Recently I was tasked with finding keywords for a client who wishes to somehow guarantee that their ads won’t show up in a search for words that begin with the same letters as their brand keywords, but rather will show up once an entire search query is complete.

For example, if we pretend my client sells petfood – which they don’t – they want to target negative keywords such as petro canada or petforest. So that someone looking for the Petro Canada wiki page won’t see an extremely quick petfood ad flashed before their eyes before they finish typing.

I would like to go on record as calling this a bad idea. It’s more than just cost – PPC is organized so you don’t pay for impressions – it’s the basic philosophy. Trying to counteract Google Instant is akin to pushing on the ocean. You can try if you want to, and you might even build some neat stuff if you put brains and dollars towards it. But the tide eventually will rise and if you’re standing on dry ground when it does, you’ll go under very quickly.

By that overly nautical metaphor, I mean that if a business is truly concerned that their niche market is not best served by loads of irrelevant impressions, which can happen with Google Instant, the answer is not to pay a writer to cast a wide net of negative keywords. The way to get your specific, mad-for-you, experts and evangelists who already want more is to understand that search is social.

If you have a relentless, rabid customer base who absolutely needs to know the next time you come out with a product, get in touch with them. It works way better than telling Google to run your ads, but not really.

One of my favourite companies hosts a forum in which new products are announced internally at various stages of incubation. I find out about it via their emails to me. Other clients of mine make use of Facebook to discuss imminent product releases and to get feedback on new initiatives. Just look at the Gap and how that all went down. You can host a microsite for beta-testing if that’s your type of product, you can gauge reactions on your twitterfeed, host a live chat – an event that you can easily promote with PPC ads – and don’t forget the power of texting. You can even buy ads in online games if you want to.

These and lots of other options are readily available for companies of any size who want to address their current customers and who want to attract new ones. In the case of my petfood company, their best bet is to use promoted videos with a chat feature. Why? Because their customers buy, use and review their product on YouTube and they WANT to talk about it with one another. Going this route would take the dollars put into me developing ways to say No to Google and put it towards saying Yes to their existing customers, with the added bonus that they’ll then tell others about it.

Like many of you, I occasionally suffocate. This is relatively easy to manage on the day to day, daily snorts of steroids, a puff here, a yoga pose there, but there are times when stress, colds, allergies, anxiety and bad luck all conspire at once to throw you to the floor, thrashing like a very unlucky goldfish.

Last night was just such an occasion, where I was half-carried heaving and lurching into an emergency room and asked questions I couldn’t answer verbally. Since treatments for this particular disease tend towards masks or tubes, then puffs or drips, then a break, then repeat; asthmatics have a particular sense of the sheer tedium of sickness. If you don’t go to get treated you just gasp and heave for hours until someone finds you – DULL! And if you do go, there’s not much for your oxygen-deprived brain to focus on but ugly linoleum and why the air return vent is so dusty.

Last night, I had a series of canisters – taste bad – with a constant oxygen feed. This kept me neatly strapped to the gurney I was sitting on, next to my panicked and exhausted honey to whom I am forever indebted for dragging my listless, meat-sack into hospital whether I like it or not. Sweetie, I love you more than everything.

Anyway, I was sitting on the gurney trying to focus on getting air into my lungs. This is not a soothing, meditative process. My back ached from coughing and hunching, the cords in my neck felt like they were ripping through my skin and my sinuses all started bleeding in harmony once the oxygen came, oxygen not being known for its moisturizing properties.

So, I opened up my new Sony E-Reader. This isn’t a plug, you can read around elsewhere for that. It’s precisely what I wanted, DRM – free and easy to use. I first flipped to my collection of short stories, thinking I could easily lose track of how many I had read before someone came to do my blood test. Hah!

Then, between the blood and someone losing my urine sample, and then finding out it wasn’t lost, the test results showed what they needed so no-one needed to keep looking for it, I started Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue. I got to page 11 before it was time for my x-ray and I put it down, but let me tell you, subtle she ain’t!

When waiting for x-ray results and news on whether or not another treatment is forthcoming between room changes, I settle in with other political fare, The Audacity of Hope, by Barak Obama. It’s a different kind of schmaltzy than Palin’s book, and while equally self-serving, has far fewer spelling mistakes. Point: Obama.

The chaos of an emergency room shift change and an x-ray result might incline one towards Sudoku, for the soothing peace of knowing there is one single answer and you just have to quietly find it. Do not succumb! Doing a Sudoku puzzle is the only step between adding planes outside that separates an ER from a second-rate airport. The sheer panic that settles over you will induce another attack.

