Category: Your Turn

Reblog: The Visibile Problem with the Invisible Children and #KONY2012

As part of transparency, here’s an article from 2006 outline the pitfalls of the #Kony2012 Campaign and the Invisible Children.

Hank and John Green, better known as the vlogbrothers from YouTube, have also been slow to jump on this bandwagon. They have been supporting the fight against the LRA for over a decade now.

Apologies for my stunned silence in the face of  the Kony 2012 movement and the internet’s explosion of power. I’ve never felt like the whole internet has simultaneously pushed down the same keys at the same time. Not even the response to SOPA made me feel this level of solidarity. 

The LRA has been around, being evil, and making the world suck more since I was in college, and that’s when I first tried to raise awareness for stopping them…more than ten years ago. Sometimes it feels like there are so many terrible things in the world, it’s impossible to figure out what to focus on. But the LRA is getting that focus now. And I hope we can maintain it. (source)

I too believe that there is a large possibility of #Kony2012 failing within 3 months as the attention span of the population wains. That being said, I’m still choosing to donate.

i\'m a fan of postcards

EDIT ON MARCH 7, 2012: This post was originally written in 2006.  As you read and comment, please consider that it has been over 5 years since I wrote my thoughts here.  I personally still have the same concerns about IC that I did when I posted this and have chosen not to contribute to their cause.  However, Uganda continues to hold a very special place in my heart.  When I wrote this article, I supported and I continue to support relief efforts in Uganda through the work of Steve Hoyt at Engineering Ministries International (eMi), an organization with a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.  If you’d like, you can support Steve’s work in Uganda here: .  To  learn more about the work that eMi does in Uganda visit

Thanks for continuing to be a part of this important conversation.


Original Post:

Invisible Children (IC)…

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Who Is Joseph Kony? #KONY2012

Step 1: Watch This Video. Now.
Instead of clicking through some pictures of cats, watch.

You have a half hour, you can sit and just watch.

Step 2: Make a difference.

I know I tend to get caught up in these idealistic kind of things that promote world change and using the mass to make a difference (there was the AIDS dog-tag campaign with Aldo that springs to mind) – but I have faith in this one. Why? These guys have their shit together. They have a plan. It’s set out, clear as day. The objective is to make Joseph Kony famous. And by the end of this year, he will be.

People rag on me all the time for the amount that I use social media. Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and Skype and MSN and the list goes on, but now is when these networks will come to my aid. I tend to be a pretty passive activist, choosing to stay anonymous and help out where I can. Retweet’s and blog posts are of my usual do-gooding habits. So if I can use all the people who I have a constant contact with – who I talk to half way around the country and have never met, if I can get them to be passionate about this too – then I will consider myself successful.

I’m going to act on this one. I plan on buying one of those kits and posting the stickers and posters around my school and city in hopes of affecting a few others in the same way.

For those of you who want some more background:

Joseph Kony is the leader of the LRA – a rebel group out of Africa who abducts children to increase the numbers in his army. He forces the boys to murder, the girls into sexual slavery, and is the number 1 on the ICC’s (International Criminal Court) list of war criminals still at large. (link)

Joseph Kony claimed to be a distant cousin of Alice Lakwena’s and the natural successor to lead the Holy Spirit Movement. Soon after Joseph Kony assumed management of the group, he changed the name to the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA.  Joseph Kony wasn’t able to maintain the group’s number or regional support, so he started stealing food and abducting children to fill the ranks of his army. Subsequently, he lost any remaining regional support. What had started out as a rebel movement to end the oppression of the north became an oppression of the north in itself.

Joseph Kony’s tactics were—and remain—brutal. He often forced children to kill their parents or siblings with machetes or blunt tools. He abducted girls to be sex slaves for his officers. He brainwashed and indoctrinated the children with his lies and manipulated them with his claim of spiritual powers. 

At the height of the conflict in Uganda, children “night commuted.” That is, every evening they would walk miles from their homes to the city centers. There, hundreds of children would sleep in school houses, churches, or bus depots to avoid abduction by the LRA.

Kony and the LRA abducted more than 30,000 children in northern Uganda.


So hopefully you do something. We here in the Canada and the States are the luckiest people on earth, and we should be trying to make that reality for everyone else we share this space with.

So will you?

‎”There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time is now.” (Digital Download Kit)

Actually LISTEN to your Music

People buy more records than they can listen to. They stockpile what they want to find the time to hear. Use- time and exchange-time destroy one another. […M]usic is no longer heard in silence. It is integrated into a whole. But as background noise to a way of life music can no longer endow with meaning. – Jacques Attali

This quote is taken from an article “Looking at Records” by Philip Auslander (link), where he quotes Attali’s paper “Noise: The Political Economy of Music”. Auslander’s paper speaks about the commodification of music, and how the simple act of viewing a record, or looking at it is what the consumer derives pleasure from. I see this all the time in people of my generation, especially with vinyl records coming back into popularity. As no one has the time to listen to all the music they own, we begin to stockpile. And continue stockpiling for the sheer enjoyment of the view of our stockpile. I know countless times I have compared the size of my iTunes library with a peer, and felt that satisfaction when my number was much larger than theirs.

But just because you have all this music stockpiled – does not mean it gets listened to. Maybe you put it on, and go make dinner, just to have something on. And this is when the music loses all meaning.

