Monday, 29 March 2010

Slush Cup 2010

This past Saturday was Nitehawk Ski Hill's 8th annual Slush Cup. Every year just before the ski hill closes, Nitehawk digs a hundred foot-long trench in their hill, fills it with water from the nearby river, and has a contest where people try to ski and snowboard over it. There's no winners or losers, no trophy, just an insane ski-hill activity that people ages 10 and up keep coming back for year after year.

"Thug Man" was the first person down the hill, and the first person to make it across the big puddle

This is my second year of it, and twice now I've been the MC. Which is fine with me since drinking beer, making bad puns about the cold, and watching people wearing silly costumes wipeout while in freezing water is the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

I wanted to do the Slush Cup this year on skis, but the rental shop wouldn't hook me up with any equipment (understandable though, slamming skis into water repeatedly probably isn't good for them). I was really disappointed though, because I had even fashioned myself a set of wings to let fly as I made the big jump, and brought along my personal photographer to document the event.

But a fine compromise was made when they let me go down the hill on an inner-tube. For those who don't know, inner tubes are big inflatable donuts for sliding down icy hills.

I also took my shirt and pants off.

Not just because those are fun things to do in public, but also because soaking wet jeans are really really cold.

Here's an apology on my behalf courtesy of Disc Jockey Kristi Mingo to people of the ski hill.

The pictures are a little distant, but here's what's going on in each of them.

Here I've just hit the water:

Here I made it three feet on the tube before falling off:

And here I thought I'd swim and horse around in the water for laughs. But I quickly discovered that water below the freezing point isn't fun to swim in, and am scrambling as fast I can to get out and cuddle up somewhere warm.

Sidenote: They made me go back in after I had started to dry to get my sunglasses.

Here's a load of other photos of some great wipeouts and people who cruised to a finish.

This dude on the Forum board is actually wearing a Gumby Costume

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Review: She's Out of My League

It's almost the weekend, and if you're headed to your local cinema for a movie, here's what you should check out:

She's Out of My League tells the tale of a tall, skinny, socially awkward dork (Jay Baruchel) who's still hung up on his ex girlfriend who left him two years ago. One day while working at the airport a total babe (Alice Eve) wanders through. Baruchel is the only man in the airport who doesn't drool over her, one things leads to another, and they start dating.

I'll cut to the chase, this movie was hilarious! Probably since The Hangover I haven't laughed as hard in a theatre. There's lots of clever dialogue, funny characters who all work well with each other, some excellent awkward comedy (there's this ball-shaving scene that had me squirming in my seat), and a different take on the standard Beauty and the Beast plotline.

Overall I give She's Out of My League:


It gains points for being hilarious, having a well-cast crew filled with people you don't normally see in leading roles, and making me wanting more after it was done.

It loses points for losing steam here and there. A few parts just seemed to drag, or too much time was spent on topics that weren't that interesting. Another thing that I thought was odd, was that the story delved only so far into the lives of the secondary characters. Enough for you to root for them and care about them, but then none of them got any closure by the end of the movie. Literally none. Following the movie I was discussing it with a friend and we agreed that we were hoping to see more about this person or that person.

Altogether though, She's Out of my League is definitely worth seeing!

Great Big Sea - When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Rubbing it in.

Once again, let it be stated that I dislike apples. This is a subject of much jest about the office.

Another thing I dislike, is one particular singer who's big in Canada. Not a fan. At all.

So my coworkers were nice enough to get me a present this weekend whilst this singer came to the station for an interview this weekend.


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Rock Paper Scissors

Rock Paper Scissors is one of the most psychologically intense games a person can engage in. You have to think three steps ahead of your opponent, and three steps back.

What object did your opponent throw down? What will they throw next? What did you throw and how does that influence what they'll throw?

This isn't a children's game. It's a full blown adult sport with glory to be won. That's why on April 1st I will be attending the Rock Paper Scissors tournament in Grande Prairie.

My teammate and I have been training, throwing down on Rock paper Scissors constantly. So far he's winning overall. I win the occasional match, but he's got this Jedi mind-trick thing that psyches me out.

So, if anyone has any tips, tricks, or game strategies, let me know. I have to win, there's been some trash talk between the radio stations in town already, and I really want to rub a Rock Paper Scissors tournament win in their faces.

Primus - John the Fisherman

Monday, 15 March 2010

Being a Hater

I hate apples.

I mean I really dislike them. I'll have absolutely nothing to do with the common Malus domestica. It comes up all the time though. Even yesterday when I went to a friend's house for dinner they were serving up apple crisp and I had to explain why I didn't want a slice. It got the usual reaction too,

“You don't like apples? Why?”

This is followed by looks of incredulity and some cajoling at my behest to try the dish. In the end I settled with eating the ice cream, which was delicious. Why would you ever wreck a bowl of ice cream by adding apples to it? Blech.

I'm not sure where this comes from, I do recall in the heady days of my youth actually eating apples and enjoying apple juice. Then something snapped and I've been disgusted by them ever since. Can't stand the look, the taste, or the smell of them. I especially hate the sound of an apple being eaten. I can hear it now and there's a cringe of disgust across my face.

Anyway, on Friday I was asked to voice an ad. That's nothing out of the ordinary, so I walk into the studio and am handed a short ten second script. Guess what it's for.

British Columbia Apples. Cue the barfing.

I looked at the producer, and said “Are you serious? You know how I feel about apples.”

“Apples?” she replied, “What's wrong with apples?”

“I'll have nothing to do with them! That includes apples, apple juice, apple pie, and Minneapolis!”

“But I need a voice for this commercial! You have to do it!”

“Fine...” I conceded. This is my job after all, and I need to be grown up about it. I made a single caveat though, “But I'll only do it if you can't find someone to replace my voice before it goes to air on Monday.”

Here's two audio clips. The first is the final take in which I read the ad in one go:

The second is the actual recording session in which I struggle and fight to spit out every filthy apple stained word.

Man I hate apples.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Review: Losing It

Here's a book written by a good friend of mine she mailed to me this past Christmas. I finally got to reading it, and I'll try to give you as unbiased a review as possible of:

Losing It, by Chelsea Kumka

This is Kumka's debut book, which she first started writing while in high school. According to the introduction, she wrote Losing It because nobody was writing books that she wanted to read. After several years of constant writing and rewriting, she finally decided it was done, self-published several copies, and sent them off to friends and family.

Losing It is the story of a girl named Lexanne, and the sexual pressures she and her friends deal with during the twilight of their highschool years in a small Manitoba town. Lexanne, a virgin, is dealing the constant questions, self-doubt, and pressure from her sexually active friends.
After a near-rape experience at the hands of her good-looking and popular classmate, she falls into the arms of the new boy in town, whose mysterious charms and too-cool-for-school attitude instantly attracts Lexanne.
All the while, her friends are deal with things like safe-sex and budding relationships.

It was an easy read, especially for someone like me who takes forever to finish a book. I mowed through this in a couple of weeks easy-peasy. The story moves along at a steady pace, but some of the content seems lacking. There's definitely more that could have been added certain sub-plots, such as Lexanne getting a job, or about the lives of several secondary characters.

Which brings me to my next point, this is at least a PG-13 book. There's lots of content about the feelings and thoughs of the characters before, during, and after sex. This is just about the most sexually explicit book I've ever read. I can tell though that this is a book better suited to the teen-girl, young post-secondary female demographic. Even regular fans of the romance genre would like this.

More than anything else, this a teen sex-romp. It's quite realistic though in its presentation of the pressures of sex on high-school kids. We've all been there, right? Anyone who picks up this book will be able to see themselves in at least one of the characters, which is why it's such an engrossing read.

Overall it give Losing It:


It loses points for not delving as deep as it could have in some parts. To put it straight, the book could have been longer. One character disappears after a wild party, and I was left wondering what he had gotten up to afterward, but no closure is given there. The book is mainly about sex, but the lives of the people who are having sex are interesting too, and would have like to hear more about them.

It gains points for being a book anyone could read, regardless of age, attitudes, or experience. It had me chuckling as well as angry. I tend to shout at things at lot, and I definitely yelled at some of the characters in this book. It's a good strong effort on the part of the author, especially for her first book.
It also benefits from having an interesting, if somewhat after school special-esque, plot. This could easily be adapted into a show for teens akin to Degrassi.

I recommend reading Losing It. While can't just grab it at your local library, you can however order a copy here at, or, talk to author herself here at her blog.

Good work Chelsea, I look forward to seeing more great writing from you!

Monday, 8 March 2010

The 82nd Academy Awards

I only caught the last half of the Oscars last night, so I can't give a fair recap of the entire thing, but here are my thoughts on what I did see:

  • Too much filler! I was quite frustrated at the constant side notes and little presentations that they did every two or three awards. The best part was when they were way behind time, Tom Hanks walked out and said “Here's the winner for Best Picture, The Hurt Locker.” Done. Over with. Now that's how you present an award.
  • To continue on the filler note, for a show that was more than a half-hour heavy for time, why the heck did they have to do the best actor/actress monologues? Those were so boring! (for the most part)
  • Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin weren't the best hosts I've ever seen. There were some chuckles here and there, but for the most part it seemed like they were making low blows for cheap laughs.
  • Too many references to Avatar! I know it's a big movie, millions of people saw it, but it seemed like everyone was constantly talking about it. Get off the bandwagon already.
  • Too many movies in the Best Picture category. CBS' Sunday Morning Show explanation for this was that last year's award had only 5 nominees, and lots of people felt slighted that The Dark Knight, and a few other movies weren't included. So the solution was to inundate us with several movies that obviously weren't going to win regardless of quality.
*cough* Avatar, District 9, Up, Julie & Julia *cough*

  • Micheal Jackson's inclusion into the memorial montage was unnecessary. Oh, what's that you say? He was in one terrible movie named The Wiz, as well as appeared as himself in Men in Black 2? Oh, you also say he was in that half-hour music video Ghost mistakenly billed as a movie? Big whoop.
I guess that means we'll have to include Bruce Willis in the Grammy's memorial montage when he dies too since he had that album 'The Return of Bruno' and he has that cameo in The Gorrilaz new music video.

