Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Blog Out Loud Ottawa

So as I did last year, I will be participating in Blog Out Loud Ottawa again this summer! I am super stoked, because it was really fun last year and I'm glad to do it again this year.

The event is July 7th at Irene's in the Glebe, (check out the website for more info). Come on out Ottawa bloggers! Even if you don't read, it's fun to meet everyone. Come out and say hi! And give me encouraging looks. Because even though I read last year and it was fine, I still wonder how it will go...

But seriously, go. The lineup this year is AWESOME. I am looking forward to it.

Also, I will be on Ottawa U radio CHUO (89.1 FM in Ottawa) being interviewed about BOLO with fellow blogger Elizabeth Cooke. I just read her blog, and I'm glad I did. Go and read it. If you like the Twitter, she is a prolific Tweeter with many followers. My Twittering pales in comparison to hers. Lynn from Turtlehead blog, BOLO organiser, will also be on the line tomorrow. So tune in at 5:20!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Earthquake Response

My first instinct when my building began to shake and bounce was to dive into a doorway. My second was to turn to Twitter.

First Kady O'Malley was posting about feeling it. Then a couple friends. Then the jokes started. The rumours and info and one-liners started flying across the Twitterverse, grabbing my attention. I felt instantly connected to everything going on, which I loved, as I passed on tweets and read down the stream.

I did not have access to a TV, so I don't know what that response was like, but CTV's twitter account was excellent. Their website crashed, apparently, but they did a good job of collecting information and passing it on.

CBC radio kept playing Writers and Company, as if anyone in most of Ontario cared about writers or their company after feeling the earth shaking. CBC online posted its story a whole hour later.

The Globe and Mail's response was good as well. They tweeted that they were evacuating their Ottawa building, and soon had a livechat set up on their website, gathering and sharing information. From there, I saw that people as far as Detroit said they'd felt it.

From my experience yesterday, you can't really beat Twitter for instantaneous response. I think media outlets should keep that in mind, and make sure they put enough effort into their Twitter accounts.

Zoom wrote about this topic today as well. The Globe and Mail tech blog posted this about Twitter and earthquakes.

PS: Favourite jokes of the day include anything about fake lake tsunami warnings, declarations that "Quebec is finally separating!" (topical, since today is St Jean Baptiste Day), and Industry Minister Tony Clement's post: "I blame #bieber #earthquake". I liked his trending topic convergence.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Reasons why I'm tired right now

1. I don't seem to be able to get to bed before 12:30. I try, but I always fail.

2. Staring at a computer screen all days puts me to sleep. Ditto the air conditioning.

3. I joined a rugby team!

4. I just spent hours shopping. My sister and my mom are champs.

I think I will sleep very soon. And stretch first, in the hopes that I will be able to use the muscles in my thighs tomorrow for practice. No promises.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Cool Lady

Right now I'm reading Kelly Cutrone's book If You Have To Cry, Go Outside and other lessons your mother never taught you. Cutrone is a major publicist in the fashion world, owner of the company People's Revolution. She's currently famous for her role on the MTV shows The Hills and The City.

I love Kelly Cutrone, most of all because she knows her shit and she takes no prisoners. She is ballsy, she takes control, she does all those things that are traditionally "masculin" and she does them unapologetically. I find that when I take on those traits, I find myself compensating by being sweeter, or being diminutive in other ways. Kelly will take none of that.

That's not to say she is completely masculin. She's excellent at challenging the feminin; she calls herself Mama Wolf of her tribe. She looks out for the people who work for her, especially the girls, who she wants to help navigate a world that's crazy and has ridiculous expectations. Though she works in fashion, she wears black head to toe every day and forgoes makeup, as a rule.

Her office and home are different parts of the same space, allowing her to take care of her seven-year-old daughter and her company. Where women are so often forced to choose, she chose to say "screw that" and do it her own way. And she did it alone. She loves being a single mom, and doesn't need a man to be a complete person.

She is a seriously cool chick. I love her guts and her spirit. I love how she embraces feminism and knows she's cool for it. And she is.

Friday, 18 June 2010

CBC Themes

In my Reporting Techniques class this semester, one of my favourite teachers, the radio teachers, taught us about radio newscasts. His amazing, deep, classic radio voice lends anythign he says a certian gravitas, and I love listening to him recount stories and explain the ins and outs of radio in his affected tones. He taught us that the theme jingle that plays each hour before the newscast plays an important role. The sound is meant to invoke a Pavlovian-like response. Doug explains it: "They go 'HEY! DEAR! SHUDDUP! No, no, shh, the news is on, quiet.' Then they turn the radio up". *

The CBC themes and voices are very sentimental, nostalgia-inducing things for me. The As It Happens theme (and voices of Barbara Budd et al, natch) makes me think of driving home from dinner parties with my parents, half asleep in the back. The old Quirks and Quarks theme makes me think of Saturday afternoons, driving home from gynastics/horseback riding/dance class. It has such a feeling for me, I was very sad to learn of the new theme when it came in.

When I moved to Nova Scotia for school, one of the things I had to get used to was the different shows and voices. Instead of being from Ottawa, the voice between shows said "you're listening to CBC radio one, 90 point five in Sheet Harbour". That, and there was way more country, folk, and even celtic music, AND there were CO-HOSTS on the morning show**! I liked the Sunday afternoon shows because they made me feel at home, the same across the country.

Even with the weird newness, I listen to a lot of CBC in Halifax, and it's my primary source of news. I leave it on pretty much all day. I didn't realize how much affection I was starting to feel for those characters a CBC Nova Scotia until today when, on a whim, I turned the internet CBC tuner to Mainstreet, the drive-home show in Halifax. When the news ended and the theme played and Stephanie Domet's voice came through, announcing the stories for the hour, I felt a happy warm feeling. She then announced a folky celtic style song. Of course. Oh CBC Nova Scotia. I guess I miss you more than I thought!

*Word for word what I wrote in my notebook.

**True story. Also, the Saturday morning show is co-hosted by a horse.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Citizenship and Immigration

Margaret Wente's column today brings up an interesting question about citizenship and immigration. In Canada, our society is based on a set of values where individuals have control and freedom (with certain restrictions, such as prohibitions on murder and theft) and men and women are considered equal. I don't personally know many Canadians who would disagree with this. I assumed naively when I was younger, that people who come to Canada know this and are looking for this kind of society in which to start a new life. This is what we are taught in school, by teachers, and by parents.

Some call Canada a "melting pot", others a "fruit cake" (for the consistency more than the connotations, I think) but even in our diversity as Canadians, isn't it important that we hold some general, basic values in common?

Lansdowne Meeting Tonight

Tonight at 7:30 at Lansdowne, the Friends of Lansdowne are holding a meeting to look at the plans for the redevelopement of Lansdown Park. This is a very important issue. I do not live in the Glebe, but I live near there, in Old Ottawa South. It's about a fifteen minute walk from my house to the edge of Lansdowne. My street and streets all over my neighbourhood are slated for use as parking areas for this new development. Sunnyside ave in my area would be used as a main route to get to the new development - nevermind that it's already operating at 100% capacity, according to the city.

The city simply has not thought through the chaos that this development, including 350, 000 square feet of retail space, the large new stadium with far less parking, and a twelve story hotel, will bring. There is no rapid transit to the area. There is nowhere near enough parking. Bank street is already in effect a two-lane road because the parking is used all the time.

I urge anyone interested or affected (residents of the Glebe, Old Ottawa South and East, etc) to come out tonight to the meeting, or to go to http://www.letsgetitright.ca/ and send a message to city councillors. While I agree that Lansdowne needs a new plan and needs to change, this is not the answer.

Tonight there will be lots of great speakers discussing the plan, including Ian Lee, Director of the MBA Program at Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. You can see what he's previously said about the Lansdowne Live proposal in this video.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

And People Think We Don't Need Feminists Anymore: Aqsa Parvez's Murder

I find it disturbing when people tell me (and this happens on a regular basis) that the world doesn't really need feminists anymore.

16-year-old Aqsa Parvez was killed by her brother and father in what the media love to call an "honour killing".

I don't like that term. I find that that label allows people to file it away as a problem that doesn't relate to our western society, not really. It allows people to think it's the problem of other countries and cultures. But this happened in Canada.

What I find most disturing is some of the comments quoted from the brother. He said that were Aqsa his daughter, he wouldn't have killed her. He would have broken her legs, a more reasonable option to him.

Aqsa's father said he killed her because he would be disgraced for not controling his own daughter. As if she were his to control. An object.

This did not happen in a far away country (not that that matters). This happened here. It is heartbreaking. It is disgusting.

The world still needs feminists.

