One of the big problems with search engines is their lack of genuine curation. What ranks well (shows up on the first page of Google) isn’t necessarily the best content. In fact, it’s rarely the best content.
The articles that show up at the top are the ones that people have linked to the most, or that have the deepest pockets for advertising, and that’s a shame. So I’ve decided to do something about that and start interviewing the people behind some of my favorite websites, starting with Calvin Heighton, the man behind Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Coolness.
I found his site randomly, fell in love with it, and reached out asking if he would be willing to share a bit of his time and tell you guys about his site, what drives him, and the evil of squids. I hope you enjoy part one of this interview, with more coming in the near future.
An Interview with Calvin Heighton
Mind telling my readers a little bit about yourself?
I am 57 years old. I used to be a teacher but after a shooting incident I retired and needed something to do to fill my time and blogging was popular 14 years ago and after checking out several other blogs I decided to start one of my own. I haven’t gone a day without posting something. Over 11 million page views and near 50 thousand individual posts is a great achievement I think.
I think your site is super weird, and I love it. What kicked this whole thing off?
My Father would call my space in the basement the CAVE OF COOL because of all the neat things I always had around from comics and toys and music and books and other things that I felt were cool. I thought that if I started a blog I needed a theme and Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool was born. My theory was to do a journal of all the cool things that I came across online and that has been my guiding principle since. If I have certified something to be cool then it is COOL. There is no argument about that. I know from Cool. I love travelling through my archives just to see all the cool things I have posted about. I only need to entertain one person and that person is ME.
This will probably be impossible to answer, but what’s the coolest thing you’ve posted?
My story about my first time seeing Star Wars when I was 12. Saw it three times in one night by hiding in the bathroom. I tell the story on You Tube and is an example of me telling one of my stories about something I remember from pop culture of the past. It’s a great story.
What’s one thing that has helped you keep up with posting for 11 years straight?
14 years. It’s my hobby. I enjoy the process of creation even though I do repeat various themes and posts because I swim in those waters.
Where do you find most of your cool things for your blog posts from?
Facebook genre groups who post about things I find interesting in pop culture. Other pop culture bloggers like HEROPRESS and RON’S ROOM.
You’ve got a picture of the Cave of Cool. What’s it look like on the inside?
If you can image walls covered in collages and great collectibles all around that would generally be the look. I am single so no one ever told me I could surround myself with what I was interested in. The blog is an extension of all those myriad of interests. For example I used to make collages until the magazine industry died and my source of images dried up. My IMAGE BLIZZARDS are basically my collage worthy images collected in one place. I will hunt for some pictures of the set up I used to have.
What are your qualifications to protect the planet?
In all my travels I have acquired the skills and the associates to help me keep a handle on the oceans full of Octopus which I hate and fear and believe are as close to aliens as we get on this planet. They are so different from us and they are trouble.
You’re definitely the coolest, but who is the second coolest person? Fictional or historical figures are fine too.
Teddy Roosevelt of course. The man was a legend. Oh and The Most Interesting Man in the World.
What is your favorite thing about history?
The decisions people make that changes the course of history. The little know heroes that we should know more about. Bravery in the face of overwhelming odds.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the world?
I think it’s the last thing we need right now is a crazy dictator and the American politicians that support him openly like the Idiot trump.
What important truth do very few people agree with you on?
That whole pineapple on pizza madness, People who think Octopus are FASCINATING when they are really abominations, I try to show how cosplayers deserve more respect than they get – I mean the real good ones who are artists. I love the process of creation and comment on the results with my movie and TV reviews. You can trust my opinions because I have always been in love with movies and TV. I also like pimple popping videos and sheep shearing. I could watch that shit all day. And everyone should create something that they put their heart and soul into, Even if only a few see it or no one at all, it matters.
Completely agree with you on the business of pineapple on pizza. Truly disgusting. As for cosplayers, you’re right, some of their work is super impressive. No one just does that because they’re bored, you know? Tons of effort must go into these costumes and nailing down the look.
Do you have any absolute favorite cosplayers? Also, what counts for you as a high quality cosplay? More the look and design, or the attitude?
It’s all those things and Riddle “Riki” LeCotey is the greatest of her generation. She makes money doing prop work for the movies and he talent is evident. She is also Canadian and cute as a little squirrel.
What’s the future of Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Coolness look like?
I will continue to do my posts and hope the page views continue. I hope more people like you see my brand and take an interest in the voodoo that I do. I would like more than just my friends commented on my captions which I started when I was teaching so technically I invented the meme. Taking animal pictures and figuring out what the cat or dog is saying and coming up with a caption was a popular assignment in my English classes way back in the early 90s.
Our blog – Balloon Juice is getting ready to return now that I have a stable studio. I miss the one on one contact with my friend MD Jackson who also designed my header, and of course I hope for the day when my genius is recognized and all that F-You money starts rolling in. The kind of money those toilet paper bears get.
Okay, so you’ve seen this meme business evolve from the beginning. How do you think they’ve changed and evolved?
It’s the only way to get someone’s attention. Shorter the better but the point has to be clear. I like to tell a little story with each gag I do.
Tell me more about Balloon Juice. What are your plans for that?
More regular episodes because I have a lot to say about everything and need to podcast. If Dr Freakin Phil has a podcast and his WIFE has a podcast then I should have a podcast to balance the Karma out in the Universe.
More coming soon…
Calvin, thanks again for taking the time to do this!
For everyone reading, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about one of my favorite places on the Internet. There’s a lot more coming soon.