Monday, 1 April 2013

Things You Might Care About or What I'm Up To

As the sun shines outside the window and a couple of birds chirp merrily in the trees in the yard I can't help but smile.  It's the first day of April and aside from a joke early this morning delivered by my co-worker, I haven't fallen victim to April Fools pranks.  I have fallen head over heels for the great weather that Mother Nature provided to the residents of Prince George over the past week.  As a life long resident of the great white north, where the winter season lasts closer to 5 months than the 3 months it is alotted on the calendar, it sure feels awesome when the weather finally turns.  People here have been walking, running, biking and otherwise soaking up sunshine like bears coming out of hibernation.  After gushing about my grand plans for exercise in one of my recent posts, I was no exception.  This morning, while the weather is quite nice again, I am in the mood to write.  I don't have a particular topic in mind, so let's meander our way through this one.

After gushing in the opening paragraph about the weather, I better have some evidence that I took advantage of it, right?  The kids returned home from Grandma and Grandpa's house on Monday afternoon, and the next day we spent time outside in the yard.  Asher and Jasmine played in the still ample piles of snow while I worked hard to chop away at the thick ice build up on the driveway.  In the afternoon we went for a nice long walk, a chance for Jasmine and I to discuss littering and the environment.  She told me she was going to talk to her Principal at school about putting a garbage can in the middle of the field.  According to her, the school field is always the worst for garbage, quite sad when you consider that it's kids doing all the littering.  I ended up having a really solid week exercise-wise.  I played hockey last Monday, our last regular season game.  Tuesday I went walking with the kids, Wednesday I jogged for the second time this spring, then took the kids swimming in the afternoon.  I managed to make it out for my second jog of the week on Saturday as well.  In between, I spent a total of 2 hours this week chopping away at the ice in my driveway and the driveway at work.  What I am most proud of was that I managed to get 6 workouts completed in 7 days.  Riding high on the back of all this exercise I went down to the YMCA on Thursday and signed Jasmine and I up for the road race on June 2nd.  I decided to go for it, and I jotted myself down for the 10 kilometer race.  Have I run that far in the last 4 years?  No.  Have I ran that for more than once in a my life?  Again, no.  Do I believe I can do it?  Yes, I do.  I have 2 months, but I will need discipline to keep myself in good shape, and I will need to build up my endurance so that running 10 km will not kill me come race day.  I will be sure to keep this space updated with progress reports.

As the weather warms and my mind turns to summer sports, that also means an end must come to the hockey season.  While the NHL season feels like it has just started, the local PG beer league has wrapped up its regular season.  Ian and I joined a new team this year, moving to the "C" division from the "D" division.  We joined a team that won 2 of 40 games last year.  We are part of a group of new players who joined about 8 holdovers from the year before.  While Ian and I struggled offensively this year after being in the top 5 in scoring last year in the "D" division, I still had a lot of fun.  Obviously, every game I played was a challenge.  Our team being one of the weaker ones had no easy games.  We had to work ridiculously hard for everything we got.  As the season went on I managed to find some offense, finishing with 9 goals and 7 assists in 24 games.  Best of all, our team is peaking at the right time.  We had a nice win streak around Christmas, then lost a few, before finishing with a solid run the last 2 months.  Our record ended up being 15-15-8 with 3 shootout wins.  That put us in 5th place in the 8 team division.  This week the playoffs start, and we find ourselves in a 4 team pool.  We need to be top 2 after this week to make the semifinals and I believe we can do it.  The 2nd, 3rd and 7th place teams are in our group and we have played two of those teams tough all season.  The 2nd place team has tied us 4 times out of the 5 meetings, so you can say we are evenly matched.  Should be a fun week with 3 games in 5 nights, including a Sunday afternoon game that my family can come to.  Also with hockey, the Oilers are shaping up quite nicely and find themselves playing meaningful games late in the season.  Some of this owes itself to the short schedule, but the Oilers are also playing decently.  A Saturday night drubbing of the hated Canucks put them one game over .500 and only a point out of the playoffs.  A game against the Flames tonight will keep me busy. 

As the calendar turns to April the Major League Baseball season starts anew.  While I enjoy watching my adopted favorite team Toronto in recent years have begun to get more heavily involved in fantasy baseball.  This year I have 3 teams to manage, which leads me to cheering for 80 or so different players.  Rarely is there a game where I don't have at least some rooting interest.  It makes the baseball season a lot of fun, and even when there isn't any games on the box, you can still have fun sweating the box scores on the computer.  I try to have guys on my teams that I like, it makes cheering for them even more fun.  I also split one of the teams with a buddy, giving us lots to yammer on about.  It's fun to taunt the other guys in the league or try to rip them off in a trade.  All in all, I have been looking forward to the season for weeks, and as of last night, it has finally arrived.

This past week I had the opportunity to watch 2 movies, both of which I enjoyed immensely.  During the week Sheila and I watched "Ghost World"  a quirky comedy released in 2001.  I had never heard of it until recently, and only happened upon it while scrounging for comedy flicks that neither of us had seen.  Starring Thora Birch I didn't know and a young Scarlett Johansson, there are many funny bits that stem from the most part from Burch's character's bitter cynicism.  Steve Buscemi also appears as the lonely middle aged guy that they meet along the way.  Produced on a modest $7 million budget, and directed by Terry Zwigoff, who's only other known film is "Bad Santa" (also good) Sheila and I both thought it was really good.  Different and good, my favorite kind of movie. 

On Friday night, my friend and I saw "The Croods" after having it recommended by Jasmine.  I had been looking forward the movie anyway, but Jasmine was raving about it and of course rubbing it in after she saw it with her Grandpa and her Auntie and I had yet to see it.  While the movie started I fought off sleep, nearly dozing a few times.  It's never a good idea to go to the theatre when exhausted, but when it's for work what choice do I have?  Pardon me for my lame attempt at making it seem difficult to attend a movie while working.  I forced myself to stay conscious and as the movie picked up steam, I am glad I did.  Clever as usual when it comes to Dreamworks films, I ended up getting caught up the feel good storyline involving the rock-headed dad and his blossoming young girl.  The movie was paced well, as the sprinkled in the heart warming bits with some very funny stuff from the grandma and the brother.  When the brainy love interest of the daughter tells them that the thing inside their heads is called "a brain" the brother tells his dad that he "thinks he's missing one of those."  My eyes welled up a little when the daughter told her dad, in response to his overprotective ways "Dad, that's not living.  That's just not dying."  I really enjoyed the balance this movie struck between family message delivery and humour.  Go and see it if you haven't.

After slogging through it for nearly a month, I finally finished reading "Native Son" by Richard Wright this morning.  Over 400 pages long I found at times that I couldn't get any momentum going with my reading as the subject matter was heavy.  Set in the 1930s, in a segregated Chicago, the novel examined racial issues through a unique direction.  A young, criminal black man commits murder of a rich white girl who had attempted to befriend him after her father hired him as a chauffeur.  The novel then covers his run from the law extensively, followed by his capture and subsequent public trial.  The book climaxes with a length monologue from the boy's lawyer that covers the reasons why the murder happened, and the significant role society had played.  I'm still digesting exactly what to make of the novel, and perhaps I will be back later this week with a longer review.  It's a work that I am glad I read as it holds great significance in literary history. 

I've lost my zest for writing today, and it's now time for my Oilers to take on the Flames.  I hpe everyone has a great week, that's my time.

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