Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book-y Top 5s 2009

Last February, I listed my top 5 books I read in 2008 (Canadian and International edition). And since I posted some musical 2009 top 5s the other day, I reckon it's time for some book-y 2009 top 5s.
Actually, I haven't read very many books in 2009. I haven't managed to read any Corey Redekop suggested last year. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm still only a third through the book I started in August. And I'm supposed to be a librarian! I blame grad school + 4 jobs + no long train commutes. I'm sure once I'm an unemployed graduate this spring I'll have loads of time to get through the 50+ books that are piled up on my 2read shelf.
In the meantime, this 2009 list will have to be cut down to top 3s!
Here are my book-y top 3s for 2009:
Canadian Edition
1. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
2. Icefields by Thomas Wharton
3. This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin
International Edition
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde
3. Warchild by Emmanual Jal

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whister Public Library Will Close And Reopen as Whister Canada Olympic House

Via @Whistler2010com: Whistler Public Library will become Whistler Canada Olympic House for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
"The facility will be transformed into a friendly meeting place for Canadian Olympic athletes, their family, and friends. The facility will also play host to international dignitaries, tourism representatives, media, government partners and other special guests. Guests will have the opportunity to use the facility to watch events, celebrate, hold business meetings, while learning about Whistler and attending a variety of special events."
Most events are by accreditation only, but the community will be invited to meet athletes and participate in winter activities in the library's backyard throughout the games. The library will close on January 30, and reopen on March 8 - just in time for the Paralympic Games. During that time it will continue to be Whistler Canada Paralympic House, but the public will be able to access the library.
I'm a huge winter Olympics fan (Go Martin/Bernard Go!) but shutting down a library from five week (Jan 30. - Mar. 7) seems a bit...extreme.
How will this affect patrons?
"Library services will be unavailable for five weeks during Games time. Cardholders are encouraged to check out unlimited books and audio books from January 25 to 29. All of these items will have a loan period of six weeks, due during the week of March 8 to 12. All movies, CDs and magazines must be returned before January 29."
So no video/music/magazine loans, but unlimited six week book loans. No materials can be returned during that time, as bookdrops will be locked. No interlibrary loans requests will be fulfilled after December 15. Library staff will either be working at the venue during the games or 'redeployed' elsewhere within the municipality. Half of the shelving will be dismantled and stored.
Hmm. Who's idea was this?
I appreciate that the Olympics are a once in a lifetime opportunity, and honestly, if I was a patron or library staff member I would support this closure wholeheartedly. But I'm not sure everyone will see it that way.
What do you think? Do you think the library closure is justified? If you were a patron, would you support it?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Music Monday: Top 5 Musical Moments of 2009

Oh, it's Monday! I've lost track of days during the holiday. But I think it might be time for...

The 1st Annual Curling Librarian's Top 5 Musical Moments of 2009

***

Best Musical Event of 2009
Um, duh, obviously it was Folk Fest!!

Folk Fest 2009 Top 5
1. Oysterband
2. The Pipers (James O'Grady and the boys from Breabach)
3. Great Lake Swimmers
4. Hanggai
5. The Idan Raichel Project
Honourable Mention: The Swifty's, Chumbawumba

video

Check out my Folk Fest wrap up post for more info, videos and pictures.

***

Top 5 Concerts of 2009
1. Tragically Hip (Sept 2009)
Watching Gord Downie live will always make a top 5 concert list!



2. The Rankin Family (Feb 2009)
The Rankins are a classic. How do you condense 20 years of great music into 2 hours? Magical.



3. Jann Arden (Nov 2009)
Funniest woman ever. And she tweeted me. Jann rocks!

Metal banjo and cool crooners, it doesn't get much better than that. Oh wait, add in some cookie sheets and wooden spoons...



5. The Deep Dark Wood (April/Sept 2009)
Yep, these boys from Saskatchewan are brooding, depressing twang at it's best.


Honourable Mention: Luke Doucet + Amelia Curran (Mar 2009)

***

Top 5 New Musical Discoveries of 2009
Honourable Mention: Elliot Brood

***

Top 5 CDs I Bought in 2009
***

Music in 2010 will likely be just as good. I've already got tickets to see Blue Rodeo and Corb Lund, and the Folk Fest line up is shaping up to be fantastic as usual! I can't wait...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Wonder As I Wander

I am a nomad.
Until I moved to England, I had always lived with my parents - but since that fateful day in 2003, I have been a proper wanderer.
I was in England from 2003-2007, and in those 4 years I lived in 4 different places.
I moved back home with my parents in 2007. But for the past 2 months, I've been living at 3 different places. Most of my stuff is at my parents. Most of my clothes are at my uncle's where I'm currently housesitting and I'm back to dogsitting Diva over the holidays, so that's where my random necessities are.
It's rather annoying to have 3 homes. To be fair, I'm pretty good at following the "anywhere I roam, where I hang my head is home" mantra, but it's annoying nonetheless. It's doubly annoying to have 2 driveways to shovel, but rather nice to have canine company, even if she still insists on staring at me for no good reason (I am so not a dog person).
Anyways, this whole nomadic experience has made me realize one thing - I really really really want/need a place of my own.
I really feel the desire to keep everything I own in one place and put the suitcases away. I want to use the random bowls I've been hoarding in my parents basement. I want to plant a garden. I want a cat.
This is not nesting. I certainly feel no desire to buy furniture, decorate and get all domestic. I just want to not be spread out all over the city.
The problem is I'm about to face an uncertain and perhaps lengthy period of unemployment after I graduate this spring. I've been saving for a mortgage, but can't move on anything until I have a decent job.
Until then I'll have to make due with sitting houses and dogs - anyone need a catsitter?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Bah Humbug Post

You knew it was coming.
Actually, you're impressed I haven't bombarded you with my usual anti-consumerism, anti-materialism, Christmas-is-about-Jesus post.
Maybe you should stop reading now.
I shall now hijack my own blog in order to vent.
I don't hate Christmas. I do hate what Christmas has become, to both society and my life.
Top 5 reasons why I am a scrooge:
1. Growing up, I loved Christmas. It was the one time of the year my large extended families got together for tummy bursting dinners and good times. Now all the families are too big, and everyone usually does their own thing. The current trend is for families to go away to Vegas or Mexico for Christmas. Whereas in the past, I used to look forward to Christmas because it meant seeing all my aunts, uncles and cousins, now it's rare to see more than a few of them during the holidays.
2. I moved to England for four years. I couldn't afford to fly home every Christmas, so I had orphans Christmas' with friends and other peoples families. It was fine, other peoples families were lovely. They do Christmas different in England though. It is far more humble. People of course still shop and decorate, but the emphasis is more on family, food and fun. Since returning to Canada, I get the overwhelming feeling that the emphasis is BIGGER, BETTER, MORE. And I hate that. I am a simple living person. I am anti-spending-money-on-crap-you-don't-need. I am anti-keeping-up-with-the-neighbours-by-buying-a-bigger-tv. I am anti-decorating-your-house-with-tons-of-trinkety-stuff. I am anti-spending-money-extravagently. I find Christmas time in Canada very overwhelming.
3. Around the time I moved to England, I became a Christian. To me, Christmas is not about buying crap and decorating your house with energy sucking lights. It's about Jesus and Love and Hope and Peace.
***
I've started a new tradition. For the past couple years during Christmas time, I've donated $100 to a charity in my family's name. I'm not sure my family appreciates the thought, but helping other families enjoy Christmas makes me feel a little better.
So I'm holding onto that, and it'll get me through the next week.
Don't even get me started on New Year's Eve...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Music Monday: Christmas Song of the Year

Last Christmas, I wrote about my Top 10 Christmas Songs.

This year, I present to you the Mute Hallelujah Monks in full, and condensed High School production form:




Admit it, you enjoyed that.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Old Bear and The Brier

I saw a clip during the sport section of the local newscast the other day about Team Martin (and I tried, but I couldn't find any video).
Martin confirmed he (they) wont be doing provincials or the Brier this year. Understandably with them going to the Olympics and all, they're going to be too busy and away from their families long enough as is. Kennedy and Hebert also made comments, and maybe it's just me, but it seemed like that wouldn't have been their first choice. Maybe I read a bit too much into that, but check out this comment on Bob Weeks' blog:
"Talking to a number of players over the final weekend, it's clear that Kevin Martin and his team aren't going to win any popularity contests among their peers. Almost to a man, the players I talked to said the new Olympic squad isn't really a team in the true sense -- they are more a business. "I've never seen the four of them do anything together other than curl," said one Western Canadian curler. "I don't know if they really like each other." The betting is that if the team starts losing (which, admittedly is a long shot considering the way they played) at the Olympics, there will be lots of finger-pointing. That said, I have no problems with Kevin and the rest. They've been good to me from a professional standpoint and on the ice, they're mighty impressive."
The two go together, eh?
This whole situation makes me sad, for two reasons.
1. I don't like thinking about curling as a business. I like curling because it is good natured and not full of politics and big money egos. I like hearing about teams like the Ferbey four who have been together forever. When curling players move around (get traded if you will), it feels artificial and calculated and curling is not like that. I'm sure many people will disagree though, and there's a lot at stake for the sport now (in terms of money, fans, advertising, blah blah blah) so maybe it's necessary. Team Martin is probably the best team in the world, maybe ever, so whatever they're doing is working. I just like to think everyone likes each other and is one big happy family.
2. No Martin at the Brier? Really? Shouldn't the best in the world be at the best event in Canada? I suppose it wasn't guaranteed they'd be there anyways.
On the flip side, this situation makes me happy for two reasons.
1. Alberta will have a new provincial champion. I've been to the mens provincials (aka Boston Pizza Cup) for the past two years, and am seriously considering trekking out to the event this February. The last two years I've been (and likely many many years previously) it has been a Martin-Ferbey final. The last two years I've been (and likely many many years previously) Martin won. This year will be different. And that's kinda exciting. If someone guaranteed me a Ferbey-Koe final I would for sure drive the 3hrs out to Olds, Alberta to watch (duh, did you not follow my blog throughout the Roar or last years provincials? I'm like team Koe's biggest fan.). Last year though, Koe ended up 5th (seriously, how did that happen) so nothing is guaranteed. Koe is back to throwing skip stones, and they played really well (mostly) during the Olympic Curling Trials so they've got a great shot at the title. Martin not showing up will make the event interesting, and the outcome not 'pre-determined'. So do I spend $300 to go watch, or $12.95 to order the event via CurlTv.com?
Provincials 2008
Team Martin scouting the semis at Provincials 2009
2. Canada will have a new national champion. I'm also a big team Howard fan, so I'm all for a changing of the guard at the national, and world level (oh the disappointment of last years worlds). And I'm tired of seeing Martin-Howard finals (I can't believe I wrote that - but yes it's true).
So Martin pulling out of provincials/the Brier is...interesting. The Martin team not being as close and friendly as we might think, well I guess there's a reason. And hey, if that means they concentrate on winning the Olympic gold medal, I'm all for it!
Go Canada for gold in Vancouver 2010!!
(Oh, and Koe for the win at provincials, and then Koe or Howard at the Brier. For the record.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If Your Library Was A Person...

One of the libraries I work at is going through a 'rebranding' process. They are amalgamating with another library, and thus need a new name, logo, colour scheme etc.
So in order to get patron's opinions about the library's 'brand', the library hired an external marketing company to do a survey, and then advise them on what changes should be made.
Now, I'm all for surveys, but here are some of the questions:
"If the library was a person, who would it be? Why"
"On a scale of 1-5, how charming is the library?"
"One a scale of 1-5, how outdoorsy is the library?"
Seriously?! If the library was a person? How are you supposed to answer that?
I understand the theory behind the questions - they're just trying to find out what the atmosphere/culture etc of the library is.
I just think some of the questions were irrelevant.
"If my library was a person" - I still don't know how to answer that. How would you answer that?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bring On The Egg Nog

Yes it's that time of year.
They're doing Egg Nog Smoothies at Booster Juice, but be wary of the regular size, that's a lot of egg nog in one go!
Comic from Buttersafe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Roar Of The Rings: Epilogue

"But in my opinion, there is no more truly Canadian sport than curling." 


Day 1 post Roar of the Rings.

I have to go to work. That is so not as much fun as hanging out and watching curling all day.

I had an amazing week. Though I spent the first few days watching the draws on TSN and going about my real life, I did spend five full days at the event. I thought as a form of closure, I would post a wrap up summary of my favourite parts of the Roar.


My Roar Top 5

Randomly, standing in the autograph line on the first day I went to Rexall, I met a new friend. My Fort Mac friend is awesome because she 'gets' and 'shares' my curling obsession like no one else I know. We watched the games, but also spotted famous curlers in the crowd, and supported each other's curling crushes. I got to sit in my awesome row 13 seat in that empty seat beside hers the whole event, and it was super nice to have company during dinner breaks and on train rides. She lives far away, but I have a feeling I'll be seeing her again at an event or otherwise. I'm so glad I met her! - curling fans are awesome!!

Ok, so the curling was amazing. Though watching four games at once can be distracting, I do love following a couple games, and being able to see match ups that aren't on tv. The calibre of curling at the Roar was probably the best in the world, and it was a once in a life time opportunity to watch the best athletes in both mens and womens games in a big arena.

And I have to say, there is nothing better in the whole world than watching curling live in such an amazing setting, and listening to the TSN commentary on the radio I had tucked into my coat pocket at the same time. Seriously. Utopia.

"I delight in the sheer nerdiness of curling. It's so unhip, so utterly unselfconscious, that it actually has a kind of reverse cool, a unique meta-chic."
I was always excited about being a volunteer. I've always wanted a logo jacket, and I like being part of special events and going behind the scenes. And yes, being a volunteer was awesome. I love my shirt and jacket, I got a cool volunteer badge full of autographs, and felt proud to be part of the event. My smiling face even made it into Saturday's Morning Roar newspaper!

I also got lots of cool free stuff (volunteer and otherwise) like a Roar shopping bag, Olympic Canada flag, water bottle, earband, calendar, pins, doughnuts, pop, cheering clapper, and two squishy plushish curling rocks. Oh, and like a dozen pieces of M&M Meat Shop chocolate buttercream brownie cake. I'm a sucker for free stuff.
The best part of all of this was talking to people. I'm pretty good at talking to strangers, and I loved talking to customers in the store, other volunteers, people sitting around me in the stands, random people on the concourse - hey, I'll talk to anyone!! I never really had any grandparents, so I especially love talking to lovely retired folks, and curling events are full of them!

"I love the fact that curling isn't just a young person's game, that it's a game of skill, where canniness and experience count."
I'm not much of a fangirl (although, see #5), nor am I an autograph or photo hound, but it was super awesome meeting some of the curlers and getting their autographs. All the guys were so nice! Having some autographs (see below) on my volunteer badge made for interesting conversation with other volunteers, family, and other fans. It was also fun spotting curlers in the crowd. It became a bit of a hobby for us over the course of the event, and really added to the one of a kind fun of being at the event in person.

Top row: Wayne Middaugh, Mark Kennedy, Rob Fowler, Kevin Koe, Carter Rycroft
Middle row: Ben Hebert, John Mead, Blake McDonald, Steve Gould, Kevin Park, John Eppin, John Morris, Trevor Wall
Bottom row: Jeff Stoughton, Nolan Thiessen, Kevin Martin, Scott Bailey, Jules Owchar

"Yet curlers always seem to me like people who are comfortable in their own skins, people who know who they are, who can keep their balance on the ice, and in the real world"
Yeah. So maybe I am a fangirl. Ok, so I have a curling crush. Who doesn't? Koe's lead just happens to be my man of the moment. And we brushed arms. And then he sat two rows in front of us. It was awesome. I'm going to tell this story forever.


Want to relive my adventures?
My Volunteer Schedule (which changed, I only had 2 shifts)
It's Roar Time (my picks - all wrong)

I took about 200 pictures. If you'd like to take a look, I'll keep a Roar album up on Photobucket until the end of the month. I'm not much a photographer, but feel free to download whatever you want.


So what next? Of course the Scotties, Provincials, Olympics and Brier plus other events are on tv coming up in the next few months. What about more Edmonton events though? St. Albert is getting the Continental Cup in January 2011, and I've heard rumours of a 2013 Edmonton Brier.

I'll be finished my masters in April 2010, and though I might risk long term unemployment in my field, I really really really want to stay in Edmonton. So, it's almost guaranteed I'll be volunteering for those up coming events. I foresee a long long long career of curling volunteering (and playing) in my future... 
"And I love the fact that curling isn't just a spectator sport, the preserve of professional athletes. It's still a participation sport with deep grassroots, something just about everyone can play, a game as democratic and inclusive as Canada aspires to be."

Good bye Roar of the Rings. I'll miss you, but I'm excited about what's to come!
(Quotes are from a fantastic Edmonton Journal article by Paula Simons called Just a stones throw from perfection)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 Roar Of The Rings: Day 8 = The Final

Big day today. Mens final. Howard vs Martin. Last day of the Roar of the Rings Olympic Curling Trials.
I walked through the security pass entrance for the last time. Bought my 50/50 tickets, grabbed a Morning Roar paper and took my yummy Rexall cheeseburger and a couple M&M Meat Shop chocolate cake thingys for me and my Fort Mac friend to my seat.

That's right. My seat. The best part about the Roar was meeting my Fort Mac friend. The second best thing was sitting in the empty seat next to hers throughout the last half of the competition. Who buys fantastic full event tickets for seats in the 13thr row in the corner on the home end of the ice and doesn't show up for the whole event???

Who cares. My seat was awesome.

Vic Rauter doing the pregame show during Howard's warm up.

The pipers playing in the teams. Good crowd today!


Howard (red) vs. Martin (black) - can you feel the tension?!

Brett Kissel singing the national anthem.

The game was less than awesome. Howard didn't play well and lost. There were some unlucky misses and the game wasn't even close. But I cheered, for both teams, and enjoyed it nonetheless.

Spotting posh sunglasses in the crowd again. It was a good week. *sigh*

Nice shot!

Hurry hard!