  • The Dude (a.k.a. Jeff Bridges) wins Best Actor. I don't exactly disagree with this decision, because Jeff this has been a long time coming for him. It seemed to me to be more of a political move on the part of The Academy, than one of merit. I really liked him in Crazy Heart, but was he better than Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker? That's debatable. Nonetheless, The Dude abides.
  • Sandy Powell wins Best Costume Design...again...for doing the exact same thing as always. Yes her designs are good, but how many awards can you give one person for designing Victorian era clothing time after time?

While we watch the dust settle after another awards season, I must say that 2009 was a phenomenal year for film. It was amazing movie after amazing movie, not that it went without a stinkers here and there. Congratulations to all the winners of last night's awards, especially The Hurt Locker, who cleaned up with a whopping six Oscars, each of which were well deserved.

If there's one Academy Award winning movie you should see if you haven't already, make it The Hurt Locker, and settle in for a wild ride.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Being Typecast

I'm starting to know what it's like for people like Mark Hamel and William Shatner to go about their daily lives. Both of them are remembered for one big thing, being Luke Skywalker and Captain Kirk respectively.

As for me, when people ask me “Oh, you make commercials? Which ones are yours?” I'll rattle off a little of five or six which I'm really proud of, or which were funny, but most of the time people don't recall. That is, until I say
“Have you heard the Hansensize commercial?”
at which point they go
“Oh Yeah! Hansensize Me! That's a good one!”

Have a listen to that ad, this is relevant info.

But the real problem, is that I'm starting being type cast for roles in which I “sound confused.”

I have a lot of personal experience in being confused, and you can really hear the subtle intonations I can embed in my performance. Hopefully though my voice career goes further than just sounding confused, because I can also do 'sounding perplexed' and 'being angry.'

Until then, I guess I'll just keep on being confused.

Kim Mitchell - Go For Soda

Monday, 1 March 2010

Review: The Crazies

For the first time in ages, I went and saw a horror movie. This is a rarity for me, and to top it off, I saw it on its opening night. The film was:

Breck Eisner's “The Crazies”

This is a remake of a 1973 film of the same name. The story revolves around the sheriff of a small rural town in Iowa, whose residents start becoming violent after being accidentally exposed to unknown toxin introduced into the water supply via a crashed military plane.

It had some decent suspense, some moments that made you jump a little, and a plot that wasn't totally devoid of substance. However, it was entirely predictable. Nothing happened in the story that was unexpected, and the people who died definitely had it coming from a mile away.

There weren't any moments that had me on the edge of my seat, and there were a few scenes that really seemed like filler to pad up the last half of the movie, which was about walking from point A to point B. I also could have done without the screaming teenage girls in the seats behind me.

This is further testament to exactly why I don't like to going to movies as soon as they come out. The theatres are always filled with jackasses, and you can never find a seat you like. One of my friends can't understand why I like to go to movies on closing night for the late show when absolutely nobody is there, but seriously, which would you rather sit through, screaming teenagers, or have a theatre all to yourself?

My overall rating for The Crazies is:


It gains points for having an okay plot, some suspense, and a few memorable moments, as well as once scene that had me audibly saying “Oh no! That's a terrible idea, don't do that!”

It loses big points though for being predictable. This movie had nothing in it that surprised or shocked me. There was a scene that takes place in a car-wash, and the entire time I just zoned out. It was obvious filler, and nothing important happened. I'm not a fan of the horror genre, and while this is far from being a perfect example of why I don't like the genre, it pretty much punctuated my thoughts about scary movies perfectly. But this one looked okay from the previews which is why when I got invited to see the movie, I jumped at the chance. It's watchable, make no mistake, but otherwise isn't noteworthy.

What would have really picked this movie up, is if there was some government intrigue over this crashed plane that's poisoning people, rather than the quick write-off explanation the movie gave. There was a lot of potential here, but it failed to deliver.

In summary, if you like horror movies, this is one I can recommend to you. If not, you should do what I did the next evening to cleanse my palate, and go watch The Usual Suspects; A movie whose plot has more twists than a bag of Old Dutch Popcorn Twists.

And believe you me, that's a lot of twists.