Four years ago

The other day, a friend of mine who takes amazing photographs, Chris Luckhardt posted something on his Instagram account that got me thinking about the horrible earthquake that devastated Japan. His post:

Chris Luckhardt (@chrisluckhardt) • Instagram photos and videos

Since you can’t read the full description that Chris wrote in the screen cap, Chris said:

“4 years ago, a devastating 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the coast of Japan and caused catastrophic damage across a wide region. 

#JapanQuakeTO was a charity fundraiser held in Toronto to support Japan and the relief efforts. The ad hoc event raised almost $10,000 for the Canadian Red Cross. I was the event photographer and ran a photo booth. 

A recent report confirmed 15,891 deaths, 6,152 injured, and 2,584 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 228,863 people living away from their home in either temporary housing or due to permanent relocation. 127,290 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 272,788 buildings ‘half collapsed’, and another 747,989 buildings partially damaged. 

On a personal note, my first trip to Japan occurred 8 months later (a 5 days whirlwind trip to explore Hashima Island) and I immediately fell in love with the country. I’ve returned 6 more times, lived in Kawasaki for 2 months, and have become friends with a few people directly affected by the tragedy. 

Stay strong Japan and I’ll see you again soon.”

It reminded me of something I read about and watched around the same time the earthquake hit; a story that still helps to remind me that there are great people in this world. While it wasn’t about the same natural disaster, it still reminded me of the same kind of people like those who organized, rallied, and supported #JapanQuakeTO. I’m glad I saved it somewhere so I can share it with you now:

b90ZE

Please click through to BBC News to watch the video of Mr. Yamada talk about why he wanted to replace younger men and women to clean up the sites contaminated with radiation; because the internet-produced photo above really does not do him justice and I can’t embed any of the photos I found of him speaking on my blog.

Disclaimer: I’m so done reading about all-the-horrible-things so from now on, I hope to write about the things that either restore my faith in humanity or make me smile and love life1. Not that I really need to explain myself to anyone.

What’s your favourite story that restored your faith in humanity?

Footnotes:
  1. whether it is relevant to right now or not[]

Love a Heart: Buy a date, save lives.

For the last two years, I spent Valentine’s Day in search of love or at the very least I was having fun in my singledom. One of the most fun things I’ve done in said singledom is stand up on stage and allow myself to be sold at the extremely conscious-healthy human auction Love a Heart. This year I am no longer in search of love but you bet I will be spending Valentine’s Eve morally supporting these brave souls.

Facebook Events | Love a Heart
Here’s my favourite photo of myself from last year’s auction.
Photo by Chris Luckhardt. Click on the photo to learn more about him.

Love a Heart, entering into it’s fourth year, has raised over $30,000k for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. So what makes this auction better than any other auction you’ve seen before? I’m not sure I could pinpoint one specific thing so I’ll talk about all of them. First, let’s get the ‘how it works’ straight: you bid on a person; if you win the bid for a date with said person, you pay the organizers then you meet and you talk and exchange contact information. All proceeds go to the Heart & Stroke foundation so they keep us all healthy and happy! Woo hoo!

In no particular order:

loveaheart 2014 ladies
Brandie Martin, Keli Carneiro, Jamie-Leigh Cuthertson, Alison Michelle, Rochelle Latinsky, Katie Boland, Chrissy Newton, Lauren O’Neill, Amanda Connon Unda, Rayanne Langdon

1. The bachelor/ettes are stellar. I mean just look at them!

loveaheart 2014 gents
Ian Barnett, Jon Simonassi, McGee Maddox, Jason Agnew, Yaw Attuah, Jason Carlin, Jon Crowley, Jeff Maynard, Jay Davis, Phil Faubert

Each one comes with their own date package so you don’t have to do any of the work trying to come up with what to do; because really, who likes doing that anyway? If you want to know more about any of these lovely folk, just click on either of the collages – it’ll take you to the Facebook event page that tells all.

2. The auctionees/hosts have always been fantastically entertaining. In previous years, the event was hosted by the equally hilarious, witty and charming Shawn Hawaii & Shannon Kelly. This year for a different flavour of fabulous, the sexy1 duo known as Nat & Marie will be taking the stage; pressuring you to bid more money. I can’t wait to watch them in action!

nat and marie

3. The date packages are sure to be outstanding. Last year there was pole dancing and sushi2, and so many more. I’ll be honest that I can’t remember any of the other dates for many reasons that are uninteresting to reveal at this point in time. According to the event page, some of the dates so far this year will include: Tickets to Mirvish Productions‘ Arrabal, a $150 Gift Certificate to Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, 2x 5th row Raptor Tickets from Hôtel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square, a $50 Gift Certificate to Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, a $100 Gift Certificate to Flight Centre Canada and tickets to the Beer Makes History Better tour from Urban Adventures. Mind you, there won’t be a gazillion activities per date but you’re sure to get at least one or two per date. And that’s more than enough when you consider your money is going to a charity whose sole purpose is keeping us all alive.

4. The sponsors on board have some awesome offers, some of whom were already mentioned in point number 3:

Off-site sponsors3:
Rent Frock Repeat offering: 10% of your Rental Price will be donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Lou Dawg's offering: 10% off your meal (must provide proof of purchase of your ticket to the event).
In venue sponsors4:
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly Sugarwink Cupcakes Snapshot Magnets
Motives Cosmetics

 loveaheart 2014 poster

THE DIRTY
Where you need to be: The Hideout Toronto
Where’s that? 484 Queen St W, Toronto
When you should be there: February 13th at 8:00 p.m. 
How much to get in the door: $55
Can I purchase tickets in advance? Oh yes you can: http://guestli.st/222843

Important things:
The Auction Starts at 9:30PM 
There is a minimum bid of $25 per bachelor/ette.

So, see you there right?

Footnotes:
  1. also hilarious, witty and charming[]
  2. that could have been your date, if you had bid and won a date with yours truly[]
  3. they will be there in spirit, i am sure of it[]
  4. you’ll have to attend to see what they’re offering[]
  5. at the door[]