The Coolest Tweet Evar

I’ve exchanged tweets with some big names.

Political characters the likes of Marc Garneau, Tony Clement, Michael Ignatieff, Gilles Duceppe, Elizabeth May, Danielle Smith, and Naheed Nenshi have all found time to respond to a question I’ve asked them through Twitter.

I’ve had exchanges with celebrities like Colin and Justin, Al Roker, and Chris Harrison.

Even the highest reaches of the digerati, Amber Mac, Xeni Jardin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Chris Brogan, have responded to requests.

It’s at a point where I almost expect to have tweets answered, no matter who I fire an @ at.

Still, a tweet I received yesterday made me stop and glow for a moment. It wasn’t only a tweet from one of Canada’s greatest athletes, it was an acknowledgement that I had been part of her journey to the top of the mountain.

Christine Sinclair is the captain of the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team. She’s an Olympic bronze medalist, and again this year is being hailed as one of the greatest footballers on the planet. Christine is 29 years old and grew up in Burnaby, BC. That would have made her a pre-teen and teen when I was on the air in Vancouver at one of the powerhouse Top 40 radio stations in Canada, Z95.3FM.

I interviewed Christine this week about a sponsorship she has with Tide and KidSport. Before the interview, the PR rep mentioned that Christine had listened to me on the radio growing up and was almost as thrilled to talk to me as I was to speak with her.

Over my 22+ years on the radio, I’ve had the opportunity to interview everyone from The Spice Girls to Mick Jagger. I’ve met Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Gwen Stefani. It’s been a very cool ride. Sometimes, though, I forget about the audience that is growing up and listening to me. Every now and again someone will mention they used to listen to me “back in tha day.” You can’t imagine what a cool feeling that is, especially when it’s coming from an Olympic medalist.

I have said those medals that the athletes win belong to all Canadians. I’ll take a little extra pride in Christine’s knowing I entertained her on the way to soccer practice, played music while she did homework, and was a virtual companion for part of her ride to the top.

Here’s the interview with Christine Sinclair on the importance of amateur sport:

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In Calgary, It Snows All Year

The view from my window. #yyc

It snowed 11 cm today at my home in Calgary on October 23, 2012. That’s about 4 inches for those of you on the old scale. It’s enough to make you can huff and puff shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. It’s enough to turn a 25 minute commute into an 80 minute crawl.

And it’s not out of the ordinary.

There has been snow on the ground in every month of the calendar year over Calgary’s history. Our first year in the city saw snow on the ground in 10 different months. It first snowed mid-September, and it was still on the ground the day of my son’s 3rd birthday party on June 1.

July 15, 1999 famously saw roads closed in Alberta after a surprise squall kicked snow. That snowfall was during the Calgary Stampede, a festival which had started under 30 degree weather less than a week earlier.

After facing the first snow fall of the year, then the bitter cold, and a long feeling of winter, things don’t get better once spring rolls around. While the rest of Canada is waking up to a new season in March and April, Calgary is actually experiencing the snowiest months of the year.

Looking over a 30 year average you’ll see that why the city averages no snowfall in June, July, and August, every other month does feature a considerable dump. 21cm is expected in March, 15cm in April, and 10cm can fall on the ground well past Mother’s Day.

Still, despite all that snow, there’s only a 59% chance for snow to be on the ground for Christmas.

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The only good thing about snow in Calgary is that it’s usually gone as quickly as it arrives. The dry air is ripe to suck up the moisture from the ground, especially if a chinook blows in from the mountains.

The chinooks make life interesting. When Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, the February 13 Opening Ceremony saw temperatures in the low 20s and event facilities covered in artificial snow.

The snowfall this year allowed Nakiska to set October 26, 2012 as their opening date for downhill skiing. That is the earliest opening date for any ski resort in Canada. Ever.

Yes, it snows in Calgary all year round.

Direct Energy Nest

Pinkwashing Breast Cancer Every October

This post was originally published at The Yummy Mummy Club October 6, 2011

I was planning on writing a post about how the breast cancer movement has become over commercialized. Pink is persistent in the month of October found everywhere from the cleats of NFL players to the lapels of politicians. You can buy everything from hammers and hats to golf balls and travel mugs with the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness and research proudly displayed.

But something is missing from this mass marketing of the pink ribbon – the awareness. The movement is supposed to remind women to check their breasts for abnormalities. The heightened publicity for the month of October is to remind you to watch your body and catch this disease early so it’s not deadly.

Instead, it’s a way for companies to boost the bottom line while tossing a percentage of profits in the research kitty. Breast cancer is big business, to be sure.

That was my original thesis, anyway. And then I stumbled into a video that gets the spirit of what this movement is about.

Yes, even when talking about breast cancer, there’s an app for that. An app that is free. An app that brings everything about this movement full circle.

Rethink Breast Cancer’s Your Man Reminder is cheeky, fun and not about putting pink in every window, on every accessory and every athlete – it’s about awareness. It’s about prevention. It’s about looking after yourself.

