Canada Day? How About Canada Month!

Netflix CanadaY’know, sometimes I feel as though ‘Canada Day’ should be more like ‘Canada Month’. I mean, it’s not like I want the entire month off (though that’s not a horrible idea), but I think our country is so freakin’ awesome that I want to celebrate it all month long. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

My good friends at Netflix Canada have helped me celebrate my great home country throughout July, and I thought I’d share with you some of the highlights:

  • TPB - NetflixTrailer Park Boys. Listen…I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’ve been to the trailer park where the boys originally filmed their show. I know just how Canadian this show actually is (from time to time, anyway). The fact that it has crossed-over in popularity with other parts of the world just makes it all the more unique. The twisted tales of Ricky, Julien, and Bubbles never fail to entertain as long as you have the right sense of humour to truly enjoy it (viewer discretion IS advised, after all).
  • How I Met Your MotherHow I Met Your Mother. This is a television series that my family did not watch during its initial run. Thankfully, Netflix has all nine seasons available to binge-watch! As a family, we’re all hooked on this show and are up to the fourth season now. What makes it Canadian? Well, you can’t watch the show and not fall in love with Robin Scherbatsky (played by Cobie Smulders, who is originally from Vancouver, BC.). Not only that, but if you watch the episodes that involve Canadian pop icon Robin Sparkles and then don’t feel like going to the mall…well…I don’t know if we can still be friends.
  • Change UpThe Change-Up. This movie is silly, but still full of chuckles and fun. Former best friends Mitch (Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds) and Dave (Jason Bateman) have drifted apart over the years. After a drunken reunion where they profess their envy of the other’s life, they wake up to find that they have somehow switched bodies. They soon discover that things are not as great as they thought they were and then try to find a way to return their lives to normal.
  • DegrassiDegrassi: Next Class. My girls (aged 11 and 13) absolutely LOVE this show. And much like the two previous incarnations, this is a Canadian series that is filmed in Toronto. The show follows a group of high school sophomores and juniors from the fictional Degrassi Community School. What made the show popular previously is what has made it popular again: it depicts some of the typical issues and challenges common to every teenager’s life (ex: cyber bullying, mental illness, sexuality, drug use, racial discrimination, etc.). While I don’t watch this show, it’s definitely one that I will let my kids watch and learn from.
  • CaillouCaillou. I’ll be the first to admit that I was never really a fan of Caillou when my kids were younger. But this is a Canadian program produced by a Canadian studio that continues to entertain kids of the newer generation. The series is based on the books by Canadian educator/writer Hélène Desputeaux and centers around a 4-year old boy named Caillou who is fascinated by the world around him. It’s a show primarily designed for toddlers so keep that in mind if you’re first-time viewer.

Finally, there was one more reason Netflix gave me reason to celebrate being Canadian…

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That’s right…Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted on Netflix Canada during the month of July!! I know that my American friends weren’t overly thrilled to hear that Canucks were able to watch this movie on Netflix, but I provide no apologies! This is freaking awesome!!

Prod stillI’m a life-long Star Wars fan from the moment I saw the original in the theatres back in 1977. I have helped my son become a huge Star Wars fan and we both saw The Force Awakens in theatres and thought it blew our minds. I was going to buy it on Blu-ray, but I’m putting that purchase off for the time being so we can continue to repeat watch the movie on Netflix…whenever we want!

Clone Wars title treatmentAdd to that the fact that all SIX seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars are also available on Netflix and you can only imagine the bonding experiences my son and I have had over the past couple of weeks. There is so much Star Wars fun to be had that we barely have time to watch anything else!

So let’s revel in the fact that Netflix Canada has helped us all celebrate Canada Day during the entire month. Maybe this is the beginning of a new Canadian holiday?

Kung Fu Panda 3 – Awesome Edition Giveaway!!

Kung Fu Panda 3 - fAs the father of a blended family of five kids, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve seen Kung Fu Panda. Where my youngest is turning 10 in September, I think it’s probably also safe to assume that I’ve seen all three Kung Fu Panda movies. 

Kung Fu Panda 3 - bKung Fu Panda 3 (from DreamWorks Animation and is an action-comedy that pleases kids and adults alike. After reuniting with his long-lost father, Po travels to a secret village and meets a ton of new panda friends and family members. But when the supernatural villain Kai challenges all the Kung Fu masters across China, Po must discover the teacher within himself and train his clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas!

Kung Fu Panda 3 - cThe Blu-ray contains a number of special features such as Everybody Loves a Panda Party, Panda Paws, Play Like a Panda, and The Origin of “Skadoosh”. The great thing about this Blu-ray is that with the movie comes a Digital HD code that allows you to watch this movie on all of your enabled devices!

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How do you win this Blu-ray for your family? It’s simple!!

Once those three things are done…

  • Make a short video of you and/or your child explaining why they would like to own this movie. It doesn’t have to be long…just a quick 5-10 second video uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, or any other social media outlet that you’re attached to. 

That’s it! I’ll randomly pick a winner from the entries on August 31st, 2016. Good luck and have fun!!Kung Fu Panda 3 - d

The Mini-Reunion (part three – the conclusion)

I can’t lie…I was a little bit nervous about going. Thankfully, those feelings were set to the side very quickly. Here’s how things went…

Sunshine and I left the city at about 4pm. We had adult beverages and snacks for people (in an effort to get on everyone’s good side). Sunshine was pretty nervous about the whole thing, too, but for different reasons. She had never really met any of my friends in a casual setting (i.e. outside of my mom’s funeral) so she wasn’t sure what to expect.

We got to the bustling metropolis of Amherst, Nova Scotia around 6pm and hit the local Subway for supper. I know we were asked to bring something to BBQ on the grill, but I thought that by the time we got there that everybody would already be done eating, so I didn’t want us to stand out in any way.

It was another 25 minutes to the house by the ocean, and as we drove along I began to have flashbacks to when I was in my teens. I had traveled that 20-minute stretch of back-road a hundred times in my youth so attend local parties or hang out with friends by the beach. I told Sunshine about some of the stories and it helped me feel a bit better about things.

As we parked and got out of the car, I wanted to act as nondescript as possible. That was going to be impossible as I immediately noticed my best friend staring at me. In fact, because everybody else was behind the house (they have a back deck/grilling area), he was the only person I saw. I noticed him say to someone something about “Guess who’s here?” or a similar line.

He then broke the silence: “Hey CBG…how’s life treating ya?”

I wanted to come up with something witty, but instead spit out : “Livin’ la vida loca, buddy.”

Ugh. How lame did I sound saying that?

Initial introductions were a bit awkward as most people there had met my wife under less-than-ideal circumstances. While she was standing there, I was giving hugs to friends I hadn’t seen in years (in person, anyway…thanks Facebook!). All told, I think the first hour we were there was a little awkward…though it was more us than them. My friends were very welcoming and just wanted to sit back and talk.

It took a little while that night, but I feel like a lot of barriers disappeared as our conversations continued on. Of course, adult beverages didn’t hurt…but the conversations were good. We talked about life, career choices, our kids, and just how lucky we all were to be with our respective spouses.

Really…talking to my best friends felt like no time at all had passed. There were no weird silences and laughter accompanied a lot of the stories that were told. By the end of the night, we had shared phone numbers and added each other to our phone contacts…promising to not wait years to stay in touch again.

As my best friend left, we gave each other a hug. It lingered a bit more than a normal “man hug”, but when we let go and he began to leave, he gave me a look and nodded slightly. It was if to say that yeah…this was good.

Of course, my friends really liked my wife and they all got along famously. That never even crossed my mind as being a problem, though…I know them and I know her, so I knew that they would all get along really well.

Looking back, I’m now really excited about our next potential trip there. The awkwardness will be gone and we’ll have a real chance to rebuild friendships and enjoy life.

I’m just wishing I hadn’t waited so long to make this first step.