Fromage

Les fromages, ah, ils sont merveilleux !

Le brie,

Il est ma vie;

Ni trou,

Ni fondu;

Je ne discrimine pas contre eux.

 

I’ve been thinking about cheese all day. This was inevitable.

This, ladies and gentlefolk, is the very definition of 2 AM poetry.

Behind Enemy Lines

I hate the people behind the counter.

Yeah, you know the smug guys on the other side of the barrier, showing you how clearly and plainly they have not picked your side in this war. Them of the tired, weary looks, and also them of the indistinguishable, incomprehensible drive-thru voices, but they’re a different story.

It’s them of the “Next, please” that I am onto today.

(And also, this has nothing to do with the little yellow guy who’s biggest ambition was to stand before a table, pen and in hand and say, “May I take your order, sir!” Just so we’re clear.)

So I went to buy my a sandwich, which is a very ordinary, Adult™ thing to do. Nothing fishy here.

…I occasionally stop by to buy food, because I don’t want to cook for myself.

And given my cooking capabilities stretch across the vast expanses of egg, bread, cereal and milk, who am I kidding, I’ve bought me more food from outside this month than I have in the last nine months combined.

So I go to Tim’s, and ask for a sandwich.

Hi, could I have the xyz sandwich?”
(No, I’m too mad to recall which one it was)

“Sure thing!” Says she, because why wouldn’t she say that?

I say, cool! Sandwich for dinner and then straight to bed for the tired adult kid who stayed up till 4 last night. I’ve only half a good reason, and that reason was SpongeBob SquarePants. The other half was work.

What, logically, should have been the next thing for her to say?

Maybe “to go?” Except everything in Tim’s is wrapped.

“Napkins?” If you’re feeling judgy.

Or, “Have a nice day!”, because you’re Canadian.
Okay, no that’s too nice, even for a Canadian.

The correct answer is, you ask, “debit or credit?”

And guess what she asked?
“Debit or credit?”
—NOT!

She asks, “Would you like a combo?”

No, I would not like a combo, I just want a sandwich.
… what’s in a combo?
Well, I just want a sandwich.

Somewhere behind enemy lines, a siren rang out. Soldiers gathered in formation and blared their trumpets, cocked their guns upwards, and sang the national anthem. They summoned the very fathers and mothers, and going back far enough, apes, velociraptors and cockroaches, of this land and poured their very animal spirits into their souls. Then all together, they looked towards the enemy approaching on the horizon, with a look of hope and new found confidence, as they prepared to begin their march for victory.

Whatever all that above was about, this lady seemed to sum up, within milliseconds, with a smile.


The end of the day arrives, The soldier takes a break. Trying to walk back home is great for the adrenaline, not so much for a backpack with a laptop on a back for an hour. At least I don’t need to make me food.

The hand dips into my bag for that hard earned loaf, and wanders to the side pockets of the bag.

Defeat is bittersweet, and I mean it.

She had me and my social awkwardness at the eyebrow raise. You can’t take a word back. You can’t take a question back. The aftertaste of the question is bitter.

Good for me that I have this whirlpool to numb it down.

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It smells like vanilla, but this stinks.

Polishing Up The Sharps

Over the past few weeks, I have attended tons of orientations on campus: academic orientations, school spirit parades, Computer Science frosh, computer science frosh, getting used to living on campus orientation, laundry orientation…

And so, this weekend, I put the wonderful advice my seniors had so painstakingly put together for a week’s worth of sermons to great use: I ditched my Sunday laundry, ignored my psychology homework, forgot all about my math and went out for the afternoon and evening, for not one but two music festivals.

Toronto has a pretty unique music scene in that its festivals have a uniquely Toronto vibe. When you think of outdoor music festivals, you normally think of parks or farms like those employed for European summer music festivals (arguably the best in the world) (and perhaps, with the sixteen hour drives like the ones to Pilton for Glastonbury) and American music festivals in the blazing summer (like Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo, or the Warped Tour) and to be fair, music festivals elsewhere in Canada (Montréal Jazz). Perhaps you may even think of large, open air arenas and stadiums.

