Quick dip in the lake (Winter edition)

I’m going to ask you a question. Your initial response is likely going to be “No way” or “pfft yeah right”. I want you to move past that original instinct and really think about the answer.


If I were to go down to your local lake and cut a hole in the ice, would you jump in?


My brain is wired to immediately say yes to experiences like this. In my opinion if I don’t have some medical reason not to, I have to. These are the once in a lifetime experiences that should never be passed up.



Yes it was cold, but not nearly as cold as I was expecting. The Gasp effect didn’t force me to suck in water, and my extremities didn’t send cold blood back to my heart and kill me (obviously). With the level of adrenaline going through my system it was similar to jumping into a cool pool from the sauna.

If there is an opportunity for you to try this, I highly recommend it.

10. April 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Embrace the Winter!, News, Things to do, Video | Leave a comment

Throwing Games


photo 1

I think I could say I am slightly above average when it comes to throwing darts. That being said Sometimes I can throw three bulls eyes in a row (when aiming for the 20) and sometimes I can throw 12 darts without hitting the mark (or even the board).

Like most people I bowl maybe twice annually and I average around 100 points per game. That average would probably be higher if I didn’t have the random games where I bowl a 67 trying as hard as I can.

Logic games like chess (where I have yet to beat my dad) let you stop and think about your move until you are confident enough to make it. Horseshoes, however, is a game that incorporates that distracting itch on your nose that causes you to throw like you’re playing discus. When you play these games, part of your strategy can be based on your opponent’s ability to totally wreck their shot, inevitably blaming it on sunbeams or wind direction.

These are the games where you can be in your best condition and break your neighbours windows with the bolo-balls you just threw, and the type of game where you can give up, throw a bean bag over your head backwards and get a three pointer.

Oct single open

Additionally the only way to get any better at these games is to throw, flick, toss, that one thing at the other thing 10,000 times. If you ever do find the determination and time to throw that bocce ball enough to become good, none of your friends will want to play with you anymore because you always win.

I guess what I’m trying to say is throwing games where the point is to be accurate are very hit or miss (heh).

I don’t know why I am getting so down on these games though, I honestly love them. These games are extremely social. playing one five minute game of horseshoes can go on for two hours due to the stops to socialize and it’s awesome. I also love that everyone has their own throwing game. Every time I visit the east coast I get the pleasure of playing the washer toss game. In Finland they invented Mölkky, Greeks invented Quoits. Every culture has their own throwing game, and one of the quintessential Canadian throwing games is the whole reason why I started this article.

For the first time in my life I got to fulfil my cultural stereotype. I finished my dinner of pancakes with maple syrop, donned on my tuque, drove my Zamboni to the local igloo and went Curling!


I hear all around me that curling is a dying sport, and I can’t believe it. If you haven’t curled you owe it to yourself to find the local curling rink and throw a few stones. I threw my first stone this year and I was instantly hooked. I know how boring it can be watching it, but don’t judge a sport by it’s show and actually try it.

The throwing portion of curling is just as fun/aggravating as all the other throwing sports, but now you have team mates who can attempt to salvage your bad shots by sweeping. The other portion of the game is the crazy strategy which is why curling has been nicknamed “chess on ice”. So now you get to hyper plan out your moves perfectly like a strategy game, and frantically hope that you can make the shot. This makes for a very interesting, fun, and competitive game.

I’m not sure how to pump it up anymore or explain why it’s so good, but I’ve bought a broom, joined a team and joined the curling community on Google+ (that is to say I’m in).


04. April 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog, Throwing Games | Leave a comment

The best game you didn’t realize is installed on your phone

Everyone loves a fun diversion, and if it’s an not-overly-addicting game all the better! Even if you don’t think you have any time wasters installed on your phone, you probably have an amazingly simple and challenging game that you can play solo or with friends of any age:

It’s your stop watch. Continue Reading →

17. January 2014 by arleym
Categories: News | Leave a comment

The type of snow best used to build sculptures and snowmen…


Growing up we called it packy snow. Although Here they call it sticky.

Either way when the snow is a perfect wet to cold ratio there is nothing else you should be doing than making snow sculptures or pelting someone with snowballs.

Some of the best parts of building

with snow is destroying it after.


