Saturday, December 29, 2007

Okay, I know.. Long time no post.

But, hey, it's the holidays, and I can't be expected to make room for blogging when there are cookies to eat.

Okay, here's a roundup of the events since the last post.

Supper club Christmas Dinner - This took place at the apartment down the hall from the crack dealer downtown, otherwise known as M&N's. I must say that the supper was a much needed non-turkey experience, as we would be starting in on a string of traditional Christmas Dinners.

23rd - Our house Christmas Dinner -
We wrapped a free-range turkey in bacon, made Brussels Sprouts a-la-Mornay, mashed potatoes, carrot pudding, creamed carrots with parsley, two kinds of stuffing, and that wasn't including what the family brought (scalloped potatoes, desserts, salads, assorted other veggies). I just want to say that 1: not stuffing a turkey leaves it moister than with stuffing, 2: an electronic probe thermometer on a remote works wonders for having a turkey done exactly right, 3: Jenn's grandma is way too much fun when she's doing shooters with the girls.

24th - Family Supper in Sherwood Park -
There were a lot of dogs. Also there was a baby. The turkey was not as moist. We left early to get to church, where Jenn played flute, which was awesome. Then we went back to the in-laws.

25th - Christmas Morning and Bus Ride -
Turkey sandwiches for lunch, also we got us a bread maker, which kicks bum, since our old one has pretty much kicked the bucket. Jenn gave me a digital camera, which she bought just before learning that we won one in the home lotto. That's getting returned for store credit as soon as we can get there. We have our eyes on a couple of items.

At 3:00, we got on the bus and headed to Calgary. We took the Greyhound as an experiment, rather than the luxury option - the Red Arrow. The Red Arrow is worth the extra money. On the trip down, one fellow was so drunk he thought he was on a plane to Halifax. he started screaming "Just land this M**********R already!!!" along with shouts of "Holy S***" and "F***" and "What the F*** are you looking at?!? I'll take care of YOU!"

Fun, eh? So the driver pulls over, manhandles him to the front of the bus, and calls the cops. Within 10 minutes, buddy is on his way to the RCMP cells in Olds, and I just can't get the old Pogues song "Fairytale of New York" out of my head. Seriously though, No more Greyhound for us. They don't screen the passengers as well as either the airlines or the Red Arrow.

We arrive about a half hour late and eat Tourtierre and Quiche, and play with my brother's Guitar Hero III until it was time to open presents, which we did. I got, among other things, an HBC gift card, which leads us to...

26th - Boxing Day -
We arrived early at the mall, where I bought a new banker's coat at 40% off, and Jenn went nuts at Lululemon. Just after the coat-buying, Jenn shouted at me about hating to shop with me and yelled at us both to leave, so my brother and I headed out to the Wildwood Brewpub (Which has gone downhill) and then to a buddy's place to play "Rock Band" which I found fun because it was like Karaoke for points.

Later we picked up a shopped-out Jenn from the mall, and headed home for turkey dinner #3 at my parents house. This was a somewhat quieter affair, with no shooters and no dogs, just the steady application of too much food and too much wine and too much scotch until the company went home. All in all, a good supper, and it laid the foundation for...

27th - A day of rest (and turkey) -
On the 27th, we went out shopping again, and I picked up some shirts at winners so that I don't have to look like such a gorf all the time. We ate turkey soup for lunch, and turkey-Shepard's pie for supper.

28th - Travel -
Seriously, the greyhound driver took such a retarded route out of the city that we left the terminal at 4:00 and weren't on the highway until almost 5:00. Add to that the fact that the lights in the coach wouldn't turn on, and we had a pretty rotten trip, with no reading, no sudoku, and only our lupper to hold our interest. It included - you guessed it - turkey sandwiches. MMMMMMMMMMMM. I love turkey.

when we arrived back in Edmonton, our car wouldn't start until we plugged it in for about an hour, so we killed some time with getting me a haircut and whatnot.

29th - Today -
Wre have no turkey to eat. In a way, this makes me sad, but then I think of the gallon sized ziplock in the freezer holding our leftovers from the 23rd and all the good things that that will make, and I get a little happy.

In the morning, we listed our house for sale, following which we will be moving back to Edmonton, and lopping about 30-45 minutes each way from our commutes, which will give us an extra 2-3 man-hours per day to put in into renovations. It should also make it easier for our friends to come over, since it is kind of a long haul to Spruce Grove.

This evening, I get to put on my suit and go to a wedding of a distant cousin of Jenn's. This means (I hope) no turkey. Fingers Crossed, people.

So that is my update, I could have broken it down into several chunks over the last few days, but as you can see I was busy, and my Mom's computer is kind of, well, in need of an upgrade.

Happy New Year to all our readers, and for those of you in Supper Club, see you for the annual fondue in a couple days.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Coming up on Christmas

It is now about a month post-accident and the folks at the insurance company have not yet decided if they will be repairing or writing off my truck. I want to know because it is time for an oil change and the tranny fluid could use changed too if I am keeping it. Otherwise, I'm not going to bother.

Christmas is almost upon us, and that means that Jenn's students are performing Christmas concerts. I attended the first one along with a ton of other supporters, and we were really really impressed. Her grade 7 students didn't sound like they had been playing only for a few months (except for one bunch) and her Jr High Jazz band was really really good.

What about other Christmas stuff? My Christmas shopping is just about done, I just need top get Jenn her "Good" present, and the rest is over. That includes buying the turkey for the dinner on the 23rd. I bought a free-range farm turkey from Parkland Packers, although I think I will need to get one more, since it is only 17# and there are at least 12 people coming. I think I will need to get a small turkey to do alongside. I am also making the Christmas pudding as we speak, even though I am probably the only one who will eat it, I will continue to make it until people smarten up. The only thing I really still need for the supper is brussels sprouts, but I'm sure I will be able to manage. They will be made a-la-mornay, as they should be this time of year. The stuffing will be my mom's recipe if I can finagle it, and the cranberry sauce will be hand-made, since I'm that kind of guy.

For New Years, we will be having the Supper Club Gang over for Fondue and debauchery. Mostly debauchery. I have already picked up the non-alcoholic sparkling beverage (for those who don't drink) and some Jacob's Creek Sparkling Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir for those who do, together with Blue Curacao and Raspberry Sourpuss, to make the shooters that the girls all like, which go by the unfortunate name "Porn Star". I suppose that the theory is that if you drink enough of them, you start acting like, well....

I have further been considering another potential new tradition to insert between New Year's fondue and Lunar New Year. I think that I should start a tradition of mid-winter Fiesta in the third week of January. I propose that I host supper club around that time for a menu of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex offerings. I need to use my tortilla press for something, folks! And don't forget that I have all the tequila in the world lying in my basement, and if I don;t have a reason to use it, I won't finish it before I go back to Mexico. Throw in a couple of cases of Pacifico or Dos Equis, and we are in business.

Yes, I think that we need to get that together.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Update on the accident

So here's the story - I hurt. Not a whole lot yet, just steady. Headache, jaw pain, stiff back, stiff neck... we'll see how it goes.

