Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Back to HOCKEY Night in Canada

i haven't been this happy since i got the "my little pony" dream castle for christmas 1985. seriously- i know lots of people are still angry about this lockout - still angry that people we work for could have done this to us and created a huge crisis in public broadcasting in the meantime. but i'm too happy to be angry anymore. i get to go back to work. that's all that really matters. it will be tough to start from square one - and especially to fill holes left by people who have, well, left! but i'm willing to give it a try. i'm also willing to work harder to make sure that we create a product worth protecting. what i'm not willing to do anymore is abuse my contract. working for free or not taking vacation time when i'm entitled. it's not going to happen. not anymore.
so the mood at the pizza meeting today was light... jovial even. everyone was just so pleased to be back... to be getting a real paycheque again... to have the stress being lifted off their shoulders. it's amazing what that can do - i'm actually so proud of my colleagues for holding it together as well as they did. it's an amazing group of people i work with. but i always knew that.
so today i was just perusing some of the contract details and it looks like there's even something in there for me (a temporary). there was a hint that if you've been filling a position for 18 months consecutively, youc could be entitled to staff status. i'll have to check the fine print, but since i've been doing my job for nearly 3 years, i may finally be able to gain job security. and plan my life. i'm turning 30 soon- i think it's time.
so this will also be my last blog entry. it's been fun. it's been a great way to get out some of my thoughts and keep some people entertained (including myself =)). so without fanfare i say goodbye to "lockout night in canada" to make way for "hockey night in canada". cue theme.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Putting it Out There

if you don't want to read the serious stuff, i suggest skipping ahead to after the "hmmm".

It's been said, depending on who you talk to, that this lockout has 5-7 emotional stages that mirror those in grief: shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, acceptance. some for the sake of brevity have eliminated some like guilt (as far as i can tell: we've done nothing wrong here - and i'm a catholic, i KNOW guilt when i see it!). well i have to admit, i think i'm stuck in the anger stage. i know a lot of those around me have self-actualized to the point where they're in the acceptance stage, but i can't get there. anger is like the big toll bridge standing in the way of reaching depression or acceptance, and i've run out of change (and i'm not carrying my visa or interac cards either!). and every communique i get from either side just ads fuel to the fire because the rhetoric coming from both sides seems so thick. i'm starting to doubt i will ever have a staff job with the cbc, even when this is resolved. i HAD a staff job once upon a time - but i grew out of it. and when i wanted to take the better job, the job that i have now, i was forced to give up my permanent status. basically, as i explained to my mom this morning, probably the only reason i'm still working is because i've had two managers now that seem to believe in me, and think i'm competent. but the longer this goes on, the longer i'm beginning to doubt that this fight is about making people like me a permanent part of the workforce. i guess i can't afford to start thinking these things now. ironically enough, what i did catch myself thinking this morning was of a potential question line for mayor stephen mandel for the end of the year interview our host does with the mayor (don't worry portia - it's not the "if you could be any kind of vegetable, what would you be?" kind of questions). i guess that sort of tells me that i'm not taking that much of a mental break from work - and i guess this also makes me angry because despite that i'm always "working", i'm somehow not the kind of person the cbc wants as a staff member. hmmm.
ok, enough with the dead seriousness... i just had to get that out there.
this was the first week i didn't have temp work to deal with. it was kind of nice, actually. financially scary, but nice. i went to pack food at the food bank for the first time this week. it was good. i learned that sorting food is much easier when you say what it is out loud, a la scott findlay (right scott?). "tomato sauce, tomato sauce...okaaaaay... ah! here!" i also learned that some people donate the strangest stuff (12 bottles of MINT SAUCE??? a jar of HAGGIS??? no, i'm not even kidding). but most importantly, i learned they need so much help there. i think the small core staff do an admirable job, but i can tell that on a normal day, sorting those bins and packing all those boxes would be a daunting task that really needs more hands. i hope we can continue our work there when and if we get back to work at cbc.
we also had a staff meeting this week with free pizza (thank you pipefitters). i ate too much of it. the meeting was just a general update, but before things got started, we were treated to a rallying cry by glenn freeman, who i haven't seen that excited since ... well... uh ... ever. i'm kidding glenn, but seriously, it was a nice attempt at rallying the troops. we were also, as usual, treated to the comedic stylings of mark connolly.
we also had a rally in the downtown on wednesday. black balloons with the exploding pizza bastardized into a skull and crossbones motif. i think you get the picture.
i also have discovered the joy of the sudoku puzzle. it's frustrating, mind-numbing, fun, and can be such a tease when you're so close to finishing but can't figure out that one freaking number! i know that i'm nowhere near the talents of rod gorda, but i'm trying rod i'm trying! and have i mentioned, it kills 2 hours on the line, easy?
ok so before i go, i must say thanks to: dan mclennan (for continually feeding our caffeine addictions), the pipefitters (damn good pizza), jim macdonald (again for delivering breakfast monday), and all those that stop and say good words on the line or in letters to the editor. it does make a difference.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Event Update

Event for this week as sent to me by CMG Edmonton:

Hi all,

Here's what you need to know about Wednesday's event:

Our theme is "walking the line for public broadcasting".

Gather all your friends/family/neighbours to come to City Center Mall on Wednesday.

We've invited unions, artists, and other CBC supporters.

The idea is to MAKE A LOT OF NOISE. We want a spectacle.

Regular picketing will be suspended for that day. We want you there from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m - that will count as 4 hours. Please have your guests be there from noon to 1 p.m.

This will be a labour protest not a live show.

PLEASE try to come as we want a big crowd! Wear your signs!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Oh and one more thing...

just a little note about this blog: i've been noticing a lot of blogs are very smart, full of deep thoughts and some real reporting work on what's going on out there... that's not what my blog is all about. it's about whatever i feel like talking about and whatever's going on that i can remember. unfortunately you won't find too many deep thoughts or plans for saving the cbc here. if that's what you're looking for, try some other blogs. if you'd like to get an overview and some humour, then this may be the place for you.

A Blog in Three Parts

The main reason I’ve been such a slacker when it comes to this blog is that I’ve pretty much been hauling ass for a week, cramming in working with picketing to eek by a living. So there are going to be a few parts to this entry – first will be a complaint, then a catchup and then some interesting reading/listening.
THE COMPLAINT
So I don’t expect any sympathy from anyone for my situation. Really, I don’t. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself – getting up at 4:30 am to go walk the line for 2 hours only to ride the ass-bus to a job I don’t want to do for 6 hours, where i've just been assigned the challenging task of manually changing prices for 10000 items, then board the smelly bus again to get to the picket line for another 2 hours. Then gym, home, get lunch ready for the next day then bed. But then i think there are people worse off than me. And I’ve made my own financial bed, and I have to lie in it – as in I have to do what I have to do to get by. BUT what I will say is this – I don’t understand how some can actually try and make things MORE difficult for people in my position by putting up unnecessary roadblocks. I’m being intentionally vague here because I don’t want to outright slag anyone. Let me give an example. Let’s take picketing hours- I’m honest about my hours. I’m sure that 99.9% of my coworkers are. But there are extenuating circumstances which dictate the precision of your timeline, IE I got here at 4:05 and not 4 pm because my bus was late or someone has to leave at 5:50 to pick up their kid from soccer. But given what I, and others, have to go through to get there – don’t fucking give us a hard time for putting down 4:00 instead of 4:05. EVERYONE is making an effort to be out there, volunteer, etc. And frankly, life happens – I mean I don’t go through this much scrutiny AT WORK. And please don’t check up on me on the picket line – trust me – I’m out there, I have the bad hair and frostbite to prove it. And if anyone wants to hear about the hoops I had to go through to retrieve my cheque this week – just ask me while I’m walking around the building.
THE CATCHUP
So what HAS been going on at the line this week? Of course, tons of rumors flying around – we’ll be back by Oct 1, management’s in it for the long haul, so-and-so’s leaving, etc etc. frankly, I’m done with that – rumors are rumors and nothing more. There’s no one on earth who knows what the master plan is except the masters, so there’s no point in sickening yourself thinking about it. Although it is comforting to talk about sometimes because then you sort of feel what you’re hearing may not be way out in left field.
There’s a food bank benefit being organized by Glassman et al for the 27th of September. It will be a free concert/show, and I don’t have many more details. Hopefully they’ll start promos soon. Bill Stadel and I were trying to think of some Edmonton big name bands that may draw a crowd – but we couldn’t really come up with any universal mass appeal artists. Corb Lund was about it – but I hear he’s on tour. I think Gary Daelman’s CBC band should play! I don’t know their name, but I’ll tentatively call them “gary and the lockouts”. Gary: Think about it! As an aside, andree found this band called “peter mansbridge and the cbcs” for real. They’re an Ontario group – kind of average music with an above average band name. I’ll link to them later.
What else what else? There was a cmg meeting this week, which I missed, updating everything. Apparently the hilights were as follows, according to my sources: Guy Moquin ran into Brad Pitt working on his movie set, Mark Connolly was poking fun at Ron Wilson in some way, our lockout pay went up, and oh yeah we’re still locked out. Special thanks to the United Nurses of Alberta for providing pizza.
I was put in charge of the coffee card last night and this morning! So much power! But I was a very benevolent coffee card keeper – people should put me in charge more often.
It’s very cold these days on the line – so here’s some advice: no matter what Josh Classen or Kristy Gordon or that new Nicola chicky from global OR ANY weather network “personality” says about the weather, dress WARMLY. And by that I mean full on warm jacket, sweater, scarves and mitts and long underwear if the need be. People are seriously being caught off guard by really how cold it is out there – and it’s not going to get warmer. May I also recommend actually walking on the line – it keeps you warm.
Gareth told me this morning that apparently Mark Harvey’s dog gently bit a homeless man the other day. I think he said it was more like a nip, but enough to make the man stop paying attention to him.
READING/LISTENING
So in the past couple of days I’ve read Robin Rowland’s vision for the CBC and listened to Tod Maffin’s vision for the CBC. Both visions have merit. I agree with Robin’s points about re-investing in local broadcasting wholeheartedly – after all, isn’t that where compelling stories are supposed to come from? If you’re not involved in your community, how can you ever expect to uncover anything? Anyhoo, Tod’s vision is available to listen to from his unplugged website and from that site, you can also link to Robin’s blog The Garrett Tree to read his ideas for the future of the mother corp. And who knows, you may get some ideas of your own, and hopefully, so will management.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Why I Love Paul Workman

ok, admittedly, there are several reasons. the man is a fantastic journalist and writer - he could make 3 hours of staring blankly at a wall sound interesting. he has a keen eye for letting the picture do the talking and he's not too hard on the eyes either. but today i have even more respect for the man. today i read that he's been placed on leave by the cbc because he refuses to work while we're out. now apparently he's part of that small group of foreign correspondents that CAN work (veeeeeeery clever how they got around that one), but he isn't. and he's not afraid of the consequences. so while i didn't think it was possible, and while it probably doesn't mean too much to him, paul workman has gone up a notch in my book.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What Were They Thinking?



BILL STADEL - Senior Producer, Canada Now

I'm thinking i'm going to read Christie Blatchford which I don't normally do, but now I have the time.

