January 26, 2010

Dragon clouds

Can't remember what I'm thinking of

January 17, 2010


Plastic bags of beer cans clunk between our identical black down parkas as we trudge through packed snow along the side of the road, gasping out cloudy breaths of air so cold it stings the teeth.

"I feel like a teenager, walking down the road with my booze to sneak into some party," you snicker into your fur-trimmed hood.

"I know what you mean," I laugh but it comes out too loud and abrupt in our silent surroundings. "But if we were teenagers we'd be carrying Bacardi coolers and Smirnoff Ice."

"That's true. I remember when I found out about Mike's Hard Lemonade. It was like, awww yeah! I was so happy. Every time I was gonna get drunk I'd buy a five-cent bag of candy, wash it down with a swig of hard lemonade. It was the best."

You're walking at least six paces ahead of me and I'm stepping on your shadow. But I don’t blame you. Your legs are longer, for one thing. And it's too cold to slow down. You're talking out into the wind and I'm zipped up to the bridge of my nose. We can barely hear each other and we don't even really know what we're saying but we still talk. Otherwise it would be too quiet.

"How long do you think it would take to die out here? I'd say not long."

"Would you rather die of cold exposure or heat exposure?"

We agree in a calm, casual, sick, twisted way that freezing to death would likely be faster, and therefore preferable, over slowly dehydrating, writhing listlessly in a pool of your own sweat until the end.

"But," I think aloud, "Freezing is probably more painful. At least until you go numb. Right now I feel like someone dumped a bucket of hot coals on my legs."

"A bucket of what on what?!"

Later I'd discover an ugly, red and white patch of frostbite on my left knee just under where the parka hem hits. Punishment for not tending to my leggings-dominated laundry pile in a timely fashion.

But it doesn't matter, at least not until after we're inside, warm, laughing naturally, and then, not much does. We're here now.

January 11, 2010

Another reason not to smoke

This is what -48 C with windchill and fog looks like.

And I was able to enjoy this scenic view whilst walking back to the office from tonight's town council meeting.

Yes, I said walking...

That's why. Well, also because town hall is about a two-minute jaunt from my office and I'm young and healthy and I can take the cold. Right. Just to be clear: I returned to the office afterward not because I had to file, but because I had to get warm before journeying on.

My goal for this winter is to keep all my fingers and toes.

January 03, 2010

The glory days

As I prepare to head back to work tomorrow after a very short break with a renewed energy aimed at producing quality journalism, I can't help but think back on a time when my passion for the craft blossomed and thrived. A time when my colleagues and I inspired each other every day. A time when we could spend hours debating every facet of the paper we produced, from the front page headline to the puzzling horoscopes on the back page. That is, we could have debated those things for hours, if we took the time, but as it was we were always rushed. Regardless, my three years working for our weekly university student newspaper seems, in hindsight, a time when anything was possible.

OK, maybe not anything. We might not have won any awards during my years there, but The Gazette crew I remember did work hard for little thanks. And we did manage to have some good times. Some moments, of course, were better than others. The great divide between the news section and the arts section, the epic power struggles between some of the editors and the general insomnia (or was that just me?) probably did more harm than good. Some of us threatened to quit every week, while some of us actually did throw in the towel (strikingly similar to my current work life, actually.) But (to wax poetic) I found a sense of camaraderie (however naive) in our little third floor newspaper office that can only exist among people who know what it's like to put out a paper every week, starting from nothing every time.

And it so happens that I came across video evidence of our commendable togetherness and impeccable communication skills while sorting through files on my laptop recently.

I demonstrated my pro-quality super awesome videography skills by filming this video during one of the final Gazette staff meetings (a.k.a. Greco's carnage ritual) of the school year on April 1, 2008, while I was news editor. We sparred for the better part of an hour in what seemed, on the surface, to be a silly argument about streeters and hot/nots. But underneath all that superficial stuff, we were really concerned with the deeper ethics guiding the entire newspaper industry. Unrecognized geniouses are we. A pretty typical meeting, I would say. I like to call it The Great Printable Humour Debate of '08.

If any of my former colleagues object to (read: have lost all sense of humour about) this brilliance being broadcast on the interwebs, let me know and I promise to duly consider your desperate pleas to remove it. As with all good journalistic endeavours, this piece has not been censored.

To my fellow journos: if this doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will. For the rest of you, there's not really much sense in watching.