The Adventures of a Shutterbug

The Dawn of Digital

I’ve always loved taking photos. I took one course in high school and one in college, and enjoyed snapping away. However, I despised developing in claustrophobia-inducing darkrooms. Fortunately, digital has put an end to all that. I’ve also received an injection of new motivation recently. I was fortunate enough to get an iPhone 6 for Christmas. Now, I have an easy-to-carry lens with me wherever I go and no excuse not to take photos.

My Photo Made It To The Finals

Back in August, I went to Cultus Lake Adventure Park and took this photo:

Cultus Lake photo

It’s one of the many rides I went on that day. I even braved the roller coaster for what may have been the first and last time. The amusement park is a photographer’s dream, as there is an array of colours, lights, and the interesting juxtaposition of man-made whirling machines and the serene natural surroundings.

As I mentioned in my last post, my photo made the finals in the Cultus Lake Adventure Park contest. It garnered some very kind votes from friends, family, coworkers, and strangers, but lost out to a photo of a cute child. My niece and/or nephew will have to star in some future photo contest entries!

The Woman in the Window

Film Noir Fascinates

In luscious black-and-white, the screen flickers. It takes us back to a world filled with crimes, intrigues, and elegant men and women with dark pasts. Film Noir. I’m a die hard fan and have been for years. Thus, I was delighted to win tickets to the screening of my choice during The Cinematheque‘s recent Film Noir series. I chose The Woman in the Window. It’s not as well-known as some other Noir classics, but I had to see it.

Edward G. Robinson, More Than a Gangster

The primary reason was the lead actor, Edward G. Robinson. I feel about Robinson the way many people felt about Lady Gaga after she sang The Sound of Music classic at The Oscars. Why, exactly, had this woman with a fantastic voice been wasting her time singing songs like “Poker Face” all these years? Robinson played so many gangster roles throughout his career that it’s easy to think his abilities as an actor were limited to these parts. A few performances, however, showed audiences that he was capable of so much more.

The Woman in the Window was one of the films that demonstrated his ability to convey pathos, inner turmoil, and utter despair. Yet, he displayed a subtle, restrained sense of humour at other points in this movie, as well. He goes from being a rather staid, middle-aged professor to a man bewitched by beauty. He becomes capable of acts that we, the audience, couldn’t have conceived of him doing moments earlier.

Two Endings

I would encourage all of you to seek out this film, if not for Robinson’s performance, but for the ending. I’m not one for giving away key plot points, but let’s just say there are two endings to this film. The first is the real ending. The ending that the film would have had if it were made today. Instead, it concludes with the censors’ ending. Even in Film Noir, bad guys don’t get off scot-free and bad deeds don’t go unpunished. The world was always portrayed as a generally good place, even while World War II was raging.

Well, this latest win brings my total to $225 for 2015. Look for my next installment when I describe the experience as a finalist in a photo contest.

Okanagan Spring Brewmaster’s Dinner, Part One

Delectable Delights

I love food. I especially love free food. Perhaps now you can guess my motivation for entering Miss 604‘s contest to win two tickets to the Okanagan Spring Brewmaster’s Dinner at Mamie Taylor’s. I was delighted when I won this prize, however there was a problem. I don’t drink beer. Many times I’ve tried to cultivate a love for Canada’s national beverage, but I have failed. However, I have somewhat redeemed myself by marrying a devotee of the brew. Thus, this is the first of two blog posts on our Thursday evening experience. If you love food, be prepared to revel in my very detailed descriptions of the delectable four courses we enjoyed. If you’re here for the beer, wait for part two, when some on-the-spot reviews on the five beers Ryan tasted that evening will be presented.

Mamie Taylor’s

Dinner at Mamie Taylor's
Dinner at Mamie Taylor’s

This was our first time at Mamie Taylor’s. The atmosphere is warm and the long tables lent themselves well to conversing with our dining companions. I’m not a fan of taxidermy, but I did like the rather whimsical wallpaper of animal targets on the bathroom wall. Vegetarians, however, would be less amused I’m sure. Mind you, Norman Bates would feel right at home.

The First Course

Tuna smokie
The Tuna Smokie

Our first course was a tuna smokie, garnished with fennelkraut and dijonaise. I could never have imagined how flavourful and moist tuna could be. In fact, I never even knew such a thing as a tuna smokie existed. Our table mates also seemed equally amazed and delighted by this passed canapé. I have to give the bun its due as well. So many times I’ve enjoyed the meat of a burger only to have been let down by the bread. This bun was a worthy home for the delectable tuna vessel it housed. Overall, a very impressive start to the meal.

Rock Fish
Rock Fish

The appetizer (also pictured above) that followed was cornmeal fried rock fish with cajun spices, orange, fennel, parsley, and old bay aioli. I can’t remember if I’ve ever had rock fish before, but I found the taste light and somewhat similar to sole. What made the dish special was the crispy cornmeal and the refreshing slaw that accompanied it. I’m not sure I would seek out rock fish for its own sake though, it didn’t have the depth of flavour that I so enjoy in other white fish.

The Entree

Do I have your attention?! Look at the beautifully presented, scrumptious offerings above! The main course was slow roasted porchetta accompanied by roasted apples, polenta, and an olive and herb puree.

Porchetta
Porchetta

The crackling on the porchetta was like the most perfectly crisp bacon that melted in your mouth. Yes, it was rich. But no, I regret nothing! Diabetes, high blood pressure, muffin top, come what may, this was worth every calorie. The polenta was an incredible standout as well, especially given that I have been rather meh on polenta in the past. Again, oh so crispy, and excellently paired with the puree.

The Dessert
Brown Sugar Cake
Brown Sugar Cake

Finally, we arrived at dessert. I was well and truly sated before it arrived, but I was powerless to say ‘no’ once I saw this brown sugar cake. Alongside it was custard made with Okanagan Spring Porter. It had all the depth of flavour of a sticky toffee pudding, but the custard kicked it up a notch by bring beer notes to the party.

Now, having realized I have devoted well over 500 words to describing this meal to you, I strongly recommend that you put Mamie Taylor’s on your must-visit list. Chef Tobias Grignon knows how to put on a culinary show and I for one can’t wait to return for another delectable performance.

Contest note

This is my fourth win of the year, so I’m almost on track with my one-win-a-month goal. This prize, which I thank Miss 604 sincerely for winning, was worth approximately $100, making my total winnings to date approximately $203.