Woooooo hoooo! Another year gone and I'm still winning contests like MAD! For my blog post on all of my 2015 wins, head here.
I'm still spending about 1/2 hour to an hour every Sunday night entering my online list of contest pages. Everything from radio stations, TV channels, newspapers, sports teams, theaters, blogs, Facebook pages, and much more. I've even joined Twitter just for the contests. I find Twitter to be horrible though; full of ads, randoms just follow me, and everyone can see your content. Yeah, yeah, I know you can set it so it's private but what's the point?! I don't tweet at all unless it's a contest, and If I do, I delete it if I don't win.
I am just not winning as much as I used to. I've found that I have been blacklisted throughout the city because I win so much. A CJAY 92 rep even told me that if they draw my name, they just throw it away and draw another person. I was like wth?! He said, "we gave you a car!" I guess so, but I had to win that with straight up skill; it was'nt just a random draw. Oh well. I now enter my wife now and occasionally family members too. All I ask in return is that they offer half to me first. Most of the time I just let them have it anyways.
My complete list of wins in 2016 is at the bottom of this blog, but first here are my top four big wins this year:
1. Joe Satriani
Joe Satriani. Rock god.
Back in April of 2016, not only did I win tickets to see Joe Satriani play at the Grey Eagle Casino in one contest from Grey Eagle's Twitter, they also had another contest for Joe Satriani ticket holders only that I entered and won. I won a meet-and-greet with the guitar legend himself, and he presented me with a Joe Satriani Signature Ibanez Guitar and signed it! Wow!
The tickets were just a Twitter contest by Grey Eagle, but the meet-and-greet and guitar prize was you had to make a video of yourself air-guitarin' and submit it via Twitter. I used Charlie and air-guitared him. It was down to one other person and myself, and I won. I credit the win to Charlie being a stylin' little man and sooo damn cute! So this is his win, and his guitar. Check the winning video here:
2. Great Falls Montana Trip
The second big win, was actually won by Natalie because I entered her on XL103 (I'm blacklisted remember). It consisted of a:
- $200 Pre-paid MasterCard (covered hotel for two nights)
- Mighty Mo Beer Co. beer glass and growler with a free fill
- $100 gift card to Bert & Ernie's restaurant
- $25 gas card
- Two $25 gift certificates to use anywhere in downtown Great Falls
- Free Ultimate car wash
Charlie, Natalie, and I drove down at the end of May 2016. It was actually a blast. I highly recommend Great Falls for a nice easy-paced trip. And Bert & Ernies restaurant was TO DIE FOR!
3. Poker Tournament
This win had no monetary value, but damn am I proud of this one. Every year over 20,000 participants from approximately 160 Calgary companies come together to take part in 16 days of Olympics-style events in September. It's called the Calgary Corporate Challenge (CCC). I decided I'd join for my company and signed up for poker.
I was always really good at online poker. Playing the free versions and racking it up to the 100+ millions, but I never really played at a live table with cash before so I thought I'd give this a go; it was free anyways. Our division had 54 players and our team consisted of three people. We all played at different tables at the Elbow River Casino. I think there were 15 tables to start. The first team member got eliminated half way into the five hour run with about six tables left; he's a pretty decent player too. Then it was down to just us two from our company and we were put AT THE SAME TABLE! We did very well together and both of us made it to the final table. She didn't last long at the final table and was eliminated, leaving myself and four others.
After five hours, moving to three different tables, I was the last man standing with the most chips. And the most chips by A LOT! I won the entire poker run! First place!! All three of us received a gold medal for our company in the CCC. We were the only team to bring home gold for our company as well! I killed it, soo fun! I think I found my new talent!
4. CBC Eyeopener Movie Review
This probably rates as one of my top favorite/most fun wins ever.
I overheard a contest on the CBC Eyeopener radio morning show where you had to call in and give a 30 second review of a summer movie. I heard this on the radio in the car on the way to work one day (I don't listen to just one radio station, I'm a jumper). So as I got to work, I parked, called the number they said, and off-the-cuff gave a 30 second review of Suicide Squad (see full review of Suicide Squad in my blog review here). It was totally unscripted and pretty rough.
I received a call a few days later by none other than Mario Trono himself. Mario is the CBC Eyeopener's movie critic (check out some of his film reviews from the CBC Eyeopener here). He informed me that I won the contest. The win consisted of a lunch at Murrieta's on Stephen Ave (my old stomping grounds where I used to bartend), a free screening of the Australian film Girl Asleep at the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), and then go to the CBC to review the film live with him on the CBC Eyeopener radio morning show! Very cool!
So that following weekend was CIFF. We headed down to Murrieta's and had lunch on the CBC – just him and I. Mario was a pretty interesting guy and very easy going (not like that other wacko local critic, Louis B. Hobnob). Mario was well dressed, well spoken, a professor of film and cultural studies at Mount Royal University, and a writer.
We had a few drinks, a very tasty lunch, and had a waitress that was very concerned about Mario's peanut allergy. We talked of our family, careers, our love for film, and my disdain for Kirsten Dunst. It was great to pick Mario’s brain. He has a great sense of humor and it’s always good to talk shop with such a strong cultured personality.
After lunch, we headed down 8th ave to the Globe Cinema. The CIFF was in full swing; red carpet and all. The festival had a fair amount of attendees which was great to see, and the theater was over half full. We had a few more laughs and then Brenda Lieberman, the programming manager came out and introduced the film.
Girl Asleep is a South Australian film set in the mid 70’s about a young adolescent girl named Greta who moves to a new school and struggles in her new friendships and awkwardness. She meets a quirky new friend named Elliot, gets bullied by this trio of mean and intimidating girls, and to make matters worse, her family invites the whole school over for her 15th birthday party. The film continues to explore Greta’s inner turmoil of becoming a teenager and not wanting to leave her childhood behind.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Each shot was like a well thought out painting. Right off the bat, the opening scene introduced us to Greta and Elliot. The shot was about 10 minutes long just zooming in occasionally on them meeting for the first time. Meanwhile, little corner-of-your-eye happenings in the background were peppered in to catch your attention in the moments of awkward silence between the two. This set the tone for the entire film.
From the fashion and decor, to the bright color palate which popped onscreen, this film was quite the eye candy. Literal narration titles would blend into the scene as if they were part of the set. For example, two hours later would appear on the exterior school wall looking like it was the name of the school made of steel. Very reminiscent of Zombieland which used the same effect. Some images such as record album covers would come to life, much like the Harry Potter newspapers and paintings, to illustrate Greta’s creative mind.
There were two really neat techniques that the filmmakers used that kept my attention though. The first was the soundtrack. The score was very Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind-esque. Droning lonely piano chords mixed with a surreal reverse effect. It kept you in a dreamlike state of uneasiness, along with the sound effects which were constantly personified. A doorbell would persistently get louder and more echoed. This kept the audio harmoniously painting pictures with the rich visuals. The other technique which I found interesting was the fact that the entire film was in a 4:3 format. Totally weirded me out. I kept waiting for it to stretch out to 16:9 but it never did. I think the filmmakers did this intentionally to poke at the 70’s nostalgia.
All in all, a really fun, different movie. It was a nice fresh feel with a lot of surprises that you would not expect. I'd highly recommend watching this flick. I'd give it an 8 out of 10. A lot of fun.
That following Monday I headed down to the CBC on Memorial drive and gave my review on-air with the Eyeopener hosts David Gray, Angela Knight, and of course Mario. I was so nervous, but I had a blast! Afterwards, I got back to work and the entire floor listened to my review! Cool!
Check out the on-air review here:
You win some, you lose some.
I enter a lot. And I mean a lot! But last year in February, the Calgary Hitmen had a contest on Twitter where they were giving away a minivan; I couldn't resist. It was called the Dodge Caravan Family of the Year contest. You had to make a 30 second video of why you were a deserving family to win. I submitted the following video with my wife Natalie and my son Charles (there's just one Charlie with a bit of editing magic):
They liked it and we made the semi-finals. The Hitmen Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation production crew came to our house and filmed the following spot. I asked if I could add a bit of creativity in-between and they obliged. I shot and edited the clip with the multiple babies (my son Charlie), and they spliced it in for our video submission. Check it:
It then came down to votes. Unfortunately we did not win. It went to a more deserving family. The guy that won was in a wheelchair. I mean c'mon, imagine if I won?! This would be my second vehicle I won and I would've snatched it against a handicapped person! People would've booed me off the ice! Oh well... I still would've celebrated the shit outta that win!
