Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bubble Tea Adventures Rooted In Reality

What do library students and english professors do on random Friday nights?
In reality: eat themselves sick at a perogy supper, visit a closing grocery store, and give into bubble tea cravings by venturing into the ghetto to find a long-lost Tea Cottage.
Thanks Pegraelian, that was awesome!
(Photo by me, taken in Victoria - too bad about the glare, it was a super cute poster!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Details: The Simpsons Go Curling

Awhile ago it was revealed that The Simpson's were going to go curling, as a promo-ish thing for the Winter Olympics.
And now, via The TV Addict, the details are in:
"The Simpsons are returning to Canada. In fact — almost five years to the day from their last visit that saw Homer and Grandpa trek up to Winnipeg Manitoba in search of affordable prescription drugs — Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and special guest-voice Bob Costas are heading to Vancouver (Which for the geographically challenged, is the city on Canada’s left coast that doubles as America in many of your favorite shows such as Smallville, Supernatural and Eureka) in order to compete in the 2010 Olympics Vancouver Games. Will Homer be the ruin of the mixed-doubles curling team that includes Marge, Principal Skinner and his mother? Will Lisa’s ‘B’ story that has her collecting Olympic pins bring down the episode? Find out for yourself on February 14th when “Boy Meets Girl” airs on FOX (GlobalTV in Canada)
So mark Feb. 14 on your calendar!
Thanks to Mike's Bloggity Blog for the heads up!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Curling on TV - Scotties Time!

It's curling-on-tv time again!
I know, you're still recovering from the Canadian Open and the Juniors last weekend (congratulations teams Martin, Homan and Walker!).
But it's Scotties time!!
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts (aka Canadian Women's National Curling Championship) is on from Saturday January 30th to Sunday February 7th.
Click to meet the teams. I'm picking Jennifer Jones for the win (and redemption after a poor Olympic Trials run). And I'll be watching Alberta's team Sweeting (wouldn't it be great if the young team took it to the veterans!). Al Cameron has a great run down of all the teams here.
Check out the Draw Schedule, and the TSN Broadcast Schedule. TSN is usually good about putting the games in the video archive shortly after they are broadcast, so I'm hoping to catch a few in between school/work/etc.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Olympic Links...

Have you caught Olympic fever yet?
No?
Well you'd better watch this video from the Olympic Torch Reporter about the flame coming through Edmonton on January 13, 2010:
I still get chills watching it - the experience was so amazing. I love how excited Doreen Ryan gets when she lights the cauldron at 2:10. So exciting. Read about my experience that day here.
Also, have you noticed the Edmonton Journal sports section has been running full page summaries of each Olympic event? Apparently you put them together to make a bigger poster that looks like this:
They are very interesting, I highly recommend taking a look! Here's the link for all the sports.
Only like 2 weeks to go till the fun really starts...
(Video via @mastermaq, link to poster via Thinkerblue.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

vitaminwater Goes Curling

First, let me say that I'm against:
a) bottled water.
b) 'fancy' water with 'vitamins' in it.
c) paying money for water
d) paying money for bottled water with 'fancy' 'vitamins' in it.
Regardless, when I saw the latest Olympic branded vitaminwater, I knew I had to buy one just so I could take it home to take a picture of it to put on my blog.
Here's the deal. vitaminwater must be some sort of Olympic sponsor - I noticed the Olympic rings logo right away. Then I started reading all the blurbs on the different flavours - they're all about particular sports. I don't even like vitaminwater, but the only flavour I'll drink in a pinch is the kiwi-strawberry one. Imagine my surprise when I read it's Olympic blurb:
"try focus. it has vitamin a and lutein to help you feel as engaged and accurate as a member of canada's curling team, skillfully directing polished granite stones down 'the sheet.' just please, don't take that as an excuse to try pushing everything you see at imaginary targets. people like their garbage cans, ten-speeds, and grandmothers exactly where they left them. in the garage."
I was meant to buy this bottle of vitaminwater.
Plus it was on sale.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Music Monday: The Grumpy Librarian's Guide to Concert-Going

