Sunday, January 30, 2011

Photo-A-Day: I Accidentally Quit

Ok, so the plan was to take photos all week, and spend Saturday sorting out what to do with my full Picasa account so I could post a photo-a-day on Sunday.

Except there was a lot of curling/hockey on tv on Saturday and I never got around to sorting out what to do for online photo storage in the future.

Which doesn't really matter because I accidentally forgot to take photos all week. I did take one on Monday, which I can't use because of a particular logo. And then honestly, I just forgot! No excuses. I am a quitter. Shame on me.

So that's the end of photo-a-day for me. I'm not really upset I accidentally quit for a couple reasons. The whole point of starting it was to encourage me to use my new camera. And I did. And I love it. And I'll still keep taking photos. I hope there are more photo-walks in my future! The other reason I did it was to document my big-birthday-year, but as time went on this became less and less important. Life goes on. Who cares how old I am or what I did during that one-out-of-many-year-of-my-life. I'll remember what I need to remember. It was also really time consuming to put the posts together, so I certainly wont miss that. I've just been so busy lately, my priorities have shifted. And that's that.

I haven't thought about what I'm going to do with my full Picasa account, but likely I'm going to delete my 20 photo-a-day posts to free up that 0.5 GB of space. I might re-upload them in smaller sizes. I might not. Sorry if you enjoyed the posts. I'm sure if you google 'photo a day' you'll be able to find hundreds of other people doing this.

I'm now going to concentrate on taking fewer, but better photographs. Maybe I'll post some on this blog, maybe I'll post some to twitter, maybe I'll keep some to myself. I'm not sure what I'll do.

Again, apologies, but it's better this way. Trust me. I'm ok with how it turned out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

#Curling on TV: Canadian Open

Oh my, so much curling on TV lately! Now it's time for the BDO Canadian Open!
This Grand Slam event runs from January 26-30th, 2011, and is in Oshawa, Ontario this year. Teams include: Martin, Epping, Ferbey, Simmons, Ulsrud, Fowler, Koe, Matchett, Howard, Bice, Higgs, Middaugh, Cotter, Walchuk, Stoughton, Corner, McEwen, and Kean. Lot's of big guns, and a couple new (to me) names in there, so it should be a great event. They'll also be doing a live chat with Martin and Stoughton, so keep an eye on the Grand Slam website and facebook page (me thinks it's time to start up a Grand Slam twitter account!).

I had a chance to go to this event, and it killed me to turn it down. I totally could've sorted out that twitter account! And met some twitter friends (you know who you are, I expect lots of tweets)! Woe is me. But I love my job (that would be the 'librarian' part of the header) and this is a super busy couple of weeks for me at the library - plus I'm still catching up on work (and sleep) from my Continental Cup vacation, and I agreed long ago to cat sit my favourite pair of troublemakers and I'm helping out with the Adult Learn To Curl lesson at my club ('helping out' meaning totally getting schooled myself, and of course meeting lovely curling people in the process) and I've invited some colleagues to a perogy supper so I can't abandon them.

My goal of attending a proper men's slam event thus remains unfulfilled for the moment.

So as usual, even though it starts on Wednesday, CBC will only show 3 games (and again you're screwed out of the semis-on-tv if you don't subscribe to Bold, but it'll be available live on that fuzzy, tiny screen in the corner of your laptop monitor - does anyone in Edmonton get Bold? I'll bring snacks...). And as usual, the following is in Mountain time.:

Saturday January 29
1:00pm - Quarters
CBC TV/CBCsports.ca

5:00pm - Semis
CBCsports.ca/BOLD


Sunday, January 30
11:00am - Final
CBC/CBCsports.ca

When double checking the CBC website for times, I couldn't find any evidence that they were showing the semis at all, so there's a chance it wont be on. I assume I just missed it or it's just an oversight and someone forgot to update the widget. I wish they would do a nice TV schedule like TSN does.

Predictions? Eh, I'm not doing very good with these this season. I should just say Martin (Though honest, I'm tired of him winning everything this month, give someone else a chance! Get some new faces on TV! And then go back to winning it all in February - oh wait that's Alberta provincials month...), but McEwen is still playing well, and we all know Howard/Koe are my favs, so - I'll go with a Bernard/Jones final.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photo-A-Day: Week #20

This week's post is another uninspiring one, but considering I almost quit this photo-a-day thing on Monday, the fact that I'm posting something/anything is significant.

