Sunday, 31 October 2010

Pumpkin Day!

Good times in Port Colborne last night.  The Niagara crew has been known, on occasion, to cut up some unsuspecting pumpkins to get into the Halloween spirit.  This year we headed to Chez Jen.  In past years I've been more of a spectator or heckler or minor participant.  This year I had one specific design in mind and thought I'd go all in.  Two hours later and I had this:



Tough to get a good picture of a lit pumpkin without a tripod but you get the idea.  I was quite proud.  Wasn't sure how long it would last in my leaf crazy neighbourhood but I was going to put him out there anyway.

So I make this tribute to my hockey team and how do they repay me?  They lose 4-0 to the Bruins.  Fuck.  Next year I'm carving a Winnipeg Jets logo.

But hey it was a good night all the same.  Still had a lingering cold but I fought through that shit like a champ.  Jen surprised us by demonstrating some considerable cooking talents.  She's officially a double threat with the cleaning AND the cooking.  Her proficiency at the third Robinson sister talent remains, sadly, mere speculation.

So today was Halloween.  I proudly put my pumpkin out on the front porch and lit him up.  Most of the kids didn't really know what it was.  Not big hockey fans in this neighbourhood apparently.  There were some nice comments from the parents and even one all-out Sens fan who LOVED the pumpkin.  To the point where his kid had to tug at him to keep him moving instead of yapping about Spezza and Kovalev.  The doorbell ringing eventually became less frequent and the kids who were coming by were older and could probably afford to buy their own god damned candy.  I decided to shut it down for the night and take the pumpkin in before some wayward Leaf fan threw it into the street.

That's when I went out and noticed that somebody had moved my pumpkin....and added a second pumpkin:



I was dumbstruck.  Violence I expected but this was friggin' clever.  Not an attribute normally associated with Leaf fans.  The more I thought about it, the more I appreciated the move.  Somebody saw my pumpkin, went home, got another pumpkin, carved the word "SUCK" into it, and then set up this display while I was in the house.  Daring and awesome.  I laughed and shook my head.  Good on 'em.

Turns out it was my brother who pulled the great pumpkin caper.  Doesn't give a rat's ass about the Sens or the Leafs but loves sticking it to his younger brother.  Well, I'll give him this one.  But I'm envisioning some rotting pumpkin shards showing up in his sock drawer in the near future.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sick

Ugh.  Got a cold.  It happens.  At least it had the good manners to infect me in the middle of the work week and not on a weekend.  So I'm home drinking OJ and tea instead of beer and scotch.  The system is having a hard time adjusting.  What's making the whole experience liveable though is Netflix!  Man, if you're going to spend an entire day on the couch, make sure you have a Netflix subscription first.  I've watched Big Trouble in Little China and 2 different MST3K episodes this morning.  It's grand.

Also a quick shout-out to the TV show Burn Notice.  Don't know how I've missed this show up until now.  There was a BN marathon on Showcase a couple weeks ago and watched the first 6 episodes.  Downloaded the rest of the 1st season and it's great.  Lightweight fun is how I'd describe it.  The flashy edits can be annoying but there hasn't been a dull episode yet.  Season 4 has just started so I've got 2 more seasons to work my way through to get up to speed.  The premise is an ex-spy is grounded in Miami and earns money taking special "problem solving" cases for random people with the help of his IRA ex-girlfriend and his ex-FBI friend (Bruce Campbell!).  While solving these cases he's also trying to figure out who "burned" him with the government and got him stranded in Miami.  Anyways, it's better than anything else on TV right now.  Give it a shot.

Old

Another year in the bank for old TBone.    They're just flying by now.  Not too much drama anymore.  Not like the big 3-0 for sure.  It helps that I have an older brother that breaks trail on all the big birthday milestones.  I can watch and ridicule, safe knowing that it will be three years before I have to go through the same stress.

This year was a family focused affair.  Went back up to Ottawa where my parents treated me to a dinner at the Murray Street Restaurant.  A very "meat" focused restaurant with all the hippie descriptors of "locally grown", "organic", and "Swedish massaged".   A great dinner and recommend it to anyone visiting Ottawa.  The highlight was the duck gravy poutine.  Fantastic.

The next day, after doing some IT work for my sister, I got to try out a Vera's Hamburger.  Holy crap, what a burger.  Again, if you're in Ottawa, it's a must.

Saturday night I was pretty excited to show everybody my new favourite movie, How To Train Your Dragon.  I hadn't really appreciated how the movie might look to a 3 year old.  There's a lot of startling scenes of angry lizards with mouths full of teeth.  It's tempered by a heart-warming "boy and his dragon" story but I kept looking nervously over at my niece who spent most of the movie with her head under a blanket.

