Friday, January 29, 2010

The Game

It's 2 weeks until the 2010 Winter Olympics start in Vancouver, Canada. Thanks to my friend Cristy for showing me this ad which really captures a bit of Canadiana. Even my Canadian friends who aren't sports fans will understand this ad.

For me, this really captures how I sometimes feel about hockey. Nowadays, living away from Canada, I don't get to watch much hockey. I did have a very exciting time a few years ago in 2006 when we went back to Canada for a visit. We were in Vancouver visiting my relatives out there and were supposed to be driving back to Edmonton on the day of the Stanley Cup final (that's the big trophy for winning the league, in case you don't know). The Edmonton Oilers were playing in the final, the first time in well over a decade they were there. Leaving on the day of the final was a problem for me. I was afraid we would be driving somewhere through the mountains, miles from anywhere with reception of the game and that I would miss the FINAL game. Have you ever seen Rainman? When Dustin Hoffman's character, Raymond is afraid he is going to miss Judge Wapner on TV? That was sort of my behaviour. So instead we stayed an extra day on the coast simply so I could see the game. They sadly lost, but I still was happier having seen it than not.

Hockey is the only sport where if the Oilers, my home town team, or Canada are playing, I actually truly care what the result is. I love soccer/football, I think it's a beautiful game and I enjoy watching it. But I don't have a team; G teases me that I cheer for the referee. Which is probably about accurate, I like watching a good game, I'm not interested in the result so much. Sure, I can and do pick a team to cheer for, but it's not like I feel cheering during hockey. Nor is it the same cheering. Hockey is the game that makes me shout at an inanimate TV screen. Hockey is the game that can make me jump up and down in a pub full of people, screaming and pumping my fist. Hockey is the only game where I feel if my team wins, I have won too.

So here's wishing all the Canadian teams good luck in the upcoming Olympics. Along with millions of other Canadians, we will be watching, waiting to be able to shout, "He shoots, he SCOOOOOOOOORES!!!!!!!!!!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Michelin Star for The Royal Oak

I just noticed that The Royal Oak, Paley Street has received a Michelin Star in today's new Michelin guide. Congratulations to them, that is great news. I'm guessing the reviewer didn't eat there the same day I did, as I had a slightly different review of The Royal Oak, but it pleases me that it seems my experience there was very much a one-off. I'll be happy to go back at some point.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's Gender got to do with it?

(singing the title of this post to a Tina Turner tune...)

Just a short little comment about some of the inherent sexism there is around raising children that I've noticed in the UK. It's all about Mummy. Some many groups for young children and adults to go to are called "Mums and Toddlers" or a variation of that, but not varying on the Mum or Mother bit. Yes, I would agree that mothers are still probably the majority of adults taking children to school, playgroups and classes, but it bugs me. If I was a dad, it would really bug me. There's currently an ad on TV for a margarine where the TV celebrity chef (who by the way, must have sold his soul to advertise for a margarine) tells us how "Mums can collect the tokens" to help with purchasing cooking equipment for schools. Why? Why just Mums? Are Dads considered too incompetent and scatter-brained to be able to collect margarine tokens? Are female parental units the only ones watching that TV ad? I think it's nuts that it gets away with that.

I've currently taken on a leadership position in a group that defines itself using the word Mum in the title. As it most definitely isn't just for mothers, high on my to-do list is to slowly bring about a change in the name. I will still be leaving out a great number of adult carers by changing the Mum to Parent, but at least I will feel we are on the way.

Some may think I'm being petty or silly, but words are powerful things. By naming something with the gender-specific title like "Moms and Tots" or "Dads and Lads", you passively ostracize half of the population, even if that wasn't your intention and even both parents are welcome. I think by using a more inclusive term, people are more likely to feel included. That certainly is my hope at least.