Canadian Cancer Society urges smokers to “Break It Off”

Everyone knows someone who’s a smoker, has tried to quit, or who has successfully kicked the habit.

I’m not a smoker, and outside of my parents (who quit smoking a few years ago) I don’t preach to others that they should quit – it’s ultimately a personal choice. For those looking to quit though, Break It Off with Smokingthe “Break It Off” campaign recently launched by the Canadian Cancer Society looks like a great resource. It offers help for people at each stage of the quitting process, including a a combination of 13 different methods to quit, because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

They’ve also included a cool initiative to help make the whole break up a bit more social. Called the “World’s Biggest Breakup“, it allows anybody to upload a video of themselves breaking it off with smoking; even non-smokers can show support. I’m not big on making videos, but I can see how this may help people share in the experience together. As of publication there are four journal postings – I expect that number will grow quite a bit as people find out more about the initiative.World's Biggest Breakup

Available on both iPhone and Android devices, the app seems friendly enough to use. Similar to the site, it offers tips on quitting but also lets users track his or her progress and share milestones on Facebook. My favourite feature is the ability to see how much money can be saved from quitting. I’m sure other than health reasons, the ridiculous cost is probably why many decide to quit in the first place – I know it’s one of the big reasons I never started.

As with quitting anything, the willpower must be there. If a person isn’t really willing to give it up, no number of websites, Youtube videos or apps will help them get there. For those who are willing, this looks worth checking out.

Get out and vote, Canada

Voting is something many of us take for granted because it has always been an option for us, so we don’t understand the importance of it. If you watch the news, they show new Canadians voting for the first time and they are nothing if not ecstatic at the chance and understand what it means to have a say in the country’s democracy. They know it’s a duty, and not a chore of waiting in line one day every few years.

If you’re on the fence about voting, I hope you’ll decide to do it. Here are a few more reasons why you should (there are many more of course):

  • Your vote counts: With first-past-the-poll voting, many may not see their vote being worth much, but if every eligible young person voted, the government would speak to your needs more often because they know you care and will want to work toward your needs.
  • People are dying for the right: The recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria show how much people care for the right to vote. If you didn’t have the right you wouldn’t be able to do anything about your situation, so get out there and do something about it.
  • It’s not THAT hard: Bring your voter card and a piece of valid photo ID with you, wait in a line for a few minutes, register, vote, leave. Is the future of your country not worth a few minutes of your time?

One more thing – vote for who speaks to your needs the most, not for the party you think will get the most votes in your riding anyway. If your riding is Liberal by a landslide, but you are pro-NDP or Conservative, then vote for them. It will show there is a need to increase presence in your area for that party if enough people care to vote for them, and down the road, you may see a change in your riding’s poll results.

The news that was 2010

After watching a few programs highlighting the top news according to Canadians in 2010, I thought I’d give my own 5, because we all know how much I love doing top 5 lists by now. What are your Canadian news highlights (or low-lights) of the year?

5. HST

As if our economic struggles weren’t bad enough, the Ontario and British Columbia governments had to slap the harmonized sales tax (HST) onto the majority of our bills. I wish Ontarians had a stronger backbone and stood up to the tax like those in BC.

4. Rob Ford

..err I mean..

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford <- Not something I enjoy seeing. I was so shocked to hear he was elected mayor of my city. Unfortunately this is probably the first domino to fall for a larger conservative political movement in the province. So help us all.

3. Russell Williams

Sick and Twisted – the only way to describe this guy. Good things don’t always grow in Ontario, it seems; let this one rot in Kingston Penitentiary.

2. G20

Ahh, the G20.. so much debate was seen on this event across many news networks and of course on Twitter. It brought out so many opinions on the matter of over-spending, police brutality, rights to protest, etc. Check out the blog post I wrote on the topic.

1. Vancouver Olympics

Yes, my top choice was also Canada’s top choice, but I couldn’t help it, no matter how hard I tried. For a couple weeks my tweets were probably 90% about the Olympics. Is there any one highlight? Yes of course. The Gold medal winning hockey game was my favourite, as I was downtown celebrating in the streets with the rest of Canada. GO CANADA GO!

Rewriting Canada’s national anthem

There’s much discussion on the Internets, radio and TV about the Canadian Government taking a look into complaints about our national anthem. Yes, taxpayer money is being spent looking into and possibly changing our national anthem because of the line “True patriot love in all thy sons command”… okay well specifically the one word in that line – “sons“. They say it’s not inclusive enough to women – which on a certain level is true, but if we changed that, should we start making other changes? Maybe we should change the part where it says “God keep our land glorious and free!” because I’m sure a few people are offended by that – I don’t see that happening, though.

I’m not always the biggest supporter of nationalism, but Canadians just finished showing the world how we’re united and proud, singing our anthem at curling matches for goodness sake; what terrible optics this “debate” gives off.

Optics aside, we’re attempting to recover from one of the worst financial meltdowns ever, plus there are always those other pesky issues with poverty, health care or education that always demand attention and we’re focusing on verbiage in a song. Let’s move on and deal with things that actually matter.

Where do you stand on the national anthem debate?

For your added amusement (or pain) check out Classified’s version of Oh Canada. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming our national anthem – we can all agree on that, I’m sure:

How Twitter made me addicted to the Olympics

About a month ago, if you had asked me if I was going to watch the Vancouver Olympics (#van2010), I most likely would’ve said ‘no way, I don’t really care for them anymore.’ Let’s just say my opinion of the Olympics has been changed a full 360 degrees – thanks in large part to Twitter.

It all started with the opening ceremonies. Everyone I’ve talked to (who’s on Twitter) says reading the stream is what made it the most entertaining. Snark was out in full force that night and I’m pretty sure I was in pain a couple times from laughter. My tweets started off nice enough, then kind of degraded in to snarktown. Here are my first 5 and you can see where it went from there:

Another big part that Twitter played in my enjoying the games was the camaraderie. It’s not like I don’t experience this every day online, but when a good chunk of my followers are taking part in the same thing, I felt like I was in a bar and sharing the experience with everyone, minus the beer and deafening noise. It was great to see the flood of reactions to gold medal wins or terrible goals given up by Canadian teams.

My tweeting experience was capped off by watching the final game and event of the Olympics, the Gold medal win by Team Canada downtown at a bar with people I’ve quickly become friends with through Twitter. It was a great experience and an amazing ending to it all.

This is the first time where social media has really had a chance to shine during the Olympics and to be honest I don’t know how I’ve survived watching them without it. I can’t wait for London so we can do it all over again.

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