Reggie’s (Digital) Box of Newspaper/Print Clippings from the last 20 years

Ever since this COVID madness started, I’ve been really pensive and reflecting on a lot of things, mainly because: a) There’s nothing better to do, b) All my short-term plans have been shot to hell (which I’m concerned will affect/has affected my long-term plans too and I’m still not sure what to do about that), and c) For better or for worse, when you’re in self-isolation, you tend to spend a lot of time in your personal headspace.

You tend to ask yourself questions like: What have I done with my life? Have I made a positive difference? What am I superior at? Are these the sorts of things I want to continue doing and if not, what would I rather be doing? What should I be doing with my life? Et cetera, ad nauseam.

Or perhaps that’s the sign of yet another mid-life crisis (which would make it Number 4 now, I think); I have no idea anymore.

Calgary Herald - April 07, 2012 (Page A1)
That time I made the front page of the local newspaper; above the fold too! (Calgary Herald, Saturday, April 7, 2012, Page A1)

Recently, I learned that the Calgary Public Library made available the entirety of the Calgary Herald Archives available online for free via PressReader and ProQuest for members. Prior to that, you had to rely on microfiche and I think most of those got destroyed during the 2013 flood since they were kept in the downtown library’s basement, so on a whim I decided to do a search to see how many times my name appeared in the local paper. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was surprised at how often it did appear; it was a lot more than I thought!

Calgary Herald, Tuesday, April 24, 2007, Page A13
An in-print tease for one of my online OP/ED pieces (Calgary Herald, Tuesday, April 24, 2007, Page A13)

But then again, I really shouldn’t have been. From 2006-08, I was a blogger for the Calgary Herald. And while that was all online OP/ED content, every so often, one of my pieces would be teased in print.

Now, I never knew when that would happen as my editor never notified me when it would get promoted, I didn’t have a subscription at the time, and not all of the things I wrote received the same treatment, but $40 cheques from Winnipeg would just randomly appear in my mailbox every so often, and that’s how I would know that my name had appeared in the print edition of the Herald some weeks prior. So just those pieces alone would boost my in-print newspaper search result numbers by quite a bit.


Since a) I’m really bad at keeping mementos of my adventures, b) I suck at tooting my own horn & celebrating my own successes, and c) Because I lost a lot of the newspaper clippings I did manage to collect over the years to age, water damage and other things, I spent a few days last week trying to recollect as many of my old print media mentions as I could while they were still available (because who knows what will happen in the future? Even today, I lament at not figuring out how to rip the online videos of my various live TV interviews when they were still online).

The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, Page A4
Speaking on the Calgary Stampede and its resiliency after the 2013 flood from a volunteer’s perspective (The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, Page A4)

The main delight for me in doing this was finding my name appearing in other periodicals or other places I was unaware of as well.

For example, I gave an interview to The Globe and Mail about the 2013 flood and the Calgary Stampede’s resiliency from a volunteer’s perspective, and while they only used one sentence from that interview (which begs the question: Why even bother? The piece would have been fine without it and I wouldn’t have minded, lol), I didn’t know it actually appeared in the print edition of the paper itself; if I had, I would have purchased a copy at the time.

There was also a nationally syndicated Postmedia News piece on The Awesome Foundation in Canada that got picked up and run by the Edmonton Journal (but ironically, NOT the Calgary Herald, haha) that I had never known about/seen before until recently either (but the longer version is still available online).

In fact, once I learned that, I immediately purchased that back issue of the Edmonton Journal for CAD$2.79 on PressReader, just for that one article. So they made a sale!


All said, I’m happy with the result; It wasn’t easy tracking down the non-Herald articles as those archives aren’t as extensive or go that far back so I didn’t get everything, but it’s also not bad how much documented proof of the last 20 years of my life I was able to reconstruct over a few days using only what is available online today in 2020 that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to access.

Calgary Herald, Sunday, October 8, 2006, Page A6
Catching a Calgary Flames playoff game at the Saddledome with my cousin (Calgary Herald, Sunday, October 8, 2006, Page A6)

As for missing items, there might have been a mention in the Calgary Sun about the 2009 YYC Holiday Tweetup that might have involved me, but I may be remembering incorrectly too (I can’t find any online Sun archives older than 2012 to verify either way) and there was a nice piece that the local Filipino newspaper Mabuhay News Calgary wrote about me in 2015 that’s still available online but I don’t know if it made it to their monthly print edition (if so, I’m not sure where to find a copy of that but would love one if possible).

Still, I got most of them, so I consider that a win!

Calgary Herald, Sunday, December 19, 2010, Page C6
That time I made the Society Page… (Calgary Herald, Sunday, December 19, 2010, Page C6)

The somewhat curated trip down memory lane was fun to experience too; I hate watching or reading about myself so while I collected most of these when they came out, this was actually the first time I’ve read some of these articles as it’s easier for me to do those sorts of things after much, much time has passed. It was nice to relive some of my greatest hits, so to speak.

And what I realized by doing this little exercise and came to really appreciate (perhaps even for the first time) was that I’ve done a lot of shit over the last 15-20 years!

Calgary Herald: Neighbours, Thursday, March 8, 2012, Page N3
Another in-depth feature on Awesome Foundation – Calgary (Calgary Herald: Neighbours, Thursday, March 8, 2012, Page N3)

What is not represented in print are things that I’ve done from 2015 onward, although that’s partly because I chose to semi-retire from the public eye when I burned out in 2014 and haven’t facilitated or done as many interviews (these days, I try to pass those opportunities to other people whenever they show up; there’s no need for me to hog the spotlight as I’ve literally already had my 15 minutes of fame), and partly because all of those recent mentions have been digital.

However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been up to any shenanigans whatsoever; these days, I just choose to work in the shadows where possible and make other people look good.


As I write this, I literally have one year and one month left to nail down something similar to an Avenue Calgary Top 40 Under 40 award. A friend of mine actually nominated me for one back in 2014, but at the time, I didn’t really feel I deserved it so I wasn’t as strong in my written application as I could have been.

However, looking back after doing this exercise, I probably could have made a good case if I had tried harder, even if I still don’t know if I deserved one back then or even now. That said, with hindsight, I do know that I’ve accomplished a lot in a relatively short time and probably more than most people get to do in their entire lives.

Calgary Stampede 2012: Souvenir Parade Program, July 06, 2012 (Page 33)
For my significant volunteer accomplishments and contributions, I was selected to be one of 12 (out of 2,300!) Centennial Banner Carriers in the 2012 Stampede Parade (Calgary Stampede 2012: Souvenir Parade Program, July 06, 2012, Page 33)

But as I get set to wind down my 30s and as the big 4-0 is staring at me right in the face from about a year and a month out from now, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for everyone I’ve met along the way who have either believed in me or offered me a hand, and to acknowledge that yes, maybe I have managed to do a little bit of good with the short amount of time I’ve been around.

To be honest, I don’t know where life will take me either in the short term or the long term, and especially in a COVID context as unfortunately I think we’ll all be living under these circumstances for the next 1-2 years and who knows what will happen with the state of the world being what it is right now.

That all being said, I can’t/shouldn’t really complain about anything; I’ve done a lot of cool things, and the best part is that there’s documented stuff that future historians can cite in a bibliography and everything! I’ve lived a relatively fruitful life (all things considered) and I do appreciate it (and it says so now on the internet via this blog post, so it must be true!). So thank you.

Calgary Herald, Thursday, March 28, 2002, Page B1
The very first time I gave an interview to a paper: Surviving a C-Train accident on my way to University (Calgary Herald, Thursday, March 28, 2002, Page B1)


Finally, a word of advice: If you’re trying or wanting to document your own adventures, make sure you do it as you go along; it’s much easier to do it that way than to do it all at once years after the fact.

If it’s a physical mention, keep it in a waterproof (and maybe fire resistant) box as you would any other important documents or mementos. If they’re super precious, don’t be afraid to rent out a safety deposit box at a bank or similar.

If it’s a digital mention, keep track of it on a spreadsheet stored in the cloud, and make sure to save a copy on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine as soon as it’s posted (and add the resultant URL to your spreadsheet records as well), just in case the web link dies/disappears in the future.

Future You (and perhaps your friends and family too) will thank you; trust me on that one.


Below is a small gallery of some of my newspaper/print clippings. Check out my Mentions page for a full(er) list of my online and offline mentions too, including links to where you can access your own copies of the clippings in the gallery or their online equivalents.

Adventures in Late Night (Part X of Y)

INT: Late Night Neighbourhood Coffee Shop, 3 a.m.

Rando Guy: "Hey, do you do tech?"

Me: "Uh…" (I'm a bit distracted working on my laptop and was not expecting the question)

Rando Guy: "Sorry; did I ask you that question earlier?" (the guy was blabbering on and on prior and I just nodded politely while sipping my coffee and working on my laptop)

Me: "No, but I guess I suppose it depends on the tech. I do mostly server administration."

Rando Guy: ???

Me: "You know, IT stuff. Make your Internet work?"

Rando Guy: "I mean Speed. Do you do Speed?"

Me: "Err…"

And thus, I learned something new that night.

Photo Credit: “Calgary Downtown at Night Saturated Slide Film” by Calgary Reviews / Flickr Creative Commons / Via Flickr: calgaryreviews

Words of Wisdom

Words are powerful. The right set of words at just the right moment can alter someone’s life tremendously, for good or for ill. At a low moment in our lives, an inspirational passage from someone we respect can give us the strength we need to push on. Conversely, the wrong message at a point where we’re the most vulnerable can be enough to shatter us, twisting us into something we had never intended to become, nor desired to be.

Words matter.

Continue reading “Words of Wisdom”

Back from the Dead!

Photo by MontyLov on Unsplash

Hello, World! Long time, no see.

You may have noticed that my blog disappeared for a couple of years, to the point where it even got blown off of Google (goodbye hard-earned SEO, lol!). You would have had to hit up the Wayback Machine to read anything I had previously written here. But like any good undead creature, this guy is back, although whether or not resurrecting this thing is a good idea remains to be seen.

When my hosting contract expired back in 2016, I didn’t really have it in me to go out and find a new web host and to migrate the site. I was swamped with a bunch of projects, and was essentially burned out too. I hadn’t blogged personally since 2012, didn’t see myself doing so again any time soon, and I just wanted to take a break from the public spotlight for a while. So I made sure to take a backup of the site, and then as with many of my old houseplants and/or human relationships, let the whole thing die of neglect.

That isn’t to say that I wasn’t busy doing other things. Just Google me and you’ll see that I’ve still been up to various hijinks and shenanigans and have left my mark in various places, both publicly and privately.

But I had a few spare moments these last few days as I wait for various things to settle, so I decided to get off my butt and bring back the old blog. Luckily, my backups were still good! However, I have to be honest:  It’s taken me a while to get back into the WordPress way of doing things. Lots of the plugins I used to use are no longer maintained, so just tracking down replacements took a lot of time. And I’m still not done:  There’s lots of old copy that has yet to be updated, and so many dead links that I need to figure out what to do about.

You’ll also notice some additional content on here that didn’t exist before. Just because I stopped writing for myself personally back in 2012, it didn’t mean I had stopped writing altogether. I still wrote for various organisations that I was helping out with, but unfortunately, some of those websites no longer exist.

Because those were tens of thousands of words that I had written representing thousands of hours of work, I didn’t want those words to die and disappear. Neglect is something that I do to living things, not the things I create!

Thus, I’ve scoured the web and merged in various pieces that I’ve written for other outlets elsewhere into this blog, which kind of messes with the flow over here a bit since those were pieces written for different purposes or audiences in mind, but it’s still my work and no one ever made me sign away my copyright, so I as far as I can tell, I still have rights to publish my works and use them in any way I wish.

So what you’ll be able to find here now in addition to my random musings are:

There are still a few guest posts and other things that I had written for various organisations that I haven’t easily been able to track down yet, but if I do manage to find old copies, I’ll migrate those over here too.

Going forward, I would like to get back into the writing game again, even if it’s for simple things like a personal blog. I won’t make the same mistake in promising any sort of frequency or consistency though. I’m only doing this for fun, and will only do it if I have something fun to say. But I will admit that it’s nice to have my own little spot on the Internet again that I can call my own.

Plus there’s a bunch of maintenance work to do on this end as well; for example, making sure I’m following current best practices when it comes to WordPress security, in addition to finding a new blog theme that’s responsive on mobile devices. That’ll take a while to accomplish, so don’t be surprised if you see this thing change multiple times over the next few weeks. It just means I’m working on stuff!

So to sum up:  Nope, I’m not dead (yet anyway; or at least, as far as I can tell), but I have made a conscious decision to retreat from the public spotlight a little bit, and am enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with not being an influencer or a public figure. Thanks to everyone out there who respects that; sometimes we all need a little break.

Getting set for NaNoWriMo!

What I’ve learned in my old age is that if you’re only going to wait for the proper moment and when all circumstances are ideal to act, you may end up sitting idle for a long, long time. Sometimes, you just have to go out there and DO IT!

So screw it. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to write a novel.

I love books. I love reading, and I don’t mind writing, especially if it’s for myself (and definitely if I’m getting paid for it!).

For a long while, I’ve been saying that I wanted to write a book that would ultimately get published. I’ve got about 3-4 non fiction ideas and a few fiction based ones as well. Some are more fully formed than others, but none are structured to the point that I feel comfortable tackling them just yet, mainly because I’ve been really busy with volunteer work and other things over the last year, so I’ve never had the time to properly dedicate to a book project to do it, what I feel, justice.

But what I’ve learned in my old age is that if you’re only going to wait for the proper moment and when all circumstances are ideal to act, you may end up sitting idle for a long, long time. Sometimes, you just have to go out there and DO IT!

So screw it. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to write a novel.

November is known as National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short), and while it originally started in the United States, it’s essentially open to anyone around the world.

The gist of it is that anyone who’s interested in participating has one month to write a 50,000 word (or more) novel by November 30. If you can accomplish that, then you “win.” To do so, you have to write on average about 1,667 words a day to hit that goal.

There’s no real prize for “winning” except the self-satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment for banging out 50,000 words in a month, hopefully in a way that make sense.

The motto is “No plot? No problem!” which, for some reason, seems to resonate with me at this stage of my life. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and prefer to edit a piece of writing to death before publishing it, so it’ll be fun to see if I can resist those impulses for 30 days and interesting to see if what comes out of it is cool or an incoherent mess.

I’ve decided to tackle one of my fiction ideas that has been percolating in my head for a while, but hasn’t been fully formed yet. I have the beginning sketched out and the ending loosely as well, but haven’t defined the circumstances or conflicts that surround the story yet. I’m currently spending the lead up to November 1 brainstorming ideas on paper just to see if anything sticks. I don’t have a title or even character names, other than generic things like “Vigilante Guy,” “Asshole” and “Best Friend.”

But I figure that if I wait until all of that is defined to the point where I’m satisfied, I’ll never get to it. So starting at midnight, I’m just going to start writing stuff and see where it leads. This thing may never get published, or it may get heavily re-edited later and may not resemble anything I ultimately pump out in the next 30 days.

And that’s okay. Because sometimes, you just have to get out there and DO SOMETHING.

If I have any writing capacity left over, I may blog about my adventures in NaNoWriMo, but for now, I make no promises. My guess is that I’ll start slow at the beginning and will start to really pump stuff out towards the last half of the month once I figure out how things fit together. We’ll see how it goes. My biggest regret is that they didn’t pick a month with 31 days in it. But I guess you can’t win them all.

Anyhoo, wish me luck!

Blog, Tweet, FUNNY! Or: Exploiting humour for fun and profit

Last night, I took a comedy course.

Shocking, I know. Reggie didn’t have a volunteer meeting for once?

Last night, I took a comedy course.

Shocking, I know. Reggie didn’t have a volunteer meeting for once?

But this wasn’t any old comedy course. It was a course that taught people how to apply the skills of comedy in their online communications. Partly to make blog posts and tweets more interesting and engaging, but mostly in order to drive traffic and increase follower counts and readership, with the ultimate goal of making money off the content you produce by shoving advertising down people’s throats as they find themselves unable to turn away from your super-mega-awesome content. It was quite enlightening.

Social Media Wit: Combining Humour and Social Media was the second of two two-and-a-half hour workshops put on by the quirky minds at ZEDS Comic Communication, who, through various initiatives, teach people how to wield and leverage the power of comedy to accomplish great things like becoming a better person, overcome various challenges in life, and to hit on potential fe/male significant others (that’s the “Wield the Power of Comedy like a Bat” course, which they touched upon, but didn’t elaborate on).

The proceeds of the workshop went towards CHADD Calgary, supporting Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

A lot was crammed into 2.5 hours. They taught us the basis of a joke, which surprisingly, consists of a set-up line and a punchline. What was news to me was that there are multiple different types of punchlines that people can draw on. Being the anime-nerd that I am though, I often wondered what would happen if someone used more than one punchline, rapid-fire, Fist of the North Star style in a joke on someone, or if such a thing was even possible. In other words, what would the comedic equivalent of this look like:

I was scared to ask.

There were Twitter and Blogging exercises that people were encouraged to do and share with the public right there and then as well. Tweeting exercises were encouraged to be shared using the #lolyyc hashtag (so everyone could share in the mirth), and there was even a 10-minute blogging exercise where people had to come up with a blog post using all the skills learned during the night and publish it for all to see (presumably, for the same mirth reasons) in just 10 minutes.

And that’s how yesterday’s “How I learned how to hate people” post came to be, after a half-a-year hiatus from writing anything on this end. Admittedly, the ending feels a bit weak, but that’s because I ran out of time and only had just enough time to bring the post back to its subject with a couple of sentences. Could have used another five minutes to finesse it, although if I’m being truthful, I probably would have used those five minutes lurking on the #lolyyc stream instead. Or searching through Fotolia trying to find an appropriate stock image to use with the post.

I did learn a lot last night, and I look forward to practicing my new found skills and abilities and to make my teachers proud. Or utterly disgust them. I think I learned that humour can go both ways.

Big Thanks to Zoey Duncan & Derek Wilken for giving me the tools I need to rule the world. Or at least reminding me of the fact that writing can (and should!) be fun and not onerous. Somewhere along the line, I think I had forgotten that (most likely misplaced along with my passport).

Keep an eye on @ZEDSwit for their next workshop. For example, tonight you can learn Rap Basics from @AwesomeSteele, which would have totally come in handy back in Grade Six music class when my group was tasked with writing a rap song about how much we loved blue jeans (It started with “I love jeans, they’re so cool” and ended with something that was probably so traumatic that I’m having trouble recalling it at the moment).

And if this particular workshop is ever offered again, I highly recommend you sign up for it. Mainly so that I can have someone to rib online who won’t look at me like a crazy person.

In the meantime, at the end of my last blog post, I did say that eventually, I’d write a follow up post on “How I learned to love people instead” and believe me, I fully intend on doing that. Stay tuned for that post; it should appear somewhere here right after I figure out how to actually accomplish that.

How I learned how to hate people

It was a cold winter day in 2007. Which was unfortunate because this being Calgary, odds were 50/50 on it being a warm winter day and it wasn’t.

I was sitting at the tech support desk in between waves of support calls contemplating…something. What to have for lunch, what I was going to do when I went home for the day, the meaning of life. Ghandi would have been proud.

I’m really good at that. Thinking, I mean. I’m the type of guy who likes to stare at a problem and will a solution. And if I can’t find one, I stare harder.

Anyways, I recall getting really, really close to reaching an epiphany of some sort. Could have been the secrets of time travel; I can’t recall. But it was at that critical juncture that the bane of my (then) existence appeared: The ringing of the support phone.

Now, being a tech support agent, you have to answer the phone. Which is hard for me because I’m an anti-phone guy. “Real-time conversations?” Pshaw. Remember, this was BT (Before Twitter) and for a nerd like me, I prefer my human interactions to involve a keyboard.

So I answer the phone and alas, the human race misses out on what could have been a solution to Time Travel.

Lather, rinse and repeat the above multiple times a day, every working day for a couple of years, and it starts to grate on you. It got to the point that I started to hate the interruptions.

Now, I’m the type of guy who likes to work backwards. So, in my nerdy, meticulous analysis of the situation, I realized that the interruptions were caused by people. And so the people responsible were to blame.

And just like that, I learned how to hate people. It was so easy!

My next post: How I learned to love people instead.

A little under the weather

Well, I said I’d try for a post a week, but shortly after I wrote that piece, I got ridiculously sick.

Now, I don’t get sick often, but when I do it tends to hit me. Hard.

This guy is particularly nasty. It started as a scratchy throat (re: Throat infection), then moved down to my lungs. That’s typically normal of respiratory system infections (at least, with me), but then it actually moved back up into my sinuses, and now I think it ran back down my throat and up my left ear, all in a period of four or five days.


Anyways, I’m at about a week and two days into it, and while my lungs have settled (re: Stopped burning) and my sinuses seem to be calming down (still producing a crapton of mucous though; I’ve actually managed to fill an entire garbage bag with used tissues, LOL! Double ew.), my voice is still a little squeaky, I haven’t fully entered the “purge” phase yet, and I’m still concerned about the ear. But as long as I continue to have fevers though, there’s a chance that my body will heat up hot enough to kill it all; I just have to continue to take care of myself and keep myself warm, covered and indoors.

I’ll give the body another week or so try to kill this thing off on its own, and if it gets worse, has no change, or has every indication of “lingering” then I’ll probably get it checked out (really want to avoid antibiotics if possible, just because they should only be used as a last resort and 9 times out of 10 my body can handle illness if I just leave things well enough alone).

But if you’re wondering why I’ve been AWOL in various channels lately, it’s because of this and the fact that I’m probably curled up somewhere covered by four layers of blankets trying to sweat this thing out. Experience has shown me if I try to force things through medication or ignore my body’s processes, things can get worse quickly. So I’ve learned that if I get really, really sick, I should drop everything and just cope since the time spent on recovering will be less than if I try to prolong things with fever reducers and so on.

My 3 Things for Calgary

Back on Friday, October 21, I was privileged to attend 3 Things for Calgary: A Conversation about Citizens and Cities. Held at the John Dutton Theatre at the Central branch of the Calgary Public Library, it was part talk about what citizens can do to help improve their communities, as well as the launch event to the 3 Things for Calgary initiative, spearheaded by the newly-formed Mayor’s Civic Engagement Committee (MCEC).

“Reg loves the big 3!”

Back on Friday, October 21, I was privileged to attend 3 Things for Calgary: A Conversation about Citizens and Cities. Held at the John Dutton Theatre at the Central branch of the Calgary Public Library, it was part talk about what citizens can do to help improve their communities, as well as the launch event to the 3 Things for Calgary initiative, spearheaded by the newly-formed Mayor’s Civic Engagement Committee (MCEC).

If you want to see video of the event, check it out below:

The premise is simple:

  1. Think about 3 Things you can do to make Calgary better. These things could be for your street, your neighbourhood or for the entire city.
  2. Do those 3 Things.
  3. Encourage 3 more people to do the same.

The deadline, so to speak, is to complete the objective “before the tulips blossom,” which, as Mayor Nenshi half-jokingly stated, “since this is Calgary, that could potentially be in August,” although to be honest, I’m not even sure if tulips bloom in this neck of the woods.

Anyways, it’s quite clever when you think about it. They’ve broken down civic engagement into three potentially simple steps, the success of which depends on the cumulative effect of others performing three things as well and repeating. As they like to say:

If every Calgarian did at least 3 Things for Calgary, we’d have more than 3 million actions making Calgary an even better city.

I remember when Mayor Nenshi was speaking about the program, he said that he recognized many people in the audience and knew that they were already doing things in the community. So he asked all of us to “just do 3 more things” which I thought was pretty sneaky, but only because it’s a trick I sometimes use to try to get people to push beyond their potential, or what they think their potential is. So well played, Mr. Mayor 😉

Ever since then I’ve been wracking my brain to think of three things to do before writing a blog post about it. The problem is, at least in my life, opportunity seems to come with very short notice, and it’s hard for me to plan ahead since I already have so much going on. In fact, at the time, I was so swamped with commitments that I really couldn’t see myself cramming in 3 more things without killing myself, unless they were super simple tasks.

Fast forward to now, and upon reflection, I guess I’ve already done three things since then to try and help contribute to making Calgary a better place. Actually, depending on how you look at things, I may have done more than three, but the ones I’ll list here are the ones I’ll count for now.

So, what have I done in the seven weeks since I heard about the program?


  1. I’ve started blogging again for myself.If you’ll notice, there’s some content flowing again over here despite me blogging for some other organizations in the meantime. You may be asking yourself what this could possibly have do with helping to make Calgary a better place. Well, if you’ve been watching my Twitter and Facebook feeds, you’ll notice that I try to put a lot of local content on those platforms, or try to promote other local community initiatives. I figure that perhaps I can highlight some of that content here as well plus add some commentary of my own and help promote those initiatives by others or at least bring awareness to others about them. I’ll admit, it’s been very difficult for me to write these days, although it’s gradually been getting easier again. I’m not sure how consistent I can be, but my goal is at least one new post a week. Wish me luck!
  2. I’ve volunteered to help with the High Performance Rodeo.There’s a reason why I reposted the piece I wrote for the Downtown Calgary Blog on the High Performance Rodeo. Not only because it’s just around the corner and that I love the event, but it’s also because I’ve volunteered to help with their social media efforts this year. Like I said in the previous piece, after being exposed to the HPR for the first time last year, I fell in love with it and feel that all Calgarians should know about this unique and world-class arts event that happens right in our own backyard, and I want to do my best to help spread the word. The Calgary Stampede sucked me in the exact same way back in 2006 by exposing me to some really neat things that I was never aware of beforehand, so I’m hoping I can take what I’ve learned in helping them promote things since I joined the Stampede as a volunteer and apply and innovate on those techniques with the HPR (and ideally, bring back some of what I’ll learn with helping the HPR to my Stampede work, thus ensuring the continuation of the Circle of Life). So…if you’re looking for a great gift idea, why not grab a High Performance Rodeo Flex Pass? 😉And make sure you’re following the HPR on Facebook at and Twitter at @HPRodeo and keep an eye on the #HPRodeo hashtag too for contests, promotions and other cool stuff.
  3. I’ve joined an events subcommittee with 3 Things for Calgary.Yep, I love the concept so much that I’ve decided to try to help out in an official capacity. A few weeks ago, the organizers held a 1-2-3-GO! meet-up where the public could meet some members of the team, learn more about the program, and brainstorm ways to help implement the program in various places in the community. There were so many ideas that came out of that meeting that we all figured that we should get together again and flesh some of those out and maybe even execute them. The formation of the subcommittee still needs to be approved by the MCEC, but regardless whether it goes through or not, I’ll find a way to get involved somehow, either officially or unofficially.

So those are the three I’m going to submit for consideration.

Of course, part of me wonders if it’s a cheat since the way it was technically supposed to work was that we post/share what our 3 Things would be, try to do them, then when the tulips blossom, look back and see how we did.

So, since there’s a chance that I may be a part of the 3 Things team now, I’ll post three more things that I’m going to try to do before the arrival of the tulips, if only to try to lead by example:

  1. Be a Snow Angel.This one seems simple: Whenever I shovel my sidewalk, I’ll do one of my neighbour’s as well. To keep things interesting, I’ll alternate between my left neighbour and right neighbour at random intervals (hey, just because I’m doing something nice for someone doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with it, no? :P). In all seriousness though, to me, this task seems very doable and if I’m in the snow shoveling zone, it’s sometimes hard to stop so maybe both neighbors might benefit ;-).
  2. Find one small one-off community event or initiative to volunteer with in some capacity.While it’s true that I’m active in the community and that it’s very difficult these days to cram much more into my free time, I’m going to find one event or cause to volunteer with that I’ve never done before or for an organization I’m not affiliated with. The HPR was kind of meant to be like that, although it is a one-month long event. I figure if this one is just a one-day thing, it can be squeezed in somewhere in my schedule and is probably accomplishable. Since I haven’t found one yet, I’m not sure what my contribution would be (it could be time, expertise, money, or other), but whatever it is, I hope it’ll be meaningful.
  3. Become a Calgary 2012 Cultural Ambassador.2012 is going to be a big year for culture in this city, with our recent designation of a Cultural Capital of Canada and the centennials of the Calgary Public Library, Calgary Stampede, and a few other organizations in the city. This Cultural Ambassador programorganized by Calgary 2012 sounds fun based on what I’ve heard on the down-low, so I’m looking forward to participating. It’s super simple. I just signed up and you can too by following this weblink.

So those are three more things I’m going to try and do before the tulips bloom, and we’ll touch base again later to see how I did.

Interested in joining along? To learn more about 3 Things for Calgary, visit the website, check out the Facebook page, and follow along on Twitter at @3ThingsYYC and the hashtag #3ThingsYYC.

And let me know what your 3 Things for Calgary are too in the comments! Peaking at what others have said, it’s fascinating how they can range from small tasks to big projects. Either way, it’s always inspiring to read up on what others are planning on doing or what they’ve accomplished thus far, and it makes me motivated to find ways to do more.

Why I’m now a fan of the High Performance Rodeo

**The next High Performance Rodeo is just around the corner (January 5-28), so I figured I’d repost a piece I did for the Downtown Calgary Blog earlier this year as I’m really looking forward to catching my first HPR from the very beginning and I figured you should know why. Originally published on January 27, 2011 on Enjoy!

Would you believe that I’m a born-and-raised Calgarian, but never in its 25 years of existence, have I ever attended the High Performance Rodeo?

I mean, I had heard of it, obviously. One Yellow Rabbit is an institution of sorts in Calgary, and when you’ve been around for a couple of decades, one tends to cement a place in Calgary’s cultural scene.

But because, other than a couple of theatre shows I caught as a kid, theatre in general was never really a big part of my upbringing (low-to-middle class family, entertainment dollars had to be spent wisely), I was never really conditioned to check out local theatre as a form of entertainment, a mindset that has stuck with me even today, where I’m self-sufficient and successful enough to have a little disposable income to play with.

Now, it’s not because I’m adverse to theatre in general. On the contrary, the shows I saw as a child (for example, a production of Into the Woods that took place at Theatre Calgary) I really enjoyed, and ironically, I enjoyed watching theatrical productions on television (especially musicals; I love musicals!). I took Drama class in junior-high where I was cast as the lead in my school’s production of Aladdin, had a blast doing it, and would have continued on if not for a quirk in Grade 10 class scheduling that forced me to drop Drama as an option. It’s just that local theatre as an etnertainment activity has just never, ever entered my mind.

After some insistence from friends, I was persuaded to catch Catalyst Theatre’s production of Nevermore. I had heard good things about it, although I didn’t know much other than it had something to do with Edgar Allan Poe.

I didn’t know what to expect and did no research prior to attending so I was able to watch it with an open mind. I had heard it was a biography of sorts. In fact, as showtime approached, “musical biography” was a term I had heard thrown around a lot.

I’ll admit: I was intrigued.

What I saw amazed me.

It was a full-on musical production about the life of Poe. Surreal at times, relatable even by today’s standards at others, without reading a synopsis on the life of Poe beforehand, I couldn’t tell what was based on real-life fact and what was creatively interpreted, but the performance grabbed me in the sense that I couldn’t help but feel sorry about the difficulty and tragedy that Poe the child must have went through growing up. It made me revisit that age-old question about “Nature vs. Nurture” and made me wonder if Poe had a different upbringing, would his life have been different? If I had a different upbringing, how different would I be right now? Pretty heavy stuff, right there. Didn’t expect to be thinking about those sorts of things by the end of the night.

And what I learned about the production astounded me. There are over 200 lighting and sound cues and 25 costume changes that the cast and crew have to contend with. The vast majority of the costumes and props are made of masking tape and tissue paper, which requires an obscene amount of maintenance after every performance to ensure they’re always ready for the next show. There is so much pride and passion put into this production on-stage and behind-the-scenes by the cast and crew, and every loving bit shines through in the performance.

Suffice to say, I was hooked. As soon as I got home, I hit my computer looking for the next show to see. I managed to catch the last showing of Billy Bishop Goes to War, a two-man act portraying some of the exploits of the legendary Canadian war hero. I was thrilled to see there were musical elements involved in the performance, and having studied Canadian military history in school, proud that they were able to come up with a performance that wasn’t just entertaining, but a fitting tribute to our Canadian war heroes as well.

My first-ever experience at the High Performance Rodeo was a good one, and I have to say that I’m now a fan. As I was exposed to the Rodeo rather late in the festival, looking through the festival program, I realize that I’ve missed a lot of performances, and missed a few shows that I’d probably enjoy.

However, when next year rolls around, I’ll definitely make time for the 26th annual High Performance Rodeo and plan things more accordingly.

There’s still some time to catch Nevermore at the Vertigo Mystery Theatre. It runs until February 6, 2011.