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Consolation Champs

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Last Build Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:35:59 +0000


Class Struggle

Sun, 21 May 2017 17:13:41 +0000

The class system in Canada likes to think it’s invisible. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it’s not invisible; it’s insidious. I have realized that I will always be the child of immigrants* who never climbed out of the (lower?) middle class. My parents never bought a house. Part of that was my mother’s … Continue reading Class Struggle

Best Music of 2015

Sun, 27 Dec 2015 22:45:39 +0000

It’s that time of year again, for list-making and looking back. As per usual, I crammed a lot of new music into the last month of the year, and two of my top 10 releases for this list actually snuck in within the last week. My top three records were pretty much cemented by September. … Continue reading Best Music of 2015

An Extra Human?

Sat, 17 Oct 2015 20:31:34 +0000

I like being liked. But I want to be wanted. I need to be needed. In a few days, I’ll mark the third anniversary of my father’s passing. It’s an event that marked the beginning of a terrible time in my life, a time that’s still happening. I’m experiencing some sort of existential crisis. I’ve … Continue reading An Extra Human?

My Comeback

Tue, 11 Aug 2015 19:31:02 +0000

I’m not sure when I started it, but at some point in the last 12 months, I began an iTunes playlist called “My Comeback”. Music has always been very important to me, but I found that at my lowest points, I began to connect with music again in a powerful way. For maybe the first … Continue reading My Comeback

I Overshare

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 13:47:56 +0000

“You overshare,” she said. She was a fairly recent acquaintance, someone I’d met through work. Although she was outwardly reserved, I’d hoped we were kindred spirits under the surface, but it turned out I was wrong. We’d met for coffee and I’d asked her for help dealing with a difficult situation with another work colleague. … Continue reading I Overshare

James at 50 Playlist

Sat, 21 Feb 2015 04:36:33 +0000

So, last weekend, I turned 50 years old! It’s hard for me to believe, but it really happened. And despite it being the coldest night of the winter so far, at least 25 of my friends made the journey (some from as far away as Waterloo!) down to Kensington Market to celebrate with me. I’ve … Continue reading James at 50 Playlist


Fri, 02 Jan 2015 16:44:38 +0000

For a long time, the title of this post was going to be “F**k You 2014” (yes, my language has become much saltier over the past year), but I decided to change it to something that at least tries to look ahead rather than backward. After losing my father in October 2012, my only blood … Continue reading Act III

Best Music of 2014

Tue, 23 Dec 2014 02:05:39 +0000

These days, when December arrives, I begin scrambling to listen to as much music from the current year as I can. Although I hear a few things throughout the year, I’m always scrambling to make my Top Ten a fair list and not just the only ten new records I heard that year. I think … Continue reading Best Music of 2014


Sat, 08 Nov 2014 19:01:19 +0000

So, I am moving. Not too far, just down 18 floors in the same building. But of course, unearthing old stuff and memories and ghosts. Here’s an interesting poem I just found, written sometime in the late 1980s, after I’d moved out of the place I lived since I was six, and into my father’s … Continue reading Moving

Leaves, Weeds, and Flowers

Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:52:50 +0000

Some of my creative output from the early 1990s is bringing me a certain level of comfort right now. Or maybe the familiarity of these emotions isn’t exactly comfort, but it’s something I know pretty well. the cruellest month (1994) the august trees were already leaving by september when I autumned into love with you. … Continue reading Leaves, Weeds, and Flowers

The Man Who Doesn’t Fit In

Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:40:36 +0000

Robert Service knows me: The Men That Don’t Fit In (c. 1907) There’s a race of men that don’t fit in, A race that can’t stay still; So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will. They range the field and they rove the flood, And they climb … Continue reading The Man Who Doesn’t Fit In

August 22, 1994

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:45 +0000

Monday August 22, 1994 Andrea’s party was on Saturday night, and I met Brooke, Andrea’s friend from work. She’s been telling me about her for a month now, and I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful she’d be. It was, of course, intimidating. It was worse when Andrea and Sue kept demanding that I go over … Continue reading August 22, 1994


Wed, 13 Aug 2014 19:41:44 +0000

Though I dearly hope this situation won’t last very long, it’s really discouraging and a bit terrifying to note that, as a man with absolutely no family (no living parents, no siblings, no cousins, aunts or uncles on this continent, separated from my only-child spouse, no children) and no full-time job, with automatic bank withdrawals … Continue reading Fear

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Mon, 05 May 2014 17:41:06 +0000

