Sunday 31 July 2016

Book ~ "Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter" (2016) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ Can IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway break up a clever ring of tax cheats who love money, dishonor the IRS and disobey the laws of justice?

When Tara agreed to be her best friend’s maid of honor, she knew it would be a ton of work. But planning a bachelorette party is a piece of (wedding) cake compared to her latest mission for the IRS. Her target is radio host Florence “Flo” Cash, star of “The Flo Cash Cash Flow Show.” Not only has Flo been giving her listeners shady tax advice, she’s set up an elaborate barter system that leaves Uncle Sam out of the equation - and Tara tied in knots.

While Flo flouts the IRS at every turn, Tara has yet another case to tackle: a catfishing Casanova who’s relieved several lonely ladies of their cash, credit cards and dignity. 

When her best friend’s big day arrives, it’s all Tara can do to keep from crying uncle. But when Tara snatches the bridal bouquet and her boyfriend Nick catches the satin garter, could Tara’s days of filing single tax returns be over?

Tara is a Special Agent with the IRS.  She has two cases on the go.  Florence Cash is the owner of a once thriving radio station.  She lives lavishly yet is paying herself a low salary, thus paying not a lot in taxes.  Tara knows something is up and determines that Flo is running a barter system ... giving out free advertising time on her radio station in return for stuff.  She's not cooperating and Tara is determined to bring her down.  The other case is that of a guy who is using online dating sites to attract women and then have them cash bad cheques for him.  Tara poses as a potential dater to get justice for the women he's taken advantage of.

The other focus for Tara is that her best friend, Alicia, is getting married soon (hence the satin garter reference in the title) and Tara is one of her brides maids ... which means planning the bachelorette party and helping with the wedding preparations.

I enjoyed this book and thought the two plots were interesting.  I liked the writing style ... it was funny and sarcastic. It is written in first person perspective from Tara's point of view.  Tara and Nick (Tara's boyfriend and fellow IRS agent) are good together.

It is the tenth book in the Tara Holloway series (I've read the previous ones and really enjoy this series) and the twelfth book I've read by this author.  It works as a stand alone as there was enough information from the past ones so you know what's going on.

Saturday 30 July 2016

Book ~ "Justin Trudeau: The Natural Heir" (2016) Huguette Young

From Goodreads ~ This unauthorized biography provides a rare look at the real Justin Trudeau, retracing his steps from his early days to the height of power.

Having grown up in the shadow of his famous father, a political giant who dominated Canadian politics for almost sixteen years, Justin Trudeau took many detours before discovering that he was a natural politician, with qualities, such as a charismatic ease with the public, that his father never possessed.

Yet to most Canadians, Trudeau remains a blank slate. Inexperienced and underestimated, he was able, in his early forties, to catapult the Liberal Party of Canada from third to first place in one giant sweep. It was a historic feat that left a nation amazed and wondering what to expect next.

In this unauthorized biography, journalist Huguette Young, who has conducted numerous interviews with Trudeau’s entourage, gives a look inside his inner circle and shows the path his leadership might take. Meant for supporters and skeptics alike, Young’s is a revealing account of one of Canada’s most compelling and enigmatic figures. 

I don't have a lot of interest in politics but I thought it would be interesting to learn more about our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

This book provides a very high level account of his life, giving some background about his parents (former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and his ex-wife, Margaret), his education and career path, getting into politics and finishing with the election in which he became our 23rd Prime Minister in the fall of 2015.

In the back of the book, there are notes to support the information and stats mentioned throughout the book.  The sources of information include newspaper and magazine articles, books, interviews (some of the interviewees are anonymous sources), etc.  Though the author didn't actually interview Justin Trudeau, she used information from his book, Common Ground.

Friday 29 July 2016

12 Beers of Summer, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON

Gord and I attended the 12 Beers of Summer at the Gladstone Hotel tonight, which is in our 'hood.

We went last year and also to their 12 Beers of Christmas and they are fun.

Don your ugliest Hawaiian shirt and cozy up with a beer (or 12) at our all-night party. 

We’ve gathered a long list of our favourite breweries who will all descend on the Gladstone Hotel on Friday July 29th, where they’ll be pouring glasses of good cheer in the form of beer! 

