Thursday, November 30, 2006

Stay Tuned

Okay, so my ol' buddy Wilbur (or Wilburgh or Webber or whatever other names you guys would like to call him) emailed me back, very apologetic about the omission of the Murder Mystery story from this week's edition of the Equity. He contacted the editor, and she claims it was an accidental editing error. I guess those things happen, so I won't hold it against them.

Stay tuned...The story will appear in next week's Equity!

So last night I had a pleasant surprise. Upon returning home from work, I noticed there were two extra places set at the table for supper. As it turns out, my Aunt Linda is home for the week from Oakville, so she and my grandmother joined us for dinner. We had a great visit, and Mom and Aunt Linda got into all their spooky little ghost stories that they like to tell. I love sitting around when my mom and my aunts start going over all the little "spiritual encounters" they've had or heard of over the years.

After that, I watched One Tree Hill, and it was an awesome episode. I know that none of you watch it, so I won't bore you with the details, but have I ever told you guys how much I love Chad Michael Murray? The dude is smokin' hot. I really wish there were some Chad Michael Murray's around here.

Anyways, not much else to report on at this point! The Sens are playing Florida tonight (and Sharon, you'll be happy to hear that Ray will be in nets) - and I also have Survivor and Grey's Anatomy on for tonight's schedule. I've already dropped the O.C. from my TV line-up. It's too hard to watch three shows in one night, and I kind of lost interest during the episode when Summer was having her identity crisis.

I hope you all have a jim-dandy day!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Mystery Continues...

That's me in the Murder Mystery! However, an even bigger mystery has unfolded...The whole story is missing from the paper! There's a picture on the front page of Lynn & I with a caption saying See story on page 3...But there's no story there, or anywhere else! I have an email in to Mr. Wilbur McLean seeking an explanation. Don't worry. I'll solve the mystery!!

Gerber's Fresh Start

I confess, when I heard on the radio yesterday that Martin Gerber would be starting in nets last night for the Sens in the game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes, I felt a little bit queasy. While my team has been on a bit of a roll lately, Gerber has been on the bench, taking a back seat to Ray Emery, who has looked poised and strong between the pipes for the past few weeks.

However, a glitch on Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning resulted in a 3-1 loss, giving Coach Bryan Murray the opportunity to rest Emery and once again give Gerber another shot at what was supposed to be his job as #1 goalie for the Sens.

In the papers yesterday, they were talking about how it would hopefully be a fresh start for Gerber, who has been nothing short of disappointing since donning the Red-Black-and-Gold. It would be an opportunity to put behind him all those dismal outings, the soft goals, the blown leads, and all those lost chances. It would be an opportunity to return to the Great Martin Gerber who starred for the Canes for most of last season.

And yet, I wasn't feeling the vibe. I was nervous as hell. The truth is, despite getting a few points in the W column lately, I still think this is a very fragile team, and I had nightmares of Gerber being shaky, losing the game, and returning to that ramshackle, desperate club that we were less than a month ago.

Things didn't start off well. I missed the opening minute of the game, and as I came charging up from downstairs to take my spot on the couch in front of the TV, I realized they were already showing a replay for a goal scored by the Hurricanes.

So much for that fresh start. It sure looked like the same ol' Marty Gerber that I've been used to seeing all year long. Pathetic.

However, after that, a sort of miracle occurred. He actually stopped a few pucks. And within minutes, Patrick Eaves had driven a goal into the Carolina net, evening the score. Yes, there were small but deep breaths of relief all around.

Then, all of a sudden, my Sens of old were back again. They were playing as if it was Ray Emery in nets. Hell, they were playing as if it was Dominik Hasek in nets. He made the big saves. And they made it count on the scoresheet. They were looking like that well-oiled machine that had me dreaming of Stanley Cup victory last season. Perhaps those dreams aren't dead after all.

By the end of the night, Christoph Schubert, Chris Neil, and Mike Fisher had all capitalized, with the final score being 4-1 for Ottawa. Martin Gerber was named first star of the game, and I'm sure there was no one more relieved that the Gerbinator himself. He got his fresh start, and he was successful.

Now let's just hope this continues...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Beauty Queens Make Me Scream

Okay, so I am way behind in my recaps again, but rather than try to catch up on all of them, I'm just going to give the lowdown on the Amazing Race, as it is the one most fresh in my memory. For those of you who enjoy the Survivor & Grey's recaps...Sorry!

I missed last week's episode when we bid farewell to the Cho Brothers, so I was once again a little disconnected from what was happening. The four teams left in the running included: My Hot Boys, James & Tyler; the Barbies, Dustin & Kandice; the Bama girls, Lynn & Karlynn; and Rob & Kimberly, who apparently do not have a team nickname. At least not one I can remember right now.

Teams learned they would be flying to Morraco (I have no clue how to spell that), and despite the Barbies' attempt to swing better flights, they all ended up together in Morraco at the same time. Surprisingly, Bama found their clue first, proving the rest of the teams are severly underestimating these women. The other three teams tried to get directions from people on the streets, and then Rob & Kim and the Hot Boys bolted when a gang of Morrocan teens swarmed the Barbies' car. The girls were fine, though, and after they all found their angel pendants, they headed to the Roadblock, where the gates didn't open until 8 AM the following morning. So they were all deadlocked once again, with a Yield looming.

In a footrace to the Yield, Tyler & James arrived first, followed by Rob & Kimberly, with both teams choosing not to Yield anybody. The Barbies then beat Bama to the mat by a long shot and slapped their picture up on the board, forcing Lynn & Karlynn to tip over the hourglass and wait for the sands of time to run through before they could continue racing. That resulted in two severely pissed off black women sitting their grumbling away and flipping the bird at the Blondes. Can't say I blame 'em.

Meanwhile, in the Roadblock, one team member had to race around a track in a horse-drawn chariot à la Gladiator and snatch flags of a certain colour from overhead. For some reason, this proved a difficult task for my Hot Boy. He had to take an extra loop around to collect his flags, but fortunately, the boys were easily able to catch up with the other teams as they raced to the Detour.

Their choices were to throw clay pots - (and no, that does not mean you get to throw pots and smash them. It means you have to actually make them, on a pottery wheel...very tricky, so no one picked it) - or squish some olives with a big wheel and then scrape the gunk out of the barrel and fill up a bunch of sleeves with the stuff. The Barbies got lost on their way, so the rest of the teams made it there ahead of them, including Bama, who are absolutely amazing with directions. Because there were only 3 stations, the Barbies had to stand back and wait for the other teams to finish. That resulted in two severely pissed off white girls whining and bitching about how life's just not fair. Shut up, bitches!

Tyler & James were the first to make it to the Pit Stop; however, they forgot their angel pendant that they were supposed to bring with them in their car, so they had to make a dash back up the hill to get it. Bama arrived in plenty of time to beat them to the mat, but while they have great directional skills, they really can't run, and Tyler & James blew by them to land in first place after all. Their pendant matched the one worn by the "greeter", so they won something. What, you ask? I have no friggin' clue. Bama stepped in in second place, followed by Rob & Kim in third. I had already figured out that this was a non-elimination leg, so I was not surprised when Phil offered a reprieve to the last-placed Barbies, much to my chagrin. I really thought it would have been nice to see those Beauty Queen Smiles smacked right off their faces.

