April 20, 2014

A year of reviewing

My final review of a main stage show for Winnipeg's 2013/14 season will be up shortly at Spectator Tribune. It's been... interesting. I honestly don't know if I'll keep reviewing next year. I love going to see the shows and cobbling together my thoughts, but I suspect my reviews a) have zero box office impact and b) don't really prompt discussion, since the theatre community at-large isn't willing to publicly hash over shows for fear of the fallout (though I have had some great one-on-one exchanges).

On reflection, here's what I've learned... beyond the awkward price of honesty.
  • Reviews are subjective. I knew this before, but now my certainty is bone deep
  • Quickly casting ephemeral experiences into substantive words is taxing
  • Writing to sound smart is lame
  • Giving away plot points is theft - from the playwright and future audiences
  • I'm inexperienced. I always will be
  • Writing pans or praise is easy. Reviewing the vast majority of shows, which are neither turds or triumphs, is tricky
  • If your own writing isn't entertaining and filled with passion, you should turn in your pen

April 9, 2014

Spring has sprung

The world is sunshiny and bright. Snow is melting. We're emerging from a dark, cold, frustrating season:

Spring ratings.

I don't know why they're called "spring" ratings, but I imagine they're set on an American timetable. As I've mentioned, ratings is still a super busy time for newsrooms in Winnipeg. Unlike most centres in the country that use computerized means to measure listenership/viewership, the Winnipeg sample audience still fills out a paper chart listing every channel they tuned to for a few weeks of the year.

The pressure to attract viewers climbs. And it's my job to flirt with viewers, tease out stories, flash attractive visuals...

Wait, what?

April 8, 2014


Trish is our new roomie. She's a four-year old husky/whatever we found through Manitoba Great Pyrenees Rescue (a great little network of foster families who could use your support).

We don't know her back story. She's been fostered with MGPR for three years, moving to a few different fosters. We can't figure out why she's taken so long to find a permanent home, because she's sweet as a cookie (as well as housebroken, well socialized and keen on learning tricks).

She's a much bigger commitment than the cats. Much bigger. Our lives revolve around her bowel movements to an uncomfortable degree. I'm told that's the same as having kids, though I'm not sure it's as smelly.

Speaking of having kids, I made the mistake of asking for a baby gate on Facebook, to keep Trish out of downstairs. Apparently people think that's how I'd announce having children. Oh, people.

Perfectly timed
We're trying to exercise her as much as possible. The previous house she was in had two other dogs and Trish developed a rep as a food ninja, stealing from her buddies. So she's ummm... well, we both need to pick up our workouts. Now the cats eat on top of the washer dryer, glaring down at a pathetic beggar. Better them than me - her whines will never break a cool cat's heart.

Speaking of, the cats are still adjusting to her...

This happened when Mel was carrying Hank and Trish got too close. We've both become climbing posts for cats trying to stay out of the lumbering - and clearly vicious - predator's way. We're pretty sure Trish just wants playmates, but she is six times their size. They're understandably cautious.

Because Trish likes getting in people's faces...

See you in the dog park.

Correction: Trish was only in foster one year (which makes worlds more sense)