Monday, 29 June 2009

Roughin’ it

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My first camping trip of the year and I repeated my outing from last year to the Driftwood provincial park.  The private beach access to the Ottawa River wowed me last year and was a major reason for my kayak purchase this year.  I kind of forgot that there’s a bit of a hill between the campsite and the beach but I managed to haul the beast up and down alright.  There were a couple issues with neighbouring campers but I consider this karma for the rude behaviour I exhibited in my youth.  Besides, the real point of this trip was the fishing.  So here’s pictures of all the fish I caught last weekend!

 

 

 

Yah, not so much with the fish.  The fish finder said there were plenty to be had but they just weren’t interested in anything I had in my tackle box.  If I go back, I have to remember some live worms.  I did snag a couple bass on Sunday but they twisted off my favourite lure before I could get them in the boat.  So, I suck.  But I’ve always got Cross Lake in Cobalt where the fish are always biting.

And, just a reminder for myself.  Always try and get sites 20 or 21.  They are primeau for privacy.

The Balvenie – 12 year old Signature

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So, here’s the supposed replacement for my dearly departed Balvenie 10.  Still not available at my local LCBO but I did find it at the Huntsville outlet.  First off, it’s 10 bucks more expensive than the outgoing 10 year old.  This is not a replacement, it’s an up-sell.  In the last 2 years I’ve seen several solid, dependable malts creep up in price but at least they are offering a longer aged product with this price increase.  So I gave it a go, knowing that at $74 it will never be a weekly purchase like its predecessor was.

The aroma is unobtrusive, meaning not much to comment on.  There’s hints of the honey from the 10 year but it definitely doesn’t stand out.  The taste is smooth and, surprisingly, less bold than the 10 year.  Older bottlings tend to absorb more of the cask flavours but this seems to have done the opposite.  The highlight of this scotch is the after taste.  It lingers and eventually brings back those honey tones I miss so much.

Make no mistake, this is a great bottle and I really enjoyed the drink.  But.  The value and flavour of it’s less refined ancestor make this a poor successor.  On its own I would have given it 4 shots but knowing where and how it came into existence….

I liked your younger sister better.  3 shots.

Monday, 22 June 2009

water mark

I’ll know when I’ve hit rock bottom in my life when I find myself at the LCBO buying ONE tallboy of Blue and ONE mickey of rye.  And then riding away on my bicycle.  Ran into two guys this weekend, in their mid 50’s, doing exactly that.  Is there some magical drink that requires those exact quantities?  I can understand the rye but why just the one can of Blue?  Actually I remember one guy who just bought the ONE tallboy of Blue.  And paid with exact change.  Man.  Scary.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Success!

First run of the new kayak was a complete success.  I was able to mount and dismount without incident.  The pedals took some fiddling to find the right distance for my legs but once they were locked in, I was flying.  The speed really is incredible with the fin drive.  Fishing was a breeze.  It’s a stable platform for casting, plenty of room for storing the rod when landing a fish or changing lures out.  I installed a rod holder to the side board and that was very handy.  Did some trolling but apparently I need to try a different lake for lake trout.  The one complaint I have is that the rudder is very touchy.  When peddling hard, you constantly adjust the rudder to keep on track.  I think there’s a way to adjust the sensitivity, so I’ll be looking into that.  Need to finish installing the rest of the gear too.  Have a gps holder and fish finder yet to be installed.  Good times.

Oh, and the fish tally for tonight’s adventure: 1 Bass!  Boojah!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

This Week in Consumerism

A tremendous weekend for yours truly.  The Stanley Cup finals Game 7 on Friday night, kicking Tim Horton’s to the curb Saturday morning, a fantastic night with lobsters, friends, and some quality rock band jamming Saturday night, a slight hitch as a main corridor in the Niagara region was shut down Sunday morning so some self-important douche bags can all go bicycling in a big group, but then there was the shopping…

And shop I did.  Once I managed to finally get out of the Niagara region, my first stop was at the Bass Pro Shop in Vaughn.  What a store.  I was in one once before in the states but it was kind of lost on me at the time.  Now that I’ve caught the fishing bug, they have my full attention.  Boats and lures and gadgets, oh my!  The only problem is that men are much like fish in that they are easily distracted by shiny objects.  A store filled with men wandering up and down aisles checking out other aisles, coming to abrupt stops, falling into display areas all because of a lure or gadget they had never seen before.  And I was one of the worst ones.  I take back everything bad I said about the grazers at Wal-Mart.  I was severely tempted to buy a boat but I’d made up my mind on that matter so I settled for a portable fish finder, a gps mount, and a rod holder mount.  But what am I mounting these things on to?!?

