Category Archives: Rants

Winter Warning

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I’m not positive on how many people from Alberta read my blog but I feel today is the perfect time to put out a little warning mixed in with some opinion and life experience.

We are in the month of November and it’s snowing here. What? Wait! That white stuff falling from the sky? Yes, snow is all so pretty and pristine to look at, play in and stroll through. However, driving in a blizzard is not so much fun. Today is one of my little brothers’ birthday and it also happened to be the first day that winter took a big ol’ dump on a highway called the QE2. I woke up determined to make it to my little bro’s birthday party despite the snow. I ignored the gut feeling I had because I figured I have driven through worse being a country kid and all. Wrong. The small town highways I used to drive on did not have a multitude of heavy freight trucks, charter buses and a huge number of vehicles driving alongside me. And yet, I still thought I would be fine. Okay not completely wrong but I got scared straight pretty quickly. I’m fine, obviously because I’m writing this blog.

During my stubborn travels today I came upon an 8-car pile-up which according to the news was initially 16 vehicles and a short while after that I encountered a 5-car collision which later on the news reported as 12 vehicles. I wrote off the first one but as soon as I saw the second crash I knew it was a sign that I should go home. Sorry little bro. Needless to say I was pretty freaked out and just wanted to go home. I managed to persuade a police officer to let me through an overpass and head back the way I came. Apparently, there was a fatality amongst all the crashes today.

This here is my story of why you should stay off the roads during snowfalls like this. Nothing is worth risking your life. My brother understood and my parents, grandparents and boyfriend all were happy I made the smart choice to go home. If you think where you’re going can’t wait, it can. Whether it be a birthday, funeral or work trip the people waiting for you will understand being alive at the end of the day matters more. Stay safe everyone.

Stay classy,

~E

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Please Excuse the Hiatus

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Hiatus…such an odd but fitting word.

I do apologize for the extended absence! Mike and I have not cooked anything together in awhile due to a horrible case of the stomach flu, and we have been quite busy with a whole lot of adventuring with minimal blogging.

But fear not! We have a pumpkin carving shindig this Sunday which promises to be an exciting time of interesting carving, delicious food featuring the pumpkin and good times with friends. So stay tuned!

In the meantime…is anyone currently watching House of Cards? My friend Mona recommended I watch it so I’m starting on episode uno tonight! Let me know what your favourite shows are to watch! I’m always looking for a new show to delve into.

Stay classy,

~E

And I would walk 500 miles…

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Hello…welcome to the humble abode of my mind…it is not very well censored…and sometimes is broken up with rare moments of profound genius that hopefully I post; because how many people are actually willing to share their ideas and thoughts without fear of criticism? Yes I am aware that sentence was outrageously long.

I’m not quite sure where I’m supposed to go in life. (Or what this post is about for that matter)

I’ve got a  job that challenges me to think and innovate. Actually I have two jobs because I am just that hardcore and like to eat good food which requires more money.

I have a wonderful boyfriend who tolerates my childish ‘I just need to sleep’ moods and random moments of falling asleep as soon as I find something relatively comfy to put my head on. Believe me people, I can make a table seem like a plush king-sized bed in my mind if I’m tired enough and need to catch a few zzz’s. I wake up after an hour nap to find things like home made fried chicken with truffle bacon cream corn and roasted potatoes ready to eat! Yep, he’s awesome.

My family is amazing to the point that I know I am a very lucky lady to have such a strong connection with my siblings and parents.

And my friends. Oh my friends! I show my face on occasion; usually for one-on-one coffee dates and the odd social event, but I don’t go out nearly as much as when I had my ‘wild days’ of university living. Let’s face it: I’ve settled down. Not as in I’m settling down for good, but in the way that I don’t need to party like a rock star every time I am out with friends. Sometimes I think to myself that I am reverting back to the young bookworm who would come home from school and read for hours on end. I would shut myself away in my room and read until supper, then go read some more after supper and then be told to shut my light off already and sleep at 1AM. I had two best friends and lived on an acreage, hours from any large city. You see where I’m going with this? And so, now my friends see me a little less, I read a little more and go to bed at a decent time. Is that so bad? Sometimes I feel guilty for turning down an invitation to go out, but 7:00AM shows up fast with a blaring alarm clock entrance and 8 hours of work is a long time to be groggy and tired for.

Maybe what I am getting at is I see the value in strong connections with people more than the collective inebriation with a mixture of close friends and random strangers in a bar? Perhaps the thought of staying out super-duper late makes the old woman inside of me cringe? But hey! The fat kid inside me cheers for the 2AM donair I would eventually eat. Donairs never taste so good as when you’re a wee bit tipsy and waltzing down the street with close friends.

What I THINK I am getting at with this post is that strong connections matter. The people who are there for you through thick and thin are reliable and don’t mind seeing you once every few weeks. They understand that sometimes sleep trumps going out. However, don’t let these connections shrivel up and die. The people who invite you out even after three declined invitations truly care and want to see your beautiful face! Which is why I still make the effort to have the odd coffee date with these people. Even if I show up in sweats and a tank top with a tired face to the hipster cafe’ that serves really good coconut lassi’s my friends don’t mind sitting next to me. True friendship right there!

So the point…hmmm…well I just hope someone finds a little humour and maybe is able to relate to what my brain decided was something profoundly blog-worthy. Let me know if this was just a pile of steaming rice noodles gone soggy. Not very appetizing but still edible if I am hungry enough!

 

Stay classy,

~E

To all the Supporters

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You know what is so cool about social media? Anyone around the world can look and see what someone else is sharing. I think being able to communicate with someone you have never met before through the power of photos, blogs, news, etc. is an exciting experience. Yes, yes of course there are downfalls to social media, the internet and communication in general, but today is a day of good vibes and being excited about the world we live in.

This post is dedicated to all of the people who read my blog. Thank-you for following me! My friends, you willingly clicked on my blog and decided to jump on the bandwagon. Where we go, no one knows! Not even me! But truly, thank-you to the 35 wonderful WordPress followers, a choice few Facebook friends and countless Tweeters who take the time to check out what I’m up to from time to time. You are all awesome!!!!!! I’m making a commitment to try and personally thank every person who follows, likes or comments on my blog. Also, comment more people! I would love to hear feedback on my posts. Constructive criticism along with light banter and/or praise are always welcome 🙂

To keep the good times rolling, check out a blog run by Jordan Ferney called “Oh Happy Day”! She has some really rad costume ideas! It’s October people! Get your costume on!

Stay classy,

~E

Happy Friday Folks

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Oh hello there! Fancy meeting you here on this magnificent last day of the work week. Since this is such a good day for me (just because I drank 3 cups of tea already) I thought sharing the positivity would do some good. Here’s where to go to keep the happy ball rolling.

To feel the positivity from an awesome blogger lady with cute baby pictures and other smile moments.

For a profound outlook on life.

I think the world needs more of….

Sing out loud and proud!

Everyone should have a brain break now and then.

All the pretty places.

Having a movie night but not wanting to go out?

Music and dancing can break a lot of barriers.

Speaking of dancing! Looking for some comedy?

With Fall on the doorstep, stay cozy!

Last but not least, remember to smile.

**As a sidenote: I know my posts don’t always correlate with one another. Sometimes they are simple rants and ramblings of a person trying to discover their niche, and other times I go on about the amazing food Mike and I make. However, I then realize I never want to be defined by one minute aspect of my life. Why? Because I live to discover new things. I love experiencing something I have never heard of. I enjoy the thought of the unknown. I am not satisfied with my life entirely because if I was…would there be any reason to go on searching for the new and exciting? Nope. I think not.

So get up off your couch. Wait in anticipation for the final hour of the work day. And run (or causally stroll) outside with determination and a child-like curiosity when looking at our world. Appreciate this life. This is the only planet and existence we have.

 

Stay classy,

~E

Feeling extra chipper today! (please note the sarcasm)

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**I was asked by an acquaintance about what it takes to go to school and pursue a career in Journalism. Here was my response, which of course is my personal opinion on the matter because I am in no way a highly experienced professional but this is what I have learned since pursuing a career as a journalist/photojournalist:

I’m going to give you the hard reality of my profession.

1. Deadlines always matter and life should not become cluttered in the process if a person is efficient and prioritizes properly.

2. Don’t do journalism unless you are willing to make minimal money for the first few years and be constantly on call while working for any daily publication or news source such as radio, TV, social media. Just because you are sleeping does not mean news has stopped happening.

3. The job market is exactly the same for someone who has a Bachelor in Journalism versus a Diploma in Journalism or someone who has had more field experience than your entire age. Granted field experience in my opinion is the number one way to get hired. Yes those fancy classes look oh so pretty on a transcript, but don’t think this is going to get you a job right off.

4. No one cares you know a photoshop system or video editing software backwards and forwards unless that’s all you will be doing. Wrong. As a journalist your job will be everything short of speaking the words of the person you are interviewing. Print journalism is a dying art and news media companies such as Post Media (look them up) have their hand in more than one media cookie jar. What does this mean for the journalist? Let me tell you. It means we need to know radio (recording to editing), TV (recording to editing to writing up the ‘script’), print (everything under the sun), social media (know your shit or you will fail), html coding (sometimes they want you to be a web page editor and/or designer so you MUST know what the backdoor coding means and how to create it), photoshop (this shit will save some very shitty photos), indesign editing, microsoft, all adobe softwares that could somehow pertain to our job in the most minuscule way. You name it and most journalists will know it. The only exception to this are the older than dirt people who have been working this industry way before degrees mattered.

5. Journalism is never a one-stop shop. You need to be up on every social media platform. If you go into a job interview and name Facebook and Twitter as the only sites you know how to use…don’t expect a call back. Go ahead and get the degree but don’t for one instant think a job is waiting on the doorstep of graduation. The media world is much smaller, tight knit and cut throat than most people know. If you fuck up once during school and it gets published somehow or a professor realizes you’re not cut out for this field, don’t expect a shining recommendation.

6. THE MOST IMPORTANT fact is that all professors in the program are also industry professionals. My photojournalism prof worked for Canadian Press, my Mastery Reporting prof had been with us since year one and she works for the Edmonton Journal and my radio prof had been all over the country with various news stations. If they don’t like you or think you treat some part of this as a joke and you might as well write that prof off as ever recommending you. They are the people who you will have to keep in contact with after graduation and they could very well find you a job in media. Word of mouth and opinions matter the most.

7. Excuse me while I blatantly laugh at the thought of having achieved my media goals. My doe-eyed goal was and still is to work as a photojournalist for a magazine travelling the world. I’m 21 and definitely not ready to settle down into a job where a cubicle is my work world for 8 hours a day. You have got to work bloody hard to get a job in media. Sure you can get an entry-level position as either an unpaid intern or possibly paid but with no job security, but don’t bank on the dream job right off. Smaller publications such as community newspapers are sometimes easier to get into because there isn’t as much competition. Not many people want to live outside of the city and write about Suzie’s prize puppy winning first at the local fair.

8. If you think you will ‘get off’ on just reporting and writing to stay afloat (not sure what you meant entirely by that) you are sorely mistaken. I never wrote for a publication that paid me until a year after I graduated. You can try if you are good and can balance school with some media publication but the most you will probably get is freelance work. I paid for my schooling and living expenses by having two jobs during school and three jobs in the summer. I also worked for the website our class ran called West Edmonton Local but it was a requirement of the program. We created the content and maintained the website as one of our classes. This doesn’t mean we got class time to go out and find stories. Nope. We had to go out on our own time and interview the people, write the story, upload to the website and manage the content. Every week someone else had the job of monitoring the entire website. So good luck on having things like that and trying to make money writing and reporting. Also, all news publications in the city will know you are a student which means they won’t give you the exciting stories while you are in school because they know your attention is split between school and side-work. I call it side work because taking journalism is like having a full-time job. You could be like every other student in university and get out of your 3-hour class and have a beer or hang out. However, after 3 hours of class in journalism you still have to go out and get that story while other assignments pile up as well.

9. What to expect:

*long hours

*little sleep

*not a lot of appreciation for your work unless it is outstanding

*multiple assignments that sometimes overlap if two prof’s feel it would be a good learning *experience to take video of a story and then not only edit it for the assignment but also tweet *about the story while taking video and interviewing Joe Schmoe

*expensive textbooks

*the requirement that you MUST buy a MacBook Pro laptop and the latest version of whatever *Adobe software they stipulate ($approx. 2500.00)

*recommendation to also buy a voice recorder, camera and whatever else that would ‘aid you *further’ (we have a technology library but it is on a first come, first serve basis for everything     unless there is an assignment that requires a specific piece of equipment)

*brain overloads on a regular basis

*all classes have required attendance

*prof’s are not lying when they say you will be 3 classes behind if you miss one day

