Quarantine Post #25: Travel Destinations Bucket List (Canada Edition)

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Travel will always be something I want to do. In this case, Leah bought it up in passing and this is something I look forward to as soon as the border opens up. Leah has been to Toronto before but for some reason or another I so what to see that city. (Poor Leah.) She did say that she wanted to visit the PNW (Pacific Northwest.) So as is the way when she and I travel, we talked about hitting up both places in 2 separate trips. The world is our oyster and all that.

Leah and I have traveled together for hockey with the Black Girl Hockey Club. (If you haven’t read that post, please be sure to do so. Some of the most fun I have ever had.) I remember being in Pittsburgh earlier this year and Leah saying to me “We have to see a hockey game in Canada. You know, something that neither of our teams is in. Because we don’t need that type of stress.” She was right. (Don’t tell her that. She will be unbearable.) I am not sure that I would have had Canada on my list at all but the possibilities (Niagara Falls) are endless. Now of course, Leah and I do not care what hockey games we take in. I will leave that to Leah. She’s good at that. We have not yet decided how long we are going to be there. I say a week… maybe 2… Just kidding Leah hahaha.

Such a beautiful picture.

I wonder if Leah will allow me to drag her around Toronto. (She is usually pretty pliable if I supply her with enough coffee.) But I wonder how long she will allow me to drag her all over Toronto. As I do… I have a list.

  • Niagara Falls – (From Toronto: Niagara Falls Day Tour with Boat Cruise) Travel along the scenic Niagara Parkway, stopping at the Floral Clock, Whirlpool Spanish Aero Car, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and a local winery. Get up close to the Horseshoe Falls on a Hornblower boat cruise “Voyage to the Falls”.
  • Gaze at the Stanley Cup – I mean it is a no brainer. The Hockey Hall of Fame is a museum that is dedicated to the history of hockey. It is also displays the Stanley Cup, which sits in its Great Hall. The Hockey Hall of Fame consists of 15 exhibits that display trophies and other hockey memorabilia. There is also a 125-seat 3D theatre that shows documentary films.



  • Visit animals/ Toronto Zoo – I love animals. I have a soft spot for zoos. Leah will understand. The Toronto Zoo is a world-class zoo that happens to be one of the best in North America. It features both indoor and outdoor displays and is divided into several different zones. Most people find it impossible to explore the entire zoo in one visit, as it is massive and has so much to see. There are over 5,000 animals living here in their natural environment. I still think Leah and I could do it.

  • Stare at marine life – Did I mention that I loved animals…? I love a good aquarium. Toronto is home to one of three aquariums that is owned by Ripley Entertainment. The downtown Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada exhibits around 13,500 exotic marine life in its 5.7 million gallons of water. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is separated into nine galleries, all of which feature a specific area or species. The Rainbow Reef is one of the more popular ones, probably because of its interactive dive show.
  • Surround yourself with history – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the best museums in North America and the best place in Toronto to engulf in history. Plus, it is easy to find, as there is a metro stopped named Museum. The ROM has a collection of over six million artifacts, many of which are displayed in its 40 separate galleries. Some galleries are based on natural history, while others are from around the world. In addition to having art and artifacts, the museum also has an extensive collection of dinosaur bones, minerals, and fine arts and design items, particularly from the Art Deco period. It also has a kids’ learning zone and a shop.
  • Shop for Delicious Foods at St. Lawrence Market – The city’s largest market is a definite must-do on any trip to Toronto and was even voted best food market in the world by National Geographic. The South Market is home to over 120 specialty food vendors selling everything from fresh produce and baked goods, to prepared foods, dairy, meat, and seafood. Saturdays in the summer you’ll find a bustling farmers’ market at the North Building.
  • Stroll Through Allan Gardens Conservatory – The conservatory is open 365 days of the year and always free to enter. Some highlights include the two tropical houses filled with a variety of orchids, bromeliads and begonia and the Palm House filled with a variety of palms, bananas, and tropical vines.
  • Head to the Toronto Islands – Escape the city via ferry with a trip to the Toronto Islands. Whether you bring your bike (which you can take on the ferry) and explore on two wheels, relax by the water, hang out on the beach, have a picnic, or take the family to Centreville on Centre Island to check out the rides, there’s always something fun to do.

  • Visit Casa Loma – There’s a castle right in the middle of Toronto. The former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma is one of the city’s most unique attractions and houses decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful five-acre estate gardens. There are usually events here throughout the year both at the castle and on the castle grounds.
  • Try EdgeWalk –  This adventure is the first of its kind in North America and has you doing a hands-free walk around the main pod of the tower, 116 stories above the ground. (https://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/plan-your-visit/attractions/edgewalk/edgewalk-overview.html)
  • Take in the Views From the CN Tower – High-speed elevators whisk visitors to the top in just 58 seconds.

So I mentioned above that one of the legs of our trip was going to be the PNW. More specifically Vancouver. I can just imagine how much fun this is going to be. Vancouver is apparently Canada’s ethnically diverse cities. it’s surrounded by mountains, and also has thriving art, theater and music scenes. Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life. What’s not to like? I have to get there.

I am loving the city, at least at a bird’s eye view.
Great mountains in the background.

So as I do, I have made a list of the great things Leah and I could (will be) doing. We have to figure out what to squeeze in around the hockey game we go to. I am super excited just thinking about it.

  • Cycle Around Stanley Park – Vancouver’s Stanley Park managed to elbow out the likes of New York’s Central Park, the Luxeumbourg Gardens in Paris and Chicago’s Millennium Park to be named the World’s Best Park by Trip Advisor. 
  • Dim Sum in China Town – Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the oldest in Canada and the largest. Perched on the edge of the Downtown Financial District and Gastown, Chinatown offers up an array of funky shops, inexpensive markets, and of course, the best Dim Sum restaurants in town. Sunday is the busiest day for Dim Sum, but also the best with multi-generational families sitting down and chatting about the week’s events.
  • Find Your Zen – Chinatown is home to one of Canada’s most impressive Chinese gardens, Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Constructed with wholly traditional methods (by hand), the site mimics complex gardens found on the Mainland with courtyards, meandering brooks, impeccably sculpted vegetation, all in keeping with the Confucian and Buddhist tradition.
  • Hike in Lynn Canyon – Vancouver has two suspension bridges, both equally spectacular, but one is always crowded with tourists and costly, and the other is frequented more by locals and free! Complete with trails, popular swimming holes, breathtaking waterfalls of course, a hair-raising suspension bridge, 50 meters up in the canopy makes this a must do, no matter how short your visit.
  • Wander Van Dusen Botanical Gardens – The great thing about this paradise in the city is you can visit it all year round. In the warmer months, pack a picnic, take a stroll down Laburnum Walk, and find a find a shady spot to enjoy the fragrant garden. The garden takes you on a tour of the world’s eco system, all in one place.
  • Sea-to-Sky Gondola –  one of Vancouver’s newest and most exciting attractions. Vancouver is all about spectacular views, and the 100 meter long Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge provides 360 degree views of all the Squamish region has to offer. From rugged mountains above to the vibrant turquoise fjord below, I am sure I will get an excellent picture.
    https://www.seatoskygondola.com
  • Visit Whytecliff Park – Whytecliff Park has short walking trails, a beautiful beach, an island to explore (depending on the tide), and exceptional scuba diving in the area. 
  • Visit Shannon Falls – It is really all about the views. I will definitely be camera ready. Just south of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway is Shannon Falls Provincial Park. A small park, adjacent to the Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, it is home of the third highest waterfall in British Columbia. I better bring all of my sneakers.
  • Visit Brandywine FallsBrandywine Falls is an iconic landmark along the Sea to Sky Highway, located in Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. It is located just 20 minutes south of Whistler and 30 minutes north of Squamish. To reach the waterfall, it is a quick and easy hike on flat terrain. From the parking lot, you can reach the viewing platform, overlooking the spectacular 70 m waterfall, in about 15 minutes.
  • Visit Whistler! – Whistler is a town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, that’s home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Besides skiing and snowboarding, the area offers snowshoeing, tobogganing and ski jumping at the Olympic Park, a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The hub of Whistler is a compact, chalet-style pedestrian village at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

  • Catch a Sunset in English Bay – Vancouver’s West End neighborhood is one of the most unique in Canada. It’s the most densely populated urban neighborhood in the country, and because of its adjacent location to Stanley Park and with the popularity of the seawall, it’s a highly transitional neighborhood.
  • Get Folksy on the Sunshine Coast – Vancouver is amazing, but if you are lucky enough to have some extra time on your hands, there is a plethora of day trips that are bucketlist worthy. A forty-minute ferry ride will take you to the Sunshine Coast, Canada’s best kept secret, and one that we’re telling you so you can experience a coastal oasis.
  • Ski, Snowboard or Play in the Snow– I am always down for a winter trip. Vancouver may be a temperate climate, but in the winter months, the North Shore mountains transform into a snow-capped wonderland. With three excellent mountains all within a 15 minutes drive from the downtown core, and a free shuttle to one of them, Vancouver is your perfect place for a winter holiday. 
  •  Find a Local Event in the Georgia Strait– From hyper local community center talent shows, to blockbuster movies, ballets and headlining super-bands, any event at any time will be listed in here. Check out some jazz at a local club, check out a comedy show on Granville Island, or get dolled up for a charity event at the Vancouver Convention Center, whatever your flavor.
  • Hike the Grouse Grind –  Nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Staircase”, this is no Sunday stroll. Located on Vancouver’s North Shore, at the foot of its namesake (Grouse Mountain), the Grind as it’s affectionately known, takes hikers some 850m up through the alpine. Once you reach the top, a panoramic chalet awaits with ice cold drinks and sweeping views of the city. And once you’ve recovered, save those wobbly legs from further torture and enjoy a scenic ride down the mountain on the Grouse Gondola.
  • Take a Drive up the Sea-to-Sky Highway – Rated as one of the most the beautiful drives in the world, the Sea-to-Sky corridor takes visitors on a 1.5 hour long journey, from the heart of downtown Vancouver to the world class ski town of Whistler. With waterfalls, jaw-dropping vistas, a stunning cultural center and a suspension bridge along the way, you’ll want to pack a lunch, your camera and gas up the rental car, because this journey is one you won’t want to miss.

Well that is all I have for now. I am not sure Leah even approves of these this. But I am sure she will have a comment later. Can you tell that this is the trip I am looking forward to the most?

Quarantine Post #24: Not the Girl You Marry

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I am back with another book review. Needless to say, Audible has gotten me out of my rut and it actually makes some great suggestions for me. I am a bit behind in reviewing this one because I originally did not know how I felt about it. I have had this saved in drafts for a while now. Especially since I read this back in March or April. Now that I have given it some thought I can finally sit and share my thoughts here. I was trying to give it time to grow on me but I don’t think it did. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. (Maybe I should blame Audible, since they recommended it to me.) But it is definitely me. When I pick romance novels, I am usually looking for something lighthearted and fun… and this just didn’t check all of those boxes for me.

Maybe it was the title that got me. I was 1000% sure that someone said this to the main heroine and I had to know how that turned out.

This book is set up like the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days movie but with the guy trying to lose the girl. Sadly, in Jack Nolan’s case he actually likes Hannah. He knows that going into this. Both Jack and Hannah are young professionals trying to take a turn in their careers. Hannah is an event planner, mostly large parties for random celebrities. While she enjoys doing these events, she dreams of being the VP. However, her boss doesn’t think she is ready mostly because Hannah carries a disdain for wedding planning and for relationships all the way around. That has to do with her disastrous relationship with her ex boyfriend. She makes a deal with her boss that kind of annoyed the hell out of me. I forgot that even women in high places can be manipulative. Hannah’s boss tells her that if she can show that she is in a committed relationship and remain in one for 2 weeks then she can help plan the senator’s daughter’s wedding. Seems like a high profile event to just throw down on top of what is essentially a bet about someone’s personal life. I get it… she has a lack of giddiness about weddings and clients can see that and complain but I just wondered why the boss didn’t just say “Listen… you’re not in the running for these reasons. I will give you a chance to change my mind by planning some smaller weddings and see how you do.” This annoyed me and her boss was on my shit list from the jump.

Jack Nolan has dreams of being an investigative journalist. But he stuck making listicles. (I love listicles. Some of they are hard to come up with. But if you have been reading up to this point, you know I love a good listicles ) His boss is just as douchey as Hannah’s boss. His boss makes him a deal… Write an article about losing a girl in 10 days. Not just any girl… but a girl he actually has feelings for. His boss is dangling a position, he is more than qualified for in order to get him to purposely meet dump someone he genuinely cares about and tell the world about it. Height of doucheyness.

Jack is actually pretty great. He is not into the internet dating thing. (Now I have nothing against swipe culture. It is very entertaining at times. But I mean really… do people have conversation skills anymore? Maybe it is me.) Jack and Hannah meet at a bar in Chicago. He has just gotten out of a relationship and is a bit of a serial monogamous. She is a over men having been on the receiving end of several hurtful comments in her past relationships. They end up talking because Hannah overheard his two friends making a stupid comments about women on the app. What is funny is the fact that Hannah makes a point to tell Jack that she would never date him. (Girl shut up.) He can actually hold a conversation and put up with whatever zingers Hannah kept throwing his way. I would have totally dated him or at least tried to get to know him.  Both characters, in typical rom-com fashion aren’t looking for anyone. (Yeah, you know how this goes.)

In Hannah’s case, I got that she struggled with how she had been treated in the past by exes and how her being biracial played into that. She wasn’t black enough for her ex Noah and his black family. I have a lot of biracial friends how have talked to me about this at one time or another. She has a hard shell and an icy wit. (I get it she is supposed to be a bad ass.) But for me, she just wasn’t doing it. I mean come on. We all have acquaintances that spend their time man bashing and shooting down men who have done nothing to them citing some past jerk. I get it. We have all been there but come on… when are you actually going to let go and live life? I found it to be interesting that she was surprised that her friend and her boss were shocked that she wanted to plan weddings given her outlook on relationships as a whole. I mean what bride wants a woman planning her day that is constantly scoffing and making snide comments.

Jack has some mommy issues… (I mean don’t they all?) But I was hoping for a more climatic scene with the two of them. I usually come to understand the parents side of things a bit more (even somewhat siding with the parent) but even after the big talk with his mom… I still retained my disdain for her. On the flip side, with all the talk about Hannah being biracial I would have loved to see her interact with her mother or even have a phone call with the woman. I got none of that.

