Sunday, 28 February 2010

Wrong

2010_vancouverI'll admit it.  It's not the first time and probably won't be the last.  But I was wrong.  Two weeks ago I pretty much said "Fuck the Olympics".  What can I say?  I was grumpy.

Each event that I saw warmed my grinch-like heart just that little bit more.  Starting with the biathlon and ending today with a humongous win by the Canadians over the Americans in hockey.  But it certainly wasn't the spectacle that won me over.  It was seeing all these people from all over the world who had dedicated their lives to such specific sports.  This was the biggest event of their lives and, for once, I really dug peeking into that world and riding along on all that emotion.  It really is fantastic.  I'll try and remember that 4 years from now.

It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops though.  My faith in our hockey supremacy was shaken during the round robin portion of the hockey tournament.  The Canadians lost to the Americans in a game where they just couldn't get out of their own way.  And Ryan Miller showed why he is the best goalie in the world right now.  It was heartbreaking.  We pounded the Germans to make it to the quarter finals but I honestly didn't think we'd make it past the Russians.  But we dominated the Russkie bastards.  And everything was OK again.  Then it was the surprising Slovak team.  A tight game that came oh so close to being pushed into OT.  The euphoria of the win over the Russians definitely lost some of the day-glo high after that close call.

And then came today.  USA vs. Canada.  Gold medal on the line.  On our home ice.  Good God the drama!  We got out to a 2-nothing lead but you just got the feeling that wasn't going to be enough.  There were plenty of opportunities for more but the Canadian passing always seemed to be into the skates and never on the sticks.  Then there was Kessler's goal in the second.  And with seconds to go to win the gold medal, Parise knocks in the tying goal.  Fuck.  FUCK FUCK FUCK!  I mean COME ON!

Okay, okay.  It happened.  We're in overtime.  All body parts clenched and in we go.  And the wee bastard from Nova Scotia did it.  The golden child of the NHL got the overtime, sudden death, gold medal, game winning goal.  Sidney Fucking Crosby.  Unfuckingbelievable!  I whooped, I screamed, I jumped around.  It was awesome.  And it was all worth it.  The ups, the downs, the high blood pressure, the Pierre Mcguire, the oncoming freight train of media sponsored blow jobs for Sidney Crosby.  All worth it to say "We're Canadian!  We're Number One!".

The Olympics rock!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Cragganmore 12

cgmob12yoIt's been getting harder and harder to find something new to sample at the LCBO.  Haven't been too stressed about it though.  It's given me some time to visit some old friends.  There's been a couple Aberlour 12's and I was very happy to rediscover Auchentoshan.  These are both previously reviewed 5 shotters and I'll go back to them again and again.

But I was in the mood for something new this week.  And I stared and stared at the wall of scotches with nothing really jumping out at me.  I kept looking at the Cragganmore and thinking "Bah, I've already done that one."  But it kept bugging me and finally I pulled out my phone and checked this blog and found that I hadn't sampled this one at all since I started recording these reviews.  The oversight was a big reason for picking this bottle up.  I paused a little at the $70 price tag but just for a bit.

This is a Speyside malt with a light caramel colour.  The aroma has some floral notes with a little bit of seaside to it.  That was a little surprising for a Speyside which I usually find pretty muted.  The taste has an immediate bloom that floods your mouth with a full, dry, oaky flavour.  The journey to the belly is a typical Speyside kind of smooth.  No fire just that woody dryness.  The aftertaste is a light fog of that initial oak.

A bit more bite than the other Speysides I've sampled over the years and that's a good things.  But it's still a light touch that emphasizes smoothness over character.  A fine single malt that's good for all occasions but priced a little higher than it's character warrants.

Overpriced goodness.  4 shots!