As for the truck, I took it in to get it appraised for repairs today. Here's the rundown:
Rear Bumper destroyed, both rear quarters damaged slightly where the bumper bent into them, outter panel on the tailgate smashed, frame bent slightly where the bumper attaches (not structural, just a tiny bit of bending) bent front bumper, cracked grille, bent frame pieces where front bumper attaches to frame, and my personal favourite, damage to two panels on the back of my cab where the frame flexed enough to smash the back of the box into the back of the cab (a 1 inch gap).

Conclusion? He hit me really really hard. He bent my truck in half and really messed the thing up. Tough little truck, though, and cheap to fix. Cost to repair? About $4500-$5300. Market value of the truck? Maybe $4000-$5500.

And therein lies the problem, folks, depending on whether the adjuster has had his coffee on the morning he opens my file, I might or might not get to keep driving my truck. I can't help but feel partly responsible, however, since I have had green truck for two years now, and have never given green truck a name, and because of that, bad things happened to it.

That is why I am sending out an SOS to the world and asking you all - If green truck survives, what should I name it?

My first thought - Thumper.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pressing Questions of our times...

Many people have asked me, "Hey, Owen... What is it really like to be concussed?" This question has been based on a number of factors... My tendency to hit my head on things, my general clumsiness, and my occasionally asinine statements on the human condition.

So as of today, I can tell you with all honesty, being concussed sucks. It is like the last half of a medium-bad hangover. You vomit, you get chills, you get dizzy, and you feel generally rotten. Then your wife gets you out of bed to take you to the hospital so that the doctor can tell you that what you need is bed rest. What I personally think I need is to not have my head slammed into the rear window of my truck.

Oh, yes, the truck... probably written off, thanks for asking. The damage to the rear bumper and tailgate is pretty severe, and the truck isn't worth that much to begin with, which means we will probably have to buy another new vehicle which may have to put off moving back to Edmonton for a while. Maybe, maybe not. We'll see how bad the damage to the front bumper is.

Oh, yes, the front bumper. Not only was I rear-ended by the chief of the Duncan's First Nation (just outside of Peace River, incidentally (the first nation, not the accident)) in his brand new GMC Denali (indian chief must pay well these days), I was thrown forward a carlength or so into the back of a Student-at-law driving a Santa Fe. When we exchanged business cards, we just laughed.

So anyway, WAD 1-2, we'll see how it turns out, and a concussion. Nice way to spend your weekend, no?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Been a while

Boy it has been a while since I posted anything. The reason for that? Busy, but doing things that aren't very interesting. I have been taking a course every friday in Calgary, Jenn has been doing report cards and now doing parent/teacher night. Also band camp is next week. In and amongst all that we have decided to move back into Edmonton, since what we would save on gas in a month would top up what we need for a mortgage on a fully detached bungalow in a good location. Needless to say I have spent the evenings lately painting, spackling and cleaning.

I have been so busy, in fact, that I have not had time to make beer. I am almost beerless. The only beer I have is the good one that I want to send to competitions this year, so I don't want to drink it.

So that is what we are doing. Boring, I know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Alberta Health

Well, our Christmas present budget may have gone the way of the Dough-Dough (see, an extinct bird pun). Alberta Health just tracked us down after two moves and dinged us with almost $1,100.00 in overdue premiums. We're applying for the subsidy, but Christmas shopping is on hold until such time as we can get this sorted out. Watch this space if you feel like you should be getting a present from us, because you will be able to find out for sure if you will not be getting one. Announcements will be made!

Stupid government.

Based on the forms and the website, we qualify. Based on what the person told me on the phone, we don't. All I can do is apply and find out.

What fun.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Made the Vile Bastards Sing the Barney Song...

Well, I am officially a sadistic witch... And it feels great!

I decided if you can't beat 'em, make 'em sing. My new policy is if you are late for my Social Studies class you have two choices, you can 1. Go and visit with the principal, or 2. Stand at the front of the room and sing a song of my choosing. I got to test it out twice yesterday. It was glorious! The kids never pick going to the principals office...Wonder why?

The first group was a pack of three young lads who have been showing up for class late fairly often. After numerous detentions and even phone calls home, I decided I needed something more powerful. All three boys were told to stand at the front of the room facing the class. Now, to trully appriciate this you need to know that in my classroom I have a "stage"- the front. The first 6 feet of my room are literally a stage that is about 3/4 of a foot higher than the rest of the room, so they really get the spotlight, I even had the projector shinning on them!... But anyhow back to the delinquents. So they figured it was no big deal that they were 8 minutes late and class had started. When the boys arrived they were told to stand at the front and that they would be performing. When they asked me what they were to sing I told them twinkle twinkle little star. They started the song and it died about three beats in. They didn't know the words. So then I told them to do the ABC song. They started and then they messed up the alphabet. After getting a laugh out of the class for not knowing the alphabet, I told them they had to sing it again, without mistakes. They did it again, but no one could hear it, so I made them do it again- louder. Well, by the end of it these boys, who had been trying so hard to go for "Joe Cool", were nothing more than red faced geeks who didn't even know the alphabet. They won't be late again. The second group that was late in one of my other classes got to do the Barney Song. Even they had to do it several times. I think the lates and bad behaviour will stop. If not, I am on a role comming up with sadistic punishments so that I at least get some enjoyment out of my work. I must say, I really enjoy comming up with ways to punish my bad little students.

Just to let you all know, I did have a better week this week. I think I might not quit afterall, at least not until next week...

Monday, October 15, 2007

So I just voted

I feel that it is important to vote even in something as inconsequential as the Spruce Grove Municipal election, and as such, I studied the campaign lit, checked some boxes, and exercised my franchise yet again. At least this time, I had no notion of hating any of the candidates I was voting for, as has been the case in the past.

Also, I changed the furnace filter. It really needed it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The rare and irregular rantings of Jenn...

Well, this our blog afterall. I realize I don't write very often. It's rare that I have time. But I have decided to take some time today.

First year teaching sucks. The first month of this first year was bloody awful. I am not really enjoying my job right now and what's more is I wonder if I ever will. Everyone says it gets better. I hope they are right, but right now I don't believe them. The kids are horrible people, every last one of them. They are all so obnoxious and I am starting to get really tired of dealing with them. I just don't remember it every being ok to waltz into a class late in junior high. I also don't remember it ever being ok to come to class unprepared, yet for some reason my students don't seem to understand why I get mad at them for these behaviours, or why they get punished for them. Usually when you rub a puppy's nose in his mistake he understands, it just doesn't seem to work the same with my students- they really don't get it. Sometimes I think maybe I should just be meaner, and that may be the approach I need to take with these kids. It seems to be what is needed. They all already hate me, and to tell you the truth I don't like them any either, so there is nothing to loose. I just don't ever remember these behaviours as being ok. Now to be completely honest, most of these behaviours are comming from my grade 9 social studies kids and not my band students, my band students are great and I like most of them.

What's really getting me right now is all the work I am doing just to "stay afloat" as the say. I have been putting in 14 hour days and working through the weekends right now. I calculated it out, and if this is what it takes, I am making about $12.00 and hour. I am getting to the point where I am considering not teaching next year if things don't improve soon. I am taking things one week at time in order to be a bit more positive and to look for the improvements. It's hard though, I am tired. I wake up at night and can't get back to sleep because I am thinking about work too much. On Tuesday I have 3 boys in for detentions at lunch for comming late to my class and waltzing right in during an in-progress exam. It gets better though... They thought it was ok to walk up to students who were writing their exams and start talking to them. The Gall! I couldn't believe it. So they have a lunch hour detention (because we can't keep them after school) and now I have to think of some creative punishment for them to fulfill. I am thinking of retorting to lines or making them write an essay, but I don't know.... Some peoples kids...sigh.

On a more exciting note, we got to go to two hockey games this weekend. We saw the Oilers beat Philly 5-3 on Saturday and yesterday we saw the Pats beat the Oil Kings 6-2... The Oil Kings have only been playing together for a few weeks though, I think there is still hope for them as a team... We took my little sister and the Spanish exchange student that has been living with my family to the Oil Kings game. She is an adorable girl and she loved the hockey. She escpecially loved the fighting and smashing. She also was quite intriuged by the fact that most of the boys on the team were 16-19, or at least she was until she saw their teeth....

Saturday, October 06, 2007

This cold sucks.

I started coming down with this whatever it is on Sunday night, and now I am strongly considering going to the doctor if it doesn't improve over the weekend. I woke myself up coughing last night at 1:00 AM, which was not fun. I'm off to take some dayQuil

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First Day of Work

Got there on time, by 1:30 I thought I was going to pass out I was so dizzy. My throat went from scratchy to can't swallow, and I had no cough drops. When I got home, I went to bed at 8:00 PM, and didn't get up until 6:30 the next morning, when I went to do it all over again.

And most of my files haven't made it there yet. I'm taking about 30. I looked at the family law files at the new firm, and there are about 120. Tomorrow morning I am going to go through and see where things are and what needs done and see how many of these are real files and how many are just sitting or A/R. 150 files..... That's a lot. I consider 80 a full load. We'll see how the split with MD goes.

Oh, did I mention that the family law assistant's last day was last Friday? Anyone know a legal assistant who wants work?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Last day of work

Yesterday was my last day of work at my old firm. I worked there for exactly one year. I learned a few things while I was there. Most of them were law related, but here are a few of the non-law-related ones:

1: My ability to drink coffee has grown into an inability to drink caffinated tea.

2: It isn't worth it to work at a firm that is so overworked, understaffed, and disorganized that I have to constantly apologize to clients for the mess.

3: Divorce lawyers are in huge demand both from the general public, and other firms. Since they found out I am moving (and because of that, ultimately movable) multiple other firms have called me to say that they are looking too and if I want to come and do divorce at their shop if I am not happy at my new place, they will make it worth my while.

4: Don't eat at the Rainbow Palace in Spruce Grove. It's terrible.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flute Rock

So last night Jenn and I saw Jethro Tull in concert. I have a few observations:

With the dollar at par, a concert t-shirt shouldn't cost $40.00

That dude is too old to be doing that.

That dude is having way too much fun with a flute.

Dude: This is a whole assortment of old dudes, both on stage, and in the audience.

Seriously, though, it was a rockin' concert, and because it was directed at 50-somethings and starred 60-somethings, it was over by 10:30, which is good on a weeknight, even though that still had us going to bed much later than normal.

I assume that Jenn could go into more detail or speak understandably about the fluting.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jenn's New Job V - Attack of the Clone Job

So today, a little late, Jenn was offered a job teaching band at Victoria Composite, which is the Public School System's arts focus school. She is currently on contract to Edmonton Catholic, but this bodes well for the possibility of her finding a permanent contract once she is done her temp. What happy news. Multiple boards are "keeping her in mind for next year" and since she has had job offers from both major boards already, how much better might it be when she has a year under her belt and experience teaching a core subject (social studies).

I think that tomorrow's dinner party will be to celebrate Jenn's employability.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Accidental Feast

Last night I got a phone call from Nick the Mighty Brewer, seeing if I wanted to bottle some beer on Saturday and maybe do something. Soon enough, he and M were arranged to come over. Then we realized that if they were coming, shouldn't we invite these other two people, and by this time I was planning a dinner party. It wasn't long before I was inviting over Jenn's cousin into the bargain, and so now we are having a dinner party for 6 on Saturday without really having ever meant to.

The menu is secret, but suffice it to say that there will be meatloaf.

The extra fun will come from the fact that Jenn is teaching flute for, like, 6 hours on Saturday, and I will be prepping it all myself, which will be fine, since I really am the cook here, I mean really, like, most of the time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


The first Saturday we have to ourselves in about 4 weeks. What do we do with it? We clean the house. We have floors! There are counters under all that stuff! Hey, what's this thing? Why, it's the vacuum cleaner! Well, as long as we have found it, we may as well use it.

Hey, what are these Parmesan rinds doing in the freezer? Time to make soup. Yum yum yum. Whoops, time to do the load, two loads, white load, blue load. Boy, I wish we had folded laundry from the last time we did it two weeks ago. Now we have a months worth of laundry to fold. What fun.

Hopefully we will have enough spare time to go to the Bay and spend my gift cards. I need some shorts for going to the gym.

Maybe Sunday will be more of an "us" day. Who knows.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jenn's New Job IV - The Phantom Lunch

So this weekend, our plan was for Me to pick Jenn up after school at 3:00 and go for an early supper. Three hours later, we decided to go and come back and finish the work the next day. We came back to the school Saturday at 10, and didn't leave until 9:30.

All the kids have been assigned instruments who it is possible to do it for. That leaves, um, lemme see, half. Jenn needs to assess each and assign an instrument and do the necessary paperwork to get that in place. This means that I will be coming to her school after I am done practicing law for the day and doing her administrative work so that she can get all these instruments assigned before the kids have their "how to play ______instrument" Field trip on Wednesday. Assessments will therefore be taking place Monday and Tuesday at lunch and after school.

Sunday night Jenn gets an e-mail stating that she is on lunch monitor duty all but one day per week until further notice.


Not supposed to happen to teachers who are doing after-school activities 3-4 nights per week.

First year teacher on a temp contract - good idea to make a fuss?


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Jenn's New Job III - Revenge of Jenn's New Job

So now, in addition to her position as a full-time teacher for Edmonton Catholic, Jenn has a very part time gig directing the Edmonton Homeschool Band once per week. The pay isn't huge, but it is welcome for two young people who are, even now, embracing the lifestyle.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More exciting news from the people who brought you Jenn's new Job!

Jenn's new job the sequel - Owen's new Job!

Yes, you heard right, Owen has a new job. Starting in October, Owen will be doing the exact same thing as before, but for almost twice as much money. At the same time, Jenn will be doing different stuff than before, but for more than twice as much money.

All in all, When it comes to money, we will have more of it. What will we do with it, you ask? Pay off our scary-big loans. That and a trip to Scotland. And maybe some DVDs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh yeah

One other thing has been keeping me from posting for the last week. I have been enjoying the first bicycle I have owned in 18 years. I grew out of my last bike at about 12, knees hitting the handlebars at every turn, and never got another, suburban Calgary being rather a car kind of town, and me being a teenager. A bike couldn't have hurt, though, what with the getting fat between 10 and 27.

Anyway, I cheaped out and bought a discounted floor model from Walmart (I know, I know, if you are going to buy a bike, support local business and buy a decent one or your life will suck and boils will break out all over your body and the poor Mexicans who assembled your bike will all die in a factory fire). I didn't have the money for a good one, and I haven't ridden a bike in 18 years, so I figured I wouldn't blow a ton up front in case I hated it.

I bought a CCM Commuter, which is a hybrid bike, an ungainly tall thing with sticky shifters and a tendency to steer wide on fast corners. Maybe that's just my not having ridden a bike in 18 years.

Anyway, I have been taking advantage of the excellent bike trail system in Spruce Grove just near my house, which leads down through a series of lovely parks. I can also get to work quite quickly as long as I don't have to go to court, which would require a motor vehicle.

Anyway, I'm having a ton of fun with it.


Sorry for the long absence

Jenn and I have been wildly busy, I have been knocking myself out getting all my ducks in a row so I can take a week off without having my brain explode when I get back, and Jenn has been working like a dog getting ready to teach 11 non-semestered classes in fall.

Over the weekend, we went down to Calgary to visit my parents, move old furnishings from next door to my folks house, make fabulous Chinese feasts, go shopping for my dad's birthday present, make a dozen or so jars of homemade relish, go for a beer with some friends who Jenn hasn't seen in over a year, and see the Mousecat's new townhouse and what they have been doing to it. Not a bad amount of stuff to do over the course of two days, not the most relaxing vacation, although since I didn't have to get anyone divorced in that time, it was swell. For all of you in Calgary (and I know that some of you are) who might feel put out that we didn't get together this weekend, well, We spent approximately 90 minutes the whole weekend doing non-family stuff, so chill out. So there! At some point, we will plan for a weekend in Calgary more than 3 days in advance, at which point we will try to get together with everyone. Right now that looks like Christmas.

So what do I have planned for the upcoming week?

Bottle that blonde ale, and maybe brew up a batch of something on Saturday. That's about it. Keep Jenn company at her school and help set up her classroom a bit.

Anyway, that about wraps it up for this entry, although if the Mahones Western tour stops at Saskatoon (a two night stand at Lydia's in early October) I may just have to impose on the hospitality of the FabSuz and Cheruby for one of those nights. I haven't been to a Mahones Concert in 3 years, and it is starting to get on my nerves.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Finished yet another draft

except for double checking the footnotes, which I can't really do until I get home, I have finished my latest thesis draft. This one went really slow because I was also practicing law full time throughout. Sucks to be me. Happily, I expect to be DONE SOON!

To celebrate, Jenn and I will go to a hole-in the wall curry joint we know tonight for supper. It's cheap, but very good, just like me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Now that I have a lunch hour to myself, I will tell you all about Jenn's job saga.

Months ago, Jenn interviewed for a job at a Jr/Sr. high in the Edmonton Catholic system, with a teacher who was going on sabbatical for a year to take his place while he was gone. She was supposed to be interviewed by the principal and the board after that, and find out about the position.

Months passed, and the only contact was weekly phone calls and e-mails from this teacher asking if she had been contacted by the principal or board yet.

Monday, seems he snapped. He calls, asks, Jenn says, "No, still no word, and now I've applied to Calgary Board, because they seem to have jobs available."

20 minutes later Jenn gets a call from the board for an interview the next morning as early as possible, which happens to be 11:00. Five minutes into that interview, it is cut short and she is shipped to the principal of the school for another interview. By 1:00 PM, she had been offered the job. Full time 7/8 band with a small portion of Social 9 into the mix. Celebrations started Tuesday evening, and will be continuing until Monday night. Jenn's last day at the bandstand is expected to be August 10, in order to give her time to set up and get ready for her program come fall, so in 2.5 weeks, Jenn will be enjoying an actual summer holiday. Mine doesn't come until the last week of August, when we will be going camping in Jasper.

What does this all mean? Career advancement, money, the satisfaction of knowing that 6 years of education will actually be put to good use, Jenn maybe de-stressing a bit.

All in all, a good early anniversary present.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Got a job

Details to follow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Can't find a Job

So it seems I can't find a job here, not in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or any other part of the Edmonton or the Greater Edmonton Area. Nothing came open up here this year. By job I of course mean teaching music for a school.

I have applied to the Calgary Board of Education, which means a move to Calgary or the Calgary area is possible. I really would rather not move again though, and Owen would REALLY REALLY rather not move again.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Last weekend on the Canada day thingy, Jenn and I went camping with her parents, and a half-dozen other folks from the church. Mostly we were supervising the youth group. We drove up to Jasper and stayed at the Whistlers campground, which is huge, but doesn't seem that way when you are in there.

We hiked, we soaked in the hotsprings, we hung around the campsite, we spent Canada Day in Jasper shopping, attending parades and ceremonies, and watching fireworks. We had a blast.

The main downside is that I was right outside the Jasper Brewing Company, and I didn't get to go and try the beer because as a youth sponsor, God help me if I have a pint.

Other than that it was nice to get out away from the city and just relax for a couple of nights. I would consider doing it again.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just for Kelly

Cheers to Kelly for his comment on Yoo Hoo. Just for you I will let everyone know that I bottled Treewhale Old Ale today, and it promises to be a stunner. I anticipate it to be around 7% Alcohol, at the low end. I would have an accurate number, but the recipe was lost and the hydrometer was broken when I made it.

For those wanting to try a commercial example and drink along, try Theakston's Old Peculiar.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why Victoria is the Classiest city in North America

when I saw this link, I thought milk would come out of my nose. This is the coolest hydraulic semi-permanent instalation for public urination I have ever seen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yoo hoo

I have decided to ask the potentially depressing question - "How many people actually read my blog?"

Notwithstanding the fact that I mostly blog for myself, I wonder how many people check it. A handful comment, but many others have mentioned it in passing who I would never suspect.

My request is that if you read this blog, even occasionally or in passing, that you post a comment on this entry, so that I can get an idea of who is watching (and adjust the content appropriately)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The house is now clean.

Two weeks after moving in and after untold hours of unpacking, cleaning, de-cluttering, throwing crap out, and stacking boxes in the garage, we are now living in a clean and tidy house with no boxes lying around.

We are unpacked.

To celebrate (admittedly we did this before finishing) I made Jenn and I Eggs benny with homemade hollandaise sauce for breakfast. I can feel my heart failing as we speak.

I discovered in the process that hollandaise sauce is actually really easy to make, like most things, you just need to pay attention to what you are doing and have your ingredients ready when you start. I've been making homemade mayonnaise for a year, and it is way more work (although a little less tricky).

Tonight we are having a barbecue for Jenn's practicum class, and tomorrow, Jenn's family are coming over to see the place now that it is presentable. What a full weekend we have planned.

Yesterday, though, we went shopping with a $500 gift card at Home Depot. We got all kinds of things that we decided (in our wisdom) that we needed as new homeowners. A couple of fire extinguishers, CO detector, big garbage can, rake, weed eater, fertilizer, weed killer, hose, attachments, bbq cover, a hand-held shower head to make cleaning beer equipment a snap, and a few other little items along the way. We only managed to get through about $350 of the $500, though, which should leave us enough money to paint at least one room, once we decide on colours.

