Archive | April, 2011

Bee’s Knees: Royal Wedding

28 Apr

I remember my second royal wedding very well. My aunt, uncle, and cousins were visiting from Ontario, and we girls got up at the crack of dawn to watch Fergie (not Fergie Ferg London Bridge Oh Snap – the ORIGINAL) marry Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey. We had a huge breakfast and my cousin Gillian and I watched with our Care Bears. We also had a rainbow drawing contest (I lost). Even as a little girl I was impressed by the pomp and circumstance of this wedding, very different than the one wedding I had attended.

My first royal wedding was Charles and Diana’s when I was just a couple of months old. Being a baby, I was screaming a lot at the time, so my mother got up with me and we watched the wedding together. I’m sure it was really enjoyable for her what with an infant screaming bloody murder the entire time.

So, I’ve officially been watching royal weddings for three decades now and the excitement hasn’t worn off one bit. Tomorrow I’ll be crawling out of bed (on my DAY OFF! and BIRTHDAY!) bright and early to see Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials. I can’t wait to see the dresses, the decor, the processional. I love weddings, just as long as I’m not involved. And this is the humdinger of all weddings.

What makes a royal wedding so appealing? First of all, it’s every little girl’s dream to be a princess. There’s the fashion – the wedding party’s outfits, the crazy hats and fascinators. I think part of it is also how different it is from a “regular” wedding. We probably attend a dozen weddings in our lifetime but this one will completely outshine even the nicest celebration any bride-to-be could cook up. Seriously, who has their faces emblazoned on a line of china?

Or press-on nails?

Or condoms?

That’s what I thought.

Boys, even if you aren’t into the royal wedding (I don’t know what’s wrong with you), you will earn some serious points with your lady if you at least support her through her wedding-watching tomorrow morning. It is a marathon TV program after all. Bring her coffee. Make her breakfast. Practice your best British accent. Tell her that her hair is nicer than Kate’s, even though it’s a complete and utter lie. Do NOT linger in the TV room and say how stupid it is to be excited over the wedding. Do not make fun of William and Harry. You’re reinforcing the painfully clear fact that she didn’t marry a prince. You’re making it worse. Humour her. After all, haven’t you been watching hockey for the past however many weeks EVERY NIGHT?

This Needs to Stop – Sneakers & Business Casual

27 Apr

It has come to our attention at TNTS that many of you are throwing the most basic of fashion tips out the window on your daily jaunt to and from work. We aren’t here to point any fingers, but merely provide some guidance when putting your best foot forward. Ok fine. First we’ll point fingers and then we’ll guide. Nothing like a little shock therapy to whip you into shape.

So, do you know what needs to stop? Wearing sneakers with business casual attire. If you just looked down at your feet to check to see if you are breaking this fundamental fashion rule you likely are. That is unless you’re Justin Timberlake in which case our lives are about to get a hell of a lot more interesting.

But seriously let’s imagine this. It’s the middle of July. Kate Middleton and Wills are rumoured to be in town. You are busting it to work when all of a sudden you see them. And trust us, Kate sees you and you’re crazy white cross trainers. What would Kate do you ask? She would likely throw back her glorious mane of hair and laugh while simultaneously reaching into her Birkin Bag and tossing you a pair of spare flats that she carries around at all times just in case.

While this would make for a great story on your part, Kate is now leaving the city thinking, “Goodness! Halifax was a quaint place, but heavens do they have horrible footwear! Tut tut!!” Now the rest of us get stuck in this mass generalization that our shoes suck.

In today’s world full of giant purses and amazingly good bargains there is no reason for you lovely ladies to be clomping around in your sneakers en route to the office, merely to change into more stylish footware upon arrival. While we can completely understand the functionality of pairing a bright white sneaker with a black pencil skirt and silk blouse, for obvious reasons we can’t understand the fashionability behind it.

So we’d like to introduce to you your new best friend, the flat. Flat’s have been around since the 18th century so it’s not like we’re trying to force you into a dress made out of meat or something. Flats can be just as, if not more comfortable than sneakers AND because they are available in just about every colour imaginable you have no reason to avoid them when putting on your favourite Monday – Friday outfits.

Flats are also an affordable way to spruce up your closet. Joe Fresh is a great place to pick up a great pair of flats you can usually find them on sale!

H&M also has some great flats in their summer collection and for under $20!

Joe Fresh Flats $39 (left) H&M Peep Toe Flats $19 (right)

If you thinking no WAY are fancy little flats more comfortable then my LA Gear kicks we challenge you to a street race. That’s right. We will run all the way down Barrington St. at full speed and prove that we can win races and look great while doing it.

So please, unless you’re in appropriate leisure attire, put away those sneaks. You’ll be glad that you did.

