Insert Clever Blog Title Here


This past Friday I got a chance to check out the new documentary series “Metal Evolution,” which is done by Sam Dunn and Banger Films who have done some of my favourite documentaries. Needless to say I was a fan.

Sam Dunn is a metal fan turned anthropologist who made a documentary back in 2005 called “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.” Much like “Metal Evolution” the doc examined the history and development of rock and metal. The main difference between “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” and “Metal Evolution” is that the documentary series takes more time to examine each individual genre of music.

I caught the first episode of the series which was entitled “Pre-Metal,” and it was an in-depth look at early rock and roll and how it slowly evolved into metal. I love any documentary that is done by Banger Films for a couple of reasons that ever apparent in “Metal Evolution.” The first reason is the documentary is littered with great interviews with old rock legends who provide some insightful information on the topic at hand. The second reason is you can tell that Sam Dunn is totally passonate about what he is doing. His love for what he does comes through in the form of a crazy informative and entertaining episode that makes you care about what you’re watching and gives you a hunger to learn more.

The show isn’t just about old rock stars and the cultural significance the music has had over the past six or seven decades. At one point Dunn goes to McMaster University to speak with a specialist about what listening to metal does to a person brain. As it turns out listening to metal turns off a person’s conscious thought and turns off a person’s inhibitions. 

I can’t wait to catch the next 10 episodes in this series because I’m learning a lot and having a blast while doing it!

 An old episode of The Simpsons (from season 2) begins with Bart being hit by a car. Bart meets the Devil, who discovers that Bart was sent there too early. As Bart is sent back to earth, he asks the devil if there’s anything he (Bart) can do to avoid returning to hell. “Oh, sure, yeah.  But, eh, you wouldn’t like it,” replies the devil. ”Oh, okay!  See you later, then,” replies Bart.

The devil then offers this sage advice: “Remember:  Lie, cheat, steal, and listen to heavy metal music!”

I’ve always been a fan of hard rock bands like AC/DC, but it’s only in the past two years or so that I’ve gotten into heavy metal. Now I count bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Dio among my favourites.

I’ve also always enjoyed learning about the history of genres. I’m currently reading a book about the history of delta blues music. I guess now I have something I need to watch too.

I enjoyed your blog Steve, and I agree with you: this show sounds awesome.

Meeting Lloyd

Wow, I have been very lucky this year. I’ve been able to help interview a pair of Canadian figure skating champions, Sam Roberts, and now, Lloyd Robertson… And James Duthie… And Lisa LaFlamme.

Meeting Lisa wasn’t as big of a thrill as one would expect. Perhaps it’s because I don’t watch CTV News anymore. I do watch TSN, and was excited to meet James Duthie.

But he pales in comparison to the one and only Lloyd Robertson. I used to watch CTV News when Lloyd was on it, so it was quite nifty to meet this personailty that I’ve seen on TV countless times.

And Lloyd was as nice as one would expect. That’s the big difference between household names like Lloyd and the many other news anchors. He’s a genuinely nice guy.

Anyway, this was for a story that myself, Christine and Rachel were doing for the United Way. They were holding a fundraiser at which the career of Lisa LaFlamme was celebrated. We’re putting together a video package for the United Way website.

We also used a bit of our interviews for 519online news. The Tuesday newscast featured the interview with Lloyd and the Thursday newscast will (presumably) feature James Duthie and Lisa LaFlamme.

It terms of production, things went very smoothly. There were a few small problems, like finding the correct exposure, which was tricky given the low lighting. Our B-roll of the crowd didn’t turn out to well due to this lighting.

Still, our final product looks very good and the whole event was a great experience.

The Nickelback Enigma

Earlier today, I admitted to being a figure skating follower, but now I have an even more shocking revelation.

Are you ready for this?


You’ll be shocked!

I’m a Nickelback fan!

Nah, in reality, I like two of their songs and I’m completely indifferent to the rest.

Nickelback is one of those bands that always does well in terms of sales, but it seems like very few people will openly admit to being fans.

I’m not sure why they inspire so much hatred. People say all their songs sound alike… Reality check: Many bands have a specific style they follow, so some of their songs do end up being quite similar. For example, AC/DC. They have a specific sound and have used it for decades. The result is more than a dozen albums that sound similar but are still awesome.

As for their sound, it’s not great, but it’s not awful. Their sound suits their style.

I think people just hate on Nickelback because that’s what others do.

Anyway, I’m commenting today on a CBC News article about Nickelback. The band recently appeared in a parody spoof video from Funny or Die.

It’s good to see that the band has a sense of humour about their reputation, especially when they are set to play during a Detriot Lions halftime show and thousands of Detroit fans are petitioning for the band’s removal.

A quick comment on the petition, I think it’s silly. Nobody is forcing you to watch the halftime show. Besides, with a crowd that size, you’re never going to please everyone. I’d be willing to bet that most of the people signing that petition won’t actually be in attendance.

So anyway, that’s enough for one day of shocking revelations. Are there more shocks to come? Stay tuned.


This week I am planning on doing a news story about stop signs. Not many people seem to understand that a big red sign that reads “STOP,” actually means to stop completely. Most people just roll right through stop signs, especially when turning right at an intersection. This is a subject that has…

An interesting story idea Mark. I have to admit that I don’t always fully stop at stop signs, particularly while driving in the middle of nowhere (in the city, I tend to be a bit more careful).

For this story, I suggest you try talking to a ministry driving instructor, or, in the likely case that they won’t talk to you, a driving school. They would be quite knowledgeable about the laws and they would be able to give you some great input that the police might not be able to.

Another thing to find out is how serious of a safety issue are rolling stops? How many accidents are caused by drivers not stopping fully at lights or signs? The police might be able to help you with that one.

It’s a good idea for a story, and I look forward to seeing it.

Figure Skating (sorry, I can’t think of a better title)

I’m a huge fan of the Olympics, and I generally keep track of the individual events year round. So yes, I follow figure skating. Some people snigger when I tell them this, but I don’t know why.

In journalism, it helps to think ahead. Whenever I cover a story, I try to remember it, in case I ever need to go back to it. Last year, as part of the broadcast journalism program, I got to write and read newscasts on 88.3 CJIQ News (Conestoga’s radio station).

One day last January, I was supposed to cover sports. One of the stories was about Dylan Moscovitch and Kirsten Moore-Towers, a duo of pairs figure skaters from Kitchener who had won the 2011 Canadian Championship. I took note of this, and thought I might do a fuller story at a later date.

And so it was that 9 months later, I saw their names on TSN’s website. I knew this would be a great opportunity to interview a pair of successful local residents. I was also intrigued by the possibility of filming them practicing their routines and the challenges it would involve.

So last week, Julie and I interviewed the duo and filmed their practice session. It was a lot of fun, both Dylan and Kirsten were very nice and had some interesting things to say. It was fun to see them banter back and forth.

The week before, I helped interview Sam Roberts. Okay, Dylan and Kirsten weren’t rock stars and I was only vaguely familiar with them, it was still a pleasure to meet and interview them

The footage also turned out great. The two biggest challenges were finding the right exposure (the entire rink was white-ish, which messed with the cameras) and keeping the duo in focus as they were moving all over the ice.

All in all, the story turned out great. People still snigger at me when I tell them I did a figure skating news story, but oh well.



Sure, people hang out at Tim Hortons for a few minutes to stand in line, but CEO Paul House thinks that the place can use a little sprucing up to make it an area where people can lounge and unwind.

I guess McDonalds is starting to scare the Tim Hortons brass. Personally, it would take some very drastic to get me to switch from Tim Hortons coffee to McDonalds coffee, and I’m sure a lot of others feel that way too.

I think it would be great for them to get wireless internet, and not just for the obvious reason. I’ve done a lot of camping, and been to many small towns in Northern Ontario. Usually, the only real chain store these towns have is a Timmys. So, it would be great for those towns to have internet that campers such as myself can take advantage of.

One thing Timmys could add (and I’m rather surprised that they haven’t) is salad. Then again, it might make things more complex for their staff.

Anyway, a very interesting read Diane, good job!

Meeting Brother Sam

Yay, a Dexter reference!

Anyway, last week I was able to interview Sam Roberts. Well, Steve Tanner actually did the interview, but I helped film it, along with Brent Swance and Matt Viveen.

People keep asking me how I managed to get the interview, and are surprised when I tell them that it was easy as visiting Sam Roberts’ website. I guess people expect that there’s some secret to getting an interview. In reality, most musicians enjoy being interviewed because of the publicity that it provides.

As expected, Sam was a pretty chilled, relaxed person. The interview went quite well, Steve asked some good questions and the lighting worked out really well. The only negative is that there is some echo in the audio. Other than that, I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

An added bonus was that we got tickets to the show. The band was pretty awesome live. I was also able to film the first few songs, and that also turned out well. I used a shotgun mic, and I was surprised by how good it sounded.

So all in all, it was a great evening and the finished story will be awesome. Interviewing Sam Roberts has made me ambitious. I hope to interview Alice Cooper when he is in Kitchener. I have my doubts about that one, but you never know.

I’m too tired to think up a real title

In the past few weeks, I’ve had problems sleeping in. So tonight, I vowed to go to bed before 9 o’clock. I actually achieved this.

Then, I remembered I had blogs to do…. Yay! At least I remembered.

I’ve decided to comment on an article from the Globe and Mail, entitled City councilors debate future of wind power by Marcus Gee. It’s an interesting and well-written article, although it’s a bit slanted. But oh well.

My issue is with this paragraph: “A single wind turbine, championed by Jack Layton, the late NDP leader, has been operating for years at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Toronto Hydro says the impact on birds has been minimal and there is no evidence anyone’s health has been affected.”

