Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Matt 2006: Now With Wheels!

This is a Ford Fusion 2007 (Yes, reality does warp around the vehicle as depicted. It's a new feature)

On the list of stresses, I figure buying a car (new or used) ranks pretty dang high. I see it equalling both 'loosing all your limbs' and 'having to wrestle two panthers with a wooden spoon'.
Personally, moving from Peace River to Red Deer still ranks 1, but 'Buying a Car' has just entered the top 3. (narrowly edging out 'Missing 24 on TV')

I've done this before - last year with an owner-sold '88 Corsica for 600$.
Today I just finalized a deal for a 2007 Ford Fusion.
Needless to say ... there's a wee difference.

*Note to Parents: By the way, I'm leasing a car. Don't worry, we'll talk later. Call me.*

From the get-go MJ and I were bent on running down another beater car. The logic, of course, being that we'd keep buying beater cars and running them into the ground. Our budget for starters was about 3,000. We found said 'beater' at a local dealer. Of course, there were the added charges - namely 1500 in essential repairs. Small potatoes, I know. Who knew that a 'transmission' and 'motor' were essential. Kids these days.

The real warning lights went off when I asked to see the inspection report and the words 'DO NOT DRIVE!!!' were discovered written over the 'closing remarks'. No joke.

Long story short - a $4500 beater with no warranty didn't really make us feel, as the industry says, 'secure'. So, while we waited in the truck for the $4500 beater to start, we started discussing leasing a new vehicle. And by 'we', I mean 'Salesguy'. In retrospect - I think this was the plan from the start. Scaring us with the beater was just foreplay.

Jump ahead 2 hours and I'm handing over my credit card.

Now...I'm not a complete consumer pushover, but I'm not my dad. I think had my dad been in a similar situation, we'd have gotten the car for free in addition to a share in the company and a free Keg dinner. Basically - I'm not a haggler. I'm a stickler...but not a haggler. As a stickler, I made sure I knew exactly what we were getting into and beat down the monthly payment as much as I could. It's funny how you have an idea of how badass you're going to be in a car negotiation and what a wad of cookie dough you turn out to be when faced with two guys in expensive suits holding the keys to an amazing car.

The good news in all this is that not only can we afford this, but the insurance is dirt cheap. Further good news is that, as mentioned before, the car is kick ass and we bought as much warranties and 'extra car care' plans as we could to make sure that we'll never have to worry about when and if the car breaks down.

So...I get the keys tomorrow - at which point I will begin repaying the entire city of Red Deer for rides.

Give me a call - we'll work something out. No eating or kids.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Bear Vs Puma

What exists outside our universe?

How did we come to be?
Who actually watches JAG?
These are the timeless mysteries of our time - questions which demand answers. But possibly the greatest amongst these is the one question that has dominated the greatest minds for generations:

Who would win in a fight: A Black Bear or a Puma?

The answer, of course, is Black Bear. It's simple. For, like, a gagillion reasons. Still, in the spirit of fair debate I present an unbiased comparison of these two glorious combatents (well, one definitely glorious combatent and one semi-capable predator).

Part panda, part Uma, the Puma has long been regarded as the 'Emotionally Challenged' little brother of the jungle. Chief among the Puma's strengths are its ability to cry like a sissy and perform ballet to a considerable degree of talent (note: no Puma has yet to perform in any notable shows).
Where the Puma lacks in upper and lower body strength, it makes up for in pearly white teeth which it uses to drink Strawberry Dacquiris and eat small chocolate treats all day long while the other more ambitious felines put in a full friggin day of work.
Natural enemies of the Puma include: inclement weather, spicy food, manual labor, upset stomachs, sniffles and stage fright.
Danger Rating: 2/10 slightly dented tin cans.

