Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hump Day: Winter’s a total blast… if you like icy blasts

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Where has January gone? Seems just like yesterday we were all sitting around making new year’s resolutions and trying to figure out how to ring in 2013!

I had a wonderful January, actually. Business was great – definitely back on track after many distractions in the first nine months of 2012. I was too busy to get the January blahs, I know that!

Earlier this week, on Monday, to be exact, I mentioned to someone that there was still some light in the sky at 6 p.m.! The days are getting longer, and it’s starting to show. I like that the days are getting longer. It makes the isolation of the cold and snow a lot easier to take.

And the cold? Wow! It hasn’t just been cold, it’s been C-O-L-D. I even saw Frosty the Snowman wearing a Snuggie the other day. Would you believe a penguin with a fur coat? How about an icicle wearing mittens? Now, that’s cold!

Last week during the worst night of the cold snap, my dog Milane turned into an acrobat while trying to do her ‘business’ outside. These days, she doesn’t stay out for long before she’s bounding up the front or back steps to enjoy the warmth of the sofa or her bed. But she’s still a dog and sometimes lingers around outside in the cold sniffing for far too long before she finds just the right spot. This, of course, means her paws get too cold before she finally decides to ‘powder her nose.’ I’m not even sure if that’s what the muchused euphemism for proper ladies using the bathroom means, but I’m pretty sure it does.

So, while she was ‘powdering her nose,’ her front paws stayed on the ground and one back paw came up in the air because it got too cold. I stood there watching in the bitter cold wind, not sure how such a little dog could stand it. And then she went into a full handstand (pawstand?) with her rear end completely in the air – while still trying to ‘powder her nose.’ It was funny and pitiful at the same time.

Needless to say, my white furry little Nadia Comaneci didn’t get a perfect 10 and ended up giving up her acrobatic feat since the laws of gravity weren’t in her favour. Since then, I’ve bought her some booties for the coldest days and will use them when needed. She wasn’t sure what to think of them when I put them on her after I bought them, but she adapted quite quickly. Let’s hope her handstand days are over!

The nice thing about the freezing weather is all that sun! That’s the trade-off in winter, eh? If it’s mild, it usually means it’s cloudy and we’re getting snow. If it’s nice and sunny and bright, it pretty much means it’s time to steal grandpa’s wooden leg right off him and throw it on the fire because it’s going to be a chilly one!

I keep the house at a bone-chilling temperature that would make most people reach for their parka, but even I’ve been cold in the past few weeks. I’ve found myself heading over to the thermostat more than once to crank up the heat. Some days, we just can’t stay warm no matter what we do!

And heaven help you if you fall asleep on the sofa while watching television without a blanket over you. You wake up freezing and pretty much need to crawl in a preheated oven alongside the roast that’s in there for supper and baste yourself until your tootsies are toasty once again.

I’ve never been one to travel, but I have to admit that even I’ve been looking at those cheap vacation websites, looking down at my credit card, and then looking back up at the screen and asking myself whether or not I should do it. Then I look back down at the credit card which has by now started shaking and crying mascara-stained tears and whispering, ‘Please God, no!’ Then, I come to my senses again. Within five minutes, I’d wonder what the heck I was doing down south anyway and would only end up staying inside and enjoying the air conditioning. No, I’d best spend my travel money – if I ever decide to start travelling – on something that has a more temperate climate. Tropical isn’t a word that describes my preferred vacation destination.

What’s nice about these long days of winter, though, is the artwork being made on the windows by Jack Frost. Some of it is quite spectacular, I must say! That little dude may be a bit on the strange side, but he sure can draw! The windows these days are great to photograph if you have a good camera. Icicles hanging off the eaves of the house can also be interesting photography subjects. I’ve photographed some really interesting icicle patterns hanging off the eave just outside my bedroom window.

I feel for those who have to work outside at this time of the year. It must be brutal! If it’s nice and sunny, then it’s bitterly cold. If it’s mild, then the snow is melting and a person gets soaking wet. And by mild, I mean slightly above zero, so it’s still cold.