Oh, and on Friday I took the day off to finish editing my thesis, and I did. Now all I have to do is to input the changes on the computer and hand it it, and I will be close, oh so close to finished my three year odyssey and putting another 3 letters behind my name.

I think I will celebrate with making beer. As soon as I bottle Treewhale Old Ale, I will have to make something else. I just wonder what.

Report on that soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Beer 2 weeks ago

So 2 weeks ago I made some beer. I was too hung over the next day to post the recipe, and I can't find the notes we made. Here's my best guess:

Treewhale Old Ale

13 pounds Rhar 2 row pale malt
10 Oz Crystal Malt (80 L)
6 oz Dark Munich Malt
1 tsp gypsum
1 tsp Irish moss

24 g Warrior Hops (90 minutes) 16.4%
14 g East Kent Golding hops (10 Minutes) 4.6%

Wyeast London 1028

We boiled that sucker up for 90 minutes and mashed at 156 degrees or so for an hour. I have no idea if it converted because Nick the Mighty Brewer left the Iodine at home.

I have no idea of the OG because I broke my hydrometer when I moved. (I have a new one now)

So it smells real good. I might bottle this weekend if the gravity is close to reasonable.

That's it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Jenn's Convocation

Today, Jenn convocated with her BMus class, while I wallowed in human misery for money. Then we went out for the supper that Jenn has been bugging me to take her to for over two years. We went to Jack's Grill, an Edmonton institution (not that Edmonton Institution, the one without orange jumpsuits) that serves up hella good food for hella lotta money.

We started with small tender squid, which was served tossed in very good olive oil with a confit of roasted tomato, nicoise olives, calamari tentacles, and fennel. This, for lack of a better word, was fabulous. We followed the squid with two entrees. Jenn had the Chicken breast stuffed with bacon and shallot with potato and spinach gnocchi and puree of squash, and I had the grilled duck breast with blackcurrant sauce and potato hash with duck confit and steamed baby fiddleheads.

Jenn described her chicken as the best chicken she has ever eaten. I had a bite. I believe her. My duck was outstanding. The danger of duck is that it will be either overdone and yucky or too rare and fatty. It wasn't. The sauce, a blackcurrant demi-glace was fabulous.

Because we had shown restraint with the appys, we went whole hog on the desserts. Jenn had a remarkable tarte aux citron, and I had a bread pudding with brandy and rum sauce with creme Chantilly, and coffee.

Then I came home and ironed and cleaned the cat box.

Many people writing online reviews of Jack's Grill have gone on at length about how rude the service is. Dismissive. Cold.


The reason that the busboy doesn't speak as he refreshes the bread basket or your water or coffee or removes your plate isn't that he doesn't like you (he doesn't) or that he thinks you are some hick redneck in from the country in your threadbare Sunday go-to-meeting clothes (he does). He doesn't speak to you because it would be inappropriate to do so. You aren't there to chat with the help, and they shouldn't spend their time chatting with you. This ain't earls. The waiters are middle aged men who have clearly been doing this for a long time. Corks are extracted from wine bottles without drama, drinks are mixed and poured without fuss and in appropriate portions. No patrons are subjected to any description whatsoever of the personal lives of the staff.

In this overheated economy, they have found that most remarkable of things - staff who know what the hell they are doing and don't make a fuss about it.

Jacks Grill gets five perfectly chilled dry martinis. Plenty of classics here, well executed.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Joy of Weather

So today from my office window, the staff and I watched a tornado touch down about four miles south-west. Then I went home, closed the windows on the upstairs bedrooms, and soaked up the rain that had gotten in. Happily, I have two fans, one for each soaked patch of carpet.

On the up side, the basement seems very dry. That is nice.

Last night, I got a phone call from Jenn at about 6:00, and all I could hear on the other end was Big Bad Voodoo Daddy live in concert. I sure do love it when I don't get to go to awesome concerts, but instead hear patches of them on a static-y cellphone while I drive on highway 16A.

Tonight, I had planned to get some work done, and hopefully that is what occurs. Whether or no, I should take this time to actually make myself something to eat. Off to supper I go.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

My computer is now set up

And my wife is out of the country until Thursday.

The cats are agitated, and I have my very own laundry.

Soon my whole office will be set up.

And Yesterday I made beer. And drank beer.

I am tired, but not as tired as I was on Friday.

I am looking forward to getting back to normalish this week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So my little orange cat is sitting with me.

Koda has been very good lately. Very attentive, very loving. I think that this is because he understands English and knows that he will be getting locked in the basement overnight at the new house. The last thing a person needs for a good night's sleep is to be annoyed by a 1/4 Domestic Shorthair 1/4 Maine Coon 1/4 Cougar 1/4 Siberian Albino Tiger.

the joy of U-haul

We need to be out of our apartment by Noon tomorrow.

U-haul called today and told us that we can have a truck, ready to pick up at noon tomorrow.

You do the math.

Furthermore, PC financial is slow slow slow, and we can't get keys released until we have our cash to close out of them, and they take their sweet time to get the bank draft out.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Crunch time

You know all those things that you hate about moving? Like how you do your spring cleaning because you have to, but you'll never have a chance to enjoy it because as soon as everything is clean you move into a new place that you have to clean again because who knows what kind of job the last people did cleaning up when they moved out and you don't want their evil germs infecting you with some horrible disease even though you already have a sinus infection that you got from all the dust and oven cleaner from cleaning your apartment for the first time in months because you knew you would be moving out and you would be cleaning anyway so you didn't bother to dust for a really long time and by the time you get to it it's really bad and you thought the stove was almond not white because it was so long since you cleaned it you didn't realize how bad it was?


That's what's up with us.

Plus the boxes. We have lots of boxes stacked up and my kitchen is disassembled and I can't cook. Pretty soon everything will be put away and we will be down to living in a little nest amidst boxes and asking each other questions like, "Have you seen the remote?" or "Have you seen the kleenex?" or "Which box are the cats in?"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anteater to Zebra

This past weekend, Jenn and I drove down to Calgary to get away from the boxes and to see the new Anteater at the Calgary Zoo. Actually it was mostly to visit with family, because we probably won't get down to C-town again for a while after we take possession of the new house (9 more sleeps).

When we got back, we thought about cleaning, but went to bed early instead. Then last night, I bottled my "Big Brew" beers so that I won't have to move two full carboys. (I also might have beer to serve people when they help us move, I'll have to make sure that that box is the first to get off the truck and into the fridge.)

Speaking of helping us move, if you plan on doing so, kindly give us a toodle via e-mail and or facebook and or blogger to let us know how many we will need to BBQ/Pizza/whatever for.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Post # 150

At this milestone post, Jenn and Owen find themselves in a very different situation than they did when they first started to embrace the lifestyle online. Before they were poor students living in a fleabag apartment. Now, they are poor young professionals living in a fleabag apartment, but soon to move into a non-fleabag half-duplex. Since beginning this blog, they have been to the hospital several times for various reasons, celebrated birthdays, bought another cat, met new people, re-connected with old friends, traveled inside and outside the country, gotten a job, and generally sorted themselves out to a great extent.

