Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Avery Suspended By NHL...Finally

More proof that Sean Avery is a slime on and off the ice. Everyone remembers the on-ice incident with Martin Brodeur during last Spring's NHL playoffs, now the "classy" Avery made these off-ice boneheaded comments:

The league says the Dallas Stars winger, who is known as a pest for being an agitator on the ice, made inappropriate comments not pertaining to hockey on Tuesday.
In Calgary for a game, Avery made a public comment that seemed to be directed at Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who is now dating a Canadian actress who once dated Avery.
"I'm really happy to be back in Calgary. I love Canada," Avery said in front of cameras. "I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight."
Phaneuf is dating Elisha Cuthbert, who is best known for her role on the television series, 24. She dated Avery until the summer of 2007.
Stars management issued a statement saying the club supported the NHL's decision and would have suspended Avery if the league had not.
The ban is indefinite pending a hearing with commissioner Gary Bettman.

It Seems Avery really likes to revel in the spotlight he receives when he shoots his mouth off. He has this NBA/NFL trash talk mentality with little or no respect for the integrity for the game. Glad to see the Stars have supported the leagues decision, I've read that many of his teammates in Dallas have a real hate-on for Avery. According to the article, a poll of 66 % of NHL players chose Avery as the most hated player in the league.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I Don't Like Mondays

Usually I love Monday's because I have the day off from work, but I'm beginning to hate Monday's because of some recent car issues. About three weeks ago, I had my car ticketed and towed while parking downtown (ticket $30 + tow w/taxes $70= $100) and this morning when I went to the car I discovered that someone smashed the small backseat window on the passenger side! As you can see in the photo there was glass in the backseat and on the curb and boulevard. Further investigation, judging by all the papers and bags sprawled on the floor, indicates this person was probably searching for cash or anything of value because the ignition wasn't tampered with. Fortunately, there was no cash (except small change) or anything valuable (I removed my sunglasses yesterday) besides books, maps and receipts and the outdated stereo was untouched. It could have been worse, it happened on the warmest November day ever (I have no data supporting this claim), so driving with an open window was no problem and walking to and from the glass replacement place was pleasurable. It's more of an inconvenience more than anything and the 200 dollar deductible (actual cost $206) burns me. I'm sure the perpetrator must have been pissed off finding nothing to steal and cutting their hand for their trouble (judging by the blood stains on the seat, parking brake, on the inside doorhandles and in the glove compartment). Maybe we're better off not locking our car doors and not leaving anything of value inside and relying on the Club or an immobilizer to prevent theft...sounds logical.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Back in my heyday of comic collecting (mid-late 70's), I was more interested in the artists that created the art than the investment value of first appearances, origin issues and #1 editions. I amassed an impressive collection of Amazing Spiderman's and pretty much any title in the Marvel catalogue at that time. One phenomenon from 1976 was the comic book, Howard The Duck that caught the attention of collectors with it's fowl-mouthed "man-duck", Howard, who smoked cigars and had a lovely sidekick, Bev. This comic was intriguing because at the time most of the Marvel line-up was your standard superhero types who fought bad guys, but Howard was a bit of an anti-hero fighting ordinary, often bizarre characters in odd offbeat situations...Kidney Woman, Space Turnip, rock band Kiss, a presidential campaign, Son of Satan, and the Defenders were just some of the silly plot lines. Actually the comic started out promising, but eventually it got too stupid and badly illustrated and then that awful, horrible movie! Definitely killed the buzz! Howard The Duck originally spun-off from Fear #19 in a Man-Thing story, somehow through this Howard got his own book.

Anyways, the catch for me was the art for the first two issues by Frank Brunner. Brunner was known as a fabulously detailed fantasy artist who was best known for illustrating issues of Doctor Strange and Man-Thing. I once met Brunner at a comic con in Calgary in the 70's (I have no idea what year?) and he signed a print of his "Scarface Duck" and briefly chatted about comics, very cool! I bring up all this comic talk because I recently purchased an original drawing by Frank Brunner (see top photo) from eBay. I occasionally browse eBay as I dream of owning some original comic art, but for now this is all I can afford. I think this is a nice piece because, though it's just a sketch, it is well detailed and it was drawn (1976) during Brunner's height of success with Marvel and not at a recent comic con. Now about framing?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't Forget To Vote!!!