This may indeed be my last photo-a-day post anyways. I've run out of room in my Picasa account - my iphone/camera photos sucked all my space in these 20 weeks! It took me 3yrs to fill up half my storage space, and 20 weeks to fill the other half, crazy. Those files are huge! I can buy more space, but honestly, I'm not sure I want to spend money to store these photos, only to have the bought space fill up and then I'll have to buy more space and I really don't want to pay Google any money because they already own all of my info anyways.

Solutions are to a) buy more storage (20GB for $5 a year -  a subscription! Crap, don't like that, though it is 4000 more photos. How long would it take me to eat that up? Does that mean I have to pay Google forever??) or b) stop photo-a-day and delete all photo-a-day posts thus far to free up all my space again to use for other things. I have to say, I'm a bit torn. Wouldn't it be better to take good photos and post less often rather than crappy uninspiring ones to post every week? It takes awhile to put together these posts, and I'm not willing to spend the extra time to convert every photo to a smaller size. I do kind of like doing it though. But maybe I should spend the time doing other things like work or actually reading a book or relaxing offline for once.

Oh I'm so torn. What to do what to do...

January 17, 2011: I'm tired of all this snow!


January 18, 2011: Once again, I'm tired of shovelling snow. At least my mitts are warm!


January 19, 2011: Trip to the dentist - yay no cavities!!


January 20, 2011: Another game, another loss, but at least they didn't play too badly.


January 21, 2011: So much snow!


January 22, 2011: Oilers Skills Competition - fun for the players, fun for the fans, just darn fun!


Bonus January 22, 2010: Mille Bornes - one of my favourite card games.


Bonus January 22, 2011: Pie! My friend made her first pie (peach berry) and it turned out great!


Bonus January 21, 2011: Settlers of Catan - I lost by 1 turn! Also because I forgot I needed to build a settlement before a city, and then because I can't count.


January 23, 2011: Still undefeated in the Sunday Beginner's League. That junior team keeps almost kicking our butts though!

So as you can see, Saturday was a good day. Now I have a hard decision to make. Until now, I've maintained an online presence without paying any money. I like that. Now I need to subscribe to Google. I don't like that. *sigh* It's going to be a hard week.


Friday, January 21, 2011

#Curling on TV: TSN Skins Game

What? More curling on TV? You bet!



The TSN Casino Rama Skins Game runs from Saturday January 22 to Sunday January 23. There are only three games, and it's skins format, so a bit different than what you're used to watching (unless you watched the Continental Cup last week). Skins is interesting, very strategic with lots of rocks in play, and there's a ton of money on the line.

Skins rules are as follows:
- Points/skin for each end goes up progressively as the game progresses.
- To win the points/skins, the team with the hammer has to score 2 OR the team without the hammer has to steal.
- If the team with the hammer only scores 1, or the end is blanked, the points/skins are carried over and added to the next end's points/skins.
Points can accumulate, and big ends for tons of points only add to the excitement!

Here's the TSN TV schedule, in mountain time because that's where I live!

Saturday, Jan 22
11:00am - Semi-Final #1: Koe vs. Murdoch
6:00pm - Semi-Final #2: Martin vs. Bernard

Sunday, Jan 23
11:00am - Final

Predictions? Wouldn't it be nice if Bernard won one for the women? Martin was on a role last week, so, well, we'll see what happens. Should be interesting though, if a bit different from the usual events, so be sure to tune in!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Photo-A-Day: Week #19

January 10, 2011: Guess what we got more of this weekend? Bah! I'm so sick of shovelling snow!


January 11, 2011: I had to give a legal research presentation to my librarian colleagues today - nervewracking but it seemed to go over well.


January 12, 2011: If anything, the snow is pretty.


January 13, 2011: It's Continental Cup of Curling time!!


January 14, 2011: This weekend's team lineups - I'm just rubbing it in that I got to see it before the rest of the world did.


January 15, 2011: See, the Norwegian Curling Pants did show up! Thanks for posing Bompi!

January 16, 2011: The Continental Cup of Curling was an incredible event for me. I met awesome people, saw/did awesome things, and got to throw out a couple official rocks on the official ice!

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling: Epilogue

Shovelling snow on day 1 post Continental Cup of Curling is not quite as fun and exciting as hanging around the event. It's going to take awhile to get used to the real world again.

Similar to my Roar of the Rings Epilogue, I thought'd I'd sum it all up with...

