Friday, February 18, 2011

WINNIPEG-Murray Burt, former editor of the Winnipeg Free Press and president of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, spoke to Creative Communications students from Red River College Wednesday evening, about journalism, human rights and freedom of the press.  Good journalism makes things happen says Burt, whether it gets a politician fired, a police officer fined, or changes policy.  Burt spent a majority of his speech on the history of the CJA and its 54 member countries; he encouraged students to join the Commonwealth Journalists Association for a bargain price of $10. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

With Pick in Hand

With pick in hand, it strikes the strings of the guitar; a power chord shakes the stage.  The distortion fed through the amps is overdriven to the point that the notes sound quite indistinguishable from each other.   The low dense bass line rattles the lights on the wall; the audience felt it in each breath.  Drum kit on a high-rise, James is destroying the bass drum with his quick feet and double pedal, while he hits quite an assortment of crashes, rides and symbols.  The sweat is starting to bead on my forehead, dripping down my bangs that swoop in front of my eyes, smearing my vision of the neck of my guitar.  Lucky for me I don’t need to look; I could play this song in my sleep.  Jordynn, one of my best friends is here in the front row.  As we make contact with our eyes, I wave to say hello, which is the best I can do from this distance.  She brought her camera with her and promised to take some photos of the band.  I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye.  I knew it was her as I avert my gaze.  She’s only 90 pounds or so, battling in the front lines of the mosh pit, trying to get some decent pictures of the band.   Looking at the expression on her face as some fat and sweaty character pushes up against her; I began to regret asking for the favor.  It’s now the end of the set, I turn off my amp, and wave one last time to the crowd “Goodnight.”  I can’t see Jordynn anymore but she probably went backstage to congratulate us on the show.  Once backstage the band and I begin to pack our equipment and load it into our vehicles outside.  “Still no sign of Jordynn” I said.
“She’s probably still inside, let’s go get her.”  Chance said.
The handle of the door was cold, I only touched it for a second, but I swear I got mild frost bite from it.  After 20 minutes of searching the floor for her, we saw her flattened on the floor, trampled by the crowd.  She’s dead.  And from that moment on, so was the band.  In a year everything changed.  Chance and James graduated from high school and left me behind.  Nobody had time for practice anymore and the whole band thing disappeared and was replaced with women and drinking.  Ah yes, the perfect remedy for any depressing situation.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Communication Breakdown

Relationships Between Teens and their Parents 

“I can’t relate to my parents, they don’t know what I’m going through.”  I muttered those words every day for what seemed like my entire childhood.  Even if they had good advice, I’d be too stubborn to listen.  The problem with most teenager and parent relationships is the failure to communicate.  This includes not knowing how to listen and talk effectively.  It is difficult being a teenager and no one will deny that, but when a parent has some useful advice for their teen, they don’t know how to communicate it to them.
 I hate it when my parents try to enforce their beliefs and their values on me.  My father frequently preaches to me about Christianity no matter how obvious I make it that I’m not interested in listening.  The problem is on both sides; my dad doesn’t know how to talk to people.  His idea of a conversation is him talking while the other person nods.  I suppose I’m no better either, sometimes I will stop listening even before he starts talking.  The conflict between me and my parents had gotten almost unbearable, so over the last little while I have tried to make the relationship with me and parents better through three main steps.   

Step 1: Stop

When I find myself arguing with my mom or dad, I try to stop. That's right. I just try to hush up for a minute, because chances are good that I'm being defensive or confrontational.  If I can manage to stop myself from talking, I usually find that I can calm down quickly.  But if I can quit arguing for a minute, it seems that my perspective changes and I start to realize that I'm being a bit childish. Emotionally I may still be upset, but logically I understand that yelling and fighting definitely doesn't make things better.

Step 2: Look

Once I've stopped arguing, I look my parents in the eye. You'd be amazed at how much easier it is to communicate with your parents when you're actually looking at them. Looking away doesn't do much of anything except give them the impression that I'm not listening or that I don't care.  Also, when I'm looking away it's easy to start thinking about what I'm going to say next, instead of concentrating on what my parents are saying to me.

Step 3: Listen

Finally, I listen to what they're saying (or at least I try). Communication can't happen unless both sides hear and listen to each other. There is nothing wrong with my hearing, but that doesn't mean I always listen to the sounds that people are making. When I argue with my parents, I can physically hear what they're saying without mentally listening to it.  Whether I want to admit it or not, my mom and dad have been on this earth a lot longer than I have and their experience can actually help them give some pretty sound advice at times. But if that advice falls on proverbial deaf ears, it's not going to make much of a difference.  That's why I try to stop, look, and listen instead of arguing with my parents. I don't always agree with them, even after I've heard them out, but I think it's safe to say that it truly has helped our relationship over the long run.