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Canada is the New Texas

January 16th, 2007 @ 3:24pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

A fellow blogger at Metroblogging – Chicago pointed this out. It’s an interesting map compiled by a Norwegian blogger, placing countries (based on their GDP) in corresponding US States [TheBigPicture]

Canada: 1.035 trillion USD
Texas: 989,443 billion USD

If you want to get really picky… you could break it down by Canadian province. British Columbia being at 168 million behind Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. You could say, BC is the new Connecticut, or Alberta is the new Missouri… or just let Wiki do the rest of the comparisons for you.

I Want to Eat the Bowl

January 16th, 2007 @ 1:26pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

According to Hockey, A People’s History (which John and I watched religiously but are too cheap to purchase the DVD box set) Tim Horton was trying to subsidized his meager hockey earnings by becoming an entrepreneur. He worked for Conn Smythe’s [wiki] cement company before starting up his own burger joints and eventually the donut shops which became a staple of Canadian culture [wiki] .

We were talking with Bradley (yes, name drop, don’t you feel special now?) on the weekend about how prevalent Tim Horton’s are back East. He said they even have different products including the rumoured “Gretzky”. We all know a Double Double is two sugars, two creams[CBC], but the fabled “Gretzky” is nine of each [wiki].

But the Tim Ho specialty I’m missing right now is the bread bowl. I got some gift certificates for my birthday so I’ve been pumped with coffee for about 3 days now. At lunch I ran down to get some chili, which is accompanied by garlic bread, which will have to suffice for now. I’ve told John about the commercials for a while, since sometimes I’ll just blurt it out in every day conversation but I really do want to say, with merit, “…and then I ate the bowl!” (followed by cheesy laughter).

Centre of the Universe

January 16th, 2007 @ 11:29am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s something everyone West of Thunder Bay has come to accept, Toronto is the centre of the Canadian universe.

We scoff at the CBC and their disregard for Western programming and hockey coverage, federal politicians have long-before snubbed those on this side of the Rockies and let’s face it, they get all the good shopping, and recognition from other nations as being representative of Canada as a whole.

Hockey Day in Canada Nowadays it seems as though this image presented by arrogant residents of the ‘big stinky‘ city is becoming a trait most associated with Vancouverites [mbv].

But we’re supposed to hate and make fun of Torontonians, aren’t we?

My company’s head office is in Toronto and it’s pretty much a microcosm of Canadian society. All the big rules are made out there and we don’t know about them until they’re put into affect, after which all of us realize they’re completely useless and probably only serve those in the head office. A co-worker of mine came out here for a visit. He kept referring to the body of water in Coal Harbor as “the lake” and was surprised at the “city” we appear to have. Yes, real buildings, not tree forts.

The funny thing is, Torontonians don’t seem to care. Although we only see the Leafs once a year in NHL action, Canucks fans have the utmost hatred for the boys in blue and white. It’s comparable to Red Sox vs Yankees and Michigan vs Ohio State. But I’m starting to think it’s pretty much a one-way street.

In recent years, the despise for Toronto seems to have faded out here. Many are moving to Vancouver to set up shop, study and work and the other night at GM Place there was a healthy representation of Leafs fans. They’re becoming one of us and we’re becoming… something else.

Photo credit: mg on Flickr

It seems like Vancouver, much younger than more established and history-rich cities in Eastern Canada, has finally found its footing. Hollywood North, 2010 Olympics, diversity, fashion, cuisine, it all looks good on paper but we could just be becoming just as superficial as our old rivals.

With popularity comes more attention, positive and negative. We always knew our city was great but now that everyone else is starting to recognize this as well, we’re looking in the mirror a little more often. During a conversation with a friend, he mentioned how our ‘multicultural diversity’ is turning into a front for tourist brochures when in fact, we’re seriously lacking in that area (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg).

Toronto may still be the centre of the (Canadian) universe but the fact is, we’re catching up, in good ways and bad.

The Crazy Canucks – Episode #16

January 16th, 2007 @ 11:14am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Sweet, sweet number 16.

Dave is a healthy scratch for this recording as the rest of us gathered together to record another episode. We lost the streak against the Wild, but the Leafs were our next victims as the Canucks took them down on Hockey Day in Canada over the weekend.

Record as of this episode: 25-19-1
Northwest Division: 2nd
Western Conference: 7th

There was a lot to chat about even though there hasn’t been much action since the last episode. We take a look at some of the younger guys on the team, review some of the ways that we celebrated Hockey Day in each of our own special ways, why it should be a national holiday, wander down the scheduling trail again, and dissect the NHL All-Star Game selections a little bit. J.J also drops some bombs at the end of the episode with some injury reports, and we all agree that nothing else matters since we spanked the Leafs, 6-1, on national TV, no less.

Also, look for another episode this week, but this one will break the normal TCC mold. Rebecca and John brought some recording gear to watch the game at GM Place between the Leafs and Canucks. That episode will be released in the next few days.

To Feel Good

January 15th, 2007 @ 5:26pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

When I think of gyms and fitness clubs I get shivers, and I also think about that Friends episode where Chandler and Ross want to “quit the gym”… and end up “quitting the bank”. Overpriced, filled with spandex-clad ‘roid monkeys and Lululemon-loving yoga bunnies the gym can be a scary place.

I had a 3 month pass to Fitness World about 3 years ago. After a couple weeks the novelty wore off and I was just too tired to get up and drive to the gym after work – it seemed like such a hassle. Yeah, lazy, I know. I’ve done cardio kickboxing and 5km runs at 6am but nothing seems to leave me coming back for more. So like a bagillion other people, I’m going to start working out this New Year but I’ll try a different approach.

