Thursday, September 30, 2010

Canadian Ski Patrol

first aid –noun
[furst eyd]
1. emergency aid or treatment given to someone injured, suddenly ill, etc., before regular Medical services arrive or can be reached
My newest distraction to chase is training to become a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol. For approximately 9 weeks I will be learning all the ins and outs of the human body and the techniques to keep it alive long enough for EMS to arrive.

This is really the personal challenge of all personal challenges for me.

I'm very squeamish when it comes to the inner workings of the body. I much prefer to pretend that inside us all is this fire that burns. Eating fuels these flames and as we get older the flame slowly diminishes until it is snuffed out and we die. Learning about how vulnerable we are makes me feel weak. In fact I never lasted through a whole health class in high school and came close to fainting many times. I don't think I will have a problem seeing 'it' or dealing with 'it', it's more just hearing about 'it'. I have an overactive imagination and learning about our insides just freaks me out.

But what's a personal challenge unless you really challenge yourself?

Speaking of personal challenges, today is the last day of Sober September. Another successful year, but the most challenging to date, this September I attended a wedding and a bachelor party. I managed to survive the temptation so as a award for a job well done I will be attending the Oktoberfest celebrations at the Beau's Brewery this weekend.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New Quit Smoking Aid

big house –noun
[big hou-ziz]
1. Slang a penitentiary
I've considered myself a casual smoker for years - too many years to mention *cough-cough*. In an attempt to curb this filthy habit I thought I would take some insight from those unfortunate souls that find them self in the Big House. Well at least what I know of it from books and movies.

In the Big House the common currency is cigarettes. The current exchange rate for a cigarette is 50¢; from this day forward I will think in terms of cigarettes. For example:

If I want to order that tasty sandwich from the place around the corner it's going to cost me 13 cigarettes.

My car just went in for repairs; it's likely going to cost me 3000 cigarettes.

When this year's Sober September ends that first frosty pint of Guinness is likely to cost me 14 cigarettes plus another two for tip.

It costs me just over 1000 cigarettes a month for rent… hmm I wonder if my landlord will be up for that exchange.

Hopefully thinking in terms of cigarettes will help me to quit. For every dollar I spend that's two smokes I can't have.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Side Clapper™

side clap·per -noun
[sahyd klap-er]
1. A music festival device that allows the wearer to clap along with the band while holding their beverage
The Side Clapper™

This summer I did a bit of the music festival tour starting with the NxNE music festival in Toronto. During NxNE I began to realize a certain fact, when holding a beverage, especially one that comes in a brown bottle, it is almost impossible to clap.

During the shows I looked around at my fellow festival goers and noticed that many in attendance holding their own form of beverage would do the same thing as I would, they would either hoot and holler or slap their hip to show their appreciation for the band. I thought to myself, 'the band can't hear me slapping my hip… there's got to be a better way!' For the rest of the festival I shopped my idea around a bit and asked those in attendance that I spied slapping their hip if they think they would benefit from some sort of side clapper. I received some mixed reactions, some for, some against, some "Get away from me you drunk!"… I think they might have been still on the fence about the whole idea.

It was during the next festival, the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest where I really decided that this device had to be made, if not for me than for the hips of festival goers all over the world. During our late night Bluesfest brainstorming sessions, (where many good ideas are formed dontcha' know?), my pitch was met with much enthusiasm. It was time turn this dream into a reality.

For the next festival, the Wolfe Island Music Festival, I recruited a few friends and together we designed the first ever prototype of the Side Clapper™. Producing only 20 prototypes for the festival my goal was to spread the word, create some buzz and hopefully convince a band to wear them on stage during the festival. Well Dear Reader I am ecstatic to stay that I exceeded my goal. Not only did I create some buzz, but I also pitched the Side Clapper™ to front man Rolf of The Acorn. Much to my surprise, and those festival goers that were wearing their own Side Clapper™, Rolf even took a few seconds out of his performance to explain the Side Clapper™, using almost the same pitch that I had given him the night before.

But don't just take my word for it, I'll let Rolf explain it himself:

The final music festival of the season was the Ottawa Folk Fest, where I once again produced a few more prototypes and tried creating some buzz. It didn't hurt that The Acorn were also performing at this festival. At one point I overhead the following: "See that guy over there? He's the inventor of the Side Clapper™. I was at Wolfe Island last week when he was handing them out."

So where does the Side Clapper™ go from here? Well I'm going to take the Fall and Winter months to design and produce a permanent version and hopefully you'll see me at the 2011 SxSW where you too can get your very own Side Clapper™.

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