The Month That Was NaBloPoMo

Holy crapshite time flies. Translation: NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, is officially over today.

In case you forgot, I mentioned way back in the early days of November (here specifically) that I was going to attempt to take part in this crazy event. Of course, given my penchant to distraction I opted to modify the requirements of NaBloPoMo. That is, instead of posting every day I instead committed to posting at least 30 times this month.

How did I do? Pretty well I think. I’ve managed a total of 39 posts. These include posts here at Consumed By Wanderlust, and several posts at my official ass. prof. blog simply titled Daniel Gillis. It also includes a guest blogger post at the Sporcle Blog. Talk about a crazy month of posting. I missed only one day of posting – that being November 5. Clearly I was doing something of such importance that it meant that I couldn’t post. Or perhaps I was lazy. One of those answers must be the truth.

My average blog views for November jumped significantly. In September I saw about 96 views per day. By October this had climbed to 154. In November, it was up again to 184 (not including today). Crazy! I credit the jump to the Movember Contest, my posts from New York, and the recent incident of my brother’s accident. Regardless of why you are reading this blog, I’d like to say thank you to those that are. It still blows my mind that anyone reads it at all! Big cyber hugs and such all around.

Anyway, I now provide to you dear readers a list of all of my blog posts from this the month of NaBloPoMo. You know, just in case you missed anything.


And The Winners Are…

Today is the big reveal; the day when your voice, dear readers is heard loud and clear. That’s correct, today we reveal the winners of the 1st Annual Movember Moustache-off.

And let me say that the race to the top was tight! In the last 5 minutes, the ultimate winner pulled ahead by only a few votes. Crazy close and exciting! So close that the winner had only

First, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the participants; your moustaches have been the source of much entertainment. Also, thank you to Dana and David for adding two extra donation-prizes. Finally, thank you to all who voted. Manly mustachioed men around the world appreciate your part in promoting manly health related things.

Anyway, after several days of furious voting, here is how it all turned out (final voting results are listed below):

Jasper: Favourite and Fanciest Moustache

Your Favourite Moustache, and the recipient of a $100 donation is Jasper! Congrats you creepy mustachioed bastard. Note to my readers – Jasper is a good friend, so I don’t actually think he’s creepy or a bastard.

Babak: Fanciest Moustache

Your choice for Fanciest Moustache, and the winner of a $50 donation is a tie! That is, both Babak and Jasper had the exact same number of votes. But not to worry – both will receive a $50 donation because they clearly deserve it.

And finally, your choice to receive The Heart Was Willing But The Follicles Were Not award (and another $50 donation) is Adam.

Adam: Follicle-y Challenged

So, congratulations to the winners – you’ve done yourselves, Magnum PI, Ned Flanders, the Rons (Swanson and Burgundy), and all other mustachioed manly men proud. Donations will be made shortly. If any reader wishes to donate to the cause, simply visit the contest pageand click on the link for the mo-testant you’d like to donate to.

But wait, that’s not all. So that you might inform all those you know of your amazing accomplishment, I’ve included Consumed By Wanderlust certificates to make official your success. I recommend you frame these and post them in a place of honour; your office perhaps, or above your bed. I’ll leave that decision to you.

Jasper has the Favourite Moustache and the Fanciest Moustache

Babak has the Fanciest Moustache

Adam has the Heart Was Willing But the Follicles Were Not Moustache

Now please, for the love of all things sacred and holy, go shave.


Favourite Moustache

Fanciest Moustache

Most Follicle-y Challenged Moustache


And The Award Goes To…

A foot of onion rings. I feel sick. But they were so tasty. Ok, half of them were.

Yesterday Bernie had surgery; part of the long journey on the road back to health. The surgery was for his pelvis, and based on what I’ve heard, it went well. Aidan and I dropped by last night to see how he was doing and to keep Becky company. Of course, her dad was already there with her, and our friend Erin arrived shortly after we did. So really, it was another rocking night in the ICU Lounge at Hamilton General Hospital.

We didn’t stay in the lounge long, however, as it was rather crowded and Becky and I both needed to eat. So we found a pub nearby for onion rings and various other pub fare. And when I say onion rings, I clearly mean a stack of onion rings that was eleventy-billion feet high. Okay, 1 foot high, but given my stomach it might as well have been eleventy-billion feet high. Verdict: so damn delicious. Sadly I couldn’t finish them all (big surprise), but the good news is that I now have leftover onion rings. Granted, leftover onion rings have a tendency to be not nearly as good as the fresh variety, so whether or not I eat them is another story. For now they sit in my fridge tempting me with their onion-y goodness.

