Friday, April 23, 2010

Rock of Ages

The wife and I have been seeing a lot of musicals and plays lately, trying to enjoy all that Toronto has to offer, and we have seen a lot more misses that hits. That is until we saw Rock of Ages the other night at the Pantages theatre.Rock of Ages is a love story about a small town girl looking for fame in L.A. in the late 80's. She meets a city boy working in a famous L.A. club and they fall in love. This story is told by using some of the greatest hit songs from that era. Music from bands such as Journey, Night Ranger, STYX, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted sister, Asia, Poison and many more.
It worked. We loved it.If you are looking for one show to go see this year, this is it.
You won't be disappointed.


The wife and I saw Grease at the Canon theatre the other night and I have to say I was kind of disappointed. How hard can it be to screw up something this well known and loved?
Apparently not hard at all.
First off, if you are going to promote a specific star in your show, say Taylor Hicks, who has only one number to sing in the entire production as one of the main reasons to come to the show, then perhaps he should actually be there. Instead we got his understudy. But I will say this, in that one particular scene, the understudy managed to steal the entire show.
And since this is really is a love story, some actual chemistry between the leads really would of helped. The guy who played Danny was terrible.
But at least they got the music right. All those great hit songs that you remember from the movie were there, too bad it sounded like a high school musical instead of an Ed Mirvish production.
The lady sitting behind me singing along to every song didn't seem to mind though. In fact, as annoying as it was, I kind of liked her voice a lot better....

Surf's Up!

I saw this yesterday while out on my bike ride. I was impressed, but not THAT impressed. I guess you can say that I've seen it done before. Yup, that's the wife and dog number 2, enjoying life up at the cottage.

Monday, April 19, 2010

St. George to Ancaster Bike Race

I participated in my first bike race yesterday. My brother, Tony and I decided to try our luck in the 17th annual Paris to Ancaster race. We opted to try the half distance for our first race, which was 35 kms from St. George to Ancaster. The course consisted of 11kms of gravel and dirt roads, 8 kms of rail trail, 6 km of single track (1-3 km sections), and 10 km of paved trails, which basically meant that this was a mountain bike race.
This race kicked our asses. We finished 372, 373, and 374 out of 512 racers. Not bad though for our first time. You can see all the results here.
Loading up the bikes and Colin making sure that his bike doesn't get scratched.
Race numbers attached to the bikes.
Ready to rock!
Nice bib buddy!
Getting bused to the start. Biking Bono makes an appearance.
Lined up at the start line, waiting to go.And we are off -- race start.
Rolling down the highway getting settled in.
It was a pretty fast start and we quickly got passed and ended up somewhere mid-pack.
Through the farmers fields.
Starting to feel it.
Really starting to feel the burn now.At least the sun came out to make the pain more enjoyable.
Riding the rail trails.
Stuck in mud hell.
The final few kilometres of course, were all up hill.Finish line in sight!!
Crossed the line with a final time: 2:20:12The end results...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hedley At Copps

The wife and I went to see Hedley last night at Copps coliseum in Hamilton. And I'm sorry to say, not one of the better shows that I have seen. Maybe it was the 5000 screaming 14 year old girls, or the horrible sound, or maybe it was the fact that Jacob Hoggart, lead singer and former Canadian Idol runner up, kept mentioning Hamilton, like even he couldn't believe he was there. It felt stiff and staged, like this was how it plays out every night in insert city name here across Canada. I know that this is part of the show biz thing, but maybe its because the band just hasn't been around long enough yet to know how to make it feel sincere. Don't get me wrong, this band has a string of hits from three albums over the last couple of years but they owe it all to their fan base -- the screaming 14 year old girls. I'm just not sure that once the interest of said 14 year old girl moves onto the next best thing that Hedley will have the longevity to make the transition from teen heart throbs to legitimate rock band. I guess only time will tell....

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Thoughts On Jury Duty

My experience as a juror came to a sudden end today. After a morning of testimony on the case I was sitting on as a juror, we recessed for lunch and were to begin again at 2:30. When our deputy didn't come to take us to the court room at the appointed time we realized something was up. We began to speculate amongst ourselves about what was going on in the court room. When we were finally called into the court room we were told our services were no longer required as our trial had been declared a mistrial.

Now I'm not allowed to talk about the specifics of the trail or what we discussed in the jury room but I can say this. I am glad that it is over and I'm especially thankful that we didn't have to deliver a verdict.

I learnt a lot about our justice system in the last week. It isn't perfect, but the men and woman entrusted to up hold the laws of the land, from the judges to the lawyers and the court clerks, all do an incredible job. It is a tough job that deals with the darker side of society, where decisions you make affect peoples lives and it's a duty that shouldn't be taken lightly.

No one wants to be called for jury duty, but rest assured, these guys are pros at guiding you through the process and try to make it as painless as possible for ordinary citizens like you and I. They add humour and compassion to a job that ordinarily wouldn't have any and guide you through the maze that is our legal system.

That being said, there are some scary people in this city doing some even crazier things to other scary people and sometimes to people like you and I. And occasionally people like you and I are asked to decide on the fate of these people who stand accused of doing these very bad things. It's not a pleasant job and not one to be taken lightly, but when called upon, we have to answer that call and do the best job we can, after all, as I found out this week, it really is our civic duty.

Here are some things I found interesting about being on a jury.

A handler or a deputy is assigned to you for the duration of the trial.

They tell you when to show up in the morning, which is usually 15 minutes before the trial begins. This way they can get the jury into the jury room and out of sight before family, media and witness' arrive.

When you are selected as a juror for a trail you are assigned a number (1 to 12). Whatever number you are assigned becomes your number for the duration of the trial.

When in court the jury always travels together. The jury always lines up from 1 to 12 and always enters and exits the court room in that order. If one jury member has to go to the bathroom while court is in session, all jurors must go with and wait in the adjoining jury room.

The jury enters the court from a separate hallway then family, friends, media and witness' do.

When not in the court room the jury stays in a locked room behind the judges bench. The room is big enough for a board room table and 12 chairs and has an adjoining men and woman's washroom. This is also the room the jury goes to when the court wants to discuss legal issues the jury is not privy to.

The deputy always knocks before they enter. The jury is not allowed to leave this room at any time and must knock on the door for the deputy to unlock it to exit.

Whatever is said in the jury room cannot be discussed outside of it.

All breaks are spent in this room and coffee, juice, muffins and bagels are provided.

The jury is allowed to leave the building for lunch, but are not allowed to eat in the cafeteria downstairs.

The jury is always last to enter the room after the judge and everyone else is already seated.

The amount of notes a police officer takes in the course of their day is absolutely incredible.

Lawyers will drown you in the details, over and over and over again.

Lawyers like to make the same point over and over and over again.

I would not want to be either a police officer or a lawyer. Ever.

The majority of potential jurors in my informal poll were 1. teachers, 2. financial advisers, 3. retired people, 4. consultants, 5. the rest of the working world.

I'm glad that it's over.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Much Now?!

The house beside US President Barack Obama's personal residence in Chicago, Illinois is up for sale for $1.3 million dollars. It has 18 bedrooms and the best security in the world.
This is a picture of the street President Barack Obama lives on in Chicago.
That is one hell of a deal. $1.3 million buys you a nice fix-me-upper here in the beaches...

Jury Duty Take 2

So I was back at the court house for jury duty again this week. This being a shortened week due to the Easter long weekend, I had high hopes of making it to Friday without being picked for a jury.
Unlike last time, it started off promising yesterday morning. I managed to dodge a 5 week murder case due to vacation plans at the end of the month. Then yesterday afternoon, I was in another pool of potential jurors for a sexual assault trial. 80 people in my pool of about 100 were picked as potential jurors, I thankfully did not make the cut and was sent to the waiting lounge to wait until a jury had been selected, which didn't happened until this morning.
After some more waiting in the waiting room, we were released from the sexual assault case and sent back down to the jury pool room to await a new case.
Later in the morning my group was called again and we were sent up to another court room for jury selection on another case.
And that's when my luck ran out, I was selected as juror on a criminal case that will run until the end of next week.
So much for making it to Friday.
And the lesson to be learned from all of this?
There is no getting out of jury duty.
I guess this is what they call doing your civic duty...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sights of Spring

I saw some cool things on my ride the other day. Looks like the city saved a shit load on salt this year due to the mild winter. Normally all of this salt is gone come spring time. It looks like the city didn't use any.
Normally when you see ship without a front end its at the bottom of the lake. But this ship at the Cherry street lift bridge seems to be defying the odds.