The Blogger Games – Closing Ceremony

Not to get all Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman on you, but it’s time to say goodbye.

Welcome to the Closing Ceremony of the first (and last?) Blogger Games!

Before we get into some behind-the-scenes commentary, let’s take a look back at who won medals during the True or False leg of this fierce competition.

WEEK 5 – TRUE OR FALSE

Competitors: T, Aaron, Venus, Monty, rebbit7, Ben

1. I used to have two pet fish named “Fish E.” and “Binoculars”.
A) True
B) False

Correct: rebbit7

I am a terrific liar, apparently. This question came together almost too quickly in my head. I was thinking of names for fish and Fish E. was a given, and then I pictured big eyes and Binoculars was born.

2. I got lost in an Olive Garden (the restaurant).
A) True
B) False

Correct: T, Venus, Monty, rebbit7, Ben

It was New Year’s Eve. My friends and I were leaving the restaurant and I was ahead of everyone else, thinking I was making my way to the exit. Instead, I was headed right for the kitchen. Follow your nose, right?

3. I found $5 in a book at the public library.
A) True
B) False

Correct: Venus, Monty

Again, I am a great liar, it seems. I never found anything in a library book.

4. I was vacuuming the house at Age 3.
A) True
B) False

Correct: T, Aaron, Venus

Okay, maybe I wasn’t getting every nook and cranny, but there are multiple photos of me holding a vacuum. So, it’s legit.

5. I fell in a puddle at recess in elementary school.
A) True
B) False

Correct: T, Aaron, Venus, Monty, rebbit7, Ben

Oh man, I think it was Grade 5 or 6. The field was wet, yet we were allowed to play on it. Big puddles always collected on the side of the field, near the fence. I’m not sure why, so I’m just going to say, “drainage issues”.

Anyway, we were playing soccer and the ball rolled into the puddle. No one was going after it, initially. And then I made eye contact with a guy on the other team and we both darted for the ball at the same time.

If I remember correctly, my mindset wasn’t even to go for the ball. It was to just bait someone else into running after it – no, not so they’d fall – and then I’d slow down and try and take it from them.

Well, I tried to slow down, but slipped. It was basically one of those movie falls where you slip, feel like you fly in the air a bit, and then fall flat on your back. That’s what I did. Smack. Right in the middle of the huge puddle. The other kid didn’t fall.

I was drenched, but that moment of hitting the water was a bit refreshing.

6. I don’t drink coffee.
A) True
B) False

Correct: T, Aaron, Venus, Monty, rebbit7, Ben

I have tried a teaspoon of coffee. That’s all.

7. I keep a lucky penny in my sock.
A) True
B) False

Correct: T, Aaron, Monty, rebbit7

No. Canada doesn’t even use pennies anymore, how could they be lucky?

8. I prefer to use a pencil instead of a pen.
A) True
B) False

Correct: Aaron, Ben

Pens are smoother and I don’t like the smell that pencils leave on my fingers.

9. I like cauliflower with tomato sauce.
A) True
B) False

Correct: Aaron, Monty, Ben

Maybe this is an Italian thing? When you’re cooking the cauliflower in the pot, you throw in some oil, some water, and then a tablespoon (or so) of tomato sauce. You basically water paint the cauliflower red.

It’s not like I’m taking cauliflower and then dumping sauce on it, as if its pasta. Though, I have done that before. It’s still good.

10. I normally eat dinner after 7PM.
A) True
B) False

I like to eat between 5-6:30. I’ll start eating before 5, if I’m really eager. If I eat after 7, it probably means I fell asleep.

Correct: Venus

Total for Week 5
1. Aaron – 6 [GOLD]
1. Monty – 6 [GOLD]
1. Venus – 6 [GOLD]
4. rebbit7 – 5
4. T – 5
4. Ben – 5
DNP: Reid – (11)
DNP: Sarah – (3)
DNP: Meghan – (3)

Congratulations to Aaron, Monty(!), and Venus for taking home Gold this week! As a result, Silver and Bronze are not handed out.

I don’t play favourites, but I pumped by fist three times when Monty won gold.

Combined Total
1. rebbit7 – 23 [GOLD]
1. Venus – 23 [GOLD]
3. T – 20 [BRONZE]
3. Aaron – 20 [BRONZE]
5. Ben – 17
6. Monty – 13
7. Reid – 11
8. Sarah – 3
8. Meghan – 3

After combining the scores from all five weeks, we have a tie for Gold between rebbit7 and Venus! We also have a tie for Bronze between T and Aaron! And here I was thinking that after 50 questions, there wouldn’t be any ties. I guess not!

FINAL MEDAL TABLE

NameGoldSilverBronzeTotal
Venus2215
rebbit7314
Aaron1214
T1124
Ben112
Monty11
Reid11
Sarah11
Meghan

Venus is our overall medal winner! Congratulations!

For the final time, thanks to Monty (@MontyVern on Twitter) for creating this fantastic photo for me to use.

Inside The Blogger Games

Okay, let’s spill some secrets.

As some of you guessed, The Blogger Games were inspired by the Olympics. They were an idea that I hastily threw together, without much planning.

Initially, they were called, “The Blog Friend Olympics” and the first post actually went up with that title! But then my brain went into a panic and remembered the Olympics don’t like it when people use their name.

I didn’t want to get sued, even though I did some extensive (20 minutes) research on Google and figured I would’ve been in the clear because I wasn’t using it for commercial gain.

Nevertheless, why risk it for a Triscuit?

I had a hard time thinking of an alternate name and then The Blogger Games just came to me. It seemed to have the exact same menacing title (right guys?) as The Hunger Games, so I was good with it.

I thought my topics each week were going to be: food, sports, music, TV, and my life, but by the time I finished food and sports, I realized there weren’t really going to be many great questions for the other topics.

That’s why Week 3 was Preferences and Week 4 was basically a combination of TV, Music, and “famous things”. Week 5 ended up being True or False questions because I couldn’t think of any other broad topic.

Plus, it would increase your odds of getting the questions right.

I severely overestimated how well I thought you guys knew me and came out of the gates in Week 1 with FOUR multiple choice options per question. I quickly realized that was too many and yet, I doubled down on it for Week 2.

I’m sorry about that.

By Week 3, I never provided more than three options for a question.

Many of you said the questions were hard – that was the point.

I wanted to make it an even playing field for everyone because I didn’t know who would participate. My thinking was, if you’ve been following me for years, you’ll have an advantage over those who just discovered my blog.

As a result, I made the questions tough and mentioned things that I hadn’t before. That way, you were all, somewhat, equally oblivious.

Your answers were a fun way to see how you perceive me and who I actually am in real life.

Will there be a Blogger Games 2? I have no idea right now. I’ve pretty much run out of personal questions to ask you. I can’t ask you questions that have actual answers because then you’d just Google them.

So, it’s tricky.

That’s why when I do The Captain’s Quiz, I’m in control of what answers I’m looking for. Blog Quizzes are very hard and I’ve basically created two separate series of them. Who let me do this?

All that being said, my hamster wheel is always turning and I’m sure if I put my mind to it, I could come up with a premise for a Blogger Games 2.

For now, my attention shifts back to The Captain’s Quiz. The next instalment was supposed to happen about three weeks ago, but I figured it would be too confusing to do that and The Blogger Games at the same time.

Hopefully, you will see it within the first half of September. I already have ideas for the two (maybe 3) quizzes following that one, so stay tuned.

That’s it.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in The Blogger Games, whether you were here for one week, or all five weeks. I really appreciate the commitment!

It was fun to see you having fun with this and getting way way way too into it. That’s what I love to see. A passion for something that ultimately doesn’t matter.

I hereby declare The Blogger Games officially closed.

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The Blogger Games – Week 5

Welcome to the final week of The Blogger Games! This week, competitors will be put to the test with True or False questions.

But, first! We must find out who walked away with some hardware after last week’s Entertainment-based questions.

WEEK 4 – ENTERTAINMENT

Competitors: T, Aaron, Ben, Monty, Venus, rebbit7

1. Which Toy Story movie did I like the least?
A) Toy Story
B) Toy Story 2
C) Toy Story 3

The original movie was the greatest. The third one was morbid, but at least it was interesting. I believe I only saw the second movie, once, and didn’t even finish it. I have yet to see the fourth movie.

