Monday, December 25, 2006
I thought maybe I had it all wrong: why would Ryerson, charming school it is, make its students Fall 2006 marks available on Christmas Day. But I checked the e-mail I had been sent a number times, and there it was: "Fall 2006 grades will be available via RAMSS at 8:00 am on Monday, December 25th."
Around noon, I checked. Nothing. No marks posted.
Around 20 minutes ago, I checked Publish or Perish, and saw Kerry had posted one of her marks. So, I checked RAMSS again. Nothing. No marks posted.
I read the rules again: "Please note that your grades will be withheld if you have any outstanding obligations to the University." I checked my account summary in RAMSS. I don't owe anything to Ryerson, but the school owes me some $220. A nice gift indeed, if I get it.
So, I'm clear of any "obligations" to Ryerson. What's the problem? Why no marks?
If I were to make a Christmas Day guess (and you only get to make these on Christmas Day), I would guess that the person who is to mark me, the marker we shall call her, has forgotten her deadline. So if the marker a.k.a. we know who I'm talking about forgot to do her job (ahem - again), then I have no marks to see until the marker does her job.
I hope this isn't the case, but it's the only plausible explanation that comes to me so late on Christmas Day.
Of the gifts I got none came from the online stream.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Since I've got to work, I've read the Sunday New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, visited my approved links to the left, and am about to start in on the year-ender and year-starter New Yorker issue. Not bored yet, but that's because I'm becoming a professional at avoiding boredom when the only options are a) be bored and b) be bored eventually.
I walked through the PATH to work today: only homeless-looking folks and people drinking coffee. One person had a copy of the Toronto Sun, still Toronto's worst newspaper. On Friday, some friends and I saw an intentionally bad movie called "Eragon." How bad is the film? Consider: in print ads in the New York Times, "Eragon" quotes the Toronto Sun's good review. 'Nuff said, my friends.
The streets of Toronto looked empty until I stepped out of the alley I was in and saw the the big ones (King, Yonge, etc.) had some life.
It's Christmas Eve after all. And I have avoiding boredom to get back to.
Have a great Christmas, everyone.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I'm a few days away from finalizing my final semester schedule. If I can make a switch, it's between the radio documentary and freelance; I'll take whichever I can get.
Both of those classes may sound more ambitious than the great journalism class, but I'm making the switch in the hope of making my final semester more like a short 13-week epilogue to a 91-week story.
I've realized that I have no ambition as I walk to the end of my school career. I've given up on winning any of the School of Journalism's awards, like the best journalist. And I doubt I'll apply for any of the work-based awards, like best business feature.
My ambition, you see, has been replaced with the realization that winning any of these awards means nothing. I can't remember the last time I read a story about a great Canadian journalist who also won the J-skool's top journalist award in his or her final year at Ryerson. I can't remember, because I doubt it's ever happened.
That doesn't mean the School of Journalism's awards are meaningless--okay, it does mean those awards are meaningless. The student journalist who works hard towards winning any of the awards is wasting time. Besides that student impressing the parents, he or she has proved nothing in the "real world."
So, I'll show no ambition in my final semester. I'll write my assignments, and go on with my business, and after the 13 weeks evaporate like a dab of water on a hot summer day, it'll be close to the summer, the one that doesn't end with going back to school.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Everyone who knows me knows that this is my favourite time of year. It's a chance to avoid the family, and with the extra time, make people I don't know miserable. Now that I'm at the start of three off days ahead of the weekend, I have time to do what I like doing best: act the jolly asshole.
If I'm to have any success, I need a plan of action, one I'll share with you, so you can also spread holiday misery.
Never ending lines and unreasonable customers make retail workers an easy target to antagonize. One of my favourite games I like to play on this crowd is "Oh, I already have it."
Find an obscure item, something a store would be foolish to have more than one or two copies of, like Taylor Hicks new album, "Shit" (a great stocking stuffer for someone you hate).
With said item in hand, go to a stock clerk who looks overworked and tired, and ask him to find you a copy. If you're lucky, the stock clerk will wearily search for the item and actually find it. As soon as the clerk hands you the found item, show that you already have it. Then WALK AWAY.
While many clerks deserve to be abused, it's actually a duty to abuse many customers. One effective way is to play "I'm sorry. I thought this was the returns cart."
Find a customer, who looks easily annoyed, to follow around the store. When the customer moves away from her cart, grab something from it and walk away. Don't go too far, because you want to continue to remove items from the cart until you're caught. It's better if you can take something from the cart in short supply, like a Nintendo Wii or a Pope Benedict XVI bobble head.
When you're caught, if you're successful, the customer will be annoyed and angered. When she confronts you about grabbing items from her cart, coolly reply that you thought it was the returns cart. Then WALK AWAY.
In the spirit of giving, many people foolishly donate pocket change to charities during the holidays. But if these charities were in such need of money, they would steal it like the people who run MADD.
It's time to play "Fake Left, Turn Right."
Approach a hapless charity volunteer. She wants you to give money, but the only thing you should give are looks of disgust. But today, you won't give anything. You need to be convincing in your approach: make eye contact, and reach for your wallet. Get to a couple of feet from the volunteer, and make note of her hopeful smile. Pull out a bill or two, pause, and put the money back in your wallet. Then WALK AWAY.
These three games bring me loads of joy every holiday season. But remember to always punctuate your acts of Christmas cruelty with a wonderful, toothy smile. Just because your victims frown, doesn't mean you shouldn't show your joy.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
My blog post drought has nothing to do with avoiding my blog, but everything to do with my laziness to come up with something worth writing about.
So, I've taken the easy way out, and decided to write about not writing. Isn't this the writer's cheapest way of writing?
I remember in first-year reporting (oh, "Yawn," right?), when at my most desperate moment, I considered making my final assignment, a column, about not having an idea to write.
I didn't write that shit column, but another: one about my hatred of GO Transit. That column, which today would probably be better (keyword: "probably"), was devoid of any wit and it had literary aspirations. It was stupid, and I misused a cliché -- misused a damn cliché.
Today, I'd say I'm a better writer than I was then. I'm a better blog writer than I was in February. I cringe at some of my previous posts. I'll cringe at this one.
But I'll survive, and come back to write something "new," something good, and I hope, something better than the last thing I wrote.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Tonight is my first night back at the CP online desk. In the last seven weeks, I've worked one shift here on the weekend. Everything is familiar and mostly unchanged.
There are new flatscreen monitors and there is a new copy send box, but those things aren't entirely different than what I left. The Leafs are losing, too.
I started tonight's shift bored almost instantly. I searched for gum from one of the four packages (is that too many?) I had in my bag. I'm chewing some now, and I hope the minutes move faster.
For some reason, I can't get "Albion" out of my head.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Everyone knows that the job of the driving tester is to fail the driver. If a tester can find a reason to fail a driver, then pat-on-the-back, it's a job well done.
So when I made a dumbass, impatient mistake in my G test this morning, I knew I failed instantly. The mistake: making a right on a red when I should have waited a few more seconds.
The tester told me that he failed me for only that reason. The yellow sheet I got at the end barely had any mistakes checked off, with the exception of the giant fuck up I committed.
There went my $75, and here comes another god damn headache.
Considering I've spent less than 70 hours driving a car in the five years I've had my G1/G2 license, I shouldn't be surprised to fail my first attempt at the G. But considering I only made one mistake, I'm hating just a bit more than usual.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
It seems almost ridiculous that someone so online-inclined (online journalism stream, online journalism jobs (I've held three), and online time-waster), that I'd have a hard time discarding old papery things, like magazines from two years ago.
Hell, it makes no sense when I know that the magazines I'm holding on to for some unknown future reference are being catalogued on more than one Internet database. And the beauty of these Internet databases are they are keyword searchable. If I remember a story I once read in some magazine two years ago (good luck), then I could type in a keyword and find the story (maybe). And you already knew that.
So why would I hold on these old magazines, sitting collecting dust? I'm not sure. But lately I've been trying to shrink the space my things occupy. I'm going for minimalism; making it possible to pack quickly and go. Go where? You tell me.
But if I've already dropped the old magazines in the gray box, I'll be a bit quicker in leaving.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I thought I had been drunk before. But I found out I hadn't been until last night. Oh, the boozing I did.
In attempt to get back some of my union dues this year, I decided to take up the Guild's offer to pay for my (and everyone's) drinks at the union-sponsored Christmas party. I went drink-for-drink with Tim: hard liquor with a few shots. By the time the student onliners decided to head to the second party that had started at a karoake bar a little further on Front Street, I was a staggering mess.
The other time I thought I had been drunk, I felt I could shake off the effects of the liquor. At the free drinks bar, I had only gone into a 'greatest hits' routine of Canadian Press insults. At the karoake bar, I was trapped, making consecutive dumb comments and probably coming off as a drunk-ass moron.
The moral of all of this (god, I hate this construction), is to make sure everyone else is as drunk as you, so they won't remember much. I think I might be in the clear.
Friday, December 01, 2006
It's almost too easy to forget that after June when I have a degree, that I'll still only be 21. At that time, I might be working at Canadian Press or some other media outlet. But I'm not entirely sure that's the right thing to do.
Today, I don't see how I'll be working full-time in June and actually be doing something I want to do. And should I do it? Should I work somewhere strictly for the money and forget happiness? I've done that for six years, do I really want to start life after school that way? But I know that happiness isn't instant, and that I'll have to fight for what I want.
I have three choices to consider beyond April:
- continue to work part-time at Canadian Press
- work full-time somewhere
- take a break from school (permanent) and work (temporary)
Those three choices keep spinning in my head.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
If my schedule stays the same, I'll have class Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If I swap my journalism elective for the freelance course, I'll have class Tuesdays and Fridays. Both seem impossible. Both are based on suspect information from RAMSS.
And I really didn't have to write "suspect information" to let you know that RAMSS is unreliable at its best.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I've become the unofficial shopper for CP video's project. Last week, I went to Henry's to buy a replacement head for a tripod; that cost $90. The week before that, I bought video editing software for $600.
Today, I went back to buy more editing software (this time, it came with hardware); it cost $700. On the way back down Queen Street East, I stopped into a different store and bought some tripods--some $900 worth of tripods.
I got into a cab with $1,600 worth of software/hardware/equipment, but it didn't seem to be worth that much.
I've never spent that much money at once, and unless I go on another CP-funded shopping spree, I don't think I'll spend that much money at once anytime soon.
Monday, November 27, 2006
It's hard to be happy when I stare at one of the various Canadian Media Guild bulletin boards around the building where I work. I'm a member of the Guild, who garnishes my wage in the name of the scam called "guild dues."
Most of my jobs have had unions I was stuck in: forced to pay a weekly or bi-weekly due despite not actually using any of the union's resources. At CP, it's much the same. Except I have one strong reason to hate the union. But that reason is unimportant, in the past, buried, gone; don't mention it, 'cause I really can't say.
That leaves me talk about the small reasons I hate the Guild. On the bulletin board, the Guild posted a propaganda letter about a recent survey of Guild members. The survey wanted to know what members wanted when the Guild goes back to bargaining.
So what do Guild members want more of? Guess.
You're wrong: Guild members don't want new Guild t-shirts (mine completed my "Jackass" Halloween costume last month).
Guild members want more money. Now that you've dropped back into your seat after that revelation, I can tell you that no fucking survey was needed to generate that answer. The Guild could have took a dumb, uneducated guess and still would have come up with the same result.
In the years I've been in unions, I've become convinced that the people who care most about their union, the people who are concerned with every breath and shit a union takes, are the people who know that without a union they'd have no guarantee of employment. If it was "Judgement Day," those people would be sent to unemployment hell.
But maybe I'm just a kid; maybe I don't understand how good it is and how much the union fought for me. Maybe I should apologize and add a retraction to the bottom of all of these shameful words. Maybe I should, 'cause you never know, someday, I just might feel like sexually harrassing someone. And then I'll need the union to save my ass.
Last night: Jet at The Guvernment.
This was a rescheduled show that was supposed to happen the week of the band's new release "Shine On." For some reason, I skipped getting tickets to that one, but picked some up for last night's show.
After I bought the tickets, but before I went the show, I found out Jet apparently wasn't a great band to see live. A friend had seen Jet back when their first album was in style, and she said to expect a bad set.
But she did say that with a little experience, maybe Jet would be good. Last night, with a little experience, Jet was damn good.
I hadn't listened to either of the band's albums in more than a month, so their music wasn't fresh in my mind. At the concert, I tried to remember if I had ever liked Jet's music as much as I did last night. And that's probably the best thing I can say about Jet's more than 90 minutes on stage: the band's performance made me like them more than ever before.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I have one week left in my internship.
One week away from the normal.
One week away from back here.
One week away from one last semester.
My graduation photos came in the mail this week. I always thought that they would come later; near the end, in March or April. But things move without asking, and my photo is already hanging in my house.
I applied to three internships; I've been offered a full-time job more or less, just not in those words.
It's the end of something I guess.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
After three weeks of not doing much of what I was supposed to be doing on my internship, I thought the thing was a bust. A bust.
Maybe doing the internship at Canadian Press was a horrible mistake - the worst mistake I made this year. (Actually, I've written here before about the worst mistake I made this year.)
But on the 13th of November, the start of week four of my internship, I finally did what I came (back? - I never left) to CP to do: shoot video.
The small details that I shot video at my first ever press conference (the Hockey Hall of Fame inductee newser), got in my first media scrum (meet Mr. Patrick Roy), and actually felt like I accomplished something (even if I'm still a bad camera man), proved to me that staying at CP was the right decision. Today was a small step with a good result.
Besides, how many interns get to say they covered the biggest press conference in Toronto the first day on assignment on their internship?
(Okay, it was only a press conference. Get over it.)
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I've never understood why Now considers itself a magazine. A rag? Yes. Magazine? No.
But I don't want to take anything away from that publication; I've read some great articles they've reprinted from better sources.
And while I'm all about negativity, I'm perplexed how Now reviews music. When it seems all the critics like something, Now hates that something. This isn't a scientific sample, but it's something I've noticed.
Bob Dylan's "Modern Times"
I haven't listened to this album, but reviewers at Metacritic gave an average rating of 88 per cent - "Universal Acclaim." But Now's review works out to 40 per cent.
Avatar's "Comets on Fire"
I've never heard of this band or album, but it's average review is 80 per cent, except Now gives it a 40 (okay, I know Now didn't give it 40 per cent, but like I said above, that's what it works out to).
My Chemical Romance's "Black Parade"
I've heard this one, and it's good. Maybe even great and worth the 80 per cent it received. Now, predictably, disliked it saying, "(My Chemical Romance) succeeded at making a good big-dumb-rock record, but you get the sense they didn't mean for it to be quite this dumb." Sure. That's worth 60 per cent.
But I get the feeling those reviews are worth about the same as Now's cost at the newsstand.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Seriously, fuck off. This story is getting way too much play.
A quick breakdown: after years of slowly killing its customers by using cheap, hydrogenated oils in its food, KFC, under pressure from everyone with a brain, decides to stop using its deadly oils in favour of canola. So what? KFC is still about as healthy as any cheap fast food.
People are greeting this (non-)news story like its their license to go eat two buckets of deep-fried, deadly chicken, 'cause now, it's a little less deadly. Everyone applaud KFC for choosing to kill its customers slower.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Over the last week, I've received forwarded e-mails from the School of Journalism secretary about summer internships; the deadlines to apply span from November to December.
First came the Toronto Star and Reuters applications, which I promptly deleted (by mistake). And then today, I (actually, we -- the journalism students) received the details of the Victoria Times-Colonist. There'll be more to come in the next few weeks; details from the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Maclean's, Canadian Press, and probably some others.
I haven't yet decided on where I'll apply and (maybe I should delete "(by mistake)" from the paragraph above, because) I haven't yet decided if I'll apply to any of the options above.
Landing an internship at any of those publications will probably help me land a full-time newspaper job (with the exception of Maclean's) somewhere, but I'm no longer too keen on being a newspaper journalist.
When I made the switch to the Online Stream in April, I did so for a varitety of reasons I've discussed before (I'll avoid discussing them again), but I didn't make the switch because I didn't want to work as a newspaper journalist.
Back in the summer, I worked a short-stint of three long days on CP's Ontario Desk, and came to the realization that I have no desire to live the lifestyle of the newspaper journalist. There are healthier lifestyles that demand less on the mind. Being a newspaper journalist is harder work than I'm prepared to do. (Not that other forms of journalism are easier, but I find other forms of journalism more agreable.)
(And so, by writing the above, even if I do apply, with the high-searchability of this weblog, I'm sure I'll disqualify myself from any newspaper internships.)
Regardless, I have a vision of what I'll be doing in journalism (if I do anything), and it's more in the longer, magazine-vane. A job at a newspaper is a great learning experience, but it fails as something that will guarantee what I do want. Having copy butchured, and reporting time set at 'Minimum,' hardly replicates having a voice or time with a magazine feature.
It would seem that I should have streamed into Magazine at Ryerson, but there was something I wanted that Magazine didn't offer: an internship.
Friday, October 20, 2006
A little while back I joined this new thing called RyersOnline. For more than six weeks, I tirelessly worked towards making the website something worth visiting. To call my time working on RyersOnline a complete failure would be excessively negative. My time working on RyersOnline was a complete failure.
Did anything I do on the site matter? No. Did people check our website on a regular basis? No. Do people know about our website? No. Who cares about RyersOnline? No.
(O.K., the last answer doesn't make sense; I was just trying to continue the parallel structure.)
O.K., it wasn't that bad. I genuinely enjoyed working with the broadcast group I was drafted to liaison with. And I genuinely enjoyed working with Pam Lam, who is a better journalist than she gives herself credit for being.
But after six weeks of working harder than I should have, I was disappointed by the questions of the new, incoming masthead. Questions like: Which liaison partner has the least amount of work?; How many hours will I have to spend here?; Can I do most of this from home?; and so on.
On Monday this week, one of the new mastheaders interrogated me as to what I've been doing for the last six weeks. I should have assured her I've been doing more than she'll attempt in her six weeks at the helm of RyersOnline.
And so Part I: The Masthead is finished for me. Part II: The Internship starts Monday. Part III: The God Awful Final Semester starts in January when I return to Ryerson. Until then, I'll be staying far away from campus. Far, far away.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
First: victory! Chelsea beats Barcelona 1-0. The Blues' third-string goaltender, Hilario, was impressive.
Second, a new Beatles album.
Third, a French fry and butter sandwich? 'Meat pie mums'? The stuff kids eat in Rotherham sounds deadly and disgusting.
Fourth, my RyersOnline days are now over. Thank God.
Monday, October 16, 2006
I managed to get tickets to Saturday night's game between the Calgary Flames and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Great game, and probably (hyperbole warning) the best I've ever seen in person.
The hero of the night was Mats Sundin, who scored a hatrick, shorthanded, overtime winner that happened to be his 500th career goal...
Less than a minute into Saturday's afternoon game, Chelsea lost their number-one keeper, Petr Cech, after a Reading player collided with Cech's skull. Turns out Cech has a fracture, and will be out for a (best estimate) long time. It's one of the worst injuries I've read about in sports and it happened on an overly aggressive play.
Not good for Cech or the Blues...
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I've often been accused of being a pessimist. What I don't get is why so many people are negative about pessimists? A study reported in the Atlantic proves that being negative isn't so bad afterall:
Motivational speakers may tell you to believe in yourself, but if you want to do well in school, you may be better off taking a more pessimistic attitude toward your own abilities. In a report detailing the various things the U.S. can learn from the Chinese educational system about teaching math and science—including the importance of national curricular standards, better training of teachers, longer school years, and extra homework—comes the news that the U.S. lags far behind Asian nations in grade-school math and science scores. This gap, however, is not for want of student self-confidence: despite faring worse on a standardized eighth-grade science test than students in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, American students are more than twice as likely as their peers in those countries to enjoy high “self-confidence” in their ability to learn science.
I do take comfort in a study that proves that being negative is a positive.
Monday, October 09, 2006
I looked into my trusty, free, RSU agenda today and realized that the last time I had a day off (didn't work or go to school or both), was Thursday, Aug. 31. That's 39 days ago by my count.
My next scheduled day off is Thursday, Oct. 19.
I'm not complaining, but that's way too fucking long.
Okay, I am complaining.
New York magazine has a nice, long feature on everyone's favourite right-wing pundit, Stephen Colbert:
Stephen Colbert is running at full stride. As he enters the studio, the audience is already cheering. He is dressed, as he seems always to be dressed, in a sharp suit and conservative tie, with rectangular rimless glasses and perfectly parted hair, so that when he does his short victory lap on the floor of the studio, he looks like a gleeful bank manager who’s just won the lottery or possibly lost his mind...
It's only natural for me to compare Martin Scorsese's new film "The Departed" to the Hong Kong-film it was based on, "Infernal Affairs."
"The Departed" is not Scorsese's best film (though narrowing to one choice is impossible), but the movie is Scorsese's best lately. And considering the strong effort of "Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator," that means "The Departed" needs to be seen.
Scorsese's movie in comparison to "Infernal Affairs" is the stronger of the two. "The Departed" has a strong supporting cast that regularly steals scenes. "Infernal Affairs" does not. "The Departed" leaves sappiness out. "Infernal Affairs" does not. "The Departed" has humour. Well, you get the point...
But while "Infernal Affairs" is a bit inferior to "The Departed," the Hong Kong movie is still worth watching if nothing to see the different choices made between a foreign film and an American one.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Dishonesty: The Best Way
Part of my responsibilities on the RyersOnline masthead is to write a weekly journal about what I have worked on. Yawn.
What's been asked of us is to be honest and candid, but no person genuinely wants honesty or candidness. Both usually are painful to take, and most people can only accept mild doses.
If I were to be honest and candid in this week's journal, I'd write the following:
-I'm disappointed in RyersOnline and if someone asked me today if they should join the stream, I'd caution them against it. Keep in mind, I've only been on the masthead for less than five weeks.
-I have received no support from my masthead members when I've taken risks with editorials. Both of my masthead-ers have supported me privately, then when the instructor challenged me, both of my masthead-ers showed no support.
-I write a roundup of news on other school campuses; I link to other sites and their stories. Last week, a link to the Eyeopener's "Fuck You John Miller" editorial was removed from my roundup, because that editorial regarded a small issue effecting a few people. Then two days after I had been censored, RyersOnline ran the Ryersonian editorial in response to the Eyeopener. That made a lot of fucking sense.
-Nobody responds to RyersOnline editorials because they are yellow, coward pieces that stay on the fence, saying nothing and meaning less.
When it comes to those weekly journals, the only thing keeping me from being honest, is the truth.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Eleven days have gone by since I last checked in here, but it doesn't feel like it.
The last two weeks at the online desk at Canadian Press have been busy ones only because we're running the staff with only one full-timer (The Good One), and the other three are either recovering from surgeries or on vacation.
In the last two weeks, between running the mildly successful RyersOnline and working extra shifts at CP, I've worked 70+ hour weeks. It's awful and disgusting.
Now that I'm finished my run as managing editor, the pressure is off and I can focus on __________ (I'll leave that blank).
Please, give me a chance. I'm only warming up. I promise to be much more cruel in the future.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Inside the Eaton Centre. See one freak--dirty clothes, medical pants, ugly beard--asking for money. See another freak--muttering to self--walk by. And I wished: wouldn't it be nice if the muttering freak gave money to the begging freak.
My masthead finally launched RyersOnline this morning. It was a disaster. The only thing that prevented it from being a fucking disaster was the small detail that nobody knew we launched or saw us launch.
We're a long way away from being a good site. Four more weeks to make it good.
Also, round one of the Ryersonian vs. the Eyeopener goes to the Eyeopener. And not by a slim margin.
Got the new BNL disc playing on a infinite loop (or until my battery dies) on my iPod. Back to that.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
At work and so-called journalists are seriously talking about 9-11 conspiracies. They're questioning the science. They're questioning the air planes. They're making me question their qualifications for this job.
What they really need to do is read this so they know how fucking stupid they are.
If someone is in the area, please come and kill me. Unbearable.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Despite my long-standing (four months long) feud with the Globe and Mail, I will read a copy if one is in front of me. This was the case today at work.
The weekend Globe is perhaps the best Globe of the week; you feel full after reading it. And so I had plans to read it in it's entirety when I finished catching up with the wires.
But before I had the chance to read the Globe in its entirety, I stepped away to grab lunch. I returned a few minutes later to see the Travel section pulled out of the paper.
Upon further inspection, the Weekend Review had been stolen. The Weekend Review stolen! I left the desk for minutes, and some spineless coward (which word is unnecessary?) stole my Weekend Review. I'm not fucking kidding you.
Who the hell goes around stealing sections from other people's newspapers? And it's not like my copy of the Globe was lying in plain view: my copy was under a copy of the National Post and barely in view.
The pulled out Travel section indicates to me that the ball-less thief was in full steal-and-run mode. I'll get to the bottom of this, though. It may take weeks (I only have five left after tomorrow), but I will get my vengeance.
Or probably not.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I'm only two days into the start of my semester and I already feel the pressure of the upcoming work.
When you're working with a skeleton crew for a masthead, there's far more work to go around than available bones (and I know that analogy makes no sense). And because I'm the most experienced masthead member, I feel it's up to me to keep everything going for the first few weeks. At the same time, I don't want to be overbearing.
My reign as the first-ever RyersOnline* managing editor is half finished because of the short week, but there's not that much power in the job. At least I'm not going to put much power into the job -- I need space to maneuver when my time is up and I still have four weeks left on the masthead.
The site, which I previewed on Wednesday, needs some work. The soft launch is this upcoming Wednesday, but I'll be running it as the real deal.
One of my duties on the masthead are to act as a liason between other mastheads, specifically, one broadcast masthead and the Ryerson Review of Journalism.
Next week I'll be meeting with both groups, which means a week in meetings and in front of a computer. Very journalismy.
*Like the name? Try pronouncing it. I'll just refer to it as RyeLine.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The more I think, the more I realize that I just have one question for some people. It's a rather simple 'how' question, but I think the answer would be complex.
The question: how does it feel to know you're completely fucking useless?
Really, I wonder how it feels to know that.
Monday, August 28, 2006
I was already up around 7 a.m. About 45 minutes later, my house shook. Apparently from this:
Two people have been taken to hospital after a house exploded near Queensway E. and Cawthra Rd. in Mississauga this morning.
Police and emergency crews were called to the house on Duchess Dr. shortly before 8 a.m., where "they found the home literally destroyed," according to Peel police Const. Craig Platt.
I don't live too close but close enough to that house. Now I can sort of imagine how it'd be in a war zone; much more terrifying.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Some might say that spending a day off from work reading magazines is a waste of time. Then to those people, I've been wasting time today.
I was behind in my New Yorker reading (yes, I'm a journalism snob). Nineteen issues behind. And I've spent most of my time today getting caught up. Four more issues and I'll be 'current.'
But reading these New Yorker issues is about more than being up-to-date with the issue that's on the newsstand; reading these issues has left me in a manic state, and reminded me why I love journalism. It doesn't take a Malcolm Gladwell to figure out that surrounding someone with the best in journalism can make them appreciate journalism (again).
I'm not saying I was surrounded with the worst in journalism at CP, which made me lose my appreciation for journalism. But when you work like a drone, stories tend to lose their meaning in the blur of words on your screen.
The New Yorker reminded me of journalism's greatest qualities. Good timing, I'll say; Year Four is close.
It's sort of hard to write something about coming back to write something when you feel you need to write something now. NOW.
Off today from work; yesterday was my last shift as a full-time summer replacement. Not sure how the summer went or what it means or any of that deep-thinking-so-go-to-a-quiet-place-and-think stuff. I suppose I should do that here in the most confusing way possible--that is, in total disorder without resolution:
Did working some 30 hours a week in a newsroom make me a better journalist? Did it make me even want to be a journalist any more? I doubt whether it made me a better person. I rarely think about making a good impression, so any good impressions were coincidences. Did I earn the respect of the people I worked with? Ask them. I'd say no, but then respect is often over-rated; an unmalleable commodity that's hard to know what to do with. So I'm respected, what now? So I'm not respected, what now? Who really gives a fuck? The people who need to be loved; the people I have no time for. Perhaps I'm even thinking about this whole damn thing too much? Four months in a newsroom doesn't mean anything. Sitting at an online desk means less. Or maybe it means just as much as any other newsroom job? I'm not sure. I'd be guessing to answer. What are the facts? Many hours spent at a desk reading the news. I developed a routine. I developed ticks, perhaps gimmicks. Was it actually me? Or some character I played? Did I mean anything I said? Did I feel anything I said? Does it even matter? There are many questions I should ask and seek the answer to and perhaps by placing some of them in this massive, glob of text, I'm saving myself from re-reading the questions and finding the answers. Perhapses and maybes. So many questions, what the fuck does it all mean? Maybe it's just late at night and I'm intoxicated with a shifting barometer and broken kayfabe. Maybe I'm just fucking with anyone still reading this; asking questions I didn't ask or could care less about. Maybe I've pulled you into this massive paragraph as distraction to fool you from what's really happening. All the grammar mistakes, all the dull jokes, all the nothingness and pointlessness of these words and any words like them.
Big paragraph with no meaning. Or all meaning? Fuck do I know.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Got to the CNE (that is, the Canadian National Exhibition) around 10:30 a.m. And I was gone by 3:00 p.m. Going to the CNE is a summer tradition that was near dead this morning and now buried tonight.
The problem: the CNE isn't aimed at me.
I'm not interested in cheap t-shirts, throw-away stuffed animals, roasted corn, as-seen-on-TV junk, dog shit dog shows, fake leather wallets, rigged carny games, counterfeit clothing, brain dead humans, unsafe rides, the smell of life fried or anything else the CNE is today.
It's not the CNE, really. It's just me.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
After I uploaded that final story at 3:15 a.m., I called for a taxi. That first call never worked, so I called again and finally got a taxi after 3:30 a.m.
The cab pulls up. "What's your name?"
"It says here 'Michelle.' M-I-C-H-A-E-L."
