Monday, 29 August 2011


I have stated, on many occasions, how much I hate Toronto and their associated sports franchises.  Just being in Toronto makes my skin crawl.  Put me on a sidewalk and surround me with Torontonians and I am having an all out anxiety attack.  But my buddy Ash was having his bachelor party in Toronto and I couldn't miss out.  So I sucked it up and compartmentalized all my neuroses and headed into the belly of the beast.

The bachelor party was a weekend long affair but I was only going to be able to take part in the Friday night events.  I'd missed out on the Steamwhistle brewery tour but caught up with everybody at the Real Sports Bar & Grill just beside the Air Canada Centre.  And this place is something else.  The main projection screen is immense, covering most of the wall behind the bar.  Hard to give it real dimensions but if I had to guess I'd say 15 feet high by 30 feet long?  It's big.  And then countless flat screens all around the place covering every other sporting event being broadcast at that time.  Freaking impressive.

So, entertainment wise, this place beats all comers outside of a Vegas sports book.  But it gets better.  The beer selection is plentiful and interesting and available in 32 ounce mugs.  There was even a Munich lager that came in a 40 ounce mug.  Awesome.  The scotch selection was overpriced, not surprisingly, but they did have an Aberlour 12 so I was happy.  The food was interesting and very tasty.  Ash's brother took some ribbing for his lettuce burger (bun replaced with 1/4 of a head of lettuce) but where else could you order such a thing?  The waitresses were all runway model hot (or so I'm told, I didn't really notice, honest) and super attentive and super tolerant of our drunken assholish ways.  The atmosphere was alive and jumping.  The bathrooms had the requisite flat panels at each urinal AND they had those Dyson air blade hand dryers.

All that must add up to best sports bar ever, right?  Sadly, no.  One thing was wrong with the whole set-up.  One thing that soured me on the Real Sports experience.  And that was the frigging music.  The person that thought The Police's Roxanne needed to be re-mixed to a dance beat should be severely beaten.  But the guy who thought that was the perfect song to play in a testosterone focused sports bar?  He should be fed to rabid boars from the toes up.

I can't recall what the music was like before that song came up.  And that's fine.  It is what it should be in a sports bar.  Just background noise.  But after Roxanne-Remix, all I heard was sacrilegious dance beats tearing apart once great songs.  It was fucking horrible.

And there is Toronto encapsulated in a sports bar.  All the money in the world but no fucking soul.  The people there aren't there for the sports atmosphere, they are there because it's a different take on their standard meat-market night club.  These are the douchebag equivalents of those suits behind the glass at a Toronto Maple Leafs game.  They don't give a shit about hockey, they only bought the seats because they were expensive and in demand and they wanted to impress some clients.  Bah.

All the best to Ash and his upcoming marriage.  I had a good time, I really did.  But holy fuck do I still hate Toronto.


Sunday, 28 August 2011


The last couple weeks have been difficult.  It wasn't a surprise.  I had it marked on the calendar: August 8-22 - prepare for suck.

Work related.  We had a hard target date to get two prototypes done for our distributor meeting.  New plastic components, new ROPS, new steering set up, and, just for kicks, a brand new engine we'd never used before.  The trip out to Wisconsin was to fetch the plastic components and then it was rush, rush, rush to get everything to fit up.

And we got it done.  It wasn't fun, not by a long shot, but we got both prototypes done in time.  Neither drove particularly well but they were definitely pretty.  Good enough to show off to our distributors.

At the last minute I was asked to go up to the distributor meeting.  I wasn't sure if this was a reward for getting the prototypes done in time or punishment for, I don't know, being an engineer I guess.  But I went.  Up to the Viamede resort in the Kawarthas.  Nice lake, okay accommodations, and a whole lotta sales people.  If I had brought my kayak and fishing gear, it actually would have been an enjoyable couple days.  But it was work, just work in a nicer location.

So I listened to people give their opinions on the prototypes and listened to the numerous presentations and listened to the small talk at dinner and I had my free beers and then I went to bed.  I can never fully relax in a room full of sales people.  I'm sure there were some decent drinkers in the group but the only thing to do besides drink was to talk about Argos and I had honestly had enough of the topic the last 3 weeks.

But most of the drama seems to be done now.  Should be able to down shift into a regular running gear now and start doing the clean up part of the project.  Good times.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

What's TBone Watching?


I know it's just crappy, ridiculous, pre-season football but it's still awesome to be sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon and watching PROFESSIONAL football. (Yes that is a shot at you, CFL).  Won't be long before we have serious football again!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


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

Everybody who stops by the prototype I'm working on while my head is stuck in the engine compartment and my ass is hanging out in the air and asks "Hey! Is this the new prototype?".

No.  No it's a waste bin and I've dropped my phone in it.  Come help me look.

I just take it as granted that people understand that if they can't see my head, they know that I am currently busy.  So please fuck off and take your idle chit-chat to someone who gives a shit.

Thank you.

The Down Side

Fuck it.  I regret saying anything positive about the engineering profession.  It's fucking pointless.

The Up Side

In the past, I have bagged on engineering as a career.  A lot.  But every now and then there's a moment when something you have designed comes together for the first time and everything fits and works and looks good.  And you're happy.  Honest to goodness happiness.  That is the up side to engineering.  That you can create something new, something that solves a problem, something real.

Of course, five minutes later somebody will walk by and sneer "Why'd you do it THAT way?".

And we're back to hating engineering for another 6 months.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Without question, my favourite quote of the day so far:

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
-- Theodor Seuss Geisel Writer, Cartoonist, Animator

Monday, 15 August 2011


So, fair is fair.  Jen was a real trooper and hardly put up a fight at all when we headed up to North Bay for my cousin's wedding.  This month, Jen's cousin was getting married so I couldn't very well say no.  I could, however, pout and drag my feet a fair bit.  I was going in with an advantage though.  The Robickles were going too so I was almost guaranteed not to find myself explaining my intentions in regards to young Jennifer to appease any elderly aunts.

And, again, all my worrying was for nothing.  It was a fun crowd, not too many strangers to alcohol.  The ceremony was definitely my style, open country setting with free beer in coolers.  The reception was equally relaxed but I was very grateful for the Robinson nucleus we formed.  We could observe from a safe distance, participate occasionally, and then retreat back to the safety of the herd.  There was some fascinating dance moves on display, I'll say that much.

Of course, I couldn't make it through the entire event without being some sort of jackass.  A very ill-advised prank.  It had the full endorsement of one little Ewok but it ultimately panned as bad as any prank I've ever done.  Ugh.  Sorry babe.

But even with that little bump in the road, it was good times.  Like I said, a fun group.  Always good to meet good people.  No matter how much I resist at the beginning.

Oh, and highly recommend the Stone Gate Inn in Orillia.  Swank.  AND the restaurant 16 Front which is more downtown Orillia.  Great food, atmosphere, and staff.  Yah, good weekend.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Drove to Wisconsin this week.  Yup.  Work related.  Drove out with my boss.  Yup.

Can't really say too much but I did want to relay one little glimpse into this trip.  After sitting for an hour in stop-and-go traffic through Chicago, my boss said "Hey, do you like buffet?".

I was non-committal.  I don't know.  I've gone to buffet places in the southern states and they could be hit or miss.  Not really something I go out of my way to try out.  But my boss seemed pretty excited about it so why not?  There's usually at least one dish that makes it worthwhile.

I punched in "Old Country Buffet" and found several hits.  Apparently it's some sort of chain.  We pulled into the one that was closest to our route and headed in.  And this place.... man... this place is the saddest restaurant I've ever been in, in my entire life.  The Old Country Buffet is unquestionably the Wal-Mart of the dining world.  The people in this place are not happy.  They're not happy with their lives and they are not happy that they have to eat at a place like the Old Country Buffet.

There are exactly two nice things I can say about the Old Country Buffet.  It is inexpensive and the dining experience is as quick as you want to make it.

The rest of it is shit.

The Mexican section was disgusting, the Chinese section was depressing, the Italian section was laughable, and everything else just made me cringe.  And cry a little.

The fried chicken was at least edible.  And the coffee was better than the stuff at the office (which isn't saying much).  So I grimly ate my meal and then we grimly left.

This was not a happy meal.  And it set the tone for the rest of the trip.  Avoid the Old Country Buffet if you value your happiness in any amount.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Double Feature!

First up was Machete!  What can I say?  I really liked this movie.  Spawned from the same circumstances that created Hobo With A Shotgun and it must be viewed in that same frame of mind (i.e. drunk).

Next we watched Rango!  I didn't think the previews looked any good for this Pixar wannabe but I had heard many good reviews.  So we watched it.  And it sucked.  So there you go.  Always go with your instincts.

Belwood II - 2011

Took another stab at Belwood Conservation Area this weekend.  The lake is just too nice not to be out on a summer weekend.  Almost nice enough to make up for not catching any fish.  Almost.  It still stings.  I'd been out twice before, once to Belwood and once on the Grand River and been skunked both times.  And it was looking like another skunker.  Two hours in and the clouds were starting to roll in.  But then a hit!  Sweet!  I started reeling in with a huge grin on my face.  A bit of a fight but sure didn't feel like a bass.  And it wasn't.  I caught a catfish.  Kind of freaked me out.  I always associated catfish with the Mississippi river or at least the deep south.  Weird friggin' fish.  No scales, those freaky whiskers, and a mouth that looks like it's loaded with sandpaper.  Popped out the hook and let the little guy go.

So, not a great day of fishing but the important thing is the skunk streak is over.  I caught a fish!