After another treatment, I was in a more contemplative mood, and I chose to stare up into the softly bristling beard of my sweetheart who had fallen sound asleep in the chair next to me and was certainly dreaming of the moment we could finally leave. Counting snores, comparing ceiling tile quality between rooms and mentally reorganizing the lighting design are all beneficial pass times after treatment five.

There are any number of other items to read, or just let pass through your mind in its heightened state of oxygen deprivation can help while away the time between the bubbles, the blows and those happy words, ‘here’s your prescription, you can go home now.’ I offer them here, for the respite of bored asthmatics everywhere:

  • Fishing for orderlies
  • Counting how many resident MDs will ask you the same questions as are already filled out on your paperwork
  • Find the washroom * this one is REALLY fun! Test your skills at arcane cartography and hospital sign interpretation!
  • Who’s sicker? * This game is great. You look relatively healthy, sitting up and responding to aural cues; while shaky, vomit-covered, half-asleep sickies eye you as they’re wheeled by. Don’t wave, but make a little notch on your hospital bracelet for everyone you think won’t make it through the night.

Reading:

Get an e-book, or if that’s not affordable, get some crayons and an activity book at your nearest dollar store. Scoff now if you will, but at 3:45 am you’ll be striving to colour those posies within the lines.

Titles to avoid – some reading is not for the air-deficient brain, and some titles, while inviting during your regular day to day, aren’t advisable when you’re sitting in a hospital room, plugged into oxygen that comes directly out of the wall. Avoid the following:

Anything by Tom Clancy. Especially his prison work.

Lovecraft mythology. I love it personally, but suction sounds take on a sinister edge all too easily

Any business or marketing book. Haven’t you been through enough?

And beware, reading Hunter S. Thompson in a hospital scenario could in fact propel you all the way to wellness, but equally possible is your immediate delusions of persecution and grandeur, which will invariably not end well, and certainly won’t end in a book.

Good luck, bored asthmatics in hospital rooms everywhere. Prednisone, Salbutamol, good reading and A FUCKING CURE be with you.

In a move seen as a play at Skype loyalty and to enhance the already ubiquitous Gmail features for homes and business, Google released Google Voice from Beta in the last week of June.  It appears at first to simply be a carrier-neutral voice app for the Nexus One, with lots of cool SMS features to make Gmail even more desirable over other email clients.

The Google Android platform and Android phone has thus far been treated as a way for the search and advertising company to compete with Apple technology. In a move that would please every Maker and consumer choice advocate’s heart melt, Google released the phone directly from its shop and refused to tether it to any particular carrier. The price is steep, but it means that you can use your phone however you wish, with whomever you choose.

The stage is now set for voice search on the Nexus One to overtake all mobile search. It’s the most efficient form of search on a mobile – qwerty, we love you, but our thumbs are about to fall off – and voice to text technology, while imperfect, could very well be programmed to adapt itself to uniquely understand your tone, inflection, voice and even breathing patterns. Goog-411 isn’t just about finding stuff for you on your mobile, it’s about finding out about you.

The company that masters this will rule mobile search because all of a sudden, we’ll be able to search on our phones, not try to search on our phones, as we do now. We’ll still need non-voice search for anything that we don’t wish to say out loud – at least in public – but make no mistake: once this works and Nexus Ones go down in price, search will mean voice search. Everything else will be non-voice search, or type-search or something equally handicapped with a descriptor. Voice search will be the norm. Gene Roddenberry would be proud.

It’s also going to be a lot of fun. Let’s say my phone gets to know me a little. It has a clock set to local time, and my voice changes throughout the day. When I ask for Coke, at 3pm it will know where I can stop for a can of soda. At 3am, it’ll dial a private number for me.

When I say chocolate milk, it will understand me and know that I didn’t mean milk chocolate. Instead of the current did you mean keyword guess which is genius, if a little condescending (and great for spell checking), it will get what I mean, because it’s MY search engine. It knows and understands me far better than my PC at work and even my laptop at home.

I personally can’t wait for any of this and neither can my carpal tunnels which need a break from all my txt to search. Instead of tiny pads that don’t fit my fingers because they have to fit everyone’s fingers, my phone will awaken and ask me what I need and then send for it. Instead of MacGuyver making do with what I have, I’ll be Knight Rider, with the coolest, most responsive, awesomeest technology ever developed.

Did I mention that all of this will be free? You see, every brand big, small and teensy will fall all over each other to get recognition on Google Voice Search. So much so that the program, perhaps even the phone can be offered for free. Yes, instead of freemium and the tethers that come with it or ads that interrupt your searches, videos and even conversations, Voice Search stands to outpace pc searches so much that it would be bad business to keep the technology locked behind a price wall.

The next generation technology will have video lip-read response for use by the hearing impaired. A phone for deaf people? Yes. Virtual currency is coming, but it can’t move forward if we need to type in search terms, choose sites, type in passwords and confirm sales with a qwerty keyboard. When we need to write the constitution of a digital world, we’ll crack out the keyboards and roll up our sleeves. …or just dictate it.

Phone: dial Alex. And bring me chicken for lunch! Bookmark video for commute home and confirm gas bill payment. All at once, right now.

Canadian content laws seem like a hokey, even outdated concept that only affects public television and radio programs. Sadly, poorly produced shows are the face of these laws, but the meaning of them is so much more. Beyond the production and regeneration of Canadian culture, diverse, self-contradictory and downright strange as it might be, it’s also a source of invisible revenue that means jobs for many Canadians.

Invisible because our Minister of Culture and our Minister of Industry – all of them, not just the current Rt. Hon – actually fail to account for the money created by Canadian companies. Companies who pay taxes, employ Canadians and who generate cash by making films and events we all want to enjoy. With this in mind, it is unconscionable for the Rt. Hon. James Moore to discuss any leeway for Carl Icahn, the chainsaw artist who ripped apart many a company seemingly just to see if he could, to purchase Lions Gate Films. Incorporated in British Columbia and operating out of California, Lions Gate, simply put, makes money. Lots of money. Money that goes to Canadian people and products.

In these unstable financial days, it makes no sense to allow a thriving business to be upended for one person’s personal gain. And this would be a big shakedown. Icahn was turned down on his last offer and now proposes to replace the entire board of directors with people sympathetic to him.

Lions Gate is at the moment, in a position to consider a bid on the library of MGM Inc. It is the biggest indie film and television studio in Hollywood and it’s ours. But ironically, if the company were to incorporate in the US, it would be safer from this type of hostile takeover. Company executives have already been in talks to do just that. If Canadian assets must either face being bought by hostile American ahem “entrepreneurs”, or moving to the US where there exists more legal protections against such activities, we may as well close the office of the Minister of Industry and Heritage too, while we’re at it.

It’s understood just how good some of our projects are and though much on the CBC and CTV fall short of Oscar-winning Mad Men (produced by Lions Gate), our cultural gems are far ahead of Taxicab Confessions and the Biggest Loser. We’ve got something special that deserves preservation and protection for reasons beyond mere sentimentality. Little Mosque on the Prairie might not be 24, but that’s sort of the point. We have a culture to protect, whether the business world or the Ministers in charge of it think so.

We make money for Canada. The Conference Board estimates Canada’s cultural sector generated $46-billion, or 3.8 per cent of Canada’s GDP, in 2007. And, according to the Canada Council, in 2003-2004, the sector accounted for an “estimated 600,000 jobs (roughly the same as agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, oil & gas and utilities combined).” Not only that, we make Canada for Canada. This country is ridiculously large and living life in one part of it is extremely different from living anywhere else. The diffusion of experiences, the discords, disagreements and discussions that take place around what it means to be who we are in different parts of our world is worth preserving, protecting and funding.

The government of Quebec has recently tabled a bill that would bar women wearing a niquab from accessing public services like hospitals and daycare. Personally, I find it not only insane and draconian, but I wonder how this bill will look in winter months when many of us wear huge billowy garments that cover the face, head, neck and of course our bodies.

I disagree with the bill on the grounds that it specifically restricts women, and it is far beyond the purview of the provincial government to dictate to anyone how they can dress.

Below is a statement from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute and the School of Community and Public Affairs at Concordia University.

Simone de Beauvoir Institute’s Statement in Response to Bill 94

On March 25, the government of Jean Charest announced Bill 94, an act that would prevent women wearing the niqab from accessing hospitals, daycares, schools, universities, and other public services, and would bar women in niqab from working in the public sector. In a press conference, premier Charest described the legislation as defending two principles: gender equality and secular public institutions.

