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"F*** Kevin Durant" - Lil' B.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Interview With Small Town Lungs

Seeing people you grew up with succeed is always a gratifying thing. While Small Town Lungs aren't a household name quite yet, these Whitby boys have all the talent and bravado to become one of the "next big things" in Canadian indie rock. I recently sat down with the band (and about 15 other drunken revelers) on the patio of Biermarket in Toronto to talk about the "Next Big Thing" experience, making a music video, and hearing themselves on the radio. Enjoy.

Introduce yourselves and say what you do in the band
Tom: I'm Tom, I'm lead vocals, guitar, and some keyboard.
Zach: I'm Zach, I play drums and do vocals.
Rowan: I'm Rowan, I play guitar, I do vocals, and I play synth.
Kory: I'm Kory, I play guitar and keys, and percussion.
Jason: I'm Jason, I play bass and synth, and I do vocals.

You've been played on the radio, you sold out a show in your home town, and you're about to play the Phoenix tomorrow to a capacity crowd. You've done a lot of things in a year and a half of being a band that most bands never get to do. How does it feel?

[Note: the band was set to play in the Edge's “Next Big Thing” concert the following day, at the Phoenix Concert Theatre]
Tom: I guess it's just that, we're all motivated to the point where those things feel like the next step for us. Like obviously this Phoenix Show and stuff, it's all crazy. But we're trying to put as much work into it as we can, and whatever comes along with that, we'll take it.
Rowan: Like, people keep saying “oh, aren't you excited for this, this is crazy right?” and it's like, of course, but I have bigger plans for us, you know? I want us to play a bunch of big shows. It's really cool that we're in this contest, but I want it to be a regular thing.
Jason: Even if we don't win, the amount of exposure we've gotten from this alone, and like the people we've met – we got to sit down with people from Dine Alone records – no matter what, it's been an incredible experience.

And you guys got to be on the radio.
Zach: It was funny; we were on our way to WayHome when they played “Scavenger”, and we ended up getting lost. They ran our segment right as we were in the part of the trip where you have to do a lot of turns and stuff, and as soon as it came on we were like, “forget directions, we're just gonna bask in this.” Right as the song ended, we're like “okay, we're waaay out of the way now.” (laughs)

Do you feel overwhelmed at all, being a newer band and having all this crazy stuff happen to you?
Kory: Absolutely...
Zach: But we do everything we can to like, not be overwhelmed. We put a lot of time in and do everything we can to be mentally prepared, but it's all going pretty quick.
Jason: It's probably the only time in our lives where all of us can say that we've been overwhelmed, but in the way that it's a positive experience.

How did you guys meet each other?
Tom: Zach and I knew each other for quite a while, we've been friends for a long time. We met Rowan in high school, and we knew of Jay and Kory though the Durham music scene. We were all in metal bands, except for Rowan.

Like, tech metal or like, throwing your fists around metal?
Kory: We were like, metalcore...
Tom: Yeah, you guys were throwing your fists, we were more a little bit more death metal.

Yeah, I seen you tapping on stage...
Tom: That's where it comes from, man (laughs).

So, you guys all go to Fanshawe College in London?
Rowan: Except for Zach.
Jason: We're all in different graduating classes of the same program.
Tom: We're taking music industry arts.
Kory: I think, like, music industry arts at Fanshawe is the place to be for aspiring musicians and engineers and such. We all kind of had that direction, so it was the best place to end up.
Tom: It helps a lot, because we all have the same knowledge base. I think that's why we're so technically oriented. Like, you saw it tonight; our set up on stage is pretty complicated, and I don't think we'd be able to do that if we all hadn't had the same experience, collectively. We can always look to each other for fixing technical problems which means we're able to take on those challenges.

[At this point my friend Tanner, who is also a friend of the band, and was with us that night, had a question he wanted to ask]
Tanner: What do you think your biggest challenge is as a band to overcome? Like, not in terms of arguing, but just like, challenges in terms of co-ordinating for the next big show, or recording, or whatever.
Kory: I think we're all like, pretty opinionated in terms of being songwriters. So if there's even just a single bar in a song that someone really enjoys and everyone else is like “naaah...”, it can be a bit of a fight to figure out what that fight is gonna be.
Rowan: We always end up figuring it out though. Like the first song, “Golden Thread”, I really wanted this one drumbeat, and Zach wanted this other drumbeat, so we went to eat food and we were all like, pissed at each other. But eventually we all just cooled down.

I saw from another interview that you guys approach songwriting like you're writing a movie almost. Is that something they taught you at Fanshawe, or did you get it from another band, or did you come up with it yourselves?
Zach: We're all just pretty big into film. It's sort of an unspoken thing, we don't ever talk about it when we're writing, it just sort of happens.
Tom: It's got a lot to do with trying to add the cinematic element to the live show. So when we write songs it's not really like “okay, we have a verse, let's add a chorus”, you know what I mean? When we're doing the live show, we want it to be an experience. Like how when you're watching a film, it takes you through different emotions and explores different areas of the human consciousness. With some bands, the live show is all about coming out to dance. That's a lot of fun, and there's a place for it, but as a band, our goal is to have people come out and take something from it.

I've noticed from watching you play a couple times that you're quite a technically proficient band. How hard is it to balance the progressive elements of your music with the actual songwriting?
Zach: I don't think we really think about that, actually.
Rowan: There's no real boundary to it. It's like, “why can't we use tapping here? Who's stopping us?” There aren't any rules, really.
Kory: As long as it serves the song. If you can do something crazy and it sounds good, it's all good.

I saw you put out a video the other day, wanna talk about that for a little bit?
Kory: That was a very fun experience, actually. Our buddies Kyle Marchen and Van Wickiam directed it.

