Monday, May 24, 2010

Put the camera down

I didn't take a single picture in the last week.

I didn't even touch my camera.

Didn't put it in the truck.


I just didn't feel like it.

It seems I've been saturating my life with projects and plans and obligations.

And the second something starts to feel like an obligation, I start to hate it.

I've been playing around with cameras since I was 14. I have fond memories of being the nerdy kid in high school who spent her free hours in the dark room, sniffing developer and fixer.

Aaaaah ... I miss those light-headed days.

Then shooting became a job. It was a bonus for my newspapers that I was adept at not only writing sports but shooting it, too.

Eventually, an editor sucked all the joy out of it. And when I left for a job where only my wordsmithing was required, I sold all my pro gear.

Every last lens and filter.

I went back to it a few years ago and I've been loving it all over again. But lately, it's been feeling like a job.

Maybe I'm shooting too much. Maybe I'm sharing it too much. Maybe ... I don't know.

But it felt right to leave the camera in the bag this weekend.

And maybe it will just sit there for a few days until I start to miss it again.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

T-shirt hell

Fuck you.

Go fuck yourself.

If you can read the back of this shirt, the bitch fell off.

Don't bother. I'm not drunk yet.

We exist in a society where people no longer say 'thank you' to doors held open for them.

Where we bark orders at Walmart cashiers or McDonald's drive-thru workers because we think they're worth less on the food chain.

We're taking our bad days out on each other.

And blasting the messages on our T-shirts.

When we allow a T-shirt to say waht's really on our minds, we're hiding behind a piece of cloth.

But if it's something we really want to say to each other, we really don't belong in public.

There's nothing wrong with living in a polite society, one where we're not whoring ourselves out for attention with a rude message on our shirts.

If we remember to show respect for each other, we might remember how to have respect for ourselves again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Read more, learn more

I'm in web design now.

So I get to see 'Read more' and 'Learn more' a lot in calls to action. We click through to learn more, generally in the buying process.

But I need to take that advice off the web.

I haven't been reading enough lately.

For the better part of the last three years, I've been commuting downtown, hopping the 4 down Edmonton Trail and the 5 back up it.

A move put me on the C-train, a moving tin can of festering viruses.

Still, it afforded me the time to read.

I compiled a book list in December, going through Amazon and detailing the titles that intrigued me.

I started with great vigour, relaxing my mind a little with some fluff books ... strictly chick reading. After all, The Cult of the Amateur and Idiot America contained some intense stuff.

Then the whole team was transferred to a different building. Hallelujah, no more C-train!

My commute is now a five-minute dash in my trusty Escape.

Trouble is, I've stopped reading -- whether it's Why We Hate Us, a project that stalled since the move, or the latest issue of LouLou Magazine.

The most I read now are my RSS feed, your blogs and your Tweets.

Don't take it personally but I think I'm dumber for it.

Reading -- the physical act of holding a book or magazine -- has always been a relaxing, learning experience for me.

And it doesn't burn a hole in my hip the way my laptop does.

The mental act of reading long-form prose is more challenging to the mind, forcing me to be far more analytical.

I find our 140-character thoughts are easily forgotten, a mere blip in time.

And when I'm reading, there are only two people around to answer my questions.

Me and the author.

No one else to interject with a benign or sarcastic thought.

No one to jumble thoughts or detract from the topic.

Just the two of us -- a special relationship that can't be replicated in the expanse of online thought.

So as the sun rises higher and its light and warmth beckons me outside to the patio, there will be less technology in my world.

And more books.

Just me and my authors.

Oh, and Shep, too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A dirty little secret

I'm a closet fan of American Idol.

Shush la! Don't tell anyone.

I rooted for that David guy with the raspy voice, the curly hair and the edge of a rocker.

But I haven't downloaded any of his music.

Hell, I don't even remember the guy's last name.

Instead, I like this song. From the runner-up Adam Lambert. He doesn't have that overly polished sense about him.

He's kept his edge.

And his rasp.

