Archive for the ‘Life @ the news’ Category

I support you

October 22, 2011

I’m not generally the type to re-post videos and insist others watch them (maybe that goes back to my Rankin Inlet days when trying to watch a minute-long YouTube video took half an hour) but I’m going to make an exception.

I figure if word about Jamie Hubley’s suicide has made it to B.C., and all over my Facebook, most people who read this blog will be familiar with his story. But for those who aren’t, Jamie was a teenage kid from Ottawa who committed suicide last week. Another case of a gay kid being bullied to death. This time, the son of an Ottawa city councillor, not that that should make his death more important, but certainly has made it more public.

It seems every couple of weeks there’s another story in the news about a kid who takes his own life because he or she (though most often he, it seems) can’t deal with the bullying, the negativity, the hurt anymore. Sometimes it goes back to sexual orientation, but not always.

And that’s where this video comes into play. Because yes, gay kids feel ostracized. But so do adults. Kids are cruel to each other, and adults are cruel to themselves. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’ve lost a friend to suicide. I have had several friends who have dealt with depression, and I’ve had my own dark periods.

I woke up this morning wanting nothing more than to just cry. So for about three hours, off and on, I cried. Why was I crying? I have no idea. My life is good, I have a job, I have a cute little apartment in a cute little house, I have a bit of money in the bank so if I feel like it, I can afford to treat myself. Even yesterday, as I was biking home from work I was thinking to myself what a wonderful life I am living, and how lucky I am. But none of that shone through this morning, as I wallowed in bed.

What’s going to get me out of this slump is my friends. I called one, and she let me talk. I texted another, and I’m going to spend the night with her family out of town. Both were exactly what I needed.

And that brings me back to this video, and what this young man is talking about. Sometimes those three little words — “I support you” — are all it takes. It’s so simple, so universal. Sometimes people just need to know others support them. It doesn’t matter how huge or trivial your problems may seem, a little bit of support can make all the difference.

So watch this. Feel inspired. Feel amazed at Scott’s depth, and tell or show someone in your life you support them. It can’t hurt.


The photo and the kiss seen ’round the world

June 16, 2011

What does this say about our culture right now?

Some argue this was egged on by social media. But then look at the story’s dissemination! The beast feeds itself. The whole event is surreal. Surreal enough to be one of those things that becomes historic.

Over a game.

What in the world do people think they have to be angry at? All this was so unnecessary. I’d have rathered if they just lost in Boston in Game 5. At least then maybe people wouldn’t have been so revved up. So prepared.

I have friends and colleagues who were attacked in the riots. One went out basically to “watch the back” of another, who was working solo in some very hostile crowds. They had a skateboard swung at them. Because they were media.

I read earlier today that a police officer was slugged in the head with a brick. Needed 14 stitches.

And then there’s this:

I find it terrifying people get to this point.

Today my job was fascinating

May 5, 2011

Link to story.

It’s sad this fellow died, but it was incredible to watch dive crews figure out where he and his car were located and how they retrieved it. Also — bigger issues at play here. This is a highly dangerous area. More to come tomorrow.

Getting fired over Twitter

March 30, 2011

The MotherCorp now encourages journalists to actively be part of the Twitter world. The collective agreement doesn’t cover this one.

Read here:


Taking a leaf out of NTV’s book

October 31, 2010

One of the funny, but not all that surprising parts of cable television in Rankin Inlet (and I expect other parts of Nunavut as well) was the inclusion of Newfoundland Television (NTV). Funny, because it is/was a really low-budget station from half a country away, but not surprising because of the sheer density of Newfoundlanders up north.

One of NTV’s trademarks was its random filler music videos. Almost every commercial break, at the very end, they would play about 40 seconds of a song/music video. Always ending abruptly before the show resumed.

I don’t totally know why they did this, I figured maybe they didn’t have to pay royalties if they only played a segment of the song. Maybe it was an easier way of timing out the commercials, who knows.

But now MTV (Canada) is doing it too. The channel really doesn’t show any music videos anymore. Just reality TV about short orange italians. And pregnant 16 year olds. And they’ve gotten in trouble with the CRTC for it too. But what they ARE doing now is “promoing” music videos, by showing 40 second clips, and then directing people to their web site to see the full song.

It’s exactly what NTV has been doing for years. But with more web traffic as a possible bonus.

Yes, I’m shocked too

October 21, 2010

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d write a blog post about Justin Bieber.

I know so little about this teeny-bopper, I don’t think I’ve ever consciously heard one of his marshmellow-y songs (though I’m sure I have, just didn’t know that’s what I was listening to) and had to double-check the spelling of his last name in that first reference.

But I am starting to feel really bad for the kid. He’s now allegedly tied up in some sort of legal fight because he may have pushed another kid who may have made some snide comment about Bieber’s sexual orientation earlier this week in Vancouver.

But then I read a version of this article in our local paper. I almost didn’t even read the headline because next to it was a quarter-page photo of Bieber, and as a general rule I ignore all things Bieber.

Here’s the general idea:

Toronto radio station CFNY has been reprimanded by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council after a host made comments about Justin Bieber fans that the council concluded “inappropriately sexualized children.”

(and this one is pretty rough)

According to the council’s account: “To a female fan, Blundell said he had tweeted, ‘Save your energy for puberty or to fend off your dad tonight while you’re sleepin.'” About the one male fan who had contacted him, Blundell said, “He’ll be chuggin’ before he’s 18 … if he likes that music.”

I don’t understand. What is it about this child that simultaneously makes tweens scream and other subsets of the population turn into toads?

This can’t possibly be the fair price of fame.

Dangerous jobs

August 2, 2010

I spent the second half of last week running around Kamloops.
I was called out at 530 Wednesday morning to cover this fire that broke out the night before near some houses in the north end of town…
Of course by the time I got there, things had gotten a lot less dramatic.
But it was only a matter of hours before another big one started — an hour northwards in Barriere. So off we (we being the pup and I, of course) to that one.
Sometimes I feel like a storm chaser with a microphone.

Eventually I was able to catch my breath, and got this really cool interview with the commander of the provincial air tanker’s fleet. He basically conducts all these heavy machinery zooming back and forth across the sky, frantically trying to dump water and flame retardant on any of the hundreds of new fires that started across the province this week.

The command centre they have set up there is just incredible. It looks like the NASA headquarters in Apollo 13. And they are so well organized, it’s frightening.

So I was heartbroken when I woke up this morning to read this story: Fire season in British Columbia is a difficult time.

And so dangerous, when you have a man, a veteran pilot like Tim Whiting crash… you know it’s got to be a rough ride.

What a blow.


May 4, 2010

As I was driving to work today, listening to Anna Maria Tremonti interview folks down in the big easy about their big oil problem

It occurred to me I don’t think I ever shared photos from my trip to New Orleans last year. Jeff and I were great travel buddies, and I sure do miss that about living up north.

Anyways, without further ado… some photos of the bayou (that rhymes!) The story behind these is that we randomly decided one day when we had rented a car that we were going to go on a swamp tour.

We called up one of the companies in my trusty Frommer’s guide book (I literally read the thing front-to-back, highlighted important sections and post-it-note-ed the crap out of that thing. I’m such a neurotic planner) and they told us to come on down. We barely found the place — the only landmark I now remember is that it was near a snow-cone shack. Because no one else showed up for the tour… we had it all to ourselves.



This is what we found at the entrance to the swamp tour place. These were swept into the bayou, and this little marshland during Hurricane Katrina. It did not inspire confidence.


The riverway was actually part of a nature conservatory. Sometimes we would zip through the water, other times we had to slow down “dead slow” to a near crawl. I spent most of my time up at the front of the boat, hair blowing in the wind, bonding with the captain:


I want to say his name was “captain jack” but… that might be a lie.


