Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stop Ripping Me Off


I think I can be a very judgmental person.

Depending on the situation, I sometimes have a tendency to quickly form an opinion, and then refuse to change it. Perhaps I may change it if presented with some extremely compelling evidence to the contrary, but that hasn’t happened yet. It is not something that I am proud of, but something that I have come to accept.

I never used to be this way. By my calculation, it really began on September 9, 2007, also known as the day after my wedding day. I strongly believe these two events are unrelated - no correlation whatsoever. Again, no one has provided any compelling evidence to the contrary.

This judgmental-ness has become more defined with age, to the point where many would consider me to be curmudgeonly. I feel like everything makes me angry. I certainly have been for the past week. Here are all the things that made me angry this week:

- The GO Train – rarely does a day go by where there isn’t a late train, and then I am constantly inundated with stupid emails telling me how late the trains are. There are also repairs happening at my station right now so only half the exits open on my way home. Just seeing a GO Train employee infuriates me. I fought the urge to take a ticket collectors hat and vomit in it last week. The GO is always trying to rip me off.

- Buying Produce – Why is it so friggin impossible to find some decent produce anywhere? I don’t even mind paying for it – I shop for it at Longos! I bought a container of organic baby spinach at Longo’s two weeks ago. When I got home, it smelled funky. All grocery stores are trying to rip me off.

- Delayed Election Promises – I read two articles this week about election promises from the Conservative Party of Canada. One promised income splitting for families with kids…IN FIVE YEARS. Another promised fitness tax credits for adults…IN FIVE YEARS! I am suddenly very angry for wasting my time reading the articles. Newspapers are trying to rip me off.

- People that have cooler jobs then me – My friend Mike has recently taken a sweet job with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. I am a public sector management consultant. Mike hangs out with Darryl Sittler. I hang out with accountants. Mike participates in conference calls with representatives of all the NBA teams. I participate in conference calls with, um, other consultants. Life is trying to rip me off.

- Being Sick – I have been sick with a sinus cold on and off for the last five months. It really gets in the way of my training schedule – I haven’t been on a spin bike in two weeks, because the last time I tried spinning when I was still sick, I ended up getting much worse for much longer. Germs are trying to rip me off.

- Chicken-Shit Prime Ministers – The man challenges his main opponent to a one-on-one debate, and then pulls his sweater vest over his head and hides behind under a desk when the challenge is accepted. THIS is the guy who leads my country? Politicians are ALWAYS trying to rip me off.

- Snow in April. Seriously? Global warming is trying to rip me off.

Everything makes me angry. Almost. People who donate to the Ride to Conquer Cancer don’t make me angry. I love them. And they risk getting an unexpected cuddle from me.

Please don’t let this stop you from donating. Xoxo.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Indian Dinner Party Night


Last night I had my long awaited Dinner Party fundraiser! And boy was it good times!

I had six wonderful friends over to partake in a tasty five course meal to raise a few dollars for the ride to conquer cancer. Because two of the attendees are pretty close to popping out some babies, I had to re-work the menu to be, shall we say, pregnant friendly. And since I am brown, and most of the attendees were white folk, I thought "Let's Go To India!"

Corrie and I pretty much spent the entire day on our feet cooking and preparing the feast, which included shopping, and making sure my daughter didn't accidentally end up in a pot of curry. We took a few pictures to document the evening. Take a look:

My very special In-Laws not only made their home available to us to host the dinner, they also staged the house with a beautiful table setting, flowers, and lots of room in the fridge for me to use, not to mention a truly massive donation to the ride. Thanks Roger and Sandy!

It may seem cruel, but this was really the best way to ensure she didn't find a way either into the fireplace, or out the door to the car for a joyride. Also, she enjoyed the cookies...

1st Course: Carrot Salad - cucumbers, cilantro, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds, papadum.

2nd Course: Lamb Seekh Kebob - ground lamb, cilantro, onions, eggplant puree, mint chutney, tamarind chutney, naan. Corrie was the evening's saucier (and photographer), and did a fantastic job. The eggplant recipe is one that I actually got from watch "The Everyday Exotic" on the food network. Ironically, I ran into the host of the show, Roger Mooking (also known as MC Mystic from the 90's band Bass is Base), at the Longo's in Oakville last week and told him I was making it for my fundraiser. He got so excited! I almost asked him to drop by in his Funkmobile.