Toronto presents to you a different kind of intimacy when it comes to its summer music festivals (and I mean summer when I say it. Twenty eight degrees has never felt as much like thirty six and as relentless as it did on Sunday). Enter the Kensington Market Jazz festival (taking place for three days over the weekend, their packed schedule can be found here), a weekend full of jazz music (and a few stretches over to some rock and blues) on guitars, pianos and more. The festival is spread out over fifteen venues all over Kensington Market, the whole event being indoors—in shops!

My buddy and I had time only to head to one venue, having left at 12:00 PM and remembering that we hadn’t had breakfast, nor would have lunch for quite some time and making a pitstop by a Tim Hortons, and caught one set at Tom’s Place, a suit shop.

So here’s Peter Hill, on the piano, in a suit shop, furiously churning out some jazz for a seated audience (I wonder if it’s quite what he’s used to).

IMG_0155It did make for a most interesting sight!

Standing behind a mostly older audience seated so disciplined and listening and nodding along with such enthusiasm it felt slightly out of place to whip out my phone and snap a shot, so this is all I have to offer, I suppose.

But there are tons more elsewhere, for after that, we hopped on the TTC streetcar (I’m still adjusting to not calling it a tram…) and tripped down to Roncesvalles for the annual Roncesvalles Village Polish festival. Roncesvalles is known to be a centre for the Polish Torontonian community, and every year, with official patronage from the Polish Consulate, hosts this day-long music and food fest.

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Arrival!
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I can never take a decent panorama… I think a poor passerby just got cut in half in my snap! Thanos would be proud, eh?
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Giving the accordions their due in pixels
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A most sweltering yet beautiful day. I almost prefer it through the camera now.
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Books, books and more books!
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Very Polish set up. Though it must be really hot under all those layers.
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Living for the brass section

If you’d like to listen to snippets of some of the music being played around (and Polish festival or not, not all the music was lyrically in Polish), I have included a drive link with some of the videos I shot around Roncesvalles (three days, and I still screw up that spelling.) WordPress doesn’t currently allow me to upload any media that aren’t photographs.

The entire festival takes place on Roncesvalles Avenue, that’s one long street for the whole festival. A little different from the Reading and Leeds you’re used to, perhaps!

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It really is just this one long stretch of road.

And that was the whole stretch of the road.

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Wow, such empty.

My buddy and I, not quite convinced that we were done walking for the day, decided to head further up and cross the street to do some exploring. It turned out to be a lovely idea!

Cross this bridge to the other side to find the waves of Lake Ontario lapping at the sandy, gravelly shores. Welcome to Budapest Park!

And since there was water, we ran into some little friends of ours…

… silently quacking away about their shit day jobs on their way to downtown. Sunday’s the only day they can go downtown with fun on their minds. It was a well used break, or so I heard.

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Between my friend and I, we quite thought this one picture summed up our year ahead at university quite well: the first ten days, you walk along a carefully planked, well-defined path. Then as you head onto the sands, you tread through a downward curve. From there on, you gain velocity as you descend further down your path with heavier, more uncontrollable steps. There’s a sign board explaining what the various flags to watch out for are, but of course you didn’t notice that. Then come the midterms where you dive into the cold water (absolutely no reference to respite from the heat here, by the way) and try to get swim to the shores but a sudden wave arrives on the waters that honestly seemed pretty still from the admission page far. You try to salvage your record swimming through December (in the icy cold (frozen?) water too, yikes) and finally reach the stones. Congratulations, it’s Christmas and you haven’t died from hypothermia! Time to fix your mental health. You get up and walk along the top, regrouping as January and February go by, only to find that your path has abruptly ended and there are rocks under the water surface and it’s April again. The lifeguard’s off-duty today, of course! (It’s Sunday.)

Pretty apt, eh?

We decided to head back to Roscenvalles Avenue to revel in the festivity for a little while longer. Midterms can wait!

 

We also ran into some unintentional queer support, so yay for Toronto!

As we passed by a band belting out the blues, a lot of enthusiastic older couples starting waltzing (though I’m not dance expert, so don’t hold me to that!) There was this one guy, amidst them all, in a real mood of his own, dancing by himself.

That was, until a real nice lady stepped up and began to dance with him. It made for a more inspirational story than I as a university student could provide you anytime in the next half decade, so you’re gonna have to take it. I managed to get some of that on record too, and to be honest, compared to the videos, the story the pictures tell is underwhelming.

