Are you a #Netflix #TV Show Binge-Watcher? #mondayblogs


It is very easy to make your monthly Netflix subscription pay for itself. I was rather elated when it announced it was coming to Canada. The very second we received the email saying it was up and running, our account was set up and rolling.

Sure the chief complaint from Netflix Canada users is that the content is certainly not as wide-ranging as American Netflix. Most users know now that this is because of the difference in licensing agreements. Most users also know the tricks to accessing the American Netflix feed. Although truthfully I do not have it set up for this at home.

One of my chief complaints about television in general over the last few years has been the lackluster amount of good quality programming. Reality television has certainly taken over since the early part of the 2000’s. TLC is no longer a channel that is actually about learning. The way they are going it is only a matter of time before they have three separate shows about psychic cake-bakers or something along those lines.

Slowly but surely I am finding quality shows to watch again thanks to Netflix. It is great to pick out old movies and finally see so many that were on my list of must-sees. Equally glorious is the amount of old favourite shows that have turned up and are worth watching for nostalgia purposes. When I have discovered an old show that has turned up on Netflix, or in the case of Portlandia a new one, usually this translates into binge-watching an entire series over a short period of time. As I write this, Portlandia is a few months away from heading into season five. However, season four is a week away from finally getting to Netflix. I have deliberately stayed away from finding it online or reading about what critics have said about the fourth season so I can enjoy the experience from a fresh perspective. It is my favourite show on television right now and arguably the best comedy to air since Seinfeld.

Even with the odd binge-watching of television in my life, the amount of tv I watch is still much less than most people. If I were to factor in my movie watching then it might add up to a more average number of hours, but watching films is something different altogether.

Binge-watching a show on Netflix has helped me in a rather tremendous way. It has forced me to think more about relaxing. Getting back to a state of calm enjoyment on a day. It requires me to actually sit still for a period of time.

Which can be difficult to do for a person who rarely stops

Many times while watching a show I spend moments learning from the writing. It actually enhances the television viewing experience for me because I can learn something while relaxing.

I am willing to bet that the number of people who find binge-watching on Netflix to be relaxing would total most of the subscriber base.

As the service continues to grow, hopefully Netflix will move quicker on getting more license clearances so the content available can reach well beyond the current amount of content. If television continues to generate improved ideas, then there could be more shows worth binge-watching in the very near future.

Fundamental Disagreements #mondayblogs #childfree

book Cover

Recently I was asked how could I fundamentally disagree with the idea of procreation.

I never once have said that I ever disagree with the idea of procreation. I disagree with discouraging anyone who wishes to never have children.

I disagree with the mentality that somehow biology is destiny. That we all are here to keep life going. I am thankfully busy enough with my own life that bringing another life into my own is just not something I intend to do.

I disagree with all forms of government that punish those who elect to never have children by offering little to nothing in the way of tax incentives. This puts people on unequal ground in the eyes of elected officials. In Canada, the majority of parents enjoy significant tax advantages over those with no children.

I disagree with the whole concept of the village raising the child. It should be the parent that raises the child. It should be the parent that teaches children to think for themselves and that as long as they are not hurting others, they can contribute well to society.

I disagree with property owners paying education taxes for children that I do not have.  I further disagree that how in many municipalities, people are forced to choose between paying those education taxes into the public system or a system that is run by one of the most corrupt organizations in history. Here’s a hint, it’s headed by a Pope….


I agree that more education is needed about what it is like to choose life as someone who does not want children.

I agree that it is time for more people to accept that families in the LGBT community can be just as good parents (and in many cases, probably better) as any heterosexual couples.

I agree that teaching children to think for themselves freely, to question everything and that being a parent is not a requirement of being in adult, is perfectly fine.

And finally,

I agree that the stigma attached to those who are making what really is a rational and personal choice is fading, with more and more people feeling open about living a life as a non-parent.




Leonard Cohen at 80 #mondayblogs #writing #canada




Most writers and indeed many people would flip out just to possess even an ounce of Leonard Cohen’s confidence. Some would take having his confidence over having all of his writing talent.

There are many nights that I would lie awake and read “Stranger Music” as it was my introduction to Cohen’s words on paper. By this point I had heard some tracks from his new at the time album “The Future”, and had begun to hear his older songs for the first time.

A friend owned the tribute collection “Tower of Song” which I quickly borrowed and wore-out. Hearing the Tori Amos version of “Famous Blue Raincoat” and Jann Arden’s epic cover of “If It Be Your Will” is surely to encourage and inspire anyone to want to read further into the mind of this Icon of writing. The songs are timeless and continue to be recorded by musicians the world over. Like Bob Dylan’s extensive catalog, you can find dozens of versions of Cohen classics out there.

Cohen’s poetry teaches some valuable lessons in his writing. The poetry and song lyrics in particular teach expressive communication while educating the reader on interpretive thinking. So much of his work is subjective to a myriad of different conclusions by readers. Readers probably can relate a personal story to any of his pieces and feel like they could have written it for the moment and memory they thought of.

Cohen’s controversial fiction work “Beautiful Losers” is held high in Canadian literary circles and rightfully so. It explored deeply into the scrutinized and scowled-upon topic of sex while adding passages of other subjects. It remains one of my favourite works of fiction and I have gone so far as to call it the greatest work of Canadian fiction ever to be written and read.

Cohen recently released am album of new songs which he called “Popular Problems”.  As I write this I learned that it was already certified gold.

At 80 years of age, reaching new audiences and influencing a new generation of writers clearly is not a popular problem for Leonard Cohen. 



#Writing in Colours #mondayblogs


A few days ago I spun a great track from one of my bass heroes who happens to also be a terrific songwriter and guitar player. The song is a great piece of Canadiana called “That Kind of Blue”. The voice is Jay “Jimbo” Semko. Jay is the legendary bassist and songwriter of The Northern Pikes. The Pikes are a classic Canadian rock and roll outfit that had a handful of terrific hits through their great career. Hits and music that stand the test of time.

“That Kind of Blue” talks about colours as emotions. It spurned the well-oiled gears in my mind to think about writing in colours. Everyone in this business writers in colours and probably does not even realize it.

Until they read this.

Freelancers for the most part tend to write in green and gold. Green because they want to ensure they are earning the living they need, and the gold component is earning and keeping the client trust so they end up being repeat business for the writer.

Creative writing is where the most colours come out for everyone who writes. Thinking back to my own experiences, writing in red could mean writing in rage over anger and hurt that I might have felt. Writing in blue, maybe the same thing. Writing to ease and saddle any sort of sadness for a variety of reasons.

Working in brighter colours could mean so many different things. I have looked at writing in bright colours to mean a show of happiness. It also could mean writing loudly to ensure that attention is drawn to the content at any cost. In freelance writing, someone who is creating content for a client website might write in loud colours in order to get the job done.

For example, content that might be written strictly for the purpose of advertising a product or service might come across as excessive to a critical mind. However, to the average public reader, the loud colours are read. Those colours could determine how the reader might receive the content. It could turn them away, or turn them into a customer for whatever is being promoted.

Poetry might offer the greatest insight into writing in colours. Poetry reflects the absolute overall range of emotional insight. In my younger days poetry offered an easy escape and reason to journal teen angst. Much of my early self-training in writing was inspired by poets and lyricists. People who put words to music and emotions to words. Those influences still drive me to sit in front of a screen and hammer something out for you to read.

Some poets may write singularly in one or two colours while others will cover everything and anything on the palette. In writing, emotions and the goal of the written work can come out in so many different colours that if they ended up on canvas, you would see an incredible display more brighter than any rainbow.

By the way, this was written in Technicolor. So it’s every colour you want to think of. This piece is meant to educate and provoke thought for the topic. If you are in this business, write in whatever colour you feel. Paint the canvass far and wide. Finish the words if you can, or revisit them for another day if need be. Change colours if the original does not work. Paint over them….




Presence & Reality #mondayblogs #atheist

Open Window

I’m no longer concerned with an Afterlife that does not exist.

No one has been able to show evidence that there is something else after this life. There was nothing before this life began, and when life does end, I am content that it is definitely the end.

I am perfectly fine with this. People are afraid to admit this, but religion teaches children from a young age to fear something that cannot actually be proven. They are told that science in school is to be embraced as long as it does not mix with any supposed faith-based theories. I have little doubt that brilliant educators who could demonstrate the values of science and history probably had a few opinions about the afterlife that they may have been afraid to offer students out of fear of losing their jobs.

Science is about reality. While more than ever, religion seems to be about control and command.    

Accepting reality is the most basic exercise in recognition of the world around us. A growing percentile of earth’s population has come to realize and believe with strong evidence that the existence of supernatural beings and master creators is in fact, a fallacy. The old cliché of “God works in mysterious ways” is actually true. To many who still believe in the existence of a God, the truth is that “God” is still a complete mystery even to them. There are Pastors who stand at their pulpits during services and preach the supposed word of a “God” and find themselves questioning their speech as it is sounded out during their mass.

Progressive thinking requires positive change. More education, more acceptance of proven science.

It’s a start.





Key-phrasing Content and Consistency. #mondayblogs #amwriting


I am fortunate.

When I started to look at scheduling work back into my regular rotation I was able to pick up where I left off with a client project that was started earlier in the year. The work is service descriptions for a company that offers a tremendous range of multimedia options for clients.

These kinds of jobs can be found in plentiful numbers as part of the everyday freelance market. If you are fortunate to find these kinds of projects, they can be welcome  courses on the very basic elements of writing.

Writing service descriptions will highlight the importance of using key-phrasing to capture search engine traffic to those pages. In one of my earlier writing assignments, the client was very specific about the importance of just getting those key words into the content even if the quality of the writing needed to be bent a little bit below my own personal standard. I understood completely what they meant.

At some point, you may have been asked to use a certain word or phrase in a sentence. Using key-words and key-phrasing is very much the same way. It becomes a test of determining how much content can you generate with use of these words? How will you connect it with the services the client wants to describe? In this same previous assignment the client actually went a step further and made a specific requirement for the number of times the key-words and key-phrases were to be used in the content.

I view these kinds of detailed opportunities as a great challenge to any working writer. Writing any content whether it is straight-forward words or search engine optimized content may force you to return to the very basics of constructing sentences in order to provide the best product for your clients. This creates a further opportunity to learn.

And learning in this business should always be a constant. Even if you are nowhere near a computer screen or notepad, look for those moments. They are everywhere.

Q & A from Laura Carroll #childfree #books


book Cover

Recently, I had the privilege to talk further about Planned UnParenthood and the writing business in general by answering a few questions from Laura Carroll. Laura is a Writer, Editor and the Author of several books. Most recently, “The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World.”  .  Please visit her home on the web at   


What inspired you to write Planned UnParenthood?

Planned UnParenthood was my first workable book idea. For so long I had wanted to write a book.  Many ideas just did not seem to fit what I wanted to achieve at the time. It was at a busy family gathering that I realized perhaps something written from a male perspective about not having children would be really great. I started the outline notes the very next day and spent over a year writing and revising it. I was long into working on the revisions when I realized that my book would be the first about living childfree written from the male perspective.

What are childfree guys saying about your book?

Childfree men and childfree people who have read the book are saying “thank you.” They say I am saying what they want to say. It’s giving a voice to the cause.

What is your next writing project?

My next writing project is determining my next writing project! Seriously, there is always something on the go. I am actively pursuing new opportunities in the freelance business. I enjoy every aspect of it and the constant amount of learning that is involved with it.

I have another book out which is a collection of short satirical fiction called Throwing Dice.  It was a great writing outlet for humour while I was editing Planned UnParenthood.  There is also a novel script on my desktop and I hope to finish it one day, as it is an interesting story that will appeal to many people. So there is lots of content creation going on.

What kind of freelance work do you do?

In my freelance business, I have written and edited content for various client websites on a variety of topics. I had the pleasure of writing material for a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker, which was a great experience. I would do that again! Working with clients who want good content, or who need someone to revise and edit something is enjoyable. The word business is wonderful.

Twitter @WriterDann