Monday, 22 February 2010

Deal with the Devil

I do not like Walmart.  In fact, I hate Walmart.  It's a monstrosity.  Nothing but cheap shite at cheap prices.  Their business practices are abhorrent.  They preach morality in what they choose to sell but fail to provide benefits or even a living wage to the majority of their employees.  Money spent at Walmart is funding the downfall of North America as the economic powerhouse of the world.  And the people spending that money are invariably loud, rude, inconsiderate, sub-humans who combine their shopping activities with screaming at two or three of their unwashed off-spring as they run wild through the aisles.  Fuck Walmart.

But, hey, I needed a cheap bookcase.

So, there I was after work.  It was mercifully empty thanks to the snow storm.  I went and picked up my bookcase.  And then I saw an end table that would work for my entrance way.  And then I remembered I still needed a waste basket for the main floor bathroom.  And speaking of bathrooms, I was also in need of some toilet paper.  On the way over to the toiletries section I passed by the Blu Ray display and had to pick up Zombieland and The Hangover.  The toilet paper was over in the mega grocery area and I saved a couple cents on a 4 pack of Blue Monster while I was over there.  All that snow had me thinking about my snowmobile and how I'd left my jerry can up in Haileybury.  Back to automotive to pick that up and grabbed a bottle of snowmobile oil too.  I thought about picking up some steaks to really mix it up but I was nearing my exposure limit for one trip.

A remarkably diverse and successful shopping trip.  But still.  Fuck Walmart.

More Depressed

Another thing that makes me sad is seeing Canadians who have no concept of how to drive in the snow.  I know snow isn't a common occurrence down here in Southern Ontario but I would have thought that any Canadian is familiar enough with the concept that they would know that snow makes things slippery.   Twice on the way home I had to swerve to avoid getting t-boned (ha) because some jackass thought he could slam on the brakes at the intersection just like he does on dry pavement.  Morons.

Depressed

This makes me so unbelievably sad:

Fix it!

For anyone that didn't know the source of my "Fix it! FIXITFIXITFIXIT!" comments:

Sunday, 21 February 2010

TBone's Stolen Movie of the Week: Black Dynamite

black_dynamiteThis is one of those movies where you have to be in the right mood to really appreciate.  And by "right mood" I mean "drunk".  So, if you've had a few, this is an awesome movie.  A spoof of the old Shaft movies, it is laugh out loud hilarious for the first half and then mildly amusing for the last half.  If they'd cut out the whole kung fu island episode, I would have said this is a classic.  Still worth a rental and I'll be sure to shell out the bucks once it shows up on itunes.

Circus

Huh.  Somebody replaced some of the highest paid hockey players on our national hockey team with a bunch of fucking clowns.  The Americans looked like an honest to god hockey team.  The Canadians looked like they got lost on their way to a lacrosse match.  I love Brodeur, I think he's the greatest goalie to play the game, but holy fuck man.   Time to step aside.  Ryan Miller was the reason the Americans won, no doubt.  But the Canadians seemed to lack any cohesion or interest.  There were flashes of talent that were impressive but nothing sustained.  The collision between Corey Perry and Eric Staal with Pronger tripping over the two of them pretty much summed up the whole debacle.  Not just a disappointment but one more reason to hate on the Olympics.  Oh well, there's still curling...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Family Day

I hate Dalton McGuinty.  Hate him.  But a couple years ago he introduced the Family Day holiday in Ontario.  And I love not working.  So there was this extra long weekend in the middle of February.  Provincially mandated.  But my previous employer didn't want to play along.  It seemed like the rest of the world had the day off but there I was slaving away in that wretched office.

But things are different now.  My current employer pulled off one of the Christmas floaters to cover Family Day.  That got some people grumbling but I'm all for it.  February sucks as a month anyways.  I'll gladly spend a vacation day at Christmas for a long weekend to break up the winter doldrums.

So, thanks Dalton.  You're still a dick but I'm enjoying my February long weekend and I'll enjoy the shortened work week just as much.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Olympics Continued

I take what I said before back.  The Olympics are awesome.  Specifically the biathlon.  Skiing and shooting is cool.  I'm going to start practicing when I get back home.

