legislatures. For this article, I will be focusing on the Federal political scene. We have a few major political parties, and a few fringe parties. We have the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, the Green Party, some fringe parties, and those elected members who sit as independents. The current Conservative Party of Canada is made up of what was formerly the Progressive Conservative Party, the Reform Party, and the Canadian Alliance Party. Or, as I call them, the Conservative Reform Alliance Party, abbreviated as CRAP. Gee, with all these parties, it is no wonder most of them spend much of their time acting like drunken teenagers at a fraternity party on a Saturday night.

These days, the CPC is running the show in the Canadian Parliament. They have a minority government, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper is itching for a majority like a crack junkie itches for a fix. His reign as PM is noted by his leadership style, which is that of the schoolyard bully who forgot to take his daily dose of Prozac. He forbids his MPs from speaking to the press, they must toe the Party Line or get kicked out of the party, as was the case with Garth Turner and Bill Casey who stood up for their constituents against the wishes of the Prime Ministers Office, and must always remember that the party comes first and foremost, and the people come last. To me, this has gone on for far too long, and I don’t see any way that the problem can be fixed under the current party system.

On the other hand, I do see a possible solution. This is likely not a new idea, but it is worth mentioning in case someone else hasn’t heard of it or thought of it themselves. I would suggest that we should completely kill the current party system and start from scratch with a completely new system. I would propose that each voting district would have several people run to be the local representative, in an independent manner. Whomever gets the most votes goes to the House of Commons to represent the voters of that district. Once everyone who was elected arrives at the House of Commons, and Parliament is in session, the first order of business would be to have the MPs elect a Prime Minister from among their ranks, using a nomination and voting process to elect the Member with the most votes. If no Member has a clear majority, then those who got the lowest number of votes would be removed from consideration, and the process would continue until a majority is reached by a Member. Then, the newly elected PM would then start the process of deciding who would make up the Cabinet, with the assistance of the other MPs. As an elected PM, he could be removed from the role by a majority vote in the House of Commons if he or she became too controlling or was otherwise deemed to be incompetent in the role.

In this way, there really are no parties. Just people elected to represent the people, hopefully working together for the common good. No party allegiances, no Prime Ministerial browbeatings, etc. There are probably a hundred details, big and small, that need to be addressed, but we need to at least get the national conversations started, and the sooner, the better. The current system is devolving into a chaotic mess, with nothing being accomplished, and every move being aimed at improving the conditions and position of each Party, by the members of that Party, with little regard to doing what is best for Canada as a whole. The more people we have talking about the issues, and thinking about solutions, the sooner we’ll be able to kill this wasteful system, and create a shiny new system that will actually make Parliament work once again. Call me a dreamer if you like, but I dream of a system that is better than the one we have now. A guy can dream, can’t he?

A Joy to Behold

I was at a Christmas party held by a local community centre. A significant percentage of the children there, and their parents, are of the Muslim faith, as is the lady who runs the community centre. For contrast, my family is decidedly not Mulsim. In fact, my little family have a number of religious views / faiths.

The party was too big to hold at the community centre itself, so it was held at a local French Catholic Church. There were children of other faiths there, also. It was a true pleasure to see all the kids playing together and having fun. No politics, no issues caused by different faiths and religions. Just a bunch of kids having fun together and learning from each other.

After a while, it was announced that Santa Clause was about to appear. All the kids joined together to sing a song. “Jingle Bells”, I think it was. When Santa appeared, all the kids were excited, even the Muslim ones. And the parents were happy to see the smiles on their kids faces. It really was something special to see. Not a sign of anyone indicating that this was wrong because their faith doesn’t believe in Christmas, Santa Clause, etc. Just a bunch of families from the local community, all together, celebrating the occasion, the season, whatever. And I was glad I was able to be a part of it.

What I saw tonight, which I already knew anyway, is that the world would be a whole lot better of a place to live if we could all get along, and see each other, as our children do. They don’t see each other as Muslim vs. Christians vs. Hindu vs. whatever. They don’t see skin colour. All they see is friends and playmates. We could learn a lot from our children.

When I see how my son interacts with other children in our neighbourhood from different ethnic backgrounds, I know that the future is full of hope and promise, and a great deal of potential for peace on Earth.

First Anniversary

Today marks the first anniversary of this blog. It was 1 year ago today, on my 40th birthday, that I started this. The entries haven’t always been frequent, but I hope that what entries I have made have been worth reading to all 2 or 3 of you who actually read these.

Pondering Imponderables

If a man opens his mouth, and his wife is not present, is he still wrong?

Creative Parenting

I have managed to pull off the parenting coup of the year. My son, who is 5 years old, was having trouble getting to sleep at night, because of his fear of the scary monsters in his bedroom. This went on for weeks and weeks, until I finally had enough of it.

A few nights ago, I convinced him that the monsters were not bad monsters, out to harm him. I told him that they were really nice monsters, despite their scary appearance, and that they were merely keeping an eye on him for me, and letting me know if he was in trouble. And that they would come downstairs with me to watch television after he was asleep.

He seemed to understand this idea, and decided that they should no longer be called monsters, because they were not bad beings. From now on, he decided, they would be called “nicers”, because they are nice, not scary. So, according to my son, a nice monster is a nicer. This is working so well that he told me this morning that he didn’t have any scary dreams last night, since he named them “nicers”, only good dreams.

Can you tell that I am rather pleased with myself for this little bit of creative parenting?