Contest: Show me your Anthem! There's trinkets!

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UPDATE: contest is now closed, judgment will be completed shortly.

We here at Wired Cola have a simple policy towards pitches, corporate promotions, and special marketing offers: we can be bought, and we're cheap. How cheap? Our rate card is too embarrassing to publicly disclose. Email me if you must.

But in a rare twist on our usual beggar-thy-readership policies (all twenty of you), there's something in it for you this time.

It's a Flip video camera! I know, the best new gadget of 2007!!

I kid, I kid. I'm pretty sure this is the MinoHD, which is more like the best new gadget of 2008. Keira-Anne thinks it's the MinoHD, and she seems better informed on this stuff than I, probably because she checked, and I was more "what the heck, free goodies, yeah." In fact, maybe just go over to her site, since she's got one to give away too, and that way maybe you can win twice. Don't worry, I probably won't check. She writes more often than once a month, too, so if you just stay there and stop reading me, I'll understand.

Regarding the camera, I'd love to technically digress here, but I've already had one White Russian tonight, so let's go with, um, 720p=good, and don't let anyone other than James Cameron tell you otherwise. Note that James Cameron has a huge pile of money he uses to pay for his editing system. You do not.

Right, where was I? Glorious sponsor of all this?! AXE, they of 101 ways to de-stink the male body, and advertising so resolutely aimed at the early capture of the long-term consumption preferences of 14-year-old boys that their marketing acts as an active anti-recommendation to thirtymumble-olds like me. I'm not sure they care: my use of this stuff would probably be an active anti-recommendation to the 14-year-old boys. I'm not cool, I admit it.

Also, their site there is some sort of especially bad Flashtastrophe that wouldn't even let me in when I tried, but whatever, it's probably rubbish anyways, but they have so many ads on TV you pretty much know the drill already: buy their products, wash in them and use them on your armpits, improbably beautiful women magically appear. I wouldn't know, I'm bald and married now. But they're all hip to social marketing (thus this post) and so they have a YouTube vid to go along with this campaign, and it's totally deplorable in the usual ways, and of course I can't possibly recommend you watch it, since it glorifies sexual harassment (but in a cute way), suggests some hot women are into furry play (which is almost certainly not true, and not worth it regardless), and then has this bit at the end that makes getting beaten unconscious by two burly men look like a wild end to the night, not the harrowing, painful, bloody experience it almost always is. But hey, it would be cool if it was true! I like stories too. But the women are hot, so maybe watch it! If you like Kid Cudi, it's probably cool.

What? Contest. Kat, the very friendly marketing person who emailed me with this promo in the first place, wants me to get you, my readership, all 20 of you, to share your "power anthem." I was not previously familiar with this concept (and again, probably just go read the details at Keira-Anne's blog, because she's coherent and probably didn't write her post after drinking and doing two video game write-ups and having an unproductive day at work because she was basically lazy, because she's not, which is why her blog has 20 or so posts this month (I tried to count them all, really, but my Telus connection is so slow that when I called to cancel it this month because we're going to give Shaw a go, the nice retention specialist on the phone could only look at our "high speed" capabilities and say things like, "wow. We really need to upgrade our service in your area," and so her whole April archive page didn't even load while I was counting and so I lost interest, and besides it doesn't really matter what the exact number is, she has around 20 posts a month) and I have two), but this is an event or experience that changed you.

I think people who don't work for AXE call those life-changing experiences, but the bodywashers may be trying to hit on a certain amount of resonance with the idea of the anthem as devotional Anglican music, or more likely the concept of a rousing, symbolic composition, which I guess maybe suggests that whatever your anthem is, you've probably re-written it to be the good-parts version of your life story, but I can't blame you for that.

Right, so eventually I'll tell you that the contest is about sharing your anthem in the comments below, and me picking the best one and giving that person a Flip MinoHD (probably, unless it really is a Flip Ultra, which would be sort of okay, I guess, or if Kat reads this and decides hm, maybe this isn't the best fit for AXE's social marketing efforts since Cousineau seems to be borderline loony, and what the hell is with all that biting-the-hand post-ironic nonsense going on here, but of course I'm betting that I can have my cake and bite the hand that feeds it to me by being really funny and linking to their site and mentioning AXE bodywash so many times that they pretty much go with "any publicity is good publicity, and being made fun of by uncool thirtysomethings is even better," and so yes, I'm probably playing into their hands while still seeming hip and distant from the process of writing this for a non-zooming video camera and a gift basket of AXE shower gel (which is mine to keep, and which TLO, my lovely bride, seemed to think would be really good for me (which may prove what Christina Hendricks has to say in this interview about man-smell, which is probably just made up, because Esquire's "sexy women are articulate!" profiles always seem made-up in exactly the same way as Maxim's "sexy women are sexy!" profiles seem made up. And I'm not saying Christina or Liz there aren't articulate or sexy or both: it's more a sense that so many of these articulate or sexy women in each magazine are articulate or sexy in such similar ways that there's a strong sense of editorial homogenization going on. As an example, see this profile of Bar Rafaeli, in which Ms. Rafaeli sounds eerily like the same kind of articulate woman as Ms. Hendricks, and when they briefly talk to James Victore, Ms. Rafaeli's body painter, he also sounds like the same kind of articulate woman as Ms. Hendricks, and sexy to boot))).

Penultimately, I shall describe my power-anthemic experience. No contest: I'm supposed to say "walking down the aisle with TLO," and for sure that was wonderful and I'm still glad I did it every day, not least because she looks like a 9/10 scale (so help me, I calculated it) Joan Holloway and makes me laugh out loud every 12 hours or so, but weddings are for women, and marriage is just something that makes my life wonderful all the time. The real answer was the 8-hour death ride Tobin and I subjected ourselves to in March 2008, wherein we rode 100 km of dirt roads in search of a hot spring we couldn't even reach because we hit the snow line, and which was way more ride than we bargained for. As a runner-up, I might suggest that fleeting moment in 2005 when I was in peak shape and winning bike races.

