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The title downplays the true severity of the word if you take it out of context and for those who I may offend reading the title or any part of this blog I do apologize and I don’t mean any ill will. I just think in this day and age, this topic needs to be broached more and more. Especially given the content it is used.

Picture my surprise on a road trip one day going a fair distance from one town to a another. Several people are in the vehicle, myself, and three others. One I do not know very well and the other two are great friends. Now when individuals of different origins go on a road trip, you can imagine the choice of music that is being listened to in a car. It was a rather eclectic selection of Alternative, Rock, R&B and of course Hip Hop. Now a song of hip hop origins is being played by a white male in the car at this time. The track is from Jay-Z’s latest efforts, The Blueprint 3 and it was called D.O.A. I’m a fan of the song, but anybody that listens to it, or more notably the “R” rated version to the song, they will know it has the “N” word included as most hip-hop songs in this day and age has.  Now as he sings along, apparently memorizing every word verbatim in the front seat, myself and my friend (she is of African Canadian descent) beside me in the back seat notice he is making a valiant effort to not say the “N” word during the song.  My friend chuckles beside me to herself, no doubt appreciating the effort made but at the same time wondering like I am: If she wasn’t in the car, would those words have been “edited” out of his rendition of the song?  Even if you’re in the comfort of your set of friends, does the idea that you are not offending somebody outright still make it right?  I think that’s still a significant question that should be asked among your set of friends to get their perspective.

To be clear, I don’t believe that word should be said in ANY situation.  To me it’s as simple as that. Now do I listen to music that has the word in it? Yes I do so let the hypocrite whispers begin. But if it’s any consolation I really wish the word wasn’t used as often as it is. I reallly wish artists like Common and Mos Def for example would not use that word especially.  Their music which is already so inspiring would be so much more without it. Do I believe that black people as a whole have the right to say that world given the use of the word in a NEGATIVE connotation in 400 years of oppression from white people? I don’t know. That’s really not for me to say, but I would think it doesn’t help them in any way.

The article that inspired me in question talks about a similar scenario I had referred to earlier and the awkward moment that ensued. This lead me to ask that question: What do you think of what is arguably the most controversial word in our vocabulary today and it’s use in pop and/or underground culture?

Here’s another thought to put things in perspective: Eminem, who is the greatest selling hip hop artist in history, who is a white man, raps about every and anything under the sun, from rape, murder, drugs, guns, abuse…everything. But you would not catch the N word coming from his mouth ever. He actually did rap negative racial slurs in a rap song he made 10 years before his career actually started and there was a big uproar in the hip hop community more than ten years after the fact. I believe the word or the meanings behind the word still hurts and is still oppressive no matter what connotation it is used in. What do you think?

-Vic De Zen

Ever been in a situation where you’re watching something that you feel uncomfortable watching? You feel awkward and slightly embarrassed. Kind of like the “nerd” trying blatantly hard to be the “cool” kid doing or saying things that just do not fit that persons characteristics. Or the older man, trying so hard to live like he was in college, trying to rekindle his glory years of the partying and the drinking. Well that’s how I felt. An unequivocal, all-consuming, uncomfortably watching this movie.

I can understand the appeal of course. Eye candy galore for guys and girls (although I reallllllly don’t know what people see in Robert Pattinson), vampires and werewolves (which will forever be cool no matter what the story is about), love stories and action. Yet all these things that I’m sure appeal to the masses, were the same things more or less that turned me off.

I could do without seeing Robert Pattinson. He’s like a second-rate Christian Slater, back when he was a teenage heart-throb. And that’s not a good thing. There must have been somebody else they could have got to play the lead role of Edward Cullen. ANYBODY. I can’t think of somebody but I will I promise you.

The lore of vampire and werewolf was the main thing that kept me going through this movie, but I feel the Twilight story is straying too far away from what makes the allure and mythos of vampires and werewolves really work. For one thing, I need my vampires to burn in sunlight. In ANY kind of sunlight. Day and night it doesn’t matter. They’re not supposed to shine like they’re angels. But I understand the premise of the movie wouldn’t work because of this, but that must makes it worse, the fact they built this story under a false crutch that vampires can live in sunlight. You’re not supposed to WANT to become a vampire yet in this movie you can’t help but envy their lifestyle. (Spoiler Alert, at least for those who haven’t read the book) Especially one vampire loving individual in the movie who has this ever lasting vampire fixation. One of the vampires tries to convince her that it’s not worth becoming like her, but again, when you can live in sunlight AND survive without drinking human blood…ummm where’s the downside? This was driven home when one of the vampires flew a plane across the world…nuff said…I don’t have a lot of negative things to say about the werewolves as they were nicely done except, again I didn’t like the fact they could change to their wolf forms whenever they wanted to. But again, the story would not work if this wasn’t the case.

