Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling: Volunteer Rally #1

Tuesday night was the first Volunteer Rally for January's Continental Cup of Curling event.

First, I made a mistake in my last post when I said it was being held at the St. Albert Curling Club - it's actually going to be held at Servus Credit Union Place (a HUGE rec centre in St. Albert). So there will be more seating than I thought. Still not enough for me to grab a freebie. And FYI, tickets will go on sale in a couple weeks (I think Oct. 15 but might've heard wrong).

And onto the volunteer rally...

The night started out poorly when I discovered my route to Servus Place was closed due to construction. Instead, I had to drive through random country roads to get there, which made me slightly late and annoyed because the road was full of huge holes and I was worried I'd damaged my car (worst road I've ever driven on ever!).

But then, waiting for me in the Servus parking lot was a sign of good curling to come - Blake McDonald (of team Koe, one of my favourite teams!) and his cute giggly daughter where walking out to their car.

Now I'm no fan-girl so I didn't bother them, but I took it as a good sign that the event in January will be full of exciting surprises!

That was the most exciting part of the rally. Since I'd done this before, I knew what to expect and the rally didn't deviate from those expectations either way. You can read my post about the Olympic Trials Roar of the Rings first Volunteer Rally here.

First, I lined up, paid my $100 and got my sizing sheet. Then we waited (annoying since I was on a very tight time schedule). And waited. Finally the volunteer director gave somewhat of a speech. Jackie Ray isn't in charge again this year like she was for the Olympic trials, which is too bad as she was super funny. The speech was just meant to welcome us, introduce us to the team leaders, and plug the sponsors.

Next, I went to the uniform area to try on sizes for the event uniform. Drum roll please...the Continental Cup uniform will be...

  • a blue v-neck short sleeve t-shirt made of 'sporty' fabric (as in it's not cotton, more like a running t-shirt)
  • a black long sleeved cotton mock turtle neck
  • a beige jacket (may be fleece lined, can't remember)

...all of which will be crested with the logo of course!

I'm not such a big fan of the turtle neck, but it'll keep us warm. The t-shirt will be great to curl or run in after the event and I don't have a beige jacket so it's all good.

Following that, I got my photo taken for the accreditation badge, grabbed a complimentary timbit, and chatted briefly with my team leader about scheduling. Before leaving, I got the usual complimentary loot bag. This year's 'prizes' included: pens, a pencil, a St. Albert 150 Anniversary temporary tattoo and brochure of events, $5 off $25 at Boston Pizza, a bottle of water, and a metal water bottle branded by one of the sponsors.

As usual everyone was very nice. I chatted to a woman in the photo line who had never volunteered before but had managed to get on the transportation team - which would be awesome because you'd get to chat to all the teams (and I keep forgetting there will be international teams there too, I'm a sucker for curling boys with accents). I also spotted who I think was (the old) team Ferbey's fifth, Don Holowaychuk, who I think is my mom's cousin or somesuch, but I don't know him and wasn't quite sure it was him anyways.

So it'll be a fun event again - I'm looking forward to it! January seems so far away...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling: Volunteer Assignment

As mentioned previously, I finally got my volunteer crew assignment for January's Continental Cup of Curling event - hosting/serving in the Volunteer, Media and Sponsors’ Lounges. Sounds pretty fun, eh?

Well, this weekend I got to talk to the team leader about it.

I remember there being volunteers making sure there was enough food/drinks in the volunteer lounge while I worked the Olympic trials, and that will sort of be my job now too. I'll have to keep the volunteer, media, sponsor, and athletes lounges stocked with food and drinks. Most of this will involve set up and replenishing - it sounds like there will be lots of hauling boxes/cases/empties of whatever/garbage from one place to another. That's fine, I'm not scared of hard labour and I didn't really think the job involved schmoozing with famous folks anyways. I don't schmooze, but maybe I'll 'run into' someone exciting again.

Over the course of 5 days, I have to put in 20 hours. That shouldn't be too hard and should leave me lots of time to watch a couple of the 3 draws per day (plus I'll set my pvr, so it's a win-win really). During the Olympic trials which were held at Rexall (NHL arena, seats like 18,000), the volunteers were allowed to sit and watch in a particular section without having to buy tickets (although I'll tell you a secret, we just filled up any empty seats and I ended up in row 13 most of the time).

Well, the Continental Cup is being held at the St. Albert Curling Club. That's right, not a hockey arena, a curling club, so seating will be limited. They're expecting a sell out, so volunteers are not allowed to sit and watch for free.


Let me just mention I'm paying to volunteer - $100. I assume this usually goes to the uniforms, and really am quite glad to pay to help out at the event as it's going to be awesome good fun. But I kinda was hoping we would get to watch for free. This volunteer fee is already an increase of $25 from the trials, and the cup is half as long - kinda disappointing really.

To be fair the team leader mentioned I could buy tickets (nope, not if I have to pay already) or watch from the tvs in the volunteer lounge or the Patch (the beer gardens). Seems kind of strange to be sitting in a lounge watching a game that's going on in the next room, but I suppose it'll have commentary with it, and I'm sure I'll get to sneak peaks at the draws. Plus I'm sure the company will be friendly. Hey, who knows, I could have extra good luck like the trials and find a fancy empty seat in row 13 again.

The first volunteer rally is tonight, so expect another post later this week with uniform details!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Music Monday: Luke Doucet's New Video

My favourite guitar has a new CD out. Luke Doucet and White Falcon recently released 'Steel City Trawler'. I haven't checked out the whole thing yet, but the bunch of songs I've heard so far earn two thumbs up. Here's the new video:

Yes, working people do make the world go round. Speaking of, Luke Doucet is on tour and set to play Edmonton November 10 at the Myer Horowitz.

And speaking of my favourite guitar, Luke did a whole youtube series on his gear. There'a a bunch about his other guitars too, but here's the video about my guitar-crush:

You can find Luke Doucet at:

If you like this guitar, you might also like:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #3

This week was a week of firsts...

Monday, Sept. 20, 2010: Watching 'The Queen' in 3D on CBC, first time they've shown a 3D program on normal tv. Not quite as 3D-y as I thought it would be, but still fun.

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010: Presents in the mail!

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010: Last day of summer - first day I had to scrape all my car windows.

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010: First Oilers game of the season, preseason vs. Tampa Bay Lightning. The Oilers won 5-1: Paajarvi got a hat trick and Taylor Hall could do no wrong! Those youngins might just save the team this year.

Friday, Sept. 24, 2010: First perogy supper of the Fall/Winter season at Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Church. They served over 1200 dozen perogies to about 1340 people in under 5 hours. Yum!

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010: First E-Ville Roller Derby bout of the season. One of the refs broke his foot in a nasty collision - the first time we've seen an injury in the half a dozen or so games we've attended.

Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010: Yes, it's that time of year again - beautiful and sad at the same time.

Bonus photo: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010: Harvest Moon and Jupiter - first time I've ever seen Jupiter (and actually realized it was Jupiter and not just another star or satellite).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Curling Excitement - Doubled

It was a good evening for curling excitement.

First, once again twitter told me a super awesome great website will be live streaming curling games from a European event - the Radisson Blu Oslo Cup. The event runs from Wednesday, Sept. 23 - Sunday, Sept. 26. Teams include: Ulsrud, Uusipaavalniemi, Edin, Murdoch, Trulsen and Kapp for mens teams and Muirhead, Ott, Githmark, Norberg and Canada's own Jennifer Jones for the womens teams. That's quite the line up.

All games are shown in CET (which is Central European Time, learned something new today), which is 8hrs ahead of my Mountain time zone (I think?). I wont be able to watch many games live, but last time this same site showed games they archived them.

I'm loving Keep it up folks!

Secondly, I finally got my volunteer crew assignment for the Continental Cup of Curling event, to be held in January 2011.

And it's awesome. I will not have to serve beer. I will not have to be security at 2am.

I get to host/serve in the Volunteer, Media and Sponsors’ Lounges! Fun!! Maybe I'll get to bump into someone famous again this year. Regardless, I'm already predicting tons of fun in January! Check out my Roar of the Rings posts for the tons of fun I had last time I was a curling volunteer for a big event.

Oh curling season. I'm so glad you're back.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #2

Well, I made it to week 2. Shocking really. Must have something to do with my super-awesome-new-camera!

Monday, Sept. 13, 2010: My favourite lawn ornament in my parents' yard. My cousin made it by filling an old basketball with cement. 

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010: More CDs from the Edmonton Public Library. The bottom one has a disclaimer that reads "This CD was tested on animals. They liked it."

