Monday was supposedly quieter than most days, thus anticipated to provide a peaceful working environment for my 8-hour-plus day. The setup procedure was tedious in itself: from locating one's assigned seating in the space, discovering variances from the online seating chart versus the in-office edition, and finding your deskmate already seated to relocating to a different numbered table and wiping away seemingly weeks of dust and tackiness, it all seemed utterly unnecessary for the commencement of work.
Beyond an additional thirty to forty minutes of commute time, unassigned seating and workstation preparations accounted for nearly thirty minutes more in delays. Let's also not forego monitor troubleshooting periods, which constituted fifteen minutes of unassisted issue resolution.
The stall was located near the entrance of Ocean's, positioned within a section that housed other prepared foods. Operating as a standalone establishment, I was grateful to find their acceptance of credit card. I opted out of making purchases from the supermarket itself, in fear that I would be rejected without debit or cash on hand.
I Love Pho was secured for supper en route home.
- #201 I Love Pho Special (Medium)
- #215 Lightly Fat Well-Done Beef & Tendon Brisket Pho (Medium)
- #501 Grilled Pork Chop with Steamed Broken Rice
- #701 Banh Xeo | Vietnamese Pancake with Pork, Shrimp, and Bean Sprouts
Prices have surged since our last visit, escalating up to 20% markup in comparison to their online menu.
The pickled veggies were fresh, beef tender, and herbs fresh. Surprisingly, the mint remained dry even after several days of being encased within a plastic bag. The same can be said about the basil.
Express trains have been removed from the train schedule altogether; it was unthinkable, to me, that GO would ever operate on thirty-minute intervals throughout the week, and on their busiest Lakeshore corridor as well. But one look at the parking situation cleared up my confusion. Where there was once more shiny, reflective surfaces than bare asphalt, Clarkson now boasted more parking spots than needed for the existing commuter group. I took to leisurely picking my spot in the lot connecting to the pedestrian bridge, which had previously been closed for maintenance.
Admittedly, the top floor view was very nice. However, the absence of monitors, stand desks, and space away from other employees was quite counterproductive. Loud phone calls, and even training modules without headphones, were shared with all users of the compact space, while work involving two screens could only be performed at a minimum. Furthermore, lugging a weighty laptop and all its accessories was no easy task.
I somehow survived the strenuous trek to The Underground. Upon confirmation of my downtown plans, I had excitedly signed up for a one-week trial. The $28 pass enabled participation of four classes within one week - a no-brainer choice for me.
Additional applications of the style was made known to the general public via Street Woman Fighter, which had participants battling with one another using their dance genre of choice. Sometimes, waacking would be done to non-disco tunes, drawing further interest in the style and its versatility.
Class commenced with the instructor's brief analysis of new and old faces, next a warm-up series and brief history on the style (including waacking being merely one constituent of punking). Waacking drills were also conducted at varying speeds on both arms, allowing all participants, old and new, to revisit the basics in advance of learning choreography.
It was a fabulous experience overall, serving to introduce newcomers such as myself to the style organically and without fear of the fast gestures. The drills also drew attention to muscle imbalances between the left and right arms, as well as core control for sharper movements. We were also provided tips to enhance our movements: "Think about how your pose looks from ALL angles, like if the camera is on ceiling. It should look good not just from the front, and it should be dynamic."
The instructor was extremely friendly; not only was she observant, but also adjusted her pace and provided clarifications as needed to support understanding. The choreography was tricky upon first glance, but less intimidating with repetition and explanation. Frankly, I was surprised I could even remember the choreography, let alone perform it at all. Despite lagging behind the regulars of the class, I was quite satisfied with my progression throughout the one-hour session. A bucket list item had been happily ticked off!
For the class's final practices, the instructor prepared a skinny tripod and DJI camera for wide-angle filming. This enabled a stable, eye-level record of all class participants for their own record and review. Simply by sending her a message on Instagram, the original files would be provided through a WeTransfer link. As the link would expire after one week, she urged us to download the files before then. This truly couldn't have been a better experience. Too many times have I struggled to obtain even a reduced file format rendition of VyBE's videos, often taking to filming my own practices to eliminate hassle.
Unlike the earlier session, there was no choreo. It instead adopted the format of a training session, where participants continually practiced specific movements until reaching the point of familiarity and perfection. The instructor was enthusiastic and very precise, observing the movements of each student and rectifying along the way. He even offered variations for progression, noting that no variation was coerced, and that one could choose his or her desired difficulty level.
Movements were more cardio-heavy, involving light footsteps along with bounce and accurate initiation. Fundamentals from a previous class I had not attended were "revisited"; these included moves such as "Hip Twist" and "Indian Step". After solidifying the footwork, arms and head movements were added for visual interest.
The Bronx Step, along with turns and lateral travelling, was our main focus of the class. Though, I opted to practice the Hip Twist a few more times to conserve energy, as I was already sweating profusely from Bronx Step iterations in the first half of class.
