Halifax Music Scene Bursts at the Seams

November was a big month for music in Halifax! Matt Mays, The Sheepdogs, The Stanfields, The Trews and Theory of a Deadman all put on sold out shows. There were also numerous big announcements for Halifax’s music scene looking ahead for 2012. I got the chance to see many of the concerts in the month of November and excited for what is shaping up to be a great year in music next year for Halifax.

            First, I got to check out Matt Mays and El Torpedo at the Forum on November 15. Matt Mays got a warm welcome from his hometown crowd, and started the show with a hard rock performance of the first single from Coyote, “Indio”. Matt Mays continued his high energy performance all night playing numerous hits from his latest album and hits from all albums including; “City of Lakes”, “Tall Trees” and “Terminal Romance.” Mays showed his love for Halifax with numerous guitar solos and a double encore with Cocaine Cowgirl to cap off an amazing performance. Mays and El Torpedo bowed to a huge ovation, which was well deserved after an hour and a half of all his hits and ton of tracks off of his latest album.

            The very next night, I got to check out Theory of a Deadman and Monster Truck. Monster Truck opened with a strong rock performance, playing all of their big radio hits. It was a strong opening for Theory of a Deadman! Theory of a Deadman came out to a huge ovation from the crowd. They played all their hits ranging from new singles like “Hurricane” and “Lowlife” to their more classic hits like “Bad Girlfriend” and “Santa Monica.” However, despite their wide selection of big hits, they only played a short time longer then Monster Truck, only for about an hour. Theory of a Deadman was well worth the money for getting to hear all of my favorites, but the length of the performance was quite disappointing and they lacked an encore.

            Next up: The Trews. As a huge fan of The Trews I happily checked out their acoustic performance at the Rebecca Cohn. The Stanfields opened the show with all new material and did an awesome job. Although very different from the hard-rocking-drinking-life-a-fish band I am used to, they put on a mellow acoustic performance. The Trews came out to play their first set, and had a cool idea in mind for deciding what they would play in the second set; fans were invited to tweet the band the names of songs they wanted to hear. They played well known songs – “Highway of Heroes,” “I Can’t Stop Laughing” and “Not Ready to Go.” It was a high energy first set, with lots of interaction with the fans. The second set had a good combination of hits and lesser known songs, care-of fans. The Trews put on a fun, intimate and enjoyable show for people of all ages.

            November was not … Read the rest “Halifax Music Scene Bursts at the Seams”

Home-game Heartbreak

Huskies suffer close-call loss on home turf
By: Mark Moffatt

On Saturday, September 15, 2012 the Saint Mary’s Huskies’ had their first home football game of the season against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or in a non-conference game. The Huskies fans created a raucous atmosphere at the Stadium by showing up dressed and painted in their school colours; cheering their home team on to victory from start to finish. The Huskies caught the opponent off guard with an onside kick to start the game, and recovered it leading to a field goal for the first score of the game. Saint Mary’s kicker/punter Brett Lauther had an outstanding game going five for five on field goal attempts, while punting the ball ten times with a 41.2 yards per punt average. Defensive end Rob Jeuvenville stood out on defense for the Huskies, forcing the two fumbles in the game, one of which was recovered in the 2nd quarter by linebacker Marvin Golding who returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. The other fumble was recovered by linebacker Kyle Norris, who had an outstanding game recording 10 solo tackles, including one QB sack as well as breaking up one pass. Defensive Back Kayin Marchand-Wright had an up and down performance that reflected the narrative of the Huskies home coming game, recording seven solo tackles but unfortunately late in the 4th quarter was flagged twice on one drive for defensive pass interference, the second one taking away a would be game sealing interception for St. Mary’s. Offensively the Huskies only managed 133 total yards to Sherbroke’s 426, but their Defense won the turnover battle, which combined with the super special teams performance lead by Lauther and return man Jahmeek Taylor, had the Huskies leading by 9 points up until the last 2 minutes in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately those mental lapses late on defense, perhaps caused by the intense atmosphere of the game and the roaring of the fans, cost the Huskies their first win, losing 23-22. All in all it was a valiant effort and an excellent showing from both the Huskies football fans and athletes, who all remained optimistic about the chances of the team going forward.

The Cranky Professor

Honesty for the sake of living well

Mark Mercer

Alasdair MacIntyre, a philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, has formulated what I believe is a deep and compelling argument in favour of honesty. The discussion below draws on MacIntryre’s thought, especially as expressed in his book After Virtue.

Our initial question was this: Is it wise to be committed to honesty? I argued in a previous column that a commitment to honesty cannot be well defended on grounds of usefulness. Any moderately intelligent and resourceful person, I believe I’ve shown, likely will do better in many of her projects by being open to lying than by being closed to it.

A commitment to honesty, though, can be held either on grounds of usefulness or out of love for honesty itself. Thus, if it is ever wise to be committed to honesty, it is wise to be committed to it out of a love for it as constitutive of one of one’s projects. Our present question, then, is quite specific: Can it be wise to love honesty for its own sake?

