Thursday, 30 December 2010

A Return from The Keystone Province

I'm back from Holidays, and couldn't be less refreshed. But in a good way.

I took a whirlwind five day trip from Grande Prairie to my hometown of Pierson, Manitoba for Christmas to visit family and friends I haven't seen in over a year. I was awesome to see everyone, and I took a few photos to show the highlights:

Here's my girlfriend after I forced her part-way across the Souris River Swinging Bridge:
This was the biggest smile she could muster, as she was in sheer terror most of the time while going across the oldest and longest cable stayed footbridge in Canada. Apparently she doesn't like rickety wooden bridges, and my constant jumping up and down to make it bounce didn't improve her attitude towards them.

Next, here I am in front of a giant statue of a banana that's been built in the town of Melita since I was last home.
Apparently our part of Manitoba is called the "Banana Belt" because it's warmer than the rest of the province. I don't think anyone knew this, or really cared, until this statue was built. It's very, almost exactly, reminiscent of an episode of Corner Gas I once saw...

I also gave out a lot of presents to family this year too. What I like to do is buy stuff from the internet, get it mailed to my parent's house where they wrap and deliver the gifts from there. But I neglected to read the fine print of a "Darwin Awards" book from Amazon I purchased, which turned out to be more literal than I realized, as the book was roughly two inches square in size.
My sister's boyfriend still liked it though.

I also got to see my niece Elizabeth for the first time ever.
She took a small break from screaming after being put in this Santa outfit for a picture.

And that's pretty much it. I did some math and we flew and drove roughly 4,800 kilometres, that's just under the length of Canada from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

Happy New Year everyone, it was nice seeing all of you from back home. Hopefully it's not an entire year before I can come back.

Nickel Creek - When In Rome

Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas Party 2010

This weekend I held "Jake's Stupendous Christmas Bash."
It's currently the most popular annual party in the central region of Grande Prairie in the back alley of 104th ave. I made some calls to confirm this fact.

We had a giant supper with turkey, ham, veggies, taters', salad, tons of snacks, and lots of liquor and booze. This is the third turkey I've cooked this year actually, and next to the deep fried bird I made in September, probably the best. Of course, I'm always too busy to take a picture of the bird before I cut it up, but you can tell it was delicious (the secret is bacon).
I had lots of friends from both work and outside work come by, and to everyone who brought liquor mix, buns, gravy, snacks, and everything tyo contribute, I have to give a big thanks!
Also, kudos to Ashley, who gave me the best drinking game I've ever seen in my life, "Drinko!"

It's like Plinko, but with booze!

And speaking of booze, we drank a lot of it.
Next year I'm going to have to rent out a community hall to fit everyone, as I'm moving in with my girlfriend and unless the party is going to be held in a dark unfinished basement, her house probably won't be the best place to fit 20+ people.

On an extra note, this was the last big party at my house ever, and for a change the neighbors didn't call the cops on us! I'm very happy that this didn't become the fourth time I've had the po-po brought down on me, but in a way, it's a little disappointing.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy New Year! Hammelltime will be on hiatus til' maybe December 30th, or January 3rd, as I'll be in Manitoba on holiday. See you in the New Year!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Grande Prairie Parking #1

Grande Prairie is notorious for the fantastic job people do of parking around the city, and today, I think I found the grand champion of them all parked right in front of my workplace!

Now note here, the excellent parking this individual has done, with the front end sticking well into the driving lane and the parking spot infront of it.

But this was not an ill-attempt at parallel parking. No sir, if we follow this vehicles stealthy tracks, we find that this was in-fact a case of driving up...
right on to the sidewalk around other vehicles...
and back out again!

Excellent work! I actually know whose car this is, and I'm sure she has a good reason for this...maybe.

Man do I love Alberta.

Evilnine Crooked ft. Aesop Rock

Monday, 13 December 2010

Review: Stone

Starring Al Pacino, Edward Norton, and Milla Jovovich

Before I begin, I've summed up my review in large bold text at the bottom of this page. Go if you like for the cripplingly, yet entirely accurate summary of my review.

Stone is a crime thriller, starring Al Pacino who a distant, uncaring man, whose wife who cowers from his every move. Pacino is a prison correctional officer, about to retire, whose final case is to review Edward Norton file to determine whether he is eligible for parole.

Norton is in prison for arson, and is quickly losing his sanity. Beyond the walls of the prison, Norton uses his wife (Milla Jovovich) to seduce and manipulate Pacino in order to improve his chances of getting out of prison.

If that description seems disjointed and uninteresting, it's because I found this film to be exactly that. The first third of the movie really set the roles of these characters up to be really exciting.
Pacino is a father and husband who seems to be, at best, entirely displeased with his life and family.
Norton plays a criminal whose sanity begins to ebb away from the constant strain of prison.
Jovovich plays a loving wife who is prepared to do absolutely anything to free her husband from jail.

But then...the movie quit making sense. It certainly had some interesting concepts, everything to make this a good film was there, but instead of putting it all together, the film just geared down and left me totally baffled.

I have no idea what they were trying to get at this movie. Maybe it was something about not lying to yourself? I need to talk to the director or writer of this film, because I have absolutely no clue what the hell I just saw this weekend.

So, overall:


The Pros: Edward Norton's character was really enjoyable. He transforms from an accusatory criminal, to a depressed inmate, to an enlightened ex-con. It's an excellent role for him; And in a better movie, it would have been of noteworthy consideration come Oscar season.

The Cons: The story wasn't cohesive, any “subtle undertones” that were attempted were lost to Stone's incomprehensible plot, Pacino's role was nothing new, exciting, or exceptional, and I just didn't enjoy this movie.

This wasn't a “Crime Thriller” in any sense of the word. There was no “How is this going to end up? What's going to happen? What needs to be figured out?”

I'm not criticizing this movie for not fitting the 'formula' of a standard crime thriller, or for being above its viewers, I'm criticizing it because it wasn't good. It was lacking in pretty much every aspect.

Should you see Stone?


No you should not see Stone.

If you skipped here, that's cool. If not, thanks for sitting through a largely negative review. I really needed to vent about how bad this movie was.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Turning Into a Wino

This past year I've been drinking a lot of wine. Not just taste testing either, I mean really giving it on the fermented grape juice. So obviously my nearly 12 months of serious wine drinking means I'm an authority on the subject.

And for a lack of anything else to talk about, here's a few of my preferred wines you should check out if your standing at the local liquor commission looking for something new to try:

Luchador Wine - Shiraz
This stuff rocks! I bought it because I was impressed with the label, but when I tried it my tastebuds were body-slammed with flavour!
This is my favourite wine by far. I have no idea how to describe tastes or smells of wine, so all I can really say is that lunchador wine is BIG. It smells bold, its taste explodes when you sip it, and it makes any other red wines you try afterwards taste like muddy water by comparison.

Jacob's Creek - Merlot
I bought this because it had my name on the bottle. It's kind of bitter, but easy to drink. But beware, it's cheap, and it packs a hell-of-a-hangover the next morning, and you can feel it coming on even after only two glasses. As far as red wines go, Jacob's Creek isn't bad. There's better wine out there, but I've always found it's had an interesting enough of a taste to make it worth drinking.

Kung Fu Girl - Riesling

This was introduced to me by my girlfriend, and it's her favourite. Initially I scoffed at it, but after trying it I found it was an entirely unique wine of its own. It's got a bit of carbonation that makes it bubbly, it's sort of tangy (if that's the right word) like citrus, and the aftertaste rolls over your tastebuds with a soothing glow. Definitely needs to be chilled though, drinking it at room temperature is practically a sin. If you have to bring a bottle of something to a friend's house and want to impress your Wine Expert friends, go with Kung Fu Girl.

I'm always up for trying new wines too, so lay it on me. What's good? What do you like? What do you hate?

Hail Mary Mallon - D-Up

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Final Movember Update

My facial hair has gone down the drain. Literally.

I shaved the "Hammellbar" off this morning, but luckily I happened to snap just one photo of it before saying goodbye to my ginger whiskers

As you can see it really filled in over the course of the last week. I was having trouble trimming it, but otherwise it's pretty nice. Next year I'll have a better idea of how exactly I'd like to shape it.

It was in suppourt of the Cancer Society, and in Canada last year 7.8 million dollars was raised in donations; The total was even larger globally. I didn't get on board with for any reason other than I lost a bet, but in the end it was fun to take part in, and I'll probably do it again and actually do some serious fundraising.

Caro Emerald - Bad Romance (Lady Gaga Cover)