So, aside from traumatizing my niece, it was a great birthday weekend.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Double Down

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Today is the first day the Double Down sandwich is available at KFC restaurants across Canada.  For those unfamiliar with it, this sandwich debuted in the states to much controversy earlier in the year.  The deal was instead of a bun, you had two pieces of fried chicken surrounding some cheese and Bacon.  I know, sounds awesome right?

And now its here.  There was much discussion in the office about this sandwich.  I finally volunteered to go grab a sandwich for each of the engineers.  I left early to avoid what was sure to be a large lunch crowd.  Shouldn't have bothered.  There was nobody at the KFC at 11:30.  I'm sure I made their day when I placed an order for 6 Double Downs.  They clearly were unprepared for this run on Double Downs.  When they finally handed me my bag o' cholesterol, she asked "Would you like any ketchup or salt?".  I just looked at her.  She said "No, I guess you wouldn't need any extra salt".

And then the sticker shock finally kicked in.  Each of these things costs 8 bucks.  8 bucks!  Madness.  I could only think that this better be one delicious chicken sandwich.

It wasn't bad.  Saltier than a 10 pound salt lick, but not bad.  Not as crispy as the ones in the commercial appeared to be but overall better than anything at McDonalds.  At least I can say I tried it.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Fuck James Cameron

Usually a statement I reserve for George Lucas but I've just watched a movie that had 10 times the heart, 10 times the imagination, 10 times the action, 10 times the humour, and 10 times the emotion of that overwrought, pretentious, steaming pile of blue shite known as Avatar.  And that movie is How to Train Your Dragon.

I didn't give this movie much notice when it came out in theaters.  Seemed a silly premise and it wasn't Pixar so it was dismissed.  Heard rave reviews and I was still skeptical.  I don't know why.  It was only last year that I was raving about another Dreamworks production, Kung Fu Panda.  So the Blu Ray came out this week and I bought it on a whim.  I could always give it to my nephew if it wasn't my thing.

And now I'm kicking myself for not seeing this masterpiece on a giant screen in full 3D.  I'm a sucker for anthropomorphized cartoon animals (see Bolt) and I was pulled in by these spectacularly animated dragons.  Throw in some real human drama, dynamic action sequences, and genuinely touching moments and you have my favourite movie of the year.  Awesome.

So I can't argue with James Cameron's success.  He knows how to generate revenue.  But still, fuck James Cameron.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Update

Been a while since my last post.  Little under the weather this past week.  Really haven't wanted to spend any more time in front of a computer screen than necessary.  Haven't even had the urge to punch anybody in the face.  Too tired to be angry.  But I wanted to make note of a couple events from the past few weeks.

First of all, gotta mention my return to Oktoberfest after some 12 years.  Having gone to school in the KW area, I was a frequent participant in Oktoberfest, once upon a time.  After graduation, I moved around and Oktoberfest became just one more university story I told to explain why my brain didn't always function at top capacity.

But I'm back in the area now and I thought it would be kind of fun to relive the glory days.  It was also way past time to pay back some of my Niagara peeps who had hosted countless events during my exile to the North.  We actually selected a pre-Oktoberfest event at the Concordia Club with an Our Lady Peace concert.  The web site promised a true Oktoberfest Hall experience just with an Our Lady Peace concert to cap it off.

Gotta call shenanigans on that web site a bit.  The Oktoberfest I remembered (and I do remember at least 60% of those Oktoberfests) had a large hall filled with rows and rows of tables and benches with lederhosen-clad ladies delivering un-ending pitchers of beer.  This, on the other hand, was a concert with Oktoberfest type goings-on around the perimeter.  It started off interestingly enough with my balls being given a thorough search by a female security guard who definitely looked like she had some regrets, career wise.  When we were all admitted, Jody asked me "Hey did you get your balls fondled?".  To which I replied  "Yah but she was very gentle".  "She?" Jody asked with a look of horrified disappointment.  Apparently Jody made a poor lane choice at security.

It soon became apparent that getting drinks was going to be an issue.  We had 2 1/2 hours to kill before OLP took the stage and I was going to need a steady supply of alcohol to be OK with being surrounded by people.  Eventually, those of us more interested in alcohol than OLP split off to the shooter bar where beverage access was easy and the asshole count was lower.

I'm not a huge OLP fan but live rock is always a good time.  They put on a good show and I barely noticed Raine Maida's incessant "Hiii-eeee" lyrics.  Thanks again to the peeps that made it out.  Still making my way through all the treats that were left behind.  Next year we should do the more traditional Oktoberfest hall.

The other event that has gone by unrecorded was Thanksgiving.  My folks came down and we split time between my place and my brother's.  It's just satisfying to me that I've gotten my shit together enough that I can actually have house guests.

My sister-in-law put together a great turkey dinner on Saturday and I managed another successful rendition of Stupid Sexy George Ribs on Sunday.  In between, my dad and I caught the movie The Town.  I'm wary of any Ben Affleck movie but this one had received many good reviews including one from my mom.  And I gotta say....I didn't care for it.  Ben Affleck should stick behind the camera.  There's just something about him that takes me out of the movie in that I just want to point at the screen and say "Hey that's Ben Affleck!".  He's the male equivalent of Julia Stiles.

