Friday, May 29, 2009

Sick = Bullshit

It started off right after lunch yesterday. I figured it was a reaction to the jerk chicken sauce causing me to cough and feel a touch asthmatic, even though the sauce wasn't that spicy.

The cough stayed with me. I did some shopping, and on my way home got hit with a headached and dizzy spells. Great. As I got home, it increased to a fever. Fantastic. As much as I just wanted to curl up in bed, I had things that needed to be done. So I did them. I eventually called it an early night, turned off the A/C, and proceeded to sweat through the night - on purpose. At some point, I started dreaming.

I knew how to cure myself. I merely needed to craft the ultimate cast iron griddle. As I wandered around a dirt parking lot, near a grassy knoll, I gathered the required materials. I spent hours crafting the griddle, in the heat. At 4:45am, I woke up, the griddle was complete. Strangely, it was this time the fever broke too. Not quite enough though, as I spent the next 3 hours drifting in and out of consciousness, protecting the griddle from those who wished to use it for themselves. Nay! I needed it for my own restoration of health!

Around quarter-to-eight, I realized the entire thing was ridiculous and that I hated fever dreams.

Head's still throbbing and cloudy. Cough is still present. Fever's gone. Everything aches. Yet here I sit at work. I'm such a fucking trooper.

Dinner and drinks tonight for my best friend's birthday. A full day planned tomorrow for the same friend's birthday. Poker and more poker Sunday. This fucking virus has been put on notice - get the fuck out. That, or I'll kill it with whiskey.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One Last Chance

As stated, barring an early ousting (now for both me and a friend I'm dragging along) in the home game this Sunday, I'll miss the Brit Game (4pm ET Sunday, pw: donkament, it's $5.50, so you can't go wrong.) This is a shame since one of the few times I played it was the closest I've come to a seat. Maybe I'll bring the laptop and multitable.... hmm, that should strike even more fear in their hearts.

So that leaves The Big Game (Sunday, 9:30pm, buy-in: $75 or a level 2 token - get yours now!) as my last shot at a TOC seat. I'm particularly aggravated because my demises in the last few BBT games have come at the hands of the river after I made the right move at the right time. Grrr...

I think the number of repeat winners in this round of the BBT is unprecedented. Jordan's got 4, TuscaloosaJohn and Heffmike have 3 each, 1QueensUp1, Smokkee, Joanne, and ShipFaced12 have 2 each. That's 11 seats that are essentially vacant in the TOC, out of what? 55? That's 1/5th of the field culled. That's a 1 in 22 chance of winning a main event package to the WSOP! How the hell do you beat that? Hell, BuddyDank has a seat, that's another vacancy right there!

And I want in. So do you.

And here's hoping I'm in a better mood come Sunday. I hate ambiguity, and I'm currently sitting in befuddlement through no fault but my own. I have to learn to bet for information. That's a metaphor, son.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why I'd Never Be a Good CEO

You apparently need to spout bullshit that sounds like something you actually believe. That or you have to smacked around with the cluestick for a few weeks.

That's Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures up there. He got some Internet fame a week or so ago when he said the Internet hadn't produced anything valuable. Now, he's defending that position while expanding on his idiocy. What's the ol' saying? Better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

the major content businesses of the world and the most talented creators of that content -- music, newspapers, movies and books -- have all been seriously harmed by the Internet.

Seriously? The most talented creators of music, movies, and book are all under your giant umbrella and have been harmed by the big, bad Intertubes? I'm pretty sure there are TONS of talented musicians, filmmakers, and writers, who wouldn't have even been sniffed by your hounds, wo are doing quite well for themselves. In fact, I'd offer that most of the big name musicians, filmmakers, and writers that the big companies support and distribute are absolute crap. There are a few that are big enough that they call the shots now. There are also those that broke away from your methods and labels to self-promote and do quite well.

I'll give you newspapers. Nobody is as a good at investigative reporting and in-depth local pieces as newspapers, and that could be the big loss when they go down. The problem is, they still have a whole bunch of other sections in them that are better served online.

Some of that damage has been caused by changing business models (the FTC just announced an inquiry into the impact of new media on the newspaper industry). But the primary culprit is piracy

Nope, it's dinosaurs who can't move forward with the times. It's almost all business models. Wolverine still made a mint even though it's apparently shit on film and was available online for a month before release. In fact, most blockbusters make tons of cash and are also the most popular torrents out there. Same with TV shows, albums, and games.

I ran an Internet company and my studio actively uses the web to market and sell our movies and television shows. We create original content for new media.

This has nothing to do with your argument. Marketing and creating "content" for "new media" is a different beast than the Internet as a creative outlet and the effects of piracy on an outdated business model.

I've already seen it happen in South Korea, which has one of the most highly developed broadband networks in the world. But piracy has also become so highly developed there that we and virtually every other studio has recently had to curtail or close down our home entertainment businesses. It's hard to sell a legal DVD when it can be stolen without any repercussions.

Aaaaand there's the meat. So you can't sell a DVD. DVDs are already a dying media. Hell, physical media is a dying media. I bet there ARE ways you can monetize your product in South Korea, even with rampant piracy. You just lack the creativity or balls to find it.

He goes on to compare the Internet to the highways of America. I couldn't be more tired of this useless analogy. He also trumpets the interstate highway system as a utopian world of peace and safety. We all know this is bullshit too.

How many people will be as motivated to write a book or a song, or make a movie if they know it is going to be immediately stolen from them and offered to the world with no compensation whatsoever?

Lots. Tons. Hundreds. Thousands. Take a look around. The Internet is a world of if-you-build-it-they-will-come. How many webcomics are out there? How many creative commons photographers and writers? How many musicians put their stuff up for free and make money off their shows or special editions? How many filmmakers are experimenting with special effects and comedy and throwing their stuff up on Youtube?

what has happened online is that if it is 'beyond store hours' and the shop is closed, a lot of people just smash the window and steal what they want.

You're an idiot, sir. The Internet doesn't shut down at 7pm. I'm glad for it, as I've been buying gifts for family and friends at all hours for years now. Yes, BUYING. This includes CDs, movies, and books. There are no "store hours". If you shut the door, then we'll just go next door to the shop that's open. Hell, that's how retail has worked for centuries.

In my own household I know it is my responsibility, along with my wife, to monitor how my family uses the Internet for school work and enjoyment.

And there's your fucking solution! Educate the parents. THEY dictate what their kids can and can't do. Asking for government intervention and "rules of the road" will just create better pirates.


But it's not going to happen the way it should if we do not act now to safeguard the fruit of our world's most imaginative and talented minds.

