Category Archives: Non-Sports

My favorite albums of 2017

My mom’s basement flooded in July. This was not really that big a deal. My step-dad had been finishing the entire basement himself, so it was disappointing for him, but big-picture, this was about as low-stakes a housing disaster can be. There was damage, including some old family keepsakes, the type of stuff you really don’t need to hang on to but do anyway for the occasional shot of nostalgia.

I keep some of my stuff in storage there, including a duffel bag that serves as a graveyard for old, terrible jerseys and a box of random things from my childhood. Photo albums, sports memorabilia, letters from my globe-trotting pen-pal, and some random notebooks. The notebooks are a trip. There have been signs that I wanted to be a sportswriter for as long as I can remember. I would “play” SportsDesk with mini-sticks or in the driveway. This photo actually exists. And the notebooks are filled with fake box scores, standings, and mini-game stories.

They also contain re-written editions of the MuchMusic Countdown. Apparently displeased with the order presented, I would write the top 25 out in the order I thought those (or other) songs should go in. 11-year-old me gave Harvey Danger a hell of a run on top. Around that same time, I was seeing a child psychologist in Guelph regularly, and I remember that my sort-of “reward” for going to those sessions was that on the drive home to Cambridge, the Top 7 at 7 would be playing on whatever London’s alternative radio station was at the time. Just get through the session, and there was good music waiting.

I have not pursued music writing (or ranking) nearly as aggressively as sports, but it’s still something I really enjoy doing. (The connection between mental health and music remains, umm, quite strong.) And so instead of just listing off my favorite albums of 2017, I wanted to write a bit about some of them for a change. 2017 wasn’t as strong at the top as 2016, something it made up for with exceptional depth. When I listed out all of the albums I’d listened to in 2017 to start cutting down to 25, there were 88, which feels insane. I opted to stretch this annual list from 25 to 50, because there were just too many albums I enjoyed that I didn’t want to leave out or thought other people might see, check out, and enjoy.

What follows are the albums I enjoyed most in 2017.

An aside: My mom lives in Drumbo, which – and I am not joking here – refers to itself as “The detour capital of Ontario.” I really feel like they should borrow from The Wonder Years and erect a sign that says “But I was kinda hoping you’d stay” as you leave.

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My favorite albums of 2016

No pre-amble necessary. Here are my favorite albums of 2016.

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What’s My Age Again? On a two-decade relationship with blink-182

My tenth grade girlfriend burnt my blink-182 t-shirt.

This, of course, sounds patently ridiculous. Not only is the idea of a broken-hearted 16-year-old setting an ex’s clothing aflame beyond cliché, it’s also just hard to imagine anyone deciding on a goofy-rabbitted blink-182 shirt, of all merchandise, to set fire to, even in effigy. Of all the angsty bands I have and continue to listen to, blink – particularly pre-self-titled blink – seems an ill-advised avatar. After all, who takes blink-182, a band that became unthinkably popular while refusing to take themselves as such, that seriously?

As it turns out, I do.

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My favorite albums of 2015

No pre-amble necessary. Here are my favorite albums of 2015.

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Anxiety and twitter

Title: Anxiety and twitter
Date: January 28, 2014
Synopsis: I wrote a bit about my issues with generalized anxiety disorder and how social media can make it far worse.
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That one time I was an extra on Psych

Title: That one time I was an extra on Psych
Date: January 8, 2014
Original Source: USA Netowkr
Synopsis: When I lived in Vancouver, I occasionally did work as an extra. I found these clips of me in the background of Psych scenes lying around.

Pilot social media course profits from journalism-business crossover

Title: Pilot social media course profits from journalism-business crossover
Date: June 26, 2013
Original Source: The Thunderbird
Synopsis: The J-school I attend commissioned me to write two features for the school’s website for classes I didn’t take (no conflict of interest). This is the second, on a new business-journalism collaboration course on social media.
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Reporting in Indigenous Communities Course Means More Than Just Storytelling

Title: Reporting in Indigenous Communities Course Means More Than Just Storytelling
Date: June 19, 2013
Original Source: The Thunderbird
Synopsis: The J-school I attend commissioned me to write two features for the school’s website for classes I didn’t take (no conflict of interest). This is the first, on UBC SOJ’s RIIC course.
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My Weekend in Portland: Hop City

Title: My Weekend in Portland: Hop City
Date: June 19, 2013
Original Source: Beergraphs
Synopsis: Beergraphs has launched – it’s a site dedicated to analyzing beer trends, ratings and culture. I contributed a post for the “Barely Beer” side of the site, focused on beer experiences and tasting, about my trip to Portland where I tried 20 different beers in a weekend.
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On (Potentially) Being A (Definite) Beersnob

Title: On (Potentially) Being A (Definite) Beersnob
Date: June 10, 2013
Original Source: Beergraphs
Synopsis: Beergraphs has launched – it’s a site dedicated to analyzing beer trends, ratings and culture. On the site’s second day, I dropped an article on potential flaws in beer analytics, because we’re all “beersnobs” if we’re rating and analyzing beers.
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