Hi! Thanks for dropping by my site!
As a musician, composer, producer, photographer, artist, and technology creator I've had my fingers in a few pies. You'll find out a little bit about them here. For more than a decade I've been supporting the Niagara Jazz, Blues, and Roots music scenes, and promoting live music throughout the region.
I am multiple NMA "Jazz Artist of the Year", and nominated four times. I'm also a technology instructor, Thai Massage and Restorative Yoga practitioner, a Zumba instructor, and freelance journalist.
Take a look around my site, and feel free to get in touch! Contact me to book me for performances.
For high quality instruments (like BassLab and Eminence) and amps (like Acoustic Image), take a look at my business site, www.ghservices.com.
- Photo Sessions: You can book photo sessions with me, either in my studio or mobile. Portraits, fashion, product shots, and other styles. Contact
- House Concerts: I'm now booking house concerts in Fonthill and surrounding area. House concerts are live music in your living room - a great way to experience real music in a comfortable environment. Contact me for details!
- Hired Hand: I'm available for producing, engineering, as a session musician, or as a co-writer. See my discography for my production credits. Contact me to talk about your project.
- "Jazz Up!" A unique free series I've created to promote Jazz music in Niagara and beyond. It's an interactive and intimate environment for Jazz performance and conversation - or "jam and jaw" for short! Musicians and listeners alike are invited to attend. The series will launch future concerts and other events. Every Tuesday, from 7pm to 9pm in Fonthill, Niagara. Seating is limited, so contact me to reserve a spot.
- Hot News: The Jazz Up! brand is growing! I'm finalizing venues for regular events. Stay tuned...
- Ssshh... It may seem to be a little bit quiet around here right now, but that's because I'm assembling tracks for my new CD, consisting of all live recordings from various gigs over the past year. So, if you see the red light over the door, try not to make too much noise. Thanks! Mini update: This is taking a while because I have over five hundred tracks to work through... But you can find a few of them right now on my sounds page.
Healthy Balance #2 : Let's Get Personal
One size fits all, right? No, it doesn't!
Maybe you tried the latest trendy workout, or followed an easy meal plan that you found online, or took standard treatments that your doctor prescribed, but you didn't get the promised results.
High-carb diets, low-carb diets, high-fat, ketogenic, Atkins, Paleo, and on and on... they all work - for somebody - but not for you.
Our medical system is set up to provide standard responses to health issues. That's no fault of the doctors and nurses, it's just the way our society does medicine. But what works best for one person may not work well for you.
Why is this?
It's because you are a unique combination of where you come from, what you've done, and even where you're going.
Personal training is all about that: you work one-on-one with a trainer to accomplish your goals, with a customized exercise plan, according to your current condition. And the plan changes as you change.
We'll soon have "personal nutrition" and "personal medicine", tailored to your uniqueness just like personal training. Technology will be able to scan your cells and optimize nutrition and health care just for you.
For example, in some people a slice of bread causes blood sugar spikes, but in others it doesn't. It turns out that such spikes are determined by your gut bugs - and you certainly have your own personal combination of those! We'll dive further into this in an upcoming column.
So, all the generic advice we've been given over the years is "right" in general, but "wrong" for you specifically. Your responses are highly individual, and depend on ... you.
Hey, my body didn't come with a User's Manual. Did yours? Despite that little omission, you can achieve amazing things! And your path is determined by the very stuff of which you are made. This column is about exploring that stuff - exploring the science of you.
We'll talk about many interesting things here, but feel free to send me your questions. I hope to inspire you to take some guided steps to find your healthy balance!
Healthy Balance #1 : Starting With The Man In The Mirror
You balance a broom on the tip of your finger. It sways a bit side-to-side, but you correct with instinctive little movements of your hand and the broom hovers mostly in the middle. You even manage the larger swings - with corrections that are just the right size to bring the broom back to center.
But if the broom leans to one side and you don't get it back into balance, then it falls, right? Or if your corrections are too large, then the broom falls the other way. Thud!
When I was young, I didn't eat that well. Mostly hot dogs and deserts, it seems. Typical kid! I should have listened to my parents. They presented me with good choices and possibilities, but I seldom chose wisely.
As a kid I was small and was bullied, and as a teen I smoked a bit. I was thin into my late twenties. People would say "Get that boy a sandwich!" - to my face.
So I wanted to be "bigger", which I achieved by adding on pounds over the next decade. I became overweight. Actually, I took it to the next level and was clinically obese: I had gained 60lbs or 27kg. No half measures for me!
Do I need to tell you that this extra weight was bad? I was pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, suffered from depression, developed vision problems, was refused life insurance due to kidney issues, and had skin cancer that required grafting.
Like the unbalanced broom, I had tipped one way, then too far the other way.
I did not recognize the man in the mirror, so I started making changes to bring me to my center.
My Mom had planted the seed of good food (thanks Mom!), and I inherited a sense of curiosity from my Dad (thanks Dad!), so now, a decade later, I'm a fitness instructor and pursuing a Masters in Nutrition.
I'm looking forward to talking with you about exercise, bones, aging, stress, digestion, vitamins, and many other things.
Join me in finding your healthy balance!
- 2017-11-03: After my upgrade to Windows 10, my CanoScan N67U flatbed scanner stopped working. This is because Canon has not made drivers for 64bit Windows 10. If you search the Web, you'll see a lot of complaints about this - and they are justified. There are some technical workarounds involving modifying and installing older drivers, which I have done with other devices, but for this flatbed scanner I have taken another route. I use the free Oracle VirtualBox software running Ubuntu 14 32bit (a free Linux). Windows 10 does not recognize the N670U scanner, but Ubuntu does. Starting VirtualBox Ubuntu takes only moment and does the job!
- 2017-10-30: The word respect is so overloaded: with respect to (concerning or about), in some respects (some aspects), having respect to (in reference to), paid our respects to (memorializing), or give me respect. My focus here is on the latter. Respect is such a tenuous concept. Parents demand it of their children; children demand it of their parents. But it must be earned, not simply bestowed because of some chronological relationship. The word is just too easy to throw around in a heated discussion. So I prefer to avoid the word, and instead look deeper at what we really mean when we use it. How about understanding, compassion, and appreciation? Aren't those things what we really want when we demand respect?
- 2017-09-29: Singing in the shower: Great acoustics, good humidity for the vocal chords, and you think no one can hear you... (but they can)
- 2017-03-30: After a recent photo session with a fitness client, I had a bit of extra time - and the gear was already set up - so I decided to try a few fitness shots of myself. This was taken in black and white in the camera, with contrast enhancement done in the computer. I had forgotten about the freckles on my back!
Rich Froning Jr. (born July 21, 1987) is the first person to win the title of "Fittest Man on Earth" four times, with his first-place finish in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 CrossFit Games.
He has said "It's not necessarily that I like to win, but I hate losing more." While the sentiment is understandable, it's actually very silly.
By the very act of doing what he is doing, he is a winner. How many people in the world are competing like him? Even if he places last in an event, he's ahead of 99.99999998% of the other six billion people sharing this planet — who didn't even enter the race. To truly "lose", he would have to do worse than all of them. And how do you even define that?
So, remember this when you are being hard on yourself for your less-than-perfect performance:
It doesn't matter whether you finish first or last. At least you are in the race.
- 2016-04-04: I use a Shuttle Pro V2 control surface with the Lightworks video editing software, and was having trouble finding the right settings to make the Shuttle work well with Lightworks as shown in a demo video on the Lightworks site. I solved this by finding the file "Lightworks spv2.pref", which came with the version 2.13.3 of the Shuttle Pro driver, and imported it using the Contour Shuttle Device Configuration control panel, "Options" button, then "Import settings".
- 2016-03-04: This image for Fonthill Fitness is apparently monochrome, but actually has a slight sepia tone applied to the image (but not the text). Seemingly simpler than previous images, but this one has quite a few layers. The source image of Arnold was cropped in tight around him, so I had to extend above his head and below his fingers to give me the room to place it one the canvas where I wanted it. The left side of the image, starting near his right elbow, is from an image of a different gym. I scaled, rotated, cross-faded, and blurred the add-on to match the background behind Arnold. I also sharpened Arnold to make him stand out. The left side of the image has a gradient overlay to give the text a darker background for clarity. I chose to make the logo white to match the text.
- 2016-03-01: Another image for Fonthill Fitness. This one started with a small image of the inspirational quote that was forwarded to me. I deconstructed the image and used only the outline of the text, cleaning it up considerably in the process of enlarging it. Most of these images are about 6000 pixels across when I am working on them. I used two types of metal sheet for the virtual canvas, brushed metal and non-slip, and layered the portrait on them to make it looked etched into the metal. The portrait has a mild sepia effect and the text is very slightly "rusty". These faint tones stop the image from being a cold monochrome. The subtle 3D shadow behind the text varies in length across the image to help locate the virtual light source.
Gig at Café on Main, Fonthill
This gig was a little different. An evening of food and music at with myself and Dan Kozar - performing together for the first time. Dan played his Godin guitar and I used the awesome BassLab L-BOW-V bass. Video coming soon!
- 2016-02-18: Here's the first in a series of images I am creating for Fonthill Fitness, as part of my role as Social Networking Coordinator. In Gimp, I layered the "Fit Happens" text onto the brick wall image, using a layer mode that allowed the two to interact. A bit of erasing was used to distress the white paint at the grout lines. I applied a mild perpective to the wall, and some lighting and lens effect layers, along with a faint blurred shadow of the person. Actually, that person is me.
- 2015-12-17: "We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry. There will come with the greater love of science greater love to one another. Living more nearly to Nature is living farther from the world and from its follies, but nearer to the world's people; it is to be of them, with them, and for them, and especially for their improvement. We cannot see how impartially Nature gives of her riches to all, without loving all, and helping all; and if we cannot learn through Nature's laws the certainty of spiritual truths, we can at least learn to promote spiritual growth while we are together, and live in a trusting hope of a greater growth in the future." — Maria Mitchell: Life, Letters and Journals, 1896
St. Alexander Fashion Show
I was recently the official photographer at a fashion fund-raiser event at St. Alexander Church in Fonthill. There were seven models and I took photos of most of the outfits. To the right is a shot of all the models after the show. Among the models were actress and model Nihanni Johnstone, her daughter Chloe, and Micaela Browne.
For this shoot, I used the mobile studio, with backdrop, soft boxes, and six remote-controlled flashes, plus one extra in hand for spot fill and roaming shots.
Workout Tip: Do Plyometrics Before Heavy Weights
Increasing nervous signal impulses by doing plyometric actions before heavy weight bearing leads to additional muscle-building stimulus.
The larger the muscle fibres, the larger the motor neuron attached. Large, fast-twitch muscle fibres are designed to produce a high level of force, and require a large electrical signal from your nervous system.
Doing plyometrics like squat jumps before training legs is a great way to force your muscles into recruiting more fibres.
Similarly, implementing plyometric push-ups before training chest can set the stage for your body to deliver large electrical signals via the nervous system to recruit more and larger muscle fibres during your working sets.
In addition to those bodyweight-only plyo moves, the Smith machine offers some safe resistance-based alternatives such as bench-press throws for chest, squat jumps for legs, and explosive curls for biceps.
When performing these moves, focus on being as explosive as possible — your feet should leave the floor when jump-squatting, and your hands should leave the floor when doing push-ups. Do 3 sets of 5 reps or less (not to failure) before your working sets.
Workout Tip: Don't Train Intensely For More Than An Hour
Your body’s hormonal hero, testosterone, has a nemesis — a hormone known as cortisol. While testosterone helps your body recover from training and use it as a springboard to growth, cortisol tries to break muscle down. It’s a constant battle between progression and regression.
The push-and-pull is both inevitable and necessary for balanced health. Cortisol levels tend to rise and testosterone levels dip starting somewhere around the 60-minute mark of an intense training session.
Just like in the movies, you want testosterone to win out in the end. The longer you train intensely, the more you stack the odds against your hero. So keep your intense training sessions under an hour.
Soy Protein Found to Decrease Strength Gains Compared to Dairy Protein
A study of 179 people age 60+ undergoing resistance training has found dairy protein to be superior to soy protein for strength(1).
There were three protein options in the study: dairy, soy, and the usual protein intake of the subjects (e.g. meat). All subjects trained the same: 3 times a week for 12 weeks.
The difference may be explained by previous research which shows that soy protein doesn't deliver the same muscle protein synthesis results as dairy protein(2), which could be due to differences in the fundamental amino acid composition of the protein and its rate of digestion. Furthermore, the newer study suggests that estrogen-like compounds in soy might have been responsible for the lower results of the soy group.
Other findings were that lean mass, physical function, mental health scores, as well as the decrease in fat mass were the same for all training groups.
- 2015-01-24: Here's something that boggles the mind: US Government Health Care Website Quietly Sharing Personal Data. This official government site actually shares data with the likes of Twitter, Google, and Facebook! Is this by design, or is it the result of lazy programming? The answer is not clear from the article, but I'm sure that we'll hear more about this. I've worked on government projects, and my opinion is that they are no place for corporate interests or sponsorship. Even something as simple as "Verizon: Official communications provider of the US Gov't" (a hypothetical example). You know, I can't help noticing that the quality of programming has been diminishing over that last decade.
A friend just called me for some technical help. He was seeing a message like this on his iPad screen:
"ios crash report due to a third party application".
And there was a number to call (1-800-523-2251 or 1-800-480-4170).
This pop-up screen would not go away.
It was clear to me that this was a scam. If you call them, they'll say that they'll fix it for $80 by reinstalling the operating system.
So don't call them.
To clear the problem:
- Place the device in Airplane mode (which turns off WiFi)
- Go to Settings > Safari > And Clear History and website Data
- Turn off Airplane mode.
- Reopen Safari and it will be fresh and clean