Good Monday morning everyone, I hope you had a great weekend! It was a pretty great one I think, with just the right mix of fall weather. I got my lawn all mowed (finally) for probably the last time this season, sadly. Nights are getting colder, and it’s only a matter of time before we start using that dreaded “S” word.
COVID is still affecting the events industry, so unfortunately, it’s another slow week in Ottawa on that front. Thankfully though we’ve still got some great Halloween events going on throughout the city. As a reminder, here’s a little run down of what those events are:
Saunders Farm offers day and night versions of their Halloween event, with age appropriate activities for all members of your family. The daytime activities include hay rides, corn mazes, play structures and many more fun things for the kiddos to do. They’re running at less than 10% capacity due to COVID, so get your tickets in advance. Each ticket is good for a 2-hour window.
The evening events are not so kid-friendly. Admission gets you into the haunted hayride, The Coven, and The Shambles, each of which will scare the crap out of you! With these also running at reduced capacity, you will want to get your tickets early.
Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village is also on this month. You can take the family and go for a tour to check out all the activities and quadrillions (at least) of carved pumpkins that they’ve got on display. It’s a really fun family outing, and worth the short drive. A listing of all the activities are available on the Upper Canada Village website. However, with that being said, they have announced that they are completely sold out for the season, so you’ll have to watch Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace for tickets.
East of the City, you can go check out Acres of Terror at Cannamore Orchard. This has previously been called the “Spooky Wagon Ride” in past seasons, and with the re-branding, you’ll find even more fun! This is the 28th season of this event, but as with the other Halloween events, tickets are very limited. Acres of Terror offers spooky wagon rides, a fog maze, a house of terror and more. Check their website for full details.
Wesley Clover Park has a drive through event called Deadwood. In this activity, you stay in your car and move from one terrifying scene to another, solving a scary mystery. I haven’t been there personally yet, but it looks incredible, and from what I’ve seen during their past events, Wesley Clover staff go all out to deliver amazing events.
In Stittsville, you can find the Haunted Heritage Tours, which will take you through an iconic little town. You’ll hear some creepy folklore and enjoy some haunting experiences.
If you’re looking to stay in the city, The Billings Estate is offering historic cemetery tours on various evenings throughout the fall. Although not officially deemed a Halloween event, an hour-long cemetery tour sounds pretty creepy, especially when you hear of the tales of death that go along with the headstones.
Information and dates on all these Halloween events are available on my events calendar.
Once again, we have no concerts in Ottawa, but there are a lot of fantastic ones streaming online! I know it’s not the same as seeing these great acts live, in-person, but it’s still something enjoable to take in! As an added bonus, it might keep people inside and away from virus-ville. So far for this week, I’ve found Zac Brown Band on Tuesday night, Plain White T’s on Wednesday, Tedeschi Trucks Band on Thursday, and then on Saturday, you can choose from Billie Eilish, Avril Lavigne, or the Goo Goo Dolls!
On the music topic, I came across an article about the Flaming Lips this week! I saw them at Bluesfest many years ago, and they were an astonishingly entertaining act. They make up for their mediocre music ability (they have a few good songs, but most aren’t great IMHO) with their stage presence and sensory overload-approach to entertaining!! I loved them live! This past week, they were performing at The Criterion in New York City, hosting a concert and filming a music video simultaneously. Each member of the band and the audience were literally in their own bubble. The bubble concept wasn’t new to The Flaming Lips, but it certainly was for everyone in attendance!
Bits and Bytes
This is my random story and features section. These topics don’t necessarily have anything to do with Ottawa. It could include stories about current news issues, sports, funny videos, and/or perhaps just random things that I’ve discovered over the previous week. I hope you enjoy!
Ottawa, The Sleepy City
Part of my mission with Covert Ottawa Guy is to defend how much fun Ottawa is, despite competing entertainment cities of Toronto and Montreal being fairly close by. I do believe in my heart and soul that Ottawa is an amazing city with tons of festivals, concerts, sports and everything in between. It is not the city where fun came to die. However, I will also concede that we’re a government town, and a typical one at that, where everything shuts down at night. It’s hard to find something to do after 11pm, and also hard to find traffic on the roads. We like our sleep!
A German company, VAAY, who created a brand of CBD, conducted a global survey of major cities around the world, and Ottawa ranked #11 of 75 for the sleepiest city! According to the survey, we average 7.1 hours of sleep per night (obviously people without babies were surveyed). Other Canadian cities that made the list are Vancouver (37th), Calgary (39th) and Toronto (50th). Amsterdam topped the chart at #1. I know for sure that I value my sleep, but I’m not sure if this is something to be proud of or not?
How to have more fun!
This weekly newsletter seems to include a weekly Podcast commentary, but I learn some really interesting things on them. This week, I was listening to the Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris. He was interviewing Catherine Price, who is an expert on how to have fun! What a great thing to be an expert in! At the start of the interview, they were discussing something I’ve brought up in previous newsletters: the separation between us and our devices. They spent a great deal of time discussing “stress scrolling” or “doom scrolling,” which most of us are guilty of with our phones/computers. This basically is an emotional reaction to various negative stimuli that we’ve had inflicted on us in our day to day lives. To take our mind off this negativity, we go to our electronics and doom scroll to take our mind off our problems.
This doom scrolling creates more negativity in our subconscious, as very little comes from social media and the news. We are drawn to this action reflexively to take our minds off of our own issues, but the constant flow of negative news stories and jealousy-inducing posts on social media do not help our frame of mind. Catherine had several great tips to reduce screen time, and overall, how to improve one’s mood. The novel one for me was, “don’t have any screen time right before bed, or first thing in the morning.” Apps are designed to command your attention and can draw you in to an unending cycle of negativity. At night, they can alter your mood and affect your sleep quality and, in the morning, they can start your day off with negativity instead of positivity. She recommended trying to stay off your device for 30 minutes when you first get up. This includes your alarm. Don’t use your phone as your alarm clock. Once you’ve mastered this, you are on your way to having more fun, and ultimately, becoming a happier individual.
In order to have more fun, Catherine follows this helpful Acronym, SPARK:
S – Space (make it). You need to have space in your life to bring more fun into it. This is strongly tied to her theory on reducing screen time. They are directly related.
P – Pursue Actions. You must actually do something to have more fun. This is very subjective and will vary for each individual, but you need to do something that represents fun to you. Just get out there and do it.
A – Attract Fun. You should get yourself into a mindset where you attract fun. Have you ever known that person who is “fun” that you want to spend more time with? You need to be that person, where others want to do things with you.
R – Rebel. You need to step outside of your comfort zone a little bit. Do something that is outside of the ordinary and escape from your responsibilities (in a legal manner of course), and this will increase the dopamine in your system, which gives you a pleasure high, and allows you to have more fun!
K – Keep it up. This can’t be something that you just do once. This is a lifestyle that you’re trying to create to increase your life’s happiness.
Last week, I talked about how we react to people’s aggressive behaviour. I used a specific example about aggressive driving, but people can be aggressive in all of their behaviour. As a closing video, let’s have a look at what life would be like if everything you did was aggressive: