Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Greatest Boxing Day Surprise Ever: AKA The Most Wonderful Excuse for Not Blogging for Several Days

You may have noticed this blog started to imitate a ghost town once Christmas day hit. Though unless your pre The Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge then you probably weren't incredibly surprised that I didn't get around to posting something on the biggest family holiday of the year.

But then Boxing Day hit and there was still no Spicer rantings and ravings.

Then Tuesday.

Then Wednesday.

At no point did I do my typical warning that I'll be away from the computer for an extended period of time. Yet, here I was being all absent and silent.

The reason is because I wasn't expecting to make a few day hiatus from the blog. I also wasn't planning on taking on any days off (other than the typical holidays) from work this week. But I did.

My plan on Monday was to post incredibly adorable Christmas photos of my furry boys, Summit and Crosby. But it seems like someone else had other plans, and plans that meant I wasn't going to be doing much at the computer at all.

Boxing Day this year was the date where I received the greatest gift I could ever imagine.

This Boxing Day, I received something very unexpected.

This Boxing Day I became a daddy.

Emily and I have never been known as punctual people. We definitely aren't very good at being early. It seems like lateness may not run in the blood. Because our 6 pounds and 7 ounces of pure baby joy arrived at 2:54pm on Boxing Day -- which is 9 days earlier than the January 4th 'due date.'

What can I say, my son is a keener.

That is right, MY SON. My beautiful, amazing, handsome, adorable, precious son. My son who as I write about him this very moment causes some tears of pure joy to come to my eyes.

December 26th, 2011 will always be remembered as one of the most special days of my entire life. It was a pretty crazy story and a story I'll save for later day. I will give away the happy ending. I held my son for the very first time, and experienced the most powerful 'spiritual' moment in my life. I realized that I was now daddy, and this little man was my son. A person who I vow to always love and always protect and always take care of.

Boxing Day will always hold a very special place for me now on, because it is day that Everett David Yan Keung Spicer entered into the world and changed my life forever.

I love you Everett, and welcome to life. It is a crazy place, but I'll be here to give you advice and encourage you when you need it. I'll probably make you pretty mad sometimes, and you'll do the very same to me. You'll also make me smile and laugh, and I'll do my best to return the favour. We've got lots to look forward to, but now, I'm just going to enjoy you being my firstborn son, and the greatest gift I could ever imagine.

I joke that things aren't official until they're smeared all over the internet. Well, this blog post is going to be linked on several social media sites, and so I think this makes things as official as you could ever want.

Please welcome to this world, Everett David Yan Keung Spicer, my wonderful son.





Saturday, December 24, 2011

It is the Season of Giving; So, I'll Give You Another Link

There is a rather funny Christmas piece over at the Whatever.

It is 8 "facts" about classic Christmas songs, but if you actually researched these "facts" then you may find them less than factual. But they're funny and way more Christmasy than the comic I passed off on you earlier.

You can go read this or you know, spend time with your family.

Which ever one you prefer. I'm easy.

Here Have a Very Not Christmasy Comic

There is a good chance you're in a "hey, it is almost Christmas and I am going to drink eggnog until it seeps out my nose!" mode. That is entirely fine, because we are on the day that leads to the eve of that day we all call Christmas. So, if you want to be especially festive then go for it.

But I read a comic this morning that I really liked and felt it would be nice to share with you.

But it doesn't have squat to do with Christmas. So, if that fact is going to squash your Christmas buzz then don't read it.

But why would I ever link to a comic that isn't about Christmas on a day like this?

Well, because I read it today, and I didn't feel like waiting to tell you about. It is already over a month or more old, and if I wait much longer, it might start gathering mold. And do you really want a moldy comic mucking up your computer screen? I didn't think so.

Anyway, it is about not judging people, and realizing we're all very different with variety of attributes. That is the type of message I like pushing around on this blog, and so when I find other folks writing similar thing then I like to promote it.

So, here I am promoting it.

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mary Christmas

It was the spookiest time of the year. She couldn't quite explain it. Every time December rolled around, complete strangers would start calling out her name. She would pass the streets and people would wave and smile, "Mary Christmas." She would buy something at the store and the cashier would just call out her name while she left, but wouldn't have anything else to say to her when she came back. She would go to the doctor's office or bank or the pizza place, and they'd greet her by saying her name over and over as people entered.

For eleven months she'd get a 'hi' or a nod, but for one month, everyone seemed to know who she was. They seemed to love calling out her name. She appreciated the kind gesture, but she wished she knew how they knew her name. It was disturbing.

She remembered in grade school how teacher's warned against wearing clothes that had your name on it. It would then allow strangers to address you by name and trick you into thinking they knew you. It was this memory that got her to start investigating the clothes she wore and the bag she carried. Was her name somewhere on her clothing or accessories?

Or was it some huge practical joke being perpetuated by her friends and family? Was it some giant prank that would eventually be revealed? But why would they let it drag on for so many years? Why did it always happen in December and usually end around the 26th of the month. Why?

The most disturbing thing started to happen at the department stores. She would walk in to discover a huge banner with her name on it. How did they know she was coming to the store that day? They seemed to have hired someone who struggled with the English language, because they misspelled her first name. Actually, it was odd because every store misspelled her first name. Merry Christmas. She wasn't sure how they would have messed up such a simple name, because she never knew a girl with the spelling of Merry.

The spooky trend continued as other establishments started putting up banners and signs that just simply said her name. Of course, they seemed to have got her name from that department store where they didn't know how to spell. Merry Christmas -- sheesh, how hard was it to spell Mary.

Mary started to get used to it. It was cool that the people of the town knew her name. They felt the need to acknowledge her. She was a quiet girl and didn't have many friends. She worked at a cleaning company where they cleaned a few of the local office buildings. The job was done when everyone had gone home, so she rarely got much social interaction. Though at first it was odd and disturbing to have complete strangers calling out her name, she did appreciate getting recognized. It felt nice to have people take the time to know her name. She started considering all these people as her friends. She liked feeling popular.

The scariest moment came when she was watching a newscast on the 24th. It was being broadcasted on a channel in the big city, which was at least an hour away from her home. Yet at the end of the broadcast, the newscaster stared right at her and said, "Mary Christmas.'

That was it. Nothing else. He just said her name. It sent a chill down her spine. It was nice that her hometown was acknowledging her. But it was getting downright petrifying that people from other cities were just randomly saying her name. It felt like she was being haunted.

She started flipping to other channels to see if they would call out her name. She had to find out if this was something that would be sweeping the entire country. Maybe even the world. More importantly, she wanted to know why it was happening. How did they know her name? Why were they just saying it to her without saying anything else?

She came across a late night talk show. It happened again. Right after the host said a few jokes and caused the audience to break out into laughter, he pointed to the band and they started playing some lovely music. He then said he would be taking the next week off. He stared right at her and said, "Mary Christmas and Happy New Year."

Behind him a banner was lowered and it was the famous misspelled version of her name, "Merry Christmas" along with the other thing he just said "and Happy New Year."

How did a talk show host from New York know her name? And why can't he spell either.

And maybe even more importantly, how did he find out about her cousin?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Official Ranking of 2011 Films That I Saw: Yet Another Post Demanded by My Readers

December is becoming the month of reader's requests. Just consider it my Christmas gift to you. Or proof I'm running out of things to say. It is one of the two.

I should start this post by admitting I really haven't seen enough movies to fairly judge the very best pictures of the year. I once was able to see close to a movie a week, but those days are far past me. But if anyone wants to pay me to watch movies and then review them, I'd be more than happy to up my movie watching count. I have a sneaky feeling that the arrival of Baby Spicer means that the amount of movies I watch may actually be lower in 2012. I hope that doesn't turn out to be true, because 2012 has several movies that I'm pretty amped up to see.

Here is my list of the worst to best films from 2011 -- which I've seen.

10. Battle: Los Angeles - The trailer made me expect some over the top spaceships battle with huge explosions and mind blowing special effects. Instead, it was a 'war drama' that happened to involve alien -- which is actually a really cool concept. Except this was the war drama equivalent of a half boy half lemur creature that consumed a bowl full of paint chips then proceeded to smash its own head with a hammer. What I am saying is that not only is this movie stupid but it is the kind of stupid that beats itself to the point of being even more stupid.

9. Scream 4 - This film probably has one of the best meta style intros ever, and was incredibly fresh and creative. But then it proceeded to be the exact same movie we saw 3 times previous. I guess that is fine because it is comforting to get what you expect and paid to see. At the same time, the original was considered so cutting edge and different when it came out, but now it has become predictable and stagnate just like all the films it was originally mocking and lampooning. Plus it really has stopped being any form of scary, and I think it’s time to either find new characters or even better, just call it the end to a series.

8. Thor - I went into this film not expecting a thing, but then being pleasantly surprised for a good portion of it. The first half was mixed with great special effects, some unexpected comedy, and a good dose of action. It was building up to this epic climax, which made the ending that much more of a fart to the face. It did a pretty good job of convincing me to save my money for the sequel, which is a nice way to ensure I can pay for my bills and stuff -- so I appreciate that.

7. Cowboys and Aliens - This got panned pretty hard by most critics and was essentially a bomb in the box office based off the amount of money that was put into this film. I still stand by liking it, even if it didn't redefine its genres or anything like that. It built up the story well, and it paid everything off. It wasn't like many movies where the aliens are these invincible monsters but all of sudden start becoming weaker than a flock of lambs all because the heroes found out where their heart is. In the world it created, it followed its rules well and was 'realistic.' I had fun watching it while I munched my popcorn and my intelligence wasn't insulted that badly, and really, that is all I ask from my special effects driven summer blockbusters.

6. Super 8 - I really wanted to love this movie to bits. There is parts of this film that are absolutely magical and remind me why cinema captured my imagination as a child. I absolutely love the '70s setting and its homage to some of the classic 'aliens come to a small town' films from that late '70s/early 80s. I felt the film started to unravel a bit at the halfway point, and the ending became a little too cliché while also trying to shove a message down my throat. I also admit this film may end up ranking higher if I watch it again and don't have such high expectations for it.

5. The Lincoln Lawyer: I've never read the book and didn't read any previews, so I had no idea what I was watching -- other than Matthew McConaughey practice law inside his car (probably a Lincoln). It started out as a paint-by-the-numbers crime movie until the big twist was revealed. It was actually an interesting morality play where the lawyer had to question his own ethics, and realize that he may actually care more about his clients than he originally believed. It is a fun little thriller that actually allows you to have some deep discussion after.

4. Albert Nobbs - Glenn Close does an amazing job, and I really like how the film examines the concept of love. Is love an ingrained thing or is it environmental? What was it that the main character was really looking for? I also find it interesting to see how women were viewed at the time, and how several characters look down on a woman wanting to be a man but are also so oblivious of why it was done to begin with. The only main charge against the film is that the main character is hard to relate to and that may take away from the impact of the end of the film.

3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes - I wasn't even a slight bit interested in watching yet another 'reimagining/prequel' until the positive reviews started piling in. As I said before, the ape portion of the story is magnificent and incredibly well done. This was a definite surprise hit for me. It may have taken top spot as favourite film if the human side of the story wasn't so lazily thrown together.

2. Source Code - This is fun little science fiction film that provides lots of great action and special effects but also has a pretty compelling story. It has a great ending for a film geek like me who enjoys debating the bigger message behind it or what exactly it all really means. I like it when a science fiction movie can be fun and action packed but also throw a worthwhile story that makes you think just a tad.

1. X-Men: First Class
- This is another movie that I wasn't the least bit interested in based off the trailers, but my wife really wanted to see it so I did it out of duty for her. This is more proof why I always need to listen to my wife. This was a surprisingly good movie, and one of my all-time favourite comic book films. It deals with some deeper issues like discrimination and how one goes about creating change, but also is jam packed with awesome effects and action. A really great prequel and I think the best of all the X-Men films.

Now, for an added bonus (in no particular order) here are the 10 ten movies from 2011 that I still hope to see.

10. Adjustment Bureau - I originally was planning on seeing this film instead of Source Code, but apparently, the local cinema doesn't hold movies until I decide to go watch them. Jerks.

9. Crazy, Stupid, Love - Yeah, I know it is a romantic comedy. It looks like it might actually be funny, and more importantly, it looks like it may go against the usual formula. Rather than just make me want to stick a screwdriver up my nose to ease the pain, it may be deeper than most of the other films that claim to be romantic and funny.

8. Attack the Block - It is an independent film about an alien invasion. That is about all I know about it, but a few people went on and on about how this was better done than Cowboys & Aliens. You can consider me interested.

7. The Debt - It is a spy thriller with Nazis and history and Helen Mirren. So, I'm game.

6. 50/50 - Yes, I still like Seth Rogen. Live with it. Besides, this looks like an attempt to be a little more serious and deeper than his previous films. Plus Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proven to be a pretty damn fine young actor.

5. The Ides of March - It a political morality play with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. I'm sure they'll be acting the hell out of this sucker. It looks like it can be a mighty fine drama, and the trailer made it seem like it will have lots of layers and character development.

4. In Time - The reviews weren't kind and it bombed in the box office. I still am intrigued by the concept, even if I don't like the fact I want to see a Justin Timberlake film.

3. Anonymous - Basically jumps on board with the "Shakespeare is a fraud' crowd. I don't actually buy any of this being historically accurate, but I don't need that kind of thing to enjoy a movie.

2. The Muppets - I actually can't believe I haven't seen this yet. As a kid I watched almost every episode of The Muppet Show and dragged my parents to the theatre for all the movies in the 80s. I even had the picture book of the Muppets Take Manhattan. This movie will be seen -- oh I promise you that.

1. We Need to Talk About Kevin - I wanted to see this at TIFF, but Emily thought it would be took dark, so we saw Albert Nobbs instead. I'm still intrigued to see this movie, and I'm sure it will rile up much discussion and debate.

But what about 2012? What movies do I want to see in the future? Well, I want to see lots. But here are 10 I've chosen because I actually was able to find trailers for them.

