Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hey, What Are You Doing Here?

There is a gold medal game to watch, save your surfing for another time.

For the record, I did not throw Summit into a shrinking machine (can you get those at Wal-Mart?), but rather, this is a photo from about 6 months ago when he was about 50 pounds lighter and the height of our cat.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Top Ten Reasons This Saturday Will Be Splendid

10. There is not a single medical record on my desk. There is a lot of papers on my desk. I should probably get around to sorting them and putting them away so that I can see if there is actually something underneath all this. I do know for sure that there is not a single piece of paper on this desk that needs to scanned. A day where I don't have to hear the hum of the scanner, is a fantastic day for me.

9. Lots of time to play with my 'boys'. You may have caught the hint on this blog that I really love my pets. Saturday is a perfect day to cuddle them or 'roughhouse' with them. It is also a chance to do some training with them, and I must say, they are both very obedient (yes, even the cat despite his history of being behind bars).

8. There is snow outside! I know some folk are ready for spring to arrive at their doorstep, but here in Brantford, we haven't had anything resembling winter for most of the season. This was the first week that the snow stuck and I had something that needed to be removed from our driveway (which would be snow, we haven't had a drunken hobo problem). This means that snow related activities have been kept to a minimum, but finally, some snowy goodness can be had (which probably means I end up just watching it from the window while pointing at it).

7. The medals will continue coming Canada's way. Despite the massive amount of whining that has been coming out of these Olympics, I feel they have been absolutely spectacular. I believe all Canadians should be proud by the performance of our athletes (as for non Canadians, you should be proud of your athletes performance as well). Being Canadian, I am super pumped that we have the most gold medals right now and I have a feeling that the medal haul will continue today. Oh Canada, indeed.

6. There is free time to do some writing. My head is crammed with lots of short story ideas that are just begging to jump on to my computer screen. Plus I have some ideas for articles that I would like to try shopping around to some magazines or websites. Of course, none of these have much value as thoughts in my head, thus I need to actually complete them (at this point, writing them seems to be the best strategy since I misplaced my wand). I am hoping for some moments of writing productivity. Or at least some procrastinating while thinking that I really should get to the writing.

5. I am going to seek out buried treasure. Because it has to be somewhere, so why not in the woods near my house. Besides if there isn't buried treasure then why did that family sporting eye patches and peg legs move into the neighbourhood?

4. I am still in pajamas. I realize this won't be for much longer because apparently, we are going out(something about actually being active and enjoying the day). I think any day that I can go this long in pajamas can be considered a splendid day.

3. I ate noodled and wieners for lunch. Because apparently, I am still a 10 year old boy and that kind of thing makes me happy.

2. I read some funny comic strips. See above.

1. I get to spend the day with Emily. I've been married long enough to know that my wife needs to top a list.

Friday, February 26, 2010

We Will Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Program After This Brief Interruption

My blog posts have been on the minimal side this week, despite the fact I was able to keep them daily (I haven't missed a day since I started back up -- though admittedly before that, I took a two year hiatus) This week, I was trying to focus on a short story for a contest plus a few small (possible paying) writing pieces which essentially took priority over 'book length' blog rants this week. Eventually I hope to master the balancing act of blogging and working on other writings, but at this point I am in the extreme novice category. Though I'm hoping to quickly move up to the intermediate category and get some rather consistent paid writing work (I should go outside and see if they grow on trees), when that happens, I want to be able to balance my blogging and my other writing. My goal is to be able to keep this blog running for as long as possible, but of course, my even bigger goal is to actually make a career out of my writing. In the end, paid work will always win out over this non paying blog. Though, I am not sure why I am addressing this issue considering I don't have anything lined up for paid work right now (thus there probably won't be too many weeks like this). Maybe if I keep on talking about it, work will magically appear? Yeah, probably as likely as Summit cooking me breakfast in the morning. Though just in case, I would love blueberry pancakes, buddy.

Anyway, I wanted to address why the blog wasn't rocking the words this week and make you aware of the main reason of why this blog could have other less 'rantish' weeks. I am going to go feed the scanner now, it is hungering for some confidential documents.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crosby Fought The Law . . .

And the law won.

He tried jumping on the counter and licking pots too many times. I may be considered a push over but even I have my limits. If he is good, he may have a chance for parole in three to five years.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Christopher Can't Come Out To Play Today

Somebody really needs to focus on quickly finishing a very overdue short story, and that someone also happens to be me. I won't be writing any long expositions on the life of Polkaroo or completely fabricated histories of cultural holidays today. If you want to waste your time reading things on the internet, then I suggest you check out some of the blogs that I have on the right hand side of this page, there is some pretty good stuff residing there. Typing that reminded me that I really need to update the lay out of this page, but that is not a 'today' job. I am off to seclude myself and finish this story about an old man and a space pod (seriously).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Deep, Thought Provoking, Philosophical Question of the Day

How did the males always miss a seven foot abomination like Polkaroo? More importantly, what type of disguise would Polkaroo use to blend in during day to day life? Wouldn't people spot him every time when he went to buy milk, especially when he kept calling it 'Polkaroo, Polkaroo'?

Just wondering.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Knowing Your Business

I was listening to a radio show the other day, and the topic of professional wrestling came up -- don't worry wrestling haters, this post isn't all about men rolling around in their undies -- and they discussed a common trend in the industry that involved higher ups of the big wrestling organizations not watching the product of the competition. Of course, all my readers who despise the fact I am a wrestling fan are probably thinking, 'yeah, why would they waste their time on such trash?' I can understand the typical person not wanting to watch wrestling but what if this is your job? I personally find it absolutely startling that one would not watch the shows of their competitors. I don't expect them to watch every single episode because I recognize that would be incredibly time consuming when they have their own shows to worry about. I would have thought they would at least try to catch a show a month, just so they can be aware of what their competitors were doing, and to see what was or wasn't working.

This started to make me think how many other industries are there, where you don't pay attention to your competitor or to products associated to your business. Would a TV executive completely ignore all the shows on another network? Does a director not bother watching movies from other directors? Does a boy band star decide to completely ignore all the other pop tarts (okay, I can't fault him for that)? I would think that part of one's job would be to remain aware of their industry. They should know what is considered cutting edge or what is selling to the masses. They then can take that winning formula and throw in a twist that would make their work stand out even more. It would seem to me that if one decided to shut out all the other products in their industry which weren't created by them, it would cause them to slowly become outdated and oblivious. I could only imagine the horror if a television show producer from the 70s decided to jump back into the game without ever watching a show since 1978. He would obviously assume the shows produced today would be similar to what was out then. Of course, he would then produce the most entertaining ratings disaster of all time (probably something where a very white male plays an Asian ninja cook who serves a wacky family of 8 and has the catchphrase, 'Me So Sorry').

