Thursday, December 06, 2007


* It is absolutely ridiculous that the Pittsburgh Penguins are pushing away their vets, including Mark Recchi, who cleared waivers last night. Ironically, Wednesday was Mark Recchi Bobblehead night in Pittsburgh.

* Maroon 5's latest CD is brilliant. It's fun to listen to, but not too overbearing or repetitive. It uses a few well known riffs from popular songs... but mostly to start off their songs, before going in an opposite direction. Still, it catches your ear, which makes me believe that this disc has at least 3 more good singles on it.

* The Habs have called up Ryan O'Byrne and Maxim Lapierre, as you're probably already aware. This means Grabovski's going to Hamilton. These changes, in my opinion, are long overdue... although you have to wonder about calling up two of the penalty minute leaders on the 'Dogs team. Hopefully, this shake up, a mini-shake-up really, will create a spark, add some energy, shuffle the deck, add your cliché here...

* The TV Strike officially sucks. Simply because I'm now on break and there's nothing on at night. I have to resort to going out and spending money (yay! Wings night!), or watching old shows.

* Speaking of which, I have finished re-watching all of ALIAS... Two years after I started, lol. But, to be fair, I didn't watch it regularly. And all my habitual TV viewing/hockey games/work/homework came first. The good news is, it's just as good as I remember it to be. The bad news is, it's so sad I cried. And now, I have nothing to watch. I'm trying a bit of Robot Chicken, but I'm definitely going to have to search the server for a new series to watch...

* Tonight is JSA Karaoke night. YEY! But travel time means that I'll probably miss some of the game... unless I watch from downtown earlier, which involves driving in traffic. And then there's the whole needing a car at the specified time thing...

* Star Trek is coming to town! We don't know when, or where exactly, but a Star Trek Tour has been announced, and for once, Montreal is on the list of stops. Attractions include a life-size version of the Enterprise bridge (the original, in case you're wondering), an opportunity to have a digitally-modified photo taken with life-sized members of the original cast, a few museum-like articles such as Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine costume, tours, audio visuals, simulators, and more! :D You can be sure that when the details are revealed (including prices), I'm totally jumping on this bandwagon!

* And in more Star Trek-related news, I was lucky enough to be one of the 300 people who got their hands on a limited, signed, hardcover copy of Wil Wheaton's latest book, The Happiest Days of our Lives. My paypal order has been processed, and my package is probably somewhere between California and Montreal right now... How wonderful! I love waiting for packages you can't track... it's all the more exciting!

* I wasn't selected as a Donaldson Scholar, but no matter! I'm applying for the winter semester internship with CBC News TV in Montreal. Sure, I won't get paid, but that's totally irrelevant. The experience is worth much more than a couple of sparkly tops.

And last but not least,

* Biorhythms are actually fairly accurate, from my experience. Very surprising, but very useful. If you believe in that sort of thing, I mean.

Stay tuned for more rambling...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Concordia Reports - 11/30/2007 Holiday Edition

Our final newscast for the semester (and possibly the last newscast of this format for the year), here is our Holiday edition!

This time, I was show packager, which means I took care of intro and credits, graphics, transitions, and just basically making all the pieces flow.

It was a blast to work on this one... And the set was my house, so it was comfortable too. I think this is one of the funniest shows of this type I've seen, and it's because nearly every piece fit in with the show's style and mood.

Also, I figured out how to embed YouTube videos into Blogger. It's so simple, I'm surprised I hadn't figured it out yet!

More bonus news: I have been approved as a member of the NHL media site, so look for more hockey content coming to a computer screen near you...

PS: Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Running through my head (no scissors involved)

* I can't believe I've had a computer since 1993. I was 8. I've been using the Internet since 1994. All my decision-making life, I've had access to computers and the Internet. Crazy.

* I wish I lived in Western Canada so I could go to country music shows. Why, oh why must country stars shun the great East? Some stars don't even play in Toronto or Ottawa, places I could justify traveling to for a show.

* I am completely, totally, extremely excited about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert tonight. It's snowing, and while that means dangerous roads, it's the perfect setting for tonight's show. TSO brings the snow. Most importantly, I'm very excited about spending the night with some very special people in my life. Also, I like that I can actually get work done during the show... I need to screen all of TSO's hits to choose one for our newscast.

* Hot tubs might be gross because of all that random dead skin floating around, but the gym is grosser. Can you imagine getting other peoples' sweat, germs, and phlegm all over you? That's why I work out at home. That's also why I don't work out so much. PS: Doing groceries is pretty gross too.

* I will not change for a boy. At least, not a lot. I won't change my habits to meet a boy. I won't go out of my way to get a boy to like me. If you can't appreciate me as is, then you won't appreciate me if I change. All women should follow this creed, and the cretins would die out... Hopefully.

Today, I woke up with a smile

I was in bed.... since about 8:30, tossing and turning... then around 9 I decided I needed to get up...
I could hear the frost and snow and frozen rain coming down, and really didn't feel like getting up... But finally, at 9:30, I forced myself up. Enough, I thought, I need to get up before my shoulder gets any more painful...
And I go to the washroom, as usual. I'm walking back into my room to turn on the computer, wondering if I should go get the newspaper, when the doorbell rings.
In a second, I wonder if I'm decent in my PJs, if my mom is back for lunch REALLY early, if someone's car broke down and needs help, or if my brother is expecting a package.
I head downstairs and can see a delivery guy and the box out of the windows alongside the door.
I answer, and he asks if I'm Naila Jinnah. Of course, that's me.
Now I'm wondering if I ordered something I forgot about... and why it's arriving by Fed Ex.
Most of the stuff I order is UPS or DHL, but I haven't really ever used FedEx.
The guy has forgotten his special pen in the truck. Meanwhile, I bring in the grocery pamphlets. The package is in my hands, but for some reason, I'm not looking at it yet.
I sign my name, thank him, and lock the door.
Then I start looking for any indication of the origin of the package.
I finally find the sender's name and address.
Stephanie Boutin. I recognize that name, but I'm not sure from where.
The next line says, "Boutique Souvenir".
I think, did I order something from the Habs? Unknowingly? Is someone sending me an early Xmas gift?
Of course, the address seals the deal. St-Antoine. It's definitely the Bell Centre.
Now I'm excited. I'm curious. I want to know.
I grab a knife and cut the box open, fighting with the stupid tape.
And it's filled with brown paper.
I think, "oh. Okay."
I dig through the paper and see bubbly paper... and within it, this circular black object.
It's a puck.
Then it comes flooding back.
The FedEx practice puck contest!!!!
I have won a puck from the Nov. 19th warmups.
I am so excited!!! I can see the scratches and marks and stick lines. There's even a cut on one side! The puck bears the NHL insignia and the slogan, "official practice puck", half erased by play. The rim states that the puck is official and made in Canada.
What joy! They still use Canadian-made pucks!
The puck comes with a souvenir box and stand, printed with a Montreal Canadiens and FedEx logo. I also get a certificate of authenticity.
I almost feel like reverting back to my teen days and getting it autographed.
And now, I can't stop smiling!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Okay, so far...

OMG IT'S MARSHALL!!! KEVIN WEISMAN!!!! Very cool. Also, Rachel Bilson!!

This episode looks like it's going to be complex (and exciting!)

Also, back to maturity, at least for a while...

Heroes promises to answer all our questions on what happened between the "We saved the world" and Season 2, episode 1.

EDIT: Britney Spears' Toxic on Chuck. And LOVE the truth serum bit. Just waiting for Sarah to say she really likes Chuck. But she says the opposite. But apparently she does love him. She can just withstand the drug. And this episode officially rocks. Next episode promises to be even better...

SPOILER!!!!!! I think the cryogenic body is Bryce.

Next up, Heroes!


Heroes reveals the location of the Montreal warehouse: 121 rue St-Jacques. It's totally visible on Google Maps. Who wants to go visit the place?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Concordia Reports - Remembrance Edition

Our second TV show is now on YouTube, published yesterday, just in time for Remembrance Day. Appropriately, there's a lot of memorial and veteran content in this show.

This time, I hosted, had a pack on carepacks to Afghanistan, and helped with the show packaging and opener. I also interviewed veterans from General Vanier Branch 234 in Quebec of the Royal Canadian Legion, aka the Roxboro Branch.

I really had a lot of fun on and with this show, and I think it came together nicely.