Correct: Ben, Monty, Venus, rebbit7

2. Which is my favourite TV Show theme song?
A) Family Matters
B) Friends
C) Saved By The Bell

Correct: Aaron

Nothing against the other two, but the Family Matters theme has always been my favourite. It just reminds me of 5:30PM on a November day.

3. The first CD I ever owned was of which genre?
A) Rock
B) Classical
C) Country

Correct: N/A

There used to be a store at the mall where customers could walk up to a giant box (not a jukebox) and press the song they wanted to hear and it would play throughout the store. For some reason, I always put on a song called, In The Mood. Everyone probably wondered why this little boy was putting on that song.

Anyway, my parents bought me the CD it was on and, luckily, it was the first song on the CD. It’s been over 20 years and I’ve yet to listen to the whole album. I think I listened to the second song by accident because I forgot to set it back to the first song. Haven’t gotten further than that.

You can listen to the song here.

Years later, we had to dance to that song in gym class. The teacher picked it out. Who knew others knew about it? Not me.

I’m also realizing the correct genre was Jazz, but let’s ignore this.

4. I have never been…
A) On TV
B) On The Radio
C) In The Newspaper

Correct: Aaron, Monty, Venus, rebbit7

I have had a couple of my tweets read on sports talk radio shows, but other than that, I have never been on the radio. I’ve been on TV in the background.

I was interviewed at school for an article in the local newspaper about a basketball demonstration we had just watched. It was sort of like the Harlem Globetrotters, but not. Anyway, the one time the newspaper wasn’t delivered to our house was the one time I was in it. So, I never got to keep a copy. A kid at school brought it in because they were also interviewed and I saw the reporter spelled my name wrong even after I had to spell it out for him.

You’re not bitter, I’m bitter.

5. Which famous person once liked one of my tweets?
A) Howie Mandel
B) Mindy Kaling
C) Jason Segel

Correct: Ben

Jason Segel is probably best known for his role in the TV show, How I Met Your Mother, and various movies. He also created and starred in a more recent show on AMC called, Dispatches From Elsewhere. It is the most impossible show to explain in a few sentences, but Season 1 was incredible.

I tweeted praise about the show after the season finale, merely including the show’s hashtag, and then all of a sudden I received a notification that Jason Segel liked it.

6. I have never seen this movie series…
A) Rocky
B) High School Musical
C) Harry Potter

Correct: Aaron

I don’t even have a thorough explanation for this one. It is what it is. I have the Rocky Soundtrack on CD if that counts for anything?

7. Which show have I seen in-person?
A) Canadian Idol Tour
B) Disney On Ice
C) Disco Dogs

Correct: Ben, Venus, rebbit7

The locals reading this will know what the CNE is. It’s basically an end-of-summer carnival in Toronto that lasts two and a half weeks. Everything costs at least $50 and bacon is added to every food. It’s fun?

Anyway, one of the arena shows was Disco Dogs (basically Super Dogs). It was a ton of fun. The dogs did tricks, they ran relays, and showed-off for half an hour.

8. How many famous people have I met at an autograph signing?
A) 0
B) 6
C) 11

Correct: rebbit7

I have never attended an autograph signing. I don’t get too excited about autographs, nor the possibility of meeting someone famous.

The only “famous people” I’ve ever met have been television personalities. It was nothing more than a handshake and me mumbling a few words of, “I always watch your show.”

9. Which reality show do I think I’d be best at?
A) Survivor
B) Fear Factor
C) Big Brother

Correct: T, Aaron, rebbit7

I just feel like the lack of food, combined with intense heat, and physical exertion during challenges, would trigger too many headaches (literally) on Survivor. Strategy-wise, it would be my favourite to play because alliances shift with every vote.

Fear Factor – no thanks.

Big Brother – It’s basically Survivor, but indoors. The downside is once you’re on the wrong side of the numbers, there is no hope. That being said, I think I’d do okay.

10. Which show did I not watch as a child?
A) The Brady Bunch
B) Leave It To Beaver
C) Murder, She Wrote

Correct: N/A

Leave It To Beaver would be on around lunch time in the summer, so that’s when I’d watch it. I think The Brady Bunch came on after it, but I only stuck around to watch the intro, not the show.

I could go on for hours about Murder, She Wrote and Jessica Fletcher being a magnet for murder, but I won’t. Maybe another time.

Total for Week 4 – Combined total in parentheses
1. rebbit7 – 5 (18)
2. Aaron – 4 (14)
3. Ben – 3 (12)
3. Venus – 3 (17)
5. Monty – 2 (7)
6. T – 1 (15)
DNP: Reid – (11)
DNP: Sarah – (3)
DNP: Meghan – (3)

Well, well, well, we have our first two-time gold medallist! Congratulations to rebbit7 for going back-to-back! Aaron takes home his second silver medal, while Ben and Venus each receive their first bronze.

UPDATED MEDAL TABLE

NameGoldSilverBronzeTotal
rebbit7213
T1113
Venus213
Aaron22
Ben112
Reid11
Sarah11
Monty
Meghan
Thanks to Monty (@MontyVern on Twitter) for allowing me to use this image.

WEEK 5 – TRUE OR FALSE

Double medals are being handed out this week. One set for the answers to these questions and another for the overall total for all five weeks.

1. I used to have two pet fish named “Fish E.” and “Binoculars”.
A) True
B) False

2. I got lost in an Olive Garden (the restaurant).
A) True
B) False

3. I found $5 in a book at the public library.
A) True
B) False

4. I was vacuuming the house at Age 3.
A) True
B) False

5. I fell in a puddle at recess in elementary school.
A) True
B) False

6. I don’t drink coffee.
A) True
B) False

7. I keep a lucky penny in my sock.
A) True
B) False

8. I prefer to use a pencil instead of a pen.
A) True
B) False

9. I like cauliflower with tomato sauce.
A) True
B) False

10. I normally eat dinner after 7PM.
A) True
B) False

You Share: Here are some possible topics for you to discuss.

Did you have any pets? Have you ever gotten lost? Have you ever found money? Are you a cleaner? When was the last time you fell? Do you drink coffee? Do have any superstitions? What do you like to write with? What cooked vegetables do you like? When do you eat dinner?

To Play: Answer the 10 True or False questions in a blog post of your own by next Tuesday, August 31 and put your answers in bold or italics.

Remember, I’m handing out medals next week for Week 5, as well as the overall combined score, so it is still anyone’s game.

Good luck and have fun, for this is the final week of The Blogger Games.

See you next Wednesday from the Closing Ceremony.

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The Blogger Games – Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of The Blogger Games! The competition is heating up and we don’t have any air conditioning. Before getting into this week’s questions about all things Entertainment, let’s look back at last week and see who solidified their spot on the podium.

WEEK 3 – PREFERENCES

Competitors: T, Ben, Aaron, Venus, Monty, rebbit7, Reid

1. Which way do I like the toilet paper roll to hang?
A) Over
B) Under

Correct: Reid

I’m not a monster, okay. If the toilet roll were to be over, I wouldn’t feel the need to switch it to under. It’s fine. However, I do prefer it under and put it that way when the roll finishes. When it’s over, I feel like it’s a bit too intrusive. It’s like when you enter a store and a sales representative asks you right away if you need help. They’re just doing their job, but let me breathe for a second. Toilet roll under lets me breathe.

2. Sandwiches taste better when they are…
A) Not Cut
B) Cut Diagonally

Correct: T, Ben, Aaron, Venus, Monty, rebbit7, Reid

I normally eat sandwiches on bagels or buns, but if it’s on two pieces of bread (like a grilled cheese), then it’s getting cut on a diagonal. There is more sandwich when you cut it that way.

3. When it comes to watching shows on TV, do I like to watch them…
A) Live
B) Later (Recorded)

Correct: Ben, Aaron, rebbit7, Reid

Sports are the only thing I watch live. Every TV show is taped (I still call it “taped”, even though I put “recorded” in the question), so I can watch it later and skip commercials. Sometimes, I’ll start an 8PM show at 8:20PM because by then, I’ll be able to start from the beginning and be done by 9 without watching any commercials.

4. Would I rather…
A) Stay Up Late
B) Wake Up Early

Correct: T, Aaron, Venus, rebbit7, Reid

I can wake up early if/when I have to. I enjoy staying up late because I can get things done without getting distracted…like this post.

5. Though I like both, which fries do I like more?
A) Wendy’s
B) McDonald’s

Correct: rebbit7

I love McDonald’s fries, but Wendy’s fries get the very slight edge.

