What visit to Ottawa would be complete without a trip to Fake Real Sports?

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Now, I’ve been to the real Real Sports Bar & Grill a handful of times, mostly to watch football–whether it was the Super Bowl, a post-Seahawks-shitstomping-Buffalo celebration, or, more recently, when I had basketball tickets on the evening of the Hawks’ Wild Card playoff game.  The one time I went there for the Stanley Cup Finals, I couldn’t get a seat.  But the Ottawa edition certainly wasn’t packed for an afternoon CFL contest and some NFL preseason action–not even at 7:30 on a Saturday.  (Then again, isn’t that when most Ottawans hit the hay, anyways?)  I dunno guy, but I’m pretty sure Pat Bateman’s seen more people at Texarcana.

That said, ownership has done a pretty good job of making the George St. location seem like Real Sports on steroids–if steroids made your junk smaller.  (Oh, wait!)  It’s almost like a miniature version of the real thing, what with its frosted glass bar, back wall of beer taps, and a centrepiece TV that you can see from the scaled-down second floor.  Of course, while the real Real Sports boasts a giant screen the size of a Toronto townhouse, the Ottawa edition is roughly as large as your MP’s office.  Which is to say, you still gotta crane your neck to watch the action when seated at the bar.

I will say this, though:  While I wasn’t impressed with the food in Toronto the one time I ate there, I’d say my capital-city meal was a major improvement.  Although I can’t say it was an Ottawa thing–the two menus are virtually identical; in fact, the sandwich I ordered features prominently on the Toronto Real Sports’ website.  That said, the Triple Threat puts three good things between two pieces of bread: namely, pulled pork, beef brisket and peameal bacon.  The first two blend together quite nicely, while the latter adds another texture to the dish.  And the best thing about this sammy?  No veggies in sight!

064Mmm, meat…

2014 NEW CFL STADIUM TOUR: TD Place, Ottawa

What with the Canadian dollar hovering around 91 cents U.S., I figured I’d be better off visiting some home-country destinations this summer.  And hey, it just so happens that three CFL teams have opened new stadiums in the past year–Winnipeg last season, Ottawa this season, and Hamilton…well, they’re still working on that.  (I might hafta hold off on Timmies Field till late September.)  In any case, I’ve already got my Banjo Bowl ticket in hand–and I did just visit Ottawa last weekend.  Let’s just say that TD Place, well, it’s still kinda under construction, too:

001(Behold, the round mound of…dirt!)

That said, the stands are fully, erm, standing.  They’ve even got cupholders in the cheap seats!

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At least they’ve got grass on this side:

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Now, I probably shouldda paid a bit more attention to Rene Paredes in warmups.  He missed a couple close kicks come gametime!

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No, that’s not a hotel–they’re putting up condos right next to the stadium.  Shortest commute ever?

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No, that’s not a church–but rather, the future home of the Ottawa 67’s.

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017(And yes, the home team does come out of that giant helmet…)

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Bo Levi uncorks a tight practice spiral:

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Hello, ladies…

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A few candid action shots:

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Although the REDBLACKS!!!!! only points came from an impressive INT return on, like, the second play from scrimmage, they actually kept Calgary out of the end zone, for the most part, until the fourth quarter.  Once things got outta hand and the fans started filing out, I took the opportunity to head all the way down to the front row, right behind the Stamps’ bench.  You couldn’t really see the game from there, but I did get a good view of the sideline:

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Looks like Paredes is impressed with the cheerleaders:

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Remind me not to pay for these seats next year:

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At the end of the game, being that I was the only guy left in Section S sporting a white Stetson and a Stamps jersey, linebacker Alvin Bowen came over and gave me his gloves!  I would not have known who he was were it not for the jersey on his back, but I’m definitely gonna follow his career more closely now.  (On that note, Bowen made his first special-teams tackle of the season on Sunday.)  Charleston Hughes also came over and shook my hand, but I did not get a picture of either player.  Still got the gloves, though:

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2014 CFL POWER RANKINGS: Week 9

Forget about East vs. West–although the West went 3-0 again this week–it’s starting to look like you’ve got Calgary, Edmonton…and then everyone else.  The two Alberta teams are heading into the Labour Day Classic each at 7-1, both boasting perfect 4-0 road records and the two stingiest defences in the league.  Beyond them, you kinda get the feeling that anybody can beat anybody else–at least within their own division.  And with the CFL Least starting to come together in a couple rivalry games next week, the picture might get a bit clearer at the bottom.  Cuz there’s no denying who’s on top, once again, after Week Nine.

Preseason Predictions

Last Week’s Rankings

Rankings Archive

1. Calgary Stampeders (7-1) Last Week: 1.  The Stamps D pitched a shutout in Ottawa, as the REDBLACKS!!!!! only points came on an early interception return.  Truth be told, this game was closer than the final score indicates, but a 21-point, fourth-quarter outburst gave Calgary the most lopsided win of Week Nine–by a long shot!  Not a bad contest at which to be in attendance…if you’re a Stamps fan. ;)  (More on that tomorrow!)

2. Edmonton Eskimos (7-1) Last Week: 2.  Despite an early injury to Mike Reilly, who only threw one pass all game, the Esks still put 41 points on the board, largely due to defence and the run game.  Speaking of the D, they not only prevented Ricky Ray from hitting 50K against his former team, but they also picked him off twice, with two of those thefts leading directly to TDs.  Might be a little tougher for them to do so against Bo Levi Mitchell, mind you–the Stamps pivot has only thrown four picks all season.

3. Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-2) Last Week: 4.  Make that five straight wins for the Riders, who held off B.C. in a rather uneventful contest last night.  (I passed out fell asleep shortly after halftime.)  Although they’re the lowest-scoring team in the West Division (24.1 ppg), Saskatchewan seems to be solidly in third place, but it’ll take a win over Calgary or Edmonton for them to move up any higher in these rankings.

4. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-3) Last Week: 6.  Well, it wasn’t a very pretty win, but after back-to-back losses against Toronto and Saskatchewan, the Bombers really needed to put one in the win column, and they did so against Montreal.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Winnipeg will represent the East in the Grey Cup this season…the year after they left the division. ;)

5. B.C.Lions (5-4) Last Week: 3.  Well, it seems Lions president and CEO Dennis Skulsky’s mouth wrote a cheque that his team couldn’t cash.  After B.C. came up four points short on “guaranteed win night,” Skulsky now owes some 33-thousand fans a free ticket to a future home game.  The good news is that I’m pretty sure a decent chunk of them were Riders fans, who won’t be coming back to Vancouver this season–the two teams have split their season series at one game apiece.

6. Toronto Argonauts (3-6) Last Week: 5.  Not a whole lotta positives last week for the Argos, who trailed 31-10 at the half before a 13-point third quarter got them within striking distance.  Chad Owens returned to action, catching an early TD…but limped off again late in the game.  (That’s what happens when your best player’s, like, 5’2″, 130 pounds.)  Ricky Ray threw for 277 and two TDs, but his three picks proved costly, with a couple returned for scores the other way.  And things don’t get much easier for the Argos, either.  After the Labour Day Classic in Hamilton, they get the Stamps and the Lions sandwiched between a couple byes.  This team could very well win the Least with a sub-.500 record.

7. Montreal Alouettes (1-7) Last Week: 8.  OK, so Montreal’s lost six in a row, but last week’s game in Winnipeg was the closest they’ve come to winning anything in a couple months.  And they just might have found their starting QB of the future in Jonathan “Polamalu Levels of Scalp and Hairness” Crompton, who completed 62 per cent of his passes for 266 yards–and three picks–in the loss.  Of course, I’m pretty sure I said the same thing about Troy Smith in the preseason, so take that for what it’s worth!

8. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-6) Last Week: 7.  Good news in Hamilton: Ownership insists Tim Hortons Field will be ready in time for Labour Day.  Then again, the last time a CFL team’s CEO made that kinda guarantee, it ended with the B.C. Lions owing 33-thousand people free tickets.  But you can’t fit nearly that many into Timmies–rumour has it that only 18 out of 22.5 thousand seats are good to go.  And hey, with any luck, the home side might actually show up to play; they’ve certainly got a fighting chance against the Argos, anyways.

9. Ottawa REDBLACKS!!!!!! (1-7) Last Week: 9.  I actually just got back from Ottawa, where I can tell you that both the new stadium and its fans are quite nice.  Too bad they’re stuck with a subpar product on the field.  Henry Burris just barely moved into third place in all-time passing yards with a craptastic 12-23, 113 yard effort yesterday, and there wasn’t much of a ground game to speak of, either.  Let’s just say that when I jeered Henry’s name, a couple fans of the home team joined in.  It just might be time to give Thomas DeMarco a closer look.  I mean, he couldn’t possibly do any worse, could he?  As a matter of fact, he already outsmiles Smilin’ Hank:

I mean, wouldn’t you want this guy to date your daughter quarterback your expansion team?

Off to Ottawa, the city that sleeps at 7:30… (I might even stay up until 10!)

Y’know, I almost ended up in Ottawa.  Since I had decided to study journalism *cough*dying medium*cough* in university, there were really only two schools that mattered: Carleton U, in the nation’s crapital, and Ryerson, right up The Centre of the Known Universe’s asshole.  (Where else could you get a handjob and a Harvey’s hamburger at the same stop light!?)  I still remember the day Carleton’s admissions package arrived in the mail, offering me their congratulations, and a partial scholarship…for their mass communications program.  Suffice to say I tossed that shit harder than a Henry Burris spiral into the fifth row–missing his receiver by that much.  And that, kids, is how I ended up in The Big Smoke. ;)

Perhaps you could say I hated Ottawa before I even set foot there.  (Not true: it was the first stop on my eighth-grade Quebec trip.)  But since I’ve got family in the area now, I’ve been out there a few times in the past few years, and…I still don’t like it very much.  Put it this way: some of its Western suburbs make Northwest Calgary seem exciting by comparison.  And a cab ride out there from downtown’ll cost ya at least 60 bucks–even at 2 in the morning.

Mind you, it’s not often you’ll find a bar that’s open that late.  As a general rule, the nation’s crapital shuts down after the backbenchers all stumble outta D’arcy McGee’s…at 2:30 in the afternoon.  I mean, try finding a record store that’s open after 6, even on a weekend.  Nope, can’t do it.  And I wasn’t kidding about the bars closing early, either.  Case in point.  (Don’t stay out past midnight, kids!)  That said, I’ll probably be passed out like Rob “Sleepytime” Anders after a “car accident” by 6 o’clock on Sunday.  And hey, that noodle-armed, bra-wearing, kilt-tilting QB might have something to do with it.

Yuuup, I’m off to see the REDBLACKS!!!!! host the soon-to-be 2014 Grey Cup champs, as Calgary visits TD Place in a couple days.  I’m pretty sure this game will be over by halftime, since the homeside is 1-6 on the season, and the Stamps just beat ‘em by three TDs.  But hey, that just gives me more time to pound back the Dinner Jacket O’Red IPAs.  Let’s just say if you see a streaker in a cowboy hat, it may or may not be Rob Anders. ;)

SWEAR TO SEITAN!!!

So I had vegan food today, and hey, it’s actually not bad!  It’s not something I’d do every day, but I figure that if I’m gonna eat something with no meat, it better resemble meat as closely as possible.  Hence, the Philly cheese seitan at Hogtown Vegan:

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To their credit, it actually looked like meat.  Not the thinly-shaved ribeye you’d find in a cheesesteak, mind you; more like gyro meat, which I’m pretty sure still has some beef in it.  Of course, this dish was completely beef-free.  I’d say it also had the texture of a gyro, and a nice dash of seasoning…but it certainly didn’t taste like steak.  And I’m not sure the cheese sauce really reminded me of cheese, though it certainly was messy!  On the other hand, the fries were pretty much your standard fries, cuz hey, you can’t vegan those up, eh?

Alas, while I came away satisfied with the overall edibleness of the meal, I will say that the tatooed-hipster service at the Bloor St. W eatery left a little to be desired–which is to say, it was rudimentary at best.  The place wasn’t even all that busy, but I did not see a server between the time we received our food and the time we finished eating.  Hey, I mighta had another beer or two (Mill St Organic, natch) there, instead of hitting up some hipster bar down the street, had they been a bit more attentive.  (Said server also would’ve received a more respectable tip to go towards her latest performance-art piece.)

I will say this: I’ve got a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste right now, and I don’t think it’s from the Mill St. Organic…

Hogtown Vegan, 1056 Bloor St. W (East of Dufferin). Philly Cheese Seitan, $13.

Break-in at Trudeau’s place…just don’t call it Harpergate!

OK, so you probably don’t hafta look very far to find people comparing the recent break-in at the Trudeau residence to the Watergate scandal.  After all, both of them involved a burglary at a prominent political place…and that’s where the similarities end.  I dunno guy, but I’m pretty sure Stephen Harper isn’t using wiretaps.  Robocalls, maybe, but that’s a completely different phone-based technology.  (Pierre Poutine could not be reached for comment.)

Sure, it seems a little suspicious that someone would break into the Liberal Party leader’s residence, and do nothing but allegedly spell out “Harper 2015″ in Alberta beef knives, but I guess that’s what happens when you leave your doors unlocked in the roughshod Ottawa neighbourhood of Rockcliffe Park.  The question is, with an average household income of 120 grand a year (only because most of them are foreign ambassadors), how did they know which house was Trudeau’s?  Does the doorbell say “Fuddle Duddle” when you ring it?  Is there a copy of the Constitution Act on his front lawn?  And hey, did the vandals from the nearby francophone community of Vanier spray “En français SVP” on the back porch, or just “Ces objets auraient pu été volés?”

Not to make light of this atrocity committed against the next prime minster of Canada, as one Conservative back-bencher–surprisingly not Rob Anders!–was wont to do.  Home invasion is a serious crime.  Just ask 80’s hair band Ratt.  But if I’m the future leader of the country, and I’m leaving my wife and kids at home, I’m pretty sure I’d keep my doors locked.

(And yes, I do believe that Trudeau Jr.’s gonna be the next PM.  I mean, nobody’s gonna vote for Harper again, right? :P )

Episode 132 of Gruesome Tunes now available for download!

gruesometunesnew

CLICK HERE.

08/17/14 PLAYLIST

Seditius – Nero (Carne da Macello) 3:07

A Storm of Light – Leave no Wounds (As the Valley of Death Becomes Us Our Silver Memories Fade) 3:52

Kylesa – Vulture’s Landing (Ultraviolet) 3:15

Winter – Goden (Into Darkness) 8:19

Black Tusk – Falling Down (Passage Through Purgatory) 3:20

Rival Sons – On My Way (Before the Fire) 5:18

Black Tar Prophet – Bottom Feeder (Deafen) 2:05

 

Serpentine Path – Claws (Emanations) 7:30

Zed – A Drug (The Invitation) 3:49

Black Tusk – Growing Horns (Set the Dial) 3:27

Sofy Major – Comment (Idolize) 3:40

Hail! Hornet – Glass Roses (Disperse the Curse) 1:31

Black Tusk – End of Days (Passage Through Purgatory) 3:51

Jex Thoth – The Places You Walk (Blood Moon Rise) 5:04

 

Culted – Intoxicant Immuration (Oblique to all Paths) 10:44

Palm Desert – The Tempter (Falls of the Wastelands) 4:40

Jello Biafra & the Melvins – Those Dumb Punk Kids [Will Buy Anything] (Sieg Howdy!) 3:15

Hotel Wrecking City Traders – Riley (Ikiryo) 4:16

Luder – Astrolabe (Adelphophagia) 5:34

 

Demon Lung – Hallowed Ground (The Hundredth Name) 6:43

Obelyskkh – Abysmal Desert Cavern (White Lightnin’) 6:57

Snail – Terminus (Terminus) 3:36

The Devil’s Blood – Feverdance (The Thousandfold Epicentre) 15:15