In the end, I just wasn’t super invested in the Jack and Hannah relationship. There wasn’t a wow factor for me. Maybe if they had more scenes prior to but they each had baggage that kinda overshadowed their romance. When things finally do it the fan, Hannah seems to forget her role in using him which is also annoying. Other people may love it. Definitely read it and form your own opinion but for now I would say 3 out of 5 stars.

That is all for now. If you have read it, comment and tell me what you think.

Quarantine Post #23: Food Wars/ Shokugeki No Sōma

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It has been a while since I spoke about anime or manga. So let me get back to that. I have recently gotten into Food Wars. It is my love of the Food Network and anime/manga rolled into one. Culinary Battle shonen. (It gets a lot of flack from meatheads but I enjoy whooping ass in various ways.) I can’t be the only kid who wanted to be on the Iron chef. (Fun Fact: My siblings and I used to watch it and be mortified at the secret ingredient and try and figure out what Emeril or Bobby Flay was going to cook. Sometimes we still watch it. Good times, good times.) Here is another series I came to late. It has now been announced that the series is coming to an end. It is in its final season. So join me as I do that thing I do and tell you why this is a great show. 

Now it is probably because this was how I originally envisioned my life after high school. Like I would move back to NYC and enroll in a prestigious cooking school… and become a top chef… I would be the iron chef… etc etc. Anyways, this reminds of good times in my past life. Fun times. 

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Yukihira Soma strives to become a chef like his father Joichiro. He wants to take over his family restaurant and ultimately surpass his father’s skills. (Add Joichiro to the list of great anime dads.) It is a quaint story, to begin with, but it abruptly changes when Joichiro ends up taking a job traveling around the world and closes the shop. Joichiro tells Soma that he has been enrolled at the Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute.

The series is set mainly at Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, an elite culinary school located in Japan, which only a handful of students graduate from each year. The students are mostly from Totsuki’s junior high school, but transfers (like Soma) are taken provided they pass the entrance exam. Soma manages to pass the entrance exam and the rest of the anime/manga shows his adventures at the school.

The top 10 chefs at the school make up the Council of Ten Masters. This is the council is second only to the Director. Students can initiate a shokugeki (anime: food war), a cooking fight with stipulations on the line, with any other student or alumni. Battles could be for cooking utensils, research society facilities, council membership, or even expulsion from the school. (Hence Battle Shonen)

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So let’s break down some top moments on the show. As is the way I do it… these will be in no particular order. So I have to announce SPOILERS or people will come after me… (although at this point you should know.)

  1. Sōma meets Erina – In order for Sōma to secure a spot at the Totsuki Academy, he has to impress Erina, the granddaughter of the dean. She is a bit arrogant and rightly so since she has been deemed the “God’s Tongue” meaning that she has a superhuman ability that grants the wielder an ultra-acute sense of taste. This early in the series… many of the students are turning their nose up at Sōma because he works in a diner… Erina is one of them. Everyone else comes from upscale or gourmet backgrounds. Sōma enters the hall where Erina is waiting with her assistant. She introduced herself to the applicants as one of the judges. She tasked them with cooking a dish with egg as a basis, but she also added that they had one minute to withdraw. Everyone except Sōma leaves… including the guy who in the scene before was trying to clown Sōma for having a family diner-style restaurant. He tells Sōma that Erina was a feared person in the culinary world, and any person who gave her an unsatisfactory dish can consider their cooking careers over. Erina is a spoiled brat and I didn’t like her to begin with so when he prepares  Transforming Furikake Gohan and she refuses to acknowledge that she was impressed by the dish…. (Ugh classism at its finest.)  Sōma’s cheeky comments infuriated her further, causing her to immediately deny him entrance to Tōtsuki. Her grandfather tastes the dish after who left the room… and overturns that decision and allows Sōma into the Institute.2020-09-01_8-47-272020-09-01_8-47-55
  2. Yukihira-Tadokoro Vs. Shinomiya ”Shokugeki” – The first event that Sōma has to complete is Tōtsuki Friendship and Rapport Training Camp. Satoshi tells his dorm mates the camp is where dozens of students were expelled each day. He warned them that this was the first event to begin to whittle down the numbers of their class. He warned them that this was the first event to begin to whittle down the numbers of their class. On the second day,  Sōma has to make a 9 Vegetable Terrine, He passes with flying colors. His dorm mate Megumi is fired because she made changes to the recipe without asking. Sōma faulted Kojirō for the bad cauliflower and that Megumi was worthy to stay. Sōma challenged him to a Shokugeki to preserve Megumi’s future. Sōma and Megumi arrived at a basement kitchen in the Villa where the Shokugeki was to be held. One last condition is added to the Shokugeki, Megumi must be the head chef because the duel was to show Megumi’s potential, not Sōma’s. After completing their dishes, Kojirō presented his dish, a Chou Farci first, which was well received by the alumni. Megumi’s Rainbow Terrine received praise from the judges and Sōma gave Megumi a smile for her efforts. When judgment time arrived, the result was a complete, one-sided loss. Kojiro allows Megumi and Sōma to remain in camp. Megumi is a favorite of mine because she has the worst nerves and Sōma’s behavior can push her anxiety at times.
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  3. The Karaage War – On his summer vacation, Sōma returned to Sumiredōri Shopping District to air out Restaurant Yukihira. He isn’t intending on running the restaurant without his dad. However, when his former classmates and many of the Sumiredōri residents flocked to the restaurant. Sōma notices that there aren’t as many customers in the district as there normally are. His friends point out Sōma that a Karaage store in the train station had been drawing attention from the shopping district as of late, causing profits in the district to sink. Sōma decided to challenge the Karaage store but  Sōma needs as much help as possible. Sōma decides to call an expert on meat to help him out with his challenge: Ikumi. After scouting out the competition, Sōma decides that the best solution was to make “a karaage that you could eat while walking”. In a matter of three days, Sōma’s karaage idea began to draw large crowds to Sumiredōri, all who had heard of the shopping district’s newest karaage sensation, the Sumire Karaage Roll.
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  4. Sōma vs. Subaru Mimasaka – This was such an interesting match up because up until this Shokugeki, Subaru was dominating the competition by copying everything his opponent does. He managed to win the prized Mezzaluna from the Aldini Brothers. (Well most prized possessions from his opponents.) As with Subaru’s Quarterfinal match, he convinced Sōma to accept a Shokugeki for their match with his knife on the line in exchange for Takumi’s recently relinquished Mezzaluna if he lost. Sōma called Subaru the pathetic chef and then changed the conditions of their match. The return of all 100 knives Subaru had won from his Shokugekis if he lost while Sōma decided to quit being a chef forever if he lost. During the match, the control of it constantly switched between Sōma and Subaru. Every time it had seemed that Sōma managed to surprise Subaru, Subaru continuously revealed that he knew what Sōma had been doing up until the minute the cooking period began. Sōma used Beef Tail as the basis for his stew as did Subaru. Subaru presented his Beef Stew with Bacon Garnish first, and his dish was well received by the judges and told Sōma to enjoy his final moments as a chef. Sōma presented his dish to the judges. At first, it had seemed that his dish was nothing more than a random assortment of beef parts similar to Yakiniku, but Sōma assured the judges that the beef parts were actually his garnish. After a single bite, the judges were engrossed by the harmonious flavors of the dish. Impressed by Sōma’s creativity and tenacity, he was unanimously declared the victor of the match, handing Subaru his first loss.
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  5. Sōma vs Akira and Ryo in the Finals – A three way final. I am here for it. Akira, the spice beast vs Ryo, the seafood master vs Sōma, the Underdog. It was steep competition for our MC. The Finals was held during the evening. Sōma, Akira, and Ryō entered the arena and headed to their station. Akira and Ryō immediately pulled out their pacific saury, which glistened in the light. However, when it was Sōma’s turn to pull out his saury, his was covered by a thick coating of beige powder. The judges for the finals then revealed themselves, consisting of Gin Dōjima, Senzaemon Nakiri, and Leonora Nakiri, Alice’s mother. Leonora was interested to see what Sōma had in store for her since he defeated her daughter in the quarterfinals. The three participants quickly set off to work once the Moon fully emerged above the arena. Sōma began his preparation by preparing his other ingredient base. However, he was the first to touch his saury, quickly washing off the mysterious powder, much to Ryō and Akira’s curiosity. Sōma continued to cook his saury on his shichirin and prepare his dish as Ryō and Akira presented their dishes before him, both of which were well received by the judges. With time ticking down, Sōma finally finished his dish and presented it to the judges. Sōma’s finished product was a takikomi gohan, perfect to entice those whose diet consists of rice as the base. The judges were impressed by the permeation of the saury’s flavor in their mouths and could even stand up to Ryō and Akira’s dishes. Sōma brandished a pot, stating that they should hold off the judging until they try his dish with the contents of the pot on it. Senzaemon was interested enough to give Sōma’s dish a second taste. With the white liquid, revealed to be soy milk, Sōma transformed his takikomi gohan into a Oja-Style Pacific Saury Takikomi Gohan. Thanks to Sōma’s soy milk blend and pickled plums, the ingredients blended harmoniously which made the entire audience see that even though Sōma had no special talent like Akira or Ryō, he was fighting them on equal terms. The judges handed praise to each of the finalists; commending Sōma in particular for his creativity which was easily the best out of the three. However, even with Sōma’s impressive creativity, it was not enough for him to win the match. Akira was declared the winner of the 43rd Autumn Election with Sōma and Ryō placing second.
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  6. Satoshi vs Julio – Satoshi is the representative for the Polar Star Dormitory and best embodies what the dorm represents; quirky, spontaneous, and rebellious. He cares deeply for his fellow residents at the dorm, defending them when people look down on them. Behind his benevolence and slack personality, however, is a serious and cunning opponent. (Beware of the anime characters that are deceptively cunning.) Satoshi tends to hold back during casual challenges against opponents clearly under his skill level. His focus and tenacity made him an Elite Ten member and his cooking skills and cunning tactics kept him there. During the Règiment de Cuisine, after Erina and her father agreed on a 3 vs 3 match, Satoshi, Megishima, and Sōma decide to participate in the first round. Julio Shiratsu was frustrated at Satoshi for not taking their duel seriously and even more so for not even remembering who he was. Julio makes the sad mistake of attacking Satoshi’s fellow Polar Star members. Julio could not comprehend why someone of his caliber was aligned with the Rebels rather than Central, even stating that the Polar Star Dormitory was holding him back. Upon hearing this, Satoshi promptly silenced him and immediately filet the belly of a live eel with a single stroke, stunning the crowd into silence. Angered by his insults Julio flung at his beloved dorm, Satoshi promised to go all out against him. “Maybe I’ll get serious about crushing you.” Julio presented to the judges first and was well received. The imprisoned Polar Star student noticed that the ingredients that Satoshi was highlighting were prototype ingredients that they had been making. Satoshi brought them together to create Hitsumabushi: Polar Star Flavor. Satoshi handed the final version of his dish, complete with eel-liver soup to Julio, demanding that he eat it. Julio scarfed down Satoshi’s dish and promptly  apologized for his previous statements, leading to Satoshi’s victory. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnKBwrMkZHo
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  7. Sōma learns French Cuisine from Kojirō – Now remember the Shokugeki that Sōma and Megumi had with Kojiro earlier? Well they have to work together again during the Stagiaire. The Stagiaire event is a mandatory event where the First Year students are assigned to various cooking locations across Japan, from public or high class restaurants to food related corporations and enterprises. But because the restaurants and companies trust Tōtsuki and accept its students for the internship, failure would result in an immediate expulsion. In addition, students would be given a week to achieve a “visible accomplishment”. Sōma went to his second Stagiaire location, Shino’s Tokyo, a new restaurant in Japan opened by none other than Kojirō as a part of his restaurant chain. Sōma knew he would have to accomplish a “visual improvement” in an unconventional way with Kojirō in charge. Completing the interior work, Shino’s Tokyo’s pre-opening week would begin the next day. For the next few days, Shino’s Tokyo would undergo a trial period, building up their reputation while adjusting their menu to suit the future patrons of the restaurant. Kojirō also informed Sōma and the staff that there would be a Staff dish competition on the last day. Sōma decided that he would use that competition as a way of leaving a visible improvement for his Stagiaire second stage. As the first day of the pre-opening week began, Sōma had no trouble with the preparation work, but as the customers come in Sōma starts falling behind. Sōma was reprimanded for his actions by the Head-Chef Abel Blondin who refused to acknowledge him as a member of the team. Sōma apologized for his mistake and resolved to improve enough to be considered a member of the main crew. Over the course of the week, Sōma quickly learned everything he could in order to keep up with the crew. By the end of the week, Sōma was able to finish orders before the others had to tell him. Sōma asked if he could participate in the dish contest, stating that he spent the entire week designing his dish. Sōma created a quail dish that utilized the concepts of a donburi as the basis for it. Kojirō was visibly impressed by the depth and blending of flavors. Abel was curious as to how Sōma managed to stuff the dish properly, which was revealed to be cabbage, taking inspiration from Kojirō’s Chou Farci. Kojirō commended Sōma on his dish, but informed him that he could not put the dish on his menu, at least in its current state. Kojirō offered to teach Sōma how he would cook his dish in his style and Sōma gladly accepted the offer. Spending a few hours, Sōma learned from Kojirō and thanked him by calling him “master” much to his embarrassment. The next morning, Kojirō bid farewell to Sōma and told him to seize the top of Tōtsuki. A few days later, Shino’s Tokyo had its official opening with Kojirō’s rendition of Sōma’s donburi dish, Quail Stuffed with Risotto and Eggs ~Brazen Youngster Style~ on the menu as a specialty.
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  8. Sōma vs Eizan – Eizan is a douche. So I couldn’t wait for him to get an ass whooping. Once Erina’s father takes over the school, they start removing all people and programs that they don’t feel have what it takes to create gourmet dishes. One their shit list is the Polar Star Dormitories. Polar Star was ordered to be closed down, as it posed a threat to the new system of Tōtsuki. Sōma and his crew is hellbent on not letting that happen. He challenges Eizan to a shokugeki. 2020-09-12_21-43-19
    But Sōma quickly learns that Central has fixed all Shokugeki’s. (I think that this is a sign though. I mean if you feel like you better than everyone else why do you need to fix the shokugeki?) With the Shokugeki approved by the board, Sōma arrived at the venue with his opponent. Eizan made it clear that the judges were biased once more and more importantly, he had sent a small army of his goons to evict the Polar Star residents out of the dormitory that day. Despite his intention to apply pressure onto him, Sōma merely brushed off Eizan’s news and officially began the challenge, stating that their theme would be Jidori Chicken. As Sōma started cooking his dish, deciding to prepare it into a gyoza, Eizan sat back as he waited for the confirmation of the eviction. Eizan soon called them out of frustration and found out that the Polar Star residents had been repelling them. Sōma told him that Eizan has only been coming at him indirectly through sneaky methods. (Cause he is a loser with no friends.) Sōma put his all into his dish in order to defeat Eizan. After a strong presentation by Eizan and the judges snide comments towards Sōma, he managed to prevent the judges from passing down a preemptive judgment by taunting Eizan. He stated that Eizan was too scared to face him head-on. one of the judges refused to eat his dish, but the aroma alone enticed the other two. His Cheese-Feathered Hanetsuki Gyōza managed to silence Eizan and the judges as well.  Unable to lie about their true feelings, the judges unanimously voted in favor of Sōma. Returning to Polar Star, thanks to the efforts of Sōma and the residents, the dorm was still standing and in operation.
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  9. Joichiro Saiba is a BEAST – Shoutout to Jōichirō for being one of few anime dads that is actually worth something. He isn’t on my anime husbands list for no reason. (Check out that post.) As the sole parental figure in Sōma’s life, he is a mentor, teacher, and rival to his son, though he never pushed Sōma to become a chef, allowing Sōma to develop that interest on his own. Over the course of the show, we learned that Jōichirō was pushed into sending Sōma to Totsuki, that he went to Totsuki (also rooming at Polar Star) and was part of the Elite Ten. He took the 2nd seat, mostly because he was too lazy and carefree. As his friend, Gin, points out Jōichirō never took the 1st seat, despite him being the best cook of the generation. He was also selected to participate in BLUE, a prestigious cooking competition for upcoming chefs. Some of the upperclassmen felt cheated by his selection over them, so Jōichirō challenged them to a Régiment de Cuisine, where he alone would face off against all of his opponent’s team. Jōichirō proceeded to crush all of his opponents with utter ruthlessness, most giving up because of his fearsome tenacity and his unrivaled natural skill. Previously, Jōichirō was known as a “genius” and “trailblazer”, but the utter despair left after every single match in his opponents earned him the nickname Asura. By his third year, Jōichirō had acquired the 2nd Seat of the Elite Ten Council and became the most notable member of the Polar Star Dormitory at the time. Despite his overwhelming success, Jōichirō began to lose sight of himself, wondering what to if he should win BLUE. Looking at his exhausted, marred appearance, Jōichirō mysteriously disappeared and missed the competition. Senzaemon suggested that he leave the country and do some soul searching. Jōichirō accepted the idea and promptly departed from the academy, never to return or graduate from it. His story is a classic case of “Cooking is what you do, not who you are.” Even after he left Tōtsuki to do some soul searching, his skill remained unrivaled and even world famous. His cooking continued to evolve and improve, leading to worldwide acclaim. Watching him battle the 50 was fantastic. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI0ox5f_vdE)
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  10. Soma vs the 8th seat (Moon Festival) – The Moon Banquet Festival is the annual school festival at Tōtsuki. During which the students can set up a food booth at the festival, after receiving permission to do so. Students may choose to work individually or in a group. The festival is considered a huge event that attracts more than 500,000 customers a day. Among these customers are numerous domestic and foreign V.I.P.’s. Student’s are battling for top sales. Students would need to sell around 1,000 dishes a day if they want to make it to the top of the sales. As a result, certain stand locations are highly coveted and numerous Shokugekis are done to claim a desired location. When Sōma persisted on challenging the Elite Ten, Terunori explained the true power of an Elite Ten’s seat and stated that the current first years did not give them any sort of reason to challenge them yet. However, before the Elite Ten left, Tenrunori mentioned that if Sōma could beat him in any form of cooking, he will accept his Shokugeki challenge. When Sōma told her that he currently had no staff for his booth, Miyoko told him to visit the Chinese Cuisine RS. There Sōma wit nessed the club in action, working woks with raw rice to practice. Sōma watched as each member produced the same dish with extreme speed and precision. Even more so, each dish had the exact same impact. Terunori taunted Sōma, stating that he will need to have 1,000 customers a day. Without a staff or a menu, Sōma would need to work hard to meet this quota. In the beginning, it is obvious that Sōma might be in a bit of trouble. But long lines trip up Terunori and customers waiting in line are easily swayed to buy from Sōma. Though he finally was able to defeat Terunori and the Chinese Cuisine RS on the final day, Sōma was left unsatisfied that his plan to defeat him did not go as planned.

I was able to purchase the whole manga. Odd that is doesn’t have a box set yet. I mean come on, the manga is completely done. I have box sets for manga that is not done yet. (One Piece.) But each volume comes with recipes at the end so as I am a sucker for food and food shows… I have a collection of cookbooks as well. So I guess it is give and take.

I love the show. I am sad that I am watching the final season… but all good things come to an end. As my dad always says “Everything has a shelf life.” If you haven’t seen it, give it a try. It is a bit different and fun. But that is all for now.

Quarantine Post #22: Bucket List Travel List (Japan Edition)

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I think that in the back of most anime fans minds, they long to visit Japan. There is a lot of history and great food. There is no downside. I have always thought there is nothing better than seeing the world and how other people live in it. There is a lot to do in Japan and as always I plan to see it all. So let’s jump into it.

This particular tour has peaked my interest. Tours are my thing.

I will start this out by saying I wanted to see the One Piece Tower. It was the basis around everything I wanted to see in Tokyo. But since COVID ruins all things… The tower shut down this year for good. I am so sad about it. So now it has come off the bucket lists but that doesn’t mean I will not be heading to Japan in the future.

Tokyo (It would have been nice to go to see the Olympics but I have missed that.) (https://www.goaheadtours.com/guided-tours/japan-2021-gold-medal-moments-in-tokyo)

  • MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: EPSON teamLab Borderless-Odaiba, Tokyo – The museum offers an unique interactive art experience with the latest high technology. Multiple digital art exhibitions are displayed in a huge space and the artworks are projected across walls and floors, and immersive installations of light and sound move and reflect by your movements and touches.

  • Tokyo Tower – Tokyo Tower has been serving as the symbol of the city for many decades. Tokyo Tower seems enjoyable either seeing it from distance or gaze the city from its observation deck of the tower itself. I have to do it. (Seems great for pictures.) The One Piece portion is closed.
  • Drive like Super Mario – Go Kart has been one of top choices among tourists in Tokyo in these days. With a valid Japanese/international driving license, you can drive Go Kart in character’s costumes through the city just like in the video game, Mario Kart!! Race with a group and drive through bustling areas of the city such as Akihabara, Shibuya and around Tokyo Tower.

  • Japanese Cooking Class – Japanese cooking classes have been a popular activity among eager foodies travelling in Tokyo. And I am definitely a foodie. Not only typical Sushi making class, but a wide variety of cooking classes are available today such as RamenGyoza (Japanese Dumplings)Udon NoodleWagashi (Japanese confectionery) and home cooking Japanese dishes as well as vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Ghibli Museum – The museum features the art and technique of animation, and some famous film characters such as a replica of Cat Bus from My Neighbour Totoro and a robot from Castle in the Sky. There are also a cafe and gift shop inside the museum. The museum is located at Inokashira Park in Mitaka City, Tokyo.

  • Ueno Park – Ueno Park consists of numbers of attractions and facilities such as museums, a zoo, historical monuments and rich nature. The park is especially popular place to visit during cherry blossom season as people enjoy Hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) there. The park is massive, so you can easily spend an entire day.
  • Odaiba: Tokyo Bay – Odaiba is one of the most entertaining districts in Tokyo where numbers of shopping malls, restaurants, museums and entertainment facilities gather. The area is especially known for high-tech entertainments such as robots at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), the latest VR at Tokyo JOYPOLIS. I can easily spend a whole day on this pleasurable island.
  • VR (Virtual Reality) World – At some VR theme parks provide multiple games and activities where visitors can spend all day, and it’s a great option especially on a rainy day. Recommended VR spots in Tokyo are VR Park Tokyo in Shibuya, Joypolis in Odaiba, Sunshine City in Ikebukuro and VR Ninja Dojo in Akihabara.
  • Enjoy 4 Seasons at Japanese Gardens – Several traditional Japanese gardens such as Rikugien and Shinjuku Gyoen are located in the heart of Tokyo, and they are great hideaways where people can take a moment to relax and appreciate the nature and Japanese tradition in peace and quiet space. Also Tokyo is home to several great parks such as Yoyogi Park and Imperial Palace. (Cherry Blossom season anyone?)
  • Tokyo Disney Resort – An amusement/entertainment resort consists of two popular theme park: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Remember from my bucket list post that I have never been to Disney here in the states but I plan to see them all.
  • Ascend Tokyo Skytree – Tokyo Skytree has the claim to fame of being the tallest building in Japan. At night the tower shimmers blue and pink and I can visit at night until 10 pm so that I can check out the sparkling city below.
  • Take a cruise – This will take me past the downtown area of the city and these cruises have been operating here since the 8th century, so know that you are following in a time honored tradition. As you cruise you can also drift past areas such as Asakusa and Hamamatsucho, or you can also charter a boat and head out on a custom tour if you prefer. (I am always glad to cruise anywhere.)
  • Ride the Asukayama Park Monorail – This train is free of charge and you can travel to the summit of this pretty park which is located on a scenic hillside. The ride allows you to take in the amazing views over the city and it takes around two minutes to reach the peak.
  • Visit the Robot Restaurant – One of the most famous spots in Tokyo is the Robot Restaurant which is features a stage where an iconic robotics show takes place that has dancers and robots as well as music and theatrical performances.
  • Enjoy a sumo match at Ryogoku Kokugikan – Ryogoku Kokugikan is known as the National Sumo Hall in English and is one of the best places to come in Tokyo or so I hear.
  • Visit Tokyo National Museum – This is one of the best spaces in the city if you want to know more about the history of Tokyo and wider Japan and you can check out gorgeous galleries filled with Japanese art work.
  • Try the Sumo Wrestler’s Stew – Chankonabe which is also known as Sumo Wrestler’s Stew. The reason for the name is that this stew is usually eaten by sumo wrestlers as part of their daily diet and is made up of vegetables, meat, fish or noodles. If you want to try this iconic stew then one of the best places to do so is at Yoshiba which is known for having an old sumo stable, ring and restaurant in the same building.
  • Enjoy the Ramen Museum – You will get to walk down replicas of old fashioned alleyways and visit a range of noodle shops and of course there are a number of opportunities to try the delicious noodles as you explore the history of ramen.
  • Stroll along the banks of the Meguro River – The Meguro River is located in the Nakameguro District of Tokyo and is known as being one of the best places to check out the cherry blossoms in the city. There are some 800 cherry trees that stretch along the scenic banks of the river and these are also illuminated at night if you are in Tokyo in the spring time and can catch then when they are in full bloom. (Um… yes please.) I love it.

Osaka

  • The Osaka Castle – Once inside the castle you can check out a selection of weaponry as well as art work and there is also an observation deck on the 8th floor where you can take in views over the adjacent park and wider Osaka.
  • Explore Sumiyoshi Shrine – Sumiyoshi Shrine has the claim to fame of being one of the oldest Shinto shrines not only in Osaka but also in wider Japan.
  • Ascend the Umeda Sky Building – The Umeda Sky Building is one of the main landmarks in Osaka and you can see it from all over town. The building soars to a height of 173 meters and it has an observatory which is located on the 39th floor which is known as the Garden Observatory.
  • Visit Osaka Aquarium – This is one of the largest aquariums in Japan and has eight floors of exhibits which include a plethora of marine life such as whale sharks, otters, dolphins and turtles.
  • Check out Shitennoji Temple
  • Enjoy the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum – One of the most iconic sights in Osaka is the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum which is dedicated to the humble instant noodle. The museum also offers you the chance to taste and even make your own noodles as part of a series of workshops.
  • Visit O-hatsu Tenjin – O-hatsu Tenjin is the name for a shrine in Osaka that is said to date back some 1,300 years and which is known for its unique legend.
  • Admire the Tower of the Sun – The Tower of the Sun is one of the more unusual attractions in Osaka and is made up of a tower which is 70 meters in height and was designed by Okamoto Taro, a famous Japanese artist.

Hiroshima

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum – the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a must-see for those who want to understand the horrors of the atomic bombing and the events that led to it and took place after it. 
  • Cenotaph for A-bomb Victims – This concrete saddle-shaped monument in the center of the park is designed to symbolize a shelter for all the souls who perished in the atomic bombing. 
  • Atomic Bomb Dome – The building is the remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which was located near the hypocenter of the bomb.
  • Shukkei-en Garden – Shukkei-en Garden is a fine stroll garden. There’s a lovely pond in the garden.
  • Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art – Sleek museum housing works by Japanese & international contemporary artists, plus a cafe & shop.

Kyoto

  • Wander through the incredible Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine – Kyoto’s most iconic treasure, the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is located at the end of a flamed colored walkway made up of thousands of traditional torii gates. Visitors can easily spend a day wandering through the trails surrounding the network of ornate shrines. Half way up the mountain, expect incredible views of Kyoto at the Yotsutsuji Intersection.
  • Visit the Kinkakuji Temple – a Zen temple wrapped in gold leaf, with the top floor gilded both inside and out. It was originally built as a retirement home for a famous shogun, who sanctioned the building to become a temple after his death.
  • Visit the Kiyomizu-dera Temple – The temple is known for hosting an array of magical features. Walk between two stones with your eyes closed in front of the Jishu Shrine, build to honor the god of love. If you can do this successfully, then you will find true love.
  • Enjoy a panoramic view of the city at the Kyoto Tower – A modern structure in a city of temples, the Kyoto Tower is the tallest building in Kyoto. Visitors can view panoramic views of the city extending all the way to Osaka.
  • Find peace at the Eikando Zenrinji Temple – Not as crowded as many of the other temples in Kyoto, though just as stunning, this temple is hosts a serene environment with large koi ponds.