So with the Race winding down, my favourite team remains the Hot Boys, but if they can't pull it off (and with all the stupid mistakes they've made, I won't be shocked if they don't), I would like to see Rob & Kim take it. They've grown the most on this Race, I think, and Rob's transformation from Bad Guy to Sweetie Pie has been remarkable. Strangely, I grew a respect for Lynn & Karlynn this week, as they overcame the setback of the Yield and perservered to finish in second. I really hope they make it to the Final Three and that the Blondes are sent home first. With them tagged for elimination on the next leg, it would seem a likely possibility.

Well, that was a long one! Cheers, everybody! Have a good day!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It Ain't Me, Babe

Most of you already know by now, but if you didn't get it yet, the big excitement of my weekend was performing in the Quyon Lionettes Murder Mystery. I've had to keep it "on the down-low", as we try to keep the cast as secret as we can. For those of you who were there, I hope you had a good time and enjoyed the show!

Here's a little re-cap of how the murder and everything that came after went down:

This year, the play was set at Nick's Country Bar (which was a huge coincidence, with Nick Matechuck owning Gavan's just down the street - that was one detail of the original script we didn't have to change!) I played Mara Landers, a waitress at the bar. The rest of the cast included: Curtis Hudson as Jack Henry, the bartender at Nick's; Mark Richardson as Dennis Chase, aka Johnny Nash, the bar's entertainer; Kenny Fleck as Alec Blaney, the drunken magician; Adam Bernier as Sean Wells, aka Benny Lloyd, the crooked politician; Lynn Kearns as Chole Belisle, the barfly; Tracy Hamilton as Joy Darby, the bitchy psychic; Erin Hudson as Amber Welby, the snooty best-selling author; Kevin Trudeau as Jordan Woods, the dead guy; and Billy Young as Doug, the ex-football player-turned-private investigator.

If you've ever been to a Murder Mystery, you know how it works - somebody drops dead, the cop does an interrogation of each of the suspects, and then we spend the next four scenes pointing the finger at one another and defending ourselves. Only the murderer is allowed to lie, and the only person who knows who the murderer is is the murderer him/herself.

Of course, there's a little drinking along the way. Or a lot of drinking along the way. I don't know if there were any of us who weren't feeling pretty good by the time the show wrapped. There was even at least one person who doesn't even remember being up there for the last scene. (Not me. I remember being there, even if I was a little unsteady on my feet).

But let me tell you, what a rush! I absolutely love it. Sure, I was nervous as hell beforehand, thanks in large part to the fact that I had to do a brief duet with Mark to kick off the show. (If I ever hear the words It ain't me, babe, no, no, no, it ain't me you're looking for, babe again anytime soon, I might kill myself). But once that part was over, it was all fun and games. The ad-libbing was in full force, and it was absolutely impossible to sit up there and not laugh at some of the stuff the rest of them were coming up with.

So this year, my character was a little more fun to play than the bumbling clairvoyant I had to be last year. I got to do a little line dancing, talk with a twang, make fun of "Johnny", and do a little flirting all at the same time. It will take me a while before I stop greeting people by saying Howdy, y'all!! In the end, Lynn in the role of Chloe was the murderess - never saw it coming. I was floored. She did an awesome job; everyone did! I'm going to miss going to practices and hanging out with the gang - we made a good team.

Today, I've got a hangover and very sore feet from prancing around in my c'boys all night, but other than that, I think we can call Murder Mystery 2006 a success.

But now I really, really have to go to bed.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

It ain't me, babe. No, no, no - It ain't me you're looking for, babe...

Friday, November 24, 2006

"It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas"

My Christmas season has officially begun, folks!

Today is the Mountainview Christmas Party, being held this evening at Pine Lodge. Which means that today, I can start singing Christmas Carols! You see, I made a pact with a few of the guys here in the office after Halloween. They caught me singing "It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas", and I got the feeling that if I kept it up, they'd all be swinging from the ceiling fans by rope before too long. Now, I love the guys here, so I really wouldn't want them to get suicidal over me humming a few little holiday favourites.

That's when we made the pact.

No singing Christmas Carols until the Christmas Party.

And now that day is finally - FINALLY- here!!

Of course, they've already tried to convince me that I can't start singing until I'm actually at the party, but I beg to differ. I don't care if I'm not at Pine Lodge yet. Today is the Christmas Party, and I reserve the right to serenade them all damn day if I feel like it.

I swung through the doors this morning singing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland", and since then I've given renditions of "White Christmas", "Jingle Bell Rock", "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". Strangely enough, Pat, Wayne, and Jared have all disappeared from the office. They haven't joined in the merriment. They still may be swinging from the ceiling fans by this afternoon. I really thought that if I sang loud enough, if I oozed enough holiday spirit, that it might warm the cockles of their hearts and put them in a Christmassy mood.

No luck so far. But I hope that by 11 PM tonight, they're all belting out "Jingle Bells" at the top of their lungs. If I have one goal today, it's to turn this bunch of Scrooges into Christmas Carol Singers Extraordinaire!

PS - As many of you know, tomorrow night is "The Big Show". For those of you who will be in attendance - I hope we don't disappoint! Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Best Thing I've Never Seen


Guess what, gang? The Sens won one game. The Sens won two games. And last night, we put together what is called a three-game winning streak!!!

Now, I'll admit, the game 3 win wasn't as pretty as it should have been. We were playing the basement-dwelling Philadelphia Flyers, who are pretty much considered a gimme this year in the NHL. Then, we went and spotted 'em a two-goal lead before the game was barely into the second period.

The game wasn't televised, so at this point, I stomped over to the stupid radio I was listening to in the basement, and shut it off. I couldn't believe it. After all that hard work, beating Buffalo - twice - and the Minnesota Wild, and now here we were, blowing it against the lowly Flyers. I was so frustrated, and I was already dreading the post-game backlash. Fire Muckler! Fire Murray! Trade Alfie! I'm not cheering for this dumb team anymore!! All that angst from a few weeks ago would come flooding back in the blink of an eye, and once again we'd be the Sad-Sack Sens, the most under-achieving team in the NHL.

I sat, stewing for a few minutes, chewing my fingernails and trying to find something good to watch on TV. But there was nothing. So I finally gave in and turned the radio back on.

And lo and behold, Mike Fisher had just capitalized on a powerplay, drawing us within one. I breathed a small sigh of relief.

With 30-some seconds left in the middle frame, Captain Alfie potted another, and we were back to a clean slate with the whole third period ahead of us. Things were looking up again.

I'll be honest - I didn't even listen to the third period, I was watching One Tree Hill. But on a commercial break, I checked in again to find the game in Overtime. With time winding down, I was pretty much convinced we were headed to a shoot-out, when suddenly Dean Brown's annoying voice screamed: ...And he scores!! Wade Redden!!

Music to my ears!

So now we're one game below .500 hockey, and things are finally rolling here in Sens Land.

That game was definitely the best thing I've never seen.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Computer-Free Holiday

Did you guys know that computers suck??

I know, that might seem strange, coming from me, your friendly neighbourhood Blogger. But a computer really is like a man - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. And that really ticks me off.

This morning, I got up all bright'n'early to head in to work, and upon my arrival, I was met with the news that our Simply Accounting upgrade had essentially backfired. So until Jared could find time to figure out how to fix it, my computer was useless to me. Which is basically like telling me that there's nothing to do. So I got to come home.

Had it been a few months ago, it would have been busy enough around the farm for me to just answer phones and keep myself occupied with manual work. But this time of the year, the phone isn't exactly ringing off the hook, and I keep my basket basically empty at all times, so hence the unexpected holiday.

