Bell Let’s Talk – A Recap

Tuesday was Bell Let’s Talk Day. It was by all accounts very successful. Bell committed to donating 5 cents for every long distance call and text message sent with your Bell phone.  For those who don’t use Bell as their phone carrier – participation was still possible through Facebook shares and on Twitter using #BellLetsTalk.  The results are in, over 96M messages, calls, shares and tweets were made.  That translates to a commitment from Bell of $4.86M in donations to mental health programs in Canada. 

It gets better. That’s in addition to the $50M over 5 years that Bell originally committed to.  All this together means their new grand total is $62M in financial commitment.  That’s a huge number.

But the best part? 96M messages, calls, shares and tweets can go a long way to end stigma of mental health. But it doesn’t happen in a day and it’s important to keep talking, sharing, tweeting and messaging… and blogging – which is why I waited to Friday to talk about it again.

Now of course there is criticism.  Legitimate critique that Bell has struck gold with a brilliant marketing plan – the hashtag wasn’t just #letstalk, it was #bellletstalk.  As far as branding and brand recognition – Bell had a very successful day of marketing and nothing more.  But you know what – I don’t care.  $62M is a lot of money and can make significant difference.  And 96M messages particularly the Facebook shares and Tweets about mental health help.  They help fight stigma and they help those who are struggling realize they are not alone.  If all of those messages encouraged 1 person to reach out and get help – then go ahead and relish in your brand recognition Bell – you’ve earned it.

As for the documentary I wrote about earlier this week – well, now that I’ve seen it I can attest to its impact and the value of the message. I knew it would be great (it was), and I knew I would cry through the entire thing (I did), but I could only hope that it would impact people that didn’t know James the same way.  I’ve got to believe that of the 12500+ people who have watched the film on YouTube in the last 48 hours – they have been impacted, and hopefully those that need it have found some help and comfort in the message of hope.

So for the cableless or those that don’t get TSN or CTV here it is – Talk to Me: The Story of James Patrick Peek.

Thank you to everyone that contributed to Let’s Talk Day – and please continue to spread a message of hope for those affected by mental illness.

Everyone needs a role model

Have you been watching the Olympics? It’s pretty impressive what all of these athletes can do with their bodies and their brains and while I’m not a sports person AT ALL, I’m all for kids and adults alike looking up to athletes. They work hard and if this YouTube video is any indication – they play hard too.

But I’m not here on a Sunday to talk about the Olympics or the validity of athletes as role models, or pop stars, authors, or anyone else for that matter.

Nope. This Sunday post is for Ginger Mom and Ginger Dad! Today is their 40th wedding anniversary. 40 years is a long freakin’ time and worthy of  a Sunday post at the very least.

My parents have a love story that, as they like to say, only works 40 years ago. “if you did what we did – we would worry. The world’s just not the same.” I don’t know about that – part of me thinks if Mom’s parents weren’t distracted by 9 other children they’d have been a little worried too!

Mom headed to Northern Ontario, (further North than we are now – I know it seems impossible) to mend a broken heart. She stayed with family and they introduced her to a bean pole ginger in thick black-rimmed glasses with huge, HUGE muttonchops. Who would have thought that would be just her type!

They spent the week or maybe 2 together that summer and then Mom headed back to civilization.

They chatted on the phone, and Dad met the family at Christmas. Imagine pulling up to a house with 9 kids arranged by height staring at you in the front window. He passed the test and they started talking about marriage.

Disappointed that they couldn’t get it together by Valentine’s Day, they took things slow and got married in August instead.

A year may not seem like a super short time to go from “my name is” to “I do” – but what about 6 weeks? Does that seem short? Because 6 weeks is all the time they spent together in the same city.

6 weeks.

6 weeks and then Mom left civilization and moved to Northern Ontario.

It seems to have worked out for them though since its forty years later and they’re still going strong.

Mom and Dad have been awesome role models for my siblings and me. They love each other and their family. The only fight I remember them having when we were kids was about cheese. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t about cheese but I remember thinking at the time – they never fight and they’re fighting about cheese? Weird.

They taught us to love our partners first. Speak to each other with kindness. Laugh a lot. And how to work in a true partnership.

Whenever The Boy is away for the weekend or we find we’re on opposite schedules, my Mom says “don’t worry that you’re spending a lot of time apart. It’s good for your marriage. You should both have your own lives.” Dad seems to agree – but then Dad always agrees (maybe that’s a secret to success too!)

The Boy and I might only be in our first year of marriage, and 40 seems like a long what away. But that’s the great thing about role models – they let you know what’s possible.

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary Mom and Dad!



Kony 2012

Have you seen this video? I saw it for about a week on my Facebook news feed before I watched it. Regardless of what you think about the intention – I think we can all agree, it’s a pretty powerful video. It’s a good example of marketing. And it’s causing quite the stir.  I’ve got some thoughts about it. But if you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you do.

Pretty effective marketing right? Well, that’s just the point.  It’s marketing. It’s one side. It’s emotionally stirring. But it’s not without it’s faults. And neither is the organization Invisible Children and they’re taking some serious criticism. You can read a great critical review of them here, and their response to some of this criticism here.

Point 1. I’m glad that it’s receiving criticism and I’m glad that they are responding to it.  Dialogue is a good thing.  Always.

Here’s the crib notes.  Invisible Children is a not-for-profit. They’re a very financially successful NFP with a multimillion dollar budget.  Multimillion dollar NFPs are few and far between to be fair, but when you get to a certain size it typically means that you are no longer running your show out of your mom’s basement. That means not all of your budget can go to programming.  It simply can’t. This particular NFP is obviously big on advocacy, and there’s a reason that advocacy groups don’t generally get a LOT of funding and rely instead on fundraising. Advocacy doesn’t have a direct quantifiable deliverables – which is typically a requirement when applying for funding. Direct service, local programs, building schools etc – that’s quantifiable – people (funders, and especially government funders) like those stats. It feels good to give to an organization that you know 100% of your dollars are going to a new computer for a kid in need.  No one wants to pay the hydro bill – as they say. So 35ish% of their budget goes to programming, it’s low sure – but it’s not as low as you might think it is. Large NFPs take people, and people take money. A little aside – NFPs are given a really hard time for staff salary which drives me crazy in general. Just because your life’s work is trying to do some good in the world doesn’t mean you have to work for free. It is unlikely that you are going to see the Executive Director of a NFP making multimillion dollars a year (though I’m sure there are exceptions) but it doesn’t mean they have to work their butts off and live below the poverty line because they are working with low-income populations.  That criticism drives me crazy.  Sorry. Rant over. The other large part of their annual budget is travel.  Without crawling through their processes and their financials – this percentage does seem quite high and it is my hope that some of the criticism that IC has taken over the last couple of weeks will force them to take a look at those processes and justify or reform those practices.

Point 2 – Criticism is good.  Financial reporting and questioning financial reporting is good. But people that work for NFPs (no matter what the cause) should not have to work for free.

Summary of point 1 and 2, IC seems to have gotten themselves caught up in a viral video – and while that was their goal, I think it went faster than they ever thought it might. If you’re goal is to have everyone in the world know about your NFP and your cause – it would be advisable that you have your ducks in a row before you start, or you are going to get ripped apart and your cause is going to go down the toilet right alongside your cause.

The video.  I don’t like the video. Here are some things I don’t like about the video or the whole kony2012 movement.

1. I hate the poster. I think it prays on uneducated paranoia and American’s current hatred and fear of bin Laden. I understand why they have used the images they have – it’s because they are effective. They get you riled up. But they don’t encourage you to do your own research.  I don’t like that. Kony is clearly not a nice person, but he’s not Hitler. 1 child soldier is too many, but 30,000 (questionable statistics) over 26 years, are not 10 million+ in 5 years.  It’s not on the same scale and I don’t like that they’ve drawn on those heart strings and guilt to correlate the two.

2. I don’t like the bracelet.  Although like the poster, I understand the reasons behind it. For some reason completely unknown to me, people like bracelets these days, and people like getting some small token to show not just that they’ve done some good – but that they haven’t given their money away and gotten nothing in return. People are weird that way. But this bracelet in particular is a red string (Kabbalah) with a dog tag (military) and a serial number (Holocaust). It’s like imagery overload and I hate it.

3.  While I understand the rationale behind the movement, making a war criminal into a celebrity makes me nervous for the same reason outlined here.  This guy’s army is made up of children.  His bodyguards are children.  If you were a bad person and you though the whole world was coming for you, would you go politely and turn yourself in? Or would you arm yourself as much as possible which in your case means kidnapping more children and use them as human shields. I’m not saying you shouldn’t stop the guy, but doing it so publicly with such hoopla makes me nervous.

4. The video is geared toward youth. I may be able to read into the video and pull out what I don’t like about it, and what I do.  I can Google Kony and Invisible Children, I can see the imagery and criticize it, make my own opinions and follow-through as I see fit. But I’m 29, and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of or researched some of these issues. I know the world isn’t rainbows and sunshine. What concerns me is the millions of children who will be overcome with emotion from this video, those that the imagery will take over them.  That they will go to their parents and say “I need to do something” and their parents will be so overcome that a video has made their video-game playing isolated privileged children CARE about something that is going on outside their own little world will blindly send money and engage with IC without questioning or researching the organization. I worry that parents and teachers won’t take the opportunity to teach their children about the world, about how NFPs work, engage in the conversation and will blindly follow like little sheep.

So, to recap – I don’t like the propaganda boasting poster, bracelet and video target. And the whole thing makes me nervous. I hope that parents and educators will use it as a starting point for conversation, and apparently IC is planning a new video that goes into more detail about next steps and their goals for the year, how they want to go about Kony2012, etc etc. Use the conversation. Question. Question. Question.  Notice the imagery and don’t get swept up in the viral-ness of it all or the flashiness of the video.

And that leads me to my final thoughts:

To be honest I wasn’t really in love with the idea (and I’m still not – if that isn’t clear yet) until the last 2 minutes of the video, and again, I understand that it was designed this way. What this kind of awareness building does/has the potential to do is flip that triangle. And that is pretty amazing when you think about it. This is the potential of social media.  And this is the potential of this campaign.  Kony aside what the people over at IC have done is asked millions of people worldwide to consider what they spend their time thinking about. They’ve given millions of people the opportunity to act in really simple ways. Sign a pledge. Share a link. If it works, it has the potential to make millions of (largely) youth take ownership of their own political freedoms, and their own political process. But it’s really risky. If it doesn’t work then IC has only given millions of youth something new to be apathetic about. And that’s why the conversation part for me is so important.  You can’t just sign a pledge, share a link and save the world.  It takes time, and it takes true engagement.

For my part, I do not plan to send IC money. I will not be putting up a poster (though to be honest I am curious to see how their April 20 plan plays out.)  But I am writing this post – I’m engaging in conversation. This post coming a week+ after the huge backlash against the video and IC is intentional.  Let’s keep talking about it, keep IC in our radar and remember that there are issues out there in the world that deserve attention.

In University when I was studying the Holocaust the question that kept coming up was “how could political leaders let this go on?” and I was always of the firm belief that there was a war going on. Problems with global anti-semitism (of which there were plenty) aside, the threat of Hitler taking over the world was real – first things first – win the war. In this case, the threat of Kony taking over the world is not there. There are really excellent arguments that Africa does not need white Americans to come in and “save the day,” and I agree – it’s colonialism plain and simple.  But the fact of the matter is – we live in a global society, and while the “savior” paradigm is dangerous – so is sitting back and thinking, until we solve all the problems in our own nation we have no business engaging in the problems of other nations.

When my kid is studying this in history class (and hopefully media class) 20 years from now and they ask me what I thought or did at the time, I do not want to have to say to I didn’t agree with how the leading agency spent their money or all of their strategies so I disengaged from the conversation. Or that I spoke with only those I see in person and left it at that. I’m committing to engaging in the conversation, and I encourage you to as well.

YouTube Friday Returns!

I know it’s been a few weeks. But picking up from yesterday’s post on my love affair with my Sista’s  Blendtec blender I give you  – Will it Blend!

The Sista is coveting an iPad right now as Tom says, sure it can change your life but… Will it blend?


The Boy loves to golf.  And since he’s working at a golf course over the summer our stock pile of balls has no signs of running short.  But… will they blend?


We’ve also been ring shopping lately – the Boy’s is ordered and mine will be ordered next week.  They say diamonds are forever.  But… will they blend?


No wonder it can juice delicious beets and pumpkin seeds in just 60 seconds!

As you spend your Friday getting hooked into this wonderful, productive and educational video series, remember it was brought to you by The Twenties Roar.  You’re welcome.  Take a look around and let me know which one is your favourite. Can you think of something they haven’t tried?

Hope you enjoy a beautiful weekend. It’s going to be hot hot hot here!

You Tube Friday – “Not just for gays anymore”

Hands up everyone that loves Neil Patrick Harris?  Have you been loving him as long as I have? From the time you were 7?

Or did your love affair begin with How I Met Your Mother? Do you find yourself loving Barney despite his womanizing ways?

Or maybe you just have a man crush on him.  Seems like a good guy to have a beer with – no?

Well, either way this week’s post is for you.

Last weekend was the Tony Awards.  Even though I love theatre it never occurred to me to watch the Tony Awards.  But I had heard that my BFF NPH was hosting – which I thought would be pretty funny.  Unfortunately there was a Boy watching a hockey game at my house on Sunday, a boy who would never agree to watching any awards show let alone the Tony Awards.  So I checked in on YouTube this week to see what I missed.

Turns out I missed a lot:

I missed the memo that Broadway is not just for gays anymore.

I missed the memo that Daniel Radcliffe can sing and can play other characters than Harry Potter.

I missed handsome man Hugh Jackman throwing down broadway styles with my boyfriend

And he didn’t lose momentum by the end sending us off with his mad ad lib rap skills

So next year, I’m putting the Tony Awards on my list.  Turns out I didn’t know that this awards show is actually exciting and worth watching.  Having watched the many many more videos available on YouTube – the Tony’s showcase performances from all of the current season’s musicals.  Who knew?  Not me.

YouTube Friday – Story of Stuff

As you may recall a couple of  weeks ago I told several people “This video is GREAT for this week’s YouTube Friday!”  I told my friend over at A Handmade Story about this video – it seemed to me I had shown it here before, but she’s a diehard and had no idea what I was talking about.  I was going to include it in last week’s videos but it’s quite lengthy.  So I figured it needed it’s own Friday.

It’s the Story of Stuff.  It’s interesting in a disturbing kind of way and makes you think about our consumerism.

What do you think?

YouTube Friday – This one’s for the Girls

This is going to seem random.  It’s seems that way because it is.

The first video was discovered by a friend of mine and it is such a hidden gem and the timing is just crazy.

I give you – deleted Friends scene The One Where Racheal Tells – (Or the one where Monica and Chandler go on their honeymoon)

The second video – is more of a tribute.  BFF Kate is in town for a WHOLE week and I thought I’d welcome her with a classic that is definitely ending up on the “to play” list on W-day! (Kate – I suggest we start practicing our choreographed dancing!)

Ahh, Billy Joel.  This reminds me – I’ve got to start working on our DJ play and do not play list.

So if you’ve got requests – I want to hear them!

Have a great LONG weekend!

What’s in a name 2.0 – YouTube Friday

Twice as nice today since you get the follow-up to yesterday’s post on changing my name and also a couple of videos (it is Friday after all)

First let’s reminisce on another couple who had to make this big decision:

Sure Phoebe had fun with it, and that’s what I think of mostly that it will be fun to have the same name – and it’s just a name after all.

But then sometimes… sometimes I over think it.  And I have a slight panic attack.  Like when Chandler hear’s Monica’s message on the answering machine – “You have reached The Bings!”

I tried desperately to find this video on YouTube – but could only get it on the TBS website – you’ll have to go there I couldn’t embed.

It feels like giving up a piece of myself.  And the injustice of it all kinda bugs me too – why do I have to change and HE doesn’t?  That doesn’t seem fair.

Anyway, this is all bouncing around in my head but the bottom line is – I want us to have the same last name.  Many of the pro comments that I received yesterday really captured why I’ve leaned that way.  I want to be one family. I don’t want to explain my principles to everyone I meet.  Marriage is a big deal and I’m happy to recognize it as such. It will be easier for any future littles.  So I WILL be changing my name.  (Typing that feels so official) I do plan to hold it over the Boy for many years to come – using it as a bargaining chip whenever I deem appropriate – “I changed my name for you – the least you can do is [insert thing I don’t want to do here]”

And it leads me to this next thought.  Tomorrow is my birthday (yeah)! It’s my last birthday of my twenties (boo).  Which means The Twenties Roar only makes sense for another 366 days (panic). I’ve been thinking about a blog redesign for a while now.  And thanks to the SITS girls I’ve been getting some great lessons on branding.  When I started The Twenties Roar back in October 2009 I thought about the finite amount of time I would have in my twenties, but chose it anyway for 3 reasons.

  1. Who would have thought I would still be blogging 2 or 3 years later
  2. I certainly wasn’t thinking of a brand – and assumed only my mom would be reading it.
  3. I had an equally brilliant historically punny title for May 8th 2012.

The Dirty Thirties – because the thirties are all about kids, and kids are all about poop, and poop is dirty.  And also it continues the theme of history jokes titles.  And I find that clever and funny even if no one else does.

But now I’m losing my name.  And thinking about blog redesign a year early – so I’m thinking of changing my blog name to something that incorporates my (soon to be old) last name.  Weldon. Or Well Done as is likely the case.

But this is poses another problem again for 3 reasons:

  1. I can’t think of a new blog name.
  2. That’s changing TWO names at once which is causing me much more stress
  3. I like the Twenties Roar and I can’t think of a historically punny name that incorporates Well Done.

I’m planning on recruiting some family brainstorming this weekend. The Boy says I’ve got another year of The Twenties Roar so why rush it.

I’m requesting that you put on your thinking caps people and weigh in again with your brilliant creative ideas.  Should I rename The Twenties Roar?  Should I brand The Twenties Roar or just do a redesign and wait a year to brand a new blog when I’m the big 3-0? If I’m going to change my blog title – is sooner better than later?

YouTube Friday

I found this video on Healthy Tipping Point the other day and it got my Feminist cells buzzing.

Then I started on a bit of a Feminist Poetry choose your own YouTube adventure.

And found out What Women Deserve


I think I’ll spend my long weekend poetry slamming.

Happy Easter!

YouTube Friday

I was recently involved in a discussion led by a sketchy stranger (yes, it was Ricky) as to why anyone would choose to study history.  Of course I was shocked by this question, and would have a rather difficult time coming up with reasons why studying history is a waste of time (as so many people seem to presume). 

History rocks fools! It’s super awesome, it gives you a much better understanding of how the world exists now – study the past to understand the present and all that jazz. It’s all about people – and as Dr. Seuss told me so many years ago – “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”  More than that though – there are so many fun things in history that why wouldn’t you want to learn all about them.

Ricky didn’t get it.

I didn’t expect that he would.

Then this week I came across this video over at Mason-Dixon Knitting – one of my new fave knitting blogs.  It may not explain my love of history completely… but I do wish I had the Bronte sisters in my doll collection! And the Brontesaurus who comes with “Barrier breaking feminist vision” it can’t get much better than that!  And I certainly hope that using my brain will one day make HISTORY! 

Do you think we could register for these?


Happy Weekend!