I haven't been feeling too shit-hot recently. Before Christmas my routine blood pressure check indicated that it was quite high again. Dr Lisa was concerned. And so was I. Not enough to ditch the Coke bottles, but hey... every little bit counts. I'll give up something else. Broccoli?
I have another confession to make... I've never really been a huge fan of The Tragically Hip. I know how un-Canadian that must sound, especially given Good Downie's untimely passing from brain cancer... But it's true. I never really "got" The Tragically Hip. And let me tell you... as someone who spent many a summer in Kington, Ontario... not "getting" The Hip isn't something that you wear on your sleeve with any amount of pride. Au contraire.Continue reading
I've accumulated a lot of music over the years. At last count my library had just over 10,000 songs, although in fairness there are plenty of duplicates and less desirable songs that I am slowly weeding out. Most of that library consists of music ripped from my extensive CD collection, plenty of online trading, and yes... even some legally purchased iTunes tracks.
When Apple began offering their Music Match service a few years ago, it was like a dream come true. For $27/year I could upload my entire collection to their iCloud, even songs I hadn't purchased from iTunes. Those songs would be available to me at all times - as long as I had an internet connection to access them. That $27/year is still one of my best purchases.
In addition to music songs, I've also accumulated a decent collection of music videos - 354 to be exact. I sometimes like to put music videos on while I'm putting around the house or working on something. I get more value from a $2 music video than any movie I could buy. The fact that everything is stored in the cloud is a bonus. I don't have to load my phone up with these files. I can set the phone in a stand, connect to wifi, and have access to my entire collection.
Or can I?Continue reading
When I sat down to write this blog post, the title immediately jumped to the screen before anything else did. But it felt familiar somehow. I knew that I had written about trying to donate blood before... I thought I should look at some previous posts.
They Finally Took My Blood! Look at the date... November 5, 2010. I guess it's been awhile since I've given blood! And I was pretty damn excited the last time too! To the point of using essentially the exact same title. Weird.Continue reading
I’m still reeling over the fact that Coca Cola has tampered with my beloved Coke, reducing the syrup by 8%, the calorie content by 20 for 355ml, and crushing my hopes and dreams of ever getting to ride one of the Christmas polar bears into battle. It’s just not going to happen now.
And then news came of Kraft’s decision to stop using synthetic colours in their Kraft Dinner. I’m pretty sure that my Earth just about fell off its axis with that one. WTF?
Sure Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 don’t SOUND overly appetizing, but take a look at that picture above and tell me that’s not the only way KD should look. Yes, even the ketchup heart. We all need a little more love in our lives. Although I tend to use a smiley face with mine, but that’s not the point.
So how are they going to colour it without Yellows #5 and #6? Well apparently through the combination of 3 spices: turmeric, paprika, and annatto. And just in case you’re like me and haven’t the slightest clue what annatto is, here’s what it looks like before it’s ground up. How scary is that? Do I want that thing around my KD? I don’t think so! That thing belongs on an island somewhere, feeding on wild boars, and stray pygmies.
And what about the other two? Well here’s paprika. Notice the pretty shade of red matches quite nicely with the red of the annatto above?
And then there’s turmeric, which I’ll admit is yellowy, and something that I use in my mustard pickles. I guess it’s not all bad.
So how are these three mostly dark red spices going to replace Yellows #5 and #6? I have no idea. I’m no chef (if I was, I probably wouldn’t be eating KD for supper) but I’m told that these colours will soften during the blending process. I sure hope so, because right now I’m envisioning something that looks a lot like bloody mud.
So why the change in the first place? Is this going to make KD a healthy alternative to real food? No, of course not. It’s still processed food packed in a box that you can get on sale for under a buck. This is just someone’s way of trying to appeal to an “informed consumer” so that everyone can sleep soundly at night. I’d be more worried about the preservatives in food that make them last an unnaturally length of time, than the colour of my macaroni and cheese.
But that’s just me.
Earlier this month I wrote about being asked whether I was interested in creating a video to showcase a product from Belkin called the WeMo Motion + Switch. It was exciting to be asked, but a little daunting at the same time. I’ve never made anything other than silly little single shot videos. This was something that would require multiple shots and editing. I know the iMac is capable of it, but I’m sure not!
The concept changed a few times until I sat down yesterday in my newly creepified living room, and started shooting. It was fun! I wrote a script. Recorded it. Moved my props around repeatedly while going back and checking the camera viewing range. I even rigged a giant spider from the ceiling that I could lower during the filming! I shot my little film in different filters, with different results. Finally I settled on some rough footage that I was satisfied would just have to do.
