Thursday, November 27, 2014

Revolution Brewing

Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi walk into a bar... that's all I got. They've become their own respective punch lines. Moving on...

I really need to get to bed, but in case you don't, here are some photos from a quick tour we took of Revolution Brewing in Chicago. This little microbrewery has quickly grown to be one of the bigger craft brewers in the Chicago area, riding the momentum of their tasty punch-you-in-the-mouth flavours. Seriously, every sample I tried was delicious. And their Anti-hero IPA? One of the best hoppy beers EVER. The trouble with delicious craft brews is that you can only get them in the local area. Meaning I need to take a road trip back here and then smuggle cask loads Al Capone style back home.

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Sampling the offerings in the taproom.

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Bourbon barrels for aging a few of their brews.

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The 40+ head filler and canning line.

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Hop heads?

Side note: Revolution Brewing was featured as the main setting to the film, Drinking Buddies, starring Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

_my name is George and I am addicted to cameras_

Hello my name is George and I am addicted to cameras. The first step in the path to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, right? Unfortunately, I've been stuck on this step for a while now.

We popped into The Camera Store this weekend, and they know me well enough to immediately point to a beautiful bulky Pentax 6x7 camera in their used gear counter. I already own one of these bad boys, but this one was listed for an insane fire sale price of $200. It would have been a crime not to buy it.

Anita's reaction was a not unwarranted eye roll, mostly because our conversation while heading to the store involved her predicting (correctly) that I would buy a camera, despite my pleas and reassurances that all I wanted was to 'look'.

The Dueling P 6x7's
Left: P6x7, 105mm f/2.4 lens, and NPC Polaroid back. Right: P6x7, 55mm f/4 wide angle lens.

The Dueling P 6x7's
These bricks are H-E-A-V-Y, and serve a dual purpose as blunt weapons in cases of need.

Monday, November 17, 2014

_groaning like a beached walrus while laying incapacitated on my couch_

I think there was a mixup with hospital records, and I was actually born in December of 1919. Because I seem to have the lower back of a 95 year old that spent 30 years breaking rocks in a Soviet era Gulag. There is no other explanation for how I've managed to strain my back repeatedly, doing highly strenuous activities such as:
  • Lifting an empty laundry hamper
  • Sitting down into a chair at the airport
  • Getting up after doing up my snowboard bindings (after the first run of the day)
  • Sitting on carpet and leaning forward slightly
I kid you not, I have managed to severely strain my back doing each of the above things, resulting in a regimen of muscle relaxants, physiotherapy, and groaning like a beached walrus while laying incapacitated on my couch. Anita will attest to the truth of that last point. I can now add "go for a massage" to that regimen, as I went for one today (for the first time ever).

When I hear the word massage, I imagine a super comfortable and relaxing back rub. But the reality is more like a sadist masseuse unrelentingly inflicting a world of hurt on muscles you didn't know you had. It's the very opposite of relaxing. Are entire back replacements a medical possibility yet? And where do I sign up for one?

Alright, on to the photos. These are Polaroids from a couple weekends ago, in Edmonton, at Kris and Nicole's shindig introducing us to their beautiful baby girl, Evelyn.

The Polaroid Party-5

The Polaroid Party-9

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The Polaroid Party-7

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The Polaroid Party-4

The Polaroid Party-3

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The Polaroid Party-2

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Puh-LAAAH-roid? What dat is?

I had a funny encounter with a TSA agent while travelling back from the States a couple months ago. I was carrying 15 packs of unexposed Impossible Project (Polaroid) film, and given the cost per pack, I requested them to screen these by hand, rather than risk running them through the X-ray detector at security and fogging the film.

The TSA agent surprisingly agreed to the request with no hesitation. Score. But the guy I asked said his colleague would do it. So I'm standing there grinning like an idiot thinking, "Cool, that was easy." Meanwhile said colleague (a black lady at the security line one aisle over) shoots me that look of "What, you think I'm gonna walk to you? Get yo ass over here, foreigner!" It was kind of intimidating, so I quickly brought my foreign ass over there for inspection. I explained to her that I wanted my Polaroid film inspected by hand, and this is where I was so amused by her response. "Puh-LAAAH-roid? What dat is?" I wanted to laugh at how she said this, because it was so exaggerated, but I also didn't want to risk irritating her any further than I already had by apparently not knowing she expected me to present myself to her.

Anywho, here are an assortment of some shots taken with a Polaroid SX-70 on this Impossible film while we were in NY and Chicago on this trip. They look like crappy instagram photos, but I assure you, these were far more costly.

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Antoine and Susanna, a French and Chilean couple we met at JFK airport.

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The sights and smells of Chinatown in NYC. Fresh crabs anyone?

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A wall sized display of Chuck Taylors at the Converse Store.

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John, bartender and tour guide at Revolution Brewing in Chicago. Oh, and their beer? Amazing.

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Susan, volunteer guide with the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

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The Marina City towers.

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Wrigley Building.

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View from our hotel window.

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A sculpture inside the Chicago Institute of Art (an awesome art museum).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Lately, I've been thinking about the classic game, Oregon Trail. Mostly because the phrase YOU DIED OF DYSENTERY has somehow gotten stuck in my head. But also because the world we live in today can be a pretty absurd, depressing and scary place, not unlike the perils that faced the poor pioneers in Oregon Trail, set in the 19th century.

In the game, causes of death included things like cholera, dysentery, measles, typhoid, broken legs, drowning while fording streams, and getting your food and livestock supplies jacked by some asshole thief... it was a tough world for pioneers.

If we were to remake Oregon Trail, with relevance to 2014, the death scenarios would be a little more like:
  • John died of Ebola.
  • Cam drowned in a lake, because Apple Maps directed him to drive into it.
  • Jenna has an anaphylactic reaction to soy milk in her non-fat Starbucks latte.
  • Edna is blinded by pepperspray during a Stanley Cup riot.
  • Kandi gets sepsis from a botched "third boob" implant surgery.
  • Gurpreet was run over while texting and walking into traffic.
  • Kristy's naked photos on iCloud were leaked online, so she committed suicide.
Ebola notwithstanding, the Pioneers of Oregon Trail would probably think we're a strange bunch of morons. Having conquered so many medical causes of premature death, we've managed to create so many other inventive ways to die.

And because I couldn't find any other fitting photo for this post, here's another in my series, The Dead Bird Diaries.

The Dead Bird Diaries

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Tire Kicking Trolls of Kijiji

I posted a lens for sale on Kijiji this weekend for $350, which is over a hundred bucks in savings on a comparable brand new one. Mine is a few months old, and has been used once. I fully expected low ball offers in the $300 or so range, but some tire kicking troll emails me and asks if I am interested in $230, because he's not sure he would use the lens. Uh... then why in the FAACK are you looking to buy it?

I'm so tempted to email him back with, 'Yes, I am interested in $230. PLUS another $120. What I am NOT interested in, though, is your little story about why you won't use the lens, therefore somehow qualifying you for a discount. Because I give not one shit. Faack you very much.'

If you're going to try to haggle price, at least make your story original. Tell me how you need to save money for a pet goat for your little brother who has aspergers. Or how you were only able to raise $230 selling your collection of belly button lint. Cause while I would still ignore your lowball play, at least you can provide me with some entertainment as a trade off to your wasting of my time. Some sad excuse about how you don't actually need the item you clearly are interested in acquiring just makes me want to roundhouse kick you in the throat, Van Damme style.

Anyways, on to something far more relaxing. This is a stitched panoramic view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It was taken a couple years ago, but I never got around to doing anything with it until now. Click the photo to see it full screen, where you can see much more detail.

Paris, Je T'aime