Protect yourself with some helpful tips!

Typically, whenever I check my Hotmail account and see that I’ve received a forwarded email, I generally don’t think it will be of much importance, as it is generally a series of cute  animal pictures (…really cute, I must admit), however today I got an email from a family friend and actually found some interesting tips in it that I thought may be helpful to share.

The email was titled ’13 Things Your Burglar Won’t Tell You’ and offered a humorous but helpful series of tips from a sarcastic burglars point of view that proved to be quite insightful about safety/security tips for your home. Towards the end, there was an interesting little section about the use of general wasp spray that could be used as a pepper spray replacement. Here’s what the email said:

” A friend who is a receptionist in a church in a high risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection. She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

        The wasp spray , they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn’t attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection… Thought this was interesting and might be of use. “

From another source:

  ”  On the heels of a break-in and beating that left an elderly woman in Toledo dead, self-defense experts have a tip that could save your life.  Val Glinka teaches self-defense to students at Sylvania Southview High School . For decades, he’s suggested putting a can of wasp and hornet spray near your door or bed. Glinka says, “This is better than anything I can teach them.”
Glinka considers it inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray. The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, Glinka says, “spray the culprit in the eyes”. It’s a tip he’s given to students for decades. It’s also one he wants everyone to hear. If you’re looking for protection, Glinka says look to the spray.

       “That’s going to give you a chance to call the police; maybe get out.” Maybe even save a life. “

I definitely never thought of that, but it sure does make sense. Seeing how you can’t typically buy pepper spray, this is a neat substitute, and couldn’t really get you in any trouble.

Also in the email was an interesting bit of advice on where to keep your car keys. Here’s the excerpt:

” Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your Dr.’s office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across. Put your car keys beside your bed at night.
     If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies. This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It’s a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won’t stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won’t want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.” 

I just thought these two bits of advice were actually pretty helpful and interesting. I had never really thought of either, but they both make sense. Maybe some of you have heard them before, but I thought it would be a good thing to share anyways!


Intern for a Day

So I’m not sure if anybody read my previous blog about my interview with CTV Morning Live regarding their Intern for a Day contest, but for those of you that did, if you are interested in hearing about how the actual day internship went, here we go (warning: I didn’t realise how long this actually was until I wrote it all. I couldn’t just write an overall recap…it’s basically exactly what I did. Jane, I hope you like this one!) :

I’ve often complained about getting up early, but I’m not so sure I’ll be complaining much more after my early morning on Thursday. I was told to be at the studio in Ottawa for 5am, and sure, that may not sound too unreasonably early, considering this is a morning show, but when you’re a girl, who knows she’s going on tv, and lives an hour and a half away from Ottawa, that means getting up at 2:15. Of course I was super excited/nervous/anxious the night before, so I barely got any sleep, yet I bounded out of bed and eagerly got ready.
It’s quite impressive how there is absolutely nobody on the highway around 3-4 am, and Ottawa is absolutely dead that early. It was almost eerie, especially when you see the Byward Market, which is usually packed with people, pretty still.

The studio was surprisingly quiet at 5am, even though the show started at 6am. I met with Ziyada (the producer I met with on Tuesday) and she gave me a bit of a tour of the studio, and I greeted Kurt, Jeff and Lianne, as well as one of the reporters, Melissa Lamb, and the anchor of the news, Annette Goerner (who, little did I know, was actually one of the spies during the prank they pulled on me). My first job was to print out the show schedules and notes and make sure that the hosts and camera guys got them. I was then given my headset, so I could hear everybody who had a mic or headset on. There would be so many people talking at once, occasionally it got confusing, but it was fine. I was then left with one of the two guys who work the main controls, and watched as they got the show on air and explained some of the ropes. At one point, Ziyada pointed to the teleprompter and told me I would probably have to work that. The thought definitely scared me! That would be quite the thing to screw up. One of the camera guys ended up sitting beside me working the prompter, and it didn’t seem that hard, but I paid close attention incase I had to do it too. I then met up with the editor, who showed how they converted tapes, and how these huge machines worked, then how he edited clips and set them up so they could be used for stories. The basic editing that he was using was similar to what we were learning in Bill’s class last semester. About a half hour or so into the show, I was told I was going on air, so I had to mic up, and go sit on the couches with the three hosts. I surprisingly wasn’t nervous, it didn’t feel like you were actually on tv, and the hosts were just so nice and easy going. They introduced me, asked how it was going and where I was going to school (St. Lawrence College’s Journalism program got a few promos during these four hours (Terry I’m sure you’d be happy to hear that!). Later on in the show they would be showing the prank video.
Right after, I was told I was off to Tim Hortons. Tim’s is a big sponsor for the show, so every morning, somebody goes and picks up boxes of donuts, timbits, muffins and bagels for the guests that will be on the show that day. I went with one of the other producers/camera guys and we took on of the CTV vehicles.

