Friday, December 30, 2011

Conversation of the day

The 11 year old is blonde.  Lately, she's been really blonde.  I mean this as no offense to blonde people, but man has she lost whatever common sense she's ever had.

Today the 8 year old ran downstairs to grab her snow pants and winter boots.

F: Sis!  Sis!  I'm going to build a snowman!

V: [pause] Outside?

Me: Holy f...iretruck...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

15 things to do with your kids before they're 15

The Ontario Parks blog has a list of 15 things to do with your kids before they're 15.

We're Ontario Parks regulars, and the kids are 11 and 8 now.  Let's see how we're doing...

1. Learn to camp.


2. Swim a northern Ontario lake.

Done!  Heading back to my favourite this summer, Grundy Lake.

3. Learn to fish.

I don't fish, but the kids are often used as an excuse for Uncle Martin to go fishing, so I think this one counts.

4. Stay in a yurt.

Haven't done this one yet.

5. Explore the night sky.


6. Try dogsledding.

Haven't done this one yet.

7. Skate through the woods at night.

Smallest daughter wants to do this at MacGregor this winter.  If it ever gets cold...

8. Go winter tubing.

We planned to go tubing last year, over New Year's, but got rained out.  Planned again for this year, but it's looking pretty green out there today.

9. Try paddleboarding.

Haven't done this one yet.

10. Join a park wolf howl.


11. Hike Lake Superior’s Coastal Hiking Trail.

Haven't done this one yet.

12. Stay in a park ranger cabin.

Haven't done this one yet.

13. Paddle or kayak to your Ontario Parks camp site.

We've certainly done tons of paddling, but haven't stayed overnight yet.  Toying with the idea of going back to Killarney this summer, and spending at least one night on an interior site.

14. Trick or treat.

Haven't done this one yet, but we did see lots of excellent Halloween decorations at MacGregor in October, when we were there for Thanksgiving.

15. Play golf.

Golf and camping don't belong together.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

They say the toothless get ruthless

Something smelly oozes off the front page of the paper today.

When Carolyn Siopiolosz answered the phone days before the May 2 federal election, she knew something was wrong.  The anonymous caller informed the St. Clements resident that her polling station had been changed to a park in Kitchener.  After using the “star-69” command on her phone to track the telephone number, Siopiolosz decided to contact Kitchener-Conestoga riding’s returning officer and Elections Canada.

When called, the number goes to a voice mail for the “Conservative Party.” The message asks callers to leave their name, number and a detailed message and says the party will get back to them within three business days.  Fred DeLorey, director of communications and deputy director of political operations for the Conservative Party of Canada, confirmed in an email “that the number was ours.”

What does our MP think?

Kitchener-Conestoga Conservative MP Harold Albrecht, reached on Monday, was so surprised by the situation that he called the number himself. He said he found the ownership of the number troubling and the message unprofessional.  “I will be asking some questions, absolutely,” said Albrecht, adding he will investigate. “It’s not the kind of actions I would support.”

However, Harold appears to support all the other dirty tricks the Conservatives have pulled.  If he really thought this was unprofessional he'd bring it up with someone in Ottawa, right?  Isn't that why we elected him - to look after us?  He pretends to be trustworthy.  I'm sure he'd tell you that if you asked him.

These stories come as parliamentarians are decrying a rise in “dirty tricks” by the Conservative party. The party recently employed the market research firm Campaign Research to call constituents in Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Mount Royal riding. The calls asked residents who they would support in a byelection should Cotler step down, which the MP says he has no plans of doing.

Cotler raised the issue in the House of Commons, and the Speaker last week called the tactics “reprehensible.”

Yet Campaign Research was contracted by many Conservative MPs during the election, including Speaker Andrew Scheer, Albrecht, Braid and Kitchener Centre Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, according to their statements of electoral campaign expenses.

So with this in mind, let me ask you, voters of Kitchener-Conestoga, who would you support in a byelection should Harold Albrecht be found guilty of a criminal offense related to election fraud?  You know, hypothetically, of course.

Don't you deserve better?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wilfrid Laurier High Performance Curling Clinic

I had the pleasure of being a guest coach at the first Wilfrid Laurier High Performance Curling Clinic on Saturday.

Laurier is in the process of setting up a High Performance Centre, where teams and individuals can receive instruction and assessment from some of the sport's top coaches.  The Saturday clinic was focused on club-level curlers.  Sessions included strategy, sweeping, set up and delivery, split timing (using a wireless system) and video analysis.

I was on the set up and delivery sheet, along with Canadian Junior and University champion Laura Crocker.  Luckily for me, Laura did the demonstration of the perfect balanced delivery while all I had to do was talk about it. I was ready to step in and demonstrate a wobbly slide, but we had enough material to get us through an hour, and it didn’t come to that.