MacIntyre’s answer is that it can be wise to love honesty, for honesty is a constitutive part of a life lived well, a life with which one is satisfied and richly content.

Much of what we do in life, though, is little more than drudgery. We ride the bus, we shop for shoes, we wash our clothes, we punch the time clock. Of course, some of what we do is pleasant or relaxing or entertaining. We enjoy a meal or a chat with friends, we watch a movie or play a video game, we go to the beach. Yet it would be a dull life in which work and drudgery served merely to enable us to afford food and entertainment.

Happily, we also—or, at least, we may also—participate in one or more complex activity defined by standards of excellence, standards that, when we participate in the activity, we endeavour to meet. We play the guitar or hockey, we raise children, we conduct an investigation, we tend a garden, we manage a business, and we do it seriously.

Unlike riding the bus or lounging on the beach, we can do these things well or poorly. There are ends to be achieved in doing these things—ends such as a well-played game of hockey or, in the case of parenting, young adults able and eager to make their own way in the world—, ends that require skilful engagement in the activity. They are activities in which we can fail. But in meeting the standards of excellence internal to them, we go a long way toward creating for ourselves lives we perceive to be worth living.

A person’s education in honesty begins—and, perhaps, ends—with his participation in activities of these sorts. We must be truthful, first with ourselves, second with our co-participants, if we are to develop the skills needed to meet whatever standards of excellence define success. That is, … Read the rest “The Cranky Professor”

“I Love You, Man” Inspires Woman to Start Man-Date Business

A local woman says she was inspired to help men make he-friends, via man-dates, after watching the new comedy “I Love You, Man”. In the film, friendless Peter Klaven goes on a series of man-dates to find a Best Man for his wedding, and Halifax’s Lydia Newcombe had an epiphany. She realized that she could set up a business to help men find male friends, without having them feel insecure about doing so. She is in the final stages of her business planning and expects to be open for business before summertime.

“Lotsa guys want to hang out with dudes in the summer – for bbq’s, tossing a football or drinking beer, but don’t know where to start. That’s where I’ll come in” says Newcombe, confidently. She’ll have a small physical space, but will operate mostly online. She insits it won’t be like dating sites, but will focus more on matching guys up who have similar interests. There will be weekly workshops and seminars in order to educate men about the sensitive issues surrounding man-dates. I asked about some of the topic ideas and Newcombe hesitantly gave up a couple of them.

“I’ll be teaching men the proper technique behind a man-hug. There are so many factors that go unappreciated, and many he-friends will go their separate ways because of this” offered Newcombe. I, for one, would pay whatever it takes in order to properly understand the man hug. Sign me up, Lydia. She will also touch upon voicemail etiquette, the high five vs knuckle bump debate, and what she calls the most important part of man-dates. “Eye contact is something guys aren’t aware of, but they have to be. If a guy isn’t looking in the right places, for the right amount of time, it could mean the end of his potential he-mate”. Eye agree, Lydia.

Sackville Gets Earth Hour Mixed Up and Turns On All Lights

From high atop my building’s roof on Saturday night, Halifax was not all that dark. From 8:30pm to 9:30pm there should have been drastically less lights on. I expected to go up there and see the city dim all at once, but I was wrong. So I came back inside, turned on some lights and watched TV. It was there that I saw a reporter who was in Sackville, where residents had gotten Earth Hour completely backwards, turning on as many lights as possible. “I thought we were celebrating the earth by lighting it up when it’s usually dark” said an unidentified woman. “I saw that the moon was only a sliver and assumed that since it wasn’t lighting us up, that we were supposed to” exclaimed a nearby man. How did Sackville get it so wrong?

Apparently, during the weeks prior to the Saturday event there were posters put up all around Sackville, explaining what was to be done during Earth Hour. Without any contact info, it’s difficult to say who was responsible for the posters. Word quickly spread and soon the whole town was under the impression they were to turn on more lights than usual. Satellite photos from that evening show an especially bright spot amidst relatively darker surrounding areas. ‘We thought we had flown off course” said a local airline pilot, about the confusion caused by the brighter-than-usual Sackville.

Using Facebook for Dating

At What Point is it Creepy?

So it’s pretty obvious that Facebook has infiltrated our lives and that some people (most?) have searched for someone that they didn’t really know, in hopes of learning more about them (read: seeing more pictures). Part of me thinks that it’s pretty creepy to do so, but are there some situations under which it’s not THAT creepy? Let’s take a look.

What about:

1. You meet someone online and get their name or email address

Is it creepy to THEN go to Facebook and do a search to see if they’re on there? You’ve already been trusted with a piece of information about them, and if it’s their email address then they clearly hope to chat with you some more. Some might say it’s a good precautionary measure. For example, you might have some mutual friends (or, maybe common acquaintances that aren’t so “friendly”) that could make the connection awkward. Or, you might find out that they’re really pretty terrible. And you won’t have invested all kinds of time getting to know them, to discover that.

