Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
Social icons by Tim van Damme

21

Oct

Got a craving for EFT-up comedy?

Dani Alon, Kevin Mongeon, Joel Garrow and Chris Hannay for EFT-up at Pressed. Photo from their Facebook page.Dani Alon, Kevin Mongeon, Joel Garrow and Chris Hannay for EFT-up at Pressed. Photo from their Facebook page.

Chris Hannay did. That’s why when he first moved to Ottawa with his EFT-up co-founding girlfriend Dani Alon, getting involved in the limited improv scene was a must. He quickly investigated and built relationships with other improv enthusiasts and groups like GRIMprov that has workshops for people wanting more exposure to improv; and Crush Improv that has a core group of individuals that performs shows and special events when they can. With a cross-over of artistic talents and acting support, the Experimental Farm Theatre group was born.

EFT

Experimental Farm Theatre is Ottawa’s newest improv theatre group. This homegrown comedy group performs twice monthly for the entertainment of the capital, and bring more than just an improv performance. EFT-up performs the first Tuesday of every month at The Rainbow Bistro for Experimental Farm Theatre Presents: Improv Cabaret. Ever been to an improv performance and felt like joining in on the fun?Improv Cabaret offers you the opportunity to do just that! Arrive early and throw your name in the hat for the chance to join the improv team on stage, and see just how fun and easy making things up can be! Want to just sit back and enjoy the show? Every performance has veteran performers from local groups like Crush Improv and GRIMprov in addition to live music, improve games and impromptu burlesque numbers! The next performance for Improv Cabaret is still up in the air, so stay tuned to the group’s website for updates.

If you can’t make the first Tuesday of every month, you can still catch this fantastic improv group at work every third Wednesday of the month at Pressed for the EFT-up Comedy Show. This show takes audience suggestions and personal anecdotes from performers spun into hilarious, unscripted insanity. Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 8pm; tickets are $5. The group’s flagship performance packed the sandwich bar to the hilt, so make sure to get there early for the next show October 22nd to get a good spot!

Want more info on future shows? Follow EFT-up at @eftimprov or on their Facebook page.

Read full published article here: http://apt613.ca/got-a-craving-for-some-eft-up-comedy/

09

Oct

Weekend Roundup: What to do in Ottawa

Montreal's Maica Mia play Pressed on Saturday Night. Photo from their Bandcamp page.Montreal’s Maica Mia play Pressed on Saturday Night. Photo from their Bandcamp page.

Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, and with that marks the season where the outdoor activities wind down and the indoor activities rev up. There’s plenty of Thanksgiving themed fun all over the city, and whether you’ve got kids or you’re still one yourself, make sure you get out and enjoy all the fall festivities.

Sparty and the Green Queen at Saunders Farm, photo from their website.

Sparty and the Green Queen at Saunders Farm, photo from their website.

Saturday starts with the Metcalfe Farmers Market during the day at the Metcalfe Fairgrounds. Starting at 6:30am, The Farmers Market promises farm fresh produce, plants, pottery and furniture.  Only two weekends are left in its season, and this weekend’s special event is Harvest Day. Another great daytime activity for the family is heading down to the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum for some special behind the scenes look at harvesting crops and food sustainability, as well as the energy that can be harvested from the sun, wind and crops themselves.

From 11am-3pm on Sunday, Watson’s Mill is having their annual Harvest Festival presented by the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society. The festival is complete with pie-eating contests, tug of war, wagon rides and all the other fun fall activities you’ve been looking forward to. For those willing to travel outside the city, Calabogie hasScenic Chairlift Rides through all of the beautiful fall leaves, and Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch in Pembroke has pirate pumpkin canons and pig races, as well as a 125ft hill slide. Saunders Farm is open 10am-5pm on Thanksgiving Monday as well, so make sure you get your fill of mazes, fudge and pumpkin carving before jumping on one of their famous wagon rides (Both scary and un-scary!).

For those who are just enjoying the long weekend free of festivities, there’s plenty of live music to see this weekend. Pressed has local groups Modern Dinosaurs and Destroy Clocks taking the stage Friday night boasting some electronic and spacey jams, and Montreal natives Maica Mia playing some experimental rock Saturday night with Black Hairgrease afterwards. Both nights are all-ages shows and start at 8pm; tickets are $10 for Friday and $7 for Saturday.

