Sunday, May 24, 2009

This Blog Post: Much More Than a Blog Post

I don't think I understand why people do this.

For the benefit of anyone who may have trouble reading the sign -- and, to be fair, in real life it's a little bigger -- the highest signboard on this tower reads:


What? No. That is not how that works in the slightest. Something has gone wrong here.

Yes, I know, some stores out there make a point of building a caveat right into their signage; I'm sure we're all familiar with "The Dollar Store With More!", for example, where the "with more" is actually what you're paying because most of the crap in the place is priced over a dollar for no good god damn reason. But this, this is a stretch even beyond the already distended borders of the concept.

"The Bread Store: much more than a bread store". Okay. Follow me on this one and see if what I am saying makes sense. If you have a store, and you would describe it in one sentence as being 'more than a bread store' -- are you still with me here? -- I would think that, in this particular circumstance, it would be reasonable to conclude that you don't name it "The Bread Store"! No! Stop that!

I can understand, given the limited amount of space on a retail sign, that it could be difficult to convey the store's concept of 'bread and stuff' succinctly. (Let's assume for the moment that "Bread and Stuff" is already taken.) "Get Baked" wouldn't really focus enough on the 'bread' part; "Loaves Around" wouldn't really focus enough on the 'stuff' part. "The Bread Store With More", besides being a possible trademark violation, would make me want to hit you. "Bread & Circuses" is cute, but runs the very real risk of flying over the heads of your audience (a feeling I'm quite accustomed to, so I know what I'm talking about here) -- and it would shut out any potential future expansion into Winnipeg, where the name is already taken. I got a strange hometown, man.

Anyway! All I'm suggesting here is that you could have given this a little more thought, because it seems entirely counterproductive to cultivate a public image that stops and contradicts itself before anyone can even get through the door. It's like when a pizza place puts out an advertising campaign for their chicken wings that never once mentions the pizza they sell. As first impressions go, "what were they thinking" is probably a bad start for luring in customers.

This post was originally going to have a lot more content in it, but now I'll have to put up the rest of it tomorrow because I have a headache about the whole thing. Thanks a lot, The Bread Store Much More Than A Bread Store. Now I've got to go lie down.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Je ne comprends pas

Gimme a break; gimme a break! Break me off a piece of that Uptown Magazine!

I can't imagine there's a lot that I would want or need to say in support of this column, because quite honestly it speaks for itself. In one language, because that's all it knows how to do.

I'm quite rubbish at French, as anybody who has ever witnessed me speak or read it can attest to, and I've hit the point where I have to acknowledge that this will probably never change. I've had my best intentions many a time of maybe going back and learning it, but let's be honest -- I'm twenty-five years old and already I routinely find myself standing in the kitchen and trying to remember what I went into the kitchen for, so what the hell chance do I have of picking up an entirely new (though not entirely 'foreign' -- lol see what I did there) language.

Alas! Alas. Not all is bleak and dreary around here, however -- I went to the Value Village yesterday to pick up some intramural softball equipment (read: I bought track pants) and came back with information, which of course is the commodity I enjoy dealing in the most. Check it!

Value Village half-off sale this Monday! Oh hells yes! I have class that morning from nine 'til noon, unfortunately for my purposes, and I have two (!) papers due the next day -- so I'll just have to work ahead a bit first, I guess, because no way am I passing up on this.

I've made no secret of my penchant for thrift stores, and even less of a secret of my enthusiasm for thrift store sales. I've had tremendous luck with the Value Village half-off sales in the past -- most notably finding a badass long suede coat for fourty bucks last fall and a tube organ (!) for ten bucks (!!) last spring -- and even if I don't find anything as dramatic as that, it's always (always) worth a look when a place like this holds a sale like that. This is important! Check your local listings!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Only Two Rounds to Go in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

In the past two days I have had three different conversations with non-hockey fans who expressed dismay and flabbergast... ment? Flabbergastation? They were surprised, is what I am getting at, that hockey is still being played. Well, surprise! They keep playing hockey, and I keep watching it, and I enjoy myself despite the inevitable defeat of whichever team I decide to pull for.

That second round was awesome hockey, and I defy anyone out there to tell me that it was anything other than awesome hockey. There's no way the third round is going to top it, nor is it going to overshadow the ridiculous and awful ongoing saga of the Phoenix Coyotes, and somehow I suspect that the third round isn't even going to try; at least one of these series is bound to suck out loud, and I think you and I both know which one is the more likely culprit.

