Laura Slade Wiggins goes for a Hard Drive

Laura Slade Wiggins

I believe the person we are, is an accumulation of the relationships we make and the people we meet. It’s the sum of our memories and experiences and despite the good and the bad, these things make us unique characters. This past week, I met the wonderful Laura Slade Wiggins (from the series Shameless), the female lead and unique character from the new Canadian Indie film Hard Drive.
[Read more...]

Mike Bickerton, from Canadian Idol to Amazing Race Canada

Mike Bickerton at the Badlands just outside of Toronto

Mike Bickerton at the Badlands just outside of Toronto

When we were kids, we all had aspirations of what we wanted to be when we grew up. We were influenced by our friends and family, by movies and television and by our mentors. We all had dreams to do big things, perhaps become famous, or maybe even change the world (for me it was to be a teacher or a singer on the musical stage). For some folks, like Mike Bickerton, that path wasn’t always clear. Mike grew up in Ottawa, Ontario and went on to post-secondary school at The University of Western Ontario in London Ontario, but when he graduated, Mike wasn’t sure how his skill set would add up to become a career, but eventually he found his song, so to speak, working on the staff of Canadian Idol where he started out as a production assistant.
[Read more...]

Why Movember?

Sponsor my Mo

Today is the first of November, which means men around the world are dawning cleanly shaven faces in the name of men’s health. A global movement called Movember, now in in 10th year, pulls us together as a community empowering us to raise funds and awareness to combat prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health challenges.

For the past few years, I have supported my friends during Movember, through individual donations and numerous community fundraising events. However, I’ve never personally participated, but decided that this was the year to put my face forward for the cause.

Why now? In the last year, I’ve had a friend pass away from cancer at a very young age and I’ve encountered mental health issues with a loved one, first hand.

Now, on the cusp of turning 40, I’ve made a conscience decision to take a personal journey to improve my own health. But to really do so, I need to understand what the challenges are for men like me, know my personal family history and ultimately make fundamental lifestyle changes in my fitness and diet.

So for the next 30 days, I will be growing a moustache so I can personally change the face of men’s health, I will share information on prostate and testicular health and mental health issues, and I will share my own personal journey with you.

prostate cancer testicular cancer Mental Health

What can you do? There are many actionable items surrounding Movember and by reading this you are taking the first step to making a difference in men’s lives everywhere.

A) If you can afford to do so, It would amazing if you could sponsor my mo. No donation is too small, but it would be great if I could raise $1000

B) Secondly, please feel free to like, comment or share this post or any other postings that I push out surrounding Movember. I’ll be posting facts and stats daily on all my social networks.

C) Attend a Movember Fundraiser. My team, the Moustache Growers Union Local 416647 is holding a Karaoke Fundraiser towards the end of the month.

D) Most importantly, make an effort to be aware of your own personal health, through education of your family history and reading up on the many resources out there and topping it off with a visit and discussion with your own family doctor.

Review: Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard

My Note and Keyboard

Last week, I received a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 from Rogers. It’s a wonderful Android based tablet, which I have quickly fallen in love with. After loading in all of my favorite apps, plus a bunch of others, like Evernote, I quickly realized that this was going to be the device that would inspire me to start blogging and writing again. However, I realized that typing on a tablet was not going to cut it.

I started looking at wireless keyboards and soon discovered the lack of in-store products in the Canadian marketplace. Most keyboards were big and bulky, not ideal for tossing into my messenger bag or were tiny and built into cases, none of which were made for the Note 8. I needed something that was compact enough to tote around withg me, but big enough to handle my large fingers.

The Packaging

Luckily, I came across the Microsoft Wedge Mobile Bluetooth Keyboard. (To be honest I was very skeptical, by Microsoft, but also intrigued by Microsoft’s new packaging, red and white and very Canadian.) Optimized for Windows, but also made especially for the tablet marketplace, the keyboard touts compatibility with most Apple and Android products. The Bluetooth keyboard also comes with a beautiful cover, which doubles as a tablet stand, which is quite handy. It seemed like a great solution.

Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard

So today, I finally picked up the keyboard from The SOURCE, (It’s on sale here, save $10, til the end of the month I believe, but is strangely not listed as a product on their website) and upon opening it at home, I was pleasantly surprised. The Keyboard is the perfect size, super slim, cleanly designed and very well made, very reminiscent of Apple styling. It felts solid, sturdy and not cheap, I was totally impressed. Running on 2 AAA batteries, which were included, I was up and running and paired with the Galaxy Note 8 in record time. Best of all, the keyboard is an ideal size and comfortable to type on and easy to carry around from place to place.

The Keyboard cover doubles as a Tablet stand

In a word, impressed. Impressed enough to type out this quick review, using the keyboard and my tablet and I would highly recommend the keyboard for anyone looking for a wireless keyboard for their tablet, regardless of the size or brand.

What are your favourite accessories for your tablet?

NOTE: This post is not sponsored by Microsoft, but I am a part of a Rogers Social Insider Mobile Ambassadors program, from which I received the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

10 tips to get you through Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche 2013

Tonight is Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche in Toronto and they are celebrating it’s 8th year. If you have never been, It’s an amazing celebration of arts and culture in the city of Toronto, which takes place from dusk til dawn. I’ve basically participated every year (except fort last year when i was in Vancouver), in some fashion, either as a rogue photo booth, as well as an active viewer and it’s an awesome event. I thought I would share some random tips from a seasoned veteran on how to survive the night.

1. Charge your smartphone. Between taking pictures of all the installations and sharing them on your social networks, and texting your friends to find out where they are, you can easily drain your battery before your night is through. If you have a Mophie case or external battery, bring it along or at least bring your charging cord. Two years ago, I found myself plugged into a wall at a random building behind city hall at 3 in the morning, that short stop definitely extended my sharing power that night.

2. Turn off your LTE or 3G on your phone. Using a lower data stream through the night will definitely extend your battery life. The one year, when I carried an empty frame through the streets of Toronto, doing a portrait photo series, I barely made it 12 hours, basically my phone died at 7am as I was taking my last shot at the north end of Trinity Bellwoods park.

3. Use the hashtag, it’s #snbTO. Definitely share your favourite installations and use the hashtag to track what everyone is loving. There is nothing worse than finding out you missed THE installation of the night, simply cause you didn’t know. The best places to follow the hashtag are on instagram and on twitter.

4. Take a nap. I usually try and see as much as I can in the night, so I start early and stay late. There have definitely been a couple of years, where I was getting back home as the sun was rising. Taking a nap this afternoon, will definitely help you get through the long night. If you are as dedicated as I am.

5. Start past midnight. Do you hate large crowds and long lines? Consider starting your Nuit Blanche adventure after midnight. It will give you a chance to follow along social media to see what everyone is talking about, and you can formulate a plan of attack. Often once 2am hits, the majority of the people start to head home. Lines are shorter or non existent and you definitely have more room to enjoy the art in a civilized manner.

6. Do a little bit of planning. The Nuit Blanche website has a lot of information on all the installations that are happening tonight. And there are plenty of guides online to get your started as well. Use this as a starting point, set your route and have fun.

Nuit Blanche 2013 from BlogTO
Your Guide to Nuit Blanche 2013 from Torontoist
10 not-to-be missed exhibits from the Huffington Post
19 incredible things from the Globe and Mail

7. Be Flexible. Yes I told you to plan, but be flexible enough to stray from your plan on a moments notice. It’s great to have a basic plan, but don’t stick your plan to a timeline set in stone. You will drive yourself crazy. Undoubtable you will read something on twitter about a must see installation. Or perhaps you will bump into friends and they will tell you about the most amazing thing that they have seen that night. The worst is arriving at an installation to discover that there is a 2 hour wait. Be flexible, stray off your path, or decide to come back to busy installations after 2am.

8. Comfort and Well being. This should go without saying, but wear comfortable shoes, you are undoubtably going to be doing a lot of walking. Dress for the weather, it looks like the rain isn’t coming until 6am, but you never know. Pack a water and multiple snacks. You are gonna get hungry.

9. Getting Around. Likely you are going to be doing a lot of walking, The best way to get around is likely have a bike to get your from one end of the city to the other (don’t forget your lights and helmet) and of course there is “the better way,” the TTC who is offering a special Nuit Blanche branded metro pass

10. Follow me. Okay this last one is self serving, but I will be taking photos and sharing them on tumblr and instagram throughout the night. And I’ll be tweeting @photojunkie all the latest as I come across it. So join me virtually.

Most of all have fun, be courteous, become a part of the art and not just a viewer of it.

What are your tips to surviving Nuit Blanche?

Tim McGraw showers the Boots and Hearts Crowd

Country sensation Tim McGraw closed out the first night of the Boots and Hearts Music Festival last night to an enthusiastic crowd.