3rd Course: Chana Masala - chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, cucumber raita, spinach and cilantro pancakes (my healthier version of pakoras)

4th Course: Kuku Paka - coconut chicken curry, basmati rice, naan. Kuku Paka is Swahili, and is a common dish amongst East Indians that at one point emigrated from East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania). This was my mom's wonderful recipe.

5th Course: Chocolate Mousse - dark chocolate, raspberries, naan khatai (cardamom butter cookie). Okay, there isn't really anything indian about chocolate mousse, but it tasted pretty decadent. The naan khatai is another one of my mom's recipes.

It was truly a lovely evening, and I really have wonderful friends that were able to indulge my culinary hobby while supporting a very worthwhile cause. In the end, we were able to raise $450 for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, and amount that allowed me to reach my minimum fundraising commitment to participate in the Ride in June, and puts me almost 80% of the way to my fundraising goal of $3,500! Thanks everyone!

I still love to cook, so if you are interested in participating in a future event like this, please let me know, and I will be at your service!

Now, lets all ignore the fact that this post was eating lots of food, and nothing about my diet or training. Carry on.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



Well, it only took two months, but I am finally in full training mode. In the week since my initial f*cking spin class, I have been at it three more times: once on my trainer, and two more spin classes, including a disgusting 6am class on Friday. Ugh.

I am happy to report that the weight loss program has been going really well. I am down just over 11 pounds since I started in mid-January. While I don’t think I really look any different, I have noticed one significant downside: DPS, also known as “droopy pant syndrome”.

I think I may have lost an inch or two around my waist, which is very satisfying. However, the consequence of this is that I constantly look like a slob. It is magnified by the fact that I have always also suffered from FAS, also known as “Fat Ass Syndrome”.

You see, I have always had a large ass, one that is larger than my waist. This means that buying pants has always been a colossal hassle. I always have to get pants that have a slightly larger waist in order to accommodate my rear. Dress pants are the worst. If they have pleats, they stretch wide open. If they are flat front pants, the side pockets pull way out, and I look as if I am walking around with pockets full of cheeseburgers and shortbread cookies.

When I get dressed in the morning in front of the mirror, they look normal. Once I have taken about four paces, they will have already drooped at least an inch. Doesn’t matter how much I tighten my belt. In fact that is worse, because then I have these big bunches that make it look like I am wearing track pants. Next thing I know, the cuffs of my pants are dragging under the heel of my shoe, and presto, I look like a hobo.

It could be an excuse to do a little shopping, or at least take get my pants taken in a bit, but my hope is that I haven’t finished trimming down, so I guess I need to be patient.

In other news, I am proud to announce my first official fundraising event for the ride to conquer cancer! As some of you may know, I LOVE to cook, and it has really become a favourite hobby of mine. And since I can’t really cook for myself while I am in rabbit food purgatory, I want to cook for you! Here is the plan: I am going to turn my house (er…rather my in-laws’ house) into a fine dining restaurant. I will prepare a five course menu for your enjoyment, in return for a generous donation to a great cause. The menu is as follows:

I. Tomato, Buffalo Mozzarella, Olive Oil, Basil, Sourdough Crostini
II. Sesame Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna, Wasabi Mayo, Arugula, Lemon, Honey
III. Spaghetti, Cremini, Shitake, King Oyster, Button, Portobello, Chili, Parmesan, Parsley, Butter
IV. Crusted Lamb Popsicles, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Dijon, Mint Pesto, Potato Pancake, Asparagus
V. Chocolate Mousse, Almost Biscotti, Mixed Berries, Lime, Honey

How does that sound?

The suggested donation for attending is $100 per head, or $125 if you will be partaking in a few cocktails during the course of the evening. We are tentatively scheduled for March 26th, and I am still looking to fill a few seats. If there is overwhelming interest, I will add another date in April.

I am really excited about doing this, and if you are interested, I would love to have you. It will be an evening of great food (I hope), and great friends (guaranteed) all for a good cause. PLEASE let me know if you like to attend.

See you at dinner!

Monday, February 28, 2011

F*cking Spin Class


Those that are close to me know that I love to cook. And if I do say so myself, I think I am a pretty good cook. I presume the reason for this is my filthy, lustful, adulterous relationship with eating.

That said, what do one stick of butter, one pound of pasta, one pound of sharp cheddar cheese, one can of condensed milk, and a splash of white wine have in common? Well, they are the key ingredients in my super awesome macaroni and cheese recipe. It is good. REALLY good. Most of you probably just gained a few pounds reading about it.

With a few family members feeling under the weather, I made a great big batch of it this weekend. I made some for my brother-in-law’s family, and some for my wife, and some for my baby girl. And I didn’t eat any of it. None. And it hurt. I think a little water boarding would have felt a better. I hate being on a stupid diet.

I figure after 5 blog entries of avoiding discussion about actually doing some training, I should finally get off my massive rear and get going. It’s not like I haven’t done anything at all – I had been spending minimal time on the indoor trainer. I also walk to the kitchen every single morning. And to my car. That kind of counts, right?

Yes, I have been a little lazy on getting going, but to be honest, I spent about a month fighting a cold. Having a child in daycare can really do a number on the immune system for everyone in the house.

Today, I finally got out for my first spin class of the year (you can read about my very first spin experience here). After I got up at 7:00am this morning courtesy of a 19 lb. poop machine that lives down the hall, I headed to a packed class at the Oakville YMCA, where I was easily the youngest, and fattest, spinner in the room. Hmph. This isn’t going to be good…

And it wasn’t. I was feeling good to begin with, but then really hit a wall at about the 15 minute mark, which is a tad early in a 60 minute class. I kept on pushing through, until I really had trouble starting to breath. A long held asthma condition reared its ugly head for the first time in years during my cold, so it was a good thing I had my inhaler with me. Unfortunately, they take a minute to two to kick-in. So while I waited, my mind started to wander…

I have always had this crazy fantasy of being in a rock band. Ever since I was in high school, I would every now and then come up with a band name, and band members, and a play list for our first big show, usually at the Horseshoe Tavern, or Massey Hall in Toronto. The band name I usually steal from whatever band I am listening to at the moment - right now it is Chicago-based band OK GO.

The band members are friends of mine, regardless of what musical talents they actually have. Right now, my drummer is my buddy Greg, who I met at business school. I don’t know if Greg plays the drums, but if he did, I am sure he would just beat them senseless. My old roommate Armen would play guitar, and share lead singing duties with me. Armen and I always had similar taste in music. My friend Heather would the bass player, and also sing. Honestly, is there anything hotter than a female bass player? Of course not. Finally, her husband Aaron would play keyboard, at Heather’s insistence, so he had people to hang out with.

I would be lead singer (god help us all), really animated on stage, with all these crazy facial expressions for each song. I would change the lyrics to our songs during live shows to reflect current events, and would sweat buckets dancing around during the entire set. We would open our shows with Sloan’s “The Good in Everyone.” Armen would start the song on stage by himself playing the intro over and over again, until the rest of us would finally join him just in time to start the rest of the song in unison (like in the song’s video). During the course of the show, we would play some Modest Mouse, OK GO, Arcade Fire, Ben Kweller, Foo Fighters, Ben Harper, Stars, Sarah Harmer, Feist, and more Sloan. Finally, we would close out the show with “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” by Oasis. Somewhere in there, I would come out on my own for an acoustic encore, covering the Beatle’s “Across the Universe” (Notice that I would “cover” a Beatles song – all the others would be my own creations, of course)...

Okay, I think I am going to throw up. I can’t feel my legs, and I think I might actually black out. Then suddenly, I am able to take longer, deeper breaths. I check the clock and there is still a good 20 minutes to go in the class. I kind of keep my head down, and slow down my pace, refusing to make eye contact with the instructor. But I know how these guys work. They can smell failure. I could sense him shaking his head at me.