"Oh, okay. Where do you want to go?"
I tell the driver my exit in Mississauga and he says no problem. Of course it's no problem. You're a taxi driver; it's your job to drive people places.
As we approach the Gardiner Expressway he asks me what a usual fare is to Mississauga. I ask why.
He doesn't answer but asks me if I'm using a chit. I say I am and can almost hear the 'Cha-ching' sounding off in the driver's head.
"My meters running slow tonight," the driver says. "You would know what a regular fare is to Mississauga."
I tell him that the fare is usually $35. He says okay.
I had my doubts about this driver when he thought 'Michael' was pronounced 'Michelle,' but at this point, I know the guy is an idiot and an opportunistic thief.
Along the way on the highway, the taxi comes across an an SUV sitting on (and simultaneously crushing) a small convertible.
A little later, the cab arrives at my house. The fare on the driver's meter is $35.00 (hey, what do you know?) and the driver asks, "Is that usually what you pay?"
Pretty sure that's what I said.
I got to work aroud 5:30 p.m. although my shift started a half-hour later. I expected to be out around 2 a.m., but I'm still here. I'm waiting for one story to come through on the sports wire so I can go home.
One story. Less than 600 words. That's all that's keeping me here.
The wait continues... finally.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
Yesterday, a co-worker said Radiohead was music from a different generation; that he couldn’t understand it.
Fine. Good. Everyone has different musical tastes, which is a good thing.
But then this co-worker said he considered Radiohead nothing but a one-hit wonder. This negated anything he had said or will say about the band. A one-hit wonder who’s considered to be one of the best bands in the world with multiple critically-acclaimed albums? Radiohead, a one-hit wonder? Are you kidding or are you ignorant?
The success of their six albums fail to show it:
"Pablo Honey" (1993)
Billboard peak: #32
"The Bends" (1995)
Billboard peak: #88
"O.K. Computer" (1997)
Billboard peak: #21
"Kid A" (2000)
Billboard peak: #1
Billboard peak: #2
"Hail To The Thief" (2003)
Billboard peak: #3
Granted, they haven’t sold out and endorsed a fast-food chain or a can of pop, but Radiohead is far from a one-hit wonder.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
I get to the Rogers Centre with my $60 ticket in hand to find out our tickets have been 'upgraded.'
We were to sit at the dot:
We were moved to this dot:
'Upgraded' means sitting further from the stage. Worse, people who had paid less than we did were sitting among us. If we were told we were 'downgraded,' I would have been pleased with the honesty.
After two hours of talk (some of it good; some of it clichéd hopefulness never to be achieved), the concert portion of the evening was set to begin. It's now just after 9 p.m. But before the concert starts, we're subjected to a horrible interpretive dance performance and a DJ with a dance presentation. Somehow these two performances take an hour to complete.
After an hour of crap (some of it horrible; some of it god awful), the concert portion of the evening was set to begin. It's now just after 10 p.m. But before the concert starts, Alicia Keys comes out and sings? No, she lists 25 pieces of wisdom she's learned over her years. I vomit. She gets off the stage.
Barry Ivan White - two songs; two too many
Amanda Marshall - four songs; no heart
Blue Man Group - one song; could have done with more
Chantal Kreviazuk - four songs; heart
Massari (a poser) - three songs; dirt, shit
Our Lady Peace - three songs; way too short
Barenaked Ladies - didn't see 'em
My friends and I had to skip the BNL set because we foolishly relied on the concert organizers to give an accurate finish time for the concert (they said 11 p.m.) and the GO to still be available. But when OLP finished playing, it was 12:15 a.m. The last train out is 12:43 a.m. So we left.
We get to Union and find out our train has been delayed indefinitely because of a police investigation. Now, seemingly stranded and missing the concert we could have stuck around for, the situation was bleak.
But incredible coincidences occur: my friend, who works security for Blue Jays games was also working tonight's AIDS event, which I didn't know. He also happened to be walking through Union Station at the end of his shift to get to his car. And thus, he gave us a ride home and rescued our night.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
I'm on a computer at work - this is yesterday - and I click on the History Icon - the sundial one - on the Internet Browser: mistake.
I glance down and see two bizarre addresses considering the setting. The addresses have titles that contain the word 'Spanking.'
I click on one expecting that this is a misunderstanding; how could someone have the courage to look at two websites about spanking at work? My expectation was wrong, and in fact, the link is to an actual spanking fetish blog.
I'm not here to judge; if you read this weblog, you know I never judge. But I have to question the intelligence behind visiting spanking websites at work. There may not be a specific policy against this practice, but I don't think the activity would draw many smiles from management.
But beyond the courageous stupidity of visiting sexual fetish websites at work, there's a more pressing concern: my health. I use that computer. And when this co-jerker - yikes, I mean co-worker - takes what seems like an extended smoke break, maybe he's not smoking, maybe he's doing something else. You know my concerns.
(And if this co-worker does participate in extra-curricular activities such as ___________ (fill in the blank), then where does he draw the line? Is it okay anywhere? In telephone booths? Maybe in confessional booths?)
The only thing to allay my fears is that the co-worker is old; my impotency radar says he's a good candidate for Viagara. I only hope he leaves his pills at home.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Apparently Baltimore Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada made an "obscene gesture" towards the stands in a game Wednesday at the Rogers Centre. Read here.
First, what's wrong with that? Is emotion such a bad thing? If anything, he should have yelled profanities at the fans, too.
Second, isn't an apology lame? Tejada said, "I want to apologize to everyone, especially to the Orioles fans and the fans in Toronto, for my action in Wednesday's game. I was frustrated and should not have let things get to me. I am sorry and hope people will accept that and know that is not the kind of person I am."
I've lost total respect for Tejada (not that I've ever thought I had respect for him). Swear, give the finger, be unsportsmanlike - if Tejada did all that, at least I'd have reason to care when he plays.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I'm on work release, or that is, release from work. I work again Saturday, which gives me three days off.
In fact, in the next seven days, I only work twice. It's an anomaly and happens only because I'm classified as a 'weekend worker' (at least until mid-October, then I'll be classified as 'unemployed').
The 'weekend worker' title comes along with all the shifts that nobody actually wants to work, like shifts on the weekend and holidays. It also means I spend many of my shifts by myself with one amusement: thinking about how much I...
The point: off for three, back for two, off for two, equals seven days of August. The summer is coming to an end, and the uncertainty is coming to the forefront.
A New Way To Be Cool
When you're as tragically uncool such as I am, you're always out with you ear to the sidewalk so someone can step on you and also so you can find the newest thing to use to become relatively cool.
I found the newest thing: smokeless tobacco.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
It's been more than three weeks since I last wrote here. It wasn't by choice.
My doctor prescribed to avoid writing or visiting this weblog. He diagnosed me with extreme exhaustion. Extreme exhaustion of what? Of anger and hate. And no surprise, the source was this blog.
But I'm better now, and I think I have my anger in check. I wrote 'I think,' not 'I do.'
The Top Five Things I Hate Right Now
It seems almost unfair to narrow this list down to five, because I feel bad about leaving out so many other things I hate.
5. Canadian Idol. Last night's show was putrid filth. To put together seven worse singers or performers would seem to be an impossible task considering how bad the Top 7 are.
4. Too sticky apple stickers. I think I've written about this subject before. And I'm writing about it again, because it's close to my heart. Is it so difficult to use stickers with the right amount of glue?
3. People complaining about the hot weather. Global warming, yes. Summer, yes. So what the hell did you expect?
2. People who don't respond to emails. Ah, fuck you.
1. The Online stream. No information. No direction. No hope. It's close to becoming a complete waste of time.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Last summer, I managed to work four months in a freezer without getting a cold. Or at least I can't remember having a cold. Now that I'm working in an air-conditioned office space, I've contracted a dreaded summer cold.