Maybe he should have won that season. Of course, then he might not have been allowed to release this song.

Far from a masterpiece but it at least has my attention.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gettin' my groove on

I'm diggin' my '80s.

But you knew that already.

The girls and I are going out to WEST Calgary tonight for dinner and dancing.

The WEST DJ plays the sweet, sultry sounds of my second favourite decade (My favourite? Why the current one, of course!).

So I'm getting ready by firing up my '80s playlist on Grooveshark.

Now playing ...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Who doesn't know the words?

It's overdone.

And yet somehow it never gets old.

I found myself at the Saddledome tonight, watching the Calgary Hitmen win their second WHL championship.

Inevitably, that one song is cued up and ready to go.

The final seconds tick off the clock and ...


We still miss you, Freddie Mercury.

Cue up the Queen song

There's a certain energy that flows around a good team.

The players ... they have swagger, charisma.

Eleven years ago, I got to know a team like that. Very well, in fact. And 11 years ago tonight, I watched as they cried, their young hearts broken because they failed in their only quest.

It was a strange moment indeed when I stood at the Saddledome tonight, watching the Calgary Hitmen skate to a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. It was Game 5 of the WHL Championship.

And it dawned on me: I've watched, in person, the Hitmen win two WHL championships.

Once 11 years ago.

I followed the Kamloops Blazers on every step during that magical season in 1998-99. They went on a 26-game undefeated streak. They had a kid named Gainey, a captain of Indian descent, a goalie nobody had heard of before and, by the end of the season, seven first-round NHL draft picks on one roster.

They laughed together, they won together, they lost together ... after the trade-deadline deals, there were rumours of a couple supposed newcomers creating chinks in the armour.

The gossip was never confirmed.

And they ran into a wall ... a big brick one called the Calgary Hitmen. They had a kid named Moran, some stud named Pavel Brendl, a goalie from Russia named Fomitchev and swagger.

The Blazers stole one in Calgary and headed home with a split. It was May. I remember driving through blinding snow over the Pass to get home.

The Hitmen took the first one in Kamloops. Game 4 went to triple overtime and the Hitmen took a commanding lead in the best-of-seven series. Shoulders were sagging but no one had given up just yet.

Then another drive back to Calgary, riding shotgun for my buddy from the other newspaper in town.

These teams were as evenly matched as one could imagine ... lots of firepower, mighty defence, solid enough goaltending.

But the power play was weak. It scored once in 27 attempts ... and that one goal may have been on the last man advantage but memory escapes me.

And the Hitmen had just a tiny bit more confidence in this Game 5, wanting to win their first WHL championship on home ice.

So they did. And as they were collecting their hardware, I was in the bowels of the Saddledome with my Blazers. The 20-year-olds wept openly, their dreams of playing in a Memorial Cup came to a crashing halt.

Especially Ajay Baines, a five-year Blazer, a Kamloops boy and a leader among leaders.

He shook. His eyes were as bright as the orange on his away jersey. He sagged into my arms when I couldn't help but hug him.

It had been a long four years of getting to know this kid-turned-man, sharing his victories and his losses, laughing with him and now tears streaming down my face alongside him.

In that time, he's become a man. So have others on the team ... Robyn Regehr, lauded around the NHL as one of the league's steadiest blueliners ... they've gone on to minor pros, Euro leagues, graduated from university, become fathers, husbands and more.

And so I looked skyward tonight towards the press box where I sat those 11 years ago, watching the Hitmen win again, crushing the dreams of young men on the Tri-City Americans roster.

Wondering what dreams will come from Calgary's next trip to the Memorial Cup, wondering if some young journalist upstairs has plans to cover the NHL, wondering ... just wondering.

It's different now. I'm surrounded by the fans ... I am a fan.

So I shook myself out of my reverie and clapped for the Hitmen, cheering them to the Memorial Cup as the seconds ticked off the Jumbotron and the strains of We Are the Champions wafted through the blasts of fireworks.

Sorry, Kamloops. I still love you, though.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's gonna be a good ... night?

I don't check my Hotmail account very often.

I diverted people away from it as my main email source almost a year ago. Now I use it for a newsletter dump and that place to send corporations who absolutely need to have a place to find me.

Like my photography newsletters, recipe sites and That Online Dating Site.

Yes, I still have my account active ... despite months of checking my Inbox and thinking 'oh come on, you're kidding, right?'

There's one fella, nice enough, from the homeland, athletic, good looking ... we've been conversing for the last couple of weeks. But we're both super busy people and it may be hard to really connect.

Tonight, I checked to see if he'd replied the message I sent him four days ago. My Hotmail inbox was showing six new messages, one from him.

So I logged in and plowed through the messages ... no, nope, no way, seriously?

And the one from Nice Guy.

Then there was the Whoa! Tall (six-foot-four), dark and handsome ... and he gets it. From his message to his profile, I got the whole (pointing two fingers at my eyes, pointing two fingers at your eyes and reversing back and forth quickly) ... you know.

It just so happens I still had my MP3 player on after coming home from the gym. At the same time, this song was playing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A study in paradoxes

My friend Wendy once called me a paradox.

And I grinned.

One of my paradoxes (paradoxi? paradosses?) is the range of Corey Taylor's talent.

Whether it's for Slipknot or Stone Sour, the frontman's guttural rages entrance and inspire me. Considering a couple of my favourites, Liberate and Psychosocial, Taylor writes with intelligence, demanding change of himself, of people around him, of the world.

And yet his voice turns gentle, dulcet and smooth for Stone Sour's Through Glass or Slipknot's Snuff.

In fact, he often manages to rip my heart out as his words drown me in his own agony and heartbreak.

Aaaah, the simple beauty of identifying with the song ... such is music.

Grumble, grumble, grumble ... wake up to a song

In Calgary, we woke up to snow on the ground this morning.


On May 5.

It's enough to turn even the happiest of us somewhat homicidal.

Same goes for my classmate in journalism school. She'd call me at 7 a.m. after a ... ahem ... night on the town and, ever so cheerily, she would sing into the phone:

Good morning to the flowers
Good morning to the sun
Good morning to the children
Good morning everyone!

You know the thought that comes to mind. That's right. Eff.

So I thought 'what's a song we all know and it's just too damn cheery to wake up to'? It's easy to turn to the '80s and we all remember our blog opener from Wham!

So here's one for this morning ... the kind of song that, one a day like to today, makes me want to kick a kitten.

No matter how cheery I'm going to try to be.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Walking in the sun

It's been a long time ... a lifetime, in fact.

I grew up with three brothers. There were two other girls close in age to me in my neighbourhood. They were outnumbered by boys.

I had dolls but I never really wanted to spend too much time playing with them. I wanted to be outside, playing cowboys or war or hide-and-go-seek with my brothers and their neighbourhood pals.

Boys were my playmates in the summer time and after school. It felt so natural to transition into a career dominated by men. I chose sports writing ... you can't get much more testosterone-centric, really.

My best friends have been typically male. The women I let close to me were similar to me ... they shunned many female friendships, finding it easier to trust men.

Times have changed. I'm no longer a sports writer. I've developed my feminine side ... mostly in the realm of shoes and clothes and makeups.

Along with that has come an ability to better identify with my 'sisters.' We talk, we vent, we philosophize, we dream, we rage, we shop, we create ... we want to improve ourselves and we want to improve the world.

So to my complement of girlfriends, I dedicate to you and apologize for committing an atrocious cliche.

But I do love you all.

Take it away, Cyndi.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Happy news?

Peaches isn't on the City of Calgary's shelter site anymore.

Does that mean he went home to his family?

I sure hope so. As his finder, I was supposed to have first rights to adopt him. I had planned to say 'no,' of course. I knew full well I didn't have the ability to care for his medical conditions.

No one called.

That must mean he was found by his family. Right? Right.

Now ... about those other dogs sitting there and waiting.