Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sylvain Cossette: "Et pourtant"

I have no idea why I thought of this song today, but I used to hear it all the time on the radio station that played at work.

"Et pourtant" - Sylvain Cossette

m. | MySpace Video

Britain's Got Talent audition: Kieran Gaffney

Simon Cowell judges three shows: American Idol (U.S.), Britain's Got Talent (U.K.) and X Factor (U.K.), which he will be bringing to the U.S. in 2011.

Auditions for this season of Britain's Got Talent have started airing for the new season. This young drummer -- Kieran Gaffney -- proved to be amazing. He also auditioned last year but was eventually cut.

This season, Kieran auditioned with his parents, however that just didn't cut the mustard, so he ended up auditioning by himself.



Last year, Britain's Got Talent brought us Susan Boyle. Who else will the show put in the spotlight this year?

Don't duke it out for everyone to see

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Friday, April 16, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Metro section

Keep your catfights offline:

This week, I witnessed one of the worst catfights between two people online that I've ever seen. Although many of the comments were deleted shortly after they were posted, I sat there with my jaw open and in shock, not believing what I was reading, especially considering that the argument was between two well-educated professionals.

We can't pretend to always be having the greatest day on Earth, but business or personal problems don't need to be aired on public social media websites for everyone to see. It was breathtaking to watch the donnybrook unfold, and not in a good way.

Bottom line: if someone posts something rude about you that you have the power to delete, i.e. on your Facebook wall, just delete it without commenting and then respond to the person privately.

Reputations can be damaged in a split second. Think before you post. I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Posting something mean online is like making a sex tape. Just make sure that what sounds like a good idea at the time doesn't come back to bite you on the patootie. And it probably will. And it will probably hurt.

Google Documents:

From time to time, someone will ask me if it's possible to link to a PDF document or other document online. If you have a website, it's possible to upload it to your server, of course, and link people to it. For those of you without a website, however, Google Documents (docs.google.com) is a great way to do this. Just upload your file to the server, let Google know who can have access to the document and voilà! You can share the file and even manage group edits. And the best part: it's free! You can even create documents, too!

Online translation tools:

Online translation tools are all the rage. I think they're great for finding a certain word or a simple phrase, but do not -- I repeat -- do not use these services as a substitute for hiring professional translators for your business or website. The translation of longer, more complex text is always horrible and will get you laughed at and not taken seriously.

You will lose customers, I promise you that. Here in New Brunswick, a bilingual province, if you rely on online services (i.e. Google) for your translation, trust me when I say this: you will do more damage to yourself than help. Pay a professional to do your translation. Free online services just don't cut it in that department.

Failing to use Twitter gets man arrested:

Canadian teen singing sensation Justin Bieber recently cancelled an appearance in Long Island, N.Y., because of security concerns. Problem is that his manager failed to tweet the news to waiting fans (who religiously follow Bieber on Twitter), so a near riot erupted and police had a lot of trouble getting the hormonal teens to disperse. The manager was subsequently arrested and has pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance and endangering the welfare of a child.

Lesson: If you create a following on Twitter, you can't just pretend it's not there, otherwise you're asking for trouble. You probably won't get arrested like Bieber's people, but you need to remember that when people are used to communicating with you religiously via social media platforms, you sure as heck better accept the responsibility.

Years ago, the police would have used a loudspeaker or water cannon to disperse the crowd. These days, they point at you and order to you use your Twitter or Facebook account instead. How times have changed!

Music on websites and blogs:

If you've decided that a website or blog is something you'd like to do, then great! But please, take my advice on this one: resist the temptation to add automatic music to your website. I surf the Internet a lot and have found myself jumping out my chair a few times because I landed on a perfectly innocent-looking blog only to discover that the author had loaded an automatic music service.

This meant that the minute I arrived on the site, music started automatically. If your speakers are turned up, this can be quite startling. If you want me to leave your blog faster than a speeding bullet, then add automatic music. I'm gone.

Quick online videos:

Online videos for your blog or social media sites has never been easier. A digital camera or newer cell phone can take videos these days. For something that looks a bit better, try an inexpensive Flip camera. I know they're sold at Wal-Mart and Future Shop, and perhaps some other locations. You can also buy them online, of course. There are high-definition versions, too, but the regular ones are nice, as well. I've owned one and can certainly vouch for the incredible quality and ease of use. The video quality in low-light conditions is quite simply astounding -- especially for a piece of equipment that only costs from $125-200, depending on the version you decide to purchase.

The only reason that I don't have mine anymore is that it's difficult to vlog with (vlog = blog done with video). You can point it at you, but because the viewing screen on the back doesn't rotate, you can't tell if you're in the shot. This drove me crazy, so I decided to go with the Sony HD Snap cam, which has a rotating lens, making it much easier to record yourself because you can actually see yourself as you record. My only criticism is that it's horrible in low light conditions compared to the Flip.

If the Flip ever comes out with a redesigned version where you can actually see yourself as you record, I'll get one in a second.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This week's Social Media Matters column...