The love story behind this was too much. There’s really not much more to say than that. It was way too much. I couldn’t really get past he fact that Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, was a teenager and was just feeling what every teenager wanted to feel: a sense of belonging somewhere. This made the whole love story aspect inadequate and irrelevant for me. I also couldn’t help but feel this movie was sending a wrong message of encouraging confused teens to always seek out the “bad boy/girl” and ignore the fact that there are the down-to-earth nice people out there that would be much better. I could have done without at least half of the love story they put out in this movie.

The acting really was what it was for a movie like this and you can’t ask for much more. Kristen Stewart was okay and did a good job of carrying the movie, for what it was worth. Unfortunately, most of her scenes involved the love story aspect which I really did not like so as such I did not like watching her. As I said before I really could have done without Robert Pattinson (I’m still trying to figure out who could have fit his role better than him in this series). Taylor Lautner, who played Jacob Black, really has a long way to go from his days as a karate black belt young prodigy, but he did show promise. Although that wig was NOT working for me and was relieved when they “cut” it off later in the movie. Really the only person who got my full attention, when she was in the movie all of 5 minutes, was Anna Kendrick who was playing Jessica, Bella’s good friend. Her quick-witted dry sense of humour did a great job of lightning the movie and actually, whether it was intentional or not, made a mockery of Bella’s “oh I’m so alone and no one understands me” attitude. I loved it.

The action sequences, while they were few and far between, were great and I can only hope when the third installment come out on DVD (yes I’m already saying I will not be spending the money to watch Eclipse in theatres), It’s far more action packed than the previous two.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I was a huge Buffy/Angel fan back in the days and I feel those series were the prototypes for a successful teen-aged vampire story, but this Twilight just doesn’t cut it for me.

-Vic De Zen

Matt Lanter?…maybe…

Picture 8Disaster movies have outlived their usefulness.  Not because they aren’t interesting.  Don’t get me wrong, I was the first in line to see Will Smiths coming out movie Independence day. After that I was knee-deep in disaster movie appeal as Bruce Willis and Michael Bay took the reins and developed the “All-American” Armageddon.  But then it all started going downhill with movies like Deep Impact and The Day After Tomorrow. Why?  Well I gotta say I was a sucker for the special effects so that wasn’t the reason for me.  No I would simply attribute it to the formula.  The formula of imminent disaster, the world ending and the American’s coming to save the day just didn’t work for me. Nothing against Americans of course, but in a world of several billion people, I find it hard to believe it’s always going to be an American, or a group of American’s coming to their rescue. The odds just aren’t’ there for me.  And also the plots just getting weaker and weaker. I needed a reason to care about the world coming to an end…as cold and clinical as that sounds. Otherwise it’s just little dots of people falling from bridges and skyscrapers and that’s just pointless loss of life to me.  Enter 2012.

(Spoiler Alert moving forward for those who haven’t seen the film) This movie surprised the hell out of me.  If I had to sum it up in one Picture 10word I would go with: intense. Intense action, violence and emotion for close to three hours.  First off kudos to the casting job for this film.  You couldn’t have asked for a better cast for a disaster film than this.  John Cusack and Chiwetal Ejiofor anchored this movie from the get go, both doing excellent jobs throughout convincing you of the severity and hopelessness of the situation throughout. They also tackled one of my new criteria for a successful disaster movie nicely: Meaning. What little interaction they had in the movie turned out to be the anchor for the whole plot when Ejiofor’s character Adrian Helmsley discussed a book Cusack’s character, Jackson Curtis,  wrote in the film.  The book touched upon what he believed human kind would/should do in its most dire situation. a short scene that turned out to be the most important, relevant scene in the movie, referenced ever so subtly throughout.

Picture 14What ensues throughout the movie will both disgust you and surprise you as you see human nature at its highest of highs and of course its lowest of lows.  You would be surprised on how this movie touches on the inherent problem of money and social status and truly makes you wonder at the end of the day how much we would actually mirror this movie if the “End of the World” presented itself.  But there is a “happy ending” of sorts for this movie. As much of a happy ending as one could have with a movie like this which brings me to my next criteria:  The Americans don’t save the day! …Well not fully at least.  But that’s what my problem was with past movies.  It was all about the Americans when it came to a world disaster and how the American’s reacted.  Was 2012 any different? Well yes.  Not to the degree to what I would have liked, but enough to make the movie work for me.

It was an Indian played by actor Jimi Mistry that actually discovered the impending catastrophe and the Chinese that actually developed the “Arc” that was to save the remaining members of human civilization.  If anything, with the exception of the president, played by Danny Glover, and a select few others the Americans actually proved to be a detriment in the movie.  By the end, you got the sense that it truly took a world effort to preserve what little was left of humanity and not just a one-sided ordeal. This helped give a genuine feel to the movie.  Picture 13

This is a film that put disaster movies back on the map for me, similar to the way the X-Men and Blade reintroduced the world to comic book movies. Future movies of this nature should be using 2012 as a formula for a successful, beautiful disaster movie moving forward.

-Vic De Zen

So apparently Australia was really upset when they discovered something I’m thinking they never heard before: Britney Spears lip syncs her concerts.  “GASP!” The world as we know it…or as  Australians know it has come to an end! Not so much on this end of the world because Britney lip syncing is one in many mediocre issues plaguing our society today.

I mean really?  Upset that Britney Spears lip synced a concert? Are you aware that this is Britney Spears we are talking about?  Like John Mayer said on his Twitter, “If you’re shocked that Britney was lip-syncing at her concert and want your money back, life may continue to be Picture 9hard for you.” However if your upset that she lip-synced AND put on a horrible show as some reports indeed indicate is the case, I can’t be mad at that.

I for one love a good show. I love when a performer goes all out to make a nice spectacle that becomes delicious eye candy. Have you seen This Is It?  London would have been in for a treat if that concert actually had a chance to be seen live.  To see your favorite singer perform  your favorite songs is what you live for at that moment.  The fact that some singers can actually perform their songs live AND WELL on top of intricate performances, admittedly is icing on the cake for me. Let’s face it, this wasn’t a U2 concert where you’re essentially watching a live band.  This wasn’t a Hip Hop, walk to various spots on the stage, and rap while your hype man fills in missing words that you can’t say because you’re too out of breath, kind of concert. Britney Spears, and pop stars like her perform elaborate acts of dance moves for up to 2 hours making it extremely difficult to speak much less sing at the same time.  I applaud those that can do it night in and night out.  But if it can’t be done every night…well so be it. I would rather see a brilliant symphony of dance and art than hear a lackluster out of breath song that quite frankly would ruin it for me.

Remember TLC? A great group back in their day.  Some of the best written songs I have ever heard. and their dance sequences in videos were second to none, I remember everybody reenacting their dance steps from their song “I Ain’t to Proud to Beg!” But their live performances were a struggle to watch because it was a struggle to get past their strained vocals.  Listening to T-Boz try to Sing Waterfalls while dancing the very simple yet cool dance that came with it was embarrassing. A TRUE indication of when keeping it real goes wrong! On the other end of the spectrum, remember Pink’s performance at this year’s MTV awards?  That was the best performance I have seen at an award show that I can remember and you know she had to lip-sync that.  And  I wouldn’t have it any other way. People have to remember when you’re watching your favourite artist at a live concert, you’re getting the same thing you get when you watch their video. a total package.  a finished product.  The vocals unfortunately are only a part of the deal.  Besides do you really want to hear them live? I don’t think you do.  There’s no auto tunes or sound booth to filter the actual horrid sounds that can come from these artists voice boxes (i.e. Kanye West and his 808’s and Heartbreaks album. That whole album was done in Auto Tunes…do you really want to hear that live?…I didn’t think so…).  Not to compare Kanye West to Britney Spears when it comes to singing skills, but she’s really not as good as most people think.

