Tag Archives: coffee

The Morning Newspaper Hurdles

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I have been enjoying the experience of reading a print version of the newspaper again, as a more relaxing way to enjoy the news.

But each time I start reading one, I cannot help but remember some of the less-than-relaxing mishaps I have encountered over the years while trying to get a copy of the daily paper.

I was a subscriber for many years and home delivery was so punctual you could set your VCR to it. There may have been the rare production issue, vehicle issue or weather issue when the newspaper might not show up exactly on time. Things like that sometimes happened and we understood.

Just the same, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the person at the telephone switchboard. I’m sure some people would get pretty huffy about a postponed periodical or a tardy tabloid especially in the pre-Internet age.

I mean today, we lose our… ahem… we lose our marbles when the news page takes longer than 6 seconds to fully download. I think patience was in greater supply back then.

In my first apartment, there were days when I’d open my front door to find that my newspaper wasn’t there. A gentle call to the newspaper confirmed that it wasn’t due to a production issue, a weather issue nor a delivery issue in my area. It was likely a neighbour, especially when the disappearing newspaper trick would happen in cycles. Continue reading

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Top 10 Unwritten Rules of Wearing White Pants

whitepantsWhether you are a traditionalist, wearing white pants between Easter and Labour Day, or a rebel and pushing the envelope after Labour Day, did you notice that there seems to be a few rules that go with wearing white pants, even though no one really talks about them?

When I have seen people defying these rules, I have been known to gasp out loud. I have even commented that they are braver than I would ever be and that they must be adrenaline junkies who like to live on the edge. Perhaps it’s just my overall lack of coordination that makes me say that.

Either way, I know there has been much dialogue about the “rule” of whether white pants should be worn between Labour Day and Easter, but I think there is a more elaborate set of rules on which I am certain we can all agree.

Here they are, the top 10 unwritten rules of when not to wear white pants:

10 – When carrying a coffee in an open cup or mug (without a lid)

That one drop of coffee on the white pants is not only hard to get out, but it seems to stick around the whole day.

9 – When using a pencil

I don’t know what it is but when I walk around with a piece of paper containing work done in pencil, that will be the time it will smudge… and more than likely, on the pants.

8 – When using condiments

If I must eat a hamburger or hot dog, it is best eaten at a table, or else I will forego the mustard or ketchup. With the latter, I don’t want my pant leg to look like a barber pole.

7 – When cleaning

Let’s face it, white pants attract dust and dirt without really trying. I don’t like walking around looking like a big “Swiffer” Continue reading

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The Writer All-nighter

Typewriter Back in my university years, between classes, working, socializing, sleeping, watching music videos on Muchmusic and trying to get all my assignments done, there were times that there simply didn’t seem to be enough hours in a day. To try to make ends meet time-wise, I would occasionally revert to the old stand-by: the all-nighter.

I did not do it often, but I do recall the ceremony behind it, ensuring I had all the supplies I needed to make it through the night: coffee, cigarettes, snacks, plenty of good music, typewriter ribbon cartridges and typing paper (because of course, typewriter supplies never ran out during store hours). I did not usually go to caffeine tablets on top of that because they just made me so jittery I couldn’t read my own writing. Red Bull had not been invented yet so we made do with the above even though it was not the healthiest of combinations by any stretch of the imagination. And for the record, I quit smoking around 1990-91.

I do not want to over-romanticize the all-nighters of 1986, but there was something magical about the peace and solitude of the middle of the night, clickity-clacking on my Mom’s typewriter in my man cave, and producing some quality essays that earned me some decent marks.

I recall those smoke-filled nights, with a gentle breeze wafting through the window, expanding my musical horizons listening to all kinds of classical, jazz, rock, pop and instrumental artists like Kitaro and Tangerine Dream.

I even remember a couple of quick runs to the 24 hour grocery store around the corner to pick up more snacks, only to find that I could sing “All By Myself” at the top of my lungs in aisle 7 and really mean it. (I tried it once, it was most liberating.)

It did not matter whether Continue reading

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My Lifelong Courtship… With Coffee

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhen people ask me the secret to how I am so cheerful all the time, the possible answers are endless. I could chalk it up to any of the many things for which I am grateful including a great family, wonderful friends and colleagues, good health and living a good life. But the one factor that never fails in keeping my spirits high is a great caffeine buzz… one that has probably been going on for over 40 years.

My earliest memories of the sensual experience of good coffee go back to my childhood and the percolator. Whenever we had guests over, the wonderful aroma of percolated coffee would fill the house, which created an association in my head between drinking coffee and its social nature, an association that would last a lifetime.

Maybe once per year I would ask for some, but my underdeveloped taste buds did not fully appreciate coffee just yet, regardless of how much milk or sugar I dumped into my cup. Perhaps that was just as well, I could not imagine a heavily caffeinated version of me in childhood.

It was in my later high school years that the aroma of fresh coffee wafting through the cafeteria heralded that rite of passage and the long standing love affair that continues today with my daily brew. On certain cold mornings or after traveling 15 km on city buses in the middle of snow storms, that first cup of coffee with friends was to become the source of great memories as the heartwarming conversation that accompanied it easily melted away the morning’s chill.

It was in the university years that coffee truly became my best friend. I could always count on coffee to Continue reading

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