We had a good mix of experience among the 60 participants in the clinic.  There were several familiar faces, including a few I've played against in various competitions in the past.  That was a little weird.

Laurier plans to host another clinic in the new year, and we're going to organize a one-on-one session for our Bantam girls team in the near future.  They will soak this stuff up, for sure.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interesting psych experiment

I figured it out!  We're part of a psychology experiment.

How else would you explain the extra-bright lights, the loud sounds, the skunky drinking water?

If this doesn't lead to behaviour modification, what will they try next?  Two hour meetings to tell us how the review process will change to make raises even more unattainable?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Conversation of the day

Driving home from the Bantam curling in Guelph.

V: Did you notice that we were doing all the things you've been telling us, and that the Laurier girls told us?  Setting up in the hack, line of delivery, releasing...?

Me: Yes, I did notice. Did you notice that you won two games today? That wasn't a coincidence!

I might be old, but once in a while I provide some value.

Conversation of the day

Planning the hors d'oeuvres for Christmas Eve...

J: (flipping through a recipe list) Oooh, here's an urban tomato one!

Me: What's an urban tomato?

J: (slowly)  Herb. And. Tomato.

Me: Not as interesting. But probably tasty.

Bantam curling

I took our bantam girls team to the Guelph Curling Club on Saturday for two games in the Interclub series.  A number of clubs around the area (Guelph, Elmira, Elora, Orangeville, Shelburne, Alliston) get together once a month to play games against each other.  It gives the kids a great opportunity to play in different clubs, against different teams, with no pressure.  The 'B' class teams play six ends and can call as many timeouts as they want, for coaching input.  I had to go out on the ice twice - once for a measurement and once when the other team called timeout. I had nothing to say during that timeout, except to congratulate our team on some awesome shot making.

Our team started strong on Saturday, blanking the first end, then drawing for three in the second.  A steal of two in the third end had us up 5-0.  Then we had a bad end where we missed a few hits, then couldn't make the Hail Mary draw, and we gave up 5 to tie the game after four.  A steal of two in the fifth, and the girls were down two coming home, but had the hammer.  Our skip called a great final end, and she calmly drew the four foot to score three for the win. High marks for not getting flustered with blowing a big lead.

The second game was back and forth, with lots of great shots by both teams.  The opposition skip made a nice double to avoid a steal of two in one end.  We were tied up coming home, again with the hammer.  We were keeping it clean for the first few rocks, then V made a nose hit on a rock just outside the house.  The opposition tried to draw around, but came up light.  Our vice buried a draw at the top of the button, then buried another one right beside it.  The opposition tried a runback and missed.  We guarded.  They called timeout - their coach went out and said, "you're screwed!"  Maybe she used a different term, come to think of it, but that was the case.  They tried another runback and missed again.  We scored two for the win.

This coaching thing is easy, especially when I have nothing to do but keep track of the score in my coaching book and hi-5 the kids when they come off the ice.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

You want accountability? You can't handle the accountability

Stephen Harper wants the Attawapiskat First Nation to be more accountable.

Here's an idea Steve - lead by example.  Rid your cabinet of the liars, fraudsters, and thieves.  Turf Bev Oda, Peter MacKay and Tony Clement for a start.  Then we can talk about holding other people accountable.

Now playing

Stupidest. Curling. Game. Ever.

Had to hit and stick for three in the first end.  Rolled out and settled for two.

Stole two in the second end.

Stole one in the third end.

Stole two in the fourth end.  If you're counting (even if you're not...) we're up 7-0 now.

Made them draw the four foot against four to score a point in the fifth end.

Wide open hit in the sixth against two - their gloves are off, and the lead is halfway to the bar.  The skip says to the vice, "if we steal two, we keep playing."  We miss the hit by two feet.  They call the lead back to the sheet.

Seventh end they didn't miss a shot.  The only shot we made was the draw on the skip's final rock to cut them down.  To four.  Tied up at seven coming home.  At least we have the hammer, for whatever good that will be...

They junk up the front.  We try to hit and roll in.  Four times.  Nose hit every time.

They draw the back four foot on the skip's last.  We follow it down, a hair heavy and a hair wide.  Stops right beside their rock.  Their vice looks at it and says "Yellow!"  I look at it and say "Blue!"  We decide to measure.  I grab the measuring stick and spin it around the rocks.  And spin it around the rocks.  And spin it around the rocks.  Looks damn close.  Tied, almost.  The stick I was using was a bit quirky though.  Moving it from right to left would show tied or maybe just us.  Moving from left to right would show tied or maybe just them.  Aren't these supposed to be the same?

After a few minutes of this crap, we call over a guy from the next sheet to measure.  He gives it a quick go and says, "Yellow!"  We lose 8-7.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Enlargement spam of the day

Subject line of the email I found in my spam folder this morning:

"Stuff" her stocking!!

'Tis the season indeed...