Things are going well at the lifestyle household.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Windmill Tilt Volume 1

On Sunday, I took the easy way out on two of my 80 beers. Styles 15A and 16A, German Weizen and Belgian Witbier respectively. Both of these will be fermented from my proceeds of the "Big Brew" where the EHG gets together at the kind sufferance of the people at Alley Kat Brewing and seize their 23 hl system for a day, together with the expertise of the local brewers. I showed up a half-hour late for milling, but was there from mash in to mash-tun-cleanout. (I got volunteered to scrub the mash tun after the brewing was over, which is a bit of a sticky job requiring some elbow-grease and industrial strength cleaners.

Notwithstanding the fact that I did not have complete control over the brewing process, I learned enough on this project that I consider it appropriate to count these two beers towards my total.

three down, 77 to go.

Next up, Treewhale Housewarmer, an English style Old Ale in the style of Theakston's Old Peculiar. Style 19A. I will be brewing this monster on June 2, and I will be interested to test the limits of my equipment. Will I hit an OG of 1.070? Will I be able to brew a full 5 gallons of this beer? What will this mean for IPA and Imperial Stouts? Tune in in late June for the results of this entirely boring development.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I may be turning into a grownup.

I am a little annoyed that it is 6:30 on a weekend and I can sleep no more. I used to be a champion at sleeping in. I could sleep until well into the afternoon if I wanted. Now? Seven and a half hours after I go to bed, I wake up and can't get back to sleep. I don't feel un-sleep-deprived, but maybe that's the thing.

This is made all the worse by the fact that my cats follow me around and show off their ability to sleep 20 hours a day. Right now, Koda is sleeping in front of my keyboard, as usual.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Holy Crap! I am Finished University!

Ok, so I just couldn't bring myself to sleep any more, I am just too excited! At 1:30 today, I will officially be finished every last obligation I have towards my two undergraduate degrees! As of 1:30 today, I will officially be a university graduate! I am so glad to be done, it's been a long, long, long six years! And guess what? Apparently now, I am a teacher. Weird. It's the end of an era for me, and the beginning of a new one. I am in the mood to party and celebrate. Although, not tonight as I have to chaperone a youth event, and tomorrow I also have to chaperone a youth event... This posses a problem. I will update you all about the party situation as soon as there is one. But I feel I must leave you on this note: "Schooo-ools out for summer.....Schoooo-ools out forever...."

(Or at least until I get a teaching job...)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Only now have I recovered enough to discuss my weekend.

On Saturday, I attended a tasting of single malt scotch whiskies from the Islay region. We tasted 10 of them (no spitting allowed) and chased them down with very strong beer. The ultimate result of this was a blinding hangover by 9:00 PM. In bed asleep by 9:30, with Jenn dumping laundry baskets on me for folding, annoyed that I would be in such a state on a Saturday night. It was worth it.

For the record, I liked almost all of them. I still don't care for Laphroig. The Bowmore was nice, though.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Go Flames

That was awesome. It's about time that Calgary showed some of the grit that they need to to get past Detroit, or at least beat them up enough to kill their chances to advance past the second round after handily beating the Flames.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Another thing:

I have a new project. This is something akin to the Julie/Julia project in that it involves doing a whole bunch of things in a food/beverage nerd realm for no apparent reason other than to say I had done it at the end of the day.

I am going to brew every beer in the Beer Judge Certification Program Guidelines, and I am going to do it "All Grain" (ie. the hard way). I will give myself credit for the one I have already done in that way, which means that there remains only 79 categories to brew.

Needless to say, I will be giving myself more than 1 year to do this. After all, when Julie decided to cook each dish in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" she knew that she could reasonably consume more than one dish in a day. I cannot reasonably consume 400 gallons of beer in 1 year. To do so would require me to consume approximately a case of beer a day for a year. I find that to be an unreasonable expectation. At the same time, it would be illegal, as there is a 200 gallon per year limit on homebrewing.

I plan to have help, at least in the immediate future, both in the brewing and the consumption of the beer. I have a certain amount of commitment in terms of assistance from Nick the Mighty Brewer, and with dedication and perseverance, I hope to have this quixotic project completed in, say, 4 years.

This will take planning, patience, and a liver of gargantuan proportions. I think we're set.

First off, we will need to establish some ground rules:

1) I will attempt to brew 80 styles of beer as recognized by the BJCP 2004 style guidelines. I will be required to re-brew only if a) the beer is wildly not to style or b) faulty.

2) I will brew all these beers "The hard way" which means that I will be "mashing" at least partially for each beer. If I miss my gravity by enough points, I will feel free to hit my beer with some malt extract, but every beer will be mashed.

3) If there is an option of brewing one beer and using two yeasts to make two distinct styles (eg. American Wheat, Weizenbier) I am so totally allowed.

4) Beers brewed off of the "Big Brew" will count towards the total.

5) No repeats until all the styles have been brewed. If that means that I spend 3 months drinking nothing but barleywine and straight lambic, that's my own bad planning and bad luck.

This means that I will need to pick up certain things over the next little while to make things easier, and if you happen to have any of these things lying around that you want to get rid of, let me know.

-I will need an external thermostat for my little chest freezer so that I can start lagering my beers. I had better get this set up soonish so that I don't wind up lagering a ton of beer all at the end.
-I will need to set myself up with a keg system shortly thereafter, because I can fit 2 corny kegs in that freezer, but only one carboy, and also because kegs kick ass.
-I will need a grain mill so that I can, well, grind my grain.
-I will need something to placate my wife, she is bound to get pissed at me soon.

There has to be a strategy here, to keep me from drinking horribly unsuitable beers, for example having too much barleywine and dopplebock in the summer, or heffeweizen in the winter.

The first three beers will be as follows:
8A Ordinary Bitter (already brewed, turned out nice)
15A Heffeweizen (May 6, big Brew)
16A Belgian Wit (May 6, big brew)

Then I need to come up with a plan for the next few. The next brewing session I will do will be the June 1 weekend. That beer will be the first beer that I am brewing specifically to meet my new goal, and as such I want to start with a bang. I want to make something that will be good to drink through the tail end of summer (the heffeweizen and wit will be great for this too)

I will be thinking about his for a while, I think.

Tonight- Curry

Tonight I will be making a supper to remedy the excessively traditional Easter dinners we have been eating. Three days of variations on the theme, "Roast meat, mashed potatoes, token vegetable, dessert." Tonight we will have Aloo Chaat, Chicken Tikka Massala, Raita, some kind of Dal, pappadams, and either rice or homemade roti (I haven't decided). In case you hadn't noticed, I am cooking somewhat for the leftovers and lunches.

In other news, we are only 7 weeks away from taking possession of our house, which is kinda scary in itself. I realize that I still need to do certain things:

1) Hire the truck;
2) Get a carpet cleaner;
3) panic that I am about to get into the lifestyle of a genuine adult, rather than the arrested adolescence of a perpetual student.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Idiot wins darwin award!

So the stuff last night turns out not to be a stabbing (you could understand our suspicions with a dead body in a pool of blood next door in front of the lobby).