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010: This poor little bird ran into our patio doors, and sat there shaking all night. I think he might have been an orange-crowned warbler? He wasn't there in the morning.

Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010: Seems awfully cold for the middle of September.

Friday, Sept. 17, 2010: A very thoughtful birthday gift. Pumpkin Pie Chocolate - yum!

Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010: The sunset from my friend's downtown apartment. 

Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010: My favourite doggie.

Bonus Photo: Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010: My 'nephew', Finn.

What do you think - better quality photos from the new camera as opposed to last week from the old crappy camera? Cus I sure didn't take lessons or anything (heck, haven't even read the super-awesome-new-camera's manual)!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Curling Team Shake Up: Summer Recap

It's curling time again!

There were a couple "not-on-tv-pro" events last weekend and a couple more this weekend*, so it's only a matter of time before a) I start posting curling tv schedules and b) I spend most of my time watching curling on tv. And yes, I'll be playing again this year, so stay tuned for news about that.

In case you missed all the curling news that happened over the summer, here's a list of some curling team (et al) news:

And don't forget, Men With Brooms starts this Monday on CBC!!

It's hard to say how much I'll post about curling this year as I'm pretty busy with my new job. I will definitely try to post tv schedules (mountain time, sorry folks) and about my curling-event-volunteering-adventures.

For more awesome curling news, follow The Curling News blog, and any others in my curling blogroll on the right side of my blog. A new blog has recently emerged - Gripper Bits. She's got more info about the this year's teams by province (must reads) and hopefully will continue to regularly list event winners. Twitter is also a great place to follow curling news/teams, check out my curling list for ideas about who to follow.

And let the season begin!!

* The Shoot-Out is on in Edmonton at the Saville Centre. I totally would've gone and watched but they didn't have any info for spectators on the website, and I didn't have time to call. Someone should hire me to sort out their websites - I'd bring the fans in!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Camera: Art Filters

I bought a new camera!

(Thanks Jay for making me buy it! We all know I would've dithered over it for months had you and Finn not taken me shopping!)

It's a Olympus E-PL1 Micro Four-Thirds DSLR with a 14-42mm lens, in black. I'm a newbie so don't really know what all those numbers mean, but I was told it would be better quality than a point-and-shoot and easier to use than a regular DSLR.

I haven't really read the manual yet, but I did charge the battery and venture out into my backyard to take a bunch of pictures. So far, yes, it's pretty easy to point-and-shoot, but it does other things too.

Nevermind learning how to take regular photos, for my first lesson I decided to test the Art Settings:

And then I was having so much fun I had to take more of some lawn ornaments*:

So there you have it. Cool photo effects, effortlessly. I expect I shall take most of my photos with the Pop Art filter, because it's my fav - love those vibrant colours!

*FYI, my parents have lot's of terribly tacky lawn ornaments. Expect my favourite one to appear on my Photo-A-Day post this coming Sunday! I briefly thought about doing a week long series of lawn ornaments, but as my Photo-A-Day challenge is in some way supposed to reflect my life over the year, I likely wont because I don't even like many of them. Unless I run out of ideas today...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Music Monday: Canadian Country Music Awards

I went to an awards show Sunday!

Alright, here's the background. I grew up on country music. Actually, I didn't really know other radio stations or styles of music existed until I got to high school. I'm serious about that. For the first 15 years of my life I only listened to country music (or oldies).

And then I discovered fiddles - and celtic music - and Quebcois music - and alt-county music - and folk music in general. Besides brief stints into the world of hard rock, the folk realm is mostly what I listen to now. I don't even really like modern country now, which I call slutty-pop-country, except for some of the Canadian stuff because it's slightly less slutty.

So what was I doing at the Canadian Country Music Awards?

The stage.

Well, I do still kinda like country (some of it) and the Canadian stuff is ok, especially if it strays into alt-country territory.

And I love watching behind the scenes stuff. I went to see a bunch of reality/talk/game shows get filmed when I lived in the UK and it was always interesting to see what happened behind the camera or during commercials. I missed the Junos last time they were in Edmonton because I was in the UK, so I figured why not get a cheap nosebleed seat for the CCMAs?

So I did and it was fun.

