Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Tech Support

Today's my dad's birthday.  And I love my dad.  I really do.  But holy fuck can he drive me up the wall.  We're very similar in a number of ways and that probably has a lot to do with it.  One thing we have in common is our love of gadgets.  This may shock some but he actually owns more laptops than I do.  And I can't remember a year where he DIDN'T buy a new printer.

The problem comes in that his love of the shiny new technology far outweighs his ability to implement or use that technology.  He refuses to read an owner's manual.  Even those quick start guides with all the pretty, colorful pictures and clearly laid out progression of steps, is too much jibber jabber for him.

Plug in cord(s), mash buttons, repeatedly if necessary, and expect magic to happen.  It's a frightening thing to watch.  And rarely successful.  So, as the nerd of the family, it usually falls to me to undo any damage that was caused on his first attempt and then correctly set up the device and instruct on its proper usage.

And I'm ok with that.  Seriously, I am.  I put up a big show of whining and bitching when people ask, but I really do like diving into gadgets and figuring out how they're supposed to work

The problem comes when he starts second-guessing me and trying to "help" figure out the problem.  Look, if you knew how to do it, have at it, and I'll get back to my beer.

But that's just second-guessing at home.  The second-guessing in public is a whole other level of rage.  My dad thinks that wearing a store uniform instills that person with intimate knowledge of all products in that store.  Their opinion rates higher than mine because they are wearing a blue shirt with the store name on it.  It doesn't matter that this is a teenager who was hired two weeks ago as a holiday stop gap and anything he says is an obvious parroting of what is written on the product packaging.  It doesn't matter because HE has the shirt.  HE is obviously an expert.

So we go to these stores like Best Buy and I tell him everything I know about whatever gadget he's after and he still will seek out a blue shirt so he can get some input from an authority on the subject.  It's a slap in the face.

And today he went one better.  He'd been bugging me about how he could hook up multiple monitors to his laptop.  I'd heard there was some way of doing this through USB but I'd have to dig into it.  But we get to the cashier and he says to the kid "Are you an expert on computers?".  The kid at the cash.  He's asking the kid at the fucking cash how he can hook up three monitors to his laptop.  And he expects him to know because he has the blue fucking shirt!  The kid is floundering and telling my dad "Yah, if you have the ports it should be fine" and he's looking at me for some help or some explanation why this man is asking him these questions that are obviously meant for somebody in the friggin COMPUTER department.  But I refuse to get sucked into these things.  My dad wants to talk to a blue shirt, he can run with it.

So, as I look forward to an afternoon of setting up my dad's new monitor and my dad's new wireless router, I just have to keep reminding myself:  I love my dad.  I really do.

Happy Birthday Pops.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Scotch

Never around when you need it.

TBone's Entirely Legit, MPAA Sanctioned, Movie Theatre Experience of the Week - True Grit



Don't make it out to the movie theatres too much these days.  Too many idjits in the world and they usually end up sitting behind me.  I'm usually happy to wait for the DVD to come out.  I do make exceptions but it has to be a pretty significant movie if I'm going to be shelling out an outrageous amount of money for popcorn and soda.

This year, I took a flier on the latest Coen brothers' film, True Grit.  Wasn't sure if I was ready for another Western just yet and I was even more suspicious of another Coen film after their last 3 disappointments.  But the cast was awesome and the trailer looked good enough so I signed up.

And it's a good movie.  Not great but good.  Good acting, even from the kid, some funny moments, and some decent action parts.  But just parts.  Could have used more action but I wouldn't say it was ever dull.  I think part of the problem was that we never really got the impression that Jeff Bridges was the baddest bad-ass in the west.  There was never that moment where you thought this guy could kick the shit out of everybody in the room.

So, as far as Coen brother films go, I put it behind The Big Lebowski, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?, and Fargo, but definitely their best film in the last 10 years.

As far as Westerns go, yah, I really wasn't ready for another horsie riding movie.  Probably has something to do with wasting so much time on Red Dead Redemption this year.  But I'd say a little behind Unforgiven.  Unforgiven did have that super bad-ass moment but it made you wait until the end of the movie to get it.

Kind of a disappointment for the last movie I'm likely to see this year.  Looking back, I'd have to say that the best movie I saw this year was How To Train Your Dragon. Yup, a cartoon.  F you, it rocked.  On a more intellectual "film"-type movie, I still think about Inception.  Can't wait to watch that again now that I have the blu-ray.

Oh, and true to form, the idjits were out in force at this movie too.  The closest one was two seats down from me and kept a running commentary through the entire movie.  "Oh, look who that guy is!"  "Watch out!" "Oh, he's going to get it!" "Look at the bottle!" "Oh, poor horse" For fuck's sake.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas with my family is a journey through several iconic meals.  Follow along as I make my way from meatsticks to pirshki!

  • Meatsticks

  • Turkey

  • Hot Turkey Sandwich

  • Roll-ups

  • Pirshki (Meat Donuts)


Man, I love Christmas!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Memories

So.

Yah.

Anyways.

The Allenses Annual Christmas Party was last Saturday.  It is THE Christmas social event of the season.  I don't think I've ever missed one since I've known the Allenses.  It is good times.  Generous, good humoured hosts, peeps from the Deere days, other peeps we see only at this party and generally forget their names, and plenty of booze.  Typically it's a long night too.  I've had my off years but I'm usually good to go through the wee hours of the morning.

I was pretty excited this year.  There was no Christmas party last year as the Allenses were globe-trotting.  It was also my first full year back in Southern Ontario.  AND I had just purchased Rock Band 3 WITH keyboard so that was going to be epic.  Made my way down Niagara way.  Had a few with the Robickles and Jen.  Should be noted that I dropped a full beer bottle on the Robickles' floor.  Just slipped right out of the fingers.  I felt such shame.  3 beers in and I'm already getting sloppy.  If only that incident had remained the most shameful part of the evening.  But I sucked it up and we headed on to the Allenses!

And everything proceeded as it should.  We were drinking and laughing.  I eventually migrated up to the kitchen table.  My goal was to bridge the gap between the Deere Folk and the Volleyball Friends and bring harmony to the separate communities.

And then I woke up.

It was 8 in the morning on Sunday, I was on the couch, and I had zero recollection of the previous 11 hours.

Okay.  There's a certain checklist one goes through in these situations.

First: Pants.  Yup, got those.

Second: Knuckles.  Smooth and un-scraped.  Good.

Third: Face.  Smooth, un-scraped, and as pretty as ever.

Okay, I seem to be undamaged.  Need to get moving.  The Allenses have left a note instructing me where I can forage for left overs.  Phew, that's good news.  Friendly note means I didn't do anything to overly offend the hosts.  I may get invited back next year.  I leave another note explaining my condition and begging forgiveness for any and all transgressions that I may have incurred the night before.

But there's that sinking feeling.  Knowing that you were walking and talking for several hours with no one reliable behind the wheel creates a certain kind of panic.  You can't be sure that any filters were in place to restrain those verbal and physical impulses that would usually get somebody into serious trouble.

What I needed was some eye-witness accounts to figure out if everything was cool or if I needed to go into hiding for an indeterminate amount of time.  The Robickles wouldn't sugar coat anything so I hit them up for some breakfast and some spontaneous testimony.

And it all sounded good!  I passed out around midnight and it didn't sound like it was too sloppy a transition.  There was some drama during the gift exchange when Jeff made a legally sanctioned steal of the awesome Nerf guns I had picked out but the Robickles couldn't recall any other notable incidents.

So, TBone wins!  No harm, no foul, TBone escapes unscathed from what could have been a complete disaster.  I even ended up with one of the Nerf guns!  Jeff apparently split up the set for the greater good of community harmony.  Cheers dude.

A shakey morning but I was feeling pretty lucky as I drove triumphantly back to Kitchener.  My sister and her family were down doing their own Christmas party thing that weekend and we were due to go watch my brother's son play his last hockey session of the year.  Yes, things were just fine.

And then I started getting the text messages.  And my fragile little world started to crumble.

These messages seemed to indicate that, at the cloudiest points of the previous night, I may have said or done things that were, umm, let's say, less than gentlemanly?  Not good.  I broke into a cold sweat, mouth dry, light headed, sphincter clenched, balls retracted, stomach in turmoil.  Mind you I was already pretty hungover so it wasn't a very dramatic change to how I was feeling before I got the messages.

This was not good.  This was the end of the Niagara part of my life.  Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long for me to completely firebomb these relationships.  Okay, this was a problem but I solve problems for a living.  Just need to put together an action plan and execute it:

  1. Delete facebook account (was going to do this anyway)

  2. Change e-mail address

  3. Change phone number

  4. Delete web sites

  5. Move to Peru


There, a perfectly reasonable plan with a feasible time for implementation of 24 hours.  Just need a nap and then I'm on it!

