Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vive la difference

I just got back from renting a movie at Video Difference (hereafter Vid Diff).  Have no fear though, this isn't going to be a boring "what I did today" blogpost, or even worse, a triathletes' "what I trained today" blogpost.

I was looking for the Star Trek reboot movie, the 2009 one, for Son#1 to watch tonight, as requested.  It took a while to find, eventually tracking it down under "Action" on the ground floor whereas all the other Star Trek movies, from whatever generation, were under "SciFi" on the upper floor.  The last time I was there I was looking for Die Hard for my Christmas movie marathon and eventually found it not in "Action" (ground floor), "Archive" (lower floor) with Die-Hards 2-4 but "Greatest Villans" on the top floor.  Needless to say, Villans was the last place I looked.

So here's a plea to Vid Diff.  I love you guys, I really do.  Awesome selection, some really esoteric stuff, always open, plenty of copies and plenty of places to return a movie even though you only have one location.  But despite my love for you please, please, re-order the collection.

I think the time has come to just alphabetise the whole store.  Start with A, say in the top corner of the upper floor, and wend your way through to Z in the basement.  Enough with this division and sub-division and sub-division of the subdivision ("Action/70s", "Action/80s", "Action/90s".......).  

When I finally found Die Hard it was, as discussed, under "Greatest Villians".  On the other side of the Villians' rack, "Seen At The Oxford".  This rack was free-standing on the floor just down from the AFI Greatest 100 rack, the whole lot sandwiched between walls-full of "English Language Drama", "Canadian Drama" (I think), "Independent Drama" (mostly indie Brit-Flicks) and "Foreign Language Drama".  As a side-note I find it somewhat interesting that Made In Dagenham was under Eng Lang Drama and not "Indie Drama", even though the latter would be the first place I would think to look.

I like to think I'm a bit of a cinephile, not scared by cataloging and able to think on my feet but dammit I get lost in there now every time.  Sometimes this is great and leads you to see movies you may not have considered seeing.  Sometimes, like today, if you want to pop in-and-out, well this is getting ridiculous,  What next? "Tarantino/with Uma Thurman" and "Tarantino/without Uma Thurman"?  Perhaps "Liam Neeson/swords" and "Liam Neeson/no swords".  Star Wars could be a sub-genre in the first genre, maybe cross-referenced to SciFi, Family, Staff Picks and AFI Top 100.

So, please consider re-ordering your catalogue in an easy-to-understand format.  You're getting a bit too Rob from High Fidelity ("VD Suggests", not "Comedy" or "Independent Comedy" as you might think) and whilst Rob's OCD-driven, great record recategorisation from High Fidelity ("in the order in which I purchased them"!) is funny in a novel or film, it kinda sucks in the real world!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Danger: Thin Ice.

As Michelle from 'Allo 'Allo said "leesten fairy carefully, I wiil zay zis only wance".

I think it's great there's a speed-skating oval here in Halifax.  It will allow us as a city and a province to promote winter sports and, who knows, maybe even position us to get another high-profile winter event here one day after last winter's Canada Games.  The "if you build it, they will come" attitude.

Furthermore, the oval has really exercised (pardon the pun) something in the people of Halifax and during public-skates there isn't breathing-room on the ice.  Not only on the ice either, Greg Wiezorak has said he finds it difficult to do mile-repeats around the Common now there is so much foot-traffic to-and-from the south-east corner!  Either way, there are way more people now than just Greg getting aerobic exercise around the Common now, and that is a good thing, especially with Nova Scotia's body-image problem.

Just don't expect me to do it.

Now, now.  I know what you're saying and trust me, I've heard it all before. The attitudes range from sheer disbelief to that gentle, kindly "there, there" look you'd give a senile relative or a sick puppy.  I almost expect to get petted on the head.

Yes, I'm sure I already have the mindset for it and yes, I already do the summer equivalent (Clara Hughes anyone?) and yes I know many cyclists do it for winter cross-training and yes I'm sure I'd be good at it, and yes, when I'm wearing that winter running top with the thumb-holes and hood I even look like a speed-skater 

Here's the thing, I don't skate, can't skate, won't skate.  The first two reasons are simple: I'm a Brit, we really don't have ice, or a culture of ice.  Unless it's in a G&T or maybe a Pimms. 