The turbine they refer to is this:

It’s in the middle of the city of Toronto. While it does operate, it’s not a real turbine. The average one generates 1.5 megawatts of power. This one generates around a third of that. It’s also roughly a third the size of a turbine. And it’s just one solitary turbine, not a farm.

So of course there aren’t going to be any health effects from it! The alleged health effects are coming in areas where there are dozens of full-sized turbines! How can you possibly use the Toronto one as a measuring stick?

It’s a pretty brilliant public relations move, actually. People see it, don’t realize that it’s essentially a showpiece, and wonder why anyone would complain about it.

And the other part of the paragraph, “Toronto Hydro says the impact on birds has been minimal.”

Hmm, could it possibly be because birds tend not to migrate through downtown Toronto? Some of these turbine farms are in the middle of big areas for bird migration, so one can understand the concern for the safety of birds.

I think those two statements ruined an otherwise good article.

And that’s about it. Bed time!


So I never intended to do another horse-related blog, but then on Sunday my heart broke and I had to do one more. This one is a tribute to Eric Lamaze and his horse, Hickstead, who passed away on Sunday right in the middle of an international competition in Italy.

For those of you who aren’t sure who Eric Lamaze is, he is a Canadian rider currently ranked number one in the world, and he brought home a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics for individual show jumping, and did a great part in helping Team Canada win a silver medal in team show jumping. Since then, he and Hickstead have been on top of the world, with Hickstead being, in Eric’s words, “unbeatable.” Eric bought Hickstead when the horse was 7 or 8 years old, and they continued to train and compete together until Hickstead’s untimely death- he was only 15 years old when he died (horses generally live into their 30’s, sometimes older).

Anyways, I would have hated to be one of the broadcasters covering this event. It was on live television, all over the world, and Hickstead literally died in the ring in front of thousands of people. Show jumping is a dangerous sport, and it is not uncommon for people or horses to get hurt. Once in a while, someone even dies. It is rare though, that this would happen to a horse. Hickstead died, very publicly, of a heart attack; the official report said that a major artery near his heart had ruptured. This was a huge shock to everyone in the horse industry, as well as to Canadians all over the country, as Eric and Hickstead were set for the London Olympics, and both at the height of their careers, no one thought they could be beaten. As a competitive horseback rider, I can’t even express how much I feel for Eric since this happened. He literally watched his horse; his buddy, his teammate, and all their accomplishments, painfully die right in front of him. I’m not even ashamed to say I cried for the rest of Sunday afternoon after watching this video. This was a huge loss to Eric, who for so long was unable to represent Canada in the Olympics due to drug addiction and personal problems, as well as for everyone who watched their progress and cheered them on to where they were on Sunday, captivating people all over the world for one last time.

Rest in peace Hickstead, your work here is done.


I’ve always been a fan of Olympic sports, and I enjoyed watching Lamaze win gold (and silver) in 2008. So it was a shock when I first heard this story.

I think what makes me the most sad about this whole situation is that Eric Lamaze was able to come back from an addiction that had forced him out of several Olympics. Lamaze credits Hickstead with helping him get his life back.

Now Hickstead is gone. Hopefully he can move on past this.

It reminds me of the story of Eddie Guerrero, a wrestler who was fired for prescription drug addictions. He managed the beat the disease and come back to be one of the biggest stars of the WWE of the early 2000s. But, he died in 2005 of a heart attack caused in part by his past addictions.

I quite enjoyed reading your blog Alyssa and I’ll have to check out your previous horse one.

A Generic Reflection Blog

People who know me know that I’m the easily flustered type and have a bit of a tember. Generally those qualities don’t make one a good leader.

So I was stunned when people told me they thought I did a good job as producer of our news cast on Tuesday. I was told I was pretty calm and collected and level-headed.

I don’t get called that too often… So yay!

To be honest, there really wasn’t much to get upset over. We’ve all gotten pretty good at our jobs, so it was smooth sailing. Had I been in charge the previous week when there were all kinds of technical difficulties, then I probably wouldn’t have handled things so well.

We also got our newscast done quicker than any previous week.

I think the biggest problem I faced as leader is that I’m a perfectionist. I spend a lot of time agonizing over minute details in my video, and I have been known to drive teachers crazy asking for their opinions of whether the slightly blue verson looks better than the slightly less blue version.

It’s that reason why I hate seeing my own work, because I always am able to quickly pick out the perfections.

But, in the real world, one doesn’t always have time to spend perfecting things. “You have to learn to grind shit out,” is some very good advice someone at Tillsonburg News gave me. For school assignments, we always have enough time to polish our work.

So it was tough for me, because I would notice things like slightly off colour, slightly off audio, not enough time between voice over clips and I’d want to fix them. But, I had to learn to prioritize.

Still, I think our newscast turned out very good. And I did enjoy being producer and I hope I get the position again next semester.