Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bowling like you ain't seen before

The game is played on the same lanes as regular "tenpin" bowling, but fundamental differences separate the two variations. First of all, you get three balls per frame, rather than two. Second, the balls fit in the palm of your hand and only weigh up to two pounds, seven ounces. The pins are almost 16 inches tall and are shaped like cylinders. Third, and most interesting, pins knocked down that remain on the lane are in play as "wood". This often makes for easier - and sometimes more frustrating - shots.
One of my coworkers has a cute kid. One of those smart kids who cracks up even cynical jerk adults like me, y'know? Kid turned five last week. So coworker suggested we all go out bowling with him. A bunch of grownups hanging out at a five-year-old's birthday party on a Saturday night? Yeah, dawg! So, me 'n 'manda and most of the newsroom headed out to The Village on Bayers Road to the Bowlarama. But this was not like any bowling alley I'd ever seen.

You've bowled ten-pin, right? Big heavy balls (no laughing) with finger-holes, ten big-ass pins, two shots. And five-pin -- smaller balls (hey!) without holes, five pins attached by strings. Well, out here, and apparently in parts of western New England, they have something freaky called Candlepin Bowling.

Awkwardone's Tribute to Candlepin Bowling sums it up:

The game is played on the same lanes as regular "tenpin" bowling, but fundamental differences separate the two variations. First of all, you get three balls per frame, rather than two. Second, the balls fit in the palm of your hand and only weigh up to two pounds, seven ounces. The pins are almost 16 inches tall and are shaped like cylinders. Third, and most interesting, pins knocked down that remain on the lane are in play as "wood". This often makes for easier - and sometimes more frustrating - shots.


Wikipedia has information. There's even an International Candlepin Bowling Association (encompassing New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire).

It's a lot tougher to play than ten-pin. It felt a little little like the baseball vs. milk bottle game at the CNE, in that the pins don't bounce around the way you wish they would. The only way I could score consistently was to whip the ball down the gutter and let it ricochet back into the pins, taking out perhaps one pin -- and now that I read more about the rules, I find that's not even allowed.

Outscored by a five-year-old. Kids these days.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pictures, performance, passion, pinhead

I've posted some new photos over in the flickr section. We had a neat batch of snow squalls move through town yesterday afternoon, and I had a great view from my perch in the Young Tower. The snow activity was patchy -- I'd see blue sky in my part of the city, while the south end was getting white-out conditions. Or there'd be snow near me, and blue sky across the harbour in Dartmouth. It seemed to change every five minutes or so.

Went out to a rock and roll show Saturday with my sweetheart for the first time since moving here. We took in Wide Mouth Mason at The Attic. Young-looking trio from Saskatchewan who had a coupla hits in the late 1990s during the post-grunge era. I'm not good at pegging bands by style, but I'd call this one Spin Doctors meets Colin James. Doors opened at 11 ... we showed up after 12 ... band started around 1:15 ... rocked 'til about 2:30 -- that's ayem. Good show! Kudos to Amanda for having good taste in music.

After years of no-book-readin', I've finished a second book. Woo-woo! I bought a bunch of books from Blowfish.com (possibly not a link you should be opening at work) some years ago, and decided to pull one off the shelf and take it for some bus reading. Patricia Anderson's Passion Lost: Public Sex, Private Desire in the Twentieth Century profiles North America's relationship with the culture of sex over the past hundred-or-so years. It's something of a history lesson with a philosophical thread. If you've ever wondered how our culture got from Victorian ideals, to the so-called "sexual revolution", on to the 90s environment of explicitness and compulsive confession, to wherever-we-are-now, it's a decent, well-researched item.

It gave me some insight into that urgent desire so many people have for "something more" and how, regardless of how it's manifested itself over the decades, the quest for the elusive thing called passion has been a constant. Main lesson learned: private passion has been largely hijacked by the public obsession with sex, and in order for couples to be able to enjoy and explore our own erotic lives with joy and freedom, there may need to be a restoration of the privacy afforded in times that we now look upon as more "suppressive" -- we like to think that the old-time ways were free of filth, but in reality, it was there... only people were able to carve out their own private niche of passion, because the public realm just didn't permit that kind of thing. Sort of like how it'd be hard to enjoy your own dinner in a supermarket, I guess... I dunno, still mulling over the whole thing. Analogies aren't coming to me quite yet. Anyway, good read.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Weed to kiddies: bad; Grass to kitties: good

After my cat got addicted to drinking water from the bathtub faucet at my old apartment, I did some research and bought a Drinkwell Cat Fountain from PetSmart. It didn't totally kill her tub-thumping habit, but she liked it just fine.

Well, now the folks who invented the Drinkwell have a new addition. Michael reports that Strange New Products reports that the fountain now comes with an "Aqua Garden" for cats: "It grows a blend of wheat, oats, barley and rye that cats supposedly love to eat. The grass is said to relieve indigestion, control hairballs and protects your houseplants from Fluffy's desire to graze."

My Drinkwell has been left in the closet since the move -- I need new filters for it. Maybe they sell these little growy things separately. Perhaps it'll curb the appearance of cat-puke gobs on the carpet. See, we're not sure who's doing the barfing. My cat (Kitty) has been eating the high-fat, delicious prescription food of Amanda's cat (Kitty). In turn, Kitty has also been eating Kitty's bland weight-loss prescription cat food. So we can't be sure if my cat is enturbulating and regurgitating her own food, or if her cat is eating my cat's food and returning it, half-digested, to the floor in another room. Anyway, if chomping on cat-grass will help, yippee.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Blinky, Pinky, Clyde and very Inky



Michael reminded me that I once wanted a Pac-Man tattoo. Well, kinda. I've never been gung-ho for a tattoo. It was hip around the turn of the century, along with tongue piercing and Krispy Kreme donuts.

When I was considering getting one, I considered getting something to do with Star Wars. Naw, too geeky, even for me.

Was kinda keen on the idea of a Space Invaders tattoo, with a stack of the little invader guys on my leg or something. Various inked folk told me the details would be too tiny, and it'd look like a series of squashed bugs.

Eventually thought Pac-Man would be a nice iconic image that would sum up the video game generation of which I was a part. But this guy, as seen via the link MH forwarded me from BoingBoing, went the full Big-Ass route.


Shubenacadie Mactaquac. Eh?

Got this email from my little sister in Stratford, Ontario:

I am thinking of you as our local newscasters keep bungling their attempts to report your local prognosticator's name. The Stratford station was having difficulty with it this morning, until a displaced Nova Scotian called in to set them straight. The last guy, from the Wingham station, didn't even attempt it..."...and in Nova Scotia, ......(pause) ..... the groundhog there said...."

That'd be Shubenacadie Sam. SHOO-buh-NACK-uh-dee. One of many tricky names around these parts.

I got through most of the Federal Election coverage without trip-ups, but on my final run through the Atlantic Canada ridings, I messed up the one I'd actually practised saying beforehand. The New Brunswick riding of Tobique-Mactaquac. I think it's supposed to be "TOE-bick MACK-tuh-QUACK." I ended up saying "toe-BEEK MACK-attack." Must've been hungry for a burger. Got thoroughly razzed for that one.

Also got hung on Lingan. I figured it was LING-uhn. Or perhaps LIN-gun. Turns out it was lin-GANN.

It's tricky 'cuz there's a lot of names that look like they should be pronounced in French. Or are they said the English way? Or is it some bastard deviation from both? Musquodoboit, for instance. Would you guess that it was MUSS-kuh-DAW-bit?

For more on Maritime Canadian English, see Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Okay, now you can laugh



When I was considering moving out here to Halifax, people warned me about the weather. It hasn't been too bad so far. Interesting, but not bad. Well, today's bad. CBC reports that "a snowstorm has shut down most of Nova Scotia." Yeah, this is snow. A nor'easter. Malls are closed, government offices are closed (paid day off for manda), buses are off the roads, and I don't even see any cabs. Luckily, one of the reporters drives a big-ass four-wheel-drive truck. She'll be swinging by any minute now. This is a reason to run the Storm Centre, people!
PS -- Happy birthday, mom!