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Really, it wasn’t one of those “wow.. that was quite the Gong Show” sort of events. It was a fundraiser for Interfit Integrated Fitness Society. It’s an event that I not only attended last year, but will likely become known as a ‘regular’ at in the future. This years’ event was themed as a ‘Gong Show’, with lots of entertainers attempting to upstage one another in front of a panel of judges, with mallet ready to strike the gong.  There were the good, the bad and the ugly, and the utterly breathtaking, rocking and hypnotizing. It was sheer entertainment.

Silent Auction Table

My friend Rina from LiddleWorks came with me,  and we bought a glass of wine and began making our way along the super long table sporting all of the donated items that were up for silent auction. There were a huge variety  of items ranging from vacation get-a-ways, original art, jewelry, sports accessories, and of course there was my very own contribution, Cairns Technical Gear (aka. buggy bag, story to follow) Wheelchair Blanket,… oh, and not to forget the huge beanbag cushion. Lots of cool stuff. We bid on many items and then staked out a seat on the groovy low white leather ottomans  in the centre of the room. All the couch seats were already gone, or we would have been there.

Rina and me

Looks like I’m making some wise-crack out of the corner of my mouth….

All the volunteers at the event were dressed in 70’s outfits, some of which were just stellar.

Gong Show MC

We were also entertained by a very handsome man who kept bringing little yummy bits over for us to sample.

Yummy.... um... hors d'œuvres...

One of the entertainers that really stick out in my mind was a very young guitar player that played so beautifully, in the realm of Steve Vai…  wow… he’s going to be even more amazing when he gets older. And the best part of his act was the fact that he was sporting the long, free-flowing hair of the 80’s rocker… totally fit into the gong-show theme.

Here’s a picture I took of Interfit founder Brian Bell.

Brian Bell

Last year I promised myself that I would take my good camera with me, but, I forgot, so you get my iPhone pics instead. Maybe next year I’ll remember.

 

 

 

 

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This friend, I hadn’t seen in 23 years. I lived in Kingston, Ontario in a past life. This other life, the one that ended 23 years ago, when I loaded my stereo, speakers and albums into the back of my Ford Ranger. I would have brought other things, if there had been room, but, what can I say? Music took priority. Still does today, but, now my stereo would fit into carry-on luggage.

I always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for Don, so when he told me he was coming out to Vancouver with a band that he does sound for, I was a bit anxious and a lot curious. We had dinner plans for the night of his arrival which ended up being just in time for dinner, since they were stuck on the runway in Toronto for 5 hours. It was really great to see Don. After so many years, it was oddly comforting to see him… we had not changed at all… well, we both look 23 years older, but, the rest was the same. We enjoyed a long, relaxing dinner at the Keg, with much, much catching up.

The next day at 1pm, was the Pacific Contact time slot the band had come to Vancouver to appear in. I was excited to see the Abrams Brothers do their thing, and I was not to be disappointed. James on fiddle, John on guitar and Elijah on bass. They performed 3 songs with an amazing level of energy and showmanship.

Don and I sat and watched Flying Bob while the guys got their gear packed up, and then we left and I had the honour of not only meeting the band but loading them all into the back seat of my 2-door Honda Accord … with all their instruments. It was a tight ride back to the hotel, where they went and changed and put their belongings into lock-up for the rest of the day. We loaded back into the car, and I was immediately transformed into ‘Tour Guide Slightly Extraordinaire’.

Out Kingsway to Main and then through the downtown East side, through Gas Town and then around Stanley Park. Stopped at the Totem Poles and a super BIG tree. Then, around the park again, since I missed the exit onto the bridge…back around and onto the Lions Gate Bridge, where John did some ‘through the roof’ Vlogging…. U-Turn…. back over the bridge to Denman Street. We parked there and walked to English Bay, where I took this picture of The Band.

 

James, John and Elijah and a bunch of laughing guys

 

We then headed SouthEast and took a spin down Granville, or at least as much of Granville as we were allowed to drive on. We were all really hungry by that time so we headed back to my place for a bit and to pick up my daughter to join us for dinner. Now we had a small challenge… I had to take everyone over to the restaurant in two car loads because it was starting to pour rain, and  we didn’t want to get soaked walking over.

We ate a wonderful burger dinner at Burgers Etc. on Hastings Street, compliments of the boys in the band, then headed back to my place to look at a few photos from 1985 of Don and myself, and  had a few laughs at our expense.

Here we are now… I was going to put a couple of the ’84 shots in but, I couldn’t get my incompetent HP scanner to scan the shots… note to self: never purchase another HP product… EVER!

 

...surrounded by laughing guys...

I then drove the guys back to the Hilton in Metrotown, where we said out goodbyes. It was a really fun weekend and a wonderful visit with an old friend and some new ones. Miss you guys already… hope you picked up some BC gigs while you were here! See you again soon.

 

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m listening to my favourite Canadian Singer/Songwriter, Bob Rylett. His music makes me feel happy and soft.  I’ve started four different blogs in the last two months and haven’t finished any of them so, I’m starting a fifth right now, only I have to have it complete 20 minutes from now so I still have time to play my guitar before going out to meet my friend Rina for dinner.

Last night I made a dinner for my friend Kai and myself. She actually does a food blog, so, she’s a bit of a ‘foodie’. The meal turned out so well that I wanted to write it down for you to try, and for me to remember what I did!

This is something that I just made up from a bunch of different recipes I had looked at. It’s kinda like my own version of a ciopinno, but, I’m pretty sure I broke a whole bunch of rules. Doesn’t really matter because it was absolutely, mouthwateringly, amazing!

INGREDIENTS

1 bag frozen Mussels (Costco)

1/2 bag frozen Scallops (Costco)

1/2 bag frozen Prawns (Costco)

1 full chicken breast (local meat market)

6 skinny hot Italian sausages (local meat market)

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

1/2 bottle of white wine (something cheap, I used Fuzion)

1 large red pepper

1 fennel bulb

2 celery stalks

3 shallots

6 cloves garlic

1″ piece of ginger

3 tsp hot chilli sauce

1 tbsp oregano

1 bunch of cilantro (coarsely chopped)

First sear the chicken breasts in the coconut oil. Don’t cook them too long just get the outside browned and then pull them out and slice them into small pieces and put aside.

Put the sausages into the same pan and cook them, then pull them out cut into 1/2″ pieces and set aside.

Finely chop the Celery, Fennel Bulb, Red Pepper and set aside.

Finely chop the Shallots, Garlic and Ginger, saute them in the butter, just until they are soft. I used a great big huge Wok for this. Add the tomatoes, and coconut milk and wine and get it bubbling, then you just start introducing the other stuff in this order: Chicken, Sausage, Fennel, Celery, Red Pepper, Chilli Sauce, Oregano. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, then introduce the Mussels, Scallops and Prawns. When the Prawns are cooked, throw the Cilantro on to and serve it up!

Leslie's Seafood Soup

Hope you enjoy this! Any questions…. feel free to ask!

Leslie

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