Then Jess came home.
Neither one of us are graphic artists, but she has a knack for these things that I definitely do not possess. She took the raw footage, added overlaying audio files, a trailer and credits. She took my chunk of rock and turned it into a polished jewel worthy of an Academy Award!
Kate Upton will now present the award for Best Director to… Stephen Belyea! I’d just like to thank all the people who poured their heart and soul into this project, my fans, my mother and father who stood with me all these years, my sister, my beautiful children, my agent… wait! Stop the music, I’m not done! There are still people I need to thank! My agent, oh I said that already. Umm.. my publicist… all the people at wardrobe.. my hair stylist.. Oh God! Don’t forget about Him! Wait! Wait! Thank you, Academy! I love you. Good night!”
Many of the world’s problems seem so far away. We often forget just how fortunate we are to live in a country as great as Canada.
Yesterday we were reminded that extremism is not confined to any particular region. A soldier’s life was taken. A nation’s collective innocence was shaken. If it can happen over there, then it can happen over here. It has happened here.
Whatever the goal of yesterday’s attack was, it did not succeed. Canadians are not afraid. If anything this has only hardened our resolve. Evil exists in this world. We are stronger.
Rest in Peace, Cpl Cirillo. You will not be forgotten.
This is something a little different for me. I’m showcasing a music video strictly for the video itself. Sure, the song is ok, but it’s not going to end up in my Top 100. But the video… wow… the young girl is 11 year old dancing sensation Maddie Ziegler, from a show called Dancing Moms. I’ve never heard of the show before, and I only know it because I had to look up who she was. The video is shot in one continuous take, and Maddie never stops. I don’t know who choreographed this routine, but it’s amazingly weird, creepy, and genius all at the same time.
I’ve been with Air Miles since the beginning. Although I’ve never had any illusions of travelling the world on their dime, I’ve cashed out a few times for some nice gifts. The Sobeys gift cards came in extremely handy when money was tight. The iTunes gift cards were an incredible way of topping up my music and apps. Air Miles has always treated me well.
I remember a little while ago when they introduced their Cash program. Instead of accumulating points to put toward a trip or luxury gift, you could use them as a cash discount right at the time of purchase. Sounded interesting, but I didn’t pay too much attention. I was happy with how my current Dream Rewards worked.
Imagine my sudden irritation today when I popped into my Air Miles account to check and see how close I was to get another iTunes gift card and discovered that the gift card section was completely gone – replaced by Air Miles Cash. For 95 Air Miles Cash, I can now get an instant $10 off my iTunes purchases. That’s fine and dandy, but I don’t have any Air Miles Cash points, I have 223 Dream Rewards points. Well there must be a way to convert them? Nope. (I believe that when the program was first announced, Air Miles did provide a way to convert Dream Rewards to Cash… but that seems to have been a limited time offer)
I changed my account so I will now accumulate Air Miles Cash, but that doesn’t help me with the 223 Dream Rewards that I have. Do you know what you can get with 223 Dream Rewards? Squat! No gift cards, no magazine subscriptions, nothing! I DID discover that the Movie Night for Two is still available for 200 Dream Rewards, but they made such a big promotion of it also being part of the Cash program, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s gone from the Dream Rewards catalog soon. Better get it while you can!
I am now the proud owner of 23 useless Dream Reward Miles that now expire in 5 years.
Thanks Air Miles.
Let’s finish up this whole business of Time Management, and yummy pomodori, shall we? If you missed the previous discussion, don’t forget to check out my explanation of what the Pomodoro Technique is, and my Pomodoro test run.
So after 100 mins of focussed house cleaning, and 4 breaks, half of the apartment looked fantastic. There’s no denying it. I had done a great job… far better than had I simply spent 100 mins cleaning on my own. Probably better than had I spent 200 mins cleaning on my own!
But the Pomodori technique is only as good the person using it. Like any system, you can’t expect to see results if you don’t put in the work. It’s not a magical solution. It’s an exercise to break me of some of my bad habits, and instill some good ones. While Saturday was a good day, Sunday was not. There wasn’t a time management system anywhere that could have salvaged Sunday. I failed to use the Pomodoro technique, and the results showed. It wasn’t the system’s fault. I think the system works… if you’re willing to work with it. It’s not for everyone, but for those of us who are easily taken off-task by random distractions, I think that the Pomodoro Time Management Technique is certainly worthy of consideration.