I guess what I’m getting at is suck it up Australia!  Let’s be honest you fell in love with the total package that is Britney Spears and not her (snicker) “musical talent”. However if her performance as a whole was a total mess, if it was impersonal, and legitimately just plain boring to watch, than kudos to you for recognizing a bad concert when you see one.  Keep waiting for your no-prize.

-Vic De Zen

So here we are. Another Halloween come and gone.  The Halloween parties were a blast, the costumes have been used and put away for another year. At least for those who will recycle their costumes at some point in their lives and lets be honest, where is the fun in that? And the children.  Well the children are fine.  Bored out of their minds I’m sure, but fine.  And there in lies the slight problem:

I remember when I was a kid growing up with my friends.  Every Halloween, we would get ready with garbage bags, ya I said it, garbage bags.  We would go out trick-or-treating and we would not return until we filled up that garbage bag.  We had the time of our lives.  We would always be accompanied by an adult or two of course and we would go for quite a while. You would buy your costume for the Halloween party they would have at school, but the trick-or-treating was where it was at. What happened to those days??

Is it the ever escalating fear of the next door neighbours these days and the true “ghouls and goblins” that live next door to us?  So often we’re hearing of these stories of missing children. I’m sure you don’t want to have  you’re child as the latest victim in these mishaps.

Or maybe it’s the parents and their commitment to this night.  Lord knows it much harder for parents to follow their children door to door asking for candy when everybody’s trying to make ends meet.  I’m sure the mothers and fathers of the world are just looking for their beauty sleeps  for the long weeks ahead.

Either way Trick-or-Treating just isn’t the same as it was 10-15 years ago.  There was a time when you would expect no less then 50-100 kids walking to your doorstep.  You would be lucky if you were able to sit down between the sets of children who would come to your door. Now you’re lucky if you get 20.

I think there should be an emphasis placed on Trick-Or-Treating next year.  Lets make it a point to talk to our neighbors more often. Have the children interact with each other. make the neighborhoods a friendly safer place to be next year so children are able to Trick-or-Treat.  Otherwise what’s the point of buying those crazy kooky costumes?

Well if you’re not and looking for a cool Halloween costume here’s a site I found with some cool ideas:

http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20310838_20315890,00.html

Yes I know Halloween is essentially upon us, but for those people who are like me and procrastinate you would likely find this useful.  Here’s a few pics of costumes from that list that got my attention.  Enjoy!

-Vic De Zen

Picture 13Simple, yet highly effective. If you could pull this off you’ll be laughing.

Picture 12Only because I love this show!

Picture 10I just find this picture so funny.  Especially “Robin”!  Definitely would make for a memorable night!

Picture 9Probably one of the top five cutest things I’ve seen all year!

From a business standpoint this makes a lot of sense.  Disney will finally tackle what has apparently been a problem for them and that is finding those young male eyeballs.   Apparently movies like Cinderella and Snow White just weren’t cutting it.  For Marvel, I guess this gives them a viable distributor for their 5,000 or more potential big screen characters.

My only question is will this have an effect on the content?  These are characters with rich storylines, some of them more violent than the next (i.e. Wolverine, Deadpool, etc).  Will this effect current deals with other studios? With Spider-man locked in with Sony Pictures and Wolverine and the X-Men under Twentieth Century Fox, will they remain unaffected? Disney  has been notorious for making sure their content stays appealing and non-offensive to their core young audience which is understandable.  My only concern is the comic book genre is not necessarily as young as people would think.  Because it’s been considered a dying media, it has not attracted new younger followers as much as it has maintained it’s old audience from years ago who has grown up with their favourite characters.  Will Disney keep this in mind when producing upcoming films, or try to water it down for it’s desired audience, at the risk of losing the interest of most?

– Vic De Zen

A deliciously sleepy lunch

A deliciously sleepy lunch

Is it just me or does Snorlax automatically make anything adorable? Granted, bento boxes are pretty amazing as they are. Bonus points for nostalgic memories of wandering in the tall grass and playing the flute to capture this sleepy Pokemon.

– Vic De Zen

Ghost Hunters Encounter Strange Incident at Crescent Hotel

Muse – The Uprising (unofficial video)

I heard this last night on the radio and fell in love with it immediately! Other tracks I recommend from Muse is Hysteria and Knights of Cydonia.

