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Showing posts from September, 2009

Another Downhere freebie!

The band Downhere, which last year gave away their albumWide Eyed and Mystified entirely for free on the Internet to promote their new album Ending is Beginning, is back in the giveaway business.

If you pre-order the band's new Christmas album, How Many Kings, you get to choose an immediate download of either Thunder After Lightning, Wide Eyed and Mystified, or the acoustic Wide Eyed and Simplified (which was my option, because the only thing better than Downhere is Downhere unplugged).

It's basically buy one album, get one free! You can't lose!

Sunday afternoon humor!

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John Cena vs. Kurt Angle - No Mercy 2003

For no particular reason, I grabbed No Mercy 2003 tonight and watched the John Cena vs. Kurt Angle match.

Random observations:

Cena was probably better in the ring in some ways in 2003 than he is today. Certainly, he had a much bigger moveset and did all kinds of stuff he doesn't do today (like the legdrop off the top rope). Yes, yes, he was in the ring with Kurt Angle at Angle's peak, but still ... nothing is stopping Cena from pulling out the same moveset today.

Holy cow, was he ever a great heel personality. I'd forgotten how much fun he was as a heel. Makes me realize how milquetoast he is today.

Hysterical to hear the men in the crowd chanting "Let's go Cena!" at the heel Cena while the women and kids chanted "Let's go Angle!" and only a couple of years later, the men would be chanting for Cena's opponents after Cena became the babyface.

When Angle locks on the ankle lock at the end of the match, the crowd STANDS AND APPLAUDS in ne…

Mike's Mini Music Review - Hawk Nelson - Live Life Loud

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It's been a prettyincredible late summer/fall of new album releases. The most recent addition to my music addiction is Hawk Nelson's Live Life Loud. In two words: Really fun.

The title track reminds me of the B52s crossed with Toni Basil's Mickey, and is one of those consummate summer songs that requires the listener to play it very loud in the car with the windows down. Never Enough grinds along with a fun groove. Eggshells bops along with another fun groove. The Meaning of Life has a bit of a retro feel to it, although I'll be darned to figure out which musical era (vaguely 60s with a mix of 80s?). Alive continues the trend of the first half of the album - another solid song.

Not every song is a winner - Ode to Stanley is quirky and full of Canadian content, but it's nothing special. And while Tis So Sweet is a classic hymn, it just feels so utterly out of place on a poppy-punk rock record.

If you want to have a listen, Live Life Loud has been streaming on the N…

Survivor Samoa - Episode 2

Apparently, CBS has dispatched with the pre-show psychological screenings. I've never seen a bigger collection of nutbars in my life.

We have Evil Russell, who not only controls the minds of his tribe, but manages to conjure up hidden immunity idols out of nowhere. Crazy Ben goes psycho and gets kicked out of challenges, and then there's Yasmin, who thought that it would make good strategic sense in a social game to go into the opposing camp and lecture them on how they suck.

Then there's poor Chef Mike, whose goose got cooked when his ticker tuckered and he had to be medivac'd from the game.

Egads. I can't wait for next week.

The Ultimate Fighter Episode 2 - Timber me Shivers

So, Rampage Jackson is now zero and two for TUF 10. Wes Shivers was so gassed in that second round his offense consisted of breathing heavily and trying knock James out with the breeze. Didn't work. Not that James looked particularly impressive, as he was unable to finish a guy so tired he didn't have the energy to even defend himself. Blegh.

Next week: Kimbo fights. And I predict Rampage's team goes 0-3.

That loud explosion you just heard was Dana White reading this

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson announced tonight on his website that he's quitting UFC.

Of course, this is Rampage. He could change his mind tomorrow.

Hawk Nelson - Live Life Loud

Hell's Kitchen Season 2 continued

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I've managed to wind my way to the end of Hell's Kitchen Season 2. As I had indicated in my original post, it was obvious from the get-go that Heather was going to win the entire thing.

But certainly that opinion is clouded by the fact that, you know, Heather won. If I hadn't known that going in, it's possible I would have thought near the end that she would have been bounced.

On the other hand, there were really no other serious contenders. Keith ("K-Grease") was, fundamentally, a clown, not a chef. And his cooking ability was, in this scribe's humble opinion, constantly overshadowed by his goofy faces and "K-Grease" persona. There's no way Ramsay would have picked him, because regardless of his talent, his personality didn't fit Ramsay's idea of what makes a successful chef.