Nothing Gold Can Stay Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf, So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day Nothing gold can stay. — Robert Frost It was the first week of February, and … Continue reading Nothing Gold Can Stay

Best Music of 2013

Fri, 03 Jan 2014 20:36:19 +0000

So here again is my totally haphazard selection of the best music released in 2013. As always, I find just as much joy in discovering old music that’s new to me as I do in keeping up with actually new music, so I listened to a shockingly small number of new releases this year. It’s … Continue reading Best Music of 2013

I Was a Welfare Case(worker)

Fri, 22 Nov 2013 20:09:31 +0000

Here’s an interesting story that I don’t believe I’ve told before. It’s from the days before blogging. At this time twenty years ago, I was collecting welfare. I’d spent the 1992-1993 academic year in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attending a teacher training program at Calvin College. I’d applied to all the Ontario teachers’ colleges but hadn’t … Continue reading I Was a Welfare Case(worker)

Meeting Aaron Swartz

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 03:32:37 +0000

By now, quite a few people know who Aaron Swartz was. It’s a shame that the world has only become acquainted with this brilliant young man because of what happened on January 11th of this year. Aaron took his own life after the stress of multiple felony indictments became too much. Aaron’s crime was downloading … Continue reading Meeting Aaron Swartz

Failed Child Prodigy

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 05:38:59 +0000

That was my semi-ironic title for the piece the Globe and Mail published on February 8, 2013 on the back page of the Facts and Arguments section. At least that’s where I think it appeared. I was out of the country and only saw the online version. They changed my self-deprecating title to the more … Continue reading Failed Child Prodigy

Report Card for 2012

Thu, 03 Jan 2013 18:47:35 +0000

Overall Grade: C+ Borrowing a very cool idea from the smarties over at Hazlitt, I thought I’d write up a (hopefully not-too-long-or-maudlin) summary of my own 2012. It’s always good to take stock, and looking back is as important to me as looking ahead, so here goes nothin’. I’ve already written about my suspicion that … Continue reading Report Card for 2012

Best Films of 2012

Mon, 31 Dec 2012 17:38:58 +0000

It’s almost impossible for me to make lists, and yet I compulsively am drawn to making them, or reading other people’s. This is especially true with film, where for me the pleasures of discovery outweigh any sense of satisfaction of “keeping up” with all the new releases. I might have seen about 50 films that … Continue reading Best Films of 2012

Best Music of 2012

Fri, 28 Dec 2012 15:33:32 +0000

I’m realizing that I haven’t done this for a few years now. Although I love music, I find that it takes longer to absorb a new “release” than my perma-shuffling iPod habits can provide, and so I always find myself scrambling during the month of December to attempt some kind of catching up. Ludicrous, of … Continue reading Best Music of 2012

My Eulogy for Dad

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 14:40:40 +0000

Here’s the text of the eulogy I delivered at Dad’s memorial service earlier this week: My dad turned 70 this past August. 70! That was quite an achievement in my mind. Both of his own parents had died younger than that. His wife, my mother, died at 43. As a teenager, I would half-jokingly tell … Continue reading My Eulogy for Dad

John Malachy McNally (1942-2012)

Wed, 24 Oct 2012 00:10:03 +0000

As you know from my last post, my Dad became seriously ill about a month ago while on holiday in Ireland. Luckily, he was visiting his brothers and sisters and they made sure he had the best medical care possible. On the day he was admitted to hospital, my uncle later told me, the doctors … Continue reading John Malachy McNally (1942-2012)

Packing for a Funeral

Wed, 19 Sep 2012 23:22:58 +0000

The last few months have been pretty crazy, and the fall always seems to get even busier. Brooke and I just finished our annual film feast at the Toronto International Film Festival and have been looking forward to a vacation for a long time now. We’ve both been so busy that we had hardly done … Continue reading Packing for a Funeral

The Rule of Twos and Sevens

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 20:45:38 +0000

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the past. Actually, I’m always thinking about the past; I’m inherently nostalgic. But I was thinking specifically about 1992, since it’s 20 years ago this year that I graduated from York University. In those days, I kept a diary, and so I dug out the battered-looking notebook to see what … Continue reading The Rule of Twos and Sevens

Dumb Mobs, 2003

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 19:33:01 +0000

I’ve been shuffling some old papers around recently and came upon the following. It was written in March 2003 as preliminary research for a panel I wanted to moderate at SXSW 2004. I got interesting responses from Bruce Sterling and Clay Shirky, which I might include if there’s interest. Dumb Mobs, or Keep Your Epinions … Continue reading Dumb Mobs, 2003

Where Do I Go Now?