What was your favourite part about doing it?
Rowan: It was so neat being around there. There were like 30 people in this place with ladders, doing a bunch of random stuff, and we were like “wow, this is for us?” It made me think about when [either Tom or Kory] started showing me Small Town Lungs stuff and said “we should make a band out of this,” and I was like, yeah that's kinda cool. Now there's like 30 people making a video of it. It's kinda messed up to think about how it far it's come.

So to close it out, is there anyone you guys wanna shout out?
(a whole bunch of indiscernible yelling and laughter)
Tom: Just generally, I wanna thank everybody who's been supportive through this whole thing. Even you guys [referring to the band's high school friends in attendance], I haven't seen you guys in so long, and for you guys to be so enthusiastic, it's really cool to see. All the support we've gotten has been fantastic.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sportsology: Get me ACanadian Summer, 'cause it's hotter than balls

See what I did there? I'm a genius.

ANYWHO, time to talk about some sports and shit. Surprisingly, this summer wasn't too horrible. Someone won something here, someone won something there; it was aight, as the youngsters say. Amongst it all, if I had to say there was 1 true winner in the sports world during the dog days, it had to be Canada. Now I don't know how to hockey, but I do know good shit when it makes itself apparent. Let's dive in, shall we?

1. Toronto Raptors off-season

Let's face it, if DeMar DeRozan starts ballin' next season, the Raptors are gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the East next year. So what did they do in the off-season? They built the shit out of there bench to make it injured-DeMar-DeRozan proof. Y'all picked up Cory Joseph from my San Antonio Spurs. I know it doesn't sound glamorous, but think of it like this: you just added a young talented basketball player *ahem* born it Toronto, has two years of NBA Finals experience, and gets a decent length contract, setting him up to become a star. You basically get four years to decide which of these two youngsters gets to be the face of your city:


                  C h o o s e
                   W i s e l y

2. Pan American Games

Taking a break from the major sports, the Pan Am Games were held in Toronto this summer. To be honest, there were some days this summer that I had nothing to do and even worse, nothing to watch on television. Thank God for the Pan Am Games, for without them, infinite boredom. Which was good for Canada, seeing as they came in 2nd place in the overall medal count (Fun Fact: One of the US medalist is also currently a wide reciever on the Buffalo Bills, which is basically Canada's NFL team). Lots of good gold medals, too: Swimming, Basketball, Martial Arts Disciplines, Biking, Rowing. In honor of Canada's success, I'd like to show you the best Canadian athlete alive right now, running in the outside lane :

3. Women's World Cup

Congratulations on successfully hosting not one, but two international sporting events, Canada. Due to me being an American, and having bias about how awesome the outcome of the Women's world cup was, I just wanna leave a fun stat dug up by the lovely writing squad at NPR:
The final drew "a prodigious 15.2/27 metered market household rating/share" from 7-9 p.m. ET, Fox says, citing data from the Nielsen ratings service. The network adds that the audience "peaked at 18.3/31 from 8:45-9:00 p.m. ET," as more Americans tuned in to watch the celebrations in Vancouver.
As a comparison, consider that the Golden State Warriors' recent title-clinching Game 6 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals earned a 15.9 overnight rating. That figure was hailed as a Game 6 record for ABC in a Finals series that drew the highest average numbers since the Michael Jordan era.

4. David Price to the Blue Jays

When you have a team that has a chance to win it all, and you still have time to improve that team, you do it. That's why the Blue Jays won big when they traded for saved David Price from Detroit. Since baseball is as interesting as watching paint dry, I'll try to make it somewhat bearable: Price is an ACE pitcher, but not just some guy who wins a lot of games. David Price is actually fun to watch, especially when he has games like his Blue Jay Debut. Letting up one run in eight innings while striking out eleven batters is definitely something that's going to put butts in those seats, which I assume were paid for by taxpaying citizens.

Bonus Music Points: The Weeknd

If you told me in 2010 that a twentysomething from Toronto was going to be the one of the largest recording artist in 2015, most of us would have guessed it was Drake. I'm starting the believe that the general population is figuring out Drake is nothing more than a goddamn fool. Most, if not all, of my approval for The Weeknd stems from my hatred of Drake. Or maybe it's kinda like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. I fucking hate Pepsi because Coke is better. I fucking hate Drake because The Weeknd is better. Makes sense, right?

Needless to say, Canada stepped it up this summer. Kudos.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Celebrity Mindreader, Vol. 2

Hardy har har, ye scaliwangs. It's time to round up and get your summer dose of Celebrity Mindreader. Today, we've got a real nice collection, I tell you what; classics, currents, and a whole bunch of pollacks as usual. Without further ado, let the games begin!

1. Taylor Swift

"Hater Alert on Aisle YOU!"

2. Bobby Moynihan

"I wonder how long it'll take everybody to realize I'm not Artie Lang?"

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, circa 1997

"Hey girl, I just swan-na get close to you."

4. Hope Solo


5. Dave Grohl

"Damnit, I should have made this throne a toilet."

And of course, there is the one whom which we call Ryan, and his take on love:

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Check Out My Dank Memes

I know the "Starter Pack" meme has come and gone, but since it went viral (puke) about a year or so ago, I've noticed a couple of distinct fashion types in my day to day that I think deserve the "starter pack" treatment:

Natural habitat: Toronto's "entertainment district", various TTC/Go Transit platforms around the GTA.
Not pictured: Drunk boyfriend, replica Jose Bautista  Josh Donaldson jersey, more baseball knowledge than most dudes, $150 Drinking in Public ticket.

Natural habitat: Hamilton, ON and the cultural wasteland that surrounds it.
Not pictured: Lifted pickup truck, Metal Mulisha/Rockstar Energy t-shirt with holes in it, wallet chain, crack pipe.

Natural habitat: Off Campus student housing, backyard BBQs, bar patios, at their relatively well paying entry-level job.
Not pictured: Red Solo cup full of "sangria", iPhone, B.A. from a well known Canadian university.