Spectrasonic has a stacked Friday with D.O.A playing some hardcore punk at Zaphod’s, I Spell It Nature playing some post-rock at Cafe Dekcuf and Current Swell playing indie rock at Mavericks, all starting at 8pm. House of Targ has Mad Parish, World War 4 and The Donner Party playing some metal/ thrash starting Friday at 9pm. Babylon is hosting Grillz & Glam’s 4th Birthaversary party Friday night at 11pm celebrating 4 years together and joining sponsor Top of the World to create the first kitten juggling boy band. Saturday night, Mugshots Jail Bar will have 10.11 Frequency with New Fries, Baby Labour and Badminton Racquet playing at 10:30pm.

DanielleAllard

Danielle Allard plays at Lowertown Brewery every Monday Night at 9pm. Photo from her website.

For music with a little more action, check out Mercury Lounge. They launch The Disco Ball this Saturday night, and everyone is encouraged to come in costume. Admission is free to anyone in costume from the 70’s and 80’s, and promises disco visuals, drag hosting and disco-boogie dance lessons. Finally, Monday night the beautiful and talented Danielle Allard plays Lowertown Brewery at 9pm. With a pint of their seasonal beer, listening to her smooth and easy sound is a great way to finish off the weekend.

And of course, Support Local continues this weekend – a month long festival of art, culture, food, music, beer, and all around local awesomeness. Be sure to test your smarts at The Hintonburg Public House on Sunday night. For a listing of month-long events, click here.

Relax and stay warm this long weekend, Ottawa and remember to #hashtag your Instagram weekend pics with #Apt613Weekend41!

06

Oct

You’re not Wrong; You’re just an Asshole.

Everyone has that friend who has an opinion about everything. I happen to have more than one of those friends, and they can be a tricky bunch. Not because your going to constantly be bombarded with ‘truth’ every time you nonchalantly mention something, but because it doesn’t matter if that ‘truth’ is right or wrong, true or false. They aren’t arguing with you because you’re wrong. They’re just an asshole.

image

A good way to spot this person is to track every time the argument changes. An argument is supposed to be a conversation, occasionally heated, that debates the merits of a topic and whether either party is correct or incorrect. Oh, thanks oh-wise-one, you think. But some people don’t follow this formula. They change the argument slightly until what they’re arguing is correct, but only in its relation to the original topic. 

An example: A normal argument of right and wrong

Sally: I have Celiac.

Bob: Have you been tested for Celiac by a doctor?

Sally: Yes, and they said it came back negative.

Bob: So you do not have Celiac.

In this case Sally is wrong, she does not have Celiac. But Sally just so happens to be someone who insists on being right, and being that person means the rest of the conversation goes like this:

Sally: But my stomach hurts when I eat bread.

Bob: Have you tried looking into information on wheats, grains and maybe lighter breads?

Sally: No, my stomach hurts when I eat bread so I stopped eating all bread and anything with gluten in it.

Bob: But not all Gluten is wrong, and not all bread/wheat/grain options are harmful to people with ‘intolerance’.

Sally: My friend says gluten causes bloat and I get bloaty after I drink beer so I’m gluten intolerant.

And so on. Arguing with Sally is never going to end in a Win-Loss settlement of the minds. Let me be clear: this is not about Celiac sufferers or people with Gluten intolerance. This is about someone who doesn’t have anything to offer their argument either than their personal experience and half remembered facts from various sources thy can’t remember. And their feelings. If Sally countered with having seen a professional or any kind of knowledgeable third party, this would add merit to her argument. You will end up arguing circles around something ridiculous until you give up out of exhaustion and frustration, and irritatingly Sally considers that a win. 

Another example of this is an argument I had with someone over immigration (of all things to argue with someone on). Their single factual point was that Canada by definition has a mass of unused space that would suggest we are under-populated. This argument starts to leak water like a new mother not having done her kegels the second you look at a population density map of our country and notice that people only inhabit the parts where they won’t freeze to death. Her point is valid, hell its even true. But it was her ONLY point. Meaning when countered with other facts like population density, welfare rates for Canadian citizens, incredibly low employment rates and the most obvious fact of its motherfucking cold in most of our uninhabited, glorious country- She suddenly can’t argue with any authority because she doesn’t actually know anything about the topic, just regurgitated information like dear Sally received.

The people who argue like this think that they win all arguments, when in reality they win nothing but making themselves undesirable to be around. After so many conversations like this where fewer and fewer people want to talk to them at the end of the night eventually result in deep seeded insecurity. Because they don’t understand why people don’t see how right they are, they’re also blind to the fact that people want discussions and not child-like tantrums and constant insistence on being right. No one likes a know-it-all, especially when that know-it-all knows jack shit and just has a loud voice. 

You’ll never be able to win these arguments with facts and fugures. When you come in with ‘Science’ and ‘Fact’, they will rally with ‘Feelings’ and ‘I read somewhere’s. You can win if you are the type of person who can hang onto the thread of an argument like its a bucking bull caught in the tightest of testicle restraints. For every “But I feel” argument of Sally’s, pointing out lack of proof and reiterating the point of any argument yanks that person back to the forefront of being wrong. 

They won’t stay there long, though. Your best bet to truly winning will always be to walk away.

26

Sep

tumblrbot said: WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER WHEN YOU ARE IN A BAD MOOD?

Going to the pet store and playing with the puppies.

The Light and the Darkside of FUNemployment

People often say that what kills a person isn’t work but retirement; that the obligation of having a job to do is what drives people to get out of bed every morning. 

Being nowhere near retirement, i’m faced with a bigger problem: For the first time in 13 years of happily being a working shmuck, I suddenly found myself unemployed. I had left a badly paid big corporation job for a risky contract following my interests and working for a sports team. That dream failed when the team collapsed, and I was suddenly with no income in a city with one of the worst employment rates in the country.

The Darkside:

We’ll hit the darkside first. 

winter_depression

Unemployment can be fun, but not during winter. Sure, if you’re Canadian or lucky enough to live near any kind of mountain area, you can pick up a distracting winter sport to ease your weary mind. Except that unless you are TRULY lucky enough to live near a mountain space not taken over by a ski-hill company, you’re paying anywhere from $30-75 for a lift ticket for the pleasure of flipping your shit rolling down a hill (just me?). This isn’t a winter sport issue so much as it lends to the bigger picture: Fun is expensive.

In the summer one can take oneself and read a book on a nice free piece of grass. One could even take onself to the beach and enjoy some people watching. There are constantly free things to do throughout the city to distract yourself all day long, but in the winter those tend to be halved and are typically limited to the indoors.

At the beginning of unemployment, I started going to coffee shops just to get out of the house. After a month of walking down the street everyday, my change purse was getting a bit too light and it seemed like needless effort of putting on pants just to browse facebook around people. Well, and search for jobs, of course. My intentions were solid (Get out of the damn house and do not become a hobo), but monetarily misplaced.

The depression gets real. I consider myself a relatively stable person with a healthy sense of self esteem (compared to most people in my life), but being constantly rejected by people you’ve never met eats away at you real quick. Writing endless cover letters repeating the same things over and over again with no progress is exhausting, and it’ll take you to that dark place that wakes you up at 3am and makes you think about every bad decision you’ve ever made in your life. Oh ya, you’re not the only one who visits that place, my friend.

You start to question your self worth after awhile. I mean, whats so great about you anyways? You seem pretty awesome on paper, yet every response you get (if you’re lucky enough to get any kind of feedback) is to tell you they’ve found someone better. And then multiply that by 5-10 applications a week, for 9 months on end. That’s 190-380 jobs applied to with no one wanting to so much as meet you. Ya, that creates a whole new chamber in the ‘Everything I’ve Ever Done Wrong’ dungeon.

It makes everything else in your life seem way worse. In the grand scheme of things, my life isn’t that bad. I’m healthy, my family and friends are all in good health as well and love me. They even tell me so. I have a roof over my head and food to eat and my life isn’t in any imminent danger (that I know of, stay tuned).

But the little things make those blessings seem slightly tarnished when you have the weight of unemployment on your shoulders. Suddenly your problem isn’t being able to go out until next paycheck, its not being able to go out at all. With a limited social outlet, you have a lot of time to sit at home and think about how you have no job, no money and now no distraction. Throw no relationship, no pets and no hobbies into the mix and you got yourself a lot of free time to slip into sadness.

Every word of encouragement makes you want to punch someone. I stopped wanting to hear “Something will come through soon, it HAS to” about 6 weeks into unemployment. People’s overconfidence in my ability to secure myself work made me hate myself because they were wrong, and you can’t tell that to people who are trying to be nice to you. ‘Something’ won’t just come up because my number has magically come up; if so then why has it taken this long? Am I going to be able to tell my landlord to wait another few months on rent because people have assured me ‘Something’ is just around the corner? But they seemed so sure

You stress that relationship with your family and friends if you rely on them as a shoulder to cry on, or need to rely on them for any kind of financial/ couch surfing support. If every conversation you have with your support system is sad and your situation never changes, people get uncomfortable trying to cheer you up. They don’t want you to talk about how your life looks from the bottom of a well because they want whats best for you without having to help you at all. Constantly coddling you with cliches doesn’t help, however, and hearing empty promises of greatness to come only makes a person feel worse when they never materialize.

Ok, but now for the good.

Didn’t think I was going to get there did you? It’s not all bad, there are a few hidden gems.

People who love you come out of the woodwork. The support I do have is pretty awesome. I’d actually say its incomparable. I’ve been lucky enough to have people in similar fields take time to do everything from overhaul my resume to just allow me to pick their brains about different fields I could go into with my skill set. My friends constantly send me jobs, along with a few of their caring parents. My city has some pretty great support for unemployment and has followed up with me constantly with new job postings and counselling sessions. 

Love-love finds its way out too. Maybe its just a bone being thrown from the universe, but people tend to band around someone they care about in a moment of need. I was in a situation where after months of no job prospects, I had to decide whether it made sense for me to move cities to find employment.

Deciding to uproot your life can be really helpful to weed out the people in your life who can’t live without you, and I got just that. Suddenly my best friends were in tears at the thought of not being able to visit in 15 minutes, and it made someone in my life decide they couldn’t miss the chance at telling me how they felt romantically. For the first time in years during the worst time in my life, I found the happiest relationship I could have hoped for. My friendships grew stronger, and for once I felt truly loved and not just wanted by people, but needed.

You’ll take on awesome new things, and that may change your life. With all that free time on my hands at the beginning of the year, I (like most type-A personalities) took on a variety of smaller jobs in areas I had dabbled in. I started writing for a cultural website that kept me busy sending me on assignments to concerts and gave me the opportunity to interview some of the most interesting people in the city, I started modeling and volunteering for a non-profit organization.

Volunteering my time to a non-profit organization coupled with writing opened up a whole new avenue of networking possibilities. Non-profits are an excellent way to widen your skill set as they are often under funded and under staffed- meaning you get the chance to do a few different peoples worth of work. Sounds exhausting, and it is, but people respect NFP work and the opportunity to learn is huge. I took on anything and everything to fill my time, and while some of it paid out monetarily, its doubled its value in life experiences.

So, everything works out in the end, right?

Hah.

Almost 10 months into relative unemployment, none of the connections I’ve made nor the work i’ve put in has paid out into any kind of permanent employment. The fantastic relationship eventually dissolved and my friends went back to just regular loving me. I still wake up in the middle of the night scared for the future, and I still feel powerless to change my situation.

I wanted there to be some massive shift in my luck. It would be like ten months of soul-destroying bad luck made better suddenly when all my hopes and dreams came true. It just doesn’t work out like that, though. No one person can have everything in their life work out in the best possible way.

However.

There is no option but to pull your socks up and move forward.  Oh, damn. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the single most true thing in this entire post. You have to keep moving forward. There isn’t even a ‘but’ or ‘or’ that goes with that. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, my shit ain’t that bad- and  neither is yours, likely. The progress I’ve made (while not having yet paid out) has made me realize all the things I do want to do with my life, and all the things I don’t. With every thing I tried and failed at, or decided I hated, I was able to shut that door and never feel the curiosity of why I never pursued it.

It’s shown me the people who care enough about me to encourage and motivate me to move forward, and give up the fair weather friends who’s lives would have been unchanged in my absence. And the people that don’t give a shit? You know you’re better off without them.

The best part if you look like a motherfucking warrior of bad circumstances. People admire your resilience, your balls of steel and your ability to not let a little something like a downpour of crushing circumstances get you down.

So have fun with unemployment, and if nothing else realize that the ups and downs are going to come and go. Things WILL get better… BUT prepare for the reality they may get worse again. Build up that armor, and take a stab at changing your life.

26

Mar

Andrew W.K. and I talk Pizza and Bodily Fluids

Andrew W.K. and his Pizza Guitar created by ESP. photo by Andrew W.K.

I knew well in advance I was going to talk food with Andrew W.K. during our interview. He’s known for two things: being the King of Partying and loving Pizza. The rock musician is known for his fast paced singles like “Party Hard” and “She is Beautiful”, and his concerts are typically a blur of dancing, head banging and of course, partying.

We immediately launch into food. “Are you bringing the Pizza Guitar?” I ask.  The Pizza Guitar, pictured above, was given to WK by the Japanese company ESP.

“The pizza guitar!” WK laughs, surprised I had picked up that detail from Pitchfork. The guitar has many toppings, and I wonder if WK would like it less had it only come with cheese and pepperoni. Apparently WK will eat anything on pizza except pineapple. “No more sweet things” WK says, noting that while he used to really enjoy sweets he now prefers spicy.

Pizza is WK’s post-show snack for all of his concerts, but he never eats before a show. With the amount of physical activity he does during a performance, he would definitely get sick if he ate more than two hours before hand. For some reason, drinking is fine as long as it isn’t carbonated.

“I’ve never puked, but I’ve been puked on before” WK says, “But it’s not the worst bodily fluid to be covered in. I’d say diarrhea is worse.” He immediately lists off bodily fluids from least offensive to be covered with to the most offensive: “Sweat, spit, then puke, then diarrhea, then blood.” Having been to several Andrew W.K. concerts, I’m no stranger to his comfort with bodily fluids. His most recognized insignia is a portrait of himself bleeding from the nose. With the fan base that likes to gets rough, WK insists it’s all in good fun. I start mentally picking out a disposal outfit to wear to the concert.

Andrew W.K.s most recognizable look. Photo by Andrew W.K. 

Thankfully our conversation turns back to Pizza. “I tell people this all the time, but Canada has the best pizza,” he says, telling me we have better pie here in Canada than some better known destinations, and he’s toured them all. He asks for my recommendation for after his March 27th show at Mavericks, and I immediately scramble. Ottawa has no shortage of amazing Pizza restaurants (Zazaza’s being a favorite), but what was going to be open at 2am on a Thursday night when his show finished? Ottawa was a government town, and one that didn’t cater to the weeknight partiers.

I explain this to WK, which leads me to my second question: how to get Ottawa to party. Sure, we’ve all got a friend who can party longer than we can. But can they get down as long as Andrew W.K, The King of Partying? I ask him how he prepares for his concerts, looking for pointers. After all, he turns the majority of his shows into giant blowouts, and an intimate space like Mavericks bodes well for that kind of atmosphere.

 “This show is different – it’s without my band. I love touring with my band, I love playing with them but this is a different kind of show.” WK will be performing solo on stage with a drum machine and his keyboard. The best part for him is that he almost gets to be part of the crowd, which is what really feeds him as a performer. He plays off the energy of the people in his audience as much as they get into what he’s playing.

Maybe that’s the secret to great partying: pay attention to the people around you and feed off their energy. You’ll have to see for yourself this Thursday night, and for God’s sake don’t eat too much Pizza beforehand.

Mavericks hosts Andrew W.K. March 27th, 2014 alongside We Were Sharks! And Robots! Everywhere!!

Read the full published article here

19

Mar

Fevers Revamped!

Fevers band members from left: Martin Charbonneau, Mike Stauffer, Sarah Bradley, Colin MacDougall and Jim Hopkins. Photo by Shooter McNally.

In preparation for my interview with Fevers, I put on their newest album No Room for Light and ended up listening to it for two days straight. Their music is the perfect balance of electro-indie pop that you can both relax and dance to. On top of being incredibly talented, the band is also impossibly humble about their music. Supporting vocalist Colin Macdougall sat down with me for a phone interview to tell me why they were trying to change this mindset. “It’s a very humble group of people, and that makes us very dynamic as a band. But the fear is that you undervalue yourself as a performer.”

Fevers has reason to shed their reserved persona. The band has been together since early 2011, and since releasing their EP Passion is Dead they have played in festivals across Ontario and shared the stage with some incredible performers. Included in the list was Joy Formidable, and watching their performance was a turning point for the band. “They just… They just killed it. Their stage presence was just huge.”  MacDougall says. The band realized then that they need to bring more of a performance aspect to their shows.

“We don’t want to go an ‘act’; it’s more a focus on the parts of who we are that we really want to shine through. We’re trying to have a bit more of a persona.” MacDougall says, “Nothing groundbreaking or particularly novel, but trying to get beyond getting up on stage and re-producing our record. It’s a very common thing for bands to do, and I think we were falling into that trap.”

The band plays at The Black Sheep this Friday, Mar. 21 2014 in Wakefield. As a true testament to their love for their fans, they hired a bus to shuttle fans to Wakefield and back. What can the fans expect for making the trip? “We kind of have a new look, new approach to the live show. We kind of went underground a bit to try to move up a notch or two on the live performance.” MacDougall says, “Adding more visual elements- we’re adding a light show to it. We also spent a bit more time focusing on how we lay ourselves out on the stage, how we interact with one another and how we interact with the audience.” The Black Sheep serves as a test run for Fevers attempt at a new persona as its familiar territory for them. Fevers has played the Sheep twice before, and it’s a favored venue for them.

In preparation for the show, the band has changed the layout of their rehearsals to better mimic a staged performance. “Not in a circle where we all look at each other, but actually set it up more like it’s going to be on stage. We always do a little pre-show pep talk, and do a better job of talk ourselves into the moment. We normally say ‘This is great, we love each other, let’s not take for granted that we get to play shows for people’,” He says. Hopefully the band will be able to shed their sheepish demeanor this Friday, as they certainly don’t lack in talent.

‘Fevers’ plays this Friday, Mar. 21 2014 at The Black Sheep in Wakefield. Their shuttle bus leaves the Museum of Nature at 8pm sharp, load in @ 7:30pm.

Find more info here: http://www.theblacksheepinn.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=338

You can follow the band on twitter @feversband and both albums are available on iTunes, as well as on their website at www.feversband.com

Find the published article here: http://apt613.ca/fevers-revamped/ 

20

Feb

Why Dean Blundell is the Everyman’s Whipping Boy

On Jan 6, one of my favorite radio personalities was fired for Homophobic remarks and ‘Offensive On-air jokes’. R.I.P The Dean Blundell Show, of 102.1 the Edge in Toronto. The Edge has remained on every car stereo i’ve owned and driven. Their taste in music was (and arguably, still is) right on par with what the youth and young adults of today want to hear (hooligans!) and their mix of hard rock with EDM, Indie and occasional hip-hop made me rarely seek another station. 

Along with their music, there was the added bonus of the radio personalities. As a teenager, their off-color humor and monotone sarcasm aligned perfectly with my developing mind. I wanted to be Josie Dye’s best friend, blaze with Barry Taylor and ask Bookie and David Cross everything they know about music. But the best of all was my morning drive to school/work and listening to The Dean Blundell Show.

The Dean Blundell show was actually a three man group comprising of Dean Blundell, Todd Shapiro and Derek Welsman (former contrbuter Jason Barr). It ran from 2001-2014 when it was cancelled because of the above mentioned ‘Homophobic remarks’ and ‘Offensive On-Air jokes’. We’ll go ahead and ignore the second part of that, since the show ran for 13 flipping years, fueled solely and completely by offensive jokes. 

Being Homophobic is incredibly close-minded and old-fashioned. Religious fanatics and gay-fearing individuals need to relax, and above all realize the pointless ‘war’ against gay people having rights is as effective as the war on drugs. Being homophobic is almost seen as a mental disorder these days; most logical people either don’t care or fight in the favor of equality. Not to mention with so many high profile people coming out of the closet like Ellen Page and Anderson Cooper, the taboo has flipped from being gay to being against gay. 

In September 2013, Dean Blundell and Derek Welsman made homophobic remarks on air about a rape case Welsman was a juror in. The comments they made were pretty cringe worthy, and i’ll spare you. They definitely deserved to be punished, issue an apology and have their metaphorical, if not their literal, wrists slapped. But to be fired? And Especially with that as the reason?

The Dean Blundell show has taken the piss out of every race, religious denomination and sexual preference. Blundell was reprimanded in 2010 for mocking Justin Bieber, something everyone from my mother to his own takes part in at least once a day. He attacked everything from Biebers fans, to Biebers pre-pubescent appearance, stating things like “Save your energy for puberty” and calling Bieb’s a ‘Chugger’, a slang term for male prostitutes for those of you… unfamiliar with the world of male prostitutes?

Alright, so Blundell has no shame. But his material is barely authentic; One article[1] slams Blundell for drawing attention to Bieber’s feminine features, calling him a ‘He-she-it’. Is Blundell directly attacking the LGBT community? The article suggests, but neglects to point out that a website Dedicated to lesbians who look like Justin Bieber (Yup, its a place: http://lesbianswholooklikejustinbieber.tumblr.com/). Yes, Blundell lacks tact. And that’s also exactly what he’s been paid to do for 13 years. Did his Bieber fueled rant mean he hates gay people because they might look like Justin Bieber? No, but he knew that calling Justin Bieber gay would insight the most hilarious of reactions from Biebers predominantly female followers. The guy is paid to push peoples buttons, and he was damn good at it.

In his statement after his firing, Blundell points out that if he was as homophobic as people claim, he wouldn’t have had so many LGBT community guests on his show over the years. This was seen as a Paula-Deen-like excuse (“I have plenty of black employees!”), but its fact. Blundell may have sounded hateful, but was he actually? He hosted a variety of people on the show, and they all knew going in and during that he was likely to mock them and they came armed. Every guest on that show had the equal opportunity (see what I did there) to turn Blundell’s own frat-boy ‘hate’ around on him and make his viewers laugh at his obvious lack of culture. How many of those guests left threatening to sue? Few, and the show is broadcast live so major scuffles and verbal throw-downs would have been noted if they had happened. They also ran some off-color competitions too, like Find Todd a Fiancée. Where were the angry pro-marriage riots then? Where were the ‘protectors’ of the sanctity of marriage during a competition where Todd would (theoretically) marry a random chick decided by votes?

No, Blundell and his show are controversial, but not homophobic. There’s a difference between saying things and believing them, like when you meet anyone of racial denomination who can tell you the worst jokes of their ethnicity. I’ve had incredibly wealthy, hard working 5th generation Canadian ‘black’ friends reel off the most cringe-worthy lazy N-word black jokes for anyone listening. My lesbian friends joke loudly and brashly about muff-diving like its the next Olympic sport, and are too prudish to change in front of other women at the gym. My completely straight, often married male friends will threaten their other straight, often married friends about shoving cocks down their throats during poker games. Blundell isn’t alone in his shock-jock sense of humor, and his following was comprised of that demographic almost entirely. Shortly after Blundell was let go, The Edge posted statistics that its listeners had dropped by 50% during that time slot (sorry, Fred). Why? Is it because Dean Blundell’s listeners were all homophobic, white supremists cleverly hidden in Toronto, one of the biggest cultural mixing pots in the country? No, it’s because all of his dark humored listeners have disbanded to find another show they can relate to. In this day and age, everything is so forced towards being politically correct that it drains the color and passion out of any real fight. All one has to do to support a cause these days is Like a page, show up in a faceless crowd or post on a personal blog. Do you think Blundell would have had his wrist slapped if Justin Biebers fans didn’t care enough to be upset? He was crucified for everything from bullying to hating gay and transgendered people, but all I got from his rant was that he really didn’t like the Biebs, a feeling most Canadians reflect. He’s a mocking a pop star, not a random average child with developing self-esteem, and furthermore Blundell is in his 30’s— Did anyone really see his rant as anything either than the next generation being appalled with the current?

Apparently so. You can’t throw around controversial subjects for too long without one angry PTA mom breaking through. Todd Shapiro (the sexy bastard) was let go in spring of 2013 for comments made, and Jason Barr was let go in 2010. It was only a matter of time before the axe fell on Blundell, especially since he had been the last man standing of the old radio-show DJ’s my generation had grown to love from the Edge. It’s no longer considered cool to joke about anything controversial, unless you first preface it with ‘you know, i’m not homophobic/racist/hateful, but…” and while that brings me relief from the people who are actually homophobic/racist/hateful (they’re awkward to talk with..) it makes me sad that we can’t have an understanding in society of what is meant in jest and what is a deep-seated belief.


19

Feb

Food for thought this Humpday! Don’t disappoint the Jesus now, kids

Food for thought this Humpday! Don’t disappoint the Jesus now, kids

15

Feb

Unmotivational Motivation

I have long since battled with de-motivation when it comes to fitness. Its no secret to anyone who meets me that while I enjoy being active, I really loudly and brashly dislike having to keep to a ‘fitness schedule’. I want so badly to be one of those people talking about Leg Day, sharing the proper way to flex in a mirror or drinking everything I can out of a shaker cup. But sadly, even after two years of working in a gym I still have childlike curiosity walking up to any machine with things that I can pull, and the only ‘form’ I have is the waiver they hastily had me sign when I walked through the door.

image

This sums up all of my pre- and post exercise feelings. Photo: TMZ.com

Completely ignoring all of that, being in shape is still something that I passionately feel people should do. Do I think everyone must now run out and join a gym? Oh god, no. You should, if you really need help being motivated. A good place to start is where everyone around you is transitioning into being better looking. But being better looking isn’t why I think its important.

Active people are just happier. It’s really that simple. I don’t strictly mean endorphin’s, the bodies gracious numbing happiness that washes over you once you’ve got your blood moving. They’re great, and without them I would likely be severely less cardio-inclined. No; its not the endorphin’s. You benefit mentally as well as physically when you exercise. When your’e active, your brain has an outlet aided by physical exhaustion where you can just work through your day. If you find yourself being someone who wakes up and stares at the ceiling at night, try doing a light jog before bed. That half hour forces you to commit your body to doing something the mind can auto-pilot on, and that’s when you think through your day. Post jog, your body is tired and your brain is too damn tired to bother worrying about it any more.

On top of being mentally beneficial, there’s the being-in-shape upside as well on the waistline. You know, deep down, you never feel better than when you are in your ‘ideal shape’. You know that person, that guy or girl you looked like when you had mono at 18, or hit your ab and pec peak at 21- that person you’ve pictured yourself as still looking like all these years later, and are always surprised when that person doesn’t show in the changeroom mirror. When your jeans fit and don’t cut in, when your bathing suit shopping and you think ‘not bad’ instead of ‘how can I cover more..’, that’s where you want to be.

So, you have being mentally happy AND physically happy, whats the hold up? Oh snap, you actually have to put effort in. There are more painful ways of getting thin fast, like lipsuction and tongue-mesh surgery (yep, thats a thing: http://www.vice.com/read/tongue-mesh) But those are both aforementioned painful, not to mention expensive, and finally *fucking* painful. DON’T BE LAZY. And If you’re going to be lazy, do it the right way.

My fitness mantra is ‘Get Fit Enough To Be Lazy’. If you draw out the last bit as you breathe, its pretty soothing AND distracting to your other yoga compatriots. If you get in what most people would consider ‘OK’ shape, then really all you have to do is coast. You can be 50 years old, in bomb condition, and never really having to do much either than just be active when you can. People who live their teens as athletes often find this ease of transition; and their fitness routine never becomes more than playing shinny with their buddies and kicking around a soccer ball with the kids. 

My parents have long been active people, and so strongly believed kids should go outside and play that my brother and I didn’t even touch a video gaming system until we were teenagers. My childhood was riddled with their encouragement in sports. I was always enrolled in at least one competitive sport, and this carried far into high-school when my mother coached the rock-climbing team my brother and I were on. As an adult, I look for any inspiration I can possibly grasp, and that’s opened a few very cool doors. I joined a roller derby team back in 2012, and anyone who thinks the game looks intense should watch the practices. I enroll in bootcamps when I can find them (as i’m motivated by being competitive), pole dancing classes (an amazing full body workout, sex not included) and paddle boarding. I’m also fortunate enough to have friends who are like-minded, and mildly competitive enough to engage me while working out. Working in a gym for years did very little for self-motivation in terms of fitness, and really only benefited me in the sense that I was more informed on when bootcamps and exercise classes were running.

So with all of this in mind, I encourage you to consider the following before writing off my advice altogether, and picking up another cookie:

1) It isn’t about living longer, its about living happier. And that means functionality. It doesn’t matter if you only plan on living to 60 if you die of a heart attack at 47. Things like falling and breaking a hip can end people at 70, so why not strengthen the bones with some load bearing exercise? Its not the difference between dying of cancer or old age, its the difference between dying at 55 painfully and dying at 85 peacefully.

2) Once you have any ‘big goals’ under wraps (losing 20 lbs, being able to touch your toes), its all smooth sailing. Really. I wouldn’t lie to you about this, I live it. Its especially easier if you realize half the things you like to do are already ‘exercise’ i.e. walking the dogs, chasing your kids, or just going for a walk around the block at night. Every city typically runs cheap rec-leagues, and we’re not talking plain soccer and baseball. Most now offer ball-hockey leagues, the aforementioned roller derby, etc. 

3) Diet is important. I’m not saying restrict, refrain or boycott anything until you have consulted a nutritionist or a doctor. Don’t go on some crazy fad diet your friend is on because they ate a bad bagel and now think they’re gluten sensitive; Do stick to the obvious choices like lots of veggies and protein. 

4) Don’t go on the internet if you do have big goals. Don’t read fitness blogs and take supplements pimped by a guy from Jersey Shore, go to a gym and see if they offer free consultations with trainers. Gyms aren’t as scary as people often think they are, and I have had two friends accomplish huge goals with trainers who were absolutely against them. Not everyone can afford a trainer, myself included, but I have had countless friends get direction and realistic expectations/timeline from sitting down with professionals, and at the very least they can suggest classes or bootcamps that might fit your need. 

5) Be realistic. I don’t mean about weight loss, I mean about the greater picture. Don’t say you’re going to go to the gym 5 mornings a week if you won’t, because you’ll quickly become disheartened and give up. Try like, 2 times a week and throw a wild card third form in there (rec league, block walk, washing the dishes twerk). Its a commitment, but fitness isn’t marriage. Its more… That crazy acquaintance you work with and have lunch with twice a week. You like them, but you aren’t spending every waking minute with them. And get rid of the bathroom scale. Yes, for real. If you can’t have a healthy relationship with it, it’ll be your undoing. Everyone always hears “you put on muscle when you lose fat, so your weight won’t change but your size will” and not believe a damn word. “How can you get smaller without losing weight??” You’ll fervently demand at the scale, which will blankly stare back at you because not only does it get asked this a lot, but it was made in china and does not speak English. Let me drill this in: You will become thinner but you will not become lighter at first. Yes, a few weeks in, this will plateau and your muscles will overtake the fat, and your weight will start to drop. P.S. This doesn’t mean your going to look like the next Arnold, so calm your tits. You’re becoming LEAN.

Alright, that’s it. Just live longer, alright? Be able to not just play with your kids, play with your grandkids. Don’t just get into those old skinny jeans, get into NEW bomb jeans.

You can do it, because I can. The bar is set that low.