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The definitive host: January 2009

The definitive host

de·fin·i·tive host (duh-fin'eh-tiv) n. 1) An organism where a parasite undergoes the adult and sexual stages of its reproductive cycle 2) Someone you go to for interesting stories and/or facts, and puts on one hell of a dinner party 3) This blog, devoted to science and other geeky subjects

Monday, January 26, 2009

Two girls, a guy and a shot in the arm

Now, I know I blogged yesterday, but today was so odd that I felt I must.

Last night, I could not sleep. All I could think about was how much work is looming over me this entire week. I have SIX, that's right SIX, assignments to do before the end of the week. I need to accomplish at LEAST 1.2 assignments per day!!!

I got two hours of sleep, so, suffice it to say, I was not in the best shape to come to class this morning.

What you must know, is our Monday class is tag-teamed by two guys who would cause anyone's Gay-Dar to short out. One has a ring, the other does not, but there are suspicions abound.
Case in point, there are two pieces of evidence that points only in one direction:
- A LOT of mention of "low hanging fruit"
- "People don’t care how the sausage is made. They only care how it tastes"

Honestly people, what would YOU THINK??

At the mention of the sausage comment, many of our class laughed, including me. And then, I made the mistake of making contact with one of the girls who was on the verge of loosing it. We both, as if by some telepathic bond, knew what each other was thinking and laughed hysterically for the next few minutes.

I have great misgivings about this class.

So, THEN, I was told to 'act' out a fake interview scene about a man being bitten by a giraffe. Yes. I know. Honestly?

Anyway, after that absurdly long class which moves slower than a turtle up a hill, I proceeded to do a massive amount of work.

Was I productive? Somewhat
Did I get some things done? Kinda

Then, I went to a free MUMPS booster shot clinic and had a very interesting time there.

I met a public health nurse, who was very, very pretty. And, the end of the conversation went like this.
*I asked her for her phone number to interview her later in the week*
Nurse - "OK, here it ... wait, you;re not going to use this to call me up and ask me out are you?"
Me - "I wasn't planning on it"
Nurse - *Smirks* "Well, that's a shame"
Me - "Well, maybe I will ..."
Nurse - "And maybe I'll say yes ;)"

As if that wasn't cool enough!

I sat down for the mandated 15 minutes of observation period, and got talking with yet another attractive girl. Instead of talking for 15 minutes and parting ways, we ended up talking for OVER AN HOUR. Yah.

Sadly, before I could ask her about her dinner plans, a friend of hers spontaneously appeared and lured her away. But, let's just say, it won't be the last time we see each other ;)

So, all in all, it was a craptacular day that turned out to be pretty good.

Until I came home and saw my 'To Do List,' and how little I have gotten done today and how much shit I have to do this week.

If I survive this week, I will probably be so deprived of sleep and so temporarily insane that I will probably gorge myself to death on a mixture of cheese and orange juice .... mmmmmmmm.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

If I had the power to smite ...

Well, the talks to end the bus strike have broken down yet again. It appears that for the foreseeable future, the citizens of Ottawa will have to do without public transit.

If I had the power to smite ... I'd be having such a blast right about now ;)

Other than that, my life is still pretty much the same.
School. Work. TV. Sleep.
Rinse, lather and repeat.

One other thing is interesting in J-school, is that in order to get our journalism degree, the Masters students need to come up with an idea for an large news piece, either in TV, radio, print or multi-media.

I have a few ideas that I'm going to submit in a proposal this week, but here are two ideas that did NOT make the cut into the final three.

1) As anyone who knows me, you all know that I have a bizarre fascination with sharks. Therefore, I thought that this would be a perfect opportunity for me to learn more about them. Almost like my own personal "Sharkwater" documentary!

However, upon further reflection, there were 2 things wrong with this scenario.
A) Money to get to where the sharks are can be a problem
B) I have an allergy to fish!

So, that one was immediately taken off the table.

2) I thought that exploring the Great Barrier Reef's declining biomass and biodiversity is a story that is worth being told. However, like the sharks, the monetary issues were far too large to ignore. Even with what little funding I could receive, it would be far too costly. And, also, the allergy.

Stupid fish allergy.

The three ideas that I'm going to submit for the professor's consideration all fall under the general umbrella of biodiversity and conservation.
Who ever would have thought I'd choose topics like those, right?