6. I like to sleep on my…
A) Side
B) Back
C) Stomach

Correct: T, Ben

I’ll start off on my side and after a few minutes, I’ll transition to my stomach as if to tell body, “Okay, you can fall asleep now.”

7. When drinking from a small milk carton, do I…
A) Use A Straw
B) Not Use A Straw

Correct: Ben, Venus

I’ve always used a straw. I have tried it without a straw and the texture of the carton is just not…good. This is just a Paul thing, I’m sure.

8. I prefer a desk chair…
A) Without Arm Rests
B) With Arm Rests

Correct: T, Ben, Aaron, Venus, rebbit7, Reid

My elbows have to rest somewhere when I’m not typing.

It’s bad enough I don’t know what to do with my arms when I sleep, but if I also don’t know where to put them while sitting at a desk…that’s just too much.

9. Which do I prefer on my feet in the summer?
A) Shoes
B) Sandals

Correct: T, Venus, rebbit7

I’m not a sandals guy, sorry.

10. Which type of book do I enjoy more?
A) Fiction
B) Non-Fiction

Correct: T, Ben, Aaron, Monty, rebbit7

As a kid, I would’ve said Fiction. As an adult, I enjoy Non-Fiction a bit more. I like getting the behind-the-scenes story on why people are the way that they are.

Total for Week 3 – Combined total in parentheses
1. rebbit7 – 7 (13)
2. T – 6 (14)
2. Ben – 6 (9)
4. Venus – 5 (14)
4. Reid – 5 (11)
4. Aaron – 5 (10)
7. Monty – 2 (5)
DNP: Sarah – (3)
DNP: Meghan – (3)

Congratulations to our third gold medallist in three weeks: rebbit7! Very good job! T keeps her medal streak alive with a silver, while Sir Ben of Meerkovia gets on the medal table with a silver as well!

There is no bronze medal because there were two silvers.

UPDATED MEDAL TABLE

NameGoldSilverBronzeTotal
T1113
rebbit7112
Venus22
Reid11
Aaron11
Ben11
Sarah11
Monty
Meghan
Thanks to Monty (@MontyVern on Twitter) for allowing me to use this image.

WEEK 4 – ENTERTAINMENT

1. Which Toy Story movie did I like the least?
A) Toy Story
B) Toy Story 2
C) Toy Story 3

2. Which is my favourite TV Show theme song?
A) Family Matters
B) Friends
C) Saved By The Bell

3. The first CD I ever owned was of which genre?
A) Rock
B) Classical
C) Country

4. I have never been…
A) On TV
B) On The Radio
C) In The Newspaper

5. Which famous person once liked one of my tweets?
A) Howie Mandel
B) Mindy Kaling
C) Jason Segel

6. I have never seen this movie series…
A) Rocky
B) High School Musical
C) Harry Potter

7. Which show have I seen in-person?
A) Canadian Idol Tour
B) Disney On Ice
C) Disco Dogs

8. How many famous people have I met at an autograph signing?
A) 0
B) 6
C) 11

9. Which reality show do I think I’d be best at?
A) Survivor
B) Fear Factor
C) Big Brother

10. Which show did I not watch as a child?
A) The Brady Bunch
B) Leave It To Beaver
C) Murder, She Wrote

You Share: Tell me what you like/dislike about the entertainment industry. Any celebrity encounters? Have you ever been on TV? What was your first CD?

To Play: Answer these questions in a blog post of your own and link back to this post. You may put your answer in Bold or Italics and share your thought process behind each answer, if you want. If you haven’t participated in any of the first three weeks, you can still participate this week!

Good luck!

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Big Shiny Tunes 5

It’s the review you’ve been waiting 21 years for!

Okay, maybe not. In fact, I’m not even sure this is going to be a review. It’s more like, I’m going to listen to every song on this CD in front of me, and let you know if I like them or not, while providing other thoughts that you’ll forget in five minutes.

Sound good?

For those of you who are unaware, Big Shiny Tunes was a compilation album in Canada put together by MuchMusic, which was a television channel that primarily played music. I may or may not have been in the audience for one of their live shows when I was in high school.

Wikipedia tells me they made 17 Big Shiny Tunes albums between 1996-2009. Today, I’ll be listening to Big Shiny Tunes 5. Don’t ask questions.

All of the songs are from 1999 and 2000.

My ratings are subjective and I reserve the right to change them to 5/5 if anyone from the band ever finds this post and gets mad that I rated their song poorly.

1. Matchbox Twenty – Bent

I like Matchbox Twenty and am familiar with a bunch of their songs. However, this was a new one to me. Whenever I listen to a song for the first time, if I don’t feel like listening to it on repeat, then I probably don’t like it. That’s the case with this song.

Sorry! We don’t choose the music we like.

The YouTube comments section is full of people who love it, so they’ll be fine.

1/5

2. Matthew Good Band – Load Me Up

I have heard this song before, though I didn’t recognize it from the title. I feel like it should’ve been the first one on this album. It’s a good opener and gets the head bobbing. The music video features a bunch of high school students running in slow motion, swimming, and getting caught in the rain.

So, pretty much par for the course when it comes to music videos of the era. They also jumped off a roof (in slow motion, of course) which looked identical to the one used in The Room.

Maybe Tommy Wiseau borrowed it?

5/5

3. 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite

This was my favourite song when I was nine-years-old. I’m not entirely sure why, or where I even heard it, but I liked it! I think it appealed to me because I could actually understand all of the words and wasn’t just wossling along.

Wossle/wossling is what I’ve always called it when you’re singing along, but don’t know the words. I don’t know if I made this word up, or if I’m spelling it wrong, because Google has no idea what I’m talking about.

5/5

4. Stone Temple Pilots – Sour Girl

This was my first time hearing this song. I didn’t enjoy it, mainly because I was distracted by what I thought were evil Teletubbies. I was wrong, so save your hate mail, Tinky Winky. They were actually evil bunnies, or some sort of creatures that liked to invade personal space.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was also there.

1/5

5. The Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch

This is one of those songs you don’t think you’ve heard until you get to the chorus. Or maybe you only think you recognize it because it sounds a lot like, You Spin Me Round (yes, like a record).

But then they say “Discovery channel” and you’re like, “Ahhh I’ve heard it.”

Anyway, I was just describing my own listening experience.

A lot of children probably knew the lyrics to this song. Their parents were mortified.

2/5

6. Treble Charger – American Psycho

Everyone in Canada under the age of 35 knows the chorus to this song, though I’m sure now that I’ve said that, a bunch of Canadians are going to come out of the corners of WordPress to tell me I’m wrong.

I think it was played at elementary school dances, so if that was the case, then it was definitely popular for the college kids at the time.

Treble Charger was also known for Hundred Million People, which I like more.

4/5

7. Filter – Take A Picture

I thought I didn’t know this song, but I do. It’s a softer song that sounds like it’s building up to something, but never quite gets there.

It has major, “it’s raining outside, so it’ll be indoor recess” vibes. Don’t ask me why.

I do like how when you type the song title next to the band name, it basically predicts the future of photography.

Who knew? Probably not them.

3/5

8. Everclear – Wonderful

This song is about divorce, as told from a child’s perspective. I’m sure it’s a song that has helped many people over the years.

One thing I want to point out from the music video is it looks like every kid at school is getting on the same school bus at the end of the day. There wasn’t one kid with a bike. Very suspicious.

2/5

9. Blink 182 – Adam’s Song

If you’ve ever listened to Blink 182, you’ve definitely heard this song.

I don’t have much to say, so I’ll leave a quote below from Mark Hoppus, who talked about the meaning behind the lyrics.

“The heart of the song is about having hard times in your life, being depressed, and going through a difficult period, but then finding the strength to go on and finding a better place at the other side of that.”

5/5

10. Limp Bizkit – Re-Arranged

This was the most subdued Limp Bizkit song I’ve ever heard. Granted, I could probably only name two. I assumed all of their music was filled with yelling and screaming and anger. But that wasn’t the case with this song.

I was pleasantly surprised. It opened up my eyes.

1/5

11. Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag

I don’t even know where my generation was listening to songs like this, but we all seemed to know them. At least, I’m assuming everyone did.

Music videos of that era really loved having a school theme. They all saw a trend and swam with the current.

5/5

12. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside

I know I’m in the minority, but I’m not really a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their sound doesn’t quench my ear-thirst. Is that a thing?

It’s like when you suck on a straw, but you’re at the bottom of the cup and a small piece of ice gets lodged in the straw. You think, “Okay, I got an ice cube, but I wanted so much more.”

That’s how I feel. Don’t worry, they and their 5.2 Billion YouTube views will be just fine without me.

Again, we don’t choose the music we like! Don’t get mad at me.

1/5

13. Sum 41 – Makes No Difference

I hadn’t heard this Sum 41 song before. The music video fulfills other popular tropes from the era. They have a band – drum sets and all – set up at a college house party. No one questions why they’re there. They just dance within non-socially distanced proximity.

Things eventually go awry because that’s the only way these parties ever end. A car crashes through the window to add shock value.

The song started to catch on after the second listen.

2/5

14. Deftones – Change (In The House Of Flies)

I could see this song being played in a TV show where the main character wakes up at 4:23am with a pounding headache and slowly walks to the bathroom to take a Tylenol, but then they trip over their kid’s toys in the hallway and fall down the stairs. Don’t worry, they’re fine.

The whole scene would play at half speed.

Don’t say I didn’t tell you, when you see this on ABC in the fall.

Anyway, this song isn’t for me.

1/5

15. Disturbed – Stupify

Stupify is a Harry Potter spell, isn’t it?

This song fits in the mould of other Disturbed songs. The whole, “sing as many words as possible using just one breath, and then let out a shriek” thing. You know what I mean.

I’ll admit, I was ready to give it a 1/5, but it’s growing on me. I’m going to look up the lyrics.

If this were a game show and I had to listen to the song and write out all the lyrics, I’d probably get one word right. I’m looking at the lyrics now and I’m certain I didn’t hear 98% of these words.

That’s just a me thing, though. I’ve never been good at hearing lyrics unless they are blatantly obvious.

3/5

16. J. Englishman – More

Not my kind of music.

1/5

17. Kid Rock – Only God Knows Why

This one caught me off-guard, just like the Limp Bizkit song. I don’t pretend to have a handle on what Kid Rock music traditionally sounds like, but I’m pretty sure it’s normally loud(?).

This song is very slow and I guess only God knows why?

1/5

18. Nickelback – Breathe

I know Nickelback gets a lot of hate and people say all of their songs sound the same. I mean, you could say that about a lot of bands, but no one seems to do that.

They have good songs, okay. Have you even listened to Savin’ Me?

As for this one, it wasn’t for me.

1/5

Well, we’ve reached the end.

I’m not going to like every song I listen to, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good or that there aren’t thousands/millions of people who do like it.

It just means that I didn’t like it.

That’s all.

Which songs did you know/like from this list? Should I do this again for another CD? What do you miss about music videos from 20 years ago?


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Kick Back, Relax

Whenever I try and take slow, deep breaths to relax, I feel like I’m giving myself an internal service error. At which point, I put my breathing back on auto-breathe and act like I didn’t try to manually control it. The body is smart, I’ll let it do it’s thing.

This blog post is in response to Aaron’s weekly prompt. Since today is National Relaxation Day, his prompt is “Relax“.

I was going to get into what I had intended on writing about, but I’m too distracted by the recommendations Google has for how we can relax our mind and body.

Soothing music. What classifies as soothing music? Is it just ocean noises with the periodic “Caw Caw”, to keep you on your toes? Or, is it just music you like that doesn’t have any thumps in it?

It’s like when a fitness instructor says, “legs should be shoulder width apart”. Okay, but how far is that, exactly? When did our shoulders become a unit of measurement?

I just want specifics.

Anyway, when I see the word, “relax”, I think back to watching TVO Kids as a child. For the non-Canadians reading this, it was like Nickelodeon. There would be an after school lineup of children shows, with hosts in a studio.

The hosts would say, “Kick back, relax”. I didn’t know what “kick back” meant, but I assumed it meant I should lay down on the couch and kick the far arm rest, as a way to get comfortable and “relax”.

Brilliant boy, I was.

And as I thought about writing that in this post, I remembered the Friday Night Football song for the CFL on TSN in the early 2000s. The song had the lyric, “kick back, relax”. The song was great. I miss it.

Was there something about that era – late 90s, early 2000s – where “kick back (and) relax” was a popular phrase people said? Maybe it’s just a coincidence. I’m just here to connect the dots.

To me, relaxation occurs when I am doing something, while also doing nothing. It is the act of being on a couch, while staring at a television screen. Or laying on a bed and listening to music, that may or may not be soothing. Caw Caw.

Another weird thing just popped in my mind.

The ol’ “picture the audience in their underwear” line, as a way to get you to calm your nerves when speaking in front of a group of people. I never understood that. That’s too much mind work. Can’t I just picture them looking uninterested and bored?

Remember presentations in front of the class? You held onto the paper with both hands because if you were to hold it with one, it would start shaking uncontrollably? I feel like that happened to everyone at least once.

I always hated sitting through the presentations before mine. That was worse than actually giving the presentation. The anticipation killed me. Once I got in front of the class, I knew I would deliver as long as I wasn’t missing a cue card.

Maybe it was growth through experience, but presentations in university weren’t that bad. I was fairly relaxed for most of them.

The trick, for me, was a combination of: being prepared, not having a script, and not over-rehearsing.

I would have my bullet points and know what I wanted to saw for each. To practice, I’d pace back and forth in my room while saying the words under my breath. I never wanted to get too attached to the same verbiage every time, in fear of sounding robotic. I wanted to save my best performance for the class.

“We’ll do it live!”

There was one time my group wanted to practice, and practice, and practice the presentation. It got to the point where I said I wasn’t going to practice my part again. I knew it, I didn’t want to overdo it.

That presentation was only out of 10 marks. Two marks were going to be given for making the audience laugh. That was to encourage us to make it fun.

My portion was one of the two parts of the presentation where laughs were possible. Sure enough, I had the lecture room laughing, and I attribute that to not over-rehearsing.

Anyway, I have rambled on long enough about things that barely definitely relate back to Aaron’s prompt.

I bid you an adieu.

Caw Caw.

How do you relax? How were you with school presentations?

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Blogger Games – Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of The Blogger Games!

Before we get into this week’s questions, let’s take a look back at Week 2 and see who made it onto the podium.

WEEK 2 – SPORTS

Competitors: Catsandcoffee, Ben, T, Aaron, Reid, Monty, rebbit7, Sarah

1. In Grade 6, I was the captain of which intramural team?
A) Floor Hockey
B) Basketball
C) Indoor Soccer

Correct: N/A

A teacher would select Grade 6 students to be the captains of intramural teams and during recess, they would stay inside and draft their team of kids from Grade 4, 5, and 6. The captains were normally the ones who were best at the sport, so they wouldn’t end up on the same team.

When it came to indoor soccer, one kid turned down being captain because he wanted to be on his friend’s team, who was also a captain. We now know this as tampering. So, instead, I was chosen as the reluctant replacement. I still remember drafting my team and going home and making line combinations.

2. Which jersey number did I wear in my first year playing softball?
A) 8
B) 10
C) 13

Correct: T, Reid, Sarah

Team uniforms never showed up until maybe the third or fourth game of the season and it was first come, first serve when it came to numbers, unless someone had put in a specific request. The numbers ranged from 1-15 and the bigger the number, the bigger the size.

I was always one of the first people at the field. I showed up one day and saw the coach’s son in his uniform and the rest of the uniforms laid out on the bench. I went straight for #13. It was a coveted number back then.

When my teammates showed up, they all wanted #13 but it was too late, I was already wearing it and wasn’t going to give it up.

3. Which piece of sporting equipment do I not currently have in my bedroom?
A) Football
B) Lacrosse Ball
C) Tennis Ball

Correct: Ben, rebbit7

Of course I have tennis balls. As for the lacrosse ball, I went to a game in the early 2000s and the ball came into the crowd during pre-game warmups and landed in my row. The adult a few seats down gave it to me.

4. Which sport have I never attended in-person?
A) Rugby
B) Soccer
C) Football

Correct: Catsandcoffee

Soccer is one of those sports I didn’t grow up following, so I never had a team to cheer for. Toronto eventually got a team, but my fandom has waned.

I’ve been to some Canadian Football League games in my life.

As for rugby – technically, I’ve been at a stadium for 51 rugby matches between senior national teams from almost a dozen countries, but only ever saw 2 matches. I’ll let your mind wander on that one.

