Babylon, P.Q.: Row, row, row yer boat, gently ‘cross the… ocean?

Row, row, row yer boat, gently ‘cross the… ocean?

Looks like fun... not

There are three guys in town who’d be well advised to stay away from watching Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, about Alaska crab fishermen, who spend their days and nights bobbing about on boiling seas, working to raise money for their families while trying not to take one for the team (and not always succeeding).

Montrealers Alok Chowdhury, Robert Idsinga and Mike Jirasek have teamed up to race across the Atlantic Ocean – in a rowboat – in a bid to raise money and visibility for the Children’s Wish Foundation. They too will be attempting not to cash in their chips. They will be one of 10 to 20 teams attempting to win the Woodvale Challenge (formerly the Atlantic Ocean Race), which will see the three of them cross 2,900 nautical miles of ocean between the Canary Islands and Antigua.

If it were me in that boat, which is about the size of a pickup truck, I’d be going through rowing shorts like a head cold through Kleenex. I would be, in a word, terrified.

"I’m nervous, but in more of an excited way pretty much," says Chowdhury philosophically. "We’re doing as much as possible to minimize the risk. For example, if the boat gets slipped end over end, it’s self-righting, so it’s designed to not be in an upside down position."

He adds that advance preparation includes "chasing storms on Lake Champlain. We definitely have to do that so we know what to expect!"

But Lake Champlain doesn’t have 30-foot swells. Or sharks. Or pirates. (Okay, I lie, it has pirates.)

Anyway, Chowdhury and Co. expect to complete their mission in under 90 days – "The slowest you’re allowed is three months, and we’re going to shoot for a month and a half" – at an average speed of 24 knots. Each rower is expected to burn 10,000 calories a day, rowing two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day. One guy rows while another one sleeps, and the third keeps watch "to make sure nothing big runs over us. Though by the time we saw anything," he laughs somewhat darkly, "it would probably be too late."

The actual race doesn’t take place until November, but the critical first leg of the challenge has already started: raising money and sponsorships. Sponsorships are vital to the success of the team and they are actively soliciting help.

"Right now we need cash because we have to ship the boat over and that’s going to cost money, and there are also the supplies," explains Chowdhury. "We’re working hard to get at least a few hundred thousand dollars. We’ll be holding some fundraising events when the weather warms up."

Already on board, so to speak, are Lasik MD (who are auctioning off a $3,500 laser eye surgery – to participate go to, Concordia University’s electrical engineering department (who are developing a physical motion-based electricity generator to power the boat’s desalinization system), Atlantic Braids (who have provided a new rope technology that glows in the dark) and Folie à Deux Winery (who are keeping them drunk so they don’t get scared… and donating product for fundraisers too probably).

As mentioned, the team is seeking additional sponsors in this ambitious and expensive undertaking. If this floats your boat, then please contact Chowdhury at


Twenty bucks to the first guy who lands a flying suplex on Paterson Montreal’s International Wrestling Syndicate are hella proud to present Ten F’N Years, celebrating a decade of knocking heads pro-wrestling style. The throw-down, which features former WWE champs Pierre Carl Ouellet and Kevin Nash in the main event, will also be hosted by local actor, comic and all-around funny buddy Mike Paterson (if you’ve seen a Jigaloo lube commercial, then you’ve seen Paterson in all his glory).

"Me, Kevin Nash, Pierre Carl Ouellet, my brother Nic, PCP Crazy Manny and the Green Phantom are all getting into the wrestling ring to celebrate the IWS’s tenth year in the business," enthuses Paterson. "It’s going to be crazy! I will be wrestling 19 other dudes in a battle royal. My bro is the president of the company and has assured me that I will win." If you didn’t, it wouldn’t be pro wrestling. The whole thing gets thumpin’ May 30 at the Medley, starting at 8:30 p.m.


Mutek keys up As techno/electro fest Mutek gears up for its 10th anniversary edition, word comes of a unique partnering that could be highly advantageous for both those who are already adept in keyboard/synthesizer composing and technologies and those looking to get a little drier behind the ears.

Now in its second year, the Roland Synthesizer Contest is teaming up with Mutek by offering free workshops to aspiring electronic musicians. This year’s workshops – focusing on looping and vocal transformation in a live performance setting – take place on May 29 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., at the Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT) as part of Mutek’s Digi_Section series. Advance registration for the workshops is mandatory and can be done online at

In addition, electronic musicians who are Canadian residents are invited again this year to participate in the aforementioned Roland Synthesizer Contest by submitting their best synthesizer tracks. First prize is a Roland V-Synth GT Version 2.0; second prize is a Roland Juno-Stage Keyboard; third prize is Cakewalk Rapture and Cakewalk Producer software. Last year’s winners were Montreal trio FM Radio Gods.

Entrants are asked to submit a three- to five-minute track (in MP3 format) as well as a completed registration form (which can be found at to The contest closes on Oct. 30, 2009.

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