OK, so I’m watching Canada/Czech Republic highlights…now correct me if I’m wrong, but did I just see CHEERLEADERS in the aisles?
Thu 23 Feb 2006
OK, so I’m watching Canada/Czech Republic highlights…now correct me if I’m wrong, but did I just see CHEERLEADERS in the aisles?
Wed 22 Feb 2006
On Saturday I may give surfing another try if plans work out. I tried once just over a year ago without much (any) success and am not holding my breath (ha!) this time out either. Of course this means entering the Australian ocean which is, more or less, a death trap. Over there in the right column you will see that there have been at least 6 shark attacks since I arrived here in August (and I’ve likely missed a couple). And if the sharks leave you alone, you still have the bluebottles, the crocodiles, the dingos….
In order to keep swimmers and surfers safe, 51 beaches in New South Wales are protected by shark nets, and I use the term “protected” VERY loosely. Basically a shark net is stretched along the seabed near a beach in order to prevent sharks from entering the shallow waters and eating me. Until a couple of hours ago I was under the impression that these nets reached from the seabed right up to the surface…I mean what’s the point otherwise right? If a shark can just casually swim by a net, scoffing at it’s inherent uselessness, than why bother at all?
During a crappy reality based Bondi rescue show (which I was only watching because House came on next) some guy, who looked rather unqualified to do anything but surf, dove down to “check the net” to make sure nothing was stuck in it. On this little voyage below the surface (followed by cameras of course) I see that a shark net does not even come close to reaching the surface. It sits on the bottom, reaches up about 10 feet, then…nothing. Sharks are perfectly capable of swimming up to the shore of Bondi to hang out with the Icebergs.
Now I’m actually against shark nets, so the fact thay they seem useless in addition to being harmful to so much sea life kinda pisses me off. I looked up “shark net” on wikipedia to learn more and read this:
It is said that 35 – 50% of the sharks are entangled from the beach side.
Brilliant! Kill the ones that are leaving the beach!
As far as I’m concerned, if you are worried about being eaten by a shark, don’t go swimming in Australia. And if you are worried and you still want to swim, just take your fatter, slower-swimming friend with you. That’s my plan for Saturday.
Tue 21 Feb 2006
Lots of highlights here in Sydney tonight, though, again, highlights of games that ended 24 hours ago. Bob Cole and Harry Neale once again filled our boiling apartment tonight as I saw Canada get outplayed by Finland (who look pretty good so far).
And now Jim Hughson and Greg Millen are calling the Russia/Latvia game! More sounds of home! All told I saw 40 minutes of hockey tonight which is not bad considering it’s the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere. Let’s hope our hockey women awaken Sweden from their little Olympic dream they have going!
The Australians seem a bit mystified by hockey and its roughness; they really enjoy showing little clips of Jagr being run into the boards. And tonight, as the “host” was throwing the the hockey highlights she said (in an Australian accent of course):
“Now for a little ruck and puck.”
I think I’m bringing that one back to Canada whenever I’m back home next.
While I am seeing a decent amount of Canadians winning medals there is one Canadian moment that the Australians keep showing us…
Jeff Bean landing an aerial training jump without his skis. Are they making “Mr. Bean” jokes about this guy in Canada? I doubt it. But they are here.
Sat 18 Feb 2006
Yesterday I finished reading Midnight’s Children, the book which put Salman Rushdie on the literary map in 1981. The book won the Booker Prize that year and, in 1993, went on to win the Booker of Bookers in 1993 (awarded to the “best” novel to win the Booker prize in the first 25 years of the award). Needless to say, Midnight’s Children is one of the great novels of the 20th century. Hands down. No other piece of writing has so wonderfully captured a country as Midnight does with modern India. The novel traces the turbulent last century of India’s history through the eyes, words, and most importantly nose, of Saleem Sinai, the novel’s lead character and (unreliable) narrator.
When I picked up the novel I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it. My knowledge of Indian history is sketchy at best and it was the fifth book of Rushdie’s I’d read and I often find parts of his novels not enjoyable. Both The Satanic Verses and The Ground Beneath Her Feet had spells where I really had to work to read; not so with Midnight. I was hooked from the first page and could barely put the book down, despite distractions of Olympic proportions. Like other work of his, the novel dealt with ideas of nation, home, and identity, but it was the protagonist’s ties to home (in particular Bombay) that I related to quite strongly given my current situation. Just a day after writing about worries of home changing while I’m gone I read a chapter in which Saleem returns home to find Bombay not the Bombay he remembered leaving. Instantly I felt a stronger connection with not only Saleem, but the novel as a whole.
If you have the time and inclination I highly recommend Midnight’s Children. It even made me want to visit India, a place that was previously relatively low on my list of desired destinations.
Fri 17 Feb 2006
So 24 hours after the game ended (more or less) I am finally seeing highlights! And these are GREAT highlights. Instead of an idiot showing us goals we get to see some actual play. Lengthy bits of the game and not just goals. In total it took 11 minutes to show the highlights…so that’s not bad I guess.
Harry Neale and Bob Cole!!!
What’s up with ref-cam?
It had the Pope on it!
Wed 15 Feb 2006
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE THE OLYMPIC MEN’S HOCKEY GAMES MIGHT BE ON TELEVISION IN SYDNEY?
ANY BARS? HOSTELS? CONSULATES?
Rachel, I’ve been looking for a “Canadian” bar…unsuccessfully.
Tue 14 Feb 2006
I miss a lot of things about home. I miss my favourite restaurant. I miss going to record shops and shows with friends. I miss hanging out with friends in Richmond. I miss my family. And since Christmas, I miss ping pong. I miss the rain. But it took something else to make me really wish I was at home (at least for the next couple weeks). That something else is of course, the Winter Olympics currently being held in Torino. Or Turin if you’re American. I kid!
I won’t dwell on it TOO much, but the television coverage of the Olymics here in Sydney is really terrible. Coverage started at 9:40pm tonight, or about the time live events are actually underway in Torino. Instead I have to watch events that happened yesterday. Of course due to time zones I know seeing everyhing live would mean broadcasting all night but it’s worse than simply taped events. For instance, tonight the men’s downhill was on (of course this really happened nearly 24 hours ago) and it took me a couple racers to notice what Channel 7 (the official Olympic network here in Australia) was up to. In order to pack the race into a half hour, they edited the skiers runs…but didn’t tell us. You had to be watching the clock to notice that when a skier went around a certain bend the competitor’s time suddenly went from 32 seconds to 1 minute and 04 seconds. Over 30 seconds lost! After the gold medal run the commentator exclaimed something to the effect of “That is one of the all-time great Olympic runs!” And you didn’t even let us see it all you jackass! We missed 25% of it because Channel 7 wants everything to fit in four hours.
Not for the first time I feel the pangs of missing the CBC. I miss Brian Williams’ over-the-top cheesiness. Does anyone else remember this little gem from Nagano (I think?):
Brian William turns to camera: “How do you spell courage? E-L-V-I-S.”
I laughed so hard…not that I have much against Elvis Stojko. Anyway, I digress.
So while the coverage of the event is terrible, that in itself is not what makes me miss Canada. Instead it’s the feeling of missing out, of not being a part of a shared part of my culture. Very few events really get people all across the country excited at once. Very seldom am I permitted to get excited by women’s freestyle skiing. But every four years it’s wonderful to be able to go into work/school the next day and discuss the finer points of last night’s short-track speed skating final and not look like a freak.
With the next Winter Olympics being held in Vancouver it seems like I’m missing out on a little bit more this year in particular. If I’m in Vancouver for 2010 will people be recalling events from Torino that I just won’t remember being a part of? Maybe not, but I really do feel a tad farther from home this week. I don’t even want to think about what would happen if the Vancouver Canucks won the Stanley Cup while I’m here. I’m not sure I could ever go home again. Home would be too different. These Olympics are making me realize that when I left Canada behind in August I hadn’t really thought about what home would be like when/if I come back. If I could I’d freeze Canada exactly how it was when I left so when I return I’d fit right back in my place.
Everything in its right place…
So it is with a slightly saddened heart that I watched, nearly 24 hours later, Jennifer Heil win her gold medal in women’s moguls. But it’s not all that bad, I’m sure I’ve made this more than it is. One thing that certainly does provide a little comfort is that the Australian commentators have wonderful turns of phrase (much like Mr. Williams!). Tonight during the men’s luge finals I overheard from the kitchen, “He’s a quiet man, but he speaks loudly with his sled.”
Only every four years is such a statement permitted to air on television.