First and foremost, the music was good. The big names came out, and it was awesome seeing them all on the same stage over the course of the evening. I saw bands I'd never see in concert for whatever reason, and it was great. Performancers included: Blue Rodeo, Paul Brandt, Terri Clark, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Gord Bamford, Johnny Reid, Corb Lund, Doc Walker, Jill Hennessey and Martie Maguire from the Dixie Chicks, Dean Brody, One More Girl, and probably a few more I forgot.

The sports stars were also out in force, with the following athletes introducing acts: Sam Gagne (Edmonton Oilers hockey player), Jamie Salle, David Peltier (famous figure skaters), Shannon Szabados (women's Olympic gold medal hockey player), Grant Fuhr, Gretzky via video (both vintage Oilers), and Kevin Martin (Olympic gold medal curler).

Blue Rodeo opening the show.

Paul Brandt trying a comedy/song.

Terri Clark and Johnny Reid

And that's the last photo I took. Rexall employs some very devoted Camera Nazis ushers who picked out our row of a couple cameras quite quickly and watched us like a hawk the rest of the time. Seriously, why? So I'm taking photos. I'm sitting way far away way far up so the photos I'm taking are crappy. I'm not going to sell them. I'm not really even going to post them on the internet because they're crappy. And so what if I take crappy poor quality video? No one cares, it's crappy. Let me take my crappy blurry fan photos so I can remember who I saw play! Anyways, I probably would've only taken a photo of Johnny Reid's solo number (with choir and two bagpipers) and Corb Lund's song anyways.

Right. Rant over.

The fashion was weird. Nevermind who was on tv, the rest of the crowd was either in jeans, dressed up, or *really* dressed up. And there was a distinct lack of cowboy hats, which really surprised me because a) this is the country music awards and b) this is Alberta. Good grief people wear cowboy hats to the hockey games and hipsters wear them to bars. I really have no explanation for the lack of cowboy hats. It was kinda sad actually.

Watching stuff go on behind the scenes was cool though. The seat-fillers were always filing in or filing out of loitering or whatever. Famous people were walking around. Cameras were moving about. You could see them setting up on whatever stage wasn't being performed on at a particular moment (a big screen moved up and down to hide/reveal set up and musicians. There was a funny comedian, Howie Miller, who entertained us during commercial breaks (he's the dad of werewolve dude from Twilight). The a voice would come on and say stuff like "one minute till air" or "applause please" or "five seconds to showtime, clap if you're having fun".

Then I came home and watched it on tv. It was weird but nice to see the close ups.

I only have two complaints. First, I wish they would've shown close ups on one of the screens, but I guess it's an award show and not a concert so whatev. Also, they blacked out the 2nd level of audience on tv. Really, us poor folks in the nosebleeds would've like some screen time too!

Music Monday: Kaleido Festival + Delhi 2 Dublin

On Saturday I checked out the Kaleido Festival. It's a big street festival that includes art of all kinds in an area of town that is currently undergoing a reputation facelift. Not one for art, I just went in the evening for some of the music.

While I was only there for about 4 hours, I definitely caught the vibe. There were hipsters and hippies, street folk and old folk, families, couples and lone wolves - all hanging out together in front of the main stage in what must've been a parking lot. They had metal benches set up, and a whole bunch of fire pits blazing which was good because as soon as the sun went down the temperature dropped. Seriously, I could see my breath. It was a great time though!

Here are some pictures and thoughts about the musicians I saw. If you want to hear me gush about how awesome Delhi 2 Dublin are, skip to the bottom.

Automobile orchestra - only funny until the drivers stopped following the conductor.

Colleen Brown Band - not my thing but she can sure sing.

Chris Wynters - formerly of Captain Tractor, it was a nice mellow set.

Karen Porkka Trio - had the kids and the dancers out.

Jacob and Lily - actually Caleb Friesen and Karla Adolphe - I quite enjoyed them, again nice and mellow with some hand clapping to warm us up.

Booming Tree - the taiko drummers mesmerized the frozen crowd.

John John - the MC, not sure who he is but he was funny and entertaining.

And then all of a sudden, at 10pm, a couple hundred more people magically showed up for Delhi 2 Dublin...

And we danced and danced and danced like happy, warm, dancing fools. Wow, what a great set. I'd heard a CD so I knew it would be awesome, and they totally didn't disappoint! Imagine Bollywood meets Celtic electrified and that's what they are - awesomeness!

