Saturday, October 25, 2008

Journalism Student Literally Dies of Embarrassment.

A 23-year-old journalism student died of embarrassment last night outside a sketchy rave at Preston and Somerset.

Friends say Claire Brownell brought them there hoping for a repeat of last month's funk night thrown by DJ Timekode at the same venue. "She kept telling us how packed and awesome it was with tons of people dancing and great music," said classmate Natalie Spechyson. I mean, Stechyson.

Instead, the group of 11 was greeted by pounding techno that sounded like it would be more at home in neo-Nazi Germany than Ottawa's Chinatown. "The beats were neither funky nor fresh," Brownell's friend Ben Nicholson-Smith said. "Claire and I used to go to a bar in London that had a weekly funk night, and she promised me it would be like that. She lied to me. Why would she lie to me?"

Nicki Thomas, another classmate, said her first clue was the strange manner of dress of many of the people in the line. "I know Halloween is coming up, but these people looked like fairy wings, vampire capes and rainbow hot pants were just a part of their everyday wardrobe," she said.

After paying $7 only to find the bar empty of all but an enthusiastic, wide-pupilled few, an already intoxicated Brownell proceeded to down several more shots, witnesses reported.

She then text messaged "Help" to her other group of friends, who were on their way to join her at the bar. "I knew something was wrong when I got that text," said Michelle Smoliniec, who goes by the alias Megababe. "Unfortunately I was too drunk to do much but send her a seven minute long voicemail about the time I worked as a lifeguard at a summer camp even though I didn't have any qualifications, skills or experience."

"I don't know what she was so embarrassed for," said classmate Sonya Bell. "I think rainbow hot pants are totally sexy. I almost wore the same thing."

Brownell was pronounced dead at 12:47 a.m. Sunday morning. Witnesses say she fell to the ground twitching and cursing the owner of the cafe who had told her on the phone that the same event she had attended a month ago was being held that night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WHY did I rent this apartment?

Today I called my landlord because the heat still hadn't been turned on in my building. He showed me where the dial was on the one notch above wood burning stove old school fire hazard floor radiators, promised me for the billionth time that he was seriously for real going to get me a stove that was manufactured after 1920 any day now, and then dropped this bomb while he was leaving:

"Oh, by the way, I'm trying to sell the building, so I'm going to be showing potential investors the apartment every Tuesday from 11-2. Hope that's cool."


That is not cool, dingus, for several reasons:

1) I have class every Tuesday from 9-5. Sort of like the hours that normal people work. So strangers will be poking around my stuff every WEEK without my being there.

2) There is a 0% chance that I will be able to keep my apartment reasonably clean for these Tuesday visits. I told my landlord this, and he said, in typical dingus fashion, "Oh, that's cool." I am going to make my apartment as messy as possible every Tuesday morning before leaving for class on purpose. Not that it matters, because...

3) Dear genius landlord: Have you SEEN my apartment? The floor is so slanty my desk is propped up by two hockey pucks on each front leg. The baseboards form close to a 45 degree angle. The door between my kitchen and bedroom is a sea foam green bedsheet spray painted with "You don't wanna door" and thumb tacked to the frame. In fact, when I have time, I'm going to make a photo essay and send it to FailBlog. Instead of SHOWING potential buyers this disaster, you should keep them as far away from it as possible.

4) What will my wife do? Lisa, the shifty couch surfer who lives on my floor, will be forced to vacate the premises every Tuesday for 3 hours, or risk getting kicked out when my landlord realizes she's my roommate and not my girlfriend, which is why he thinks she's around all the time now.

5) What if I had a giant stash of porn on my coffee table, or was airing a sex toy collection out to dry, or liked to keep a bong on my counter... not that any of these are the case (as far as I'm disclosing on the internet, anyway), but the point is, my apartment is MY space. I do not want strangers looking at it every week for three hours from now into eternity and worry about them judging me, because that is how long it's going to take my landlord to sell this building.

I called the Landlord-Tenant Board of Ontario and they told me I'm SOL. Him telling me today counts as 24 hours notice, which is all you need. Which seems ridiculous to me. There has to be some sort of limitation on how often your landlord can come in to your apartment. What if he had told me, "By the way, I'm going to be in your apartment every day from 9-7 starting the day after tomorrow. I noticed you have an interesting book collection, and I've decided to sit on your futon and catch up on French political philosophy." It would be 24 hours notice, technically.

At least I have heat now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

C'est Sa Fete!

"C'est ma fete!"
"C'est ma FETE!"
"I thought you were bilingual."
"Oh... you're speaking... yeah, I did too."

Dominating dance parties, drinking gin with friends who've soldiered through flat tires and traffic jams to get there, and beating up DJs from Montreal... yup, sounds like Michelle's birthday.

Michelle was so enthusiastic that she's been put in charge of promotions for next month's event (i.e., handing out fliers on the street). Doing my part to help the cause: everyone should go to the Elgin St. Freehouse on the third Saturday of every month for dubstep night. What's dubstep? You'll find out when you get there. It sounds something like this: wob wob wobblewobblewobble wobwobwob.

Happy birthday, megababe. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Partying with the Green Party

Last night was my first foray into the wonderful world of slave *cough* erm, “paid in tax-free experience” labour for a professional media organization, which is apparently going to be a regular feature in my life for quite a while. I was covering the Ottawa Centre Green Party on election night, calling in 50 word descriptions of the scene as new developments happened and eventually filing 150 words for the print edition.

I definitely got the sweetest assignment. It was (a) at a bar, which was (b) a 15 minute walk from my apartment, and involved (c) hanging out with Jen Hunter (the Green candidate), her campaign workers, and some random BJ students who were doing a class assignment. I tried really hard not to rub it in the faces of my friends who had to drive an hour and a half to Brockville.

I love the Green Party. Only they would decorate their election night headquarters with disco lights and schoolchildren’s construction paper cut-outs. I was greeted by Jen with a “Welcome! Have a seat! Um, who are you?” The answer that I was covering the event for the Citizen, and my subsequent refusal of a free drink ticket, led to me being treated politely but reservedly (well, reserved for the Green party) for the rest of the night. Jen has some issues with the way she’s been covered by the Citizen in the past, apparently. As for turning down the free drink, yes, I felt like a total loser, but I mean, isn’t that pretty much a textbook example of what not to do for journalists? Anyway, I kind of felt like a narc all night. Or someone’s mom. The fact I was dressed as “reporter Barbie” (Michelle’s description) probably didn’t help. The BJ students partook enthusiastically in the free beer.

Even if they thought I was a dork, infiltrating scenes I’m not a part of is my new favourite thing about journalism. And the Green Party is just adorable. Everyone cheered every Green result, no matter how dismal, including the news that Elizabeth May and Jen Hunter lost. 

One paragraph of one article published under someone else’s name is all that actually got into the Citizen. But something I wrote still got into a real newspaper. Right?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Carleton's Master of Journalism Program: Kind of Like a Grade Eight Birthday Party

I have all my classes with the same 21 people, I have weekly homework assignments, and I'm about to start watching Buffy again...

Wow, that's exactly a 10-year cycle back to grade eight. Very impressive, universe. You've done it again.

We may have way too much to do, our self confidence may be destroyed twice a week when our reporting assignments get displayed on a screen and picked apart in front of the entire class, and we may schedule our nervous breakdowns into our day planners, but I predict two things will glue our fragile psyches together:

1) We will start drinking at 4 p.m. every Friday and continue until last call, and:
2) We will blog, and it will be good.

It begins!