My Continental Cup Top 5

1. Tweeting for the Canadian Curling Association
I still can't believe the CCA knows who I am, and working with them was 100% awesome. I had a great time tweeting for @CCACurling and meeting the staff and media folks. They are all very nice, and were very welcoming and friendly to this keen newbie. I can't wait to maybe do this all again some time in the future!



2. Meeting awesome friends/volunteers/staff/media/curlers
This is always the best part of curling volunteering! The people I met were all super lovely. I had so many interesting conversations in the volunteer lounge, backstage, in the hallways, in the arena - nice people the whole lot of them! I got to hang out a bit with Twitter friends @1CathyC and @neilp316 and made new friends with the ladies on my volunteer team. I made small talk with curlers and the TSN commentators and various media guys. Curling people are wonderful people!


3. Throwing official rocks on official ice
A picture is worth a thousand words:



4. Getting backstage access
I love going behind the scenes. I did a 50/50 for an Edmonton Oilers Hockey game once and walking around under the stands was cool. I once got a tour of the CTV Edmonton news station. I get tours of library work/staffrooms often and that is also fascinating (ok, maybe only for a librarian?). There's just something about going backstage and seeing stuff most people don't have access to. I hope you got a sense of what it was like from the photos I posted on Twitter!


5. Interacting online
Besides tweeting for @CCACurling, I tweeted A LOT from my personal twitter account (the post linked isn't even all my tweets, just the ones from backstage, and doesn't include my game updates or any conversations I had), and really enjoyed answering followers questions or chatting to people watching from home via Twitter. I loved writing my blog, and reading comments on it, on Facebook, and on Twitter about what people thought about my experience. The whole event was one positive ball of awesomeness.


Fun eh? And that list doesn't even include watching the games or listening to them via my FM transmitter (curling heaven, remember?!).

Want to relive my adventures?
Volunteer Assignment
Volunteer Rally #1
Volunteer Rally Photos
Volunteer Rally #2
Opening Ceremonies
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Backstage Photos

What's next? Who knew my big mouth (and fantastic new iPhone) would open up such awesome new opportunities to do the things I love? I've received some very interesting emails and expect to receive a few more over the next few weeks, so it might not be too long before I get to report more curling excitement!

First up is the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships in March, which I'll be working on as part of the local committee doing the web stuff (in partnership with the Canadian Curling Association of course). Locally, my main curling club, SPCC is looking at hosting more Dominion events over the next few years, so there's definitely opportunities for me to help out there, especially since I'm on the board. And wouldn't I love to watch the Alberta mens provincials again!

But what about the big events? I've already mentioned I'd love to go to the Scotties in Red Deer and the Brier in Saskatoon in 2012. Unfortunately, I doubt I could take that much time off from the library, as they're both very close together, and during a busy time for the university. I reckon I can do one event, so maybe the last weekend of the Scotties and the Brier in Saskatoon? The Brier is my favourite event so I'd love to volunteer for one and I've already found a couch to sleep on in Saskatoon, but rumour is Edmonton is getting a Brier soon so maybe I should do the Scotties instead to experience that event? A couple volunteers at the Continental Cup told me the Scotties are pretty awesome, as it's like 90% women and they have a lot of fun. Hmm, tempting. Lethbridge is also hosting the Women's Worlds in 2012 - how come all the fantastic events are in/close to Alberta next year? How come they're not in the summer when I get two months off?!

I suppose for practical reasons I could do a Fall event, and a Winter one. I just missed a Canada Cup in southern Alberta this past December, which I did want to volunteer for but I had just graduated with my library studies masters degree and was in employment/relocation limbo at the time the volunteer call went out (ditto for why I'm not going to the World's in Regina this year, that would've been totally fun!). The CCA events are mostly in the winter, so I'd have to look into maybe doing one of the Grand Slam events in the Fall? And that's a whole other group of awesome curling people to infiltrate!

Look at me, all excited and thinking about travelling to volunteer for a curling event. My parents/colleagues/friends think I'm nuts, paying money to work for free, especially when it involves (large) travel expenses. I'm not talking about going outside the province necessarily, but I don't see a problem with driving out to a city I've never been too yet to hang out with awesome curling folks. After all, it is the most fun thing I've ever done!

So there's fun curlingland times to look forward to in the future! Countdown starts now...

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling: Backstage Photos

If you were following me on Twitter during the Continental Cup of Curling, you got to see backstage snaps and read about all that went on behind the scenes. This post has all the tweets and links to photos from my Twitter feed, for those of you who aren't on Twitter. As is the norm on Twitter, all tweets are newest to oldest, so you might want to start at the bottom and scroll up.

