Monday, 27 September 2010

What's TBone Drinking?

Beer!  Probably not too surprising but the brand may be.  I am drinking Molson Canadian.  Old school.  Picked up a case to be the mix in some ungodly drink the boys at work call "The Porch Climber".  Meant to leave it for Saturday but I couldn't resist.  There's football on TV and nothing goes better with pretzels than beer.

And Molson Canadian is just as I remember.  Bland as bland could be.  Coors light could pass as a craft brew compared to this.  Ah well.  It really does compliment the pretzels.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Groceries

There are people in this world that are incapable of using the self-checkout lanes at the grocery store.  I feel bad for these people.  They need help.  I don't know if that help needs to be in the form of training, therapy, or medication.  But until that help arrives, I would ask these people to do me a favour and stay the FUCK OUT OF THE SELF-CHECKOUT LANE!

Thank you.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Netflix

The Netflix online streaming service started today in Canada.  It's been kind of annoying to hear how awesome this service is in the states while we're stuck with piece-meal streaming offerings from CTV and Global.  It has a 1 month free trial so I thought I'd sign up and give it a whirl.  And I'm pretty damn impressed.  The selection of newer movies and TV shows is almost non-existant but there's a ton of older stuff to pick through.  The picture quality is great and I've yet to see a hiccup in the stream.  I've run it through my PS3 and my Media Center PC, both worked great.  My main concern is how much this will eat into my bandwidth cap.  It's roughly 1 GB per hour of streaming so I should be alright.  Really kicking myself for signing that two year contract with Rogers just to get yet ANOTHER laptop.  Once the free month is over, the cost of the service is eight bucks a month.  The selection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 shows is worth it alone.  I think, when the time comes, I'll be downgrading my Rogers TV package and spending more time digging through the Netflix archives.

Logged on to write these thoughts down and noticed this article in one of my feeds.  Turns out Netflix hired acting extras to fill in the crowd at the announcement today and act real excited about the prospect of Netflix in Canada.  What douchebags.  Still a great service though.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Firetruck! Firetruck! Firetruck!

So, here I am, enjoying a nice glass of scotch, watching the Wallace and Gromit collection.  And the doorbell rings.  Little late for the marketeers to be out and about.  Might as well see what's up.  As I get up I notice flashing red lights through the front door window.

Panic.

Last time I had seen lights like that outside my door was in University.  Police had shown up to arrest me.  Seriously.  Some book keeping had got mixed up from a previous incident and since I was moving every 4 to 8 months, I was never really notified of the issue.  End result was a bench warrant for my arrest.  Got the whole good cop, bad cop treatment too.  It was fascinating.  Good cop finally convinced bad cop that they should give me the opportunity to straighten things out without "taking me in".  Needless to say, things were straightened out pretty quickly the next day with a bank copy of the cheque for the fine in question.

Anyways, that's what was on my mind when I opened the door.  But it wasn't police, it was a fireman.  Big tanker rig had blocked off the street right outside my house.  Hmm, not good.  Dude in full fireman gear informed me that there was a gas spill up the road and was wondering if he could check the air quality near the sump pump.

Now I've seen enough episodes of Criminal Minds to be wary of anybody asking to enter my house but he did have the whole fire truck behind him.  It would be kind of an elaborate set up just to gain access to my house.  So I let him in, shooed the cats away and showed him to the sump.  Everything checked out, he thanked me, apologized for the intrusion and off he went.

Then I looked around.  It's always kind of disconcerting to have people just drop by (even though I've done this myself several times).  What's been left out?  What horribly embarrassing thing has been left on the floor, or on the TV screen, or on the computer screen?

Don't think it was too bad.  Couple scotch bottles on the kitchen table, Wallace and Gromit on the tv, playstation controllers lying about, cats milling about.  At worst he would have taken me for an over-grown adolescent with a drinking problem.  Which, honestly, isn't too far off the mark.  Just glad I had cleaned up the kitty litter this afternoon.

Oh, and just because I find it funny, a link to the Onion article on firetrucks.

Glenfiddich 15

Once again I found myself at the LCBO, staring at a selection of single malts that seemed all too familiar.  I was really jonesing for something different.  Love the Aberlour 12 but it's nice to mix it up.  My eye fell on a selection of Glenfiddich bottles.  I almost dismissed them immediately.  Glenfiddich was fine when I was a rookie but my tastes have matured well beyond it's bland, albeit smooth, offerings.

But pickings were slim.  I did a quick check on the web site and was a little surprised that I hadn't reviewed any Glenfiddich bottles before.  Ach, what the hell.  I knew the 12 was going to be pretty much water so I went with the 15 year.

