Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Will the nation do the right thing?
I like Martin Amis' view. The US has got to think about how the rest of the world would vote; to think about how the US would be perceived with Romney (described by Maureen Dowd as a shape-shifting chucklehead of mind boggling phoniness) at the helm.
Monday, 29 October 2012
The song will have to wait for another time. As most Ontarians take an extra dose of Happy Pills, I say, embrace the weather. It's just a matter of layering and not resigning yourself to complaining about it. (But we do it anyway.)
Took some pictures of the Niagara Escarpment. Like the contrast of the dark tree trunks and the yellow branches in the rain.
Breathing and vision fully restored by late Friday evening. Stocked the larder against the coming storm and took a few moments of R & R. And it was mere moments. Declined the beer in favour of the martini but ultimately went with a Horlicks. Comfort food. As I didn't have a vat of macaroni and cheese waiting for me when I got home, Horlicks was just the thing. Malt & Barley-very fortifying; like a beer, only no alcohol. Has a very soporific effect.
9AM Saturday. No light in the house and staggered from one room to the next trying to find something suitable to sweat in. Enthusiasm not running high for the workout, but, I went. Six of us in total. What were the other ten doing? Nestled under their respective duvet? Dreaming of the big breakfast fry-up? The instructor may as well have stayed home. After two hours sleep she had dragged herself in after a night at the casino. Self-motivation was key here.
13:00 Opera bound. The most excruciating drive into town. Had forgotten that the Ti-Cat game was on. Ticket holders clad in yellow longshoremen slickers and pants. It's raining so of course everyone is doing 40kmh. Why?
The debacle that is the Tiger Cats. What more can be said about this team? Pages have been devoted to it. The 2013 season is an unknown quantity at this stage. The old stadium is coming down and they have nowhere to play. The proposed stadium is smaller than this one, seating is reduced, parking is reduced. Full exposure to the elements for the fans. Going to be in the same spot as the existing venue which has proven to not work for the neighbourhood, the fans and the city at large. One only has to look at the stadium time line of events to see that it is in fact clown suits Council wears and not the traditional shirt and tie. (Ti-Cat management have been playing dress up also.)
Had the choice to join the Zombie Walk down at Bayfront Park. Very tempting, but, went with the hunchback in the three piece suit.
Parked up and joined the queue to feed the meter. There is no consensus on parking fees. Think the meter is free on a Saturday. The lots, no. No one really knows. Time was a little man in the green booth took a flat rate fee but now it's all automated. No one dare risk not feeding the meter. Fines being what they are.
14:00 Theatre facade under reconstruction and things didn't look good. Pink rinse set in the seats. Lots of canes and a poor women who had both feet in therapy boots. I kept waiting for her to tip sideways and go over the aisle. A few under 50's. My seat mate was a "purse rummager" and in distress. Her friend was nowhere to be found and she was not pleased that another woman was sitting in her friend's spot. Friend located at intermission. This meant that the caned rummager made two round trips to the lobby. I feared she too would go over the aisle. Unfortunately, she slept through two thirds of the production, waking only when the soloists hit the high notes. Do you jab strangers in the ribs to wake them up? They've paid good money and it's an expensive nap.
Hamilton Place this is not, but Theatre Aquarius has turned into a good venue for Opera Hamilton. The acoustics do not compare and the pit is hidden. Traditionally first violin walks on followed by the conductor. You just can't see anyone in this pit. Speers did manage to poke his head above the stage, but, I think a step stool would go a long way here. After all, you want to give the orchestra due credit and they did do a fine job.
This was a modern day Rigoletto set in penthouse boardrooms and karaoke bars. Great voices. I had two very chatty seatmates. If you've lost track of the plot, don't confer with each other; read the program notes. These two probably talk through movies-you know the type. I had to shush them. Someone had to take a stand. You know everyone wants to take a stand, but, they're paralyzed with fear. It's only a 'shush'. I left the theatre a conquering hero.
18:00 The Pater was cooking dinner. Excruciating drive East. Who's familiar with The Green Wave? If you hit the traffic lights right, you can get out of town in about fifteen minutes. Just maintain 50kmh and you'll hit them just right. BUT, you're up the proverbial if your timing's off.
