Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallowe'en has an apostrophe...

I don't care how newspapers and magazines are printing it. It's "Hallowe'en."

Not only has the beloved apostrophe been taken from me, but basically my entire Hallowe'en has been lost to work this year.

I haven't seen a horror movie in months. I have no costume. I don't even have any of that shitty candy-corn.

Right now I'm getting ready to work my second job, bouncing at the campus pub where there's already been 200 tickets sold to a Public Relations Hallowe'en pubnight (or as proper journalists would print; "Halloween pub night." But what do they know.)

So instead of dressing up, scaring my friends, hanging out and having a few drinks while watching horror movies this year, I'm going to be trying to figure out if an idiot dressed up as a douchey McLovin' and a slutty Hermione are having too much to drink.

Hallowe'en is supposed to be a time where you can cut loose and be something you've never dared to be, or secretly desire to be. To have some fun getting scared and silly. Although every year things seem to be getting more silly than scary.

An outfit from the Adult Superstore isn't a costume. It's a prop for the bedroom. Please don't wear it out tonight unless you're secret desire is to get treated like a whore.

I have a go big or go home philosophy for Hallowe'en. So please be creative. And just because you're dressed up like Hunter S. Thompson (wait, sorry... Johnny Depp from Fear and Loathing), doesn't mean you can drink like him. I don't want to have to deal with puke tonight.

My favourite holiday and all I can do is watch it roll past.

What a gip.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who are you...

I had an interview with the Acting Staff Sargent in charge of the Forensic Identification Section of the Ottawa PD this morning. He's like Ottawa's version of Gil Grissom.

I kind of expected what anyone else brought up on TV would expect; dim lighting, fancy technology, glass walls.

Nope. It's an office. With people dressed up like they work in an office. Doing office stuff. Probably killing time on Facebook between case reports.

That was a bit of a downer, but just being in that section talking to the head of the department about crime stuff was pretty neat.

There was even a similarity in attitude. Okay, not really. The guy I talked to didn't strike me as the kind of guy who knows everything about everything. But he was very focused and matter-0f-fact. Not cold, but certainly cool. He chuckled when I mentioned CSI.

What I'm getting at is this. Every time I think about hating "reporting" and all the stupid people I have to talk to, I get an interview that's really cool.

How many people can say they've checked out the secured offices of Ottawa PD without working there? I get to talk to interesting professionals about their work and their lives. Who else gets to do that?

I've hung out in city council chambers and offices, photographed Lex Luthor, hunted ghosts and I'm still just a student. That's a pretty cool start.

Maybe this job isn't so bad after all.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fifteen days later...

(Algonquin Times editorial. Published, October 25.)

The 2007 provincial election came and went and students couldn't care less.

It's business as usual and nobody batted an eye because few students identify with the politicians seeking their vote. It seems this is how people felt on Oct. 10.

It sounds preposterous but the apathetic mass broke a record this month, a record set 84 years ago in 1923. That's the previous date of Ontario's lowest-ever voter turnout which has now dropped by almost another two per cent to 52.8 per cent.

Generally, students stay away from voting booths. It's understood what elections mean: getting overlooked or used as bargaining chips. Students end up with higher tuition rates and more debt either way, so why bother?

Even if half of Algonquin's population voted, that leaves 7,000 other students who didn't bother to vote and it didn't change a thing. Dalton McGuinty is still in office and so is Jim Watson.

Does either one really represent the best interest of students?

But keep in mind that representing Algonquin and representing its students aren't always the same thing.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, of which Algonquin's full-time teachers are members, strongly endorsed a Liberal vote instead of the traditional vote for the NDP this election. OPSEU only changed its endorsement because school funding was the biggest ticket on the agenda this year.

Jim Watson boasted that the Liberals' 10 per cent tuition increase was much lower than the NDP's 50 per cent or the Conservatives 60 per cent tuition hikes in previous years. This means the Liberals robbed students of the least amount of money.

Algonquin will never get genuine political representation if teachers get more government money while students pay more.

From a riding perspective, being part of Ottawa West-Nepean also means sharing a representative with Centrepointe's seniors. It's impossible to get one person to represent the largest population of senior citizens and the largest college in Eastern Ontario simultaneously.

Add together teachers, seniors and workers, and students get lost in the mix.

Students have made the only reasonable choice available to them: nobody. Along with the four million other Ontarians who didn't vote, "Nobody" beat out the Liberal majority government by over 200 per cent.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Walk like a man...

Raise the flags and sound the trumpets!

