Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Case of Consumption

Apparently it is time for my the every-coupla-months update on what I'm filling my head with. Lots of artsy-fartsy photos to decorate the place with too, and there should be more of those as the land comes alive once again.


  • Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore. As always, I'm a year or two behind the buzz on these things, despite being a big fan of his documentaries. I thought this one was a bit of a mess, which is what I expected given the scope of the topic he tackled...but with lots of poignant moments and his signature touches that mostly still resonate.
  • Rip: A Remix Manifesto -- Really sharp documentary about intellectual property, mostly focused on music, which suited me fine. Free to watch in HD on the NFB site, although I got my copy at the library.

  • Mary and Max. I love claymation, and although this was visually compelling, the story was a disaster -- one of those movies with no identity, just a random assortment of scenes cobbled together. I was truly mystified by generally positive reviews and found myself agreeing with the one from the Globe and Mail: "...mixture of artistic sophistication and emotional crudeness cancel each other out...."
  • NHL Playoffs, which have been pretty exciting so far. We don't have cable, so it's online streaming for me...CBCs feeds have been good. Helps that the Canucks are winning. My predictions (from before the start) for the first round: Vancouver over Chicago in 6, San Jose over LA in 5, Detroit over Phoenix in 5, Anaheim over Nashville in 6 (although I like Nashville, and am enjoying seeing them beat the Ducks). In the East, I'm likely going to be getting slammed for picking upsets in all the wrong ones: NYR over Washington in 7, Boston over Montreal in 5, Tampa Bay over Pittsburgh in 7, Buffalo over Philadelphia in 6.


  • Heaps and piles of picture books with Ezra, cycling through about 20 a week from the library, many times each. It's been fun to get back into picture books.
  • After our multi-month The Mysterious Benedict Society bedtime-reading marathon (three monster-thick books), we took a break with the rather silly Willoughbys, and have now dug into
    The Penderwicks. There are three already written, and they've got a wonderful sense of warmth and innocence -- old-fashioned stories.

  • My mom has recommended Swing Low by Miriam Toews for years already, and I finally got to it last week, starting after supper and finishing late that same night. I found the father-daughter stuff so poignant, and the dichotomies and tensions between how he felt (trapped in his own head), and how he lived -- so differently at home and at work. Lots of stuff to stew on there from my own past and present. I felt convicted at times, which is good, reflecting on incidents when I feel warmly toward my kids, yet say something critical instead (or saying nothing, more often). I was also reframing my own constructs about what mental health really means in my own life...recognizing ups and downs and coping mechanisms, especially coming through this winter. Lots of good conversations have come out of it already.

  • This is going back a month or two already, but I got totally into Mennonites Don't Dance by Darcie Friesen Hossack. Andrew and I went to see her do a reading in Penticton, so I crammed the night before -- need to go back to read the favourite stories again. I bought a copy for my mom, which she reviewed, and that led to a fascinating response from the author (who happens to live in Kelowna).
  • To complete the trifecta on this theme, I've been enjoying The Mennonites by Larry Towell again -- my third time taking it out of the library. Amazing photography...masterful, even.
  • Earth, a very silly book by Jon Stewart that had me laughing to the point of tears.

Listening To:




Monday, April 11, 2011

Da Winna

Let the historical record show that I (The Zambonis) won my hockey pool this year:

Members of the Jerry's Gulf clan in Rosenort have been running this pool for years. It's been a fun crew, with some historical connections and decent rivalries. I joined up three years ago for the first time and finished a respectable 4th after taking half the season to figure out how to make weekly roster changes (I think Myron won that year as an absentee manager). Last year I had a pretty good team and ended up second to runaway winner and eldest Jerry's-Gulf-son Jason.

Now, a quick note about the whole hockey pool thing. It's a dumb game, requiring you to care about irrelevant games like Atlanta vs Florida because you have a useless defenseman playing on one of the teams. I found myself cheering for the Black Hawks and Sharks this year because I had loaded up on players from those teams, even though I would traditionally dislike them strongly. It's my guilty pleasure, and I was fairly addicted to our head-to-head league, meaning that each team faced off against another team each week, competing for points in the usual categories (goals, assists, +/-, etc).

Plett (fc holland above) was in the lead the entire season -- he drafted well, made some smart moves and utterly dominated. I nearly caught up in the last two weeks, having made some decent (umm...lucky) moves of my own, and my goalies (Thomas, Rinne, Niemi) were tops in the league over the last half. Eventual Art Ross Trophy winner Daniel Sedin drove my offense all year, with Marleau, Kane, and Hossa picking things up down the stretch. I got good production out of Lidstrom before trading him for Weber, who scored like a forward mid-season before tailing off. Pronger and Green never did much for me.

Plett and I were in the final matchup this week to determine the winner. It started slow, and I led the week until Saturday, when Plett turned it around and started leading. When I left to go for a bike ride yesterday afternoon, I was down 5-4, having sewn up three goalie categories, but with only Milan Hedjuk still playing on an impotent Avalanche team, while Plett had a couple of better players still in action. Hedjuk was -4 with zero points and one period left in his fourth game of the week. Plett's main man Byfuglien went -1 (in a different game) to tie us on +/- and then suddenly Hedjuk scored on the powerplay with 30 seconds left (tying us for goals and PPP), sending the game into overtime...then he set up the winning goal with a power play assist that gave me the PPP category by one point.

So Plett's 5-4 lead was transformed into a 5-2 win for me over the course of three minutes of playing time. Four categories tied, and three categories settled by a one point difference. So close. Old friend Greg Siemens pulled into third by beating Warren in the other playoff final. Brent somehow fell to 7th after a strong comeback late in the season. Last year's winner (Jason) fell to 9th, providing a cautionary tale in case I feel too cocky next year. As this was a no-money pool, I have only bragging rights to show for it. Hence this irritating post.