5. At the first baseball game I ever went to, what did I eat?
A) Pizza
B) McDonald’s
C) Hotdog

Correct: Reid

I was 6-years-old. I ate my McDonald’s meal and fell asleep right after the national anthems. I remember the view from my seat, but that’s it. It was a night game.

6. Which hockey team’s jacket did I not own as a child?
A) Colorado Avalanche
B) Toronto Maple Leafs
C) Detroit Red Wings

Correct: T, Reid, Sarah

I loved the Avalanche jacket. It was a fall coat and had their big logo on the back. The Leafs jacket had the most comfortable hood ever. Both jackets were Starters jackets. (That might not mean anything to 98% of you)

7. Which ball has never hit me in the face?
A) Soccer Ball
B) Basketball
C) Volleyball

Correct: Catsandcoffee

I don’t think I’ve played volleyball against people who can spike the ball hard enough for it to catch me off guard. I have pretty good reflexes.

The soccer ball hit me in the face when I was in net for a penalty shot in Grade 6. They set the ball up about 8 feet away from me, so I had no time to react. The referee was too intimidated to step in and move the ball back.

As for the basketball, a kid in gym class decided to throw the ball backwards over his head, without looking, for no reason(!) and it got me in the face. One of the downsides of everyone getting their own basketball.

8. In university, I participated in this intramural sport…
A) Ultimate Frisbee
B) Badminton
C) Dodgeball

Correct: Catsandcoffee, Ben, Aaron, Reid, rebbit7

I would’ve loved to play dodgeball with my friends, but my shoulder wasn’t cooperating at the time.

Ultimate Frisbee was fun, but exhausting. It was a 50-minute game played in the big gym where exams were written. The gym could’ve been divided into as many as 4 smaller gyms. It wasn’t. We played the whole length. I remember the first time I played, I looked at the clock and there were still 45 minutes left. I was gassed. We had one substitute.

9. I tore ligaments in my fingers playing this sport…
A) Volleyball
B) Basketball
C) Football

Correct: Catsandcoffee, T, Reid, Sarah

Elementary school gym class – I went to get a rebound and the ball bent two of my fingers back. Later on in class, I asked if I could get ice from the office. The office gave me one ice cube in a plastic bag. How dumb. I’m still mad about it. It melted within 20 minutes. They were always cheap with how much ice they gave out because kids would say “I need ice” and then just suck on the ice cube. By the next day, my fingers were green and purple and I couldn’t bend them.

10. Which baseball player was on the cover of my favourite video game?
A) Derek Jeter
B) Albert Pujols
C) Manny Ramirez

Correct: Catsandcoffee, Reid, rebbit7

To this day, MVP Baseball 2005 with Manny Ramirez on the cover is my favourite video game of all time. Such a fun game.

Total for Week 2Combined total from Week 1 & 2 in parentheses
1. Reid – 6 (6)
2. Catsandcoffee – 5 (9)
3. T – 3 (8)
3. rebbit7 – 3 (6)
3. Sarah – 3 (3)
6. Ben – 2 (3)
7. Aaron – 1 (5)
8. Monty – 0 (3)
9. Meghan – DNP (3)

Reid takes home the gold. Catsandcoffee ends up with silver. And there is a three way tie for bronze between: T, rebbit7, and Sarah. Congratulations to our medalists!

UPDATED MEDAL TABLE

NameGoldSilverBronzeTotal
T112
Catsandcoffee22
Reid11
Aaron11
rebbit711
Sarah11
Ben
Monty
Meghan
Once again, thanks to Monty (@MontyVern on Twitter) for gifting me this image.

WEEK 3 – PREFERENCES

1. Which way do I like the toilet paper roll to hang?
A) Over
B) Under

2. Sandwiches taste better when they are…
A) Not Cut
B) Cut Diagonally

3. When it comes to watching shows on TV, do I like to watch them…
A) Live
B) Later (Recorded)

4. Would I rather…
A) Stay Up Late
B) Wake Up Early

5. Though I like both, which fries do I like more?
A) Wendy’s
B) McDonald’s

6. I like to sleep on my…
A) Side
B) Back
C) Stomach

7. When drinking from a small milk carton, do I…
A) Use A Straw
B) Not Use A Straw

8. I prefer a desk chair…
A) Without Arm Rests
B) With Arm Rests

9. Which do I prefer on my feet in the summer?
A) Shoes
B) Sandals

10. Which type of book do I enjoy more?
A) Fiction
B) Non-Fiction

YOU SHARE: What are some preferences you have? What do you like that others don’t? What would your answers be to my 10 questions above?

TO PLAY: Answer the questions above in a blog post of your own and link me to it, so I can see it. If you didn’t participate in Week 1 or 2 of The Blogger Games, no problem! You can still take part this week.

If you don’t feel like writing out your answer, you may put it in bold or italics.

Good luck!

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Together at the Olympics

Together.

It is a word that has been used a lot over the last year and a half. It has been added to slogans. It is softly spoken to us in radio advertisements. It is plastered on large canvases, which we cannot possibly miss.

We are in this together. You have heard that sentence. No one needs to ask what this is referring to. We know.

At times, it has felt overdone and cliché. Are we really in this together, or is that eight-letter word merely a marketing tool, meant to pacify our fears and appeal to our longing to once again feel connected to the people we have not been able to see?

I do not know. I just ask the rhetorical questions.

What I do know is that sport has the power to bring people together. I know this because I have experienced it. It is the shared jubilation, or heartbreak, between you and your friends, or you and the stranger sitting next to you at the ballpark.

Heck, it can also connect you with the athlete via empathy, or fandom.

Sport is a universal language that needs no translation. It reaches in and pulls out your deepest emotions. It makes you feel and sometimes scream. It makes you cry, both happy and sad tears. It makes you care about something outside yourself and takes your mind off of life, if only for a few moments.

That is what sport can do. That is why I love the Olympics.

The flame has gone out on the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Many did not think it should have been lit in the first place. Tokyo was, and still is, under a state of emergency.

Many looked at it as putting the business of sport above the health and safety of human beings. It is a fair point.

Whether you agreed with the decision or not, the Olympics happened.

The circumstances were not ideal. There were no fans. There were no families. There were no (insert 100 more items here).

There were only athletes, coaches, and Olympic committee representatives from 206 countries. Together. In empty arenas and stadiums.

Think of the years of training. Think of the years of dreaming to be on the Olympic stage and once you get there, the lights are on, but no one is home.

The friendly blend of a local and international audience was nowhere to be seen. The seats were empty. The roar of the crowd was missing. Everything was almost too quiet.

How unfortunate.

However, dare I say, the Olympic spirit was alive.

This does not apply to everyone, but there is something about the Olympics that renews my love for sport.

Perhaps, it is the camaraderie and sportsmanship among competitors. Perhaps, it is the athlete with an underdog story, who is finally able to overcome all the odds. Perhaps, it is the raw emotion on the faces of athletes and how easy it is to see how much they care.

That brings me to the Olympic creed. It is a quote by Baron de Coubertin, who was the founder of the International Olympic Committee, otherwise known as the father of the modern Olympic Games.

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”

Remember when your parents used to say that it does not matter if you win or lose, it is how you play the game? Turns out, they were on to something.

Of course, we celebrate the victories of the men and women who bring home medals for our country. That is a given.

But we also celebrate the struggle. We feel for the Olympian who gave it their all, but missed the podium. We feel for the Olympian who cries in front of the camera and thinks they owe us an apology.

Sometimes, athletes and teams are looking for redemption – a chance to rewrite their ending.

Sport is so much more than what the scoreboard says. It is the stories that we cling to because they are a reminder that these elite level athletes are still human, like us.

Danielle Lawrie was on the Canadian softball team that finished 4th at the Olympics in 2008, and retired in 2014, only to come out of retirement in 2017 and make one final push for an Olympic medal. All while having two young kids at home.

She did it. She trained for four years, with the goal of playing six games in Tokyo. Lawrie recorded the final strikeout for Canada as they defeated Mexico to win the bronze medal.

The Canadian women’s soccer team won a bronze medal at each of the last two Summer Olympics. It was no longer satisfying. As the 8th ranked team in the world, they had to defeat Brazil (#7) in the quarter-final, USA (#1) in the semi-final, and Sweden (#5) in the final.

They did it. They changed the colour of their medal. A moment that you could say was nine years in the making, but it was so much longer than that.

