It seems like everywhere you look these days, the streets are lined with garbage bins that have been modified to accommodate recyclable paper and plastics and glass. It’s a fantastic idea and I think there should be one of them every two blocks at least. I think the more people see the close to each other, the less likely they are to throw a piece of trash on the ground and will more likely be willing to hold on to it until the next depository station. This seems like a logical response to the overwhelming compulsion these days with a greener, cleaner world. Ultimately, this desire for a pollution free, or as close to it as possible, world is better for everyone everywhere. It seems that the younger generations are picking up on this idea more and more every day and will hopefully make better decisions for the future and veer away from the mistakes of the past.  If this is the case, then why is it that there are still so many beautiful green spaces that are covered with litter?

I recently walked by a local skate park that is constantly filled with kids of all ages. It’s a place to congregate and express themselves through the sports of skateboarding and extreme biking. It’s a place where youth can get together and do something productive with their time instead of being on the street and doing things that could lead down the dark side of the path. This is a great place to go and watch young kids enjoying their time, practicing their craft and not discriminating against ages or gender. All are welcome. What’s disturbing, however, is the fact that despite the multitudes of youth and the gathering of young minds, there is still so much garbage on the surrounding grassy areas.

I can’t understand how on one hand everyone is commenting about how much the youth of today are willing to get involved and make the world a better place, but on the other hand, where so many people gather on a near daily basis how come there is such a mess around them? It’s not there aren’t trash bins provided at the park, or even elsewhere close by. In fact there are two on the park premises alone and various others on surrounding properties such as the bus station, local theater and library, and government buildings. Not only are there many trash bins provided, but there are also quite a few recyclable bins as well. It’s a sad sight to see the area in such dire straits.

What really got me started on this was the fact that as I was walking down the path, no more than 20 feet from the park, I noticed Starbust Candy wrappers tossed so casually along the trail. Every few steps there were other individual wrapper until finally the larger wrapper that contained them all was discarded on the ground. As I approached the park, I noticed the vast amounts of garbage that hadn’t found its way into a bin either on the grass surrounded the cement park. This bothered me so much because I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t hold on to the wrapper or the various other items a few more feet until the trash bin, which was clearly visible, was within range to dispose of the garbage.

I think for all the good that young people are doing  for the world at large, it seem like they are forgetting to take care of the places that the venture on a daily basis. I think they need a reminder that changes start at home. Maybe this week or next week I’ll go out there myself and see what I can do to clean it up. Although I am not a skater myself, I live in the area too and I deserve a cleaner, greener space. Maybe someone will notice and offer to help out, and then we’ll really get the ball rolling!


Using music to express yourself


This is a video blog post about how people use music to express themselves and how they are feeling at any given point in time. Different moods or emotions trigger different kinds of songs and types of music that people choose to listen to. As Matt Miller puts it, music is a form of art and it’s all about connection with others.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is supposed to a holiday to celebrate the love you have for another person. It’s a time to break out all the romantic ideas that you have been hiding in your back pocket. But what happens when Valentine’s Day falls on a day of the week that may be rather inconvenient for most? Do you still try to make plans and celebrate? Or do you post pone the celebrations for another time or even just forgo them altogether?

For many people it seems that this year was the year to post pone celebrations or even  just forget about them altogether since Valentine’s Day happened to fall on a Monday. Many people were working or in class and therefore Valentine’s Day was not a priority for them.

For Darlene Kwan, an Algonquin Colllege student, Valentine’s Day was just another average day at school.

“I went to school and then I went to work,” said Kwan. “But I would have liked have spent more time with my boyfriend for sure.”

For other people, Valentine’s Day is just another day. In fact, some people even avoid Valentine’s Day plans since they can go out and spend time with their loved ones any other day or night of the year and don’t need a certain day to tell them to make those around them feel special.

For Maryanne Murphy,  she was more then happen to forgo Valentine’s Day specific plans with her husband.

“We did absolutely nothing [for Valentine’s Day] and that was fine with me, ” said Murphy. ” I told my husband that we  can go out for dinner another time becuase I find that Valentine’s Day the prices are inflated a lot of times they  change the menu or have a select menu and we have been disappointed in the past.”

Murphy said this upcoming weekend, perhaps her and her husband would go out to a show  and maybe do dinner another time.

No matter what your Valentine’s Day plans were,  the most important thing to remember is that there are 364 other days in the year to make those around you feel special and it doesn’t have to take a designated holidays in the calendar year to make those feelings known.

Hunter City Madness

Originally posted at (SLR-GIRL) on November 6, 2009.

Wearing a black and lime green George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelics (P-Funk) “Funkadelic” t-shirt with jeans and black Airwalk sneakers, Justin Gow is a far cry from his early days performing covers at his grade seven talent show.

In the midst of going to school at Algonquin College for Journalism and going in and out of Montreal for recording sessions, Gow took some time to sit down with me and talk about his life as a musician, fronting his southern metal/rock/hardcore band, Hunter City Madness.

During his 1st performance at the Stephen Leacock Public School talent show, and not feeling so confident in his abilities at the time, Gow found himself having to perform all alone up on stage for the first time ever.

“There have been plenty of times that I’ve been nervous, but i was really nervous then,” said Gow, 21. “My music teacher Mr. Powers basically convinced me to do it cause I wasn’t going to, but I did anyways. I played Green Day’s ‘Time of Your Life’. I messed up and forgot words, chords, the tune at one point, a bridge… but looking back it was a good decision to go on.”

Gow has no problem playing such easy songs as ‘Time of Your Life’ now-a-days. Quoting Every Time I Die as one of his favourite bands because they are “crazy, dirty, funny, shitty dudes,”  it’s no surprise that Justin has moved on to bigger and better things, playing clubs and venues in Both Ottawa and Montreal as often as possible.

“I’m glad I did it then cause otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten any good feedback and wouldn’t have been motivated to keep going and trying to get better,” said Gow. “I wouldn’t be where i am now.”

With the release of their first EP, See You In Hell, recorded at Red Dusk Studios in Saint Hysinthe, just outside of Montreal, Gow and Hunter City Madness find themselves in a great place for sure.

Before getting to this point, however, Gow discovered how hard it is to go on tour, especially for the first time, in the summer of 2009.

“We were on tour for 2 weeks making stops in places such as Kingston, Quebec City, Toronto and Windsor, as well as others along the way,” said Gow.

Although the Chubby Pickle in Windsor may have been the biggest venue the band played while on tour, joining two other local bands, one of the most memorable stops on the tour for Gow was the show in Kingston at the Frog Hop along Kingston’s Princess Street.

“We met up with some people who came up form Ottawa to see us play,” said Gow. “After the show, we went and partied in the forest on some land that my buddy owns and camped out for the night.”

Not only did the band members book the tour themselves, they also built up their on little trailer to get from place-to-place.

“We built a shitty trailer made of wood on top of an old trailer and pulled it with my five-person Intrepid,” laughed Gow.

After finishing the recording of their EP,  Hunter City Madness started playing more shows in Ottawa again preparing for a  chance to go on tour for round two, perhaps this time with a little more than a “shitty little trailer.”

Online dating…what gives?

No one ever said dating would be easy, but how come people never say that it would be this hard either? With all the new ways to find and meet new people – online, phone call-centers/dating lines, etc.  – Why is it that it is so hard to still find that special person that you have been searching for?

It seems almost an enigma of sorts that despite all these new ways to find and meet new people, we can still not find that one person that could end our search. It is as if technology has in fact hindered our ability to go out and be sociable and to interact with others, in life in general, but even more so in dating. I myself am not immune to the attraction that lies at the ease of clicking a button in search of someone special, yet I find myself wondering if this is really the easiest way.

For all those people who have found the love of their life through online dating, I applaud you and congratulate you on your achievement in life. For everyone else, such as myself, I wonder whether it is possible to ever reach that level of achievement in our search for love despite all the tools within our grasp.

I am not currently dating anyone that I have met online, the current man in my life and I have met through conventional means; however my previous boyfriend was someone I had met on a free dating site called It’s a site that allows its users free access to all of its services such as general and advance searches in which you can tweak your setting to looks for exactly what you want – you know, that tall dark and handsome rich doctor who has just never had time to go out and meet people while doing his residency and specialized surgical rotation at the most prestigious hospital in the country? Yeah that guy. – as well as services such as listing people as your “favourites” or sending messages or even instant messages to other users. For all it offers its users, it’s surprising that this site is still available to free.

Back to my previous boyfriend. I happened to come upon his picture and thought he was really good looking and after reading through his profile, I decided I wanted to talk to him and went for it. I made the first move. I think that is one of the advantages of online dating for sure. It allows people who would normally be shy (not that I fall into that category at all) to push their boundaries and go out on a limb to try to make a connection with someone else. It still allows for some kind of anonymity so that there is no harm in reaching out. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone doesn’t read the email message you sent them? At least it wasn’t a face-to-face rejection and allows you to move on to the next potential love interest, and who knows, they might read what you wrote and actually want to talk some more.

When it comes to online dating, probably the most important thing to remember is that not everyone is looking for the same thing. Guys tend to be looking for “intimate encounters” more often than not, even if their profile says otherwise. Girls tend to be looking for actual relationships and someone to take home and cuddles up on the couch and watch movies with. Sometimes though, what a guy’s profile says is actually what he wants and that real connection can be made and flourish into something more substantial than a one-night-stand. In either case, it’s also important to remember that safety is an issue too.

More and more people are using the Internet and from all age groups. Most people you meet online, even if not in person, are genuine people and not creepy, malicious crazies, but there are still those out there who wish to prey on the insecurities and trust of others and so for all those people looking to meet people in person that they’ve talk to online. For those out there who wish to pursue this form of interaction, I have a few words of advice.

  1. Always meet in public first, second, third times. After the third date or so, make it a point to introduce them to your friends. We all know that we value our the opinions of our friends, but when it comes to online dating, seeing how they act around your friends and the people that you trust the most is important because they may be putting a front on for you and act differently when around others.
  2. Trust your gut. If something feels wrong, ask questions. Find out answers and never ever be afraid to stand up for yourself!
  3. Don’t let them pressure you into anything you don’t want to do. If it feels right, do whatever you want. If it doesn’t, then say good night and walk away.
  4. There was this one guy who turned out to be a total jerk, who I had met months before my last boyfriend, and who go physical with me in a bad way, something I am thankful that happened while I was with my friends. A huge reason why meeting your friends is truly important. With that being said, I don’t regret sleeping with any of the men I have met in the past because at the time things felt right. I don’t regret anything that happened between us. Stuff happens and you have to learn to deal with it, but unless something tragic or life altering takes place, such as injury, death, pregnancy, etc., don’t let things that you have done be regrets. Take them as lessons to be learned and remember and know better for the next time. Nothing in life should be truly regretted because there is always something to be learned from every experience. This is especially true when it comes to online dating. Don’t let one bad experience discourage you from finding one of the good guys.

So bring on the men and let all those women out there enjoy themselves and their freedom a little bit! Dating should not have to be this hard. No one said it would be easy, but give a gal a break once in a while and let something go in the right direction of meeting Mr. Right, if not at least Mr. Right-Now.

Your Favorite Ex

Originally posted at ( SLR-GIRL ) on April 30, 2009

Boston, Massachusetts, USA – home of the Red Sox and Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall, Boston Duck Tours, the best canolies that I have ever had…and local band Your Favorite Ex!

Currently all calling Boston home, Your Favorite Ex is a rock/pop-punk outlet featuring Chris Mitchell on vocals and guitar, Anthony Sharamitaro on guitar, Jay Donovan on bass, and Leo Teran drums. Reminiscent of Brand New or the Spill Canvas with a sound that can only be described as emotionally connected and cohesively well versed, it’s hard to imagine that YFX have only been a complete band for less than a month! Already with a page and music on’s Soundtrack, working their way up the charts, YFX is for sure on the right path to where they want to be, at the top of everyone’s playlists!

Despite the band’s young age as a cohesive unit, it’s members are no stranger’s to music. Originally handed down a guitar from his father, Chris started signing to songs on the radio in his teens years and eventually taught himself to play his guitar and began to put two and two together, creating the talent that he is today. Anthony on the other hand, didn’t even know what a guitar was until he saw Tom DeLonge playing on the music video for All the Small Things by Blink 182, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting to where he is now.

“When I was thirteen, I remember flipping through the channel’s on TV and landing on MTV, only to find something that would eventually kickoff a path to my future: Blink 182 dancing around in their All the Small Things video,” said Sharamitaro

The other two members of the band, and most recent additions, follow along the same path. Jay, who is currently enrolled at Northeastern University in Boston, was quick to pick up bass some guitar and was eager to join the band. Teran,as Sharamitaro puts it “always had a passion for music (even when he was young) and began his musical intake as a multi-instrumentalist, but he always had a bigger passion for drums.”

Moving from his hometown of Miami, Fl. to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, it’s no wonder that Teran found his way into a band on the up and up.

All members of YFX see themselves going far in this industry ultimately plan on making a go of YFX as their careers. Nothing is ever set in stone, but with a highly fan-anticipated release of their EP in August 2009, the band is off to a great start! As an anonymous fan once put it, “[These] guys are the next generation of music of this generation’s music – YFX IS this {music} industry’s future.”

Hopefully YFX can give their fans, new and old, the impression of happiness that the band wants to impress upon it’s listeners on a regular basis. As far as fans are concerned, the greatest moments that the band has had over the past year are all about the fans, especially signing autographs.

“I mean, it’s sounds so cheesy, but all of the people who come up to us and ask for them are 100% dead serious. Being able to hook onto well-known venues in the short time we’ve been a band… it’s just such a great feeling to know we’re providing a form of entertainment in musical form that is actually being enjoyed. It makes us smile and want to keep making music forever,” said Sharamitaro.

Note to all blog readers: please check these guys out, you won’t be disappointed!!

Communication and similar interests are elementary my dear Watson!

All the relationship experts will tell you that communication and similar interest are  essential to a healthy relationship. This is a very common train of thought and i couldn’t agree more.

From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that being able to talk openly with your partner is important. If you can’t talk to them about your wants, needs, desires, thoughts, plans, etc. then you aren’t really able to be yourself with them. You aren’t giving yourself fully to the other person and that’s not fair to either one of you in the relationship. Ultimately, this relationship will fail because of the lack of communication. It’s happened to me. I wasn’t able to be myself fully around the other person. I couldn’t tell them everything and  felt like they were hiding things from me.  A friend of mine, Liz*, has a similar experience.

Liz* has been in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend. They have been going out almost three years. They love each other deeply and it’s very obvious, but I am constantly hearing that she feels there are certain things she can’t tell him because she is afraid of hurting his feelings or him not wanting to talk it through. This is a lack of communication, or rather a lack of “good” communication because they don’t talk about everything. There are certain subjects that they just don’t talk about. They do talk about the future and their wants and needs and desires,

except when it comes to being intimate. I’m not saying this relationship is necessarily going to fail. In truth it’ll probably last despite the lack of “good”communication but that is only out of fear of the unknown and how things can be different and so much better if they just communicated better.

Another thing that will help Liz* and her boyfriend stay strong in spite of the lack of “good” communication is the fact that they do enjoy spending time together and pursuing similar interests such as movies, museums, and picnics. I think this is just as important as good communication in a relationship. It’s important to be able to share you likes and interests with your significant other. This doesn’t mean that  you have to like all of the same things as the other person but it’s good to have at least a few of the same interests. Daniela F. and her boyfriend Brian H. can attest to this.

“It’s really important to me that he likes doing winter sports like skating and skiing or snowboarding,” said Daniela F. “It makes it so much easier  to enjoy each other’s company when we both like what we are doing.”

Daniela F. and Brian H. take time to stretch together before hitting the slopes for some time together sharing similar interests.

These two lovebirds are always out skating the canal or hitting the slopes. It makes for another kind of intimacy that doesn’t include a bed. This kind of intimacy is emotional and provides a connection with the other person. To be able to  laugh and take pleasure in spending time with the other person outside of the bedroom is another form of communication that is essential in a relationship. If you aren’t enjoying the activity you are doing with the other person, even if they are enjoying it, then you will ultimately feel resentful because you aren’t enjoying yourself, and thus you aren’t enjoying the company of the other person. This is why having at least a few similar interest where both people can enjoy the activity and each other’s company is essential to any healthy relationship.

If you are in a relationship that is lacking in communication, intimacy and similar interest, perhaps it is time to reconsider  the relationship as a whole. Maybe you are better off friends. Maybe you are better off not seeing other after all is said and done. But you live, you love, and you learn from every experience and hopefully future relationships will be better for it.

*Name has been change to protect identity.

Best make-out songs

It’s no surprise that there is a connection between what goes on between the eardrums and what goes on between the sheets.  We all know that the right sounds can really set the mood for the rest of the night. There are certain songs that everyone has on their ‘getting lucky’ playlist and it’s unlikely that anyone but those who are listening to it get to find out what those songs are. For a change of pace, here are a few of the songs that people in Ottawa might have on their ‘making-out’ playlist.

  • Kings of Leon – Sex on fire: Everywhere you look these days celebrities are showing up at Kings of Leon concerts and are always getting caught making out to their songs. On more than one occasion Gossip Girl and Twilight couples (GG: Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr and T: Kristen Stweart and Robert Pattison) have been caught at a show in the throws of a passionate kiss or two. According to, other celebrities have included Miley Cyrus, Amanda Bynes, Orlando Bloom and Justine Timberlake, who celebrated his 30th birthday at a show last year. This is definitely a bandwagon upon which you want to jump.

    These two were listening to John Mayer's Your Body is a Wonderland.

  • The Beatles – I want to hold your hand: It’s a classic. You can’t go wrong with The Beatles. A popular song in it’s own right, possibly made even more popular still by  2007’s full length film Across the Universe which was based on the songs by The Beatles. This adaptation lends a new perspective to the classic through the vocal stylings of T.V. Caprio who Played Prudence, a young lesbian on a path to self-discovery in the film. This take on the classic sheds new light on the lyrics that are so simple and straight to the point. Lyrics like “…And please, say to me/You’ll let me hold your hand/I’ll let me hold your hand/I wanna hold your hand/And when I touch you I feel happy Inside/It’s such a feeling that my love/I can’t hide..” When you listen to this song you won’t want to hide your feelings either.
  • The Spill Canvas – Connect the dots: It’s a song about taking care of the person you care about the most and making them feel special.. inside and out. The lyrics speak for themselves. “If your feet hurt from walking too much/then I will tend to them, with a velvet touch./If your lungs just don’t want to work today/then I’ll perform a mouth to mouth until you’re okay./Don’t you just love the feeling of my fingertips,circling your lips/Don’t you just love the desire taking hold of you, I can tell you do./I know all your favorite spots,and tonight we will connect the dots.” Honestly, you couldn’t ask for better lyrics to get your grove on to, now could you?
  • John Mayer – Your body is a wonderland: Soulful, sensual, and pleasing to the eye, it’s no surprise that John Mayer’s voice is just as attention grabbing. This song is playful and catchy and it’s a heartfelt love song. How can you not want to lock lips with your lover and never let go when John Mayer is saying your body is a place of wonder and to be discovered. This song makes you want to take every inch of each other in and discover all the ins and outs of the other person and find out what makes them tick. With sultry lyrics and a sexy voice, I dare you not to give into the song and all you desires.
  • Hedley – Sweater Song: This song is all about deep feelings for another person and how badly you wish they were near you all the time, even though a lot of time is spent apart. It’s about a lover leaving for a prolonged period of time and how the keep each other close, the lovers exchange a t-shirt and a sweater to remember each other. When the time apart comes to an end, the lovers reunite and can’t wait to get their hands on the other person, forget the tee and sweater and just ravish each other. If this song doesn’t get you in the mood to take your partner in your arms and never let go, then nothing will.

These are of course just a few songs that seem to pop up on many people’s make-out song’s list. Everybody has their own tastes and turn-ons but maybe these will get you started and hopefully your own songs can help you finish what you started.