Monthly Archives: April 2012

It’s a trap!

HEY NERDS. Today’s post will be an audio one, and it’ll be about Star Wars.

Yes, maybe this would be a more appropriate post on Friday but that joke’s pretty old by now, me thinks.

Before you get all excited, a few things to tend to, I have. (HA)

First off,  a huge congratulations to my news brother Matt for becoming engaged to the lovely Michelle. She’s definitely a lucky lady—best wishes to you guys!

Second, a series of accolades for my news sister Rebecca—she’s heading off to Shaniaville, aka Timmins Ontario to start her career in the radio business. It won’t be hard to heat up the airwaves up there Becca– good luck staying warm, sheesh. She’s also started a blog that will depict her adventure– check it out here.

Moving right along now: here’s a song that’s been stuck in my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8zslGAqy5k

And finally, guess what? I get to go to the dentist today. I feel like maybe that can be a post in itself… but in the event I have no cavities, drinks to celebrate? Woo! Also if I do have cavities, some pity drinks are probably in order. Woo!

ALRIGHT without much further ado, here’s some Star Wars chatter. Inspired somewhat by Moira’s movie post, here’s my attempt:

Star Wars Talk

I know people will have issue with this (Brent). So BRING IT.

The promised twitter: @CamMParkes

Cheers,

CP

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Epic Newscast

You may recall from my first post that I mentioned a super-epic newscast that was one of the highlights of my year. The cast has been trimmed to the relevant EMD part. I’ve got it now, and you can listen to it below:

Epic Newscast

Thanks to XFM Reporters Victoria Mattan, Shauna McConnell, Jacquelyn LeBel, Lynzee Barnett, and Melanie Anderson for getting all the material within a few hours of the news breaking.

And of course a special thanks to the other half of my dynamic duo, my co-host Eryl McCaffrey.

If that cast doesn’t give you shivers… you’re obviously not in journalism. And heartless. And unattractive probably.

CP

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Master debater

Alright! Today’s post is going to focus on some stuff I’ve seen in the news lately (it’s hard to stop being a news sponge after so long!). I’ll put some TL;DRs at the bottom of the post if you’re in a rush. If not, enjoy! ALSO since it’s Friday I’ll do a little “follow Friday” thing. Follow these blogs!

Ryan Hurlbut’s Duck Duck Noose

Moira Byrne’s Moiraclb

Cheryl Madliger’s Happy is the New Healthy

You’ll be happy you did, trust me!

OK.

Lots has been going on but I’m going to focus on two debates that have come (back) into the public eye.

DISCLAIMER: These are just my opinions. You can hate them all you want, as long as you don’t mind being wrong.

The first one is to do with tanning salons. The debate raging right now is whether or not they should be restricted to people who are 18 or older. As you may have guessed, the Canadian Cancer Society is saying yes and the tanning companies are saying no. Obviously these opinions have to be taken with a grain of salt, as both parties are extremely biased. So let’s check out some facts:

  • According to research done by the CCS, indoor tanning equipment increases the chances of people under 35 getting melanoma (a serious type of skin cancer) by 75%.
  • According to a recent CCS survey, 21% of grade 12 and 11% of grade 11 students in Ontario use tanning beds
  • According to CCS, malignant melanoma is the second most common skin cancer in people aged 19-25, and tanning beds, along with having no benefits, is known to cause it

These are just a few facts. The tanning companies respond by saying that the CCS jumps on this issue every year to try and get donations, and that they’re attacking a legitimate and safe practice.

So where do I stand on this?

I think an age restriction should be put into effect. Definitely. Young people are being influenced to go to these things for special occasions, like their prom or March break. It is known that these tanning beds cause cancer. Sure, you may not get it, but there’s a possibility you might. It’s the same logic that’s behind the age restriction on cigarettes, in my opinion. It’s common knowledge that cigarettes cause cancer. Obviously not everyone who smokes gets cancer, but there’s still that age restriction because they can. Why should it be different for tanning beds? If there’s an activity that is potentially harmful to the body (especially when younger people are more susceptible to it) and they don’t know any better, then why give them the choice? Seriously.

I don’t even understand why people want to look tanned in the middle of winter, to be honest. I’ve known many girls who went tanning—some looked good, some maybe not so much, but there was never a situation where I was like “oh man she was so ugly before but now that she’s tanned she’s so hot”. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. Also, I don’t believe I know any guys who have gone, but I’m sure the ratio is about the same. Maybe it’s just a matter of taste, but I feel as though if you don’t look good pale, tanning won’t make you suddenly attractive. Just my opinion.