The first whiff did not impress.  Not much to note.  Maybe a little sherry but that's it.  I resigned myself to a dull tasting experience.  I was happy to find I shouldn't have worried.  The taste is still subtle but there's a nice combination of dry wood and a buttery toffee there.  The slug goes down without much fire and the aftertaste is an even drier reminder of what came before.

Again, it's subtle.  Nothing very bold and ice takes away the charm very quickly.  But a nice surprise from a distiller that I'd pretty much written off.  There are better $60 bottles out there but, if you're stuck, it's a pleasant enough option.

That'll do.  3 shots.

Cats are weird

image

I don't know what it is with cats and boxes but leave an open container out and they will do their damnedest to try and get in there.  Weird.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

TGIFS

It's been a long summer.  Sunday after Sunday of digging through my dvd collection, or trolling through the dvr recordings, or waiting for a bit torrent to download.  All for some mindless entertainment as I wait for my brain to recuperate.

But that's behind me now.  From now until February my Sundays just got a whole lot lazier.  Yes, Thank God It's Football Season!

The season actually started last Thursday with the game between the Saints and the Vikings.  And what a great way to kick it all off.  The score wasn't as high as expected but it was still a thrilling ride.  The only thing missing was a career ending injury to That Prick Favre.

And the great games are going to continue on today.  Early game: Dolphins at Bills (GO FISH!), late game: Packers at Eagles, evening game: Cowboys at Redskins.  Awesome.

Let the Sunday afternoon slacking commence!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Curses

Anybody who has worked with me knows that I like a good prank.  There have been some classics over the years and there have been some busts.  One of my favourites was booby trapping the cabinet over my boss's desk so that when he opened it  his whole desk got showered with confetti.  It was weeks before he opened that thing and the confetti distribution was perfect.  All over his laptop.  It was beautiful.

But wherever I've gone, it hasn't taken long to make myself known as "that guy".  When I started at Argo I quickly went through my regular bag of tricks.  The tape over the mouse laser, the zip-tied phone cord, the changing of computer backgrounds to various Ottawa Senators pictures.  The usual.  For April Fool's Day, I changed the one guy's computer so that whenever he used a file command in Windows, the audio of Meg Ryan faking an orgasm would play over his speakers.  It was 3 hours before he finally triggered it.  I was losing it.

I kind of layed low after that.  Biding my time.  There aren't any overhead cabinets in the engineering office so the confetti gag was a non-starter.  I kept looking around the office and wonder what I could do next.  Finally, I noticed that Craig (one of the other engineers) always had to do this little two step to get to his desk.  There are four of us in the office, segregated by those little cubicle walls.  Craig has an extra barrier in a pair of file cabinets that face the door into the office.  Here's a little layout of his corner of the office:

So one day I was watching Craig do his little dance around the file cabinets to get to his desk and I wondered: "How close could I move those file cabinets to his desk before he noticed?"  The distance between the file cabinets and his desk was 25 inches.  I figured I'd start moving the file cabinets a 1/4" a day and see how far I got.

It was slow going to start.  I probably averaged 2 moves a week for the first month and each move worked out  to be more like 1/2 an inch.  These are not small cabinets and getting the exact 1/4" was pretty hard.

With each move, I'd measure the distance between desk and file cabinet and then record the new number or the incremental change up on the white board beside my desk.  The white board is visible to everybody in the office.  In 3 months, Craig never asked what the constantly growing list of numbers on my white board meant.  Other people did ask and, if Craig wasn't around, I'd let them in on the joke.

So, this went on for about 3 months.  The week before Labour Day long weekend and we were killing ourselves laughing at the space that was left.  By Friday afternoon there were 13 inches between desk and file cabinet.  Could not believe he hadn't noticed yet.  I could barely squeeze by anymore.  It was go time.  I was moving the cabinets daily by now, giddy with the anticipation of this long running joke to finally pay off.  Surely, next week would bring satisfaction.

But before the long weekend, we all had to pick up all the crap of the floor of our office.  Cleaners were coming in on the weekend to clean the carpets.  I looked at the space between desk and cabinets and I cringed.  There was no way they were going to be able to fit whatever cleaning implement they used through that space.  This could be a severe set-back.  Mike, one of the other engineers, tried to be optimistic and noted that, if they were decent cleaners, he was sure they'd move the cabinets back to where they were when they were finished.  But I left for the weekend feeling just a little nervous.

And that feeling was justified.  Tuesday morning I walked into the office and nearly started crying.  Three months of nudging and pushing those fucking cabinets were all undone for the sake of a slightly cleaner floor surface.  Fuck.  Now what?

Keith, who had worked with Craig at another place, suggested just moving the cabinets back to the 13" point.  He was pretty sure Craig would never notice.  He probably would have been right but, instead, I sucked it up and started from scratch.  I wiped the numbers from the white board and started again at 25".  I noted the first half inch move for my second attempt on the white board and carried on.

A couple days later, Craig had left for the day and I got up to do another move.  Keith turned and said "Don't bother."  What?  Why not?

Apparently, the maintenance supervisore came in that morning, saw the cabinets moved back, saw that the numbers on the white board were wiped off (not noticing the new list that had been started), and said to Craig "Hey, you finally noticed!".

And that was it.  Done.  Ruined.  I'll never have that satisfaction of seeing Craig jam himself into the file cabinet and then look confusedly around as to how this could have happened.

I shouldn't dwell on this failure though.  There are other people to prank out there.  For instance, I can think of one maintenance supervisor who will soon have a curious smell coming from his desk.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Barenaked

I don't care what people think, The Barenaked Ladies have made some beautiful music in their day.  A lot of goofy music but beautiful too.  Listening to "What A Good Boy" has a nearly Bolt - like effect on me.  "Be My Yoko Ono" not so much but, like I say, it's a mix.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Summer 2010

Well, I guess that about wraps up the summer of 2010.  Kind of flew by.  But then time flies when you spend the hottest months of the year heat testing an argo.  Definitely disappointed in the little amount of fishing I got in.  Maybe some fall fly fishing will make up for it.  Got to see a lot of friends and family so that was pretty cool too.  But most importantly I FINISHED UNPACKING!!!

Yes, almost 4 months ahead of my self-imposed schedule, I have emptied my last moving box.  Some of these boxes hadn't been opened since they were filled in Welland some 4 years ago.  Still need some shelves, a workbench, a tool chest, and a couple items of furniture, but it's a grand feeling.

So pleased with myself, I was practically skipping on my way to the box to check for mail.  What's this?  A letter from the property management company that owns my house.  Probably just another notification that they were in my house going through my things.  But, no, this looks much more formal.  Oh, it's a notification of rent increase.

Well fuck.  I really had to justify the cost of this place when I moved down here for a job that paid less money than what I was making up North.

  1. It had a garage so I wouldn't need a storage rental.

  2. I wouldn't be driving so much on the weekends so I'd be spending a lot less on gas.

  3. I was going to be happier at this job so I'd save a fortune on scotch.

  4. I had reached a state of contentment with regards to my gadgets so there wouldn't be any big electronics purchases in the near future.


Two of those things are still true today.

The increase isn't that much really, 2%.  But still, it was only a couple hours after I'd finished unpacking and the concept of moving out  by the end of the year came and smacked me in the face.  Sigh, guess I'll go pour myself a drink and flip through the Future Shop flyer to console myself.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

TBone's Stolen Movie of the Week - The White Ribbon

Every once in a while, I get it in to my head that I need to be watching more artistic movies.  This usually isn't on a Sunday afternoon.  Sunday afternoons are for mindless movies.  Brain cells are too damaged at that point to try and get around anything more complicated than a Schwarzenegger flick.

But.....sigh....I've been meaning to watch this movie for months now and I really don't want to do much else.  The movie is The White Ribbon.  A German film set right before WWI.  All the film podcasts I listen to have raved about this movie for the last year.  I'm not into subtitled movies for the most part.  And especially not in Sunday Afternoon Mode.  But the last time I rolled the dice on a movie like this, I was pleasantly surprised by the Swedish film "Let The Right One In".  So, what the hell, I gathered any brain cells that would answer the call and went about trying to rent this movie.

First, Roger's On Demand.  I know, I said I'd never rent another movie from those pricks.  But, it's a black and white movie, I really don't need Hi-Def.  And I've been running up the download bandwidth recently so I thought I'd check.  Naturally Roger's wouldn't carry a critically acclaimed movie like this, so I left the On Demand store with my integrity intact.  Fuck Roger's.

Next, I'm on to the Sony Playstation Store.  Do a search.  BINGO!  White Ribbon.  But I go to rent it and find that the only option is to buy the movie.  Twenty bucks.  Seriously.  No option to rent.  I'm again reminded what a total clusterfuck distribution rights are in Canada.  So fuck Sony.

I'm in no mood to even deal with iTunes because I know the first thing it's going to say when I load it up is "HEY! There's a new version of iTunes!  You should really upgrade!  Right now!  And you should probably install our buggy piece of shit Safari and MobileMe software too!".  So fuck Apple.

BitTorrent it is.  Subtitles needed a little massaging but I eventually got it sorted out.  Finally.  Just going to settle in, expand what's left of my mind, and enjoy some fine German cinema!