  • Climb to the top of Mt. Kurama and relax in the hot springs – About 12.5 miles from the center of Kyoto is Kurama, a quaint town known for its traditional hotels and baths. Travelers can hike to the top of Mt. Kurama to Kurama-dera, an ornate Buddhist temple just above town. Those who want to save their energy for later can even take a cable car halfway up. Past the temple is a steep hiking trail surrounded by old trees with outstretched roots where its common to see songbirds, deer, monkeys, and other wildlife.
  • Enjoy the Kyoto International Manga Museum – At the Kyoto International Manga Museum, you can browse through popular manga, learn about its influence in the post-WWII era, watch artists create manga, and even have your portrait drawn. Though the majority of manga is in Japanese, there are quite a few English copies in the gargantuan manga library.  Fans of Pokemon, Dragonball Z, and Sailor Moon are sure to feel a pang of nostalgia.
  • Smell cherry blossoms at Maruyama Park – Maruyama Park is Kyoto’s best place to view cherry blossoms. In the evening, the central weeping cherry tree is even lit up for a spectacular display. The magical thing about this park is that it has many varieties of cherry blossoms, so visitors can witness a range of color, size, and texture.

I have a feeling I missed a few things… let me double check.

  • Learn about samurai honor at the 47 Ronin Grave – Popularized by a silly film starring Keanu Reeves,  the 47 Ronin are a very cool piece of Japanese history.  The incident is known across the country and their graves can be found in Tokyo. Graveyards in Japan have a pretty cool aesthetic regardless.
  • Photograph one of the country’s most incredible ancient statues at Kotoku-in – The largest monument the Great Buddha in the Kotoku-in buddhist temple. The statue itself, cast from bronze, dates back to 1252 and is one of the most hauntingly beautiful sites in all of Japan.
  • Take a hike up Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak– While this climb is totally doable for hikers of all capabilities, it’s 8 hours long and can be strenuous, even for those in tip top shape. Make sure that you take all necessary precautions, do your research and stay safe. And, most importantly, enjoy the (actually) breath-taking view from the top.

As you can see, I have thought this through… I may have to take some serious time off. And even then I may not come back. I should end here. Because I could go on for quite awhile… I can just hear Leah now… “You want to visit EVERY temple?” I don’t have to explain myself, are you coming or not???????????????????? That is all guys… be sure to leave comments. If you have ever been… I would love to hear from you. If you also want to go or have an idea as to what I should add to my list, let me know.

Quarantine Post #21: Travel Destination Bucket List (China Edition)

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So I am back for another bucket list travel edition. I have given serious thought to the different countries I will be traveling to when we are given the green light to move about the world again. My last post was about traipsing all around Great Britain… well this one will be all about my want to travel to China. There are several touristy things I want to do… and since I have talked my friends ears off about this… I figured I would write it out to the world. So let’s jump into this:

There are a few historical cities that I want to visit. I am camera ready for the wonderful architecture.

  • Luoyang: The 13 Dynasties’ Capital – Evidence of its imperial past include the Longmen Grottoes along the shore of a river where thousands of Buddhist and historical figures were carved.
  • Nanjing: Ancient Capital from 265 AD – Historical attractions include Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum where the man who is considered the founder of modern China is buried.
  • Zhengzhou: It is considered to be the cradle of China’s civilization. The Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu that has been often portrayed in movies and a TV series, is in the mountains nearby.
  • The 3 Confucius sites: The Kong Family Mansion was where the descendants of Confucius lived. It is huge and designed to reflect Confucian philosophy in its separation of areas for work, reception, and relaxation. The 480 rooms house a treasure of relics including imperial calligraphy. The Cemetery of Confucius has become the graveyard of the Kong family, and more than 100,000 of Confucius’ descendants are buried there. It is called Kong Lin (“Confucius’ Forest”). Qufu Confucius Temple is the second largest scale ancient architectural complex in the world, after the Forbidden City. The temple was originally built as Confucius’ house, and was changed into a temple to worship Confucius in the second year after his death.
  • The Summer Palace: China’s Largest Imperial GardenThe Summer Palace is China’s largest imperial garden. The Summer Palace was a royal summer resort in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), so the architectures and the layout there are awesome. Boat cruises are available on Kunming Lake. There are numerous stores in Suzhou Street, selling souvenirs like antiques, snacks, silk, jewelry, and tea. The shop assistants there are dressed in the costumes of the Qing Dynasty.
  • Xi’an: the First Capital When China Was United – Xi’an is also a world-class historical city that retains more of its ancient character and atmosphere than Beijing. Xi’an was the first imperial capital of China in the brief Qin era (221–206 BC). Historic sites include: the Terracotta Army, thousands of statues of soldiers and a necropolis for the Qin Emperor (more on that later) and the Ancient City Wall.
  •  Hangzhou: A Landscaped Imperial Retreat – Hangzhou is known in history first of all as an imperial landscaped retreat and garden for the emperors of Beijing, but it was also capital of China during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279).
  • Kaifeng: The City of Calligraphy– Kaifeng was an imperial seat of power between 907 and 1127 including the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127). It is known as the “City of Calligraphy” since several styles originated here.

While I am into historical sites… I have several specific things that I want to see. And I am trying to decided how much time I am going to need to take off to see all the things I want. For now, I am looking at 14 days. I doubt very much that my job is going to let me take off 30 days. But for now I am getting my list together and checking it twice. So here is everything I want to see and do in China. Needless to say, I will need plenty of microSD cards for my camera. There will be thousands of pictures.

  • The Great Wall of China in Beijing – One of the iconic symbols of China, the Great Wall is the longest wall in the world, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. It deserves its place among “the New Seven Wonders of the World” and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China.
  • The Terracotta Army in Xi’an – 2,000-Year-Old Underground Army: The Terracotta Army has laid underground for more than 2,000 years. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed life-size models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies in the Warring States Period (475—221 BC), and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China. It raises interesting questions about why it was made.

  • The Bund in Shanghai – Stunning Skyline, Colonial Architecture: The Bund is one of the most recognizable architectural symbols of Shanghai. It showcases the world with its colonial European buildings and skyscrapers the other side of the Huangpu, housing one of the world’s foremost business districts.
  • The Li River in Guilin- China’s Most Celebrated Scenery: The karst landscape along the Li River has captured the heart of artists. Generations of Chinese painters and poets have been inspired by the beauty of nature there, using their pens and brushes to capture the breath-taking natural scenery.Nowadays it’s a popular photography destination. When Chinese travelers seek a place for natural beauty, they first think of Li River and Yangshuo.
  • The Yellow Mountains near Shanghai – Legendary Wonders: In east China, close to Shanghai and Hangzhou, the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area woos travelers with its five wonderssun risesseas of cloudsoddly-shaped rockstwisted pine trees, and hot springs. The Yellow Mountains are the most famous peaks in China, and one of China’s three best national parks — the other two being Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and Jiuzhaigou National Forest Park. 
  • Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong – Mighty Skyscraper Skyline: Victoria Peak is the best spot to have a bird’s eye view of Hong Kong. Viewed from the peak, both day and night scenes are worth taking in. See high-rise buildings round the busy Victoria Harbour stretching out towards Mainland China. At night the scenery is gorgeous, when the Symphony of Lights of various buildings dances in unison.
  •  West Lake in Hangzhou – Paradise on Earth: Hangzhou is renowned as China’s “paradise on earth” owing to its beautifully crafted landscape. West Lake was created after the Chinese love for garden-style parks for recreation. West Lake is a place of tranquility where urbanity becomes a silhouette on the northeast horizon and mountains near and far surround it on the other three sides. The occasional pagoda and Chinese-style arched bridge add atmosphere to the tree-lined walkways, verdant islands, and hills.
  • Tiananmen Square– The square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
  • Walk through Meridian Gate and see the Palace of Heavenly Purity – Passing the Meridian Gate and walking through the Inner Golden River Bridges, I get to see the huge square in front of the spectacular Three Palaces of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City. I can go straight forward to the  Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihemen).
  • The Imperial Garden – There are some twenty structures, each of a different style, and the ways in which they harmonise with the trees, rockeries, flower beds and sculptural objects such as the bronze incense burners.

  • The Gate of Divine Prowess– The northern gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.
  • Participate in a Tai Chi lesson alongside locals in Temple of Heaven Park
  • Walk down the Long Corridor to enter the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests
  • Pass the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, which marks what was once the center of the city.
  • Visit the Exhibition Hall to see two sets of bronze chariots and horses that were excavated from the archaeological site in 1980
  • Yulong River bamboo raft ride – board a bamboo raft and leisurely float down the scenic Yulong River. Pass by towering limestone peaks, grassy rice paddies, and grazing water buffaloes as you go.
  • Acrobatic Show – gravity-defying acrobatic show this evening, which highlights Chinese traditions dating back to 200 BC. With amazing music, creative stage props, and incredibly talented performers, the impressive acts can only be likened to the world-renowned performances of Cirque du Soleil.
  • Enter the Jade Buddha Temple to see the white jade statues of sitting Buddha  and reclining Buddha.

  • Stroll through the Yuyuan Garden, the “Garden of Happiness”  
  • Visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha

I have also learned they have cruises down the Yangtze River. And you guys know I am about that cruise life. (https://www.chinahighlights.com/tour/cht-62/) The Yangtze River is one of the most interesting rivers in the world, with a wide variety of tourist attractions, scenery, and culture along its length. This is an 11 day cruise so I may have to do separate trips which would never be a problem for me. Just thinking about it makes me excited.

There are four Yangtze Cruise routes:

  • From Chongqing to Yichang (downstream) takes three nights and four days.
  • From Yichang to Chongqing (upstream) takes four nights and five days.
  • From Chongqing to Shanghai (downstream) take six nights and seven days.
  • From Shanghai to Chongqing (upstream) takes eight nights and nine days.

As is the case with any of my out of country trips, I have found a few tours that may at least get a few of the things on my list. So I will be posting links to them. I have friends that hate guided tours… I am not sure yet that I feel that way. I haven’t gone on one yet. In most cases, there is a about a 2 or 3 hour tour with the rest of the day to explore myself. Which in theory, I am good with.

There is a lot here to try and cover. I am not sure I would have a person on the whole trip with me but doesn’t that mean I don’t plan to do this. Absolutely not. I see myself heading in with my giant camera. As is my way, I have no more words so for now I am done.

Quarantine Post #20: Muffin Top by Avery Flynn (The Hartigans Book #2)

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Alright, I figured that I need to add this book to my postings since I have read it a few times now. (Once with my mother.) She and I never like the same things so shout out to Avery Flynn again for something else that I can debate with her about. If you have been keeping up with my book reviews… I am still stumbling through all things Avery Flynn. I am sad that I a bit behind reviewing all of the things that I have read up to this point but I promise that I will get better. Anyways let’s get to it.


Muffin Top is book 2 in the Hartigans series. Thank Goodness that these are standalones because I have just been reading her books any kind of way. Flynn is amazing at using backstories to show why people are they way that they are. But in this story, she tackles that childhood perceptions may not always be how events actually happened and what happens when you have been living your life based on these perceptions only to find out that it isn’t the whole truth.

The story starts off introducing us to Frankie Hartigan. He is the oldest of the Hartigans 7 children. (If you read my blog post about Tomboy, then you know he is Fallon’s older brother.) He lives with his twin brother to Finn (Finnian) and works as a fire fighter in what seems like the family business if you don’t count his brother Ford (being a police officer.) Frankie loves his job but being in such a stressful and dangerous job requires firefighters to take downtime for their well-being (a week every a year) and our hero hadn’t taken his required paid time off in 3 years. He is forced off work for 3 weeks. He has no clue what he will with time on his hands. He and his brother Ford are talking about it at Marino’s Bar when he notices Lucy Cavanaugh being given a hard time.

Lucy Cavanaugh has had a hard week at her job. She is the PR Rep for the Ice Knights and she specializes and crisis communications. Her biggest nightmare is Zach Blackburn. (See Tomboy post). All she wants to do is enjoy her food in peace but no. That is not in the cards for her since some bum wants to comment about her weight. It is a pretty lengthy scene in which the guy walks up and tells her that losing weight… eating less will help her get a man. She will move from a 4 to a solid 8. Now some people will say this is too far fetched but I have been on the receiving end of unsolicited advice from men that want to help me catch a husband. Usually men that hold no sort of attraction value themselves but I digress. The scene made me and my mother want to run him over with a bus.

“If one more person told Lucy that she’d be so pretty if she just lost some weight, she was going to set them on fire.”

Frankie shows up and of course none of the nonsense Mr. Know It All was spouting to Lucy before comes out of his mouth when Frankie is around. It was satisfying to see the dullard leave with his tail between legs. I want to order a Frankie Hartigan to walk around with me and be my bodyguard. I loved it.

Frankie’s dilemma is two fold. He is a great lay and has gotten around. But as the waitress at the bar tells him… He is not long term material and every girl in Waterbury knows it. This news hit him like a ton of bricks but there is also the realization that at 32 he is hasn’t had one fulfilling relationship. He is at that age where he does some self inspection about why he can’t seem to foster a real relationship with the opposite sex. He decided to clear his mind by taking a sexual sabbatical to sort out his thoughts and feelings. Super noble. But Frankie has got to be my favorite character. He’s confident, charming, competitive, and fun. He stood up for Lucy on several occasions whether she is there or not. It was beautiful. It is done because he genuinely cares and not out of pity. He may not think he is relationship material, but I can see how much of a family man he is with his own siblings. He is the protector and will go to war for any of his sisters and brother

Frankie’s solution to his boredom is to accompany Lucy to her upcoming high school reunion. Lucy is a big girl. Size 20 and from her response had no intention of returning to her hometown to relive the hell that was high school. ( I hated high school and did not attend any reunions. I am definitely good on that. So I understood the sentiment.) I can understand that the torment takes it’s toll but it was hard listening to her beat herself up chapter after chapter. Frankie genuinely likes and cares for her and is attempting to show her that. Lucy has walls up higher than the Great Wall of China. (My mother was screaming by the middle half of the book. It was glorious to watch.) But seriously, let someone in… everyone isn’t the douchenozzle at the bar. Lucy tried to use the fact that Frankie was on a sexual sabbatical as reason to keep him at arms length or blame him or not being attracted to her. Well that didn’t work. Lucy tries to use her defense mechanism of calling herself fat to keep other people from doing it. (Which Frankie totally calls her on.) But for all her spunk that really got on my nerves. UGH.

