When everything is working fine, you never really notice how great you have it… until it all goes wrong. Some weeks ago, I started having lots of trouble with my left eye. One day, I suddenly became aware of what felt like a tiny particle just under my left eyelid, and it was there all the time. Every time I would blink I could feel it. I bought lubricant eye drops to flush out my eye. I remember wiping my eye out and then blinking. It was still there. I flushed it again. Still there. After about three tries I gave up on it thinking I had over stimulated my eye with artificial drops.
Even though it bugged me, I let it slide for a few days. After a time, it actually started feeling worse so I finally decided to make an emergency eye appointment. One of the reasons I did it was because I’ve had a scratched cornea before (stupid me changed out of my glasses into my contact lenses outdoors and scratched my eye with a dust particle once) and it was bugging me in the same way so I thought I might get it looked at… just to be sure. The eye doctor told me it was just dryness and that there are many people suffering with eye dryness at this time of year who have been in to see him. He gave me a bottle of gel eye drops and sent me on my way. I used that bottle up until it was finished just like he had prescribed, but I still felt that darn particle under my eyelid.
So yesterday I was asked to look after my cousin's two children Hunter and Paya. Both of whom are under 4. At first, the thought of me keeping these two active kids would be easy. Boy was I wrong.
When I went to their home, I knew I was in for a special treat. Hunter, who has a speech impediment, began giving me a hint that my day with them was going to be an interesting one. Sure enough, one by one he and his sister began screaming, yelling and laughing as I chased after them. Hunter, would baby talk with her baby sister who is only 2 (perhaps planning their attack) would tell her to go to the room n throw toys into the freezer. While I was in the room taking out the toys out of the freezer, Hunter would get a chair and climb up to the cupboards yelling, "Apple sauce" LOL. As I took him down from the counter, he would grab my legs and wait for me to start walking.
I tried to best keep my cool by lowering my voice to the point I had to finally put one of them to bed. Although she cried, I laid on the bed with her and read her a story about Na-na-bush, an old legend our teacher used to read to us when it would be thundering. (I am not sure if this was a good nap time story but I did anyway LOL).
Back to Hunter, while her sister was asleep, he began throwing his toys at me, and yelling "apple sauce, apple sauce" finally he got to a bag of chips and sat in front of the tv all happy and quiet. I decided to do some home schooling with him and taught him how to count by using his fingers, toes and body parts. As He counted, my mind went back to the time I too was a child. I could remember giving my babysitters a hard time to the point they would throw us in the room until we were sound asleep.
In the battle of the mind, there is always two sides. There is the good side and the bad side.
The good side will always stick to the positive while the bad side sticks to the negative. As with everybody, I too deal with my inner demons - often times I want to let it overtake me but when I look at in another angle of the situation, I see that if it does, then my gifts and dreams will perish and die.
Recently, I had to tackle with a very tough decision that involved my position at SEVEN. I had feelings of defeat, hopelessness and a bit of depression as I thought of what the outcome would be if I do let this go. Then I took another angle of it, If I do stay, maybe this feeling will make me a stronger and more courages person. I took the time to consult with a friend of mine who told me one thing I always say to him too, that is "follow your heart". I felt like I was in a crossroads between good and bad. Finally. My decision was to stay with SEVEN until it is actually time for me to go.
I am here not for myself but for others. I desire to help my fellow young people who help them walk in the positive side of life. I desire to see them succeed and overcome their struggles in life. Decisions in life often times come with a price. It's that price that proves that what we do hows that we are doing something right. I am proud to be involved with SEVEN. The work we do, the things we do behind closed doors are only small things yet we believe will grow bigger in the long run.
I woke up this past Saturday morning with a monster headache and I was grouchy. I was a mess of sweaty and didn’t want to be bothered. It was 10:30 am and the mercury was already almost hitting 30 Celcius. Man oh man. I felt like it was going to be a cruddy day and it hadn’t even begun. I think I spent about one hour just keeping quiet and trying not to snap because of the crazy heat and my throbbing head. Finally I decided it wouldn’t hurt to drink water and lots of it. First I drank one and then two and finally three glasses all in a row. I felt all sloshy in the stomach but I still had my headache immediately thereafter. I retreated to the couch to sit it out and see what would happen. It took a full 45 minutes for the fog and the throbbing to clear from my brain then I knew it was going to be OK. It was at that point that I decided to carry a re-usable water bottle with me everywhere I went for the rest of the weekend. It worked well. It’s been unusually hot outside, so yeah, you may want to carry around a good, healthy supply of water to keep you functioning well too. Just sayin’!
What a summer we’ve had so far! SEVEN has won two youth leadership awards in the last two months. That’s really something. When SEVEN was formed, we never thought about anything other than helping other youth for the simple reason that we want to make our world a better, happier place to live in. We also wanted to make darn sure that the world knows where our youth stand on issues that affect them. We never thought that would lead to being noticed and given awards for the work SEVEN does. So today, we get calls, messages, emails and visits from other youth, people who work with youth and people who just like to read our magazine telling us what an inspiring collection of stories we have printed and distributed and that they had no idea how much diversity and colour there are in the individuals who live in our territory until they picked up a copy of SEVEN. Hearing people come to us saying ‘thank you. It’s about time someone had the wherewithal to say what needed to be said’ is probably one of the most satisfying compliments we’ve heard. But really, I think what rocks my world most about working with SEVEN are the young people that we have been fortunate enough to interview or print submissions from. The diversity in their lives is as rich and varied as the types of subjects they present to our readers. We’ve had a wide variety of youth who have come forward to talk about how their experiences with everything from unemployment, teenaged parenthood and coming out as a gay in their First Nation to stepping out as a model in the fashion industry, being a highly competitive and high-functioning athlete or life as a volunteer in the community dealing with serious land management issues.
For the next two weeks, I will be crewing on my first professional film shoot.
I’ll be the 2nd camera assistant – or the clapper-loader, as it’s also known.
The role of the 2nd cam asst was discussed in a mini-documentary we watched in the film program about the production team of the TV show “Lost.”
One of the show’s producers said the 2nd camera assistant is usually a “beginner” job for those looking to get into camera work. The 2nd camera assistant is responsible for loading the film and then unloading it after it’s been used, careful not to expose it to the light or else ruin it – and totally undo the day’s work since the film is the final product of everyone’s work.
Then the producer remarked the irony of putting the most inexperienced member do what is “essentially the most important job” of the shoot.
The fact that a mistake in either loading or unloading the film can cost the production thousands of dollars for reshoots makes me a bit nervous.
Another task of the 2nd cam asst. is to fill out the camera report and label the film cans after unloading. Error in these tasks can also ruin film.
I have had experience as a camera assistant in student films – which included the tasks of loading and unloading the film – and the films turned out OK, so I know I can do the task.
Still, the idea of doing it several times a day is unnerving. I guess all I can do is prepare myself and do the job as best I can.
Being the “clapper” is another one of the 2nd camera assistant’s duties.
I’m a video gamer. I hesitate to call myself a serious gamer, since it might imply that’s all I do in my spare time, but I am definitely more than a casual gamer.
As someone who has other hobbies (guitar, photography, reading, writing), video gaming is a bit of a detriment to those hobbies because it is time-consuming, non-productive activity. Where I can write, take photos or play music and be able to share those with others, a six-hour gaming session will yield nothing save sore thumbs and achievements that exist only within the game’s virtual world.
So why do I play? Well, there are a variety of reasons that makes video gaming compelling to me.
The initial appeal of gaming of course is the game play. Like most guys, I like FPS' (First-Person Shooters), where I can look down the sights and shoot AI (Artificially Intelligent) characters or other players within the virtual world. The Call of Duty and Medal of Honor series are some favourites of mine.
Another favourite of mine is stealth-action games like the Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell series, where the object is to sneak and hide from enemies in a variety of settings (jungle, military base, urban street, etc.).
I love the strategic elements to these games.
I also like a couple of survivor-horror games, such as the Silent Hill series, where the character wanders through creepy environments and encountering various creatures and creepy characters.
