Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's that time of the year again...

... Birthday time, that is!

Sure, my birthday is still 14 days away, but that hasn't prevented people from asking me what I want.

Now, usually, I come up with a list for holidays and my birthday, but in recent years, I've found that I want less stuff. Either that, or the things that I actually want are very expensive. Most of the time, I'd like to receive immaterial presents like happiness or stability. Of course, you can't buy happiness - although I do truly believe that having a decent amount of money definitely helps... after all, how can you be happy if you can't feed yourself? - so my standard list is basically an Amazon wish list spin-off.

This year, once again, I'm stuck with the same problem. Except this time, I have a solution.

The one item on my birthday list this year is a 4x8 Centennial Plaza brick. Yes, a $200 brick.

Ever since I heard these were available, I've wanted one. I know it's not the best use of money, but it's an emotional decision. (Yes, I also understand that it's a brilliant marketing plan to make fans/taxpayers pay for the beautification of the "plaza" in front of the Lucien-L'allier train station).

But anyway. Here's the plan. If 10 of my friends want to get me $20 gifts... that would pay for the brick. I'm not a 100% sure, but I think I just might have 10 friends who would like to get me something for my birthday. Then again, I might only have 2 friends who think I'm gift worthy, and then they'd each have to spend $100 for this plan to work. Hmmmm...

I'm not vain; I know a lot of people can't afford gifts even if they'd like to give them. So even if the few gifts I do get end up paying for a portion of the brick, I'd be the happiest girl in the world! It's not that I can't afford one... I just think it would be so much more significant if my friends gave me this brick because it would have a double meaning and therefore be extremely symbolic.

So if you feel like participating in this historic gift idea... simply call (514) 925-5656 ext 8 and get me a Centennial Plaza Brick gift certificate!

PS: Thank you.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In case you were wondering...

I count stairs. Compulsively, perhaps. Subconsciously, most likely.

Most of the time, I start counting without even knowing it, only noticing once I've reached an abnormally large number or thought of something else. This is mostly because I get bored very easily. So I count steps and stairs. Though most often just stairs.

I also come up with nifty blog posts while I walk, although sadly, they never turn out that great when I finally sit down and type them up.

But back to the stairs.

Today, I worked the Habs vs. Bruins game at the Bell Center. I had a ridiculously awesome time. Ridiculous because for once, I actually fulfilled my job title. I ran around a lot! But it was all in good fun, and I stepped up and got things done, not only on time, but usually well. At least, that's what I've gathered from the feedback I received.

But that's besides the point.

The point is, I took the metro to get to work, and therefore got off at the Lucien-L'allier station. Did you know that, ironically, there are 24 steps leading up from the metro platform up to the exit where the security guard watches as you feed the machine?

24 steps for 24 Stanley Cups.

Hopefully, that symbolism won't be true after the Montreal Canadiens' Centennial celebrations.

I don't tend to count escalator steps, because, well, the number varies based on speed of ascension or descent, and because it just doesn't count.

However, I do know that there are 3 x 10 steps going from the metro station to the super secret super stinky tunnel to the Lucien-L'allier train station, and therefore, into the Bell Centre.

Usually, I cut through the train station and go down the stairs at the other end of the station, heading down to St-Antoine Street and the media entrance.

There number of stairs in that set has an average of 20.66666666666 (to infinity and beyond!), with the sequencing as follows (from station to street): 21, 19, 22. One has to wonder why they didn't make them all 20 or 21. I'm sure it would have worked out.

So to recap, that's a total of 116 steps and 3 escalators for me to get from the metro platform to the media entrance.

Not that I'm complaining... It's good exercise!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The story behind a Canadian Cyclist

Some months ago, I was asked to do a one-on-one interview with reporter Alain Gravel, host of Radio Canada's investigative reporting programme "Enquête". Gravel, as you may recall, is the reporter who broke the story of Quebec's biggest doping scandal. After many months of pushing, cyclist Geneviève Jeanson admitted to Gravel and his team that she had in fact taken drugs and had been doing so from a very young age.

The interview was published in Media Magazine, the publication put out by the Canadian Association of Journalists. Ironically, Gravel was, at the time of the interview, the president of the Fédération Professionelle des Journalistes du Québec.

This interview was particularly tough to write up, not because of the translation work required, but because of the sheer amount of content that the interview provided. Originally, I had planned on a 15 to 30 minute interview - MAX. Instead, I had just over an hour of tape to listen and sort through. Plus, the story itself was very complex, as there was a lot of back and forth before Gravel and his team were able to get a confession out of Jeanson. In fact, the story was so complicated that even Gravel had to think hard about the timing and sequence of the events leading up to his scoop. Not to mention that the story and the pursuit of the story were both very interesting and full of juicy details.

All in all, I was very satisfied with the article and with the editing job - with one exception. Near the end of the second page, the text mentions that "a Canadian cyclist had written about a marriage certificate" when it should instead say "Canadian Cyclist had written about a marriage certificate", meaning the industry magazine Canadian Cyclist.

Without further ado, here I am, on page 18!