I just don’t get why people want to do these things when there’s no real benefit but great risks. I understand with cigarettes there’s an addictive quality to it, but is that the case with tanning beds? I honestly don’t know, and I don’t care enough to look into it. If people want to put their own bodies at risk that’s their decision, but if we’re going to put age restrictions on certain things, we should put them on this as well.

Alright on to the next one. Arguably the best debate of all time. THE ABORTION DEBATE!

*Cheers*

A Kitchener, ON. MP is trying to get talks started up again as to what the definition should be when it comes to “when life begins”.  Apparently this MP is taking issue with Section 223 of Canada’s Criminal Code, which states that human life begins when a child emerges from its mother’s body.

Okay, on that account I’d agree. I checked out a few abortion pages and generally the range in which abortions are performed appears to be 4-20 weeks of gestation.

After a quick trip to Google, I can confirm this means 4-20 weeks of PREGNANCY. So the latest they’ll perform an abortion is when the fetus is about 5 months old.

While this MPs proposal is to have a respectful dialogue about the definition of a human being, worries are that it’ll escalate into a debate over abortions. Thomas Mulcair and his NDPs are opposed to it. Liberal Bob Rae says he personally opposes it.

Me? I don’t agree with the idea that someone should be declared a human being at the moment of conception, but I also don’t think it should wait until they’re emerging from their mother. I’d say probably around the time where they resemble a human, perhaps have a heart-beat. That’d be when they should be declared a human, in my opinion. However, up until that point, I’m strongly pro-choice. I’ll never have to go through the decision as to whether or not I should have an abortion, but I think since it’s the woman’s body, she should have the decision—up to a certain point. Obviously I wouldn’t support a lady going into labour then being all like “wait, I changed my mind”—that’s silly. But up to the 20 weeks or whatever the doctor deems doable, I say it’s up to the woman. They have to live with the knowledge, and the consequences. Of course, I’d say they should take the man’s opinion into consideration if it’s applicable, but even then, it comes down to what they want to do because it’s their body. This is of course just another humble opinion of mine.

THE PROMISED TL;DRs:

  • Debate one—should tanning beds have an age restriction? I think that, yes, they should.
  • Debate two—what’s the legal definition of a human being—conception or when it emerges? I say somewhere in the middle, when there’s a heart-beat and other signs of life.
  • Debate two b)—should abortion be legal? I am pro-choice, up to a certain point in time.

Alright, thanks for reading that and whatnot. If you have opinions and stuff I encourage you to comment, tweet at me, or do nothing.

Cheers,

CP

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A day of note

Today is a special day. Why? Well, many reasons.

First of all, today is my first audio post. Check it out:

Blog post: A day of note

Cheers,

CP

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A new me

I have been reborn.

Don’t worry, not in one of those religious ways or whatever. What I mean to say is that I feel like a new person. Changing it up, hopefully for the better.

I solved my dizziness problem—or more accurately, a nurse at the clinic did. With the help of a syringe filled with hot water. Turns out that a bunch of ear wax had solidified into what she referred to as “nuggets”, which were pressing up against my ear drums. She flushed them out, and I saw them—and they were enormous. She said it was no wonder I was feeling loopy. Mostly better now though!

On that note however, my dearest mother booked me for an eye test thinking perhaps the dizziness stemmed from a need for glasses. She booked it for nine o’clock this morning for some reason. It was a pretty weird procedure—I’ve never had an eye examination or anything before. I won’t keep you in breathless anticipation—I do not need glasses.

Sighs of relief are heard.

Yeah, that would have been weird.

I’ve also changed a bunch of things up. I shaved my head (well, a barber did)—don’t worry, just a number two buzz. It looks alright, but it’s strange. I haven’t had my hair this short since grade 4. After some thought, I also changed the text message tone on my cell phone—hearing it every time I got a text brought me back to some times I’d rather not relive at the moment. It’s a quirky little jingle now. Still looking for a new ring tune—if anyone has suggestions that aren’t stupid, I’ll impatiently listen to them if I have time.

I’ve also decided to maybe eat a little bit healthier. By this I mean I ate an apple yesterday and have drastically cut my pop intake. Whatever, it’s a step, right? I don’t even care.

I’m moving along with the transition from student to working man. Just a quick reference back to the eye exam this morning—I had to fill out a form, and one of the questions was occupation. For the first time ever I didn’t know what to write—obviously not “student”, but what? I put Newspaper Editor. Good enough. I’ve also already started work for that, mostly housekeeping details and meetings—well, one meeting so far. One tomorrow to sign the contracts, then it’s official! I’m anxious for that to start in a couple of weeks, as a life of freedom grows boring already.

What else? Well I reached Commander Grade 1 in Halo Reach so I guess that’s cool. It took me less than two hours to reactivate Xbox Live when I got home. Keeps me sane. Good way to take out some raw emotion, that’s for sure.

Let’s see. Mrs. Parkes’ birthday is tomorrow. Got her a good present, but unfortunately for you I shall not post on here what it is. I’ve learned too much about social media to think that’s a good idea. Somehow she’ll find out.

Okay it’s a book.

It would appear this post is about a bunch of things. I guess I didn’t really outline the purpose of this blog in the last post, so I’ll try to do so now. I haven’t really come up with a niche that this blog will explore—right now it seems it’s just a life blog, featuring me. Maybe once I get into the routine of posting and kind of settle into this new life I can add more content. I’ll see if I can get some of my comics up, maybe some jokes or whatever.

I’d also like to take a leaf out of my friend and colleague Moira Byrne’s (check out her blog here) book, and start posting audio to the blog. I want to keep my broadcast voice well oiled, and not lose the three years of training I underwent to get it just so. We’ll see.

Oh, another thing to mention. I’ve decided to become a bachelor for life. I figure I’ll save tons of money and be able to do what I want, so no downside, right? What, loneliness? Uh, that’s what pets are for. Anyways, in light of that, I have some things I need to accomplish—goals, if you will.

  1. Learn to cook/bake. On a scale of 1 to 10 right now I’m a zero. If I’m going to be a self-sustaining bachelor I’m going to need to be able to prepare more than a can of beans or one of those hearty men meals. Although those are pretty awesome. This one is again inspired by Ms. Byrne, who apparently is a good cook according to her.
  2. Re-learn Spanish/travel more. These kind of go hand-in-hand. I backpacked through Europe last summer and fell in love with it. With the time I’ll have off this summer I really hope to go somewhere again, even if just for a few weeks. Spain is a place I wish I’d got to see more of, but I only had three days there. That being said, I used to be pretty fluent in Spanish (I took it in university) and I want to not only get that back, but become even better at it.
  3. Play more music. I debated learning another instrument, but the only one I would really want to try is the violin. Those things are pretty expensive, and I feel like it’d be much harder to teach myself than guitar. So in light of that, I want to play more, sing more, learn some new material, maybe write my own. Coffeehouses perhaps? It’s open to debate but I don’t feel much better than when I’m strumming away belting out some tune by the Goo Goo Dolls.
  4. Bring a podcast to my life. I say to my life because, as I mentioned, I want to bring the audio aspect to this blogging part of my life, but I also want to bring it to my work life. It’s something I proposed when I ran for my position at the Gazette and I really hope to start it up. More details on that as they arise.

And finally, what I think to be the most important goal:

5. Stop writing blog posts while on the toilet.

Cheers,

CP

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The dawning of a new era

Whereas this blog started out as an obligatory thing for class I had, seeing as I have graduated it is no longer so. I have decided, however, to keep it going as a personal blog because, hey, everyone’s doing it now, right?

As the title of this post indicates, it is now a new era. After 17 straight years of school (the last eight of which were offset by a full-time summer job) I have graduated from my respective program, earning a degree and diploma. I am now a broadcast journalist.

So far, my freedom has been pretty damn boring.

On Sunday (the 15th), as I submitted my very last assignment of my post-secondary career, a wave of dizziness hit me. This could have been a result of years of exhaustion, not eating properly, working my ass off and staring at a computer screen for 12 hours a day all coming crashing down on me, I don’t know. All I know is I puked for the first time in four years (damn) and was stuck in my bed until Wednesday afternoon. Not a great start to my post-grad life.

When I finally managed to get home to good old Burlington, I realized that I have no idea what to do with spare time. While many people are sending out resumes and searching for jobs, I was fortunate enough to be able to get a position with the Western Gazette for next year. That doesn’t start up officially until May 8th though, so I’m left with about three weeks of free time—the last time I had this much free time with nothing to do was the summer between grades 8 and 9.

You know what though? Even if I have no idea what the hell to do, I feel as if maybe, just maybe, I deserved this little break. Perhaps I can learn to relax again a bit. It’s been a long-ass haul these past four years—and this final year was probably harder (workload-wise) than the other three combined. I mean, anyone can do readings and write responses about them, or study for six days and write an exam. I know, I’ve done it. It takes special people to come into school every day with only a vague idea of what you want to pursue, then doing it. This isn’t a “look up some facts then cite them” kind of thing, this is a “call people until someone agrees to talk, bust your ass over there and get a good clip” sort of deal. Oh, and if you’re prone to get sick? Good luck, still have to get your stuff in. You have to love this sort of thing to get through it, I think. And I do. I’m excited to bring the skills I learned here to the Gazette this upcoming year.

Yeah it was tough, but what a final year. We had quite a big news year in London, with occupiers, EMD workers getting the boot, riots, stabbings, shootings, train derailments, murder trials—you name it, we probably covered it.  And we capped it all off with a great celebration Saturday—our annual awards night was a huge success (congrats again to all the winners—you all deserved it!) followed by renting out our own club and going strong until we got booted because the DJ wanted to go home.  What an end to the year. Of course, I was back in the newsroom the next day, as well as a bunch of my colleagues. Hard to leave that place! If I can cheesy for a moment now: I can honestly say these last eight months have been some of the best of my life. I met a lot of new people, some who will be friends for life. There were times of sadness, sorrow and heartbreak, but they were balanced by times of happiness, excitement and triumph. One moment that particularly sticks out to me is when we got a call in from the scene of some breaking story (the exact details escape me at the moment). It was a rare instance of us putting the reporter live on air, and as it was relatively early on in the year we hadn’t had that much practice. The call came in at about two minutes till the cast, and we were scrambling. The phone wouldn’t seem to transfer to the booth—and we needed this story; we needed it as our top story. The newscasters were in the booth, and I am honoured to say I was the one who was finally able to get the transfer to work. I had no time to rush over and see if they had got the call—the news was starting. About a dozen of us gathered in our newsroom around the radio, listening to our cast go live.

“And we now have [reporter’s name] live on the phone with us from the scene of [whatever was happening]—[so and so], what’s happening?”

A moment of silence. You could hear a pin drop. Then:

“Yeah I’m down here…”

The entire newsroom let out a roar of triumph, there was clapping and hugging and high-fiving. We had managed to get a story that had occurred moments before into our cast, before anyone else in the city. I’m tearing up just remembering.

And probably one of our crowning achievements of the year—our newscast after discovering that the Electro-motive plant was being shut down, leaving hundreds of workers suddenly jobless. It was our noon cast, which was the major one of the morning. This is what we had—and keep in mind, this was all gathered within a few hours of the announcement. Forgive me, avid readers, as I don’t recall exactly who did what, but I’ll try to remember all the angles.

We had reaction from: the picket lines themselves, the councillor whose ward this was, our local MPP, the Mayor, personal angles… it was magical. I had the honour of casting during this huge moment, with my colleague Eryl McCaffrey. Our cast went out all over London and had the most information of any station. Great success.

All in all, great times, great people, great memories. Seriously, you don’t realize how fast things move. You make mistakes, sure. You do things you wish you hadn’t, miss out on things you wish you hadn’t, regret decisions you made, wish things could be different—but in the end you learn a lot. About journalism, about yourself, etc. etc. etc. I tell you, eight months ago I would never have expected to be where I am. Sitting at home, blogging because I’m bored. Set to take over management of a newspaper in three weeks. This past year I drew cartoons for them (I’ll post some on here… maybe) and now I get to lead them. I’m honoured as well as excited. Of course, I hope to keep on with broadcasting too. I’ve applied for internships and stuff like that, but that seems like it could be content for another blog post, so I’ll save it.

I don’t think I have much else to say at this point. Best of luck to my colleagues who I’ve shared the past year, two years, three years or even four years with. I know I’ll see some of you quite often, others not at all, and a few not as often as I would have liked. We’re all going to make our mark in some way and I’m excited to see where we are in a few years’ time.

I’ll see many of you in the coming months, at convocations, coffee shops or movie theatres, I don’t know. But until then, enjoy the freedom, as weird as it may seem. A new chapter has begun, and we get to write it.

Cam

PS. Oh and if you’re still writing exams, good luck with those. HA.

C

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Run, escape!

For this week’s assignment I decided to try out the game Runescape. It caught my attention when I googled it because it appeared to involve fighting, which is pretty cool.

I signed up, and one of the first things I noticed was that, unlike many games, Runescape seems to take special care to create an environment that will appeal to new players. Lots of games make it hard for new players to do much without the risk of more experienced players killing them, or without getting killed by enemies. Runescape is different though.

Right off the bat, you’re entered into a training world. You can’t die, and you learn the basic skills needed to survive in the world. You’re also provided with items to help get you started.

Once you complete the training you start off in a town called Lumbridge, where you can talk with non-computer-players to learn about the world you’re now in. You can also interact with other players, of which there are many.

Once you start there are many routes to take. You can train skills like Attack and Defense, you can do quests, or you can fight other people. I wouldn’t recommend this when you’re still new.

In the week or so I played I got up to a respectable level 10 and managed to complete a few quests. I also died many times. Most of the time, I just walked around chatting with people, asking them for money.

Apparently people get just as annoyed in Runescape as real life when you constantly ask them for some spare gold pieces.

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Mobile Web Podcast

A little talk about mobile web. Click on the link to hear it:

http://soundcloud.com/cparkes/camblog

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