I voted early, 9:00am to be exact a mere half and hour after polls in Manitoba opened. I always beat the rush because after 4pm the after school and work crowd fill the gymnasium and you know, I have better things to do than wait in lines. I cannot stress this enough...VOTE! I can't stand it when fortunate citizen's like ourselves, that have our democratic to vote, don't. If you don't vote you have no right to whine and complain about the GST or Harper, at least if you do your duty and vote, you should feel you at least tried to make a difference.

On the radio the other day they we're talking about the problem of the 18-24 age category how they are 20% less likely to vote. Would online voting make a difference? It couldn't hurt, a lot of TV shows (American/Canadian Idol), use the online voting format and we file our taxes all online. I predict that Elections Canada will institute a way to help battle this voter apathy and online voting seems obvious.

I've never had such a hate-on with a party and leader like I do with Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. This arrogant a-hole is so out of touch with real Canadians that I wonder why he is so popular, must be the same reason George Bush kept getting re-elected. It was Harper that instituted the law of a set election date, right? In Winnipeg, "star" candidates such as Thomas Steen and Trevor Kennard, who are rookie politicians, but local sports celebrities have been silenced by not appearing at candidates debates. Harper's such a control freak, he doesn't even trust his own cabinet never mind his candidates. Aren't you curious to hear what Steen has to say about carbon emissions or the woeful performance of the Canadian dollar? This is a candidate who on his website lists his hockey stats from his playing days...the PC's can't be serious? Do they think we're that stupid? We shall see. Harper's wife Lauren seems like a reasonable person, but how can she lay down beside a slimy weasel like her husband each night and not feel somewhat dirty and guilty? Makes me cringe at the thought!

Anyways, get out and vote, I know the Conservatives will probably lead again, but with enough thoughtful voting we can at least prevent a majority government...maybe?

Slacker Uprising

Despite the title, Slacker Uprising is not my autobiography, but it's Michael Moore's latest film. Moore's film is the first time a major motion picture is being offered for free download on the internet and he says he is doing it for two reasons:
  1. Next year it will be 20 years since my first film, "Roger & Me," so I'd like to give those of you who've supported my work over the years a thank you gift in the form of a brand new movie; and

  2. I hope the release and wide distribution of this new movie will help to bring out millions of young and new voters on November 4th.
"I'm giving you my blanket permission to not only download it, but also to email it, burn it, and share it with anyone and everyone (in the U.S. and Canada only). I want you to use 'Slacker Uprising' in any way you see fit to help with the election or to do the work that you do in your community. You can show my film in your local theater, your high school classroom, your college auditorium, your church, union hall or community center. You can have your friends and neighbors over to the house for a viewing. You can broadcast it on TV, on cable access, on regular channels or on the web. It's completely free -- I don't want to see a dime from this. And if you want, you can charge admission or ask for a donation if it's to raise money for a candidate, a voter drive, or for any non-profit or educational purpose. In other words -- it's yours!"
- Michael Moore

This is pretty cool, I haven't watched it yet, I'll get around to it later this week, but the issues and relevance of the young people vote (or lack of) are just as important here as it is across the border. Anyways, watch it and comment, I would love to he what you think.