Celebrate the survivors and honour those who have passed with pink this month, but also remember to regularly give yourself a little T-L-C.

To be honest, I’d like to go back to the days when black and orange were popular for the season, not pink. Wouldn’t it be great if our grand-kids just knew October as the month we celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving?

The Cost Of Diabetes [Infographic]

I run marathons for Team Diabetes.

It’s a cause I believe in passionately because it is fighting a disease that is reaching epidemic proportions in Canada.

By 2020 1/3 of Canadians will have diabetes. That’s why I run. That’s why I fundraise. That’s why I raise awareness. Join me.

This week, the Canadian Diabetes Association is having their annual conference in Vancouver. Follow the discussion on Twitter via #CDA12.

the cost of diabetes infographic

On Going Viral, Protecting Copyright, And Herding Cats

Cats that Webchick is herding

There’s a side effect of going viral: your image is everywhere. My article about having a favorite kid was picked up by websites around the world. Not just bloggers were writing about my story, but big news sites and media outlets too.

The first week it was the tv shows. Then it was the blogs. This week it’s the big magazines that are grabbing my story.

When it first broke, my inbox was filled with requests for interviews. I did a couple, but quickly stopped as the pressure from the audience was too much to bear. I was called some nasty, hurtful things by people I didn’t know and while I stood in front of it to try and put a human face on the story and quell the keyboard courage, it just meant I took the arrows to the face instead of my back.

My wife asked me to stop doing interviews.

“I am no longer doing media on this issue” was the form letter response I gave to more than 2 dozen outlets from the CBC to Ryan Seacrest.

Even without doing interviews, my story still spread. They talked about me without me as a guest, which didnt help the message any. Supposition and judgment replaced facts and the conventional wisdom was whipped up even more.

Favorite kid? Really? This is NEWS? The machine continued to crank and churn out the content that was easy for people to emotionally relate to and understand.

Many websites and news outlets wrote about this story as well, and this is the part that upset my wife: they used images of our boys. Hello Magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Toronto Standard, and nearly a dozen other outlets all grabbed images of my family without permission.

I had originally granted permission to The Daily Mail and ABC to use my image, that was it. Everyone else just assumed those images were public domain and grabbed them.

My wife did not want our boys’ faces tied to this story, so I started writing letters to the editors to ask them to remove the image. On the web, the cats had run free and I was about to try and herd them.

Hello [name of editor]

[insert publication] has published images of my family for which you have not been granted publishing rights.

[http://www.url where my image was posted]

All of my images are protected by a Creative Commons Non-Commerical Attribution license. These images were originally posted to my Flickr account where it is protected by this license, and [insert publication] has republished it without my permission.

Since you have used it commercially, I request that you immediately remove these images from any and all articles published across all of your websites and affiliates.

Thanks so much.

That’s it. Within hours most every single request I made was answered. An apology was given, and my image was pulled.

I write about my kids all the time, and it won’t stop me. I’ll continue to post their photos to Flickr, Twitter, and Instagram as a way of sharing with family and backing up.

I’ll also continue to use services like Google Alerts and to catch the sites that will write about me so I can respond and manage my copyrights.

But the Google juice that this story has given my name attached an image of my kids to it. I asked people to stop using it, and they did. Amazing.

Now if I could just get them to link to my actual stories instead of quoting me out of context, we’d be all set.

Image Credit muir.ceardach

First Tuesday Mini Build At The Chinook Mall Lego Store

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Lego Store – Chinook Mall
6455 Macleod Trail SW
(403) 252-5346

The Lego Store is to children what the Apple Store is to dads.

Check that, kids and dads alike love them both. Calgary is lucky enough to be one of a few cities in North America (only 4 in Canada) to have a specific Lego Store, and while the prices are often higher here than at other retailers it is a certain slice of nirvana for little boys and girls. You don’t need to buy anything there, just like at the Apple Store, you’re more than welcome to just go in and play.

There is a long calendar of events running at the store, and one of the most popular happens first Tuesday of every month – Mini Build night. From 5-7, 200 kids will get to build a miniature object and take it home for free. The lineups in the summer started more than an hour before the build happened, and often sold out. Now that we’re into the fall, the line can still be long in the earlier part of the run, but if you come after 6 you won’t have to wait as long.

The comparison to the Apple Store is a fair one. The Lego Store staff are just as jacked, geeked, and excited about their product. They love rolling up their sleeves and digging through the minifigs, talking about cool things the kids have built and just having fun.

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I took my 2 yr old to the Mini Build night and it didn’t matter if we got to build the cat of the month – he just loves visiting The Lego Store at Chinook Mall. He digs in the bins of bricks, he mixes and matches mini figs, he runs around and looks at the display cubes, dreams about getting the big boxes from Santa for Christmas and has an all around blast. We were there for an hour, in the end we did the Mini Build and went home with the biggest smiles on our faces.

It was a great father-son date night that didn’t cost a dime.

The next Mini Build will be on Tuesday November 6 – rumour has it they’ll be building turkeys.

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