Melissa's Blog

Monday, June 26, 2006

I've been having a blast exploring Ottawa this week, but silly me, I never seem to remember my camera. I swear I will try harder from now on.

A few things I have seen this week are, duckies by the Ottawa River, Hog's Back and Mooney's Bay at night and the Rideau River at sunset. These beautiful places remind me how amazing this city is, not just for it's urban liveliness, but also for it's preserved natural beauty. The city has fought hard to preserve this green space and it was definitely worth it.

I can't wait to keep exploring...

This weekend, the Ottawa Fringe Festival wrapped up. I got the chance to see one show called Love Me... NOW! put on by DECA Playwrights.

It was a hilarious play exploring the world of speed-dating and we were laughing the whole time. It was well written and well performed and made me sorry I didn't have the opportunity to see more of the Fringe shows. At only $8 each, it's a good deal too.

Here is the brief description of the play:

You have 4 minutes to tell me why I should spend the rest of my life with you! What the Hell?! It's SPEED DATING! The 21st Century solution for love. Watch the sparks fly and fall as a motley cast of crazy, fragile, and often world-weary characters look for love in the fast lane! So love me...NOW!

What is a Fringe Festival you ask? Here is a short history taken from the official site:

A Fringe Festival is a forum that unites artists and audiences in a fun, exploratory environment. The guiding principles of the Fringe include unrestricted artistic expression, accessibility and community development.

The Fringe encourages artists to explore and test boundaries and make bold choices in the creation of art.

The Canadian Fringe Festival model guarantees that the artists, performers and musicians involved receive 100% of ticket revenue and it does not subject the artists' work to jury approval or censor it in any way. Theatre companies are selected by non-judicial means and work within the technical guidelines of the Fringe Festival to produce their own art. Festival patrons enjoy physically and financially accessible arts experiences and the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogues with artist and fellow Fringe patrons.

Founded in 1997, the Ottawa Fringe Festival has enjoyed consistent growth over the years and now includes 15 venues in the heart of the National Capital.


Unfortunately, it's all over for this year, but I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for it next year, it was well worth the effort...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Push for the Cure

I'm absolutely loving these cuties... Skateboarding across Canada for a great cause, and to bring awareness to all the guys out there that will be impacted by the wrath of Breast Cancer.

Meet Carlos, Benjamin, Aaron and Rob. Four regular guys who decided to skateboard across the country and raise some cash. They started on May 1st, in Halifax, and swung through Ottawa just this week. They have been doing an amazing job with promotion, their website includes articles, photos and videos from their journey. It's almost like their doing a press juncit (is that the right word) every stop of the way.

Parliment Hill was a big stop for them, they got a lot of Parliamentary support, including a letter from Steve (yes I call him Steve) Harper. Many MPs showed up to hand over their looney. That's what they want - yep, you heard it right... All they want is a LOONEY. Their hope is to raise a million, but sadly, their website says they've only made $13000, so they're a long way off and they definitely need our help.

Check out the website

and then jump to their donation site and click on the "Sponsor Our Team of Riders" Link

Come on, you know these guys deserve it, and so do the girls, ladies, women - Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Friends that they're skating for.

Tracks To Freedom

The Ottawa Citizen is doing an amazing and interesting piece on the Underground Railroad in Canada. They actually have a reporter walking from northern Kentucky to North Buxton, Ontario and following a route the runaway slaves would have taken. He stays at historic sites and talks to locals and historians about their knowledge of the local aspect of the Underground Railroad.

This is a major feature for the Citizen that was just launched last week. I'm pretty sure It will be ongoing for most of the summer (as Chris is walking +500 miles I think). Another interesting thins is that Chris Lackner, the guy doing all the walking (and blogging several times daily as well) just graduated from Carleton. He was actually in my Canadian Studies course last year and wrote a very interesting essay on folklore in Newfoundland.

You can check out Chris' blog at

The rest of the citizen's website on the Underground Railroad is also worth checking out. Lot's of photographs and historic documents as well as a pretty good history of the Underground Railroad.

Finally, here is a photo of Chris begining his journey. What an amazing experience.

Source: The Ottawa Citizen and

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A little bit of drama last night here at the trailer park - oops I mean apartment. hehe.

We recently had some new people move onto the floor, bringing with them their loud children (who then bring with them their loud friends). All the loud kids love partying in the hallway and making a tonne of noise. It's annoying because for the past two years almost this has been such a nice, quiet, non-smelly floor.

Anyways, last night they were just going crazy, for like 2 hours, running up and down the hall, being rambuncious and causing a lot of commotion. I try not to be a mean neighbour, but by 10:30 I was annoyed and decided to call in a complaint to emergency services.

I was JUST hanging up the phone when the noise in the hallway came to a crashing halt and I though to myself "...damn, of course they would leave now!" I was a little early in assuming that they left willingly however, as the next second (literally) the fire alarm started going off.

I don't usually go outside for fire alarms, it's too much hassel and usually there is no fire. My exception is if I smell smoke, of course if I smell smoke I am going to leave. So I just stayed in my apartment comforting a scared Pumpkin and thinking about the connection there probably was between the loud partying kids, the silence, and then the alarm. It was a long alarm tho, so eventually I wandered out into the hall to see what was going on from the window looking over the front of the building.