The Dalai Lama is coming to Ottawa to become an honourary Canadian citizen. (Not a real one, though.) Because, let's not forget, the Dalai Lama already has a home. A home he hasn't been to for almost 50 years, which is why he's got so many air miles.

It must be hard being the Dalai Lama. Everyone likes him. Well... almost everyone.

And what's not to like? He's the kindest, cheeriest and quite possibly the most adorable old man alive. Think of J.P. II but without Catholicism. But it's really got to piss a guy off to deal with world leaders and not be taken seriously. Do you really expect me to believe the Dalai Lama gives a single sweet shit about honourary citizenships?

Sure, it's nice to have a couch to surf while you're exiled, but that's just the point.

He already has a home.

A home he's been trying to liberate from the Chinese for decades.

It must be hard to smile and wave to a world that loves you while the people who need you most are being oppressed.

...Back HOME.

If there's one thing the Dalai Lama is known for, its patience. But every man (including Mr. Tenzin Gyatso) has his limits. Inside that cheery old man is a tiger crouching in the grass. Somewhere.

And every time he gives a speech to rich, white politicians who don't really care about Tibet...

Every time he gets an award for peace from a world constantly at war...

Every time he's in a country that's worried about China's threats to stop trade because he's visiting, while his own people get arrested for celebrating his accomplishments... back HOME...

I suspect that tiger creeps another inch from the treeline.

When the Dalai Lama has finally taken enough bullshit from the world and decides to pounce; I'll be the first to cheer him on.

Tenzin Gyatso. Warrior Monk.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Every day is hallowe'en...

Unlike most fun-loving 26-year-olds, I chose to spend my Saturday night running around a haunted jail.

A friend and I decided to go ghost hunting at a jail-turned-hostel downtown for a Hallowe'en story.

My job was to be the skeptic of the story. I was the Scully to my friend's Mulder, but that's not really the case.

I believe in ghosts though I'm not sure if I've ever seen one. The closest I think I came to seeing ghosts was in a park back home near my house one night. I've never been able to explain it, but that's not really the point.

The point is what I believed I saw.

Think of ghosts like a rorchach test, it's all about perception. If you believe you see shadows and light, then that's what it is, and your brain doesn't take it any farther than that. My brain decided to see two figures in the park that disappeared the closer I got to them.

I find I'm only scared when my imagination gets going. Probably a by-product from all those horror movies as a kid. I still love horror movies but even now if I'm in a theatre watching scary movies I revert back to a kid, crouching low in my seat, plugging my ears and diverting my eyes just enough to remind myself it's a movie screen.

I don't find many of my real-life ghost encounters terribly frightening. I wasn't scared of the two ghosts I saw in the park back then, and I wasn't afraid of ghosts when I was sneaking around the gallows and a near-pitch cell block at 3am.

The 8th floor was open to anyone with enough motivation to wander around at night. Even though death row was locked up, I spent some time outside the barred gates staring through, looking to the 4 cells at the end of the hallway where prisoners would be psychologically (and most likely physically) tortured before they were eventually killed.

I expected something to happen.

The only time I got to walk through death row was during a tour I joined up with.

The guide kept talking about the events of cell 1, the cell closest to the gallows. More important was cell 4, stuck in the middle of the cell block but kept completely segregated from everyone with two steel doors that have since been removed. It would be the last cell a prisoner sentenced to death would ever see.

Of course the tourists loved walking through cell 4 and so did I.

But I wonder if anyone was watching cell 2 like I was...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Johnny got his gun...

One minute you're on top of the world with a Pepsi in one hand and a bible in the other...

The next you're jobless, confused and crying. Trading in that Pepsi for something with a little more kick, explaining to your bosses you're not completely worthless and reading the book of Job for some insight.

Don't get offended, John. It's just business. Big business to be exact. Your potential employers figured that Kathleen Wynne would be the better employee. But I guess it was bad luck that you were up against an education minister, considering... well... you know.

But I wouldn't start worrying about Don Valley West if I were you. I'd be worried what your other employers are thinking right now.

No, not the private schools...

That's right. THOSE employers.

It doesn't look good, Johnny-Boy, I'm not going to lie to you. But don't worry. I'm sure there's a spot for you out there somewhere.

HEY! Have you ever thought of running for Mayor somewhere? Oh... nevermind.


Go out today and VOTE.

I don't care if you vote Tory or Grit or Green or NDP or Independent.

I don't care if you vote YES or NO on the referendum.

I don't care if you scratch out every other name on the ballot and put your own.

I don't care if you vote for Daffy Duck.

If you're against voting, ANNOUNCE it today.

If your friends haven't voted, tell them to get out there.

Make sure YOU get out there!