Tag Archives: games

Going for Gold: Olympic-Inspired Books and Film


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

It’s been four years since the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, and now the world has travelled to Sochi, Russia for the games.

Regardless which flag you bear, which country you call home, which event you favour, or which athletes you cheer on—as a global community, the Olympics represents a healthy dose of sport, competition, and camaraderie.

But, we aren’t all raised to be Olympians. Nor can we all make it to the games as spectators. And with the diversified time zones, we certainly can’t always witness our favourite athletes winning gold in real-time.

We can, however, celebrate the spirit of the Olympics by also complementing it with Olympic-inspired books and film.

Here are a few of my recommended books and movies about the fierce and gracious experience of the Olympics we have all come to appreciate:

Unsinkable by Silken Laumann


Just ten weeks before the 1992 Olympic Games, Silken Laumann, the reigning world champion in single sculls rowing, suffered a brutal accident that left her right leg shattered and useless. Doctors doubted that she would ever row competitively again. But twenty-seven days, five operations and countless hours of gruelling rehabilitation later, Silken was back in her racing shell, ready to pursue her dream. When the starter’s pistol rang out on August 2, she made the greatest comeback in Canadian sports history, rowing to a bronze-medal finish while the world watched, captivated by her remarkable story. Silken became one of Canada’s most beloved Olympians and has continued to inspire, encouraging people to dream, live in the moment and embrace life’s unexpected, difficult, and  amazing journey .

But there was a massive barrier in her path that she has never before spoken about, a hidden story much darker than the tale of her accident. Now, Silken bravely shines a spotlight on all the obstacles she has encountered-and overcome-in Unsinkable, a memoir that reveals not only new insights into her athletic success and triumph over physical adversity, but also the intense personal challenges of her past and the fierce determination she applies to living a bold, loving and successful life today.

Time after time, this courageous champion has proven to be unsinkable. Silken’s extraordinary story offers us an intimate look at the complicated woman behind the Olympic hero, showing how perseverance and optimism can allow anyone to embrace the incredible opportunities that often go hand in hand with adversity.

– From Chapters-Indigo website


Gold by Chris Cleave


Gold is the story of two women, Zoe and Kate, world-class cyclists who have been friends and rivals since their first day of elite training years ago. They have loved, fought, betrayed, forgiven, lost, consoled, triumphed, and grown up together. Now, on the eve of London 2012, their last Olympics, the two must compete for the one remaining spot on their team. In doing so, the women will be tested to their physical, mental and emotional limits. They will confront each other and their own mortality, and be asked to decide: What will you sacrifice for the people you love?

– From Chapters-Indigo website


The Cutting Edge directed by Paul Michael Glaser, starring D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly

cutting edge

At the 1988 Winter Olympics at Calgary, we see Doug Dorsey battered in a vicious hockey game against West Germany. We then see Kate Moseley doing her program and falling when a lift goes bad. Both have fought all their life to get to the Olympics and suddenly the dream has been shattered. The movie then follows Kate, a temperamental but talented figure skater, through many partners until finally her coach resorts to recruiting a hockey player. Through the difficult training of 15 hours of skating a day they finally prepare for Nationals and the Olympics. A romance is budding and their final show could bend or break them as they try to achieve their dreams of an Olympic Gold medal.

– From IMDb website


Nadia directed by Alan Cooke, starring Marcia Frederick as Nadia Comanici


The true story about Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci from her childhood beginning as a gymnast and how she was discovered by Belya Karolyi. Nadia received seven perfect 10’s in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

– From IMDb website


What has been your favourite moment in the 2014 Sochi Olympics so far?

Have you read or seen any of the books/movies listed above? Which one is your favourite?

Do you know any other Olympic-inspired books or movies that aren’t on this list that you’d recommend?


zara cat stamp

Wish List Wednesday: For the Gamer in Me. 04.25.2012

Wish List Wednesday:

For the Gamer in Me

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

Okay, so I’m not really a gamer. I’m more like the prehistoric equivalent of one. “In my day,” (as the older generations seem to reminisce more and more about) I had the pleasure of witnessing the “dawn” of machines transform into home computer technology through such icons as Vic 20 and the Commodore 64. This was an exciting time for us who could now move our play of Pacman and Donkey Kong from the pinball arcade houses to the privacy of own homes.

Vic 20. The way it was.
Pacman from 1973.


The kids, now, with their technological savvy may laugh with the huff and puff of GB superiority, but the creative power of their tech toys and games had to originate from somewhere even if its humble beginnings were first the DOS-style games such as The Juggler!

The Juggler game on the Vic 20, one of the first. Its medium was on a cassette.


Needless, to say, I’m not a techie. My Dad, however, is a retired LAN Administrator, AKA computer specialist and tech-savvy troubleshooter, so the mainframe of computers were always a part of our jargon and our home.

If my Dad wasn’t tinkering with hardware, he was programming software. If he wasn’t solving network problems or saving the corporation he worked for from losing millions of dollars, he was showing us the love of computers and its games–whichever one it was, of course.

I’m not an expert, but I have a secret passion for the game—and don’t laugh please—Tetris. More specifically, Tetris Attack!


And so, for this Wish List Wednesday feature, I must confess the following are high on my wish list:

Tetris Heat Changing Mug


When cold, the Tetris Heat Changing Mug shows a game of Tetris in its early stages. But pour in some hot or boiling water and it’ll reveal a game in full swing – level number, current score and all. I’m an avid mug collector and this mug is a sure favourite that I hope Santa will be kind enough to remember come Christmas time (yes, that means you, husband dear!) Available from firebox.com.

Tetris Tote Bag


Who can say no to a tote bag? Especially a Tetris one? All the more to store my books in for Tote Bag Tuesdays at the Bibliotaphe’s Closet.

Tetris Magnets


Because your game should always be on (the fridge)! Or at the very least, your tips and tricks at leading the championship. Available on etsy via Argopiffs.

Tetris Pendant


I’m into jewellery. Wearing this is surely to mark me as a hardcore Tetris Warrior! Available from etsy via marikesh.

Tetris Pillow


Need to recuperate from dropping tiles? Best to “drop” your head on this Tetris pillow. You know…for a short nap before your next game! Available from etsy via Nancy from Paris, France.

Tetris Dress


I’m an avid vintage buyer and this little Tetris-inspired baby doll dress in green is perfect for me! Available from etsy via Tortoises Treasure.

Tetris Soap


For the sweet-smelling man in my life—and to make sure he stays that way! And so he can also forgive me for always beating him at Tetris, this form of bribery always works best!

Tetris Link


Tetris Link is great for the days at the cottage or when there’s a power outage in your area. Because now you don’t have to depend on Tetris online to give you your fix.



iPad 3. Call me a sellout. It’s okay. I want one. All the better to blog with, My Love. And also to carry and read 1000’s of ebooks, which I can’t do right now because I don’t own an e-reader device—yet.

Steve Jobs: A Biography

STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHY by Walter Isaacson.


 I’m fascinated with anyone who’s highly intelligent, driven, and creative. All words synonymous with the late Steve Jobs, the apple of my eye. I still have yet to own and read his biography written by Walter Isaacson. But, I will. I will, so help me, Apple!


 That’s it for my Wish List this week! It’s been such a busy time I actually haven’t had the chance to even play Tetris. When I take a break today, I’ll sneak in a few rounds! To you Tetris Warriors on Tetris Attack, all I need to say is:

Anywhere. Any time. Any place.

Let’s play!


If you had to choose one game you could play ABOVE any others, what game would it be and why?