This is one of the reasons that I am trying to dedicate a lot of time to reading as much literature as possible. Of course, I also want to read because I actually enjoy it. I think, it is really important that I understand what type of stories are out there. I need to see what tales are captivating a mass audience, then see how I can put my own twist on these type of stories to make it even more exciting and enjoyable. Of course, my goal is not to copy other stories, and I am also aware that being original is the only way to produce a cutting edge novel that captivates millions. It is key to know the industry and to know what is out there. So, when I decide to write my story about sparkling vampires, I know what has already been covered in that field (not that I have any desire in the continual neutering of a once very cool fantasy monster).

I really think an artist or businessman or director or any person in a field where they create product, can learn a lot from being aware of what others are doing in their industry. It does not mean you copy or even follow the path of the competitor. I also feel true innovation can not happen if you do not know what has already been done and what has proven to work within the industry. This is why I should write a story about about a young, undead wizard who creates an illustrated diary about his struggles at music camp, while cracking codes of ancient paintings and brooding about his relationship with a glittery women who really likes bodily fluids. Or maybe not.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Do I Mean When I Say I Want To Be A Writer?

I find it interesting when I say I want to be a full time paid writer that most people assume this to mean a novelist. I would be an absolute liar with his pants on fire if I did not admit that my ultimate goal is to have a published novel. My entire body would be in flames if I denied that I would be happier than a squirrel swimming in an ocean of peanuts if I was able to become a full time novelist. I want to be a novelist and my attempt to become a full time writer has that goal in mind. The reality is, saying that I want to become a full time novelist is similar to saying you want to become a full time rock musician or a movie actor or a professional hockey player. There are people who achieve those professions but it takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, time and well, talent. I definitely have the confidence that I have the potential to become a successful full time novelist, but I also realize it is likely many years away, and it will only come from a lot of hard work and giving certain things up (no 8 hour rolling down hill sessions).

If this is all true then what do I mean by wanting to be a writer now? First of all, I am far ways off from being willing to quit my current day job. I am still looking to land a teaching job, which will hopefully become my 'day job' for the next few years. I do hope over the next few months that I will begin to gain writing jobs. I recognize that fiction writing is not a way to make a living unless you become established and are considered a big name writer (just like being a musician or actor is not a way to make a healthy living until you've become a 'star'). I find it funny that the same people that may discourage you from pursuing a music or acting career would not see the same risk in fictional writing. I assume that has to do with the lack of knowledge of the writing industry, and the fact it isn't held in the same prestige as music or acting (which actually means writing is probably even harder to succeed in).

Despite how bleak a career in fiction may sound, there is numerous opportunities to make a living off writing. Of course, every single one actually still involves a lot of hard work and about 12 hour work days (when you decide to make it full time). The way I see it, I'd rather work 12 hours on something I love, and get paid, rather than work those same hours on something I am less passionate about. Of course, not all writing jobs are incredibly appealing or glamourous, but I feel each can present an exciting challenge.

The simple reality is that we see the written word all around us. Who is supposed to put those words there? I am pretty sure it isn't black magic but rather people known as writers. There is writing to be done online and off line. There are corporations that are constantly looking for written material on blogs, brochures, press releases, articles and various other things. There are magazines and web sites constantly wanting written material. The reality is, many places do not have full time writers but rather rely on free lancing. Of course, the field is very competitive since many people would love a job that allows you to stay home wearing just your boxers and eating doughnuts, while pounding out words on your computer. I am also confident there is only so many people who are actually passionate about writing and are willing to stick with it even during the hard times. Because the reality is, a free lancer has to be prepared that there will be times where there is a lot of work and times that there is almost none. A free lancer needs to be prepared for a month with lots of pay chegues rolling in and a month where the income is close to zero. Of course, a free lancer has to be willing to do lots of work which include not just writing, but also trying to find or get clients. Luckily, there is a lot of websites that have writing work that you can bid for. When that fails, a writer can go out looking for clients the 'old fashioned way'. Of course, all this is hard when you are just starting out, since you don't have a portfolio to win over your prospective client. Luckily, there is now sites like Constant Content where one can submit their work for publishers and web sites to buy (though of course, you are competing with many other writers who also submit this work). Yes, it sounds like it is hard but if one really wants this career, there are avenues you can take to achieve it.

It takes lots work and patience. It definitely isn't a job for those who dream of coasting and taking it easy. It is also a job that gets me very exicted and passionate. Luckily, I have a wife who is supporting me and encouraging me to take this road. So yes, I want to be novelist but I don't think that is going to happen immediately (though, I do plan to begin working on a novel now), but I do feel I can start getting work out there. I believe I can be a writer now, it just might not be the type of work one associates with 'writing'. I also don't assume I will be working as a full time writer in the next few years. I will continue to keep you all informed on how this journey goes, and let you all read about the high and lows of my pursuit of becoming a successful free lance writer.

And of course, I'll continue to post random photos of my pets when I have nothing else to write about.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hottest Item To Soon Hit Stores Everywhere. . .


Oh okay, it is a cat in a bag. But there are boxes in that bag and the cat is sitting on them (which I realize is different than a cat in a box). For the record, Crosby sat in that bag without any help or encouragement from me or Emily (or even Summit). Sitting in things is sort of what Crosby does, and as you can see, he does it well. I decided I should post this picture since Crosby was getting a little jealous with all the Summit love on this blog. A blog that is not going to just become a place for pictures of my pets, I promise. I actually have some pretty cool stuff planned over the next long while (just matter of actually writing the 'pretty cool stuff') Enjoy the rest of your Saturday be it watching Olympics, throwing things off a bridge, doing pirate impersonations next to the mirror, chasing squirrels while brandishing a eaten cob of corn or whatever makes your Saturday extra pleasant.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ultimate Match Up: Summit Vs. Alf

It appears it was a bit of a mismatch and poor Alf literally got the stuffing knocked out of him. The question remains, why did Summit feel the need to inflict such a pummeling on the diminutive alien? Our good friend Jocelyn said it best, "Alf eats cats and Summit likes cats." He was just trying to defend the honour of his brother, Crosby.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Obedience Training Is For The Owner Rather Than The Dog

We took Summit to training tonight, which he hasn't been to since November. This is not due to neglect on our part but rather the fact the place we went to has been closed since that time. The problem was that not enough people were coming thus it wasn't financially feasible to keep it open. They've decided to give it another chance and I could not be happier.

Summit is a very obedient dog, mainly because he is a breed that is all about trying to please their owner. He almost always stays near us even if we have him off leash. We have a few issues with him but tonight was a great chance to get more tips and strategies. It was also a night when I learned that Summit is a perfectly obedient dog and it is his owners that need to be trained. It was a good opportunity to figure out what we need to do to get the very best out of him.