1. Show up on time.
DO NOT make me get up out of my seat, thereby interrupting my musical enjoyment, to let you in because you couldn't be bothered to be on time.
2. Wait until a song break.
Ok. Maybe you got stuck in traffic or couldn't get into the parkade or the train was late or you had to feed your kids dinner or you have a bladder the size of a peanut. Whatever. Wait until the song is over, and then make me get up out of my seat.
3. Use your manners
If you have to employ rules #1-2, please say "sorry" and "thank you".
4. Show up for the opening act.
Musicians work hard and deserve your attention. Sometimes the opening act is just as good, if not better than the main act. Discover something new. Afterall, you paid for it.
5. Shut up
I paid to hear the music, not you yapping with your friends about your yummy-mummy-baby-children-daycare-birthday-party-husband-crap. Chat in the lobby, over dinner, anywhere else but beside/in front of/behind me.
6. Bring quiet snacks
Ok, so you're hungry or have a sore throat or whatever. No crinkling packaging please, and if you absolutely have to open a wrapper, follow rule #2.
7. Parent your children
Letting your kids kick the back of my chair constantly is not good parenting. It's called 'discipline'.
8. Smile and enjoy yourself
You're not at the dentist getting a root canal. If you don't like the music then leave and let the rest of us enjoy ourselves.
If you insist on breaking multiple rules, expect a) the evil eye (I used to be a teacher, I'm good at that) or b) an admonishment along the lines of "SHUT UP!"
It's about respect.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cat Sitting The Boys

My wandering/pet sitting ways continue.
I just spent the past week cat sitting, and after putting up with a dog over the Christmas holidays that needed to be let out in the wee hours of the morning, cat sitting was bliss.
I am, afterall, a cat lady.
A colleague asked me to look after their 3 cats while they went someplace warm. The cats were, for the most part, fantastic company.
This is Kato. He's an old, grumpy siamese who wouldn't have anything to do with me.
The other two young cats were Siberian Forest cats. The are gorgeous, with long grey hair that barely sheds (though apparently they molt at certain times in the year). They are very long cats, long tails and long bodies - excellent jumpers! Apparently they can grow to be 25lbs, and are good cats for dog people, because they act a bit like dogs. They are supposed to be hypoallergenic too! I'd want one for sure, but they are quite pricey.
This is Lukas. Mostly he ignored me, but did insist on inspecting my bags and following me around on occasion.
Do you have treats in there?
This is Rudy, the kitten.
Who can resist that face! He was so curious, and constantly followed me around, trying to be part of everything that was going on. How sweet. I wanted to take him home with me!
He was also a bag inspector, and at one point thought my macbook cord was a toy.
The boys were quite funny. One morning over breakfast, I ignored my newspaper in favour of watching a wrestling match. And you wouldn't believe how much fun a piece of piano wire with cardboard on the end could be.
I taught the two boys all about my favourite sport:
Curling? That's a sport? You're kidding right?!
Hmm, this is very interesting. Why do they sweep that moving thingy?
Alright, you were right. Curling is the best sport ever! Can you come over next weekend so we can watch the Scotties?
I'll miss them.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Want One!!

Ordinarily I'm an anti-consumerism/materialism sort of person.
But I want one...
It's so pretty!! I already have a macbook case that a) wasn't cheap and b) I'm pretty happy with.
But BookBook is so pretty!!
It's only $79.99 (US). Shipping is free (US only, I assume).
***
Who thinks of this stuff??
Seriously though, it's pretty big and I hate fish (unless they're for dinner) so I would never buy it, but that's still a pretty cool fish tank.
It's only $199 (US) plus shipping ($25-$135 US depending on where you are). And then you have to buy the fish. And feed them etc.
More pictures and other models here and here.
***
Oh that BookBook is so tempting. Please someone talk me out of spending $100 on another macbook case...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Curling Science in the News

