September 27, 2013

2013 TV Post 1

Believe it or not, the wife and I still have time for television despite a 2 and a half year old occupying the majority of our time.  The little guy is quite a handful but once he's down for the night we like to spend a relaxing evening watching television (and eating lots of junk food).  I'll just go through some of the shows we've watched this week. 

The Blacklist
The premise of this show is a most wanted criminal shows up at the FBI's front door and surrenders and wants to help.  That's the gist of it.  The underlying theme is similar to Silence of the Lambs except the maximum-security criminal is not a sicko.  Like Hannibal Lector, this guy only wants to talk to one person who if I had to guess, is probably his long lost daughter that he abandoned at a very young age. Just a wild guess.

Bottom line: This show has potential.  James Spader plays the criminal and it's the perfect role for Spader because he is great at roles where he gets to talk a lot while everyone listens, or playing an a-hole.  Robert Downey Jr would also have done a good job here.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel hits the tube in this one where it follows a team of people that I assume will search for less-powerful heroes and try to get them on their side before criminal organizations get to them first to make them into bad guys.  None of the real Avengers will show up because it probably costs too much to get them a guest appearance, but the show is very much in that Avengers' Universe and those superheroes are referenced often.

Bottom line: It's Joss Whedon and it's ABC.  If it were FOX, the network that cancels all my favorite shows I'd probably not bother watching but ABC is relatively safe.  They're also a network that does not have a lot of highly rated shows unless you count Dancing With Stars as a show.  They have a bunch of long-running series and are known for that (LOST, Grey's Anatomy) and they tend to stick with shows a little longer than some of the more trigger happy networks (damn you FOX).

Modern Family
Modern Family is starting to get old for me.  I loved the concept of how they interviewed the members of the family separately and the humor, but that fresh style has become old.  I'm finding more and more that I can sit through an entire episode and laugh only once or twice compared to laughing the entire time and chuckling to myself hours later. 

I think that MF is slowly falling into the trap that many other sitcoms fall into, which is where the characters slowly unravel because the writers get too focused on one aspect of the character.  It's like they become stereotypes of themselves, if that makes any sense. 

Bottom line: It's a super popular show and will continue to be that because there's really not much else on. 

I grew tired of this show because the cases aren't interesting enough at once Booth and Brennan got together it essentially killed the drama for the non-case side of the spectrum of this show. 

Bottom line: This show needs to end.  Even my wife is kind of hoping this show ends soon, and she's been a loyal follower since the beginning.

Last year they ended it off with a bang.  The power came back on for a few minutes, someone launched a bunch of nukes and we were told that the President was still alive and was going to make his way back.  This season we found out that the nukes did detonate, taking out half the USA.  But the old crew survived and now were in another town dealing with some ruffians.

Bottom line: I don't think this show will last beyond this current season.  I've said this before -- this show is Walking Dead without the zombies.  It's a Western that is masquerading as a science fiction and their cover has been blown.

May 02, 2013

To tip or not to tip

Today we had a team lunch at Gabby's, the one at 309 King Street West.

We ordered at 12:20pm, and at 12:56, I saw our waitress with her back facing us, wiping tears from her eyes as an older woman rubbed her back.  I could only assume (given the way she took our orders) that she was relatively new at her job and had screwed up the orders and was now sorry for her mistake.  The older lady calmed her down and then came over to our table to explain (lie) about why are food hadn't arrived yet.

She told us it was because there a huge influx of people who had arrived at once and so the kitchen was backed up.  This of course was a blatant lie because we'd seen other people arrive 20 minutes after we ordered, who were already eating and getting ready to pay their bills.  But I mean, what else are you going to say.. you're not going to throw your employee under the bus.  I think that kind of lie is acceptable -- assuming that you're going to make up for the mistake. Free appetizers or coupons usually work when 11 people are sitting around for 45 minutes waiting for their food.  But we got nothing.  The food came 2 minutes after the manager walked away.

So I guess here's the debate:

When you get bad service, do you tip anyway or do you not tip?

Tip no matter what

Some people tip no matter what, they believe there is a minimum tip they should give regardless of service, and if the service was really good, then you give them a little extra.

Tip is a reward

Others believe the tip is the reward.  A waiter's job description is to take your order, enter it into the computer or give the order to the kitchen, and then when the time comes bring the food back out and serve it to you.  Later on, you might bring out the bills and take payments.  That's the job.  Failing to do this means you failed to do your job.  Successfully completing these tasks means you get paid, and anything above and beyond that job description earns potential rewards (ie: tips).  Therefore, only tip when such rewards are deserved.


Personally I fall in the former category where I feel the need to tip no matter what.  If I had really bad service I give them 10-15% (depending on the establishment), and bring that up to 15-20% if deserved.  The only places I've given lower than 10% is buffet's (where I did half of their job for them) or restaurants that I frequent often and some days I give more and other days I give less.  The amount often depends on how much I have in my pocket, and whether or not I need to keep some reserve for future purchase (bubble tea after lunch anyone?)

But I do think that tipping as a reward does make quite a bit of sense.  Tipping someone who has provided half-assed service only enables poor performance on the job.  What's their incentive to go above and beyond if they're going to get paid either way? 

May 01, 2013

BBQ Duck

I need a new place to get BBQ duck.  After literally years of searching for the best BBQ duck in Toronto, I found it in Markham.  Specifically a place called Van's BBQ inside the food court at First Markham Place. 

I went there steadily for 3 years and got to know the owner (or I assume he's the owner).  Never got his name (Van?) but we spoke regularly whenever I was there and he talked often about going to other places who offered BBQ duck to compare his product with others.  Having done the same, I would agree wholeheartedly that he had the best BBQ duck with a 100 kilometer radius.

Alas, about 2 months ago I went as usual to find that it had been locked up.  The metal door and been closed.  At first I assumed he'd gone on vacation but after repeat visits week after week, to my chagrin, it never reopened.  Two weeks ago, it had the conclusive For Lease sign in front of it.  The horror.

There's another place 2 spots over that just plain sucks.  For some reason they always had a long lineup throughout the years, but their duck is just terrible.  It's basically plain duck with some kind of sauce they've poured over it to simulate the proper taste of BBQ duck.  So disappointing.  Perhaps they have better product of other BBQ items which might explain the lineup.

Sad times indeed.

On the plus side, Van going out of business probably decreased my chances of a heart attack by about 20%..

April 22, 2013

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April 02, 2013


            Cuts of Beef

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