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Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Happy New Year!

In Beauty, Business, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on December 31, 2009 at 9:15 AM

Happy New Year - December 31, 2009

This year has been a great one for Donna Magazine.The magazine took on an intern, Rachel Muenz, who did a wide variety of fantastic creative writing and non-fiction pieces. We also had the contributions of other writers such as Kirk Verner and Alex Young. Special thanks to all of those young people I met over the summer who also made great contributions to the magazine. Senior Writer Kathy Milton-Tapley also contributed to the magazine. The special artwork was added by Megan Leonard who is an up-and-coming graphic designer, as well as an animator. Dr. Brikena Ribaj has contributed some top-rated stories that I am extremely grateful for.

For anyone I did not thank by name, please do not think I have not fully appreciated your work. You have helped Donna Magazine to grow to be top-rated in Google and to increase its unique visitors listed on the blog stats on the front page.

Most importantly, thank you to you…the readers. I appreciate you so much sincerely.

Have a Happy New Year and please do look out for a lot more from Donna Magazine.

The End of the World

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 30, 2009 at 8:47 AM

The End of the World - December 30, 2009

No one can predict the end of the world. I do not fully understand people who believe that 2012 will really be the end of the world. I have heard this talk before.Back in 1995, naysayers were predicting the end of the world at that time too. It did not happen. What did happen is a shift in consciousness where many people started to think in a more spiritual way.

Back at the turn of the millennium, many people were estimating disaster at that point too. It did not really happen. There were some viruses on some computers, however other than that – civilization remained intact. Yes, on September 11, 2001 – something horrible happened in the States. The human spirit triumphed once again and civilization has remained intact.

Some people would like to believe that 2012 is real because perhaps they hold a grudge against someone and would like to see them doomed to hell. The key is forgiveness…forgiveness of the ills of the world and the courage to do one’s part to try to repair them in your own way.

I do not believe that 2012 will be the end of the world at all. I know it will be a shift of consciousness once again towards a more spiritual path for many people. Only our creator, whoever you believe that is, can truly know when and if civilization will end.

Janet Jackson Hits Number One Again

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on December 29, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Janet Jackson - December 29, 2009

JANET JACKSON HITS NO.1 ON BILLBOARD DANCE/CLUB PLAY SONGS CHART WITH NEW SINGLE “MAKE ME”

It’s official! Every song on Janet’s “Number Ones” is a number one hit! Janet’s newest single “Make Me” has shot to No. 1 on Billboard‘s Dance/Club Play charts. Billboard hails the track as “Janet’s best dance song in years.” Read the rest of this entry »

Christine’s Fitness and Personal Training

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on December 28, 2009 at 7:11 AM
Christine's - December 28, 2009
Happy Holidays!
I am re-opening the 4 Day Detox Program so that
you can look great in your little black (or red or white)
party dress this holiday season.
The last time we ran this program the average weight
loss was 13 pounds, the lowest 8 pounds, the highest
20 pounds, all in 4 days!
That translates into 2 dress sizes down, and 2-3 inches
each off the waist and hips. Plus you will detox and clear
all the junk out if your system so that you feel better and
have more energy.
You get my 4 Day Detox Diet ( which I sell for $99 ) the
5 Day Program Specific Personal Training Program,
( normally $350 ) all for only $250.
Because you will be supervised every day, we can only
take a very limited few on this program. First come, first
served. When the Personal Trainers are all fully booked,
I have to cut it off.
To register at 457 Richmond (Spadina Location) call Liz at 416 -603- 0004.
At 912 Yonge Street call Michele,Linda or myself at 416- 969- 9912.
Best of health,
Christine.
PS: You are going to get lots of
compliments, guaranteed!

Johann Pachelbel for the Holidays

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Music, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on December 27, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Hello!

Here is a delightful video of the music of Pachelbel. Please visit the website.

http://www.ilike.com/artist/Trans-Siberian+Orchestra/track/Christmas+Canon


http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=24190062 

Happy Holidays!

Post Christmas Wrap-Up

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on December 26, 2009 at 8:37 AM

Christmas Day - December 26, 2009

This was a wonderful Christmas I had this year. My niece is almost 3-years-old and I was able to really play with her this year. My Mom, her Grandma, gave her a kitchen playset and she was making me all kinds of great food. She made me water and tea, as well as bread. It all tasted extremely yummy…even though it was just pretend.

She kept waiting for some bread to be made and already understood that it takes a long time to make bread. We were able to sit down to a meal and thoroughly enjoy it, especially without worrying about the calories :-).

Earlier in the day, I made cookies with my niece at her small dining table. I looked like frog…all legs sitting on the tiny person’s seat and adding red icing to the perfect brown cookies. She added the multi-coloured sprinkles.  My niece selected for me the cookies she would like for me to eat. They had calories, however, the taste was worth it.

I had a delightful day catching up with the latest activities of the family. Thank goodness we have holidays such as Christmas where the family can get together. I sincerely hope that whatever you did for Christmas it was joyous, safe and happy.

Published How to Start Your Own Teaching and Writing Business

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on December 25, 2009 at 7:32 AM

How to Start Your Own Teaching and Writing Business: The Purple Book

Using a unique style of story-telling techniques from the pages of one of my journals, I write about the day-to-day life of running your own teaching and writing business.

The introduction includes more detail about how to actually start your own teaching and writing business, and the conclusion brings my personal business to present day and where it is now. The journal entries are taken from a year ago.

You will enjoy this book for this creative style and the mindset it takes to run your own teaching and writing business, as well as any business. You can buy it today at http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged. It will also be made available on Amazon Kindle.

The download is just $8.00 USD so there is no better time to catch up on your reading and catch up on your dreams.

UrbanEdge Yoga

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on December 24, 2009 at 10:12 AM

UrbanEdge Yoga - December 24, 2009

*** We are open till the Christmas Eve (Thu) before going on holidays. We will be back in action starting Monday, Jan 4th ***Dear friends,

The holiday season is nowhere, and it’s time to look forward to great things in the coming year.

At Urban Edge Yoga, we wanted to invite you to our first special event of 2010 –  Aspirations, hopes, and desires – an opportunity to explore the ‘fire of desire’ with our guest of honour, Bhaktimarga Swami. He is famous around the world as the ‘Walking Monk’ and joins us Jan 21st for a thought-provoking discussion and heart-felt Kirtan. Check details and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=current&p=current&event=miEvent1

Lined up later this week is an interesting mix of yoga, meditation, cooking classes and spiritual discussions. Here is a quick summary of this week’s events:

* Mon, Dec 21 – Soul Jam * Mantra is the sound vibration that frees the mind from material anxiety and disturbance and elevates it to a spiritual realm. Check details and RSVP at http://www.urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=current&p=current&event=miEvent2

* Tue, Dec 22 – Journey to Spiritual India * The secret of spiritual enlightenment: In this session, we will discuss the secret of spiritual enlightenment. The very thing we feel we will find in India – perhaps it may be available right here in Toronto if we know where to look. Check details and RSVP at http://www.urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=current&p=current&event=miEvent3

* Wed, Dec 23 – Art of full living: Progressive living – changing habits * It doesn’t matter what the habit is – point is to recognize the need to constantly change and embrace spiritual progress as a lifestyle tool. Check details and RSVP at http://www.urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=current&p=current&event=special

*Thu, Dec 24 – Vegan Curries, cooking classes * Ever wondered why our food tastes so good? Well, our chefs will be sharing their top secret recipes in demonstration/hands-on cooking classes. Check details and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=current&p=current&event=event1

Delicious vegan dinner will be awaiting you at all of our events!

Check our calendar at http://yoga.meetup.com/512/calendar/#12 for new & exciting events in the new year!

*Quote of the week* Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma, or fruitive activities.

See you soon,
Mangal-aarti
www.UrbanEdgeYoga.com

 

Sign Up! and Happy Holidays!

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 23, 2009 at 4:29 AM

iPod - December 14, 2009

I discovered something that can make you feel like a star.

I was on the computer last night, just after finishing a conversation with a friend and client of mine I am doing editing for her first book. I popped into my computer a CD that I borrowed from the Toronto Public Library. The CD was a Michael Bublé one with the song “Come Fly With Me” on it.On the CD, Michael Bublé offers his fans the opportunity to sign up to his mailing list. At first, I declined. Then I thought how cool it would be to receive an email from Mr. Bublé. I popped back in the CD and signed up. Sure enough, there was an automated response with the name of Michael Bublé in my inbox.

As the CD was burning, I then thought about doing this for other singers I admire. I set up one for Madonna, Janet Jackson, India Arie, and Seal. I tried to set up one for Jill Scott and Maxwell, however, I could not see where this option was available online.

If you ever wanted to feel like a star and have some fun doing so at the same time – this is an extremely cost-effective way to do it. I also went on Barack Obama’s website and received a personal greeting from the President of the United States too.

Even with all of these special gadgets such as email from celebrities to make anyone feel special around the holiday season, I must say it has been the warm phone calls with the promise of making new friends, the touching cards from extraordinary people and the thoughts and kind words from students, colleagues and family of good wishes for the holidays that really touches my heart more.

Merry Christmas everyone, Happy Holidays and do have a Splendid New Year!

iPod Piece to Appear in Print

In Beauty, book reviews, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Music, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 22, 2009 at 4:55 AM

Books - December 7, 2009

The iPod piece which I originally wrote and had remixed for public radio a while back will now be published by an academic journal shortly. Since in the original I had included various commercial music snippets, I decided to record an edited version of my original piece again as it would have taken too long and/or it would have been too tedious a process to get music clearance for it. After discussing it with friends of mine trained in (and about to get trained in IP) Law, it made good sense to create yet another version of a remix. Much thought went to this new remix and, one sunny day as I was enjoying the weather riding my Ventura, the answer came to me. I decided to remix my original piece with a different kind of commercial music. The kind that is created by my own friends whose work I love and support.

The Literary Theory-informed piece on the ‘text’ of the iPod would have never happened without, to quote myself, “music being in the background” so it was only apropos that I include a kind of music that reflects the very creative process I was engaged in while working on it: one of direct collaboration. I was very happy to get clearance from my dear friends and am happy to post the recent version of this remix here. (see below)

The music used to remix this piece comes from the very talented Camille Nelson and her newly released album First Words as well as the West-based band Calico whom I greatly appreciate.

You may hear this new remix here.

Memorable Tweets and Economy of Speech

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 21, 2009 at 8:05 AM

December Book Sales - December 4, 2009

We’re at the store. I get a sensorial overload from all the Christmas displays and turn to my iPhone for a visual break. My apps are all familiar to me, at least, and they never overwhelm me. Shopping’s overwhelming. I remember telling a friend of mine that, back in college, when I’d go out shopping with my close friends I’d manage to write a whole paper in my head during the time it took them to find what they were looking for at Banana Republic. Back to the store. I start texting.

“Hey! Be present now. Texting?! We’ve got to get out of here quickly, right?”
“I am present,” I say. “I can do both. I can look for frozen salmon the same time I text so-and-so about this one thought I had earlier how Expressionism…. Yeah, never mind. You’re right. Be present. Let’s get that salmon.”

As much as I appreciate Web 2.0 and all the things of value it has to offer, I have yet to get sold on Twitter. I tried it for a few days when I was traveling out West last March. Since I travel frequently, I thought I’d get into tweeting with time. But I haven’t and the reason is I don’t get much out of it. I still prefer blogging. Now, while I find it useless to tweet personally, I find it most useful to read other people’s tweets. Some of their statements are quite entertaining and, more often than not, educational. For example, it’s via Twitter that I’ve discovered new music, new tour dates of my favorite musicians, interesting new book titles, and what the next great iPhone app can do.

Twitter makes more sense when you travel, I find. The thing is, when a seemingly interesting idea strikes me, my sense of privacy is such that I still feel more comfortable sharing it with what I call ‘class A’ fellow texters, i.e., the people in my address book who not only see communication over text the way I do but who also share generally similar attitudes toward certain content. Most importantly, these folks get what it’s like to start tackling new topics in medias res. Texting is about saying much by using less. Much like Twitter. The economy of speech is what informs both forms of communication. The reason I prefer the former, however, is mostly because of privacy and a commonality of aesthetics sensibilities.

Last night, for instance, I discussed with a fellow Class A texter why we both think Hank Azaria is underrated and why I need to give the music of Regina Spektor one more chance. I could have had the same conversation over Twitter but I feel more comfortable having it with the people I a) personally know, b) like rather well, and c) with whom I share similar aesthetic sensibilities. This does not mean however that I don’t enjoy a good tweet when I see one. So, it’s only apropos that I include what I just read this morning about Twitter. It’s a bit on Worldhum about some of the most entertaining tweets of the month of November that deal with the topic of travel. A few say:

@davidfarley
Teal blazer? Check. Linen trousers? Check. Speedboat for chasing drug lords? Check. I’m ready for Miami.

@Gadling
There’s no greater shower than one that washes off “airport.”

@NathanBransford
Hotels of America: your glasses are too small. I can’t drink water out of a thimble.

Read more here.

A Special Charlie Brown Treat

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on December 20, 2009 at 6:19 AM

Hello everyone,

The holiday season is underway and I have received a very special treat from one of my colleagues at Seneca College. Here it is:

It is a Charlie Brown Dance. May you enjoy all your moments of dance this Holiday Season.

Abba? Seriously?!

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on December 19, 2009 at 8:44 AM

Brikena Ribaj - December 19, 2009

By Brikena Ribaj

Abba taught me a lesson this week. Last summer my niece who lives in Munich came to spend her summer in Ohio. We had a good time and rarely did the same thing twice as I wanted her to experience as many things as possible. She did experience one thing twice, however, and that was watching the ’08 film, Mamma Mia. Yes, HetPer readers, I actually went to see Mamma Mia voluntarily and more than once. My niece loved it so much that I could read her usually economical speech patterns accurately enough to see that she could have (and would have) seen it twice or more. And what’s even more unusual, I sort of, kind of, didn’t mind it terribly watching it a second time. Yes, I emailed and texted (we were sitting in the back and nobody seemed bothered by the light on the gadget, btw) while the movie was playing but I did notice my right foot taking a life of its own as it was publicly and freely jamming to the soundtrack.

On top of the film, we would play the soundtrack of Mamma Mia when driving to different places. Not only did we play the soundtrack to the Hollywood production by the same title, we also played Abba’s Greatest Hits and one track kept getting played in random play. It was “The Winner Takes It All” and I am told I know all the words to it. Yes, all. No, there is no chance I will openly admit to this as I really don’t care much for Abba sounds. I’m Indie, for crying out loud. Totally and thoroughly. Or, am I? Existentialism aside, I did take a few moments to assess my odd relationship to Abba’s music and I think I finally pinpointed the reason why I sort of, kind of don’t mind them. The origin of this odd reaction seems to be residing in this memory I have of my sister, the niece’s mother, of whom I used to be in such awe as she is almost a decade my senior and oh-so-smart! All of a sudden, it made sense to me why I’d find Abba’s music, not only kind of, sort of kosher but totally ok. She liked them when she was a teenager and I but an eight-year-old monkey. Which meant, I liked them, too.

Granted, this outs me as a listener of Abba. And I don’t mind the appellation at all as I can pin it all on an awfully hot summer, the colorful task of being a host to a teenager and the uber-powerful role of the subconscious. And can one of us resist it? Ha. As if!

Another reason why I’m discussing this is that of a conversation I had recently with someone who asked me what I currently have on my iPod. My answer to the question was, “well, do you expect me to reveal the answer without a Macchiato first?”
After the joke (i.e., truth), I proceeded to reveal the full contents of my high-frequency playlist. In addition to the staple, i.e., Muse’s The Resistance, Keane’s Perfect Symmetry, Mandalay, Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, some Morrissey and The Sounds, and Mozart’s Requiem, I had an Abba song. Not a Mamma Mia (2008) song, no. An actual Abba song. The song was “Dancing Queen.” I have no actual idea how that track ended up in my playlist. The best I can do is to say that perhaps it was placed on my iPod just to make me laugh (or perhaps fall off my Ventura so that I’d have a reason for said ‘fall’) whichever came first and was funnier.

As I was descending from a hill-like area, I remember thinking to myself that the cars were going by a tad too fast right next to me and that I would have absolutely hated it if the following conversation was actually had in reality:

“So, B.R., what were you listening to when it happened?”

“Hmm, you know.”

“No, I don’t. What?”

“Abba’s “Dancing Queen”, ok. Abba’s friggin’ “Dancing Queen”. Jeez!” It actually happened when

Abba breaks into “you can dance, you can ji-ive, having the time of your life,…’ and then, poof, I fell. Postal Service’s “Sleeping In” was right after that track and Muse’s “Unintended” was right before. So, there you have it. I fell to Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”

Abba taught me a lesson this week.

Last summer my niece who lives in Munich came to spend her summer in Ohio. We had a good time and rarely did the same thing twice as I wanted her to experience as many things as possible. She did experience one thing twice however, and that was watching the ’08 film Mamma Mia. Yes, HetPer readers, I actually went to see Mamma Mia voluntarily and more than once. My niece loved it so much that I could read her usually economical speech patterns accurately enough to see that she could have (and would have) seen it twice or more. And what’s even more unusual, I sort of, kind of, didn’t mind it terribly watching it a second time. Yes, I emailed and texted (we were sitting in the back and nobody seemed bothered by the light on the gadget, btw) while the movie was playing but I did notice my right foot taking a life of its own as it was publicly and freely jamming to the soundtrack.

On top of the film, we would play the soundtrack of Mamma Mia when driving to different places. Not only did we play the soundtrack to the Hollywood production by the same title, we also played Abba’s Greatest Hits and one track kept getting played in random play. It was “The Winner Takes It All” and I am told I know all the words to it. Yes, all. No, there is no chance I will openly admit to this as I really don’t care much for Abba sounds. I’m Indie, for crying outloud. Totally and thoroughly. Or, am I? Existentialism aside, I did take a few moments to asses my odd relationship to Abba’s music and I think I finally pinpointed the reason why I sort of, kind of don’t mind them. The origin of this odd reaction seems to be residing in this memory I have of my sister, the niece’s mother, of whom I used to be in such awe as she is almost a decade my senior and oh-so-smart! All of a sudden, it made sense to me why I’d find Abba’s music not only kind of, sort of kosher but totally ok. She liked them when she was a teenager and I but an eight-year-old monkey. Which meant, I liked them, too.

Granted, this outs me as a listener of Abba. And I don’t mind the appellation at all as I can pin it all on an awfully hot summer, the colorful task of being a host to a teenager and the uber-powerful role of the subconscious. And can one of us resist it? Ha. As if!

Another reason why I’m discussing this is because of a conversation I had recently with someone who asked me what I currently have on my iPod. My answer to the question was, “well, do you expect me to reveal the answer without a Macchiato first?”
After the joke (i.e., truth), I proceeded to revealing the full contents of my high-frequency playlist. In addition to the staple, i.e., Muse’s The Resistance, Keane’s Perfect Symmetry, Mandalay, Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, some Morrissey and The Sounds, and Mozart’s Requiem, I had an Abba song. Not a Mamma Mia (2008) song, no. An actual Abba song. The song was “Dancing Queen.” I have no actual idea how that track ended up in my playlist. The best I can do is to say that perhaps it was placed on my iPod just to make me laugh (or perhaps fall off my Ventura so that I’d have a reason for said ‘fall’) whichever came first and was funnier.
As I was descending from a hill-like area, I remember thinking to myself that the cars were going by a tad too fast right next to me and that I would have absolutely hated it if the following conversation was actually had in reality:

“So, B.R., what were you listening to when it happened?”

“Hmm, you know.”

“No, I don’t. What?”

“Abba’s “Dancing Queen”, ok. Abba’s friggin’ “Dancing Queen”. Jeez!” It actually happened when Abba breaks into “you can dance, you can ji-ive, having the time of your life,…’ and then, pooof, I fell. Postal Service’s “Sleeping In” was right after that track and Muse’s “Unintended” was right before. So, there you have it. I fell to Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”

Old Romance Released

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 18, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Old Romance

I have a new book called Old Romance. You can buy it at http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged. for $16.99. There is also a sale this month to get 20 percent off when you enter the code HOHOHO. It is also available on Amazon Kindle.

It is a book about past romances I have had written in a creative non-fiction format. You will enjoy it.