Enjoy!

***


January 16, 2011

And that's it from the #contcup #curling!! I'm sad it's over - I had the time of my life! Big thanks to @CCACurling! Safe journey home!!

Trivial going on in my section, Stu the mc is a funny guy. #contcup #curling

Coaches & Captains changing back. Was funny while it lasted. #contcup #curling

Crowd trying to do wave, not working too well. #contcup #curling

Coaches & captains have switched! Lindholm coming out to give Martin advice! #contcup #curling

Mom just took some loud clappers away from a kid because he was cheering for Ulsrud! #contcup #curling

Remember that table photo I posted earlier? Found it! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qr3pz

Wonder what goes in here? #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qqzte

Team Ulsrud were wearing their pink pants!! Back to black for the game though. #contcup #curling

Kevin Martin wears red Doc Martins. That's funny, eh? #contcup #curling

Just chatted up Vic Rauter. Nice man. Sounds just like he does on tv. #contcup #curling

Cool Curling in the patch (it's like shuffleboard) #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qq3a1

This is what's going on in the patch right now! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qq197

For the record, I hogged both those rocks! #contcup #curling

Look what they let me do!!! So awesome!! #curling http://twitpic.com/3qpgsd

Look where I am!! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qpdsh

Wonder what this is for?? #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qp9bo

Morning Cup newspaper is saying possible Brier for Edmonton in 2013. How excited am I?! #contcup #curling

Break time. #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qosc5

Volunteer lounge, currently discussing NFL or reading #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qordf

Getting the kids involved - we're all having fun! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qok8y

Come watch live! You get to see TSN camera guys set up shots! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qoi0p

Board drummers! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qohjx

Laptop battery dead, am all done my @CCACurling gig. It was tons of fun, hope I get to work with them in the future!! #contcup #curling

TSN letting Hebert do interviews on players bench. Too funny! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qo6ad

The roof of this arena is covered in tin foil. #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qo55b

Quite enjoying myself, first game I've actually been able to concentrate and watch. Wish I could see tonights mens game! #contcup #curling

Young singers entertaining crowd during break. Do they just assume everyone in AB likes country music? I do but variety please! #curling

Have I mentioned yet it's been pretty awesome watching these international teams curl live? #contcup #curling

Binoculars, gloves and an extra layer next time. You'd thing I'd have this figured out already! #contcup #curling

MC doing goofy multiple choice trivia for prizes during commercial. See it's exciting live! #contcup #curling

If I even do this for @CCACurling again I'm bringing binoculars, can't see scoreboard! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qnl5r

On last day team world and team NA should mix and sit on the same bench. Looks like team Canada might be jetlagged. #contcup #curling

Marc Kennedy doing an interview uptop my section #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qnhon

Pretty good view for a Sunday morning! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qngcc

Never been to live #curling? Go! You see so much more than what's on tv! #contcup

Let the womens skins begin! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qnbwh

I'll be tweeting for @CCACurling this morning, womens skins. Sad it's the last I can do, I've had tons of fun doing it!! #contcup #curling

***

January 15, 2011

Mega line up to get out of parking lot, guess not quite everyone went to the Patch. #contcup #curling

Patch is empty, must be a big game on! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qgcgm

View of Patch from sponsors lounge #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qgbqx

Having too much fun! If employer lets me, I'm in for Scotties in Red Deer and Brier in Saskatoon in 2012! #contcup #curling #careervolunteer

Relieving someone for a break. Think this is the most #curling I've watched all weekend, have been too busy twittering/working! #contcup

Media lounge, quiet but productive #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qfmc2

Where all the magic happens #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qetkw

Not just about money it's about time too. Tricky. Are curling clubs/junior programs encouraged to sign up? #contcup #curling

Not just juniors I'd sponsor a senior volunteer too. I'd write term papers if it got the university kids out! K, maybe not #contcup #curling

Need to drop price to encourage juniors, or how about 'sponsor a volunteer' program? I'd pay double to get a junior in. #contcup #curling

Every day, I've had a conversation with someone about lack of 'younger' volunteers. Got ideas how to fix it... #contcup #curling

Morning Cup newspaper says Murdoch is bringing new Scottish team to the skins next weekend. #curling

Autographs! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qdufm

Too many awesome photos from autograph line to post! Check out my blog later tonight!! #contcup #curling

Autographs! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qdl4k

Coaches agree, curlers are having fun on and off the ice! #contcup #curling

Coaches Q&A #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qdje4

#contcup #curling maybe going to Europe in future! Would be good for the sport over there. Key is lots of tv coverage.

