Monday, 16 October 2017

Book Review - Truth & Honour, The Death of Richard Oland and the Trial of Dennis Oland

I just finished reading Truth & Honour, which examines the investigation into the the murder of Saint John, New Brunswick, businessman Richard Oland (of the Moosehead Brewing Company) in 2011, the arrest of his son Dennis two years later and the subsequent trail.

Oland's trial would be the most publicized in New Brunswick history. What the trial judge called "a family tragedy of Shakespearian proportions," this real-life murder mystery included adultery, family dysfunction, largely circumstantial evidence, allegations of police incompetence, a high-powered legal defense, and a verdict that shocked the community.

Today, the Oland family maintains Dennis Oland's innocence. Author Greg Marquis, a professor of Canadian history at the University of New Brunswick Saint John, leads readers through the case, from the discovery of the crime to the conviction and sentencing of the defendant.

The book is very thorough, although it could be a very dry read in places, which is due to the explanations of some of what seems to be minor facts. It was interesting to note how different our court system is compared to the American one and how much more complicated justice systems are in real life.

I have been interested in this case since I first heard that it happened. A wealthy man murdered with an axe or drywall hammer in his office in early evening with no obvious evidence pointing to the killer right away has all the makings of a good fiction, except it all really occurred.  To me, the fact that Richard Oland was struck repeatedly with the hammer or axe over forty times tells me this is a crime of passion, that the killer had to be somebody very close to Richard. After reading this book, I am now convinced that Dennis did indeed commit the crime.

One note the author continually makes, which is kind of sad, is that after the murder the family kept speaking of poor Dennis not being able to see his family at Christmas or holidays and poor Dennis having to spend time in jail, where Richard, the victim, seems hardly ever thought of.

If you like true crime stories, or stories of murder, this book is for you. Draw your own conclusions as to whether he did it or not.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Live Theater - Flashing Lights at the Theatre Centre

This afternoon Teena and I headed to the Theatre Centre to see their latest production, Flashing Lights.

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”- Andy Warhol?

Flashing Lights tells the tale of Peter, an unremarkable guy who inexplicably becomes famous. His dizzying rise and fall effects everyone around him, in particular his family; his savvy wife Shannon and their child Ter. What starts off as a portrait of contemporary family life quickly unravels into a meditation on the borders between digital and physical existence and the future of this brave new world being created.

Flashing Lights combines a fantastical absurdist narrative with a highly physical theatrical style using technology like smart phones and tablets as puppets, masks, light, and sound sources. Drawing on the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, Sherry Turkle, Jean Baudrillard and other theorists, the play speaks to the growing anxiety about the future and to the vertiginous feeling that time itself is speeding up. Will humankind’s frail, flesh and blood selves be able to keep up?

When you walk into the theatre, you find the stage is shrouded with a see-through netting that can have images projected upon. This is used very effectively throughout the production.

It took me about fifteen minutes of this ninety minute play to grasp exactly what is taking place. I don't want this to scare anybody away from seeing Flashing Lights, as I found it quite interesting to watch.

The starts starts with a very dysfunctional family at breakfast, all caught up in their own worlds of the Internet. Peter just wants to eat his cereal. Shannon, his wife, dreams of creating a new social technology, Omni which puts people inside of technology as she believes bodies have now become useless. Their daughter, Ter, wishes to evolve with the use of the 'net and do so quickly.

Peter becomes famous, though, and we watch him go through his fifteen minutes of fame, then what becomes of him afterwards.

Flashing Lights is an interesting, thought provoking play, and is full of emotion. It is definitely worth seeing.

Friday, 13 October 2017

East Coast Comedy Night 4

Tonight Teena and I went to the East Coast Comedy Night 4 show at the Social Capital Theatre above the Black Swan Tavern.

Our fourth big year! For one night only, we will pack as many comedians from all over The Maritimes and Newfoundland as we can into one show to salute the East Coast! There will be SCREECH! There will be BEER! There will be an ACADIAN!

Hosted by: Marcel St. Pierre
Musical Guests: Wordburglar
Currently scheduled to appear: Tim Steeves(JFL, CBC) Chris Locke (JFL, CBC), Paul Ash (JFL, CBC) Gina Granter (Off-JFL/Zoofest) , Meg MacKay (JFL42, Sirius XM) Ali Hassan (CBC, JFL) and more!

Marcel St. Pierre from New Brunswick did a set and was host for the night. He was fun and kept the show flowing.

Meg MacKay from P.E.I. (flag on the left) was a great choice for an opening act as she was hilarious.

Paul Ash, originally from Halifax (Nova Scotia's flag is on the right of the picture), who now lives in Montreal, and was terrific.

I enjoyed Gina Granter's set, who is originally from Newfoundland (flag hidden behind her).

Chris Locke was a hoot.

During intermission, Teena took the stage for a photo.

Ali Hassan, who will be at the Rose Theatre in Brampton in November and is worth seeing, opened the second half.

Although it's not a contest, my favourite of the night was Tim Steeves from New Brunswick (flag to the left of the picture).

The final act was the Wordburglar (Shaun Jordan), who does comedy rap.

This is the third year in a row we have been to this show and have always enjoyed it. I feel tonight had the best set of comics of the three. The shows are put on by Marcel St. Pierre and I just want him to know that we will be there for East Coast Comedy Night 5.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Yoga and Wellness Show

Today I went to the Yoga and Wellness Show at the Enercare building on the CNE grounds. I have done yoga from time to time and find it very helpful. I've been meaning to do it more often. Also, I am trying to live a more healthy lifestyle so figured this show might be for me.

The Yoga & Wellness Show features all vendors big and small who have something to contribute to the show in various health conscious categories including yoga studios, gym memberships, healthy nutrition, naturopathy, spiritual well being, food sampling, clothing and jewellery, motivational speaking, meditative arts, aromatherapy, all the shopping you could ask for and so much more!

Yoga Show goers are encouraged to bring a mat, (or buy one at the show!) and throw your mat down in the Zen Zone to participate in free yoga classes. Hatha, vinyasa, acro, and maybe even a dance or two. All yoga levels are welcome!

In the first aisle was Succuterra. I am a fan of cactus. They take absolutely no work and thrive on neglect. Just the type of plant I need.

See the ones in the back of the picture below. They are lythops, also know as living rocks. I have been looking for these for years.

These are the two that called out to me to bring them home, which I did. I likely will be ordering some more online too.

There were a lot of booths so I'm only going to show those I had an interest in such as Bounce who make health food snacks. The ones I tried were tasty.

The folks at nuPasta made up pesto pasta with their pasta. It was delicious so I bought three different ones.

I sampled some health drinks from Avazera.

Almost, yes, I almost, oh I came so very close to buying a hat from In the Ville.

This fit so perfectly and looked great on me. It was all the willpower I could muster not to buy it.

Pure Leaf Ice Tea were giving out samples. I have bought them many times in the past.

Passport to Prana had an interesting concept. For $30, a person gets one free class per studio, per year at all participating yoga studios in your city.

The schedule for the Zen Zone for free yoga and meditation sessions.

I received some free samples from Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods to eat as a snack or sprinkle on my oatmeal, plus there were already sample from them in the goody bag I received at the door.

The orange drink from BioSteel was tasty.

I finished my day with a 30 minute Thai massage from King Thai Massage. When I watched them work on others, I could not pass that up. It felt fantastic and worked out all my kinks. I was quite sad when it was over.

I enjoyed the show and would not hesitate to go back again next year.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Archery Competition at the 2017 Toronto Invictus Games

Today I went to Fort York to watch the Archery Event for the 2017 Toronto Invictus Games.

Most of us will never know the horrors of combat. Many servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries. How do they find the motivation to move on and to not be defined by their injuries? How can they be recognized for their achievements?

The Invictus Games Foundation was established in London, England, in 2014 to pursue and develop the legacy of the Invictus Games, Prince Harry’s adaptive sport event for injured, ill and wounded servicemen and women and veterans.

Archery involves using a bow to propel arrows at a target from a set distance. This sport is fully integrated, meaning it is played among able-bodied competitors as well as competitors with varying physical disabilities, such as a spinal cord injury or amputation. Competitors can shoot from a standing or sitting position while aiming towards the centre of a target. Archery is a test of accuracy, strength and concentration.

The line of competitors' team tents.

Archers aim at 40 cm targets set 18 metres away from the shooting line. Novice archers, those participating in archery for less than a year, shoot at 60 cm targets.

There is a time limit for all competitors to shoot and each fires three arrows in that time. A bullseye is worth 15 points. After each round, they go to the target and tally up the competitors score.

Waiting for their turn to shoot.

Canada's tent.

Canada in action. Like a baseball batter, always keep your elbow up. Canada beat the USA in this round.

One teams bows.

Canada and Australia below, were tied in their round and had to go to a shoot-off. They lined up and had 45 seconds to shoot one arrow. Closest to the bullseye wins. Canada took it.

It was announced that a competitor from the USA team had been perfect, hitting six bulleyes in a row. Funny as he was competing against a fellow USA teammate. The score at that point was 90-81, so the other competitor had a great round going himself but just had the bad luck to be placed up against somebody who was perfect. Oh, on the next round of shots, he ran his total up to nine in a row and took the round. Amazing.

Archery was quite interesting to watch. Competitors not only have to take in whether the target is slightly uphill or downhill, they also must factor in any wind or breeze, which today came and went in an instant.

It's a very interesting sport to watch. The medal rounds are tomorrow from 9am to 6 pm at Fort York and entrance to the event is free.