Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Proper Acknowledgement

It's nice to see that Grande Prairie is finally recognizing me for how famous I am. I recently made it into their newspaper for becoming eating champion of Grande Prairie.

Oh, and as an update, I've never been able to get completely full from a meal since I became eating champion. I think I must have sprained my stomach.

Anyway, this past weekend I judged a ski competition. It was this thing where they basically get this giant puddle of cold water on the ski hill, and competitors have to make it across on their snowboards or skiis.

There was free beer and food for famous people like myself.

Here are some photos from the event

That's me on the judges podium! I wish you could see a picture of my hair that day. I looked like Afroman. I generally got soaked up there from the splashes. As a rule I gave all the people who splashed me and my fellow judge a one out of ten.

Here's the crowds lined up all the way up the hill. They said they came for the competition, but they stayed for my wit and candor.

Here's one the competitors. We called him 'Mr.Casual' because he just kind of glided in a straight line down the hill and into the water

and slowly glided to a stop and sank.

The best quote of the day came from another kid who said "Oh, It's cold. Oh, It's cold."

This is actually Mr.Casual's second try, and he glid to a stop even further from the finish than the first time.

Unfortunately that's about it for decent photos. There's none of the truly epic wipe-outs. There was this one where this kid face planted into the water and it made a slapping noise so loud it sounded like a gun! So funny! There was also a guy who was dressed up like Batman (Adam West Batman) and lots of funny costumes, but you get the general idea.

Next year I'm definitely going to compete. As soon as I remember how to ski.

Anyway, I'd give a longer update, but these past couple of weeks at work have been kicking my ass. All these people with their demands of me to do my job at work are getting ridiculous! What I think I need to chill out is a good round of Scrabble!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Horrible Dreams

I don't often have nightmares, and when I do they're usually pretty softcore. All the same though, they give me the jibblies.

Last night after eating four tacos and drinking a beer I had a couple awful dreams. I don't know if the two are connected but I felt that it was important to mention them.

I also watched America's Next Top Model with my various roommates, and some of the 'women' on that show are pretty nightmare worthy.

Anyway, here are the dreams that gave me the heebie jeebies:

#1 The Gilbert Gottfried Conundrum

I was sitting and watching television with two of my roommates. One, who is always on her laptop while watching TV, was sitting to me, and my sole male roommate Cale. Somehow I happened to be talking about Curly from the Three Stooges.

Cale didn't know who this was, and after I explained who it was to him to him he said, "Oh yeah, Gilbert Gottfried."

"Gilbert Gottfried?!" I exclaimed. "How can you think that Curly is Gilbert Gottfried? What the hell is wrong with you?"

"No, I'm pretty sure Curly is Gilbert Gottfried."

I got the girl sitting next to me to on the internet to prove Cale wrong. But she was having so much trouble with it! It took her like half an hour to dumbly click around Google. Finally I shouted at her to go Wikipedia, and I typed in 'The Three Stooges' myself, and showed Cale that he was wrong.

End of Nightmare.

That was pretty messed up. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all day. The real horrible thing though is that in my dream state I was picturing a crossbreed between Gilbert Gottfried with Larry of the stooges for some reason. And Larry had nothing to do with the dream at all! That image is so disturbing I won't even try and photoshop something together.

It makes me feel all antsy. Like this:

#2 I've Got the Wrong Number!

This dream requires some preamble.

In Alberta, much like many other provinces and probably in the States too, you can no longer dial just seven numbers to call someone. The area code is included on all calls even in your local area. This is because people with Cell Phones are ruining it for people like me who want to live with nothing but a landline. (I do have a cell though. It makes me feel dirty.)

But being that I'm from Manitoba, I'm used to dialing only seven numbers for local calls. Only 15 people live in Manitoba, and around ten of them have their own personal numbers. The other five individuals are assorted roommates who share the phone. So punching in the extra three digits is unnecessary because there's plenty of unused numbers to go around.
In Alberta though it takes me several tries to call someone because I forget to dial the extra three numbers all the time.

Now, on to the dream.

I was back in Manitoba visiting my friends, and I was trying to call them up to party or something. I kept trying to call them over and over, but to no avail. The phoneline was dead. I tried some more but still nothing. Then I looked at the phone, I remember it looked exactly like this one:

but without the red light or piece of paper, and realized I was dialing '7-8-0', Alberta's area code, in front of the numbers I was trying to call! Of course it wasn't working! The solution was so obvious!

I dialed "1-780" and all was well. Even though that techically wouldn't have worked because that isn't Manitoba's area code, it turned out just fine.

I have no idea why but that one REALLY freaked me out.

So yeah, those were my nightmares. Really extreme stuff, right? Have you had any bizarre dreams lately?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

Everyone as a child says they want to be something absurd when they grow up. Not many people do become what they want to be when they're only five years old. That, or they become something related to, but not quite exactly what they had imagined.