Lindholm: "when we played against each other I hated him but now we love each other" / Truslen "what's your definition of love?" #contcup

Commercial! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qcwea

Live tweeting singles is stressful! Who's idea was this? #contcup #curling

Think I just figured it out - ignore past few tweets! #contcup #curling

So confused at how singles is scored! Am trying my best over at @CCACurling #contcup #curling

Sitting with @1CathyC, she's got good seats! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3qcc45

Thinking I need a new #curling broom... RT @teammatchett Youtube clip of the equalizer heads. http://bit.ly/ezRciS

It's weird entering the real world after being in curling land for two days. Looking forward to more #contcup #curling fun later today!

Going to work for a bit so it's up to all of you to update me on the morning draw at the #contcup #curling. Hate to miss the mixed!

***

January 14, 2011

That's it folks, done tweeting for @CCACurling for the day. Did I do a good job? Tell them so! #contcup #curling

Macdonald to Koe: "all these people think you're a hero because of me. #contcup #curling

If all those people standing would take a seat this venue would actually look sold out! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q3v2u

My new view. Good company at the table more than makes up for it! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q3s6b

Did Johnny Mo forget what sheet he was playing on? #contcup #curling

Tomorrow's line up (posted win permission) #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q3mip

My view from the media bench, before I got moved to the top #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q3jun

Slow claps from team Koe as the North America womens teams finally arrive to cheerlead. #contcup #curling

Ulsrud just did a model's catwalk for us! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q1tv2

Men/Women agree: bring back 'thinking time' instead of 'playing time' #contcup #curling

Ulsrud is hilarious. Great attitude, fantastic hair! #contcup #curling

Murdoch's nickname is Muddy, Koe's is Koo-dog and we all know who the Old Bear is! #contcup #curling

Europe has little fan base, no $, and few clubs, yet many are full time curlers. Totally opposite in Canada! #contcup #curling

Apparently Norway is an expensive place to live, so Ulsrud is buying cheap Canadian beer for everyone! #contcup #curling

Lots of hair jokes at this mens skips Q&A. Laughs aplenty! #contcup #curling

Mens skips Q&A at the patch #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q1j14

Also, my iphone battery is about to die. What am I going to do all evening?? #contcup #curling

Have I mentioned the @CCACurling and the @WCFmedia people are super fantastic? #contcup #curling

The view you'll never see from tv #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q0x79

Team photo time! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q0uyd

Aw, Vic thinks Hebert "is something special". Congrats on your engagement Ben! #contcup #curling

Figured out the secret to a lively audience, quick, bring in some more school kids! Or get the players bench some coffee. #contcup #curling

This is my view... #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q0r4s

Whole row of kids cheering for Officer/Macdonald "hurry hard!" #contcup #curling

That loud banging you her on tv is from players bench banging on boards. Someone should get them a cowbell. #contcup #curling

Sitting by media bench, ready to tweet the scores for @CCACurling - be sure to follow!

Sneaky pic from backstage before being piped out #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3q0fb8

Hanging out in tech office watching video magic happen. Novelty hasn't worn off yet. #contcup #curling

Coaches interview, will post inedited version to blog tonight! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pzh6n

Hey it's Rick Lang the NA coach! #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pzfvf

Cheryl Bernard not looking forward to sweeping during mixed dbls #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pzdpb

Erika Brown talks about quirky ice #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pzd8g

Jennifer Jones media scrum #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pzcy5

Mini media scrum with Andrea Schopp #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pzac9

View from the media bench. Best view? #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pz8gu

Currently watching the #contcup #curling action from uptop the media bench. Very cool!

Just so you know, @JillOfficer is way taller in person than the tv makes it seem, and twice as nice! #contcup #curling

***

January 13, 2011

Not going to be able to sleep. Too excited about tomorrow. Details at the end of this http://bit.ly/ev7b8f #dreamcometrue #contcup #curling

Ok. I'm so excited about what I might get to do tomorrow. Am having a hard time concentrating to type up blog post. #dreamcometrue

Saw lots of curlers today. Do they realize they are rock stars to me & it's thrilling to see them in person? Will I ever get over that?

I think I just got an upgrade! You have no idea how excited I am now! Thanks @CCACurling. More details tomorrow!! #contcup #curling

My job for #contcup: walk restock snacks/drink walk take out garbage/recycling walk repeat. Long satisfying night.

