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Archive for April, 2014

Lawyer Calendar Anecdote of the Day

A very respectable lawyer was filing some insurance papers when he came to the question: “If you father is dead, state the cause.” Unwilling to reveal that his father had been hanged for cattle rustling, the lawyer evaded the problem by answering this way: “He died while taking part in a public ceremony when the platform gave way.”

Restaurant Review: Sakana Grill

Locations: 116 2 Ave SW
10 Crowfoot Cir NW

Website: http://www.sakanagrill.ca/

I’ve been to both Sakana Grill locations, but usually the Crowfoot location is more convenient for me. Tonight was a special occasion as I had finished the last final exam of my undergrad. I can’t say that it will be the final exam of my entire university career as I plan on going to law school, but it’s still a good feeling. It feels odd that I’m graduating. It definitely doesn’t feel like it’s been four years.

I met my best friend, Julia (http://wallsandstalls.wordpress.com/) when I was in first year in an introductory English class, special topics: gaming and ideology, so fittingly, I have ended it with her for dinner this evening. My sister has also been a really important person in my life, so she came along too.

I’m not usually one for sushi, but I felt that it was something I wanted to have to celebrate this epic achievement. I remember the first time I got a job, I spent my entire paycheque treating my family here.

Normally when I go with my family we get the sushi boats because they are the best deals considering the amount my father and sister consume, but today we went primarily with appetizers and a couple of rolls. My sister suggested that we try the takoyaki because they were particularly good. I think that they weren’t any different from other restaurants that serve the dish except that at Sakana there are fish flakes…which just make me think of fish food and ironically, I’m not a huge fan of fish. Tonight’s special were squid legs. I have a personal weakness for squid/calamari so we decided to give it a try. I was in love. There wasn’t a ridiculous amount of batter on the squid and there was a sweet-spicy sauce that was drizzled on top making it absolutely delectable! Of course this dish is squid, so keep in mine my bias. The Red & Black Ninja Roll is a must have at Sakana. It has salmon, unagi (freshwater eel) over shrimp tempura, tobiko (flying fish roe), mayo, finished with sesame seeds and unagi sauce. This roll is the only one I’m willing to eat raw salmon on. The second roll we ordered for the evening was the Ocean Mountain Roll, Julia’s pick. Now, the other ironic thing is that I hate wasabi. It’s not that wasabi is spicy, well okay, it is if you eat a spoonful, but really, who does that if they’re not being dared to. But anyways, wasabi has this really weird plant-y taste that I can’t get used to. So, the Ocean Mountain Roll has salmon, avocado and ebi (sweet shrimp) over tempura yam, cucumber and mayo, finished with sweet wasabi and sweet spicy sauces and tobiko.  Now I didn’t even know there was such thing as sweet wasabi so I was willing to try it. Sweet wasabi was true to its name. It was definitely not spicy and a spoonful of that stuff wouldn’t kill me, but the plant-y taste. Oh that disgusting plant-y taste killed me. Of course, my sister had to get her salmon and tuna sashimi because what is Japanese food without a couple slabs of raw fish. I won’t touch the stuff and I can’t tell the difference in textures of the meats, but then again I don’t care to put slimy raw stuff into my mouth. Another staple when going for sushi is tempura, especially if raw stuff doesn’t sit too well in your stomach. Of course, tempura, as I learned in my art history class did not originate from Japan, but was the result of contact with Portuguese traders during the Momoyama period (1573-1615).

For the first time, we also had dessert at Sakana. Okay, like we’ve all probably ordered a green tea ice cream, but tonight we ordered like a coconut surprise and a lava cake. Now I strongly suspect those aren’t made in the restaurant, but still yummy. I don’t care. . The lava cake, as my sister so expertly pointed out came with two scoops of ice cream. If I had known that we would have ordered not another ice cream dessert. The coconut surprise is like this giant egg shaped ice cream that had mango ice cream of the “yolk.” I got brain freeze. It was nice. I was tired and needed it anyways.

I would recommend the Crowfoot location over the downtown location because of lighting and atmosphere. It’s way more comfortable at the Crowfoot location than the darkly lit and kinda old looking downtown location. That being said, due to the dark and older appearance of the downtown location, it is a little bit more private for large parties.

For a Tuesday night, Sakana was pretty full. Every table had patrons. A good sign. I think.

All in all I would recommend this place for sushi, but I wouldn’t really suggest going with the yakisobas, they really aren’t that authentic. If you’re a big eater, get a boat. It will save you a lot of money.