As always, I look forward to reading your thoughts and opinions on the show, so post away! Positive and negative comments are welcome, I always want to learn :)


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Okay. Remember this game? Mansion, Apartment, Shack House.
Awesome. Used to play it for ages in class (and in the hallways), with random names - often celebrities - and even though we really didn't care what the results were. And we knew how it worked, but were surprised anyway!

Well, I found it randomly online. Today's options are confusing though... Were there always more than one result?
Still, apparently I'm going to be news or sports producer, drive a Versa or a motorcycle that is blue, green or yellow. Live in an mansion, shack or house in Tampa, Montreal, or Finland... See why this is confusing?

Then there's another site that randomizes the results. They tell me I'll be a news producer, drive a Versa, marry Ryan and live in Montreal. Somehow, I don't expect that to happen!

Get me a pen and paper. I'm doing this the old fashioned way!

TV Thoughts

Yesterday's Heroes was many ways of awesome. But first off, I need to point out that while Zachary Quinto could pull off a convincing Spock, he reminds me more of Christopher Higgins, of Montreal Canadiens fame.

Next, Heroes came to Montreal!!!!! Sure, it was sort of an obvious assumption based on the previous show (and the promos!), but it was really cool when it finally happened. Too bad the outdoor scene lasted all of 20 seconds, and I missed part of it. I wonder who that Adam guy is, and if they'll actually film in Montreal. So far, I haven't heard that they have...

I really like the split in Maya and Alejandro's characters, and the Claire storyline is getting more... dangerous, shall we say?
As for point two of awesomeness... The Ukrainian guy was in Red October. I know, I know... it's sort of geeky, but that's what I love about Heroes! They take all our secret geek fantasies and put them into one beautifully packaged show.

On to a different kind of TV...

Our first newscast is now on YouTube, courtesy of Elias Makos.
It was Group 3's first newscast, and my first Assignment Editor position of the term/year. I also did a reporting stint and a one-on-one interview with Mike Boone. I'd love to get feedback on anything from flow to visuals, to specific comments about reports...

Bonus incentive? The chimps!!!

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On Price

As posted on midway through the 3rd period of the Montreal @ Pittsburgh hockey game on October 11, 2007:

Do you see the circle of protection around Price? The Habs are playing better because they want to support their goalie, who is young and new to the game. They don't want to make him look bad. They don't want to look bad and as if they're depending on him. They probably don't want to depend on him because they don't totally trust him yet.
Unfortunately, this lack of trust makes them a better team. When Ds (and forwards) play in front of a seasoned goalie, they tend to abandon him more often. They think he can handle it.

After Price has proven his worth in a few games, the D is not going to be as tight. There will be more mistakes, that's for sure. But it'll also give Price some room to breathe and do his thing. Less screens, less activity in front of the net, less "not his fault" goals.

Just my 2(or 3 or 4 or 5) cents.

Random thought: if they eliminate the penny, will our opinions be worth 5 cents instead of 2?

Just thought you'd like to know.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pushing what?

Ok, so the opening sequence of Pushing Daisies was very poorly CG'd. I thought the plot was that the guy could bring people back to life but if he touches them again, they die. I didn't really get the 1 minute thing... And then I got distracted by a phone call and switched to the hockey game.

I guess I will be downloading tonight ;)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ah, Tuesday!

First off, can I just say... Cameron looks really weird with blond hair.

Good. Now that that's over, let us rejoice over the blessing that is House. What would Tuesdays be without our daily dose of the over competent and overly arrogant doctor?

Today's episode had a lot of guest actors... Kal Penn, and that actress that looks a lot like the girl from the Bourne series but whose name I don't know. Too bad IMDB isn't helping right now.

The case itself was very interesting, especially the description of the problem: "Hearing with your eyes". How crazy does that sound? I don't even understand how that works. Is it like echolocation except your eyes have different colours for elevations and distances and the like? Because that's definitely what they made it to look like. Too bad I can't remember the name of the genetic disease... I would totally look it up.

As usual, great production... and House's hallucinations are just hilarious. Not a lot of Cutty in this episode, but still enough for us to understand that House knows her, and is actually, well... In this episode, he was actually really nice to her. Doing things for her own good, and truly understanding what is important to her. Hmmm... a softer House? Maybe a sign of things to come with that plot development.

Because there were so many actors/actresses in this show, some of them get lost, and it feels sort of crowded for a while... like having too many voices in your brain (You hear them too, right?)

But, /me loves because, well, I need my weekly dose of House.

As for NCIS, I love love love the ending. The Jeanne issue was present throughout the episode, but it was not apparent, in that it was not the main storyline, just something to bug Tony with. Still, when he was making his calls, he was defending himself, not trying to elucidate more information.

And is it just me, or did the son seem really young? Like, 17 or 19 at the most? The girl looked way older, at least in her mid twenties. It's a sad story really, but it's a good one. It's a tough one to tell too, because of all these recent child abduction cases. Also, it reminds me of the Lindbergh case, but that's probably because I've been studying too much ;)

The letter from Jeanne was what made the episode amazing. You saw the duality between family and business all through the episode. In fact, I'd say it was this week's underlying theme. What to do when those two sides compete, and, let's face it, they will always compete, no matter how separate we try to keep them. And while it was obvious that Tony would choose his jobs over the girl, it seemed like a really heart wrenching decision, and one that will probably change him forever. I do doubt that the girl won't come back though... I'm sure we haven't seen the last of her, even if she just comes looking for her dad.

A loose end, by the way, I'm surprised they didn't tie up, although it's probably for future use.

Last but not least, can you imagine that I've know my cousin since we were born (same year, same city, different hospital, and 8 days apart), and yet I never knew she was a hockey fan? A huge hockey fan? How random (and totally awesomely cool!!!!) is that?!

Ah, coincidences everywhere...

Monday fun

As usual, Monday was Heroes night. And though I was exhausted, you just can't miss Heroes. You just can't! Unless you have a really good excuse, and I didn't.

So I exercised to Chuck (fun!), and while the exercise was mostly rewarding, Chuck was just good. Actually, that's not true. The episode as a whole was lotsa fun, and it was interesting to see the characters develop in their interactions with each other. The whole Casey vs. Sarah thing worked well, but it'll get old really quickly, so I hope they find a new gimmick for next week.

The thing that really brought the episode down was (SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!) Chuck landing the helicopter. I mean, seriously? Just because you played a flight simulator game? Pfft. I've spoken to plenty of pilots who've said that it's nothing like a game. PLUS, a helicopter is one of the toughest vehicles to master. Furthermore, the rotors don't randomly just turn off. Once you hit the ground, there's a bunch of stuff you have to do. And helicopters land vertically, not horizontally. Aaaand, when he was battling with the doc in the helicopter at the beginning of this absurd plot twist, the helicopter appeared to be going in circles. Too bad the pilot was dead and wasn't putting any pressure on the joystick (or whatever it's called).

Anyway. The ending was disappointing and waaaay too obvious. It would have been cooler for him to flash of a memory of how to land a helicopter.

Next, Heroes! It was really good. I can't believe she cut off her toe. Seriously!! I love how it grew back though, that was wicked! Hiro was stellar, as usual, and I was really impressed by Mohinder's French! It was actually really good!

The Haitian... well, I didn't realize he was the same guy as the kid from the comics. THAT was a revelation. Or at least, I THINK that's what they revealed. It was sort of ambiguous; maybe they want to keep us wondering.
I love that Bennet and Mohinder are working together, and that the Haitian is back and better than ever. And he's speaking ;)

That's enough Heroes gushing... on to Journeyman, which I thought really improved this week! It built on the setup from last episode, and inserted some comic relief moments... The plane being turned back? awesome. The no fly list? Absolutely fantastic. lol.
A lot of good character development, but I think we need to see more about his work as a journalist, and a bit more of his kid. I had totally forgotten they even HAD one. Inserting a line like, "I guess we can call the babysitter off" would help.

Journeyman's still not on my "Must Watch" list, but it will always be on. It's just a matter of whether I mind skipping a few minutes to go to the washroom.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Opening Night: The Kingdom

Tonight, my cousin and I went to see The Kingdom, despite its 1 star review in the Gazette and its 49% rating on I had been wanting to see this movie since I found out it existed. At first, it was only because of Jennifer Garner. Then, I discovered the plot and figured it might be interesting.

And it was! It was not too pro-American, although most of the action was from their point of view. It was not pro-Arab either, but a good balance of the two. In other words, it showed parts from both sides of the story. From military (and other) culture to the facts of life to the response and way of dealing with violence... This movie really delved into the essence of the message and raw emotion that each side is working with. This is not a documentary. It was not a deep dive. But it was an accurate (as far as I know) pictorial of what would happen in that sort of situation.

The score was awesome. Heart wrenching at time, which just enough drama to set the mood without being cheesy. I usually sit through the credits, but this time, the music kept me in my seat.

The comic relief was great. The boobies were, of course, great. And I really loved the character of Al Ghazi. Not only was it well developed, he was sympathetic and served as an intermediary to both sides, progressively becomes more helpful as he learned that the Americans weren't that bad, and that they really did want to help.

The last scenes cemented the deal for me. It turned a good action flick with a political background to a great movie that makes you think. The final sentence makes you wonder what the reaction would be if Fleury said what he did at THAT point. There was definitely some despair and maybe even disbelief in the eyes of Leavitt.

And as for the spoiler (that's right, I'm not telling!), it just makes you wonder not only what the motivation is for that sentiment, but if we are closer than we think... That, and the fact that Fleury and Al Ghazi got so close... Al Ghazi made the Americans realize that Arabs weren't all bad either... And the understanding between both characters, especially Fleury's visit at the end, brings hope for the future, even if it's just a movie.

It would be great if everyone could get along so well.

Of course, the movie had its share of gore, blood, guts and violence. Oh, and sweat too. Definitely not a flick for the squeamish. It also leaves us wondering how human beings can harm other humans in such gross fashion. How is it even possible? And I'm glad that the extremist view was not portrayed as the predominant view, but rather as an internal problem as well. No sane person, religious or otherwise, would blow him or herself up. Let alone take children and other innocents along. And saying it's in God's name, to me, is just a disgrace. And THAT has nothing to do with religion... or with The Kingdom for that matter.

I think this movie will do really well, especially in Canada. US viewers might have a bit of a harder time with some concepts or come out with a message and/or impression that is different than what I believe the directors,writers and producers had intended.

Overall, I give it 3.5 to 4 stars, or 89%. I recommend it to anyone who is over 13 (gotcha!), interested in some action, some politics, some history, and a lot of post-film thinking.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall Premieres: Thursday

Today's lineup showed CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, CTV) at 9 pm followed by Big Shots (ABC) at 10.

CSI, a veteran in the field, was sure to have a solid set of viewers... especially after last season's cliffhanger. What happens to Sara Sidle? Will they catch the miniature killer and get any info out of her?

This episode answers those questions but doesn't go much further than that. Again, I believe this episode should have been the season finale, as part of a multiple-hour finale. But then, the lack of suspense might have deterred some of this season's viewers, who, in the US, would likely choose Grey's Anatomy over CSI. Here in Canada, CTV carries both shows and CSI played at 8 pm.

Still, we are reminded that Sara is a fighter throughout the episode, a quality that is likely foreshadowing for a future episode. That and the Grissom/Sara relationship being out in the open.

What I didn't like about the episode was the constant use of flashbacks. I understand that it's a stylistic decision, but I would have done it differently. Using a flashback or two to remind new and old viewers of last year's developments is valid and even valuable. But when the trend continued for the whole hour... it was very confusing. It took a few for us to realize that this was stuff that we had NOT seen before, things that had happened in the past, but in OUR present. Add flashback memories of Sara to the mix and it's just a little overwhelming.

Still... CSI is CSI, but while this episode had some forensics geekyness, it was mostly a drama, full of potent emotions.

Next up was Big Shots. I was really looking forward to this show because of Michael Vartan, from ALIAS. Also, the premise was interesting, and I tend to like guy shows more than girly shows. Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City? Count me out. But Big Shots was catchy. Sure it had that communal feel, but these guys' lives were just really thrilling. Like daydreams. Everyone wants to be there, male or female, and there's a character that matches everyone's goals. This first show had relatively little set up, but then again, most people understood that the premise was 4 big shots (including one big shot-to-be) and their trials and tribulations.

However, even those who hadn't seen the trailers were not confused. Quick and easy, the show used supers (that's lower screen text for you newbies) to tell us in 2 frames (each) who the main characters were.

The glamour is appealing in a Gilmore Girls sort of way. You know it's there, but it's not overbearing or overwhelming.

And the story line so far is charming, funny, witty and just a little bit quirky. So it's occasionally cheesy. At least the writers and actors are aware of it, and they use that knowledge to their advantage, immediately countering the cheesy moments with comic relief.

Verdict? CSI = same old, same old... but there's no reason to stop watching it because it still kicks ass... and is better than anything else playing in that time slot. The premiere gets a yes.
Big Shots = YES, absolutely, I want more. It's not as OMG as Heroes or House, but it leaves you longing for the next chapter in the same way you really need to know what Britney Spears is going to do next.

Tomorrow, no premieres for me, so I hope this was an enjoyable week! I'll be back with a Pushing Daisies recap next week, so...

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall Premieres: Wednesday

This is a short one, guys (and gals!)

The only show I watched today was Bionic Woman (NBC), and while it was visually appealing, it wasn't extra ordinary. I guess that's to be expected for a remake. They assume people know the story and that they're already hooked.

I found the "twist" and set up of the female rivalry interesting, but it didn't stir any great excitement. We all know the premise. She's really strong and she can choose to use her new "powers" for good... or for evil. Well, we've already got a bad guy, so I think it's safe to say she wants to save the world.

The lead actress, Michelle Ryan, is very plain looking. And while that might be the point, there's something about her face that's lacking just enough symmetry to get by... and I find it sort of distracting. Now, that's not to say that she isn't a great actress, because she did a pretty good job! And I hope this post doesn't turn into a comment about beauty stereotypes and superficiality, because that's not at all my point. It's just that when you're focusing on the looks instead of the story... the message just doesn't get through.

Verdict? Bionic Woman needs a few more weeks before a decision can be made.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fall Premieres: Tuesday

Today, I penciled in NCIS (CBS/Global) and House (Fox/Global). Both excellent choices, and both shows that have proven their worth.

NCIS was on before House, and what a lead in! The team was still tracking Tony and Jeanne... and La Grenouille (a word nearly no one on the show can say properly). Some hyping, exciting scenes at the beginning followed by the typical NCIS investigation procedure on a not so typical case provided some interesting, but mostly predictable twists. THE twist, was, of course, obvious because in the age of the free flow of information on the Internet, fans mostly know what real-life situations with actors and shows are and therefore, we know if someone is having contractual problems... I'm sure you all know what I'm getting at, but I'm not about to spoil the surprise!
I wanted more of Abby and Ducky, and I'm sure I'll get it next episode.

It was a nice wrap of the season finale, and I think it could have done well as a two parter... but then there wouldn't have been any suspense. We learn a lot about Shepard's character, and the show ends with a crime... which usually not the case. Too bad the main characters aren't aware it happened yet...

This episode is a must watch for NCIS fans, even if you don't plan on following through the season.

As for House, well... what can I say! The doctor is in, and even an apple a day won't keep him away. Minus Chase, Foreman and Cameroon, House seems vulnerable. But don't fear, for Cutty and Wilson are near! Too bad they're still trying to get him to change. Well, Cutty's trying to do it the good old way, which means it won't work. But Wilson is very bold and daring in his House manipulation this episode... as sign of things to come maybe?

The case is an odd one, and it seems House is just pulling at straws, mostly because of laziness. With no team, he talks to himself, random nurses and docs, and... the janitor. Cutty can't stop others - or herself - from bouncing the idea ball with House... even though she tries. Silly people who care about people! Don't they learn? House will get what he wants in the end.

And in the end, he was right AND wrong. But neither conclusion is contradictory. It's simple, really, just not at all what you'd expect.

We have to wait until the end of the show to see how House is going to threaten his new hoard of potential employees, and what a nice setup for next week!

Wilson's gag just makes the whole episode even better, and I can't wait to see how House will get him back, because you know his mini payback will totally not be good enough.


NCIS = Yes!
House = YES!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Premieres: Monday

I have another post to write between the last one and this one, but... this just can't wait. Today was the Monday Fall Premiere night. On the agenda: Chuck (NBC), Heroes (NBC/Global) and Journeyman (NBC/Global).

Today it a totally NBC night.

