36 hour Dodgeball Game

January 19, 2011

Dodgeball has become something of an obsession for me.

Last weekend, along with 19 friends, I set a new Guinness World Record for Longest Dodgeball Game Ever. We played 36h and 45 minutes without sleep, and raised about $6200 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

dodgeball-36-hr-guinness-world-record

The players, mostly photographed by Ryan Tacay.

Interesting things I observed about playing dodgeball for 36 continuous hours (10pm Friday January 7 to 11am Sunday January 9):

1.
Our energy really came and went in spurts. For me this was tied quite noticeably to how much sunlight was coming in the windows and whether or not any of my friends happened to be watching the game at any given moment. Late lonely nights were the worst; bright sunny mornings were the best.

2.
I only slept two 7-hour shifts the next day, and then I felt pretty much back to normal, about as sore as I’d be after a standard one-day tournament. This was unbelievable since at 4am Sunday morning I seriously felt like the walking dead. I was so exhausted and sore I could barely stand up. By 9am Sunday morning, though, on the home stretch, I was vibrating with energy and leaping all over the court like a total maniac. Go figure.

3.
Changing socks feels really really good when you play sports for hours and hours on end. We pretty much coated our feet in baby powder every couple of hours. There were little foot-silhouettes in sprinkled patches of baby powder all along the sidelines of the court.

4.
Food becomes really really unappealing when you play sports for hours and hours on end. I was hungry but totally turned off by the idea of eating, so I barely ate anything: mostly just cereal with almond milk, a couple of granola bars, and some fruit smoothies.

5.
I fully planned to do an hour-by-hour liveblog of the event, but my laptop was used to livestream the game on the internet so I had nothing to type on, and plus I discovered that I totally did not care at all. Even if I’d had the technological means, I discovered that once we started, documenting the experience became the least interesting part of the experience for me.

I am very grateful that there were skilled photographers in attendance who took awesome shots. All the action shots in this post are by the extremely talented Michelle Yee, who was present on all three days and probably stayed around for a total of at least 12 hours, something of a marathon in and of itself.

6.
I played for so long the tips of the fingers on my throwing hand BLISTERED; I didn’t even know that was possible. Somehow, though, I managed not to injure myself at all. The next time I played dodgeball a week later, I sprained a finger fairly badly playing a very gentle game of warmup catch.

7.
My personal goal for the game was to learn how to jump. I practiced this skill for about half an hour during the first overnight by picking a spot on the court, uncomfortably close to the centre line, and setting a rule that I could not move laterally to avoid attacks- my only options were to duck, jump, or catch. It took a couple games of getting pegged in the feet, and then I figured it out.

8.
We got quite a bit of media coverage, including CNN, omg.
The CNN dodgeball feature is online here.

10.
My teammates are total BADASSES. They played through 36 hours of exhaustion and injuries, and they did it laughing.

Huge respect to Helder Brum, who came up with this crazy idea in the first place, and the players (seen here from L-R): Lesley Seig, Will Serediak, Beth White, Matt Neundorf, team captain Bryan Cesar, Michael Lasiuk, Ryan Tacay, Helder Brum, Jordan MacLeod, Andrew Trumbach, Christ Gammage, Matthew Silveira, Tracey Oliveira, Steve Villeseche, Malena Andrade, Jen Ritchie, Scott Hepburn, Sabina Monaco, Christine Mack (and the last person in the pic is me, obvs).


Machete Trailer

May 5, 2010

I’m kind of into hyper-masculinity these days. For instance, the trailer for Machete, aka the most testosterone-drenched two and a half minutes of your life:

And also I got a good chuckle out of Hyperbole and a Half’s take on men’s shower gel:

This kind of stuff makes me want to play ten hours of dodgeball and then swagger around bow-legged and slam my fist into cars. RARRR

Thanks to Helder for the tip.


News is bunk

October 22, 2009
This is major.  Somebody call Anderson Cooper.

This is major. Somebody call Anderson Cooper.