Turns out we have a new winner in the April 2007 runoff (qualifying round-Canada) for the Darwin Awards!

Buddy came home, had locked himself out of his apartment. Instead of paying the $20.00 lockout fee (not that there is a number now to contact a security guard to provide lockout service, or, you know, security) he pounded on his next-door neighbour's door at 1:30 in the morning until the guy let him in, and climbed out on the balcony and tried to get onto his balcony and into his apartment. Instead, he fell 150 feet straight down onto the concrete in front of the building, being killed instantly.

What does this teach us?

#1: You are not a ninja.

#2: Falling can kill you.

#3: You need to have a key-buddy, or at least a current number for building security.

#4: You are not a ninja.

#5: If someone is pounding on your door at 1:30 in the morning because he has lost his keys and locked himself out of his apartment, he probably isn't smart enough to climb over your balcony without killing himself. Just don't let him in.

More flashing lights in the night

We would never noticed, had it not been for the fire alarm being pulled this 1:45 AM on Good Friday, that there were 8 cop cars, police tape, and film crews in front of the building next door, 6 floors and 40 lateral feet from our bedroom window. Some poor bastard had gone and got himself stabbed next to where I sleep. We will update when we read the news tomorrow.

The other news for the weekend is that we come one step closer to being homeowners. We will at least have the mortgage signed up. What joy.

Seeing all the cops roaring up next door and waving guns around, we decided to treat this not as a fire alarm but as a lockdown, not wanting to be shot or stabbed ourselves, and knowing that before any fire could get to our unit, we could get off the balcony on a ladder truck.

Anyway, we have almost decided to stop paying attention to the fire alarm. It just seems to be an inconvenient side effect of living in an apartment building. Every now and then it gets loud because of some drunk wanker. Then someone gets stabbed.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Regina ALES

Today I will be heading down to Alley Kat to pack up some beers for shipping - I will be sending 8 beers out to the Regina ALES competition, which is a MCAB qualifier. THat means nothing to non-brewers, but needless to say I will be entering some beer in a big contest and hopefully I will win something. I think that this competition has actual medals, which would be nice. Then when I go to work I can put my medals up on the wall next to Jennifer Heil's gold medal picture.


Come to think of it, I have some wine competition medals that I could put up right now, and some certificates......

Yeah, that would be good.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

okay. You got me.

So for everyone who made it possible for me to not realize that I had a surprise (late) birthday party coming to me, thanks.

To everyone whose idea it was to get me to the location by saying that my sister-in-law had just scalded herself with a gallon of boiling water - not so cool - you will get yours.

It was pretty cool, though, a long cry from the four years in a row I had to bake my own birthday cake. I kinda like this whole "someone knows I'm alive" thing. I could get used to it.

Then tonight we had the college & careers fondue. We provided a fondue Neufchatel, which rocked. There were also a couple of attempts at Fondue Bourginon, which were, well, oil fondue, which is good for a party of 4-6, not so good for 14. The sauce Bearnaise was made with becel margarine and a package of Bearnaise mix from Safeway. Mennonites assume margarine and butter work the same in cooking. Not so much.

Anyway, it all tasted good. We also played "Apples to Apples" which is a rockin' cool game. Now I am going to go to bed.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Look, I know I have been making boring posts lately

But the thing is, neither Jenn nor myself have had enough spare time or energy to do anything even remotely interesting for the last couple of months. We have been packing, doing laundry, and not even cooking anything good. We get home late, eat late, and pop in a dvd and fall asleep. It's a sad little existence, I know, but we assure you it will change once Jenn is out of school. Heck, Jenn may be able to do something interesting for your entertainment over the next week which is spring break at her school. I will, of course, continue to do interesting things that I can't talk about due to solicitor-client privilege.

Here's something marginally interesting- a movie poster has blown onto our deck from somewhere. Here, I'll go see what it is for...

"The Middle Man", which doesn't even show up on the IMDB. Sad.

I don't even get good garbage flying onto my deck.

Other interesting things this weekend are the beer tasting this afternoon at Alley Kat, through the Homebrewer's Guild, after which we go to a barbecue and "drink our dribs and drabs" party at which we hope to get rid of all the booze that we have where there is less than 2.5 cm left at the bottom of a bottle.

On Sunday, there is a chance that we will have DimSum with the Giant Albino and his Pole Dancing sister, in the evening we have a Fondue supper at church, birthday supper at family's and Jenn's mum and dad get back from Cancun, at which time, we will squeal on Jenn's little sister for doing all the bad things we know about her having done for the last week.

Because she would squeal on me and everyone else she knows if she could.

Anyway, I promise to try to be more interesting in the next little while. Ta.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

closer to the floor.

Here I am, four loads of laundry closer to the floor of our bedroom, and there's no end in sight. Jenn is at parent-teacher interviews, and I'm slaving away over the 8th floor laundry, because all the laundries within a floor of my apartment are in use. I guess hump-day is also laundry day. Tomorrow I may wind up having supper and beers with Mel & Nick, as my assistance may be desired in the beer-making realm. I think I'll drop off a couple of carboys while I'm at it, all the better to not have to move to my new house all at once.

Work is busy as ever, and this weekend promises to be at least a little break, with a beer tasting on Saturday and fondue on Sunday. I need to figure out what we'll be bringing.

Anyway, time to load another pile into the washer upstairs.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wife back, Oil Losing.

Some good, some bad. The Oil are in the midst of an 8 game losing streak, but my wife is home and my Cats have stopped bothering me so much. I also bought a book at the used-book store in Stony Plain - The Homebrewer's Companion. I love it when a book I have been meaning to pick up shows up in mint condition for half price at a used book store.

Today, I also had the fun of working through lunch and about an hour late. Busy week so far and it's only Monday. On the up side, both my meetings for today jammed out at the last minute, so I didn't have anything much to distract me today, and I managed to get a lot of work done.

For my birthday I got the 1st and 2nd seasons of Dinosaurs on DVD. I'm rather enjoying it. It has a muppet-y feel, being a Henson production. We will see how it stands up after a few more episodes. One thing is for certain, the baby dinosaur reminds us a lot of Koda.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I miss my wife.

Jenn is at a conference in the 'Peg, and here I am all alone and sad. If it weren't for the fact that cats are extra love-y right now, I would be having a serious hug-deficiency. As it stands, even Koda is touching me of his own free will.

Today I did something that most people will find incredibly dull but that I thought was really exciting. I made an "all grain" beer. This is the first beer that I have made using crushed malted barley instead of malt extract or kits. It actually was a lot less complicated that I had expected. the hard part - getting the unfermented beer out of the grains- was actually pretty easy. The equipment that I built for it worked perfectly, and everything ran super smooth. All in all, a pretty good show. We'll see for sure when we taste the beer. Big shoutout goes to Nick for his awesome co-brewmastering and generally doing a ton of the work. Technically, it is his beer, but I feel a certain proprietary interest in the formulation and processes.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Owen's Birthday

On Thursday next, I will celebrate the 5th anniversary of my 25th birthday. In other words, I will be turning 29 again. For those who wish to spend time with me, you will be required to do so on the weekend after the 9th to the 11th while Jenn is out of town, and you will be required to do the driving and the buying of drinks.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Music returns to the Embracing the Lifestyle House

After a conspicuous absence, the sound of the Flute has returned to our abode. It has been a long while since I have heard Jenn playing for fun (since long before the recital) but now that she is into her teaching practicum, or the music portion thereof, she has returned to filling my life with music, free of charge. I, for my part, spend my waking hours getting people divorced in order to ensure that someday, when I have paid off my student loans and we are settled into a secure middle class lifestyle, that I can buy Jenn the solid gold flute of her dreams. There you have it - an excellent goal. Hopefully Jenn's goal is to pay off her student loans and be able to buy me the sports car I have always wanted. We can always hope.