2. You meet someone at a party and find them via name or a friend

If you attend a social gathering of some kind (maybe speed dating?) and you meet someone that you take a liking to. Is it a little creepy to go to Facebook and find them (whether via the friend you had in common or by their name) and check out their profile, assuming it’s not private? I guess this depends on whether they seemed to like you as well, or if they even spent much time talking to you. If someone whom you had hardly spoken to somehow contacted you after checking you out on Facebook, might you find it odd? Or flattering, if you found that person attractive? Be honest with yourself; you’d probably find it creepier if someone un-attractive (to you, at least) did it.

3. You have a job that has you taking names and email addresses

Let’s say you work somewhere that involves taking peoples’ names and/or email addresses, and you serve someone that you think you might get along with. It’s always tricky in this case because what you perceive to be a connection could simply be that person’s politeness. Nonetheless, is this wrong in ALL situations? Because you got the information while at work? It probably depends on whether or not that person would be happy that you did it. Regardless, if we can’t depend on bars, grocery stores, or the gym is it so wrong to use work to meet people? It probably is if you’re using information you shouldn’t be, for the purpose of meeting people. I in no way recommend or condone this one. Tread carefully.

4. You search Facebook for city, interests, etc and find people you’re interested in

What if you were to use Facebook LIKE an online dating site. You use the search function to see if anyone has the same interests … Read the rest “Using Facebook for Dating”

Cunning Linguist Can’t Google Clitoris

Oh, how I love words. I love playing with them. Apparently not all words are created equal, however. If you’re near a computer, try this for yourself (see if it still applies):

1. Go to www.google.com (is there a way to NOT get to .ca?)
2. Click on Preferences to the right of the search box.
3. Scroll down to Safe Search Filtering and check off the option to Use strict filtering (Filter both explicit text and explicit images).
4. Save Preferences
5. c-l-i-t-o-r-i-s ENTER

Your search – clitoris – did not match any documents.
• Try different keywords.

Wow! Despite the fact that Dictionary.com describes the clitoris as

“the erectile organ of the vulva,
homologous to the penis of the male”

Google doesn’t seem to think so. Homologous, by the way, means “having the same relative position, value, or structure”. I could understand Google’s refusal to allow search terms that are vulgar or slang words for sexual organs. Clitoris is the proper, medical term though. I realize blocking “dick” would mean that a person couldn’t search Dick Cheney, the movie “Dick”, Moby Dick, etc. It is nonetheless ironic that a word used as slang for the male sex organ yields results but “clitoris” doesn’t.

A lady by the name of Susie Bright noted last November 28th that the word “penis” yielded 33 million results using the same Safe Search Flitering. In less than two months that number has become 41.9 million – almost 9 million more results! Why can’t the clitoris get a little love here? I’m sure you ladies would agree.

Are you getting what you pay for?

If not, you better ask somebody!

I checked out a great forum that I frequent from time to time (http;//www.howardforums.com), in search of an answer to a Blackberry problem. I did solve the problem, but of course I wound up getting sucked into different topics altogether. One of the people who posted a comment had an interesting link in his signature (http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/speed_bumps), to the “Best Marketplace episode ever”. I must say, I DID thoroughly enjoy it. For anyone who is not familiar, Marketplace is a television show on CBC and “Whether it is a slick scam or maddening customer service, CBC News: Marketplace weeds out wrongdoing against consumers, and puts pressure on people in power to set things right.”

Essentially, Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) advertise high-speed Internet with the famous “up to” much like clothing stores use “from” or “and up” in their pricing on racks. It may say “from $9.99” but you better believe that a handful of items are that price and many are more expensive. Once those items have been sold, do you think the sign changes? I doubt it. Similarly, Internet download speeds are marketed but if specific addresses can’t ACTUALLY achieve those speeds, do you think the provider is going to offer a less expensive option? Don’t count on it.

So how are you supposed to know what speeds you’ll be able to get at your address? The short answer is you probably won’t. Internet speeds do depend on a number of factors (location, equipment, network setup, etc) and most ads mention this in their miniature print.

We ignore it because we don’t want to believe that we’ll be in the group that CAN’T get the greatest, fastest download speeds. We convince ourselves that they write that to cover their ASCII’s (nice, eh?) but that WE will certainly get the 5/10/15 mbps that is advertised. We might, some of the time. And the rest of the time it may not reach the advertised speeds. Which begs the question: If I’m averaging 2.5 mbps (megaBITS, not megaBYTES) download speeds when I’m paying for 5 mbps, should I still have to pay the same price as someone who ACTUALLY gets 5 mbps?

I certainly don’t think so, and I doubt you do either. Can you imagine the chaos if all the customers who checked their speeds (http://www.speedtest.net/) contacted their ISP’s when speeds did not reach what is advertised? I am willing to bet that more than half of you reading this have never checked your Internet download speed to see if you’re getting what you pay for. Doing it once isn’t the best indicator. Checking at different times of the day over the course of a week or so will give you the best results.


mbps – what the heck does this mean and how can you make sense of it?
I won’t get into complex math or definitions. Just know this:
1 megabyte = 8 megabits
So if your ISP advertised 8 mbps then you’d … Read the rest “Are you getting what you pay for?”