Chuck was highly recommended by critics, and for good reason. The show got off to a semi-slow start... the first episode as a whole was not as amazingly spy-ish as a random ALIAS episode, but that's to be expected. Still, it was a great first episode, a perfect set up for an awesome season of geekiness and spyness. Captain Awesome? amazing. Nerd squad or whatever it's called... also awesome. Buy More is the name of the "Best Buy" like store. Wasn't that used in some other movie?

Chuck is definitely on my must-watch list. And the girl is hot. The concept is sort of similar to 5th element, in that images are encoded with information. There, Mila's character, the 5th element, absorbs all of the world's information through a series of images. But the overall flow and premise of the show is different. Also, it makes me laugh. And it has that, "so true" or "I could see that happening in my life" feel to it, because the guy is an everyman.

Then, Heroes. Obviously not as amazingly jaw dropping as last year's premiere, and if you've read the comics over the summer, there's definitely extra information that made it easier to understand some stuff... But it was just as wicked as ever. The Kenshin twist is... better than great, but I don't want to abuse "awesome" and "amazing". It's also really funny :P
We meet Maya and Alejandro, learn what happens to Matt and Mohinder... and the Bennett plot is interesting... Claire still keeps her first name, but must resign to going un-noticed. Too bad her classmate and love-interest-to-be has totally noticed her. The pictures bring an interesting aspect to the whole company thing. And the twist at the end is of course, "OMG"!!!

Now, I'm watching Journeyman. It didn't get great preview reviews... It's presented in a very confusing way, with tight shots when they're not needed and wide shots that are just too wide. Cool side note... we know it's set in San Francisco... but they use the Charmed house.
The storyline has a lot of inside talk... the brothers don't get along, and it seems there's a problem with wives or girlfriends... The lead actor played in Rome, on HBO, and for a journalist... he's just too military. Rolls away from oncoming trams, rescues someone from committing suicide... It looks like he does it for a living.
I do like the premise, but the casting seems weak and the editing of the show, in terms of style... I just don't think it works. We need a little more information at the onset than they've given us.
Judging from the first 30 minutes, I might or might not continue to watch it.

Verdict: Chuck = Yes, Heroes = YES, Journeyman = eh.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My first Montreal Gazette byline...

Sometimes, it takes a while for me to get stuff up on here. This time, I have an excuse... I was in Toronto when it happened.
And if that one doesn't work, blame it on the ear infection I got last Thursday. Yes, two weeks later.

Cutting to the chase... (an expression that makes no sense, if you ask me. Shouldn't you be cutting THE chase and getting to the point?)

I am now the proud owner of a Gazette byline. Sure, it's the West Island section, but that doesn't make it any less cool.

It's an article I wrote back in July, I believe, about the Lakeshore Camera Club celebrating their 50th anniversary. Here's the link: Camera Club is a wide-angle affair


Monday, July 09, 2007

The long awaited moment...

Raise your hand if you're as excited as me that the NHL is releasing their 2007-2008 schedule on Wednesday!

*raises both hands*

Come on now, don't be shy!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A much needed update

I was just thinking that four months might be enough time to come up with something worthy for an update, and I guess it is.

In the last four months, I've:

-Moved back to the West Island with my parents (and re-learned the hardships of poor bus services, not having a car, and actually having to get somewhere before being able to just go somewhere)
-Started working at The (Montreal) Gazette (as a copy clerk, basically an entry level editorial position. I'm not complaining, it's fun! Also, I get to meet nearly everybody, and I read the paper one day in advance :P )
-Registered my business in the province of Quebec (and therefore gotten a QST/GST number to apply to my freelance operations, and being able to claim some of the following as business expenses - read on...)
-Bought a new 21-inch not widescreen monitor, a beautiful glass-top desk, a planner I'll start using in August, a Queen-sized bed, a bedside table, and a dresser.
-Successfully moved on (more or less)

Overall, quite a good list for only four months. Also, I did a military journalism internship, which was loads of fun. We got to tour the Valcartier base, the St-Jean military training base/school, the Quebec City Citadelle (we got special access to some areas), the military defence and research centre at Valcartier (all restricted projects), and so much more. Most importantly, I made friends that will (hopefully) last a lifetime. Still need to plan a trip to Ottawa...

Yes, there have been a lot of changes in a short period of time, but they're mostly good changes. It's weird to not make plans based solely on my input, and it's definitely frustrating not to be able to just go out without going somewhere first. Plus, it's been extremely interesting (and it still is) to work at the Gazette. Strangely fulfilling as well, since it has always been a sort of dream of mine. Still working on the covering the Canadiens part, but I have reason to believe that it's not that far out...

Stay tuned...

Friday, April 27, 2007

A simple birthday wish

A friend of mine posted this on her blog when she realized that an e-mail she had received was not junk mail, but instead, a simple birthday wish.

There is a 7 year old boy who lives in Lancaster, ON (Near the Quebec border) His name is Shane Bernier and he has lymphoblastic leukemia. He turns 8 on May 30th and his wish for his birthday is to break the world record for the most birthday cards. To do so, he must collect more than 3.5 milliion cards!!
Lets help....
His address is:
Shane Bernier
Box 484
Lancaster, ON
K0C 1N0

I encourage everyone to send this little kid a birthday card... Even if it only has 2 words in it.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Yes, yes, I've been lacking in my updates. But school is finally over - for now. I will soon have a lot of goodies, including a newscast I produced for my TV course. But first, here's a profile I wrote on a photographer I worked with at Pulp and Paper Canada. Her name is Kate Fellerath, her work is awesome, and you can contact her on

Bringing Stills to Life

A professional photographer makes posing for portraits fun

By Naila Jinnah

She’ll take the typical headshot you asked for, but Kate Fellerath will make you laugh as she’s snapping away. She will make you comfortable, and no matter what, she will make you look good.

After all, that’s her job. A professional photographer aims to make the client happy.

But for Fellerath, that’s not enough.

“I think I try to make a connection with the person I’m taking a picture of,” she said, “because as boring as the process can be, it must be extra boring for them!

Fellerath’s personality and personableness has earned her many smiles over the years, but it’s the quality of her work that has brought her jobs.

“When you’re in this kind of business, you really need to get along with everybody because you rely on word of mouth,” she said. “I don’t do it on purpose, but I think I do get along with everybody, and that’s the key.”

The key to her success. Fellerath was a customer service representative in Toronto when she realized that she was unhappy with her life. Her friends recommended that she look back at what she loved as a child.

“I actually got into photography when my dad gave me a camera for Christmas when I was 10,” she said.

Fellerath’s life had brought her elsewhere, but a trip to Europe in the late 90s made her rediscover her passion. It was time to return to her roots, and her hometown of Montreal. There, she enrolled in the rigorous three-year commercial photography program at Dawson College, where she had previously completed a creative arts diploma.

While in school, Fellerath started working for Lawrence Clemen, a prominent Montreal wedding photographer. Clemen became her mentor, teaching her all about being a professional photographer. Through his generosity, he encouraged her to open her own business.

And so she did. It was a progressive endeavour, with Fellerath gradually taking more projects of her own, and spending less time at work.

“Soon, I got so busy, I just gave up all my other jobs,” she recalls. “That would have been probably in 2005. I was on my own.”

Two years later, Fellerath’s business is thriving. She has a solid client base and spends her summer photographing weddings.

“I basically started my business in weddings,” she said, “because that’s a word of mouth business.”

“If you do a good job, people will tell other people, so I didn’t have to invest in marketing or advertising. I just naturally started getting my name out there, and got more and more jobs.”

From weddings, Fellerath has expanded her business to include travel photography, still life, documentary photography, commercial advertising projects, and now, portraits.

“I think that’s the next step for me, to photograph family pictures, and kids, and stuff like that,” she said.

“And then I might get a studio. I’m pretty careful with my finances so I’d have to make sure that that’s a good investment for me.”

So far, Fellerath owns two film cameras, and two digital cameras. She also has six lenses. That’s not a lot for a professional photographer, but it’s not because she can’t afford the equipment – or the studio.

“I try to buy my equipment really smartly,” said Fellerath. “I try to buy the best equipment that I can, and then I just add a little bit at a time. I make sure that I actually need it first!”

Just like starting her own business, Fellerath is expanding slowly, but by choice. She even rents equipment to try it before buying it.

The one step Fellerath took faster than most small businesses and artists was creating a website.

“It’s an incredible tool,” she said. “It’s gotten me a lot a lot of work because when people recommend me, they just send my website. It’s like a calling card.”

