Saturday, February 02, 2008

Kalan Porter: The making of his "Destination" video

This is a cool video showing the making of Kalan Porter's video for his song, Destination.

Although I've posted it before, here is the video for Destination. Since you now know how it was made (to a certain extent, anyway), it's only fair to show the final product:

Friday, February 01, 2008

Celebrity deaths for February 1st

Child actress Heather O'Rourke died 20 years ago in 1988 at the age of 12.

Here's her famous scene from Poltergeist:

Celebrity birthdays for February 1st

Sherman Hemsley of The Jeffersons turns 70 today:

Singer Rick James, who died in 2004, was born 60 years ago today:

Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis's little girl, is 40 today:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Writers: keep looking for what you seek

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript, page D9

Last weekend I helped to organize and present at a writing workshop. I was pleased, surprised and unnerved to see 46 people show up. The committee thought we'd get five if we were lucky. When we hit 30 paid attendees roughly a week before the event, I whined to my colleagues that "only dogs can hear me screaming now."

I wouldn't say I'm shy, but I'm certainly not used to giving public presentations. Luckily, I knew my subject matter of writing a column -- at least somewhat (I hope) -- and was able to wing it with the support of a handout that was part of the kits we'd prepared.

My fears of lacking enough spoken material evaporated when forest rangers showed up to tranquilize me with drugs strong enough to bring down a full-grown giraffe. Apparently, I didn't know when to shut up and was running way over my time limit, even when a veritable battalion of armed police officers showed up pointing loaded revolvers at me, demanding that I wrap it up. Finally, I figured out my time had elapsed when people weeping in the audience got to be too distracting.

I guess I love the sound of my own voice, eh? Oh well, at least I managed to elicit a chuckle or two when I told my now infamous childhood story of being sent to the store by my mother for a big box of Kotex and a pack of smokes. Let's just say that whatever supposedly "cool" reputation I may have gained from the kids in my neighbourhood for walking home with cigarettes in one hand was clearly cancelled out by that oversized purple box emblazoned with dandelions tucked under the opposite arm.

Back to my story. O.K., so maybe there was no actual weeping from those in attendance, and the only "tranquilizers" I had were the few headache pills I tried to take casually without the noisy half-full bottle sounding about as subtle as a tap-dancing gorilla at a funeral.

What I do remember are a lot of dreams in that room. In front of me were 46 writers at various stages of their development. Including me, there were at least four columnists there. As well, there were book authors, magazine writers and an entire slew of others who enjoyed putting things down on paper.

I was humbled to have been part of the group of presenters -- all well-respected writers in their own right. We were all so vastly different in our interests that we tended to complement each other. It was a really good group dynamic.

At times, I felt a bit like an imposter up there, but then I remembered that I've been writing columns, speeches, news releases, blogs and other things for nearly 30 years professionally. And when I say "professionally," I mean "for money." People would actually pay me for my writing. For someone who loves to write, this still blows my mind.

I guess I could compare it to a comedian who gets paid for telling funny stories, a singer who makes money from using the gift of their voice, or a painter who earns a living from creating works of art on a piece of canvas. Being paid for doing what you love to do is something that can't be matched. Live your passion!

In that room, I also saw many stories just waiting to be told. There were life stories of happiness, tragedy and triumph that were churning in these talented minds, just waiting for an outlet. And while some were experienced and attended the workshop just to pick up some extra advice, others were brand new, so to speak -- wide-eyed, curious and wanting to know what this writing business was all about.

I don't know if we answered all their questions that day, but I do know that from the enthusiasm in the room at the end of the event, we certainly managed to stoke the fires of determination in a few of them.

Whether or not these budding writers churn out the next great novel or simply write their memoirs to leave to their grandchildren, attending this workshop was a turning point for at least some of them. It was the day the light bulb went off above their heads; the day they smelled the coffee; the day they got a grip.

Writing is a lonely profession. You're stuck in your office with just yourself, a cup of tea and a computer, cranking out another column, speech, news release, short story, novel or magazine piece. Getting together with others who write can be a real comfort, knowing that the pain of writer's block is one that is shared by everyone.

More importantly, it's comforting to realize that everyone gets rejected. As one of my co-presenters noted during her presentation at the workshop, even some of the best selling authors of all time have received a pile of rejection slips. For example, Stephen King's "Carrie" was rejected by 30 publishers.

I also read that "Chicken Soup for the Soul" was turned down 140 times. Today, the series has sold more than 112 million copies. Not bad for something deemed unworthy by 140 publishers, eh?

The bottom line is that rejection is a completely normal aspect of being a writer. I also believe that those who reject you are doing you a huge favour. After all, do you really want to hitch your star to someone who doesn't believe in you?

In the end, writing is like relationships. Don't worry about those who don't want you. Concentrate on those who do. And if you need to keep looking for those who do, then keep looking! Eventually, you'll find that marriage made in heaven.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Today's Hump Day: Writers: keep looking for what you seek

Hi everyone! Please check out today's Hump Day on the editorial page (pg. D9) of the Moncton Times & Transcript. Today's column is all about a writing workshop held last weekend.

Check it out by picking up your copy of the Times & Transcript today or check back here tomorrow when it will be posted online.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The state of Moncton's downtown sidewalks is absolutely 100% shameful. I understand that it sometimes takes time to get some work done, but you CAN'T EVEN CROSS THE STREET!!!!! ... without having to climb over a huge bank. It's after 1 p.m. for God's sakes.

What is up with that???

It's just dangerous. I hope no one gets killed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why risk your life going for a walk when cars are sliding all over the streets?

I know that fitness is important and that walking is a great way to exercise, but is it really necessary to risk your life going out for a "pleasure walk" during a snowstorm? I saw people out today who were obviously just walking for exercise, but this was during a storm when cars were literally sliding all over the streets, which were snow-packed and slippery. I mean, if you have to walk to get groceries, or to/from work, fine... but surely the exercise can wait until the following day when it's a lot safer, no? I just find that it's a ridiculous risk to take on days like this when even the city buses were taken off the road because of bad weather. Just a thought.

This week's Hump Day...

... is all about a writing workshop that I participated in this weekend here in Moncton. I saw many people with dreams out in the crowd! Read all about it this Wednesday on the editorial page of the Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted here online on Thursday.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Celebrity deaths - January 27th

Singer Mahalia Jackson (1972):

Wrestler André the Giant (1993):

TV host Jack Paar (2004):