Best Ten Albums of 2009

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on December 17, 2009 at 9:06 AM

By Brikena Ribaj

It is a rather difficult task to pick the best albums of the year as I listen to a whole lot of music. However, here I go. Some of these musicians, unfortunately, do not get much (or enough) commercial radio time. However, they’re all brilliant performers.

10) Bat for Lashes’ Two Suns. If you like the sound of Imogen Heap and Frou Frou, you’ll enjoy this sound as well.

9) Ida Maria’s Fortress Round My Heart. The Norwegian artist is a hip blend of new punk and BritPop.

8) Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone. Neko Case is better known than some of the other acts and albums featured here.

7) Phenix’ Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Favorite track: “Lisztomania.” This is definitely a band to watch live. I have been listening to their music this whole week and it is not getting old. They’re featured on the left.

6) Bravery’s Stir the Blood. The album was released just a few days ago. While The Bravery is no strangers to controversy, when they hit the studio they seem to produce rather well-informed synth indie music.

5) Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. I would describe their sound as Indie Psychodelic.

4) Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ It’s Blitz!. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been a favorite of mine for quite some time and this new album certainly didn’t disappoint. They seem to get better with time.

3) Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest. Think of this band as gothic folk Americana. These musicians seem to be attentive to the kind of musical minutiae that so many lacks either the ability or intellectual curiosity to explore. See them pictured above.

2) Florence and the Machine’s Lungs. The singer’s voice has such color and range. While the sound isn’t necessarily what I would seek after, her vocals, however, are what sold her music to me. Definitely worth a try.

1) Muse’s The Resistance. Because this is not a secret.

Hippophobic

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Pets, travel, Writing (all kinds) on December 16, 2009 at 1:59 AM

Kirk Verner Writes about Wild Life – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Kirk Verner - December 16, 2009

By Kirk Verner

It was a wondrous Sunday afternoon in the middle of August when I was graciously given the opportunity to ride my very first horse. I remember being young, fearless, a cowboy for a day. Read the rest of this entry »

Stephen Carroll’s Installation

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 15, 2009 at 3:29 AM
Stephen Carroll - December 15, 2009
Hello Friends and Family,

I hope you are all doing well.

I want to invite you to an opening that I am having for a piece that I’ve been working on for 6 months and an accumulation ideas I’ve been developing the past three years.
It is an installation of a vinyl print that is 4ft.by5ft, with paint on the wall and a epoxy caste of the original work beside. The series the work belongs to is called “Unconscious Collage.”

The work will be installed for viewing as of this Tuesday December 15th and I will be on site for friends and family on Saturday afternoon. If you can’t make it on Saturday be sure to stop by, the work will be up until January 11th.

Thank you for all your support, I really hope to see you,
or hear your feedback about the work,
please forward this info to any relevant lists, institutions or organizations,

Thank you,
Best,
Stephen
it’s at 52 McCaul Street. 1st Floor.

CIL Paint Colour Forecast: Blue Skies Ahead for 2010

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Culture, Entertainment, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on December 13, 2009 at 8:41 AM

Gail Bergman - December 13, 2009

Concord, Ontario – December 8, 2009 – The sky’s the limit in home décor for the coming year. That’s because blue is forecasted to be the hottest colour in the 2010 palette, says leading Canadian paint brand CIL Paints.

In particular, airy light blue will top the list of hot colours for the year ahead, says Jennifer Jones, Marketing Communications Manager of CIL Paints, citing CIL’s Siesta Key (MC30) blue as the brand’s 2010 colour of the year. Describing the shade as an optimistic colour, Jones explained that the new blue is “a feel-good tone that’s reflective of new beginnings, of dark skies lifting in the wake of challenging economic and political times, and our collective moods lightening up.”

Associated with clear sky and water, the pure shades of blue “are refreshing, soothing and liberating, promoting a feeling of breeziness, renewed energy and infinite horizons,” Jones said, adding that ultramarines and turquoises will appear in all facets of home décor in the year ahead – from walls to furniture to accessories. To bring added life to any room, CIL recommends combining the new blues with crimson, burgundy, plum, pewter or gold, such as Crimson Red (DL07), Classic Burgundy (DL07), Scarlet’s Velvet (CP44), Southern Shadow (MC47), or Historic Tan (SE17).

Feel-good tones will be prevalent across the 2010 colour spectrum, according to CIL colour experts. Like the luminous blues, the paint palette of the coming year is dominated by more cheerful and energetic shades, reflecting a positive shift in the public’s attitude. For example:

Greens: Glowing acidic shades of green, like pale yellow lime, will take the spotlight in the green colour family. Reminiscent of new plant shoots and beginnings, the new liquid-like greens – such as CIL’s Spring Thaw (MC21) – exude a feeling of renewal, open space and freshness. Soft greens blend particularly well with ­­­­­­­moss yellows and deep greys such as Sapling (MC20) and Midnite Hour (MC51).

Reds: Saturated, vibrant reds are making a comeback, replacing the previously fashionable neutral pinks and coffee-based reds. New reds – like CIL’s Tea Dance (DL07) – are deeper and coral-based, with clean, futuristic-looking pinks taking the spotlight.  For a contemporary look, CIL recommends combining the new reds with soft neutrals such as Fog Grey (DL40) and Whisper Bluff (DL45).

Oranges: Think warm tans and golds, radiating carrot and pumpkin tones, and rich earthy copper browns. Oranges – highlighted by CIL’s Energize it (CP 14) – will become more optimistic and sunny, moving away from last year’s red influence.  These new hues, which emit a bright and sporty energy, pair well with neutrals and fuchsias such as Tutti Frutti (CP02) and Painter’s White (CP42).

Yellows: Honey, mustard, banana and citrus shades – including CIL’s Newborn (CP17) – will dominate the yellow family in 2010.  Used on their own or combined with shades of blue, such as Roslyn’s Blue (CP34), the new yellows are refreshing and comforting with a hint of pizzazz.

Warm neutrals: In a shift away from last year’s favourite soft beige, warm neutrals will become deeper, infused with yellow-based earth, clay, sand and grain tones. Imagine rich mocha and deep earthy umber browns – such as CIL’s Hale Village (SE47) – which combine well with plums and mauves. For an ultra fashionable look, these warm neutrals can be combined with turquoises and teals.

Cool neutrals: Ash greys, near blacks, and green slate tones will take centre stage in the cool neutral family. Deep subtle shades like CIL’s Gentry Blue (MC50) are ultra-sophisticated, yet calming, working well with other neutrals or as a chic background to brighten accents.

Violets: Dramatic and intense purples – such as CIL’s Fashion Passion (DL38) – are back in style, delivering a powerful look that is both traditional and modern. For those not ready to experiment with intense violets, cool lavenders will also be in vogue in the year ahead, creating an elegant and soothing environment.

“A common thread throughout the entire 2010 colour palette is a marked shift towards pure, lively and open-minded colours that reflect consumers’ hope for a more positive future,” Jones explained. “Used on their own, or in combination with other tones, colours of the coming year are all about freedom and happiness.”

Next year’s popular colours are featured in the new CIL 2010 Colour Trends magazine – available free-of-charge at CIL retailers. For more information about 2010 colours or to locate a CIL retailer near you, visit www.cil.ca or call 1-800-387-3767.

Sale Until December 31st

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 12, 2009 at 1:32 AM

Until December 31st - December 12, 2009

Get 20 percent off everything on Donna Kakonge’s store! No minimum order required. Enter code HOHOHO upon checkout. Store site is http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

Journalist Paul Wells

In book reviews, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on December 11, 2009 at 5:48 AM

Paul Wells - Roselyn - December 11, 2009

Independent piece Dec. 5, 2007

By Roselyn Kelada-Sedra

Last Refuge of the Vaguely Talented: Interview with Paul Wells

With his words strewn all over the floor, I wait for the phone to ring. Today, I interview Paul Wells, columnist for Maclean’s, author of the bestseller Right Side Up, former political beat-writer for the National Post and altogether brilliant journalist. Anticipation has been building since I first made the contact, and I’m officially daunted. Read the rest of this entry »

All the Goliaths against the Davids: The Benefits and Burdens of a Merger Between Ticketmaster and Live Nation

In Business, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Music, Writing (all kinds) on December 10, 2009 at 5:31 AM

Alex Young - December 10, 2009

By: Alex Young

Ticketmaster is the single largest concert ticket printer and ticket distributor in North America. The company’s control over the market for tickets to musical performances, sporting events, and live comedy is unparalleled. Other than the short-lived anti-industrial revolutionary protest against Ticketmaster that was spear-headed by Pearl Jam in 1995, there has not been any large scale protest against the choke-hold Ticketmaster has over live entertainment in North America, until now.

With the rumor mill flying wild these days, there has been a lot of speculation about whether Ticketmaster might be merging with North America’s single biggest live entertainment promotion company Live Nation. The rumor that Ticketmaster and Live Nation might be hopping into bed with each other has been largely fuelled by outcries from artists, fans, and large-scale music publications like Rolling Stone uniting in opposition. The rumored merger would $2.5 billion dollars and would give birth to Live Nation Entertainment Inc. Mainstream musical acts like Bruce Springsteen, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails have discussed the impacts a merger would have on artist, venues, independent promoters and customers, which are rarely acknowledged as the fans. If this merger were to go through, Ticketmaster and Live Nation would become the only gatekeepers of mainstream concert promotion in North America, and no one, not even artists, could stop them. Should this merger take place, it would change the market for live performances in the music industry in North America forever.

What would happen if the single biggest ticket distribution company and the single largest live entertainment promoter became one entity? First, on a strictly business basis, it raises questions of monopoly and restraint of competition. On a sociological, or values, basis, it threatens the role of popular music as a hedonistic refuge to which the fans can retreat when the soullessness of consumer culture overwhelms them. Secondly, one can argue that the idea of music as a hedonistic refuge has always been a fantasy, even in the days of the counter-culture. But this gargantuan company would make it impossible for even the most naïve consumer to keep believing in that fantasy.

In 2007 Ticketmaster made $8.3 billion in ticket sales. It programs 140 major venues in the US alone and works closely with the companies that manage Aerosmith, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses and the Eagles and up to 200 major artists. After looking at the daunting numbers Ticketmaster and Live Nation individually has under their belts, it is intimidating to think of what kind of revenue they would take in as one entity. Independent artists would be forced if they had any hope to associate themselves with the mainstream regardless of how big their audience was or how many albums they sold. Even established artists would be unable to continue putting on large-scale live performances unless they agreed to the conglomerate’s terms. Immediate collateral damage would include the elimination of independent promoters and carte blanche for the new monopoly to inflate service charges.