On her website, Fellerath displays a selection of her favourite travel, wedding, and portrait photography. Throughout her portfolio, Fellerath demonstrates a unique blend of photojournalism techniques and fashion with an artistic eye. Her work shows a strong use of light, composition and colour that seems instinctive.

What truly makes Fellerath’s photography exceptional is her ability to channel the intrinsic beauty in every shot.

“I love beautiful imagery,” she said. “Something that’s sad, something that is going to move somebody. I love colors, I love interesting compositions. That’s what I really enjoy.”

What Fellerath loves to create is what she enjoys seeing in the work of others, like fine arts photographer Keith Carter.

“First of all, I look at it, and there’s no way that I would be able to take those photos,” she said. “That’s one thing that I really like.”

“When I see a photographer that just has that sort of artistry, and it’s a traditional method of photographing and it’s all kind of warped and blurry and suctions…” she goes on passionately.

She also admires Henri Cartier-Bresson, a pioneer of modern photojournalism.

“It’s really beautiful street life photography,” Fellerath said, “and it’s really interesting because every day you look around and it’s not as exciting as what you see in his photography.”

Luckily, Fellerath manages to make all her photographs exciting, even her still life. In fact, some of her favourite still life and architectural shots of Montreal are currently displayed at Sur Bleury Restaurant, in the downtown core. Her work has been displayed in galleries and local cafés before, but it has been tough for Fellerath to find the time to devote herself to creative endeavours.

Even though she only schedules one job a day – in case a client needs more time or more work – Fellerath’s months have been busier than ever.

“When you work for yourself you’re always working,” she said.

But striking a balance between the photography and the business side is the real challenge, not time management.

“My goal is to take on lots of interesting projects,” said Fellerath. “Maybe expand my business, get a studio, and hire someone to do all the tough stuff.

“Then I can just concentrate on the shooting,” she laughed.

She still has a long way to go, but those who have worked with Fellerath or simply seen her photography agree that she has made it as a professional photographer.

“I never actually expected to become a professional photographer,” she said. “I thought that it was a really hard thing to get into. Everyone was saying that there wasn’t a lot of work for photographers.”

“I just thought it would be just a nice skill to have to take beautiful pictures, and it would be a nice way to see the world,” said Fellerath.

“And it just happened that things worked out.”


Saturday, March 31, 2007

Snow Patrol in Montreal!

I've got to rave about last night's show! It was absolutely awesome!!!

There were minor changes to the set list, compared to the show back in the fall... But they were good changes Wink

Some highlights:

- Gary apparently has a secret crush on Nathan... Well, not so secret anymore! Then he told us about OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash's amazing buns of steel... And commented at his extreme gayness tonight. It's okay, Gary. We still love you!

-Gary was having trouble tuning his guitar between songs, which is what got him rambling about his love for Nathan. And then he dedicated the next song - can't remember which one it was - to Nathan. And then they pretended to kiss. I think the song was Chocolate.

-Snow Patrol shot the video for Signal Fire in Montreal on Thursday. It's apparently super cute, since it's a Spiderman play put on by little kids... upside down kiss and all! And apparently all the ladies fancied Nathan Wink Can't blame them!

-Gary called for someone from the audience to come sing Set the Fire to the 3rd Bar with him... The first girl, it turns out, did not only not know the words... she didn't even know the song! Gary said he felt like Simon Cowell, but that she unfortunately wouldn't be able to sing along then... The girl said her friends were pointing to her as a joke...

-The second girl Gary chose, Marianne, did an awesome job. Yes, she was a bit shy, especially in the singing part (although I'm sure they didn't turn up her mic completely, just in case she sucked - which she didn't). But she stole water from Gary's water bottle without even asking! That was definitely a funny moment.

- The crowd was absolutely stunning! I was standing next to the audio and lights guys, and you could see the audio techs raving about the amazing sound quality coming through his headphones. The crowd reacted perfectly to everything... hands waving in sink, open palms during Hands Open, lighting up during Run... It was stunning.

- The best thing the crowd did all night? Chanting "Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole" while waiting for Snow Patrol to come back on stage for the encore. Foot stamping and all, the building was totally rocking!

Overall, it was an awesome show!!! I'm still excited that I got to meet Gary and Jonny after the show, near the back door. Got a signed set list and all. Thanks guys!! Smile

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Interning at CJAD

I have been interning at CJAD for the week, and let me tell you, today is the craziest day I've had in a while... And it's not even over!

I got in at 8:30, the morning news meeting was delayed til about 9. I wasn't sure what I would be doing for the day, but I had done my research and I knew there was a LOT of stuff happening... especially since two party leaders are in town, and schedules overlapped.

I followed Tim Parent to the Actualite press conference on the overview on the accessibility of Quebec hospitals. They actually INTERRUPTED the anglophone reporters, who had lined up behind the mic, after the francophone reporters, mid-question (After 3 other English questions had already been answered), to ask if there were any more French questions. Two reporters stood up and got their questions answered. And then they never went back to English. At least Tim was able to get stuff in the English scrum.

Then we went upstairs in the same hotel to hear what the Liberals had to say about it. Couillard looks larger than life, trust me. Soooo much like Grissom from CSI. Freakishly so.

We got back to the station, and I filed a voicer on the event, for practice. I had already written it at the event, so I was done that by 12:45 ish.

Then, I had to be trained on fielding the phones because I will be the call screener for the Habs post-game show on CJAD tonight, and hopefully all other weeknights when the team is out of town.

So that took from 1 ish until 1:20 ish. I had eaten a pastry at the Actualite press conference so I wasn't too hungry...

I immediately took a taxi (paid by CJAD of course) to Espace Go to get clips on Andre Boisclair's announcement to spend about $210 million on various women's programs, like sexual assault programs. The French media mostly - no, almost exclusively - asked questions on the earlier controversy about one of his party members denying the Rwanda genocide. Boisclair kept repeating that the headline in La Presse was false, and misleading, and that the candidate wrote a whole book on the genocide and never denied it.

An anglophone reporter (from Global, I think) went up to ask a question... about the genocide. He got one follow up, and then a francophone reporter asked a question from the other side of the room, and the press people called it quits. As in, press conference over.

Now let me note that Boisclair only spoke in English when he answered the Global question. He never spoke of the women's funding program in English. There was no scrum, but I went up to him anyway, in the lobby (they kinda rushed him out), and he said, "I already gave my press conference. I'm not answering any questions." So I said, but you didn't even speak English. And so one of the female party members who was around said, (as Boisclair walked away), that he HAD indeed spoken in English. I retaliated, but not about the funding, just about the Rwanda question. She was like, oh, right... and mentioned it to another female party member, but nothing came of it. The Global cameraman said he would be complaining... but I highly doubt it.

So Boisclair answered 1 question in English, then left. And didn't even talk about what he was supposed to be there for. How lame is that? How are anglophone voters supposed to get all the information they need to make an informed decision? How can the party leaders not care? In a similar case, reporter Shuyee Lee was covering a Jean Charest press conference. The anglophone reporters got 3 questions, again, nothing on the actual reason for the press conference.

It is really frustrating that these people think they can get away with this. It is even more frustrating that they will. The anglophone media should - but won't and can't - make the story that these party leaders are refusing to speak English, that they are not giving equal weight to both languages, and that this is a disrespect to anglophone voters. Do they value their votes any less come election day? No. But any media that would put out this story would pretty much never get access to anything again. Except if there was public support, an inquiry, or anything of that sort.

Anyway, I came back to the studio (thanks taxi!) and put together some clips. I sent them to Kristy Rich in Quebec City for her election round up. Now, I am about to leave to go to the Dorval Hilton for Jean Charest' West Island rally... No clue what it's about, but it better be good! It's pretty much the only time West Island voters will see any of the party leaders. That starts at 6:45. Then I get to taxi back to the studio, upload clips, and wait until the hockey game ends to start fielding calls at around 9:30. That will last until either 10 pm, 10:30 or 11 pm, depending on when the game ends.

It's a long day, but a fun day. I was also lucky enough to get an answer from the CRTC about my TV story, and while they couldn't comment on the issue (more on that later), the press representative pointed me towards a bunch of documents that are a goldmine of information.

And now, before I leave, I will have a Thai Kitchen soup, run across the street to get chocolate from Provigo, get to a bank or ATM machine (or get money back at Provigo) to get cash for the cabs... and then head out.