Oh, the most imaginative and talented minds didn't ask for your safeguards. The talentless hacks under your corporate umbrella didn't even ask for them. No... you, and your moronic dinosaur ilk are asking for safeguards to YOUR profit centres. Instead of changing with the times, you're sinking in the tar. You lack the guts to try something new and so cling to your old ways. Nowhere is it written that just because you used to make money doing something, that you get to keep doing it when the game changes. All your hotels on Boardwalk don't mean a thing if you're playing Cranium.

I just couldn't say this crap with a straight face, or with any self-respect. Can you hire someone who actually understands how the online world works? Try promoting someone in their late 20's or early 30's to a position of power and influence and see what they can do.

Because you're doing nothing but bitching at a brick wall.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I have just enough left in my FT account to cover the Skillz game tonight and the Big Game on Sunday. Man, did I ever stink up the last couple months. I could have taken the roll I'd built up in the beginning of the year and given it to a crack addict so at least someone was having fun.

PPI/Riverchasers last night sucked. At least the menonite-style sausage with carmelized onions, baked sweet potato fries, and tomato and cucumber salad was good.

I'll likely make The Mookie on Wednesday too (because I'll reload), but am kind of hoping I miss it due to other plans. I doubt that will happen though.

And barring a colossal ousting from the regular home game on Sunday (the one I dominated last year, but have missed the first 3 of this year), I'll miss the Brit Game.

So that means 2 or 3 chances left for yours truly to make the TOC. My chances at taking down the Skillz tonight (Stud - Full Tilt, 9:30pm ET, pw: skillz) are minimal, but stranger things have happened. Taking down The Big Game wouldn't be the first time I won my seat in the last event (also a Big Game).

I don't even know if I CAN go to the WSOP (but if I won, I'd try my damndest), but I haven't missed a TOC yet, and I really don't want to start.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wine and Powerwalking

Have an [insert appropriate adjective for a day of remembrance] Memorial Day my Yankee friends. I envy you your long weekend, even though I had one last week.

Really, I think every weekend from mid-May to Labour Day should be a long weekend. Think of the money companies would save!

The rest of this is all about my weekend drinking wine and eating finger foods. Move along if you wish.

Regardless of the normalcy of my weekend's length, I made the most of it. I headed over to Niagara-On-The-Lake for their Herb and Wine festival. No, not that herb. Although I admit it would have been interesting if someone had paired a Gewurztraminer with some brownies or cookies...

The thing about visiting wine country is it's hard to not return with wine. I added 12 bottles to my fridge, and that was due to extraordinary restraint. I could have picked up a discounted case of pre-release Chardonnay, but Hillebrand's staff put me in a less-than-happy mood when, as a wine club member, I asked when their collector's room would be open (they were running a class at the time), and was told "in a few minutes". Half an hour later, the class let out, I asked again, and was told another half hour. Fuck that. If they'd told me an hour when I first asked, I would have left, checked out some other wineries, maybe a restaurant, and returned.

Which wasn't the first time a major winery in the area annoyed me on the trip. Peller (Hillebrand's sister) acted like I was some schlub off the street when I came in on Saturday. Granted, I looked like some schlub off the street, having been walking from winery to winery that afternoon (15km later, I collapsed on the hotel bed), and it was sunny and warm. Regardless, being ignored by the tasting staff until I waved them down, and the look of incredulity about my membership wasn't welcome. They redeemed themselves the next day via their chef's friendly attitude as we tried his black pepper ice cream on a pickled peach and horseradish compote, which paired nicely with their Ice Cuvée.

But the smaller wineries impressed. Marynissen, Cattail Creek, Lailey (although they also annoyed me when I first came in, 10 minutes after they stopped serving the Wine and Herb pairing for Saturday), Joseph's, Palantine Hill, Strewn, and Maleta were standouts.

Of the medium and larger wineries, Stratus blew me away, Southbrook, Konzelmann, and Peller all had impressive offerings.

The biggest disappointments were the rest of the big boys. Jackson-Triggs was as unexciting as possible, Hillebrand was uninspired and uninspiring, Inniskillin wasn't terrible, but did nothing as a pairing (although I did buy a bottle of the Klose Cabernet Sauvignon), and Château des Charmes was fine, but was more of an ad for their aligoté jelly and the Anna Olson's crackers than it was a pairing experience.

A full list of the 21 wineries and their offerings is here, they're only running one more weekend, so if you want to go, this is your last chance.

My personal favourites in terms of pairings were Cattail Creek, Startus, Palantine Hill, Peller, Joseph's, Marynissen, and Lailey. There are a lot of whites (only 4 reds) in the program, but you can of course taste any of their other available wines while you're there, and a lot of them are worth it.

If nothing else, it was another eye-opening Niagara trip. When they started making wines there, they were unbearably sweet, mostly white, and until they started making icewine, seen as unimpressive. Since then, they've improved their process and quality immensely. Complex flavours, dry whites, natural sweetness, and some real effort by some creative vinters is producing some excellent wines. The 2007's are out now, and everyone there agrees that it was probably the best year they've ever had for wines. Good chance to stock up.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight

Well, last night... and not me, but them.

I can't remember who said it, but during MTV's Unplugged era, it was stated that a true measure of the musical talent of a songwriter is if their work can stand without the amps, distortion, and other accoutrements of the modern rock era.

I believe that. Comedy, and especially satire, often shines a light on the ridiculous through hyperbole.

So what happens when you combine the two? In 1984, This is Spinal Tap came out to mock Rock n' Roll in all its forms. People focus on amps going to 11, and spontaneously combusting drummers, but the history of Spinal Tap had folk, prog rock, flower-child psychedelia, and of course, 70's and 80' metal. Over-the-top songs with thinly-veiled double-entendre, goofy lyrics, screeching vocals, and overbearing guitar solos with the goal of making your ears bleed.

And last night, with a few acoustic guitars, a bass, a keyboard, and a bare-bones stage setup, they had their hits covered by 3 guys named McKean, Guest, and Shearer. These guys also did some Folksmen tunes, along with a few other songs from Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind. Hell, they even did that ridiculous Start Me Up cover.

And they didn't leave much out:

The Colors of My Life
Hell Hole
Never Did No Wanderin'
Clam Caravan
Bitch School
Loco Man
This Bulging River
All the Way Home
Blood on the Coal
(Listen to the) Flower People
Corn Wine
The Majesty of Rock
All Backed Up
Start Me Up
Cups and Cakes
A Mighty Wind
Saucy Jack
Big Bottom
The Good Book Song
A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow
Rainy Day Sun
Sex Farm


Gimme Some Money
Old Joe's Place


The Colors of My Life (reprise)
Heavy Duty

Mixed in with those were some fan-made videos of Back From The Dead and Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight, old Tap footage, a little Corky St. Clair video, and a whole lot of joking, back-and-forth amongst the band, and even an audience Q&A. Naturally, some overzealous fans got smacked down as they yelled out unoriginal lines from the movie. The verbatim recitation of the censor notes when an attempt to air This is Spinal Tap on NBC in the 80's was a great moment.