The economic climate for being a large-scale touring band is brutal enough these days as it is, now that live performance has become the primary source of income for many musical artists considering the falling number of CD sales in the new millennium. On top of that, there is currently an economic recession in North America, and many mainstream artists are slashing ticket prices cutting traveling costs to keep fans coming back and their salaries coming in. Even large-scale bands such as KISS, who have a renowned reputation for their massive stage show and excessive use of special effects, are cutting back on the amount of stage equipment they’re bringing on tour with them in 2009. KISS Manager Doc McGhee told Rolling Stone in January 2009 that “We try to be the most cost-effective- what bells and whistles we bring and what ones we don’t”. Even mainstream heavy metal titans that draw out major crowds and ticket sales such as Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage are being more conscientious about their costs on the road. An agent named Tim Borror that works for both Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage commented on the economic climate for mainstream touring bands by saying, “The tours would have done great last year are doing good. The tours that have done well are doing OK. The tours that would have done OK aren’t doing good”. If Ticketmaster and Live Nation were to merge would increase convenience charges on tickets while many mainstream bands are struggling to maintain their ticket sales. This increase in ticket prices would likely drive more mainstream acts to license their music out to advertising and other commercial ventures to make up for the loss in ticket sales but might convince many fans their favorite bands are “selling out”. In reality, these artists are striving to maintain a living in the ever-changing landscape of the modern music industry without making much more money than they already do. The fact is that an increase in service charges if Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged would be inevitable considering Live Nation’s in-house ticket fees are currently as high as Ticketmaster’s, to begin with. Live Nation CEO Nathan Hubbard broke down how Live Nation earns its yearly gross income by highlighting the fact that 17% of the company’s profits are derived from service charges while 43% comes from beer and merchandise sales and 24% from tour sponsorship. Despite Hubbard commenting on the issue of Live Nation selling its own tickets by saying, “The current model [Ticketmaster has] is broken, pretending a ticket is $75 when the fan understands the ticket is $100”, Live Nation service charges for major touring acts including Katy Perry, Phish, and Dave Matthews Band are the same as Ticketmaster’s.

When interviewed on the subject of a possible merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, one employee said, “Yeah, I’ve heard this rumor. I’ve heard people talk about it, but there’s still legislation outstanding on it”. When asked about the possible benefits or consequences of a merger between the two titans of the entertainment industry they commented by saying, “I have to admit, knowing what Ticketmaster technically is or is about, I don’t think it’s going to change much. Live Nation is a promoter and Ticketmaster is essentially a glorified printing inventory system.” When asked who would be affected the most by a merger of that caliber, the employee stated, “I think the old school days of being a promoter, like ‘This is my venue, I book it five days of the week’, will move away from that. That’s just a guess, but that’s a shame because there’s a lot of people that put a lot of hard work and are amazing at what they do as promoters. Here in town [Toronto], you have Dan Burke at the Silver Dollar and Don Blais at Rancho Relaxo who put on A LOT of shows. There’s a lot of really great rock and roll, a lot of great music going on there and they don’t do it through Ticketmaster. With Live Nation becoming further and further widespread, they own the arena scene basically and the larger clubs have everything to do with Live Nation. The next thing would be naturally would be to get it [Live Nation] into places the size of the El Mocambo [in Toronto]”.

Regardless of where you sit on this issue, there are still a lot of decisions to be made and a lot of regulations to be passed before Ticketmaster and Live Nation become one company. Who do you think would really win in this war between the Goliath-size companies like Ticketmaster and Live Nation and the David caliber local promoters? Who knows? This could be a cry of desperation for big businesses struggling in the entertainment industry themselves. One thing that is for certain is that even though the times are indeed changing, it is ultimately ticket purchasers that hold the ultimate power and can decide where they take their business and determine ticket sales. Regardless of what the future may hold, the power now lies with the audience to decide what the future of the industry will be and what model of ticket sales they choose to support.

Diaspora Dialogues

In book reviews, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on December 9, 2009 at 8:56 AM
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Monday, December 07, 2009 Unsubscribe | Printable Version | Send this to a friend
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Books Now on Amazon Kindle

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 8, 2009 at 9:23 AM

Donna Kakonge’s books are now on Amazon Kindle. You can choose from a selection of 29 books. Check it out at Amazon Kindle today! The website for the store is: http://www.amazon.com/kindle-store-ebooks-newspapers-blogs/b?ie=UTF8&node=133141011.

One Day Only

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 7, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Buy one paperback book and get shipping free. Buy at: http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged. Use the code MAILSHIP1.

UrbanEdge Yoga

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Writing (all kinds) on December 7, 2009 at 9:17 AM

Dear friends,

Don’t forget to join us tonight, Dec 7 @ 6.30 PM, for a special Mantra meditation workshop with our visiting guest and travelling monk His Grace Vaisesika Dasa who has been practicing Kirtan Yoga for over 35 years. Join us for soul stirring Kirtan – It is a must have musical meditation event of the year! Don’t forget the yummy feast that awaits you. Check details and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/index.php?d=current&p=current&event=miEvent2 Read the rest of this entry »

Expanding Self-Publishing Ventures

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 6, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Self-Publishing One - December 6, 2009

I am someone who loves self-publishing. I have spent this entire weekend, with the exception of a bit of marking, expanding my self-publishing pool.

I have 32 books for the offer on Lulu.com (http://store.lulu.com/kakonged). Now I am waiting to find out about whether my books will be accepted for Amazon Kindle as e-books, as well as CreateSpace. CreateSpace is similar to Lulu.com, however, is one of Amazon.com’s companies.

It was a lot of hard work. Having my books on Lulu.com made it a lot easier. I found the Kindle system fairly easy to use, however with my computer at times it would take a lot of time to upload large documents that would have photos.

CreateSpace uses a .pdf format. I found this extremely efficient for uploading large files that also had photos. The first entry point seems a bit daunting at first and I ran across some glitches at first. The excellent thing about CreateSpace is that they offer free ISBNs that are generated instantly if you do not have one. This way you can also make your books available for international distribution, as well as available in libraries.

Overall I found my time working on these self-publishing projects to be well-spent. Even though I have 32 books published, I was unable to publish them all. Lulu.com may remain the key depot to find all of my books. I was able to offer some of my books for better prices than they appear on Amazon.com currently, as well as Lulu.com. I will keep you posted.

How We Treat One Another

In Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on December 5, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Being Kind - December 5, 2009

It is interesting that around this time of year, many people start to think about how they treat one another. It’s the holiday season and good cheer is supposed to be the norm. This is the not the case for everyone.

Sometimes people can treat each other in the cruelest ways. The most severe forms of this occur in war-torn countries where people are being violent towards one another. Some of the more benign forms can occur when someone does not open a door for someone else, or one person is blatantly and sometimes intentionally rude to another. Why do people act like this?

Well…it is in our nature. If it was not in our nature – then we would not do it. The challenge is that we must all strive to rise above this nature and try to be good to one another. Being kind is something that this world desperately needs. We need to be kind to one another. Husbands need to treat their wives better. Wives need to treat their husbands better. Parents need to treat their children better. Countries need to get along.

Considering how fast time flies and the small amount of time we have on this planet – why not enjoy our time and be kind.

This is a message of kindness from Donna Magazine.

December Book Sales

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on December 4, 2009 at 8:18 AM

Another Lulu.com sales contest is underway! You can receive 10 per cent off all of my books and audio material by entering the code HUMBUG on checkout. This is a great time of year to buy a gift for the ones you love, and even buy a gift for yourself. Enjoy the magic of the holiday season with one of my 32 books.

You can select your books at: http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

Government’s workplace violence legislation falls short of protecting women

In Contact Information, Culture, Education, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on December 3, 2009 at 2:02 PM

TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ – As the anniversary to commemorate the Montreal Massacre draws near, Ontario nurses say the provincial government’s workplace violence legislation doesn’t go far enough to protect women. Read the rest of this entry »

Offering Feedback on Stories

In Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on December 2, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Offering Feedback - December 2, 2009

I am now starting to offer feedback on people’s writing from around the world. With the help of the internet and for a small fee – I will offer to coach to anyone in need of feedback on their writing. Please do contact me at dkakonge@sympatico.ca for details.

The Cost of Education

In Business, Culture, Education, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on December 2, 2009 at 12:32 PM

The Cost of Education - December 2, 2009

As a teacher, I really admire anyone who goes to school. School is so important. It teaches you not only the basics of reading, writing, math and a concentrated area of study – it also teaches you a lot about yourself. It is a shame though that the cost of education often makes it difficult for some people to take the route of enlightenment.

I recently heard about a woman who is an engineer and an architect and is currently on employment insurance. She is in her eighth month. She wants to switch careers to become a youth worker, however, is finding it hard to come up with the money to go back to school. It is good though that she has the desire to do so, despite the fact she is not the age of the average student.

I know someone else who desperately needs to go back to school to upgrade because she does not even know how to use a computer. She keeps saying she will and it is the Spanish expression, “manana, manana.” It is always tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow does not ever seem to come. I know that if she was aware of programs out there where she could upgrade her skills for free – she would do them.

In this economy, it is so important to be investing in yourself. If you already have the education, you are one of the lucky ones and I hope you are using it to your advantage. Investing in yourself will secure your future and give you more opportunities to choose from. I know my journalism and media studies degrees have been a tremendous benefit to me.

Media Advisory – Olympic Torch to come to Valcartier Garrison

In Beauty, Contact Information, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Sports, Writing (all kinds) on December 2, 2009 at 8:57 AM

VALCARTIER GARRISON, QC, Dec. 1 /CNW Telbec/ – The media are invited to attend a leg of the Olympic Torch Relay at Valcartier Garrison.

    When:    December 3, 2009, at 6:30 am (relay will begin at 6:50 am).

    Where:   Starting from Building 516 (Sports Centre) and along Général
             T. L. Tremblay Street. Read the rest of this entry »

Urban Edge Yoga

In Beauty, Business, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on December 1, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Dear friends,

We want to invite you to two extremely special events in the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

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