Sunday, 30 December 2012

I had a dream.

As a late christmas present for my sister, I will describe the dream I had last night.  It was pretty much just me and my boss from work arguing with the engineering manager from the gear division about how to correctly tolerance a drawing and construct a proper bill of material. Yup. We changed venues every now and then and sometimes we were yelling about CAD modeling but mostly it was the three of us simultaneously yelling about geometric tolerancing and BOM's. In the middle of a nice relaxing holiday, I'm wasting some quality dream time on this sort of bullshit?   I know I have to go back to work in the new year but if anybody brings up tolerancing or bills of material that first week, I may have a breakdown.

Now I shared this pathetic dream with Jen and she proceeds to tell me about the dream SHE had last night.  In her dream I was a professional baseball player and I had just been traded to the LA Angels. During my first game she was very busy in the dugout telling my new team mates how awesome she is at baking and how she'll be sending me to work with all sorts of goodies for them.  And then I started crying and proposed to her in the middle of the baseball field.

So in my dreams I'm doing the exact same shit I do in the real world and in jen's I'm a romantic millionaire baseball player...  I think I'll let her do all the dreaming from now on.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Traffic

Driving around this morning, I was reminded how much hatred I have in my heart for anybody that attempts a left-hand turn without a dedicated turning lane.  It's irrational and completely hypocritical but it is what it is. Crawling along the congested arteries that make up Kitchener traffic, you can only feel rage when you see that blinker 5 cars in front of you.  Any escape plan is futile.  You can only sit there and seethe watching and waiting for the jagoff to find his break in the oncoming stream to make his leftward break and free the pile up behind him.

It's not his fault.  Dude has to turn left.  Happens to everybody.  Doesn't matter.  I hate that person.  He has personally shit upon my day by not living on the right hand side of the avenue I'm currently traversing.  I hate him.  Hate, hate, hate.

Now picture that person driving a vehicle with a pair of foam antlers sticking out of the windows and a red Rudolph nose on its hood.  The rage evolves into a pure white light of vengeance.  How DARE you!?!  That shit you took on my day is now being dressed up in a silly jacket and hat. It is all I can do to not pull my vehicle into oncoming traffic just for the opportunity to ram my truck into those ridiculous antlers.

Hmm, this turned a little too ragey for a Christmas post.  I guess my point here is that I shouldn't be out in public during the entire month of December.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Time

Just me and Jen this Christmas morning.  Definitely missing our families but it will probably be the last Christmas we spend on our own once Peanut comes along.  The Robickles will be along for dinner though so we won't be going completely solo.  But I did think our Charlie Brown Christmas tree was appropriate:


Still looking forward to presents and a relaxing day of goofing off.  Jen had made sure we were prepared for Christmas months ago so it has been pretty stress free actually.  I did have a grocery list to take care of this morning though.  I was at the grocery store for 7 a.m. and the paltry crowd had me pretty pleased with myself.  I grabbed everything we needed for the next couple days and hightailed it out of there.  The only thing left to get was some booze.

The LCBO opened at 10.  I was there at 10:10.  There were already 5 cashiers open and the lines were 20 people deep.  Sweet merciful crap.  I rounded up all the necessities and actually managed to get through the line in short order.  My hat is off to the efficient processors at the Ottawa St. LCBO!

With the shopping done I scurried home, avoiding traffic incident after traffic incident.  Huddled in the comfort of my favourite chair I just had to wait for my hunny bunny to make it home and I'd be completely ready for Christmas.

One last thing, if the family around you starts grating on you this holiday saeson, I highly recommend taking a look at the Dropkick Murphy's latest as a reminder of how special this time of year is and how special families can be.





Merry Christmas everybody!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Cheater

Our friends, the Allenses, once again hosted the only Christmas party that matters.  Things were a little disjointed this year due to the unfortunate passing of Jen's grandfather.  But she and Ms. Robickle battled through long drives and little sleep to make sure they were there for the festivities.

With Jen's lack of sleep and my battling a cold, I wasn't expecting much drama.  Certainly nothing like two years ago when I had made such a spectacular ass of myself while trying to liquify my brain.  But despite very little alcohol intake, I still managed to let myself down.

The Secret Santa gift exchange is a staple of the Allenses Christmas Party.  Much time and stress is invested in the selection of your $10 gift.  Everyone piles their gifts under the tree and a random draw determines the order of gift selection.  The twist (and drama) comes from the tradition of "stealing" gifts.  I've had my issues with this feature in the past.  The thing is, when you get something really cool, people are gunning for you.  There had been confusion on the parameters of when and what you could steal in previous years so the rules were reviewed and reiterated and hammered home before the first gift was selected.

And I still fucked it up.

I kicked off the stealing by grabbing a Jim Beam barbecue set that Judy had already selected.  I was pretty sure that wasn't going to remain in my possession for long.  But when I lost the wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer, I got a little ticked off.  I looked around the room and grabbed the coolest thing that first came into view.  One of the "volleyball" friends had just stolen a skull shaped shot glass which lead to my thermometer getting stolen so I just stole the shot glass.  And that was wrong.  We weren't supposed to be stealing the same gift in the same round it was originally stolen.

I realized my mistake later.  I felt shame.  When all the gift selections and stealing were done.  I approached the volleyball group and admitted my transgression.  The person I had stolen from accused me of just wanting the gift that she had replaced the shot glass with.  My apologies were accepted but you could tell suspicions remained.  I probably ruined any chance of building a bridge between the volleyball friends and the Deere friends.  Ah well, I guess I don't have to bother trying to remember their names anymore.

Aside from that, it was still good times.  People are there that I only see on that one day of the year.  We didn't stay long and their certainly wasn't any 4 a.m. euchre game but the Allenses Christmas Party is still a highlight of the holiday season.  Thanks again guys!

BOB

We got BOB!  BOB will be Peanut's ride when he/she finally shows up.  Thanks to our personal cross-border shopper, Dawn, we snagged this bad boy for $150 less than we could get it anywhere in Canada.  I had it out of the box, assembled, and tucked away downstairs before I thought of taking any pictures.  But here's the a pic from Amazon.
It's pretty slick.  Can't wait to plug Peanut into it and take it for a real spin.  Luckily BOB came with something to keep us entertained until Peanut shows up.  A big box.






Sunday, 9 December 2012

Time Goes By

Yah it has been a while.   I did say I would be scaling back but wasn't really intending to become TBone Monthly!   But I'm still here so here are some updates:

Peanut Progress
Lil P has been gestating away.  We'll have an updated picture after Christmas but for now we're just happy that the morning sickness appears to have subsided.  I'm pretty pumped about buying the baby paraphernalia.  We've already purchased a stroller and I can't wait for our first stroll.

But we've got a ways to go yet.  Got a lot of preparations to make before baby gets here. My cousin Peter recommended a movie on Netflix that he had watched at his prenatal class. The Business of Being Born.  Pretty interesting to see how things are done in the states. Feeling pretty good about our choice in midwife. Supportive and informative but zero pressure to choose one path or another.  One thing I was not prepared for in that movie though was just how much of Ricki Lake's nipples I would be seeing.  Weird.

WWILTPITFTW 
Good god would I like to punch Gary Bettman in the face.  Here we are with another lockout of the nhl players. Looks like we'll be losing another season.  Ridiculous. The owners got pretty much everything they wanted 7 years ago but we're doing it all over again but this time they're quibbling over percentage points and how to deal with the retarded contracts that management granted before the lockout. The only good thing I can see coming out of another lost season would be the firing of Gary Bettman. Here's hoping the squirmy little troll gets what he deserves.

Pi
We made a rare trip out to the theaters the other weekend.  I debated over Skyfall versus Life of Pi.  In the end I picked Pi because I had heard people talking about the epic 3D presentation. Now, I am a huge fan of the book by Yann Martel and have been a fan of Ang Lee's film making.  But the trailers made me nervous about the big screen adaptation.  So much of the movie would have to be computer generated that there was a high potential for a Jar-Jar Binks result.  But this was the best CGI I've seen on screen.  There was no instance where the integration of the CGI tiger seemed unnatural.  It was really remarkable.