I've been up to Curves already, and I've spent the last two hours trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my day. Go Christmas shopping? But I still don't know what I'm getting for the rest of the people on my list. Scrapbooking? But I'm not in the mood. Go visit Caden, who is at home sick with my mom for the day? Ah, now there is good idea!

So have fun at work or at school, wherever you may be. And try not to think of me on my computer-free holiday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Double-Elimination Night, Baby!

I've been falling a bit behind in my re-caps, but I was finally able to watch last week's episode of Survivor yesterday afternoon, so here are my thoughts on what's shaking out on Treasure Island (or whatever the heck it's called).

At the Hot Young Stud camp, Jonathan was trying to prove his worth after narrowly escaping eviction at the last TC. His new tribemates were not as welcoming as he had hoped they would be following his mutinous flop to the other side, so he spent some serious time fishing and taking care of the dirty work around camp. They seemed very grateful for the provisions; however, I get the feeling ol' Johnny boy just doesn't fit in there - perhaps because he never has, nor ever will be, a Hot Young Stud.

At the Reward Challenge, the two tribes were given co-ordinates, then they had to find those co-ordinates on a big compass thingy on the beach. At the appropriate spot, they were to dig up chests containing nautical flags that matched up to a code they were all previously made familiare with to spell the word Victory. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not for the Studs. Jonathan was working with Becky (I think), and Adam was working with Candice. Adam and Candice sat and whined over the way Jonathan and Becky were digging, but when it was their turn, they sure didn't do much better. Then Jonathan and Becky whined about the way Adam and Candice were digging. They didn't even come close - the Whatchamacallits took it in a landslide.

So then the Whatchamas got to go to some big traditional native feast, where the locals boogied around and shouted and they all wore costumes that made them look like big bunches of bananas. They all had a few laughs when two very large native women sandwiched Yul between them and grinded against him. I just thought it was disturbing.

Meanwhile Candice was crying on Exile Island because she's mad the people she likes keep sending her away. like them? Really? That's why you bailed on them? Gimme a break, girlie. The only reason your pissed is 'cause you miss Adam's hotness. Paws off.

Bring on the next challenge, this time for Immunity. Jeff presented a tiny little bottle with an eensy-weensy scroll inside, and said the losing tribe would receive his little gift, but would have to keep it sealed until they got to TC, where they would open it after the vote.

The challenge was another one of those swim-then-solve-the-puzzle competitions. I've come to the conclusion that the Studs might as well not even show up for these ones, with Ozzy the Otter on the Whatchamacallit side - they don't stand a chance against him. The dude is seriously part jungle-animal, part deep-sea-fish or something.

So the Studs lost again. Surprise, surprise. Off to TC we go again. After deciding she offered nothing around camp or in the challenges, the group cut ties with Rebecca. So no more boobie shows for the boys. Such a shame.

Then Jeff finally let "Poverty" crack into the little mystery bottle. And guess what folks? DOUBLE-ELIMINATION NIGHT! I was sure Jonathan's ass would be on the line this time, but apparently Adam had spread the word well enough prior to TC that he had Becky next on his pecking order, and Candice, Jonathan, and "Poverty" sided with him. One has to wonder where that now leaves Nate in the tribe. Should be interesting to see his colourful reaction to what went down this past week - we all know Nate will have one!

Stay tuned next week as things heat up between Adam & Candice. Barf.

Friday Night Poker

Good morning, gang!

Well, I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was quite entertaining. The big highlight was learning to play Poker on Friday night. Well, sort of. I'm not very good at it, and I lost $10, but it seemed like a game I could get good at if I didn't have to fork out cash everytime I wanted to get some practice in.

My fellow card players, all who had played before, ran a few practice hands with me before we had to dig into our pockets, so I was grateful for that. And once we started playing for money, I just figured I'd fold every time unless I had a "sure thing". However, after observing the rest of the group and the plays they were making persuaded me a little more gutsy, and I even tried bluffing. (Once, I was bluffing and I didn't even know it. I was going for a "small straight". Apparently that doesn't count unless it's in Yahtzee. But it worked. I won that hand.) I wasn't all that smart about it, though, and I was the first one out, naturally. That forced me into the role of Dealer. At least, until someone else went out, than I was demoted to Beer Bitch.

So the next day, I asked baby brother Lukey if only two people could play Poker. He said, yeah, certainly, why not? So I asked him what one would do if one had no Poker chips. He informed me that one cannot play without Poker chips. I asked him if, perhaps, I hacked into my piggy bank and used quarters, would that suffice? He said no. I think he could tell where this was heading. But I asked anyways: Please, Luke, if I figure out a way to play without chips, would you help me practice?

His reply?

"I only play Poker for money."

Yep, that's exactly what he said. As if he was some kind of high-roller or something. Some kind of Poker Master. Of course, he was the one who pocketed the pot on Friday night, and nevermind that he owes me $40 - he wouldn't fork it over.

But above all, he neglected his God-given duty to be a kind & supportive brother and help me learn to play.

But ya know what? There are other ways to learn how to play Poker. And I'm gonna figure 'em out. And before you know it, I'm going to be taking that money back from right underneath his nose.

If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to get good at Poker.

And my message to brother Luke is this: Keep yer head up, buddy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm Baaaaack...

...Well, sort of! Word on the street is that I'm getting my computer back at work tomorrow, so that will be just wonderful. I've felt very out of the loop this week, especially since I haven't had time in the evenings to do any Blogging. I'm glad to hear some of you have also been missing the Blog. Makes me feel wanted!! ;o)

So, okay, the only really relevant thing that has happened to me thus far this week is that the Sens FINALLY won an important game, defeating the Buffalo Sabres, aka The Cream of the Crop, on Wednesday night. I was fully planning on witnessing another loss, so it was a pleasant surprise. Kind of gave me some hope that all is not lost just yet. They still have a little fight left in 'em. But I'm trying not to get too high with the win. It is, after all, only one game. If they don't follow it up with a few more big efforts, it will go down in the books as a fluke, or as simply an off-night for the Sabres. But at least for one night, I went to bed with a little smile on my face.

What else have I done that I can tell you about? Oh yes...Remember on Monday when I was telling my tale of "firsts"? The whole Sunday night rip thing? Well I did it again on Tuesday night - not quite as severe, but again I landed at Gavan's, and while a weeknight appearance is not unheard of, it is rare for me. And I had yet another first. I was informed that it was "Quart Night", and I simply had to get a quart. So I did. I don't ever recall actually going up to the bar and ordering a quart. Ever. For those of you fearing that I've become an alcoholic or something equally alarming, don't fret. Once "the mystery is solved", my social life will once again go back to being practically non-existant, and these uncharacteristic adventures to the local watering hole will just dissappear, I can assure you of that.

Anyhow, I really must be heading off to bed. My apologies, once again, for being a bad Blogger this week - I promise a return to normal next week, as long as my computer doesn't decide to get sick again. Thanks for your patience and for coming back to check things out, even when it's been so quiet!

Have a GREAT weekend, gang!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday Night Rip

My apologies to the faithful readers out there for no Blog today (for those of you who actually had to work today). But would you believe the reason there was no Sunday night post was because I went on a rip? I did. I really, really did.

OK, it wasn't a true rip. But I did have 5 beers in total in a rather short span of time, which gave me a pretty good buzz, and I even drank a 50. I've never drank 50 before that I can recall.

