adventures in the far east — of canada!

Archive for the ‘internship’ Category

What the? Surely I’m not that interesting!

In internship, Uncategorized on August 19, 2009 at 1:13 am

Sorry, just a short post to acknowledge a few things and show you guys something from my blog stats…

I usually get 5-10 unique views per day. My highest visitor count was 120 something, nearer to when the blog was fairly new. It was around the time I related the disastrous roommate thing.

Days back, I was astounded to find this:

alalesto! blog stats

alalesto! blog stats

Looking at what was clicked, it seemed my Lantern Festival pictures were each being rabidly viewed by many people. Well…it’s good to know people think they’re as cool as I did! A consequence of the spike is that it really warps the typical visitor count that falls back into place after that day due to the hugely expanded scale.

Anyway, just wanted to say I’m a little backlogged with entries. What’s upcoming that still needs to be written–and these things take time and care and lots of love (especially if there’s any photos to go through and upload)–is sending off Philipp, the last of the Germans; a trip with friends to Salmonier Nature Park and Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve (the last was ridiculously amazing!); and of course, my friend’s visit to St. John’s! The last will have to be several entries, because we did a lot in the city, out of the city, and flew to St. Pierre, if you recall.

My gosh, too much goes on here…

Stay tuned!

In other exciting news…it happened like the day the dinner at Hungry Fishermen took place (I just forgot to mention it), but myself and the company that day sat down to discuss my future.

The long and short of it? I’ve been extended to Christmas! And then we’ll speak again…but still! I’ve been extended to Christmas!

And–I shall be visiting Calgary in mid-September to attend a friend’s wedding and visit friends and family! Yes indeed.

Me, currently

In food, friends, internship, me, st. john's on August 4, 2009 at 2:30 am

Introducing a new category of posts: “me”! Yeah, it’ll be about me, a little more personally, rather than just my musings and observations of events and life here in St. John’s.

Firstly, weekend wrap-up: yes indeed, it was a good one! George Street Festival on Friday with the lovely Germans, which amounted to much chatter to catch up, some drinks, and some dancing. This took place in a few bars and pubs, because during these big events on George Street, it’s sectioned off, and to enter, you pay $15–but this is cover for all the bars on the entire street! On a normal night, there may or may not be cover at pubs, depending if they have performers or events, and it usually ranges from $5 to $10 and above. Of course, that’s just only one establishment…if you wanted to check out the entertainment elsewhere, you might have to pay another cover. So, the George Street Festival and any other similar big events are a great deal.

Before Jeanne and I met up with them, we had dinner at Zapatas. It was Mexican cuisine, and it was rather bloody tasty. We were going to have the supper with Maria, one of the Germans, but in the medical field being on call is pretty rough and demanding, so she just couldn’t get off in time, even though she planned to.

Anyway, it’s another restaurant that gives free stuff! Free homemade (or at least it seemed like it) tortilla chips, extra thin, very ungreasy, and definitely homemade salsa that the waitress gladly refilled for free. Good stuff.

You know, it’s the first time I’ve actually eaten at a fully-fledged, self-identified Mexican restaurant. You know, everywhere has like tacos, nachos, fajitas, enchiladas, and such, but here was a restaurant whose menu gave some history on the revolutionary hero Zapatas, whose interior was decked out with lovely Mexican art and wall paintings, and the background music added to the ambience.

I had their beef chili–super amazing, sweet, spicy, cumin-y and thick, but you know, it actually proved something else for me–how good The Sprout’s vegan chili was. Minus the meat, that chili was very similar, so I appreciated that day at The Sprout even more!

I had a thick enchilada with a twist, as it had a bunch of Newfoundland seafood like shrimp, and it comes with a dollop of more chili, some rice, veggies, and beans/lentils on the side. Topped with sour cream and a generous heap of homemade guacamole, it was pretty heavenly. It was hot, I sweated as much as I ate, but we had a great meal. I helped Jeanne finish hers, because she wasn’t going to package it, and take it around with her to George Street.

In short, I’d go again.

Anyway, afterward we met up with the Germans, and they filled us in on their Gros Morne trip (jealous!), and their capelin encounter (jealous!), which Jeanne also had. I was so determined to see the capelin roll in when I learned about it maybe last month, and I may have missed my chance this year. 😦 Some of my co-workers saw it too, and gushed the awesome experience to myself and another coworker friend (“WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL US?” we demanded), just as Jeanne and the Germans did.

Basically, every year near the end of July or in early August, small capelin fish (sound familiar? Their roe is the mini orange fish eggs you can typically find in Japanese sushis) come to spawn in the thousands on the shores of Newfoundland. As far as I know, you can only see it here. They roll in for a few days in hours, and people await sometimes with barbeques or fires by the shore and bring nets or buckets; just dipping it in the water will net you hundreds. Maria told me they caught like 240, and have over 100 left after some major fish eatin’, and I’d be welcome to it if I like. It is a generous offer, but I’m more interested in the experience.

These capelin are destined to spawn and then most of them die, washed up on shore to dry or snapped up by birds. So no, it makes no difference if people catch them, and indeed it is an annual event for many. They are eaten cooked whole, dried, dried and salted, or smoked, and are usually available in grocery stores here (but this is free!).

Anyway, one of my friends at work gushed her amazement: how the water in buckets used to catch them seemed to boil, because they were so full of darting fish, how going knee-deep in water was so ticklish with the silver swarm of capelin thronging you, and Maria told me how she caught 10 just by sticking her hands in the water and bringing them up! Oh man, I can’t believe I missed this!! The season may be over now…

On Saturday, myself and that other coworker friend tried to go see them at around 2 pm…we could see three little masses of them in the distance (“boiling” water, and birds were diving down to eat them), but they didn’t come ashore. She brought a friend and the friend’s mother, and they got impatient, so we left. 😦 I needed the ride back, but I betcha they did eventually come in (I read more about it–best time to see it is generally during high tide, which was like past 5. I woulda gladly waited).

The Germans have been rushing to do and see as much as possible here, because they leave Friday! They’re pretty heartbroken, having had so much fun and met such friends, and I’m just as sad to see them go. I will be joining them for a farewell dinner Thursday.

Meanwhile, I’m on a similar mindset, because I don’t know what the future holds for me (but dammit, I missed the capelin!). Will Target keep me? All my plans kinda hinge on that–if they’d like, I’d stay, if not…well, time to uproot and return. Whatever the case, I’d like to know sooner rather than later…and either this week or next, I’m supposed to meet with the creative director and at least one of the art directors or writers to discuss my future. Yikes!!

Saturday was a house party at Jeanne’s and her roommate’s. Met some nice people, the coolest being a guy insistent that he could show us some of the things a little ways outside the city such as Salmonier, because we had no car and Jeanne’s due to leave in August… Argh, I’m going to have to deal with another round of people leaving soon!