The Bee’s Knees — Amber Mac

25 Apr

Amber Mac is Canada’s tech heroine. A regular columnist for The Globe and Mail, author of Power Friending, host of CommandN, and podcaster, Amber is constantly creating interesting content.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Amber a few times and have always found her to be charming and funny, and I thought the perfect person to interview on This Needs to Stop. Based on all of the above, it’s pretty obvious that Amber’s a busy woman, so we were thrilled when she agreed to answer our questions!

1) How did you get started in tech reporting/podcasting, etc.? Where did the interest/inspiration come from?
I started doing tech reporting and podcasting thanks to working with the amazing Leo Laporte.  He taught me all I know, as he does with others every day as part of his TWiT.tv network.

2) You’ve spent a lot of time in Halifax. What’s your favourite part about it?
My favourite part of Halifax is Spring Garden Road.  I love the vibe there in the summertime and in the fall when all the students return to the city.

3) What’s your favourite city in Canada, and why?
My fave city in Canada is Charlottetown. It’s a small city, but it has everything you need from an active arts community to great restaurants.

4) What do you think is just the “bee’s knees”?
I am obsessed with the fisheye lens for mobile devices from PhotoJojo. It’s a must-have for a gadget and photo geek.

5) What do you think needs to stop?
I think people have to stop driving with kids in those crazy “carts” on the back of bicycles, really freaks me out.

6) Favourite things to do and see in Toronto?
When I’m in Toronto, I’m pretty much glued to my laptop so I appreciate the GTA’s Twitter community.

7) Sweet Valley High question: Are you Jessica or Elizabeth?
HAHA.  I don’t know these ladies, but someone told me the other day I was like Betty from Betty and Veronica (not sure what that means either!).

Official Theme Song for ThisNeedsToStop.com!

20 Apr

This Needs to Stop has a theme song.

I know what you’re thinking: None of my other favourite blogs have theme songs. But doesn’t that say more about them than it does us? Why wouldn’t you have a theme song when you’re this awesome?

You’d be crazy not to. Crazy. Not. To.

So, we commissioned friend of the blog Brad Murray (bradmurray.org) to create a song for us.

And he nailed it.

Please, take a look and tell your friends. And think about whether you’d want to read a blog that didn’t have a theme.

Freddie for Top Thumbcat

20 Apr

Cravendale Milk captured our attention with their amazing commercial “Cats with Thumbs”. The commercial brings to light a very special breed of cat, the Polydactyl.

As you already know This Needs to Stop has a beloved Polydactyl of their own, Freddie. Freddie is a bit unique in his polydactyli appearance in that he has not one but two extra thumbs on each paw.

Freddie in his Cravendale photo.

Freddie has not let this slow him down. In fact he has allowed this gift to propel him to international fame.

Freddie submitted his video and picture to Cravendale in hopes of winning the title of Top Cat with Thumbs.

Given that he is only 11 months old Freddie could only cross his thumbs and hope someone would notice him. Lucky for him they did.

Freddie secured his place as a week 2 finalist and is now in the running for the overall title of Top Thumbcat. Please help Freddie achieve his dreams by voting for him and sharing his story with your friends.

To vote Freddie for best cat with thumbs click here:  http://www.mirror.co.uk/cats-with-thumbs/vote/

And once you’ve voted, be sure to check out Freddie’s sweet moves in his YouTube video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_gvKT53RfY

Fitness in Halifax – a better way

18 Apr

It has likely become clear to most of our readers that we at This Needs to Stop enjoy food (and of course booze), cat shows and all the finer things life has to offer. But with this lifestyle comes the need to balance our lives with the daily recommended allotment of physical activity. And if you are like us you may have tried a number of exercise programs and routines over the years, and you have likely found yourself at the gym wondering “Is this the gym or the Dome?” as we did in an earlier post. But luckily that is all going to change  – we are pleased to announce that this summer This Needs to Stop is taking their health to heart and will be attending outdoor bootcamps with Ryan Cairns. (Ryan is a certified personal trainer and fitness professional.) Ryan puts a fun and interesting spin on fitness, offering something for all fitness levels and he is never short on encouragement.

Starting May 4th, Ryan will be offering drop in bootcamps at Point Pleasant Park (check out his site for all the details), the bootcamps are just in time for beach season, which is fast approaching. Or wedding season, if you or a friend happening to be walking down the asile this summer. And guys this isn’t just for the ladies, our very own Internets Joel Kelly will be  taking part too and is looking forward to early mornings at the park.

So if you are looking for a fun, affordable and complete fitness program this Spring, come join us. We promise you won’t be disappointed and at the very least you will be treated to the witty banter of Joel in the morning (and as his former co-worker, I can speak to how great that really is), s0 check out Ryan’s site SparkFitnessNow for all the details.

Check back for details on how we do at bootcamp – we are excited to see how we progress.

A big WTF?! To Halifax Metro Transit

18 Apr

By Leslie Flemming

Let me begin by saying that I am not too good for public transportation. I had a bus pass for several years of my life, and I’m as handy with a Halifax Metro Transit map as anyone you know. However, I have had the good fortune to live in cities where public transit allows for the smooth and efficient delivery of individuals from point A to point B with little pain and minimal expense, and Halifax is not one of those cities.

My negative encounters with Halifax Metro Transit have been numerous. I’ve watched drivers pull away from the curb as would-be bus riders runs toward them, arms flailing, only seconds away from the bus door.  I’ve been told to switch busses because the brakes on the bus I’ve been on for the last 10 minutes weren’t working. I’ve also had several experiences in which the bus scheduled to arrive simply does not materialize. At all. Ever.

Inefficiencies, missed busses and screwed-up schedules are pretty much par for the course with all public transit systems across the world, but my dissatisfaction with the Halifax Metro Transit services reached ultimate heights this weekend.  My boyfriend and I were invited to dinner at a friend’s house, and as we do not have a car, we sometimes use the bus to get to destinations that are not within walking distance. The #20 bus runs up Spring Garden Road (near my apartment), around the rotary, and close to my friend’s house, so it seemed like a reasonable plan to take this bus to and from the dinner.

The journey around the rotary and to my friend’s house went smoothly enough, and I was feeling pretty good about my own mastery of the bus system. But my successful transportation-induced high was not to last. After a lovely dinner, I called Go Time (the primitive dial-in system used to check the Halifax Metro Transit bus schedule) and we made our way to the bus stop. We stood on the side of Herring Cove Road awaiting the #20 bus that would take us back downtown, and after a few minutes we saw it approaching. We moved forward to the absolute edge of the sidewalk, stood in the street light to make ourselves quite visible, got our bus money ready, and then watched the bus DRIVE RIGHT BY US. It didn’t slow down even a little bit… just barreled through, and left us in its wake. The #20 is the only bus on this route, so our choices were to wait another hour for the next bus (which may also blow right by us), or hoof it around the rotary and up the hill to Halifax Shopping Centre, and hope to catch a bus from the terminal there. We opted against spending an indeterminate amount of our Friday night huddled in a bus stop on Herring Cove Road, and after trekking to the mall (in heels that were not make for walking), we ended up taking a different bus and eventually arriving home 1.5 hours later.

Now, fortunately I had a companion on this unfortunate series of events and we were able to figure out a solution (albeit an inconvenient one) to our problem. But what if I had been travelling alone? What if I had a physical limitation that rendered me unable to walk to the Shopping Centre bus terminal? Well, then I would have been shit outta luck, because apparently punctuality, reliability, and the safety of their would-be customers are not things that Metro Transit is too concerned about.

It’s ridiculous that a city like Halifax can’t figure out a way to provide reliable public transportation to its citizens. It’s preposterous that a driver would drive by a stop on its route, where people are clearly waiting, and not even slow down. And it’s INSANE that there is nowhere on the Metro Transit website to complain about this! So here’s my uncensored rant. I am tired of the crappy public transit service available in Halifax. I’m so incensed that I’ve been driven to create a visual representation of my anger (and I am not artistically inclined). Metro Transit, when your service is so unreliable that it puts bus riders in potentially dangerous situations and forces them to create artistic abominations so that they can express their feelings, it’s a problem. This needs to stop.

Follow Leslie on twitter: @ljflemming

Fur your Mewsing – Inside the cat show

14 Apr

As previously reported the 42nd Annual Bluenose Cat Club Cat show recently took place. Naturally we had to go to see what the fuss was about. So along with our lovely friend Ben ( Of No Ordinary Roller coaster fame) we went boldly where (we think) no local bloggers have gone before.

Every preconceived notion of what to expect at a cat show was true and then some. Even days after the event we are having a hard time wrapping our heads around what we witnessed. Bald cats, awesome cats, leopard cats, cat outfits that not even your most cutting edge Northern Getaway outfitter could not have imagined. This was hands down the best 5 bucks we’ve spent in a while.

The show was held in a large room with show rings lining the outer walls, and rows of various cats in the middle of the room. Each cat was accompanied with their owners who ranged from little kids to 42 year cat show veterans.

As we walked through the various isles filled with cats we attempted to make contact with some owners. Little did we know our NYC Cat Judge inspired outfits did not bode well with attendants. We stuck out like sore thumbs and just like the siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp we were snubbed. Did we want to talk to the lady with the wicked cool Abbysinian cat with an amazing show cage? Of course we did. But alas, she wanted nothing to do with us.

We figured it was best to take a lap, see what was what and then settle into a judging ring to learn the inner workings of this world.

Fiercely real plus size model. I can has cheezeburger?

Cat judge shows off the beautiful Abyssinian.

Eventually we cornered international cat judge Ron Summers. Ron – who oddly enough is allergic to cats – has been judging cat shows for over 20 years and came from Indiana to judge this particular event. We had a lot of questions for Ron and thankfully he took us under his wing and taught us a thing or two to prevent further embarassment at future cat shows.

Ron Summers - International cat show judge

We mentioned our “orange tabby” Freddie to Ron to break the ice. He looked at us as if we had showed up late for a go-see on America’s Next Top Model and said “No…..no..those don’t exist. I think you mean red. You have a red and cream tabby. And by the way there are no such thing as grey cats. Only blue.” Well now we know.

Rons love for judging cats inspired me to take a look into the rules and regulations and what exactly makes for a great looking cat. I think we owe it to our readers to take a harsh look at our very own Freddie and see just how he would match up against the most fierce competition.

Because Freddie is an adopted cat we had to do some preliminary research on what kind of cat he is. After much investigation we came to learn Freddie is a Siberian Red Tabby.

We judged Freddie based on the following CFA categories:
*Please click photos below to enlarge*

Head

Shape – 15 points
Profile – 3 points
Ears – 5 points
Eyes – 5 points
Chin – 4 points
Muzzle – 10 points
Neck – 3 points


Freddie’s Total: 45 / 45

Body

Torso – 10 points
Legs – 5 points
Feet – 3 points
Tail – 5 points

Freddie’s Total: 20 / 23 (Deductions for length of tail.)

Coat

Length – 5 points
Texture – 5 points
Pattern – 5 points
Colour – 5 points

Freddie’s Total: 20 / 20

Temperament
No score but pleasant cats win hearts.

Freddie’s score: Winning 100% of hearts since 2010.

Freddie’s overall score: 85 / 88

Unfortunately genetics have dealt Freddie an unlucky card costing him any chance of winning Top Siberian Cat at the 43rd Annual Bluenose Cat Club Cat Show. In this category Freddie would be….disqualified. For what you ask? EXTRA THUMBS. Freddie’s winning assets actually cost him elimination in our mock judging. Lucky for him he can enter in the domestic house cat category and likely crush the competition.

Needless to say the 42nd Annual Bluenose Cat Club Cat Show was quite the experience. We had our eyes opened to world we only thought existed. And beyond the lack of cat fashion show, we give this cat show 0 thumbs up. Because if we gave it two we’d be disqualified.

42nd Annual Bluenose Cat Club Cat Show

8 Apr

Veronica Corningstone delved into the unknown when she covered the first Cat Fashion Show in 2004. Before then cats everywhere were forced to keep their love of fashion, tricks, treats and kitty litter behind closed doors.

Freddie sporting the ever stylish Cat Snuggie

 

Lucky for us the 42nd Annual Bluenose Cat Club Cat Show is upon us. On Saturday we will be breaking ground as local bloggers looking to gain insight into what makes a cat show popular enough to have been around for over four decades.

I’m going to be completely honest here. We have no idea what to expect. Is this Westminister Kennel Club style where cats on leashing will be prancing about? Will they be in clothes? Will there be tons of people wearing long skirt suits from 1980 or will the fashions be more along the lines of Northern Reflections circ 1994?

We have a lot of questions that need to be answered and we also have one furry little friend to pimp out. That’s right. Freddie. We will tell all who will listen to vote Freddie on his journey to become Top Thumbcat. So while you’re reading this – you likely should too. http://bit.ly/g2vmxb You can also now follow Freddie on Twitter! @FreddieThumbcat

So check back next week for our exclusive look at the 42nd Annual Bluenose Cat Club Cat Show. It’s sure to be the cat’s meow.

 

Benjamin Arthur – Less Than Kind

5 Apr

If you haven’t seen HBO Canada’s hit show Less Than Kind you’re seriously missing out. The comedic genius of Mark McKinney ( Of Kids in the Hall and Saturday Night Live fame) paired with the creative mind of the late Maury Chaykin created a hit series that has won some serious critical acclaim.

We at This Needs to Stop had the chance to sit down with Gemini Award winner Benjamin Arthur who plays Josh Blecher in Less Than Kind. Less Than Kind is a sitcom following the Blechers, a quirky jewish family running a driving school in Winnipeg. Ben plays Josh Blecher – a wannabe actor returning to Winnipeg after a failed attempt at an acting career in Toronto.

Check out our interview with Ben that covers everything from the stars whose height will shock you, the worst advice he’s ever been given, and his encounter with his elementary school janitor that shaped his future.

A huge thanks to Benjamin for taking the time to chat with us!!

*Disclaimer: To capture the interview via Skype we had to use a trial screen recording program. We will look to increasing video quality in the future.