Shred This Slang

The following are a selection of slang or cliché words of the present time – found on the internet, in conversation and popular culture – that are doomed, and you should stop using them.

Because + _____

“Because science” and “because politics” are not answers. It was funny when people first started saying it, but it’s played out and sounds less intelligent than those who use it.

Cheers

It’s such a unanimous way to thank and say goodbye, but it must stop. I’ve seen receptionists say cheers sixteen times in three minutes. Unless you are handing me a beer, don’t tell me cheers.

Doin’ and Goin’

This one reminds me of Doge speak – “How you doin’” – except too clear and lacking proper verbage. How doing? is better. These words should never be contracted.

Da and Tha

These one’s just need to die with the rest of the nineties. When I read these these alternatives to “the,” my mind hears only the idiocy of the speaker.

Funner

This grammatical mess is okay for four year olds.

Hashtag

Unless you’re legitimately tagging or discussing a real social media campaign, adding useless hashtags to your filtered instagram photos and bored tweets should stop in 2014.

Hipster

This word has been so bastardized ,it’s now just a word describing the cultural outcome of the millennial generation. Everyone was a hippy in the seventies… some only just wore bellbottoms and felt bad about Vietnam. Read the definition of hipster on Urban Dictionary and tell me you don’t identify with at least some of the description. Maybe not the shag haircut, but the loose sexual identity and creative inclination, perhaps

Ratchet

Because naming a woman after a tool is not okay (see: hoe) – what’s next, a spade or a wrench?

‘Totes

For a brief period, saying totes was cute and quirky, but now it sounds totally ridiculous.

‘Twerking

I understand 90’s revival, in fact I kind of love it – but no one knows why there’s a “T” in front of the word “work.”

Real Books vs. e-Books

For real, die-hard book-lovers, this isn’t even a question. Of course, real books triumph over e-readers! The feel of their time-worn pages turning as you plunge towards an exciting ending; the smell of old smoke, patchouli, or something altogether more mysterious, bringing you back to childhood days devouring book after book; the joy of passing a well-loved title into the hands of a friend, knowing that you are passing on a whole world to them.

My Pretties.

But the benefits of an e-reader have begun to grow on me. The convenience of carrying a few hundred titles with you wherever you may wander, this is a pure joy any book-lover would understand. Other benefits include less heavy boxes when moving into that cool new apartment, a reasonable amount of shelves in ones house, and a zen-like attitude about dusting.

While e-readers could never fully replace some books, such as art books or your favourite dog-eared classics, I believe there is a place for them in your book-lover’s heart.

The main benefit, in my opinion, is the cheaper prices, meaning you can afford to keep up with your latest obsessions at around half the price of buying physical copies, without having to order your book ahead of time and pick it up, or hoping that your local bookstore will stock it. It’s also pretty cool having a small library in your purse. Whether you are in the mood for some philosophical musings, a fast-paced fictional tale, or some edgy erotica, your e-reader will be happy to provide, and nobody on the bus next to you gets to make knowing comments. Now that’s a bonus! (Us die-hard readers tend to be on the introverted side, and often don’t even want people to know what they are reading when it’s as innocent as Winnie-the-Pooh.)

An important caveat: don’t waste your time trying to read books on your smartphone or tablet. The screen was designed to make HD images and movies look beautiful in a darkened room, not display black text on a white background in bright sunlight, and the battery won’t last a day without charging. Save your smartphone for phone calls and your tablet for Netflix. The newest e-readers use magical e-ink, drain very little power, and weigh about the same as a small paperback. It’s the only legitimate comparison to an actual book, otherwise you might as well read on your computer screen and allow your eyes to ache daily with the strain of it.

I don’t think books are going away any time soon. But, just as mp3s have become mainstream and only audiophiles collect LP’s any more, e-books are here to stay, so get used to it. Now, I have to decide whether I want a Kindle or a Kobo….

Welcome to your home bass in the mountains.

Photo by E.M. Photography.
Photo by E.M. Photography.

Nestled in the mountains is a magical place, where people go to experience a bit of that magic themselves for a brief weekend in their lives.

Motion Notion is an electronic music festival that has been going for 15 years, 5 locations, and thousands of dance steps. Since its move from Drayton Valley, Alberta to Golden, B.C., it can no longer tout itself as “Alberta’s premier electronic music festival”, but it has already given the events in B.C. a run for their money.

Showcasing world-famous artists, performers, and stages it is a spectacle of lights and sound unlike any other, but the thing that makes MoNo (as it’s affectionately called) different isn’t something that is easily defined.

