Monday, 31 May 2010

Sunday Afternoons

I can't count the number of Sunday afternoons I've wasted, nursing a hangover, on the couch, watching TV.  The only energy that could be stirred was just enough to push a button on the TV remote.  That energy was spent in the desperate search for a movie that would pass the time in an entertaining fashion without taxing the battered brain matter.

Over the years, 4 movies eventually showed they had the right stuff to carry me through these laziest of lazy afternoons.  All World War II movies that have been watched again and again and again.  Each time, just as satisfying as the last.  In no particular order these hallmark movies are:

  • The Dirty Dozen

  • The Guns of Navarone

  • Where Eagles Dare

  • Kelly's Heroes


Each one a classic.  And all four have been on the TCM channel in the last 48 hours as part of their Memorial Day weekend.  Where Eagles Dare has probably had the most Sunday afternoon viewings.  My favourite is probably Kelly's Heroes mainly because of Donald Sutherland.  But I'd take any of these all-stars on any given Sunday.

Science

There's a lot that's odd about me but one of the stranger things is the way I process scotch.  Depending on several factors, such as rage level, depression, and/or barometric pressure, it's not uncommon for a full bottle of scotch to disappear in one evening.  The next morning might be a bit foggy but it's nothing compared to the all out crippling I get if I'd drunk the same amount of rye or rum or vodka.

One friend suggested I look into competitive drinking circuits as a way to make some money off this bodily anomaly.  I'd prefer taking the high road, I think, and I look forward to the day when I can proudly donate my liver to science .  I fully expect to be immortalized when the TBone protein that converts single-malt scotch whisky into bleary-eyed good times, is finally discovered.

But the reason I bring this up is because I had some wine last night.  Three quarters of a bottle.  And I have SUCH a fucking headache right now.  Good god.  That'll learn me.  If you find something you're good at, stick with it.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Frustration

Been talking a lot about fishing.  It's getting kind of repetitive.  I'll try and move on.  But first a final recap of this weekend's activities.

Saturday took the kayak out to Mountsberg Reservoir.  Had high hopes.  It looked like a bigger lake than Puslinch so I was thinking it might be a bit deeper and less weedy.  It was neither.  Quite a crowd out there but I don't think anybody caught anything.  Passed by at least a half dozen dead fish.  After throwing everything in my tackle box out into the weeds and getting nothing in return, I started heading in.  I passed by a catfish who was just hanging out near the surface.  I took my net and scooped him up.  He flopped a couple times so he wasn't dead.  I put him back.  Probably would have been kinder to put him out of his misery.  It's a sick lake and it's probably the first time I've experienced any kind of hippie rage.

Saturday afternoon I visited a tackle shop.  I explained my frustration with the fish of the Nith River and my weak attempts to catch them with a fly rod.  I left the shop with some new flies and a confidence that I would soon conquer the trout of the Nith.

Sunday morning saw me on the river at 6:00 a.m., new flies in hand.  Two hours later saw me with 6 fewer flies and no fish to show for it.  I don't know why but I couldn't tie a decent knot to save my life this morning.  Lost a couple flies in the trees and a couple flies in the rocks.  I finally said "Fuck it" and went home for a nap.

So, here I am.  In the middle of Southern Ontario with no decent water to go kayaking and no discernible skill or knowledge enough to catch fish out of the streams.  I think maybe it's time to dust off the golf clubs.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Success!

Hey!  I finally caught a fish with my fly rod!  TWO fish actually.

Well....technically they would probably still be classified as minnows.  But they were BIG minnows.  It was a nice clear evening and I could actually see the big fish just hovering and taking it easy.  They still aren't interested in any flies I've put out there.  But now that I know I can actually catch fish with this rig, I'll be back for the big ones.

My casting technique is coming along.  I'd say I've graduated from a style that could best be described as "seizure-ish" to something that could charitably be called "amateurish".  But it's coming.  Didn't have to extricate any hooks from any body parts this time so that's an order of magnitude improvement.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Help

It pains me to say, but I need help.  Another evening wasted flailing about on a river bank.  Not even a nibble today.  Bought a whole whack of new flies but nothing seemed to work.  The highlight of the night was when I managed to stick a fly in the middle of my back on one particularly horrendous back cast.  As I tried to extricate the fly without piercing my spinal cord, I began to think that maybe some professional guidance would be in order.  Sigh.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Inanimate Pornography


Found this photo while cleaning out my camera's memory card.  Thought some of the perverts in the audience might appreciate some hot kayak-on-snowmobile action.

Gone Fishin'

I had one goal this long weekend and one goal only: Catch a fish.  I'm in some unfamiliar territory when it comes to fishing the K-W region and I've been anxious about how and where I'd be able to make use of my kayak.  I was definitely spoiled in Northern Ontario with all the accessible freshwater lakes.  On the other hand, Southern Ontario has a number of streams and rivers that could provide some fly fishing opportunities.

Saturday called for rain but I was determined to beat it.  I left the kayak in the garage, grabbed my fly gear, and headed to a stream that flows by the argo test track in New Hamburg.  Friday I had been trundling down this stream in an 8-wheeler and a fish jumped out of the way.  So I knew the fish were there.  I parked my car, grabbed my kit and coffee, and headed to the riverbank.  Not two feet from the bank and the rain started.  It was just a drizzle that was coming and going so I stuck it out.

Now, I'm fairly new to the whole fishing experience but I'm a mere babe in the woods when it comes to fly fishing.  I flailed about for an hour with a half dozen fish sightings but nothing on the hook.  I felt a couple nibbles but nothing else.  That tells me I just need to expand my fly selection.  After that hour, the skies really opened up and I had to pack it in before I could try anything else.

The rest of Saturday was spent shopping for fly fishing books and shooting terrorists on Call of Duty.

Sunday I sulked over my zero sum fish total from Saturday.  And I had some beers and barbecue with friends as the weather steadily improved.

Monday was go time.  I got up reasonably early, broke my coffee embargo, and loaded up the kayak.  My destination was Puslinch Lake just east of Cambridge.  I'd scoured Google maps looking for ANY reasonably sized body of water that I could throw a line in to and found a lake I never knew existed.  Only took 20 minutes to get there so it meets the accessibility criteria.  I got there around 8:00 in the morning and there were maybe a dozen vehicles already there so not too crowded.  The lake turned out to be  a pretty shallow puddle.  A good size area-wise but just not that deep.  And the weeds were ridiculous.  They were so thick in parts that I couldn't use the pedal-drive and had to paddle through.

Lots of fish though.  Not very big fish but lots of them.  Caught a couple bass, a perch, and a crappie.  Not a great haul or exciting fights but it was still nice to get out on the water and get some of the rust off.  When I finally called it a day it was around noon.  And the parking lot was packed.  Definitely pays to come early.  Not sure what this lake is going to be like when the water levels drop and expose even more weeds but I'd come back.  More excited to try out the Mountsberg Reservoir which is just a couple clicks further east.  That'll be next weekend.

So, I met my goal.  Caught a fish.  Still have some work to do on that whole fly-fishing thing but I'm pretty happy with the way the summer got kicked off this weekend.  Good times.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

WWILTPITFTW - #1

The concept behind this blog was not only to document my relationship with the single malt scotch but to also put to the internet those things that truly piss me off.  I'm pretty sure I'm the first on the world wide web to attempt this.  In the beginning, I had in my head a weekly feature where I would highlight one person or group that had caused me to rage uncontrollably.  The kind of rage that is fueled by alcohol instead of being diluted.  The kind of rage that can only be relieved by punching that person or group in the face.  That feature never really happened because I really wasn't that angry anymore.  Sure I got angry.  The world is full of stupid people, of course I got angry.  But never THAT angry.

Until now.  So, without further ado, I'm proud to present the very first installment of Who Would I Like To Punch In The Face This Week!

And this week the lucky winner is the douche bag on the Tim Horton's Iced Mocha Cappuccino commercial.  The guy who looks like he's having a brain aneurysm while screaming "AWESOMERRRRR!" in the back of his friend's car.  Holy fuck that commercial is like a spike through my brain.  And it's on all the time.  I can't get away from it.  Clearly the only solution to this problem is if I were to punch that fucknut in the face right between the "AWESOM" and the "ERRRRR".

Just thinking about it is making me feel better!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Hippie Nonsense

My life is being adversely affected by the Hippie Agenda (HA).

