I have a new post at the Maclean’s OnCampus blog. I discuss the unfortunate events of 2009- and the very few good things that happened — 2009: A Year Dans Review.

On Monday, January 4th, 2010, I start a 4-week internship at the Sackville Tribune in Sackville, New Brunswick. I look forward to working in a new environment, meeting some new people and writing some new stories.

Happy New Year everyone!

[edit] The weather is just too horrible at the moment to attempt the trip from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick. So, I hope to start my internship on Tuesday or Wednesday. [/edit]

Photo courtesy of Nick Murray, Sport PEI

“The water was dirty and it was cold,” said Barbara McNeill of Summerside, of the water of the English Channel. “But after you’re in it for a few hours, your body adjusts to the temperature.”

It was McNeill’s third attempt at swimming from Dover, England to Cap Griz Nez, France, a 34-km distance. A storm greeted McNeill before France’s coast was within sight.

“The thing about the Channel is you never know what’s ahead of you. That’s why it’s such a challenge,” McNeill said. “A lot of it is mental determination.”

(You can read the rest of this article in the third issue of Island sports and entertainment magazine, The Updater. This story was a challenge for me because I know little about sports but I learned a lot in the process. Interviews include swimmer Barbara McNeill, Nick Murray of Sport P.E.I., boxing expert Wilf McCluskey and the museum’s portrait artist, Wayne Wright.)

I interviewed Christmas Rocks! actress Catherine O’Brien as a part of my internship at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown. The interview was featured in the December 2009 issue of The Buzz:

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Christmas Rocks!: Catherine O’Brien becomes Mrs. Claus

Charlottetown actress Catherine O’Brien will be playing Mrs. Claus and several other characters in the Confederation Centre’s new production, Christmas Rocks!

O’Brien has appeared in many Charlottetown Festival shows such as Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™, The British Invasion, Canada Rocks! and Disco Cirque.

All cast members will be playing several characters during the course of the show, O’Brien said, adding that she loves writer/director Wade Lynch’s style and is looking forward to working with him again. “He loves to play and explore. He’s very easygoing, but he knows what he wants and goes after it.”

O’Brien has worked with several members of the cast before, including Joey Kitson, Shawna van Omme, Andrew McAllister and Stephanie Cadman, and is excited to work with those she hasn’t, like Frank MacKay and Lisa Lennox. “I’ve heard Frank, and he’s got a gorgeous voice.”

Audience members can expect classic Christmas songs like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and the 1958 rockabilly tune “Run, Run Rudolph.” “All the girls are singing Make It Christmas Day by Jann Arden,” O’Brien said. “I like hearing new artists do different versions of some of the older songs. I do like this Jann Arden tune. It’s her song and it’s quite beautiful.”

O’Brien expects the show to be nothing less than stellar. Many of the songs included in the production are group pieces, she said. “They’re really utilizing the voices. There are a lot of really strong singers in this show. They’re putting a lot of good music in.”

“Knowing the people that are involved, it’s going to be great. It’s going to be great fun for us to do and I think it’s going to be great fun for the audience,” she said. “We throw in some rock music, there’s some great dancing, there’s some comedy. It’s all very uplifting and fun. There’s some beautiful music. There’s something for everyone.”