Ohh, by the way, I am also applying for internships over the summer months (May to August 2009) at various scientific publications. If anyone has any ideas/hints/tricks/connections, I would be most appreciative.

And now it is time for my daily Journalistic routine of pondering about my life, feeling an increasing sense of dread and crawling up into a ball and moaning like a harp seal until it passes.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A VERY Unusual Day

Ahhh, the life of an MJ student. We are tasked to find stories, but not just any stories ... GOOD ones! They have to be "newsy" enough to placate our professors.

Being as we are all in Radio Bootcamp right now, it is not suffice to call people and write down a few quotes and bang off a story ... NO, it's not like print at all ... you have to GO there and scoop the story yourself.

I could not think of an idea. Not at all. I had a few stupid ones, but with the bus strike in Ottawa, it is very difficult to go anywhere.

After a discussion with an MJ friend, I decided to go with my very first thought ... a very unusual trade-show being held in Ottawa.

It was called ... Sexapalooza.

Keep in mind, the following has been rated AA by the Canadian Blog Review Board ;)

I got there around 1 p.m., and stood in line to pay tickets with some very normal looking people. Once the ticket was handed in and I went though the door, the first thing I saw was something called the "Lane of Fantasy," which possessed over-sized novelty reproductive organs for you to take pictures of! What JOY!

As I walked around the show, some very interesting sights were presented to me. Here are a few things I saw/witnessed/overheard:
- A "Dungeon" where photography was not allowed ... enough said
- Sexy Batgirl
- Sexy Queen of the Spartans
- Sexy Spartan Queen and Batgirl showing their ... affection for each other by the bathrooms
- A vibrator called the "Eager Beaver"
- A man examining a vibrator with so much attention, that you may have thought he was a NASA employee examining the space shuttle
- Women walking around in lingerie
- A woman leading a man by a dog chain
- "Krystal, how can I put my legs behind my back like you can?"
- A woman bartering over the price of a "Rabbit"
- "Grab the pole, put your arm up, wrap your right leg around and fall while bringing your left leg up"
- On the package of a vibrator: "From ages 9 to 90"
- The new "We-Vibe," a rechargeable vibrator
- The fake orgasm competition

It was an interesting experience to say the least.

Where else can you be interview pole dancers, while a belly dancer is dancing on the stage behind you beside a shop that sells floggers?

After I got my interviews done, I left to go back to the school's editing suites.

Once there, I spent HOURS editing my clips ... seriously, it takes a LONG TIME.

After I was done, I grabbed a computer to check my email.

"Excuse me, can you help me?" said a voice behind me.

I turned around, and a breathtakingly gorgeous girl was staring back at me. She was having some trouble editing some audio.

So, being the nice guy I am, I offered my assistance.

Once I fixed her problem, we sat and talked for a good 45 minutes or so. Just talking about our respective programs, the stress of school, our likes/dislikes, etc...

Sadly, she had to run because she had dinner plans with some friends.

However, as she was leaving, she thanked me again for my help and said:
"I cannot thank you enough David, you saved my life. You ARE my hero. I hope to see you soon." Then she smiled, and walked away.

After recovering from that comment and her beautiful smile, I packed up and walked back home.

You would think that that would be the end of my story ... but NO.

On my walk home, I took a shortcut and passed through a clearing by some trees. It was dark and I heard some crows. Giving them no mind, I continued to walk, until a sound made me stop in my tracks.


I look up, and HUNDREDS of crows flew from the tree I just walked by to the trees in front of me.

Shocked at the sight in front of me, I took out my camera and took some pictures.

You know that scene in Hitchcock's "The Birds," with all the crows on the playground equipment? It was like that! SERIOUSLY!!!

After gazing at them in pure wonder, I packed up and continued my walk in the freezing cold.

As I got nearer to my house, I passed under some trees when I heard again,

And then, hundreds MORE crows erupted from the tree I was still under and flew around me and the tree, before taking off into the night sky.

Bewildered and bedazzled, I walked the rest of the way home.

Now, a day that possessed moments ranging from the weird at the sex trade-show, to the wonderful with that girl, to the awe-inspiring with the crows, can only be described in one word:


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Goodbye Gil

Many years ago, when I was in high school, I became sick with the flu during the summer. There was nothing much to do whilst sick, other than lie down and watch TV or movies.

