September catch-up

September 25, 2011

I wrote a bunch of things this month that I didn’t tell you about because I spent this whole past week at a cottage without any connection to the modern world and absolutely no news sources besides the Parry Sound North Star, which mainly reports on euchre results. (Also, a local boy won the national arm wrestling championship, and the town’s third graders aren’t testing very well.) It is a stellar publication, I urge you to pick it up if you are in the area.

First, on a chilly and dampish day in early September, I single-handedly summoned back summer weather by putting on my swimsuit to go paddleboarding in the Beaches.

Also, I wrote my first book review in seven years, of Wendy and the Lost Boys, an incredibly insightful biography of my favourite playwright.

Then I went comic book shopping with documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who was very excited that I am a member of a graphic novel book club.

AND I saw Contagion, which did not turn me into a germaphobe as anticipated.

Now we’re all caught up.

Going on a wolf hunt

September 7, 2011

Last week I went to the ROM with the lovely William Yong and Lucy Rupert.

[ROM-judging aside: It was my first visit since the big crystal renovation (aside from the hard-hat tour I got of the place when it was still a construction site in 2006), and it’s not as good as it used to be. The dinosaur exhibit used to be awesome and spooky and you would run through the dark creepy underwater part over and over again for the thrill of pretending the swimming dino skeletons would get you. Now, all the dino skeletons are crammed into the badly lit and extremely noisy mezzanine and it’s just a loud stupid collection of bones and not scary or thrilling at all.]

Anyway, we had a lovely time at the ROM, and I had an equally lovely time watching the show last night. It’s always wonderful to see a full orchestra onstage in such an intimate venue, and the music was stunning. The movement was great too – William and Lucy are particularly lovely dancers.

Now this will be stuck in my head forever:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpoizq-jjxs%5D

Winging it

September 5, 2011

I’ve interviewed a lot of comedians in the past couple of weeks. Comedians and also Hercules, who phoned me and left a message that I annoyed/delighted several friends with for a week afterwards.

Then I went for lunch with the new Second City kids at Wayne Gretzky’s and we spent a lot of time talking about chicken wings. For the record, I enjoy the wings at Sneaky Dee’s and Kilgour’s – at Kilgour’s, the blue cheese dipping sauce is particularly good. I have never, however, enjoyed the television program Wings.

Love me, love my Winnipeg

September 1, 2011

Back in May, I took a trip to Winnipeg. This is not unusual, as I tend to find myself in Winnipeg once a year or so. But this trip was provided by Tourism Manitoba, as I was writing a couple of travel stories about the ‘Peg and its surroundings. For one of the stories, my dear pal Fred Penner gave me a tour of his hometown. There’s also this round-up of nifty things to do in and around Winnipeg. (Please ignore my geographical error – I know Manitoba isn’t land-locked. It just FEELS land-locked.)

What I wasn’t able to mention in either story was that on my first night in Winnipeg, where I was a guest on the Gold Floor of the Fairmont, I arrived back at my room to this creatively patriotic bedtime snack:

Nothing says "welcome to the Prairies" like a voyageur diorama made of cookies.

Yes, that is a cookie canoe containing macarons, and, further back, a little cookie man standing next to a cookie inukshuk. Oh Canada.

In all my years of being dragged/going willingly to Winnipeg, I had never actually the local delicacy known as a Jeanne’s Cake. So my lovely Auntie Della finally bought me one:

I was deprived of Jeanne cakes throughout my childhood because my mother can't stand them, even though most ex-Winnipeggers buy frozen cakes to take home for nostalgia's sake.

As it turns out, I wasn’t missing too much. But I had a really nice afternoon with my auntie Della.

I did more in Winnipeg than eat sweets, but who cares, right?