Natural habitat: Lazy boy recliners, basements, the gym.
Not pictured: Bose headphones, Zig Zag Cutcorners, random amounts of lose change.

So there you have it; four new starter pack memes for you to ogle. If you have any dank starter packs of your own, feel free to send them to me.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

(PSA) Acoustic vs Electric: What are YOU listening to this summer?

NOW that summer is upon us, music festival season is here and in full bloom. Across the world, thousands of artist from all walks of life are playing on some form of stage for people willing to give a listening ear, and in some cases, a hefty price tag. Regardless, music and summer time go hand in hand, and that's a fact Jack. But what kind of music is right for the dog days? I not here to tell you to listen to music, nor am I telling you what music to avoid. Just don't go off being a dingus and not knowing what type of music to play at whatever event you venture off to this summer. So listen up folks, this is a guide for getting you're party set no matter where you may be under the sun.


The cool of the cool, the chill of the chill. Acoustic music is basically your "I don't have to work today, so I'm going to the river" type of music. Remember: Just because a song makes use of an electric instrument, that's not what determines what makes that song acoustic or electric by my definition. What makes a true acoustic song is it's tempo. It can be slow, but still upbeat; fast, but relaxing. If a song can get an uptight person to sit back and worry solely about chillin', you've got yourself a good acoustic song. The only draw back to acoustic songs is that one should not expect to show it off to his or her friends. We're not here to try and interpret the struggle an artists has faced conveyed through their lyrical and songwriting ability. Acoustic music is like that old late-night TV infomercial that had the tag line "Set it and Forget it!" I'd recommend sifting through some Tupac, Frank Sinatra, Dave Matthew, Daft Punk, Prince, Chicago, Led Zeppelin, or any type of classic surf music and pick out some of the more melodic and harmonious pieces. Don't try to stray into your deep cuts collection unless you are certain they fit the acoustic mold. Here's a personal favorite that I use as a marker in a lot of my acoustic playlists:


Alright, new scenario: you've worked all week. Once you get home late Friday afternoon, you start to get a second wind. You're still in a funk though, and you need a small boost to get you into Crunkmode. Trust me, we've all been there. Have no fear, electric music is here!
Make sure to put on a something that sounds good loud. No one ever successfully pregames to a Taylor Swift break up song, 'cause quite frankly, ain't no body got time fo' dat. Everyone likes to turn up a little bit differently, and I respect that, but if you're gonna party with me, you gotta bring the funky fresh beats. Always be looking for songs that are a constant build up; the last thing you need is a dreary down beat to ruin your good mood. Like acoustic music, there are some cons. The biggest problem is police. Sometimes, I and others have been known to get a little too hyped, resulting in various noise violations in both car and house forms. Electric music is VERY distracting, so make sure you're in an area specifically designated for hardcore swerving and maximum air guitar space. My recommendation is podcast, premade playlists, album mixes and remixes, or anything else specially made to flow. Creating an electric playlist can be very tough if you don't know the ins and outs of rhythmic structure and BPM. In need of a quick pick-me-up right now? I got you, son:

As mentioned in the intro, I didn't write today to say this artist is shit or this song is dope. I wrote this article to help out people in need of the age old question "What kind of music should we play?" Don't be the guy or gal in your circle of friends who gets banned from being DJ at get-togethers. Know your surroundings and get a good feel for the vibes. Don't blast the new Skrillex banger at a church barbecue and don't try to turn up to a Simon and Garfunkel ballad (I'm looking at you, Taylor). The best advice I can give is to always play it by ear.


Monday, 15 June 2015

Kat Fish: a Tinderella Story

Ray explains how to use Tinder.
If you're in your 20's, chances are you're familiar with the speed judging dating app TinderTinder is great in theory, but kind of painful if you're actually trying to meet people, not just boosting your ego for 15 minutes a week. For guys, the Tinder process goes something like this:
  • Swipe "yes" to 50 girls.
  • Match with five of them.
  • Message four of them.
  • Recieve only one message in return: it is a one word message.
  • Get angry, swear you're going to delete the app off your phone.
  • Don't actually delete the app. 
  • Forget Tinder exists until roughly a week later.
  • Repeat.
Being an average dude, I've always wondered what it would be like to be a beautiful woman on a dating app. I figured seeing how fellow guys approach the Tinder game would give me some insight into what to do (or not to do) when messaging girls on dating apps. So last night, I created a fake Tinder profile of a beautiful woman and swiped until my 100 free "likes" were up. What I found out is that guys are really, really fucking boring.

My profile. Accidentally misspelled Sapiophile lol.
Having discussed Tinder with female acquaintances, I was expecting to be bombarded with a lot of attention, and I was. I swiped "yes" to about 75 per cent of the profiles I saw, and I would say that out of the 100 dudes I swiped "yes" to, 85 of them were instant matches. The sheer volume of matches was a bit startling, but the big surprise came once the messages started rolling in. It wasn't the amount of messages that overwhelmed me, it was the amount of boring, uninspired stock messages I was getting that really made my time as a woman on Tinder a nightmare. With maybe ten exceptions, every single message I received fell into one of the following four categories: 

1. Hey/Hi/How was your weekend?

I'm like "Hey, what's up? Helloooo..."
About 30 per cent of the messages I received started and ended with some variation of "Hi." A couple dudes spiced the pot up a little bit by asking me softball small-talk initiators like "how are you doing tonight?", but for the most part, one word greetings were the best these guys could do. Guys, if you're thinking of sending "hey" without following it up, don't even bother. There are 50 dudes in every woman's inbox who have sent her the exact same thing, and unless you look like Brad Pitt, you're not getting a response back.


Zohaib has no chill.
This seemed to be the de facto conversation starter for Arab bros/sketchbags; and unsurprisingly it was often followed with a message that conveyed a strong tone of thirst/creepiness. One guy was the exception and actually pulled it off, but he was good looking, flattered me, didn't use emoticons, and obviously understood spelling/punctuation. This approach might work for you, but if you're gonna try it, make sure it's a genuine compliment and not the digital equivalent of yelling catcalls from a moving car.

3: Are you a bot lol?

I can't tell if this guy was curving me or if he didn't get the joke.
These dudes were all self-effacing nerds, and when I tried joking with them they seemed to be genuinely clueless. Unless you want to belong to a sub-species of human jellyfish, don't send messages like this.

4: Really uninspired question about my profile

Your mom must be proud.
The only information I put on my profile was my height, the fact that I was Australian, and that I was a sapiophile. As a result, I received the questions "what are you doing in Canada?" and "what's a sapiophile lol?" about six or seven times each. At first I thought they were good questions, because they gave me an opportunity to reply with a snappy, catchall comeback. Eventually, however, the repetition, coupled by the inability of the dudes who asked me the questions to hold any sort of interesting conversation became too much, and I stopped responding to these messages. Guys: if you're gonna ask a question about a girl's profile, put a little bit of thought into it. Girls: put more than six words in your profile description and you'll probably get some more interesting messages.

What I learned:

I think this guy was on to me.
Look, I'm not a woman, so I can't tell you what really works or doesn't work, but I can tell you that I got bored of the four questions I just discussed really quickly. Bored =/= sexy. I'm assuming a strong picture game more than compensates for effortless messages, but if you're matching and not getting responses, it's probably because -- like 80 per cent of the guys who messaged me on Tinder last night -- you're sending boring ass messages. 

It wasn't all bad though, these dudes had some serious game:

I thought this guy was pretty funny; I was playing hard to get, but would've more than likely tossed him the drawers eventually.

... and of course, this dapper young man impressed me a lot. 

So there you go. I hope this piece sheds some light into the complex world of being a woman on Tinder, and gave you some good pointers to sharpen your game up. Happy swiping!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sportsology: X-Games Edition

Oh my lordy lord lord. What a superb weekend for sports this has been; the horse racing triple crown drought is finally over, NHL and NBA finals are shaping up to be great, UEFA Champions finals, Tiger Woods shot the worst round of his career, French Open upsets and milestones, the list goes on and on. But after watching nothing but sports the past 70 hours, I have to say the X-Games were by far the most interesting and intriguing. I'll be honest, I know nothing of the Super Truck Competitive Race Series or whatever it's called. But I do know that I like 600+ horsepower engines and high speed hi-jinks, so of course it was the greatest thing of all time. So it got me thinking, "What were the top X-Games moments that I remember growing up?" And then I remembered I haven't wrote something in a while. That's how we got here. Just watch the videos, trust me.

Tony's 900 was cool, but...

Let's be honest, things have changed since Tony Hawk did the first 900 back in the day. I'd like to post an old school video though, and this is just absolutely surgical:

Metal Militia Represent

Mike Metzger is the man, hands down. How to win silver: do something that changes the sport of freestyle motorcross forever. How to win gold: do it again, twice as big.

Snap Back to Reality

Want to talk about the world's toughest man? Jake Brown gets a look for sure. Spoiler Alert: he ends up winning gold later in his career.

Legends. That is all.

Colin McRae.

If the X-Games ever taught me one thing, it was that the medal counts and the winning wasn't what really mattered. The X-Games are about pushing the boundaries and putting everything you got on display for one night only. These are not athletes. These are some of the craziest lunatics walking the planet right now. But come on, would you rather go to some silly Cirque du Soleil show, or experience true feats of danger and peril, and quite possibly even history? On that note, I'd like to leave you with not a legend, but more of a godly figure in the extreme sports world, one who really shows what X-Games is all about:

How to Write a Good Album Review

At risk of sounding immodest, I have the skills to be the G.O.A.T. when it comes to music criticism. Unfortunately I'm not gonna waste my time trying to be a music journalist, mostly because some asshole invented the internet, so there's no way to make even an iota of money writing about music anymore. Also, being a professional music critic means you have to spend most of your day trying to formulate an opinion on the completely unremarkable music your boss has mandated for review, which is a great way to quickly take all the fun and passion out of listening to music. Personally, I'm not about that life.

That being said, some of you poor souls are either delusional or self-depricating enough to believe you can be a professional music critic in the year 2015. If you're just starting out, writing a good review can seem like a daunting task, but it's actually kinda formulaic and super easy. However there are also a lot of opportunities for critics to stumble. If you want to write music reviews but don't know where to start, fear not! I've developed four tips to make writing good reviews easier. Here they are:

1. Keep your review between 250-550 words

Yo, real talk -- if your review is over 600 words, you're either rambling or talking out your ass. As a critic in 2015, you are no longer a gatekeeper of public opinion; you're a salesperson who's job is to tell us whether or not the album you're reviewing is worth listening to. We don't need a fucking dissertation -- provide us with some background info, talk about what you liked, talk about what you didn't like, conclude and BOOM, you're done. It goes without saying, but the length of your piece should be relative to the length of what you're reviewing. A two song single probably doesn't warrant a 500 word review, whereas a full length review shouldn't be under 300 words. In my opinion, mastering your word count is the most important skill when it comes to writing reviews.

2. Press kits are your friend 

Sounding like an expert is really easy when you're talking about your favourite bands/genres/producers/whatever, but if you wanna write reviews with any regularity you're eventually going to have to step out of your comfort zone and cover something you have no reference for. When this happens, get your hands on the album's press kit (or talk to a member of the band) and refer back to the information when writing your review. The press kit puts the album in perspective and will give you a blueprint when trying to pinpoint references to the band's influences/earlier work. However (!!!), don't rely too heavily on the press kit. Make your own opinions up, or you'll sound like a poser to the band's fans/fans of the genre you're talking about.

Lie to yourself all you want, hxc kids. This is good music.

3. Avoid cliches like the plague

"Wall of sound", "poppy melodies", "smooth vocal delivery". As somebody who's spent more than their fair share of time reading about music, nothing jumps out and says "please disregard anything I have to say" more than when a reviewer pulls out a lazy cliche. Don't be like every other asshole and tell me the metal album uses "buzzsaw" guitars; explain what the guitars sound like. Is the guitar tone similar to the tone of another band? Did the guitar playing evoke a specific emotion in you when you heard it? If the answer to those questions is "nah, but it sounds like a buzzsaw" then the guitar playing is unremarkable and there's no point in talking about it. Please, for everybody's sake -- don't be lazy, use your own words.

4. Keep it in perspective!

This is big for me, as I can't tell you how many times I've looked back on something I wrote in like 2011 and thought; "damn, I can't believe I said something so stupid!" Look, I know you're 19 years old and you think you know everything. I'm sure you genuinely believe the new Turnstile record is gonna save hardcore and that Taylor Swift is literally worse than polio, but the fact of the matter is, your opinions are incorrect. There's nothing wrong with really liking or disliking something, but when you take that opinion out of the personal realm and start making grandiose statements about the band's legacy or whatever, you're entering dangerous territory. The impact of an album is something to be retrospectively decided years after it's release, not boldly predicted in your review. Trust me, if you start making outrageous statements about legacy, you will regret them.
Those are the four biggest pointers I could think of when it comes to writing album reviews. They aren't Sharia Law, but if you use them as guidelines, you'll be living your dream of getting paid peanuts to essentially provide free promotion for a multi-billion dollar industry in no time! There are some other important pointers to mention like "know your audience" and "use AP/CP style" but I'm not your Journalism 1 prof so I'm not gonna bore you with that stuff. Stay safe, and good luck with reviewing!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A Requiem for You Valiant Souls!

Some asshole's opinion: #1 trend on Facebook for 18 hours straight.
In the 48 hours since Caitlyn Jenner announced her transformation to the world, a lot of hateful nonsense has come to my attention through social media. From off-colour jokes and careless pronoun fuckups to straight up trans-bashing, I've seen pretty much every type of transphobic insensitivity imaginable cross my lap thanks to the valiant members of the "new left" I follow on various social media platforms.

See, I never spent any time in high school gym class, so I had no idea that redneck morons were insensitive to the plight of the transgendered. In the last 48 hours, my eyes have been opened, and I couldn't be more thankful for that. I would even go as far as to say that, for all the hard work they put in reblogging Buzzfeed articles and fighting with trolls, the faceless internet mob -- not Caitlyn Jenner -- are the real heroes of the trans community right now.

And heroes deserve to be recognized! So to you brave internet warriors, you last bastions of progressive liberalism; I extend my gratitude. Thank you for keeping vigilant watch on the safety of the trans community from your ivory towers! It was your furious typing and poignant, thoughtful sarcasm that, for 18 consecutive hours, cast the brightest of lights on the unforgivable transgressions of extremely relevant pop-culture icon Drake Bell. It was you, my brave knights, who unearthed the damning Instagram post that brought about the unfortunate, yet appropriate fall from grace of one Snoop Lion. It was your 800 word tumblr diatribe of poorly-regurgitated Gender Studies 101 rhetoric that renewed and revitalized the trans community in their fight for basic human rights! To you, the world is forever grateful.

I have no idea how you stayed so strong. There were plenty of opportunites to be distracted over the last 48 hours. You could have lost focus and started praising Jenner's unheralded courage, or applauding the remarkably talented Annie Leibovitz for composing the photograph that will be this generation's V-J Day in Times Square. You could have chosen to let the haters die on the vine, ignoring their shitty jokes and obvious trolling. Instead you pulled it together and did the right thing -- re-posted millions of articles from godawful content aggregate sites "calling out" random assholes. So on behalf of the entire trans community (who, as a cisgendered heterosexual, I'm apparently qualified to speak for) I would like to thank you for singlehandedly eliminating transphobia from the face of the earth. They literally couldn't have done it without you!

If only we could all be as brave as you, keyboard warriors. Keep on fighting the good fight.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Triple B: Are you getting enough of them in your diet?

The letter B. It's not all in your face like an A or an X or even those shithead Q's. B is a strong letter, a letter of passion and fire. And what's better than one B? Two Bs. You wanna know what's even better than two Bs. Ladies and Gents, may I present to you, the Triple B.

Now some of you are unfamiliar with the term "triple B" and you might left wondering, "Hey Trey, what in God's name are you talking about?" Without getting too much into the whole theory behind what makes a triple b mesmerizing, essentially, a triple B is what happens when you get three great things that start with the letter B and group them into something almost too awesome to be possible, but not too awesome to be impossibly imaginable. I know we are all a bunch of twentysomething year olds, so maybe you'll catch on once I put some pictures explaining in more detail.

The Classic: Beer, Bourbon, Barbecue

Look at this guy: Camo, check. Beer utility belt, check. Burgers on full blast, check. This guys ready to party. I know you can't see it with the naked eye, but there's a 93.7% chance that some of those pockets are filled with airplane Johnny Walkers. This Triple B has been tried and tested for thousands of years, and no matter how long us humans continue to do it, we will always strive to be kings of the grilled arts. If anyone ever invites you to this sort of gathering, please bring one of the aforementioned items, but if circumstances permit, you may pull a power play and bring the other food-related Triple B, as listed below:

The Fundamentals: Burgers, Brats, and Buns

Ever sit at home and wonder, "Damn, how can I enjoy being an apex predator in the quickest and most efficient way possible?" Look no further: red meat and enriched wheat products eliminate that thought. These are food items that have been evolving through time, constantly on the path to perfection. You see that picture up there? Yeah, if your a vegetarian, TRY and tell me that looks disgusting, I dare you. 

The Rapper's Delight: Beamer, Benz, or Bentley

Three fantastic car companies, a hit rap song, girls who are so shallow that they are impressed with a material possession; this triple B amassed it's own fan base before Mr. Lloyd Banks put a name on it. Now, this triple B did have some turbulence. Back when I was in high school, this song came out, and I swear, the next year, over half the school owned one of these trusty mechanical steeds. But, with climbing insurance rates and gas prices, this triple B was served humble pie at the right time before it got too big for its own good (Thanks BP).

The Dream Girl: Blonde, Big Boobs, Big Butt

Surprisingly, it's much harder to find a PG-13, non-nude photo for this triple B than I originally anticipated. Women of the world, I let you in on a little guy secret: when you catch us checking out a girl and you ask us, "Do you think she's prettier than me?", we say no, and we genuinely mean it....most of the time. Every guy loves a stunning, voluptuous blonde. Don't try and act like you're better than all of us because you think you don't like blondes. You simply haven't seen a true triple B yet, and that's okay. One day you will, and you will remember that day for the rest of your life.

Of course, there's sports: The Killer B's

If you watched even the slightest bit of baseball in the 90's, then you are already well familiar with this triple B. This triple B is so potent, they are dubbed the Killer B's. Anytime you use the word "killer" as an adjective, good chance that shit could get real at any moment.  Large discussion for this triple B stems from the 3rd member. Some say its Lance Berkman, some say Derrick Bell. Either way works for me to be honest. So what did these "Killer B's" do in baseball? Over 5 seasons, Biggio-Bagwell-Bell combined for a 75.1 WAR, while the Berkman version comes in at 52.8 WAR. In leyman's terms, the Killer B's were responsible for 15.02 and 10.58 wins each year. (respectively, of course) Stat Source: and Baseball-Reference

Well, I hope I was able to give you some insight about the majestic Triple B. Comment below with some of your own Triple B's and always remember: 2 wrongs don't make a right, 3 rights makes a left, and once you see more than 3 B's, just sit down, shut up, and enjoy it.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

My Top 10 Favourite Smells

Here is a very important top ten list to add to the endless compendium of meaningless lists on the internet. Eat your heart out, lovelies!

University of Florida Campus in Gainesville, FL. Arguably the best smelling place ever.
My Top 10 Favourite All Time Smells:

10. Fruit punch
9. Gasoline (feint)
8. Lavender
7. Sunscreen/dirt/sweat medley
6. The ocean
5. Baked apples
4. Dew
3. The entire state of Florida
2. New car
1. Dank ass kush

So there you have it folks, my top 10 favourite smells. Tune in next week to see if your local Cracker Barrel made it to my list of Top 10 Interstate Fast Food Bathrooms!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sportsology: Because you know you want to

This week, we are here to talk about sports and the current state of athletics in North America (don't worry, everyone's invited). A lot of stuff goin' on in the media, and we don't take kindly to the way media has been portraying these athletes.

I'll go ahead and list the highlights of this post right now, so if you aren't interested, go do what you please. I won't be offended:

  • How I feel about LeBron James as of right now
  • The Tom Brady thing
  • Protentials with US sports due to USA being sandwiched between Canada and Mexico
  • Personal favorite athletes who exemplify true sportsmanship
Like I said, won't get offended this piece doesn't fit your fancy. Just here to spread some opinions, nadameen? Let's get crackin'!

LeBron, LeBron, LeBron...

Oh LeBron James. I'm not gonna lie; you play games with my mind like a teenage relationship. You do one thing really good, and you seem like a great person, then you do something that's like meh. I get it. You are media target number one at all times. Companies wanna pay you to promote their shit, you wanna play basketball, ya need to get paid to support your family, every little kid wants to be you and/or be better than you, and that's a lot of pressure. But I can sorta tell that your genuinely a good person, and probably one of the top athletes in the world. I still have a problem with the way your basketball game is, although that you've been producing like you have for so long, I'm starting to overlook it. You move too mechanically, you play as if you came from the future with supreme knowledge and half-cyborg, which to me, isn't a very appealing style of play. I personally think Carmelo and KD are more exciting to watch. Plain and Simple.

But Bron Bron, you gotta keep it loose, mentally and physically. I know you say the haters don't get to you, but I can tell the do a little bit, through the way you play, you speak to the media, etc. If you're the best basketball player in the world, you gotta look at it differently: no reason to keep reaching perfection, you'll never reach it. You just gotta gotta have fun with it, cause it won't last. And when it ends, do YOU want to remember yourself as the hardest working man in the league, or do you want to have fun and go out with a bang?

Deflategate: I feel dirty just saying it

This wasn't a scandal. It was a premeditated action. It was cheating. Sanctions. Punishment. I think I have the perfect picture for this:
Ahhh, that's better. Well, now that we have that out of the way, I'm going to make this as short as possible. Guys, this isn't the first time its happened. Any sort of sports scandal you see in the media, it's probably been done before, and to make it even worse, its more than likely been done at minor and youth levels. Now, deflating balls is cheating. Horrible sportsmanship, but now that the Patriots have been found out, they are gonna come back, clean and play by the rules and still dominate. And I'm not even a Boston sports fan. The fact that this is getting more coverage than the Aaron Hernandez case (you know, that guy that killed somebody) leaves me puzzled.

USA, Canada, and Mexico: Powerhouses, but could (and should) become a powercontinent for sports

America is in a great geographical location for sports. To the north, we have the Canadians, strong winter sports athletes, not to mention the best of the elites in the hockey world. As an American, I totally understand that the USA-Canada Olympic Ice Hockey rivalry is purely territorial. We never stand a chance, but we like to take our chances from time to time.

Now, to the south, our lovely neighbor Mexico. Mexicans have a passion so deep for soccer, it makes them good. Not that they need to make up for skill (traditionally, Mexico plays a very dribbling heavy style of play, individual skill is an absolute must), but its their love of the game that makes them always a serious opponent in international soccer. 

What I don't get is why USA wants to continue to excel in sports at a national level? Truth be told, if American Football became an international sport, nobody would be able to compete with us. Look at the US Men's Basketball team. We don't even have to send our best players, and yet we still dominate basically every other country in the world. Woop-de-fucking-doo. We are good at something that no other country plays and a sport which we have no true competition. But any other sport that other countries play, America stands little to no chance in sports. Canada is the best hockey country in the world, makes up a large portion of teams in the NHL, and yet, the league struggles every year due to poor attendance, horrible marketing, and just a general lack of interest in the sport. If we had any sense and true pride, we would be pushing hockey more in the media, instead of some 4x6 inch ad that offers free parking if the Stars get a shut out.

Same goes with soccer. Americans always have this surge of soccer, usually during the world cup. Which is fine. You will never see me disapprove of someone else's patriotism expressed by supporting your countries national team. But, as with hockey, the sustainability of the interest for soccer fades rapidly once the USMNT gets knocked out. In my opinion, I think we need to start integrating the MLS more with international soccer. Sure, MLS teams stand no chance against a polished team like Manchester United, Real Madrid, or Bayern Munich, and that's okay. It's the exposure to better, foreign opponents that's going to raise interest in the volatile mind of an American sports fan. And once we can raise interest and awareness, uhh, I don't know if y'all know this, but sports with strong fan followings profit immensely financially and increase overall potential talent ceiling of the team, league, organization, club, etc, etc. Simply put: The more fans you have, the more money you make. The more money you make, the more financial freedom to spend on keeping better players playing in their home countries. The more your better players play in your home country, the better your national team becomes. The better your national team beco- I think you get the point.

Lastly, Good ole fashion Sportsmanship Awards (TVD Hiem style)

If you read all the way through this post so far, thank you and please share your comments down below. If you didn't read the post, but you were interested in seeing if your favorite athletes are on this list, I'm all for it and I hope I don't disappoint you too much. FINALLY, WITH THAT BEING SAID, I would like to hand out some TVD Hiem Sportsmanship Awards. This is more hall of fame, league of extraordinary gentlemen type shit rather than the Espys. Enough talk, here are 3 individuals well deserving of this award.

1. Brock Hekking, American College Football

Awarded For: Mullet. Check. Beats. Check. Pregaming Ray-Bans. Check. Dude, this guy is just a shining display of what its like when you have fun playing sports. Not to mention, he's a first-team conference player in a pretty talented conference.

2. Andrew "Hamburglar" Hammond, NHL Hockey

Awarded For: This guy earned is award for 2 things: 99% of it is what he did on the ice. Basically, 3rd string goalie, other guys get hurt, Hamburglar steps in, goes 20-1-2 (don't know hockey well, but that's gotta be pretty damn good), helps the Sens get into the playoffs, and just recently singed a deal worth about $3 million USD over 3 years. The other 1%? He's got the fucking Hamburglar painted on his goalie mask. Enough said.

3. The entire company GoPro

Awarded For: You really want to see happy people? Just go sift through the GoPro YouTube channel and you'll see tons of athletes and professionals doing some of the craziest things you can imagine. Definitely worth the look. Here's a personal favorite:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Throwback Thursday- The Weeknd Edition

#TBT to last year, when I heard this song literally one million times a day on Flow 93.5 while driving my Weed Man truck around. Flow recently switched to some dumb format where it's apparently #TBT every day, which means all they play now are Aaliyah songs from 1998. So I guess #TBT to last year when Flow 93.5 was still good.

Lol jk. I still love you Melanie.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Celebrity Mindreader, vol. 1

Holy shit, if your like me and getting stoned in the middle of the afternoon while watching Jeopardy, than you will be well amused by the entity that is Celebrity Jeopardy. Now, normally, 2 bowls deep, I do pretty well through the first round and kinda fall asleep by final Jeopardy. I'm no fucking Einstien, but I manage. But now, Alex Trebeck, a highly respected Canadian among the American population, had decided to stoop down to retard level so some B list celebrities can give a couple grand to some charity that no one has ever heard of. The true gold comes from Mr. Trebeck asking these "celebrities" questions about their own shows and personal lives, and still manage to get them wrong. I swear, the faces these people make are beautiful. So it has inspired me to create a new series called Celebrity Mindreader. I would explain it, but if you read through I think you get the jist:

1. Debra Messing 

"I'm, like, 5000% sure I said no milk in my latte. But you're a 16 year old stupid ass bitch who calls herself a barista; I'm sure you know exactly what the fuck you're doing."

2. Bruce Jenner

"Swerve, bitch."

3. Jennifer Lawrence


4. Jeff Goldblum

"Alright guys *sniff*, first things first: we need to get some more of that coke."

5. Rob Gronkowski

"Well Tom, Heim's theory wasn't meant to become factual or certain at any point in time. Sure, he claimed that his theory could produce particle masses from fundamental physical constants and all of the resulting masses are in agreement with his original experi- OH SHIT CAMERA! QUICK, HIDE YOUR INTELLIGENCE!"

I will normally only be doing about 5ish, but this week yall get a special bonus

6. Ryan Lochte

"(Ryan Lochte's thought process is an enigma, a pandora's box of treasureful quotes and quips. It would be disrespectful to the comedy gods to even attempt to read such a pure and perfect mind, so here is a actual Ryan Lochte quote.)"

Sunday, 10 May 2015

What the sports just happened?

Freaky sh*t (haven't posted in a while, don't know if we gotta censor our sh*t now) went down the other day in sports. We all know Atlanta has some of the worst sports fans in the world, and somebody decided to play a very tasteful prank upon the city:

In the NBA Playoffs....

  • Paul Pierce scored a buzzer beater against the Atlanta Hawks
  • Paul Pierce plays for the Washington Wizards
  • Paul Pierce wears no. 34
In MLB Regular Season...

  • Bryce Harper had a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 9th against the Atlanta Braves
  • Bryce Harper plays for the Washington Nationals
  • Bryce Harper wears no. 34

I'm not saying, but I'm just saying...

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

SEX! SEX! SEX! (are you reading this yet?)

she finna turn ur kids gay
Now that I have your attention, let's talk about education. Can you believe 3,000 people showed up at Queen's Park yesterday to protest Ontario's new sex education curriculum? I mean, even by idiot mob standards, that's a lot of people. As the Toronto Star points out, the throng wasn't without "the usual suspects (aka homophobes)" -- but the sheer volume of people at the protest makes me feel like there's a lot of normal people out there who aren't entirely comfortable with the province's new sex ed curriculum either.

If you feel a bit of trepidation about the new curriculum teaching grade ones about consent or introducing the concept of "sexting" to your 12 year old, I can understand where you're coming from. Unfortunately, you're an idiot. The new curriculum is necessary to implement, and here's why: 

The last update to the Ontario sex ed curriculum was in 1998. I was born in 1991, so the entirety of my classroom-based sex education was administered under the current curriculum. That curriculum was outdated when I was in elementary school, and I graduated a decade ago -- pre-smartphones and social media. By the time I was 10, sexual intercourse was regularly discussed on the playground, but it wasn't even addressed in class until I was 12 (after I had already been watching porn for about a year). In contrast, I don't ever recall an in-depth lesson on gender identity, even though there were trans kids at my high school. Nor do I remember sexual consent being fully addressed in class until I took an elective sociology credit in Grade 12. And when it was, the idea was vocally dismissed by the young men in the class. Shit, I didn't fully understand consent or gender identity until I was 22, and that was after extensive personal reading and dialogue with university-educated peers. This is my experience, and I was enrolled in a higher learning stream at a good school in a well off neighbourhood.

You people think "sexting" is scary?

Look, Ontario's new sex ed curriculum probably isn't perfect (it was made by teachers and liberals, after all), but it does take big steps to correct the failings of our impersonal, STI-obsessed current curriculum. Some people would argue complex lessons about the human aspects of sexuality are better taught at home; but a quick Google search for statistics on sexual assault or suicide among LGBT youth raises some serious questions about the validity of that statement. And whether you like it or not, the internet has introduced sex to kids at an earlier age. If the current curriculum continues to provide no meaningful or timely subtext to whatever your kid is picking up from Alexis Texas and Young Thug, what's the point in even teaching it?  I mean, shit. The last sex ed curriculum was developed under Mike Harris. It's time for a change.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Bracketology: Cheerleader Fashion Edition

It's that time of year again! March Madness is about to begin, and for two weeks, everybody on the face of the planet will be pretending to care about basketball so they can watch TV at the office. The best part about March Madness imo is the "bracketology" aspect -- filling out a bracket via complete guesswork and then watching TV to listen to self-appointed "experts" tell you why you're wrong.

As a journalist and sports fan, there's nothing more I enjoy than sharing my unsolicited, speculative opinion on things I have very little knowledge of. So for this year's bracket I've decided to kill two birds with one stone, combining two things I know nothing about (college basketball and women's fashion) to decide my picks in the NCAA Tournament. 

The process was simple: I filled out a traditional bracket, but instead of deciding which team I thought would win the game, I picked the team whose cheerleaders were better dressed (in my opinion). The results are below.

The Tournament
click to zoom
And for the Final Four...

I'm picking Cincinnati to win, which probably isn't gonna happen, but let's not kid ourselves. You didn't come here to look at my bracket predictions. Let's get to the good stuff!

The Outfits

The Final Four

4: Arkansas Razorbacks:
Most SEC schools have more than enough pomp, pizzazz, and booster funding to dominate the first few rounds of the tournament, but extravagance will kill them later on. The Razorbacks rock the Southern charm but leave the Bedazzler at home, and the results are good enough to earn them a Final Four appearance.

3. Michigan State Spartans:
When your school colours are forest green and white, you have to be trying pretty hard to make your uniforms look bad. Michigan's sleek, sexy new age attire should allow them to slash and burn their way through a relatively weak East division.

2. UCLA Bruins:
I'm a big fan of most UCLA sports jerseys, and the cheerleading uniforms are no exception. Like Michigan State, they have a colour scheme that really appeals to me. When you add that all of their uniforms look more like cute vintage sundresses than cheer outfits, you get a winning combination in my book. Look for the Bruins to do some damage in the tournament.

1. Cincinnati Bearcats:
This looks like somebody combined a cheerleader getup with the kind of "little black dress" you'd see at a really nice club in downtown Toronto. Excellent work.

Consolation Prizes

Miss Congeniality

Valparaiso Crusaders:
The "turd and honey" colour scheme falls into the "so bad it's good" category, and I actually really like the style of the dress. Unfortunately, Valpo is in tough against a much flashier Maryland squad and I don't see them making it out of the first round.

Worst Outfit

Virginia Cavaliers:
I don't exactly know what's going on here, but I do know that I don't like it.

Most Surprising Outfit Based on School Rep

BYU Cougars:
I would expect a school full of Mormons to be real prudish when it comes to cheerleading outfits, but the Cougars' getups are actually pretty sexy if you ask me.

Least Surprising Outfit Based on School Rep

Harvard Crimson:

So there you have it folks; my extremely analytical, well informed breakdown of the 2015 March Madness bracket. When the tournament is over, I'll update you on how I did.