We oppose this legislation and strongly believe that it will restrict rather than enhance the rights of women. As we stated in November 2007 in our public response to the Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, while we agree that the government should be doing more to ensure gender equality, we argue that this is not achieved by creating a false opposition between secular values and religion, but rather by attending to gender-based violence, poverty, women’s health, and women’s access to education and work. In fact, Charest’s use of the terms “secular” and “gender equality” is misleading. It is obvious that the government’s concern is not with all religious practices, but very particularly with Muslim practices. Furthermore, regulating women’s public religious expression and denying them access to government services and public life is not a step in the direction of gender equality. Bill 94 chauvinistically casts Québec as having achieved gender equality while implying a view of Muslim communities as inherently oppressive to women.

As feminists, we are committed to supporting bodily and personal autonomy for all women, as well as all women’s capacity to understand and articulate their experiences of oppression on their own terms. And it is as feminists that we oppose state interventions that promise gender equality at the expense of women’s autonomy.

Signed: The Faculty and Students of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, with the support of The School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University, April 7, 2010
——————————————————————————————————————–
For more information, please see the Simone de Beauvoir Institute’s November 2007 feminist
response to the Bouchard-Taylor commission: http://artsandscience1.concordia.ca/wsdb/
Please circulate.

To endorse this statement, please e-mail: gada.mahrouse@concordia.ca

Media Contact: Gada Mahrouse, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, 514-848-2424 x 2378,

gada.mahrouse@concordia.ca

Déclaration de l’Institut Simone de Beauvoir à propos du projet de loi 94

Le 25 mars dernier, le gouvernement de Jean Charest a présenté le projet de loi 94, lequel empêcherait les femmes portant le niqab d’avoir accès aux services publics offerts par de multiples institutions et établissements tels que les hôpitaux, les centres de la petite enfance, les écoles et les universités, et qui leur interdirait de travailler dans la fonction publique. Lors d’une conférence de presse, le premier ministre Charest a décrit ce projet de loi comme un exemple de défense des principes d’égalité entre les sexes et de laïcité au sein des institutions publiques.

Nous nous opposons à cette loi et nous croyons fermement qu’elle aura pour effet de limiter plutôt que de favoriser les droits des femmes. Comme nous l’avons exprimé en novembre 2007 dans notre réponse publique à la Commission de consultation sur les pratiques d’accommodement reliées aux différences culturelles, nous sommes d’avis que le gouvernement devrait intervenir davantage pour assurer l’égalité entre les sexes, mais nous suggérons que cela
devrait se faire non pas en se centrant sur les valeurs laïques et la religion, mais en agissant sur les questions de violence, de pauvreté, de santé et d’accès à l’éducation et au travail pour les femmes. En fait, l’utilisation par le premier ministre Charest des termes « laïque » et « égalité entre les sexes » est source de confusion. Il est évident que la  préoccupation du gouvernement n’est pas d’encadrer l’ensemble des pratiques religieuses, mais bien les pratiques musulmanes. La régulation de l’expression religieuse des femmes en public et l’interdiction d’accès aux services gouvernementaux et à la vie publique ne peuvent être vus comme un pas vers l’égalité entre les sexes. Le projet de loi 94 est chauviniste et présente l’image trompeuse d’un Québec ayant atteint l’égalité entre les sexes tout en sous-entendant que les communautés musulmanes sont intrinsèquement oppressives pour les femmes.

En tant que féministes, nous sommes engagées à promouvoir et soutenir l’autonomie des femmes ainsi que leur capacité de comprendre et d’articuler leurs expériences d’oppression dans des termes qui leur sont propres. Et c’est en tant que féministes que nous disons NON aux interventions de l’État qui promettent l’égalité entre les sexes aux dépens de l’autonomie des femmes.

Signé: Les membres du personnel enseignant ainsi que les étudiantes et étudiants de l’Institut Simone de Beauvoir, avec le soutien de l’École des affaires publiques et communautaires, Université Concordia, le 7 avril 2010
—————————————————————————————————————
Prière de faire circuler.

Pour appuyer la déclaration, merci d’envoyer un courriel à: gada.mahrouse@concordia.ca
Relations publiques: Viviane Namaste, Institut Simone de Beauvoir 514 848-2424 poste 2371,
viviane@alcor.concordia.ca

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Everyone knows it, right? We’re taught how to write properly in elementary school, we’re expected to develop skills in essay writing during high-school and if/when we hit university, there are whole seminars, library programs, tutorials and websites made available to ensure that we know how to communicate via the written word.