How Virginia managed to survive all the way to the final two - despite being put up for nomination almost every second episode - is one of the great mysteries …

Sunday afternoon humor

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see more Epic Fails

New BarlowGirl! Beautiful Ending

New Casting Crowns! Until the Whole World Hears

A red sky dawns in Edmonton

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Skillet - Hero - music video

A shocking rediscovery

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A few years ago, I had a gold crown put in next to a brand-new silver filling on the back two teeth on the right side of my mouth. The combination of two different, shiny new metals side by side resulted in me getting shocked every time I swallowed. The saliva completed the circuit, and for a few days, I was a human battery. It was very annoying. (The shock effect amazed my dentist - he'd heard about it, but never seen one in person.)

The shocks went away after a few days as the metals were no longer as shiny and smooth, and other than writing a Sun column about it at the time, I never thought much about it again.

Until today. See, that filling broke a few weeks ago and I got it replaced yesterday. Now I'm getting shocked again every time any sort of liquid - saliva, coffee, water - passes through the filling and the crown. Oh joy.

If anyone needs their BlackBerry charged, however, come see me. I can hook you up.

Survivor Samoa - Episode 1

Russell may be the best reality show villain in history. How evil do you have to be to sabotage your own team in order to control their emotional responses?

"Astounding" would be the word

'Astoundingly massive' cash sitting idle: bank
Canadian households are sitting on an "astoundingly massive" mountain of cash of between $635 billion and $1 trillion, economists at Scotia Capital indicate.

Determining the amount of cash on the sidelines is crucial in determining how much further equity markets have to rally, economists Derek Holt and Karen Cordes say in a note to clients.

Further, it could give policy-makers cause for concern, in that the cash may be redeployed too quickly and lead to asset bubbles and, possibly, economy-wide inflation.
Wait ... so all these years, the problem was Canadians weren't saving enough and didn't have enough cash available for emergencies. Now we apparently have too much cash lying around ... ?

Yay! Downhere is coming back!

Just a few months after being the supporting act for Building 429, Downhere returns to Edmonton on October 18 to headline their own concert!

Now if only Skillet would make their way to Edmonton ...

The Ultimate Fighter - Episode 1

Quinton Jackson may be the worst coach in the history of MMA. I look forward to Rashad's team winning every fight this season.

Exploring Edmonton’s new west end bike path

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I was driving down Anthony Henday a few weeks ago and noticed that a bike path had been paved up on the side of a hill along the east side of the highway. Having purchased a new bike this summer and intent on biking as much as I can these days, I set out to find the entrance to this new trail, which, as it turns out, is located in Cameron Heights, next to the entrance to the water treatment plant.

The bike path winds its way down the east side of Anthony Henday right to the (as far as I know) unnamed new bridge that crosses the North Saskatchewan River. Underneath the bridge is a pedestrian-bike mini-bridge that spans the river.

At the moment, you can cross the bridge, but there’s really nowhere to go on the south side because the city is still paving the path on the other side.

So I’m not really sure where it goes, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Where to watch UFC 103 in Edmonton and Calgary

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There's another UFC PPV this weeknd, and here's your usual list of bars carrying the show.

Note for posterity the tiny list of bars carrying the boxing show that's on around the same time. There's six bars in all of Alberta showing the boxing PPV, and close to 300 showing the UFC PPV.

We've moved!

If for some reason you've found this page, I've relocated The Newsroom to another server. Click to go to the new page: http://www.the-newsroom.com

Take two spoonfuls of sugar and call me in the morning

Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why.
It's not that the old meds are getting weaker, drug developers say. It's as if the placebo effect is somehow getting stronger.

The fact that an increasing number of medications are unable to beat sugar pills has thrown the industry into crisis. The stakes could hardly be higher. In today's economy, the fate of a long-established company can hang on the outcome of a handful of tests.
Wired Magazine writes its usual fascinating look at something unusual, this time, it's drug trials. Worth a read.

Insert cooking pun headline here

I was very pleased today to see my former Edmonton Sun colleague Sally Johnston - a newspaper writer turned chef - get a write up in the Edmonton Journal, and even more pleased to see Sally succeeding in her new career.

Hells Kitchen Season 2

I’ve been watching the old seasons of Hell’s Kitchen. I’m only 2 episodes into Season 2, and it’s so patently obvious that Heather wins the entire thing. (Um, spoiler alert!)

That’s opposed to Season 1, where Michael’s edit left you thinking he’d probably go far, but
But right off the bat, it’s apparent that Heather is the only person on the entire show who has any idea how a restaurant kitchen works, how to behave in such an environment, and generally knows how to cook.

Maybe during the course of the season she gets yelled at a lot by Chef Ramsay (actually, that’s pretty much a guarantee), but from the get-go, there were no other options for a winner.

More Season 2 thoughts over the coming weeks as I progress through the shows.

Jeff Hardy arrested for drugs, steroids

OK, who is REALLY surprised by this news?

EDIT: Here's another report.

Warning! This blog may vanish for a while

I'm seriously considering doing a server change soon, so if the blog vanishes for several days, that would explain why.

Blogger brings the jump break to blogging

So Blogger has decided that they're going to implement the jump break to blogging.

It's a good idea. I guess.

Except I just tried it in this post, and it failed. It works in the actual Blogger blogs on a blogspot domain, but apparently not on other domains.

Mike’s Mini Music Review – Thousand Foot Krutch – Welcome to the Masquerade

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It’s been a banner couple of weeks for stellar album releases. Skillet blew me away with Awake, and now Thousand Foot Krutch has come out with … well, it’s not the best Christian rock album of the year (Skillet wrapped that one up two weeks ago), but Welcome to the Masquerade is really, really, really, really good.

I hesitate slightly to call it “excellent” – although it borders on that – because for such a fantastic album, Masquerade has a few flaws that keep it from being one of those five-star, two-thumbs up records.

First, though, the positives: many of the songs are tremendous. I love the title track, as well as Fire It Up, Bring Me To Life, and Forward Motion. There’s a good mix of traditional-style TFK rock-rap-nu metal songs, and some more pop-rock oriented songs. The ballad Looking Away blew me away because it didn’t sound like TFK at all. Heck, when I first heard it, I thought it was a band like FM Static. (Well, at least that makes sense.) Overall, the highs of this album a…

Sneak peak at The Ultimate Fighter 10 - Heavyweights

Sunday afternoon humour

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Happy fifth birthday to Shine FM!

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Edmonton’s Christian radio station, Shine FM, turns five years old this weekend. I remember how excited I was when the station first came on the air, because it was the first time in Canada I’d ever heard a Top-40 style Christian music station, and it opened my eyes to all kinds of new bands and artists – Starfield, Casting Crowns, Downhere, Pillar, Skillet, Drentch, Big Dismal, FM Static, Switchfoot, Building 429, Hawk Nelson, Thousand Foot Krutch and dozens more. In the first year Shine was on the air, I think I spent more money on music than I did in the previous 10 years. It was, quite literally, the only radio station I listened to. I had been waiting my whole life for a Christian pop-rock station, and Shine was a Godsend.Over the years, Shine’s music mix has shifted, and it has become more of an adult contemporary station than a Top 40 station, and I admit that, as a result, I haven’t listened to it as much in the last couple of years as I had when it first came on the air. Its…

The Ultimate (Fighting Championship) good news-bad news situation

Former UFC champ Rampage Jackson in Vancouver, set to star in new A-Team movie as BA Baracus
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship world light heavyweight champion Quinton (Rampage) Jackson is in Vancouver to star as BA Baracus in an upcoming movie version of The A-Team.

Jackson has been removed from the UFC 107 card where he was set to face Sugar Rashad Evans in an Ultimate Fighter finale showdown, so he can appear in the film. He was spotted on Robson Street Friday afternoon, signing autographs for fans.
The good news is that this could make Rampage a mainstream star. The bad news is it screws over the UFC 107 card big time, and turns the new Ultimate Fighter season building up that fight into something more of an anticlimax.

How big is Skillet's new album?

I know, I know ... I've been raving about Skillet's new album, Awake, for an entire week now. But it's really good! And now, it's really big!

How big?

It's the number two selling album on Billboard this week.

That's very cool.

Skillet's new video - Monster

Midweek random thoughts

Of course, because it’s September and the kids are back in school, Edmonton is now being hit with the hottest weather of the entire summer. Just in time for fall. Eh, I’m hardly complaining.It’s been fun to bike to work in this weather. Slightly less fun to bike home from work – I tend to arrive home a dripping wet mess after 60 minutes cycling uphill home.Wipeout is the best show on TV.I’ve been watching Hell’s Kitchen Season 1 on YouTube. It’s interesting to see Gordon Ramsay dialled up to only 85 instead of 110 and a somewhat more human Ramsay in this series than in the later versions. I’m still amazed that every freaking chef on this show smokes!Skillet’s new album is still awesome.