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Best, Worst, and Weirdest Grammy 2017 Moments

Posted by cirvine on February 13, 2017

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Didn’t have a chance to watch the biggest night in music? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. From the red carpet shenanigans, to the hosting, to the performances, the 2017 Grammy Awards were nothing if not good, bad, and weird. So with that in mind, let’s break it down!

Best of the Night

Beyoncé

Beyoncé. That’s pretty much all you need to say now after any event she performs at, because that single word is synonymous with a unique, near-perfect, heart-bursting performance.  This year was no exception, because despite having not one, but two babies in her belly, she gave us a golden, glittery showcase of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles”, two of the more vulnerable songs from her hit album, Lemonade. It was the perfect follow up to a recent Instagram post where she revealed her and Jay-Z’s pregnancy.

The whole performance was goddess-inspired—a symbolic representation of divine motherhood. And like any deity, she literally defied gravity (and almost gave me a heart attack), as she tipped all the way back to a horizontal position on a wooden chair.  I can’t say enough about this performance—her vocals were spot on, her wardrobe was godly, her dancers were ethereal, and she even included her mom and daughter in the performance, noting three generations of womanly awesomeness. Her amazingness doesn’t stop there though. We’ll get back to Queen Bae before this post is out.

Katy Perry

I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Kitty Kat, but last night’s performance was one of the best of the night. She didn’t knock it out of the park on the vocals, but the artistic set design and well thought-out message behind the performance was quite unique. She danced around a rotating square stage lined by a picket fence that changed from white to mirror-faced. Her dancers moved her and the set around so that it played tricks with your eyes, and the effect was mesmerizing. In the end, the set “exploded” into a million shapes, and the Declaration of Independence was cast on the leftovers of the picket fence. Pretty cool way to get your point across, Katy! Also, this song is REALLY growing on me.   

Bruno Mars and the Prince Tribute

Although Bruno isn’t quite at Beyoncé’s showmanship level yet, you can be sure that when you hear he’s performing, it’s going to be incredible. His second performance of the night was a tribute to Prince, who died in April of last year. The songs delivered by Bruno Mars and The Time were a perfect representation of Prince’s funky style, funky sass, and funky… FUNK! It’s hard not to dance to this performance. I think the best and most surprising part (for me at least), was when Bruno Mars lit up that white guitar with a face-melting solo! Um, am I the only one that didn’t realize that Bruno Mars could WAIL on the electric guitar?  This guy has too much talent for one man.

Chance the Rapper

If you want to see a strong, high-energy, performance with ultra-poignant lyrics and some insane backup vocalists, look no further. Not only did Chance and gospel singer Kirk Franklin put on an incredible show, but Chance’s music will go down in history as the first streaming-only releases considered for Grammy awards. Kudos to you, Chance!

And now we come to The Worst of the Night…

grammyshow1302v3.jpgPhoto courtesy of: http://www.standard.co.uk

Carpool Karaoke Crashed

I get the feeling that James Corden was trying to do his own version of Ellen’s hugely popular Oscar tweet as he grabbed a bunch of celebrities and put them in a cut-out version of his Carpool Karaoke van. But the only thing people are saying about this little stunt was how awkward it was that no one knew the words to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline! If there was a script, it went like this:

James Corden: Take it away, Faith Hill!

Faith Hill: (silence, awkward smiling)

James Corden: Alright never mind, take it away, John Legend!

John Legend: (silence, awkward smiling)

James Corden: (Internally) You guys are the worst.

Seriously, though. How does everybody not know the lyrics to this song??? I bet James Corden is asking himself the same question today.

Technical Flubs

Speaking of James Corden, his opening gag of technical flubs (his riser stopped rising mid-way, he fell down the stairs, etc.) seemed to be a premonition of an awkward night of this stuff happening for realsies.  Metallica and Lady Gaga (aka Metalligaga) had it the worst, as lead singer James Hedfield’s mic was broken, leaving him singing silently to the crowd before joining up with Gaga on her mic. Thank goodness she wasn’t using a headset or he might have been in real trouble. Then, Adele experienced difficulties in her tribute to George Michael, and eventually had to restart the song.  I’m not sure if that was a technical flub or a singer not grabbing the right first note, but either way, it led to an unprecedented restart of a performance, as well as an awkward F-bomb on live TV. Sheesh…

Adele

While we’re on Adele, I just have to express my disappointment with her performances. The tribute to George Michael was an obvious disaster, but she ended up redeeming herself to a point. That being said, it was coupled with an underwhelming performance of “Hello” to open the show, which is a song we’ve heard a million times by now. Why not spice it up a bit or show us something different? She was also fairly pitchy and after last year’s lackluster Grammy performance (where she also experienced technical difficulties), you would think she would want to truly knock it out of the park this time. All I’m saying is, maybe a bit more rehearsal was needed? She is not like other pop stars who can rely on dancing or set design to get by. She is known for her amazing voice. But if she can’t deliver on that… I know she can though, so hopefully she redeems herself in future award shows or performances.

Beyoncé NOT Winning

And ANOTHER THING! Uh oh, this rant is continuing. I really do love Adele, I swear! But I think everyone pretty much agrees that Beyoncé should have won for the album of the year with Lemonade. I think even Adele knew it, as she gushed over Queen Bae through a large portion of her acceptance speech and even brought B. to tears. She pretty much Kanye Wested herself. “Imma let you finish Adele but… !”

And Now the Weirdest Stuff of the Night…

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Cee Lo Gold?

The weirdest things are always the outfits, and the person who won the Weirdest Outfit award this year was… Cee Lo Green of all people. Cee Lo, you’re doing gold wrong. You might want to hit up Beyoncé for tips on that.


Took Too Many Pills in Ibiza

Mike Posner, the singer behind “Took a Pill in Ibiza”, won the bizarre interview award as he decided not to reply to his interviewers, but rather speak through his collaborator, known as “Blackbear”. The fact that they were both sporting Jokeresque neon-green hair was the least weird thing about them. Check out the below video and try not to squirm with awkwardness too much.

Twenty_One_pilos.jpgPhoto courtesy of: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARASSource:Getty Images

Twenty One in Undies

This was weird, but kind of cute (ish?) when you hear the story behind it. So Twenty One Pilots won for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and promptly took their pants off and accepted their award in their underwear. Yes, their underwear - the reasoning behind it? They told the audience that they used to watch the Grammys in their underwear at home, and they promised each other that if they ever won, they would accept the award just the same way. I can only imagine the head shaking their parents are doing.

These weird moments might be the reason Rihanna brought a flask to the show.

 

There you have it folks: another year of Grammy Awards for the books. We hope you enjoyed this run-down of the best, worst and weirdest moments of the night. See you next year!

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?


Pizza ATM’s are the Future of Pizza

Posted by cchalkley on February 9, 2017

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February 9th is National Pizza Day. Are you as excited about this as I am? So what better way to honour this wonderful day then to talk about the future of pizza. Paline’s Pizza ATM could be coming to a university campus near you. Yes, you read that right— an ATM that instead of dispensing cash, dispenses pizza, 24/7. This is just want a student needs, access to hot pizza at any time, day or night. This kind of pizza would have been a hot commodity while I was going to school. Back when I was a student I probably would be ordering this pizza maybe once, twice or quite possibly everyday of the week. *blush*.Please don’t judge me; pizza is just delicious, ok?

Here’s how it works: a pizzeria would prepare and pre-cook the base of the pizza. The pizzas are put in boxes and up to 70 pizzas can be stored at a time in the Pizza ATM. When someone purchases a pizza from the ATM the pizza would cook in the convention oven for 3 minutes. Once the pizza is cooked it will come out of the dispenser ready to eat. Quick and easy! The computer also manages the best before dates and once a pizza has met the best before date it cannot be distributed. Customers can also purchase uncooked pizza and take it home to cook themselves.

Pizza ATM Diagram

Paline’s Pizza ATM currently has about 300 locations available in Europe. Xavier University in Cininnati, Ohio was the first location in North America to have the Pizza ATM installed. With interest from other schools from North America, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Canada gets their first location.