It's great; really, I enjoy the excess mucous, the uncontrolled sneezing and the general horrible feeling.
I refuse, however, to take any sort of cold medication, lest I make it official that I do have a summer cold.
So, ignore this post. It doesn't exist.
From the Canadian Press:
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (CP) - Thousands of stranded Canadians should be able to start getting out of war-torn Lebanon by mid-week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday.
Speaking as the Group of Eight summit wound up, Harper also offered his condolences to the families of seven Canadians killed in an Israeli bombing raid in Lebanon, but said he was not going to be critical of Israel for defending itself.
Harper began his closing news conference with a reference to Sunday's "tragic deaths of Canadians in Lebanon."
"I want to offer my condolences to their families," the prime minister said.
The seven, from Montreal, had been visiting their families for the summer and were among dozens of civilians killed in Israeli air strikes over the last week.
Israel began bombarding Lebanon after Hezbollah guerrillas crossed into Lebanon and captured two Israeli soldiers. It wants to swap the soldiers for Hezbollah members held by Israel.
Harper said it was those kidnappings that started the conflict and that once a war starts escalation is "inevitable."
The Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa announced Sunday that it was sending commercial ships to the region to pick up any Canadians who want to get out of the escalating violence between Israel and Lebanon.
Some 40,000 Canadians are believed trapped in Lebanon and Ottawa has been sharply criticized by relatives of the dead who complain Canadian officials had not done enough in the crisis.
"We expect to be able to evacuate people by mid-week," Harper said Monday. "We're in line with the Americans and British on that and we are working very closely with them on evacuation."
Meanwhile, Harper again refused to criticize Israel or question its use of force.
Last week, en route to Europe for his first major international conference, the prime minister called Israel's military reaction to the kidnapping of three soldiers "measured."
"I think our evaluation of the situation has been accurate," Harper insisted again Monday. "Obviously there's been an ongoing escalation and, frankly, ongoing escalation is inevitable once conflict begins."
Neither Harper nor his officials have contacted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"We are not going to give in to the temptation of some to single out Israel, which was the victim of the initial attack," said Harper.
The Canadians who voted this man into office should be ashamed. Harper has no mind of his own, and clearly no guts to defend Canadians. He's an embarrassment of a prime minister.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
You know those people still wearing NYPD/FDNY t-shirts and ball caps? It's time they moved on. We get it; those people were brave... five years and 10 months ago. Move on.
Oh, and now that Israel is responsible for the killings of seven Canadians, Stephen Harper is perhaps the first Canadian Prime Minister to support a government that ultimately killed innocent Canadians. Good on ya, Harps! I knew you had it in you.
Speaking of Harper, the guy is an idiot. Oh, that's not based on something he did; just on photos. Have you seen him at the G-8 meetings? Yikes. We might see a spike in Canadian emigration.
Thom Yorke's "The Eraser" is in the top 2 of 2006's great releases.
Looks like Eric Lindros won't be in Maple Leaf Blue next season--my prayers answered, and I didn't even have to pray.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
For the last couple of months I've been raising the volume on my iPod. I thought that years of poking my eardrums with Q-tips were finally catching up with me and that I was losing my hearing. Not so. My stylish white iPod earphones have failed me; the right one is dead. It hurts, oh it really does.
But I'm through the five stages of grief and have buried the earphones. With them, I've buried the thought of spending $50 or more to replace my deadphones with new Apple ones. This is mainly for two reasons. One, the cost is a bit much for something that will inevitably die. Two, my young iPod is running out of space and I'm tempted to replace it when Apple releases their next generation of iPods.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Five minutes ago I spent 10 minutes brushing my teeth. Floss. Rinse. Brush. Rinse (x2). I'm not sure if my teeth are clean; nothing is good enough. I need a haircut. Maybe. I'd have to find the motivation first.
It's incredible. You don't understand how much false motivation it takes me to sit and type these words. You shouldn't care though; I'm not down or depressed or any of the shit that people use as excuses. It's hard to write when you have nothing to say; I find that each day.
Patience is a virtue; it's also a cliché.
I've been checking my email each day for something, for anything, for a sign that something is happening. I still know nothing about my internship that's scheduled to start in three months.
Forgive me for my concern or my impatience, but I'm fucking tired of waiting for information most people in similar situations know and have known for some time. I worried that when I switched streams this sort of bullshit could happen. It's not a worry anymore; it's reality. I'm exasperated. It's a shit situation I got into. If you asked my in April what I thought of the online stream, I'd say I was excited at the chance to do something new and happy to be out of the newspaper stream. If you asked me today the same question, I'd say I'm disappointed in how unorganized it seems. It's only July and things could change quickly, but knowing nothing fails to inspire enthusiasm.
So, I've waited and waited and will wait more. The clock continues to move.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I have a cut on my knuckle. I considered creating a fantastic story to gain 'Net cred, but I'm out of inspiration. Please, make up your own story for me.
Tomorrow or (actually) today, I'll work my eighth day in succession at the CP online desk. I'm fairly certain I died some time ago.
Some of my co-workers insist I should start a blog. I write this one, but they know nothing about it. They could just as easily ask me if I already have a blog or do a Google search. I'm not quite sure if I want co-workers reading this fabulous weblog.
First, where would I be able to insult them in public? I'd have to start a new blog.
Second, where would I be able to say how much I hate them? I'd have to start a new blog.
Oh, but I'm just kidding. I hate only a select few.
I would expand on that thought and name names, but this blog is one Google search away from being found. I might have to find a new place to write online.
Who am I kidding? I don't have the inspiration for that.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Last night, I caught the Keane concert in Toronto. While there were some keen fans (had to use that awful pun), there were several suspect individuals that happened to be in the queue; their dialogue produced several Kill Me Moments®.
I'll focus on the two fiftysomething sisters (I'm being cruel) in front of me:
I can't believe Keane would play in some hole-in-the-wall in Toronto.
The Mod Club is in Little Italy.
The Mod Club is also directly across a bar that had umbrellas emblazoned with beer logos:
Stella-- . Stella Ar-- . Stella... What does that say? Stella Ar-toe.
Give me a ledge, please.
A cart of flags passed by the Mod Club:
-Is that England's flag?
This exchange would have been all right had there actually been a cross of St. George flag on the cart. The flag these two knowledgeable Keane fans were identifying was Australia's.
Thankfully, the music was far better.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
I've written about my weekends at work mostly consisting of watching sports for two seven-hour shifts. Today, the least entertaining sporting event I saw was the Queen's Plate horse race; this is an achievement for the horse race, because I also watched most of the Montreal Grand Prix. The Queen's Plate is like having sex without an orgasm; unless of course you've successfully bet on the race, then the event might be worth the minute-long yawn it induces.
I also told today that I'm critical of everything and I probably don't like anything in the world. I'm sure that's actually a compliment. When you come to work to find that a celebrity wedding is leading a newscast, how can you not be critical? When you see commercials reminding us dumb Canadians that Canada is a nice place to travel, how can you not be critical? When anger is your favourite emotion, how can you not be critical?
I can't remember the last time I wasn't angry. When I feel joy, it's not joy, it's less anger. Some might say that's a bad thing, to be so angry. Anger is a tiring emotion. When you take it on as a full-time job and pastime, anger can be exhausting. But it does have it's moments of reward.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
I hate to get philosophical. (AN ASIDE: there's nothing more annoying than listening to someone talk about his own philosophy for an indefinite period of time only to realize that he's drunk, and the tears aren't from his emotions, but from his allergy to ragweed.) But I'll get philosophical.
