Thursday, September 27, 2007

Don't be a Douchebag. Vote!

Yo! In case you couldn’t tell from the title, this is my MTV-esque rant about youth voting (note: for the purpose of this exercise, I will define youth as anyone under the age of 34. If this is you and you take offence to being referred to as youth, congratulations, you’re all grown up). You will notice I have very cleverly included the word “douchebag” to illustrate my irreverent attitude in an attempt to relate to my target audience.

If like me, you live in Ontario, you may be aware that we are in the midst of another “exciting” provincial election. If not, search “Voting Day: Ontario General Election” in Facebook. There is an event. It’s on October 10th. Click on “Maybe Attending”. Don’t be alarmed, that wasn’t voting… I’ll get to that part.

Yes, that was Chuck Norris. No, it has nothing to do with voting. I just wanted to make sure you were still with me. I’ll try to include more pop-culture references as we go along to keep things fresh. Before I explain why this election is particularly important, let’s briefly review the reasons why YOU should vote:

- By not voting, you let other’s speak for you
- You can Rock the Vote
- It’s your right
- If you’re not voting, then who are you electing?
- Apathy is boring

There. I think I covered all the national nonpartisan coalitions. Next, let’s go over three universal truths about youth:

1.) Youth are lazy
2.) Youth are stupid
3.) Youth are complacent

With these three points in mind, I think it would also be helpful to look at a few statistics:

- According to the Elections Canada report on the 2004, 38th general election: Just over 38 per cent of voters aged 18-30 cast ballots..

- Turnout is declining in Canada not because experienced voters are dropping out of the system, but because potential new voters are not opting into the system.

- The main conclusion of (the Pammett-LeDuc) study is that the recent decline in voter turnout will likely continue, if left unaddressed.

- Many studies suggest that this current generation which is choosing to note vote will continue to not vote in the future – this behavior may not reverse itself when people get older – they will continue to not vote.

Source: Apathy is Boring

I know your attention span is extremely low so hopefully I’ve included enough lists and point-form information to keep you from going back to YouTube just yet. Please try to stick with me for a little while longer… Oh and by the way, the Meg White sex tape was a hoax. The simple fact of the matter is that our generation is not being properly represented in municipal, provincial, or federal elections and we are being ignored by politicians because of it. Your opinion matters, your voice should be heard, and your vote most definitely counts.

Let’s get back to the task at hand: the upcoming provincial general election. I alluded to earlier the fact that this is an especially significant election. This is because we will be casting our vote on two matters – one to decide on the next provincial government, the other to decide on the future of our electoral process. It sounds boring and it is boring but it is also important. Elections Ontario has put together a really bad but informative flash video explaining the latter here. To me, this new process makes a lot of sense. It’s not perfect but I think it does a lot to address the problems of the current system. Put it this way, if the proposed new system was used in the last two US elections, George Bush would not be the President. It’s not a perfect comparison but you get the point. The new process has to do more with the popular vote and less to do with the electoral districts. In other words, there will be less bullshit.

When I talk to my friends about voting, there are two common things I hear: “All politicians are lying scumbags, so why bother?” and “I don’t know enough about each party to make an informed decision.” The first may be true but let’s face it, one of the lying scumbags is going to be elected whether you like it or not so why not have your say in which lying scumbag it is? All scumbags are not created equal. The second point is just silly. It really doesn’t take long to figure out which party best represents your values. And since we’ve already agreed that you are lazy, I will provide you with all the information you will need to become informed… even empowered if you will…

First off, here are the links to the main contenders but take what you read with a grain of salt because it is mostly marketing and PR crap.

The Ontario PC Party
The Ontario Liberal Party
Ontario New Democratic Party
Green Party of Ontario

I’ve found the best source of information is (unfortunately) found in the mainstream media. Here are a few good resources for comparing each party’s platform:

Toronto Star
CTV Toronto
Globe and Mail
National Post

Hopefully you’ve now armed yourself with enough information to make an informed decision come October 10th. You should now be out of excuses except for one: “ I don't know where/how to vote?” Hold out your hand little one and come with me (don’t worry. I don’t have a big blue van with blacked-out windows):

I’ve been avoiding the law, creditors, ex-girlfriend, etc… Am I on the list?
Where do I vote?
Who are my local candidates?
What should I bring?
I’m confused and have more questions.

