Archive for June, 2011
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
What gives? I feel sexy…on Tuesday, the Doc and Woody 6:40 tough question said that more than 19% of women found men in wrestling uniforms to be “sexy”! Yesterday, we tested the theory. I went out to Hurdman bus station, dressed as a very sexy wrestler, to ask women for their opinion on the look. Then were were kicked out of the bus station, quite quickly. So we went to Tim Horton’s. Then we thought we’d come back here to the office and harass the women at work. I think it worked out. Check out the video:
Thanks to Jenna, who was the official “surveyor”, marking down the “yes” or “no” results. Also my buffer against frightened or angry people, and the one who placated OC Transpo security on my behalf. And thank you to Robin Harper, whose eyes suffered through three hours of this in order to make a one-minute video. I think he has recovered now.
I will say this – the original survey had only 19% of women saying a wrestling outfit was “sexy”. I cranked that number up to 40%! I must really rock that thing…
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Actually, I’m starting to doubt my teacher. Lee took me out to the chipping-and-putting area at the Canadian, this massive place with practice greens where I could work on my short game. That was fine, and he asked me to chip a few balls toward various holes. And then putt a few. My chips landed very close to the holes. And my putts were very close as well. And he said “your short game is fantastic! I’m glad we won’t have to work too hard on that”.
Now, I KNOW my short game. And all fifteen of those shots were flukes. My short game is the WORST part of my game. Nine times out of ten, I chunk the ball right over the green and end up further away than I began. I just happened NOT to do that THIS time. Maybe I’ll show him again some day just how bad my chipping can be.
Then again, maybe it’s my new clubs. I was chipping with what they call a “sand wedge”. This is the first time I have ever had, or used, a “sand wedge”. So maybe it’s just the club!
My new clubs are fancy. They’re all shiny and Nike and everything. They are specifically tailored to my exact swing, so in theory they should work far better than my existing clubs, which are brown and grass-stained and full of crap, and cost me $55 at a discount sale.
I also learned, on Tuesday, how to make my divots go straighter. Now, the next step is to make my BALL go farther than the DIVOTS. But at least they are pointing straight, which is better than before. To the next people who use the Canadian practice facility – I apologize for the right half, which is now so full of divots and holes in the ground that it looks like it’s under construction again.
Thursday, June 16th, 2011
The Foo Fighters are likely the coolest band in the world. And they just keep getting cooler every time they do something new. This time, it’s their tour rider, released yesterday by The Smoking Gun. It’s a huge colouring book that also features word searches and mazes. Help guitarist Chris Shiflett get through the maze to the beautifully-appointed banquet table! Finish the word search by finding all the words (smurfs, daschund) to spell out a helpful hint (it involves bacon)! And the section on “Ice Cubes: A Primer” is absolutely hilarious.
Also included (and this is just “Part Seven”) are pictures of delicious breakfast (bacon, eggs, hash browns) vs. bad breakfast (a croissant), good salad (fresh veggies) vs. bad salad (out of a bag), and good entrees (steak) vs. bad entrees (rocks and a sandwich). The other part that has been posted makes a series of bonkers pop culture references (Jeffrey Dahmer, Tiger Blood, Anne Frank, Bucky Dent, Chewbacca and dozens more) in a sort of brilliant stream-of-consciousness piece of insanity. Check this out, it’s amazing.
Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
I was in a baseball tournament on Sunday with a team of people from work. We got hammered in every single game, by all the other media teams. The Sun I think beat us 23-1. Or something. (There was a five-run-per-inning mercy rule in a five-inning game.) We had a “ringer” on our team, Phil, who once played NCAA baseball and could hit it out of the park seemingly at will. I felt that was unfair, and was a little uncomfortable having him on our team…until we played the other teams that were full of nothing BUT ringers.
That is, unless the Sun (and other media companies) specifically employs 15 all-star caliber baseball players to carry coffee around the office all year long just so they can show up to this tournament every year and dominate. That’s possible. We were 0-4.
OK. I’m done venting. The reason I mentioned the baseball in the first place is that I noticed something cool. Last week, at my golf lesson at the Canadian, Lee showed me how to close my stance a little to generate more power. I decided to give it a go at the baseball game also, just as extra practice for golf. And wouldn’t you know – I was hitting the baseball harder than I ever have before! I’m still a line-drive hitter, wasn’t gonna pop any homers, but my line drives hit the warning track instead of the shallow outfield grass!
If I ever take up baseball, I might enlist Lee as my hitting coach also. This man is amazing! This week though, I forgot to ask him if I would be allowed, on a golf course, to get a super-high tee and smash my drives with a baseball bat. Oh well, next week.
I got fitted for clubs yesterday. Actually, I guess, the clubs were fitted for me – that’s how it works. There’s this neat little cart that comes out with all different shafts and heads…gee, golf is full of innuendo, eh? Maybe that’s why all those Tiger Woods jokes are so easy. You need a different type of head for every shaft…
Anyway, there’s this little cart, and little stickers to put on the club, and that shows you how you hit a ball. Then, they determine how long your sticks should be and the type of shaft you should have. Appropriately, I was given a long, heavy, stiff shaft with a thicker-than-normal grip. Seriously, I’m not even trying any more. That’s what happened.
Soon, my new custom-made clubs will be here! They will be heavier and stronger than my current $80 set. And likely more expensive. I also learned to putt better – see, the secret is to line up your body to the putt, then put your club down. And make sure your eyes are directly over the ball. That’s it. Simple, huh? Two weeks in and my swing is almost perfect, and I can putt finally! I must be a natural golfer. PGA, here I come! Unless I have a career in baseball…
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
At the Canadian Golf and Country Club yesterday for some golf lessons. Lesson #1 – I suck. Lesson #2 – I can improve quickly. Lee, the pro at the Canadian, made some quick adjustments to my swing as soon as he saw it. First, he changed my grip. Then, my stance. See, apparently I had an “open” stance, which was taking away a lot of my power and causing my pronounced slice. So Lee showed me how to “close” my stance to create more power and take away the slice. It works!
After just a couple of minutes, my slice was gone (even my “fade” – which is like a little slice) and my six-iron was going substantially further than it normally does.
There are a lot of balls in this picture. I didn’t hit them all. It took me too long to set up for each shot, so most of these balls stayed in the holder. After a couple of minutes, a guy set up next to us and asked me to move some clubs out of the way. Lee moved me way down to the end of the line. I think he may have been embarassed to be seen with me at his home club.
This is me trying to change my baseball swing to a golf swing. Then I got to thinking – how come you’re not allowed to tee a golf ball up about waist-high, and hit it with a baseball bat? Or ARE you allowed to do that? I saw Kevin Costner hit one with a shovel in Tin Cup.
For some reason Jenna took a picture of me moving balls from the right-handed swingin’ tee to the left-handed swingin’ tee. I could have just left it out, I suppose. But I want to maintain my reputation as a guy who writes unnecessarily long-winded blogs.
After an hour, the lesson was done. I learned a new grip, a new stance, and how to hit those little wedges that people use near the greens. How to give them a big loft, or a lower loft, and all that stuff. I’m hitting my clubs farther and straighter already, and Lee gave me this practice club thing that makes a noise if I swing it properly and another noise if I don’t. I can’t wait to go to the rest of the Canadian’s practice facilities to do the chipping and putting and all that little stuff that I never used to care about. Until I decided to beat Doc. Which I now believe I can do after just one more lesson. Lee must be pretty darn good!
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
I thought I would get involved in CHEZ’s poutine contest. Ottawa’s best poutine, eh? With a prize of $1,000 in cheese from St. Albert? Yes, yes, yes! As something of a poutine connaisseur, I thought I would lend my expertise to help the CHEZ nation make an informed decision. Up first, Glen’s French Fries, at the corner of Hilson and Richmond Road (just off Kirkwood on Richmond). In no particular order, my categories for review are:
Location: Glen’s is poor as a destination location. I was traveling there with Jenna from promotions, and we were in two different cars. In the heart of Westboro, surrounded by construction on both sides, it was difficult to find parking. We spent more time finding parking than we did eating poutine. But as a just-stopping-by location, while on a walking tour of beautiful Westboro (which I recommend also), it’s perfect.
Seating: No chairs to be seen. No picnic tables close by. No problem. There is something awesome about sitting outside, on a hot sunny day, eating poutine on a stone wall surrounded by trees. As it should be.
Presentation: Simple, styrofoam containers, gravy throughout the fries, enough cheese curds to melt through the whole poutine. Solid.
Gravy: Glen’s uses a nice, light gravy in colour, texture and taste. Nothing special about it, but you don’t want an overpowering, flavourful gravy in your poutine.
Cheese: Like the others in the contest, Glen’s uses St. Albert’s cheese curds. It’s the best you’ll get.
Fries: Crispy, hot and not too salty. Maintained their crispyness throughout the eating experience and only became soggy toward the end. Had I not been distracted by Jenna parking in front of a city bus, I could probably have finished before the fries were soaked. Top notch!
Size: A bit of a problem here. The small is a good size, the medium only slightly larger. There is no “large”, only a “family size” poutine at the top end of the scale. Jenna had a small, I had a family sized order. Although it was probably enough for most people, I was very hungry. I could have had a second family sized poutine quite comfortably.
Overall rating: I will give Glen’s eight cheeses out of ten. Superb taste, terrific consistency and a solid poutine eating experience all around. Minus one point for location (which, admittedly, is only a temporary problem), and minus one more for not being able to provide a decent receipt. Or…maybe eight is an arbitrary number I invented. Here are eight cheeses.
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
I wonder when it is that the kids of say, sports stars, discover that their parents are a big deal. I imagine it’s pretty early on, as kids get into sports and would start fawning over say, Alfie’s son, in grade school. I think it might take a little longer for the kids of rock stars – seven-year-olds might be into hockey at an early age, but they likely wouldn’t recognize Mick Jagger if he came to pick up his kid from school. For a rock star’s kid, it’s probably a slow realization – like, I was just out with dad and these twins offered to do some crazy stuff to him in the elevator! Maybe he’s a pretty big deal! Milhouse figured it out when he was ten on The Simpsons “my dad is a pretty big wheel down at the cracker factory”.
Now, I must say that I have always thought my dad was a big deal. ‘Cause he’s MY dad, and everyone thinks their own parents are the best. But it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I discovered that others thought so as well! I was in Brandon, Manitoba over the weekend to see Dad get an honorary degree from Brandon University. There are four convocations at Brandon U, and each one had an honorary doctorate recipient – Gary Doer, Buffy Ste-Marie, Heather Bishop and my dad.
They put him in a silly hat and dress and sent him up to make a speech. Each honoree had to make about a 10-minute speech about their field of expertise – in my dad’s case, that is the agricultural economics of rural and small town Canada. It seemed that it was his job to inspire and motivate the students graduating with a degree in rural development. His speech was good – some day, I’ll post it to youtube, where it will surely get tens of hits. Then the 200 graduating students came up to get their diplomas. Including BOTH students graduating from the school of rural development.
I thought that was pretty funny. A ten minute speech, well received by me, my family, and a young Ugandan woman who was the lone graduate to cross the stage to receive her rural development diploma. But if you have reached just one person…after the ceremony, the young woman approached my dad and had a long discussion with him about the books he’s written, the papers he’s produced and some kind of document he wrote that she just finished studying in school. Or something like that. I’m not sure exactly what they were talking about, but to me it looked as though my dad was, in fact, the Mick Jagger of agricultural economic statistics, Rural and Small Town Canada division!
That was a pretty cool moment for me, and I’m sure an enormous honour for him. When I was a kid, I would participate in that my-dad-is-better-than-yours game on the playgrounds. I’d be honest about it. When some kid said his dad could kick my dad’s ass, I said that was plausible. My dad isn’t very big, he works in an office of some kind, and he has taken few, if any, ninja classes. They would say their dad makes more money than mine. That was plausible to me also, because my parents refused to buy me a horse for my birthday so I assumed we were very poor. I could always come back with “my dad can calculate the mean income of dairy farmers in the rural area surrounding Kamloops faster and more accurately than yours” but that always failed to impress the other kids, for some reason.
Anyway, congratulations Dad, we’re all proud of you! Here’s the writeup for the honorary doctorate from Brandon University:
Dr. Ray Bollman — Doctor of Literature (honoris causa): A former Stanley Knowles Visiting Professor at Brandon University, Dr. Bollman is an agricultural economist and the Chief of the Rural Research Group with Statistics Canada. He has served as President of the Canadian Association of Rural Studies, President of the Canadian Agricultural Economic Society, and as a member of the founding committee of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation. A prolific writer, he has edited a range of documents, including Statistics Canada’s Rural and Small Town Canada Analysis Bulletins.