The Tragically Hip, Kinsgton, Ont.

While I have never considered myself to be the biggest fan of The Tragically Hip, last night was an emotional one.  Gord Downie and his bandmates played their hearts out for the hometown crowd in Kingston, Ontario.  Although they will be forever cherished in the hearts of many, what was this last tour for, exactly?

When I first heard about Gord’s diagnosis, as most were, I was shocked!  It was almost impossible to believe.  How could this happen to someone so successful?  So seemingly happy (the silly dancing, the warm, fun gestures, the heart-warming smile, etc.)?  But such is life, I suppose.  Having personally been touched by this story, I can relate in some ways.  Not just ‘cuz I, also have a brain tumour, but because I would do (almost) anything for the people who support, and have always supported me.  When you find out you have a brain tumour, it can be a very confusing, difficult time.  I had to come to terms with the fact that things could (at the age of 13) go really bad here!  Like Gord, I’m sure, I didn’t know why this happened to me, but I swore I was gonna’ get the most out my years!  I drank, partied, and puked a lot.  I lost count of all of my sins, to be honest.  I took this beautiful experience of life and decided to gamble with it (perhaps there was some self-pity I was trying to extinguish).  But one of my beautiful escapes was often music.  Laying down, with horrible headaches, music was often therapeutic.  I’m sure there are billions of others whom can relate to this, too.

What inspires me most about this last tour by The Hip, was that they did it!  Considering the situation, rather than fold quietly, posting a static message on their website displaying the sad news, they set out on a mission for their fans!  If my situation were as Mr. Downie’s, I don’t know if I’d wanna’ travel, pack/unpack all that gear, all the costumes, rehearsals, sweating out all of your energy, strain on your vocals, etc.  Wouldn’t you just want to relllaaax?  Take it eeeeasy??  Hammmmock on a beeeeeeeacch??  Not this guy.  I think that’s what separates the average from the legendary – going out and sacrificing yourself for your beliefs; risking EVERYTHING for your cause.  UNBELIEVABLE.

I don’t know everything about The Tragically Hip.  I know some of them are from Kingston.  I know their music is a HUGE part of Canadian culture.  I know they have many, universally-enjoyed party tunes, and I know they have recently gained a lot more fans (I don’t believe out of pity, either).  Many, like myself, find it unbelievable that a band would give back to their fans like this.  Stories like this make me believe there IS hope for humanity!  I always want to live my life in the service of others.  That sounds corny and weirdly worded – but it’s true.  Many of us are so selfish.  If we knew the end was closer than expected – I think we’d be MORE selfish, too!  The way these guys – The Tragically Hip – gave back to their followers, and music fans in general, was epic.  I do not believe they were motivated by money in any way (unlike the ticket-selling, corporate-scalper-scums wanting to profit from this!), and that’s beautiful. You guys are awesome for what you have done!  Truly amazing to your fans, country, and  world as a whole.  Best Wishes!

B laise

Jaywalking or Jaytalking…which is WORSE???

Nowadays, we see a lot of people with cell phones.  This is no surprise, unless you are Amish, or you live in a cave.  But when is the time to put down the damn device, and just live?  We act as if our lives depend on our techy devices, don’t we?  But can we not put down our phones during dangerous times?  My rant is regarding people crossing the street, distracted.

So Jaywalking is illegal.  As an adult, I can understand why this is – it’s not safe to cross the streets in some locations; you could get run over, crushed – dead!  But what about Jaytalking?  You’ve probably never heard about Jaytalking ‘cuz I just coined the term this morning.  We see it everyday though:  People crossing the streets while either texting, browsing, or updating their boring little lives through the news of others.  That’s right – people cross busy streets with their heads down, headphones in and minds elsewhere.  “Oh, but it’s a CROSSWALK, silly!”  Ok.  While a crosswalk is a safer choice than jaywalking, you’re still closing yourself off to reality if you’re DISTRACTED!  At busy intersections, I have had to honk at pedestrians to let let them know that it’s time for them to CROSS THE STREET.  If they’re not paying attention, and I decide to turn right, I could run them over.  I’m gonna’ get a potential manslaughter charge ‘cuz you’re dumb a** can’t use common sense.  I see it in busy parking lots, too.

