** Originally Published April 18, 2010 ** ** Updated January 18, 2020 ** ** Updated December 31, 2020 **
So when my son started eating real food, he was very particular about eating meat, probably because he didn’t have his molars yet and it was challenging for him to chew. My daughter, on the other hand, has never shared those concerns. She’ll eat steak any day of the week. One day we were all sitting at the dinner table eating a steak dinner with steamed broccoli and potatoes and Alexander was being fussy about the meat. Jodi puts more broccoli on his plate and comments, “Our little vegetarian.”
Upon hearing this, Avery, head buried in her plate and her elbows up and flapping like a Dodo bird looks up with a mouth full of beef and another piece on her fork and says, “Not me. I’m a steakatarian!” She routinely eats an 8oz of steak in a sitting and asks for more. Daddy’s little girl.
It was bloody cold out last night and upon finding the Yuk Yuk’s comedy club not yet ready to welcome us inside (we were going to see a friend I played hockey with back in the day perform. Dave Hemstad. Check him out) we needed something to eat that was nearby. Not wanting pizza, we happened into this hoity-toity place that looked like it had steak. Entirely underdressed and unprepared to spend a mortgage payment on a meal, my date for the night convinced me it would be an adventure. The freight elevator had an oriental rug in it. The meal was fancy. I did not enjoy the amuse-bouche (roe and caviar on a miniature cracker-sized pancake thing with a dollop of some sort of cream ooze). The bleu cheese with apple and fancy lettuce was good, though the cheese was a bit much for me (I tried it though!) I ordered a glass of Malbec (9oz, of course) and then came the steak. Good golly Miss Molly was it good (hence, the update to my Top 5 steaks list). I finished off my meal with a single serving of tarte tatin. The total? One Million dollars, and worth every penny.
Here’s the new list:
The Fifth Grill & Terrace(Toronto, Ontario) Both my dining companion and I had the filet on a 3-course prix fixe menu and we both agreed that it was an absolutely fantastic piece of meat. He doesn’t have a Top 5 list, but I do, and this steak jumped right to the top.
Merlot (Ottawa, Ontario – now closed) Thick and juicy with a subtle onion and cheese crust on top…. absolutely perfect.
Charcoal Steakhouse (Kitchener, Ontario) Was halfway through it before I realized I was cutting it with the dull side of my butter knife.
Le Papillon (Toronto, Ontario) Not known for their steak, but cooked perfectly, nice and tender… I licked my plate clean.
St. James’ Gate (Dieppe, New Brunswick) *New to the List* Great steak. Thick and perfectly cooked. Wonderful flavour. On its own, this steak was juicy, tender, and tasty, but I added fried mushrooms and onions and was not disappointed with how this married so well with the flavour of the steak.
As is customary at this time of year a blog post cop out is in order. Rather than come up with something engaging, intelligent, or funny to ramble on about I’m going to do a “Best of” and a personal year in review. I’ll do the “Best Of” portion first because most people will probably enjoy that more, although the year in review piece may be interesting to a few people as well. I’ll let you decide.
This surprise hit of the year was successful for a few reasons. First, it had a very searchable title [smile, wink], secondly it was on a topic that every writer/blogger struggles with at some point (“How many words do I need?”). Lastly, someone else posted this on Reddit in the /r/books subreddit and people clicked the living hell out of it. It’s now my most viewed post of all time.
This post on the decline of handwriting and how I could care less seemed to resonate with a lot of people. For some reason there are those who still think it should be taught in schools – in English class (I say leave it for art class and teach more useful skills in English).
Another successful post mostly because it’s a topic that just about every blogger has had to make a decision on at some point (“Do I moderate the comments on my blog?”). If you’ve read my blog before then you know that I do not, however, please be respectful.
The easiest way to get people to comment on your blog is to hold a contest in which the winner must comment on the post to win. The actual contest was secondary to the fun guessing game I put together in order to share a bit more information with my readers.
I can only find one trend between the length of my posts and the number of views each receives. My average post was 741 words (including this one) with the median value being 728 (same number of posts with fewer words as there are more words). If I look at the view rank of the posts for above and below the average and median it’s about the same BUT if I look at raw number of views for each half then what I find is the posts below the average and median receive about 35% fewer views. Moral of the story: I will keep my posts around 750 words for better viewing (not sure how a 2,000 word post will do and I’m not sure I want to try).
Reading these back at least two of those thee posts suck outright, with the remaining one in the “not very good” category. That’s okay though, they can’t all be gold. Every artist needs a Gigli on their resume 😉
I like this post because it speaks directly to how I feel about the issue of equal rights for all humans. Equality is an absolute. There is no room for interpretation. Get on board with it.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE POST?
Post a link to the title and date of publication in the comments, along with why it was your favourite!
Now for the Year in Review portion of the show. Back in January I set some pretty ambitious targets. Not necessarily resolutions, but sort of. Here they are along with how I think I did:
When one of my kids is nearby I will put my laptop or phone aside, and even if they are not desiring my attention, I will give it to them
I did not too badly with this one. The biggest problem is that my kids are growing up and don’t need or want as much attention from me or my wife any more!
When asked to do something by my wife, I will do it right then or I will set a reminder in my phone if it needs to be done later
Phone reminders help. I think I passed this one more often than I failed, but I’ll leave it to her to decide 🙂
I will get out and see my friends. This means one event every now and then as well as coffee or tea with individuals at lunch or whenever our schedules align. This also includes golf 🙂
I had tea/coffee/lunch with several friends on several occasions and golfed with several people I hadn’t golfed with previously. Big win on this front, even though it could still be more. I did start volunteering with Ignite Waterloo and that has opened up a whole new list of possibilities.
I will buy some local art
I totally did. A Jennifer Gough painting now hangs in my living room!
I will read more books written by people I know and I will give them honest and constructive feedback. I would be forever grateful if they would do the same for me
I did this but could also do more. I read every story in the anthology I was published in plus read books by Tess Thompson, Gordon Bonnet, Robert Chazz Chute. I need to do reviews for a couple of these still, but I will!
I also had a few very specific writing goals to accomplish. They were stretch goals at the absolute best but I managed to knock off a few. My successes:
Finished the first draft of novel #1
Won NaNoWriMo (for the second year in a row)
Started a screenplay
Wrote 1 blog post every week for the entire year (plus a bonus post in memory of Ryan)
That last one was absolutely instrumental in the success of my blog. For most of the year my traffic practically doubled, with an almost 400% increase for a few months near the end of the year as some writing-specific and NaNoWriMo posts got some good Reddit traction.
So what’s in store for next year? Well for starters there will be a cop out start of year post but there will also be a few tips in there about a few things I’ve learned. Plus, I think I’m going to do a new weekly feature in addition to a weekly post. I’m still sorting out the details and I might do it in conjunction with another writer/blogger but stay tuned!
That’s it for me in 2013. Thanks to each and every one of you for reading and I wish you all a healthy and successful 2014.