Ageism, Aging and Getting Old in Tech

Respect your elders. This is a seemingly culturally universal sentiment that is older than written language itself. For good reason too. Back in prehistoric times, any member of your species that managed to get old, was either lucky or did something right that helped them survive. A little bit of reverence wouldn’t be a bad thing, and hopefully one could learn a trick or two and increase their own chances of having similar success. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that this is also believed to be a behavioural trait found in all primates. What also shouldn’t be surprising, is that there is at least a common perception that this respect is in decline. Moreso, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence and a mood in the zeitgeist that, worse than a decline, this has become a prejudice – with Bill Maher ranting that ageism is “the last acceptable prejudice in America“. […]... Read More

Action Bronson and hip-hop’s problem with misogyny

So, this week, former chef turned rapper ‘Action Bronson’ has stirred up controversy again. This isn’t terribly surprising, considering his past, but also considering that more often than not, controversy sells tickets. Except for when it doesn’t, and shows get cancelled when the controversy goes over the top. Even though Bronson’s free NXNE show was cancelled in Toronto this May, he was offered to do a ticketed show instead (Update: I’ve been told he declined this offer). Everyone likes to cash in on controversy apparently. The latest stir up was when Julie Miville-Dechêne, the president of Quebec’s Council for the Status of Women, stated that Action Bronson’s message was misogynistic and essentially hate speech. In an interview on CBC Radio, Mme Miville-Dechêne calls out evenko — the promoter of Osheaga, a popular Montreal indie music festival held for the last 9 years, the last 3 in Parc Jean-Drapeau — to […]... Read More

Snarky Puppy Live in Montreal

This Tuesday, I witnessed something pretty spectacular. I went to see Snarky Puppy perform live at Metropolis. Not only was this one of the best live shows I have seen in a while, there were other things I found quite surprising. First of all, the show was sold out. Yes, a jazz fusion show sold out. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by this, as Snarky Puppy has been around for 10 years now, so they have managed to grow a pretty decent following. However, this audience wasn’t the typical ‘old dudes’ type audience I was expecting. Instead, it was largely people in their early to mid twenties, and a fairly good representation of women as well (jazz fusion, like progressive rock has long been a good way to ensure you don’t get any dates or attention from the ladies). The band was very warmly received, and they were […]... Read More

I hate sushi (or so I thought)

For years – and I mean at least a decade – I’ve been the guy who hates sushi. Most of my friends new it, and certainly the people I was close to knew it. So, whenever we went out or ordered in food, this was an entire category of food removed from consideration. Unfortunately, I was ok with that, despite the fact that many of my friends really liked it. A couple of years ago, I went out to dinner with the CEO of a firm I worked for where we were hosting our biggest client – an account that I managed. When I found out that we were going to Sho-Dan, I could hardly refuse. This was our biggest client after all, and this restaurant had a really good reputation. So, I figured I would eat the things that I thought I could and just grin and bear it. […]... Read More

Today is day 60! Tomorrow, day 1 of 72

The last 70 days have been pretty transformative for me. Some life changes forced me into pretty serious introspection, and motivated me to go down a path of self improvement. There are a number of things I have been working on, some of which I might write about at a later date. One of these things was to get myself into much better shape. This is something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time, so with this extra motivation, I went into it full steam. To kick off getting back into shape, I used James Grage’s 60 Days to Fit workout regime, which also included a meal plan. It was a lot of work, and commitment. Funnily, one of the more difficult parts was just getting used to 7 meals a day (3200+ calories!). Today, was the last day – day 60. I did it. Other […]... Read More

Confidence and being a manly man

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about non-verbal communications. Mostly how body language, the tone of your voice, your facial expressions and what you wear can affect the way people feel about the content of your message. In many contexts, these non verbal communications can be even more important than the content of what you are saying verbally. So much so, that the wrong body language can actually work against what you’re trying to say. If someone is aware of this, they can take advantage of these subconscious cues to help reinforce their message instead. So, on this thought, I had a talk with my boys about the importance of using their body to convey the right message (some great tips on this can be found at Vanessa Van Edwards’ Science Of People). Young teens can often feel a great deal of social anxiety, and it is usually […]... Read More

My Name Is Christopher

Several years ago, I started using ‘Xopher’ as my online handle, and I had a number of reasons for doing this. It was different, it was shorter than my real name that often didn’t even fit in forms I have to fill out, and it started with a freakin’ ‘X’! How cool is that? Another advantage that ‘Xopher’ had was that nobody ever shortened it to ‘Chris’. I’ve been called ‘X’, ‘zofer’, ‘ex-sofer’, but people who knew me as Xopher never called me Chris, and I really like that. I have old friends who call me Chris, and I’m ok with that. However, one of my pet peeves is to introduce myself to someone as Christopher only to have them call me Chris minutes later. When I introduced myself, I pronounced those other syllables for a reason – please don’t tell me I wasted my breath. Sadly, a big reason […]... Read More

Fucking Hipsters

This weekend, a friend of mine posted a somewhat negative rant on Facebook berating hipsters for being shallow and unauthentic. The post shocked me, not only because I know that this friend is a really kind and generally very positive person, but because I saw some of myself in this post. A year ago, I could have easily written something similar, only unlike my friend, it would have probably been from a more negative position. For many years, I was the type of person who could easily go on a rant about how terrible the fashion industry is. How it’s superficial, shallow, phony, insincere, etc. You name it, I had lots of bad things to say about it. It is only recently that I’ve learned how toxic this attitude is, for a number of really important reasons. It’s unnecessarily negative If you’re going to expend energy doing something, it should […]... Read More

Nick Hanauer, inequity and TED

I just read this really great article written by Nick Hanauer for If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. In my view, it’s a great argument by an extremely wealthy entrepreneur with the aim of convincing other entrepreneurs that social inequity is not only bad, but dangerous and self-defeating for plutocrats like himself. Apparently, I was hiding under a rock in 2012 when Hanauer created waves because his TED talk (see below) was not put online and promoted on TED’s website. Chris Anderson defended the exclusion of this video in a blog post, stating some of TED’s primary reasons for excluding this video were because it was “explicitly partisan” and “included a number of arguments that were unconvincing”. Anderson and TED did finally put up the video to presumably “spark a magnificent debate”, but only on YouTube and not in TED’s official channel. While I agreed with […]... Read More

Music I wrote as a teenager

Back when I was in high school and CEGEP, I thought that I was definitely going to be a composer. I spent all of my years in high school completely immersed in Bach and Mozart. Especially fugues, I was all about fugues — Die Kunst der Fuge totally blew my mind, especially contrapunctus III and (Mozart’s) K 546 (which is, not surprisingly, a fugue and is still my favourite piece of music of all time). These two pieces of music still give me goose bumps when I listen to them. When the Canadian Brass came out with The Canadian Brass Plays the Pachelbel Canon, which has 3 amazing arrangements of Bach fugues, I nearly wore out the tape. I transcribed the Little Fugue in G Minor before I learned that I could just go to the sheet music store and buy it (which I later did for the other two). […]... Read More