It's normal really. How many astronauts to we actually need? And how many cowboys can the average town actually suppourt?

I can quite clearly recall in grade 1 saying that I wanted to be a star.

Not the gaseous exploding type, although I'm sure that's a very steady line of work, I was referring to the celebrity type. I wasn't very specific though. At the age of five the line between actor and 'star' is very blurred.

What did a star do? Who did they work for? Why was the position so attractive? No idea. None whatsoever. But I knew I wanted to be a star.

The dream was quickly forgotten though as that same day I was stabbed in the face by the kid sitting next to me with a pencil. I had a blue dot smack dab in the middle of my forehead for the next eight years. It's still kind of there, and I'm still a little bitter about it.

Then around grade four I decided that I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. The pictures of crazy whacked out fish in National Geographic piqued my interest. And naturally, as a Marine Biologist it's your job to travel in submarines and look at cool fish for the betterment of society.

I was probably most interested by this because of a series of old comics (and by old I mean from 1986 or something) based on the toys 'Centurions.'

The comic came in a box along with lots of other old comics, which was by far the coolest thing my parents ever brought home from an auction sale. Except for that time my dad brought home a Motorhome and some church pews. But that's another story for another time.

There was one Centurion who was the underwater specialist (the guy in green, although I could have sworn he wore blue). He was a marine biologist and that was COOL!

I maintained for the next couple of years that I wanted to be a marine biologist. I think if you look in an old yearbook of mine it'll probably say that somewhere. I gave up on that dream too though when I figured out that ocean is TERRIFYING! It's huge! And it's filled those whacked-out fish from National Geographic. No thank-you Mr. Career Man, I will NOT be a marine biologist.

Flash forward to grade 9, and I'm taking online aptitude tests for my business skills class. I fill mine out and the top three results come back:

#1: Military Officer

I can deal with that. There's worse jobs.

#2: Cab Driver

That's lame. I don't wanna be a cab driver! I'm so bad at driving that I once damaged the car trying to back of the garage. As it turns out, backing out in a straight line isn't one of my strong suites.

#3: Pet Groomer

Now this is getting out of hand! I can barely keep myself clean let-alone someone's dog.

Now flash forward to grade 12, I'm filling out the form that lists my name, and what I plan on doing after graduation for the local paper. I think and ponder and question my life decisions.
" Geeze," I thought "What am I going to do?"
I quickly ruled out one option, " I don't want to say anything too grand and fail miserably," and continued that train of thought, excluding further options, "and I really don't want to be one of those guys who puts down "Enter the Workforce" either."
Time was running out. Everyone else was already starting to hand theirs in. "Better put down something practical."

Jake Hammell plans to...

Win the lottery


I'm still working on that dream. I've even prepared my rich guy outfit. The closest I've come to the goal though is that I used to read the lottery numbers out on the radio. I have yet to figure out how to buy a lottery ticket. But I'll get there some day!

So, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Friday, 20 March 2009

Hammelltime Rooney

I know I'm not 1,000 years old, but some days I really do feel like Andy Rooney.

For those not in the know, he's the curmudgeon of CBS' 'Sixty Minutes' who comments on the most random things. In particular, how old he is. So to take a page out of the Andy Rooney playbook, here's a list of things I just don't understand.

Cash Back Rebates:
What the hell is a rebate anyway? That is to say, I know what it is - a refund on something you purchased - but why have them? If you're going to give a discount, just take the money off before I buy it! That way I don't end up paying taxes on it, and I save myself the cost of postage for mail-away rebates.

Electric Can Openers:
This is no more convenient than the manual one, and no faster. Not to mention the difficulty of it taking up counter space because you'll probably just leave it plugged in, and the fact that now you have one less plug in. My mother tried to teach me how to use one back in the early nineties, but it was simply beyond me why anyone then would want to something else besides the manual version, and the point still escapes me now.

Maybe once I'm 1,000 years old and my arthritic hands can't use the manual one I'll think about it. But by then all food will come in pill form so it's not a big deal anyway.

Post-It Labeling and Cover-up:
This is the just about the most useless stuff I've owned. I unfortunately use it on a regular basis due to a lack of availability of proper whit out. But believe you me, I'd toss this crap right out if I had my way. It's the same size as that roller white-out, but the problem is that it's less sticky, more noticeable, and looks ugly! Whenever I use it I feel like such a dork! I'll keep my post-it notes and white-out separate thank-you.

Why there's no cupholder in my car:
I drive a 91' Buick Century. It's almost as old as I am, and it's showing its age quite heavily. The interior though is in good condition, except for one thing. There's no cupholder. This really irks me, because I think it encourages me to drive recklessly. If I can't set my drink or Dairy Queen Blizzard somewhere I'm liable to have it sit in my lap or balanced precariously in my hand. Should it spill I'm going to be really distracted and probably cause an accident.
Who ever designed my car should have hot coffee spilt once for every time I've had to drive holding a drink.

