Sunday, 28 March 2010

Buffalo Hockey

So, Friday night in Buffalo.  The mighty Ottawa Senators had come for a visit and friends had procured some tickets.  I've been to a few Sens/Sabres games at the HSBC arena in the past but since leaving the Niagara region I've been going directly to the source for my live Sens action.

And going to Ottawa is a comfortable feeling.  Wearing the Sens jersey and surrounded by people in their Sens jerseys is awesome.  You really get a sense of how thrilling a mob could be.  But wearing that same jersey into enemy territory takes a different mindset.  Now you stick out, you do not belong, you are surrounded by the mob.  And that is awesome too.  You've made the decision before even entering the arena to provoke, offend, and at the very least annoy people in their own home.  It's all part of being a fan though and if everyone understands, good times can still be had by all.

And the people in Buffalo understand.  We had a great time.   Starting right at the bridge we had a border guard yip at us because of my jersey.  And it carried right through to the parking lot, the bar we wandered into before the game, in the arena, at our seats, in the bathroom between periods, after the game, on the streets, and finally at the bar we almost went into before bailing and heading home.  All good natured ribbing and trash talking.  Completely asshole-free.

Not to forget the game itself.  Elliott proved he deserved the number 1 spot in net.  I thought Neil and Ruutu were particularly energetic in their energy line role.  I think our "top" two lines are still lacking in some offensive urgency and creativity.  And Spezza is still a tool.  The playoffs aren't going to be easy but if we can shut down Buffalo, Ottawa has a real shot against New Jersey in the first round.

It's easy to take shots at Buffalo.  The city has definitely seen better days and their sports teams never quite get the job done but the sports fans are top notch.  Passionate without being dicks about it.  The HSBC is a great venue too with reasonably priced seating and easy access from the interstate.  I'd love to see another NHL team in Ontario but it really would be a shame for that to be at the cost of the Buffalo Sabres.

A great way to kick off the weekend.  Thanks to J, J, & A for suggesting, organizing, and transporting.  And, as always, GO SENS GO!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Empty

Dropped in on the ole Welland Works yesterday.  Been almost 4 years since I walked out of that place.  Driven by a couple times but never went back in until yesterday.  At its height, JDWW employed 1000 people.  Now, there are 9 full time employees at the plant.  One of those people is my old boss and friend James who gave me a tour of what's left.  And that's not much.  The main office is the only one left with any furniture or heat.  And the plant floor is just that, a floor.  I'm not quite sure why the people who are left there don't spend their days having gator races on the shop floor.

Definitely a strange feeling walking around all that empty.  All those things and people that used to drive me into rages have just up and disappeared.  Balance that against the fact that 991 people no longer work there.  Most of the stuff got shipped to Mexico because it's so cheap to produce stuff in Mexico right?  And then you hear about the rampant theft, the transportation interruptions, the minor issue of drug cartel violence, and the fact that they built TWO entirely new factories to replace Welland Works.  What have they actually saved in this move?

But what's done is done.  In a couple months the only people at the plant will be security and the only thing they'll be doing is chasing off raccoons and squatters.  It was a soul-sucking pit of anguish and despair but it still kind of tugs at the emotions to see another Canadian manufacturing plant get abandoned.

Empty

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Absolution

Hey, I just figured out how to relieve that bit-torrent guilt!  At least for movies that are still in theaters.  Movietickets.ca!  I buy the ticket on-line, I support a local theater, the movie industry gets paid, and I limit my exposure to assholes by staying at home.  Everybody wins!

TBone's Second Stolen Movie of the Week: Shutter Island

shutter-island-posterStill out in some theaters.  Really should have sucked it up and gone and seen it.  Starting to feel a little guilty about the downloading.  Maybe next week I'll go see it in a real theater.  The audio on this download was a little messed up and the video had some weird cuts that I'm hoping weren't done on purpose.  For a Scorsese flick, it seemed just a little off.  I'm sure the screen version or blu-ray will look and sound alot better.

This is one of those movies where you really wish you hadn't heard anything about it before hand.  Although no reviews I read or heard spoiled any plot points directly, there was always a reference to something "we can't talk about" or "but we don't want to spoil anything".  Well guess what, you just did spoil it fucknut.  Now I'm watching this thing looking for the tip offs and clues instead of waiting for it to unfold naturally and possibly being surprised by the twists instead of just thinking "Oh, that's the thing they were talking about in the review....huh."

But I guess I just did the same thing to anyone who reads this and hasn't seen the movie yet .  Whoops.  Sorry.