Avatar Shmavatar

Finally got around to seeing this Avatar movie.  Highest grossing movie of all time.  Yah.  What a steaming pile of shit.  A pretty and well detailed pile of shit but steaming and smelly nonetheless.

Had to see it in 3D just to get the full experience before judging.  The last movie I saw in 3D was Jaws III back during the 3D craze of the 80's.  It was a gimmick then, it's a gimmick now.  You just don't look as goofy now with polarized lenses instead of the old red and blue ones.  There was a 3D trailer for the next Shrek movie and I have to admit that got me thinking 3D was going to be OK.  The depth of field was impressive  and I thought this might actually work.  But no, over a more than feature length film, it doesn't add anything other than a headache and a resemblance to Buddy Holly.

So, take the 3D out.  And, please, stop this insane rush to deliver 3D to my living room.  I don't want it.  I don't want to wear glasses to watch TV.  I know there are many people who have to wear glasses all the time but ask them how they feel about having to wear TWO pairs of glasses to watch a movie.  There are so many things I want technology to deliver to my entertainment world but 3D is not one of them.

But back to this movie.  I will say the CG is remarkable.  Well done.  The facial expressions are well translated, the wildlife was fascinating, and hooray for blue boobies.  But it still strikes me as cartoonish.  District 9 is by far the superior blending of CG and the real world.  Honestly, I can't believe anyone could watch those two movies back to back and come away thinking Avatar was a more impressive movie technologically.

And that's the best thing I can say about Avatar.  Good technology but not the best I've seen in the last year.  All other aspects of this movie fall far short.  The plot is a hippie diatribe against corporate greed and military force that we've seen many times before, the script could have been penned by a twelve year old, and the acting is mediocre at best.

James Cameron's political leanings are on full display as well.  When evil colonel dude says "we have to fight terror with terror", I thought that was little too on the nose.  But then he follows that up with saying he's going to deploy some "shock and awe".  Subtle, real subtle.  Not that I disagree with his politics, it just seemed forced and jarring when they popped up in the middle of his hippie smurf movie.

But the moment where I absolutely lost it on this gimpfest was close to the end with the big battle between the main good guy and the main bad guy.  Bad guy is in his big mechanized robot suit and good guy is fighting with his avatar body.  Good guy disarms bad guy but then, from out of nowhere, bad guy pulls a giant bowie knife from out of his robot suit somewhere.  This makes absolutely no sense from a design standpoint.  You have a giant robot that carries giant guns.  Why do you outfit this thing with a giant bowie knife?  It's a robot.  He can crush things.  He doesn't need to stab or slice things.  And even if they wanted to give him a stabby, slicey implement, there's no reason why it should be fashioned after a bowie knife instead of a plain blade or stiletto.  Government contract design, obviously.

So, after all the predictable plot turns, guess what?  Good guys win!  Militaristic bad guys are marched off the planet by the kind-hearted tree hugging good guys.  Yay!  But nobody really explains why the bad guys aren't just going to come back with some nukes, wipe the entire surface of the planet clean of all life forms and then strip mine the mo fo.  Now THAT'S a sequel I'd pay money to see.

So, that was it.  The movie event of the year if not the decade.  It's made a boat load of cash which ensures that Cameron will continue his transformation into George Lucas and his next movie will be even bigger and more ridiculous.  Nominated for 9 academy awards.  If it wins anything but the visual effects award, I'll be physically ill.  It's just not that good a movie.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Olympics

I don't get it. I really don't. It all just seems like a tremendous waste of time and money. For what? To say that our guy can slide down a mountain faster than your guy? I feel plenty of pride in my country whether we get the gold medal in tobogganing or not.

I admit I got swept up in the emotion of Salt Lake City when our hockey team took gold. That was pretty awesome. But when 2006 came and went and we ended up in 7th, I could barely suppress my shrug. It's all so pointless.