The second I stepped outside I noticed that the whole hallway was filled with a smoky white haze, and although it didn't smell like smoke, my other rule is that if I can SEE smoke in the hallway, it's best to evacuate (if the stairwells aren't smoky too). So, I trudged back to my apartment to get on suitable shoes and clothing.

By the time I got back out, a few other tennants were wandering around the halls trying to figure out what was going on. One of them headed down to the fire extinguisher area, where the door was open and the white haze seemed strongest. He assessed that the kids had been fooling around and set off the fire extinguisher which, probably linked to the alarm, set off the alarm. Freaked out by the alarm and knowing they would get in big trouble if they were caught, the whole bunch hi-tailed it out of there.

We waited as security and three cute firefighters trudged up the steps and investigated. I filed a report with the security girl and promised to call in any loud behaviour right away next time to get the problem solved. I don't like wearing my mean neighbour hat, but I have to admit, I do it well when I have to.

By this time it was about 11:30 and it took me quite a while to fall back asleep. I was super annoyed when I was woken up by the same kids an hour later at 12:30. I called security again, but the kids didn't stay around long enough to be caught.

That's ok... It's only a matter of time.... I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I went to see Emily Carr: New Perspectives at the National Gallery this weekend and it is absolutely fabulous!! The exhibit looks at Emily's work through new eyes, and examines it "...through the historical lens of 20th century exhibitions that presented her work, and in the social and political contexts that defined her world. What emerges is a compelling new portrait of this much-loved artist..."

It's amazing how many pieces are included within the exhibit, it's amazing Emily produced them all. It was also surprising at how differently she uses her medium at any given period of her career - how varied her styles could be as she learned and tried new things.

I personally loved her art from the period following when she met and was influenced by Lawren Harris and the Group of Seven. Vivid colours and a more geometric and abstract style makes her nature scenes truly unique.

I also loved her work from the late 1930s and 1940s, when she was capturing industrialization and the destruction of her beloved forests. These images definitely convey the destruction industrialization caused - sometimes the paintings ended up being incredibly sad, but sometimes they were incredibly beautiful.

The National Gallery raised a few eyebrows last week with an unconventional ad campaign leading up to the exhibit opening. The gallery decided not to show Carr's artwork in their campaign, nor did they even mention her name, instead, they ran two weeks of teaser ads, none of which contained Emily's art.

Finally, a few days before the exhibit launch, the gallary ran a large image of a young Emily with pertenent exhibit information. The idea was to create mystique and curiosity for the public, encouraging them to seek out more information and ultimately come to see the exhibit. Did it work? Only time will tell, but it certainly got my attention (not the actually ad campaign itself - which somehow I missed, but rather the hype that followed the ad campaign peaked my curiousity).

I've included a few paintings from the exhibit, although I couldn't find most of the truly great ones online, and quite honestly, the internet does not do them justice. You really need to see them life size and beautiful to fully appreciate them. This exhibit is top notch and I highly recommend it to anyone that is even modestly interested in Canadian art. The show runs until September 6th and is $10 for adults or $5 for students.


Ottawa Citizen (for info on ad campaign)

National Gallery of Canada :

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I Love Love Love the new Dixie Chicks song "Not Ready to Make Nice". I'm sure you've heard about it, if you haven't heard it.. Let's just say they're still rocking the boat that is American politics - I guess that's what mearly having an opinion is considered these days.

This song is so powerful, it's about taking a stand and not backing down or making excuses for your beliefs. It also questions why others possibly care so much about one little person's opinion. Maybe if they were to have an opinion themselves they wouldn't care so much? I'm not sure...

The song is getting popular here in Canada, but last I heard the Dixie Chicks are still being boycotted on a lot of America radio stations.

The video is also fabulous - with kind of a Victorian / witch hunt persecution theme (at least thats what I get out of it). There is all this black paint covering the Dixie Chicks (like shame I'm assuming) and they keep trying to wipe their hands clean of it all..

"Forgive.. Sounds Good... Forget... I'm not sure I could... They say, Time heals everything, but I'm still waiting"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Kooky Celebrities and their baby websites...

What do all these Babies need websites for? Could their lives already be more interesting than mine?

Source: (C) BANG Media International

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has secured the rights to a website for her new daughter Shiloh.

(BANG) - Angelina Jolie is devoting a website to her new daughter, Shiloh Nouvel.

The actress wasted no time to secure the rights to an internet domain name the day her baby was born.

Angelina and partner Brad Pitt welcomed their new arrival into the world on Saturday (27.05.06) and hours later Angelina's legal team registered the web address

The website was registered in Angelina's name by her Los Angeles attorneys on Saturday evening.

Shiloh is not the only member of the Jolie-Pitt family with her own website. Angelina's attorneys secured and just days after Brad adopted the 'Tomb Raider' star's two older children.

New mother Gwen Stefani has also acted quickly to secure the internet domain name of her new son Kingston. The singer registered a least one URL for the newborn on May 25 - a day before the baby was reportedly born.

However, Britney Spears had to fight for after another party snapped up the web address before she managed to register it. Her lawyers battled to get it back for her.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were too slow to secure - that was registered before the couple could get it for their new daughter Suri.