Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book ~ "Awkward Family Photos" (2010) - Mike Bender and Doug Chernack

From Goodreads ~ Based on the hit website, AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com (“painful, regrettable, horrifyingly awesome snaps of family bonding, you will laugh so hard that people in adjoining offices will ask what’s wrong with you”—Esquire), this full color book features never-before-seen photos and hilarious personal stories covering everything from uncomfortable moments with relatives, teen angst, sibling rivalry, and family vacations from hell. Cringe at the forced poses, bad hair, and matching outfits--all prompting us to look at our own families and celebrate the fact that we're not alone. Nothing says awkward better than an uncomfortable family photograph!

I check out AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com a couple times a week and the pictures are usually funny.

This book is similar to the website and is divided by chapters like Mom and Dad, The Kids, Siblings, Grandma and Grandpa, Vacations, etc.

Included in the chapters are short anecdotes. It's a quick read.

I borrowed the ebook from the Toronto Library. I wouldn't recommend it in epub format. There was usually a picture on the top of the page followed by a header and/or short description. But they weren't funny because they didn't make sense. Then I realized that the header and description on the bottom of the page were for the picture on the top of the next page. It would have been nice to have the header, description and the picture were on the same page.

Here's one of today's pictures from their website:

Proof that you can rock the headgear.

Book ~ "Murder has a Sweet Tooth" (2009) - Miranda Bliss

From Goodreads ~ Annie Capshaw has found that the way to a man's heart is through his cooking class. But just as she and her best friend, Eve, are planning Annie's big day with Jim, her former cooking instructor turned boss, murder takes the cake. Make that the wedding cake ...

This is the fifth book in the series (and the third that I've read) and I enjoyed it.

Just as Annie and Jim are about to get married, Alex (Jim's cousin who is visiting from Scotland) gets arrested for murder. It doesn't look good that he was found in an alley, with a knife in his hand, and laying on the victim, Vicki.

He asks Annie, who is the business manager of Jim's pub, to find out what happened. She fancies herself as an amateur detective and everyone encourages her ... even Tyler, Eve's bad-ass cop boyfriend. Though I like the series, this is the one thing I have a hard time with given her profession. She bungles along, always putting herself in danger, until she solves the whodunnit.

Anyway, Annie befriends Vicki's best friends to get closer to the situation and find out who really killed her. Along the way, she takes her life in her hands a few times but carries on.

I liked the characters. And I bought the ending so had closure. The only thing that wasn't revealed was how Alex ended up blacking out and waking up on the victim (it should come to no one's surprise that Alex didn't do it). Given who the murderer was, it would have been tricky to accomplish that. That's just a loose end that needed to be tied up for me.

Considered a "cozy mystery", the writing and story are light and fluffy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Melody Lounge, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON

Gord and I walked a couple blocks to the Melody Lounge at the Gladstone Hotel after we left the Church Aperitivo Bar.

We hadn't been there in a while.

There was live entertainment ... Joanne Mackell was singing old country tunes.

We've seen Joanne a couple times (here and at the Old York Bar) and she's really good. The guy playing the bass fiddle was excellent and really getting into it.

There is no admission fee and the place was fairly packed (the stage is at the far end of these pictures).

Shortly after 11pm, karaoke started, hosted by Peter Styles. He's been there for years.

Karaoke at the Gladstone is very popular and there was a list of people wanting to get up and sing. Some were excellent and some not so much (I would fall into this category if I had the guts to get up).

The song choices were all over the place ... Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, George Thorogood, Killers, etc.

We always have a good time and say we should go more often.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Church Aperitivo Bar, Toronto, ON

There used to be a Slavic Pentecostal Church in our 'hood at the corner of Dovercourt/Queen W.

Picture from BlogTO

It was for sale for a long time and we've been watching it transform itself into the Church Aperitivo Bar.

It recently opened so we stopped in tonight to check it out.

We sat at the bar.

It's a nice trendy spot ... so we ordered a bottle of bubbly (N.V. Prosecco Cuvee Beatrice).

Scott took good care of us.

It was packed. Large parties kept coming in ... no doubt they had reservations.

This is looking towards the kitchen (north).

And this is looking towards the exit (south).

My one complaint is that they had techno music playing really really loud (I'm not a fan of techno music at the best of times).

They will have a patio in the warmer weather along Dovercourt (west) which I imagine will be a great spot for people watching.

Hard to believe it used to be a church, eh?

Church Aperitivo Bar on Urbanspoon

The Corned Beef House, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I saw Goon, we went around the corner to the Corned Beef House for supper.

They make amazing sandwiches and we hadn't been there since last February.

It's nice on the inside.

I ordered the "gigantic" 10 ounce corned beef sandwich on light rye.

Gord ordered the "gigantic" 10 ounce Montreal smoked meat sandwich on light rye.

Like the last time, we gave each other half ... and like the last time, they were delicious!

There is so much meat ... here's Gord tackling his.

We learned that last time that because the sandwiches are so big, there is no need to order anything else (like French fries, potato salad, etc.).

Jermaine took excellent care of us ... he was nice and chatty and played excellent tunes (oldies).

