Friday, March 30, 2012

Journey for Justice

So, this week I've got a blog post for a school assignment.

Our class read a book called Journey for Justice: How 'Project Angel' Cracked the Candace Derksen Case by Mike McIntyre.

Since people who aren't from Winnipeg, or Canada in the 1980's probably don't really know about the Candace Derksen case, I'll give a little background.

Candace Derksen disappeared when she was walking home from school on November 30, 1984. She was 13 years old. She was found dead on January 17, 1985. Then, until 2007, no one was arrested. In 2007 Mark Grant was arrested as a suspect in her murder, in 2011 he was put on trial and found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.

*Note, I'm getting my information from the book Journey for Justice: How 'Project Angel' Cracked the Candace Derksen Case, and followed up to confirm the sentencing here:

All the information I have on the time when Candace disappeared is second hand, since I wasn't born until 1993. According to my mother it was very tense for parents, and their children. She was 17 when Candace disappeared, and got to see and feel the shocks sent through Winnipeg at the time. Things like children disappearing and being killed didn't happen often, at least not as often as it does today.

But Mark McIntyre's book is what this is about. It was released in 2011 after the trial was finished.

I'm the kind of person who has a very strong empathetic response to stories. Let's just get that out of the way.

The first part of the book I find very well written. It's engaging, and reading about Candace's disappearance from her mothers point of view made me cry. That might not seem like a good thing, but I feel it means that the writing in the book actually connected to me as a reader. Later in the book I found it a little off putting when there were a lot of blocks of text that were from newspaper articles and psychiatric reports on Mark Grant. I think I found this off-putting because they deviated so drastically from McIntyre's style of writing, and the way they were dropped into the story line was mentally jarring. I wasn't able to get as immersed in the story in the later sections. I found including follow up with Candace's friends helped flesh out the effects of Candace's death on the community and her friends and family.

On March 22 Wilma Derksen and Mike McIntyre came and presented to our classes. I wasn't sure what I was expecting before the presentation, other than that I would probably end up crying. I didn't though. I feel that was because they were telling us about the book and writing process.

But this book was very informative to me from a journalistic point of view. While reading the first half, it was more like a novel, but the quotes pulled from Wilma Derksen's book Have You Seen Candace? gave it a news article like quality. To me, the second half of the book seemed more like a research paper, with citation of medical fact. That to me seems like a big difference in how easy an article or book is to read. If it's conversational, a piece seems easier to read. When it's clinical, a piece is more difficult to read unless your audience has an understanding of the topic.

Having read a number of newspaper articles by McIntyre, I've noticed a difference between his writing styles. After making the obvious concessions to the fact writing styles would have to be different between a newspaper article and a novel, there are still some distinct differences and similarities. His newspaper articles seem to me fact driven (as is appropriate for crime reporting), but they are still accessible and easy to understand. This is different from the conversational tone I got in the first part of his book. While it was still facts, it was in storytelling format and easy to understand. The latter half of his book was again, like a research paper and more difficult to understand. His newspaper articles are not hard to understand, but they are fact. He has managed to strike the balance between conversational and fact driven.

I did like the book, I found it very interesting. It also gave me one source to get the information about what happened to Candace Derksen. I'd heard about it, but I don't trust just word of mouth, and when Mark Grant was arrested I was in the eighth grade, I think. The presentation was pretty interesting too, though I feel that there was a mix of the trials of writing this book specifically and then writing for news in general. Sometimes this mix was hard to define.

But I hope you all have a good night, and I would definitely recommend people read this book.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Hunger Games!

Happy Hunger Games everybody!

As the fans of the Hunger Games series know, today is the day the Hunger Games movie is released today (March 23).

For those who don't know the series, it's kind of like Battle Royal. Although, I may be wrong, as I've never read Battle Royal, so I'm basing this on vague knowledge.

I would suggest the series to people who are fans of dystopian future novels.

It's also Friday today! Which means the weekend! Which means... working. But it's fun.

I've realized this week that I have a great job. It's not the highest paying, and I wouldn't make a career out of it, but I still feel I have a great job.

I work with great people, and our managers treat us well.

I'm going to go now, it's a relatively nice day, and I'd like to join the outside world, but I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Anime Music

So I'm pretty dead on my feet today, I've been awake over 24 hours.

That's why today I decided to find some of the Anime theme songs I like and post them for you, because music is one of the few things I'm truly, madly passionate about.

I will not promise all these songs are appropriate for younger or sensitive audiences, so view with caution.

So here we go!

Heros Come Back - Nobodyknows

This was a Naruto theme song and yes, I know that Naruto is a punchline a lot of the time now, but it's still a good song. I would have put the opening theme song animations, but sometimes I find the bands actual music video is much better.

What's Up People - Maximum the Hormone

This was used as a theme song for the anime Death Note. I won't lie, I love Maximum the Hormone. They have such a unique mix in their music, it's kind of rap-rock-pop-metal. And their drummer Nao is my drumming idol. But look how hard they rock in their videos, it's almost ridiculous. I'm only including videos that had their music used as theme songs in anime, but I'd definitely suggest checking out some of their other video's if you like this one.