proanglerMy next stop was in Gravenhurst at the Swift Canoe & Kayak store where I picked up this beauty.  Can not wait to get this in the water.  I’d been looking at kayaks as an easy way to get on to the water without the hassle of a trailer, engine, and boat launch.  There’s so many little lakes around here that you could fish a different one every weekend of the summer.  I’d been looking at Hobie sit-on-top kayaks since last year.  My experience with a sit-in kayak last year could only be described as comedic so I was determined to go with sit-ON.  The Pro Angler model is new for this year and the guys at Swift said mine was the first in Canada.  It’s wider and more stable which is important for a man of my mass.  Tons of included accessories and spots to mount even more accessories.  The guys at Swift were great.  Got me bundled up and on my way in no time.  Taking it off the top of the Honda, when I got home I was kind of startled at the weight of the thing.  I may have damaged my sirius radio antenna taking it down.  I have my doubts on how easy it’s going to be to get it back up there.  Oh well, find that out tomorrow.  I may end up trailering this thing after all.

My last purchase stop was at my favourite LCBO.  I lived in Huntsville for 6 months a couple years ago and, even though we had issues, I have nothing but good things to say about their LCBO.  It really is set up to cater to the snooty T.O. based cottage owners but the by product of that is they usually have an exceptional selection of Single Malt Scotches.  I was disappointed that they didn’t have ANY Aberlours but I did find the 12 year old Signature bottle of Balvenie that replaced my discontinued, day-to-day drinker, The Balvenie 10 year.  At $76 the Signature isn’t likely going to become my day-to-day drinker but I’m excited to find out.  Review to follow!

As I said, a great weekend.  Now it’s time to sit back, relax, read some user’s manuals, and get ready for the next weekend.

T v. McD

Yah, so I'm pretty much done with Tim Horton's. At least in the morning. McDonald's has won me over. And if it wasn't for their free coffee campaign, I never would have found out they sell a decent cup of coffee now. If they sold it 24 hours a day they'd have me completely. Good taste, good value, lids that work, and cups that don't disintegrate. Wake up Tim Horton's!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Stanley Cup Finals - Game #7!

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Random thoughts from the final game of the 2009 Stanley Cup FINALS!

  • I can't remember when I've seen Detroit on their heels like this (1st period)
  • I'm calling it, the fix is in for Pittsburgh.  They call a minor slash on Detroit and completely ignore a mugging behind the Pittsburgh net.  Bah.  Damn you Bettman!
  • I really don't need to hear from Don Cherry any more.  A proud Canadian but doesn't contribute much to the discussion any more.  I've shushed entire bars to hear Coach's Corner but now....not so much.
  • Ach, I need an HD signal.  Analog cable blows.
  • Talbot!  Avec le but!  Suck on it Crosby.
  • I take the fix comment back.  That was a pretty weak call on Staal.
  • TALBOT!  ENCORE avec le but!  Put some ice on that knee Crosby.  You're missing quite a performance.
  • I think I know what would help Detroit: if Hossa would DO something.  I'm reminded of all his stellar playoff performances with Ottawa.
  • Detroit seems to have found their sack but there's only 20 minutes left to play.  I think I actually saw Fleury shit his pants.
  • Ericsson!  Welcome to the party Detroit!
  • Fleury is FUNNY! 
  • No love tonight Detroit!

So Pittsburgh won it all.  Happy for Fleury, Bylsma, Malkin, and Talbot.  I think they got some help from the league because they are desperate to sell Crosby as the face of hockey.  But I tell ya, if Crosby wins the Conn Smythe, I will hunt down Bettman and make him shorter than he already is.

And Hossa... oh Hossa.  It's just not meant to be.  You gambled and lost.  Suck it up, pack it in, and hit the road.  Maybe you can ho-ho-whore yourself out to Toronto next year.

See you in the fall Hockey.  Thanks for the entertainment.  GO SENS GO!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Shush

Told a guy at work to shush today.

Him: “What I think we should do is..”

Me: “Nuh, shush”

Him: “No, but if you let me finish..”

Me: “NUH!  SHUSH!”

Him: “Look..”

Me: “NUH!  NUH!”

Then he got mad and walked away.  It made me so happy.  I think he would have been less upset if I’d just told him to shut the fuck up.  It still makes me smile.  He was PISSED.  Ha.

Stanley Cup Finals – Game #6

scf_6Wow, did not expect that.  Those Penguins were all full of belly fire.  Gave their boy Fleury a night off by hacking, slashing, and attacking.  I’m not sure why you need two refs when nobody is going to call any penalties.  The hooks and trips were all over the place and the refs were happy enough to just watch it all happen.  There has to be direction from above to not get involved and that pisses me off.  Ah well.  Looking forward to Friday’s game all the same.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Glenmorangie – 10 yr Original

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Glenmorangie has the widest variety of bottlings I’ve seen at the LCBO.  If there’s a cask out there, they’ve matured a single malt in it.  In my search for a replacement to the Balvenie, I ventured far afield to The Greater New Liskeard Area and picked up the only bottle under $80 that wasn’t Livet or Fiddich.  The Original Glenmorangie was a $65 bottle from the Highland region.  I usually stay away from Glenmorangie.  Their variety of offerings puts me off for some reason.  It’s like they are trying too hard.  Yah, I know, I have issues.

So anyways this is my bottle for the week.  Taking the bottle out of the box, the first thing you notice is the extremely light colouring.  This made me pause but the nose was inviting so over the rocks she goes! 

I should say that I like my single malts on ice.  This is heresy to the elitists but the swing in flavours from “full on” to “smooth as butter” as the ice melts gives a full range of emotion in each glass.  Boojah!

But back to the bottle.  The intial taste was light but intriguing.  I waited for the wash of after-taste and I got…nothing.  Seriously.  Nothing.  It was like I had just taken a swig of spring water.  Ug.  The only thing worse than being offensive is not taking any stand at all.  I’m working my way through it but each glass is the same.  Effective at relieving stress but no enjoyment in the flavour.  This is one malt where I would agree with the elitists and forego the ice.  There’s so little character here that you don’t want anything to dull it.

Vapour.  3 shots.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

I’m dumb

Little story from the weekend.  Drove an hour and a half to pick up some new roof bars for my Honda CeR-Vix.  Yes, the nearest Honda dealer is an hour and a half away.  So I picked up the bars and drove over to Canadian Tire to pick up some new tools for the installation.  CT parking lot is as good as my driveway so I figure I’ll do it right there and make sure everything is alright before heading home.  I pop off the roof caps that cover the installation points and grab a bar from the box they came in.  Driver’s side fits perfect.  Passenger side and the bar appears to be two inches too short.  God Damnit!  I loosen all the screws thinking that maybe the bars extend to fit.  Nope.  It’s just too damn short.  They gave me the wrong roof bars, those IDIOTS.  Well, I better check the rear bar and see if that one’s screwed up too.  Take that one out and line up the driver’s side.  Everything’s fine here.  On the passenger side?  TWO INCHES TOO LONG!!!  THOSE F’N MORONS!  How is it conceivably possible that you can screw up SO badly that you don’t just give a guy two roof bars that are both too short or both too long but have ONE too long and ONE too short?  What kind of BRAINLESS, ASS-CHIMP would….

Oh wait….

Maybe I’ll try the long bar at the front and the short one at the back….

Oh….

They fit perfectly.

Huh….

And now I notice they have even marked one as FRONT so you don’t confuse the two.

Ummm, good job Honda!

Oh, and then later on I tossed an awesome lure into the middle of a lake because I apparently don’t know how to tie a knot either.

Fuckity Fucknuts.

Glenlivet

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Ah, THE Glenlivet.  It was my first single malt and, it’s true, you never forget your first.  It was in my university years and some friends and I had decided to up our cool factor by taking up smoking cigars.  The question was what to drink with our newly found coolness.  Beer just seemed inappropriate and brandy seemed better put to use stripping paint.  Somebody eventually suggested scotch.  One of my favourite films at the time was Bound (Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly, hot lesbian scenes, second best Wachowski film ever).  In this fine piece of cinema, they make a big deal about the visiting gangster only drinking Glenlivet.  That was good enough for me.  And that’s what set me on the road to total single-malt subservience. 