So, while many driver’s are being ticketed for texting and driving, what about pedestrians?  Many people have it in their head that “the pedestrian ALLLLWAYS has the right of way!”  While this is very true, pedestrians, also, have an obligation to have their heads UP, paying attention to their surroundings at all times.  Gramma’ just updated her Instagram?  Suzie posted pics from Costa Rica?  Jason just liked your status from last Saturday’s dinner date?  Who cares!  It’s like we’re all playing Russian Roulette with our lives…but for WHAT, exactly?  Status update:  “OMG just hit by a car while crossing the street!  FML!  #stupiddrivers!”  

Technology’s Influence on ART…

If it weren’t for technology, we would still be creating art on cave walls and animals skins, using blood, rocks, and other natural mediums.  But is too much advancement taking away from the actual craft itself?  Are we running out of ideas, hence relying on technology to give us the creative lift we need?  Is the actual creation of artwork being done more by machines, than men.  I do believe so.

I am an old school artist.  I love to draw with a pencil, on paper.  I use a white eraser that sheds with use.  I also use a ruler, scissors, paints, and a sharpener.  I have seen a shift in the creativity world, and it’s quite scary.  While I believe most industries have to keep up with the times of technological advancements, it’s not always possible or necessary in others.

I believe today’s technology is a great way to publicize your art so the entire world can see it.  This truly is an amazing time we live in for this reason.  However, using technology to CREATE the work itself, is a bit deceptive.  How can someone take a photo from their phone, convert it to a painting with a simple screen-tap, and then sell it as art?  How can someone create comics by clicking and dragging pre-made images made by another?  Or, how about buying Greeting Card templates online, then just adding your own words, and passing it off as something you created?  It’s all just so phony.  I believe so many are stealing others’ ideas, or using programs or apps to re-create stuff that has already been done.  I believe the main reasons for depending on technology are time, cost, and lack of creativity!

For me, a key part of art creation is originality – something few have seen before!  While I think drawing pads are very cool and novel, it’s not really the same as traditionally drawing.  I have seen so many computer-aided drawings and designs, and part of me thinks that perhaps I am the one who has to get with the times.  It would be much more easy to have a tablet-type device which I could create with, instead of dragging around my scribbled brainstorms, sketchbooks, various pencils and pens, erasers, cd player, lighting and a desk.  But I know there would be a huge void inside of me if I gave up the tools, mediums and everything else I knew about PHYSICAL artwork.  Much of the satisfaction, for me, comes from the process OF creation.  The smudge marks of ink on my hands, the paint under my nails, the eraser shavings, the paper cuts, the smells, the textures, and the sounds all make the experience gratifying and complete for me.  The end result is only part of the beauty of art; the steps that led to its creation is what really counts.

While I believe technology in any area of living to be a good thing, with creativity, it’s a bit of a scam, and an injustice to your creative potential.  I guess the bottom line with any artistic endeavor, is  that it gives you the peace and satisfaction of having created something unique and valuable.  I’m not saying using assistive devices in art is completely wrong; I’m just saying don’t let them override your true talents.  There are many benefits to the way technology (especially the internet) has positively influenced art today; but there is a lack of traditional originality.  People, we have to be the one’s determined  enough to come up with that creative, novel idea – not the other way around!  Thank you very much!

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Why HUMANS are the worst of all CREATIONS

What a wonderful world we live in, huh?  The animals, relationships, opportunities, oceans, vegetation, sunsets, aquatic life, mountains, food, spirituality,  and more information and knowledge than any other generation in history!  Yet, still, we’re willing to throw all of this away because of our selfish desires.  

Scientist’s have been warning us for years about our crumbling ozone layer, polluted waters, extinct animals, resource-depletion, and natural disasters of biblical proportions.  We have been told that things don’t look good for the future generations, and that the world could be on the brink of another Ice Age if we don’t make changes.  What is our response?  “I don’t give a crap; I gotta’ pick up Suzy from soccer; I gotta’ charge my phone so I can stay popular; I gotta’ get an oil change; I gotta’ get McDonald’s; I gotta’ get a tan; I gotta’ take scenic photos for my portfolio; I gotta’ pay the hydro bill; I gotta’ get the mink coat while it’s on sale; I gotta’ call the guy to fix our hot tub; I gotta’ watch t.v.; I gotta’ go for a smoke; I gotta’ cut the grass; I gotta’ buy a lottery ticket; I gotta’, I gotta’, I gotta’!  We are all so busy that we don’t really have the time to look after this earth – our friggin’ HOME!!  

I think the saddest part is that we know in 150 years, this dense, beautiful planet will be very different – and we don’t give a flyin’ hoot!  Why?  ‘Cuz it ain’t gonna’ affect US!  Maybe we just assume that God, or Nature will sort everything out, and that whatever happens, happens as a part of a natural process.  But the part that kills me is we know what’s destroying our earth, yet few are taking it seriously enough.    

