Monday, September 29, 2014

Music Monday: Delhi 2 Dublin @ The Kaleido Festival

Delhi 2 Dublin. Never heard of them? Think Bhangra meets Celtic Techno Dance party. I love this band. I've seen them half a dozen times at least. They bring out my best dancing fool self. Their concerts make me happy. Listening to their music makes me happy. They rock. Take a listen.

The first time I saw them was at Kaleido Festival in 2010. It was an epic good time. Then, surprisingly, they came back to the Kaleido Festival just a year later in 2011! And imagine how happy I was to find out they were playing the Kaleido Festival in 2014! I've seen them a couple times at the Starlight Room here in Edmonton, and they were at Folk Fest in 2011 and 2013. Plus they're coming back to play The Arden next spring!

I never ever use the video function on my iPhone. I never take concert video. Except I apparently started a tradition in 2010 and have since take 3 Delhi 2 Dublin concert videos of each time they've come to the Kaleido Festival. Did you miss their latest outing in Edmonton? Here are my (poorly shot by oh so fun) concert videos of Delhi 2 Dublin playing the Kaleido Festival...


If you look back, you can see my filming skills haven't improved, but I like to think my dancing fool skills are coming along nicely.


The year I forgot how to use the zoom on my iPhone. But at least the sound is better. I love the crowd's hands in the air!


Oh the sound is horrific because all I had was a crappy digital camera, but I was so close and it was so fun! We were a small crowd, but boy could we scream.

You'll find better concert videos of Delhi 2 Dublin on the internet, but these are my memories. I hope they come back to the Kaleido Festival again in the next few years. We love seeing them there. Try catch Delhi 2 Dublin in concert near you. The dancing fool hidden deep inside you will be thankful!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Curling Team Shuffle - 2014

It's a post Olympic year and wow were there some interesting curling team swaps, changes, moves and retirements! This year, Grand Slam of Curling has a great team line up tracker! Here's what I've gathered over the summer though. What/who am I missing?

Women's Teams

  • Jones: Team Jones will stay together for another Olympic run. 
  • Bernard: Cheryl Bernard has retired. Susan O'Connor is skipping a new team made up of Lawnie MacDonald, Denise Kinghorn and Corrie Morris.  
  • Kleibrink: Last year's team is done, and Shannon has a new team.
  • Nedohin: Beth Iskew is taking some time off, so Amy Nixon has moved from star fifth to third for real.
  • Webster: Geri-Lynn Ramsay is still staying, but Cathy O & Sam Preston have been replaced by Jessie Kaufman & Becca Konschuh. 
  • Carey: Chelsea Carey has moved to Edmonton! Her new team is Laura Crocker, Taylor McDonald & Jen Gates.
  • Scott: Team Kelly Scott has retired.
  • Lawton: Team remains as is.
  • Homan: Alison Kreviazuk has moved to Sweden! Joanne Courtney (formerly of team Sweeting) will take over at second.
  • Sweeting: Andrea Crawford replaces Joanne Courtney at third. 
  • Middaugh: Team remains as is.
  • Ott: Miriam Ott has retired.  
  • Muirhead: Claire Hamilton has left the team. Sarah Reid is in at lead.

Men's Teams (Oh boy, here we go...)

  • Bottcher: Tom Appelman is in at third
  • Cotter: Morris is out. Ryan Kuhn will play third.
  • Martin: Kevin Martin has retired.
  • Morris: John Morris is taking over Team Canada, and will skip Pat Simmons, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen. Scott Bailey will play 5th and take over for Carter for some tour events. 
  • Koe: Koe will skip a team with Marc Kennedy at third, Brent Laing at second and Ben Hebert at lead.
  • Stoughton: Team Stoughton as we knew it is no more. The new team will include Rob Fowler, Alex Forrest & Connor Njegovan. 
  • Howard: With Laing moving on, Jon Mead will step in at second. Wayne Middaugh has retired and Richard Hart is back at third. Savill stays at lead. 
  • Epping: Epping will skip former members of Team Kean with third Travis Fanset, second Patrick Janssen and lead Tim March.
  • Kean: Kean has picked up Mat Camm, David Mathers & Scott Howard. 
  • Menard: No change.
  • Murdoch: No change. But Brewster is gone.
  • Gushue: Mark Nichols is back at third.
  • Carruthers: Reid Carruthers is skipping Braeden Moskowy, Derek Samagalski and Coling Hodgson
  • Jacobs: Team Jacobs is staying together as is. 
  • Casey: Adam Casey will skip  to skip Josh Barry, Anson Carmody and Robbie Doherty out of PEI.
  • Virture: Brock Virtue will skip Charley Thomas, Brandon Klassen & D.J. Kidby
  • Laycock: Team stays as is.
  • McEwen: Team stays as is.
  • Edin: The new team is  Niklas Edin, Oskar Eriksson, Kristian Lindström and Christoffer Sundgren. 
  • Ulsrud: Team Ulsrud is sticking together.

Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity

Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity! It's something I've always wanted to do, so when our university's faculty association put out a call to volunteer (on my birthday!) I had to sign up! The response was so good that they split up the university's volunteers: some went to the build site, and myself and another coworker from my department were with the group at the prefab shop. I was nervous about the day, but figured there was nothing better to do on my birthday than help better someone else's life so I was also really excited!

It was an early wake up call, as we all met at the prefab shop (which turns out is quite near my house). They are currently building the biggest Habitat community in Canada - a 64 unit site in Edmonton's deep south. It was interesting to learn more about the organization. Families (with at least 1 child) have to apply, must meet the income range, must pay their (interest free) mortgage and put in 500 hours of volunteer time as sweat equity. Very interesting.

Anyway, first up was an orientation on safety mostly, and then we picked up our safety gear. We had to bring work gloves, but were given steel toed boots, a hardhat, and safety glasses to wear for the day. We also had to wear ear protection and some people chose to wear dust masks. The university provided us with snazzy red tshirts and off we went!

We were split into three groups: cutting lumber, building outside walls, and building inside walls. I spent the morning building outside walls, under the guidance of helpful and informative staff and a team lead volunteer. I learned how to router out a hole in the 2x6s, the how to lay them out according to the specific wall plan, on huge tables (sometimes we worked from the ground, and sometimes we worked up on the tables. Then we nailed the boards together with an air gun. So this was not my absolute forte and I nailed my first wall to the table, but hey, beginner's initiation and I got better. Sort of. Ok so air nailing wasn't my favourite.

After the boards were all nailed together, we squared them, and then we cut backing boards to size and nailed and stapled them on top. Sounds easy, but it took all morning to do a couple small walls! So much to learn, such a learning curve! We did get a morning coffee break, and they provided us with a tasty pizza lunch!

After lunch, my team switched to building inside walls. This was easier as we only had to get the 2x4s from a pile (which was already routered), assemble them to the specs provided, and nail them together. Again my nemesis, the air nailer! Eventually we assembled enough walls (outside and inside) to load them in order onto a pile. The outside walls got logos spray painted on them. And then, it was time to go!

Trying not to lose a finger while nailing boards with some help from a university colleague. 
Photo taken by Lucio Gelmini.

I felt like we were working pretty slow, and my coworker said that probably it would go much faster if we weren't there, slowing the staff down, but one of the volunteers putting in her 500 hours said we accomplished a lot, much more than an average day with new volunteers, so I left feeling pretty ok with my effort.

And that's what happens in the prefab shop. They put together flooring or walls. These go to the build site and get put up to make the homes. Talking to a staff member, he said it never ends. The job site name changes, but the walls just keep coming. This experience gave me a new appreciation for the trades professions! The people we worked with were very good with us, so patient and helpful as they taught us how to do our job. It must be annoying for them, to have to constantly train up people to help them with their jobs. They did good work and knew their stuff, that's for sure!

I enjoyed working at the prefab shop, and all the comforts it provided: inside out of the elements, working washrooms, etc. I'd like to see what happens at a build site though, what I could make out from the photos taken was that they helped with landscaping, painting, joining etc. Talking to another colleague who was on the build site, she said some people were painting or washing windows but she had to dig trenches all day. I still can't believe they let newbies help build their houses!

All in all, it was a great experience! I learned some new skills, met some nice people and helped put together walls for someone's new house. Pretty decent way to spend my birthday! I'm not sure this is quite my volunteer niche - I just don't have the skills and abilities to do that kind of work so I won't make this a regular gig, but I would definitely volunteer for Habitat for Humanity again if work organized a day or if other people I know go out as a team. It was a good day, and I was happy to help such a good organization!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

FIFA U20 Women's World Cup: Volunteer Time

In early August, I had the opportunity to volunteer for another major sporting event - this time for FIFA! I was lucky to be able to volunteer for the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup, held in Edmonton, Toronto, Moncton and Montreal.

I knew the event was coming, so stalked the websites and asked the Canadian Soccer Association on twitter when the volunteer application would open. I can't quite remember how far in advance I applied, a year maybe, 8 months? I was contacted by email, and then had to do a phone interview with the volunteer coordinator! Seriously, a phone interview! Following that came more emails, questions about uniform sizing, volunteer newsletters etc.

