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The Magic Behind Cirque du Soleil's Crystal

Would you rather live in a perfect fantasy, or a flawed reality?

This is the question Crystal from Cirque du Soleil's latest performance must ask herself. Is the pain and suffering we go through on a daily basis worth only a few moments of joy? Or would it be better if there was only joy and no pain at all?

Crystal might be the 42nd Cirque du Soleil performance created, but it is the first to mix ice-skating with acrobatics. It isn't all skating and twirling, though, as twenty-two of the thirty-four performers are professional acrobats.  

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Review of TiVo - The World's Smartest PVR

Last month I wrote about Access Communications' new TiVo system. As the month has gone by, I've used it more and more and in return it's learned more about me. TiVo is known as "the world's smartest PVR" because of its artificial intelligence. You can vote content up or down to give TiVo a hint, or you can just watch the content you enjoy, and TiVo does all the algorithmic work in the background.

But what does that mean for user experience? Well, let's talk about it.

One of my lesser-known passions is urban planning. I love learning about how to house, transport and feed people more effectively. Not to get all hippy-dippy, but I believe we are at cross-roads between a dystopia like Kowloon Walled City or a utopia like Orbit City.

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Top 10 ½ Tallest Statues in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is known for its quirky statues but lately one of them has made international news.

If you haven't heard, Justin Reeves and Greg Moore of Justin and Greg reported that the people of Oslo, Norway have created a moose statue slightly taller than Saskatchewan's Mac the Moose. Moose Jaw's mayor said that if you mess with a moose, you'll "get the antlers", while the deputy mayor of Stor-Elvdal, Norway said they will do "whatever it takes" to keep their title. To reclaim their title, Moose Jaw is considering everything from putting stilettos on Mac's feet, to giving him a hat, to making his antlers slightly larger. Whatever it takes to outdo Norway's chrome monstrosity, Moose Jaw is willing to do it.

This story has made international news. From CBC to The New York Times to Vice to CNN to Sputnik News to Metro UK to The National Post to even The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It seems everybody is talking about the Moose War of 2019.

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Top 10 Creepiest Dolls From The Island of the Dolls

It's the time of year people start heading south to Mexico to escape the winter blues. About two years ago I took my first trip to Mexico too, but I went to the Mexico City and Puebla instead of a beach-front destination. While preparing for my trip to Mexico I remembered that Xochimilco is just south of the Mexico City, and that this Venice-like community was home to the famous "Island of the Dolls."

I've written about my time to the island before so I won't go into too many details in this article. Instead, in honour of my almost two-year-anniversary of my trip to one of the creepiest places in the world, I put together a list of my Top 10 Creepiest Dolls From The Island of the Dolls.

(I would say "enjoy", but c'mon now, you know this is going make your skin crawl.)

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My 2018 In Review

This past year was a big year for my blog, but it didn't go exactly as planned.

Just over a year ago I chose to leave my job as a web developer in the hopes of being a successful full-time blogger. While I haven't exactly accomplished that, I have been able to keep the lights on and pay rent.

I started the year off with a new initiative: find advertisers to keep the blog afloat. The first organization I worked with was the Downtown Business Improvement District. I started working with them at the end of 2017 and it carried over into 2018. I wrote a few articles for them but then they had a change of staff and we never officially collaborated again. This was okay though, since we did team-up a few more times throughout the year, such as during Parking Days and Work Outside the Box.

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12 Ways to Use TiVo During the Holidays

Access Communications asked me to try out TiVo, the world's smartest personal video recorder (PVR). As a millennial who doesn't watch any television, I wasn't sure what to expect. I cancelled my basic cable package years ago and never looked back. Would this advanced artificial intelligence program change my mind?

When Access hooked up TiVo, the installer told me it takes about 4-6 weeks before TiVo really gets "smart". Since I haven't had TiVo long enough for it to figure out what I like to watch, that will be the topic for a future article. For now, let's talk about the holiday that's on everybody's mind: Christmas, and how TiVo can be used during it. 

The tradition of a yule log – the festive Christmas log that burns during the holidays – dates to at least 1184 CE. However, as humanity became more advanced and less people have a need for a fireplace in their house, the yule log fell out of fashion. That all changed in 1966 when television station WPIX, based out of New York, aired a live broadcast of the yule log. Since then, this ancient tradition has now become ingrained with our modern celebrations.

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Craik's Surprisingly Creepy Secret

Earlier this year I did a presentation at The Artesian about the Spanish Influenza. It was the first time I had ever done a presentation like this and I was nervous about the number of people that might attend. I told my mother I would be thrilled if five people came that night, but forty people showed up instead. For a topic that very few people know anything about, I was excited to see so many people interested.

But one person in the audience was so interested that several months later she reached out to me to see if I wanted to do my presentation again. Instead of doing it in Regina, she asked for me to travel to Craik, Saskatchewan to tell the Craik Museum and Oral History Society about what I had learned.

For knowing so much about a topic nobody ever asks me about, I was super excited to talk about it. The organiser reached out to Craik School to ask if the students would be interested in attending the lecture too. The teacher said they wouldn't be able to make the time slot work but asked if I could speak to the students about being a blogger at a different time.

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Welcome to Eden - Cannabis Store Review

Disclaimer: I worked alongside Allen Kilback, the owner of Eden Cannabis Co., and a team of talented professionals, to help launch Eden's online presence. My role was to develop his website. This gave me some insight into their business model, and the legislation they must abide by. Although we have a business relationship, this article was not paid for or sponsored by Allen Kilback or Eden Cannabis Co. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

On October 17, 2018, it happened.

Cannabis, in all sense of the word, was legalised across Canada. Nobody knew what to expect, or how it would be handled. Speculations ranged from the population becoming so stoned that the economy would crash, to mass revolts against the government. But, over a month later, society hasn't changed all that much. People who smoked weed still smoke weed, and people who don't, just don't.

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7 Oddities Around Regina

One of my friends recently asked me to tell her some "legends" about Regina to share with her friends in Germany. My mind immediately went to the macabre and I began sharing stories of flying canoes full of people during the Regina Cyclone (didn't happen), the story of a family that survived the sinking of the Titanic but died in the cyclone (also didn't happen) and even a bit about how Regina handled the Spanish Influenza (because, of course I mentioned that).

When I was done, she sent those stories to her friends and they came back and said Regina sounded like something out of Creepypasta – a website dedicated to paranormal fiction. I loved the idea of that and decided to do my own research into some "odd" places and things around Regina. Some of these are spooky, some of these are interesting, but all of them are very odd.

Are there any you'd add to the list?

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Visiting Auschwitz

They say hope was the last thing to die in Auschwitz.

It's been just over 70 years since the Allies liberated the death camp and the horrors of the "Final Solution" were revealed to the world. Prior to their arrival, Auschwitz was the most effective death camp ever created, having taken the lives of over 1.1 million Jews.

Block 4 of Auschwitz holds the museum, explaining the best it can about what happened seven decades past. The museum explains what Auschwitz was originally built for – a camp for Polish prisoners of war – and how it became key to the Nazi's "Final Solution". The museum goes over the construction of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) and Auschwitz III (Monowitz), the increased sizes and effectiveness of gas chambers and the factories of death that stood and smoked over the camp during its operation.

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Four Places to Escape the Heat in Southern Alberta

For many of us in Saskatchewan, summer means it's time for an Alberta road trip. Although the endless stretches of prairie have their appeal, there is nothing quite like seeing the mountains rising over the horizon.

One challenge that comes with taking a summer road trip is the heat. Much like on this side of the border, it isn't uncommon for summer temperatures to get to the extreme. I know a few people who have had car problems in the heat, and my family is one of them. Nothing ruins a trip more than an unexpected visit to the mechanic.  

Thankfully, Alberta has a myriad of places to go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or fishing. This not only gives your vehicle time to cool off, but also gives you a chance to escape the heat as well.

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Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure

Most people know how to ride a bicycle. They learned sometime as a child and never forgot. I am not one of those people. I tried learning when I was a child, a teenager and an adult, and I have never mastered the two-wheel contraption. Whenever I see a child zip past me on a bike, I get a little jealous inside. I've always wanted to learn, but it's just something I've never been able to do. 

On my recent trip to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, I explored several of the many biking paths that wind through the area. The paths are also hikable, so I walked them instead. Although I've visited Cypress Hills several times, I never get used to the hills and lakes throughout the area. With dozens of kilometres of trails, you can spend a weekend there and never do the same thing twice. Although hiking around the park was incredible, I imagine it would be a lot more fun, and a lot easier, to bike it instead.

Beyond biking, there's plenty of other things to see in Cypress Hills too, like canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, disc golfing, and comfort camping.

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