Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars, Scotties and Twitter

1. I tried watching the Oscars last night, but good lord that was bad. I mean, I thought last year's show with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin was bad, but this was truly horrible. I think last year's might have been worse simply because of the talent involved. I don't think anyone really expected comedic genius from Anne Hathaway (who was game and trying her best, but had nothing to work with) and James Franco was just a disaster. But Baldwin and Martin are genuinely funny men who bombed more often than not. Still, it was nearly impossible to watch.

There's already talk about who should host the show next year since it's a pretty sure thing Hathaway and Franco won't be invited back. But I think the problem isn't with the hosts. Some genuinely funny people have hosts the show in the recent past and have met with mixed success. There's no way that Jon Stewart or Chris Rock aren't funny. They are. I think it's just the confines of the show that prevent them from truly being able to cut loose. You'll never be able to do a Ricky Gervais style, no-holds-barred type of hosting on the show. It's too "sacred" or some such foolishness. Actually, Gervais's pseudo Oscar speech was funnier than anything on the show.

I haven't checked to see how I did on my predictions. It would mean, in some ways, having to relive parts of the show. And I'm really trying hard not to do that. I suspect not well.


2. I quite enjoyed the Scotties final last night. Down to the last rock, tricky shots and the team I didn't want to win, didn't win. So that's good. But also, I think I just enjoy women's curling more. It's more...human. If you're down three in a final after one end, as Amber Holland was last night, in men's curling you're doomed. Try staging a comeback down by three against a Martin or Howard. Not happening. It's going to be a couple of precise and deathly boring hours.

But in women's curling, things happen. They're still very good, but mistake happen more often. You can stage a comeback. It's just more fun. Just like the junior finals were a lot of fun. It's good when there's some suspense on if the player is going to make the shot. At elite men's level, if Martin or Howard had to get the stone to roll on it's side to make a take-out, I wouldn't be surprised. It's technically impressive and often deeply boring.

3. I mentioned a couple of days ago about the hit the local blogging community has taken and the reasons why people stop blogging. That doesn't mean that social media is dead in Nunavut. Far from it. Twitter has taken off big time, especially in Iqaluit. One of the big complaints about blogger is that almost no Inuit use it. That's not the case with Twitter. I can't say how many Inuit are using it, but certainly a couple of dozen. Which is a couple of dozen more than are using blogger.

Most local reporters are using Twitter now. Several local politicians are using it, although none so effectively as the city's mayor, Madeleine Redfern, who is a Twitter machine. She has her mayor's account and a personal account. And at any given time she's throwing out what's happening in the city, linking to articles or stories she finds interesting, arguing with reporters and any number of things.

It's fascinating to watch. I think it's safe to say she got my vote because of her activity on Twitter in the weeks leading up to the last municipal election.

I'm kicking around there too, for those who are interested.

Seriously though, I'm learning a lot more about my town just listening to people "talk" on Twitter. Some of it is fun, some of it is interesting, some have causes that they are unrelenting about (education, eating animals) and, of course, some of it is junk. And, occasionally, you find someone posting up a link to a picture that's amusing (Sorry Jordan). The poster was put up in the Post Office, incidentally.

Last Five
1. Paddy's lament - Flogging Molly
2. El Manana - Gorillaz
3. The final breath - Ron Hynes*
4. The golden rose - Tom Petty
5. Born in the USA (live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What to watch on a Sunday night

For my viewing pleasure this evening I have the choice between the Scotties final, the Amazing Race or the Oscar broadcast. I suspect there will be some channel surfing this evening, although Cathy normally hates that kind of thing.

The curling might drop off the radar pretty quick. It starts at 6:30, but I hate watching Jennifer Jones and Team Canada play. I'm wondering if they know they're the most hated team in curling right now? I might stick around and watch the game if it looks like they're taking a beating, but I expect them to win at this point and then go to the world's and choke again.

I hate the Team Canada format, even though I know they're likely going to do something similar in the Brier in the next couple of years. Kevin Koe, the defending world champion, lost in the Alberta playdowns, which is striking some as tragically unfair. I call it curling. I don't think any team should get a free pass to the national championships. But that's me.

Then there's the Amazing Race at 8pm, which could be fun this year, with a bunch of teams that choked or screwed up in previous races getting a second chance. Some of these teams are still going to be dead meat, but there's a couple I'm looking forward to seeing do well. Although, I confess I'm a bit annoyed. The commercials in the weeks leading up to the show indicated two of my favourite teams from last season - the QVC hosts and the Harvard guys who sing - were going to be in this season. And they're not. A pity because they were both a lot of fun.

Finally, there's the Oscars at 8:30. Yes, there's the red carpet beforehand to gawk at the dresses, but that's one of those things you can easily channel surf. As for the hosts - James Franco and Anne Hathaway - I suspect they will be pleasant, safe and utterly bland. You won't see much in the way of insulting the big stars of the day, which is a pity. A little mocking never hurt anyone, and in some cases is much needed.

As for my pick for the winners:
Best Picture - The King's Speech
Best Director - David Fincher
Best Actor - Colin Firth
Best Actress - Natalie Portman
Best Supporting Actor - Helena Bonham Carter
Best Supporting Actor - Christian Bale
Best Animated Feature - Toy Story 3
Art Direction - The King's Speech
Cinematography - Inception
Costume Design - The King's Speech
Documentary Feature - The Inside Job
Documentary Short Feature - (No idea) Killing in the name
Film Editing - The Social Network
Foreign Language Film - Butiful
Make-up: Barney's Version
Music: Original Score - Inception
Music: Original Song - We Belong Together (Toy Story 3)
Short Film (Animated) - The Lost Thing
Short Film (live) - The Confession
Sound Editing - Inception
Sound Mixing - Inception
Visual Effects - Inception
Writing (Adapted Screenplay) - The Social Network
Writing (Original Screenplay) - The King's Speech

We'll see how well I do. Normally I'm around 70-75% on my picks.

Last Five
All songs from 21 by Adele.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five things on a Thursday evening

1. I mentioned yesterday I had a great curling game. And I did. Tonight I had a game so bad I'm hard pressed to believe it actually happened. It feels like I had a bad drug reaction and the whole thing was a nightmare. I can only wish that was the case. I said afterwards it was the worst game I've curled in 25 years. I may be exaggerating, but not by much.

So why mention it here? As a reminder to myself. These things should be remembered so that you do better the next time. And we will. Through some miracle we finished fourth in our league play heading into the playoffs. Now we'll just have to do better. Because if we ever play like that again I'm impaling myself on my curling broom.

2. I got an email from a regular reader of the blog who comes from California, but who has a big time love of the Arctic. Apparently, Nunavut bloggers are not providing her with a big enough fix and I think she might be taking the whole "Godfather of the Nunavut blogging community" a bit too seriously. As much as it might be nice to have the power to whip Nunavumiut bloggers into shape, or leave a horse's head in their bed if they don't, alas I do not.

Still, it's nice to be have people want more of our writing, so we should all try and step up the pace a bit. However, to answer her question about why there aren't more updates, most Nunavut blogs tend to start off as observations by people new to the territory trying to explain to friends and family what this new experience is like. But after awhile you start running out of new experiences, or what seemed bizarre a month ago becomes commonplace.

I've been writing this blog for more than five years. I have no earthly idea how I'm managing that (I'm getting to 2,000 posts if it kills me. I'm about 100 away). But the lifespan of most Nunavut blogs tends to be a year or less.

3. I've been stuck at 99 followers for a couple of weeks now. Some nice person want to tip me over to 100?

4. It feels....uncouth to mentioned the Coldest Canadian contest still going on with everything happening in New Zealand, but the box is still up there in the corner, so if you could click on it and go and take a look at some of the videos, that would be much appreciated. There's only a few days left in the contest.

5. Adele's 21 is quite an album, it must be said. I'm just throwing that out there. Also, Hey Rosetta's Seeds has a song with throat singing in it - "Parson Brown (Upirngaangutuq Iqalunni)" - in case you were wondering. Good song, great album so far. I may do some album reviews this weekend because I think I might be sitting on a mother lode of great music right now.

Last Five
1. Mary - King's of Leon
2. English girls approximately - Ryan Adams
3. I saw her standing there (live) - Paul McCartney
4. Give me Novocaine - Green Day
5. Spanish Harlem - Bowling For Soup

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Doyle, but a chemical spill for your amusement

Sorry, folks, but after 20 odd straight reviews of Doyle, I'm finally going to miss one. I was off at a make up curling game this evening, got back late and missed the first 15 minutes or so of the show. I mean, it seemed like a pretty good episode and there were a few good moments in it. However, as I didn't see the entire episode I don't really feel comfortable review it. Sorry...

On the upside, we won the game. We're 6-4 this season with one game left. We're in the play-offs, though. It's been such a mixed bag of a season. I'd really like to go out on a high note with this team.

And now, for the big news in Iqaluit today. The post office was subject to a chemical attack. Acetic acid was unleashed at the post office, causing it to be evacuated and the staff taken to hospital to be examined.

Which sounds awfully serious and bad. Except acetic acid is vinegar. Yes, the post office closed because of a package leaking vinegar produced fumes that made staff sick. And no, I'm not making this up. Go here and here for proof.

Now, if the fire department says they made the right call, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Some wags on Twitter today, who were mocking this pretty hard (I may or may not have been one of them) went so far as to suggest this was an excuse to get part of a day off. Not for a second do I believe this if for no other reason than a few hours off is not worth the punishing amount of mocking they're going to take for the next few weeks.

Still, among the highlight of jabs:
- Fire fighters are on the scene with fish and chips to deal with the vinegar spill.
- It's possible it was someone smuggling white wine and Canada Post was so slow it just turned into vinegar.
- The sad thing is, someone probably could have gotten hundreds of dollars for that vinegar in Arctic Bay.
- Trying to get off work early today. Anyone have a spare bottle of vinegar?

And so on and so forth.

So a bad day for Canada Post. Amusing for the rest of us, though.

