Ottawa: Unplugged

Getting back to basics in the Nation’s Capital.

I spent the weekend in Ottawa. It was great to visit my sister and a lot of friends who still live there. As the Duggars would say, I really enjoyed their fellowship.

The strangest thing about the weekend was how old-fashioned and low-tech it was! Lots of board games, some sweet tunes on the record player, cooking, baking and sharing food with each other, cat’s cradle (it’s coming back) and a whole lot of laughs and stories shared between us.

My favourite thing about Ottawa in the winter has got to be the Rideau Canal. We had perfect ice conditions on Sunday.

Rideau Canal

It really was a great weekend, and I’m still on cloud nine. I feel recharged and ready to get back to homework. It was just what I needed to help me get through school for another month until reading week.



Carleton Legacy Continues

de Barra hat trick.

I’m very proud to say that my little sister recently heard that she has been accepted to Carleton University. With her acceptance, that makes a grand total of three de Barra sisters at Carleton! Hat trick! I was Class of 2010, Caroline is Class of 2013 and Kathleen is Class of 2016.

Carleton University

I am so proud of my little sisters and the little legacy we have created there. I started university in the fall of 2006, and by the time Kathleen graduates we will have had at least one de Barra at Carleton University for an entire decade! Can you believe that?

Is there some type of finder’s fee I can collect? Really, they should put us in some kind of marketing campaign or something.

Just kidding. But not really.

Go Ravens Go Ravens Go!

Carleton University Flash Mob

Best students. Best campus community. Best school spirit. Best life.

I am an extremely proud Carleton University grad.

On February 15th about 400 Carleton students gathered on the Rideau Canal for a brilliant flash mob.

The flash mob was organized by Graeme Owens as part of the Blackberry Best Life contest. More info here. Donations are being accepted to the Ottawa Mission. To donate click here.

The story has been picked up by CTV news, the Globe and Mail, and even Premier Dalton McGuinty has been tweeting about it.

Good luck to Graeme! And a huge congrats to everyone who participated.


The closest thing to a sacred trust we’ll get.

“Accuracy, as you can see, can be a stretch, well beyond getting the quote right, which is also essential. As for truth, I think of it as an ideal, toward which we strive, toward which all of our work should be an important part. If we are lucky, we may even touch a piece of it.”

-William F. Woo

He was the first person who was not a member of the Pulitzer family to work as editor of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the first Asian-American to be the editor of a major American daily newspaper. He later worked as a journalism professor at Stanford University.

Studying for my J4000 exam. This was part of my presentation about the role of an editor. This quote stuck with me.

Update 04/19/10:
Hahaha William F. Woo was a question on the exam. Sorry to everybody who didn’t pay attention during my presentation.
Woo was a small part of my presentation and I’m sorry that you were tested on a few passing inspirational quotations!

Play for the Kids 2.0

UNICEF Carleton’s annual coffeehouse/open mic night.

Last night UNICEF Carleton presented their second annual open mic night, featuring a lot of local talent. This is a video of my roommate Jamye Troy singing a song she wrote about a little girl in Africa.

Flash in the Pan

We’re #1! Right above #rolluptherim.

Last Monday, our journalism lecture live-tweeted during a presentation and our hashtag, #j4k (short for our course code, JOUR4000) became the number one trending topic in Canada for a short time. I took a screen shot.

This probably means very little to people who don’t use Twitter. But for the active 12 or so people in our class who do use it, this was pretty cool. I have a feeling that our class, and the creation of a course hashtag, will be used in a case-study somewhere. When journalism students use Twitter during class, something monumental is just bound to happen. We’ll see if there is a repeat tomorrow morning.

Update 03/23/10:
So much press. I love it! We’re kind of famous. Article on J-Source and on Carleton’s website.

There is no Modern Romance

Well I was wrong. It never lasts.

Walking along Bank Street the other day I noticed something that really made me feel pretty sad. The Swap Box at Bank and Sunnyside is gone. I don’t know how long it’s been down.

It looked like this back in the glory days.

In the fall I wrote a feature piece about the Swap Boxes and street art in Ottawa. I was even lucky enough to interview the artist Elmaks.

Bank and Sunnyside is an important intersection for Carleton students. It stands out in my mind as a huge staple of my time in Ottawa. It took a while for me to warm up to Ottawa back in first year. Walking up Sunnyside from res, past Haven Books, to the Second Cup and the Chip Wagon, walking past the Mayfair and over the bridge into the Glebe… I’m not the only one who did these things. And the Swap Box was one of the things that really made my heart melt. It put Ottawa in my good books.

I never really contributed anything worthwhile. I only ever have bus transfers and bobby pins in my pockets, but I put them in anyway.

And now there is nothing left. I’m just sad that other Carleton students wont get a chance to experience this beautiful little piece of Ottawa.

(Title inspired by my current favourite song: Modern Romance by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Lyrics here.)

Class of 2010

This is what I did on Friday.


New Maclean’s OnCampus Post

A text message that could save your life.

I just hit publish on a new Maclean’s OnCampus blog post about my school’s new Emergency Notificaiton System. Check it out here.

Electoral Board Upholds the Disqualification of Bruce Kyereh-Addo

Next Step: Constitutional Board

Bruce Kyereh-Addo’s disqualification stands as is today, after the rally in the Atrium and his appeal to the Electoral Board last night.

Some of the most interesting parts of this ruling include:

“Regarding the Facebook ad, the Electoral Board finds you in violation of the CEO Ruling of January 23, 2009. While there is no evidence that you or anyone on your team purchased the Facebook ad, the ad still benefited your campaign, and thus constitutes a violation of the code.”

This rationale enforces the Electoral Board’s position on the actions of supporters and volunteers of the candidates:

“Actions of supporters are done with free will, but they do have repercussions.”

The full Electoral Board Ruling is available online here.