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Showing posts from 2010

Youth Opportunities on Hiatus, Apparently

Saturday December 25, 2010

[UPDATE: For current contests and competitions, head to the Youth Opportunities page.]

Okay, so last week I got so busy with Christmas shopping I plain old forgot about doing a Saturday post. And since today is Christmas and I'm on my way out the door to do family things, I'll hopefully have the next round-up... on New Year's Day?

This could turn into a three-week hiatus, but hopefully not.

Merry Christmas all!

Youth Opportunities - December 11th, 2010

Saturday December 11th, 2010

[UPDATE: It may be useful to browse these old listings as many programs are annual, but for more current contests and competitions, head to the Youth Opportunities page.]

This Saturday's opportunities are all for creative youth ready to express themselves in words and video. Don't forget to check the bottom of the post for previously mentioned opportunities that are still open to submissions.

The Fraser Institute Essay Contest
• For Canadian and international students
• Deadline June 1st, 2011
High school, undergraduate and high school students are invited to answer the question "Is Capitalism dead?" in essays of 1,000-1,500 words. There's a $1000 first place prize, $500 for second place and an extra $250 prize available only to high school students (although exceptional high school entries are equally eligible for 1st or 2nd place). Winners of the Fraser Institute Essay Contest may also have their essay published in a Fraser Institut…

Youth Opportunities - December 4th, 2010

Saturday December 4th, 2010

[UPDATE: It may be useful to browse these old listings as many programs are annual, but for more current contests and competitions, head to the Youth Opportunities page.]

I'm just sneaking this in under the wire for a Saturday update! Many of this week's opportunities for youth are centered in Toronto and focus on arts or the environment - or both! Oh, and there's a chance to get a word in edgewise with the UN Security Council...

National Shakespeare Youth Festival
• For Canadian Secondary school students
• Early bird deadline has passed but registration is still open
Run by Shakespeare in Action, the National Shakespeare Youth Festival invites students form across Canada to creatively respond to any one of Shakespeare's plays using performance, dance, design or film. Outstanding entries from in-school festivals may move on to the National Festival in Toronto. For videos of some previous entries, visit the Shakespeare in Action blog.

Toronto…

Youth Opportunities - November 27th, 2010 (Film Festival Edition, Apparently!)

Saturday November 27, 2010

[UPDATE: It may be useful to browse these old listings as many programs are annual, but for more current contests and competitions, head to the Youth Opportunities page.]

This week it's all about film festivals for kids and teens!

Reel Youth Film Festival
• Filmmakers age 19 and under
• Deadline December 10th, 2010
In partnership with the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Reel Youth Film Festival is a touring festival that brings a showcase of work by young filmmakers to cities across Canada and sometimes internationally. The festival is currently accepting submissions of short films and videos with a maximum length of ten minutes, including credits. A $20 submission fee applies.

Sprockets
Sprockets is the Toronto International Film Festival for Children and in 2011 it will be taking place from April 5th to 17th. There are currently two opportunities for youth available with the festival:

Sprockets 2011 Film Festival Jury Call
• For anyone who resi…

Youth Opportunities News - November 20th, 2010

Saturday November 20, 2010

[UPDATE: It may be useful to browse these old listings as many programs are annual, but for more current contests and competitions, head to the Youth Opportunities page.]

This week there are some opportunities for Canadian youth interested in cooking, the environment, playwriting and orchestral music.

2010 EatRight Ontario Kids Recipe Challenge
• For Ontario students in Grades 1-6
• Deadline December 3rd, 2010
The EatRight Ontario website invites you to "create an original, kid-friendly recipe for either school day lunches or after school snacks". Entries will be judged on nutrition, taste, originality, easy preparation and your response to the question, "Why would kids like this recipe?". What you can win is vague, but according to the official rules page prizes "...may include any or all of: Gift certificates for groceries, books, music, etc; Cookbooks; Cooking equipment; Clothing; Recognition on the EatRight Ontario website".

EN…

Youth Opportunities News - October 20th, 2010

Wednesday October 20, 2010

[UPDATE: It may be useful to browse these old listings as many programs are annual, but for more current contests and competitions, head to the Youth Opportunities page.]

I'll write more on this soon, but I'm going to periodically be posting these links to opportunities for youth - particularly Ontario youth - which I seem to come across in my online travels.

Credit Education Week Canada Essay Contest
• Grade 12 students (All of Canada except Quebec)
• Deadline October 25th
The deadline has been extended for the Credit Education Week Canada essay contest.  Students now have until October 25th to submit up to 1000 words answering the question "What is the dumbest thing I have ever done with my money, and what did I learn from it?" for a chance to win one of 14 prizes ranging from $500-$5000.

Toronto Youth Theatre Auditions - A Chorus Line
• Ages 14 - 20
• Auditions Dates: October 30th & 31st
Toronto Youth Theatre is holding auditions for…

What I'm Reading: Fauna by Alissa York

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Sunday September 19, 2010

Just finished reading Fauna by Alissa York, which I loved.  My Goodreads review is below:

Fauna by Alissa York

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I knew I was likely to love the content of this book before I even started reading - it's set in Toronto right where I used to live, and focuses on the intersections between the lives of people and urban animals, which I love. But this is also the first book I've read by Alissa York and now I can also say that style-wise, she's fantastic. Both her human and non-human characters show distinction and depth. She also has a great sense of when incredibly well-researched details about the everyday actions of her characters will add to the story, ranging from what it's like to operate a car crusher to what wildlife officers face during a search - or what a raccoon faces during a search for food. Just an all-around great book that's one of my new favourites.


