Monthly Archives: March 2009

Carpooling Safety on Living in Ottawa

As some of you know, I did an apprenticeship at the CBC in late January. It was a great experience – everyone was really helpful and friendly and I learned a lot.

I went out on shoots (roller derby, curling, and Ultimate), helped around the office, and did research for upcoming segments.

I also researched and produced a segment about carpool safety. It’s a videographer piece, which was exciting to do because at school I’ve been used to working with a group. For this, I had to do my own camerawork and everything! Well not quite everything, I did get some much welcomed help from our editor, Sebastien.

So, without further ado, the item!! The link to the item is posted below. It’s an interesting episode, but if you don’t have time for the whole thing, the piece is 10:40 in.


Watch Living in Ottawa


Condiments and Ice Cream: A Theory

You’re at a barbeque. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, you’re wearing your favourite flip flops and there’s a cooler full of your favourite beer.

The host tosses you a hot dog, hamburger, or veggie alternative of your choice.

Best Buddies!

Best Buddies!

You sidle up to the condiments, but obviously party planning isn’t the host’s strong point – they are only offering two condiments, ketchup and mustard. For some reason, you can only pick one to dress your weenie or burg. Choose your favourite. Don’t ask why. The cosmos will be thrown out of whack unless you select just one condiment.

What did you choose?

You eat and the meal is delicious. Now your host is serving up ice cream cones, but they’re running a tight budget and the only flavours are vanilla and chocolate. Like before, for some untold reason you can only choose one.

What did you choose?

Chocaholic, anyone?

Chocaholic, anyone?

Now, the theory:

I believe that those who choose ketchup probably also chose vanilla ice cream. Ketchup-Vanilla people are classic. They are often picky or unadventurous eaters. Cheetos or Regular chips were probably a favourite snack as a child. They are probably shy. They are level-headed, kind, and emotionally, they run on an even keel.

I believe those who choose mustard also chose chocolate ice cream. Mustard-Chocolate people are generally unruly. They are adventurous eaters, and usually enjoy spicy or sour foods. By nature they are extroverted, boisterous and pretty in-your-face.

Of course, there are those anomalies that mix and match outside the theory’s parameters. These people tend to strike a balance between the two categories – perhaps the ketchup lover in them makes them a picky eater, but the chocolate ice cream streak makes them a social butterfly.

Note: These patterns don’t hold true for everyone, but they are fairly accurate. These are my unscientific findings after several years’ investigation and results. Like any theory, there are exceptions to the rule.

Try this theory on your friends and see where they fit in. Does the theory hold any merit or am I just making wild assumptions?

Necessary Necessities

Canadian cinema has long dealt with themes of isolation and colliding cultures, but rarely does a film capture these with such simple beauty as The Necessities of Life. Set in 1952, Benoît Pilon’s film explores an Inuit man’s profound culture shock as he’s plucked from his homeland.

Necessities tells the story of Tivii (Natar Ungalaaq), an Inuit hunter stricken with tuberculosis. When he is admitted to a Quebec City hospital for long-term treatment, Tivii struggles with the separation from his family and his home. Though comforted by a caring nurse Carole (Eveline Gelinas) and an earnest friend, Joseph (Vincent-Guillaume Otis), Tivii is subject to ridicule and insensitivity from the other patients. Although he develops some friendships, Tivii is desperately homesick for Baffin Island, a land he claims has everything one could ever need, and as the film’s title suggests, all the necessities of life.

Best known for his francophone documentaries, Pilon has selected a fine cast and Ungalaaq is a compelling lead. His quiet composure and even voice is magnetic. Though his eyes are often still, they convey subtle emotions with ease. A carver by trade, Ungalaaq puts his talents to good use, constructing intricate wooden mementos from his homeland. Gelinas’ nurse Carole is patient and understanding as she tends to Tivii, though she’s not afraid to be firm. One bright cast member is Paul-André Brasseur, who plays Kaki, an Inuit boy invited to translate for Tivii and help him adjust to his surroundings. Brasseur’s Kaki is young and innocent yet also shows maturity. Although he’s also a patient confined to the hospital, Kaki knows how the world works.

Bernard Émond’s screenplay is elegant. The dialogue is clear and short – every word is necessary. The film highlights themes of intolerance and staying true to heritage, but Émond doesn’t thrust these at the audience, instead they subtly emerge. One minor flaw is that the translation blurs the characters’ use of both French and Inuktitut languages. Sharing these languages are key moments in the film, yet the significance is lost on English audiences.

The cinematography captured the lonely mood of the piece. Lingering shots of Tivii walking alone show his isolation, and some handheld camerawork added movement and interest in the hospital scenes.

Pilon and his team create a beautiful soundscape for the film. Chilling silence and natural sound mark Tivii’s arctic home (to which he travels in his dreams and imagination). Blaring boat horns and other abrasive noise helps the audience understand Tivii’s shock and frustration with the white man’s world. A constant element in the film is the use of breath and coughing to distinguish between Tivii’s home and the hospital, while deep string music rounds out the soundtrack.

The Necessities of Life is a beautiful homegrown film that entertains, yet also pays homage to our culture. Necessities shows that sometimes simplicity is best, and that films don’t have to be flashy to make an impact. As Canadians, it’s a work to be proud of.