“I appreciate what you did. Seriously, I am going to hold that memory tight for the next time some a**hole decides that he or she needs to impart unsolicited advice about my body, but you don’t have to eat with me. I’m a big girl. Obviously.”

Avery Flynn knows how to write a good sex scene. They did not disappoint. The great thing about these scenes were that our heroine didn’t shy away from flaunting her body. She was who she was and was loud and owned it. The other great thing about this story is that she is allowed to fall in love without changing herself. She doesn’t get “skinny” to win a man. And Frankie doesn’t want her to.

I am just going to say that as is the case with Avery Flynn’s books…. the break up is HEARTBREAKING. I had to put the book down because I mean really. (Something about listening to people acting out made it way to real. I couldn’t handle it.) It was like a train wreck that I couldn’t stop listening to. In a good way. But the guys in the family help Frankie put himself back together. They talk and sort things out. REAL COMMUNICATION. I am here for it. Same for Lucy and her girls. These character do not have friends or family that just agrees. It is about getting to the real and I loved that.

Muffin Top is a Rom Com that had me laughing and crying. (My mother too and we never agree.) I found that I was invested in the characters pretty quickly I wanted to know how things were going to turn out. I enjoyed the switching of POV’s which not all writers can do well. As most of you know, I listen to these on Audible and what makes or breaks books for me is the narrators but Savannah Peachwood and Brian Pallino are fantastic and they heighten the experience for me. So if you have a chance to get in on Audible. Definitely do so. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. So check it out… tell me your thoughts. I always want to know if people agree or not.

Quarantine Post #19: Bucket List Activities

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I have had plenty of time to come up with more things to add to my bucket list. Not just because I have been quarantining for 6 months… (Who thought is was going to be that long? Ugh!) When I was younger, money was tighter so there was a lot that I wanted to do but couldn’t. So I am sure you’ll see things on this list that will make you go… She hasn’t done that? I know, I know but now that I actually make money I can start to take a look at all the things that I want to do and the places that I want to visit. There are some things here that I have already gotten to do thanks to a few friends. I will be sure to let you know which. There are some that I have removed because younger me may have been more adventurous than I am now. I will still add them so you can get a picture of the full list. I have found a few places to do some of the things so I will drop links where I can. On that note, let’s jump into it.

  • Seeing the New York Yankees play at Yankee Stadium (Baseball tickets are cheaper than I thought they would be. I have seen the Yankees play here where I live several times, but I still want to see Yankee Stadium.
  • Seeing the New York Rangers play at Madison Square Garden. (If you have read my post on the Black Girl Hockey Club, you would know that this was already done. Shout out to Leah… that was a great trip.
  • Seeing a hockey game in Canada – Because Leah and I belong to the Black Girl Hockey Club, we have decided that it is only natural to watch a hockey game in Canada. There will be two trips. I will write it up when that happens. This idea was totally based on Leah. Shout out to her again.
  • Tubing in the Caribbean. I have cruised to the Caribbean several times but no one wanted to tube with me. (Also as I have stated in my Family Cruise ( https://chukka.com/book-now/details/95332/jmwrv-river-tubing-and-blue-hole/) This link has a lot of things that I would want to do.
  • Riding ATV’s. (Did this with my sister in Grand Turk. It was amazeballs. Mariah enjoyed it. I hope to do it more often.) But also that same link from above also has great ATV. (I talk more about my sister and I riding ATV’s in the Family Cruise post.)
  • Jet Skiing – I have never been jet skiing. It may have something to do with my lack of being able to swim. But I like to go fast and I am sure I will be able to do it at some point. I figure I would start out with just a tour… but where should the tour be? (https://www.civitatis.com/en/montego-bay/jet-ski-rental/)
  • Snowboarding – Probably going to do this next year with my winter trip. I have yet to take a winter trip which is odd for me. I didn’t care where we went but just that I could rent snowboard and try heading down the mountain.
  • Sky Diving– This was removed from the list. I have since decided that I will not be jumping out of a perfectly working plane at all. Younger me was more an adventurous. I have determined indoor skydiving is okay.
  • Bungee Jumping – Also removed. As my dad put it, “I am not jumping off any bridge with a rubber band tied around my feet.” I used to laugh as a kid, the older I get though this seem to have a lot of merit.
  • Go Hang gliding/Paragliding – Not really sure why this is on here. It just seems like fun. Who knew.
  • Parasailing – This was an excursion choice on some of the cruises that I have gone on. The issue being that I couldn’t get the other person to do it with me or not enough money. If Mariah had been with me…. this totally would have happened.
  • Visit Universal Studios – This was done in 2017. It will tie into my next bullet point. But we took a trip to Orlando, visited the Islands of Adventures and the newly opened (At the time) Volcano Bay. I promise I will write up the trip on of these days.
  • Spending a day at a waterpark – As I stated above, one of the parks at Universal that I went to was Volcano Bay. It was fantastic. The watches they give you. It was so much fun. Too many people though. The other time was on a trip to the Bahamas that I was supposed to take with a guy friend but ended up going with a girlfriend. The Aquaventure Park was fun. ( https://www.atlantisbahamas.com/things-to-do/aquaventure-water-park )
  • Ride in a Hot Air Balloon – This may be because I was young when I read an article about a hot air balloon festival. It pops into my mind periodically.
  • Go White Water Rafting – I actually need other people to do this with so we will see how that works. Leah has pointed me in the direction of the U.S. National Whitewater Center. So I will be getting passes for that places ASAP. (https://usnwc.org/activity/whitewater-rafting/) There is a lot to do here… and I will be trying it all out.
  • See the Great Pyramids in Egypt – I really want to go and see that history for myself and visit Eqypt. I am sure one or all of my friends will love to join me on that.
  • See the Grand Canyon – I have a friend that has done this. I am sure she wouldn’t my accompanying me. I really need to get back into shape if I am going to tackle this. But I can’t wait to do this.
  • Visit the Haiku Stairs in Oahu, Hawaii – I like to try and test out my physical strength. Sitting down on my couch right now, I have an idea about how awesome a steep stair climb would be. I may (well I know) feel differently when I actually get to do it.
  • Walk on the Great Wall of China – This one is pretty self explanatory. I will get into that more in my next blog post about bucket list travel destinations. So wait on that.
  • Go to Rome – I am not sure what I will do for this one. Will I take a European Cruise? Or fly in? Decisions…. Decisions. I didn’t have the money or the time to take off when my friends went on their European cruise. But I am not going to miss my next chance.
  • Go Dog Sledding – Maybe I watched the movie Balto too many times. The idea of having a dog sledding race always appealed to me. Maybe when I take a winter trip it will happen. I am not saying I will be heartbroken if I reach the end of my life and have not gotten to do this.
  • Trek Up Dunn’s River Falls (Ocho Rios, Jamaica) – I only had a few hours in Ocho Rios while on the cruise so I ended up on an ATV. But I will say if I get a chance to go back I will try to tackle Dunn’s River Falls.
  • Go on an African Safari – Trust me. There will be another blog post about this. I have a whole itinerary. I can’t wait to do this. See different animals up close.
  • Visit the Seven Wonders of the World – I was going to add all of these individually. But there is really no point. I want to head to all of those places. (https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/outdoors-and-adventure/articles/new-seven-wonders-of-the-world)
  • Visit the Galapagos Islands – I hear the snorkeling is the best here. So why not right? There is really no downside to traveling the world.
  • Visit Notre Dame in Paris – I just like the architecture. But it has moved to the bottom of list on purpose.
  • Visit Disney World’s all over the world – I have not been to Disney World at all. Sad. At this point in my life… I would set up a trip to take my nephew. He would enjoy it. Or I could be part of the 64% of people that go and don’t have children. (Apparently it is not as odd as people make it seem. LOL. ) No matter what I decide I shall get to at least one of them before I die.
  • Visit Niagara Falls – This one has moved towards the bottom of the list because with Leah and I heading to Toronto to see a hockey game in Canada (at some point in the future) and with my blog post of places I want to get married. I am 1000% sure this one will happen at some point.
  • See a Musical on Broadway – Does the Lion King count? It was one of the highlights that I had from my trip to see family in NYC back in 2003. I was 16 and what I remember of that trip was the performance. It was FANTASTIC. It you haven’t seen it… Please do (when the world opens back up.)
  • Visit Highclere castle – This is something to do while I am in England. I totally want to take in the castle where they filmed Downton Abbey. (I am going to do a post about this in the future.) I may have to settle for the Downton Abbey Exhibit that is here in the states. (https://www.downtonexhibition.com/)
  • Visit Big Ben – If you read my post about travel to England… This isn’t news to you. If you haven’t read it…. Check it out.
  • Attend the Olympics – I had a trip that I was eyeing to Japan this year that would have included the Olympics. But COVID ruins everything. UGH. But if you want to see the itinerary… It is here (https://www.goaheadtours.com/guided-tours/japan-2021-gold-medal-moments-in-tokyo)
  • See Cherry Blossoms in Japan – Since I have mentioned Japan above… It is here because I wanted to go to the One Piece Tower (but that was closed indefinitely because of COVID. IT RUINS EVERYTHING.) But there is plenty to do and see in Japan. Cherry Blossoms being on that list. (https://www.goaheadtours.com/guided-tours/cherry-blossoms-in-japan-tokyo-to-kyoto)
  • Ride on a gondola in Venice – Can you have a trip to Italy without a gondola ride?
  • Ride the Trolley in San Francisco – I care not where I ride the trolley to… It is just riding the trolley. I have a trip to San Francisco planned I am going to make a post about that. But trust riding a trolley is on it.

  • Going to SeaWorld – Here is another thing that I didn’t get a chance to do as a kid. I think though that as an adult I can appreciate it more when I take my nephew. He has a thing about sharks. So that will be fun.

  • See the Leaning Tower of Pisa – I feel like this is a thing I should see. I must see it and understand why it is leaning.
  • See the Ball drop in Times Square – I am from the MTV generation and every New’s Years TRL did a show until the ball dropped and maybe teenage me wanted to see NSYNC perform while waiting for midnight. (This may not happen because I really do not like crowds.)
  • Visit a vineyard – I am not a drinker anymore but the appeal of riding a train with friends to a vineyard (https://www.visitnapavalley.com/) or Martha’s Vineyard or both. I am sure my friends and sister would be down. (https://www.mvy.com/weddings.html)
  • Go PaintBalling – I have been tossing the idea of paint balling around. Younger me was so worried about getting hurt but I read a novel (romance) where her job goes on a retreat and they got paint balling. And that has been on my mind for a while.
  • Go ziplining – Family cruise 2018 (check out that post.) My sister and I did this. I am not sure I will do it again. Maybe if Mariah is there.
  • Go Rock Climbing – I have done this a few times in a controlled environment. But not out in the real world. I have gotten my fill of it for now.

So that is it for now. This list grows and changes over the years. In quarantine, it has grown quite a bit. But that is all for now peeps.

Quarantine Post #18: House M.D.

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My love of Sherlock Holmes led me to a very particular medical drama. Prior to watching House, I wasn’t a fan of the genre. I didn’t watch E.R. or Grey’s Anatomy and still haven’t. In fact, I could argue that House left me unable to watch any other medical dramas in the future. I will say that based on friends who love both Grey’s Anatomy or E.R. I could end up a bundle of mess. But the premise of a doctor with such poor bedside manner was intriguing… I was young then because I have since been in contact with several doctors who fit that description and it didn’t have the same effect. At this point, it has been off the air for years and I still love it as much as when I first bought the DVDs and binge-watched seasons 1-4 on my three day weekend. Shoutout to prime delivery. It is now on Prime video for those of you that have time and nothing to do. Get some House in your life.

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House M. D. centers around Dr. Gregory House who is an unconventional curmudgeon and a bit of a medical genius with a bad leg. I mean why else would you let this guy get away with some of the stuff he says and does.  (Let me tell you… That word came up in an article I read at the time and I have never forgotten it.) House heads a team of diagnosticians at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey. I used to be more of a Dr. House character in my young life… in that, I used to just say what was on my mind no matter what the fallout. The older you get you realize that is not appropriate. Not the case for House.

I remember dating a guy that said he hated House. It wasn’t as great as people were making it out to be. “He always solves the case. Nothing spectacular about that.” Well… I should have seen this as a red flag. The guy and I didn’t last long. (He was one of those people that hated everything anyone liked… so tiresome and annoying.) The kicker was if that is what people took away from the show… you can tell they have only seen a few episodes in passing. Now like any “procedural” there is a structure… in this case… normally see people in their everyday life end up having a medical emergency and head to Princeton Plainsboro. Does House ALWAYS solve the case and people survive? No. (Which anyone who has actually seen a medical drama would know.)

Now I mentioned earlier that it was the connection to Sherlock Holmes that pulled me in. David Shore, the creator of the show, has admitted that he is a big Holmes fan. Mostly, Holmes indifference to people. House resembles Holmes in his reluctance to accept cases he finds uninteresting. House uses cases to take his mind off his bad leg. House’s name is similar to Holmes… even his close friend Wilson’s name is close to Holmes’s friend, Watson. Both characters play instruments (House plays the piano, the guitar, and the harmonica; Holmes, the violin). What was interesting to me was the House has an addiction to pain pills… Vicodin. (I am sure this is more common than I know but I am glad I am that in my fantasy world this isn’t the case.) Holmes, on the other hand, has an addiction to cocaine, morphine, and opium. One thing to keep in mind though is that in the time that the Sherlock stories were being published, these drugs were perfectly legal. He was a reflection of the time and the people reading. David Shore has said that House’s name itself is meant as “a subtle homage” to Holmes. House’s address is 221B Baker Street, a direct reference to Holmes’s street address. Wilson’s address is also 221B.

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Let’s look at the cast of House M.D. I would say this is an ensemble cast. But I will say that all of the cast is highly talented which isn’t always the case.

  • Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie)- Dr. House is an Infectious Disease Specialist, Nephrologist, Head of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine. Prior to the start of the series, he suffered an infarction in his right leg which went misdiagnosed for three days. There was an aneurysm in his thigh that had clotted, leading to the infarction and causing his quadriceps muscle to become necrotic. House had the dead muscle bypassed to restore circulation to the remainder of his leg, risking organ failure and cardiac arrest. He was unwilling to allow an amputation opting instead to endure excruciating post-operative pain to retain the use of his leg. House now suffers chronic pain in his thigh and uses a cane to aid his walking, though he often wields the cane for protection, pushing aside privacy curtains, stopping elevator doors, or knocking on doors. He also frequently takes Vicodin, a moderate to severe painkiller, to relieve his pain. Hugh Laurie manages to make people forget that he is an English actor.
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  • Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) – Dr. Lisa Cuddy is an Endocrinologist and the Dean of Medicine/Hospital Administrator. She runs the hospital and she is a bad ass woman in charge. Cuddy and House have a romantic thing for each other stemming from when the two both attended the University of Michigan where they had a one night stand. Cuddy embarks on a journey to have a child. She starts with in-vitro fertilization. We learn that she has made a total of three attempts at impregnation, one of which was miscarried.  In Season 5, Cuddy reveals that she is adopting a baby girl, to be named Joy, and then is devastated when the birth-mother decides to keep the baby. Cuddy becomes a foster mother and potential adoptive mother to a baby girl she names Rachel. She initially struggles with motherhood, revealing to Wilson that she feels nothing for Rachel but soon begins to bond with her. Cuddy is able to keep House in check more or less and admits that when she hired him she set aside $50,000 a year from the hospital’s budget for potential legal expenses.
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  • Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) – is the Head of the Department of Oncology, House’s best friend, and frequently provides him with consultations and aid…. more power to Wilson since I wonder how anyone can befriend House. Prior to the series, shortly after graduating medical school, Wilson accidentally broke an antique mirror and started a bar fight when another customer who was repeatedly playing “Leave A Tender Moment Alone” by Billy Joel to the frustration of Wilson, who was going through a divorce with his first wife at the time. (Wilson goes through a lot of divorces.) House met him in jail and, motivated by a desire for companionship and boredom, bailed him out and hired an attorney to clear his name, thus starting their professional and personal relationship. House describes Wilson as “a buddy of mine people say ‘Thank you’ to when he tells them they are dying.” Wilson, at first, doesn’t see a problem with House’s drug use writing many of the prescriptions himself. What the writer did to Wilson at the end hurts my heart.
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  • Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) – Dr. Foreman is a Neurologist, a member of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine, and eventually the Dean of Medicine. Foreman attended Columbia University as an undergraduate before matriculating at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Like House, Foreman has also been shown to be extremely honest even at the cost of hurting other people’s feelings. At one point, Foreman leaves House’s team and takes a job at Mercy Hospital in New York, and he immediately goes out of his way to conduct differential diagnoses with a calm head and professional attitude, almost the exact opposite of House. However, when a patient presents with a condition with similar symptoms to the patient he killed, Foreman goes against regulations (like House) to save the patient’s life, which he does. Despite making a life-saving call, Foreman’s administrator fires him due to violating regulations. House and Foreman are more alike than Foreman would like to admit.
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  • Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer) – Dr. Chase is a Surgeon, Intensivist, Cardiologist, and the Head of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine (series finale). Chase is regarded by most characters as someone who will do anything to protect his job. He seems to trust House the most and sometimes takes part in House’s morally questionable plans when the other members of the team have refused. This leads to heated arguments between Chase and Foreman, who is quick to disagree with House and eager to prove him wrong. Chase performs most of the invasive medical procedures, as well as observing and helping with the team’s patients’ surgeries when he worked for House. After his departure from the team, Chase becomes a surgeon in the hospital.
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  • Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) – Dr. Cameron is an immunologist, a member of the Diagnostic Medicine team, and works in Emergency Medicine. She is the only woman on House’s team and manages to handle her own in the all boys club. She is known for her honesty, sincerity, idealism and strong ethical center which will be interesting in one of the episodes I choose later on. Cameron objects to House’s reliance on deceiving their patients and has gone head-to-head with him several times on the issue. She has also been reluctant to deliver bad news to patients or their families which is the case in an episode where it is determined by her and several doctors that a patient has terminal cancer and she tries to deny it and look for other causes before having to tell the young lady that she is dying.
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  • Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson) – He had to be my least favorite doctor of the series. But he was a plastic surgeon. Taub is a plastic surgeon and was #39 during the “games” used by House to select his new team. Taub is the most willing of the applicants to challenge House’s authority (annoyingly so… For me, it just seems sometimes that he is contrary because he feels it will win him points.)  In the sixth season Taub quit PPTH and returned to his plastic surgery practice during the brief period Foreman led the diagnostics team after House’s departure in the episode “Epic Fail”, saying he had only joined the team “to work with House.” (Insert eyeroll.)
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  • Remy “Thirteen” Hadley (Olivia Hadley) – Thirteen was an internist. She is part of the new diagnostic team assembled by House after the disbanding of his previous team at the end of the third season. (She has to be my favorite character… with my favorite story.) Thirteen is reluctant to reveal information about herself and is extremely secretive. (Much like myself… everyone doesn’t need to know everything about you.) She simply lets her fellow applicants refer to her as “Thirteen” rather than her real name, and constantly deflects curious prodding from both House and Amber Volakis about her personal life and past. Although his meddling with her personal affairs and insatiable curiosity frustrates Thirteen, House comes to respect her as a talented doctor and the two build a relationship of mutual trust and understanding of each other’s personalities (and, occasionally, shared cynicism and/or sarcasm).
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  • Dr. Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn) – Who doesn’t love Kal Penn? (Not a challenge.) He was working in Sports Medicine. Kutner is shown to be open-minded about any new experience which is the reason he wants to join House’s new team. Out of all the newcomers, Kutner is the most enthusiastic and the one most likely to go along with House in taking risks, including illegal activities taking Chase’s place in that regard. When House is finally forced to pick his new team, Dr. Cuddy suggests he hire Kutner because Kutner “shares House’s philosophy of medicine.”
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  • Dr. Martha Masters (Amber Tamblynn) – She is a medical student with a double-Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Art History. She comes into constant opposition to House’s want to lie to patients. She graduated high school at 15. She seems out of place with the rest of the team. Mostly because she is so young. She can be easily intimidated. House threatens to have Masters thrown out of medical school if she tells Cuddy or her mother’s physician about switching her medication.
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  • Dr. Jessica Adams (Oddette Annable) – House meets Jessica Adams at the prison where House was incarcerated after he crashed his car into Cuddy’s living room. (Not the best moment of his. Normally, I can rationalize something he says or does… but not this thing.) She also finds out about his prior reputation as a leading diagnostician. When House expresses that he intends to entirely leave medicine, Adams tells him he has a gift that he can’t abandon. Adams and Park have a strained and competitive relationship. They disagree on most issues including charity, child labor, altruism, and why people become friends. It is revealed that Adams is from “old money” (a wealthy family) and did her residency at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She has no money concerns whatsoever as she buys expensive shoes and gives gifts even when she’s out of work. I loved her character but it is really hard to top 13. 
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  • Dr. Chi Park (Charlyne Yi) -She is a neurologist who is added to Dr. House’s Diagnostic team in season 8. It happens because her drunk boss palms her ass and she punches him for it. When Dr. Adams joined them, she and Park often butted heads over social issues. Park has ongoing anger issues, she also slams doors and screams at people when she gets frustrated. Unlike House, she is very concerned about how other people see her, and always makes sure her hair, make-up and clothing are as immaculate as possible. House also has more difficulty manipulating Park than he had with his other fellows. He knows that his fellows will usually bury their anger when he pushes them, but he knows Park will merely lash out instead. Park is also more than willing to stand up to House, both personally and professionally.
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Now that I have covered House’s ever changing team. I would like to point out here that I HATE when they change casts once, much less twice. So I am amazed that I made it through all 8 seasons. But because each team member brings something awesome to the table, I was able to manage it. So I have picked a few moments over the course of the show that were either hilarious or shocking or just sad. Now… let’s jump into those.

