Have you had a Timmie’s today?


I had a Tim Horton’s yesterday and it was so good! 

In case you’re not Canadian … Tim Horton’s is a popular fast food chain specializing in donuts and coffee. It is a prominent feature of Canadian life and in large cities like Toronto, there is a Tim Horton’s at every major intersection. According to Wikipedia “Canadians eat more doughnuts per capita and have more doughnut outlets per capita than any other nation.”

So why was my Timmie’s so special?  It wasn’t just because the breakfast bagel was soft, the bacon crispy and the lettuce and tomato super fresh.   It wasn’t just that the coffee was dark roasted with real cream or that the apple fritter donut was ooey-gooey sweet with a hint of cinnamon spice.  Nor that this was the first stop after an early morning, two hour trip through winding mountain roads where I halted any car sickness by clenching my fists and biting my teeth.

No, the reason it was special was because I haven’t been able to have fast food for four whole weeks.  In my little town of Ucluelet and the nearby town of Tofino, there is a municipal ban on all fast food franchises.   No McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks (gasp) or Tim Horton’s.

Tell you the truth, I don’t miss them.  Lower metabolism and higher susceptibility to gravity makes me avoid fast food. Normally. But nothing makes something more appealing than not being able to have it.

On this day, I enjoyed my Tim Horton’s breakfast.

And because I could, I had A&W burger & fries for dinner.

Back in Ucluelet. April 2019


Iditarod – Some lessons take time to learn


Years ago when I was a new manager, I was subject to a corporate training event. For an interminably long six hours I had to listen to motivational talks on teamwork and people management.

Full of spunk and youthful impatience I bristled at the truisms taught by our instructor. I thought it a huge waste of time. Adding insult to injury, he made us watch a documentary on the Iditarod race.

What did dog sledding have to do with people management?

A lot, as seen in this 2019 report “The Iditarod leader’s dogs went on strike after he yelled at them” by Corinne Purtill .

Then Joey—one of 14 huskies pulling Petit’s sled—started fighting with another dog on the team. A frustrated Petit yelled at the dog. And then none of the dogs would race any further.

“I yelled at Joey, and everybody heard the yelling, and that doesn’t happen,” Petit told the Iditarod Insider website, according to the Associated Press. “And then they wouldn’t go anymore. Anywhere. So we camped here.”

It only goes to show that some lessons take longer to learn.

Ucluelet. March 2019

What a Strange

… and now for something completely different.

YouTube recommended this video to me.  They must know I have a taste for music crossed with unconventional but traditional sounds.

Mongolion Folk Rock fits the bill.

If I could, I would be throat-singing this all day.

In case you’re wondering about the lyrics – a commenter explains that

They are singing from spiritual ancestors view … Mongolia’s main and most historical religion is shamanism and shamanism is about respecting our nature calling the spirits of our ancestors into the shaman’s body They are questioning about why the politicians don’t keep their words. Why Mongolians are being racist to each other because of their bloodline or province.  Why the kids are not listening to their parents and elders” – Low Chaze

Universal themes, relevant to people and politics well beyond Mongolia.

Video filmed in spectacular Mongolia.  2018

The Evolution of Zuke

The Sandy Food Chronicles


The zucchini looked big in Cody’s box.  It looked even bigger on its own.  I weighed the monster on my Iron Man scale (so called because … isn’t it obvious?)

What do you do with a 1.675 kg Zuke and his 536g younger brother? It’s going to take many meals to find out.

King Arthur had some interesting ideas.  Roasted veggie pizza for instance.  Actually, the King suggested a galette but I had pizza dough in the fridge.  The recipe said to roast sliced zucchini and tomatoes in a 425F oven for 15-20 minutes.  It also talked about making a ricotta cheese base but I don’t like fresh cheese.