So let's just go ahead with the:

Western Conference

(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (4) Chicago Blackhawks

Yeah, this series started already. I was out and about last night and had an assignment due this afternoon, so in the time it took me to get those out of the way and write this Chicago has already managed to drop game one by three goals. A team scores seven goals on the one goalie who captains his team and they get a little overconfident, maybe. Or maybe Detroit is just that universally god damn good forever and there isn't even any point in discussing this. Where's a pitiful eighth-seeded team to catch them napping and upset them when we need them the most? HELP ME OBI-WAN COYOTES YOU'RE OUR ONLY HOPE

Ha ha ha ha just kidding, the Coyotes are never going to win a playoff series no matter where they end up. Ever. Twenty-two year drought and counting, baby! The Curse of the Jets lives on! (The 'Curse' in question: we were never any good.)

What I'd Want: Chicago in six, wherein they overcome adversity and defeat a Detroit team that is unequivocally at the top of their game so that there can be no accusations of fluking the series victory.
What I'll Guess: Detroit in four. That first awful goal that Khabibulin gave up in game one turns out to be the TSN Turning Point for the entire series, Joel Quenneville lights himself ablaze and lets himself burn rather than face the realization that he has blown it all against Detroit yet again, and I slowly but surely grow to loathe the Red Wings and anyone who has ever held them dear.

Eastern Conference

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes

Let's not mince words, that Game 7 between Pittsburgh and Washington sucked pretty bad. I left a scoreless game around the middle of the first period to go get some cold medicine (Halls syrup-filled cough drops and Crown Royal whisky, both of which were on sale and both of which I am now out of) and when I got back it was four-nothing Pittsburgh and quite intensely over. (If it makes them feel better, however, I watched the Magic-Celtics game last night and that one was even more of a dog.) The Carolina/Boston series, on the other hand, now that's the kind of game seven I can get behind! What a crazy, up-and-down eventful week Scott Walker had, huh? Starts the week with nobody, even in Carolina, having heard of him; lands the single best one-punch knockout of the season; gets suspended for a game because the one-punch knockout was on a guy who didn't see it coming; comes back from suspension and scores the series-winning overtime goal; finds out almost the day afterwards that his wife has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. I mean, where do you even go from there?

Anyway. When Staals collide! I hope they go Mark and Dale Hunter on each other and just brother-fight for like eight periods straight until it spills over into the kind of hilarious Canadiens-Nordiques epic super-brawl that always makes me grin for a variety of reasons. Here's hoping!

What I'd Want: Oh, who even cares. The last two Stanley Cups that the Red Wings won were against these two teams. I have such hilariously low hopes for either of these squads that it doesn't even matter any more.
What I'll Guess: Pittsburgh in six. Evgeni Malkin fails to show up at all for at least four games and somehow it doesn't even matter. Crosby further cements himself as a superstar, not because of the goals he beats Cam Ward with, but because of the goals he scores to make up for having Marc-Andre Fleury in net behind him.

Playoff hockey! It'll go right to June whether you like it or not!

Friday, May 15, 2009

cookiieee aahhhhhh

I am twenty-five years old and I still draw Cookie Monster on my school notes.

My art had a reason this time, though! (Not like last time, I mean.) You can see in the snippets of scholastic notetaking above that the professor of this class brought up Cookie Monster first, specifically to mention that she likes to introduce herself to the first-term reference students by showing them the old clip of Cookie Monster at the library and building from there. (Please note that, aside from a cute example of a reference interview, this is also a good snapshot of the hilarious old-fashioned librarian stereotype. Look at him shush! Look at the bow tie! That's adorable!)

So the notes above are from the first day of Evaluation and Use of Children's Materials, Birth to 7 Years, and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to have gotten into this class. The peculiarities of the University of Western Ontario graduate registration system meant that I had to go right down to the wire on today's add/drop deadline to get into this course, and now that I've successfully been enrolled I can A) avoid taking the alternate course, Human Resources Management (and no offense to whoever the prospective professor would have been for that one, but I think we can all agree that I'm more suited for children's librarianship than for high-level management) and B) finally draw up my assignment schedule for the term and find out when I get to sleep this summer.

