Quick Design Tip: Create Better Presentations by Using Canva and Unsplash

This article was first published on my LinkedIn profile. 

Improve the quality of your PowerPoint presentations by using Canva templates and enhancing them with images from Unsplash.com.

Canva’s Presentations library offers many free templates that you can use to build your presentation. They’re great to use because they combine good design with vibrant images.

Finding good images that relate to your presentation can sometimes be a challenge. A lot of stock photography is pretty bland.

That’s where Unsplash comes in.

Unsplash provides free, high-resolution images that you can use for whatever you like.

The website is searchable and categorizes images into different collections. This allows you to track down images related to the theme of your presentation.

Download your favourite images from Unsplash and then upload them into your Canva workspace. The drag and drop nature of Canva makes it easy to insert your images.

This method is faster and easier to use than traditional PowerPoint software. The finished product is also much more pleasing to the eye.

Make your next business presentation stand out by combining these two resources.

On The Demise of the Belleville Bulls

Bulls_logo_GoldOn March 12th, it was announced that the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League had been sold and would be relocating to the much larger city of Hamilton for the start of the 2015-16 season.

I worked for the Bulls for a total of four seasons (2007/08 -2010/11) as the public address announcer in the Yardmen Arena. To date, it’s the longest tenured job I’ve ever had (albeit it was a seasonal and part-time job). Although I left Belleville years ago and am currently overseas, since hearing the news I’ve still spent a great deal of time thinking about the demise of the team and the four years I spent there.

The newspaper and radio stations in Belleville have been discussing this story non-stop since it broke. Everyone seems to have an opinion on who is to blame. I have my own thoughts on the matter and believe there are lessons to be learned from this sad story. Rather than rehashing the issues here in a typical blog post, I opt to simply write a poem about the team and its demise.

On a March afternoon, the shocking news broke:
The Belleville Bulls had gone up in smoke.
After thirty-four years of family, friendship and fun,
This was to be the team’s sad final run.

Decades ago, when the team joined the ‘O’
The business of junior didn’t resemble The Show.
Good men like the Doctor and Bob Dolan, too.
Helped bring a small club, up from tier two.

Mav and McSorley, Pang and Dunc,
The first season in Belleville hardly stunk.
The team was respectable and always competed,
A trip to the finals, was soon completed.

The big Yardmen ice was a place like no other,
The fans came and cheered, like they would for a brother.
As the millennium closed, the boys became kings,
Bringing the Friendly City, fresh championship rings.

But the good Doctor grew weary and looked to unload,
The team was for sale, the city was told.
Lord Simmonds of Uxbridge emerged from the West!
Insisting he knew how to run the team best.

Trust an outsider, oh, how the fans were suspicious!
Some of them claimed the Lord to be vicious.
The Yardmen was old, said the Lord to the Gavel
We need a new rink, before things start to unravel.

With distrust on all sides, a stalemate was reached,
Slowly but surely appeared more empty seats.
The music’s too loud! The coach is too boring!
We miss the days when the team was scoring!

The years passed and the losses mounted,
All who followed knew the Bulls days were counted.
Then came the noose, or should I say lasso,
the night Belleville voters elected Mayor Taso.

A decade of losses and a mayor spewing invective,
left stingy Lord Simmonds hurt and dejected.
Hamilton came calling with a tantalizing offer,
Which would help the good Lord, replete his own coffer.

Boom! The deal hit like a bolt of lightning,
leaving the city’s inhabitants grieving and fighting.
Three decades of memories and a deep love for the game,
weren’t enough to keep the Bulls’ address the same.

Struggling cities with sports teams take note,
it takes more than your love to keep a franchise afloat.
To keep your team rooted, these things are a must:
Great vision, conviction and a culture of trust.

These traits were not present, in a city called Friendly,
and now the old Yardmen will lie dark and empty.

Update: The Belleville Bulls have played their final game. I captured the audio of the final broadcast of Belleville Bulls hockey on CJBQ 800am radio. Fans of the now defunct team can listen to Jack Miller and Paul Svoboda call the action. The Barrie Colts defeated the Belleville Bulls 4-2 at Yardmen Arena to cap off a sweep of their first round playoff matchup and end the Bulls 34 year run in the Quinte region.

Start Your Day With Eggs

egg-318227_640A simple recommendation that I want to pass along today: Start your day with eggs.

Since I’ve started having eggs for breakfast (instead of cereal or toast or whatever) I’ve noticed a sharp increase in the amount of energy I have in the following hours. Eating eggs for breakfast gives me a huge boost that powers me through the day. I attack the gym with more vigour on my workout days and no longer feel sluggish in the first few hours after getting out of bed.

According to Egg Farmers of Canada, one large egg is loaded with nutritional value including six grams of protein and only 70 calories. This colourful infographic below highlights all the benefits:

EFC-Nutrition-Comp-Eng

On top of being good for you and providing you with a great source of energy to get you through your day, eggs are incredibly budget friendly. They are one of the cheapest staples you can buy at your local grocery store. In Canada you can usually find a dozen large eggs for under $3. Right now, I’m in Hungary, where I can purchase a carton of 18 eggs for about $3 Canadian.

There are literally thousands of egg recipes on the internet. I like to typically prepare my eggs two ways.

For a breakfast meal, I like to fry my eggs sunny side up. To give the meal a little something extra, I chop up an onion and some garlic and then caramelize them both in a pan. Once they are done, I dump them onto my plate and then fry up my eggs, coating the pan with butter. I’ll usually crack four or five eggs at a time. I fry them up while making sure the whites are cooked but the yolk is runny. When I’m done, I scoop the eggs out and dump them on top of my garlic and onions. I then let the yolk run and mix in with the onions and garlic. It all mixes together into a delicious greasy heap. This simple recipe makes for a filling, nutritious, tasty and cheap breakfast that sustains me for hours.

eggs

My other prefered method of cooking eggs is to use a vegetable steamer. The end process is similar to boiled eggs, but I find that my eggs peel much easier when steamed. It’s also a really quick way to prepare the eggs, as getting a few millimeters of water to boil doesn’t take long. There’s also barely any clean up to deal with afterwards. Add some salt and maybe a spicy sauce for variety and you’re done. These are good for meals throughout the day, especially when you’re busy and don’t have time to prepare a proper meal.

Hard-Boiled-Eggs-Pressure-Cooking-Today

This is old world food that has been providing sustenance to humans for millennia and it’s no accident. Try having eggs every day for breakfast for a week and see how it feels. You might be surprised at just how big a boost they can provide.


Richard Nixon on What Makes Life Mean Something

You see, people, the average person now you understand this, I do not consider myself to be other than an average person, none of us should really. We all think we’re a little smarter than we are.

But you feel it, well gee, isn’t it just great to have enough money to afford to live in a very nice house and to be able to play golf and to have nice parties and to wear good clothes, shoes, suits, etc. Or travel if you want to.

And the answer is If you don’t have those things, then they can mean a great deal to you. When you do have them, they mean nothing to you.

To me, the unhappiest people of the world are those in the watering places, the international watering places like the south coast of France, Newport, Palm Springs and Palm beach, going to parties every night, playing golf every afternoon, then Bridge, drinking too much, talking too much, thinking too little, retire. No purpose.

And so, while I know there are those who would totally disagree with this and say: “Gee! Boy, if I could just be a millionaire that would be the most wonderful thing. If I could just not have to work everyday. I could just be out fishing or hunting or playing golf or traveling, that would be the most wonderful life in the world.

They don’t know life.

Because what makes life mean something is purpose, a goal, the battle, the struggle¦even if you don’t win it!

I know a lot of people, I can understand it, say: “gee whiz, it just isn’t fair for an individual to get off with a pardon simply because he happens to have been President, when another individual goes to trial and maybe has to serve a prison sentence for it. I can understand how they feel. I can only say that no one in the world, no one in our history, can know how I felt, no one can know how it feels to resign the Presidency of the United States. Is that punishment enough? Oh, probably not. But whether it is or isn’t, we have to live with not only the past but for the future.

I don’t know what the future brings, but whatever it brings, I’ll still be fighting.

On The Events in Ottawa This Week

Oct_Sunset_0004

Some quick thoughts on this week’s events in Ottawa, even though I’m currently far away.

***

It was strange seeing downtown Ottawa on my TV screen here. Not so much seeing the Parliament Buildings or the War Memorial, but the downtown streets. Being able to recognize the corner of Metcalfe and Slater, with its three coffee shops (Starbucks, Second Cup and Tim Hortons) or the Post Office at Sparks street, with its giant lion sculptures or that Anderson Cooper was standing on Elgin street as the transitway buses buzzed behind him was strange. Downtown Ottawa is so small, it’s really easy to recognize all of its features.

***

When you meet new people over here, the first conversation always follows the same script. They ask me where I’m from (or sometimes assume I’m American), to which I reply Canada. When they ask me where in Canada, I usually say Ottawa. More often than not, they’ve never heard of it. Sometimes I pronounce it as it would look to an eastern European “Oh-Tah-Vah to help. I usually get a blank stare or a fake “oh yeah!

For the next little while, I’m pretty sure I won’t have this problem.

***

Peace Tower

My biggest takeaway from this terrible story is that I hope Parliament Hill remains as accessible as always.

It would be a shame if this lone wolf ruined a great thing. I hope to be able to walk around to the back of the building, looking out on the great views across the Ottawa river and that the front lawn remains open to the public, yoga classes and dogs forever. It’s nice that no matter what time you happen to stroll up to the Centennial Flame (I’ve been there pretty late at night), you can find a few people hanging around. Even in winter.

That level of accessibility is pretty unique. I hope we haven’t lost it.