Thursday, December 25, 2008

How Many Frosty's Does It Take to Drive a Person Crazy?

Ahhh, the Christmas season. Family gathers to celebrate the birth of Christ and spend quality time together. I love it, and sometimes, I hate it.

No. I am not the Grinch. I merely hate certain commercialized aspects. Mainly, the countless number of Christmas carol remakes that play for a month wherever you turn.

Listening to the radio becomes a chore. No, I do not want to hear N'Sync's version of "The First Noel," I definitely never ever want to hear Christina Aguilera adding her whiny voice to "Angels We Have Heard on High," and Barbara Streisan's version of "Jingle Bells" basically destroys the song for me.

Why do these people find it necessary to butcher classic Christmas songs? Why???? And why do they have to play them all through the Christmas season? If I want to hear Christmas carols, I want to listen to the real version, not some popstars trying to make it "jazzy."

For some reason I will not attempt to explain (because I have no logical explanation), I decided to work retail over Christmas. So far I've stomached my disgust at the gross amount of materialism I get to witness everyday, but the music, that makes me cranky.

Not only do they play horrible Christmas carol remakes, but they do it with several versions of the same song, over and over and over again. I have heard every single version possible of "Frosty the Snowman," and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," which are Christmas songs I'm not even that fond of in their original form, let alone the ones that cover every music genre known to man.

And they play the same songs everyday. I have heard Alanis Morrisette's version of "All I Want for Christmas is You," at least once everyday this week. Ahhhhh!

But then, the worst was yet to come, as this week I heard a version of "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch." One of my favourite songs ever, what better lyrics are there then to call someone a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce? but this was the last straw. Someone decided to take this song from the classic cartoon, and turn it into a slow, sexy jazz number? Why would they do that?

Oh the things I do to get through school.

My only comfort is that I sing in my church choir. Singing Christmas carols there has restored my faith in Christmas music.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Lesser of Two Evils?

Out of all the things I learned this summer working as a receptionist, this lesson was the most important; there is no such thing as a good insurance company.

No matter how you look at it, insurance companies all have the same credo; delay giving people money as long as possible.

An example of this is in my car, as you may know, I got in yet another car accident while driving home from Summerland in August. My sister, nephews and I were hit by some idiot running a red. Now the police report clearly says that the accident was 100% the other guys fault, there is no way my insurance could not pay me unless they're suggesting I don't go when the light turns green, and yet, they're delaying as long as possible.

For the past two months, my car has been held by the insurance while they "evaluate whether it's salvageable or not." Come on, two months for a mechanic to look at it? Mine can do that in a day.

And of course they'll pay for a rental car while they hold ours, but of course they don't cover the insurance on the rental, so we wind up paying anyway. Don't you just love insurance? Doesn't it make you feel so secure?

I thought the evil was only part of the insurance industry, but sadly, it's everywhere in the big business world. About the same time of the accident, I lost my cell phone. Now my phone was inherited from my sister, and still under her name, so in order to replace it, I need to be the rightful owner.

First Bell told me they wouldn't even talk to me until I had a credit card. I have many frustrating adventures with my bank, finally get one, and go back to Bell. Not even mentioning the credit card, they say they need Janine's approval, so they tell me to have her call, she lives in Finland, so they say a fax will be fine. The fax will take 24 hours to process.

The day after she's faxed it in, I call Bell, and this person tells me it will take 4-5 days. I'm annoyed, but wait the 5 days.

I call that day, and what's their story this time? We don't have the fax, your sister has to call us.
By this point, I'm really mad, I've never been a cranky customer before, but I was pissed. I get transferred to a supervisor, and he tries a new story; " Give it till Wednesday, it may not have been processed yet."

Eventually, I cheat. I pretend to be Janine, change my account, hand the phone to myself and get around their whole system in 20 minutes. Isn't the business world fun?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Personality Analysis

You know those stupid little quizzes you can do online that tell you about your personality? If you were a colour, if you were a Disney Princess etc? I hate them. How can a group of multiple choice questions understand who I am? So one night, when we were very bored, my cousin, brother and I sat around and made up our personality analysis. Decided what characters each of us were based on our actual personalities. Here are just a few of mine:


If I were a Disney Princess, I'd be Ariel - and no, that's not because I have red hair, we're not that general. Mikyla says I'm Ariel because she gets very devoted and irrational to an idea very quickly.








If I were a Disney Villain, I would be Jafar - I don't quite remember the reasoning
 behind this one, but I think the understanding was that if I were a villain, I'd be crazy and devious like Jafar.







If I were a Jane Austen heroine, I'd be Marianne Dashwood - this is apparently because I'm
irrational and emotional and dramatic. Thanks Kya.






If I were a character from Lord of the Rings, I'd be Pippin - 
this one was apparently easy to decide upon.
 Apparently people just look at me and think, you must a hobbit who's a bit of a curious idiot that always gets into trouble.







If  I were a comicbook Superhero, I'd be Rogue from X-men. Was this one because she's sulky? I don't remember.







If I were a Greek goddess, I'd be Hera - I'm not sure if this one was decided because I actually resemble the jealous, angry, goddess, or because Kya wanted to make me squirm.









Well there you have it; my personality, as described by my cousin and brother. We did a lot more, but I'm too lazy to blog them. Feel like you know me inside and out now? No, i didn't think so.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fiction Myth Buster

I've always considered myself a writer of fiction. Or at least, I wannabe fiction writer. Writing books was my first love, and what got me into journalism in the first place. As my previous blogs state, I am in love with journalism, but fiction is still my first.

In my attempts to write fiction over the years, I have learned one valuable lesson that I want to share with the world. Or at least, my blogging world. Which isn't very big, but that's beside the point. I'm sharing knowledge people.

Common Fiction Myth: Write what you know.
I hate this, because everyone thinks, upon hearing this, that they should write an autobiography, and I'm sorry, but unless you're a person who has made a significant contribution to history, or are a pop icon, no one cares. Actually, people shouldn't care if you are a pop icon, but that's another story. My point is, most of us don't have an interesting enough life to bother penning down our life story. I mean, who would buy a book about a student who has a serious fetish with her major and more siblings than she knows what to do with? Exactly, no one cares.

However, I think the person who originally said that was onto something. But rather than say, "Write what you know," I prefer to say; "Don't write what you don't know."

That dispells all the illusions of Average Joe's life story. What I think people mean with that original myth is: write about things you understand or have experienced. Not your whole life, but things you understand. For example, I'm not going to write a novel about war and blood and guts. Cause it would suck. I know nothing about it.

I once went to a writing workshop where this writer said he didn't think real fiction existed, just fictionalized experiences. I think that's a bit of stretch, but he's got a point. Just because I've never lived in a fantasy world doesn't mean I can't write about it, but I write things I know and understand into the story. Not my life story, just elements of it.

There. That's my wisdom for the week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Facelift

It makes sense for a blog that makes so many puns on my last name to have a red background, does it not?

Well, when I started this blog a year ago, I looked for a red template, and silly Blogspot had none. Actually, none. So I settled for green, which is actually my favourite colour anyway.

But every time I open the page, it bugs me to no end when I see the title "Reddy or Not" grinning at from across a green background. It makes no sense. So yesterday at work (when I had nothing to do), I looked at my possibilities.

The background I had couldn't be made red. What silliness. The only ones I found that looked remotely decent that would comply were the one my sister has, and this one. So I picked this one.

And here's the thing; it's still not a great red, and the colours I had to pick out myself to compliment aren't perfect. I don't know what to think of my new blogpage.

You would think, as a a blogging website, Blogspot would show a little more flexibility to be creative with your background. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Extraction: An Inside Scoop

You all know I work at a dental office. My dads, actually, so I have been going to said dental office since I was a little girl. All my co-workers knew me as a patient and as their boss's daughter before my first day.

A prime example of how interesting it is to be a lifetime patient at your workplace, was today, when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. The beginning of this saga, was long ago in May, and it goes like this;

Kate (other receptionist): Elena, Deana's patient is a no show, go have your teeth cleaned.
(Later, after my cleaning)
Deana: Hey Elena, can you make a pre-d for my patient? Also, you should have your wisdom teeth out.
Me: (to patient) I just need you to sign here, (to Deana) WHAT? MY TEETH?
Deana: Yeah, yours. Go talk to your dad about it.
(Much later that day, when I finally catch up with my dad)
Me: Hey Dad, I need to have my wisdom teeth out.
Dad: Ok, do you wanna do sedation?
Me: Like I'm going to be knocked out and let some guy with sharp instruments tinker in my mouth? Please.
Dad: Ok, I'll do it. Schedule yourself an appointment. Do it at the end of the week so you can recover all weekend.

I book it for the beginning of June.
Kate: No, not there, the new people are starting then.
I book it for the end of June.
Carrie: No you can't put it there, Pam's away that week.
I book the first week of July.
Carrie: I'm away that week, do it the next week.
So, my extraction's today.

The day before, all my co-workers are looking at the schedule and saying; "Ooh, we're taking out your wisdom teeth tomorrow. Are you excited? You'll be fine, you'll be fine." Either that or; "Take some vitamin C! Have you taken 300 mg of vitamin C? Why aren't you taking more vitamin C? Leslie wishes me luck with the surgery as she heads out the door at the end of the day.

The next morning, the vitamin C argument continues and suddenly, a very interesting question comes up: who will be the lucky one to pull out my wisdom teeth. Carrie, the other receptionist is practically bouncing out of her seat wanting to do it. As a joke.....I think. And when Taryn gets to do the extraction for the kid before me, Pam wins for assisting.

Lately we've had a lot of people come into the office to have their wisdom teeth extracted. The first part, where they walk into the office, terrified usually goes something like this;

Reception: Come in, come in. How are you feeling? It'll be just fine.
Assistants: Are you nervous? Don't worry we'll freeze you so you don't feel a thing.
Any hygenists wandering by: Oh hi, I hear you're having you're wisdom teeth out. You'll do great, then you can just take it easy this weekend.

This is what I got;

Reception: Better go for lunch now Elena, it'll be your last meal. Haha! Can I please do it?
Assistants: I get to torture you! I get to torture you!
Hygenist: You'll have a puffy face! Haha!

The time of my surgery is drawing near, and I'm still up front sorting through insurance claims. My dad comes up and says he'll freeze me now. So I go back, seat myself and let him freeze me. While I'm waiting for it to kick in, I go finish the insurance claims, print day sheets for Monday and pull files for next week. I do not however, answer the phone.

As I do all this, Taryn keeps looking at my stiff face and grinning. Then finally Pam comes up, and since I'm done, tells me to go back and be a patient. My Dad comes in, I remind him to wear a lab coat, and we get to work.

Now here is the best part. I am having my wisdom teeth out. Everyone says it is so painful, and so hard. The entire time I'm completely fine. I'm more then fine, I'm joking with them, and following along with procedure I have memorized so I can explain it to patients up front. When they really need me to shut up, I'm in a kind of half doze, and I'm not even under sedation.

That's because, I'm in the chair with my Daddy, and Pam Schmam: two people I know and trust. I am totally 100% fine through the entire bloody procedure.

On the way out, everyone's telling me to take it easy, and how I did so great (after they took a look at my swollen face, that is) I get driven home by my dentist, and go back to regular life with frozen corn on my face.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No One Likes Betty G

Alberta recently made the change to 10-digit dialling. Or, they will in September. But that means that every time you dial, you have to dial the area code, or this automated voice comes on that says;

"The local number you have dialled, must be preceded by the area code. Your call will now proceed. For future calls to this number, please dial the area code."

For someone who makes a living on the phone, this voice can get really old, really fast. Actually I haven't talked to anyone who isn't insanely annoyed and groans every time they hear that voice. Seriously, most annoying thing EVER.

One of my favourite movies is Scoop, starring Scarlett Johanson and Hugh Jackman. Not only is it about a journalist, but it's a murder mystery, and the poor victim is Betty G, a prostitute who gets murdered for blackmailing.

After the fifth time I called and forgot the area code, I nicknamed the voice Betty G. And no, I'm not calling her a prostitute, but silly Betty G harasses so many people that she's bound to come to a sticky end. Cause no one, and I mean NO ONE likes poor little Betty G.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Rusty?

Journalism is like keeping in shape, you have to be doing it constantly to keep in practice. Since school ended in April, I've been on holiday from everything reporter-related. I had no idea how rusty I was getting, until yesterday.

Recently I decided to join CJSW and try my hand at radio reporting. I'm working on my first story right now. Though I have no radio experience, I figured it would be a cinch cause I've done broadcast and I more or less understand the basics of interviewing. I was way under prepared for radio.

My interview was yesterday after work. I went straight from work to the CJSW office, where they ran over the basics of their recording equipment again, and sent me on my way. I get to the interview, I handle the pre-interview conversation with ease, I set up my equipment with cool professionalism. I even have a little CJSW label on my microphone so I look legitimate. Then, I test my recorder.

I have no idea why it did this. But for some reason, my recorder has decided to freeze up. I sit there for a while, fiddling and desperately wishing the thing would work. I tried everything. I have never felt so incompetent in my life. Eventually I just have to duck out, run back to the office and trade it for new recorder, all the time apologizing to my subject for my total lack of credibility.

I went back red faced and did the interview. Only this time I left the CJSW label for my mike behind. All illusions of professionalism have already been shattered.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Only a Daughter Can Get Away With That

I've started working at my dad's dental office over the summer months. Being the bosses daughter definitely has its perks, such as the whole application process. Here is how I got my job:

Setting: Driving to school one morning in April
Dad: Hey Elena, I was thinking, how would you like to work reception at the office this summer? That's what your sister did.
Me: What will you pay me Dad?
Dad: X amount of dollars an hour. You'll just be in charge of filing, and talking to patients, and basically just help with whatever needs to be done around the office. And we don't work Fridays, so you'll have weekends off.
Me: Oh okay.
Dad: Okay then.
(Both resume staring impassively out the windshield)

Forget resumes, job interviews and all that jazz. Just a drive to school is all it takes when you're a daughter.

But here's the thing, and in fact, the purpose of this blog: to maintain some sort of professionalism at the office, I'm supposed to call my dad Dr. Redd at work. That in itself is an adjustment. Every time I say it, I feel like I'm talking to someone else.

Plus most patients know I'm the dentist's kid. There are a number of ways they can know this:

A) They have known me since I was teeny-tiny. So they walk into the office, see me sitting at the front desk, and say; "Elena? Are you working here? Wow! You've gotten so big."
Then the pinching of cheeks and the cooing over how old I am and how old they feel commences.

B) Across from my desk there's a family picture hanging on the wall. Patients will wander over to take a look. They'll look at the picture, than look at me, then back at the picture.
Patient: Are you his daughter?
Me: Yes.
Patint: Is that you?
Me: Yes.
Patient: Oh.

C) My absolute favourite:
My dad is in the operatory with a new patient. I enter.
Me: Hey, I need the insurance info.
Dad: Do I have it?
Me: Yeah it's in the file I gave you.
Dad: Can you take it later?
Me: No, I need it now otherwise I can't print the insurance claim.
Patient: Are you his daughter?
Me: Yeah.
Patient: I figured. Only a daughter can get away with that.

That pretty much says it all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More Murr Quotes

I told you this list would continue.
"White males have had it too good for too long."
"When in doubt, write it out."
"There's the average citizens of this world, and then there's prof-essss-ional writers."
"A MAN IS DEAD. He is actively dead."
"All I'm looking for is a 'Hey Mabel.'"
"This is a course where the less you do, the higher your mark is."
"A two-shot is when there's two people in the shot. No, babies don't count. If they're holding a baby it's a 1 and a hlaf shot."
"Any questions on that? I can't remember the point so I'll move on."
Nope, no explanation. I'm posting this just for my own personal amusement.

I'm a Journalism Major, I Have No Life

Yes, it has been a while. A long while. But, in my defense, I have no life. So.....
The thing about my program is that you take 6 courses a semester, and a lot of those courses are very time consuming. It's not like normal people, who can just whip up an essay at 3 in the morning. No, you have to interview people, and shoot video, and take pictures. Such homework cannot be done in the middle of the night.
So all you people who complain about your whole 4 coourses, I have no sympathy for you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thank You. Now Get Me Off This Stupid Board!

WARNING: This blog may come across as a bit derogatory towards our healthcare and those who work in the industry. For the record, I am very appreciative of all the paramedics, nurses, and doctors involved in this incident.

Car accidents are no fun.

On Thursday January 31, after school (after quite a good day I might add) I was driving home when I smashed into the car ahead of me on Crowchild. Do not ask me for the details. All you need to know is I smashed.

So I get out of my car, make sure the other guy is okay (he's way too nice, considering), and then the ambulance shows up. The paramedics ask us both if we're okay. I mention that my neck is a little sore. Bam! Papramedic immediately puts his hands around my neck.

"Don't move, look around or blink! You might be paralyzed!" he says.

For crying out loud, I thought it was just whiplash. But hey, this guy's just doing his job, so I go with it.

They say they have to take me to the hospital. My neck may be broken so they have to run some x-rays. I'm basically sure my neck isn't broken, but to keep the nice paramedics happy, I play along.

Finally they let me call my mom. The only problem is, they still didn't know exactly where they were taking me, so my conversation went something like this:

"Hi Mom, I've been in a car accident. I have to go to the hospital. No I don't know what's wrong with me. No, they haven't told me which hospital yet. I have to go cause they're putting a brace around my neck, I'll call you."

And then of course, they took away my phone, so I couldn't call her back. My poor parents are sitting at home wondering where I am, only knowing I'm alive, but no more, and they can't even find out what hospital I'm in cause I'm an adult and that's "classified information."

So here I am, in the hospital, alone, wearing a neck brace and strapped onto a board. They didn't even let me sit down by myself, cause of "injuries."

The doctor comes by, and asks me if I'm in any kind of pain. Seeing as the only thing that's bothering me is my inability to move, I say no. Stiffness isn't what she's talking about.

So they go ahead and order the x-rays. Keep in mind, that this entire time, I am strapped onto a very uncomfortable board, I have been forbidden to move even an inch, and my neck is in a brace so I have no choice but to stare at the stained ceiling.

They wheel me to the x-ray place, and leave me in the hall for the x-ray technicians to come and collect me. Through this whole ordeal, I'd kept a pretty brave face. But laying there, in the hallway of the hospital all alone, strapped to board that's starting to get painful, and not even being able to turn my head made me want to cry. I have never felt so pitiful.

They take the x-ray, and wheel me back. After I'm dropped off in the hall again, and dropped off outside the emergency room. Laying there, waiting for verdict, I'm in excrutiating pain, and not from my car accident, from that stupid board. I'm still alone, but I can hear the sound of people talking nearby. This is when I really started to cry.

Eventually, one of the nurses notices, and tells the doctor to hustle up. She affirms what I knew from the start, that my neck is not, in fact, broken. She asks me if I'm in any pain again, and this time, I say;

"Yes. From the board."

I said it nicely though. I actually wanted to scream. At last, at long last, they let me off that stupid thing, and my dad finally squeezes the whereabouts out of the hospital policies and picks me up.

All right seriously, I appreciate our healthcare system, but if I haven't already gotten my point across, sometimes they're completely ridiculous.

Murray Shooting His Mouth Off

I have this professor named Murray Cunningham. Or, Murray. We never call him anything else. He teaches me Broadcasting and News Agenda and everyday he says the most outrageous things. He always makes sure we know when he's telling us something important and when he's "shooting his mouth off," but I'm still laughing through most of his classes. It occurred to me the other day that I want to remember some of the things this guy says, cause, well, I think it's funny. You probably won't, but I'm writing them anyway, cause I think it's funny, and Marie might too. Or other journalism students, but I know Marie will read this.
(When asked who to use for shooting a visual sequence) "I don't care if you shoot your MOTHER."
(Said at the beginning of every class) "We'll start now, cause we always start on time."
(When describing complaints sent into the TV station) "Men are like whatever and women are all like Rawrrrr!" (with clawing action)
"The most important part of TV is hair."
(The affects of mentioning animals on the news) "Plastic bags, blah, blah, blah. I'm doing my stuff, and then Aha! The sea turtles!"
(All said in describing how to write copy stories):
"A bank, Was robbed. Yesterday." (Said with typing action)
"We tell stories. We tell tales. We spin yarns."
"CBC. This is a word pronounced Cubuk."
"Broadcasters are a unigue batch of retarded people."
No, I can't explain it to you. But it's funny if you know Murr. This list will continue..............

Friday, January 11, 2008

Risky Business?

There are several misconceptions about journalists. In Hollywood movies, the journalists have three roles.
1. The jerks who tell lies about the protagonist, and then fall for said protagonist. (Hello Runaway Bride)
2. A pack of press people who harass the protagonist at first for good, and eventually to the protagonist's ruin in a film about being yourself no matter what others, (the press) think about you.
3. As the protagonist, journalists are portrayed as the daring type, willing to sacrifice everything, from their integrity to their lives for the sake of a scoop.
For the record, all the above are myths. I have no intention of sneaking into an evil multimillionaire's laire (probably cause I have no Superman to save me), and while I may have to chase the mayor down the street for a quote, I generally try to avoid the obnoxious journalist stereotype.
But you see, no stereotype is completely unfounded. Have you never heard of Daniel Pearl? And no, I'm not going to Iraq, but my point is that no type of journalism is whithout risks. I mean, you're in the business of going up to strangers and often asking them personal questions, or entering high danger areas all so you get a story.
I had my first brush with the risky side of things today. For a photo assignment, I headed down to Baker Park to take some pictures. I thought I'd get a cool shot of the ice floating down the river. So I climb down the steep bank with my camera hanging around my neck.
Of course I slipped. Murphy's law says so.
And no, I did not smash my thousand dollar camera. To be honest, that's all I was worried about. After taking the picture, I climbed out of the bushes, literally covered in burrs.
What a sight I must of been for the joggers. This girl coming out of the bushes, looking like a wild thing with dishevelled hair, smudged with dirt, and decorated with burrs. All the while clutching her Canon Rebel XTi to her chest.
But hey! I got the shot.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some People Need Hobbies

As a journalism student, you're expected to comsume news like normal people consume oxygen. Over Christmas, I took a break from all this, but now back in school mode, and with a big assignment due, I'm reading the news cover to cover. And not just the daily paper. I'm making up for my slacker ways and reading the old ones piled up on my desk.
So while flipping through the Herald, looking for stories about visible minorites, (stupid ACOM 2217 assignment), I stumbled across this article. Basically the gist of it was that some girl named Dawn Sherman was filing a lawsuit against an Illinois law which states that public schools must have a moment of silence "for reflection and prayer" each day. The moment of silence is about 15 seconds long. Sherman was offended by being "forced" to talk to God.
Now I know the United States likes to sue each other for suing's sake, and any excuse justifies a lawsuit, but 15 seconds of silence? Come on.
What's wrong with 15 seconds of silence anyway? It's not like the Illinois public schools are strapping students to a chair and shoving prayers down their throats. I'm guessing most students sleep in the moment of silence anyway. Just as soon as they put the word "pray" anywhere, a bunch of atheists jump up and declare that they are offended, and all religious connotations must be removed from the face of the planet Earth. Has it ever occurred to people that the avoidance of all religious matters is offensive too? Freedom of religion is not the removal of religion, it's the tolerance or all religious views. Even the mainstream ones.
So for crying out loud, let the kids have their moment of reflection, prayer, sleeping, etc. Maybe then Dawn Sherman can reflect on better ways to spend her youth than filing pointless lawsuits.