Sunday, October 31, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #8

Two months in, and I'm still snapping! Except this week lacks a little inspiration - I'll do better next week.

Monday, Oct. 25, 2010: The first snowfall of the season. I had to brush and scrape my car. Oh yay.

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010: I spent 15 minutes trying to get that leaf on the right in focus and never did succeed. Any tips? Perhaps I should finally read my camera's manual?

Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010: Breakfast (and late night snack) of champions.

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010: My favourite dinner: a Vietnamese noodle bowl with spring rolls and fish sauce.

Friday, Oct. 29, 2010: Field trip! I was doing campus/branch library tours all day and my car ticked over a milestone.

Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010: New laptop decal! Now I just need to find a curling one.

Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010: Brunch at a new Cora's location. Hell is waiting in line for brunch on a Sunday. And for what?! The food was good but not 'wow!', the service was slow, and the booth was super small and cramped. Not worth the lineup (but I would visit again if I could walk right in). Good thing the company was fantastic!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Curling TV Schedules!!

The big two curling broadcasters have released their tv curling schedules for the 2010-2011 season:

It's pretty slow at the moment, but you can check out the Cactus Pheasant Classic online this weekend.

I'll be posting detailed tv schedules closer to the events (converted to Mountain time zone of course) so stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Men With Brooms: Worth Watching?

CBC's new comedy Men With Brooms has been on for a few weeks now, so I figured it's about time I wrote a review.

First, a few disclaimers:

1. I love curling, thus I am preprogrammed to like a tv show with a curling theme/setting.
2. I love Men With Brooms the movie, thus I am preprogrammed to like the tv show.
3. I love Paul Gross, thus I am preprogrammed to like a tv show that features him as the narrator.
4. I don't like tv comedies, thus I am preprogrammed to dislike a Canadian comedy. Seriously. I like The Big Bang Theory and M*A*S*H. That's it. Mostly I think tv comedies are annoying, predictable and not funny. And I've never really watched the other 'popular Canadian comedies' like Corner Gas or Little Mosque on the Prairie. Plus, the last curling comedy CBC put out, called 'Throwing Stones' sucked. A lot.

(Watch curling themed episodes from Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie, plus see famous curlers in the Men With Brooms movie via the links from my previous post: Curling on the Big/Small Screen. And all the Men With Brooms episodes are available from the official website (which includes cartoon webisodes.)

So, there are certainly some reasons why I should like this show, and there are reasons why I should not like this show. What's the verdict?

Meh, it's alright. Will it get cancelled? Likely. Will I watch it until it does? Yes.

It's actually kind of funny, in a quirky, very Canadian self deprecating kind of way. There are certainly slow spots, but there are also funny moments - enough at least to hold my attention. It might be set partially in a curling rink, but it's not always about curling. It is a bit goofy, but so far hasn't crossed the line between goody and annoyingly stupid. Hasn't crossed the line yet anyways.

There are of course those added extras that I enjoy, like Paul Gross' narration and the online webisode cartoons.

The characters are mostly decent in theory. I like the bartender Tannis and the club manager Bill. Their acting isn't annoyingly over-the-top and the storylines concerning them have so far been funny. I sort of like the two male leads, Gary and Matt. Gary is sufficiently awkward and Matt usually plays big-dumb-teddy-bear decently well. Sometimes these two are annoying though. I find the couple who own the doughnut shop (how's that for a cliche?), Pramesh and Rani, very annoying. Both of their acting is a bit over-the-top and fake, especially in the case of Pramesh. Gosh his character is annoying (but is more annoyingly growing on me as the weeks go by). Oh and then there's April, the female romantic tension. Nope, don't like her either, same reason as Pramesh. Annoying (and she isn't growing on me).

Ok, so there's actually a lot of annoying about MWB. Would I still be watching it if it wasn't loosely based around curling. No. But I'll keep watching anyways. The shows have either gotten better as the weeks go on, or I'm just more used to it. I guess you could say it's growing on me. Check it out, maybe it'll grow on you too. (That, or you'll find it annoying, and in that case you could just switch the channel to Castle, which also annoyingly grew on me. Oh Nathan Fillion, too bad you weren't a curler!)

Another Fun Curling Committee

My fantastically-busy-curling-volunteer schedule continues.

Fresh off my appointment to my curling club's Board of Directors, I attended another big committee meeting. @1CathyC, an awesome curling club manager who I met on Twitter, has invited me to join the organizing committee for the 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships, which will take place in March 2011. Last night was the first committee meeting.

Know what I love about curling volunteers? They're awesome! As always, the committee is made up of really nice people who generally care about the sport and the athletes. It's going to be a great committee to be a part of, and I'm really looking forward to working with everyone.

It was the first time I really met twitter people in person, so it was an exciting night from all angles (never got a chance to talk to @ErinCraig11, hopefully next time!).

I'm 'in charge' of the social media promotion, which will include our twitter page, @11Wheelies, a facebook page, website updates, and a daily blog/newsletter during the event. I'll also be helping with formatting the program and will likely contribute to the traditional promotion and media strategy as well. So freaking exciting! It's going to be fun!

(Oh, maybe I should actually get an iphone for this? I was going to save for a mortgage instead, but gosh an iphone would come in handy that week! And for the Continental Cup too, you know, in case I bump into famous curlers again - then I can get a picture!)

If you're keeping track, that's three curling volunteer groups I'm currently involved with for the 2010-2011 curling season (my board, 11Wheelies and Continental Cup), so I'm right on track with my curling volunteering goal: get on the organizing committee for a big event or on the board of one of the big organizations. Another woman on the 11Wheelies committee is a VIP volunteer for the Continental Cup and I was joking, as I usually do, that I want to be running those events in 15 years. She wondered why I was waiting 15 years, and jokingly offered to sign me up now!! So maybe if we get something big in 2014 I could contribute more than zipping zippers or hauling around flats of pop. A facebook friend also has some connections with the Northern Alberta Curling Association, so there's that option too. Time will tell, but it's looking good!

How fortunate I just finished grad school and actually have a real job that will finance my habit, in terms of both time and money. Too bad I'm so far away from retirement, then I'd have plenty of time to devote to all of this! Priorities I guess, and curling certainly is my winter one! I'm looking forward to the next meeting already, and to the events themselves.

This is turning out to be my best year ever!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Music Monday: Wajjo African Drummers

Last Saturday, a good friend invited me to the Ewe Multicultural Association of Alberta's 5th Annual 'Taste of West Africa' Celebration.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a fantastic night! The food was excellent - I'm not sure what everything was called but there was salad, a couple types of rice, chicken, fish, a cassava dish with shrimp, two types of cornmeal type cake things (my favourite was the Abolo - yum!), veg lasagna, two types of plantain and then cookies, squares and fruit for dessert. Sorry no picture, I'm not really a foodie.

Following dinner was a program of sorts, which included poetry, storytelling and music. Then there was a dance to popular African music (you could totally tell where the roots of R&B music is located!!).

The music during the program came from the Wajjo African Drummers - and they had a bagpiper with them! It was awesome! I love drum music, and I love pipes so it was great. Plus it got everyone up and dancing so it was a really good time.

All in all, a great evening. Everyone was super nice and super welcoming and I had a super time!

(EMAA is also on facebook)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #7

Monday, Oct. 18, 2010: Waiting for the results to come in is always nervewraking - did Edmonton vote for the right person??

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010: Yep, they did.

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010: This week's lovely sky photo. How can you not love our Alberta sky?

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010: A sign of things to come?

Friday, Oct. 22, 2010: International Dinner with some friends, representing all of our cultural backgrounds with yummy dishes and good conversation.

Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010: Now that I'm on the board, I think I'll be spending a lot more time at my curling club.

Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010: First snow fall of the season. And so it begins...

Bonus Photo: A friend asked me why I double lock the trunk of my car, and I answered "So no one steals my prize possessions!"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On The Board

Apparently I'm now on the Board of Directors at my curling club.

Honestly, it wasn't my idea. I found myself being 'voluntold' to be my league's representative to the board (which I figured would end up happening - basically it means I get to organize the Christmas/end of the year parties), but then the outgoing president (who organizes my league, so he's gotten to know me over the past few years) asked if he could nominate me as a "Director at Large". I'm still not exactly sure what that means, but I think it just means I have to do whatever the president tells me to do. He mentioned organizing and helping to run bonspiels or other events, which I could totally do (and sorta do kinda already). And I'm hoping the let me edit the website a bit.

I knew this would happen eventually. I love curling and am already working on my parallel career as a curling volunteer. I like being in charge and helping out, plus I'm super organized. Also, I am one of the very few 'young' people at my club (at least that I've seen - I suppose I'm the most involved 'young' person anyways). Perhaps I am the future of management. We've got a great junior program and there's lots of kids and juniors around, but the 18-35 year old age group is seriously lacking in number. Another reason I'm still single.

The Annual General Meeting was today, the first one I've ever attended. I've never actually been to a meeting before where there's all the motions and nominations and seconding and 'all in favour' activities, so it was definitely eye opening. The club is trying to choose a new logo, which is quite a contentious issue, as are finances. What else is new. 

Like I mentioned before, I was the only person younger than about 45 years old at the meeting. 

I did learn something interesting: our club is the only club in the Edmonton and surrounding area that grew in membership last year. That surprises me, what with the Winter Olympics being so successful in Canada this past winter. 

So regardless of how I got on the board, or why I'm there, I think it'll be fun. I'm looking forward to working with the rest of the people (curling folks are notorious for being super nice people) and helping out any way I can. It's going to be a busy season, but a great season. Bring it on!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Music Monday: Charlie Major Concert

The only music I listened to until I got to high school was country music. In fact, I never knew other radio stations, besides CISN Country, existed until then. True story.

Back in the day, country music was honest and good. Country music wasn't slutty or pop-ish like it is now. I rarely listen to country nowadays and I certainly don't attend country concerts (unless it's alt-country, and yes that's a different genre/subgenre, whatever it's different and better). 

But last week I went with my family on a nostalgic trip down memory lane - we went to see Charlie Major in concert. Charlie Major was the very first country musician I ever saw live (opening for Alan Jackson some time in the 90s) and I've seen him a few times over the years. I've liked every song he ever recorded, and appreciate that he's honest and real and not a sell-out.

It was a good show. His mic wasn't working at first so he sang the first song unplugged. The first set he played all acoustic, just him and his guitar and then the band came out for a more rockin' second set. Charlie Major was funny and told little stories between some songs. I'm pretty sure my Dad really enjoyed it, and he doesn't go to concerts all that often, so that counts as a successful evening.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed myself. He's been around for awhile, and I hope he stays around for a bit because I'd certainly see him live again!

You can find Charlie Major at:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #6

Wow, I've made it to week 6! Inconceivable!

Monday, Oct. 11, 2010: Catsitting - My name is Kato. I am a grumpy siamese but aren't I peaceful when I'm sleeping? 

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010: Catsitting - My name is Rudy. I am the cutest kitty you will ever meet. Take more pictures of me please!

Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010: Catsitting - My name is Lucas. I am not the photogenic one. Please stopping taking pictures of me.

Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010: I enjoy pet/house sitting, but I also enjoy NOT living out of a suitcase. It's nice to be home.

Friday, Oct. 15, 2010: I know it's not sky week anymore, but seriously, how beautiful is this?!

Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010: It's that time of year again - these geese are flying south!

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010: Today is my first curling game of the season. I have a new team I haven't met yet. I haven't thrown a rock since March. I am nervous.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling Volunteer Rally Photos

The official Continental Cup of Curling website has a short post about the Volunteer Rally I blogged about a couple weeks ago.

What's even more impressive is that I'm in one of the photos!!

Photo: Canadian Curling Association
Yes folks, that's the back of my head, long brown hair, bottom left, navy jacket.

The line up has been confirmed:

Team North America: Teams Kevin Martin (CA), Kevin Koe (CA), Cheryl Bernard (CA), Jennifer Jones (CA), Pete Fenson (US), and Erika Brown (US), Captain Neil Harrison (CA), Coach Rick Lang (CA).

Team World: Teams Thomas Ulsrud (NOR), David Murdoch (SCO), Niklas Edin (SWE), Bingyu Wang (CHI), Andrea Schopp (GER), and Miriam Ott (SUI), Captain Pal Trulsen (NOR), Coach Peja Lindholm (SWE).

And tickets are on sale!! Full event passes are currently $275.

I'm undecided if I should buy any tickets. There's no volunteer seating, and yes, I could watch it on tvs around the venue and pvr it at home but wow, that's a stellar line up!

I'm actually getting quite excited - it's going to be awesome!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My First PostSecret Event

Yesterday, I attended a PostSecret event.

I’ve been following PostSecret for years. The blog post I did about it in 2009 is my top viewed post. I have all the books. I look forward to Sundays because that’s when the blog post comes out.

What is PostSecret? In a nutshell: people write their secrets on a postcard, mail it to Frank Warren, he posts some on the blog, he publishes some in the books. Sounds goofy?

No. It’s amazing. The secrets are touching. Or funny. Or tragic. Every week I laugh. Every week I relate to one or more. Every week I feel like I’m not alone. Every week I say a prayer for people who have sent secrets in.

Finally, Frank Warren came to Edmonton.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. You can see from the photo how minimal the stage was. Someone came out to introduce Frank, laying out some ground rules: no photos after the first five minutes, no texting, no talking on cell phones etc. There was also an American Sign Language interpreter (two actually, they tag teamed on and off). Then they showed a clip from the All American Rejects video that used PostSecrets:

(Three of the secrets in the video are from band members - I’m not telling which ones!)

Following that, Frank came out. He asked who had sent in secrets - and gave a book away to someone who volunteered their hand. He asked who had read the blog and then set out the agenda, splitting the talk into three parts.

First, Frank talked about the history of PostSecret. Then he showed photos of particular secrets, telling stories about each one. Finally, he opened the floor for people to share their secrets. This part was very emotional. There’s a lot of pain in the world, a lot of beauty. I commend those who shared secrets for being so brave - and also the audience for being so supportive. After each person shared, Frank gave them words of encouragement and/or understanding.

And I reckon there wasn’t a dry eye in the theatre. I know I was tearing up. I know the people around me were tearing up, and I was close enough to see Frank was tearing up.

This is the bit I’m not sure I can explain. Unless you’ve seen an event or read the blog or the books I’m not sure how to make you understand what it’s all about. Frank has started something, something whereby complete strangers feel comfortable enough to share their deepest, often darkest secrets with him, and subsequently each other. It’s like, you know you’re not alone because often you share the same secret with someone. Or like, you feel for someone, empathize, and through that emotion you bond and strengthen each other.

It’s amazing. Amazing and beautiful.

Frank is an amazing man. He’s charismatic and funny and relatable. And very honest. He shared secrets about his life, and made everyone feel part of something bigger. He was brilliant with everyone; there was a lot of emotion in that theatre and he did a great job of holding everyone’s hand through the journey we took together. He has turned what started out as an art project into an international support network.

A tweet from @postsecret following the event: "Blessed are the cracked, for they let the light shine through" - Guy at the @PostSecret Event today.

I’ve mailed in secrets, and I’ll continue to mail in secrets. I hope PostSecret never stops. It makes me feel sad. It makes me cry sometimes. It makes me happy too. And sometimes it makes me laugh.

PostSecret inspires. PostSecret is hope.

Thank you Frank Warren.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #5

Last week, Jay taught me a new phrase: "Olympus Blue". He commented "Olympus tends to have some of the nicest colors without needing any additional post-processing." Yay camera. So this week I decided to showcase "Olympus Blue" (and pink and grey!) by taking pictures of our beautiful Alberta sky.

Monday, Oct. 4, 2010: Wait, what happened to my blue Alberta sky?

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010: Yay, my blue Alberta sky is back!

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010: Oh what a beautiful morning!

Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010: Beautiful breakfast views, I could get used to this!

Friday, Oct. 8, 2010: This morning, it was like the sky was on fire!

Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010: What a beautiful day for a wedding, congrats Hanne and Merron!

Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010: And it ends how it began - Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Overheard at the Hockey Game...

Here's 'the good, the bad, and the ugly' as overheard at last night's Oilers hockey game...

...which was super awesome to watch! The atmosphere was incredible - loud and crazy and happy and exciting. They won 4-0 over the Calgary Flames (bitter rivalry in case you didn't know). It was like one game dissolved all disappointment from last year. Oilers fans now have hope.

And onto the OH's...

The Good:
"It's like a video game - too damn easy!"
Uttered by young-annoying-drunk-guy sitting in front of us. He got more, then less annoying as the night wore on. By the end he was big buddies with everyone in section. This pretty-darn-funny line was accompanied by strange dancing and plenty of "Kipper" voodooing.

The Bad:
"I can't believe I locked my keys in my trunk! I'm such an idiot!"
Um, this quote comes from me. No explanation necessary. Oops. My bad.

The Ugly:
"My eyes are too blue so I have to wear contact lenses."
Uttered by young-slutty-annoying-drunk-girl sitting in front of young-annoying-drunk-guy. Seriously?! You're eyes are too blue? What the heck is wrong with you??? Ok, people die their hair if they don't like the colour (which I'm also against but that's another story). But changing your eye colour because they're too blue! There is something seriously wrong with society if this is what people are doing. I wear glasses, have since I was 5 years old. I believe that when people wear glasses or contacts for fashionable purposes (ie. they don't need them, they just think it looks cool) that they are mocking my visual disability. I rant about this all the time. People think I'm crazy (I should totally blog about this sometime). No. I'm not crazy. People who wear contacts because their eyes are too blue are crazy! Ack, almost makes me loose my faith in young people.

Hanging out with hockey fans. Always interesting!

Anyways, it was all about the hockey in the end. Check out Eberle's first NHL goal - definitely sick!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


So Men With Brooms (the tv show) made it's first appearance on the CBC last night. What did you think?

Meh. There were a few laughs. Some of the acting was ok (mostly over the top though, or is that just because I'm used to watching icy crime shows on networks other than CBC). The best part was Paul Gross' cameo. That's a bad sign, right? I really wanted to like it because I really like curling, but, meh. I'll give it a few weeks but will consciously try not to get attached. You know, just in case.

Anyways, what I really wanted to write about was some new scientific findings about curling regarding sweeping technique.

I play lead. I suck lots at delivering rocks, so I purposely try my very hardest when sweeping. I figure that's the only way I'll ever contribute to the team (oh please someone give me some coaching lessons!).

The Canadian Curling Association recently posted some Sweeping Secrets:

  • Sweeping doesn't melt the ice.
  • Good sweepers can carry the rock 6-7 feet.
  • A brush angled at 45-90 degrees has the most effect on the path of the stone.
  • Sweepers were most effective when they swept up to 3 feet in front of the stone only, and actually sweeping more than 3 feet in front of the stone was counter productive.
  • A third sweeper accomplishes basically nothing. sweepers as close to the stone as possible (both inside a 3 foot area in-front of the leading edge of the stone). 

Hmm. Interesting. I can do that.

Two weeks to go till my league starts...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Music Monday: K'Naan Concert

Last week I went to a K'Naan concert. Sometime people are surprised I really like K'Naan, mostly I like folk music, alt country stuff, banjos, fiddles, stuff like that. K'Naan came out of nowhere in 2006. We saw him at folk fest that year, and were mesmerized. I saw him twice while I was living in the UK at two different festivals, and I saw him again at a concert theatre shortly after I returned home to Edmonton.

All of the times I've seen K'Naan live, it was just him and 3 other guys on stage. There was a guitar, a laptop, and a bunch of African drums. And it was awesome. The drum beats mixed with the touching lyrics to move my heart and soul.

Take a look at this photo from last week's concert:

Things have changed. Gone are the African drums. Instead there's a drum kit, an electric guitar and a light show. And all of this because of the fame K'Naan has attracted after his song Wavin' Flag as part of not only the Young Artists For Haiti fundraiser, but also for this year's World Cup in South Africa.

This is how it used to be:

(I was at that festival, there were people weeping during his set. True story.)

And this is how it is now:

I've followed K'Naan's career from relative obscurity to international fame. I'm not saying the old days were better than the fame days, it's just...different now.

This concert was bittersweet for me. First, there was a venue SNAFU (which was not K'Naan's fault of course). Slash didn't sell enough tickets for his show so they moved him to K'Naan's (all ages, ends at a civilized hour, no drunk losers) venue and then K'Naan had to move to a night club (drunk losers, ends really late for a work night, and don't forget the drunk losers). That's not what I paid for, and that made me really angry.

Fortunately all that anger did dissipate as soon as K'Naan took the stage. What can I say? I like the message. I like the music. I like the man. I think his music is honest. And yes, the plugged-in light show atmosphere is contagious and fun. So I danced and sang and waved my hand in the air like the rest of the drunk teenagers and hipsters who surrounded me.

It was a great show. But I can't help but think it might be my last K'Naan concert. I'm too old for hanging out with drunk youngin's in bars. And the whole plugged-in light show, well, I miss the African drums.

It will be interesting to see how K'Naan manages his career henceforth. His Wavin' Flag fame is HUGE. Can he maintain his message, his honesty, his heart? Or will the plugged-in light-show-pull-for-$$ win him over. I sure hope not, he stands for the opposite of that and that's why I like him.

But I'm worried about K'Naan. I wonder if he's still having fun. How is he coping with the fame? Is his heart still in performing? Or is he still going through the motions? Follow him on twitter (@iamknaan) and read between the lines and you'll see what I mean.

I hope K'Naan takes a break after the Wavin' Flag wave-of-fame is over. I hope he comes back energized. I hope he comes back ready to share his message and have fun with his fans.

And I hope he brings back the African drums.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Photo-A-Day Week #4

Monday, Sept. 27, 2010: Off to work an extra hour early on Monday morning, and was rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise. And no, I did not use the Art filter on this one. The colours are all natural.

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010: K'Naan in concert - never disappointing.

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010: Stopped at a red light and caught city crews painting lines in my neighbourhood. Notice how the paint is lumpy and not smooth like you would think.

Thursday, Sept 30, 2010: The last Thursday of every month is Servus Community Access Night at the Art Gallery of Alberta - meaning it's free. The building is pretty cool, this is from the top floor patio.

Friday, Oct. 1, 2010: Cat sitting Oz and Simon.

Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010: Fall apples and beautiful blue Alberta sky. No, no Art filter here either!

Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010: Wonderful dinner and conversation with wonderful friends.