Best pics of Newfoundland Blizzard 2013


“Cold and wet. Nothing a cup of tea and dry socks won’t cure!”

That’s the sentiment a day after a big blizzard in St. John’s closed the city down. On Friday January, 10th, 2013, the power went out for the whole day as the winter storm with wind speeds topping 110 km/h dumped from 25 to 55 cm of snow on the Avalon. Reports say it’s the worst storm in 7 years. But around here, it’s no big deal.

And that’s why I live here. No drama, sensationalism, or fear-mongering.

“It’s winter, and we live in the middle of the Atlantic – what are you expecting?”

Here’s how to deal with a blizzard in Newfoundland.

Some people see this as an obstacle.

snowstorm in Newfoundland blocks the door.

Others see it as an opportunity.


blizzard fridge


Shouldn’t be too much longer…

(This great shot from made it onto CBC.)

newfoundland turkey cooks over tealights during a power failure


Dude, where’s my car?

(crtsy Steve Halley)

car covered by snow, Newfoundland blizzard 2013





Climb to the back door…


I listened to Frankie, and stayed indoors.


Then I ventured out Friday at about 2 pm to catch these pics.
Owly Images

Owly Images

Thanks for the photos. If I haven’t credited the photos properly, let me know.

Everyone is Talking About Republic Of Doyle

One thing I actually like about living in my new small city is that when you walk downtown, you will always bump into people you know. This I actually find very uplifting now that I have learned it’s impossible to just sneak out to the corner store and make sure that I am sufficiently unstinky and out of egg-stained pyjamas.

This past week, when bumping into buddies, there was one topic of conversation one was sure to engage in:

“Did you watch Republic of Doyle?”

“Of course, b’y.”

“So, what did you think?”

“It was great, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. I liked it.”

“Were you in it?”

“I was an extra on the street,”

“I saw you, you were great.”

“St. John’s looks good, too.”

“Yeah, the photography is beautiful.”

Republic of Doyle is a big deal in town. Just about everyone in the TV, film or arts community has had a hand working on CBC’s new TV show as cast, crew or background performer and with 13 x one-hour episodes shot in and about town since last August, it is understandable that everyone is sufficiently anxious. We all want this baby the village raised together to be good. We all want it to be something we can be proud of.

And it is.

I did not work on the show but have lots of friends who did. As a filmmaker and actor, I am always hoping that Canadian TV and film productions will be hits and super successful. It’s good for the industry, good for morale, but more importantly it’s fun to watch stories on TV that I can relate to.

This is not often the case for me with Canadian TV, as I have not witnessed many “blue murders” in my life, and find most of the comedy too broad and hence unfunny, or just strangely pretentious. (Exceptions are The Newsroom and Made in Canada, which I found brilliant.)

So, did I like Republic of Doyle? Yeah, I did, and that’s a big “phew” for me. It would really suck not liking something that has touched this much of the town. It’s much more fun to be rooting for something.

The new show didn’t creep me out at all. I was worried that it would have that Canadian “smell” that I have thus far identified as the result of dull/wooden acting, spiritless and censored dialogue, plus a weird sound mix. The first two just make the show boring while the last adds an eerie and vacant quality that makes it distant and unrelatable.

Though the first episode had its moments of frozen acting, and a few icky musical stings that made me clench my jaw, for the most part I was able to enjoy the show without thinking about the technical or creative deficiencies. And that’s pretty good for me.

I was also worried that I would hate the female characterizations, as most of the casting calls I saw were looking for strippers, skanky bar maids and party ravers. I hate stereotypical or two-dimensional depictions of women in the media – it’s my biggest pet peeve. But for the most part the female leads in Doyle (as it’s now affectionately known) have some brains written into their parts as well as some guts, and thus far haven’t sat around the table lamenting their lack of boyfriends, babies or shoes. Not crazy about the over-the-top ex-wife role though, it’s a little cliche, a lot ridiculous, and I don’t buy her as a doctor. Hope that  scenario fades out quickly.

However, by far the best comment and compliment to the show has been “Republic of Doyle is not embarrassing.” For most of my friends in town this means the show does not embody the much-hated Newfoundland stereotype of a bumbling but lovable set of characters with strange accents living in a backward province AKA the butt of every joke. The series depicts St. John’s much more accurately – as a thoroughly modern city infused with a regional charm.

