Award Season is Here!

Navigating the bureaucratic jungle at work can be nothing short of awful. But you know what makes it better? Going home, checking out WordPress, and finding out your blog has been nominated for two awards! Mix that with a new album full of songs you love, and you’ve got yourself a good week!

Big thanks to The Sunday Bottles for nominating me for a Kreativ Blogger Award and to A Serene Scribe for putting my work forward for a Versatile Blogger Award! I so appreciate both of you for not only taking the time to read my ramblings, but to like them enough to give me such an honour. You two kick some serious ass in my book (and have follow-up nominations below)!

Versatile Blogger Award

Kreativ Blogger Award

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A Town by Any Other Name…

Have you ever said a word one too many times in a row, and it totally lost all meaning? Meaning. Meeening. MeNING. Miiiinuuunggg. Ugh.

It’s jarring when that happens because you sort of lose the run of yourself for a second. The familiar word becomes foreign, your tongue seems to have a mind of its own, and your brain suddenly switches to a language you don’t know. You know what I mean?

It’s also unnerving when you really think about a word you’ve mindlessly repeated for years. For instance, have you every really thought about the name of the place you grew up? I mean really thought about it? On the one hand, the name means so much more than the actual word. But on the other hand the word is really quite meaningless, right? Weird.

I’m pondering this random topic because of a great post I recently stumbled on that takes Saskatchewan town names and turns them into a story. That doesn’t really make much sense without some context, so you should probably take a few minutes to read Shanomi’s “A Prairie Thing” post for yourself before I continue…

Okay, now that you’ve done the assigned homework, I must say that Shanomi’s post has me thinking about my home province of Alberta in a totally different way. While some of the town names I grew up around have always sounded ridiculous (Lacombe, for example, never fails to bring to mind a French hairdresser’s tools), her post really made me think about all the towns I’m most familiar with. So, in the spirit of Shanomi’s post, allow me to introduce a few of Alberta’s unique places.

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Only in Vegas: Not What the Doctor Ordered

Riddle me this: where can someone tipping the scales at 350 lbs (or more) eat for free in Vegas? Why, at the Heart Attack Grill of course! But before you order that free meal, you’ll have to prove you’re worthy by getting on the cattle scale outside the restaurant.

Yep, you read that correctly. And it gets better. Continue reading

Only in Vegas: Paying to Cheat Death

Unless the building was on fire, it’s highly unlikely that you would ever willfully fling yourself off a skyscraper. That choice would be even more improbable if you were told you had to pay for the pleasure of such a ridiculous act. But none of that holds true in Las Vegas, where vacationers eagerly pay the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower a pretty penny to strap themselves in to some of the most outlandish rides ever created.

With only four rides to choose from, at first glance you might think that’s pretty weak by Vegas standards. But once you figure out how mind-blowing each of these over-the-top attractions is, you’ll quickly realize the error of your first impression. Here’s a breakdown of the ways you can seek some serious thrills at the top of Stratosphere: Continue reading

Only in Vegas: A Quirky Series

Since the first time I spotted the Strip from the window of an airplane, I have been irrationally and inexplicably enamored with all that Sin City has to offer. One of the ways I can gauge the passage of time is by my desire for a quick trip to Vegas…the longer it has been, the stronger the pull.

After an absence of six months or so I start to daydream about splitting two aces at a blackjack table in Bill’s Gambling Hall, hunting for bargains at the Fashion Show Mall, and sipping a Spanish Trampoline at the Mirage’s Rhumbar. I know it sounds a little crazy, but everyone has their happy place and Vegas happens to be one of mine. Even my love for Vegas has boundaries though, and I’m convinced that spending any longer than three days at a stretch on the Strip is a leading cause of insanity. All good things in moderation, right? Continue reading

Sounds of the Season

Every season has its own sounds that let you know what time of year is on the way. Crunching leaves underfoot are a good indication that fall is underway. Chirping birds and lawnmowers loudly announcing their presence on a Saturday morning mean that spring has most definitely sprung. And you know Old Man Winter is going to rear his ugly head again when you start hearing windshields being scraped in the pre-dawn weekday hours.

When it comes to summer, there are a ton of sounds that you could associate with what is arguably the best time of year. But for me, nothing more definitively signals the return of summer than the Ice Cream Truck (let’s call it the ICT because we can, okay?).

I never really feel like the season is actually going to change until I hear the ICT’s much-too-catchy song in the distance…which happened today!! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to chase the truck down for an icy treat, but I did get a photo to prove to myself that he wasn’t a figment of my imagination. Here’s the photographic evidence:

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Longing for May

I’m going to go out on a limb and start this post off with a blanket statement: everyone loves civic holidays. People who get the day off with full pay know there’s nothing better than making money while you sleep in. And for those who are employed in hourly positions, getting paid time and a half (or more) to do what you would normally do is always a good thing. Even the self-employed benefit from an easy commute to work and long weekend deals at bars. See? It’s a win-win-win!

In Canada, the most longed-for and anticipated of all civic holidays is undoubtably the long weekend in May. Getting New Years Day off is a nice bonus, and the August long weekend is guaranteed to be hot, but nothing beats May’s Victoria Day holiday because it’s the unofficial start of summer…or at least full-fledged spring.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Smelly Hippies Produce the Best Research

Note: this post contains nerdy academic content pertaining to quantitative and qualitative research methods (aka the quant/qual debate). Since YouTube has a video for everything, here’s a primer on the subject for those of you who think I just typed the same word twice:

Okay. Now that we’re all on the same page, I should probably tell you that (according to this video) I’m one of those smelly hippy types. Anyone that knows me in the real world has had to suffer through at least one of my rants about statistics. It’s actually a little surprising that I haven’t gone off about the subject on this blog yet….until now, that is. Continue reading

Stormtroopers Gone Wild

It’s hard to tell what will or won’t go viral, isn’t it? While one “cute kitten unravelling toilet paper” video gets millions of hits on YouTube, others that are nearly identical fail to attract a viewer count in the double digits.

I think any video that has a Stormtrooper doing the limbo with a lightsaber can’t help but go viral. The University of Lethbridge students who created it deserve every minute of Internet fame they get…plus an A+ from their professor! Check it out for yourself and see if you agree: