Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Book Review - Old Man's War

A friend of mine from work read Old Man's War, and really enjoyed it. Knowing that I like science fiction, he gave it to me to read. 

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-- and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding. 

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets. 

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine--and what he will become is far stranger.

First paragraphs of a book are supposed to hook the reader. Here is the first line from Old Man's War"I did two things on my seventy-firth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army."

That grabbed me and from that point on I had a hard time putting the book down.

The story is told in first person by John Perry, is well thought-out and extremely imaginative. Although the story does start a little slow, it was still interesting to read and was needed to show how the CDF turns old people into warriors.  There are twists and turns throughout.

This is the first part of what looks to be an ongoing series. So far, there are six more books in the series after this one, all of which I plan to read in the future as I am curious as to just how mankind's future will end up for John Perry.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Signing Author Autographed Books for Indigospirit in Royal Bank Plaza

Hey, look what is sitting in the main display of non-fiction books at the Indigospirit Royal Bank Plaza. Yes, that's my book, Defending the Inland Shores, from Bookland Press right up beside Mike Myers.

The store has many clients with an interest in Canadian history so one of the managers, Natalia, ordered a few of my books and asked me to come in and sign them so their customers would be able to purchase autographed copies.

I gladly said, "Yes" and was there today to sign them.

I never knew signing my own name would take so much concentration!

Here are Natalia and I posing with an autographed copy by the entrance.

I enjoyed the experience and thank Natalia and Indigo for having a place for Defending the Inland Shores on their shelves.

Monday, 20 March 2017

My March 2017 Canada Craft Club Delivery

Every month I some fun mail comes to our door from Canada Post which is my Canada Craft Club delivery. I have been receiving this for some time, a present from my fabulous wife, Teena.

Our packs are delivered in discreet packaging (so no one swipes your brews) and prices include shipping. You can trust that every single beer has been hand-selected for your pack by Canada Craft Club’s experienced tasters and experts, some of whom sit on tasting panels in prestigious worldwide brewing competitions. What this really means is that we tasted, tested and rated every single beer before giving them our stingy stamp of approval for our treasured members. We try to shake it up for you, and fill your pack with beers you might not have had or can’t get anywhere else.

Each month I receive two 650 ml or 750 ml bottles from breweries, most of which I had never heard of. This month both bottles (650 ml) came from the U.S.

I received a Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale from Ninkasi Brewing of Eugene, OR, and a Mikkeller Hop Geek Geek Breakfast Black IPA from Mikkeller Brewing located in San Diego, CA.

Beer for breakfast. Hmmmm. I don't think Teena would let me go for it but I bet it's going to be good no matter what time of day I have it.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Beer of the Week - Three Beers from Lake Wilcox Brewing

On Thursday, Teena was coming home from a client meeting in Vaughan and saw a sign for a brewery that I haven't tasted a beer from before, Lake Wilcox Brewing. She stopped in, took some pictures and came home to surprised me with eight of their beers to try.

It was a coincidence that the day after Teena stopped in was the brewery's second anniversary.

The brewery was started by David De Ciantis and Ray Nicolini from Richmond Hill and is named after a beautiful little lake located just outside of Oak Ridges, that I used to take my son, Ken, to when he was young.

Teena said they had a very nice looking tasting room, one that I would like to visit some time. Here are a couple of her pictures of the inside.

And their beer? Here are my three favorites although I have not yet tried the Triple.

The Saison

I love saisons so I thought this would be a great place to start.

It pours a deep amber colour with a reddish/orange tinge, much darker than many saisons I have tried, with an off-white head. Nice lacings are left behind when I sip. This has that nice saison aroma from the yeast which I enjoy so much.

This saison is a very flavourful ale! There is a touch of tartness in it but one that's not overpowering. I can taste just a touch of spice and just a little bitterness in the finish. This is one that I would like to get again.

Calypso Hopped Lager

The Calypso is golden in colour with a white head. I always feel there is a grassy aroma to lagers and while the hops are noticeable in this one when I take a whiff, that bit of grassyness is still there. That is not a bad thing.

This is a crisp tasting lager with much more taste to it than regular big brewery lagers. I would consider this a European Pilsner style lager. There is a nice hop bite to start, that continues through to the finish. This would be fabulous on a hot summer afternoon.

Black Hops IPA

The black hops pours the way its name indicates, black and with a brownish head. Chocolate and a bit of hops are in the aroma. One again, nice lacings are left behind along the inside of the glass.