Tribute to Jackie Rae (in white), the Lord of the Rings

Martin won, and deservedly so because the whole team played well. Our Edmonton boys are off to the Olympics!!

Media scrum and congrats right after last rock for the win.

They're going to the Olympics!!


Red Olympic sweaters for gold, disappointment for silver, and Stoughton for bronze.

I have enjoyed my week at the Roar immensely, and I'm not ready to say good bye yet, so I'll post a wrap up tomorrow.

How am I supposed to return to real life after a week like this?!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2009 Roar Of The Rings: Day 7 = Crowd Scanning and a Final

Twas another fantastic day at the Roar of the Rings Olympic Curling Trials.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Rexall was that there were tons more people milling around.

Must be semi and final day!

The second thing I did was grab a Morning Roar newspaper and check if my picture made it in, as per yesterday's surprise photo op. And yep, there I was! There were 5 pictures of happy volunteers along with a blurb about how fantastic we are, and my smiling face was right on top (it was a nice picture too, not my squinty look). I suppose I'm a good role model for young people in the sport. A lot of the curlers are young, but the crowd is probably 60% lovely retired folk, 30% middle aged people, 9% people my age or teenagers, and 1% kids. I've heard more than one person complain this week about how young people are not being attracted into the sport anymore. I've heard that with the Rocks and Ring program the kids are catching on, but one the middle aged and retired folk are finished, there's not a lot of 20-40 year olds ready to take over club curling. Opinions differ, but I was certainly the youngest volunteer as far as I could tell (and I'm older than I look). Come on people, start curling!!

The third thing I did was meet my Fort Mac friend in line for the team Martin autograph session. And the fourth thing I did was inhale yet another chocolate cake brownie square from M&M Meat Shop.

Martin, Morris, Hebert, Kennedy and Owchar (l-r) signing for a much longer line than on Wednesday.
First up was the mens semis, Stoughton vs Howard. Though I'm a Stoughton fan too, I was cheering for Howard, and he pulled through with a win. It was a good game. I was fortunate enough to continue my row 13 marathon, so the view was fantastic. I highly recommend sitting on the home end where you get to see the 10th end.

Whoa boys, says Stoughton (white)

Another gooder from the Howard crew (red)

It was also a great game for famous people sightings. Luke Coley, Amber Holland and Steve Howard (Russ' son, and the curler whose name I couldn't remember yesterday) were sitting in the row in front of us. Jennifer Jones popped up near us for a bit. And the announcer found Don Walchuk, Kathy King and Marcel Rocque and got them to all do Russ Howard impressions, which Russ found quite funny - even giving them a standing-o.

Jennifer Jones (white)

And luck of all luck, the curler who I gushed about in yesterday's post sat two rows in front of us for a bit. *sigh* He wears posh sunglasses though so I reckon he's outta my league. I watched the back of his head for a couple ends, and my day was elevated to the awesomeness that was yesterday. *sigh*

Nolan Thiessen (*sigh*) sitting with mom (?) and grandma (?)

So after a fantastic morning we headed to the Patch (along with thousands of other people) for dinner. I spotted Guy Hemmings right away, again, and Steve Howard again. I really wish I was a partyer, as I know if I would've stuck around the Patch after the evening draws I coulda spotted more curlers, maybe even talked to them. But partying is really not my style. I'm sure everyone else is having fun though.

Russ Howard and Bryan Mudryk doing a spot for TSN as Bernard slides out during womens practice.
The evening game was the womens final - Bernard vs. Kleibrink. There were rowdy Kleibrink fans, and there were rowdy Bernard fans, both in adjacent sections. I'm not sure if it was because I had a Kleibrink clapper or what, but I was cheering for her, though I didn't mind who won either way.

Top left = Kleibrink Go crew, Middle with stripey scarves = Bernard troop

Good crowd for Kleibrink (green) vs Bernard (black)

We also spotted Blake MacDonald sitting in the section over, and a couple Gunnlaugson boys about ten rows in front. It was actually not really a good game, kind of boring, with lots of missed shots. But Bernard won, and I got to see my first ever medal ceremony. After they stepped on the podium, the Bernard gang got to exchange their jackets for Olympic sweaters! And then Gord Bamford (who is my cousin-in-laws cousin?) sang the national anthem and Cheryl Bernard was all chocked up and crying and it was super touching. Aw. I'll be cheering for the girls in Vancouver for sure!!

Yay Bernard!!

Fancy red Olympic sweaters!

That's it from the Roar for tonight. Tomorrow is the mens final, and even if I don't get to sit in row lucky number 13, and regardless of who I can spot in the crowd, it'll be a gooder!!