Also finally watched Iron Man 2.  I liked it better than The Town but it's still a pale runner up to the original.  Why do they have to stuff 500 different new characters into every sequel of a successful comic book movie?  Movie would have been epic if it was just about Iron Man and Whiplash.  And they're doing a Thor movie?  Seriously?  It's getting out of hand.

But it was a great family weekend.  I don't get over to Ottawa as much as I used to so it was nice to have the parents over here and, again, repay some of the hosting they have provided over the years.

So that's me!  All up to date.  I am actually going up to Ottawa next weekend and looking forward to the pumpkin carving do the weekend after that.  For anyone that's interested here's a link to the last Halloween party of note, featuring the legendary Mr. Hanky costume.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Oktoberfest 2010

Having gone to university in the K-W area, Oktoberfest was a big event during those years.  The 2 week focus on beer drinking and eating unhealthy amounts of sausage eerily coincided with my main hobbies of drinking beer and eating sausage.  For a couple years after graduation, I continued to make a point of attending at least one of the weekends but I eventually gave it up altogether.

Until this year.   I find myself back in K-W and owing some Niagara friends for hosting my many escapes from the North.  I cruised the Oktoberfest web site and noticed there was an event in the tent the weekend before the official festival started, featuring Our Lady Peace.  Now, I'm not a big OLP fan but live rock music of any sort is hard to beat.

So the date was set.  I picked up the tickets at the extremely creepy Hans House.  Went on a furniture spree to make the place look less like a post-graduate slum.  And embarked on a week long search and destroy mission for cat hair.

Peeps showed up and I did my best to sell the Porch Climbers.  No one was buying.  Gotta admit, disappointed in the boys at work for over-hyping this sludge.  After shooting the breeze for a couple hours and (finally) getting in a couple games of euchre, we headed for the tent!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

What's TBone Drinking?

Porch Climbers!  Well, not right now but last night I finally mixed up a batch of this much-hyped concoction.  And the reviews were a solid "Meh".  Too beery for the non-beer drinkers and too sweet for the heavy beer drinkers.  The recipe (7 shots rye, 3 cans beer, 1 can frozen fruitopia) was being promoted as liquid ecstasy by many on the shop floor.  I'm thinking that they would have been raving about the drink even if it was a can of 10W30 motor oil instead of the fruitopia.  Yes, I'm suggesting it was all about the alcohol content to begin with and not so much the flavour.  I think I'll stick to scotch and the occasional beer.

And my Week Of Shitty Beer is finally drawing to a close.  Started off with Molson Canadian, moved on to Lucky Lager, and I'm right now wrapping it up with some Pabst Blue Ribbon leftovers from the get together yesterday.  Yah, not a good week for drinkin'.

TV 2010

The Fall TV season has started!  And what a pile of crap it's turned out to be.  I think I'm officially tired of watching brutal murders on television.  Criminal Minds, Dexter, Law & Order: Los Angeles.  Enough.  Just one too many bashed in skulls.  I'm ready for a rollicking sci-fi adventure with witty remarks, a funny alien side-kick, and little to no bloodshed.  Maybe next year.

Speaking of Law & Order, that series has had it's own skull metaphorically bashed in.  I was a fan of the original for the first 5 or so seasons but the last 15 seasons have been a long slow march to melodramatic mediocrity.  This latest spin-off is more of a reboot and replacement for the original.  And it stars Skeet Ulrich!  Remember Skeet Ulrich?  Remember how cool Skeet Ulrich was for that 6 months in the late 90's?  Nothing against Skeet really and he just happens to be the best part of the show but that just means that the rest of the show is beyond fucking horrible.  Rest in peace, Law & Order.

What else is out there?

House?  Shite.  Last season's finale was crap and it just kept on rolling in the first two episodes of this season.  Grumpy House is good TV.  Love-happy House is sickening.

Hawaii 5-0?  Shite.  Had high hopes for this one.  Scott Caan is awesome, Grace Park is very pretty, and the theme song kicks ass.  But it's not enough to make up for some shitty writing and acting.

Castle?  Shite.  I never really liked this show and the latest "psychic" episode just retreads so many other detective vs. paranormal episodes from other shows that I've finally had enough.

The Mentalist?  Shite.  But just barely.  This may be the only hour long network drama I'll continue watching but it's still silly in the extreme.

The only network show I actually look forward to these days is Community.  A shitty finale from last season that got totally redeemed by this year's premiere.

Also hoping that Human Target can step it up a notch and Flashpoint has been pretty solid.  So it's not a complete loss.  But I'm still pretty happy that hockey is starting up soon so there will something worthwhile watching at night.