Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

For Our Troops and their Families

Earlier this month I blogged about Dennis LeClair's "To Our Canadian Troops" commemorative album, all proceeds of which go directly to The Military Families Fund (created in 2007 by General Rick Hillier), a fund that assists military families faced with problems that result directly from service. This fund continues to grow through the generous contributions of Canadians whose continued support of our Canadian Forces members and their families is very much appreciated. 

Purchases can be made at a CANEX, on LeClair's website, or on iTunes. If you would prefer to purchase your CD over the telephone you can do so by calling 250-860-4912. 

Friday, October 29, 2010


I was very excited to come home and find that my Moo Cards had arrived! I loves them! These are the little business cards I have on my key chain that everyone asks about, looks at and then chooses their favourite - I find they are quite popular. I print them with pictures I have taken myself and this batch of Moo Cards has my social media info printed on the back.

I highly recommend Moo Cards to anyone who is looking for a fun and non-traditional style of business cards that they can put their own personality into (these would also work well as gift tags). Check out for other items you can create and have printed and you too can have the great experience and customer service that keeps me coming back year after year! Also, if you would like to order something let me know as I have some promo codes for 15% off your next order - I'd be happy to send one to you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dancing with Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grand son thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Edmonton Tweetup!

I am soooo tired in this picture...

Finishing off a very busy week (including Beyond 2010, the Hackathon, the Yeg Girl Geek Mixer, and the Empire Avenue Boardroom) was a great BBQ tweetup hosted at the iNews880 Radio station. A HUGE thank you goes out to Edmonton's fabulous Brittney LeBlanc (and her boss) for such a successful gathering. It is great to have a venue for a family friendly tweetup and the radio station knows how to make any night fun!   

Monday, October 25, 2010

Long Live the Cabal...

There is no Cabal...

The Edmonton Empire Avenue Boardroom on October 21 was well attended with more than 40 Empire Avenue Influencers and some local twitterites who were EAv curious. Highlights of the evening included mingling with out of towners (e)ADRIEL and (e)DUPS, gathering together the most amount of Cabal members to ever (yet) be in one room and checking out the new Empire Avenue iPhone App that is currently being beta tested (coming soon). As always I was pleased to meet people IRL and put faces to twitter names and tickers.  

A big thank you shout out goes to Trevor at Original Joe's Varsity who always treats us right! Highly recommend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beyond 2010 Hackathon

I've stayed up all night with a great group of talented people at the Beyond 2010 Hackathon (in Edmonton, Alberta) and an equally talented group of people in Birmingham UK. We've all been hard  work developing a mobile app tool to help people in the event of a disaster. It's been a fun and productive process and I really love the truly collaborative nature of the project - we've all been using to produce the written documents and skype for conference calling with the UK Hackathon team. I'm really happy to have had an opportunity to be involved in this (thanks to Brittney LeBlanc for coordinating!) and I can't wait to use and see the final product! And hopefully we will all have created something that saves lives and eases suffering. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Look at me, I'm in a Cave!

I was the featured Empire Avenue member today on the Dragon's Cave.

You can read the whole article HERE.

Red Sky in the Morn...

Edmonton Sunrise Oct 19 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Four Easy Steps to Voting in Edmonton!

I've heard various reasons over the past few days as to why people don't vote or why they likely won't vote in tomorrow's election. Some people expressed that they don't know "how" to vote and they don't want to feel dumb when (if) they get to the ballot box. I've thought a bit about this and I understand that no one wants to feel this way but the process of voting is actually fairly easy (and quick). If you are 18 years old, live in Edmonton on election day, have been in Alberta for six months and are a Canadian citizen then you get to vote for Mayor, one city councilor and one school board trustee (either public or catholic).

Here's FOUR easy steps for those living in Edmonton:

1. Find your Ward and Candidates. You can find your ward using this LINK.  Once you know your ward, a complete list of the candidates is found HERE.