Can't say the same about the 3D.  I had heard from various reviewers that this was the movie to convert 3D haters.  Nope.  There's a couple scenes that really make use of the 3D but there also scenes that are blatantly gimicky in their implementation.  I just don't get it.  The pixar trailer for Monsters Inc. 3D was much more effective and interesting.

And then there's the ending.  The book was made by the ending.  But all the debate I've heard about this movie has centered around the ending and the its intent to define religion.  I really didn't get the religious aspect from the book but the ending, as it was written, hit me deep as to how a person could cope with terrible events in his life.  The movie didn't really have that same impact with the visual ending compared to the written word.  Could be because I knew the ending already but I just don't think Ang Lee's presentation had the same punch as the book.

Overall, a faifthful and beautiful adaptation to one of my favourite books but the pacing is a tad slow and the signature ending is a tad muted.  Still recommended.

Pregame
The current state of the NFL Pregame Show is abysmal.  Much as I have clung to the NFL through this NHL lockout, I can not get into any of the pregame shows.  ESPN Countdown is 3 hours of diluted nonsense, CBS defines blandness, and Fox just plain makes me angry.  I really like the NBC Football Night in America crew with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison and I wish they started at noon.

Die Hard Day III: Die Hard Day With a Vengeance
Third time's a charm for Die Hard Day.  The beer was tasty, the cheese ball was phenomenal, and Jeremy and I were undefeated darts champions.  I still have no fucking clue when it comes to poker and I was only mildly aware when Die Hard III and IV started on the TV but it was still a quality day of drinking.  Paid for it last night though.  Not a good night.  I'm doing much better now though.

TV
We wrapped up season six of Numbers.  It was a real surprise find on Netflix.  I knew the show existed but never gave it the time of day.  How could a show about math and the FBI be anything but gimmicky nonsense.  But it turned out to be very watchable and well written.  And now it's done.  This could be a turning point for me.  Without a fallback series to turn to when there's nothing on the PVR, I may actually get something done.  Still, if anybody has any suggestions, pass them this way.

Black Ops II
Speaking of additional productivity time, my darling wife tempted fate by purchasing Call of Duty: Black Ops II for me.  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was almost a diagnoseable issue for me.  It was compulsive, any spare minute I would turn on that game and get some more kills to level up.  Black Ops II is definitely different, more cartoonish almost and they've actually removed some of the level-up features that got me so addicted to previous COD games.  Very odd decisions there.  Could signal the end of the series.  But given the billion dollar revenues this game has generated, the end won't be coming for a while.

Work
Work sucks.

Merry Christmas!
So looking forward to Christmas holidays.  Jen still has to work most of the week so we won't be spending a lot of time in Ottawa but I'm really looking forward to some down time and seeing family.  If I don't post for another month, here's hoping everybody has an excellend Christmas.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Cardhu 12

Oh, Cardhu.  One of the holy trinity from my early scotch drinking years.  Along with Oban and Dalwhinnie, Cardhu was a goal.  For special events or big pay cheques, these were the bottles I strived for.  Dalwhinnie suffered a devastating review after they got full of themselves and raised their price by 50%.  I wouldn't be sampling Dalwhinnie again anytime soon but nostalgia keeps me constantly looking for the other two.

My co-workers were extremely generous with an LCBO wedding gift and that provided the opportunity to revisit one of these all-time faves.  Cardhu was always the most challenging malt of the trinity and I felt like a challenge.

And the aroma, after all these years, was challenging.  Strong, edgy caramel with a hint of sweetness that has doomed lesser malts.  It's something that I might have walked away from if not for our intimate history.  And moving forward with a sip, I was rewarded with that bold complexity I remembered from 10 years ago.  It's a malted fire, fed by sea air.  The salt isn't the gagging content of an Islay malt but a texture that highlights the malted alcohol.  And then the alcohol blooms.  The fire fills your mouth and then your nose and then all the way down to your belly.  And then everything is fine.  Just fine.  Everything is cool.  Ripping your pants in half at work is a faded memory, burned away by a glorious single malt.

The experience is just like I remembered.  A fiery single malt that burns bright and mellows any storm.  But it is pricey ($75) and can't command full marks.

An unforgettable fire.  4 shots!

Pants

I didn't want to go to work today.  Tuesday sucked.  Bad news on the work front all the way around.  If ever there was a need for a mental health day, it was today.  But I went in.  Had to get shit done!  And I hit the ground running.  I was crushing it.  CRUSHING it. 

One of my tasks was replacing the rad in one of the prototypes.  I got the new rad out of the back room and pulled the rad out of the packaging and placed it to the side.  Now, before I get to installing the rad, I need to get rid of this big box.  I'll just bend at the knees and lift this box in a Health & Safety approved form....  and mid-squat my pants exploded.

The sound of 20 inches of fabric tearing alerted me to the wardrobe issue.  The cool breeze on my intimates indicated the issue was quite serious.  I looked down and shuddered.  I now had convenient access to my junk courtesy of a brand new opening in my pants that went from belt buckle to just above my knee.  Fantastic.

Luckily, I had a big box that would serve well to cover my exit from the shop to the office.  Once I was back to my desk, I dropped the box, grabbed my jacket, and let the guys know there was an emergency at home and I'd be back in half an hour.

I seriously contemplated staying home.  I played a few games of Call of Duty to chill but I did end up going back.  I wasn't exactly crushing it from that point forward.  Stupid pants. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Coffee and Resentment

Almost sprayed coffee all over my monitor when I read that line.  Wally is definitely my favourite.


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Peanut: Up Close!

Had our second ultrasound today.  Peanut is doing well.  Up to 8cm now!  Much less of an Elvis impression this time around.  I'm fascinated by the little button nose.  We got a little demonstration of his/her dance moves too.  All is well!


Monday, 5 November 2012

Pics

Some of the pics from our trip.

Men setting up tent for the wedding:

2012-10-27 09.29.45

Ben, driving the train.  Alice and Jen on the lookout for any monsters:

2012-10-30 09.46.09

Showdown at Omega Park:

2012-10-30 14.56.07

“Holy shit! I’m gorgeous!”:

2012-10-30 15.52.44

Wolves:

2012-10-30 16.08.43

“Miss, can I see your park pass please?”:

2012-10-30 16.10.49

Our hotel:

2012-10-30 16.46.26

View of the Ottawa River from our room:

2012-10-30 16.55.15

Fireplace in the lobby:

2012-10-30 17.18.23

Ben and Alice exploring Ben’s birthday present:

2012-11-01 16.27.16

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Drama

So we're back from our honeymoon.  Nothing extravagant, just a week around the Ottawa area.  Got to spend some quality time with our niece and nephew.  Also managed a side trip out to Chateau Montebello for an evening.  Pretty neat place.  Pretty happy we scaled back our plans given Hurricane Sandy.  It was what we needed, a break away from work and the stress of the wedding and we're very appreciative of my parents and my sister's family for putting up with us all week.

And then we came home yesterday.  And there's a week's worth of drama waiting for us at the door.  Superb.  Not going to provide details.  Everybody is fine, the cats are fine, the house is fine but I felt like I got punched in the gut.  If I'd kept my mouth shut, everything would be tickety boo but I felt so let down I had to pick up the phone. And things have escalated beyond my comprehension.  Looks like my brother's family and I won't be speaking for the foreseeable future.  It's one of those things that a simple apology would put right to bed but things went nuclear so fast that doesn't seem to be an option now.

Blah.  Anyways, my facebook account is now deleted if anybody was wondering.  And I'll probably be scaling back this blog to a bare minimum.  Baby pictures will show up here but probably not too many opinion pieces.  But what's life without a little drama eh?

Cheers.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Rock the Vote!

So the stupid Blogger polling widget seems to have lost all the results from the baby name votes.  Stupid blogger!  So, if you don't mind, please vote again.  The results are non-binding, we're just trying to gauge people's reactions.  Thank you!  And Kate, you can continue abstaining.

!!!
Stupid Strawpoll web site!  Why is this so hard?  Man, just so WE don't forget our picks here's the short list for baby names:

Girl:
Alexa
Larissa
Paige

Boy:
Aidan
Bryson
Colby
Weston

I'm pretty sure Paige and Colby were leading.  They're my favourites anyways.
!!!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Hitched

Today was the day!  Jen agreed to be my wife and actually signed paperwork confirming that.  I was a wreck right up to the point the officiant showed up.  But once we started going over the ceremony, I calmed right down.

Jen was gorgeous in her dress and surrounded by our immediate families we took our vows.  I couldn't have been happier.  I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.

We did limit the guest list to just immediate family and we're sorry we couldn't include everyone who is important in our lives. The plan is still to throw the bigger party next summer when everyone can relax and have fun and not worry about getting food on their fancy clothes.

We especially missed the presence of Dawn and Jeff who were Chief Instigators and Masters Of Not Minding Their Own Business when it came to getting Jen and I together.  We owe them a tremendous amount and we will do our best to make it up to them.

So here we go!  Bonded together in marriage, we set forth on our big adventure.  Things might not always be easy, but we'll be facing them together.  Love you babe!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

TBone's Terrible Movie Choice of the Week

I made the horrible mistake of watching Battleship a few weeks ago.  At the time, I was fascinated at how Taylor Kitsch managed to star in that travesty and the similarly poorly reviewed John Carter IN THE SAME YEAR.  If they had even been separated by one year, I never would have watched John Carter.  But I couldn't get that kind of career implosion out of my head.

So I finally watched John Carter last night.  Jen didn't sit still for 5 minutes before she started various housework chores.  And is it as bad as Battleship?  No.  Not even close.

It's not a great movie.  It's incredibly silly and cartoonish but put it beside Avatar and I couldn't tell you which one was a box office bomb and which one made the most money in cinema history.

I think the biggest problem this movie had was the marketing behind it.  We were bombarded with trailers and advertisements that all proclaimed that John Carter was finally coming to the big screen.  This might have been more effective if John Carter had even a little name recognition.  I'd never heard of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels before and, given the befuddled looks on anyone that watched one of these trailers, not too many people born in the last 40 years had either.

But the ads kept coming, with each iteration seemingly more desperate to scream "JOHN CARTER" at my face.  It was pretty annoying.  It eventually showed up and it quickly left the theaters, slinking away with the jeers and derision of critics following it out the door.

But really, it's not that bad.  Something fun to watch with a five year old.

Oh, and Dominic West is the main villain.  That guy needs to slap his agent around.  So awesome on The Wire and nothing but shit since.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Introducing: Peanut


Yes, we are officially expecting.  We had our first ultrasound yesterday.  The appointment was booked a couple of weeks early so there's not as much detail as you would usually see on the first ultrasound.  But we saw his/her little heart beating away and, before I was allowed into the room, he/she was apparently dancing up a storm.

The first trimester has been pretty rough on Jen.  For the first couple weeks after Jen peed on the stick she was getting pretty cocky.  "I haven't got sick at ALL.  I'm super duper!".  And then came the puking.

Things seemed to have evened out now and we're super excited to see what pops out.  If you look closely at the picture, it would appear he or she will look a lot like Elvis.

So we've got 6 more months to transform the House of Geek to a suitable baby environment.  And for you mathletes out there, I did propose BEFORE the stick peeing.  No shotguns at next week's wedding.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Maury

I knew this week was going to be a learning experience.  And it has been.  Probably the most shocking and saddening item of knowledge I've gained is the TV watching habits of my 15 year old niece.  Calling the shows she watches "trash" wouldn't even scratch the surface of their pandering vapidness.

I came home from work the other day and Briana was watching a show called Maury.  Now, the 30 seconds of Toddlers & Tiaras I happened to watch while channel surfing remains the most horrifying episode of my entire life.  But, I'm sure if I watched a week's worth of Maury I'd eventually come across something that came very close.

Remember Maury Povich?  He used to be on TV quite a bit.  Married Connie Chung?  Then disappeared?  Well now he hosts a show that would make Jerry Springer shake his head.  The episode Briana was watching was all about guessing whether an individual was born a man or a woman.  They had 20 people up on the stage in makeup and dresses and, one by one, they'd take center stage and the dim-witted audience would hoot and holler and wave around signs as a way of voting whether the individual was either a man or a woman.  Then the person whose gender was in question would reveal their original sex type and then there would be five minutes of reaction shots from the inbred audience members as they hooted, hollered, and had minor seizures.

And my niece was eating it all up.  And it made me so sad.  Not as sad as when my 8 year old nephew came into the room and started yelling at the TV "MAN!  MAN!  THAT'S A MAN! YOU CAN TELL BY THE MUSCLES!  MAN!".  It was obviously not his first time playing along at home.

So, I've kidnapped by brother's children and I am now traveling to a remote cabin in the woods.  A cabin filled with books.  No TV.  No internet.  Just books.  Hopefully, over the next 20 years, I can reverse some of the damage that has been done.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Expectations

I've worked at a few different places to this point in my career.  All different industries too.  I've worked in forestry, agricultural, IT, waste management, mineral exploration, and recreational products.  And the common thread joining each of those workplaces has been the douchebag.  Everywhere I've worked there's been at least one complete douchebag whose main goal in life is to stir up enough shit to cover the fact that he does very little to contribute to any solutions.  They are very easy to identify.  Just look for the person that spends more time talking about how much work he has than he does actually working.  There's your douchebag.

And my reaction to meeting such an individual has been hate.  Every time a douchebag interrupts a project or doesn't complete a task, the rage is uncontrollable.  It was always inconceivable to me that such a person could not only remain employed in a business environment but could actually prosper.  My mind would fold in on itself on this contradiction and it would hurt.  Scotch always helped.

I should point out that the other constant throughout my various jobs has been that every workplace has contained exceptional individuals as well.  But it has always been the douchebags that have twisted my gitch.

But I think I've finally been able to get past the notion of the douchebag at work.  Recently, one of the douchebags here made a typical douchebag move that ordinarily would have sent me straight out the door for home and the sweet respite of a single malt.  But, as I looked at the douchebag e-mail that he had sent me and was douchebaggy enought to cc my boss on, I could only nod my head that this was exactly the level of douchebaggery I could expect from such a douchebag.  Congratulations douchebag, you have met expectations.

And, with a shrug, I moved on.  It was a real turning point.  I felt like patting myself on the back.  Good for me!  Hopefully my new found resistance to douchebags is permanent.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Message

I'm at the stage in an engineering project when phone calls are never a good thing.  I'm not waiting for any feedback from customers or quotes from suppliers, so it's either a problem on the shop floor or a problem in the field.  So, when I come back to my desk and see that red light lit up on my phone, there's a certain amount of panic that runs through my body.  I contemplate all my potential escape routes and start estimating how much money I have in savings while I punch in my voice mail PIN.

At the very best, I can expect a trip out to Quality Control to make an argument over whether a dimension is critical or not.  At worst, it's a day-long debate on just how stupid I really am.

But, every once in a while, there's days like today.  When the message on my phone is 10 seconds of background shop noise and then the caller hangs up.  Oh, the glorious call from a person who is too dazed to hang up during the voice mail preamble and doesn't realize I'm still not going to pick up 10 seconds into their recording of heavy breathing.

The relief from these messages almost makes up for the dread of seeing that red light.  You take it where you can get it!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Babysitter

So my brother is in Cuba right now.  With his wife.  But not his kids.  No his kids were left behind.  With Uncle and Auntie.  Yes, we have moved into my brother's place to keep an eye on the little rug rats.  And their crippled dog.  So, along with having to lift the dog up and down the stairs and out to yard for her "bizness", we now have picky eaters at mealtime, an unbearably sore loser at video games and monopoly, fights over the remote control, and arguments over bed times.  Yes, it's an instant family.  Hooray.  And it's only been two days.  5 more to go.  The kicker came last night when I go to bed and find my nephew asleep on my side of the bed.  So off I go to get some sleep in his bed.  His Spider-Man bunk bed.  Christ I'm tired.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

An Cnoc 12

New Scotch!  New Scotch!  Finally!  Cripes, it seems like years since I've been able to sample something new from the LCBO.  Very excited when I saw this $65 bottle on the shelves.

It is a very light looking malt.  Probably shouldn't have iced it but old habits die hard.  The smell was very inviting though.  Light, yes, but a good hint of caramel.

The initial taste is, again, light but with a sharp briskness that seems to light up your mouth with a very slight hint of sea salt and that small hint of caramel again.

Everything travels along smoothly and there's a slight cloying to the after-taste.  It's the only minor fault in the whole experience.  It's a smooth overall scotch but it is definitely a lightweight compared to some of the more flavourful entries in this blog.

Light, refreshing, simple.  3 shots.

Critics

One of the great things about being engineer is dedicating your life, for several years, to developing a product that will satisfy everybody.  You organize meetings, collect feedback from staff and customers and dealers, you develop a spec, you build prototypes to represent that spec, you call more meetings to review the prototypes, you send those prototypes out into the field for even more feedback, you revise the spec, you build another prototype, you get more feedback, you implement what you can and put the rest on a to-do list.  But you have buy in.  Everybody agrees that what you have is what we need to sell.  And then you go into production.  And then you are an asshole.

Everybody who was either silent or said the prototypes were fine will now line up to point out what an idiot you are.  Everything is obvious once you are in production.  And the engineers are morons for not doing the obvious.

And so goes my pity party.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Looper

This movie has been on my radar for quite a while.  Rian Johnson is a director who makes himself available to all kinds of media outlets.  I've never seen his first film, the indie Brick, but I only saw his second film, The Brothers Bloom, because he is a regular guest on the podcast /Filmcast.  He's a smart and funny guy and the fact that he's humble enough to shoot the shit with some film nerds while not pandering to them in the slightest, really won me over.

So I watched The Brothers Bloom.  And I did not particularly care for it.  But I still kept up on his projects.  When he came on /Filmcast and talked about his next project being a time travel movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, I was definitely intrigued.

I don't particularly like time travel movies.  There's always some paradox that goes unexplained or glossed over that just drives me up the wall.  I do like Back To The Future and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure but that's about it.  Maybe 12 Monkeys too.  But Rian Johnson was so emphatic that he was working to wrap up the loose ends inherrent in a time travel story, that I had to give it a chance.

So we went and saw it yesterday.  And it is a very good movie.  But leaving the theater I had one glaring question in my head that seemed like a huge oversight in this time travel movie whose director claimed to have left no question unanswered.  So I went to the internet to try and find the answer.  And it was there that Rian Johnson won my fandom.  Not only had he made himself available on podcasts but he had participated in several interviews and Q&A's.

My question was answered satisfactorily and this is a movie that I will not only buy on Blu-Ray but I will also be rewatching with the director's commentary as well.  That's something I've only ever done with Fight Club and Memento.  Very interesting film.  Highly recommended.

Falling Down Update!

Breaking news!  My brother confirmed last night that I did a spectacular header off a bunk bed one summer at our grandparents' place.  He was on the bottom bunk, I was on the top, and the image of Lil' TBone dropping by his bunk on the way to the floor has stuck with him throughout the years.  Your "Well that explains everything!" comments can be placed below.

Monday, 8 October 2012

I Mother Earth

I can easily pick out the songs that were the epic milestones in my musical appreciation.  In high school it was Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".  Frosh week at university, it was Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name".  And on a work term in Alberta, I had my mind blown by the song "Levitate" by I Mother Earth.  A Canadian band no less!  And the rest of the CD, Dig, was just as spectacular.

I was a fan.  The CD would be on constant rotation for many years and I bought each of their new releases based mostly because of that love of that first song.  The original singer left after the second album but I continued to carry the flag for this band.  But I'd never seen them live.  I'd seen performances on TV but nothing in person.  And eventually I just stopped noticing new CD releases.  I figured my opportunity was gone.

So I was out of my mind when I saw that I Mother Earth was coming to Kitchener for Rocktoberfest!  We had tried out Rocktoberfest a couple years ago when Our Lady Peace was the featured band.  You can read my recap here.  Seems like I was kind of disappointed in the lack of actual Oktoberfest in my Rocktoberfest.  Probably my disdain for Our Lady Peace had something to do with that attitude.

But this time would be different!  I Mother Earth couldn't help but rock the fuck out of the joint.

As the day got closer, however, my enthusiasm waned.  With every day that passed, the realization that I would once again have to submit myself to the exposure of the general public grew.  Thank goodness for beer.

Niagara peeps assembled for a barbecue beforehand then we headed out.  We got there for 8 and waited and drank.  Walter Ostanek was there again as the opening act.  I can usually accept polka as a necessary evil of Oktoberfest tradition.  But this year it really grated on me.  It didn't help that the countless renditions of Ein Prosit, Roll Out The Barrels, and the Chicken Dance were interspersed with my musical kryptonite: Country Western.

We stood and listened to Walter for 2 and 1/2 hours.  Unlike 2 years ago, beer was very accessible but it made little difference.  I was near my breaking point.  And then I Mother Earth finally took the stage.  It was joyous, and loud, and awesome.  Unfortunately, we were still surrounded by people.  People are annoying in general but put them in hats with giant feathers sticking out of them and they are unbearable.

One song in and Jen bailed.  The squirmy tart in front of her using her boyfriend as a stripper pole wasn't a great view for her.  I was committed to sticking it out though.  Committed right up to the point that I Mother Earth stopped their set to bring out special guest Walter Ostanek!  And they did a fucking polka!

What the fuck was I just listening to for the last 2 1/2 hours?!?  Polka.  It was too much.  I turned to my friends and said "Ready to go?" and I got a unanimous "YUP!" in response.

It was disappointing.  No question.  But I can now say I've seen them live.  It was only three songs in total.  Maybe if one of them was from their Edwin era, it would have been enough to hold me there.  But that's how it goes with live shows.  You win some and lose some.  And I can always spin up Levitate whenever I want and relive that moment I discovered I Mother Earth.

Falling Down

Woke up in the middle of the night with a searing pain in my shoulder blade. I was sitting up and it felt like somebody had just hit me in the back with a hammer.  Naturally I figured I had forgotten to clean the kitty litter and Jen was exacting her revenge. But when I turned to ask her "What the fuck?", I found that I was sitting on the floor. It appeared that I had done some sort of tornado flip out of the bed with my shoulder blade first making contact with the bedside table before landing on my ass on the floor.

Yup.

This is a first for my adult life. I'm sure I did some headers off the bed as a kid but I can't remember a single incident. Even more disturbing is that I can't remember being in any action packed dream that required me to be performing some wild barrel roll into the alarm clock beside the bed.

So this was all the result of some random, spastic seizure. Yay. Either that or jen's sleep-judo has become very advanced. All I know is that my shoulder hurts. And I need a new bedside table.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Finished

Well, the Great Dental Experience of 2012 is now over.  Had my final visit of the year yesterday for a new filling and a replacement filling.  It sucked.  Probably the worst part is the fucking dental dam.  The clamping mechanism appears to be borrowed from a bear trap.  Wouldn't be so bad if it actually clamped on my tooth and not on my god damned gum line.  But my dentist isn't exactly delicate with his placement.  It burns me up that I am paying this guy money and I feel worse coming out than when I went in.  But at least it's over for the year.

Next year?  Wisdom tooth extractions!  Can't wait.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Happy Monday

One of the guys in the office just spilled coffee all over his crotch.  Nothing improves your mood on a Monday than having somebody else's day ruined.  Good times.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Torture

I'm sure everybody has had enough detail about my ongoing dental issues but this is what is keeping me up at night so that's what I'm writing about. Yesterday was the first of three dentist visits over the next two weeks. This visit was for two fillings on the left side of my mouth.

Things started out okay. I once again cheered the advancement of topical anesthetic before jabbing me with the real needle. But then things quickly got medieval. The dental dam is not something I really remember from way back when I did go to the dentist somewhat regularly. But I wasn't shocked when they pulled it out. What was surprising was that this thing got clamped to my teeth right at the gum line with what seemed like a rusty set screw. Not enough freezing in that area cause that motherfucker hurt.

And then the drilling. The fine, high rpm drill that I remembered came first. And that wasn't so bad. I was actually thinking that maybe the fillings were going to be the real cake walk of all the procedures I'm facing. And then he changed up drills. This one was a low rpm grinder and it shook my entire skull. I assume its purpose is to roughen the surface of the tooth so the filling gets a better grip. The side effect of that implement is the nearly uncontrollable desire to tear that fucking dental dam of your face, push the dental assistant to the floor, and run that fucking drill through the dentist's scrotum.

I was seriously considering calling it quits right there. Massive holes in my teeth be damned. I stuck it out and eventually we got to the filling. For some reason I thought they would just goop some gunk in the hole and that would be that. My balls completely retracted when I heard the dentist say "Pass me the wedge". A WEDGE?!? What the fuck is going on in there? Sure enough he's jamming something in my mouth that's putting immense pressure on my teeth. I think he might have slipped a spreader bar and a couple vise grips in there as well.

The first tooth got filled without much incident. But the second tooth was quite the procedure. More wedges! And a lot of huffing and puffing and straining as the dentist was trying very hard to rearrange something in my mouth and mouth was just not cooperating. At one point they even had some floss out and it seemed like he was trying very hard to floss my teeth. I began to wonder about my dentist's credentials.

And then came two phrases that you never want to hear from your dentist:
1. I have never seen this before.
2. Well, now what do we do?

 Sweet Jesus Christmas. My leg started shaking and I officially started freaking out. Here I am with a mouth full of implements and contraptions and a dentist who doesn't know how to finish the job. Fuck. But they kept working away and eventually got the filling done. It was with no little amount of relief that they finally unclamped and removed the dental dam. And then my dentist is all smiles and "Alright, we're done here!".

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What was all that grunting and groaning and prayers for guidance on that second tooth?

Apparently he was trying to install some form for the filling and couldn't get it between two of the molars. He was sure that the teeth had somehow fused together but it turned out that the dental dam had somehow plugged up the works.

 Fantastic. Can't wait for the next two visits!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Lockout

It seems like we just got back from the last Lockout in the NHL.  Sad.  Glad football is back.  Pretty good message in the video.  Hockey will be back.  And we'll all go back to watching it again.  But we don't have to buy their merchandise.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Gangnam Style

As usual, I'm a little late to this internet sensation.  I'd seen mention of "Gangnam Style" around the internet but didn't really care much to find out more about it.  So I was fooling around with the new youtube app on the PS3 and I thought I'd finally figure out what all the fuss was about.  And wow.  It's something else.  I couldn't stop laughing.  If you haven't seen it yet, here ya go!


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Statham

Our household is obligated to watch every new Jason Statham movie that comes out.  That is because one member of the household has Jason Statham on a certain list.  I hadn't heard of the movie Safe before this weekend but a quick imbd search showed that our expectations should be lowered to Battleship levels.

It started out looking like we were going to be in for a tough 90 minutes.  Bad editing, crappy sound, and the mood seemed a little forced.  But then the action started.  And that sets this movie apart.  The action is phenomenal and the camera work is truly unique.  I had a blast with this movie.

The action scenes were so exceptional I went back to IMDB to make a note of the director so that we could keep an eye out for future projects.  Boaz Yakin.  The only other thing he's directed that I'm aware of is Remember the Titans.  A very different kind of movie.  He's written some other screenplays though: Prince of Persia, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, The Rookie, The Punisher.  Yah, nothing there that I'd expect greatness from.  But he seems to have put it together for this movie.  Recommended.

Certainty

Few things in life are certain.  But, until yesterday, I had one thing in my life that was an unassailable notion.  A rock solid theory I could turn to when I started to question other aspects of my life.  Before yesterday, I could say, without hesitation, that Ghost Rider is the worst movie I've ever seen in my life.

And then I watched Battleship.

I'm still pretty sure that Ghost Rider is the worse movie but I'm not 100% certain.  In order to regain that certainty I'd have to watch Ghost Rider a second time and I'm just not willing to subject myself to that.  I'll just have to learn to live with the uncertainty.

Battleship was a well publicized flop.  How could a movie ostensibly based on a Hasbro board game be anything but?  So why would I even bother watching it?  It's because I read one review, one review that said yes, it's a silly movie but it could be fun if you lower expectations to a dumb, action packed, summer type movie.

I will never trust this reviewer again.  There are obvious Michael Bay aspects to this train wreck but it somehow manages to be even stupider than any of the Transformers movies.  At its most dramatic moments I was either laughing out loud or shaking my fist and yelling at the screen.  The biggest offence to cinema was the casting of Rihanna as the tough as nails, weapons petty officer.  I buy her in that role as much as I buy Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist.  I guess Michelle Rodriguez was unavailable.

You can't help but feel bad for Taylor Kitsch.  In the same year, he starred in Battleship and John Carter.  I'm sure he was paid well but, man, that's gotta look bad on your resume.  I'm almost tempted to watch John Carter just to compare train wrecks.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Almost Ready For Some Football

Whoooo!  Football season has started!  And I watched maybe 15 minutes of the first game last night.  I would have watched more but I'm REALLY close to achieving 8th level prestige on Call of Duty.  So the geek in me won over the sports fan.  But I'm really looking forward to Sunday afternoon.  I expect to do some fishing in the morning and then some serious football watching in the afternoon.  That's what the fall season is all about!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Nuts

I've spent the last three weeks rewiring an old prototype vehicle and installing a new rad package.  There were many ups and many downs.  Blood was spilled and tears were shed but I eventually persevered.  There's definitely a sense of pride to putting something like that together and actually have it work.  But I'm even more proud of the fact that I didn't drop one single nut into the chassis of this vehicle.  It's a tight engine compartment and pretty much everything I was working with was an M6 fastener.  I was using extensions and swivel sockets and box end ratchets and most of it by feel.  And I didn't lose a single nut.  Even after I thought to myself "Wow I haven't dropped a single nut yet!" did I get a case of the fumbles.  Yes, when your back is aching, your feet are tired, you've skinned most of your knuckles, and your forearms look like hamburger meat, it's the small things that bring you joy.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Placid

My aunt and uncle retired to Lake Placid, NY many years ago.  They built a beautiful custom home just up from Mirror Lake and they knew it was going to be a popular place for family to visit so they also included an apartment over their garage.  Jen and I were lucky enough to get invited down for the long weekend.

Now I love my aunt and uncle and I wouldn't dream of turning down such an invitation but man do I get the heebie jeebies when I go across the border into the states.  My paranoia runs rampant and my blood pressure shoots through the roof as I can feel the firearms surrounding me.  But I managed to tuck that all behind be as I got surrounded by more and more trees.

The Lake Placid area is beautiful.  Crowded on the last long weekend of the summer but undeniably beautiful.  We got to see some of the more impressive landmarks over our few days there.  Fantastic.  This was the road heading up Whiteface:

And the view of the road from the top.


Tough to really get the scale across but the view was spectacular.


And you know what else we saw up there?  A douchebag trying to take a picture of it all with his iPad!  Seriously?  You bring your 10" piece of electronics up a mountain to use it as a camera?  That is madness.

Then we check out the High Falls Gorge.  Another natural wonder made accessible to the general public.


Beautiful.  And guess what else we saw there?  Another friggin douchebag taking pictures with his friggin iPad!  Yes lets take our large awkward piece of glass out amongst the rocks and water to take pictures that will pale in picture quality to the cheapest point and shoot camera out there.

Lake Placid is a beautiful spot in the world and Jen and I had a great time but our visit did little to change my opinion of people in general.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Boss

I think it was back in April that we were driving up to Ottawa and heard on the radio that Bruce Springsteen tickets were going on sale for the Toronto stop of his Wrecking Ball tour.  Jen practically squealed in her seat.  I took that to mean she was a fan.  Not having figured out a birthday present yet, I tucked that information away, and when we got to Ottawa I jumped on the internet to buy some tickets!

Sold out.

Crap.  Well there went that idea.  Jen would have to settle for a big box of charm for her birthday.  But maybe, just maybe, the internet would provide some way for me to get my hands on a pair of those tickets.

