Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reasons Number 1 - 10 Why I'm Glad The Olympics Are Over

1. No longer having to hear I Believe 50 times a day.

2-10. See above.

It wasn't a very good song to begin with. Having it on a constant loop for two weeks was torture.

Canada is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to music. Surely, we could have done better.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yup. I'm a Geek

But I love this:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Good and Bad

The good thing about CTV's Olympic coverage is that it's everywhere. CTV, TSN, Sportsnet, OLN - I can switch from sport to sport to sport whenever I feel like it. I switch a lot because, while I will definitely get caught up in the marquee events like hockey and downhill skiing, I also love getting caught up in events that don't often make it to tv like biathlon and ski jumping.

The bad has to be the announcers. From the MTV Canada idiots who are more interested in athletes' sex lives then their sports lives to the commentators of the snowboard races who spent lots of time talking about the track but no time talking about the racers who were going down the track at the time, it's been a bit of shock for someone who grew up on CBC broadcasts.

And then there was the early morning discussion of Lindsey Vonn. Rather than talking about how one of the fastest woman skiers in the world is going to deal with a deep bruise on her shin - you know, relevant Olympic dialogue - the announcers decided to bring up her Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot for the millionth time.

Now I'm not the world's most enlightened individual. I won't lie. I have no problem with photos of a beautiful woman in a bikini. I just think that, at the world's biggest sporting event, there are probably more important things to talk about. This is a woman who has made a career out of racing down the side of mountains at speeds I only reach in a car on the 401. Talk about that.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday Random 10 - A Day Late

Barb, mastermind behind the blog Bad Tempered Zombie posted something yesterday that I couldn't resist trying. The set-up is this - you take your music player of choice, set it to play all songs randomly and the first 10 become your Friday Saturday Random 10.

Without further ado, I offer up my 10:

1. Wolfgang - Elliott Brood
2. The Happiest Song (Dum-Dum) - Otis Redding
3. Lord Send Me An Angel - Blind Willie McTell
4. Young Folks - Peter, Bjorn and John
5. Mozart Piano Concerto 11 - 1. Allegro - Vladimir Ashkenazy
6. I Can’t Turn You Loose - Otis Redding
7. Winter in July - The 6ths
8. Paper Lanterns - Green Day
9. The Man I Love - Billie Holiday
10. Sunshine of Your Love - Jimi Hendrix

I could parse this to death but that seems to defeat the point.

Instead, I took the number one song on my list and made a Itunes Genius Playlist based on that song, curious to see what comes out.

Here is the Genius list based on Wolfgang by Elliott Brood:

1. Wolfgang by Elliott Brood
2. Holy Shit (What A Relief) by Hey Rosetta!
3. Wait, Wait, Wait by Joel Plaskett
4. Sisters of Mercy by Serena Ryder
5. Home For A Rest by Spirit of the West
6. Dance Dance Dance by Neil Young
7. My Father's Home by Bruce Springsteen
8. Second Chance by Liam Finn
9. Chest Fever by The Band
10. Beginning to See the Light by The Velvet Underground

Now it's off to the gym where my playlist will be a little bit faster, a little bit louder.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Canuck Book 8 - February by Lisa Moore

There's a woman I work with who thinks all the books I read are depressing. I argued for a bit but there was really no point. Our opinions diverge and that is all.

If pressed to explain, I would have said that I actually have a tendency to avoid the overtly depressing books on my shelf. I know I should read them because they are supposedly good but I have a hard time forcing myself to open the covers. A lot of what I read isn't depressing at all, at least to me. It's honest.

The funny thing is that, once I read the darker books, I usually wonder why I stayed away from them for so long. Maggie Helwig's Girls Fall Down comes to mind as an example of this. A story about a photographer losing his eyesight to diabetes while a strange affliction takes hold of the city didn't portend to be the sunniest of reading choices. Once I opened the cover, though, I was hooked, drawn in by a story that, while dark, was not without hope.

The same thing happened with February, Lisa Moore's novel about a woman and her family after the husband dies on the Ocean Ranger. It kept getting bumped by other books on my TBR pile. Finally, I couldn't postpone it any longer and I dug in.

Frankly, it's an incredible book. Dancing back and forth between the present and the past, the book is an honest imagining of what happens when the world changes suddenly.

The book shifts between Helen, the wife, and John, her son. Helen is in her mid-fifties and still coming to terms with the loss. She has moved on in a number ways but her thoughts and emotions are still tied to that event. John is in his thirties and is dealing with the unexpected news that he is going to be a father.

I strongly recommend this book. Sure, it's not the happiest book out there but it is honest. For me, it's this honesty that makes makes it worthwhile. When there are moments of happiness (and there is happiness), they feel well earned and somehow more rewarding than a book those found in a book that takes the easy way.

Checking In

I've been a bad bad blogger. I admit it. I've been neglecting this blog for too long. Don't worry. It's not you. It's me.

Basically, my already dwindling output has kind of dried up in the past month because I've been spending more time away from the computer than I once did. I joined a gym and I've been learning a few things:

First - biceps and triceps are not just abstract concepts. I have them. They hurt. So do a number of other muscles.

Second - even a big guy like me can spend time in a gym without feeling too out of place. I'm still not totally comfortable but at least I can walk into the gym knowing what I'm doing and how to do it at least fairly well, a vast improvement in just a few weeks.

Third - weightlifting sucks. See the part about biceps and triceps and pain. Fortunately, I'm stubborn and that's what keeps me going back to the torture machines.

Fourth - personal trainers are expensive. The upside is that now that I've committed the money, I'm much more likely to show up and work out.

Fifth - The Dead Kennedys didn't really work for me on the cardio machines, which kind of surprised me. The Dropkick Murphys were better. A nice big playlist of songs ranging from rock to pop to country works best. The downside is I'm pretty sure I'm going to belt out a rousing off-key rendition of Dan Mangan's Robots at some point while sweating away on the elliptical machine. This likely won't endear me to my fellow gym-goers.