Saturday, 29 September 2018

Madoc Dairy, Madoc, ON

Gord and I had a late lunch this afternoon with Minnie (Gord's mom), Judy (Gord's sister) and Doug (Judy's husband) at Burnside's Casual Dining (aka the Madoc Dairy).

It's been around for many years.  It started as distribution centre for milk from what is now the kitchen.  It's grown to become a restaurant, ice cream parlour and gift shop.

Minnie ordered a chicken sandwich with onion rings and Doug ordered a hot hamburg sandwich.  Gord, Judy and I ordered the Kentucky Style Chicken Dinner.  Gord got his with onion rings, Judy got hers with wings and I got mine with wedges.  All our meals were good.  My chicken was really juicy and the wedges were delicious (crusty on the outside and soft on the inside).

 Madoc Dairy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Book ~ "17th Suspect" (2018) James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

From Goodreads ~ A KILLER WITH A PLAN

Detective Lindsay Boxer is on the case of a series of shootings of the homeless in San Francisco, where the killer is methodical yet unpredictable. An encounter with a confidential informant leads her to disturbing conclusions – something has gone very wrong inside the police department itself.


The hunt for the killer lures Lindsay out of her jurisdiction and Lindsay’s friends in the Women’s Murder Club are concerned that she’s taking the crimes too much to heart.


But with lives on the line, Lindsay can’t stop herself from following the case into ever more terrifying terrain – even though the killer could cost her everything.


This is the seventeenth in the Women's Murder Club series (I've read them all). Though it is part of a series, it does work as a stand alone.  There are four members of the Women's Murder Club ... Lindsay, Cindy, Claire and Yuki, though the focus in this book is on Lindsay and Yuki.  Cindy and Claire are barely there, except when they meet for a couple meals.

Lindsay is a detective with the San Francisco Police Department.  She and her husband, Joe, are the parents of a young daughter.  Joe is recovering from an injury (incurred in the last book) so is currently a stay-at-home dad.  Lindsay is approached by Millie, a homeless woman, who tells her that others in her community are getting murdered but the police in that jurisdiction don't care.  Millie asks Lindsay to help, which causes some tension with the police officers who are assigned to the cases.  In the meantime, Lindsay isn't feeling well is concerned that she may be pregnant, something she's not sure she wants.

Marc has gone to the police to say that he was raped by his boss and he has a video to prove it.  Yuki is the DA assigned to this case and she's determined to bring Marc's boss down for what she did.

I liked the writing style of this book and thought it went at a good pace. I liked the short choppy chapters.  I thought the stories were okay, though the ending of one was pretty predictable and the other one ended abruptly and I would have liked more info on the "why" (not enough closure for me, I guess).  The point of view shifted ... it was first person perspective when the focus was on Lindsay and third person perspective when the focus was on others such as Yuki and the killer of the homeless.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Toronto Wolfpack 17, Leeds Rhinos 16, 3 Brewers, Toronto, ON

The Toronto Wolfpack RLFC is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here Toronto, which competes in the British Rugby Football League system.  In 2018, the club is competing in the Championship, having begun to play in 2017 in League 1 and won a promotion in its inaugural season.  The club is noted as being the first North American team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first transatlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where Gord and I live.  We are season ticket holders and we've renewed for 2019.

Last week was the last home game of the qualifiers and today's game against the Leeds Rhinos was the last game of the qualifiers ... the top four teams in our Betfred League (the Wolfpack were first in the Betfred League) play the bottom four teams in the Super League to see who moves or stays in the leagues.  Leeds is trying to hold onto their spot in the Super League and had a better record than the Wolfpack going into today's game ... they were expected to win today's game.

3 Brewers is the official restaurant/bar of the Wolfpack in Toronto and there was an away game viewing party to watch today's game.

There were a couple hundred loud and proud Wolfpack fans jammed into the area on the second floor.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Turtle Jack's Muskoka Grill, Guelph, ON

I had lunch today at Turtle Jack's in Guelph.

I was seated on the dining room side

I love love Chicken Parmesan.  I'd been at this Turtle Jack's before and that's what I'd had and liked it.  So that's what I ordered today.  It took a while for it to arrived.  When it did, the pasta was overcooked and cold, the sauce had no taste and the chicken was burnt.  I was hungry and didn't have a lot of time so didn't complain and started eating it.  About halfway through, my server asked how it was.  I told her the chicken was burnt and she offered to have another one made.  I said I didn't have time so said I'd eat it as it was.  She came back and said I wouldn't be billed for it.  Since I was eating, I insisted on paying but she said the manager said there was no cost.

My server was nice (I left her a tip) but I don't think I'll be rushing back to this restaurant.

Turtle Jack's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Hôtel Monville, Montreal, QC

I was in Montreal on Monday until today and spent Monday and last night at Hotel Monville, which apparently just opened in June.

There is a room service robot

There is a terrace on the 20th floor ... here are the views.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Book ~ "Deck the Hounds" (2018) David Rosenfelt

From GoodreadsReluctant lawyer Andy Carpenter doesn’t usually stop to help others but seeing a dog next to a homeless man inspires him to give the pair some money to help. It’s just Andy’s luck that things don’t end there. Soon after Andy’s encounter with them, man and dog are attacked in the middle of the night on the street. The dog defends its new owner and the erstwhile attacker is bitten but escapes. But the dog is quarantined and the man, Don Carrigan, is heartbroken. 

Andy’s wife, Laurie, can’t resist helping the duo after learning Andy has met them before … it’s the Christmas season after all. In a matter of days, Don and his dog, Zoey, are living above Andy’s garage and become two new additions to the family. 

It’s not until Andy accidentally gives away his guest’s name during an interview that things go awry; turns out Don is wanted for a murder that happened two years ago. Don not only claims he’s innocent but that he had no idea that he was wanted for a crime he has no knowledge of in the first place. It’s up to Andy to exonerate his new friend, if he doesn’t get pulled into the quagmire first.

Andy is a criminal defense lawyer who doesn't want any clients.  Because of the money his father left him, he is able to not work and spend his time with his friend, Willie, running the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue that he and Willie formed.  He is married to Laurie and they have a young son, Ricky, so he is enjoying his life.

It's the Christmas season and Andy and Laurie befriend a homeless man with PTSD named Don and Zoey, his dog, and offer to let him live in the apartment above their garage.  When Andy is interviewed in the newspaper after Don has been attacked, he gives Don's name.  The next thing they know, Don is being arrested for a two year old murder.  Don said he didn't do it and that he didn't even know the victim and Andy feels inclined to defend him.  Zoey turns out to be pregnant and Willie takes care of her at the rescue.

This is the eighteenth in the Andy Carpenter series (I've read them all).  I enjoyed this book and am enjoying this series.  I find with most series that by the time an author has come this far, the series isn't good and the author is pounding out the books just to get a paycheque.  That's not the case with this series ... the author is able to keep this series fresh and fun.

The story was interesting and there were some twists and turns along the way.  Even though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone (so you don't need to have read the ones before it to know what is going on).  I like the writing style of this author as it was funny, sarcastic and amusing.  It was written mostly in first person perspective in Andy's voice but is sometimes in third person perspective when the focus is on the bad guys.

I like Andy ... I think he would be a hoot to be around and he's quite generous with his time and money (his two best friends continue to take advantage of his tab at their favourite bar).  He loves their dog, Tara, and thinks she's the best dog in the world.  They also has another less lively dog named Sebastian.  Part of Andy's team is Laurie, his wife and former police officer and now his investigator.  Hike is his associate who is the most depressed and pessimistic person ever.  Marcus, an investigator with persuasive reasoning skills, continues to provide protection when it's most needed (which is often since Andy is a self-professed coward).  Sam is his accountant who is also a computer hack leading a team of elderly hackers.

Monday, 24 September 2018

John Michael’s Pub, Montreal, QC

Gord and I had supper this evening at John Michael's Pub.   We choose this place because the patio was jammed ... the patios of the other restaurants in the area were empty.

We sat on the patio ... the heat lamps kept us warm
It was pretty full inside too

We were entertained until 7pm by Chris Verrillo, who played in the square next to the restaurant.

La Grande Roue de Montréal, Montreal, QC

This afternoon Gord and I went on La Grande Roue de Montreal ... the tallest ferris wheel in Canada.  It allows you to see the city and its surroundings from 60 metres in the air, the equivalent of a 20-story building!

It goes around four times and takes about a half hour.  Here are the views ...

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Book ~ "Happily Ever Esther" (2018) Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter and Caprice Crane

From Goodreads ~ Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter had their lives turned upside down when they adopted their pig-daughter, Esther - the so-called micro pig who turned out to be a full-sized commercial pig growing to a whopping 600 pounds - as they describe in their bestselling memoir, "Esther the Wonder Pig". The book ends with them moving to a new farm, and starting a new wonderful life where they will live on the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary to care for other animals and just live happily ever after.