Sunday, a plan to go sea kayaking with the Germans sadly fell through for me, much to our mutual disappointment. We’re running out of time!

Okay okay, back to the “me” part, the deep dark secret stuff you’re privy to only if you’ve read this far (good for you!), or just skipped ahead (tsk). Actually, I was editing one of my former instructor’s work, and went to something she highlighted, www.colorquiz.com

Taking it, I recalled I’d taken it before in the past, and that it was eerily accurate for whatever reason. I wondered whether results changed…you know, as you progress in life, maybe it picks up different things, reads into current situations?

Well…let’s just say I was a little spooked by the results. All very true…and all from me choosing the colours I liked the most right now two different times?! Thought I’d share…and provide commentary. Because I feel some things, read alone, might make me seem not so great, and I don’t want anyone to be concerned, and you kinda need to live my life to understand stuff, haha. Nah, no deep dark secrets (that was just a hook), but it is more personal, if in an abstract way–because gosh knows, I don’t write about absolutely everything I do or go through here, and no one should assume so! There’s blogging, and then there’s diary material, and while I don’t keep a diary, I never think it’s cool for anyone to record such material in such a public format.

But enough blabber. My results:

My Existing Situation
Desires to be respected by others in order to gain their trust and support for his own personal gain.

Well okay, yeah. Since day one at work, I’ve consciously worked very hard at proving myself and my skills to both earn respect and trust (to get more advanced work and duties), in the hope that I can continue. So yes, it’s “personal gain,” but the wording sounds incredibly selfish when all I’m guilty of is desired career advancement.

My Stress Sources
Feels empty and isolated from others and wishes to overcome this feeling. Believes life has more to offer him than what he has experienced thus far, and doesn’t want to miss out on anything. He purses all his goals and dreams, fearful that any missed opportunity will cause him to miss out on even more. Quickly becomes an expert in any field he pursues and can sometimes come off as overbearing and nosy.

This is really evident–couldn’t you tell from my angst at missing the capelin?! lol…kidding aside, most people know I value time highly, and that I don’t know where I’ll be when my 3 months are over…I want to see and do as much here as I can if I may have to leave!! I’m all about efficiency…totally, that’s how I think–if I miss out on x, maybe I’ll have missed out on y, who knows? Everything’s a chain of events.

And yeah, I’m young yet, I totally believe life has more to offer than what I’ve done and seen thus far (at least I hope so), I haven’t been around for long. As to being overbearing and nosy, I really try not to.

My Restrained Characteristics
Current events leave him feeling forced into compromise in order to avoid being cut off from affection or future cooperation.

Indeed. Hard to explain. I plan for the future, and don’t prefer cutting anything off–what if I realized later it was useful, worthwhile, or important after all? As I said, chain of events. Generally, I don’t like being boxed in, I like my options and doors open, and this pertains to both how I relate to people and opportunities.

Emotionally demanding and will involve himself in close relationships but won’t get too involved or give too much of himself.

Agreed. I demand emotionally because I feel I give a lot…to make others happy, make sure they’re okay, etc. I often feel I put more into others than into myself. So please, I demand you don’t be angry or depressed around me; not that I’d be very irritated, but because you’d drain me in my efforts to make it more bearable for you somehow. As to the last, I’m terribly empathic. If I latch onto someone, I’ll essentially share every pain, disappointment, and worry. I need to keep a little distance until I’m sure of a few things.

Is feeling emotionally drained from stressful and tense situations. He is in need of peace and quiet in order to overcome his lack of energy and may become irritable if he does not recover.

It’s another work thing. Not stressed per se…but I’ll tell you my efforts are having an effect. I have more work and responsibility than ever haha, but if anything can be gleaned from my work posts, I’m having a blast. My peace and quiet time is weekdays, there aren’t many events as they’re bad times for everyone. Haven’t become irritable yet.

Feels he is not receiving his fair share and is unable to rely on anyone for support or sympathy. He keeps his emotions bottled up, leaving him quick to take offense to small things. He tries to make the best of his situation.

All true. I just said I sometimes feel on an uneven place in terms of emotional support, didn’t I? I’m always Mr. Sympathy, and I’m fine and happy to be that–but sometimes I have to wonder, where’s my support? I do take offense in little things, because I am personally very mindful of my words and actions; people who aren’t are reckless and often disrespectful, and often need to grow a brain and some sensitivity. I ask very little of people and anything I seek is usually very minor; I admit then, that I am sometimes galled when it is refused (mental reaction: “I’d totally do it for you no problem, anytime!”). Lastly, I always, always make the best with what I have.

My Desired Objective
Feels hopeless and depressed and looking for some relief. Wants to feel safe physically and emotionally and a chance to recover from the depression that he feels.

Not depressed. Just need the relief of knowing what’s to come in my near future at work. Rest is true.

My Actual Problem
Fears he will be held back from achieving things he really wants, leading him to search endlessly for satisfaction and become involved in activities which are pointless.

Same deal–all true. What I want to achieve is the start of a career I love, and I’m afraid of being held back, yes.

My Actual Problem #2
Feeling held back and restricted from moving forward, looking for a solution that will give him more freedom and less obstacles.

In closing, I only feel this way by not knowing what’s to happen at work. With more experience, I’m told I may be able to work anywhere–a great freedom.

Well, how creepily accurate was that? I guess you can only take my word on it: whether in-depth or glossed-over in detail, it is very spot on.

I have lost the Wii-mbledon

In internship, st. john's on July 31, 2009 at 11:41 am

That is all.

Wait–no, I can say more than that…

It was against (currently) the only other art director in Creative (we’ll be getting another Monday); we smack talked each other. At this point–the quarter finals–the players are actually good. In my defense, haha.

Dax blitzed me with power serves I could only return a few of, and when I blitzed him back with power serves, he could typically return them competently. If we rallied, he’d eventually send it to unreachable corners or sides. So, it was a good, skilled loss. 🙂

It’s unfortunate I couldn’t get the extra day off, but now there will be an epic semi-final matchup between Dax and the other best player, Chris. See at this point, only the young people are left, guys and girls.

Our department has done very well overall in the Wii-mbledon. In the quarter finals, of 8 pairs, half of them–2–were from our department of 9. Everyone else is their own department, a big mix.

Creative naturally seems to excel at games whether the people had experience or not, and despite the huge majority of ladies here, the guys have done exceptionally.

This week has been just full of laughter! I’m downstairs, and everyday you can hear people hooting and cheering as they played or practiced the game, with typically a small crowd watching. It’s so great people are having so much fun…

So much fun, in fact, that the Social Committee is already talking about a possible, upcoming Wii Bowling Tournament! 😀

Board games!! And the Target Wii-mbledon

In calgary, food, friends, internship, st. john's on July 29, 2009 at 12:33 am

On Sunday, Jeanne and I went out to a late lunch (we stayed up far too late the previous night at Mercy, the Sexton’s gig) at Get Stuffed, a lovely little restaurant (classy, lounge-y interior, plushly plump seating) that served brunch.

Afterwards, we were due to meet a couple I contacted via Board Game Geek, yet another community I’m a part of. I’ve been there a goodly amount of time, exploring the immense world of hobbyist board gaming (we’re not talking about Monopoly or Life, here). I’ve got a decent collection of games myself (say around 20 titles), and back home in Calgary, I played them with my brother and various friends. It’s such a great hobby–board games may seem so trivial, but it really brought a lot of my friends closer, because of the shared social experience beyond trying to kick their asses. 🙂 It was a regular-ish thing, and I think we all looked forward to it.

Obviously, moving to St. John’s diminished my games group–or rather, obliterated it altogether. And it’s fairly apparent that it’s not really a huge thing in St. John’s–not that it was a huge thing in Calgary (or in most places, I imagine), but it definitely had a presence. Here, there is little more than a whimper.

Through BGG, I contacted a user based in St. John’s. We corresponded via email some (she was actually not in town for a while, before moving back in preparation to go back to Memorial University), and at last, with her and her boyfriend’s return to St. John’s, a meet was scheduled Sunday. And they’d even give us a ride, too!

I’d coerced Jeanne to come, so there’d be another player, and she was curious, anyway. It was supposed to happen 1 pm, but let it be known that Get Stuffed is a rather slow restaurant. However…to their credit, their food was delicious.

I had a Get Stuffed Omellette–I have this theory that any restaurant that has a dish named after themselves (not entirely uncommon) that it has to be pretty amazing–because it would be stupid to associate a dish so closely with your own name if it sucked. I was proven right–I’m not sure I’ve had a better omellette, or more tasty hash browns!

It was a beast that looked more steak than egg, and it was filled with leaks, artichoke, some salami that had a special name, some sorta great cheese, onion…I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Such are omellettes, though, so mixed up it’s sometimes hard to separate. In any case, it was so very fluffy, moist, juicy, and savoury. The hashbrowns I would describe more as potato cubes, baked with their skins still on, and they were seasoned expertly. Where very often you would have ketchup or something with such fries-like things, to spoil such grandness here was out of the question!

Jeanne had a masterful seafood chowder (of course) and a pulled pork sandwich that was marinated very well–you could plainly taste the cider vinegar it described in the menu, it was juicy, and there were two! There was also a fried pickle, a thing that puzzled both of us, and we concluded it must be a Newfoundland thing.

After brunch which I took care of (she’d paid my cover and a few drinks for me the other night), we got picked up at 1:30; Daisy and her boyfriend were lovely people, and were as excited about playing some board games as I was!

We ended up playing like 7 hours worth, haha. There were some breaks where we fooled around with their 2 ferrets as well–so cute!! They’re like…furry slinkies, so flexible. They’re quite playful as well, and so soft; the girl, Kaylee, was practically obsessed with the Pooh Bear toy she had, and she brought it along everywhere, snuggled with it in a small shelter, and would dutifully fetch it back every time Flint, the other ferret, stole it. We’d sometimes take it and it could be used to steer her, she would just not let the thing out of her sight!

We played Aquadukt, Animalia, Ys, and Cuba; the first two were gateway games (easy to learn, easy and quick to play, meant to ease in new players or those new to hobbyist board gaming), and the last two were deeply strategic games that were new to everyone, because they had a backlog of titles they still haven’t tried. Between them, their collection of board games numbered over 200 titles!! I was much impressed, and I’d like to try as many as I can…

Because it would only bore you to get into details, lemme just say Ys and Cuba were both pretty cool. I’ll have to make note of them…this will be a great way to expand my own collection, eventually!

We finished the day in great spirits, and they urged us to do this again. Better yet, I found out they were huge fans of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books (Mark’s favourite–I also cite them as my favourite all time novels, as well), and they’re both big fans of the show Battlestar Galactica. Oh my goodness, I was in heaven–geek-splosion! I’m so glad to have made these 2 new friends. 🙂

In other short news, at work, we’ve begun a Wii-mbledon Tournament. Haha, you guessed it–Wii Tennis! A round robin has been set up, and I’ve won my first match to advance. The ultimate winner…gets a vacation day!! I’m very determined; my friend will be in St. John’s soon, and I have off 4 of the 5 days she’s here. This is my chance to get that 1 missing day!

But I gotta say, the competition may be stiff–the guys here, few as they are, are pretty intense at the game. On Monday after work, I spent an hour in the office practicing. Will it be enough?? I may need more practice to beat them confidently…I can’t afford to mess it up. I’ve asked various friends to give me tips, tricks, and strategies, and they have been more than obliging (one even sent me a video of his technique!). In my hour of practicing, I found value in all their collected wisdom.

I can do it fairly often, but if only I can perfect the smash serve 100% of the time….

Wish me luck!

An evening on Water and Duckworth (Afghani food)

In culture, food, friends, internship, st. john's on July 17, 2009 at 12:27 pm

CBC was in the studio yesterday to film about the Pitcher Plant, part of the logo Target developed for the provincial brand. There was a lot of hustle, pretend meetings, and warnings of no phone calls to Creative; I wondered if another free music concert at the Park (despite not being Friday, it just happens a lot) was annoying the film crew. Hopefully not.

After work, I met another person in response to my long-ago ad. If they don’t drop off the face of the earth a step before meeting, I always set up a meet with them (at a public place, of course).

Hava Java again, one of the popular, hipster coffee/tea places here, such as in Calgary Higher Grounds (Kensington) or Caffe Beano (downtown). Had a hot chocolate–literally! It was called “Cocoa del Mexico” or something, and it burned your throat. It was good, though, but it made for a bad impulse purchase on a very hot day…

The girl I met was nice, if a little shy, but it certainly says something that she agreed to meet. I found I had to start the conversations or topics usually, until much later when she decided I wasn’t horrible or something, haha–which is fine, I can work with that, I like trying to make people comfortable. She pretty much grew and lived here her whole life, so there was good chatter about the city and how things go here. I am still learning!

After over 90 minutes, I declared I shouldn’t hold her up any longer–it was a little past 7, and neither of us had dinner, and she’d told her parents she’d be back for that! So we departed, and hopefully I’ll see her again.

On the way home, I decided I didn’t want to do some late cooking, and strolled down Water Street instead (which is where the cafe was located, anyway), scoping out a restaurant to try.

Thursday evening there were buskers as always, a guitarist/singer, the bagpiper, a group of 4 young guys drumming…as ever, downtown St. John’s was fairly lively. There was a big lineup by a cotton candy machine on the sidewalk, and I stepped aside, not really looking to buy sweets. But the lady asked me, “Do you want some free cotton candy?”

I looked again–their sign proclaimed jubilantly, “FREE COTTON CANDY!” Cool! People were happily clutching big clouds of the pink fluffy stuff on paper cones, adults and children alike. I laughed a little (it just made me happy), but politely declined–true, I wasn’t looking to buy sweets, but hunting for dinner, I guess I wasn’t looking for free candy either (appetite and all that). But I thought it was a lovely little thing that they were giving free cotton candy to passerby. There was no event happening, at least not that I could tell.

Anyway, there seems to be a lot of tourists in town at this time of year. A lot of families and groups clutching maps, walking around, heads up looking at everything. I’m still like that, minus the map, now; I pointed the way to one group looking for George Street, as they were heading completely in the opposite direction.

In the end, I found the tiny little family-run Afghan restaurant on Duckworth, just one street up. I’d looked it up before, and knew it was either on Water or Duckworth. Their menus proclaimed they were St. John’s first Afghani restaurant, but I thought they could up the prestige and change the wording to St. John’s only Afghani restaurant. Because categorically, they’re the only one listed…but it may not be correct, as there are some fast-foody, bistro-ish places that sell shawarmas and such.

For such a tiny place, I was surprised how fast the food came. I ordered, and a few minutes later, it arrived. It’s really tasty stuff–I don’t think I’ve ever went to a self-identified Afghani restaurant that serves nothing but–and the food really reminds me of Indian food, but much milder, and a little less elaborate (not a bad thing, just a characteristic). And it was super, super cheap!

You can easily have a satisfying dinner for about $10 there, but since I was there to try something new, I ordered almost $20 of food. I was hungry, but more importantly, I was curious!

Super cheap, but weird pricing–why not just round it to the nearest dollar, or 5 cents? I thought it had something to do with the HST–once factored in, I guessed maybe it would even out the sums. Nope.

I had:
Beef kabab (apetizer, $3.99)
Chicken curry (main, $7.83)
Rasgulla (dessert, $1.74)
Baklava (dessert, $1.93)

The chicken curry is more complex than the name suggests. Besides a huge serving of basmati rice and a sauce that covered their own halves of the dish, there were 5 smaller spots of different marinated vegetables or sauces on the rice. Very flavourful, and very fresh. Speaking of cheap food, I recall in the appetizers there was a Vegetarian Pakora available for $0.50, and a Veggie Samosa for $1.50!

I went home suitably pleased; service was quick and pleasant (if a little shy), the food was wonderful and inexpensive, and I didn’t have to cook for a night. 🙂 I don’t get lazy with that often, but it happens!

Besides…I ended up cooking anyway. Another big pot of spaghetti sauce for future lunches, a light, citrusy curry chicken, shrimp, and scallop sauce, with onions, carrots, cashews, and asparagus. Mmm. Now I have a larger roster of food to choose from: Thai curry, butter chicken, beef stir fry, and now this!

I am an honourary Newfoundlander! And a note of sadness

In calgary, culture, food, friends, internship, lingo, st. john's on July 12, 2009 at 1:18 am

On the long-awaited Friday night, I got screeched in with my friend Jeanne!

But firstly…holy hotcakes, we’ve been having great weather. So good, I don’t like it–like 26 degrees, very sunny (I gradually get more uncomfortable for every degree above 20). I’m baked.

Friday at work was great…it was a light day, and most everyone left earlier on account of the weather. In fact, we were encouraged to–“Get the fuck out of the office!” the higher ups in the offices urged. I did, but only an hour early, because I was finishing up some work I don’t ever want to touch again. You’ll begin to understand why with this brief description: densely packed maps I standardized, only to find out each one is sized differently depending on the section (so some maps are 83%, 100%, 125%…). I had to proportionally determine the ratio to increase or decrease each symbol on the maps, and rearrange the type…the stuff of nightmares.

But that’s been how I’ve been discovering some of Newfoundland’s crazy place names like Dildo and South Dildo a little further…south. A few more random ones: the town of Goobies, and an island called Random Island.

Target is near the harbour, and right across from Harbourside Park. Beautiful place, and every Friday afternoon, there’s a free lunchtime concert there! And as it so happened, the Idlers did a free hour show there, to a very large crowd. It was great, kids dancing everywhere, people basking in the sun listening, and while watching (even though I would be at the show that night), I met some of the friends I’ve made there. The other Karen was there too (being a co-worker of John), and she invited me to her own birthday event at her place Saturday. Suddenly, another event, but that’s another batch of stories and pictures.

Some of Friday's crowd at the Lunchtime Concert

Some of Friday's crowd at the Lunchtime Concert

Idlers at Harbourside Park, across from Target

Idlers at Harbourside Park, across from Target

After work, myself and two co-workers (including my lovely intern buddy) went to Taste of Thai. Hmm. Good food, but pricey, no free foodstuffs, and honestly–the Thai green curry I make is far superior. I ordered it to see how well they do theirs, and it was white. Guys, it’s called green curry for a reason…I knew instantly it wouldn’t taste right, as it had to be lacking a whole lot of the green herbs. A disappointment overall, sadly (my first…not bad, but disappointing eat out in the city), but it’s the only Thai place in the city. Maybe there needs to be at least two of something to upkeep quality, like the two Japanese restaurants, or the two Indian places?

However, that’s not the note of sadness I mention. One of the friends I’ve made, Kevin the fellow Calgarian, told me he was leaving for home…flight at Saturday 9 am. WHAT! We got along great, we played squash, dammit, shared a number of beers, and were looking forward to hanging out more. He couldn’t find a job in his few weeks here–I think he was getting a little impatient, he’s only been around for 3–so he won’t be back until September for school. 😦 He was awesome, and now I am back to having no squash partner.

I found out when I called to confirm with him our screech in; obviously he couldn’t come, as he had to pack and leave so soon. So, it was down to myself, Jeanne, and her roommate, who is tons of fun, and I know we’ll be seeing more of each other. My intern buddy showed up to take pictures for me as well, which was brilliant because she had to cancel earlier as well.

Anyway, the screech in…so much fun! The guy at Christian’s Bar is so entertaining. The ceremony was full of laughter and good-natured fun, and telling locals afterwards, they’ve all been pleased we did it at Christian’s, apparently the best place for it.

The place was jam-packed. It cost $15 a person, and the presiding guy was larger than life–he was dressed in fishing gear, and carried a big wooden canoe paddle, and his accent was wonderfully befuddling. He regaled the crowd with jokes, and asked everyone participating their names and where they came from. There were surprisingly a ton of people from out of town, and I don’t just mean elsewhere in Canada. When I announced my name, he remarked to the crowd, “Well, we don’t get many Natrix’s out here, I tell ya!” and so he renamed me Captain Eli for the remainder of the ceremony haha.

