Kickstarter

Kickstarter says it is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

If you’re the stereotypical “starving artist” or someone without the money but just wants to get their dream project made it seems like a great way to try to raise money. But as someone who has never visited Kickstarter until two minutes ago so I could get the link for the opening line of this blog post, I don’t see it being used that way.

Going off what I’ve read in the media and on Twitter, Kickstarter is a place for actors to go to get money for their movies. The same actors who have millions of dollars in the bank make quirky videos to get you, the people, to put forward your money so the actor can make a movie they wrote.

Obviously right now I’m talking about the Zach Braff project, which you can read more about on Mashable because I can’t figure out how to insert the video into the post.

Braff says he doesn’t want the studios to make it (although it sounds like they would love to get their hands on Garden State 2, but not Garden State 2), because they will try to change the script and want to cast other people than who Braff wants.

Fair enough.

As someone who may invest (but not really because you’re not getting anything back for your donation), why would you give to something that already seem like it’s going to be shitty? I mean, the studio execs make really good money because they have a pretty good eye for when something will fail or succeed and what needs to change in order to avoid failure.

And yes, I know the execs are not always right. John Carter was supposed to be a huge success and bombed. And Pitch Perfect was a bigger success than the studios originally thought it would be.

The point is, Zach Braff has the money he needs. He’s asking for $2 million dollars and while I haven’t lurked over his shoulder to take a peek at the balance in his chequing account at the ATM recently, I feel like if he really wants this made he could do it himself.

And if Jim Parsons really wants to be a pool boy, he could use his Big Bang Theory money to help out.

I don’t doubt Zach Braff will succeed. People will pay money for this movie just like they funded the Veronica Mars movie.

But I don’t get it.

I tried to imagine what could it take to get me to donate to a Kickstarter. I never watched Veronica Mars but I love, love love Friday Night Lights. Would I throw in some money for Coach, Mrs Taylor and Riggins to come back for a 2 hour movie? Nope. If they needed money to fund the new Pitch Perfect 2, would I do it? Nadda.

I just feel like if I’m giving my money to some creative project I would rather give it to someone who actually needs the money to get their dreams made. When you’re a star and you can’t get a studio to back your creative vision as is, then why should the people?

Why doesn’t Zach Braff believe in his own movie?

What do you think? Have you ever given to a Kickstarter and are you a fan of actors who have the money asking people for more? I’m genuinely curious.

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October

I took this picture a few years back in Stanley Park. I can hear the leaves crunching under my feet

I love October. I love the change in the weather, the leaves as they change to brilliant colours and crunch under your feet. The air is crisper, the days are shorter and the weather is cooler. I love sweaters and boots, scarves and all the cooler weather accoutrements (side note: I spelled accoutrements right the first time I typed it, I am amazed).

I hate October for the pink. I hate that companies play on women’s emotions by slapping a pink ribbon on their products to sell more stuff all in the name of some promise to give a percentage of profits to Breast Cancer charity (to read more about why this is so aggravating, read this). I hate that everywhere I go or every time I catch a sporting event on TV I am assaulted by pink shit all in the name of supporting and raising money for breast cancer awareness.

It’s rare to see someone actually explain what breast cancer is and why it’s important to check yourself monthly. Companies would rather make money in the name of “raising money for charity” instead of educating people.

So in case you’re actually wondering how to check for breast cancer here is a helpful video, featuring half-naked, very good-looking men, to teach you how to check yourself (before you wreck yourself!). Because you’re not going to find instructions with the Pink KitchenAid Mixer you buy to “support” the cause.

It’s October and you’re going to be assaulted with pink everywhere. It’s honestly getting to the point where I’d rather not purchase anything from a company “supporting” the cause and wait for the barrage of mustache’s in “Movember.”

Regardless of what you choose to support, I prefer to support awareness for all cancers. I guess you could say I’m an equal opportunity cancer cure supporter. So what can you do? Educate yourself. Use the above video to check yourself for breast cancer. Watch this video to find out more about skin cancer and melanoma, because skin cancer is actually the deadliest cancer in Canada (as is colon cancer). Laugh at this video and then get an examination for testicular cancer. Schedule yourself for your yearly pap smear. Prevent cervical cancer by getting your HPV shot. Or make a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation, which has raised approximately $500 million for cancer research since it began (and if you’re so inclined, watch the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Into The Wind, co-directed by Steve Nash, a phenomenal documentary about one of Canada’s greatest heroes).

On accountability

I respect accountability and being accountable for one’s actions above most other characteristics a person has. I cannot stand people that will not take blame for something they’ve done and instead point fingers at others. This, by the way, is a huge reason why Lindsay and Dina Lohan are two ugly and despicable human beings in my book.

There’s been a recent news story going around in British Columbia about a woman who is suing the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) because they continued to let her gamble even though she had a gambling problem. You can read about it here because I’m far too angry and annoyed to recount it here.

I can maybe agree that the BCLC dropped the ball with their volunteer exclusion program, apparently if you sign up and they see you in a casino they’ll stop you from gambling and you cannot win jackpots (how much does she suck at gambling that she never won during this time?). But I don’t believe it’s up to BCLC to babysit people, are they supposed to hire a person specifically to carry around photographs of people and kick them out if they find one on the premises?

This would be the same as suing the liquor stores because they continued to serve someone who came in day after day for their liquor purchase. The same as suing a restaurant or grocery store who sold an overweight person high fat foods rather than a salad. Or suing your bank because they allowed you to raise the credit limit on your Visa even though they knew you weren’t able to pay it off.

It’s the same as me suing Canada Student Loans for giving me loans when they knew I’d never be able to pay it off since I was working towards my Arts degree.

Her situation sucks, and I’m sure this lawsuit is a last ditch effort to pay off her creditors and the friends who lent her money. Who, by the way, she should also be suing because they lent her money when she obviously had a problem. But no, she will not go after those people because they don’t have the money she needs to pay off more than three hundred thousand dollars in debt. She’s taking another gamble with the justice system and hoping this time the big corporation will pay out to help her out of her jam. But as much as it sucks, she’s the one responsible for it. She has to take accountability for her actions. She can’t expect a corporation whose main concern is making money off people who gamble to be responsible for cutting her off.

I would love to see what would’ve happen had she actually won a jackpot and wasn’t able to claim it because she was in the exclusion program.

I understand how horrible her situation may be, but she got herself into this mess. Gambling is a terrible addiction and like all addictions it can wreck the lives of those addicted and those around them.

By allowing this case to go to trial (and god forbid she wins) they’re setting a precedent for people who are going to look at other people or corporations to blame for their problem.

The art of complaining… and why you should speak up

Over a year ago I began seeing a doctor that ended up being a horrible experience. Nothing that led to horrible medical malpractice, but just a bad experience. She was late all the time, left me wondering what I medical problems I had, never answered my questions, brought up issues I didn’t come to see her for and avoided what I did go to her for and my favorite… opened the door in the middle of a pap smear while my legs were in the assumed position (the door was right in front of the examining table).

Last February I wrote my complaint and sent  it off to the BC College of Physicians. I didn’t expect much, I certainly wasn’t expecting the doctor to be fired or have her license taken away. It’s just that because so much of what I experienced was wrong I thought they should know.

I received my first response to my complaint with the promise to have a full response and verdict by the beginning of September. I believe it was mid-September when I received a letter saying that they were taking longer due to a backlog, but should hear something by December. In the meantime I had received the doctor’s response to my complaint with a basic denial of everything. It was her word versus mine.

I finally got a response from the College of Physicians today.

Her word versus mine means they absolved her of everything.

Like I said, it wasn’t like I was expecting anything to come of it. I didn’t have proof or evidence, but it was a little annoying that it seems like the only thing the doctor heard was my complaint and the College didn’t feel the need to at least try to reinforce that while there is not proof of these actions, that I’m not someone arbitrarily complaining and that she should take steps to notice them and perhaps resolve the problems.

I should also add that the College did write that they will be sending a strongly worded request for her to be more attentive to the privacy of patients. So there’s that.

I know I’m not the only one to have complaints, about this doctor or any others in the system. I just wish people would speak up more so that it doesn’t seem like random complaints about someone’s practice. You don’t have to be detailed and long winded, but I feel like if others had voiced their displeasure that my complaint (and perhaps others) would have more weight.

Here’s what I had to say about customer service complaints last year.

Have you ever made a complaint about a doctor or company? Were you happy with the results or left disappointed?

Calm Down

I have a friend who loved to eat sand as a kid. When her brother told me this, instead of being embarrassed she proudly announced that she used to wonder why every time she went to the beach she was the only one enjoying the buffet.

Because that’s what kids do.

I mean did.

We played in the dirt and it sometimes it would go in our mouths. Dogs would lick our faces and we’d reciprocate the love by grabbing them by the fur and shoving it in our mouths.

We touched a lot of germs and I don’t even think hand sanitizer existed.

The other day a tweet directed me to an article at the Huffington Post in which they were informing parents of a possible cancer-causing ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears baby shampoo. The same stuff our parents have been using for years.

Parents were up in arms that this was approved and that they were unknowingly poisoning their children. Never mind that they were most likely poisoned by the same shampoo as a child too.

I read this and had only one thought…

Parents these days need to calm down.

Big words coming from someone without a child, I know.

