Meowbox – February 2015

So… I felt kinda bad because I usually spend more time/pay more attention/take more pictures of Basil. I decided to get PC her own Meowbox!

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God – even the handwriting looked nicer. I wonder if there’s a person who does cat names from A-L and then another for M-Z.

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Here is what the box looks like once you open the feather flap.

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1. Greenies – The Original Smart Treat [Link here] – Dental cat treats; has a strong smell but the kids love it – $3.39
2. From the Field – Sammy Saturn [Link here] – Catnip toy; I have not taken it out of the bag because it looks really really messy. I just put it away after PC kept rubbing herself on it. It’s so potent even through the bag. – $11.10
3. Snack21 – Pacific Whiting [Link here] – Natural cat treats made in Canada; I have not opened this bag before but we’ve received other Snack21 goods from Meowbox before and Basil loves them – they’re a little tough to chew for PC – $7.83
4. The Empurrium – Teaser Wand Cat Toy [Link here] – aka the BEST cat toy we’ve received so far – It’s a really simply toy, a stick, an elastic-ey string, a feather and a bell but it’s so effective! Basil has gotten kinda lazy lately but this toy has got him running around like crazy – $ N/A
5. Jerry Kurlz – Road Runner [Link here] – Some straw-like material with a feather; PC played with it once, that’s it. – $1.99
6. Petlinks – Bug Catch Toy [Link here] – A catnip toy that crinkles; PC played with it once – ~$3

TOTAL ~$27 not including the awesome feather wand toy!!

This month’s box was definitely awesome 🙂

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PC reflecting on what she was doing earlier.

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That catnip really got to her.

Winterlicious 2015 – Byzantium

Yesterday was the last day of Winterlicious 2015 in Toronto. I should have posted this post right after dinner on Monday but I honestly didn’t know anyone else going (to benefit from my review) and I didn’t want to recommend this place to anyone either. Sorry, Byzantium. You weren’t even my first choice. My group wanted to go to Trevor but they were closed on Mondays!

In terms of service, it was pretty good. The server we had was actually the manager and he was quite friendly. However, sometimes that’s not enough. The food at Byzantium was lacking. Disappointing even.

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Prior to dinner, they gave us a bread basket with flat bread and other things. The flat bread and hummus may have been the highlight of the dinner. That says a lot.

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We all had the poutine for our starters and it was not bad. It tasted pretty good despite looking kinda blah. It could use more cheese though!

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For the main, the group (except for BP and myself) ordered the lamb but according to my friend the main dish “got progressively worse. It was not worth the effort”. According to another friend, it was “aiite”.

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But I have to say, despite my friends’ comments, I think my pasta of the day (bowtie pasta with chicken) was worse. The chicken surprisingly didn’t taste dry and was not too bad but the sauce and the entire dish was just bland.

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BP was a rebel and ordered the macaroni and cheese from the regular menu. It was the best dish of the night, I think, despite looking like death.

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For dessert, I got the chocolate cake. The presentation was worse than grocery store-bought cake. It tasted on par with store-bought cake. And that stick of chocolate it came with? What even is it? Does not taste like what I thought it would be. It looks like a wafer with chocolate hazelnut inside? Nope. Nope.

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I tried the keylime pie and it tasted like lemonade to me. I don’t eat keylime pie so I cannot judge. To quote my friend, “It ended on a sour note”.

Would I come back again for food? Most likely not.

I believe there’s a DJ after a certain time. I still wouldn’t come back for that. Their women’s bathroom smells horrid! I gagged several times.

If you’re interested in checking out…. cause I mean it seems some people like it, then here’s their info:

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Byzantium
Website: Byz.ca
499 Church Street, Toronto, Ontario
416.922.3859

[Book review] For the win – Cory Doctorow

For those who went by my book recommendation of Ready Player One, you would know that Cory Doctorow was mentioned in the novel. So here I am, reading a book by Cory Doctorow!

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For the Win is one of those multiple pov books that can be terrible when executed terribly. Lucky for Doctorow, this one was done pretty well. The characters are distinct enough that you can figure it out.

The overarching plot is that people in eastern countries are subjected to terrible working conditions and we have someone named Big Sister Nor who wants to unite all unions to stick up for each other rather than each union only being responsible for their own sectors. The multiple povs are of different people working as gold farmers in different countries but treated equally as terrible and viewed as expendable by their bosses. We also have a Jewish high school kid who is a Sinophile who obviously, comes to the aid of his guild mates in China. And we have the pov of a person who actually works behind the scenes in these games.

Doctorow weaves a complicated but eye-opening story on video games, gold farming, and the economy. Seriously, it’s like Investorpedia using game terms with all the explanation of in-game economics that’s actually incorporated in the novel!

I highly recommend this book to people who like MMORPGs or want a book that will make you cry. We always hear about sweatshops and we all bleed our hearts for them BUT without putting a name or face to it, it’s still something that happens in a distant country. This novel (although fictional in its accounts), gives you that personal connection with the people on the other side: the woman who made your Nike shoes, the one who laboriously painted that replica painting you have, etc.

3/5 // Cross-posted on my book review blog: She Reads (anndreachan.com)

[Book review] NPCS – Drew Hayes

Have you ever played a game and wondered about the NPCs? What’s their story? I’m talking about the bar keeps and the people you bump into the street. They come with canned NPC text based on your responses to them. In the next book I’m reviewing after this, it mentions that they hire mechanical turks to be the NPCs and dole out rewards or quests to the player. I don’t think that is happening right now but Amazon does employ Mechanical Turks to do mundane stuff over the internet. (You can look it up)

What about table top role playing games?

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In the novel NPCs by Drew Hayes, we start off with 4 characters in a bar yammering on about their adventure when they all pass out. They had eaten some harmless mushrooms earlier but when partnered with alcohol, it became deadly. We are then introduced to 4 new characters. Gabrielle, Eric, [Replace 1], and [Replace 2]. They found out that the four adventurers who had died had a summons from the king in the nearby town who was known to be ruthless and burned down villages. They figured that if it was made known that the adventurers had died in their village, he would lay them to waste. According to the summons, the party consisted of a barbarian, rogue, wizard and a paladin. Since it mentioned no names, the four decided to take their place.

On their way to the King, they were ambushed by a group of goblins and taken hostage. It wasn’t as simple as they thought it would be. The rest of the book follows their adventure to the King, and then to the King’s actual quest – all the while, maintaining their disguises.

It was a pretty fun read. If you like role playing games (D&D), you would like it. If you don’t know a lick about RPGs, I say – stay away!