2. Learn a little about your candidates. Most of the candidates have websites and if they do you'll find their links HERE.  

3. Find your polling station using this LINK. Your polling station is open on Monday between the hours of 9am and 8pm only.

4. VOTE! On Monday October 18 2010 go to your polling station between the hours of 9am and 8pm. Take your ID or alternatives with you (there is no voters list). The most commonly used types of identification are an Alberta driver's licence, Alberta ID card or your Canadian passport. If you don't have any of these, check this LINK for other types of accepted ID.

If you require assistance marking your ballot you can even get help from a friend or the deputy in the voting station.

If you are like me (I'm still undecided for Mayor) I encourage you to get yourself to the ballot box on Monday - at the very least, if you still can't decide, you can spoil your ballot. Remember we have something amazing here in our country but the only way our democracy works is if citizens are active participants. Just vote.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Empire Avenue Photo Contest!

The Empire Building Network has just announced the first Empire Avenue photo contest.

Post an original photograph between October 16th 9am (eastern) and October 19th at 9pm (eastern) to the Empire Building Network Facebook page. The picture that garners the most number of likes and comments during that time will be determined the winner (each like will count as one vote, each comment will count as two votes and only one vote per person, per entry will be counted). You will be permitted to like and vote for your own entry and there is no limit to the amount of other entries you can vote on. You can also vote on all entries without submitting something yourself - but it would be more fun to see your pictures in the contest as well!  

Check out the Empire Building Network Facebook Page to see all the rules. And good luck!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The UltraAVX Experience...

Thanks to Cloud AdAgents and Cineplex Entertainment, last weekend myself and 8 other Edmonton twitter friends had the chance to experience the new UltraAVX Cinema in South Edmonton Commons.

The UltraAVX theatre experience offers you a chance to reserve your seats, a feature I'm a huge fan of and certainly took advantage of. This involved me going to the Customer Service desk where a very helpful agent showed me a seat layout of the new theatre and helped me to choose the exact seats I wanted. Once I had made my selection he gave me my tickets with the row and seat numbers on it, just like a concert. When the group of us returned later that night for the movie there was no line ups and we went directly into the theatre and found our seats. I really liked that when everyone went to grab food there was none of the typical anxiety involved with having to protect seats or try to make a jacket stretch over as many chairs as possible. This in itself might have been enough to impress me, but the theatre has more to offer than that.

The first thing we noticed when we got to our seats was the seat - like individual rocking armchairs that allowed plenty of leg room to get comfortable and lean back if you'd like. I really liked the mobility of the chair. In addition, each row of seats is positioned high enough that your view isn't obstructed regardless of where you're sitting or how tall the person in front of you is. I can honestly say that I haven't had as comfortable an experience watching a movie in a regular theatre, but then this isn't a regular theatre.

UltraAVX features a large format wall to wall movie screen, allowing for a great image from wherever the vantage point (although I wouldn't suggest sitting too close to the front or on the extreme sides). The theatre boasts dolby digital surround sound which made me feel immersed within the sound which was a neat experience. I didn't feel like the sound was coming at me like some other theatres I've been in although it wasn't as loud as an IMAX theatre. There may have been a better movie choice to showcase this sound experience (we saw Secretariat) but I quite enjoyed it nonetheless. All in all it seems to me that this is how movies should be experienced.  

I was impressed enough with the UltraAVX experience that I can't wait to go back. For me, the 15.75 per adult ticket price (11.99 child/senior) is worth it just for the convenience of selecting your desired seats before hand (in the past I've waited hours in line ups hoping to get the seats I wanted), but the quality of the experience is now something that I am looking forward to, especially for the more anticipated movie releases (like Harry Potter). Maybe it's not for every movie experience, but I'll certainly be back!    

You can find an UltraAVX theatre in both the Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton and Cineplex Odeon South Edmonton Cinemas. 

Also, read Brittney's review here, and John's here.  They're awesome!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October. For us it is a celebration of the end of the harvest season, similar to the older English continental-European Harvest Festival and not totally unlike American Thanksgiving celebrated in November (first a pilgrim celebration at Plymouth Plantation). I think in the past it made sense to have a party after working so hard through a summer to prepare for the coming winter. In more modern days we get to focus more on family gathering and the blessings that we are thankful for in our lives.

I am thankful to live in Canada. I am thankful for the opportunity to raise my family here and that our quality of life and standard of living makes it possible for each of us to explore the things that interest us and allows us to pursue our goals and dreams. Today I am cognizant that this experience is not shared by all of the earth's citizens and I am grateful to be Canadian.

I am also thankful for my family, our continued good health and the many blessings we share together everyday.    

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy 10 - 10 - 10!

Everyone knows the answer to the ultimate question of life, universe & everything is 42.

10 10 10 in binary = 42. For geeks worldwide that makes today, 10-10-10, #42day. Which then, by further extension, makes it an awesome day to celebrate The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

So fellow hikers, let us commence the celebration!

Friday, October 08, 2010

"The Effect was Instantaneous..."

Ninety four years ago today, on a bleak battlefield known as the Somme, along a forsaken line known as the Regina Trench, a young boy of only 20 years old would spend ten precious minutes of his life displaying such courage that - unbeknown to him - it would reach years into the future to make such an impression on me that my heart would burst when I first learned of it.

I was a young Canadian Scottish Regimental cadet (2422 RCACC) learning regimental history when I first heard the name Piper James Richardson. In my tender youth, for me, his Victoria Cross was a matter of legend and pride and I wanted to be as brave as I imagined him to be. It wasn't until my basic training that I would learn the harrowing details of the amazing story that earned him that honour and it wasn't until I was much older that I came to realize just how spectacularly terrifying that whole time must have been for him.

The setting of the story of those ten minutes is the battle for the Ancre Heights. Piper Richardson (who had joined the 16th Infantry Battalion Canadian Scottish as a private and piper) was part of an advancing company that had been pinned down in a storm of enemy fire - machine guns, rifle fire and artillery. Heavy casualties, the death of the company commander and the mounting gravity of the situation had taken the momentum out of the attack. Just when it all hope seemed lost Piper Richardson asked his sergeant-major if he could pipe them over the top. Yes, he volunteered.

For what must have been the most amazing ten minutes in Somme, Piper Richardson, fully exposed, marched back and forth just outside the enemy wire playing his bagpipes for his troops. Not a single enemy bullet struck him. The citation to his VC decoration would later read "The effect was instantaneous. Inspired by his splendid example, the company rushed the wire with such fury and determination that the obstacle was overcome and the position captured.”

Instantaneous indeed - and all these years later my heart still fills with wonder, inspiration, pride, amazement, thankfulness and a tiny bit of sheer terror when I think of Piper Richardson's courage in those ten minutes.

John Wayne once said "Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." I don't know of a finer example of "saddling up anyway."

NOTE: In honour of this anniversary the new Pipes of War website launches today.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Guestblogging From an Undisclosed Location

Duncan and I co-wrote a playful election piece for Edmonton's popular podcast talk show - The Unknown Studio. Involving Battlestar Galactica and Edmonton's 12 wards, it was a lot of fun. Intrigued? You can read it here:

Edmonton’s Quorum of Twelve (October 07 2010, the Unknown Studio)

The Force Is Strong With This One...

Happy Birthday to my Soul Mate. May the Force Be With You today and for many more birthdays!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far

To Our Canadian Troops by Dennis Leclair

When I was at the CANEX yesterday I noticed a a small card advertising a commemorative CD being sold as a fundraiser to support the Canadian Military Families Fund. I found the card in my pocket today, looked up the song and enjoyed it enough that I wanted to share it here.

If you like information on how to purchase the CD you can visit LeClair's Website HERE.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Let's go see the stars!