I hope that this has been helpful or at least made you think. We may not be able to change the world right away but we can make our voices be heard. It’s time they know we are paying attention and ready to stand up for what we believe in. I’m not being dramatic here. Your vote will make an impact and it is important to us all. It should be important to you. Come October 10th; think to yourself “what would John Stewart do?” In case you don’t know the answer… He would fucking vote.

Disclaimer: Voting in the upcoming provincial general election will not guarantee you immunity from being a douchebag; it will only help prevent it. If you are unsure of your status, please consult the directory.

Monday, September 24, 2007


It's early Monday evening and I'm so profoundly bored I can hardly stand to stay awake. In fact, I would probably go to sleep right now if I knew I wouldn't be wide awake by 3am. It's no secret that I need a hobby. I hate the word "hobby" because it reminds me of being hunched over a model train set in a musty basement at 2am with a miniature tree pressed between rusted tweezers but it is the most appropriate word for what I am seeking.

"Passion" sounds much sexier but isn't really accurate. I'm passionate about a lot of things, although I may not always show it (was a comma the correct punctuation for this sentence? Grammar is NOT one of my passions). But passion is different. (I'm not linking that because I'm a tad anti-web2.0 at the moment) defines a hobby as "an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation." Yes, a hobby is just what I need. The fact that a hobby can't technically be a main occupation doesn't really concern me as an online media planner (there’s a reason you don’t know what that is).

So let’s recap: I know I need a hobby. I know I have interests. I know what a hobby entails. My occupation cannot, thankfully, qualify as a hobby. Now what? How does one find a hobby? I’ve tried many things in my 25 years of “life” but nothing has really stuck for one reason or another. Just to put things into context, I will bore you with a list of things off the top of my head that I have seriously attempted and/or took serious interest in:

Water Colours
Cross Stitch
Army Cadets
Jazz Dance
Electric Guitar
Acoustic Guitar
Bass Guitar
Classical Guitar
Electrical Engineering
Graphic Design
Swing Dancing
Drug Dealing
Song Writing
Creative Writing
Recording Arts
Model Building
Day Trading
Track and Field
Break Dancing
Public Speaking
Weight Lifting
Fashion Design
Mould Making
Sky Diving

So, where do I go from here? I have tried just about everything I’ve ever had even the faintest interest in and yet I’m still not a hobbyist. I’m not even sure why I’m writing about this but it seemed like the only way to temporary cure my boredom, even if for just an hour. Maybe it’s perfectly natural and even healthy to try a bunch of different things without ever finding that one thing that sticks but I can’t help feeling like a bit of a quitter or eclectic at best. Maybe everybody has a similar list and our only purpose on earth is to experience as much as possible? If this is the case, I obviously have a lot more to do and better stop writing immediately and volunteer for the local taxidermist (do we even have a local taxidermist?)

I guess my point is that it might be satisfying to be able to focus on one or two things that really get me going… Something that makes me want to rush straight home after work and continue where I left off the night before. Yes, it’s fun and interesting to experience new things but what about mastering something, anything? That is something I’ve never been able to do and would really like try it. I’m not talking about mastering the art of the Jedi or even seduction for that matter; I just want to be really, really good at one thing… I’ll leave you on that note and go back to staring at the wall and smoking cigarettes. Is sleeping a hobby? I don’t really do that as an occupation…

Update: It seems I'm not the only one thinking about this.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Top 10 Most Useful Facebook Applications

With over 3,500 Facebook applications already created by outside developers, I thought it would be helpful to share with you the very best and most useful of the bunch:


The New "Face" of Agent Provocateur

No Doubt, the good news story of the day comes by way of the Daily Mail who reports that Maggie Gyllenhaal is the "new face - and knockout body" of UK based lingerie company Agent Provocateur. I was going to attempt to justify this post with some bullshit commentary on the risks of brands relying on spokemodels in our celebrity obsessed culture (remember the Kate Moss incident?) or draw parallels to old Hollywood glamour but let's be honest; I just wanted to share these fantastic shots of my favourite Gyllenhaal. After all, posting pictures of hot chicks on your blog is the new taping up pictures of hot chicks on your closet door.