Sunday roast beef on a Saturday night. Mash, roast spuds, sprouts, winner of the World's Biggest Squash award, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, cheese and biscuits, chocolate pastry. Just the right elements on such a night. I'd like to see more restaurants do a cheese and biscuit(crackers, to the uninitiated) course, but, it's still very much an Anglo thing. Finishes the meal off.
Oblivious to the rain. The Merlot had worked its magic.
Sunday Afternoon. Rain. Decide to press on.
13:00 Final day of the Emily Carr exhibit at the AGH. Here's a picture of the front door to the AGH. Just want to make it absolutely clear. There was a time when there wasn't a front door and getting in proved challenging for any visitors. A front door was probably uppermost on the key players' minds when renovating.
And, the AGH letters are still in place. One fell off in high wind and had to be re engineered. We'll see what happens with the coming storm.
Enjoyed the Carr exhibit.
Adjacent to this was the Zinedine Zidane exhibit. Seventeen cameras filmed the footballer, exclusively, during a 2005 Real Madrid match. It’s a very intense ninety minutes of video. Close-ups of his head, feet, sweat. Runs ‘til April 28.
Caught the green wave out of town and headed to Walmart. Mistake. Hoards of parents looking for last minute Hallowe’en costumes. Hoards of shoppers. Can people think of nothing else on a rainy day but shop? I grabbed my items and waited patiently in the queue. Got to the car looking like a drowned rat.
15:00 Mohammed Hanif interview on Writers & Company. Very eloquent man who felt very strongly that we should not be making heroes out of 14 year old Pakistani girls. They should be doing what every other fourteen year old is doing, not trying to change policy and getting shot in the head for doing so. Putting “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” on the reading list.
Home to the soothing sounds of Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor. Ahhhh.
18:00 Watching junior league (six year olds) hockey. As their coach puts it, cat herding. This was their second game, ever, and yes, there were some comic moments. I give full credit to parents for getting their kids involved and spending every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at practise and games. It was tough to concentrate on the game at times as three rather (I’ll be polite here) rambunctious children ran amok in the stands. Whither parental control??
I do hope those of you out there who have decided to support OHL and local hockey during this silly business with Gary and his pals, will continue to do so if and when the strike comes to an end. You say you will, but, why is it a challenge getting more than 3,000 of you in the stands during any given game? The Big Boys can take care of themselves; give the OHL a chance. You don’t really want to reward the NHL with your instant patronage. Let us have our own strike. Enough said about hockey.
21:00 The Strombo Show and a recommendation for Hallowe’en. The Devils, directed by Ken Russell. Took an X-rating back in '71. Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave star. Not for the faint of heart. Enjoy!
Friday, 26 October 2012
As Chancellor of the University of Guelph, Alexander conferred my degree upon me all those years ago. Pleasure meeting him.
Thursday, 25 October 2012
I was swapping restaurant recommendations recently and the crowd wanted to know where to go in Niagara on the Lake.
I've visited The Ginger on two previous occasions. It is located at 390 Mary St. in front of The Orchid Inn. Heading North down Mississauga Road, turn left at the Tim Horton's and it's just at the bend in the road.
The Ginger is located a few blocks out of the NOTL core. Not a tourist trap. Well patronized by the locals so if you have had enough of battling the crowds, give it a try.
Asian Fusion vein of cooking. Small menus for starter and mains. Three desserts; all made from scratch. Vegetarian choice on each menu.
The restaurant is small and reservations are recommended. I'm pre-theatre so it's always very quiet at 5PM. Tablecloth? Yes. Cloth napkin? Yes. Don't like this trend in better restaurants to plastic, picnic table style cloths. The Trip Advisor pic does nothing for the restaurant. Don't go by the reviewer photos. (One reviewer had nothing critical to say but did take the place to task about why there were no baskets of bread. I ask you. It is not an obligation to present bread baskets. And this is not the type of restaurant that does bread. If you have only positive comments don't reach for something that doesn't make sense.)
Black and white photography on the walls; very clean lines. Service is prompt. The host checks in on you during dinner but what I like is that you're pretty much left alone to enjoy your meal. I cannot abide the constant badgering at some places. How can I comment on the dinner if I haven't had a chance to eat it? I do not need to be asked, "How is everything?" each and every ten minutes. We don't take enough time with our food these days. Most of us are too busy shovelling it in. Slow down and enjoy.
