Olympics: Something even Vegas won’t do

The Olympics are coming, the Olympics are coming!

Only 12 days remain until the world descends on Canada. Despite the numerous road closures, despite the increased traffic everywhere and the anticipated long line-ups and crowds at every venue, my excitement continues to rise. I expect the city to spill over with people and parties and good times and that sounds pretty good to me.

However, as my idle hands have always taught me, every good thing can be made even better with one simple addition…

Quick Olympic checklist:

  • Living in an Olympic city –
  • Obtaining tickets to several Olympic events –
  • Working for the Olympic team (@ Olympic headquarters no less) –
  • Visiting public Olympic themed venues (pending)…

Needing to get that last one checked off the list, I travelled to Vancouver’s famed Granville St. to take some pictures and take in all the excitement downtown:

And check!

Now that the last check is out of the way, it’s time to get to the good stuff.

I don’t know what I love most about the Olympics. Perhaps it’s the friendly but heated competition; maybe it’s many nations coming together  in the pursuit of athletic excellence; or it could simply be the foreign flavour. My good friends know (and can blackmail me with the info) about my love for all things foreign- Hungarians, Italians, Jamaicans, Germans, Spanish, and of course the French (oh how I love the French!).
If anyone asks though, we’ll just say it’s for the ‘sport’.  😉

Speaking of sport, gambling is a form of and speaks to the only way I can see making the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic games  more exciting: By putting some money on it!

Surprisingly, you can’t place any wagers on Olympic sports in Vegas because betting on amateur sports is not allowed there (What!? So the city of sin has morals?).  This forces us gambling degenerates to go elsewhere, but where?

Quick thinking and a positive ‘Can Do’ attitude easily solved that problem. You can’t bet on the events themselves, but you can certainly bet on activities surrounding the events.

I introduce you to Nelleytimes’ Olympic Action: all of the fun with none of the fuss of ‘rules’ or ‘regulations’. Starting February 12th and running until the end of games, don’t just have fun at the events, have fun before, after and during too. I don’t know why Vegas hasn’t thought of this already but until they buy the rights from me (in exchange they can clear my tab @ the Bellagio, no less!) we’re gonna run with this.

Please review the following actions and odds to get yourself prepared. Prizes are the usual: pride, bragging rights, a sense of accomplishment and of course -my personal favourite – cash money. As always, winners take all and losers remain losers (sorry, I don’t make the rules. Oh wait, I do!):

#1. Watch an Olympic event live

ODDS: 2 to 1

#2. Attend an Olympic after party at a local bar

ODDS: 3 to 1

#3. Get your picture taken with an Olympic athlete (more athletes gets you more points)

ODDS: 4 to 1

#4. Get yourself into the Athlete’s Olympic Village (FYI – as of last Thursday it went on official lock down. Only athletes and official personnel allowed in. So this will require some creative thinking and/or some amazing flirting).

ODDS: 20 to 1

#5. Attend the Opening or closing ceremonies….but for free!! (FYI, those tickets originally started @ $800 and are selling online for $2000+)

ODDS: 50 to 1

#6. Take a picture with a Canadian athlete (International points for international athletes)

ODDS: 6 to 1

International ODDS: trois à un

#7. Have a drink with a Canadian athlete (double points if they’ve won a medal and triple points if you get them drunk)

Regular ODDS: 10 to 1

Drunken ODDS with an athlete from Newfoundland: 1 to 1

Bonus points too if you get them to buy YOU a drink.

#8. Getting in a background or crowd shot on the local news (Hi mom!)

ODDS: 15 to 1

#9. Marry an Olympian (current or former)

ODDS: 100 to 1

#10. Have your own idea? Share it @ Nelleytimes@gmail.com and, upon review, we can add it to the list. Odds will be mathematically determined by randomly hitting numbers on my calculator. All winners will be announced at the end of the Olympics so keep playing, keep track of your score (pictures help) and stay tuned.

Now, let the games begin!

Nightime picture #1

Nightime picture #2

Nightime picture #3

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Why should polar bears have all the fun?

Hypothermia: In cold weather, your body may lose heat faster than you can produce it. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. It can make you sleepy, confused and clumsy. Because it happens gradually and affects your thinking, you may not realize you need help. That makes it especially dangerous. You can get it from being cold and wet, or under cold water for too long.

Hypothermia can lead to death if not treated promptly. (source)

Date:            January 1, 2010

Time:          2:30pm to 2:31pm

Weather: 5 degrees with heavy rain

Over 1500 adventure-bound Vancouverites took to the icy waters of English Bay beach off the pacific ocean on New Years day 2010 for the 90th annual Polar Bear Swim. Spirits were high as everyone gathered on the cold, wet sand decked out in lavish costumes, homemade getups, and other outfits that can only be described delicately as ‘obvious cries for help’.  From clowns to Vikings to Viking clowns, the scene was an eclectic showcase of Vancouver’s free spirited individuals. Several news teams and thousands of onlookers were also out in full force; cameras aloft and working away like red carpet photographers.