So clearly, I have a long way to go to be ready for the ride in June. I am going to have to hit the trainer with a little more regularity, and do more and more of these stupid f*cking spin classes.

Excuse the language. I watched the Oscars tonight and got a little inspired.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fat Day


If you are not a fat person, there are two things you should know:

1. I hate you and everything you stand for; and
2. Fat people often suffer from “Fat Days”.

What is a fat day, you ask? It is when something happens during your day to make you realize how fat and disgusting you really are. I know it sounds silly and frivolous, but it is not. I have them all the time, and though I don’t think I show it to those around me, it is usually quite depressing.

How do you know you are having a fat day? There are lots of indicators, and many ways to try and mitigate the effects. Here are a few triggers for me…

  • Putting on the wrong outfit in the morning can really set the tone for the day. You pick out something to wear because you think the combination would really go well together. Everything is fine until you take a look in the mirror, and suddenly, you want to crawl back into bed and close the curtains. You really know it is one of those days when you end up missing your train because you have had to try on at least two more shirts and/or pants before heading out, and you go out of your way to avoid looking in the mirror when washing your hands in the bathroom.

  • The sound “zip-zop”. That is the sound of your pant legs rubbing together at your inner thigh as you walk around the office. You can’t help but think that if your thighs just weren’t so goddamn thick, then maybe everyone a thirty foot radius wouldn’t be able to hear you coming down the hall. It doesn’t matter that it only happens when I wear my favourite pair of brown cotton pants (my favourite, ironically, because I think I look thin in them), I always end up trying to walk with my legs slightly a part, as if my underwear is wedged firmly between the cheeks, hoping it will make me silent and invisible. Of course, it does neither.

  • Having lunch at my desk. I often think that I am too busy to join my colleagues or friends for lunch when I am at work. But really, I just don’t want people to watch me eat, or to see what I am eating. I don’t often eat things that are really unhealthy, I don’t think I eat way more than everyone else, and I don’t eat like a slob. But I don’t want anyone to think that I do any of those things, so sometimes, it is just easier to eat in my office while reading the newspaper.

  • Having friends and family that are good looking tends to create massive insecurities as well, though that is not restricted to triggering a fat day, just a fat life. For example, all my gorgeous wife’s friends are equally gorgeous, and their husbands are gorgeous, which makes me thankful that my wife can take joke. Irrational? Yes. Does that matter? Hell no.

These coping mechanisms help you get through the day, but overcoming years of rotund-ness is harder than you would think. Since I started my diet plan on January 17th, I have lost almost 10 pounds. Not a bad achievement in less than a month, but I don’t feel or look any different. I wouldn’t have even known if I didn’t own a scale and wasn’t hungry all the time.

How will I know when I have finally lost enough weight to be content. Through the purchase of skinny jeans, of course. And being able to put them on. Without help. And not feel the need to change into something else.

Do you have a fat day story? Please feel free to share in the comments section, anonymously of course. I am the only idiot that puts my name on this stuff.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Roster Change


Many of my faithful readers will remember that last year, I had a training partner for my Ride preparation. My friend Aaron agreed to join this fat man in his journey from Toronto to Niagara, but not before helping me train for the adventure for the 6 months prior to the ride.

You may recall that Aaron was consistently on the receiving end of my wrath on this blog last year, but he is a great friend, and we had an awesome time training, and completing the ride together. We were pretty much side by side when I crossed that finish line last year, one of the best moments of my life, and for that Aaron will always have a spot in my heart.

Except now, he is dead to me.

You see Aaron has decided that I am too fat to hang out with and train with. He will not be taking part in this year’s ride. And while his contribution to the cause of over $2,500 in fundraising last year was great, he is clearly a massive sell out.

We had entered into intense negotiations to renew our partnership, but he was ruthless. It even went to arbitration, but he got really nasty at the hearing, telling the mediator that I was, in his words, “Ultra Fat,” and accused me of filling my water bottles with honey mustard sauce instead of Gatorade.

Apparently, that (sort of) lying bastard has decided to take part in some crazy 100km, 24 hour running relay in Alberta. Lame. He has also decided to try and spend more time with his beautiful new baby daughter. Even Lamer.

