Boutiques in Montreal

Montreal is famous for them.

Everyone loves looking at them.

Everyone loves being around them.

Living around them.

Walking around them.

Taking pictures in front of them.

Showing them off. They are the pride of a neighbourhood.

But no one buys anything from them.

They are really expensive!

I never see anyone in these stores buying anything. How do these stores afford to pay the high rent and all the other operating costs?


Goodbye OSAP, Goodbye MasterCard.

The day has finally arrived. I made my last and very very final payment.


I am not ashamed of being 28 and making this announcement now. Did you know the average Canadian consumer debt is $26,000? That is not including mortgage.


I want to help others. Here are my straight up tips on how to beat this:


Money Saving


1. Get a Tangerine bank account. Close all your other bank accounts. Fk TD, Royal Bank and the rest of the mafia. Tangerine is the only bank in Canada to NOT CHARGE you transaction fees, monthly fees or withdrawal fees. It is 100% free. You can withdraw money for free at any Scotia Bank machines and other various machines listed on their website. They will even give you money if you open up with an account. And they have the highest interest rate for savings account. There are no strings attached to this no frills banking. They make enough money from their mortgage services.


2. Put all your loans on an MBNA 0% interest platinum card. Get a cash advance for only a 1% fee, and then use that cash advance to pay your student loans. It’s a lot better than paying 5% interest rates student loans charge you. You have to be very careful as to how to do this because they will screw you over any way they can! For example, if you use that credit card for any other additional purchases, they will charge you 20% interest on that item until your entire card is paid off. That card should be used for one purpose and be locked away. Also, you have to pay it back in full within a year or else they will charge you 12 months of 20% interest on all the unpaid money! I spoke to a lot of people and read a lot of forums before signing up for this dangerous credit card.


Sacrifices I made:


3. I live in a small studio apartment
4. I had no internet at home.
5. I had no car. I took public transit.
6. I didn’t travel as much as I would like.
7. I never bought drinks for my meals at restaurants. I always brought my water mug.
8. I bought no makeup and rarely paid for haircuts at the salon.
9. I rarely ever buy clothes. I never throw out clothes, because I love the clothes I buy. They are unique for me and they are hard to find. So I actually stopped buying clothes recently.
10. Be as DIY as possible.
11. Buy used items from cl, and kijiji before going to the mall
12. I don’t have cable, or even a television!
13. When I needed a professional service, I outsourced on rather than hire a boutique agency in Montreal.
14. Don’t be part of consumerist culture and buy useless junk, like nick nacks, and books and cds. Did you know some people go to Wal-Mart as a hobby?
15. Don’t keep any savings if you are paying interest. Only have enough cash on hand for emergencies. But if you are in debt, it is an emergency, imo.
16. Watch zeitgeist for inspiration.


How to Make Money:


1. Work full time and accept freelance contracts, and also outsource, is a great source ! Highly skilled people from developing countries at good rates can help you! And you can help others too! Always keep on learning new skills online.


2. Acquire a new skill that is in demand for free, such as programming, or SEO, or AdWords. Art degrees are useless. Reading one pdf from Google landed me a job that is more than the Canadian average salary.


A Word To Musicians:


1. Don’t fall victim to music gear hoarding. Don’t be slaves to analogue. The possibilities with digital are infinite. I got a midi controller keyboard, and a simple audio software. You are entitled to a good quality of life without sacrificing art. The difference in quality between digital and analogue are very slight, and analogue brings more stress for recording which frustrates the creative process and costs a whole lot more (which is a whole other world of stress).


And yes, you can record at home! I recorded my last album at home, and I am hardly a professional, and my EP got radio plays and mentions in blogs.


So I went to this concert…

On a Wednesday evening, I passed by a venue and went in on a whim. Four bands were on the bill, 10 people were inside. I couldn’t tell if it was more band members or spectators. I spoke to one of the musicians who told me she was from Halifax, they were “touring”. The show was free, or PWYC, I couldn’t tell.
This scene is very typical. This scene is very sad. When a relatively unknown band travel across the country and blasts their distorted guitars in empty venues, they are doing more harm than good. They are NOT getting any new fans. They are supporting oil companies for transportation. They are supporting harmful manufacturing companies that produced these CD’s and merch. These musicians are on a budget, so they are either dumpster diving, or eating fast food from exploited workers. When you come out to these shows you are NOT supporting the arts. When you come out to such shows, you are supporting insanity.
The show must go on, but if you are going to harm the world, play for an audience, play with some purpose.
Well Joe band, good for you for now being able to write “toured across the country” in the bio.

The Cold Hard Numbers


What does glamour mean?


It’s been 31 days since I digitally released the EP for my new project, “Lucid Living“. Want to know the reality for one very DIY independent artist?

Here are the cold hard numbers.


The Marketing Plan

  • All my family members, friends and coworkers were informed.
  • Over 140 emails were sent to music blogs and campus radio stations. All of which were uniquely written for their requirements.
  • I recorded three YouTube videos, two covers & one original.
  • I went to a few shows, open mics, and “networked”
  • $230 spent in online ads


The Results


What’s next?

(Oh and buy now on  iTunes or Bandcamp!)


National Post Doesn’t Care About Our National Parks!

Ever since the Globe and Mail imposed a subscription fee for their online articles, I begrudgingly made the switch to National Post, even though it gives me stomach aches. Take this article for example:

They delivered the story on mass construction on Canada’s perserved parks as great news! A victory even. There are budget cuts, they need more revenu, so now there will be more “commercial or mass-tourism friendly amenities” in our National Parks! Now us hardworking tax payers can actually enjoy the wildlife we’ve been paying to perserve! Can any thinking be so narrow? How can we “enjoy” the parks when you just said that there will be “commercial” amenities? Could that mean more wal marts? The writer didn’t expand on that point. We just heard about the cool things that will happen like a lift on the ban for hang-gliding. Did she explain why there was a ban in the first place?

This quote really sickened me:

“Parks are for people, it’s not a preserve,…Canadians pay a lot of money in taxes to support those parks and they should be open and accessible to all Canadians.”

Ya, the thing is, those parks are perserved because they are part of an eco system that enables humans to live and that kinda includes trees, and the animals, etc. I know this scientifically proven concept is beyond the scope of Harper fans. Yes, so lets build a capitalist friendly hot spot, cut down trees, shoot down bears, remove the wildlife from their homes, I’m sure they will figure out a way to adapt! The rocky’s will become a nice deserted wasteland that we can later on use to drill for some oil!

So what’s the logic here? Lets “enjoy” nature while its here, but let’s not do anything to “perserve” it?

Here is a suggestion, how about you enjoy the land you already live on. Chances are it used to be a lush green paradise too. What’s stopping you from getting back there? With the advances in technology, there is no excuse. We need to cut through bureaucracy and the politics and find ways to incorporate clean technology in our day to day lives so that we can live harmoniously with nature. We need to have an electric communal transit system, with a focus on a pedestrian oriented community. We could even start with something simple such as sacrificing a parking spot, remove some concrete and plant a tree or two and composting. Then there is getting the government to clean the lakes, make business accountable for pollution.

Humans have been living in nature for most of its existence. We have a yearning for nature in our day-to-day lives. We are programmed for it. Bringing green back into our lives is not a fad, its a human need. And we need to restore it.

We can’t even maintain the beauty of the land we already invaded, why should we invade more? Is there any place in Canada that can be spared from cigarette butts and empty Tim Horton cups?