He starts out an awkward lone man dancing, ends up owning the floor, and then winning hearts. What a champion.

[That, and other videos are up right here.]

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And then that was it. We headed back home with trumpets in our ears, crumpets in our stomachs… no, I just said that because it rhymed. Keeping with the Polish theme, we had pierogi. Pretty good, and surprisingly filling!

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That sort of sums it up. Yes, this is part of my dorm room. Don’t judge me. I cropped out the sheer mess. I also cropped out the ‘Computer Science department’ sticker I’ve had since orientation, so are we on speaking terms?

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If not, then this piece of sheer madness I found at the university bookstore should come in handy.

Until I resurface!

Frigid Thoughts

It seems to me that I’m most tolerant of the winter in the midst of summer.

I can’t stand my freezer these days. For the first time, I’m resenting the cold blast I get when the door opens. My key to the Arctic. Beloved zero degrees. Clear ice. Being able to see the flow of frigid air, seeing the air move without infrared glasses or playing god or inhaling nitrogen vapours in the chem lab about two seconds before you set off the smoke alarm.

I’m not looking forward to it. I opened the freezer cringing. Safe to say there was no ice cream in there either. I’m not even in a bad mood, but I wasn’t anticipating anticipating a cold blast and the following break out of neurotic signals on overdrive with my arms trying to tell my brain, “Boss, it’s cold! What now?”. My brain normally just responds with “Yeah, it’s cold. Just chill. And I like it when you call me Boss. The skeleton I sit in doesn’t seem to realise that fact all too often. Especially not inside exam halls, if the records hold any weight.” This time, it just grunted and muttered, “shit.”

I normally enjoy the cold. I yearn for it during the summers. The opposite never happens. I intuitively know that I’d just be happier being a frozen popsicle than a barbeque charcoal going red.

My reputation is at stake. The snow jackets are laughing in my face. This is no way to be prepping for the winters.

‘Winter is coming’, I suddenly see the phrase in a new light.

I want my old ice loving self back.

If this rant bored you and you got stuck on the thought of ice cream in the freezer and eventually graduated to more sucrose-laced thoughts (sucralose for those of you on diets?), here’s a drawing of the chocolate biscuit and Oreo and milk and Coke can aisle of the grocery store.

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 The hand is definitely mine. Don’t ask how it’s possible to draw and reach out with the same hand, but I like chocolate biscuits too.

In the end, I’ve ranted and you’ve drooled before graphite choco chip cookie bags, so we all leave this page happy about having achieved absolutely nothing.

Have a great day!

Waitlisted Again…

What’s the most natural thing most (non twelfth-grader) people do on a weekend night?
They go out and stuff themselves silly, without a word of complain, even if what they’re eating turns out worse than their mum whips up. (Wait… do I sound out of touch?)
It so happened this Friday that we fell into the same line of thinking and decided to go out for dinner.
I don’t know if we should have expected it to be crowded, but the sheer numbers amazed me.
We’d won the goddamned lottery.
Turns out, a team of office-goers had booked the restaurant for the night.
Two hundred and fifty of them, to be precise.
We were told that we had a better chance of getting a seat if we came back the next day.
Now this sounds familiar.
Like every hopeful kid who has poured their heart into their essays, we decided to try and wait anyway.
We were told we’d have to wait at least 45 minutes.
Hmmm… 50 seats, 250+ applicants… now what might their acceptance rate be?
Selectivity was high. Hence began the sizing up of fellow applicants, current students and alumni.
Retentivity was obviously high. And people were taking their time, for sure.
Between dad and my sister, twenty minutes were spent on quality commentary on a poor kid who was just taking too long with a dish.
Well, you heard what they said about idle minds.
Me, I was occupied with the match on the big screen. It’s cricket season again! (To be honest, when isn’t it?)
But heck, I’m observant.
There was another couple who had an issue with their bill. As dad watched them finally sign their scrap of paper with a flourish, I could see him almost tasting victory.
Forty minutes.
Anyway, this was one place I finally did get off the waitlist.
They were surprisingly efficient even with two hundred and sixty odd people (I mean odd in every way… I’m dreading office life already. Who knew the most diplomatic folks were the ones who let loose so completely?)
The food was good too, so the forty five minutes were worth the wait.
Makes me wonder if I should give dinners out another chance. Maybe it’s really not that hard to stop being lazy and allow your arse to get kicked out of the house every once in a while?
Goodness, us twelfth graders must be really lazy.
At any rate, if such situations happen to repeat themselves, I’m gonna land me a college alright!