Alas, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce my most significant free agent signing of the millennium: My buddy Joe Bilton. Joe is a great guy, and has an interesting background:

- He is a mechanical engineer-turned-high school teacher;
- He hails from a small town just outside Kingston;
- He has 8 brothers and sisters;
- He is often known to consume more than 5,000 calories in a day, and still lose 6 pounds; and
- We have discovered that drinking half a bottle of Crown Royal makes him “angry”.

Joes is also a very experienced cyclist, and has participated in a number of triathlons, including a half-Iron Man. We have been friends for a long time, ever since he met my wife’s best friend Carolyn about 10 years ago and never looked back.

We won’t really get training together until the spring, as Joe lives way out in Bradford, but I am looking forward to it. And frankly, as you can tell from the following tale of the tape, he is in a much better position to help me prepare for the ride than Aaron ever was:

Weight: Joe – 200lbs, Aaron – 84lbs
Height: Joe – 6 ft, Aaron – 14ft
Bicep: Joe – 16 inches, Aaron – 16 cm
Hair Coverage: Joe- a very aerodynamic 14%, Aaron – You can only see his eyes

Accordingly, I have added a link to Joe’s Conquer Cancer personal donation site at the top right of this page. Feel free to donate to either of us, or more accurately, me only.

Welcome to the team, Joe!

Sunday, January 30, 2011



My daughter has her first cold. It is heartbreaking.

She has been in daycare of about three weeks now, so really it was just a matter of time. She already had what is likely a permanent runny nose, so it was really just a matter of time. She has a really goopy eye, her nose is like a leaky faucet, and she has the cough of a three pack a day smoker.

She hasn’t been eating too much, and has been quite content cuddling with us on the couch, both of which are highly out of character for my little girl. Like her old man, she eats a ton, and she usually much prefers the company of her stuffed giraffe.

My birthday was this past Tuesday. I depressingly turned 33 years old. Corrie and Sofia took me out for a lovely dinner, after which I hit the mother load in cycling accessories for gifts. Sofia got me a much needed speedometer, and front and rear lights for my bike. My in-law’s got me a new jersey and cycling socks. But it was my lovely wife got me the two items that I have been living in fear of.

Clipless pedals and cycling shoes.

For those of you who don’t know, clipless pedals with cycling shoes basically means that you snap your foot into your pedals. The only way to unlock your foot from your bike is to twist your foot out and “unclip” from the pedal. Every cyclist I have spoken to in the last year has told me how stupid I am for not using them before. They allow you to not only have a more efficient pedaling technique, but allows you to generate much more power, as in addition to pushing down when you pedal, you can also pull up, which you can’t do if you are not locked in.

I am petrified of clipless pedals. If you don’t unclip in time, you essentially fall over and break your wrist, or worse, you skull. Stitches. Blood. All bad things. Ask my friend Heather. She and Aaron were just finishing a big climb once, and just as they reached the peak and were stopping, she couldn’t unclip in time, and fell right over onto her arm. Not pretty. She hasn’t been the same since. Stopped eating meat, married Aaron…it is all a very sad story.

I was at a Ride to Conquer Cancer orientation session for my KPMG team, and cycling coach has there giving tips about training and equipment. He provided a good solution. Mountain bike clips. They are handy because the shoes are a little more comfortable to walk in, and if you get a little antsy about being in traffic, or coming to a stop light or something, you can unclip, flip the pedal over, and they become regular pedals. Good for a beginner.

I took my bike into Gears Bike Shop in Mississauga this weekend to have proper fitting done, and got them to install the pedals. That experience in itself was pretty uncomfortable. Me, walking around the store in my spandex, on display in the middle of the store. Very unsightly. I am really going to have to spend the next two months getting used to clipping in and out indoors before I take the bike outside. Hopefully, I will keep all my skin attached to me.

You didn’t notice the fact that I said nothing in this post about ACTUALLY getting on the bike and working out yet, right? Excellent. Carry on then, as you were.

P.S. If you have any interest in the blogosphere, or in good writing, consider checking out http://sadinthecity.com. It’s a great read.