Monday, January 31, 2011

Thoughts on the Derksen case as an aspiring journalist.


I remember when I was a little girl, about four or five-years-old, when 13-year-old Candace Derksen went missing. Well, actually I don't really remember when she went missing, but I do remember when her body was found on January 17, 1985.

Since I was so small, I only remember foggy pieces of Derksen's case. However, one thing I remember vividly is the cold and shocking revelation that the missing girl had been found dead. I cannot put into words the fear her death instilled in me.

That was the first time in my life that I ever had to face death. Even though I was just a little kid, the thought of my own mortality was something that was very real to me.

To be honest, I think Derksen's case was terrifying to Winnipeggers of all ages because it meant that there really was a boogy man and nobody knew who he or she was.

Derksen's case went unsolved for 23 years, until 2007, when DNA evidence fingered Mark Edward Grant as a suspect in the case.

On January 17, 2011, exactly 26 years to the day that Derksen's frozen body was found in an abandoned shed, Grant went on trial.

It's a trial that many Winnipeggers who have carried a piece of Candace around with them for nearly 30-years are ready for. Finally the Derksen's may have their questions answered, or at least find some closure...

As a journalism student, it's kind of surreal to be breaking into the industry at a time where this case (in particular) is being put through the justice system.



Photo: CTV Winnipeg
Video: Ottawa Citizen/Global News

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The lovely life


So I just got back from a pretty intense pity party.


It’s no secret that I’ve been having a rough go of things lately; I live in a mountain of debt. Cable, phone and internet got cut off last month. I lost my BlackBerry yesterday. I banged up my car today by backing up into a pillar and taking out the passenger side mirror. (It’s literally hanging there, by a wire or something...) Not to mention I have to shift bid for work tomorrow...Another whole year of working weekends, 10.5 hour days at the grind, is enough to make anyone feel sorry for themselves.


To tell you the truth, my pity party was an all out gala. It was the grand ball of crybabies. It was the biggest pity party I’d ever been to, let alone hosted...


It was one for the record books.


It all started when I was leaving XS Cargo this afternoon. I had been all over the city, trying to buy a refurbished and unlocked BlackBerry replacement – to no avail, since Rogers told me that the warranty I foolishly paid $100 for doesn’t cover lost or stolen phones. (Ugh, I wouldn’t have shelled out the cash had I known that...) If I wanted a new BlackBerry, it was going to cost me $599.


Bull shit.


Needless to say I was already upset about my life, when it happened, the straw that broke the camel’s back. The icing on the cake. The last hurrah. The big one...


I banged up my car.


Yep. As I was backing out of my parking spot, feeling super pissed off that I couldn’t get my hands of a refurbished BlackBerry, I banged my car up against and into a pillar.


Bang! Scrape. Brake. Fuck.


I got out to survey the damage. My boiling point was already reached and I just started to cry, really, really loud. In my little accident, I managed to take out the passenger side rear view mirror and scrape the door. Today just wasn’t my day.


I picked up broken pieces of the mirror from the ground, stomped back into my car, slammed the door and I kept on crying to my heart’s content. I even tried calling a friend, so that he could listen to me cry and share in my misery. He didn’t answer and it made me cry even more.


I felt defeated. And that, my friends, was the icing on the metaphorical shit cake that was my very bad week.


I’m not going lie; when I say that I cried, I mean I cried like a friggin maniac. I was hysterical as I drove all the way home with my mascara running down my cheeks. I was sobbing some kind of “I give up” chant or something and every so often looking at my swollen eyes in the rear view mirror. I was sitting in the epitome of self pity and my damn side mirror hung in limbo, as though any second it was going to give way to the slushy, messy, bumpy, Winnipeg streets.


Friends, I was frightful.


When I got home, I took my defeated ass up to my apartment and cried a little more until it just got too exhausting. It was then that a hot shower (to wash away my Alice Cooper eyes) was in order, followed by a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream in my bed while watching season four of Sex and the City on my laptop.


Ah, the lovely life of a 31-year-old single student.


As my pity party started to wind down, I started to realize something; if this was as bad as it was going to get, I’m not doing too bad. I mean yes, I literally have no form of communication since my TV, internet and home phone got cut off last month and now my BlackBerry is missing. And sure, I now have another expense that I can’t afford with my car. Oh, and another year of weekends; this sucks, but at least I have a decent job that pays well. That’s more than a lot of other people have, I need to remember not to forget that.


Life isn’t too bad afterall...


I knew that this path wouldn’t be an easy one going into it, but as I near the end of this CreComm chapter, the stress sometimes overwhelms me. It’s not so much the little individual setbacks, like losing my BlackBerry and having no money. It’s all of them combined that sometimes make it a little hard to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


But when I take a second to consider that I am letting all these small things affect me in such a big way, I need to just stop and count my many blessings. Life is short and small things will always happen.


I will get a new BlackBerry and my car will get fixed, and eventually (when I can work more, thus make more money, I can also restore my TV, internet and home phone.) I’ve hit rock bottom in a material way...So what.


I have a lovely life.


P.S. I am writing this from Starbucks. Thank goodness for laptops and WiFi.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Work Placement

So I’ve been writing for the Winnipeg Sun for the last couple of weeks as part of my school's work placement program.

Working there has been a pretty incredible experience, not only have I met some awesome people, I also got to be a “pretend journalist.” (There is nothing more vindicating and exciting than introducing yourself: “Shelley Cook, Winnipeg Sun” when you’re interviewing somebody...For the last three weeks I have had some pretty serious local media cred, and I have enjoyed it to its full advantage.)

When I started my placement, I figured I knew what I was getting myself into, especially since I spent last Christmas as an intern, writing for the Winnipeg Free Press. However, I quickly discovered that the two publications are extremely different. (This is the point where people say: “Oh, which one did you like better,” and to that I reply (in all honesty) “I can’t even compare the two because they are both just different. But, I learned a lot working for both of them.” – Yeah, I know that sounds like diplomatic rhetoric, but it’s true. I feel extremely lucky to have seen both sides of the Winnipeg daily newspaper scene.

During my internship, the editors at the Winnipeg Sun assigned a lot of different types of stories to me, which means I’ve collected quite a few more bylines for the ol’ portfolio. (This is also a good thing for my mom, who started a scrapbook of all my published work last year. Cute.)

I’m sad to leave the Sun and go back to real life, but I am thankful for the entire experience as a whole. Right now it feels kinda like one of those bittersweet breakups that you see in the movies: You’re still in love, but you need to break up because it's the time to do so. Sigh.


Photo by: C.Procaylo

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sleep deprived.

It's 3:58 am and this is my second wake up of the night.

Somebody once told me to never blog about my ailments because it's awkward and nobody likes to hear about that stuff. Yeah, that person hit the nail on the head. However, since it's so early in the morning, and I have woken up not once, but twice in the middle of my sleep, I feel entitled to talk about my affliction.

I can't sleep.

Well, that's a lie, I can fall asleep just fine (for the most part.) My issue is staying asleep through the night. I'm not quite sure when it started, but for at least the last two years (that I can honestly remember and track) I have been unable to make it through an entire night without waking up at least once.

It's the most bizarre thing, because I am always so exhausted.

Most nights I only wake up once in the middle of my sleep, this has become a normal pattern for me. However, on more extreme nights, which don't happen as often thank goodness, I wake up two or three times.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what causes me to this, because nothing in particular wakes me up. One second I am sound asleep and the next second I am back in the land of the living, there is no transition, it's just like BAM, I'm awake. And it doesn't happen as a startle or a jolt or anything, it's just super fast and sudden.

Most nights I'm up for half an hour to an hour. I usually find a snack, blog, and look at my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I am usually wide awake, like I could get up for the day. However I get really tired really fast. (In writing this, I actually fell asleep at the keyboard. Ironic.) It's like the opposite of how I woke up: BAM, I can barely keep my eyes open...

I don't know.

I'd like to make it through the entire night one of these days, but I'm not sure what to do to get there...

Does anyone else have trouble sleeping?!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Resolution 1: Stop Looking for a Husband


So one of the New Year's resolutions that I made this year is that I am going to stop looking for a husband.

No really, I am going to stop looking for a husband, he'll find me when he's ready– No really, he will, and if he doesn't I don't care because I'll have an awesome career, a comfortable lifestyle, and a long-haired grey cat to keep me company. (Did I mention that I'm going to get myself a long-haired grey cat one of these days...)

My biological clock on the other hand, it's working overtime to try and convince me that I need to continue the search. I'm not getting any younger, and my pretty days are sneaking away from me.

Oh, what a conundrum.

To be perfectly honest, I don't really want a husband. I mean, yes I want someone to carry in the groceries, take out the garbage, change the oil in my car, and fight with on occasion, but I'd like for them to leave after that.

Is that bad?!

I like my space, I like my ability to be inconsiderate, and most importantly I like dating guys.

This isn't to say that when I find my husband I won't stop being an inconsiderate and selfish slut, cause I totally will...Well, I probably will anyway. I'll give it my best shot. (I'm kidding about being a slut, I'm totally not one. I swear.) Right now I am having a good time not being somebody's wife, so I don't understand why I feel the need to constantly find a husband.

Arrrrgh. It's frustrating. My biological clock is totally going bonkers, and what's worse is that I have started competing with other people (and myself.)

"Oh no, so-and-so is married and has kids, I better get married and have kids too!"

Barf. It's life, not a game. (I have to remember to remind myself that.)

So anyway my first New Year's resolution for 2011 is to stop trying to find a husband.

Work placement, CreComm, and thoughts.

I've been racking my brain all Christmas, trying to come up with a clever blog post. (hmmph, turns out I am not witty on the drop of a dime after all...)

Life has been hectic, but pretty great.

Right now me and the rest of the second year CreComm students are living the dream at our first work placements. I'm at the Winnipeg Sun; it's neat, although I haven't shaken that overly awkward 'new girl vibe' yet. (True story: The first day I was there, I couldn't even leave my work area because I was paralyzed with shyness and insecurity. I sat at Jillian Austin's desk (my temporary abode) and took way longer than I needed to on a small story about traffic. Awkward, yet hilarious.)

I wonder how everyone else is doing in their placements. I wonder how the first year's are handling their new semester in their new classes with the dreaded magazine project looming in the air. I wonder how the instructors are doing, now that our group is getting ready to fly the coop, and the first year's have grown into full-fledged CreComm students...

I can't imagine that anything is different for the instructors, as this is the same ol' routine that happens every year. However, I wonder if at any point, certain years, classes, and students stand out. Or, do they all just start to blend together!?

Don't forget about me guys, I want to be one of the one's that stands out...

Hello, is this thing on!?

It's hard to believe that school is almost over. This is both a relief and tragically sad. (I love my CreComm classmates with every fibre of my being. I love the instructors, and Red River College itself...Although I am tired, I don't want the ride to be over yet!)

OK, now I am just getting too deep for my own good. (Reflective really; I am just starting to realize that this two years of CreComm has passed rather quickly. I'm both relieved and sad.)

I should probably crawl back into bed before more time passes by; I just woke up for a glass of water and somehow managed to write a blog post about my CreComm apprehensions...

After this, I'll probably need therapy. HA!