Part Legend, part super soldier, the Black Bear is often thought to be the product of a genetic Army project gone terribly terribly right! With a left hook carrying the destructive equivalent of three industrial Mac Trucks and reflexes like those of Superman on crank, the Black Bear is oft regarded as the apex of evolution. Recent research has shown that the only thing holding back the Black Bear from complete world domination it its need for hibernation (during which, the Black Bear has been shown to devastate entire species by mere thought alone)
Natural enemies of the Black Bear include: Asteroids, Alien diseases and the Apocolypse
Danger Rating: N/A
There you have it. Science. Feel free to make your vote.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Juice Has Been Squeezed

I thought my title was original until I read every damn news article on the subject.

Long story short: OJ won't get to eat steak tonight thanks one or two Fox execs taking the moral highroad and cutting his "If I Did It" Sweeps-travaganza. For those who didn't hear 'what may have been' (i.e ludites), the aforementioned show would have been two hours of our favorite Naked Gun co-star telling us how he would have killed his ex-wife and friend...of course...IF he did it. There was also a book planned.

Yes, that was your mind blowing. Please re-insert and continue.

For some reason I remembered that SNL sketch where OJ played a football sportscaster who eventually details a play strategy by writing "I DID IT" on the telecaster. I pictured the same smug 'Eat Me, Justice System!' smile when he and his agent came up with these new bright ideas.

But oddly enough, I'm not entirely convinced that OJ and Sweeps-hungry Fox Moguls are all to blame. I mean, we all bought in at one time or another...didn't we? For me it was a hilarious picture book based on OJ's notes during court in grade 9. For others it was the latest paper to milk the story and for even more it was watching endless hours of court TV (ads included).

The OJ Mess became a market and we all bought in. Can you blame the guy for thinking he could squeeze us for a little more?If this were all handled a little more subtly, it could have worked.

Luckily, OJ isn't the ripest juice in the fridge (I was stuck for an analogy) and we've saved ourselves from crossing the line from idiot-worship to some far shadier uber creepy territory. But enough. It didn't happen and the world turns. It has, however, given me inspiration. Behold, my new line-up of autobiographies (open for optioning):

How it Would Have Happened: If I Did, In Fact, Pee in Phil's Coffee Mug
What Movie Was On: Had I Actually Been Watching Adult Films In Junior High
Where the Body Could Be: If I Killed That Working Girl

(One of these is fake....which? Oh, my friend, wouldn't you like to know)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Death By Pixels

I don't know when it happened, but I've become offended by videogames...and I'm frightened. Typically, I'd be the first gamer to tell anti-gaming activists to get a life because, really, its just a game. Blame anything on gaming and you'd have to pretty much point a finger at every other autiory and visual influence. It's just silly.

And yet, here I am...offended.
Ok, maybe offended is the wrong word. Let's use 'leery'. And, to be clear, I'm only leery of one genre: War Games.
My thinking goes like this. Who loves War Games? Easy: Gamers (because they're fun and endorse co-op play), Designers (Because the history is already there and the gameplay comes naturally) and Game Companies (Because they're an easy sell for reasons above).
Who probably doesn't like War Games? People have fought in real wars.

I shudder to imagine how the situation would unfold if I were to whip out the Ps2 and pop in Call of Duty 2 with my grandfather in the room.

Me: Hey pops. Check out the awesome next-gen graphics.
Grandfather: Sweet jesus, I lived this.
Me: Yeah! Aint it cool? And check it out the death animations. Soooo lifelike.
Grandfather: Why are you killing your friends?
Me: It's a deathmatch.
Grandfather: A deathmatch? You do this...for fun? Is that a rocket launcher?
Me: Duh! I can kill like 1o people with this puppy.
Grandfather: My friends died during this exact war. Millions died during this war.
Me: I know! It's soooo much fun.

Ok, I wouldn't be this callous, but hopefully the point is made. That is; war games are creepy. I don't give two craps about the sci-fi/fantasy war titles (that whole violence debate is done to death), I'm more put-off by the ease by which gamers and companies are slapping a shiny gloss to the whole experience and translating what was, realistically, a horrible milestone in human misery to a fun carefree romp.
"Destructable Environments! Upgraded Weapons! Improved AI who actually suffer! Team up with a friend or go it alone - it's war, baby - have a blast!"