When we returned to the hospital, Bernie was still sedated – probably a good thing given the surgery and all. Aidan and I sat with him for a while, trying to check out his fancy new scar. Clearly it was all bandaged up so I have nothing to report other than that he’ll have a fancy new scar. I should point out that my Harry Potter scar is still way cooler, but I’ll let him have the ‘biggest scar’ award. I’m all about the giving. Ha! I’m such an ass.

Since only 2 people are allowed in the room at any one time to visit, we’ve been playing musical visitors. Whenever I leave the room, I either sit in the lounge or wander the halls looking for things that make me smile or giggle. It’s my way of coping I guess. That, or I’m a heartless bastard; I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Anyway, I now offer to you dear readers, several of the things that I’ve found while wandering the halls of the Hamilton General Hospital that made me smile.


No slipping in my brothers room. Good advice for someone with a crushed pelvis.
This room intrigues me.
This room made me giggle
If I understand this sign correctly, this is where you go if you've lost your heart.
It seems odd that these are offered at the hospital (Heath fail) but that doesn't mean I don't want one ;)
Mmm, Stat lab.
A note for daddy. This makes me smile.

The Movember Contest

Did all y’all forget about it? I didn’t. Well, I almost forgot about it given the craziness of the past week; you know, what with my brother’s being t-boned on Wednesday night. Anyway, I’ll update more on my brother later.

For now it’s all about the testosterone and the ever so manly ability to grow facial hair above one’s upper lip.

At the beginning of the month, I posted about Movember and my being follicle-y challenged. At that point I decided that I would create a contest that honours the best moustache that Movember could produce. I asked Mo-Bros (as they are called) to send me their info, a clean-shaven shot, and then on the 28th an updated pic. Today is that day. I’ve updated the contest page (found above), but have also included up to date photos of the 6 contestants below.


Mo-testants

Adam
Babak
James
Jasper
Jorge
Patrick

Beyond these awesome displays of testosterone-y goodness, today also marks the day that you the readers get to judge the crumb-catchers that these men have produced. Originally I was going to narrow down the list of contestants to 5 with a follow-up poll on the 29th. However, since there are only 6 contestants I think I’ll just keep the poll open from now until the 30th. The person with the most votes within each of the polls below will win. For those contestants – this is your opportunity to recruit help from your friends to get your votes as high as they can be.

You may also recall that the contest started out with 1 prize; a $100 donation to the person voted to have the favourite moustache. But two extra prizes were added to the list thanks to the generosity of Dana (@common_st), and David (@davidjestill) of the Twitterverse. Since this brings our total number of donation-prizes to be won to 3, there are 3 polls (below). Please select the contestants that you feel are most deserving of the donation-prizes available.


Favourite Moustache


Fanciest Moustache



Follicle-y Challenged Moustache


Does This Spell The End Of My Wanderlusting?

A get well note for Bernie from his eldest daughter Makenzie.

After visiting the hospital today to see Becky and my brother, Aidan and I headed to Simcoe to visit my parents. We figured it would do all of us good to have a normal family dinner. And it did.

Over dinner we chatted about the obvious; that being my brother and the accident. We also chatted about Christmas and what that would entail. You see, Aidan and I had planned to fly to Europe for three weeks over Christmas and New Years. However, given the current situation with my brother, it seems like a far better idea to stick around and spend time with the family.

But don’t worry folks; this isn’t the end of my wanderlusting ways. Far from it. During our drives back and forth from the hospital, Aidan and I have been chatting about what our plans could be. Clearly we both know that being home for Christmas is the only option. But we also know that travel is still in our very near future. In fact, after our conversation today I think we’ve figured out where were going to go and when we are going to go there. So, without further ado let me present to you the

New & Improved

Dan & Aidan Fun Time Christmas Travel Adventure

2011

Destination: New York City!

Say what? New York City? Again? Weren’t you just in the Big Apple?

Why yes, yes I was, thank you for noticing. But really, this is a no-brainer. Flights are inexpensive. Hotels are inexpensive (for NYC). The time of year is right. I love the city. And even more: Aidan has never been there. This is clearly something that I should have rectified long ago. Regardless, the plan is to hit the Big Apple one more time this year. On our list of things to do:

I’m sure there will be other items added to the list, but this is a good start for now. And as always, I shall keep you posted on my wanderlusting and my adventuring.