Obviously I’ve moved on since then.  I’ve had a bottle here and there but it hasn’t been my go-to bottle for almost 10 years.  And what do I think of it now?  Meh.  It’s still smooth as silk but the aroma, taste, and after-taste all have a jarring hint of apples that would probably be fine matched with certain foods but they do detract from a head on drinking experience. So, again, meh.  It depresses me to think that this is the best daily drinker option I have in town now.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it but I’ll definitely be stocking up on the Aberlour on my visits South.

Meh.  3 shots.

Stanley Cup Finals – Game #5

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Ah yes, and the natural order of the world has been restored.  Feel bad for Fleury.  I do think he’s a better goalie than Osgood but he sure has a rough time in Detroit.  Can’t just be the magical boards at the Joe Louis.  He has a couple days to think about it anyways.  Going to miss the hockey once its over.  It’s a long stretch before hockey and football start up again…

Friday, 5 June 2009

Stanley Cup Finals – Game #4

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Okay, settle down Pittsburgh.  Enough is enough.  Thanks for making it a series but I could not take a year of Crosby worship if they actually pull this off.  Even though Malkin is the one lighting it up, you can tell they are just itching to give Crosby the MVP.  Yes.  I am a hater.  A player hater.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Balvenie – R.I.P.

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I live in a small, Northern Ontario town.  No matter how small a town is, in Ontario, it must have an LCBO.  You just don’t get the selection you have in the larger cities.  You can order in any malt that LCBO carries but I’m an instant gratification kind of guy.  Before I came up here, Balvenie was kind of a gimmicky brand that stood out on the shelves by including little trinkets or a mini-bottle of another casking.  But in my two years of exile (and counting), Balvenie has been my rock, my go-to malt, my sweet relief from another shitty day at work. 

A $50 bottle of a Speyside, 10 year old malt.  Smooth and buttery with a lingering finish that complements the initial flavour.   Michael Jackson (the scotch-taster, not the kiddie-diddler) describes it as honeyish and that sums it up perfectly.  When I’d run out of malts I’d picked up down South, it was a pleasure to pick this up locally.  And I’m incredibly sad I won’t be able to do that anymore.

Heading to the LCBO today, after a particularly crappy day, I was stunned to find my most dependable drinker missing from the shelves.  The clerk said it had been discontinued and she didn’t even seem broken up about it.  My choices were then Oban (awesome but $100), Glenfiddich (flat, good only for getting drunk fast), and Glenlivet (smooth but uninteresting, the scotch that started me on malts).  I went with nostalgia and I’ll write more about it after I crack it.  But it can’t make up for the loss of my beloved Balvenie.  RoyalMileWhiskies.com says Balvenie will be back with a 12 year old signature bottle and I can only hope it matches the value and taste of the 10 year old.

Honey butter.  4 shots!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Stanley Cup Finals – Game #3

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Well, that’s much better.  Looks like we might have a series now.  Missed the first period but the 2nd and 3rd were plenty entertaining.  The Penguins found their balls and tea-bagged the Red Wings into submission.  I am now fully engaged in the finals.  Giddy up!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Baggin it

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Don’t get me wrong.  I really do like the environment.  But this latest hippie craze of bringing your own bags to the grocery store is driving me up the wall.  I resisted for a couple weeks but finally gave in and bought three of these stupid bags.  I immediately left one in the shopping cart at the store.  I tried leaving the remaining two in my car so I wouldn’t forget them but that only works if you remember to bring them back out to the car after you bring the groceries in.  So now the cats have taken to sleeping on/in them and I can’t bring them to the store again because they are covered in cat hair.  I figure what’s the big deal?  I’ll pay the nickel or quarter for the plastic bags.  Wasn’t prepared for the attitude though.  I pulled up with my 8 items or less and the cashier snaps “Did you remember your bags?”.  As a matter of fact, no, no I did not remember my fucking bags.  How about you just suck it up, charge me the nickel, and spare me the fucking attitude.  It seemed I had seriously messed up her day by not buying into this craze.  Now I’m determined never to use those bags again.

I thought we were doing alright.  There were those recycling spots for old grocery bags.  Aren’t these new bags made from recycled grocery bags?  What was the problem with recycling?  And I live in Northern Ontario.  We’re not exactly running out of room for landfill expansion.  Anyways, you want to charge for plastic bags?  Fine, just let me make that choice on my own and leave me the hell alone.