Music played continuously for students to make use of the beats and tempo. While the waacking instructor had paused music when her voice needed to be heard, this instructor continued to teach over the the speakers, projecting a powerful, tenacious voice.
Interestingly, the latter class also seemed to comprise of more beginners - participants looking to learn the fundamentals as opposed to elevating their craft with sequences (ie. most dance classes I've taken).
Once again, for personal development were the various steps taught in class. Much like pilates, the sequences can be practiced on one's own time, though form and accuracy ought be learned and rectified from a qualified individual.
A cabbage slaw "salad" and fresh pasta with vodka sauce served as sustenance. Overcooked was observed from the dining table, and conversations were had until the 10:40 PM mark.
Fragile in its construction, the book are had broken off during travel. The statue's right, torch-bearing hand was also suffering signs of crack propagation. A squeeze of hot glue mended the figure, despite not offering the cleanest of finishes.
1) Ube Hawaiian Butter Mochi
One half of orangecane's early birthday gift took the form of Trader Joe's branded Ube Mochi Pancake & Waffle Mix, an American exclusive. Shortly upon its receipt, I chanced across a recipe for Butter Mochi using the precise box mix. Halving it and distributing across mini muffin tins allowed me to reserve the mix for a second experiment and reduce the baking time for the first.
Ube Mochi Pancakes were constructed on a whim using the box recipe, an unmeasured amount of butter, and additions of glutinous rice flour, vanilla extract, and ube extract.
- Glutinous rice flour for chewiness
- Butter in place of oil for a crisp finish
- Ube extract for depth
- Cornstarch for crunchy surface (like brownies!)
- Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (or a combination of the two) for a boost in flavour
Instead of hamstring and hip stretches on the Ladder Barrel, we commenced standing on the Cadillac. I was instructed to thread one foot through a fuzzy strap hanging from its frame, square my hips towards the raised food, and gently lunge into the strap for a dynamic stretch. It was significantly less risky than last week's ill-advised static warmup, and lengthened muscles that had been compressed during the eastbound drive. Rotating the body to face perpendicular from the mat, I conducted an inner thigh stretch in a similar manner, easing into the fuzzy contraption, then returning to the starting position. Lying down on the mat, the arms were brought above the head, circled about the trunk, then brought back to one's sides. These rotations were performed in both directions, placing emphasis on chest stretching and shoulder mobility.
Glute bridges were executed slowly, initiated by tucking the tailbone to lift, and rounding through the spine to lower down. "Your knees should be pressing away!" urged the instructor. "Think of your ribs sucking into your back." Channeling energy through the glutes was not unfamiliar direction, but hearing this description was truly unique; it served to solidify the form reminder through imagery. In addition to glute bridges with the feet at hip distance, the legs were lifted alternately to test stability of each side.
A second variation involved keeping the standing leg slightly bent, drawing the panel towards the body, then pushing back out to the halfway point. This move was intended to replicate a narrow lunge, sustaining tension in the lower leg. The third variation lifted the bottom leg off the panel and into the air. Balancing strictly on the standing leg and hands gripping the handlebars, one was tilt the body forward while keeping the lifted leg raised. When viewed from the side, the body would appear as one straight line. These exercises were then repeated on the other leg, making for an extremely sore derrier for days.
A slow, standing rolldown concluded the class.
The mobile site was no less user-friendly than last time. I wasn't kicked out of the portal, thankfully, and the promo code applied as expected. A confirmation email was received immediately after order placement, but revealed no further details on the delivery time
"I just placed an order via the website." I started, "Did you receive it on your end? I have the order number."
"We should have. When did you place it?"
"Ummm if you received the confirmation, then it's fine." was the first example of questionable reliability.
"What is the anticipated delivery time?" I followed up with the most important question.
"About forty-five minutes." She replied, resulting in a shared bewildered exchange.
"Forty-five?!" I reacted, utterly shocked. "The delivery location is not that far though - it's a park."
"I'm not exactly sure, but that is usually how long it takes."
"Will I receive another email when the delivery is arriving?"
She dodged my inquiry entirely. "Did you receive the confirmation email?"
My dining partner looked over at me. "No email." she said in a hushed tone.
Patience running low, I thanked the girl on the phone and noted the forty-five minute window.
A second call was received from the restaurant, informing me that "their driver had attempted contact". By this point, I was stunned and beyond irritated. Did the restaurant operate independently of the online ordering system?! We sped back to the delivery address, where our order awaited us.
Alas, our meals were great. It pained me to admit it, but my orders of Signature Pad Thai and Green Mango Salad were delicious. Portion sizes were reasonable and flavour complexity gratifying - the meal induced mixed reactions as a consequence.
It bore a likeness to Lemon King, but with greater zestiness, less tang, and a bit of honey jelly at the bottom. Absolutely refreshing, I wouldn't hesitate to repurchase the limited-time beverage - if it wasn't so pricey, and if I could swap out green tea for water.