Yoga would be good for me since I’m pretty high strung at times (spazzy, stressy, high blood pressure, the works) and I could use the workout combined with chilling out but it’s just not my cup of tea. and I just wouldn’t fit in. I’m going to try a different route. Not just because it’s within walking distance from my place, it’s also extremely inexpensive compared to most other options, and lord knows we’re frugal.

So while John continues his conditioning and running during the day, I’m going to give this other option a try for 1 month. I’m not going to disclose where or what it is, you know just for personal/safety purposes. I’ll post updates now n’ then since this place may not be the gem my expectations have built it up to be, and we’ll see how I’m feeling after 4 weeks.

This American Life Podcast

January 15th, 2007 @ 10:45am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Every now n’ then John will make a post about what he’s listening to [audihertz], linking to various podcasts. He listens to far more than me, but when we head out to New West on the weekends I plug my headphones into his iPod and we both listen to whatever he’s got on his playlist that week. Recently, he’s had a couple episodes of This American Life with Ira Glass [ThisLife]. I have to say, I am becoming a fan of the radio talk show style and its theatre of the mind.

This summer I was hooked [Ms604] on Theory of Everything podcast with Benjamin Walker [TOEradio] his storytelling is mesmerizing and the tales he spins are both preposterous and entertaining. I think that’s where this all started, although if I really want to reach back a couple years, I suppose my liking for the genre began when I used to listen to John’s earlier RadioZoom podcasts.

These guys have such great voices and delivery, not to mention the content is intriguing, humorous and compelling. A recent episode of This American Life talked about reruns. One of the acts was about how married couples hear the same stories hundreds of times throughout their relationship (so true). The latest episode we caught was themed ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’. Stories from all walks of life, told in such a captivating way.

For more of what I am listening to check out the podcast links on my sidebar.

Road Hockey Rumble

January 14th, 2007 @ 3:49pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I spotted this show, Road Hockey Rumble, on OLN today and caught the last 15 minutes of the episode. The premise: Two guys travel across Canada, landing in communities and assembling road hockey teams who will play 1 game in the town before they move onto the next. The series premiered last week in Trail, BC and today’s episode saw them in Prince George, BC. They’ll then be traveling West to East, stopping in everywhere from Lloydminster, Alberta to Summerside, PEI.

Meet two ferocious road hockey obsessed rivals, Calum and Mark, who make their way across Canada in a 13-game grudge match series of road hockey on the new original OLN series Road Hockey Rumble.

On the road they tap into the rivalries, legends and elbow-to-the-face grit of Canada’s most colourful and competitive towns. In the border town of Lloydminster, AB, it’s the Albertans vs. the Saskatchewanians. In Toronto it’s Torontonians who were born there against players from other Canadian cities who now live in Toronto, but despise it. [TSN]

The premise is sort of Kenny vs Spenny-ish. Two friends battling each other to win a competition, cheating, calling names, while the winner gets bragging rights, the loser always gets some form of humiliation. In this case, the guy on the losing team was sprayed with Supersoakers containing blue dye, that they said would last a week.

The idea of roaming around the country and sparking up street hockey games is pretty fun, and I don’t have a problem with the low-budget Canadian programming. If it was more of a documentary style, I think I’d be much more excited. I think the over-compensating cheese and raw manly humour (fit for SpikeTV) is what makes me not like this as much as I should. Although, this is only episode 2 so I’m willing to give it another chance.

The official website is up and running although some features are not-yet-functional. They already have a blog and MySpace page setup, as well a Flickr account. The show airs Wednesday nights on OLN [Episodes].

For a slightly different representation of a Canadian guy wandering around sparking up hockey games and in search of the sport in remote unlikely locations, check out Dave Bidini’s The Tropic of Hockey (book) and The Hockey Nomad (documentary based on the book) [miss604]

Last Day of Staycation

January 12th, 2007 @ 7:55pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Snowy English BayI’ve had two weeks off work and haven’t done much, although I think it was well overdue. The reason why I had 12.9 days saved up was because I didn’t take any time off last year, aside from lieu days for working my butt off even more. John took some time off as well, sure he doesn’t have a 9-5 to go to everyday but he slowed down on the blogging, podcasting and various other projects so we could enjoy some time together. Next week it’s back to work for me and our calendar seems to be filling up again.

Tomorrow, for Hockey Day in Canada [cbc], they’re showing the Canucks/Leafs game on GM Place’s big screen at 4pm and then the UBC Thunderbirds will take on Regina [mbv]. They’re hoping to obtain a record for attendance for a university hockey game as Nelson, BC hosts the nation via CBC for other festivities.

We bought our tickets for the event today after I discovered another Ticketmaster location downtown. I had only known about the kiosk adjacent to the Lotto booth in Pacific Centre but after browsing the website I found another. We walked over to Cathedral Place (on Georgia, across from the Hotel Vancouver) [Flickr]. I’d never been in there before but the shopping space on the main level is pretty small so we easily found SAK News. It’s a tiny mom n’ pop newstand nestled in the corner. They were very courteous and helped us pick out some great seats. The ticket total was only $24, although there are better deals for families of 4 and UBC students [Canucks]. We’ll be there, hopefully filled with a couple ‘frosty beverages’ (that’s Dave-speak) and looking forward to some great hockey.

Update: Alanah is liveblogging Hockey Day in Canada, head over to Canucks & Beyond for all the action (she even tosses in a few trivia questions here and there, try your luck)