And, needless to say, there’s all that snow. We’ve been pretty lucky this January, but we could still be in for a wallop from Mother Nature! Don’t let your guard down and start predicting an early spring just yet. Winter is what winter is . . . but take solace in the fact that it’s already late January and we’re starting to see some very early signs that spring is marching toward us slowly but surely!

Moncton’s Cy’s Seafood Restaurant vintage recipe book sure to bring back memories

Cy's Seafood Restaurant - InsideThose of you who either grew up in Moncton or visited Moncton on a regular basis probably remember the old Cy’s Seafood Restaurant which existed on the site of the current Château Moncton.

Enjoy this Cy’s recipe book from the 1960s / 1970s era. They are all tried and true and are credited to Chef John Speranza.

Recipes include:

  • Lobster newburg
  • Stuffed oysters
  • Baked stuffed shrimp
  • Spaghetti carbonara
  • Meat sauce
  • Broiled lobster (Not a big fan of splitting a live lobster in half, so feel free to try a more humane technique.)
  • Barbeque spareribs
  • Manicotti
  • Chicken cacciatore and noodles
  • Seafood casserole
  • Spaghetti alle vangale
  • Lasagne
  • Shrimp newburg
  • Oyster fiorentina
  • Minestrone soup
  • Pear parfait

There was no copyright information in the recipe book, so I consider this to be in the public domain. It was likely used as a promotional item many years ago. Click on each photo for a larger version. (Editor’s note: For a PDF version of the book, click here.)

Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes cover
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes cover
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 1
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 1
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 2
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 2
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 3
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 3
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 4
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 4
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 5
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 5
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 6
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 6
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 7
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 7
Cy's Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes - Page 8
Cy’s Seafood Restaurant Old Favorite Recipes – Page 8

Social Media Matters: Maritime baby announcement video goes viral

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013
Metro section

Maritime baby announcement video goes viral

Nova Scotia grandmother-to-be Shirley Brown is the unintentional star of her own viral video on YouTube.

This past Christmas, her daughter Jocelyn (the mother-to-be) recorded Shirley opening her gift. The plan was to get her to open four lettered wooden blocks to spell B-A-B-Y. Well, grandmothers have pretty good intuition about these things, I guess!

The minute Shirley opened the first block (a “B”), her jaw dropped open and she tossed the block in the air, screaming, “We’re having a baby! Are we having a baby?” Upon confirmation, more screaming and then tears… lots of them!

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, Jan. 17, and went viral, so far accumulating more than 135,000 views (as of Jan. 22.). In fact, the video was featured on CTV News, CTV’s Canada AM and even NBC’s Today Show.

New Brunswick-created photography iPad app now available

Photography Assignment GeneratorIn my Nov. 9, 2012, column, I told you about photographer and educator Noel Chenier’s new Photography Assignment Generator App for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Good news for iPad fans, Noel announced on Jan. 13 that the iPad version of the app has been released under the title Photography Assignment Generator App for iPad. The app costs $2.99 and is available on iTunes. For more information, visit Noel’s website at learnphoto.ca. Oh, and Android fans shouldn’t fret because versions of the apps for them are currently under development.

It’s great to see New Brunswickers designing apps for the rest of the world!

Train buffs will love these websites

Start planning for spring: Every week, I take a look at the top 10 sites in categories among Alexa.com’s website rankings. Moncton has a long railroad history, so I imagine there are many train fans around the area. This week’s rankings, therefore, have to do with trains! Statistics are current to Jan. 22.