Click the link below for the full stream download. If you want to download and burn a copy, click here.
Slacker Uprising (stream)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Canadian Gold

Since my pal Maruad is probably expecting me to write about the new Hockey Night In Canada anthem, here it is! When I saw the "10 finalists" program, I had a feeling this one would get chosen. There seemed to be sameness in all the finalists, I'm sure that was aided by the orchestration of all the themes that transformed the original entries. A kind of Celtic meets Dallas theme, it has a dated 80's TV show theme feel to it, which unfortunately I don't think hockey when I hear it and I've never been a fan of any song with bagpipes. I must admit I wasn't that interested in CBC's anthem challege contest (I only listened to a handful of entries on the website, as some entries really really sucked!) and every time I hear this theme when I watch HNIC, I'll be thinking, "reality TV-show" winner...I guess that will be good for Colin Oberst and his 100k. Boy, I regret my laziness I should have entered!

Comments? Like? don't like? hate or don't care? Judge for yourself.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Yellow Sticky Notes

Last month (September 19-21), I went to Vancouver for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Redress agreement. At this national celebration, interested participants we're treated to panel discussions, workshops and of course a gala Japanese dinner. One of the workshops discussed Japanese-Canadian identity for youth, since JC's have the highest rate of inter-marriage. Guest presenter, Jeff Chiba Stearns began the workshop by screening his two films, What Are you Anyways? and his newest film, Yellow Sticky Notes. Both films are a worthwhile watch and I thought it would be cool to share YSN here. If you like what you see, be sure to purchase a copy from Jeff, as the DVD has some bonus features.

The workshop itself asked it's participants to write, on coloured sticky notes, random thoughts and feelings toward their heritage and identity. It should be noted there was a good mix of young, old, half/full Japanese Canadian and non-JC's. Very interesting and quite unique, it really made you think. Special thanks to Jeff and coordinator Caitlin Ohama-Darcus.

Monday, September 08, 2008

No More Hole!

Many years ago (7 or 8 years?), we had water dripping from our dining room ceiling. Directly above on the second floor was the bathroom, so hopefully it was the tub, not the toilet. At the time we had a complete drum kit, a stack of amplifiers and mic stands directly below, so the dining room was quickly decorated in plastic. For months I positioned a couple of buckets on the floor to catch the drips and once in a while someone would kick the bucket causing wetness to the hardwood floors. Eventually we phoned a plumber from James Wall to investigate the problem, he tried snaking the bath tube drain and checking the edge of the tub that was pulling away from the wall or vice-versa. He finally cut a large opening into our ceiling (approx. 2.5'x4') and changed some of the pipes from the drain to plastic, problem solved.

I then cut a large piece of white foamcore to cover the hole. This worked for a week or two, then; drip...drip... the dripping was back, obviously the problem was not solved. I cut a hole into the foam big enough to let the leak drip to the floor and the bucket was back. It sat like that for years until about a year ago when my co-worker Brian lent me his drain-remover tool and plumber's putty. This tool fits inside the tub drain and unscrews the silver ring area, once it's removed you make a ring of putty and insert it between the foot and the drain ring when you screw it back in. Once again I screwed a fresh piece of foamcore over the hole and waiting to see if the leak returned, and guess what, it worked! It sat like that for months and months until we finally we called up Handyman Connection and they sent over an old gentleman that patched up the hole over the course of three days. First day to cut and screw in a piece of drywall, second day to plaster the drywall over any gaps and the third to apply that stucco-stipple stuff on the ceiling. It looks great and almost unnoticeable, I guess the message here is to just do it and not wait for years to do something that really isn't a big deal. Now, about the holes in roof of the garage...!

Anyone Else Get This?

Tried to access Facebook today (and last night) and the message on the screen (see photo) tells me I am using an incompatible browser. What the hell! I use Firefox (Mozilla) and I upgraded to version 3.0.1 a week or two ago. Last week I also deleted one of my two free system security softwares and updated the ZoneAlarm security suite I kept. I could maybe understand the changes might effect my system and browsing settings, but I have used Facebook flawlessly the last few days.