After we got back and I set up all the food for the guests, I ended up going over to the news desk as Annette was getting ready for her 7:00am news update. Ziyada told me that I would be sitting with her while she read the news. Not on camera of course! I was sitting at the other end of the desk, just off camera while she read the news, so I could see what she does. It was so cool! I read the prompter to myself to see how hard it was, and it was really neat to see the news from that perspective. Right beside the desk was another little section where Melissa, one of the reporters would do a news report, and beside her was the green screen where Jeff would read the weather. It’s quite the comparison from when you see the three segments from your tv set run one after another, to actually sitting and see how they are all filmed.
I then went over to the ‘street’, which is basically the main hallway in the studio where they film a few segments, and the two guys operating the cameras were going to show me a bit about the cameras/jib and teach me about ‘flooring’ (greeting guests and getting them ready for their segment and such.) Before I could get into that, I was called over to the kitchen section with the hosts, where they were going to show the prank video. I put the mic on myself, since they knew I knew how to do it (definitely appreciated Bill teaching us how to properly put on the mic) and joined the hosts. They introduced me once more and talked about the prank they pulled. They found it hilarious. Now that I look back on the video, I keep thinking I should have said this or done that. I didn’t feel nervous but I kept worrying that if I said a lot I might cut into the time line we had. So they put the video on, then Kurt made them turn a speaker on so I could hear it. While they were airing the video, the three hosts were killing themselves laughing while they watched what they were doing and had a running commentary. They continued it a little bit when the cameras turned back to us, then wrapped it up for the commercial break.
Afterwards, the guests seemed to keep coming in, so I had to put the mic on them, and help set up some equipment. There was a group of young girls who were Irish dancers, so I helped make sure they were all there, sort out their music, and take them to the makeup room. At one point I actually talked into the headset thing! Since it was before St. Patty’s day, there was also a celtic band that came in, so I helped them, and talked to their dancer. All the guests were very nice, and understood if I had to ask someone a question. It was pretty busy for a while, but I didn’t feel nervous or worried at all. While I was sitting off set reading show notes, the hosts were on air, and Kurt decided to draw attention to me, asking how their intern was doing. The camera guy who was standing near me ran and got his camera and pointed it at me. So I basically stood there laughing and not really knowing what to do while they talked about me briefly (I wasn’t with them or I didn’t have a mic, so they couldn’t hear me if I talked.) Then for a little bit I sat and talked to one of the camera men, who was really nice and a little bit older than me. He had only been there for 8 months so it was great to talk to somebody who was still new and hear what he had to say, plus they were really nice and easy to talk to. I wish now that I had gotten more of a chance to see how the cameras worked and ask some more questions about them.
I also learned how to make coffee (no…I didn’t know before then) and began to get pretty hungry since there was so much food there! One of the guests was grilling ribs and other meat outside on the street, and there were two chefs inside in the kitchen. They would make all this food then just leave it for the crew to eat. Unfortunately I was wearing a white blouse…so I didn’t try any of the ribs, not matter how good they were, since knowing me, I would most likely end up getting rib sauce on my shirt and end up on camera later.