Corned Beef House on Urbanspoon

Wild Wing, Toronto, ON

Gord and I have been waiting for Wild Wing at King Street W/Bathurst to open. This chain has been popping up all over the place and we thought we'd wait 'til this one opened to try it since it's in our 'hood. It opened last week so we walked there for lunch today.

They have a lot of guts opening two doors down from the Wheat Sheaf who are famous for their wings. St. Louis Wings and Ribs was across the street for a couple years but closed last year (I love their wings!).

According to their website ... Wild Wing restaurants are dressed up as old time saloons with pine covered floors and walls covered in chicken wire - to keep you caged in of course! Large screen TVs for the sports enthusiasts and lively music from our Wild Tunes video jukebox will keep your toes tapping!

Here is this one. There are horses running and John Wayne is on the wall which stay with the theme. But what's up with the palm tree?! How does that fit in in a "saloon"?

Their menu boasts 101 varieties of wings.

First you decide if you want them battered or not, then you choose your sauce, and then you choose your dressing for your veggies.

I ordered Whiskey Girl non-battered ... they were delicious!

Gord ordered Mango Chipotle battered ... his were delicious too.

The beer selection is pretty tame.

The food was good as was the service (we were the only ones there). We'd go back ... we still have 99 more varieties to try!

Wild Wing on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book ~ "Algoma" (2011) - Dani Couture

From Goodreads ~ A year after watching his brother go through the ice, twelve-year old Ferd refuses to believe Leo is gone. Convinced his brother is still alive, Ferd enters into a campaign of letters to persuade his brother to come home, mailing notes in any pool of water he can find. Soon, sopping notes begin to appear around the house folded squares of paper in the rain reservoir, kitchen sink, and washing machine. Ferd's mother, Algoma, finds the letters and keeps them to herself in an attempt to hide them from her increasingly distant husband. Gaetan, a bartender who obsessively records the weather, rejects his family's increasingly erratic behaviour and disappears one night leaving behind his weather journal, a newly pregnant wife, and a son consumed with talking to the dead.

It sounds like an odd story, doesn't it? And it is ... and I enjoyed it.

It's set in a small town in Quebec. There's not a lot happening in the town and everyone knows everyone else.

Algoma, Gaetan and Ferd are definitely a disfunctional family ... and they are doing the best they can deal with their grief.

Algoma comes from a family of multiple twins and feels there is something missing because she's not one. She works in a second hand store and this is where she gets most of the stuff for her house and family. She definitely needs some TLC but that's not coming for her.

Ferd watched his twin fall through the ice while following a bear. Because Leo's body was never found, Ferd feels he is still alive and will be coming home any day. So he writes Leo notes (which he leaves in sources of water) to keep him up-to-date on all he's missing.

Gaetan, is a bartender who drinks more than he should. One day he hitches a ride out of town and ends up in Toronto. He occasionally sends a little money home to his family, not knowing that Algoma is pregnant.

It sounds like a downer of a story ... and it is. I liked the writing style. It's not a quick read due to the nature of the story.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I support graduated licensing for seniors

There is an article in today's Toronto Star that Ontario’s transportation minister expects drivers with dementia will face tough new rules within the year.

I don't know a lot about dementia but I was surprised that drivers with dementia are even allowed to drive.

The ministry is considering making the following changes: better training for family doctors on reporting cognitively impaired patients who drive; more rigorous on-road testing of senior drivers; and the introduction of graduated licensing for some seniors who, like teenage drivers, would not be allowed to drive at night or on 400-series highways.

Sounds fair to me!

Ontario is one of the last jurisdictions in North America that has not embraced "degraduated licences" for seniors. This would put limits on seniors with diminished eyesight in the dark or nerves that can't handle highway speeds.

Let's do it!

A couple years ago, Gord's mom got a letter that said because she was over 80, she had to get tested to ensure she's still able to drive. She had the drivers' handbook out that she was studying. When we were talking about it, she said ...

"I'll be okay as long as I don't have to drive."


They were just going to test her to make sure she knew the rules of driving but not the actual driving part, which to me, is so much more important.

Thankfully both of Gord's parents have passed their tests ... they live in the country so need to drive to get around. And I'm sure they both are good drivers (apparently they drive slow, though) but I think anyone over the age of 80 should have to do a road test to truly prove they are able to drive.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Walk to Coronation Park and the Ex

It was such a nice day that instead of spending time inside at the gym, Gord and I went for a brisk walk instead. It was 2C and sunny.

We headed south towards the water ... past the Princes' Gates of the Ex.

We walked through Coronation Park.

Looking east, the boats at the yacht clubs have been stored for the winter.

We headed west along the Waterfront Trail, towards Ontario Place.

We followed the Waterfront Trail, south of the Ex.

We sat for a while on a bench and enjoyed the water and the sun.

Heading home, we cut through the Exhibition grounds, walking past Medieval Times and the Liberty Grand.

Then we headed north through the Dufferin Gates to Dufferin Street.

You can tell today is a holiday ... the Gardiner wasn't busy.

We stayed on Dufferin Street.

We headed east on Queen Street W towards home.

We ended up walking 6.3km ... a great day for a walk!