Undeniable, humans truly are the worst part of this whole earthly experience.  We’re killing this amazing planet, suckin’ out every last resource, not recycling, and not biking or walking as much as we could/should.  Worst of all, we are killing ourselves – literally and figuratively.   Whether it be war, cigarettes, or stress, many of us continue taking this miracle of life for granted.  One of the greatest lines I’ve heard in a song is, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”  This is true with us humans, and our experience here on this paradise called earth.  Do you give a crap about earth, really?  I think if you dig deep within yourself, you’ll find the answer to that question to be quite disturbing.     

TEXTING & Driving…It’s not for everyone.

Texting & driving is completely wrong.  We all know this, but you still see so many people behind the wheel, with their lit-up faces peeking down at their phones.  But, is texting (while operating a vehicle) really all that bad?  Can the law step in and tell us that we are not allowed to multi-task, even if we have been doing so safely for years? Personally, I think it’s so stupid that one can be charged while texting & driving.  Here’s why…

For many decades, we have relied on communicative devices while driving.  Whether it be public transportation, safety & security, or delivery – all of these industries utilized gadgets of some sort to convey important messages.  If you didn’t feel comfortable operating a machine (car, truck, or van) while operating another smaller machine (phone, radio, or gps), you likely wouldn’t apply for that particular job.  Some people can do many things at once, while others cannot.  But suddenly, after cell phone use became the norm, the law came in and threw everyone under one umbrella; because some people have accident while texting & driving – noone is therefore allowed to do it!  While I do not text and drive, there are times when I will safely and responsibly look at my phone if I’m at a red light.  However, I know the penalties are severe, and I consider the risk vs. the reward.

Ok, so we’ve seen the graphic commercials, showing how your life can be changed in an instant by “distracted driving.”  Here’s my beef:  What the bloody hell IS distracted driving, and where do you draw the line?  If they have banned texting & driving – how the hell can you still drink coffee while driving?  Or what about fiddlin’ with the radio…or reaching for something on the floor or back seat…or having a burger n’ soda…or pickin’ your nose…or havin’ a fight with your spouse…or puttin’ on make-up…or having a cigarette…or talking to other people to passengers in your car…or singing along with your favourite song…or scratching your friggin’ head?  These are all distractions, folks!  How can we limit it to just “texting & driving”?  We are all driving distracted all of the time!  Got a lot of sh*t on your mind?  Feeling depressed?  Pull the hell over – ‘cuz you’re distracted!

Don’t get me wrong, I do not want a single person to get hurt on our roads by another’s mistakes.  However, multi-taking is a skill that takes years to perfect.  Many people can use their phones while driving, have a sandwich, coffee, cigarette, and music – with no distraction whatsoever!  But I admit, many cannot.  So how do we resolve all of this?  Well, they are going to have to make cars that will shut down or stall, if your hands come off of the steering wheel sensors.  That’s right.  If the car detects that two hands are not on the wheel at all times, you will stall.  So, regardless of that back itch, desire to wave at a neighbor, or passenger choking in your back seat – you will keep both of your hands on that wheel at all times!

I know the cell phone companies would agree with me on this, too.  The problem is that people are not honest with their capabilities and limitations.   Driving, in itself, takes a lot of skill.  Many can drive without even thinking, as the instructions and routine are already sunk into our subconscious minds.  We just do it – go places without even thinking about it, really.  Perhaps this is what gets some idiots into trouble:  they believe that since they’ve been driving for so long, they don’t need to pay as close attention.  They get lazy, and this is where problems arise.

Another part of the problem is that we – deny it if you will – are addicted to our cell phones.  Even though we got by just fine without them a decade ago, we need them now like we need oxygen!  Cell phones have become such a huge part of our lives, and we’ve tricked ourselves into depending on them.  The solution to all of this distracted driving is right in front of us; look at HOW people are driving, now what they’re doing inside of their car.  If someone is texting, or ‘liking’ Grandma’s tweet, or taking a selfie, and they get in an accident – then charge them for being stupid and distracted.  It’s a poor judgement call based on their abilities, basically.  But if someone’s texting & driving, sippin’ on a big gulp, scratching their forehead with the steering wheel – but they’re in complete control of the vehicle – leave them alone!  If someone appears distracted, yet they have a fairly good driving history, they probably have it all under control.  How can YOU say that they are distracted?  The End.