Criticism Helps Growth

I had a discussion with some friends the other day about Canadian music journalists who fear criticizing artists too much in album reviews because it may lead to loss of connections and other things. At Ride the Tempo, I let my writers say whatever they want. I believe that honesty is how people grow whether they are making music or if you’re critiquing a colleague.

Sometimes it’s scary. You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or sour a connection with someone but it’s what is needed to make a person or industry strong. Now head over here to read some of our album reviews.

How to Have a Long Distance BFF

Recently, someone asked me how I have such a great relationship with best friend who is in another province. We actually didn’t even see each other for almost 3 years prior to her wedding in October. While it feels almost natural for me, I’d like to offer some tips for people who’s friends are moving far away and how to best keep that connection.

Talk frequently, in whatever channel works conveniently for both you. It might be a phone call, text message, FB chat, Snapchat.

Be willing to listen. Just because you’re far away doesn’t mean you can’t listen and talk your friend through life’s problems. Don’t wait until everything is fine and dandy to chat.

Be there when they need it. This sort of relates to the last point but a friend will always value those that make an effort. Also if they really want you there for a serious life event like a wedding, you do whatever it takes to get on that plane/bus/whatever.

Take challenges together. Do you have a mutual goal you’d like to achieve? For Laura and I, it’s currently blogging everyday. Having a common goal can help strengthen the bond because you can also talk about that goal or hobby together.

Make sure the feeling is mutual. Long distance friendships aren’t for everyone. An important question to ask is why the other person is moving away. Some people just want to move away for a fresh start. In that case, the friend may not want to keep touch. But you can always offer them the chance to connect if they change their mind.

When All Else Fails, Hit It


Recently, I dug my original Nintendo Entertainment System out of the closet because I wanted to experience the nostalgia of old games once again. Like all old NES systems, I was cursed with the infamous flashing blue screen.

I Google the problem on the internet. I cleaned my games with alcohol and a Q tip. I took the system apart and attempted to repair the 72 prong connector. None of this worked, the blue screen still flashed.

Then I decided to use the method that made the least sense. I hit it. I gave the system a smack and lo and behold, Mario 3’s curtains appeared on the screen. Sometimes what works is not always what can be easily explained.

I think it’s an interesting life lesson to live by. The road we choose may not always be the most logical, but they may lead to something awesome. The answer to problems might require thinking outside of the box (or in this case hitting the box). However, giving up should never be the conclusion.