As a veteran, or “old schooler”, festival goer I have seen and done just about everything. Pounding bass, crazy costumes, excessive indulgence, wacky hijinks, and touching moments between friends new and old. Festivals make my world go round. 10 years and 20 festivals later I still hold Motion Notion dearest in my heart, and it isn’t because of the acts that it books, or the attendees is attracts. It’s the living, breathing, beating heart of the festival that keeps me coming back for more.

Despite its success, and its popularity, Motion Notion remains in the few-thousand attendees category. Big enough to be a massive party, small enough to feel like you matter. You can see the same smiling faces every day in your travels, and you can find that new friend again that you met that other night. You’re welcomed with hugs (and water) when you lose your way and end up in someone else’s camp, and you can rest assured that your own site is safe from vandals and theives as your neighbours are very friendly and will notice something suspicious. Girls can dance without fear because fellow festival goers are respectful, and if they get too grabby the community will set them straight; security rarely has to intervene, it’s the people and the vibe that maintains order here.

Friendly vendors, and affordable food are some of the financial perks to MoNo. The festival charges less for fees, so the businesses can charge less for what they’re selling. A breakfast that costs $15 at another, larger, festival will cost you $5-10 at Motion Notion. A retail vendor will give you the personal attention you deserve as they aren’t overwhelmed by other customers, or shoplifters.

Each stage is set up, and taken down every year: no permanent structures remain, giving the event a feeling of blissfull temporary beauty. You feel like you are part of something fleeting, and special. You feel like you, yourself, are special just by getting to be a part of something so lovely.

Want bass? They got it! With PK Sound beating your eardrums into gleeful submission the sound quality is comparable to larger festivals, but with the dance floor space to really let loose and flail.

First timers at a festival can look forward to the awesome party, without being overwhelmed by the magnitute and facelessness of giant crowds. Don’t worry, the crowds are big, but manageable. You will be surrounded by beautiful dancing people in the thick of the stages, but can escape to catch your breath and take in the night sky just a moment away. You will feel safe, and more open to experiences at a festival like this, as it is has not lost its grassroots charm, nor it’s polished spectacle.

Veterans can catch their breath in a place like Motion Notion. If you’ve been to festivals before, you will certainly appreciate the unique beauty of the location, and the lack of corporate involvement. These people aren’t out to take all your money and leave you sleep deprived and buzzing for the ride home, they’re out to include you in an immersive experience that enriches your soul.

They say there’s no place like home. Well, there’s no place like Motion Notion. Welcome home.

Canada’s Shame: Disregarding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canadian artist Franke James

Freedom of speech. It is a right. Well, that is what they teach you in school, and that is what they want you to believe. But, unfortunately, as the story of Franke James shows, freedom of speech has been under attack in Canada since the current government made it a practice to censor scientists and artists who do not parrot their party lines when it comes to the climate change and environmental science.

I grew up believing that Canada was one of the places in the world where freedom and democracy were still powerful forces guiding our society. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms champions certain fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of expression, thought, and belief. As I grew older, and as the “Harper Government” continued to demolish many of the laws that made Canada great and protected Canadians and Canada itself, I began to see that this basic right was not as safe as I once believed.

There have always been disagreements in politics. Part of what makes democracy a wonderful thing–something worth fighting for–is that those discordant voices, raised in coalition, actually build a stronger country. When we do not agree, constructive debate rises to replace argument and creates policy that could make Canada a place we could be proud of. At least, that’s how it should be.

However, under the recent “government,” which is unaccountable to the public and fraudulently elected under an old-fashioned electoral system, Canada has pushed past the boundaries of bad taste and into the arena of Orwellian thought-control and blatant propagandism. Like Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984, the current government wants us to believe that lies are truth, and the tar sands are clean. But unlike 1984, they have not been able to silence the voices of dissent.

The story of Franke James is a striking example of how blatantly the current Canadian government is disregarding the stronghold of free speech. Her book, Banned on the Hill (2013), draws the reader into the tale of how the only acceptable art in Canada is now propaganda. An artist who believes that climate change is a real problem and that we need to wake up and start dealing with it, she wrote a visual essay to the Prime Minister asking him to make polluters pay, and asking him what kind of Canada he is creating for our children.

She could never have expected that her expression of discontent with the current environmental policies of the government would get her blacklisted as an anti-government radical. Under this current government, expressing any opinion that doesn’t agree with the government’s policy, makes you no better than a terrorist or rabble-rouser. Funding for her international art show was cut, under pressure from various Canadian bureaucrats in various blunderbuss ministries. Only after years of painstaking freedom of information act requests did she find out the truth about how the government saw her as an enemy of the state, against the Canadian government.