Last Five
Listening to Hey Rosetta's Seeds Nicole Atkins Mondo Amore.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Helping New Zealand

Yes, I'm linking to a contest about Coldest Canadians and trying to win a trip to New Zealand, but obviously I'm thinking about the people in that country dealing with the earthquake. I wasn't sure what else I could really say other than I'm obviously hoping that there are not too many more deaths and that the country is able to bounce back as quickly as possible. But while reading Neil Gaiman's blog (his wife, Amanda Palmer, is touring in New Zealand right now) he made the obvious suggestion. So go and visit the New Zealand Red Cross page and donate. You might have to be a bit patient as the page is running a little slow.

I hope that means there are lots of people donating and trying to help. If you've been voting in the Coldest Canadian contest then I hope you also take a minute to donate some money to the Red Cross to help out the people in that fantastic country.

Last Five
1. Can't get arrested - Lloyd Cole
2. When you're smiling - Blue Vipers of Brooklyn
3. Heart of stone - The Monday Nights*
4. Mother and child reunion - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
5. Mystify - INXS

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The grumps

So yes, I've been quiet here the last few days. The usual "I can't think of anything to write about", but mixed in with a bit of grumpiness for flavour.

Now, I have been known to produce some pretty good writing if I'm pissed off or in a mood. But this was one of these moods that left me in the mood to not do much of anything, let along write. It was more of a sit and stew and snap mood. I don't think I've updated Facebook or Twitter in days either for that matter. So this is a bit odd for me.

I've never been particularly susceptible to Seasonal Affected Disorder, although I know people up here who get hit pretty hard by it. The lack of daylight, the isolation, the cold can get to you. Now, this is my sixth winter up here and I don't think I've been hit as hard as I was the last week. I think the difference this time around is simply I haven't had a vacation in almost a year. I've had a day off here or there, but a couple of weeks off sitting some place warm, or going some place cool for an adventure (Ottawa, while nice and all, is not the ticket). I think I'm just getting a bit burnt out.

So yeah, that came to roost this week. Just a rough week work wise for both Cathy and I, combined with cold and darkness and it being almost two months before we get our vacation, well, let's just say I was grumpy, Cathy was grumpy and neither of us were particularly nice people to be around. Although apparently I was worse.

We're better now. A weekend of doing almost nothing certainly helped. And, when worse comes to worse, retail therapy can get you over the hump. We both have Future Shop and Chapters gift cards we haven't used yet. I think by Tuesday (it's when new books and movies are released) those cards will be pretty well used up.

I think I've also downloaded about 15 new records in the last few days in the hopes of finding some new music. Not the new Radiohead, though. The reviews are not great and the descriptions of the songs make me deeply uninterested.

We've also been plotting out the summer a bit - the U2 show in Toronto, we're looking at doing a bus tour of Costa Rica. Plus we're trying to figure out what vehicle we're going to buy during our sealift. Right now we're looking at a Subaru Forrester or an Outback, with a Kia Sportage or GM Equinox as longshots.

I guess it's the stuff you do when you're in the duldrums, feeling a bit down and have to do something to get over the hump. We'll get over it. I suspect last week was as bad as it gets. It's February. February always sucks up here.

Last Five
1. Girls on crutches - Hawksley Workman
2. This city is a drag - Hawksley Workman
3. Musical key - Cowboy Junkies
4. When I hear my name (live) - The White Stripes
5. Chainsaw Earle (live) - Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellas

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review - Republic of Doyle, Season 2, ep 6

We're now at the half way mark of Season 2. Time flies when you're have a medium amount of amusement.

On tonight's Doyle, a rogue wave washes away a fishing skipper friends of Jake and Mal....or was it murder.

Let's just say if you were playing a drinking game and had to do a shot every time a character said "rogue wave" you would have been hammered by the third commercial break.

Also on this week's episode, Jake forgets the important lesson of "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it" and Leslie learns the hard way that maybe she should wear a bigger vest.

Not a bad episode over all. If nothing else it was nice for them to get outside of St. John's for a bit of an episode. I'm not saying I want the Doyles to do a whirlwind tour of Newfoundland, but popping down to Petty Harbour for an episode isn't the end of the world. It's a lovely spot. And the mystery wasn't too bad. I had a sneaking suspicion it was going to play out the way that it did, but I wasn't sure the reasons why. So not a bad mystery as things go.

Although that was a pretty dubious explosion. The blue screen was pretty obvious. I guess it's one thing to blow up a limo...blowing up a fishing boat is a bit beyond the show's budget.

As for the subplots....not so sure. It appears the Doyles now own the Duke, which is kind of amusing. Let me just say that $1 million is lowballing how much it would cost to buy that bar by a considerable amount. I'm not sure I believe the idea that Jake would get involved with Christian and a bar again, knowing everything he does about his past. Yes, I understand second chances and Mal is big on giving Christian another try, but still. Then again, I don't have a brother, so I guess I'm not an expert on the lengths people will go for them. But I guess we'll see where that plot goes. Plus, it's the return of the loan shark. I guess Jake paid him off-screen or something from earlier the season.

I still find the idea of a loan shark in St. John's amusing. I mean, they probably do exist, but it's just odd when I think about it.

And then there's Leslie's return. I'm sure they could have found another way for character development than her getting shot, to be honest. That came a bit out of left field. But hey, it gets to kick up the Jake/Leslie/Crown love triangle a notch or three. I also enjoyed how a gut shot is something that gets you out of hospital in about 24 hours or so. Ummm, no, I don't think so.

It really feels like the writers are having more fun with the crown attorney than they are with Leslie this year. It's almost like they really don't quite know what to do with her.

As for the other characters, Rose was back to being magical plot device (why yes, she can get his medical records that fast), Dez wasn't too annoying (please god don't have him singing in a future episode) and Tinny was barely present. So not as good as last week, but not too bad. Although you would think there has to be some fall-out from Tinny's drug running, but maybe not. Doyle's not the best on follow-up.

Oh, and using "Fisherman's Blues" by the Waterboys at the end? Nice touch.

Only a few quotes this week:

"He looks like he’s ready to murder somewhere right there. He needs to relieve his stress, man. Tell him to try meditation." - Dez

"The other buddy went over to the other buddy and cracked him in the head with the tire iron" - Jake practicing his testimony while being distracted by a crown attorney wearing a short dress.

Last Five
1. God - Tori Amos
2. Crazy little thing called ove - Queen
3. River blue - Oh Susanna
4. Smile - Weezer
5. Not to late - Lindsay Buckingham

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Voting at Coldest Canadian

So, there's about 10 days left in the Coldest Canadian contest and I haven't made a grovelling plea for traffic. For those of you who are going "what the fuck are you going on about?" there is a little link on the sidebar. Go forth and click on it. From there you go to the Coldest Canadian website where you can view some videos of people torturing themselves in an attempt to win plane tickets to New Zealand.

I have no video there, alas. If they do this again next year, I think I might as I have an idea, but with the amount of time left for people to vote, I don't think I could catch up with the votes. However, the blogger/Twitterer/whatnot who drives the most traffic to the site also wins plane tickets. That's kind of what I'm aiming for. I was doing pretty well with it at first...about 45 per cent of outgoing traffic was heading to the site, which was good. But it's dropped down to closer to 30 per cent right now. So it's time to change that.

To help you with your voting, I'm giving direct links to all the northern entries so far. And by northern I do not mean, you know, Calgary. Yes, it gets cold there, down to -30C sometimes. However, three days later it coule be 20C. So you're not exactly into long-term suffering there.

I could make an argument that it's not really cold if you have trees, but anyway.

So here are links to videos North of 60:

1. An Arctic Trip to the Beach - Nunavut
2. Very Cold in the Middle of Nowhere - Nunavut
3. North of 60 - Northwest Territories
4. Throwing hot water into the air at -40C - Northwest Territories
5. We love winter - Yukon
6. The Yukoner goes snorkelling - Yukon

If you live in the north and I missed one, point it out to me and I'l add it to the list. In the meantime, go vote and, just as importantly, make sure you use my blog and links to go to those videos...

Last Five
1. Wings - Josh Ritter*
2. Things have changed - Bob Dylan
3. Sisters of mercy (live) - Leonard Cohen
4. Diamonds on my windshield - Tom Waits
5. Gone to hell - Sean Panting

Monday, February 14, 2011

Your Valentine's Day post

So, a good Valentine's Day here. Cathy bought me this bag, which is awesome. I've been meaning to get a new man bag/satchel and this works quite well. Besides, Tilley stuff is fantastic. It's bloody indestructible and a Canadian company to boot. Yeah, it's pricy, but it's good quality stuff.

Cathy got part of her Valentine's Day gift. She got her Gerber Daisies and I made one of her favourite meals this evening. Sadly, the gift I ordered for her three weeks ago hasn't shown up yet. Deeply annoying. Cathy was pretty understanding - it's happened to her before when she's order things for me - but still.

I understand there are people who hate Valentine's day, thinking it's manufactured and whatnot. I think it all depends on the attitude you have going in. Really, one day a year where you make certain to take some extra effort to do something a little romantic - what's wrong with that?

And now, a video. I posted this on Facebook last night, so if you're seeing this again over there, my apologies. However, I am a huge Josh Ritter fan and really, you ought to be as well. There's a man who should have been nominated for a bunch of Grammy's last night. Anyway, I somehow missed this video before. However, Neil Gaiman put it up on his Twitter feed, I looked at and fell in love with it. A simple song, with puppets, that will break your heart.

And yes, it's Valentine's Day and love is the star of the day. But maybe there ought to be a touch of heartbreak in there as well, just to remind you of how wonderful the love is when it goes right.

Last Five
1. Top yourself - The Raconteurs
2. The wrestler - Bruce Springsteen*
3. You've lost that lovin' feelin' - Hall & Oates
4. Blue light - Block Party
5. Walking with a ghost - Tegan & Sara*

Sunday, February 13, 2011

General cluelessness

I am opting to not watch the Grammy's this evening. Undoubtably there will be a few cool moments there, but the question you have to ask is, is it worth suffering through what will be three hours of almost universal crap just to get to the two or three cool moments?

The answer being, Christ no. Tomorrow I'll got to Entertainment Weekly's website, find out what the highlights were and then find the clips on YouTube or some other site. Judging by the bitching showing up on my Twitter/Facebooks feeds right now, I am not missing much. Besides, Cathy is watching CTV's one year anniversary show of the Vancouver Olympics. Trying to take the remote control away from her at this moment while she's reliving her Olympic buzz would be....ill advised.

In honour of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I shall link to this article that I read this morning because I found it amusing, although in a way that most of you cannot possibly understand. For those of you not wanting to bother to make with the clicky on the link, it's basically a guy in his 20s in New York discovering he has no idea how to date women when he's sober.

So why is this amusing to me? Because I spent my entire university life sober. I did not drink. It was a source of pride with me, for some idiotic reason, that I did not drink. Now, in retrospect I understand I had a few issues going on in my life that made the idea of drinking deeply unappealing to me. Let's just call those issues family related and leave it at that.

But the other thing was, I was spectacularly  bad at dating. Friends at that time can relate horror stories of my attempts or my general obliviousness when someone was interested in me. Or my inability to really handle it when I knew. Most of the major relationships in my life, including Cathy, I have managed to stumble into.

But, and I swear to God this is true, it never dawned on me that if I had simply had went out and got shit-faced every weekend I probably would have dated more women. I'm not saying it would have been high quality relationships or anything. But going to George Street and getting just never occurred to me. I never....processed that. Every time I went to a bar on George Street all I could think about was how singularly uncomfortable I was and how everyone seemed to be having fun, but I couldn't.

It was because they were all drunk, and I wasn't.

Here's the thing....I like to think I'm reasonably intelligent. But there are times I am deeply oblivious to the obvious. Especially when it comes to women or dating. And, apparently, drinking.

The good news, as I was lamenting my general cluelessness to Cathy this morning, was her response. "Well, it's not like you have to worry about your dating life and how bad you are at it ever again, is it?"

Wise woman, that wife of mine. I knew there was a reason why I married her.

Last Five
1. Put your record on (live) - Corinne Bailey Rae
2. No surprises - Radiohead*
3. Last one in - Dear Leader
4. Higher learning - Sam Roberts
5. Switchblade - Jenny & Johnny

Friday, February 11, 2011

Renewals and curling

1. So the good news out of Newfoundland today was the Republic of Doyle being renewed for a third season. Not really much of a surprise as the show is averaging around one million people per week (I'd love to know what percentage of those of those are Newfoundlanders or are of Newfoundland origin), plus it's also up against American Idol. And while that show is a shadow of its former self, it still draws big enough ratings.

So that gives them another season to work on the show and keep working on those many quirks I mentioned. And let us not underestimate how much money it brings into the St. John's economy. So good news all the way around.

Tied up in that announcement was also the renewal of a bunch of other CBC shows. Most are not exactly a surprise, but I remain baffled that there is an audience for the Ron James Show, which is pretty unfunny. And I'm downright mystified why Insecurity got picked up for another season. The commercials are so awful that I actually flip away from the CBC when they come on. That follows an attempt to watch the show which lasted about three minutes, just to see if it was awful or if the commercials were doing a poor job of communicating the show. If anything, the commercials were funnier than the actual show.

2. I haven't talked much about curling recently (and there was much rejoicing) because it hasn't been a great season for me. I won't go into details, it just hasn't been as much fun as I would have hoped. I think I'll have to make a few more changes for next season.

In the meantime, I guess I can just a good curling bitch fight while waiting for the Scot and Brier to start. In one corner, Randy Ferbey, who has won just about every piece of curling hardware you can think of. And, if one is being completely honest, more than a little bit of a dick. Curling is one of those pretty tight knit and gossipy communities. I've been to a few events down south. "Dick" is one of the kinder words I've heard use to describe him.

In the other corner, we have Brad Gushue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, dick and it's many variants have also been used over the years to describe him over the years. So the two of them curling on the same team this season at different cash events was a match made in bizarro-land. I think everyone pretty much had the egg timer going on them to see how long it would take to crash and burn.

If you had the first week of February, collect your money. An epic slap fight has broken out between Ferbey and Gushue's rink, with one dick (Ferbey) saying his former teammates were quitters and control freaks, with the other dick (Gushue and his teammate Ryan Fry) was using words like "old" and "immature". Ferbey responded with the maturity one might expect, calling Fry a "puke".

It's entertaining, if nothing else. It's almost a pity that Ferbey is getting smoked in the Alberta playdowns for the Brier. It would have been hilarious if Ferbey and Gushue had met there. We might have seen our first actual brawl at a Brier game. In the meantime, enjoy the bitching and moaning.

As a Newfoundlander I feel compelled to cheer for Gushue when he's at the Brier. There are times I just wish the province could be represented by another elite team that wasn't quite so, you know, dickish.

Last Five
1. A better son-daughter - Rilo Kiley
2. Whip-smart - Liz Phair
3. Tell her about it - Billy Joel
4. Relative surplus value - The Weakerthans
5.  Miles Davis and the cool - The Gaslight Anthem*

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Zealand, part 2

1. So I'm glad to see people are helping out by going to the Coldest Canadian site. I have no idea where I'm ranking in terms of driving traffic, but keep on clicking and we'll see how it goes. Also, big thanks to Megan and Clare for throwing traffic my way. This is more proof of your awesomeness.

In the meantime, I actually have a specific video I can point you towards that I think is deserving of your vote. It's funny and clearly the man is a lunatic. So go to Michael's video and then throw a vote his way. Lord knows the man suffered for his art. I was thinking of doing a video, but I'm honestly not sure I can top that. I'm damn sure I don't want to try.

2. This summer is shaping up to be a pretty interesting one for movies. Just the sheer volume of big budget films means there should be something good out there (odds are Transformers 3 will not be in the awesome category), but it probably means that some of them are going to bomb. There are too many big movies chasing a finite number of dollars.

Given my love of comic books, obviously I'm paying attention to Green Lantern, Thor, Captain America and X-Men: First Class. The Green Lantern trailer is awful, the one for Thor is amusing in a cheesy sort of way. And the only thing I've seen of Captain America is a 30 second Super Bowl clip, which is not the best thing to judge.

The one I figured had the biggest chance of sucking was X-Men: First Class. Because X-Men 3 wasn't great, because it seemed like they were rushing the production and because the premise seemed a bit shaky. However, this is a pretty good trailer. so perhaps there is some hope for it after all. Time will tell.

Last Five
1. Committing fusion - Dear Leader*
2. Got some - Pearl Jam
3. Again and again - Bob Mould
4. Steppin' out - Joe Jackson
5. Reuben - The Be Good Tanyas

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Review - Republic of Doyle, Season 2, ep 5

I saw on Facebook, before this evening's episode started, that this is one of his favourite's from the season. Which is a scary thing to read and all. It's been a pretty mixed bag of episodes so far this season on Doyle. If this is supposed to be one of the best and it tanks, well, it speaks ill for the rest of the season.

Fortunately, it was probably the best episode of the season so far. For one thing, it felt balanced. We have the mystery of the week, which is who is trying to sabotage the wedding. We have Mal and Rose sniping at each other and the drug issue with Tinny is finally resolved, although in a different way than I suspected. Yes, some characters were given the short end of the stick, like Leslie, but I'm fine with that happening every now and then. Every character doesn't need to be in every episode with a big story arc. I'm content with Leslie taking a back seat this week, knowing in a couple of week's she'll get an episode and Tinny and Des will bugger off somewhere.

The mystery of the week was fun and all, even if it was pretty obvious within a few minutes who it was sabotaging the wedding. But just because you know who it was, doesn't always mean you know the reasons why they're doing something. So there were a few interesting things happening along the way until the big reveal at the end. As I said, not the best mystery of the week, but it did give us a fun car chase scene.

Actually, that was a nice piece of writing, with the car chase in the intro, then flashing back four hours, and then coming back to the car chase.  I liked that.

As for our other subplots, I'm not really understanding the relationship between Jake and the Crown, but they haven't spent much time fleshing that out. She's mostly "Not Leslie" at this point. Perhaps they'll do something more interesting with her. Hell, I'd like to see a court scene with her and Walter. That could be amusing.

Mal and Rose are sniping at each other over vacations and marriage, which is amusing and does give Rose something to do this week other than supply plot points. Plus the scene at the end was unexpected and kind of sweet. They really need to do more with Mal, because he works well with everyone. When he and Jake and battling, that's fun. When Ma and Rose and being snippy, which is one of the rare times it's happened in the show, it's also kind of fun.

And finally, we have the end, maybe, hopefully, of the Tinny dope subplot. I'll give it credit, I didn't really think it would end with the dope blowing up in the back of a limo. That was unexpected. The scene with Des standing up and finding an out for Tinny was nice, as was Jake confronting her and expressing his disappointment.

But I was kind of hoping she might find her own way out of this without Des and Jake coming to bail her out. That was disappointing. I think there's still more to touch on with this, and we'll see if they do in the coming weeks. The show can be a bit erratic in coming back to dangling subplots. Remember when there were guys chasing Jake around for money he owned them back in the first episode of the season? Haven't heard from them since and, unless I missed a scene, he didn't pay them.

So yes, fun, light, a bit of action and good dialogue. It won't change the world or alter the face of Canadian television, but more of this would be perfectly fine with me.

This week's best quotes:

"You're about as much fun as bingo night at a retirement home." - Rose

"You're just like your mother!" - Mal to Rose
(Shocked looks from Rose and Jake) "Whoa. You're on your own there, old man." - Jake

"You’re a brave man, leaving the top down. The gulls in this town are the size of dogs." - Jake

"Call me old fashion, but the bride catching on fire might be considered bad luck." - Jake

"Oh my god, I just hit a drug dealer." - Des

"Tell me everything Des or I swear to god I will hang you upside down from Junctions balcony until you cry." - Jake

"I will get this confession out of you if I have to waterboard you myself." - Jake

"What is this, some kind of classy intervention?" - Jake

Last Five
1. Leap of innocence - Liz Phair
2. Your eyes open - Keane
3. Just like Zeus - Jenny and Johnny
4. Running for home - Matthew Good Band*
5. The crawl - Spirit of the West

Monday, February 07, 2011

Coldest Canadian

So funny thing, I have a chance to go to New Zealand.

