Movember Homestretch

Photo on 2015-11-24 at 12.13 PM

We’re down to the last seven days of the Movember campaign and my mo is coming along nicely.

It has actually been fun documenting this process on my Movember page and watching the progression. The first week seemed to have no development at all, then all of a sudden there was a moustache. Now that it is fairly mature, once again there doesn’t seem to be much change, but it does look full and purty.

Donations aren’t quite where I’d like them to be—I set a target of $500 for myself and I’m well short of that goal right now—but there’s still a few more days for people to help the cause.

And really, that’s what this is all about. Donations to my Movember campaign aren’t about me—they’re about the fight against prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical activity. On average, men around the world die six years earlier than women and I want to see my fellow guys stay healthy for as long as we can.

So if you’ve donated to my campaign already, my sincerest thanks. Likewise, if you’ve donated to someone else’s campaign, my thanks go to you, too. The money raised, regardless of where it came from or whose mo it went to, all will support the cause of men’s health and I appreciate it.

There’s still time to make a difference, though! If you’re still thinking about it, get over to the Movember website and make a contribution. And thank you in advance!

Movember

Photo on 2015-11-01 at 12.38 PM

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple years now, but here in 2015 I finally decided to take the plunge and take part in Movember.

I grew a beard for Halloween this year, so by last night (October 31) I had some lovely (albeit fairly grey) facial hair going on.

Photo on 2015-10-31 at 10.23 AM

But this morning, Movember 1, I am a changed man, all fresh-faced and youthful looking, as per the picture at the top of this article. Now to decide on what kind of moustache to grow…

I’m currently leaning towards a Dread Pirate Roberts, because Carey Elwes is dreamy, but I have not yet ruled out a big ol’ handlebar or something. We’ll see where my spirit takes me in the coming days.

Dead sexy.

Dead sexy.

At any rate, I’ll be posting regular updates here and on my Movember campaign page. Please go over there and give generously for the worthy cause of finding a cure for prostate cancer. My target is $500, but I’d love to blow that goal out of the water.

More to come….

I’m A Canadian Sports Fan and I’m Not Looking Forward to Hockey Season

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Hockey! Hockeyhockeyhockeyhockeyhockeyhockey! (Photo by Jim Flannery)

The start of the 2015/2016 NHL season is still several days away and I’m already sick of the hockey season.

Here’s the thing: I’m a sports fan. I like a wide variety of sports for a wide variety of reasons.

I love curling because I think it’s one of the most fun sports anyone can play AND because it’s a game that really anybody can learn and become decent at. But I can’t stand watching it because it’s like watching a chess match—you could distill all the action of a two-hour curling game into less than an hour without missing a single second of play and even that would be pretty slow and ponderous, with all the guards being set up and shit.

I love baseball because it’s the perfect blend of mano a mano competition and team sport, with the duel between batter and pitcher combined with the defense working together to thwart the offense.

I love box lacrosse because it is hands-down the best spectator sport ever invented. It’s fast, it’s rough, it’s highly skilled. Sadly, it’s also wildly under-publicized so way too few people know about it.

I love golfing because, like curling, anyone can do it and have fun, plus it’s an an enjoyable time out on a picturesque course, getting some fresh air and some exercise while (hopefully) not becoming too frustrating.

I love football for its strategy, its aggression and its athleticism. Of course, Canadian football is fundamentally better than American football, but I’ve written about that before.

And then there’s hockey. As a Canadian, I’ve been steeped in hockey culture since I was born. Occasionally my parents still like to bust out the 40+ year old tape of me as an infant (two years old?) where my dad is asking me questions about hockey and I tell him my favourite player is “George” and that hockey is awesome because “hockey players throw gubs (gloves) on ice and fitten, don’t they?” It actually sounds pretty cute and would no doubt be a viral hit on You Tube these days if they had the tech in the early 70s to video tape it.

Anyway.

In the last few years, with the advent of multiple Canadian sports channels, the NHL has basically taken up most of the sports narrative in this country. Here we are in the first weekend of October, the Toronto Blue Jays are getting a whole bunch of press right now because they have finally bought their way into the MLB playoffs for the first time in 22 years, but after that, the sports news is hockey. Which rookies will make the team? Which veterans won’t? Who’s recovering from injury? Which coaches are already worried about their jobs? Should the girls who shovel the snow off the ice during stoppages in play be dressed so scantily? Should we just go ahead and erect a statue of Connor McDavid in front of the Parliament Buildings right now as the greatest Canadian ever?

Meanwhile, the CFL season is in the home stretch with several interesting story lines still in play, the NFL season is in full swing with several more story lines ongoing, Jordan Speith became the youngest golfer since Tiger Woods to be named PGA Tour Player of the Year, and the NLL just had what is generally considered to be the deepest draft in their history, followed by an interesting and at times controversial awards night and I didn’t see so much as a footnote worth of coverage by any media outlet that isn’t lacrosse specific in nature.

I don’t hate hockey. I’m planning to attend four-to-six games this season. But holy crap, can we get a break from all the hockey coverage and have a few minutes spent on something else?

 

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

Can the Saskatchewan Roughriders Run the Table in Reverse?

Photo by Jim Flannery

Photo by Jim Flannery

Not even halfway through the CFL season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are dangerously close to being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with an 0-7 record. As the season continues to progress, the question we all have to ask—nay, need to ask—is whether or not the Riders can pull off the rare and exquisite 0-18 run.

To be fair to Saskatchewan, they’ve been in just about every game they’ve played this year, having only been blown out once, a 30-5 trouncing by the Edmonton Eskimos on July 31. On the other hand, they’ve given up a league-worst 225 points in their seven games to this point. To put that into perspective, the Edmonton Eskimos would have to give up 136 points in their next game to catch the Riders in that category.

Having Shea Emry and Weldon Brown on the Six-Game Injured List isn’t helping the defensive cause, but for the most part their defensive unit is fairly healthy, so the team’s inability to stop opposing offenses is not a good sign.

They’ve recorded just a single interception as a team so far in 2015 and haven’t recovered a fumble yet—if you can’t force a turnover now and then, you’re going to have problems.

The real injury issues are on the offensive side. Having both Darrian Durant and Kevin Glenn on the shelf has put third-string quarterback Brett Smith under some serious pressure to produce and, so far, he’s done a decent job, completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 442 yards so far. Unfortunately, he’s also thrown three interceptions and only two touchdowns.

http://www.cfl.ca/video/index/id/114191

That’s gonna have to get better. Quickly. If he keeps giving up pick-sixes, all the defense in the world won’t help the cause. To be fair, he did throw four TDs to Chris Getzlaf in Saturday’s game against the Toronto Argonauts only to have two of them called back due to penalties.

Penalties have been the other big issue. They’ve taken 85 penalties so far while opposing teams have been called for 76. All told, they’ve given up an extra 89 yards of field position so far this year, again compounding their difficulties.

So can they run the table in reverse? Probably not. They’ve got two games in September against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and a couple against a weak Montreal Alouettes squad as well; if Smith can complete a few more TD passes to his deep receiving unit without getting them called back, they’re going to pick up a couple wins along the way.

It’s a shame though, because losing every single game in a season is a remarkable feat and one I’d love to see someone accomplish.

 

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

CFL Trick Shots Are Pretty Cool

Are you watching the CFL’s Trick Shot series, this year? If you aren’t, you probably should be.

This year’s trick shots series started in May with Andy Fantuz of the Hamilton Tiger Cats when he set the record for most one-handed catches in one minute with 50. Although the feat might have been controversial in some circles for the use of two quarterbacks, it’s still pretty impressive.

The whole thing really got started in 2014, though. Edmonton Eskimo QB Mike Reilly’s tire toss is so cool it looks fake and based on the comments below the video on YouTube, there are lots of people who are sure this is a product of post-production video magic.

Whether you believe them or not, whether they were done on the first take or not, some of these trick shots are pretty cool and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re looking for from sports? The chance to see something that was pretty cool?

Catch them all on the CFL YouTube page and follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo.

 

 

Boardgaming Table—Chapter 3

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For today’s update I have gone to the trouble of shooting a quick little video. I now have the table top cut to size (only four inches were taken off one end) and I have screwed the two main 2×4 members into place underneath to start giving the table some rigidity and to reduce the amount of flex and deflection we might get out of the table top it if it struck hard enough during exciting game play.

Let’s have a look at how things are going so far…

Boardgaming Table — Chapter 2

NOT the new boardgame table. Photo: Jim Flannery

NOT the new boardgame table. Photo: Jim Flannery

Quick Canada Day update:

Now that we’re settled into our house in Lethbridge, we’re starting to get down to the business of making this house into our home. Work on our new garage is underway, my wife is busy prettying up the yard with her landscape design expertise (let me know if you need her help, at a competitive price!), and I’m starting to do stuff in the basement as well.

Our basement has two large main sections, partially separated by a load-bearing wall.  On the west side will eventually be our media room. We have plans to build it into a sweet movie theatre-style space, complete with a huge-ass projection screen HDTV and two rows of theatre seating, the second row being elevated to really capture that look and feel.

Like this, only probably less fancy because we haven’t yet won the lottery. (via your-home-theater-design.com)

On the east side we currently have pretty much our entire book library, as well as our boardgames, but it is essentially just unused space that we pass through on our way to the TV on the west side. Soon, however, the east will also contain our boardgame table.

Drawing inspiration from what you might see at Geek Chic, I’ve drawn up the plans for a similar—but much less elaborate—table for us. Once complete, the game vault will be seven feet long and three feet, four inches wide. Any bigger and reaching across the game vault to move pieces and stuff will get to be too much of a challenge.

It should easily accommodate up to eight people; three each per long side and one on each end.

The table top is 3/4 inch ply to give it some rigidity and structure. I’ll be adding a 2 x 4 frame underneath to give it more strength and hopefully also keep it from bowing in the middle and bouncing if someone gets a little too enthusiastic and bangs the surface—watching playing pieces go flying is never a good time.

We have a bolt of fabric (synthetic microsuede or something) to cover the surface of the table vault and then it’ll be trimmed out with a 4-inch wide wood perimeter to create the vault, which I’ve decided to keep fairly shallow—the wood trim is just half inch material, but should hopefully contain most dice throws (with the possible exception of a certain sister-in-law of mine who shall remain nameless).

Once the basic table is built, it’ll be time for some testing, after which I’m considering adding pull-out tables upon which to place more game stuff, maybe a couple cup holders, and also maybe adding some trim pieces to the edges to gussy up the look.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The first step will be doing some cutting. I have to take four inches off the end of the plywood sheet to get it down to the proper length (I know that doesn’t seem like much, but I think it’ll make a huge difference in the playability of the table), shorten up some of the 2 x 4s and start screwing everything into place. Being Canada Day, there will then be some celebratory beer.

Off to find the circular saw….