Friday, January 10, 2020

Lone, January Motivation & Bloodsuckers

Weekly Update 2020-02: Dreamy music for your Sundays at home from Lone, tapping into the special motivation that comes with ringing in the new year and the Royal Ontario Museum's exhibit on bloodsuckers.

Music: Lone
A new favourite of Spotify's Altar Electronic Playlist comes Lone. A producer from Nottingham with big dreams and dreamier sounds, Lone is our guide through outer space and into the deepest oceans. I absolutely adore the xylophone melodies laid over ethereal synths, sprinkled with a bit of sharp rhythm clapping in Jaded. You'd never know this guy started out in hip-hop. It urges me to take a few steps backward in his discography and see what I find, the further back I go. Why don't you do the same?

While New Years can be somewhat stressful due to the last minute scrambling to make plans and such, this one didn't turn out to be such a bust after all. Eric and Laura had me over along with a few friends to drink and cuddle with their dog Theo before we headed off to Etobicoke (yep) to Laura's sister's music recording studio for a party. They have a pretty cool space that they share with a lighting installation company, which made for some cool instagram photos.

But what was really special was that the three of us finally finished watching Butterfly Kisses, a movie we had started on our trip to California back in May 2019. We joked that it took us two decades to finish the movie, as the credits rolled around 5:30am on January 1. If you're able to get American Amazon Prime, I highly suggest the movie. It takes some weird turns but it's great.

I also got to do some jamming with Eric - we rented a room in Rehearsal Factory for a couple hours and played along to some songs. It felt really unnatural and weird at first but it was overall really fun. I can't remember the last time I played kit alongside other instruments live. It's so different from playing solo!

This week I'm meeting up with a student from a previous semester of BrainStation to discuss her possible move from finance into user experience design - super cool! While giving out mentorship, I hope to gain a little back for myself by rescheduling a meeting with Dr. Sarah Saska from late 2019 when we met at an evening meetup on Employee Resource Groups.

We're starting practices two days a week this week until we leave for Brazil, so I'm not going to have much of a life in a couple weeks once teaching starts up again as well. I'm trying to soak up all the relaxation time that I can now!

Random Thought: January Motivation
The new year brings about a lot of different thoughts and feelings in people, giving the month of January a certain special quality that no other month shares. To see what I mean, simply walk into any gym on any given January evening. You'll see lots of people attempting to work out on machines they may never have seen before in their lives, or more fitting, perhaps not seen since January 2019, when they last set their minds that this would be the year they finally lose those extra 20 pounds.

The notion of marking another passing year carries a special motivation for people to try and change their bad habits, whether it's quitting bad habits like smoking or drinking (see Dry January) or starting new good habits (such as buying a gym membership). Hey, that's the way this weekly update got started, my very first post was in the first week of 2015, when I successfully resurrected this blog from my grade 11 media studies class.

This January I have been experimenting (mostly at work) with how I can tap into people's underlying motivation to start something new this year. Especially since it's also the start of a new decade (and since the world is going to heck), I'm appealing to that underlying nag to do something positive in order to enlist people to join our accessibility and/or eco-conscious teams at work. Not only do I have some great things planned for both teams this year, but I like to think I'm doing a public service by saving people money on gym memberships they'll never use. Gotta strike while the iron is hot!

Inspiration: Bloodsuckers
Sasha and I are making good use of our ROM memberships, last week on our third visit together we checked out a really cool temporary exhibit on all things bloodsucking. From mosquitos to leeches to medicinal bloodletting, even a little area on the folklore of vampires around the world, I have to say this was a freaking cool exhibit.

Huge, life-size models of leeches and bloodsuckers. Sasha for scale.

Tiny bloodsucking fleas encased in amber - super vintage!

I liked the way this one was posing so I tried to copy it. The microscope on the left side showcases the flea, which is then projected even larger on the screen beside it.

Did you know vampire snails feed on the blood of fish by putting out these little tubes that attach onto their prey?! Crazy.

Cute little vampire bat.

 I especially loved the tanks filled with lampreys. They're so wild!

Bram Stoker's handwritten notes from Dracula.

Just in case one couldn't finish the job: Double-crucifix!

It's been a great year with my ROM membership, especially with the fact that the museum sits squarely in the middle of town between where I live and where Sasha lives. On top of that, we both enjoyed that we didn't feel the pressure to see so much on each visit, since we could come and go as we wish. I do plan to visit at least once more, and do hope as well that they release a similar deal for 2020. I'd definitely buy another membership for the low, low price of $37.

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