A few years back parents were upset about the cancer-causing BPA in their children’s plastic bottles, which were soon pulled from shelves. The same bottles that had been used for years. And the same material that we’d been consuming every time we drank from a soft drink bottle or our Nalgene.

My complaint isn’t so much about parents upset about shampoo or bottles, but anything harming their child. I see parents so afraid of any germs touching their children, they’ll pull out sanitizer anytime their kid touches something foreign. They’re afraid of any bump or bruise their child may get, forgetting that their two year old is essentially a drunk midget that will probably laugh it off until they see from their parent’s reaction that they should be upset.

Tina Fey cleaning the ball pit in Baby Mama. It was supposed to be funny, not to be mimicked.

Don’t even get me started on the debates I’ve seen online regarding nursing vs. formula fed babies or to circumsize or not. Parenting shouldn’t be so damn hard. Clearly they did it before the internet, even before the how-to books were printed.

I’m not saying that BPA and other chemicals aren’t toxic in high doses, but people need to stop making like they’re pouring acid on their child each time they use shampoo. Look, so many things cause cancer nowadays and a lot of the reports are either unconfirmed or proven untrue (just look at artificial sweeteners). I just feel like we’re people are getting a lot more upset and stressed out than they should be.

I used No More Tears and probably many other toxic products. I’ve turned out ok, no cancer or third arm. Eating dirt and going to school with a mild cold built up our (and our classmates) immune systems. I don’t understand why parents nowadays think their children are more precious or delicate then they were as a child.

Maybe we have too much information at our disposal and social networking has given parents a voice to loudly protest, but people need to calm down. If your kid is going to get cancer or some deadly illness, it’s going to happen. Don’t use your choice in shampoo an excuse.

It’s not your fault, you’re doing the best you can.

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Awesome

The other day I talking with a friend about how awesome the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is and we decided it’s pretty much the closest thing to heaven. You got your salty and sweet, what more could you need?

This then lead to a discussion of people with peanut butter allergies and how they survive missing this combination in their life.

I wondered which was worse, having the allergy your whole life and never tasting such a delicious combination? Or having developed the allergy later in life and knowing what you’re missing?

Myself, I felt no matter what it sucked and that I would probably just continue to indulge every once and awhile with my handy epinephrine pen on hand and an ambulance already called.

Which is worse… having loved and lost, or never loving at all?

An ode to glasses

I have been wearing glasses since I was 8 years old. My first visit to an optometrist had me diagnosed with myopia, more commonly known as near-sighted. I could see things alright, but things like the blackboard (yep, I’m so old we still had blackboards) were becoming increasingly blurry.

I left the optometrist with a pair of pinkish-violet frames. Did I mention they were plastic and covered a large portion of my face? They were probably found in the old ladies section and I was obviously the coolest kid in the 4th grade. A hipster before anyone knew what they were.

My first glasses looked something like this. Sadly I no longer have them, some hipster would love them. I gave them away to charity so another kid could hate them too.

As I got older my glasses changed. I turned to wire frames after realizing how stupid plastic frames were. Big wire frames are also not cool, just so you know.

By the time high school rolled around I needed to wear my glasses all the time and luckily my mom took pity on me and got me fitted for contact lenses. Glasses became a thing to wear only at home and right before bed or when I woke up.

PS: it only took half an hour to get those suckers in the first couple of times I used them.

Fast forward a couple of years and now everyone is wearing glasses. Perhaps Tina Fey made them cool? Thank Xenu for Tina Fey.

The thing that pisses me off is hipsters and other non-glasses required people who wear thick frames with regular glass in them because it’s some sort of cool thing to do.

No.

I feel like you have to pay your price. Live those years of socially awkward geekiness and being made fun of for wearing bad glasses before you can wear them and be cool. Those awkward phases with bad glasses made me the kind of person who no longer saves my glasses for first thing in the morning or late at night. I’ve finally found frames I like and wear them as a fashion piece.

You shouldn’t be allowed to if you don’t need them.

You have to understand what it’s like to shave your legs while unable to see anything in the shower. Or know the excruciating pain of putting in a torn contact lens. And have spent hours and days in various eye glasses shops to find the perfect pair. You have to understand the cost of wearing them, the feeling of utter join when you find a job with an employer who covers eyeglasses and remember the exact moment you discovered Clearly Contacts.

Hipsters, you can have your mustaches and neon skinny jeans. I don’t even care if you take over the market on Pabst Blue Ribbon. But leave us visually impaired people with our glasses. It’s our thing, you can’t take it and make it cool. We’ve worked hard enough on that battle.

**Bonus Fact: if one day I choose to get Lasik I would give up my glasses. It’s only fair**

Self portrait with my newest glasses (Ray-Ban)