The other reason that I really like going to training is the chance for him to be socialized. There is a variety of breeds there and he interacts with them all (even though he seems to want to just play with his brother). Being surrounded by all these dogs causes Summit to get a little crazy and thus a great chance to try strategies to get him to listen. Summit is almost always obedient when we have him alone but it is with distractions that he provides a challenge. This is a great place to work with him where there is a lot of distractions but also know it is a fairly safe environment -- since they don't drive a lot cars inside a building thus little fear of him being hit if he runs off.

It was a great night and look forward to more Thursday training sessions. I came home a very proud father. Summit probably was just happy that his owners were finally catching a clue. It takes me a while but eventually I start learning.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Am Currently A Zombie

10. Olympics. No, I am not blaming the amazing athletes for turning me into the undead but rather the awesomeness of the Olympics is causing me to not go to bed at a decent time, and when I've been getting up at 5am for work, I need to be going to bed before 11:00 (which is not happening).

9. The scanner of pure evilness. Again it really isn't the scanners fault but since that machine is the major part of my full time job, then it gets the blame for now. Normally, I take Wednesday off to concentrate on writing but because of Family Day, I decided to work thus I am feeling an extra dose of the lethargic.

8. The really bad zombie bite on my right thigh.

7. I actually am Batman. Playing the double life is beginning to catch up with me because it also means I am Bruce Wayne. It is really hard playing three people.

6. My spirit was connected to the Heritage building on Colborne street, thus their impending demolition is causing my soul to be vanquished thus rending me into this state of Zombienia (which isn't a word).

5. The major lack of writing outside of my blog for the last few days. I actually feel reinvigorated when I am able to get writing done but a full time job and the Olympics have crushed the 'writing time' I had once enjoyed. One could argue that just means I need to manage my time better but I then threaten to eat your brains (because I am a Zombie).

4. I've been reading too much Stephen King, thus taken the form of a monster that would fit perfectly in his imaginative world.

3. Nazis because they ALWAYS must be blamed for bad things that happen to me (such as the car accident I was in about 12 years ago).

2. The complete lack of seeing my buddies over the last many months. I feel a Slum House reunion is in massive order. Actually, a Medeba/LDP reunion is even more overdue.

1. It wouldn't be a Christopher Spicer number one if it wasn't a complete and utter let down. So, what anti-climatic choice can I come up with? Cows. I blame cows. Mooooo.

Yeah, so not in an epic blog writing mood but couldn't stand the thought of ending this nice streak that I have going. Hopefully, I'll have something better tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The First Step on the Road to Redemption for the Men's Canadian Hockey Team

The Canadian Men's Hockey team's gold medal campaign is being called 'redemption.' Most Canadian hockey fans and anyone involved in Team Canada are ashamed of the performance at Turin 4 years ago. For the country that is synonymous with the sport of hockey, it was embarrassing that our best were unable to place better than 7th. When NHL players are allowed to participate in the Olympics, the expectations are incredibly high for Canada to do very well. Actually, even without NHL players, the expectation for Canadian success are huge. Look at are Junior teams, we almost always do extremely well at the world championships, often claiming the top prize. This time around, on home soil, the pressure is on for the men's hockey team to put on the best performance possible, hopefully, create a magical moment that rivals the gold medal win in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

Tonight was Canada's first chance to show what they could offer when they took on Norway. The interesting thing is despite the team being stacked with NHL all stars that doesn't mean they are strong as a team; it should be noted they have only had one major practice as a team since being formed. For true success, there has to be major team cohesion. Of course, the opposition of Norway was not considered a threat, thus a chance for Canada to work out kinks and begin to gel as a team.

I have to say the first period, where Canada went scoreless, was a little worrying. It became clear that Canada was lacking some very important aggression. One couldn't help from worrying if this was a sign for yet another rough tournament. Fortunately, by the end of the game that was all erased as they routed Norway with a 8-0 victory. When it was all over, it was clear Canada started to become more comfortable with each other and was becoming a more aggressive team. The true test will be when they are up against much stiffer competition such as the US on Sunday. Though Norway should not be completely discounted, because despite never really having a chance, they played a really strong game against a team of mostly NHLers (any non NHLers are top prospects).

As stated, it is hard to say what Canada's chances are at this point. There are a lot of solid teams out there such as the US and Sweden. This isn't like Olympic Basketball where only one country has all the professional athletes. The NHL is full of great international stars, thus many countries have a chance at the gold.

I'm sure some may be disappointed that all the focus is being put on the men's hockey team, when we have a even stronger squad in the women's hockey team. The women are consistently blowing out all the competition, and really only have one threat which is the United States. If we really want a gold medal in hockey, our best chances lie with the women.

Unfortunately, the women get downplayed when it comes to the men. Sure, we are rooting for the women's team and I know a lot will be watching them if they are in the finals. We will all be happy if they bring home the gold. The reality is men's hockey is the cornerstone and main event of the Olympics for Canadians. The proof is in the 2002 Olympics finals, which to this day is the highest watched television program in Canada. I almost guarantee that the record will be broken if the Canadians make it to the finals this time around on home soil.

At the same time, while it is unfortunate the women are not getting the same focus that also means they don't have the same pressure. The expectations on the men are huge, and there will be a massive backlash if the men are not in medal contention. I don't think that would be the same with the women, even though it would be a massive upset if the women are not in the finals.

The next few games should be very interesting for the men. Will they continue to grow as a team and become even more aggressive. Are these high paid players really inspired and motivated to take the gold? I honestly think they are. It is easy to bash players for being ego centric and prima donnas who make massive amounts of cash. The reality is they are still Canadians and they still have pride. Besides that issue, anyone that is complaining about the team now, will forget those complaints if the men end up becoming Olympic champions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Drought is Finally Over, Now Let the Downpour Begin

Until last night, Canada had never won a gold medal when hosting the Olympic games. There were amazing moments for Canadian athletes at both the Montreal and Calgary games, and fantastic stories about Canadian athletes beating the odds to win an unexpected medal (for example, Elizabeth Manley's legendary Silver win). But it was always a bitter pill to swallow when it came to the fact we were the only host country to be unable to walk away with a gold medal. After last night, we no longer have to face that fact, because Alexandre Bilodeau took home our first ever gold medal on Canadian soil. I have to admit I was filled with Canadian pride when watching Alexandre put on such an amazing performance. I was then completely overwhelmed with emotion when he was declared the winner. Yes, I know it is only games. Yes, I am aware I don't know Alexandre personally. But there is always something special about the Olympics, about these athletes that spend their whole live trying to reach this dream. It is great to see them realize it. It is even greater when you can see a fellow countrymen be able to make his home nation proud.

For me, the thing that makes this win so special is that Bilodeau appears to be such a worthy person of his fame and glory. He will always be the first Canadian to win a gold medal on our own soil. I am sure there will be many that will forget him in a few weeks but I know he must have inspired a few young Canadian kids to pursue an opportunity to be in the Olympics. Last night, he became a hero and icon, and he truly seems to deserve, at least, his 15 minutes of fame.

What I love about the Olympics is the stories it creates. Athletes who have to overcome adversity in order to become champions. Or the underdog who comes out of nowhere to achieve way beyond their personal best. Or the stories of unexpected displays of sportsmanship. I understand the Olympics have had controversies or ugly sides, but I feel the heart warming stories are able to overcome the darker sides. Even this Olympics was beset with tragedy, but even though we shouldn't forget the loss of Nodar Kumaritashvili, there are still going to be countless opportunities for heartwarming moments.

Last night was one of those heartwarming moments. Yes, the actual moment of a Canadian getting the gold medal plays a huge part of that, but there is much more to this story. Bilodeau dedicated this win to his biggest fan and his number one inspiration, his brother Frédéric. It was great seeing how much the two brothers loved each other, for that matter, how close the entire family was. It was great hearing how Bilodeau was inspired to train hard and never give up because of seeing how his own brother was a fighter and a survivor. As many probably know by now, Frederic is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and was told by doctors that he would not be able to walk past 10 years old, yet he is walking at 29 years of age. It was amazing hearing Alexandre speak of his brother because it became clear that his brother was his hero. It was great watching Frederic in the stands because you'll never see anyone get more excited over another person's success. This was truly one of the most heartwarming moments I've seen.

This is why I love Olympics. The great human stories that it creates. Being able to see these amazing people rise above of it all. It is opportunity to see people who are not only great athletes but fantastic human beings.

Of course, it was great to see Canada get a gold medal, but I am pretty sure we will get to see many more of those in the next 2 weeks, but I also hope the great human stories continue as well.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

10 Unknown (Fictional) Facts About The (Chinese) Lunar New Year

10. Ayn Rand brought Chinese New Year's celebrations to North America, but promoted the idea that the celebration could happen whenever one felt was necessary. Of course, this naturally lead to a Chinese New Year's every single month, which initially sounded like a grand idea. It became clear that Rand felt every feast should have a philosophical speech before every single dish (typically, there were 9 courses at the feast). While everyone liked the idea of a feast/celebration that spanned over a week, no one seemed to enjoy a feast that consisted of 5 hours of ranting before being able to have 5 minute of eating a cold plate of lobster or shark fin soup. Needless to say, Rand's vision died rather quickly.

9. Almost everyone loves Chinese New Year's celebrations, but oddly, most find the need to celebrate again about 15 minutes after it is over.

8. W.C. Fields protested the celebration of anything new and instead, promoted the idea of a Chinese Old Year celebration. Though it largely consisted of him getting drunk while only wearing his briefs, and yelling about those 'Damn Kids, walking on my lawn.' So basically, it was like every other day of his life.

7. It actually originated in Poland, and really had nothing to do with the New Year. Instead, it was an opportunity for a bunch of guys to throw stuff at the moon and dress up in their favourite Dragon costumes sewn by their mothers. Despite the longstanding beliefs, these men were not 12 years old, but did think jobs were for suckers and enjoyed making pillow forts in their parents basements. I believe a few of them ended up migrating to a region known as Slum Haus.

6. In 208 BC, a man simply known as Ned left his home on Chinese New Year's with the promise of slaying a fierce dragon, and finally, bringing true peace to his village. Seven months later he returned with a piece of clothing that adorned his upper body with the engraving, 'I Went To Slay the Dragon but All I Got Was This Lousy Piece of Cloth.' The novelty T-Shirt was birthed that legendary day.

5. Despite the fact one would think St. Patrick's Day would be more apropos, this is the only day you can actually find a Leprechaun's pot of gold. Unfortunately, it is actually only a box of cheaply made chocolates, which can often be found at most Walmarts any day of the year, thus not really worth the effort of trying to catch the little fella.

4. Every twentieth Chinese New Year's, there is the all important 'feats of weakness.' It is essentially similar to a 'feats of strength' except the goal is to not be able to lift an object. Participants will start with trying to lift the heaviest objects possible such as a house or mountain then proceed to progressivly lighter objects. Once a person is able to lift an object he/she is eliminated, this event proceeds until only one person remains, who is unable to lift anything. In 1998, it was won by 'Limbless' Larry who defeated 'Atrophy' Andy, when Andy was able to lift a jelly bean. Unfortunately, Andy was put into intensive care after such a grueling(at least, for him) physical act.

3. Kermit the Frog was actually invented during a Chinese New Year's preparation. A craftsman named Charles was attempting to make the most impressive Dragon puppet ever. Unfortunately, his artistic skills were not as strong as his desires to achieve, thus ended up making something resembling a frog. He was publicly ridiculed by many, thus out of shame he threw the frog-like dragon into a nearby dumpster, which happened to be the residence of one Jim Henson. One week later, Henson was able to move to much more luxurious accommodations.

2. The beans served during dessert at a Chinese New Year's feast are actually magical. Unfortunately, the growing of a beanstalk in one's stomach is not the best thing if one's goal is to be healthy and living. Luckily, most people just dump the beans in their pocket when no one is looking, then proceed to flush them down the toilet after excusing themselves. Many sewers are full of lush, green life.

1. If there is a full moon on a Chinese New Year's, a 780 pound Dragon named Lucious emerges from the Atlantic ocean and proceeds to sing show tunes on the little known island of Caspuss. The inhabitants of the island, a lone meerkat and forty seven crabs, merrily dance and have the most exciting day of the year for them -- of course, being secluded on a desert island that sounds like a rare disease, this is not saying much.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Life Altering Philosophical Question To Distract You From My Lack of a Blog Post

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, and even if he could, would he throw like a 'girl'? And if the woodchuck was female, would that be such a bad thing? Or what if the male woodchuck threw like a World Class female fastball pitcher? There can't be any shame in that, right?

Well, my day is going splendidly and I hope you continue to spend your day in a similar fashion. I plan to be back tomorrow with a more substantial post, or at least as substantial a post as this blog normally produces. I also plan to actually get to my e-mail, Twitter and Facebook tomorrow, so everyone who has been waiting patiently for a reply, your magic day is Sunday. It has been a very non internety last few days but that will be remedied shortly.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gone Fishing

Actually, I am off watching the Opening Ceremonies at a friends. Blogging will be minimal the next two days on account of not being at home, and enjoying the company of friends and family. Tommorrow night. I will also be enjoying the company of a 9 course Chinese New Year's feast. Mmmm. . . feast-a-licious.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forget Christmas, This Is My Favourite Time Of The (Every 2) Year(s)

I am Christopher Spicer, and I am an Olympic lover.

I know, being a fan of the Olympics isn't as cool as it once was. There has been mass protests against the last two Olympics, both having to do with human rights issue. People get frustrated that money is be siphoned off into a 2 week sporting event, when they feel it could be used better in other places. Others complain that the spirit of the games have lost out to consumerism due to the massive corporate sponsorship. Despite all those negatives, I am sure it will still do great television ratings. People will still be talking about it at work. I am sure 'Olympics' will be one of the most googled words over the next two weeks. It may be hip to be negative on the Olympics, but when the time comes, the magic will still be there. People all across the world will be enjoying one of the most exciting two weeks in sports.

Yes, we can reflect on a lot of negatives. We can talk about how it is a high security risk. We can talk about how there is corporate logos sprawled all over the venues. We can talk about how First Nation land right issues are being ignored and will probably continue to be during these games. Actually, it is really easy to be pretty negative.

For once, I am just deciding to ignore it. I know ignorance isn't really the best thing to aspire to, but my goal is to really enjoy these next two weeks. As a Canadian, there is a lot of pride that the games will be held here. It is our chance to show the world how great of hosts we can be. Reports say that the popularity of Canada has taken a hit with most major nations, thus it is time to recapture that popularity by showing how amazing we are. I am sure the opening ceremonies will be spectacular. I know the competition will be outright thrilling. I am choosing to enjoy an event that encourages competition and comradery. An event that allows us the opportunity to display the great multiculturalism and diversity of our nation (probably the most diverse in the world). A chance to not only have pride in my country but to embrace the greatness of every other country. A chance to root for the underdog nations that may only have one competitor in the entire two weeks. A chance to be like that young boy again, who saw his first Olympic, and has been in love with them ever since.

And of course, like almost every Canadian, I'm just hoping we can reclaim the Gold in our sport, hockey.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fact: I Am Not Ron Beach

Last summer, we hooked up our phone service with Primus, which ended up being one of the most migraine inducing experiences I have ever had the non-joy to live through. But today is not a rant against Primus, I will spew that venom another time (or I may actually be able to find content that doesn't make me sound like a curmudgeon). Instead, this rant is directed against another major telecommunications empire. Shortly after the phone was finally set-up, we got a call from Rogers which essentially was an attempt to get us to upgrade our services. This phone call was odd for two reasons because one, we weren't with Rogers but Primus, and two, they called me Ron Beach.

I am pretty sure there is no way you can make Christopher Spicer sound like Ron Beach. They definitely were asking for someone who did not live in our home. I made them aware of this fact, and they of course politely decided to try to sell product to me anyway. Eventually, I convinced them it was best that we end this conversation and that if they were nice, maybe one day I'll actually switch Rogers (since at the time, I was feeling the wrath of the hellcat known as Primus).

It only took a few days until I received a second phone call from Rogers, and once again, they wanted to speak to Ron Beach. I was once again pretty convinced that there was not a Ron Beach that lived in our house. Unless Crosby, our cat, had a secret identity that I was unaware of (which could be likely, considering what good is a secret identity if other people know about it). Despite the possibility they could be wanting to talk to my cat, I decided again to inform them that Ron Beach did not live here and that I did not even have a Rogers service. Of course, they responded by trying to sell me product, which lead me to telling them it would be great to end this conversation now.

Now, repeat the above paragraph about 20 - 40 times, and you now have an idea what I have experienced for the last year and a half. I am still pretty sure that I am not Ron Beach, nor that he is secretly living in my basement ordering Roger telephone service. Which gives me a pretty clear indication that Rogers is in desperate need of updating their customer information, and that Mr. Beach is feeling a little neglected (or laughing, that some poor sucker is being hounded by Rogers).

After the first many times of hearing from Rogers, I finally asked them to please put it in their records that Ron Beach no longer has this number. This lead them to asking me if I knew where Ron Beach had moved to. I responded that I would have no clue considering I've never met the man, and did not think he would call me out of the blue to give me such information. I also let them know that Ron never lived here, since we were the first owners of this house since it is a new home. The Roger employee didn't quite seem to grasp the concept that someone can change numbers without changing a house. Even though this concept seemed hard for them to understand, I believed they were very capable of making a record that Ron Beach no longer had this number and the person who did, wasn't really interested in any more sales pitches from the Rogers team.

Of course, that was about call number 10 of about 40ish. Needless to say, Rogers does seem to have a problem recording such information. Or they are really convinced that I must be Ron Beach. Maybe I should check my birth certificate again.

Today, they called us once again. Today, would be the day that I very firmly told the poor Rogers employee that I expect to never be called again, and that she must make sure it is recorded that Ron Beach does not own this number. I think, I scared the poor, innocent lady.

Which probably means, they will call again tomorrow. Maybe it would be much easier for me to just invest in a name change, obviously, this is a sign that I was meant to be Ron Beach.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Super Bowl Declared King of the Ratings

The Super Bowl is almost always a massive ratings getter, one of the reasons they have multi-million dollar ads played in the States. This time around, the Supre Bowl actually was the highest rated show ever in the United States, and the second highest rated show ever in Canada. EVER. I am not talking about this year (which being one month in wouldn't be overly impressive) or the last few years but the highest watched show since it was deemed important to record ratings. It beat out the Series Finale of MASH which aired in 1983. I am quite shocked to hear the record lasted that long and also sort of shocked to know this was the show that held that record. I knew this particular game was going to draw a crowd, but I doubt anyone would have made the claims this would be the most watched show ever. Of course, retrospect allows things to become a little more clear and now, I can see why this show did so well.

There has been talk that this show proves that broadcast television is not dead. There had been a fear that television was beginning to lose out to the internet and all its video streaming goodness. I'm sure the 'on-demand' capabilities of the web will continue to make it a popular way to be entertained, but I also don't think anyone was seriously considering piling the dirt on cable television. At the same time, I don't necessarily think this large rating can be the sign that television will be begin to draw enormous ratings thus filling obscene amounts of advertising revenue into the pockets of television executives. I do think the massive rating does show the factors that need to be in place for future large rating victories.

First of all, I feel the economy probably plays a big role in a record setting rating this year. Despite governments and banks trying to convince us the recession has left town, the reality is there are still many people without job thus several people with rather tight budgets. This means that people are going to turn to cheaper forms of entertainment. Now, the Super Bowl isn't necessarily free because many end up paying for cable to watch it. But the Super Bowl was also on network television which essentially means anyone with 'rabbit ears' (antennas, because actual rabbit ears won't work and it would be kind of gross to stick those on your television) could access the game, which then would make it free. Essentially, the game could reach those who do fling cash to cable providers and those who are not in the financial place to use money in that way. Either way, monthly cable can still be cheaper than a night out enjoying other forms of entertainment (for example, beer at the bar is far more expensive than at the store). I would think the tighter wallets would be a big reason for people to decide to stay home, thus a higher amount of people watching TV.

Of course, I don't think television executives can or want to keep the economy in a slump, thus it won't be the reason for great ratings forever. I think, the best reason the Super Bowl garnered a great rating was because it was an event. 'Event TV' is what is going to draw ratings. I think, sporting events are one of the television programs that are safe from the video streaming of the internet. The draw of event television is that you can have a bunch of friends over and witness something special or rare. Something you can enjoy with company and have a wild time together. I can't see too many people wanting to huddle around their computer screen with 7 or more buddies. In this case, I'd say sporting events that attract crowds are safe from the internet.

I also think Event television is something you want to see live. I find streaming from the internet can still be a little slow and isn't as smooth as television. This would be another big reason that people turned to the TV instead. You wanted to witness the Super Bowl live and not a day later via download. This is the same reason I am sure the Lost Finale or any other major 'in' show will do great ratings, because it will be perceived as an event that you want to see 'live.' If something is big enough, people won't want to risk going into work the next day and revealing they missed out. Or even worse, risk the chance of having the event spoiled for you.

I am sure the better question is, what made Sunday's game come off as an event that a huge portion of North America had to watch? After all, both teams came from smaller markets, which usually means for a less watched game (which is a reason why networks weren't big fans of the Jays back to back World Series appearances). My guess, Hurricane Katrina. No, I don't think people were hoping for the natural disaster to make a return and wipe out a whole stadium. I do think, people really got attached to the 'underdog' story of the New Orleans Saints, and were still very sympathetic to what happen to the people in that city 4 years ago. People like happy endings, and the Super Bowl provided the possibility of that. Plus it helps the game was really good, so a lot of people decided to stick to the end.

I think, it will be interesting to see how long this record holds. I am sure executives are hoping for another chance to repeat this success in the very near future. When it does happen, I guarantee it will be event television, and something the majority of us will not want to risk missing out on.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Top Ten Reasons For There Not Being A Blog Post Tonight

10. A SuperBowl Hangover aka my aging body can no longer handle a mass digestion of copious amounts of junk food.

9. I am boycotting my blog in protest of the lack of oatmeal hats being sold in the marketplace. It is all a conspiracy by the man trying to hold down the little people.

8. Too busy watching Jack Bauer making this world a better place by killing Russians. Well, I am not in support of the killing of Russians, but at least, these Russians were really mean.

7. Hitler, because I've learned he is always to be blamed.

6. I was reminiscing of the good old days, when I'd go 2 years without blogging rather than this whole blogging every day garbage.

5. There was a rabid llama roving about in my office, I really did not want to risk having to endure its herbivorous rage. He might start chewing on my hemp pants. Well, if I had hemp pants.

4. Doc showed me this Delorean that went back in time, then I ended up in the 50s where my mom had this crush on me. . .no wait, that was Back to the Future. Never mind.

3. Summit mistaken me for a bone, and buried me beside our shed. Ignore the fact that Summit doesn't bury bones but rather eats them instead. Hmmm. . .maybe that is it, I was eaten by Summit but he ended up being allergic, so luckily I came out again. Your welcome for the visual.

2. Off doing Brantford's hottest new hobby, smashing down things that look old, but it backfired, as a herd of 6 year olds started pelting me with mini eggs.

1. Hmmm. . . seems like I ended up blogging after all.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

When 'Super Bowl' May Be A Fitting Name

For years, Super Bowl had this label of being an overhyped mess. I remember through my childhood being told by my father how the AFC and NFC conference finals were the real good games, and the Super Bowl was just a formality were the 'real' champions routed some schmucks in a uniform. The Super Bowl is definitely one of the most hyped events of the year and probably the biggest sporting event of most years (this year it has a little competition with this thing called the Olympics). The hype usually pays off as it almost always has record ratings, though one would wonder how much that ever has to do with the game. In the United States, you have these million dollar commercials that probably half the people tune in to see, the reality is, the commercials are often more anticipated than the actual game. Of course, in Canada we only get about a quarter of these commercials, then are forced to either see those same commercials over and over again, or forced to watch some tired old ones that aren't worth many millions. Up here, unless you have an American satellite, you actually tune in for the game.

You know what, I am actually really stoked for the game this year. I feel it has the potential to really live up to the title of Super Bowl. I am still not sure what a dish that holds cereal has to do with the game, but other than that, it should be a really exciting game. First of all, this past decade has produced a lot of really awesome Super Bowls thus the stigma of bad games is slowly being erased. On top of that, there is a really great match up taking place here this evening.

There are a lot of interesting factors that make this such an exciting game. You have the two best QBs in the league going against each other. You have two teams that can score a lot of points but also have a strong defense. I also think you can really create a great and emotional story when comparing the two teams. You have the powerhouse Colts who many are saying are destined to be a 'dynasty' team. They already have one Super Bowl championship from the previous decade, and many can foresee more in the near future. On the other hand, you have the perennial underdogs in the Saints, a team that has not only failed to win a Super Bowl but has never even been in a Super Bowl. Tonight, they have the chance to win the first Super Bowl they've ever been in. This is a team that has been the butt of many football jokes, they are the laughingstock of the NFL (sort of like the Cubs of the MLB). This is their day to erase all that. If being such huge underdogs isn't enough to root for them, remember this team is from a city that faced massive tragedy only a few years ago in Hurricane Katrina. They could use a big boost like this. The reality is, despite having the 'underdog' label, they are a really great team and have a real shot of winning it tonight.

I will admit, I am cheerting for Saints. It isn't just because the Colts previous Super Bowl win was against my beloved Bears (okay, maybe a little). No matter who you want to win, I think, we can all agree we want a great game. I feel, this year these teams will definitely deliver. So, grab a bowl chips and get a cold beer, and enjoy yourself what should be the game of the year (or at least, game of the week).

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Publishing Company Will Plunder Until the 'Men' Go Under

I am not sure how many have heard about the copyright lawsuit case between Larrikin Publishing and the band Men At Work over the song 'Down Under.' If you haven't, then check out the details in this article. Go ahead, I'll patiently wait here.

Done? Good.

Obviously, as a person who aspires to have a career that involves creating product for the mass consumption of society, the issue of copyright holds a great deal of interest to me. I completely believe an artist's hard work needs to be protected from those who want to profit by ripping it off. Simply put, I am wholeheartedly opposed to plagiarism, and if I wasn't, I'd be a fool for wanting to break into the novel writing business. Either I would find myself in a rather nasty lawsuit for snagging someone else's masterpiece, or I would come off as a massive hypocrite when I take action against a person who decided they wanted to claim my novel ideas as their own. I definitely believe the tighter the copyright laws, the better. Things have improved greatly from 100 plus years ago when many dirtbags who lacked a creative thought were able to steal ideas from the talented and creative because the matters of intellectual property and international copyright was unclear or unwritten. I fully endorse copyright and hope it will be able to protect me (though, I hope to never have to enter into any type of lawsuit), but I think this issue goes into the territory of pure insanity (or actually, where a copyright hurts the artist).

Let me get this straight, the lady who wrote the girl guide's song 'Kookaburra' passes away in 1988 which lead to the rights of the song going to Larrikin Music publishing which is a part of a multinational company, Music Sales. This company has owned this song since about 1988, a song that has been written since 1935. Men At Work released 'Down Under' in 1981, and went on to become a huge international hit. You would think Ms. Marion Sinclair would have either heard this song or had a close friend that would have made her aware of it, considering this hit maker was happening in their own country. When Larrikin Music got the rights to this song in 1988, I would have assumed they had heard of 'Down Under.' Yet a copyright lawsuit was not filed until this past year? Serious?

I imagine that one day an executive at Larrikin was sitting at home and thinking, 'By Golly, I really would love a Vegemite sandwich and a can of Fosters, but I'm all out and don't feel like using my own money. Where can steal some from a helpless sucker?" While he was scheming his master plan of evil, he decided it was good to conjure up this diabolical plan while rocking out to some music. He picked up his 'Men At Work' album to listen to and suddenly exclaimed, 'I'm sure I can find a song on here that vaguely resembles something my company owns the rights to. Vegemite and Fosters will be mine!!!!'

Seriously, this is nothing but a vile cash grab. Copyright laws should be in place to help the artist. They are designed to protect creative works. The reality is, the person who wrote 'Kookaburra' has passed away over 20 years ago and none of her family even owns the rights to this song. It is a song owned by a corporation, and they simply found a way to earn some easy money. If this was really an issue about copyright, why wasn't there any discussion of this back in 1981? You know, when 'Down Under' was being played on the airwaves? Back when Men At Work were actually a big name? Instead a lawsuit is being filed almost 30 years after the song hit the airwaves, and a long time after Men At Work are even considered relevant. Essentially someone realized 'Down Under' made a lot of money off royalties and they wanted a large piece of that.

I think, the most frustrating part is how the execs at Larrikin are claiming this as a win for the little people. The truth is, this isn't a win for Ms. Sinclair at all, she has passed one thus won't see a cent. This is a win for a large and greedy company. I feel this is a horrible abuse of the copyright system and am quite saddened about it.

I just hope when I publish my epic about pick ax wielding squirrels that some nasty corporation doesn't decide they want my royalties 30 years after the fact.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The First 7 Months of Summit's Life: A Pictorial Story

Some of the best tales do not need any words.

Yes, I realize an entire blog post where I overwhelm you with a plethora of pictures of my puppy essentially turns me into the 'annoying parent who is always shoving a wallet full of pictures of his kids in your face' kind of person.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Real Life Comment That (Possible Only I Think) Contains Oodles Of Humour

I was having a delightful conversation with a very great friend, when the conversation naturally lend itself for the watching of this clip from the profound, cinematic epic, The Program. (Note: People using Facebook to view this post will need to link to the blog to view the video)

My friend then says to me, "What I want to know is, how did they photoshop that guys head to my body."


He wanted to know how they PHOTOshopped the head to his body in a live action movie.

Because when watching film where you see amazing special effects, the first thing you think is, 'Wow, that is some amazing use of that photoshop program they did there."

I am not sure why George Lucas went to all that work with CGI and all those other amazing technological advances in film, when all he needed was a photoshop program from his desktop.

Yeah, I do know that I am a jerk. Why do you ask?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Uh oh, Big Brother Toronto Noticing Brantford's Skirmishes at the Kiddie Table, aka Opinions and Observations on Brantford's Downtown Debate

Yesterday morning, I was partaking in my daily ritual of reading (skimming) the Toronto Star when I came across an article about the growing debate in Brantford, in regards to what to do with several buildings in the core of the downtown. I found it very interesting that this issue has reached a major paper like the Star, since this demonstrates that this is a 'conflict' that concerns more than just the small city of Brantford. Considering it is now being covered by major city papers, I feel there is a small chance my readers, (how ever vast or possibly minuscule that is) who are not from Brantford, may have an idea of this issue thus worthy of discussing here. Of course, I'm sure most of the people who are outside of this province would not even have a clue that Brantford even existed, let alone that it was home to a small yet growing issue. To those people I say, shame on you because this is the home of Wayne Gretzky and the telephone (well, the latter is debatable but the inventor did live here for a few years).

Brantford's downtown has been finally revitalized due to the addition of Wilfrid Laurier in 1999. The downtown has seen an influx of businesses and the restoration of some buildings, along with great additions like the Harmony Square which holds a stage, some restaurants and a skating rink. Despite all these great advances, the area has been plagued by a collection of buildings that are, without a doubt, hideous eye sores. Most of the building along this stretch are boarded up and have paintings that are best described as 'faux businesses'. Along the strip you'll see a 'pet store,' 'movie theatre,' 'a bank,' and 'grocery store,' except they are actually just empty buildings with paintings of these storefronts on them. It is like we are being told ' these type of businesses could be here but we'd rather house rats instead.' The area was so bad at one point, a movie about a ghost town was taped there. Simply put, it is an embarrassment for an area that is trying to grow and improve.

Needless to say, things needed to be fixed. Finally, the city bought up this strip of buildings with the idea that they will be renovated and draw new businesses. This lead to a split in sides with one side wanting to completely tear down these building and another that just wants to refurbish them. I was originally on the side of tearing them down and would have been more than happy to bring my own sledgehammer to assist in the smashing of things. I have now changed my opinion and this is why.

There are two major problems I have with the idea of completely destroying this strip of buildings. Mys first gripe is that not every building in this area needed to be changed since a few of these building actually did have some business. There was a restaurant called 'My Thai' that resided in this region which, for Brantford, was a pretty nice Thai restaurant (thought honestly, it isn't like they have a lot of competition when it comes to Brantford Thai restaurants). Sadly, the idea to completely renovate/destroy this section of buildings has forced the Thai restaurant to move. My Thai has been annexed to another area in Brantford, which I think is unfortunate. The restaurant was near the University which means My Thai would have been able to cater to a fairly diverse clientele (as many students are from Toronto) thus would probably be able to acquire a decent customer base. Plus the restaurant was near the Harmony Square, which holds events like the Fall Jazz festival, that attracts a lot of diverse people from outside of the city who may be interested in some quality Thai food. Unfortunately, the new location is in an area that has a more traditional small city demographic which means it is not very diverse at all. Plus the restaurant has been pushed in this small corner of a street which is makes the restaurant harder to find unless you are actively looking for it. I find this sad because I feel it may harm its business and I really want Brantford to be able to have a more diverse array of restaurants (because when it comes to cultural diversity, I always think with my stomach).

My second problem with the idea of the comeplete destruction of the strip is the fact that it has become clear the people in charge are not 100% sure of what they want to do with this area and also don't have the budget to immediately put new buildings in place. This gives me the creeps, since we may be left with a nice pile of rumble for the time being, not exactly the view I want from Harmony Square. I fear the rush to get rid of these eye sores will only leave us with a new eye sore. I am beginning to fear they haven't quite planned out how they are going to properly fix this region. I am starting to believe it may be much smarter to just get a concrete plan in place (a sign I don't understand how city management works) and maybe refurbish the area instead. After all, while the buildings are not beautiful, I feel with some work they can be. These building hold a lot of history and when you actually give them a good look over, you notice they have a lot of potential. At this point, I think the more gradual refurbishing of the buildings is the more effective strategy.

On a semi related matter, I want to bring up two things I read in the actual Toronto Star article that slightly irked me, which having nothing to do with the debate. The first is the fact they referred to the downtown of Brantford as 'small.' This adjective immediately struck a chord with me, and maybe it is my own small city insecurities that caused this, because I instantly saw this as the Big City downplaying the smaller city. Of course, you compare the Toronto downtown to the Brantford downtown then it makes Brantford's look very small. If Toronto could talk, I'm sure it would be bragging about how it can fit 9 Brantfords into its downtown, but Toronto is also the biggest city in the country while Brantford is a population of 90,000 + (and growing, mind you). I don't think Toronto being huge necessarily makes Brantford's downtown 'small.' I lived in a town where you could blindfold yourself, hop on one leg and if you took more than 5 minutes to get through the downtown, then it would be considered an epic fail. The fact is, Brantford's downtown consists of several streets, few small parks, a fairly large library, all the lecture halls for Laurier, an assortment of restaurants and shops, and the Harmony square, which itself has a stage, restaurants and a skating rink. I wouldn't really consider that small, and the use of that word seemed to just scream big city arrogance.

The second irksome comment in the paper is how they reported the downtown mall lead to the destruction of the downtown. I do agree with that statement to a degree but feel, the way the paper reported it was false. They made it sound like this large mall barged into the downtown area thus causing all the Brantfordians to rampage towards it thus causing the' mom and pop shops' to go out of business. The reality is, the major problem with downtown is a lot of shops and restaurants lost customers thus either went under or moved to the northern part of Brantford, but t definitely was not because everyone decided to go into the downtown mall. All one has to do, in order to test this theory, is to walk through that desolate and barren cavern of a building. Essentially, the entire mall is a giant headquarters for the NGO calling agency, and I don't see people flocking inside to watch a few telemarketers harass people during dinner, mainly because I don't think the company would allow you to turn their business into a spectator event. Or maybe the Star was referring to that dollar store that is in the mall because I am sure they just do killer business. The reality is, the mall was a massive flop and failure, and definitely did not cause people to go there instead of the 'mom and pop shops'. The successful mall is in the north end and there was never a reason for another mall since at the time we already had two. I do want to make it clear that the mall hurt the downtown but just not in the way the newspaper seemed to claim. Also, I do realize there is now a Williams in the mall too, which does do great business with the students, but it's only a few years old thus not a reason for any destruction of small private businesses.

Now back to the original point of this post (and the end of rage against Toronto Star reporting -- which I think is a fine paper and I subscribe to, by the way), the next few weeks should be a very crucial time for Brantford and the decisions will play a major part of the future of this wonderful city. First of all, there is the mayoral election this fall and this will be a hot topic. I believe we will quickly learn what the majority of the citizens of this city feel about this topic through how they vote. After the election, I assume will be when the major movement is done (or if movement is done before hand, those events will play a big part in how people vote). The choices made will definitely decide how the downtown continues to grow. I feel that strip has a lot of potential to aid in the growth and, for me that is the most important part. I don't necessarily have any attachment to those heritage buildings and won't necessarily cry if they are torn down. My worry is what happens after the fact and how it effects all the surrounding businesses. In the end, I just hope it aids in the continual growth of a downtown that has needed an injection of life for a very long time and has finally been getting it over the last few years.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Toronto Star Short Story Contest

I've made it clear that my current goal is to be able to achieve a career as a full time writer. Obviously, this is going to force me into actually acquiring some time management skills, which is about as strong as my ability to fly. I'll just say, I don't have any plans to be jumping off my roof. Though being able to fly would make the job of taking down the Christmas lights much easier. These next few months will be quite the juggling act with holding a full time job along with looking for a teaching job while also trying to get any kind of paid writing work. I know it can be pulled off but also probably means a few less nights of wasting time by throwing mashed potatoes up against the wall. I'm sure Emily is glad to hear that hobby will have to die a quick death.

Anyway, the first step towards making this writing thing work, is to actually find possible writing opportunities that allow me to get my name out there. It just so happens that the Toronto Star is running their annual Short Story contest. The winner scores $5,000.00, gets their story published in the paper and earn a scholarship with Humber's creative writing course. I'd say it's a pretty sweet deal, especially since $5,000.00 is a lot of money for this type of contest. I think the best thing about it, is that I learn to work with a deadline and submit material while risking rejection. Rejection is inevitable and I mind as well risk it in a contest with several thousand people. So, this will be my first major writing project and I'm still trying to hammer out a story. I find the hard part is actually making my story short enough to fit into the 2,500 word limit. Anyone who has read this blog regularly, knows that 2,500 words is not a hard limit for me to exceed. I'll have to try to limit my verbal diarrhea.

Anyway, I know this is a little short notice since the deadline is February 28th but I wanted to encourage others to enter this contest as well. I think, it will be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it is limited to Ontario residents but I'm sure for people out of province, there will be similar contests for your area at some point in the year. Here is a link for all the contest details.

I had actually planned on doing a totally different blog post tonight, but I was pretty wiped after work and decided to save it for possibly tomorrow. The sneak preview is the post is about some major issues that are happening with the Brantford Downtown and I'll throw in my opinion on the matter. So, look forward to a good old fashion Spicer rant tomorrow.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Speaking About That Rocking Wedding. . .

Being the loving and compassionate person that I am, I decided that I would not force you on a rigorous hunt for videos and pictures of the 'rocking wedding' that I hyped up on yesterday's blog (besides, I love to revel as much as possible in my small amounts of 'fame'), but rather will bring these forms of multimedia right to your doorstep (or at least, to your most favourite of blogs -- uh, my blog). Of course, there is also the small chance you would have never bothered looking for this stuff, thus I am now forcing upon you a year plus old collection of videos and photos. But don't worry, they aren't too stale, I sampled a few before serving.

First things first, let me show off the video that was played before I entered into the church. That is right, the GROOM actually got an entrance, thus fulfilling my lifelong dream. What can I say, my dreams are fairly self-centered and superficial.

Since it would only be fair, Emily got an entrance video too.

I don't appear to have a picture of the entire cake, but this is the awesomely original cake topper, which we actually still have to this day.

Finally, here is the dance that is destined to land me on 'So You think You Can Dance.' Or at least would garner me some 'William Hung' like fame (yeah, it is an American Idol reference but I don't know any notoriously bad dancers from the other show).

Life actually did continue after my wedding, and here is the pictorial evidence with a delightful photo of our entire family.