Thursday, March 31, 2011

Basket of Thoughts

When I head to school each day I park less than a kilometre off campus and then walk to the big ol' University of Manitoba. So I parked today, got out of my car and started to walk. Almost instantly I was reminded of Victoria British Columbia. The ground was wet, it was 0 degrees Celsius, there was a sense of moisture in the air. It was everything that you could imagine BC to be. So as I made my eight minute walk I pretended that I was on the West Coast. Call me childish or what have you, but it was nice to have that escape first thing in the morning.

There is just something about nature. The complexity, diversity and beauty of nature. It never ceases to awe me. I am pumped to eventually travel the world and see all the glorious sites that my eyes have not yet laid eyes on.

Every Wednesday night I meet with a bunch of guys and we discuss stuff like the Bible, philosophy, God and every other question underneath the sun. Last night was no different, we talked about sin and what exactly that term encompasses. The group is made up of a diverse range of guys, from University students to those who quit school once they graduated high school. From single dudes to married dudes and everything in between (which is limited to dating, I think?) Either way, I learn so much from these guys, just bouncing ideas and theories off each other. If you ever have some questions and want to tag along, drop me a line.

So there is a few thoughts that were on my mind this morning, whats on yours?

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been
the foresight to know where you're going
and the insight to know when you're going too far.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let's Talk Election!

As most of my fellow Canadians know, Election is upon us. I have always been quite interested in politics, once promising my dental hygienist that I would give her a call when I became Premier. Although I am not still following a path to politics, plans change right? Who know if I will ever head back in that direction, I am certainly not closed to it.

Anyways, I am here to propose a hypothesis for our upcoming election. Many people take hours and hours of time to weigh all sides of the political spectrum, they pick apart policies and piece together theories, seeing who will come out victorious in our upcoming election in early may.

So here is my theory/prediction. This coming election I believe that Canada will vote in Stephen Harper and the Conservative party with a majority government. Why would I say this? Because I believe that Canadians are truly sick of elections. Election after election after election costing taxpayers $300 Million dollars each. On the other hand, although the Conservative party has taken a series of hits while in power, who doesn't? Every government (in my memory) that has been in power takes hits, they are constantly scrutinized and under fire. Harper has not done anything to destroy his image, I would hazard to guess he still has the majority of support of Grandma's and Grandpa's across the country.

Anyway's, thats is my two sense about the upcoming election. From now on I will be posting a series of political related items that I find funny or interesting. Enjoy!

This is my CBC Vote Compass out come. I guess I'm a Conservative...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Album Review - We Are the City - High School (EP)

We Are The City are back at it again! Recently released is a brand new EP titled High School. The release of this 6 track EP was much anticipated by We Are The City fans as the band has swapped out guitar players since their last tour of their debut album In A Quiet World.

In early 2011 We Are They City announced that guitarist David Menzel would be leaving the band. Recently engaged, to whom I assume to be the love of his life, David no longer had the same vision as Cayne and Andy. The boys split but according to Cayne, still remain great friends. Filling the shoes of Mr. Menzel would fall into the lap of Blake Enemark. The bands new guitarist seems to fit the mould of We Are The City as he currently is touring with Andy and Cayne as they finish up their Canadian tour.

So first of all, is High School worth your $5.94 on iTunes?

Absolutely! For those who have never listened to We Are The City before I can assure you that you do not have another band in your library that sounds even remotely close to them. When I first got my hands on In A Quiet World last summer at their show with Said the Whale, it blew me away. I honestly think that it had to do with the piano, being raised on the piano, it had lost its significance to me. But on a beautiful summer night back in 2010, Cayne McKenzie showed me the beauty of the piano and restored it to its proper place in my eyes.

Having the keys pierce through so vividly set We Are The City apart from others in one way, but apart from the piano, their sound is ridiculously unique. I am going to leave it there and ask you to listen and experience it for yourself.

Secondly, what should you expect from High School?

This EP consists of memories from high school mixed with some seriously dramatic fiddling. Not violin fiddling, but rather a mix mash of instruments that do their own thing eventually blending into something beautiful. For example, the track An Angel in White will have you scratching your head (in a good way) for the last 3 minutes.

The lyrical content of this EP seem to be genuine memories of a bunch of guy reminiscing about their pasts. Happy New Year describes a guys heart break as he exclaims "I definitely didn't get what I wanted." Despite the apparent sadness in the these lyrics the song is a jumpy/happy-go-lucky tune. A beauty to say the least.

Lastly, like their previous album, this EP has some serious mentions of religion. We Are The City seems to take a genuine approach to religion, something you don't hear of everyday.

Anyways, I highly advise the purchase of this EP, it'll make for some solid listening. Not convinced, listen here first... Then go buy it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why You Love Rebecca Black

You love Rebecca Black, don't deny it, because it's true. You know it, I know it, we all know it.
Think I'm crazy eh? Well let me tell you why I am right and why you in fact do love Ms. Rebecca Black.

If you have not seen this video yet take a look at it here.

So how do I know that you love her? Well first off, you keep going back to her video, we are climbing up to forty million hits, we'll make it there within the next week or so. There is absolutely no doubt that Ms. Black has become an "internet celebrity" similar to the likes of Justin Bieber, except for the fact that contrary to Bieber, her celebrity status was gained by "haters", those opposed to her music.

Now, I am not going to mask any feelings or hide any of my own personal opinions, the lyrical content in Ms. Black's video is at the very bottom on the creativity scale. Of course all teenagers love Friday's and are living for the weekends, but the sheer obviousness and the exact correlation between video and song were a little much to take, but I am not here to critique a 13 year old, which leads me to my next reason that you love Rebecca.

You love to watch people fall, this is not just true for you, but also true of Western Culture as a whole. We are a pretty messed up culture, think about it, we relish in the failure of others. Case in point: Charlie Sheen. How many of you have been watching the whole Charlie Sheen fiasco unfold only waiting for the point when he crumbles? I'll admit it, I am no better, but when we really think about, there is a sick nature to us. So you love Rebecca because of her sense of failure, you love writing nasty comments and joining the hundreds of thousands of others who know how to click a dislike button. It is better known as a mob mentality, just because a few people do it, the rest pile on.

Now once again, I am not defending the lyrical legitimacy of Friday but where do you draw the line between expressing your distain regarding a video or attacking a teenager?

Why else do you love Rebecca Black? Jealously. Be honest, what would you do to be in her shoes? My parents always told me that when someone made fun of me on the playground it was because they were jealous, I now see that to be more true than ever. How long have you been posting Youtube videos waiting to get noticed? How long have you been praying that some Hollywood producer or top NHL coach will recognize your talent and phone you up. What has happened to Ms. Black is only dreamt about by millions of other people, children and adults alike.

Whether you like it or not, in some way or another, you have a love for Rebecca Black. If you still disagree with me on this fact, then at least open your eyes and see that she is only a teenager, yet a teenager that has accomplished what many only dream of.

Hate it or love it, we're getting down on Friday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Album Review - Del Barber - Love Songs for the Last 20

Hey Canadian Music Scene,

Good ol' Del Barber. Hailed as one of Winnipeg's most favourite folk artists, Del put out Love Songs for the Last 20, his second CD release, just last year.
The precursor to this album was Where the City Ends an album that contained track upon track of a love for the prairies. Love Songs for the Last 20 seems, in a way, to be built off of his last record.

Now, allow me to say, when listening to music I try to take the most unbiased approach possible, I love and appreciate all type of music, but there has always been something about country... Maybe it is because I was was raised on U2 and not exposed to country music, or maybe it is some sort of natural thing for my ears to repel country music. Either way you look at it, I have always had to "try more" with country tunes.

When attempting to classify Del's tunes there is no doubt the word country will emerge. Personally, I would classify him as "a lot of folk with some roots and bluegrass with a touch of country." Although, I don't think that classification is going to fit into your iTunes genre section.

Besides all that, what does Love Songs for the Last 20 achieve? Del Barber manages to mix a wide arrangement of tracks from If I Told You That I Loved You, a song about young love and all the perks that go with it, to a seemingly tragic yet strangely uplifting tune called Katy Sparrow, that Del had co-written with his father. Poppa Barber also does the backing vocal's on the tune.

