PeaceOwl and more

September 9, 2010

Holy molars. I can’t believe I haven’t updated since May. Wow. That’s quite impressive. I didn’t do a huge amount of writing over the summer because I was busy working full-time and hanging out with friends, but I have a few articles and a project that I can show off here today. 🙂

The main project I finished this summer was the peace-lovin’ 1960s history-learnin’ blog, PeaceOwl. It was debuted on August 15th, the 41st anniversary of Woodstock. Includes book and movie reviews, photos from now and the past, green news, interviews (coming soon!) and more. You can get updates about PeaceOwl by following @_PeaceOwl_ on Twitter. If you’re interested in helping out with the blog, email me at peaceowl@live.ca with your name and blog post idea.

I also have another article published at TalentEgg: LAUNCH: A Student Survival Guide to Summer Concerts and Festivals.

I also reunited with the myUsearch blog (my old stomping ground) to do a two-part series on packing for college:

And yesterday, I started the Interactive Multimedia program at Holland College in Charlottetown, the same school I graduated from in May. I look forward to developing my craft and combining it with my writing skills and seeing where it takes me.

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An update!

May 2, 2010

Well, I’m officially finished Journalism at Holland College. Two internships completed successfully. Graduation is slated for May 21st.

I made an update to my résumé on this blog, as I’m now working for Apple as a technical support advisor. I’m in training for three weeks before I get to don the headset.

A bunch more of my articles and reviews have been published at TalentEgg‘s LAUNCH. Choose from any of the links below to check them out.

Two more at TalentEgg!

March 1, 2010

This new gig at TalentEgg’s LAUNCH seems to be going quite well. I recently had two new articles published.

I’m especially proud of the second article, as some of my best photos act as visual stimulation for the reader.

I’m currently working on a redesign of J-H.com. I think I’ve come up with a better, more efficient way of showcasing all my different blogs and websites on one screen without the visitor having to search through a bunch of links.

Plus, I’ve been tooling around with a new image editing program, so that’s always fun.

Until next time- tally ho!

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]

East Coast Overture

July 1, 2009

After months of research, work and preparation, my East Coast music website is finally finished. I’m so relieved to finally have it up and done. But I hope to add new reviews, articles, interviews and links at least once a week from now on.

If you or someone you know would be interested in helping out with the project, please leave a comment with your contact info.

You can check out the site at the address below. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, feel free to email me.

HTTP://EASTCOAST-OVERTURE.COM

The renaming of a king

March 5, 2009

Not that many college-age kids give a flying cod piece but this year marks the 500th anniversary of the coronation of English king Henry VIII.

I know. Exciting stuff. You can barely withstand your exhilaration, I can tell.

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Illustration by Natasha Kudashkina

I happen to be a long-time fan of Henry Tudor and his various achievements. He’s best-known for being a turkey leg-eating, wife-beheading womanizer who was a strict Catholic one minute and an anti-papal bad boy the next.

But despite his bad reputation, some historians want King Harry to be bestowed with the title of “Henry The Great” (and not just because of his size). And what better time to give Henry the title than this?

But what’s so “great” about this guy anyway? He’s been dead for, like, a million years. Why is his story still relevant?

(Actually, he’s only been dead for about 460 years, but I digress.)

Henry had his faults, especially when he was older. But compared to his royal contemporaries, he was a chivalrous romantic, inspired by whimsical tales of King Arthur and his court.

He divorced his first wife, a Spanish princess, to marry someone he was in love with, something that no other English king had ever done. His second wife, Anne Boleyn, was executed on charges of adultery that were almost certainly false.

His third wife died in childbirth and his fourth wife, a German princess, agreed to a divorce and lived wealthy for the rest of her life. Henry’s fifth wife, a 16-year-old, was executed for adultery (but at least this time, the charges weren’t so fake).

His son, Edward VI, died of tuberculosis when he was a teenager. His daughter Mary burnt hundreds of Protestants and earned the title ” Bloody Mary”. However, his daughter by Boleyn, Elizabeth I, is known as one of the greatest monarchs in history.

One of Elizabeth’s greatest victories was the defeat of the Spanish Armada. It was her father who poured so much money into the impressive English navy.

Henry VIII was able to divorce his wives because he (and his councillors, many of whom helped Henry along his path to greatness) simply changed the law.

He was born a Catholic but rejected the Pope’s wishes, named himself Head of the Church of England, divorced Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn.

I don’t know about you, but risking purgatory so you can marry the woman you love is a bit romantic, isn’t it?

Henry continued searching for the perfect queen until a few years before his death, a wife who would deliver him a healthy son who would carry on the Tudor family tree. His final wife, Katherine Parr, acted as nurse and companion when Henry was bed-ridden and far too ill to conceive.

Henry VIII died in 1547. During his life, he was a patron of the arts and the first English monarch to authorize an English-language Bible. By separating England from the power of Rome, Henry instilled a sense of identity and pride in his people.

He may not have been the perfect ruler, it’s true. But any fan of English history can tell you there’s no such thing and no such person.

If Henry was anything, he was one of the more human of all the English monarchs. And definitely one of the most interesting.

And for that reason, he deserves to be called “Henry The Great.”

(Published in the March 5 2009 edition of The Surveyor. Also featured as a guest post on historical blog Tudor Stuff.)

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Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst star in How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, released on DVD on Feb. 17. Photo courtesy of MGM.

Based on Toby Young’s 2001 memoir of the same title, How To Lose Friends and Alienate People is a cliché from start to finish and a knock-off of five other movies, all of which are better than this one.

As an avid fan of romantic comedies and English actor Simon Pegg, I had high hopes for this film. I really did. It looked clever and cute. And who doesn’t love peering into the glamorous lives of A-list celebrities like a voyeur?

Pegg’s character, Sydney Young, is a struggling journalist in London who gets the opportunity to work for a prestigious celebrity magazine in New York. He tries to be different and write what he wants but ends up selling his soul and bowing to the powers of those who can help his career progress.

Pegg’s characters are always lovable. They’re always a bit clumsy and awkwardly charming. And good for him for breaking into American film, even if it wasn’t a great one. But he brings that weird, nerdy, English charm to all his projects, making him a pleasure to watch on-screen, even in this piece of cinematic garbage.

There was nothing fresh or new about this film. The characters are generic beyond compare and the story has been done a thousand times. An underdog gets the chance to see how the celebrities live, only to find that it’s not as fabulous as they always thought. (How original!)

This film is generally a lesser version of The Devil Wears Prada (2006) but with a male lead. Fashion models are replaced by movie stars and Meryl Streep is replaced by Jeff Bridges as the scary, intimidating editor.

Kudos, though, to Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) for her performance of high profile publicist Eleanor Johnson. She was fabulous and scary. Megan Fox (Transformers, Hope & Faith) plays the young, pouted-lipped celebrity Sophie Maes and the object of Young’s lust. 

Kirsten Dunst portrays Young’s love interest and fellow journalist, Alison Olsen. She’s a serious writer who is trapped writing the fluff stories she always despised. She hates her life and, at one point, is seen drowning her sorrows away by drinking wine right from the bottle. (My kinda girl.) 

At one point, a scene is directly copied from There’s Something About Mary (1998). Young tries to befriend the dog of a love interest. Instead of seriously wounding the dog (like Ben Stiller’s character did), Young accidentally kills the dog. (Call me old-fashioned but a dead dog doesn’t make for good comedy.)

The film doesn’t paint journalists in a positive light. But it’s honest in its portrayal of competition in an office environment (except for a particularly awkward scene involving an office prank and a stripper). It also explores the friendships and rivalries that develop between coworkers.

I chuckled seven times during this movie, which runs almost two hours long. (Yes, I counted.) And I don’t mean to demean myself or my sense of humour, but generally, I’m easily amused. So, that says something.

Despite this waste of money and time, the film has a wonderful soundtrack, featuring Joey Ramone, The Kinks, Scissor Sisters and The Killers. Instead of renting this movie, just go buy the soundtrack. And then go rent The Devil Wears Prada and pretend Anne Hathaway is a dude.

(Published in the March 5 2009 edition of The Surveyor.)

A column I wrote for this week’s issue of The Surveyor (due out this Thursday!) was also featured as a guest post at Tudor Stuff, a lovely Tudor history blog. Click here to read King Henry… The Great?.

I recently said I had too much on my plate and shouldn’t accept any more offers to write for any more sites, especially ones that didn’t pay. But here I am again. I’ve agreed to contribute to a Halifax arts website (currently under construction- I’ll add the link later), music articles mostly, I guess. Which is good, because that’s what I want to write.

Also, I’ve been contacted by a new college site called Dorms 101 about writing pop culture articles. I’m pretty excited about this because they said they like my witty style of writing- it happens to be my favorite style to write in. So, that’s always good. With the school year coming to an end, I’ll have more time to write for these various publications now.

I think I’ll also start working on my big music website project this summer too. Maybe put the site together, get some interviews done, articles written, albums reviewed, links posted, etc. I’m a little a-feared of the idea of re-learning some HTML stuff but I’ll likely end up redesigning the site again after I’ve taken Interactive Multimedia, here at Holland College (after Journalism, that is). But I still want it to look nice before then. I’m just really excited about it!

Oh. Almost forgot. My clip-folio is on it’s way to being put together. Good for me!

Co-ed’s business plan may have emotional consequences

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A 22-year-old California university student who is selling her virginity to the highest bidder in an online auction to pay for her tuition may have relationship problems in the future, says a UPEI professor.

The young woman, who goes by the pseudonym “Natalie Dylan”, recently graduated from Sacramento State University with a degree in Women’s Studies. She wants to continue her education and earn a master’s in Psychology.

But instead of getting a summer job and a student loan like the average college student, Dylan is accepting bids for her virginity.

Dylan agreed to spend a night with the highest bidder at the Moonlite BunnyRanch in Nevada, a licensed brothel.

So far, Dylan said she’s received over 10,000 bids with a current highest bid of $3.7 million. Half of the profits of the winning bid will go to BunnyRanch owner Dennis Hof.

Peter Koritansky, a Religious Studies professor at UPEI, said what Dylan is doing doesn’t come from a failure to see the value of virginity but from a failure to see the value of sexuality.

“There was a time when sex was understood to be something sacred, not necessarily in the religious sense. That is, something belonging to the very core of who we are as human beings and therefore not something to be taken lightly or treated as merely recreational.”

The fact that Dylan has made her sexuality into a commodity is disturbing, Koritansky said.

I believe she will find out, it has the effect of an extreme self-degradation.”

Koritansky said Dylan’s actions may cause problems in any intimate sexual relationship, including marriage, she has in the future.

“She will come face to face with the fact that she’s severely damaged her ability to use sex as a means of expressing love.”

More people are reporting that engaging in meaningless, recreational sex early in life seriously hinders one’s ability to have a meaningful sexual relationship in the future, said Koritansky.

That she’s become a prostitute only makes matters worse.”

Rose Michels, the financial secretary of the Women of Steel chapter at IMP Aerospace Components in Amherst, N.S, said Dylan was wrong to offer her virginity to the highest bidder.

But we don’t know about her situation. I know that is no way to show respect for your body or anyone else,” she said.

First year Holland College Culinary Arts student Caitlin Hueser said she understands the need for money but found Dylan’s story very disappointing.

“Selling your body, I don’t know. It’s… ew.”

Something as important as your body shouldn’t be sold, Hueser.

“That’s something that’s priceless.”

(Published in the February 26 2009 edition of The Surveyor.)