What an Olympic experience!

Today was the last full day of my incredible London 2012 Olympic experience. And boy was it a full day! Along with all the other wonderful events I’ve been too this week, the big goal all along was to get to events at Olympic Park, the centre of it all.

Once I knew I was going to the Olympics, I worked all my connections and social media savvy to find tickets to events at the park. I ended up pretty successful with 3, almost, back to back events. The day started with a some great women’s basketball games in the Basketball Arena. France vs. Russia (France won) and the Czech Republic vs. Angola (first time in the Olympics) where the Czech Republic won fairly easily. The games and atmosphere were great. Plus the temporary venue was perfect. And we had awesome 8th row seats!

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Following that it was off to the world’s largest McDonald’s for my second McD’s of the day. Check out this line up. But only took about 15 minutes.

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After a well balanced meal, getting caught in the rain, running into my friend’s sister (Canadians can find each other any where) it was time for some Water Polo. Now I knew nothing about this sport, but it’s all part of the experience and it too was incredible. Some really energetic fans. But how the heck do these girls play this sport. It seems so tiring.

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First it was the big water polo national of Hungary vs. Russia, then Australia vs. China which went into double overtime and a shoot out (Oz won). That meant a hustle over to the Aquatic Centre for the Women’s 3m Springboard Diving final. With flag and flag head band in hand, and on head, I made it over to the one place I had really been wishing to see, the Aquatic Centre. What an incredible venue. I could just imagine the crowds cheering on Michael Phelps or Ryan Cochrane.

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Sadly our Canadians didn’t win a medal, but the diving was incredible. To see the Chinese divers live, was amazing.

After having some trouble saying goodbye to the Olympic Park, it was time for me to leave and end my Olympic journey. But not before noticing again, just how well organized this entire event is. Congratulations London, you have done an incredible job!

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But who do I cheer for?

As I wrap up day two of watching the games live, I must say it’s been quite a day. First off the big things: our first Gold, an awesome silver and a wonderful bronze for Canada on super Saturday. Glad to know of the 25 Golds given out today that one went to Canada. Fantastic. Go Canada Go!

But what have I been up to today you may ask? Today was my Beach Volleyball day, all right in the heart of London at the Horse Guards Parade near the palace. So amazing to be sitting watching this very modern sport surrounding by all this history, greatness and plus some modern architecture.

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We were lucky enough to catch a men’s and women’s match. In the men’s, Germany played Latvia and in the women’s it was Brazil vs. the Czech Republic. Since neither my home or birth country were playing, the question comes up who do I cheer for? One or the other or everyone? The top seed or the underdog? Or the one everyone else is cheering for? I didn’t know. Most of the time I go underdog. But today, it ended up that I cheered for the higher seeded team of Germany for the men and the underdog of the Czech Republic for the women. Couldn’t really tell you how I came to that decision, but I’m sure many of us couldn’t explain what we do when we don’t have a team affiliation.

Here is team Latvia.

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Team Czech Republic

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Germany won and the Czech republic won, so I guess I chose well.

But what a great atmosphere and energy. The music, the fans, the volunteers. Incredible. I can’t say enough about how well organized these games are. Tomorrow will be the big test as I head to Olympic Park for my 3 event day.

Again no idea who to cheer for. But it looks like at my last event of my Olympic Experience I will be able to wave our flag and be a crazy Canuck as I watch the women’s 3m springboard diving final where we have 2 awesome Canadians who qualified. I’m so pumped. Go Canada Go!

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But my question is to you, who do you cheer for when you don’t really know who’s playing?

A dream realized…Olympics

I never thought that the day would come that I would get a real chance to attend the Olympic Games. I had dreamed it for as long as I could remember. Actually, I think I can remember exactly when it became my dream. It was the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when Alex Baumann won his gold medals. From that moment on I wanted go and compete for Canada in swimming. That dream never materialized, but then the next dream of competing for Canada as a rower crept in my head when I took up competitive rowing. Sadly that was not to be either.

Then Vancouver 2010 happened and I will always kick myself for not going to those games. So when the opportunity came up to attend the London 2012 games, I couldn’t pass it up, no matter what the cost.

So this past Tuesday I began my journey to London for the games. The bad weather tried to me down, but I finally arrived on Wednesday and it’s been go go go since then (all fun). From picking up my tickets to trying to catch up with friends who’s schedules are also filled with watching events, its been a whirl wind.