Are you watching the Canadian Open? It's a great day for curling links too! (Nevermind day, curling science has been in the news all week! Must be an Olympic year...)
Apparently men have a 20% advantage over women when it comes to sweeping. That's not really surprising though, now is it.
The article has some insight into sweeping too: "For years it was felt that hard sweeping heated up the top of the ice and briefly melted the surface, making it easier for the rock to glide. Not so, said the UWO researchers. Instead, microscopic "frost particles" form and act as a lubricant."
Interesting stuff. They are still doing research, and I'll bet a lot of people will be interested in the results!
The above video goes more indepth into the whole sweeping thing. The host calls curling the most unusual Olympic sport (!), and the video slightly contradicts the new finding by the article above (I guess the secret isn't quite popular knowledge yet). It's narrated by US Olympian John Shuster (but also has lots of footage of David Murdoch and his lovely accent and tight shirt), and it really is very interesting from a science perspective. Be sure to check the other Olympic Science videos too.
(Links discovered via @curling and @pjames.)
It must be 'curling science' week because the National Post just put out another story, Covert Ops, about research on curling technique - specifically sweeping.
Some quotes:
  • "The most effective sweepers have their weight right on top of the broom. (Imagine removing the broom and the sweeper would fall flat on the ice)."
  • "The old school method is to position the broom at a 45-degree angle to the stone. The new school, which has emerged in recent years and is being preached by curling coaches far and wide, involves having the broom perpendicular to the rock face -- and sweeping back and forth."
  • "The old school technique heats the ice in a uniform manner, where the new school method produced a mash of hot and cold patches, negatively impacting the rock's flight path."
  • "Kevin Martin and the Canadian rink are old school sweepers. There were other tricks and scientific lessons learned -- and curling gadgets presumably being engineered -- soon to be at the curlers' disposal. Jenkyn cannot talk about what the little surprises might be in Vancouver."
Another curling science link: Science Alberta - Curling Science - and a summary from Bob Weeks.
Interesting stuff...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January Perogy Suppers in #yeg

Forgot to do a January Perogy Suppers list, oops. Don't worry, we didn't miss much, as the Ukrainian churches were pretty busy the first couple weeks celebrating Ukrainian Christmas and Ukrainian New Year (Malanka).
Friday, Jan 29 @ Holy Cross
Well, there may be more, but the churches aren't very good at updating their websites. Maybe I'll see you at Holy Cross on the 29th!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grand Slam #Curling: Canadian Open

So, how'd you like that Scottish takeover of the Skins game last weekend? Admit it, you liked the accents and the tight shirts and the fact it wasn't another Martin/Ferbey or Martin/Howard final. No? Oh, maybe it's just me then.
I thought Martin was going to trounce Murdoch, but Murdoch stole the whole show - he played great! I'm thinking it's gonna be hard for Canada to get that gold at the Olympics. (Did you know Murdoch has beat Martin four times in a row? It'll be a nail-biter in Vancouver!)
It sure was entertaining to watch Ferbey/Middaugh though, eh!
That being said, I hope Canada never creates curling dream teams for the Olympics or Worlds or whatever. It's fun to watch switch-ups once in awhile, but I prefer regular team dynamics. I'm a sucker for routine I guess.
(all above photos blatantly stolen from tsn.ca)
***
There's tons of curling on TV/online this weekend too. Similar to the Grand Slam event The National, it's time for the BDO Canadian Open.
Teams competing are: Koe, Howard, Ferbey, Middaugh, Stoughton, Matchett, McEwan, Gunnlaugson, Martin, Schille, Appelman, Menard, Simmons, Ursel, Burtnyk, Gushue, and Ulsrud (Go Norway Go!).
It's on CBC TV and CBCsports.ca. And if it's anything like the last Grand Slam, no, CBC will not be archiving video-on-demand tapes of the games (boo!). Here's the schedule (draws broadcast might change - all times Mountain):
Weds Jan 20 - McEwan/Stoughton - 6:20pm
Thurs Jan 21 - Koe/Ferbey - 7:50am
Thurs Jan 21 - Martin/Middaugh - 11:20am
Thurs Jan 21 - Gushue/Ursel - 2:50pm
Thurs Jan 21 - Ferbey/Ulsrud - 6:20pm
Fri Jan 22 - Koe/Gunnlaugson - 7:50am
Fri Jan 22 - Martin/Ursel - 11:20am
Fri Jan 22 - Burtnyk/Ferbey - 2:50pm
Fri Jan 22 - Howard/Simmons - 6:20pm
Fri Jan 22 - Martin/Gushue - 6:20pm
Sat Jan 23 - Quarter Finals - 12:50pm
Sat Jan 23 - Semi Finals - 4:50pm
Sun Jan 24 - Final - 10:50am
CBC Bold TV
Fri Jan 22 - Martin/Gushue - 6:30pm
Sat Jan 23 - Semi Finals - 5:00pm
CBC TV
Sat Jan 23 - Quarter Finals - 1:00pm
Sun Jan 24 - Final - 11:00am
Y'all know who my favourites are by now, but I'm picking Koe/Howard/Ulsrud for the win. It's getting harder to pick 'em these days! That's like all my favourite teams at one event! For the first time in my entire life I wish I lived in Winnipeg!
***
There's also the Canadian Junior Finals to watch this weekend (when will I do schoolwork?!) on TSN. They're showing the following games on TSN TV:
Jan. 24, 2010 - 12:30 PM Local (2:30 PM ET) - Women's Final
Jan. 24, 2010 - 5:30 PM Local (7:30 PM ET) - Men's Final

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Rambling About Teaching In England

Last year I gave a presentation to the a small group of future teachers for Education Week, put on by the Education Students Association at the University of Alberta.
This afternoon I'm giving my presentation again, so if you're interested in hearing it, let me know and I'll give you the room number.
I'll save you the trouble of having to listen to me ramble on though - here's the powerpoint:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Music Monday: #yeg Gig List Venue Links

I used to put together a monthly list of concerts/gigs in Edmonton, but it was just too time consuming (grad school is going to kick my butt this term).

I didn't think anyone noticed it's absence, but a friend did ask about it, so I thought instead of putting together a monthly list, I'd just give you the links and you can check the venues yourself on a regular/whatever basis. Feel free to leave more links in the comments section.

Trust me, it's better this way. Now you wont be subject to my weird taste in music!

Clubs/Bars/Cafes:
Theatres:
Festival Place (Sherwood Park)
Horizon Stage (Spruce Grove)
Shell Theatre/Dow Centre (Fort Saskatchewan)
The Arden Theatre (St. Albert)

Randoms:
Folk Listings:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Olympic Mascot Cartoon

How cute is this?!
I think they're really great mascots - my favourite ones since Hidy and Howdy! More info about past Olympic mascots available here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Olympics Warnings and Paranoia