With great unease, I went to e-bay looking for tickets.  Finding tickets was easy but it was weeks before I finally took the leap and purchased two tickets that weren't stupidly over-priced and weren't up in the nosebleeds.  I bought the tickets and within a week I had them in my hand.  They definitely looked legit but I was still paranoid about getting ripped off.  Jen even took them in to a ticket master outlet to see if they could verify their authenticity.  They couldn't so we had to wait until August 24 and a ride out to Toronto to see if they were honest to god legit tickets.

Now I'm not a big Springsteen fan.  I know some songs and I'll tap a foot along but that's where it ends.  My original thought was that Jen would take one of her friends to the concert.  Afterall, the concept of me going into the heart of Toronto and voluntarily surrounding myself with thousands of people was inconceivable.  But Jen insisted I was the friend she wanted to go with.  Awwww.  Couldn't say no.

So, last Friday we got out of town by 3:30 and crawled along rush hour traffic to end up in downtown Toronto two hours later.  On the way we heard that parking was going to be at a premium because of the busker festival and CNE that were going on.  Great.  The Force was in full effect as I turned around block after block of cramped Toronto streets until finally ducking into the underground parking of the RBC center.  Have to make a note of that here, ALWAYS park here when going to Toronto.  $10 flat rate and easy access in and out of the city.  Take the York St. exit.

I hadn't realized until that day that the concert was actually at the Sky Dome and not the ACC.  We walked on over and it was with great relief that our tickets were scanned successfully at the entrance.  Phew!  Took us quite a bit of wandering around the Sky Dome before we found our way down to the field.  The seats were pretty decent.  We could see the stage but the big screens were going to provide most of the detail.  I couldn't imagine going to a concert there and sitting in the stands.

The show started shortly after 8:00 pm.  And it was all Springsteen.  For 3 1/2 hours he gave it his all.  It was an impressive display of musical energy.  I was skeptical of Springsteen after his geriatric display at the 2009 super bowl.  But the old man is still kicking with all he has.  The only reason the show ended at 3 1/2 hours was because of Toronto noise bylaws.  I'm sure he would have kept going for another hour if he could have.

The Sky Dome itself is an intersting venue for a concert.  With the roof open, the sound was still good and there's definitely an energy being surrounded by 40,000 die hard fans.  And oh there were fans.  Two 20 somethings beside me were going balls out, hooting at the first chords of every song, and fist pumping, and singing ALL the words, and doing some curious dance moves reminiscent of one Cliff Huxtable with fists at nipple level and grooving upper torsos.  Weird.  And there's something unsettling about being at a rock concert where the majority of the attendees are my parents' age and they are rocking harder than I ever have.

I wasn't a fan going in and I'm still not.  It was an impressive show but the music itself doesn't do much for me.  I felt bad that I was such a stiff while Jen was so obviously enjoying the show.  But she said she had fun in spite of me.  I'm going to call that a successful birthday present.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Hunger Games

Forgot to mention we watched this movie too.  Yah.  Those books must be really good because this movie isn't.  It looks good and there are some interesting concepts but a lot of the plot just doesn't make any sense.  You're in a fight to the death with 20 other people, why would anybody form an allegiance with anybody else?  Somebody will ultimately have to stab somebody else in the back.  No big shocker there.  Maybe I'll have a look at the books because the movie is severely lacking.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Movie Recaps

It was an emotional start to the weekend.  Seemed like a good idea to spend the rest of it unplugged and watching some movies.

Jen kicked it off solo.  It was a free-for-all of rom-com's while I toiled away on some nerdy tasks.  I wandered downstairs on a break and watched 30 seconds of Crazy, Stupid, Love.  Yah, that was enough.  That movie was a recommendation from my sister who, inexplicably, thought that it would be something I would enjoy watching.  Her movie recommendations will be met with pure skepticism going forward.

When I finally got to pick a movie, I chose The Cabin In The Woods.  Highly recommended.  A very different take on the horror movie genre.  Joss Whedon co-wrote it so I was on board from the start but even Jen liked it.  Fantastic character designs and quite a bit of humour.

Sunday we watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  When I heard about this movie and its cast, I was super stoked.  But then I started hearing reviews and all I heard was one word: BORRRRRRRRRRING.  True, this is not an action-packed movie but it IS a well done movie focusing on an internal British intelligence investigation.  Instead of hand-to-hand combat and state-of-the-art gadgets, this focuses on following up leads and checking facts and verifying peoples' stories.  Yah, not for everybody but I liked it.

And then it was time.  Time for the Batman!  The Aurora shooting had put a damper on my enthusiasm to see this movie.  But I've been very stringent on avoiding spoilers and I had to watch it in a real movie theater.  So we went.  And it was good.  A good completion to the trilogy.  Not great though.  There are plot holes and awkward transitions in time and place.  But it is a good story overall.  The absence of Heath Ledger is obvious and I was a little disappointed in Bain as a villain.  After Inception and Warrior, I was really hoping for more from Tom Hardy.  He's a great pick for the role but there's very little he can bring from behind that muffly mask.  I'll still buy the Blu-Ray when it comes out and there will be a weekend in the distant future when Jen's away somewhere that I will sit and watch the entire trilogy.  Maybe my perception will change by then but, for now, Avengers is still the best movie of the summer of 2012.

Circus

Jen's always thinking about fun things to do with our nieces and nephews.  A while back she had heard about the Shrine Circus coming to town and thought it would be fun to go see it in Ottawa with wee-est of the wee ones.

The only circus I've ever been to was the Shrine Circus in Winnipeg.  That was about 30 years ago.  I have vague memories of it.  What I do remember is that it was a big production.  The circus was held in the Winnipeg arena and there was a big fair outside with all the rides and games.  And that was my lasting impression of a modern circus.

Times have changed.

First, I was surprised to learn that the circus wasn't at the Scotiabank Place.  It was at some convention centre closer to downtown Ottawa.  As we drove up to the location we saw the tents set up in the parking lot.  And then we saw the protestors.

That's another thing that was different from my childhood circus memories.  I don't think we had protestors back then.  But there they were, a bunch of college liberals and one dude trying desperately to get into some college liberal pants.  Waving posters with pictures of tortured elephants at my niece and nephew.  Yah, thanks for that.  Let's traumatize the wee children.  Fucking hippies.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't condone the mistreatment of animals.  I would personally remove the skin of anybody I saw abusing an elephant.  But I really don't think they're doing that here and all you are doing is frightening some little kids who were looking forward to this event.

The circus itself, well, the circus is definitely for kids.  And the kids did enjoy it.  My niece got to ride on an elephant.  That's pretty friggin' cool.  And they were entertained by the clowns.  I was not.  I'm not one of those people that has a clown phobia.  I just find them annoying.  There were some cool acrobats and I found the jumping dobermans interesting.  Until they lit the hurdles on fire.  Those fucking hippies are outside wetting themselves over the elephants and there are dogs in here being forced to jump over flames.  I didn't like that.

But, like I said, the kids seemed entertained.  Hopefully there are some good memories there that they can look back on fondly.  Me, I don't think I'll be back to the circus any time soon.

Friday, 17 August 2012

A Good Man

My cousin battled and overcame cancer when she was a kid.  We are the same age and lived within half an hour of each other at the time.  She must have been around 10 or 12 years old when she was diagnosed.  Our families were pretty close and I remember seeing them often.  I was too young and stupid to know what was really going on.  I just knew that at one point my cousin all of a sudden didn't have any hair and wore a kerchief over her head for quite a while.  Her hair came back and everything was back to normal.  That was my impression of cancer for a long time.  You got cancer, you lost your hair for a bit, and then everything was good again.

The reality of cancer eventually dawned on me but that never really coloured my memories of what my cousin and her family must have gone through at that time.  Until today.  Today I learned that my wee cousin had a brain tumour 25 years ago.  For some reason, knowing the exact type of cancer shook me awake to the fact that her ordeal was not the walk in the park that 10 year old TBone thought it was.

I know this now because we spent the afternoon at her husband's funeral.  He passed away last Saturday.  He too had survived a brain tumour, diagnosed at the age of 10.  But his treatment left him physically weakened with a degenerative condition that progressively took away his balance and mobility.  He didn't live as long as most people but he definitely packed as much life as he could into the time he had.

I've been thinking about him a lot this week.  He truly was a remarkable person.  Life had given him such challenges so early in his life, I am amazed that instead of withdrawing from society (as I would) he went out and demanded interaction.  He ended up founding a charity group to help survivors of childhood cancer get in touch with each other and participate in group activities.  It was through this organization that he met my cousin.  Rebounders.ca.  Reading through that site made me doubly honoured to have known him.

Faith was a big part of his life.  And my cousin's.  It made them fairly unique in my family.  They were never pushy about it but they never tried to hide it either.  It was part of them and probably had a lot to do with keeping them strong and marching over any obstacles that got in their way.  Faith isn't part of my life but I truly hope that it is bringing my cousin and her two boys some comfort during this difficult time.

The service was a tough one to get through.  Each story seemed more gut-wrenching than the last.  I nearly had a breakdown when my cousin got up to speak.  It was humbling to see the vast turnout as the church was absolutely packed.  For a guy who was pretty slow moving around, he certainly managed to touch a lot of people's lives.

Typically, I'd be writing a vengeful, crass piece about the pure ass-fuckery of cancer.  But to honour Andrew,  I'll just add my small voice to the many who have already commented on what a good man he was and how special he made us feel for having known him.




p.s.  Fuck cancer!  Give in any way possible to fight the disease or support the survivors!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Riding High

Holy fuck I am riding a lightning bolt of god damned energy right now.  One of the guys found out that McDonald's coffee has been free all week.  And we just found out today.  So we've been packing a week's worth of coffee into this one day.  My hands are a freaking blur and I'm not sure if it's because the hands are shaking or my eyeballs.  I haven't even had my can of Monster yet!  I'm a little concerned of what would happen if I drank a Monster after all this caffeine.  Either I'd tear a hole through the office wall, Kool-Aid style, or the atoms in my body would lose all cohesion and I'd end up a big puddle.  I think I'll wait a bit longer.  WHOOOOOO!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

2 Midgets Shitting In A Bucket

Besides BBQ, last weekend provided us an opportunity to meet up with a large portion of the old Deere crew.  One of the crew had been talking up this game called "Cards Against Humanity" for a few months.  Take a look at the link, you'll see what was in store for us that evening.  So, after even MORE BBQ and a few beers, we opened up the box on this thing.

And sweet baby Jesus I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  The rules are pretty simple, each player draws 10 "phrase" cards and one person draws a "question" card.  The question card has a question on it or a sentence with one or two blanks in it.  The question is read aloud and each player submits a card that answers the question or fills in the blank and then the person who read the question reads all the submitted answers and picks his/her favourite.  Whoever gets picked with the best answer wins the point then everbody replenishes their phrase cards and a new person picks a new question card.

We'd gone through a couple rounds and it was my turn to read the question card again.  A mild enough fill-in-the-blanks type question about who the next dynamic duo from Marvel comics was going to be.  Everyone handed in their submissions and the very first pair I read was "Jibber-Jabber" and "2 midgets shitting in a bucket".  And I lost it.  I couldn't even read the card out loud.  I had to pass them off to the person beside me to read.  My brain had broken.  It felt very close to a stroke.

We played this thing for 3 hours straight.  Nothing quite matched the 2 midgets card but a ton of funny stuff popped up throughout the night.  Highly recommended for anybody with a slightly warped group of friends.  Or not so warped.  Some of the fun is explaining phrase cards like "Bukake" and "Queefing" to people who may not have logged as many hours on the internet as others.  Good times.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Bull BBQ Take 2

Our second visit to The Bull BBQ Pit was this weekend.  And I'm still in love with this place.  This was my order:

A perfectly seasoned patty of ground brisket between two grilled cheese sandwiches.  Yup.  Drink that in for a few seconds.  Yah.  Good stuff.

And the coleslaw was excellent as well.  I'm not a big slaw fan but even this won me over.

There weren't a lot of other people there and I'm starting to get concerned.  I really hope this place pulls through because I just don't live close enough to keep it going on my own.  Fantastic food.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

9021-oh my god!

So....

Jason Priestley is now starring in Old Navy commercials.

Yup.

Looks like that 90210 cash is finally starting to peter out.  Can't remember the last time I'd heard his name.  And then last night I've got his haggard face leering at me from the television as children of all races and cultures bounce around him in bright and cheerful clothing.

Disturbing to say the least.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Judo

Watched a fair bit of the Olympics on the weekend.  Yah, I'm surprised too.  I don't care for the Olympics.  It's big, bloated, compromised, and corrupt to the core.  But there's not much else on during the summer.  And just try to change the channel once you've stumbled on women's beach volleyball.

Besides volleyball, one sport that really got my attention was Judo.  I'd never really watched a match before this weekend.  Before this weekend, I was under the impression that Judo was actually a martial art where the combatants actually, you know, combatted.  I think I watched 6 matches and all I saw was a bunch of grabbing.  It appears to be a sport of competitive grabbing. 

I'm sure that a good Judo guy would be able to take a novice and chuck him all around the floor.  But when the best in the world go at it, all you see is five minutes of clutching and grabbing of pajama tops.  Every now and then a throw is attempted and either it's successfully countered or the opponent lands in such a way that no points are awarded.

And the points system is ridiculous.  From what I observed, I think you can either get 1 point, 10 points, or 100 points for a particular maneuver or penalty.  That's quite a spread.  And so much of it is up to the judges.  And they have little conferences throughout the match and points get overturned all the time.  It's pretty frustrating to watch.  And if they're tied after 5 minutes, they have 3 minutes of "sudden death" overtime, and if that doesn't get somebody a point, the three judges just vote on who they thought clutched and grabbed pajama tops the best.

It is a far cry from the UFC mixed martial arts and I can see why none of those guys are keen to list Judo as their specialty.  Ah well, back to the beach volleyball I guess.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Pirshki-palooza!

It's always good to have a back-up plan.  My back-up plan for when this engineering career goes completely to shit is to to do computer and networking consulting.  It's also good to have a back-up plan for the back-up plan.  If all else fails, I will buy a food truck and sell Pirshki on the streets of Toronto.

Pirshki, for newcomers to the blog, is one part of the holy trinity of TBone Family Christmas Meals.  Pirshki, Meat Sticks, and Roll-ups.  I'm drooling just thinking about them.  I considered a food truck concept that would serve all three of these epic dishes but I'm pretty sure that much concentrated awesome would result in my being trampled by an impatient mob of newly enlightened food fanatics.

Each of the three dishes would pose their individual challenges for preparing and serving in a food truck environment.  Pirshki won the focus for being the most "streetable", easiest to eat on the run, for having the most crack like properties of addiction, and, hopefully, the easiest prep and serve properties of the three.

But could I be successful with just Pirshki?  The stuff is heroin in fried dough, true enough, but it's still just one thing.  I started thinking of different recipes that I could use to back up the champ.  I had half a dozen alternatives that I thought might work but I needed some third party testing to validate these concoctions.  We didn't have much going on this weekend so I decided to spend it cooking Pirshki and Pirshki Alternatives for evaluation by Jen, my brother, and sister-in-law.

Saturday was filling day.  Most of the recipes had a ground beef base, like the original.  But there was also shredded chicken, pulled pork, and chopped lamb to prepare.  It was a carnivore's dream!  Oh, and a pot of quinoa for the hipsters.  I felt I had to at least offer a veggie Pirshki option even though it burns my soul to leave meat out of a dish.

Sunday morning I got to work on the dough.  I had always dreamed of a quicker, faster way of doing Pirshki dough.  I've finally accepted that the only way is the way my mom does it.  No compromises.  There's a lot of prep, and rising, and punching, and kneading, and more rising with this recipe.  But the end results are worth it.  The bread maker's going to be collecting a fair bit of dust after this experiment.

When the dough was finally ready, I packed 8 different recipes into about 70 Pirshki balls.  After years of neglect, I dug my deep fryer out of the basement.  Pirshki are traditionally pan fried but for a food truck, it would have to be deep fried or nothing.

And then the tasting.  The clear winner was still the original recipe.  There's just something about that combination of ingredients that is magical.  There were some strong contenders though.  The Buffalo Chicken and Mexican variations were popular with everybody and the Blue Cheese Burger was very tasty for those who liked blue cheese.  The Pulled Pork BBQ was almost there but needs some work on the sauce.  I was alone in liking the Rosemary Lamb and, surprisingly, the Kooky Quinoa.  Very polarizing dishes.  Jen had some suggestions that would likely really help the veggie option but I think I'll just keep those in my back pocket for now.  The Cheeseburger was kind of bland but, again, some good suggestions that I'd likely implement to make a Bacon Cheeseburger down the road.

So, at the end of it all, a lot of work but some really good feedback.  I got a bit of a taste of what it would be like to assemble and cook Pirshki on the fly.  Could I actually make a go of a food truck?  I think so.  The product is amazing and people would go nuts over it in downtown Toronto.  Am I actually going to do this then?  Not likely.  But it's always nice to have a back-up plan.

Friday, 27 July 2012

IT Memories


This is exactly how I recall feeling when I worked in IT.  Oh, the booze I drank back then.  I had my own keg fridge!

Original link from imgur.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Careers

Yesterday I learned that "Colon Hydrotherapist" is an actual job.  And I chose engineering.  Dang it!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Paying the Piper

Hey, remember when I had that wisdom tooth pulled out last month?  Yah, good times.  Well yesterday was the inevitable follow up.  The pressing issue of a decaying half tooth had been resolved and now it was time to evaluate what state 15 years of dental neglect had left the rest of my mouth.

So there I am, back in the chair.  And it starts out casual enough.  Just some x-rays.  Fantastic.  Maybe that's all they need to do for the evaluation?  Just some x-rays and a frank talk about how 15 years is too long between dentist visits.

The hygienist comes back and puts the developed x-rays on a back-lit board beside my chair.  I analyze them while waiting for the dentist to put in his appearance.  Hey, they don't look too shabby!  I have a lot more fillings than I remembered having but everything else looks like a pretty consistent shade of grey.  No obvious dark spots to my admittedly untrained eye.  I'm still clinging to the hope that the people touching my mouth phase is over for this visit.

The dentist finally shows up and steps on the neck of that notion and puts a bullet in its head when he whips out the sharp pokey sticks.  After some chit chat about the healing around the wisdom tooth extraction, he proceeds to stabbing me repeatedly along my entire gum line with that cursed fucking dentist pick.  Guess what!?!  My gums started bleeding!  He explained this to me.  That my gums were bleeding.  Obviously a result of my negligence and NO correlation to the fact that he had just jabbed a sharp pointy implement into that soft tissue a hundred times.  No, no.  GOOD gums, HEALTHY gums are impervious to such assaults.

Eventually he finished turning my gums into hamburger meat.  Please god let this be over.  But no, we now move from jabbing the gums to jabbing the teeth.  I am wigging out just remembering this event.  I hate, HATE, the feeling of metal on my teeth.  So I gripped the fuck out of those armrests and tried my damndest to stay in my happy place.

Eventually, he stopped.  The total damage was three cavities, one bad filling to be replaced, a shit load of cleaning, and the small matter of removing those last three wisdom teeth.

Yes, after 15 years of dentist-free joy, the bill has come due.  I am going to be intimately familiar with that dentist chair over the next couple months.  There's no question, this is going to suck.  So was it worth it?  Was 15 years without some weirdo's hands in my mouth, stabbing my gums with a sharp stick, and giving me shit when they bleed, worth these next 3 months of compressed dental activity?  Yup.  I'll suck it up and deal with this now and going forward but those were a sweet 15 years.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Precious

So, anyways, glad I got that bit of nastiness out of my system.  Back to happier thoughts.  My wedding ring came in the mail yesterday!  I'd post a picture but Jen has hidden it until the wedding day.  I did manage to try it on before it got hidden and it is so incredibly boss.  Tungsten carbide ring with a carbon fibre inlay.  An engineer's ring, to be sure.  And there's some significant heft to this beast.  I do feel a bit pimpin' with it on.

Probably not too classy to mention the price but I was pretty surprised to find how much of a bargain it was on overstock.com.  The shipping process is a bit painful and they ended up just tossing it on our front porch for anybody to run off with but for the price it's still a recommended shopping experience.

Can't wait for ring day!

Edit: Put up the picture from overstock.com.

WWILTPITFTW

Been a lot of love in the air recently, leaving not a lot of time for this segment of TBone Today.  But that changed Friday as I learned of the fucknut in Colorado that decided to shoot up a theater of people watching a midnight presentation of The Dark Knight Rises.

I think I might have shook my head and it could have ended up at the back of my mind, cynically displaced as another warped demonstration of America's love affair with guns.  But reading about the victims changed that.  Learning about the brother who died shielding his sister and her boyfriend, the 3 month old baby, the severely wounded mother asking for her 6 year old daughter who died that night.

I was, and am, furious.

I'm usually wary of media lynch mobs.  Jonbenet Ramsey, the Atlanta bomber, even O.J. Simpson.  They get so sure of themselves when it's impossible to know anything with certainty.  But there's no ambiguity with this asshole.

They caught him with his weapons.  His apartment was rigged with explosives.  This is the guy.  With certainty.  No need for lawyers or courtrooms.  It's just a question of what to do with him.  People are, obviously, looking for the death penalty.  But that is not a quick or just penalty in my humble opinion.

My modest proposal would be to auction off the rights for each bone in his body.  The winning bid for each bone would receive a ball peen hammer, a cold chisel, and 5 minutes with Mr. Douchefuck to break the bone they bid on.  Proceeds would go to the families of the victims.

At the very least, I think the district attorney should decline to prosecute and just release him in downtown Aurora.  Give the community a chance to work out their own feelings about this cluster turd in person.

But first, I'd very much like to punch him in the face.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Lockout

Ever heard of this movie? Yah, not too many people have.  But it has Guy Pearce in it and I'll always give his projects a chance. Like Trainspotting for Ewan McGregor, Memento earned Guy Pearce a lifetime pass for crappy movies. And this movie is crappy.  Horrible.  Avoid at all cost.  The production values are of a "made for TV" level and the script is even more laughable.

This turd pile comes to us courtesy of one Luc Besson.  The craftsman who has delivered one of my favourite flicks (The Professional) and one of my most despised (The Fifth Element). Lockout definitely falls into the Fifth Element pile.  Take that for what its worth.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Beertown

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!  Guys, guys, guys! Sit down!  There's a place in Cambridge called BEERTOWN!  Check this place out here.  So, 30 craft brews on tap?  100 more bottles to choose from?  An intriguing menu featuring a slow cooked meat on poutine?  Yah, I was going to check this place out.

We went there tonight and it, honestly, lived up to all expectations.  I'll always prefer a bar that features their own brews crafted on-site (Huether Hotel, Clocktower Brew Pub), but having a bar that has even half of these beers on tap is a glorious runner-up.  Most of these beers would be familiar to anyone who has crawled around the LCBO beer section looking for something different but having them on tap is a huge luxury and there were still a few surprises in there.

Tasting paddles are available with 4 beer samples.  I went with the seasonal selection to start.  There was one that was almost a lemonade.  Very different but very good.  My second paddle came with a Hawaiian Pale Ale that claimed to have been made with pineapple.  I couldn't really pick up on that pineapple taste but it was a damn fine beer.

So the beer selection is a winner.  No question.  But the food?  Delicious.  The garlic bread alone is worth the trip.  So good.  For my main I went with a beef brisket poutine with sauteed onions and mushrooms.  This was probably the best poutine I've ever had in my life.  And, yes, it was made with real cheese curds for those poutine snobs out there.

Entertainment-wise, no shortage of TV's for all the latest sports activities.  This place will be very popular come hockey and football.

Yah, I'd recommend this place to just about anybody.  The prices aren't any great bargain but you are definitely getting what you paid for.