Wednesday, 23 September 2009


I haven't been underground for about 15 years.  I made my return this week in Red Lake to identify some bad parts that had failed in the field.  As soon as I stepped into the first headframe, the smell brought me right back to my short career at Hemlo Gold Mines.  Exposed rock has a pretty unique odour.  The trip down the cage, picking up your vehicle on your level, and tooling around the drifts and ramps all seemed so familiar in spite of the time that has passed.

That was the first shaft.  We came back up at lunch and went straight back down the second shaft.  I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the cage.  We managed to get 8 people in the cage and it was a tight fit.  When we stepped off on our level and entered the drift, there were rails running down the drift.  That boggled me.  We still mine with rail cars?  That seems so Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  No little Kubota runabout on this side of the mine.  We trudged along heading for the next drill to check and the supervisor says "This will be the worst one to get to.  90 ft of ladder."  My response?  "Fuck off".  Apparently he was serious.  I'm not good with heights and I'm worse with heights on ladders.  But I managed the climb without shaking off only to find that the drill couldn't be disassembled for inspection because of some stuck rods.  Fuck.

One more drill for the day and that one was actually working.  I don't begrudge these drillers a single penny.  That is some hard, messy, thankless work.  So I came to surface (in the wee tiny cage) with a much greater appreciation of my desk job.  Stay in school kids.  Tomorrow should be a fairly easy ride at the third mine.  Underground: nice place to visit, wouldn't want to work there.

Monday, 21 September 2009


egg-mcmuffinI cut people in the service industry a tonne of slack. I don't make special requests, I'd never send back food unless it would be harmful to eat, and I tip like I'm made out of money (I'm not). Why do I do this? Because I know I wouldn't last 3 minutes doing that person's job. I have a low tolerance for people as it is. Throw me into a situation where I have to interact with the great unwashed at a constant rate AND smile while doing it? That story ends with a police presence.

BUT...I do require a certain standard of service. I mean how fucking hard can it be to put together an egg mcfuckingmuffin? English muffin, ham, egg, cheese, English muffin. We're talking one step above buttered toast here. The egg mcmuffin is about the only thing I Iook forward to while I'm on the road and to bite into one and realize some slack jawed teenager couldn't be bothered to add the ham to the equation ruins my day. RUINS it!

Look, I know your job sucks, I know working at mcdonald's does nothing for your social standing, but that doesn't mean you can't do your job with a minimum of pride to match your minimum wage. Thanks for listening and thanks for not spitting in my food.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Auchentoshan 12

Down visiting some friends and this bottle gets pulled out of the cupboard.  I'm pretty sure I've had Auchentoshan before but never documented it.  It's a Lowland malt and I usually find I'm rolling the dice with those bottles because you don't know if you're going to get hit in the face with a fist full of peat or not.  Happily, that was not the case with this particular malt.

The smell is deep and woody.  The bottle says to watch for the smoky almond flavour but I just don't get that.  I do get pears in the aroma and that's usually a tough one for me to pull out.  Wouldn't have put it there without reading a Michael Jackson (not that one) review.  The pears and some plum really come out on the first taste followed quickly with a brief flash of alcohol fire.  The aftertaste is a slow diminish of the fruit and burn.  It is a great tasting experience.  With ice I could drink the bottle in a single sitting.  Without I would be perfectly happy sitting, sipping, and reflecting.  Instantly at ease and not worried about a god damned thing.

This bottle is an all-star.  It could be because we were discussing Cardhu earlier tonight but this Auchentoshan really reminds me of the quick punch followed by the relaxing KO.  This is a great scotch.

Boojah! 5 shots!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Aberlour 10


Ah, my Aberlour 10.  My most dependable bottle back when I lived near an LCBO with selection.  I raved about this bottle to everyone who would listen.  The last bottle I intended to write about was consumed too fast to write a single sentence.  This time I had some foresight and purchased two bottles while I had the chance.  Sure enough, the first bottle was gone in the blink of an eye and now I can write about the second bottle in a more leisurely manner.

So, despite my rampant nostalgia, I’m not really blown away by this scotch anymore.  A distinct sherry nose and a taste of oak that blooms to match the sherry.  The aftertaste is dry and lingers.  But the whole experience is slightly harsher than I remembered.  The LCBO near my parents place stocks only the 12 year old Aberlour and I blame that for ruining the 10 year old for me.  Those extra 2 years really mutes some of that brassy 10 year nature and blends the flavours in a much more satisfying manner.

Still, at $44 it’s a hell of a value and a great sipping scotch that can be enjoyed all on its own.  I’d say the $10 extra bucks for the 12 year old is money well spent but you can’t go wrong with the 10 if that’s your only choice.

Golden memories.  4 shots!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

TV Saviour

Crap, totally forgot about Dexter!  I flip flopped on Season 3 thoughout it’s run but looking back I loved it.  I haven’t liked Jimmy Smits since L.A. Law but he was actually pretty good in this character.  Some pirate friends of mine say the premiere of Season 4 that got leaked on the internets was promising so I’m looking forward to it.  I apologize for the previous blasphemy my beloved magic box.

TV Blows

TV has a lot to make up for this fall.  It has been a tough run of late and even HBO can’t seem to deliver the goods.  I got hooked on True Blood Season 1 in large part because of the angry sex but the mythology and humour grew on me too.  Season 2 had the makings of being great but threw too much into the pot and strung one particular plot point on forever without any real progression. 

Rescue Me was a big disappointment this year as well.  Tommy Gavin used to be a bold, assholish character but spent all of this season getting whipped by his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend.  And there’s whats-her-name from News Radio for no apparent reason.  The major story arc that leads to this year’s “cliffhanger” was a clumsy commentary on the dangers of alcohol that had already been handled and better in seasons past. 

These were the shows that were supposed to tide me over from the NHL playoffs to the start of the NFL season.  And they failed.  And, with the exception of House, broadcast TV is pretty much a lost cause (see NCIS:Los Angeles).  Until somebody gets their act together and puts a decent TV show on the air, I guess I’ll start rewatching The Wire.



I love my IPod Touch.  It is a near perfect gadget.  There is nothing I would rather have with me when travelling.  It didn’t start off near perfect.  I have the first gen Touch and back then you had to hook it up to another computer to add any content.  I bought a netbook just so I could update podcasts on my IPod while on the road.  Slowly, the device got closer and closer to perfection.  With each update there was a feature added that seemed ridiculous wasn’t there to start.  The app store, updating podcasts over wifi, purchasing audio books over wifi, copy and paste.  I even paid the retarded $10 fee for each of the major firmware updates.  I held out for a couple weeks on the last update but the audiobook feature was just too damn necessary.

But my participation in the Apple community will soon be coming to an end.  A couple months ago it started having problems taking a charge, and then it took a little trip into a lake, and then it was dropped on a rock which cracked the glass.  It’s still limping along but it seems to be more finicky each day.  I was hoping that the rumours of an IPod touch with a camera were true but Apple seems happy enough to keep pushing out the same product.  I then placed all my hopes on the upcoming Zune HD but Microsoft has confirmed that it won’t be selling these in Canada for the time being.  Well fuck you too Microsoft.

I think I’m suffering from a little gadget ennui.  I’ve purchased and hacked almost every gadget worth mentioning.  I could buy another IPod but it would just be the same thing again.  IPhones don’t work in my quaint little village so that’s out too.  The new Nano has a video camera but can’t take still photos(how fucking stupid is that by the way).  The shuffle is a laughable little turd of UI nonsense.  So I’m thinking I’ll milk this IPod for as long as it will last and then pick up a cheap little nothing until something reasonable strikes my fancy.  Palm Pre II perhaps?