Said The Whale Giveaway: Because I Love to Give, and I Have Fucks to Give

Back in February I pre-ordered Said The Whale‘s new album As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this album, i’m a huge Said The Whale fan but after a 3 year hiatus and loosing two band members it could go either way.

Three days later I made the split second decision to dive to Calgary and catch their midnight set at the BIG Winter Classic Music Festival and man am I glad I did. They had the same energy, the same passion, the glorious harmonies, all warped in a shiny new coat. Said The Whale is truly back!

The album pre-order came with an instant download including two tracks from the forthcoming album and two b-sides. One of the b-sides is a track called “Fucks to Give” and for the last month it’s been in super heavy rotation for me.

I fucking love having Fucks to Give.

I wish I could share the track with you. It’s fantastic but, hell you can’t even find the lyrics online. So I went back to my high school days and played, paused, hit rewind and played again until I could capture the lyrics to share with you.


Fucks To Give by Said The Whale

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

Because I love to give, and I have fucks to give

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

 

I got you – I’m the lucky one

I don’t fear the things I feared before

and I’ll let you hold back the door

And I want to know things like do you trust me

And if I had a different body would you still be

in love or would you be out the door

 

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

Because I love to give, and I have fucks to give

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

 

Somebody only wants you (x12)

 

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

Because I love to give, and I have fucks to give

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

 

You are beautiful inside and out

And you deserve to have love

You are beautiful inside and out

And you should feel respected

 

You, are you and no one else

You, are you and no one else

You, are worthy of real love

You, are worthy of love

 

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back

Because I love to give, and I have fucks to give

I don’t want to love someone who doesn’t love me back


Said The Whale‘s new album As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide will be out March 31st 2017 – and I so stoked they’re back that I’m giving away three vinyl / digital copies of their album.

Let me know what makes you have Fucks to Give in the comments and on Friday March 24th I will randomly select three commenters and personally buy them a vinyl / digital copy of Said The Whale‘s new album As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide.

Until then, lets step into the darkness.

 

 

Let’s Talk: Depression & Anxiety

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day here in Canada. Since 2010, Canadian media giant Bell has been encouraging all Canadians to engage in conversations about Canada’s mental health. They’ve been successful in creating a united movement of ordinary citizens, Olympians, Musicians, Celebrities and even Politicians to talk about their own struggles and support others in their journey. It’s incredible and as much as its an advertising campaign for Bell, I respect their efforts and commitment to the cause. Today, Bell will donate $0.05 to mental health initiatives for every tweet with the hashtag of #BellLetsTalk on Twitter and Instagram. Every watch of their video in Facebook, every use of their Snapchat filter and even ever call and text message sent on their network. In the last 6 years, that’s added up to an amazing $79,919,178.55 and a hell of a lot of conversations that needed to be had! So with that, I would like to some of my journey.

 

Warning: Shit is about to get real

I’ve struggled with depression my entire life, but I would like to specifically share how it’s evolved over the last 12 months. Most of you know that over the past two years I went through a bad breakup of a long term relationship that brought me down for almost a year, took an absolutely toxic job and then lost it, and was off work for almost 9 months. Interestingly enough, that’s not what gets me down.

 

I fail at human interaction.

Like depression, I’ve always struggled with anxiety but the last year has amplified that to a level I’ve never seen before. A lot of people would say I’m pretty outgoing. I’m well known in my community, the surrounding communities, and online. But the truth is, interacting with others without context scares the shit out of me. I have no problem speaking to a room full of people, but one on one is something I struggle with more and more every day. This anxiety makes me talk a lot, in fact way too much, and I feel like people I meet think I’m a self-absorbed asshole. I accidently cut people off all the time and I hate myself for it. Honestly, I hate talking about myself. One of my greatest joys is hearing people’s stories. I love documentaries, I listen to podcasts like Story Corps that capture the stories of everyday people, truly care about your life’s journey. But I never seem to get there anymore.

This anxiety spills over into many other aspects of my life. I will go to my local brewery for a pint, see people I know well, some I’ve known for years and struggle with anything more than a hello. Unless I’m explicitly invited over, I will sit by myself. Thinking the whole time that I should go over to chat, twisted up inside because of the cold shoulder I’m giving them.

This summer I started running in an effort to be more healthy and I was damn successful in my efforts almost reaching my goal of running 10km every day. All summer I watch my friends, my ex-wife, and even my children do awesome runs together and I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on doing it myself. I didn’t want to run into people I know and be embarrassed about my physical appearance, my lack of experience, or feel like I’m forcing myself into their worlds. Since I hurt my leg in August everything has gone off the rails again. I don’t run anymore, I’ve been eating like garbage and it pains me to admit I’ve gained 18 pounds.

I’ve stopped inviting people to do things and withdrawn from most things altogether because I don’t feel welcome. I go to movies alone, shopping alone, concerts alone, and it tears me apart. I’m not an anti-social person at all, I crave human interaction, but I can no longer be the catalyst because I’ve convinced myself that I’m a burden on their lives. This also means I will never be the one to kiss the girl first. I mean, why would she ever want to kiss me? I will never be the one to tell a stranger she’s beautiful or ask her on a date. If I don’t want myself, why would anyone else?

 

I fail my community.

The thing that makes me happiest in life is serving others. Big or small, I thrive when I know I’ve made a difference in someone’s day. Whether that’s giving of my time, sharing my knowledge or creating something positive for people to do. I absolutely love it and in times of pain, it’s been where I turn for fulfilment in my life. Last year I feel like I’ve really failed the non-profits dedicate my time too and even more so my fellow volunteers. I let depression take hold of me and my mind was so cluttered I couldn’t deliver on my promises. I put hundreds of hours into projects to come out with nothing and be too embarrassed to respond to emails.

For the last 8 years, I’ve been involved with every major Canadain Red Cross response in some capacity. I’m highly trained, have a lot experience, wasn’t working so I had all the time in the world and when things when wrong in Alberta this year… I didn’t even pick up the phone. The things I was able to complete for my community last year were a drop in the bucket compared to my usual efforts and were not executed to the best of my abilities.

 

I fail myself.

I feel like I’ve failed at everything I set out to do for myself in the last year. I sowed into a path of getting healthy and failed hard. I gained weight and I’m lucky if I remember to eat once a day. I’ve always been good at taking care of others, and never good at taking care of myself. I hate the way I look, the way I feel, and have no motivation to change anything.

I set out to launch a weekly YouTube show about movies, one of my greatest passions. I spent weeks filming the first 6 episodes, edited them, did custom animation for each one, promoted it on Twitter… and didn’t release a single episode. Watching them back all I saw was negative. The gap in your teeth is getting bigger Edward, look at the grey in your hair, you mumble and stumble over your words, that animation could be better, your voice is terrible, this is shit.

Most days it’s hard for me to get to sleep, and even harder to get out of bed. This makes me feel like a shitty father because in means that the little time that I do get with my kids is even shorter. When I do get up, I don’t feel like doing much and it pains me to see the legacy I’m leaving. I want nothing more than to be the greatest father and hopefully one day husband in the world. But I know, I’m not doing my best.

 

This is what echoes in my head every day.

 

But, I know it will be alright.

Deep down I know these feeling are bullshit. I know I’m a good person, I know I bring value, and I know that I’ve achieved more in my 32 years than most will in their lifetime. That’s the thing with depression and anxiety, it’s completely illogical. We know that most of our feelings are bullshit, but it doesn’t mean we don’t feel them and it doesn’t mean they will go away. With time, we can learn to manage them.

The things that get me through:

  • I have an amazing family. Loving parents, a brother that has become my best friend, an ex-wife that still truly cares and two loving children that show me every day how big their hearts really are. It’s important to have a great support system and I really do.
  • Amazing friends. I don’t see my friends as much as I would like to but I am so thankful for them old and new. I’ve had more real conversations in the last year then the 5 previous and it’s a beautiful thing.
  • Blogging. I’m going to let you in on a little secret… I don’t blog for you, and I’m not looking for a following. Sure I get warm fuzzies when I see interaction on my blog but for the most part, it’s therapy for me. When I was a teen I would toss on music and write pages and pages. Fill notebooks and never read them. Publicly speaking about my pain has helped me work through it and bring a new peace.
  • The creative community. I chose a great profession. Yes, often gets me down, breaks me… but it also builds. The creative community online has been extremely open with their struggles in both profession and life. Creativity and depression often go hand in hand. Thank you to everyone who shares their struggle with the world.
  • Music. I can honestly say that I owe an extreme debt to the bands PUP and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls for getting me through the last year. Their honesty and passion mean a lot and Frank’s personal words to me really helped me move forward.
  • Real conversation. I try as hard as I can to not hide behind a mask. I’m unfiltered, raw, and real. This scares a lot of people off but the ones the stick around enhance my life more than anyone could know.

You’re not alone. We all have pain, we all have doubt, and we all try to hide it. Friends, strangers, enemies, I’m here – let’s talk.

After 17 Years of Dreaming I’m Headed to CES 2017

It’s 2:30 am here in Alberta and I really should be sleeping, but it doesn’t seem like that will happen tonight. A combination of nervous excitement and a flurry of last minute things to do has me buzzing. In just two and a half hours I will be headed to meet the team and our journey to CES 2017 begins.

For those that don’t know what CES is, let me break it down for you. CES (Consumer Electronic Show) is a massive industry tradeshow where technology companies from around the world gather to show off the latest and greatest innovations in consumer electronics. With 165,000 industry attendees, over 5,000 press, and 4,500 exhibitors CES is a mammoth event that takes over Las Vegas every January.

 

 

This is not the everyday stuff that you see in stores, but what will be coming down the pipe over the next few years. CES is where the big electronics players like Samsung, Sony & Intel let their R&D teams out of the bunker and unleash their creations on the world. Hell, this year Fiat Chrysler, BMW, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, and newcomer Faraday – are snubbing the Detroit Autoshow and unveiling their new electric and hybrid vehicles.

 

Electric car maker Faraday will unveil the Faraday Future tonight. A much-anticipated announcement that experts say may make of break their company.

As a designer & developer, I love technology. I’m constantly fascinated by the innovation in the industry and if popular culture tells us anything, we all want to live in the future. Since 1999, I’ve sat at my desk year after year listing to the press conference while I work, reading articles on my breaks, standing in awe of what is to come. Every year I think, I would love to be there walk the show floor. To see it for with my own eyes and take it all in. This year that dream is coming true.

The amazing part is, not only will I be attending CES for the first time. This year our team will be there to showcase a handful of consumer products that I designed. Real, tangible things that others will get to say “Shut up and take my money!” about. It’s going to be a fantastic week swimming with the big fish.

I’m excited to share the good, the bad, and the downright weird that I find at CES 2017 as the week progresses.

High Rotation: Twenty One Pilots X MUTEMATH

Albums dropping out of the blue has become a bit of trend in the music industry. We’ve seen secret albums from Drake, Beyoncé, Skrillex, and even Mr. Akward himself Michael Cera. There’s a definite strategy in surprising fans and music critics alike with something new and unexpected. Artists get to create in their own time and bring their art to the world free of the pitfalls that come with prolonged periods of anticipation. This week, we got a Christmas gift that’s truly something different.

On Monday night, Twenty One Pilots released an EP titled TOPxMM “The MUTEMATH Sessions”.  The EP features of 5 of Twenty One Pilots hits reimagined with their tour mates MUTEMATH. (MUTEMATH is amazing live, more on that later) When their tour concluded each member of MUTEMATH shared letters with Twenty One Pilots about their tour, the memories and their thankfulness for being included. Neither band wanted the experience to end. Read the open letter from MUTEMATH frontman Paul Meany here.

Back in August,  MUTEMATH’s Paul Meany had posted his remix of Twenty One Pilots “Stressed Out” on the band’s official YouTube channel.

 

 

This gave them the idea to enter the studio together and reimagine some more tracks. The result is a sonic odyssey featuring everything from upright bass and screaming guitars, to synthesizers and even dueling drummers. It’s distantly different, yet somehow incredibly familiar and seamlessly blends the signature sounds of both bands. It’s not often that you see a mashup of this level and you can tell this project was born out of mutual respect and passion. You can check out the 25 minute in studio performance in below.

 

 

The best part? This collaborative EP is being offered as a free download on Twenty One Pilots website until January 18th, 2017. So jump over and snag your copy now.

 

MUTEMATH the band few know, but everyone should

I’ve been a fan of MUTEMATH for a very long time and I feel like they are extremely underrated as a band. They’ve never been a huge despite being included on many movie soundtracks including: Transformers,  Twilight, Need for Speed, Never Back Down and a handful of others.  Back in 2007 I had the pleasure of seeing them live with my brother ar the University of Alberta. They blew me away with the depth of music they were able to pull off live and it set an incredibly high bar for live performances. Here are a few of my favorite MUTEMATH tracks.

 

 

What bands do you think are underrated? What bands would you like to see collaborate? Let’s discuss. 

10 Unisex Holiday Gifts for the Nerd in Your Life 2016

It can be really hard to find the perfect gift for that nerdy person in your life. Everyone I know would define me as a nerd, but I’m not the kind of person that wants to collect a mountain of pop culture trinkets. This means on the surface, it looks nearly impossible to find a great gift for someone like me under $500. Fear not! To assist you on your quest for the perfect gift, I have compiled a curated list of awesomeness for you!

NES Classic Edition

$79.99 CAD

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Nintendo has given is us nerds a reason to celebrate this holiday season. They created a mini version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System that comes loaded with 30 of that NES’s top games including some of my favourites: Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, PAC-MAN, Final Fantasy, Kirby’s Adventure, Excite Bike and more! The console is updated to work through HDMI on modern TVs and comes with one controller. Additional controllers are available for just $12.99. This is an extremely hot item and may be hard to find.

Buy on Anazon.ca

 


NASA The Grand Tour Poster

$40 USD

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Last year NASA and the creative team of visual strategists at JPL, known as The Studio, worked with 9 artists to create a series of space tourism posters titled “Visions of the Future.” The Grand Tour poster was created but the team at Invisible Creature (a small studio I’ve been following for years) and they are offering a professionally printed version of their poster signed by the artist.

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You can also download FREE print-ready versions of the entire series on NASA / JPL’s website, large enough to create 20″ x 30″ posters of your own.

Buy from Invisible Creature

Download form NASA


League of Movable Type Font Shirts

$29.99 USD

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The Leauge of Moveable Type has been supplying amazing open-source fonts since 2009, including one of my all time favourite fonts Ostrich Sans by Tyler Fink. It’s one of my most used fonts and I’m so stoked to be the nerd sporting it proudly on my torso pants. They have a verity of unisex shirts available that are sure you satisfy the type nerd in your life.

Buy from Leauge of Moveable Type

 


UE Boom 2

$249.99 CAD

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The UE Boom 2 is a beautiful piece of tech. This is by far the best sounding bluetooth speaker I’ve ever used. It projects sound from all sides making this compact gadget a real powerhouse. It’s waterproof and fully submergeable so you don’t need to worry when taking it to the lake or even in the shower. I’ve given multiple gifts from the Ultimate Ears collection over the years (including the UE Boom) and you can never go wrong with their products. Hell, for you nerds out there, you can just tap your android phone to the speaker and it uses NFC to automatically pair the bluetooth for you. Simply beautiful, and it comes in a whole rainbow of colors.

At most retailers if you buy before December 1st you can save $100.

Buy From Amazon.ca

 


Android Wear Smart Watches

As an early adopter I picked up the original Moto 3060 Android Wear smartwatch at launch and I’ve absolutely loved it. Android Wear is smart, functional and works across platforms with Android and iOS devices.

For Him: Nixion Misson – $479.99 CAD

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Smartwatches have been growing in popularity and I’ve been waiting for a major watchmaker to jump into the game. Now we have two! The Fossil Q Founder and the Nixion Mission. I’m in love with the Nixion mission. It has all the markings of great Nixion style and is a fully ruggedised Android Wear watch. It’s even waterproof so you can wear it in the water. It is 100% on my wish list.

Buy from Altitude Sports

For Her: Rose Gold Moto 360 2 – $399.99 CAD

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Continuing their amazing line of Moto 360 watches, the Moto 360 2 is a great Android Wear smartwatch and this Rose Gold beauty is a stunning example of how tech doesn’t have to be ugly.

Buy from Google Store


Field Notes: Lunacy Special Edition Notebooks

$12.95 USD

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I love a good notebook and Field Notes have become the gold standard. Heck, I ran into comedian & podcaster Marc Maron this July in Salt Lake City and he had a Field Notes notebook sticking out of his shirt pocket. We ended up having a great discussion about their creator Aaron Draplin. This limited edition set features three different moon phases and would gift for all the nerd out there.

Buy from Field Notes


code:deck Playing Cards

$8.00 USD

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code:deck is a standard playing card deck but each individual card features a code snippet describing a different programming language. I own a set of these cards and absolutely love them.

Buy from Varinto 25


FreezerBoy Dry-Erase Refrigerator Magnets

$14.99 CAD

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Make that honey do list a a thing of beauty by turning your fridge into a giant game boy. Gamifying your life is a sure fire was to make that nerd in your life a jolly quester.

Buy on Amazon.ca


Twelve South Leather Book Laptop Case

$99.99 CAD

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Embrace your book nerds love of reading with this classy leather laptop case. A great mashup of old world, the hand-crafted leather makes for a sophisticated choice this holiday. It’s also available in an iPad version.

Buy from Amazon.ca


The PancakeBot

$299.99 USD

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Damn right, it’s a digital printer for pancake art! This thing is bad ass. You design your pancake in their software (or grab one of their pre-made designs) toss an SD card in the front with the file, fill it with batter and freaking print your breakfast on its built-in griddle. Can you tell I want one? You have to see this little guy in action.

Pretty sure you will be the coolest parent on the block with this in your kitchen.

Buy from Store Bound

 


 

I hope you enjoyed my gift guide of nerdy goodness. Do you have any suggestions for nerdy holiday gifts? Let me know in the comments!

 


 

High Rotation: 10 Songs That Will Make You Want to Fall in Love

This week in High Rotation were taking a deep dive into my music collection to look at 10 songs that will make you want to fall in love (or at least that make me want to fall in love).  Although there are a few “classic love songs” on the list, what it really focuses around what inspires me to love. The wonder, the struggle, and passion that make us want to be a better version of ourselves.

 

1 . Arkells – 11:11

Oh, 11:11… The first time I heard this song on it was seared in my brain. I must have listened to this some 1,000 times last summer. It’s fun, upbeat, makes me want to dance (when I saw them in January it looked just like the video lol), and for as smooth as it is… just as anxious as me.

I was nervous just standing with you, you were glowing in the dark

I mean if I could choose a way to fall in love, enjoying an evening at a show would be it.


2. Reuben And The Dark – Heart in Two

I made a huge miss when I didn’t include Funeral Sky from Calgary’s Ruben And The Dark in my 5 Albums I Wish You Knew post. Seriously. Buy it. I first encountered their single Heart In Two when I saw them play at the 2015/2016 NHL Face-Off (first game of the season) concert. They only supposed to play three songs and but they snuck this one in and it came across with such passion.

You say reverie came over me – Like fire, like blood, like sunlight

This is not your typical love song, it’s about being lost in their wonder while longing for their presence. Stuck in a daydream.


3. Dashboard Confessional – Remember to Breathe

This a been one of my favourites for a very long time. It’s a conversation I have with myself from time to time. It’s interesting to me that some situations that are simple, so small can mean so much to us. I love this line.

I’m starting to panic, remember she asked you, remember to breathe

So very me. Sometimes we forget the anxiety, the nerves, the butterflies, it tells you your headed in the right direction. If it’s nervous and awkward for both of you, there just might be something real there. Embrace the awkward.


4. Matt Epp & The Amorian Assembly featuring Serena Ryder – When You Know

This wonderful duet between Canadain rockers Matt Epp & Serena Ryder was born from a conversation about how they both “just knew” that has found their one, and it answers the age-old question “How do I know if I’m in love?”

Change man, change man, never be the same man, everything is different when you know

We all long for that moment it just clicks and we know, this is the person I want to spend my life with.


5. Kina Grannis – The One You Say Goodnight To

Love is an inspiring thing. When I’m in love it inspires me to create, to show my passion, and return it in kind. Kina Grannis’s The One You Say Goodnight To is beautiful, it reminds me of Ingrid Michaelson’s The Way I Am and that’s a huge compliment.

Funny thing is I’m trying hard and it’s unlike me to get so caught up in things. But I won’t quit, I won’t quit ’til you smile at me.

If I could be the way to inspire someone like that… there wouls definitely be a smile from ear to ear.


6. You + Me -You and Me

You + Me is the supergroup lovechild of Dallas Green (City and Colour / Alexis on Fire) and Alecia Moore (P!nk). Their skilful lyricism and beautiful harmonies create a vivid picture of what love actually means.

You can be flawed enough but perfect for a person, Someone who will be there for you when you fall apart, Guiding your direction when you’re riding through the dark, Oh that’s you and me


7. Wakey Wakey – Adam & Eve

I can’t have a list about love and not include one of the most passionate artists I know Wakey Wakey. I wish I knew the actual circumstances of this song but Adam & Eve to me it the plea to not run from something real.

You and I are still a seed, Reaching for the sunlight, Pushing up through the rocks and weeds, Trying to grow upright

It’s not the sunshine and rainbows love songs you’re used to, but the beauty of love is in the struggle. The last line is awesome, “I’ll be Adam if you be Eve, you can get me into trouble” lol


8. He Is We & Aaron Gillespie – All About Us

This is one of those songs that makes you want to grab someone and dance. I am a huge fan of He Is We and their collaboration with Aaron Gillespie (Lead for The Almost, Drummer / Vocalist for post-hardcore band Underoath, and touring drummer for Paramore) just sweeten the deal. If I was to pick a first dance song for my wedding, this would be it.

Suddenly, I’m feeling brave. I don’t know what’s got into me, Why I feel this way. Can we dance, real slow? Can I hold you, real close?

Two side notes. 1. I had the pleasure of seeing He Is We live in Columbus, Ohio back in 2012. Lead singer Rachel Taylor suffers from Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis in which there is long-term inflammation of the joints of the spine. That day touring was taking its toll and she was taken to the hospital for treatment. She came from the hospital, sang her heart out, and was immediately taken back to the hospital. Mad respect.

2. This song was re-recorded with Owl City for the Mortal Instruments soundtrack and with hopes of greater radio play… don’t get fooled… it’s nowhere near as good as the Aaron Gillespie version.


9. Marty Sampson – Landslide

This song was extremely hard to find but I’m glad I did. Landslide is from Australian Marty Sampson’s one and only solo album Let Love Rule, he recorded on a break from the Christian youth worship band Hillsong United. This is hands down my favourite song to sing and you will often find me singing it in the shower lol.

Lay by my side, lay your head apon my shoulder tonight, you know its gonig to be alright

Laying awake, looking down while someone you love sleeps cuddled in your arms is one of life’s prefect moments.


10. Relient K – The Best Thing

Sometimes love come along just when we need it, and changes everything. After the year I’ve had, it certainly would be the best thing.

Cause when I looked into your eyes and you dared to stare right back, You should have said, “Nice to meet you, I’m your other half”

Randon Fact: Matt Thiessen used to date Katy Perry and their breakup resulted in a fantastic album lol. Since then he has co-written many songs with Katy and his wife engineered Katy’s album Teenage Dream.


Bonus: Vocal Few – Blue

Time for the bonus round! Blue from husband and wife duo Vocal Few is not a “love me” song, but an I love you so freaking much song. So much that you can’t stand to see their pain, you would rather bear it yourself. Matt (The Classic Crime) & Kristie MacDonald’s ability to capture the realism of marriage from all sides is fantastic. If you ever get the chance to see them live I highly recommend it. I was fortunate enough to see them in a strangers living room a few years ago, and amazing experience.


 

What song makes you want to fall in love? Let me know in the comments and if you have a topic idea for future editions of my music series High Rotation, I would love to hear them.

 


 

High Rotation: 5 Albums I Wish You Knew

Music is a huge part of my life. I love discovering new sounds, songs and experiences. You will often find me in some dingy bar, in the middle of a sweaty crowd, lost in the moment. When I find something wonderful I can’t help sharing it with others, so welcome to my new post series High Rotation where I will share some of my favourite artists, albums and tracks. Moving forward each article will be focus around a single subject, musical concept or genre but for today. Here are 5 albums that I wish you knew. 


Wakey Wakey – Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You…

I’ve been a fan of Wakey Wakey since their 2009 EP War Sweater, but I’ve listened to their 2010 album Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You… front to back, every single week since its release 2010. Packed with passionate ballads and indy anthems, each track on the album carries a distinct yet familiar sound. A heavy focus on piano and violin give a soaring, almost cinematic feel to the album.

For the One Tree Hill fans out there you may notice frontman Michael Grubbs. He played “Grubbs” in the series and many of Wakey Wakey’s original songs were featured in the show.

My favourite tracks: Almost Everything, Car Crash, Dance So Good, Light Outside.

Buy or Stream The Album


PUP – The Dream Is Over

Toronto’s Pup has quickly become my go-to band. Half punk, half folk rock – their blend of driving guitars, gang vocal harmonies and satirical lyricism create an experience like no other. After the release of their self-titled debut album than band toured hard resulting in lead singer Stefan Babcock severely damaging his vocal chords. When his doctor told him “The Dream Is Over” their 2016 sophomore album was born.

The diversity of their musicality and lyricism put The Dream Is Over on the short list or the coveted Polaris Music Prize. The Polaris Music Prize is awarded annually to the best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label.

My favourite tracks: Seriously all of them, but if I have to pick. Can’t Win, Familiar Patterns, Pine Point, If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You I Will, DVP

Buy or Stream The Album


Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People

English post-hardcore turned folk singer-songwriter legend Frank Turner is one of my all time favourites. I can honestly recommend his entire discography and it’s honest, raw, passionate wisdom. His 2015 album Positive Songs For Negative People is extremely important to me as I can honestly say it got me through the turmoil of the last year and looking forward to the next chapter.

I had the pleasure of meeting Frank at a show earlier this year and I made sure to thank him for his art. He pulled me close, gave me a big hug and said: “the storm has passed, better days will come.” I look forward to seeing Frank for the 5th time in February when he comes through with Canadain rockers The Arkells.

My favourite tracks: Get Better, The Next Storm, Mittens, Song For Josh

Buy or Stream The Album


The Lighthouse and The Whaler – This is an Adventure

In 2013 I fell in love with the album This is an Adventure from Cleveland’s The Lighthouse and The Whaler. It’s bright, high energy, melodic folk-rock that will have you singing along before the first track is complete. Venice is a track you can listen to a hundred times and discover something new every time.

My favourite tracks: Venice, Pioneers, Little Vessels, We’ve Got The Most

Buy or Stream The Album


Right Away, Great Captain! – The Church of the Good Thief

Right Away, Great Captin! is an acoustic side project by Manchester Orchestra’s lyricist and frontman Andy Hull. The Church of the Good Theif is the third and final release from his solo project the follows the journey of a 17th-century sailor. “The third story/album starts with our hero laying over Anna’s lover (and hero’s brother). The brother has been killed. His wife has seen what the children saw and we spend a lot of time inside our hero’s mind and the reality that he is indeed a murderer of his own flesh and blood.”

Put your headphones on, press play and escape into Andy’s masterful lyrics and passionate performance. If you love Manchester Orchestra style, incredible folk music, or angelic voices – this one if for you.

My favourite tracks:When I Met Death, I Am Aware, Blame, 

Buy or Stream The Album


 

What underrated albums do you wish more people knew? Do you have a topic suggestion for future articles? Let me know in the comments.

 

When You ❤️ Love & 😬 Dating : A Recipe For Awkward

Navigating the world of dating is a lot like space travel. We know it’s possible, there have been great successes, but most of our attempts end in catastrophic failure. We’re faced with constant indecision, mountains of self-doubt, and somehow we’ve been tasked with tearing down the walls people have built around themselves. Despite the looming clouds above, we press on through the wind and the waves in search of the light.

The following is a collection of short thoughts compiled over the last year. They cover various aspects of love & dating but are not necessarily related to each other.

Society Tells Me I’m Broken

I’ve never really been that man that popular culture says we are, and I’m thankful for that. As a single man in my early 30’s I constantly feel more and more enraged with the words and actions of my own gender. I keep thinking if this is what women knows, that they expect. I certainly don’t fit in.

  1. Sow your oats young man.  I have married friends that are on a mission to cheat on their wives. Sometimes I feel like they only want to hang out so they have an outlet to hit on other women. As someone that chooses to be militantly faithful, I can’t understand why others can’t “man up and step up”. Someone choose to invest their life in you and it’s your duty to invest in them. Half the energy you spend avoiding your marriage would go a long way to building it. My single male friends that ask me questions like “Why don’t you just fuck the loose Tinder bitches like the rest of us?” Personally, I’m not one for “locker room talk” in fact, it really makes me want to punch people in the face. I constantly feel chastised because I’m not trying to add notches to my bedpost like it’s a video game. Sorry, but I’m not into creating a wake of hurt.
  2. The laws of attraction. Most men long for summer where bikinis reign supreme, I long for cardigans in the autumn air. (Why yes, I did notice your cute sweater. Indeed, I should’ve told you) Each to their own but I find tasteful modesty attractive in both dress and attitude. There is something magical to me about a woman that doesn’t feel like she needs to put it all out there all the time. I’m attracted to you, not your cleavage.
  3. Love like the movies. To both my credit, and my downfall I have a 16-year-old view of love. I do believe that love can be amazing, that magical moments exist and ultimately people are good. I believe it’s your duty to win you lovers heart every day in whether it a grand gesture or doing the dishes. Hey, there is no reason why you can’t take a helicopter to a mountain top picnic just because it’s Wednesday… and Wednesdays suck.
  4. Failure to launch. For a lot of men it’s easy, but asking a woman on a date or even asking for a phone number is incredibly difficult for me. The reason is two-fold. First, I am incredibly shy one-on-one. Something that has grown exponentially over the last year and a half, I’m working on it slowly, but for now… I really need to know you first. Secondly, I go out of my way to not inconvenience others. I never want to be that asshole hitting on a girl that is just trying to have fun with their friends, or give someone anxiety about how to reply. I’m stressed just writing about this.

Yes, I’m a man. I love sex, have a dirty mind, and desire the company of a good woman. I also value respect, dignity, and context. There is a time and a place for everything. Yet, I don’t fit in with the guys, and I can’t help but feel like I’m broken.


Lessons From A Tinder Dropout

Since it’s launch Tinder intrigued me. My life has not taken a typical dating path, and I’ve always been in long term relationships so I was curious what it’s like. Would anyone swipe right for me? What kind of person swipes right for me?  Is it possible to find something real on Tinder? So when I felt like I might be ready to date again I signed up, crafted a bio, curated my photo gallery and sent it to masses, so strangers could quietly judge my worth.

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My actual Tinder profile with bio version 2.0

I wouldn’t say that I struck out on Tinder per say. I had quite a few matches (I just installed the app to take the screenshot and still have 5 matches after months of inactivity) but I can’t say that any of them turned into actually meeting someone in real life. After a month or so of jumping down the rabbit hole, I decided to retire Tinder. Here are some insights from my journey in the Tinderverse.

Why I didn’t swipe right for you

  • Your photos look like a Where’s Waldo book. In a context where you are given so little to go on, photos are important. I want to see you and your personality.
  • Your photos span a massive timeline. Your profile should be about who you are, not who you were. My personal rule of thumb was to only use photos taken in the last year. Yes, I was skinnier two years ago but it’s not relevant now.
  • All of your photos contained alcohol or drugs.
  • Your photos portrayed smoking or heavy drug use (yes there was many).
  • You didn’t fill in a bio. If I have nothing to go on, our conversation is going nowhere.
  • Your bio was overly pompous or the first word was tattoos. Hey, I like tattoos too but if you’re not a tattoo artist they shouldn’t define you.
  • The quality of your photos made you seem like a bot or phishing scheme.
  • Your profile didn’t lead me to believe that we would have an interesting conversation.

Why I didn’t message you when we matched

  • When I reviewed your profile a second time I questioned what I was thinking the first time.
  • Upon review, your bio lacked enough information to have a real conversation.
  • My personal anxiety created a situation where I didn’t feel like talking then, but as a result, too much time had passed and I didn’t want you to think you were plan-b.

Why I unmatched you

  • I was always forced to lead the conversation.
  • You took too long to message back. Usually, 48 hours at first and timeline varies after initial contact based on the context of the conversation.
  • You avoided simple questions about yourself. If I’m going to meet you, I need to know something about you.
  • You seemed uninterested in learning about me.

How not to talk to women on Tinder

  • DO NOT seem genuinely interested in who they are or what they do. The more genuine you try to be on Tinder, the more people think you’re a creep. Even though their bio says “absolutely no hookups”, the majority of Tinder matches are expecting you to throw yourself at them.
  • DO NOT start a conversation with anything you would normally start a conversation with. You want to start with an interesting question or if you’re the brave type, a horribly bad pickup line.

Tinder was an interesting world I can say that. I know a lot of my list is superficial and subjective, but that’s exactly what Tinder is. I could tell our world was heading this direction when back in the 90’s every chat rooms conversation started with ASL????? The online conversation game annoyed me then, and the AOL chatroom has been reborn in Tinder.

Tinder isnt for me because I’m not into playing the field, I play for keeps.


There are two more sections I excluded for length. If you enjoy my ramblings about love & dating leave a comment below and I will consider posting them soon.

What are your experiences with online dating?

Have you had success? Failure?

The Legend of Tarzan: My D-BOX Motion Seat Experience

I paid $23 to see The Legend of Tarzan… for… ummm science?

I’m a huge fan of the art of storytelling and storytelling doesn’t get much better than the cinema experience.  My profession means i’m constantly connected, always within reach, and no matter the hour and compelled to respond when I see that blinking light. Movies are my escape, for a moment in time they force me to unplug and allow me to experience a story other then my own.

I love movies. Most Thursday nights you can find me at the theater taking in the next big blockbuster or discovering one of the lesser known gems. Some years ago Cineplex (them main theater chain here in Canada) premiered the D-Box motion seating in some of their larger centers. The system allows an artists to script motion that is timed to the movie allowing you to not only see, but feel the action. Our local Cineplex got D-Box motion seats a few weeks ago and I was itching to try the experience. They promise a lot, but how does it hold up?

 

 

The Legend of Tarzan

Lets take a brief detour to talk about the actual film, The Legend of Tarzan. I don’t typically review the films I watch in greater detail then a single tweet as I hate spoilers and hundreds of people pour their hearts into creating something for us to enjoy. The Legend of Tarzan has its flaws but as a whole is a wonderful movie. Taking the path less traveled, at the beginning on the film John Clayton III (Tarzan) and his beautiful wife Jane are in England. John has claimed his fathers linage as Lord Greystoke and has started to build a new life with Jane far from the jungle that raised him. Eventually John’s duty to his country as Lord Greystoke pulls him back to the world he once escaped.

 

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Jane Clayton will cut you so bad, you wish she did not cut you so bad!

The cast is fantastic and story underneath is a great foundation. Throughout the movie I found myself wishing there was a little less action and more character driven drama. Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan and Margot Robbie as Jane are well paired and certainly create some on screen magic. With Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz supporting most of the compelling scenes are found outside the action. Some of the action scenes, particularly Tarzan’s vine work and some of the jungle scenes feel unnatural. This seems like a budgetary issues as with a little more work on the lighting and rotoscoping would have went along way. Director David Yates and Warner Brothers have created magic together in the past with him at the helm of Harry Potter movies and the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so we know they are capable of more. If you enjoy compelling stories, its worth checking out.

 

Cineplex & D-Box Motion Seats

Did it enhance the movie experience? Yes. Did it distract from the movie experience? Yes. Was it worth the money? I’m squarely on the fence about that. The first thing you will notice about D-Box is it’s insane price. D-Box seating I’ve encountered is always located inside Cineplex’s UltraAVX theaters. If you haven’t seen a movie in UltraAVX, I highly recommend it. Upgraded projection, Dolby Atmos surround sound, reserved seating and upgraded semi reclining seats are well worth the upgraded price. Although prices vary by region the price in Red Deer, Alberta breaks down like this:

  • Standard Adult Ticket $12
  • Ultra AVX Premium $3
  • Ultra AVX 3D Premium $2
  • D-Box Premium $6

For a whopping total of $23 Freaking Dollars. That is a hefty fee, one where if you intend to bring your significant other you may want to consider a second mortgage. In fairness, you can lob $5 of that price on Tuesday nights, but that still places D-Box in an extreme luxury category for me. Is it worth the cost of two movies? Let’s break it down.

The D-Box Experience

When you walk into the theater you will defiantly notice the big red seats protruding like an island in the sea of Cineplex blue, allowing you to proudly proclaim your fanciness. D-Box seats are typically located in the primary viewing zone, where your eyes are dead center of the screen. Premiums price, premium placement. Hopping onto your D-Box seat you will notice a few more differences.

The D-Box Seats

The seat is not nearly a comfortable as the Cineplex’s other Ultra AVX seats, its quite ridged, and understandably because of the motion – doesn’t recline. On your left you will find a standard cup holder and to your right is a set of D-Box controls allowing you to set your own level of intensity. At 5′ 9″ I did notice a two things about the seat that I feel affected my viewing experience beyond the seats motion. First, the back of the seat is shorter then the other UltraAVX seats meaning I couldn’t lay my head back against the seat as I typically would when viewing.  Second, the underlying motion control system means that the seat sits slightly higher then a typical seat. Not much higher, but enough that I started to feel numbness in my lower leg because of reduced circulation.

Rows of D-BOX chairs lined up in a movie theatre. (Courtesy of D-BOX)

Rows of D-BOX chairs lined up in a movie theatre. (Courtesy of D-BOX)

The D-Box Motion

D-Box is definitely an experience. The technology works pretty well and I do feel like enhances the cinematic experience. There’s magic when the D-Box Motion Code syncs up with some of the epic flyover shots in the film. The very subtle pitch and roll make you feel like you are looking from the cameras perspective, and that’s pretty cool experience. Some very subtle tweaks to the motion could go along way to enhancing the experience. The seats seem to stop at their home and some animation style easing where it goes sightly past home and back would feel more natural. Where it lost me was the more action filled sequences.

The motion an technology itself was great but I found the motion artists stylistic choices didn’t match my expectations. For example, there is a scene where your looking down the barrel of a chain gun as it’s fired and you feel the gosling of the gun as if you were firing it yourself. When the camera cuts, so does the motion. Now your being fired at and the seat is stark and still. This choice of motion and non-motion took me out of the experience more then the motion itself. Although there were some defiant miscues in the motions timing, the overall D-Box motion experience was a positive one.

The Environmental Factors

Environmental factors are one of the primary things that can ruin a theater going experience, and I feel that there are a few worth mentioning here. I have to give it to D-Box, their chairs are relatively silent and the motion of other chairs doesn’t distract from the movie, but their insanely bright control LED’s in my peripheral vision do. It’s almost like there was someone texting beside me the whole movie. Diming the panel when its not in use would go a long way to improving the user experience.

The Cineplex theater in Red Deer was not built or designed my Cineplex. They purchased it well into is constriction and their UltraAVX screen was retrofitted years later. The AVX space is great but since it was not designed for the screen that means that viewing sweet spot I mentioned is two rows from the top, and is not the optimal place for audio. Unfortunately, there is a noticeable reduction in the sound quality where the D-Box seats are place.

I love Cineplex, but I really do have to give them a hand slap here for cleanliness. At the Red Deer theater we’re often forced to stand in a third lineup while staff clean a theater. This was one of those days, and although staff went through and grabbed the drink cups and popcorn bags… There was a stack of garbage beside my D-Box seat including poutine cups, hot dog wrappers, cardboard trays and candy wrappers. I understand some patrons lack respect, I always remove my garbage and often pick up others on the way out. I understand that you cant possibly sweep and mop between every show. That said, when you make me wait and throw out a $23 price tag, it shouldn’t feel like i’m sitting inside a garbage can.

The Verdict

Are D-Box motion seats worth the price tag? The jury is still out on that one as I feel like a single film is not enough data to truly know. I feel a movie like Fast & Furious might be better suited to the D-Box experience, so I will defiantly try it again in the future.

Have you tried D-Box yet? What did you think?

When Helping Hurts: Why You Shouldn’t Donate Physical Goods During A Disaster

As I write this Fort McMurray, Alberta is burning. My twitter and Facebook feeds are full of images of terror and heartbreak, as a wildfire tares through the community and tens of thousands for people (currently estimated at 80,000) are displaced. It breaks my heart and it has me (as with many of you) wondering, how can I help? The reality is that our compassion and zeal to lend a hand can often cause more harm than good. I love how our communities rally and step up to provide in a time of need, please take a moment to consider how you can best direct your efforts.

I have been fortunate to be able to assist on the ground with disaster relief in communities across Alberta including the Slave Lake fire in 2011 and the Calgary floods in 2013, and I’ve learned that cash donations, even small ones, are by far the most effective way to help those recovering from a disaster.

 

The Real Need

Right now the true needs are unknown. We look at the images coming through the media and our minds tell us, these people have lost everything. Unfortunately, we won’t know the true status for a few weeks to come, and the areas of need are often much different then we perceive. Our compassion tells us we need to help these people get back on their feet, replace the things they’ve lost. So we start collecting food, clothing and household items for them. We don’t realize that it could be 2 years before they have a place to put them. We don’t realize that someone will have to sort, warehouse and distribute what we collect. We don’t realize that for heath and safety reasons a lot of what we collect cannot be distributed. Often leading to our own heartbreak when our hard work is turned away. In these first few weeks emergency shelters are equipped to provide the necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. Regardless of whether you are staying in a shelter or not, you can go there to gain access to these basic services.

An example of unforeseen need is that during a wildfire, electricity to the community is lost. This means that even if a home was not affected by the fire, every single fridge and freezer will need to be replaced. We are talking tens of thousands of appliances. This is not something that can be donated, shipped, sorted, and tested. It takes extreme buying power, manufacture negotiations and logistical coordination at a global scale. This is why organizations like the Red Cross in cooperation with government , are powerful tools in times of disaster.

 

Lessons From Our Past

Unfortunately, in recent years Alberta has seen it’s fair share of disasters. In 2011 a wildfire in northern Alberta forced the evacuation of Slave Lake, Alberta and dozens of smaller communities. In true Canadian fashion the support was enormous and donations started pouring in, but what happened next could surprise you.

“They tried to give the excess donations to local charities, but none would take them. They eventually gave them to a local waste collection company to hand out to local groups. But there were so few takers that the company eventually dropped them off at a landfill.”

During the Slave Lake fire response many good willed organizations and trucking companies loaded up truck after truck with donated goods to be delivered to the community, only to find out there is nowhere to take them. If Calgary was overwhelmed with goods 550km away from Slave Lake, you can imagine the impact on the community itself. No one wants to make the decision to throw away a communities good will.

 

Why organizations don’t accept physical goods

This may have you wondering why more organizations don’t accept physical goods. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Warehouseing and sorting donated goods is a logistical nightmare
  • Individuals affected often don’t have anywhere to store donated items
  • The majority of donated items are not fit for redistribution for health and safety concerns
  • Costs for shipping & storing donated items often outweigh the cost of buying new
  • Donations rarely fill the actual need at the moment
  • NGO’s such as the Red Cross have pre-existing agreements in place to fulfill the basic needs of food, shelter & clothing
  • The collective buying power of an NGO can stretch your dollar further

If you are going to donate physical items the best avenue is to donate them where you usually do on an individual basis. These organizations are well networked and will help to fulfill the need where needed, but are often not equipped to receive truckloads at a time.

 

How You Can Help

1. Make a financial donation to an NGO involved in the relief effort

We always have a hard time with when it comes to giving financially to an organization but this is the absolute best thing you can do. The Canadian Red Cross does need assessments on every individual and endeavors to provide for their specific needs. This includes getting them back to work by providing items like work boots and specially items such as prescription eyewear or medical aids. Their support often stretches out for years and when you donate to an financial appeal the money is earmarked for that and only that.

The Canadian Red Cross has setup a financial appeal for the Alberta Fires and you can donate here https://donate.redcross.ca/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1951&ea.campaign.id=50610

The Salvation Army also has an appeal here https://secure.salvationarmy.ca/registrant/donate.aspx?eventid=197650&langpref=en-CA&Referrer=http%3a%2f%2fsalvationarmy.ca%2falbertafires%2f

2. Help others on an individual basis

If you see a direct ask or need from a family or individual and you have the means to provide it, please do so. Just be cautious about spreading the word and collecting more then they need.

 

3. Volunteer

This can be tricky as everyone wants to help but in these times skilled and highly trained individuals are required. Keep an eye our for calls for volunteers from reputable organizations and remember that volunteers will be needed for months to come.

 

4. Thank the Volunteers

I can tell you from personal experience that volunteering during a disaster is extremely taxing. You work long hours, get very little sleep and being there for people effected means you also carry their emotional burden. Volunteers may not always be willing to talk about their experiences but taking the time to thank them for their service can provide much needed energy and prevent burnout. During the Slave Lake fires comedian Tracy Morgan invited volunteers to attend his show free of charge and it gave me the mental break I needed to push through another week.

 

Thank you for your support!

Your compassion and desire to help shows the best of humanity. No matter how you choose to give, you will make a difference in someones life, you will make it better. Thank you for choosing to be amazing.

 


 

Due of the incredible reach of this post (Currently 250,000+ reads) and the volume of replies, I have to close the comment section on this post. I appreciate healthy conversion on this matter but the notifications are overwhelming at this time.

Thank you for reading, caring and sharing. 🙂