Top 10 train and railroad websites: 1) Train Orders (railroad fan site featuring discussion forums, multimedia clips, etc.); 2) Railpictures.net (historical and modern railroad photos, discussion forums, etc.); 3) Railroad Picture Archives (large collection of railroad photos from around the world); 4) Railroad.net (forums, articles, etc., for rail fans); 5) TrainBoard (rail fan message forums, photos, store, etc.); 6) The American Railroads (resource guide covering the American railroad industry); 7) Rail-Videos.net (online railroad video database); 8) Amtrak Unlimited (unofficial information, photos and news related to Amtrak); 9) Discover Live Steam (live steam and diesel model railroading); 10) The Corris Railway Society (according to its description on Alexa.com, “Official site of the Corris Railway Society giving the history, current position and future aspirations of a Narrow Gauge Steam Railway that last saw passenger carrying services on Aug. 20, 1948.”

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to Jan. 22. Have a favourite YouTube channel? Let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Cello, Improv, Covers and more! (897 subscribers): This is a great YouTube channel hosted by 18-year-old Jaeyoung Chong of Riverview. A Grade 12 student at Bernice MacNaughton High School, he creates videos featuring himself playing the cello in pieces ranging from covers, improvisations and even original compositions. With nearly 150,000 total video views, people are definitely watching! Thanks for letting me know you had a channel, Jaeyoung! I really enjoy featuring local YouTubers. (Most popular video: Rolling in The Deep (JaeChongcover) — Adele — 62,389 views.)

2) UKSupremeCourt (229 subscribers): It’s pretty difficult to find televised Canadian court proceedings, but the UK Supreme Court is allowing access with its recently established YouTube channel. “The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance,” the channel states in its description. Bizarrely, though, the channel allows embedding of its videos and shows public links but then posts the following warning, “All footage is ©UK Supreme Court and may not be recorded, published or redistributed without permission.” With all due respect, the Court needs realize that if you allow video embedding and linking, policing that “warning” will be pretty much impossible. It’s YouTube. It’s public. Either deal with it or reconsider even being on YouTube! (Most popular video: UK Supreme Court Judgments 19th December 2012 – Part 1 — 93 views.) (Editor’s note: Out of respect for the copyright notice, I’ll simply link to the video rather than embed it, however it’s a completely ridiculous “warning”, in my opinion.)

3) Kipkays Hacks, Pranks & How-to (1,224,543 subscribers): Also known as Kip Kedersha, Kipkay’s channel is true to its title and features hacks, pranks and how-to videos. The channel is very popular and has more than 380 million total views. Impressive! Playlists include Easy Projects, Smokin’ Videos, Home Security Gadgets, Hacks and Mods, Pranks and Jokes, Battery Hacks, and Laser Videos. (Most popular video: Amazing Lasers! – Cheapy Lighter Laser Burner! — 20,778,690.)

Hump Day: Eclectic tastes soothe savage music fan

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

With Christmas over, I’m having quite a dilemma. I’m not sure what kind of music to listen to anymore while I work. I know, eh? Stop the presses. Get the pope out of his stained glass window-making class! Interrupt Queen Elizabeth while she works on her list of who’s getting beheaded this week! This is more important!

I work from home — and usually in silence except for the odd hisses and growls from of the multiple daily wrestling matches between the two cats or the ultra-annoying sound of the dog scraping her teeth across a bone that she’ll chew until she’s literally exhausted herself. Fingernails on a chalkboard have nothing on the sound of that little dog’s chops grating incessantly on the skeletal remains of what was once a very nice cow, I’m sure.

My beloved classical Christmas choral music no longer appeals to me. Quite frankly, I need a break for several months. If I hear that kid whining about not having any gifts for Baby Jesus except for the ability to play his drum again, I’m going to break his drumsticks over his head and send him packing along with Alvin the chipmunk and his hula hoop for a long walk on a short pier. And Frosty the Snowman? If I see him walking down the street, I’m going to invite him inside for a glass of ice water and then block all the exits as I corner him and point a hair dryer at him. Pray for a power outage, Frosty!

Yeah, I never thought I’d admit it, but it’s time to move on from Christmas music, at least until August. Don’t judge me! As the character Sheldon Cooper often says on the hit CBS sitcom Big Bang Theory, “I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested!”

