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.