So, how'd it stand up? The majority of the songs worked incredibly well when stripped down. There's no doubting that the three comedians are incredibly talented musicians as well. Shearer's All Backed Up kinda sucked though. Big Bottom went the opposite of the Live Earth concert - there, they had 12 bassists - here, only one bass, as McKean and Guest sang sans instruments in a finger-snapping jazz style.

Was it a fun show? Absolutely. Was it a rockin' balls-to-the-wall Spinal Tap experience? No... it wasn't meant to be. What it did was showcase the music of three comedians who have been singing and playing together for around 40 years. It's funny in it's own way that doing "spoofs" of musical styles gave them the freedom to travel between styles and turn out some actually solid pieces, each with their own wink to the audience. They have a few shows left in the northeast, I suggest seeing them if you can.

Because the next time they're together is a Spinal Tap world tour, for one night only at Wembley. As Nigel Tufnel said - At least they chose Earth as the world.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When Support Goes A Bit Far

Last night was a disaster for the Jays. As expected, the columnists and pundits came out this morning with calls of doom and gloom for this team. "They can't beat the big boys" was the call of course.

An 8-3 loss sounds bad. But in reality, it was one bad inning and a case of stranding men that killed them.

Brett Cecil was kept on by the Jays, as they sent down original starting rotation rookie Ricky Romero to the minors. Cecil has gone deep into games and been stellar so far.

Then the 5th inning came last night. 4 home runs, a bat-around inning for the Sox, and 6 runs scored.

The Jays had 14 hits in the game to Boston's 15, and they kept knocking balls into deep centre field. So it's not like Penny was having a stellar game either.

Take out that 5th inning, and it's a 3-2 win for the Jays. Of course, that's a lame thing to say when you're talking baseball.

No, the problem was Cito Gaston last night. I like Cito, and think he's one of the most underrated managers in the league. But last night, one of his biggest virtues, loyalty to his players, was a major flaw.

Cito doesn't change his lineup much. He doesn't mess with the rotation. He lets guys play through slumps. He leaves pitchers in if he thinks they can get that one more out. This confidence in his players endears him to the them, and they know that when he DOES pull them, that they deserve it.

Last night, Cecil missed his spot and threw it right into Varitek's wheelhouse. There was no mistaking that it was his 2nd home run of the night. Cecil watched it go, and from my couch I knew he was rattled. The next pitch went between 2nd and 3rd and into the outfield, but Cecil was lifeless in his reaction. Nobody was warming up. Cecil faced 4 more batters, gave up 3 more home runs, and a triple. 6 runs scored, before Gaston finally pulled him and put in Camp. Cecil was all over the place after that first home run. He was high, his release point was way off, and he was rattled all to hell. Yet Gaston stuck with him.

Now you have a kid who's going to always remember the day he gave up his first 5 major league home runs. He should have been pulled as soon as possible in that inning.

We'll see how tonight plays out. If the Jays win it, then I imagine the pundits will go back to cautious optimism. If they get swept, then it will be doom and gloom all weekend. Unless they sweep the Braves that is.

When Zen Meets Poker

The Mookie was last night, and I may as well have not signed up.

Let's backtrack a bit.

My condo's annual general meeting was last night. I was on the fence if I wanted to go or not, as there were no major issues being brought up, no items that needed voting on other than a building rep, and I generally don't like the meetings and the endless bitching. The only thing I'd have to contribute would be my usual call for a green bin program or some means of dealing with organic waste other than tossing it out with the rest of the trash. (FYI - Toronto has a city-wide organic waste collection program, but older condos and apartments haven't been forced to abide by it yet for various logisitical reasons).

In the end, I stalled until my mind would be made up for me. Then my brother called from the street below, ensuring that I wouldn't be going as he wanted to stop by and kill some time. We watched Cecil get demolished in the 5th by Boston (4 home runs in one inning? There's a post in there), and he left around 9.

Thing is, I had originally wanted to get a few things done if I didn't go to the meeting. There were some chores that needed doing, and the ingredients for a lemon meringue pie coming up on expiry. After he left, I decided the pie was the important item on the list.

So I got to work on that around 9:15, figuring it wouldn't take too long, as I already had the dough made and the rest was fairly easy. 10:00 and The Mookie rolled around and the crust was pre-baking while the filling and meringue ingredients were just being assembled. I opted to sit out and work on the pie.

I checked in from time to time, saw I'd been fairly card dead, and got back to work. It's no secret that cooking and baking relax me. I may get stressed during the process, but it's a pressure I enjoy as things come together. Once the break rolled around, the pie was in the oven and I was relaxed, albeit surrounded by a messy kitchen.

I decided to split playing and dishwashing, sliding between laptop and sink as my cards showed up. This isn't anything new, as The Mookie, especially in the first hour or two, doesn't really reward complicated play.

The problem was that since I'd been auto-folding for an hour, it apparently created a tight image. I saw KK, AA, and a few A-face and suited paint that I decided were worth a raise, and got nothing but blinds. My stack was far from healthy, and a few necessary laydowns hurt it more. In the end, my AK flopped top pair while the 77 I was against flopped a set. Another A on the river didn't really help any, and IGH.

Oddly, there was only a tweak of caring. I was upset that I'd wasted a BBT4 TOC shot so needlessly, but I was in a good place. The poker had been terrible on my part, and rushed, but the mess around me was clean and the cause of that mess was cooling on my counter.

And tonight I'm going to one of my favourite places for food and beer before watching three of the funniest guys on the planet go acoustic with songs like "Old Joe's Place", "Break Like the Wind", "Stonehenge", "Never did no Wanderin'", "Bitch School" and others from the Folksmen/Spinal Tap catalogues.

This weekend will be spent sipping wine while eating food paired to it, spotlighting fresh herbs in one the more picturesque areas of my province.

Can I really get upset about donating $11? Besides, Smokkee won again, shrinking that TOC field even more. Every time a seatholder wins another spot, I want in even more.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BBT Clarification

Al seems to have caused confusion with yesterday's post. For those that missed his correction - there are TWO weeks of tournaments left, meaning 7 games.

The other issue is the Big Game, I'm pretty sure it's NEXT Sunday, no? The 31st? I don't have access to a Full Tilt client to check, but that's when it was scheduled. Then the TOC the week after that. I'm pretty sure the plan was to end with The Big Game...

In case you're panicking that there's only 3 shots left and have to win that token before Sunday.


Mookie tonight! Full Tilt, 10pm ET (9pm CT, 8pm MT, 7pm PT), pw: vegas1. 7 shots at BBT4 TOC seat left! Chances of me making the Brit game on Sunday are below slim, so only 6 shots for yours truly.

Skillz went horribly last night... largely because I had a huge case of "meh" going on and didn't give a rat's ass. Oh, and because my trip aces with a better kicker got riverboated.

Tonight? Condo general meeting, which is always aggravating and boring at the same time. At least they're not installing 800k worth of A/C on the roof this year. I should probably open and read the package sometime. Mookie after that, and I may, possibly, be riled up.

Jays lose 2-1 to the Red Sox last night. Pitcher's duel, with Wakefield coming out on top... barely. Tallet continues to impress.

Wings go up 2-0 in the series against the Hawks. Chicagoans, ask yourself honestly - can the Hawks win 4/5 against Detroit?

Speaking of Chicago - I've got an invite to head down that way in June or July for a weekend with a bunch of friends. Still debating if I can swing the time. There's also the possibility of a weekend at a cottage closer to home which is slightly more appealing (nothing against Chi-town, I just like relaxing next to a lake with beer, and seldom get the chance)... I'd ideally like to swing both.

Spinal Tap/The Folksmen - Unwigged and Unplugged tomorrow night! Should be a good show... Tap acoustic could be interesting, no idea how you turn an acoustic performance up to 11.

I've been playing around with High Dynamic Range (HDR) a fair bit these days, some might say too much. But then again, I don't go to the completely unrealistic extremes some do out there. For some reason, I particularly like this shot. It's right on that border of hyper-real and looking computer generated. I like the almost bump-mapped look of the pavement too.


Alright, enough ramblin' for now.


I imagine this is largely being preached to the choir at this point, but there's a basic underlying truth that drives the US economy. On average, US citizens are in debt.

The current household leverage (debt:income) stands around 130%. There are lots of pretty graphs and figures and discussion here. It was around 133% in 2007. It reached those ridiculous heights in about 20 years, more than doubling where it was in the mid-80's. THIS was the driving factor behind the boom that went bust. Now, with people under water, trying to find the surface, the government is trying to stimulate spending and growth. The reality is that until people get their debt down to match their spending (ETA on that? Around 2018 if people try), the US economy will remain on a bubble.

In 20 years, the US went from a nation of savers to a nation of debtors. Until that foundation is built up again, the world's largest consumer market can't honestly recover, especially since your economy is based on consumption and spending now instead of production and exports.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let's See What Happens

I wonder if I can pull a rant out of this. I'm feeling a bit tired today, so it may not be in me.

There's a couple decent reads here and here. Both criticize Franky Roosevelt's post-depression actions. The first claims his moves extended The Great Depression by 7 years, and the second points out the economic idiocy of the New Deal and why Democrats are fools for blindly accepting it as the thing that saved the economy.

They're both fairly common-sense and free-market oriented. It boils down to the same thing that is being said by the ignored - artificially inflating the economy achieves nothing but an air pocket. Bailing out banks in order to create unworthy credit flow means that we'll face another credit crunch in the future. Bailing out automakers to save jobs means there will continued to be overpaid, underworked employees making crap with nobody being held accountable. Circumventing established free market and corporate procedures to look like you're doing something results in an artificial economy that WILL collapse under its own bloat. And to do all this, the burden is ultimately placed on the shoulders of the taxpayers and those who did the RIGHT thing and have managed to stay solvent in these times.

As I said earlier, the reason the US thrived after The Great Depression is because they were one of the only fully-equipped countries in the world for manufacturing. They provided the cars, the construction equipment, the raw materials, and the transportation of these things to the war-battered nations of Europe and Asia. The US practically rebuilt Japan. They PRODUCED material objects that could be bought and sold for REAL money. On top of that, they built good will and made allies. The US nuked Japan... TWICE, and then became its biggest trading partner. How the fuck does that happen?

There is no such opportunity in the future. Manufacturing is outsourced and globalized, and in no danger of being physically destroyed. The US has spread only ill will to the world, be it Bush's hamfisted foreign policy or the continued economic crisis that's spanned two administrations. I'm still shocked Putin has declared the entire thing the US's fault and restarted the cold war.

And the unwillingness of the entire world (save New Zealand I think) to let the free market be a free market, and let the failures collapse, just leads to more artificial wealth and forced "green shoots" that are already dying from the lack of a root system.

In the end, the current times will be seen as a strange hump before a return to old lows that will drag on for years. Eventually, the government will give up, because someone will look at the books and realize they were insolvent a long time ago.

Obama's a nice guy... so far, he's a floundering president who increasingly disappoints with his scattershot approach to various issues in the hopes we miss the epic failures that his administration is continuing. Perhaps he needs to hire a few of those dissenting voices he claimed he wanted in his cabinet, instead of morons who spew the same bullshit reasoning and flaccid arguments for their unrealistic policies.

Test #2

Me? A homer? Perish the thought!

Yah, so I'm a homer... your point is what? I love my city, and my introduction to any major sport was through our home teams. I still remember seeing John Cerutti pitch to a young Pat Borders in Exhibition Stadium in the 80's. I came to hockey late (12 years old), watching the Leafs shake off the Brophy years, but still under the iron fist of Ballard mismanagement. Hell, I paid about zero attention to the NBA until the Raptors came into existence, and even now only pay about 3% attention to the league.

So yup, I'm a homer. No shame in that.

So on the thread - The Jays, having pulled off a four game sweep of the White Sox, are now facing Sox of the red variety. This would be their second test of the year, having achieve a D against the Yankees last week (2-1 series loss, but close in the 3rd game). Boston's 3.5 games back of the Jays for 1st in the AL East, so this is one of those early season "big" series. Opening up a 6.5 game lead on the Sox could go a long way to defining the season, but dropping to just 1/2 game ahead will put some pressure on. Of course, it could all mean nothing by the end.

We've got Tallet, Cecil and Ray vs Wakefield, Penny, and Lester on the mound. Interestingly, Wakefield's the only one who has better stats than his opponent, and then, not by much. Not exactly the heart of our rotation, but then again, I don't know where exactly that is outside of Halladay. This will be a solid test for all three of these guys as starters. Here's hoping they pass.

Looking at those Boston ERAs though, there could be a couple hitting displays from the boys in blue.

Then they're in Atlanta? Interleague already? Wow.


Conference finals in the NHL have started. Detroit took those kids from Chicago out to the shed for a whuppin' in game 1, and we'll see if the kids learned their lesson tonight. That game played out pretty much as expected - Chicago showed up early, showed their speed, and the Detroit showed them what speed and talent and experience can do.

Pittsburgh got lucky against Carolina. Fleury was solid, and the Penguins defence should be buying him a nice bottle of something for saving their asses in game 1. Sure, with the talent in Pittsburgh, the Penguins could crush the 'Canes, but it's nowhere near its peak, and Carolina ain't a bunch of slouches themselves.

