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The definitive host: March 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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Particus animalis

As most of my faithful readers know, it was not a great week in the life of David.

So, when a few people mentioned they were going to Hull, Quebec on Friday ... I decided I needed a little bit of a break. So, I decided to go with them!

The first step was meeting at someone's house, where we would feat on poutine. So, like everywhere I go, I took the bus. And I had to walk in this very sketchy area of Ottawa.

I was walking by the Men's Mission, and there were all sort of 'interesting' characters there. There was a man with garbage bags attached to his pants filled with cans, a man with an eye patch, a man with only one eye (no eye patch) and coolest of all, a man walking in circles talking about how dryer sheets are the gateway to Armageddon.

He had some good ideas, and I don't totally disagree with his theory that the bear from the Snuggle dryer commercials, called Snuggle, is actually the anti-Christ.

Then, as I continued to walk down, I was approached by a woman who asked, "Wanna buy some pot?"

SO, I just ignored her.

"DUDE! Wanna buy some drugs? Or, got any to sell?"

I kept walking.

"Ok, man. So, no drugs. Well, how about sex?"

Naturally, I stopped (as most guys do when they hear the word sex. Seriously, try it!) So, I looked at her, and said, "Normally I would, but I'm on my way to a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, and I gotta finish it this time ... for the kids."

She gave me the oddest look, so I smirked and walked away :)

Then, when I finally arrived and more people came, we ate one large family pack of poutine, while the other one went in the oven.

When #1 was finished, we wanted to start #2, only to realize that the styrofoam container had melted in the oven! Luckily, no poutine was lost.

Then, we went to a club in Hull, which was fun. It was me, one other guy, and five girls. How could it be bad? lol

When we finally called it a night, we called a cab to take us back to the house. The cab driver was fine, until we arrived at our destination.

He got very irritated when we were counting money and change to pay him with. VERY irritated. When we finally paid him, he insisted on giving us change and no tip!

And when we exited the car, he shouted, "Well, next time, you can stay in HULL!" Followed by a bunch of expletives.

All in all, a VERY interesting night, one which I really needed. Just to step back and get away from J-school for just a little bit.

And now, sadly, back to the grind.

Only a WEEK left though!!!!!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life Update

Well, life may not be all that bad.

I may have a new idea for my MRP, and I got an encouraging email from an internship position that I did not get.

While it may seem counter intuitive, despite the rejection in the email, they said that my CV was impressive and that my references were excellent. And that they would be "more than happy" to offer me a position later.

I'm excited about this new idea for my MRP, and I may get something later on from a prestigious organization.

A light was just turned on at the end of the tunnel :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

If F.D.R Was In J-School

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," said F.D.R in 1931.

I propose an addendum, which F.D.R probably would have agreed with if he were in my boots.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Well, that and total failure of all your life-goals."

School is draining the life and exuberance out of me, like some sort of misinformed vampire.

Ever since reading week ended, I am always tired at the end of every day. Not just normal tired, but exhausted tired. But can I go to bed? No!
I have too much work to do to keep my life from crumbling all around me.

Doing TV is killing me, it's an exhausting experience made harder by all the lugging around of very heavy equipment. And the constant time stress of, "gotta do it FASTER, on time, impress the teacher and showcase all our new skils!"

If that was the only thing wrong here, I'd be ok. I mean, I survived Biology undergrad stress!

No, every day I get new rejections for UNPAID INTERNSHIPS! Seriously, most people in my program have something or other planned. I, I have nothing. To quote The Peach, "Life FAIL!"

And yet, the humiliation and terribleness does not end there my friends, no, it continues.

The subject that I dare not broach, is that of my Master's Research Project (or MRP). It is basically a large contribution to journalism in one of the three medium (print, radio or TV).

My original idea:
Go behind the scenes of zoos with a TV camera to show people all the good research and stuff that happens in zoos.
- EVERY zoo I contacted said no, because of either privacy, security or trade secrets.

Idea #2:
Look into the TB epidemic, and how it could be even worse becasue of the drug resistant strains.
- I was told I lacked a narrative arc.

Idea #3:
Follow a doctor going to a foreign country with an infectious disease epidemic for a week or two, and examine how modern doctor's treat patients in such situations.
- The organization (to remain nameless) said that in order to be considered, I repeat, CONSIDERED, I would have to get network backing. As in funding and a guarantee that it would air.
What apparently they did;t understand, is that I am a student and a network would have to be run by lobotomized monkeys with schizophrenia to promise a student airtime on TV.

