Snoop Lion In Vancouver: Concert Review

The Journey

Stanley Park is roaring with the warm-up act when I get off the bus. Here I return, the last concert I saw at the Malkin Bowl was also my first concert, Tom Cochrane. I had hoped the weather was going to hold up for the show, because last time I was here, it was pouring rain for the whole thing. Heading towards my destination, I run into two familiar faces, as we make our way through the forest, the music gets louder, then suddenly we’re there. The Malkin Bowl is tucked into the woods, and is a beautiful venue to behold.

The meadow that is the designated viewing area is separated into two halves. We have the alcoholic section to stage right, full of people that are already plastered upon arrival, and others are soon to be at that level. To stage left is the non-alcoholic section, or as I prefer, the chill section. I find myself a cozy place to sit upon a hill overlooking the stage, and pack my one hitter. I figure, I’m in good company here. Just as I spark up, Snoop hits the stage; good timing.

The Lion Roars

Snoop lion comes out rocking a mic decked out with gold bling, wearing a green and yellow jersey as he jams to one of his new reggae jams. Everyone on stage shares joints. This is my kind of party, hosted by Snoop Lion, I’ve never seen a show that started off on such a high note. Three female dancers come to the stage and my attention shifts, as the ladies rock their hips to the beat, I was mesmerized. As quick as they came out, they were gone again, back to reality.

snoop_rockVan
Snoop Lion in Vancouver with his dancers

The Fog of Time

Smoke plumes that floated sporadically before the show now became a soothing haze. Blue follow spots illuminate the smoke, leaving only a few rays of light appearing in the gaps of the smoke. Snoop Lion is just as chill on stage as expected. He rocks back and forth, tokes up, then disappears into the background next to the DJ, still on stage, but he’s clearly not one to hog a spotlight as he sits on a speaker while the other MC’s rock front-center. The music flows into the hip hop hits by Snoop Dog just as naturally as his transition to Snoop Lion. The party was taken to a new level with “Gin & Juice”, as it seems to be a Snoop anthem. The haze is now a cloud, reaching beyond the tallest branches of the ancient trees towering above.

The three dancers from the intro return to the stage wearing particularly provocative clothing. See you later Snoop Lion. These ladies are what reminds me I’m at a show. Otherwise, the atmosphere just reminds me of chilling with my friends at the beach blasting hip hop and sipping beers. I’ve never been to a show that had such a calm atmosphere, but then again, I’m not on stage right.

Snoop Lion Climax

After a quick chronic break headed by Snoop Lion himself, the show continues with more of the classic Snoop Dogg hits while the dancers appear and disappear randomly. The people that are standing start jumping with their hands in the air when the show takes a turn, playing Run DMC “Jump”. This song always seems to wake people up. Then he hits us where it hurts, the tribute portion of the show. The tone changes instantly when “Hypnotize” hits the forest, Snoop asks us if we got love for Biggie, the crowd roars. Rest in Peace. The following song is equally as heavy as “Gangsta Party” with Tupac hits. Sideways peace signs float in the sea of arms, giving the love and respect to the fallen brothers. “Gangsta Party” is the song that introduced me to Snoop Dog as a kid. My mother has always been a huge Tupac fan, and “Gangsta Party” was always my favorite of the songs we listened to on road trips. Snoop says he only has one more thing to say to us: “So what we get drunk, so what we smoke weed. We’re just havin’ fun, and we don’t care who sees” a very fitting song for the environment before me, “Young Wild and Free”. We, the audience, sing a large portion of the song for the performers, and our chants are heard throughout Stanley Park. The last song of the night is “Jammin’” by Bob Marley.

Peace of mind, Rastafari

I smoke one last one for Snoop Lion as requested, pack my things and make my way out just before most of the crowd so I could beat them to the bus, which was wise, as I didn’t see those familiar faces again. I’m stricken with a feeling of calm, a very relaxed, chill feeling. It’s comparable to the feeling I get after being to the Buddhist temple, or standing among the pyramids at Chichen Itza. To me, it’s because of the atmosphere of the great night in Stanley Park, having a new found respect for local police, and a continued belief that marijuana will be legalized within five years. My mom dismissed my calm feelings for second hand from the show.

