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

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Parenting Today

There is a pandemic that is plaguing the earth. It leads to lashing out, often times in aggressive ways. I am talking, of course, about bad parenting. I see it all the time. Kids not getting scolded for being bad. Parents buying ridiculously violent games for their 5 year old kids. In fact, it is getting so bad that the parents are starting to mimic the childish, juvenile behavior of their child(ren). Parents today don’t seem to realize that this is not good for their kids. Although I am convinced that they simply wouldn’t care even if they could get it through their heads. I may not be a parent, but I know how I was raised, and sure, some things are questionable, however I turned out well and I at least know how to respect others if nothing else.

Kids today not only don’t respect random people they see at stores or on the street, they don’t respect their parents. I see kids not listening to their parents more than ever. I see kids left in stores because the parent threatened to leave them there and the kids took that as a blessing. Parents need to realize that if things become like this, you need to change the way you do things. Often times I see kids essentially vandalizing stores, taking things off shelves and throwing product around like it was their play room. While they do this, the parent is simply standing right there not doing or saying anything, pretending they don’t exist. I don’t know the “right” way to handle this, but I know if I did that as a kid my parents would not only not be happy, they would have picked me up and taken me out of the store, potentially never to return there again. There was no reason for my parents to keep taking me places where I act like a delinquent. Stores are a luxury. If you can’t handle them, you don’t deserve to have them. That’s how I was raised with Luxuries in my life.

Kids that are my customers at my store have such terrible social skills. When their parent tells them to ask me a question they just stare at me with  a puzzled look on their face, as if I was god and they were trying to ask me the meaning of life. Words never escape their mouth and their parents just say what the kid wanted  to say, but clearly was incapable of talking to anyone else except their mommy or daddy. If they don’t stare at me, they are just staring at their parent as though I had just stabbed someone or shot up. To me, it is not the child that looks stupid here. Despite not being able to articulate anything, that is ultimately the parents fault. Clearly the kid has been sheltered by mom and dad, held away from the big bad world. Nobody can go anywhere in life like this.

I work in a game store. I see a lot of nerds, a lot of socially retarded people, and a lot of spoiled brats. Many of the children that are in my store are clearly raised by their Xbox more than their parents. I strongly believe many parents use gaming as a cheap daycare. Today I had a woman with her son, her son traded in two PSP games that were rated E (for everyone), then the kid grabbed a copy of Mortal Kombat for the PS3 and the mom just grabs it and hands it to my co-worker. My co-worker tells the woman “This is rated M for mature, it is intended for seventeen or older people. It is rated M because of intense violence, suggestive themes and mild language, is this ok?” the woman turns to her son in shock and the kid says “But nobody really dies, there’s no swearing, nobody even bleeds!” This is when I pipe up. I tell the woman “this is probably the  most brutal game that’s out right now” but you know what the woman did? She listened to her son and got the game for him. This is not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last. In fact, look how hugely popular Call of Duty is. It is a billion dollar grossing game series, however, a large part of the audience is children. Children who’s mommy and daddy bought them their video games so they could be happy.

Many parents that come in my store say things like “I am looking for a game for my (5-10 year old) son, it can be violent or whatever, just no swearing”. Naturally I have to cater to their needs as I am in the customer service industry, but it makes me feel a huge level of concern. What this does is tells the kids that violence, killing, sexual themes, etc. are ok, but swearing is not. It Should be the opposite. I mean, swearing is everywhere, in fact the father probably swore once in the car ride to my store. Swearing is on tv, it’s suggested in ads, popular songs have swearing in them. The only thing more frequent than swearing these days is sexual themes/stupidity.

I strongly believe if this generation of kids keeps being raised as they are they will turn out extremely messed up. If they are taught violence is ok, that hitting women is ok, then what’s to say this generation won’t be full of murdering psychopaths? Especially with the lack of social skills, many serial killers have brutal social problems as well. I often think these kids would be better off in the brutal confines of the foster care system, clearly their parents do not know how to raise a child.Sure, when I was a kid I was allowed to occasionally play an M or T rated game, but it was a luxury if I couldn’t handle it, my parents would not only stop buying me games, but also take away the games I already had. Sure it was Nazi, but that is PARENTING. You as the parent NEED to set the boundaries and set the law for your child. Children can’t raise themselves, video games cannot raise them, the PARENTS need to raise them, and raise them properly if they want their children to succeed.