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Today I got to attend my first event. And what better to start with than Rowing. It was incredible. From the shuttle bus to the volunteers to the incredible organization of it all, it has all been done right over here. And the rowing itself was great. Sadly it was not a big day for Canada but I did get to see the men’s pair race and I could almost reach out and touch them.

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My next few days are filled with so much more, that I will share with you as it happens. I just can’t wait and also have trouble believing this is all really happening. Pinch me, it is! Go Canada Go!

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I will say one last thing, I do miss the CTV coverage of the Games. Can’t say that the BBC style is for me. But still great to watch it in real time.

Check out “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”

Just saw the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“, and now I’m definitely dreaming of sushi.  What I can say up front is DO NOT go to this documentary on an empty stomach, as you will leave with your mouth salivating even more than mine was on a full stomach.

The story of this incredible 85 year old sushi master is one to marvel at and enjoy.  From being on his own as a very young child to having a small sushi restaurant that receives 3 Michelin Stars on a regular basis.  He expects everyone that comes to work with him to put in a minimum of 10 years of learning as they start at the bottom and work their way, not to the top, but to being recognized as someone with potential to be good and maybe one day, great.

Jiro’s philosophies are definitely ones to listen to and learn from.  Even though his life has mostly been about sushi, his lessons apply to all of us and we can grow as people and in our careers by looking at the man behind the sushi, not just the man making it.

This documentary will make you want to book a trip to Tokyo and stop in to enjoy a meal at Jiro’s sushi bar.  But, reservations are expected and only accepted a month before you want to eat there.  Plus, meals start at 30,000 yen and there are no drinks and no appetizers.

It’s definitely on my list for my next trip to Tokyo.  But in the mean time, the movie is playing at TIFF Lightbox in Toronto and probably somewhere near you at a specialty theatre.


 

 

Don’t tease us Ferris Bueller!

Last week some of us saw the following teaser for what we could have hoped was going to be a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” sequel.

But we all knew in our hearts that it wouldn’t happen.  And really didn’t want a great memory like that to be ruined with a full feature sequel.  Then Monday rolls around and we got a special treat, even if it is a commercial for Honda.   Ferris Bueller playing games again.  This time to get out of work.

Smart move by Honda though.  Spot on concept, as the demographic that enjoyed this movie back in the 80s, is just that who’s driving the Honda CR-V now.

If you haven’t seen it, enjoy!

Did you see all the references to the original movie?  No?  Check them out here.  Were any others missed?

Now if this movie were ever to be remade, as so many movies are these days, it would definitely be a lot shorter with all the modern technology.  Just imagine with all the social media (FB, Foursquare, Twitter, etc) and GPS, Ferris would have been located in seconds.  Imagine the scene, Principal calls mother to tell her that Ferris isn’t at school, mother checks Foursquare, FB and Twitter, minutes later Ferris is located and caught.  Or even before all of this, sister Jeanie would have located him, tweeted, facebooked to rat him out.

Thank goodness we didn’t have any of that in the 80s, as this movie changed our lives.  And thank you Honda for reminding us of such a great movie and getting the real Ferris to participate!  SAVE FERRIS!

Videos of 2011 that I will remember!

At this time of year it’s all about looking back on memories and events of 2011.  It’s been quite a year for natural disasters and not so natural ones.

But, let’s have some fun as we look back on 2011.  These are the videos that went viral, or not, that I remember or enjoyed for one reason or another.  Without any comments from me, here they ALL are (there are a lot), so pick and choose.  But, take time, enjoy or reflect on what 2011 was in the world of online video.  Let me just say one last thing, there is a lot that you can learn and appreciate from these videos, especially the “Thumbs Up, Rock n’Roll Kid”.  Happy New Year and all the best in 2012!

Lightning TO from Jon Simonassi on Vimeo.

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

Toronto Tempo from Ryan Emond on Vimeo.

What videos stick out for you?  Please share.

Goodbye 2011.  Thanks for the memories.  Hello 2012!  What do you have in store?

All the best in 2012 to all!

 

Jamie Oliver, your stories are awesome!

Last night my favourite chef/TV personality, Jamie Oliver, was in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall and I went to see him with a few friends.  It was truly enjoyable.

Even though we were at Roy Thomson Hall, which is quite big, it did feel fairly intimate.  As Jamie said, he welcomed us into his “front room” to just hang out with him.  His Front Room was made up of two small sofas, a table between and two napkins waiting for the Steamwhistle beers that Jamie and the host were drinking.

After a lengthy introduction by the host, whose name escapes me (as I wasn’t there to see her), Jamie joined her on stage.  It’s an interesting situation, as the introduction even though important, is all information that I would imagine 95% of the people in the audience already knew.  I wonder for someone like Jamie Oliver, as he’s standing in the wings listening to all that, does he just want to cut to the chase and get out there to talk with his fans.

Jamie said that only when he’s in Canada does he do these intimate chats.  He was thanking us for how good all us Canadians have been to him over the past 15 years.  I know I have loved him since his Naked Chef days.  And now I love him for all the work he is doing in the schools in the UK and with Food Revolution in the US.  Wish we could convince him to come up here and do a short series.  If you are reading this, Jamie, and are interested in a series in Canada just drop me a line.  Would love to develop one with you.

Jamie shared some great stories with us.  Being an informal night, the audience got to submit questions for Jamie to answer.  Obviously, there were many and they could not get to all of them.  But he did touch on some great points, like how he is one of the only chefs out there that will test his recipes 6 times within his team and in the public before it gets into one of his cookbooks.  He rightly feels that he needs to ensure that when a recipe goes out into the world, it will work.  No one wants to spend $40 on ingredients to make a meal to impress someone and it’s a flop.  Jamie feels he would be letting people down if that happened.

The other answer that stuck with me was one about the increased use of food banks and how hard it is to afford good, fresh food.  His response was one that not everyone would expect, but it was true to what he and many of us believe.  He said that he has been in many lower income homes who claimed that it’s hard to afford fresh food.  But, as he pointed out, in those houses there are TVs bigger than his, everyone has a mobile phone and possibly wearing fancy running shoes on their feet.  It’s really about the choices that are made with the money, not that it’s unaffordable.  Jamie’s other point was that for the $15 dollars you can spend on the KFC bucket meal, he and you could create a healthy chicken meal for a family for less and there would be leftovers.

There were many other great stories told during our hour “visit” with Jamie.  Sadly it did have to end, but with one important last question.  “Boxers or Briefs?”  Jamie’s response initially was, “what about commando?”  But, in the end it was whatever made his “bits” look good to his wife.

What a great evening.  And to top it off, we all got a free copy of his new cook book, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes.”  Great book with some great looking recipes.

Thanks, Jamie!

Your One Stop for TV Premiere Season 2011

Yes folks, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Time for new (non-reality) TV shows to start. I’m so glad that summer is behind us for that reason.

There is a great crop this year.  Or that’s what I think.  This season sees quite a few great female lead sitcoms, some interesting fantasy and of course crime and medical dramas. But, this is the season of female leads in all genres.

I’ve put together a summary of most of the upcoming shows.  Instead of having to hit all the network sites, it’s all here in one place with a bit of my commentary.  There is quite a few, so set aside some time to enjoy this.  And for many of you, I know that you understand the importance of this most wonderful time of the year.  Also, please comment with any shows and previews I might have missed and what shows you are looking forward to.  Enjoy!

Comedies

2 Broke Girls – CBS/CityTV Monday Sept. 19 – 9:30pm
Did you love “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and Kat Dennings who played Norah? Her sarcasm was incredible. She’s the co-lead in her own sitcom now. Just one of the great new female lead sitcoms. Check out this preview. I think that you will like it. I’ve put it on my must see list.

How to be a Gentlemen– CBS/Global – Thurs. Sept. 29 – 8:30pm
Not really sold on this one yet.  Quite a cast with Dave Foley and Kevin Dillion.  But don’t really know the lead.  Might give this one a try, but will have to see what options there are.

Free Agents – NBC/CTV – Wed. Sept. 14th at 10:30pm
Hank Azaria we haven’t seen on network TV in a while.  This concept looks like it might be fun and it has a great supporting cast. To me it seems a little Crazy Stupid Love like, but the Ryan Gosling character is now a women who the lead is sleeping with. Where will it go?  And just as an aside and a useless piece of trivia, the boss in this show did a love series through commercials for Taster’s Choice years ago.