One day, I was flipping channels, and rested upon a channel to see what was on. When the show began, I had no idea what it was, but it seemed interesting. There was some dark humour (my favourite), murder and some pithy dialogue.

That show quickly rocketed to the top of my favourite MUST see TV list. I watched old re-runs on every network that was airing them, I taped them, I rented DVDs and was ALL caught up on all the seasons so far by the time the new season started.

That show had everything that I like: Murder, mystery, scientific language and tools, great characters, compelling storylines and a lead actor who was amazing. He was in control, a certified genius, quirky, odd and a perfect example of a modern day Sherlock Holmes. I am, of course, talking about the show CSI: Crime Scene Investigations and its star, Gil Grissom (played by William Peterson).

There was, and still is, a reason why it is TV's #1 rated show.

Every character has had moments in the sun: Catherine, Gil, Nick, Warrick, Sara, Greg, Doc Robbins, David, DNA lady, Archie, Hodges and even the fingerprint girl.

And now, sadly, my favourite character on TV has departed. Gil Grissom has left CSI as a regular cast member, and may return next year for a few episodes, but consider him gone.

He was the reason why I continued to watch the show, he was the 'hook' that kept me watching all those years. But, I like the characters and the show is still entertaining after all these years, so I will give it a chance. I shall continue watching the show and see how new cast member Laurence Fishburn does.

Here are some of my favourite episodes of CSI that you should watch:
Grave Danger
For Gedda/For Warrick
Who Shot Sherlock?
Invisible Evidence
Any of the Lady Heather Episodes
Any of the Paul Milander Episodes
You Kill Me
And many, many others

Even as I watch all the new episodes, I will miss William Peterson's character. I am sure I am not the only one who will be watching the new episodes with trepidation.

Goodbye Gil, you will be missed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Future of Journalism and David's Mental Health

Two things to share before I pass out on my couch from exhaustion.

Firstly, I went to a party on Friday with a bunch of my journalism friends. Good times were had by all ... some more than others.

A few of the highlights:
- Group plays 'Kings' and makes girl drink pot of margarita mix and copious amounts of gin
- Girl vomits on good friend on the couch
- Girl leaves quickly and quietly
- Birthday cake is consumed ... delicious
- One girl decided to inhabit ALL the crawlspaces in the place of residence ... crawls into pantry head first and displays ass for all to see
- Popped balloons
- I got punched in the stomach AND got slapped on the arse by the same girl within 10 seconds
- Someone vomits in sink

We ARE the future journalists of this country ... FEAR US.

Lastly, transit strikes suck.

The people in my journalism program come from all walks of life and live scattered around Ottawa. Seriously, if you were to take a map of Ottawa and toss 21 pins, you would get the general location of where we all live.

Sure, some of us live closer together than others, and some live far away (*cough* ME *cough*), but we all get to school on time.

HOWEVER, with the recent OC Transpo strike (the Ottawa equivalent of the TTC), this is getting more and more difficult as winter marches ever forward.

It used to take me between 15 - 18 minutes to get to school everyday.

Now, oh man, now ... it takes me 50 or so minutes. If I'm tired and walk slowly, or if snow impedes my progress, it easily becomes over an hour ... EACH WAY!!!!!! It's a huge waste of time and eats a lot of time from my day.

These walks are sucking the marrow out of my bones, leeching the blood out of me one step at a time, and basically turning me into some sort of perpetually tired rat in a maze who does not know what is going on.

I have yet to miss a class, or even doze during one, but that time is quickly approaching with each day the strike continues.

Please OC Transpo, stop striking, so that I might return to my normal self.

If not for me, do it for the children.

I don't have kids, but I am a guy close to mental fatigue who is a crack shot with a rifle ... yes, that is surprisingly true!

Negotiations are like a chess game where you evaluate your opponent's moves and consider your own options. What are your options OC Transpo? The public does not support you any more and are increasingly angry with you for prolonging this strike.

Your move.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Same Shit, Different Day

J-School has returned. The beast that kept all 21 of us MJ students awake with fear, shaking with anxiety and saturated in fatty comfort foods is back. And, it has grown HUNGRY in our absence.

Here are three things that have happened to me that show how the tendrils of J-School reaches far beyond the school limits.

1) All that shatters is broken

The return of J-School was less than 8 hours away, and I was plugging along on my laptop to make sure I knew how I was going to get to school because of the transit strike and where all my classes were located.

Suddenly, I heard a HUGE crash from upstairs. Now, no one else was there. So, like all characters in horror movies about to be disemboweled, I went to examine the strange noise.

Apparently, the bottom half of the light fixture in the kitchen decided that it had enough of it's elevated position and decided it wanted to examine life from the floor. Alas, since it was an inanimate object, the teachings of Sir Issac Newton were unknown to it.

Ahh Gravity, thou art a cruel mistress.

I then swept and cleaned it up, while sustaining many superfluous cuts to my hands and feet.

2) Bed rebellion

After the first day of J-School, I went to go to bed. I was exhausted from the LONG walks to and from school ... seriously 50 minutes walk each way in snow is very tiring!

After reading a few chapter of my book, I get out of bed to put it on my shelf. As I sit down on my bed, there was a large CRACK and a deep hollow THUD.

"Shit," I thought. "What could possibly have happened now?"

Well, it appeared that my bed frame is composed of wooden slats that slip and slide, as they are approx. 1/2 an inch too short.

I was so tired that I slept on the bed anyway, which upon further inspection the next morning was slightly off-kilter.

But, that's why man invented three of the most useful tools ever for someone with a budget: DUCT TAPE, HAMMER and NAILS.

The underside of my bed now resembles a failed high school Draft Mechanics project, but it functions and can probably now support 10x the weight it could before.

3) Irony is a bitch

First, a bit of history. I was WARNED about Ottawa winters. Therefore, I got some serious boots. They looks like an army boot and a ski boot got drunk and had a bizarre love child. They are huge, warm and sturdy!

J-School day two came and went, and as a bunch of us were walking outside, an interesting scenario occurred.

Peach - Ohh, this is going to be bad.
*She is walking slowly on some ice slanted slightly downhill*
Peach - Ohh man, ohh man
My Mind - Hahahaha, show that girl how it is done! Tell her to stop being such a wuss!!!!
*I took one step onto the ice and look at Peach*
Me - HA! Stop being such a ... WAHHHH!!

I fell down onto my arse ... HARD ... and slid down the whole way.

Another J-School student ran up to see if Peach fell, who is now laughing at my poor situation. And, upon seeing me getting up and my ass covered in snow, slush and ice, laughs hysterically for a good few minutes.

Sometimes I guess irony decides to give you a push, in order to teach you a lesson.

Here's an update: Both my back and ass STILL hurt from that fall.

Those are my first few days back in Ottawa. Guess the entire semester should be fun, right? Or, at least give me plenty of blog fodder.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Are we Go/No-Go for launch?

Happy 2009 everyone! It's going to be an interesting year, I can tell you that already.

This coming semester is going to probably stress me out even more, with radio and broadcasting bootcamps, which I have NEVER done before. It'll be very interesting to see what happens, but, I'll leave this stress to a later blog post.

I was watching a movie the other day and remembered something which I had long since forgotten.

The movie was Apollo 13, with Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise, which is a FANTASTIC movie.

And I remembered when I was a kid, that I went to Space Camp ... yes, SPACE CAMP.

Go ahead, everyone get your giggles and laughs out.

It was a one week camp, and from what I remember, it was a lot of fun. I also went to a nature camp, which was great.

In this space camp, we spent days learning about space shuttle launches, all the NASA missions that had been done, and everything else you could ever possibly want to know about the CSA, NASA and space in general.

The culmination of the week was a trip to the Science Centre, to a special area which is off-limits to the general public. It was an exact full-scale replica of NASA mission control. And we got to FAKE a space launch.

Each student was given a position, either in NASA mission control or on the respective "space shuttle pod." I was assigned to Enviro, which was responsible for the environmental conditions that could prevent the space shuttle from launching, such as inclement weather.

My brother was relegated to the "pod" where he did some sort of experiment with plants and a fumehood. It was behind closed doors and no one talked about what happened in there ... to this day, he still refuses to talk about it.

I had a lot of stuff to enter into a computer based on different coloured cards. Green was safe, blue was caution and red was an emergency. If I got a red card, I had the authority to scrub the mission!

And I did, ending the scenario when the instructor, acting as the head of mission control, asked if we were "Go/No-Go for launch."

In response to him asking, "*Your control station name here*: Go/No-Go for launch?"
You replied, either: "Go Flight" or "No-Go Flight."

"Enviro: Go/No-Go for Launch?"


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