Thursday, July 30, 2009

Friday Night Play List: Better than a lap dance

With one week to go before the Season 5 finale of "So You Think You Can Dance?", I can say that one of my favourite performances this year has been the Travis Wall piece performed by Jason and Jeanine. I have not seen such smouldering since the Dmitry Chaplin samba danced by Danny and Lacey in Season 3.

Unfortunately, one style that has been sorely lacking this season has been hip-hop. The dancers just have not been up to the challenge of hitting hard then flowing with the music. I miss performances like the Shane Sparks routine that featured Dominic and Sabra (Season 3), and the Tabitha & Napoleon D'umo piece performed by Katee and Joshua (Season 4).

Here are the links to the videos on YouTube, while they last:

And because I love disco but apparently, few others do, here's one of the few Doriana Sanchez routines available: Brandon and Janette

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm outside enjoy this because I certainly did.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Better from a distance

Second day of Comic Con and, already, exclusives are being released to the wider world, courtesy of the perpetually wired fanboys and fangirls in attendance.

Making use of Comic Con 2009 as a launching pad is the new Joss Whedon production, The Cabin in the Woods. The posters (see second variant and third variant) make me verrrry interested.

However, the biggest buzz is being generated by not one, but two separate clips of ripped boys without their shirts on from New Moon (find them yourself). The female hormones must have run so thick in that screening room that menstrual cycles will align.

As exciting as the cornucopia has been, I can confirm that viewing the images and videos on my computer, over 4000 km away from San Diego, is a sufficient splash guard from the aggressive fans that ruined my fun in 2008.

I wept like an idiot

Meaningful dance routines are featured every week on "So You Think You Can Dance?" but, this past Wednesday, I found myself tearing up as I watched choreographer, Tyce Diorio's piece, inspired by a friend's battle with breast cancer.

I hate to over hype the performance of Melissa and Ade too much so let me just preface this video by admitting that I cried through Wall-E and Up! - whatever that may tell you.

See the legit video here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Doppleganger dreams can come true

As shown in previous blog entries (The Doppleganger Dinner, Doppleganger update), I obsess about a woman who possesses the same name as me. She is back on Facebook but I have not had the courage to approach her.

If only I was as sassy as Kelly Hildebrandt, who not only connected with her doppleganger but is going to marry him, too!

There will be no such happy ending for me and mein doppleganger, since I am not interested sexually in women and any marital relationship could be construed as incestuous. However, even an exchange of pokes on Facebook would be considered a victory at this point. Give me strength!

Aim high or aim low?

My birthday falls on a Monday this year so I've requested a vacation on that day because, even though I mock Joe for taking the week of his birthday off, I would feel pathetic shuffling paperwork on my special day.

I have two strategies in mind for my birthday long weekend: high end or low end. High end entails taking advantage of a last minute flight and hotel deal. This will cost a few hundred dollars per person, at the very least, but remains appealing because we have never been so shotgun in our vacation planning.

If a good vacation package fails to pop up, then I will aim to spend as little money as possible on my birthday. Months ago, I noted that the Elmwood Spa offers a free three course lunch on your birthday as long as you eat between Monday and Thursday, which I can! There are also free birthday meal offers from Tucker's Market Place, Lick's, and Casey's, as well as free dessert at numerous other restaurants.

I would be happy to hear about any other birthday freebies since this could become a challenge to see how much I can milk a date that my peers are increasingly ceasing to acknowledge.

And it goes without saying that I would love some companionship since eating a free meal is hardly satisfying without a paying companion to gaze at you resentfully.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Disappointment at the cinema

In an effort to rest my ailing ankle, I have been catching up on the summer blockbusters and it has been steady disappointment since the only highlight of the season for me, Star Trek. Since I don't respect the following movies, there will be spoilers.

Terminator Salvation
Some viewers have complained that the movie is too dark. I had more of a problem with how stupid some of the characters were. For instance, John Connor and the rest of the humans are convinced that Marcus is a machine sent to spy on them but what kind of spy blows his cover by walking knowingly into a magnetic mine field? And I would posit that John Connor is a machine himself: what human survives a metal spike through the heart long enough to be carried then airlifted then operated on? Apparently, the original story had John dying from his injuries and Marcus taking on the guise of John Connor to lend hope and guidance to the resistance. This would have been preferable to the nonsensical Hallmark greeting card of an ending that director, McG bestowed on us.

The Hangover
Male bonding movies usually do a balancing act between boorish and hilarious. For instance, many of Judd Apatow's movies have been pretty funny, even if women end up playing two dimensional support to the male characters. The Hangover features female characters who are either happy hookers or frigid shrews, and worst yet, is not really that funny for all of its contrived wackiness. Throw in a little Chinese man who jumps out of a car naked to mount one of the main characters and an ignorant Black drug dealer, and we have ourselves possibly the most offensive blockbuster of the summer.

This movie only wishes that it could claim to be outrageously offensive as opposed to a sad misfire. I was a huge fan of Borat because Sacha Baron Cohen was so successful at catching people unaware in ridiculous scenarios, and revealing his targets' prejudices along the way. Unfortunately, Baron Cohen has become a victim of his own success and is clearly too easily recognized by potential targets this time around. The only time that Baron Cohen is able to create any truly ludicrous situation is in the Deep South but ridiculing rednecks is like shooting fish in a barrel. And I understand the concerns of gay activists regarding the movie's depiction of the gay lifestyle; too often the source of laughter is Bruno's stereotype and not the homophobia that is revealed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The lost weekend and Anvil!

The spraining of my ankle coincided perfectly with Joe's wisdom teeth being taken out a mere two days after the accident. I took the Thursday off work to recover as much mobility as possible in order to guide Joe from the dental surgeon's office on the Friday morning. The result was a never-ending weekend of discomfort, soft food, prescription drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

To clarify, the rock 'n' roll experience was vicarious as Joe and I watched Anvil! The Story of Anvil. The documentary charts the struggles of the two 50 year old members of Canadian metal band, Anvil, to recapture the glory of their promising rise to fame in the early 1980s. The story is a hilarious yet touching counterbalance to the winners who claim that all that is required to succeed is to dream big and work hard. More often than not, talented and hardworking individuals toil in obscurity, rewarded only by the exercise of their creativity. Anvil! is worth watching, even if you have the option of leaving the house.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Give-It-A-Tri - failz

One incident that I failed to mention from my weekend at Pine Haven was the rolling of my ankle. Even with hiking boots, my ankles are weak and less challenging environments, like a set of stairs, have caused my ankles to betray me.

I pushed through the pain with exercise over the weekend and was pretty much recovered when I absentmindedly jumped over a knee high barrier on the way to work yesterday. That was when I landed on the same ankle but on concrete and with as much force as a jump will bring. It was as painful as it sounds.

As I gimped my way to work and then lunch, my injured ankle inflated to cankle-like proportions. When I finally left work early to see my personal physician, she started by suggesting an x-ray, to which I responded by clutching my head and wailing. The x-ray was ruled out since a breakage was highly unlikely, which meant that I was probably suffering from a bad sprain.

I casually mentioned the Give-It-A-Tri and my doctor's eyes grew wide. So, my bid at a mini-triatholon in August is out. If taking an injury before the event was a given, then the timing couldn't have been better since I can request the highest level of entry fee refund at this time. Still, it is disappointing to be forced to quit when so much progress has been made in the past five weeks.

I pray that a similar disaster does not strike my Nuit Blanche project.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Swim training update

As I enter the halfway point of my training schedule for the Toronto Island Give-It-A-Tri, I can cautiously say that I may survive the swim portion of the race. With the Toronto municipal workers strike preventing me from accessing lengthier public pools, I have been swimming up to 212m in my condo's 10m pool. This has done little to build confidence since Lake Ontario will not have a smooth tiled floor to stand on when fatigue sets in.

Fortunately, I was able to swim in Devil Lake during a weekend stay at Pine Haven campground. The grounds are beautifully situated on a narrow strip of land between two lakes, very close to Frontenac Provincial Park. In a mere day, we were able to see a sloth, a blue heron nest, turkey vultures circling around an unseen prey, a loon with a baby on her back, an osprey snatch a fish from the water, and listen to bull frogs at night.

Swimming in the lake was definitely a luxury in spite of the hard work required to stay afloat; the water was clean and refreshing. I was able to do my scheduled 265m swim twice, but resorted to rest stops with the assistance of a flotation noodle a number of times. I also switched from front crawl to backstroke repeatedly. The latter is not a recommended swimming style for a race since you could easily veer off course. My friend, Tony, serving as my lifeguard and guide, screamed "left" and "right" as needed to prevent me from ending up downstream.

Flocons and I are planning to brave a swim in Lake Ontario to continue acclimatizing ourselves to lake conditions. Lake Ontario will probably be less pleasant than Devil Lake but the fear of drowning can prompt one to do crazy things.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Canada Day drink and run

With the success of the Run for Liqueur last Canada Day, I decided to hold another beer mile. However, after our donation resulted in the Canadian Liver Foundation selling my information, I decided that the recipient of funds raised this year would be Vicki's Weekend to End Breast Cancer bid.

The 2009 Run for Liqueur was muted in comparison to last year's event, perhaps because most of the competitors still shuddered at the memory. Ignorance was bliss for first-time competitor, Attila, who completed his first lap before anyone else had even finished their first drink. However, by his third drink, Attila was slumped on the ground, because lying on his back made his discomfort worst.

My choice of chocolate soy milk over last year's chocolate dairy milk was only an improvement in the aftermath of the event as my suffering was shortlived but resulted in my disqualification. Joe's choice of Corona and Sleeman's proved to be less successful than last year's screwdrivers. Only Roger took a different strategy in his stubborn adherence to Grasshopper despite last year's disappointing results, and while his time did not improve, his overall ranking did. Ultimately, the only competitor who improved his overall time and ranking was Mike, who credits his nationalistic choice of Molson Canadian for his win.

It is questionable whether I will run another beer mile. In an event where the Masters level starts at 30 years of age, when most running events define Masters as being over 40, I feel that retirement may not be premature. However, I must admit that I am curious to see if a third drink choice will contribute to improved results. Until next Canada Day...