*other student’s don’t understand the amount of different work this field requires (It is like taking a technical degree at NAIT because everything is real world and applied to reality on a regular basis)

10. The new program (ie: Communications Degree) So, I graduated in two years with a journalism diploma. Now, the four years is made into what is essentially Professional Writing, Journalism and probably Public Relations as well. However, this means half your class will not be in the same field as you. Year one and two are general studies classes with maybe one or two specific to degree classes. Year three and four is when the students split off into their respective fields and enrol in purely degree based classes. I’m not sure how great the new program is because I was never in it. However, this is what my prof’s told me: “These first couple years are the guinea-pig phase,” meaning everything is new and being tested out to see what classes should be kept for students to enrol in and what ones should be scrapped due to not applying enough yatta yatta yatta. They advised me to wait until three to five years down the road if I wanted to come back and enrol because by that time the kinks in the degree program would be worked out. People in the program I have talked to have mixed reviews. Some hate it. Some love it. The ones who hate it are usually the students who were already in the two year program and decided to continue on for a degree instead of a diploma. The ones who love it or tolerate it are those who are fresh and don’t know how the old system ran. As a program, professional writing and journalism both used to run out of the Fine Arts and Communications Campus on the west end of Edmonton but now everyone is in the City Center Campus. Mixed reviews about that as well. However, the new arts and communications building should be built by 2015 right by Grant MacEwan Residence so that would be a better place to be for the students to learn and not have to put up with the business and nursing people who sometimes don’t want to play nice.

So that in a nutshell is my experience as a Journalism graduate. I should also add I took a year of Open Studies to further my education which overall helped me keep a well-rounded view of the whole rigmarole of being in an intense but great program that offers a lot of potential for growth. I know the bulk of my response was negative, but after three years of school and the hassle of knowing I would not have a guaranteed job, the reality sets in that journalism is a freaking insanely tough field to stay in. I’m sure the Communications Degree is much more in-depth but yet again does not promise a career at the end of it unless you shine like a sparkly unicorn during school and maybe one of your prof’s will snatch you up to go work at their news publication. I would advise you to also take a look at Public Relations because I took a class in it and it was truly an eye-opening time where I was able to expand my thoughts on what it means to be a media career person. Really great class to take as well if it is offered in the Communications degree.

To add a note after this email was sent, I would like to reaffirm what I stand for and what I think about my career. Yes, communications is a hard field to become successful in. Yes, there may not always be reward for your work besides a pay check. However, I feel empowered. I enjoy being challenged every day. My job is never boring even during cubicle hours. I absolutely love the opportunities I have encountered along the way and the people I have met. If there was ever a way to make me believe in humanity it is through my job. I have a front row seat to witness change and also have the power to become part of the change. Communications and Journalism is a field full of potential and has a multitude of positions to be in within one single career. I can be a photographer one day and a writer the next; but I am never simply one or the other but a collage of all of the things I have learned. Journalism is a great field to be in. Honestly. I will always be able to say my job is interesting and never boring.

Stay classy,

~E

The Power of Writing

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I’m not going to spout the pen is mightier than the sword hoopla. I’m going to give an honest and personal explanation as to why writing is so valuable.

Not for the fame or the money, but for the simple fact of staying relatively sane.

A woman by the name of  Susan Sontag would argue with me about even having a shred of sanity. To her, “Sanity is a cozy lie.”

I would then proceed to agree with her, because in the end humans are known to have unpredictable bouts of insanity. Making no sense in their actions whatsoever. I say sanity is what we hope to achieve and yet most people are constantly saying they are “losing their minds” whether it be over an exam they just wrote or arguing with a loved one with no rhyme or legitimate reason to justify why the disagreement started. Now ‘losing my mind’ has become more of a saying for the majority of the population. However, what happens to those individuals who truly feel as though they can never quite get ahead, are struggling to make it through everyday and quite possibly want it all to end? What do those people do to cope?

There are a variety of ways to keep going everyday from the most minor to extreme methods. From coffee to drugs or seeing a counsellor to get all the emotions and things pushing a person’s sanity further away; we all have our tricks.

My personal way to cope is by simply writing in a journal. Not everyday, and sometimes no more than a page. I actually have two journals. One for the rants involving stresses of day to day life that build up over time, and the other to document profound, exciting and/or devastating moments in life. Shit happens.

As Forrest Gump’s mother once said, “Life’s a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I absolutely love that story and movie!

There’s the honest truth about writing. I bet you every creative writer who has ever lived did not simply put pen to paper and come up with a masterpiece. They took their time. Poured their heart and soul into every word. Felt emotion as they wrote the happiness, the tragedy or the excitement as their story unfolded. A fictional story versus a non-fictional story has only one differentiating fact in my mind. The separation of fantasy versus reality. Each style of writing carries some piece of the author. It may be as subtle as a name change for one of the characters who actually has the same characteristics as a very dear friend or the setting is really a place the writer has been to and adds some more imagination into the details. This is how great stories are born. From people taking their deepest fears, daily stresses or zeal for life and sharing it with the world.

I find great satisfaction from writing my own personal story and reading those of others. Mine will never be published but the power behind my words is what keeps me going. I feel better after writing. Like a weight has been lifted and I can continue with a clear head onto the next day.

That my friends is the sheer awesome of writing

 

Stay classy,

~E

That’s Amore!

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Weather we like it or not

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Here in Alberta we have quite a short summer and a very long winter for the most part. So when the official first day of summer came and went the other day I was unimpressed. Why you may ask would I not be happy about the first day of summer?

Well Alberta has turned into mother nature’s perpetual PMS playground!

Just last week Edmonton, was in a state of anticipation as forecasts predicted severe thunderstorms and the chance of a tornado..or two..just to make everyone sit on the edge of their seat in fear. In my office. No one was allowed to leave until the warnings had been downgraded to a watch. In the space of a few hours we saw torrential downpours, hail and wicked fast winds whipping through the city. Some roads were closed due to flooding. Mostly in underpasses.

You know that saying “April showers bring May flowers?” Well obviously somebody missed the memo about this being JUNE.

Today, Calgary, is partly evacuated due to flooding of the downtown core. The Saddledome and Stampede grounds are underwater! Thankfully, most of my family and friends are not located downtown. Also, outlying areas like Canmore, High River and Bragg Creek are seeing the effects of flooding. Yesterday RCMP were asking for anyone with marine boats to help evacuate people. How the heck does this happen?!

Thankfully, Calgarians as well as people from across the province have volunteered to help in anyway they can. In crises such as these it is nice to see humanitarian efforts. With a state of emergency declared I hope everyone gets to safety.

Now on a side note July is coming up so mother nature had better get this weather under control. Summer will only be two months of sun if it ever shows up and stays more than a day.

For a live feed on what is going on check out this link to Calgary’s CTV news station. Right now Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary is on-camera being interviewed.

http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=875562&playlistId=1.1335319&binId=1.1201914&playlistPageNum=1

Stay safe everyone,

~E

This one time at camp

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So, part of my job working with the 4-H Magazine is I have to go out and take photos at all of the provincial programming we have in the summer. Let me rephrase that. I have the esteemed privilege to be paid to go out to wonderful summer camps where kids will ask to play soccer, basketball, volleyball and drip-drip-drop with the Summer staff for hours on end.

Now 4-H in its own right is a fantastic organization. Yes, members have to fill out record books, attend meetings and participate in a project all year, which seems boring at times and fun at other times, but it is sooooo worth it!

Summer camps. The epitome of an awesome 4-H experience. Camps for every age group and a week of being told to head outside to go have FUN! Parents send their kids off to camp and they come back energized (or tired depending on how late those rascals stayed up chatting in their bunk rooms) after having made tons of new friends and eating delicious homemade meals.

I decided to blog about this after researching cool camp quotes. Thanks Pinterest for making me miss the good ol’ days of going to camp! However, like I said I get to go back and take pictures, interview the kids, listen to some great presenters and eat some great down home cooking.

If you have kids SEND THEM TO CAMP! You won’t regret the money spent, the time away from your children or the endless stories they have to tell you. The experience a kid has at camp is priceless. Honestly, some of my greatest friends are former 4-H campers just like myself.

Plus, we got to learn how to canoe, climb ropes, use compasses, make crafts and learn to maybe not eat that berry on a rather suspicious looking bush. Also, we totally knew how to shoot a bow and arrow at the archery range waaaayyyyy before Katniss Everdeen!

So, yay for camps! All the camps! All over the world! I hope everyone sends their kids to camp at least once so that they can make new friends, learn some cool stuff and have a blast just being a kid.

Stay classy,

~EImage