But first, I desperately need to pee.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Olympic flag stolen from Vancouver City Hall

I'm interning at CJAD 800 News (a Montreal radio station) today, and this just came in over the wires:

VANCOUVER -- Someone has literally ripped off the Olympic flag that had been flying outside Vancouver City Hall.

Police Constable Tim Fanning says the thieves cut a cable on the flagpole which caused the flag to come crashing down, damaging the pole.

The flag itself was then ripped away, leaving nothing but shreds behind.

Vancouver Olympic committee spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade says she doesn't know if the theft was a protest against the Games.

Last month, protesters crashed a ceremony to unveil an Olympic countdown clock in downtown Vancouver.

The theft happened while an inspection team from the International Olympic Committee is visiting Vancouver to see the progress of the city's preparation for the 2010 Winter Games.

Canadian Olympic Committee President Michael Chambers calls the theft frustrating, saying it stains the history of the Olympics and the athletes who have participated in the games.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A few Dawson stories...

... As you might know, I have been following the Dawson Blues this season. My teacher - it's for a sportswriting class - said he would create a website where we could post our stories. It hasn't happened.

So here are 3 recent feature-ish stories. I think they're interesting... so they might interest you too!

Just as a bit of background, Dawson is the school where shootings occurred earlier this year. And the women's hockey team is undefeated with 5 games left in the season. 2 years ago, they were in the last few teams.


Women’s Hockey

Dawson Blues still unbeaten with 6 games left

By Naila Jinnah

The Dawson Blues' 7-2 win over the John Abbott Islanders this weekend brought their record to an impressive 21-0. With only six games left in the regular season, the Dawson women’s hockey team is on the road to an undefeated season.

But the team’s perfect record does not equal perfect play. The Blues are having trouble focusing on their game, especially when they are not facing their closest rivals, the St-Jerôme Cheminots.

“They shouldn’t be paying attention to who they’re playing,” said Blues coach Scott Lambton. “They should be paying attention to how they want to play. Unfortunately, today it didn’t work.”

Today wasn’t one of our better games and I think that has to do with a lack of focus on the game,” said second-year player Mallory Lawton. “When we play against St-Jerôme, we’re focused for like 2 weeks. I think that we have to stay focused for every game and not just specific ones.”

Lawton is one of eight players who were also on the Blues’ roster last season, when Dawson finished second in the league with a record of 23-4. St-Jerôme was first with a perfect 27-0 record.

This season’s role reversal is a source of pride for team, and testament to their talent.

“I just think we did a really good job with the recruiting,” said Blues’ head coach Scott Lambton. “A lot of very good hockey players came to our team this year.”

The Blues have ten new girls on the roster, five of which came from the Quebec Avalanche, an elite women’s hockey team that trains players to play in the Women’s National Hockey League.

It was luck, while tragic, that brought the girls together at the beginning of the season. The Dawson shootings forced the cancellation of the first game of the season, originally scheduled for the following Sunday.

“I think it played a big part in the chemistry of the team,” Lambton said. “They have really come together from such a tragedy. They bonded very quickly.”

The pressure of winning has only strengthened that bond, while the leadership of veterans like Lawton has given the team the push they’ve need a lot in recent games to regain their focus.

“You try to take each period at a time,” Lawton said. “You do good things (on the ice) and when a player doesn’t work you tap them on the back, and you keep (the game) going.”

“You’ve got to stay positive. If you go into it negative, and you say ‘We can’t do this’, automatically you’re done.”

Coach Lambton does not think it’s a fear of losing that’s causing his team to slack off in so-called easy games.

“It’s just giving a consistent effort,” he said. “Nothing’s going to come easy, and there are going to be some games where things aren’t working in terms of passing and stuff, but what should be there each and every game is your effort.”

“The last game against St-Jerome was a good wakeup call,” Lambton said, “because I think we have been getting overconfident.”

Lambton wants his team to concentrate on refining its play rather than focusing on its 21-0 record. By looking at the individual game statistics and holding practices full of skill development, he hopes the Blues will step up their game in time for the playoffs.

“I want them to take more risks,” he said when asked if the team should keep its play simple. “I want them to be really aggressive, and I want them to be really creative. And just always remember to switch it up. Risks are good, you learn from risks.”

But what about the risk of losing?

“I think you have to think that, you have to,” said Lawton. “You can’t go into every game thinking we’re going to kill this team. If you’re not having a good game, you start to panic. We feel like we have to keep going with our streak, and you have to get it in your head that you can lose.”

“You never know what can happen, and you got to be ready for it,” she said.

The last six games of the regular season will be challenging for the Blues. With no more match-ups against St-Jerôme, the team will have to find a different form of motivation. There’s no question that Dawson is a talented team, but a lack of focus and effort could be the weakness its opponents are banking on to serve the Blues their first loss of the season.

The Dawson Blues next take the ice against the Lévis-Lauzon Faucons at the Ed Meagher Arena on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2:20 pm.


Women’s hockey

Dawson shootings bring motivation, chemistry to Blues

Now 22-0, only 5 games left for undefeated season

By Naila Jinnah

With five games left in the regular season, the Dawson women’s hockey team are on the road for an undefeated season. The Blues brought their season record to an impressive 22-0 after beating the Lévis-Lauzon Faucons by a score of 4-1 on Sunday.

No one could have predicted that such a young team in a budding program would have such a strong season. Then again, no one could have known that Dawson College would be the target of a killer’s wrath.

“I think it played a big part in the chemistry of the team,” said Blues’ head coach Scott Lambton. “They have really come together from such a tragedy. They bonded very quickly.”

The Sept. 13, 2006 shootings made Dawson a media favourite, so it comes as no surprise that the women’s hockey team’s success has been covered in many of the local media. Although no one on the team knew her personally, the death of Anastasia De Sousa had an untold impact on them. The Blues were scheduled to start the season on the Sunday following the attacks, but out of respect, the game was cancelled.

“Yes, we’re playing for Dawson, but we’re also playing for her,” said assistant captain Ann-Sophie Bettez. “Even though she was no one at the beginning and now she’s known by everyone, we have to play for her in a way.”

Each team member wears a black band on her left arm to honour the memory of their schoolmate. They have even donated the proceeds of the admission to some of their games to the Anastasia De Sousa fund.

“When you go out there you play for your school and you represent them,” said second-year player Mallory Lawton. “Especially now, because it’s a school that has struggled a bit.”

It is not only the school that has suffered, but the women’s hockey program. The Blues might have finished second in the regular season rankings in 2005-2006, but for seasons before that, they were a bottom three team.

Now, they outrank the St-Jerôme Cheminots, their closest rivals, in the rankings, in a reversal of fortunes. Last season, the Cheminots finished first with an undefeated season. With the Blues well on their way to accomplishing this same feat, the sentiment around the locker room is one of pride and fulfillment.

“I think it’s a feeling you can’t describe,” said Lawton, “because no one ever thought this program would ever beat St-Jerome and the fact that we’ve done it now… It’s an incredible feeling and I’m proud, to be really honest, to be a part of it.”

“It’s very satisfying!” said coach Lambton. “We’ve put so much work in over the past four years. It’s come a lot quicker than we thought it would but it’s extremely satisfying because you know all the work that you’re putting in is paying off.”

The Dawson shootings might have brought the team together faster and more completely than expected, but no one is disputing the players’ skill, determination, and hard work ethic.

“It’s really good, considering what Dawson has been,” said Bettez. I think that we have the team to (go undefeated), and it just makes me feel good and want to win each game.”

The current roster, with ten veterans and eight rookies, knows that their success is partly due to the chemistry generated by the shootings. But it is the thought of all the girls who went through a mediocre program in the past that is motivating the team to go all the way.

“I wish I could share it with all the girls who have gone before us,” said Lawton. “This program wouldn’t be what it is right now if it hadn’t been for those teams that went 1-27, or 0-28.”

“When we go out there, part of us plays for them because if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have this opportunity. We wouldn’t be where we are now.”

So while the Blues may be playing to honour the memory of their slain classmate, they are also playing for themselves, and there is no greater motivator than that.

The Dawson Blues next take on the Lionel-Groulx Nordiques on Feb 18, 2007 at 11:50 at the Ed Meagher Arena.


Dawson Blues Women’s Hockey gets a boost

Two members of the Blues family honoured

By Naila Jinnah

The Dawson Blues women’s hockey program received an unexpected bit of exposure this week, and not because the team is five games away from an undefeated season.