You can certainly take pictures of it, write about it, talk about it, watch it on TV in a news clip and maybe even view it live on the beach but nothing beats actually doing it. First hearing about this crazy event from a friend, I decided to go out and finally see what all the fuss was about.

Like me, some of you may have falsely believed you can simply waltz onto the beach, slip into a swimsuit and then jump in the water and be done with the whole ‘polar bear thing’. To you I say: “You fools!” There’s so much more to it than that. Fortunately, my trusty guide and invitee took me under her wing and showed me the way of the Polar Bear.

Step 1: The Ensemble

What a sweetie, he asked me if I wanted to blow on his horn for the photo, shucks!

Basic swimsuits are fine (for amateurs, scoff, scoff) but purists know the whole point of the chilly dunk is letting go and giving yourself up to the experience.  Something you can only do in a getup. The more ridiculous or outrageously hilarious you look, the better for our amusement. For some reason, self-realization is actually enhanced when you’re wearing Viking horns and a diaper.

Ensemble Tips:

–         The brighter the better

–         Accessories are a must

–         The crazier the better

–         Yes, your birthday suit IS considered an ensemble

–         Whatever you choose, have fun with it

my roomie's stuffed polar bear donning my apparal. Working it!My trusty guide helped put an ensemble together that made me feel like a free spirit (the self-realization part is that I also realized I looked like a fool). It involved a tiara (for the princess in me), Mardi Gras style necklaces (a must for all free spirits), red, glittery pom poms (to cheer on other free spirits), sparkly makeup (got washed off in the pouring rain) and a whistle (not part of the costume, simply used to scare off anyone who gets too close to your ‘free spirit’). And voila, step one complete.

Step 2: Getting There

You’re better off walking or taking a taxicab but your best bet is always public transit. Reminiscent of the parking situation during the fireworks shows during the summer, there’s nowhere to park and traffic moves at a standstill at best.  Also, get there early. Gigantic crowds have a tendency to move slowly when you’re in a rush. The event was slated to start at 2pm. Arriving promptly at 2:20pm, we only had time to toss off our jackets and shoes, strip down and get right into the melee on the beach (another tip – arrive ready to jump in). This meant our socializing was limited to after the plunge only and not before. Surprisingly, it’s easy to meet new people when you’re wearing a wet t-shirt and bathing suit bottoms.

Step 3: Taking the Plunge

Again, the naïve amongst you might believe you can simply walk up to the ocean, dangle your feet in the water and be done with it.

Tsk tsk tsk.

This is where the experience of your guide is key.  Mine had me step back several feet from the water and told me to run like heck and jump in. For first timers, it’s one way to ensure they get all the way in. No second-guessing when you’re up to your waist in 7-degree water and change your mind. Toe dipping is also not an option. Full immersion up to your neck or nothing!

You’ll be surprised, when you first walk out of the icy depths, at how warm you feel.  It washes over you almost immediately and you’re tempted to jump back in the water and splash around a little longer. Instinctively, you want to towel off and get changed into the dry clothing you packed (another tip!) but you’ll have no proper motor function right away. The cold water makes buttoning and tying and knotting almost impossible as your system tries to regain its lost body temperature by pulling heat from your hands, legs, fingers and toes. Still wearing a soaked swimsuit and a dripping wet ensemble, I happily traipsed around the beach laughing and smiling and taking pictures with others fresh from their dips.

Step 4: Make it a Memory

There’s no point to doing anything (legal at least) if there’s a: no record of it and/or b: no witnesses to see you do it. Take photos, take names and take note- while everyone you know is probably recovering from their New Years’ eve shenanigans by laying on a couch somewhere and nursing their outdated 2009 hangovers, you’re out here taking a huge, frozen bite out of 2010, yeah!! (also, beware of brain freeze)

Me and only 1500+ others received this 'exclusive' collectible

Also, if any of you are curious about what it’s like to immerse yourselves in water suitable only for polar bears then I suggest you do the following:

  • Fill your bathtub to the brim with water from the cold-water tap;
  • Add 3 cups of ice cubes, 2 cups of sand from the beach and one cup of water from the hot water tap;
  • Stir briskly until the ice cubes have just melted, take a step back and jump in.

Welcome to the newly minted Polar Bear Bathtub club! Just make sure you take a picture and get a witness to see you do it. Otherwise…

It doesn’t count.

sources: Viking – scaq.blogspot.comcrowd shot

I predict the following….

This just in: New Year’s Resolutions are a thing of the past. Who needs them?

We all know what the big, important and near impossible to do in one year ones are:

  1. Achieving world peace
  2. Eliminating world hunger
  3. and of course Solving global warming (myth or no myth, we definitely need to clean up the planet before it becomes the pigsty my mom claims my high school bedroom was).

However, if you’re still into making resolutions (we’ll call you retro vs. passé) I’ve just made the list for you. You’re welcome and good luck because that last one is going to be a tough battle. Actually that first one is probably going to take up a lot of your time too.  Hmmm…. and that middle one isn’t too easy either. So again, good luck with that. If anything, you’ll probably solve these before you complete your resolutions from last year. Snicker, snicker.

