As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus since the spring. A much needed break, but I wanted to make a recap of the year so I can start fresh in 2016. I also really want to get back into posting on this blog regularly in the new year, in addition to reading the other blogs that I follow on Word Press. This year started out with so much promise and then promptly got to work kicking me right in the pants, which is painful, because if you know me at all you will know that I don’t even wear pants. At least it wasn’t all bad, there were always breathers throughout, and I feel like I am ending on a high note. I have constructed this post as much with words as I have with pictures, and in some cases music videos. It’s a multi-disciplinary approach to my year in review, a theme I plan to carry into the new year. I hope you will enjoy reading/viewing/listening to it as much as I enjoyed creating it.
As an avid reader, writer, and persistent English major (it takes some time when you only take a class or two a semester) I tend to receive books as gifts. I quite enjoy this, and this past Christmas “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler was one of the many books I received, and that I enjoyed receiving. As a long time SNL fan I was especially pleased to receive another book by a cast member, having just finishing Phil Hartman’s biography not long before Christmas. This book was also quite delightful in many of the same ways, and it had the marked difference in that I wasn’t dreading the chapter near the end where she dies, because Ms.Poehler is (as of this writing) very much alive and kicking, hooray!
I really enjoyed the generous amount of photos that she shared throughout the book, as well as the friendly and immensely personal writing style she employed while telling her stories. It was almost like you were sitting down for coffee with an old friend. I also really liked how relate-able a lot of the stories were, even though she is a celebrity who has achieved things in her career that many of us can only dream of, she demonstrates how even now she has many of the same insecurities and fears as any of the rest of us. I found it especially uplifting how she wove inspirational tidbits and words of wisdom throughout the book; many of which I have seen made into memes all over the internet since reading the book. Is that a new marker of success in our social media driven word? I think it just might be! Continue reading
Advertising has been a part of our lives in some part since we began communicating with one another. Done well, it can be entertaining or even endearing. Done poorly, it can be irritating to down right troublesome. Advertising in the age of social media has presented its own set of challenges. While there are a lot of positive opportunities, there have been a lot of areas for improvement too. Just like the issues with missing stories from your friends and family in your newsfeed, Facebook’s algorithm’s are quite often to blame when their ads go awry.They use a variety of techniques to decide what ads appear both along the side of your newsfeed and within the feed itself, and depending on how you interact with the site itself with have a huge impact on the ads you see.
If you’re anything like me you have at least a few friends and family members on facebook who are keen players of a few different games on the facebook platform. I would normally have absolutely no problem with this. I have long been a supporter of gaming in general even though I don’t game myself. I like that when I am engrossed in writing or photography projects, my significant other is happily consumed with a video game in the other room. It’s nice to have hobbies, and I definitely don’t think we all need to have the same ones. Where facebook games get irritating for the rest of us are the constant invites! I have also learned that some developers build it in so that some times the players don’t even realize that while they are playing the game, the game is sending out invites on their behalf to all of their friends and family. It’s a slipperly slope I suppose. Luckily there are a few ways around it, and they seem to be holding up pretty well to the point where I can’t even remember the last time I got an invite.
Love it or hate it, Facebook has one of the largest social media followings online at the moment. Like many people, I find myself in a love hate relationship with it because the functionality is not entirely user friendly in the way that anyone who is used of open source platforms understands the phrase “user friendly” to mean. Facebook certainly does some things right in order to gain and maintain it’s popularity, but it’s functionality and supposedly helpful algorithms have many of us frustrated at how to make this platform work in a way that is meaningful for us. Continue reading
Love it, hate it, or don’t give a care about it – St.Patrick’s Day has always been a day that I’ve looked upon with fondness. Perhaps having a “Mc” last name helped, but I am sure that’s not all there is to it. It’s always had this sort of whimsical nature to it, and it is a sign that winter is on it’s last legs and it will soon be spring! In fact, it is quite often already pretending to be spring by St.Patrick’s Day so even more reason to feel all giddy and excited, especially when you live in a place that is covered in snow and ice for much of the year like we do here in Saskatchewan. In this week’s post I am going to look at a few key elements of one of my more favourite festive days of the year.