First visit went with the spring rolls and the coconut chicken. Crisp, hot rolls and a very generous curry with lots of chicken and rice. Very tasty.
Second meal was gazpacho followed by breast of duck with raspberry(no cherries-hurrah!), parsnip puree and roast potatoes. Delicious.
Scratch desserts include mousse and creme brulee. There's always room for dessert. Recommend the mousse.
Menu items change so look upon this as an opportunity to find another favourite dish. Please consider The Ginger when you're next in the Niagara region.
"We should work but one day a week and take the other six to enjoy the glory that is nature." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Found the key to my shackles and broke free from the cube to take advantage of the 24 C weather. A welcome relief after two days of thick fog and drizzle. Like the birds, I'm heading further South as the days go by. It was June '11 when I last passed this way.
Here's a shot from last June. It's a little fuzzy as it was taken well past sunset. Liked the dark, creepy windows. Perhaps we'll have a "scary barn" post for Halloween. There's one 'round the corner from here that would make a great movie set. It's a little daunting even during the day.
Deep farm country. More open views on this leg and a snicket into the farmer's field.
Next stop: White Church Road- there must be a graveyard around here somewhere.
Monday, 22 October 2012
For Sale: disguise; used once to purchase Cheez Whiz, Campbell's soup and Dream Whip topping.
This past September holiday Monday, I was introduced to the Caker Blog by Brian Francis. Francis is a writer by trade (I recommend Fruit) and collector of cookbooks-Caker cookbooks. I have had the pleasure of listening to Francis talk about his day job previously on CBC but, never on food. He blogs on Caker cooking at the following link:
Thoroughly enjoyed the October 15th post. Check it out.
Francis shared his enthusiasm for Caker cookbooks with Ms. Rogers and The Next Chapter audience. We’ve heard the term Food Porn used many times with respect to the glossy publications available on the open market. Francis’ collection comes from church socials, school fundraising ventures and community initiatives. They are often plain and spiral bound with few photos or illustrations.
Do you have a jar of Cheez Whiz by the toaster? Do you stockpile commercially prepared tomato sauce? Is your whipped cream stored in the freezer or does it come from a pouch? Do you often combine a vegetable, chicken, rice & Campbell’s Soup in a casserole dish?
I was reminded of a Caker cookbook lurking on the family shelf. Cooking Secrets from the West Flamboro Presbyterian Church.
Selected Broccoli & Rice Casserole and Green Cake and I offer them up to the Caker World. I must say I felt very self conscious at the checkout with my Dream Whip, Cheez Whiz and Ritz crackers in hand.
Broccoli Casserole (Submitted by Dorothy Hanes)
I give you my casserole...
Francis spoke of the challenges in maintaining his blog given the nature of the finished
product. It is very often colourless and formless (as above) and sometimes the taste is a bit suspect.
(Editor's note: it aged well; mellowed out after 24 hrs courtesy of the microwave and the chicken breast)
1 CUP Ritz cracker crumbs, ½ CUP shredded coconut and ¼ CUP melted butter. Press into 8x8 pan.
Combine 4 oz cream cheese, ¼CUP icing sugar, 1 half of prepared envelope of Dream Whip
1 pkg pistachio pudding mix and 1 ¼ CUP milk. Spread over crumb base.
Cover with remaining Dream Whip.
The publication of these recipes is not meant to poke fun at anyone (except perhaps my efforts); it is simply the nature of the cookbooks and their reflection on the culture at the time. Enjoy!
Must re-christen Green Cake. Any suggestions?
Thursday, 18 October 2012
The 2012-2013 Season is underway. First show Saturday-Rigoletto-first of four shows.
This is the 200th anniversary of Verdi's birth. We like to call him Joe Green around here.
Started going about ten years ago for six seasons and then spread the wealth around to other productions. Opera Hamilton is in a new home-Theatre Aquarius-and seems to be doing well. They had to revamp the program a few years back after looking at the books and I'm pleased to say they are alive and kicking. It was touch and go for a while.
If you find travelling in downtown Toronto a daunting prospect, consider a trip to the quieter streets of Hamilton. Easier on the pocket book, too. I indulged myself at Toronto's Opera Atelier two years ago-had to remortgage my house to do so. It was worth it, though. I'd have to sell a kidney this time 'round.
Opera for the masses. I know what you're thinking, but, give it a chance.
Perhaps next month's Swan Lake is more your speed?
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Started at Dickenson Road this time. Brilliant sunshine with a slight nip in the air. Corn ageing in the fields; horses wrapped up in their colourful plaid and striped coats. Following their lead, I layered up and set out.
A few feet down the road and a very different walk from the Nebo portion. Farms and gardens on either side of the trail. Further in land heading South West.
Old power lines standing like crucifixes along the path. Very Emily Carr. Hers were totem poles though, not crosses.
Monday, 15 October 2012
I inadvertently deleted some comments when I was tinkering so I apologize to those of you who made the effort to acknowledge posts or the blog at large. Emails, however, are intact.
Keep reading and don't be shy.
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
There comes a point on holidays when one has to finally get up and move about. It's a huge temptation to stay wrapped up in pyjamas and blanket with a good book.
Despite the threat of rain, the sun emerged by late afternoon and it was time to shake off the cobwebs. (Sticky things, they are.)
Tore myself away from CBC. Zadie Smith on Wachtel talking about NW. Something else for the reading list. Wachtel does a good interview and her guests appreciate the Q & A.
Threw on some hiking togs and applied a coat of lipstick. Lipstick is essential hiking gear; didn't you know that?
Up to the South Mountain. Lots of people on the Red Hill trail. I'm in the process of acquiring a soapbox. When it arrives, I'll climb on it and deliver my speech on the travesty that is the Red Hill. In the meantime over to the Chippawa Trail at Nebo and Rymal Roads.
The 'tryhamilton' blogspot will continue under Tour of the Neighbourhood right here within these pages.
I know. I hear your weeping. I feel your pain. It makes sense, though, if you consider the philosophy behind this blog (trying something new).
I may rework posts from time to time in order to bring myself up to speed. Apologies if you've seen them before. Who can forget such classics like the Valley Town Trilogy or Kew Gardens??
The summer vacations become a distant memory, but, the travels continue within the city.
~Ivory Tower Dweller Discovers the Harbourfront
~Yes, Virginia, There Is Life In The Downtown Core
~Burning off the Bird
Lots going on in the city.
Friday, 5 October 2012
We drove ninety minutes West to pick up espresso cups and saucers. Now I know what you're thinking. Why would you drive three hours for drinking vessels? Surely there must be a supplier closer to the home front? Perhaps, but, what could be better than a drive through the countryside, good conversation, a lakefront walk and a feast of samosa and Rogan Josh?
One has the choice to stay home and paint the cupboards and ceiling and walls but these are not fair weather activities.
(Editor's note-there is never a good time for painting.)
(Editor is hoping for a crap weekend in Nov. in order to get on with the painting.)
After two weeks, the tea cupboard lay bare and it was time to stock up. So it was only natural to pay another call to Distinctly Tea. I had asked about their Polish pottery on my last trip to Perth. It being a seller of tea, I naturally enquired about coffee cups. Of course, nobody had asked about this before and why would they? This is a tea shop, after all.
Service being what it is there, I received two followup calls to say they were working on it and that the goods were on route. It felt more like a rare diamond find than anything else.
After a late night and an early morning workout, what I wanted most was a nap but the open road called. Riding shotgun was the Pater-his first trip into Perth. For him, the lure of good food more incentive than the tea. What a shocker.
Good run up Oxford 6 and not too many comments from the backseat driver. Police out in droves today; filling in month end quotas? Good use of traffic circles. I fear Hamilton will see another half dozen traffic lights before the year is done. A circle recently went in Flamborough way. "They" were worried about the seniors and how they were going to cope with it. A little credit, please.
Harvest time and farmers had brought out the "big guns". Lots of expensive machinery on the roads and in the fields.
I have previously included the "Distinctly" link. Here's another for Tweed and Hickory. An online retailer of a mix bag of stuff but they do have a very comprehensive section on tea. If you're trying to make sense of the labels, this tea guide will help. Just click on the white tabs and recharge your grey cells.
Then who did?
|Bill-did he or didn't he?|