In other matters, I have determined that the best word to describe the look that Koda gives me, and has given me since he was 8 weeks old, is "insolent".

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Click-Click-Bloody-Click Pancakes

Tuesday was, as many of you know, Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, or, in the English tradition, Pancake Tuesday. To celebrate, we, as youth sponsors, spent the whole evening putting on a pancake supper at the church as a fundraiser for the kids. We served up pancakes, bacon, hash browns, eggs, decaf coffee (evening, eh?) juice, and a silent auction that couldn't be beat. 16 pounds of bacon, 2 giant costco sized sacks of pancake mix, 2 gallons of syrup, 5 dozen eggs, and a giant sack of hash browns, and we went through it all. We had extra pancake mix, but the eggs and potatos were gone in minutes. Now we know what we need to get more of for next year, and what we could use less of.

What really rocked was the amount of money we raised for the kids, which was beyond expecations. What didn't rock as much was having to spend so long frying 16 pounds of bacon. When I got home my cats really loved me until I took a shower and didn't smell so much like bacon.

At work, I am finally catching up to the massive backlog of work I had to do, which is nice. My desk no longer looks quite like it was hit by a paper bomb. If I keep up at this rate, I will be able to maybe take care of the layer of phone messages and hand-written notes to myself that has congealed under the files. I might even be able to get some rainy day work done.

We can always hope.

Anyway, I managed to settle one nightmare file, and my new nightmare client just fired me after a little more than three weeks. Good luck to the lawyer on the other side who will be facing an unrepresented litigant who wants to make a point and doesn't seem to care if she gets a good deal or not.

Anyway, I'm going to go to bed early to try to catch up on my overdue sleep.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Almost Done... So Close, yet so far....

Well, I have officially finished my last class in my undergrad career. I have unfortunately been incredibly disappointed by the course and the instructor. The instructor has been incredibly oppinionated and aloof, and really hasn't taught me anything. It's like he thinks he's the Pope and he thinks we should just take everything he says as the Gospel Truth. Well, I don't think so I am afraid. I have had a lot of exposure to the "School Band World" and I know that I don't have to take what he says as the be all end all, I just feel bad for my classmates who don't know as much about band and will take what he says as the be all end all. Ugh. Well, it over. I don't have to do anymore of his waste of time assignments, or answer anymore of his unrealistic, hypothetical questions, not like he ever left us anytime to answer any how, he mostly talked the whole class and NEVER, EVER, EVER let anyone else say anything. Egotistical jerk. Anyhow, I digress and aware that I am ranting and you, the reader, probably don't care.

I still have a paper and a project to do and hand in tomorrow, and then I am completely done with my classes at the University. I still have to teach my 9 week practicum, but I am looking forward to it, I think it will be a lot of fun.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My birthday:

For my birthday (or rather the weekend immediately after my birthday) I get the best present anyone could ask for. My wife is flying to Winnipeg to chaperone a youth conference, while I get to stay home and eat Macaroni and Cheese by myself. As an extra bonus, I also get to drop her off at the Airport and pick her up when she gets back. I, on the other hand, will not be going anywhere, as I have too much work to do. I will continue to have the companionship of my fluffy friends, to the extent that they will spend time with me. If anyone is reading this who wants to stave off boredom and lonliness on the weekend of March 9, let me know, because otherwise, it is going to suck.

Also, a big, "get well soon" goes out to our friend who is in hospital with her appendix, or rather, without it. You sure missed out on a good supper by being in the hospital, and now you get nothing to eat but industrial jell-o... Muahahahahahahaha

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The death of Lucy

Lucy started acting funny a few days ago. The readouts on the climate control and the fuel information centre stopped reading out about half the time. The diagnosis from Deol Auto: BCM failure. Part: $400. Labour: $400. Oh, and the shocks and struts are going to need to go as well. Plus there's some kind of mysterious problem in the electrical harness. Then on thursday morning, the car died completely and wou;dn't take a jump. No power. the whole electrical system apparently dead from terminal. age and general bad design and workmanship. Total cost to get this vehicle running for another month: $4000 and up.

Tax Receipt from the Alberta Cancer Foundation: $50.

All the money we had set aside for furniture at the new house and all of our tax return money for the year: 2001 Hyundai Sonata with a quarter million fewer kilometers than Lucy.

The problem with the kind of car you can afford to buy when you are broke is that it costs more in the long run than the kind of car you buy when you are mostly not broke. Now, of course, we are broke again, but at least we have enough transportation to get me to work and Jenn to school (in St. Albert). On the up side, this car uses about half the gas, so over the course of a month, I am saving about $100 on gas, which helps. Hopefully these vehicles will carry us far enough that we can be in a much healthier financial position the next time we are looking for transportation on short notice. Or perhaps, might I even dare to dream, that the next time we buy a vehicle we would still have a running vehicle to trade in. What must it be like to _want_ to buy a car instead of needing to buy one...that day.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


A while ago, we decided as a collective that we needed rent a very fast car with no top and get the hell out of Spruce Grove for at least 48 hours. Instead, we went out for lunch. I think that that was the best decision we could have made under the circumstances. We went to Annie's, which is the sort of place where the two most popular items on the menu are a Monte Christo and Chinese combo #1.

We did both.

Call me a sucker but time and again I go for the combo #1 at every "Chinese & Western" place I go to. Inevitably it is fried rice with chop suey and chicken balls. Annie's was pretty good. Not dough-y or tasting of bleach like that at the Rainbow Palace.

Next time, though, I might break down and get a sandwitch, because that is what 99% of the people were getting, and they looked good. Live and learn.

Cheap and lots and not too terrible. three pints of beer, but a pretty generic brand. Maybe Brewhouse Pilsner from Saskatchewan.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sweet Pictures

Hey, check out the photo link on the side of the page for sweet pictures of our new house (in June).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Big Giant News

So Jenn and I just bought a house. Those who want details ought to e-mail us. Like hell we'd post our address on the internet.

Monday, January 01, 2007

We're back

After spending the last couple of weeks having a fabulous time with our respective families, last night we were able to just go out to the pub, watch the game, go home, and go to bed in our own bed. I stayed up until 12:01, just to ring in the new year.

For Christmas, we got some terrific swag. My favorite was my new cookbooks of all descriptions, especially the French Laundry and Buchon cookbooks, which are beautiful.

We took the cats with us to Calgary when we went, and they seemed to eventually enjoy it, but they were so happy to be home that it was clear that they are not traveling cats.

That is all for my disjointed blog entry. Ta.