Yes, it's another big term! A brief cross-section of the reading lists across the five courses: Kay Vandergrift, Marshall McLuhan, Beatrix Potter, Michael Geist, Eric Carle, Raymond Williams, Scott McCloud, Dorothy Kunhardt, The Law Librarian blog, the NoveList electronic database, Adobe Photoshop CS4 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques, Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Useability, Podcasting for Dummies, and multiple sections of the Canadian Copyright Act. A strange clump of readings, perhaps, but not as strange as having an assignment due this coming Monday! For one thing, the term just started this past Monday; for another thing, Monday is a holiday. But! If I ever need a morale boost, at least I know that I can always count on stuffing several cookies at once into my mouth and making audible chewing noises while cookie fragments go flying from my terrifying, gaping maw.

In the meantime -- for those of you who happen to be in London and reading this right now, UWO Librarians Without Borders will have a fundraising crafts table set up tomorrow at the Western Fairgrounds' weekly London Farmer's Market. Who doesn't love a good farmer's market? That's where I'll be spending the day, so let's see how long it takes for me to abandon my tablekeeping duties entirely and skitter off to find farmer's market stuff. Fellow table attendants, consider yourselves warned!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Medium is Paint and the Message is Mixed

Okay. I need to bring this up, because I have been in London for like eight months now and if I don't bring it up soon I am going to go out of my mind. Let me put aside the Terrible Crossover Fanfiction Idea Generator for a second ("Your challenge is to write crossover fanfiction combining Doom and They Might Be Giants. The story should use a blizzard as a plot device!" haha what) and talk about this item of interest, because I have come face to face with it so many times that it practically demands my attention.

This is the mural painted outside the entrance to the Cherryhill branch of the London Public Library, taking up a sizeable chunk of wallspace within the Cherryhill Village Mall. The single-level indoor mall is populated almost entirely by captive elderly people from the surrounding... er... 'retirement communities' and the whole building has this sublimely depressing aura that seems to leak from its very pores, but that's a topic I can get into another time. Look at this mural! Behold it!

I understand the intent of the mural, and I'm sure you do as well. Combating the long-held stereotypes that surround a library -- especially important when dealing with an audience that may have held these views unquestioningly for half a century now -- this mural seeks to emphasize the diversity, the vibrancy and the sense of community spirit that a public library serves to foster and enrich at all times. This is funny to begin with because this particular public library branch is, and I'm not kidding, attended at all times by packs of territorial seniors who will give you funny looks if you try and befoul their periodicals with your grubby young-folk hands -- but the thing I like most of all about this mural is that it seeks to tout the vim and vigour and vibrancy of libraries by portraying actions and behaviours that would make a librarian from any era seriously consider stabbing you.

Let's go around the mural and consider, one-by-one, the items pictured here that are either passively discouraged or straight up disallowed within the library environment.

Please don't bring your cat, for starters. Please don't bring a cat into the library. I love cats dearly, let's establish that right now -- but even putting aside the incredible allergy and health risks involved, the basic fact of the matter is that if you put a cat on top of two library books you will have a cat and a pile of confetti within about thirty seconds. And then the sheer number of people around in any given public library (nineteen people in this picture, as an example, including five small children) would probably incite a bout of running away and/or freaking out in the poor cat, because any cat of any size in the entire world is fully capable of cloaking and weaponizing itself in a matter of milliseconds. (This is even if you'd had the cat declawed previously, but since declawing also involves the wholesale amputation of critically important paw bones it's safe to assume that the cat is god damn angry at you to begin with.) So while you've got a scared cat hiding somewhere in the stacks and dive-bombing unsuspecting passersby, let's see what other trouble you can get into.

Oh. Yeah, please don't eat while you're handling the library books. I know this may seem like kind of an old-fashioned position to the non-library set, but I've yet to run into a practicing librarian who looks forward to cleaning apple residue out of hardcovers. This isn't as bad as having to corral an aggravated cat, or anything, but all the same I'm not sure how promoting this is a good idea.

Speaking of bad ideas! The VHS tapes aren't too egregious, because they're sort of stacked in some sort of careful manner and they're a pretty tough medium to begin with, but if I ever catch you removing CDs from their cases and strewing them about upside-down for the entire world to scratch and destroy I will you murder you myself. This isn't a sentiment motivated by professional obligation; in fact it goes double if you ever pull this shit in my house, so commit this to memory. Who even does something like this?

