Thursday 28 February 2013

Toronto Rock 13, Buffalo Bandits 15

Gord and I went to the Toronto Rock game tonight.

The Toronto Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise founded in 1998. They are in the Eastern Division of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and they were playing against the Buffalo Bandits.

The Saint Andrews College drum and pipe band played for a couple minutes.

The Rock cheerleaders entertained.

The Rock came out ... whoohoo!

Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

 The start of the game ...

 We sat in section 109.

Again  they showed a picture I took of Gord at the March 3, 2012, game on the jumbo tron .. they must have taken it from my blog or his.

The 50/50 draw was $3,711.

 Alas, we weren't even close!

Iggy had fun with the crowd.

Here are Gord and I.

Though they took the lead a few times, the Rock lost 15 - 13.

Dog & Bear Pub, Toronto, ON

Before Gord and I went to the Toronto Rock game, we had supper at the Dog and Bear, which is in our 'hood.

They have moved the tables and chairs that were by the window into a side room and have put long tables there instead.

My beer tasted good!

It was half price wing night!  Here's Nudsuda with her sign.

 Gord had a pickled egg, a Scotch egg and dry wings.

 I had Buffalo wings.  They were okay.  They were larger than I remembered.

 Our bill came in this old book from 1962.

 As before, Nudsuda took good care of us!

Dog & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday 24 February 2013

Rhino Bar & Grill, Toronto, ON

I had supper this evening at the Rhino (Queen W/Dufferin) with some family.

I ordered a burger and fries.  The burger was huge (I eventually got rid of the bun and just ate the meat).  The fries were good.  It's a great deal for $8!

Our server was nice and friendly ... maybe a bit new.

Here we are ... Jenny, Deb, Jesse M., me, Heather and Jesse C. (goofing around!).

Jesse M. is my first cousin and Jenny is his girlfriend.  Heather is my first cousin, Rob's daughter (so my first cousin, once removed) and Jesse C. is her boyfriend and Deb is her mother.  Rob had passed away in December and some of his family and friends had gathered this afternoon for his memorial.

The Rhino Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday 23 February 2013

Book ~ "The Cat Whisperer: Why Cats Do What They Do--and How to Get Them to Do What You Want" (2013) Mieshelle Nagelschneider

From Goodreads ~ Who says you can’t train a cat? Just when you thought you had reached the end of your ball of twine, one of America’s most popular cat behaviorists comes to the rescue of perplexed cat owners everywhere, providing practical and effective strategies for solving every feline behavior problem imaginable—from litter box issues to scratching, spraying, biting, and beyond.

Cat Whisperer Mieshelle Nagelschneider has been helping people deal with these dilemmas for two decades, achieving a near-perfect success rate. Central to her approach is a keen understanding of the unique way cats see the world—their need for safety and security, their acute territoriality, and their insatiable desire to catch and kill prey. Her proven C.A.T. cat behavior modification plan is a commonsense course of action that can be specifically tailored to your cat in the context of its behavior problems and its particular household environment. Easy-to-implement solutions help transform even the most anxiety-riddled companions into confident, gregarious, and relaxed cats who live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Inside you’ll discover
  • how to harness the power of “friendly pheromones” to improve your cat’s appetite, exploration, grooming, and play
  • where, when, and how to create a litter box environment that will provide ease of access and reduce anxiety for you and your cat
  • how to end aggression in multiple-cat households and help your cats coexist peacefully

Is it impossible to train a cat? Not anymore! Your days of yelling and tearing your hair out in the wake of the latest household “cat-astrophe” are over. In this fascinating and indispensable book, the Cat Whisperer takes you inside the mind of a feline to explain why members of one of the world’s most inscrutable species act the way they do—and how you can convince them to change their behaviors for the sake of your peace of mind . . . and theirs.

I love kitties ... we have a ten year old named Morgan and a two year old named Crumpet.  We got Morgan along with his foster brother, Byron, when they were three months in 2002 and Crumpet when she was two months in 2011. Though our kitties are perfect (!!), I like reading books about animals so this book caught my eye.

According to the author, we punish cats when we think their problem behaviors are somehow directed at us or are done when the cats supposedly know not to. In fact, cats are motivated by purely survival.  Hitting, kicking or shouting at your cat may make it see you as a potential aggressor, causing the fight or flight response.  It may start attacking you because you are now associated with something negative.  These practices are ineffective and inhumane.

