I’m sitting in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Istanbul with my carry-on bag resting on my lap.

When I arrive at the Ataturk airport later today, I’ll pass through customs, stroll past the baggage area, and jump onto the metro. That carry-on bag — the Boreas Larkin 18L backpack — is all I have.

One small daypack contains everything I’m bringing on a five week trip across Turkey.

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April 7, 2015

Teaching copywriting at UBC

This week I begin teaching a UBC Continuing Studies course on copywriting. While I’ve given plenty of workshops and conference presentations, I’m very much looking forward to working with the same group of students for a full two months.

After all, the enjoyment I get from teaching communications skills is one of the reasons I got into the consulting racket in the first place.

That said, the idea of keeping a group of keen professionals engaged and interested for a full 150 minutes each week is a touch scary, but it’s the good kind of scary that means you’re being challenged and booted out of your cozy comfort zone.

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February 2, 2015

Picnic in Al Azahar Park by Tatiana-Philiptchenko

After a little more than a year quietly toiling away between client projects, I’ve finally unveiled my own pet project, Hugs With Arms.

Spurred by stories of socially-engaged artists who struggle to make ends meet — the sort of creatives we feature in Art Threat – I wanted to do something to help out in a more tangible way.

While artsy baristas certainly make my morning caffeine habit more colourful, I’d rather see talented agitators spend those hours in their studios without worrying about where the next paycheque is coming from.

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November 12, 2014

Spam with Bacon

Copywriting can lead you down some strange rabbit holes.

While hacking together some draft web copy this morning, I typed out “bring home the bacon” as a reference to earning income. I then paused to wonder about the phrase’s origin.

Pomodoro be damned; a quick Google search brought me to a Wikipedia article:

“Bringing home the bacon” was historically a reference to the winner of a marital fidelity contest who was awarded a “flitch” (side) of “bacon” (pork). The tradition originated in a 12th-century custom linked to the town of Great Dunmow, England.

I have no idea what a “marital fidelity contest” might be, and searching that phrase provided no additional insight. But is the phrase sexist?

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March 15, 2014

The New Rockstar Philosophy

Every musician and their dog knows that the music industry ain’t what is used to be. Heck, it’s not even what it was ten years ago when I was still packing gear into rusted-out Econolines and pulling red-eye shifts along the Trans-Canada.

So how do emerging artists get noticed these days? After all, the odds that you’ll be discovered by Usher and rocket up the Billboard Hot 100 are slim to none — and even that won’t happen without a solid YouTube presence.

You could dig around the internet for scattered slivers of advice. Or you could grab a copy of The New Rockstar Philosophy, a comprehensive DIY guide for musicians on how to build your brand from the ground up in the digital age.

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April 2, 2013