Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pink Settler Bullying

Yesterday I wore a pink shirt. I've been known to wear a pink shirt now and then, but yesterday I wore one for a reason - to make a stand against bullying. It's nice to make a day of it, but I wonder how many people who made a point of wearing pink yesterday won't do anything the next time they witness a bullying act, whether it's kids involved, or adults. Maybe they won't even recognize it as a bullying act. It reminds me of something a standup comic once said at Yuk Yuk's regarding March 21st as anti-racism day: shouldn't every day be anti-racism day?

Biscotti and I played Settlers of Catan last night with, or should I say against, L&G. I was wearing my pink shirt, but that didn't stop them from bullying me. They wouldn't trade with me, they built roads with the sole purpose of blocking my roads, and they kept putting the damn robber onto one of my frickin' numbers which meant stealing one of my cards and blocking me from collecting on future rolls of that number. And just when I thought they might be done bullying me (really? you're putting the robber on one of G's numbers? thanks!) they bullied me some more. But don't worry, I gave as much as I received, or tried to anyway; G won with 12 points, L and Biscotti tied with 8 points, and I finished last with 5 points. Is there a point to all this? Of course there is: if you don't want to engage in or witness bullying on anti-bullying day, don't play Settlers.

Today's run route
In Pacific Spirit Park, start at Sasamat Reservoir, down Sasamat, right at Council, left at Sword Fern, left at Long, left at Salish, left at Council, left at Sword Fern, left at Long, left at Sasamat, left at Council, left at Sword Fern, left at Long, left at Salish, right at Council, left at Sasamat, end at Sasamat Reservoir.
Today's run time
1 hour 9 minutes 5 seconds

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TSN Doubleheaders - again

On November 27th I sent TSN a comment regarding their delay in broadcasting a Canucks game that began at 7pm. They were airing a doubleheader, but the first game - involving the Leafs of course - began at 4:30pm and went into overtime and then into a shootout, so TSN didn't start airing the Canucks game until halfway through the first period. I suggested only airing doubleheader games that begin three hours apart, a la CBC, to avoid aggravating west coast fans.

TSN very rarely airs Canucks games, and yet today they've done it again. At 7pm I turn the TV on, put it on channel 30 to watch the Canucks take on the Avalanche, and hey! Look! The Leafs and Panthers have just begun overtime! Sweet! Two teams I care nothing about, who are in twelfth and thirteenth in the east, well back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the east. Forget letting Canucks fans watch the full game between two teams who are in seventh and ninth in the west and separated by just two points, give us the Leafs! TSN, you suck.

Now if you'll excuse me, the Leafs just won in a shootout and they've started airing the Canucks, this time only missing the first 6 minutes. You're getting better, TSN, but you still suck.

jPod Rock-Paper-Scissors

Have you been watching jPod? I have. It's moved from Tuesdays to Fridays, but what the hey, I'd follow that show anywhere, even if it means sometimes taping it to watch later. For that reason, I finally watched last week's show today, and one part of it has me perplexed.

Two characters engage in a best-of-three rock-paper-scissors duel. One character, Ethan, the protagonist, is given a cheat sheet of sorts in order to beat his competitor, Alistair, who was once a three-time world champion at rock-paper-scissors: a phone call from a mysterious Babette telling him to watch the lights on an electrical box - the blue light is rock, the green light is paper, the red light is scissors. On first go, green flashes and Ethan throws paper, as does Alistair. Then red flashes and Ethan throws scissors, as does Alistair. At this point, it should already be clear that the light operators are consistently predicting what Alistair is going to throw, so all Ethan needs to do to win is throw whatever beats the prediction. But the duel continues with tie after tie after tie, ad nauseum. Finally, a duel-ending tie is agreed upon.

Okay, maybe Ethan didn't want to show up the world champion in front of the crowd of four people by beating him. Merely tieing him would suffice, getting the jPodsters what they want, and so mission accomplished. I can accept that.

But hang on, after the duel there's another call from Babette. Ethan thanks Babette, then says, "There's one thing I don't get. If you knew what he was going to throw, why didn't you help me win?" Babette's response: "Ethan, it's far too soon for you to win."

WHAAAAAT? This doesn't compute. Babette did help him win. He was given all the information he needed to secure victory. Sure, the lights didn't correspond to what Ethan should throw in order to win, but they did show him, with 100% accuracy, what Alistair was going to throw. It's a pretty easy win with that information.. Ethan is a very bright lad, he could have figured it out.

