Browsing articles in "Real Life"

It’s all who you know

May 8, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life  //  No Comments

One of the coolest things about our wedding is the number of artists we have involved. And not, for the most part, people that we’ve hired — you know, that string quartet who just comes in for the wedding and doesn’t know the couple at all.

No, the artists who are involved in our wedding are mostly close friends, and are mostly professionals who are doing what they do as a part of the wedding. Our circle of professionals includes theatrical designers and managers, musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, choir directors, photographers. Not to mention Colin and I using our own professional skills — producing, composing/arranging, design, marketing and communications, etc. — as we’re planning the day.

I’m excited to give these artists a forum to work in; I’m excited that they’re giving us their best and that they’re highly trained and qualified for these jobs. I’m excited that we can expose some Calgary and area artists to an audience that may not otherwise know of them or know what they do — and trust me, as details are finalized and we know exactly what people are doing for us, we’ll be giving them all the free advertising we can manage.

We have a fantastic community of artists surrounding us, and we’d be foolish to not take advantage of the expertise and talent available.

One more reason

Feb 17, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life  //  No Comments

One more reason why it’s great to be a Canadian during these games: CTVolympics.ca. Yes, I was a little peeved at CTV last week when they continually showed footage of the fatal luge crash (come on, I did not need to see that), but in the days since, I’ve realized that, in other ways, they’re doing really well these Olympics.

In the past few days, I’ve been talking to my American friends and discovering how incomplete NBC’s coverage is: No live streamed coverage of most events, tape-delayed TV broadcasts of anything major, online access restricted to only customers of certain internet service providers.

And yet, on CTV’s website, there are no fewer than 20 separate streams available for viewing at all times, whether online-only streams of events, online viewing of one of their channels, or past events on demand. Everything is available all the time. Every sport, no matter how obscure, has equal ability to be watched live. CTV is not deciding for Canada that hockey and curling (the only sports streaming live on NBC’s website) are the only sports that need to be available in real time.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m fairly fed up with how far behind Canada is in a lot of things. Cell phone plans and prices are atrocious and make me want to cry. Online shopping still sucks, since a far smaller percentage of Canadian stores or chains offer it (for instance, Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire only allow you to check inventory online, not actually make purchases), and if you do order from the U.S., shipping is often astronomical. I don’t know of a single Canadian ATM that’s as comprehensive and intuitive as the Bank of America ATM, where my cash deposits are credited within hours, instead of the 7-day waiting period that Scotia Bank forces me to endure. And I could go on…

But not in this. In this, it’s so nice to be vindicated; to see that for once, Canada is where we should be.

Nice going, NBC.

And minus the sarcasm, well done, CTV.

Nights on the town

Feb 11, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Real Life, Theatre  //  No Comments

The other day, I participated in a focus group that was part of a study commissioned by a theatre company in Calgary, to explore theatre-going trends and opinions in the city. The focus group that I was part of was one of three types: people who have been to the theatre within the past six months; people who have been in the past (2 or more years ago), but not more recently; and people who have never been to the theatre. Of course, this one was the first type, and most of the people there were even more frequent than every six months. I think that I was the only theatre professional in attendance, but most of the others were season ticket holders, and many regularly attended shows presented by more than one company.

The first question we were asked was, “What is your ideal night out in Calgary?” Read more >>

Best of all worlds

Jan 25, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life  //  No Comments

One of the things that disappoints me most about Calgary is the lack of foresight in the city’s planning. It’s a city that has exploded in the past decade, and the foundation hadn’t been laid in the decades before to sustain such rapid growth. It’s still a city that’s scrambling for its infrastructure to catch up to the population growth, and while it’s growing well in many areas, there are many where the city is being held back by its own short-sightedness.

Imagine what it would be like today if city planners had believed, 40 or 80 or 100 years ago that Calgary has the potential to be a world-class city — to someday stand up against any great city in the world in its arts and culture, industry, nature, and people. Imagine what it would be like if, when it was a city of 100,000 people, city planners had dreamed — and planned — ahead to Calgary as a city of 5 million, instead of seeing it grow to a small city in the something-hundred-thousand range. Imagine how much further ahead we could be now if, instead of playing catchup with roads and transit and infrastructure, the city was able to allocate those resources differently. If Calgary had the resources to be a city friendly to a large population, rather than struggling to sustain it and finding ways to both grow and retroactively fit at the same time.

What would it look like now if the dreams had been bigger then?

I’m on the brink of several new adventures, both career-wise and otherwise, and I’m looking at the steps ahead and finding ways to dream big. As I’m stepping out into a career as a freelance producer and consultant, what does it mean to dream big — and more than just dream big, to plan big? To lay the foundation for whatever success I want to see come my way? To create a starting point that can lead to something big — or to something smaller?

If I plan for the best, the smaller result will always fit into the larger foundation. Being over-prepared for a more humble end point is never a bad thing, but anticipating something small can be disastrous when the opportunity for something bigger comes along. What a waste of time, money, energy, and potentially opportunity it is if I have to do the work to retrofit myself or my projects to sustain something grander than anything I’d originally dreamed.

So tell me. What does it mean for you to lay the foundation with an eye to the best possible outcome?

Let’s get back to business

Jan 11, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Real Life, School  //  No Comments

Well, Christmas is over, and I had absolutely no contingency for any sort of regular updates during the last month of school and over the break, but it’s time to get back to posting regularly. For that matter, it’s time to get life back into a routine of some sort, even though I don’t really know — yet — what that routine will look like.