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:20:39 +0000

Yesterday’s post was a necessary look back, but I want to focus now on what’s next. As I mentioned before, I’ve taken myself away on “career retreats” on two previous occasions. In 2003 and again in 2009, I spent a couple of days in Kingston, Ontario, chosen, frankly, for its blandness and lack of distractions … Continue reading Where Do I Go Now?

How Did I Get Here?

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 18:16:06 +0000

As I write this post, I’m sitting in a San Francisco café in the midst of my third “career retreat” in the past eight years. For someone who thinks about the world of work so much, I don’t seem to be very good at figuring it out for myself. I left my position at St. … Continue reading How Did I Get Here?

SXSW 2011: Compilation Champs

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 04:44:26 +0000

Last year, I finally figured out how to use Garage Band to put together a sort of digital mix and I think it worked out pretty well. I think my CD-burning days are behind me, but I’m still excited to be revealing my 11th annual South by Southwest mix. You don’t need to be attending … Continue reading SXSW 2011: Compilation Champs

Media Files:

Looking Back and Looking Forward: 2010 Edition

Sun, 02 Jan 2011 19:51:41 +0000

The Roman God Janus, namesake of the month of January(image courtesy of Wiki Commons) It might be a cliché to take the beginning of a new year as a chance to take stock or to make resolutions, but I’ve always admired people who do it honestly. This past year, this blog marked a decade of … Continue reading Looking Back and Looking Forward: 2010 Edition

Thank You For Sending Me An Angel

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 02:59:55 +0000

I’ve been needlessly secretive about the new job I started this week, and I’m not sure just why. Perhaps it’s because I’m still pinching myself. The past few weeks have seemed pretty dreamlike, with a wonderful ten-day vacation in Spain also contributing to my giddiness. Here’s what has happened. Despite the best intentions of all … Continue reading Thank You For Sending Me An Angel

Cassandra Podcast

Mon, 08 Nov 2010 21:17:09 +0000

I had a doctor’s appointment today, way across town in west Scarborough, where I grew up. Taking advantage of my last day off in a while (more on that soon), and some sunny (though cold) weather, I took some time to walk around my old neighbourhood with my digital voice recorder. I recorded almost 45 … Continue reading Cassandra Podcast

Media Files:

A Decade of Blogging

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 15:48:57 +0000

Late last night, I realized that it was the tenth anniversary (birthday?) of Consolation Champs. Although I’d started reading blogs in late 1999, and had actually been manually updating a page I called now.html for a few months before, it was on July 7, 2000 that I started my first real blog, thanks to the … Continue reading A Decade of Blogging

A Prayer for the G20 Summit

Thu, 24 Jun 2010 18:11:51 +0000

Unprecedented disruption to our city, and more than a billion dollars spent on security. A billion that is sorely needed elsewhere. Tension and exasperation in equal measure. This weekend’s G20 and G8 Summit meetings here in Toronto (and Huntsville) have been hogging the headlines for weeks. As “Fortress Toronto” gets set to “welcome” both world … Continue reading A Prayer for the G20 Summit

Come Talk to Me

Sat, 06 Mar 2010 20:13:26 +0000

Won’t you please talk to me If you’d just talk to me Unblock this misery If you’d only talk to me — Peter Gabriel, “Come Talk to Me” Last night, I went to a party. Each year around this time, Lee Dale and Jay Goldman organize a get-together just before South by Southwest, ostensibly for … Continue reading Come Talk to Me

SXSW 2010: Compilation Champs

Wed, 03 Mar 2010 01:59:45 +0000

It’s hard to believe that this year will mark a decade for me of attending the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. I started in 2001 by attending just the Interactive festival, and that’s still the core of what interests me, but over the years, I’ve extended my stay and now take in … Continue reading SXSW 2010: Compilation Champs

Media Files:

(Inter)National Magazine Day

Thu, 25 Feb 2010 15:17:48 +0000

You’ve got to hand it to him. My good friend Kevin Smokler is like a one-man cheering section for the publishing industry. Throughout all their travails over the past few years, Kevin has been in the midst of things, shouting encouragement and (often) exhortations. His day job (CEO of involves helping authors and publishers … Continue reading (Inter)National Magazine Day

Rain Can Make Brothers Out of Strangers

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 02:54:42 +0000

This photo was taken at the end of my very first South by Southwest Interactive in March 2001. A few of us had decided to walk to Katz’s deli late one night and during our walk it began to pour. By the time we’d made it to the restaurant, we were drenched but laughing like … Continue reading Rain Can Make Brothers Out of Strangers

Best Music of 2009

Thu, 17 Dec 2009 23:22:31 +0000

My album of 2009 This was a tough year for me to compile a list. Although, as always, there was great music released this year, I found myself mostly buying older stuff. In fact, my discovery of the year was probably Delta 5, who made music from 1979-1981. That being said, I’ll rank every complete … Continue reading Best Music of 2009

Working for Kinosmith

Sat, 31 Oct 2009 21:00:43 +0000

(cross-posted from Toronto Screen Shots) After a few brief weeks of unemployment, I began working again at the beginning of October. It’s just a few days a week for now, but it’s likely to grow into a full-time position before long. I’m working for a small but mighty distributor called Kinosmith. I’d been aware of … Continue reading Working for Kinosmith

August is Time for New Beginnings

Fri, 21 Aug 2009 18:12:08 +0000

When I was younger, September was the month I loved the most. The leaves were turning different colours and it was time to head back to school. One thing that you could count on as a student was that each fall would being new challenges and new faces. There’s obviously some part of me that … Continue reading August is Time for New Beginnings

Pride and Remembrance 5K 2009

Tue, 30 Jun 2009 00:49:04 +0000

Brooke and I have run this race every year since 2003, with the exception of last year, when we were in New York City. The Pride and Remembrance Run is one of my favourite races on the calendar. It’s part of the annual Gay Pride celebrations here in Toronto and there’s always a really fun … Continue reading Pride and Remembrance 5K 2009

Sporting Life 10K 2009

Sun, 03 May 2009 18:41:03 +0000

Well, it was a perfect day to run the Sporting Life 10K along with 10,000 others. About 14° Celsius at the finish and clear skies. And I began well. More than well, in fact. Hoping to break 55:00 (a 5:30/km pace), I set off quite quickly and was running close to 5:05 pace for the … Continue reading Sporting Life 10K 2009

My Diary

Sun, 19 Apr 2009 01:42:04 +0000

I have had a file on my computer since 2001 entitled “I am beginning to write a novel.” It starts like this: I am beginning to write a novel. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Just to begin something with no end in sight. To follow some path until it comes to an end, … Continue reading My Diary

Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K 2009

Sun, 05 Apr 2009 01:33:55 +0000

As always, the Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K is the first race of the season for me, and I’ve done next to no running over the winter months. I did go out and run 8k last weekend in preparation, but I was still woefully underprepared for this challenging race, which ends with a steep 300m hill. … Continue reading Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K 2009

50 Albums That Rocked My World

Sun, 08 Mar 2009 19:10:58 +0000

I’m crossposting this from the Facebook, where Bob Turnbull tagged me. Based on the title, I’m going to interpret this to mean that these albums have had an influence on my overall musical education. These are the albums that I bought with my hard-earned allowance and wore out on the turntable, in the tape deck … Continue reading 50 Albums That Rocked My World

Holly Miranda Live in Amsterdam

Fri, 23 Jan 2009 21:55:07 +0000

Thanks to Frank for alerting me to this. Holly Miranda is the gorgeous singer of the Jealous Girlfriends, a band he turned me onto last year and whom I had the distinct pleasure of seeing in Austin at last year’s South by Southwest. Frank reports that she’s working on a solo album and linked to … Continue reading Holly Miranda Live in Amsterdam

The Geography of Bliss

Fri, 02 Jan 2009 15:18:35 +0000

The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner A few days ago, I got a call from the public library informing me that a book I’d put on hold had become available. I’d completely forgotten what book it was, but the timing couldn’t have been better. Eric Weiner‘s book The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search … Continue reading The Geography of Bliss

Best Music of 2008

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 12:56:13 +0000

My album of 2008 Exactly one year ago, I posted my list of the best of 2007. Strange then that I woke up at 6:00am this morning thinking of putting together my 2008 list. I’m a subscriber to eMusic, so most of my music this year has come through downloads from this excellent service. As … Continue reading Best Music of 2008

Junot Diaz on Short Stories

Fri, 14 Nov 2008 18:53:21 +0000

I love this: I never wanna write short stories again. They suck. They’re incredibly demanding. A story can be perfect. No novel can be perfect. Novels are awesome. Novels are like us. From an interview with CBC News reporter Sarah Liss I’m reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao right now and really enjoying … Continue reading Junot Diaz on Short Stories

Nortel and Teleworking

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 02:05:46 +0000

My Twitterpal April Dunford talks about Nortel’s teleworking policy in this Youtube video (sorry, can’t seem to embed it on the page). Not only is teleworking good for productivity and the environment, but it also helps them save millions in real estate costs. I’ve long been an advocate of this kind of flexibility in working … Continue reading Nortel and Teleworking

Off to Reykjavik

Wed, 24 Sep 2008 02:05:30 +0000

cross-posted from Toronto Screen Shots On Wednesday, my wife Brooke and I will be flying to Iceland for the fifth edition of the Reykjavik International Film Festival. We’re staying for the entire duration of the festival, which runs from September 25th through October 5th, and in addition to seeing films, we’ll be doing some sightseeing. … Continue reading Off to Reykjavik

Iceland Socks Rocks

Fri, 29 Aug 2008 13:17:03 +0000

With our trip to Iceland just a few weeks away, I was delighted to discover Iceland Socks, a promotional site for the Iceland Express airline. They’re already a pretty hip company, with a great blog featuring lots of information on music and other stuff, but Iceland Socks is pretty amazing. The site lets you quickly … Continue reading Iceland Socks Rocks

On the Move Again

Thu, 07 Aug 2008 03:41:52 +0000

It was almost exactly a year ago that I wrote about changing jobs, and now I’m at it again. Luckily, this year doesn’t involve a change of address as well. The past year at PricewaterhouseCoopers has been an education for me. I’d never really worked in such a large corporate office environment before, and despite … Continue reading On the Move Again

Charlie Rose Interviews Chef David Chang

Tue, 29 Jul 2008 16:40:18 +0000

I had the amazing experience of eating at Momofuku Ssam Bar a few weeks ago while I was in New York. My friends Dan and Kathryn took me and I let them order whatever they thought was good. I have to say that it was one of the most sublime eating experiences I’ve had in … Continue reading Charlie Rose Interviews Chef David Chang

We Salute You

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 17:01:16 +0000

Amazing blog: For Those Who Tried to Rock, chronicling “every band to have been formed by teens with that perfect mixture of big dreams and questionable talent in suburban garages, high school music rooms, and college dorms across America. And to preserve them cryogenically with the very dry ice they once merited, for future generations.” … Continue reading We Salute You

Air Travel in Crisis

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 16:10:27 +0000

The Toronto Star reports today that Air Canada is laying off another 632 flight attendants, trying to cut costs associated with the soaring cost of fuel. Most interesting was a compilation of measures other airlines are taking in a desperate effort to keep flying: American Airlines has removed pillows from most domestic flights to save … Continue reading Air Travel in Crisis

New York Audioblogs

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 17:19:28 +0000

Brooke and I got home last night from four days in New York City. While Brooke attended the Origami USA annual convention, I was free to wander the city and get into mischief. The weather was incredibly hot and humid and there were unpredictable and wild storms on both Saturday and Sunday. Since I had … Continue reading New York Audioblogs

Media Files:

The Future of Music (for Me)

Thu, 26 Jun 2008 14:47:43 +0000

Last night, on my friend Jay‘s recommendation, I downloaded Radiohead’s “video album” In Rainbows – From the Basement from the iTunes store. It’s fantastic, with the band playing most of the album live in a basement studio. And it made me realize that with CD sales dropping, the future of music is for musicians to … Continue reading The Future of Music (for Me)

Bread and Honey 5K 2008

Mon, 09 Jun 2008 01:42:10 +0000

Another week, another race. Today it was the Bread and Honey 5K and 15K Race in Streetsville, which is a neighbourhood in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. Again, we were up early (5:30am!) but with the added annoyance of very muggy weather that made it hard to sleep. To make it worse, some partying girls … Continue reading Bread and Honey 5K 2008

Alfie Shrubb 8K 2008

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 13:19:13 +0000

Alfie Shrubb was a world champion runner in the early years of the 20th century. For the past six years, there has been a race in his honour in the town of Bowmanville, east of Toronto. Brooke signed us up for this one for the first time this year, and though I was annoyed I … Continue reading Alfie Shrubb 8K 2008

Go Little Geeks!

Thu, 29 May 2008 14:58:38 +0000

At a local “Geek Lunch” a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Lucier, a genuinely nice guy who works in the telecom field. But a big part of Ben’s non-work time is devoted to the Little Geeks Foundation, an organization established to help provide computers to underprivileged kids. I’m delighted to … Continue reading Go Little Geeks!

Is Asperger’s Contagious?

Wed, 21 May 2008 22:48:57 +0000

Forgive the possibly offensive title of this post. I’ll explain. I attended the first day of the Mesh 2008 conference today here in Toronto. This is a brand new conference for me, although it’s now in its third year. Although I have online and offline relationships of varying degrees with perhaps a dozen people who … Continue reading Is Asperger’s Contagious?

Amen from this Gen X Lad

Tue, 20 May 2008 17:44:07 +0000

Business Week: Ten Reasons Gen Xers are Unhappy at Work Thanks to David Crow for linking to this thought-provoking article. I can identify deeply with the first three reasons, especially the feeling that I got a “late start” to my career. In fact, sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve started at all. My father, a … Continue reading Amen from this Gen X Lad

Wii Wii Time!

Mon, 12 May 2008 01:23:18 +0000

Wii Wii Time! Originally uploaded by jmcnally I bought two Wiis on Friday. One is for me and one for a friend. There were only five in the whole store! My Wii number is 7657 1175 3719 5076.

Things I Wish I Could Say in a Job Interview

Wed, 07 May 2008 14:39:16 +0000

Continuing with the theme of work and how we get it, here are some things that have certainly popped into my head before, during and after job interviews in the past. I wish I could verbalize some of these things with the people I’m considering working with: I think I’m smarter than 90% of the … Continue reading Things I Wish I Could Say in a Job Interview

Sporting Life 10K 2008

Wed, 07 May 2008 02:57:18 +0000

This past Sunday, Brooke and I ran our second race of the year and I felt considerably better than I did about the Spring Run-Off 8K I ran last month, even though I only fit in one training run of 8K in between that race and this one. The Sporting Life 10K is a fun … Continue reading Sporting Life 10K 2008

Terry Fallis Wins Leacock Medal

Wed, 30 Apr 2008 20:29:19 +0000

Here’s a wonderful story. Terry Fallis is one of the founders of Thornley-Fallis Public Relations, one of the most social media-savvy PR firms around. Terry wrote and self-published a political satire last year called The Best Laid Plans. Not only did he publish it himself, but he used the book’s web site to market and … Continue reading Terry Fallis Wins Leacock Medal

Technolust: Garmin Forerunner 405

Wed, 30 Apr 2008 19:54:07 +0000

I’ve been a very bad runner of late. Brooke and I started running to keep fit back in 2003, and for the first few years, I was motivated. One of the tools that helped me was a great heart-rate monitor watch I bought from Sports Instruments. That watch is now on its last legs, and … Continue reading Technolust: Garmin Forerunner 405

CaseCamp 7 Report

Wed, 30 Apr 2008 03:41:57 +0000

Tonight, I attended CaseCamp for the first time. Inspired by the original BarCamp “unconference,” CaseCamp is a marketing event where people present case studies and lessons learned, and the crowd can comment and ask questions. Pioneered right here in Toronto in 2006 by Eli Singer, the event is now in its seventh iteration, and has … Continue reading CaseCamp 7 Report

RSS Woes

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 21:06:42 +0000

UPDATE: All fixed now. Pay no mind. My friend Neil just let me know that my RSS feed is, in his parlance, “borked.” The problem is that it seems to have happened just over a month ago, at the confluence of a few different events. First, I added the Disqus plugin, changing my entire commenting … Continue reading RSS Woes

Why Can’t Working Be More Like Dating?

Thu, 24 Apr 2008 19:38:08 +0000

I’ve been thinking about the wonderful world of work again, and the more I think about the way we “get” our jobs, the more bizarre it seems. We go to a meeting where someone asks us about our skills and about what other jobs we’ve had, and then, based on that, and more than likely … Continue reading Why Can’t Working Be More Like Dating?

Region 2 Bargains Arrive

Wed, 23 Apr 2008 16:54:33 +0000

It figures that I received a package from Amazon UK today with a whole bunch of Region 2 DVDs that I bought on sale. You see, I’m in the thick of HotDocs, reviewing a bunch of films over at my film blog Toronto Screen Shots. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to check these out over the … Continue reading Region 2 Bargains Arrive

Kevin Kelly: 1,000 True Fans

Thu, 17 Apr 2008 18:02:49 +0000

Kevin Kelly is at it again. And all I can do is link. Borrowing some ideas from Chris Anderson‘s Long Tail concept, Kevin postulates that to make a decent living, an independent creator (musician, artist, writer, whatever) need only amass a thousand “true fans,” defined as people who will buy whatever the maker creates. The … Continue reading Kevin Kelly: 1,000 True Fans

CaseCamp Toronto 7

Sat, 12 Apr 2008 19:00:28 +0000

I’ve always been a big supporter of the BarCamp concept (a free self-organizing “unconference” where everyone is expected to contribute or participate), although the original BarCamps are way too technical for me to understand, never mind contribute. So I was happy to find out that CaseCamp Toronto is happening again on April 29th. CaseCamp is … Continue reading CaseCamp Toronto 7

Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K 2008

Sun, 06 Apr 2008 15:43:58 +0000

Brooke and I have run the Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K each year since 2004, but this year, I’d done next to no training. To make things worse, my watch battery died a few weeks ago and I hadn’t replaced it. And then Brooke and I were placed in different “corrals” at the beginning since she’d … Continue reading Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K 2008

Vicarious Road Trip

Fri, 04 Apr 2008 19:10:12 +0000

I’m barely 40 pages into Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live and I’m already feeling jealous. Not of his talent for comic writing, though he has plenty of that. I’m feeling strangely jealous that I’ve never been able to go on a solo road trip with 600 CDs like he’s doing. You see, I’ve never … Continue reading Vicarious Road Trip


Wed, 02 Apr 2008 03:05:00 +0000

As if updating my blogging software wasn’t enough of a hassle, it turns out that for most of today, my site was unreachable. It was the bad hangover of what looks to have been a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack. Wow, that makes me feel kind of important. Over the weekend, some malicious freaks … Continue reading DDOS!

Freshened Up

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 02:38:51 +0000

Well, a few hours of updating, uploading and customizing later, I have a freshly upgraded copy of WordPress 2.5 running Consolation Champs. I had to also update my current theme, Cutline, and then re-add all my customized header images, which also needed to be resized. So, these things never go as smoothly as advertised. A … Continue reading Freshened Up

Disqus: Discuss

Wed, 19 Mar 2008 16:43:40 +0000

I’m trying out a new commenting system for a little while. Disqus is an external commenting system, but before you start screaming, it’s not another Haloscan. Disqus actually integrates pretty well with blog entries but what it promises is to free comments from the pages they’re on and weave them into a fuller conversation. I’ve … Continue reading Disqus: Discuss

Find the Lost Ring

Tue, 18 Mar 2008 03:20:55 +0000

Ok, I’ve been back from SXSW since yesterday afternoon, but I’m not quite ready to do the full writeup just yet. In fact, I’m extremely distracted right now. At Jane McGonigal’s amazing keynote last Tuesday, she pointed to a new ARG (alternate reality game) that she’d been working on for the upcoming Beijing Olympics. I’m … Continue reading Find the Lost Ring

SXSW 2008: Social Networking Indeed

Mon, 10 Mar 2008 22:13:30 +0000

I’m here in Austin for my eighth consecutive South by Southwest Interactive conference. I’ve come to look at this week as an essential creative reboot each year. The weather in Toronto combined with the months of near darkness always leave me drained in inspiration. And then I come to Texas and spend a week with … Continue reading SXSW 2008: Social Networking Indeed

The Pursuit of Happiness

Thu, 07 Feb 2008 14:41:49 +0000

Tara Hunt is someone thinking creatively about marketing and other business topics, and what I appreciate about her is that she isn’t afraid to relate the world of business to the world of the personal. I loved her recent blog entry Happiness as Core to Your Business Model because it again effortlessly aligns the goals … Continue reading The Pursuit of Happiness

Kevin Kelly: Better Than Free

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 15:01:53 +0000

Kevin Kelly brilliantly sums up the entire internet economy in an article entitled Better Than Free. His thesis is that the internet is basically a giant copy machine, but that as copies of content become more abundant, they lose their value. For a business to become successful in the age of the internet, they have … Continue reading Kevin Kelly: Better Than Free

Job Description 2.0

Tue, 05 Feb 2008 16:40:23 +0000

David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, has an interesting blog entry about what a job description for a marketing or public relations practitioner should sound like in this new age of social media. I think the main quality required is curiosity: You’re curious about new things and always try … Continue reading Job Description 2.0

Super Bah!

Mon, 04 Feb 2008 14:32:43 +0000

I’m a little disappointed that I missed what sounds like the most exciting Super Bowl game in ages. I was delighted to hear about the Giants upset of the Patriots, but I’m sorry to say I missed every single minute of the game. We’d arranged to pick up Brooke’s mum at the airport around 4:30 … Continue reading Super Bah!

Is Blogging Now A Career Move?