Team Martin gets their olympic banner before the game #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3psqmm

In volunteer lounge waiting for shift to start. Hockey game is on, NY Islanders goalie is one of the volunteer's nephews. #contcup

Total respect for JJones, great attitude, great hair. #contcup #curling

Now it's win a date with Bingyu time! This QA with ladies skips is super interesting! #contcup #curling

On ladies playing mornings, JJones: "It's not fair, ladies take longer to get ready, I don't think Koe even needs 5mins!" #contcup #curling

Q&A with ladies skips #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pr7l2

Best hair on the ice right now? Ulsrud, Edin and Jones. #contcup #curling

Curlers are having fun - lots of smiles, joking and chatting across to other sheets or players bench #curling #contcup

Edin just made an awesome shot! Even Martin gave him props! #contcup #curling

Mixed doubles is rare so it's fun to watch! #curling #contcup http://twitpic.com/3pqafo

NA bench giving Martin grief about his sweeping. Too funny. #contcup #curling

FM frequency working. Now entering #contcup #curling awesomeness!

***

January 12, 2011

Bagpipes curlers speeches anthems skit. Blog post later #contcup #curling http://twitpic.com/3pjlod

Waiting for #contcup #curling opening ceremonies. Cone on down, it's free! http://twitpic.com/3pj8bw

Parking at #contcup #curling not a problem if you're with walking a bit. Dress warm and bring skates - it's cold and icy!!

Discussing with parents my car's lack of blockheater and current -30 weather. I'm ok with being stranded at #contcup of #curling this week.

Hey @curling, @CCACurling and #curling fans, what tag are we using for the Continental Cup? #concup #contcup or #continentalcup?

Warning to noncurling followers - all tweets until Monday will likely be #curling related. Enjoy! #continentalcup

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling: Day 4

Last day.


Good morning! Bernard vs. Wang in women's skins.


Wish I had that form coming out of the hack. Obviously Cheryl Bernard needs to give me some lessons.


Handshakes - Bernard wins!


I went in for the morning ladies skins game, and tweeted the scores for @CCACurling. It was easy because there was only one game on and skins scoring is far easier to figure out than those singles yesterday. So, for the first time since the mixed doubles game way back on Thursday, I actually 'watched' some curling. No running back and forth, no mad scrambling to figure out what crazy scores to post to Twitter. I actually got to concentrate and follow the game. Until the start of the seventh end when the laptop battery ran out! Bah! So it was back to the CCA IT office, and the end of my Canadian Curling Association tweeting gig. I really enjoyed it. A lot! I am so grateful they gave me an opportunity to mix three things I love: curling, curling volunteering, and Twitter. I hope I will get the opportunity to work with them at an event in the future - I think that would be a win-win situation!

I will get a chance to work with them in March anyways, though not in person, as I'm on the committee for the 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships. I'll be running the online presence, so blogging, tweeting, live scoring, maybe photos/video, etc. The sky's the limit with that event, so I definitely need to start thinking about what I want to do, with the CCA's help and approval of course. It's definitely something to look forward too, and March will be here before we know it!

Back to the Cup. After lunch, I started my last refill/garbage shift. It was pretty quiet. There was 4+ hours between games, so many people had gone home, plus we were tightly controlling stock so there would be less to pack up in the end. I did a bunch of running around, even answering a few phone calls in the volunteer lounge and relaying the messages to the appropriate area.

It was at this point I got to do the coolest thing. I was walking backstage, on my way to the media lounge to check their snack supplies (so actually working). As I walked by the curtained entrance to the ice, I paused to see what was going on, thinking maybe I would ask if I could take a photo from the boards. A security volunteer saw me hesitate and offered to take my photo out on the ice! Yes please! So we walked out there onto the arena floor and he took my photo. Cool? Yeah, it got better.

On one of the sheets they weren't using today, an ice guy was teaching a venue employee how to curl. I watched for a minute, and then another ice lady said to me "Would you like to throw a couple rocks?"

YES PLEASE!!!!!

She taped up my boot so it would slide, and they all warned me to throw it hard because the ice hadn't been pebbled since yesterday, so it was really sticky. My taped boot never slid very well, but I threw down the two rocks, hogging both. Nevermind that though, I threw two official rocks down official arena ice! It was sooooo cool!!! I was so fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. I'm even breaking my 'no-posting-pictures-of-me' rule:


Coolest thing ever! See that expression on my face? That excitement is genuine. It was thrilling! I took a few photos of the venue employee throwing rocks for her, chatted for a bit with the volunteers, then went back to checking snack supplies. Awesome and completely unbelievable! This has been the best curling volunteering experience ever!

After that, I was busy for awhile packing up and moving stock between lounges. Our supervisor said we could watch the game once we did a, b, and c - so we picked up the pace double time! Just before the mens skins game started, my partners (two today, great ladies who I'd gotten to know a bit over the four days) and I were stocking the big cooler in the backstage area, when a ton of curlers came out to get snacks and drinks (Gatorade and chocolate milk being the most popular just in case you were curious). The three of us totally got stuck in a corner with our crates and big trolley thing, there was no way we could get past the mass of curlers without being rude. So we just stood there and enjoyed the view. Not lying, it was a fun five minutes.

We managed to complete a, b, and c by the end of the first end, so the ladies and I took a seat for the Martin/Ulsrud last draw of the event. @neilp316 joined us later to watch the end of the game - and it was a gooder! I was cheering for Team World, because I figured they needed to win a big game after losing the whole event to Team North America yesterday (check out the points total in the photo above, teams only needed 201 to win). Plus, I really like Team Ulsrud. The even wore their fancy pants for their introduction, though had to go back to curling in black. Kevin Martin and co. were making the shots though, and they pulled out a win in the end. It was really close, with lots of carry overs, so it was exciting and tense and good curling fun! I'm really glad I got to watch the game, and with such nice company as well.

Men's skins game for pride and money! Martin vs. Ulsrud.


Looks like Thomas Ulsrud could give me a few curling lessons too. Please?!


Fourth end break.

Last shot - Martin wins the game!


There was a short closing ceremony afterwards, with a full pipe band, the raising of the cup, handing out of medals, and dignitary speeches. Following that there was a team photo call on the ice. And that's it. It was all over.

Who doesn't love a pipe band?


Team North America.

Everyone!


Even though I'm pretty exhausted, I'm sad it's over, and could've gone a few more days. I had just gotten to know/recognize a bunch of volunteers, so it was fun working with them, and talking to them around the venue. We had some really great conversations about getting younger people into curling/curling volunteering, as well as how to encourage beginner curlers to join more experienced teams to improve the depth of talent. Fascinating. I've met so many wonderful people over the past four days. I can't wait until the next event I volunteer for - being part of that team is truly a unique and satisfying experience.

I'm going to post more photos and a wrap up tomorrow. For now, I'll be going to sleep a super happy curling fan.

2011 Continental Cup of #Curling: Day 3

Today was another long, satisfying day.

First off, I'm exhausted, and it's only been three days. How do people do this for a longer event like a Brier? Yes I did the Roar of the Rings in 2009 and that was long, but it wasn't as tiring. I think I did more 'watching' and less 'working', if you consider I worked 5 draws at the Roar in 8 days, yet I've worked 5 draws at the Cup in 3 days. Believe me, Twittering takes a lot out of you! I think it's also the lack of proper meals (Booster Juice counts as my 5 fruit/veg a day, right?), and the fact that I've been standing/walking on concrete floors - my feet are killing me. Could be the lack of sleep too? I'll prepare better next time.

It's worth it though. Because it's awesome.

This morning, I had to enter the real world: I had to go to work for a couple hours. And it sucked. Not work, I love my job, but the real world. There were no people in beige volunteer jackets. The ceilings were lower. And it was daylight. Weird. I love living in Curlingland, and I reckon next week will be tough, getting used to that real world again and all. I was glad to return to the venue for the afternoon singles game. The CCA hasn't fired me yet, so I picked up a laptop to live tweet the game.

Which was a bit of a disaster. I knew the rules of singles, but good grief the scoring was complicated and confusing! I don't think it helped that they weren't displaying scores, so I had to rely on the arena announcer, and the TSN radio feed (which sometimes overlapped or contradicted the numbers, so eventually I just used Curlcast - yay for the people who update that!!). It took me a few 'ends' to figure it out, so my first few tweets were, um, less than stellar (sorry CCA!). Thank goodness I was sitting beside a friend, @1CathyC, so between the two of us we got it eventually. I heard we even made it onto TSN as an audience shot. Lesson learned: stick to the media bench so the viewing public don't see you in the crowd with a laptop. I hope that was ok as I was in my uniform so it was all official looking, and no one probably noticed (shh, don't tell the CCA!).


Let's get this party started!


Ladies Singles


Mens Singles


Commercial Break! Let's all stand around, lean on our brooms and chat to each other. I love 'leaning on broom' shots!


I really liked singles - it was exciting. It went by really quickly and kept my attention. Actually, it was incredibly stressful as I tried to keep up with the live scoring, but nevermind that, what I watched was enthralling. And there were some awesome shots made! I'd watch singles again in a heartbeat. I've read a lot of negative chatter on Twitter about how stupid mixed doubles and singles are, but I completely disagree. It was fun to watch, and it looked like it was fun to play. What more do people want?

'Dinner' started out as usual: return laptop, chat to nice IT people, chat to nice volunteers in the volunteer lounge, then head over to the Patch for the Coaches Q&A. I had only been in the Patch for a few Qs, when the host announced the lineup for autographs was low and if no one else wanted any the teams were going for dinner.

Blurry Coaches and Captains


Wait. What? Autographs?!!

I totally thought the autograph lineup happened on Sunday (what else are they going to do in the 4+ hr gap in between games?)! I rushed upstairs, grabbed a free poster and got in line. Again, I'm a poor fangirl and never know what to say to these awesome athletes I totally admire, but it was fun. Small talk was made, nothing stupid came out of my mouth and oggling was kept to a minimum so it turned out ok. Everyone was super nice. There were lots of laughs too.

Yep, that's everyone!


Andrea poses for my camera. I wonder if this is fun for them?


You knew I'd throw in a photo of one of my favourite teams!


Stoeckli makes a joke about Strubin and everyone laughs.


Cheryl Bernard was lovely to chat to.


Can't believe I met these guys!


I talked a bit to the Norwegian team, as I wanted to say "Hi!" for another Twitter friend, @RedArgyle. The team totally knew who he was, and send "Hi!"s back. I noted  @RedArgyle was disappointed the pants haven't made an appearance, and Christopher Svae stood up and said "The pants are right here!" because of course he was wearing a pair. He was also very kind to pose for a photo for @RedArgyle (and all of you!). Nice guys, the whole lot of 'em.




I also had a quick chat with John Morris, mentioning we missed him on Twitter (@johnnymocurler). He said he was locked out of his account but he would fix it soon when he got a new phone. That's something for y'all to look forward too.


K-Mart and co, always a crowd favourite.




After all this excitement, it was time for my regular refill/garbage shift. I was solo tonight, and missed having a partner to chat with, so I made a point to visit all the lounges a few times and stopped often to talk to the security volunteers who I have gotten to know a bit. I was pretty busy the whole night moving around beverage stock, and only caught the last bit of the last end of the evening draw.

And wow, was that the best bit of the game to catch! One game went down to a draw to the button, and in the end not only did North America win the game, but they ended up getting enough points to win the whole cup! The players immediately jumped over the boards of their bench and they all had a really sweet group hug on the ice.


I never get tired of this view.


Last rocks...


North America wins the Continental Cup!


It's too bad team World wasn't a bit closer. I imagine turnout for tomorrow's games will be low, between the fact that they don't count anymore and the 4+ hr gap in between. (Who's idea was it to NOT plan something like a Q&A or whatever during those 4 hrs?) I'll be there though!

So a good day.

A popular topic of conversation this week has been the lack of younger volunteers. Even the lovely older retired folks agree more younger people are needed to take over as they gradually become unable to volunteer. I totally agree. There are very few volunteers my age or younger. Very few. What happens in 5, 10, 15 years? Why is it so hard to get young people out? Is it the cost? (Yes, we pay to volunteer. It covers the uniform and adds accountability so people actually show up for their shifts. This event cost $100.) Then maybe juniors should pay less than others? Should seniors pay less than? I'd 'Sponsor A Junior' if it meant more of them came out, and hey, I'd 'Sponsor A Senior' too. Do clubs/programs get a chance to have their young people involved? Is it the time commitment? I suppose not everyone is able to take vacation days to volunteer, and it's hard if you're in school. I don't have the answers, but there are certainly some questions that need to be discussed if curling event volunteering has a future.

On a more happier note, I was talking to a group of volunteers about possibly volunteering for some events in 2012. Though I was waffling about all of this previously, I've decided that if my supervisor approves the time off, I'd love love love to volunteer for the 2012 Scotties in Red Deer AND the 2012 Brier in Saskatoon. I doubt I could do both as they're quite close together and during a busy time at work, but I reckon I'll make it to the Brier at least - I've already got a couch to sleep on all reserved! I wonder if I could work out another tweeting gig?

Last day tomorrow - bittersweet it shall be!