Saturday Night Reunion

Dr. G. Raff, reviewing his notes.

It’s Saturday night and I’m sitting at the hospital with my brothers Sandy, and Aidan, and my sister-in-laws Becky, and Shannon. Bernie is sound asleep down the hall (thank you sedatives, morphine, and a healthy brew of other pharmacological treats), thankfully oblivious to the machines that go bing, and hopefully dreaming about something more exciting than his hospital bed.

Yup, tonight’s gathering makes for a rather bizarre little family reunion, but a family reunion nonetheless.

At any other family reunion we’d likely be sharing a meal with several bottles of wine; laughing and carrying on. Tonight, it’s a little different. There is no food. There is no wine. But rest assured, there is a lot of laughter. Which is exactly what I think we need. Despite the severity of the situation, laughter in my opinion is always welcome. That’s not to say that there aren’t tears; there are. But overall, most of our time has been spent chatting about this and that, and laughing. Heartily.

Overall, a pretty awesome Saturday night given the situation.

What I Learned Today

Thumbs up. Way up.

Aidan and I headed back to Hamilton General Hospital today to hang with Bernie and Becky, on this Bernie’s second full day of recovery. For those that might have missed the news, Bernie was sent there yesterday following a rather nasty car accident that involved another driver t-boning him as he was driving home from work.

Anyway, apart from the wires that attach to the machines that go bing, and the other various tubes feeding Bernie a wonderful concoction of pain killers and antibiotics, he looks good.

Seriously.

Yes, he has some bruising on his shoulder (nasty bruising at that), and on his arms. And yes, there are some screws and such that are being used to put his pelvis back where it belongs – in sexy town – and not north of it. And yes, he’s wearing a god awful hideous polka-dotted hospital gown. But he looks good. Especially good for having just been smashed by a car. How many people can say that?

Anyway, today I learned that beyond his shattered pelvis, his punctured/collapsed lung, his broken collar-bone, and his fractured skull, he also has a number of broken ribs. Specifically – 1 through 5 in the front, and 7 through 10 in the back. That’s right folks, of the 12 sets of ribs in the human body (assuming the information I found on the all-knowing all-powerful Google is correct – because I’m no rib-expert unless they are covered in BBQ sauce), he’s broken 9 of them (or 75% for you fellow math nerds out there).

I also learned (or re-learned) that he is one tough bastard. Not because he was hit by a car and managed to survive, but because he’s doing so and still managing to smile and crack jokes between the obvious pain that he must be in. That is incredible to me. Abso-freaking-lutely incredible.

Beyond all of this, I also learned that my brother knows sign-language. I had no idea that he had this in his back pocket. In fact, I discovered through sign that he learned it in the same place I did; at Robarts in London. Of course, we don’t remember enough to have a fluid conversation but we can sign the alphabet which is more than enough to communicate. And in true Bernie form, he took the opportunity to crack jokes through sign. Clearly, even though the next few days/weeks/months will be difficult, I also know that he’s going to be fine. I mean, he was smashed by a car and he’s managing to use sign-language to communicate – something he learned in grade 4 and hasn’t used in I have no idea how many years. That’s beyond amazing; it’s a double order of amazing, sprinkled with incredible, and covered with awesome sauce.

Anyway, I’d like to thank everyone who has sent words of encouragement. I’ve passed along the comments you’ve left on the blog/facebook/twitter to Bernie. He lit up at the mention of your names; so please keep sending your comments. I’ll keep passing them along. If you have any pictures/e-cards/etc. that you want to pass along you can also send them to consumedbywanderlust [dot] wordpress [at] gmail [dot] com.

As usual, I shall keep you updated as he continues his recovery.



How My Brother Got His Boo-Boo

My niece Makenzie sent her Giraffe to the hospital to help speed her dad's recovery. For those unaware, it has been scientifically proven that giraffes speed recovery. Anyone who says different is a quack or a charlatan.

Last night around 9:30pm I received a phone call from my mom. When the phone rang, I was just sitting down to a late dinner prepared for me by Dom (which was absolutely delicious, and also already delayed by me as I had spent some time on the phone chatting with my friend Matt). Anyway, when the phone rang I half considered not answering. I figured my mom was calling about my Christmas list – but then I remembered that I had already emailed that to her – so I picked up.

Hi Dan, I’m just calling to let you know that Bernie [my brother] was in a car accident. Becky [his wife] is on the way to the hospital. 

Unfortunately my mom really didn’t have too many details. I was left knowing only that he was taken to the Simcoe hospital, and Becky was on her way. My mom informed me that she would keep me posted, and asked that I tell my brother Aidan (whom she tried to reach but couldn’t).

As the event unfolded, I ended up speaking/texting Becky, and my brother Sandy. He was headed to the Hamilton General Hospital (as they decided to move him from Simcoe to HGH for better care). This made me a bit anxious because it made the event a bit more real, and seem a lot more serious. Of course, not having information made my mind race; something I try to control because I find it anything but helpful. Up until that point I think I just kept thinking it’s nothing. Sadly that was an understatement.

In the case of my brother's accident, the blue car would have continued through the intersection without stopping or slowing down, at the same time as the green car (driven by my brother) was passing through. Boo. Boo I says.

Between texts/phone calls with Sandy, my mom, and Becky, I learned that Bernie had been t-boned by a distracted driver at a t-intersection. The road Bernie was driving did not have any stop signs or lights. The other driver however did have a stop sign. From what I understand, she/he was smoking and dropped their cigarette. When they bent over to pick it up, they took their eyes off the road and slammed right into my brother. Unfortunately they hit the driver side head on. This sent my brother’s car into a roll. I’m not sure exactly how many times it rolled, but more than once is too many times in my books.

I still don’t know who called the police/ambulance, etc., but someone did (thank you to whomever that was). I don’t know who used the Jaws-Of-Life to cut the roof off of the car (but thank you to whomever that was). I don’t know who pulled my brother from the car (but thank you to whomever did). I also don’t know who took care of him and got him to the hospital (but thank you to whomever that was). I also don’t know all of the people who worked on him, took care of him, and kept him with us (but again, than you to whomever you were). And I have no idea of all of the people who will help him through the next few days, weeks, and months of his recovery (but a big thank you in advance for all that you are going to do).

All I know is that Bernie is still with us. He is banged up pretty bad, but it’s nothing that he can’t get through. I know this for several reasons. First, he’s a Gillis, and we are notoriously bull-headed. And if that isn’t enough, we are also Ennis‘ (on my mom’s side). If you think Gillis’ are bull-headed, you’ve never met an Ennis. So yeah, we are doubly bull-headed. Second, I’ve seen him deal with so much more and come out the other end with a smile on his face. I’m speaking of course about the month that he and Becky spent last year watching over their daughter, my niece, Haley, as she battled with the flesh-eating disease, sepsis, collapsed lungs, cardiac arrests, etc. And third, he has a family that will kick him in the ass if he thinks about slacking off or giving up (which of course I know he won’t do because of the first reason I’ve provided).

Of course, I also know the next few days, weeks, and months are going to be a challenge on many levels. But he will get through this. We all will. Because that’s what Awesome does. And he is, if nothing else, Awesome. And so are we.

Anyway, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has already shown their love and support, those of you who have sent messages, and words of encouragement. Please continue to do so – they mean so much to all of us.

For now, I’m just happy to let you know that my brother is stable. While his pelvis has been shattered, while he has a collapsed and perforated lung, a fractured skull, a lot of bruising, and a broken collarbone, he is by no means broken. He simply has a rather large boo-boo. But nothing that he can’t and that we can’t handle.


Adventures In Gastronomy

All those glasses of wine were mine.

While I have spent the last eleventy-billion days writing about my recent trip to New York, I’ve failed to adequately describe the portion of our trip that would make any gastronomist jealous. That of course, was our adventure in food. I can say without a doubt that there is just so much to try in NYC, one could never cover it all. Granted, we gave it the good wholesome college try.

Our breakfasts included stops at Good Enough To Eat, Crumbs, and a random Irish Pub whose name eludes me. I opted for traditional irish oatmeal at Good Enough To Eat, a non-dairy cupcake at Crumbs (also known as the breakfast of champions), and the most perfectly poached eggs I’ve ever had at the irish pub. All were quite delicious, but I’m pretty sure that I slipped into a sugar coma after the cupcake. I honestly couldn’t eat it all – it was just too sweet.

Lunch at the Habana Outpost - fish tacos, Diablo chicken, and roasted corn on the cob.

My favourite lunch was definitely at Cafe Habana. Traditional Cuban food, a great environment, and did I mention the food? I had the Diablo chicken, while Steph and Gerarda both opted for the fish tacos. They also enjoyed a Cuban version of corn on the cob – roasted, with mayo and cheese. I am assured it was worth the clogged arteries. Of the lunch places to go to in NYC, I highly recommend this one. It’s the original Cafe Habana, and the one that spawned the Habana Outpost in Brooklyn – the same Cafe Habana that I was introduced to by my friend Mark during our visit last year. Seriously – you really need to go to this restaurant. Phenomenal.

This is about midway through dinner. Clearly I'm feeling no pain.

There were several dinners that require mention. First was the Argentine restaurant (Sosa Borella) that I chatted about here. I had the ceviche, and really would love to go back to try their other food. It was one of the better ceviches that I’ve tried. The atmosphere was great; probably a great place to spend a romantic evening with a loved one.

The next dinner that requires mention was of course the visit to Maloney & Porcelli’s for the weekend wine dinner. I started my meal with raw oysters, then followed that with rack of lamb. Finally, dessert included home-made fig newtons with amaretto and a coffee. Clearly that is more food than I can eat in one sitting, but I did the best that I could. The dinner was also paired with four wines: a bubbly, a very nice Chardonnay (which I’m not normally a fan of), a Cabernet Sauvignon – which I didn’t try, and a really delicious Malbec. Sadly, I didn’t get the name of any of them. Likely because of all the wine.

Chocolates and martinis at Ayza

Finally, there was the dinner at the Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar – a restaurant with a name that we couldn’t resist. The restaurant specializes in wine, and chocolate obviously, but also in other things like cheese, and martinis (as if this wasn’t heaven enough for me, what with the wine & chocolate, they also had to throw in martinis?) I thoroughly enjoyed a really delicious smoked salmon tartine, paired with a chocolate almond martini and several dark chocolate chocolates. Be warned however, the serving sizes here were perfect for me. That is, I actually ate an entire meal! This clearly means that the servings are on the smaller side. But fear not, what they may lack in size (for some) they more than make up for in flavour. On the bright side, the meals definitely leave you ample space in your belly to sample the various chocolates; which I have to say were some of the best I had on the trip.

Of course, the trip also included multiple other chocolate stops that I’ve previously mentioned, as well as random coffees here and there. And there was a requisite visit to The Dead Poet so that I could continue on my quest to drink 100 pints of Guinness (item #185 on my Not-So-Bucket-List).

Amazingly, despite all of the food and beverages consumed I’m pretty sure I didn’t gain any weight. I bought some new pants from Hugo Boss and still comfortably fit into a size 28. I assume this is related to all of the walking, and the fact that I didn’t actually consume a large quantity of any one thing – just tastings of as much as I could.

Anyway, I’d love to say that it’s nice to be home and back to my regular food schedule, but honestly I miss New York and I can’t wait to go back. But don’t worry folks, that’ll be sooner rather than later.



Adventures In Unplanning

The Barrymore theatre.

As a Statistician, it should come as no surprise that I love random things. So it should really come as no surprise that I love when random things equate to random awesome adventures.

Take for example my recent trip to New York. The trip was roughly planned out between Steph, Gerarda, and myself. That is, we emailed a few ideas of things to do, places to go, food to eat, drinks to drink, and plays to attend. Based on our conversations, Dr. Steph had sketched out an itinerary that included such things as a gin sampling at the Breuckelen Distilling Company, eating at Crumbs bakery, drinking copious amounts of wine at Maloney & Porcelli‘s Weekend Wine Dinner, and seeing The Book of Mormon. But, we are not the type to be so stuck on our plans that we can’t change them on a whim. Granted, after buying the tickets for The Book of Mormon in advance we likely wouldn’t have been changing those plans.

Regardless, our original list was soon revised, and revised, and revised again. Not because anything prevented us from completing our original list of awesome New York activities. Instead, other opportunities presented themselves and we had to jump on them. Take for example the gin tasting; first it was moved from Friday to Saturday because we randomly found ourselves going to see a Jimmy Fallon rehearsal, then it was removed from our list to accommodate Seminar – the play I mentioned yesterday. In the case of the Jimmy Fallon rehearsal, we acted as guinea pigs; our reactions were used to determine which of his opening monologue jokes would make it into that evenings act. Most of the jokes were hilarious, but a few were absolute bombs and they did not make the cut. We also sat through his Thank You Letters which were terribly hilarious. Seeing Seminar with Alan Rickman was a time limited opportunity; we reasoned that the distillery would still be around next summer – a time when we could sit on a patio and enjoy gin-based beverages while watching the world go by.

Another item that made it onto our list that we hadn’t planned – seeing Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin in concert. We managed to snag tickets for this show the same night that we bought the tickets for Seminar. We only learned of the show while perusing the website for the Seminar tickets. Since Gerarda is a huge Patti LuPone fan, this was a no-brainer.

Me, taking a bite out of the big apple, I guess.

The show was amazing. We were fortunate to have purchased some excellent seats, although I really don’t think any of the seats in the Barrymore Theatre were bad. The show was a medley of famous broadway songs, presented on a stage consisting of a piano, a cello, and various microphones and lights. A simple set, but enough for the two actors to work with. They managed to keep me completely engaged with the barest of props – a testament to their ability as stage actors.

Of all the songs they performed, I’d have to say my favourites were those related to Evita. For those not in the know, both LuPone and Patinkin made famous the lead roles of Evita. LuPone sang Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, while Patinkin sang Oh What A Circus – which was absolutely freaking incredible. I only learned of their roles in Evita thanks to Gerarda. Clearly I have much to learn.

Anyway, while our original trip itinerary ended up being slightly modified here and there, the end result was an amazing adventure. In fact, I prefer not having things so planned on a trip because it provides the opportunity to stumble on some great things. In this case, we managed to pack in two extra shows, plus see Jimmy Fallon live. Awesome.



Waiting For Rickman

Friday night, after wandering New York, gorging on chocolates from Godiva and from Michel Cluizel, attempting our hand at shopping, seeing The Book of Mormon, and enjoying a most delicious post-theatre dinner accompanied by a very nice bottle of Don David Malbec at Sosa Borella (an Argentine restaurant we randomly stumbled upon), Gerarda, Steph, and I made our way back to On The Avenue hotel.  There we tried some of the 30-year-old port that I had picked up, along with a small bottle of bubbly that Gerarda and Steph had purchased to celebrate our first full day in the city. While this might sound like a wild night it was actually low-key; which was exactly what we wanted given that Saturday night would be anything but – what with the planned wine dinner at Maloney & Porcelli’s.

Gerarda and I searching for tickets.

Anyway, while we were enjoying the port we opted to listen to The Book of Mormon soundtrack – something that Gerarda had on her iPod. While listening to this we decided to investigate a play that we had noticed in The Book of Mormon playbill earlier that day. Specifically, a comedy written by Theresa Rebeck called Seminar, and staring Professor Severus Snape (a.k.a. Alan Rickman in the land of the Muggles). The inclusion of Rickman was enough to tempt all three of us to perhaps open our wallet one more time that day. Amazingly and despite the fact that the official opening was set for Sunday, we managed to snag 3 excellent seats for the Saturday matinee.

The Doctors, ready to take on New York

The play itself is about a group of four friends who gather together to have their writing reviewed and critiqued by Rickman. They all approach writing from different worlds, different views, and for different end points; but they are no match for Rickman’s sharp tongue. The play is engaging, witting, intelligent, and a lot of fun to watch. In a way, it’s a bit of getting to see Snape in action, but without the PG restrictions of the Harry Potter films. As the play shifts from one of the friends’ apartment to Rickman’s home (at the end of the first act), we are granted full access to the experience and wisdom of Rickman’s character. His speech is moving, heartfelt, and also tough to hear. But it resonates because we realize that what he does, he does for love of writing and a desire to see the best writers make it. It’s here that we learn how much of a teacher he really is, despite his questionable methods, his questionable ethics, and his exceedingly sharp tongue.

The play was fantastic and I’d definitely recommend that you check it out if you have the opportunity. I’m so glad that we managed to get tickets to see it. Seeing Rickman live was worth every penny we spent.

For those curious, the play also starred Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, Jerry O’Connell, and Hettienne Park. We managed to spot Hamish, Jerry, and Hettienne after the show. Sadly, we were left waiting for Rickman. He and Rabe opted not to sign autographs and greet the fans. No worries – Harry Potter himself (a.k.a. Daniel Radcliffe) was playing just down the road; so Gerarda, Steph and I moseyed off in that general direction in hopes that I might be able to show him my Harry Potter-esque scar. Yup, we truly are that nerdy.



