Saturday, October 31, 2009

2009 Roar Of The Rings: My Volunteer Schedule

There are only 36 days until the Roar of the Rings Olympic Curling Trials! I'm liking that countdown more that Christmas!

I'm a lucky volunteer (see here and here), and recently got my schedule. Though the Roar lasts from Dec 6-13, I only have 3 shifts on the 10th, 11th, and 13th that total 18hrs. I was actually hoping to work more and hang out at the venue more, so am a bit disappointed I only have to be there for three days. Also, the final on the 13th starts at 1pm, and I have to work at 4pm, so it'll be tight and if anything I'll miss the last end, but at least I'll get to watch the game.

That's the big question: do I get to watch the games? I've been told we get to watch for free, but no one has clarified how that works. Is there a volunteer section? Do I have to stand at the top? Can I sit in an empty seat? Should I just buy a couple tickets for certain draws?

While I don't mind sitting at home in my pjs, watching all the games on TV with expert commentary, I wanted to see a few games live at least. Watching curling TV is great, and I really appreciate the commentary and being able to listen to the curlers as they discuss the shots, but they only show one game at a time. Sometimes it's nice to sit in the crowd and watch four games at one, soaking in the atmosphere all the while.

So I've got a lot of questions about that. There's another volunteer rally in a couple weeks so maybe it'll all be clarified.

I was also emailed the CCA`s expectations of merchandising volunteers:
  • Greet all customers entering the store.
  • Assist customers finding a style or size or other item.
  • Watch for shoplifting.
  • Assist cashiers with bagging, if requested.
  • Assist customers with exchanges or refunds. The cashiers will handle the final transaction.
  • Assist with opening and closing the store.
  • Assist with housekeeping of the sales area by re-folding or re-hanging merchandise and putting into size and colour order.
  • Unpacking and displaying merchandise.
  • Other retail duties as may be required.
Other guidelines and expectations:
  • No chairs or sitting in the retail area.
  • No food or drinks in the retail area. (Seriously. I hope water bottles don't count as "food or drinks" because there's no way I can go 7hrs without water. Or a snack.)
  • If someone is suspected or is caught shoplifting, they are to be reported to Security, or a supervisor or cashier. Volunteers should not attempt to apprehend the shoplifter themselves.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your shift is slated to start so that you are ready to "hit the ground running" when your shift begins.
It's a good think I have 3yrs of retail experience, I will be suitable qualified, ha ha.

So all in all, it's an interesting, if somewhat disappointing and confusing situation...

(Meanwhile, what happened to Koe at the Cactus Pheasant Classic this weekend?? It'll be interesting to see who wins that one tomorrow!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Captain Tightpants Returns

Just in case you missed the best Halloween costume ever:
"What exactly are you supposed to be?"
"A space cowboy."
"a) There are no cows in space. b) Didn't you wear that, like, five years ago?"
"So..."
"Don't you think you should move on?"
"I like it"
And the music matched too! Gosh it was a shiny few minutes.
(If anyone finds a better video, please post the link in the comments, thanks!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weekend Curling Wrap Up

(photo credit Anil Mungal, Capital One)
This past weekend was the Capital One Grand Slam World Cup. In the end Howard beat Koe (above, I think it's pronounced coo-e as opposed to co-e). Though Howard is my favourite team, I do feel bad for Koe (my second favourite team) - they've lost this same event to Howard a few time before. Quoted above, Colleen Jones (another top curler) thinks "Koe and his team are too good not to break through any day now. Just not on this day." I wholeheartedly agree; I think one day Koe & co. will be kings of Canadian curling. Not yet though. It was a good game, full of great shot making (and missing) regardless.
And yay for CBCsports.ca, they've archived full game videos of the event for your re-watching pleasure here. CurlTV.com helped with the filming of the non-televised games, so yay CurlTv too!
Speaking of CurlTV, I only just realized a guy who plays in our league is the host of the (almost) daily curling news update show. Of course I realized this after I cracked a few too many jokes and generally made a miserable fool of myself on the ice on Sunday, so I guess next week I'll have to say 'hi' and make a proper fool of myself.
Yeah. It was a nice weekend. I'm glad curling is back. It's gonna be a gooder of a season!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Music Monday: Luke Doucet & My Crush On White Falcon

I've written about my love for Luke Doucet before, so I wont bore you with gushing praise about how awesome his music.

