Thursday, October 27, 2011

J is for...Journalism

The sun will probably be in your eyes when you wake up. Well, the new sun will be. They got rid of the original sun a few years ago and replaced it with a big Halogen one. This new one is a lot more efficient.

You will sit up in bed and stretch. After a long night in front of the computer, you will feel well rested. You will pick up your remote and type in the password. You will select ‘Morning Routine’.

Your apartment will come alive. The toilet seat opens. The blinds in your living room roll up. The shower will start warming up. All of the screens in your apartment will update and show you things that you usually like to see; shoe sales, funny videos of kids accidently hitting their dads in the nuts, hockey fights, Chris Farley clips, snowboard videos.

You will put on your housecoat and make breakfast. A coffee pill, two egg pills, three bacon pills and two toast pills will be enough. Yum.

After breakfast, you will grab another coffee pill and sit in your electric massage chair.

The city outside your window will be silent. You will hear a car horn here and there, but they will be really distant.

You will read the news on your device. You will see your story on the second page. You will read your story, even though you revised it several times before you submitted it last night. You will hate the .GIF they use for all your articles. It will be you at an outoor dinner party wearing a suit. It’s kind of stupid, but it was the only one you had of you wearing a suit. You will hardly ever wear suits, because you will hardly ever need to.
 You will like the headline they chose for this particular story. You will read the first few of your colleague’s articles, and then watch the rest of the important news on video. You will like to pretend that you prefer to read the news, but it will be so much faster to use the video option.

You will realize you’re late for work. You will make it to work on time by walking across your living room and picking up your tablet. Fewf, you made it.

You will check your work mail. You will have a big story today. Your lead will be about the death of journalism. You will think that’s easy.

You will start by brushing up on your history. You will research the 2085 London newspaper burnings. You will read up on the New York Times scandals of 2123. You will read all the lies in CHINA NEWS for the first time since it has been taken over. You will check Al Jazeera. You will read up on the Guerilla News Rebels.

You will realize it’s lunch time. You will log on and order Chow Mein. It will be a five minute wait.

You will spend your afternoon looking for quotes for your article. You will Facetime your mum. You will message your friend about playing basketball on Thursday. You will tweet a shout-out to your co-worker.  You will talk to your boss about your story, and he will ask you what your angle is.

You will say:
Death of journalism?
What death of journalism?
You will liken it to a cockroach in a nuclear zone.
You will both laugh about how many times the world has tried to pronounce journalism dead.
You will mention an article written way back in the 2000’s about the art of blogging, and how people once thought blogs could kill news.
You will both shake your heads and talk about how stupid people used to be.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I is for...iPhone

i never owned a cell phone in high school.
i was lame.
i read other people’s texts on other people’s phones.
i didn’t mind though.
i should have savored my life without a phone a little longer.
i never considered that I will always have a phone for the rest of my life now.
i caved eventually.
i had a bunch of crappy ones.
i bought my first one in Australia.
i think it was Nokia.
i liked how tiny it was.
i moved to Samsung.
i liked that it had a full keypad.
i tried Motorola.
i am indeed embarrassed to have owned a Razr, thank you for asking!
i did Nokia again.
i dropped it in a puddle.
i had a goddamn Blackberry.
i don’t want to talk about it.
i realized it was time.
i own a Macbook.
i have two ipods.
i had already drank the Apple Kool-Aid.
i was due.
i needed one.
i bought an iPhone.
i have never owned a more useful piece of technology.
i think Instagram is mostly for posers.
i love Angry Birds.
i love Angry Birds Rio.
i love Angry Birds Seasons.
i recommend an iPhone.
i don’t care how old you are.
i think you could and should try to figure it out.
i know, it’s hard.
i just worry that you are gonna fall behind the times.
i will have to teach you how to use one when I’m 35?
i don’t think so.
i think you should just keep up with the times.
i don’t wanna wait for you.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

G is for... Grapes

Hockey Night In Canada's executive producer, Trevor Pilling, wakes up to the sound of a crowing rooster.

Last night was a restless sleep. He knew what today was bringing, and he was dreading the thought of it.

'This is a good thing' he thinks to himself. 'You are doing the right thing'.

He jams his feet into his leather boots sitting beside his bed, despite the fact he isn't wearing socks. There is no time for socks. This chore needs to be done immediately.

He puts on his fleece-lined jacket at the front door, and picks up the shotgun that he had laid out the night before. Its cold steel stings his hands with realization.

'You're doing the right thing' he tells himself.

He can see his breath in the air as he makes his way across the farmyard. The animals inside the barn are starting to wake up and make noise.

When he cracks the old, wooden sliding door of the barn, the light hits the different on-air personalities.

Standing in the front stalls are Kelly Hrudey, Kevin Weekes and Jim Hughson. They are discussing whether or not Luongo has another run for the cup left in him after last season.

Scott Oake and Elliot Freedman are walking around the barn asking Crosby questions to the other animals. They must have gotten out last night. Gord Stellick is standing backwards staring at the wall. PJ Stock scurries above on the rafters above, looking for nuts and seeds.

The Hockey Night In Canada barn is awake. Except for the back corner. It is still quiet in the back corner.

Pilling drags his feet as he approaches the back of the barn, hoping the noise will wake up the remaining two horses.

Ron MacLean opens his eyes immediately: "Headshots!" he yells instinctively. "Let's discuss headshots!"

Pilling smiles. "Don't worry, Ron - go back to sleep. Get some rest. You had a long night."

Their discussion wakes up the remaining animal.

"It's not called dangling" blurts the last horse. "It's called stickhandling! When did we start calling it 'dangling?' And another thing...wait, where's Dougie? Who does Gilmore play for again? And another thing...wait which clip are we watching here? And another thing..."

Silently, Pilling ignores the nonsense, ties a rope around the old horse's bridle, and opens his gate.

"Where are we going? Who are you? And another thing, I remember when we use to ride the bus to games. The Forum was the greatest rink there ever was! When I used to fight I used to buy the guy a beer afterwards! You wanna fix the league? Get rid of the Russians! That'll fix things. Speaking of things, and another thing..."

The rest of the horses are silent as Pilling walks the old horse through the barn. They look away, or paw at the ground. They look nervous.

"No heart left in the game! Bunch of kids nowadays. Bunch of Euros! Defenceman can't even touch ya' anymore! Clutch and grab?! It's called hockey! And another thing about hockey, it's too fast now. Not enough hitting! Hey kids, there aren't enough goons anymore! But the league needs less goons! It needs more goons that aren't goons!"

"Alright, Don" says Pilling as they leave the barn; "that's quite enough".

"Where are we going?" says Don.

"We aren't going anywhere" replies Pilling. "You are going somewhere".

With his shotgun still draped over his shoulder, Pilling leads his eldest horse into the field.


Friday, October 14, 2011

F is for...Fred


There are only so many variations of teapot cozies, fig Newtons, suspenders-with-a-belt, cheating at card games and thick glasses you can think of, before it seems like everyone’s grandparents are all the same.  We all have them, and we all love them. Here’s a little something about one of mine.

When you went for lunch with my grandpa (huge fan of Tim Hortons), you had to be patient. Partially because was hard of hearing and sight, but more so because of his popularity.

One time an elderly lady approached us and said: “After all these years, I still recognize your voice”. She was referring to the CBC Radio programs “Morningside” and “Neighbourly News from the Prairies” that he used to speak on.  I can’t say for sure, but I’m assuming he proceeded to flirt with her and make her blush. Then when she left, he would turn to me with a smile and say “Just another one of my girlfriends”.

My grandpa was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2002, and then the Order of Canada in 2004. Plaques and medals he received from those, as well as other accomplishments, stayed hidden in his room. He was incredibly humble.

Of all the people, events and stories that my grandpa regaled me with over the years, I’m not sure if he spoke of anyone more highly than Tommy Douglas. Here’s a snippet from an article about the book Tommy's Team: The People Behind the Douglas Years:

Brandon's own Fred McGuinness also suffered from osteomyelitis -- an infection of the bones and joints -- after having been wounded in the war. 

"McGuinness, who had been hired by Douglas for a few years to run 50-year jubilee celebrations of Saskatchewan in 1955, passed some of the antibiotics to which he had access to Douglas to ease those flare-ups."

"He would phone McGuinness in the middle of the night and say: 'Fred, bring me over four of your aureomycin capsules.' The 'golden capsules' he would call them," said Houston, who quickly added that though it helped Douglas, both men knew that it was a rather unethical practice.”

Not everyone can say their grandpa shared his meds with the father of Medicare.

When my grandpa died last spring, I received a great deal of condolences from people because of his popularity. At first I felt guilty because I didn’t know everything there was to know about his professional career. But since then I've realized that doesn't matter, because I was lucky enough to know him as a grandson.

In this interview, my grandpa is quoted saying: "I think that the brightest thing that’s happened in Manitoba journalism in a number of years has been the two year course called “Creative Communication” at Red River Community College."

Ironically enough, I got my acceptance letter to the Creative Communications program the same day my grandpa died.

That would have made him laugh.