The last, more personal, reason is I honestly don't think my knees could take it.  Yes, I can run a marathon, but as long as my knees are going up-and-down in a sagittal plane, I'm golden.  

Any twisting, any movements away from this plane, or any deep squats for that matter, makes something in my knee pop out of line quite painfully.  There seem to be some of these movements in skating.  As a runner, cyclist and triathlete I am already part masochist, but painfully displacing my patella just so I can say "yey, I'm using the new infrastructure" seems to be a masochistic byte too far. 

These are my own reasons and to be honest, I'd rather not have to get into these personal reasons with every Tom, Dick or Harriet who asks.  So let me put it another way.

I do triathlon.  Do you?  Now I know some of you do too, but perhaps not all of you.  To the latter group I ask, why?  Oftentimes it's the swim: "I'd love to do a triathlon but I can't swim, don't swim, won't swim" (that last usually qualified by "open water").   If I had a pound for every time I'd heard that, I could probably take early retirement somewhere warm.  I don't question your desire not to learn to swim just so you can do a triathlon, nor do I regard you like that harmless, drooling, slightly slow relative with the buck teeth we all keep in the attic somewhere and only bring out for Halloween and Christmas for not wanting to.  Do I think you're missing out on something?  Yes, I really do, but I respect your choice not to swim, not to do triathlon.

So please respect my choice not to skate.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Whatever next?

I often say "I really need to write a blog about that".  Once upon a time I did.  Nowadays I get as far as writing the blog in my head but regrettably (or not, depending on your point of view) oftentimes I don't. Something came across my path just now that exercised me to the point of writing without even thinking about it first on a run, and I've not even been drinking.

I follow UCI_Overlord on Twitter. As I'm sure you know this isn't really Pat McQuack, but a fake Pat McQuaid account which is written, believe it or not, by a bloke from Bridgewater, NS who also writes (or at least edits and contributes to) to which bills itself as Cycling Snark and Commentary.  I enjoy the snark but they also have some well-thought-out and written articles on the history of cycling.  I had the great fortune to run into UCI_Overlord's mum in the shop before Christmas and we had a great chat.  Nice lady, I hope she found Not Pat McQuaid something nice in the cycling line for Christmas.

Anyway, I was just checking out my Twitter and I see this from UCI_Overlord

Huh?  FIA as in Federation Internationale d'Automobile or whatever?  Yup, following the link gives you this....

IOC recognition of motorsport?  Citius in extremis, autem altius et fortius?  I think not.  Shome mishtake shurely.  It's not April Fool's but UCI_Overlord isn't above a little sarcastic silly buggers so there was a good chance I was being taken for the proverbial ride.  So I Googled FIA and when there searched for IOC and got to the same link.  Then I went the other way and Googled IOC, and then searched them for FIA and got this.  Getting the same story both coming and going leaves one with the distinct, and horrid, suspicion that unless UCI_Overlord has got really good at hacking, it's true.

What are the Olympics coming to?  Archery and shooting were always a bit of a stretch, but seeing as the original Olympic sports were all military disciplines, to a greater or lesser degree, then Archery was pretty much grandfathered in.  Synchronized Swimming?  I once tried to hold my breath that long and nearly passed out and so whilst it would normally fail on the subjectivity score (giving out medals based on "artistic merit" is surely somewhat flawed) I'm willing to cut them some slack.  Golf was the nail in the coffin; a good walk spoiled now has Olympic status.  Of course between the two there was letting professionals into the Olympics which might have increased the spectacle but at the expense of a little bit of the Olympics' soul.   

So now motorsport,  Lewis Hamilton as the Olympic Gold Medal Winner in F1, but will there be a ladies; division?  The only possible explanation is that the Olympics goes where the money is (and where the TV is right; this we know from experience).  Golf, motorsport.  What next?  La belle said poker.  You saw it here first.