The following list is my 2016 wins. All tickets I won are two tickets unless otherwise stated, and if there's a link, click it to see the associated picture:
DJ Jazzy Jeff Cowboys Bardigras concert tickets (x4) - Cowboys promo
Laughing Herd Comedy Jam Toronto tickets (x4) - Comedy bar promo
The Wailers concert tickets (x4) - Cowboys promo
$10 Tim Hortons gift card & $25 Cineplex gift card - Entero Easter egg hunt
Great Falls Montana trip - XL103 (Natalie):
$200 Pre-paid MasterCard (covered hotel for two nights)
Mighty Mo Brew Co. beer glass and growler with free fill
$100 gift card to Bert & Ernie's restaurant
$25 gas card
Two $25 gift certificates to use anywhere in downtown Great Falls
Free Ultimate car wash
Trace Atkins concert tickets - Country 105 (sold on Kijiji for $150)
Price is Right tickets - Grey Eagle Casino Twitter
Joe Satriani concert tickets - Grey Eagle Casino Twitter
Joe Satriani Meet & Greet and Signed Joe Satriani Signature Ibanez Guitar model #JS140WH - Grey Eagle Casino Twitter
Pet Expo tickets (x4) - Country 105 (x2) and Virgin radio (x4)
Coca-Cola covert concert tickets - Breakfast Television
One year pass to Alberta's provincial historic sites and museums - CTV (Natalie)
Huey Lewis and the News concert tickets (x10) - XL103
Goat Locker Brewery beer glass and shirt - Goat Locker Brewery Twitter
Nazereth concert tickets - Deerfoot Casino Facebook
Yuk Yuk's tickets (x4) - Yuk Yuk's
The Boxmasters concert tickets - Grey Eagle Casino Twitter
July Talk concert tickets - CJAY 92 (sold on Kijiji for $300)
Calgary Home Show tickets - QR77
Oktoberfest tickets - Where Magazine Twitter
First place in the Calgary Corporate Challenge poker tournament for Entero (out of 54 people)
$25 gift certificate for Elbow River Casino
Murietta's lunch, CIFF movie Girl Asleep, review on radio - CBC Calgary Eyeopener
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra: Taste of the CPO - Calgary Sun Twitter
Three Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra shows (x6) - Calgary Sun Twitter
Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time (x2)
Rush Hour: The Best Loved Classics (x2)
Dancing Queen: The Music of ABBA (x2)
Ghouls Night Out Heritage Park tickets (x4) - QR77
Calgary Stampeders vs. Toronto Argonauts - Grey Eagle Casino Twitter
Roger Hodgson concert tickets - XL103 (Natalie)
Festive Favorites: Winter Fantasia choir at Mount Royal University - Where Calgary Twitter
Not bad again this year! 31 in total. One more than last year, with again over two a month!
The following list is the movie premiere screenings I won in 2016 as well. All movies are two tickets unless otherwise stated:
Dirty Grandpa (x4) - Scene Creek
Fifty Shades of Black (x4) - GoFobo
How to be Single - GoFobo
Gods of Egypt (x4) - eOne (x2) and CJAY 92 (x2)
Triple 9 (x4) - GoFobo
London has Fallen (x4) - GoFobo
10 Cloverfield Lane - XL 103
Sleeping Giant - GoFobo
Barbershop 2 - GoFobo
Green Room (x4) - GoFobo
Keanu (x4) - GoFobo
Sing Street (x4) - GoFobo
The Nice Guys (x4) - Funny 1060 (x2) and GoFobo (x2)
Warcraft - Mr. Will Wong
Popstar (x4) - Tribute (x2) and Universal (x2)
TMNT: Out of the Shadows (x4) - Tribute (x2) and Showbizmonkeys (x2)
Me Before You - GoFobo
Into the Forest - GoFobo
Now You See Me 2 - GoFobo
The Conjuring 2 - GoFobo
Free State of Jones - GoFobo
The Purge 2: Election Year - Scene Creek
The Legend of Tarzan - Virgin Radio (Natalie)
The Life of Pets - Scene Creek
Jason Bourne - Mr.Will Wong
Cafe Society - GoFobo
Suicide Squad - GoFobo
Kubo and the Two Strings - Mr. Will Wong
Ben Hur (x4) - Tribute (x2) and Postmedia (x2)
War Dogs - GoFobo
Snowden - Mr. Will Wong
The Wild Life - Scene Creek
Storks - GoFobo
Deepwater Horizon (x4) - Mr. Will Wong
The Accountant (x4) - GoFobo
Jack Reacher - Never Go Back (x6) - Post Media (x4) and Scene Creek (x2)
Hacksaw Ridge - GoFobo
Bad Santa 2 - GoFobo
Manchester by the Sea - GoFobo
Collateral Beauty - GoFobo
The total movie premiere screenings I won in 2016 was 40; down 20 from last year. That works out to an average of three a month. So a movie for free ALMOST every week in 2016. The only movie I paid for was again a Star Wars movie; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (cause they don't give those out for free).
I am not going to stop in 2017 and my goal is to keep winning... even though I'm blacklisted in town. I'm going to have to start branching out to other towns and cities. Possibly use an alias?? Hehe.
Have a great 2017 everyone!
And on a final note, my friend Marc bought me the Taylor Swift 1989 album in honor of listening to Shake It Off on repeat for 24 hours straight in the Live In It to Win It contest. It now sits in the painted pony's glove box... unopened of course.
A little Shake It Off just for you!