Mo Ahmed, a Canadian long-distance runner, won a silver medal in the 5000m race. His turning point came at the World Championships in 2019, where he won bronze. After that race, he talked about being disappointed with all the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th place finishes.

“I’m not going to be a passenger”, he said. He was going to run his own race and make his own moves. What a powerful mantra, I think. “I’m not going to be a passenger.” Incredible.

When the Dutch runner, Sifan Hassan, fell to the ground on the last lap of the 1500m preliminary heat and dropped to the back of the field, she got up and won the race. From that moment on, I was cheering for her.

When the great, Simone Biles, returned to competition for the beam final and won bronze, I had tears in my eyes. I am not afraid to admit it. That was as powerful a sporting moment as I have ever seen. I was so happy for her.

That is the power of the Olympics. You go into it cheering for your country to succeed and win all the medals, but along the way, you find yourself rooting for athletes from other countries because they are human, too.

Whether you can relate to their struggle, or just want to see them overcome the obstacles in front of them, it is hard not to support them.

That is when sport brings people together.

There is always an us vs. them mentality built into every competition, but when you can cross over the line and also support them…when you can empathize with those not on your “team”, that is when the word, “Together” actually starts to mean something.

“Together” was a feeling, not a slogan.

That is what I take away from Tokyo 2020.

Look, it was never going to be perfect. People will still have their valid complaints. Japan never got to show-off its country the way it wanted to. The list of regrets is long.

However, I do think some good came out of these Olympics. How long will that “good” last outside the Olympic bubble? I am not sure.

Before I end this, I want to mention the 51,672 volunteers who, by all accounts, made a positive impact on the athletes and media members who were in Tokyo. It would have been easy for them to back out and stay home – many did – but there they were exhibiting the best qualities of their country and giving outsiders a glimpse into what Japan, its people, and culture, have to offer.

They should be very proud.

And now, we go back to life without the Olympics on TV every hour of the day.

Personally, I will be in a post-Olympic malaise for a few days, as I am already finding it weird that I will not have some sort of diving event to stay up late to watch at 2am.

If anyone needs me, I will be thinking about all the Olympic events I would be terrible at.

Thank you.

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Tokyo 2020: After 16 Days

As the final medals are being handed out, I’m realizing that the last two weeks have gone by way too fast. I don’t want the Olympics to end.

Fortunately, the Winter Olympics are only six months away and all eyes will be on Beijing.

For now, you know the drill – here are some Olympians and events that caught my attention since the last time I did a post like this.

CANADA’S GOLDEN GIRLS
The Canadian women’s soccer team did it. THEY DID IT. They won the gold medal against Sweden in a penalty shootout that I still can’t process.

Each team missed three penalty kicks in a row at separate points in the shootout. When Sweden had a chance to put us away, they kicked it over the net. And then up stepped 20-year-old, Julia Grosso, for Canada.

She put it in the back of the net and the celebration was on. Boy, has it been a great couple of months for Italians in penalty shootouts.

When she was 11, she watched the Canadian women win bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London. She was inspired by that moment. Nine years later, her goal won them the gold.

Of course it happened this way.

We all talk about Christine Sinclair being the greatest soccer player in this country (and the world). We talk about the impact she’s had on inspiring generations of young girls to play soccer.

Well, Sinclair didn’t have a dominant tournament. She didn’t carry the team like she had in the past. And that was okay because there were a lot of younger players – who idolized Sinclair growing up – right there to pick her up.

In the semi-final, Sinclair handed the ball to 23-year-old, Jesse Fleming, to take a penalty kick, rather than taking it herself. Fleming scored. The same thing happened in the final. Sinclair gave the ball to Fleming, who connected once again.

Fleming had ice in her veins.

If not for Sinclair putting in over 20 years of commitment to the Canadian national team, Canada Soccer is nowhere near that gold medal game. It was all those years of growth, coupled with disappointment, that made this possible.

So, it’s only fitting that after Sinclair carried the burden of success for so long, it was her teammates – the ones she inspired – who stepped up and helped get the job done.

It’s a beautiful story, really.

If you don’t live in Canada, you might not fully understand. When it comes to team sports at the Summer Olympics, we don’t do well. I believe this was our first gold medal in a team sport.

We get used to celebrating bronze medals and seeing those as massive achievements. We get used to celebrating effort and saying, “Well, 6th in the world is pretty amazing when you put it in perspective.” We get used to settling for less because the idea of striving for more seems impossible.

This team went to the Olympics with the goal of changing the colour of their medal. They were no longer satisfied with bronze. They knew they could achieve something greater. And they did.

I need to mention Goalkeeper, Stephanie Labbé. In the first game of the tournament, she went down with an injury after a collision. She stopped a penalty kick, before being subbed off and missing the next game.

These were her last Olympics. The gold medal game was her last stand. She was incredible.

Labbé played mind games in the penalty shootout. When a Swedish player came down to take a shot, she was right there to greet them with a smile.

WHY IS SHE SMILING???

Exactly. Now she’s in your head. Now you hit the post. Now you kick it over the net. Now you don’t get enough power on the shot. Now you lose. That’s why she was smiling.

No one will forget that performance, or that maniacal Canadian smile.

Labbé and Sinclair, along with Allysha Chapman and Desiree Scott have been through it all with the national team. I’m happy they finally got to stand on the top step of the podium.

I’m also happy for Sophie Schmidt and Erin McLeod, who were reserves on this team, but have been such big contributors in the past for Canada Soccer. They deserve this moment, and that gold medal, as much as anyone.

What a team. What a game. What a memory.

CLOSING CEREMONY FLAG-BEARER
I alluded to this in a previous post – athletes have 24-48 hours to leave Japan once their event is over. That’s only because of COVID. As a result, a lot of the heroes and medal winners have already come home.

That’s okay because Canada still had plenty of options to choose from when it came to selecting the flag-bearer for the Closing Ceremony. In the end, they went with Damian Warner, the winner of the men’s Decathlon. It’s an excellent choice.

Andre De Grasse and, literally, the entire women’s soccer team were probably strong contenders, too.

Christine Sinclair was the flag-bearer at the Closing Ceremony in 2012, so I kind of figured it wouldn’t be her, or a representative from the Canadian soccer team, again.

I have no inside knowledge, whatsoever, but I get the sense that the Canadian Olympic Committee likes to spread the love around to various national sport organizations when selecting the flag-bearer. As they should.

That’s just my guess.

The athletes who are chosen are always deserving and for Rugby Canada and Canada Basketball at the Opening Ceremony, and now Athletics Canada at the Closing Ceremony, this recognition is a feather in all of their hats. It’s something they can proudly point to and say, “That was us.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if De Grasse is one of the flag-bearers at the Opening Ceremony in Paris in 2024. As for which woman he’d be paired with, Penny Oleksiak comes to mind right away.

However, Swimming is normally right at the beginning of the Olympics. I recall Swimming analyst, Byron MacDonald, talk about a swimmer who was the flag-bearer for their country and he thought it was a big mistake because the Opening Ceremony is a long night and swim events start the next day. It’s more important to be well-rested.

So, if Penny isn’t named as one of the flag-bearers at the Opening Ceremony in 2024, that’s probably why.

MARA-MARA-MARATHON
I’m going to type this before I look it up on Google: I really hope the cars and motorbikes, that drive in front of marathon runners, are electric. Otherwise, those runners are breathing in exhaust for hours.

*Googling in progress, please hum to yourself*

I’m 98% sure the short answer is, “yes, they are electric.” Toyota seems to have made a lot of electric vehicles specifically for these games. You can look them up, they’re neat.

Anyway, that’s good. Because running for over two hours is hard enough, you don’t need to be filling your lungs with exhaust.

You just know that it wasn’t always this way. Same with bicycle races.

Now I’m thinking back to when I used to watch the Tour de France on a regular basis. Those riders were definitely breathing in car/motorcycle exhaust. A lot of them were also doping, but let’s not get into that.

An interesting tidbit one of the commentators mentioned during one of the marathons was that if runners couldn’t get their own custom drink from their designated drink station, there were “generic sport drinks” elsewhere on the track. However, that could be a risk because they don’t know how their body would react to it.

That’s how much precision goes into running a marathon, I guess.

Along the side of the marathon course were big boxes that said, “Dust Box”. I had no clue what a Dust Box was, but assumed it was some sort of garbage bin.

I looked it up. Apparently, the Japanese translation was off and it is, essentially, a garbage bin. Perhaps, a dust bin?

CRASHES AT THE VELODROME
The bikes used for Track Cycling do not have brakes. It is safer that they don’t because if somewhere we to tap the brakes, while travelling at such a high speed, the entire field behind them would be wiped out.

As it is, there are already crashes. And they aren’t pretty. There was a big one in a women’s race last night . One woman was sliding across the track and her stomach was run over by a cyclist, who was then ejected from her own bike.

It was chaos. I think a race official also got taken out. I saw a man curled up on the ground.

Anyway, I like learning things about different sports and when it comes to Track Cycling, I learned what a Keirin, Omnium, and Madison are.

They all sound like a medication you’d hear about in a commercial where someone is near a toilet, but I promise you they aren’t.

Keirin: Not pronounced like “Karen”, but rather, “Keeran”. This is a six lap sprint race where riders must stay behind a pacer, who is riding a motorbike. The pacer is there for three laps, before getting out of the way. Yes, you read that correctly.

Omnium: No relation to Imodium, stop it. This a a multiple race event, consisting of different formats. At these Olympics, it was four different formats. It’s basically like the Decathlon, but for Cycling.

My favourite format was the Elimination Race. There were 19 riders and every two laps, the rider to cross the finish line in last place, was eliminated. Wild stuff.

Madison: It is named after Madison Square Garden and has been around since 1898. So, bow down.

It’s essentially a tag team event. There are 16 teams (countries) of 2 on the track at the same time. The riders take turns during the race. So, one member will go all out and have their laps counted, while the other goes around at a slower pace, recovering.

Think of it like a short-track speed skating relay.

And when it’s time to switch, the teammates have to find each other on the track, amongst 30 other riders. They pull up next to each other, hold hands (this is how they tag in and out), and the outgoing member launches their teammate forward. It looks very dangerous and scary.

I expect you to impress your friends with this new-found knowledge.

SIFAN HASSAN
I mentioned her in my last post. She’s the distance runner from the Netherlands, who won gold in the 10,000m and 5,000m, and a bronze in the 1500m. No one had ever won a medal in all three events at the same Olympics.

She ran six races in eight days, covering 24.5km.

Thanks to the World Athletics Instagram page, I learned more about her story today. She is an Ethiopian refugee who went to the Netherlands in 2008 when she was 15.

Here are her own words:

“When I arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee it was terrible. I cam from a background where everything, even the door is open. And in the Netherlands, everything was shut, and I was so stressed. I thought I have to do some sport, something outdoors.

So I told them (at school) I needed to do sports. I wanted to do swimming but (they told me) it costs money. I wanted to do volleyball, but it costs money. But running is free, and I said I loved that.

For some reason I have so much energy – especially this year. I feel like when I was young. I have so much energy and that if I don’t use it I can’t sleep easily and I’m getting crazy.”

After the 10,000km race, she collapsed on the track and was gesturing to the cameraman that she needed water. Finally, medics came out to help her.

Her performance in Tokyo was legendary. She gave absolutely everything she had. She is my new favourite athlete.

I’ll end it there and be back tomorrow with a post-Olympics post.

Thanks for reading!

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Tokyo 2020: After 14 Days

As we speedwalk our way through the final days of the Tokyo Olympics, here are some of the Olympians and events that have caught my attention over the last few days.

Canadian Women’s Soccer Team
I love this team. As I’m writing this, the gold medal game between Canada and Sweden hasn’t happened yet. It will take place on Friday at 8AM ET. It just feels like this is their time. This is their moment.

After a bronze in 2012 and another bronze in 2016, they’ve changed the colour of the medal they’re going to receive this time. Hopefully, it’s gold.

I, and millions of others, really want this gold medal for Christine Sinclair. No man, or woman, has scored more goals at the international level. She has been at the forefront of Canada Soccer for over 20 years. This could be her last Olympics. It has to happen. It just has to.

It was probably 2002, when I first discovered Christine Sinclair. I found women’s soccer on TV and it was Sinclair and Kara Lang dominating the opponent.

I just looked it up and, indeed, in 2002 the U-19 Women’s World Championship was held in Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium. I had remembered it was in Edmonton, but I didn’t know what the tournament was.

Sinclair scored 10 goals in that tournament, including 5(!) in the quarterfinals against England.

A gold medal at the Olympics would be the cherry on top of her legendary career. For Sinclair and all the women who have gotten the program to this point, I hope they get the moment they so rightfully deserve.

UPDATE: CANADA WON GOLD

Race Walking is Brutal
Throughout the Olympics, I’ve thought to myself, “Hmm, what sport would I compete in if I had to choose?” I think Race Walking would be an option. That being said, it’s no joke.

I can sit here and say I speedwalk past slow mall walkers all the time, but in Tokyo, the men just walked 50 kilometres in just under four hours. Canadian, Evan Dunfee, won bronze.

People will laugh and ask, “How is that a sport?” but it’s extremely gruelling.

I caught a recap of the race and 30 minutes in, one competitor was looking for a toilet. Those are the commentator’s words, not mine. Later in the race, that competitor dropped out of the race after a long break at one of the refreshment stands.

That was the final 50-kilometre race at the Olympics as the Olympic committee decided that it didn’t fit with their mission of gender equality. The men and women each have a 20-kilometre race, but the men have an additional 50-kilometre race.

Instead of adding one for women, they are scrapping the men’s and instituting a mixed-team race walking event at the next Olympics. As I said in a previous post, I like the mixed team events that are popping up.

Artistic Swimming is Tough
I just found out that Synchronized Swimming rebranded itself as Artistic Swimming after the 2016 Olympics.

I caught the Canadian women’s duet performance and my God, it was mind-blowing.

First of all, they were in unison from the moment they were introduced from the backstage area, to the end of their routine. One team came out to an “evil dolls” theme and acted like evil dolls before even getting into the pool.

Once in the pool, the Canadians were in sync for what felt like a five-minute routine. It was nuts. You almost forget that they’re doing their routine while in water.

They were upside down, kicking their legs out of the water in the same direction, at the same height, despite one member being taller than the other. The commentators pointed out that the shorter member had to work harder to maintain the same height.

Everything was spot-on. One long expression of, “Howwwwwww” with never-ending w’s filled my mind.

Other than being submerged under water and being in perfect unison with their partner, I was impressed by the fact that every time they came out of the water, their eyes were wide open. Heck, even under water, their eyes were open.

Every time I dunk my head in a pool, I feel like it takes me a minute to reopen my eyes all the way.

I’m certain some sorcery was involved, or maybe just water-proof eyelashes acting as windshield wipers (if that’s a thing?). Perhaps they just have a really strong tolerance for chlorine in their eyes? I was impressed, nonetheless.

The Canadians placed 5th.

Water Polo is the Original XFL
No one told me a Water Polo game started with a swim-off to retrieve the ball, which is basically what the original XFL did to see which team would have first possession.

The ball is placed in the middle of the pool and teams swim to it. I guess it’s like the start of dodgeball match, too.

In the XFL, the football was placed on the 50-yard line and one player from each team would sprint from their own goal line to retrieve it. They had to get rid of the concept because players were getting hurt from running into each other.

Andre De Grasse is Golden
In 2016, we thought he was the heir-apparent to Usian Bolt in the world of sprinting. And now, De Grasse finally has his first gold medal in the 200m.

It’s the first gold medal for Canada in the 200m since Percy Williams in 1928. Williams’ victory was such a surprise that the officials didn’t have a Canadian flag, or anthem, on-hand for the medal ceremony.

They definitely had both ready for De Grasse.

De Grasse goes for another gold in the 4×100 relay on Friday.

UPDATE: DE GRASE ET AL. WON BRONZE

Decathlon or Dehydration?
Canadian Damian Warner won the Decathlon and broke the 9000-point barrier for the first time in Olympic history.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know how points are awarded for each of the ten events. I need to look it up. But to do something that has never been done before at the Olympics is always impressive.

His four-month old son was watching at home wearing a, “I’m Daddy’s gold medal” shirt.

Sifan Hassan Fell Down And Still Won
Sifan Hassan is a distance runner from the Netherlands. She won gold in the 5000m race, but almost didn’t qualify for the final.

In the qualification heat, she got tripped up at the start of the final lap and fell. When she stood up, she was in last place. When she crossed the finish line, she was in first. FIRST.

I have never seen anything like it.

Her race strategy is to stay at the back for most of the race and avoid trouble. But when trouble struck, she still won.

She’s going for gold in the 1500m today and in the 10,000m tomorrow. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins both and goes home with three gold medals. She is that good.

Great Britain’s Laura Muir and Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford will be in contention for the 1500m.

I’m not as familiar with the field for the 10,000m, but my sentimental pick is Emily Sisson of the United States, only because I saw her dominate at the U.S. trials.

UPDATE: SIFAN HASSAN WON SILVER, LAURA MUIR WON BRONZE, GABRIELA DEBUES-STAFFORD FINISHED 5TH.

Sports Look Easy But Aren’t
I think we take for granted just how hard some of these Olympic sports are because the athletes make them look so easy.

Every time I watch rowing, or one of the paddle sports, every boat is going in a straight line, as fast as possible. They keep up with their repetitive motion the entire time, picking up the pace when they need to make up ground. And at the end, they are absolutely exhausted.

I did see one race where a boat flipped over and two people fell in the water. Not sure what happened there. The commentator blamed the wind.

Besides that one outlier, the athletes make it look easy. That’s a testament to the training they put themselves through, knowing their Olympic dream can be shattered by being tenths of a second slower than someone else.

Imagine that, for a moment. You train for four years and then miss out on advancing, or miss out on a medal, by less than half a second.

Sometimes, a boat will finish the race about 7 seconds slower than everyone else and as a viewer you sit there like, “Wow, they were so slow.” When really, they were incredibly fast. It’s just everyone else was even faster.

Same with the men’s 100m race on the track. The gap between the gold medallist and the 6th place finisher was 0.18 seconds. These athletes live and die within tenths, sometimes hundredths, or thousandths of a second.

And we watch from our couch.

That’s all I have to say for now.

I’m sure I’ll be back for at least one more post to wrap up the Olympics.


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The Blogger Games – Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of The Blogger Games! Before I reveal this week’s theme and questions, we’re going to take a look back at Week 1 and see who made it onto the podium.

Week 1 – Food

Competitors: Aaron, T, Catsandcoffee, Monty, Ben, rebbit7, Meghan

1. At which restaurant did the waiter pour ice cubes down my back?
A) Red Lobster
B) Pizza Hut
C) Swiss Chalet
D) The Cheesecake Factory

Correct: Aaron, T, Catsandcoffee

I don’t remember how old I was – 12 or under. It my best friend Chris’ birthday party. The waiter picked up my glass to fill it with ice, but they had pour aim and the ice cubes ended up down my shirt. They apologized WHILE THE ICE CUBES WERE STILL FALLING. I don’t know why they poured ice cubes separate from the beverage, but I’m thankful.

2. Which of the following fell out the bottom of a takeout container and onto the sidewalk?
A) Pasta
B) Noodles and Honey Garlic Chicken
C) Burger and Fries
D) Chicken Noodle Soup

Correct: Catsandcoffee, Meghan

I was about 20 steps away from my university residence when I felt my hand burning. I looked at it and I was bleeding? Nope. It was pasta sauce. I lost a few penne on the ground and kept pressure on the wound (hole in the box) until I got to my room. What a mess. I triple or quadruple boxed every pasta after that.

3. Which condiment would I never put on a hotdog?
A) Relish
B) Ketchup
C) Mustard
D) Hot Peppers

Correct: Aaron, Monty

I like ketchup with fries. That’s it. Can’t put it on a hotdog or hamburger. Hot peppers rings in a jar, or hot pepper relish, go good on a hotdog.

4. Which is my favourite donut chain?
A) Krispy Kreme
B) Tim Horton’s
C) Coffee Time
D) Country Style

Correct: T, Catsandcoffee

Country Style isn’t as big as Tim Hortons, but their donuts are delicious. They stay fresh, longer. They rarely stick to the bag. I love them.

5. As a kid, I would make a “Saturday Night Drink” that consisted of: ice, lemon slices, and which soft drink?
A) Ginger Ale
B) Sprite
C) Coca-Cola
D) Diet Pepsi

Correct: Catsandcoffee, Monty, rebbit7

No story here, it was Ginger Ale.

6. Where did I eat watermelon for the first time?
A) After my softball game
B) Field Trip
C) Friend’s Birthday
D) In the street playing road hockey (snack break)

Correct: Aaron

It was a Grade 6 field trip to an amusement park. Someone’s mom brought watermelon cubes in a plastic container. They were delicious. I ate them while watching people line up at a pizza place and overpay for one slice. Probably the only time in my life I didn’t want pizza.

7. Which food did I mispronounce to a cafeteria worker at school?
A) Rhubarb Pie
B) Provolone Cheese
C) Falafel
D) Potato Wedges

Correct: N/A

I pronounced it as, “Potato Wedgies”. The person said, “What?” I corrected myself, “Potato Wedges”. I walked out of there so fast.

8. Which dessert did I drop on the floor at a buffet?
A) Brownie
B) Cupcake
C) Ice Cream
D) Lemon Bar

Correct: T, Meghan

I put two little brownie squares on a small plate and turned to go back to my table. I was initially holding the plate in my right hand, but went to hold it in my left hand. When my left hand grabbed hold of the plate, I guess I grabbed it too forcefully and it tilted and the brownies fell on the floor. An employee saw the whole thing and told me they’d take care of it. I put two more brownies on my plate and got out of there fast. Notice a theme?

9. Which of the following cereals have I never had?
A) Cinnamon Toast Crunch
B) Corn Flakes
C) Shreddies
D) Rice Krispies

Correct: T, rebbit7, Meghan

Corn Flakes are my favourite cereal. I’ve only ever had shreddies without milk, to snack on. Rice Krispies make too much noise and have marginal taste.

10. When I got braces, which food did I start cutting in half before eating?
A) Crackers
B) Grapes
C) French Fries
D) Sandwich

Correct: Aaron, T, Monty, Ben, rebbit7

My teeth hurt and in addition to braces, they also put bite pads in my mouth, which made it awkward to bite with my back teeth. Biting an entire grape was difficult, so I cut them in half. That’s also when I learned that mashed bananas are good.

Total
1. T – 5
2. Aaron – 4
2. Catsandcoffee – 4
4. Monty – 3
4. rebbit7 – 3
4. Meghan – 3
7. Ben – 1

UPDATE: Initially, I thought there was a three-way tie for first. However, I miscalculated and failed to give T all the points she had earned. Therefore, T wins gold, and Aaron and Catsandcoffee share silver.

No bronze will be handed out. Those are the rules, don’t be mad at me.

Let’s take a look at the Medal Tally!

NameGoldSilverBronzeTotal
T11
Aaron11
Catsandcoffee11
Monty
Ben
rebbit7
Meghan
Huge thanks to Monty (@MontyVern on Twitter) for creating this image for me! It shall act as the divider between last week and this week.

WEEK 2 – SPORTS

1. In Grade 6, I was the captain of which intramural team?
A) Floor Hockey
B) Basketball
C) Indoor Soccer

2. Which jersey number did I wear in my first year playing softball?
A) 8
B) 10
C) 13

3. Which piece of sporting equipment do I not currently have in my bedroom?
A) Football
B) Lacrosse Ball
C) Tennis Ball

4. Which sport have I never attended in-person?
A) Rugby
B) Soccer
C) Football

5. At the first baseball game I ever went to, what did I eat?
A) Pizza
B) McDonald’s
C) Hotdog

6. Which hockey team’s jacket did I not own as a child?
A) Colorado Avalanche
B) Toronto Maple Leafs
C) Detroit Red Wings

7. Which ball has never hit me in the face?
A) Soccer Ball
B) Basketball
C) Volleyball

8. In university, I participated in this intramural sport…
A) Ultimate Frisbee
B) Badminton
C) Dodgeball

9. I tore ligaments in my fingers playing this sport…
A) Volleyball
B) Basketball
C) Football

10. Which baseball player was on the cover of my favourite video game?
A) Derek Jeter
B) Albert Pujols
C) Manny Ramirez

YOU SHARE: Did you play any sports growing up? What did you like/dislike about gym class? Which sports do you like to watch/follow? Have you ever gotten hurt playing sports? Anything else about sports you’d like to share?

TO PLAY: Answer the questions in a blog post of your own. You don’t have to provide commentary with your answers. You may put your answers in bold or italics.

If you did not participate in Week 1, you can still participate in Week 2!

Yes, I made it easier this time with only three options to choose from.

The last day to submit your answers is next Tuesday, August 10.

Good luck!

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