04. January 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: News | Leave a comment

What is your leisure?

If you could drop everything you are doing and do whatever you wanted, what would it be?

T.V, movies, surfing the net do not count.

Comment below, or in the LeisureBeam community on G+ 

10. February 2013 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog | 1 comment

My new Job!

03. January 2013 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog | 1 comment


My new job, and our new life has brought us to beautiful Mackenzie British Columbia, home to the coolest sledding hill.


23. December 2012 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog, Downhill, Things to do | Leave a comment

Leisure: Cooking

Cooking is creative, productive and it can be a relaxing output for many people. It can be exciting coming up with a meal idea, or a creative cake idea for your wife who happens to be gluten free.

Rather than risk messing up everything like I almost did with the waffles fiasco, Jen and I worked together to create the monstrosity we call her birthday cake.

01. October 2012 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog, Cooking, Things to do, Video | Leave a comment

Board Games: Risk Night

I am having a hard time forming the words to explain Risk. It is not simply a game, it’s an experience. Here are some of the procedures I use when Risk is involved.

As soon as your friends and you have decided to play risk, the game officially begins. Even if you make plans in the morning and play later, those hours in the day are a perfect time to make alliances and gain influence.

The background music played changes the game completely. Try playing with an “epic battle music” playlist.

When deciding which territories you start with, deal the cards randomly. The player(s) with the random cards add 2 to their beginning force. This makes the game go much faster.

After the territories are chosen, dole out your beginning force to a maximum of 4 per territory. This prevents someone placing all their men on one territory, and makes the game go much faster.

When cashing in cards instead of using the raised set rewards the game provides , set a fixed number of extra troupes. The combinations I use are;

3X cannons – 4 infantry
3X horses – 6 infantry
3X infantry – 8 infantry
one of each – 10 infantry

This makes it so huge armies of 50+ don’t get made, the forces remain small, and the game goes much faster.

I know a lot of people do not like risk because of the time  it takes to play, the luck involved, or they think there are simply way better games that should be played over risk. I would say that Risk has a simplicity that can’t be rivaled by any other war game I’ve played, and more than 70% of what makes this game is table talk, playing the players.


20. September 2012 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Board Games, News | Leave a comment

A date gone wrong … Or was it?

The plan was simple and romantic. Drive to the “honeymoon capital” Niagara falls, have some delicious authentic indian food, walk in the park we used to flirt in when we were dating, and then finish the night off with a stop by the arcade.

Unfortunately this is not what ended up happening. We were almost at the restaurant when our car spluttered and died. Dressed up for a date, in impractical sandals and shoes we had to push our car through a set of lights into an empty parking lot. At this point if someone wanted to get worked up, upset, or frustrated I wouldn’t blame them. However, we decided to laugh it off. It only took 5 minutes to have my father in law, and the tow truck on route, and after that business was taken care of the date could start.

Here is a list of fun things to do when waiting for something, like a tow truck.

a) Wallet scavenger hunt: First one to find every letter in the alphabet just using the contents of their wallet wins

b) Eye spy: This is not only for kids. Have one player spy something, and the other player has to guess what it is. Or if you have more people you can race to find things, example “First one to find a red E wins”.

Note : Avoid just hanging around on separate cell phones the whole time. It’s supposed to be a date. There are two player games that are fun to play on your phone if you’ve got one. If you don’t have those games or there is a risk you might give too much attention to your phone put them both on the dash of the car. First person to touch their phone looses. 

Being a leisureologist, or maybe because I never clean out my car means the trunk is full of things to do. We had a volleyball, soccer ball, and a frisbee at our disposal. Always be prepared.

c) try to catch the frisbee for every letter of the alphabet: This took us a lot longer than I want to admit.

d) Jackpot: This is a game we played once my father in law came. Get one thrower and two catchers. The thrower gives a point value for his toss, and whoever catches it gets those points.

e) Bet on when the tow truck will arrive: I suggest using price is right rules. Whoever is closest to the actual arrival time wins.

It ends up we had a great date. It was not what we planned, and it will likely be very expensive (depending on the car repairs) but it was a great night. We could have let the break down ruin our night, but instead we embraced it. Leisure is what you choose to do and how it affects you.

19. August 2012 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog | Leave a comment

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