Server not Servant!

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pixabay.com

Serving can be a nightmare. An anxiety filled, mentally and physically exhausting occupation. And yet, I’ve chosen to work this job for the past 5 years. Why? Because it pays the bills and it’s one of the only jobs available that can accommodate my student hours. I know I am not alone in this. For most, It’s a love-hate relationship; we suffer for the money as we grow increasingly bitter at management and the entire population for treating us the way that they do.

 According to the Telegraph, scientists have found that low paid jobs, such as those in the service industry, leave employees at a far greater risk of heart problems and are 58% more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke. The article goes on to explain how those working in this field are often left vulnerable to the whims of customers and management and are forced to work long unsociable hours to serve the 9-5 crowd. Amen! I don’t know about you, but I think if I’m literally risking my life to serve, you should tip. And if you don’t tip at least be a kind human being.

 Photo by  pina messina  on  Unsplash

Photo by pina messina on Unsplash

As Narcity explains this is how you should tip:

  • 15% - Okay service
  • 18% - Good service
  • 20% - Great service
  • 21% - 30% - Exceptional service

  I have been screamed at over free refills on chips and salsa. I have been grabbed by the arm and scolded like a young child. A man once asked me to take a seat on his lap as the rest of his table laughed. What is it about servers that makes society want to badger and abuse? Is it because you’re tipping us? We make below minimum wage; you have an obligation to tip. You pay for your air ducts to be cleaned and I’m sure you don’t scream at them. I block your nastiness out while my toes are jammed into cowboy boots as I maneuver around the room with a 50-pound tray of sizzling fajitas spraying oil onto the side of my face.

 Unsurprisingly, the increased minimum wage has set the entire industry on edge. Costs have to be cut because now businesses are forced to pay employees a higher wage. How will the ledgers be balanced, you ask? By sticking their grubby hands into the tip jar.

 When the restaurant I previously worked for decided to change the tip pool in preparation for the minimum wage increase, half of my location quit in rage. Corporate hoo-ha’s wanted the tips we made to be shared with management because they couldn’t afford to provide wage increases.

I moved on to what I thought were bigger and better things, only to encounter a different kind of crowd. I now work Sunday morning brunch. This is by far the most ruthless of crowds. Even more brutal than hungry, burly men smacking their beers on the table, demanding their 5th refill of meat on All-You-Can-Eat Fajitas night. Even crueler than the Black Friday shoppers who trample each other for a free T.V.  

Picture a quaint little French bistro styled brunch spot with walls painted yellow, where happy music plays over the speakers. A cutesy little place, where demonically possessed humanoids roll out of bed at the crack of dawn and trudge over demanding bacon and eggs and organic coffee. Here, I am berated for different reasons. I stand in the way of your 8th refill of coffee. Trust me, I’m not too pretty without my morning cup of joe either, but I don’t bark orders like a tyrant. It’s 9 A.M on a Sunday. What are you even doing out of bed? Shhhh, go back to sleep.

Or, just enjoy yourself and I'll be right over.


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Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home cooking, drinking wine and writing.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

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Emily Andrechuk

Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home writing, cooking and drinking wine.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Now that Christmas is over, there’s nothing to distract us from the one thought that is whirling through everyone’s minds: It’s COLD!

Sure, we noticed the mercury dropping in the thermometer centimeter by centimeter throughout December, but we considered it to be a good thing. Christmas is meant to be cold; we love having white Christmases and cozying up next to a fireplace –it adds to the whole appeal of the season.

But now that it’s over, our whole outlook has changed. We don’t have the beautiful twinkling lights to divert our eyes from the whirling snowstorm outside. We’ve already drank the peppermint hot-chocolate that warms us from the freezing temperatures. The holiday has ended, life resumes to a regular pace, and we are left to face the cruel effects of Canadian winter.

I hear complaints all the time about the weather. It’s the number one conversation we have, especially when we get into negative celsius. People ask, “Why am I living in a place where the air hurts my face?”. They cry when they have to wear two pairs of socks in their boots. They take out their shovels begrudgingly, ridding their driveways of the foot of snow accumulated overnight.

Letterkenny gets real about Canadian cold...

But is it all that bad? We’re Canadians, after all.

CBC released an article declaring Ottawa to be the coldest capital city in the world. The next day, The Washington Post casually announced that parts of Canada were reaching temperatures colder than the surface of Mars. No, really. Canada is colder than a planet which is 54.6 million kilometers further away from the sun than we are. If there’s anything to promote the Canadian stereotype that we all live in igloos, this is it.