Yeah, I should probably back up a bit here.

Every now and then I get people who email me and ask if I'm willing to promote or plug something on the blog. For the most part I don't. It's nothing mean, it's just that I haven't done much in the way of anything commercial on the blog. There are no ads. I never even put up the sponsor links from Chapters which I was thinking about. Also, if I mention something on the blog from someone who emails me, I feel a touch responsible for it. So if I mention a new shipping service and it's no good, well, people can come and yell at me for it.

That might be crazy, but there you.

But then I got an odd email on the weekend from a marketing company with a website - Coldest Canadian - that's being sponsored by Air New Zealand. Basically, do a video arguing why you're the Coldest Canadian and you can win a trip to New Zealand.

Which is grand and all. I'm contemplating putting a video in, if I can find someone to shoot it for me. But there's also another contest - the person who throws the most attention to the site via blogs, twitter, Facebook and whatnot also gets a trip. I'd like to go to New Zealand. For one thing, all the Kiwis I met in Australia back in 2009 stated how much Australia sucked and how New Zealand was much better. You just never asked why they were in Australia. That was awkward.

I remember being in the Whitsundays and having a Kiwi guide grumble that if Whitehaven Beach was one of the ten best beaches in the world, the other nine were in New Zealand. How could I not want to visit a place like that?

So, I know I occasionally ask you lovely folks to do things for me, but what I would like is for you to click on that link. Clicking on it a lot would be lovely. Telling other people they should come and visit my site and click on that link would be spiffy as well.

This is going to be a thing for most of February, so bear with me as I don't normally impose, but hey, no one normally waves a trip to New Zealand at me either. So yes, you will be getting regular reminders to go that site via my blog.

For that matter, I'd love to see some of the videos from Nunavut or the north. The Coldest Canadian clearly should come from somewhere in Yukon, NWT or Nunavut. It cannot come from, you know, Toronto or something. Where they freak out if it snows. That would be wrong. So get your videos in. If you enter, drop a line to this post and I'll direct people from here to your video.

As for the rules, you can go to the site, but this is also want they sent me.


It takes three simple steps!

1.            Make a video demonstrating why you believe you are the “coldest” Canadian. It can be funny, surprising, cute, silly, simply jaw-dropping — even metaphorical. High-quality production is not necessary to win. Videos must not exceed 10 minutes in length.

2.            Upload your video to The Coldest Canadian Contest website as early as possible. Click the blue “Upload Video” button on the home page and follow the onscreen directions. Please note: while we encourage creativity and even a little edginess (heck, we’ve been known to push the envelope ourselves), there is a fine, but definite, line. Prior to posting, videos will be screened for inappropriate content and uploaded within 24 hours of your submission.

3.            Collect as many votes, comments and likes as possible by promoting your video like mad. Get your friends, family, colleagues, neighbours — even your hairstylist — to vote for your video once per day from January 26, 2011 through February 26, 2011. Voters will be entered into a weekly draw for fabulous prizes.

Grand Prize

The winner of The Coldest Canadian Contest will receive:
•             Return economy class airfares for winner and guest from Vancouver to Auckland, New Zealand (valid for up to one year from draw date);
•             transportation to and from airport;
•             activities and tours including sailing in Bay of Islands, Taste of Waiheke Tour, Auckland Harbour Bridge Climb and a Ninety Mile Beach Tour; and
•             3 nights accommodation in a Run of House room at The Copthorne Hotel Auckland HarbourCity and 3 nights accommodation in a Standard Garden View room at The Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Island

Good luck!  And may the coldest person (and coolest blogger) win! ;)

I'd very much like to be the coolest blogger. So help me out. And if I get to New Zealand I will buy you a souvenir. Promise.

Last Five
1. La cienega just smiled - Ryan Adams
2. Cauchemar - Colleen Power
3. Home before dark - Neil Diamond
4. Concerning Charlie Horse (live) - Great Big Sea
5. Superstar - Sonic Youth*

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Review - Republic of Doyle, Season 2, ep 4

So let us try this Republic of Doyle review again. Although we won't be doing a lengthy review like I had last night. Alas, you just get the bullet points.

• Overall a good episode. The mystery of who committed the murder was reasonably well disguised and there was that much going on that it was kind of easy to overlook who committed the original murder. Not as funny as some of the other episodes this season, but considering how serious last season's finale was, that kind of fits.

• Having said that, it's been nearly a year since last season's finale, and this is the fourth episode of this season. I follow the show reasonably close, but seriously, I had problems remember what was going on with ponzi schemes, reformed hookers and corporate conspiracies. Even with the "Previously on Republic of Doyle" being more detailed, there were too many times where I was going, "wait, what?" I think they were better off dealing with this the first episode of the season, not the fourth.

• It occurs to me that the women of Doyle haven't been treated especially well this season, though. Rose is back to being a walking expository device. Tinny is still being pretty dumb. Nicki is mercifully scarce, the new Crown is just odd and Leslie....the poor girl. Leslie was shaping up as a strong woman at one point. Now, she's being the girlfriend to a secretive mayor, her partner is pissed with her and Jake is still jerking her around while she makes moony eyes at him. The fact that she never solves the cases, just comes in after Jake does it for her is getting a bit annoying.

• It would actually be nice to have a Doyle episode where the women save the day. Or hell, at least have Jake show up and Leslie is there, wrapping things up already with a smirk. That would be amusing.

• One of the commenters from last week's review said that the Crown and the Mayor were obviously married. I dismissed the idea, thinking it would be very bad writing. But it seems this week it's pretty obvious that's where things are going. The mayor keeping Leslie quiet, the Crown having an ex that she just hasn't gotten around to divorcing. It's there.

And why is dumb? Because of a little scene Jake had with Tinny, where he told her he's investigated every boy that's ever come into the house. Do you really think he didn't do the same thing with the Mayor when he hooked up with Leslie? If that happens, it's deeply sloppy writing.

• It seems Christian is going to stick around for an episode or two. We'll see how that works out. I'm not fond of the character, but there is some potential there. Nothing like a brother to get under your skin.

• And now, quotes of the week. The pickings are a little slim this week, what with the humour being downplayed:

"Don’t be a dicksmack, Christian." - Jake. Nice to see some local obscenities make it into the show and past CBC censors.
"Yeah, that’s my style, killin’ old folks." - Jake to Leslie

"What about you and your little Twilight friend?" - Jake to Tinny
"Men are tools and boys are even worse." - Jake to Tinny (that was actually a pretty decent scene)

"I am glad that I had that cleaned." - Jake to the Crown who was wearing his hockey jersey and not much else, who apparently has no problem circumventing the rules surrounding break and enter. Not that Jake appeared to mind.

"I got hit by a car, but believe me, I’m going to forget all about it in about 30 seconds." - Jake to the Crown

Last Five
1. I predict a riot - Kaiser Chiefs
2. Little motel - Modest Mouse
3. I don't want to face it - The Fab Faux
4. My music at work - The Tragically Hip
5. Bottom of the world - Tom Waits*

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Delayed: Review - Republic of Doyle, Season 2, ep 4

So, I had the episode review all done and was just copying and pasting some of the quotes from this week's episode into the document when I managed to accidentally delete everything I had written. And honestly, I don't have it in me to go back and rewrite all of that this evening. So we'll try again tomorrow, when I'm apparently less stupid. My apologies.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Of caps and the worst writer in Canada

1. So it seems the prime minister is reconsidering the CRTC's decision to allow the big phone company's to put caps on internet usage. This is not exactly a huge surprise given the massive outrage that's been going on over the last few days as news of the decision got out. This may well be an election year. Good luck to the political party running on the platform that huge telecommunications companies should put a cap on how much music you can listen, YouTube videos you can watch and porn you can download.

We might not be talking about what happened to the Tories in '93, but any party with that platform is going to take a sizeable beating.

The thing that's amused me out of all this is that people are freaking out over the size of the cap being proposed, which I think is around 25 gigs. Which is hysterical. There are people in Nunavut who would beg for 25 gigs. There are those who think the 10 gigs most people in Iqaluit get are pure luxury. So yes, the screaming and moaning about 25 gigs being the end of the world was hilarious, as I'm sure it was to many in Nunavut in recent days.

Having said that, since we switched over to Xplorenet, it's been nice to not to have to worry about caps quite so much. Although I wonder if the caps do come into play down south if it will change how Xplorenet does things, even though we've signed a contract.

I don't see it happening, as I said, or at least at a 25 gig cap. I suspect a compromise of around 100-150 gigs is going to happen. But we shall see.

2. The other thing that caught my eye was this review of Rebecca Eckler's new book. Against all logic and common sense, editors and publishing houses continue to offer Eckler the chance to keep writing and getting paid for it. I've had some unkind words to say about Eckler in the past and regret that they were not more unkind, did not receive wider attention and convince more people that folks who actually pay to read her stuff should be committed to an insane asylum.

Some of the most depressing news I read this year was that this abomination of an advice book was the first of two she has coming out this year. The other is fiction, apparently. And the fact that she's called an international best selling author should be all the proof you need that there is no god. It's not that Eckler is a bad writer, because she is. By every account I've read, she's a bad person.

I would say that the bright side is that if she can get published, surely there is hope for me. But I recall something I read years ago. It might have been from Roger Ebert. It was all the people who would go to the theatre, see a crap movie and go "I should learn to be a director/writer/actor. I can do better than that." But as he said, that's not the goal. Anyone can make crap. The goal should be to go and see Scorsese or Spielberg and try to do better than them.

So pardon me if I try to aim a little higher than Canada's worst writer. I just wish more people could find better writers to read than her. Oblivion is the best place for her. And best punishment.

Last Five
1. Man of two minds (live) - The Trews
2. Gimmie shelter - Rolling Stones
3. Avalanche (live) - Matthew Good*
4. Room with a view - Spirit of the West
5. Monkey - Robert Plant