By Clayton Cyre

Photos of the night

Advertisements

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks Album Review

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks Album Review

Hey guys, just throwing up my latest album review for Abort Magazine.

Let me know what you think!

Suit & Tie Review

Before Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, I had never seen a show at B.C. place. When I arrived to my first stadium show, I was told by the first security guard I was to be on the floor, I didn’t believe them as I walked down to the second floor to ask for directions, again, I was sent down to the floor. I didn’t believe it until I was sitting in the B section, looking at a very intricately designed stage. I was surrounded by thousands of seats, the blue sky visible through the new and improved, tax paid roof of the heart of B.C. entertainment. The stage was a very vivid blood red, square screens form an optical illusion in the center, instruments from bongo’s to a scarlet piano strategically litter the layers of the stage. For a moment, I was so interested in trying to figure out the stage and how it worked that I was forced back into reality by a tap on the shoulder by the woman next to me, looking up from my notebook where I was sketching the optical illusion the blood red walls created. “Are you doing homework?” she asked, her friends laughed.

“Dressed to the tee, they call me Cassidy” DJ Cassidy starts the party off with a mix of dance songs from the last few decades. The songs ranged from Drake to Guns n Roses, but for me, it was when Cassidy played some Notorious B.I.G. that I stood up to show my appreciation by grooving out a bit. DJ Cassidy did a good job setting up, he didn’t even have to ask for a lot of us to just start dancing to the music, at least half of the stadium was on their feet. The turn table set-up was actually behind me on the floor so I mostly just got a look from behind but the legs of the table are golden, Victorian style,. The theme of the night seems to be red, as DJ Cassidy was mixing under the red glow of the lights, and above a red carpet. He’s rocking an ivory suit with a white barbershop hat. He keeps the crowd engaged by replacing names of other cities in songs with Van city, but as he gets to hit last few songs he loses a lot of the massive audience when transitioning from dubstep to a very slow beat hip hop song. Everyone was on their feet moments later though, when two figures appeared on the stage on either side. The party has begun.

The blood red walls I had jotted down on my notebook are revealed to be LED screens, as JT and Jay-Z start their set off, they portraying the Magna Carta sculpture scene. Justin Timberlake rocks in a black fedora while Jay-Z lays it down with the New York Nets backwards snapback, proving once again that no matter where you go, “you are what you are playah”. As the show rolls on, both of our proclaimed Legends of the Summer gets their own chance to have the audience sing along to their best and favorite songs. The optical illusion LED screens are like their own performance, showing images that go with songs, from a snake slithering, getting bigger as it crawls from square to square, to water droplets on a puddle for the infamous Justin Timberlake song: “Cry Me A River”, to a blazing fire that was so bright it seemed real for the more recent hit, “99 Problems”.

I wouldn’t say either of our MC’s was more over with the audience, but Jay-Z got us to be louder, that’s for sure. However, watching Justin Timberlake dance around on stage, picking up whatever instrument he see fit from the keyboard to the electric guitar, he was having fun, and showing just how talented he is. JT does not show any more age today than when he was just starting out. If anything he’s just more confident and more talented. Jay-Z should not be sold short either as he strings words together better than a beat poet, dropping lyrics far beyond where my tongue got twisted, true rapid fire lyrics. We throw up an ocean of Rock-A-Fella Diamonds to show our respect for the hip hop god. The dynamic duo before us present us with tremendous range that still feels natural despite drastic changes in the transition from a Jay-Z song, to a Justin Timberlake song. JT, being the more energetic of the two, will run from one end of the stage to the other, making sure nobody is left out. At one point in fact, he danced from one end to the other. Justin Timberlake’s sets felt more like a cabaret feeling, while Jay-Z maintained the hip hop bobbing, and they swapped constantly so it always felt fresh, the set list is a well-planned flow of the new and old hits of the suit and tie rocking masters.

Jay-Z and JT come back together for “New York”, giving me an experience that alone is worth the cost of admission. Justin Timberlake starts singing “New York, New York” on stage right with a spotlight on him, his voice showing no weakness at all from the hour of entertainment beforehand, Justin hit amazing notes as he passionately sings the legendary Frank Sinatra hit. All of a sudden, Jay-Z’s “New York” kicks in, and anyone that had sat down from exhaustion is now on their feet. Rain begins to fall from the sky above the stadium through the open roof as the sun set in Vancouver, our heat wave and flawless month of sun is over, but it doesn’t get to us, this is the peak of the night. Everyone sings the chorus, so loud in fact that Jay-Z could let the audience sing a majority of the song. When Jay-Z finished his dedication to the city that raised him, Justin Timberlake is now on stage left, he finished his with a bang, dragging the last note out longer than any of us.

After singing the recent hit, “Mirrors”, JT stands on center stage, beginning to descend as if part of a magic trick, next to where JT once was is now Jay-Z for his solo time. Using elevated pads for these last transitions was awesome, especially when Jay-Z switched back with Justin saying “Go get ‘em JT” for the song I first thought was performed by a female when I heard it on the radio in high school Spanish, “Bringing Sexy Back”. Now JT got his chance to let the audience sing a majority of one of his songs. People stood on their folding chairs as they belted out how they too were bringing sexy back. For the finale, JT goes down via the elevator pad, while the band continues to jam out to the sexy back beat.

The house is dark, black as the night outside. The band is silent, but the crowd is loud, screaming for more. Lights hit center stage where Jay-Z and JT come down the staircase in the middle in their suits for the song that inspired this spectacular night, “Suit & Tie”. Both are also holding glasses of champagne, however, only JT drinks from his. JT has a dishevelled bowtie with his suit, while Jay-Z continues to rock the bling he is synonymous for. We have reached our last song when Jay-Z dedicated it to Trayvon Martin, the young man who’s tragic story of a hate crime ending his life, proving that racism is still alive in today’s day and age, the song is “Forever Young”. The sea of fans respond with waving cell phones and lighters, lighting the tremendous stadium as if it were daytime, or as most people refer to, the place lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s an amazing experience to be on the floor and look around at the mass of people united in a mutual respect for a worthy cause, great music, and a spectacular night.

The sea of humanity floods out into the streets of downtown Vancouver to join another from the Festival of Lights like a weather system. Despite the fact that I have been on my feet since DJ Cassidy decided to play my favorite song to smoke to, “Juicy”, I am able to weave through people consistently and make it home quite swiftly. The show may be over, but I’m still feeling the effects, running through it all in my head, all the elements that came together so well to create the stadium experience. Everything from the light show and stage design to the summer legends on the stage culminated together for the best show I’ve seen thus far, and my very first stadium show. Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake need to be seen to be fully believed, and they put it all on the floor tonight.

Magazine Articles thus far

My film review for ABORT magazine on the latest Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn
My film review for ABORT magazine on The Internship, starring Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn
Part of my interview with award winning film maker, Jeff Renfroe for ABORT magazine
Part of my interview with award winning film maker, Jeff Renfroe (Colony) for ABORT magazine

tearsheet5

My full interview with Jeff Renfroe for ABORT magazine.
My full interview with Jeff Renfroe for ABORT magazine.
My full interview (p1) with local talent, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
My full interview (p1) with local talent, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

claytonintern image tearsheet5

My review of a must have film for ABORT Magazine, American Mary
My review of a must have film for ABORT Magazine, American Mary
This is part of a review for Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience at the Commodore. First show review for ABORT
This is part of a review for Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience at the Commodore. First show review for ABORT
CD review for Canadian hard rock stars, Magnus Raising (Whatever It Takes) for ABORT
CD review for Canadian hard rock stars, Magnus Raising (Whatever It Takes) for ABORT
Myself and the members of local music talent, GPB
Myself and the members of local music talent, GPB

969455_556772817698941_2093023630_n 995832_556772834365606_958866449_n 998389_556772927698930_1105295903_n

Part 2 of the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes interview for ABORT magazine
Part 2 of the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes interview for ABORT magazine
For my first editorial, I wrote about the current educational system
For my first editorial, I wrote about the current educational system

ABORT Magazine Review

Hey everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I just got my first review for ABORT Magazine published. I got the chance to see, and critique Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience live at the Commodore. Here is the link to the article:

http://abortmag.com/2013/02/live-review-jason-bonhams-led-zeppelin-experience-feb-13th-2013-the-commodore-ballroom-vancouver-b-c/

I look forward to more opportunities in the future, and appreciate the opportunity.