Keith, master of the ceremony, myself and Jeanne

Keith, master of the ceremony, myself and Jeanne

Keith's fierce!

Keith's fierce!

We all ate a hunk of canned fish meat on toothpicks, and he told us some of the history of screech and such which was cool, and then led us through a raucous sing-along of a tune that reminded me of the Twelve Days of Christmas. No, not the melody itself, but the way it was structured…you know…”5 golden rings! 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree! On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” It started at 1, progressed to 2, then 3, and so on to 10, and each time, he sang what preceded it, faster and faster. It was quite impressive actually when he got to 10, he was singing the words faster than any auctioneer!

Fish cube on a toothpick!

Fish cube on a toothpick!

We had easy responding lines like, “What will you sing me?” (about him singing us a song, to which he answers that he’d sing us a number*, which increased) and then we sing back something like, “What will the one* be?” All the numbered things were all nautical…I think haha. His accent was impressive.

Then we were made to get down on our knees, and he produced a frozen cod from a bag; we each had to kiss it on the lips. What a riot, eh? Okay, thinking about it more thoroughly, probably not the most hygienic thing, but it was fun, and most of us did it with gusto. One young woman near me was so freaked out about kissing it…she got within inches of it many times when it was offered to her, and she was always at the last moment turn away in disgust, grimace, and physically shudder! Even our peer pressure couldn’t get to her, and the host (Keith, I think) playfully jerked it and cried, “BOO!”, startling her after a few too many tries. I mean seriously, it’s all in good fun, lighten up lady!

I'm kissing the cod, you just can't see it...

I'm kissing the cod, you just can't see it...

KISS IT! Lady in red had the trouble

KISS IT! Lady in red had the trouble

Next came the screech…we each had mini shots of Newfoundland rum. I love rum, so it was no big deal for me…it’s a little stronger, yes, but still tasty to me. Earlier, the host taught everyone the appropriate response to a question often asked by Newfoundlanders: “Have you been screeched yet?” The proper answer is:

” ‘Deed I is me ol’ cock, long may your big jib draw!”
(sounds like: “Dee-die is me ole cock”)

BRILLIANT. Let’s break it down…” ‘Deed” is a contraction of indeed, ” ‘ol” is of course old, and don’t think inappropriate things for “cock,” it’s shorthand for the British cockney, which over here can mean friend. To the question “Have you been screeched yet?” the first part in essence says, “Indeed I have, my old friend.” The second part is wishing someone good fortune, a saying you can find in many cultures. A “jib” is the triangular sail on a ship, so literally you say to the person, “May your ship’s sail draw wind for a long time.”

After the shot, he went around challenging the participants to recall and say it again. Most couldn’t without screwing up, but I did fine. 🙂 One guy who disappointed got his bottom paddled a few times by Keith’s oars! Acting frustrated that most couldn’t say it properly, he just told us all to keep saying, “Yes.” After the great show (because it was that enjoyable), he pronounced us all honourary Newfoundlanders, and passed out certificates!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Just screeched in

Just screeched in

My screech certificate!

My screech certificate!

Keith was great man, he kept us on our toes, and he was good on his own–every performance has to be a little different. He worked fluidly with what he had–for example, when Jeanne (again, from Montreal) was passed the fish, he warned, “No French kissing!”

Something to remember for sure. Immediately afterward, we went to The Dock beside Christian’s and watched the Idlers play. They’re so good live, we danced our shoes off! I stayed after their show (ended 3 am), bought a CD from John for $10 (such a good price, and so well done), went up with John and Kate to the band suite (bands get like a top floor suite above the establishment with its own bar, nice washrooms, couches, flatscreen TV, etc) where we hung out for a bit, and then we all had to leave (bars legally should not be open past 3 am, even on George Street). But the three of us and Mark, the frontman and trumpeter for the band who I’d also met that day at the cabin, invited us over to his place for a nice chat until like 5 am. It was nice, I didn’t get a chance to talk to him much at the cabin, and he’s a remarkably cool and down-to-earth guy for being a frontman. He grows so much of his own food in gardens, and he’s so socially and culturally aware.

Idlers at The Dock

Idlers at The Dock

Friday was everything I’d hoped for and more! And I’ve found out that I may have a day off Monday. Huh. My afternoons and evenings are so delightfully occupied these days. I slept late, and almost missed a lunch thing with a university prof I met here as well, but that’s for later.

Workplace pics! And I’m a free-riding guest Toastmaster

In friends, internship on July 9, 2009 at 2:10 am

At last, I woke up to a sunny morning! I quickly packed my camera to bring to work to snap the pics I’d promised weeks ago…

Firstly, don’t think that I mean this has been the first sunny day in St. John’s; what I mean is, in this city, mornings typically begin grey. It may be wet or it may be dry, it may be cold or it may be warm…but it is usually grey. And then come afternoon, the sun’s out. Unfortunately, my department on the street level is sunniest when it’s early–because the suns not far up the horizon, it can send its golden rays through. Upstairs in account management or word prcessing or research…whenever I’ve had occasion to visit, it’s like a greenhouse because of all the glass, but it enjoys the most natural light throughout the day.

Anyhow, it was such a beautiful morning, I also took some time to snap images of the War Memorial, right beside where I work. As I mentioned in my Canada/Memorial Day post, Newfoundland has a proud and long military history, and this memorial is another lovely tribute to all their souls that perished in the Battle of the Somme, and the common person’s wartime efforts.

Inside Target, I mostly took pictures in my department (creative), and next door (production, because we work so closely with them).

**It was a co-worker’s birthday coming up the next day, but she’s off work then. Every time there’s a birthday in the office, a truly delicious ice cream cake from Moo Moo’s is brought in (its remains on my dish can be seen). This is the second one I’ve had, as there was a previous birthday–they’re heavenly…and this from someone who doesn’t prefer ice cream cakes at all. I should amend that and say, “Dairy Queen ice cream cakes suck.”

Lately, I’ve been reworking a few maps for the travel guide that tourism in this province puts out, an annual project for Target. Sadly, we’re not really a hybrid design/advertising agency, but more exclusively do ads. There are a few designers and concerned people (myself included), but much of the design input is not followed–the guide is not horrible, but in a recent meeting I was invited to (which I appreciated), we agreed it was certainly not as pretty as it could be. For example, the powers that be likes to fill up space, while we’d like to inject some white space…the designers will know what I mean!

Long story short…the maps are a little bit of a disaster. To our credit, we didn’t make them…but we haven’t done much to improve it, either.

Oh! One of our people recently returned from Cannes (top honours in advertising), and shared a truly amazing gold winner. I urge you to see the link below; it is truly inspiring, moving, and a testament to what good advertising can work towards (and as many fellow ACAD-ians know, we probably unfairly get the most flak). I’d be happy if I could come up with something half as great:

Trillion Dollar Campaign

And something else shared by my fellow intern (not from Cannes):

Coca Cola Grip Bottle

After work, I stir-fried a hurried dinner that turned out far better than expected, and rushed off to MUN (Memorial University) for my first Toastmasters meeting.

You probably dunno what it is…the average person doesn’t. I didn’t, until I was looking for activities and clubs a little over a week back. That was before meeting a ton of people, but I was determined to do this anyway.

It is an international group that has chapters all over–St. John’s itself has 3 such groups, I would not be surprised that Calgary has more if you were to look. Basically, members of this meet 2 hours to improve their public speaking and speech skills. It was a lot more fun than you may think.

I admit it may not be for everyone; the #1 reported fear amongst people is, unsurprisingly, death. However, surprisingly (to me), the second most cited fear is public speaking. Hmm…well, I can believe it, but I guess it from my perspective, it’s alarming that such a fear is so high up there. I’m not sure what I’d put next myself, but it’s certainly not public speaking…

I don’t think I’m horrible at it, but everyone can improve in this area. Frankly, the idea of getting a random topic and doing a 1 minute, impromptu speech excited me, though some people I told thought I was a little nuts. “Why would you put yourself through that?”

Because I like a challenge, and to me it’s fun and interesting. And, I figure if I make it further as an art director, this can only improve my pitch! 🙂

The people there were great, and very diverse. There were a lot of older folks, but some young guys and girls and well, and the cultural mix surprised me for such an activity. While I don’t feel unwelcome here in the least, certainly I acknowledge there is much less ethnic diversity here, and the groups to me seem…insular. So it was good to see such different people help each other become better orators.

I think living in St. John’s has emboldened me, particularly the detail that I didn’t know a soul and had no roots. I find without a comfortable safety net I can rely on, I am more willing to forge new links. It seems counter-intuitive…but it seems to me now that when you have a lot of friends somewhere, you don’t go out of your way to make a whole lot more, you know? I don’t think I was shy back in Calgary, but I believe I’ve become more outgoing in my short time here. The trick, I think, will be in keeping that up if this gets comfortable as well…

Anyway, as a guest, I could choose to participate or not, so I did. It was fine, and I was pleased to see that everyone is so supportive and determined to improve themselves–it was evident a handful of the full members were still quite shy, but determined to gain that confidence, and already had a number of speeches under their belt. Best of all, there were a lot of ESL students there. At Toastmasters, people are not out to make you uncomfortable, and some folks with broken English and less than stellar grammar were not penalized at all–the focus is creating more confident people and speakers, in poise and delivery (in fact, one of the highest ranking members there was a passionate Japanese lady who I could barely understand).

Lemme explain the system…it’s almost like Scouts. It’s a program you pay once a year for, and you receive a book, exercises, and almost…tests. Like in Scouts, you perform a skill, and you get the associated badge. Here, members can begin their track by completing their first speech, known as the icebreaker speech, anything about themselves. As they sign up to do their other ones and progress, the topics of the speeches focus, but still leave a lot of room for the person to do their own thing. After 10, they become a bronze member; another 10 later (and more advanced exercises), silver; and then lastly, a gold member with 10 more, at which point I believe you receive a certificate to declare you’ve finished the program, and are a confident or expert communicator or something.

They’ve got a good system going. There’s a new timekeeper every week that makes sure you don’t go longer than 1 minute 15 seconds (because we must be eloquent and articulate, but also be concise and not ramble); an “ah” counter that at the end tells everyone how many “ahs,” “ums,” “likes” and so on they uttered; a wordmaster who presents a word to the group to expand vocabulary and notes who uses it correctly; and someone that encourages good listening skills by noting interruptions, or quizzing anyone over a detail of a speech (if noted or answered incorrectly, they make a 25-cent donation to the group’s refreshments and cookies during the 15-minute break). In the end, people who made speeches were given constructive feedback, and the best ones were awarded.

It was both professionally run and fun, I see it like a social game, almost. I’m free-riding, because I can remain a guest for as long as I like, but I can’t advance…that’s all right. In summertime, we’ll only meet once every 2 weeks–1 more in July, and 2 in August before September. I can pay the membership fee and get the books…but I’d have to pay again on September. Not very economical for just 3 more meetings… If I’m still in St. John’s then, I’ll become a member.

In the end, guests were invited to comment, and I was only 1 of 2 guests to do so (of a night with many guests). I expressed regret we did not get random topics (just this once, the group tried one person starting, and the next person continues with a theme from theirs, and so on–it began with walking, and everyone just stayed within the realm of that, running, hiking, exercising…you get the idea) to keep everyone on their toes, and I finished off with–“If I may be so bold, can anyone offer me a lift home?”

They laughed and I got a ride home, and a pair of new friends who says they’d be happy to pick me up to go next time as well. I think I’ve made an impression, and look forward to the next Toastmasters meeting. 🙂

Canada/Memorial Day pt. 2 (but first: today!)

In culture, friends, internship, st. john's on July 4, 2009 at 3:02 am

I’m having a blast. 🙂

The workplace at Target is so…free-flowing, and collaborative, and so casual. Creative is right by Production, and so we’re (but not me yet, as I’m not making the big decisions) always working closely with them. A typical scene we get into:

(One of the projects the company’s been a part of is Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism–a government account. Every year there’s this nice direct mail piece that comes with great coupon deals, encouraging people to vacation in the province, because it pretty much has everything. One is for Quilting, and a Quilting Tour or something).

PRODUCTION HOLLERS: There’s a typo in a coupon!
ART DIRECTOR I WORK UNDER: What? Where?
PRO: I’m pretty sure you mean, “for local quilters,” and not “for local quitters.”

And everyone just breaks down in hysterics. XD

Or the ever-snarky (but terribly friendly) co-worker: “Wow, I mean, I was skeptical about quilting, but here they also include a quilting tour?? I’ll have to go.”

After work today, in the awesome wake of the Couch Surfing encounter, I met with the roommate I got to know some from Ontario who was the friend of a friend of my CS’er contact. After work and my own quick meal, I met her on–where else–George Street, at the pub we plan to be screeched in on next week with a male roommate of hers (see it’s amazing how just making 1 or 2 friends instantly expands your social circle). Unfortunately, he could not attend this weekend, so we’ve postponed until we can all do it together!

Anyway, had some very cheap (as in not expensive, but very good) beer, and had complementary popcorn at Christian’s Bar. Got to know this student from Ontario a lot more, and she’s fantastic; we have similar interests: foreign films, new experiences, world views, etc. It’s like we were old friends, very easy to talk with.

Later, we met up with a pair of her own work friends from Memorial University at Bridie Molloy’s Pub & Eatery (literally less than a minute’s walk, during which I noted Green Sleeves Irish Pub that has live entertainment every night, and a place that’s a 24-hour karaoke bar), one celebrating his birthday. We introduced ourselves, chatted, swapped stories, drank, ate, and got along so well, I’ve been invited to his birthday thing at a cabin 15 minutes out of the city Saturday! I humbly accepted, and we were both excited to meet him and his friends tomorrow. Our waitress also worked with my buddy at the university, so there was some friendly banter there as well.

The beer in St. John’s is cheap, and they have some great local brews. All in all, I spent a little over $20 for…2 Keith’s, a pint of local brew from Quidi Vidi (“kiddy viddy”), a pint for the birtday boy, and nachos to share between the 4 of us. And while we were there, Lamb’s Rum was giving out a ton of free drinks–very tasty rum you can taste cinnamon in (one of my favourite things…), and they kept providing free sample shots of it in Pepsi or ginger ale.

The live music was raucous and energetic (some Newfoundland tunes–many clapped or stamped along with the beat, and sang with the singers! It was joyous, I wish I knew the words), and the company even better…we all left a little tipsy, very happy, and excited for tomorrow!

I’ve never been much of a pub-go’er in Calgary, but the vibe here is so different. There are a few DJ’ed dance clubs, but everywhere else–as I said, everyone stamping, clapping, and singing along…

Back to Canada/Memorial Day
Honestly, not a whole lot more to tell! After the Confederation Building tour, I took more pictures around the place, and headed back to the Hill to take in the last of the cultural performances. You know, like what you’re used to seeing–bellydancing, a tai chi demonstration, more contemporary Indian dance…a nice reminder that yes, although St. John’s is a small city, it is also still multicultural. Perhaps not to the point of Calgary, but no one seems to treat me any differently.

Pretty dancing

Pretty dancing

John Bingley Garland, the first speaker

John Bingley Garland, the first speaker

A row of speakers

A row of speakers

Provincial shield**

Provincial shield**

Confederation Building lobby, emptied

Confederation Building lobby, emptied

John Cabot, a Newfoundland icon

John Cabot, a Newfoundland icond

Confederation Building

Confederation Building

**Constructed by the Johnson family (if you recall, rich philanthropist who also did the Geo Centre).

Contemporary Indian dance

Contemporary Indian dance

African drumming

African drumming

Taoist Tai Chi Society

Taoist Tai Chi Society

Belly dencers

Belly dencers

And now for something interesting:

River trail

River trail

Where am I...?

Where am I...?

…I’m actually in St. John’s, still. The city has a lot of walking trails, and on the one I took that day, I was suddently struck by how natural it felt. I paused on the path, looked around to either side…and could believe that I was not in St. John’s anymore at all (more specifically, I was going through Pippy National Park. Very dense trails, thickly lined trees everywhere.

That just about finishes my Canada Day activities–the cultural demonstrations and presentations went without a hitch. I went home, had dinner, and did chores until the very last thing–fireworks over Quidi Vidi Lake.

Quidi Vidi was once a village, but it’s been absorbed by St. John’s for a while now. They border its lake, and it houses the city’s oldest brewery.

I timed my trip walking to Quidi Vidi Lake so I’d arrive on time to see the fireworks. Bad idea!

First of all, I was worried I’d get turned around in the dark. But when I stepped outta the house…the cars passing me I noticed were all going in the same direction. As I entered the main roads–suddenly the streets were filled. I mean filled. Like an endless street of people heading towards Lake Ave. Cars were held at intersections for a long time as we all crossed, and some just parked nearby and walked the rest of the way. There was no way I was going to be lost!

As I said, I wish I arrived earlier–upon arrival, I discovered a multitude of food and snack stands on Quidi Vidi Lake, happily feeding people willing to pay. There were live amusements and entertainers there for people before the show. I witnessed the tail end of a fiery poi dance, fire juggling, and a guy who ate or blew fire. It wasn’t long before the first fireworks erupted, and everyone just turned away.

Poi

Poi

Fireworks

Fireworks

Fireworks here were very pretty. As I said before–scenes with water are always best, and fireworks are no exception–with every explosion and colour echoed by Quidi Vidi Lake, it was incredible! Every so often one would be fired behind some clouds, but whatever.

When I returned, Karen told me of a few other places you could see the fireworks at (one of which she was just at), and they were similarly jammed pack with people (Signal Hill, and some neighbourhood hill). It was ridiculous to think about–walking back from the Lake, the people crowded into that one, closed off road; looking back, I couldn’t see the end of the human mass! Once again, St. John’s citizens show their passion and liveliness…

What a day it was–I was exhausted! However, it was a lot of fun to experience Canada Day in a completely different place in the country; when you live too long in a city, I think you stop caring or knowing all the local things that happen, or have seen it too much already to be bothered. It’s so refreshing to experience it all over again.

The weather is gross

In internship, st. john's on June 25, 2009 at 11:59 pm

…I’ve had plenty of opportunity to take pics of the agency, but I refuse to while it’s still gloomy. The place is quite nice when it’s all sunlit.

Anyway, the weather lately–it’s kinda terrible, I’m not used to this. It’s quite warm at around 20, but it’s raining, and the humidity makes everything sticky. I’m always wondering whether I should wear a coat–it’s raining after all–but it’s too warm for one, and after a few minutes, it’s not just the air that’s sticky…

Granted, I’ve been in Vancouver a lot, and it’s quite common there, too. I guess the difference is, in St. John’s, I’m pretty much walking everywhere. Oh, and those hills again, they work up a sweat easy.

Was at the gym today, and after rowing, I tried to run. But my calf kept twitching ominously, and in mid-stride, it snagged a little, and I immediately stopped. Thankfully, it did not seize up all the way; has that ever happened to you before? It’s a nasty thing…I did it once swimming, I was tired, but I was doing my laps anyway, and after a roll and kick off from the wall, my right calf seized up. Cue thrashing, and much pain you can do little about, as the muscle feels clenched as hard as a fist, completely out of your control (that’s the strangest thing) and unable to loosen up. I limped out, was directed to stretch it out (eventually the out-of-body feeling of the vise grip loosens), but afterwards, still had to limp around for a week or two.

I realized what it was. Every day, walking to and from work with such inclines, you can start to feel the lactic acid at the end of it. It hasn’t gotten proper time to recover, and so when I tried to run… Rowing, I determined, is much safer right now…

At work, I’ve suddenly got a lot more things to do! It’s all terribly exciting, and I now have the opportunity to wrack my brains for different things whenever I encounter a block for one project. I will be getting my first bi-weekly pay cheque tomorrow!

Other than that, I’m terribly excited that a friend is coming to visit me in August. Possibly TWO, even! 😀 Can’t wait!

My week at Target Marketing

In internship, st. john's on June 20, 2009 at 1:57 am

In a word, it was wonderful.

Very simply, this is pretty much exactly what I want to be doing. Well…there are just a few things I miss, but apparently I’ll get some of that, too.

From the beginning: myself and the copywriting intern were welcomed with open arms. The people at Target are all such good people; they’ll take the time to stop by my desk and ask how I’m doing, whether I need help, and already, both of us interns feel like we’re contributing, and can talk openly with everyone.

The copywriting grad I’m with is a lovely person. She’s a year older, and good at what she does, and has a lot of enthusiasm; I hope she thinks the same of me, and that we don’t let each other down. She grew up in the province and lived a while in St. John’s before moving to Toronto for a bit, so she’s very familiar with the area, which is actually a little bit of a shame. To tell you the truth, I was hoping to get another non-native, and it’d be the perfect excuse to explore the city together, and hang out some to team build. As it is, she already has a deep network of friends here, knows pretty much everything about the town, and so, there goes my little idea. She’s still great though, of course.

Monday was a little boring–most of the day was spent in various meetings so we could learn how the place was run, straight from the mouths of each department. The agency is bright, casual (as all creative companies are), and open, and actually, it reminds me a lot of STEM, the place I interned at last summer. But Monday was fairly uneventful, as we didn’t have much to do.

Tuesday and Wednesday also had meetings, although not as much, and they started us on a brief. I was afraid that I’d lost some of it having not done any ideation in a while, but I quickly fell right back into it, and knocked out idea after idea for guerilla, print, and even a radio spot with, as ever, a trusted Sharpie. It felt good.

Now here’s where I am both immensely relieved and amazed and a little sad, too. The positive feelings, because, oh my goodness, this is how it’s supposed to be–in college, we of course had to do it all. We may get a short brief, but we would have to do extensive research on our own, research what ideas have already been done so there’s no danger of accidentally copying anything, come up with a ton of ideas, generate a ton of headlines and body copy if needed, settle on the best ideas and text, make rough comps to critique, shoot the final ourselves / set up a time-consuming photo shoot / find that rare and perfect stock and internet imagery, Photoshop it all ourselves, lay it out in InDesign, and then print it. Yeah, as many of you know, our design school education was brutal and very demanding, hence our major lack of sleep.

But now…someone does the research for me. If I ask them to, they’ll look into anything more specifically and give it to me. They look up what’s already been done for me. My fellow intern is writing headlines and copy for me (or maybe later, the other copywriters). In the future, whatever idea the team or the lead art director (for me, a guy named Dax, which is awesome, because when I heard his name my first thought was, “That’s a good font!”) chooses, the production team will Photoshop and lay it out, and even make rough comps if I require. They’ll also print proofs for creative, and another department altogether secures the budgetary stuff, where the ad will run, its submission, etc. OH MY GOSH, that is such a brilliant feeling–that I can just sit there and knock out ideas, and not have to worry about any of that! My intern buddy was similarly amazed, and we often catch ourselves discussing too much into technicalities (such as “Where is it going to run? How do we distribute it?”) that we no longer have to worry about!

But then, the sad part–I’m going to miss the production stuff. I like Photoshopping, and InDesign layout, and typography! 😦 On Thursday, production did a crash course to the different departments about such things as DPI/PPI, bleeds, trim sizes, colour modes (RGB, CMYK, Lab), file formats, and so on (because other departments–though not usually creative because we work so closely with them–were often confused with their terminology and requirements), and I felt super ahead and smart haha.

I am assured, however, that when things are getting closer to being done, I can be involved in production anyway, especially since I told them I can. Yay!

Anyway, early on we already feel we’re helping. The research package was over a 100 pages, but was excellent and detailed, and I came up with about 16 pages of ideas before our first presentation. The other intern and I were anxious about how we were doing; we observed to each other that we knew we could do it from a schooling point of view and be good enough, but how about now? How does our work now stand up in an advertising agency? Is it good enough?

The presentation went very well. I had a few similar ideas to what the creatives already did earlier before I started, which is encouraging because to me, it affirms a little that I can think at their level even if it’s just been done. They were really impressed by the output, and after some feedback, I’ve now got 26 pages of Sharpie squibs (ad lingo for rough sketches). Believe me, as you keep going, it gets harder, and the possibilities narrow and ideas more slowly arrive; every page can typically have from 1 to 4 ideas or variations for me. Now I eagerly await our next meeting!

The other intern and I are working extra hard, because we told each other “Wouldn’t it be so awesome if one of our ideas/headlines makes it to the final stage?” And of course, it would! That’d be a great early accomplishment, because obviously we are striving to make a lasting impression. Already, they are preparing more briefs for us, so we can multitask and not get stuck trying to think of even more for the current project–as I said, it gets hard!

Friday was a nice short day–every Friday, 9-10 am, everyone is encouraged to expand their minds–to read a book, keep current with pop culture or current events, whatever. How cool is that? And then Media had arranged for the company to see Pixar’s Up together at 12:55 pm, so we pretty much finished the day at noon. They paid for the tickets, the snacks, and afterwards, they got us all drinks at a bar before the day ended–I got home a little over 3:30 pm.

Up was amazing–it was touching and original. Go see it!

A few facts:

  • Target has about 40 people.
  • Advertising agencies actually do a bunch of free work, so there are little restrictions–this is pretty much solely done to seek awards.
  • St. John’s and Target is hosting the ICE awards for the first time this September, an event that’s always been in Halifax. They’re this region’s advertising awards, like Calgary’s Anvils.
  • We were told a hilarious story involving our HR manager, Gaye, and how one of the production guys was hired 8 years ago. He’s from Yugoslavia, at the time knew very little English, and walked into the office and boldly stated, “I want a job.” It actually got him an interview with HR, and he was slightly taken aback when he met with her when she shook his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Gaye.” 😀 He admitted later to thinking, “Wow, people are really open here!”
  • The guy/girl ratio here is kinda ridiculous–probably like 10/90. Most of the men are in production, and I’m 1 of 3 in creative. When we met everyone, it was weird to realize just how outnumbered we were! As a result, there is a lot of talk while I work about shopping, shoes, and clothing. ARGH!
  • I now regularly use a Mac, because I’ve been provided with one.
  • Apparently, I am one of very few people who can draw! Having been surrounded by very talented illustrators in college, you forget even the worst of us do pretty well. They really like my squibs, and told me I “have a gift”–if only they knew! I am told that Dax, meanwhile, has trouble enough trying to do stick figures haha.

I will be taking pictures of the company soon, because they said it’d be okay.