Daily news annoys me. It’s 70% invented; they need so much filler to make their daily allotment. Last night a major Canadian news channel ran a story about 12 small dogs found in unsanitary conditions in the GTA. It was literally a news story that could be summarized as “Sad dogs got dirty. More at 11.” On national news. This is news? I thought about it for a while but then my head exploded and I turned off the television and ran around my apartment intoning insightful headlines like “DOGS: DISHEVELED AND DISAPPOINTED. CANADIAN CANINES COPING WITH CANDIDA. PARKDALE PUPPIES… IN POOP.” …and other stchupidness, over and over, to simulate what I was missing.


GAH

June 3, 2009

I CANNOT STOP WATCHING THE DAMN CLAPPING SKELETON GUY.

He is SO ANNOYING and I just keep watching the video. I must’ve watched it like 9 times since I posted it. I just cannot stop. It’s a perfect storm of things that annoy me: fake-casual and yet theatrical hello, dramatic pauses, people who introduce themselves with their real name AND their stupid 1990s nickname, UV paint, overexplaining, weird run-on-sentences, acting jovial without warmth, use of the Royal We, and commentary of things he’s doing as if they’re happening of their own accord- “OOh, he’s coming back!” Wait, when you say “he”, do you mean YOU? As in YOUR OWN HANDS? That are ATTACHED TO YOU? Cause I think ya do. And did I mention the dramatic pauses? And when he goes “Fwth-tonight!” I SCREAM. I literally MAKE A LOUD NOISE, so unhappy am I.

Andrea P, I swear to gord I’m gonna rickroll you for telling me about this.


Marmite Jesus

May 29, 2009

Of COURSE Jesus occasionally appears in the lid of a Marmite jar in Wales.

I think that's him.  But judging by the taste, it could also be the residue from inside a really old saxophone.

I think that's him. But judging by the taste, it could also be the residue from inside a really old saxophone.

Marmite is this blackish, viscous, very salty and umami-ish spread that’s the byproduct of beermaking. I think. Or, you know when your pet starts scooting its ass across the carpet? That’s an impaction in its Marmite glands. Or, as my friend Jonathan used to say, “It’s the stuff they scrape out of the bilges of ships after a long voyage”.

Whatever it is, it’s really good on an English muffin. By good I mean, kind of disgusting but in a delicious way. I just can’t describe it much better than that.

Thanks to Jess for the tip. Sorry I insulted Marmite, Jessie (she’s English).


Old English Mastiff: I’m agog at this dog

May 23, 2009

Last week Alison and I watched a baseball game in a Toronto park, and a guy wandered past with THE. BIGGEST. DOG. I. HAVE. EVER. SEEN.

This dog was literally as large as a juvenile lion, a fact I breathlessly reported to Scott and of which he was deeply skeptical. However, I have actually petted a juvenile lion (that’s what happens when you work in kids’ television for 6 years, you get to touch lots of weird animals, including terrifyingly huge juvenile lions, which by the way are hella allergenic. And also one time a sheep pees on your foot on live TV). So I think I should know.

This dog was as tall as a Great Dane and as thick as a Rottweiler. It had a short muzzle on a huge face and its head was pretty much the size of a basketball. It was also very docile, plodding along slowly and sniffting at things. It was kind of like a Chinese dragon puppet from a parade, and kind of like a golden-haired buffalo. The dude who was walking this enormity was clearly pretty accustomed to all the attention and was happy to tell us his dog’s breed: Old English Mastiff.

I did some google searching so I could share with you this awesomeness. Most English Mastiffs you’ll see on the Interwebs are slender gazelles in comparison to our boy from last Tuesday. They basically just look like tall Rotties.

Dakota here is not representative of her breed.

Dakota here is not representative of her breed.

I know you’re all like BIG WHUP. But you know what? IT WAS A BIG WHUP. Assuming of course that by “whup” you mean “dog”, and by “big” you mean “unbelievably huge”.

The man in this photo weighs 270 lbs.

The man in this photo weighs 270 lbs.

This dog's weight was recorded as 286 lbs, but the owner thinks his actual weight is probably quite a bit more, since "his butt wouldn't fit on the scale"

This dog's weight was recorded as 286 lbs, but the owner thinks his actual weight is probably quite a bit more, since 'his butt wouldn't fit on the scale'

I would not be surprised if the woman in this photo is 6 feet tall.

