Twitter and Facebook…Do We Really Need Both?

Alright, I’m the first one to point out that spending anything more than an hour or so a day on Facebook and Twitter really isn’t making the best use of the hours in the day, we only live so long right? With that being said, there is a good chance I spend more time on both social media outlets than many others out there…not an obscene amount of time…but still a considerable amount.  Anyways I digress, Facebook and Twitter do have their respective places in one’s daily life, but I tend to avoid the two outlets overlap…mainly to justify having both.


Facebook really needs no introduction, it’s huge, it’s the biggest thing since sliced bread, it’s in like Flynn, I really can’t say more…but what makes it special?  The creeping of course! Facebook is the ultimate socializing tool.  Having a party? Create a Facebook event and group about it, then invite all your friends, it’s so easy it hurts!  Have a crush on a girl that works in the same mall as you? Find out her name and look her up on the book! It’s that easy.  I often say that I really only have Facebook because I’m currently single…and well it is quite useful in meeting people.

For some reason I cannot explain, but I really don’t keep track of the businesses I like on Facebook, actors yes, bands yes, even author’s, but businesses, restaurant’s and the like? Well for some reason I prefer to follow them on Twitter, nothing more.  Facebook still doesn’t quite engage the consumer or the reader, there is still a barrier.  I can’t quite explain it, but it feels much less personal…that is unless a business were to show up on Facebook chat and engage me in a conversation.


I must admit that I do thoroughly enjoy Twitter, there is nothing more thrilling than a business or celebrity directly replying or re-tweeting something you tweeted. In addition, even if I am watching an awards show alone, I never feel as though I am by myself, as people are constantly tweeting their opinions on winners or performances (e.g. the massive American uproar when Arcade Fire won Best Album at this year’s Grammy awards). From a business perspective my favorite aspect of Twitter is when a company advertises a sale, or daily special (e.g. the Inn at the Forks advertises their lunch and dinner specials daily).  This is smart because if someone is looking for a place to eat that day, but are not sure and are on their Twitter, Boom! here’s our special of the day.  Also, Twitter is fast becoming the go to source for news…as long as you’re following the right sources.

The current problem with Twitter? The people that post what’s in their sandwich that they brought from home, or how they’re having a fight with their significant other (this all applies to Facebook as well).  People, keep your problems to yourself!

Anyways, take from this what you will, they’re both good for their own reasons.



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To Seek a Publisher or to Self-Publish, That is the Question…

Although I am not at all in a situation to have any of my work published or filmed…or even read by someone other than myself, up and coming authors who may not have any funds or resources or contacts have discovered a new venue for publishing there own works (either for free or for a minimal cost).  This is known as self-publishing, and with the massive interest now emerging in eBooks, well the sky is now the limit.

What do I think?  Well let me use an analogy that hits a little closer to home with me, and that is a film screenplay.  If I just spent months (or years) putting everything I’ve got into writing what I feel to be a masterpiece of a screenplay, what would I do? Scrounge up whatever resources I can and film it myself or seek out a studio in the unlikely chance that someone will notice it.  Well the answer to me is quite simple, I would seek out the studio!  The only thing worse than a bad movie, is a bad indie movie that could have been good if made with the proper resources.  If I feel as though my screenplay is worth its salt I will send it to anyone and everyone in the business, but unless I fall upon a sufficient source of income I absolutely would not try filming it myself.  Now many successful filmmakers got their start filming their own screenplays on shoe-string budgets, but the key is they still had the shoe-string.  A movie is only as good as its screenplay, yes, but a screenplay is only as good as the production values surrounding it.

To relate this to self-publishing books,  no matter how good the book is, you need the right team of editors, marketers, publishers, etc. backing it to make it a success.  eBooks are interesting in that they are simply digital copies of a book, meaning one doesn’t necessarily have to worry as much about the physical production values of the novel (think digital distribution vs. DVD to put it into film terms) as they would through regular distribution means.  With that being said, who is going to buy an eBook wrote by someone they have never heard of? For that matter, who is going to buy a physical book by someone they have never heard of unless they know of the publisher distributing it?

If what you have made truly is something special, it will be noticed, one just has to make the effort.

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An Old Fashioned Night at the Movies #2

Well it’s Friday and the weekend is almost here.  Perfect time for a good old fashioned night at the movies.

The year is 1934, and the film is,  It Happened One Night.

Now This is Love.

1934 Newsreel

1934 Popeye Cartoon “Shoein’ Hosses”

It Happened One Night


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Cool Thing #15: It’s Been A Helluva Week To Be A Gamer…

Hey all, some seriously wicked trailers have come out this week for some of 2011’s most highly anticipated games…so I’ll let the videos do the talking.

LA Noire – Release Date: May. 17/2011

Final Fantasy Versus XIII – Release Date: TBA

Sony NGP

Uncharted on the Sony NGP



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Cool Thing #14: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and the Life of Study

The main articles of discussion here at The Kiosk usually involve movies, video games, music, culture, etc.  Well there is more to us, a more intellectual, if not brooding side.  A side that contemplates virtue and the meaning of our actions…don’t believe me?  Just read this.

First, to set the mood:

Second, to put a face to the name:

This is what smart looks like.

And we’re off,

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and the Life of Study

Aristotle is a philosopher who has always appeared to be a voice of reason.  He starts the majority of his insights with the opinions of his co-intellectuals, and then gives his spin on whatever the topic is. Unfortunately with this being said, Aristotle’s belief on the ideal life of happiness appears to fall flat in comparison to his own previous theories.  As Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics primarily concerns itself with finding the proper virtues and happiness in one’s life, he discusses much about justice and bravery being demonstrated by an individual, and how this can lead one to happiness.  It is by the last book of the Ethics however that Aristotle appears to take a turn in his beliefs, and chooses a life of contemplation to be the ultimate in happiness.  Our goal through this analysis will be to discuss Aristotle’s key points in regards to this theory, and then to analyze possible arguments for and against this idea.

To begin, it would be beneficial to briefly discuss what Aristotle believes to be the nature of happiness, and the traits that are/ are not inherent to a life following this lead.  In chapter six of the tenth book of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle gives us a brief overview of happiness, stating some beneficial and intelligent arguments.  He first discusses how happiness as a feeling is an active process and one that “does not lack anything, but is self-sufficient” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1176a33 1176b6).  This idea in itself is quite interesting in that it (and other portions of Aristotle’s books) states that happiness is an all encompassing feeling.  One does not work to be happy and experience pleasure afterwards; instead ones work is their pleasure and happiness.  In order for ones work to qualify as true pleasure and happiness, Aristotle states that it must consist of something virtuous, “And any chance person…can enjoy the bodily pleasures no less than the best man…For happiness does not lie in such occupations, but, as we have said before, in virtuous activities” (Nicomachean Ethics 1177a5-10).  And it is this final statement that leads us to the question, what does Aristotle believe to be the most virtuous activity of them all?

When presented with the question of what could be considered the most virtuous activity man could strive to do, it would not be a stretch to say that many would think of a life more along the lines of something brave, or directly correlated to the well being of others (doctor, soldier, care giver, etc.).  Aristotle even discusses the idea of justice as being “alone of the [other] virtues” because “it is related to our neighbour; for it does what is advantageous to another…” (Nicomachean Ethics 1130a2).  And yet when Aristotle finally poses the question of the most virtuous lifestyle a person can lead in Book X of the Ethics, it turns out to be one of contemplating reason.  His primary explanations for this is based on the idea that contemplation concerns itself with reason and objects of reason (and Aristotle considers both to be the highest good) and because contemplation can be a never ending process (which he views happiness as ideally being as well) (Nicomachean Ethics 1177a20).

Following his initial arguments, Aristotle pushes his point further, making direct relations to other virtuous ways of life such as politics and military involvement.  He states that other virtuous men, such as the just or brave “[need] people towards whom and with whom he shall act justly…but the philosopher, even when by himself, can contemplate truth, and the better the wiser he is” (Nicomachean Ethics 1177a30).  In going by this idea, one of the advantages to being a philosopher (according to Aristotle) is that one needs nothing else of the outside world in order to contemplate the important issues of truth, justice, etc.  In keeping with this theme, Aristotle states that a life of study is also the most satisfying in that the work itself is being done and enjoyed for its own sake (Nicomachean Ethics 1177b2).  It is this last point that Aristotle uses to separate the life of study from that of a soldier or politician.  Aristotle states that although these practises are virtuous in nature, the actions themselves are not necessarily enjoyable or leisurely, where in comparison a life of study encompasses all these traits along with inherent pleasure (Nicomachean Ethics 1177b5).

The final argument we will look at from Aristotle is how he feels the life of study is the closest life one can lead to the divine.  He starts this analysis by first discussing what sort of lives the gods may in fact lead.  Admittedly Aristotle’s argument is quite an interesting one in that he states:

If we were to run through them all, the circumstances of action would be found trivial and unworthy of the gods.  Still every one supposes that they live and therefore that they are active…Now if you take away from a living being action…what is left but contemplation?  Therefore the activity of God, which surpasses all others in blessedness, must be contemplative; and of human activities, therefore, that which is most akin to this must be most of the nature of happiness (Nicomachean Ethics 1178b15-20);

To summarize the above idea, the activities of the gods are the most virtuous and divine, and since any physical actions they could possibly undertake seem to cheapen their stature, they must do nothing but think.  Therefore when a man dedicates his life to thinking, he is living as close a life as possible to the divine.  While interesting and well worded, Aristotle’s argument seems to lose much steam once it gets to this point, relying seemingly on assumptions.

The main argument against Aristotle’s view on the life of study being superior to all others is that it is coming from a biased source.  Yes Aristotle was/is one of the most intelligent persons to have ever lived, but it seems too convenient that he finds the life he leads to be the closest to the divine.  On top of this, to live a life of study would be to live a life of inaction.  Aristotle states that:

So if among virtuous actions political and military actions are distinguished by nobility and greatness, and these are unleisurely and aim at an end and are not desirable for their own sake, but the activity of reason, which is contemplative, seems both to be superior in serious worth and to aim at no end beyond itself…all other attributes ascribed to the supremely happy man are evidently those connected with this activity (Nicomachean Ethics 1177b15-20);

There are a number of things rather troubling about this statement, especially in the context of the truly happy life being a just one as well.  First, Aristotle seems to think that because an action (such as political and military) may be unleisurely it is therefore inferior to one of a more leisurely nature.  Now this is not to say that Aristotle is saying something like sun tanning is superior, but it is hard to grasp how he feels a life of contemplation is in any way superior to a life of virtuous action.  In addition, his contention that contemplation is superior in “serious” worth to political and military actions seems to suggest that bravery in battle or in the face of adversity is not as important or beneficial as that of virtuous thought.   A philosopher can sit and contemplate reason and justice for hours on end without any external goods yes, but what is he accomplishing?  He would then have to apply his studies to a form of action to truly accomplish something virtuous in nature.  The soldier, or the politician, or the doctor may not always find leisure in what they do, but they are directly affecting (ideally for the better) the lives of many around them.

Adding to the above point, Aristotle goes into a discussion of what is more essential to virtue; the will to act or the action itself (what he calls the deed).  While he acknowledges the fact that both are essential, amazingly he states that, “for deeds many things are needed, and more, the greater and nobler the deeds are.  But the man who is contemplating the truth needs no such thing…indeed they are, one may say, even hindrances, at all events to his contemplation”(Nicomachean Ethics 1178b1-5).  Barring a misunderstanding on my end, it appears that Aristotle is stating that since virtuous acts themselves (we’ll use an extreme like saving a life) require “things” other than the mind, they are inferior to thinking of virtuous things (like how to save a life).  Does this not sound like simple laziness on Aristotle’s part?  As clichéd as this may sound, if everyone lived the life of study, nothing would get done!

In concluding this, one point needs to be made quite clear.  Aristotle is correct in saying that a life of study is important, yes, it is just as important and impactful as a life of action.  The key it would appear – and this is something Aristotle would likely agree with – is to live a life that combines the best of these two virtues, the will and the deed as it were.  For the individual who studies, and then demonstrates his discoveries through action, undoubtedly encompasses the most just of virtues.

Works Cited

Aristotle, and Richard McKeon. The Basic Works of Aristotle. New York: Modern Library, 2001. 1093-112. Print.


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Cool Thing #13: An Old Fashioned Night at the Movies

At the risk of sounding cliche, I’ve got a bone to pick.  I am an avid film-goer who ventures to the movie theater weekly (often times more so) to watch the newest releases from the big guns (20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Brothers, etc.) and the little guys (E1, Alliance Films, etc.), but what I don’t go to see is Fletch or Chet (or whatever the hell his name is) the magician who sneaks up on some poor unsuspecting sod and shows them a magic trick.  I also don’t go to see Jeff or Mitch or whatever the guys name is who is showing off the latest tech that none of us can afford.  I go to the movie theater to see two things:

1. The Coming Attractions

2. The Feature Presentation

In Winnipeg, the Globe Cinema and Empire Theaters – Grant Park, are about as close as someone can get to a more traditional film experience as they have less crap before their films, but Silver City? I cherish the time I wait in line to get popcorn, I encourage people to take their time at the automated ticket machines, just so I don’t have to watch some magician pull a bird out of his pants.

Rewind to sixty, seventy, even eighty years ago, and what do you think played before the movies then? Newsreels, short films, cartoons…things actually worth watching that is.

Here is what I propose, every so often I am going to round up a newsreel and a short cartoon or comedy skit, exactly the same as you would have seen before a movie all those years ago, and post them on my blog.

If even one person watches them before they start watching a movie, I will have done my job.  The cinema used to be an event, why can’t it still be?

Here is tonight’s segment, all from 1951, perfect for those who own the original The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Movietone Newsreel

The Looney Tunes

Lovelorn Leghorn

And now for your Feature Presentation:

(Go out and BUY or RENT the movie if you are interested in seeing it!)


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Cool Thing #12

Flynn Lives!

With the release of Tron: Legacy this past December, it is interesting to look back on the “Flynn Lives” ARG (Alternate Reality Game) to see what exactly it accomplished, and how far its creators pushed the ficticious world of TRON into its followers own realities.

God damn Bridges..err...Flynn is a handsome man.

Kicking off in July 2009 (shortly before the San Diego Comic-Con) and ending December 15 2010 (two days before TRON: Legacy’s release) , the website initially featured only the above cryptic image (Flynn being the Jeff Bridges character in the original Tron film). Through the next year and a half the “organizations” website featured a time line of Flynn sightings, along with press clippings and other corroborative material.  In addition members (or Field Operatives) of the Flynn Lives website were tasked with a series of games and missions related to Flynn’s whereabouts.  Video interviews, games, member meetings, and more were posted multiple times every month helping to immerse the websites followers in the world and urgency of the website.

The year and a half online event ended with a bang just days before the films release.  ARGNet has an excellent account of the finale as they themselves had operatives on hand to participate in the event, follow the link below for more information.

I have to hand it to Disney for creating the Flynn Lives ARG as it really is an ode to the strong fan base behind the original TRON film, the fan base that is likely in part responsible for this sequel in the first place.  More companies (no matter what the medium) should look closely at the Flynn Lives campaign because it is an excellent example of how to treat your fans (who are also your customers).

For more information check out the official website and for a participants perspective

Flynn Lives, it’s a Cool Thing.

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