The Return from a Long Absence

First off to all of my readers, I apologize for the nearly 5 month absence (one Jays blog in April broke it up, but still).

I thank everyone who has continued to read this blog. I was astounded to login in today to find at least 20 hits a day to my blog, wow! Thank you!

I wrote a blog back in February that received an unexpected reaction that left a remarkably bad taste in my mouth, which snuffed out my fire for writing this blog for a period of time.

As many of you know I won a contest to see my then favourite band and to have the chance to meet them. Things didn’t work out quite as planned due to some miscommunications and a lack of organization. The band was great about it all, however their management left something to be desired. The response of their management to what I considered an honest and relatively positive blog (given the reaction I could have had) was disappointing to me, as a fan and as someone who was trained in the public relations profession. I was asked to remove my blog and offered free swag to do so; a bribe for all intense and purposes, a bribe that never actually came to fruition.

I thought at one point that I might edit that blog and repost it, but that never happened. All that happened was that I was left with anger and disappointment and the inability to enjoy my once favourite band and an uncertainty of what to write next on my blog.

While I can now listen to my former favourite band without gritting my teeth or the desire to turn off or change the radio station, my enjoyment of my once favourite band has been tainted. Alas it is time to move on and bring life back to this blog of mine.

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I’m a little late on this topic, given the mass amount of attention it has gotten over the last couple of weeks, but I wanted to address the name change to the John Labatt Centre.

I am disappointed to see the current branding of the John Labatt Centre end; but it was to be expected.

I have to say, I was not thrilled to hear the proposed name change to Budweiser Gardens. We go from a classy sounding, award-winning venue to a venue that sounds trashy and like nothing more than a place to go get drunk off an average (somewhat redneck) american beer that in my mind I associate most strongly with Nascar. My mind sees the Budweiser Branding plastered across the front of a nascar for some reason.

I talked to various people who said they would no longer feel comfortable taking out of town clients to the JLC, if it was branded the Budweiser gardens, it doesn’t exactly scream professionalism.

I also need to point out the obvious, I sure hope this branding doesn’t come into effect until after the 2012 World Figure Skating Championship or else our city’s global branding is going to take a hit. Also when you think Figure Skating do you think, hmm I want to crack open a bud? Combining the two just doesn’t make for the best combination.

I was really hoping that the JLC would retain community branding. I was told that it is just a business decision. And while I understand that, I can’t say that I agree with it and I don’t know that it is a business decision, I see it more as a money decision, because business in this city has proven to be more community driven than this decision was. Business in the city of London make business decision, but they don’t abandon community in making that decision. While many companies may work on projects that take them out of the community, they still are deeply rooted in this community giving back, supporting community, building community. This decision wasn’t London Business decision (to me at least), this decision was all about the money.

While there are many negatives to this name change, it is just that, a name change and that is all. Sure it isn’t great that the world is going to equate London Ontario with Budweiser, but there isn’t much we can do about it at this point.

Thankfully though the only thing that is changing is the name. While I am disappointed with that, I am happy that everything else, at the moment, appears to be staying the same. The team at the JLC is remarkable. They have worked tirelessly to grow that arena into a world-class facility. Service is impeccable, marketing, promotion, everything about that team is outstanding. They have brought HUGE acts, shows and events to this city. That team has given this city that kind of experiences that were once relegated to the bigger cities like Toronto.  The building is still the same, the team is still the same, it is just the branding that has changed.

The JLC may become Budweiser Garden and it may be what outsiders come to know our entertainment venue as, but to us, the people who have been invested since day one, the JLC will always be the John Labatt Centre and it’s the people inside of it and not the words on the building that make that true.

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Last year I wrote a blog title 27. It was somewhat of a challenge to myself to find a way to get my life on track. Life had been beating me down since I finished University at 21 (almost 22) and college at 23 (almost 24). Staring down 27, I was determined to make some changes, to force life to give me what I wanted, what I deserved.

Well, 28 is 9 day away and I have to say, sometimes a little extra fight and a bit luck is just what you need. I pushed myself to get out there more and forced myself to overcome social discomfort and get more involved. I started attending geek dinner, making some great geek friends. I joined Emerging Leaders and while I haven’t been the greatest at always getting out to their events, I made some other great friends. I lucked out and made a friend on twitter last year, a fellow brock alumni, who just happened to be leaving their job in the communications field here in London. Turned out, it was the perfect opportunity for me. I applied for the job, nailed (in my opinion) my two interviews, had the perfect references and I landed the job. On August 15th ( a day I’m happening to take as vacation) I will celebrate my 1 year anniversary. I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job since I’ve started. I’ve gotten great feedback from some of the people I work with, from some clients that I’ve had the opportunity to help. I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool projects that I am very proud of. I’m getting a lot experience, that is bolstering my confidence, which had been broken down during the 3 year job hunt.

I still don’t quite have the social life I thought I would at this stage in my life, but that is what happens when you and your friends grow up and grow apart and are spread across vast geography. But I got great colleague who also fill the friend role in life. We’ve made a habit of going out approximately once a month to celebrate making it another month in our jobs, as three of us all started within a week to 10 days of each other.

There are still things I’m working towards in my life. Paying off some bills, finding that work/life balance. Evolving life from organized chaos to straight organization (my space at home isn’t exactly cooperating with that all of the time). Establishing me time and space.

I have a good start though and things are going in the right direction. I’m getting better understanding of myself, what I want, what I don’t want and what exactly I want my life to look like.

27 was a pretty good year, I’m looking forward to what 28 has in store.

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Well that’s it folk, my first blog back after a hiatus. To everyone who follow for blue jays info, sorry, I haven’t been on the ball this season. I have lots of thoughts, I just hadn’t had the inspiration to write, here’s hoping for a better second half after the All-Star break, for both the Jays and my writing about the Jays.

Thanks for the continued support!

Awesome!

The other day while I was Christmas shopping I bought myself a gift. When I got my new job I’d been told about Neil Pasricha and  The Book of Awesome. I’d bought it and read it cover to cover and quite enjoyed it. So while I was in Chapters the other day and say a 30% off sticker on The Book of (Even More) Awesome, I snagged it up.

I was just reading it now and came across the entry titled Getting a hug from someone you didn’t know you were in a hug relationship with  and this instantly made me smile and it was something I could relate to because I experienced that this past month.

Getting a hug from someone you didn’t know you had a hug relationship with reminds you somebody cares about you. Sometimes it’s good to skip the high fives and hand-shakes. Sometimes it’s just good to hug. 

~ Neil Pasricha, The Book of (Even More) Awesome

I smiled to myself and thought this is so true. On November 23rd (yes I remember dates, I’m kind of weird like that), I was having a rough day. I woke up that morning and my cell phone was buzzing. When my cell phone is buzzing it is one of three things, a missed call from a wrong number (this has been happening often), my sister needing something or a message from my best friend.

Knowing that my best friend was going through a difficult time, my heart sank as I opened my messages. It was a message from the night before that I had missed and it was bad news that broke my heart and instantly had me in tears. My best friend means the world to me and when he’s hurt or sad, I’m hurt and sad for him. I would do pretty anything for him, but geography sometimes makes that difficult. We live 2.5 hours apart, so I can’t always be there for him, like he was for me when I was going through a hard time. When I read the text all I wish I could do was give him a huge hug, like the ones he always gave me to brighten my days in a dark year.

I pulled myself together and got ready for a long day. On the drive in to work I ended up in tears again because the song I identify the most with him and all he did for me through my tough time came on the radio. I managed to hold back enough tears so that I didn’t look like a raccoon when I got to work. I made it to work, worked my butt off and  attended an event we were hosting that night for a group I’m a member of. The day provided distractions for me, but my best friend was still in the back of my mind the entire time. I was worried about him, sad for him and my greatest wish was to be able to give him a hug that could give him that brief moment of comfort and relief, but I couldn’t, which made me feel like I needed a hug.

I’m not really a ‘huggy’ person. Hugs were never a huge part of my life growing up or with friends. My best friend of the last 7 years is pretty much the person who brought hugging into my life (non-grandma hugging that is, grandma hugged me a lot). For my third year at Brock, he hugged me every single time he saw me, it was always one of my favourite things about seeing him.

Anyways, that night, at the end of the night, I was talking with a fairly new friend and walked with them to one of the exits of our building. He is someone I met less than 6 months ago. We’ve talked a fair bit and stuck together at events and become friends. Actually in a number of ways he reminds me of my best friend.  As we were saying goodnight and parting ways, he gave me a hug. It was rather unexpected. He was not someone who I realized I was in a hugging relationship with, this had never happened before. It was a pleasant surprise and something that I really needed that day. It caught me by surprise, but in a good way and I really appreciated that unexpected hug.

As Neil Pasricha would say, AWESOME!

In case the unexpected hugger happens to read this, thank you 🙂

Moving into/Living in Residence

Fanshawe today posted a PDF titled “Residence Packing List”

Last week I ran into a girl at a store in the mall who was preparing to move into residence.

As someone who lived in residence for four years of university and was involved in all things residence, including being a Don/RA one year I have some tips for those moving into rez or dropping a child off for their first year.

Packing for and Moving into Residence

1) Make a list – if you don’t have a list, feel free to use the one I have included at the end of this blog, it probably needs some updating, but it is a good basic list. Know what you need to take with you as far as clothes, food, supplies, etc.

2) Organize your packing, buy boxes, crates and things that will making moving easier, but also organize your room to maximize your space and so similar things are packed together. Pack a dolly or a trolly if you have one. You can also buy them relatively cheap, my parents bought one to move me back when I was in school

3) Buy some labels or masking tape and a pack of sharpies. Here is why: Put your name, residence and room number of all of your items. Move in day can be insane and often you can be unloading you vehicle on to a side-walk, taking trips to and from the sidewalk to your room with your possessions, and often you can’t take everything in one trip. So label everything, if something gets picked up by mistake, but has your name and your location on it, it will find its way back to you. Also the rez move in staff will love you for this because it makes their job so much easier. They are helping hundreds of students move in and have trouble remembering where they are going, so if it is written on what they are carrying, it is a great refresher and makes things move more smoothly, also they don’t have to wait for you to return to ask you where it is going.

4)Read and take with you, all of the material you were sent on residence. You may need your room assignment sheet to pick up your keys, along with your student ID. But also read what they sent you, these materials can include important information on what you are allowed to bring into residence and what you are not and they can also provide an introduction to the rules you are expected to follow in residence. Read them, so that if you have questions or concerns, you can ask your Don/RA before you find yourself in trouble.

5)Check out Facebook, this started back when I was in University, though it was hi5 not Facebook my students were using. Get online and check for the name of your residence, name of your house/hall/court/block/floor you might be able to connect with some of the people you are living with, which makes the transition a little easier, especially if you have roommates.

6)If you can, get the dimensions of your room, that way you don’t pack things that you don’t have room for. It’s a little late now, but if you can visit the residence you are moving into to get an idea of the space.

7) Pack a box of Kleenex in your vehicle for your Mom when she breaks down a dozen times during the day, including the long lonely drive home.

7) Parents this one is for you, you’ve bought your students everything that they need, but I will tell you there is one thing that my Dad got me that wasn’t something I needed, but something that meant a lot to me. My Dad bought me a package of those fat crayola crayons we all used to use in Kindergarten. He told me that it felt like yesterday he was sending me off to Kindergarten. He also said that everyone needed some crayons for when life got stressful, and we needed to simplify. It was also a sign that even though I was on my own, I still had my parents and they were behind me. These crayons hung pinned to my bulletin board for four years of University and always picked me up when I was down. Find something that will mean something to your child, something that will make them smile and pick them up when they are down. University/College is a great experience, but missing home happens and so does getting overwhelmed.

Living in Residence

1) Know the rules; I know, I know, rules suck, but they are there for a reason, be aware of them and do your best to follow them. Not following them can land you in a lot of trouble within residence and even with the police. Be educated and talk to your Don/RA. I spent the first week of my year as a Don talking with my students about the rules. They could ask me anything they wanted, tell me why they didn’t agree with it and I explained to them why those rules were there. For the most part, that made my court one of the best that year. My students knew the rules and while they didn’t always agree with them, they respected them and respected me. So talk to your Don, understand where they are coming from.

2)This is a safety thing, but know the emergency numbers on campus – Campus Security, Footpatrol, Your Don, Your Head Resident, have these numbers at your fingertips in case you or someone else needs help. Whether it is having Footpatrol walk you home at night after a late class, or calling your Don because some one is having a health problem, know the best ways to get someone help. There are people with health issues and there are people who will have bad experiences with alcohol; it is better to be prepared rather than caught off guard.

3) Get to know your Don/RA, get comfortable with them, so that if a residence (roommate problems) or a personal issue (depression/homesickness) comes up you know that you can go to them and feel comfortable talking to them. They are trained to help you get through almost anything and everything or know who to call if they don’t.

Now the Less serious stuff …

4) Get involved! There are so many great things to do in residence and on campus. There are students groups, councils, events, sports, etc. Find what you love and get involved. This is a great way to meet new people,  build life long friendships and figure out what things you really enjoy. I know that some of the stuff may seem lame to some, but give it a chance, you might have fun, or you might meet a good friend.

5) Start a group, take initiative. You want to create an ultimate frisbee group in your building, check with your Don, make sure there is nothing special you need to do, and then do it!  Arrange outings! Be social, if that’s your thing.

6) Create space and time for you. Sometimes you need “you time” in residence and it can be hard, especially if you are in a small room with a roommate. Take time for yourself when you know your roommate has a class, or find a quiet place on campus just for you.

7) Scope out the Laundry room, figure out what you need for coins (a lot are card swipes now) and figure out the best time to do your laundry. Trust me once you have perfected this, doing laundry will a piece of cake.

This is an education tip/trick:

8) Use calendars and lists. Know when things are due and have a check list. A lot of things end up due at the exact same time or all in a row, create a list of everything you have to do (or maybe just the big things) and cross each item off as you finish it, trust me this will make you feel good. Knowing you have 20 things due can be overwhelming, but seeing a list shrink as you accomplish things can be motivating and make you feel like you breathe again.

 

Most of all, have fun! Enjoy your residence experience. Most of my best friends today are people I met in residence. 

Let me say this though, not everyone has a great time in residence, and that is ok. Residence isn’t for everyone, but give it your best shot and if you don’t enjoy it, make friends off campus, bury your head in your books and know that Residence is only an 8 month experience that will fly by. 

 

The List

The Packing/Move in List – This is the list I created as a first/second year student back in 2002 and 2003. It has been used by many friends, many family members and many strangers. Not everything on this list may be allowed in your residence, so check out the residence rules if you’re unsure. Each University or College has different rules on certain things, so know what your residence allows. And sorry guys, this list is a bit more female oriented, so just ignore things that don’t apply to you or your child.

 

School Checklist

Bathroom (* if own bathroom)

* shower curtain/curtain clips

* bathmat

– 3 to 6 towels/hand towels/washcloths

– toilet paper

* bathroom cleaning supplies

* toilet brush

* door hanger/shelf

– toothbrushes/toothpaste

-scope

-soap/bodywash

-shampoo/conditioner/gel

-bandaid

-polysporn cream

-eyedrops

-advil/Tylenol (ibuprophen/acetominephine)

-razor/shaving cream

-nail clippers

-cotton swabs/balls

-lip balm/gloss

-blow dryer

-pony tail holders/hair accessories

– make-up items

-lotions

-bathsoaps etc

-kleenex

-paper towel

-nail polish remover

-face cleaner

-deodorant

-perfume/cologne

-hair brushes/combs

-loufa

-contact solution

-tweezers

– Flip flops if communal bathroom

– Carrier for your stuff if it’s a communal bathroom

 

MISC

-Umbrella

-Duct Tape

-Masking tape

-sticky tac

-Flashlight (one to carry in bag)

-Screwdrivers (possibly one for eyeglasses and a regular one)

-Push Pins

– Ipod/Ipad/Mp3s/Tablets and their chargers etc

-Stereo/Docking Station

-Book Bags/ Dufflebags

-Key chain/clip

-extra light bulbs

-floor lamp/desk lamp

-milk crates

-drawer plastic containers

-tubs

-garbage can

-alarm clock

-sheets

-comforter/duvet

-pillows

-blankets

-gym/beach towels

-tv/vcr/dvd/dvr and cabling/accessories

-Gaming equipment

-sport equipment

-shoerack

-Laundry baskets/bag

-laundry soap/Zero/stain remover

-cordless phone

– room decorations…pictures, nicnaks, stuffed animals etc

– deck of cards

– pencil crayons and construction paper

-cell phone/ charger/ calling cards

-calendar

-wallet

-bottled water/drinks

-fridge magnets

-dust cloths/dust stuff

-windex

-books

-debit card

-health card

-social insurance card

-hospital card

-camera

-cheques (if necessary)

-batteries (AA, AAA, D)

-gum

-jewelry/accessories

-hangers

– door stop

– map (if you are new to the area)

-sunglasses

-hats

-coins (whatever laundry machines take)

 

Kitchen (*if a full kitchen)

-Can opener

– hot pot (can make pasta, rice, or make tea)

– tea kettle

-sandwich maker

-cheese slicer

-cheese grater

-microwave

-dishes/plates/bowls

*oven mits

-silverware/kitchen utensils

-tea towels/dish cloths

*Grill

*Toaster (not allowed in traditional rez)

*pots and pans

* Cookie sheets

* corning ware

* Mugs/glasses etc

-fridge

-spatula

– mini Fridge/Freezer (not allowed in some residences, only allowed to have the ones they provide)

 

School Supplies

-Computer w/ proper requirements and cables

-printer/cartridges

-paper – printer and lined

-paper clips

-hole punch

-stapler/staples

-ruler

-hi-liters

-pens/pencils/eraser

-pencil lead

-pencil sharpener

-calculator

-notepad (mini maybe)

-white out

-cd’s/diskettes

-dictionary/thesaurus

-binders

-clipboard

-envelopes

-stamps

-citation book

-day planner (in book store or sometimes free at frosh fair)

-scotch tape

-elastics

-post it’s

-erasable board markers

-glasses/contacts

 

Move in material/start material    ** wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the move in

– all information from the university

– resident assignment sheet

– phone plan information

– fridge rental info (if necessary)

– orientation week guide

– dcb cheque (if needed)

– student card

– move in procedure material (know move in time)

– moving cart

– textbook list

– resident handbook

– time-table

– all passwords and codes necessary

– registration guide

– campus map

– contact list

– OSAP information

– cash

 

 

Clothes

– bras/underwear/boxers etc

– socks

– jeans

-tear aways/comfy pants/yogapants

-hoodies

-t-shirts

-tanks

-sweat shirts

-bathing suit

-skirts

-formal wear/semi-formal wear

-jackets (fall/winter)

-gloves/hat etc.

-pajamas

 

-running shoes

-boots

-dress shoes

-sandals

-slippers

 

 

Good things to invest in

– photo copy card!

 

 

Tips for Driving (and not killing me!)

The last two days I’ve come across some idiotic behaviour on the road that I wish to address.

1) If you are driving down the road behind a slow-moving vehicle and feel the need to pass, wait until you do not have a solid line and on-coming traffic.

In other words, you do not pass in a fairly blind area, when there is on coming traffic, because that puts you in my line, heading directly for me and I do not appreciate that.

Thankfully, you were spotted and my vehicle basically stopped to allow you to return to your own lane. Please drive smarter!

 

2)  If you are stopped at a 2 way stop, that means you and the on-coming traffic (cars heading towards you) are required to stop, until traffic moving across your path passes and there is a break in traffic. You may continue when your path is SAFE and clear of traffic. Drivers not facing a stops sign are not required to stop, they have the right of way.

In other words, when you see me coming and I am less than 50 ft away it is not okay to slowly drive into the intersection and then proceed to stop in the middle of the intersection (when you saw me coming at you) nearly causing a collision. Thankfully my breaks stopped me just short of slamming into the side of your vehicle. Your stupidity nearly cost me my car and my personal well-being.

 

So I request that people please obey the rules of the road and drive smarter! I know I am not a perfect driver and have made blunders of my own, but these two things really irked me and could have killed me.