Wednesday, 23 June 2010

TBone's Borrowed Movie of the Week - Time Crimes

As a rule, I'm not into time travel movies.  They're either self-paradoxical (The Terminator series) or use the time travel device as a lazy way of resolving plot points (almost any Star Trek movie).  I forgive two movies and only because they are having fun with the device: Back to the Future and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

But I'd heard of two movies that took different approaches to this well worn meme.   One was Primer.  That's a mind bender.  Written and directed by an engineer (props).  Sets up the rules, obeys them at all times, and delves into what would two guys really do with time travel.  I liked it.  Want to watch it again.  The other movie was Time Crimes.  It always seemed to accompany Primer when critics talked of the new take on time travel.  So I was pretty happy to see my friends, The Robickles, had a copy and even happier when they let me borrow it.

So last week I popped it in and gave it a watch.  Had no idea it was Spanish.  That's cool though.  No problem.  I can roll with dubbed dialogue.  The real problem turned out to be the main character.  Didn't take long to figure out, even through the translation, he was a bit of a douche bag.  The movie itself is of the Terminator type, where people from the future come back to the past to make sure that their future will continue to exist.  It's a bit more complicated than that but, in a nutshell, that's how time travel is used in this movie.

Zombieland

Still funny.  Holy crap.

"Wanna give me a hand with the couch?  We're buildin' a fort." - Woody Harrelson

Awesome.

Depression

Courtesy of The Onion:

Depression

Friday, 18 June 2010

WWILTPITFTW - #3

Who would I like to punch in the face this week?



MBNA Canada.  Yes.  Them.

Rage Against The Machine

It's been a long week.  Putting together my first Argo prototype.  There were ups, there were downs, there laughs, there were tears.  And yesterday we finally sparked the engine and went for the first ride.  Just a short one but it was good to boot about and not have it explode.  The only thing I wanted to cap this event was a cold beer.  Didn't matter what brand or style.  Just as long as it was beer and it was cold.

Headed to the LCBO near my place.  Rounded up a diverse collection from the refrigerated section and made my way up to the only open cashier.  There were a couple people in front of me.  Buddy at the front seemed to be having an issue with his wallet.

What a douche, I thought.  Holding up the line like that.

The next lady wanted her wine in a special bag and then forgot about her air miles and needed that run through again.  Holy fuck.  What is wrong with these people?  Line getting longer.  You're not helping.

Finally, my turn.  Watch a pro get through this line.  Of course, that's when my debit card takes a massive dump and decides that neither chip nor stripe will work today.  No problem, no problem.  Here's my credit card!

Do you see?  Do you see what's coming here?

DECLINED!

Oh you fucking clusterfucking fuckers!

The smug little cashier gives me a shrug and a "Don't know what to tell you."  I would have gladly punched her at that moment.

But my rage must be saved for the true villains.  MBNA.

Home I go.  Ring up customer service on skype.  Go through the automated options, the initial useless fucknut, and then on to a managerial fucknut.  Buddy starts asking me about my previous addresses and phone numbers.  Weird.  I start losing patience and then he comes at me with some issue about my phone quality.  I guess skype wasn't doing such a great job.

Fuck it.  I hang up and go to CIBC.  What's wrong with my debit card?

Nothing.

Fuck.  Fucking LCBO.

Back home.  Call MBNA on my cell.  Automated options, useless fucknut, then on hold for managerial fucknut.  Minutes aren't cheap so after 5 minutes I whispered "Fuck You" to the on hold music and hung up.

On to today.  A more relaxed day of driving my argo around.  Round about quitting time I sighed, picked up the phone, and called MBNA.  Automated options, useless fucknut, and finally managerial fucknut.  I was pretty blunt "What the fuck is going on?"

Ummmmm, not sure.

Great.  No clue why all that horseshit in Ottawa wasn't cleared up and why I was declined at the LCBO.  No idea whatsoever.  Just one of those things.  Un-fucking-real.

So, time for a new credit card.  I've decided on a President's Choice card.  Just have to cash in my Sony points and I can cancel that useless MBNA card.  Never again.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Damaged

So, last weekend I dealt with a flat tire.  The tire place that replaced the damaged tire mentioned I should really get my brakes looked at.  Not much material left.  Nearly none.  So take care of that, right?  But I didn't.  Had camping to plan.  But that didn't pan out and, at the last minute, my brother, my nephew, and I took off for Ottawa.

Took two hours to get across Toronto.  That's a rant for another day though.  Round about the Don Valley exit I tapped my brakes and was rewarded with the most glorious grinding sound.  Ah, so, the brakes are done.