There’s a variety of gameplay and genre types, such as RPG’s (Role-Playing Games), where you go on quests and upgrade your custom-designed character’s skillsets. And there’s the popular music games (Guitar Hero, Rockband) that are great for parties and get-togethers.
Couchiching First Nation sets up a toll booth on a highway. First Nation communities and organizations protest the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax.
These actions have drawn criticism and anger from some non-native people – at times inciting what some would describe as racist attitudes. What these people overlook or ignore are the reasons and history behind the protests and generalize
These ignorant attitudes reminded me of Indigenous Voices & Vision class last semester.
The course, which is essentially Native studies, was mandatory in our program. There were 40 students in this class, with six of us being Native. Of the 34 non-Native students, half were either from southern Ontario (14) or outside the province (3). The rest were from Thunder Bay (14) or another part of northern Ontario.
When polled, only a handful had even heard of residential school, the high suicide rates among Aboriginal youth, and many of the socio-economic issues that affect First Nations. Only a few had taken a course in high school that taught Native history and issues.
When we had class discussions, some opinions or thoughts had no consideration of historical context or background on any of the issues. One student opined that if all Canadians REALLY were equal, then First Nations would “pay taxes” and have the same fishing and hunting limitations “as the rest of us.”
For several students, this mindset persisted throughout the first month of the course.
This lack of understanding surprised me. While I knew there are a lot of non-Natives who are ignorant and uninformed of Native issues, the lack of information or amount of disinformation was disturbing.
So SEVEN finally launched its inaugural radio show on WRN. It aired on May 27 at 7 p.m. It was really something to have to put together. My background is in print journalism, so capturing audio via interviews, engineering the audio once captured and whatnot is not really my thing. It's also didn't come naturally to me. LOL The journalism part was easy so I knew which bits of audio to keep and what to edit out. It was everything else I wasn't so good at, like ensuring the voice recording equipment was set to recording levels so as to ensure the quality of the interviews was optimal and knowing how to use the editing software once I had all my interviews completely. Fortunately, I'm not the type to give up in the face of adversity. In fact, if someone tells me I can't do something I really like making them eat their words. It's a pretty satisfying feeling. What I've learned in my lifetime about taking on new challenges when faced with a tight deadline is to just relax, take a deep breath and then start taking the problem apart in my mind and then going from there. I've also done the opposite: start freaking out, hyperventilating and throwing a spectacular tantrum when the solution doesn't present itself easily to me. You never really get very far with the tantrum. It just makes you feel helpless and frustrated. I think it's all in the mind. If you say "wow a good challenge! I'm up for it!" and then you go from there, you will be able to pick the problem apart and you will be able to do it faster then if you were treating the problem as if it was a threat to you. I'm happy because I feel healthier and stronger after this learning experience. The radio show was interesting, we had a youth from Attawapiskat who writes really great music and sings.
I was watching the NHL playoffs last Sunday and decided to get a snack during an intermission.
On my way to the store, I turned at an intersection and saw a guy approaching. He was short, a bit stocky, and looked about my age if not younger. I continued to listen to my music and look straight ahead as we were about to pass when he stopped. I could hear him slightly over my music, so I stopped and removed my headphones.
“Hey, man, what’s your name?” he asked. His was obviously intoxicated, but his demeanour was friendly.
Instead of answering his question, I asked him “Why? What’s yours?”
I suppose I sounded defensive, because next he said, “Hey, I don’t mean anything. I wouldn’t mess around with you, big guy.” Then he moved in closer, still friendly. He put his arm around me and started to pat my back. It was awkward, but since he was drunk, I just let him be friendly. I didn’t want to insult him.
However, after a couple of friendly pats, they became forceful slaps, so I blocked his arm, stepped back and said, “Don’t touch me.”
His demeanour changed immediately. He shoved me, took an aggressive stance and said, “You wanna go?! Come on, then! Come on!”
I clenched my fists, ready to defend myself. He maintained his stance, still calling me on, waiting for me to make the first move.