There are seven basic classes of feline behavior problems and there is a chapter to cover each:
  1. Cat-to-cat tension
  2. Aggression
  3. Litter box issues
  4. Spraying
  5. Excessive meowing
  6. Destructive and unwanted behaviors
  7. Compulsive behaviors

To remedy unwanted cat behaviors, the author has developed a comprehensive holistic three part treatment plan:
  • C - cease the unwanted cat behavior (behavior modification)
  • A - attract the cat to a desirable behavior or location (positive reinforcement)
  • T - transform the territory (change the physical environment)

This was an interesting book ... it's good as a reference manual to have handy if you have a cat or are thinking about getting one.  I like that there is a cute cat picture at the start of every chapter and case studies putting CAT into action.

Our kitties are tabbies and are very chatty.  I'm not sure the author would approve that we encourage that.  Also, the author thinks litter boxes shouldn't have hoods ... ours does and our kitties don't seem to mind.  She recommends letting cats free feed (leaving food out all the time) and we do that.  Introducing cats sounds like a long process in the book (weeks?  months?).  When we got Crumpet, we let her loose right away.  Morgan pouted in our bedroom for the evening but within days they were sleeping together and cleaning each other ... I guess we got lucky.

Morgan is a good boy.  The most destructive habit of Crumpet's is she occasionally does this:

And by the time we realize it, she's usually snoozing somewhere looking innocent.  We've learned to keep a towel hanging over the toilet paper to hide it.  Hard to believe she has a ton of toys!

I received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Book ~ "The Diet Dropout’s Guide to Natural Weight Loss: Find Your Easiest Path to Naturally Thin" (2013) Stan Spencer

From Goodreads ~ This book isn't about the latest celebrity diet, wonder food, or miracle supplement. It’s about creating a personalized weight loss plan—your own easiest path to naturally thin. While you can lose weight with almost any diet, keeping the weight off is much more difficult, requiring permanent changes in eating and exercise habits. This book provides a science-based approach for making those changes in a way that works best for you, without wasting time, money, or effort.

Dr. Spencer explains why we gain weight and why the fat lost by dieting almost always comes back. He then presents an array of practical weight loss tools for controlling emotional eating, calming cravings, boosting metabolism, and improving nutrition and exercise. In the final chapter he has you create a natural weight loss plan based on your unique set of needs, abilities, and preferences. Simple recipes are provided for weight loss foods that reduce cravings and prolong satisfaction.

What this book offers is a solid approach to weight loss—self-directed, gradual, and lasting—in contrast to the quick but fleeting weight loss offered by most one-size-fits-all diet plans.

Because I have some pounds to lose, I'm always interested in reading weight loss books.  This one caught my eye because "natural" was in the title, not once but twice.

This book states right away that it is for you if you want:
  • to get to the root of the problem and address the real reason for the extra weight
  • to lose weight permanently even if it takes a while
  • a book that is brief and to the point

It's not for you if you:
  • are looking for a diet or exercise plan
  • want to lose weight quickly, even if you later gain it back

It is divided up into ten chapters (along with easy-to-make recipes in the appendices):
  1. Why the weight - less active lifestyle and fattening food environment
  2. Why diets fail - most of the weight dieters lose is regained within four or five years; lasting weight loss is best accomplished by making permanent changes in your eating habits and physical activity
  3. Emotional eating - improving your emotional well-being (focus on the present, mental relaxation, healthy thinking, social interaction and doing something productive)
  4. Beat temptation with minimal willpower - keys to avoiding temptation and ways to calm cravings 
  5. How it adds up - understanding RMR (resting metabolic rate)
  6. Eat less without going hungry - eating more natural weight loss foods like veggies, fruit, nuts, whole grains, etc., eat a solid breakfast, lunch and supper, eat less junk food, eat mindfully, limit restaurant meals, get enough sleep and watch less TV
  7. Be active - turn work and play into exercise and get away from the screen
  8. Boost your metabolism - the benefit of exercising
  9. Myths
  10. Your easiest path - a checklist of all the naturally thin habits discussed in the book to master
There are reminder cards on the website that you can print and keep in your wallet.  For example, here is the one to quit emotional eating.

This book is a good reminder of the things I should be doing (especially the list of healthy habits in chapter ten). It's not heavy-duty and keeps things basic ... eat the right foods and get more active and you'll lose weight.

I received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Friday 22 February 2013

Book ~"The Best of Us" (2013) Sarah Pekkanen

From Goodreads ~ Paradise isn’t quite what it seems as four college friends meet for an island vacation.  Following a once-in-a-lifetime invitation, a group of old college friends leap at the chance to bring their husbands for a week’s vacation at a private villa in Jamaica to celebrate a former classmates' thirty-fifth birthday.

All four women are desperate for a break and this seems like a perfect opportunity. Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie needs to escape from the shattering news about an illness that runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her husband an unforgettable birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks that have already formed in their new marriage.

The week begins idyllically, filled with languorous days and late nights of drinking and laughter. But as a hurricane approaches the island, turmoil builds, forcing each woman to re-evaluate everything she’s known about the others—and herself.

Dwight, Tina, Allie and Savannah when to university together.  It's Dwight's 35th birthday and his wife, Pauline, wants to do something special.  So she rents a villa in Jamaica for a week and flies everyone and their spouses there on Dwight's private jet to spend a week celebrating.  She has everything planned from the meals (she has hired a chef) to the activities (how about a tour in a helicopter?).

Dwight was a dork in university but has done well for himself and is now rich.  He is still awkward and Pauline basically married him because of his money and the status he could provide.  She has a disabled sister who is in a home (Dwight doesn't know the seriousness of her disability because Pauline was concerned it would taint her) plus her mother who she (actually Dwight) is supporting.

Tina is married to Gio and they have four kids.  Tina is a stay-at-home-mom who is tired tired tired.  From the time she gets up 'til the time she goes to bed she's on the go taking care of her family and doesn't feel like she'll ever catch up.

Allie is married to Ryan and they have two kids.  Allie is a peacekeeper and is always taking care of others.  She was adopted and recently discovered that she may carry the ALS gene.

Savannah is a real estate agent and recently split from her husband, Gary ... he left her for another woman.  She's is out to take Gary for all she can and wants to show Gary what he gave up.

Needless to say, everyone welcomes the holiday.

Once they get to Jamaica, there is a lot of relaxing, partying and finding themselves ... all with the threat of Hurricane Betty.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style and it flowed well. The language at times is mature.

Each of the characters are different yet I could feel the bound between them.  I didn't agree with some of their actions but they had to do what they had to do.

I look forward to reading other books by this author.

I received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Book ~ "15 Days Without a Head" (2013) Dave Cousins

From Goodreads ~ Despite having a depressed alcoholic mother and a little brother who's convinced he's a dog, fifteen year-old Laurence Roach is trying to live a normal life. But when his mom doesn't come home after work one night, Laurence is terrified that child services will find out she's gone and separate him from his brother.

Laurence and his five-year-old brother, Jay, live in poverty.  When child services comes close to taking them away from their mom, his mom always takes them off in the middle of the night.  She is currently working two jobs (in a fast food restaurant and cleaning offices) to pay the bills ... when she is sober enough to go.  They live in a messy apartment that is overrun by cockroaches.  Their neighbour, Nosy Nelly, is always watching and looking for a reason to call child services.

To hopefully brighten his mom's life, Laurence has been secretly participating in a nightly radio contest for an all expense paid vacation.  Every night, he has to sneak out to a telephone booth to call in to answer three questions.

Suddenly his mom doesn't come home.  She's done this in the past for a couple days when she's been out on a drunk so Laurence takes care of Jay, protecting him by telling him that his mom is working extra hours.  But the days turn into weeks and Laurence is having a hard time holding it together.  They have no money or food but Laurence doesn't run out of hope that his mom will eventually come home. 

This is the first book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it.  I liked the writing style and kept wanting to read more.  It's written in first person, in Laurence's voice.  Though Laurence is only fifteen, I didn't find the storyline too immature for me.

I thought the characters were done well.  Laurence is only fifteen but has had to grow up very quickly having to take care of both his mom and brother.  Jay is a typical five-year-old, a fan of Scooby Doo and at times thinks he's a dog.  The mom is trying to do the best she can as a single mother but gets depressed often and turns to booze to make her feel better.

I'd like to read more from this author.

I received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Book ~ "The Facebook Diet: 50 Funny Signs of Facebook Addiction and Ways to Unplug with a Digital Detox" (2013) Gemini Adams

From Goodreads ~ A humorous gift book that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at our love of social media through a series of 50 hilarious cartoons that complete the question, "You Know You're a Facebook Addict When ...?" by identifying the more idiotic, embarrassing and cringe-worthy behaviors of our social networking excess.

With over 1 billion people now on Facebook (that's 1 in every 7 people on the planet) and 34% of all users checking their account before brushing their teeth or hair in the mornings, it seems most can confess to an addictive Facebook habit; whether it's stalking an ex, faking bathroom breaks to read news, checking-in wherever they go, or art-directing photos for the perfect profile pic.

Many get frustrated with the screen-centric behaviors of their Facebook junkie friends, colleagues or family members. Getting them to break the habit—or tame it-—isn't easy.

Award-winning author and illustrator, Gemini Adams, inspires us to examine the health of our high-tech habits, encouraging readers to ‘unplug once in a while’ by taking The Facebook Diet and following the funny digital detox tips. 

This is a quick read if you are a Facebook addict user or know one.

There are 50 cartoons depicting a Facebook addict like this one:

Some are cute ... some are a bit racy (so don't leave it around where your kids will see it.).

At the end are tips on how to unplug and take a tech-detox ... like this one:

I received a copy of this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.