These peak moments probably say more about my shallowness than anything else, because they're just bike rides. But one attraction of a really good hobby is the chance to have experiences that feel like existential tests. If you're lucky, you never experience an actual existential test during your day job, and you can (like me) afford to simulate them in your off-hours under controlled conditions. I do recommend such a hobby, though. It doesn't have to be cycling. It shouldn't be triathlons.

Finally, the rules. If you're smart, you've already read Keira-Anne's blog and have figured out that you need to write up your own power-anthemic experience, and you've posted your entry there, so you can just copy and paste it from her comments into my comments, and you're covered. The one and only prize is one of the two Flip whatevermodeltheysend cameras that Kat is going to send me on behalf of AXE (makers of body-care products for adolescent males, and terrible Flash-based websites, but actually I just tried it again and this time it loaded properly, though it took about 90 seconds (but that might be Telus) and when I clicked on one of the body wash flavours it took me back to the first page again and GOOD LORD AXE IF YOU WANT ANYONE TO CARE ABOUT YOUR WEBSITE DON'T MAKE IT ENTIRELY OUT OF FLASH! I ACTUALLY CHECKED IT IN MY BLACKBERRY'S TERRIBLE WEB BROWSER, AND BECAUSE YOUR DESIGNERS WERE JUST SMART ENOUGH TO HAVE A FALLBACK FOR FLASH-FREE MOBILE BROWSING, I LIKED IT BETTER THAN USING SAFARI!! THIS IS NOT A WELL THOUGHT OUT PLAN!!!). The other camera is for me. I have plans for it.

The major differences between our contests are that Keira-Anne's choosing her winner at random, while I will be choosing the best power-anthemic story, probably. I might change my mind if all 20 of you post really long stories and I get bored of reading them, but I can promise that I will at least not choose a bad story. You can just post a link in the comments if you want to point me at a story you've already written, or if it's too long, or if you want to tell it in a YouTube video or using a song you wrote yourself (shudder) or whatever. I'll follow all those links, or at least will not have any higher probability of ignoring them than I do the stories you post here.

Stories will be judged on power, anthemality, and spelling. The decision of the judge (me) is final, but TLO will probably read them, and if she likes your story, that will help a lot.

You have lots of time: I won't announce a winner any earlier than June 5, because I'll be . . . indisposed . . . for a few weeks, and won't be able to send out the prize to the winner any sooner than that. Offer is mainly for Canadians, but if you're a dirty foreigner with a really good story, I might be induced to make you the winner. Don't forget to put your email address in the appropriate field so I know who won.

And thanks again to AXE, who are paying for this, and Kat, who thought I was the nice kind of blogger.



I was doing Ride the Rockies with my sister in 2002 (maybe). We were at day 4, and it was one of the longer days. At around mile 50 we caught and hooked into a paceline with a group of guys. The line wasn't too herky-jerky, squirrelly, and they were moving at a decent clip so we rode along with them, working through for about 10 miles. Then, just as I hit the front, the road did this sweeping right turn into a little climb. I'm not sure why, or how, but very rarely in these situations I feel like Superman, like the bicycle has a damned rocket engine on it, or I just rode into a 100 kph tailwind. As I went into the bank of the curve feeling the slight g-force and onto the leading slope of the climb, I dropped a gear and accelerated, not bothering to look back, thinking everyone was feeling as great as I was since we had just worked that section fast, hard, and smooth. A minute or two later, about 3/4's of the way up, I did look back and the line was gone, there were bodies strung out all the way back down the hill with only my sister hanging onto my wheel.

Hell yeah! I love riding a damn bike.

I am a god. Or there is a God?

I have had experiences where I thought I was a star - mostly to do with athletics. I remember a gorgeous spring day in Rossland BC. I was part of a college ski meet that included racers from western Canada and the US NW. It was a long and steep slalom race that was held in front of a decent crowd. I was running among the first group.

My run seemed fine; it felt fast. I parked myself at the finish area, with enough time to watch my teammate Brent take his run. Brent skied like a god. Power, aggression. Fast and clean. I was filled with admiration in just how damned good he looked. It was just a silent appreciation of athletic prowess: quickness, power and speed.

Then the run times came out. I was stunned. My time had bested Brent's by 2 seconds - an eternity in ski racing. I really did not care about the placings, but my head was suddenly filled with images as to what I must have looked like in posting my run time. Sensations: shock & then awe.

race report


Bob probably won't submit this so I'll do it for him.

My anthem is my 1st pub

My anthem is my 1st pub crawl with a newcomers group here in vancity. A very friendly way to enjoy the nightlife of the city and start to make friends :P

Anthem Entry

The very small hours of the morning on February 10, 1997, is my anthemic moment. Words in this language, at least, can't describe the incredible, powerful, holy, intense, love-filled moment that was created in my house the second my first child was born. My husband was beside me, and just as the baby began to crown, he reached down to touch the baby's head. In the next few seconds, his huge, strong hands guided this tiny little life up and out of me, through the water surrounding me (it was a tub birth) and onto my chest. I felt quite literally touched by some divine spirit. The music playing was Bach's cello suites, softly, and when my new baby looked up and at me, I knew his voice would always be as lovely to me as that music was. He didn't cry. He looked so wise. He stole our hearts. He changed our lives. And I knew, after that experience, that there was little I wouldn't be able to face in this world.