It’s been a wonderfully relaxing few weeks; time for both Colin and I to decompress from our very busy fall seasons. We’ve spent more time sitting in front of the TV in the past 3 weeks than we did in the rest of 2009 combined. I think the past few weeks have included season 1 of Dexter and Weeds, seasons 1 and 2 of Chuck (in preparation for the season 3 premiere last night), season 2 of Friends… and I know I’m missing something, but those are the ones that stand out right now. Read more >>

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life, Television  //  No Comments

Happy New Year!

I’ll be back to posting regularly very soon; in the meantime, I hope you had a great Christmas and a chance to take some time to relax and reflect.

It’s 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and I’m finally heading to bed — Colin and I have our own little New Year’s Eve tradition of choosing a season of TV to marathon, and then parking ourselves on the couch all day to get through it all. Today (yesterday?) we started at 4 p.m. with the last four episodes of Chuck, season 1, and then moved on to season 1 of Dexter.

(We have a thing for death on New Year’s Eve, apparently — the last two years have been seasons one and two, respectively, of Dead Like Me, and we also have Pushing Daisies, which we didn’t get to tonight, but which we’ll be watching in the next couple of days.)

But today, it was 16 episodes in 16 hours, almost to the minute — including food and bathroom breaks.

Sounds like a pretty perfect New Year’s Eve to me.

Crème and Caramel

Dec 5, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Real Life  //  1 Comment

This cracks me up:

I work at Starbucks, and you may have seen that our new Christmas drink this year is a Caramel Brulée. Spelled that way. At least, in the U.S. it’s spelled that way.

I was looking through the signage for it a few days ago and discovered that the spelling on Canadian signs is “Caramel Brûlé,” which is actually correct. “Caramel,” in French, is masculine, and the past participle of “to burn” (brûler) is brûlé. If the noun was feminine (as in “Crème Brûlée”), there would be the additional “E” on the end, but because it’s masculine, there isn’t.

So… what’s up with that, Starbucks? Is it because Canadians would be more likely to recognize the error? Because Americans are used to the spelling of Crème Brûlée (with less understanding of the actual origin of the dessert name) and wouldn’t notice the difference (and they’ve even omitted the accent circonflexe over the U!) — or would think that it was misspelled because it’s not what they’re used to?

All I know is that when I pointed it out to my co-workers, they were insulted that Starbucks didn’t give them the benefit of the doubt to name the drink correctly. They may not have known the conjugation of the verb, but they were rather insulted that Starbucks assumed they would rather have the misspelling as the name of the drink than have it named properly across the continent.

Five years later

Oct 16, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Ministry, Real Life, School, The Arts  //  1 Comment

The one “real” class that I’m taking this semester is an Entrepreneurship class, which is really kind of a goal-setting and career-planning class — you know, the kind that almost every school offers in the last year or semester before graduation. In some programs, it’s a mandatory class; this one isn’t, but it’s a great class anyway.

This week’s assignment is to outline goals, starting with long-term, and then breaking it down into 5- and 10-year steps. Now, in my opinion, setting goals like this is good for two things. One is, of course, the (stated) intended purpose: to be able to look ahead at where I want to be, and then to figure out how to get there and what the steps are along the way. Break it down into manageable steps that are, in a sense, accomplishments in themselves, as well as being milestones along the way to a larger goal.

The second is having a record to look back at and see how life changes. The best thing about setting goals is being able to watch them shift and fluctuate as life changes, watching priorities and important moments change along with them. Read more >>

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oct 13, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life, School  //  No Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alas, I didn’t fly back to Calgary for the weekend this year, so I’m missing out on the turkey dinners — one yesterday with Colin’s family (which he cooked, so I’m extra-disappointed to have missed it!) and one today with my family. I suppose that’s the way it goes when I’ve only been back here for just over 2 weeks as it is; or, at least, that was the rationale behind the decision.

In any case, I hope you had some delicious turkey and a great weekend with family and friends. Read more >>

Gray

Sep 30, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Faith, Ministry, Real Life  //  2 Comments

Colin and I live in a strange gray area when it comes to our relationship. Really, it boils down to the fact that we’re not “normal” according to anyone’s standards. Some people wonder why we’re not married yet, after 2 1/2 years; others wonder why we’re not at least living together, after 2 1/2 years.

We’re not single. Our decisions are made together, and in all of those ways, we think like a married couple, even though we’re not yet. We’re completely financially interdependent, and have been for most of our relationship (our first major purchase together was a car at 5 months). We’ve known since 6 weeks into our relationship that we were going to get married, and our major life decisions since then have all been made jointly, including everything to do with my schooling.

And yet, we’re not married, either (in fact, we’re not even engaged, since we don’t like the idea of being engaged indefinitely, so we’re waiting for the ring until we know we can set the date). We don’t pretend to be, and we don’t try to get around it or “play house” with our lives. We believe in not having sex before marriage, and we’re waiting until we’re married to build a household and a home together. The “gray area” in which we live is a different kind of gray than the morally ambiguous gray areas of couples who are living together or sleeping together before marriage. We’re in a gray area that still falls into obedience to God’s call on our lives and his plan for marriage. We use the label “betrothed,” but that doesn’t even begin to cover the nuances within a one-word description.

There are people who have a difficult time understanding this sometimes. We’ve had many conversations trying to explain this state of being together but not married; not married but also not single; and in all of it, not being disobedient to God’s will.

I think that sometimes there’s that same sort of confusion as it relates to the arts within the church — or work done by Christians outside of a specifically “church” setting. Either the work is “Christian” or it’s not. Either the artist is proclaiming the Gospel (clearly and without ambiguity), or he’s not. People sometimes have a hard time understanding — and accepting — the fact that not all work that glorifies God is specifically about the cross or the manger. Read more >>

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