And then we have this...

Zetsubou Billy - Maximum the Hormone

This was actually the first Maximum the Hormone music video I saw. I initially thought that Maximum the Hormone was a Visual Kei band (for more information: ), and then I could see their full awesome. This song was also used as a theme in Death Note, though if you look up the lyrics, it looks like it might have been written for Death Note. Also, the video clearly references Death Note.

This is the Lucky Star opening. I'm not sure who made the song, but I'm also not sure there's any actual... point... to the song. But that can kind of describe the entire Lucky Star series. Still, it's a cute song.

But that's all for the day, I'm going to work on staying awake!

Friday, March 09, 2012


For the past three days I (with my fellow CreCommer's) have been sitting through the IPPP's

That's the Independent Personal Project Presentations (and that's a mouthfull).

The IPP's (Independent Personal Projects) are something that students in the Creative Communications program have to do in their second year at the college. We have to pitch an idea to a panel of teachers, and if they approve it, we get to work on them in our second year.

The first year CreCommer's get the pleasure of presenting at the IPPP's next year, but for now I figured I'd push off thinking about it, and leave you all some breadcrumbs to projects that were presented this year.

Just as a head's up, all the presentations were awesome, but with at least 65 presentations, I'm not going to list all of them. So without further ado, A portion of the IPPP's in 2012.

The (un)holy War by David Driedger

I haven't read the comic yet, but based on the presentation, it looks good.



Heart Container - Albertine Watson

Heart Container is a video game zine, which makes it pretty awesome, and when ordering a copy they will mail it to you even if you're out of country (if I understood the presentation correctly). I haven't bought a copy yet (being a broke student) but it's on the list.

A jar of Heart Containers... hehehe


Conversation Kitchen - Laura Kunzelman

It's a cooking blog, but it's got interesting original recipes that are easy to make.


Thor's Mighty Blog - Thor

Just to clarify, not Norse God Thor. But it -is- a blog about comics and related paraphernalia.

Moon Drop: The dark side of the light side. - Breanna Perrelli

Part of the reason I was drawn to this graphic novel is the story, the other in the way it was presented. It was a great presentation, funny, a little adorable, and it got the information across.

It's another thing on the ever growing list of things I'm going to buy... eventually.


Now, there were a lot more presentations that were just so amazing (all of them), but I don't want to make this blog post much longer than it is.

So I'll leave you with the link to the IPPP's webpage, so you can see everything there was to offer.

Hope you all have a good day!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

I know a lot of people who play video games (practically all of my friends). A lot of them also do things like play Dungeons and Dragons, or Warhammer.

Oh the memories...

A few of them play Harvest Moon, in it's various incarnations. They're the ones who will understand me when I start ranting about it. The ones who don't play it give me a look that clearly says "What are you on woman?"

They do this because Harvest Moon is a farming RPG.
You're the one who's holding the dog.

People who don't play it go "Oh, it's a farming game? Like Farmville?"

It kind of is, but only in the farming part. 

In Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, you start with your character showing up at on a farm near a small town, and the mayor of the town explains that the previous owner has died and left it to someone.

That someone is you.

If you choose to keep the farm, you start working on it the next game day.

You get to tend cattle, sheep, and chickens, and you own a dog, and a horse. But you only start with the dog, the cattle, sheep, and chickens you have to earn enough money to buy. The horse is given to you by the  owner of the cattle farm.
Heeere chicken chicken chicken!

Then there are the Non-player characters (NPC's). Other than your character there are no other characters controlled by you in the game. That's a lot of characters, at least about 39. 

They all have their own personalities, likes and dislikes, interests, etc. They have their own birthdays even, which people like me (slightly manic people) try to find out.

For example one of the bachelorettes, Popuri, will like your puppy if you talk to her holding it, but when it's a full grown dog, she won't like it.

Speaking of bachelorettes, you get to have a girlfriend in this game (or several) and get married. You also get to have a child.

Personally, I always go for Popuri.

This is Popuri.

It's not all fun stuff either, there can be hurricanes in the summer, and blizzards in the winter. Your animals can get sick, and they can die from their sickness. They can also die from age.

This is also a game that consumes you, you have to budget, plan when you're planting, and when you're harvesting, be friendly with the townspeople, not overexert yourself (or you faint and lose a week of game to recover in the hospital).

And you never win the game. It just keeps going and going and going.

At least in my experience it never ends. I had a file until recently that was into year five in the game, my character was married, had a kid, was running a good farm. And then my file disappeared. 

It made me so sad, and when I told my friends that play Harvest Moon, they had a  look of horror on their faces. When I told the ones who didn't play, they told me it sucked that I'd lost the file, but just play it again.

But it takes an emotional toll on you, you build a life in the game, and make a family, and then... BAM! it's gone.

Which sounds silly to a lot of people, I know, it's just a game. 

But now I get to restart my game life tonight, and build it back up. Because no matter how many times I lose my files, I will keep on playing Harvest Moon.