Barbecued Swordfish & Garlic Shrimp

Whenever I travel to San Diego, I always visit this one restaurant on Coronado Island. It has a great streetside patio. Their swordfish dinner is excellent. Great taste and very filling.

I recently bought a big box of wild swordfish steaks and jumbo shrimp. I wanted to use my undeveloped domestic talents and put together a nice swordfish dinner. So here’s what it looked like. I barbecued mushrooms and cooked some asian rice with it as well, and weirdly, threw in some broccoli. I don’t know if I’ll win any presentation points, but at least it’s a very healthy dinner. First barbecue of the season.

This swordfish had a fishy taste which I love, a little like scallops which are my favourite seafood. Normally, it has a kind of sweet taste to it and it is very white. The trick is to make sure you don’t dry it out. These steaks were thin so it was a challenge. I used Teriyaki sauce which made it taste sumptuous!

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Spring is Finally Here!

Wow, what a beautiful weekend. I took some pics in my travels around the area. The sounds of wildlife I can’t capture in a pic but pretend you hear the birds twittering in the trees.

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This is the path I mountain bike through. It’s beautiful later in the spring and summer, and then again the fall colours.
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A home on the waterfront in Keswick.

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Visit to Historic Unionville

Touristy Unionville

Unionville is a very nice, upscale village within the city of Markham, Ontario.  It was the first warm, sunny day of spring up to 18 degrees. I decided to have a quick visit and I ended up staying longer than I expected. What a great way to relax and de-stress.

I like Unionville. It would be nice to live near the old downtown and be able to stroll over to the Starbucks in the morning. Unfortunately, this is one of most expensive communities to live in Metro Toronto.

The historic old downtown section of Unionville (1794)  is a small section of Main street just north of Highway 7. In the past, this downtown had a lot of shops, but the recession seems to have knocked some of them out of business. Today, tourists from Europe, Russia, and China gave it a buzz. Not real busy but it’s not summer yet. I didn’t sample any restaurants today, but there’s several nice ones here.

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The first shop I visited is a new sports memorabilia store (www.authenticcollectables.ca) managed by Sam Marasco. It was great talking to him about his business and his own background in social media marketing/sales. And he’s got some interesting collectable items such as 60’s Leaf championship framed photos. Lots of pics of Tie Domi, Wendall Clark, and other Leaf top stars.

There’s a pic of Tie Domi fighting another player, and both of them autographed the photo. Even fighters have fond memories of their battles!

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Old Firehall Confectionary

Down the street is the Old Firehall Candy Store, probably everyone’s favourite stop for about 4 years now.  Here’s a look at some of the goodies you can get here.

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I grabbed a coffee at the Unionville Starbucks. Wow, that’s the classiest Starbucks I’ve ever been in. The staff were very nice. I’m always impressed by friendly and helpful staff. There’s two levels of seating and an outdoor patio. I sat in the patio and Facebooked back and forth with my nephew in Florida. And sipped a coffee while all those Hong Kong people thronged around me.

There’s often wedding pictures taken at the Old Country Inn where they dress up in 19th century clothing.

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Across the street from the Unionville Starbucks is Jake’s on Main restaurant. The outdoor patio really gets busy.

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And you’ll see some jazzy cars along the way.

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Yes, I had a French Vanilla cone at Flavours Ice Cream Shop.flavours-unionville

I’m looking forward to going back for another visit.

Drag Racing — Ground Pounding Thunder

Remember those hot days in the summer when you were a kid and there was nothing to do? Ya, I know we dream about it all the time don’t we?  Oh, boredom was painful. No internet in those days.

Okay anyway, in my own youth, at 11 and 12 years old, I traveled down to Cayuga Speedway and Grand Bend Speedway in Southern Ontario with my brother David, who raced his car, a Chevy Beaumont ,  396 cubic inch engine, (He’d go out to Shanty Bay Road leading north out of Barrie. The car pulled a few Gs and I was pinned to my seat and sure we were going to die. The cops were always waiting to try and catch him. He knew instinctively how to avoid them but would get caught on occasion of course).

He used to audiotape his screeching burnouts on Shanty Bay Road, and then replay the audio in downtown Barrie to irritate the cops. It was loud and the cops couldn’t figure out what was happening.

They could hear the screeching tire sounds reverberating off the buildings in downtown Barrie, but couldn’t find the culprit. They would race around the downtown area and end up scratching their heads at where the culprit was. He hooked up loud speakers to his new tape machine which was very new technology for that time. He only had a grade 8 education, but he was a master at using technology to fool the cops. Lots of laughs back then.

Source:   Robert on Pinterest

 

He and his friend Jim McKnight would put some racing slicks on a trailer behind us and off we’d go.  If something happened and the engine blew up, well we’d have to find another way home.  While those two were busy getting the car prepared to race, I would wander off to check out the funny cars and top fuel dragsters.

Cayuga Dragway
Cayuga Dragway

The drags are a full sensory experience because you not only smell the burnt rubber and nitro fuel, and see the flames, you feel the vibration in your skeletal muscles. It’s pretty intense. If you haven’t been to the drags, it’s something you should experience. It’s a thrill.

2 cars are pitted against each other. There’s lots of suspense as they stage at the start line, and then there’s 5 seconds of terrifying, ground pounding thunder until the lights show the victor.

Back several decades ago, the top racers were Big Daddy Don Garlits, Tom Prudhomme and Shirley Muldowney. Yes, women were racing at the top, and Don Garlits was the King of drag racing.  I’d watch them prepping their cars until I got bored, and then I’d head down to the start of the racetrack.

5 years ago I was driving to Florida, passing through Ocala, with my sister and sister in-law. We had to pull off the highway and I managed to get lost. We were on this backroad, and the girls said okay you’re lost, pull in that next driveway and turn around. So I did. It was a big driveway with cars and garages and a big sign said “Big Daddy Don Garlits” Racing. That was weird. I wanted to go in and see if he was there, but women don’t like racing cars or racing drivers for that matter.

Always Get The Best View

fireburnoutBack to the past. I’d get a perfect view of the cars doing burnouts by going right down behind the starting line of the track. They do what are called burnouts in order to heat the tires up,to get them sticky so they wouldn’t spin at takeoff.

Sometimes they would throw bleach on the tires and the exhaust header’s heat would set that bleach on fire, and it would be a firey burnout like this picture at right. They do that to get the tires real sticky.  No fear, just part of what they did. They don’t do that anymore because it ruins the asphalt.

Often there would be rocket cars and jet cars, wheelstanders and drag bikes, and even jet powered go karts. Yes, buses, trucks and all sorts of crazy stuff.

Security wasn’t tight then so I would stand back about 150 feet and watch the afterburners glowing on the jet cars as they exploded down the track.  I was daring, but the rockets were a little scary though and I knew enough to stand a few feet off to the side just in case the things blew up. I was such a smart kid.

My late brother Richard was a talented artist and he would paint these cars. He put the flame graphics and striping and other graphics on hot rods from Canada and the US. He should have done that full time and become a big success in the hot rod painting business. But fate would not have it. The lesson is that we need to pursue our passions because we never when our time is up.

He was killed by a negligent trucker 10 years ago. And he loved drag racing and indy racing too. My nephew put some of his ashes at the track in Indianapolis. He was my inspiration for drawing. His first wife Mary Jane won her “powder puff” races. They were so condescending back in the old “Motown” days. The Detroit scene had a big influence on us then. We lived in Sarnia, right across the river from Michigan. They still have the car show in Port Huron. If you’re a hot rod and antique car buff, you should head over to Port Huron to see it.

Both the jets and nitro powered car pack 8000 HP and do 400+ mph in less than 4 seconds now. 4Gs of gravity. Wow!

Top Nitro Fuel Dragsters

2 Jet Cars

Top Fuel Dragsters are quicker than jet cars but the Jets put on quite a show. They’re all loud but the top fuel engine cars are the real drag racing lover’s preference.

 

California Vacation Guide – Eyewitness Travel

California is one of the most fascinating places to visit in the world, and it draws millions of tourists every year. If you’re planning a trip, you might want to see some DVDs or find a great travel book.

You’ll find plenty of books on California at the library or bookstore, but the best of them might be Eyewitness Travel’s California Guide. With over 600 pages packed with full colour pictures, hotel listings, tourist sites and detailed descriptions of California’s historic and cultural heritage, you’ll learn plenty about any locale in the Golden State. This book has quality construction as well with glossy paper. It is durable.

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The book has the whole of California divided into 12 regions. From surfing in San Diego to to visual explanations of the earthquakes along the San Andreas fault (I felt a 4.3 quake when I was there and that was scary enough), to Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley, Disneyworld, and Yosemite Park.

eyewitness-california-book

If you’re a history buff, you’ll like how much of the state’s colourful history is quickly explained and depicted pictures of artifacts. It’s a visual journey of California’s past and present. It’ll take you some time to read, but if you need something to relax with these long, hot summer months, it’s a great read. It’ll get you revved up for your next visit.

I must admit, I haven’t read even half of it, but my primary interest is San Diego and Yosemite Park.  It’ll take you many visits to see all of the incredible sights in California, but I can’t think of too many more compelling places in North America. (except the Rocky Mountains)

Retro Thursday — Gino Vannelli

Gino Vannelli was a popular singer and sex symbol star from Montreal who had a brilliant music career throughout the late 70’s and 80’s. Women loved him because of his sexy appearance with the big hair and the unique vocals and great song lyrics. You can see their delight in this video below.

He had plenty of big hits yet “It Hurts to be in Love” (1984) was perhaps his best song of the Black Cars album. I like a lot of his music.

Retro Thursday — Billy Idol – Man with the Whiplash Smile

If you’re under 30, you probably don’t know who Billy Idol is. He was huge star in the 80’s with big hits such as Rebel Yell, Mony Mony (played at Blue Jay games and almost every MLB stadium in the US), and Eyes without a Face. So, I had to let you know who he was.


Billy Idol
arrived near the end of the Punk Rock Era, but while Punk Rock (with the likes of Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols) was disrythmic and violent, Idol’s music more of the typical heavy metal guitar variety that was so popular from 1974 to 1984. He looks like a Punk rocker with a distinct shtick, but he was more civil and his musicians are clearly more talented.

You’ll see a lot of Elvis type gestures in his act.

His music was aggressive and his lead guitarist Steve Stevens was very talented, known for aggressive, dramatic riffs. The British invasion dancing’s a little weird but just listen to the music. It does get your blood pumping.

These videos were well played on MTV in the 80’s.

His biggest hit was Rebel Yell. I’ll let your imagination figure out what that is.

And, this song was my favorite: Daytime Drama. I really like the guitar riffs on this one and nice keyboards. Very slick and subtle for a guy known for loud and aggressive.

And third is Flesh for Fantasy which has some great guitar riffs and tight drum rolls that almost sound like they’re synthesized. Ha ha, I like how the girl with the nice leg is packing a knife in holster.