The movie itself doesn't really break any new ground story wise.  It's a good ride.  DiCaprio is good too.  Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley are kind of lost in the background which is disappointing.  And you really kind of hope for more because it IS a Scorsese movie.  But I guess they can't all be classics.  Still, better than that Cape Fear remake.  I recommend it.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

TBone's Stolen Movie of the Week: The Road

the-roadI had heard about the book "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy from a friend.  Didn't realize it was the same guy who wrote No Country for Old Men.  If I'd known that, I probably never would have purchased the audiobook for one of my many road trips.  But I did purchase it, and I really liked it.  The person who read that book was very good and I found the journey and world of the book fascinating in large part because of that performance.

So I was pretty excited when the movie based on the book came out in theaters.  That excitement quickly evaporated when I started hearing some reviews.  I gave the theater version a pass and watched the torrent sites to see when it would appear there.  Finally got a chance to view this copy last night.

And, yah, the reviews were pretty accurate.  This is a bleak movie.  Not surprising given the subject matter of a father and son struggling to survive in a dystopian future.  But the movie fails to deliver any emotion or suspense to contrast the visual and situational bleakness.  And the kid.  Sweet crap in a basket.  I can't recall more than a couple decent acting performances by any child actor and this kid ain't one of them.  This movie never should have gone ahead without being absolutely certain they had an actor capable of pulling off these scenes.  To be fair, the script and direction do not help.  I refuse to believe that in a time of desperate survival that any parent would let parental bonds forgive this little shit for not following strict orders and not shutting the fuck up when you're in the same house as well armed murderous cannibals.  When your survival depends on silence and your little simp of an offspring can't help blubbering and whining at every turn, you have to evaluate how much you really like this kid.  I would have kicked the little turd to the curb at the first opportunity.  See how far his liberal sensibilities get him when he's out on his own.  He'd be somebody's bitch or happy meal within minutes.

So yah.  Disappointing.  I'll still fork over some cash when it's available to rent but I'd only recommend reading the book or listening to the audiobook.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Nuts

One of the last things I did before leaving Haileybury was change the tire and wheels from my summer set to my winter set.  Didn't think much of it.  Just something that needed to get done before the snow hit.  Shouldn't have worried about it really.  I'd purchased a snowmobile that summer so, naturally, no snow this winter.  Except for that one weekend when I actually had to get somewhere.

Anyways.  My tires.  The thing about my summer wheels is that they need different wheel nuts than the standard wheel nuts that I use with my winter rims.  I keep the nuts I'm nut using for the given season in a box.  Not a large box but very recognizable.  So, like I said, before the snow came I'd changed my tires for the winter set, put the summer tires in the shed, put the nuts in their box and put the box in the closet.

Then I moved.

And I didn't think much about those summer tires and even less about that box of nuts.  And now, spring is in the air.  Temps are consistently above 10 degrees.  Time to do the swap back to summer treads.  Got the wheels no problem.  Pretty hard to miss.  Laid out the tires in their new rotation sequence and got out the necessary tools.  Now, about those nuts.  Where exactly did I put those?  Cue disassembly of house.

Every cupboard, every drawer, every closet, every single god damned box in the house.  No nuts.  Did I leave them in Haileybury?  Impossible.  I was positive I packed them.  Positive.  Okay, time to get creative in the search.  I opened board games, dvd box sets, cartons of unopened printer paper.  Nothing.  Do it all over again.

And I did find them.  At the bottom of a plastic tub filled with all my fishing gear.  Rods, tackle, fish finder, life jacket, kayak paddles, ALL of my fish related gear.  And a box of wheel nuts.  Why I thought that future me would remember to look in the fishing gear container for those very important nuts come spring time is beyond me.

I just don't understand my brain sometimes.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Fucking Leafs

There really is nothing worse than watching your team lose to the Toronto Maple Fucking Leafs. Recent losses to Vancouver and Calgary, OK. I can deal with that. But Toronto? Fuck. I mean really, fuck. If they can't get their act together to beat this one fucking team what fucking hope do they have in the playoffs? Again, fuck.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Roo Fest, 2010

rooA friend forwarded this link a while ago.  It's some hippie fluff piece on the retarded concept of kangatarianism.  There was some back and forth amongst the distribution group but eventually it came up that this same friend actually had a source for some kangaroo meat.  Not some sketchy, back alley source but a legitimate market with a public store front and everything.

Now, for the most part, I'm against eating cute animals.  I do not eat lamb or rabbit just for that reason.  But I'm also a huge hypocrite as I do eat veal.  So, according to my loose gastronomical ethics, cuteness buys you some grace unless you are extremely delicious.