Why Do We Celebrate?
I have found this can be quite the loaded question as not everyone shares my feelings on just exactly how whimsical this day is. There is apparently a lot of historical inaccuracies surrounding the day too. You can read all about the man, the myth, and what historians are now saying is the true story here, here, and here. My favourite explanations on why we celebrate have been that the traditions really evolved over here in North America as Irish immigrants “remembered the old country and wanted to have a day that they could be proud of. Because the Irish were treated very badly in North America by a lot of people..” and “It’s spread way beyond being a religious holiday or even being an Irish holiday and it’s just now, I think, the chance to celebrate the end of a long, cold winter,” (read the full article on that here). Wanting to have a day you can be proud of, and wanting to celebrate the coming spring after a hard winter are two things I think a lot of us can relate to.
Why Green Beer?
While that’s a great question, I usually prefer to just order my Guinness and drink it in peace most of the time on St.Patrick’s day but for the sake of this blog post I sought out an answer. It turns out that like many of the St.Patrick’s day traditions we know and love over here in North America, this was created by an American, probably just for fun. I am all for being festive, but they usually use the cheapest, lightest beer and just add food colouring, so unless you usually go for cheap, light beers – they can be a little disappointing to the taste buds – I suspect that isn’t the point. I will admit, they are a lot of fun to look at and I am glad someone usually orders one so I can take fun pictures like the one above.
What’s the Deal With Leprechauns?
This is more in the realm of the whimsical that I spoke of earlier. They are a part of Irish folklore and were believed to be small, mischievous sprites who enjoyed playing tricks on people. They are also well known for having a treasured pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – although I am pretty sure a majority of us learned that from cereal boxes.
Why Do We Have to Wear Green?The easy answer is to avoid being pinched by opportunistic people. The longer answer is that in Celtic traditions they wore green to celebrate the Vernal Equinox or because the Catholic side in Ireland wore green or yet another explanation I’ve heard is that Ireland itself is associated with the colour green and St.Patrick’s Day is associated with Ireland and therefore, green. The favourite reason I’ve found so far for wearing green is that people believe that leprechauns can’t see you if you wear green, but if they do see you, they will pinch you. That seems a little strange since leprechauns are said to wear green themselves, but it’s still a pretty funny idea.
Ok Great, But What Should I Eat?
Corned beef and cabbage is a favourite, but a lot of the myth debunking sites I linked to earlier will tell you that isn’t the most authentic thing you could have. I would argue it’s authentic for a North American to be eating, and really eat whatever you want – I had chicken fingers with my Guinness when I went out this weekend with my friends to celebrate because I wanted to, I wasn’t too bothered that they weren’t very “Irish”. I did find this delicious recipe for beef stew on the Guinness website if you are feeling ambitious. I bet you could even throw this in a slow cooker and it would be ready when you got home from the pub. It sounds delicious! I prefer steak and kidney pie myself, but I recognize that organ meats aren’t at the top of the list for everyone. So give this tasty (non-organ meat containing) Guinness Beef Stew recipe a try.
I know, it’s probably sacrilege, but there are just some songs that I like better as covers than the originals. Granted I can relate to the frustration of hearing a song you really love being covered, and not covered well in your opinion – or often even worse is when a song you love is sampled so you think that song you like is playing and then you realize nope, it’s some group you don’t even know ripping off hooks from your favourite classic hits because you’re old now. That’s ok, it happens to all of us if we’re lucky. But I am here today to talk about songs that were actually pretty good to start with, and then they became even better. With no disrespect to the original artist, here are my top five favourite cover songs:
# 1. Suspicious Minds – Dwight Yoakam