Thu, 31 Jan 2008 04:31:51 +0000

It started with a well-meaning post from Joe Thornley, of Thornley-Fallis Public Relations, one of the savviest PR companies around. Their embrace of social media cheers me up immensely, and Joe writes interestingly and often about how blogging and other social media tools can be used as part of an overall public relations strategy. But … Continue reading Is Blogging Now A Career Move?

Word of Mouth is Real

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 18:02:12 +0000

Just browsing around this morning, I came across a great example of word of mouth marketing. Michael McDerment is a successful Toronto entrepreneur behind the innovative online invoicing service. In a 2005 entry on his own blog, he recommends a company called Landmark Merchant Solutions as a “great business partner” for small companies looking … Continue reading Word of Mouth is Real

Ligers and Tigons and Bears, Oh My

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 16:10:07 +0000

Flipping through the Canadian Oxford Dictionary this morning, I discovered that a liger (favourite animal of Napoleon Dynamite) is not only a real animal, but that it is specifically the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. The corresponding offspring of a lioness and a male tiger is called a tigon. Good to … Continue reading Ligers and Tigons and Bears, Oh My

Protected: Transparency, Not Spin

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 04:50:25 +0000

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

I Love New York, Seriously

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 04:11:24 +0000

For someone who considers himself a seasoned traveler and informed citizen of the world, I’ve always been a bit embarrassed that New York City wasn’t really on my list of places visited. My parents had taken me a few times when I was a young sprog, but I have no memories of the city, only … Continue reading I Love New York, Seriously

Born Standing Up

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 04:42:35 +0000

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, by Steve Martin Brooke picked this book up for me a few weeks ago, knowing I’d been a huge fan of Steve Martin during his standup years. You could even say that as a teenager, I idolized Martin. To this day, I’m in awe of people (including myself!) who … Continue reading Born Standing Up

Great Albums: Rattlesnakes

Sun, 06 Jan 2008 19:07:29 +0000

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Rattlesnakes (1984) I’d met Goldie through my friend Colin around 1983, I think. With his thinning hair and permanent scowl, he looked like a perennially pissed off old man. We shared a love for punk, even though he was somehow affiliated with the strange evangelical subculture I’d recently become … Continue reading Great Albums: Rattlesnakes

2007: The Year That Was

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 17:33:24 +0000

In the custom of the season, I wanted to take a look back before taking a look forward. 2007 was a year of many changes for me, and it’s probably a good idea to take stock at this time of year. March: We lost Brooke’s dad to cancer, which has been tough on both of … Continue reading 2007: The Year That Was

Best Music of 2007

Thu, 20 Dec 2007 05:19:43 +0000

I’m not a music blogger, but in the spirit of all the year-end lists that are popping up on proper music blogs, I thought I’d make my own. My criteria were simple. The disc had to come out sometime in 2007, and I had to actually care enough to buy it. I don’t buy that … Continue reading Best Music of 2007

Cooking the Books

Sat, 15 Dec 2007 18:44:28 +0000

Croatian design agency Bruketa & Zinic have created an annual report for the food company Podravka that features a book of recipes that has blank pages until the book is actually baked in an oven. Very very cool, but I wonder if they were sending a subversive message about the company’s finances? (via the always-fascinating … Continue reading Cooking the Books

Who Wants To Go Camping This Summer?

Wed, 12 Dec 2007 20:17:49 +0000

I have got to spend a few days here, in lovely Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Who’s up for a JamesMcNallyFest? I found this, by the way, through the very cool, though slightly creepy, which had already built a profile page for me before I ever visited the site. I joked on Twitter that that’s probably exactly … Continue reading Who Wants To Go Camping This Summer?

Thank God For Evolution

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 15:14:16 +0000

I just read an interesting article on Wired News. Former evangelical minister Michael Dowd is now touring the United States in a van with an image of the Jesus and Darwin fishes kissing on its side. Dowd is a proponent of evolutionary theology, which embraces the science of evolution while maintaining faith in God as … Continue reading Thank God For Evolution

Iran: Deja Vu All Over Again

Wed, 05 Dec 2007 12:56:44 +0000

So President Bush remains adamant that Iran is a threat? Even after his own intelligence services have told him otherwise? Why am I not surprised? I’m reading Frank Rich’s book The Greatest Story Ever Sold right now, and it’s all sounding very familiar. I just hope that the presidential election campaign can steamroll any “ambitions” … Continue reading Iran: Deja Vu All Over Again

What He Said

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 20:30:28 +0000

Facebook pals, please read this.