As videogames become more and more lifelike, so too does the experience and the influence. Yes, I said influence...because we're not talking about 8-bit sprites with little black guns anymore. We're talking about entertainment that's becoming so immersive that it can't help but change our mindsets about the subject matter it portrays. This is exactly why even the American Army has a game out because they know how effective a game can be at selling a romantic notion of war while blissfully leaving out the pesky downsides (death, mutilation, grieving, emotions, etc).

And then there's the reality.
War Games are, and will continue to be, a measure of just how damn good a system is. As such, they will continue to be the 'must have' launch titles and the persistant top sellers. Gamers love to play them, and Developers love to make money. Why stop the this lucrative partnership over something silly like respect for the dead?
In the meantime, I guess I'll just continue my one-man boycott and hope grandpa Bradford never watches G4Tv.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Link Lot #2 : The Linkening

Remember that whole idea of posting links every day or so?'s been a month ... and I only have one.
But dangit, it was worth the wait.

Click here for maximum mind blowage*

*Blogger does not guarantee nor endorse the physical act of mind blowing. In the event that viewing or sharing said link results in a physical blowing of the mind, the blogger washes his hands of the whole bloody mess. If you would like to photograph or otherwise reproduce said 'mind blowing', then please feel free to submit your account to this blog for possible posting in future Link Lots

Matt Eats Red Deer #1 (SHISO)

A little background.
Marijana and I met in the uber-scenic town of Peace River. While pretty to look at and great to live in, choices for eating were limited to Boston Pizza, about a half dozen chinese eateries and a couple bars.
Upon moving to Red Deer we vowed two things; 1) Never to eat at Boston Pizza again (which, I've since broke) and 2) to try a new restaurant every week.
So far we've hit the Mongolie Grill, George's, Mike's Steakhouse, the RanchHouse, Blarney Stone North and East Side Marios.
Since I'm lazy - my review for all of the above is: Mmmm delicious.
However, now that I have time, I present to you the first official Restaurant Review in a series of...well, 1 for now.


Shiso crazy! Ha. I just wanted to get that out of the way.
Food: Japanese cuisine - complete with a complicated menu and about 1000 varieties of fish on rice. Includes: Sushi, Sushimi, Chicken, California Rolls, Squid and other ocean delights.
Location: On top of the hill next to Jasmines. Awesome view.
Price: Ehhhhhhh. Not McDonalds - Not the Keg. A good 'pay-day' destination.
Decor: Fancy Japanese sitting booths make the occasion. Also - huge bay windows make it classy. Otherwise, the dining room is fairly generic and I can't help wonder what the reno pros on TLC's restaurant makeover would do with it. I also can't help wonder why I watch that show.
Service: Considering I must have come across as the 'White Guy Who Has Never Eaten Japanese Food', they were very nice and helped me figure out exactly what I was ordering. Turns out Sushimi and Sushi are a difference of rice and '7-Up' and 'Sprite' are a difference of suppliers.
Pay to Food Quality/Quantity Ratio: Good. We were stuffed, but not like 'Bleeeeh' stuffed, more like 'ahhhh lets get an icecream' stuffed. Could use more specials.
Arbitrary Rating: 7.5/10
Overall: A different atmosphere and menu make Shiso an 'event' dining experience. Slightly high prices and intimidating menu stop it from being a regular/casual choice.

Voila. Next Week: Uhh. Pizza?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Put the Fun in Fun-Do! (Recipe Inside)

Now that I'm a card carrying member of Club Awesome, I can make puns like that. Deal with it. A downside of Club Awesome is that it takes me longer to recover from my most favoritest of meals:

The Fondu.

If you like eating entire bricks of cheese, pounds of steak, gallons of vege oil, seafood, mushrooms and bathroom breaks that last an entire episode of the Office, then you know why I love 'The Fondu'.
Maybe its a sense memory thing. My parents used to reserve 'The Fondu' for special occasions and thus, they were something to be anticipated. Usually on the day of, Mom would let me make the beer batter and (gasp) let me drink the rest of the beer. Suffice to say 'The Fondu' was an event - and the fact that it tasted like pure angelic bliss only served to solidify 'The Fondu' as my special dinner of choice.

