— Start & Finish


Updated the type, the grid, and now there’s a space on the left where I can put asides.

It’s been 5 months since I’ve dropped an update on here. As per usual, I took my annual 4 or 5 month summer hiatus because I don’t like spending time in doors during those months. The summer is warm and balmy, and the buzzing cicadas are a pleasure to those of us that spend half the year in negative temperatures. These are the months where I enjoy eating ice cream sandwiches, drinking cold beer, riding my bike, and exploring.  This summer was different, though, probably because of my job.  I’ve done lots of travelling this summer, both for work and for pleasure, and I am going to do a massive update in the coming days regarding what I’ve been upto all season.
I have been percolating found and inspirational content onto my tumblr non-stop, but now I will start to write proper entries on this ol’ bag-o-trinkets once again.

I’ve also updated the look of the blog.  I’ve gone with something simpler and more sophisticated.

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Flowers in the Annex


Current Time


Sape Creative Department goes to lunch at LEE – the secret vip backroom is amazing!

Meals I've Cooked
Halibut and Cod cakes on kale

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Tons more photos on Flickr

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I don’t talk much about the work I do on here, because for the most part I’m not allowed to. But for the web-design nerds like myself, we just did a major update to Jeep.com to make it more mobile and iPad friendly – meaning it has no Flash anymore! The old site, made by SapientNitro’s miami office was exclusively a flash module site as is the trend for most automotive homepages, but our new 3D carousel and vehicle rotator works in javascript! This has been a huge milestone for us, getting this sold to the client, and making it a reality. Congratulations to the whole Jeep team in Toronto, and stay tuned for more Jeep.com updates as Mikhail is down in Detroit right now implementing updates to the vehicle landing pages to include more JS 3d car-porn! Exciting times for commercial web development.

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So it’s been about a week since we’ve finished our cleanse. (I absolutely hate that word with a passion, and the kinds of people that use it all the time, but I hate detox equally, so I am really at a loss here for nomenclature that doesn’t irritate me.)  Overall, I would say this plan works really well for certain things and it definitely made us both feel a lot better.

Pros:

  • Digestion is amazing now.
  • Skin is clear.
  • Weight Loss of about 10 pounds each.
  • Bland foods taste amazing, and we have essentially reset our tolerance to both spicy foods and alcohol.
  • Less time wasted digesting heavy foods.
  • Huge money savings from eating out way less.
  • My constant stuffy nose is gone (possible allergy to one of the foods we cut out.)

Cons:

  • Way less energy than you’d think. My friend Trevor says that brown rice and complex carbohydrates produce insulin, which makes you a lot more tired than you normally would be.  You can remedy this by eating less at meal time, and carrying some energy-filled snacks around with you, like bananas, seeds, nuts.
  • A guilt and eating mentality that borders the eating disorder pitfall.  We are both afraid of eating rich food now, not because we don’t want to gain weight, but because it actually tastes too rich and makes us sick even thinking about it.  Things with lots of cheese, oil, and gluten specifically.  We’ll have to reintroduce things very slowly in order to avoid feeling ill.
  • Very hard to stop drinking coffee and alcohol for the first week, but the withdrawal headaches and social anxiety go away after a week.  You get used to having water in a bar with your friends, and you learn to get your wakeup energy from porridge and bananas instead of caffeine.

Overall, I’d say this was a very positive experience. I just hope we don’t revert to our old bad habits too quickly, or the whole thing could be more than just a waste of time; it could have undesirable effects on our gastro-digestive process.  We’ll see how the next few weeks go!  My verdict? If you are having any kinds of adverse reactions to food, or you feel sluggish, slow and are getting sick regularly, you could try this out for a few weeks.  It certainly did a lot more good than bad, and was a lot easier  than we thought.  More than anything, we found the most positive outcome of the whole experience was  finding out how strong our willpower was.

You can buy his book online, but I don’t recommend the book itself. If you can borrow a friend’s copy (ours is up for grabs if anyone wants it). I don’t particularly think it’s worth buying because it’s poorly organized and doesn’t give you enough specific information about what you’re supposed to do.  We did more reading about the detox online than in the actual book… It contains only a small handful of recipes and doesn’t have any instructions regarding process or rules.  It seems more like it’s made up of slides from an investigative lecture than a book that can actually help you.

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If you haven’t seen the post about the other two shirts my mom meticulously fabricated for me, the amazing person she is, and how appreciative I am, go check it out.  This shirt is the epitome of custom bespoke.  Rounded club collar, camouflage pocket, pen sheath, hidden button lining, tortoiseshell buttons, oxford cut cuffs… It’s perfect.  Vibrant, and yet understated.  Thanks again mom.  Love you!