Today I received an interesting offer via twitter from Shannon Hunter, who works with Cloud Ad Agents in Toronto. Here is what her email said:

My name is Shannon and I work for Cloud AdAgents, a digital advertising agency representing Cineplex Entertainment. We’ve been asked by Cineplex to invite Edmonton’s most influential social media users to experience an ultra cool advancement in movie theatre technology, UltraAVX!

Why is UltraAVX worth Tweeting about? Because it delivers one of the most immersive entertainment experiences possible. UltraAVX features wall-to-wall screens that are significantly larger on average than traditional screens. A superb digital surround sound system utilizes the latest in Dolby digital sound technology. Special projectors provide stunning, crystal clear images.  And to top the experience off, reserved seating options and extra wide high back, luxurious  rocker seats.

We’re talking to the best, the brightest, the most dialled-in people we can find... and giving them tickets to try out UltraAVX on us!

Starting Friday, October 8, UltraAVX opens in Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton and Cineplex Odeon South Edmonton Cinemas. We’d like you and a friend PLUS four of your followers on Twitter or four of your blog readers to come check out a movie in UltraAVX and experience what we believe is the next generation of theatre. 

So, if you need something to do on Saturday (movie T.B.A.) and would like to check out a movie on the new UltraAVX screen with me (and Duncan), let me know (via @ message on twitter). I need four friends from the Edmonton area who would be willing to tweet about the experience.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Livestrong Together

Fourteen years ago, on October 2, Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer - but with the news that it had spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain his chances were greatly hampered. He was only 25 years old.
Through a combination of determination, education, physical conditioning, aggressive medical treatments and a positive attitude, Lance fought back at the disease. Before even knowing how the story would end he declared himself a cancer survivor. He created the LIVESTRONG Foundation as a support and advocacy group for other survivors. And he never backed down. Amazingly, after his treatments finished, he went on to win the Tour de France a record breaking seven times in a row.
Lance Armstrong has been an inspiration to me and his LIVESTRONG website has long been a source of knowledge and motivation for me as I try to incorporate healthy choices into my own lifestyle.         
Today is LIVESTRONG Day - a global event to raise support and awareness for the 28 million cancer survivors worldwide. I am going to wear yellow today in support of the LIVESTRONG ideology and in honour of Lance Armstrong and the way he showed us to believe in our strengths. 
You can also participate in LIVESTRONG Day online - help spread the word.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Updating my links...

If you were wondering where @AllieW went ...  I am now @Allie!

Please Don't Kill Yourself

we are all one
It's hard to be a kid/teenager sometimes. For some maybe even most of the time.

I remember it as being the most difficult time in my life. I didn't feel like I fit in or that anyone really understood me. I felt alone a lot of the time. I was sometimes angry that the world didn't seem to appreciate the person I was becoming. Sometimes I even thought no one would care if I died. At the time I really believed these things to be true.

But I was wrong. Those lonely and sad days don't matter anymore. Today the world is full of people who like me and love me for who I am - no matter what. As an adult there are many opportunities for me and most importantly, I can be who I want to be. The world is large and there is a place for everyone within it. 

I don't mean to suggest that life will be uncomplicated, but it does get easier and it is worth it. There is love, sunshine and happiness to experience ahead of you. You will meet people who will change your life. These things will make the challenges easier to bear, I promise. 

I wish I could say to Tyler Clementi that I would love to hear him play the violin someday, because it is true. I am sad that I will never have the chance to tell him that.

I would implore the world for acceptance; to raise caring and compassionate children; to irradicate bullying and stereotypes and for people to fight against injustice or cruelty where they find it. This is an ongoing battle (but one that can be, and will be, won).

Until then I want everyone to know, no matter how hard things are right now, how alone you feel or how desperate you might be, that there is a world where we are all one. Not everyone is totally there yet but we are here, waiting for you. Come join us.