Up All Night – NBC/CTV2 – Wed. Sept. 14th – 10pm
Impressive cast. Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph. I’m a big fan of the ladies in this show. They are great comedic actors. Will Arnett I haven’t really liked in anything since Arrested Development, but this potentially looks like a good fit for him. I think that this one is on the list.

Whitney – NBC/CTV – Thursday Sept. 22nd – 9:30pm
I don’t know the actors in this show, but I’m assuming that Whitney Cummings is a famous comedian. I do like what I see. Lots of sarcasm. Exactly my style. And another great female lead sitcom.

Last Man Standing – ABC/CityTV – Tuesday Oct. 11 – 8pm
Tim Allen is back. But this time he’s in a house full of women. A Man’s man trying to stay that way around all the women. Should be funny. Hilarity might ensue. We’ll see.

Man Up – ABC/CTV2 – Tuesday Oct. 18 – 8:30pm
Not sure about this one. I do like the female cast in this one. Don’t really know the men. You make the call.

Suburgatory – ABC/CityTV – Wednesday Sept. 28 – 8:30pm
Undecided about this one also. But I do like Cheryl Hines. She will add some good comedy to this one.

Allen Gregory – FOX/Global – Sunday Oct. 30 -8:30pm
I don’t normally like the various cartoons on FOX, but I do love Jonah Hill, so I will give this one about a pretentious 7 year old a try.

I Hate My Teenage Daughter – FOX/Global
Not sure where the funny is. Get back to me if you find it.

New Girl – FOX/CityTV – Tuesday Sept. 20 – 9pm
Zooey Deschanel. That’s all I need. She’s hilarious. They’ve been hyping this for a while. Hope that it’s worth the hype. It just might be.

Dramas

A Gifted Man – CBS/Global Friday Sept. 23 – 8pm
Had never heard of this show before I watched this preview, but by the end it seemed like a unique show that might have potential. Now it’s on Friday nights, so it will be tough for them. But, they might get those that commit on a Friday night to this, CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. A little medical drama before the cops take over.

Person of Interest – CBS/CityTV – Thursday Sept. 22 – 9pm
JJ Abrams is teaming up with our favourite bad guy from LOST, Michael Emerson. This one has a lot of potential and helps to fill holes that have been made by shows the loss of many shows like LOST.

The Playboy Club – NBC/CityTV – Monday Sept. 19 – 10pm
Mad Men meets…help me out here.  Not sure what, but why not play off the popularity of the 60s era shows.  We’ll see about this one also.  Could be some interesting stories around the various Bunnies.

Prime Suspect – NBC/Global – Thursday Sept. 22 – 9pm
Woman detective in the all boys club of the NYPD. Fighting the battle to prove herself. Have we seen this before? Probably. Will be see it again? Probably. But the lead in this Maria Bello has a nice hard edge to her. And Aidan Quinn is great part of this cast with some other recognizable “cop” type actors.

Charlie’s Angels – ABC/CTV – Thursday Sept. 22 – 8pm
Being a big fan of the original series in the 70s/80s and also a fan of the movies, I’m just not sure I’ll be able to do this one. Drew Barrymore is the Exec. Prod. of the show, so it should be pretty good. And they’ve done a great job finding a fairly close match to John Forsythe for the voice of Charlie. But, really, it will be your call.  And tell me about it.  Plus it will be up against a lot of great Thursday night comedies for me.


Pan Am – ABC/CTV – Sunday Sept. 25 – 10pm
Remember when air travel was classy.  Well most of us don’t, but this show will remind us of it. Pan Am seems like an interesting look at the ladies, “Stewardess’” and what they get up to. I imagine there will be some great period music and Mad Men type style. Will definitely be checking this one out.

Revenge – ABC/CityTV – Wednesday Sept. 21 – 10pm
I don’t get this one. But I’m intrigued. And I do like Emily Van Camp from Everwood and Brothers and Sisters fame. I need to understand what this Revenge is all about.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Grimm – NBC/CTV – Friday Oct. 21st – 9pm
Crime fighting Grimms. We all know that Fairy Tales are not the happy stories that some think they are. This show will change your view of them forever. Fairy Tale Crime Fighter with a bit of sarcasm. Might be worth it.

Once Upon a Time – ABC/CTV – Sunday Oct. 23 – 8pm
From some of the LOST creative team. Two worlds. One in the Fairy Tale world, one in the “real” world with the same characters. Interesting.

Terra Nova – FOX/CityTV – Monday Sept. 26 – 8pm
I know there are friends out there who are excited about this one. Looks like it would be a good movie (Jurassic Park), not a show. But who knows where they will go with it. If you watch it, Rica, please tell me about it.

That about sums it up for now.  Like every year at this time, I’m pretty excited about some of the new shows this season.  Plus, there are still lots of old favourites that will help to fill my viewing schedule.  I’m sure that I’ve missed a bunch of shows.  I would love if you would comment on this posting with the upcoming shows that you are interested it and a video clip so that we can all enjoy a preview.  I know that “Ringers” is on the list for some of you out.  Share your thoughts with all of us on what you are excited about.

Happy TV watching!

It’s so easy to love Crazy, Stupid, Love.

How do you choose who you love more in this movie?  Do you love Steve Carell, or Emma Stone, maybe Julianne Moore or Ryan Gosling?  Well, it’s not hard to guess who, or is it?  I could say that I loved all of them for unique reasons…But what about the surprise appearances by Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei and who’s that, Josh Groban.  You don’t have to choose.  They are all great together.

I do suppose that most of us are liking some Ryan and his “Photoshopped” body a bit more than the others.  But, it’s the story, the acting, the chemistry, that make this an incredible movie.

Steve Carell plays a perfect man trying to figure out his new 40 something life.  Very similar to his Dan in Real Life character, but in no way a repeat of that character.  He combines traits of all the characters that we loved him playing.  Dan, Michael, Andy, Phil and even some Frank.  Maybe it is that he’s just playing a great Cal Weaver?

Ryan Gosling (Jacob) has really no problem in the role of the playboy, suave, womanizer.  But, there is a story at the core of his character that he’s really just looking to share.  Like many of us, it’s much easier to fix others than ourselves, so he takes on the job of helping the less fortune in the suave department.  In this case, Cal Weaver.  Maybe Jacob is looking for something more and trying to help some one who is long gone.  Plus, his conquests are just that and truly don’t care until Hannah, played by the incredible Emma Stone (who is quite the well deserving “it” girl right now) comes along.  You wouldn’t think it in the beginning or even after the rain, but she’s the life changing girl.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is full of very entertaining and ever changing love triangles.  Even unexpected ones.  I think that’s what I truly loved about this movie was the surprises.  So many things I just never saw coming.  Recently so many movies have been so predictable.  You know what all the upcoming lines/scenes are probably going to be.  But not with Crazy, Stupid, Love.  It’s unique.  Finally, thank you!!!

There are some great scene stealers in the children of this movie, especially the son Robbie, played by Jonah Bobo.  It’s the lesson from that 13 year old which is the true meaning of this movie, “Soul Mates”.  An interest idea or concept, but something that I think we all hope and dream off, but have trouble logically believing.  This movie might help you believe a bit more.  Ahh, if life was only a movie!

Crazy, Stupid, Love is well worth seeing and to be happily surprised by.  Enjoy!

 

Donny and Marie in Toronto – Great Entertainers!

Just home from a great show put on by Donny and Marie (Osmond) in Toronto.  Now those are entertainers.  They sing their own songs, they can dance and they can make us laugh (and maybe cry a bit).

I know that some don’t feel the way I do about them or may not even know who I’m talking about.  But Donny and Marie were my every Friday night growing up.  They were part of the last really great variety shows like Sonny and Cher and Carol Burnett.

I’ve seen their show in Vegas and it was fantastic.  Much more intimate.  Tonight there was a lot of the same bits and songs but quite a few new ones. Both shows were great in their own ways.  I truly enjoyed the new songs just as much as I did the old favourites. Amazingly, Donny said that they have been in showbiz for 48 years.  He’s working on his 60th album.

Their voices are so strong, the show is great for all ages. As Donny said on Breakfast Television, for those from 9 to 90. And I did have my 9 year old niece with me tonight and I think that she enjoyed it.

If you are a fan like me (or just enjoy a great show) and have the time, check them out at the Four Season Centre for Performing Arts before July 17th. Which I must say, that place is gorgeous and the sound is incredible.

And in the style of the Donny and Marie show, let me just say Good Night Everyone!