I am guilty of doing this all the time. I just put on my music, get busy doing something else, and forget it’s even on. I want to begin trying to actually listen to my music more now. Focus on what about it makes me happy and what I enjoy about the piece.

One thing I’m going to try to do is consider all musical entities a “piece”, instead of a song. Even the shift in a title changes your perspective on the art form. It takes it out of the realm of casual, passive listening and into that of active, critical listening. I think popular music in general has turned into more of a hobby/craft for some people and has lost it’s creditability.

From studying at a music school, I’ve begun to gain a new respect for the process of composing and creating a piece of music. And it’s a “piece” – not a “song”. A part of a whole that may be an album or a symphony or an opera. Moving farther in my career, dreaming of being a recording engineer, I am hoping this change in mindset from “song” to “piece” will help me gain a further understanding of my art.

I urge you to do the same. Give your music the listening it deserves. Don’t just place your music on in the background, to consciously listen and be actively involved in your own musical indulgences. I’m interested to see what others will find when they start to critically listen as well.

Here’s a Matthew Good track that I’ve been listening to a lot lately to get you started.


Four Years

I saw this photo on the tumblr of a friend of mine a few weeks ago, and I’m just getting around to writing about it. It’s part of a bigger series of weird interesting facts about the body, but this one stuck me as the most prominent. (The rest are here if you’re curious – And I feel like this is not only true physically, in terms of all our cells and stuff, but also in terms of who we are as a person and emotionally. We all know we go through different stages in our lives and they happen at different times for different people. But would it be too far of a leap to assume that maybe these changes occur every seven years when all our cells from our “previous self” have finally disappeared?

Seven years ago, I was 14. I was in the 9th grade and was in the middle of maybe my second style cycle. I had ridiculously long hair, thought I was hot shit because I wore pink, played drums in a shitty junior high band and listened to Sum 41 and Blink 182 all day. I had had some random “girlfriends” but not a first kiss, and had played hockey almost all my life. I had dropped out of band class because I had hated it the year before. And I think this was about the time I got my first Facebook page. It was a few years later that my brother graduated and went to Australia, and my parents went to meet him shortly after, leaving me alone on my first week of high school. Getting to band practices in October in Calgary by bus at 6am was not fun.

I'm kind of proud to say that I'm still friends with that guy who I am wrapped around.

If you know me know, I’m sure you’ll hardly believe that that’s what I used to look like. (Aside: Part of me wants to retake this picture when we get back together at Christmas time. Kind of like these ones –

Somewhere in my grade 12 year I went through another shift. I think it a big part of it was during my trip with the high school band. It was during this trip that I discovered the rewards and the hardships of the career path I was slowly beginning down. I got thrown into a huge leadership role and kind of reveled in it. In grade 12 I was also playing and coaching hockey, had a few more girlfriends, had a first kiss, made a Grad Film, played a solo for our entire graduation class + families, and got accepted to my first university of choice. My musical tastes branched out more, I now liked screamo and emo and acoustic and punk and rock. I had almost mostly given up the drums and picked up the guitar and a mixing board. I even made a CD (Granted it’s terrible and I never want to have to hear it again – but those of you with a copy! Hold onto that sucker, you can sell it for millions later). I fought with my parents a lot – mostly about my current (and as I found out later, crazy) girlfriend.

I also cut my hair short for the first time in a while. You can always tell when a guy is ready to move onto the next stage of his life when he cuts his hair short and gets rid of the mop top shaggy teen look. Some guys keep it going out of high school, but it usually gets cut eventually. So far, the 7 year trend isn’t coming true, it seems to be closer to 3 or 4 years for me at least.

Incredibly, these people are still friends with me...

And this is where I’ve kinda plateaued. I haven’t changed much since then. Still super tall and skinny, 6’5″ 150lb, a broomstick some have said. One or two more girlfriends, maybe a bit more experienced. My style hasn’t changed all that much, I’ve grown into my “professional hipster” mentality and have learnt to rock it. University kicked my ass in my first two years, calculus almost killed me. I met one of my best friends and girlfriend here and learned a lot from her. I’ve had the same recording job now for 3 and a half years. I’ve become “that recording guy” in the school of music. Music has become one of the biggest factors in my life. Not only is it becoming my job, but I am always discovering more things about it and more styles that I am enjoying. I breached the 10 000 song mark this summer. I don’t fight with my parents anymore, or my brother – I think the distance was good for us. And I’m almost done my degree. Hopefully two more semesters and that’ll be it.

So now, it’s been 4 years since that last “style shift” in grade 12. Hold on.

It’s been 4 years since high school.

4 years.

That’s kind of gross. Most of my friends now are people I met when I was in high school. I still talk to all those people. I always wanted to be that guy who made all these great friends in University and went to all these parties. I always told myself I wasn’t going to be like my dad and never go out (at least he tells us he never went out – except for the one time he threw up over a bridge into a river – he does like to tell us that story). But I didn’t go out. Well, I didn’t go out A LOT. I mostly stayed in, I was content staying in. Partying was never my thing. I have met some great friends here though. I’ve got some Bro’s who I hope I’ll keep in contact later. And really, that’s what I’m thinking about now. What’s later? What’s next?

I’m almost done my degree.

What am I gonna do after? I’m feeling like that’ll induce another “style shift.”

Where am I going to be in four years? Who am I going to be in four years? Who are you going to be in four years?

(Also – a little more Nicole Byblow for your listening pleasure)