Interview: Alex Bilodeau and Jenn Heil

2010-03-25 bilodeau and heil - 2

The Freestyle Skiing Nationals are out at COP this weekend.

Some of Canada’s friskiest skiers will be hitting the course chomping on moguls, flipping in the aerials and carving it up.

Zacharie and I had the chance to relive the Olympics when we visited with gold medallist Alex Bilodeau and silver medallist Jenn Heil.

Here’s my interview with Jenn Heil and Alex Bilodeau about what it’s like going back on circuit after the Olympics are over, how Alex feels about being first to win gold and what they did with the money they won for achieving Olympic greatness.

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How To Get A Letter From The Queen For A 60th Wedding Anniversary

2010-03-20 Toronto - 31

March 17, 1945. That was the date my grandparents were married. Do the math and you see this week they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

An impressive accomplishment worthy of a congratulatory letter from The Queen, don’t you think?

My uncle did, so he did a little digging and found out it’s pretty darn easy to get a congratualatory letter from The Governor General’s Office and HRH The Queen of England.

Here’s how yo do it:

Fill out a form at the Governor General’s website.

That’s it.

The GG will send a letter out easily, HRH limits it to people celebrating 100th birthdays or more and being married 60 years or more (and you’ll need a certificate of proof).

You can also get a congratulatory letter or certificate from the Prime Minister.

Catholics can apply through their local diocese to receive a special blessing from The Pope.

You don’t have to wait for a major anniversary to get something cool from The President of The United States of America. If you invite Barack Obama to your wedding and The First Lady will send a letter of congratulations. (It’s proper wedding etiquette – she HAS to)

Many other heads of state and dignitaries will offer their congratulations as well (celebrities, athletes, mayors..) – you just have to ask.

Yes, it’s a form letter, but in an era of fees and surcharges, most of these letters are free, their accomplishments worthy of notice and the smiles of appreciations from the recipients huge.

Direct Energy Nest

Calgary Weather: What’s A Chinook Arch?

Chinook Arch

Calgary weather is pretty interesting. If you consider unpredictable and unreliable and impossible to forecast to be interesting.

It was sunny and 14 degrees yesterday, it will be -5 and snowing by the weekend. Sure, it’s spring, a season in flux, but it will snow any month of the year in Alberta.

The saving grace of the crazy, unpredictable weather in Calgary is the Chinook Arch. That dark line of cloud to the west against the mountains that means a soothing warm breeze is about to blow in and make everything better.

One of the most striking features of the chinook is the chinook arch, which is a band of stationary stratus clouds caused by air rippling over the mountains due to orographic lifting. To those unfamiliar with the chinook, the chinook arch may look like a threatening storm cloud at times. However, they rarely produce rain or snow. They can also create stunning sunrises and sunsets.

Orographic lift occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain. As the air mass gains altitude it expands and cools adiabatically, which can raise the relative humidity to 100% and create clouds and, under the right conditions, precipitation.

I don’t fully understand it all either. Just know that it’s the Chinook that brings the warm weather (and crazy sinus headaches to those susceptible to migraines) to make any recent snow basically evaporate in hours.

And in a province that has had snow in every. single. month. of. the. calendar, that’s a good thing.

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Calgary Eats: Tubby Dog

2010-03-12 tubby dog

Tubby Dog
103 – 1022 17 Av SW, Calgary
$22 for a couple small drinks, 2 dogs and some yam chips.

In Vancouver, Japadog has quickly become the chien chaud of choice among the foodies. The exhuberant staff and tangy offerings have impressed everyone from Anthony Bourdain to Ice Cube to Mark Zuckerberg and during the recent 2010 Winter Olympics, the lines for their Burrard Street stand were long (and worth it).

While a terimayo okonomi might be a little out there for the taste buds of Alberta, a suitable alternative for hot dog enthusiasts can be found in Tubby Dog. The old school diner on 17th Ave is covered in classic 50s and 60s art and cartoons and features a pinball machine and a couple of vintage video game machines.

My son loves “Tummy Dog” but not because of on the big messes of franks from the grill, it’s because of the vids. Daddy, however, loves the dogs.

2010-03-12 tubby dogA friend described the menu as: “pick a meal, and then put it on a hot dog.”

Pizza dogs, chili dogs, poutine dogs and more are just illusions of steamed wieners and buns buried in toppings. If you really want to step out, pick up the Cap’n Dog. It’s a classic dog with peanut butter, jam and Cap’n Crunch cereal. No joke.

Sure, it ain’t the haute cuisine of Japadog, but it’s a joint that’s a classic just the same.

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