My brother, who is a mechanic, looked at me with a less than fraternal look of contempt and disgust.  Crap.  Well, not much to be done about it.  Ground through the rest of Toronto and then didn't touch the brakes again until Ottawa.  Limped to my parents' place and parked my 4-wheeled shame.

Now, these brakes have lasted me quite a while.  A lot longer than the genuine Honda shite.  These ones I got from Canadian Tire, so I decided to roll the dice on their service again.  Next morning it was dropped off with the promise of a call once they'd evaluated the damage.

I was just stretching out on the first tee when my obnoxious phone started ringing.  It was Canadian Tire.  The first thing the guy said after he identified himself was "How long are you expecting to keep this car?".  That's never a good start to a conversation with a mechanic.  He listed everything that they'd found wrong and an estimate.  Nothing really surprised me.  I'd been ignoring some bumps and rattles for a couple years at least.  Might as well bite the bullet and get it over with.  Gave him the go ahead and went about beating the crap out of a little white ball.

Got the call in the afternoon, all repairs complete, come pick 'er up.  Rolled in, looked at the itemized repairs, and slapped my mastercard on the counter.

Declined.

What?  Umm, can we try that again?

Declined.

Ohhhh-kay.  What say Mr. Debit Card?

Exceeded Withdrawal Limit.

Fuck.  How bout we split it between cards?

Debit - fine.  Mastercard - DECLINED!

Right.  Now I look like a real dead-beat asshole.  Time to give MBNA a ring.

I run the gammut of pre-recorded messages and verifications and I'm eventually presented with a list of charges that has apparently convinced my credit card company that somebody has absconded with my credit card info.

  1. Amazon purchase - $60

  2. Gasoline purchase - $100

  3. Lunch purchase - $70

  4. Canadian Tire attempted purchase - $1500


OK.  I appreciate they're looking out for me.  I'm given the option to verify these purchases are valid and I go ahead and press that button.  Fine.  Problem solved.  I head back to the counter and hand over my credit card with confidence.

Declined.

Oh you fucking cunts.  What are my options here?  Write them a cheque?  Yah, I'm sure they'd jump all over that.  Back to the phone.  Same labyrinth of messages and verifications.  Same list of charges.  Same option to verify these purchases as valid.  This time I chose the option to declare a purchase as invalid.

Wait five minutes for jagoff to pick up phone.  More verifying of personal information.  Explain situation.  Buddy says "Let's just take a look here...".  And then "OK, I'll be passing you on to our Authorization Department for the remainder of this support call."

Fuck me running.  More crappy music while waiting for the personal attention of the Authorization Department.  Another rep and another round of identifying myself as myself.  By this point, everyone hanging out in the customer lounge knows my full name, date of birth, social insurance number, current address, phone number, e-mail address, the bank I deal with, and my mother's maiden name.

I've finally convinced them I am the rightful cardholder and have secured a promise that the next attempted purchase will be granted without issue.  I then let them know what I think of their automated phone system.  A bit risky given I'm still on the hook for $1500 but rage outweighed logic.

Back to the counter and everything is okey-dokey.  Just the knowing looks of the good folks behind the counter who are convinced I just cashed out my child's college fund to make room on my overloaded credit card.

But the car's running great.  Stops like a champ.  Handles corners like a dream.  Just going to cash in all my points when I get home and start looking for another credit card.  Is there such a thing as an LCBO Visa?

Friday, 11 June 2010

Flogging

Golf has definitely taken a back seat in the hobby list.  But I finally went out for a round with my brother and dad.  We were supposed to be camping and fishing this weekend but we bailed when we saw the forecast.  So for the one expected day of sunshine we hit the links.  And it went pretty well.  Dad found a beautiful and reasonably priced course outside of town.  Next time I play there we have to get carts.  My dad had told be they had gps in the carts but I wasn't expecting the huge interactive screens.  A gadget lover's delight.

The game was enjoyable which, for golf, is its own success.  Had to shake off some rust on the first hole and I pretty much fell apart on the last hole.  But there was some respectable holes, a couple pars, and a devastating putt from 20 feet out.  The main thing was I never got excited, angry, or frustrated.  Just played it like I didn't care.  Even the phone call from the garage that I was going to have a $1500 bill waiting for me at the end of the round didn't faze me.

Still, I'd rather be fishing.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Farm

While relaying my latest fishing frustrations to my brother, he came up with the brilliant idea of heading out to one of the local trout farms.  He had seen other people out there with fly rods and said there was plenty of room for casting and the pond is jam packed full of fish.  So, this morning, he and I and my 5 year old nephew Jake headed out to the farm.

The pond wasn't very big but enough room that the dozen or so people that were there weren't tripping over each other's lines.  And the fish were jumping.  There wasn't more than 2 minutes in between splashes and they were happening all over the pond.  I got my fly tied on as quick as I could and started casting.  5 or 6 casts in and BANG, a nice sized rainbow trout broke surface and grabbed all of my cricket.  I set the hook and yelled over to my nephew to check it out.  I guess I was a little over-excited and started pulling him in like I do with my bass/pike rig, forgetting that that rig has 20 lb test line and my fly tippet was a mere 3 lbs.  So a couple twitches by Mr. Fish and bye-bye fly.

A couple more strikes and a couple more lost flies.  Finally had enough and changed the tippet out for some 6 lb.  In the meantime, wee Jake had nabbed the first fish among the three of us.



Okay, that got me going.  I changed spots and eventually I pulled one in too!



And here's Shane with HIS fish!



Oh, that's right.  Shane had a bad day fishing.  A really bad day.  Note the wet pants in the following pic.



I was casting away when I hear a splash.  I look over and see my brother's fly rod in the pond and moving quickly away from shore.  And then I see my brother in the pond, trying desperately to get his hands on that rod.  He didn't make it.  We watched the rod do a little tour of the middle of the pond.  Then I started casting over the rod.  I actually managed to hook it which speaks to my much improved casting.  Saved the rod but the fish was gone.  Shane had had enough of fly fishing by that point.

Jake had also had enough of fishing all around so while he played on the playground equipment, Shane tried out his Spiderman rod.  When he actually managed to cast with the thing, he had a pretty good success rate at hooking fish.  Keeping the fish was another matter.  There are three bobbers floating around on that pond right now courtesy of my brother's snapped lines.

One fish he managed to land, he scooped up in the net.  As he pulled the hook, the fish flipped and flopped right out of his hand and back into the pond.  I felt such shame at that moment.  My brother had always been the outdoorsy one.  The one I looked to for advice when I started this whole fishing kick.  And he was outmatched, literally, by a fish out of water.

Naturally, the exact same thing happened to me not 20 minutes later.  Only, my brother managed to capture my flippity-floppity shame on video.  I decided not to share this video with the internet.

Despite the challenges, it was a fun morning.  Really happy to land a decent fish with the fly rig.  Shane probably won't touch his fly rod again.  Or the Spiderman rod.  It's kind of pricey to rent time at the trout farm but it's still cheaper than a round of golf.  A nice option when you don't really feel like trying too hard.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Change

Down to Niagara last night to raise a beer for my friend and former boss who had finally seen his last day with the much despised corporation of John Deere. On the way to the bar I noticed I had a flat tire. Crap. I'd have to do something about that.

But first the beers. Many delicious beers. And friends and stories and laughs. And beers. The Robickles were once again more than gracious hosts. Woke up this morning feeling less than heroic. Flight instincts kicked in and I made my way outside to drive home.

Oh right. Flat tire. Was in no condition to perform a major mechanical maneuver like changing a tire. I limped to the gas station and filled the tire in the hope it was just a slow leak. I didn't hear any air leaking so off I went.

Made it to Beamsville and decided an egg mcmuffin was in order. Went through the drive thru and figured I should check the tire again. Yup, she's sinking fast. Found the culprit this time though. A nail. Damn. So, time to suck it up and change the damned tire.

Changing tires sucks. Changing tires while hungover is a biblical test of one's life force. But I got it done. Slowly.

The rest of the drive home was uneventful. Stopped in at a tire place near home. They can't repair the tire. Nail was too close to the sidewall. Damn. So now I'm going to have an oddball tire. Ah well. There's not much time left for the ole CeR-Vix anyways.

Enough about tires, time for a serious nap.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Recital

My niece's first piano recital was tonight.   She did not want to be there.  I felt her pain.  Flash back 25 years ago.   A 10 year old TBone had been cruelly tricked into participating in a guitar recital.   I sat there watching dude after dude light it up.  Eventually it was my turn.   And I could feel the pity oozing from the audience as I struggled through the worst rendition of Greensleeves ever perpetrated on mankind.   Scarred me for life.   To this day I can't stand to be in front of a crowd of people.

So, I wanted to spare my niece such an experience.  But she did great.  Her ego, obviously, not as fragile as my own.  She still didn't want to be there and freaked when she saw a kid from her school class was also there.  Ah, childhood.  So much drama.  Not like adulthood.

It was interesting to see the other kids at the recital.  You could really see the ones who had a genuine passion for music, the ones who were natural performers, and the ones who couldn't believe their parents hated them so much that they would make them do this thing.  You can guess which group my heart went out to.

But good job little b!  Uncle's proud of you!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

WWILTPITFTW - #2

Who would I like to punch in the face this week?

Everyone.