Sweat FX Logo & Website

...

Learn More

The Curling News

I wrote a three-part series in Canada’s “The Curling News” documenting my experience while coaching curling in Shanghai, China in 2013-14.   About The Curling News THE CURLING NEWS is Canada’s first and only national curling newspaper and a world authority on the sport. Founded in Calgary in 1957 as Canadian Curling News, each modern-day issue of THE CURLING NEWS is packed with the latest analysis, behind-the-scenes stories, brilliant action photography, event and team previews, stunning design values and information you simply won’t find anywhere else. During our 50th anniversary publishing season, we opened the TCN archives and reprinted old stories and photos. Each one of our six monthly issues (November through April) continues a nod to curling’s glorious past while focusing on the top news in today’s game – including the drive to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games (and Paralympic Games) in Vancouver. THE CURLING NEWS boasts the best contributors in the sport today, going back through five decades of comprehensive curling coverage. There is even a monthly Curling TV Guide! Each issue is delivered in a protective polybag directly to your door, every month, via first-class...

Learn More

Why I’m neither a lover, nor a hater of CrossFit

By Robbie Gallaugher: An article written for www.clubawesome.ca discussing CrossFit.   It’s no secret that CrossFit has gained notable popularity in the fitness scene over recent years. It’s now difficult to go a day without being exposed to some mention of the fitness program whether it is on social media or in conversation. The success of it’s business model is impressive, and while many argue that it won’t last, there is no question in my mind that it will be around for at least the foreseeable future. As someone who holds a degree in exercise science I’ve always been curious as to what the CrossFit craze was all about. I would speak with friends who joined it and were addicted, and then I would turn around and speak with my colleagues who would bad mouth everything to do with it. I had formed my own opinion, but withheld writing about it because I had never gone in and experienced a CrossFit workout for myself. So a little over a week ago I signed up for a free intro workout, and after completing it my opinion has stayed the same; I’m neither a lover, nor a hater of CrossFit.   The Experience As I walked through the doors I viewed a bustling gym full of 20 and 30 somethings doing deadlifts and looking determined. I was greeted by the owner and given directions to the back change rooms. Slowly some more newbies arrived and as the preceding class cleared out, 8 of us gathered around to hear what the hour-long morning session had in store for us. We were told that our workout would consist of four sections; warm-up, mobility, metabolic conditioning and cool-down. We would be skipping the strength section and focusing on less-skilled movements since it was our first time. Our warm up involved us breaking up into two teams where were would compete in a relay race. The race was compiled of sprints, push-ups, air-squats and burpees. These were followed by partner piggybacks and sandbag carries in a non-race format. Teams then had to perform a bonus set of an exercise (burpees or push-ups) depending on whether they had won or lost. Our mobility section mainly focused on the hips by slowly...

Learn More

BC SPCA Offleashed Gala Ticket

...

Learn More

Curl BC Regional Playdown Poster

...

Learn More

Thank you China

Thank you China. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to travel across the world and see your vast country – and the chance to escape and write a new life chapter. Thank you for your food. Oil, bones, fish heads and eye balls aside, you have some delicious cuisine; and yes, a fried egg really can compliment any dish. Thank you for allowing me to watch every movie and TV series that I have ever wanted from the past three decades at a ridiculously low cost. Thank you for my “celebrity status” and making me feel wonderful some days. Thank you for reminding me how vulnerable our environment is and how much we impact it. Thank you for reinforcing the power of sport and how it once again introduced me to new people, places and experiences. Thank you for showing me how important human rights and free speech are and how poorly a society functions when they are limited. Thank you for reminding me that no amount of internet access or phone lines can replace the value of sharing time with your family and friends in person. Thank you for proving that smiling and laughing are universal languages. Thank you for introducing me to new friends from around the world who became my family and I am certain will see again in the future. Thank you for showing me that the world is truly a small place, and that even in the most populous city in the world you can randomly run into friends, make connections and feel at home at any moment. Thank you for teaching me a new language, culture and perspective. Thank you for reminding me that life is more difficult for some than others and we do not all begin with the same opportunities. Thank you for teaching me that life is a gift, not a right, and people who treat it that way are the ones who appreciate it to its fullest. Thank you for allowing me to return home a more grateful person than I was before I left. Thank you China. Thank...

Learn More

The Minority Report: The Marriage Market

Young adults in China have an incredible amount of pressure put on them from their families to be married with a child by age 25. Women who are not married by this time are called the term “Sheng nu” which translates to “leftovers.” Finding a partner is one of the main focuses here in China and I am constantly asked if I have a girlfriend or wife. When I say “no,” an offer for assistance in finding a girlfriend is usually quickly provided. Since it brings great shame to a family if their child is single, parents and grandparents advertise their children at the Shanghai Marriage Market. This market takes place in People’s Park in downtown Shanghai every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm, and is packed with thousands of people looking to play matchmaker for their single offspring. While a child may not support this idea, the parents write up an advertisement that includes information such as physical stats, job, income, education, Chinese zodiac sign, personality traits and sometimes a photo. These pieces of paper are hung around the park on string or placed on the ground or on top of an umbrella. It costs about $3 CAD to place an ad which runs for 5 months. Brokers are also used and provide full access to phone numbers for a $16 CAD registration fee. Parents and grandparents roam the grounds reading advertisements and talking to each other sharing information in hopes of finding a suitable partner. They are also not shy to stop any young Chinese person walking by to question them about their status and personal information. The market began in 2004 and while women typically have more pressure to find a husband, it is estimated that by 2020 their will be 24 million more men than women in China as a result of their one child policy and selective abortions....

