Saturday, December 27, 2008


So... snow. right here in gibsons. lovely.


I likely don't even have to explain how little i enjoy snow from a business perspective.
Two of our worst revenue days ever thanks to this snow... that's a little troublesome. What with the landlord really wanting us to get caught up on the rent, and nobody able to pull into the parking lot, it really makes it a tough proposition.

As I explained to the landlord... um... can you get the lot plowed? I can't pay you if nobody can get to my door and pay ME!

He understands, to a point, i guess... but apparently not quite enough to get the plow here again... today the parking lot is a slushy, icy disaster... took me FULLY 8 minutes to park cuz i kept sliding and spinning... it was ridiculous. If the lot had been plowed, I would have considered opening today, but there was no point. Nobody could park, and it was unsafe for walking on regardless.
Ya, I see.. Panago opened. It's nice that most of their customers have 4x4's!

Do I sound bitter today? Ya, i think I do. Snow bugs me. Things I can't control that interrupt what I'm trying to achieve bug me. It's a character f law and I'm trying to deal with it.

It's been a really hard year. Can I be that honest?
I suppose some would advise against it... but well, I'm not all that good at hiding the truth.

In our effort to maintain the vision of creating a place where people like us could come and eat more than once or twice a year, we got ourselves into a bit of a financial pickle... that being, that we paid out more than we took in and are thus deep in the red.

It's a sad state of affairs when we can't even afford to eat at our own restaurant... isn't it?? And that is precisely what we were working to avoid. Our entire premise is that regular people with regular jobs, and irregular people with regular jobs, and regular people with irregular jobs should all be able to treat themselves to a meal outside their own kitchen more often than once or twice a year... maybe even more often than once or twice a month! I don't think that's too much to shoot for...

Why should the luxury of having someone else cook & clean for you be exclusively the domain of those who earn more than $75k a year??? Ok, let's re-frame that... You and I should be able to eat somewhere other than A&W a couple times a month without it becoming a major budget consideration.

We've gone over our limit a few times... we've even eaten at Smitty's a couple times when we really shouldn't have... but jeeezzzz... we work hard... don't we deserve those little luxuries? You work hard too... and YOU deserve them too.

If you've got some ideas about how we can achieve this vision - maybe you've got some cost saving ideas, or some free promotional ideas, or would be interested in volunteering a little to help us get some of the work done for less overhead... let us know. Would ya? We're open to suggestions and ideas and help.

May you all be blessed with a healthy, happy, peaceful and more prosperous 2009.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

holiday hysteria

i'm tellin' ya... the pressure to make christmas cookies could kill a girl.
The lights are up, and generally somebody is home... unless you get here at 5:55, by which time we're often somewhat braindead.

i've been procrastinating for a good couple weeks now but i FINALLY did it... Christmas cookies are UNDERWAY!! That means that by this weekend (Dec 5) you'll be able to start buying cookie tins & gift packs to share the love with your friends & family.

We've got the good old standbys - Pixies, Shortbread of various sorts, chocolate chip, and ginger, plus some new additions this year - Almond thins, Cocoa-Nuts, Double Chocolate Hazelnut, Lemon Coconut, Espresso Brownie, Cranberry Apple... I'm on the verge of experimenting with Chili Chocolate... any opinions??

The shortbread, as always, is gluten-free! Plus we'll have those amazing Cocoa Pecan Macarons and some other delicious holiday treats for our gluten-freebie friends. (yes, that's what we call you back here in the kitchen, the "gluten freebies", learn to enjoy it.)

we've got 1/2 pound bags of our fabulous coffee coming - they make GREAT stocking stuffers... and will be packaged with other treats for giving.

And there's a rumour afoot that we'll be breaking out the christmas cheer on Dec 20... but that is still just a rumour as I understand it, so wait for official announcements, but do save the date cuz it could be fun!

As always, we'll be open the ENTIRE WEEK (so that means sunday & monday too) before Christmas, closing at 4pm on Christmas Eve.

We'll be closed from then until Monday Dec 29 Inclusive. We'll be open on the 30th & 31st so you can get stocked up for New Year's Breakfast... closed for New Year's Day (moose milk at the legion, need we say more??) and back to normal on the 2nd.

Let the festivities begin!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Price break...

oh lord... here it comes...
we were told by our accountants that if we did not raise our prices we'd be lucky to make it another 6 months.

so... since we have PLANS, and we want to share them with you - and because we get the feeling from many of you that you'd like it if we stayed - we have no choice but to put up prices.

the hard part was deciding by how much.

so, generally speaking - after much painstaking spreadsheet calculating and head-scratching - most everything is going up by 50 cents. A few items went up by a little more, some by a little less... and believe it or not, a couple actually went DOWN by a dime or two.

Specialty items, custom orders and catering will also see increases but we're confident that we're still not out of our reasonable price range. We've had comments that our catering is "very reasonable, almost too cheap," so we feel there's a bit of room to move there, as we know our product is of high quality.

Oh, and by popular demand... THE BLACKBOARD MENU is coming back. I painted the wall for it today, and over the next couple days will reinstate it for old times sake. Many customers have commented how much they miss it, and we had to admit that we missed it too! We'll keep the printed menus for the convenience of taking them to your table for leisurely contemplation, but the blackboard will be resurrected for quick decision-making and to make it more obvious that we do serve more than nanaimo bars & muffins.

and don't forget - christmas is a'comin... so if you want us to do your baking for you, order it soon!!

ciao for now

Monday, November 3, 2008

the pricing dilemma

yep, it would be GREAT if everything were just free and money didn't exist.

don't you think?

I've run into another pricing dilemma. The cost of wheat flour has come back down - not down to what it used to be, but down from the stupid price it went up to in the spring. This is a good thing. It means that now, maybe, we're actually turning a profit on bread products, where we have been barely covering costs for the past 8 months. Am I evil to think that?

A big part of my brain says, "now hold on, missy - if your costs are going down, then you have to put your prices back down"... which conflicts with the other big part of my brain (yes, my brain IS that big) that says, "but, but, we were finally maybe going to start making enough money to pay to be here!"

I guess what I'm looking for is some kind of absolution - from our customers, ultimately... is it ok for us to make a decent living doing what we're doing? or are we cutting our throats by charging enough and thus going to lose customers because our prices are higher than the grocery store or the joint down the street.

Since we started this adventure we have NOT made any money.
The first year we covered our regular bills... more or less. There was nothing extra. Then we had to get a new vehicle, and to do that had to remortgage our house... that meant bigger payments, more payments... which we thought we could handle. Suffice to say, we made some mistakes.

So that's where the guilty part of my brain comes in - it's not our customers fault that we made some financial mis-calculations and they shouldn't have to be penalized for that by us putting up our prices.

At the same time, that other side of my brain says... "ya, but if we don't put up prices, then we'll have to not exist, because we CAN'T exist on what we're making now."

So - what to do??

We've since found ourselves in a less than pretty position, with the bank on the verge of taking our house away, behind on the rent for the bistro, wolves at every door and a few windows too... and I'm questioning what the heck we're doing.

We do this because we love to do it. We love the sense of community that we've built here at the bistro. We love our customers and the fact that we know so many of you by name (and your grandkids names, and what your sister's husband's brother's son is doing next weekend). We love that we are providing quality, delicious food as an alternative to the chain restaurants up the road. We WANT to be able to offer you more - like community dinners, and opportunities share and connect like we did at thanksgiving this year.

Problem with it all is this - we have to put prices up by 20% in order to actually start seeing some improvement.

Alternative solutions:
- reduce portions but keep prices the same - i can't see ANYONE being happy with THAT idea - we all hate it when chocolate bars get smaller... it would feel the same for nanaimo bars and sausage rolls
- hold some fundraisers... hard to do for a "for-profit" business, but not out of the realm of possibility.
- attract some investors... not our ideal situation, as that usual means they get a say in what we're doing, but then if they're experienced in this business, that might be a GOOD thing.
- leave the bistro in the hands of some $9-10/hour employees so ian and i can go get real jobs that pay actual money so we can become our own investors.
- find other revenue streams - I currently do web & graphic design still on the side, which helps, but it's exhausting to stay and do that for 4 hours a night after working for 12-14 hours in the bistro already.

We're very open to ideas... so if you have one, don't hesitate to share!

There's one other place where we have a pricing dilemma...
wheat vs. gluten-free products.