Omegle

Remember how your parents, teachers and those rabbits on TV would tell you not to talk to strangers? Well now you can (sort of)! You may encounter the odd troll or other irritating Internet denizens but some users are truly fun to talk to. Make sure to not reveal any personal information (like your name, address, credit card number :P) and have fun! Try to think of it as a fun social experiment, rather than a way to meet people. Again, use your discretion when using Omegle, as you would any other public chat room.

Flashback to the Stay Alert, Stay Safe Rabbits Bert and Gert:

Speaking of those rabbits, I thought it would give you a bit of nostalgia to see them again. Is it just me or do PSAs look dated regardless of if they’re new or not?

This was a pretty video heavy post, hope you guys enjoy them nonetheless.

– Vic De Zen

Good afternoon everyone! I hope everyone has had found amusing links without me. If you have not, I am here to provide some fascinating blogs, links and other stories I found while perusing the Internet. As for the title of this post? Well it’s quite blogcentric and I feel quite guilty that my updates have been less than frequent. Perhaps these links will alleviate your anxiety of my lack of posts :).

Things You Wouldn’t Know if We Didn’t Blog Incessantly

TYWKIWDBI Title Page

TYWKIWDBI Title Page

This is wonderful blog (with a rather long but appropriate name) provides a frequent dose of humorous, fascinating and interesting posts. Before you start perusing the entire archive from the latest page to the very first, may I recommend: cat ladders, cap gun nostalgia, changing demographics compromise social security and Whales seeking Humans. One of the best reasons why I peruse this website is for its links to even more interesting

Rolling Around In My Head

An engaging and insightful blog written by a fellow Canadian, Dave Hingsburger, from Toronto, Ontario. The truth is I cannot do much justice in my description of it. I simply say it is a must-read! I feel the life experiences of the author become teachable moments where readers are encouraged to reflect and think about how they interact with the world around them. I actually found this blog through TYWKIWDBI.

Shorpy

May 9, 1960. Case Study House #22. Stahl residence at 1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles. Architect: Pierre Koenig. Color transparency by Julius Shulman, who died Wednesday in California at age 98.

May 9, 1960. Case Study House #22. Stahl residence at 1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles. Architect: Pierre Koenig." Color transparency by Julius Shulman, who died Wednesday in California at age 98.

Shorpy is an online archive of thousands of high-resolution photos from the 1850s to 1950s. Our namesake, Shorpy Higginbotham, was a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

My latest source of vintage eye candy. No words can do it justice, I mean…it’s an image blog. You have to see it to appreciate it. 🙂

Simon’s Cat – Animated Web Series

Adorably annoying, although a friend of mine wondered why Simon doesn’t simply spray the hungry cat with a water bottle to stop the bad behavior. There’s a book coming out, here’s the website for details.

That’s all folks! Hope these will occupy you until we meet again :)!

– Vic De Zen

RSS Toronto Star – Top News Stories Feed

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    Brendan Kennedy - Staff Reporter
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    The Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation is disappointed that this year’s provincial budget did not set aside funds to clean up mercury in the river near his home.“This budget leaves the future of my people in doubt,” said Chief Simon Fobister, who since February has sent three letters to Premier Kathleen Wynne asking her to secure the funding in the $150-bi […]
    Jayme Poisson - News reporter, David Bruser - News Reporter
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    It’s not about her; it’s about you.Premier Kathleen Wynne insists the Liberals did not balance the budget and launch an ambitious new youth pharmacare program to make Ontario voters fall in love with her before next year’s election.“Of course, politicians, human beings, love to be loved. But this budget and my political career is not about . . . me being lov […]
    Robert Benzie - Queen's Park Bureau Chief
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    Mayor John Tory has accused Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government of turning its back on Toronto following a budget announcement that provided no new money for social housing repairs and failed to match federal commitments for transit.“The most crucial needs of the people of the city of Toronto were not met by this budget,” Tory told reporters a day after the […]
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  • No wonder Fyre Festival — heated up by hype — went down in flames: Menon April 28, 2017
    They paid thousands of dollars to attend a luxury music festival.Instead, the wealthy millennials who descended on the Bahamas this weekend for the inaugural Fyre Festival became glamorous refugees in an unexpected danger zone. Imagine if revellers at Coachella were greeted with random muggings. Or if feral dogs roamed Glastonbury. Or if Woodstock was now re […]
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