Personally, I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions because it was getting too depressing to fail at a whole list of the same old things at the beginning of each year. Depression wasn’t a great way to start a New Year.  Now, if you STILL feel the need to make a list of things you want to accomplish for 2010, it’s important to first look back at your previous failings attempted accomplishments from 2009.  So, let’s review and grade your last year’s resolutions, shall we. Trust me, I’m doing this for our own good:

  • #1. Slim down: Did you get healthier this year? Oh you didn’t? Oh, you actually PUT ON a few? Yikes! What a shame.

GRADE: FAIL

  • #2. Quit smoking: I take it by your hacking cough that you’re still puffing away, right?  Those filtered tips not doing much to stop the various tars and poisons from coating your lungs, eh? Tsk, tsk, tsk. That’s not good for you or for anyone else (2nd handers).

GRADE: FAIL!

  • #3. New job: If u were lucky enough to keep your job this year (unemployment’s up to 10% you know) then good for you. Sure you work double the hours, you haven’t had a raise in years and your budget’s been slashed in half but lucky you still gets to wake up early in the morning and travel across the city to spend 10+ hours a day at a job you’re hoping to get laid off  from and with a big severance package.

GRADE: Moderate FAIL 

Alternate GRADE: However, if you lost your job in the summer and enjoyed unemployment benefits whilst roasting on the beach – PASS!

  • #4. Quit drinking. Hmmmm. This must have been a typo. I’d say if anything, drink MORE! (Please note, this does not apply to registered alcoholics. For those of you who don’t go to meetings continue to live it up!)

GRADE: Sobriety FAIL!

  • #5. Volunteer/Help Others/Give Back: hahahahahahahahahahahaha
    If any of you accomplished this (and it wasn’t required for your school course, mandatory, or court ordered as part of your parole) then congrats! For the rest of you:

GRADE: FAIL! FAIL! FAIL!

You know, I think we can end it off right here. You’re already looking at a maximum 50% success rate. Not too impressive.  So unless you reduced stress, spent more time (willingly) with friends and family, got out of debt or saved the world….just take the 50% and move on.

Now don’t get too depressed. I like to look at that wine glass as being half full so think of it this way: You’re succeeding @ failing and that’s certainly something, right??

However, if you do actually want to succeed then I’ve learned the best way to do this is to set your own parameters.
Don’t listen to what they tell you to do, don’t do what they think you should be doing or even what your momma says: (find a spouse, get married, give me grandchildren…in any order please). Make your own plans, set your own limits and forge your own path!

For me that means out with Resolutions and in with….. Predictions! Miss Nelley, crystal ball-ologist extraordinaire.
My credentials: I religiously studied under Miss Cleocommercials and I think I picked up all I need to know. After all, as you know,  I’m a quick learner.

Peering into my crystal ball, I see the following in my future:

2010 Prediction #1:

Occasional food smorgasbords and all you can eat bonanzas will continue to tempt but overall healthy eating and exercise to prevail…

2010 Prediction #2:

An employment opportunity of Olympic proportions will be presented…

2010 Prediction #3:

A big move to take place  in the Spring….

2010 Prediction #4:

Visits to a favourite locale in the desert will continue and potentially expand in numbers…

2010 Prediction #5:

Educational improvements in marketing and advertising will be on the agenda in early 2010…

2010 Prediction #6:

Action on your part will help to fill the social calendar of others with house parties, dinner parties, go kart racing, tubing, snowboarding, wine & cheese parties and other fun events…

2010 Prediction #7:

Your mode of transportation will remain public until well into 2010…

2010 Prediction #8:

Blog subscribers to double (your dad will join your mom and read the blog too!)

2010 Prediction #9:

A gong show will be the best description for the evening of December 31st, 2009. Also, from what little you will remember of it, it will have been the Best. Party. Ever! …even though you learn the next day that you forgot which hotel you were staying at, left your cell phone in the room, misplaced your hotel room key and then had to trek across town in heels to find the right one. Despite all that – Best. Party. Ever!

2010 Prediction #10:

A chilly reception on January 1st, 2010…

That’s it folks. Miss Nelley has spoken. So it has been predicted, so it shall be done. You’ll note that the trick  here is to keep it fairly vague. This makes it easier to apply to any part of your life and thus to succeed at it too. Yay!  
Ok, now go forth and apply some predictions to your own lives. It’s fun, there’s no pressure and if you’re good at it and keep it vague enough then ‘A change will come in early 2010’ could easily mean a new job opportunity, a new love interest OR you simply changed your underwear (that time of year already, eh?). Or, ‘My weight will alternate’ could mean an increase or a decrease. The difference between 6-pack abs or a keg around the middle. After all, you said you wanted an excuse to get a new wardrobe…you just never realized in what size.

Happy New Year!

New Year image
Crystal Ball source