Saturday, February 28, 2015

Play - The Heart of Robin Hood

Tonight Teena and I went to see The Heart of Robin Hood at the fabulous Royal Alexandra Theater.

A classic tale goes rogue in THE HEART OF ROBIN HOOD, the heart-pounding, eye-popping new stage adventure from the Royal Shakespeare Company that puts a bold new twist on the story of the world's most infamous outlaw. 

In this wildly inventive reimagining, Robin Hood isn't a beloved vigilante who gives to the poor.... he's just a headstrong thief. It's up to the brave Maid Marion to protect the kingdom and show this legendary hood how to be a hero.

I really enjoyed the play. Sometimes you can say that there is a lot of energy in a production by the way the actors feed off of each other. As much as this is the case in this play, when I say energy, I mean physical. It must be exhausting for the cast to do two performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. They are sliding down hills, clambering up walls, and climbing, hanging and dropping from ropes and tree branches. 


As much as it is considered a musical, and I heard somebody on the way out complaining that it wasn't a musical (how could he be disappointed?), the production is filled with music and song. Not from the cast but an onstage band that contributed to the story and had their own part in the play.

The Heart of Robin Hood was fast paced, musical, energetic and highly entertaining. It is very worth going to see and I give it an 8/10.

Floating at Float Toronto

Last weekend Teena went for a walk around the neighborhood and discovered a place called Float Toronto on Queen St West by Gladstone. So what is floating?

Floatation therapy, also known as floating, floatation, sensory deprivation, or R.E.S.T (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) involves lying in a salt-water solution in a spacious tank. It is one of the most effective means of stress relief and relaxation available. Now widely accepted as a legitimate therapy, floatation is also used to treat a wide range of ailments and conditions and has been proven to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone). The term sensory deprivation is often used as the environment is designed to limit sensory input and allow your body to fully relax. – 

Your ears (with earplugs in) stay just below the water; the tanks are insulated against sound leaving you in peaceful silence. After you shut the door and turn off the light, you float in total darkness you won’t notice a difference between keeping your eyes open or closed. (You’re free to keep the door open and the light on until you grow accustomed to this unique environment.) 


Inside the tank you’ll find 10 inches of water and 900 lbs. of dissolved Epsom salts - a solution that allows you to float effortlessly. The water and air are both kept at 34.1 degrees Celsius - this is skin-receptor neutral, which means that when you fully relax, you lose track of where your body ends and the water or air begins. 

Sounds relaxing. Floating is supposed to ease back, neck pain and pain from arthritis. I am hoping for it to help my shoulders. It is also supposed to increase blood circulation and floating in a pool of Epsom salts helps to draw out toxins and lactic acid buildup in the body.

Teena and I arrived a few minutes early. Misha showed us around and described the process. She was very helpful.

 
 

Yes, bags of salt are set out for ambiance and it works. 

 

My room, complete with a shower which you use before going into the tank and again when you get out. When the session is over and you are out of the tank, the filter to the left kicks on and filters, and reheats the water.


Earplugs are important as you ears are submerged. There is an ear flush available for after the float.


The sensation is quite interesting. I spent the first fifteen minutes just discovering what I was feeling. The water and air are the same temperature and except for my hands, I had very little idea of where the water ended and the air started. It was a weird sensation at first, just floating without any assistance.

I could hear/feel my heartbeat for the first few minutes, which is something I have rarely experienced. I was quite aware of the sound of my breathing.

Being suspended like that was wonderful. It was much like space would be like. Every action caused a reaction and if I gently moved an arm or leg, the motion would send me slowly over to the other side of the 8 x 4 tank where I would gently bump the side.

After the first fifteen minutes, I just relaxed and enjoyed. I believe I drifted off to sleep a couple of times, as I had some of the same kind of dreams as when I sleep.

Whether my eyes were open or closed, this is what I saw.


When the hour is up, music is gently piped in. I must have been asleep as although I had been told before getting in that this would happen, I was confused by the sound and then came to realize where I was.

So, how did I feel afterwards?

Very relaxed, both in mind and body. My muscles were soothed as if I had just had a massage but without the lingering pain. For a body that had just spent an hour floating and doing nothing, I was also starving, even though I had a light breakfast an hour before. Teena was too so we hit the Gladstone Hotel for brunch.

Not only would Teena and I both do it again but we've already bought a three pack pass each.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My February Beer of the Month Delivery


Yesterday my February Beer of the Month Box arrived. Unfortunately nobody was home at the time so it was sent to the post office. Teena swung by on the way home and picked it up for me. Thanks, Honey!

As usual, there is a great selection of beer, and this month's package hit a rare craving of mine, one for a lager. Cameron's Brewing Company featured three of their Special Edition Lagers and the Strathroy Brewing Company matched with three bottles of their 1815 Longwoods Lager.

Both breweries also had three each of another style beer. Strathroy's is their 1815 Smokin' Cannon Stout and there is a California Sunshine APA from Cameron's.

I'm looking forward to trying them all.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fencing Sabre at the K-Town Veterans Challenge


Today I fenced in the Veterans Sabre tournament at the K-Town Veterans Challenge at the Kingston Fencing Club. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year. There is a good comradery among all the fencers, which makes it a good time. It's all fun until you're one-on-one on the piste (fencing strip) facing your opponent.

I arrived at the club when the final few matches of the foil competition was finishing up.

 
 

The medal winners, Dianne (Silver), Gaby (Bronze), Michael (Bronze) and wearing the Gold Medal, Yevgeni.


Henk, who owns the club, has an interesting collection of fencing gear including old fencing masks. I feel much more protected in what we wear now!


The old battle helmets are interesting.


After the foil, my event, sabre, was up. It's my first tournament since returning back to the sport a month ago. There were nine of us entered.

 

I went through the pools with a 5-3 record and at the end felt that although I was not fencing great, I was feeling mostly good about how I improved as the day went on. Distance from you to the attacker is so important in fencing and I was on my game in that regard. I finished the pools in 4th place.


In my elimination match, though, my game fell apart. I was against Bill, who I felt I could beat. During the match I saw a way that I could score on him. There was one problem, though, and afterwards I recalled a comment made to me after a match by my old coach Jim. "Excellent strategy, lousy execution!"

I lost 10 -7 and was out, finishing in 5th spot.

The medal winners from left to right. Henk (Silver), Rob (Gold), Bill (Bronze) Doug (Bronze)


And the Master at Arms winners for the weekend for all three weapons was won by Doug for the men and Evelyn for the women.


I had a great weekend, met people I haven`t seen for a long while and some great new people. Henk, any time  your putting on a tournament, I`ll be there!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fencing Epee at the K-Town Veterans Challenge


This weekend is a three-weapon Veterans' event at the Kingston Fencing Club.

There are three tournaments, one for Epee today and tomorrow will feature Foil in the morning and my favorite weapon, Sabre, in the afternoon. Medals are awarded for each tournament and a Master at Arms trophy is awarded to the fencer who had the best showing in all three weapons. I am skipping foil tomorrow so won't be up for that one. Like I even had a shot at it.


I recently decided to take up Epee and, in fact, last weekend was the first time I bouted with it in a couple of years. I think I have only held one three times. My hopes weren't very high but I knew it would be fun and it was.

The club is quite nice. It's in a storefront with two fencing strips (pistes) and change rooms.

 
 

Henk (left), the owner of the club, started off by welcoming the two judges who came in from Quebec for the tournament.


Then the action started. I was smoked my first three matches, 0-5, 1-5 and 1-5, but then caught on a little. I lost the next one 4-5 and the next one in overtime 4-5 but finally put a couple of 5-4 wins together. I finished the pool with two more 1-5 losses.


Food, wine, coffee, muffins and fruits were all available at the break between the pool and the elimination round. A local chocolatier owner, Derek from Ridgeway Confections, came with a large selection of his chocolates. I had the coffee one and one filled with Earl Grey tea, and they were fabulous. Oh, I had a drink of wine too.

 
 

Eli, a foil fencer from my home club, Bladeworks Fencing, destroyed me in my elimination, then was knocked out himself the next round.

The winning point of the tournament.


Robert in the red won Gold, Genevieve on the left took Silver with Fritz, and Robert on right left with Bronze medals. I cam in 9th out of 10. I'll take it!


It was a great day. Thanks to Henk and everyone who helped put this together. I'm really looking forward to using a familiar weapon tomorrow when I hit the piste with my sabre in hand!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Toronto Rock Win in Overtime!


There is nothing better in sports than being at a game where your team stages a huge comeback win. That happened tonight for the Toronto Rock and if you weren't there, you missed a great game!

The 6 -1 Toronto Rock were tacking on the 2-3 New England Black Wolves (cool nickname) at the ACC. Toronto went into the game in first place with a two game lead and hoped to keep it that way.

It was superhero night so I took some shots of the fans before the game started.

 
 
 

The Rock honoured some real superheroes too. This young six-year-old has gone through two heart operations and took the ceremonial face-off. Also in attendance were some World War II veterans from Sunnybrook Hospital.

 

The game started with the Rock jumping out into a 2-0 lead.

 

It would have been 3-0 if we didn't hit this goal post!


It was a chippy game and with the score tied 3-3, Jesse Gamble got into a fight.  Although the pictures don't show it, he won convincingly.

 

The Toronto Rock Cheerleaders came out to lead a cheer.

 

With the Rock down 6-4 at the half, the half time show featured the fans voting on the best superhero outfit.


The winners!


After a quick goal by the Rock, the Black Wolves went on a five goal tear to take a 10-5 lead. Nick Rose took the net after the ninth goal. The horse was horrified!


The superhero cheerleaders came on to Rock the crowd. It all started with a flip that Iggy enjoyed.

 
 
 

Tim and Gillian, who sit in front of us,  did not give up hope.


The rock chipped away and with 2:58 left in the game, tied it up with a Brett Hickey goal. Then  24 seconds later, went ahead 12-11. The Black Wolves pressed and tied the game with 1:08 left in regulation time.

Overtime!

One thing that was really going the Rock's way tonight was that they had scored early in all 4 quarters ... and they did it again. Just 40 seconds into overtime, Josh Sanderson put in the winner and was mobbed!


It was a fabulous game. The Rock never gave up. The fans were crazy during the last five minutes and overtime.

Teena and I really enjoy going to Rock games but this might be one of the best we have seen!