Best comment yet. “Alan Hawco is doing us proud.”

Will I keep watching? You bet. Word on the street is “it gets better.” I have taekwondo on Wednesday nights, but the CBC is streaming full episodes off its web site.

Watch Republic of Doyle here.

Artistic Fraud Performs AfterImage in Toronto

photo from AfterImage adapted from Michael Crummey

photo from AfterImage adapted from Michael Crummey : Tina Rasmussen

It’s the World Premiere of St. John’s hot theatre group Artistic Fraud‘s performance entitled AfterImage. Adapted from a story by author Michael Crummey, it will be performed as part of Harbourfront’s World Stage.

The story is set in the Newfoundland mining town of Buchans and revolves around a family created and devastated by an accidental electrocution and unexpected adoption. And make no bones about it, it promises to be a deLIGHTful, charged and illuminating show.

Ok, sorry for the puns – but assistant director Michael Worthman has told me he’s been busy rigging up the actors with wires so that a current flows through them when they touch the floor, allowing them to light up on stage. He’s also told me he spends even more time ensuring them that it’s all perfectly safe.

The revolutionary set, developed and designed specifically for AfterImage, is composed of overhead wires charged with positive DC current and a copper sheet floor charged with negative DC current which illuminate halogen lights when actors connect the two currents.

Why? To highlight the key thematic elements of conductivity in electricity and connectivity in families, of course.

Composer Jonathan Monro has also designed a new instrument for the production that utilizes
guitar wire integrated with the live DC current wires running the width of the stage. What results is an “intricately developed performance that creates a complex, or kaleidoscopic, effect – termed by Artistic Fraud as Kaleidography.”

So for you who will be in Toronto April 16-26, be sure not to miss it. And those of us who won’t be will just have to wait for it to play here.

Adapted by Robert Chafe and directed by Jillian Keiley

More details
Artistic Fraud (Newfoundland) – AfterImage
Part of Fresh Ground new works
April 16-18 and April 21-25, 8:00 p.m.; April 26, 2:00 p.m.
Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West
Tickets: $30, Box office and info: 416-973-4000 or

Job Post – Project Manager – Multimedia/Web/Video Production

Here’s a dream job…and you’ll work with me!

Job Posting! Project Manager – Multimedia/Web/Video Production


If you have a positive, proactive, team oriented attitude, good sense of humour, enjoy working in a stimulating environment and in an industry that is constantly changing, we want to speak with you.

BookShorts is a production + distribution + marketing company specializing in media based on books and authors (original work and client commissions). We are currently looking for a Project Manager for Multimedia/Web. This is a mid-level, full-time contract position at industry standard rates for a resident of St. John’s, NL.

In this position you will work as a key member of our hands-on creative and production team, all of whom are being specially hired to service a significant line of new business.

Our ideal candidate has:
- Three years experience in project management and/or is a graduate of a post-secondary level program in Multimedia with some real-world experience.
- Excellent communication skills both upstream to clients and to production / creative team members
- Hyper-attention to detail
- Excellent administrative computer skills (Microsoft Office); is comfortable with basic functions in Adobe CS; has basic HTML, FTP skills (Dreamweaver a definite bonus).
- Knowledge of basic video editing skills (Final Cut Pro or Avid) sufficient to collaborate effectively with team members
- Familiarity with the Internet and social networking
- Access to a vehicle
- Flexible work schedule
- A passion for New Media and all things web-related

Please email your resume to before Wed., February 4, (MS Word or PDF) with I’m The One! in the subject line.

We thank you for your response however, only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted.

Check out book trailers by BookShorts here.

St. John’s Recycling Delayed Two Years

St. John’s curbside recycling program was supposed to start this spring, but the city has just announced that the program will be delayed 2 years due to budget restraints. How’s that news for this new “Have province” capital?

Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth said while he felt uneasy about city council’s decision, he agrees that the $1-million cost would put too much strain on its $170-million budget.

This is truly a bummer  because I have not been able to bring myself to throwing my tins, bottles, plastics and papers away. I’ve been collecting them in clear plastic bags waiting for rides to the recycling areas, which don’t come often.

This is probably going to be a big bummer for Cathy Parsons too – whose job it is to field all the recycling and  environmental questions for the government. I met Cathy last year during the St. John’s Women’s film festival, where she told me the best worm composting story ever.

