Blogging and jogging

Last week I wrote about my junk food addiction and I knew when I wrote that column that it would hit home for some readers and not register at all with others. I also knew I’d get a lot of advice from people about how to lose weight, which I gratefully accepted.

While many of the suggestions I received were excellent and ones I will look into, I actually do know a little something about how to lose weight and have been successful at doing so many times. What I’m far less knowledgeable about is how to conquer my self-sabotaging ways which lead me back to a place of eventually feeling heavy and unfit again.

If there’s a magic potion for that, I’m in, but after decades of trying almost every diet solution out there, I’m quite convinced there isn’t a simple or easy cure for self-destruction.  I’m no psychiatrist, but I believe that conquering that kind of behaviour, and unhealthy addictions in general, has more to do with our minds and our own feelings of self worth than anything else.

Yes, consuming healthy foods will assist with a healthier mindset, which is why I’m finally eating clean, drinking eight waters a day and exercising when I can.  I’m also recording everything I consume at because I believe that logging a diary of what I put in my body will help keep me on track to reaching my goals. For anyone out there looking to get healthier and wanting to sign up to this free website, please connect with me there if you’d like to encourage each other along the way.

Okay, no more weight loss talk for awhile. I don’t want to bore the heck out of all the readers out there who could care less about this topic and have probably stopped reading this article already. As of this week I’ll be blogging about random topics that interest me on my newly-updated website and I’ll undoubtedly write about this particular subject from time to time. If you’d like to connect with me there, please do. Subscriptions to my website are free and weekly prizes will be given out to those who sign up.

Along with my blogs I will also be posting cartoons courtesy of my talented cartoonist Jim Hunt, and I’m always open to any feedback or ideas that anyone would like to share.

Why I would choose to write more when I clearly could use the time in the gym or doing countless other things is a little beyond me right now. All I can say is that I have this overwhelming urge to share more than I already do in my weekly newspaper columns.

There’s something about blogging that’s different than column writing and I guess the biggest difference is the lack of rules that apply when you’re writing online. I can be as brief or as lengthy as I wish and I can write about whatever topic interests me in that moment with little regard to appealing to the masses.

The definition of a blog according to the Urban Dictionary on the internet is this: A meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life.

With a description as wonderful as that, who wouldn’t want to spend their valuable time blogging? Now if I could only figure out a way to blog and jog simultaneously, I’d be set.

For more columns, cartoons, blogs and videos please visit me at

The introduction to the introduction

After almost three years of writing a column that’s accompanied by a custom illustration, I got to see the wonderful work of my cartoonist come to life in a whole new way this week.

With two years of producing short videos under my belt, I’d been itching to create an animated introduction to the On a Brighter Note series. Once I met local animator Todd Ramsay and saw some of his fantastic work, I knew it was just a matter of time.

A big fan of Jim Hunt, Todd said he’d be happy to work with us.  I called Jim to ask if he’d ever had any of his cartoons animated during his impressive 30-year career.

“No,” he replied. “But I’ve always wanted to.” It was just the answer I was hoping for.

I know I should have been satisfied with the weekly cartoons he was emailing me, and I easily could have been. Every time I open one of his attachments it feels like I’m opening a wonderful gift that will significantly add to my story in a way that I never could. But the idea of seeing one of his drawings move and start to sing made me want to move and start to sing too. So I did.

“I’ve written a jingle that I’d like to record,” I told my new music producer friend, Bob Gabelhouse, when I went to his studio.

“Can you sing?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Like a banshee.” But that didn’t matter. The animation was intended to jive with the column, and how can I write a column about my life and not use my own voice for the song?

While I tortured BiG Audio Production Studio with my limited vocal abilities, Jim delighted the animator and me with four crisp, clean cartoons. The rest was up to Todd Ramsay to work his magic and breathe life into our vision.

The first time I saw the finished animation I immediately watched it again, and then again and again and again. The sound of my own voice made me cringe, but the visuals on screen were poetic. For someone to take the image in my brain and make it appear before me in a way I could never have done on my own is a wonderful gift that I’m so grateful to receive.

And it’s a gift I’m used to getting each week. Not just with Jim Hunt’s brilliant cartoons, but with Jason Woodford’s editing of my videos. Often we run out of the time and resources to get the videos exactly as I envision, but we get a heck of a lot closer than if I were doing them myself.

On a Brighter Note has required the skills of others since its inception three years ago and I’m proud and full of gratitude to have worked with some amazingly talented artists along the way.

My video this week showcases a few of those people. It also serves as a great example of what could happen should you ever trust me to tell your side of the story. To see that video with it’s new animated introduction, please visit

Thanks to the candidates

I grew up believing that all politicians were egotistical, thieving liars. Not because my parents taught me so, but because that was a common societal perception. I’m not sure when I recognized that this was not actually true, I only know that once I did, I felt compelled to defend them, much like kids who get picked on in the schoolyard.

Yes, some politicians are egotistical, thieving liars. But so are some doctors, firefighters, teachers and just about any other profession out there. To think that all politicians fit this negative stereotype would be completely inaccurate.

Yet, according to the website, the second meaning of the word politician is this:  “A seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favour or retaining power than about maintaining principles.”

Wow. It’s no wonder such a small percentage of people choose to pursue a career as a public servant.

Over the years I’ve met many politicians, from the local level to the national, and almost all of them have been well-intentioned, hard workers who either had developed a thick skin, or were in the process of doing so.

“You can’t take things personally,” said one of them. “And if you don’t learn that early on, it’ll eat you alive.”

When it comes to representing the people, politicians are inherently at a huge disadvantage popularity-wise because there’s no way they’ll be able to please everyone, and some of the people they’re unable to please will lash out aggressively.

Due to voter apathy, politicians in our country continue to be elected by the minority of people. This means that even though they’re representing all of us, it’s commonly expressed that perhaps they wouldn’t be if the majority had ventured out to vote. This is hardly the fault of those elected, but it adds to the resentment they are exposed to.

And the public is fickle. When the global economy is in a crisis, for example, it’s easy to blame the elected officials – even the ones at a local level.

The other thing impressed upon me growing up was to never talk about religion or politics in polite company. I understood the logic to that the first time I ignored such advice, and experienced a friendly debate progress to a heated argument  with someone I barely knew.

But sharing ideas and beliefs about two of the most influential factors on our human existence is important and should not be avoided. I think it should just be conveyed with more respect.

It’s okay for us to have different opinions and to not agree on everything under the sun. What’s not okay is shoving our beliefs down another person’s throat and casting judgment where it doesn’t belong.

Tolerance and communication are paramount to getting things done in this world, and I am grateful there are people willing to put themselves out there on our behalf, particularly if they continue to listen to those they represent.

There’s obviously many good reasons that 99.9% of us would never run for public office, but imagine our world without them.

With our municipal elections now over, I thank all the candidates who put themselves out there for a job so few of us would ever want. I think the majority of the people would agree: “Better you than me.”

To watch my third and last parody video playing a mayoral candidate who “stands for stuff”, please visit