Tuesday, The New Monday

It was a long weekend up here in Canadia, where we celebrate the roving birthday of a long-dead lady with a crown. It seems she celebrated it every May, on the last Monday before the 25th.

I love long weekends. Who doesn't? Workoholics I guess, but I never acquired a taste for workohol.

A lot of home PC work filled up my weekend, but now my friend's computer is running well again, and mine is feeling fresh and error-free. Nothing like a format and reinstall to fix what ails ya.

BBQ on Sunday was uneventful, but involved copious amounts of food and fireworks.

I also now have one of these, which of course means I'm trying out a bunch of homemade soda syrup recipes. So far, cream soda is a piece of cake, and I'm tempted to pick up a few oils to try a cola. I was rather annoyed when I found out that even the non-diet syrup options from the company had a whack of articifical sweetners. Simple syrup is your friend (2:1 sugar to water, boiled and cooled).

I almost forgot about the Riverchasers game last night, since it was a long weekend and "Monday" didn't register. But I signed up, and got annoyed.

I jumped up early with a river suckout when I misread wwonka's hand terribly (he had two pair, I put him on air, but rivered the set). After that, I maintained with selective aggression, but when I made the right moves - isolating with the best hand, drawing in weaker hands, etc. - I got nailed by the RNG. At one point I was down to 850 chips and 25th place out of 25, but I got 3 successive pairs (33, KK, 77) that held up or scared away opponents to get back in the race. In the end, I got in with AQ vs KJ and the rivered J bubbled me out in 10th.

Story of my week in poker. It's enough to make one thing decision-based poker can kiss one's ass.

Limit Hold'em tonight in the Skillz Game, 9:30pm ET, Full Tilt, password: skillz. I'll be there, and I plan to chase every draw I can. I think there are but 8 games left in BBT4, and there have been plenty of multiple winners to thin the TOC herd. I really want a spot in that.

Oh - and an unoriginal thought re: the economy to finish this off. The phrase "worst economic crisis since The Great Depression" is tossed around less now, as people keep trying to fool everyone into thinking we're pulling out of it (we're not). Please bear in mind this: The Great Depression ended with WWII. The reason it did was because the majority of European and Asian industry had been literally destroyed. Factories bombed, cities levelled. North & South America were relatively untouched, and as such were the ONLY providers of manufactured goods and aid in the world. There's a tiny fraction of that production capability in industrialized nations now, and the US hasn't actually been a producer of things in years. So how do you pull yourself out of this one?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sports Report

So the Jays lost their second series of the year last night. The hated Yankees took 2 out of 3, but it took a come-from-behind last night to do it in 3-2 style.

Jays are still the best team in the AL, and 2nd best to the Dodgers in the Majors. They kick off another series against the White Sox tonight, with yet another potential rookie sensation in Brett Cecil getting the start. I guess a mea culpa is in order here.

I've ragged on JP Ricciardi for years now. He's used the injuries this team has had as an excuse to keep his job for the past couple seasons, and last year seemed to get lucky with a completely untested starting rotation once you got past #2. But this year, with a rotation you couldn't pick out of a lineup, they've thrived again. It seems that every time a starter goes down, there's another quality minor leaguer to take the spot. Then guys like Tallet show that they can start as well. Sure, he might only go 6, but we kept putting Chacin out there every 5 days a few years back, and Tallet has so far been more impressive. Now, a ton of credit goes to Halladay for his leadership by example on the mound, and Arnsberg for coaching the shit out of these guys, but I've got to give props to the scouting staff, and Ricciardi, for finding this much talent and getting it into the system.

Add in a healthy lineup for the first time in years, and it's shown that JP can get the right people with a stick in place too. So perhaps I've judged him too harshly. Or perhaps he's luckier than me.


Round 3 of the NHL playoffs (the best damned playoffs in any sport, bar none) kicks off on Sunday. I've said it before, and now the pundits on the sports shows are agreeing with me - best damned playoffs in decades. THREE of the four round 2 matchups went to game 7s. The 4th went to game 6. These teams have been evenly matched, and nearly every game has been a back-and-forth affair. There have been moments never seen before - Ovechkin and Crosby going hat trick for hat trick in one game comes to mind. There have been hilight real goals and saves every single night. This has been exciting, gritty hockey, where the outcome just can't be predetermined. Chicago and Carolina have surprised on both sides, and there are two Original Six teams facing off in the west. There were almost 3 of the Original Six in roudn 3 save for a Carolina goal in overtime last night.

Carolina vs Pittsburgh - Cam Ward vs Sid Crosby. That will be the story. Carolina's got heart, and a good even spread of talent and depth and veteran leadership. They've got a solid coach in Paul Maurice (I still feel bad that he was booted out of Toronto, he had a shitty team under him that wouldn't listen), and I liked the Canes as a dark horse from the start, and would love to see the coach get his hands on the cup as fuck you to the ownership in this town. But Pittsburgh has Crosby and Malkin and Fleury in net. There's a ton of talent on that team, and I get the feeling they're just getting rolling. This will be another fantastic series. The Staal vs Staal (Eric vs Jordan) subplot will be fun too.

Chicago vs Detroit - Now THIS is a storybook series. Two Original Six teams, meaning a built-in rivalry that goes back decades. Chicago - young, raw, hungry, with a top-notch veteran goaltender. Detroit - Always aging, disciplined, gritty, dominating, and experienced with a team philosophy that is endlessly impressive. Chicago has surprised me every step of the way this season and playoffs, so I can't put it past them to upset Detroit here. They have snipers from all over the place, and if they can break down the Red Wings' discipline, they'll beat them just like the did to Vancouver. The problem is, Detrot ain't the Canucks. This is a team that is simply a machine. I can't see them breaking down and going end-to-end with Chicago. They'll stifle them, pound them, and show them how veterans play. Plus, the Red Wings have the best playoff beards in the league, and you can't put a metric on how much that will help them.

I don't want to make any calls on this round, because a repeat of Detroit-Pittsburgh from last year is just as likely as Carolina-Chicago. Any way you slice it, this is going to be a hell of a round.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oddly Conscious

I knew it was a bad idea going in, but when a craving is in its second week, you eventually break down.

Since my sleeping schedule could charitably be described as erratic, it's not an uncommon occurrence to find me asleep at 6pm on any given weekday. I'll wake up anywhere between 7 and 9 and continue on with my weeknight. This is usually not a problem, as I can easily fall back asleep around 1 or 2am and repeat the cycle the next day.

Except when I decide that brewing up some coffee that brags about its caffeine content on the front and mixing it with crème brûlée ice cream is a good idea. After a full meal, that, along with the last slice of lemon meringue pie (for now) was dessert. A little premium chocolate liqueur was added as well.

