My top album picks from 2013

I’m one of those people who can’t live without music and am always seeking new stuff to listen to. Thankfully, 2013 saw some really great albums released. Although not complete, these are my initial top picks and recommendations for albums to get into your collection….and your ears.

(Big thanks to Steve and Shannon for introducing me to a few of these albums. Also, if you have any recommendations, please include them in the comments below!)

#8. Daughter – If You Leave

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This isn’t your dad’s Playboy magazine anymore.

News broke today of Rehtaeh Parson’s death; another teenage suicide in a long list of teenage suicides that continue to shock us all, but sadly never result in any change.

This time, a 17 year girl from Cole Harbour who was the victim of rape, and then subsequent bullying due to the unbelievably arrogant distribution of photos of the rape, saw suicide as the only way to silence the noise.

Two years ago, Rehtaeh – like most teenagers at some point in their lives – attended a party and drank too much.  When she lost her cognition to the alcohol, the vultures moved in. Four boys her own age who, through a combination of misguided parenting and an inflated sense of ego, decided she was no longer entitled to her dignity. They raped her. And they photographed the rape. And then they distributed that photograph to a few, who then shared with the many.

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Date Night Review: The Curzon

I’ve decided to start a new category on this blog called the Date Night Review. But before I get into that, it might be useful to  first explain what “Date Night” is.

Every week or so, I set a date to go out for dinner/drinks with my daughter. It’s been a long-standing tradition which has, at times, unfortunately fallen by the wayside.  Living with each other doesn’t necessarily mean we see much of each other much, so Date Night is that opportunity to catch up with each other and share some laughs.

So Date Night Review will be a post of the overall experience of the restaurant/bar we happened to choose for the evening. Obviously, I’m no food critic by any stretch, but I have had the good fortune of dating and living with a fabulous chef who fed me very well. And I love good food. So as far as I’m concerned, that qualifies me to have an opinion, at the very least.

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Listen: Rhye

I took great pleasure the other week telling my good friend Derrick that the sultry, smooth voice behind Rhye was actually that of a man. As a long-time fan and listener of Mike Milosh, I recognized it right away the first time I heard Rhye (who Derrick introduced me to).

Derrick, on the other hand, has probably spent several evenings fantasizing about this beautiful goddess….an obvious twin to Sade based on voice alone. But in his defense, every early review of Rhye also indicated the vocals were female.

Rhye is Canadian Mike Milosh on vocals and Robin Hannibal – a Danish producer and songwriter. Their music pulls me in, wraps me up in a cashmere blanket and holds me close. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on their album early and I will admit – I’ve fallen fast and hard.

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Don’t take it personally, but I would punch your mother for a cigarette right now.

So, as smart as I consider myself on a general basis, I did a really stupid thing 28 years ago – I started smoking. Yep, at the tender age of 13, I lit up my first cigarette in an attempt to look ‘cool’ in front of this guy that I really liked at the time. He was the typical ‘bad boy’ – leather jacket, drinker, smoker, bag of weed in his back pocket…..and me – the athletic geek who was captain of the school bus patrol team.

Then I did another stupid thing 16 years ago. I started smoking again after I had my daughter and finished breast-feeding her. I quit cold-turkey the day I found out I was pregnant and didn’t touch another cigarette until she was 2.

And then I did another stupid thing 5 years ago. I started smoking again after successfully quitting for 7 years.

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Why the Home Buyers Plan needs an overhaul.

With news outlets recently reporting that the Toronto Land Transfer tax – introduced in 2008 by then-mayor David Miller – might be on the chopping block, it got me thinking. To begin, if this ridiculous tax is removed, I’ll be pissed if they don’t grandfather it. I happened to be one of the individuals who bought a house in Toronto in 2009 and let me tell you, I got hammered by land transfer fees….to the tune of $10,000+. To me, this is a LOT of money.

Of course, I realize that the reality of this happening (the grandfathering, that is) is pretty much nil. We are talking about politicians here and my hard-earned-taxed-to-fucking-death-dollar is too busy paying for their frivolous ways to be returned to my wallet.

So, that got me spinning on another related topic that has always been a hornet’s nest for me: The Home Buyers Plan (HBP). What a ridiculous sham this is. In case you don’t know what the HBP is, it allows first-time home buyers to withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year to put toward the down-payment of a house. The beauty of it is, you have 15 years to repay it back into your RRSP before you get crucified with taxes.

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