Brown rice flour currently costs 5x more than wheat flour.
so, in theory, gluten-free products should cost significantly more than wheat products... right?
but how is that fair? I have a real problem penalizing people for their diet, which in most cases they wouldn't choose if they didn't have to. Why should a gluten-free muffin cost $3 when a wheat muffin costs $1.85? It's the same problem i have with organic pricing... as far as i'm concerned EVERYTHING should be organic and it should all be affordable.

Perhaps we'll take an in-store poll... that worked for the bread pricing... the large majority voted to get the identical product but pay more.

ugh. why can't it be an easy, obvious, no-brainer solution?

see you on the wild side...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

why is it so hard to be green?

I'm pretty convinced that the packaging industry doesn't really WANT us to all start packaging green. If they did, they'd make it obtainable, affordable and logical to achieve.

Problem number 1: Can't get small quantities. If I want to start using "green" coffee cups, I have to order 10,000 of them in order to not pay astronomical shipping costs or the highest possible price. Got any idea how much space 10,000 12oz coffee cups takes up? Well, picture a single car garage. Then picture it pretty much full. (meanwhile, picture the bank account pretty much empty, because I just spent $1200 on coffee cups).

Problem number 2: Our suppliers that we currently buy packaging from have no incentive to source out green packaging because the costs to them are high, which they then HAVE to pass on to us, which makes it even MORE unafforadable - EVEN THO we've told them we'll pay it... just don't make us buy 10,000 at a time!

Problem number 3: Much of the biodegradable packaging out there is made from corn. Corn is replacing wheat in many crops in order to make biofuel. Biofuel is the main culprit behind the cost of flour going through the roof... so... buying CORN-based products is essentially cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Problem number 4: Petroleum-based products are skyrocketing in price now because of the "oil shortage"... so now, we're seeing the prices of the packaging that we've already been buying start to climb toward the cost of biodegradable packaging, and it's still BAD for the environment.

SO... do we just keep buying the same old stuff until it finally is more expensive than the biodegradable stuff? Do we take a stand and say NO to packaging altogether until we can find what we want? We KNOW it's out there - we can see it on the internet! It's HOW to get it that's the problem.

It's a dilemma.
People don't quite seem ready to take their food away in their hands without some sort of paper or plastic product protecting them from it...
So if we say "bring your own packaging or you're gonna get food on your hands," do you think we'll lose customers? Of course we will. Will we lose them for long? This i don't know.
I'm hardly an eco-freak... I just feel like we HAVE to do our part as a business. It's up to business and industry to lead the way... because as long as they are getting the tax breaks, and making the most mess, the rest of the population will be calling "hypocrite" and that simply isn't right.

Why should we - i mean the collective we, as in the private citizens of the world, have to shoulder the entire burden of saving the planet??

Why aren't captains of industry, big players in corporate kingdoms, and international business leaders standing up and leading the charge? They are the ones who have the most to GAIN by taking the forward steps... THEY are the ones that we will support with our consumerism if they lead by example. THEY are the ones who will get lauded for being "forward thinking" and "visionary"...
But yet here we are - jack and jill average, scared to death that our grandchildren and great grandchildren may not get to see the sun, or that polar bears may extinct, or that summer and winter will change times of year - scrounging our cloth bags out of the trunk, or hiking to the store with our backpacks, or lugging around stainless steel, BPA-free, non-petroleum-based cups, plates, spoons and bags to carry our organic, fair-trade, small-estate, locally grown or built "whatchamahoosits" in back to our compact-flourescent-lit, programmable-thermostat-heated, energy-star-compliant homes that cost us a small fortune to convert - in an effort to save the planet...

I don't get it.
I do what I can, what I choose to afford, what i can rationalize in my own life... and I admit, sometimes I take the easier/cheaper way out.
And I feel guilty about it.

Why don't the big guys feel guilty?????
THAT is what I don't get, I think...
I can barely sleep at night knowing that I've paid $130 for 50 big cake boxes that are going to carry a cake from my store to your house, and then promptly end up in your recycling bin or fireplace... and those guys get to make zillions polluting the planet, and destroying the forests, and killing the oceans, and raping the tarsands...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

bye bye summer

Oh my... I DO apologize - it's been SO long since my last confession...

Seriously. I do NOT know how those professional bloggers do it... write every day, maybe even multiple times... jeez, you'd think they got paid to write or something!