.. appears on page F3 of today's Moncton Times & Transcript's Metro section. This week's topics include:

- Keeping catfights offline
- Google Documents
- Online translation tools
- Pay attention to your Twitter followers
- Automatic music on websites and blogs
- Recommendations for affordable mini camcorders for online use

Click here to read the column on the newspaper's website or return here tomorrow when it will be posted to this blog.

Social Media Matters appears in the Moncton Times & Transcript's Metro section every Friday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

American Idol: Recap of Top 9 (part two) results show

Part two, you ask? Why would that be? Well... since the judges used their one and only judges' save of the season last week on Michael "Big Mike" Lynche, the Top 9 sang again this week -- but two contestants were sent home last night instead of just one.

I predicted that Andrew Garcia was a shoo-in to be voted off the show -- and he was. Of the two contestants sent home, he was the first one announced on the show last night by host Ryan Seacrest. I also predicted that Aaron Kelly was in serious danger, but he was safe. The other contestant sent home was not a big surprise, but had improved a bit over the past couple of weeks... and no, I'm not talking about Tim Urban. He was safe.

To find out who the other contestant sent home was, click here to read my Idol Chatter column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript or click here to read the column in today's Fredericton Daily Gleaner.

The Top 7 perform inspirational songs under the guidance of mentor Alicia Keys next Tuesday at 9 p.m. Atlantic (8 p.m. Eastern) on Fox! Don't miss it!

Little obsessions can get the best of you

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

It's interesting how little obsessions get the best of us. I don't consider myself terribly obsessive about much, but I think the girls at the office would beg to differ. You see, I've crowned myself King Brian I, Emperor of the Office Dishwasher.

Like any monarch, it was not a position I sought. It was more or less something to which I appear to have ascended after originally proclaiming myself Chief of the Dishwasher Police when I first started working for the company I'm with now. It was a few years ago, and a few people who have since left for other jobs (actually, I had them beheaded -- don't tell anyone!) used to store their forks and sharp knives pointing up.

This, of course, would cause the person putting the dishes away after they were washed (which was sometimes me) to stab themselves if they weren't super duper careful. Most of the time, I'm super careful, but I don't always remember to be super duper careful... emphasis on "duper."

To make a point, I should have bought a plastic knife covered in fake blood from a novelty shop and stuck it to my head and run around the office screaming like I'd been stabbed in the head because of someone else's careless dishwasher-loading skills, but then I would have to explain why I was unloading the dishwasher with my head.

So anyway, like I said, I've been officially declared Emperor of the Office Dishwasher (I have the self-written declaration on a napkin to prove it), so that means I must do the final inspection before the office dishwasher is turned on -- and I don't mean in a perverted way. Well, that would require my inspection, too, but that's an entirely different episode of Oprah, so to speak.

The thing is, the young ladies at the office haven't yet learned how to properly load a dishwasher. Dishes are tossed in willy-nilly. Knives and forks are sometimes still placed in the cutlery bin sticking up. Despite many office debates on how the cutlery supposedly needs to be sticking up so it'll get cleaned properly, King Brian has yet to find any evidence supporting that. People are still looking for the co-worker who replaced the toilet paper roll the wrong way a few months ago. I've killed once. I'll kill again. It just gets easier the more you do it.

Now, because I usually don't unload the dishwasher at work, I've tried to justify my obsession with the girls by telling them that my pickiness actually ends up making it easier for the person unloading the dishwasher. Large dishes in one row. Small dishes in another row. Bowls in another row. When you unload, you just scoop 'em all up at once and put them away. No need to take them out one-by-one because they're all over the place in the dishwasher.

I just hope they don't figure out that I don't have a dishwasher at home and that I'm actually dying of jealousy that we have one at work. That's why I've fallen in love with the one at work. And I just know that, one of these days, I'm going to forget to wipe the lipstick stains from the goodnight kisses off its door before I leave the office.

All kidding aside, the girls at the office tell me that it must be a "man" thing. One of them says she's not allowed to touch the dishwasher at home, either. Her boyfriend does all that stuff, making sure it's properly organized and that everything in its place before it's started. She's not dumb. She's trained him well -- and now she's trained me well, too! Just throw things in the dishwasher with no rhyme or reason and you're bound to frustrate someone in the home or office into doing it for you.

And don't get me started on the garbage. Actually, the garbage at work is easy since we don't have to separate the garbage there yet. Hopefully, we will one of these days, but right now everything is like in the "bad old days" when everything went in the same bag. I'm so used to sorting my garbage into wet/dry bags at home that it drives me nuts to throw everything in the same bag at work. Hopefully one day . . .

Regardless, when it's garbage night at home, I end being like the Tasmanian Devil in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. I fly through the house throwing out everything that isn't nailed down. Newspaper or magazine only half read? Tough! Out ya go!

Heck, I've even found myself putting a mirror under the nose of a sleeping cat to make sure they aren't ready for recycling just yet. Luckily for them, they always leave some fog on the mirror. One of these days, though... one of these days.

It's the refrigerator that particularly obsesses me on garbage night. I open the door and peer in looking for anything and everything that can be tossed. I scan the expiration dates of every salad dressing, package of cheese and other things. Produce is checked carefully. Any tinge of brown or lack of freshness means a trip to the wet bag. Leftover ham or chicken still on the bone gets pared down to nothing as I save the meat and toss the bones into the wet bag.

I don't know what it is about the garbage. Maybe it's something from my childhood that has me so obsessed about it. One pack rat friend of mine was told by a mutual psychiatrist friend that he likely didn't want to throw anything out because his mother changed his diaper too often when he was a baby.

I think he was joking, but maybe he wasn't. Maybe in my case, it wasn't changed enough and I can't wait to get rid of things. That should make for interesting conversation around the dinner table at the next family gathering, eh? Something tells me that I'd better get used to spending the holidays alone from now on.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reveille - an open-mic event to share stories, songs, poems from youth


Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) – Moncton Chapter presents Reveille, an open-mic event to share stories, songs, poems from youth

(Moncton, NB) – What do you get when you ask adults to read no-holds-barred tales from their youth? Answer: Reveille - a fun-filled night that gives a forum to our early writings, as embarrassing as they may be. This evening of literary hilarity returns to the Frye Festival by popular demand on Wednesday, April 21.

Reveille is an event where members of the audience and special guests, including local celebrities and Frye Festival authors, share "works" they wrote as children and teenagers (e.g. angst-filled poetry, sorrowful diary entries, sappy songs) in an open mic format. The more cringe-worthy, the better! The event gets underway with registration at 7 p.m. followed by readings beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Moncton Press Club, 160 Assomption Boulevard.

A presentation of the Professional Writers Association of Canada – Moncton Chapter, Reveille’s goal is to give voice to the childhood writer. The event will be emceed by two chapter members: Brian Cormier, communications consultant, blogger and newspaper columnist, and Lana Hansen, communications consultant.

Anyone can participate and admission is free. Spectators should come prepared to groan, laugh and cheer.

To date, four Frye Festival authors have volunteered to step up to the microphone and read writings from their childhood: Beth Powning, Jacob Berkowitz, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Kay Stone.

For more information contact: Rayanne Brennan at (506) 961-3633 or rayanneb@rogers.com

Click here for the event's Facebook group.

Click on the poster for a larger version.

American Idol: Recap of Top 9 performance show ... part two!

Last night, the Top 9 performed for the second week in a row after the judges saved Michael "Big Mike" Lynche last week. This week's mentor was last year's runner-up, Adam Lambert, who guided the contestants in their performances of Elvis Presley songs.

The judges certainly had one contestant in their sights last night: Andrew Garcia, who was slaughtered, and rightfully so. Meanwhile Aaron Kelly got so-so comments, but I thought he did much better than the judges thought. Siobhan Magnus didn't have a great week, but she's definitely safe. The surprise of the night was Tim Urban, who got rave reviews from all the judges, even Simon!

Michael Lynche also got good reviews from the judges -- who clearly want him to stay in the competition -- but I thought his absolutely horrible rendition of "In the Ghetto" was unbearable and unrecognizable.

I think Andrew is definitely toast this week... and since there will be two contestants going home tonight, I ended up choosing someone I hope doesn't go! To read who I picked, you'll have to read my column! I do think Big Mike deserves to go, but I think his fans will flock to save him.

Click here to read my Idol Chatter column in today's Moncton Times & Transcript or click here to read Idol Chatter in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner.

To find out which two contestants go home tonight, tune in to Fox at 10 p.m. Atlantic (9 p.m. Eastern).

This week's Hump Day column...


... is about obsessing about things -- like the office dishwasher. :)

Read Hump Day in the editorial section of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will also be posted online here tomorrow.

Remember... if it's Wednesday, it's Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kevjumba: Stadium explosion!

"Spring Fling" for the Moncton SPCA: Saturday, April 24, 2010

In honour of its second anniversary, Wag & Wash will be holding "Spring Fling" for the Moncton SPCA on Saturday, April 24, at the Wag & Wash Healthy Pet Centre, 121 Pine Glen Road, Riverview, starting at 10 a.m. That day, 50% of all pet wash proceeds will go directly to the Moncton SPCA. There will also be games, free FurBuster de-shedding and free grooming tips! We hope to see you there! (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

Charlieissocoollike: Too many questions!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eddie Carroll -- voice of Jiminy Cricket -- dead at 76

Eddie Carroll, the voice of Disney's beloved Jiminy Cricket character, has died at the age of 76. Born in Smoky Lake, Alberta, Carroll was the second actor to voice Jiminy Cricket, beginning in 1973 after the death of original voice Cliff Edwards. Click here to visit Carroll's website.

Here he is voicing Jiminy Cricket:



Designing Women star Dixie Carter dead at 70

Designing Women star Dixie Carter died yesterday (April 10, 2010) at the age of 70 due to complications from endometrial cancer. She played Julia Sugarbaker in the sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1993 on CBS.

She also starred or guest-starred in a number of other series, including The Edge of Night, Diff'rent Strokes and Desperate Housewives, for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2007 for playing the evil and conniving Gloria Hodge, mother of Bree's husband Orson Hodge. Dixie had been married to film and television star Hal Holbrook since 1984.

Here she is in a few scenes featuring her legendary rants on Designing Women: