The Wolf of Wall Street

Leo can do no wrong in my mind,  neither can Martin Scorsese.

Here is a trailer for their new movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street” coming out in theatres next month.

“I mean, being shot in slow motion doing cocaine by Martin Scorsese is, like, maybe every actor’s dream. Nothing will compare to it. ”

-Jonah Hill

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Conventional Thinking = Conventional Results

Have you heard of Ivan Cash?

On his website here is his bio:

“Hi, my name is Ivan.

I’m a San Francisco-based interactive artist and freelance creative who specializes in social projects that inspire radical engagement and participation.

I love sharing my thoughts, ideas, and experiences through giving talks, teaching at Miami Ad School, and collaborating with culture-shaping companies like Facebook and Wieden+Kennedy. 

I’m founder of the Snail Mail My Email project and author of the accompanying book. My work has exhibited internationally, been featured in CNNTIMEWall Street JournalFast Company, and Juxtapoz, and I was recently recognized as an Art Directors Club Young Gun

Nothing would make me happier than if you closed your eyes for 20 seconds and just listened to your breath.”

I stumbled upon a lecture that Ivan Cash did about his creative work, entitled: “Take Risks, Break Rules, and Kick Ass.”

It inspires me.  He says some VERY interesting things, and has a creative, inspirational past.

Check out his work. >  www.ivancash.com

Soul Medicine Pychic Shoppe

A few months ago I went to Soul Medicine Psychic Shoppe to have my tarot cards read.

Visiting a psychic is something that has interested me for a long time, but I’ve always been skeptical of the whole experience – how can someone know such intimate things about people they’ve never met? I find the idea of connecting with spirits, and opening “third eyes” creepy..  also the negative portrayal of psychics in films, and TV shows made my expectations.. erm, low.

We called on Tuesday and made an appointment for the upcoming Thursday, but ironically when we went in, the woman working thought we meant the following Thursday.

Bad sign. (Shouldn’t they have predicted that?)

The place itself was very “whimsical”, it was dark and full of (almost laughable) psychic accessories.  Crystal balls littered the room, incense burned, magic books and oils were on display over dusty shelves.  The woman (I keep calling her woman, but she didn’t give off a psychic vibe and she wasn’t really a secretary?) was able to fit us in right away, luckily.

My mom went first, then me and my grandma were brought into the back room, which felt oddly like the Gryffindor commonplace (sorry, nerdy Harry Potter reference), and we were served biscuits and tea in flowery china teacups.

It was an interesting atmosphere, to say the least.

The deal was 30 minutes for 30 dollars.  A dollar a minute.  As I waited for my turn I felt very perplexed, feeling woozy from the tea – but that was probably my imagination.

My mom came back looking normal, not as if she just received some shocking revelation and said…  “that was good.”

So, it was my turn.  I was introduced to the tarot card reader, Val, and we went into a little tent like room surrounded by sheets, and we sat on either sides of a tiny table.

Now, if you do this – WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. You think you’ll remember, but you won’t. Or record it on your phone even, I don’t think they mind.

I’m recalling this experience from only a few months ago, and I can barely remember what she said.  At first,  I was asked to think of a question. Something I badly wanted answered. I was told to say it in my head, and Val helped me separate the cards into 3 piles. I then chose one pile to work with, and she began with a jolting question for me, which was a bit shocking that she knew.

I answered as vaguely as I could, then she laid out the cards and explained what the structure meant.  Weirdly, what she said pertained to my initial question and also incorporated some current things that were going on my life.

She didn’t say anything too too specific, but it was strange how she was so dead on about a few things. The main message was that I’m on the right path, and there is a lot of travelling in my future. (Woo!) I know this sounds incredibly vague, but I’m just leaving out what she said for my own privacy.

The experience was an equal mix of strange and nice,  it didn’t feel like a hoax.  Also, after talking to my mom and grandma she knew oddly specific things about them as well.

Soul Medicine Psychic Shoppe recently moved locations, (I went to their previous Nairn location) and are now found at 136 Provencher.

It’s not too expensive and I’d say they’re worth checking out.

http://soulmedicinepsychicshoppe.yolasite.com/

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Gustav & Niklas Johansson

Gustav and Niklas have created some of the best videos that I’ve seen in a while. Gustav is the director, and Niklas works the camera.

Together, the two are cutting edge, and consistently produce great work.

Please take a minute and watch some of their videos which I posted below.

Winner First Prize Young Directors Awards 2008 – Student Category

From France to Winnipeg

Last year, I was part of Quartier Magazine, a magazine that me and a few classmates developed for the infamous CreComm magazine project.  Quartier, (meaning neighbourhood) was French themed, focusing on St. Boniface and Francophone culture within Winnipeg.  I had the opportunity to interview a French immigrant who moved here for work, and since we couldn’t distribute our magazine, not many people besides my instructors had a chance to read our articles.  I wanted to share his story, as he had some very interesting things to say about our city. Without furthier adieu.

*

When Thierry Keller walks into a French café in Winnipeg, he is greeted in English.

“Canada claims to be multicultural but I think that’s a myth,” said Keller, an immigrant from France who lives in Winnipeg.

“The culture changes because time changes. Canada doesn’t want to be a big melting pot, but that’s what it is,” he said. “Sooner or later everyone is going to mix.”

Keller has a PhD in Environmental Science and immigrated to Canada after he could not find work in Marseilles, France.

I decided to come because the economic situation in Europe is not very good,” said Keller.  “With my PhD, I was unable to find a suitable job according to my skills.”

We met at Léo’s Gelato and Café in St. Boniface, and he ordered a decaf coffee in his strong French accent.  He had a European flare about him, and wore a fashionable scarf and dark tweed coat.

Keller learned of job opportunities in Canada after he attended an information seminar in France.

“They pretty much said ‘Hey come to Canada, the streets are paved with gold’,” he said. “I don’t think that it was a trap. There were no bad intentions, but I don’t think they realized what it is to move from one continent to another.”

Keller decided to move to Winnipeg because because of its size, and low unemployment rates.

He also wanted to learn English.

“A lot of people in France think to move to Quebec because of the language,” said Keller. “But I didn’t want to move to Quebec, I wanted to learn English.”

According to recent immigration statistics, Manitoba welcomed 15,962 permanent residents in 2011.

Only 484 were French speakers.

Keller avoided St. Boniface when he arrived because he wanted to focus on English, and discover the city for himself.

Ironically, he rarely speaks French while in St. Boniface.

“I don’t think it would be possible to survive in the community speaking only French,” said Keller.

He remains in Winnipeg as a permanent resident and enjoys the cultural life in the city.

“People here love to hate Winnipeg. They don’t think it’s a cool city – it’s not New York, we all know that,” he said. “But I was really surprised to see that the cultural life is so vibrant, so active.”

Keller frequently goes out and attends events that go on in the city.

“I go to the Jazz Festival in June usually. I often go see live performances in the city and I think that Winnipeg is a really good city for that,” he said. “I also like the exhibits and concerts.”

His family in France is concerned about him, and often asks how he is doing.

“When my parents in France ask me about Winnipeg, I like to describe it as an island,” said Keller. “Instead of being surrounded by an ocean of water, it is an ocean of crop fields.”

It is an island with everything that he needs.

“When you think about it, the closest cities are 700km to the west, 800km on the South, almost 2000km on the east and there is nothing up north,” he said. “Because we are an island we need to have everything that we need locally.”

He has now lived in Canada for two years, but the move hasn’t always been easy.

“You don’t have a job when you arrive,” said Keller. “How do you find a place to live when you don’t have a job?”

With the help of another immigrant from France who he met in Winnipeg, Keller was able to find an apartment to rent until he found employment.

“The bank doesn’t work the same way, we almost never use credit in France.” said Keller. “So when I learned that I had to build my credit rating and then find a place to live, it was difficult.”

Keller says he did not receive much help from the Canadian government.

“You realize that when you arrive in Canada, you are just a foreigner.”

Keller now has a stable job at Advance Electronics and often misses France, but has no desire to return.

“I miss some aspects of France,” said Keller. “But if you’re doing good where you are, then you don’t miss your country.”

Although Keller views the two countries as more similar, than different.

“France and Canada are both western countries, the social rules here are quite the same,” he said. “The differences are only in the details.”

Despite his initial struggles, Keller remains positive.

“Although I’m not working in my field, at least I’m experiencing something new.”

Nuit Blanche

If you haven’t heard of Nuit Blanche,  I urge you to keep reading.

Before I go off on a tangent about this amazing event, book off September 28th.

Seriously. Do it now.

This event happens only once a year, and trust me, it is worth checking out.

Nuit Blanche is French for “White Night” and refers to an all night art celebration that originated in France. Many cities around the world host a Nuit Blanche event, and Winnipeg began participating a few years ago.

According to the events official website (www.nuitblanchewinnipeg.ca), it is described as this:

“A Nuit Blanche will typically have museums, private and public art galleries, and other cultural institutions open and free of charge, with the centre of the city itself being turned into a de facto art gallery, providing space for art installations, performances (music, film, dance, performance art), themed social gatherings, and other activities.”

The event occurs in 3 areas of the city: The Exchange, St. Boniface and Downtown.

I went two years ago for the first time, and was blown away. Me and a few friends started off at The Manitoba Museum where they held a 60’s themed cocktail party, along with free entry into the museum. (Obviously I couldn’t resist checking out the ship, or the old town!)  After that we headed to the Cinematheque, where Guy Maddin’s short films he called “Hauntings” were projected on the walls in black and white, underneath white billowy sheets – which I assume were used to pump up the artsy feel. (There was also delicious wine from what I recall. Mega plus.)  On our way out we heard music outside, and went into an alleyway where DJ’s were set up and art pieces that resembled jelly fish hung from the roof. It was really fun, and afterwards we decided to check out the WAG where there was a rooftop party with live bands, projections and music playing loudly inside the gallery. Definitely gave the WAG a different feel than it normally has, somewhat on par with how I imagine a New York artspace to be.

It was great.

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Simple Svenska!

I’m definitely not an expert, I might not be qualified to give lessons but hopefully I can explain the basics in a way that makes sense to English speakers.

When I first began, I was overwhelmed by how the letters looked. Here is a passage of Swedish:

“Sitter med en kaffe och kom precis in från en morgonpromenad…Det regnade snöslask på mig! Uhh! Kan nog inte beskriva hur glad jag är att jag har min resa bokad och idag är det exakt en månad kvar tills jag åker!”

I know what you you’re thinking… what the heck does that say!

The only thing that is different about that than the English alphabet is that they have 3 extra letters:

1) å       (pronounced “Ohhaa” but keep your lips rounded when you say it)

2) ä      (pronounced like “eeh” as in bed)

3) ö     (pronounced like “urr”)

Next, another main thing that is different from English is that all the J’s sound like English Y’s. And the Y sounds like Y so an English J sound doesn’t exist.

For example, the name Johan is  pronounced Yohan.

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Magical Thinking

Evil in World Religion, a course at the University of Manitoba was by far the most interesting course I’ve ever taken. I often think about questions it raised, and can apply what I learnt to many other aspects in my life.

Tonight, I set out to write a positive blog about my day – not a word came out, so I will write what I feel like discussing, magical thinking. Before I define it, ask yourself these questions:

  • Could you wear a killer’s cardigan?
  • Why are houses where violent crimes are committed destroyed?
  • What makes your special collector items so special?
  • How would you feel if your friend ripped up a picture of your mother?
  • “I was just thinking the same thing!”
  • Why do your lovers germs seem less gross than a strangers?
  • Do you own something “lucky?”
  • Can you tell when someone behind you is looking at you?
  • Why does a drop of sewage do more to a bucket of clean water than a drop of clean water to a bucket of sewage?

Magical thinking is a human behaviour which can be detrimental in putting our minds at ease, yet is an area of study that remains to be poorly understood. Magical thinking is a rudimentary part of our existence, as it provides the justifications that help formulate beliefs and feelings. It influences many aspects of life, including: hygiene, basic differentiation between “good” and “evil”, purification rituals, and even petty day to day inclinations (such as who we choose to associate with; what we eat). We look for patterns as most people hate surprises, and need to feel in control.

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Rookie Magazine

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I was watching Jimmy Fallon the other day when the editor of Rookie Magazine was being interviewed. She is fifteen years old. I hadn’t heard of it prior to the show, and decided to take a look and see what it was all about. Verdict = very creative stuff. It has a happy, 70’s feel to it and a variety of cute, attention grabbing articles.

Website: http://www.rookiemag.com. (Photos from site)

Tips for Copywriters

http://vimeo.com/54761166

This video is from Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm, and has Mark Du Bois talking a bit about writing copy and how to create a viral video. Obviously, you can’t teach that but he makes interesting points (draws comparisons to the viral nature of the bible, Shakespeare, impacts little details can make and does an interesting exercise where viewers are asked to write as many things in the world they know that are white, and things in the fridge that are white – the number was very similar, proving people are more familiar with things they see often etc.)