Monday, February 24, 2014

Good as Gold 

Crosby celebrates his breakaway goal that put Canada up 2-0 over Sweden. Image via Globe and Mail

Sometimes actual gold is much better than "good as gold". I laughed, I cried, I celebrated with a breakfast even Ron Swanson would love – two pieces of fried chicken on a pancake, topped with bacon and poached eggs. Canada winning Men's hockey gold was a good way to start the day, then having brunch with Mark and Mary made it better. I finished off my sauntering Sunday at the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Guggenheim show which featured some wonderfully famous works particularly by Russian exiles such as Kandinsky and Chagall.

Ironically, the Sochi closing ceremonies featured set pieces showcasing Chagall. He died in France you know, because he was a libertine artist - oh and Jewish. He never returned to Russia though he pined deeply for it. Despite works by Nabokov and Chekov, it seems contemporary Russians are blind to irony. The opening ceremonies in Sochi featured music by Tchaikovsky, who many scholars believe was gay, though Russians prefer to think of him as just a cool lifelong affirmed bachelor. Ahem. Snow goggles aren't the only rose-coloured glasses Russians wear. Still, all in all, a good show by Russia, including seeing a Pussy Riot beat by a Cossack with a whip (how many times do you get to say that?) and a backdrop that allowed Canadians to shine ever so brightly. Here's to winners, the fourth-placers and the upside downers. Beardmode engaged.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Hashtag: PriceisRight 

Jamie Benn tips a pass into history - GIF via Deadspin

Canada hasn't necessarily been a scoring juggernaut during these games, having scored only 3 against Norway, 2 against Finland, and most frighteningly, only 2 against Latvia. Compared to the fast flowing and scoring Yanks, our guys appeared a little constipated in the goal-flow column of the scoresheet. But they've been stingy too and they outplayed the Americans for most of the game and kept them at the doorstep. A few of us in this office gathered in the conference room (with our laptops just in case some work was required) and tensely enjoyed the game to the bitter end, knowing one shot could sink us or lift us. Thus it was, that one goal was enough to reach our one goal – the gold medal game. That's been the big difference in this Team Canada from other Olympics squads. In the past we've had teams that have struggled to score and lost by trying and pushing too hard to get to the other team's net rather than minding our own.

What was dread is now hope and the Swedes look beatable instead of formidable. It should be another high paced, action-packed game on Sunday. I thought about titling this post, "Benn there, done that." but it sounded like a horrible Ron MacLean-esque pun so I went with more a comment on what a stalwart Carey Price has been and that the hashtag “Priceisright” was trending on Twitter (along with ”BEEROCLOCK”) after the game. Maybe we do put too much emphasis on hockey at the Olympics and maybe the Dutch put too much emphasis on speed skating and the Norwegians put too much emphasis on cross-country skiing but that's what we love about the Winter Games. Suddenly us smaller countries are on equal footing with countries like US, Russia, Germany or China. Sometimes, we get the better of them too.

I was going to put “Comeback Kid” as the track here, but what were they coming back from? Bitter Rivals makes more sense:

Bitter Rivals by Sleigh Bells on Grooveshark

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Like the Legend of the Phoenix 

National GIF of the Day via Deadspin

What's that expression? Sometimes you have to be lucky to be good and sometimes you have to be good to be lucky.

The Canadian women's hockey team was clutch, and not the kind of clutch you take to the opera, ladies. So here's to you Marie-Philip Poulin and probably one of the greatest comebacks in Canadian hockey history. Hopefully we can finally put to bed that grainy footage of Paul Henderson jamming the puck over Tretiak.

Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) by Daft Punk on Grooveshark

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Endless shovelling from Romain Laurent's series of animated portraits.

Recently someone had posted a little used word to their Twitter feed; apricity, pertaining to the sun's warmth on a cold winter day (you may experience apricity while standing on the sunny side of the street waiting for the bus in January). Of course, you could only experience this if you could see the sun. The problem with winter in Toronto is that, no matter what the temperature or precipitation, it is always grey. The sky is seemingly constantly a dirty unbroken off-white dull sheet over your head. This makes it difficult at times to distinguish the horizon line which is also a dirty off-white unbroken sheet of grey. That makes for a most depressing season. A season I prefer to hibernate. This winter I have miraculously avoided colds and/or flus, probably due to the immunity I built up from getting every possible cold and/or flu last year. Also, I had my shots. Despite that checkmark in the plus column, this season can only be described as unrelenting in every possible sense. What is amazing to me, is just how hunkered down I've become. I haven't gone to see any interesting films in the theatre since January 1. I've missed Cycle TO events or community meetings and exhibitions all because it just seemed like too much trouble to overlay the winter fleeces, vests, jackets and tripled-up socks on my tired, overweight body. Not to mention harness up the dogs to sled across town only to arrive cold, wet and grumpy. This hunkering has led to some chunkifying. Now I'm so fat, I feel retarded in my movements and embarrassingly, overflowing in my jeans.

If I did commit myself to two things this year it was to find a) a home of my own and b) a winter coat. On this front I trumpet great success. The house hunt was a dedicated and patient affair which resulted in a what I hope to be a great home base for years to come. After a few weeks of committed and focused explorations, the house was found, right under my nose in a nearby and unexpected place. Close to markets, coffee shops, stores, bike lanes and swimming lanes. An unbelievably lucky triangulation of parameters, I would say. Then, soon after, a winter coat was procured! After weeks of wading through piles of discarded nylon shells and down-filled cotton of no significance, a single coveted jacket, the last of its progeny in this hemisphere apparently, became known to me and we were united by the emptying of my wallet.

What's the message in all of this? Things are finally going my way. “Yes! Things are finally going my way!” says well-educated, well-employed white man. Sometimes you can't see the forest for all the roses that are blooming, which is why when a gift horse comes your way, just shut up, climb aboard and count your blessings as you ride off into the sunset.

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Saturday, February 08, 2014

A Boor Who is a Bear 

Here I am, hurtling in place, laying across down filled cushions.

The Sochi Olympics have begun and with every shot of an athlete hurtling over snow mounds with the Caucasus Mountains in the background I am reminded how much I would rather be sleeping bear-like. Recently I was looking at the symptoms of Seasonal Affected Disorder (S.A.D. for short), and if it weren’t for the vagueness of the description, I’d say I have it in spades -
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning: check. Why limit it to morning? I could sleep anywhere anytime, and I doubt I’d wake up until May.
  • Lack of energy: check. So… much… effort… typing this.
  • Difficulty completing tasks: check. I can barely finish this sent…
  • Inability to concentrate: well, the television and the insides of my eyelids have my complete attention. Does that count?
  • Withdrawal from social activities: I may have passed on a couple of opportunities to step outside because it involves stepping outside.
  • Decreased Sex drive: No comment (I could just say I’m “going through the motions” but that already reveals too much).
  • Compulsion to eat – especially carbohydrates: Are bread, potato chips, mashed potatoes and French fries carbs? Cheese and crackers? Wait? Is everything a carb now?

  • Diagnosis
  • A pattern of these symptoms occurring at the same time of year for at least two years in a row but not at other times of the year. Hello? Every winter of my adult life just called and it says I’m bumming them out.

  • Treatment
  • Despite having read about sciencey treatments involving light therapy, I’m pretty certain the cure is called mid-March, often celebrated by drinking until you vomit green beer or by travelling somewhere sun-filled and warm.
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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

What a Funny Old World 

Photo of CN Tower looking eastward from Bathurst Bridge
CN Tower from Bathurst bridge. Image via Daily Dose of Imagery

It’s a funny old world. If the word “funny” is some kind of acronym like FUBAR (something like F**king Uncanny Nonsensical Negative Year; Fully Unlikable Nasty Neurotic Youth; F**king Unbelievably Nauseating News Year; Fearful Unimaginable Nightmare Neuters Yourself) I suppose it would be normal to feel like you don’t fit in the world when your father dies. I suppose I always feel this way in January. I suppose it’s normal. Nominally normal.

It’s no wonder I feel I don’t fit in the world. I barely fit in my pants. This is the pattern I’ve recognized that you may recognize too. January is cold, grey, damp and dank. I’ve gained ten pounds and no longer fit in most of my clothes. I shall exercise this demon away by hook or crook or by running or training. By the Ides of March, my weight will be more normal. Nominally normal, at any rate.
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