I would not be surprised if the woman in this photo is 6 feet tall.

And imagine you’re a common burglar and you hop a fence into the yard containing this big boy:

Note that the head and body of this dog are the same thickness.  It's like a pommel horse with pointy parts at both ends.

Note that the head and body of this dog are the same thickness. It's like a pommel horse with pointy parts at both ends.

Sad day for the thief: although dogs of this breed are usually quite laid-back, they were originally bred as guard dogs. Cromwell the dog got to keep the intruder’s shirt, and the thief sped away topless (and probably a little damper in the pants area than he liked to be).

The average weight for an English Mastiff is about 225 lbs… but the Guiness record for Largest Dog Ever is held by an 8-year old male English Mastiff who was named Zorba, who weighed 345 lbs, and was 8″3′ from nose to tail. Just to give you a sense of scale, basketball player Shaquille O’Neal is 7″1′ tall and weighs 325 lbs.

So yeah. Old English Mastiffs. Niiiice doggie.


Candied Bacon

April 5, 2009

I bring candied bacon to dinner parties.

On Friday Reuben was in town & invited me & Scott to dinner at RoyAndDanielle’s house. He asked me no fewer than 3 times to bring candied bacon, so I obligingly made up a batch.

Scott and I arrived to discover a formally set table with a blue Star-of-David tablecloth and Danielle’s distinguished-looking parents milling about. Oh yeah, Friday night. Shabbat dinner, the weekly ritual of the Jewish people, who, as you may know, traditionally shun the flesh of the swine. So not only did the black chick and her giant goyfriend crash the party, but we brought an entire pig. I sank into the couch, dying a thousand deaths, and our friend Danny whispered “You brought bacon to Shabbat dinner?” I gripped his arm in agony and hissed “Reuben set me up!”

Reuben, at this point, was off in the kitchen with no fewer than four strips of candied bacon sticking out of his mouth, like Judas, or a star-nosed mole.

Artist's interpretation of the dude who totally sold me out.

Artist’s interpretation of the dude who totally sold me out.

Danielle pulled out a Ziploc bag of yarmulkes and all the men put them on, except Gentile Scott, who, they decided, already had his own tenuous covenent with G-d on his head in the form of an army cap.

Artist's interpretation of everyone else.

Artist\’s interpretation of everyone else.

Danielle’s elegant mother draped a pretty cloth with Hebrew embroidery over the bread, then she and Danielle covered their eyes and sang the song to bless the Shabbat candles, Roy blessed the challah, and I slunk away, totally mortified, to hide from the grownups by skrunching up behind Danny, where I moaned softly in remorseful torment. In a strange way, I felt like I finally understood Jewish guilt. (amirite?)

As everyone served themselves Danielle’s father slowly approached me, his silver hair glinting around a regal satin yarmulke. I ducked my head in shame as he ominously intoned, “Are you the one who brought that bacon?” I cringed and nodded, sheepishly raising my eyes to meet his. He popped the last bite of something into his mouth, licked his fingers with a loud smack, and chirped, “It’s delightful, may we have the recipe?”

Hurray!

Hurray!

Cooking an entire package of bacon in home-made brown sugar caramel is the perfect way to make your apartment smell like a heart attack and make all your friends like you. And it’s surprisingly easy! It’s good as a treat, or you could chop it and throw it on a salad or something, which might mitigate, you know, the fact that you’re eating 80% pork fat and you also coated it in sugar.

I adapted the following recipe from David Lebovitz’ recipe for Candied Bacon Ice Cream, which sounds like the best idea I’ve ever heard and I thank gord I don’t have an ice cream maker, or I would probably make it hourly. (waddle waddle)

Ingredients:
Bacon
Brown Sugar
(optional: Maple Syrup)

That's homemade Port Elgin maple syrup in the Maker's Mark bottle, thanks to Uncle Larry, who is not actually my uncle, but anyone who gives me a whiskey bottle full of homemade syrup gets called Uncle by me.

That\’s homemade Port Elgin maple syrup in the Maker\’s Mark bottle, thanks to Uncle Larry, who is not actually my uncle, but anyone who gives me a whiskey bottle full of homemade syrup gets called Uncle by me.

Tools:
Cookie sheets or glass lasagna pans
Cookie cooling racks
Tongs
Tinfoil
Kitchen timer is useful, too.

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 400″ (use bottom element). Turn on the exhaust fan and close the door to your closet, or you’ll smell like a pioneer for days.

2. Loosely tinfoil the cookie sheets. Make sure the tinfoil is a bit too big for the pans and let it fold upwards at the edges like a bowl. This is to catch the grease. Because there will be grease.

3. Open the bacon. Usually there’s one end of each strip that’s just a chunk of fat. You can cut that end off & toss it out back for the raccoons.

Like tourists in Florida.

Like tourists in Florida.

4. Lay the bacon out, arranging the strips so they’re not overlapping (they can be touching & cramped, though). You can put it on the wire racks, as pictured. Or, if you’re short on wire racks, just lay all the bacon directly on the tinfoil sheets- it makes them shrink better so a whole package of half-cooked strips will fit on a single large wire rack in the next step.

5. Stick ’em in the oven & bake for 10 minutes. They will brown on the bottom, & shrink.

6. Flip the bacon so the browned side faces up. Reposition it so it all fits on the wire rack/tinfoil trays. At this point you may be able to fit the whole pack of bacon on one cookie sheet/rack.

Thanks, Uncle Larry.

Thanks, Uncle Larry.

7. Dump about a cupful of brown sugar into a bowl. Use your fingers to liberally sprinkle a line of sugar down the centre of each strip. Don’t worry if some falls off, but also don’t make too much mess on the cookie tray, because wayward piles of sugar will burn.

OR:

If you’re using maple syrup, mix 1 cup of sugar + 1/2 cup of syrup into a thick paste (aim for the consistency of toothpaste). Use a teaspoon (or pipe it out of a little bag with a snipped corner) to drizzle it down the centre of each slice.

Sugared bacon bakin', sugar.

Sugared bacon bakin\’, sugar.

Sugar drippings beginning to burn = stank-ass kitchen.

Sugar drippings beginning to burn = stank-ass kitchen.

8. Bake for another 10 minutes or so. This isn’t an exact science so trust your nose. You don’t want burning.

9. Flip the strips and sugar the other side. If the caramel in the bottom of the pans is burning, swap out that tinfoil & replace it with a fresh sheet. Burnt sugar smells like the apocalypse, and will fill your apartment with creepy bluish smoke.

This photo has a pavlovian effect on me.

This photo has a pavlovian effect on me.

10. Bake more. Keep an eye on it. One more flip, perhaps, and maybe a little more sugar (hint: yes). You can switch elements to the broiler if you think it needs it. If you do, put it on the lowest rack, set a timer for 1-2 minutes at a time and keep peeking- sugar burns very fast.

11. When the bacon is the consistency of fruit leather- flexible but not droopy- and the top is kind of sugary & bubbly looking, take it out. Note that it will harden up somewhat as the sugar cools, so it tastes better if the bacon itself is not too hard to begin with. You can sprinkle a little more dry sugar on the top at this point- it’ll soak in.

Looking at this photo I hear the theme from 2001: Space Odyssey in my tiny, pig-addled head.

Looking at this photo I hear the theme from 2001: Space Odyssey in my tiny, pig-addled head.

12. Let it cool, cut the strips into pieces with scissors, and impress the crap out of your friends with this porcine delight.

13 (disgusting/delicious). The tinfoil under the bacon will be covered in hot caramel. Leave it to cool on your counter- don’t throw it out. Otherwise, in a few hours you’re gonna wander home from that dinner party, tipsy and peckish, and you’ll find yourself digging through the kitchen trash to exhume that tinfoil and pick tasty little shards of porky-rendered caramel off it like Sally Struthers. I’m not kidding, those little crackles taste NICE.

NOT THAT I DID THAT.

CASE CLOSED

CASE CLOSED

Moar: “MY ACTING”, an inadvertently funny short play about Acting. Transcribed from reality.