View all my reviews

Virtual Animal News Replaced by Real Animal News

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Saturday August 14, 2010

Toronto Animal News is Temporarily Offline

No, I didn't leave my new writing job that quickly.  But Examiner.com just did a major redesign and it seems that all of my pages - along with those of many other newish Examiners - haven't been migrated to the new system yet.  It's frustrating, since there are a lot of animal stories going on in the city right now, but the developers say they're working on it.  I'm hoping everything will be back up and running by the time the weekend is over.

Whenever the migration happens I'll also have a shiny new url to share with you.

Gizmo and Gadget, Meet the Great Outdoors

However in real animal news, Steve and I finally suited up our two indoor cats for their first on-leash adventure into the backyard.  Unfortunately I don't have any pictures since I wanted to be able to focus on the task at hand, but I'm sure I'll get some during out future excursions - and we are planning on future excursi…

Writing Round-Up: Sunday August 8th, 2010

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Sunday August 8, 2010

I mentioned last week that I should have some web writing news and indeed I do - I now cover Toronto Animal News for Examiner.com.  Although I repeatedly tell anyone who will listen that I'd like to spend more time on fiction, this is an opportunity to write about something I spend a lot of time following anyway.  There's actually a large redesign pending for Examiner, so I've decided not to do a lot of promo until I've got a bit more content built up and the site gets its new look, but I'm already enjoying it!

On Toronto Animal News this past week:
Toronto Butterfly Festival coming to Tommy Thompson Park2010 CNE Horse Show and HorseCapades free before The Ex beginsCity council candidate wants Toronto to stop the sale of dogs and cats in local pet storesOn About.com: Toronto this past week:
Toronto Fails to Make Frommer's Top Subway List140 Olympic Medals and One Hockey PuckPlus the usual Thursday listing of weekend event highlights

Writing Round-Up: Sunday August 1st, 2010

Sunday August 1, 2010

As usual these days, the past week didn't involve nearly as much writing as I would have liked, and really no fiction.  Still, I did connect with an old friend and we talked about potentially working on a script together, which is exciting.  I should also have news early next week about some new web writing I'll be doing.

On About.com: Toronto this week:
Is Canada's Best Restroom in Toronto?New Rules for Young Drivers1000 Subscribers Needed for Bike Sharing ProgramThings to Do in Toronto This Weekend: Friday July 30th - Monday August 2nd, 2010Plus updates to the August and September event calendars

Magic Hour

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Friday July 30, 2010

It gets hotter in our apartment as the sun goes down.  I'm not sure about the science of it - something to do with the proximity of the lake, I'm sure - but all I know is that just as a nice, cool summer evening is beginning outside, we're starting to sweat.  Evening walks seem like the natural thing to do, but after dinner I often find myself stuck behind the computer trying to finish some bit of writing.  Thankfully on Tuesday night I was already having trouble focusing, so as things got warm and Steve announced he was going to the park, I was quick to tag along.

I always knew that dawn and dusk were supposed to be great times for birding and general wildlife watching, but I still wasn't ready for the switch that was flipped as the sun went down.  On Tuesday night we saw a Night Heron, a beaver, a mink, plenty of bats and our first Nighthawk, all in the span of about fifteen minutes.  Last night we left earlier to get in some more sightings before…

Patriotic Shenanigans vs. Playwriting Contests

Saturday June 12, 2010

After enjoying taking part in the Toronto Fringe Festival's 24-Hour Playwriting Contest for the first time last year, I was planning to take another run at it in 2010.  But now details of the 2010 installment have been announced and it turns out most of the writing is scheduled to take place on Canada Day.  Last year the evening of Canada Day was when we learned what four items had to be included in the play, with most of the writing taking place on July 2nd.

I know it should be a small difference, but with all the fun, free things to do in Toronto on Canada Day (which I'm well aware of due to About.com) I just can't seem to get excited about spending that particular day sitting inside at the computer.  Of couse I may still change my mind before the sixty spots in the contest have been filled, but right now I'm definitely leaning towards a bit of off-the-page advenutre on July 1st.

The strangest part is, I may very well do nothing special for C…

Surprisingly Small Birds and Soft Snakes

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Saturday May 29, 2010

     Today the big park near our house was having its first ever "Spring Bird Festival", so Steve and I went to see what we could see (which turned out to be quite a bit).

     The first booth we came to had volunteers from the University of Guelph's Wildlife Education & Environmental Programs (WEEP), who had brought along four birds of prey who are unreleasable to the wild.  Steve was surprised that Einstein the Great Horned Owl was so big, but the volunteers said he is on the large side for his species.

"Here's a theory of relativity: I'm relatively huge!"
     What I couldn't believe was that the kestrel they had was so small. Okay, so her missing tail feathers may have made her seem a little smaller than usual, but still... In birding guidebooks and such, the American Kestrel is often described as being similar in size to an American Robin.  Now I don't know how often birds face off Sharks v. Jets-style,  but if kest…

Postcard Fiction: What the Best Man Wins

The thick smell slid deep inside me, stirring up trouble. I never woulda guessed a bowl of soup could make me hate my best friend, but the longer Jim took with that damned speech, the hollower and sicker I felt. Every gurgle of my stomach made me more sure this so-called toast was just Jim’s way of keeping me from what he knew would be my first meal of the day. He's never been long-winded, but he loves to be in control, right down to last night's bachelor party I said I didn't want. Now he was holding me for a little bit longer, every new joke and old story telling me that no new wife could keep me from following his lead. I looked up at him standing beside me and coulda swore I saw him wink just before he started into some new bit about what happens when a man looses his independence to a woman. Always the agreeable one, I turned my back on my bride and, with a raise of my glass, retched a symbol of my freedom onto my best man’s best pants.
An earlier version of What…