Taking into consideration the price and quality of food, I would give this restaurant a 4/5

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Complimentary sushi that I have no idea what’s in it, but I just ate it anyways*

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Squid Legs

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Tuna and Salmon Sashimi

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Left: Red & Black Ninja Roll
Right: Ocean Mountain Roll

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Takoyaki

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Regular Assorted Tempura

Green Tea and Lychee Slush

Green Tea and Lychee Slush*

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Coconut Surprise

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Lava Cake with two scoops of vanilla ice cream

*Starred images: photo credit goes to Julia

Restaurant Review: Julio’s Barrio

Location: 1110 Memorial Dr. NW Calgary, Alberta

Website: http://juliosbarrio.com/

This is my second time coming here, The first time I went was for dinner with my family. I can tell you that this restaurant is not meant for family dinners. For dinner with friends? Yes. For a couple of drinks? Yes. For a loud and possibly good time? Yes. Family dinner? Not really. I can’t even remember what I had had the first time I went; I think the noise erased most of my memories of the place. All I remember are the tables, which look like they used bathroom tiles. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, except that it isn’t really my style. Colourful and fun, but still not my style.

This time I had lunch with a friend. It was different coming here with a friend instead of my family and for lunch instead of dinner. It was tranquil and hard to believe that my first experience had been as bad as it was. We were seated in a sunny spot and it was really nice, except that the table wobbled a little. Our waitress started us off with some tortilla chips and salsa in a flower shaped tortilla bowl. Both my friend and I ordered tacos. I had the shrimp tacos while she had the baja fish tacos, both of which made it to the table in record time. I hardly felt like I had waited ten minutes when the food appeared. My shrimp tacos were advertised to be seasoned and diced with avocado dressing and a fresh mango salsa and my friend’s baja fish tacos were corona battered and lightly fried red snapper fillets topped with chipotle aioli. Of course they were also topped with some fresh vegetables like red cabbage, lettuce and so on and instead of fries they came with refried beans, corn salad and rice. I found this to be a nice change since fries aren’t that healthy and this gives it a more Mexican flare. The rice and corn salad were delicious, but I found the refried beans to be a little on the salty side. That’s not to say they didn’t taste good, just a little less salt would have made them that much better. Unfortunately my taco wasn’t as nice as the sides. The shrimp completely lacked seasoning and the avocado dressing was more like a deflated avocado foam. It didn’t help that the salsa released so much water that it mixed with the avocado foam and ran out the back of the taco all over my hand and plate. My friend’s baja fish taco looked much more appetizing and hopefully if I ever return there, I will give those a try.

All in all, great service, okay food, and a fun atmosphere. I would rate this restaurant 3.5/5

Baja Fish Taco

Baja Fish Taco*

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Shrimp Taco in the foreground. Baja Fish Taco in the background. Really bright and obscured basket to the side: tortilla chips with salsa

*Picture credit goes to Rhiannon

Happy Birthday Mary Wollstonecraft!!

Happy Birthday, Mary Wollstonecraft, born 27 April 1759, died 10 September 1797

Five Quotes

  1. My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.
  2. Simplicity and sincerity generally go hand in hand, as both proceed from a love of truth.
  3. It appears to me impossible that I should cease to exist, or that this active, restless spirit, equally alive to joy and sorrow, should only be organised dust – ready to fly abroad the moment the spring snaps, or the spark goes out, which kept it together. Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable – and life is more than a dream.
  4. The beginning is always today.
  5. It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are in some degree independent of men.

Wollstonecraft  was an eighteenth-century English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. She wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children’s book. She is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Her daughter, Mary Shelley, wrote Frankenstein.

Source Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

It’s the little things

It’s the little things in life that give us the greatest joy.

Today, while driving (not me, I can’t, so I was a passenger), I saw a petite little lady and the guy behind her get out of their cars and help the person in front of them push his car off the road onto the sidewalkish/bus stop area. This was after I had witnessed the owner of the car pushing his car doing a turn across a three lane “highway” which I thought was freaking amazing. I don’t think I would be able to push a car anywhere. Anyways I thought it was really nice of them, but then of course the not so nice part of me thought, well that was obviously for selfish reasons. What if they had to get somewhere and they were like well I can’t get anywhere if this stupid car is in my way so I’ll get out to help so that I can get to where I need to go, but still, a part of me is still thinking it was a nice thing to do.

On another a note, I may have thought it was a little bit nice because the intersection before, someone stupidly did a left turn when they shouldn’t have been and nearly caused a three car accident.

Video

Toy Doll Shoots Flames out of ass

There may be language some people find offensive, but adds to the overall hilarity of his reaction.

Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

Words we got from Shakespeare:
http://mentalfloss.com/article/48657/20-words-we-owe-william-shakespeare

Phrases we got from Shakespeare:
http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/8-common-phrases-we-owe-to-shakespeare#
http://writerswrite.co.za/international-day-of-the-book-23-april-william-shakespeares-450th-birthday

Video-song of words we got from Shakespeare

Poetry

I’ve forgotten the joy of reading poetry aloud. It’s a beautiful thing, but not my nasally voice…that is not beautiful. But at least I can read with the rhythm and know when to breathe and stop….unlike a certain someone…

Also, read one of Lizzie Siddal’s poems. It’s so sad…it was probably about her treatment by Rossetti, but no guarantees. 

Link

Is Hell exothermic or endothermic?

Is Hell exothermic or endothermic?

The Hanging Jury

John Grisham’s Sycamore Row, categorized as a legal thriller, isthe sequel to A Time to Kill. Although it is written a quarter of a century later, it is set a mere three years after lawyer Jake Brigance’s famous verdict in the Carl Lee Hailey trial in which a black man murdered two white boys for the rape and attempted murder of Hailey’s ten year old daughter. Fast forward to present day, October 1988, when Brigance receives a letter accompanied by the holographic will of Seth Hubbard, an admirer of Brigance’s persistence to defend Hailey in the racist South.  When Hubbard learned that he did not have long to live and suffered painfully from lung cancer, he commited suicide leaving 90% of his $24 million fortune to his black housekeeper of three years, Lettie Lang. As expected, it is a will contest waiting to explode, for embedded in the culture of the Deep South is the unspoken threat of the Klan and their mentality of white supremacy that would never allow Lettie to inherit anything. It is as Lucien Wilbanks, Brigance’s mentor says, “[e]verything is about race in Mississippi…[i]t’s race and money…a rare combination around here” (Grisham 158). Though Wilbanks has been disbarred and is a hopeless alcoholic, he provides Brigance with invaluable assistance and shares with Brigance an appetite for the truth and justice with the occasional detour.

The pace of the novel, for the most part, reflects the pace of legal proceedings, including the occasional scramble for control. In the novel, we are not made to side with Brigance nor are we made to sympathize with Wade Lanier, the primary lawyer contesting the will. Instead we are made to follow Grisham’s measured and deliberate pace that provides the occasional insightful detail that challenges us to solve the case before either lawyer. In this way, we do not just follow Brigance, but also Lanier, Wilbanks and a plethora of other characters to build our case in a way not too different from Ed McBain’s Cop Hater and 87th Precinct series in that it lacks focus on a single detective as the “hero” of the narrative. However, despite this advantage, we are in the dark as much as the jury and do not discover the truth, validity, or reasons behind Hubbard’s last will until we join the jury in the novel to deliver our verdict with them. This novel takes us on the road with the Brigance, Lanier and their investigative teams before and during the trial.  Once there, we hear the discrediting testimony of two witnesses before the novel’s jury, but as we are among the jury, a crucial piece of evidence is withheld from the reader, allowing Grisham and Brigance to effectively prevent us from pronouncing our verdict until our fellow jurors hear the same evidence.

 As an aspiring lawyer, I acknowledge that at times this novel gives a glamorized view of the court and litigation. However, Grisham, commendably shows another side of the legal profession. The reality is that Brigance has lost everything by persistently adhering to his beliefs, evoking a sense of admiration amongst the readers. It is a surprise to learn that his wife and daughter are still with him despite almost getting blown up by the KKK and losing their home in A Time to Kill, but at the same time we are relieved that he still has a support system to help him through this arduous will contest. It is this sympathetic portrayal, coupled with his conviction to see justice done that places our sympathy with him and would like to see him triumph over Lanier. For a legal thriller, I initially expected much of it to be focused on the courtroom brawl, but instead, the novel focuses on the investigative aspect and the energy required in building up the case. By showing the reader the process, we can understand the work put into a case in a way that TV courtroom dramas usually cannot. It provides the reader a more realistic glimpse into the life of a probate lawyer.

Unlike A Time to Kill, Brigance’s focus is not on arguing his case beyond a reasonable doubt; this time he is dealing with probate law, which originally struck me as boring and dry. However, in the progression of the novel, in particular the race to file for probate and the trial that followed, the case was able to hold my attention indefinitely. Understandably, besides being dry, probate law is very complex and at times can be alienating. Yet, Grisham has the sense to simplify it enough so that the common reader with little or no legal background is able to fully grasp his main argument, which is another way that we are like the jury.

In the final battle of wits, will Brigance impress us again with his defensive performance or has he reached the end of his rope?

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