And holy fuck am I glad that I didn't pay any money to see this retro piece of sheisse.  From what I'd heard about this movie, it was supposed to be a study of evil in human nature.  But the true evil is that, once again, some art house wingnut has chosen to make his statement by including no resolution to any plot points brought up in the first 3 quarters of the movie.  The White Ribbon is the German equivalent of No Country For Old Men.  Evil shit does happen.  And you're lead along a path where you think you'll ultimately find out who or what has been behind all the evil shit.  But when that moment comes and you are AT the end of the path, looking desperately around for the finger to point out the crazy fuck who had perpetrated the evil shit, you find NOTHING.  Basically a narrative shrug that implies "Hey, ain't life crazy?"

Well fuck you.  And fuck all those film critics too.  Thousands of words were spoken and written in praise of this fuck-ball of a film.  Why does leaving any reasonable resolution out of a movie make it a profound statement and not simple lazy writing.  Great movies can make statements AND have satisfying endings.  It's true.  Look it up.

Maybe I'm overreacting.  But it's for the same reason as, again, No Country For Old Men.  For the first three quarters, you HAD ME!  I was there, I was in, I was all about this movie.  There was mystery, there was suspense, there were creepy kids, there was evil shit going on.  And the alien environment of early 20th century rural Germany really added to the experience.  But instead of giving me that climax that would have made this an awesome movie, the director decided that kicking me in the balls was a better way to wrap things up.

Fuck it.  Terminator is on in 7 minutes.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Awake

So I had a few drinks last night.  Been struggling to keep an even keel the last couple weeks.  Mostly work related.  But I had a few to put things square again.   It wasn't one of my famous bottle disappearing acts but a serious dent was put in the reserves.


I eventually had enough and lolled off to sleep just after ten.  And then 1:30 in the morning came.   Nothing had happened, there were no pressing biological functions that needed looking after, there was no cat gently poking a claw into my eyelid, I was just awake.  Clear headed, alert, and ready to start the day.  Just 5 hours earlier than normal.


I tried going back to sleep but it just wouldn't take.   Ended up doing sudoku for an hour and a half before dozing off again.


And now I'm at work with no serious after-effects (for now).  Scotch, it continues to surprise me.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Begging

My LCBO of choice these days is out on Ottawa St. near Homer Watson.  Good scotch selection and they've had some interesting beers there this summer.  But one thing about this particular location is the odd assortment of beggars that can be found in its vicinity.

The first guy I noticed this summer was your classic old guy with shopping cart.  Skinny, long white beard, shopping cart full of belongings.  He was situated around the corner from the front store face but right where I like to park.  As I got out of the car, he was very busy folding what looked to be his towel.  I gave him a wide berth but I'm sure he would have asked for some change if I hadn't looked so angry at the time.

The next time I went there, there was an actual busker sitting on the bench between the LCBO and the Boston Pizza.  He had a backpack, a guitar, and an open guitar case.  Except he wasn't playing anything.  Just sitting there, holding his guitar, and staring at people.  Dude, make an effort.  I'm still not giving you any money but make an effort.

And then today.  Dude just hanging out at the corner.  Young dude.  Not dressed too shabby.  Just standing there.  I walk by and he says "Sorry man, my dad was supposed to pick me up like an hour ago and he's still not here.  Can you spot me 50 cents to call him?"  An effective tactic.  The money isn't directly for him.  It's just to make a phone call.  But several things run through my mind.  First is the other beggars I've seen near this spot this summer.  Second is, 50 cents?!?  Phone calls cost 50 cents now?  Why, back in MY day, phone calls weren't more than a quarter!  But then, back in MY day, nobody had cell phones. So, third, where is this phone booth you're going to put the 50 cents in to?  There's no phone booth here and I don't see a phone booth anywhere in the near vicinity.  Wouldn't this story be more effective if you were actually standing near a pay phone?  Holy crap, when's the last time you saw a pay phone ANYWHERE?

So I use my "Sorry man, only got plastic" line and move on to restock on scotch.  When I come out, he's still there.  I think about throwing him a couple quarters as I drive by.  Christ, I must have 10 bucks in loose change in my car.  But the fact that he's the only twenty-something in Kitchener-Waterloo without a cell phone, steels my resolve.

So I guess the moral of this story is, don't let anyone get in the way of your scotch.  The End.

WWILTPITFTW

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

The sadistic prick who decided glass bottles needed large dimples in their bottoms.

I come home from a long, pointless day of argoing and I have a look at my scotch stores.  Oh, it's alright.  I've got enough for two healthy drinks of scotch left.  But I DON'T!  I've only got ONE glass left.  Because some beligerent fuck decided to occupy the space where my second glass of scotch should be, with glass and air!

Turns out, this "feature" of glass bottles is called a "punt".  Fitting, I thought, because the word "punt" rhymes with the word I called it's inventor when I ran out of scotch!

The reasoning behind the "punt" can be found, naturally, on wikipedia.  And, naturally, I dismiss all these reasons.  I'm cranky and I'm out of scotch.