Ice Creams Don’t Lie

When I was a kid, there was an advert on the telly about sugar biscuits “so soft, they’d melt in your mouth.”

Now, I may not have been the science kid I happen to be today, but back then, such a radical change, of food in the solid state to the liquid state, food that was not ice, (which I loved to melt in my hands back then) seemed quite incredible.

I bought a packet, insisting to my mum that there was definitely something special about them biscuits.

Then I proceeded to shove one biscuit into my mouth and wait for it to melt.

I waited.

Then I waited some more.

I thought of the woman (woman?) in the ad who proclaimed that it melted and closed her eyes from the sugar rush.

Five year-olds don’t have that much patience.

Where is my liquid biscuit??

For forty-five minutes, the sorry, soggy piece of baked flour sat in my mouth, getting wetter, more deformed, but STILL. SOLID.

It never melted, needless to say, and (thankfully) I don’t remember what happened of that biscuit. Maybe I finally ate it.
Maybe I didn’t. I’ll never know, because mum doesn’t remember this incident. Maybe she doesn’t want to remember?

Anyway, it’s shattering. They lied on TV, and this five year old fell for it too.

And that is why I like ice creams.

They begin, cold, fuming, solid, and really do melt in your mouth.

Because ice creams don’t lie.

Although, with this biscuit incident behind me, is it really a surprise that I’m not too particularly fond of food?

Cranberry Soda

It isn’t the holiday season until you’ve created a new weird combination by mixing perfectly normal food prepared by someone else and claiming credit for it, and then enthusiastically shoving it down everyone’s throat.
Heck, with you as excited, chances are, you’ll get a super excited response from them in the form of a throw up. But oh well, guess yoghurt and pasta isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

This time, it was cranberry soda. Just mix cranberry juice lying around in the fridge with Sprite. Somehow, I claimed credit for it!
But with the sparkling bubbles and dark red liquid, I found it quite symbolic of Christmas.

After messing around a bit with juices myself, I took it upon myself to treat everyone who comes home with a cuppa cranberry soda. Of course, the only ones heading my way were mum and dad practicing weightlifting with their grocery shopping.

It actually went better than I’d expected. Their cups were in the sink before I could realise it… I mean, I do realize that could either be because keeping it too long would have it lose all its fizz, or that they gulped it down like a nasty medicine shot…

Got the best reaction from my little sister though. She hates fizzy drinks anyway. I’d have got a money shot had I a camera on me then!

Anyway, ’tis the season where you can momentarily forget that there’s a truckload of integration and semiconductors and benzoic acid that lies waiting (at least for me), so grab the opportunity, eat what you like, sleep, read, blog, and then INTEGRATE!!

Well, till I blow a fuse then.
Happy holidays! (Because we all deserve ONE day off.)

Survey #37

Early Christmas, folks! These surveys have been missing from my schedule for more than two months, but systems are up and running again.

This week (from two months ago) I bring to you the latest marks on the local map (marked for all the wrong reasons, nonetheless). Pit your palates against this!

Q: If you were to own a food joint, what would you call it? What would be your signature dish?

Anshul: I would open a food truck with mixed cultural food and my signature dish would be popcorn chicken and burgers/sliders cooked in Wyushi sauce.

Anandita: Joint name: Ratatouille
Dish name: Devil’s Creation (Sure you want to eat it??)

Vyshnavi: Joint: Comics Ahoy!
Serves: Szlaczek with Spradj

Eesha: Joint: Pasta
Serves: pasta (Maybe spaghetti)

Neha: Joint: Food?
Serves: Food

Aditya: Joint: Void
Serves: Non-food

Siddharth: Joint: Tagline: We fill your voids (stomachs). You Hungry?
Special Dish: Butter Chicken Pizza

Sakshi: Joint: Kadhi Patta
Serves: Shahi Tukda (AKA Jigar da Tukda)

Anand: Joint: Otaku Dojo
Dish: Natsu D. Uzumaki Platter

Ashay: Bro Ramen

Jai: Joint: The Joint
Serves: Weed burger

Parthiv: Joint: Food
Dish: Ashay served hot

Richa: Joint: OK
Dish: Mei Goreng

Archit: Joint:
Dish:

Aakansha: Joint: Food Fighters
Dish: DOA- Danish (of) Apple

Pranav: Joint: Food Fantasy of ने Gi
Serves: Boiled tea leaves with lactose + Parle G [aka chai-biscuit]

Satchit: Joint: sosig ( gordon ransag photo)
Dish: Covfefe

Rhea: Joint: Baker at 16
Serves: Italian

Zeba: Joint: Plate-lets
Dish: The dish itself

Jahnavi: Joint: Honey Dukes
Dish: Dark Chocolate Cake

Manish sir: Joint: Cheesy Times
Dish: Cheese really

Shamila ma’am: Joint: Health is wealth
Serves: Subway-like Roti with veggies

Shivangee: Joint: Sugar coated
Dish: Pain@chocolat

Vishrutha: Joint: Nirvana
Serves: Coffee panna cotta with chocolate genache

Soham: Joint: Min Alimarat
Serves: Belek ekmer

Gauri: Joint: The Moo Point
Serves: Anything the person wants on a given day.

Aayush: Joint: ATTNMKH
Serves: Meh!

Deepan: Joint: * random Bengali stereotype *
Dish: * another Bengali stereotype *

Rashiv: Lé Kha Lé (French restaurant)
[surveyor’s Note: also Hindi for ‘Come eat it’]

Aayushi: Joint: Choti Roti
Serves: Bihari bhindi

Jatin: Joint: Baratie works (one piece)
Dish: Gomu Gomu no elephant gun (Chicken pieces shaped like an elephant)

Rajveer: Joint: Hoe House
Serves: A.Gole

Ohera: Joint: Olz da Dhaba
Serves: Tandoori

Mansi: Joint: Cream Pie
Serves: Cream Pie

Aaliya: Joint: Brownilicious
Serves: Brownies

Pratyasha: Joint: Fulilie
Serves: Nachos with chocolate syrup

Mahima: Joint: Mahimize
Serves: Lollipops

Mahwash: Joint: MW Pizzas
Serves: Pizzas

Anushree: Joint: Bon Appetite
Serves: Oats.

Arjun: It has to be an extension of my South Indian Traditional pizza joint…
[Those EXTREMELY bored may find it here.]

Satvik: Joint: Pavlov’s Hotdogs

Vignesh: Joint: Dick Palace
Serves: Grilled dick

Niket: Joint: Fantasizer
Serves: Tabouleh with hummus and falafel on the side.

Ritankar: “Have a sizzler burnt in fire before you expire!”

Anshul again: I would open another franchise called Bunty’s Fusion Kitchen and serve only Sosig and Covfefe everyday.
[ senses plagiarism]

Lamha: Joint: Rainbows and Unicorns
Signature dish: Unicorn-shaped pizzas and unicorn-shaped rainbow cake

Nirmiti: Joint: Hola! It’s Brittney Bitches!
Serves: Cottage cheese steak ratatouille

Radhika: Joint: Butter Chicken’s Always the Better Chicken
Serves: Peppermint hot chocolate Butter chicken lasagna

Priyansh: Joint: Cheezy Weezy

Pranav: Joint: “Anywhere”
Serves: “Anything”

Nandinee: Name: Sucks
Serves: Boba Tea

Devyani: Joint: Eclair fantasy
Serves: Blue hamburgers

Anika: Joint: Anikaaaaaaa
Serves: Food

Aninthitha: Joint: Fin Fang Food

Manya: Joint: Momos (with a Pepsi ad)
Serves: Momos

 

Well, congratulations on making it this far without a snack break.
The surveyor takes no responsibility or credit for the quality of food served at these little haunts, and recommends you grab that box of fries instead!

Also, after a month, maybe a two month (… maybe longer) break, my hunger for doing this is back! Expect more surveys soon, I’ve got a notebook full!