It was $25 and once you're inside, you can drink all you want.

The breweries there were:
  • Longslice Brewery 
  • Steam Whistle Pilsner 
  • Mill Street Brewery 
  • Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. 
  • Sweetgrass Brewing 
  • Goose Island Brewery 
  • Amsterdam Brewing Co. 
  • Black Oak Brewery 
  • Henderson Brewing Co 
  • Brimstone Brewing Company 
  • Innis & Gunn 
  • Brickworks Ciderhouse

I started with a Steamwhistle.

We went upstairs to see who was there. DJ Ace Dillinger was playing tunes.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Crafty Coyote, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Crafty Coyote (on Bloor Street W, east of Bathurst).  It opened about a month ago and I'd heard that it had a great craft beer selection (Gord loves craft beer) ... and their craft beer selection is stellar.

I ordered the Crafty Chicken Wings with medium sauce.  There were eight and I thought they were just okay ... I found them to be overcooked.  The carrots were rubbery.  I probably wouldn't get this again.

Gord ordered the Lobster Grilled Cheese sandwich with a salad.  He said the salad was good but needed more dressing.  He said the sandwich was really good and he'd get it again.

TATTOOS: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had heard that the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) had an exhibit that sounded interesting ... TATTOOS: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.  We both have a couple tattoos and love watching shows like Ink Master, etc.

The show is here until the beginning of September.  We checked it out this afternoon and it was indeed interesting.  Besides items and pictures with lots of descriptions, there are also videos that you can watch.

There were different areas:
  1. Global to marginal
  2. Art on the move
  3. Reviving tradtions
  4. New territories

Here's just some of the things we saw ...

Bundle of tattoo needles, Tunisia (early 20th century)
Tattoo embroidered on the back of an indigenous woman
Papua New Guinea (1930-35)

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Belfast Love Public House, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I left the Blue Jays game, we walked to Belfast Love (King Street W, just west of Brant Street) for supper.  It opened less than two months ago and we've been wanting to try it.

This sign says it is a "proper pub".  In my opinion, it's not a pub (I love pubs!) ... it's more a nice restaurant with music playing that I'd hear in a night club (definitely not Irish music).

They have a big patio.

It was hot and humid out so we headed inside.  Though two large sections were reserved, there was still lots of seating.

Toronto Blue Jays 4, San Diego Padres 8, Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON

Gord and I are on vacation this week.  The San Diego Padres were in town to play the Toronto Blue Jays at 12:37pm ... we bought our tickets a couple months ago.

It was Camp Day.  Because it was a day game, there were lots of kids and older people.

We watched the Blue Jays warm up.

The roof was open ...  yay!  It was a hot sunny day and thankfully our seats were in the shade just up from third base.

We could see people doing the EdgeWalk around the top of the CN Tower.  Eeek!

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Nando's, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Nando's (on Queen Street W, just west of Tecumseth Street).  They just opened a couple weeks ago.

Nando’s first opened in South Africa in 1987 and soon became famous for its Portuguese style flame-grilled chicken with a PERi-PERi (African Birds Eye Chilli) kick.

We sat on the patio.

Barnstormer Brewing Co., Barrie, ON

Gord and I had lunch today at Barnstormer Brewing Co. ... Gord loves craft beer and it's one of the reasons we spent two days in Barrie.

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Barrie, Barrie, ON

Gord and I are off this week and took a mini vacation to Barrie (about 1.5 hours north of Toronto).  We drove up yesterday and are heading home today.  Gord's into craft beer and there were a couple brewpubs he wanted to check out here.  Plus they have a nice waterfront.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites.

Here's our room ...

Happy birthday to me!

54 years ago today ... at 2:12pm ... I made my arrival into the world at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Here I am at my first birthday party ... celebrating with cake and a washing machine.  Good times!

Happy 14th anniversary to Gord and I!

Ken (Gord's son), me, Gord and Sister Sarah
July 26, 2002 ~ 5:30pm
City Hall, Toronto, ON

Monday 25 July 2016

Redline Brewhouse, Barrie, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Redline Brewhouse.

It's a nice big space.

They make their own beer onsite.  Gord loves craft beer and that's why we went there.