Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I just finished reading the book Passchendale, based on the recent Canadian movie of the same name. The question I have to ask myself is why wouldn't more folks want to see this movie? It is wonderful that the government provided significant grants that allowed this film to be made, but it would be nice to have seen an equally large marketing budget so that the film could actually be seen.

Here I am talking like this and I havn't even seen the film. The problem is, the only place I heard it even played is at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year. It sure as hell is not going to play in the backwater of Chatham, Ontario (the closest theatre to my rural home).

So I am forced to check The Pirate Bay every could days in hopes that eventually it will show up as a Torrent. Shhh... don't tell anybody. If I do download it I'll mail the cost of a movie ticket to Paul Gross.

If you are lucky enough to live in a major urban center, and you find Passchendale playing at your local theatre, please check it out.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Just got back from a business trip to Philadelphia. It was a quick in-and-out affair, which was a shame because Philly is a beautiful and historic city and I would have loved to take some time to do all the 'touristy' things. I really wanted to run up those steps and jump around "Rocky style" but didn't get the chance. I could see from my hotel balcony a steady stream of folks attempting this at all hours of the day or night.

The real purpose of the trip was to attend a Christmas party where my company entertained some clients. It was a pretty casual affair, buffet dinner, drinks, etc. at Dave & Buster's. If you don't know Dave & Buster's it is kind of like a Chuck E. Cheese for adults. If you don't know Chuck E. Cheese then I can't help you.

I was under orders from the regional VP to be on my best behaviour. Thankfully the clients were under no such orders, and got themselves good and loaded courtesy of our open bar. I hung back and paced myself, probably only had 4 pints. Managed to play lots of video games, burning thru 2 x $50 play cards.

Around 11pm the clients decided we needed to experience a taste of Philadelphia so we all grabbed cabs over to 4th & South and the institution known as Jim's Steaks. If you have never had a Philly Cheesesteak you are not missing much. Its really just shaved sirloin beef steak fried and mixed with onions and cheese, served in a soft Italian roll. The locals like it with Cheez Whiz, which is a processed goop that glows in the dark and comes in a can. I had mine with Provolone. Don't get me wrong, they are pretty damn tasty and Jim's is apparently the best of the best.

We wandered down South Street and ended up at a little Irish pub called, suprise suprise, Murphy's. The clients were talking about how we were in a "bad part of town" and "needed to be careful". South street looked pretty cool to me. Tattoo parlors, live music venues, used clothing and record stores, groovy stores, and lots of hip young people wandering around and having a great time. It reminded me of Toronto's Queen West or New York's Greenwich village.

By this point the clients were really messy, spilling drinks on themselves and harrassing the cute waitress with a big rack. I ordered a Sierra Nevada and they were teasing me. You go ahead and enjoy your Bud Light to Nascar watching redneck, I'll enjoy my microbrew. I also had the opportunity to try a local brew called Yuengling lager, which is apparently America's oldest brewery. It was pretty good... for an American lager.

Monday, December 01, 2008


That would be myself. Stupid Driver. I put my car in the ditch on the way home from work today. It had been raining in London and a bit of snow on the drive home. Then the snow cleared and the roads "looked" dry. I was booting along, talking on my mobile with the wife, going about 80km in a 90km/h stretch. I came into a corner, just past a bridge and instantly knew I was in trouble. I hit a patch of black ice, back end of the car started skidding out, I took my foot off the gas, started pumping the brakes, and turned into the skid. Hit another patch of black ice and knew at that instant I was going into the ditch, only question was how bad it was going to be.

Did I mention I was yelling "NO, NO, SHIT SHIT SHIT" at the top of my lungs? And I was still on the phone with my wife.

Car skidded 180 and I ended up in the opposite ditch, facing the direction I had come, and stuck good. No way I was driving out, frankly I was lucky I had not flipped the car.

First thing I did was pick up my mobile and tell the wife I was fine. Once I pulled myself out of the car (which was very difficult considering it was sitting at a 60 degree angle) and made it up to the side of the road I called a tow truck and hunkered down for the wait.

Not the wait for the tow truck. The wait for all the folks who were going to stop and ask if I needed help. Its simply what happens when you end up in the ditch around here. Small town Ontario. Literally every single car that drove past stopped to see if I was OK. The only ones who didn't were the ones who passed while someone else was already stopped.

At one point a car went screaming past, then slammed on the brakes, swerved, and nearly ended up in the ditch beside me. A guy jumped out and came running towards me. "I'm a student Paramedic, is anybody injured?" He was salivating like a dog at the thought of giving someone an emergency tracheotomy with his ballpoint pen. He nearly caused another accident when he drove off moments later, clearly disappointed that I had not so much as spilled my Diet Pepsi.

So I am now home safe, the car is at my father-in-law's garage for an inspection before I take it out on the road again, and I am writing my first post in about two weeks. What can I say, I get into the routine of the day job and neglect the blog, which is stupid since writing in this dumb thing is one of the things I truly enjoy.