And now it's 2010 and the Olympics are in my home country and I really couldn't give less of a fuck. All it means to me is that I've got to wait two weeks for the next new episode of Community. There's just too much money involved in the whole enterprise. They try and sell it on the purity of athletic competition but it has grown way beyond that into a global business enterprise.

I have no doubt that the Georgian luger who died yesterday on a training run was pursuing his passion and felt deep national pride in competing for his country on a global stage. And his passing is a tragedy that has no doubt torn a hole through the lives of his friends, family, and compatriots. But the economic behemoth couldn't be stopped not even for that. The opening ceremonies proceeded on schedule. There were timetables to be followed and sponsors to be satisfied. Where I was once disinterested, I am now sickened.

I think it's time for the Olympics to go away. Summer and winter. Just shut it down. Let's just take a breather for a generation and focus some of that money and energy on some more important things. I wish all of our athletes a safe and prosperous two weeks but, seriously, fuck the Olympics.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Monday, 8 February 2010

TBone's Stolen Movie of the Week: Sherlock Holmes

sherlock-holmes-2009Gotta admit, I don't have any pretentious rationale for stealing this movie.  It hasn't been released on DVD yet and I hate going to the movie theaters and I just wanted to watch it.  I was supposed to go watch Avatar today but the thought of sitting through 2 and a half hours of some stretched out hippie smurfs leaping out at the screen at me, just made my stomach turn.

So, bit-torrent it was.  Honestly I thought this movie was going to be shit.  Sure Robert Downey Jr. has been on quite a roll recently but Guy Ritchie definitely has not.  I wasn't really keen on another retelling of the Sherlock Holmes tale and a bunch of slow-mo, alternating view point, action scenes didn't seem like it was going to add much.  The middling reviews I'd heard seemed to agree.

But, what the hell, it was one of those days where a stupid action movie would hit the spot.  And, low though they were, my expectations were greatly exceeded.  This is a return of the slick Guy Ritchie who directed Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.  It was exactly what I needed.  Fun and fast paced with great performances by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  It does help if your brain isn't spinning at too great an RPM but a good ride all the same.  I look forward to the inevitable sequel.  And I will, once again, purchase the blu ray when it comes out for whatever klepto karma that gets me.

Stupor Bowl

logo_2010-super-bowl





Whooo.  Another super bowl in the bag.  And another post super bowl hang over to struggle through.  Cheers to James and Elisa for hosting another awesome bash.  Cohesive paragraphs are a bit of a challenge for me right now so I'll keep my thoughts to point form.

Football Thoughts

  • Good game overall but a little disappointed that it wasn't the air assault I was hoping for.

  • Had to cheer for somebody so I picked the Colts.  Natch.  Given my support of the Miami Dolphins, Winnipeg Jets, and Ottawa Senators, the end result should have been expected.

  • Can't take anything away from Drew Brees and the Saints.  No problem with them as champs at all.  Except for Jeremy Shockey.  He's still a douche bag.

  • Indianapolis had won many of their games this year by the skin of their teeth.  They just came up a little short this time.

  • Dallas Clark was unstoppable.  They should have used him a hell of a lot more.

  • Reggie Bush had a couple decent runs but I don't remember his number being called much.  He was such a beast in the divisional game, I had hoped for more.


Non-Football Thoughts

  • Pre-game shows are ridiculous.  4 hours of pre-game show is cruel and unusual.

  • Half time shows suck in general.  The geriatric, lip synching stylings of The Who was particularly unbearable.

  • The party took place on the Niagara Peninsula so we were able to get the HD broadcast from Buffalo WITH the much anticipated Super Bowl commercials.  The commercials are often better entertainment than the game itself.  That was not the case this year.  Lame.  Can't believe companies would spend 3 million dollars for air time and then throw up such lackluster crap.  A disturbing theme this year seemed to be men without pants.  Three separate companies, hawking three completely different products, used the decidedly unsexy visual of dude in tighty whitey's as their sales tool.  Weird.  Not funny.  Weird.

