If You Aren’t Outraged, Then You Just Aren’t Paying Attention

Ignorance is Bliss.

Not Afraid

I understand, I think, for the first time why most people prefer those sugar-coated, mind-numbing movies and TV shows packed with celebrities and other pleasant things.

Watching the National last night, I realized that Peter Mansbridge and his guests were not discussing the possibility that this is our “new normal” – they were confirming the obvious. An over-used term, but still applicable. These recent attacks, homegrown and ruthless, in Ottawa, in Sydney, and now in Paris are horrific and terrifying, to me anyway. I feel like we are all at risk now. This is our normal, we of the post 9-11 generation. Which city will be next and when? London, Washington, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo? Toronto has been spared for now, but for how long?

I remember learning in journalism school that therapists and journalists have higher levels of something like secondary PTSD. While they may not be experiencing these events first-hand, their exposure to first-hand accounts on a regular basis can generate a wave of similar symptoms.

Watching all these news programs, reading these articles (some fantastically well-written, answering the questions I didn’t think to ask), following the chaos of Twitter – it can be exhausting. I found relief last night during the commercial breaks of the National, with previews for silly shows about space, animals, and consumer trends. It was like a dose of comfort before getting back in the ring when the program started again. I felt like a character in Brave New World, but it wasn’t taking hits of Soma that made me feel better, it was television. And with it, the promise of a familiar-but-novel distraction, spread to the masses to keep us somewhat entertained, but mostly chained to our couches, away from the news, newspapers, books, and somewhere out there, the truth.

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2014: A Year in Review

A month-by-month play-by-play.

This year has seen a lot of ch-ch-changes: big and small, good and bad. I changed roommates, I changed jobs, my family structure has changed, and our country was changed forever.

Heads up: this is long! (Shout out to my friend Jen for taking most of these photos! She has curated a photo essay of my youth.)

January

Coming down from the Christmas season is always a blur. Trying to fit in all family, friends, and events you couldn’t squeeze into December. Somehow I managed to see The Nutcracker (twice in one year is always a plus), Les Miserables, Heartbeat of Home, and I saw Jay-Z again! He was great with Kanye during Watch the Throne, and he is just as good solo. I got some good ice time at Harbourfront, and at the little rink near my house, and even some twizzles on the Canal in Ottawa. There is nothing so soothing as a few solitary, silent laps on the ice.

JayZ

February

At one point in early February, I wrote the following in my agenda: “work panic attack / existential crisis / major anxiety“. Talk about dramatic. February was awfully stressful, at work and at home. I had coworkers coming and going and our team was in a flux. And at home, my roommate was set to move out any day, and I was constantly in limbo trying to plan for my sister to move in. I was a wreck every single day. I felt anxious all the time and I was barely sleeping. I had awful chest pains and heart palpitations. I needed to make a major life change, and in February, I started to do just that.

Olympics

In February, our Social Committee at work set out to raise $1,000 for the Red Door Family Shelter. We managed to loop in Valentine’s Day and the Olympics into our fundraising through dress down Jersey days and selling Candy Grams.

Candy Grams

It was a great success and we beat our goal! I loved taking charge of these events and it really brought the spirit in the office to new heights, and it felt so good to be doing something together as a team. And, we got to watch so many events on the TV in the boardroom! It was great. The men and women both won Gold in Hockey, and we hosted an awesome brunch to celebrate the gold medal game!

March

In March, we also threw a team together for the Escape the Winter Beach Volleyball Tournament. We lost every game, but we had a fun time.

Beach Volleyball

We went to Medieval Times one Saturday night and it was so fun! Our section was cheering so hard and we were so into it. But again, our Knight didn’t win. As a lifetime Leafs’ fan, I’m used to it now. And I caught a Raptors-Golden State game as well. I definitely want to check out some more games in 2015. The crowd at Raptors’ games is so loud and wild. The fans cheer for each basket and every play, unlike the suits at the Leafs’ games who are always on their phones.

April

April was crazy for both work and home. My team was up in the air and I had no idea where I fit in anymore, and I was working insane hours. I also had to juggle one roommate moving out and another moving in. It was tumultuous, and it really did a number on me. My stress was so bad I landed myself in the hospital. I also got three cavities (my first ever).

May

In May, I think I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Having my sister move in with me was the best thing ever. We had such a fun summer. I’ve never watched so many movies in my life. The weather finally let up and we got some weak sunshine. The ice only went under the lake the week before May 2-4, so that weekend up north was really chilly!  It seems like it went right from winter to summer, no spring at all. But it was super relaxing – something I really reaaally needed.

Toronto

I had my best friend Lil come for a visit from Australia and we had some much needed girl time (pedicures and picnics etc.) and I also made it to two Jays’ games.

Jays

June

Watching the World Cup in the boardroom and after work this summer was so fun. I’ve been a Netherlands’ fan since grade ten when I had an exchange student named Nienke. I’ve had a soft spot for the Dutch ever since. My love for the Oranje threw off my office pool, but at least I got to see that magnificent victory over Spain. Payback for 2010!! In June I also got to meet one of my idols, Hillary Clinton. As of today, she has still not announced anything! Summer is for the Blue Jays, and I managed to fit in one more, against the Yankees. And Canada Day is incomplete without a jaunt in the woods, so we went up north again for the weekend. And, I tried a Weber’s burger for the first time!

Cottage

July

My girlfriends and I spent a beautiful summer Sunday on the Island riding bikes around and reenacting scenes from Now & Then.

Bikes

And I got to live the dream and see Beyonce and Jay-Z together at the On the Run Tour at the ACC. They are both amazing live! I’ve seen them both twice now so I’ll lay off for a bit. Wait for another album to come out. I am still holding out for another good Kanye album so he can redeem himself. We also had a girls weekend in Niagara with good food and wine, and great company.

Niagara

August

In August, I made some big moves at work. It was a relaxing month because I had over three weeks off between my old job and my new job. One of those weeks was spent up north at the cottage and it was the perfect way to wind down after a wild few months. I also got to cross my last must-see band off my list – Arcade Fire at the Molson Amphitheatre. I’ve now seen everyone I think! Every band on my list. What a triumph! It was the last weekend of the summer and it went out with a bang.

Arcade Fire

September

I went to my first wedding! It was a hoot. I also started doing yoga, which really did wonders for my stress levels. It’s just a nice way to chill out and relax. I also got to see a Leafs’ exhibition game, and it was my sister’s first Leafs’ game so that was nice to share with her.

October

I saw Joffrey Lupul buying records at Rotate This on Queen. I didn’t realize it was him until he was walking away so I didn’t even get to say hello. Nobody was bothering him, and he just looked like a regular guy. I saw him at a Vampire Weekend concert a few years ago, so I know he has good taste in music. I saw Tennis again at the Mod Club for their new album. And, we spent a day at Forsythe Farms to pick pumpkins and get lost in a corn maze. It was a perfect fall day.

I went to a Toronto Public Library Lecture series about Emma, my favourite Jane Austen novel. I was the youngest person there, but it was still fun. My family and I went to see Book of Mormon and it was so funny!! I just loved it and highly recommend it if you don’t mind extremely rude jokes about everything and everyone under the sun. I also went to see Bastille at the ACC. I thought Bastille was an indie band, I had no idea they had such a huge following, or that the entire following was under the age of sixteen. My sister and I were the oldest people in sight!

October 22 will stay with me forever, as long as I live. There was also the scandalous news about Jian Ghomeshi. I received an email from the Carleton School of Journalism which was much appreciated. They were reaching out to current and former students to make sure we were all okay. They had sent something like 70+ interns to CBC over the past few years, and one student (that they knew of) was placed with Q. I am keeping an eye on this, his trial will certainly be something else.

I did my civic duty and voted in Toronto’s municipal election. John Tory was elected but only by a small margin. I really think that if Rob Ford ran for Mayor, he would have won. This scares me.

My friend Dana brought me to see the former Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson, present a CBC Massey Lecture on the paradox of citizenship. It was timely and interesting based on our recent election, and the Ottawa Shooting.

For Halloween, I was a Mummy! I am continuing in my quest to be all the things I wanted to be as a child/teen but was too embarrassed/shy to be. Back then I just wanted to be something cute (but inevitably lame). Now I realize that I have to dress for only me! I have been a Mummy, Beyonce, a Cat, and a Robot. I’ll start brainstorming again in the summer.

Oh, and I turned 26!!!!!

Bday

November

November 1 I will always remember for my Grandpa Pat. November was a month filled with lots of family and friends. I definitely felt the love. We have always been close and tight-knit. We are so much stronger now.

I managed to snag some more Leafs tickets, but it was for that dreadful 9-2 loss against Nashville. We put our Christmas tree up on the same day as the Santa Claus parade. All this wait until Thanksgiving thing is an American idea. In our house, the Christmas season starts on the day of the parade. I like to get a full eight weeks of Christmas celebrations each year.

Parade

December

I got some professional head shots taken. I’ll be adding them to my LinkedIn profile in the New Year when our new website goes live. I saw Arcadia with my Uncle John. The play was really long, almost three hours! But it was very good, and I left wanting to know more which is, I think, a good sign. I got to stop by the Santa in the Junction Winter Christmas Market – more of a sidewalk sale than a market!

Christmas

We went to see the Donny & Marie Christmas Show at the Princess of Wales Theatre! It was so good, the perfect mix of Broadway, Christmas songs, Oldies, and Pop. The ladies in the audience were going crazy for Donny, but he was so sweet and hugged them all! And, Kate and I snagged some rush seats to The Nutcracker.

Sweaters

December is always a whirl with lots of family and friend dinners and parties. I do love a good Ugly Christmas Sweater party. Great news: my best friend Lil from university just got engaged (!!!) and she asked me to be a bridesmaid (!!!!!). I am beyond thrilled. Two things on my mind right now: 1) save up for my ticket to Australia! 2) save up for bridal party expenses!!

My sister and I also went to see Jersey Boys in December. It was amazing, as always. It was my fifth show, her tenth show. It gets better and better each time. We met the cast at the stage door and they are so nice! We joined them for a beer at a nearby pub after the show. They’re just like us! I cannot recommend this show enough, it’s always a good time.

Conclusion

And now here we are, the last day of the year and I will shortly be heading out of the city. I’ll be joining my best friends up north to ring in the new year in the wilderness.

How did I do on my goals from last year? Don’t care! What am I planning for next year? Nothing at all. Just be myself. It’s been working for me so far. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy New Year! Cheers to 2015!

O Canada…

The True North Strong and Free.

Parliament Hill - May 2013

We are in unchartered territory and I don’t really know where to begin. A situation that is still ‘fluid and unfolding’. My beloved Ottawa, my home for four years, in lockdown and under attack. One of the longest days. Watching, listening, following along feeling helpless and horrified. And now, more than twelve hours later, we are still in the dark.

War Memorial - Nov 11 2009

My former journalism student instincts have never really gone away. I love Twitter, and I continually browse headlines during the day to keep an eye on things. It makes me feel like an adult to have a basic understanding of and ability to form a valid opinion on current events. I have taken to reading news on the CBC website, one, because it’s still free, and two, it seems mostly free from partisan bias. Around ten this morning I gave the CBC home page a quick browse, and felt my stomach plummet. Quickly pulling up Twitter, what followed was one of the darkest hours I’ve ever experienced, filled with misinformation, graphic and disturbing photos, and several first-hand accounts from Canadian politicians and journalists on the ground. This whole day has been surreal.

Parliament Hill - Nov 11 2009

I am lucky to follow some truly fascinating people. Their collective commentary during any major event, be it an awards show, the Olympics, any major breaking news, Ferguson in the last few weeks, and now today, is always on point. My carefully curated group of journalists, politicians, key contributors, and news makers, and those who they follow, are always witty and informative. After spending four years in Ottawa, I am following a lot of folks on Parliament Hill, and too many of them were caught up in this fray today. They provided terrifying and viscerally real accounts of what they saw and heard. For me, Twitter is not filler, it is often the most up-to-date and reliable source of breaking news, much more than cable tv or radio news. These people are on the ground and they take their jobs seriously.

Canada Day - 2012

I checked in with my friends who are still in Ottawa and who spent the day in lockdown (thankfully, they were all okay), and admired the quiet authority of Jim Watson, the Mayor of Ottawa, during the RCMP press conference. My news feed was overflowing, and I couldn’t refresh fast enough.