As I listen to this album I yearn for summer. Del manages to capture the raw essence of life on the prairies. It is songs like Home to Manitoba and Thunder Bay that make me want to live another summer out at the lake. On top of that, Del also has a very strong connection to Chicago, in fact the song Chicago tells of an individual leaving the life he had before and heading for the prairies.

I have always believed that the song writing of Del Barber is far beyond many and most musicians out there. Props to Del for weaving some solid words together to form something beautiful.

It is highly recommended that you purchase this album, you can grab a listen to it first.

Last but not least, here is Joshua Michalski doing a cover of If I Told You That I Loved You.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Memory Box #2 - Letters

Please tune into track #2, listen to the song and follow along with the lyrics.

The night was an old stray dog,
It was bitter and cold, lonely and hard as stone.
She walked with the world on her shoulders,
As the night crept in colder and colder
And with each step in the rain there rose a melancholic refrain that sang you're all alone.
It sang you're all alone.

He's older and wiser and bored,
As a young man he lived by the sword,
Till he found out that love was a knife and got cut one too many times.
The table was slightly romantic,
But the scene placed upon it was tragic,
She tried to hard not to need he spent all night trying not to bleed

They both longed for the sun in the morning a hand in the afternoon,
The sweet kind of recklessness,
Innocent born in youth,
Before that hole in her heart,
Before he found out that love was sharp,

Well she could re-light the fire but she'd come back with burned up hands,
And he could re-light the fire but he'd come back with burned up hands,
And they could re-light the fire but they'd come back with burned up hands.

- - - - - -

So at the very bottom of my good ol' shoe box happens to be a series of letters, about 20 in total. The significance of these letters? Allow me to explain...
As you know, I am someone who values the written word and after all these years I still blog, that has got to mean something right? See, there is just something beautiful about how language can be woven together. You can take a series of words that apart from each other mean nothing and string them together in a carefully thought out order to create a masterpiece. As visual art is stimulating to the eyes, music to the ears, the written word does not impact the eye, but rather the mind. While there is no doubt that music influences the mind as well, the pure nature of lyrics and of written words is to weigh on the mind.

I have collected these letters over the past 3 years or so. Accumulating over birthdays and multiple random occasions this collection of letters continues to grow. While some of the letters are since dated and I am sure that some of the writers would wish to retract some of the statements made, they still each hold some sort of memory and significance. Allow me to say, it is not healthy to live in the past as you cannot progress in life if you hold on to each and every relationship that has died, but rather you should be striving to press forward into new relationships. In the same sense, failed relationships should not be pushed away and shoved into the closet for no one to see but rather acknowledged, they did happen, friends.

The simple fact is: People change.

You change, I change, he changes, she changes. This fact should not be startling but should provide you with some insight as to why relationships fail. What once started out as a mutual friendship can turn sour when common ground is lost, I could go all Dr. Phil on you, but we are going to save that for later.

Anyways, as I read though all these letters over the past few weeks I am more than thankful for the writers. For the many writers whom I still talk to daily and for those who I don't get around to talking to as much as I would like, for the writers who I have wronged and for the writers whom I have forgiven, for the writers who still breathe, for the writers who have exhaled for the last time, for the writers who are broken and for the writers that are content: thank you. Some of your words are dated and no longer hold the significance they once did, but for that brief moment in time, they meant something.

Now, remember that song that you just listened to? A beautiful yet heartbreaking ballad. The tale of a friendship past. The ending stanza of the song gives an ultimatum. "And they could re-light the fire but they'd come back with burned up hands." What does this mean?

For those in a relationship that is on the fritz, listen up. In every situation there is two sides, sometimes you need to make things right and apologize and sometimes you need to forgive, whatever the situation may be one fact rings true. When your relationship finally levels out you have two choices: A. Relight the fire, or B. Walk away.

Sometimes relationships can be saved, you can use duct tape and band aids to hold it all together, yet other times it cannot. If you are constantly trying to figure out how to make things work, maybe you should stop burning your hands, get some aloe vera and walk away.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Album Review: Treelines - Treelines

Hey Canadian Music Scene,
So my most recently purchased album off iTunes is called Treelines, by Treelines. A self titled release that I managed to pick out of a swamp of Canadian tunes. A few months ago I remember watching a Youtube video of these guys, they were playing a session in the great outdoors and I loved it, but I didn't think much about them from that point on.

But once I saw their album and their EP on iTunes I went back and tried to find that video. I couldn't manage to find it so I said "what the heck" and bought the album. Let me tell you, I have not been disappointed.

This 10 track compilation is an honest and metaphorical view of life and it's trials. Starting off with the upbeat Let it Roll there is constant reiterations of widely accepted truths such as "There's no passion without desire."

A personal favorite of mine has to be Burned Up Hands, this heart wrenching tune tells the tale of a lady and a man who seem to have the worst of their current situation. It is not until the end of the song that we realize the correlation between the two. I'll stop here and make you listen to it, it's a solid piece of work.

The song Calendar in a musical melody, combining all sorts of instruments. Starting off with a little harmonica, transitioning with a plucking banjo and capping it all off with a solid brass line. This song is a great reflection of this album; keeping you on your toes.

So, friends, get out there and grab a listen to Treelines! For all you Manitoban's looking for a good deal you can buy their whole album off their Bandcamp page (link provided below) for a mere $2. Saves you $8 from iTunes, but either way, support these guys.

Peace and Love.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trying New Things

I am trying out a few new templates/setups for le blog. The old template was outdated and didn't support a lot of the stuff I wanted to do with le blog.

Thanks for understanding,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Joshua Michalski Project

This is my brother. You should subscribe to him on Youtube. If that is too much work, "Like" him on Facebook.

He has a lovely CBC Radio 3 page as well.

Bada bing bada boom!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whose Going To Ride Your Wild Horses?

This song has been stuck in my head, trying to sleep and can't.
Enjoy this.

There is something about this song that is sparking some sort of unidentifiable emotion in me right now...


Monday, March 7, 2011

God is Not a White Man

This has to be one of the most creative videos that I have seen for a while. After a long night of studying this was fun and refreshing.
My Pops had the chance to see this band, called "Gungor" live in LA last week, he came back with this video...

But take a second, how do you see God? As Santa? As non-existent? As a old white man? It is human nature to attempt to visualize God in a way that we can understand and comprehend. I personally think that our minds cannot grasp the vastness of God, as much as we would like to put him into a box as a old white guy, it just doesn't suit.

No matter how you view God, this video will give ya a laugh.

Shine on.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Work For a Newspaper

Guess what, I work for a newspaper.
I am here on my day off, chilling in the Manitoban office because I don't have a house key and have to wait for my brother to be done class. But as I am sitting here it hit me, how many people can say that they work for a newspaper? Much less, how many people can say that they work for a newspaper at 18? Well, if you actually figure it out, thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people do, but I think it is a pretty cool deal.

I saw an advertisement for a writing position on my first day of university and simply applied. I submitted my resume along with 3 previous writing pieces, got called on for an interview and then 2 weeks later got a call back saying "You got the job." Now, I walk around the university and see people reading stuff I have written, with a smirk I quietly pass. There is a feeling of accomplishment when someone reads what you have produced, it is a pretty awesome feeling.

In fact, I saw an acquaintance from my history class in passing today and he had the paper in his hand. He told me that he only picked it up because he saw an article on Facebook creeping, he turned to the page with that particular article and when I told him that I had wrote it he was flabbergasted.

I write for the Manitoban. The University of Manitoba's Student Newspaper. I am the Culture Reporter. It's not exactly comparable to writing for the New York Times or something insane like that, but I do enjoy it. So next time you see the Manitoban on news stands, you should probably pick it up, 100% free.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I need to give a huge THANK-YOU to YOU! Yes, you. The person reading my blog at this moment!
As a few of you know, I had a somewhat successful (what really is successful in the blogosphere? blog that I had deleted about a year ago now. I had pretty regular traffic and commenters, the jazz that goes on with a good blog. I had deleted that blog and moved onto "bigger things", that being

I must let you know that last month, February, was my most successful month as far as traffic goes since starting this blog. We tallied just over 400 hits in 28 days. Sounds insignificant, but I am pumped about it. So, if you ever want to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or what ever else, don't even ask (unless you run a super sketchy porn site, then please don't link me in, but other than that, I would but more than happy if you shared le blog as I hope to break the 500 mark for April.

The most encouraging thing for a writer is to be read, so once again, thanks!

Shine your light.

P.S. - I hope you caught it...