But where to put kangaroos on the eat/don't eat scale?  They definitely have the cuteness dialed in.  But kangaroo is the meat of choice for an entire continent of barbecuers so it's gotta be delicious, right?  Only one way to find out for sure.  I agreed to participate in a Roo-B-Que that was eventually held last night in the Greater Fonthill Area.

The hosts are friends who have put on countless critically acclaimed dinners and events.  They are my destination of choice when in the Niagara Region and I would recommend their hospitality to anyone.  Just call 905-GUD-TYMZ and ask for Andrea.  This Roo-Do would prove to be no exception to their standards of excellence.  The house quickly filled with friends, new and old.  This wasn't just an experiment in Australian cuisine but also a farewell to our friends Kevin and Joanna as they are moving up to North Bay this week.  Andrea, as always, went all out with the food.  Not only preparing the roo-kebabs but also a turkey curry and breaded chicken for those who may be a little less roo curious.

And kangaroo meat is....good!  The closest I can compare it to is venison.  A darker red meat, tender, and sans the gaminess of your standard deer.  There's no danger of me becoming a kangatarian but that's more due to availability.  If there were roo farms around here, I'd be holding roo-b-ques all summer long.  So, unfortunately for my hoppy little friends, I would have to say they are more delicious than cute.  If you happen to run across some of these steaks, gime 'em a try.

Thanks again to Andrea for suggesting, obtaining, and preparing something we may never have tried otherwise.  And thanks to the entire Team Robickle for hosting another great night in Fonthill.  Good times.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Good Christian

Last

Highland Park 12

highland_park12yearsI drank a bottle of Highland Park 3 or 4 years ago.  It was either a 15 or 18 year old malt.  I remember it being awesome.  I wasn't expecting much from a scotch with a name that sounds like one of those crappy housing developments.  But that bottle blew me away.  I'm pretty sure it was one of my "quitting" scotches.  That great experience lead me to purchase the Highland Park 12 year old whose retail price was much friendlier.  The price was friendly but the drink was most definitely not.

So I made a mental note and avoided the Highland Parks for the last three years.  But the mind grows fuzzy and I can't really recall why I didn't like that 12 year old.  But I was still really sure about liking the 15 year old.  So I decided to give the 12 year old another shot if only to give it a proper recording on this blog.

The smell of this drink is a clear warning that troubled waters lie ahead.  Strong, medicinal, unforgiving.  But troubling aromas have disguised rewarding drinks before.  So, down she goes.  The drink quickly flares to a strong alcohol bloom with that same medicinal tone chasing all the way down.  That taste lingers while a chalky aftertaste grows as the medicine fades.  It's a bold experience.  I wouldn't say it's terrible just incredibly challenging to appreciate.  It's very different from my favoured highland and speysides but doesn't have the peat of the Islay malts.  Despite its name I'd describe it as more of a lowland malt with the muddled, iodine tasting.

So, the question is: Would I buy this bottle again?  I'd say probably not.  I recognize that I'm being challenged but a challenge just isn't what I'm looking for in a scotch.  I may be self-medicating but I don't want my drink of choice to actually taste like medicine.  This is a scotch for a true aficionado.  Not me.

Challenge someone else.  3 shots.


Friday, 5 March 2010

This Week in Argos

Pretty wild week at the ole argo factory.  Lots of ups and downs.  But I knew, no matter how frustrated or angry I was, that at the end of the week we would be going for a ride.  And that made things all right.  Come Friday morning, the mechanics and I were working like hell to get a prototype ready for the afternoon ride.  I had assembled the transmission myself and I was a little anxious that I hadn't f'd anything up.  One o'clock came and I had just put the key in the ignition.  The engine started up and I was ready to go.  Slip it into reverse to back out of the service bay and VROOM VROOM!  Yup, I have revs but no movement.  Fuck.  There were a couple comments about my transmission building ability but a check of the clutch found a misplaced key stock.  That was fixed and then it was time for the real vrooming to begin.

Five engineers and four argos set out cross country.  Over fields, across frozen rivers, up hills, down hills, through snow drifts, and I was giggling through every minute of it.  Couldn't believe some of the spots I crawled through.  Tracks are a must for heading into snow and a winch came in handy here and there too.  Three of the four argos were 8 wheelers but the real gem is the 6 wheeler.  A speedy little rocket that will have you laughing in no time.  If I was still up in Haileybury,  I would have bought one on the spot.  At the end of the day we rolled back into the factory.  Covered in mud and grinning from ear to ear.

It's been a long time since I've been passionate about the products I design.  And it's a true joy to find that passion again.  Can't wait to take one fishing!