Canada Day - 2012

My Parliament Hill has a stray cat sanctuary, and free yoga on the front lawn, and concerts on Canada Day with accompanying light shows and fireworks. My Ottawa has a free skating rink running through the middle. My Ottawa is clean, beautiful, vibrant, and safe.

Parliament Hill - Gold Medal Celebration 2010

I had hoped that these foreign threats would never touch our shores, and now twice in one week, members of our armed forces have been singled out and murdered. We must watch in fear and feel helpless as our enemies walk through our front door. I feel flashbacks to the first few days of grade eight, when we came in from first recess with whispers of an attack. Where my teacher, Mr. Mele, sat at the only computer in the classroom trying to access CNN’s website. The computer was big, white, and clunky, and the internet was fledgling and slow. We couldn’t get beyond the homepage. We had no access to information and no updates and we were totally in the dark. When I got home from school, I sat in front of the TV in disbelief for hours, simultaneously mesmerized and horrified by the loop footage of the Twin Towers.

Today, I rushed home from work and have been watching television coverage for the past few hours. I am older, but still feel afraid. Unable to take my eyes away from the footage of my beloved Ottawa under attack.

Canada Day - 2011

I am of the generation called the Millennials. I am the post 9/11 generation. Raised on Harry Potter and MSN Messenger. Early adopters of new technology. Living under the looming threat of terrorism. You don’t have to tell us to ‘stay vigilant’. We get it. We’ve already had it for a long time. We’ve been maintaining constant vigilance since Moody warned us about the Death Eaters back in the day.

Doubting myself, wondering if my unfortunate heavy double dose of patriotism and sensationalism was causing me to overreact, I felt isolated and alone today. Nobody in my immediate vicinity seemed to know nor care about the situation unfolding in Ottawa. I feel like I need to divide the people and influencers in my life by our shared values. Today was an exercise in that. My close friends, and some fellow former journalism students on Twitter, shared my concerns and I felt comforted by their shared reactions.

I want nothing more right now than for Peter Mansbridge to fold the nation in his warm embrace and tell us all that we’re going to be okay, and that everything will soon be well.

Canadian Flag

❤ Ottawa ❤ Canada ❤ you too, Toronto

Tomorrow is another day, and we must remain the True North, Strong and Free.

Canada Day

* My apologies for disconnected and incomplete thoughts. Written after a stress-filled, anxiety-ridden, very emotional day, while flipping between CBC, CTV, Global, and TVO for six hours straight, heart aching, head pounding…

Michael Ignatieff is Inattentive to his Underwear Choices

Strong brow = Strong leadership.

Aside from having a formidable brow, Ignatieff is a good sport. I realise this is old, but it is worth watching.

From Merriam-Webster.com:

Formidable:
1: Causing fear, dread, or apprehension
2: Having qualities that discourage approach or attack
3: Tending to inspire awe or wonder : impressive

 

A Funny Thing Happened in Front of the CBC Building

Step 1: Take off shoe. Step 2: Put your foot in your mouth.

The CBC announced 800 jobs are going to be cut. On Thursday, there was going to be a town hall meeting for employees. We are a group of three journalism students on a same-day TV assignment. The news is scary, but the story is newsy. To the CBC building we go.

Location: Sparks Street
Mood: Optimistic

Our reporter is speaking to two women standing outside the doors to the building. Many of the CBC employees don’t want to talk to us, probably because they’re not sure what’s going on themselves.

Somehow, our reporter persuades the women to go on camera. The first woman, wearing a CBC jacket, gives us a great interview and some even better advice on what to do as young journalists when our industry is facing hard times. She reminds young people to be passionate about what they do, and wait it out when times are tough.

We ask her how she feels, knowing that her job may be on the line. Will her job be one of the 800 cut?

She responds with a very confident no. She say’s that she’s been at the CBC a while and seniority holds a lot of weight.

We wrap up the interview. Oh, and one more thing. Can you please say and spell your name for the camera?

“Kathleen Petty. K-A-T-H-L-E-E-N P-E-T-T-Y.”

Oh boy. We all burst out laughing.

Yes, we spoke to Kathleen Petty on Thursday about CBC job cuts and we didn’t even realize it until the end.

What a rookie mistake. If I become a journalism prof one day, this can be my witty anecdote for the first day of class.