Fortunately, while I was looking up Peruvian charter planes, the communication continued and it seemed that whatever I had said or done wasn't entirely unwelcome.  Instead of destroying one friendship (which would have lead to other friendship complications), I may have kickstarted something new and exciting.  Hey!  Getting mind-blowingly drunk finally pays off for TBone!  Just wish I could remember the actual kickstarting.

So, while I'm eager to see where this new path leads, I still feel great shame for losing my shit amongst such good people.  For any and all that were shocked, awed, or even mildly embarrassed by my actions last Saturday, I am truly sorry.

And I'm just now remembering what I did last year instead of the Allenses Christmas party.  Sweet Jesus I hope this isn't a trend.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Violence

Had training this morning.  Violence in the work place.  My jaw is just unclenching now.  And just now because I'm trying to get as much scotch into my belly as possible.

Nobody should have to be afraid at their place of work but, if they are useless, they should sure as fuck be made to feel uncomfortable on occassion.  But no more.  Now we must all get along.  We must all smile and laugh and say "How do you fucking do?".  No more bad moods, or muttering, or glaring, or raised voices.  Won't that be wonderful children?  All that negative emotion will just disappear.  And if anyone spots a negative nanny, they are fully encouraged to CALL THE FUCKING COPS!

Sweet jesus.  It's painfully obvious which side of the equation I'm ending up on here.  I'm pretty sure I'm the only one at work with a semi-regular blog feature, titled WWILTPITFTW.  So that's it.  My professional life will ultimately end when some tiny moron gets the heebie-jeebies that I rolled my eyes at their project plan.

Until then I guess I'll just grit my teeth and smile.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Love/Hate

We've had a bit of snow down here in Southern Ontario.  They've had the worst of it west of here but we still had a couple inches in the KW area.  Didn't stop the locals from absolutely losing their shit though.  And it's around this time that I really fall in love with my car all over again.  I've been itching to get rid of the ole CeR-Vix for a while but each time the snow flies and I get my snow tires on, I can't believe I ever thought a bad thing about my wee trucklet.  This thing eats up snow and laughs at ice.

Sadly, not everyone drives such a wonderful vehicle.  I don't think anybody should drive beyond their comfort level but holy fuck, 40 kilometers an hour in an 80?!?  Jesus, it's just a bit of snow you fuck knob.  If you can't handle this, will you ever leave the house when we get a real snow storm?

I laughed when I heard that Quebec legislated everybody must have snow tires.  I'm not laughing any more.  I couldn't get out of my neighbourhood this morning because the 20 cars in front of me couldn't get any traction up the slight incline at the lights.  Unbelievable.

To sum up: love CeR-Vix, hate people.

Monday, 13 December 2010

What's TBone Drinking?

Screwdrivers!


Grey Goose vodka and orange juice!  It's brain meltingly effective AND it's chock full of vitamin c!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Inception

Rough night last night.  I've entered the hacking/coughing stage of my cold and I didn't get more than an hour of straight sleep.  With each coughing fit I found myself torn from the same dream.  Seems I had borrowed the company truck to pick up some parts for one of my projects.  Now, for some reason I had to drive to Timmins to get these parts.  Having arrived in Timmins I picked up some common plumbing fittings at the Home Hardware.  Parts I could have easily purchased in Kitchener.  But, anyways, having secured the items I rewarded myself by going to a bar that no longer exists in Timmins.  I had a few and then drove to the hotel to go to sleep.  I wake up in the hotel room a couple hours later and realize I have forgotten the parts at the bar.  But I've left the keys to the truck in my jacket.  And I've left my jacket in a post office box outside the Casey's across the street.  Yup.

That was the first session.  I woke up in the real world trying to cough up a lung and wondering, desperately, why the fuck I had driven the company truck to Timmins.  If they knew I'd had a few beers and driven the company truck, I'd be out of a job.  Was I sober enough to go get those parts back?  How the fuck was I going to get my jacket out of the post office box?

Eventually the coughs subsided and I calmed down and realized I wasn't in a Timmins hotel room.  Then I dozed off.  And then it all happened again.  About 3 or 4 more time.  Each time waking up coughing and thinking I had royally fucked up my life.  Good times.

So I'm guessing this was all just a subliminal PSA from my brain that alcohol is bad, mmkay?  Got it.  Message received.  Can I get some sleep now?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

20 Bucks

It's been a running joke for a number of years that I will offer 20 bucks for people to do various ridiculous things.  Things that would put pride and paychecks in jeopardy and would obviously require more than 20 bucks as incentive.  Up until today, I can only think of one person who has ever taken me up on a 20 buck challenge.  In a moment of weakness I challenged Dennis to bike home from a fonthill get together while wearing a reindeer (?) hat.  There's a longer story about which get together and where the hat came from but the point is that Dennis was planning on biking home wearing the antlers anyway.   So, yes, challenge met but it felt kind of hollow.

Didn't stop me from making more "20 bucks" comments though.  People are still getting used to my sense of humour at work so I haven't brought it up too often.  But, this summer, one of the other engineers mentioned that he now had a set of steer horns that his parents had dug out of their attic.  We joked around a bit about mounting these horns to the hood of his car Boss Hogg style.  And, naturally, I threw out the "20 bucks!".

20 bucks to fix those horns to the hood of his lily white Subaru wagon, drive to work, and leave them on all day.  He seemed pretty eager about it and I worried that I'd made another reindeer-hat-like error in judgement.  But people often talk big and show up small.  So there was a time limit to get this done.  And the deadline was this week.  And the bastard came through:



Gotta say, I was pretty impressed.  He didn't wuss out and use some pussy tape or something.  He fabbed a bracket, painted it to match the hood, and screwed it to the hood of his car.  Freaking awesome.  The snow just makes it all the better.  Well worth the 20 bucks!

Monday, 6 December 2010

WWILTPITFTW

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

The fucking git who keeps dropping gum in the urinal at work.  For fuck's sake man!  What do you think is going to happen to that gum?  Do you think it's going to dissolve?  Do you think, eventually, it will work it's way through the urinal cake mesh and then auger through the drain holes of the urinal itself?  It's not going to fucking happen.  You KNOW what's going to happen.  Some poor fuck is going to have to pick that piece of gum out of the urinal.  Sure he'll be wearing gloves but that won't change the fact that he will realize his career path has lead him directly to the point where he is picking gum out of a urinal.

And I think this fuck KNOWS this.  My theory is that he's so pissed off with his job that he's just going to kick it on down the line so that the guy at the very bottom of the ladder really knows his station in life.  Fuck you, you prick.  That guy doesn't need any reminders.  The fucking garbage bin is two steps away from the urinal.  Get a fucking clue and use it.

Fuck.

Glenkinchie Distiller's Edition

YARRRRRRRRGH!  Days like this scream for scotch.  If I could mount an accelerometer on an emotion, I would bolt that fucker on my rage.  Cause I was in a good mood this morning.  Things were on track, I was getting shit done.  And BAM!  So long good mood!  You've pulled a 180 and now you wish damage upon anyone within striking distance.  FUCK!  Fuck fuck fuck.  Fuck.

Alright, anyways, some rage medicine is in order.  And I'm willing to shell some coin out to drink something different and quell the beast.  I spent 15 minutes in front of the scotch selection, looking, checking the web site, reading an existing review, and moving on to the next scotch.  I saw the Glenkinchie, read my review of Glenkinchie 12, and almost moved on.  BUT.  Just in time, I noticed the Glenkinchie Distiller's Edition in a very similarly colored box.  DONE.  SOLD.  Come with me wee one, you're about to solve some problems.

So, the 12 was a bit off, according to my review, but I was hoping for a bit more with the extra $10 price and the claim that the DISTILLERS had selected the casks for this bottling.

And that selection paid off.  Yum.  The nose is sharp and sherry with some caramel.  Very intriguing.  The taste is glorious.  A subtle fire of sherry with a dry, oaky finish.  The aftertaste blooms into caramelly licorice.  Sound complicated?  IT WAS!  And I fucking loved it.  I am going toe to toe with this bottle and digging every punch it lands.  Rah!  It's an abusive relationship but I know he doesn't mean it.  Fun.  Wow.

That is usually the end of one of my reviews but I had to share this description from royalmilewhisky.com:

Nose: Something soft, with hints of egg mayonnaise about the nose. Paprika, bitter chocolate and cocoa with notes of sour fruits and an intensely floral nature. Very inviting, but a bit too over-powering if you are eager. Fragrant laundry and a nectar sweetness which recedes into a fruity sweetness. Touch of anise, malt and sherbet after several thoughts.
Palate: A dry, woody feel. Dried leaves. Considerably herbal and grassy, with notes of cocoa once more followed by a light zest about the palate. A great deal of character.
Finish: The light zest follows through on the finish, with hints of green grass and autumnal notes. Finally, liquorice and more cocoa.
Comments: A solid complexity and length. Very enjoyable throughout.