Well, THAT was cathartic :)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Loving Embrace of Rejection

Dear David,

Thank you for your interest in
any scientific journal/magazine/radio show/TV show.

I'm sorry to let you know we can't offer you an internship this summer.

Best of luck in your future endeavors,

Some Editor

That is an almost verbatim cut-and-paste from some emails I have received recently.

I am averaging at one rejection a day, which just does wonders for the ol' ego.

I have an intriguing interview on Thursday, and a few possibilities that are percolating on the back burner.

We shall see ... But damn, I hope I get something soon.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

That Which Lacks A Point

It has been a long, long, long week.

I've been really busy with school and school related activities.

I've been staying up late doing school work, and as a consequence, I am falling asleep on my couch at night while taking a break and watching some TV.

My main problem is this one course I have on Mondays, which is pointless. It has no real-life purpose. The course is moot.

We shall call the course, "That Which Lacks a Point"

It is taught by two professors, who tag-team teach. It's a little odd. One teaches while the other one stands to the side and just sorta watches ... with a weird smile on their face. One of them, every time he contradicts himself, I want to take a fire poker to the back of his head. And with my science and extensive CSI background I COULD make it look like an accident ... lol.

Just kidding! Or not ;) Hahaha.

For our latest assignment, one of them told the entire class to write a story about numbers. And not just any numbers, people's salaries.

Shockingly, people don't want to talk about their salaries. Nor do other people want to comment on them, regardless how insane they are.

And what he keeps harping on and on about, is to "find a story, make it personal, make it about people."


Ahhh, the life of a student journalist.

I wonder, will things be the same when I'm a professional? Or will I get a bit more street cred when I actually work for a real-life publication?

Here's to the future!

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Times, They Are A Changin'


I just saw the movie "The Watchmen." I've been looking forward to that movie for a while, and I will tell you why.

The comics, later combined into a graphic novel, were written in the late 1980's by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins. It was published by DC comics.

It is set in a world where superheroes exist, where the US won the Vietnam war, and because of that, Nixon remained president for more than two terms.

The graphic novel was voted by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 novels from 1923 to the present, and Entertainment Weekly placed it at number 13 on its list of the best 50 novels printed in the last 25 years.

This is not your average comic book, as the characters are set in a more modern and realistic world than any other. And how would they fit in to such a scenario?

The characters are many, but the main ones are:
Silk Spectre - Second generation superhero, and the only female in the core Watchmen group, forced to retire
Doctor Manhattan - The only 'actual' Superhero, accidentally created by being exposed to a special kind of radiation
Ozymandias - The 'smartest man in the world'
Nite Owl - The average Joe superhero, almost like Batman, forced to retire
The Comedian - Sanctioned US superhero, his murder puts the plot into motion
Rorschach - In my opinion, the best character of the bunch. His mask constantly shifts to different Rorschach ink-blot patterns based on his mood, he investigates the Comedian's murder and is therefore the catalyst for all the events that occur

The movie was very good, but not as good as the book. You can only appreciate the movie if you've read the graphic novel. So, go ahead, read/buy/download it ... whatever, just read it and see the movie. You'll thank me for it!

Here are the opening credits for the movie, best viewed in FULL-SCREEN, posted by the company that created them. Notice any symbolism at the retirement party? Or how about the Kennedy shot?


Or, of you'd prefer, here is the link:
Watchmen Opening Credits

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Three commercials.

Three commercials that are famous.

Three commercials that I STILL like every time I see them.

And yes, I figured that I must include one final bonus video ... as it was a truly Canadian phenomenon.

Gotta LOVE 'em :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Me, but Not Me

So, in a vein attempt to not do work, I thought I would Google myself (it's a verb now, get use to it!)

Apparently, there are different versions of me all over the place.

Here are some of what these me-but-not me's have accomplished:
- Marketing Manager in London
- A Psychiatrist in North Carolina
- A VP of Marketing in Boston
- A Physician in North Carolina
- A track star in New York
- A road racer in the UK
- A Miner in Saskatchewan

And coolest of all, there is a company named after me in Ireland. Honestly!

Apparently, they are "recision engineers," and specialize in, of course, "precision engineering."

When I go there, I GOTTA visit it and get a picture taken with my company...hehe.

And then there is me ... a trained Biologist/Zoologist going into journalism.

Hopefully, one day, I'll make my many namesakes proud :)