Anyway... what can we tell you about the last few months?

So much has happened, and yet it was not a summer of any great note as far as numbers were concerned - down about 20% over last year, in fact. But I understand that's not uncommon... seems it's kind of just "the way it was" this year.

Our foray into multiple locations has come to an end. Simply was not what we expected being down there at the Gibsons Harbour. It was a ton of work, and the cost of doing business there was not being met by the revenues at any point, which was really disappointing. We'd had such high hopes, but I think what really got us more than the lack of tourists, or the rise of the "staycation" was simply that we were stretched beyond our limit. We didn't have enough staff, we didn't have enough resources, and we simply didn't have what it required to make it successful.

Live & learn.

On to other things! Like our gorgeous, wonderful, miraculous expansion here at Gibsons Way!!

If you haven't been in to see it yet, we really hope you DO come soon!
We had a fantastic team of volunteers - friends, family & customers who came out and swung hammers and swathed paint, and swept and washed, and drywalled, and decorated, and played with electricity... it was so incredibly cool and generous and amazing, and we are very very grateful and appreciative of every single second you spent helping us achieve this step in the journey.

In a nutshell, we've nearly doubled the size of the seating area, built a bar, rearranged the main service area, added a men's restroom (complete with the requisite fixtures), upgraded the overall look & feel of the entire place, redirected the chi, and boosted the energy level.

Hmmm... built a bar, you say?? YES!
So, one thing leads to another... no saying yet WHEN that will come, but expect sometime in the not ridiculously distant future to be able to get a glass of great draft or a hand selected red with you meals... aw heck, maybe even a perfect martini!
And THAT would also suggest that perhaps meals past 6pm might be on the horizon... WATCH FOR IT. We'll be doing test runs by invitation, so join the mailing list and we'll tell you how you can get invited!

The whole coffeehouse idea is going really really well... summer was a bit quiet, but we're looking forward to re-ramping things up this fall. We had standing room only crowds in the spring... now everyone can have a seat! and it'll be so comfortable you may never want to leave!

Again, join the mailing list so you can stay up to date with who's playing when... we've got shows on Sept 13, Sept 27 and Oct 11 fully booked... plus Nov 8 and Dec 13 and maybe more in between. Check the website for details (right hand side of the homepage).

I think that's all I can tell you right now. There are some other things brewing but until we have a good handle on them we'll keep them under wraps.

Watch for new menu items - likely sometime in October...
and special events...

see you soon!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

summer... ? summer? where ARE YOU????

ok, so this seems to be a trend. LAST YEAR we had this same issue - summer, gone missing...

Do you remember the ad in the paper? i think it was mid july... "LOST: SUMMER... IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO THE SUNSHINE COAST"... it was brilliant and oh so true.

We really will have to make severe changes if we don't get a summer again this year... it's surprising to me just how dependent our business is on the weather.

I'm not surprised by the kiosk's dependence on good weather, tho it is significantly slower down there than i expected. I'm sure it will pick up once school is out and families are travelling... but wow, it's tough to sit down there for a whole day.

As for the bistro - changes are afoot!
We got the ok to take down the wall and expand... so watch for it... the long awaited expansion - we've been talking about it for over a year. We've decided to just GO FOR IT... so things may seem a little more chaotic than usual while we make that happen - as it will be a night time transformation cuz we can't afford to close for a week to do it... We beg your patience & understanding while we go through the transformation.

AND - if you have a nice old table taking up extra space, we'd love to take it off your hands. We're looking for solid wood tables with character... that don't need a TON of refinishing, but will stand up to regular use. We're also looking for a comfy, easy to clean couch and big comfy chairs... if you've got something in storage, or are upgrading your living room - let us know. Of course there are certain parameters we have to keep in mind, as these will become public seating, so they must be clean and easy to keep clean - leather or microfiber would be preferred. Ya, it's a big ask, but if you don't ask, you don't know!

We really really hope to have at least the wall down and seating in before the next coffeehouse (June 14), because the LAST 2 coffeehouses have been standing room only... which is great, but not all the comfortable for those left standing for 2 hours...

After that will come the lunch counter, and the reconfiguration of the kitchen... i think it's gonna be great. We'll be able to seat 20-30 more people, and have a great space for parties & events.