Learn More

Why forcing your kids to do push-ups is making them fat

By Robbie Gallaugher: An article written for Club Awesome discussing the topic of youth fitness.   Youth fitness training is a controversial topic with people positioned strongly for and against it. Some feel youth should focus on non-structured play while others feel their children will be missing out if they don’t participate in organized sport or fitness training. While there are strong arguments on both sides, let’s take a look from a scientific perspective at what you need to consider before making the decision about your kids involvement in physical activity.   Cardiovascular Training   Most activity that produces increased cardiovascular output is completely safe for youth. This is because our heart and lungs grow in proportion to our stature, thus making them completely equipped to meet the demands of physical activity. If you watch children play naturally on a playground you will notice that their play is characterized by bursts of moderate to vigorous activity, which is somewhat similar to interval training that some adults do. Just because a child does not perform a prolonged cardiovascular activity does not mean they are inactive or unfit. Note that children also have a higher breathing frequency than adults do, so it is normal for them to breathe rapidly during activity and should not be a cause for concern. They are also very good at self-regulating when they need to slow down or stop for rest.   Strength Training   Unlike our heart and lungs, our muscles and bones do not grow in proportion to our stature. This raises the need for caution when approaching strength training activities. We’ve all seen those lanky kids whose arms hang down to their ankles or feet look 5 sizes too big. Although they may be tall and appear strong, their un-proportioned bodies actually make coordination and strength more difficult. It’s similar to holding onto the end of a ruler and placing an eraser on it. The further away you place the eraser from your hand the more difficult it becomes to hold. Another concern when strength training is the underdeveloped bone density of youth. Their bones are still growing and are not as strong which makes them more susceptible to breaking. Now although breaking a bone isn’t anything to worry...

Learn More

The Minority Report: The top 5 things I miss about Canada

  It’s July 1st and Canada’s 147th birthday. In honour of this, here are my top things I miss about Canada. 1. Quality health care Canada has a solid health care system compared to many countries and the education of our doctors is very high. In China it’s the opposite. Health care professionals are often poorly educated and services are only available to those who can afford it. Dental care is one of the worst here as most have never seen a dentist in their lives, and I’ve heard multiple first hand stories from people who have had root canals done without anesthetic. Aside from a physical when I first arrived I haven’t had to see a Chinese doctor, but I know I’ll be feeling more at ease back in Canada.   2. Friendliness Canadians are fairly friendly and acknowledge strangers, hold doors open, apologize for everything and genuinely mean it. The culture in China is very different where it’s survival of the fittest. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, or fit or crippled, it’s the pushy and loud who move to the front while the others get left behind.   3. Personal space Shanghai is the most populous city in the world with approx. 28 million people. That’s almost the population of Canada squished into one city. There are people everywhere and it’s just the way of life that they all bump into each other. Accidentally bang someones ribs with your elbow while turning around? Well, no reason to look up and say sorry, it just happens so everyone moves on without acknowledging it or making eye contact. I’ve had up to 8 people touching me at the same time on the subway.   4. Cleanliness Everything in China is dirty. There is dust everywhere and people litter without a second thought. The cleaning staff aren’t too concerned about it either. My room is often left dirty after my maids come to clean than before they arrived. They are happy to wipe down my sink or mop my floor with already dirty rags and mops. See a pile of dirt or puddle of water? Let’s walk right through it as walking around would be a hassle. I’ve even witnessed lettuce (that...

Learn More

The Minority Report: 12 things you’ll find in a Chinese grocery store

Pig’s feet Pig’s nose Chicken Chicken feet Turtles Jellyfish Bullfrogs Eels Tons of oil Jissbon condoms (with exciting dots)   Giant female pads All kinds of Pocky      ...

Learn More

Club Awesome Logo & Website

...

Learn More

Robbie Gallaugher Re-Brand

...

Learn More

The Minority Report: How I made my way into a Chinese commercial

The gym I belong to here in China is a chain that has multiple locations across the country. It’s a nice gym, but as fitness isn’t a priority for most people here it isn’t as busy as most gyms in North America are. Although during peak hours it gets somewhat busy, when I go for my late morning or early afternoon workouts I am one of about 5-10 members present in the 40,000 sq/ft space; and this is in an area of town that is home to almost 2 million people. It makes for a calm atmosphere and is one of the few places in Shanghai that isn’t packed with crowds. Most of the members and staff do not speak english, but a few do and I often speak with them. Last month during my workout a camera crew came in and set up camp in the spinning room. All of the staff were watching at the door while they took photos and video of the personal trainers and some others doing a short, but intense spin class. They were clearly gathering some footage for some promo material. From there they moved into the studio and started a boxercise class. As I finished up my workout and was doing my cool-down stretches I could see a group of 4 people begin to make their way over to me. I knew what was coming; they were going to ask me to join in. Sure enough they came over and did exactly that. After confirming with one of the trainers that they were in fact asking that (since they were speaking to me in Chinese) I agreed. I was told to just jump in and follow the instructor. They wanted me to go in the front row, but since I’d never done a boxercise class before I opted for the middle row. I watched the instructor while in my peripheral vision saw the producer send the photographer and videographer in my direction. The class was fast and the instructions were being shouted out in Chinese over the music. I had no idea what I was doing and was always a step behind. I normally can pick up things fairly quickly, but in this moment I felt...

Learn More

Gallaugher’s Sports Fishing Camp Re-Brand

...

Learn More

30 days of “I Heart Shanghai”

Last week I posted a Ted Talk on my other website (www.clubawesome.ca) where Matt Cutts spoke of trying something new for 30 days. It could be anything such as writing a novel or exploring new recipes. You don’t have to be good at it, you just have to do it. Try it and see what happens. For those of you who have heard my stories about life in Shanghai you know that it’s been a challenging experience. While there are many difficult things to adjust to here, there are still some pretty amazing (or if nothing else, humourous) things about being here. In spirit of promoting the positive I have decided to post a new Instagram photo each day for the next 30 days of something that I love about Shanghai. Follow me on Instagram or Twitter to join in the...

Learn More

BC SPCA Animal Lovers’ Gala Graphic Design

...

Learn More

Job Opportunity: Curling Coach in Shanghai

Want an opportunity to live in China, but more importantly work with me this summer? We have an opening so feel free to contact me directly if you are interested or have any questions. POSTING: Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (Suibe) is seeking a curling coach. Located in No. 1900 Wenxiang Road, Songjiang District, Shanghai, China, SUIBE has 10,000 undergraduates. Founded in 1960, formerly known as Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, SUIBE now is one of the most renowned universities of Foreign Trade and International Business in China. SUIBE’s curling team was co-established by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, Shanghai Sports Bureau and the university in February 2012. There is a curling rink with two sheets of curling ice next to the SUIBE campus. SUIBE has founded a Men’s team and a Women’s team, the players of which are all undergraduates. Both teams won awards in the national curling games. In September 2013, both teams went to Canada and participated in training and games, and the women’s team won third place in a cashspiel held at Abbotsford Curling Club. The women’s team also represented China in the 26th World Winter Universiade and beat Japan and Italy, finishing with a final ranking of ninth. REQUIREMENTS Age between 30-55 Certified (Canadian) Level 3 in Curling or equivalent at a minimum More than 5 years’ experience of leading a competitive level curling team Bachelor’s degree In good health With a strong sense of responsibility JOB DESCRIPTION Working hours: At ordinary times: 20 hours per week (on average). During training camps: 30 hours per week (60 days training camps per year). Contract for 1 year from May 2014 to April 2015 (contract may be extended). Payment: 1. $4000 CDN per month (after tax) and possible bonus 2. Accommodation provided To find more details and apply, please email zhangbo20042008@163.com and...

Learn More

The Innovation of Loneliness

Learn More

The Minority Report: Round 2

It’s hard to believe, but as the month of February came to an end so too does the first half of my time here in China. Although it’s been a long and challenging experience to date, part of me feels as though it was just the other day that I arrived into the hot, humid and chaotic environment. While September was an exciting month full of new hellos and learning cultural norms, the mood as I return to work this semester is quite different. A sense of nervousness came over me when I returned from my incredible six-week break, with four of those weeks being spent in Thailand, The Philippines and Canada. The nerves were not present due to the unknown of what would happen, but rather knowing this time what I had signed up for. Over the past few weeks I was able to visit with friends and family to share my stories of what it’s like to live and work in Mainland China. Stories of witnessing lettuce placed out on kitchen floors of restaurants before being served, lack of punctuality and professionalism in the workplace, parents holding their babies’ legs up on the subway for them to release feces on the floor, and a general lack of personal hygiene topped the list, while many more returned to my memory each day. It was to the surprise of many – as it was to me – that Mainland China is the opposite of the organized, well-educated, polite and clean Asian stereotype found in places such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. It’s stories such as these that make it difficult to think I have to survive another six months in this country. When visiting Canada I was delighted to enjoy blue skies, clear water and an overall clean city. Although most would think that it is the dirtiness and pollution that make China living so difficult, those things (although not very nice) are not what bother me. It’s the lack of order, professionalism and efficiency that eat at me the most. The way I best described it to my friends was that Mainland China is a culture that has never been taught the lesson to look both ways before you cross the street. Something...

Learn More

I’m starting a club. It’s called Club Awesome.

I’m starting a club. It’s called Club Awesome. Want to join? All you have to do is be awesome. I’m not usually a big new year’s resolutioner and this year is no different. I have not made any resolutions, but I did decide to start a new project. Currently I am living and working China, but that will come to an end next fall when I return to Canada. At that time I have made the decision not to accept being unemployed and days, weeks or likely months of frustrating job hunting as an option. Instead I will focus on building a clientele and once again working as an independent fitness trainer. I shut down my personal training business (Urban-Edge Personal Training) back in 2009 due to the recession and have since remained in sport working in curling. Although I enjoyed training while I did it, I hadn’t missed it much over recent years. That was until last spring when I randomly had 3 different people contact me about training them. That was enough to light the spark again and I’m excited to get back into it. In an effort to get things going before my arrival back in Canada I sat down and gave some thought to how I can do things better this time. People always say “do what you’re good at.” Well, “I’m pretty good at being awesome,” I thought to myself. “I’ll just do that,” and poof Club Awesome was created. So what is Club Awesome? The concept of Club Awesome is simple; the more you think of and do awesome things, the more awesome you will become and your life will be. Club Awesome focuses on ways of improving health, fitness, social lives and money matters from a realistic and personable approach. Club Awesome is for those who want to take control of their lives and be happier than they were the year before. For those who want to focus on feeling better over worrying about a number on a scale, treat themselves and others the way they want to be treated, make the memories of tomorrow different than the ones created today, be real over ideal, and be confident that no matter how much or how little has...