Here's the crappy video I shot of a bunch of their songs. If you can get past the terrible quality video and audio, you might get a sense of how awesome it was. Skip it if you want and just watch their new music video.

I really don't have words to describe how awesome their concert was. The freezing cold crowd moved from huddling around the fires or sitting shivering on the cold metal benches to right up in front of the stage. The hipsters were dancing with the hippies who were dancing with the street folk who were dancing with the old folk who were dancing with the families who were dancing with everyone else. It was magical - such a lovely, unpretentious, safe and friendly bouncing bunch. There were hula hoop people and a poi fire spinner dude. At one point I turned to find a gentleman-of-questionable-character dancing beside me. He was swigging out of a bottle of whiskey, which he politely offered to me. Normally this would've maybe freaked me out a little, but I declined, he shrugged his shoulders and the crowd kept dancing. Seriously, it was really really lovely.

We danced and sang and raised out hands in the air.

And then it was done and we all went home.

You must check out Delhi 2 Dublin! They're playing a gig at The Starlite on November 25 - be there, it'll be epic!

You can find these bands at:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #1

As previously mentioned - let the Photo-A-Day Challenge begin!

Monday, Sept. 6, 2010: The first photo - September 6 today and a long time ago.

Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010: Dogsitting Diva.

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010: Caught in evening rush hour - oh so frustrating!

Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010: My new hobby - checking out CDs from the Edmonton Public Library.

Friday, Sept. 10, 2010: Watching vintage TV while pottering on the internet.

Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010: The huge fire keeping everyone warm at the Kaleido Festival. It was about 5 degrees - so cold you could see your breath. The only relief came from the various fire pits and dancing to Delhi 2 Dublin's awesome concert.

Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010: Watching the taping of the Canadian Country Music Awards - it was great to see the behind-the-scenes bits as well as all the awesome performers!

So that's my first photo-a-day post. If you've made it this far, please let me know what you think and any comments on how to make this (hopefully) regular post better!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Let The Photo-A-Day Challenge Begin

Monday was my birthday. It was a 'milestone' birthday and I had a hard time with it, but since my hair didn't all of a sudden turn grey overnight, I'm ok with it now.

I've been thinking about doing a photo-a-day challenge for awhile now, and figured my milestone birthday would be a great place to start. First, it would be a good excuse to collect some birthday $$ to buy a new camera. (By the way, I'm thinking about getting this one, just waiting for prices to go down a bit, and I haven't actually tested it yet so that might change.)

Second, it might be kind of neat to look back on what my year was like. This is the main reason I'm going to do doing trying to do the photo-a-day challenge. I don't intend to improve my photography skills, but I do intend to get a really great archive out of it all.

The first photo - September 6 today and a long time ago...

I started on Monday, and after only three days in, it's proving to be a challenge! Mostly that's because I'm busy with my new job, so I forget to take a picture until later in the evening, then I fret about what to shoot. So I doubt the photos will be very interesting or coherent or entertaining but I'm trying.

I've decided to upload them weekly on Sunday nights, so expect to see week one in a couple days. If I keep it up that is. I hope it gets easier once I get into it, though failing certainly is an option at this point!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Music Monday: Happy Birthday Edition

Today is my birthday.

I have been alive 10,956 days. Seems like a lot. I've already outlived Hank Williams, Heath Ledger, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Buddy Holly (source).

Last year I posted about famous people and events that shared Sept. 6.

This year, since it's Music Monday, I thought I'd post about my Ukrainian heritage.

Happy birthday in Ukrainian can be said/sung in three ways (I think, I don't actually really speak the language much):

1. Многая Літа (Mnohaja Lita) = "Many Years"

This is the traditional religious greeting, and is often said at weddings and other times too. My favourite Mnohaja Lita version comes from the Ukrainian hour on 790 CFCW am radio (7-9pm every Sunday), which they play in the middle of the radio show to wish everyone happy birthday for the week. This is the closest version to it I could find on youtube (ignore the awkward wedding pose, in fact, close your eyes and just listen - it's a terrible video)

There's another way to sing it, which you can listen to here.

2. З днем народження (Z dnem narodžennia)

I guess this means more like "Happy birthday". Must be time for the Ukrainian Power puppets:

3. The usual "Happy Birthday" song, but sung in Ukrainian, can be heard here.

And that's it for birthday songs in Ukrainian!

I'll leave you with my most favourite Ukrainian song/dance - Hopak: