Friday, November 2, 2007

Damn PVR!!!!

I watched the Senators game this morning. On my trusty PVR. After the second period, it was 5-0 Ottawa, and I went to get myself some breakfast. I had a few other things to watch, so I decided not to watch the third. I mean, it's 5-0. So I watched my recorded Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Pardon the Interruption. Then, I thought, I have a little time before I leave, I'll just watch the third on fast forward, so I know the final score before I get to work. I started fast forwarding, then I ended up late for work - well, late leaving anyway - because I kept seeing Atlanta's score go up. I flipped back to refular-speed hockey when Chris Neil got a double minor penalty. Just in time to see Atlanta score twice more, Kovalchuk get his hat trick, and the Senators seemingly collapse in the third. There was still 2 minutes remaining in the third, and Atlanta was knocking on the door again, having made it 5-4, when the PVR...quit on me. Again. Anyone know the Senators score?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

More football. Picks, tricks and chicks.

So, tomorrow, I will be competing in a football-throwing contest vs. Kristy Hughes, who is the assistant coach with the St. Patrick's high school football team and was a representative of team Canada on our women's flag football squad. This all came about after Brett Favre's 82-yard pass to win the Monday night game. Doc was under the impression Favre had thrown it 82 yards in the air. This was not the case, and seems unlikely, but I suggested that perhaps Favre COULD throw 60 yards in the air. Randall asked me how far I could throw, and I said "farther than you". Somehow this became a contest, where Randall is not participating, but where I will be competing against a star female athlete. How strange. The time I was beaten about the face by a professional female boxer, it started this way as well. Well, if I lose tomorrow at 8:30, I will not feel too bad. It is her job, after all. But I could still throw farther than Randall.

Now, onto this week's picks, so I have my reference point for the week.

Green Bay - Kansas City: The Packers are coming off that dramatic win on Monday night, and they are flying high. This is a short week for the Pack, and Kansas City is coming off a bye. The Chiefs are playing much better of late, they are healthy and well-rested, but Green Bay is very much a cut above. It may be close, like that Denver game, but the Pack will prevail.

San Francisco - Atlanta: The Falcons are in disarray, but then, so are the Niners. This game will be awful, neither team will deserve to win, and either team could pull off a loss here. I'll take the Niners to win, simply because I think Atlanta may not win again at home for the rest of the year.

Cincinnatti - Buffalo: The Bills are awful, yet somehow have managed to string together two wins against the Ravens, who should have known better, and the Jets, who may be the only team in the division worse than the Bills. Can lightning strike three weeks in a row? I am betting against it. The Bengals have not looked good either, but if they are to have any hope this season, they MUST beat the Bills this week. And they will.

Denver - Detroit: I know the Lions are 5-2. I know this. And I want to get on the Jon Kitna bandwagon, (especially after he put on the naked guy-and-Wendy's-drive-thru-employee costume with his wife this week at Hallowe'en - his defensive line coach famously drove, drunk, and naked, through a Wendy's drive-thru earlier this year. Hilarious.) Yet, I just can't. I just can't buy into this team, they seem to be more smoke and mirrors than anything else. But they have won two in a row against fairly decent opposition, and Denver has lost three of four. It all depends on how the Broncos respond to that heartbreaker last week against the Pack. MY guess is with the veteran guys they have, they will respond well. Denver by a nose.

San Diego - Minnesota: The Vikings are much better at home, and they should be much better than they have been of late. But they have no quarterback, they have no wins in their last two games, and they have no chance against the resurgent Chargers. San Diego might actually be the third best team in the league again, right now, behind of course the Colts and Patriots. San Diego in a walk.

Jacksonville - New Orleans: The Saints are in a similar situation as the Chargers. All of a sudden, they have remembered how good they really are - they have remembered how to play football. Drew Brees is clicking again, and so is this offense, with Bush instead of McAllister. Jacksonville is much better on paper - 5 wins vs. 3, but I think the Saints are playing so much better right now that I can't see going against them. New Orleans in a close one.

Carolina - Tennessee: The Titans have been getting it done all season, but just barely, most of the time. The Panthers are in first in their division, they have a winning record, but they have a much tougher situation than Tennessee, and they need this game more. The Titans can't win their division, because it has the Colts in it. I think Carolina is hungry, especially after being hammered by the Patriots, and they will come to play and they will win. And here's an amazing stat. While they are 0-3 at home, the Panthers are 4-0 on the road!

Arizona - Tampa Bay: The Bucs are a better team. The Cardinals are a tougher team. Somehow, they are in similar situations (4-4 vs. 3-4), becuase the Cards play up while Tampa plays down. A really close call, I will take Tampa simply because they are at home, where they are 3-1, and because Arizona is on the road, where they are 1-3.

Washington - New York Jets: The Jets are incredibly terrible. Staggeringly so. The one game from here on out they had a chance at winning came last week. The Skins are looking to exact some revenge after New England stomped them, ran up the score, stomped them again, and basically had their way with them as though they were a date rapist and the Skins were on rohypnol. Checking to see if anyone reads this. Sadly for the Jets, that revenge comes this week at their expense.

Seattle - Cleveland: Cleveland, believe it or not, is for real. Their QB is young, and he is good. Their team is coming together at the right time, and they might even have a shot at the playoffs. The problem is that there is a chance they don't even know it themselves yet. I think they will put in a good showing against the veteran Seahawks, but Seattle is too old and too smart to be caught off guard. The Hawks in a close one.

New England - Indianapolis: Ah yes. The big game, the battle of the titans, the showdown, the de-facto Super Bowl, the AFC championship preview...or, as most would have it, the coronation of the Patriots as the Super Bowl champs RIGHT NOW! Now, how come a team that has not lost since Week 15 of last season, the undefeated Super Bowl champions, are the underdogs going into a HOME game? The Colts have not been beaten yet this year, they are still the defending champs, and they are getting no respect. And you know what? They love it. Let the Patriots run up the score on weaker teams. Let them get all the glory and the headlines. The Colts just win games, and for the first time, their unblemished record is not being followed by every sports reporter in the country. The only thing that could ruin this for them is...beating New England. And they will. Too bad for them. (An aside - this win will make the Colts 8-0, and the Patriots 8-1. But New England has a bye week next week to recover, and the Colts have to go to San Diego, where, after the huge high of beating the Patriots, they will lose to the Chargers, who are the third-best team in football right now. So, neither team will go unbeaten this year.)

Houston - Oakland: The Raiders should win. Oakland is at home, and the Texans have lost three in a row. But those Texans lost to a Chargers team on top of their game, a Tennessee team that just squeaked by them in the best game of the year, and the Jaguars, who were on a roll. Finally, the Texans are up against a weaker team, and they will take advantage of the opportunity to hammer the Raiders, who have also lost three straight.

Dallas - Philadelphia: This might actually be the toughest game to call of the week, and it's a damn tough week. First of all, the Eagles looked like they figured out how to win again against the Vikings last week. Secondly, the toughest games to call are always division games. And thirdly, the Cowboys might take Philly a little lightly here. Next week they have what may be their biggest game of the season, against the Giants, and I think they might tend to get caught up in that, Tony Romo's signing bonus, and all the hype around them right now. I still think Dallas will win, but do not be surprised by an upset here.

Baltimore - Pittsburgh: The Ravens should be a 6-1 team. They have that much talent. Instead they are a 4-3 team, and in second in their division, behind the Steelers, who should be 6-1 but are 5-2 thanks to losses to crappy teams - Arizona and the Broncos. They will not make that mistake against the Ravens, and Pittsburgh will take this one.

There it is. Hopefully, I will go 14-0 this week, beat Kristy in the football-throwing contest, take over the lead in the CHEZ football pool, and head into by vacation on Friday on a high. If not, I will take that bye week to recharge my batteries, and come back rested, recuperated, and ready for the second half of the season!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Football recap. The good, the bad and the lucky.

I got three wrong this week. The Jets are looking worse and worse every week, and they couldn't even put up a halfway decent effort against Buffalo at home! Buffalo! In New York! Come on. Also, the Bears, who could have been right back in the thick of their division with a won over Detroit, laid a huge egg and the Lions are far ahead in second place now. In that same division, if the Vikings could have built on the outstanding play of Adrian Peterson, they should have been working their way back in with a victory over the hit-and-miss Eagles. But they also laid an egg, and the Eagles pulled off a victory that was a surprise to me. The Bears and Jets were not surprises at all. I struggled a lot picking those two games. I am still leading the office pool, and I got 103 points in the CHEZ online pool this week. What makes my 103 points sweeter is that Doc got 72. The first time I have a great week and he doesn't Rain Man his way by me!

Hallowe'en - not Hallmark, but Holiday nonetheless.

I believe Hallmark DOES make Hallowe'en cards. I think they also have a line of All Hallows Eve cards. But few people purchase them. These cards I believe are on the lower tier at Hallmark, along with the English-language Chinese New Year cards and the Sorry I Gave You Herpes line. But just because Hallowe'en does not bring in an extra seventy-four billion dollars for Hallmark does not mean it is any less of a holiday. In fact, for many, it is even MORE of a holiday. When I drive around my neighbourhood, I see many, many houses with their yards crammed full of Hallowe'en-related displays. There are more "look-at-me" houses on Hallowe'en than there are on Christmas! Of course, on Christmas, those who do the giant yard display have a lot of lights, and they have Griswald-esque waving snowmen and glow-in-the-dark Jesus, and the apostles pulling Santa's sleigh in an assault on the senses that is visible from space.

On Hallowe'en it's different. Far more families seem to find it easier to put skeletons hanging from their trees, coffins on the lawns and gravestones lying about. And that is true. It IS easier, and it will not quadruple their power bill for the year. And although I really dislike the Christmas displays, I harbour slightly less resentment toward these ghoulish lawn ornaments. They're meant to scare kids, after all, and that makes me happy. But I don't want to participate. I was bothered a few weeks ago when my girlfriend discovered hooks in our eaves that would be "perfect for hanging Christmas lights!" I curled into a fetal position for a time, then grudgingly accepted my fate and decided to never mention it again in the hopes that she would forget.

But the truly defining event representing a capitulation to the mores and ethics of suburbia is not Christmas lights, it is Hallowe'en ornaments. Scary, cutesy, whatever. When you put up that first gravestone, it's all over. So when I watched my girlfriend carve SIX jack-o-lanterns on Monday, I was starting to get a little worried. But I figured it was OK. She just loves pumpkins and the cutesiness associated with them. In fact, they are apparently not "cute" enough on their own, the "p" in front of "pumpkin" being too harsh, and she has taken to referring to them as "umpkins". This makes me throw up in my mouth a little, whereupon I feel as though I am dating a four-year-old, and we can't have sex for a week because it creeps me out.

So in carving these umpkins, she discovered her old box of Hallowe'eny trinkets and toys. The costumes, the paraphenalia...no my lawn has a gravestone in it. With cutesy little heads and hands poking out of the ground in front - charming. Also, we have a battery-powered bat hanging from our light outside. Glorious. These things distress me enormously. I don't mind the "holiday", I just mind my own forced participation in it. I am perfectly content just buying candy, waiting by the door, saying hi to some kids in costumes - one year there was a kid dressed as me, that was awesome - and going to bed. Maybe watching a good horror movie, simply for whatever weirdo "tradition" this day has become.

That is why there are dozens of holidays I actually like. Ramadan, I like. Yom Kippur, wonderful. Qwanza - don't even know what it is, I love it! Chinese New Year, Passover, and a myriad of others. These are the holidays I love. These are the ones that are not forced on me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Too much good all at once?

I remember thinking a week ago, that I was going to have to get up at 1:00 this morning and leave for work late, just so I could get all the sports in I wanted. I was so much looking forward to both the Monday Night Football Game as my Packers took on Denver, and also Game Five of the World Series as my Red Sox took on Denver. In the end, I got lucky, since the BoSox hammered Colorado in 4 straight, and I got to watch that on my PVR Monday morning.

But the PVR has it's ups and downs. This morning, I settled in to watch the Packers game. My Internet Explorer default page is nfl.com, so when I open it up, I have to quickly navigate away so I don't see the scores of last night's game, so I can watch it with a fresh perspective. And I did. I managed to not see the Monday night score, I managed to watch the game fresh. An exciting game, down to the wire, Green Bay leading 13-10 at the end of the 4th quarter, when Denver pulls off the huge drive. They get down to the Packers' 4 yard line, 24 seconds left on the clock and...the PVR runs out. The tape ends, there is nothing left. I had to go back to the computer to find out they held the Broncos at the goal line, forced them to kick a field goal to tie, and then smoked them on the first play of overtime with Favre's 82-yard TD bomb to Greg Jennings. I am not familiar yet with the workings of this PVR business, and I have not figured out how to make the tape go any longer. In the end, my team won, and I am having a hell of a year. Pack is 6-1. Senators are 9-1. The Bombers are just behind Toronto for first in the East. And Boston is World Series champion! I have a feeling - looks like a Grey Cup for Winnipeg, Stanley Cup for Ottawa, and Super Bowl for Green Bay. The only thing that scares me is that after that Stanley Cup win, I am likely to be hit by a bus or something.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Success!


Thank you Scott! OK, here is the poster, again that is 50 bucks to Operation Go Home, and the email address is

I'm still not fantastic with pictures.

One last post about Rocky Horror and Operation Go Home. There were some really fanatastic, gigantic (and remarkably expensive) posters made by Operation Go Home to advertise the event on Thursday night, and one is currently up on my wall at home. Another one of those was scheduled to be raffled off on Thursday. It was forgotten, however, and is now available for purchase, first-come-first served. I have included a link to the poster here, since I can't figure out how to get this particular picture up on my blog.

http://www.operationgohome.ca/PDF/rocky%20horror%20poster.pdf

The mint-condition, collector's edition poster is going on a first-come-first-served basis, for 50 bucks. Send an email to kim@operationgohome.ca and you're good to go!

A picture!


It worked! I have figured out how to post pictures to my blog! As you can see, Pierre's costume was a bit more accurate than mine! He went all out with the makeup, and I just didn't have time. In the end, he proved to be the sexier Frank-N-Furter, and he earned more money than I did. For more information on Pierre and his organization, go to www.operationgohome.ca.

Rocky Horror update

I have the final results. It looks as though Pierre Belanger, director of Operation Go Home, proved to be far sexier than I was in his Frank-N-Furter costume, and therefore he won the day, $51.00 - $44.00. (I put most of the discrepancy down to the fact that Pierre's hot daughters all put money in his cup instead of mine, against their better judgement, since they felt some sort of familial obligation.) All went to a great cause, Operation Go Home, and in the end we managed to raise $3,500.00 for this non-profit, non-government-funded organization. Thanks to all who showed up!

I am having trouble uploading a picture to my blog here, but when I have that figured out, I will post a shot of Pierre and myself in our full Frank-N-Furter splendor!

Lunch parties!

My girlfriend had a lunch party yesterday - our friends Jim and Debbie came by for lunch, it was a way of saying "thanks for helping us move". Which is great, and I quite like having people over for beers at noon. But I don't really understand why that has to be so different now that we have a nice house and so forth. Now things, apparently, need to be classy. Wine, and cheese plates, and tiny little chocolate-covered cheesecakes, all served on the good dishes and with matching cutlery...I don't get it. But what I really don't get is the cleaning. We're going to have lunch in the dining room, then we are going to retire to the living room to converse while I watch football out of the corner of my eye. Why clean the other rooms? Well, they need the tour, you see. And if, during that tour, they see fingerprints on my desk downstairs, they may think we live like slobs...or something...I don't really know. All I know is that before the 4:00 Comfortably Numb show on Saturday, I was charged with cleaning the entire house. The bathroom upstairs - still fairly clean from the last time, and it was not going to be used by our guests, but it had to be spotless. The kids' rooms? I had to clean them. The kids leave them a mess, and I have to clean them because our guests are going to pass by those rooms during the tour. A fine lunch, but a lot of work. If MY friends are coming over, I might put pants on. That's my contribution to the classy.

The making of a band.

After the second Comfortably Numb show last night, I headed over to Barrymore's to host a fantastic local band, Twelve Thirty-Four. They have recently been signed to a record label, and their new album is wonderful. I was there as they signed the contracts, I provided the pen, and I thought, "geez, - (yes, I even THINK like a twelve year old. Geez.) I hope these guys get huge, so I can say I was there when they signed their first contract." I can only imagine how good that guy feels who gave Bono the pen to sign his first papers. The show was fantastic, if you ever get a chance to see Twelve Thirty-Four, take it. It is a lousy band name - 1234, we get it - but they are great. I was talking to the guy who ran the label. They are excited, since they have recently signed some BIG-NAME talent to their roster. He told me the name of the woman. It did not ring a bell. He mentioned some songs off her latest album. Still nothing. He said - From Toronto! Umm...OK...still nothing. It turns out she was the lead singer of the BAND Toronto, a band which I had forgotten even existed. But apparently, she is still out there, going solo, and her album is being released on the same label as Twelve-Thirty-Four's. Now you know!

After the show, we all went out scoping the ladies in their Hallowe'en costumes, and ended up at Georgie's Pizza, just loaded enough to think that the gravy pizza was a good idea. I have always wondered if I would eat that stuff sober, but you know? It's never come up.

Comfortably Numb...again!

Two more sold-out shows at the Museum of Civilization on Saturday for the world's premiere Pink Floyd show, Comfortably Numb. They are getting huge respect from the world of music, and have been invited to participate in the Cuban music festival. They are going to Cuba! I am hoping CHEZ decides to send some listeners down there, and that those listeners need a chaperone. The show is better than ever - bigger light show, more lasers and the cool stuff...fantastic. I love the fact that you can purchase beer at the museum, but they will not allow people to bring that beer into the show itself. You can buy it and drink it, but only in the hallway. Which is fine, but when I walked into the theatre itself to watch the show in the evening, there was an unmistakable odour. Apparently, they are very vigilant about the beer and liquor, but no one has prepared the security guards at the museum to be able to stop folks from lighting joints in the auditorium. Ironic.

What's up with my pumpkin?

I was at the Twelve Thirty-Four show on Saturday night at Barrymore's, and I was outside smoking when a car drove by. A young woman leaned out of the passenger seat and yelled "Hey Eric! I love Cynical Cinema!". I yelled thanks, but then the driver stopped the car, leaned out of HER window, and yelled "But I hate your pumpkin!" Upon arriving home, I took a look at the Doc and Woody Fun Page, where the photos of pumpkins have been posted. I am getting totally screwed in every way here.

A little back story, first. Every year, Children At Risk sends out a bunch of pumpkins to local "celebrities" like Max Keeping, or Doc and Woody. This year, I was asked to do a pumkin as well. The idea is that each of these people carves the pumpkin they are given, however they see fit, and then they compete for money. The money raised goes to Children At Risk, a charity which assists all kinds of kids (and their families) in our area with any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. A fantastic cause. And in order to aid with that cause, the good people at Children at Risk have asked that each "celebrity" provide a small prize package, so when people bid for the pumpkin in question, there is an added incentive. So Doc and Woody asked our promotions department (by that I mean Tiffany and Bob) to throw a prize package together. I asked them for the same.

The next day, Tiffany is doing Doc and Woody's pumpkin FOR them. It is a face of Gene Simmons from KISS, and it is OK. I worked my ass off making mine at home. Which brings me to the first way I am getting screwed. When you see the photographs of the respective pumpkins on the Fun Page, theirs gets photographed from the front. MINE is shown from the back, at which point you would have no idea whatsoever what it is. (In fact, it is a gunshot-victim, pumkin, and is very cute and Tarantino-esque.) The second way I am getting screwed becames quickly apparent when one examines the rest of the Fun Page. Witness, transcribed directly:

Doc and Woody's pumpkin is on display at Carlingwood Shopping Centre
You can make a donation at the mall or bid on our auction package online included is Chez hat and tee, tickets to Jethro Tull , N.A.C. , tickets to Transiberian Orchestra, Scotiabank Place, KISSOLOGY DVD

Eric the Interns pumpkin is on display at Place D'Orleans
his prize package includes CHEZ shirt and hat, mousepad and some DVD's

This is exactly copied from the Fun Page. And it isn't the bold font or the larger letters that bothers me. That is fine. It IS the Doc and Woody Page, after all, and of course they are going to feel that they are more important. No, here is what bugs me. You see my prize package? You see where it mentions "mouse pad"? Has anyone seen the CHEZ 106 mouse pads? They are without a doubt the cheapest, worst, prizes in our prize closet. It's neck-and-neck-and-neck as to what is the worst prize we give away - mouse pads, lanyards, or kicks in the balls. You decide. And what is in Doc and Woody's prize package? TWO pairs of concert tickets.

This is not entirely Doc and Woody's doing. Apparently, I just don't rate concert tickets. Promotions decided the boys needed an extra edge, and they tossed two pairs into their prize pack. My contention is that we could have raised more money for Children At Risk were we to split up the tickets, since how many people want BOTH Jethro Tull AND Trans-Siberian Orchestra? I would have taken Trans-Siberian tickets. They would not raise as much money, I assume, but at least we would have raised more money altogether. So I have been screwed. And despite the pictures on the Fun Page, my pumpkin is excellent. A friend of mine saw me at the show Saturday night and said "I don't like your pumpkin. It creeps me out." She had seen it at Place D'Orleans, and it creeped her out. Isn't that kind of the point of a jack-o-lantern? Haven't I therefore done what was expected? I hope people see through this and spend enough money on my pumpkin that I at least defeat Doc and Woody, despite the deck being so badly stacked against me!