Learn More

My 20 favourite photos from the past 4 years

I bought my DSLR camera back in January 2010. I had wanted to buy it for awhile, but had been debating the cost. Then my dad, sister and I won the BC Legion Curling Championship and were headed to Stephenville, Newfoundland for the Canadian Championship. That trip paired with Vancouver hosting the Olympics that year gave me the push to make the purchase. I also wanted the camera as I have a keen interest in night time photography. Since then I’ve only taken one 4-hour photography lesson, but would love to take some additional training in the future. I by no means consider myself a professional photographer, but I have managed to capture some great shots over the past four years. In the order that they were taken, here is a look at 20 of my favourites along with their stories.   1. This photo was taken during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. It is the marker post for the curling venue. It was a beautiful sunny day and I had to grab this simple photo. I love the perspective of the marker and the dominant colour of blue. I eventually used this photo as the cover to the printed end-of-season congratulation cards that Curl BC sent out to the BC champions and Olympic medalists.   2. During our last day in Newfoundland at the 2010 Canadian Legion Curling Championship our team went for a 3 hour drive around a peninsula in the south-west corner of the province. This boat seemed to capture the feel of area and I loved the bright red paint.   3. To this day, I think this photo is my favourite that I’ve ever taken. It’s of an art statue shaped like a large human head and torso that was on the grass at Sunset Beach in Vancouver for a period of time. The camera was pointed up toward the sun that slightly peaks through. With the blue tint of the photo I’ve always felt it could be mistaken for an underwater photo looking up toward the surface. Unfortunately I lost the original file of this photo when duplicate file naming from two different Canon cameras overwrote it. Luckily I was able to grab it off of Facebook,...

Learn More

2013 Year in Review Video

It’s hard to believe, but 2013 is almost over. It was one of the most challenging years I’ve faced and took some wild turns. Through the ups and downs I still managed to create many great memories, meet new people and explore new cities. I traveled to Las Vegas, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, San Francisco, Shanghai and Beijing. When putting together my annual Year in Review slideshow I was reminded that even in worst times I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful network of family and friends, and fortunate to have the freedom to take advantage of exciting opportunities. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights....

Learn More

The Minority Report: The process of a curling competition in Shanghai

During the first meeting I attended in China back in September, it was decided that the sport centre would host a competition in December to raise the profile of curling in the area. It ended up being a long process and here is how it all played out. 6 weeks out I was told that I would need to pick both a girls’ and boys’ team in each of my classes to compete in the tournament. Since I don’t know the names of most of my students (because they are all in Chinese) it became difficult to inform their teachers which ones I chose, because students (and their teachers for that matter) are often missing from class. Eventually I was able to get most of them, while some classes just handed me a piece of paper saying that their teachers (who knew nothing about curling and never attended class) had decided their teams. 4 weeks out They asked my co-worker to be the head official forgetting that she was scheduled to be in Italy with one of our competitive teams. They then asked me. They also asked me to create a skills competition that would be part of the event. Students also began to appear in classes that weren’t their own, as they wanted to practice for the competition as much as possible. I had to begin turning them away as they were disrupting my classes too often. Annoyed with the local coach who was encouraging them to do this, I did enjoy their enthusiasm. 2 weeks out A meeting was held with all of the PE teachers and it became apparent that the local curling coach was taking the lead on planning the tournament. I was told that I would not have to be present at the skills competition (so then assumed I no longer had to create it) and that 24 teams would be competing in a single knockout event with 2-end games. I was also told that there would be practice ice for each team (even though the schedule showed there only being 15 minutes between each draw). 3 days out In one of my classes that I co-teach with the local coach, I was asked to teach some of the...

Learn More

Santa’s Coming!

It’s officially December 1 in China and although I’m extremely disappointed to be missing the Olympic Curling Trails this week in Canada and the commentary of Ron Burgundy on opening day, I thought I’d post one of my favourite scenes from Will Ferrell....

Learn More

Ron Burgundy joins TSN to commentate curling

Yes, you read that correctly. Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy from the movie “Anchorman” will join TSN’s team to commentate during the opening day of the Roar of the Rings. This is in advance to the December 20 release of “Anchorman 2.” The Roar of the Rings is one of Canada’s largest curling events declaring which men’s and women’s teams will represent Canada in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.    ...

Learn More

The Minority Report: The Chinese Tea House Experience Part 2

Last month I wrote a post about the Chinese Tea House scam. This is where I was victim to a common scam here in China, where locals pose as tourists from a different part of the country, ask you to take their photograph, strike up conversation and eventually invite you for tea with them where you end up being charged insanely high prices. Obviously I was not too pleased to be apart of this, but this week my story has a comical addition. Yesterday I was downtown to meet up with a friend for a movie in the evening, so decided that I would head down early and walk around the city while doing some shopping, photography and exploring. I walked along a main street and had my DSLR camera around my neck ready to take photos as the opportunities presented themselves. Clearly I looked like a tourist, so along the way I was stopped a few times to take photos of “tourists” on their cameras. Since I knew it was all a scam I was polite, but kept the conversation short and didn’t let it waste too much of my time. Eventually I reached People’s Square where I had fallen victim to the scam last month. I was only a couple minutes away from where I had met the group of “tourists” and thought it would be interesting to see if there were there again. Sure enough as I walked along a path approaching the spot I could see out of the corner of my eye a group getting ready to take a photo. As I approached a young girl asked if I would mind taking it for her. I agreed and as I was taking it looked to see if I recognized any of them. I spotted the main girl that approached me last time. She was a cute and bubbly girl that was anything but shy last time. As the one girl came back up to me to grab her camera, she asked me where I was from. At the same time I made eye contact with the girl from last time and gave her a smile to indicate that I remembered her. The look on her face was priceless (well...

