01 Apr

Random Thoughts – Rochester, Sean Avery’s Book, Endless Winter and More

1. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Rochester, GSNY and came away very impressed. For those of you who aren’t friends of mine on Facebook, check my album for a small sampling of the 700+ pictures I took on the day, many of which will be ending up on my road photos site.

Rochester reminded me very much of Minneapolis, a city I have a lingering fondness for, and those of you who have been there might also get that impression from seeing the pictures. Parking was oddly difficult there and once we found a parking garage that was not full, we had to drive up to the sixth level to find an empty space. I never knew downtown Rochester was such a hot spot.

Interestingly, though out-of-state plates are commonplace around Niagara Falls and Buffalo, I only spotted three such plates on the day and my tour guide’s van was the only one I saw from Ontario.

While there, I noticed Amtrak trains running in opposite directions and upon further investigation, I learned that the Maple Leaf line stops at both St. Catharines and Rochester as part of a daily run between the Center of the Universe and New York City. I have a feeling it is a train I might be on at some point in the future.

2. I recently finished reading Offside, a book written by Sean Avery, one of the NHL’s most obnoxious agitators of all time. Though there was no one better at what he did, he is a much better storyteller than a hockey player and I mean that very much as a professional compliment. But if you can read his book and still call yourself a fan of the NHL, let’s just say you’re a lot more tolerant of misbehaving players than I am. Long gone are the days when the players were just regular guys.

2a. I don’t fault Avery for this, but his publisher should be seriously embarrassed by the number of spelling errors the editors missed in that book.

3. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick of the winter that won’t end. And yes, I have become acclimatized to my new home. This would be a heat wave by Old Country standards, but I’m not in the Old Country anymore, something I remain very grateful for.

4. Speaking of the Old Country, tomorrow, Easter Monday, is a special day there that’s informally known as G.E.M. – Government Employees Monday. You see, that’s a day off for the government and public sector workers, a group that represents about 98% of the workforce in Manitoba. Here, only the privileged few get the day off, but there, it’s seriously embarrassing for those who have to suffer the indignity of going to work that day.

5. My “Make Speech Free Again” hat continues to draw positive attention on both sides of the river wherever I wear it, including from the future premier of Ontario. You can get yours at https://shop.gab.ai.

6. Does anyone miss Patrick Brown?

7. On the writing front, my first mystery entitled The Protector is currently with my editor. Here is the synopsis that I’ve got in mind for the back cover:

He had no choice. It had to be done.

Still, it grated on him as he sped down the dark, deserted highway back to the city. He didn’t want it to come to this. Lord knows he tried everything he could to avoid it.

They had become so close. Like brother and sister. Mentor to pupil.

He had done so much to help her over the years. He had practically become part of the family. She had hit rock bottom more than once and it was only his loving care and support that kept her going. But in the end, she had become another traitor to him. This was the thanks he got for all he had done for her and her daughter. Even at this point, with all the evidence he had, he still had a hard time believing she could turn on him this way. But there was no doubt. He had seen the proof with his own failing eyes.

Inspector Diane Wilson is summoned to lead a team to help locate a vulnerable senior who had gone missing. It soon turns into a murder case when her nearly unrecognizable body is found washed ashore along the sandy beaches of Lake Winnipeg in the sleepy cottage town of Gimli, Manitoba. As she digs deeper, she butts heads with a devious and diabolical adversary who targets anyone who stands in his way.

While my editor works on the mystery, I’m making some serious headway on my next book, a memoir of my fan experiences with the IceDogs tentatively entitled Tales from the Dog Pound: Chronicling the junior hockey fan experience. Some will like it. Others won’t. Among those in the latter category will be the IceDogs ushers, Meridian Center management and Brendan Perlini’s family.