And then I played the Mookie and went out in 1st 49th. Well damn, here I am all caffeinated and it's only 11:15. So I mucked around with some pictures again and decided at 1am that it was time for sleep.

Except sleep didn't come. 2:30 rolls around and I'm rolling with it. I maybe dozed a touch until the cats decided that 3:15am was a good time to have an all-out brawl. A tired, angry rebuke from the bedroom quickly had them running in and playing nice. I spent the next 4 hours tossing and turning, drifting in an out of uncomfortable sleep, knowing that morning would bring pain and suffering with it.

7:30, the alarm goes, and I, eyes closed, slam down on the off button. I'm not really tired, but know I didn't sleep worth a damn. I crack open my eyes, and they flutter, creating a zoetrope effect to my world. I slam them shut again, my pupils not ready to deal with reality. I turn, debate trying to rise from the mattress, and decide to remain covered and drowsy. Eventually, I force myself upright and get on with my day.

And here I am, at 12:05, lunch in front of me, and still plenty awake. No additional caffeine has been added, but perhaps the ginseng and ginko are helping. Now to take advantage of this alertness and maybe accomplish something.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The First Part of Focus...

... is to have something to focus on. Without a goal, there isn't much sense to be made of the steps.

And I realized today that this was part of what I was missing in my recent poker play. Sure, I WANT to win, but I was really aiming for that. I was playing to stay alive until I got lucky and doubled up and then went back to survival.

Poker isn't unlike stereograms. If you look at the picture itself, you just see a scrambled mess of dots, and perhaps see some vague pattern. But if you focus beyond the picture, the image pops into view. I've been looking all around, straining to see the final product, without letting all that blur while staying fixated on the goal at hand.

Tonight, I'll sit down at The Mookie with 1st place in my sights from moment one. I expect to be out around moment two.

I Missed That

5-1 Jays win last night. Halladay dominating. Burnett losing control at exactly the right times, and the good guys capitalizing. A-Roid showing what a weak 3rd baseman he is. 43,737 fans yelling, "Yankees/A-Roid/AJ sucks!" repeatedly throughout the night while going apeshit for the Jays. A full-stadium wave going around 4 or 5 times.

12,500 same-day walk-ups for the game. There were seats filled in sections I forgot they had open.

If the Jays keep winning, this could be the game that kicks off the resurgence of their popularity in this town. I haven't heard a crowd this loud in the Dome since the back-to-back years in the 90's (okay, the 20k fan that were in attendance when Fernandez hit a late-game grand slam on his retirement tour came close, but that was only for the slam, not the whole game). Helluva time. And this was a TUESDAY game!


I hope everyone's watching the NHL playoffs. 3 game sevens in round 2. Washington-Pittsburgh tonight, then Detroit-Anaheim and Boston-Carolina tomorrow. This is some serious hockey, and possibly the best overall playoffs I've seen. Gotta pull for Detroit and Boston to win their games. Chicago-Detroit in the Western finals? Boston-Detroit/Chicago in the cup? Those are some sweet matchups.

And I find myself cheering for Pittsburgh in the other game, not entirely sure why.


It's Wednesday - that means Las Mookie tonight - Full Tilt, 10pm ET, pw: vegas1. BBT4 is winding down, and I've been playing terribly. I'll still be throwing my $10+1 at the game tonight, but I suck, so I doubt much will come of it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Job Hunting

No, not for me, but for my best friend. Hell, if I was looking for me, I'd look for her first.

Any of my local readers know anyone looking for a technical writer? It has to be full-time, not contract, and has to be in Toronto. I suppose it could be elsewhere in Canada if it didn't require any visits to the actual office and could be done from home.

My friend is easily the hardest-working and most dedicated person I know, and would be a huge asset to anyone who hired her. So if you know anybody, or think you know somebody who knows anybody who's looking to fill a technical writing position, drop me a line. astin [shift-2] sympatico DOT ca.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cup Stays Abroad

Vancouver forgot something - they can't go end-to-end against Chicago. 7-5 is an embarrassment. Letting the Hawks score 4 times in the 3rd is a bigger one.

Go Red Wings.

Monday Already

Well, there was a weekend in there somewhere.

Friday was all about Star Trek - got there just as the line started to form, which meant dead-centre primo seats for me and 7 friends.

What can I say? Great pilot episode. Better than TNG, DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise did for their pilots. What's that you say? It's not a series? Oh.

Well then, great first in a long series of movies. Everyone's talked about what a great reboot it is, and I have to agree. Abrams unabashedly said "This is a reboot, deal with it." while not insulting the audience. It has left the future wide open, with changes both subtle and grand. It also showed a ton of respect for what has gone before.

Oh, and Karl Urban = the perfect McCoy. He NAILED it.

Pegg wasn't as Peggish as I feared (Pegg is awesome, but I don't want Shaun as Scotty). Quinto was a good Spock. Pine did a good young, altered Kirk. Uhura and Chekov suddenly have abilities and skills (Chekov = boy genius, Uhura = xenoliguistic specialist, think Hoshi, but already knowing the languages), and Sulu? Well... he can still fence. John Cho was sadly the weakest redo of the characters - too bland, and sometimes I only saw Harold.

I just hope they signed them all for multiple movies, because if they start messing with the cast, it could cause problems with the Trekkies.

And I have no doubt a series will spawn from all this.

Saturday - I woke up at 5pm. I recycled. I made a lemon meringue pie. I threw up more phots on Flickr. I accomplished little else.

Sunday - Mother's day. I went to an interesting, if overlong documentary. I returned home. I cleaned like a maniac. Family came over, we ate, I served my lemon meringue pie. It didn't hold as well as I'd hoped (forgot the butter in the curd), but well enough to still be pie and not lemon soup with crust. I played the $5k PLO and got screwed by terrible beats. Similar things happened in an FTOPS #24 satellite. I uploaded Iceland Day 4 (only 1.5 years after the fact) to Flickr. Hey, at least my place is clean again.

Today? Haven't a clue. Make some dinner, play some RC/PPI at 10pm on Full Tilt, probably do more photo stuff.

Because I'm looking forward to tomorrow. The Yankees come to town for the Jays first real game of the season. Halladay vs Burnett just amps up the game. This should be a great matchup. Field level, 1st base side, but sadly 17 rows back. I'll be sure to take some pictures.

Oh, Jays, still in 1st in the AL. 2nd overall in the league.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Only Partially As Planned

What I FEEL like doing this weekend is wandering the city with my new lens and taking pictures of things in glorious wide angle.

What will actually happen is a bit different.

Tonight - STAR TREK! All I hear is how awesome it is. I do hope I'm not Jurassic Park-level disappointed. (For the record: that movie sucked).

Tomorrow - Cleaning all day! Oh the joys of bringing down recycling, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping and vacuuming, dusting, windexing, and all the other fun things that get done when you clean. I'll also be making some more vodka pie crust. Why? Well for...

Sunday - Mother's Day! Mom and family are coming over for dinner. I offered to cook, but was shut down and instead a variety of Ukranian dishes made by somebody's Baba in a Ukranian restaurant will be brought. Less work for me, but once again, my family will only know me for my fajitas and steak. Well, I WILL be making a lemon meringue pie... which means I need to get some lemons. Before all that though, comes the final documentary in my Hot Docs schedule (only 5, which is 4 more than last year I think).

I'll have to make a point to get out of the house on Saturday if the weather's okay. And I think I'll sneak out for an hour or so after work to snap some shots before friends start showing up to boldly go where lots of people are going.


And that was the sound from my bed this morning. I awoke a minute before my alarm went off, with that dreaded feeling that I had overslept. I was relieved when my brain caught up to my eyes and realized that I was, in fact, up way early. Thoughts of a leisurely morning travelled through my head.

Then I moved.

It would seem it was the first time I had moved all night.

The worst leg cramp I've had in months shot through my calf and I grabbed at it, yelling in pain. Son of a bitch, it hurt. Fearing I may have to grab the home amputation kit (butcher cord, mini hacksaw, and whiskey), I tried to stretch it out, massage it, anything to get the pain down. Eventually it subsided, but there was no way I was moving for a while. 45 minutes later I attempted to get out of bed, and hobbled through the morning routine. It wasn't until the hot shower that it relaxed enough to make bipedal ambulation (instead of dragging a bum leg behind a good one) possible.

Here's hoping that's the trough for my day.


Everyone has personal blind spots. No matter how objective we try to be, there are things about ourselves we just can't see. I get particularly annoyed, however, when people attribute their issues to other people (especially ALL other people), when the core reasons for their problems are obvious to everyone else. Even worse is when they then complain about everyone else having a problem with an aspect about themselves, but at the same time can't take the same criticism from others, especially when it's well-deserved and honest. Hypocrisy really grinds my gears, and when it's combined with willful ignorance, I give up and watch them spiral to their doom.

There, I feel better now. Time for some tea.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Got That Wrong

Well, I was right about Halladay keeping the Angels at bay. I was wrong on the score... 13-1 in the top of the ninth for the Jays. Whoops.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mookie Frog Day

So Jamy's idea is that everyone choose the frog as their avatar, creating tables full of frogs, or if you've downloaded the donkavatars like a good blogger, a table full of Moe's, Swedish Chef's, and purple tree frogs (c'mon Mike, you could have gone Kermit, or Robin (Kermit's nephew, not Batman's boytoy), or the frog from One Froggy Night, or a Battletoad or something if you wanted to keep it amphibious).

Be careful though, the power of the frog avatar is not to be taken lightly. There will undoubtedly be tables where everyone has aces at the same time, despite the impossibility of this situation. Well, everyone except Bayne and the other Moes, who will be priced in to call with 95o and flop 678 rainbow.


It's Wednesday. At the moment, I have minimal plans this evening. That means - Mookie! 10pm ET, Full Tilt, Private Tournaments tab, $10+1, password: vegas1 .... BITCHES!

BBT4 is starting to wind down, numbers are up a bit, and I'm starting to get worried about my seat. I've played like ass this time around, without much in the way of cashes to show or points. I find this most annoying.

Had a chat with new New Joisey resident LJ last week, and she nailed it by saying my heart's just not in it. Poker has definitely fallen down the ladder of things I'd rather be doing these days. I like feeling like I've accomplished something at the end of the day, and with my recent run, all it feels like I've accomplished is taking a series of $20's and running them through a shredder. Hell, I'm further ahead in slots lifetime than I am in poker. I still play something almost daily, but I inevitably say "fuck it" halfway through.

That won't be the case tonight.


Jays won yesterday, 10-6 or something, splitting their 2-game series with the Indians. Then they jumped on a plane and flew to LA. I expect a groggy team tonight, even if yesterday was a noon start. But it's Halladay on the mound, so I also expect a close game.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Ovechkin gets a hat trick? Well then, Crosby steps up and gets one in the same game. Shame someone else scored a 4th goal for Washington. Or not. I don't really care as I'm so far out of the money in my playoff pools that it doesn't really matter.

Here's hoping Pittsburgh steps it up and wins a couple. I'd hate to see this series end in a sweep.

On the far more important front, after blowing through a big chunk of change on Sunday (did that day ever suck poker-wise), I grabbed back some of it last night by taking down a $30 super turbo on Tilt. No skill involved in those, just an ability to fold and catch.

But I'll miss the PLO Skillz Game tonight (dammit!). Don't YOU miss it, 9:30 ET on Full Tilt, password : skillz.

Tired, unfocused... that's today. That's every day. Still, got a doc at 10 tonight that I want to see. A Rothschild discovers Thelonius Monk, that's got to be a good story. The puma-raising meth addict ticket is bought as well, but that's later on.

And I only caught the first bit of Star Trek: Generations last night (up to Picard crying about the loss of his family), but I'll be damned if the beginning of the whole thing isn't better than I remembered. The "joke" about everything coming in on Tuesday seems to have a darker tone now than it did originally, and the camaraderie between the original crew (or, Kirk, Scotty and Chekov at least) moves nicely to the friendship with the Next Gen crew on the deck of the sea-faring Enterprise.

The Undiscovered Country was on Sunday - yup, pretty great Trek movie. The Rura Penthe stuff was a bit weak though.

Yah, this definitely gets tagged under "rambling".

Monday, May 04, 2009


The talk in early April was that the Jays were likely a 4th place team, or could even find themselves behind the Orioles for the basement spot in the AL East.

Well, they swept the O's in 3 games after their first series loss of the year. As predicted, the Jays couldn't handle the Royals, and I maintain it's was due to a mentality of "they suck." By losing 3/4 against KC, the Royals are now 1st in the AL Central, where they'd be 4th if they'd lost those 3 games. Tight division of shitty teams.

But the Jays showed what they showed under Cito in the past - resilience. They lost their first series, against a crappy team, and came back to sweep an even crappier team. Cleveland's in town for a couple games, and they're just as bad as Baltimore this season. Then they visit the sub-par Angels, the bottom-feeding Athletics, and finally, the first real test of the season - The Yanksees come to town. I should be at game 1 of that series.

So, 8 games against the worst teams in the American League. I imagine the Jays learned from KC and will perform well over this stretch. My concern is how it affects them when they finally see the pinstripes. It will either continue to be a huge confidence boost in this season, getting them amped up HUGE for the Yankees, or it will make them overconfident and they'll smack into a wall. Sure, New York hasn't been lighting it up this season yet, but they do have a ton of talent and are too good to take for granted.

One other thing - since Gaston and crew took over last summer, the Jays have the best record in the Majors. Maybe this time around, people will appreciate the laid-back, slap-on-the-back style that Cito uses instead of chalking up his team's success solely to his players.

18-9, best in the AL, most wins in the Majors (tied with the Dodgers who are 18-8).

89 more at-bats than 2nd
17 more runs
32 more hits
12 more RBIS
7 points higher average (.292)
1st in doubles (1 more than Boston)
Tied for 2nd in home runs
20th in Strikeouts (batting, not pitching)
Tied for 3rd in OBP
2nd in SLG

So far, this is a powerhouse team at the plate.

On the mound? Less impressive, but 2nd in strikeouts, 1st in the AL.

Let's see how May pans out. Still a lot of questions with this team, and a decent slump could easily see them in 3rd and recalling the halcyon days of April.

The Photo Line

The CONTACT Photography Festival is now going on in Toronto. It runs all May at various locations around the city. And of course they have a Flickr pool. Now, the Flickr pool isn't necessarily the works shown throughout the city, but more aimed at the photos of those who attend, and some Blackberry pics from a few artists.

But I wonder when you stop calling a photograph a photograph. The majority of what's done today is digital, and most digital photos get some post-processing done. Post isn't something new to the world of photography, as colour adjustments, contrast, brightness, and image tweaking and editing was done for decades in the darkroom. The process has just become easier and less physical. So I don't have an issue with someone adjusting the colours to match their memory of the scene, or to create a hyper-real spectrum.

But what about when you start adding more effects? When you alter the photo to look like a mosaic or stained glass? What about a Fresco effect or a digital alteration of the canvas? At what point has the image gone from being a photograph to something more akin to a painting? When you start wondering if a picture is actually a moment frozen in time or the artist's interpretation of that moment, does its base medium change? Does the lack of a physical development process alter our perspective of the medium? Is this, once again, an example of McLuhan's medium being the message?

If so, is it not strangely quaint that it is photography that brings this to light? McLuhan's theories are often applied to television, the Internet, and other "new" media, but here is one of the most familiar forms of visual expression entering the fray due to the modern tools available. Somehow, I think Marshall would approve.

Star Wars Day

Oh, geeks and puns. May the 4th be with you. It's Star Wars day. Not as math geeky as pi day (March 14th), as rare as a palindromic days, and nowhere near as cool as Talk Like a Pirate Day (ARRR! September 19th it be!). Still, as far as days I don't get off work go, I can't think of a better trilogy to celebrate. What? There's six movies? I must have blocked the other pieces of asswipe from my mind.

May the 4th be with you.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Crazy Board

All-in preflop for everyone.

Two sets, two pair, TPTK, 4 players enter, 1 player leaves.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Drawing a Blank

I was going to rant about people with expensive cameras who don't know how to use them, but couldn't get it the way I liked it. It was also hard to avoid becoming the pot to their kettle in some places. Maybe another time.

Hot Docs is in town here, and I'm having a hard time getting excited. There doesn't seem to be a Dear Zachary or Look! Up in the Sky! this year that's grabbing me. Still, there's a couple I'll see tonight, and maybe something else will tickle my fancy. I suppose I could seek out something political or economic in nature, but I somehow feel I'd just get angry at the screen.

The one about the meth addict who raises tigers looks cool.

Space (the Candian SyFy, without the budget) is running all 10 Star Trek movies leading up to the premiere of the new reboot. You know what? I forgot how much I liked the old cast. Sure, The Motion Picture is overdone and completely misses the point and heart of the series, but Wrath of Khan and Search For Spock make up for it in spades. Spock's death is still one of the most poignant moments in Sci Fi, if not movies. Possibly Shatner's finest moment too.

I didn't like The Voyage Home the first couple times I saw it, but this time around, I finally appreciate it. It's the first time the cast got a chance to have fun in the movies, and there are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments in it. Sure, the save the whales message is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the eye, but if you can overlook that, it's a solid film.

The Final Frontier (V) - well... it still sucks. Some of the jokes work, but some fall with a terrible thud. The "deep" moments are just corny. The message moments are heavy-handed. Shatner's acting is terrible. But I realized one saving grace this time through - the relationship between Spock, McCoy, and Kirk isn't just explored, it's the main theme, and it's actually done pretty well. If it wasn't for Shatner's overacting (and overdirection, and overwriting), they might have been able to pull it off.

I'll likely miss The Undiscovered Country (or catch the midnight repeat), but I recall it being decent. I mean, Captain Sulu, you can't go wrong with that. That, and the fact they acknowledge their age is a big plus for it. Oh, and Kurtwood Smith as the President of the Federation.

As for the Next Gen movies? They generally blew. First Contact is awesome, Generations is confusing and a rehash of themes from the original crew movies, Insurrection just blows, and Nemesis is such a big letdown from what it could have been.

But regardless, they've succeeded where countless trailers, posters, and ads have failed - I'm genuinely excited for the new movie next week.

Oh, did I fail to mention I like Star Trek? Fuck you.

Hmmm, it seems that even when I've got nothing to write, I can fill a page.

Congrats to Joanne and Buddy! Bloggers - building bridges between nations.


Easter's a few weeks in the past by now, but I've been meaning to put this up. Of course, by this point, the ingredients are fuzzy... But is there any better time than now to put up a pig recipe?

I bought a ham at the St. Lawrence Farmer's Market. The butcher convinced me that the $20 for a huge chunk of pig leg was a far better deal that what the smoked versions were going for. He was correct.

The plan? A bourbon glaze. The result? Bourbon glaze.

Bourbon, molasses, honey, some spices (probably garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and some habanero or other spicy powder).

The skin was removed, the fat trimmed significantly, and then the ham was oiled, heavily salted with a variety of salts, peppered, cayenned, and the surface was cut in a diamond pattern. Cloves of garlic were shoved into the meat, along with fresh rosemary.

That was all placed over an inch of water in a roasting pan (fat-side up), which held more rosemary and garlic. The ham gets covered in foil.

Oven was preheated to 325F, and the ham went in, with ye olde probe thermometer stuck in a nice meaty part away from the bone. You're talking around 25 min per lb, and this was a nice 12 lbs if I recall. With around half an hour left, the ham comes out, gets the glaze slathered on it, and gets put back in the oven, uncovered until it reaches around 160-165F as an interior temperature.

Out it comes, rests for 15 minutes, and carved and served. Delicious.

Bear in mind, this was a RAW, unsmoked, bone-in ham. Hence the long cooking time. The meat was also white, like any roast pork, when it was finished, not that pink you're used to for ham.