September 2017 Playlist: Reset

3 years ago I started making playlists for friends who moved away for uni. Now I've found myself looking for new platforms to share music I've been listening to. Recently, I received an email from a listener thanking me for putting my monthly tunes together. She's a complete stranger but her kind words really resonated with me. I've put these playlists together for friends and for work. Now I've finally recognised that the memories tagged by these sounds will always be there. I am back in Canada after a year of studying abroad in England, and the people I've met and experiences I've had are attached to these songs, and I've finally realised how important this is. Again, I've found myself at another milestone in my life, and looking back at these playlists I'm so happy to have documented them. In a few months, I start a new adventure in a new city. 

I've officially moved my playlists from 8tracks to Spotify for accessibility reasons. Although Spotify does not have some artists I'd like to feature, it will make it easier for international listeners to have a go. If an artists is too small, I'll be sure to feature them in other ways. So to my friends, family, and strangers who've been listening for a while, I just wanted to say thanks. I am not only doing this for you, but I am also doing this for myself. More content to come soon. 

Your friend,

Jon

A note from a page from my final year scheduler

Almost half-way through my year here in the UK, and this evening I was feeling nostalgic. I was going through an old scheduler from my senior year in university. On the first page were some simple rules to success I jotted down. These ideas have never been more relevant. Here they are:

  1. Never let the past dictate your future.
  2. Never gossip.
  3. Never say "yes" when you mean "no".
  4. Never interrupt.
  5. Never be late.
  6. Never resent.
  7. Never decide you don't have time.
  8. Never fit in (just to fit in).
  9. Never be afraid to do things that matter.

Hey October: One Day in London

Earlier this month and my first weekend free, Caroline and I headed to London for a day to do some exploring. London is only a 35 minute train ride from Guildford Station to Waterloo Station. 6 hours free, how much could we do? Arriving into Waterloo reminded me of Grand Central in New York: parallels being drawn from individuals on their phones, and blurs of people rushing through the crowd. A different sounding crowd, of course. A quick walk from the station was Big Ben and the London Eye. It's an odd feeling seeing something in real life, after being so familiar with it on the television or in films. Hopefully one day I'll get the chance to ride the London Eye, but just the sight of it was enough for me that day. Big Ben is breath-taking. In my head Harry and his friends we're flying around it on their broom sticks. However, the only sticks present at the time were the numerous selfie sticks being swung around by tourists. 

From Big Ben, Carolyn and I took a walk towards Buckingham Palace to see if our good friend Queen Lizzie was out and about. Although we were unsuccessful in catching a glimpse of her, we did manage to attempt to make one of the guards laugh. Unsuccessful in this as well. After taking a few photos of the Palace, we headed down Picadilly to get away from the masses of tourists. On our way to Covent Garden we stumbled upon Chinatown. With its bright red decor standing out of the muted overall greyness of London, it was hard to miss. We stopped for a few photos and continued on our way to Covent Garden. There, the streets were filled with buskers and street entertainers. The mix of locals to tourists had dramatically shifted to 50:50, which was nice. Seeing local shops mixed with international retailers was interesting to see. Between the street magicians and guitar players, a lively vibe was definitely felt. 

Veering even further from tourist central, Carolyn and I caught the tube to Shoreditch. In Edmonton, Whyte Ave is the local musical and artsy neighbourhood. In Vancouver, it's Gastown. From my research online, Shoreditch seemed to be the alternative here in London. With gorgeous graffiti on every wall you looked at, Shoreditch instantly reminded me of Whyte Ave at home. Filled with cute coffee shops and privately owned stores, this neighbourhood definitely lived up to its artsy reputation. There weren't too many noticeable tourists, and many more locals. These locals looking like they were all a part of some sort of band with their stylish outfits and effortless street style. I did some research on Box Park in Shoreditch, and decided that I definitely wanted to check it out. Box Park is a shipping container-like, pop-up mall for independent and global, fashion and lifestyle stores and cafes. From artisanal home goods to hand-picked vintage thrift stores, it had it all! The second floor of Box Park was filled with food vendors where a vegan Thai restaurant caught my eye, and essentially my stomach. Carolyn and I both enjoyed the pad thai here and would definitely recommend to anyone visiting. For my friends planning to meet up in the next year, I will definitely be taking you guys here!

Our final destination of the day was Camden Market. This place was probably the most suggested spot by my fellow classmates and friends from uni. Camden Market is comprised of large retail markets in Camden Town along with products sold in stalls including crafts, clothing, and fast food. Already full from our thai food, Carolyn and I ate with our eyes as the street food here definitely looked tasty. From fresh juices, to paella, to crispy squid, to Arepas, to ice cream sandwiches, there was definitely something for everyone here. I'll definitely be fasting the next time I visit this place to just enjoy all the food they offer. Here are some photos I took during the day there. Hope you like 'em! Until next time London, I'll definitely be back to scour your city for some neat finds. 

Your Friend,

Jon

The London Eye

The London Eye

The London Eye

The London Eye

Big Ben

Big Ben

Big Ben

Big Ben

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Bucking Ham Palace

Bucking Ham Palace

London, England

London, England

London, England

London, England

London, England

London, England

Picadilly

Picadilly

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Vegan Thai Food, Box Park

Vegan Thai Food, Box Park

Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Box Park

Shoreditch

Shoreditch

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

Camden Market

46 Hours in Vancouver

During the depression of last year's midterms I spontaneously bought a ticket to see Adele live in Vancouver, and last month I flew out for a quick trip to see her and visit some old friends. With only a few days in the city, I tried to hit up all my favourite spots that I enjoyed and discovered last summer when I lived in Vancouver. If you ever have a long layover in Vancouver and have the opportunity to explore a bit I definitely recommend these spots!

For coffee, head to Revolver where many photographers and serious coffee drinkers like to meet up. And if the line is too long, head down the street to Timbertrain for a great alternative. They roast in house and have cold brew that is nitrogenated on tap which is pretty neat! Walk out of Gastown and go for a stroll along the harbour, it's gorgeous and right beside downtown. If time allows it, go a little further and walk (or bike) the Seawall. For food, return back to Gastown and grab some fish tacos from Tacofino. Thanks to them, I no longer can have fish tacos any where else (let alone in Edmonton). Alcoholic bevys here are pretty great as well, especially if you like tequila. 

At last I have attached some photos of Adele in all her glory. Yes. I did shed a tear as she graced us with her voice, as did many single individuals did in the crowd. She was everything and more. I went to the show not expecting a full comedy stand up! There were no showy dancers or outstanding outfit changes but during the downtime between songs Adele kept me laughing about her new love life and her son. Please excuse the lower quality photos of Adele as I used my Point-and-Shoot camera. 

Below are some photos I took whilst running around Vancouver for a couple of days, hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Hopefully I'll be back soon with more time to spend. 

Your friend,

Jon 

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Rainy Days with Patricia

Before watching a musical in downtown Edmonton, Patricia and I decided to embrace the rain and take some photos walking around Churchill Square. In between the honking of the downtown traffic and the yelling strangers on the phone, we managed to snag some shots and somehow kept dry! Here are the photos I took on that Sunday.

Your friend,

Jon

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Lany and Oh Wonder

At the end of May, I had the pleasure to see Lany and Oh Wonder preform live in Edmonton, Alberta at the Starlite Room. Seeing the lads from Lany again brought back memories from seeing them the first time in some tiny bar in Vancouver. With their new EP released, 'Kinda', I was excited to hear some of their new tunes live. They certainly did not disappoint. Oh Wonder on the other hand, I had never seen before! Hailing from the UK, the pop/alternative duo had me singing along the entire night. Their humbleness resonated in my heart and kept me smiling after the show. It's amazing how big they've blown up over just a couple years in releasing music on Soundcloud. I'm glad I had the chance to see them and welcome them to their first Canadian tour. I'm sure they'll be selling out theatres soon! Here are some photos I took at the show. Please check out both bands if you have the chance, you won't be disappointed. Both bands will only be getting bigger and bigger!

Your friend,

Jon

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Old Friend, New Adventures: Maria

A tiny person with the heart of a lion. Those are the words that would describe an old friend of mine, Maria. One of the most talented and hard-working individuals you will ever come by. I've known Maria for more than 7 years and my thoughts of her work ethic have never changed. Between Vancouver and Toronto, Maria spent some time in Edmonton these passed months where we caught up on life after high school. Not much has changed, except for her successes. I've never been so proud of one of my friends before. After some years apart, it's like our friendship never skipped a beat. We decided to roam downtown to take some photos. Keep your eyes on her world, she's a face you'll be seeing more often!

Check out Maria on Instagram: mariachristinaf

Your friend,

Jon

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New Perspective

What is life? What exactly is it? I think it'd be a good idea that during times in my life, I redefine what I think 'life' is? Maybe after great moments, the many bottoms I'll hit, I'll check in. Rewatching one of my favourite child hood TV shows, One Tree Hill, had me thinking. It's funny because I just realised that all the music I listen to now, roughly 10 years later, are featured on the show. 10 years ago, I would have seen this very episode, this very scene. I guess it just continues to fascinate me how rapidly life changes. The last time I saw this episode, life was very much different. Some would say I was happier, healthier. Surrounded by things I was proud of. In a group of people I wanted to be around. It's scary. 

They say that the sense of smell is the greatest of all the senses when it comes to remembering events, objects, or people. For some reason, sound seems to be more suiting, coming from me. "Glad" by Tyler Hilton just played on the episode I'm watching. Feelings rushed back. I really don't know how to explain it. The people I thought high of, the guy I fancied, all flooded back. How a mastery of notes, specifically ordered, could cause me to feel some sort of way. 

I guess what I'm saying is, growing up is frightening. Are moments like these, the realisation of new perspectives, parts of life? Anyways I think I'll leave it here.