Saturday, September 27, 2014

No Confusion Here

This has been puzzling me for quite awhile now. Earlier this year I was watching the news and a reporter named Charlsie Agro comes on and does a report on an event down on Front Street.

Sometime later I'm watching the news again and the same reporter comes on. But now she's introduced as Carly Agro. I think to myself, the news anchor has just gotten her name wrong.

This goes on for a number of months where I hear her introduced under one name and then the other. It was only until tonight when I finally figured out they're actually two different girls - twins Charlsie and Carly Agro.

Now what kind of twisted parents would give their identical twin daughters such similar names? And what kind of nutty broadcaster (CBC) would hire them both at the same time? By-the-way Charlsie is a reporter for CBC News Toronto, and Carly for CBC Sports.

Mystery solved!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bowling with the Guys from CPC

Willie organized a bowling outing for a few of us guys down at CPC (Chinese Presbyterian Church) on Sunday afternoon. We went to Club 300 up on Old Kennedy Road north of Steeles. Ed and Pastor Tom joined us.

After service Willie and his 14-year-old son and I went to Rol Jui for lunch. Then we took his son home (because he didn't want to hang around a bunch of old guys) and drove up to meet the others.

We got there 15 minutes early at about quarter to 4:00. Ed arrived next about 1/2 hour later followed shortly by Tom.

Willie and Ed actually went bowling about three weeks earlier. Before that they hadn't gone in 10-15 years (or something like that). I believe I last went a couple of years ago or so. Like them, I rarely bowl. Tom actually has his own shoes and ball. He took bowling when he was at the University of Illinois. He hasn't gone in many years either.

The last time Ed and Willie went they paid $30 to bowl for one hour. We were going to do that again when I noticed that, for $9 more, you could bowl for 1-1/2 hours. So we did that instead.

Now, I'm not a great bowler, but I'm normally not terrible either. I believe all of us threw a gutter ball on our first ball. I have to say, my game didn't improve much after that. The whole first game I failed to get even one spare. It was the first time I didn't break 100. That was pretty embarrassing.

The next two games weren't much better. I did improve, but not much. Everyone was pretty inconsistent going on hot and cold streaks. Tom ended up getting the high score of the day hitting 170 on one of his games.

Willie wants to go again in 4-weeks. I'd better improve next time for sure.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kevin Trudeau's - Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About

I have to mention I haven't finished this book completely yet. But I think I get the gist of it. To avoid getting sick/diseases the author, Kevin Trudeau, is advocating a natural, healthy lifestyle. One free of drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) with plenty of exercise and eating only organically grown food (fruit, meat, vegetables, dairy etc.)

Though I think he's a bit fanatical at times, a lot of what he says is plain common sense (like avoid eating at fast food restaurants and living as stress-free as possible). Most of us know what's good for us only we don't do it.

He does go way overboard on talking about how the pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government and many other health care agencies aren't there to find cures for you. They want you to be sick. That's how they make their money (by providing products that only relieve the symptoms). If they found a cure to the common cold or cancer or whatever and let everyone have it they'd put themselves out of business. It's a point he hammers home relentlessly.

I can't vouch for some of the advice he gives (like using magnetic rings or going to see a "bioenergetic synchronization technique practitioner") because I really have no idea if they're helpful or not. He's completely against seeing traditional doctors though. And he's against getting vaccinated (which I don't agree with).

He says the body can heal itself (which I believe is true). If you cut your finger it will heal itself in time. Taking Tylenol or any other medication won't fix it, it may only relieve the pain. Or taking products like Buckleys or Benlyn won't cure your cough or cold. They'll only help relieve the symptoms (which I believe is true too). You have to go to the root of the problem and fix that to feel better. He says that most of our maladies are caused by our poor state of health (which I believe is mostly true too).

He's right about us consuming too much garbage too. He says traditional grocery stores pretty much sell crap and he's not far off the mark there. If you read the ingredients on any of the processed goods they sell you'll see a long list of chemicals and other additives there. I agree when he says to stay away from them.

He also says most fresh fruit, vegetables and meat (fish, chicken, beef, pork etc.) that you get from a regular grocery store is bad too. Because a lot of them a genetically modified and/or have many other chemicals and things sprayed on them to help them grow bigger faster and/or keep bugs or other things off them. He advocates only buying food from an organic producer/seller (which would be okay if you had that kind of money).

That's as far as I've gotten in the book. If there's anything else of note, I'll be sure to pass it on.

For now... eat your veggies, exercise, don't get stressed out, don't buy overly processed "food" from the grocery store and try not to eat too much fast food crap.

*Note - In March of 2014, Kevin Trudeau, was sentenced to 10-years in prison by a U.S. federal judge for bilking consumers via infomercials for his best-selling weight loss book.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Labour Day Weekend @ Justin's Cottage Pt. 3

Sunday started off with a late breakfast at The Fort at Hotel Pontiac, 35 kilometres from Justin's cottage. If you had a boat you could take a more direct route 10 kilometres west straight up the Ottawa River. By car it's about 45 minutes over the bridge through Chapeau.

The restaurant/hotel is located right on the beach. While we were there we saw a number of small boats pull right up onto the beach and people come right in (just as if they drove up by car).

We had a variety of things to eat. Some of us had 2 eggs with either bacon or sausage plus home fries and toast. Others had the pancakes or French toast with bacon. All the choices were really good.

After our meal we headed 52 kilometres straight east on Highway 148 to Chutes Coulonge Park. It's part historical park and part adventure park.

The historical part tells the story of the logging business in Quebec in the early to mid 1800s. The adventure part is part climbing, part zip lining. It's $8 to get in. More if you want to do the adventurous stuff.

We walked around checking out the historical part. The scenery was nice with the waterfalls. We even saw a neat, brown snake. I have no idea what kind it was, but it was the largest snake I've ever seen in the wild. Usually the ones I see (if I see any) are really small.

After the park we bought popsicles and ate them before returning to the cottage and going to the big beach. There we gathered some wood and lit a bonfire and sat around it relaxing before going in the water again to play Frisbee.

Dinner was meat, meat and more meat. Justin cooked pork chops on the barbecue outside while Peter worked his magic on the lamb and beef short ribs from the night before. We cooked up some yams and corn on the cob to round out the meal.

In the evening we drank beer and played board games. This time until around 4:00. Good times.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Labour Day Weekend @ Justin's Cottage Pt. 2

After staying up past 2:30 we were up relatively early the next day. Except for Peter, most of us were up by 10:00 a.m.

Gabe and I woke a bit early because he heard some rain falling on our tent. Not wanting to take any chances we decided to set up the my sister's tarp that I brought.

We tied some rope to the corners and tied the corners to the surrounding trees. After that the rain pretty much let up. But, since we were up, we stayed up.

I went around the grounds and took a few pictures before breakfast. Peter made some eggs. As well I believe he made some French toast too. Justin brewed some tasty coffee and we ate on the front deck of the cottage.

Following breakfast we just went over to the big beach (behind the cottage). We didn't want to go too far because we were waiting for Emily and Janice to arrive. Instead of leaving Friday night they decided to come on Saturday morning.

At the beach we threw Gabe's Frisbee around while standing in the shallow water. It was a bit cold at first, but it didn't take us long to get used to.

After we finished I took a quick dip in the water. There was a lot of seaweed (or some other sort of underwater vegetation) in the area I was in nearby the dock with the Seadoos on it. So I swam in from there and came ashore.

Emily and Janice arrived shortly after. I believe we ate something for lunch, but for the life of me, can't remember what.

Following lunch we went on a hike. I don't know where we went, we just followed Justin's car. He took us to a trail that had to have the most mosquitoes per square kilometre anywhere. It was crazy.

Right after getting out of the car they started coming around. And once you entered the trees it was "run for your life." (which is pretty much what I did).

I only took around 3 or 4 shots along the whole length of the trail (about 3.5 kilometres each way). If you were foolhardy enough to stop you would have been eaten alive.

The trail ended by a river (I believe). I ran around and took a bunch of shots there before packing my camera bag back up and running (as much as I could) back to the car.

My bug jacket was essentially useless. Since I had it pulled tight around my arms they bit through the mesh. Most of the others suffered multiple mosquito bites too, even though they had sprayed themselves liberally with repellant. These Quebec mosquitos are tough mothers it seems.

Thankfully the bites didn't affect me too much. After the initial swelling subsided I avoided scratching and hardly even noticed them. I was so happy about that.

We cooked a lot of meat for dinner. Peter brought marinated lamb and Emily had Kalbi (beef short ribs). I cut them into smaller pieces and Peter cooked them on the stove. We also had some carrots and one parsnip to balance out all the meat. Since it was raining outside we had dinner in the living room.

After we cleaned up Emily brought out some of her board games. The first one was a new one called Ca$h 'n Guns (second edition). Players have to try to accumulate cash and prizes while avoiding being shot by the others. If you're still standing by the end of the game you total your loot. The person with the most money wins.

Next we pulled out the expanded version of Saboteur. It's quite a bit more complicated than the original. Besides the saboteurs there are teams of gold miners as well as a number of other characters. There are new path and actions cards too. It's pretty complicated, but we figured it out.

Both games were fun. We played until at least 3:00 a.m.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Labour Day Weekend @ Justin's Cottage Pt. 1

Justin invited us to his cottage for the Labour Day long weekend. It's located on L'Isle-aux-Allumettes, Quebec, on the Ottawa River opposite Pembroke, Ontario.

On a good day it's about a 5-1/2 hour drive from Toronto. Since we were leaving on the Friday of a long weekend, we were prepared for a longer journey.

Gabe and Justin were able to leave early to avoid the traffic. They left at around 1:30, both having taken the day off work. I could have gone with them, but Gabe wasn't too keen on having to spend over 5 hours cramped in the back seat of Justin's convertible. So I was relegated to Peter's M3 with Fiona. She had to work until around 4:30, so we didn't leave until about 5:30.

Since we figured the 401 would be crawling with cottage-goers leaving town all at the same time we opted to head east along Steeles Avenue. While there was less traffic we did encounter more traffic lights.

As well there were other distractions like grocery stores with milk bread. We stopped at the T&T on Steeles at Middlefield for some. As well, we picked up some Vietnamese sandwiches at a nearby shop to munch on.

We took Steeles Avenue/Taunton Road all the way across through Whitby and Oshawa. At some point we eventually turned north to Highway 7 which we took east to Highway 41 (which goes north all the way up to Pembroke).

Since we didn't actually want to drive through Pembroke we detoured onto Highway 13 (Mountain Road) a bit north of Eganville and Lake Dore. From there we headed east over to Highway 17; north to Highway 40; north to Highway 148 (eastbound) which took us over the bridge into Quebec.

From there it was a 20 minute drive along Chemin Pembroke/de Desjardinsville/Front to Justin's cottage. All in the dark. I believe we drove the second half the trip in total darkness (except for a couple of spots on the road ahead illuminated by Peter's car's headlights).

When we arrived Justin and Gabe already had the campfire going. It was in a small pit by the cottage (and near the water by the small beach). We couldn't actually see the water because it was dark. But, we heard it.

Gabe had already set up the tent that I was going to share with him. We unloaded everything from Peter's car and set up his tent and Emily's (that Fiona was going to share with her, though she had it to herself this evening).

Next we retired to the chairs around the campfire and enjoyed a few beverages. Fiona made me a rum and Coke (which I think was heavy on the rum) because I was a bit dizzy afterwards. Though it could have been because I hadn't eaten much during the day. Who knows?

I believe we had some snacks around the fire too. Then Peter and I went to try and take a few night shots over the Ottawa River with Pembroke in the background. As well, we had fun light painting with our flashlights which I captured with my camera.

Friday, September 5, 2014


I went to Congee Queen for dinner with my friend Daphne after work. Neither of us were really hungry. We just ordered the Minced Beef Rice Noodle Roll (appetizer) and the Curried Beef Brisket on Rice. As well Daphne ordered the Black Glutenous Rice with Coconut Milk (if I'm not mistaken) for dessert.

After we ate I suggested we go for a walk on the nearby trail off Lawrence that runs parallel with Leslie Street. It was a former railway line.

The trail (Leside Spur Trail) actually isn't very long - only about 1.4 kilometres south from Lawrence before it hits a dead end and you have to turn back. It's all right. We just needed to get a bit of fresh air.

A few weeks ago I had taken my nephews along the trail on their bikes. We saw a baby cardinal. It couldn't really fly. It was just hopping around a bit. I think it had a problem with one of its eyes too.

This time, at the beginning/end of the trail, we found a baby mouse. It was so young its eyes weren't even open yet. It was sitting on the trail near the side (but still enough in the middle to risk getting squished by someone who wasn't looking where he was going).

We approached it slowly trying not to scare it so we could grab some pictures. Poor thing seemed kind of scared. It didn't move a muscle as we got closer and closer. Soon I was able to go up and gently pet it. I'm sure it freaked him out even more.

Eventually we guided him off the path so no one would inadvertently step on him and we went on our way.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Clandestinos by Shalak

A beautiful mural recently went up on the Kinton Ramen building next to our church. I was taking some pictures of it after service on Sunday when the building owner came up and started talking with me.

He told me a bit about the mural and how it came to be. I guess he had had a bit of a problem with graffiti and tagging and received some tickets because of it.

Because he received them he was qualified to apply to the City of Toronto for a permit for a mural to be done. As well the City would pay for all the paint used.

They had a selection of artists for consideration. The owner said he interviewed a few of them and decided on a young, Chilean-Canadian woman named Shalak.

As for the subject matter I believe he suggested she include a dragon and a lady in it. I guess everything else was up to her. As well, nothing commercial, like the name of a store or business, can be included in the mural.

Shalak completed the mural in 4-1/2 days (which I thought was incredibly quick). The owner mentioned she put in pretty long hours though.

He also said a lot of the drivers who use the laneway were annoyed that it was closed off for a few days. It meant they had to drive in and back out onto McCaul Street instead of coming out onto Baldwin.

I was kind of curious about how much he paid to have it done, but I didn't ask him.