I find it difficult to listen to current pop music while I’m working because it’s too distracting and frenetic. It’s always nice to have something soothing in the background, but I’d rather work in silence than listen to something that annoys me. Long gone are the days when I was a kid and could only do my homework in front of a blaring TV and a chattering family around me. And just for the record, I did pretty well in school despite it.

When my brother and sister and I were kids, our parents didn’t hush everything down to lullaby tones when we went to bed. The television stayed just as loud, and they didn’t lower their voices, either. This pretty much meant we could sleep through anything. When I went to university and stayed in residence for my first three years, it was also pretty noisy at times. You get used to it.

Heck, I remember very clearly once when my parents put the television volume down after I was in bed. It was very quiet. Too quiet, actually. I broke the silence and yelled from my bed, “Mom-m-m-m-m? Can you put the television up?” She did, and I slept like a baby within five minutes. Like I said — no worries, my mother had me tested.

Eventually, I got my own apartment and got used to it being quiet. “So this is what going to bed in silence feels like. Ooooh… I like it.” These days, I can’t sleep without earplugs lodged halfway into my brain. Makes for interesting efforts with the clock radio trying to wake me up in the morning because it’s so loud it could wake the dead. When I take out the earplugs and hear the actual volume of the radio in the morning, I’m actually quite horrified at myself.

Earplugs, television,can’t sleep… where was I? Oh yeah, music. Got off on a bit of a tangent there.,Anyway, so I’m trying to figure out what music to listen to. Most of the time, I listen to AccuRadio (www.accuradio.com), a free online music service with literally dozens of channels for every genre of music, from country to rock, classical, jazz, new age, pop and everything in between, even year-round Christmas music.

Sometimes, I’ll turn on the smooth jazz channel. It’s kind of funky. I like it for a bit until I get sick of it. Classical is good background music to work to, I find, as well. I can choose composer-specific channels (Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, etc.), time periods (baroque, renaissance, etc.) and even instrument-specific, such as piano and even oboe! You want to listen to classical music featuring the oboe all day? They have it!

I do have a soft spot for good old country twang, though. Hank Snow, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Roy Acuff, Buck Owens and all that gang. I also love country music from the late 1960s and 1970s from the likes of Bobby Bare, Charley Pride, Charlie Rich, Bill Anderson, Glen Campbell and Marty Robbins.

Even the sad songs from that era make me smile — well, except for Dolly Parton’s. Have you ever heard Me and Little Andy and Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark? Those songs could make a stone burst into tears. I remember hearing her tell a story once about Me and Little Andy and about how she stopped performing it at concerts because it made the audience members cry too hard — especially the men!

Just harkening back to that good old country music puts me in a good mood. Charlie Rich’s The Most Beautiful Girl — is there a better country song than that? Perhaps there is — Buck Owens’s Act Naturally. Or maybe Bill Anderson’s Still? How about Patsy Cline’s I Fall to Pieces or Crazy? Or maybe Bobby Bare’s heartbreaking Sylvia’s Mother about a young man and his true love’s mother who keeps them apart.

Yeah, so I think I’ll do the country twang and 1970s country thing for a bit. Great stories. Great memories. Great artists. Great musicianship. And, most importantly, songs I can actually understand the lyrics to. That seems to be a rarity these days.

Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada to stage Romeo and Juliet in collaboration with TNB

Poster for Romeo and Juliet performance in Moncton. Click for larger version.
Poster for Romeo and Juliet performance in Moncton. Click photo for larger version.

MONCTON, N.B. – For the first time ever, the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada and Theatre New Brunswick (TNB), the province’s two largest performing arts organizations, are collaborating on a production that is sure to entertain and impress audiences with the staging of Shakespeare’s cherished love story of Romeo and Juliet.

The production will combine ballet and the spoken word, a unique combination that is very exciting for both companies. Romeo and Juliet will be performed on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, and on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at The Fredericton Playhouse in Fredericton.