Photo courtesy of the AP
Wed 8 Feb 2006
So Amanda passed this on to me via her blog. Here are my iTunes facts! I feel I should have some music stuff here and not just at my music blog though I may stick this there as well. Post yours in the comments or on your blog!
Sort by Song Title
* First Song: ’84 Pontiac Dream – Boards of Canada
* Last Song: Zungo – Nina Simone
Sort by Time (excluding some random short sound effects and long podcasts etc)
* Shortest Song: The End of Love – Black Heart Procession (12 seconds)
* Longest Song: MFR (live) – Godspeed You! Black Emporer (35:31)
Sort by Album: (I’ve started dating albums by year…but just started so at the moment….)
* First Song: What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
* Last Song: Mogwai Fear Satan – Mogwai (of songs that are actually tagged with an album)
Top 10 Most Played Songs (I only got this computer in August so since then…)
1. The Greatest – Cat Power
2. 7/4 (Shoreline) – Broken Social Scene
3. Do You Want To – Franz Ferdinand
4. Juicebox – The Strokes
5. Ooh La La – Goldfrapp
6. Number 1 – Goldfrapp
7. Precious – Depeche Mode
8. Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez
9. I Want None of This – Radiohead
10. Shine a Light – Wolf Parade
Kinda lame…all new songs since August more or less. My real favourites are slowly creeping up though…
First five songs that come up on Party Shuffle
I have this disabled in iTunes so I don’t know. But how about 5 great party songs?
1. One More Time – Daft Punk
2. Losing My Edge – LCD Soundsystem
3. House of Jealous Lovers – The Rapture
OK I tried a theme there…a smart one but I’m stuck so…
4. All Nite Disco Party – Brakes
5. Wanna Be Starting Something – Michael Jackson
Search For…And How Many Songs Come Up? (also depends on how you use the search function)
“SEX”: 8 (songs by Decoder Ring, DFA1979, Feist, The Album Leaf, British Sea Power and some more…)
“LOVE”: 340 (including “The Love of Richard Nixon” by the Manics which just played)
“DEATH”: 79 (including some band names)
“HATE”: 11 (including “All You Need Is Hate” by The Delgados)
“WISH”: 16 (largely due to various live versions of “Bulletproof…I Wish I Was” by Radiohead)
Mon 6 Feb 2006
So I woke up today (Monday) and crawled out of bed wondering if the Super Bowl would be televised. We don’t have Foxtel so we are left scraping five channels for entertainment from the world of television, however, I was pretty confident the Super Bowl would be on. What else needs to be on TV at 10am on a Monday morning?
Sure enough, SBS was carrying Super Bowl XL live from Detroit. Had I been back in Vancouver I’m not even sure I would have watched the game (probably not true actually, seeing as the Seattle Seahawks were playing). I used to be a pretty big follower of the NFL through high school and back into elementary school, but once I started university my Sundays were generally filled by writing papers. Or sleeping. But today I was definitely interested in seeing what watching one of America’s largest events was like in Australia.
Turns out, it’s pretty much the same but funnier. The broadcast was a feed from the states although it was not the ABC (American version not Aussie version) broadcast. Instead it was some sort of international network-free feed featuring two commentators who didn’t annoy the hell out of me, surely a rare thing in the football world (you heard me Terry Bradshaw). What was different was that when there was a commercial break in the broadcast in the US, us Aussies were generally treated to a quick cut back to some SBS studio where an American and two Aussies (one an ex-player whose name escapes me) provided some pretty hilarious commentary on the game. Most entertainig were the physical threats made against a few of the players in the game. You also don’t hear the phrase “pissed off” and “waiting outside the stadium for that guy after the game” on the broadcasts back home. Needless to say I enjoyed these little interludes.
Of course this meant we didn’t get any of the new commercials here in Australia. But as a Canadian I was used to that. And let’s be honest, most of time the commercials still end up sucking no matter how much money the company paid for the airspace. We did get to see the Rolling Stones however. Not that that was particularly exciting. I would have rathered the Austaralian commentators spent halftime threatening the referees with injury-by-car instead.
As for the game itself, as usual for the Super Bowl, it was a bit of a letdown. Bad calls, no momentum, and the wrong team won. Nonetheless it was interesting to watch the game here in Sydney. Now I just need to figure out how the hell I’m going to see the Canada hockey games from Torino.
(Photo couretesy the AP via CBC)
Fri 3 Feb 2006