The Kindness of Strangers

12 hours. I picketed today for 12 hours. why, you make ask, would anyone participate in this insanity? well i'll be honest: for me, strike pay just isn't going to cut it, and neither would working 40 hours a week for 10 bucks an hour as a receptionist, so i must do both: 20 hours picketing, 20 hours work: maybe then i'll be ok. incidentally, i didn't think i'd find myself in this situation because i didn't think this thing would continue that long. at this point, there's a voice in the back of my head going holy crap lets get this thing over with now! talk, do whatever. i know that some people would call me the weak link for saying so, but frankly those people can f-off because not only do i miss what i do, i admit i miss some of the security it brought. and i know i'm not the only one who feels that way, even though i may be one of the few who admit it.
but i digress. so 12 hours picketing sounds crazy, it actually wasn't all that bad. first of all, there were tons of people throughout the day for various shifts, therefore i was always amused by someone at any given time. i got to spend some quality time with lots of folks, among them, bill stadel who i haven't really talked to since he came back from vacation last week and i was working elsewhere. secondly, i got lots of exercise. LOTS. i didn't feel i even had to go to the gym afterwards. and third: hey, i'm done more than half my picket duty for the week.
today there was a nice delivery of sandwiches from some people. jim mcdonald from BN brought over sandwiches from the italian centre bakery and beverages, generously bought by ann sullivan, who's on mat leave (we miss you ;) and katherine harding from the globe (thanks harding!). he also told us the italian centre folks are giving them a discount on the sandwiches of a buck off each, which is also very generous, so i wanted to say thanks on this site. it just reminds me that people haven't forgotten about us -we're still friends, colleagues and customers!
so tomorrow shelagh rogers rolls into town with her caravan, and we're having another sort of pirate broadcast in the city hall vicinity. thanks again to the folks at cjsr for lending equipment. also there's a morning show broadcast tomorrow AM on cjsr at 7:30am i THINK. don't quote me on that. anyhoo, i hope it all goes well - i'm sure it will.

Friday, September 02, 2005

i just can't stop

posting that is...
i had to post this as the quote of the day - comes from Conservative MP Steven Fletcher (you know - the MP who in question period asked health minister Ujjal Dosanjh to "step outside"). Anyhoo, he went to visit picketers and brought donuts and wanted to hear their concerns, and had the following to say:

"Fletcher says he usually likes CBC Radio, but "'I listened to it coming here and it's crap.'"

i love it - a simple turn of phrase that embodies the current state of affairs.

woo hoo!

kay 've gone from sad to hopeful - guild and cbc sign off on 12 articles! it's like a roller coaster of emotions!

The Brown Envelope

You know what I’m talking about: that very ominous envelope that’s arriving in everyone’s mailbox from CBC inviting us to “get the facts”? Ok it’s white, but I was making a weak attempt at being clever.
(incidentally – when I got the envelope, I started to worry thinking I had either A. been fired or B. was being offered money to cross the line. And I was on the verge of ripping it open in a sweaty panic when Catherine said “stop! don’t do it”. So she told me vaguely what was in it and what I’m supposed to do, but all night it sat in my apartment taunting me and begging to be opened. But I resisted – wish I could say the same for that chocolate bar in my cupboard. Anyhoo, lots of thanks to Tod Maffin for posting on unplugged. I thought I would go crazy with curiosity)
So after reading the contents, I’m actually feeling a little insulted. We’re just being beaten over the head with the same message over and over: “the right people for the right jobs at the right time”. (by the way, I fully expect that to replace “trusted, connected, Canadian” as the CBC’s slogan very soon). Who the HELL wants to live with that over their heads??? I’ve been a TV producer for 2.5 years in Edmonton, and for nearly that long, I’ve lived in constant fear of not having a job at certain points: end of summer, end of fiscal, you name it. My coworkers are tired of hearing me worry about it, my boss I’m sure is tired of hearing me worry about it (because I know she really does want me there and values what I do), and frankly, I’ve stressed myself out to the point of anxiety worrying about it. And to think, I’m in that “young group” that certain people claim don’t want to be stuck in the same jobs with the same company forever. Young people DO want job security. We DO want opportunities to advance in the same company. We DO want benefits (I don’t want to lose my teeth at 40, do you?) and we DO want to invest ourselves in the CBC – that’s WHY WE’RE HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!
I do love public broadcasting and I want to work for the CBC. When I was in j-school, I found myself in the Toronto broadcast centre for some random thing and I turned to my friend and said “you know, I really want to work for CBC one day.” I was really lucky because that day came really fast. And 5.5 years later, I still think I’m lucky, I know that. But I’m not sure if the CBC knows how lucky it is to have all these talented people working here. And that makes me sad. And those are my facts.