Anxiety Blog 2

Anxiety in a Breakup

There’s a lot of emotions one goes through in a breakup. Amongst the tears and sighs, there’s a sense of heartbreak people often confuse for depression, though it is fair to say you’re depressed, there is a difference. However, people suffering from depression may be affected a lot more in instances like breaking up with someone. Some have even killed themselves from such an event. This blog is not is not about the depression aspect or hard feelings felt after a breakup, it is about the anxiety from multiple triggers in these events, and how to neutralize the anxiety from a first hand perspective, the millennial perspective.

After my break up I felt all of the above things and more. I was in a really low state for quite some time. The anxiety within me was more victimizing than the breakup itself however. It was hard to even contemplate getting back into the swing of things. Not only dating, but living a new routine, or my old routine. I was once again limited to my setting in White Rock, and I felt like I had no one. Especially considering the timing when I was already trying to come back from a slump, only to fall deeper into the slump with heartbreak. I stopped talking to people as much, I hid away as much as possible. I once again had issues trusting people with anything. I’d always worry about running into the now ex-girlfriend. I didn’t want to leave the house for fear that I’d see her. I was worrying about what she might say or do, or if her friends would get involved. I had asked her to leave me alone before only to be threatened by her and her new boyfriend. Since they’re theater crew, they must love drama. But then, today I ran into her. I was walking to the Skytrain after my midterm and she was coming up the hill as I was going down. She looked just as miserable as I was before, and for some reason that lifted a lot of anxiety of my shoulders. I believe it’s because nothing happened and now my fear of being harassed more by her is gone, or it could be that I finally understand the breakup took a toll on her as well. But whatever it is, when I ran into her today, I was already in a better place. I didn’t avoid her, or run away because I already fixed my anxiety about the situation, and this is how:

Step One:

Accept that situations were beyond my control.

This was a really hard one to accomplish for me. I’ve always tried to put myself in situations that I was in control of, but the reality of it is, when you really think about it. We don’t control much. In fact, out of everything that happens in our lives, we control very little. We don’t control genetics, or where we’re brought up, but we also don’t control who we run into (in my case, I couldn’t control if I ran into my ex or not) or who we meet that help take the pain away. However, we DO chose to keep those that take our pain away, or at least you should, I highly recommend it. The first step to ending my breakup anxiety was easily realizing I can’t do anything about it.

Step Two:

DISTRACTIONS

Being distracted is usually a bad thing. We distract ourselves from essay’s, work, etc. But if you have anxiety after a breakup, distractions can work wonders. My distractions were meeting new people, hanging out with friends, playing video games on my days off, and doing good deeds for others. Sometimes the best way to make yourself feel better, is to make someone else feel better. Maybe distract yourself with more structure in your life. Stick to a schedule, focus on what mattes most. Distractions are a nice way to repel negativity.

Step Three:

Write about how you feel.

I’m not sure if this works for everyone. Maybe some people don’t write ever, but it’s something I do on a daily basis. With the last blog, for example, I found simply writing my insight down helped get a lot of the breakup anxiety out of me, then I started writing more things down on the side like a journal my counselor wants me to keep. Writing about anxiety in my experience definitely helps neutralize it.

Step Four:

Remain true to who you are.

Lots of people after breakup will try and become someone else as a defense mechanism, don’t do that. It won’t help eliminate the anxiety you have, and has potential to create even more. There’s a reason someone appreciated you for who you were, and there will be people in the future appreciating you for who you are. If you decide to change, change in ways that might be productive. Change to being more mature, change to being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, be more accepting. Don’t turn into a disrespectful jerk who just wants to go out and have fun. And if you do, at least avoid alcohol, it’s a depressant after all.

Pretend to be happy if you need to.

I read somewhere that pretending to be happy is very likely to make you happier. It attracts positive energy, and negative energy is repelled. In my experience this is true because when I am down, people tend to try and lower me even more, but when I am up, everyone else is too.

My example: the last time I was down I was threatened with a gun, a knife, and mace all within two weeks.

It might be worth it to give it a shot since nobody likes to be threatened. Faking a smile could be your best weapon.

Step Five: 

Finding love in the right places.

Think about where you went wrong in your last relationship and learn from it. Also learn from how the ex might have changed throughout the relationship as their true colors started to show. Separate what you like and want to see in a person to date from negative things you wish your ex didn’t start doing. Only then should you allow yourself to see other people. You don’t want anxiety from a last relationship transferring over and causing issues with a new one. Be mature, and responsible, and think about what you need rather than what you want. Don’t break any hearts just because you don’t know what you’re doing. Be patient, and keep your chin up. All the good things you wish to see in a future spouse are in somebody out there, and they’re waiting for you.

Anxiety Blog 1

Intro:

I’ve been away for a while because things have gone from bad to worse lately. Only in the last couple days have things gotten better.

 

I’ve been thinking about doing this blog for a very long time, as I believe it can help people, however, I’ve always been somewhat insecure about talking about it. It’s a sensitive issue for most people, and I’m afraid people will see it as my way of complaining about my issues, however, it couldn’t be further from the truth. With a little help, and guidance from my friends, they told me to go ahead and talk openly about my issues with anxiety.

 

Before I go on any more, these are certainly MY issues. I’m not interested in blaming people for them, despite the fact that I sometimes do as a defense mechanism. I acknowledge the fact that in most situations, I am the problem because most people do not understand anxiety. If people cannot see something, usually they don’t believe it. In my experience, this is a fact. Even when something is explained, most people still have issues understanding or believing. As I’ve said, this post is about trying to help people in the future on the sensitive  issue of anxiety.

 

Anxiety, what it is in my experience: 

For me, anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion induced by stress usually. In my life, most of my anxiety came from things not going as planned. If I put a lot of effort into planning something and it ended up exploding in my face for whatever reason, I would have a tremendous panic attack. Things have always been, and continue to be this way for me. Anxiety stifles my breathing, makes me lightheaded, gives me tunnel vision, often it nullifies my ability to think rationally, and almost always it makes me very sleepy after a big panic attack.  Overly negative people have also always been a trigger to my panic attacks, as well as people over reacting to something I say (like taking a joke seriously). This is a part of being unable to control my surroundings, which is something people with anxiety have issues dealing with. They think they need to be able to control everything, even things well beyond their control. I’ve been in relationships, and friendships with people who don’t understand, this is my attempt at helping people understand not just for me, but other people who suffer from the same thing.

 

Being in a relationship with someone with anxiety:

I guess the first thing to mention is you should be honest no matter what. When people with anxiety catch you in a lie, they will forever think you’re lying to them, besides, there’s no point lying in a relationship to begin with. It’s unhealthy. Communication is definitely necessary for both parties, particularly the one suffering with anxiety. It’s best to talk about potential triggers of panic attacks and ways you can both avoid these triggers together, this requires a fair level of understanding from the less anxious party, as you have to think how things can affect your significant other. It’s hard to imagine what they’re going through, but think of it like this: The more anxiety we experience, the more damage it does to us, potentially taking years off our lives. Not to say that you’re killing anyone by triggering a panic attack, but you’re doing more damage than it seems, and most people with anxiety are too afraid to tell you, especially if you’re their significant other. To be fair, most people have an inability to see what’s wrong, so talk about it.

A lot of relationships are one sided. Most unsuccessful relationships, I can say from experience, are unsuccessful because one person has to do most of the work. Factoring in anxiety, if you’re the one with anxiety AND you’re also the one doing all the work, you’re going to have a really hard time.

21237107

 

In my experience I was in a relationship with a girl that lived about 2 hours away, and I bused out all the time to see her, but she never bused out to see me, past a certain point she didn’t even drive out to see me even when she could. This alone caused a lot of unneeded anxiety having to bus around so much Occasionally  I’d have to bus to work early in the morning, and sometimes she’d request me to come out at very late hours of the night, sometimes impossible hours, in that the buses literally had already stopped running. To any average person, they’d just say no and be done with it, but to someone with anxiety they freak out because presenting them with an idea that they would consider, but can’t because of extenuating circumstances, they overreact. Like I said, we want to control things. SO thinking about what I said from my experience, you should consider both working together. Putting too much pressure on one person is enough to exhaust them, let alone someone with anxiety.

Working Together: 

As I’ve said, communication is key, however, I should elaborate that FAIR communication is key. This means no pointing fingers. I’m guilty of doing this, as I’m sure many people with anxiety are. We tend to point fingers when experiencing overwhelming anxiety, or when we’re in a panic attack. Though the worst thing you can do when someone is having a panic attack is ignore them. Just change the subject and give them a bit more time to think before responding, make sure they’re okay, but don’t treat them much differently either. Just maintain a calm setting and avoid arguments even when the person experiencing the attack seems hostile. It will pass. Often times we say things in panic attacks we almost instantly regret. I can’t explain the science behind it, but I’ve personally said some hurtful things to some people when having a panic attack, I suspect it’s a defense mechanism. People with anxiety tend to push people away, especially when people get too close. Work together by talking about it. If something is compromised, work it out as a team. When things get rough, wait it out. The bad episodes pass and it’s best to weather the storm together. Encourage seeking help in the mental health sector, be there for them through the long mental health process, it’s a life lesson for both of you. All storms pass, and I like to say: There’s always bomb shelters in shit storms. And there’s nothing someone with anxiety needs more than having someone there for them through the good and bad. Too many times have we been abandoned by people, or we’ve pushed then away when things got rough. Finding someone that is willing to stick by you through the hard times is something I KNOW we all cherish.

Weather the storm
Weather the storm

 

Slow down:

If you’re early in a relationship with someone with anxiety, don’t rush things. Give yourselves enough space to go at a comfortable pace. Don’t be too emotional or overreact (or pretend to be offended,upset,etc.) with someone with anxiety early on, they may push you away before they want to just because they’re afraid you won’t be able to handle them at their worst. Give yourselves air to breathe. Think of anxiety in this case like the Sims. In the Sims you can give your characters a list of tasks to do, this list can get rather long, however, usually something goes wrong with the Sim and they decide they want food instead, or they break the toilet again. This can be related to rushing into a relationship because you are giving yourselves so many tasks so early on, and preparing for a long future when you don’t know what’s going to happen between now and getting married, particularly the thought that you might not even get that far.

Couldn't have predicted that.
Couldn’t have predicted that

 

Sure, it’s nice to think about and talk about but it’s overwhelming to people with anxiety to think years ahead, often times it’s hard for us to think days ahead, and as I’ve said, in my experience I try not to make plans because my panic attacks are most frequently induced when things don’t go as planned. Most relationships don’t go as planned, that’s part of the fun. Carpe diem as they say, seize the day, seize the moment. Living in the moment is usually better than dreaming of the future anyways. Relationships are not about the destination, they’re about the journey.

 

Seems hard? It’s not: 

Most of the things I’ve talked about are actually basics of most successful relationships, just in more depth. Communication, working together, taking things slow, these are all things most people should consider anyways, but if you’re in a relationship with someone that suffers from anxiety, these are a few great pointers to consider when having to go through the rough times, but you’ll find that it’s worth it. We seem complex because most people don’t understand, but anything that stresses most people out just stresses us out significantly more. Nothing is particularly unrealistic, in fact, pampering should not be a way to deal with someone during a panic attack, as psychologically it could have the reverse effect.

pavlov-rings-a-bell

 

What’s next?:

I’ll be working on more blogs about anxiety as it is an issue I have to deal with every day, and I’d like to help people that have to deal with it as well. I’ll be talking to others with similar issues to site them in future anxiety blogs, also I’ll be writing one about break up’s from the perspective of the person with anxiety, as well as a blog about being friends with someone with anxiety. I hope some of these pointers help, please share this with anyone you know that has to live with anxiety in hopes that it may help them.

 

 

 

 

Operation Vacation

Well, it’s been a while everyone. Sorry, but sometimes real life gets in the way of what we love. Nonetheless, I am back to write about an experience that not only change my life, and my friends life, but also an experience I hold dear to my heart.