Caleb Marshall, TNB’s Artistic Producer, will be in residence working with Atlantic Ballet Theater’s Artistic Director Igor Dobrovolskiy beginning Friday, Jan. 18, and for the two weeks leading up to opening night in Moncton. Part of this special production will include four actors who will be the voice of Shakespeare and provide a voice for the performance as it is set to dance.

R&J Fredericton
Poster for Romeo and Juliet performance in Fredericton. Click photo for larger version.

As always, Atlantic Ballet Theatre dancers will bring brilliant technique and transforming characterization to the stage. Dancing the lead roles in Romeo and Juliet will be Leigh Alderson as Romeo and Janie Richard as Juliet.

TNB’s acting company will include Cory O’Brien, who has performed at the prestigious Stratford Festival on a number of occasions; Ryan Field, an actor who has appeared in film, TV and also on stage at the Stratford Festival; and New Brunswick natives Martha Farrell (TNB’s The Gifts of the Magi, The Graduate, various Stratford Festival productions) and Wayne Best (TNB’s The Affections of May, various Stratford Festival productions, TV and film roles). This marks the second time that Marshall, Best and Farrell have worked together on Romeo and Juliet. They were part of the 2002 cast at the Stratford Festival.

Other credits include: choreography – Igor Dobrovolskiy; adaptor and text coach (Artistic Producer of TNB creative collaborator) – Caleb Marshall; music – P.I. Tchaikovsky, J.S. Bach; costume design – Igor Dobrovolskiy, Norma Lachance; costume production – It’s a Stitch.

Set on Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture “Romeo and Juliet” and Symphony No. 4 in F Minor – Andante sostenuto, the ballet creates a world of caprice and uncertainty. Young lovers, face the consequences of feeling too deeply in a world where there is no clemency for breaking rules.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be working with TNB on this ground-breaking production of the world’s most famous story about doomed young lovers,” said Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, CEO of the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada. “We are very excited to be working on something so artistically unique. We really believe that audiences will be enthralled and entertained.”

“At Theatre New Brunswick we always look for ways to challenge ourselves and our audiences through our own programming and through new partnerships,” said Caleb Marshall, TNB’s Artistic Producer. “Working with Atlantic Ballet Theatre on Romeo and Juliet will be one of our most innovative collaborations. By bringing together text and movement, theatre and ballet, we hope audiences will develop a whole new appreciation for this iconic drama, while broadening their perception of what the performing arts can be.”

Tickets

Thursday, Jan. 31, in Moncton: Tickets available at the Capitol Theatre box office, 811 Main Street, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. until show time at 7:30 p.m. Also available online at www.capitol.nb.ca and by telephone at 506-856-4379.

Saturday, Feb. 2, in Fredericton: Tickets available at The Fredericton Playhouse box office, 686 Queen Street, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Feb. 2 from 3:30 p.m. until show time at 7:30 p.m. Also available online at www.theplayhouse.ca and by telephone at 506-458-8344.

About Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada

Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada is a neo-classical ballet company dedicated to performing original works by choreographer Igor Dobrovolskiy, also Artistic Director at Atlantic Ballet Theatre. Founded in 2001 by Mr. Dobrovolskiy and CEO Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, the company pursues a continuous creative process through collaboration with like-minded artists attracted by the vision and artistic philosophy of its Artistic Director. The company has performed throughout Canada, as well as in the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, France and Germany. For more information on the company, visit their website at www.atlanticballet.ca.

About Theatre New Brunswick

Theatre New Brunswick (TNB) is one of Canada’s oldest and longest running regional theatre companies. TNB’s mission is to create extraordinary theatre that inspires and entertains audiences while celebrating New Brunswick’s best theatre content and artists; and to provide outstanding theatre training and performance that educates and awakens the imaginations of New Brunswick’s youth and emerging artists. For more information on the company, visit their website at www.tnb.nb.ca.

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Media contact:
Louis-Philippe Dionne
Operations and Community Relations Manager
Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada
(506) 383-5951 ext. 102
louis@atlanticballet.ca
www.atlanticballet.ca