There was a training evening at the end of July. Unfortunately due to bad timing, I had to miss a great night of music at Interstellar Rodeo to attend, but somehow I'd ended up being classified as a Team Leader, and figured it would be bad if I missed the training. Sigh. Anyways, training was useful and not a complete waste of time, though I'll admit I didn't 100% know what I was supposed to do as a Team Leader.

We got our uniform at training too. I've volunteered for the Canadian Curling Association and Hockey Canada, but FIFA is an international organization - and go big or go home! Not only did we get a tshirt and a jacket, but also pants/capris, a hat, socks, running shoes, a bag and water bottle! I was pretty impressed with the Adidas gear, but a couple people said it wasn't as good as what they got from volunteering at the Olympics! That's a thing people do, I could volunteer for the Olympics! Anyway, my uniform didn't fit too well so I ended up giving most of it away to a friend after the event though. Sorry, no picture either - FIFA has a really strict social media policy and I was too scared to tweet much or take many pictures. This was definitely a different experience that other volunteering - it was always apparent this was a big deal!

The first game I volunteered for - it was a double header. Lot's of great women's soccer action!

The FIFA U20 Women's World Cup was a test event and precursor to the FIFA Women's World Cup held in 2015, so there was a learning curve for everyone. I was a Guest Services Team Leader. As Guest Services volunteers, we were assigned to the stadium concourse or LRT transit/parking area, basically to answer questions, help people find their seats, smile, etc. The first few games were pretty quiet and time didn't really move very fast, but as usual the volunteers were super nice and I really enjoyed talking to them over the course of the event. As a Team Leader, I was responsible for scheduling volunteer breaks for my crew and making sure everything was going well. I got to carry around a radio but thankfully nothing really went awry.

My last shift was the big Canada/Germany playoff game, so it was stupid busy and chaotic - a taste of what the Women's World Cup will be like in 2015! All in all, it was a good experience. Nice staff, nice volunteers, nice fans, interesting event. A good experience overall and I'm excited to hopefully be a part of the experience in 2015.

Canada vs Germany. Lot's of fans came out and it was super exciting!

And it's now my dream to volunteer for a Winter Olympics!! I'm hoping to get on with the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and then the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea! It's nice to have a new dream!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Review: Nobody Cries at BINGO

August was humour month for our genre book club. I was already a few chapters in (yeah ok, so I sort of cheated!) to a hilarious autobiography, which pretty much influenced the picking of this month's genre. And thank goodness, because it was a great book! I guess it's not traditional humour (as far as the genre goes) but it make me smile and laugh constantly so it counts.

August 2014: Humour

Nobody Cries at BINGO
By Dawn Dumont
298 pages

The author (a trained lawyer and actress/comedian) presents each chapter as a short vignette about her childhood growing up on a reserve in Saskatchewan. The stories flow chronologically and revolve around her family, friends and the mundane, yet exciting, details about their daily lives. Dumont's language is simple, yet she deftly portrays reserve life to those who aren't familiar with it (and I suspect to those who are).

And it was hilarious, in a completely dry, sarcastic and self deprecating way. Dumont turns all those little stereotypical details into comical moments, but not in a "laughing at you way", always in a "laughing with you" way. It was a joy to read! My only complaint is that it ended abruptly, but I guess that's the way vignettes are. I definitely wanted her to keep going, as the book ends with her in law school, because I wanted to hear more about her crazy family antics! Who knew a story about crying over Cheezies at BINGO could be so funny!

Read this if you want to learn more about what living on a reserve is like (from someone with first hand experience). Read this if you want to smile after every paragraph. I think I'll try read her new book too, as I really got her style of humour. Or maybe I'll just read this one again!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Music < Tarp Family: Folk Fest 2014 Wrap Up

It's taken me a long time to write this post because mostly I couldn't think of how to fill out my top 5 for the Edmonton Folk Fest 2014. This was not a stellar year on the hill for music for me. I've previously acknowledged that I've pigeon holed myself so much musically that I enjoy less and less these days. And this year, I'm a bit burnt out and didn't really want to deal with the early mornings and the lines. I was only going to go for one day to see Michael Franti, but ended up being talked into getting a weekend pass.

And it was a good thing I went for the whole festival.

View of the city is always stunning from the hill.

Here's my Folk Fest 2014 top 5:

1. My Tarp Family - Even though the music was not awesome for me this year, my tarp family sure was. This is the second (or third, we can't remember) year I've hung out at the top of the hill with my (relatively new) usual music crew. And over the years I've really come to love spending time with them all. One is a colleague and good friend who I see frequently and the others are her family and friends, people who I see infrequently but who have become my family and friends anyways. There was a discussion in the beer tent about how I'm the little sister who was in with the family and 100% welcome back on the tarp next year and that was a super fantastic warm fuzzy. Also they let me mooch all their popcorn. The memories of hanging out with my tarp family will sustain me for the year like memories of the music used to. I can't wait to see them again (hopefully before the annual Christmas Eve party which I'm totally inviting myself to!).

It was wet, it was cold, then it was hot, but it was always fun.

2. Blue Rodeo - Yes, I did just see them in January but as if these guys can put on a bad show?! They closed the festival, and ended up being the best act for me. The first song was '5 Days in May', and then Greg said "The organizers have asked us to do the entire '5 Days in July' album in order..." and so they did. I've never seen an artist do an entire album in order before and it was kind of awesome! It made it that much more special to hear the same good ol' tunes in person on the hill. The twitter rumour that day was that Kathleen Edwards was in town to sing with them and sure enough, she came out to join them! Awesome, because despite not usually liking female singers, I am a fan of hers. And then, the best part of the whole set, the brief moment that made the entire weekend of music worth it, happened during 'Dark Angel'. It's a slow duet between Greg and Sarah McLachlan on the cd I have, but Kathleen did a good job of filling in. Greg must've looked at her funny or said something (not like we could see much from the top of the hill), so Kathleen playfully punched him in the shoulder during a emotiony ballady part. High-larious. Icing on the cake. They did some other hits after the album songs and we went home happy.

3. Best Session: Friday night, during the rain (in which I discovered my rain jacket is no longer waterproof), the first session of the festival I saw a Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha join African bands Mokoomba and Alpha Yaya Diallo. The African bands jammed, and the Ukrainian girls added in some great harmonized vocals. It's a good thing the music was good because it was cold and wet. Apparently the DakhaBrakha concert was a-maz-ing according to a colleague, but alas, I missed it, instead choosing to listen to disappointing Irish celtic music instead (for some reason the Irish bands really didn't do it for me this year, although their Sunday afternoon session was good, that might've been because I had a good spot in the shade...)

DakhaBrakha, Mokoomba, Alpha Yaya Diallo

I quite enjoyed Mokoomba on main stage too. Take a listen.

4. Basia Bulat - Again, shocking if you know me, but here's another female singer I am a fan of. And she pulled off a high energy show full of great vocals. Quite enjoyable. Here's my favourite song:

5. I don't know what goes in the 5th spot. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite were great together, fantastic harmonica! 100 Mile House was a cute local find and I'd see them again. Michael Franti, who should've been #1 He sounded off anyways. I've seen him be super awesome and I've seen him be great. Saturday night he was just good. Good energy, good interaction with the crowd, good new songs I hadn't heard before. But, just...good. Maybe I was expecting too much. Bear's Den was good also (although that could've been my cool shady spot too) and Holly Williams didn't sing a bad song the two times I saw her. I wish I'd seen more of Sharon Shannon, but by the time her concert came around I was choosing music by their location to shade.

100 Mile House. Like I said. Cute.

Holly Williams. Check out her pedigree.

Now that's harmonica!

Ah well, maybe next year the music will be better for me. I had decided this would be my last year at Folk Fest, but I don't think I'm ready to give up the atmosphere and the company. I hear they're trying to get Oysterband for next year, who I love love love love love, so that'll be worth the price of admission. And I'll also never turned down a chance to hang out with my tarp family!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wrap Up of Interstellar Rodeo 2014

Interstellar Rodeo is quickly becoming my favourite summer music festival! Proper chairs, shade, protection from rain, food trucks, short lineups, no early mornings or late nights and la creme de la creme: indoor bathrooms with proper plumbing! Oh yeah, and a pretty good line up of music as well!

Here's my Top 3 from this year's festival:

1. The Strumbellas
I thought I liked this band, but the remind me of Mumford & Sons and Mumford & Sons remind me of an ex, heartbreak, and I avoided listening to The Strumbellas. But they were good live, very good, and I thoroughly enjoyed their set. One of my music crew bought me their new CD, saying that "We are making new memories this weekend. Now when you listen to them you'll remember us and the fun we had." Touche. Now Strumbellas CDs are on repeat in my car. 

2. The Lone Bellow
Never heard of this band, but they put on a high energy performance that we all got into. More memories made!

3. Wagons
I remember really liking them in 2012, and they didn't disappoint this year either. Henry Wagons is the Australian Gord Downie - quite the entertainer. Fun times.

Biggest disappointment:
Gord Downie and The Sadies
I love The Hip and I love The Sadies but this combo didn't work for me at all. The only saving grace was watching two of my music crew, who had never seen Gord perform live before, react to his craziness!

Runner Up
They cancelled Friday due to weather and added a concert on Monday. But alas, I have a meeting to attend and can't attend Monday. Sad face.