Thursday 30 November 2017

Book ~ "J Is for Judgment" (1993) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ Wendell Jaffe looks great for a dead man! He’s been six feet under for five years ago - until his former insurance agent spots him at a dusty resort bar in Mexico. Now California Fidelity wants its insurance money back. Can P.I. Kinsey Millhone get on the case?

Just two months earlier, Jaffe’s widow pocketed $500,000 in insurance benefits after Jaffe went overboard. Was his “pseudocide” a last-ditch effort to do right by his beloved wife? Perhaps. But how would that explain the new woman in Jaffe’s second life?

Kinsey is in for the long haul as she delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Jaffe’s life and death ... and discovers that, in family matters as in crime, sometimes it's better to reserve judgment.

It's the 1980s and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, in her thirties.  Wendell Jaffe was assumed to have died five years ago in a boating incident and his body was never found.  Just recently his wife was able to finally have him declared dead and collect on the insurance policy.  Two months later Jaffe, is seen vacationing in Mexico and Kinsey's former employer, California Fidelity Insurance who paid the insurance to Mrs. Jaffe, hires her to investigate.

Kinsey's parents had been killed in a car accident when she was very young and she was raised by her mother's aunt, Virginia.  While she was looking for Jaffe, who she suspects has returned to California, she discovers her late mother's family that she didn't know existed.

I liked this book and found the story interesting.  It's written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  It's the first time that Kinsey's family has been introduced in her life.  Up until this point, she thought she had no relatives and she was okay with that.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

This is the tenth in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  Since the series will soon come to an end (I finished the latest, Y is for Yesterday, in October), I am starting at the beginning and rereading them.

Delta Hotel, Waterloo, ON

I spent last night at the Delta Hotel in Waterloo.

Here was my room ...

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Mediterraneo Family Restaurant, Waterloo, ON

I had supper this evening with my former colleague, Maureen.  She and I worked together for about four years until 2002 and it's been years since we've seen each.  I'm spending the night in Waterloo and she lives in the area and I thought it would be fun to have supper together.

We met at one of her favourite restaurants, Mediterraneo Family Restaurant.

We both had chicken souvlaki.  I had mine without salad.  I love Greek food and haven't had it for a while.  This was good and I cleaned my plate.


Panagiotis was our server. He was friendly and took good care of us.

Mediterraneo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Book ~ "Hardcore Twenty-four" (2017) Janet Evanovich

From Goodreads ~ Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun - whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.

Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.

If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits - that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.

As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?

Zombies are running wild in Trenton, NJ, and bodies are turning up with no heads.  Stephanie works for her bail bondsman cousin and Lulu is a former 'ho who works with her.  They have to take grave robber Diggery in because he missed his court date.  He has no problem with this as he figures he'll be safer in jail away from the zombies but he makes Stephanie promise that she will take care of his snake, Ethel, while he is gone.  Among the other cases she has, she's also looking for Slick Zero, an amateur videographer and blogger, who is hoping to catch the zombies on film. 

Diesel, a mysterious man who pops in and out of Stephanie's life and the author has spun off into another series, arrives and is staying at her place and, as usual, is putting the moves on her and she's having a hard time resisting.

Stephanie and Joe, the police officer, are still together and this relationship is still drifting.  Ranger, her former colleague, is still hot and lusting after Stephanie and she doesn't act very committed to Joe around him.

This is the 24th in the Stephanie Plum series and I've read them all.  As in previous books, Evanovich continues to follow her formula:
  • Stephanie is lusting after Morelli and Ranger ... check
  • Stephanie's mom's nerves are shot so drinks and irons/cooks ... check
  • Grandma Masur is outrageous and checking out the viewings at the funeral home ... check
  • Lulu talks about food all the time and gets offended when someone refers to her weight ... check
  • Stephanie goes home to mooch meals from her parents ... check 
  • Morelli calls Stephanie "Cupcake" and just wants to have sex with her ... check 
  • Ranger calls Stephanie "Babe" and just wants to have sex with her with no commitment  ... check 
  • Stephanie borrows Ranger's vehicles and destroys them ... check

I'm not into zombies so didn't find the storyline or the whodunnit exciting or interesting.  It's written in first person perspective from Stephanie's point of view.  There is some swearing and some adult situations.

Since it's basically the same story over and over, I stopped buying these books a long time ago and now borrow them from the library.  It's a mindless familiar read, though I didn't find I enjoyed this one much at all.

Monday 27 November 2017

State & Main, Cambridge, ON

I had lunch today at State & Main in Cambridge.

I ordered chicken tenders (buttermilk brined tenderloin; breaded & fried, w/ fries & plum sauce).  It came with two sides so I got fries and jalapeno cheddar corn bread.  The fries were good.  The corn bread was good too ... I was expecting there to be some heat because of the jalapeno but it wasn't.  I didn't find it cheesy either.  There was brown sugar butter for it but the corn bread was too crumbly to use it (I had to eat it with a fork).  The chicken tenders lived up to their name and were tender and the plum sauce was tasty for dipping.  I'd get this again.

Sunday 26 November 2017

Mitred Square Dish Cloth

I finished a dish cloth this evening.

Using a US6/4mm needle, cast on 80 stitches.  I used cotton yarn.

Row 1: Knit placing a stitch marker after 40 stitches (at the halfway point)

Row 2: Knit to two stitches before the stitch marker, knit two stitches together, slip the stitch marker to the other needle, slip slip knit, knit to the end of row.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until two stitches remain.  Repeat row 1 once more. Cast off.

Saturday 25 November 2017

The Gentlemen's Expo, Toronto, ON

I checked out the Gentlemen's Expo this afternoon ... Gord and I had gone last year and had had fun.  It was last night and today ('til 10pm).

At the top of the escalator, there were free samples of Jack Link jerky.

There were vendors providing drinks and food and you bought tokens for them.

There were also vendors providing shoes, clothing, hair cuts, beard oil, financial services, accessories and more.  There were cooking workshops scheduled and Robbie Alomar, Joe Carter, Darcy Tucker and Curtis Joseph would be speaking throughout the day and evening.

Friday 24 November 2017

Mitred Square Dish Cloth

I made a dish cloth this evening.  It was a fairly easy pattern once I mastered slip slip knit.

Using a US6/4mm needle, cast on 80 stitches.  I used cotton yarn.

Row 1: Knit placing a stitch marker after 40 stitches (at the halfway point)

Row 2: Knit to two stitches before the stitch marker, knit two stitches together, slip the stitch marker to the other needle, slip slip knit, knit to the end of row.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until two stitches remain.  Repeat row 1 once more. Cast off.

Thursday 23 November 2017

Book ~ "You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman" (2014) Mike Thomas

From Goodreads ~ Beloved comedic actor Phil Hartman is best known for his eight brilliant seasons on "Saturday Night Live", where his versatility and comedic timing resulted in some of the funniest and most famous sketches in the show’s history, including his hilarious impersonations of Frank Sinatra, Bill Clinton, and Charlton Heston and outrageous portrayals of the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer and Anal Retentive Chef. He also starred as pompous radio broadcaster Bill McNeal in the NBC sitcom "NewsRadio" and voiced numerous classic roles on Fox’s long-running animated hit, "The Simpsons".

But Hartman's life was cut tragically short when he was shot to death while he slept by his jealous and intoxicated third wife, Brynn, who turned the gun on herself a few hours later. It was a Hollywood tragedy that captured the nation's attention.

Now, for the first time ever, the years and moments leading up to Phil’s stunning death are revealed in detail with insight gleaned from exclusive interviews with numerous famous cast mates, close friends, family members, letters, audio/video recordings, police records and more.

"You Might Remember Me" is both a celebration of Phil Hartman’s multi-faceted career and an exhaustively reported, warts-and-all examination of his often intriguing and sometimes troubled life - a powerful and at times harrowing portrait of a man who was loved and admired by millions and taken from them far too early. 

Phil Hartman (1948 - 1998) was an actor.  He was born and lived in Brantford, Ontario, until his family moved to the States when he was about ten.  He graduated from university with a graphic arts degree and designed album covers for bands like Poco and America. 

Hartman joined the comedy group The Groundlings in 1975, where he met Paul Reubens and helped him develop his Pee-wee Herman character (he co-wrote the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure and was Captain Carl on Pee-wee's Playhouse).  In 1986, he joined Saturday Night Live and was on the show for eight years.  In 1995, he starred as Bill McNeal in NewsRadio.  He also had voice roles on The Simpsons, from seasons two to ten, in addition to being in movies.

Hartman was married three times (and divorced twice) and had two children with his third wife, Britt, who he married in 1987.  In May 1998, while drunk and on drugs, Britt shot Phil while he was asleep and a couple hours later killed herself.  Their two young children were raised by Britt's sister.

This book covers Hartman's life from the time his family was living in Brantford to his death, and includes the aftermath of his death with the investigation, tributes from his friends and family, and his memorials.

I liked Phil Hartman and thought his death was tragic.  I liked the writing style of this book and found his story interesting.  There was a lot of information and I found it was at a good level (detailed but not too detailed).  At the end of the book, there are lots of pictures of Hartman throughout the years and a bibliography. 

If you are a Phil Hartman fan, I think you will enjoy this book.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

College Falafel, Toronto, ON

Last night I heard about a donair shop in Halifax that has a 24-hour webcam directed at their donair spit.  I watched it for a bit and that had me craving a donair.  So I headed for lunch today to College Falafel (at Ossington Avenue and College Street) for an "east coast" donair.  I've been there before for a donair.

Here are the owners getting my donair ready ...

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Cactus Club Cafe, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at the Cactus Club Cafe in First Canadian Place.

It was a busy spot and I was seated on "The Deck", on the third floor,
which is covered and heated

I ordered Rob's Crispy Chicken Sandwich (with no cheese, lettuce or onions).  It was a good sandwich.  The bun was really soft.  I didn't find the sandwich overly spicy but it was messy (thank goodness for the large napkin!).  The fries were good too.  I'd get this again.

Monday 20 November 2017

Book ~ "The Moscow Code" (2017) Nick Wilkshire

From Goodreads ~ Ottawa bureaucrat–turned-diplomat Charlie Hillier is back. Having barely survived his first posting in Havana, Charlie is eager to put what he learned there to good use. And it isn’t long before he's thrust into a fresh case - a technical writer from Toronto in a Moscow jail on dubious drug charges. Charlie has barely put a dent in the brick wall that is the Russian legal system when the jailed man turns up dead, the official explanation: suicide. And just when evidence to the contrary is discovered, the body is “accidentally” cremated by the authorities.

Undeterred by bureaucratic stonewalling and determined to help the victim’s sister get to the bottom of her brother’s death, Charlie follows the sparse clues available. But what he uncovers brings them both far too close to powers more dangerous than they could have imagined. Suddenly, getting at the truth is less important than getting out of Russia in one piece. 

Charlie is middle-aged, divorced and working with Foreign Affairs, reporting to headquarters in Ottawa.  He recently transferred from a posting in Havana to Moscow.  He meets Steve, a fellow Canadian who is a technical writer working in Moscow.  Steve has been in jail after being picked up at a party ... he was apparently the only foreigner there without a passport.

As Charlie works to help him, Steve is found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide.  Charlie breaks the news to Sophie, Steve's sister, who travels from Toronto to Moscow take her brother's body home.  The body, though, ends up being accidentally cremated after Sophie identifies it.  Sophie is a doctor and sees some signs to make her suspect that Steve's death wasn't a suicide after all.  She looks to Charlie for help to find out what really happened.

This is the second and latest in the A Foreign Affairs Mystery series (I read the first one last year) and the second book I've read by this author.  It is written in third person perspective, from Charlie's point of view.  For the most part, I liked the story and characters,  I found it confusing at times, though, and had a hard time keeping the Russian characters straight (who they were, what they did and how it pertained to the story).  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I look forward to reading more in this series.

Johnny's Maples Pizza & Restaurant, Winnipeg, MB

I had lunch today at Johnny's Maples Pizza & Restaurant.  It was near by client's office and I love love love pizza.

I ordered a small meat lovers pizza and a Diet Pepsi.  The crust looked substantial but it was surprisingly light and tasty.  The sauce seemed to have the ground beef mixed in.  It was a good size for a small and I couldn't eat it all.  I would have taken the leftovers with me but I was flying home today and I wasn't sure how well it would travel.

The servers were friendly.

Johnny's Maples Pizza & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boccone Trattoria Veloce, Mississauga, ON

I flew to Winnipeg this morning and had breakfast at Boccone Trattoria Veloce before my flight.  I usually go there for lunch as they make delicious pizzas when I'm at the airport.  Today I was too early for the lunch menu.  I'd had breakfast there a couple weeks ago and it wasn't a great experience (everything was cold).  Despite saying I'd never go back for breakfast, I thought I'd give it another chance.

I ordered what I ordered the last time ... bacon and eggs and a large milk.  The potatoes and eggs were warm.  The bacon and toast were cold.  Like the last time, I didn't have time to send it back and to be honest, I couldn't be bothered.