Learn More

The Minority Report: Pacific-Asia Curling Championships

This week I had the opportunity to attend the Pacific Asia Curling Championships. This is an event that I have never attended before and really didn’t know much about. They are the championships that declare which Pacific-Asia countries earn berths into the Ford World Curling Championships next spring. Both the winner and runner-up in each the men’s and women’s events earn berths. Luckily for me, out of all the places they could be played in Asia they are being held in Shanghai this week. Since I had Tuesday off from work I decided to make the 1.5 hour subway trip across the city and check it out. I also knew a handful of people from Canada who would be in attendance. Here was my experience. I left my place about 7:30am and arrived shortly after 9:00am to see television vans parked outside and signage like this.                       I followed the signs hoping to find a counter where I could purchase a ticket, but instead everywhere I went I was greeted by this.                       I asked where I could buy a ticket at every entrance I went to, but none of the guards spoke english and there was no ticket counter in sight. Eventually I made my way to the back of the building to the team entrance. These two volunteers spoke english and after some talking they told me they could get me a ticket. I waited for 10 minutes before they came back with a ticket for all three draws that day.                 So I was set for my first PACC event!                 I went back to the first entrance and was guided up the stairs where I encountered this. Full on airport security systems, and by now I was counting the amount of security guards that I had to get by from when I first stepped foot on the grounds.                       I finally got through the 15 security guards, media vans and volunteers to find this…    ...

Learn More

Throwback Thursday: 1998 BC Jr. Men’s Curling Final

It’s been almost 16 years since my teammates and I won our first provincial junior curling championship. I still remember the daze of winning and being on a big roll that weekend. It was a triple knockout event and we won both the A & B events. We lost the C final to Dan McCaughan of Chilliwack which forced us to play the B vs. C final. This is the winning shot to score 2 for a final score of 7-6. It was played at the Trail Curling Club. We went on to compete at the Canadian Junior Championship in Calgary, AB that year where I celebrated my 16th birthday during the event. We had some close games losing 3 of them in extra-ends to finish with a 4-8 record. We played against now well-known curlers such as Brad Gushue, Carter Rycroft and John Morris. Morris beat Rycroft (who had Marc Kennedy at second) in the...

Learn More

The Minority Report: Shanghai Nights

As explained before, although I technically live in Shanghai I am very far from the downtown core; about a 45 minute subway ride away. Since the subway stops around 10:30pm or so and my friends and I all work weekends, it has been a challenge to experience the downtown night life. Taxis are an option as they are very reasonably priced and I can ride home in a little over half an hour for what a 10 minute cab ride would cost me in Vancouver; however finding a driver that knows where Songjiang is and whom we can communicate well enough with has prevented us from attempting this option so far. I did meet some new local friends last week and ended up venturing downtown with them on Thursday night, but since they were driving me it was pretty easy. After a fun night out in Songjiang on Sunday night I decided that on Monday I was going to venture into the city and explore by myself on my day off. I then spoke with my friend Craig who was about to do the same. We decided that we would go together and our friend Tiffany would join us later for dinner. We thought that we could forget about the subway and with the three of us attempt to make our way home in a taxi a little later than usual. We thought we might have a drink or two and be back home a little after midnight, but instead this happened… We had a nice walk along Nanjing Road making notes of stores and restaurants that caught our eye. We even stopped to smell the flowers.                 We went into the Nike store and found a treadmill that you can test out your shoes on before you buy them. I loved this idea. Craig explained that he had never been on a treadmill before.                       We arrived at People’s Square and enjoyed the surrounding areas filled with stores, tourist attractions and food.                 We went to the Apple store so I could buy an HDMI adapter for my computer so...

Learn More

Virgin America’s New In-Flight Safety Video

I always say that everything comes down to communication. Whether it’s your personal life or a business interacting with their customers or potential customers, if you can’t communicate properly then someone is going to lose out. Virgin America is now leading the way in airplane safety communication to their passengers. How many times have you listened to..uh.. I mean sat through the in-flight safety presentation while talking to the person next to you, reading a book or looking out the window? The fact is, even though you may know how to buckle a seat belt, if you’re plane is going down then you’re probably going to wish that you paid a little more attention to what to do if your life jacket doesn’t inflate. With safety it doesn’t matter how you do it, you just need to get the message through so that people will listen and remember. Virgin America has done just that by creating an in-flight safety video that is sure to keep the attention of their passengers from start to finish, not to mention getting some extra company publicity by duplicating as a viral web video that has almost 2.5 million views in fewer than two...

Learn More

The Minority Report: The Chinese Tea House Experience

Early last week I decided to make my way into downtown Shanghai on my day off to meet up with my friend for dinner and search for a Halloween costume. Other friends from Songjiang were also downtown that day and we were possibly going to connect with each other to meet for a drink as well. I decided that I would arrive a little early and explore the city by myself first. I had been to People’s Square before, but decided that’s where I would take the 45 min subway ride to since it was somewhat close to where I was going afterward. One of the biggest challenges with the subway system is knowing where to exit once you arrive. In Vancouver, most sky train stations have one exit; in Shanghai they have anywhere from 4 – 20. The one I arrived in had about 16, so I randomly picked exit 14 and would see where it took me as I went up to the top of the stairs. I didn’t really recognize anything so started walking straight. I was about 10 steps forward and as I looked around to see my surroundings I saw a group of 7 Chinese students standing beside each other having their picture taken. When I made eye contact with the guy taking their picture, he asked me if I could take it for them so he could be included. Of course being the nice Canadian I agreed. We took a couple photos and they were very appreciative. One of the girls quickly came up to me after and started asking me questions like where I was from, what I was doing in Shanghai, etc. She was very bubbly and friendly so I asked the same questions back. They were all students from Beijing and were visiting for a few days. She asked me if I had a girlfriend (which is a very common question here) and when I said no, she joked that she didn’t have a boyfriend and that we would make a good couple. The conversation lasted maybe 5 minutes and they were incredibly funny and friendly. I was smiling and laughing the entire time. They asked me if I wanted to join them for tea...

Learn More

Why Curling Is Legitimately Awesome

The popular New York based website BuzzFeed that combines a technology platform for detecting viral content with an editorial selection process to provide a snapshot of “the viral web in realtime” has spotlighted curling in appreciation of the 100 day mark to the 2014 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games. Click here to check out why BuzzFeed thinks curling is legitimately...

Learn More

The Minority Report: The most entertaining curling dance you will ever see

This past week my partner in crime for the year arrived in Shanghai from Canada. She is the Head Coach of the teams from our university and is the only other Canadian curling coach here with me. Last night we were visiting and she told me she had a funny video that I needed to see. As she pulls out her iPad she explains that there is a major multi-sport event going on between the universities this week, and I mentioned that I had heard that something was going on. Many students have been missing from my curling classes this week due to it. She pulled up a video of rehearsals for a ceremony that was connected to the event. To my surprise, there were students dancing with curling brooms and fake plastic curling rocks. Girls were whipping their hair back and forth (for comedic throwback reference click here) and snapping their hips, while rollerbladers spun around performing flashy tricks. I was almost so stunned that I could barely laugh. “Oh my god…..OH….MY…..GOD…..,” is all that I could muster out. We agreed that we needed to find out when the actual performance was so that we could properly record it, and so around lunch time today I received a text from Doris saying the ceremony began at 1pm. She had to be on the ice so it was up to me to make my way into the arena and capture this gem of a performance. I arrived shortly before 1pm and since I work for the sports complex I entered through a back door. After walking around trying to find a good spot, I finally decided that I needed to make my way up to the top level. I asked some custodians who met me at the stairs if I was allowed to watch when they informed me I would need a ticket. I told them that I work for the complex as a coach and flashed a smile. After they made a phone call I was granted permission to make my way upstairs. They told me it would begin at 1:30pm, but in classic Chinese fashion the ceremony began about 30 minutes late. With a couple thousand spectators and many special guests and...

Learn More

The Minority Report: Bring on the deals!

Anyone that knows me well, knows that I like to shop. I usually don’t have a problem justifying a purchase because you know…. it just makes sense and I’d be a fool not to. So far, here are a few things that I’ve bought. Bike – $42 CAD It’s a small bike and not the most efficient, but it was cheap and more fun than a regular bike. I have a regular bike at home, this is really just embracing the culture.                       Phone and one year phone plan – $207 CAD It’s an android which isn’t my favourite, but it will suffice for the year. It’s enough to make calls, send texts and allow me to look up a map when I get lost. Unfortunately I still don’t know how to bring up the internet or purchase apps, but hey, baby steps.                       Nike Running Shoes – $75 CAD I own a lot of running shoes, but since they take up a lot of space in a suitcase I had to leave many at home. I’ve been walking everywhere and needed an extra pair of shoes quickly before I wore my current ones out. I bought these at an outlet mall and they turned out to be the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I may have to go back and buy them in a different colour….or two…                       Murse (Man Purse) – $15 CAD I normally like to travel light. My phone, keys and a small wallet will do me just fine, but I’ve been forced to break down and carry a bag. Public washrooms don’t have toilet paper here, so you have to carry your own incase you need it. It’s also not safe to carry your wallet in your back pocket, so having everything in one place, zipped up and in front of you where you can keep a hand on it is the right thing to do. It houses my Purell, electronic translator, tissue, keys, wallet, phone, etc. I now understand how women’s purses get so out of control…....

Learn More

7 business books I recommend

Over the past couple years I’ve read some great business, marketing and communications books. Here are seven that stood out to me and are worth your time if you’re looking for your next read. Everyone Communicates, Few Connect – John Maxwell The First 90 Days – Michael Watkins The Dip – Seth Godin Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hanson Say it Right the First Time – Loretta Malandro Unmarketing: Stop marketing. Start Engaging – Scott Stratten 100 Ways to Motivate Others – Steve Chandler    ...

Learn More

The Minority Report: Typhoon curling

Today was my first day back at work after the national holiday and I had a morning class of middle school kids. There is currently a typhoon warning and heavy rain began last night. I biked to the rink and was drenched after the 5 minute ride, but fortunately was prepared with dry clothes in my locker. The group was about an hour late arriving due to the weather, but when we were ready to start these were our conditions. The hottest ice around I’m no ice maker, but I do know it’s difficult to maintain ideal ice conditions when the weather is hot outside and humidity adds another degree to the difficulty. Today is was 26 degrees outside and the rain looked like this outside the rink…   …and this is what it looked like inside the rink.                       I had seen the ice maker doing a lot of prep work prior to the kids arriving and was pretty sure I saw him pebble the ice, but when we started to slide the ice seemed incredibly flat. After awhile I started a more advanced exercise with the group which required them to throw a lot of draw shots, but noticed all of them were having trouble getting their rocks more than halfway down the ice. Since the ice maker wasn’t around anymore I decided to put my ice maker hat on and picked up the pebbling can and put down a new layer of pebble. The kids threw a couple more rocks, but no improvement was seen. The pebble didn’t seem to take. That’s when I looked over at the thermometer and saw this…                           yeah… the air was +9 degrees. Now as I said before I’m no ice technician, but it’s my understanding that you want the air in the rink to be roughly +4 degrees and obviously you want the ice itself to be below zero. So how was that ice doing? Well I knew the pebble wasn’t freezing fast enough when it hit the ice which is why it flatted out to a smooth surface, but here is...

Learn More

The Minority Report: The Transit System

So were you like me and when you thought of any Asian subway you thought of this?     With this in mind, I was scared to take the subway for the first time. I knew there would be a lot of people and I didn’t know if I would understand any of the signs or stops. Fortunately my experience was much better than anticipated. The subway system is quite impressive here and it’s very easy to cheap to use. Each trip (45 minutes to downtown) is about $1 CAD and there are both Chinese and english signs and announcements. It is busy though. Not as bad as the above video, but at one point I did count 4 different people touching me at the same time. The closer you get to the downtown core, the busier it gets. Sometimes (depending on the time of day) You can actually get a seat and there is lots of space, but more often than not I stand because it’s too busy. It is funny to watch people run for the chance at a seat though. You have to be fast and aggressive. Even the elderly will push you out of their way if it means they can get a seat, and even some younger people will push the elderly out of the way, but typically they let them go first. I find it’s best to find out which side you will have to exit from to make sure you’re close to the door and don’t have a ton of people in your way when it’s time to get off. It can be a little stressful at times if it’s busy. I also rode the bus for the first time and that was a similar experience. It fills up fast and you’re all of a sudden stuck standing in the back of the bus and you wonder how you’re ever going to get out. You push and shove though and eventually you’ve somehow magically appeared at the door. Oh and of course I recommend completing your transit trip with a good hand rub down with Purell.          ...

Learn More

The Minority Report: 15 stitches and 3 days in hospital

Okay, no I don’t have 15 stitches and I wasn’t in the hospital, but this did happen to my new friend Craig just this past week. Like me, he had to go to the hospital to have a full physical done in order to have his work visa approved. After not being allowed to eat beforehand and then having his blood taken, Craig simply passed out while having his chest x-ray done and woke up on the floor in a pool of his own blood with nurses madly speaking Chinese while hovering over him. 3 days and 15 stitches on the top of his head later Craig was released out of the hospital, is back to work and has a great story to tell. Luckily my story isn’t as exciting.   The hospital I was told that I had to go to the hospital early this past week to have a physical done. Hoping that I would never have to step into a Chinese hospital, you can imagine that I was somewhat nervous about this. I had no idea what to expect. The hospital was in the city so one of my athletes was arranged to escort me on the trip. We arrived at the hospital (which was actually more of a medical clinic) where there were many people just like me. Apparently this is the place to go for any foreigner applying for a work visa. All of the staff spoke decent english and my escort took care of all of the paper work; I just signed on the dotted line. I was told to change into a gown and head to room 109 for my chest x-ray. That was easy. I was then moved from room to room (maybe 7 or 8 in total) where I was greeted by someone new each time who had a new exam for me to do. An eye test, blood sample, blood pressure, etc, you name it they did it. It was all pretty easy and the only time I felt a little awkward was when they tested my EKG (heart) and hooked up metal clamps on both my ankles and one wrist. It felt a little bit like the electric chair. I guess in a...

Learn More

Scientists Discover One Of The Greatest Contributing Factors To Happiness

Learn More

The Minority Report: Going with the flow

Before coming to China I was warned that a lot things happen last minute and that I would be expected to adapt. In Canadian workplaces things are usually fairly routine and staff know ahead of time when they are expected to be somewhere and what they are expected to do. In China my experience has been the opposite of this. Part of this may be due to the language barrier, but the more I learn about the culture the more I suspect it’s just how they operate. If you have plans and they change theirs, well you better change yours too.   Day by day I came into this opportunity with a very open mind and am learning I need to keep it if I expect to last the year. Things literally change day by day. On September 13 I was told that I would start the second part of my job Sept 16 and then on the same day it changed to Sept 15. Then on Sept 14 it changed to Sept 23, but on Sept 22 that changed to Sept 25. Of course on Sept 24 it changed to Sept 28. So time will tell when I actually do start. Until then, I’ll continue working with the competitive teams.   Sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow Every evening at 6pm the competitive teams meet at the rink for practice. Sometimes I arrive and 3 other local coaches are there and have plans to work with the teams. I merely follow the plan and add my input with both the athletes and the coaches as I see fit. Sometimes though I arrive and I’m the only coach there and have 12 students asking me what the plan is for the night. Luckily I’m quick on my feet and can throw something together. Regardless of how work flows here, it’s all good experience.  😉...

Learn More

The Minority Report: The 7 day work week

Here to work and save My mentality for being in China this year is that I’m here to work and save money. It’s tough to get ahead in Vancouver, so I have to take advantage of this opportunity while it’s here. Sure I’d like to see the country as much as I can and experience Chinese culture, and I will do those things, but they are not the main reason I am here and it’s not my goal to travel around and visit every city and country nearby. The 7 day work week When I negotiated my contract it was somewhat challenging due to the language barrier. An added hurdle was that I am working for two different employers. One is the University as the Assistant Coach for their competitive teams, while the other is the Sports Complex where I instruct high school groups. Due to the fact that we were negotiating my contract far before the programming would begin, they didn’t know the scheduling yet and the most we could write down was the number of hours I would have to work. Given that I was happy with the hours I surrendered to not knowing my schedule until I arrived in China. Since arriving in China I mainly deal with the University. They are my point of contact and have set me up with everything and on paper they are my sole employer, but my high school group schedule is set by the Sports Complex. After being here for one week we sat down with the Sports Complex to go over my schedule. They followed our contract regarding the specified hours, but much to my chagrin they had my working 7 days a week. Some days were only 2-4 hours, but still I wasn’t given a single full day of rest. So much for exploring the city….I asked if this was just for the first week. They replied with “No, this is our schedule for the next 15 weeks.” They wanted me to work 7 days a week for 3 months; and that’s when it hit me…. I AM IN CHINA. I held true to myself and could really do nothing but laugh as they stared at me with confused looks on their...

Learn More

The Minority Report: A different kind of fitness

Time to focus For anyone that knows me, they know that I am a big fitness enthusiast. I’ve been involved in competitive sport since a young age, studied sport science in university and have spent the bulk of the past decade working in sport and fitness. The gym is part of my daily routine. I usually go for 6 workouts a week, so it’s a big part of my life and plays a large role in how I feel both physically and mentally. After a summer full of parties, good-bye meals and enjoying North American food before moving away, like most of us I was ready to focus back in on getting in top physical shape. I was told I would have access to the university gym which I was pleased to hear and since my commitments were minimal during my initial days in Shanghai and I was pumped to get moving.   Boys & girls Within the first couple days I was invited to join our curling teams in a fitness session at the university which was led by two of the university professors/coaches. I was merely a participant in the session and was excited to workout as well as see what their routine looked like. While some of the students showed up in proper workout attire, many showed up in shoes that looked awkward to walk in not to mention run. We started with a warm up jog around the track. The boys were to run 5 laps and the girls 2. This seemed a little odd to me as both boys and girls should be able to run the same amount especially for a warm up and the difference in laps also seemed a little extreme. Although some jogged the full length, many of the girls only lasted half a lap before they began to walk, but all of the boys kept a jog for the full 5 laps. This now made sense why the girls only had to do 2 laps. We then split into two groups, boys and girls. The female coach worked with the girls and the male coach with the boys. It kind of reminded me of middle school. With only 3 teams (12 people) I didn’t...

Learn More

The Minority Report: 10 days of rice

Settled in I’ve been in China for 10 days now and I feel pretty settled in. I really couldn’t have asked for things to go more smoothly, but in 10 days it’s already been a very interesting experience.   Just add 52% alcohol  I was greeted with a big smile by my university colleague (Bob) at the Pudong Airport. Together we crammed my two large suitcases into the back of his small hatchback car and drove roughly an hour east across the city and suburban landscapes where we reached the Songjaing District of Shanghai. The district is largely populated with universities that all are bordered with their own fences and guarded gates. Before dropping off my bags, we visited the SUS Sports Complex that consists of two large spaceship type buildings that house an ice area, swimming pool, gym and a curling rink. There I met a few of the workers and mostly sat in silence as only one of them spoke english. The curling rink has 2 sheets of ice and is it’s own stand alone building just outside of the skating rink doors. It’s new, bright and has two change rooms created by a few walls of lockers and a very small spectating area.   From there we headed across the street to the Shanghai University of International Business & Economics where I will be living for the next year on campus at the university hotel. The hotel is a 2-star and houses mainly random people like myself that have some affiliation with the school, but are only here for a limited period of time. My room is small and has a single bed, desk, tv, wardrobe, balcony and a bathroom with a standup shower. It’s nothing fancy, but better than I expected and very livable for the year. I’ve been given a water cooler as the tap water is not safe to drink and will likely get a bar fridge within the coming months. I’m also enjoying having maid service every day. The maids do not speak english, but are super friendly. They smile and giggle every time I see them. The only downside is they come in sometimes even when I have the “do not disturb” light on, which makes...

Learn More

How to be a Vancouverite

This is so true!

Learn More

The Minority Report: How the hell did I end up living in China?

Hand me the minority flag Well life can throw some unexpected curves at you from time to time, but “I live in China” is a phrase that I never imagined I would say; and adding “because I coach curling here” takes it to a whole other level of ridiculousness. Yup, I’m a true minority here; I’m a 31 year old, single, gay, white male living in communist Songjiang, Shanghai, China coaching a sport that almost no one knows of.   What a difference a year makes How did I get here? Well it all starts back over a year ago in July 2012. Life was hitting an all-time high. After many years of hard work I had accepted a new job that I would start in August as the General Manager of a local curling centre in Vancouver. A better title, more responsibility, a pay increase and an opportunity to continue to work in a community that I love and make a difference on the local level. I would finally be able to pay down my student loans and save for a down payment on a home. My hard work was paying off and life was good. To add to the excitement, I met a new love interest while on vacation in Seattle during my time off between jobs. After a morning dim sum date we were captivated with each other and I was now dating a kind-hearted, muscular and good-looking dentist who owned a dog. Yup, life was awesome!   Young, but not stupid  I recognize that at the age of 30 I was fairly young to be stepping into a GM role at a sport facility that had over 700 members and a half-a-million dollar operating budget that covered 6 sheets of ice, a cafe, bar, pro shop and 11+ staff, but I earned the job with solid and applicable skills and experience. I knew that it would be a big undertaking and that the first year would be a challenge, but I was ready for it. In fact, knowing things were in a bit of disarray appealed to me because it would give me the opportunity to showcase visible improvements over the year. What I soon found out however, was that the...

Learn More

Team Joanisse Logo, Website & Social Media

...

Learn More

Throwback Thurday: See The Snapple Lady Today

Who didn’t love The Snapple Lady. Let’s bring her back as The Twinkie Lady!  

Learn More

50 great gifts Canada gave the world

Happy Canada Day everyone! Here is an interesting look at things that originated in Canada. Click here

Learn More

Aeroplan program set to switch to TD from CIBC

This will be interesting to see if CIBC can come up with a different rewards program that will be good enough to keep their current Aeroplan customers. Click here for the full...

Learn More

Kristi Gordon’s spider blooper goes viral

I was actually watching this news cast when this happened and it was pretty hilarious. She continued to laugh/cry throughout the rest of her report. With over 3.7 million views Global BC’s Kristi Gordon has experienced some recent world-wide fame. Click here for full story...

Learn More

Hashtags are coming to Facebook

Yup, it’s finally happening; hashtags are coming to Facebook. #hashtag #facebook Click here to read the story

Learn More

French Bulldog Greeting Card Design

...

Learn More
Visit me on LinkedinVisit me on TwitterVisit me on FacebookVisit me on PinterestCheck my RSS Feed