To me there are several issues here. First, that the government saw fit to censor the opinion of an artist, whatever that might have been. Aside from hate speech, everyone deserves the right to express their opinions and make art about it. Art can open a dialogue about the environment that could be the beginning of a solution. The second issue, to me, is that Harper deems it a radical thought against government policy to say that climate change is real and we need to do something about it. Excuse me? Since when is cleaning up after your own mess a radical idea? It seems Stephen Harper did not pay attention in kindergarden when they teach you to put your toys away when you’re done playing with them. Or perhaps he paid attention but was expelled after failing miserably in basic human life skills. If it was up to Harper, the oil companies would spew their toxic waste all over Canada, and then they would all pick up and move to a gated community and wait for the rest of us to waste away of cancer from the poison in our water and air.

Not satisfied with banning freedom of artistic expression, the Harper government has made it a standard policy to censor public and private scientists whose findings do not agree with government policy. When science must agree with a pre-determined solution, it is no longer science but pseudo-science and propaganda.

In Banned on the Hill, Franke James opens the readers eyes to the dark path Canada is heading down. We need to listen to our trailblazing artists and scientists and allow an open, frank dialogue about the challenges of climate change. In a world where very few will be able to afford to retreat to gated communities with their own water-filtering systems, we need to take care of nature, which has always provided us with clean air and water. We need to take a hard look at a sustainable future, and it is time to stop impeding progress by insisting that we choose between the economy and the environment. I believe that innovation, science, and art will draw us out of the dark age of climate-change-denial and into a reality where we have a fighting chance for survival. The economy IS the environment. To attempt to chose between the two is to take a narrow, short-sighted view of the most important issue facing our society today.

 

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Get your shit together.

A pandemic of distraction has infected us.

Are you busy? Life not simple anymore?

You have things you are yearning to do, but there’s never time?

You can’t lifehack your way to shit-togetherness. Although there’s at least 99 ways to try.

If you: 

  1. Receive notifications on your phone.
  2. Spend a lot of time online.
  3. Watch a lot of TV/Movies…

… Then you might suffering from the modern condition. I’ll break it down.

PHONE = URGENT?

There is a popular priority management theory to separate your  tasks:

  • Urgent and Important: These things are not only serious priorities, they are also time-sensitive. A text from your significant other, an email from your boss, or a project/task  someone needs right now.
  • Important: These tasks are the tasks that matter most to you or your business. These are daily tasks, managerial duties,
  • Urgent: This is where you fail. Notifications, emails, phone calls – they can be urgent without being important — in your face, not in your heart. Get to them when the stuff above is done.
  • Not Urgent and Not Important: Everything else, aka, what you aren’t getting done, ever.

Sometimes it’s not so easy to prioritize your tasks this way, but it can help you identify distractions… like that Facebook comment someone just made on your photo. GET BACK TO WORK AND CHECK LATER.

Which brings me to my next breakdown.

TIME ONLINE = TIME OFFLIFE

It’s incredibly easy to find yourself in wikipedia freefall or endlessly browsing trashy tabloid sites. That’s OK in moderation, but are you actually moderating yourself?… Why not force yourself to do the creative things you actually want to be doing?

Luckily some people already have solutions:

  • Pomodoro Technique – Make an activity list. Put on a timer for 25-minutes. If you get distracted, start the timer again. After 25 uninterrupted minutes, you get 5 minutes to recap and relax. After 2 hours, a longer break!
  • Emergent Task Planner – Daily task planner for people who have constant distractions that have to be dealt with.
  • Creative Time – The writer of 43folders is known for his awesome productivity tips for artists and creative types.
  • Getting Things Done – GTD… if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a cult for geeks that like actionable items and assessment. I only include it because it’s kind of famous.

The essence of this is to decide how you want to spend your time meaningfully, and use the online distractions and videos for your down-time.

VIDEO WATCHING < VIDEO GAMEPLAY < VIDEO CREATION

What a perfect segue!

All I want to say here is that interactive creativity is OK. If you’re online – but making a website or editing photos, that might be your art and expression. Video games are kinda halfway. If you’re playing video games, you’re interacting and learning from the virtual world.

TL;DR

Watching, listening, looking and reading are good for you – but they should be sources of inspiration, not everything you ever do with your life. Take time to accomplish the things that are important to you.