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Monthly Archives: November 2009

So You Think You Can Dance – Top 10

Published November 30, 2009 - 0 Comments

So you thought that I forgot about the American version that’s been airing for the last month or two?  Nah… Because of the overlap with the Canadian one, and the fact that CTV isn’t carrying it for some reason, I decided not to follow the show until I could get caught up with recorded episodes.  This is the first chance that I’ve had to write about anything recent.

Season 6 has a whole new look and feel to it.  A brand new stage with an amazing backdrop display.  A new intro.  New scenes when it cuts to and from commercials.  The addition of Adam Shankman as a permanent guest was actually a great move.  He’s quite entertaining.  I do wish that they still had a 4th chair and rotated guest judges through, because I miss some of the ones that appeared on past seasons.  I’ve noticed quite a few new choreographers this season.  It looks as though they are making a deliberate effort to shake things up and give the show a fresh makeover.  I don’t know if the ratings were starting to slip or not.  Actually, with this season they’ve made the move from a “summer replacement” into the world of fall prime-time.  That’s probably the most noticeable change of all.

So having said all of that.. has anything really changed?  No, not really.  It’s the same ole thing.  New faces.  Same old styles.  I’m no expert on any of this stuff, and watch it purely from the entertainment perspective, but after 5 seasons, I think that I’ve pretty much seen all there is that they have to offer.  Does that mean that I’m getting bored?  No, not really.  Television programs are a rehash of the same old thing, regardless of what genre they are.  Something “new” doesn’t stay new for very long.

Last night when I sat down to watch, they were announcing the Top 10.  I have to say… so far this season, I have yet to be truly “wowed” by any routine.  Sure, there have been some good ones.  Maybe even some better than good ones.. but nothing that made me really stand up and take notice.  When the bottom 3 girls were announced, I wasn’t at all surprised to see Karen in there (along with Mollee, and Ellenore).  She may have made Adam’s (and many others) eyes pop out, but she just wasn’t connecting with viewers.  At least not the ones picking up the phone to vote.  I think that it was her third time in the bottom 3, and her “dance for your life” solo just didn’t have much going for it.  I hated to see her go, but I think that it was inevitable.  The big question going into next week is whether Mollee can suddenly mature enough emotionally (or at least give the illusion of doing so) to attract some voters.  She dances well, but she has “High School Musical” written all over her, and looks like a fish out of water sometimes, in comparison to the other women.

On the guys’ side we had Victor, Nathan, and Ryan in the bottom 3.  Say what you will about Ryan… I’m jealous.  I knew that it wasn’t his night to go home.  I really had my money on Nathan, who blew the judges away in his audition, yet just doesn’t seem to take anything seriously.  I thought that Victor’s solo was far superior to Nathan’s, and was disappointed to see Victor get the boot.  I like how judge (and executive producer) Nigel Lythgoe put Nathan on notice, by telling him that if he had his way, that it would be Nathan (not Victor) going home, but that he was outnumbered by the other two judges.  We’ll see if that little dose of reality is enough to snap some sense into Nathan.

On the Canadian side, I see TV ads announcing tryouts for dancers across Canada.  This SYTYCD machine just seems to have no end in sight.

Christmas Theme

Published November 30, 2009 - 3 Comments

With the Big Day less than a month away, I thought that I would update the look of the blog, and find something a little more festive.  There’s no shortage of Holiday themes out there to pick from.  This one is called “Blue Christmas” and I like how the snowflakes fall in the header portion.

Change is good, right?

I Want My Life Back, Beth Cooper!

Published November 29, 2009 - 0 Comments

I have a pretty high tolerance for those “coming of age” teenage flicks that seem to pepper the walls at Blockbuster.  But for every 1 American Pie there are 100 duds.  I Love You, Beth Cooper was definitely not one of the former.

I really wasn’t expecting an Oscar-winning performance, but I also wasn’t expecting to fall asleep in the middle of it.  It’s just so damn boring.  I’m not sure how much I missed in the middle, but it didn’t seem to affect the plotline at all.  Was there a plot?  Some guy publicly proclaims his love for the girl who’s ignored him all her life, during their highschool graduation ceremony…  and then the ‘hilarity’ ensues.  (cue snoring)  Even Hayden Panettiere seemed a little out of place in the whole thing.

Save your money.  Save your time.  Find something else to do.  Read a good book.  Read a horrible book!  At least reading exercises your mind, which is way more than I got from sitting on the couch for 2 hours watching this disaster.

Adventures in Retail Hell

Published November 28, 2009 - 2 Comments

Ahhh…  tis the season to shop…

I was so proud of myself for having started my Christmas shopping in a record early time.  The problem is that I didn’t finish it as early as I should have, so with less than 1 month until the big day, I still find myself in the thick of the madness, albeit with fewer things to buy.

My first stop yesterday was a clothing outlet.  All I wanted was a simple gift card.  How hard could that possibly be?  I got 2 steps inside the store, and looked at the huge line of people snaking back from the counter.  I have to learn to perfect my “inside voice” because sometimes I say things out loud that are really meant for me alone.  “Yeah… I don’t think so!” was what came out this time.  The clerk closest to me looked over as I turned around and walked out.  I crossed my fingers that I could find the gift card in one of those “gift card mall” shelves that they have in some grocery stores.

Then I went into the electronics store.  I knew exactly what I wanted.  The problem was it was hiding behind a locked door.  I could see it.  I could touch it.  All I needed to do was convince a store clerk that I was worthy of the purchase, and then convince him or her to call their supervisor to get the one and only key that would open that lock.  Sounds easy, right?  Oh, how wrong I was. 

I stood there.  And stood there.  And stood there some more.  Why is it when I DON’T need assistance, I get mauled by eager clerks attempting to impress me with a memorized list of benefits of some product… but when I DO need a clerk (or just the key, dammit!) I can’t find anyone for the life of me?  I eventually hunted down one girl who was looking something up on a computer monitor and asked her if she was busy. 

“I know exactly what I want.  All I need is for you to get it for me, please”  She was pleasantly surprised, and seemed quite happy not to have to answer questions about what I was looking for.  For some reason, though, it still took awhile to find a supervisor to unlock the magical vault of electronic goodies. I thanked Susan for her assistance, and told her that I did not envy her (or any of them), especially at this time of year. All in all, it took way too long to get out of there.  If I had any hair left, I would have yanked it out at the roots.  I hope that my kids appreciate this.  We’ll see.

Then I attempted to brave the mall.  I should have known when I couldn’t find a parking spot within sight of the building that I was in for a treat.  I’m surprised that I’m not still walking from my car to that door.  I almost turned around part-way, but then told myself that I’d only have to come back another day.  I might as well get it all over and done with in one last shot.

Yeah. As if.

I’m pretty patient, but apparently Friday afternoon is not a good time to go wandering through the mall, no matter how many times you tell yourself that these people should all be at work.  Apparently they’re all shift workers too.  I managed to get a couple of things from one store, and that was it for me.  I’d had enough.  It was time to get groceries.

Sobeys was actually not too bad.  I did a quick walk-through to make sure that I wasn’t going to be bumping carts with a thousand other people, then started on my regular route.  Geeze, I’m getting tired of roasts being on sale.  Can’t they put chicken on sale?  I love my beef, but I’m going to start grazing in my spare time if I consume any more of the stuff. 

What a great thrill it was to see that they had the clothing store gift card that I had refused to wait in line for earlier!  I picked it up, and another for a restaurant that I wanted to give.  Everything was going so well, as I pulled up to the cashier and began putting my items on the counter. 

$165.  Hmm.. not too bad.. considering $65 of that was for gift cards.  But then she told me that the gift cards did not get activated when she scanned them in.  As she tried to sort it out with the head cashier, you could almost hear the collective groan of all the people behind me.  Yes, I had become THAT guy…

Finally she told me that I would have to go to Customer Service, and that the girl would activate them there for me.  My obvious question was “And WHY is she going to believe me?”…    Was it really going to be that simple?  “Joclyne will take care of you”, she told me.

Joclyne?  Yup.  Joclyne.

Joclyne was great, but she had no better luck with these stubborn cards than the first cashier did.  She DID manage to convince me that I didn’t have to re-pay for the cards, though.  The first cashier told me that because they didn’t get activated, that Sobeys did not receive the money for them, although I could quite clearly see on my slip where I had paid for them.  I said “There’s no way that I have $165 worth of groceries in this cart!”, but how many times have I said THAT? Well, Joclyne explained that the first cashier should have done a refund.  “Nope!”

I was just about ready to give up on the gift cards when Joclyne’s supervisor somehow managed (we think) to get the cards authorized.  She apologized for the wait.  “Hey, not your fault.  Things happen.  And I guess we’ll see in a month from now if it really works.”

So beware if you get a gift card from me! :shock:

The worst part is that I still have some shopping left.  I still need to get my Christmas cards, and get them in the mail.  I still need some Christmas wrapping paper.  So if you get something wrapped in FutureShop flyers with a yellow sticky note attached to it, you’ll know why! 

Gotta FINISH earlier next year!:lol:

President’s Choice Children’s Charity Bear, Cameron!

Published November 27, 2009 - 5 Comments

Cameron BearEvery year President’s Choice Children’s Charity chooses 1 child from across Canada to feature as the inspiration for their holiday bear.  This year, my nephew Cameron was selected.  What a wave of emotion, as we learned that Cameron would be part of this amazing gift.  Cameron has Angelman Syndrome, and has benefited greatly from the generosity of the President’s Choice Children’s Charity.  They were able to help my sister and her husband get a wheel-chair accessible van, making it MUCH easier to transport Cameron in his wheelchair.