Speaking of parties - did you know you can book the bistro for your own private functions?
Evenings & weekends we're available to host your party, mixer, meeting, seminar... whatever. Call us to discuss details - you can either rent for a flat fee that includes one staff member & beverage service... or go all out and have us cater your event, too!

Don't forget to come visit the kiosk - open every day! (so if you're hankering for a great coffee on a sunday or monday, just run down the hill to the wharf and you'll find us...)

that's all for now.
back to waiting for the sun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

moving into may... it's wedding season

ok, could it look much less like SPRING???
I saw snow on Mt Elphinstone this morning as I'm driving to the bistro... what is with THAT??

According to the weathernetwork, however, we're in for a HOT one on the long weekend... that will be a nice change. I think it's been a really long time since we had a blistering hot Victoria Day long weekend.

So prepare yourself. There will be no tolerance for whining about it being TOO HOT after whining about it being TOO COLD all winter long. (yes, that goes for me, too.)

Anyway, bistro-wize, things are ok. We've booked some catering this month, which is always great. It's a lot of fun, and allows us to get quite a bit more creative than the day to day food we make which keeps it interesting. Are you having an event? Need food? Call us.

And wedding cakes... those are for sure my favorite. I made one yesterday that turned out really well, I think. Just a small one, but it still takes creative juices and concentration which I really enjoy. Wedding cakes are funny... well, maybe it's brides that are funny. Some know EXACTLY what they want... they saw it in a book, or at another wedding, and know precisely the flavours, the sizes, the design... others - not so much. The cake I made for yesterday's wedding was one of those... "just make it pretty."
I like that, because then I can really put myself to the test. What exactly is "pretty" going to mean to this particular bride? What will be "too pretty" (ie. too girly, too prissy, too much) and what won't be "pretty enough" (ie. too simple, wrong colour, too abstract maybe).

The best you can hope for in that situation is that you have a good feel for who the bride is, and have had enough chats with her to determine her general style... and then HOPE that she tells you the truth afterwards about how she liked - or more importantly, didn't like - the final result.

I realize that my attitude somewhat bucks the traditional convention... I'm sure Martha Stewart would be appalled at my approach. Whatever.

The other thing that I have to say about wedding cakes is... WHAT'S WITH THE MARKUP???
Who decided that for a wedding cake to be viable it has to cost hundreds of dollars??? That is so damn ridiculous I can't even PRETEND to go along with it.

Yes, I've made cakes that cost hundreds of dollars... because they required special, organic, fresh, top of the line ingredients, and tens of hours of preparation and decoration. But they don't ALL HAVE TO.

That lovely cake I made this weekend cost the bride under $100. And you'd never think so to look at it, judging by "wedding cake standards." Just because it's got the word "wedding" in front of it, somehow bakers take that as a license to print money. I don't get it.
I've done more than one wedding cake for under $100.

Yes, part of that equation is the number of servings required... it's easier to get a cheaper cake if you have small wedding... but you know what? Most folks don't even get around to eating the wedding cake, so you can cut itty bitty slices and get LOTS of servings out of a smaller cake.

When I started making wedding cakes - just two years ago - I was under the impression that the standard was to charge "by the serving"... and the cheapest cake I could find on the internet was about $3.95 a serving. And a serving is typically a 1"x2" or 1"x3" slice of cake - do you know how SMALL that is? A veritable sliver of cake. So a 12" square cake should then, technically, get up to 72 servings... so suddenly this 12" cake is now apparently worth $284.40 - and that's just one layer. Ok, I'm sorry BUT... I already make fantastic, rich, dark chocolate or moist dense sweet lemon cake on a daily basis that would rival any $284 wedding cake... how can i justify suddenly charging that much for a cake I would otherwise charge $55 for??

There are a few things that make the bill start to add up...
- buttercream - have you seen the price of butter lately? and if you get fancy and go with organic, fresh churned butter, forget it.
- fresh berries out of season - $7 a pound for cherries out of season... excuse me?
- fancy fillings that take extra time to prepare - ie lemon curd or creme anglais
- fondant covering. THAT is the kicker. If you want a flawless, smooth, inedible looking cake, THAT is where the cashola is going to come in. Fondant takes time... and it takes extra ingredients like marzipan to smooth out the cake before the fondant is applied, and that ain't cheap.
- and well, intricate decoration. That's where the time comes in, really. If you want me to spend 5 hours making sugar paste roses or golf balls or multi-coloured fish then you can certainly count on spending a lot more than $100 on your wedding cake.

Or you can keep it simple.
Elegant & simple.
Even crazy & simple.

All I'm saying is... weddings already cost enough... why blow the budget on a cake that is going to be looked at for 5 minutes and likely not eaten by many.

Spend it on your honeymoon.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

winter in april...

just when you thought spring had sprung... old man winter shows up for another kick at the can.

gratefully, cold pushes people through our doors... theory has it, it's warm & toasty in a bakery. We are, however, desperately looking forward to spring & summer and SUNSHINE and WARMTH.

we didn't get any snow that stayed this weekend - at least, not yet - so we can't complain a LOT... but it's biting cold out for the last half of April, and the wind is far too chilly.

And... we just bought new patio furniture to replace the old wooden stumps that have thus far passed as tables out there! I think so far just 8 people have tried it out.

Do come on down and visit - even if it's winter-like...
this CANNOT last forever...

can it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

welcome, amy!

Yay!! We've got an extra hand who also happens to come with a cheerful, helpful, humourous attitude and great work ethic. Her name is Amy and we're very happy to welcome her aboard.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

playing with my head...

I suppose it's true... there IS a restaurant god... or a whole bevy of them.

And they're playing with my head these days.

Things were going along swimmingly... spring break was better than usual, easter weekend was great, and the week AFTER spring break & easter - which is traditionally a deadzone - was really quite busy (comparatively speaking). I was feeling really encouraged and buoyed by the idea that maybe we'd have a better spring than last year... (from which we're still recovering).

Then it all tanked. Sales went to HALF what they were in that week after easter... with no apparent reason why.

And they stayed that way.. it wasn't just a day or two, it was almost two full weeks!

Then today, just as I'm on the verge of panic (tho i'm trying really really hard to accept, surrender, trust and be thankful) we had a very acceptable day - a higher than average day for this time of year, in fact, a decent day for the busy times of year... so my hope and faith are stayed again.

Some days i get the feeling that the restaurant gods are just testing me...
to see if i have what it takes for this work.

i prefer the days when i'm confident that i'm at the head of the class.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

taming the wild beastro

what's a wild beastro, anyway?

that would be me or ian after too many nights in a row of not enough sleep and too many mornings where lack of sleep caused stupidity and clouded judgment.

we've had a few of those lately... staying up too late discussing our future, our plans, goals & vision... and how we're gonna achieve them when there are not enough people coming through the door every day.

but WAIT - let me make one thing very very clear...
WE HAVE AWESOME CUSTOMERS. We would never have survived the first two years without the amazing, loyal, supportive, helpful people who come through our door on a highly regular basis... When I say "not enough people coming through the door," it is not meant in any way to discount the steadfastness of these people who've stuck by us through the winter doldrums that are part and parcel of the restaurant business.

Now that we have that settled... we could use some more of you!
It's been a rough year, and a particularly rough winter... financially anyway. We made some less than prudent choices in the past 12 months which are coming back to haunt us. Suffice to say, we're learning some hard lessons right now and we'd really like to be able to say we've LEARNED them so we can move on to the next lesson.

Sadly, that's not the case quite yet.
Right now we're learning - well, I'm learning - that there is no room in this business for people who are unfocused or undisciplined. My only resolution this year was to be more disciplined... and in some ways i am, but I'm noticing that my attention to that task has waned significantly since the beginning of the year.
Being more disciplined would help me get more done in a day.
Being more disciplined would likely help us get more customers through the door... because i'd have the signage fixed, and the advertising placed, and the tablecloths ironed, and the display cooler crystal clear and shiny... and so on and so on...

But instead... i'm here at 10:46 pm, waiting for a cake to chill so i can finish frosting it so it will be ready for pick up at 7am... and instead of doing something like build an ad, or design the signage, or print some menus, or create summer picnic packages... i'm writing a blog.

yep, i'm easily swayed by technology... i've been that way since at least 1983.
you could say it's my non-nicotine addiction... ian smokes, i hang out on the computer... they're probably equally as bad for us.

and probably what keeps us each sane.