First: My Lawn.  I don't really have a lawn.  It's more of a dandelion farm.  Apparently the former renter of this place wasn't much for lawn care.  I'm no champ in that department either but I hate having the only yellow lawn in the neighbourhood.  MUST CONFORM!  I thought this would be an easy fix.  Go grab some weed and feed, spray down the lawn, and watch the magic happen.  Except the Hippie Army (HA) made sure that any reasonable solution to my problem has been outlawed.  Bought a manual de-weeder.  Made it halfway across my lawn and the fucking thing broke.  Fucking hippies.

Second: My Work.  We had a parts washer at work.  Wasn't a great washer.  Didn't use varsol.  It used some useless fucking Hippie Alternative (HA) to varsol that barely removed grease.  It broke.  We finally got a new one this week.  It doesn't use the barely effective varsol alternative the last one used.  It uses the completely ineffective combination of warm water and baking soda.  I swear to god, warm water and fucking BAKING SODA!  I placed a greasy component in there and scrubbed diligently for at least 15 minutes.  It came out warm, wet, and gorgeously decorated in a pattern of brushed grease.  I want my fucking varsol.  Fucking hippies.

Third: My Groceries.  I've already bitched about this whole paying for plastic bags nonsense.  I've grown accustomed to the dirty looks as I admit that, yes, I do indeed need to purchase plastic bags.  Now that I live in a civilized region of the world, I can go to the self-serve checkout and avoid all Hippie Attitude (HA).  People seem to have caught on to my route of shame-free shopping though and the self-serve lanes were packed a couple days ago.  I steeled myself for the condescension and pulled into one of the cashier-conducted lanes.  She turned, looked at my groceries, looked at me, "Bags?", "yup", "How many?", "two".  Eyebrow raised, she took two bags and placed them on the conveyor behind her.  She then proceeded to pass my groceries over the laser and pile them beside my bags.  Then she asked for money which I gave her.  Then I stared between her and my un-bagged groceries several times as she started to process the next sap's groceries.  Oh.  I guess I bag my own groceries then.  And I looked around and EVERYBODY is doing this.  What is wrong with this picture?  What exactly  is the point of the job of "cashier" anymore?  To mindlessly scan food items and then tell me the total that I can plainly see for myself on her screen?  Without the bag packing function, I'm sorry, it's seems a little bit fucking redundant.  I guess this isn't totally the fault of the hippies.  But still.  Fucking hippies.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Glenkinchie 12

The Edinburgh Malt.  Sure, why not?  Picked this bottle up for a weekend barbecue.  Almost ruined me.  Started off the night with a shot of Lagavulin.  Good god that's harsh shite.  A couple beers to wash that peaty paste away and then it was on to the Glenkinchie.

Don't remember much of the taste from the weekend and I wasn't in a note taking mood.  Luckily there was a bit left in the bottle and someone remembered to bring it along when we left.  So a couple days later here's what I think of this malt.

The nose is very promising.  A rich, sherry, oak.  And the taste is surprising good!  I gotta say I'm a little shocked.  I don't remember a whole lot from Saturday but I was under the impression that I hadn't enjoyed this scotch very much.  On the other hand I did drink half the bottle so it must not have been revolting.  Maybe I'm confusing some of that first Lagavulin into my Glenkinchie impression.  But not bad!  A little caramelly, a little lowland peat.  It does hang around a bit in the aftertaste but not too cloying.  I take that back.  It hangs around way too much.  Just feeling it now.  It just doesn't go away.  Brings the meh.

I'm happy to find that I didn't drink a lot of something that was horrible.  But it's belligerent house guest attitude is keeping this from any repeat purchase.  An interesting drink but not one I'm interested in.

Que sera.  3 shots.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Changed

Well.  That was easy.  Unexpectedly so.  Turns out it was the theme I was using that was causing all the grief.  Updated the theme and the rest of the upgrade went smoothly.  The site is a little different but nothing major.  Enough nerding out for now.  Time to go drinking.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

My web hosting service has indicated I need to upgrade my wordpress installation for security reasons.  I've tried upgrading before but something is throwing the process out of whack.  Need to dig deeper and that means the look and availibility of this site may change over the next couple of days (weeks?).    We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

re-addicted

So much for the no-coffee thing.  Lasted 14 days.  Whoo.  I got through late nights, early mornings, meetings of indeterminate length, and more than one hangover.  But the road trip was too much to ask of my fragile will power.  Made it halfway to Ottawa and had to pull over to caffeinate myself.

It had been two weeks since my last coffee but several more months since I'd been to a Tim Horton's.  Pulled in, ordered my large coffee, pulled up to the window, handed over my dusty Tim's card, waited for the cashier to charge it, and then I totally flubbed the card return.  She had wrapped the receipt over the card and when I grabbed it, I only had a hold of the receipt allowing the card to drop into the mud covered asphalt below.

Panic.  By that point there were 5 cars behind me in the line.  I could practically hear the collective groan behind me as the card slipped through my fingers.  I have ranted on more than one occasion about maintaining line integrity at the drive thru.  And I had fucked up worse than the super-chatty twit ordering 5 sandwiches and 12 drinks, each of them different and far removed from anything on the standard menu.

Through much straining and contortioning I managed to foot drag and pick up my stupid Tim's card off the ground.  And I still had to wait for my coffee.  As soon as the coffee was in the car, I planted the accelerator and tore out of that town and back to the 401 as fast as I could.  Never to return.  Ever.

But yah, that was an awesome cup of coffee.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Glenrothes Select Reserve

glenrothes_select_reserveYah, scotch.  We've had some good times.  We've had some bad mornings.  But we haven't been spending much time together recently.  Some would say that's a good thing.  But good or not, I decided to check in on my old friend last week.

This time I decided to try out The Glenrothes Select Reserve.  A squat little bottle in the $60 range.  Different looking but it said it was a Speyside so what the hell.

Now I said I bought this last week.  And I'm still drinking it today.  Did I just blow your mind?  This bottle has actually lasted for more than 7 days.  So either it tastes like fermented sheep urine or I've really made a significant lifestyle change.

Turns out to be a little bit of both.

But lets start with the aroma.  Flat, even before the ice.  And salty.  Does salt smell?  I don't know, but if it does, it smells like this scotch.  There's a little bit of fruit there but it's kind of like the fruity flavour in some off-brand discount cough syrup.  Meh.

Then comes the tasting.  And so does the meh.  Kind of complex but more muddled.  Really hard to nail down a single impression.  There's an oily component to it and a swift bloom of fruit that dissolves into a wooden medicinal taste.  Really weird.  Not something I enjoyed contemplating like other complex tasting scotches.

Did some googling and found out that this is actually a blended scotch.  Not a blend of different scotches but a blend of differently aged samples of the same scotch.  So despite being of Speyside origin it still ends up being a bit of a mess.  Given the price, I'm a little ticked off at what's been delivered here.

Shenanigans!  2 shots.

Springjam!

Spent the weekend in Parry Sound.  Representin' the team at a four-wheeler get together called the Can-Am Springjam.  Friday was spent talking to dealers and customers and test driving 4 wheelers.  Good times.  Four wheelers have come a long way since I last drove one back in the early nineties.  They are wider, more comfortable, and more powerful.  Drove a Can-Am trail machine which actually had power steering.  Blew me away.  You could drive the roughest trail in the world all day and come out the other end smiling.

And that brings us to Saturday.  Saturday was spent driving the roughest trail in the world.  And I did not end the day smiling.  Argos do not have power steering.  Argos do not even have suspension.  What Argos do have is an optional canopy.  Optional.  My prototype Argo did not have this option.  And naturally it was pouring rain that morning.

Took 5 hours to drive 20 km of this beast of a trail.  Rocks, mud, water, fallen trees.  My Argo was a champ through it all but holy crap did it take a toll on my body.  My shins are severely bruised, my wrists are numb, and my shoulders may both be dislocated.  But I gotta say it was still pretty fun.  Tiring but fun.

The GPS track of the ride is included below.  I'll definitely be heading back this summer, with argo, to do some fishing in some of the lakes we passed.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Springjam!

Headed up to Parry Sound this Friday to help represent Argo at the Can-Am Springjam.  Friday was all about talking to people and test driving four wheelers.  Good times.  Friday night we drank.  Managed to get up Saturday morni

Springjam Trail Ride


View Springjam 2010! in a larger map