She tells me she gets a lot of awfully angry people  on the phone line when she tells them there is no recycling program in town. They like to take their frustrations out on her – because obviously Cathy has “all the power” and therefore it’s her fault. Now she will likely get two more years of abuse.

More sad but true recycling facts to make my green-conscious heart weep:

  • The provincial government recently announced it would not be able to keep its promise to shut down 25 garbage incinerators before the end of the year.
  • We still dump raw sewage into the harbour – though I can see the new sewage plant being built from my upstairs window. Pretty.
  • St. John’s and Regina are the only two provincial capitals that do not have recycling programs in place.

PS. Don’t talk to me about throwing food waste into the garbage either. I feel so guilty about it, it’s sick. I am seriously considering vermi-composting, but suffer a huge setback every time I find a slug under my desk.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the video, you should check out Cathy’s story about her first weekend home with her new vermi-composting worms. And stay tuned for the next installment of worm composting with Cathy – we’ll be making a new video as soon as I can get it together. (Getting it together always takes longer than you think, don’t it.)

How to Recycle in St. John’s

In the wake of hearing that the curbside recycling programs in Newfoundland have been pushed back for another 2 years, I have prepared this list of How To Recycle in St. John’s.

Recycling Programs in St. John’s

You can take your recyclables to a centre.

Green depots:
Green depots are set up throughout the province to collect used beverage containers only. I missed this point the first time and showed up with cans and jars and all kinds of other goodies I have been used to recycling in Ontario – but no, they wouldn’t take them. It is only for drinking containers. and they only accept goods for which they can receive cash for.

They will give you a refund of 5¢ per non-alcoholic beverage container and 10¢ per alcoholic item:

  • Aluminum cans – soft drinks, beer, juice, flavoured drinks
  • Drink boxes – juice, milkshakes
  • Plastic and glass bottles – soft drinks, water, juice, flavoured drinks, liquor bottles, imported beer
  • Steel cans – juice

Here is a link with the list of Green Depot locations.

On the list are Ever Green Recycling Depots, a nonprofit agency that operates four depots in St. John’s.

While evergreen accepts newsprint at the Blackmarsh Road and Elizabeth Avenue locations, they stopped collecting white paper and cardboards earlier in the year, as this was a money losing venture. They had asked the government for some money to help out  but were denied since the city wide plan was to start in the coming year.  Now that the recycling program has beem delayed for another 2 years, the city recommends we drive our paper to Mount Pearl or CBS. What a joke.

Here is the list of what you can recycle at Ever Green.

  • Sort 1 – Aluminum Cans
  • Sort 2 – Glass
  • Sort 3 – Clear Plastic
  • Sort 4 – Coloured Glass
  • Sort 5 – Green Plastic
  • Sort 6 – Plastic Other
  • Sort 8 – Steel Cans
  • Sort 9 – Gable Tops
  • Sort 11 – Drink Boxes
  • Sort 12 – Transplastics
  • Sort 13 – Blue Plastic
  • Sort 20 – Clear Glass
  • Sort 21 – Green Glass
  • Sort 22 – Brown Glass
  • Sort 23 – Plastic Clear
  • Sort 24 – Plastic Colour
  • Sort 26 – Beer Bottles

Once again, these are drinking containers only. What are transplastics? This recycling business is not easy.

Household Hazardous Waste
You have to be careful about how you dump your old paints, and other chemicals. Down the toilet isn’t great for the harbour, and consequently, us.

  • For the 2008 HHW Collection Program Schedule, click here.
  • For Accepted Household Hazardous Waste, click here.

How to recycle old tires.

Pay for pick up
Atlantic Blue Recycling Limited (709) 726-2583
Atlantic Blue Recycling Limited is a private business operating in the St. John’s Region that does provide a curbside collection service. The company will come to your house and collect all recyclables, cans, bottles, paper, plastic, and charge $19.53 a month.

I still have to find out more about them since they don’t have a web site (what!)  I think this might have to be the way for me to go, since I don’t have a car. Anyone in the downtown area want to share this with me?

Celebrating My First 5 Weeks in Newfoundland.

The Victory on Water Street, St. JoHn\'s

I’ve been here in st. John’s for 5 weeks and 2 days. And I have to say it’s been a resounding success. In other words – I loooovvvvvvvvve it.*

Sure, there’ve been a few of those “I’ve made a huge mistake”  moments  – a phrase that will kill me forever thanks to Will Arnett’s impeccably comic delivery in Arrested Development. Gawd I love that show.

The first “moment” came when I first got here and got a ride to the Futureshop to buy a new 24 inch  LCD screen for my computer since I didn’t want to lug my 65 lb CRT tube monitor all the way from Toronto. I asked the sales person 3 times if he was sure the supplied cable would  work with my MAC. No, 4 times. I’m sure.

Well, of course it didn’t work. And  I spent the whole day and the next trying to figure it out – half of which was spent figurin out where this Futureshop was and how was I supposed to get back out there and how does the bus system work and how I was supposed to do that without an umbrella in this neverending pissing rain. The other half was trying to figure out the cryptic code in what the monitor manufacturer called their product manual.

Yup. I was felled with consumer woes. An embarrassing malaise over how I was supposed to shop without subway trains coming every 5 minutes taking me to consumer heaven. Or the lack of flat roads for easy cycling.

Yup. I was felled. Until a fruitful Google search alerted me to the problem – I had to switch the setting of my monitor from the default setting to match my new $50 dollar (gasp) DVI cable.

The second time was after meeting another ex-Toronto-er. He’d been here 3 years and when I asked if he still liked it he took the question very seriously and answered it without any sugar coating.

Now don’t get me wrong. I hate sugar coaters who give a thumbs up to everything and appreciate honesty- I’ve been jammed up enough by denial enough and and believe a hefty dose of skepticism can keep you alive.  And yes, I did agree with half of what he had to say, but man – I was really miserable after I left the guy’s store.  Just deflated. Total yuck.

I walked down the street wiping the mist from my glasses, wondering what this mist shit was and thinking “I’ve made a big mistake” before I remembered that hey – I practice zen. Zen eases all suffering. So – I said to myself – hey, man – what’s going on? Yesterday you were so happy tears of joy were running down your face in a pub, and today  you want to throw yourself into the harbour?

And I smiled and and thought  – yup – look at that. Look at the the extreme differences in the way our thoughts can make us feel. And how you can go from heaven to hell so quickly.

Big lesson remembered – don’t believe your thoughts. And catch them when you can. Plus for me -  be careful and stop absorbing other peoples’ shit. Or shitty attitudes.

The third time was 2 days ago, the Tuesday after Labour Day long weekend. I had been sitting at my desk all day working to finish a web site – Down to the Dirt for all ye fans of the film and book, and I went for a walk afterwards to regrow my neck, which tends to disappear with each passing moment in front of the computer screen.

While walking downtown, I picked up an abandoned ghost-town feeling – a difference in the energy. Like the day the circus leaves town. The day the Ex packs up. And I panicked and went right to – wwwahhhh, it’s too small here. Nothing’s happening. I am going to die of boredom and mist asphyxiation.

So, yes, we see extreme thinking can often happen with me.

But then I reminded myself it was a Tuesday. And by St. John’s standards, it was still pretty early. And sure enough, a few minutes later, I bumped into someone I knew at The Victory. And we came upon the Rose and Thistle, which was packed for Trivia night, and the crowds from the the Grapevine next door spilled onto the street and made merry. And I felt less alone, felt the energy and aliveness that the city exudes and that I adore. And once again tears streamed down my face.

So yeah. I looooovvvve it here. The move to NL just fits me so well – like jumping into my favourite baby sleeper with feetsies. Enveloped in stretch cotton, warm and safe.

And I do love it. I do.

PS. I am not making that tear stuff up. I am very weepy, and have decided to no longer hold it back and pretend nothing hurts to fit our war culture. Some stuff does hurt and it’s better to pay attention to it  – call it what it is. Hey, it’s not like I am uber sucky and prim, proper and precious either, so it is what it is.

* That “* ” signifies  a little “in joke” which comes from a video I made with Kelly Davis last March. In the video, entitled “Kelly Ds famous Walking Tours” -  Kelly looks out onto the horizon and proclaims that she  can’t believe she’s been in St. John’s for 4 years – and that she indeed looooooovvvvvvveeeessss it.

PSS. That video is very stulted do to my not knowing how to edit on a PC and every time I tried to edit a cut, I just cut the video clip shorter and  shorter – and just gave up. I’m not so good with that patience thing.