So if good writing matters so much, what does it mean when spelling and grammar errors show up on major blogs and websites? It’s rare that I come across them on writer’s websites, but the times I find errors on sites written by editors, publishers, journalists and indeed marketing professionals takes my breath away. Everyone has different skill levels, of course, but if the co-author the CMA guide to email marketing ( who also works for a major publisher) writes the phrase “more stronger” on the blog of the Canadian Marketing Association, I have to wonder whether he takes me seriously as a customer.

Given this very disappointing reality, I’d like to offer these few tips on reaching your blog/forum/social media audience in a way that is concise, believable and most importantly, a way that does not insult anyone’s intelligence.

1. Write a draft.

A draft for a blog post? These things are supposed to be informal.

They certainly are, but not to the point of being incoherent. If your blog is private and only for certain eyes, do what you wish to reach that audience. But if you’re trying to convince others to agree with you, write out a brief outline and short draft of what you want to say before you say it.

This is particularly important for beliefs about which you are passionate. It’s so easy to get up on the soapbox about your cause, your news item, your brand, whatever. But having strong feelings on a subject doesn’t mean you get to leave coherence at the door. Plus, no-one will agree with an hysteric. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s true.

I’m a stream-of-consciousness-writer.

No, you’re not.

2. Decide on a format

It’s perfectly normal to identify phrases and spellings differently depending on whether you’re used to Canadian, American, British, Australian or any other myriad dialects of proper English. Just don’t throw them all in a pot and expect your phrases and words to make sense. If you want to plough a field, you can’t also pick a favorite; for that you need to plow a field. Make your matches and keep it consistent, otherwise you’ll end up with an audience looking up what a gaol is when they could instead be swayed by your savvy arguments about prisons.

3. Use an electronic tool.

We’re talking about electronic media here, so even if you prefer a pen or stylus, transfer your thoughts to a word processing program before you release it into the big, wide world. Blogging, emailing and even some social media platforms support spelling and grammar checking as you write. Because of this, there is simply no excuse for poor grammar and spelling errors to appear online. Many mistakes can be found instantaneously.

These programs don’t understand what I’m writing

Fair enough. Many of them are imperfect and will find fault with something that’s actually correct. You can make use of the integrated dictionaries, grammar and dictionary websites and even online writing labs to be sure of yourself. If you write for an audience that uses lots of jargon for example, you can assume that your readers understand acronyms and short-hand. Getting used to looking for errors and checking twice to see if your sentence makes sense is an invaluable skill in the altogether literate world of online publishing.

4. Read it out loud

You might feel silly doing this, but reading aloud is one of the easiest ways to find common errors. The eye deliberately “corrects” errors when you read silently so that you can make sense of the whole phrase. Reading aloud forces your brain to convert text to speech, which even the most sophisticated computers still can’t do regularly or with inflection. Make your mind pick up on everything. You might feel self-concious, but your writing will be taken far more seriously than the next blog over (so to speak) that contains mistakes.

I assume if you’ve read this far that you realize why grammar matters. There are nitpickers and bored/ocd editors out there who go nuts for grammar on an almost unhealthy scale. These people are not my audience. You guys know that when you send out a message, you want the response and comments and share messages to be about how much you’ve opened their eyes about your cause/brand/product/event/neat thing you care about. If the comments and messages are about how ridiculous your wording is, or how you can’t use a spell-checker, your point is totally lost even if it’s a world-changing idea.

Language is a tool with which to remake reality. So make your reality about your passion, not your poor communication skills.

This weekend, I’m ill-advisedly opening my home to five other writers to fill each room with a laptop and get a short novel on paper in just 72 hours.  We face isolation, hunger, confinement, writer’s block, insomnia and worst of all, sobriety, to get our stories down and polished.

At midnight this Friday the fiendish tap tap of fingers on keyboards marks the start of the marathon that is the 3-day Novel. Will my neighbours keep the noise down?  Will I care if anyone complains about accidentally being locked in the basement?  Will my giant reptile take kindly to strangers invading her home and if not…what will she do?

There will be twitter updates, photos posted on the facebook event and the occasional short comment from the Urban Ichthyosapien, who observes all literary attempts on my part.

Come one come all and see the least spectacular, least visually appealing, most devastatingly invigorating competition of the fall season!

Novel HO!

A recent review of one of the performances at this year’s Jazzfest gave me pause to think about what I love about music.  Too often, artists are judged by the wrong standards, standards to which artistic merit and accomplishment simply cannot be measured.  Where so many decide to talk about melodies, chord progressions, complex and innovative composing and technique, we could be focusing on what is important in the world of aural excellence.  Naturally, I’m talking about the body of a musician.  In fact, one body-part in particular, the arms.

I was all but lost in a sea of blogs and reviews of jazzfest performances going on and on about repertoire, tone, invention, and of course, the choices made for who will play with whom and to what end.  Thankfully, one lone sheep in the herd made a point of discussing the very talented and deeply inspiring arms of Maria Schneider.  At length.

(update: the review has been taken down, but a cached version lives on here: 
https://web.archive.org/web/20101231020244/http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blogs/wordsandmusic/archive/2009/07/02/maria-with-the-long-bare-arms.aspx)

It was such a relief to see this review.  I must admit, I love Maria Schneider’s arms and I wanted to discuss their musical acumen in depth in my arts magazine, but fear of my staunchly feminist editor who might misinterpret the discussion of an accomplished composer’s body as “misogynistic” and “irrelevant” kept me silent.  Not so at the only English newspaper in Montreal!  They were unafraid of discussing Ms. Schneider’s arms through most of the piece and even in the title.  Thank goodness someone out there finally knows how to write about the finer points of music.

I said it already; I love Maria Schneider’s arms.  Have you seen her conducting?  Her music reaches heights only dreamed of by other composers and she firmly and powerfully directs the flow of a mighty river of sound being created by some of the best performers around with those strong jazz biceps of hers.  Watching her conduct her own music and then introduce soloists is as close as anyone can get to actually hearing jazz with their eyes.  It’s no surprise Donny McCaslin was first nominated for a Grammy as a soloist with her orchestra.  Maria Schneider’s arms are jazz and worth every cent it costs to see her.

This type of deep, penetrative musical analysis tends to happen upon other female musicians, and often, I’ve been concerned about appearing too “focused on the body” and “totally missing the point of music reviews” to bother to talk about the physical appearance of the women I respect in jazz.  So now that the floodgates are open, let me impress upon you how much I appreciate the musical arms of many other noteworthy women composers.

Amanda Tosoff, a pianist from B.C. has won many accolades and awards at a very young age and continues to impress with her new album, Still Life.  Her arms are magnificent as they carry her dexterous fingers across her piano’s keys to produce whimsical and innovative music.  Vanessa Rodrigues is a Hammond B3 organ diva who creates modern sounds without losing the soul of her venerable instrument.  The triceps on this lady bring new meaning to “accomplished musician”.

I have to stop here and talk about Esperanza Spalding.  Her arms running up and down that doublebass while she sings is nothing short of exceptional.  Marie-Fatima Rudolf’s arms are thin and belie the power that she evokes when her fingers touch the keyboard.  If you listen to jazz with your eyes open, you’ll be impressed by the sheer complexity of sound that Rudolf produces with such supple limbs.  When Anna Webber plays her flute, her arms almost float towards the keys, making room to watch her hips twist along with her unlikely and fascinating melodies.  Her tenor playing lets her get down and flex for the audience, a treat for any jazz aficionado.  I could go on about Laila Biali, Ingrid Jensen, Mistress Barbara, Killa Jewel, Kaki King, Anat Cohen and more.  As it is, I just finally feel like we’ve gotten to the heart of inspiring, accomplished women jazz musicians.  May their timeless limbs, like their tunes, carry our emotions and artistic appreciation to new heights.

This is where you’ll find information on me, the things I do, the things I like, what I’m learning and what I’ve learned.  I’ve done freelance writing, project coordination, managed construction jobs, written a novel and lived through many strange occurences.

I took a break between high-school and University which went quite a bit longer than I expected.  Now I’m a copywriter for a marketing company by day and a student with a 3.73 GPA by night.  I spend a lot of my time being excessively tired.

You can find samples of my work on a few different blogs in the blog roll, and a few will be posted here for anyone curious about the type of things I scribble about.  I’m also very into music, so much so that I appear on an internet radio show called the Canadian Ruckus.  You can hear the edited segments on the show’s website, or the full-length version here.

I dote on an adorable 4′ long green iguana, I read far too quickly for my own good, and I harass politicos about copyright and other concepts mostly beyond their grasp.  I love reading about Canadian History, particularly when written by James Laxer, and Cities and Civilization, particularly when written by Jane Jacobs.

I can be contacted for freelance writing at Julia [dot] Vyse [at] gmail [dot] com.

This blog is mine. Don’t blame. Don’t copy.

All opinions and posts on this blog are my own and not those of my employer, friends, family or people I might just have met who seem really cool; or even my pets, who have no choice but to agree with me anyway. You can tell these opinions are mine because this is my blog.
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