  • Food is a big part of the Super Bowl and I was happy to contribute this year with my previously documented Pirshki product.  Seemed to be a success unless everybody was just humouring me.  They received the unfortunate nickname of "meat donut" which means I should dial back the sugar on the next batch.  Googling "meat donut" reveals how unfortunate that nickname really is.

  • One of the staples of the Niagara Super Bowl party has been my friend Kevin's famous fifty pound lasagna.  This thing is less a lasagna and more of a meat casserole with a few noodles and sauce thrown in for flair.  If something non-alcoholic was going to ruin you at a Super Bowl party, this was going to be the culprit.  But it's been a year of many changes for Kevin and this year he changed it up from the Cardiac Lasagna to....a fruit plate.  Dude.

  • I think it's pretty safe to say that James is a fellow technology geek even if our approaches are drastically different.  Where I am a compulsive consumerist, buying anything and everything, James is a patient researcher and connoisseur.  James is the wine aficionado to my anything-in-a-brown-bag drunk.  James has no cell phone and refuses to be drawn into the world of wireless networking.  What he does have is a ridiculous number of televisions.  The 100" projection screen is the main attraction, the 40" wall mounted flat panel right beside the big screen seems a bit excessive, the 13" flat panel in the main floor bathroom brings it right back to awesome.  There's even another little flat panel in the dining area where all the food was spread out.  It is a Super Bowl watcher's dream.  There is no way to miss a play or commercial no matter what you're up to.

  • People typically clear out pretty quick after the game is done.  Few have the foresight and lack of any other plans to sacrifice a vacation day on a Super Bowl recovery day.  Was a bigger deal when I lived 6 hours away but I hate trying to do work hungover so I made sure I had the day blocked off again.  My boss was actually very appreciative of this plan.  Anyways, the after game activities have traditionally been movies, or rock band, or cards.  This year I brought some movies to check out on the big screen.  Unfortunately I only made it through half of District 9 before hitting the wall and begging off to crash.  Never even made it to midnight.  This just continues my string of sub-par performances.  I'm again wondering if the North Bay Debacle has somehow ruined me for marathon drinking sessions.  Just have to keep practicing I guess.

  • Woke up this morning in a none too spectacular condition.  Thankful for a good party with good friends and for a mere hour and a half drive to nap time.

  • Good times.


Thursday, 4 February 2010

Furniture Rage

No place on earth can make me sad, angry, frustrated, and depressed all at the same time.  No place but Ikea.  I keep telling myself that I'm never going back there.  I try and convince myself its not worth trying to find a parking spot, wade through the crowds of yuppie hipsters, journey through the maze of pressboard, Swedish SHITE, to wait in line for half an hour amongst those perpetually whining fucknuts, just to end up twisting my back loading that shite into my car,all to save a few bucks on a piece of junk that's going to swell up with moisture or start peeling its faux wood sticker finish within the first six months.

But there I was.  Back again.  Tempted by the low, low prices and the illusion that I'm a handy individual because I can swing an allen key.  Fuck me.  But this time was different.  I never gave in.  All the stuff in there is just a little off.  I'm sure if I had some sense of style I'd be able to pick something out that would be a cohesive addition to the clap trap of random furniture I've so far collected in my life.  But everything I looked at just seemed to bother me.  So I carried on through the maze and bypassed the fucknut parade at the cashiers and escaped back to my car.

But now what?  I'd driven an hour to get some friggin furniture and I wasn't going home without some.  There was a Sears Home store across the parking lot from Ikea so I thought I'd make a quick purchase of some quality furniture and be done with it.  Always a little daunting going into a store with an empty parking lot in front of it.  But I was determined to make my anti-Ikea statement so in I went.

I'd found a piece that was a little fancier than I would have liked but was looking like the only option.  One of the 5 salesmen that was hungrily gawking at the one customer in the store (me) finally broke free from the pack and approached me.  We chit chatted about the piece for a bit and I mentioned that I wasn't crazy about the colour.  Then she said "Well let me get you a brochure on the series and you can go over it with your wife".

Fuck you, you presumptuous bitch.   Like I'm some errand boy that has to go home and check things out with my mythical little woman before handing over a credit card.  I was piqued.  But whatever.  Just give me the info.  She came back with a pamphlet and a super-duper-for-me-only price.  And just to make me feel extra special she says "Well look over it with your significant other and we'll see you at the sale tomorrow".

Fuck you twice.  Not only am I still not capable of making decisions on my own but somehow I've been downgraded from a potentially married but ball-less individual to someone who is in a questionable relationship with some significant "other".  That "other" being a possible man, woman, or farm animal.  Rage.

A horrible, horrible purchasing trip.  I drove the hour home and fell to my knees and thanked whatever god there is that I now live in a place where the LCBO is open past 6:00 pm.

Bottoms up.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Rogers Rage

I'm sitting in my living room.  Watching.  Watching my god damned cable box turn itself off, boot, come back on, wait 5 minutes, then turn itself off again.  Again and again.  Each time I hope that it's fixed itself.  But no it just keeps going.  And the funny thing is I just wrote an email to Rogers saying how disgusted I was with their service not an hour ago.  Think this is some rogers technician on a payback trip?  Fucking rogers.

Tradition meets Technology

I've probably gone over my family's traditional Christmas meals on some other web page of mine but it's worth repeating.  After the traditional turkey dinner on Christmas day, there are three dishes that are absolutely necessary to make the holiday season complete.

Before the turkey leftovers are all gone, there must be Roll-ups.  Roll-ups are basically leftovers stuffed in crepes.  Diced turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes wrapped in an unsweetened crepe and then baked in the oven.   Pour some gravy over them and yum.

Next we have meat sticks.  My dad's birthday is a couple days after Christmas and this has been the go to meal for that occasion.  The name is pretty self explanatory.  It's meat...on a stick.  Specifically, cubes of marinated pork, impaled on a wooden stick, wrapped with seasoned ground beef, dipped in an egg wash, rolled in bread crumbs, fried, and then finished in the oven.  It's an elaborate process but so worth it.  Probably my favourite of the three and the only one I've consistently made at home.  There's been some dissension amongst some of the "hippie" contingent in our family who would apparently rather chew bark and pine needles or whatever Oprah's latest fad is.  But these things, for me, are happiness on a stick.

And finally we have the reason for this entry, Pirshki.  Pirshki is fried bun dough stuffed with a ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, green onion, and shredded hard boiled egg mixture.  May sound dicey but trust me, this stuff is Slavic crack.  You can not stop at just one.  And until last weekend I have never made a successful batch at home.  The problem for me has always been the dough.  I hate working with dough.  Seems more like some whacky voodoo than actual cooking.  I've tried several pre-made, frozen, and Pillsbury substitutes but they have all been failures.  Obviously my talents do not lie in baking.  When it comes right down to it, my only real talent lies in purchasing and fiddling with gadgets.  Realizing I just had to buy my way out of this problem, I went and got a bread maker.  The bread maker would take care of all the mixing, kneading, and freaky dough rising stages, leaving me to just stuff and fry the little buggers.

First batch, not so good.  I was all excited.  Invited my brother and his family over to partake in the awesomeness of the Pirshki.  Should have realized something was up when the dough never actually grew in size.  As I said, I'm no baker but I do know that dough is supposed to rise at some point.  Turns out active dry yeast isn't so active and you actually have to give it a kickstart with water and sugar before adding to the dough.  Ok, my bad.  Back to the store and picked up some actual bread machine yeast.  I also ditched the dough recipe that came with the machine and went back to mom's undisputed champeen mix for pirshki dough.

Second batch, touchdown!  So good.  Without a side by side comparison it's hard to be 100% but I'd say these were at least a 9 out of 10 compared to mom's.

Glad they worked out cause time was running short.  Had a deadline to get these straightened out by the Super Bowl.  But all is well.  Technology saves the day yet again.