Crimson Viper does, apparently. This is another important point: while cellphone use is no longer strictly prohibited in many public libraries, it's a safe bet that extended cellphone use while hogging an internet terminal is going to get you shanked by the other patrons long before the library staff can step in.

Not pictured on this mural are the other computer stations, where patrons plunk themselves down and masturbate to internet porn for hours on end; I think this is left unpictured for reasons that are entirely obvious, but in our library school program they've brought in public librarians who have literally assured us that we will run into these people far more often than we would like (which is to say, ever). This is actually part of why they have hand sanitizer stations on every floor of each branch! These are the kinds of high-level considerations that they prepare us for in the Library and Information Science program; perhaps now you understand why these jobs tend to pay so well.

I don't know if there are any enshrined library rules specifically outlawing a spirited guitar rendition of whatever this champion of cool would be playing (ten bucks says he's playing Clapton to try and pick up women), but if you pull this stunt in a library I'm reasonably certain they'll draw up some form of justification for siccing security on you within the first five or ten minutes. Especially if you're stomping your foot that hard, or bracing your foot on a stack of books like that, or... whatever he's doing. If I look at his legs for too long I start to seriously lose my sense of depth perception, so let's move on and see who else is--

Oh hell no. You have got to be kidding me. Free-range accordions are frowned upon just about everywhere; outside of certain festivals there are a very small number of people in the world whose performance on an accordion in public is tolerated, and none of those people are so desperate as to have to perform in public libraries between a stack of books and a guitarist with one rapidly melting leg. I don't care if they won't let you take the sheet music outside the branch, you photocopy that shit. Put away the accordion and take off that silly-ass hat, you banana-pudding-suit-wearing freakshow.

Well, at least I can take comfort in knowing that things can't possibly get any more ludicrous here at the local public l--


I can't tell from this artistic rendition whether the small child dumped one of the potted plants on the floor and meticulously arranged it to look like it belonged there or if this kid somehow managed to cut a hole in the floor and plant a small, somehow surviving tree into the ground below without anyone noticing and making an attempt to stop him or her.

Dear prospective patrons: please do not attempt to establish new plantlife installments inside the library building.

Your local public library! You never know what you'll find! I'm going to down a litre of whisky and lie down until I've forgotten that I ever saw this, just so I can react to it anew the next time I drop by. Stay strong, readers!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Resent This Article, and Future Considerations

Uptown Magazine! The surreal adventure that will become your world!

I'm a little late in getting around to mentioning it, but I'd written a reasonably timely column about the untimely future passing of Geocities. I was pretty sure that the column conveyed my nostalgic, if irrational, sense of loss and disappointment in the oncoming disappearance of the site -- or at least I was pretty sure until I received this actual, unedited, one-hundred-per-cent-serious reader response to it:

"I resent your Uptown article. Geocities rules."

It went on like that for like three pages (!), but that was -- and I'm not kidding -- the word-for-word opening statement. So for any readers out there who may have been confused or misled, rest assured that my affection for GeoCities has endured to this day. Part of it is the amateur content aspect, of course, but another part of it is the archival function that it has faithfully served right up until, well, now. Aside from the most flagrant of flagrant copyright transgressions, nothing has been deleted off of GeoCities in the past decade or so unless the original creator went in and deleted it; you can go back and find hundreds of thousands of old GeoCities pages left frozen in time and exactly as you'd remembered them, save for the occasional advertisement that Yahoo! added to them retroactively because Yahoo! is headed by useless, gibbering morons who are seemingly incapable of making money off of anything.

I ran a few randomly inspired Geocities-themed Google searches, just for kicks, and ended up with all kinds of various GeoCities pages. (For sanity's sake, make sure that your speakers are turned off if you decide to open all of those at once.) Some of these pages are just flat out way better than others, and back in the day it seemed that for every one great page there were a hundred intolerable ones, but you can feel the effort that people put into them -- and it's all going to be gone, poof, the work of millions of people from all over the world just like that. What the hell, Yahoo!, what the hell. The Internet Archive, marvelous as it is, can only do so much at once; you couldn't give them a heads-up first?