The time I sent my best buddy Bryan to New York, with all expenses paid and some cash spending money. Some of you may know the story of how this came to be, but this is an in depth look at the experience:

In the summer (2012) I saw a listing for a television show online called Operation Dream Vacation. After reading about it, and learning that I could have the opportunity to send anyone in my life on their dream vacation, I started thinking about who would be best. I thought about my mother first, but decided that she really goes anywhere she wants for the most part anyways, so I scratched that. I thought of my sister but wasn’t sure if it would conflict with her job or her schooling, so I decided to think of more people that are deserving, I thought of my girlfriend, the one I was spending every day swooning over, and would love to give her such a gift, but decided that because of the closeness between us, the producers would probably not even look at the write up and suggest I take her on our own vacation.  Then it hit me, my friend Bryan! Bryan had never been anywhere of Canada since I met him years ago. Bryan has a passion for street photography so right off the bat I thought New York City would be perfect.

So I wrote in to the show, telling them what I knew about Bryan, our relationship as friends, and why I thought he was so deserving of such a reward, and life changing event. After I sent the message, I was waiting impatiently, checking my email every day for a reply. A reply that I thought would never come. After a month I gave up and continued to live life, focus on school, and work. Then all of a sudden I get a phone call from the TV show asking if we could do a phone interview. I was ecstatic!

On the phone interview, I was asked many more questions about Bryan, some I had covered in the email, some I had not thought of until it was brought up. I was asked where I thought Bryan would like to go and I suggested New York, among other places. I was asked to contact close family and friends of Bryan’s to see if they’d be a part of this great experience. After the phone call was over, I eagerly contacted his Brother Glen, and his Sister Kelli. Then I also decided to make contact with his roommate as well, since it would be great to have someone so close to him physically be part of the experience. Everyone agreed to be part of the experience and they all had to speak to the television show representatives and give their sides of the story. This was great because most of Bryan’s history was a blur to me, and nobody knows his childhood like his close family.  We were all nervous to this point, but as soon as we met the crew of Operation Vacation for our on camera interviews, those nerves instantly faded.

Everyone on set was super excited and positive. From the director to the assistant, the crew was full of great people. On Camera we had the city of Vancouver as our backdrop while we spoke about Bryan and his life. It was great telling people all about my best friend and his passion for photography. This is where things got really personal and we started speaking about more of the dark parts of Bryan’s life. Things like his father, and the death of his grandfather, and (thanks to me) the relationship he lost two years ago and is still pained by.  I was, and still am, looking forward to seeing the show in action, and seeing myself and everyone else involved on television.

After these interviews, we were up and running, only a couple more weeks and we were on camera as a group being interviewed by the hosts of the television show. It was this day that we were given the chance to decide who was deserving of going on the trip with Bryan. This was a choice we ultimately decided we couldn’t make, and figured we would allow Bryan to chose on a sneaky interview set up with Scott where the Director asked Bryan who he would go on vacation with if given the choice. The best part? BRYAN HAD NO IDEA!

Soon after his decision was made we were on set to do a group interview again.  The set interview is where we were given a choice of where Bryan should go on his Dream Vacation between New York City, and Dubai, we decided the Big Apple was ultimately the best choice of the two. It was a hard choice ultimately for me, as Bryan could excel with his photography anywhere in the world, I am certain of it. This was the day everyone else discovered that Scott was picked to go on the trip with Bryan. Certainly, I was disappointed, I would’ve loved to go with Bryan just to see his excitement and amazement as he landed in the Big Apple right up until him leaving. However, I was very excited for Scott as well. Scott is also a photographer so I knew he would be able to take advantage of such an opportunity as well.

The next destination was at Bryan’s bosses house where it was set up that all of Bryan’s closest friends, family, and co-workers would wait there until Bryan was brought over for the surprise. We waited impatiently, and practiced the unveil as we would only have one chance to make it perfect. We talked to each other, and did more interviews, being a more recent friend of Bryan’s, I got a chance to meet some of his older friends from Langley, where he grew up. We all chatted and had lunch together until Bryan got there. I was so nervous!

As I watched Bryan come up the steps of where we were waiting I watched his face go from excited to confused and everything in the middle. He later told me he was scared it was a photography intervention as a joke. He knew nothing until this point, but this is where it was unveiled that he was going to New York City, and he was leaving tomorrow! This is where we all shared laughs, and tears, and we were all just very proud to see everything come together so well, and to be seeing Bryan off on a new stage of his life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bryan and Scott were off to New York.