Banana Flavoured Milk:
What the heck is this? What are bananas doing in my milk? If banana milk were meant to exist cows would swing from the branches of trees in Southeast Asia.

The little cartoons of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing on stuff:
This is a little vulgar. I don't think I dislike anything enough for me to portray a beloved cartoon character peeing on it. And where do people find these things? I know they're not actually licensed merchandise, so there must be some sort of shady fellow who lives in the back of the Haunted House ride at a small county fair who sells them out of his trenchcoat.

That's about it for now. There's lots of other things I don't understand, but these really highlight the list. What do you personally not understand?

Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Gastronomic Champion of Epic Proportions!

Here's three need-to-know things about me

Fact: I'm always hungry

Fact: I love free food

Fact: I can put down a shit-pile of food.

I'm the king of eating in quantity, but it's not a talent I can often whip out on the average day. People see me and say, "Oh look, there's Jake! Goodness gracious, he's not very big. I think he needs to be fed more." They have no idea what monster lurks beneath. On the outside I'm a youngish looking twenty year old, but on the inside I'm a gastronomic champion of epic proportions!

Kobayashi ain't got nothin' on me

Now, as I was saying, eating isn't a talent of mine I'm often able to demonstrate. On a sidenote, I'm also very good at getting food stains on me. I pull that talent out at least once a day. Back to the main bit though. So being that I'm a bit of show-boater, you can imagine my delight when I'm asked to compete in a media challenge. This is where a bunch of the local radio stations, papers, and TV stations get together and compete.

The station I'm at is awesome for coming out and supporting the community. Convenietly enough I love going out and being paraded about in the spotlight. The more ridiculous the situation the better.

The challenge was this: An eating contest for St. Patricks Day.

Hell. Yes.

Last year's contest was apparently one where they ate shrimp. To be truthful, I'm not a big fan of shrimp. I like them when they're breaded and deep fried, but not that raw stuff. To me it's like chewing on cold, slimy, rubber. So I was super pumped when I found it was going to be 'Green mashed potatoes' this year.

Anyone who knows me, knows that my diet consists almost entirely of potato products and rice. I love my taters. Everyone at the challenge seemed really surprised and shocked at this whole potato thing. I don't know why though, potatoes are delicious, and these ones were whipped.

I'll cut to the chase. I got up on a stage with three other competitors. We each had a coworker who was feeding us, they were blindfolded for interests sake, and a beer. The whole event got started off with everyone putting money into a 50/50 draw and betting on who would win. There was a newspaper, another radio station, and some firemen. There was probably about 5 or 6 people a piece making noise for the paper and the radio station. The entire pub erupted in cheers when prompted to revel if they bid on the firemen.

Then came me.

"Cheer if you think Jake from Big Country will win!" cried the man in the green hat.

I roared in approval for myself. I think there was maybe three people in the audience going with me. I know what everyone else was thinking. Little old Jake will never defeat that fellow with the belly from the newspaper. That other guy from the other radio station looks like he could bench press him! Those firemen won last year, and have a hefty appetite. How can he hope to win?

I didn't matter. I needed only my own applause. I was going to kill the competition. I'd eaten a great big roast beef sammich for lunch. I used giant slices of bread and half of my sammich meats and a lot of lettuce. My stomach was stretched. I even got the digestive system working just before starting by drinking a Guinness and having celery before competing. The others looked at me like "Why would he drink a Guiness? That's only going to fill him up!"

Ha! Fools.

We were all ready. It was go time.

that's me and my team-mate with the silly hats.

The crowd counted down. It was like waves roaring on the coast.





And eat I did. Oh how I ate.

I wish we had some better pictures, people were video taping and taking lots of photos. So I'm sure that I'm ten times more famous now than before I competed. But these will do! The giant meal included Mashed potatoes, a couple sausages, a big pile of boiled cabbage, and turnips. It was very Irish. I finished my potatoes first just like I would have back home, because I love my taters! Then the sausages, which were easy as pie, followed with cabbage which was super disgusting and finally I cruised to a finish with the turnips.

I was actually worried. I thought I was eating too slow. Too busy gagging on the cabbage. But before I knew it, I was done. Stained with the grease of victory. I had finished my entire meal before anyone else was even halfway through theirs. I dominated the competition! Even the favoured team fell to my mighty stomach.

Fact: I love winning

Fact: I love St.Patties day celebrations




Monday, 16 March 2009

Pictures, Pictures Everywhere But Not A Shot to Snap

"There's too many pictures!" Exclaimed a large angry woman at the CO-OP Gas Bar.

"There's just... too many pictures." She said once more, and then turned to smile for the camera an employee had just pulled out. The flash snapped, and the frown on her face returned as she began to wander about and chat with various customers and someone who was probably the gas bar owner.

This was the scene about two or three weeks ago while I was standing around in the new CO-OP Gas Bar handing out radio station bumper stickers and pestering customers to enter their name in a draw. That large angry woman was there to give a speech for the ribbon cutting of the new gas bar, so I think we can assume she was someone important.

I wish I would have asked her what exactly she meant by 'There's too many pictures." But I think I caught her drift. This is actually something I've thought quite a bit about too. The average person nowadays takes the majority of their pictures on a digital camera. I know when I got my first digital camera for a trip to the east coast I took more than 700 in a matter of ten days. That's 70 photos a day.
Compare that to a regular disposable camera or roll of film that would take like 24 pictures. When you have a tighter limit on your number of shots, you have to think a lot more about what pictures you would like take and be more conservative.

In general I'd venture to say that people were better amateur photographers twenty years ago than they are today.

I understand the desire to take a lot of pictures, it's something we all want to do, and probably have done at some point. Taking a picture has now become so common we've become somewhat jaded over it. If you can take 500 pictures why worry about getting that one photo 'just perfect'?

Not only that, but the slide-shows that friends and families put on for us now are soooooo long.

I'm just getting sentimental though. It really is easier to have a digital camera that you can upload pictures on the net with or email, and if you want copies you can print them yourself at home for cheap.

But there aren't lots of people who do that. At any rate there's more people who are hoarding their photos in a digital manner than there are those who are printing them and putting them in an album. I know a few people, one who reads this blog, who do that though, and I'd sooner sit down with an album any day than stand at a computer to look at pictures.

One thing that the trend towards digital photography will do though seal away a generation of photos on a hard drive. Which will take away the thrill of finding a cool picture on the street or in the trash. I'd really like you to check out this website to see what I mean.

and this

I'm also concerned about the whole instant gratification that photos give you. I remember waiting excitedly for my photos to develop. I grew up in a small town so development took like a week or two. You'd take the roll into the Sears store, they'd mail it away, and back would come your photos.

The anticipation was equal to childlike glee before your birthday or Christmas.

This past weekend I was helping one of my various roommates babysit her nieces, and they started taking pictures with a digital camera and fighting over who got to see the photo first.

Oh well, I'm just living in the past. But here's one final point in favor of film cameras. With digital you can no longer get away with taking a picture of your butt with your friends camera.

Don't act like you haven't done it before.

The Fear - Lily Allen

Friday, 13 March 2009

I'm a Little Lost

This morning I got up and the first thing I said to myself was this:

"I need to remember my coupon for Micheals."

They're having a sale where everything is 25% off, but you have to bring your coupon. With today being pay-day, this is a good opportunity for me to stock up on art supplies.

I then went about my morning routine of showering, making my lunch, having breakfast, and brushing my teeth. In that specific order. Then I went and started my car and did my quick morning checklist to make sure I hadn't forgot anything.

Lunch, Check.
Sunglasses, Check.
Clean Underwear, Check.
Keys and Wallet, Check.
I made sure I don't need any groceries, Check.
Washed my face and Brushed my teeth, Check.

But I was forgetting something... something important. Oh right! My coupon for Micheals!

Coupon, Check.

I had everything I needed, and was out the door two minutes early, which meant I'd get to work five minutes early.

I patted myself on the back and gave congratulatory speeches where applicable for my good memory and promptness. I strode into work with all the confidence of a man who knew he forgot nothing. I put my lunch in my desk, sat down and checked my emails and messages. There was of course nothing new because I had already taken care of everything yesterday. Then as I was filtering through today's paperwork I remembered something.

Something important.

I forgot to wear deodorant.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Morbidly Chugging Along

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my funeral. It's a little morbid, but a while ago I had a good discussion with a friend who said that she thinks a lot about her funeral too. So either crazy people think about it all the time, or it's a pretty common thing to do.

Regardless, I'm pretty unsure as to how the whole thing will go. Obviously, I'll be in attendance, barring some Castaway type scenario, but beyond that all I have are some loose plans and ideas.

First off, I think I'd like to be fossilized. Why not? Humans have been burying their dead for thousands of year in such a manner that when we're all gone there's going to be this big fossil gap where humans are missing. So for the good of humanity, I'm going to look into getting myself fossilized.

Or at least frozen in carbonite.

Unfortunately though, according to this random unreferenced article I found, the chances of being fossilized are less than that of winning the lottery. Which makes me think that those damn dinosaurs were up to no good. In order to increase my chances of fossilization, I'm going to need someone *cough* YOU *cough* to buy me this book.

So, that covers disposal and placement of my corpse. Next I'm going to need a memorial service. Undoubtedly it will be attended by all the posh famous people and higher-ups of Europe and North America. Some Australians and Asians can come too, but nobody from South America, specifically Chile, is allowed.

They know what they did.

Since I'll be busy getting fossilized I won't be much help in setting up chairs and stuff for my memorial service. So I'll need the attendees to bring snacks and set-up. I believe I conscripted my journalism teacher Diane Nelson into brining the egg-salad sammiches. I don't particularily like egg-salad sammiches, but they've been at every single funeral I've been to so they're obviously some sort of prerequisite.

As for who's going to make the big speech, I have a great speaker in mind. I know this will take some serious phone calls, but I'll have the eulogy delivered by none other than Miss Cleo.

Remember her? Good times! After that's done the next half hour will be dedicated to listening to whatever mix-tape I had in my car at the time of my death. If there is no mix-tape then the entire gathering will commence the singing of the Oldsmobile Theme Song.

I know how I'll be preserved, my funeral is pretty much completely planned, the last touch will be having some awesome last words. I did some research of famous people's last words and here are some of the real shiners:

I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
~~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957

I am about to -- or I am going to -- die: either expression is correct.
~~ Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian, d. 1702

I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room - and God damn it - died in a hotel room.
~~ Eugene O'Neill, writer, d. November 27, 1953

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
~~ Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30, 1900

All the good dying words have been taken. But being that my job is a creative writer I think I can whip something up. If you'll notice, all the best last words come from writers. I wonder if that's because they thought about their last words as well.

I'll definitely curse something with my dying words. How about: "Damn these clothes. They itch terribly." or I could go along the bizarrity route with "Don't cry for me. You'll just stain the carpet."

I'll work on it a little more before I die. Now of course in the event I get executed I'm going to need something completely different. By far, the things people have said before execution is much more interesting. Here's a few of those.

Take a step forward, lads. It will be easier that way.
Executed by firing squad.
~~ Erskine Childers, Irish patriot, d. November 24, 1922

I love you.
Spoken to the executioner.

Executed by injection, New York.
~~ Sean Flannagan, d. June 23, 1989

I did not get my Spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.
Executed by injection, Oklahoma.
~~ Thomas J. Grasso, d. March 20, 1995

Capital punishment: them without the capital get the punishment.
Executed in electric chair, Florida.
~~ John Spenkelink, d. May 25, 1979

Aren't those great? The first insults the executioners with a final 'screw you.' The second is one that would probably haunt the executioner for the rest of his life. The third is something I would say; Positively dripping with bitter black humour. The last one, an epic 'Damn the Man' quote.

So I've got some serious work to do before I can die or I risk kicking the bucket without something epic to say. But otherwise, this funeral thing is all wrapped up!

Now, please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks such morbid thoughts.

Belle and Sebastian - Step In To My Office Baby

Monday, 9 March 2009

Review O'Clock

Okay, this review won't be very long because there's not much else to say beyond...

One Week kicked ass!

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome! The entire time the movie was playing I was just grinning away. It's sooooo gooooood. Plus for a change because I went to the late show on a Monday there was just myself and three other people. Three other completely sane, non-jackassy, normal people. I couldn't have asked for a better way to see this movie.

First off, it had great narration! And the way the story is constructed and plays out is perfect. There's nothing new or innovative about the way One Week is built. But the tragically lame life childhood coming to a depressing boil with the fatal diagnosis of cancer sets the stage amazingly for the rest of the movie.

Not to mention the glorious soundtrack. For anyone who likes indie-canadian stuff, you will LOVE this movie. The best part is that it takes place across Canada, so you're GOING to see some places you recognize. One in particular was the giant pipe at St.Claude...

... where a certain TV Reporter some of the readers may know was raised. Also, the giant camel, pardon, let me correct that, the giant ANATOMICALLY correct FEMALE camel in Glenboro.

There's a great shot in the movie of Josh Jackson staring into the vagina of Sara the Camel.

I felt that the ending played out a little long, but it was nice. I can see why they made it the way they did. I loses no points for that.

I rate the movie:


Awesome movie, great soundtrack, beautiful narration, good story, and best of all, lots of great Canadian cameos. It does lose half a point however only showing one kind of beer being drank the entire time. That's a little unrealistic. Plus I think this movie may spurs bums (like me) to go cross country on motorbikes.

But I still want a motorbike.

My favourite part in the movie, when the female lead is walking along and comes across none other than


who is just busking away and sings one of his best songs 'Million Dollars.'

So Good. nearly stood up and applauded. I would have too if I were by myself.

So here's my final verdict. Coming from a guy who saw it for free, I would willingly pay to see it again. You should pay to see this one now.

Look, here's the link for all you Canadians to see if it's playing in your local theatre. Check now! American readers can follow the link as well, there's some other linkage to get where you need to go from there.

Why are you still reading? Turn off the screen and go now.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

It's Badass Time

For anyone who reads my blog, you might remember that I recently mentioned I watched 'How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.' While the movie was playing I mentioned that I should get a motorbike to look as cool as Matthew McConaughey does when he rides his bike in that movie. I also mentioned how dreamy I thought McConaughey was but was quickly rebuffed for my statement. I now know that women don't want to bang McConaughey, but rather, they universally agree they would like to bang Will Smith. He is allegedly 'a hottie.'

Back to motorbikes. Following that movie it was just days later when I went and saw Benjamin Button, in which Brad Pitt rides a motorbike. The ladies also all agree that Brad Pitt riding a chopper is sexy.

Then on Wednesday, I was doing my thing at work, writing ads, when I got an email for an upcoming sale Honda is holding in which Cruisers and Sport bikes are on sale.

The following day I was browsing around the bloggosphere as I usually do, it just so happened that Drollgirl's blog for that very day dealt with what else but, you guessed it, MOTORBIKES. In particular, classy vintage ones that make my pants tight.

I really think the world is pointing me towards owning a motorbike, especially since next I'm going to go see:

One Week

It's a Canadian film, which is nice for a change since you don't see very many Canuck-made movies when you live in Canada. It stars Joshua Jackson, AKA one of the Mighty Ducks, as a guy who travels across the country to find himself or something on a motorbike.

All signs obviously are pointing towards me needing to own a Motorbike. I don't want one of those crappy little crotch rockets though. I want a cruiser. Like those bad muthas in The Hells Angels would ride.

Here are my reasons FOR owning a motorbike:
-Cheaper to maintain and put gas in than a car.
-A good excuse to wear a leather jacket
-Chicks apparently dig it
-An awesome hobby, and a good vehicle to meet new people with
-I think in BC and Alberta it's cheaper to license and insure a bike than a car

Here are the reasons AGAINST owning a motorbike:
-More likely to get injured
-Lacks the carrying capacity of a car
-In Canada I'd only get to use it during Summer/Fall
-Not so fun to use in rainy or windy weather
-I'm not very good at keeping my balance
-I'd have to pay for licensing two vehicles instead of one because I don't think I could get by exclusively with just a motorbike
-I could probably buy a decent used car for the cost of getting a new cruiser bike

So overall I think the cons outweigh the pros, but still, if the right price for a bike came along, I might just have to look into buying one.

Did I forget to mention that the chicks dig it?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Putting the 'Super' in Superstore

I love The Real Canadian Superstore

There, now that that's out of the way, it's time discuss why.

Back when I first moved to Brandon, Manitoba in 2006 I lived right across the street from The Superstore. This was the best thing ever. In a relatively small area of town I had a Subway restaurant, a Superstore that had everything I could ever want, and a liquor mart. All of these things probably add together to make me a happy dude and hold Superstore in higher esteem in my mind.

Anyway, I got used to shopping there all the time, even when I moved out of town and ended up moving back in 2008' I got a house close to where I used to live because I loved the Superstore so much. It was also near a 7/11 which was always fun to stumble to after a night of drinking.

But since moving to Grande Prairie I now live across town from where the Superstore is and choose to shop at the CO-OP Grocery right by where I work. I now realize that Superstore has tons of stuff you can't find anywhere else. It just so happens as well that this stuff is sometimes cheaper and even better than their name-brand counterparts!

The world is crazy place.

Here's a list of the things I prefer to buy from the Superstore that I can't find anywhere else:

Perogies - I didn't realize it, but these are better than those Chimo ones you can buy at grocery stores

Cheese - Sometimes this is kind of hit and miss, but for the price it's generally a hit

Rice - I've only done it once, but you can buy a giant burlap sack of rice. Perfect for poor people like me!

DVDs - I know they do this at Futureshop too, but their selection of random and obscure DVDs is much better than Futureshop, which generally carries the shitty flop movies.

Iced Tea Mix - It's awesome! You can buy it in a giant tin that's almost two to three bucks cheaper than a lesser amount of the name brand stuff. By the way, have you ever tried putting Iced Tea mix in with your coffee instead of sugar? If not, do so NOW.

Panini Buns - Superstore has these half-cooked buns that you're suppoused to toss in the oven so you can finish baking them and have warm panini buns. But I like them uncooked and raw to make delicious sammiches with.

Light Bulbs - You can get like a dozen light bulbs for super cheap! Who cares if they don't last as long as the regular ones? Quantity beats quality.

Chips - Can you believe how much potato chips cost these days? I remember when a big bag of them would cost no more than a dollar fifty. Now they're like three dollars for name brand stuff! And not only that, but they're cheating you out flavouring to be 'healthier.' Well fuck that. Good thing the Superstore offers all the flavours and more that the name brand ones don't, and they do it for cheaper!
Ruffled All-dressed chips are still my favourite, but the Superstore no-name brand ones are a really close second.

There's lots more, but I won't get into it because I have to leave room for other people who dig the stuff from Superstore. I questioned lots of people and got back lots of quality answers.

Here's the list of contributors and what they like:

Respondent 1:
Hot Chocolate mix, Pizza's from the Superstore, and Laundry Detergent.

Respondent 2:
California Style Iced Tea mix, Hot chocolate mix, Smoked Hickory BBQ sauce, Morrocan Style Green Tea, Ranch Dressing, and Egg Nog

Naomi Leadbeater
Paneer and "fresh weird vegetable, but I don't always like the quality."

Amanda Navid:
"The House stuff they carry. I can't go to wal mart and buy a new couch, but i did manage to get one (that is chic) and it didn't blow my college student budget at Superstore. Can't get that anywhere other then a big furnature store that wants me to buy a couch for $699 instead of $199.
And did i mention it folds into a bed....OH YEAH! "

Respondent 3:
"BAGELS. They are always good, lots of selection, and at 6 for 2.99, can't go wrong"

Respondent 4:
Dried cranberries, wasabi peas, and tuna "And no name sandwich meats [because] they don’t look as gross as other packaged meats."

Respondent 5:
President's Choice Appetizers, Cakes, bulk food, and "The oriental section [which] is by far better than any other grocer."

Respondent 6:
"I usually only buy my rice at Superstore. Some huge bag of Rooster Rice. Otherwise I do like to get paper products (toilet paper, paper towels), juice boxes and snacks (rice crispy treats, granola bars) at Superstore because they are cheaper."

So as you can see, lots of people love The Superstore. Also, did you know that in Alberta the Superstore also has "The Real Canadian Liquor Store"? True story. But everyone and their grandma have liquor stores in Alberta.
I don't think it's a coincidence either that people like a lot of the same products from Superstore either.

But for every person who says "Yay" there is always one who says "Nay." Chelsea Kumka is not a fan of Superstore, in fact, she reviles it.

Here's what she had to say on the matter:
"My opinion on Superstore is that it is single handedly THE WORST mega store to shop it. It NEVER has anything that I'm looking for. I always shop at Safeway because it's cleaner, friendlier, and actually stocks its shelves. I have a hard time finding anything at Superstore except dirt. There's lot of dirt at Superstore; probably because they never clean any of their damn stores. It's a terrible place. Terrible Terrible Place!"

Well, that's partly true. If you walk into the store at the wrong time sometimes the shelves will be bare or they simply won't have the thing you're looking for. Also, until you get the 'lay of the land' you can have a tough time finding what you want. But those things can also be said of any grocery store. And also said for stores being grubby, especially during the winter.

Regardless, I think I'll be moving soon and will attempt to find a house closer to The Superstore. Because my life just hasn't been as Super lately without it.

How about yours?

Wax - California

Monday, 2 March 2009

The Hammelltime Political Crisis

Okay guys, time to take a break from the usual lineup of pointless banter and shenanegans I usually cover on this site, and talk about something a little more serious.

American Politics

Friends, Not-Friends, and Random browsers alike, the topic may bore you, or the mere mention of politics may have just made you pee a little bit, but I urge you to read on. Especially if like me you don't know what's going on in America and why so many people are angry. If you DO happen to understand this stuff, please read on and fill me in on the basics. I think everyone would appreciate it. Especially if you're American.

You guys are wild.

I have no clue about what the Yanks are up to when it comes to their system. In particular, what their differing points of view are in politics. Everyone obviously thinks differently, but having only two parties? That's really is beyond me. From what I understand, democrats are the more liberal ones and want to allow abortion ,separate church and state, and have tighter gun control restrictions. Republicans are the conservative ones, want looser gun controls, more private business and in general like god more than democrats.

Sort of like because you believe in god doesn't make you a republican, but if you're a republic you believe in god. That's a stereotype but it's one that the media sort of perpetuates.

Seriously. That's about it. Please click on the image below to see my knowledge of how the majority of major American policy is decided.

So in order to better understand our friends down south, I've been doing a little research.

Democrats apparently want a 'Mixed Economy' or more of it. In Canada we have this all over the place. An example would be Canada Post or Manitoba Public Insurance. These are good things! They keep prices down because when you have a government regulated service they have to serve the people in an efficient and agreeable manner and have to answer for their actions to the people using the service.
I've heard, and was actually taught in school, that privatizing industry creates more competition means companies have to lower prices in order to offer better deals to customers.
What I've learned but wasn't taught, is that privitization is a double edged blade because they can also charge more, and if one company offering an essential service charges lots, a competitor only has to offer a marginally better deal to come out ahead, so you can end up paying just as much anyway. Who wouldn't want to make more money faster?

I'm all for a few crucial companies offering important services like insurance, power, postal, and transit being controlled by the crown. Lots of these are crown corps already. Except in Alberta power, insurance, and liquor are all privatized. All of these services are crazy expensive. Don't try to tell me it's cheaper. I'll just laugh at you.
Crown corpsa are more secure too, because even if you may have to pay taxes to them it just means that they'll be able to stick around longer in uncertain times to offer important services.

And we aren't in uncertain times now, then you probably think the apocalyspe will be a pleasent sunset.

There are more of these types of businesses in Canada than the States. As I said before, democrats would like to see more of these. Republicans on the other hand, would not.

On a side-note I've been getting my kicks lately browsing around extremely right-wing republican blogs. For every one normal level headed member of the Grand Old Party I find, there's about ten screaming maniacs who'd like to "Shoot themselves some Sand Niggers" and "Git rid of that Obamanation abomination in the Whitehouse."
Other than the offensive comments about sand niggers, which I think would be as offensive to folks from the Middle East and it would be to blacks, that's just condensing two slurs into one, I understand where they're coming from. I'll bet the comments about Obama are just as offensive to democrats as the "Down with Bush" and "Bush is an idiot" stuff was to a lot of republicans. Nobody should get too up ons about that one.

Anyway, back on track now. A lot of these right wingers think the crown corporations (or State-Corporations as they're called in America) are akin to socialism. Which is the nice word Americans like to use to call someone or something A Dirty Commie, or Communism. I don't why anyone tries to act like that's not what they're trying to say when they throw around phrases like "Doing such-and-such is a socialist scheme!"
I hate to over-use the term, but once again, The way I understand it, the right-wing yanks don't want crown corps because doing so would take money out of the hands of the people and put it into the hands of greedy politicians. Instead, privatize the economy and get that money into the hands the business men and women of America.

A noble goal indeed!

In the past that money has indeed gone back to hands of Americans. Albeit, the majority of those hands were a select few, and lots of them already had more money than they could hold. Bush was particularly bad for this. I'm sure though that the plan had worked well in the past. For serious, I'm not being sarcastic. I fully believe as many Americans do that properly executed further privitization would work well for Americans. It would indeed see more 'Mom n Pop' type stores open, and suppourt the ones are struggling to stay open.

But hey, properly executed Communism is something I'm all for as well.

If the Democrats had their way, that money raised from the crown corps would go to help the poor, and the Republicans think that their small business plan would enable the poor to do their own thing, and encourage them to better themselves with less government help.

Other issues aside, this is what my research has basically lead me to. I still have no fucking clue about anything else. The political spectrum of beliefs and agendas is just so diverse that it just straight-up doesn't make sense to me how so many different people can sign up and actively participate for what is basically a two-party system.

It's kind of like choosing between being stabbed in the foot or stabbed in the hand. They both suck, one will offer benefits the other doesn't, so you just gotta pick what one you'll dislike the least.

Canada's system is only marginally better though. Instead of two radically different primary parties, we have three. Only two of them stand a serious chance of getting elected in, and the third sort of swings between the two depending on if they're actually going get attention paid to the things they're saying.

Canada has actively tried to keep the Green party out of debates up until five or six years ago. You know, back when Paul Martin was leader of the Liberal party. That's something I'm dead against. How can a small party expect to compete with national parties when they don't get national exposure. The green party fought hard to get consideration, and they're gaining momentum. I almost voted for them too. It came right down to the moment before I cast my ballot to decide who I wanted. But being that I was living in Brandon, Manitoba at the time the decision basically Conservative or New Democrat. Green was a wasted vote.

Anyway, the CBC did really well this year with their election debate, especially for letting the Green leader participate. That was a proud moment. The US won't let old man Ralph Nader, the Green Party of the States participate ever though. He's only thing even close to a third party, and they still won't let him in.

The worst thing about elections in the states is that a two party system is basically one that says "Agree with me. If you don't get the hell off the boat."

I think it's time for me to move to the states and run for government. Much like 2008 American Election folk hero Al Franken, who's still fighting for his rightfully won seat as senator for the state of Minnesota, I will rise above the rabble and control a state. Then I'll do a Guns for Hugs program or something. That should help things.

Okay, enough politics for now. When I get some time I think I'll actually do some serious journalism and do a nice piece on how Canadians see The US and what we need to know about the American parties and how it affects us. I'll probably use my massive influence as a Cool Dude to get it published in Reader's Digest. Both American and Canadian. Until that time though, I'm just going to assume the political process works for Americans the way it is. As referenced below:

To finish, can anyone enlighten me on politics? I obviously need it.