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Canadian Dad Podcast The Trews

Canadian Dad Podcast; Ep. 9 – John-Angus MacDonald from The Trews

I had the very cool opportunity to chat with John-Angus MacDonald, who is the guitarist for one of my favourite Canadian rock bands, The Trews. John-Angus is a new father and I was curious to hear how his rock star life had changed after his son’s birth.

Before we talked father, John-Angus was gracious enough to answer a bunch of my rock and roll questions. I’ve always been fascinated by rock stars and everything that goes on behind the scenes in the rock world. John-Angus shares his mindset before and after a show and talks about The Trews’ new self-titled album.

One of my favourite parts of the interview is when J-A talks about how they treat each new album as if they are re-applying for their jobs. I also get the back story behind the band’s name and how they started out as a band named, Trouser.

We close out the interview by talking about fatherhood and John-Angus shares his hopes for himself as a father and talks about whether he’ll encourage his children to pursue a musical career. I had a blast talking music and fatherhood with John-Angus MacDonald and highly recommend their new album to anyone who loves rock and roll!

For more info on The Trews, their tour and their music, you can visit www.thetrewsmusic.com.

An Evening With The Cake Boss!

Last night I had the pleasure of being invited by Canadian Tire to hang out with the one and only Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, as he launched his new line of bakeware, which will be exclusively available at Canadian Tire. The new line is designed to give people at home the chance to bake like boss and create their own masterpieces! The night was amazing and I even had the chance to sit down one on one with Buddy to ask him a few questions.

At the event, Buddy teamed up with Ottawa Senators head coach, Paul MacLean and Paul’s daughter, Erin, to show off some basic techniques that can be done by the every day non-baker. It was a light event with a lot of laughs, especially when Buddy offered to hire Paul MacLean if the Sens ever decided to let him go.

cake boss paul maclean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With The Cake Boss

I was also excited to have the opportunity to sit down with Buddy before the show started, to ask him a few questions. Here is what he had to say.

Q: What advice do you have for kids who dream of someday opening their own bakery?

Buddy: Definitely go work in a bakery first, just to make sure that you love it and get as much experience as you can. If you decide that this is the life for you, go to culinary school and aim for your dreams. The business part of this is covered by working at a bakery. They don’t teach you about the business side in culinary school, what it’s like to live and work in a bakery and really see the ins and outs of the real environment.

Q: Any advice for dads who want to be more hands on in the kitchen, to show their kids that it’s cool to try new things?

Buddy: Part of the reason I decided to do this product line with Canadian Tire is to make it easy for anybody to get in to the kitchen and get baking. It’s actually not that hard to do and I’m hoping to give you things that are achievable. We want people to go cake decorating and feel excited about it. For you, I’ll say that fondant is a lot easier than butter cream, especially when you are starting out, and that’s why we did videos with it.

Q: I saw your hockey cake you made for the draft and wondered what is your favourite/hardest project that you’ve worked on?

Buddy: Yeah, the hockey cake was a cool one and, you know, Canada! But definitely the coolest one I have done is the transformer cake. From a challenge standpoint, out of everything I’ve done, the transformer sets the bar on how far you can take a cake.

Q: You are a part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but you also founded the Momma Mary Foundation and I was wondering if you would talk a bit about what that’s all about?

Buddy: The Momma Mary Foundation is something I started in lieu of my mom having ALS. What we do is we take donations and do fundraisers, to give money for research and to people that can’t afford treatments. We’ve worked with Mass General in Boston, ALS Worldwide and different things. We take the money and give it to organizations that we feel are really trying to make strives in it. It’s especially important to pass that down to my kids and the charity is close to my heart because of my mom having it.

Q: How often does a cake need repairs upon delivery?

Buddy: Oh man, I can remember last year, we got a call that a cake that was sent out to Louisiana had tipped over. We had to spring in to action and get down there to fix it. But, for the most part we only have a few incidents a year and have been pretty lucky in that regard.

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Buddy couldn’t have been any nicer and he even recorded a video greeting for my mom, who is a huge fan of him and his family. His speech about how cake decorating gave him the confidence to go after his dreams really resonated with me as I am currently chasing a dream of my own. He also hopes to open up his own shop in Canada sometime in the next year or so, which is exciting. I had a great time meeting Buddy and want to thank Canadian Tire for the invite and for the very cool samples of some of Buddy’s new products. If you guys don’t a cake post from me in the next 3 months, feel free to call me out as a failure!

Buddy Cake Boss SensCake Boss Canadian Tire

Coffee With A WWE Superstar!

Thanks to the Canadian Tire Centre and the WWE, I had the very cool opportunity of sitting down with WWE Superstar, Damien Sandow, to talk about his life as a wrestler. To prepare for the interview, I listened to a bunch of Mr. Sandow’s radio interviews. I noticed that he was frequently being interviewed as his wrestling character as opposed to the man behind the wrestler and while it was entertaining, I was more interested in what his life was like outside the ring.

I have to say that I had no idea what to expect from “Mr. Money In The Bank”, but he was an amazing person and a pleasure to interview. With all the radio, TV and PPV stuff these guys do, it would have been easy for him to brush off a local blogger, but both Sandow and the WWE were extremely respectful and turned this life long WWE fan into an even bigger follower. Of note, Mr. Sandow also took time to record some cool video messages for a few kids that had submitted questions to me.

The interview is posted below and I just wanted to give a shout out to Damien’s charity of choice, Kosair.Org, who protect the health and well-being of children by providing financial support for clinical services, research, pediatric healthcare education, and child advocacy. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I had conducting it!

Thanks again to the WWE, Canadian Tire Centre and Damien Sandow for helping create an amazing experience.

The Time I Froze Like A Wil Wheaton Fan Boy At ComicCon

I went to Ottawa ComicCon over the past weekend. I had a very short To-Do list, which included shooting a few interviews with vendors, snapping some pics with the crowd and finally, requesting an interview with Wil Wheaton. I accomplished only one of those goals over the weekend and as you will see from the photos I have attached, the interviews did not go so well.

I guess I should point out a few things before I get into my ComicCon experience. I am a closet nerd; or at least to myself I am. I suspect that others never thought I was as cool as I think I portray myself to be. I love superheroes, Star Wars and card collecting, and couldn’t wait to dive in to everything there was to offer. My goal of interviewing Wil Wheaton had nothing to do with some dream of being the next Bloggess, either. It’s awesome what Mr. Wheaton did for Jenny Lawson but my interest in him had nothing to do with Star Trek or collating paper, and had everything to do with getting his take on fatherhood; something he openly discusses on his blog and the thing I like most about him; other than Toy Soldiers, which was the bomb!

While my original interview request had been denied due to his busy weekend schedule, I had other tricks up my sleeve. One of them included getting in line for a photo opp with him and casually passing him the questions folded up with my card attached to a witty cover letter. It also included me saying something profound to entice him to want to answer said questions. What happened instead was me standing in line, confident with questions in hand, until it was my turn, when I decided to scrap the plan, throw out a “How’s it going?” and turn in this beauty of a crazy-eyed, deer in the healdights fan boy pic.

Me n Wil

Yeah… I know. I didn’t even suggest the pose I wanted, which was going to be the classic DX pose from WWE Wrestling. I would have been Shawn Michaels in the front, by the way. Unless Wil had wanted to be Shawn, of course, than I would have been Triple H. Side note: In thinking about this, Felicia Day would have made for a cool, Lita, and Nathan Fillion could have bumped me down to X-Pac, but now we’re talking about some serious $$$.

DX WWE

Where was I?? Oh yeah, my interview with Wil never panned out and the vendor interviews we shot got drowned out by the noise of the 30,000 attendees, but I learned a lot and will be far better prepared the next time. I have to admit that all of this news got me a little down and I almost forgot why I was there in the first place, so I did the thing that always makes me feel better. I told my kids to pick out some costumes and packed them up for ComicCon’s Sunday festivities.

Dad Kids ComicCon

Watching their excited faces as they saw and yelled out the names of all of their favourite superhero characters, was exactly the thing I needed to snap me back to reality. Their innocence reminded me that I am still clinging on to a little bit of my own, especially when it comes to superheroes and celebrities.

In reminiscing about the weekend that was ComicCon, I have to say that other than the crummy cell reception, the entire thing was a huge success and I will definitely be back. I’d also like to add that one of the interviews that didn’t pan out was with the Ottawa Public Library. I thought it was awesome that they purchased a table to showcase that they had a ton of cool things for kids at their branches. As we get further into the technological age, it’s important to encourage our children that reading can be fun, so I appreciated and fully support their presence and message.

Did you make it out to Ottawa ComicCon this year? If so, what was your favourite part? Also, for more pictures of our ComicCon adventure, check out my Google+ album.

PS – Wil, still hoping for that interview.

BumbleBee

Super Girls

Chris Mikey

Canadian Spotlight: My Interview With Kurt Browning

Kurt Browning 2013

When I found out that Investors Group Stars On Ice was coming to Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place (4pm on April 21st), my first thought was about how great it would be to be able to interview one of it’s stars, Kurt Browning, who is also a Canadian Dad and one of the best skaters that has ever come out of Canada. He is definitely the most entertaining figure skater I have ever watched and is actually the reason I ever got into watching figure skating in the first place. Honestly, he oozes Canadian in everything he does and I’m proud that he’s one of ours.

Kurt has always had a knack for entertaining crowds with his amazing routines, crazy footwork and infectious personality. Seriously, this guy seems to be always smiling and it’s something that I try to model my life after as well. Kurt was gracious enough to grant me the said interview and I have included his answers below. They are a mix of skating and fatherhood questions and it was an honour corresponding with him. I’ll be heading over to Scotiabank Place with my daughter today to catch the show and we are both very excited.

1. How do you feel about the state of Canadian Figure Skating at the moment and do you feel there is enough support from fans and government alike?

After the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario it would seem that the fan base is strong for Canadian skaters and that the skaters themselves are doing very very well. With medals in 3 of the disciplines and even our lady skating to a wonderful standard in the short program shows a strong all round team.

2. Are there any charities that are close to your heart, and why?

I have never really supported one charity more than another actually. It seems that as a skater I have been pulled down certain paths by my career or by the people that I have met along the way.

3. How has fatherhood changed you and has it affected your skating, whether it be the types of routines you do or ability to train as much as you’d like?

Fatherhood has made training harder because I get caught up in lego or tag and sometimes don’t even make it to the rink to practice. Lego is really tough on training 🙂 On a more serious note I have made a few programs that were for my sons and will skate with them in a show featuring skaters with children this fall. My boys don’t really take serious lessons, but they can certainly skate and have fun on the ice.

4. What has been your biggest challenge as a father?

My biggest challenge has been my schedule. Because of what I do I have to travel to do shows and being away from them has been the toughest part.

5. Other than skating, what is your favourite activity to do with your kids?

Other than Lego, we enjoy video games and bouncing on a trampoline as well as playing in the snow in winter. My family in Alberta own off road vehicles and any visit out west is very high on their list of ‘cool things to do’.

6. If you could only choose one, would you rather be a friend or a hero to your children, and why?

I would be selfish and choose friend but maybe a bit of both would be great if it was not asking too much.

7. How hard was it to learn how to jump on hockey skates? Were you scared?

Jumping on hockey skates is super tricky but I have been skating on them since I was a kid and actually enjoy the challenge.

8. Often in sports, we talk about home ice advantage. Have you found that the quality of ice in different rinks around the world creates an advantage for the hometown skaters?

Actually, we very rarely train on the exact ice we compete or perform on so we hardly ever have an actual home ice advantage. It is mostly the fans that create our advantage when we compete.

9. Finally, what is next for you after Stars on Ice? Any plans to hang up the blades? Maybe a Major League Baseball career?

After Investors Group Stars On Ice I will switch back to fatherhood and enjoy a couple of weeks off before going to China and Korea for 3 weeks to skate more shows.

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I’d like to say thank you to Kurt for taking the time to answer all of my questions. It’s just one more reason why I love this space so much. The Investors Group Stars On Ice hits Scotiabank Place in Ottawa at 4pm on Sunday, April 21st and tickets are still available by visiting the Scotiabank Place website. Along with Kurt Browning will be other Canadian stars such as Patrick Chan, Joannie Rochette & Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. I hope to see you there!