More Olympic news.
US Warns That Terrorists May Strike 2010 Olympics
Some quotes:
"The U.S. government is advising American sports fans travelling to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics to watch out for al-Qaeda and other extremists, especially on transit and in restaurants, churches and other areas outside official venues."
"No specific credible threats have been identified, the U.S. government said. However, Americans planning to attend Olympic events or participate in large-scale public gatherings during the Winter Games should use caution and be alert to their surroundings, the advisory said."
"Earlier this week, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan told reporters the federal government has obtained "two or three" new intelligence tips concerning serious threats since a failed Dec. 25 attack on a flight to Detroit."
"Constable Mandy Edwards of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit said Olympic security forces are ready to face whatever incidents occur during the Winter Games. "We have planned and exercised for events that are plausible and possible," she said yesterday."
"In addition to terrorism, the U.S. advisory also urges fans to watch out for domestic protest groups, while expressing full confidence in Canadian authorities to manage the events."
""While the Canadian security services are highly skilled at protecting large events and controlling demonstrations, even peaceful events can turn violent, and Americans are therefore advised to avoid any areas of public protest," the fans have been told. "
I don't even want to comment. The US seems to be quite concerned about it's citizens, not for any other citizens, such as those of the host country, but really, what else is new. And really, did they need to publish an article about this? We're all thinking it anyways. It's worth remembering that I used to live in London, England - and I was there for the 7/7 bombings. England has gone through many flavours of bombings, and they have a certain attitude towards all of this, as do I.
We are a product of the times. What will happen will happen. There's no need to be paranoid and terrified because that means they've won. It's the Olympics - the winners should be all the athletes and fans and volunteers and organizers and residents. Let's pray that's the way it all works out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Time for 2010's Curling Skins Game

There's more curling on TV this weekend.
It's time for the annual Casino Rama Skins Game on TSN.
Last year they shook things up by adding Jennifer Jones (shock horror, a woman playing with the big boys), but this year they've brought in David Murdoch and his lovely accent. Skins is a bit different, but interesting to watch nonetheless - if only to see who gets the massive payout of $100,000 (Ferbey got it last year, Martin in '07).
Schedule:
  1. Ferbey v. Howard, Saturday - 1pm ET
  2. Martin v. Murdoch, Saturday - 8pm ET
  3. Final: Sunday - 1pm ET
If you've been following my favourite picks, you would have been right if you guessed I'm going with Howard. All four are coming off big loses at last week's Grand Slam - so it'll be interesting for sure.
You should also check out TSN's Off The Record for January 14 - Howard, Ferbey, Morris and Murdoch sat down with Michael Landsberg and chatted about all sorts of stuff. Some highlights for me:
  • Ferbey, honest as always, called Martin selfish. On tv. Seriously. Shocking!
  • Morris did really well, proving he's a curling superstar. (Martin wasn't there, likely because he was involved with the Olympic torch visit to yesterday's Oilers game)
  • Murdoch's accent was lovely. I think maybe he felt a bit out of place during the discussions about the Brier and hockey, but I thought he was a nice addition to the guest list.
  • Howard was funny, especially during the Next Question segment.
  • Landsberg said to Morris something like "I hope you get gold in Vancouver" and then said to Murdoch "And I hope you get silver" and that was just...funny and true.
Also of note, Nedohin has hurt his back and wont be at the Skins event. Who is replacing him? Middaugh! It'll be interesting to watch how team dynamics workout. And I wonder: Ferbey said Nedohin is out "indefinitely" - how will that affect the upcoming Alberta Men's Provincials (which I refuse to call the Boston Pizza Cup because it's a meaningless event name - I love BP's though - go pizza bread!). I've been saying that if someone can guarantee me a Koe-Ferbey final I'll head down to Olds for the day to watch. If Nedohin isn't there...well a day trip is tempting.
I, unfortunately, will be too busy with school work, work work, less-than-pleasant social commitments and moving into a new house (again) to watch anything live on the big screen in HD this weekend. Thankfully TSN usually provides video-on-demand archives. That'll keep me busy Sunday night as I read textbooks...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Olympic Torch In Edmonton!

Oh wow! Yesterday was so much fun! Not quite Roar of the Rings fun, but super awesome fun anyways!
I saw the Olympic Torch in Edmonton!! Twice!
It was awesome!!
First, a fellow library school classmate and I headed down to the Butterdome at the University of Alberta at about 4:30pm. There was some sort of block party with Aboriginal dancers and cheerleaders, but it was a bit chaotic standing on the corner so we crossed the street and stood on the south side of 87 Ave, across from the Education Building. The crowd was really friendly, and there were lots of kids around. We waited for a while, stamping our feet because we couldn't feel our toes after the first ten minutes.
Then I spotted an RBS Torch Relay truck. Two people got out and started handing out blue, plastic, RBC Torch Relay tambourines!! I love free stuff! Shortly after the Coke people went by and I got a red plastic flag. Nothing had happened yet but we were in such a great mood already.
At around 5:10, police cars started going down the street. Then a couple white Olympic fans with other torch bearers went by, followed by an RBC truck with dancers on it, blaring music. Then a Coke truck with happy people went by.
And then the torch ran right past me!!! It was awesome!!
Like many things in life, we waited a long time to see 10 seconds of the torch. My stupid camera was acting up in the cold, and we were cold, so we headed through the Ed Building, met another classmate on the LRT and ended up at Churchill Square at about 6pm.
Ahh! It was so much fun! There was a stage set up on the south end, and tons of people already down there, all decked out in their Canada/red gear. First up on stage was an RBC painter guy who painted a picture of the flame. Regardless of what he was doing, the music got us dancing and warmed up. Next up was the Coke gang who banged drums and did acrobatics. Asani, an trio of Aboriginal women, sang a couple songs, and then the crowd shifted.
Because the torch came through again!! I could only see the top of it, but it was awesome! Doreen Ryan, an accomplished Olympian and the final torch bearer, walked up on stage, and lit the cauldron and the crowd went wild! There were some speeches (Mayor Mandel said he looked like a bum, I kid you not, and wonder if that quote will make the paper? He also received a torch to be put on display at City Hall.), the Kokopelli Youth Choir sang a song about the flame and then Cadence Weapon read a poem.
The Bea Arthurs, a ukelele group entertained us with some covers (Bohemian Rhapsody, Beyonce and Outkast). And sadly, they extinguished the cauldron. A torch bearer captured the flame in her lantern, and that was that.
Oh, and then there were fireworks!! I love fireworks!! We also saw a torch bearer, and almost got a photo, except my camera wouldn't work (stupid cold batteries) and then she had to leave. My friend got to touch the torch though - awesome!!
It was such a fun day, regardless of how frozen my toes and fingers were at times. Everyone was so happy, you couldn't help but smiling. There was cheering and tambourine clanging and flag waving and cheering and singing and dancing and laughing.
The Olympic torch came through my favourite city in the world, and I saw it. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I was there.
So. Awesome.
I don't even know what else to say. The Vancouver Olympics start in 29 days. I can't wait!
(More of my dark, blurry photos can be seen here.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vancouver Libraries Censor Non-Sponsor Logos

Libraries are in the news again because of the upcoming winter Olympics. Last month, I blogged about Whistler Public Library closing for the duration of the Olympics. Today, Twitter came through again with some controversial library news.
Huh?
It means that VPL staff should:
  • avoid companies like Pepsi or Dairy Queen (not official sponsors) but can solicit swag or sponsorship for events etc. from Coca-Cola or McDonald's (official sponsors)
  • avoid displaying the logos of non-sponsors ie. if a guest speaker is from Telus (not an official sponsor) they can't wear any branded clothing, but if a guest speaker is from Bell (official sponsor) they may wear a jacket with a logo on it
  • cover logos with cloth/tape from A/V equipment like Toshiba or Sony (not official sponsors) but not from Panasonic (official sponsor)
Seriously?
The memo did not come from the Olympic committee - it came from the library's marketing and communications manager and "does not constitute censorship."
Really?
Um, yeah.
Well done for once again giving libraries a bad name in the media by imposing a silly rule. The Olympic committee isn't worried about libraries violating any sponsorship rules, why should the library? It's shocking to me that an institution that advocates for intellectual freedom would play along with blatant corporate propaganda.
Ok, so big companies give libraries money and get big-ass signs erected in their honour. Is that right? There other ways to accept the necessary evil that is corporate sponsorship of underfunded libraries. But this is different. The library is gaining nothing from this move. I appreciate the whole city of Vancouver is participating in the Olympics in one way or another, and the library is a municipal department, but public libraries do not censor their materials, why should they censor their television frames and guests?
They're opening up a can of worms...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Curling On The Big/Small Screen

Last week, the US Men's Olympic curling team taught Colbert how to curl.

