Let’s Make This Night Last Forever (Goodbye Wunderbar)

I WAS going to post about something fun today dear readers. But that’s not in the books anymore.


Only sadness.

I learned something really sad and now I am really sad myself, and so I’ve decided to write about this timely event instead. Mere hours ago I found out that my favourite bar in all of Edmonton is closing in the next two days. Thanks to Vueweekly and The Gateway for filling me in. And on Halloween of all days. If you already knew this information, please let me how you’ve managed to keep yourself composed after the initial shock wore off, okay?

I’m in serious need of emotional support and I could use a hug or two dozen.

The NEW Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus is closing it’s doors. And yes, that’s not a misquote, two days from now Wunderbar is closed. Just writing that sends chills down my spine. Especially after amazing music venues like The Artery and The Pawn Shop have shut down so very recently as well.

I have so many good memories of that place too…

Now I’ve been going to Wunderbar for years myself, which explains all of the memories. See I was a patron back in my university going days, well before it was acquired in 2010 by Craig Martell, Levi Christensen and Chris Janke.

This was the bar that allowed to cut my teeth on import and unconventional tasting beers. It was also the bar that I first thought about how to make a business for myself by both writing about the arts and participating in them. It was the place where one of my friends threw up in their Christmas tree, it was also the place where I saw some really weird art house adult themed videos on old format projectors. And did I mention it was the place where I learned about and tasted my first das boot? Just kidding, I mean a bierstiefel (beer boot).


Turns out that they just don’t receive enough repeat business for the small venue, which only holds about 85 people. I had heard about this problem  previously, and there have already been a few attempts in our community to rejuvenate the business. And interestingly enough, the crowdfunding did work, enough money was raised to keep Wunderbar open longer than originally anticipated, but the bar is closing all the same. I imagine it has a lot to do with how the business was managed and the challenges it constantly faced which prevented it from breaking even.

If you are curious about what those challenges were you can read about in more detail via this Edmonton Journal article from the summer that I’ve linked to.

Let’s get super real for a minute.

The hole is going to be there in my heart for a while I imagine. You see, this isn’t the first bar I’ve lost to the hard and unforgiving nature of Edmonton’s bar scene. There have been a few casualties along the way.

Remember New City? Yeah, that club that moved locations a few times? I used to go there all the time too, back when it was downtown. But it eventually got swallowed alive by our harsh winters and our need for the new and novel.  Just like the Sidetrack Cafe, and apparently others. Check out this article by Gigcity.ca for a post that fleshes that idea out a bit more.

Having said that, I think it might be a blessing in disguise (groans will come sentences later) that we always get new locations and new venues for music because one that is getting some more exposure is Studio 96.  Studio 96 used to be a church by the name of St. Stephen’s, converted into a venue and saved from demolition and is one that might be worth checking out.

I don’t know if Studio 96 or others will ever replace Wunderbar for me, but I will leave you with this idea – If you’ve watched How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) ever, which ended its series run last year, than you may have seen the episode where Ted has a dialogue with Klaus, a man whom he had been in competition with for Victoria’s affections. When Klaus reveals that Victoria is wunderbar, but not lebenslangerschicksalsschatz.

Now, Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz, is not a real German word, but it represents the idea of an instantaneous attraction and something which is not earned but felt. Now I’ve not been to Studio 96 yet, so I can’t see if it gives me the feels, but Wunderbar was my Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz. And so I will rename it thusly in my heart and raise my glass high whenever I think of her.

In case you were wondering how I’ll be spending the rest of my Thursday night, I think I’ll have a drink with an old friend. Maybe share some war stories and come up with some new theories.



White Light, White Heat, White Noise (SimplyNoise AND Rainy Mood)

Do you ever run into issues with concentration?

Me too dear readers, me too.

I get it. You want to make art, and you’ve finally decided to start keeping a schedule, but there are a million noises messing with your head. Or maybe absolute silence is your problem, you need a little bit of ambient noise to keep you focused.

This can be especially challenging when you feel like you want noise in the background while you work but you don’t want to have people talking to you directly or for them to be engaged in lively discussion which could distract from your purpose. The same could be true of music you decide to listen to in those situations. Some music is just too powerful and will not alleviate your concentration concerns.

In other words, if it gives you a strong emotional response or the lyrics illicit thoughts you don’t need to have, then it just won’t do.

It just won’t do my friends!


But hold up. I want to play devil’s advocate for a second here – Have you ever heard the idea that music can increase concentration and retention? I’m sure you have. If you haven’t I’ve supplied a few articles below for you to get you in the correct mindset for where I am about to go. I’m going to get you in the zone. And then I’m going to get you into the zone for concentration.

See what I just did there?

How to Increase Concentration and Retention – @WashULaw

Does music help you focus? Yes, but only if you like the music – Tech Times

Classical music improves concentration and social skills – Limelight Magazine

So we’ve now learned a few things about music and whether it really can help us get more done, and if it is a tool in fostering creativity.

Well one thing is for certain, music can help you to ignore your surroundings and it definitely helps to make the mundane more digestible in an environment which is filled with or without noise, but ambient noise (or music) is probably the antidote we need.

The reality is that as I’ve mentioned earlier, lyrics can sometimes be something of a nuisance, especially if language is your choice of task. Having mentioned this, if you are listening to something which you are incredibly familiar with, then that music can easily become something that serves as white noise and will allow you to focus. New music is, surprisingly enough, NEW, so you are going to listen more intently to what you hear, which makes it difficult to use for concentration.

Well what works then Tim?

Fortunately we have a few options. Both classical music and EDM (electronic dance music) can do the trick because they lacks lyrics. These are fairly obvious choices, but video game music might not be and I assure you, it is definitely something to look into.

There are some other decent options, but ones of which I am less convinced about. These include Jazz, Blues and Hip Hop, but mostly because I am drawn to the lyrics in that particular type of music and I don’t want to advertise something which could fizzle out for you dear readers.

But the solution I have for you today my friends is what I am most excited about!

What if the solution was available to you all along?

What if nature had the answer?

What if I got to the point?

I have a couple of websites for you to check out.

One of them is simplynoise.com – This is an amazingly simple solution created by a professional sound designer to produce three kinds of noise. White noise, which is equivalent to the sound of a TV without reception. Pink noise, which sounds like a waterfall and changes frequencies somewhat. And lastly brown noise, which according to the website, is the most relaxing.

Option number 2 is rainymood.com. This one is a little bit more aesthetically pleasing, but doesn’t offer quite as many options in terms of what you can do. Having said that, sometimes you don’t want to think about your noise choices, and you just want to turn it on and go.

Regardless of which one you choose, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear you tell me your productivity has increased upon lending your ear to something different. But I’ve got no more theories, you fine folks. Leave me some comments and I’ll see you tomorrow!


Grand Theft Plot (San Andreas review)

I have to admit that I am very fortunate. I’m fortunate to live in an area of the country that doesn’t experience a lot of natural disasters. Avalanches, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis, heatwaves, hurricanes and tornadoes, volcanoes, and epidemics are events that don’t really happen in Edmonton.

The worst thing we are at risk of is a forest fire. And we are pretty much on top of those.

But I love a good movie that covers this criteria, because they bring in the sublime of nature, and showcase how powerful forces of nature are, and the resilience of people.

The movie I’ve reviewed this week is a disaster film or is it a disaster of a film? I guess we’ll find out?



San Andreas (2015)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti
Director: Brad Peyton
released on blu-ray October 13, 2015
***** 5/10


IMDB: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%, Audience Score 56%
The Guardian: ***/*****

Did you know that Brad Peyton is a Canadian? Yeah, he is from Newfoundland and Labrador. So a Canadian helmed this film? That means I’m going to give it a glowing review right? Eh, not so much.

If you look at the rise of Peyton’s directorial career you’ll note that his first big success is on a claymation TV series called What It’s Like Being Alone. Then he directed Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, followed by Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and now San Andreas. I actually made a joke with my girlfriend that this movie felt like Journey 3: The Centre of California. I wish I filmed it for proof… I may just need to start recording my film experiences as I am making notes.

Ironically, Peyton is in process of producing Journey 3 RIGHT NOW.

If you liked Journey 2, I am sorry for digging at the movie, but I think it’s only fair that I give a realistic review of San Andreas. It’s definitely better than Journey 2, but not by much.

It opens with a girl driving through San Fernando Valley, suddenly the rocks start to fall causing her car to drive off the edge, only barely hugging it. We are simultaneously introduced to helicopter rescue pilot Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) and his team being interviewed by reporter Serena (Archie Panjabi). Ray is radioed in to rescue the girl mere seconds before disaster.

At CALTECH we see Dr. Kim Park as he gets a transmission that there is earthquake activity in Nevada. He promptly shares with his partner Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti). They head to the Hoover Dam to test the predictive theory they have based on the unusual area activity.

We cut to Ray on the phone with daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). She is planning on visiting him in San Francisco, and Ray is also looking over the divorce papers he has been issued from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino). Emma will soon be moving in with new boyfriend Daniel Riddick(Ioan Gruffudd) and Blake is going with them.

Meanwhile, at Hoover Dam, Hayes and Park are finally testing their theory out, and Park does get results from the device. But the results are way higher then expected and come in over 7.0 for an earthquake. The dam starts to crack and Hayes yells for everyone to get off the edge of the dam as Park runs to escape the facility where he has been conducting the tests. We see an intense sequence as Park barely stays ahead of the cracks, but unfortunately there is a little girl who is trapped on one of the dam viewing balconies. He rescues her and carries her out, throwing her Hayes before the pedway breaks. His foot gets impaled and then the dam finally crumbles, pushing him away with it.

Back in California, Ray arrives at his old home for the trip with Blake, and is suddenly stationed in Nevada to rescue its disaster victims. Blake decides to head to San Francisco for Daniel’s business meeting while she waits for her dad. Blake then meets an English guy named Ben Taylor (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his brother, Ollie (Art Parkinson).

At CALTECH, Serena has arrived to interview Hayes about what happened in Nevada. Hayes confirms that they didn’t know about the fault line. But he then realizes that they really can predict an earthquake. This happens just in time for his colleague to interrupt Hayes and present him data showing the pulse rates where detected on the entire San Andreas fault. And the pulse rates were higher than Nevada.

And that’s probably a good place to stop. That’s right dear readers, it’s a disaster film, so it’s only going to get worse from there before it gets better. But I’ll let you decide if the movie is worth your time with some notes below.

Pros: It delivers what it promises, The Rock fighting against the elements with a ton special effects and action to keep you entertained. The characters are resourceful, what you need in this kind of story

Cons: This move works more as a guilty pleasure than it should. The plot is pretty thin and the characters aren’t that interesting, though they are pretty to look at.

Runtime: 114 minutes

Points of Interest: Brad Peyton did consult the Southern California Earthquake Center to fact check the script for accuracy. However, the professor they consulted did state that the San Andreas area can’t produce 9.0 earthquakes or big tsunamis.



And those are my thoughts on the most recent disaster film on the market. I hope you enjoyed my review! Always excited for your feedback dear readers. And I’m out of theories for the day, check back tomorrow for some wisdom.


Desert or Dessert? (Machine Gun Kelly, General Admission review)

Sometimes I will buy an album and have no idea what I am getting myself into. And it usually ends up either one of two ways, either I really like what I bought or I unfortunately have to shake my head at the reality of $15 wasted on my part and $100s of thousands of dollars down the drain for whoever produced that particular noise garbage.

Luckily my purchase last week was nothing like that.

I bought a sophomore effort from the eclectic Machine Gun Kelly (MGK). Which is very evident the more time you spend with the record.



Machine Gun Kelly – General Admission
released October 16, 2015
******* 7/10

1500x1500sr MGK General Admisison


Did you know that Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) is only 25 years old? It definitely surprised me because I was expecting him to be at least 30 years old, based on some of the lyrics he spits on this LP. Also that he is representing Bad Boy/Interscope Records and even has a guest appearance track with the infamous Kid Rock featured.

But that surprise isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I also learned that some of his early influencers were the heavyweights Ludacris and DMX. In particular he got really into the genre after listening to the track We Right Here, from DMX’s The Great Depression! Which was one of the first hip hop CDs I ever bought too! And he loves NOFX, the Casualties and other awesome punk groups.

Check out the interview he had with the ever-weird Nardwuar for some evidence!

So how would I describe MGK in terms of the hip hop scene? I think he represents the parts of it which are working to be inclusive of everybody and everything. He wants to work with all kinds of artists and his music is about positive identities and finding yourself.

I’m going to quote directly from the liner notes –

I needed it to feel authentic, i needed to push the limits of my sanity and capture something real. Legend has it that you have to lose yourself our there in order to find yourself inside. That’s exactly what we did  and that’s exactly what this album represents: Finding yourself

This album is a ticket into the journey of finding one’s self. A ticket into our every day trials and tribulations. This album is a self-realization that underneath it all we’re just the same. This is general admission. Enjoy the show. Lace up.

The price of admission for this show of course, is realizing that pretty much anything and everything is open territory for MGK. He’s been through drug addiction, has a young daughter, and has even been homeless before.

Those pieces alone might be enough to put together some powerful tracks, but there is so much more going on in this record.

For instance – he’s from Cleveland, Ohio and he raps about it A LOT. The track Till I Die is a perfect vehicle for this concept and the music video encapsulates this even better. He raps about the trials and triumphs of living there and in the  music video features people from the city and shots of the city itself.

Bad Mother****er is an anthem for who MGK is and where he is at. He knows what he’s been through already and the dark stuff he’s let into his life, self-imposed or not, but that’s not gonna stop him from being a bad mother, and he’s OKAY with it.

But those aren’t the only songs he puts together. The song A Little More is about the stresses of life, and not being silent about pain, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Being mindful of others and extending love wherever you can.

General Admission is ambitious in a lot of fun ways, and reminds me of his influencers in a lot of little ways. Some of the reviews on this album have been negative, but I think that’s the price of admission. You don’t always get a perfect experience out of it, but if you’re willing to give something different a try, you might just be surprised enough to enjoy yourself in the desert.



Happy Monday dear readers! I hope your week is a good one, but don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow night for a movie review. And I’ll be hard at work behind the scenes because this week is a vacation for me, and I’m putting together some fun theories for you.



The Power Of… Discipline (Build Discipline)

Dear readers, I’ve been thinking about the power of love a lot this past week!

If you’ve ever been witness to the wonder that is the Back To The Future trilogy at any point in your life, you’ll know the song I’m thinking of and the incredibly strong association it has with the original Back To The Future soundtrack, but also with the whole franchise as well.

If you haven’t seen the movies, I’ll just leave this here for your convenience.

If you have seen the movies before, now the song is stuck in your head too! Ha.

Man, I must have have some sort of strange fascination with movie franchises if I keep bringing them up? I think it probably has to do with the fact that the story arc in a film is often fleshed out a little better then in a TV episode. That and it is usually self-contained and more consideration goes into the writing.

JK. Or am I?

But I have not JUST been thinking about the power of love. That song/concept was not the only part of the movies that came to mind for me when I kept hearing over and over again from friends and media content that the future was now here – that the October 21, 2015 date which Doc Brown and Marty were headed to in Back To The Future Part II, was finally on our doorstep.


No, I had been thinking about a lot of the principles that the Back To The Future movies rely on to tell it’s story. Concepts of destiny, free will and the time-space continuum. And yes, also the power of love.

One of the major themes from the films interestingly enough is about society and how it changes over time.

This is best embodied in the relationship of Vice Principal Stickland and his family tree, versus the changing landscape of Hill Valley as the characters time hop through it. There are a ton of themes in the movies, but the Stricklands specifically are archetypes of morality and discipline. The Strickland of 1985 even has a favourite word to describe those who don’t uphold his version of etiquette. Slacker!

Admittedly this post is not about the movie Back To The Future, it’s just a device I’m using to get to the topic at hand. Discipline.

It’s funny to me how subjective a disciplined lifestyle can be from one individual to the next, but what I’ve always noticed about someone who is disciplined is that regardless of how they achieve their goals, they work out some sort of routine for themselves in order to accomplish their goals. Much like how fiction writers come to use techniques over and over again in order to create their stories.

I kind of hinted at this concept of discipline this past Wednesday, so if you don’t know what I am getting at, maybe do a rewind to a couple of posts ago and rejoin me when you are ready.


Glad everyone is going the same direction now…

Why am I writing about the concept of discipline and such? Well, I think Marty McFly has some issues with discipline in those movies, fears of rejection regarding his music in particular, and yeah he definitely grows up towards the end, but we are all in various states of disorganization at one time or another in our lives, but we don’t necessarily need to experience a traumatic event to shift positively.

So how do we work on this?

Well, a lot of people much smarter than I, have suggested that when we form good habits and have schedules, we can spend our brain power on increasingly interesting ideas and actions that propel us forward, rather than rebuilding the wheel, so to speak, every time we engage in an activity.

Let me give you a more concrete example to put it into perspective.

If you decide you want to get better at public speaking, you attend a public speaking course, get involved with toastmasters, start reading book, play brain training exercises, try your hand at improv, etc, etc. But in order to actually improve at those attributes, you do them regularly and allow the habits to form naturally as you commit to the practice of showing up.

Achieving results with creative endeavours is no different – if there are things you need to do in order to create works of fiction, illustrate comic books or piece together your next dress design, and those recurring tasks constantly come up, then you have to generate the brain power to remember to do those tasks.

But if you build a routine for yourself, you will eventually “know” what you need to do intuitively, and can focus your energy on experimenting, playing, and enjoying your talents.

Without building a routine for you, I’m going to share a link here to another article I enjoyed that’s done some of the legwork already and which also has citations.

What do you think of this theory? Are routines important? Do you like it better when you let your brain run on auto pilot and move you into the studio or at your desk where you can focus on the fun parts? Leave me some comments!