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Meagan’s decided we should do a detox. We’ll see how this goes – but pretty much we can’t eat anything that most normal people would call food. We’re doing the Dr.Joshi holistic detox. We’ve been noticing how bloated we’ve been getting, and a lot of general digestive and gastroentestinal problems from all the crap we’ve been eating, so we’re going to try something different.  The rules:

  • No red meat
  • No dairy produce
  • No sugar
  • No fruit – except bananas
  • No wheat, gluten, yeast
  • No alcohol
  • No jams, spreads – except honey
  • No coffee, decaffeinated coffee or tea – except herbal teas and green tea
  • No fermented foods: vinegar, mustard, alcohol

It lasts for three weeks, and we’ve already stocked up on all of the supplies, supplements and other crap we’ll need as indicated by the photo above. Grains include brown rice, wild rice, lentils, buckwheat, lots of pulses and healthy whole grains. No dairy or sugar, so it’s going to be a challenge making everything taste OK.  I’ll report back in three weeks with the results.

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I’m not going to belittle anyone’s mother here… I’m not going to make anyone feel like their mom sucks, because let’s be real – mother’s are awesome.  They are the unnamed heroes of our youth; The unrecognized load-bearers of society, both figuratively and literally.  They carry us in their wombs, and continue to carry us, unsolicited, through and throughout.

They bake for us, they cook for us, they give us advice and a library of wisdom.  They give us unrequited care and generosity when we are unable to care for ourselves.  Mothers are great.  While my mother does all these things, she also does something else that makes her special to me… She sews.  Specifically, she makes me unique pieces that I help design.  She’s not my seamstress, she’s my co-designer.

Previously, further down the page, you’ll find the entry about the camouflage collar we put on my jean jacket.  While I could have tried to do this myself, she helped me to do it quickly and perfectly, but this time she’s outdone herself – Two beautifully handcrafted buttondowns with amazing details – the kind of shit you see from Nom de Guerre, and Our Legacy.

In fact, the templates were actually traced from Nom de Guerre and Our Legacy!   In October, I went by Designer Fabrics on Queen west and they were having a decent sale on some items – I checked out the shirting and the madras sections and found a few bolts that I really liked.  One of them was a green golf plaid with yellow and blue stripes, another was a salmon oxford cloth, and the  third was a yellow and blue madras.  Unsure of what I was going to do with them, I called my mom before purchasing and she and I came up with the idea that she’d love to make me some shirts for christmas.  I spent about 45 dollars tops on the fabrics.  While visiting her over the holidays, she took a pattern of a couple of my favourite shirts.  Because they were so detailed, it’s taken her until now to make them – I’d like to point out here, that it was without a doubt worth the wait.

She not only was able to take the patterns of the fits that I like, but she was able to change the collars, add cuff details, customize the pockets… One has round pockets, one has chevron pockets, and the salmon oxford has one single camouflage pocket.  I left the button choices up to her, and she matched them perfectly with the help of Colleen at ButtonButton.

The fits are amazing.  She is still working on the salmon oxford, which is going to have a club collar, but with an end-product this perfect, I can wait as long as she needs!  Thanks mom!  You are definitely getting something special in return, I just need to figure out what it’s going to be.  Maybe a surprise visit in the summer.

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Seriously, just a quick nod to Porter Airlines.  The best flying experience I’ve had in a very long time.  Here are some points to note when considering your next east-coast carrier:

  • The Toronto Porter Lounge is quiet, comfortable, and clean.  Very few crying babies, free snacks and drinks, a veritable assortment of comfortable seats.  Free DIY espresso!
  • Airplanes take off instantly.  No runway holding patterns and no annoying delays.  They run a tight ship.
  • Free booze on the flight! Free lunch/snack, aswell.
  • Real glassware, and no disposable garbage utensils.
  • Free Terrachips!
  • Inflight magazine designed by Winkreative, and is basically a mini Monocle.
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I’ve been meaning to put something up about my trips to chicago for a while— Yes, trips. Plural. I have had the opportunity (or obligation?) to visit the Windy City on two separate occasions.  The first was for my SapientStart training, which lasted a week in January, and the second was for a wedding; Meagan’s cousin Mark called us out, last minute style, for his wedding at the end of February.  I was going to write two separate entries, on each respective return, but I found it would have been easier and more efficient to treat both visits as one long visit, since I was seeing different parts of the city on each trip.  The first trip, mostly dominated by seminars in the Loop, allowed for my coworkers and I to explore the downtown core.

At night, it’s empty, and at rush hour it’s bustling.  This isn’t really my cup of tea, but it was still an interesting cultural experience.  We did most of the tourist traps, like the Art Institute, and deep dish pizza.  I tried to get as much localite culture as you can within the Loop,  but it’s not very accommodating.  It’s like trying to find a good watering hole, or good cheap eats on King and Yonge.  Luckily, a few chicago residence who were also in our training seminar showed us a few good spots that were easily accessible from our office.

Heaven on Seven is an authentic cajun restaurant, hidden away on the seventh floor of an office tower in the Loop.  No signage, and no instructions, it seems like this place caters to financial staffers who know what’s up.   We got drinks and watched a game at Blue Frog, near State and Hubbard, where we were applauded by the serving staff for playing quarters.  Blue Frog is apparently Chicago’s oldest karaoke shit-hole, but they weren’t even doing any karaoke on the night that we arrived, so we just played drinking games until we had to roll back to our hotel rooms.