Any ideas?
(Thanks Maraud for your comments)

Update: September 9, 2008- After reading on message boards that other people had similar problems with Facebook and Hotmail it seems the problem originates from the new (free) ZoneAlarm 8.0 security. There seems to be a glitch that doesn't recognize the browser for some reason and according to a ZoneAlarm tech, I should try to reset the settings and reboot the system. I did find if I cancelled the cookie control and anti-virus, Facebook worked, but what's the point of the security? It worked last night for a while, but it again failed to work Tuesday. I finally deleted the 8.0 and went back to the old 7.0 and for extra security I downloaded AVG 8.0. it works fine now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

One Last Night!

The last night of Folklorama always leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. On one hand it's a relief the week is almost over, no more late nights, no stress worrying about the show and no rushing straight from work to the Pavilion. Believe it or not there some things I will miss, like interacting with people from our JC community and the rush of the stage show running smoothly. Like most jobs there are people you get tired of seeing and hearing, but there are a few people I will truly miss.
Highlights and observations from night 7:
  • Saturday's shows were packed and as I'm scanning over the week's revenues and attendance charts, I see that Saturday was in fact the most successful day overall. I spent a good portion of the evening writing thank you cards, so it seemed like the evening flew by fast.
  • Carol was presented with flowers from Alex and Kyla, members' of Kaede during the last show. Aurora repeated the act during the volunteer party with Sumi presenting Lucy with a bouquet.
  • Finally had a taste of the Folklorama beer that is produced by the official beer sponsor, Fort Garry Brewing Company. I drink a lot of FGBC beer and it is similar in colour to their signature dark. The taste isn't as heavy and chewy and tastes thinner than the dark, but definitely has more flavour and body than the Pale. Unfortunately it is only available in cans, so I would recommend pouring it into a glass (or plastic cup) to avoid that tinny taste. The beer is available at Folklorama pavilions, beer stores and liquor marts for a limited time only.
  • The MJCCA presented Sumi with a bouquet and a card for her work as the "face of Folklorama", as she did the JC community proud with her fine representation, can't think of a better person for the role!
The evening concluded with a volunteer party complete with food, drinks and left-over beer. This year Rock band was the entertainment, complete with a projection screen and it was a lot of fun, but I definitely need to practice. There's always next year.

Shaw Japan Pavilion Video 2008

Here's the Folklorama video that is aired on Shaw TV and the Shaw.ca website. Sumi does an excellent job explaining some attractions at the Pavilion with Shaw host, Joanne Kelly, such as taiko drumming, kimonos and food. Once again she represents the Pavilion well with her knowledge and incredible poise. I did a Shaw interview years back when I was an ambassador (with Tracey Koga as host, fortunately I never had a chance to view it) and it's hard, really hard to answer questions at the top of your head, I just "winged it", the difference being at the time I really didn't know much about dress, dances, drumming or even food. I must admit I'm extremely proud of Sumi, not only for how she presents herself, but also for her genuine love of Japanese(-Canadian) culture...Enjoy!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Friday Night, Party Night?

Hot weather, the Bomber game and going to the cottage are all reasons why there was a small crowd during the first show. Those excuses didn't hold up as the attendance recovered for the second and third show aided in part by bus tours. The second show had two buses that totally almost 100 spectators and the usually sparse third show was boosted by another bus full of seniors from the States.
Highlights and observations from night 6:
  • Similar schedule to last night with the exception of Aurora replacing Kaede for dance. Karate performed their final night and Stacey hosted the festivities. I must admit Sumi and I have lucked out with such competent and skilled emcees. It sure makes our jobs easier and with young under-30 hosts (Stacy, Jesse and Marli last year) that can carry the emcee load for future Folklorama's.
  • The film crew from Travel Manitoba made their presence felt. A photographer moved from the front of the stage to the back and even on the stage to get some flash close-up shots of Hinode Taiko. It would be interesting to see the footage they shot, but I don't know if we'll ever have a chance to see it.
  • The second and final night of the late show karaoke party closed out the evening. There seemed to be more volunteers (and performers) from our Pavilion than actual visitors taking their turn at the mike. Almost like the volunteer party without the free beer, or as Stacey said, "liquid courage".
Saturday is the last night for the Japan Pavilion and it will be a welcome relief to have a day off on Sunday. The last night also means the volunteer party, so I might not have the energy to post immediately after Saturday's show, because I hear that Rock Band will be the featured form as entertainment and the beer is gratis. If that's the case, I'll get the posting up Sunday or Monday. This may include my wrap-up with more photos and stories from the past week. Stay tuned and please leave your comments and thoughts about the week.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Dance, Dance And More Dance!

The last three nights of Folklorama are traditionally the strongest nights for attendance and sure enough Thursday night's shows were the best attended so far. Two full houses (for the 1st two shows) aided by a couple of bus tours, helped push the totals closer to previous years and with Friday and Saturday to come, it should be a successful year (I am unofficially speculating so don't get excited yet!).

Highlights and observations for night 5:
  • A film/video crew were present for the first two shows. I can't confirm this, but I heard they were filming a personal profile on Hinode drummer Sheila. A mobile camera as well as a tripod camera, followed her backstage and strictly focused on her during her performance with Hinode. I'm not sure what this will be used for, but I'm betting it's one of those profiles on people's "double" life, a mild-mannered executive during the day and a crazed Japanese drummer at night. I'll see what I can find out.
  • There was a lot of pink tonight! The Kaede dance group performed 3 pieces per show, one more than usual because Shayna was taking the night off, she'll return on Saturday.
  • Yuki tonight had two dancers accompanying him on stage. Alex was joined by Stephanie Okabe, last year's adult ambassador, to provide Yuki with double dancers behind him. I'll post a clear picture tomorrow as proof, because all photos of the trio were blurry tonight.
  • Keiko S-H did a splendid job emceeing tonight, her smooth delivery and confident stage presence is always a joy to watch. She's always welcome to emcee at Folklorama!
During Friday's late show, a video company hired by Travel Manitoba will visit our Pavilion. The video crew will follow a tour group on their motorcoach, as well as inside the Pavilions they visit. This video, travelogue if you will, is going to be used for promotion, sales and education for Travel Manitoba. Sounds exciting...not!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Late Night Wednesday

I didn't get home until after midnight because of the Wednesday late-night party hour tonight, so I'll have to leave you with an abbreviated version because fatigue may play a big role tomorrow at work.

Highlights and observations for night 4:
  • Yuki Imagawa made his Folklorama debut with a modern Japanese pop song complete with accompanying dancer, Alex Allen. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, Yuki showcased an impressive powerful set of pipes that captivated the audience and the ballet-like dance visuals by Alex gave the piece a modern twist.
  • Shaw TV paid the Pavilion a visit and taped portions from the first show. When host Joanne Kelly was searching for an interview, the only clear choice was the "Face of Folklorama" herself, Sumi. Stay tuned to Shaw-TV (crap, I have MTS-TV) as every year they broadcast segments from Folklorama and their website (which has taken down last year's videos recently) will eventually post the videos. When it's available I'll post it here.
  • Connie Tamoto (from Global) hosted and as usual was an excellent emcee. We're lucky to have someone as skilled as her from within our community.
  • Late night party ran from about 10:30 until 11:35 and was a moderate success. The only advertising for this late night event was in the program book and since we haven't hosted a late night show in years, the fear was that we wouldn't have anyone there. We had a small number of left-overs from the 9:45 show, but it wasn't just the volunteers that participated in the karaoke. Spread the word for Friday night!
  • I've been hearing whispers and rumours that we will not be participating in Folklorama next year. I've been asked that by many people and a few have been very upset by what their hearing. I hear this negative talk every year during Folklorama week and I don't know if it's just one person that's spreading their displeasure or opinion or if there's any basis to these claims. I remember a couple of year's ago someone was saying we wouldn't have a Pavilion because taiko wasn't going to be in town. This in fact was false and no one from Hinode ever said they couldn't participate. I'm not saying we will or will not be in Folklorama next year (We could probably use a break), it's not for me to say right now, but I am saying the Pavilion is not the place to discuss the future. It's been a great week so far and let's enjoy it and keep it fun. If any volunteers, performers or coordinators are reading this and have any strong feelings about next year, please leave your comments and opinions here! We'll discuss this at greater length after Folklorama.
The weeks more than half over now, but there's still lots to see and hear. I'm already looking forward to sleeping in on Sunday...sigh.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Another Successful Night!

An appearance by the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, the honourable John Harvard, highlighted day three of Folklorama at the Japanese Pavilion. The crowds are continuing to grow and the bus tours are arriving in droves, yet a comfortable feeling of "being in control" is being felt by many of the volunteers. From an entertainment standpoint everything is running smoothly and the performers are relaxed and having fun, we couldn't ask for anything more.

Highlights and observations from night 3:
  • Karate returned to the Pavilion after taking a hiatus last year. Good to have the variety, because everybody loves to watch more traditional hand to hand combat.
  • Jesse debuted his first full night of emceeing for the Pavilion, as last year he shared an evening with Stacey. Jesse's charismatic-style is perfectly suited to this event, he loves to charm the audience with his somewhat sincere, yet always engaging wit and if there's a stage, Jesse will entertain.
  • Stay tuned on Wednesday when the Pavilion will stay open later for their first of two nights for a late night party. If you like karaoke be sure to stick around immediately following the 9:45 show (10:30) as Jesse will host this event until about 11:45, hopefully there is enough audience members to the make this entertaining. Part 2 will be on Friday night, so tell your friends!
  • It was the first night for the Kaede dancers, mainly the older group. When is Carol going to get better copies of her songs? She still uses cassettes that sound like they have been played over and over and over...you get the idea. The tape hiss is getting so bad, it literary sounds like an old scratched up 78 from the 40's. I could have sworn someone put them on CD a few years ago. The best thing would be to find the original source and copy it directly to disc or digital file (will need lots of noise-reduction done to it).
  • Tonight was the last night for Kenji, one of our singers. It was also Keiko Saito-Hanssen's last night as one of the Aurora dancers this year and possibly for a while. I heard she might be taking a break from dancing, but I'll believe it when I see it. Keiko has been a solid performer for Aurora through the years and first got acquainted with her back when the Pavilion was held at the Cultural Centre. She is back on stage Thursday night as the emcee of the main stage show.
Wednesday should be exciting as Yuki (I'm not sure what his last name is...anyone know?) makes his first appearance as a singer and as I mentioned earlier, late night karaoke. I think it'll be a good time to try one of those Folklorama beers!

Night Two...5 Days Left

The crowds returned in large numbers to the Japan Pavilion on day two, I'm guessing half of Winnipeg must have returned from the lake because there was a line of people waiting outside the front doors already at 5:30pm when I arrived. The first two shows enjoyed near capacity crowds and I expect them to grow in numbers as the week goes on. The show was similar to the previous night with the exception of different dances performed by the Aurora dancers.

Highlights and observations from night 2:
  • Judo replaced Kendo for tonight's martial art. The group consisted of younger members, I think the highest rank belt on stage (besides Wayne) was a orange. I personally believe the audience is warming to the martial arts segment and by giving them 10 minutes before the main show it enables the rest of the show to flow nicely. Two years ago the martial arts segment was rushed to squeeze them into the main show and only allow them 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Monday saw the return of Shig to the stage, not as a member of Hinode taiko, but as the evening's emcee. His calm easy-going banter was a pleasant surprise as this was his Folklorama MC debut. Notice how the entertainment coordinator's roped their relatives (including their fathers) into this job, I guess the talent runs in the family.
  • Kenji's singing performance included 3 dancers behind him, Mitch was joined this time by Sumi and Keiko and when they're dancing on stage you hardly notice the singer. Visually this adds so much depth to the piece.
Tuesday will be an important night as the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, John Harvard is scheduled to pay our Pavilion a visit, as well as CITY-TV...should tuned.