People to Interview

July 21, 2012

This list ‘o names is both of people I’d like to interview in this lifetime as well as a list of those I have interviewed. I see it as ever-evolving and I’ll just keep adding to it as I think of people I’d like to interview and/or get to interview more people (which I’ll note by crossing their name off the list as I go).

– Leah Abramson
– Adele
– Coco Love Alcorn
– The Avett Brothers
– Ashleigh Ball (Hey Ocean)
– Bob Barker
– Martha Beck
– Isaac Brock
– Bill Bryson
– Kris Carr
– Tracy Chapman
– Billy Connolly
– Death Cab for Cutie
– Zooey Deschanel
– Ellen DeGeneres
– Ani DiFranco
– The Dixie Chicks/Natalie Maines
– Steve Earle
– Melissa Etheridge
– Will Ferguson
– Jeremy Fisher
– James Franco
– Michael Franti
– Rory Freedman
– Elizabeth Gilbert
– Sarah Gilbert
– Ryan Gosling
– Geri Halliwell
– Ben Harper
– Woody Harrelson
– Arianna Huffington
– Jack Johnson
– Jenji Kohan
– Lady Gaga
– Howard Lyman
– Dan Mangan
– Bam Margera
– Elizabeth May
– Tara McLean
– Matthew McConaughey
– Joni Mitchell
– Alanis Morissette
– Stevie Nicks
– Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne
– Mary-Louise Parker
– Joel Plaskett
– Tristan Prettyman
– Bonnie Raitt
– Paul Rudd
– Xavier Rudd
– Serena Ryder
– Jason Segel
– Steve-O
– Gloria Steinem
– Taylor Swift
– David Suzuki
– The Trews
– Shania Twain
– The Wailin’ Jennys
– Danny Wallace
– Barbara Walters
– Diane Warren
– Florence Welch
– Betty White
– Oprah Winfrey

Journalists:

– Katie Couric
– Jian Ghomeshi
– Grant Lawrence
– Will Potter
– George Stroumboulopoulos
– Barbara Walters

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Take Heart

February 17, 2012

What follows below is an opinion piece I wrote for my specialty writing class that I then cut down to half and submitted to the Georgia Straight as a letter, and they published it! (Yay!)

Though they won’t likely tell you this, you can “Make death wait” – like the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s latest commercials encourage – with a vegan diet.

In her January 18 article, “Risk of cardiovascular disease in women is higher than you think,” Gail Johnson explores the myth that men are the primary sufferers of heart attacks.

Johnson goes on to note that the new UBC Heart and Stroke Foundation professorship in women’s cardiovascular health recently established at St. Paul’s Hospital is intent on researching how psychological and social factors contribute to women developing heart disease.

Arguably, the funds being wasted on such research could best be directed towards campaigning for prevention, which is most effective through diet and exercise.

While it is true that a history of heart disease in a family can put a person (man or woman) at greater risk for developing the disease themselves or suffering a heart attack, there is an often overlooked factor in this scenario.

Generally speaking, family members will all share the same basic eating patterns and exercise habits.

That shouldn’t be surprising, nor should the idea that eating foods such as bacon, burgers, dairy or cholesterol-filled, high blood pressure-inducing eggs – none of which contain any fibre – on a regular basis are major contributing factors to heart disease, since such foods cause a build-up of atherosclerosis (a build-up of fat, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website) in your arteries.

All too often diet is overlooked in favour of pharmaceuticals and surgery, with a dietary shift viewed as a “drastic” and unpopular measure for heart disease patients.

The truth of the matter is that eating a whole foods, plant-based diet can not only reduce one’s risk of heart disease, but could play a part in reversing heart attack-inducing atherosclerosis, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s website.

The health benefits don’t stop there– PCRM asserts that such a diet can also prevent or reverse diabetes, lower blood pressure, lessen the effects of asthma, reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, gall stones, and osteoporosis, and even help prevent cancer.

PCRM also notes that, “Scientific research shows that health benefits increase as the amount of food from animal sources in the diet decreases, so vegan diets are the healthiest overall.”

Those looking to learn more can read such tomes as Diet for a New America by John Robbins (heir to Baskin-Robbins who turned down the opportunity to join the family business in favour of following his own dairy-free life path), The China Study by T. Colin Campbell (a 20-year study on the effects of diet on health), Plant Roots: 101 Reasons Why the Human Diet is Rooted Exclusively in Plants by Rex Bowlby or check out the films Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and the gripping Earthlings, which can be streamed free online at Earthlings.com.

It’s time every man, woman, and yes, even child wakes up to the reality that making death wait is best accomplished by what they put on their plates.

(Written January 23rd for Specialty Writing)

Gotye

February 13, 2012

Though not long ago you might never have heard of Gotye (pronounced “gore-ti-yeah”), there’s no denying his sudden overtaking of radio airwaves with his break-out hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

The song is all at once catchy, spooky, and empathetically evocative.

Beginning with a plucky guitar interrupted by a Wonka-esque xylophone, it’s not hard to imagine Oompa-Loompas dancing in time to the rhythm.

The lyrics carry a cautionary tale like the famed candy workers would be apt to dispense, telling of not only a love lost, but so too a friendship in the process of a break-up.

Lines like “You told me you felt so happy you could die” followed by “I told myself you were right for me/But felt so lonely in your company” coupled with warbling guitar sounds draw the listener in as the tension builds in anticipation of the climactic chorus.

The mood shifts from melancholic and foreboding to the guttural cry of a lover scorned, with Gotye asserting, “But you didn’t have to cut me off/Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing.”

Having New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra’s breathy female vocals injected into the mix for the second verse adds an extra dimension and sense of unfolding drama.

The song ends with Gotye singing a layered chorus and an abrupt xylophone finish, leaving the listener with a sense that perhaps it was all just a strange and wonderful dream, though not one they’re soon to forget.

(Written for Specialty Writing, January 30th, 2012)

Spring Break

February 13, 2012

Alright, so since I haven’t been writing anything on here lately (which really is a shame) because of all these school deadlines I’ve been fighting against, I’m going to just post a bunch of my assignments.

I guess it’s sort of some February Filler, since it’s been two weeks since I even posted any lyrics (of which I have a plenty).

These assignments could probably use some work, but I’m going to take the easy/lazy route and not edit them before I post them.

I imagine one day I’ll enjoy looking back on them as how ‘cute’ or something similar (awful? trite? disastrous?) it is that they once passed for something of pride. Of course, this is based on my assumption that my writing will in fact get better instead of worse, which I think is always the thing to hope for. Self-improvement for the win.

Let the posts BEGIN!

Oh, and p.s. – I have time for this and hopefully some original writing now because it’s Spring Break, in case the title didn’t give that away.

Maaaiiiiil!

December 15, 2011

Have I ever told you how much I love mail? Well, it’s right up there with the library (which I think everyone should start frequenting much more).

Last night a friend asked for my mailing address to send me a Christmas card, today someone else asked for it for perhaps the same reason (or maybe not, who knows), and I got a wonderful holiday postcard from the lovely Grinches (just kidding!) over at Nice Shoes.

I’m also still waiting on the reply from my third (the first two kind of crapped out of the program, strangely) vegan pen pal, who just so happens to live in one of my destination cities – Nashville, Tennessee.

The pen pal project was originally through the web-based Living Opposed to Exploitation and Violence (L.O.V.E.), but the person (volunteering! and paying for postage and a P.O. Box without accepting donations, if you can believe it!) coordinating the project is going to be on the move for the next six months or so, and has passed things along to another person who also runs a pen pal project.

The project is aimed at pairing new vegans or people who are on the verge of going vegan with someone more experienced who can provide some guidance and speak to some issues that might arise during the transition from omnivore or vegetarian to vegan.

I interviewed Jenna McDavid (who was coordinating the L.O.V.E. Vegan Pen Pals Project) about it on the Animal Voices Radio Show back in June if you’re interested in taking a listen to learn more.

And if you’d like to get yourself a vegan pen pal, you can contact Kaycee at VeganMachine.com to sign up.

(Or, if you’d like to be my pen pal, there’s a chance that could be arranged. I miss the letters I used to frequently trade with several people while I was away volunteering for nine months in Katimavik).

Typewriter

November 25, 2011

If I were an old typewriter
What stories would I have to tell
Would they be of heaven
Or would they be of hell

(June 15, 2010)