Can8ianben's Blog

This is a blog about me. I'm sure it will at some point talk about the things that I love... that being, my wife Meredith, family, friends, EMU, the Jays and baseball, the Maple Leafs, music, art, TV, biking, and whatever else is going on in my mind.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BikeMovement Trailer...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quote of the day...

"Hockey has never been perceived as all that sexy. Outside Canada, which has always known better, the sport has had a challenging time attracting television audiences and establishing itself as cool."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Oh, Canada?

I found this article while stumbling around the internet today, I thought it was wonderfully written, espeically as a Canadian living abroad :)

Canadians are not, by and large, patriotic people, but if there's one thing I've noticed from my years overseas, it's how our national pride swells whenever we leave. Yes, there's nothing quite like leaving Canada to make you feel Canadian.

Approximately 2.5 million Canadians currently live or work abroad. Although less than 10,000 of them bother to register with their local embassies, you can tell just by talking to them that their homeland is in their hearts.

They suddenly care deeply about curling or Senate reform. They like to instruct foreigners on how to react if they see a bear in the wild, and will go on at length about how their eyelashes and shoelaces freeze in the winter (never mind the ubiquitous story about the kid who licked the icy fence/pole/door knob). They tend to reminisce with their compatriots about the Degrassi shows, Trudeaumania and Timbits.

As Canadians, we boast about every single talent ever to come out of our country, and gleefully inform people that we invented basketball, telephones and the zipper (incidentally, we also invented garbage bags, lawn sprinklers and newsprint, not to mention Trivial Pursuit). We are vigilant about spelling with the letter 'u' and will tell people about how U.S. film crews throw trash on our streets to make our cities look more American. We're enthusiastic about multiculturalism, hockey, our low crime rates and free healthcare. And with good reason. From 1994 - 2000, Canada was ranked as the best country in the world in which to live seven times in a row by the United Nations Human Development Index (the 2005 report put Canada in 5th place).

Yes, we're proud. Proud of our politeness, humility and most of all, we're proud that people don't hate us.

"I have seen Americans verbally accosted over their government's policies and I have seen the English run down about their unruly behaviour in holiday resorts. I have pretty much heard or seen negative comments about most nationalities, be they tourists or immigrants, but I have never heard anything negative about Canada," reflects Wyatt Stephens, a 38-year-old from Port Hope, Ontario, who has lived in Düsseldorf Germany since 1998.

This positive international perception of Canada was confirmed by the 2005 Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index, which ranks countries based on their global reputation and image in areas such as governance, culture, and people. The report places Canada as the world's second-favourite nation, behind only Australia.

Maybe that explains why some Americans will go so far as to assume Canadian identities when travelling abroad.

"There's the old joke, 'If you're going to travel, throw a Canadian flag on your backpack.' There seems to be that respect for a first-world country that actually acts in a first-world manner," says Moray Horne, a Saskatchewanian now studying law in Washington, D.C.

Mark Budzanowski experienced that first-hand earlier this year, when the Canadian aid worker was kidnapped by gunmen in Palestine, who thought he was American. His captors' treatment of him apparently improved when they discovered he was Canadian. "We love Canada," they said. One of guards proceeded to ask Budzanowski to say hi to Canada for him.

Of course, it's also possible that some people don't hate us simply because they know so little about us. I have found that many of the people I've met while wandering through Asia greet the news that I'm Canadian with an expressionless "oh."

Cullum McConnell, a 23-year-old Ottawa native teaching English in Taiwan, says that when he tells locals that he's Canadian, they'll smile and offer that Canada is "very great" or "beautiful."

"I don't think they actually know much about Canada, but they do have a positive attitude towards the country," he says.

I remember when I used to teach in Japan how easy it was to amaze my high school students with simple facts like that Canada had six time zones and that Vancouver was closer to Tokyo than it was to Halifax. They were dumbfounded when I told them that 26 Japans could fit inside Canada but that their population was four times the size of ours. "How could a country be so big and empty?" wondered the children of the nation that's perfected the art of miniature living.

I was surprised one day when a Japanese co-worker corrected my claim that Canada was the second-biggest country in the world. No, she told me, Canada is the largest and Russia is second. Oddly enough, she showed me the Japanese textbook to prove it. Was Japan playing us up or were we playing ourselves down?

My husband once had a similar experience. Some years back he was working as a biologist in a remote reserve in Madagascar studying the elusive collared brown lemur. With his field work done, he went to the nearby village of St. Luce to see if he could find a ride out. As he waited, an old man struck up a conversation with him – in French, putting my husband in that awkward position for Canadians abroad of having to admit that we're not all bilingual. But high school French teachers take solace, something does come back.

The old lobster fisherman was happy to meet a Canadian and proceeded to tell my husband all he knew about our land, including the importance of fur trapping to our economy. My husband tried to tell him otherwise but the man knew what he was talking about and pulled out a carefully-wrapped packet with his evidence: a well-used pocket-sized world encyclopaedia from the late 1800s.

Now, a bit of advice for when you make trips abroad. When bringing gifts for overseas host, leave the maple syrup at home. It's far too heavy and if the country you're going to doesn't have pancakes or snow cones, it's a total loss; they have no idea what to do with it. And honestly, unless you've been indoctrinated since childhood to believe that maple syrup is exquisite, it's just another sweet thing. And guaranteed, they've got their own really great sweet thing.

So on this auspicious occasion of Canada's 139th birthday, I would like to wish a Happy Canada Day to our legion of flag bearers abroad. May you represent Canada well and remember to pack up your patriotism when you come home.

Next Harrisonburg Alleycat...

Holy bike shorts batman!

I am proud to announce that the next alleycat will be Saturday, Feb 3rd at 7 pm. Meet at Court Square. Since it is superbowl weekend it will be superhero themed, so make sure to be wearing your capes, tights and masks (are they really illegal in VA?) It is being organized by long time hburg bike super hero Thomas Jenkins and up-and-coming bike hero Jack Leetum. I'm sure you can also expect a super hero worthy course, some super hero prizes, a super hero party to follow and super hero good time.

Helmets, lights, pens, super hero costumes and $2 entry are all encouraged.

It will be followed Sunday morning by the annual Super Bowl Ride, watch here for details.

Hope to see you out there,


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Broadcasting Basketball

Adding to my list of life accomplishments, this weekend I was able to do play by play for EMU's internet broadcast of the men's basketball game against Hampton-Sydney. I was joined by Jason Good and I gotta say, while I was nervous heading into the game, I came away from it really enjoying myself.

If you want to hear our incredible call, check out this link and scroll down to the game on January 7th at 3:00pm.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Edmonton Oilers Fans sing O Canada

This video gives me chills... I remember watching this game and getting goosebumps, I've never been as homesick as when this was on TV.

Merry Christmas, Uncle Ben.

It's been very long since my last post. I have no idea how to catch eveyone up other than to say I had a great christmas at home and in Ontario. Probably a highlight was finally getting to see Aiden and Luther Wood, the amazingly cool twin sons of our good friends, Dustin and Julia. It was especially cool to be present for their playdate with Elsie Moore, who is just a day older and just as cute (although she lacks a twin and has more agression than the two boys). Pictures follow of all three babies. Thanks to their parents for showing them all off (for a while we were unsure if the twins were real or just made up because we had not met them until now :).