Muddy waters (note the “nature preserve” sign — I wasn’t making that up!) and….


Not-so-muddy waters. Parts of the waterway were so cloudy (out in the larger thoroughfares) and other parts were glassy smooth, like this. See that little stump-like thing on the right hand side? I didn’t think much of it at first either, but they’re not stumps. They’re Cypress “knees”. They stabilize the trees in the swampy bottoms of the bayou.

And no swamp tour would be without ONE OF THESE SUCKERS:


Yes. That’s one big mofo of an alligator. And this is just one of the COUNTLESS ones we saw on our hour and a half tour of the Louisiana bayou. And while the tour guys regularly feed them marshmallows (safer and better for them than real meat, believe it or not) they’re far from tame. Captain Jack’s predecessor was eaten by one years back.

These waters — among many many many others — are at risk if that oil slick makes its way too far inland. Reportedly, it’s made its way to shore in some places, but not all. Here’s hoping it’ll be less of an environmental disaster than it seems at this point…

Go Fred Schell!

March 11, 2010

Fred Schell (Nunavut MLA for South Baffin — That’s Cape Dorset and Kimmirut) was on As It Happens tonight.¬† I know my arctic radar has been on hyper-alert ever since I left.

Which is funny because I NEVER paid attention to anything North before I moved. And “moved” can actually probably include while I was living in Nunavut too.

Anyways, so Fred Schell was on AIH. Talking about the seal ban. And his idea for a really creative¬† response to the EU’s decision.

The European Union is going to ban seal products? Okay.

Nunavut’s going to ban European Union alcohol products.

I love it.

Now of course, a Nunavut liquor ban probably won’t make a big dent in Smirnoff international alcohol sales (yes, we drink a lot, but not THAT much). But as Schell said, it’s symbolic. And pretty smart, if you ask me.

Also? The country may have gotten a little window into the Nunavut Way near the end of the interview. The host (who was sitting in for Carol Off/Barbara Bud) said that having to have EU liquor specially shipped in by individuals would be a huge inconvenience, when they could just go to the local liquor store and pick up a bottle*. Schell then went into an explanation of how we don’t have liquor stores, we have liquor warehouses. And people from Iqaluit can’t buy from the Iqaluit warehouse. And the people in Rankin can’t buy from the Rankin warehouse.

That must have been startling for some southerners out there.

If you want to listen to the interview, you can find it here:

*Wow, that phrase is revealing. I didn’t write a bottle of wine. Or a bottle of beer. Or a bottle of rum, just a bottle.

What’s in a sport?

February 15, 2010

For the first time in my adult life (I say adult because I had very little control over the remote as a tot or teen) I’ve been making a conscious effort to watch the Olympics.

And I’ve found myself wondering a bit about how the Powers That Be decide which sports make the docket and which ones don’t.

I’m no expert, but I always considered sports to be more or less universally accessible. Sure, some are more expensive and gear-intensive (hockey, skiing) than others (soccer, basketball). Some more popular in certain areas (Western vs. Eastern Canada for skiing) or countries (European vs. American soccor/football) than others. But for the most part, when I think of popular sports, there are generally amateur leagues for developing atheltes, for those who aren’t competing at a provincial/national/global level.

So what the HECK is the deal with luge, skeleton and bobsled?

Even biathlon (which I keep typing as “biathalong”) is a bit obscure, but at least I can say I know at least ONE person who did the biathlon as a sport (but I’m pretty sure that was just through her work in cadets).

I don’t know a single person who goes home and hits the luge track after work.
I’ve never heard of a guy rounding up his three buddies to jump in a bobsled for a run on the weekend.

Maybe I’m just hanging out with the wrong people, but these are not REAL sports. Real in that they are a part of everyday, common athletics. I’ll admit they’re fun to watch, but… why are they part of the Olympics? Are they more popular elsewhere? Are there skeleton clubs I’m not aware of? What’s going on here?