The post isn't about how much I love Luke Doucet. This post is about how much I love his guitar.

Is it wrong to have a crush on a guitar?

It's called 'White Falcon' and I love it, how it looks, how it sounds, how he plays it - love it. It even has a Corb Lund sticker on the back. Priceless.

I recently came across some insider information. Listen as he talks about White Falcon:


Now listen as he plays it masterfully:






Now that's a guitar!!

It's a Gretsch White Falcon. Other Gretsch guitarists include Bono and The Edge, Dave Grohl, David Crosby, George Harrison, Chris Isaak, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Django Reinhardt, Slash and Elvis Presley!

More videos from the Mod Club concert are available here.

You can find Luke Doucet at:

If you like this guitar, you might also like:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is The Flag At Half-Mast? Why?

This post about why American flags are flown at half-mast (or half-staff) by Swiss Army Librarian was super interesting, so I though I ought to find some similar information from a Canadian perspective.
National:
  • Rules for the Half-Masting of the National Flag of Canada - Super interesting! This page lists who's death warrants half-masting the flag, what happens to the national flag if a provincial flag is half-masted, what annual days are half-masted (April 28, Workers' Mourning Day; Last Sunday in September, Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day; November 11, Remembrance Day; December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women; also on the Peace Tower only on April 9, Vimy Ridge Day; and for the duration of the annual Memorial Service on Parliament Hill to remember deceased Parliamentarians) and that the flag is half-masted upon the death of a member of the Canadian Forces who is deployed on operations to a special duty area (which was controversial a few years ago).
  • Half-Masting of the Flag - This official pages lists why the flag was flown at half mast (2007-current), with no RSS feed though.
  • Wikipedia: Half-Staff: Canada - This is a nice summary, and also includes information for other countries.
  • Rules for Flying the Flag - Very interesting, and includes grainy black and white pictures!
  • The National Flag of Canada - All you'd ever want to know about the national flag.
  • Canadian Flag Etiquette - Tons of info about everything you ever wanted to know about the flag and flying it.
Provincial (Alberta):
And yeah, just call the building if you're not sure why a flag is flying at half-mast, sometimes I forget people still use those things called telephones...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Castle's Halloween Costume Is Shiny!

I hate Halloween, but every time I watch this clip I get all happy...
Guess why...
Not sure?
Watch it again...
Did you miss it? Check this link.
That's right, Cap'n Tightpants is back!
Shiny!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

How People Count Money

Here's a link to a super interesting video about How People Count Money Around The World:
Fascinating!!
(shamelessly stolen from Mastermaq)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Plastic Is Evil, Just Ask The Albatross

I've previously posted about the evils of plastic bags, but the issue of plastic garbage goes deeper than that.
Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Or Pacific Trash Vortex? Pacific Plastic Gyre?
No? Get caught up...
...or watch this:
"The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Eastern Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N and estimated to be twice the size of Texas. The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of suspended plastic and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. (wikipedia)"
The video mentions seabirds. A friend recently suggested I take a look at this blog worthy link, and frankly I found it utterly appalling. Photographer Chris Jordan took photographs of dead baby albatross' with stomachs full of plastic. Warning, the photographs are quite graphic.
STOP BUYING PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES!! And good grief people, RECYCLE!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reflections From A Motorist

Last month was plagued by car trauma, and yesterday seemed to continue the trend (although this time nothing got hit!).
Today I was driving home from work, going north on 97st. The stretch of road from 118ave to 127ave has a contraflow lane (counterflow, reversible lane). This is a 7 lane road. First off, this stretch of road is hard to drive down, particularly at night, because there are so many red/green street lights and arrow. Today however, I happened to be driving in the contraflow lane right as it switched directions!! The green arrow became a flashing red X which then became a solid red X. I got out of the lane, but others didn't. Thus when we came to the single turning lane on 127ave, it became a double turning lane and it's amazing there was no car accident. I appreciate why we have contraflow lanes, but motorists need to pay attention to the lights!!
I was still shaken up from this experience when I saw the world's ugliest car. Yes folks, the PT Cruiser has been replaced by the Nissan Cube...
Lessons learned:
- Don't drive on 97 st. at 6:30 pm.
- Don't buy a Nissan Cube.
Class dismissed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Suggest A Theme Song For Me!

Yesterday was a bad day of epic doom and gloom proportions.
Today I came across a timely blog post on Library Alchemy about leadership etc. that had this to say:
"You know what else can help you stay positive? Having a theme song. Everybody should have one. Pick a theme song–the cheesier the better–and listen to it regularly. Don’t tell anybody what your theme song is, though: this is really important, because when times get tough, you can just think of your theme song and smile one of those enigmatic little smiles to yourself. Then everybody will admire you for being brave and noble in the face of obstacles, when really you’re just taking advantage of the naturally healing power of cheesy music."
Good idea.
So I've decided I need a theme song. Previously, in my old life, I had two theme songs: 'I am a rock, I am an island' by Simon and Garfunkel and 'Moment' by Leahy. The former is a bit depressing and doesn't necessarily fit with my current life, and the later is only half applicable.
I need your help - I need a cheesy, uplifting, hopeful theme song. Except I can't think of any at the moment. Suggestions are most welcome, just leave me a comment!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Music Monday: Amelia Curran

Female musicians are a rarity in my CD collection, but this week's musicmonday post will showcase Amelia Curran. She's from Newfoundland, and I first saw her last spring when she opened for Luke Doucet. I was prepared to be bored because I usually quite dislike female singer songwriters, but I was pleasantly surprised by her voice. She sings/writes the type of brooding twang I'm currently into - and I love her latest CD!!
Listen to some of her songs (the bottom video also has an interview):
There's a great CD review here, and you can listen to two more songs here. Canadian Interviews also has an interview with Amelia Curran up (check out the site in general, there's a lot of great interviews posted already, including musicians Alan Doyle, Joel Plaskett and Tony Dekker).
You can find this musician at:
Amelia Curran official (includes free download of 'The Mistress')
If you like Amelia Curran, you might also like:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change Roundup

The Blog Action Day website has a great roundup of blog posts published on Thursday for Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change.
Here are some highlights:
Check out Blog Action Day's recap for more.

Word Of The Day: Epi - what?

I was asked by my practicum supervisor and another colleague to compile a list of the top 25-50 Public Health academic journals by impact factor (ISI and JCR are your friends!).
I kept coming across a word that I didn't know...
epidemiology: the branch of medicine dealing with the incidence and prevalence of disease in large populations and with detection of the source and cause of epidemics of infectious disease (more info).
...and now we all know what it means! What a timely new word during this crazy H1N1 outbreak!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day: "Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web."
This year's theme is climate change.
What, you don't believe in climate change?
Pay attention. Less than a month ago it was over 30degrees in Edmonton. Right now it's -5 and there's an inch of snow on the ground. The trees have only just started turning colour, and many are still full of green leaves. The wild jack rabbits are still brown, their white winter coats haven't even started to come in yet. My corner of the world is not ready for winter.
Is this weird weather part of climate change? Does this mean global warming doesn't exist?
I don't know. It certainly is strange though. And it worries me. A lot.
Problems like climate change are so huge, the whole concept can be overwhelming.
Want to learn more about climate change? Check out these 8 great resources, including the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming and 10 Solutions for Climate Change.
And that is what we as individuals should be concerned about: solutions.
I follow three great blogs that offer tips and advice about living greener:
Want to make a difference too? Check out the above blogs or projects such as
If we all do one thing, if all 6 billion of us do one thing, if all the people in power do one thing, then maybe, just maybe our children's children wont have to rely on these two:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waste Your Time Watching Funny X-Files Clips

Today's time-waster: The 10 Funniest X-Files Episodes.
I kinda disagree, but still spent the past half hour watching the video clips anyways, so it's purpose has been fulfilled.
My favourite funny X-Files episodes were the baseball one (The Unnatural) and the one with the birthday girls (Syzygy). Classic. I miss that show...
(Via The Park Bench, one of the best blogs ever!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Scrooge??

I just saw a trailer for A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey. It's in animated digital 3D or whatever. It's out November 6, and looks creepy.
Does the world need another Christmas Carol movie?
No.
The world only needs one Christmas Carol movie...
I have two Christmas traditions, and one involves watching the above movie because it is most definitely the best Christmas movie ever. Ever. Want to borrow the soundtrack?
And yes, it is way to early for Christmas posts. I'm sorry. I'm not sure what just came over me. Afterall, I am everyone's favourite holiday scrooge...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Local TV vs Cable Companies (Again...)

And the 'Broadcasters vs. Cable Companies' debate continues...
Which side am I supposed to choose? They both have very persuasive Get The Facts sections. In the past (here, here, and here) I've sided with local tv. Mastermaq has a different viewpoint here.
Either way, choose your side, and declare your support before November 2 via either website. (For the record, I watch my local newscast every night, if that disappears because some greedy cable company or broadcaster decides to finance their CEOs Christmas bonus instead, I shall have to lay the smack down...)

Friday, October 09, 2009

NHL Statistics: What's The Most Canadian Team?

If you're a hockey fan, check out this 2009/10 NHL roster breakdown by age, weight and country/province of origin. It's pretty nifty.
The Oilers are the most Canadian team (75%), and Alberta contributes the second most players (64, after Ontario with 160) of all provinces. Interesting.
That was the best link I've seen all day, so I'm blatantly stealing this awesome link from Head Tale, thanks as usual!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Google Street View Goes Live

Last June, I saw a Google Street View camera on my street.
Well, Google Street View has gone live with images from Canadian streets (except Edmonton for whatever reason).
Privacy concerns are still rampant (see here), but "In an attempt to answer Canadian privacy concerns, faces and licence plates are blurred and Google has agreed to inform the public before it takes photos and limit the time it keeps and publishes the images." Really? No one warned me last June.
"Questions about the service's legality in Canada saw Google summoned to appear before Parliament's information, privacy and ethics committee earlier this year. The committee is reviewing privacy laws to ensure they are still effective in the digital era."
Hmm. Google Goes To Parliament. Wish I could've been a fly on that wall.
Yes, Google is taking over the world. Yet I want a Google Wave invitation and will most definitely look up my house as soon as the Street View Edmonton pictures go live. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Read In Week 2009

Today was my 2nd annual visit to my old elementary school to read to the kids for Read In Week, 2009.
Same as last year, I realized I miss hanging out with kids, but I really don't miss teaching. I also realized my old grade one teacher is back at the school. I went to say hi (like 23 years later) and she actually remembered me (apparently my eyes are the same). Another teacher who was there at the time I was in school, but who didn't teach me, remembered my last name, but then thought I was my sister. The librarian from back-in-the-day is still there, though she's no longer the librarian, but a full time teacher. She remembers me, as I do tend to drop in yearly anyways. And the secretary hasn't aged a day since the 80s.
Ahh, good times.
Read In Week is on until Friday, so get off the computer and go read to some kids!
Oh, you totally need to purchase a copy of 'Once Upon A Cool Motorcycle Dude' for all the kids you know for Christmas. It's a gooder!!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Music Monday: The Wooden Sky + Elliot Brood = Another Gooder

Another week, another concert for me! Gosh I'm loving the streak of shows, but alas, this will (likely) be the last one for a month. It was a darn gooder though!!
On Saturday night, friends and I went to the Starlite Room for a great Canadian alt-country/folksy/rockin' dance-worthy hand-clapping good time.
First, I'd never been to the Starlite Room, or so I thought. After walking down the narrow alley to the entrance though, I was reminded of a time, back-in-the-day-a-decade-ago, when it was called Lush or The Rev or something. Deja vu. Anyways, the Starlite Room is a 'members only' club which requires you to purchase a 'membership' for $5, which is good for you and a guest for a year. Annoying, right? Well, radio-station-woman (Remember her? She actually got in free as my guest, as she happened to be in front of me in line, with an expired membership.) explained they have this policy because they broke a noise violation or something, and then had to get re-licensed. So I guess they can be as noisy as they want now that it's not technically open to the public. Legally, the minimum membership charge is $1, so I guess it's a cash grab too. Interesting though. Radio-station-woman also said it was a crappy venue that was too loud and had an awkward slope to the stage thus it was only worth frequenting if you really liked the band on stage. Was this true? Not so much, but I wasn't on the dance floor, so can't comment on the slope.
Anyways, the night got off to a slow start; thankfully there were old and new friends to talk to as we waited for the bands to start. And waited. And waited.
It was well worth the wait though.
First up was The Wooden Sky. They only just breached my radar, thus not realizing they were at folk fest this summer doesn't actually bother me. I'd heard some of their stuff prior to the show, so was really looking forward to them. And their set was really, really good. I really like these guys, and will most likely acquire their CD in the near future.
Next up: Elliot Brood. I made friends with another lovely couple with great taste in music who taught me that Elliot Brood is not actually the lead singer. None of the guys in the band are named Elliot. Who knew? I had heard a few of their songs, but wasn't completely sold on their sound. I called them 'screamy'. The band has described themselves as 'death country'. My new friends described them as 'thrash banjo'.
And they were exactly spot-on with that description.
Seriously, those guys can put on a show! I don't know how they manage to keep their voices, as they do have a really raspy/screamy sound. And a banjo. And a guy who plays bass with his feet (no kidding, he uses pedals or something). And they play wicked guitars. And even though I couldn't understand a word they said, it was still really awesome.
It was already such a great concert. And then the drummer got up, produced a huge sac from somewhere, and emptied dollar store cookies sheets onto the crowd. One of the guys started throwing out wooden spoons. And then they played on. I'd heard they did this, but it was like nothing I'd ever seen, people banging their crazy hearts out on these metal baking trays, and we continued to dance like idiots.
And then the guys from The Wooden Sky joined in.
Seriously fantastic fun. I don't think I would buy an Elliot Brood CD, but I bought 'Oh Alberta' off itunes (any song that mentions my homeland is endearing), and I would most certainly see them live again. Next time I want to be in the front row though. I fancy snagging myself a cookie sheet...
I am currently in love with banjos. Oh how the mighty fiddles have fallen...
It was a gooder of a night!
You can find these bands at:
If you liked these bands, you might also like:
Thanks for putting up with my blurry venue photos and grainy live videos nicked from youtube!

Music Monday: The PM Can Sing!

No really, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sings better than me!*
Original video link via @bingofuel
* I sing in the key of Z, so that's really not a major accomplishment.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October Perogy Suppers In #yeg

Sorry folks, I'm a bit behind on this, and we've already missed two! Oops.
Etown perogy suppers this month:
As far as I know, Holy Cross is not doing a perogy supper this month.

Curling Stats For The Start Of The Season

Yay! Curling season has started!
Well, the pros have been at it for a couple weeks, and I did practice last week, but today is our first game, thus the season has officially begun in all capacities.
It's going to be a good year. I didn't completely suck at practice last week. The Roar of the Rings is two months away. Competitions have been tight, and there have been surprise wins on the pro circuit. It'll be a gooder!
I thought I'd start the season with a few stats about Canadian curlers, via the Canadian Curling Association...
Canadian Curlers: “Middle Class Prairie Dwellers”
Gender
- 58% Male; 3.33% of all Canadian men curled.
- 42% Female; 2.33% of all Canadian females curled.
Age
The majority (37%) of Canadian curlers were between the ages of 35-49; 3.55% of all people in this age group curled. This was followed closely by the 50-64 age group (22%).
Ethnicity and Language
- The majority (91.12%) of Canadian Curlers spoke English conversationally.
- The majority (87.28%) of Canadian curlers indicated their ethnicity as white.
Geographic Location
- The majority of Canadian curlers (10.43%) lived in prairie small towns communities; 10.43% of all people that live in these communities curled. In fact, people who live in these communities were 480 times more likely to curl than anyone else in the Canadian population*.
Education
- 93% of Canadian curlers had earned at least a high school diploma and 27% had earned a Bachelors degree or post bachelors degree.
Employment Status
- The majority of Canadian curlers (67%) were employed full-time.
Marital Status
- Most Canadian curlers (69%) were married or living with a partner.
Curlers are also more likely to
  • golf
  • garden
  • volunteer
  • write angry letters to government
  • exercise
  • fish
  • bowl
  • jog
  • downhill ski
  • cross country ski
  • boat/canoe/sail
  • camp
  • play baseball/volleyball
  • travel
than anyone else in the Canadian population.
Hmm. Yes, I concur. Curlers are definitely a certain sort of people, and they're my kind of people!
Full statistics are available from the Canadian Curling Association (2008).

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Castle's TV/Book Cross-Over

As I wrote about in July, the lovely people at ABC have released a book based on the tv show Castle. If you haven't seen the show, it's about an author (fantastic Nathan Fillion) who works with a cop while collecting information for his new book. Which is the book they've just published. Yes it's a bit confusing, but a neat idea nonetheless.
There's more information about what's going on here, you buy the book here, and download free sample chapters here. I'm not sure I'll buy it, but will probably try to acquire it somehow (from the library or bookmooch) once it's in paperback and read it. I really like the tv show - Fillion is fantastically witty and the ensemble cast works well together.
It's not Firefly, but it'll do for now.