Santa’s Workshop (Secret Santa Gift Exchange)

Happy Christmas Harry! Whoops, that’s not how I meant to start today’s post!


Just kidding, who am I, The Grinch?


I must be pretty grumpy that I can’t come up with some Christmas cheer and make the season just a bit lighter for you dear readers.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Wisdom Wednesday post, today is going to be all about fun and lighthearted things, because I want to send off the year right and because even timotheories needs to take a break.

Don’t worry though, I’ll be back after the 2015 year is over.

And what a year it’s been! I’ve written just over 70 posts this past 12 months, and I plan to write 5 posts a week next year, along with introducing the Cross Talk and Real Time Games videos into the timotheories YouTube channel mix. AND I want to support more local artists, so my goal is to put out 1 interview a month, so if you or someone you know is interested in talking about the arts and your art practice, please get ahold of me via or send a message by using the contact form below.

Now it’s time to share with you what today is all about. That’s right we are going to be talking about Santa Claus! Because I was raised with the North American Christmas holiday and know it rather intimately as a consequence.

elf santa giphy

And are any of you familiar with the western tradition of Secret Santa? If not, I’ll break it down for you. It is essentially a group event wherein the members exchange gifts but where each person is randomly assigned one person to whom they give a gift. And they do it anonymously. Cool right?

Well we have a tradition like this in my family too – one that has been going on for the better part of 10 years, probably closer to 15 years at this point.

My immediate family all draw for a secret santa, but the twist is that we are supposed to “make” a gift for our person and we are allowed to spend money, but no more than $25 to accomplish the gift construction. It started out this way because we were a family of meager means when I was growing up (as mentioned in this post), and my siblings wanted to give gifts but usually couldn’t afford to do so because they didn’t have jobs.

Thus the Family Secret Santa Gift Exhange was born.

My contribution to this process is to make art of some sort, though I have been known to make food on occasion. And this is how I’ve tied it back to the arts, see?

What is great about this process is that you get to make something special for a loved one, and as a result the gift is just a little bit more meaningful then it would have been if it came from a store.

I bet you’re curious what I did this year, aren’t you dear readers? Well I guess I can share it with you since, it is Christmas eve and all. Plus the exchange happens on Christmas eve, and by the time this post hits the internet, the gifts will all have been shared, and the tears of joy will have dried.

Please see below for reference.


Cute right? Well, let me explain a bit more about why I made pencil crayon drawings of Pikachu and Yoshi. Have you ever heard of Nintendo? Of course you have. But what may be lesser known to you is a game released for the N64 in 1999. It’s called Super Smash Bros. and is my all-time favourite multiplayer game by Nintendo and also my favourite fighting game ever conceived.

My youngest brother Ryan is a huge video game fan and this is one pastime we have always enjoyed together. And we get incredibly competitive when it comes to Smash Bros. So it’s significant to him. Now, this gift is years in the making, and every time I get Ryan for Secret Santa, I make him a drawing or two.

Please see below for previous entries.


What is really fun about creating these drawings is that even if I get Ryan by chance every year, and I make 2 every Christmas, I can make them every year for the rest of my life, and I probably won’t have made all of them (upwards of 60 so far). So I may have to change my strategy to complete the original roster.

Please see below for reference.


As you can see, I’ve only made 6 so far, and there are 6 left. But every time I add a drawing to the wall, I feel a bit better about the project. This scale of work is exactly what art should be about, creating something more than your own ego and sense of worth. If I had never ventured down this road, I would probably struggle with ideas for Ryan every year, but because I commited to making something that suited him, I stuck with the spirit of Santa and made something special, something that hopefully makes miracles.

I hope you enjoyed this last post of the season my friends, and I hope you enjoy the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you and yours, and if not, happy holidays. See you on January 3rd, 2016!


The Red Pill (Stock Photography)

The future is bleak.

That’s what I would tell you if was a robot and not a human being. Because I am human, I am more than logic. I have a heart which is filled with faith and so I have hope. I have hope that we can solve issues of hunger, inequality, pollution, and war. I may have paraphrased that idea from Jacques Cousteau, but I think it’s incredibly relevant today.

Especially today.


Being a self-proclaimed futurist in the same class as one Anthony Stark, I recognize that there is always something more interesting along the horizon, and it can be difficult for me to sit still long enough to capture the now and be present.

I have this incredible desire to see life organized and efficient, conversations delivered in messages that I can absorb when I feel like and products available at the click of a button. But on the other hand, I want to pause in moments of isolation and really see what’s in front of me, engaging with life.

Thusly is the struggle of someone who has an analytical mind, but a heart driven to curate and create.

Which is why what I am going to share with you today will fit both the analytical and the creative minds in our ranks.

All day I’ve felt this pull to give some credit back to my fellow bloggers out there. Maybe it’s because it’s been a little over a year since I started this venture, and almost six months since I really hunkered down and started planning my posts, but I don’t think I’ve written about the business of writing at all yet.

And one of the elements of writing a good blog post is putting up an interesting header image or “feature image” as WordPress terms it.

I’m going to share a secret with you, one which many of you probably realize already – I don’t personally create a vast majority of the photos I attach to my posts. *Gasp!*

I use stock photography. *Double Gasp!*

I do have a future goal to start to use my own images more often, but that’s a goal for 2016 and beyond. So let’s get back to the topic at hand.

If any of you aren’t familiar with stock photography I’ve provided a handy definition from Wikipedia just below.

Stock photography is the supply of photographs, which are often licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer, often for a lower cost.

We are very fortunate in this day and age because stock photography is readily available on the internet, and there a number of ways you can get a hold of it, paying a lot for premium photos, a little less for decent photos, and nothing for photos that are typically of poor quality.

You can also steal images from search pages like Google or take images from the Public Domain (AKA free to use for commercial or personal use).

When you purchase images you have the option of getting royalty-free images which are typically a one time purchase, and can be used over and over again, but you also can purchase images that are associated with a brand or licensed and subject to usage rules.

I typically swing back and forth between public domain and royalty-free images, but have recently been using public domain images more often because I enjoy the online hunt a lot more than I should.

This is the part where you say, “so where do you go to find images timotheories?”

Well dear readers, you can use paid services I’ve looked into such as Shutterstock, Getty Images, ThinkStock (by Getty Images), and fotolia, for starters. These are all solid choices. But they may not be for you.

Now here comes the fun part. What if I told you there was a way to get premium quality photos, without have to pay for them, in order to get yourself started or thinking differently about your image choices?

I bet you would be into that. Wouldn’t you friends?

Okay, well I’ll show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. The truth is that there are all kinds of photographers, from commercial to personal, and everything-in-between. This article from DigitalImpact has provided a list of 40+ free stock photography sites, many of which feature photographers that are just getting started or want to extend their reach to different clientele.

The thing to keep in mind with stock photography is that it represents generic types of imagery and so it is a very competitive field.

However, if you are interested in unique images that provide a specific service, you should ALWAYS go to a professional photographer who is an expert in a particular field. I say this in case you think I am condoning stock photography over traditional methods. This is not the case at all.

And that’s all I’ve got for today. Only 1 more sleep until my last post of the season. It’s gonna be a fun one and I hope you enjoy it. Till then, enjoy the snow and if you are celebrating Christmas I hope you get all your presents sorted out tomorrow.



Flunkies, Lackies, Toadies (Minions review)

It’s a common theme in our westernised lives to look out for ourselves and think about what we want out of life. Heck, I think that’s a global phenomenon, though parents and most leaders understand that thinking of someone other than yourself is for the greater good.

In other words, if someone were to tell you that they can’t think for themselves and they need to be led, even if it’s by a classical evil person, you’d probably tell me that person was nuts, right dear readers?

Well this week’s film review examines the perspective of the followers, the hangers-on, the servants, also known as the…




Minions (2015)
Cast: Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carell
Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
released on blu-ray December 8, 2015
****** 6/10


IMDB: 6.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%, Audience Score 51%
The Guardian: ****/*****

Camille Delamarre is a French animator, director, and voice actor. He is best known for co-directing the Despicable Me franchise with Chris Renaud, and as the voice of the Minions.

I am a huge fan of the original Despicable Me and I enjoyed the second film almost as much, while anticipating the next sequel, which is expected to come out in 2017. Did Coffin reach to far with this offshoot movie that focuses directly on the Minions or is it a solid entry in the legacy?

We are about to find out and as per usual, I will give you a bit of background on the story first. Well, actually I am going to tell you most of the plot, because it’s not that complex of a story.


The movie is narrated by Geoffrey Rush and starts by telling a story of how the minions (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) came into existence. They have been around since the dawn of sentient life, and have always sought out a master to serve, preferably an evil one.

We are treated to a sequence that shows the minions serving a number of masters over history (usually resulting in the accidental death of the master), until the minions meet up with Napoleon. This relationship ends pretty terribly and as a consequence the minions are exiled from France and end up in Antarctica where they build a community. It goes well for a time until the minions become agitated, lethargic, and eventually give up hope.

In the 1960s, one minion, Kevin, decides enough is enough, and recruits Stuart and Bob on an adventure to find a new master. They arrive at New York and after some time wandering around they found a secret villain TV channel advertising for Villain Con in Orlando. The trio hitch-hike a ride from a family of villains called the Nelsons (Michael Keaton and Allison Janney).

At Villain Con the minions meet Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), an infamous villain, who is also looking for henchmen. Bob wins the contest unintentionally and wins the job offer. Scarlet will let all of the minions become her henchmen on the condition that Kevin, Stuart, and Bob steal the royal crown from Queen Elizabeth II (Jennifer Saunders. Scarlet’s husband Herb (Jon Hamm) supplies them with tools for the heist, but when they break into the Tower of London they almost get caught, which ends up in a chase that has Bob crash in the Sword in the Stone, pull it free, and become King of England.

Scarlet is visibly upset by this, but Bob doesn’t want to be king and happily hands over the crown to her. Scarlet then goes back on her word and tortures the three minions. Which doesn’t work. So the minions leave the torture chamber and go back to apologize, just in time for Scarlet’s coronation, where they crash a chandelier on her head by accident.



And I’m gonna pause it right there.

Pros: The comedy is physical and silly and there is enough cultural content there to keep adults interested too. It’s a nice break from the typical fare of Despicable Me, and gives us a fix until the next one is due.

Cons: It feels a little long for what it is, which isn’t very much. I think this is because there isn’t enough punch to the story.

Runtime: 91 minutes

Points of Interest: Pierre Coffin voices ever single one of the minions in the movie. The leading three minions are supposed to be allusions to Gru’s three daughters. Bob’s bear Tim is similar to the one in the Mr. Bean stories.

If you are a fan of animated films in general, I think you will enjoy this one and it will be great for children, but there are definitely more interesting choices out there.




“Following” is a documented behaviour, and one which many people are prone to, because it can be scary to stand alone. But that doesn’t mean that solo work or working in a group are automatically good or bad behaviours. The Minions movie proves that three individuals can work well together and independently for the the greater good, and have fun doing it. Have a good night dear readers, and I’ll see you tomorrow with some wisdom.


Lollipop (Grimes Art Angels review)

I’m gonna tell you a little secret dear readers, while I don’t own any of their albums, I’m a pretty big fan of CSS.

This is probably because when I was in my early 20’s they were “cool” and “weird” and something hipsters were into, but I think my favourite thing about them was that they had a song called Art Bitch and another called Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above.

I’ve always been a fan of pop music, and if the music and lyrics were engaging, you had my money.


Which is why today’s review is kind of awesome, because this feels like a throwback and something completely original at the same time. Also, anything with the word art in the title has to be good, right?




Grimes – Art Angels
released December 11, 2015
********* 9/10


Claire Elise Boucher, better known as Grimes, is a Canadian singer/songwriter, music video director and record producer. This is her 4th studio album release and the most chart-topping example of her unique vision to date.

I have had a lot of fun listening to this album. It changes dramatically throughout, and even varies inside of specific tracks. I think some the most euphoric experiences with it have been listening to the CD in the car on my way to and fro.

But while this album is incredibly well crafted, I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as easy-listening for the more timid listener.

For instance, while I gravitated to the content almost immediately, both my girlfriend and one of my brothers couldn’t quite place the music the first time listening through themselves and as a consequence they both wanted to move on quickly.

It’s the kind of album that perfectly encapsulates the era we are living in, it pulls from a plethora of influences and captures them in fantastical and dreamlike ways. There are celtic parts, dreampop moments, psychobilly screams, spoken word in other languages, horror-movie inspired progressions, and audio samples that I’d swear came out of a video game from the 64 bit days or earlier.

Wikipedia has tried to summarize her identity by taking other summaries and mashing them together, which I find hilarious, by the way. And oh so relevant to what Grimes represents.

This quote from The Guardian says it well –

By sounding a little like everything you’ve ever heard, the whole sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard.

I’m gonna tell you something that might seem crazy, but really shouldn’t be. The reason why Grimes’ music is so awesome is not because she is a trendsetter in a sea of pop music, and as a result her music is as high of a caliber as the likes of Lorde, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, and Ellie Goulding, among others, but because she sets trends by controlling her oeuvre and making music that is interesting and has intent. This is what pop music should sound like. Authentic music by artists that suit their personalities and tastes.

Claire Elise Boucher is inviting us into her reality, as opposed to trying to work in the reverse.

Kill V. Maim is a song from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather pt II, California addresses her new hometown (a play off of Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York?), REALiTi a love song that features insanity, and Butterfly is a send-up to Mariah Carrey and environmentalism.

If you don’t believe she is electic, and seeing is your truth, check out these music videos for Flesh without Blood/ Life in the Vivid Dream and REALiTi for a visual treat and a sample of her music directing skillz.

It is an incredibly rich and diverse offering, and I like it. But my major complaint is that it doesn’t dovetail with the same explosive and powerful quality that it opens with in the first track, laughing and not being normal. But if you are looking to shake up your pop roots, this is the one for you.




Art Angels is a fantastic entry from a really great artist who is embracing her weirdness and producing something original. Like CSS, she has made a fan of me, but unlike CSS, I’m gonna keep to my word and continue to buy her records. You should too.

See you tomorrow for a movie review, have a good night folks!


Old School (timotheories presents: Cross Talk)

Do you ever look at all of people who wear shirts with the statement “old school” emblazoned across the front, and shake your head?

I remember a stretch of time when it was a very popular type of slang, especially with people in my generation. It was used to refer to gaming, music, and fashion especially. But pretty much anything that came from another era was subject to the old school moniker when brought up in conversation.

There was even a movie about this idea. And it was conveniently called Old School. At the time that this movie came out, I had just turned 18 years old. And in a fury of wanting to be an adult, participate in adult culture and do adult things, I went to see Old School in the theatre.

At the time, I thought I had hit comedy gold. It was quotable, it was rude, it had nudity, and I was finally part of a club I had wished I was a part of for years. 18 year old Tim was stupid, and I hated his motivations.

Hate is a strong word, and I really really really dislike using it. But it’s true.

I wanted to like old school things, and convey my taste, my wisdom, and my virtue. And I thought that watching a movie about men in their 40s who go back to college to start a fraternity, get drunk and sleep with coeds, was a pathway to this wisdom.

Appropriating without contributing, participating without earning anything.

Hence, I dislike the term “old school.” But that’s just the surface reason, let’s go deeper.

It also seemed to me to be a lazy way of contributing to a conversation without actually offering anything up. Equivalent to when people throw the word fuck around haphazardly or follow every other sentence with it.

The height of the “old school” slang for me was in 2003, when trucker hats were cool.


But Coolio and LL Cool J were not. Cry me a river right?

B-Real - Hit Em High (ft. Busta Rhymes,Method Man & Coolio) [TV]

Sorry I thought of a quip and wanted to share it.

Anyway, as I mentioned, 2003 was a fun time. With lots of gentrification and appropriation going on in popular culture. We were just starting to define this trend and eventually landed the plane with a term called the hipster.

In this period of time, everyone wanted to address this overwhelming issue of postmodernism embodied in fashion. The hipsters took from every era possible and somehow managed to upset every niche culture in the process.

It was a fashionable form of nihilism and it stuck around for a quite a while.

Nihilism, subversion, and anti-establishment anti-hero types have always existed, but we needed to re-define and send this out into the world ourselves.

And because of the post-modernist movement, hipsterdom moved with the contemporary ideas of the day.

But as we hit the 2010’s, hipsters and attacking everything became faux pas. Or at least I stopped worrying about it myself. You see, I realized, and I think most artists are started to as well, that we need to move past post-modernism if we really want to create anything worthwhile.

Sure it can be fun to deconstruct something and take details away from it, but real joy can only be found in embracing and sharing your vision with the world.

Which is why I think that modern craft is the next big thing in the art world, in the arts, and in popular culture. You see, I have this theory. My theory is that every generation needs to separate itself from the one previous, but because life works in cycles, and we reference what comes before us, children are often the spiritual successors of their grandparents ideas and belief systems.

My parents (and the parents of all generation x and generation y kids) represent ideas of deconstruction, excess, and dichotomies that exist in the  extreme. That’s not to say that they are extremists, but it was a period of carving out and making broad strokes to deal with the world. In anticipation of globalization, the internet, and major issues of human rights.

I think that the next generations focus will be on nuanced issues, on craft, on communication, and on socialization. This is why more and more people are turning to small businesses again, why artwork is becoming about skillfulness again, and why we are tackling social media.

I’m going to end today’s post by offering a promise to you dear readers.

A promise in anticipation of a new year and new challenges! Next year, I am going to unveil a new component of the timotheories mantle called Cross Talk. On Cross Talk, myself and my co-host will be addressing themes we see in film (and eventually other realms)and using those themes to offer you up much needed insights.

It can be a lot of fun to learn about production details, fan theories, and celebrity gossip, but that is not the intent of Cross Talk. Cross Talk promises to be the kind of discussion you would have in a bar or on a couch with your close friends about a topic and provide you with a fresh perspective on a universal storytelling medium!

So stay tuned because we aren’t going to appropriate we are going to celebrate and bring something new to the table!

And that’s all of the theories I have today.