The Woman in Black - This looks legitimately spooky and will probably keep me up at night after I watch it. I'm not sure if there has been a good legitimately scary spook fest in a long time and this may finally be it.

Safe House - I am not really a fan of Ryan Reynolds, but I really, really, really, really love Denzel Washington. This film seems to bring out the classic Washington charisma and attitude; so there is a chance this could be pretty great.

Chimpanzee - I like monkeys.

Men In Black 3 - This falls under "movie I saw no reason for being made and definitely didn't want to see but dang, then I had to go see the trailer." This looks really fun.

Snow White & the Huntsmen - I'm really tired of this whole "let's remake classic fairy tales into edgy films' phase that is going on in Hollywood, but this one actually looks like it could be really good. It has a decent cast and the trailer gives me hope this could be a rather exciting epic fantasy.

The Dark Knight Rises - Christopher Nolan has created two amazing movies -- not just really good comic book or Batman movies. If the movie is able to live up to the trailer, then we may have one of the greatest trilogies ever.

The Expendables 2 - I had a lot fun with the original, and this one has now crammed in even more classic action stars. I just wish they'd have brought along The Rock and Vin Diesel in order to do a combining of several generations of action stars kind of deal. This one looks like it might be just as explosively fun and stupid as the first.

The Hobbit - I've already got my geek on in blog form on this one.

Brave - It is Pixar and that really is enough to entice me. I also like the fact they're making a strong female lead and that it is set in old Scotland. This looks like this could be one of their best.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - This isn't the first movie about living life post 9/11, but it is going in a different direction than most previous. This is the first I can think of that deals with the child living life after losing a parent to the tragedy. It looks like it has potential for being a heartwarming and emotional film that deals with some powerful issues. It could risk being 'sappy' and 'preachy', but it has a strong cast and I have faith it could be one of the better dramas of 2012.

And that is enough lists about movies for today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guess What I'll Be Watching a Year from Now

This



I wasn't overly excited about the upcoming The Hobbit film, because cinematic prequels haven't necessarily had the best track record. The actual book is fine and dandy, but I never really thought it was as strong as The Lord of the Rings. But this trailer? It makes me feel like a drooling fan boy, and gets me the kind of excited that zooms me back to my childhood.

Going to the theatre as a child was such a magical experience for me, and allowed my mind to soar with imagination. Films like Star Wars, ET, and Back to the Future took me to far off lands and spurred me on to make up my own epic stories. These weren't just films, but they were epic events that helped shape my creativity and feed into my delight for the fantastic.

This trailer reminds me of those days. It looks like an epic fantasy that is going to unlock all kinds of imagination and creativity. Plus it will be a pretty fun way to allow a few hours fly past me.

Consider me officially stoked, and ready to find a babysitter for a Friday in December.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011's Biggest Box Office Bombs and My Snarky Thoughts on Them

Zap2It.com listed the biggest box office bombs of the year, and even though I've seen almost none of them, I still felt like chiming in with my opinions. Because that is what I do.

I should note that the film that I wanted to see fail, Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, even failed to make this list because it wasn't released in enough theatres to qualify. So, thanks again Bucky for losing one more time.

25. Our Idiot Brother: This was the movie audiences' way of saying they prefer Paul Rudd to be the straight (and slightly neurotic) man, and leave the goofy comedy characters to Seth Rogan or Russell Brand. It sort of sucks that your big movie vehicle has to tank in order to tell you that, "Yes sir, you've indeed been type casted."

24. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: And the movie goers said, "Fine, we won't." Katie Holmes gets to continue to hold on to her streak of bombing at the box office in films not called Batman Begins. And I say this in the kindest way possible, because I used to totally have a 'celebrity crush' on her and thought she had potential to be a leading lady. This was also 10 years ago, during a time that I also thought it was smart to dine on nothing but Pringles and Coke for a week.

23. Sanctum: So, I guess it's back to making Avatar 2 for James Cameron.

22. Monte Carlo: I don't even remember hearing about this movie. Based off this picture, it is about fancily dressed girls walking down elaborate stairs, and then maybe they go find cute boys who take them to a casino and teach them how to smoke cigars. Did I mention I never heard of this movie?

21. Your Highness: I was slightly interested in this movie until I remembered Year One, and realized it was likely the exact same movie except you replaced Jack Black and Michael Cera with less interesting actors (though it had the plus of adding Natalie Portman -- because she is such a renowned comedian).

20. Mars Needs Moms: I only remember this as the movie that I was convinced my friends had made up. Apparently, he didn't. But it also seems most other people didn't think it was a real movie either.

19. Dream House: Another movie I was vaguely interested in, because it came out around the time that I'm craving something spooky. Though the trailer seemed like it was part of a bet to see 'how many horror tropes can be stuffed into 2 minutes?" Really? -- Two spooky ghost girls in a haunted house? Hollywood does know that you're allowed to make a movie about a haunted house without using a 30 year old horror cliché, right? Right?!? I do have to say I feel bad for Daniel Craig, as it seems like the audience just doesn't care unless he is a suave British super spy.

18. Conan the Barbarian: I've heard this is good, in a 'this is so horrible it makes me giggle non-stop' kind of way. What a shock that isn't enough motivation to get people to pop out $12.00 for some 3D 'fun'.

17. The Three Musketeers: Has a Musketeer movie ever raked in the dough at the box office? Will this flop stop Hollywood from peddling out another in the next 10 or so years? I vote 'no' for both.

16. The Eagle: Another movie that I absolutely have no recollection of ever hearing about. Based off the picture, it is about really mad and dirty people who like to wear fashionable alligator skull hats. And maybe at some point they all fly a giant eagle?

15. Shark Night 3D: The classic "let’s try to piggyback off a surprise hit, except ignore absolutely all the things that made it a success" approach to film making. So, it is Piranha 3D but with sharks -- and none of the humour or nudity or campiness or entertainment. Absolutely shocked it wasn't a hit with that brilliant strategy.

14. Fright Night: "Okay, I've got a great idea for a summer blockbuster. Let's do a remake of a film that didn't do great in the box office but has become a cult classic among horror nerds. You know, the type of people that are totally sick of all the remakes of horror movies? There is no way we can't make money at the theatres with this idea."

13. Apollo 18: Blair Witch Project in Space, but only a decade after people are totally sick of Blair Witch rip offs.

12. The Thing: Remember what I said about Fright Night?

11. Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer: Now, we've learned that not all YA novels turned into films will automatically transform into magical bags of money. Plus it seems like it did end up being a bummer summer after all.

10. What's Your Number?: It would appear it is a little over 14 million, or also known as less than what you spent to produce and market the movie. I think Anna Faris is actually pretty funny, but it sadly seems like folks don't like her in the starring role unless it has the words Scary and Movie in the title (though I'm pretty sure even that kind of movie would now do rather well on a list like this).

9. The Rum Diary: I'll probably still see this anyway, because I love my Hunter S. Thompson craziness. I can't think of too many Depp films that I dislike, unless he is going to be that damn pirate again (which is also apparently the opposite mindset of the movie goers).

8. Glee: The 3D Concert Movie: WHAT!?! People won't pay to see 2 hours of a show that they can watch for free every single week on TV? But it is in pointless 3D?

7. Drive Angry: I think the incredible Hulk came up with the title of this film. I also think we can officially pronounce Nicholas Cage's box office success days dead. He may also want to pronounce death to his relationship with his current agent too.

6. Straw Dogs:
Hey Hollywood, we have these things called Blu Rays and DVD players. They're really neat. They allow us to watch DVDs of really good old movies. So, you can seriously stop remaking films that don't ever need to be remade.

5. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil: I've actually seen the original Hoodwinked. Based off how poorly this one did, a lot of other people must have seen and remembered the original too.

4. Prom: Just like their real prom, people decided to do something else instead. At least this time around it didn't cause eating disorders and self-esteem issues (except for the movie executives that were behind this film).

3. I Don't Know How She Does It:
And nobody cared to find out.

2. The Big Year:
Now, we've learned that Steve Martin is not box office gold in 2011. Though, I have a feeling that fact isn't going to keep him up at night. As for Owen Wilson and Jack Black, it was fun on top while it lasted, right?

1. Take Me Home Tonight: Because I don't want to watch this movie.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Here and There: A Random Assortment of Thoughts - December 2011 Edition

It is time for the ol' hodge podge of thoughts and musings.

1. Thanks to a rather hectic weekend where I ended up working all Sunday (and gallivanting throughout stores on Saturday), I just found out that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il passed away from a heart attack. Though as some have said on Twitter, I'm sure North Korea would rather pass it off as Kim entering a competitive sleeping contest (death isn't really appealing for self-proclaimed demigods). The passing of Kim Jong-il either has potential of being a massive turning point in North Korean politics or end up being the biggest dangling carrot of the year.

There is hope and talk that this could allow for a loosening of the iron grip that the government has over its people and a chance for substantial talks regarding nuclear disarmament. The reality is the new leader is likely Kim Jong-un who has traveled with his father and likely been deeply indoctrinated in North Korean policy. It is likely going to take far more than just the death of Jong-il to wipe out the decades of propaganda, censorship, dictatorship, and ruthlessness. Hopefully, we do see a push towards peace talks and the possibility of giving food for the North Korean people in exchange for shutting down the nuclear program. Part of me thinks it is going to be a matter of the citizens tiring of the decades of brainwashing and realize they're completely mistreated that will lead to them finally rising against the leaders, which will allow for real change to begin in that country. It is definitely a "wait and see' affair on finding out if there will be a positive change or more aggression towards the South (things are on high alert currently) or everything remaining the status quo.

2. It is officially time to say good bye to the Chicago Bears' playoff hopes. This has to be one of the harder seasons for me to sit through. I can take a dreadful season where my team squanders several games, but it is much harder to watch your team go on a 5 game win streak and look extremely strong then to drop four straight to now have a 7-7 record. I can whine about how it is all due to losing Cutler and Forte to injuries, but even that excuse doesn't hold up to the disaster that was yesterday's game. I'm guessing that frees up Sunday afternoons for me now.

3. I caught the Survivor finale, even though I missed the last two episodes preceding it. I had a long day yesterday and was in need for some reality TV drama to appease my mushy brain -- plus I knew it was unlikely I'd be able to catch up on the show any time soon. Anyway, next paragraph is going to have spoilers, in case you haven't watched it yet.

It was a fun finale with Ozzy making one hell of run in Redemption Island and then in immunity challenges. He was my definite favourite after Coach's clan was able to wipe out all of the Savaii tribe. So, it was a bummer when he wasn't able to pull off the win in the final immunity challenge and it was now clear he was getting sent to the jury. Ozzy can talk about Coach's promise, but there was no way Ozzy wasn't winning this game if he made it to the final tribal council -- so he had to get voted out once there was a chance. It was the right move, but a bummer since Ozzy became such a likeable underdog.

I ended up totally being off in my prediction of Coach being a guaranteed winner if he made it to tribal council with two of his own tribe mates. Though, I really think Coach's performance at the final tribal was what cost him the million dollars. He started apologizing for betraying several players (which is a fine approach and what has to be done), but he then went on about how he wasn't a good strategic player, which allowed Sophie and Albert to jump on that by saying they masterminded it. I do think Coach called the shots, and I think most of the people on the tribal believed that too, but his speech then got them thinking otherwise. I could also be way off on this, and Coach may have lost more due to bitter players getting duped by him (same reason Russell lost two times in a row).

4. Speaking of reviews, I've got about 5 movies and a mountain of books that I've finished and I kept meaning to do reviews on. I've been finding myself dreading to do the reviews, because sometimes the process is about as enjoyable as French kissing a walrus. If I get bored writing some of the reviews then I don't want to imagine the pain some may have reading them. Then again, based off the statistics I have, most of the time people just skip out when they know it is a review post. I'm probably changing my strategy to doing a review when I'm really motivated and have something to say, otherwise I'll let it float away into a black hole to never be read. After all, the purpose of this blog is just to be a place where I write what I want and how I want to -- I'll leave the hard work for the stuff I get paid to do.

5. Despite just talking about not doing reviews, I do want to quickly comment on a few things I've watched and read in the last few months.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: I had a discussion with a good friend right after we watched the movie, and we essentially agreed the ape portion of the film is fantastic. The CGI of the apes is unbelievable and probably some of the best CGI I've seen in any movie. The story of Caesar gaining control over the other apes and starting up a resistance is incredible storytelling. Unfortunately, the human part of the film is much weaker and drags the film down a bit. Luckily, the main part of the film is about the apes, and so it remains a really great movie. The big problem is the whole time issue, where they'll jump ahead five years to allow Caesar to age, but the human characters apparently haven't talked to each for that entire time or interacted with anyone outside of their homes. I understand why it happened, but it made some of the story come off as a little sloppy (you wait five years to find out how the guys got the ape?). Despite that criticism, this was easily one of the best movies I saw this summer and probably X-Men: First Class would be the only competition for top film.

Albert Nobbs: I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival, and Emily and I loved it a lot more than the person we went to see it with. Glenn Close does a marvelous job in the starring role, and I hope she gets some serious Oscar buzz. The interesting part of the film is how it analyzes the concept of love. It is clear based of the main characters upbringing and challenges in her life that she doesn't entirely understand the concept nor fully be able to relate to the emotions of others. For her, everything is more like a business arrangement. It is a good 'have a coffee and discuss' kind of movie, but it appears it isn't getting the type of attention from critics that I'd have expected.

Night Shift: I want to do a full review on Stephen King's first short story collection, but just wanted to say that this may be some of his best work (even if it some of his earliest). The stories aren't as diverse as the ones in Skeleton Crew, but he brings the usual great dose of character development along with genuine scares. I read a few of the stories right before bed, and I found myself a little less comfortable laying in the dark and much more perceptive to the sounds around me. The collection is over 30 years old, but still just as scary and fun as ever.

The Walking Dead:
An amazing first half of the season, and they really left us with a hell of a cliff-hanger. I'm intrigued to see what type of fall out there will be from Shane's complete meltdown. I'm assuming the crew will be kicked out on the road now, but there is likely going to be even more tension among them. I love the friction that is building among many members, and think that interplay is even more interesting than all the dead folks walking around. The character development in this series is phenomenal and some of the better storytelling that has ever been on TV. The final twist at the end was predictable, but still incredibly heartbreaking. It was the ending you didn't want, but now it will have some interesting implications for some of the characters like the mom and Darryl (who was so sure the girl was okay). The show starts up again in February, and I recommend you to catch up before then if you haven't seen this great series yet.

6. We've gone to all the prenatal classes. We've bought most of the pressing baby supplies. We're now almost in week 38. It is pretty crazy to realize that I could end up being a daddy any time over the next few weeks (or even days). During a time when people are counting down to Christmas, the holidays are hardly on my radar as I continue to focus on the due date of January 4th (which admittedly, is nothing more than a number when it comes to baby). I'm getting asked on a daily basis if I am excited, and the answer is 'yes' but it also can be pretty overwhelming at times. I am one apt for drama and theatrics, and becoming a father may be the ultimate in emotional roller coasters. Any time I get worried, I just put my hand down to the belly for a 'high five', and I'm reminded how much I already love and adore that little person in there.

7. I like pie.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Friday Night Engagement with Ancient Pay Phones, Large Murals and Rice Pudding: A Fan Requested Blog Post

I do reader requests for blog posts! Here is the evidence that I'm always willing to listen to my blog readers, and compile a post especially for them - just because they demanded it.

Or at least, it is proof that I'm willing to do it once, and then exploit it out of an attempt to get more reader feedback. It is one of the two.

In this case, this request came after I was wine and dined by some good friends, and they then requested that I review the experience. Since they were kind enough to pay for a meal and provide excellent company, I've decided the best repayment is to do my review of the restaurant we dined at (the wine of choice was actually a glass of water).

I am not going to mention the name of this establishment because I don't want to harm local business if it is obvious they're meeting a need (but if they aren't. . . ). It seems like this little restaurant is doing a rather booming job of providing joy and cheer in the form of dinners to a certain demographic. I am more than willing to admit that I clearly was not the intended demographic of this place of dining. Besides, this restaurant has been a Brantford institution for 50 years, so who am I to soil its prestigious name.

After entering the establishment, I can see that it has been around for 50 years, because I'm not sure they've done much redecorating since. First of all, the restaurant actually had pay phones, which is something my child will think belongs in the history books along with horse drawn carriages and Abraham Lincoln. Especially these pay phones that I'm pretty sure were installed before the grand opening of the restaurant and may be more around for novelty sake. Though their main customers may not have silly things like cell phones and actually see a need for the pay phones -- though these particular phones may need to be started by a crank.

As for the dining room, it has wall paper if that gives you any kind of idea of the atmosphere and look. It also had a big ginormous mural that takes up an entire wall. It reminds me of something I'd have found in my grandma's basement or maybe in the games room of a retirement home. Actually, the entire restaurant sort of reminded me of spending an evening in my grandma's finished basement -- if my grandma's basement has several dining room sets, provided a buffet, and had numerous servers rushing about the place. Which it didn't -- for the record.

In case you haven't been able to figure out the main demographic of this fine establishment then I'll drop my final hint by letting you know that dinner starts being served promptly at 4:30. It appears people are actually there for dinner at 4:30. I'm going to say the place seems to pack it with its target patrons. The place also becomes a ghost town at around 6:30 when all the customers shuffle off to their Bingo games, I assume.

But what about the food of this fine restaurant, you ask? Well, I will answer.

I ordered the Christmas Special, because it is near Christmas and I felt like being special. It came with a Soup of the Day, a turkey dinner with all the fixings (fixings seems like the proper word to use when describing a restaurant like this), and a Dessert of the Day.

We'll start with the soup, because this is what they served first. Now, I've always been under the misunderstanding that soup usually contained a liquid substance in it. Or maybe I just need to learn to redefine my version of what is liquid. Ketchup can be a liquid, right? If you answered yes, then this was definitely soup. I'm not saying that ketchup was actually used in this 'soup', but while I was mowing it down, I did call it 'Ketchup Noodle Soup.' I've again always been deluded enough to believe that 'Ketchup Noodle Soup' was something better left to a 4 year who sneaked into the kitchen to make a wonderful masterpiece for dinner while mommy was napping. Or it may also have been something that would be a Tuesday night special for starving University students who've run out of a grocery budget and aren't willing to cut into the beer fund.

Whatever you may associate 'Ketchup Noodle Soup' with, I definitely don't put in the category of 'fine dining'. Or really any kind of dining that I pay a sum of money to be made a meal. But again, I'm not the target demographic of this place and maybe 'Ketchup Noodle Soup' was the meal that swept the nation back in the 30s, and this place was trying to rustle up some fond memories of very happy days of overcooked noodle and super thick ketchup like stuff. If that was the goal then congratulations, because I was wishing I was in a different decade too -- one where I wasn't consuming 'Ketchup Noodle Soup', though.

Forget the soup, because it soon came time for my turkey dinner. It consisted of turkey (duh), mashed potatoes, stuffing (though the menu and my grandma would prefer me to call it dressing), peas, and really thick gravy. Sounds like yum!

Now, if I was Emily or any kind of real food critic, I'd probably go on about how the turkey was dry and the potatoes lacked the creaminess of real homemade potatoes. But I am not my wife (this isn't a Heinlein novel after all) and I'll never be the worlds most sought after food critic. Instead, I rate my food based off the 'Scarfing It Down' scale. An incredibly scientific technique that looks at how quickly I shoved the food down my gullet and how much I stopped to think about what I actually put down there. This particular food had a very high scoring for mindless shoving it into my mouth without much thought.

I don't often put a lot of thought into what I'm actually eating. I am a very easy man to please as long as the food fills me and it usually has some form of meat in it. If it fits those types of requirements then I'm typically pretty happy. But there are certain foods that I eat and it will cause my taste buds to erupt into a mass celebration of dancing and cheering. I've had food that tastes just like the very magnificence that is riding a magical unicorn through the Gumdrop forest and over the Golden Bridge that leads to a castle of gleeful elves and massage giving yetis. So basically, the most fantastic of all food eating experiences.

This wasn't one of them.

This was the experience where the food went into my mouth, and my taste buds gently prodded it with spears and then declared, 'Yeah, this is probably food; let it through.'

I don't really like going to restaurants and paying my hard earned money for 'let it through' food experiences. I want my unicorn and yeti massages. Alas, it was not to be on this night. Yes, I got filled with meat and gravy, but no magic zoomed down into my belly and caused a night of uproarious glee. Nope, it was just kind of food.

Finally, I had myself some dessert. I like dessert. I like sweet and fattening. It is a great thing to stuff in the belly if you still have room, especially when it is included in the meal. This particular dessert was what some call rice pudding (and by 'some', I mean the type of people that know what rice pudding is). This rice pudding also had whipped cream, as well as cinnamon sprinkled over it. I liked the whipped cream. I ate the whipped cream. But when Emily asked me, "If you like the whipped cream so much, why are you leaving some of it behind?" My answer was simple. "If I try to scrap up that last bit, then I might accidentally get some more of that rice pudding."

So yeah, that is my review of the rice pudding.

Please don't get me wrong, I am sure the restaurant is a lovely place. If you're over 65 then I'm sure you'll find it wonderful (and by the way, also congratulations on turning on your computer and finding yourself here).

I also need to make it clear I had a lovely time. The company was fantastic. We ended up talking for almost an hour after the meal had been finished. There was laughing and cheering and mocking; all the things that must happen for a wonderful evening out. It was great.

It was so great that I am now willing to review the entire experience because one of my delightful friends made the request. So here it is, my review of the hottest restaurant in town for the over 65 years old folks.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sorry, I've Been Away All Day; Have Yourself A Sleeping Dog Picture

Totally free of charge. He looks kind of like how I currently feel.

Friday, December 16, 2011

RIP Christopher Hitchens 1949 - 2011


Christopher Hitchens passed away last night. If you want a decent account of his life than you can read it here or even here. Those sites do a good enough job of breaking down some of the key moments of Hitchens' life and allow you to get to know the kind of writer and man he was in his life. I'm not going to give any detailed account of his life but rather reflect on what he meant to me.

I don't know when I first heard about Christopher Hitchens, but I do remember when I first came across his book God is Not Great. I was shocked and intrigued by a title that was incredibly upfront and biting. I knew this clearly was the book of a man who wasn't about to mince words and was ready to shake people out of their comfort zone. There was no fear of offending, but rather, the title was aiming to do just that. I grabbed the book, and quickly skimmed through it. I only glossed over the book for nothing more than 5 minutes, but I still was able to notice that biting wit and elegant prose. The book was written by a talented and intelligent man, even if I knew many wouldn't agree with his agenda. I was tempted to purchase the book, but then I chickened out from the fear that the wrong person may come across the book on my coffee table. This was 2008 Christopher, and now in 2011, I know I will eventually buy the book -- I wish I had the guts then.

Despite not buying the book, I did quickly go home and did some good old fashion Google searching. I came across a plethora of essays written by him and video clips of interviews/debates. I was quickly drawn to this incredibly intellectual, witty, humorous, engaging, controversial man. I read and watched many things that I didn't agree with, but I was always entertained and challenged to think. He did hold many controversial opinions, but he was always able to back them up with well thought out arguments supported by history or social science. It is easy to be controversial or argumentative, but it takes real skill to do it with wit, humour, and elegance. I am pretty sure even his biggest critics will admit he was an entertaining, funny, and smart man.

I think most people knew who Christopher Hitchens was, or at least, they had heard about him in passing. I am fearful that many religious folks are going to choose to remember him as the man who constantly threw venom towards their beliefs. I am not denying he was a strong anti-theist, and often wrote many works opposing religion. If you look for him on YouTube, you'll likely find most the videos have to do with him debating religion in some way. It is a disservice to his legacy to only remember him in that way (not that I have any control over how you choose to reflect upon him -- even if you choose to do such a thing at all). He was a writer and a lover of literature. He had an incredible knowledge of both politics and history. He has written biographies on some of the most crucial historical figures (such as Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and George Orwell). His written works span across a wide variety of subjects. The man was well read, and knew how to write entertaining prose on almost any subject. I prefer to remember him as one of the great writers of modern time rather than just an atheist.

I have read a large amount of his works and watched several of his television appearances. I have to admit that many of his opinions have influenced some of the changes in my beliefs over the last several years. I appreciate that he has challenged me and forced me to think about many things I took for granted. But I also know there are several things that I completely disagreed with him on. Hitchens was an evangelical atheist, in many ways. He would tour across the world letting everyone know the evils of religion, especially the Muslim belief (though in the States, he spent just as much time bashing the Christian belief). He seemed to believe there was almost no value in being religious and that it was a harmful delusion. This is a point that I was never able to agree with him about, and I've always had a strong problem with the recent New Atheist drive. I think it was a great waste of his talents, because in the end, he was never going to be able to successfully convert all religious people. I don't think it would have brought the great results that he assumed it would have, either. Instead, it caused him to be seen as a villain among many religious folks, and thus they were less willing to hear the valuable things he had to say.

I believe he could have still presented his opinions and challenged people to think, without dragging along the strong anti-theist slant. Of course, that wasn't who he was. I wonder if he took a different approach, if more people would have been willing to listen. I believe one can still be Christian or Muslim or Hindu, and be able to get value from what Hitchens was trying to say. He was a huge proponent of equality, free speech, and intellectualism. He wanted people to think for themselves, and not mindlessly make decisions just because they believed some higher power told them to do it. He wanted people to question their beliefs and ask why they do what they do. His problem was that people would use religion to justify bigotry and hatred and war and pure stupidity. He preached for a noble cause, but I think his venom caused many to not be able to see his actual message. He obviously was either unaware or too stubborn to recognize that a person can keep their faith but also be intellectual and willing to question things.

I may not have agreed with his approach, but at the same time, I can respect it to some degree. Hitchens was honest. He didn't pull punches. You never wondered what he thought about something. His writing was always straight to the point, and you could walk away knowing exactly what he believed. As a writer, I can respect the fact he didn't hide anything, and I feel that was what made him such a great writer. You need to be honest with yourself, and you need to try to be as open as possible. Hitchens was most definitely those things. He was not afraid of how people would perceive him and he constantly dug to find the 'truth'. You may not agree with his version of the truth, but I know it was what he really believed. I think he got to his conclusions honestly. I can learn a lot from his honesty and lack of fear of public opinion. I believe such an approach makes you a better and more authentic writer.

I'll miss Christopher Hitchens. I'll actually miss him very much. The good thing is that his works will live on. His writing material will remain. I will always be able to remember him through his great prose. He has been a big influence on me as a writer, and hope I can even get 5% of the success he was able to achieve. More importantly, I hope I can honour him by becoming a more honest and authentic writer.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Totally Random and Fictional Conversation Between Two Men

"Man, you've got to hate this downpour. But at least it isn't that awful white stuff, eh."

"I don't mind the snow. I've got a big dog that loves to run through the stuff, and the kids remain entertained for hours by making snow men and snow forts. Plus it is nice to have for Christmas."

"Yeah, it sure beats this rain, eh?"

"Yep."

"The conditions are optimal for me to test out my fully constructed Battle Snow Walker. I made it by fishing through the dumpster of a bunch of hardware stores, and mashing it with several toys I stole from neighbourhood kids."

"What?"

"I'm not waiting for the bus, you know."

"Okay."

"I'm waiting for a girl. Yeah, she's real nice. She probably has friends, you know."

"I'm not really looking, bud."

"Oh, I know. I know. I'm just saying she probably has friends. It is nice to have friends."

"Sure is."

"So, I see you like coffee."

"Yeah, that is why I chose to buy a cup then proceeded to drink of its contents."

"I don't just make fully constructed Battle Snow Walkers. I've got tons of other huge projects."

"I believe you."

"I'm also making an Ultra Boat Soar Blaster. It is a boat that flies. I just need to get a job so I can buy a boat."

"Hmmm."

"I've also made Super Sonic X-Ray Glasses and a Super Shrink Device."

"Huh."

"I also like to lick tombstones and roll around in the dump."

"So, I think this girl must be on one of these buses coming in."

"I bet I could totally turn one of these buses into an Electro Saurus Transmorpher."

"I don't understand these words."

"So, are you going to work?"

"Yeah."

"I need a job. Problem is nothing in this town meets my super skills and awesome abilities."

"That is too bad man. Hey, maybe your girl is on that bus that just came in."

"Probably."

"You better go check, because you shouldn't leave her waiting. Women don't like waiting."

"Hey, you said you have kids right?"

"No, I didn't."

"Yeah, yeah. You said they like to play in the snow. Man, I totally like to play in the snow too -- with my inventions. Maybe your kids will need a babysitter -- I had one before so I totally know what to do."

"Nope, no kids."

"You ever eat the hair of other people?"

"Look, I got to. . ."

"Can you do me a favour?"

"My bus is here man. I need to. . . "

"This girl I'm meeting sometimes likes to pretend she doesn't know me. I was wondering if you could go talk to her -- you know, like distract her -- then I'll come from behind and. . . "

"You know what, man. You're sick. You're really sick. And if you don't leave here right now. . . "

"Ha ha ha. I'm just kidding man. I was just trying to freak you out."

"Alright. I really need to catch my bus."

"But seriously, if you ever find yourself in a cemetery. . . "

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

21 Really Bad Gift Ideas

I don't know your loved ones, so I can't tell you what to get them for the holidays. One person may rave about a new set of knitting needles, while I'd just wonder why you got me a pair of sharp chopsticks. I'm not going to tell you what is the perfect gift for your special someone, because I'll likely be wrong.

But I will tell you some gifts that you might want to avoid this holiday season if you want to keep relationships healthy.

1. The Black Plague (sure, it was all the rage in Europe, but that was so long ago -- times change)
2. An eviction notice
3. Mike Tyson's Greatest Hits -- personally delivered by Tyson via his fists
4. A gremlin
5. A floppy disk drive
6. A stuffed puppy -- an actual puppy. . . stuffed
7. An all-inclusive weekend getaway at Guantanamo Bay
8. Pauly Shore
9. Reusable toilet paper
10. A year subscription to "Things I Find Between My Feet Monthly"
11. 40 year old cursed Twinkie
12. Yak fat
13. Nude Playing Cards -- of Carrot Top
14. Self-loathing
15. Socks -- freshly used during a marathon run
16. Elephant Man rides
17. Collector’s Edition DVD of "The Dick Cheney & Friends Comedy Hour"
18. Scurvy
19. A homemade coupon giving the recipient the right for one full day to do chores at your house
20. A "Sheryl Crow Covers Sheryl Crow" Album
21. This list

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Scrapped The Post I Was Writing, So Let's Have Some Muppets Instead

I was actually several hundred words into a blog post today, until I realized I was absolutely bored with writing it. If I was having a hard time getting through it, then I don't want to imagine the horror you would experience trying to slog through my dredge. So, I did the whole highlight and delete routine, and it is now eternally stuck into the writer's abyss. I am pretty sure that is where it belongs.

Since I've now have effectively wasted several precious minutes of my morning, I've voted against attempting another length blog post. Instead, I'll resort to the always classic standby of MUPPETS! Because they're trendy now thanks to the movie, and well, they're always awesome, anyway.

This is remix/cover of The Muppet Show Theme Song that is done by OK GO. This has apparently been out for a few years now, but sometimes I'm too busy chasing squirrels with fuzzy tails to notice certain pop culture phenomenons. The actual song is pretty good, but it is the video that is pure Muppet magic. It has the classic humour and it is just a lot of fun. It actually makes me really wish they would greenlight a new The Muppet Show


Monday, December 12, 2011

For This Football Fan, the Groin Kicks Keep on Coming

I was dreading yesterday's game against the Denver Broncos. The sports gods haven't been too kind to the Bears the last few weeks, and I had a sinking feeling the fortunes weren't about to be reversed.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Only a few weeks ago, I believed that the Bears were not only destined for a playoff spot, but they had built the kind of momentum that was making them a dark horse candidate for a run straight to the Super Bowl. The Bears have always had a strong defensive line and an amazing specials team, but it was the offensive side that was finally beginning to click and look really strong. They weren't just squeaking out wins, but they were racking up a decent pile of points.

Then Cutler got hurt. Right when he was really bringing the entire offensive side of the team together and it looked like they had created an unbreakable system. It made the future look a little less shiny with Cutler rooted to the sidelines for what is assumed to be the rest of season, but I also had faith that we were stilled filled with several more superstars.

Then Matt Forte got hurt last week. This is a bigger blow than Cutler. I know you don't want to lose your starting QB, who is often considered the leader of the offensive side of things. But you definitely don't want to say good bye to the guy who has provided over 50% of your offensive output. That was Forte. That is a massive loss.

So, I dreaded Sunday's game where we were down two huge parts of our offensive package. I was dreading it more because we needed to win. We couldn't lose a third straight and drop down to 7-6, which would start making that wild card spot look a little distant. We definitely needed to win that game when our main competition the Lions and Falcons were able to win their games and go 8-5.

You know what; I started getting some hope when watching the game against Denver. Yes, by half time the game was stuck in the scoreless zone, but the team for the most part had been playing really well. Or at least, the defensive line was super strong (which usually is the case, but still. . . ). But I was haunted by the talking heads during half time, who kept saying this score makes it a Tim Tebow kind of game. I wanted to ignore that because I knew they were right. But then again, upsets exist because experts can be wrong.

When it was 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, it was looking like the experts might be wrong. Bears were up 10-0, and they just needed to run down the clock to win this thing. The second half saw amazing performances from the Bears' special teams (Robbie Gould set a franchise record with a 57 yard field goal) and the very best was demonstrated from the tough Bears' defensive line (not allowing the Broncos to make much progress on the field). Even Marion Barber was doing a fine job of being the Forte replacement, and giving the Bears not only some yards but their only touchdown.

But then things fell apart.

Now, I know it can be annoying to hear an unathletic, "can't even play competitively against 12 year olds', after the fact, wannabe coach dish out how he would have won this game. But I've given up the whole avoiding to be annoying thing a long time ago. I disagree with the Bears' final ten minutes of offensive strategy. They basically decided to play it really conservative and run out the clock, while relying on the strong defensive team to hold down the Broncos. You know what, it can be a fine strategy, but it can also be a dangerous one when the game is still really close. It only would take the Broncos two good drives to win the game.

The problem is that the Broncos have started mastering the art of the fourth quarter comebacks. They've done it so much that if I was a Broncos fan, I'd just tune in for the fourth and watch how my team was going to make a miraculous comeback this week.

In my very non-expert opinion, I think the Bears should have made at least some effort to get some more point on the board. There should have been a bit of urgency to create a little larger of a cushion. To either force the Broncos to need to make three drives for victory or at least make two touchdowns.

I realize, in my magical scenario that things may not have gone any better. Hanie may have thrown an interception or someone may have fumbled (just like in the real world OT). There is a risk to playing it safe. But the advantage with my scenario is we will never know if I am right, and if the Bears could have got a few more points up there. I can sit in my magical world of bliss, and pretend Hanie did the unimaginable and threw a 45 yard zinger and brought the Bears up to 17 points. It is a nicer thought than what happened.

Bears played it safe, and relied on their defense. Tebow then did his fourth quarter comeback magic, and scored a touchdown with less than four minutes to go. Even then, Bears still had the lead, and things were still looking very likely they would win this thing.

But then Barber made a monumental mistake. Now, I don't want to rage on Barber, because I like him and he has played well this year. But with less than 2 minutes in the game, the goal was now to run out that clock and avoid Broncos ever touching that ball again. The Bears has been able to force Broncos to use up all their time outs, and with the right strategy, the Bears had the chance to run down that clock with their final three plays. They just had to make sure the clock would not stop.

Then Barber ran out of bounds. Going out of bounds stops the clock. Now, I realize Barber didn't run out but was sort of tackled out, but he never should have been near the sideline. Goal number one was to keep that clock ticking.

I'm not an unbiased sports site, so I don't need to tell you anymore. I don't need to recount anymore of the 'miracle' comeback. I just want to say that this game was a raging fireball to the gut and about 73 ninja kicks to the groin.

In my biased opinion, it sucked. So there.

I'm now shifting away from my optimistic view of the Bears' future this season, and dreading that my child-to-be will enter into a world that the Bears are settling into playing golf in January. What an awful place to enter into.

Please Bears, for the sake of my unborn child, you must win all your games from this point forward. My child deserves to know this is a place where the Bears are in the playoffs and dreams are a reality.

Cutler and Forte, we need you guys. We can win this thing without you, but life is full of a few more happy dolphins when you're playing and doing those wonderful things you do.

Bears can still be playoff bound.

But we sure can't have any games like this weekend. It isn't kind to pandas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Here is the Type of Emails I Write

Of course, if we already are regular email correspondents then you know the type of prose I zoom into your inbox. Actually, if you've read this blog for any amount of time then you also probably have a rough idea of how I likely converse with my family friends. But just in case you thought I was just a goof for the sake of this blog, here is the email I sent after my lovely wife had pushed that I get around to composing a Christmas List for the family (and her).

Ok Fine. . . Here is my Christmas List. . .

Hi Family,

Apparently, Emily didn't want to follow the trend and throw my list in with her assortment of desires.

In my old age, I've come to dread almost nothing more than having to compose a Christmas Wish List. This along with my thinning head of hair and disdain for late night outs shows I’ve passed by my blessed younger years. Yes, I once did enjoy composing an epic list of Christmas wants, but I also once had a reason to own a comb or want to have a fully booked weekend. Things apparently change. But despite my moaning and groaning, here is my attempt at some kind of acceptable Christmas Wish List. Feel free to completely ignore it or use it to line a hamster cage (in case you're expecting to become the proud owner of a hamster or want a place to keep an unruly but tiny guest - like an elf).

1. I really like novels, books, movies, and similar type things. This means you can either go the gift card route, or you can try your luck and buy something I don't own (or just ask Emily if I have it yet or not). For novels, I like almost anything, but tend be drawn to material with quirky characters or odd scenarios (but I'm also a sucker for any classic works). As for non-fiction books, again I'm happy with a variety of things, but I especially enjoy a well written book that analyzes historical periods or anything philosophical (I also like books that analyze the impact of pop culture on a time period). I don't own Freakonomics (hint hint) and I'm a fan of Malcolm Gladwell too. As for movies, I like anything that is considered culturally significant and again, I'm easy to please. I also like memorabilia related to significant pop culture history (Emily gave me a calendar of several old school Star Wars film posters and I was giddy for about 25 minutes afterwards). You also may have heard, but I'm a Bears fan -- stuff about them never gets spat on.

2. Gift certificates to places that may motivate me to go on a date with my beautiful wife is never ever an evil thing by any means. I don't need those things to tell me to go on a date, but it's always nice to have a beautiful evening with a little less impact on the bank account (hint: my birthday gift of a cinema gift card was lovely and spiffy all at the same time).

3. I know we have a lot of board games, but my Uncle Jebediah always said, "A house can never have too many board games." He also said that a ghost haunted his underwear drawer and that is why he always wore the same pair for 30 years -- so, you can't listen to everything he said.

4. There is this computer game by TellTale games called Monkey Island (Lucas Arts did four previous versions, but I own those already -- has to be the TellTale version). I wouldn't throw rotten cabbage at you if you bought me this game. I also like sports games, but I haven't done a lick of research of which ones are any good, plus I apparently have one at home that I haven't played since the first time it arrived here -- so you know, take that knowledge with you.

5. I always wanted an iPad. Well, not always. I didn't want the version that MADTV parodied in the early 2000s. I'm aware that iAnything didn't exist in the 80s -- when I liked composing Christmas lists. I also realize this is likely outside of everyone's budget, but in case you happen to find one lying on the sidewalk -- I'll take it.

6. PVR would be cool too. A baby is apparently coming to our house, and it likes getting attention and food and stuff. But when it sleeps, I can watch all the shows I missed, because you know, when you run your own business you have tons of time to watch TV. Though on the other hand, I may end up doing some entertainment work next year and will actually need to 'watch TV for work'. But anyway, like almost everything on this list, I haven't done any research and don't even know if you can get a PVR outside of what Rogers offers. So, I sort of understand if you think, 'this is way too much work and way more money than socks -- I'm getting socks with flowers on them instead.' I agree with you, but try to refrain from getting the ones with flowers -- I'm allergic to vegetation.

7. Clothes aren't the worse thing in the world. Though, I now have a job where looking spiffy is only occasionally necessary. My current fellow office occupants don't seem to care how I dress as long as I remember to scratch them behind the ears -- they may be a little different than the type you're used to working with.

8. Money is good. I can use it to procure goods or services that I desire. Or if I get enough, I can fashion a money tent where I can provide shelter to squirrels or a lorax for the winter.

9. Brevity.

10. Or you can just ask Emily. She probably has a better idea of what I want or what I actually need. I tend to forget the things that I ask about or wish I had when put under pressure -- I forgot I wanted a camera until I got it for my Birthday and was like, 'awesome, I really wanted this." So yeah, ask her. She also won't ramble on like I do nor throw in useless information like fictional Dr. Seuss creatures or pudding.

I wanted to make my list a top ten, because I secretly aspire to be David Letterman or something. I achieved that, so I feel my job here is done. This also may have successfully convinced you to just ignore me this Christmas, and give my money to a charity or a gypsy.

Anyway, hope you all have fun with what you choose to do this rather cold weekend.

Christopher

Friday, December 09, 2011

The First (Real) Snowfall of the Season

We had white chunky snow-like stuff a week ago, but it hit the ground and disappeared -- so not a Southern Ontario snowfall. But today, these suckers seem to at least plan to be around until lunch time, so that is enough for me to declare the first snowfall of the winter.

And what does this snowfall look like?

Well, like this.



It looks pretty and all, but what does the resident snow expert think about this?











But what does Crosby think about all this snow business?



"Why are you staring out the window when you could be feeding me instead?"