Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Say hello to my little friend

The other day I came home from school, turned on the light and screamed. There was a mouse on my counter. It ran under the dish drainer.

I felt silly for having such a stereotypical response to seeing a mouse. It really wasn't anything to scream about. It was cute and little.

The person subletting my apartment during the summer told me she had a mouse problem, but I hadn't seen any evidence since I moved back in. I'm not sure why he decided to come back. I guess it's getting cold outside.

I have decided to name him Rex Mousey.

I keep meaning to set the no-kill trap my dad gave me, but I haven't been bothered. As roommates go, Rex isn't so bad. He doesn't seem to be eating my food or building nests out of my toilet paper, just hanging out and staying warm.

He poops on my counter and doesn't pay rent, but hey, nobody's perfect.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carleton's Master of Journalism program: Education you can't get anywhere else.

Things I learned last Monday:

1) If someone from a Parliamentary committee says you can film their hearing, you still need a press pass.

2) If you don't get a press pass, you're going to have an interesting time getting your camera equipment through security.

3) That person who said sure, you can film the hearing, I'm sure it won't be a problem, ACTUALLY means she will ask the committee at the last minute and there's a good chance someone will, in fact, have a problem with it.

4) You can't film in the hallway of Parliament without permission from the Sergeant At Arms.

5) If you try to explain to the Sergeant At Arms' assistant why you need to film in the hallway of Parliament without a press pass, they will basically tell you you're an idiot and call the head of the Press Gallery.

6) The head of the press gallery will actually tell you you're an idiot, but if you pull a sad puppy dog face and emphasize you're just a lowly student and have now learned your lesson, he might let you film in the hallway anyway.

7) Every security guard who walks by will ask you what the hell you're doing and who said you could do that.

8) When you finally leave and need to shoot some B-roll of the Parliament buildings, there will probably be some guys filming an amateur hip hop video and you'll have the lyrics "I cheated on my girlfriiiiieeeeennnd..." in the background of your shots.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside

Some day, I'm going to make a photo essay of Ottawa's hidden ugly side. Homeless people smoking crack in front of Parliament. The canal in that muddy, smelly stage between drying up and freezing over. People lining up at the Salvation Army across from tourist trap restaurants in the market.

A lot of it would be done in a three block radius from my apartment. Hell, a lot of the pictures would be OF my apartment. The abandoned convenience store next door looks like the Blair Witch house, and of course, my front porch still has those delicious grill marks from last year's fire.

All cities try to hide their urban decay behind a picturesque and tourist-friendly front. But Ottawa does it so well it actually fools people. You have to actually live here to see beyond Parliament, beaver tails and well maintained waterfront bike paths.

My bike has been in the shop for the past week, so I've been walking to school. The stretch of Bronson from my apartment to Carleton has some of Centretown's worst urban decay. When I'm biking, I take a less depressing side street. Walking by these houses and the people who live in them twice a day is a whole different experience.

These houses are huge and bordering on historic. They're in a prime downtown location. And most of them are vacant or inhabited by a mix of students and drug addicts and crumbling to rot. It's fascinating.

And that's just the part that looks ugly on the outside. There's a whole world of office buildings and restaurants that look world class on the outside with who knows what kinds of backroom political and business deals going down on the inside.

Some day I'll make this photo essay. Right now, let's stick with breaking blogger's block. Sorry about the three week hiatus, everyone.