Do you follow gwilli’s blog? He’s had some interesting posts lately. Greg found a baby bird in the street this week and has been handing feeding it. Riveting stuff! It all begins here.
I need to stop working so late. I took my third taxi home from work this week. Will we see a fourth tomorrow night? Yeah, probably. Tonight’s taxi was my first non-minivan taxi. It was a sedan. The driver was also very quiet. We didn’t discuss anything at all during the ride home. It was weird. Didn’t he want to tell me about all the odd passengers he’s picked up?
Over the years, I’ve come up with my fair share of money making ventures. There was the affordable but trendy pho joint in Yaletown. Then back in 2002, there was the web site that allowed you to upload video clips for free so you could share them with the rest of the Internet. I told that idea to these two dudes from Illinois. They looked at me as if I were crazy. I wonder what they’re up to now.
Anyways, as evidenced by the fact I had to move back in with my parents, these ventures have not gone so well. This time around, though, I’m falling back on what I know best… what I like to eat. My new idea is for a new chain of affordable yet “high-concept” restaurants. The key to my plan? These restaurants will be all in China.
Why China? The economy is booming in major metropolitan centres in China. There is a large middle class emerging that is beginning to be flush with disposable cash. The Chinese are looking to spend their wealth on luxuries. This includes goods and services, especially dining out. I want in on that new money.
So what’s my high-concept? Are you familiar with a restaurant chain in the US called P.F. Chang’s? It’s a successful chain of restaurants that blends modern decor, consistent presentation, and a quality image. Their entire focus is Chinese cuisine but altered ever so slightly to be more attractive to the Western palate. Think Earl’s locally but with Chinese food and waitresses with more clothing.
It’s successful because it’s totally disarming to American tastes that might not be as bold to go to a traditional Chinese restaurant. Or, it’s attractive because one can get Chinese cuisine but in a more Western setting that’s still presentable.
I would take the same winning formula, turn it 180 degrees around, and place it in China. My series of “MJ McWhitey’s” eateries would introduce Western cuisine to the new middle class in China. Surrounded by modern but tasteful decor, Chinese diners would experience Western food with a slight Chinese bent to offset what might have been a harsher introduction to new tastes. I’m still trying to envision the menu but it’s a tough balance between having authentic dishes yet not totally removing the diners out of their comfort zone.
One thought I’ve had is replacing certain ingredients of classic dishes with familiar Chinese staples. A mushroom burger and fries? Replace the traditional capped mushrooms with Chinese ones. I would strive towards simple replacements like that. If you come to MJ McWhitey’s, you’ll get something unique, pleasant, yet still comfortable.
I think this is viable business idea and it could work in China. Plus, if it’s your birthday, MJ McWhitey’s wait staff will come around your table and sing happy birthday to you in Mandarin.
I left work at 11pm today. That’s not so fun. It does make it better that I took a cab home on EA’s dime. I’m trying to make it a habit of tipping huge when I get home, because hey, it sure cost EA a lot less than paying me OT.
Anyways, when I got into the taxi, the cabbie’s voice sounded familar. It turned out it was my driver from the first time I took a cab home from work. He remembered me too. I didn’t have to tell him I lived in Port Moody.
Along the way, he told me about the cheap-ass SOBs that he picks up all the time. According to him, women are better tippers than men. Rich people do not necessarily tip better than poor people. Junkies heading to the downtown east side are surprisingly good tippers.
When we got to my place, it came to $39. I tipped him $7. That’s just a hair under 18%. I think that’s acceptable. I wonder how many more times this dude will drive me home before the game ships?
I saw something like this (image courtesy of citynoise.org)
On Friday morning I was on a bus on my way to work. The bus was on a busy four-lane road in Port Moody. Vehicle speeds on this road are usually between 60 and 80 kph, that’s about -23 and 434 in mph. I was sitting in the centre of the bus, right at the back, affording me a view of the entire road.
From about half a block away, I saw a curious sight. Two geese were on the sidewalk, near the curb, on the right hand side of the road. Before I could process any more this, the two geese hopped off the curb and began waddling onto the road and into traffic. That’s where it got interesting. Right behind the two geese were two baby geese, or goslings (non-Ryan version) if you may.
The entire family of geese were completely oblivious to the danger they were in. They looked neither right nor left and seemed hell bent on crossing this four lane road. I looked forward to the bus driver and luckily he saw the whole spectacle as well. He applied the brakes and the bus stopped about fifteen feet in front of the water fowl. Many people on the bus got up to look out the front. The geese were almost clear of our lane when I looked to my left to see if the other lane had stopped as well.
A Ford Explorer pulled up along side us and came to a stop. Props to the driver for stopping since he couldn’t see anything and he might have just kept on going. Instead, he and the bus driver exchanged glances and a few words of disbelief as the geese cleared the safely second lane.
Now I was getting worried about the traffic coming the other way. There were two other cars coming towards us. The first car was in the fourth lane, while another was in the third but a ways behind the first. The bus driver tried to help by honking his horn repeatedly. It might have helped since the first car came to a stop near the geese and the driver watched them cross the third lane, and then let them waddle across the last lane to safety. By that the time, the last car zoomed passed all the stopped cars. I looked and saw a tiny, middle-aged lady drive by, oblivious as the geese were to what was happening.
Everyone started moving after that. As we pulled past the geese, I could see the entire family making their way along the sidewalk. I have no idea where they were going. They were headed away from water and from anything that resembled a goose habitat.
I want to think they’re ok now but the cynical part of me thinks they tried to cross back later on and were all hit by traffic.
As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Coke soft drinks. My current favourite is the gold-canned, caffeine-free Coke Classic. I’ve tried just about every variation that’s come along in the last ten years: vanilla Coke, Coke with lime, black cherry vanilla Coke, and even Coke with ice in it.
I’ve been very wary of the diet stuff mostly because it tastes like crap (sorry Sarah). I’m also a bit wary of the artificial sweetners which I don’t completely trust as being non-carcinogenic. The lounge at work though has started to offer Coke Zero, a new offering from the Coca-Cola company. I’ve tried it and I think it tastes much better than Diet Coke. There’s apparently half the aspartame and they’ve tried to make it taste much closer to normal Coke.
I’m trying to cut down on my sugar comsumption, so this seems like a somewhat workable alternative to not drinking Coke at all. I am afraid that I’m just trading sugar for cancer-causing agents.
It’s a bit early for me to comment on the 2008 US presidential election but allow me to do so at this time. It would be easy for me to talk about the frontrunners, Obama, Hilary, and Rudy but I ain’t about doing things the easy way. Let’s discuss a lesser known candidate, Dennis Kucinich.
Kucinich also ran in 2004 but was largely lost in the whole battle royale between Dubya and Kerry. This time around, he seems to have a secured a more noticeable platform, namely in the form of a new, smoking hot redhead of a wife, over 30 years his junior, and over a foot taller than he.
Yeah, I know his stance on abortion, gay rights, immigration, and Iraq would have some influence on me but his street cred jumped a couple hundred points after he got married to his third wife Elizabeth in August of 2005.
I know it might seem unfortunate that Kucinich would get more attention this time around just because of his wife but let’s face it, that’s the reality of the situation. There have been many stories written about the couple. The fair-skinned Brit has even done an interview about the whole thing which you can watch here. If you prefer reading, this entire blog post is about how the unlikely couple met.
I doubt he’s going to win even a single electoral college vote but man, who cares? He’s already a winner in many people’s eyes!
Ever since I moved out to the wastelands of Tatooine, I’ve been separated from my friends by a great distance. It’s tough when for a couple years, your closest friends were just down the hall.
So it was with great joy that I heard GK himself, Garrett was moving to Port Moody with his ladyfriend. Not only was he moving to Port Moody, he was moving to a place just a five minute walk from my home.
We will now be able to share the same McDonald’s, the same 7-11, and possibly the same discount women’s clothing store. With GK being so close, I told him I would be over lots and that he should stock the refrigerator with food. Garrett has a brand spanking new widescreen LCD TV but no Xbox 360. I, on the other hand, do have one of those. It will be a good combo. Plus, we both have Wiis so now we can trade games on a regular basis.
The funny thing is, GK and I work just half a block from each other. Now, we’ll be living as close as well. We may even commute home together too, though that seems quite unlikely since I work some pretty long hours.
Anyways, I can’t wait to tell Garrett about my friend Bob Sacamano.
Last night, I enabled some new visitor tracking tools. The map you see above is from the last 23 or so visitors to my blog. I think the Spain one might be a false positive. I don’t know anyone in Spain… or do I?
Spider-Man 3 took in $148 million USD in its first three days of release in the US. In light of this, I give you this heart-warming news story from Oregon.