For the pizza which should have been a galette – I rolled out the dough, dressed it with olive oil and fresh basil and layered it with a scant topping of roasted tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and onions.  To maintain it’s…

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West Coast Healthy

The Sandy Food Chronicles

I’m going whole hog with the West Coast lifestyle thing.

Well, maybe not ‘whole hog’, that’s not vegan. But I may be going ‘loco.’

I’m buying local anyways.  I joined the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild (TUCG) which provides locally sourced food and vegetables to Vancouver Island’s restaurants and foodies.

Aside from ordering a la carte, I can buy a Food Lovers box featuring the best veg and fruits of the week. Sometimes it’ll include an unusual but not too weird item. Exactly what’s in the box is a mystery until pickup.

Here’s what my first box looked like.


Fruits included raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries and first of the season peaches.

Veggies were french beans, fresh picked bib lettuce, cauliflower and purple kale. The kale was the not too weird vegetable. And carrots – lots and lots of carrots – a whole layer of them was hidden beneath the kale. An additional…

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A Surfeit of Croissants

The Sandy Food Chronicles

I’m learning how to make breads at the George Brown culinary school.  Last week’s class was French croissants.  It was my introduction to laminated breads i.e. breads made with layers and layers of butter.

Through a series of missteps and happenstance I ended up making over six kilos of dough.

If you’re familiar with the lamination process, you will appreciate the magnitude of  that effort. Suffice to say it took twelve hours of kneading, rolling and folding to produce these three batches of dough.

I cut and baked the first batch at school. This first set I called my ‘learning batch’. They were less than perfect.  I’d cut them too big, shaped them wrong and had not left enough time for proofing. While they tasted ok, there was obvious room for improvement. I took the remaining batches home for practice.

Learning Batch of Croissants Croissants – First attempt – the Learning Batch 

Two batches (4…

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Gurushots Addiction

I may be addicted.

Lately I’ve been spending too much time huddled over my phone, checking status, entering challenges, voting and topping up my exposures. I’ve been playing Gurushots, a real-time online photo competition system.

It works by entering challenges and accumulating votes to achieve levels. The levels tip to points and the points tip to ranks. The more you vote, the more exposure your photo entries get for voting.  There is no limit to the number of challenges you can enter.  And that’s a problem.

At one point I had ten challenges going.   I was constantly checking on my exposure meter and submitting votes to bump it up.  Problem is that voting involves paging through hundreds of photos, some good, some not so good and some downright puzzling.   It all depends on the wording of the challenge. Sometimes, the guidance is too vague.

Take for instance the “Starts with a K” challenge.  The description was too vague.  It should have qualified the language.   I paged through hundreds thousands of Kittens, Keys and Kiwis.  (Question: How many interesting angles are there to a Kiwi? Answer: None. I’ve seen them all.) But then I started seeing Cakes, Coffee and Corn. Someone couldn’t spell. Wait … maybe they could spell but it was in German. Kuchen, Kaffee and Korn.

Another fun challenge was “Face in the Crowd”.   There were lots of pictures of crowds but no distinctive single face.  Other pictures were classic single person portraits; you had to imagine the crowd. One remarkable shot was taken on stage, of the back of a band performing to a crowd. No faces seen but they were facing the crowd. Ha ha!  That one got my vote.

Anyways here are a few of my photos in recent Gurushot challenges.

Toronto, Canada.  2018

via Daily Prompt: Vague

Sartorial Inequality

I suppose I should be more concerned with grander things.  Trump-o-mania. Plunging stock index. Escalating Syrian-Israeli-Iran crisis. North Korean everything.

But the thing I’d like to know is … how come Boris Pasternak ca 1920 looks like a LLBean model in 2018?

Consider the same of Virginia Woolf ca 1923.

Is there no justice in fashion evolution through the ages?  While men continue to wear the same old cable knit and trousers will women’s fashion constantly re-invent itself?

And really, will there ever be a time when floppy hats and lace curtains become stylish  again?

Oh … and if you’re keen on last week’s Lit Hub, click here.