We went to the original Billy Goat Tavern, on lower  Michigan below the Wrigley Building.  Remember that SNL piece where Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd yell “Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!” ? Well that was all based on this place.  This place is also responsible for the Cubs Curse, so the localites we brought here actually had to bite their tongues since most Cubs fans hate this place.  Burgers are 2.65, beers are 3.50.  Can’t really go wrong there.

A few other local corner bars and restaurants were visited, and after the whole thing was over, I was exhausted.  Working from 9 until 5, and then exploring the city from 5:00 pm until 1:00 am for five days was tolling. Leaving after only exploring the loop, albeit a lot of it, was pretty disappointing and uninspiring, though.  I’m not the kind of guy that drives to work in a sedan and shops for briefcases at bargain basement department stores – I really wanted to explore the outer rim of Chicago, like Wicker Park, Logan Square and Wrigleyville, but I didn’t get the chance.  Luckily I got invited to this wedding, and this gave me the perfect opportunity to explore these areas.

On the second visit, we had delicious tapas at Cafe Iberico.  We had delicious tacos at Big Star; which I highly suggest for anyone in the market for a five page whisky, tequila and bourbon menu.  Across the street from that is the super-stealthy Violet Hour; where they have one of the best cocktail menus I’ve ever seen.  It’s modelled like a speak-easy, and again there’s no signage or branding on any of the walls outside; you walk in through what appears to be plywood scaffolding, and you pull the curtains back to reveal an experience straight out of the 1920′s.  They have pretentious rules too, like no cell phones, no cameras, no swearing …    Moving on, we had an amazingly rich breakfast at Longman and Eagle; where Meagan became satiated on Chicken and Waffles, and Alex had Biscuits and Sausage Gravy.  In terms of Food and Drink, these areas are far superior to the places I went on my last visit, as was the shopping!

Some notes regarding Swag searching in Chicago:

  • JCrew on Michigan ave. is not any different from the JCrew in Buffalo.  Exact same stock, barely any collaborations, but helpful staff that are willing to order things from other stores for you.
  • Both Levis stores, in Wicker Park and downtown, have amazing selections.  They carry most of the collaborations, and each stores caters to different markets so they keep different stocks and different items.  The pendleton and filson stuff was mostly sold out in my size, but was super cheap compared to the prices you find online.  I tried to grab that PendletonXLevis workshirt, but they didn’t have it in my size… bummer.  The Filson stuff was insanely good, too.
  • Overall, the vintage shopping in Wicker Park is about on par with Toronto.  I heard it was better in Wrigleyville, but we didn’t get a chance to checkout any stores over there.
  • Stuff I got cheap: A Jcrew henley on sale, a RRL shirt on sale for 40 bucks, and a levis work shirt.
  • We tried to find FAO Schwartz, to buy a Catan expansion, but we found out it had been gone for 6 years.  Some infodesk lady at the Water Tower Place laughed in our faces for asking…  Tourists.

This visit, we got a chance to visit the Field Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Both, I thought were a bit of a let down.  The Field Museum not only felt like a day care, where the didactic nature of everything felt like it was speaking to children who can’t hold their attention on anything for longer than 20 seconds, but it also felt like they are seriously hurting for budget.  The shows were cheap and they oversold a number of exhibits that were just rehashed permanent collection.  It made me love our ROM a little more, through each room I traversed.  The Museum of Contemporary Art was alright, there were a couple of good shows, but also a few really poor ones.  I felt like the Art Institute, which we briefly visited on my first trip in January, was mostly permanent collection, but it was modern american classics; that we don’t get to see much of in Canada.  The couple of exhibit shows that they did have were really good new media shows, and I wanted to go back to see more, but we couldn’t squeeze it in.

Couple more treats from the duty free, that you can’t get here.

As always, I’m on tumblr pretty much everyday, while I only use this blog for larger publishings.

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So my friend Laura and I exchanged jean jackets because our respective jackets fit the other person better. The one she gave me had this great wear on it, and it has been washed so hard that it almost looks like acid wash, but it’s totally just ancient. It fits me great, but the thing has been passed down from so many people, and worn so hard, that it was quite literally shredding at a number of spots. The collar was about to fall off, and had already been flipped a long time ago, and the cuffs were so frayed that they were tearing a bit every time I took it off. (See picture above.)

So while I’ve been in Vancouver for the holidays, I had my mom help me make some modifications. I went to Fabricland and picked up a yard of camo shirting cotton for 4 dollars.

Next, we ripped out the inside layer of the collar, and used it as a pattern template to cut a new collar lining out of camo.

Then, while cutting it, my mom did some hand stitching on the cuffs, while inserting the camo into the cuff to give it some body, since a lot of the material was deteriorating.

We sewed on the collar, and I think it looks great! It adds a nice touch, that turns a pretty classic and common jacket into something quite unique. It lends it just enough custom flavour to make it that much more special. I’m not saying this is something as special as say a Supreme, or Filson collaboration with Levis, but for 4 dollars it is definitely a sweet deal. You could probably have your local tailor do an alteration like this for about 20 bucks, so even at that price you’re getting a good deal for a unique piece that would otherwise cost you a small fortune.

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