A couple of weeks ago I spent three days working at the Canadian Press Ontario desk, which is a step up from the lowly, disrespected and ridiculed Online desk. (AN ASIDE: At work, I overheard someone talking about how she was a journalist. Makes sense, right? You work in the Canadian Press newsroom, so you're journalist, right? No. Actually, fuck no. She isn't a journalist, she's a hack. If she was a journalist, then a person who only knows how to pump tires is a mechanic.) I think I mentioned it earlier here; I'd look it up, but even I don't read this blog any more.
Now that some time has passed since my short stint on the Ontario desk, I've had time to assess my time there. It was a failure. No mark made; nothing good to speak of today. The failed opportunity was expected. Lately, my creativity has been non-existent; I can't even fill this page on a regular basis. And when I do, it's useless drivel; another meaningless conversation.
So I blew the opportunity, what do I do about it? I could feel sorry for myself, curse myself, beat myself up about it, or I could move on. Take the failure, learn from it, fail again, learn from it, fail again, learn from it and... Someday, it won't be failure.
I had three days to do something and I did, but it wasn't enough. Hemingway wrote, "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." That has to be true. It sounds like it is.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I've reconsidered my bashing of the Edmonton Oilers throughout the playoffs. I think I should justify it. It's not the team I hate; it's the fans. Wait, that's a lie. I also hate the team.
So, that explains nothing...
The NBA finals are finished--huge ratings in Canada. Now we're down to few sport events for the summer. After July 9, the World Cup will be history and there'll only be baseball and the CFL. This might be a boring development, but it also means less work for me at my desk job.
Speaking of which, it appears I have struck a deal to take a six-week leave during my internship--the one which I still know nothing about.
Monday, June 19, 2006
One question: how's the view from the bandwagon now? Not looking so rosy. But faux-fans can heed the fact that tomorrow when they wake up, Edmonton's loss tonight to Carolina for the Stanley Cup won't register. It means nothing. Memories? Ha. I wonder how many Oiler jerseys will show up on eBay tomorrow.
The game went like Edmonton's season. The Oilers weren't effective in the first 40 minutes, but made a late push in the third. But in the end, like in their season, the Oilers came up short.
The Oilers and their real fans should be proud of what was accomplished this season. They beat out great teams to make it the final and they took the eventual champion to Game Seven.
Ukraine wins 4-0; they need another win Friday.
Excuse me now, time to bathe myself in the tears of Edmonton's fans. Cheers!
Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Edmonton. Carolina. Overtime. And the Oilers win. They celebrate, cheer. Their goalie Jussi Markkenan wears a white shirt and a cap that reads, "2006 Stanley Cup Champions." And then, the goal gets called back. Ryan Smyth was in the crease.
I wake up.
That was my dream. First, why the hell am I dreaming about the Stanley Cup Finals? It's hard getting around that. But there's a couple of problems with the dream. First, the person I identified as Markkenan was actually Jarri Kurri. I must have substituted Kurri for Markkenan because I've never seen Markkenan without his mask. Second, the crease will was abolished a few seasons ago following Brett Hull's infamous toe play in the 1999 Finals.
Third, and lastly, a 'dream' where the Edmonton Oilers win the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs is technically a nightmare.
Ukraine plays their second game of the World Cup in about an hour. If they lose, they go home or to their mansions in and around Europe. If they win, well, they'll still have to win another.
The Toronto Star's front-page has a photo of Paris Hilton at the Muchmusic Video Awards, making the Star, officially, a rag.
I'll be back after the 'Canes, I hope, raise the Cup.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
It's past midnight and I'm back from the Arctic Monkeys concert at the Kool Haus. Definitely a cool show, with a solid opening band, We Are Scientists. A good time was had (common phrase). It's the second time I've seen the Monkeys, but the first time I had seen them in a small venue. The band is better in a more intimate (obvious word choice) setting.
I don't return to work until tomorrow afternoon, which means I could sleep in if I choose. I'm not sure if I will because I already feel I've wasted my summer months. The high school kids finish classes in the next few days. This of course means there are only about two months left before my classes start again.
It's like this every summer: I plan things to do and do few of them. At this point, it's all but hopeless that I'll accomplish anything before summer turns to fall. The best I can do is sit here and type these important thoughts.
... ... ...
Oh, by the way, would Edmonton please lose Monday night? Thanks. I don't want to have to go into hiding.
Friday, June 16, 2006
One of the things I'm able to do because of my job is to watch a near unhealthy amount of sporting events. I probably watched 80 hours of the Winter Olympics at work and a bit at home. I've seen most of the NHL playoffs, parts of the NBA playoffs, and many Major League games. Sometimes, watching sports is all I can recall doing at work.
And now in the past seven days, I've watched roughly 40 hours of soccer. Some has been good, some has been awful--namely, the two hours it took for Ukraine to embarrass themselves against Spain.
Last week, I spent three days working on the CP Ontario desk, which was drastically different than working on the CP Online desk. I wrote two stories; one may still be floating around on the Internet; the story was heavily edited, but with my byline. It's good to have that out of my way.
I saw The Da Vinci Code on Tuesday. A bit too long, but I expected it to be worse. I don't remember much about the movie other than some things were changed to make the film PG-13, and Robert Langdon of the movie is not Robert Langdon of the book.
I also remember using the soap in the men's washroom. The scent was Grade 4 Vomit. The theatre must have ran out of better-scented soap.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I've found out that instead of the late Winter slot I had asked for, I'll be interning in the late fall.
There are pros and cons with this change, but it does mean that if the position exists, two others and I have the chance to be the first managing editor of Ryerson's news website. Oh, the excitement.
Went to the gym this morning and I saw this written on a whiteboard:
Kickboxing class with Ultimate Fighter "Alex" starts June 12...
First, 'kickboxing' is a bit much considering the class is more cardio than technique.
Second, 'Ultimate Fighter': do they mean like this?
I have my doubts.
Third, why is Alex in quotations? Is that an alias? A stage name? A stage name for a kickboxing class?!
Related (okay, unrelated), Slate has a story about football players that go by one name.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
I got this email from a friend this afternoon:
Look at the list of (suspected) terrorists they busted in Toronto, and look at Asad Ansari. Check your year book (our grade), and look up his name. You will find a nice surprise.....
Undoubtedly, Asad Ansari, one of the suspects arrested, went to school with me for several years. I don't remember much about him. We had mutual friends and so, we had at least a few conversations. I do remember he was smart, but his marks could have been better; I also remember friends would joke that Asad would be a terrorist one day.
I guess some things in life are just a matter of time.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
Acutally, there's nothing to click above, but you can click below.
I'm in the middle of The Da Vinci Code. One of the organizations Dan Brown writes about in his novel is Opus Dei. In today's New York Times, Paul Fortunato, an Opus Dei member, contributes an op-ed piece that gives some more information about the group.
For the record, I do wear a spiked metal band on my leg for a couple of hours a day just like the movie's murderous Opus Dei numerary, Silas (that's always the first question). But I do not wear a robe, except at graduation ceremonies. I'm an English professor at a state university and am finishing a book titled "Modernist Aesthetics and Consumer Culture in the Writings of Oscar Wilde." So much for stereotypes.
No word whether Fortunato is also an albino.
The Toronto Star's front-page today had a story about a macaque named Maggie who correctly predicted an Edmonton-Carolina Stanley Cup final. The amazing thing is that many hockey commentators predicted differently.
Maggie's picks are something less than scientific. She spins a roulette-type wheel, with the competing teams on it, to make her selections.
Spinning a wheel is the only reason a person or a macquie would pick an Edmonton-Carolina final. Edmonton has consistenly over-achieved in the playoffs, and most commentators thought that the team's play would not continue. But I've given up picking against them.
