Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

All the best to you this Christmas and into the New Year from Chrissy and I.

Chrissy's gift from me this year was signing us up for Badminton this spring with matching equipment and outfits. From now on in we are known as the 'Birds of a Feather'.  I was a little worried she would think it was too goofy. Thankfully, she thought it was just the right amount of goofy. Here we are modeling the outfits.

Big thanks to the Okinczyc family for graciously hosting me this year. One more stop for another Edmonton meal then heading to Saskatoon in the morning.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Super Curler Paul

I have been lucky enough to be a substitute on my brother in law Pauls curling team twice this year. Each time I have played I have been absolutely horrible. I think my rating would be about 12%. My first rocks either are too far off to a side to be a good guard or are too heavy and effectively useless. My only skill is sweeping...which is ironic as I suck at housework.

Some pictures of Paul and his friend Rod in all their glory.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Las Vegas

Last week I was in Las Vegas taking a course for work. I learned a lot in the course and got to hang out with a work colleague for a few days in the 15 degree weather.  Some pictures and a story of excess below.

 A Christmas tree made of light bulbs.
 The extravagance of the Wynn. 
 All the rooms at Planet Hollywood (where I was staying) have memorabilia from movies in them. I had the "Jingle all the Way" Room.
Hanging on Fremont Street. 

For me the highlight of the trip was my visit to the Heart Attack Grill. On my last day in Vegas with a full amount of fun and learning behind me I convinced my work compatriot Kelly that a trip to this burger joint was absolutely necessary. I had learned of it a few years back on a TV show where it was being vilified for  that was bad in America as they fully embrace gluttony and all the vices that kill. On the day I saw that show, I pledged that I would someday enjoy a burger there.

At the end of Fremont Street we were pleasantly greeted with their large sign promoting that anyone over the weight of 350pounds eats for free. Seriously, check out that link above to their menu - its all burgers, fries, beer, milkshakes and unfiltered cigarettes. Awesome.
Upon entering, our greeter inquired if we preferred to sit at the bar with a doctor or a table with a nurse. We of course chose the nurse and were admitted into the restaurant with our own hospital gown. Our lovely nurse greeted us and took our beer orders. We never even thought to check but all beers sold were 24 fluid ounce cans - Sweet! Take one look below and tell me you are not in love....
Before ordering, I thought it best to get a checkup so I went and tested my blood pressure. It was a little higher than normal but far off the 'Hall of Fame' members who's numbers were more than double mine. 
Kelly ordered himself a single bypass burger and a side of fries cooked in pure lard. As you can see it looks pretty stellar.
I was feeling a bit more confident and went for the Quadruple Bypass Burger with cheese and onions. 
My burger had 4 patties (2 pounds of beef), 10 slices of cheese, a full tomato, and a full onion. 
I tried sizing up the burger from many angles to figure out best how to eat it. I eventually decided to leave the stick in and compress the burger as best I could. I held onto the bottom section of the bun and attacked it from the side.
Pure ecstasy on my face on my journey to consuming 6000 calories.
Halfway through the burger the nurse came and checked up on me. I was starting to have some difficulty, and had this conversation with her:

Stu: I think adding the onions might have been a mistake.
Nurse: Yeah, there is a full onion on that burger.
Stu: Who the fuck thinks eating a full onion is a good idea? (Me first knowing the full extent of the onion) 
Nurse: Who the hell thinks eating 2 pounds of beef is a good idea?
Stu: I still think the fucking onion might be my only mistake.....

Eventually I got through it all and finished off the burger with my piercing stick.
As the diner was a little slow Kelly and I talked with the waitress for awhile. The big surprise was that she was a vegetarian! I asked if it was some ethical thing but she said no; "You eat them, and I will wear them".
When we recieved the bill we joked about how the company accountant will get a kick out of the bypass burgers on the reciept. Our nurse replied; "That's nothing, we can add a couple spankings on there for a dollar each. We won't charge you for them but your accounts payable will appreciate it". Our bill ended up including 5 spankings....
Also - I just want to point out that my massive burger costed a grand total of $14.

Bonus food story/picture - In honor of Elvis I ordered a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich with banana. For a side on this classic I got Mac and Cheese with grated Doritos sprinkles. The sandwich was great, the Mac and Cheese...not so much.

After this last trip I think I am done with Vegas for awhile. I like it there, but don't really gamble and I don't have money to burn. Maybe after a few months of winter I will change my mind.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Teddy Bear Toss

Last night I attended the Edmonton Oil Kings hockey game as they took on there rival Calgary Hitmen.  The Oil Kings were looking for their 11th straight win, but most importantly it was the annual Teddy Toss game. The Teddy Toss for those that don't know is a Santa's Anonymous fundraiser where the fans throw stuffed animals onto the ice in celebration of the home teams first goal. All of the stuffed toys are collected and 'gifted' to needy families for Christmas.

Christina and I picked up our stuffed animals in support campaign for the Stollery Kids Hospital here in Edmonton. We doubled up on our good deed for the season!
The Oil Kings set a new record at this years toss collecting ~6,600 stuffed animals. It was a little surreal seeing all the toys flying through the air. Check out the video below - Notice that this was taken after an already large portion of the toys were on the ice.

From the time the puck went into the net to the time all of the toys were cleaned off the ice it was nearly 20 minutes. Fortunately the goal that set off the toss happened with 13 seconds left in the first period and the teams just left the ice. The "second period" began with the last 13 seconds of the first period and a quick switch of the sides and nets to begin the second period. It was pretty funny actually.

The whole game was highly entertaining with some good fast hockey, big saves, a fight and a favourable outcome as the Oil Kings ended up winning the game 2-1.

Oh - and the Oil Kings wore special jerseys for the game that were auctioned off for charity. I think they would actually be OK without the hideous belts and the weird pattern on the back of the socks (not pictured).
Judge for yourself on these official team pictures.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcoming The Troops Home

Christina's workplace takes part in the Yellow Ribbon campaign of welcoming soldiers home from Afghanistan. As a general world-view I don't agree with the military as a foreign engagement force and the expenditures that follow from that. However, if we are committed to peacekeeping internationally Afghanistan is as good of a place as any. The Taliban are about the biggest villains I can think of.

This past weekend saw the return of a large group of soldiers from Kandahar. They arrived in Edmonton around mid-day after a long flight from Cyprus via Scotland. I accompanied Christina and some of her colleagues in welcoming the troops home at the airport with a smile, handshake and some Tim Hortons. It is kind of ridiculous really; welcome back from the desert where you are putting your life on the line for mostly ungrateful folk - have a donut. That being said, I hear the soldiers do appreciate the welcome.

I tried to take a couple quick shots without being disrespectful to the soldiers who had returned - so low res camera phone picks below.

Watching the troops line up and go through the paperwork was definitely interesting yet anticlimactic. After getting through all of their paperwork they milled around for awhile and then were loaded onto various transports to the bases in Wainwright, Trenton, or home.

And for the record, many of them chose to pass on the donuts as they were maintaining their own strict diet. If the opportunity arises for you to ever attend an event like this I recommend doing so,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chrissy and The Christmas Sweater

A couple of weeks back Christina's family friend contacted her to borrow a Christmas sweater. The friend is a professional makeup artist and was looking for a 'tacky' sweater to augment a photo shoot. Christina being the kind pollack that she is offered up her finest garment. And lo and behold the sweater is now being featured on multiple billboards through the city for the Century group of restaurants.
I will try and get a better picture in context on a billboard as opposed to this poster.
The sweater from days gone by...Christmas 2009