I did like seeing Douglas Coupland in the episode, even though it was just for a few seconds and he was laying dead in an elevator. He gave himself a substantial role in the book, so I'm hoping that this lifeless appearance is the start of his televised role.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Non-Baseball Season

After several seasons of playing competitive baseball for the Surrey Indians in the Lower Mainland Baseball Association, I am not playing this season. It was a very tough decision, and one I'm still coming to terms with, but I've made the decision and it's time to move on. By no longer having baseball obligations I'll have more time for other pursuits, mainly recreational. I've been running regularly (thinking about doing a half-marathon sometime this year), and I've been snowshoeing semi-regularly (and loving the new snowshoes, by the way). Last summer we used our canoe just once. This year I hope to hit double-digit canoe use. Playing a lot of bocce this year would be great.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Exhibit at Winsor

Who: Photographer Chris Jordan

What: An exhibit of Jordan's work which "explores the complex phenomenon of American mass consumption... His previous series, titled Intolerable Beauty, depicted the appalling accumulated detritus of mass consumer society. Vivid color and striking compositions make Jordan's imagery engaging on a purely aesthetic level, while the message conveyed by his subject matter makes his work relevant socially as well."

When: Now until March 2nd

Where: Winsor Gallery - 3025 Granville St., Vancouver

Why: The What section above may as well read North American mass consumption, and the exhibit really is engaging, as well as thought-provoking. As an example, the following photo, titled CIGARETTE BUTTS, has this caption: 125,000 cigarettes are littered globally every second. This also represents the quantity of cigarettes of someone smoking a pack a day for 17 years.

Visit Winsor Gallery's website for more information.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Amsterdam's Going Down

The following is excerpted from the article £1bn ‘city beneath a city’ planned for Amsterdam by Karolin Schaps. While the city of Vancouver builds higher and higher, the city of Amsterdam goes lower and lower.

Lack of space and high land prices drive engineers to plan 1 million m2 project under canals

Engineer Strukton, architect Zwarts & Jansma and the Delft university of technology have drafted a proposal for a 1 million m2 six-level underground development to provide retail, leisure and parking facilities.

The £1.1bn project, called Amfora, was proposed to address the lack of space and the high price of land in the city. It is is being discussed with Amsterdam’s council, but construction work is unlikely to begin before 2018.

Moshe Zwarts, partner at Zwarts & Jansma, said: “There has always been a lack of space in the city, so what we are doing is building a city under the city by using a new construction technique, which will not interfere with street traffic.”

Under the plans, canal water will be temporarily pumped out in order to start construction underneath the surface.

Zwarts said: “Amsterdam has a 30m layer of waterproof clay which will be used together with concrete and sand to make new walls. We will then be able to work underneath them and pour the water back into the canals. It’s an easy technique and it doesn’t create issues with drilling noises on the streets.”

Bas Obladen, senior consultant at Strukton, said: “Creating a city beneath the city is not futuristic; it is a necessity in this day and age.”

2 Girls 1 Cup Reaction

I do not know Janelle but I love her reaction. You may be wondering what she is reacting to, but I am not providing you with any links. It's for your own good. If you do seek out the footage in question and - ugh - watch it, it is most definitely not my fault. Capiche?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Subway Fraud Warning

Biscotti hadn't used one of her credit cards in many many months. Then she used it at a Subway restaurant. The next day we got a phone call from the credit card's fraud investigation team asking us if we had attempted thrice to purchase over $100 worth of gas that morning. We hadn't. Therefore...

Do not use any credit or debit cards at the Subway located at 110-2323 Boundary Road in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It's on the west side of Boundary, just south of Lougheed Highway.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Are You a Rock Star?

Some might say that I stole this from a post on Cher's blog. I would definitely say that this is inspired by a post on Cher's blog.

Just follow these simple directions to come up with your own imaginary band name, and your band's first title and album cover..

The random article title is the name of your band.

The last four words of the last quote is your album name.

The third picture is your album cover.

Ladies and gentlemen, the next band we're about to experience will be playing songs that can be found on their debut album, have not got it. If you like what you hear, or even if you don't, why not help them out and purchase their cd? That is, if you have.. not.. got.. it.. already - ha! Hoo, tough crowd.. Anyway, if you have not got it (ha!), simply look for a big ol' horse head. Alrighty folks, less talk more rock, let's give a warm welcome to... DAV

Monday, February 11, 2008

The World of Dreams

Last week I read an article from the November 2007 issue of Common Ground that captivated me. The World of Dreams was written by Geoff Olson and Common Ground has the article archived here. To read the article either click that red link or keep reading this post... The picture below is courtesy Common Ground.