Somewhat related to this topic, it was about half my life ago (!!) that I originally started puttering around with webpages on GeoCities; its impending closure coincides with my ultimate acknowledgement, in my old age, that it's soon going to be time for me to bite the bullet and actually pay money for webhosting. Not with Yahoo! Ha ha, oh goodness no. But in the two and a half years or so that I've been on Blogspot -- is it seriously like two and a half years now? -- I've written a lot of feature-length items and image-heavy posts, and it's always irked me that they couldn't be properly condensed for skimming them. I've heard similar complaints from people reading the blogs; it's hard to check them frequently if doing so brings up hundreds of images, but in their current enclosure there's no way to index or present them without having to load the entire thing every time. That, plus the soon-to-be-sudden disappearance of my hilariously awful old Geocities pages that I haven't touched in a decade, is making me strongly consider the prospect that it's time for me to cough up the dough and establish something somewhere that is both flexible and permanent.

This is all fruitless musing right now, of course! This is something I'll have to look into in the future, because right now I have neither the money nor the time necessary to further the thought. I start my third, and assumedly final, term of library school tomorrow! It's crunch time! (Note also that my classes this term include a web design and architecture course, a publishing and media course, and a public sector internet broadcasting course; it might be smarter to make big internet decisions after I've been exposed to these.)

In conclusion, GeoCities! You were a miserable piece of crap, but I'll miss you all the same.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Travellin' Man

Hi, guys! I'm back in London again, having caught yesterday's flight out through the rain and muck; I don't know where all of my break time went, but it's definitely gone now. My next (and theoretically final!) term starts up on Monday, so I intend to enjoy this last weekend before it's back to the grind.

With that said: bye, guys! I'm off to Toronto for today and tomorrow, in part to check out the Toronto Comic Arts Festival and in part because, hell, why not. It'll be fun! The city was quite relentlessly ugly the last time I was there (I never got around to posting those pictures, did I? Man, I should go back and do that sometime), but I've been assured that the place is slightly less gray this time of year.

When I get back late tomorrow, late enough to technically be early Sunday, it'll be my third straight day of travel and my fifth change of locale in a week. (Remind me to post the pictures I've taken of Oak Lake, Manitoba before! Those pictures were awesome.) I've been told that I have a reputation of being hard to contact sometimes, so this week I've been doing what I can to earn it. Rest assured, though -- you haven't heard the last of me yet! I'll be sure to crank out some updates when I get back, and I know I've said that before but I totally mean it every time and my intentions are always pure of heart. See you guys Sunday, probably!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals Started Already

Go figure, I took a while to start writing about hockey because I spent a lot of today watching the hockey instead. (A triple-overtime session in the early game didn't help matters much.) This, you see, is the danger of not getting one's predictions for the round done before the round starts. The other danger might normally be that the already established results could colour the predictions -- like "oh, this team is already two games up, sure whatever" -- but since three of the four series are at 1-1 after two games, and the fourth series is completely capable of being 1-1 after the next outing, that isn't as much of a concern here.

So let's ruminate, starting with the:

Eastern Conference

(1) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes

Boy, good thing the Montreal Canadiens fired Guy Carbonneau when they did or they'd really have looked pathetic in that four-game sweep Boston gave them! HUNDREDTH SEASON YEAH BABY

So Boston had plenty of cooldown time after their first round, whereas Carolina took it right to seven games with the Devils and drew out as entertaining a series as you're ever going to get out of New Jersey. (Augh, the Devils. I'm always glad to see them eliminated, because if they have their way they bore me and everyone else in the entire world to tears.) And the long rest helped Boston win Game One, but then the scrappy enthusiasm of Carolina's continued playoff grind helped them win Game Two, so who the hell knows.

Full disclosure: I think of this every time I see Rod Brind'Amour and it still cracks me up, every time. ("I bet his mom thinks he's ugly." "Probably.") But that doesn't compare to the elation that Tim Thomas always inspires in me, and he makes me smile real wide when I think of him because he's always really entertaining. He makes gigantic sprawling floppy saves as his trademark, he gets mic-ed up and narrates his own goaltending during the All-Star Game, he curls up and spins himself on his back like a turtle when a snazzy shootout goal gets by him (yes, really), and occasionally he just loses his temper and punches dudes in the face when they skate by. My kind of goalie! He's like Ray Emery, except with better team chemistry; he's like Dan Cloutier, except he makes saves. (Ha!)

Full appreciation to the Hurricanes for eliminating New Jersey, but I don't think this is their year. Boston has been pulling the Team of Destiny routine all season, and I'll be surprised if they manage to choke that away this quickly. They're not San Jose or Dallas, after all. So:

What I'd Want: Boston in five.
What I'll Guess: Boston in seven. Carolina's tricky!

(2) Washington Capitals vs. (4) Pittsburgh Penguins

Hey, sports media: shut the fuck up about Sean Avery, seriously, no one even cares any more. I know somebody somewhere mistakenly believes that Avery equals ratings, but he's a thoroughly mediocre player who has only ever functioned passably on one team and nobody appreciates your constant efforts to try and make us pay attention to him. It wasn't even subtle, either; the promotional blurbs inevitably read something like "Tonight, it's Avery and the Rangers versus Ovechkin and the Capitals!" and guess how well that went for the Rangers. There was only the one player on the New York side that brought his A-game in the series; fortunately for them it was their goalie, because Lundqvist on his A-game is all a team needs to steal three games by himself. (On a side note, it's kind of weird to know that I can correctly spell 'Lundqvist' in one try without having to look it up. Same way I've always felt about the name 'Tchaikovsky', but that's a different post entirely.) But the Capitals ultimately prevailed, being the appreciably better team, and now we get the big money match against the only other team in the League that mainstream America pays attention to.

Pittsburgh versus Philadelphia had all the potential in the world to be a tremendous classic battle between hated rivals and then it was only a sort of okay series until the Flyers inevitably rolled over and died. Alas! But this really should be the awesome series that the last one wasn't, the kind of bitter slugfest between teams with a history of animosity towards each other that makes my violent Canadian heart sing.

Besides being the most marketable playoff series that the NHL has had in, what, decades, the series should be really fun because the two teams are largely similar and about evenly matched. Both the Capitals and the Penguins feature a couple of game-defining top superstars, strong bases of young talent, a rapidly aging former-Cup-winner, a gigantic stupid goon, and hilariously spotty goaltending. Both teams are great fun to watch, but I think I'd rather see Washington prevail here; the Penguins had their shot at the Cup last year, so it's only fair that the Capitals get their turn next.

What I'd Want: Washington in seven, all of the games dramatically entertaining, and with at least three fights between superstars who make their coaches really nervous when they get into fights. (A shame Jerome Iginla went out so early this year; he was always good for at least one of these kinds of scraps.)
What I'll Guess: Washington in six. Malkin, so far, is not known for showing up in the playoffs when he's needed.

As for the:

Western Conference

(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Anaheim Mighty Ducks

Detroit swept the Columbus Blue Jackets without any particular effort, then took a collective nap because the team's average age is like seventy years old. Anaheim fought and clawed with the San Jose Sharks for six games until the Sharks finally remembered that they're the Sharks and just rolled over and died in the playoffs. So nothing much is new here; Anaheim is playing gritty playoff hockey like they've been doing for months, and two rounds in the Red Wings still have yet to need an elevated effort beyond the regular season level. (Four straight casual games against Columbus? Is that any different than a regular season stint for Detroit? Especially when the deciding goal in the deciding game comes off a Too Many Men penalty in the final two minutes?)

Detroit is so god damn good at everything that they don't even understand what losing is like, having won four Cups in twelve years and having been first in their division for the entire decade. Detroit is a phenomenally talented team and almost absolute perfection on ice to watch, and even despite that I am so incredibly tired of seeing them win that I can barely even express it in human language. One might expect that the Ducks would be a good match against the Red Wings here, because Detroit's goaltenders are both incredibly suspect and Anaheim's strong-checking physical play is a good quick way to wear down older players, but the Red Wings are all rested up to resume their absolute command over the intricacies of the game of hockey and I am slowly growing to hate them. It won't be easy -- in fact it'll most likely be a continuous string of one-goal games, because this is the Western Conference -- but Detroit is probably going to emerge the winner here.

What I'd Want: Anaheim in six, credited mostly to Randy Carlyle's mad-science line-matching wizardry.
What I'll Guess: Detroit in five, because all that Detroit ever does is win and it makes me mad.

(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (4) Chicago Blackhawks

It was nice to see St. Louis in the playoffs, wasn't it? That was nice. Good for them! They were a feel-good story and I was rooting for them, so of course they lost in four games. Cough cough thud. Chicago had a considerably tougher time with Calgary, because nobody in the Northwest ever goes down without a fight any more, but here they are and good for them. The Blackhawks deserve better than the past twelve or thirteen years.

Honestly, both of these teams are good fun to watch and have some solid Winnipeg connections behind 'em, so I don't have any particular loyalties or preference. It's not like either team has won anything in the last decade or so, either, so it'll be a neat change to see either of them advance. Some fast skaters, some solid goaltending, some hostility left over from the regular season -- good times! I can get behind this kind of stuff.