How To Succeed In Shopping Without Really Trying

Having travelled to New York, I fully expected to shop. That is, I came here expecting to buy some new clothes. I could have bought them at home, but I really wanted to try to find some things that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to find (easily) at home. The fact that our dollar is as strong as it is (compared to the US greenback), and the fact that the cost-points in Canada are always greater than in the US, and the fact that the US economy – to be frank – seems to be swirling the drain, may have strengthened my desire to shop here. That is, the prices were all but guaranteed to be excellent.

Happy shoppers, despite not finding any new clothes.

Well, shopping day 1 – that being Friday – didn’t really turn out so well. I mean, we wandered the streets of NYC looking for something, anything that would turn this poor pathetic man into something that would force passerbys to do a double-take. But sadly, nothing. I did see a few things that were interesting, but nothing that jumped out at me. Nothing that screamed “buy me”. All I managed to buy were some chocolates. And that on its own is something to write about, but when one is expecting to find some new clothes and all one manages to find are several bars of chocolate no matter how delicious and wonderful, one feels a bit let down. Gerarda fared a bit better – finding a new Swatch watch. Steph was in the same boat as me.

To drown our failed-attempt-at-shopping sorrows, we decided to celebrate with a very tasty 30-year-old bottle of port that I mentioned in a previous post, and chocolates that we purchased from Michel Cluizel. These chocolates were recommended to me by Jeremy Newton of The Twitter (a.k.a. @NewtonsNoGluten – whom you should follow because he’s awesome). And I have to say, well-played Jeremy, well-played indeed. The combination of the chocolates and 30-year-old port more than made up for our lack of shopping success.

Dear Michel Cluizel, your chocolates are in my belly.

Of course, if one fails one shouldn’t give up. It’s best to get back up on the horse after being thrown from it. Even better – if one can get back up on the horse without really trying. And that dear friends, is what happened today. That is, on the way back from seeing Seminar staring Alan Rickman, we moseyed by Hugo Boss – or for those who know me – my personal form of crack. I discovered Hugo Boss just before my 30th birthday. It was also then that I learned how good an idea it is (fashion wise) to let the salesperson play dress up with you. They are after all, the supposed experts. This doesn’t always make one’s bank account happy, but we’re not focussed on financial smarts right now.

ZOMG - It's Snape!

Anyway, I was fortunate to have Dino serve me. The man clearly knew what he was doing. He found me several pair of pants – that actually make me look like I have an ass – no simple feat. He also managed to find several sweaters; something that I desperately need as I have very few of them. And given the coming winter freeze, something that I absolutely require.

The extra bonus; because of the economy and the Canadian dollar, I didn’t spend nearly as much as I had thought I was going to. In fact, I spent just slightly more than half of what I assumed the clothes would cost. Amazing!

The final verdict: I have somehow managed to successfully shop without much effort. Even better, I feel pretty damn sexy in my new clothes. I can’t put a price on that.

Note: More pictures are coming, but we’re off for more adventuring so they’ll have to wait.


The Book Of Awesome

The Book of Mormon. W00t.

One of the reasons The Doctors decided to come to the Big Apple was to see The Book Of Mormon; the 9 Tony award-winning – including best musical - broadway production written by the creators of South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone), and the writer of Avenue QBobby Lopez. This of course was not the only reason for visiting New York, but it did give us a great reason to be here.

Tonight all of our planning came to fruition, as Steph, Gerarda, and I made our way to Broadway. In a word: Amaze-balls. The play is about a couple of Mormons who have been sent on a 2 year mission to Uganda; one of the Mormons a born prophet type, the other a completely bumbling but loveable twit.

The play was absolutely hilarious; and in proper South Park style – nobody was safe, nor were any topics taboo. Everything was skewered. Dark things that people don’t speak about were brought out into the spotlight and ridiculed. And all of this in a brilliantly hilarious, yet on-point way. For example, the song “Turn it off” mocks abuse, and cancer – and who mocks those things? Better yet, the play does an amazing job of mocking it from a religious point of view, which probably equates to blasphemy to some; to me – hilarity. It also pokes fun at the Mormon, and really most religions’ view on homosexuality. For example:

“When I was in fifth grade, I had a friend Steve Blade,
He and I were close as two friend could be
One thing led to another, and soon I would discover,
I was having really strange feelings for Steve

I thought about us, on a deserted Island
We’d swim naked in the sea, and then he’d try and…

WOAH!  Turn if off, like a light switch,
there its gone! (Good for you!)
My hetero side just won!
I’m all better now,
Boys should be with girls thats heavenly fathers plan
So if you ever feel you rather be with a man,
Turn it off.”

