Saturday, 19 January 2019

Book ~ "Best Seat in the House: My Life in the Jeff Healey Band" (2018) Tom Stephen and Keith Elliot Greenberg

From Goodreads ~ For 15 years, Tom Stephen had the unique distinction of being both drummer and manager of the Jeff Healey Band. The dual role was fraught with conflicts of interest. One minute, he was leading the debauched life of a rock musician; the next, he was disciplining the band for the havoc they caused. 

But few knew or understood Jeff Healey - a national icon and one of the world’s best blues guitarists - better. Funny and loyal, with a luminous mind and staggering talent, Healey was also provincial, stubborn, obnoxious and antagonistic. 

This book explores both sides with honesty, clarity and humor and reveals what life for the band was really like: Jeff challenging ZZ Top to a bowling competition - and winning; Bill Clinton inviting the band to the White House, and enjoying a special audience with Queen Elizabeth II. To say nothing of the legendary guitarist’s interactions with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Keith Richards, and more ... Tom Stephen was there for it all. He believes that young fans deserve to experience Healey’s brilliance - to understand the complicated man behind those timeless sounds. Best Seat in the House offers an authentic perspective that fans won’t find elsewhere. 

I was a fan of the Jeff Healey Band and saw them many times in the late 1980s/early 1990s in local bars like Grossman's and Albert's Hall.  So I thought it would be interesting to read this book.

Jeff Healey (1966 - 2008) was a Canadian blues-rock and jazz musician, born and raised in Toronto.  When he was a year old, he lost his sight to cancer. His eyes had to be surgically removed and he wore prostheses.  He started playing guitar when he was quite young and developed a unique style (playing with the guitar on his lap).

With bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen (the author of this book), he formed The Jeff Healey Band in the mid to late 1980s.  They released their first album in 1988, which produced some hits and won awards.  Around this time, they were the "house band" in the Patrick Swayze movie, Road House, plus they recorded the soundtrack.  They released more albums over the years to some success.

But Healey's interest in blues and rock 'n roll  and touring began to wane and the band eventually broke up.  Healey opened a bar at Queen Street W/Bathurst with live music  (I'd been to it lots of times) and starting moving more into jazz.  He passed away in 2008 from cancer.

This book is Stephen's experience being not only the drummer in the Jeff Healey Band but also the band's manager (which did cause friction at times).  It tells the stories of the band living the crazy rock 'n roll lifestyle ... booze, drugs and women ... what happened after the band broke up.

I liked this book.  I found it interesting to get the behind the scenes stories of the band's experiences on the road, the pressures and temperaments, why they made the decisions they did, plus meeting famous people like the Rolling Stones, former President Clinton and even the Queen. 

Before the band broke up, there was tension between Healey and Stephen and after the band broke up, they pretty well stopped speaking (though Stephen says he doesn't know why Healey shut him out).  There is bitterness between Stephen and Rockman and Stephen and Healey's widow.  Whenever I read /biographies and autobiographies, I usually take them with a grain of salt because it's coming from one person's perspective.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Toronto Rock 14, Georgia Swarm 9, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON

Gord and I are season ticket holders for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team games ... the Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  This is our sixth year going to the games and our fifth year having seasons tickets.

The Rock were hosting the Georgia Swarm ... the Swarm had beat Toronto in their first home game last month.  Coming into tonight's game, they were tied for first place in the eastern division.


Scotty Newlands sang the American national anthem.


Students from Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School sang the Canadian national anthem.

Goose Island Brewhouse, Toronto, ON

Before the Toronto Rock game, Gord and I had supper this evening at Goose Island Brewhouse (on the corner of the Esplanade and Church Street).


They make most of their beers onsite ... my Good Clean Fun was good.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Toronto Raptors 111 - Phoenix Suns 109

I went to the Toronto Raptors game this evening.  The company I work for has a box and we had invited some clients and their guests.

The Raptors were playing the Suns.


It was Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation night.


Here's the view from the box about an hour before the game started before everyone started coming in.


The players came out and started warming up.


Members of the Armed Forces sang the national anthems.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Ipsy Glam Bag - January 2019

My January Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today.
  • 4 to 5 beauty products in a collectible makeup bag 
  • Monthly videos showing you how to get the Look 
  • Win free products in contests and giveaways

Subscriptions are $10US a month or $110US for a year.  Shipping is free in the U.S. and $4.95US per month to Canada.


Here's what I received ...

Topbox - January 2019

My January Topbox arrived today.

For only $12 a month, you will receive a Topbox with 4 carefully selected, indulgent, beauty products. Then test the products in the comfort of your own home.


Here's what I received ...



Value:  $76.12

D'Arcy McGee's, Ottawa Airport, ON

I was heading home today and had lunch at D'Arcy McGee's at the airport.  I've been there a couple times over the years and it hadn't been a good experience.


I ordered Butter Chicken Curry.  It was just okay.  The sauce was tasty but there was a lot of it.  There wasn't a lot of chicken, though.  It definitely didn't look like the picture.  The naan was hard.  It definitely wasn't worth $18.


Reynaldo was my server.  He was friendly and took good care of me.

D'Arcy McGee's - YOW Airport Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, Ottawa, ON

My home away from home last night was the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel.


Here was the lobby ...


Here was my room ...

My king bed was comfy

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Sasha's Bar, Ottawa, ON

I had supper this evening at Sasha's Bar ... it's in the Sheraton Hotel.  It's been a long tiring day, I was hungry and I didn't feel like going too far.

It's off the lobby and there isn't a lot of ambiance.


I ordered a 10 inch pizza and built my own with pepperoni, ham and tomatoes.  It was a good pizza (cheesy!) and I wasn't able to finish it.  I would get it again.


Micco was my server and he took good care of me.

Sasha's Lounge - Sheraton Ottawa Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Toronto, ON (Harbourfront)

I had an early lunch today at Swiss Chalet at Harbourfront on Queens Quay.


I ordered what I usually order at Swiss Chalet ... a half chicken dinner with corn.  It's Weight Watcher friendly (just seven points!).  It came out really quickly and was okay.  The corn was obviously frozen and warm.  The chicken was warm and a bit burnt and dry in spots.  The roll was warm and the sauce was hot and had a tasty bite (it was the best part of the meal).


The host/server was sitting in a booth on the phone when I arrived so I had to wait a bit to be seated.  That seemed to be his spot as he was there when I left too.

Swiss Chalet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Book ~ "Alfie and George" (2016) Rachel Wells

From Goodreads ~ As the residents of Edgar Road know, Alfie is no ordinary cat. Since his arrival in the street, he's made every house his home, helping this group of neighbours to become friends for life. 

But now there's a new cat on Alfie's turf - a tiny ball of fur called George. With no home to call his own, this little kitten is in desperate need. And little does Alfie know that they’ve got quite an adventure ahead of them to get him through this most difficult of times.

Alfie is a doorstep cat who has three families.  He lives with Claire and Jonathan on Edgar Road.  Polly, Matt and their children are their neighbours and Franceska and Tomasz and their children are former neighbours and visit weekly.  All three families are very good friends with each other, thanks for Alfie.

Alfie is in love with Snowball, a neighbour cat, and that love is returned.  Both are heartbroken, though, when Snowball's family moves away and they know they will never see each other again.  Seeing how depressed Alfie is, Jonathan and Claire get a kitten named George hoping to distract him.  Alfie takes to George right away and becomes his  adopted father, teaching him how to be a cat.  Tiger, Alfie's best friend, becomes George's adopted mom and the rest of the cats in the neighbourhood dote on George.

Posters of cats are turning up on lamp posts which have the neighbourhood cats wondering what's going on ... is it a beauty contest?  In addition to figuring out what this is all about, each of Alfie's families have troubles that he is determined to fix.

This is the third in Alfie series (there are currently five in the series) and I enjoyed it.  It is written in first person perspective in Alfie's voice.  We can see the conversations he has with other cats.  Plus he understands the conversations of humans around him (rather than "blah blah blah blah blah Alfie blah blah blah).  Though he can't talk back to them in their language, he does try to communicate in cat-talk and expressions.  As a head's up, though the story is about a cat, it does have mature themes.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the others in this series.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Book ~ "A Cat Named Alfie" (2015) Rachel Wells

From Goodreads ~ Edgar Road used to be your typical London street: a road full of people who barely said a word to one another. Then Alfie came along - a big grey ball of fur who changed the lives of every family he met and brought a community together. 

But now a new family has moved into Edgar Road and they, more than anyone else, need Alfie’s help. Can he bring light to their darkest times? Or is it already too late to stop them from falling apart?

Alfie is a doorstep cat who has three families.  He lives with Claire and Jonathan on Edgar Road.  Polly, Matt and their children are their neighbours and Franceska and Tomasz and their children are former neighbours and visit weekly.  All three families are very good friends with each other, thanks for Alfie.

The Snells move onto the street and despite everyone's efforts, tend to keep to themselves.  The Goodwins run the Neighbourhood Watch and aren't going to tolerate it.  They suspect the Snells are up to no good so do all they can to get rid of them, including meetings, petitions and surveillance.  Alfie's families, though they do find the Snells odd,  just want the Goodwins to leave them alone.

Alfie is feeling something that puzzles him until he realizes he is in love with Snowball, the Snells' cat.  Unfortunately like the rest of the Snell family, Snowball makes it quite clear to Alfie that she wants him to leave her alone and she isn't very nice about it.  But Alfie is determined to win her heart.

This is the second in Alfie series (there are currently five in the series).  It is written in first person perspective in Alfie's voice.  We can see the conversations he has with other cats.  Plus he understands the conversations of humans around him (rather than "blah blah blah blah blah Alfie blah blah blah).  Though he can't talk back to them in their language, he does try to communicate in cat-talk and expressions.  As a head's up, though the story is about a cat, it does have mature themes.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the others in this series.