My first sip has very pronounced coco tones in it which disappear in the middle and are replaced by a nice hop bite in the finish. It's a very well-crafted ale. I'm not sure if I would consider this a black IPA or a porter, but I do know it is one I would like to have again.

The brewery is located just south of Vaughn Mills Mall, which we pass on occasion during our travels and is a place I would like to stop into myself some time.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Rock Lose a Close One

Tonight the Toronto Rock too on the Colorado Mammoth. The Rock came into the game just one game out of first and needed a victory to put the pressure on the division leading Georgia Swarm.

Being March 17, it was St. Patrick's day at the ACC. The team wore green, the scoreboard was green, even Iggy was green. There also was a marching pipe and drum band.

Scotty Newlands, in a green Rock tee-shirt, sang the national anthems.

Opening face off.

First goal of the game but it was a Mammoth goal.

Action. Lacrosse is a very fast sport.

Toronto Rock Tied it up 2-2 in the first.

The red headed guys sit directly across from us. They have been there in the five years we have been going.

The Toronto Rock Cheerleaders put on their usual great performance.

Action around the Colorado net.

Another great Cheerleader routine.

During the entire game, the Rock never lead. Going into the last minute down 13-11, they pulled their goalie which ended up, after Colorado hit two goalposts, with a Mammoth empty net goal, handing the Rock a 14-11 loss.

As usual, the Toronto Rock circled the arena to thank the fans.

Next Saturday night the Rock take on the Vancouver Stealth at the ACC. It's a big game in our run for the playoffs and yes, we will be there!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A Surprise of Beer!

Teena has been doing sessions just north of the city and on her way home tonight, despite a very early morning start to her day, discovered a brewery on her way home, Lake Wilcox Brewing Company. Being the terrific wife that she is, she stopped in and picked me up a variety of beer.

And what a variety it is! The Black Hops IPA was the only duplicate in the bunch. Beside those two cans, she picked up (all in 650 ml bottles)a  Bandit APA, a Suburban Triple, a Solstice IPA, a 707 IPA, a Calypso Hopped lager and a saison.

Of course, this will be my Beer of the Week, this weekend!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Beer of the Week - Fathom Double IPA from Nine Locks Brewing

Last June Teena was in Haliax and brought me home an ESB and an IPA from Nine Locks Brewing. Of course, I featured them as my Beer of the Week. They were delicious. This past weekend Teena was back in Halifax and brought me back a four pack of Fathom Double IPA from that very same brewery. I feel like now I've had a matching set!

The name Nine Locks Brewing Co. is named for the nine locks of the historic Shubenacadie Canal, which was completed in 1856, and built to transport agriculture, timber and coal between Halifax and the Annapolis Valley.

And the Double IPA?

The moment I cracked the top, hopes filled the air. They were a little citrusy but not overpowering with citrus. The aroma did fill the air and I was outside. It pours amber in colour with a white head. Lots of lacings are left behind as I sip.

I really enjoy the hop bite this IPA provides. It's not overpowering, not too citrusy but that great hop bite is there for sure and quite wonderful to taste.

If I could get this on Ontario, I surely would but as I can't.  I can only enjoy the four, whoops, make it three that I have left.

Beer of the Week Stats

Beers Profiled 346
Breweries 316
Countries 49

March 12 in Canadian History

On March 12, 1851, Henry Bibb, who was born a slave in Kentucky but managed to escape to Canada, published the very first black newspaper, The Voice of the Fugitive. The paper was aimed at slaves who had managed to escape to Canada and was printed out of Sandwich (Windsor) Ontario.

The paper was aimed at the population of slaves that had managed to escape from the US to find freedom in Canada. It reported on U.S. events regarding slavery and slaves who were trying to escape, it also reported on the ones that managed to make it to Canada, how they were managing, and organizations and people who were assiting them

Bibb wrote in one of his first publications, "We shall advocate the immediate and unconditional abolition of chattel slavery everywhere, but especially on American soil. We shall also persuade, as far as it may be practicable every oppressed person of color in the United States to settle in Canada.”

In September of 1851, Henry Bibb was elected as chairman of the North American Convention of Colored Freemen, and the next year in October 1852, he became president of the Windsor Anti-Slavery Society.

Bibb continued publishing his bi-weekly newspaper until his untimely death on August 1, 1854.