This week I finally got to see the video of Chris Plys (of the US Men's Olympic curling team) on a US reality show called Bank of Hollywood. Apparently it's a show people go on to get money from some rich people, and Plys asked for funds so his parents could watch him compete at the Olympics. Awww. I had heard about it from Chris Plys himself on twitter, but a big thanks to NoHo Curling for the posting the clip!

Wow, those US curlers sure are making the publicity rounds.

Nevermind talk shows and reality bits though, Canadian curlers do curling themed tv shows and movies!!


(Jihad on Ice: part 1, 2, 3)

Jennifer Jones appeared on a pilot for a show called Throwing Stones that was so terrible it didn't get picked up and there's no video that I could find.

Curling was also features on Corner Gas (Hurry Hard: part 1, 2, 3, 4), but no pros were there as far as I could tell.

And if you watch Men with Brooms, you should be able to spot:
Jeff Stoughton (doing his trick shot - 1:40)
Craig Saville (I think - 1:18)
Sorry, I wasn't able to embed that clip.

I highly recommend Men with Brooms to all curling fans. It's a classic. And c'mon, it's got Paul Gross in it!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Music Monday: Blue Rodeo & Cuff The Duke Concert

And so a new year of concerts (and grainy/blurry concert photo posting) begins.

Last Friday, I saw Blue Rodeo at the Jubilee. I've seen a lot of Blue Rodeo shows, but just can't help myself, and always seem to find an excuse to go again.

The opening act was Cuff The Duke, and I really enjoyed them. I'd never really heard much from them before, but found it very refreshing to listen to a band I hadn't seen before. They're like a 'baby' Blue Rodeo - young guys with a great guitar driven alt-country sound. My only complaint was the skinny jeans, but despite that I am considering buying their CD.

Next up, Blue Rodeo, who were fantastic as usual. The lead singer from Cuff The Duke sang backup for them a lot, and they brought out a violin and cello every so often. Other than that it was classic Blue Rodeo: long marathons of guitar or keyboard solos, great vocals, with a healthy dose of drums and pedal steel.
"5 Day In May" and "Hasn't Hit Me Yet" (with the crowd on lead and Greg on backup) were greatest hit highlights, but the majority of the set list consisted of new songs from the new double album "The Things We Left Behind", which I love.
And a Blue Rodeo concert is not a Blue Rodeo concert until they sing "Lost Together", which is my most favourite.
Let's not forget - I am a *huge* Jim Cuddy fan, and he was on top guitar-dancing form that night. It was a most excellent view, even from the second balcony.
I decided two things after this concert:
  1. 1. Blue Rodeo really is my favourite band. I've got a lot of favourite bands, but Blue Rodeo is the one band to rule them all.
  2. 2. I think "Lost Together" has leaped into top sport on my wedding song list. Not like I'll be getting married (ever), but it is certainly one of my favourite songs (ever). I've always thought this was odd because it's a Greg song and I love Jim songs more, but the lyrics are wonderful.
Undoubtably, Blue Rodeo will go through Etown again, either at the Jub or at Folk Fest - and as always, I will be there!

You can find these bands at:
If you like these bands, you might also like:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Curling Librarians' Funspiel

Yesterday was a big day.
In November, I got it into my head that I needed to organize a curling funspiel for the library school. This was inspired by an email I received from the Saville Centre in early 2009, and by a comment from a fellow SLISer* that we should get the library students out curling.
(*SLISer: one who attend the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.)
First, I contacted the Saville Sports Centre for more information about their funspiel program. All the people I talked to at the Saville Centre, before and on the day of, were super nice. They offered:
  • a short instruction session
  • all equipment
  • sheets for 24+ people (in multiples of 8)
  • 3 hours of ice time
  • all for only $15 per person
In the span of 24hrs, I had it all figured out. The poster was made, the email sent - all I had to do was wait for people to sign up.
And sign up they did. I managed to fill 32 spots, including SLISers and some partners/friends, and only a few of them had to be coerced. I was proud of my classmates, as we're a small school and only really have about 100 fellow students. It was a bit tense the week building up to the event, because 5 people dropped out (many without paying me = rude) but I (and my fellow SLISers) are amazing and we managed to get 33 people out on the day!! This was awesome, because I was worried no one would show up in the end.
Seriously, 33 people showed up on the day to curl!!
I was looking forward to visiting the Saville Centre, and curling on the ice because, as an avid curling fan, I know that it's an important place: a lot of the pros curl there and it was recently named the National Training Centre. Curling there is like playing shinny on NHL ice.
As soon as I walked in the door, I received a sign that today was going to be a good day: Kevin Martin was working in his shop, 'Kevin's Rocks and Raquets'. He was obviously home early from The National (oops). Seeing the top curler in Canada/the World right before my event = priceless.
Before everyone arrived, the guy working the desk showed me where all the equipment was, and pointed out which sheets were ours. He revealed the only snag of the day though, no one at the Saville knew we were supposed to have a short lesson. Thankfully, a group of ladies was practicing and one offered to show us the ropes for twenty minutes or so. Other than this oversight, the event ran smoothly and the Saville lived up to it's reputation.
It took awhile, but eventually 33 people were kitted out with sliding tape, a gripper and a broom. The kind volunteer ran through the basics, and then four of us who had curled a bit before took over. We each ran a forty minute practice session with 7-8 people. Everyone picked it up pretty quickly!
We then split into 8 teams and played a short, hour long three-ender before swapping opponents and playing another 3-ender.
At one point, I gave someone's very young daughter (she was 4 or 5 probably) my camera and gave her the job of being photographer. Not only did it keep her busy for like an hour, but she actually got some really great shots! Most were a bit blurry, but her short statured perspective was very unique. I especially love the following photo. I'm not sure why, but it just seems like the perfect photo from 5 year old who was forced to hang out at the curling rink for the afternoon.
I did two things yesterday that I'd never done before. First, I slid up and down the ice on my slider. I've never done that before because we were taught to walk on our grippers, and I figured I'd fall or look like a fool if I ever did try it, but I didn't.
Secondly, I skipped the games.
This will likely never happen again either.
Nobody curled very well. There were a lot of hogged rocks, and a fair number went straight through the house, which was to be expected from a group of beginners. I curled like junk, managing only 25%. I normally suck but can usually manage 50%. Talking with my friend who has curled a fair bit before, I think we were tricked by the high quality ice. A few times, I felt like I was coming out of the hack really fast, so I pulled back a bit, and hogged a bunch of rocks. My friend did the same thing. Typical club curlers: "I played terribly, must've been the ice!"
There were some good shots though, some shot celebrations, and lots of laughing. Eventually people trickled out to a variety of other events that evening, all in good spirits, and with wonderful memories of playing the best sport ever invented.
I'm not much of a hostess, and don't like being responsible for other people's fun, so this whole process was quite stressful. Add to that the fact that I *love* curling and wanted everyone else to fall in love with, or at least earn respect for, my sport.
Everyone had fun though. Honestly. No one got hurt (except for next day aches and pains, my knees were killing me and facebook had lots of status updates about being sore!). No one left because it sucked. Fun was had by all, and I got some really great compliments and thank yous for organizing the event. A couple people even asked me how they could get started in a regular curling league. I take my role as a young(ish) curling ambassador very seriously, and watching my classmates curl together and get interested in the sport warmed my heart.
So it was worth it. More than worth it actually. It was a really great day.
I highly recommend the Saville Centre for their funspiel program. This will likely not be my last funspiel there - I'm already looking forward to the next opportunity!