And I was at Gavan's. On a Sunday night. I don't know if I've ever been at Gavan's on a Sunday night.

You see, some of the people I was with last night did not have work today because of Remembrance Day, so I pretended I didn't have work today, but I really did. I was glad I prentended, though, because it was fun. Until 7:00 this morning when I woke up with a mini-hangover, and I think it was well after noon before I quit burping beer. That wasn't so pleasant. I don't think I've ever burped beer at work before, either.

So my Sunday night rip brought to a close a pretty good weekend.

Friday night I watched the Sens whoop the Pittsburgh Penguins. Poor Ricky. However, I'm really not in any position to be gloating, so we'll just leave it at that.

Saturday I got a good start on my Christmas shopping in the zoo that is otherwise known as Wal-Mart in Hull. Saturday night, I visited with the Beers, and Matthew met me in the living room wearing his Leafs tuque & mitts. But I can't be mad at Matthew, 'cause he's so darned cute. It's not his fault Graham has brainwashed him. And I tried really hard not to watch the Leafs whoop the Habs, so I focussed on chatting with Sara and ignored Graham's little jabs regarding the updates they kept flashing of the Sens losing to Boston.

On Sunday, following church, my family went to the restaurant for breakfast, where Caden toddled around, impressing all the diners with his fine footwork. Then Mom, Kara & I went to a shower for Mandy, aka the future Mrs. Ralph McColgan. And I reminisced of how I once dreamed of being the future Mrs. Ralph McColgan. I then stopped in at the baby shower being held just up the road for Stacy, and then I went back to her place to look at all the gifts she received. It really made me want to get married and have a baby. Like, soon. I know I've pretty well got the word out there already, but if anyone knows any single, semi-handsome, somewhat-intelligent men out there, please send 'em my way.

A few short hours later I was sitting at Gavan's, drinking a 50 and pretending I didn't have to work today.

I'll try to do a quick re-cap of Survivor and Grey's for you guys, but I watched them so long ago I barely remember what happened.

On Survivor, Adam was hot, Candice & Jonathan bailed ship on the Watchamacallits to join up with the Studs, who then proceeded to lose both the Reward & Immunity Challenge, and Brad took the fall at TC. That leaves Adam & Nate as the only remaining Studs, but because of my recent revelation that Brad is quite possibly gay, I guess he didn't really count anyways.

Grey's was a somewhat disappointing episode, considering it had loads of potential. The men of Seattle Grace went camping, but McDreamy whined the whole time, Alex & George had a slap-fight, and Joe the bartender's boyfriend hit his head on some rocks when he got in the way of the catfight between Alex & George. Other than that, there wasn't much to write home about.

And I would really love to give you an Amazing Race re-cap, but I missed the first chunk of it last night when I stumbled in at 11:20, and then I watched the rest in a buzzed state, so details are kind of fuzzy. My boys were in first, but I don't even think it ended with a Pit Stop - one of those Keep Racing! legs.

So that about puts a wrap on the weekend rundown! Hope everyone had a good one!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Pre-Game Show

Yes, folks, this is a Blog entirely about hockey, so if you don't like hockey, move along.

Tonight my slumping Ottawa Senators are taking on the young-and-talented Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sens are currently 5-8-1, and they have lost their past 5 games. The last time they did that was in 1996, and that was also the last year they did not make the playoffs. The only player remaining from that team is Daniel Alfredsson, who won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year that season.

Now, he's the captain, and I hope he - along with the other leaders in the dressing room - are figuring out ways to right this ship now. Otherwise, it could cost GM John Muckler or Coach Bryan Murray their jobs. There are also trade rumours flying all over the place, with the names of Daniel Alfredsson, Christoph Schubert, and Anton Volchenkov being mentioned most often. And I'd hate to see any one of them traded.

I'm trying not to freak too much over this slump. I do have the utmost faith that they are going to turn things around and in a few months I'll be laughing about how I once feared my team might not make the playoffs. It's still too early to be pushing the panic button, right?

So to calm myself down, I'm going to make a Pros & Cons list about my team, and hopefully at the end of it, the Pros still out-weigh the Cons.


  • As mentioned, they are in a 5-game slump, the worst slump they've been through in 10 years.
  • Our expensive #1 goalie Martin Gerber, who couldn't be beaten last year with the Canes, so far has been a bust in a Sens uniform. He sucks.
  • We lost Zdeno Chara to free agency, leaving my boy Wade Redden as the top dog on the blueline - and God love him, I know he's better than Chara, but he hasn't had much chance to prove it yet, as he was out for 4 games with a pulled groin. Great time to get injured, Wade. Lovely time.
  • Jason Spezza's too flippin' fancy. Period.
  • Captain Alfie only had 1 goal through the first couple of weeks, and it was into an empty net in Game #1 vs the Leafs. He's been scoring more in the past few games, but his drought sure didn't help the team right off the bat.
  • We're apparently incapable of holding a 1-goal lead, or even a 2- or 3-goal lead, for that matter. They are 1-7 so far in 1-goal games, and have blown 2- and 3-goal leads in the past three games.
  • The salary cap has hurt, forcing us to lose players like Hossa, Havlat & Chara without getting much in return. Everyone knows this team was one of the hardest hit by the cap, but it's also necessary for this team to survive with the large-market teams. It puts everyone on a more level playing field. But parity sure can be a bitch, can't it?
  • We have practically zero second-line scoring. Antoine Vermette has been a pleasant surprise, but the likes of Mike Fisher and Peter Schaefer have been practically no-shows. OK, they work really hard every night, and Schaefer also had a hip injury that kept him out of the line-up for 4 games, but we need those guys to start tickling the twine. Dany Heatley can't score 'em all.
  • Last year, we led the league in shorthanded goals. This year we've allowed 5 against us, which is the worst in the league thus far.
  • The power play SUCKS. I wish we could decline penalties, like in football.
  • We've won 5 games this year, and 3 of those games were against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That means we've only beaten 3 teams in the NHL through a full month of hockey.


  • We've won 3 of 4 games against the Toronto Maple Leafs this year. We have 4 more games to go against the Laffs, so that means I should win at least 4 more games this year. And everyone loves beating the Leafs.
  • We're not getting blown out of games by scores of 8-1 or 9-0, like the Philadelphia Flyers. Every game, with the exception of a 6-0 loss to the Leafs in game #2 of the season, has been close.
  • We're finally getting the scoring from guys like Alfie, Heatley & Spezza that we weren't getting in the first few weeks. Now if we could just get some goaltending...
  • The fans may be going retarded, but all the Sens brass seem to be very calm and confident things will work themselves out, and I think that's better than taking drastic & stupid actions.
  • Joe Corvo has been a great addition to the team in the absence of Zdeno Chara, and Dean McAmmond has also fit in nicely. The new guys definitely aren't the problem.
  • Wade Redden is hot. That's always a nice bonus.
  • Ray Emery has had some of the best stats of all the goaltenders in the league through the early part of the season. He suffered a slight sprain to his forearm this week, but once he's back and healthy again, he's one of the best "back-ups" in the league.
  • On paper, we have one of the best teams in the NHL. If they decided to put the entire team up for auction, GM's across the league would be trampling over each other to get in line. Now we just need to start translating that to the ice. There's too much talent on this team for them to continue like this.
  • Chris Neil has been our most consistent forward. I guess that can be considered either a pro or a con, but it's nice to see that he has developed into a skilled forward that has the grit to go with it.
  • As mentioned in the Pro section, Antoine Vermette has been a pleasant surprise. He was good last year, but he's even better this year - and he scored our first shorty the other night.
  • In the past two games, we've had such great starts that the other teams have been pulling their goalies. It's come back to bite us both times, but if we could just figure out how to hang on to a lead, all would be well in Sens Land.
  • In the past, we've always had great starts and crappy finishes (ie: NO success in the playoffs) - so this year, maybe we're going to do the reverse.
  • There's still 68 games to go. Surely to God we can figure this out before it's too late!

Alright, so now I'm a little more calm.

Bring on the Penguins! GO SENS GO!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Road Trip

About a month ago, I issued a plea to you Bloggers out there to start watching a new show called "Friday Night Lights". I've been waiting in fear ever since for the network to can it, as there have been rumblings of poor ratings and low audience numbers, but so far, it has prevailed. It has quickly become one of my favourite shows, so tonight, I'm going to start my "Friday Night Lights" re-caps, and I hope that some of you might start watching it.

A little bit of back-story first to catch you all up on what you've been missing:

The show revolves around a high school football team in Dillon, Texas, but as I mentioned in the past, it's about more than just football. The team is under new leadership in Coach Taylor, who is adjusting to the pressures of being under such scrutiny from everyone in the town, from the mayor, to local businessmen, to parents, to small school children. In the first game of the season, stud quarterback Jason Street was hit hard and left a parapalegic. This put young Matt Sarracen in unexpectedly as QB1, and the school's board had to recruit a Katrina refugee from New Orleans to come in and help out. However, the kid they call Voo Doo has done nothing but disrupt the team and the coach since arriving, forcing Coach Taylor to put Sarracen back in as starting quarterback. As a side story, Street's best friend and teammate Tim Riggins has been wracked with guilt since Street got hurt, as he was the one who was supposed to have been blocking for him at the time he was hit. To add to his guilt and confusion, he's also begun a secret affair with Jason's girlfriend and head cheerleader, Lyla Garrity. Ah, the drama...

And yes, folks, there's enough hot boys in this show to keep me extremely entertained, with Matt Sarracen being my new favourite boy on TV. Jason Street is also pretty hot, even in a wheelchair. And Tim Riggins is a Josh Hartnett look-alike. Yum.

Anyways, this past week, Voo Doo, who hasn't made any effort to fit in with his new teammates due to his negative "I Am The Team" attitude, made some racial slurs at the local diner against one of the team's star players, a hot-tempered boy named Bobby Reyes. Reyes, filled with anger, comes upon some random, innocent boy outside the diner and pummels the crap out of him in frustration. Reyes' teammates rally around him to keep his secret and protect him from punishment, and they turn their cheeks when Reyes tells the media it was this poor, innocent kid who made the racial slurs, spurring him to attack him. However, that darling Matt Sarracen can't keep up the charade and eventually goes to the coach to tell him the truth. I hope this doesn't get Matt into trouble with the rest of the guys, and that they understand his need to confess what Reyes really did, even though it meant the coach had to kick Reyes off the team because of it.

Meanwhile, Jason Street is angry that Tim Riggins hasn't bothered to visit him in the hospital since he was hurt, so he calls his best friend up and orders him to get his ass down there. Tim, of course, is guilt-ridden, knowing he's been enjoying his time with Street's girl a bit too much ever since the accident. It's hard to hate Riggins, though...He just seems so lost and needy. Anyways, he busts Jason out of the re-hab centre, and when Lyla comes along and asks what the two of them think they're doing, Jason simply replies: "Road trip." So Lyla goes with them, and she and Tim make a pact to not act awkward towards each other for Jason's benefit. They go out to the lake, float around peacefully in a boat, then spend the evening around a fire while Jason enjoys the fresh air and dreams of being free again.

Upon Jason's return to the re-hab centre, he is refreshed, rejuvenated, and beaming...Until he glances out the window of his room into the parking lot to see Lyla and Tim engaged in a lengthy embrace. Suddenly, Jason's happiness disappears, as he realizes there's something going on between his best friend and his girlfriend.

I can't wait until next week to see what happens next. Like I said, it's about so much more than football. It's about a small town, and these kids who have so much pressure on them to win. And it's just high school. It's about the coach's struggles, and his determination to teach these boys right from wrong, and balance his family life all at the same time. It's about friends sticking together. But most of all, it's about wanting a life that's better than what a small town high school football team can offer.

I haven't watched too many of the new shows on TV this fall, but I definitely think "Friday Night Lights" is one of the best out there.

You really, really should check it out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Book Review: Night by Elie Wiesel

That's right, folks. I'm expanding my repertoire even further. Now this Blog isn't just about TV and movies and music. I'm now even going to give book reviews. You just never know what might come next!

With Remembrance Day approaching, I thought it only appropriate that I offer up my thoughts on Night by Elie Wiesel. This book came recommended to me by Sara Beer, Oprah Winfrey, my Aunt Linda, and several other high authorities on literature. On the cover of teh novel, there is a quote from the New York Times calling it: A slim volume of terrifying power.

It couldn't have been described more accurately.

The story is a first-person account from Mr. Wiesel of his time spent in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. In 1944, as a 15-year-old boy, Mr. Wiesel and his family, who were observant Jews, were taken from their home and sent to Auschwitz, and then to Buchenwald. He describes how hundreds of people were loaded into cattle cars for the journey. Upon arriving at the camp of horror, he witnessed babies being tossed into the air for target practice by the Gestapo. Families were torn apart (including his own), and he describes the crematorium, where his mother and little sister had to go. The crematorium, where bodies were thrown into a fire and burned, with the thick, acrid smoke of death continually pouring out from a large chimney. Most women and children were automatically sentenced to death there. The males had a chance, but if they were not deemed fit and healthy, they were sent to that crematorium, as well.

Elie and his father survived that first selection, and countless others afterwards. However, they faced such vicious and traumatic experiences in the months to follow that one must wonder if they wouldn't have been better off in that fire.

It was a shock to me to read about what these people went through. It was a shock to the people then, too, as Elie remembers asking his father: "Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How would the world remain silent?" It is a question the author struggles with throughout the novel. Of course, there is no logical answer, other than the fact that people just did not want to face that horror. It was beyond belief; it was easier to ignore it than try to deal with what was going on under Hitler's reign of terror.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I've actually read a thorough account of what actually happened during the Holocaust. I knew it had happened, I remember reading about it in high school history, but I never allowed myself to be truly immersed in what had happened. Maybe it's because I didn't want to believe that such an atrocious act of cruelty could have actually occured. Maybe it's because I didn't want to think humans could treat other humans, regardless of race or religion, so horribly. Like those people who remained silent back then, it was just easier to pretend that it had never happened.

With these concentration camps in Nazi Germany, Hitler's goal, as Mr. Wiesel writes in his preface, was "to leave behind a world in ruins in which Jews would seem never to have existed." In essence, they were to be entirely wiped out. Millions of people were tortured, battered, and finally burned, then their bones and ashes dumped into massive, unmarked graves. How unbelievably cruel... Reading about it made me feel sick; it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. And the fact that Mr. Wiesel, who actually lived through this real-life horror and survived to tell his story, uses such blunt, matter-of-fact descriptions only adds to the terror of it all. Watching people being murdered daily, and being the victim of countless acts of threats and abuse - it had all become so commonplace for him that it didn't even shock him anymore; it didn't even make him feel anymore.

Elie's guilt over not being able to sit with his father as he lay dying in the infirmary is evident in this book. He writes of how he wished his father would quit calling his name in his delirious state, as he feared the blows of the SS officers. He just wanted his father to be quiet and just die so that he would no longer be burdened by having to stick with him. He recalls the day he realized his father was gone for good: "I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep. But I was out of tears. And deep inside me, if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like: Free at last!..."

Mr. Wiesel does not want people to forget. It is important that his story, and the stories of other victims of war, be passed down to the next generation and the generation after that, so that they may understand this horror and never allow it to occur again. We don't live in a world free of pain and fighting now; it still rages on, and although it is happening in countries far away, we should not be ignoring it. It's easier to pretend it isn't happening, but we must face the fact that there are still hundreds of people facing unimaginable terror everyday. We have troops over there who are fighting and dying everyday. Hitler is gone, but there is still pain and suffering; still hunger, and poverty, and torturing, and death. Mr. Wiesel writes: "Human rights are being violated on every continent. More people are oppressed than free. How can we not be sensitive to their plight? Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere."

So on this upcoming Remembrance Day, I urge to read Elie Weisel's Night, and really face that horror. Remember what he and the rest of the Jews went through. It would be easier to ignore. But we owe it to the memory of those millions of people who died, and who are still dying today, to listen to their stories, and do our best to ensure that our world will one day be free of that suffering and unimaginable pain.

Lest we forget.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Now THAT'S Puzzling

I'm so mad about hockey right now that I could scream. Or cry. Or both.

So forgive me if this turns out to be a hostile Blog.

I know it's super-late, but I want to re-cap Survivor, so here it is:

When last we convened at Tribal Council, we bid farewell to both Cao Boi of the Whatchamacallit tribe & Christina of the Hot Young Studs. Also, the Studs lost Nate to the the other side in the big "kidnapping" twist. Ooooooh.

So we all met up back at the Reward Challenge, where Nate was allowed to compete with the Whatchamacallits, but they chose to sit him out anyways. This challenge had teams separating into two groups - the swimmers & the puzzle-solvers. The swimmers had to swim out to this big jungle-gym, and using a big stick, jump off the apparatus & knock a key out of six hanging thingamajigs, then swim back to shore. Once all six keys were recovered, they could un-lock their puzzle pieces and allow the puzzle-solvers to do their shit. Inexplicably, Brad chose to be a puzzle-solver for the Studs. Now this might have made sense if, say, JP was still around, or if Nate was allowed to play for them, but Brad's ridiculous move left Adam, "Poverty", and Rebecca as the swimmers. And Rebecca couldn't even survive Round 1. She flopped back to the beach empty-handed and flashing around her honkers.

I'll give credit where credit is due - "Poverty" has annoyed me to no end throughout this year's edition of Survivor, but she showed spunk in this challenge. She took turns with Adam swimming out, she never quit, and she made things interesting, but in the end, they were no match for the strong swimmers on the Whatchamacallit team. They easily took the victory, scoring potatoes & peanut butter. Understandably, the Stud side was baffled and irritated by Brad's decision to be one of the puzzle-solvers, especially considering his strong swimming abilities. It seemed like a pretty lame choice to me. And it even led Nate to call Brad a Nancy-boy, further stirring my suspicions he may be gay, thus eliminating him from being classified as a Hot Young Stud.

But what was even more confusing, was at the Immunity Challenge, where we were once again presented with a swim-then-solve-the-puzzle relay, Brad decided to swim, along with Nate & "Poverty", leaving Adam, Rebecca, and Jenny to solve the puzzle. What happened to his puzzle-maker dreams, huh? Fortunately for him, the Studs staged a come-from-behind win, saving his butt from TC. The Whatchamacallits had their rendez-vous with Jeff around the fire, eventually dousing the flame of the ever-whiny Jessica. Whatever. Glad the twit is gone.

Of greater concern to me was that my poor Adam had to spend a night on Exile Island in the midst of a terrible storm, where he huddled in a fetal position, praying for it to just go away. My, how I wish I'd been there to huddle with him, all snuggled in his big, strong arms...

Alright, moving along to the Amazing Race re-cap:

With Dave & Mary marked for elimination, they had to finish in first this leg or else suffer a 30-minute penalty. So of course, instead of trying to bolt ahead, they spent the entire leg trying to co-ordinate with the rest of their 6-pack alliance. Even when they did get ahead a bit, they usually waited for the Bama girls & the Cho brothers to catch up to them. Now, there's a good strategy for winning $1 Million.

Once arriving in Madagascar, teams came across a new race feature called the Intersection. Teams had to double up to complete the Detour. James & Tyler (soooooo not gay) were fortunate enough to pair up with Rob & Kimberly. They were, however, unfortunate enough to take the Fast Forward, which led them to a street vendor in a yucky meat market, where they each had to consume a heaping plate of cow lips. Mmmmmmmm. So the Fast Forward ended up being the Not-So-Fast-Forward. James downed his lips relatively quickly, followed by Rob, with Tyler trailing behind, and Kimberly, of course, struggling.

Meanwhile, back at the Instersection, Dave & Mary opted to team up with the Bama girls over the Beauty Queens, showing that once again, they really aren't gamers. The Beauty Queens have proven to be efficient and strong competitors, whereas the Bama girls are lucky to even still be there. It was a choice that probably hurt the Kentucky team in the long-run, as they struggled with Bama to carry the big, foam mattresses through the crowded streets of Madagascar. The Barbies & the Cho brothers worked well together, and made quick work of the task.

On to the Road Block, where one team member got to travel to the Pit Stop, while the other had to run up and down a hill looking for people with rubber stamp collections. They needed to find four particular stamps to match the ones on their clue. The Barbie hustled about, very quickly finding her stamps, and then she rushed back to the Pit Stop, where the two of them hit the mat before those poor Fast Forward people, still struggling to swallow their chunks of hairy, toothy cow lips.

At the Not-So-Fast-Forward, Kimberly finally downed the rest of her lips, and they were off. James & Tyler (did I mention they are sooooo not gay?) landed in second place, followed by Rob & Kimberly. Rob, once again, won me over a little mroe - he was extremely patient with Kim this time, and he even seemed lovey-dovey with her as he wrapped his arms around her in the little interview, and then after she finished her lips, he proclaimed, "My chick is the best!" Yeah, Rob...I'm liking you a lot these days.

A few of the teams had problems with their cabbies wanting to stop for gas, including the Cho brothers, who might have finished ahead of the Not-So-Fast-Forwarders too, had it not been for their unfortunate stop at the gas station. They made it to the Pit Stop in fourth place, followed by Dave & Mary. However, due to their 30-minute penalty, they had to stand aside and watch the Bama girls roll in and finish ahead of them. It was a teary time on the mat, as the girls said good-bye to their 6-Pack teammates from Kentucky. I was honestly a little surprised that the Cho brothers didn't pop up and say they'd forfeit their place to allow Dave & Mary to continue racing. It just seemed like something they would do.

So there. Not too hostile, was it? In fact, this has been therapeutic. I haven't even thought about hockey since I started writing. What was the score in that stupid game, anyways?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Great Kidnapping of 2006

This past weekend, I was involved in a very serious crime. I've never taken part in any criminal activity before. I admit it, I've lived a pretty sheltered life. I've always avoided potentially incriminating situations; I don't know if I ever had a detention in school, I've only ever received one traffic ticket.

I'm an honest, God-fearing, law-abiding citizen.

Until this weekend.

This weekend, I helped kidnap someone.

Okay, so it was just Stacy, and Sara was my accomplice. And we just had to bring her to a baby shower in my basement Saturday afternoon. And although we had plans of attacking her and tying her up and tossing her in the back of the Rav like a fugitive or something, we took into consideration that she is pregnant and we really didn't want to harm her or the baby.

Stacy made things easy on us. She was an ideal kidnapping victim. After Sara & I gave Oscar-worthy performances while touring the baby's room, we finally sprung the whole We have to kidnap you thing on Stace, and she just said, "Oh yeah? Where are we going?" She was reluctant to be blindfolded, but we convinced her she had no other option. It really didn't matter, because even though I drove around town a little trying to disorient her, she knew exactly where we were at all times. Either she has an uncanny sense of direction, or she could see through that scarf we tied around her head.

In any case, we brought her back to my place where a nice gathering of friends & family were waiting for the big surprise. We had some fun playing a few baby shower games, then Stacy opened her gifts, and I think she got a nice array of neccessities - everything from clothes, blankets, teethers, a piggy bank, a baby book, a diaper bag, baby seats and an especially-cute Ottawa Senators onesie (from guess who?), and much more. Then we snacked on some of our "favourites" - Sara's famous cheese ball, pumpernickel & spinach dip, nacho dip (made by the lovely Vicky Leach, another new reader of the Blog - hi Vick!), veggies & dip, Mexican roll-ups, chips, party mix, and a Winnie the Pooh cake, courtesy of Lizard (aka my mama). Thanks to all who helped out with this special occasion!

Congratulations, Stacy! Hope you had a good time, and we can't wait to meet Madyson!

Saturday night, I had the wonderful opportunity to chaperone Sara & Graham on their date to the movies. I hope someday to be able to go on my own dates, but until then, I'm glad my friends occasionally let me third-wheel it with them. We went to see The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. It was an extremely cute movie, and I loved it - not sure if it was better than the original, but I enjoyed it more than the second installment. Tim Allen, of course, reprises his role as the Big Guy himself, and he and the Mrs. have a little one on the way. They invite Mrs. Claus' parents to visit them in the Pole, but in order to protect the SOS (the Secret of Santa), they must transform Santa's Workshop into Canada. Yup, that's right. Canada. (Did you know Americans don't put vinegar on their french fries? I had no idea.) Anyways, amidst all this action, we also have Jack Frost trying to trick Santa into handing the responsibilities of St. Nick over to him. I very quickly learned to hate Jack Frost.

Some of my favourite moments included the ridiculous references to Canada, and the fact that the in-laws truly believed that Canadians are all little people with funny ears. Also, the Board of Legendary Figures, featuring Mother Nature, Father Time, Cupid, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and especially the Easter Bunny, were good for a few chuckles, too. I also think it's really cool that the same kid who played Charlie twelve years ago is back to play the role once again.

As the lights dimmed and the movie began, Graham threatened to shout out, "Santa's not real!" for the benefit of the children in the audience, but luckily, Sara shushed him. He was actually very good about it all, and I think I even heard him laugh a few times. When all was said and done, he said it was an okay movie. And he gets the gold star for willingly going along to see a Santa movie in early November and not even complaining.

The movie isn't going to win any Academy Awards, but if you feel the need to get into the Christmas spirit, and you have some little people you want to bring along, I definitely think you should check it out.

Waking up to snow on the ground the following morning really got me in the spirit, I can tell you that!

Oh, and yes, the Sens lost again. Bah humbug.

Friday, November 03, 2006

You're Either the Chicken or the Pig

Last night was a big night for me & my TV. I was able to catch The O.C. and Grey's Anatomy. No Survivor recap yet, as I'll be watching that tape tonight. So please, for you Survivor fans out there who watched last night, no spoilers!

I'm going to leave The O.C. recap for Sharon to do, as I know she mentioned yesterday that she would like to give her take on things. But I will say this: I enjoyed last night's season premiere more than most of the episodes I watched last year. Things are looking up with Marissa gone. And my gosh, I just adore Seth. His whole comic book thing brought tears to my eyes. But I'll leave that for Sharon to explain!

So, I know I'm practically the only one who watches it, but it brings me great joy to write about Grey's Anatomy. And this is my world, so here she goes...

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but I love this show.

This week, Izzie started back in the intern program full time, with Dr. Bailey again as her resident. While the Chief gave Izzie strict guidelines to follow, Bailey added a dozen more, and she instructed Izzie to shadow a different doctor everyday until Bailey feels she can trust her again. On Day 1 she had to follow Meredith around like a little puppy dog. While Izzie was obviously a little put out that she was being treated with kid gloves, she made the best of it. "Meredith's my boss. Meredith's the boss of me," she murmered with a little grin on her face.

Of course, Izzie fell right back into her old pattern of growing too attached to the patient, despite Meredith's best efforts to stop her, but it turned out Izzie's concerns for their burn victim were valid. Once they dug a little deeper, they discovered the law student was purposely burning her hand to avoid taking the bar exam for the sixth time. She was so desperate to avoid the humiliation of failing again, she held the palm of her hand to a burner on her stove. Izzie's sensitivity to her patient's plight prevented her from further injuring herself.

Cristina, meanwhile, was the envy of all the other interns, as she continues to help Dr. Burke hide the secret that his hands are still not quite healed. Cristina has become manic about aiding him, changing the surgery board to accomodate him and ensuring that she's scrubbing in for every surgery with him. This week, Burke was scheduled to perform a rare "Humpty Dumpty" surgery - they take out the heart, tear it apart, then put it back together again - which Dr. Bailey really wanted in on, so she added her name to the board. Cristina secretly erased her name to prevent her from discovering Burke's secret. However, that move only added to Bailey's insecurities that the other doctors are doubting her competence since the Denny Duquette fiasco.

Then there was Meredith & McDreamy. It had been a week since she told Derek she let Finn go, and he still hadn't called her. So Meredith decided to take the bull by the horns and drop in on Derek for a chat - where she discovered another woman in his bed. And McDreamy was standing there wearing nothing but a towel. Oh baby, that was hot.

Of course, Meredith jumped to conclusions, so Derek quickly clarified for her that his sister was visiting. His sister Nancy, who Izzie quickly nicknamed "McBitchy". Poor McDreamy was put through the ringer as Nancy caught up with her old friends, Addison & Mark - aka, McDreamy's ex-wife & ex-best friend. Couldn't be easy to see his sister fraternizing with the enemies. Anyhow, once he cleared it all up with Meredith, they agreed to take some time to clear their heads before jumping into a relationship. And the Mer & Der Saga continues...

My favourite of the moment of the night, though, has to go to George. In dealing with a pregnant woman with two uteruses (not "uteri", as George initially thought), the woman's fiancé went through a lengthy explanation of how in a relationship, you have to be either the ham or the eggs. If you're the eggs, you're just involved. If you're the ham, then you're committed. This inspired George to go begging for Callie's forgiveness, telling her he was the chicken and she was the pig. Her mouth dropped. "George, did you just call me a pig?" she demanded, in shocked horror. It cracked me up...Poor George just can't win.

My other observation of the night is that McSteamy is not as McSteamy as I thought. I think he's got grey hair, and not in a sexy way like George Clooney's. And his mustache is not attractive. Meredith's definitely getting the better end of the deal with McDreamy. Plus, he's being a real ass to Alex. Now, I know Alex has a bit of a reputation of being an ass himself, but that doesn't mean he should have to be McSteamy's slave just because he wants to get into his specialty of plastic surgery. I love it that Alex is having a hard time breaking away from the gynie squad, and that he blew off one of McSteamy's stupid tasks to take part in the two-uterus surgery. Alex is so good with kids - he definitely needs to get over the plastics and get into the baby stuff. When the baby George was trying to hold still in the womb started moving too much, Alex jumped in to help by talking steady, rhyming off facts about Muhammed Ali - a proven way of calming a baby down, and it worked. It was so sweet. Have I mentioned lately that I love Alex? Did I pick him back on that "Which Doctor Would I Pick?" Blog for my boyfriend? 'Cause if I didn't, I've changed my mind. I want him.

Alright, so none of you watch this show, but I love it. I really, really love it. My apologies for going on & on, because I know you don't care. I truly am sorry.

But I just can't help it.

Have a good weekend, gang!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

CD Review: "Extreme Behavior" by Hinder

Alrighty, so up to this point, I've mostly been all about re-capping my favourite TV shows. But tonight that's all gonna change as I introduce you to a new feature I hope to run about once a month: Jill's CD Review.

That's right, folks. I'm not all about TV shows. I actually listen to music once in a while.

This past month I went on a bit of a CD-buying binge - in fact, I picked up 4 CDs in one day.

The big winner from that day's puchases?

That would be the 2005 10-song disc Extreme Behavior by a band called Hinder.

Pretty much everyone has heard the song "Lips of an Angel" on the radio in the past month or so. If you haven't, you've been living under a rock. It's a slow, romantic ballad with a bittersweet premise: the dude's whispering on the phone to his ex-girlfriend, and his new girlfriend's just in the next room, and it's so obvious that he still loves the ex and wants to be with her, but he's afraid to mess things up with the new girl. You know how it goes. It's an awesome song, as far as I'm concerned - definitely the biggest highlight of the entire album.

But there are other great songs. The only other track to garner any radio-play is "Get Stoned", a grungy sort of loser anthem. I like it, but it's not my favourite. After listening through the entire CD for the first time, my initial favourite after "Lips of an Angel" was a song called "Homecoming Queen". It's catchy, it's up-beat; a very radio-friendly sound, all about how the popular girl in high school didn't end up being much of a success once she hit the real world.

Then there's track #6, my current favourite, which is a slow song called "Better Than Me" with the haunting refrain: I really miss your hair in my face/ And the way your innocence tastes/ And I think you should know this/ You deserve so much better than me. I always like it when a song makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. It happens very rarely. "Fix You" by Coldplay, as I've mentioned in a previous Blog, did this to me. I can now add "Better Than Me" to the list. Plus, it's a really dramatic song to just belt out when I'm driving alone in the Rav.

Overall, it's one of my favourite CDs of the past year, and it firmly cemented me as a fan of Hinder. They're a band that looks like Fallout Boy but sounds more like Default. Edgy rock, a lot of anger, a lot of regret, a lot of begging for forgiveness. Lead singer Austin Winkler is all about the raw vocals that crawl in under your skin and make you think & feel. Visually, he's not so appealing - not a bad-looking dude, but his hand movements in the video for "Lips of an Angel" annoy the hell out of me. Other than that, I have no complaints. Guitar-heavy alt-rock with catchy melodies and choruses that encourage singing along. This one comes highly recommended by me!

Pick it up if you like: Default, Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman, 3 Doors Down

Instant Hits: "Lips of an Angel", "Get Stoned"

Skip-able Tracks: "How Long", "Room 21", "Shoulda"

Jill's Picks: "By the Way", "Bliss (I Don't Wanna Know)", "Better Than Me", "Homecoming Queen"

Rating: 3.75/5

The Golden Couple Go Their Separate Ways

Well, I declared the Senators' slump officially over, so of course, they have officially begun a new slump. And I hate talking about my team losing, so I won't talk about it at all.

What has been troubling me for the past few days is the news of a recent Celebrity Split. It happens all the time in the fickle land of Hollywood, and usually they don't shock me. But for some reason, this one did.

Reese Witherspoon & Ryan Phillippe are kaput.

Before Ryan & Reese were married, they were individually two of my favourite actors - with him starring in White Squall & I Know What You Did Last Summer, and her break-out performances in Man in the Moon & Fear. Then came a little movie called Cruel Intentions, with Ryan in the role of Sebastien, opposite Reese as the lovely Annette. I was about 15 when that movie came out, and there was no cooler movie to go see than Cruel Intentions for teens that year. It helped a lot that Ryan was the hottest thing since sliced bread.

I remember seeing Reese on The View around the time that Cruel Intentions hit theatres, doing a promotion for her new flick, when the ladies asked if it was true that she was dating Ryan Phillippe. Reese smiled shyly, admitted that, yes, indeed, she had fallen in love with the handsome Phillippe, and that not only were they going to be married, they were also expecting a baby. At that moment, Reese Witherspoon & Ryan Phillippe became one of my favourite celebrity couples.

Since then, Ryan & Reese did get married and added a daughter, Ava, now 7, and a son, Deacon, now 3, to their family. Reese became one of Hollywood's darlings, starring in the Legally Blonde movies and Sweet Home Alabama. Ryan sort of took a backseat to his starlet wife, mostly taking marginal roles in forgettable movies. Over the years, there were rumblings of trouble in paradise for the young couple. Rumours were that Ryan was a bit disgruntled that Reese's career had skyrocketed while his had fizzled.

Then came the year 2005. Reese starred as June Carter in the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line. Ryan also finally found himself a niche in a critically acclaimed movie called Crash. Both movies were up for Academy Awards; both Ryan & Reese were finally in the spotlight together again for the first time since Cruel Intentions.

When Oscar night rolled around, it was Reese who won the individual award of Best Actress for her portrayal as Johnny Cash's future wife. Ryan wasn't left out in the cold, though - Crash won the coveted Best Picture Award. It seemed the couple was finally on a level playing ground, with no more animosity between them regarding their own personal success in Tinseltown.

Following her Best Actress win, I saw Reese on Oprah, telling the talkshow Queen that Ryan had been so helpful in turning her into June Carter. Reese claimed to have no singing abilities at all, and credited Ryan with helping her learn the songs, especially the duets, which he would practice with her by singing Joaquin Phoenix's lines. She said that for weeks afterwards, Ryan and the kids ran around the house singing "Jackson" and "It Ain't Me, Babe". It sounded like the perfect family to me.

So yes, it did come as a bit of a shock to me this week when news broke that the Golden Couple had officially separated. They've asked for privacy, to protect their children, who they are both still completely committed to, and the separation has been declared "amicable". If that's supposed to comfort Ryan & Reese fans, it didn't work on me. It doesn't give me the warm & fuzzies. It bothers me that they've gone the way of Cruise & Kidman, Pitt & Aniston, Lachey & Simpson (tee hee hee...) Does nobody ever stay together these days?

I thought Ryan & Reese had lasting power. I can't think of a more cute couple. And for seven years, they were a couple that I idolized. And now, they are no more.


When the Sens start losing, all my world goes to crap, doesn't it?