  1. 3 Stories (Season 1, Episode 21) – Here is where we get the backstory into House’s ailment and somewhat his surly attitude. However the story is told in a way that was most in entertaining… (to me at least.) During a lecture on diagnostics, House presents three scenarios in which a patient complains of leg pain and challenges his students to diagnose them. What we as the audience finds out is that one of the stories is about House and the incident that leaves him needing a cane for the rest of his life. In many episodes of the series, the patient appears to represent a part of House. In this episode, the tables are turned – there are three patients who, as it turns out, could have been House’s case. The symptom they come to the emergency room with is identical in each case. Even his students are fooled for a while. The third case is disguised by saying the patient was Carmen Electra, who complained of pain after playing golf. The patient (House) has blood in his urine, which has turned tea-colored. House explains that this is the result of both blood and waste products accumulating in the urine. He then asks the class for a possible diagnosis. House becomes angrier with each wrong answer, until Dr. Cameron guesses “muscle death”. The attending doctors didn’t realize this for three days, at which point the patient (House) suggested it. Cuddy tells him they may have to remove the leg. The thigh had a aneurysm which led to an infarction. Prior to this episode, it is easy to write him off as always having been this way… an unfeeling, uncaring bastard. But it is revealed that prior to his incident, he had a serious relationship with a woman named Stacey. And knowing that their relationship died when they were trying to talk him into amputating his leg even though he was refusing it. He wanted a different more invasive approach. It is Stacey who uses her position as his medical proxy to make a different decision while he is unconscious. It killed their relationship and leaves the audience with a better understanding of his character.
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  2. No Reason (Episode 2, Season 24) – As House and his team work on the diagnosis of Vincent, a man with a massively swollen tongue and a high temperature, a disgruntled former patient named Jack Moriarty (Holmes reference anyone?) walks into House’s office and shoots House twice with a handgun. My initial reaction to this was “I would have figured someone would want to cause him bodily harm before now.”) Jack ends up in the hospital bed next to house since the security guards shot him while trying to escape. House wakes up Moriarty and asks why he wanted him to die. Moriarty replies that it was not his intention to kill House, and that he wanted to see House suffer. (As I am sure a lot of people who come into contact with House want him to do as well. While diagnosing her, House badgered Moriarty until he admitted that he had cheated on her. Despite this fact having no medical relevance to his wife’s illness, House told her about the affair anyway. Moriarty’s wife then committed suicide shortly after being released from the hospital. He tells House that he realizes that his affair led to his wife’s suicide, however he feels that House should take part of the blame because there was “no reason” to tell her about it. (In this situation… House likes to pretend he is doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing but he obviously got a perverse satisfaction out of tearing this woman’s world apart and them went on about his business. Not cool man.) Since the shooting, House feels decreased pain in his leg. He finds out from his records that during the surgery to treat the gunshot wounds, a treatment of ketamine to induce a coma had been given to relieve his leg pain, but he experiences neurological side effects. He begins to question his own ability to diagnose, while hostility increases between him and Moriarty. After several hallucinations, House determines that nothing he has experienced since the shooting is real. in the final minutes of the episode we see House being rushed into the ER moments after he was shot. Before the episode ends, House asks Cameron to tell Cuddy that he wants ketamine.
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  3. The Tyrant (Season 6, Episode 4) – The team treats a brutal African dictator named Dibala (James Earl Jones) who has fallen ill. The dictator had made threats of ethnic cleansing against an ethnic minority, the Sitibi, and the team deals with ethical issues of treating a potential mass murderer. I love James Earl Jones in everything he does and this performance shook me to the core. A refugee attempts to persuade Chase to let Dibala die from his illness. Later he dresses as a nurse and tries to enter Dibala’s room with a pistol. This assassination attempt is violently thwarted by Dibala’s guards. Cameron is very vocal about not wanting to treat a man that is hellbent on genocide and Chase seems rather indifferent, not really voicing any opinion on the matter. Chase finds out that the refugee was one of Dibala’s child soldiers, ordered to torture and murder an innocent woman, and the man tells Chase that Dibala will do this to all the Sitibi. Chase is more curious than others and confronts Dibala, who eventually reveals his plans to kill off the ethnic minority. While giving Dibala a dose, Dibala violently grabs her and suspects her of attempting to kill him by injecting air into his bloodstream. He confronts her about her hostile feelings towards him, and says she attempting to ease her conscious by having someone else murder him. Now, he states, the gun is in her hand, and he tells her she should kill him if she wants him dead, but notes that it’s not so easy to kill.  Dibala claims he showed Cameron her true character, saying she’s too weak to act on her beliefs. Chase confronts him about his planned genocide of the Sitibi. Dibala answers with: ‘Whatever it takes to protect my country!’  Dibala eventually dies from severe bleeding into his lungs. Foreman finds a piece of paper that shows Chase had signed into the morgue right before he performed the blood test on Dibala. He realizes Chase faked the results of test with the blood of another patient, to cause the team to treat incorrectly and kill the dictator and confronts him about this. Chase says there is now a chance for peace and tells Foreman that if the police are to come for him, to warn him so he can first explain to Cameron. (The way that man bled out. Ridiculous.)MV5BMjA0ODY1NTY2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTE2Mjg4Mg@@._V1_
  4. Both Sides Now (Season 5, Episode 24) – This episode grabbed my attention not because of the patient and the patient’s ailment is interesting. A man who has undergone a corpus callosotomy procedure to treat epilepsy. The procedure left him with independently functioning left and right brain hemispheres and two distinct personalities, resulting in loss of conscious control over some of his actions, including those of his left hand, a condition known as alien hand syndrome. (I should have been intrigued but it really was House’s day.)  It is what happens with House and Cuddy. Up to this point, the sexual tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. House wakes up at his apartment after spending the night with Cuddy. He discovers that she has left her lipstick on his bathroom counter, as well as on his cheek. House pockets the lipstick, and goes to work in a cheerful mood and a remarkable lack of pain. House then goes to talk to Cuddy in her office, and asks her if she could possibly be overreacting to the previous night. She finally admits that maybe she is, since he’s “said plenty of lousy things to [her] before.” House seems genuinely confused, as he assumed that she was overreacting to her and House having sex and what it could mean to their employer-employee relationship. But he realizes that Cuddy’s reactions all day have been consistent, and in fact it is his own memory of the situation that is faulty. He turns his attention to the lipstick Cuddy left at his apartment, which he has been playing with all day, and is troubled that Cuddy’s coffee cup shows no lipstick smears; his memory of the prior evening included smears of lipstick on his face from kissing Cuddy, so he expects her lipstick is the sort that smears. In the end, he realizes that he never actually spent the night with Cuddy. In his mind, House thought he told Cuddy that he needed her help with his addiction. He never told Cuddy he was having hallucinations that night. His final words of the evening were: “You can go suckle the little bastard child if that makes you feel good about yourself.” Upset by this remark, she left the office and went home, never accompanying him to his apartment. House snaps back to reality and tries to explain to Cuddy that that’s not what actually happened, saying “I told you I needed you, and you helped me.” He reaches into his pocket to remove the lipstick, but, to his shock, he discovers that it is actually a bottle of Vicodin. Cuddy and Wilson escort House to the psychiatric ward. 
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  5. Help Me (Season 6, Episode 22) – Wow this one was a heavy hitter. House admits a lot is wrong in his life because he didn’t decide to amputate his leg when he had the chance. House, Cuddy, and House’s team roam the area diagnosing and treating victims, until they come across the crane operator, who ostensibly fell asleep despite being overloaded with caffeine. House hears a sound similar to that of a person banging on a steel pipe. He informs the emergency officials, who attempt to communicate with anyone possibly trapped beneath the rubble, but they give up after receiving no response. House decides to go looking himself, and crawls under the mountain of rubble until he reaches a deep cavity and finds a trapped woman named Hanna. The situation is exacerbated when the emergency official realizes the support beam pinning Hanna, the trapped woman, is also under a mountain of rubble that could collapse. The equipment that can free her is hours away from arriving, so the official suggests amputation. Both Hanna and House refuse. Hanna continues to refuse the amputation, listening to House’s earlier advice, but House soon arrives. To Cuddy’s surprise, House tells Hanna she should amputate. He then answers her earlier question of what had happened to his own leg, by telling the story of his infarction and his own refusal of the suggested amputation. House brings the electric saw and a scalpel to the scene, and explains that he cannot give her anesthesia, since it is too risky, forcing him to amputate the leg with her awake, followed by her screams. She is immediately taken to an ambulance, which then departs for Princeton-Plainsboro. On the ride back, Hanna suddenly has trouble breathing. House realizes she has a fat embolism, caused by the amputation. Impossible to treat, she dies before arriving at Princeton-Plainsboro. For House, it is the drop of water that makes the vase overflow. Despite Foreman’s support, he cannot stand it anymore.   In pain from his leg, various wounds, and Hanna’s death, he rips his bathroom mirror out of the wall revealing a hidden cavity behind it, where he had a final stash of Vicodin. He opens a bottle and takes out two pills, thinking that Vicodin is his only way of feeling better. As he is getting ready to take them, Cuddy arrives. House stops and asks if he is hallucinating this and she asks if he took the Vicodin. Realizing it was still in his hand, House drops the pills on the floor. They both smile at each other, sharing another kiss and joining hands.
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  6. Nobody’s Fault (Season 8, Episode 11) – For me, I think it was the way the stabbing is handled that threw me for a loop. House and his team are subjected to a disciplinary hearing after their patient suffered a psychotic breakdown and stabbed Chase. The hearing is conducted by Dr. Walter Colfield, Foreman’s former mentor at Johns Hopkins University.
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    As Chase attempts to biopsy the patient’s rash, the patient suffers another psychotic episode and stabs Chase with a scalpel, lacerating his heart. It was the blood shooting out in spurts that got me… and then Dr. Adams stick her finger in his chest to stop the bleed. Seeing her on top of him on the gurney because he will bleed out otherwise is something that sticks out in my mind when I think about the show. 
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    Chase survives surgery but is left paralyzed. House concludes that the paralysis is caused by a blood clot. Chase regains feeling when surgery is performed to remove the clot that is pressing on his spine, but he faces extensive physical therapy. During the last day of the hearing, Dr. Colfield calls House brilliant but a fiasco; however, the patient’s wife speaks up on House’s behalf, saying House “saved my husband’s life.” At this point Colfield decides that House is an important part of the hospital and he would damage the hospital by sending him back to prison. Therefore, he rules that the accident was “nobody’s fault.” House before leaving accuses Colfield of being a coward; he then goes to see Chase, who is doing his rehabilitation exercises. House tells Chase how Colfield decided that his stabbing was nobody’s fault, but he then says “they’re wrong, I’m sorry.”
  7. House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart (Season 4, Episode 15 & 16) – This is the two part season 4 finale. It had me wondering if House and Wilson’s friendship was going to make it. House’s Head revolves around Dr. Gregory House, who, after being involved in a bus accident, vaguely remembers seeing someone who is “going to die”. House tries to trace back his steps throughout the episode to find out the identity of this person. When the episode opens, House is getting a lap dance at a strip club, as he leaves the club, he sees that the bus he was traveling on has crashed. He helps diagnosed the bus driver and finds the reason for the bus crash. But he doesn’t stop having hallucinations meaning that the patient in his mind is not the bus driver. He eventually concludes and tells Wilson and Cuddy that the patient that needs help is Amber. She was on the bus with him and was injured in the crash. Wilson’s Heart, part two of the episode, begins with House and Wilson at Princeton General Hospital, where the eight overflow victims of the bus crash that weren’t taken to Princeton-Plainsboro ended up being taken, including Amber, who up until now was only known as Jane Doe #2 due to a lack of ID on her. The attending physician at Princeton General cannot explain Amber’s sudden onset tachycardia, but explains that whatever is causing this condition isn’t from the bus crash. While being moved via the ambulance, Amber’s tachycardia degenerates into v-fib. House goes to shock Amber to stabilize her heart, but Wilson demands he stop and put her into protective hypothermia. He tells House that if he restarts her heart now, it will keep racing, and kill her brain. In an attempt to buy more time for a proper diagnosis, Wilson figures protective hypothermia along with dialysis is her best option. House agrees; however, during the further testing that follows, Amber develops multisystem organ failure, including liver and neurological damage. (Wilson who was dating Amber at the time of the bus crash, becomes an obstacle in diagnosing Amber.) House manages to diagnose Amber recalling that she reached into her purse and pulled out prescription pills, which turned out to be amantadine. She took a heavy dose of two or three amantadine pills, right as the garbage truck plowed into the bus. The crash caused such extensive anatomical and physiological trauma (especially the blood loss and shock from her leg injury) that she ended up suffering from acute kidney failure. This damage to her kidneys made them unable to adequately filter out the amantadine, causing her to overdose and thus causing injury to her organs and all of her unexplained symptoms. With all of her organs damaged, she is unable to qualify for a heart transplant, and so there is nothing they can do to treat her. Wilson weans Amber off anesthesia in order to spend her last moments alive with him. The team comes in one by one to say goodbye to Amber, and after Wilson himself says goodbye, he shuts off Amber’s bypass and she dies. An unconscious House has a vision of Amber, who persuades him not to give up on life and die, telling him that he “can’t always get what he wants”. Wilson returns home and finds the note Amber left him in their bedroom saying she went to pick up House and would return home soon, causing him to break down in tears.
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    In the end, 13 finds out that she inherited Huntington’s Disease. Her mother died from it and her brother also has it. 
  8. The Dig (Season 7, Episode 18) – This episode marks the return of 13, whose whereabouts have been unknown to House’s team for the last year. The episode starts with House waiting outside Middlebury Correctional Institute in New Jersey. It turns out he is picking up the freshly-released 13 who is surprised to see House. As they drive away, House asks her what she did. When she replies that she was in jail for “excessive prescribing”, House states that this was only her plea bargain and not the truth. Thirteen avoids the question. House mentions he is going to a spud-gun competition. House tells 13 about his relationship with Cuddy and their recent breakup. 13 tells House that she killed a man. House figures out that Thirteen had euthanized her brother who, like her mother, suffered from Huntington’s disease. Thirteen admits this and explains that her brother had asked her to end his life in one of his increasingly short periods of lucidity. She tells him that she knows that she will one day reach similar state and that there will be no one to help her in the same way, a plaintive declaration that clearly troubles the silent and pensive House. In the last scene, House drops Thirteen by her house, sarcastically noting that she owes him $87 for the fuel. When he sees her staring in depression, House tells her; “I’ll kill you, when the time comes, if you want”. Thirteen nods to him, accepting the offer as she leaves the car.
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  9. The C Word (Season 8, Episode 19) –  I think the worst thing that occurred was giving Wilson, (the Oncologist) cancer. As you know, Doctor’s are the worst patients. Wilson has stage 2 cancer and House accompanies him to an appointment with his doctor. Wilson’s doctor explains they will have to give him radiation therapy before trying to remove the tumor with surgery because it has started to spread. However, Wilson realizes that with such conservative therapy, if the tumor doesn’t start to shrink by the time they try chemotherapy, it will be terminal. The doctor tries to reassure him that in 75% of cases like his, the radiation alone will destroy the tumor. Wilson counters that because the tumor has started to spread to surrounding tissue, it’s too late for radiation alone. He wants radiation and chemotherapy together. The doctor opposes this course of action because it will put too much of a stress on his immune system and points out that Wilson has given this same recommendation to several patients of his own. House is treading lightly when he points out that Wilson’s doctor was right… At 221B, they prepare Wilson for treatment. House starts off with a couple of martinis and a toast to stupidity. He also reminds Wilson about the side effects of the treatment. Wilson hands him the chemotherapy drugs. Wilson goes through many side effects of this treatment and is vomiting heavily. House is out of morphine, so he gives Wilson some Vicodin. He reassures Wilson he has lots, but it soon becomes clear that he’s running out and House grabs some booze to deal with his own pain. Wilson finally gets angry that as an oncologist, he has gotten cancer. He’s also mad about how he’s misled his patients by reassuring them and says he should have acted more like House – at least that way he would feel he deserved cancer. Wilson wakes up the next morning. House hands him a glass of water. Wilson tried to recall some of the things he said, but House says he stopped listening. Wilson asks for a chance to go to the bathroom by himself, but House has to help him get there. Wilson realizes House is in a lot of pain and lied about having lots of Vicodin. Wilson asks if what he went through with the pain for two days is what House has to go through every day. House nods. Wilson says it must suck. House says at least he doesn’t have cancer.
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  10. Everybody Dies (Season 8, Episode 21) – This is where it all ends.  As the series draws to a close, the patient of the week becomes a sideline to House’s real puzzle – how can he avoid jail and spend the time by Wilson’s side instead. Wilson decided in the previous episode that he is not going to go through anymore chemotherapy. Meaning that he has chosen death.  They argue about Wilson’s decision with House saying that he wants Wilson around as long as possible and with Wilson shouting that he (Wilson) has done whatever House has wanted up to this point. But that he will not die on his House’s terms to continue to make House feel better.) When House’s “differential” to avoid prison appears to have sent him into a dead end from which he cannot escape, he follows his patient into oblivion. He has a series of hallucinations in the form of Kutner, Amber, Stacey and Cameron who help him come to a decision. Ironically, his impending death gives him the epiphany he needs to solve his puzzle. He finally realizes that there is one relationship which is worth living for, even if embracing it means he has to toss the rest of his life away. House decided to fake his own death and spend the next 5 months with Wilson. At his funeral Wilson gives a real eulogy, telling the audience that House was an pain in the ass. But Wilson gets a text mid eulogy showing that House is still alive. The scene changes to Wilson pulling up in a car. He sees House sitting on a nearby stoop. As Wilson stumbles to him in awe, House says that he managed to get out the back of the building and then switched out his dental records for the patient’s. Wilson tells him he is destroying his entire life; he can never go back. If he does, he will go to jail for years and can never be a doctor again. In response, House says that he is dead and asks Wilson how he wants to spend his last five months. Wilson laughs. In the final visit to PPTH, we see Chase has taken over as the head of diagnostic medicine with Adams and Park working as his fellows; his name is now on House‘s old office door.Cameron goes back to work as the head of the emergency room in Chicago. She gazes at a picture of the old team before she runs over to her husband and child. Foreman goes back to work as Dean of Medicine. He notices his previously shaky table is steady. He looks down to find House’s hospital pass leveling the short leg. He muses for a moment and then starts smiling; he knows House is still alive.House and Wilson are on separate motorcycles on a old-fashioned bridge in the country. Wilson starts to talk about what House should do when the cancer gets worse but House, with the final line of the series, simply says, “Cancer’s boring.”
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So needless to say, I have not watched any other medical drama since. Giving Wilson cancer killed me and it was all I could do to make it through to the end. It has some powerful episodes and I still love it 8 years later. That is all for now.

Quarantine Post #17: Wedding Wishes

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It seems to surprise people that I have always dreamed of my wedding day. It could be that I have always been a tomboy. But that really annoys me because tomboy or not… it shouldn’t be shocking that I have had thoughts about how I want my wedding to go down. Things over the years, I have changed my mind on or even gotten rid of altogether (such as church weddings). Now of course when I meet someone I will have to amend things because it is not just my wedding. Recently, a friend of mine and I were talking hypothetically about what are weddings would consist of and while I had given a lot of thought to it in the past… I found that my thoughts had changed drastically from when I was 13. (Thank Goodness.) I remember having a conversation with my sister a couple of weeks ago where she said that she used to think about her wedding as a kid. But the older that she gets she is learning towards heading to a courthouse. I am more leaning towards eloping. So as is the case with my posts… let’s jump into what I envision for my special day.

I am so loving this. Botanical Gardens.
I envision something like this but not as many chairs.

I used to think that weddings had to happen in a church. Obviously, that was a thoughts of a child. I have lost interest in having a wedding inside period. Seems stuffy. The older me has settled on some sort of destination wedding. It will be a sort of built in vacation for those that are invited but we will get to that too. I have had a few places that have crossed my mind.

For now, I am leaning towards Niagara Falls but I will have to visit and see how I feel

I will admit here that I started leaning towards destinations weddings because I liked the idea of possibly getting a wedding and a honeymoon in one. I am not leaning towards that as much anymore mostly because my husband to be (whoever he is) may not want that or may want to destination somewhere and honeymoon in another. Both of these things are fine with me. The other thing that started me to leaning towards destination weddings is the very awesome invitation ideas. (I enjoy getting things in the mail and there is a huge bonus when those things are awesome. ) There are a few that I have picked out for the destination wedding which is or will be mine. Here is where not doing the reading for your college class and looking through pinterest has paid off.

This is so cute and so much fun. I am sure this will cost a bit and I may change my mind on it
I am loving the boarding pass style. Travel is in my blood. TOO CUTE.
These envelopes say “She’s having a fancy event. Come and Join us. “

If you are interested in these… Check out this person’s Etsy store https://www.etsy.com/shop/Luckyladypaper?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=517961471

Now in regards to save the date cards… There are several great ones that I enjoy. But I will share with you guys the top two. I really like the boarding pass one. I am the nerd who keeps things like that from a trip. So that I may scrapbook it later. I still have a ticket stub that I friend of mine bought me for a concert that was about 10 years ago. Anyway… here we go.

Isn’t it this awesome? I am really looking forward to contacting this etsy store and ordering these when the time is right.
This is super cute. And now I am leaning to ordering half and half. Because I need all the Save the Dates.

Now I am more into the venues and the invitations. But most people are into the dress. But to tell you the truth… I can’t say that is my primary fixation. Does that mean I haven’t glanced at a few? Sure. It helps when your friends around you are getting married. Because then they drag you off to the dress store and get you fitted. Also thank goodness that as a bridesmaid I wasn’t stuck with an ugly dress. For a tomboy that can be scarring. (Great friends who know your shortcoming also makes dress shopping not terrible.) Did I get immense pleasure from looking at these dresses…? Of course, who doesn’t want to look good on their day? Alright, Alright… so let’s see them right?

See? This nice and fluffy. Leah would approve. Well she better. Now she’ll say no because I want her to say she loves it.
I love this. More or less because there will be an old woman that will hate it. And that is enough for me.
I like this pattern. But I am NOT that skinny. Here is another one that some old lady will hate. I am totally on board with that.

Oddly enough, I have always had a picture in my mind about what I want my bouquet to look like. Of course, I pictured tossing the bouquet over my shoulder to see who will catch it. I have gone back in forth in my mind for many years about which flowers I want to include. (Sunflowers have been in and out for years.) But let see what has caught my eye.

They have figured out how to fit Sunflowers here.
So I like this one and I am not sure why. I am not sure this will make the cut.

I haven’t given much thought to the idea of bridesmaid dresses. This is odd. Maybe not. But I was more focused on the venue. Pinterest knows how to help with that. (Honestly, I am shocked that I finished college. There was so many papers that almost didn’t get turned in.) Here are a few that I like… but honestly… my girls may try these on and we may all hate them. Nothing like have to go back to the drawing board.

She looks ecstatic doesn’t she?

So since I want the bridesmaids to wear royal blue dresses. I think I will have the groomsman wear silver/gray tuxedos with royal blue vest and necktie. I hate bow ties and ascots (don’t ask me why.) I really hope my future husband doesn’t love them because I would have to give in…. UGH. And I really can’t stand cummerbunds….

Something like this works for me. Although not that tie. I don’t hate it but something else would be a bit better.

Do I see myself traipsing down the aisle in high heels? No. That is not my style. Do you know how much I love my comfort. Heels ain’t it. There are some awesome ones too. They definitely belong to women who will appreciate it. Sandals it is. I will have to find some that match my dress. But I prefer to be comfortable. I can just imagine the people that would have “helpful” input. But then again those people will not be invited.

Don’t these look comfortable.

Because Pinterest seems to have the answer for everything or maybe it gives answers to questions that I didn’t know I needed answered. But I had to pick wedding colors. It helps with the theme supposedly. Royal Blue and Silver it is. (I am really pretty simple.) Some things just make sense. I am a fan of royal blue. So lets look at the motifs. Some stuff is just horrendous. But I think it can be done with taste.

That cake is a bit too much and I don’t think the robes are for me and my crew.

I feel like I really need to be thinking about what goes on the tables and centerpieces and all that… But I am not sure that I care at this moment in time. (I mean seat sashes? I just view that as costing more money… and I really don’t want that.) Maybe I will get there. I did see some things that I may want to mimic though.

Simple and Elegant. I am pretty simple. Hope my future can take it.
Maybe this is better because they don’t have the stupid chair covers. But again simple and elegant.

So that brings me to wedding cake. By the way, I really don’t care for cake. A friend of mine laughed she she saw my pins on my wedding board on Pinterest. She said “For a person who doesn’t like cake, you sure have a lot wedding cakes on your board.” I had to think about that a moment and I came to the conclusion that even though I don’t like cake, I don’t want to deprive my guests of their cake eating experience. But that doesn’t mean we are going with 7 tier cake. Also I don’t want a bunch of waste of what people left behind.

So maybe cupcakes will work better.
Chocolate cupcakes or Strawberry? Or both.
I like the less is more thing going on here. But also there are too many layers here.

So transportation wise…. I am not into limos. I mean this isn’t a junior prom. I mean there is the vintage car thing I would like to do I would be too nervous but I would be too nervous and crash. (Trust me, I see it in my mind’s eye.) I could get one my brother’s to drive me up. (Both of them would love that. They are both better drivers than me. Don’t tell them that though. I have ridden with the next oldest brother. He is nice and cautious. The youngest brother was able to park my car when we went to a basketball… (as you see I have thought a lot about this.) My first idea is a bit cliche. But I enjoy the idea of a horse drawn carriage. I want to feel like Cinderella as I ride along with my very own Prince Charming.

1966 Ford Shelby. Won’t I be a sexy beast?
It is sexy even all covered up. I love it.
I like the idea but this may not make the cut.

I have left rings to this far down because I am not a big jewelry person and not great at keeping up with things. But when my friend was getting married… (I only have two married friends…. and one getting married in 2 weeks.) But we stopped at Jared’s and I was able to peruse rings that a man in the distant future will bestow on me someday. I’ll admit prior to my friends getting married I had no idea about cuts or sizes… really I still don’t absolutely get it. But nevertheless…. I did see some things I liked. (Remember my post about the family cruise? Well in the Caribbean, they like to try and sell to travelers… so it is all good to have a look see right?) I have always imagined that my husband to be would do recon and a friend or relative would step in and help.

I like this but…. this maybe a lot of blue.
Something with a bit of blue in it. That works for me.
Still not sure how I feel about this one. I don’t love it. But I don’t hate it either.

Alright so the last bit is going to be about the music…. DJ or band? Totally a DJ. But I think helping the friend that is getting married in a few weeks choose her first song got me to thinking…. “What would I walk down the aisle to?” Does Leah hate EVERYTHING I chose? Sure but it is what it is. I think I have the list narrowed down though

  • That Girl – Justin Timberlake
  • Murder – Justin Timberlake ft Jay Z
  • As – Marsha Ambrosius and Anthony Hamilton
  • I Knew I Loved You – Savage Garden
  • (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You – *NSYNC
  • Happily Ever After – Case
  • There Goes My Baby – Usher

The future husband better be okay with my love of JT and *NSYNC

Although, I have a different list for the first dance songs. And no there will be no choreographed dances. I haven’t danced to a music video since the late 90’s.

I think that for the first dance though…. It will have to be something that speaks to me on a deeper level.

  • I do ( Cherish You) – 98 Degrees
  • At Last – Etta James
  • The Point of It All – Anthony Hamilton
  • There Goes My Baby – Usher (It deserves to be on both lists.)
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You – Lauryn Hill
  • Is This Love – Bob Marley
  • Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
  • 143 – Musiq Soulchild
  • Kiss from a Rose – Seal

I haven’t really haven’t given any thoughts to the father daughter dance song. I know my sister will have lots suggestions. She keeps me up to date on music otherwise I would not know.

And that leaves the food. Leah is all for a brunch weddings… she has made her views on the matter quite clear. I am not for something at night either. I have a lot of older family members that won’t want to party int the evening. I like amount of sleep my damn self so there is that. I have nothing against brunch but don’t like eggs all that much. The food I haven’t really thought about much besides it being a buffet style. So I have a few ideas as to what to put together.

  • Tacos/Fajita bar (Rice and beans)
  • Chicken Alfredo/Shrimp Alfredo
  • Sushi Bar
  • Burger Building Bar
  • Pizza Bar
Taco Bars are the BEST. I can’t see there being a downside to this.

So this is what I have so far. I am definitely going to have a wedding coordinator and use that wedding website Zola. I have a friend that does wedding photo shoots. Really great blog. Check her out here https://vncphotography.com/2020/07/21/photo-tip-tuesday-best-point-and-shoot-cameras-for-travel/?fbclid=IwAR0EWFqteQ8v8kWicByOelCqDxc_-sMW1KBNegLtDipO0aeuojJN6jGhqlU

In the meanwhile…. I am done for now.

Quarantine Post #16: Travel Destination bucket list (Europe Edition)

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Quarantine is driving me nuts. It has been almost 6 months of really only going out to the grocery store. It has given me perspective on the things I want to get done in life. Aside from meeting a great guy and getting married possibly outside. (I have not decided yet. Botanical Gardens? A destination wedding?) I have plenty of time to decide. But I will say this quarantine has put a spotlight on all the traveling I was going do. So in the way that feels cathartic to me, I am totally going to tell you guys all the places I want to go and what I want to do there. This is, of course, a purely hypothetical itinerary. But I am blogging it to a world since I am giving my friends a break at reading a bulleted list of mine every other day. Indulge me a bit here. Since I plan to turn this blog into a travel blog eventually.

I was in the process of paying for a dream trip to the UK for 2019. I put a bunch of money down but I ended up not going because I had some life events come up. Now that I am passed all of that, taking the trip is still on my list. I have a few coworkers that lived in the UK and they had a lot of tips when it comes to what to do in each country.

The United Kingdom

Now I am one of those let’s do the touristy things tourists but I also want to see things that I can’t google. (Which I know is hard nowadays.) I found a tour group that traveled all over the UK… and their trek seems like a great way to start out.

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This would be a 12 day trip and that is great for me because I plan to try and take in all these countries have to offer. So starting with London, England, these are the things I want to do, in no particular order:

Touristy Things

  • Trafalgar Square
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Big Ben
  • The London Eye
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • Buckingham Palace (Watch the changing of the guard.)
  • St. James’s Park
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

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Non-Touristy Things

  • Jack the Ripper Tour with ‘Ripper-Vision’ in London or the Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes Tour of Haunted London

  • Covent Garden
  • Sky Garden
  • Kensington Gardens
  • Downton Abbey and Oxford Tour from London Including Highclere Castle (although they are doing a tour of the Downton Abbey set here in the states… but hell I will do both. If you want to do this and aren’t planning on heading to the UK… click this link https://www.downtonexhibition.com/

  • Private Tour: ‘Sherlock’ London Filming Locations by Black Cab

  • Sherlock Holmes BBC Series and Traditional Locations – A Very Small Group Tour

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The next stop on this group tour is Scotland. I have to say I love the idea of Scotland based on two things OUTLANDER… I know. A time travel romance where she falls for red-headed Scot… If you haven’t read the books or seen the show… you have time for both lol. And secondly my supervisor… who was born there. He gives this tour two thumbs up as a way to do your first visit to the UK. So no worries.

So after packing up in London, we board a train bound for Edinburgh. This phrase jumped out at me when I read the brochure. “Journey by train through the English countryside and past the lochs and hills of Scotland.”  So here is my list of things I want to do in Scotland.

Touristy Things

  • The elegant Georgian-style New Town and the Royal Mile
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse

  • Calton Hill
  • Inchcolm Abbey and Island

  • Princes Street Gardens

  • Dundas Castle

  • Loch Ness

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Non-Touristy Things

One of the things that is not on this particular tour is a trip to Inverness. (Where Claire falls through time in Outlander.) I could take a train and still do it but Inverness is about a 4-hour ride… and doesn’t leave much time for exploration. There is another tour that is just the highlights of Scotland a stop in Inverness… which means I will have to figure out where to fit that in. This other Scotland group tour has this addition:

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The nerd in me would love to do this day… but there may be only so much I can add to my trip. For my non-touristy list… I have:

  • Edinburgh Harry Potter Walking Tour
  • Edinburgh Zoo

  • St. Mary’s Cathedral
  • University of Edinburgh

  • Ingliston Racing Circuit

  • Culloden Battlefield
  • Inverness
  •  Jacobite cruise

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For the highlights of the UK tour… after Edinburgh, we head out to Liverpool. I am not sure I ever thought of visiting the home of the Beatles… but seeing it on the list has me excited about it. Luckily, they don’t have anything planned on this day so I get to list what I would do for an evening in Liverpool. Too bad we would only be there one day. I have no room to make a separate list.

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  • Half-Day Peaky Blinders Tour of Liverpool

  • The Ultimate Beatles Tour Experience in Liverpool
  • Liverpool: 50-Minute Mersey River Cruise

  • Liverpool Imperial Tour

  • Liverpool History and Culture Audio Tour: Rock out along the River Mersey provided by VoiceMap Liverpool
  • Land Rover Experience – Liverpool

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Supposedly we hop on a ferry and head to Dublin. We get to travel through northern Wales and stop in the village of Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch. (What a name. Goodness.) And head over to Dublin. There are a number of things that I would like to go to in Dublin… (I have seen Leap Year. It inspired me to check out the Irish countryside. If you haven’t seen it, check out my first quarantine blog on it. In Dublin, I plan to head to:

  • Phoenix Park
  •  St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  •  St Stephen’s Green
  • Merrion Square
  • Trinity College
  • Grafton Street
  •  Temple Bar district

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We head over to County Kerry and continue making our way through the Emerald Isle. There will be plenty of photo opportunities and I am totally about that. I have a love of old school architecture. So this is the place to be for my love. There will be plenty of photos. I also plan on going to see:

  • Rock of Cashel
  • Blarney Castle
  • Lakes of Killarney in Killarney National Park
  • villages that line the Ring of Kerry including the village of Sneem, “The Knot in the Ring”

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The final day of this group trip ends in Limerick. We can’t leave Ireland without visiting the Cliffs of Moher. (I always envision sitting my family down and setting up a projector and making them view all of my pictures. I bought myself a travel camera.)

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  • Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
  • The Burren
  • King John’s Castle

  • Terra Nova Fairy Garden

  • St. Saviour’s Dominican Church

  • O’Connell Statue

  • People’s Park

In the end, this is the trip I have been planning to take for many years. It floats around in the back of my mind. It is definitely going to happen but being in quarantine leaves a lot of time to plan a few things out. I used to try and gather people to go with me. No one I know is as excited about this as me. (Which is usually the case…) I do know that I will be going either way.

So until next time, don’t steal my trip and I shall post again.