A Blog is Born

Ever wondered if you should start another blog? It’s nice and easy with WordPress. Here’s a post with a few things to consider:

A Blog is Born.

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Time for a Change?

I’ve been doing some thinking about my blog (and by that I mean that today I thought something for the first time), and I think it’s time to try something new.

I tend to make change-related decisions pretty quickly. I think perhaps it scares the people close to me because it seems like I don’t think about things.

I DO think before I act (mostly), but really ideas sometimes just present themselves to me in a fully formed way, and if it makes sense to me, I’ll go for it.

So what is this brilliant idea, you ask?

Don’t despair, but I’m thinking of letting this blog go for a bit. I want to continue with the concept, and I love the Art of Winnipeg, but it’s getting tough for me to come up with content along with the other work that I’m doing.

Which MEANS it might be time for me to start something new!

Any thoughts or ideas for me?

Top idea at the moment is along the lines of a personal blog, day to day and what’s going on. I’ll need to come up with a better description of it, but I like to think that it would be kind of interesting.


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To resolve or not to resolve?

Add a three after that one and it's current! Image from http://bit.ly/eImQEC

I’d like to share an article I wrote about New Year’s resolutions.

I know it’s been several days now since the time of making resolutions, and statistically somewhere around 31% of people have jumped off the wagon by now, depending on which authority you read to get those numbers.

(I usually take statistics with a grain of salt.)


I thought you might want to read anyway, and since my article didn’t end up getting printed in the place I’d intended, you are the first audience.

Enjoy: read, and agree or disagree. Let me know what you think.


To Resolve or Not to Resolve?

New Year’s resolutions face skepticism as Winnipeggers make other plans

Although a longstanding tradition, New Year’s resolutions are taking heat as the general trend seems to be make a resolution only to break it within a few weeks.

By early evening on Jan. 2, 2012, over 1100 people had responded to the poll posted on winnipegfreepress.com about New Year’s resolutions. Of the respondents, 77 per cent declared they hadn’t made any resolutions. Why not? “I never keep them,” according to the poll.

“I’ve grown to really dislike New Year’s resolutions because they are almost always doomed to fail,” said Steve Dick, Worship Pastor at Eastview Community Church. “Give up those. Stop that. Less this. Stay away. Rather, let’s resolve to do something positive.” He added, “It’s just my opinion but I have lived through too many New Year’s resolutions failed.”

Reid Valmestad, a first-year student at the University of Winnipeg, said he’s never made New Year’s resolutions. “I don’t really see the point of setting a goal for the whole year, once a year,” he said. “You should be setting goals for yourself as many times as you can.”

Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., a professor at the University of California, Riverside, goes even further. In an article published on psychologytoday.com, he declared, “when we focus in on ourselves, we often subvert or destroy the very things that can lead to better health and happiness.”

So what to do when New Year’s rolls around?

“Mentally I think it’s easier to turn over a new leaf with a new year,” said Rose Dillon, who became a mom in January of last year. “Practically, though,” she added, “I think it takes a few years to actually follow through – I’ve found this only possible for myself in the last couple years!”

Valmestad said that instead of resolutions, he evaluates his own behaviour. “I just kind of do mental checks every day,” he said. “You know, ‘how will this make myself seem as a person,’ and if it’s anything that I don’t want to be perceived by other people, I don’t do it!”

“The best new year’s resolution,” Dr. Friedman said, “is to throw away your self-improvement lists and focus on accomplishing things at work (or school), with friends and family, and with your community.”

His recommendation sounded a lot like Steve Dick’s plan. “Let’s resolve to do something more positive,” he said. “More time to get to know God. More time with family and friends. More reading.”

Dick said he will focus on the positive rather than what should be avoided in the New Year. “Resolve to do instead of making resolutions to ‘not do,’” he said. “In my case it’s for God.”

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Why goals take the gold over resolutions

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I can’t say I’ve ever really made any.

I love planning and goals and generally have at least one thing on the go in the planning portion of my brain, but I don’t make resolutions.

Why not, you ask? I don’t want to make resolutions at the start of a new year, just because that’s when you’re supposed to or that’s when everyone else is making them. Also, I don’t want to put a bunch of things on paper (despite all the computer stuff I have, I still have to love writing by hand) that aren’t going to happen.

I think there is a big difference between goals and resolutions. Perhaps some people say resolution and to them it means what I mean when I say goal. That’s fine.

I consider goals to be measurable and specific, and resolutions to be things that you want to stop or start doing in a more vague way. I googled these two words and came across a blog post that I feel expresses the differences very well. There’s also the acronym SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) to help with goal-setting. Check out the article here with more details on SMART goals.

What do you think about resolutions? Are you for or against them? Do you make resolutions or do you set yourself goals?

Independently of the new year, I’ve been thinking about goals and trying to compile a list of goals that I’d like to achieve. After that I want to break them down into steps so I can start!

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Romeo and Juliet presented by the MTC

Bruce Monk's photo shows Marc Bendavid as Romeo, Pam Patel as Juliet

Romeo and Juliet’s pilgrimage from ancient Verona to modern-day Jerusalem at the Manitoba Theatre Centre was surprisingly smooth. The retelling of the famous play was directed and performed so that even someone without prior knowledge of the story could easily follow along, despite director Steven Schipper’s decision to keep Shakespeare’s original language.

RJ Parrish as Tybalt, Ari Weinberg as Benvolio and Gareth Potter as Mercutio. Photo by Bruce Monk.

Romeo and Juliet tells the story of two young people who meet by chance and immediately fall in love. Their families – the Montagues and the Capulets – are feuding, so they marry in secret. Beyond the inevitable in-law problems, complications arise when Romeo’s friend Mercutio is murdered by Juliet’s cousin, a Capulet. Romeo kills him in a rage and is banished from the city, while Juliet’s father promises another man that he can marry her.

As the house lights dimmed in the theatre and music began playing precisely at 8:05 p.m., the audience hushed to gain its first glimpse of the stage.

Set and costume designer Michael Gianfrancesco had the stage dressed in a grey cobblestone garb, with a large balcony above centre stage and a smaller balcony on each side. Although it was a nonissue for the majority of the play, the right balcony was not visible to someone sitting at the end of some rows closer to the front.

The understated set didn’t bring to mind any specific time period and facilitated the action without being distracting. The play also used two video screens, located above the set on stage left and right. They used images such as rooftops or windows to subtly enhance each scene.

Marc Bendavid as Romeo, Andrea Davis as Nurse and Gareth Potter as Mercutio. Photo by Bruce Monk.

The cast as a whole rose to the occasion with the production, which has several high-emotion scenes. Noteworthy was Juliet’s nurse, played by Andrea Davis, who cried real tears when she learned of Tybalt’s death. The monologues – often a challenge because there’s less interaction between characters – were spoken at a good pace and with appropriate emotion; Juliet’s famous “wherefore art thou Romeo” monologue was particularly well-delivered.

The actors all knew their lines, and with the exception of about three minor stutters, spoke perfectly. Even when the actor spoke quickly or with a great deal of feeling, every line was audible, and the copious spitting did not prevent excellent pronunciation.

The modern-day setting was made obvious early in the play, when semi-automatic guns were shot into the air to break up a fight. In the shocked silence that followed, the shells could be heard dropping onto the stage floor.

Bruce Monk's photo shows Marc Bendavid as Romeo, Pam Patel as Juliet

Gianfrancesco approached his costuming in much the same way. He dressed the characters in modern clothing, with the exception of Friar Laurence, who appeared in a traditional monk’s habit. Romeo, played by Marc Bendavid, first arrived onstage dressed in a polo shirt and dark jeans and wearing a pair of headphones around his neck. Juliet, played by Pam Patel, wore a simple nightdress for much of the play – a choice that presented her as young and vulnerable. This strengthened the contrast of her character when she resolved to love Romeo despite their families’ feud.

Romeo and Juliet will play at MTC until Saturday, Dec. 17, with ticket prices ranging from $27 to $75.  The production is two hours and 45 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission.

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In Search of a Name

Recently I’ve been thinking about something very exciting. As you may know, I’m going to be a film director. Not sure what my path will be yet, but I am extremely excited to find out.

I’ve done some video work and photography in the past year (although not as much since I started school, admittedly), and it has come to my attention that I need to make a name for myself. Literally.

Yes, it’s time to come up with a name that I can attach to my work, and something that I can use closely with my own personal brand (which I’m also working on developing).

This is where I need your help, all you creative and idea-filled people out there!

A name can be anything – I just don’t want to have my name as the title – and can use any number of descriptors, such as: pictures, films, media, studios, entertainment, productions, cinema, and more!

I really like “Rising Sun” as a name. There is unfortunately already a Rising Sun Pictures, but I could end it in something else, or come up with something new altogether!

Some current production company names include:

  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Touchstone Pictures
  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • Sherwood Pictures
  • Advent Film Group
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Affirm Films

Please give me any suggestions or comments. Even if it’s just to throw an idea out there, please let me know what you think.

Do you like Rising Sun? Hate it? Have a different idea? Want to comment on someone else’s idea? Let me know!

Sources include http://www.imdb.com and Wikipedia’s list of film production companies.

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A Life Well-Lived

Last week my grandfather died. He’s the first person in my family, who I knew well, who has passed on, and it’s gotten me to thinking. There were a lot of nice things said at his funeral. We his family know that he wasn’t perfect, but he sure was loved.

Makes me think again how important it is to keep important things at the top of our priority lists. You know? The art of balance, mentioned in a previous post, might be one of the most important disciplines we can develop. If we get that one right, our time will be managed well enough that we can work on other skills and disciplines and relationships.

No matter what happens to me, I have a choice. Life is like a series of crossroads, and although many things can happen to me that I have no control over, I ALWAYS can choose how I respond to it.

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books. Now I’m thinking how all of life is kind of like that. I can choose my own adventure.



Oh, and the crossroads are much easier if you share them. Family and friends are perfect!

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