Sure, our ears might be tingling after three minutes if we forget to grab our toques. Sure, our arms feel weak after digging our cars out of the snow. Sure, we have to pay more than the average human for an entire new wardrobe come the first flake of snow. But come on, think of all the unique things that such a cold climate gives us Canadians!

As cold-suffering Canadians…

  • We get to enjoy the best kinds of fluffy socks.
  • We get more days off school and work due to the copious amounts of snow.
  • Seeing our breath in the air makes us feel like dragons.
  • We get to go skating on the lakes before anyone else in the world.
  • The Christmas songs with references to snow and cold actually make sense here.
  • Nobody cares how ridiculous you look come mid-winter; if you’re warm, that’s what matters.
  • Double-doubles and hot chocolate are never taken for granted.
  • Shovelling snow is nature’s way of keeping us fit.
  • Numb toes and fingers helps us appreciate them more.
  • Being cold builds character.
  • Our record-breaking temperatures perpetuate patriotism.

The list could go on and on, but I think I’ll leave it at that. Come on, folks! Despite all your complaints, I think deep down, any true and pure-hearted Canadian is inherently proud of the winters we face.

So bundle up and brace yourselves, because this is what being Canadian is all about.

 Photo Courtesy of me.me.com

Photo Courtesy of me.me.com


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Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

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Caitlin Bouwma

Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

Mainstream Success Sucks For Geek Culture

I’m a nerd. I’m a geek. I’ll say it proudly. Though, there was a time when I wouldn’t be able to say that statement out loud. There was a time when I couldn’t say it at all. If I did let out some aspect of my inner geek, I would be picked on relentlessly. And that was the way it was for many young kids. And in some ways, even some adults. But, in recent years, that seems to have changed. Movies based on comic books are the largest block busters of the year. Video games have become one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. There are now hundreds of cartoons specifically aimed at adults. Being a geek is cool. And I think it’s a little bit insulting.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t just me being possessive of the things I love. There's never a problem with more people loving the same things. More people to talk about it with. More people to line the pockets of the creators, which then means they create more awesome shit. It’s a win for me.

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What upsets me is that all of this happened with zero regard for those that had to suffer beforehand. Whenever I see some frat kid wearing a Batman shirt, I get an uneasy feeling. That type of person was the sort to give me trouble as a kid. Now, they’re walking around, claiming fanship for something that caused me torment at their hands? I’m not even exaggerating. I’ve occasionally run in to some of my childhood tormentors. This is a thing that’s actually happened.

On top of it all, this mass appeal of geek culture has hurt some properties. Take for example, Suicide Squad from last year. The movie got heaps of marketing, and was one of the marquee titles for the summer of 2016. That is par for the course. Comic book movies make huge money. But my issue, is the quality of these movies. And the way certain characters from it were treated.

The best, and easily most egregious example, is Harley Quinn. If you payed attention during Halloween last year, she was everywhere. One of the most popular costumes, and most of them were based off the Suicide Squad version of the character. My issue is, even in a genre where characters have dozens of alternate versions, the character from Suicide Squad was awful. And as far as I’m concerned, every single character in that movie was bad. None of them were good representations of who they are in the comics, and that’s a shame. They became marketing tools, and it worked. People who aren't as savvy on the subject ate it up, and Harley specifically is now nearly as well known as Batman himself. Not because of a good movie, but because she was a carefully planned marketing tool.

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Star Wars, my personal favourite franchise, is another strong example of the main stream's hand essentially fucking up something awesome. I’m not going to say that the new movies are awful. They’re being guided by the experienced hands of Disney, and that means they have all the money in the world to make the movies looks great. Unfortunately, even with such a hefty financial backing there is a clear lack of care going in to the films.

You don’t even need to try hard to support that argument. There has been a Star Wars movie every year for the last three years, and we can expect two more years of this trend. The movies keep coming out, because they make money. The obvious abuse of a beloved franchise is something that doesn’t sit well with me.

In geek culture, we love shit. We value well crafted characters, stories, and worlds. That’s what makes us tick. It’s what spawns the rabid fanaticism in us. That wouldn’t exist if the content was churned out by faceless corporations. If you want us to be passionate, throw the same passion in to the work. Otherwise, we were abused through our younger years so some big wigs can get some money, and all of our favourite things can be turned in to merch pushing machines. And honestly, if you’re okay with that, I’m coming for your geek card. It’s probably a fake anyway.


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Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, comic books, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss-army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

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Shane Gordon

Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

Down with Borscht

Almost all superfoods have two things in common. First, marketers would have you believe they offer unique nutrients that help people live healthy lives. Second, no individual on this green earth truthfully enjoys all of the diverse foods that fall into this category. My personal nemesis is beets; I don’t like ‘em, I hate ‘em, basically, I’m saying I could do without ‘em

 Game designer Justin Gary feels me. He created a card game base around getting rid of your beets and passing them off to others so that you can eat ice cream. Don't even get me started on the abomination of beet ice cream.

Game designer Justin Gary feels me. He created a card game base around getting rid of your beets and passing them off to others so that you can eat ice cream. Don't even get me started on the abomination of beet ice cream.

Proponents of beets say they’re good for you because they contain nitric oxide, a chemical used by cells to communicate with one another. Some health experts claim nitric oxide helps to speed up recovery time, and improve blood flow to your muscles. However, there are plenty of edible foods that you can eat to get nitric oxide, walnuts, collard greens, broccoli, lettuce, lean meats, red chili peppers, and kiwi fruit all include the nutrient. Or you could just take the supplement, because why would you eat beets?

My bias doesn’t come from a blanket distaste for taproots. I snack on carrots, crunch through turnips, toss radishes in my salads, and spice things up with a little bit of parsnips. There’s just something about beets that turns my palette.

It’s a holistic dislike. No one element makes me loathe the vegetable. Beets seem to always have this viscous film surrounding them; almost like the mucus a snail secretes. Then, when you bite into the damn things the texture is mealy, a combination that seems to run congruent to the laws of molecular bonding -a mouthful of unnatural pondering. You can’t argue that the colour can be off-putting. Cutting the things up leads to your kitchen counter looking like a set from the third season of Dexter. And who doesn’t like it when their dinner smells like burnt dirt?

My verbal response to people who ask me whether I'd like beets in my meal.

It could be that it is just a cilantro effect. You know those weirdo friends who hate cilantro on anything because it tastes like soap, so we all have to settle for mediocre salsa and guac at Mexican get togethers. Maybe I’m the beet weirdo, ruining my friend’s Ukrainian pierogi dish, or watering down their enjoyment of sour soups.

That’s not to say I’m not a cordial dinner guest. “Sure Nonna Castellano, I’d love another helping of that beet salad,” I say through my best fake smile. “No, the borscht isn’t too hot Baba Pavliuk. No, it isn’t too cold either. No, it doesn’t need more salt… it’s perfect just the way it is.”

If you like beets, that’s fine, but please keep them away from me and my fellow hater’s plate.


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Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

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Tristan Handley

Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

Powerbombs and Moonsaults: Why Professional Wrestling is Awesome

“You know it’s fake right?” This is often the first line you get when you let slip to someone that you enjoy professional wrestling. And the answer is that of course I know it’s fake. But here’s my question in return. Why should that matter? People like The Game of Thrones, they enjoy the Simpsons.

Professional wrestling is a dirty secret for me. I’ve enjoyed it since I was a child, and I’ve only ever stopped enjoying it for small periods throughout my life. Even being a life-long fan I still feel the need to hide it. It’s fake; it’s over the top, it’s a bunch of large dudes, often in little tights, beating each other up while crowds of people watch. It’s an easy target to scrutinize.

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On the surface, I will admit that wrestling could be off-putting. But there are hundreds, thousands, if not millions of pro-wrestling fans all around the world. WrestleMania, the biggest show, put on by the biggest name in wrestling, regularly breaks attendance records at the venues it visits. If it can pull so many people to watch it must be doing something right. And to quote current Ring of Honour champion Cody Rhodes, “wrestling has never been cooler.”

Wrestling last saw a surge in popularity in the mid-1990s, which was the era that gave us Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, two of the most widely popular stars the industry has ever produced. Since those days though, the popularity dropped. People became more interested in real sports, specifically the UFC, which many people felt more palatable than the ‘fake’ pro-wrestling.

I never thought this comparison was fair. The products aren’t the same, pure and simple. UFC is a promotion that puts all MMA (mixed martial arts) fights. This, of course, is real, requiring years of training, and unscripted victors. Wrestling, on the other hand, is more athletic performance. The actions itself is very real, but the victories, storylines and personalities are widely scripted. This is where most people take issue, but it's exactly why fans enjoy it.

Wrestling matches, and the feuds that form their framework are carefully crafted stories. They tell tales on underdogs, returning heroes, dastardly villains. They use the lives of professional athletes as inspiration, and use them to form dramatic tales of conquest, defeat, love, and betrayal. Overall, it’s eclectic, and the stories that have been told seem endless. Sometimes they can be campy, but it’s not the story that truly matters, it’s how the performers tell it.

The hardest thing for people to grasp is that these stories are mostly communicated within the ring. The shifting momentum of matches is carefully timed. They use their bodies to put on dramatic displays that are often framed in the good vs. evil. If you pay attention and peel back the obvious layers of performance there is plenty to really sink your teeth in to.

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For me though, the thrill has always been the athletic display. If you venture into the fringe of pro-wrestling, and watch more than the globally recognized WWE, you’ll find hundreds of independent promotions. It is in these companies that you’ll find the heart and soul of the industry. Men and women who have dedicated their lives to wrestling, and who constantly struggle to stay relevant.

This struggle pushes the performers on the independent scene to, try harder. The moves are more dynamic, the crowds more ravenous. It’s in this element where my fanaticism for wrestling really lives. It’s because of these companies, and the work currently being done in them that wrestling is in its current form. If naysayers just gave them a chance, then I think everyone could find something to love.


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Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, comic books, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

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Shane Gordon

Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

Merry Consumers-mas!

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I’m not the Grinch. You can’t compare me with Ebenezer Scrooge. I don’t sneer at the Christmas carols that stick in your head like the snow glued them in there. I don’t roll my eyes when the decorations begin to sparkle from the windows at my neighbour’s homes. I don’t scowl at the volunteers with their instruments, collecting coins for the Salvation Army at the mall. I actually quite like Christmas.

But here’s the thing (you saw this coming). Christmastime is a season. It’s called Christmastime because there’s a certain amount of time allocated to the festivities. It’s an easy, logical concept, you’d think. We can’t go celebrating Christmas all year round, or else it’d lose its charm. I think that’s something nearly everyone can nod their heads and agree with, even the most decorated Christmas fanatics.

If that’s not enough to dampen Christmas spirit, I don’t know what is.

Everyone, except for those insane marketers so looped up in the reins of consumerism that you can’t even think ‘December’ without their blood swimming faster and dollar signs appearing in their eyes.

Now more than ever, retail is trying to extend Christmastime into the rest of the year. According to forbes.com, over $1 trillion was spent on holiday shopping last year alone, and it’s getting to the big corporations big heads. To them, the further they can extend Christmas into the rest of the year, the more money they can rope us into spending on their products. Now, we can barely sit down with our fall leaves before the red and green gifts begin to adorn the store windows. Thanksgiving is barely over before the radio ads begin blasting Christmas jingles in our ears, warning us about how little time we have left. Christmas is beginning to consume all the memorable dates on the fall calendar.

The mall where I work played their first Christmas song on the loudspeakers as little fairies and vampires were still trick-or-treating through our halls on Halloween. C’mon folks, have a little mercy! Beginning to play Christmas music before November has a chance to wake up is ridiculous. Those cheerful Christmas songs tinkling in the background trying to seduce the innocent shoppers into spending more of their hard-earned money is nothing to be proud of. It means nearly two months of the same Christmas bells on repeat. Every. Single. Day. If that’s not enough to dampen Christmas spirit, I don’t know what is.

Aside from the over-anxious retail playlists, what really gets me is the pressure. Everyone argues that Christmas is meant to be a time of peace, of celebrating family and sharing gifts of love and appreciation. Yet the moment you step outside into the material world, the weight of consumerism tromps on any joyful noise. Secret Santa’s, gift exchanges, presents for in-laws, cousins, friends of friends… the pressure to appease all of their superficial desires is dumped onto us by the endless stream of ads, posters, and commercials. If we don’t get them the perfect gift, we might as well forget about ever speaking to them again. Retail places massive expectations the giver of gifts, and it’s unbearable.

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I’m not saying we shouldn’t buy loving gifts for each other. I’m not saying that Christmas music isn’t fun to listen to. But what isn’t fun is how commercialized Christmas has become. What’s not fun is how stressful the ‘holidays’ have become. What’s not fun is the headaches you get from the months of swirling lights, and clanging bells. Let’s just cancel all these pre-Christmastime extremities and take it down a few notches. I’d rather slip into the relaxation of family and fireplaces before I slip into the aggressive seduction of Christmas consumerism.


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Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

Comment

Caitlin Bouwma

Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

A Nickel for My Thoughts

 NICKELBACK.COM

NICKELBACK.COM

 Nickelback is the pineapple pizza of music, you either love them or you hate them. Since the band's inception in 1995 in Hanna, Alberta, Canada, they've been picked apart, trolled on the internet and criticized internationally. This debate plaguing our great nation is worn like an old pair of socks, where the holes are jokes and the entire thing is just irritating. Calling them lame is cliché, like arguing that crocs are ugly or saying you hate the long lines at Canada’s Wonderland. How did our hate become such an obvious fact and cultural norm? In my opinion, you're lying if you claim you didn’t slow dance to "Photograph" or ugly cry all their lyrics when you were dumped. Worry not! There are legit reasons behind the anger you feel when listening to Nickelback. I'm going to debunk the so-called Nickelback phenomenon, the controversy over being one of the world’s most despised and popular bands, Canada is lucky enough to call their own. 

According to Daisy Jones of Noisey.com, "they may be a group of people with yellow noodle bobs, eyebrow piercings and goatees that look like they’ve been painted onto their faces in watercolour", but you can't ignore their success. These leather jacket-wearing musicians have sold over fifty million records worldwide. Their breakthrough song, "How You Remind Me", was the best-selling rock song of the decade in the US. So, how does a band that's responsible for songs that inspire millions also evoke feelings of nausea and repulsion? 

 Nickelback.com

Nickelback.com

There are many theories, including that of Salli Anttonen from the University of Eastern Finland. Anttonen compiled and analyzed fourteen years worth of reviews about Nickelback in order to shed light on this very important issue. According to Anttonen, the band has been thwarted by their tendencies to remain safe and calculated in their artistic approach. For instance, in an interview when working on How You Remind MeChad Kroeger famously claimed that he, “studied every piece, everything sonically, everything lyrically, everything musically, chord structure. I would dissect every single song that I would hear on the radio or every song that had ever done well on a chart and say, why did this do so well?” Needless to say, Nickelback’s music and success reflects this formulaic strategy, with its easy-to-listen to vibes. For some, this tactic is obvious, and seen as "fake, forced and an illusion of hard rock". The “post post-grunge era” of Nickelback’s presence in mainstream music has meant they are often compared to bands like Nirvana. In that case they can fall short of every expectation. If separated and not compared to other bands, people might appreciate the catchy strategic music for what it is.  

 A sense of belonging and community may also factor into the need to despise such a recognized band. James Lachno of the Telegraph, argues that a feeling of common ground could be a reason behind the mainstreaming of hate directed towards musicians like Nickelback. The need to share hatred for Nickelback, or for pineapple on pizza, can form stronger bonds in our relationships with colleagues and family. Expressing what we hate strengthens our belief in what we love, especially when put into contrast. Lachno claims that our hatred for Nickelback validates our love for Nirvana. Chad Kroeger is no Kurt Cobain and there is nothing wrong with that.

Lachno goes on to remind us of the P.E.I police force and their new form of punishment. In order to deter drunk drivers, P.E.I police stated that anyone who chooses to drink and drive would be forced to listen to Nickelback in the cruiser all the way back to joint. I guess if you’re a fan of Nickelback that car ride may not be so unbearable. Cuffed up in the back, bopping to Rockstar. Instead of using their music for torture like the P.E.I police force, lets be nice human beings and move on. Frankly, it's pretty mainstream now to hate on Nickelback, so maybe it could be Avant-garde to love them instead.

Check out one of their most successful songs below!

© 2007 WMG How You Remind Me (Video) Buy it now on iTunes: http://bit.ly/b4Mn9L Nickelback's new album, 'No Fixed Address' is available now: http://smarturl.it/NBNoFixedAddress Connect with Nickelback: http://nickelback.com http://fb.com/nickelback http://twitter.com/nickelback http://instagram.com/nickelback

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Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home cooking, drinking wine and writing.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

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Emily Andrechuk

Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home writing, cooking and drinking wine.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

Sometimes you’re Just Lazy

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Procrastinators need to be more honest with themselves.

When I was very young, I used to catch scorn from teachers for my scholarly sloth. When I say “I used to,” I mean that it happened on the regular. I really took the lessons of Huck Finn to heart, except my fishing hole was located three feet in front of our home television screen. It wasn’t long before parents and instructors alike adopted the same exasperated shrug I’ve grown so accustomed to seeing.

Something miraculous happened when I neared the end of my public school years though. You see, it wasn’t that I lacked discipline, or that I needed to prioritize my time better. I found that I’m a creative learner, a purposeful-pupil of the loitering art, a fast burning match… with a very long wick. Webster’s defines a procrastinator as someone who “puts off intentionally and habitually.”


You see, it wasn’t that I lacked discipline, or that I needed to prioritize my time better.

But under this new definition, I was something else. Proponents of the new philosophy will tell you that this isn’t a character flaw, that it’s simply a process certain individuals preserve and maintain energy levels. These individuals depend on anxiety to pile up until it pushes them over a cliff and into excellence. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a TEDx Talk about it… there are several of them. 

The fact is, there is some truth to this. Many of us procrastinators have a hard time focusing on tasks without the looming stress of deadlines. Left to our own devices a thousand-and-one different aspects compete for our attention in the space of an hour. Even so, it doesn’t mean that procrastinators won’t use the energy excuse to explain away bad behaviour, milking that soybean until it’s little more than dust.

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I’m not saying this natural phenomenon of energy conservation isn’t a real thing. It’s just that we tend to cling to this excuse far too much. Sometimes we really are putting things off. Like not doing the dishes your partner has been nagging you about, turning in assignments we know we could have done better on, or never really starting those big projects our imaginations are always dreaming up. If we were to apply the book, bell, and candle to our own motivations we’d get a few points into the book before realizing the ever-present truth; sometimes we just need to buckle down.

It’s important to remember that it’s only going to get more difficult in the future. When this new view of procrastination came into the culture -or was rediscovered depending on who you ask- educators and employers never had the foresight to imagine the arrival of things like social media. Huck Finn never had to contend with Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, and Widow Douglas blowing up his newsfeed. The things that compete for attention have grown exponentially. It will be a monumental task to finish a report for work in the evening with a virtual headset, an arms-reach away, that can take us to Fiji… just until we really find that motivation. The sooner we stop making excuses and start developing the behaviour we’re always putting off the better.


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Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

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Tristan Handley

Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

Why Pokemon are Pretty Terrible

It’s not that the entire franchise is based around foisting cheap plastic toys and video games on undisciplined parents who refuse to say no. If that were true, I’d have a beef with every cartoon series launched between the 1970s onward. It’s not that the series, after 22 years in production, has exhausted the premise of children collecting colourful monsters in a make-believe sport. It’s not that the Pokémon Company plays it so loose with the licensing that they’d make Walt Disney blush. It’s that the whole damn organization is built on a plain of sand.

I was 12 when the franchise was first brought to North America in '96. In my own community, the television series was the vanguard of this cultural revolution. Gameboy’s Red and Blue were still a couple years out. The trading cards would wait on advantageous corporate partnerships before reaching Canadian cafeteria tables and playground pavement. This then, is maybe why I am less inclined to enjoy the pop culture artifact than my younger millennials peers; as Pokémon’s weakest leg lies, by a large margin, in the anime series. Perhaps if I was born a few years later, and been fully immersed in the movement I might have been more inclined to enjoy the series.

 Is this fan art or a still from the first season of Pokemon? I can't tell. Photo courtesy of imgur.com https://imgur.com/9d47P

Is this fan art or a still from the first season of Pokemon? I can't tell. Photo courtesy of imgur.com https://imgur.com/9d47P

What is so terrible about Ashe’s adventure on screen to become pokémon master?  If I were to make a checklist of all the terrible things creators can do when crafting a children’s cartoon series I’d end up with a lot of checkmarks on that list. Shallowly written characters – check. Terrible drawing – check. Annoying voice actors – check. Cheap animations and transitions –check. Bad art design –check. There are some exceptions however, the pokémon themselves are often drawn and animated well, this is to be expected considering they are the driving point of merchandise, but it doesn’t help when their actions are on a background of neon intestinal lining in strobe. It’s like the Pokémon Company decided that they would take all the lessons, knowledge and technique that had been developed since the 1960s Speed Racer, throw that in a garbage bin, and light it on fire. This is what grinds my gears so much. Pokémon, for many, is their first experience with Japanese animation, and its poor quality will turn away swaths of people. Those creepy, unrealistic, vertical eyes staring out into nothingness cannot be erased from history.

My peers at the time were split between YTV adherents, and those of us more focused on their burdening puberty.  I myself fell into the second category. This meant that my experience with the clash between Pokémon and Digimon was a tertiary one at best. Even watching the two out of the corner of my eye, hanging out at friend’s houses, while I thought about the girls in my class, I could tell which was the better production. Digimon’s art was far superior, they even managed to incorporate cutting-edge CGI. The characters were well developed, and I didn’t feel like stabbing my ear with a pencil when they talked.

Truly Pokémon is evidence of the marketing adage, first-mover advantage, where the first product to market gains the largest piece regardless of quality. Pokémon is the McDonald’s of pop culture; lots of people enjoy McDonald’s. In this case, I want something of better quality.


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Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

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Tristan Handley

Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

Micro Homes Macro Suck

 Photo by  Geran de Klerk  on  Unsplash

I see you. Scrolling through social media, admiring the cutesy, quaint, timber little homes that have been spread across your timelines. Maybe you’re even daydreaming, picturing your little family with your little dog laughing over a cup of herbal tea around your tiny little table.

The micro homes movement has taken over the world wide web, television and my sanity. Although, I do agree that adopting a minimalist lifestyle can effectively reduce your carbon footprint, tiny homes are not as glamourous as Pinterest would lead you to believe.

While you’re envisioning all the places you could roll your humble abode, to the Rockies or ocean-side Oregon, I bet you’re not picturing the smells and lack of personal space that will come along with it. I'm here to lay down the reality of tiny homes, not the illusion HGTV has chosen to show you. Here, I'll paint a picture of inescapable odours, poor weather proofing and jail cell sized living.

The Oregonian's Janet Eastman outlined 77 reasons why critics don’t like tiny homes. The arguments are eye-opening and will hopefully save you crucial internet-surfing time. I’ve picked my favourites and outlined them below.

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 The average size of a Canadian home in 2010 was 1,950 square feet. This does seem ginormous and ridiculous but not as outrageous as choosing to cram all of your precious belongings into the 315 square feet of a tiny home. If you really want to live in tight quarters, why don’t you buy this lovely shelter at Walmart for $99.

This “roomy” tent even has fold-down ventilating windows which will help to alleviate some of the questionable smells emanating from both pets and family. If you’re looking to be at one with nature, you can go "glamping" for a lot less. Bonus, there might even be properly functioning bathrooms on site.

Lauren Modery’s blog from hipstercrite.com, describes it like this: How do inhabitants of itty-bitty homes escape smells? "You have nowhere to run. All you can do is walk three feet to the other end of the house and pray."

Now if vanity isn't a concern, then squeezing into tight quarters like these might not sound so bad. But what if the confines that you choose to binge-watch Netflix (on your laptop because you definitely don’t have space for a T.V) while drinking kombucha is susceptible to storms? What if while you're watching episodes of Heartland, your roof just flew off, because you built it yourself, and let’s face it, you’re not Mike Holmes?

According to Eastman this is possible, most of the wood-framed homes erected on travel trailers are homemade projects, sensitive to wind and rain. In many Canadian communities it is illegal to live in an RV or a tiny home on wheels permanently. Because of this, they do not have to adhere to the same strict building codes as homes with foundation that require windows, walls and roofs to withstand powerful storms. Roofs are important people! If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly way of life, it might be easier to just strap some solar panels on your sturdy roof and call it a day.

For more perspective, watch the clip below from the hilarious show Portlandia.

 


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Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home cooking, drinking wine and writing.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

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Emily Andrechuk

Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home writing, cooking and drinking wine.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

Healthy Living Ruins Your Life

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So, here’s the thing. I get bombarded everywhere with voices telling me that I should be healthier. They say I should eat better food, work out more, or go for runs, all under the guise of trying to make me a healthier person. For example:
            “Too many potatoes are bad for you. Here, have some of my veggies.” –Best friend

            “Eat your greens!” –Mom

            “If you’re going to eat so many potatoes, you should be working out too.” –Doctor

            “Potatoes are not a vegetable.” –Classmate

            “Nutella gives you cancer.” –Boyfriend

I mean, it’s pretty clear that all the people who are meant to support me are really just trying to ruin my life. No potatoes? Yeah right. They say that it’s for my own good, but I can debunk their arguments just as quickly as they say them.

Now, this is the kind of healthy living that I can easily support. Who could say no to a home-grown pizza?

ARGUMENT #1: IT MAKES YOU ENERGETIC AND HAPPY

I’ve got one word for you, sister: coffee. Why would I want to subject myself to hours of physical torture every day at the gym, exhausting myself every week just so I can ‘have more energy’? Do you mean to say that tiring myself out at the gym will somehow make me less tired?

On that note, I’d really like to know how suffering through countless hours working out and running, and slaving over salads is supposed to make me happy. That sounds miserable to me! How about I just save myself the pain, the time and all that energy by sipping on a caffeine-filled cup of cappuccino goodness? I can show you instant results.

ARGUMENT #2: IT MAKES YOU MORE COMFORTABLE WITH YOURSELF

This one makes me laugh. You think I’d be more comfortable wearing a veggie crown of carrots and peppers than stuffing my face with those glorious garlic mashed potatoes from comfort-food heaven? Think again.

Additionally, I can assure you that I will not be comfortable with my body when the judgmental walls of mirrors magnify every flaw of my routine and body from every angle. Not only that, but I am put on display so that everyone else at the gym will be able to see how awful I am at working out. Do you really expect me to feel confident with Mr. Macho right there, deadlifting weights twice the size of me? Absolutely not! No, I am most comfortable with myself when I’m cuddled up with my sweatpants and a bowl of potato chips, and you can't tell me otherwise.

ARGUMENT #3: IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR BODY:

Alright, everyone hold the phone. Do you know who I hear complaining about ailments and pain the most? That’s right, it’s all those healthy nuts out there! You certainly don’t hear me crying about how I can’t walk up the stairs because yesterday was leg day. And you won’t see me choking down some revolting protein shake because it’s supposed to make me healthier.

Who are the one’s suffering from knee problems because they run too much? The marathoners. Who are the ones with popped shoulders and arthritis? The weightlifters. Should I mention that half of those who visit physiotherapists are athletes? That’s right. The amount of pain that these ‘healthy’ friends of mine are in really makes me question whether it’s actually good for my body or not.

So this is for you, Mom, and all those other healthy experts trying to ruin my life. I see what game you’re trying to play, and I refuse to take part in it! You think I should ‘take better care’ of myself, but it looks like I’m doing just fine as it is!

And what’s with the hate against the potatoes, anyway?! I’m just sayin’.


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Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

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Caitlin Bouwma

Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

Get Out of Bed, You're Making Us All Look Bad

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The idea that people born within the same decade can be defined and categorized based simply off when they were born has always been strange to me. Sure, they may share similar pop culture tastes and remember the same events, but does that really mean that their personalities line up? I am aware of the fact that personalities develop in part due to environment, but we talk about generations in the same way we talk about horoscopes (I could write a whole article based on how lame those are, but now is not the time).

The concept has been a major thorn for millennials so far. As the ones currently taking the reigns on the world, all eyes are on us. So far the scrutiny has been harsh and constant. We’re called lazy and entitled. For the most part, preceding generations don’t have much faith that we will be able to steer society in the right direction. Unfortunately, I can’t blame them for making those assumptions. We’ve basically hand-crafted the opinion for them. And as it always tends to be with millennials, the blame falls on the internet.

Through our love of social media, we have crafted and strengthened our generational stereotypes. We’ve made that picture all on our own. Whether it be riddled with jokes or not, this picture is what the other generations see. The internet is everywhere, and is used by most people every day. If you have elder relatives on your friends lists, they see every picture you like and see everything you share. Often that is the only medium they have to form their opinions on us. Personally, I see ‘memes’ every day of people exclaiming how they don’t want to ‘adult’ or that they just want to be at home in their pyjamas.

We all know that most of the things that get posted or shared on social media are riddled with hyperbole. But do our contemporaries understand this in the same way? When they post things, it is direct and to the point. Sure, they share memes to, but often it’s more sentimental. Posts about relatives, posts about religion and the occasional funny cat video. The older generations don’t have to worry about the internet shaping their image, they spent enough time without it that their generational identity was already set in stone.

Now, I’m not repeating the assumption that all millennials are lazy, entitled and self-centred. Quite the opposite, there have been articles written about how our generation is driving companies to think and work differently and have had an impact in plenty of fields. They also talk about how most millennials have very entrepreneurial attitudes in their work environments. But that’s not the public face we put forward. If we want to be taken more seriously now when we are entering the ‘real world’, then we need to put a little more thought in to how we present ourselves. We have the work ethic and the proper etiquette. There is evidence, a little bit of digging will bring it out, but why would anyone bother doing the research if they have a picture already in front of them?

For every silly little meme you post to social media, there’s got to be a story you can tell about things you’ve actually accomplished instead. Everyone has a life offline even though our peers say they really don't care to hear it. We should be using social media to talk about those lives. If you’re not using it to push yourself forward in the best way possible, then you’re only adding to the pile of negative criticism.

So instead of posting a meme, maybe post about what you are really doing. Talk about what you are doing at school, or the challenges you face at work. Post about your stance on politics or social matters that are close to you; do so in a way that conductive of a proper conversation. Screaming in people's faces for change often turns sour. Show people that we aren’t what they say we are. Show them that our generation should be taken seriously. Because our outward face makes it look like we’ve never outgrown our teen years. We are more than our pajamas and beds. And it’s about time we started to show the world that.


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Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, comic books, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

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Shane Gordon

Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

Enter: The Mic Drop

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Welcome to our den of unpopular opinions, where unspoken thoughts are crafted into pixel-etched words. Follow along, as this group of over enthusiastic millennials poke the sleeping bear, stir the pot and cause trouble. We can’t be the only ones who think that some things are a little bit odd these days, right? I mean, avocados are clearly gross. Game of Thrones is way more popular than it has any right to be. Hopefully you find us as funny and challenging as we think we are –but in the likelihood that you are offended, chances are one of us has something to say about that too. We’re just sayin’ what no one else wants to say.

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Caitlin Bouwma

Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.