The World of Dreams
by Geoff Olson
As a comic whose name escapes me once observed, the human brain is a wonderful thing. It starts working the moment you wake up and doesn’t stop until you arrive at work. We are all intimately acquainted with our many shades of awareness: from wide awake and alert to day-dreamy to dead-tired. Yet, in spite of this familiarity, we’re often silent witnesses to the unfathomable ways of the psyche: the Freudian slip, the emotional jag, the nightmare or even the black dog of depression.

In his investigation of the mind’s mercurial ways, former CBC producer Jeff Warren has penned a vivid hybrid of philosophical treatise, science journalism and first-person report. The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness examines our daily cycle of awareness, from the delta-wave swells of deep sleep to the alpha-wave “zone” sought by athletes and artists. With its many practical tips for exploring the brain’s capabilities, you could call it the missing manual to the hardware in your head.

I met with the mid-thirties author at a coffee shop in downtown Vancouver to discuss grey matters. Warren turns out to be a fast-talking, hyperarticulate carnival barker for the latest findings in neuroscience. In the service of CBC Radio’s Ideas – and a subsequent book contract – the author has clambered aboard his own wheel of consciousness like a kid on a fairground ride. He’s been wired up in sleep labs, serially hypnotized, outfitted in a lucid-dreaming device and underwent a three-week, midwinter stint in a cabin in Northern Ontario, with little more than candlelight for company, to investigate how his sleep patterns would entrain to Earth’s natural cycles.

As a kid, Warren used to lie in bed waiting for the exact moment that sleep set in. Night after night, the act of observation eluded him. He’s been fascinated with sleep, and the mind, ever since. “The whole idea for the wheel of consciousness, and indeed this book, came as I was drifting off to sleep at night,” said Warren, sipping a cup of green tea. He experienced a classic “hypnagogic” state, notable for the parade of seemingly random images and thoughts that preface sleep. If someone’s lucky like Warren, this may include creative solutions to daytime problems.

The author’s reverie-inspired book concept echoes one of the more famous hypnagogic episodes in history, experienced by the nineteenth century German chemist Friedrich Kekule. One night, on the edge of sleep in front of his fireplace, Kekule had a vision of a snake swallowing its tail. He later realized he had the solution to the molecular structure of the benzene molecule: an enclosed hydrocarbon ring. It turned out to be a milestone discovery in organic chemistry.

It’s often said that answers come to us when we “sleep on it.” As Warren notes in his book, Brahms, Puccini, Wagner, Poe, Twain, Stevenson, Tolstoy, Klee, Dali, Dickens and Goethe “… are all said to have been hypnagogically inspired at one time or another.” It would be nice company to keep, but I for one have never had any fragments of inspiration while dropping off to sleep.

I’ve had better luck with lucid dreaming, those terrific REM-sleep adventures in which you realize that you’re the dreamweaver – with the option to behave like a power-mad film director. “The lucid dream is the equivalent of mindfulness in waking,” Warren tells me. “So when you look around in waking, then you’ll really notice the texture of everything, the shapes, the colours, the sounds. In a lucid dream, you really clue into that. The insane thing is, it’s a model of the world every bit as real as this one here. I didn’t know that until it happened to me.”

What happened, as Warren describes in his book, is that he encountered a dream world indistinguishable from the waking world. “The dream was nothing like ones I remembered from the past – everything was preternaturally vivid, full of supercharged detail and colour. I felt as if I had atomic vision and that I could see particles twining in the air like dust motes. I kneeled down and ran my index finger along the cobble-stoned street. Each stone was smooth on top with grit collected in the grooves between the stones.

“I thought I knew what dreaming was, but it turned out I’d been watching scratchy Super-8 home movies on the bottom corner of an eight-storey, 15,000 watt Xenon-bulb IMAX screen.”

I tell Warren I once had a dream in which I parked my car in a lot full of old vehicles, all Sputnik-era tailfins and big, gleaming bumpers. Sometime later that evening, I was wandering around in my dream in a car lot, but all the vehicles looked modern. It occurred to me that I had parked my car not in this dream, but in another dream, earlier that night.

He laughs at the anecdote and I relate another nocturnal adventure of such astounding clarity and detail that I recalled thinking during the dream, “Wait till I tell my friends about this!” Yet the feeling of hyper-reality was already fading in the morning light. Could it be, I ask the author, that the “scratchy, Super-8” quality to dream recollection has less to do with the dreams themselves than some function of the mind that retroactively dims them down? Is there some neural tweak that preserves our ability to make the distinction between daytime and nocturnal worlds, perhaps to ensure our sanity?

“That’s a great question,” Warren says with enthusiasm, pausing. “Do you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday?”
“Uh, no.”
“Do you remember where you had it?”
“I do, but only because I usually have it in the same place.”

The washed out quality of dreams is a function of fragmentary recollection more than anything else, says the author. “When I think back, I’m not in there,” Warren explains. “It’s the difference between memory and immediate experience.” On top of that, he says, short-term memory doesn’t function as well during sleep. “When we think of our dreams, we imagine them as these washed out, grainy things, but that’s only our memory of it.”

The most appealing aspect of lucid dreams is that there are simple exercises to coax them into being, although success varies from person to person. Warren travelled with his girlfriend to a lucid dreaming seminar in Hawaii, held by sleep researcher Stephen LaBerge, where would-be lucid dreamers were given a straightforward, if metaphysical, rule of thumb. Throughout the day, they were to ask themselves if they were actually dreaming rather than awake. The theory is that if you get into the habit of asking yourself this in the waking state, the habit will carry over into the dream world. And if you reach lucidity, it doesn’t take long to prove to yourself it’s a dream, and not back in the waking world asking weird questions. (Digital clocks are supposedly difficult to make out in lucid dreams, as is text in books and newspapers. Also, light switches don’t seem to work for some reason.)

Once you’ve done a few tests and know you’re dreaming, the sky’s the limit. You can fly, dispatch large predators with a wave of a hand, storm the heavily fortified temple of French stewardesses, whatever.

The Head Trip relates some fascinating laboratory research into lucid dreaming. In his research at Stanford University, Laberge’s subjects were hooked up with sensors to record their rapid eye movements (REM), indicative of their eyes tracking dream objects. When the sleeping subjects became lucid in their dreams, they followed previously given instructions, signalling their awareness by a precise pattern of left-right, left-right eye movements. They use a different pattern of eye movements to signal their moment of awakening back in the lab. On a few occasions, some experienced lucid dreamers weren’t actually waking; instead, they were “waking up” in a dream-lab indistinguishable from the “real” one.

“One of the core insights of cognitive neuroscientists is that all we ever experience of reality are simulations created by our brains, Warren writes in The Head Trip. Our nervous systems build a model of the world based on the two streams of data. The first stream is the obvious one: sensory data. This comes in, all broken up, through the eyes and other sense organs, and then it gets routed by the thalamus up to higher levels of the cortex for model assembly. Thus, the world we see out there is more accurately a model that gets built in here. But this is where it gets tricky: this sensory data isn’t just assembled, it’s also interpreted. And that interpretation relies on a second stream of data: not what we see, but what we expect to see, and sometimes even what we want to see.”

Laberge and other sleep scientists believe this commingling of internal and external worlds leads to an extraordinary conclusion. We are always dreaming, by definition: our expectations and projections play a larger role in the waking world than we’d probably like to think. It’s eyes wide shut, 24/7. This notion is either liberating or unsettling, depending on your point of view. For Warren, it brings to mind a short story by the Argentinean master of magical realism, Jorge Luis Borges. In The Circular Ruins, an old sorcerer slowly dreams another man into existence and releases him into the world. At the end of the story, the sorcerer “… relaxes with relief, with humiliation, with terror… that he, too, was but appearance, that another man was dreaming him.”

There is much of sleep and dreaming we still don’t understand. Even the “normal” eight-hour, unbroken period of sleep turns out to be more of a cultural standard than a pre-wired necessity. The fast-talking author explains, sipping his tea: “I think the eight-hour crunch of sleep is one kind of an expression of a larger kind of cultural need, of championing a certain kind of rational waking activity that gets things done. It’s part of our culture running helter-skelter through the world.

“Other cultures have different kinds of attitudes and their sleep patterns seem to reflect that,” he says, pointing out the Mediterranean habit of siesta. In his book, Warren notes that eight hours of consolidated sleep is really one option among many, adding, “We likely do ourselves a disservice when we insist on its universality.” And therein lies a fascinating scientific discovery.

Centuries ago, Western sleep cycles were pretty much set by sunrise and sunset. Candlelight and fireplaces allowed our ancestors to play a bit on the margins, and the low light intensity didn’t interfere with the production of melatonin, the sleep-initiating hormone produced by the pineal gland. But the introduction of electric light represented a radical break from the past, and it did more than turn our evenings into dreamlike fantasias of burning filaments. It turbocharged capitalism, with work hours and leisure time compressing sleep into unbroken eight-hour blocks.

When sleep researchers in Maryland introduced their subjects to the normal, midwinter light conditions in the Northern Hemisphere, free from artificial sources of light, they discovered an interesting thing. Initially, the subjects would fall asleep earlier in the evening, but sleep for up to 14 hours. After paying off their “sleep deficit,” their sleep would return to an eight-hour stretch, but it was now in two parts, punctuated by a lengthy period of waking, of approximately three to five hours. The researchers discovered this period of nocturnal awareness had its own unique neurochemical signature. The high levels of prolactin in the blood accompanied a dreamy, relaxed state of mind in which hours passed by like minutes. It’s not a place we moderns go often.

The sheer thought of it terrified Warren. “If I had to sit and stare at the ceiling for six hours every night, my mind would tear through the inside of my skull like the Tasmanian Devil,” he predicted. But when he put himself to the test, occupying a cabin for a three-week stint up north, he began to fall asleep earlier and found himself awakening in the wee hours into this sanguine state of mind for the first time in his life.

Sleep researchers have discovered this is the answer to the puzzling references in medieval literature to a “first sleep” and “second sleep” – the evenings of ancient Europeans were once divided into portions, and they would frequently rise at night to talk with family or sit and muse under the stars.

Warren quotes sleep researcher Thomas Wehr, who mused of ancestral people waking from their dreams and pondering their significance in the dark: “It is tempting to speculate that, in prehistoric times, this arrangement provided a channel between dreams and waking life that has gradually been closed off as humans have compressed and consolidated their sleep. If so, then this alternation might provide a psychological explanation for the observation that modern humans seem to have lost touch with the wellspring of myths and fantasies.”

In his research, Wehr found that people entrained to natural cycles vary at the time they awake at night. He speculates that this is an adaptation that allowed tribal people to function as a collective of eyes, with unbroken awareness throughout the night. Does this also mean that they can also salvage dream material with greater facility than we do? Warren suspects this is so, citing his own experience of voluntary isolation in a cabin up north as personal confirmation. “You’re able to go back online and think about the things that happened in the dream and bring them back into the dream,” he says. “There’s sort of like this dialogue between the two states. You can think about the kind of cognitive flexibility it gives you.

“Indigenous cultures often have rooms full of people, with perhaps a fire going and several animals around,” Warren notes. In his book, he quotes anthropologist Carol Worthman, who disparages the Western bed as a “machine” for sleeping. “You’ve got a steel frame that comes up from the floor, a bottom mattress that looks totally machine-like, and all these heavily padded surfaces – duvets and pillows and sheets.” It’s arid and controlled, defined by a “decontextualized person.” Although we are not without contact in our hi-tech sleep machines, it “… has been partially mitigated for Americans by the evolution of bed size, from twin, to double, to queen, to king.”

There is much more in Warren’s book on other states of consciousness – the daydream, hypnosis, the “zone” of athletes and artists and the “pure conscious event” of meditators. The author is not big on genetic determinism; the idea that we’re trying to run advanced cultural software on brains that stopped evolving 40 thousand years ago. To counter this persistent notion, he champions “neuroplasticity,” a term favoured by brain researchers who are discovering the innate potential of the human brain to alter its own state.

In the early twentieth century, the human brain was compared to a telephone switchboard. Over time, it’s been seen as an “enchanted loom,” a computer and even a hologram. Yet when it comes to states of consciousness, we’re trafficking in metaphors for largely unknown territory. We have plenty of maps, but as semioticians famously remind us, the map is not the territory. And although it sometimes seems like the big-brained, hairless ape was a bad evolutionary bet, The Head Trip argues convincingly that we have barely begun to explore the gelatinous gift inside our skulls.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Dog's Mysterious Prompting

As Biscotti and I snowshoed towards Hollyburn Peak on Wednesday, the behavior of our dogs reminded me of a specific passage from Jack London's "To Build a Fire". The short story is about a man, new to the land and experiencing his first winter, walking a Yukon trail with his dog in conditions colder than fifty degrees below zero.

Our outing, while not in the neighborhood of fifty degrees below zero, had similarities to this paragraph:
In the course of the next two hours he came upon several similar traps. Usually the snow above the hidden pools had a sunken, candied appearance that advertised the danger. Once again, however, he had a close call; and once, suspecting danger, he compelled the dog to go on in front. The dog did not want to go. It hung back until the man shoved it forward, and then it went quickly across the white, unbroken surface. Suddenly it broke through, floundered to one side, and got away to firmer footing. It had wet its forefeet and legs, and almost immediately the water that clung to it turned to ice. It made quick efforts to lick the ice off its legs, then dropped down in the snow and began the to bite out the ice that had formed between the toes. This was a matter of instinct. To permit the ice to remain would mean sore feet. It did not know this. It merely obeyed the mysterious prompting that arose from the deep crypts of its being. But the man knew, having achieved a judgment on the subject, and he removed the mitten from his right hand and helped to tear out the ice particles. He did not expose his fingers more than a minute, and was astonished at the swift numbness that smote them. It certainly was cold. He pulled on the mitten hastily, and beat the hand savagely across his chest.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


In a recent post I wrote that I'd be buying snowshoes and that I'd most likely buy them at Coast Mountain Sports with a hefty gift card I'd received . Well, I did buy snowshoes, but not at CMS. Here's why.

My three snowshoeing compadres, Biscotti and L&G, went to Mountain Equipment Co-op to browse and talk to a staff member about the different types of snowshoes. I tagged along. After half an hour or so, the three of them purchased the exact same type of snowshoe, as well as snowshoe bags for convenient transport and storage purposes.

Later that day, Biscotti and I found the exact same type of snowshoes at CMS, but at a significantly higher price. On the way to the store, we had agreed to ask them to price match if they were more expensive. So that's what we did, telling a staff member that MEC was selling the exact same snowshoes for a lot less. The staff member's response: we do 5-15% off, with proof that it was cheaper at a competitor's store. We had proof with Biscotti's MEC receipt, but 15% off still didn't come close to what MEC's price was.

Also, MEC has a far superior return policy and guarantee than CMS, which we pointed out and might as well not have for the response it got. Even with a hefty gift card, why would I spend more money on the same product while receiving an inferior return policy and guarantee? As you already know, from reading the first paragraph, I wouldn't.

I still had the gift card though, so I set off in search of snow pants and found a really good pair. I used them for the first time yesterday when Biscotti and I went snowshoeing at Hollyburn (Maui no, don't jump up on that snowshoer, down boy) and they were excellent.

The next day we were back at MEC and I finally bought snowshoes and a bag. I recommend buying a $5 lifetime membership (if you haven't already) and doing all your relevant shopping at MEC.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rotation Direction

Do me a solid? Click this post's pic, then watch the spinner spin, then spark the glow to let me know which way you see the spinner spinning - clockwise or counterclockwise. Thanks in advance.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hockey Day in Canada 2008

One might call this post a sequel to this post. I would.

In past seasons, Hockey Day in Canada has featured three games with some sort of combination of the six Canadian teams facing off against each other. The first game would start around noon PT, with the next two games in the regular Hockey Night in Canada timeslots, 4pm PT and 7pm PT.

However, as a result of this season's shitty schedule, Hockey Day in Canada has been tainted. This season features four games, with just two games featuring an all-Canadian matchup. The non-all-Canadian matchups are the Leafs hosting the Red Wings (noon PT) and the Canucks hosting the Avalanche (7pm PT).

Yes, there are American teams involved in Hockey Day in Canada. That's bad enough, here's what's worse. The two games that are actually all-Canadian matchups are being played at the same time (4pm PT) - which means that on Hockey Day in Canada, with four games broadcast, Joe Canadian can only watch one single game that pits Canadian team versus Canadian team. Wooooooooo.

That's not all. The simultaneously played games have the Senators hosting the Canadiens, and the Flames hosting the Oilers. Those living in Ontario and east of Ontario will see Habs vs Sens, while the rest of Canada (yes, Manitoba and west of Manitoba) will see Oilers vs Flames.

So, eastern Canada will enjoy a matchup between the first-place team in the eastern conference (Sens - 68 points as of now) and the fourth-place team in the eastern conference (Habs - 65 points), who are also neck-and-neck for first place in the northeast division.

Meanwhile, western Canada will, ummm... enjoy(?) a matchup between the sixth-place team in the western conference (Flames - 60 points) and the fourteenth-place/second-last team in the western conference (Oilers - 51 points).

Finally, and more personally, I am in a hockey pool and in the two simultaneously played games a total of two players are also on my roster. One is on the Habs and one is on the Sens. I live west of Manitoba. Wonderful.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hasek + Gaborik = Fliptastic

The screen quality at the beginning of the video is a tad poor, but it improves significantly and the replays are fantastic - especially the last one, which begins at the 54-second mark.