At only $10, the Cameron bear is an amazing value.  And for every bear sold, $2 is donated to PC Children’s Charity ($4 if you purchase the bear with a PC Mastercard).  I picked up 3 of these great little guys the other day, and will be handing them out for Christmas this year.

You should be able to pick these up at any SuperStore.  I’m pretty sure that the name changes across Canada, but it’s the Atlantic SuperStore in this part.  (Loblaws, Dominion, No Frills, Save Easy, among others)

You can read a little more about it here.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends!

Published November 26, 2009 - 1 Comment

Gee, didn’t I already write a Thanksgiving post?  Oh yes, back in October when it was Thanksgiving here!  My American friends are only just now getting around to celebrating it.  Lagging behind us yet again  🙂

I’m told that it’s because the harvest season is much earlier here.  There might be some truth to that.

I think the real reason is that it kicks off the official Christmas shopping season, and if they had it last month, that’s simply too much time between holidays.  Imagine all the Black Fridays that they could jam into that 2 month period!?

*gobble*  *gobble*

An Old Flame

Published November 24, 2009 - 5 Comments

Today marks a special event.  The Olympic torch passes through the local area.  It’s one of those things that doesn’t happen very often.  I wouldn’t necessarily say a “once in a lifetime” experience, but certainly not a very common one.  At least I HOPE that it’s not a once in a lifetime experience, because I’m not getting out there to see it today.  I had considered going, but in the end, decided that it would be more fun to have gone with the kids.  I think that they would have enjoyed it, and wish that I could have taken them.

They say that this is the longest route ever taken by a hosting country, 45 000 kms.  That’s quite a distance!

Next time…

Box Cars? Wind Me Up Before You Go-Go!

Published November 24, 2009 - 0 Comments

I don’t know what’s going on with car designers nowadays (other than the fact they’re fighting to stay alive), but I’ve noticed a few really ugly vehicles on the roads recently.  I call them box cars, although I don’t know what the real term is.  I’d say cube cars, but Nissan went and called theirs the Cube.  How original.

Look at this thing.

Nissan Cube

Where the key to wind it up?

Then there’s this little gem.

It’s somewhat less box-like than the Cube is, but only because the roof doesn’t appear to go straight across, but that might be an optical illusion.. or maybe it’s my eyes.  That reminds me, I should really get that prescription for my glasses filled out some day.

I’ve started to notice these cars mention in some of the magazines that I subscribe to.  MoneySense ran an article on how cost effective they were.  Consumer Reports had one too.  Apparently they’re not bad little vehicles, so I can’t really bash them too badly.  It’s just the look of them.  I don’t find it overly appealing.

Then again, I’ve never been a poster boy for “all things en vogue”…

Go On.. Try to Take the Chicken From the Kitty…

Published November 22, 2009 - 2 Comments

One of my cats likes to steal folded socks out of the open drawer and run around the house with them in his mouth.  He will actually growl a little if you try to take them away from him sometimes.

This tiger has the same look in his eyes…  He’s just daring you to try!

Is Twitter Really Useful? (Or is it Simply a Seductive Time-Waster?)

Published November 22, 2009 - 1 Comment

I’ve been a Twitter user for a long time..  way before Oprah made it “fashionable” to broadcast your life in 140 character snippets.  My original account (@Dunnik) was created on June 17, 2007 and would still be active today if I was smarter than I am.  Don’t bother trying to re-create your Twitter account if you’ve also canceled the email address assigned to it.  It’s just not gonna happen.

So my question is this… Is Twitter actually useful?  For the average person, does it really matter if someone is having a coffee at their favourite café, or thinking about going to the gym?  Is it anything more than a scorecard for a giant internet popularity contest?

When I look at the people who I am “following”, I can basically see it broken down into 3 categories:

1. Friends and  Family.  These are the people who I know and can personally relate to.

2. Celebrities. For whatever reason, we feel it necessary to try to “connect” with these people.  I’ll give some of them credit.  Whether musicians, actors, business, or whatever kind of celebrity they are.. some of them actually interesting.  I’ve added quite a few (more out of novelty than anything) and slowly gotten tired of most of their ramblings, and removed most.

3. Interesting unknowns.  Most of these people tend to be local, and they’re people who I could pass in the street and not have a clue that I had just done so.  I’m not sure what it is about following local strangers’ lives that’s interesting, but it can be.  And although I don’t really have any intention of ever meeting these people, rarely a common interest might make that happen, as it did in the case of @razzberri1973.

But really… is there any actual benefit to either following, or being followed, on Twitter?  Or are we simply trying to score popularity points in the big internet sandbox?

I wonder.

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