Pizza ATM

So on this special day of national pizza affection, go grab yourself a slice, or even a whole pizza – I won’t judge!  Mmm,  I’m pretty hungry now--so does someone want to go get me a pizza?

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Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


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Apparently some people played football at Superbowl LI this weekend but I was too busy being set on fire by Lady Gaga’s halftime performance to notice. Not only did she actually sing the entire set (no lip-synching for her), and entirely on her own (no guest performances either), but she also propelled down from the ceiling, danced almost non-stop for 13 minutes, and jumped off a ladder in heels while catching a football. I feel tired just writing that.

One of the best parts of the performance wasn’t achieved by Gaga at all, but by science! And by that, I mean the 300 drones that floated behind her at the start of her set while she sang God Bless America. Though only there for a couple minutes, those little robots performed their own perfect show in the sky: first sparkling like stars, then like the Pepsi symbol, then like the American flag.

 

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So who’s behind this technology? Well, that would be Intel, and it’s called their Shooting Star drone squad. They recently finished a three-week run at Disney World and last year they flew 500 synchronized drones over Sydney, setting a new world record for most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne at the same time.

Take a look at Intel’s video showing off their 500 Drone light show below:

Pretty incredible right? I want to go to a drone show ASAP. I love how they can float like fairies at one moment, and then in another sync up to create a flawless design like the Intel logo.

As Wired’s recent post details, each drone is about a footlong square, weighs just over eight ounces, and has a foam body to soften any inadvertent blows. Their LEDs have a potential four billion colour combinations and “dance” according to the coding from a central computer that each drone communicates with. Before the show, this computer checks each drone’s battery level and GPS signal strength and assigns it a role accordingly. If any of them fail, there are backups ready to fly into place. You can see how this kind of technology could be limitless, and I wouldn’t be surprised if instead of fireworks on our national holidays, we start seeing drone-works.

That being said, there are laws concerning drones, including where and how high you can fly them. That’s why the drone display you saw yesterday was actually filmed a week ago, so as not to harm any potential fans below.

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When you realize the planning and combined efforts that must have gone into that first couple of minutes of this performance, you realize how huge the Superbowl halftime show has become. I can only imagine where it will go in the future.

Not to mention where this drone technology will go. Intel envisions them being used for search and rescue missions or commercial applications like inspecting hazardous construction sites.  Personally, I see their creative potential, and can envision spectacles of art and “sky graffiti” lighting up the night. I just hope they don’t fall on anyone’s head.

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Check out Lady Gaga’s full halftime show here.

 

Sources: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/lady-gaga-halftime-show-drones/

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?


5 Ways to Host a Great Super Bowl Party

Posted by cchalkley on February 3, 2017

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This Sunday is Super Bowl 51 in Houston, Texas. In case you didn’t know, The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will be playing in this NFL championship game. Canadians love the Super Bowl. Last year, 8.3 million people in Canada watched the Super Bowl! Those are some huge numbers, that means 1 in 4 people in all of Canada watched the game.  If you’re planning on watching the big game or planning to host a Super Bowl party, Here are a couple of ideas that can help you prepare for the big night of football festivities.

Football Cheeseball
1. Food

If you are hosting a Super Bowl Party then you need to think about what food you will be serving your guests. Some of the basic game day foods are chips, wings and pizza. While those are some great options for grub, why not theme your food and make everything look like footballs? Try this Jalapeno Popper Football Cheese Ball or make a Football Cheese Plate? For desserts you can try these Chocolate Strawberry Footballs or Football Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies. If you are looking for healthier options, Canadian Living posted these recipes for Turkey Chili Nachos or for a Mexican Popcorn Spice Mix.

Beer Margaritas

2. Bevvies

Now any good party host not only provides the food, but has beverages to serve their guests as well. The most common alcoholic beverages to serve would be beer and wine. But you can do better than that, right? Here are some beer cocktails that would turn you into the hostess with the mostest! Beer Margaritas, Beer Sangria, Lime Beer Cocktail and Frozen Beergaritas

Super Bowl Squares
3. Games

These Super Bowl Party games will help keep your guest entertained during the 4 hour game.  Super Bowl Squares is a simple game that all your guests can play. First you’ll need to create a chart (here are some printable versions that you can use). Have your guests write their name on each of the squares until the whole board is filled. On the axes, assign each row and column with different numbers ranging from 0-9. So after each quarter, the person who owns the square with the final digit of the point total of each team is declared the winner. For example, if the score of the game is 27-2 then the person with the square 7-2 would be the winner. 

Super Bowl Bingo

Another game to play is Super Bowl Bingo. Here are some free game cards that you can print at home.

4. Pick your commercials!

This year will be the first time Canadians will be able to watch the American Super Bowl commercials. The CRTC made a decision to remove the simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl event. In prior years, this meant that the Canadian broadcaster airing the Super Bowl was able to show the Canadian commercials over the American signal. This year, you will be able to watch the Super Bowl on either the Canadian signal(with Canadian commercials), or the American signal(with American commercials).  The cost of a commercial to run in America is around $5 million for a :30 spot. With a budget like that, no wonder these commercials have high end productions and celebrity cameos!  

Here’s is a sneak peek of some of the American commercials that you will be able to catch this year:

2017 Kia Niro “Hero’s Journey" Starring Melissa McCarthy

This commercial follows comedian Melissa McCarthy on a mission to save the world.

Febreze 2017 Super Bowl Commercial – Halftime #BathroomBreak

This extended cut of this funny Febreeze commercial tells the story on how so many people watch the game so intently that they wait until halftime for a bathroom break.

Wix.com Big Game First Spot with Jason Statham & Gal Gadot

This commercial for Wix.com features Jason Statham & Gal Gadot kicking some butt in a restaurant.

T-Mobile - #UnlimitedMoves

This commercial features Canadian Justin Bieber showing off some dance moves.

Snicker Live Ad with Adam Driver

Snickers will be doing something new this year and creating a live commercial to air in real time starring “Star Wars” actor, Adam Driver.  They have released some funny teasers to promote their live ad.

5. Practice Your Dance Moves

And lastly, what is a Super Bowl without a big spectacular Half Time show? This year Lady Gaga will be performing. Lady Gaga is known for her crazy outfits and over the top and sometimes controversial performances.  She wants to keep her performance a secret, so no spoilers here on what songs she will sing or what stunts she will be performing. Here’s a sneak peek at the choreography rehearsals.

There is no doubt that this year’s Super Bowl will be a must watch for millions of Canadians. Super Bowl 51 starts at 6:30 pm on Sunday February 5th, and can be seen on CTV or Fox. Execulink customers can watch the game in SD on channel 13 and 16 or in HD on channels 213 and 216.

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Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


10 Ways to Make The Most Out of Your Next Networking Event

Posted by cirvine on February 1, 2017

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­­Molly goes to a networking event and meets Gerald. “So, Gerald, what do you do?” asks Molly. Gerald waits a second to respond. He has a million different ways he can answer this question and if the goal is to create a contact or lead, then there is absolutely a right way and a wrong way. But there’s more to networking than just how you interact with people conversationally. To get the most out of your next networking event, the work is done not just during the event, but before and after as well. Here are the 10 best ways you can get the most out of your next one.

1. Know Why You’re There Before You’re There

Why are you going to this event? It may be such an obvious first step that it’s hardly thought about, but it really does deserve some consideration. If you feel like a fish out of water the entire day, you’re not going to be on your A game, and that means less chance of any real connections. Also, it’s worth asking yourself if the event is actually going to be a valuable investment of your time. In general, you should be able to answer the following questions with relative ease:

  • How does my job and company specifically relate to this event?
  • What are my goals (make them specific)?
  • Do the potential benefits of this event outweigh the cost of time being here?
  • How long am I prepared to be here for?

Once you can answer these, it will become obvious whether this event is worth your time.

2. Do Your Research

Ok, so you’ve decided you’re attending. Now what? A little preparation goes a long way. It’s a great idea to make a rough outline of what your day will consist of. This includes which speakers you want to hear, which booths you want to check out, and who you might want to introduce yourself to. You can usually get a rough idea of who might be attending from social media. If there’s a Facebook event attached to it, you could find the attendee list there or from people tweeting about it via a common hashtag.  

If you want to go the extra mile, have a question or two ready based on your research of the highlighted panelist. Asking your question in front of a crowd will leave a lasting impression in people’s minds as someone who is both knowledgeable about his/her field and bold enough to be centered out in a crowd.

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3. Be Ready With Materials

Looking unprepared obviously gives off a bad impression and can lead to an awkward interaction, but it also affects your confidence and throws you off your game overall. Nobody wants that. So it’s important to come to your events prepared with any materials you might need. Business cards are a must, obviously, but don’t forget other palpable reminders of what you do: sell sheets, brochures, swag. Make sure everything has your contact information on it and that it’s going to stand out in the pile of endless marketing material that people will receive that day.

4. Dress to Impress (For the Crowd)

There’s an enormous difference between trying to impress 100 management-level executives and trying to impress 100 entry-level game developers. Dress to impress the crowd that you’re interacting with. A harsh reality of our world is that people do judge a book by its cover. That being said, you don’t want to be someone you’re not, as people can often sense if you’re being phony. As long as you don’t overdo it, you should be fine.

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5. Prepare an Elevator Pitch

At these kinds of events you meet a lot of people in a short amount of time. You’re going to want to have a quick pitch ready of who you are and what you do. However, be careful when you say it that it doesn’t sound like you’ve been repeating yourself all day. Remind yourself that the other person is hearing this for the first time, so make it sound fresh. If you’re unsure of what your pitch should sound like, here are a few guideline steps you can follow:

For starters, it should be around 60 seconds. In that time you should go over who you are, what you do, and the hook.

  • Step 1 – Start with the basics. This is who I am and this is what I do (in simplest terms). “Hi, I’m Gerald Smith and I’m a Marketing Rep with Biz Co.” You don’t need anything too flashy; you just need to get your foot in the door.
  • Step 2 – Tell an interesting story that leads to the reason for you being there. “I’m excited to learn more about online marketing. This year we found our sales go up 5% just from tweets and keeping an eye on what’s trending.”
  • Step 3 – Drop a casual call to action. This is important. “I figure if I can do learn a bit and make a few connections while I’m at it, it’s worth the trip. Speaking of which, let me give you my card.”

Of course, you want to make it your own and be comfortable with it. Once you figure it out, practice, practice, practice.

6. Let Other People Talk

Almost as important as having a pitch is the other side of things: asking questions and listening. What is a typical year like in their business? What has their year been like? How did ____ affect their business? Keep it topical and interesting, but not invasive. By asking and understanding their business, you may uncover needs that they didn’t even know they had.

7. Spice Up Your Small Talk

The only thing worse than being stuck in a boring conversation with someone, is realizing that you’re the one making it boring. If you say the same shtick over and over you’re going to start sounding like a dull, skipping record. Make sure you sprinkle a little fun into your conversations. Ask yourself from time to time if you’re really engaging with this person or just going through the motions.

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8. Be Passionate & Care About What You Do

An easy way to spice up your small talk is to just be passionate about what you do. Talking to someone that is truly excited about their work –or excited to improve on their work—is at once captivating and contagious. When people hear the excitement in your voice, they will be more eager to share their story with you and value your feedback.

9. Don’t be Negative

It’s easy to be negative and start pointing out what’s wrong with the event, the people there, your job, your competitors. Don’t start down that road. Not only are negative people less charismatic, but they are also less interesting. You’re doing yourself 0 favors by being “that person”. Even if you have to force yourself a little bit, put a smile on and see how much further it gets you.

10. Follow up

The event may be over but there is still work to be done. The next day, gather up any business cards or contact information you’ve received and get typing. Email your contacts and be sure to include your LinkedIn profile so they can see who you are and remember you.  By circling back with people you are giving yourself an advantage over the potential crowds that person met the day before.

We hope that some of these tips help you at your next networking event. Just remember, you’re spending the time to be there, so make it worth those lost hours. Although a bit of a chore sometimes, with the right preparation and attitude you can make those brief encounters into lasting impressions.     

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?