Saturday, June 23, 2012

2013 Brier Canadian Men's Curling Championship: Venue Tour

Being the volunteer Director of Program Sales and Merchandising for the 2013 Brier in Edmonton got a little bit more exciting recently!

(Catch up on how I managed to get on the organizing committee.)

The first meeting of the whole committee (well, second I think but I wasn't yet on board when they had their first meeting) took place in late May. The event office is currently way the heck on the south side of the city in a recently constructed industrial/business district on the south tip of town. Eventually this office will move to the venue, but for now it's practically in Leduc!

Honestly, I was pretty intimidated during this meeting. Beside the (awesome!) Canadian Curling Association event manager and administrator, I am by far the youngest of the other volunteer directors. Many of them have never been directors, and at least one I was talking too wasn't even a curling fan - yet I was still intimidated. Chalk it up to youth and inexperience I guess. What I lack in experience I'll eventually make up in enthusiasm so I'm sure it'll work out in the end. I have the benefit of being a volunteer at a few events, so I know what it's like and reckon I'll be a good director once I throw it into high gear.

At this meeting the CCA event manager went through an overview of the entire event for a couple hours. It was really interesting to hear about everything that is happening/has to happen before/during/after the event. It's quite exciting really. Some things I knew because I've been a volunteer before, but it was certainly good to get a big picture overview about what's going on.

At this point I'm still quite uncertain about exactly what my roll will be, but the CCA event manager and I plan to meet this summer to sort it all out. The plan for this Brier is to train me up so I can do this sort of thing for many, many years to come.

A couple weeks ago, I also went on a venue tour of Rexall Place and the Expo Centre with some of the Brier committee. Again, I've been behind-the-scenes for a few volunteer experiences, and I practically live there during Oilers season - but I love going backstage in places like this. I don't know why hidden-from-the-public, behind-closed-doors experiences like this are fun for me, but they are. I'm a bit weird that way.

The first exciting thing about this was parking on site without having to pay the $12 usual fee! A small group of us met near the Telus Stage and walked over the pedway to Rexall. A Northlands employee was there to show us around, and the CCA event manager explained what would go where during the event. First we did a loop of the concourse, quickly plotting out where things will go. My experience selling 50/50s at the World Juniors came in really handy for the Program Sales part of my job, as I worked closely with the program sellers then, so can easily see how it will work during the Brier. Plus I've been a merchandising volunteer, so I've got that in my mind when thinking about this too.

Next we took a look downstairs, in the basement level. I've not often been down here as it's reserved for those Oilers fans who can afford gold seats, but I did spend some time in the space during the 2009 curling trials. It looks like it does on tv during NHL broadcasts.

The real "fun" for me came when we went backstage (where I've also been before as I sold 50/50s for an Oilers game a few years ago) and got to see some locked areas. I took some sneaky pictures, so I might get fired for posting them and this may be my last Brier post!

Backstage, taking a look at dressing rooms which will become various event offices (TVs in each to keep track of the curling action of course). Really, it's just concrete.

Behind the seats. Again, boring concrete. The zamboni lives around the corner to the left. That's where the ice crew will set up. The large open area to the right will become the TV camera guys lounge area.

Empty Rexall. Sections of seats were removed where we were standing. All that staging you see is for the Bryan Adams concert.

Visitor's dressing room. It may become a player's dressing room, as might the Oil Kings dressing room, or they'll use other rooms. Obviously we're not allowed in the Oilers area. We did get to see the "Owner's Lounge", which will probably become the player's lounge. Pretty slick!

We looked around the Expo Centre too. This hall will become the Patch!

And this Hall will likely become the Purple Heart Lounge. Lot's of work to be done to transform these Halls!

Though I've seen it all before, doing a venue tour was a worthwhile exercise - if only to get a better picture in my head of what's going to happen where. We'll do another tour in January, closer to the event.

So what do I have to do as a director over the summer? Contact volunteers! I've already received the first list of folks to contact - but I recently drowned my phone so that will have to wait. I'll save more details for later this summer!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Balcony Garden: Inside Edition 2012

I've cemented my reputation as a cat lady, and now I'm working on plant lady. The amount of house plants in my condo has reached critical mass. I've got no more room in the areas the cat can't get to.

There have been some plant tragedies at my place though. I've killed a few more delicate house plants by over watering (oops). Molly has killed a couple by snacking on them. And ever since my first orchid died, I haven't been able to keep others alive long.

But I'm still trying...

Hoya, from my aunt. 

Trying to grow some baby echeveria succulent plants from the main one I beheaded (see below), but it's not going too well. Also trying to rescue a spider plant Molly nibbled to near death.

Bamboo. An orchid I can't throw out because somehow it's still producing a new leaf even though the other ones are dying. Baby palm I almost threw out after Molly ate it, but it's starting to produce new fronds. The Jasmine was looking a little worse for wear and hadn't produced a flower in about ten months - and two days after I took this photo it died completely. Another spider plant tucked away that is flourishing nicely.

Rubber plant that seems to be doing quite well near my tv.

Areca palm, which is half as lush as it used to be. I think the flouride in our water is slowly killing it. Sad.

ZZ plant, which is supposed to be unkillable, but I just repotted it so I'm sure its days are numbered.

A new ivy plant since I recently killed my leggy fittonia, and a spider plant that survived Molly's snacktime. To the right, and below, is my new air plant. It doesn't require soil - just a misting of water daily. We'll see how long it takes for me to kill this one. It's kinda cool though!

Normal people have a dresser, I have a plant hospital. Here is my dieffenbachia (which has some sunburns or something), golden pothos (which survived root rot, and has since been supplemented by a couple cuttings from work), rhoeo, and unknown cutting that I stole from work. Any idea what's in the green pot? I'm thinking a wax plant? I "borrowed" it from work. Libraries are good at sharing.

The biggest tragedy - the death of my dracena marginata tree. It used to be an actual tree, with four stalks and eight branch clusters like these. Last November, I covered the soil to keep the cat out, which produced the exact right conditions for a millipede invasion. It was icky. Seriously. The millipedes covered the top of the soil and were climbing out of the pot. I would find shrivelled dead bugs all over the floor. Icky. So friends came over and we tried to drown all the bugs. Messy. Very messy. And it didn't work, those damn millipedes were still alive, so we repotted the tree. It was ok for a bit, but eventually succumbed to root rot. The other three stalks and branches shrivelled. I tried to save the last two of the leafy stalks, but they didn't reroot and died. Fail.

Jade, which has survived mold. Christmas cactus, it actually had flowers about six months ago and is growing new leaves again after half of it died because the pot fell off the window ledge. Oops. Echeveria, which grew really leggy and tall, it looked like a palm tree, so I was going to throw it out but two babies appeared at the base of the truck, so I beheaded the crown and it seems to be doing ok in a shrivelling and dying sort of way, plus I'm trying to propagate the other leaves (which is not going ok). Polka dot plant, which got extremely leggy and again was bound for the garbage, but then started growing again after I cut the stalks off.

Lipstick plant, bought on impulse because I was mad I couldn't buy a big comfy chair for my balcony because the veggie plants take up too much room. It fell over in my car, and three of the stalks bent, so I reckon it's days are numbered. I've already taken the three broken branches off to try reroot in glass of water.

Philodendron, which is doing remarkably well. Flourishing even. About time something grows well in this place!

Can you see a theme? Molly and I seem to unintentionally harm my poor plants. But I'm trying. And some are surviving. And some are growing. So I'll keep trying.