This is where I thought about what it means for Bryan. The fact that this is all for his photography is one thing, him getting to see a new city to make his stomping ground is another thing, but the main thing to me at this point is the coverage. Bryan Mollett photography will be seen across Canada, America, and other parts of the world. This means the most to me. I’ve been a part of, and a huge fan of Bryan’s photography and I couldn’t be more proud to share it with the world. Sure, I didn’t get a trip out of the deal, but I changed someone’s life for the better, and that is something I will die proud of. Bryan and I will always be best friends, and I’m glad to have given him the opportunity to take the next step towards the future.

Operation Vacation will be on television in Canada and America, and parts of other nations. I look forward to seeing it, and I hope you all get to see it as well. Until then, give Bryan your support by checking out his photography page and seeing his trip to the Big Apple, New York City!

http://bryanmollett.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/a-trip-to-the-big-apple/

Here’s a link to the Television shows Facebook page, Show us your support by liking it:

http://www.facebook.com/ConvergentProductionsVacation

This is a picture of me and two of my requested Bryan Mollett photography prints. I am very proud to hang these on my wall

My thoughts on Hurricane Sandy

My thoughts on Hurricane Sandy:

 

Well, first of all I would like to say RIP to the deceased, and for those people out there that lost homes, lost jobs, etc. because of it, I hope all the best to you.

But honestly, it we knew this was going to happen. Many scientists have been saying, even Al Gore, a previous vice president said that this would happen in his movie: An Inconvenient Truth. There were specials on CNN more frequently as time went on about the possibilities of hurricanes. So the people who are surprised by this really didn’t have their eyes open much. It’s kind of like the British Columbia “Big One” earthquake that we have been expecting all my life, and anyone who knows anything about Geology knows that it will happen in my life time for sure, yet so many people just blow it off like it’s an annoying joke. Stuff like this IS GOING TO HAPPEN, as much as it suck to believe and experience, and it will happen again. Prepare for the worst, and spend money on protecting citizens instead of Wall Street.

Global warming is not even worth arguing about anymore. If you don’t see it for yourself, you’re an idiot. Storms like this are happening way more frequently, ice caps are melting, and seasons are getting way more intense respectively. Personally, I suggested avoiding affected areas, but in the event of Sandy, that leaves out way too many states, however, you can avoid places like New Orleans or countries like Haiti if you wish to avoid the stress of dealing with situations like this, and hey, I’ve never experience a hurricane in Beautiful British Columbia, maybe after the “Big One” you could move here. 😉

Many people don’t know or understand the Gaia Hypothesis, it is Mother Nature’s way of cleansing itself, no matter what. Perhaps the abundance of deadly storms is Her way of trying to cleanse herself of man. She will one day I believe. Global warming is just a theory as to how.

 

After this sort of thing I ponder how evolution may have devolved some of our senses. Query, what sense is it to continue living in an area that is constantly affected by natural disasters? I believe our ancestors would have sought shelter elsewhere probably after the second natural disaster to hit them, maybe even the first. Yet, people repeatedly just take the abuse from mother nature. Indeed, it is probably a money issue, but ultimately you would still end up saving it if you moved away. You wouldn’t have to constantly rebuild every year. Perhaps it’s emotional attachment. This wouldn’t have even been considered by ancestors, to them, their lives were more important than memories.

 

Right now people are debating whether or not the New York City Marathon should take place, this is a strange notion to me. On one hand I think the people who want to run should be able to run. Why not make a flash group or something and do it anyways even if the mayor calls it off? On the other hand, lots of the city is destroyed, without power, and without basic supplies, so we need to focus on helping those people. But just because they are in turmoil doesn’t mean people should be prohibited to run. Do what you want people, but still focus on helping your fellow man.  Personally, if I lived in New York and was unaffected by this, I would still donate money, clothes, whatever others in my city who were less fortunate than I had been needs to get back on track. But the world doesn’t work like that. People are thrown out of their homes, and people are bankrupted for political gain.  It’s too bad good people are so few and far between, when stuff like this happens, there’s just enough of them to get by.

 

I wish everyone in New York and other affected areas the best. You’re in my thoughts, and prayers.