What I'd Want: Oh, either team is fine, I like 'em both. Whoever's more likely to beat Detroit, I guess.
What I'll Guess: Vancouver in six, when Roberto Luongo Hulks Up and justifies his captaincy. Like the letter, get it? Captain-C? HEY-YOOOO~oh, don't give me that look, that's gold and you know it. If it would have been good enough for Foghorn Leghorn, it's good enough for me.

Playoff hockey! It's what's for dinner!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Oh Well Look Who's Alive

Hi, everyone! Who's really good at blogging? THE ANSWER IS ME I AM SO GOOD AT BLOGGING.

Yes, it has been a while, you might have noticed. Last I'd posted, back in -- February? Jesus Christ -- back in February, I had expressed my intentions to write more often and in retrospect that was tremendously funny. Oh, I ended up writing more often, all right; my assignment load when printed could probably be expressed in tons, especially given how many assignments in that last stretch were A) twenty pages in length, B) worth 40% or more of the term, or C) both. Ah, graduate school.

So it was mostly radio silence from me around here; we'll call it an extended March Break! I didn't get a March Break in real life, so I'll retroactively apply it here. That it extended to encompass April is unfortunate and pretty awful, but in my defence shut up I was busy raarh grr etcetera. (Defence attempts like these exemplify why people should stop trying to get me to go to law school.)

Yes, times were rough; assignments ran high and frequently, pretty much everyone I know in London packed up to leave on co-op terms, and I turned twenty-five which is probably about halfway to death for me. But it isn't all bad news for creative content around here! I diligently continued my column for Uptown Magazine during these trying times, and now that I'm back in Winnipeg for a bit I was able to go and track down paper copies of my published work because I am a relentless egotist. The columns are also in helpful electronic format, which makes them easier to share -- so let's have a look and see if I can't find some content for you guys to read!

Uptown Magazine! Beware of imitators!

It seems like so long ago, now, but I wrote this column shortly after the Obama visit to Canada as a reaction piece to express how incredibly sick I was of hearing about the Obama visit to Canada.

It was all that the news media talked about for the week prior, it was pretty much all they talked about for the week after, and for the very short time that he was actually in Canada it wasn't even worth going near a radio or television. I like him as much as the next Canadian (and we Canadians love the crap out of the guy) but I get it, he came to Canada, stop talking about it.

To give you some perspective, the Obama visit got more coverage proportionally on Canadian television for that week or two than swine flu and the economy combined are getting right now. And we're all already sick of hearing about swine flu as it is! You can understand my frustration.

And speaking of getting sick and fed up:

Uptown Magazine! The Great Valley Adventure! My column from this issue can be read here, assuming it does not explode and kill you first.

You may think to yourself "how hard it is to produce a product that will not murder people outright?", but that is because you are not a major business. Major businesses can't help it! It just naturally comes with the territory that someone will have an allergic reaction, or use the product in an unsafe manner, or... fall ill and die for otherwise unexplained reasons, or get choked to death by majestically unsafe components. Or whatever. It's always something! Quite literally, always something; there's no telling what the next consumer good will be that abruptly keeps consumers from observing their next birthday.

And, well... speaking of birthdays...

Uptown Magazine! Fight the powers that be!

The thrust of this column is that I am old and busted and all washed up, because I am old and busted and all washed up. Twenty-five? Seriously? God, that's pretty much it for me. Surely if I was going to accomplish something it would have shown up by now; now it's too late, my best years are all behind me, and it's just a steady decline of getting older and dumber and fatter from here until the slow crawl of decay sends me to my grave. Happy Birthday, me!

There's another column in this week's Uptown that'll be online pretty much any second now, I think, so I'll keep you guys posted. And there are Stanley Cup Playoffs to talk about! God, I love the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I've done predictions in the past, and they've never been right, but I've always enjoyed doing them; my extended break unfortunately meant that I didn't get to predict the first round, but rest assured that I would have been mostly wrong.

No time for predictions right now, unfortunately! I'm heading out of town shortly, and I won't be able to come back and post anything until Sunday. So Sunday it is; I'll make (slightly late) round two NHL predictions, direct passersby to my latest Uptown column, and basically just fart around because that sums up the vast majority of my writing. Good to be back!