I've since led many down the blessed path of 'The Fondu' - and while most are pissed to all hell about how they feel for a day or two after, they all come back eventually.

Of course, even your average everyday radio employee can dip things into burning hot oil. The secret of 'The Fondu' is, without question, 'The Beer Batter' (aka the heavenly dip upon all cheese must be dipped). my present to you, dear blog reader, the recipe for beer batter (as provided by Momma Bradford)

3/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup corn starch1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 to 3/4 cup of beer

Mix all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Beat the crap out of the mixture until its smooth and creamy (get your mind out of the gutter).
Chill overnight.
Enjoy. Pass out. Swear never to have a fondu again. Repeat in two months.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Club Awesome (or, I Never Thought at 25)

Yes, I've joined club Awesome. A friend of mine emailed and welcomed me to quarter-life (aka the aforementioned 'club awesome'). It also made me realize that I'm not a spring chicken anymore. I'm not old, but I'll never be an astronaut. And that makes me sad.
So, without further ado: Things I never thought I'd be doing/thinking/considering at 25

I never thought I'd still be a cheap drunk
I never thought I'd be thousands of miles away from home shacked up with some hot Croatian newsie.
I never thought I'd still be learning so much from my parents
I never thought I'd actually take things like color schemes and matching dinnerware seriously
I never thought I'd still be taking public transit
I never thought I'd be consitantly in bed by 11pm
I never thought I'd still be playing videogames (Although, I hoped)
I never thought being 25 would (mentally) feel exactly like being 19
I never thought I'd still be in touch with the McRock gang. (and while some have moved on, and others don't talk, I couldn't be happier that I am)
I never thought I'd have RRSP's and be excited by updates from my bank
I never thought I'd maintain a blog for more than 2 days
I never thought I'd finish a complete tho

Ha! See what I did there? Comic genius. Part of being in club awesome is being comedic gold. Or at least you're own fan club.
So here's to club awesome and for the awesome years to come!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ode to the Wolf Sweater

Growing up, I wore a Wolf Sweater. It was one of my favorites. In glorious iron-on beauty it told the lonely tale of a single solitary wolf alone in the cold harsh tundras of sweaterville, standing form his rock (it was a he) and staring ominously out of my chest to anyone who would dare look it eye to eye.
I had the spirit of the sweater form.
I also wore dragon sweaters (knit by a family friend) and on one of my first days of junior high I proudly displayed a full-on Popeye sweater which came to my knees.
How I survived that day, I don't know. Maybe...just maybe, it was the spirit of the wolf.

In any case, my own experiences have allowed me to be tolerant of the Wolf Sweater. Where some may laugh and cite them to be a gross display of tack, I see them as an affirmation of life - of nature - of the wolf within us all.

Which is why I claim November 12th to be National Wolf Sweater Day. Unpack your boxes, head to your nearest flea market or discount warehouse clothing outlet and wear your Wolf Sweaters with pride!
Tundra Wolves! Red Wolves! Mexican Wolves! Steppen Wolves! The spirit of the wolf is alive ... in YOU!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Round of Birthday Thanks

In no particular order, a special thanks to:

Marijana: For simultaneously making fun of the fact I blog and helping me take pictures of the event for it.
Kelly, Carlos, Erin, Amy, Phil, Sam, Darryl, Stephanie and Adam: For making it a great night.
Adam: For running the show and not cutting my mic off on numerous occasions
The Darkness: For making a song that I could KICK ASS with during Kareokee
Lottery Woman with Wolf Shirt: For listening
7-11 Lady: For obviously seeing that I was intoxicated, yet selling me day old chicken tenders regardless.
Mom and Dad: For bearing me. mostly for the actual physical part.
Pearl and Friend: For going along with the craziness.
The Makers of Tylenol Extra Strength: For saving me.
Guy Upstairs: For laying off the electric bass this morning.
Dare: For kicking my ass about not updating!

It was a great night! Pictures to follow (if appropriate).

An Open Letter to My Body

Hey Buddy,

Still mad? I was doing a lot of thinking in the shower this morning about how I treated you last night. Or, for that matter, this last year.

You gotta know I don't mean to do the things I do when I'm drunk. I know that's a horrible excuse, but hear me out. At the time, it seemed like a great idea to follow up 5 unknown shots, 3 pitchers of beer and second hand Caeser Salad with chicken wings from 7-11. I mean, they looked just so good ... and if you want to get technical, it was you who made me hungry.

But I don't want to start playing the blame game. Point is: I'm trying. It's been a good 25 years and I mean it when I say that I'm looking forward to another 50. Or at least 40. 30 would be a bit of a piss-off. I know it might not seem like that when I eat pizza for three days straight or lick the fork after marinating raw chicken (and lets not even get into my '5 minute rule'). And I know that I send mixed signals to you when end a night of Volleyball with a dozen .25 cent wings - but hey that's just me and those are my quarks (well, again, technically they're your quarks too).
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm working on being better to you. And if that means less fondus and cheese ... well, damnit, I'm going to try. But I can't do it alone. I need a committment from you too.

For one, I don't know if you noticed, but all the males in my family have a thing with loosing their hair early. I URGE you to buck this particular trend. I also urge you to look deep within yourself (or, I guess, myself) and remember what it was like to have abs. Those were good times, huh? Lets say we get back to that?

Of course, I also expect you to keep everything else in good working order... especially ... know.

I guess that's it. I'm turning over a new leaf, my friend and I hope this means we can both mend our difference and work together for the same goals. We didn't pick each other, but we can still love each other.

That said, I apologize in advance for the gigantic roast beef dinner I'm planning for tonight. Also the ice-cream. And the complete day of laziness to follow.

Love ya man!

P.S: Remember this?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Things I Thought While Watching Superman I

"I can't believe Roger's was out of Hollowman 2"
"Margot Kidder isn't Kidding around. Hah! I should tell that one to Marijana."
"She's right. That was stupid."
"Krypton is probably the most depressing/poorly designed/dangerous spike crystal city ever conceived"
"Marlon Brando's looking good."
"Zod looks like my uncle after drinking"
"What did Clark eat in that spaceship?"
"This isn't at all following Smallville"
"The same actress played Clark's girlfriend in the movie and his mom in the show? Creepy."
"So...when do we get to Zod?"
"Hey Clark, you Dad just died. Why don't you be a dick and leave your mom? Oh wait. There you go."
"Wait. Lois Lane is at least 12 years younger than Clark? Creepy"
"Lois can't spell 'rapist'? Seriously?"
"Is this where Zod shows up?"
"Oh look - they're flying. Together. Impossibly."
"Still flying"
"Shitty poetry...and more flying."
"Lois falls! Awesome! Shit. More flying."
"So let me get this straight. Before his date with Lois, Clark gets her all excited as Superman? Is he trying to be his own cock block?"
"We're entering zero-hour for a Zod appearance"
"Lex Luther lives in a submerged train station? ... ?"
"Lex Luther's girlfriend has gigantic breasts."
"Breasts somewhat make up for lack of Zod."
"Note to self: Fault lines can be repaired by simply lifting them back into place"
"Further note to self: I can reverse time by reversing the earth's rotation"
"Hey Superman - now that you reversed time, you do realize that you have to go back and re-save those people - oh, wait. No? Ok then."
"Superman's Greatest Foe: Logic."
"I wonder if I can reserve Hollowman 2"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Campaign Begins

Fellow NewCap Employees,

It's been a big year, hasn't it? A successful year. I don't know about you, but each and everytime I enter these hallowed snow-stained halls, I cannot help but be taken aback by the sheer magnitudeness of our journey.

You may ask yourself: is Magnitudeness a real word? No, it is not. But I argue - why not? Why fear change? Must a word be established before it is said? Must an employee have been with a company longer than 6 months to be awarded a yearly honor? The answer, of course, is no.

Which is why, this December 2006, I urge you to vote Matt Bradford for Employee of the Year.

Some may argue that to be employee of the year, one must first have worked an entire year. Technically, this may be true. But i ask you this: What of Napoleon? What of Einstein? What of Tom Hanks? Must they have also worked an entire calendar year in their professions to be recognized for their achievements? The answer is, again, is no.
Committment, my friends, is a state of mind ... not a timesheet.
In my short time here I have put helped pave a bold new path for our glorious company. In just 5 months, I have increased sales by 300%* and given rise to strong new initiatives that have bolstered the continued providence of our illustrious repitoire...or something. I have single handidly lobbied for the important issues (Most notably my recent Coffee for Creative'06 campaign and the 'Hey Can I Borrow 25 Cents, Drew? program). In the coming future, I promise to think about getting around to doing more.

And isn't that what an Employee of the Year is? More? Think about it.

I am not saying that the other candidates do not deserve this honor. I'm just saying that I saw one beat a small puppy to death with a rolled up Broadcasting magazine in the back. Is that how you want our industry news handled? I thought not.

This December, vote for change. Vote for Vision. Vote for Hope.
Vote Matt Bradford for Employee of the Year.

Because you don't kill puppies...and neither do I.

(all emails and questions can be forwarded to Kelly Thompson, my campaign manager. Donations accepted)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Personality Test Sheep

Two updates in one day? Unheard of you say! Proposterous! Slow Work Day!
Online tests - I love 'em for their randomness pseudo-science and I hate 'em because they so often miss the mark.
Either way, they provide good blog fodder.

Like this: Turns out I'm not as much of a nerd as I think I am:
Or this - I'm definitely not a loser:Though really - each of these tests should have but one question: Do you take online tests?
If the answer is yes, you get the following:

(update: want to kill 5 minutes of your own? Click here - Thanks to Phil for pointing out my lack of hyperlinking savvy).

Proof I'm Not Lazy

Rather - proof that being lazy isn't exactly a bad thing.
Have a read:
"Bad Habits Can Be Good For Your Career" - MSN Candace Corner
Like I've always said - a little gaming before, after (and possibly during) work can help keep the voices inside my head at bay. Lord knows after dealing with some clients (I like saying that, makes me sound like I'm getting paid good money), I need to unwind with a little mindless thumb-on-controller action.
And I'm not alone. There are millions of us 'gamers'. And they look just like everyone else.

"The truth is, a little time in fantasy land could be just what you needed. Dr. Kathleen Hall, [Insert tons of credentials] recommends 10 to 15 minutes of online computer play to refresh and get you ready to work."

Doing the math - 10 to 15 X Afternoon = Super productive Happy Matt. And everyone wins when I'm happy Matt.
Once again science comes through.
Other 'Bad Habits' include Gambling (check), Watching TV (Check), Air Guitaring (Check) and Killing Hobos (Check).
Ok, I made that up - I never air guitar.
Read the article.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Halloween Past

A quick follow up to yesterday's (or yesterday's yesterday) blog.
Behold: Halloween 2005! Matt and Marijana do Pulp Fiction!

Now its time to play "Spot the Similarities!". Answers below:
a) Matt is once again wearing a suit. Marijana's shirt is unbuttoned provocatively.
b) Matt once again spent much of the night praying to the porceline god
c) Marijana once again won something for her costume
d) Matt, once again, did not

Fun times. Next year: Jackie Brown (I pray he releases something better)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Matt and Marijana Do Tarintino

In continuing with our 'Tarintino' theme, I present to you: Matt and Marijana Do Kill Bill!

Yes, for yet another year, I was able to wear a suit and cheap Spencer Gift items for my costume while Marijana put time and effort into hers (although, I did help make the mace - which, by the way, is made of rolled up Maxim Magazine covers and my old Ryerson T-Shirt)

In case you couldn't tell, I was a generic member of the Crazy 88's and she was 'Gogo' the psycho mace girl. Awww...aren't we cute...yet dangerous!