My Office: a Window to my Soul?

Looking around my office, I realize that it’s like a visit inside my mind.

Yes, it’s a little dirty; obvious joke, my friend.

Seems that I’m either a sentimental guy, or I’ve got a future 15 minutes of infamy on Hoarders.

It makes sense that I have a collection of photos of my kids, and arts & crafts that they made for me, because they are two of my best little friends on this planet.

Treasures from my kids

Treasures from my kids

There are mementos scattered about, tokens of the loving, playful, and supportive relationship that my wife and I share. Fifteen years together, and counting. O_O

Ain't she sweet?

Ain’t she sweet?

The vintage photos of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Jackie Robinson; along with the Ryan Smyth Team Canada bobblehead, and Don Cherry coffee mug, are evidence of my love of sports.

Vintage MLB

Vintage MLB

I think the can of spray on sunscreen sitting on the windowsill shows my optimism, as even in January, I’m ready for summer.

The tangle of cords from my laptop, to docking station, external hard drive, second monitor, speakers, headphones, and a multitude of chargers confirm I’m not Amish, and doing my best to keep up in a geeky-techy world.

The fossilized megalodon tooth, that sits on my desk, keeps me grounded; Reminding me of how small we really are, the short time that humans have been on this planet, and that no matter how fierce of a predator you might be, that nothing lasts for ever. Deep, huh?  (Also – Hello, it’s a frickin’ shark tooth! – how cool is that?)

My tooth, graphic from fossilguy.com

My tooth, graphic from fossilguy.com

The menagerie of Hot Wheels, action figures, and happy meal toys, are here in case one of the kids accompanies me to the office, and in no way reflect a level of immaturity that you might otherwise infer. Shhh. Let us speak of it no more.

A final look around reveals a beer coaster and a bottle opener, perhaps because one of my favourite things about work is that at the end of a hard day, it’s even more enjoyable to kick back and play.

The tools of happy hour

The tools of happy hour

Now you know me a little better. Need to know more? Click here.

Cheers!

Remembrance Day, 2013

I am Canadian.

I am a patriot.

And I am proud of, and grateful to, the members of Canada’s armed forces, past and present for their service to our country.

Photo: veterans.gc.ca

Captain William A. Bishop, V.C., Royal Flying Corps
Photo: veterans.gc.ca

In this country, November 11th is known as Remembrance Day, and is intended to honour our military men and women for their often unimaginable sacrifices in standing up for those who could not stand up for themselves, fighting for the freedom and peace of others.

I regularly observe the day through my tiny symbolic support, in wearing a red poppy on my lapel. This plastic red flower, with it’s annoying little stick pin, that I receive in exchange for dropping a few coins into the collection box, has become an important symbol to me.

As a small child, I recall on several occasions, unintentionally jabbing myself with the ill-positioned pin, or folding the flower (sans pin) in half and giggling at the resulting bright red girly lips. Not the strongest act of Remembrance or patriotism, I know, but the innocence of children should be excused, no, it should be embraced. Happily, I was not a child of war.

But I also remember In Flanders Fields, the poem written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, while on the front line of battle in World War I, after a friend was killed by enemy shelling. The words mean far more to me as an adult, with the ability to try to empathize with the brave soldiers and their often incredible sacrifices, made in the name of freedom and duty to the people.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Recently, I have become aware of a white poppy campaign, claiming to be in the name of peace, disavowing the red poppy as a symbol glorifying war. You can take your symbol of peace, and be proud of your ideals; as this is an opportunity afforded to you by the sacrifices of men and women of our military, and the fights they fought for you and me.

There is no glory in war, and few people desire to spend their (sometimes final) days being shot at, or targeted by bombs, and deprived of so many of the comforts we take for granted; The ones who are willing to put their lives on the line to uphold the peace, and fight against the oppression of others, guarding the safety of the weak and innocent, surely deserve our respect – as we sit on the sidelines at a safe distance, with our oversized lattés and free wifi, passing judgement.

This year, Veterans Affairs Canada posed the question: What if every day was Remembrance Day? This is a sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with. November 11th is an important day, to officially recognize the contribution of our military men and women, but let’s use the rest of the year to be appreciative of the peace and freedom that we enjoy because of them. That is not an act of glorifying war, that is what is known as gratitude.

So, in addition to wearing my poppy, I’d like to say thank you to our military, today and every day.

Peace to you all.

The Big Finale – My Matt Dusk Interview, Part 2

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Canada’s own Matt Dusk, and ask a few questions. In case you missed it, this will take you to Part 1 – (click here, you know you want it)

If you’re not a frequent visitor to this site, ask yourself: Why the hell not?

Here is the shocking conclusion to our interview (yes, the one where Matt tries to kill me):

And I think it’s only right to end it with some of Matt’s crooning, here, as you’ll hear in the hilarious TV series – Call Me Fitz:

Ring-a-ding-ding Baby!

The Matt Dusk Interview – I Did It My Way

Recently, I noticed that silky smooth crooner Matt Dusk was performing in my local area, so I shot an email to my music guy Eric – to hook me up with an interview. While I was denied my preferred setting of dimly lit, booze soaked, dive bar (only for atmosphere, of course), I was granted access to one of today’s most talented guys in the business of keeping jazz crooning alive.

Via: MattDusk.com - photo: Sarah Bourne Photography

Via: MattDusk.com – photo: Sarah Bourne Photography

If the spirit of Frank Sinatra were assembling a modern day Rat Pack to take over the Vegas strip, Matt Dusk, with his highly polished stage presence and notable musical abilities, would surely be a cornerstone. Throw in that he’s a funny and humble man, you’re sure to come to the conclusion that he’s the kind of guy you’d like to hang out and have a beer with. Next time, right Matt?

We caught up with Mr. Dusk at Millennium Place, in Sherwood Park, just before sound check, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions.

Here is the first of my two part video interview with Matt Dusk, I invite you to spend 5 minutes with us:

If you’d like to experience some of Matt’s musical talent, how about a bit of “Back In Town”

Be sure to check back soon for the exciting and shocking conclusion to my interview with Matt Dusk.

Bartender! Two Shots of Happy, please.

One Question Quiz – The Matt Dusk Edition

What is happening in this photo?

Really Matt, don't  you own a suit?   Photo: Big Daddy

Really Matt, don’t you own a suit?
Photo: Big Daddy

 

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Dusk and the opportunity to ask him a few sorta serious questions. The full interview will appear on this site shortly.

In the interim, why not enjoy some of Matt’s music? (Play the video, you know you want to)

Young, Beautiful, and Ridiculously Talented

From the title of this blog, you’re thinking this is some sort of autobiographical piece. Close, but if it were about me, ‘ridiculously’ would probably before ‘beautiful’.

This post is actually about a number of young ladies that I had the pleasure of seeing rockin’ it at CBC Edmonton, as part of Country Music Week, preceding the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Hayley, Jess Moskaluke, along with Robyn and Ryleigh are part of the next wave of Canadian Country Music, waiting to make a big splash on the entertainment world. Keep an eye out for these ladies.

HAYLEY

Via hayleymclean.com

Via hayleymclean.com

If you’re going to market yourself by only your first name, in this case Hayley, there better be something pretty memorable about you, or you’ll inadvertently become known as “Hayley who?”. Not a worry for this Hayley, as she’s got skills with the guitar that have made Los Lobos and Buddy Guy take notice. And she can sing. And she looks right at home performing live. And she’s got a killer smile. Sounds like a winning combination to me. Click right here for a listen.

You don’t have to take my word for it, check with the folks at Fender, who dubbed this young Canadian a Guitar Goddess.

JESS MOSKALUKE

Via jessmoskaluke.com

Via jessmoskaluke.com

So when you’re a modern day small town kid growing up in Saskatchewan, with a dream of being a singer and songwriter, what do you do?

Well you work hard, and leverage YouTube for a few MILLION hits. Wow.

And you harness that confident, powerful voice, while writing some songs that people want to hear, and keep working hard.

Just like this in this video, not so coincidentally, as seen on You Tube…

Catch Me If You Can (you know you want to click on it)

Throw in the girl next door meets rocker chick look and the deck seems stacked in Jess’s favour.

ROBYN and RYLEIGH

Robyn (with guitar) and Ryleigh; Via robynandryleigh.com

Robyn (with guitar) and Ryleigh
Via robynandryleigh.com

When this sister duo of little blonde firecrackers take the stage, you can’t help but notice they’re cute (maybe even adorable). They possess sweet disarming smiles that betray the fun they’re having, singing and playing their music. But much more than that, these two young ladies are tight musically, working together to produce a sound that is greater than just an energetic two part harmony.

Songs like Just Another Sundown, are just what you’d expect from this bright eyed pair, full of energy and hope for the future.

With rising talents like these three acts, I think the future of Canadian music is in good hands, and we’ll all have a lot of good listening ahead of us, for many years to come.

Cheers ladies, keep rockin’ it!

Driving to Work Today

This morning the commute to the office was a little frustrating, and because venting here is preferable to the consequences of dragging someone out of their vehicle and showing them the error of their ways, I’ll make a few quick points.

SLOW DRIVERS

Let’s examine a commonly seen road sign on multi-lane highways.

Image: trafficsignstore.com

Image: trafficsignstore.com

This message should not take much to figure out. FFS people, if other vehicles are closing in on you (hint: you should be able to detect this by using your rear view mirror), please move to the right. I have never seen a traffic sign that says “If I’m not driving fast enough for you, go around me”.

SMOKERS

Quite honestly, I don’t care if you choose to smoke in your vehicle. It is your personal decision. However, if you’re one of the many inconsiderate bastards who finishes a cigarette and flicks the butt out the window, I have a problem with you.

Photo via drive.com.au

Photo via drive.com.au

Simply put, the world is not your ashtray. You are littering. You made the conscious decision to start a small fire in your automobile, so please follow up by making a conscious decision to extinguish this smoldering butt properly, and then dispose of it into an appropriate receptacle.

PAY ATTENTION

Photo: cellphonesafety.org

Photo: cellphonesafety.org

And finally, let’s save some lives. Driving an automobile is a big responsibility. You’re moving a few thousand pounds down the road, with enough force to easily damage or destroy property and potentially inflict life threatening injury on other human beings. Don’t take this responsibility lightly. Fixing your lipstick, nor updating your Facebook status isn’t that important. If you must talk on the phone, keep calls brief and use hands free devices. Where I live it’s the law.

My cardiologist recommends that we discuss this topic no further.

Have a nice day.