Or so they thought. 

People often think about giving it all up and just moving to a farm. In theory, it sure does sound great. But as Derek and Steve quickly realized, the realities of being a farmer - especially when you have never lived on a farm let alone outside of the city - can be frantic, crazy and even insane. 

Not only are they adjusting to farm life and dutifully taking care of their pig-daughter Esther (who by the way lives in the master bedroom of their house) but before they knew it their sanctuary grew to as many as 42 animals, including pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, cows, roosters, a peacock, a duck, a horse, a donkey, and a barn cat named Willma Ferrell.  

Steve received a call from an old friend ... she had a mini pig that she was trying to find a home for because she couldn't keep her.  Steve said he'd take the pig and he and his partner, Derek, named her Esther. Then they discovered that Esther wasn't a six month old "mini" pig at all ... she was, in fact, a six week old commercial pig, which means she should have been destined to be raised and butchered.

Esther grew from being the size of a sneaker to over 650 pounds! They tried to raise her as long as they could in their house in Georgetown, just outside of Toronto. They eventually bought a farm about 45km west of Toronto and opened the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary and take in animals that need homes.  This is the story of them starting this sanctuary.

I had read Esther the Wonder Pig in 2016 and enjoyed it.  Reading about the sanctuary, I wanted to go and have been twice (I was just there in July with my friend, Trish*) ... I look forward to going again next summer.  Plus my friend, Christine*, volunteers there on a regular basis and I like seeing the pictures she posts of her days there on Facebook.

I liked this book.  It was interesting to read how adopting what they thought was a mini pig had changed Steve and Derek's life so much.  They became vegan (they were cooking bacon for breakfast one morning and suddenly connected where it came from ... a pig similar to their pig-daughter, Esther), gave up their jobs, sold their house, bought a farm, started the sanctuary and became activists.  Since I've been to the sanctuary, I could picture the place and the animals they spoke about.

It wasn't easy starting the sanctuary.  The farm needed a lot of work and they did a lot of the manual work themselves, figuring it out as they went along.  They now have a great team of volunteers behind them.  People assume they will take every animal that needs a home and unfortunately they can't.

There are "Esther-approved" recipes at the end of the book along with pictures.

* I'm not vegan and Trish and Christine are.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

"The Rocky Horror Show", Lower Ossington Theatre, Toronto, ON

This evening Gord and I saw The Rocky Horror Show.

We know you shivered with antici ... pation, and the wait is over! Rocky Horror is back for Halloween!

This comedy horror and cult classic tells the story of newly engaged couple Brad Majors ("A-HOLE!") and Janet Weiss ("SLUT!"), who meet a group of strange individuals!

Sold-out for 7 years in a row, you can't miss this Halloween spectacle, live on stage!

It is playing until the the middle of November at the Lower Ossington Theatre, which is in our 'hood.  I've seen many plays there over the years and haven't seen a bad production there.  The Lower Ossington Theatre has a small intimate theatre (maybe 100 seats) and a great place to see a play or musical.

We've seen this musical a few times.  In fact, we just saw it at the end of July at the Stratford Festival.   We also saw and enjoyed the Lower Ossington Theatre production five years ago.

The actors tonight were entertaining in their roles.  It was interesting to see the liberties they took .... they embellished some of the lines, which worked out well.  I'm assuming there were some plants in the audience as they were yelling out lines to which the cast responded.  Nathaniel Bacon, the actor playing Frank N' Furter, exuded sexuality.  Callum Lurie and Amanda Milligan were good as Brad and Janet.  The part of the narrator was played by a female (very well by Dani Zimmer), which was different than other productions ... and she got drunker as it went on and was a hoot.   The part of Eddie/Dr. Scott was also played by a female, which was odd because it was a woman pretending to be men ... why not just have a man do these parts?   As a head's up there is swearing and sexuality (for example, Janet gets her boobs grabbed a lot).

This was a fun production and I'd suggest you check it out.

Toronto Wolfpack 20, Widnes Vikings 12, Lamport Stadium, Toronto, ON

The Toronto Wolfpack RLFC is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here Toronto, which competes in the British Rugby Football League system.  In 2018, the club is competing in the Championship, having begun to play in 2017 in League 1 and won a promotion in its inaugural season.  The club is noted as being the first North American team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first transatlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where Gord and I live.  We are season ticket holders and we've renewed for 2019.

Today the Wolfpack were playing the Widnes Vikings.  It was the last home game of the qualifiers ... the top four teams in our Betfred League (the Wolfpack were first in the Betfred League) play the bottom four teams in the Super League to see who moves or stays in the leagues.  Widnes was in last place in the Super League and doesn't have a great record in the qualifiers.

It was a cool sunny day with a temperature of 17C.  Here are Gord and I before the game began (our pal, Trish, joined us later).

Here come the Wolfpack!

God Save the Queen and O Canada were sung before the game.

Book ~ "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars" (2012) Scotty Bowers and Lionel Friedberg

From GoodreadsNewly discharged from the Marines after World War II, Scotty Bowers arrived in Hollywood in 1946. Young, charismatic, and strikingly handsome, he quickly caught the eye of many of the town's stars and starlets. He began sleeping with some himself and connecting others with his coterie of young, attractive, and sexually free-spirited friends. His own lovers included Edith Piaf, Spencer Tracy, Vivien Leigh, Cary Grant, and the abdicated King of England Edward VIII, and he arranged tricks or otherwise crossed paths with Tennessee Williams, Charles Laughton, Vincent Price, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Errol Flynn, Gloria Swanson, Noel Coward, Mae West, James Dean, Rock Hudson and J. Edgar Hoover, to name but a few.

"Full Service" is not only a fascinating chronicle of Hollywood's sexual underground, but also exposes the hypocrisy of the major studios, who used actors to propagate a myth of a conformist, sexually innocent America knowing full well that their stars' personal lives differed dramatically from this family-friendly mold. As revelation-filled as Hollywood Babylon, "Full Service" provides a lost chapter in the history of the sexual revolution and is a testament to a man who provided sex, support, and affection to countless people. 

Bowers was born in Illinois in the early 1920s.  He and his family were very poor and living on a farm.  He served time as a Marine and moved to Los Angeles and got a job working in a gas station.  From there, he started hooking people up when they came to him regardless of what they wanted ... basically he became a pimp and even "tricked" himself out.  He claims over and over that he never did it for money ... he just wanted to make people happy.  Gag!  He eventually quit his job at the gas station and became a bartender and handyman, while continuing to be a pimp.  This is his story, focusing mostly on the famous people he hooked up and/or tricked.

I like reading gossipy books and this was definitely one.  But it was also icky.  Bowers is quite graphic about what everyone did and to whom.  As no surprise, there is a lot of swearing.  It took me a while to read this book because I kept stopping and Googling people that I hadn't been aware were gay or bisexual ... and some didn't have a whiff of it attached to them.  All the people he writes about are dead so they can't speak up for themselves.  If we are to believe his stories, we have to take his word for it.

I didn't find him overly likable and, despite him saying over and over he just did what he did to make people happy, I found him to be a user.  He met Betty before he settled in Los Angeles and they lived together there.  He was sleeping with anyone and everyone and barely home, even after she ended up pregnant and they had a daughter.  It doesn't say much for her if she was willing to put up with all this stuff ... he says he doesn't know how much she knew as he tried to keep it from her.  I hope she was having lots of fun on the side since he was never home.  He even got married when he was in his 60s and kept the marriage from Betty even though he saw her daily (she passed away 20 years later).  His wife knew about Betty and was understanding about it.  Huh?!

According to him everyone wanted him.  He would be walking down the street and strangers would stop their car to invite him to their homes (and he went along) for sex.  All the famous people he supposedly met (male and female) wanted him and he tricked himself to them over and over.  And they all became his very good friends for years.  Really?

His introduction to sex was when he was a child and a friend's dad started putting the moves on him in a shed.  Instead of recognizing this as molestation by a pedophile, he looked at it as a wonderful and loving experience (which continued until they moved).  Seriously?

The book is the Bower's recollections.  Perhaps he is remembering the stories differently than how they really happened (he's in his 90s now).  Perhaps he is embellishing them to sell a book.  I found most of the book too unbelievable to be true.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Kelsey's Original Roadhouse, Guelph, ON

I had an early lunch today at Kelsey's in Guelph.

I hadn't had breakfast so was really really hungry when I got there.

The dining room
I sat on the bar side where it was livelier

I hadn't had Chicken Fried Chicken in a while so that's what I ordered.  I swapped my veggies for extra mashed potatoes.  The potatoes tasted "real" ... not powdered ... and were good.  The chicken wasn't processed and was tender.  It was a pleasant surprise to find that the coating wasn't hard and crunchy but soft.  I'd get this again.