Giving up drinking for lent

Lent? What’s lent? I suppose I should deal with that question first. Easter’s over, and I did a thing for 40 days before Easter that I’d like to talk about. So what is Lent? According to the ‘pedia of Wiki:

Lent (LatinQuadragesima - English: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayerpenancerepentance of sins, almsgiving,atonement and self-denial.”

There’s a lot more to it that you can read on the site; growing up with Roman Catholic upbringing meant that lent was a time when I denied myself something that I loved the most to prove my Love to God. As I grew older and decided that the church, and organized religion wasn’t for me, lent became more about maintaining moderation. As Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I really think there’s something to that.

No Alcohol by EinnaS on deviantART

image credit: No Alcohol by EinnaS on deviantART

When I was younger1, I would give up chocolate. That was hard. I might even say it was harder than giving up drinking. I mean, I can drink a lot but I don’t *need* to drink a lot. I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking everyday, and that’s the very reason I’ve decided to give it up for lent in the first place, but I don’t need to do it everyday.

By giving it up though, I achieve the same level of tolerance that lets me drink a small amount to experience the optimum relaxation that I seek when I reach for a glass in the first place. In the past2, it was more about denying myself the pleasure of eating my favourite thing in the whole world3. Now though, it’s more about remaining the kind of person who can function well without too many crutches4.

I’m being more lenient with myself this year, and I am finding it quite liberating5. Last year, I only allowed myself one free day. It was someone’s birthday and I didn’t want to be a wet blanket talking about moderation and what not, so I had a few and instead opted not to celebrate with a drink on Easter Sunday6. Last year, I equated alcohol to chocolate and this year I’ve realized it isn’t so much the substance but the circumstance, and the emotions tied to the need for a drink.

It was trying. Not just because I had made the decision to give up the drink; rather, it was a pretty trying point in my life. There were all sorts of problems – money, love, health, you name it. There were hints of problems in every category, at best. I’ll be honest, I stopped a few days early. Easter was on April 20th and I had my first drink on April 15th. Mind you, I didn’t drink every night until Easter after that point. April 15th was a very special occasion to me, and it deserved a little celebratory drink. I had a couple of other days of drinks in there, but as I had previously mentioned – they were to celebrate birthdays, and other such special occasions.

It’s certainly an exercise that I plan to continue in the future. I think that I rely on external relief far too often, and that is simply not healthy. If I need to deprive myself of something like this, once in a while, to remind myself that I have it in me to get through whatever it is that I’m going through then so be it. At least I have the cohonas to actually do it, right?

What did you give up for Lent?

Footnotes:
  1. you know, before I could drink all the booze I wanted[]
  2. when I was giving up chocolate[]
  3. at the time[]
  4. easier said than done, right?[]
  5. well, who woulda thunk![]
  6. the day that one would normally be able to resume whatever it was that was given up for lent[]

Happy Easter: Win 1 of 5 ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2′ Prizepacks!

One may not have anything to do with the other in your world, but you know what? Does it really matter? The Amazing Spiderman 2 comes out on May 2nd and besides being excited about the actual movie, I’m excited because it features some pretty stellar music including “It’s On Again” by Alicia Keys (featuring Kendrick Lamar). You can listen to the song, written by Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer and Kendrick Lamar, at the bottom of the post.

"It's On Again" Alicia Keys ft. Kendrick Lamar

The original soundtrack was already released internationally on April 14th, and is set to release in Canada and in the US on Tuesday, April 22nd. Featuring scores composed by Hans Zimmer & The Magnificent Six, and Pharrell Williams Johnny Marr, the soundtrack is one you would be proud to have in your collection. The film’s director Marc Webb even calls it, “…completely unlike any movie score that’s come before.”

The Amazing Spiderman 2

Don’t know much about The Amazing Spiderman 2? Let me quote the synopsis for you:

We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important conflict has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that his greatest battle is about to begin.

It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp. Directed by Marc Webb. Produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach. Screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner. Screen Story by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt. Based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Okay, so how do you win? See the widget below!

And because I mentioned it earlier, here is the official music video for, “It’s On Again” by Alicia Keys ft. Kendrick Lamar.

It’s All Happening: Lessons learned from Volunteering

Canadian Music Week 2010

By now1, I would be neck deep into my fifth year as a Stage Manager for Canadian Music Week – that is, if they hadn’t moved the festival to a warmer time of year2. As I yearn for the late nights, live music, and the perfect outlet for my need-to-organize-the-shit-out-of-everything I thought I’d list a few lessons I’ve learned about volunteering for festivals such as Canadian Music Week and North by North East.

CMW logo

NXNE2014-logo

The simple things
Becoming a volunteer is pretty easy. For both Canadian Music Week and North by North East, you can simply apply on their respective websites. There are a lot of different positions, and you can choose from volunteering for the conference or the festival but I’ve always been partial to volunteering for the festival. I feel like I get the most out of it because the main perk I’m seeking is to be able to enjoy some live music – full stop. I’ve had a lot of people question this, and I don’t know what to say other than sometimes I’m just that simple: all I want are the feels that good music brings.

Lesson 1: Pay attention?
There is going to be a lot of information thrown at you and all of it is going to be important. Some of it is only going to be important to keep at the top of your mind, and not for every day use but you should still know it. You should also pay attention to the subtle ways that the volunteer coordinator and their team like to do things; even if it’s not the way you usually like to do things – making them feel at ease about your competency to do the job will go a long way. And I don’t mean that you have to read their minds; it’s okay to ask questions – but be careful that you’re not asking questions that have already been covered in the material they gave you. So: pay attention ;) and do your reading.

[As a stage manager or assistant stage manager] You also need to pay attention to the bands you’re dealing with, because the way they do things will vary as much as Toronto’s weather does. Some bands will prefer to do things via email and will have their own system for playing festivals down to a science, others may still need you to hold their hand3. The ability to pay attention to, and adhere to the subtle cues that people give you4, has been one of my favourite lessons learned from volunteering for these festivals. No matter what role you end up working, it’ll be good to pay attention to a lot of subtleties that will be everywhere.

Lesson 2: Things will go wrong
This is one that can be applied to life, but5 it’s so important to remember when working a music festival. With so many moving parts, it’s only a matter of time before something slips and/or falls into the cracks because life is beautifully imperfect like that. The most important thing I’ve taken away from this lesson is that the people who are in charge, whether that’s the volunteer coordinator or the festival coordinator or the programming coordinator, have given you guidelines for doing your job for a reason. You can deviate from their guidelines so long as the main objective is achieved, but if you miss the point and something horrible goes wrong – no one is going to be happy.

I’ve been pretty lucky, I haven’t had anything majorly bad happen while I was working as a stage manager6. I can only hope that with more experience, I can continue to avoid major catastrophes.

Lesson 3: Open your mind to new experiences
I usually ask to work every day of the festival, and even though I’ve been volunteering for so long I’m sure I could ask to work less so that I can take advantage of the free festival pass that I get and see some big name bands with my friends. I highly doubt I will be doing that though. You see, it’s just that I think it’s best to discover new music; listen to something you wouldn’t normally listen to when you go to a festival. I could be wrong, but I think that’s what these festivals were created for in the first place.

…which brings me to Lesson 4: Know your venue, and how to get there
When I volunteer, I don’t make requests about bands, nor venues to work with – to an extent. I do request to work venues that are closer to either my place of work or home so that I’m not too stressed trying to get to the venue on time. Stage Manager & Assistant Stage Manager shifts start as early as 5pm for some venues7, and if I have to trek across the city – I may not make it8.  With NXNE, it’s pretty easy – I just hop on my bike and I know exactly how long it’s going to take me to get there.

Anywho, that’s all I have for now. I’m sure there are a few more lessons I’ve learned, and I’ll be sure to add them to another post when they come to me. If there’s anything you want to ask me about, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. You can also send me questions via the contact form on my Author page.

Happy volunteering!

Footnotes:
  1. and by now, I mean two weeks ago, but my blog-host decided to be a cunt so this post is a little late. you can thank them.[]
  2. or so we hope[]
  3. for example, bands who are not from Canada[]
  4. whether they are aware of it or not[]
  5. we are not talking about life right now[]
  6. actually, I do have a story but it is not my story to tell so I will have to save it for a face to face conversation; i.e. ask me next time you see me[]
  7. depending on what time doors open[]
  8. On the TTC? It is more likely that I will not[]

I gave up drinking [alcohol] for Lent

lent 2014

I stated so on a facebook status, but I didn’t specify the rules:

- No drinking just because I can’t fall asleep.
- No drinking because I’m feeling sad, stressed or unhappy.
- The only exception is a special occasion, such as a birthday1.

What did you give up for lent? If you have never given up anything for lent, would you consider giving up something for a month? I’ve known people to give up alcohol for January2, to give their livers a break. You should try it some time!

Footnotes:
  1. and even then, there is a 2 drink maximum[]
  2. after the holidays[]

Unhappy Happy at the Queen’s World Film Festival

I’m sitting in a cafe in Toronto on this sunny and spring-like day, and I wish I was in NYC with the cast & crew of Unhappy Happy instead but I thought the next best thing would be to ask them to send me some selfies so I could feel like I was with them anyway. I didn’t give them a lot of time, but some were able to comply.

Director Rob Shaw and
the Festival Director. Hawtness.

The gorgeous Victoria Murdoch, with a
gorgeous, and sunny NYC in the
background!

Do you think these three are sharing
a room in NYC? Bowchicawowow ;)

Look at those gorgeous blue eyes!

Trust Marty to make new friends
the day he arrives in NYC!

Unhappy Happy has been nominated for Best Narrative Feature, and Victoria1 has been nominated for Best Actress. So while we have all been extremely excited with each festival that our2 little film has screened at, but these two nominations just gives us that much more to be excited about. I’m sending them all the luck, and good vibes I can muster.

If you’re in NYC and want to check out something truly moving and thought-provoking at the Queen’s World Film Festival this weekend, I hope you would check out Unhappy Happy.

Footnotes:
  1. The lead actresss in the movie, and one of my close friends[]
  2. Of course it is the baby of Robert Shaw but we are all so proud of it[]
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