From the Needs Mental Help file:
Plattsburgh, NY (AHN)-A Plattsburgh man is facing felony charges for allegedly striking his mother in the head with a sharp object hooked to a bicycle chain after she made a comment about "American Idol."
According to Plattsburgh City Court records, 24-year-old Cory K. Favreau was discussing the television show "American Idol" with his mother, Jan M. Chagnon, on May 24 at about 10:15 p.m.
According to the PressRepublican.com report, after Chagnon told Favreau that a particular contestant, Katharine McPhee, was going to have a successful career despite losing to another contestant, Taylor Hicks, Favreau allegedly stood up, made a malicious comment to his mother and struck her in the head with a sharpened, cross-shaped object attached to a bicycle chain.
Favreau was charged with second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was sent to Clinton County Jail, where he was still being held Wednesday for lack of $5,000 cash bail.
Chagnon had told City Police she did not want to press charges because she said her son did not intend to hurt her. However, police can press charges themselves in cases where they feel it is warranted. He is scheduled to reappear June 5 in City Court.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
This season my prediction record is abysmal. But I'll give a quick stab at picking the Stanley Cup winner.
Edmonton beat Anaheim with ease in the last round, and because of that, the team might be overconfident going into the Cup final. Another thing to be considered is Dwayne Roloson in Edmonton's net. Despite playing the best hockey of his career in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Roloson is still a potential problem. I doubt whether he can continue to play beyond what he had shown to be his ability.
similarly, Carolina's goaltending situation is suspect. I don't think Cam Ward or Martin Gerber have the ability to win a Cup. But Ward has consistently proven his critics wrong.
I could go on, but I'll get to the point: Edmonton in six.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
I'm offended. That shouldn't come as any great surprise to regular readers of this weblog. I guess that a statistical analysis of my posts here would reveal that the majority of them are on something that offends me. The latest thing that does just that are the scores of Edmonton Oiler "fans" who are pulling for the team to win its sixth Stanley Cup.
When I write "fans," I'm writing about the people who before these playoffs cared little about the Edmonton Oilers. Now the team is a winner, and now the team has many more fans. It's disgusting.
The idea that people should cheer for the Oilers because they're the remaining club based in Canada is ridiculous: I should quit being loyal to the team I regularly cheer for because a team I would regularly jeer has a chance to win a championship?
Is loyalty just a word that has no meaning or value?
The playoffs guarantee two things: one, a champion will be crowned; two, people will jump on that champion's bandwagon. The bandwagoners can cheer all they want for the Edmonton Oilers, but they should remember that if the Oilers win the Cup, the win is meaningless to them beyond one night of empty celebration. Victory's greatest meaning only comes with a long-term investment.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
We're in the summer blockbuster season. In the last month, Hollywood studios have released Mission Impossible III and The Da Vinci Code. This week X-Men 3: The Last Stand was released, and it was the first summer blockbuster I've seen this year. I enjoyed the first two X-Men films, but the third is disappointing.
Brett Ratner replaced director Bryan Singer, who left to make Superman Returns (another of this year's summer blockbusters). And that's probably when the movie swerved into the lane for films headed straight to hell. X-Men 3 is the kind of movie that when its DVD is released, it will be sold in your local dairy section. In a word: awful. In another: shit.
But I wonder whether my disappointment is any surprise. I have a hard time enjoying entertainment drowned in clichés, insincerity and stupidity, which are three things summer blockbusters drown in.
Maybe I'm a film snob. I ask too much from movies; I ask to be treated as if I have a brain. Maybe next time, I should ask for my money back.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
In Uzodinma Iweala's first novel, Beasts of No Nation, Iweala strips away all unnecessary words to leave a small, powerful story about a boy, Agu, and the war he battles in Africa. The country the story is set isn't named, but that doesn't matter: the story is a universal tale about what war can do to a child.
The most we often hear about war-torn African nations are the body counts. Few personal stories are shared to a wide audience, and when they are, it's easy to flip the page.
But Iweala's novel doesn't allow the reader to dismiss it quickly. Iweala captures the voice of a boy, who starts as an observer of a war but becomes a participant--a beast, he calls himself.
The sad truth of the novel is it's probably the tale of thousands of African boys caught in wars unseen and ignored in the West.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The tie-in book isn't enough. The tie-in reality game isn't enough. Now, and I think it was only a matter of time, comes Lost toys:
It’s another jewel in the McFarlane Toys crown – today, Variety reported that the toy company has landed the license to produce action figures based on the hit ABC drama, Lost.
The toys will be released this fall, according to the trade, with the first selection of six figures to include: Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Locke (Terry O'Quinn), Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) and Shannon (Maggie Grace). Along with the individual figures (which will ship with a scaled prop), McFarlane will also produce boxed sets including the figure with dioramas of locations seen throughout the series. According to the trade, future lines will include Sawyer and Mr. Eko.
McFarlane and company rerpotedly went to the filing location in Hawaii earlier this season to do full body scans of the cast members for the figures.
The toys will be made by the same company who made Don Cherry and the Yellow Submarine toys. Todd McFarlane is also part owner of the Oilers.
I'm not sure if toys are a good sign for the show.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Angels & Demons is awful.
That's about as succinct as I can write it. On every page with every plot twist, Dan Brown takes the clichéd, expected way out. Nothing in his novel surprises, because it's all been done before.
The plot--create something so evil it unites all people--has been written better in other books. The first 400 pages drag because of Brown's grammatically incorrect prose (since when should you use a verb as a noun?). The last 170 show Brown's ability to write a thriller full of cheesy plot twists (that are more ridiculous in succession) and failed research (since when could a person win a Pulitzer for camera work?).
Each character is two-dimensional. Robert Langdon plays a Harvard professor in the U.S. and an action hero in Italy. At no point, does Brown give a reason to care about Langdon. Brown tries with a hokey survival story from Langdon's past, but Brown fails.
The female lead, Vittoria Vetra, is particularly horrible and typical. Brown describes Vetra as being "tall with chestnut skin and long black hair... Her face was unmistakably Italian--not overly beautiful, but possessing full, early features that even at twenty yards seemed to exude a raw sensuality." Of course, that's not really much of a description, so Brown adds, "her clothes clang, accentuating her slender torso and small breasts" (I added the emphasis because that's the detail that allowed me to finally picture Vetra; it's a crucial detail).
Brown writes about miracles in Angels & Demons. But the only miracle I can think of after reading this book is the miracle of Brown still having a book deal after this trash was published.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
My prediction isn't looking too likely right now. Edmonton has played better than I thought they would. The Oilers continue to block shots and Dwayne Roloson continues to over achieve. This series might be finished faster than I thought.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
If you count from the beginning, this is post #86 of The Michael Czobit Blog (thanks for reading, by the way). How far that's from the end, I'm not sure, because I can't predict the future. And yet, I'm sometimes expected to predict the future.
I was asked today if I wanted a full-time job at Canadian Press after I graduate next year. The question stumped me, because I never really thought in terms of definite plans about my future after graduation. I'm not a long-term-goal-oriented person. I never set a goal to get my part-time job at Canadian Press; the job sort of just happened. Before that, I worked at Coles--another place I never thought I'd work at. Sure, I handed in a resumé, but I didn't think beyond that.
I can think of only one long-term goal I have ever set and that was to get into Ryerson's journalism program. I worked on getting there, but didn't think about anything I would do once I did get there. I didn't think I'd write for any of the school papers, meet the people I met, or interview any of the people I interviewed. It all sort of just happens. No grand scheme, no masterplan.
So what I want in 12 months and where I'll be? I'm not sure of either. I'm not worried, though; you know what the say about the best laid plans.