The nose?  Egg mayonnaise?  Fragrant laundry?!?  Jesus, this guy's eating old hamburgers while sniffing soiled panties.  For fuck's sake, I hope I never get this pretentious.

Anyways, Glenkinchie Distiller's Edition roundup.

BOOM goes the dynamite!  5 shots!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Privacy

A couple weeks (months?) ago, Google introduced the Google TV concept to the world.  And it landed with a tremendous thud.  Its cludgy overlay of the TV watching experience did not interest me at all.  What DID interest me was a lot of the discussions on the internet regarding the concern of Google gathering even more of our personal information.  Instead of cataloging and analyzing our web browsing habits, Google would now be observing our television viewing habits too.

And for some reason people thought this was a bad thing.  I disagree.  I think it would be fantastic.  Finally, my viewing choices would directly be noted and charted and presumably relayed to content providers and networks and advertisers.  I'm a member of a valuable demographic damn it and I'm tired of watching my favourite shows go right down the tubes because a certain percentage of some archaic grouping of Nielsen households didn't align with my own viewing tastes.  Fuck Nielsen.  We have the technology, don't watch a sample of viewers, watch ALL of us.

SEE how I've downloaded Terriers because it is not available in Canada.

OBSERVE my repeated viewings of the Firefly series on DVD.

NOTE my love of Netflix and my absolute hatred of Rogers On Demand.

GRAPH the steep decline in ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX generated content in my viewing.

RECORD the number of times I've ever watched a reality TV show (hint: zero).

LOOK at how the only commercials I don't skip over on my PVR are for movies or gadgets.

Seriously, screw the privacy paranoiacs out there.  I'm BEGGING to be spied on here.  I'm a weak willed individual, easily swayed by advertising, with disposable income.  Load up your 12-gauge of advertising and aim it right at my eyeballs.  Just make it relevant to my interests and give me some decent programming in return.

Thank you.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

I gotta pee

Went to the ole Ralph Wilson Stadium last Sunday to watch the Bills and Steelers duke it out.  Everyone expected a blow out but I was extremely pumped all the same.  This was going to be my second NFL game ever and I was actually hoping to enjoy myself this time.  My first game was 6 or 7 years ago and was an unqualified disaster.  Won't go in to details  but lets just say that one should never go to a football game with one's single little sister (sorry Megan but you know this to be true).  Turned out ok for little sis but I still go into seizures thinking of that bus ride home.

This time would be different.  A half dozen of us had rented a van and were heading to a previously scouted tailgating location.  The game itself could go right to hell, I was more excited about cracking a beer at nine in the morning and getting properly sauced by noon.  And things started out just as anticipated.  We were drinking, we were cooking, we were yipping with the surrounding bills fans, it was good times.  And then I had to take a leak.

And that was it.  I pretty much split time between drinking and waiting to relieve myself of those drinks for the rest of the day.  At some point in the last two years my bladder was switched with that of a nervous 5 pound chihuahua.  Not sure when exactly.  I first noticed it last year at another Buffalo sporting event but this time at the HSBC arena.  Similar scenario though with drinking plenty of bland, any-beer.  I hate to put the blame for my urinary inadequacies all on Buffalo but it may be a combination of the beer AND the city.

I don't think it's about getting old either.  When I'm not drinking beer, I am a complete pit stop stud.  Up North they still talk of my legendary 13 hour drive from Haileybury to Thunder Bay, fueled by three x-large Tim Horton's coffees and two Monster energy drinks and when I stopped it was only for gas.

And it's not like I've abstained from beer except while in Buffalo.   Every now and then it's nice to have a drink that doesn't feel like it's melting your brain.  But the bladder breakdown only seems to happen while drinking beer in Buffalo.  Weird.  Maybe it's the cold?

Ah, well.  It was still a good day.  We left when the score was 13-0.  Not exactly a blowout but, hey, what were the odds that BUFFALO would make a comeback?  Right?  Ach, the final outcome was the same anyway.  Would have been nice to see that dropped pass though.  Now THAT'S Buffalo football.