Stay tuned for more goodies...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An Orgasm of News

It has been a fair amount of time since I last posted, hence the title of this blog. Also, I just want the random search terms to lead here. Because it's funny.

(*points and laughs at googlers looking for porn*)

A lot has changed since late February. For one, I don't look the same. No, I did not have major plastic surgery and I was thankfully not involved in any vehicular accidents. But I did cut my hair. Short.

How short you ask? Why, as short as I can ever fathom having my hair.

Why did you cut it? And why so short? Well, my friend, I cut it not only because it was so long that it was starting to get annoying - your hair choking you in your sleep? so not cool - but also because it was heavy. So heavy, in fact, that I lost .8 pounds based on a very unscientific poll which required me to weight myself in the same clothes before and after the cut, with no food or liquid intake in between.

But most importantly, I cut my hair because that was the plan all along. In fact, the last time I wrote a post, I was already planning my cut. Indeed, it would already have reached its new length had I not been so incredibly insanely busy during Reading Week/Spring Break.

For the second time in my life, I donated my hair to make wigs for children with cancer. It's an honourable mission, in my opinion. Why cut your hair when if you were to wait a couple more months, it would be long enough to give? Also, it's not like you can do much with it once it's gone.

Last time, I cut my hair in the States because it had remnants of streaks in it and the Canadian organizations wouldn't take it. Also, I got a free cut out of it ;) I sent that ponytail to Locks of Love.

This time, three years later, my hair was in pristine condition and dye-free, so I gave it to one of the many hair donation programs in Canada, specifically Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program. It's based out of Ontario, but much more people friendly than the Quebec organization, which provided no instructions, simply an address.

My new haircut seems to have brought on winds of change. Changing my look seems to have changed my luck. After a period where everything I applied for went to someone else - without even a chance to prove myself in an interview - I had a nice chat with Sherali Najak, executive producer of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

And I'm headed to Toronto for the month of April to work as a production runner for Rounds 1 and 2 of the playoffs, helping with everything that happens in Studio 42, but also anything else that's show related. And so it seems my career does lie in sports, at least for the time being.

I am totally absolutely completely ecstatic about this opportunity. It is not only a great way to learn the ropes, but it also means I get to "cotoyer" to use a French word, the people who make the show look and feel so polished and authentic. It's truly an amazing chance to prove my worth, and maybe even get to explore other CBC productions.

And while I am extremely grateful for this wonderful promotion, I'm also a bit sad, because I won't get to feel the Bell Centre shake as 23,173 fans cheer for the Habs. It means that all this excitement that I've amassed over working the playoffs in Montreal is now diverted to working on the show. Which is awesome - but I know I'm going to miss my Habs.

The good news is, the Habs might have the stuff to go all the way, and since HNIC usually travels after the first two rounds, or at least, by the finals... I may yet have a chance to have my socks rocked off by the best fans in the NHL.

Speaking of sports... The 5th annual edition of the Rogers Sportsnet Sports Journalism Workshop, presented in conjunction with Concordia University's Journalism and Communication Departments, was an absolutely success, despite the crazy snow storm that was predicted. And yes, the snow did fall. And yes, I am so over winter. Especially since my "walking" boots broke 2 weeks before that impending storm of doom. We had a fairly decent student turnout... almost more than any of the other years I've been there - which is 3 total. Most of those don't even go to Concordia!!! (yet).

The bad news is... it took me 1.5 hours to get home instead of the 20 minutes no traffic time I usually clock. Definitely a long day.

And speaking of journalism... Tomorrow is our live show, aptly entitled One Night [News]Stand. As the script says, it's your chance to get a little more intimate with our work. We're expecting a live audience of at least 50 people, we have 8 wonderful guests that are sure to entertain you... And if that doesn't work, well... it will, because one of them is comic Paul Baluyot, and the other is Montreal rapper Rugged Intellect. Other guests include Jonnie Penn and David Lingwood from The Buried Life. We also have the crew from HabsCast, the deputy executive director from the charity In Their Shoes, and Dr. Laurie Betito, sex therapist and host of CJAD's PASSION.

As you can see, it's a full lineup, and I had a blast lining up the segments so they would flow into a beautiful show. And tomorrow, I get to floor direct/manage the show, which is sure to be an exciting and most likely hectic experience. Hopefully, I'll post about it sooner rather than later, so you're not hanging in suspense.

Last but not least, I just want to underline how stressed I am. All week, I've had a Post It full of stuff "To Do". In fact, as of Tuesday, I've had 2 or 3 different "To Do" lists.
Thankfully, I think I'll be able to manage with just one after Friday.

Most importantly, apart from the planning for the End of Year Bash, getting grad gifts for my fellow graduating students, ensuring that all the Historic Cities Program exhibition goes well, helping organize the first ever joint Journalism Students Association and Concordia University Alumni Association's Journalism Chapter event, aka Stories from the Front and doing all my homework, all I've got to worry about is finding a place to stay in Toronto that's relatively cheap and meet with my must haves: Internet, no smoking and no pets.

I'll let you know how all of that goes...