Monday, February 29, 2016

2016 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Update 3

Catch up on Update 1 and 2!

Friday, February 26, 2016

The game this morning was quite exciting because tiebreaker and relegation scenarios depended on the outcome of one particular game. So leading up to it all the discussion on the media bench was tiebreaker scenarios, which is always fun because people get really into it. In the end there were no tiebreakers!

So we had the afternoon off! A couple of us were actually in a VIP transportation car, on our way to the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, which is about 15 minutes drive out of Grande Prairie - but we didn't even make it out of the arena parking lot when it came over the radio that we had to abort because they weren't allowed to drive past the airport for insurance reasons! Sad. Then a security guard offered to drive us out after her shift, but the timing seemed a bit iffy because of some special guests we were expecting at the arena. Sad. No dinosaurs. I just went to the hotel and watched like four hours of bad tv.

Then I was super nervous because of a special project that came up. The Sheepdogs, who had filmed a video with Team Jones, were due to play the bar across the street from the arena tonight. They're still friends with the team and came in to watch the evening game. So naturally we got them in the scrum area! Rick Lang was recruited as the interviewer - and damn I had no idea that man was so funny!

Very funny. Quite fun to record. So there you go. I met rockstars.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Success! An awesome volunteer drove myself, the IT guy and a couple reporters out to the Dinosaur Museum this morning! It was a nice little museum. Very new, very well displayed, and very tied to the local area - I've heard 90% of the fossils on display are local, plus there's a tie in to oil and gas. It was well worth the visit! I think I'll visit Pipestone Creek and camp sometime, apparently there's a trail to the bone bed. Very neat.

Beautiful country.

It's that time of the event when I've gotten really attached to the people I work with and see everyday around the arena so I really want this to last forever but I really want to go home. It's a weird feeling, very bittersweet. But it's this feeling that keeps me coming back, and keeps me looking for more events to volunteer for!

Today was also a sad day because we had our last taco lunch at the farmer's market. Damn good tacos. I always try to support local businesses at these events, and this is good motivation to seek out more local places near home.

Almost home time.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Last day!

Again, a bittersweet day. I've really enjoyed working with everyone, and have gotten quite attached to people in the venue. But, as the curling excitement ramps up, so does that going-home-soon feeling. After the afternoon draw, I took down my scrum area, right alongside TSN and Curling Canada where the take down had already started. It's always amazing to me how quickly everything goes down!

The final game was exciting - right down to the last shot! I was so nervous: it's not like I was throwing the rocks! The scrum was on the ice which always makes me a bit anxious but in the end it all turned out great - exactly the way an event should end! One last video, then goodbyes and hugs and then I walked out of that arena for the last time.

Bronze Medal Game.

Cue up the Final!

Tense. I was so nervous watching this game!


Slider! He does such a good job. Great guy.

That's my hand on the left. The Final scrum is always a rush.


My Final media scrum. Will it be my last?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Remember how yesterday I said good bye to everyone? Well everyone was at the airport - and I mean everyone!! I rode in to the airport with Slider and one of the journos, all the CC people were there, TSN, Sportsnet, some teams, everyone. More good byes. More hugs. Home!

It turned out to be a great event! Good people, good food, good curling. I'm not sure if and when I'll be backstage shooting media scrums again - but I'll be the Director of Ceremonies and the World Men's Curling Championship in Edmonton next March so plenty to look forward to for the next year!!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2016 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Update 2

Monday, February 22 - Thursday, February 25, 2016

The days all seem to blend together, but damn I love this routine. Days were punctuated by fresh tacos from the Farmer's Market, homemade soup from Laurel's, carrot cake from the Grande Prairie Coffee Company, chats on the media bench and laughs in the media work room. I've done this enough I know feel comfortable with the people backstage and even though part of me wants to go home to cuddle my cats, the other part of me wants this to never end!


Chelsea Carey told Donna Spencer the most delightful story about when her dad won the Brier when she was a small girl.

A lot of times I just watch the camera guys set up their shots. Very interesting.

Guess how much these cost? 75K, 80K and 100K!

Boss man pulled a bunch of coaches into the scrum. Very interesting perspective!

TSN "green" room.

New this year - you can buy provincial/Canada shirts and jackets and have them crested with your name/your favourite curler's name. Head to the Grande Prairie Curling Club to visit Goldline for that.

We've taken over their territory!

The calm before the storm.

Still curling...


Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Update 1

Well I'm back! I thought I was going to be at the Winter Youth Olympics, but alas I value my sleep. So, it's back to Grande Prairie for the 2016 version of the Canadian Women's National Curling Championship - or as it's known the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. This is my third Scotties and I'm quite happy to be here. Ok, I'll admit, I didn't want to come: this event is looooong and the older I get the less I like spending all that time away from my cats to be honest. But, as soon as I arrived and caught up with all my curling friends, the excitement came rushing back and now I'm quite pleased this will be my home for awhile!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I caught an early flight and then putzed away the day. I think I was asked to arrive a day earlier than I needed to be but no worries. I was happy to volunteer for Curling Geek though! The prequalifier games weren't televised so I signed on Thursday night and captured the shots rock by rock while posting some commentary and trying to semi-moderate the comments. It was a neat experience! It required like 5x the concentration and focus than I usually put in when watching a game, but I think I did an ok job!

Some familiar names!

Nunavut wins their first game at the Scotties ever!

Who doesn't love a piper?

Incident in the parking lot near my hotel after midnight. Pedestrian run over. Car rammed. High speed chase. I called the RCMP and left my name as a witness. Exciting times in Grande Prairie!

Friday, February 19, 2016

I met up with a curling friend for lunch, then headed down for the Hot Shots Competition, which is one of my favourites to watch. I curlinggeeked the evening game - which went to an extra end which made everyone an hour late for the banquet dinner! But it's all good, all were fed and introduced and jewelry handed out to the curlers, then it was home for me to enjoy my hotel's cable tv!

Hot Shots! One of my favourite events.

My view as a curling geek. It was fun, but involved super focus!

Lot's of Hearts around for the banquet.

Backstage views. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Frantic emails this morning, oops should've set up the scrum area yesterday. I arrived in time for the Hot Shots Final, but spent most of the time setting up the scrum area. Big thanks to the TSN lighting guy for teaching me how to remove shadows from my shot! Everything is running tickety-boo, knock on wood.

JJones won a lease on a car!

Turns out I'm the Director of Ceremonies at the 2017 World Men's Curling Championship in Edmonton next year, so I was taking notes during the opening ceremonies for sure! The plan is to meet up with the Director for this event and pick her brain.

Nice message...

Opening Ceremonies line up.

Renee Sonnenberg throws the first stone.

After opening ceremonies, I filmed the media interview with the incoming CEO of Curling Canada, Katherine Henderson. She seems lovely and I'm excited to follow what she does with the organization!

Katherine Henderson - incoming Curling Canada CEO. I'm excited to follow the direction she takes with the organization.

More backstage views.

Then it was first draw, first scrum, first bit of chaos.

Dinner. Nice chat with volunteers - some are the same as the Canada Cup I just worked so it's nice to already have that working relationship. The ladies are super and my media guys are nice as ever. I'm also working with a curling friend I haven't worked with since 2012 so it's been nice to work with a friendly face after all these years.

Time for some curling action!

A view from my office...

Look, there's sky here! Forget that sometimes in the arena.

Some new curlers at this event to get to know - so far it's been enjoyable shooting their media interviews, especially when they're this excited...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Biggest thing about today was the discovery of a typo, which wasn't my fault, which 6 people including myself missed for 4 videos, which meant I had to do some fixing and reloading and resending and reposting and sigh.

Ah well. Twas another day of curling. I have big ears so learn lots at these events about the curling world and the business of curling. I've gotten pretty good at keeping my learning to myself, but gosh darn it's all super interesting!

One of the pro photographers took a photo of me. If he doesn't get anything better then this will probably be my new facebook/twitter profile pic!

At one point I was leading our curling club's Scotties Pool!!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Book Review: Bonded Labor - Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia

I had read another book by Siddarth Kara, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery and want to read the sequel (actually a trilogy, the third book hasn't come out yet).

Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia
By Siddarth Kara
336 pages

Like his first book, Bonded Labor is incredibly well researched, documented and written. Kara certainly knows what he's talking about, and goes into such rich detail, presenting the lives of the many people he talked to who were forced into bonded labor. Like his first book, it's hopelessly unsettling. I can't believe this still goes in in this day and age (says the girl of privilege from a prosperous nation). Kara presents the real life situation in such sectors as agriculture, bricks, construction, shrimp, tea, carpets, and domestic servitude. Such a bleak picture. I'm going to try to never eat shrimp again.

Kara does an excellent job of also presenting realistic and extensive solutions to the issues, but I couldn't help but think how hopeless this was. Yes, there are laws, and yes there are ways to break millions of people out of dismal modern day slavery, but the governments of India and South East Asia look the other way, the law enforcement officials are bribed, the rich get richer and the poor hope for death.

So sad.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants their eyes opened to stories that will make then change their buying and consumption habits. It's important people know that modern day slavery is a thing. Only then will something maybe change.