UPDATE: On Ontario Today, Rita Celli had an interesting chat with Shahina Siddiqui with the Islamic Social Services Association. She also took issue with the term "honour killing", and made the important point that murder is not part of religion. "Abusers will use any excuse," she said. She suggested that mental health issues could be at play with this highly controling man. This is another important issue - "honour killing" makes people think it's part of his religion, whereas with Christians who commit violent acts in the name of their religion, they're sick in the head. It's all about a lack of understanding, I think.

Many quotes and info from this Globe and Mail story, among other news stories I've read while following this.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Grammar Rant

Yes, it's true; I think grammar is very important. Grammar is the rule set of the language game, which is my game. So I learn the rules. Sure you can bend them, but as they say, you have to learn the rules to break them.

Now, I know that not everyone has the same disturbing, finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard-like reaction every time someone says "less" when they mean "fewer" (it's so bad I usually have to correct them, even under my breath, to feel better), and there are those things we all struggle with (who and whom takes years to master)...

And I know that typos happen all the time in the land of the intertubes. I myself am guilty of these, they pepper my blog even as I try to avoid them (more concerted effort in future, I promise)...

BUT honestly, people, "its" and "it's"? Kids stuff. Definitely a primary level grammar course. And it drives me nuts when people don't even try*, especially when these people have large audiences listening to them. Grammar is important! It's about communication, about being heard. A forgotten or misplaced comma can change the meaning of your sentence completely. And the wrong homonym makes you look silly. Come on. Make an effort.

*I don't think that the Design*Sponge people (or person who edits everything, I'd guess, since all posts are guilty) has any idea there are two different forms of "it's/its", let alone how to use them. I have pointed it out several time, politely, but nothing has changed. I may have to stop reading. It's that frustrating.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bloggers on T-shirts!

My, my blogging really is big business! Forever 21 with Danny Robberts put out a capsule collection of T-shirts with fashion bloggers on them. They're so cute, I will definitely try to pick up the Pandora T-shirt. I went over to her blog and it's very cute.

Photos: here

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Driving Lessons

Learning to drive is a lot of work. I underestimated that when I signed up for both Driver’s Ed and an online course. I’ve made the decision to put my course on the back burner while I finish up my driver’s ed program.

This week is crunch week. From last Sunday to this coming Monday, I will have racked up 11 hours of driver’s ed, in-car and in-class lessons. And that doesn’t include time spent practice driving (parallel parking isn’t as scary as it seemed!) as well as on the online component now mandated by the Ontario Government. That’s right, in addition to 20 hours in a classroom and 10 hours in a car, students are also required to do 10 hours* of online training as well. I haven’t even started. Pretty soon, things will get harder with the minimum waiting period between G1 (learner’s permit) and G2 going up to 18 months in Ontario, less with driver’s ed, though I don’t know what the difference will be.

I’ve had my G1 for three years already (WOW time flies), so I don’t need to complete Driver’s Ed before taking a G2 road test, but it will get me a break on insurance costs. I’ll try to wrap up the online next week and practice, practice, practice in preparation for my test, scheduled for July 7th. I really hope I pass – just me and the open road! Brilliant.

*approximately 10 hours. In reality, the online part takes between 6 and 10 hours.

Photo: from a trip to Vancouver last year.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Business Cards

A couple of weeks ago, I went to an event where I met a lot of high-profile national journalists, people I read and listen to and admire. It was a great experience, something I'll write about later, but they did that thing that you do when you're a grown-up and you meet someone new: they exchanged business cards.

I need to get me some business cards. Something simple, just my name, my email, and a phone number, something I can give to people I meet, socially or professionally. As much as it's about how good you are, it's also about who you know, it's the way it works. It's an easy way to make connections.

I don't yet have a design in mind... in fact, my design skills are not stellar. If I had my way, I'd make them by hand with watercolour paper and my paints and pens, sort of like the ones above. This process does not, however, lead to effective mass production.

Photos: 1 2 3

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Night at Irene's

After a full day spent inside, I ventured out to Irene's for beers and music. Good night!

Creepy, ominous sky that never came through with a storm.

Even with a broken clavicle, Milan took some great pictures!

The Avenues (of Peterborough) played a fun set. Plus, Stella and her Guinness.


I love snail mail so much! There's something very satisfying about holding the words in your hands. I guess I'm somewhat of a tactile creature.

Last summer, Phil and I wrote letters back and forth. The letters were about random things; our days, dreams, some sweet words. They were slow, as we waited for Canada Post to pass our envelopes across two provinces, wrote a response, and sent it back.

For the past couple of weeks, Phil has sent me a letter every single day. I get two every second day, usually two consecutive days, but not always (thank Canada Post). There have been a couple cards, most short, some just a few words. But he's sent one every day.

Apparently, I'm to expect a culmination of all of this.

I've also started snail mailing with a friend in BC. I am thrilled to be collecting pen pals; if anyone else wants a pen pal (even someone in Ottawa... I do live in Halifax 8 months of the year!), let me know. If you write me, I write back!

Pictures for "Rainy Day"

For some reason my computer wouldn't upload the pictures properly for my post the other day... here are the pictures who go with it.

Scenes from the Great Glebe Garage Sale:

My fantastic vintage dress find:

Saf! On our bike ride down the canal.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Bus People

When I was a kid, I walked to school and my parents had a car to drive me to gymnastics and dance on the weekend. I didn’t start taking the bus until I was in high school, and even then, only in grade 10. It was a revelation. With two little coloured tickets, I could go anywhere I wanted to, and be totally free, until I had to be home for dinner. And my parents were handing them out to me. They were giving me freedom.

The thing I love most about the bus these days, now that I (mostly) live away from my parents and bus surfing has become old hat, is the people watching. I see so many cool people on the bus. I especially love taking the late afternoon bus, and seeing all the different kinds of people.

I love the woman I encounter most days who gets on the bus in the Glebe, always wearing a skirt suit, with her baby in a carrier on her front. She wears her suit jacket over the carrier, so she looks perfectly office ready, with a literal baby bump out the front. She spends the whole bus ride with one hand on him, with a beautiful light in her eyes.

There’s a guy who I notice on the bus from time to time, less for his snappy dressing (so classic, refined, and masculine… but he looks my age. Props.) than for his confident attitude. He breezes on and off the bus, in his own world, unconcerned by anyone else on the bus. I always wonder where he’s going.

The other day I saw an androgynous girl with a funky short haircut and fantastic sneakers. She had an iPod tucked into her back pocket and held a copy of Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. She carried it the way some girls carry clutch purses – books as accessories! Fabulous. Especially since so many books have a lot of aesthetic value, whether they’re trendy new paperbacks, or yellowed and old, with a worn cover (can you tell I love paperbacks?). I wanted to take her picture, and kicked myself for being without my camera.

I find buses to be extremely inspiring places. I always see someone I want to capture, as an image or a story. I mostly imagine where I think they are going, why they’re going there, and most importantly, where they’re coming from, gathering any clues I can from their body language. I would love to spend hours sitting on a busy bus, listening to intriguing riders tell me their stories.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Rainy Day

A dark grey sky always makes me grumpy and cranky, craving fluffy pillows and cozy sweatpants. Even while working in an office all day, I feel that greyness of the day oozing into my head. It’s like my neurons have been replaced with cotton balls. Not fun.

After a jam-packed weekend that left me friend-high and downtime-low right up until Sunday night, I have been mostly hibernating for a couple of days. I’ve had to force myself, basically – seeing people and going out into the world is my favourite thing to do, even when my body is telling me it would rather sleep.

Seriously though, it was a great weekend. It involved friends from out of town, watching the half-marathon in Ottawa Race Weekend, the Great Glebe Garage Sale, and The Neon Bible Project. And more friends. Plus Bubble Tea.

Here is me with my #1 find at the GGGS – a vintage, hand-beaded beauty of a dress that fits like it was made for me. I ducked into a stranger’s backyard to try it on, and though it was not exactly usual Garage Sale fare, I couldn’t resist for $20. Amazing right?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tuesday News

Today’s exciting news is… my second year of university is paid off! Oooh, that feels good. My parents and I work to pay it together, and my last contribution put us in the black for 09-10!

And… fall fees are due in only 3 ½ months.

Today on the internet:

This high school principal deserves a medal for dealing with this Prom vs. G20 meetings fiasco.

Though I love Being Erica, CBC TV is not where I look for my quality entertainment most of the time. I think I’m with John Doyle from the Globe and Mail – wouldn’t it be great if a public broadcaster took some risks?

Halifax is a pretty stylin’ place (if you think I’m being sarcastic, you should go visit) with a great biking community. I think me and my new bike will fit right in.