Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tim Hortons

To answer some questions:

Tim Horton was a hockey player who died in a crash and opened a chain of donut stores (possibly not in that order). Tim Hortons is a fairly ubiquitous feature of Canadian life.

As I have mentioned before, we live right above a Tim Hortons, and it, like almost every other Timmy's in Canada, seems to be permanently busy until about 6pm.

So, strictly in the interests of research, and not because I quite like donuts, I went to Tim Hortons last night.

I can't comment on their coffee (although several Canadians I know are addicited to it), but the donuts were pretty good. I had a strawberry filled vanilla iced (with sprinkles). Pretty good. Definately on a par with most bakeries at home.

Talking about bakeries, I did find a decent pie in Canada. Shame it was at the rugby club in Vancouver really. Ahh well, after all the pies I ate when working for Mt Ruapehu, it's probably a good thing that pies aren't part of my diet here.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Back to the 1950s.

Well, it's after midnight, and I am huddled (if one can huddle by one's self) around the high-tech box that brings voices from afar into my living room so I can listen to the All Blacks play against the evil British Lions.

If a 1950s kid in New Zealand had a blog, he might well write something like that. But let's not get into time travel. It's 2005, the high tech box is a laptop, the voices from afar is the Newstalk ZB webcast, and I'm in Canada.

My mother isn't around to tell me to go to bed so I'm going to be naughty. Besides, I don't have to be awake until 1pm tomorrow, and really want to listen to the match. When the Lions came to New Zealand, I was a 12, nearly 13, year old English immigrant who wasn't assimilating anywhere near as quickly as his siblings. Now I'm a 24, nearly 25 (gulp), year old who is pretty sure he's a proper New Zealander now.

There's a neat symmetry to all of this.

Last time, we'd been in New Zealand just over six months. This time I've been out of New Zealand a bit over six months.

Last time I'd spent 12.5 years of my life being English (albeit mostly overseas). This time I've spent 12.5 years of my life being a New Zealander (well, technically I became a Kiwi in 1996, but shush, I'm allowed to stretch things however I want).

So yeah, I could try and make this some sort of defining moment in my life, but really, I'm just a guy, on the other side of the world who misses quality rugby (the club games I've seen here are barely high-school first XV - which is better than NZ hockey stacks up by Canadian standards).

Kick Off is in just a few minutes - the teams are running out onto the field now.

They're singing some horrible song called the "Power of Four", it's worse than any of the individual anthems.

Now they're singing some horrible song called "God Defend New Zealand".

Seriously, after being in Canada, and watching US sport on TV, I've realised 1) We just don't perform our national anthem anywhere near as much as they do and 2) There's two good reasons for that - the song sucks and many of the performers chosen for sporting events are worse.

Now the haka, that's a great way of starting a sporting event (or indeed any event). We should get rid of the funeral dirge and just replace it with a haka. So whenever NZ wins one of its rare Olympic medals, instead of a funeral march, we should hear a bunch of guys yelling.

The All Blacks are playing from left to right on the radio coverage. Anyone else see the irony?

I'm not going to do a play by play, because that's kinda lame. This is great though - I'm going to have to eat some vegemite on toast too, just to complete the NZ nostalgia feeling of tonight. That and I am hungry.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What to write about?

Well, I'm kinda stuck for things to write about.

I thought about the Canadian obsession with Tim Hortons (during the trip to Vancouver, the one genuine Canadian in our car was pretty much constantly looking for Timmies). But I seem to cover Tim Hortons every month, and while it's probably good for a couple hits from desperate Canadians googling "Tim Hortons home delivery" or "free Tim Hortons", it probably gets old for the rest of you.

Having no life plays havoc with my blogging. I should go out and get a life immediately, just so I have something to write about.

It's also getting close to a time where I have to make some sort of tentative plan for the next six month period. Originally, I was going to work in a ski resort.

It's still a good option, although other places than France are looking appealing now too particularly Switzerland, and Scandinavia - apparantly Finland has a massive shortage of teachers right now. Then there's always the option of trying to find a real job (yes I said I wouldn't sell out, but 1) it doesn't count in a foreign country like the UK - even though I have a passport, I'm only technically British, I still want the All Blacks to crush the Lions and 2) the lure of sweet sweet pounds.

Bleh, who knows.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lazy update

Well, it's been a while since I posted. I have an excuse, and it's a little bit better than the fact that I am spectacularly lazy (I did my laundry today and that felt like a major achievement).

This weekend was the annual BC Cup (Aussie Rules - Vancouver, Burnaby, Seattle, Victoria, and Alberta). The Alberta team was pretty much a Calgary affair, although five Red Deer guys did come along.

So anyway, Thursday and Friday were lost to the drive out (a lot of fun, if slightly cramped), Saturday was game day, and Sunday was doing touristy stuff, including riding in a convertible around Stanley Park, and taking a quick ferry ride from Granville Island to downtown.

We spent Thursday night in Kelowna, and I caught up with one of my many friends named Dan. We've exchanged group emails and instant message conversations over the last few years, but it's not quite the same as sitting down and talking. He'll be in town for Stampede, and I'll probably try and get to Kelowna for a weekend at some point this "summer"

We won the tournament thanks to point countback, since both Seattle and the mighty Roos went 3-0. This brought the coveted BC cup (an old boot on top of a wooden box) to back its rightful home at the Flying Emu. Overall, I did my usual small bit for the team, without embarassing myself too much. Being out-sprinted to the ball by a 15 year old (twice) was a little bit frustrating, but he probably weighed about half what I do. Which, by the way, thanks to a friendly Westjet check in lady, I now know is 204 pounds (just over 92kg I think).

So I'm back in Calgary, and it's good to be back. I like it more than Vancouver (which is a little backwards, since Vancouver is supposed to be one of the greatest cities in the world, and Calgary is a cowboy-hat wearing provincial town grown large - but that's just the way I am really).

It's sunny today for a change - the recent rain caused flooding in parts of Calgary, which is not particularly normal for a semi-arid / desert city.

I'm going to go have a nap.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Life goes on

Well, I haven't written in a while. There are many reasons for this.

1) I'm lazy. Nuff said.

2) Not a lot has been happening. Seriously. My life is amazingly boring at the moment. I'm like a crazy hermit, except without any of the interesting moment when God starts talking to me through the microwave (actually I'm pretty sure God would manifest Himself in our George Foreman grill, as the Heavyweight champion of the world is, according to Norman Mailer "like being the little toe of God").

Anyway, a typical day for me is wake up, turn on computer, eat breakfast, work / play on the internet, eat lunch, work / play on the internet, eat dinner, work / play on the internet, possibly go to the building hot-tub downstairs, go to bed.

Munday is laundry and groceries day (got to get all the big tasks out the way while I still have energy), Weddys I go to Aussie Rules training, on Frododay I go and watch Aussie Rules on the TV at our sponsor pub, some Satadays I go play Aussie Rules (this weekend, just for a change, I played Gaelic instead). That pretty much sums up the last week or three.

If this is what real life feels like, I'm off to become a soldier of fortune in South America.

3) I have had tech problems for the last, well for someone like me whose umbellical cord had a USB connection, it's forever. It used to be that my internet connection was fine, and Dan's kept cutting out. Then both the internet connections cut out occasionally. Now it's pretty much just mine, and pretty much constantly. It's a cunning gremlin though, it's learned not to show me that I'm disconnected until I go to make a blog post, or send an email, or whatever. Even then, sometimes the computer claims to be connected until a ridiculous amount of time has passed, then when I rescan for the network, it suddenly acknoweldges that is it not, in fact, online. It's like my computer and the router have both been possessed by six year old gremlins who sometimes have fights with each other and aren't friends for the next ten minutes. Give me back the adult gremlins.

I blame Bill Gates. I have no idea why or how, but I do.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

We're all a little bit crazy aren't we?

I'm a little bit obsessive compulsive. Obviously it's not when it comes to keeping things clean and tidy. But if I'm going somewhere, I have to check that I've got things like three or four times. Today it was my keys. I used them to lock the front door this morning, I know put them in my bag, I remember doing it, but I still checked before leaving the building, and once I got to the place I was meeting my ride I still checked again, even knowing all of this.

It's a little worrying.

In sports news, the Calgary Kangaroos thumped the very under-strength Red Deer Magpies today. The score was in the region of 127 - 25. The game felt closer than that, but some of the Calgary players just insisted on kicking goals whenever they got their hands on the ball.

I wasn't one of them, kicking the ball straight into my marker the one mark I took and skidding the ball across the face the only time I got the ball in the clear. Thankfully, I discovered what I am good at (since it obviously isn't kicking for goal). Now I've reminded myself what playing a contact sport is like, I'm quite happy throwing myself at the ball, and opposing players. Plus, when there's no goal posts to distract me, I can actually kick fairly well. So I moved to the backline (defence) and feel like today was easily the most useful I've been to the team.

Sure, I'm never going to be competing for any award more prestigious than a certificate of participation (if they still give those out to people over the age of 18). But at least I feel like I'm doing more than just filling a jersey and getting in the way.

Anyone in the Calgary region, keep Saturday 25th June free.

The Kangaroos are organising an "Amazing Race" (teams of 4 drive round Calgary chasing clues and doing a number of cool activities). I've been sworn to secrecy about the activities, but lets just say I wish I didn't have to help out, so I could compete. $100 per team gets you a day of fun, and there's an after-party which will have barbeque, beer, and all that good stuff.

It's a bargain, plus you'll be helping Western Canada's greatest Aussie rules team to defend their title against Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle (which is pretty part of Canada).

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