The music was fantastic. I actually found myself dancing in my seat and smiling my face off the entire time. I honestly am not sure what my favourite songs were because they all were fantastic, but I can say for sure that some of them were so off-colour that I probably shouldn’t be singing them aloud in certain company. I also don’t want to spoil the show for anyone that might be wanting to see it, so I’m not going to link to YouTube to share them with you. Instead, if you want to see the play, just let me know. I would absolutely see this again.

Let me repeat that: I would absolutely see this again. Phenomenal. I am so glad I got to see this on Broadway, and for those of you coming to the city it is completely worth the cost. See it. See it. See it. I can’t say that enough. You won’t regret it.

Unless you are perhaps easily offended. Then it might not be your cup of tea.


30 Never Tasted So Sweet

Mmm, 30-year-old port. So. Freaking. Good.

This trip is a trip of getting-shit-done. And by getting-shit-done, I mean I’m getting shit did. Specifically, I am managing to cross off several items on my Not-So-Bucket-List list, and that ain’t half bad. Especially since I hadn’t even planned on completing some of the items while here. There were others items that I had planned on working on, but clearly won’t be completing during this trip – I’m looking at you item #185 (Drink 100 pints of Guinness as per The Dead Poet Challenge). And there were some items that I would end up repeating (hello item #147 – Travel with Steph & Gerarda again). But to do these and cross off an item that was completely unexpected – that’s just wicked awesome on a level that I can’t even describe.

The main item on my list that I wasn’t expecting to complete on this trip: item #59, buy a $100+ bottle of port and drink it with Gerarda & Alan. Now technically Alan isn’t here, however, Steph is standing in as his proxy so in my books this item is next to complete. The only thing standing in our way is actually finishing the bottle. But fear not dear readers, I know that won’t be a problem, especially given how good this tastes.

For those of you who enjoy port, I have to say that this 30-year-old bottle of Taylor Fladgate (retailing for $109.99 in NYC) is by far the best I’ve ever had. And while some might say that there is a bias associated with the price, I can honestly say the flavour is phenomenal. It’s almost like drinking maple syrup and brown sugar. So sweet, so smooth, and entirely satisfying. Of course, this isn’t the type of beverage that one just downs. It’s something to be savoured. And trust me when I say that I am savouring every sip.


Dear New York, The Doctors Are In You

We may be smiling because we're eating cookies. But we also might be smiling because we are headed to New York.

Around 3pm today, I jumped into an airport limo with Dr. Steph and Dr. Gerarda, and we started our journey towards Pearson. Our ultimate destination: New York City.

This will be about the eleventy-billionth time that I’ve visited the Big Apple; my second time with Steph, my fourth time with Gerarda. Despite the number of times that I’ve been to this city, I can say without any hesitation that it continues to surprise and amaze me. There are just so many things to see and do here.

Of course, before we even made it to NYC, we had to make the requisite stop at the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge; also known as the Super Happy Fun Time Lounge. There we may have sampled such things as nachos and salsa, cookies and chips, beer and wine, port and scotch, and scotch and scotch. An awesome start to what will no doubt be an awesome trip.

The flight was great and it seemed to fly by rather quick; pun completely intended. Ha. I kill me. During the flight, I was super stoked to find that The Nightmare Before Christmas was being offered on the in flight entertainment system. I love this movie, so watching it wasn’t even a question.

After landing, making our way to our hotel (On The Avenue – on 77th for those curious), checking in, and such, we ventured to the nearby Amsterdam Pub – on Amsterdam Ave. A nice little pub, with great food and a collection of beer from around the world. I decided to sample the onion rings and a beer called something something double dead guy. I don’t remember the first part of the name, hence the something something. The lack of memory might have to do with the fact that I drank 2 pints of said something something double dead guy. Clearly, my verdict on that particular beer was delicious.

Now it’s time for sleep. But New York, be warned; the Doctors are in you.