The Montreal Canadiens, in association with Dawson College, announced a $3000 bursary program to be awarded annually to a graduating Blues player pursuing their academic and hockey careers in university.

“The inspiration for this award was the tragedy of September 13 and our will, shared by Dawson, to promote women’s sports and academic performance,” said Canadiens’ president Pierre Boivin.

The criteria for handing out the Catherine Ward Women’s Hockey Scholarship have not yet been determined, but Blues’ coach Scott Lambton said there was no hesitation in naming the scholarship after his former defenseman.

“She just embodies everything that we want to encourage in terms of athletics, and in terms of academics,” he said. “She’s an incredible hockey player. I don’t think there’s anybody in Canada that can do what she can do.”

Ward, who is credited for turning around the Dawson women’s hockey program over the past three years, left quite an impression on former teammate Mallory Lawton.

“Catherine is just an absolute special player,” she said. “There are times where she would do these plays, and I wish I could just watch them over and over because they were really that amazing.”

“You strive to be like her,” Lawton said. “You see her do moves and you try to practice them in practice to be just like Cat Ward. She’s so much fun to just watch, and she was fun to play with even more.”

The Blues found out about the Catherine Ward scholarship at practice last Thursday, but the official announcement was made during the Canadiens’ game at the Bell Center on Tuesday.

“Before the game, we sold tickets for the Montreal Canadiens Children Foundation,” said Lawton. “It was really successful, we sold all 3000 tickets.”

“It was just a wonderful experience to be in the press room, with Catherine, and her parents,” Lawton said. “It was a proud moment for all of us, even the girls who didn’t play with her last year. You could see how proud they were to have that jersey on.”

Blues assistant captain Ann-Sophie Bettez has known Ward on and off the ice since high school. She called her friend to congratulate her, but Bettez also had her own reason to celebrate, as she was honoured with the Medaille d’Or for 2006-2007, an award Ward was awarded last year.

“I was just surprised to be nominated for it, because I was not expecting that,” said Bettez.” I was so grateful just to be rewarded because I’ve worked so hard. I think that it felt good to be rewarded for it.”

The Medialle d’Or is awarded based on athletic and academic performance, something Bettez had trouble with last year.

“She’s the best pure skater in our league, in terms of technique and in terms of speed,” said coach Lambton. “So she combined hockey with good grades, which is really nice, because last year she wasn’t pulling those grades.”

The award makes Bettez a member of an exclusive club that include former Habs legends Maurice Richard, Réjean Houle, and Claude Mouton.

And Catherine Ward.


Snow Patrol Tour Reporter Contest

I just participated in the Snow Patrol Tour Reporter Contest!!!
Unfortunately, I haven't been receiving my regular email updates, but fortunately, I didn't miss the deadline.
This time around - last time, the program was created AFTER the Montreal date - Snow Patrol is going pro. This means you need to be a budding journalist or photographer. I know I could do both... but I'd much rather be the reporter!

Here's my 100 word (or so) application:

As a budding journalist and a huge Snow Patrol fan, I am in awe at this opportunity. There was no tour reporter program for the last Montreal date, so I was understandably jealous of all the lucky winners. This time, I will be the one to make others jealous!

With experience in print, radio, TV and photojournalism, I am the perfect candidate for the job. Music was my first love - then I learned how to read and write. Still, my piano and vocal training provides me with unique insights, and my often complimented interview and writing skills will surely be useful. For samples:

The winner is contacted only 3 days before the concert date... I'll be waiting!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

PaperWeek International and EXFOR 2007

Chances are, you're not really into the pulp and paper or forestry industries. But that's what I've been covering for the past four days, so that's what you're going to get.

I was complimented on my excellent writing, by the editor-in-chief of Pulp and Paper Canada (the larger magazine that runs the daily Reporter for which I was interning), as well as by the editor-in-chief of the French equivalent, Les Papetieres du Quebec, who was the francophone writer for the convention.

I might do some freelancing for them, either pitched or assigned. One thing is sure, I want to go back next year.

Here's some of the stuff I wrote. In fact, I think I'll post all the stuff I wrote. Whether or not you like pulp and paper mills, you should check out the articles, because they include a whole lot of information on the industry's challenges, research, and new technology.


* Posted in order of writing *

Metso presents innovations that increase safety and effectiveness

In its 22nd seminar in conjunction with PAPTAC, Metso presented innovations and acquisitions that aim to improve operator safety and mill effectiveness.

“We are developing products that are using less fibre, less fresh water, less energy, and less manpower,” said Metso Paper North America president Jukka Titinen.

The acquisition of Aker Kvaerner Pulping and Power exactly one year ago provided Metso with new capabilities to ensure a continuous service to its clients, making them as competitive in the fibre industry as they are in the paper sector.

Titinen started his presentation by thanking Metso’s clients, to whom he feels the company owes a large part of their success over the past year.

“It’s more of a recognition for the commitment you have shown, and the time you have set aside to spend with us this afternoon,” he said.

Through a video presentation, Metso presented its dreams for the future, which include innovations like their new press section design. This compact, pre-assembled press fits into standard transport containers and no longer needs cantilever beams to operate.

The big emphasis was on the safety in installation of the press and for the operators, who can access the back of the machine and gain quick access to the major points of interest using a new mobile platform system.

Harri Parnanen, vice president of sales for Metso Paper Canada, noted the record number of orders received by Metso in the past year. About $2.4 billion dollars of profit were generated through the work of 10 500 employees globally.

Metso received at least six major orders for rebuilds and start-ups in North America in 2006, and several others across Europe and Asia.

Two large orders were received in fibre line for Canadian companies, including a complete mill-length logline for ALPAC in Boyle, Alberta.

Metso also provided Shandong Chenming in China with the largest newsprint line in the world.

“It features the latest Metso de-inking technology and newsprint technology,” said Parnanen, underlining the use of ChipWay™, a unique solution for woodhandling that saves on wood.

The company is currently building the world’s largest single drying line, due in August 2007. It will also work on increasing their cooperative agreements, a joint venture to meet their clients’ priorities over a period of four to eight months, plus monthly follow-ups on the effectiveness of the solutions implanted by Metso.

Most impressively, Metso beat several world records for speed for woodfree, LWC, and SC paper machines. The UPM PM 1 in Changshu, China became in 2006 the first woodfree paper machine to operate at a speed of over 1700 metres per minute, recently clocking-in at over 1706 m/min.

Fuelled by new technologies and product innovations like the new generation of ValFlo headboxes that can be used for all paper grades including paperboard, Metso is on track to follow its dreams in 2007.


A look at the past, present, and future of bleaching

Early Tuesday morning, the mechanical pulping committee presented the Douglas Atack Award for the Best Mechanical Pupling Paper in 2006 to Yonghao Ni for his work on peroxide bleaching in mechanical pulps.

Also, the bleaching committee gave the Howard Rapson Memorial Award for the Best Chemical Pulp Bleaching Paper in Canada for 2006 to Hans Süss and Dan Davies.

The session started with the presentation of the PAPTAC bleaching committee’s annual report, updating committee activities over the past year. Then, Paul F. Earl presented the results of a survey of Canadian mills on pulp washing after the first extraction stage. This PAPTAC-sponsored overview showed that most mills are operating efficiently at this stage, and that mills that use hot water or White Water had cleaner pulps.

To conclude the morning session, Barbara Van Lierop of Paprican, QC presented a historical overview of the bleaching based on predictions made in 1985.

The audience was reminded that the first bleaching actually took place pre-1800s by exposing textile fibres to the sun. In medieval times, bleaching was taken quite seriously, and the penalty for using any improper materials was a criminal record… and death!

A look back at the events that marked the history of bleaching and lead to the modern bleaching process showed noteworthy advances like a 1854 patent for soda pulp bleaching. This process was only used in the industry in 1930, because of problems getting rid of the orange color that appeared when chlorine was added to pulp.

In 1900, an evaluation of the stoichiometry of chlorine and lignin allowed bleachers to measure the amount of chemicals needed during the process rather than add and waste chemicals until they were satisfied with the product.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that progress was made in multi-stage bleaching, when plants in Port Edwards, WI, and LaTuque, QC started using elemental chlorine. This process is still applied today, making multi-stage bleaching a relatively new technology.

Van Lierop also underlined the 1949 ozone pulp bleaching patent that describes ozone as it is being used today, and the rapid implementation of a 1980s advancement on enzymes in pulp bleaching, an uncommon event.

“The chemicals were known, but how to apply them on the pulp was dependant on the efficiency of the equipment,” said Van Lierop.

Using data from a 1985 paper by Norm Liebergott, she compared the technologies of the past and the present. Liebergott was right in 15 out of 17 predictions on the future of bleaching plants, and those that were not put in place are all technologies in development.

They include the absence of chlorides in effluent, shorter retention times by using U-tubes for towers plus high-intensity mixers, and using oxygen at a lower pressure, which is currently the case only in two-stage bleaching.

Van Lierop believes that the bleaching industry should think of itself as a chemical plant, especially for on-the-floor operations. She recommended that PAPTAC recognize the importance of proper and solid testing.

“There’s more emphasis put on the online control, but you still need to calibrate equipment,” she said. “We are finding that there’s not enough emphasis on the control of the mills for proper testing.”

As for the future, Van Lierop expects that pulp properties would be an important issue in the bleaching process.


New business tools for a changing industry

The Business open session on Tuesday afternoon focused on three distinct areas. First, Mathieu Seguin, an emergency responder from Thurso Pulp, a Fraser Paper mill, discussed the benefits of creating an emergency plan. The full process can take several years, but effective results can be seen after about four years.

The plan itself takes a recommended six steps, including gaining the approval of the executives, verifying laws and codes, and identifying internal and external risks and personnel.

“It’s very important to implement the emergency plan in the field,” said Seguin. “It serves no purpose if it’s left on the shelves. And if someone leaves the company, you need to update your plan so that it is always current.”

A seven-step manual should also be created to foster a structured management in emergency situations. Of course, no two emergencies are the same, so the manual should be a guide that can be adapted to each situation.

Seguin also mentioned that a plan is useful only if it is tested in the field through simulation days, and if the manual is complete and easy to understand.

“When you consult an emergency manual, it is usually in an information situation, even though we really should familiarise ourselves with it earlier.”

A following presentation by consultant François Côté underlined the advantages of a fully-integrated environment and health services management system. Although some services must remain independent, this concept helped Tembec’s Chetwynd mill achieve ISO health and environment certification, all the while remaining flexible.

Next, Bill Haverinen (Albany International) and Ron Labrie (Humeng International) discussed the possibilities of eLearning as a training tool for the pulp and paper industry. This program is based on the need for training that exists in the industry, as a result of less technical support and higher cost pressure.

Some of the advantages mentioned include flexibility, time and content wise, the company sending a consistent message, and the ability for the student to learn at his or her own pace, reviewing content whenever needed, without losing face.

The success of this tool is tracked through a Total Needs Assessment taken before the course is started. The student is quizzed through questions randomly selected from a database. At the end of the course, the student takes a Total Final Assessment that similarly checks what was learned.

Trials at the Longview mill showed a 30% increase in knowledge after only three hours of learning on six modules. Comments received by the program include the experience value of eLearning for a new employee, and the increased level of confidence for all employees.

Possibly the most anticipated event of the session was the R&D tax credit round table. Experts from different backgrounds presented statistics, problems, objectives and tools to help the industry fully understand and take advantage of this Canadian Revenue Agency program.

About $1.8 billion in investment tax credits is awarded to 11,000 projects in a given year, with the possibility of a 20% refund for large companies, applied as far as 20 years back or three years forward.

There are several limits from both the CRA and the industry that currently undermine the mill’s ability to earn a Scientific Research and Experimentation Development credit, so a special committee created documentation that helps both sides come together.

The credit cannot be applied to a research project for adapting standard practices, routine development or troubleshooting. It must have some scientific or technological uncertainty. Also, the product created during the research process cannot be sold, which goes against the reality in the industry, since SR&ED in the pulp and paper industry is usually done as part of the manufacturing process.

One of the committee members, Stéphane Rousseau (Kruger) believes the industry must react and change or it will fail. A simple recommendation?

“Never use the word optimization. Use the word innovation.”


Biorefineries for a greener industry

The biorefinery symposiums have attracted a lot of attention this week due to the increasing concern for greener practices across the world. The Wednesday morning session on practical steps to a biorefinery was no different.

Christian Messier, the director of the new Centre d’Etude de la Forêt and a forest ecology professor at UQAM, fashioned himself to be an outsider to the industry. However, he presented ideas on farming trees in Canada, and especially in Quebec, that appealed to the pulp and paper industry representatives in the room.

His main concern was to keep everyone happy, environmentalists and industry leaders alike.
“If we want to do transformations with trees, we need to grow them,” said Messier. “I believe we can do both. We can cut trees and we can have biodiversity and protected areas.”

To do so, Messier proposed zoning principles for forests that would ease the struggle between stand complexity, which is better for biodiversity, and wood removal. He proposed a rotation of intensive and super-intensive zoning, coupled with the planting of hybrid trees like larch and poplar. This concept is already in use to grow large quantities of timber in Finland, which has a similar climate to Canada.

Basically, the zoning principle would allocate 60 to 80 per cent of the forest to ecosystem management for biological legacy, at least 12 per cent to protected areas for necessary control, and one to five per cent to super intensive plantations where trees could be grown quickly in 20 to 25 years.

Messier’s productivity chart for different tress species showed a yield per cubic meter per hectare per year that was four to 20 times higher in intensive and super intensive management.

Messier also reassured the audience that research is being made as to the quality, in terms of strength and length of fibre for applications in the pulp and paper industry.

Other presentations included an introduction by Mark Ryans (RPF) on the use of forest feedstock as a biomass source, which dealt with recovery issues like cost, volume and transportation, and an analysis presented by Jim Frederick (Georgia Institute of Technology) on biofuel and fiber co-production in a forest biorefinery, a concept that could create profitable ethanol sales opportunities for the pulp and paper industry if cellulose loss can be eliminated during the wood extraction process.

Also, Garth Gorsky (Ensyn) presented a case study of a biorefinery in the community setting of Renfrew, Ontario. Benefits include readily available biomass from industries in the surrounding area, the extraction of valuable chemicals from the bio oil produced, and cooperation between , and biofuel and fibre co-production in a forest biorefinery.


Lack of bio means lack of interest for non-wood fibres… for now

With heavy competition from the biorefinery symposium, the non-wood fibre session on Wednesday afternoon had to deal with a lack of “bio” in their paper presentations.

Shijie Liu from SUNY-ESF first discussed pulp fibre size and fine characteristics. He compared the difference between optical and gravimetric measurements of fibre length and width and concluded that optical tools show a richer distribution of results.

Liu then announced that he was stepping down as the chairman of the non-wood fibre committee and that his current TAPPI equivalent, Bob Huerter, would be taking his place. This led to an open discussion between members of the audience and the new members as to what topics the PaperWeek International conference should cover next year.

“Biorefinery is the big thing right now,” said Huerter, “and all the money is going there. But one of the things that no one is looking at is how to get the biomass into the mill, because that’s different for non-wood fibres.”

The non-wood fibre industry will largely be impacted by the pulp and paper industry’s decisions in terms of bioenergy, and a new structure will need to be created for the transformation of flax fibre into fuel, for example.

“It’s tough,” Huerter said, “when Shijie organizes a program, and three papers don’t show (as they did this morning), and you have a competing conference (like biorefinery).”

Huerter does not think that biorefining and non-wood fibres are competing in all aspects. He gave the example of a cornstalk mill in Ioha that reduced its costs and increased its efficiency by adding a gasifier. This technology produced all the steam and power needed for the mill’s operations, making it a truly green mill that produces environmentally-friendly fuel.

“I don’t think we can do this in Quebec or Ontario,” Huerter said, “because we don’t have the right type of biomass. It’s a Prairies project.”

David Carruthers (Saint-Armand) was one of the more vocal audience members, suggesting that the sessions move back towards pulp and paper applications to attract more interest. He was also concerned about the amount of usable agricultural fibres that the industry is wasting in Canada every year.

Carruthers also brought up the possibility of using second-hand clothing for papermaking, a practice that was abandoned by the pulp and paper industry when fabrics became contaminated by synthetic products. With the trend changing back to cotton clothing, a “marvellous” paper-making fibre, non-wood fibre mills should explore the possibility of transforming the volume of post-consumer waste that is, for lack of a better term, going to waste.

All suggestions were good ones for Huerter, who concluded, “It’s nice to talk agriculture, but it needs to go back to pulp and paper making. It needs to become more balanced.”


That's it for now! Stay tuned...