When there wasn’t much more  for me to do, I went and sat with one of the other producers who was preparing the show for the following day. Jeff came up and was getting ready for his weather update. From where I was sitting, you could see a bunch of screens that showed what was on every camera. While Jeff was off air, he would be looking into the camera making funny faces and joking around while he waited for his count. I was pretty amused. When he went on air, he started rubbing his eye and said that there must be something in it. I wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing, then Erin, the producer was sitting with, was like ‘go with Jeff!’ and Jeff proceeded to yell my name demanding where his intern was, and this is all while he’s on air. I looked at him as I was walking over and he was like ‘you’re helping me with the weather!’ It’s not like I could say no, and I was actually like…are you serious? I found it hilarious. Jeff told me where to stand, and since I never had a chance to put a mic on, I would just point. He showed me what to do, then where to move for each section. I tried my hand at doing the gestures that you see the weathermen do while looking at  the radar pictures, it’s a little harder than it looks. You’re standing in front of a green screen, and right in front of you, below a camera, is one tv screen that you have to look at, where you see yourself and the weather forecast, then when you turn to your right, there’s another tv screen with another picture on it. Jeff ended up getting a handheld mic, and then asked me what the temperature was in certain areas. At one point he told me to say hi to everybody from St. Lawrence College in Cornwall…so I did. You all should feel special now.

After the weather I could only laugh about it and think about how awful I probably was. Ziyada came up and asked me what I thought of it, and asked if I was nervous or how it was. She didn’t think I would be too upset by it or anything when she told Jeff he could ambush me like that. I told her that I wasn’t nervous at all, and it was all good. It really was! I then ended up going back over to the couches where Kurt, Jeff and Lianne were closing the show, since I would close it with them. They basically asked me how it was and what direction I wanted to go in with the journalism, or if I wanted to be behind the scenes or in front of the camera. Honestly, I think either would be fine, since I really didn’t feel nervous whatsoever in front of the camera. Jeff did mention that if I wanted one of them to come down and talk to our class then they could (then laughed and added if they could find a professional out of one of them). I wasn’t sure if he was serious, but if he mentioned it then I’m sure he was.

After the show ended, I helped roll some cables (harder than it looks!) and a few people slowly came over to the seats behind the set (where the audience would generally sit when they have a studio audience) and we all talked casually. They asked what I thought of the day and then had some random funny conversations. Eventually everyone had come over to the seats, which they do every day for their post show meeting, and did a run through of what would be happening the following day. They thanked me, and gave me a little goodie bag filled with CTV things, like pens, key chains, a foam mic with the CTV logo and so on, to remember them by (like I would need something to remember that!) We then all gathered on the couches to take a picture, and everyone kind of dispersed.
It got pretty quiet pretty quickly! Ziyada realized she never gave me the full tour, and I had plenty of time to kill before my train left for home, so off we went. The building used to be an old mall so it’s quite big.

The downstairs level consists of the big newsroom, which includes the three sets for the newscasts and the weather, and the control room for the morning show (it’s all very open concept though.) There are also numerous little editing booths and offices as well. The controls for the mid-day, the evening, and the 11 p.m. news are on the other side of the hallway since they are a bit of a bigger production. I should probably note that because the morning show is a bit of a smaller production than the 6pm and 11pm news, everybody has more than one job (for the other newscasts, one person is devoted to one job). The producers may work the cameras sometimes, or take care of the guests as they arrive, or the camera guys may work the teleprompter go get Timmy’s ! They are all such knowledgeable and interesting people.
There is also a small little diner where everybody can go to get food. The diner is actually original to the building, and was the one thing that was kept there from the conversion between the old mall and the studio. I also got a tour of the whole equipment rooms, where all the huge machines are running, and where all the wires connect to. It’s so impressive. Some machines are connected directly to Toronto, so if something goes wrong, all you have to do is flip a switch and somebody from Toronto is waiting to help you. Also, all the wires are hand-made by the technicians themself. It’s crazy.
Downstairs also has a few offices tucked away where a lot of the commercials and technical things essential to the show are run out of (it was pretty quiet in that area and everyone was very focused on their jobs), as well as this room where all the tapes of all the shows for the past many, many years are stored. I was so interested to see everything.

Upstairs was a really cool too (if you haven’t caught on yet…I think everything is cool), and was where the four radio stations were broadcasted out of. The main offices were tucked away upstairs, and the big boss got the office that looked right down on the newsroom. The amount of lights and equipment that are over the newsroom are incredible, and it allows them to shoot from anywhere and have good lighting and all.
The radio station rooms are really cool too. Each room as two thick doors right next to each other to make sure it is sound proof. I went and sat in one of the recording booths, then went through this big room which was super quiet with a bunch of people sitting at their own desks. Just regular desks, but with a mic at them, so they could go on air just sitting there. We then went over to the room where Magic100 is based out of, and Jeff, the weather guy/host from the morning show was on air. After he finishes the news, he usually runs upstairs and works the radio from 10-2 or so. I wanted to say bye and thank him, so Ziyada and I went and sat with him while he was just playing music. He showed me a bit about their equipment and how he did certain things. It was awesome.

Shortly after that I got ready to leave. I mentioned to Ziyada that I would be having an internship to do next January and if it would be possible to do it there. She said I would have to email Human Resources for that and they would talk to her or something, but since I already have a little bit of experience there it would probably work out. I was really hoping going for the Intern for a Day contest would be a good way to get my foot in the door, and I think it did help.
By this time it was probably around 11am. I got so much done and learned so much before noon! My train left at 2:30 or so, so I had plenty of time to kill around Ottawa. Ziyada said if I got bored I could definitely come back to the studio, no problem. Everybody wished me luck on my studies  and were all super nice!

Oh, and throughout the show and online they kept mentioning that on March 23rd they would be having a live studio audience (they don’t usually I guess) and to email to book a spot. While I was saying bye to Jeff, I mentioned that I was considering coming back for it and both he and Ziyada were like ‘oh you should!’ So sure enough, I’ll be going back to Ottawa tomorrow. I figured it would be great to show up and see everyone, and it will show that I’m definitely interested in the field. I talked to one of the camera guys, and he’s willing to answer questions or help me out if I’d like.
I’m so thankful that I got to spend the day with them. I felt I learned a lot, both about the field and about myself, and developed some really great contacts.

If anybody wants to see the video of the prank they pulled, you can click on the link below. It’s only a small portion of the whole thing, but you get the idea. It looks like a pretty obvious prank when you watch it, but honestly, when you’re going for an interview at a huge place like CTV, meeting with producers and news hosts, you really aren’t going to expect them to trick you! Plus come on, peanut allergies are a big deal these days, I didn’t think anything of it!

To anybody who actually read this all the way through, I’m impressed. I think I just wrote a novel. There was just so much to tell!

What A Day!

So last month I came across the CTV Ottawa Morning Live website, and stumbled upon the Intern For A Day contest. It definitely caught my attention, especially since I had been hearing a lot about the second year’s internships, and began thinking about what I wanted to do for mine. I thought it would be an awesome opportunity. I eagerly sent in my resume as they requested, and was called last week and told I was a finalist.
So today I went in for an interview with one of the producers, and if all went well, I was told I would come back on Thursday for the day internship. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I was both nervous and excited. When I got to their building, I had to sign in and wait in the front for the lady I was meeting to come out and get me. While I was waiting, I saw some of the news casters casually walking around, which I thought was kind of cool.

Eventually I met with the producer and we went upstairs to a meeting room, with a big table and lots of chairs, and we sat down and talked for a little bit. I definitely wasn’t as smooth as I was hoping to be, but it seemed to go ok. She then said that she would go get Kurt, Lianne, and Jeff (the hosts of the show) for me to meet, and asked if I had a notebook, because they were so full of knowledge, and I could ask them anything. She left the room, and I realized I didn’t have a notebook! It must have fallen out in the car, but I couldn’t believe my luck. We’ve been told many times that we should always carry around a notepad and pen…and I didn’t have one! Luckily I had a pen, and resorted to using the back of a cheque book I had.

So she came back with the three hosts, which I thought was really cool, and they sat down and started talking to me. A few minutes in, Lianne got a phone call, and started yelling and fighting with someone, then got up a few minutes later and slammed the door as she left. I must admit I was a little bit intimidated, but she seemed really sweet when I met her! I kept talking to Jeff and Kurt, and Jeff informed me he was allergic to peanuts, and insisted I learned how to use his epipen, since it is important, so he made me practice on his knee. I didn’t really think much of it, cause a lot of people have peanut allergies. He then told me about his specific morning routines and when he likes his coffee and everything, and wanted me to write it down. That definitely started getting me nervous for Thursdays internship, cause I don’t drink coffee, and I would definitely mess it up, and not get it to him at 4:55am sharp.
We talked for a bit more, then the producer came back and said that Kurt, Jeff and Lianne were needed downstairs. She then told me that since everything went well, Thursday would be a go, so she went back downstairs to get some forms for me to sign.

So here I am, sitting alone in this board room, making notes on my cheque book, when about 7 or 8 people come in and sit at the table. I had no idea what to do, but the one I assumed was the boss in the group was really stern and started lecturing the group about how disappointed he was in them. I honestly just sat there staring at the table awkwardly, debating if I should get up and excuse them, or what. At one point, the boss, who was sitting next to me, turned to me, gave me a look then asked who I was. I was so taken aback I just said I was waiting for the producer and was there for the intern for the day contest. He responded with a gruff ‘oh sorry you have to hear this.’ I was going to ask if I should wait outside, but he kept talking. I looked around to see if any of the other people at the table were looking at me to get some idea of what I should do, but none of them really caught my eye. I kept thinking that they purposely had this meeting so I would get a better idea of the real world, but I just felt so out of place. Then the boss dismissed them, told them to step it up, and they all got up.
I looked across at one guy who cracked a smile and said something along the lines of ‘we’re kidding’, and Kurt, Jeff, Lianne, and Ziyada (the producer) all walked in the room and started laughing with everyone else. The whole thing was completely set up! Lianne admitted that there was nobody on the other end of the phone and apologized for her crazy behavior, Jeff really didn’t expect coffee at 4:55, his makeup lined up at 6:05, and a tea at 8:05, and Kurt pointed out the hidden cameras in the room, including the hidden one in his pen. I thought it was hilarious. They kept telling me how well I handled it, and asked if they could put it on air when I go back on Thursday. Of course I agreed! So not only am I going to end up on tv, but so is this video of me! Eeek!

So after that I was led back downstairs, past where the mid-day news was being filmed, through this giant news/control room and back out to the front. The producer told me that whenever we got to the front desk, we’d just be formal and she would say that we would be in touch, since there was another finalist waiting to meet with her too. So that was that. I headed outside and met up with my brother and his friend who were kind enough to drive me up to Ottawa, and explored the Byward Market and Rideau Centre for a little bit, since it was a super nice day. They certainly got a kick out of the story, so I figured you all would find it funny too.

I go back this Thursday to do my day internship, start at 5am, and stay there until at least 10am (when the morning show ends), or I have the option to stay longer and see what the producers do preparing for the next days show. I’ll definitely take advantage of that! If anyone is actually interested, I’ll blog about it whenever I get back 🙂
This definitely wasn’t what I was expecting when I went up for the interview, but we definitely all got a kick out of it!  They really are such friendly, easy going people! (Lets hope that opinion doesn’t change after Thursday)

What Happen to TV?

It recently came to my attention, after babysitting a three-year old, how awful kids cartoons and tv shows have become. When I was younger, I grew up watching Arthur and the Magic School Bus among other shows. Despite the fact they are cartoons, these were at least ‘good quality’, and not terrible sketches or stick people that look like they’ve been drawn by the children watching, that some cartoons seem to be today. Or in some circumstances, a hamster running around its cage with some squeaky voice over. What is this? Both shows I mainly watched told a story that left the child viewing them with a message that proved to be educational, and taught them every day values. I often found myself in my high school science classes remembering things I learned from the Magic School Bus. They each had such simple aspects to them, the kids loved watching them, without even realizing that they were learning. Today I watched an episode of Arthur (yes, I watched Arthur today, but it was on for my sister!) that was all about the unhealthy ingredients in candy bars, and promoted healthy eating for children in a way that they would understand. Sure, both Arthur and the Magic School Bus are still on tv today, but they are over ridden by mindless cartoons that make me cringe whenever I see them.

And it is not merely the children’s cartoons that have changed. The teen sitcoms that I used to watch on the original Family Channel, such as Boy Meets World, Smart Guy, Brotherly Love, and some older or newer, taught me about life, love, and family, not magic, the ideal physical image that teenagers should have according to society, or sex, alcohol or drugs. I never gathered any expectations for my own life from them, or wanted to be one of the characters, it was as though they were equals, and lived perfectly normal lives, in normal houses, in a normal town, that everyone could relate to. Not everybody in these shows were stick thin, with painted on faces, or had to act a certain way to be accepted. Today, teens and pre-teens end up watching shows like Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, The Suite Life, etc, that show perfect lives of teens with great talents, whether it be singing, or magical talents, living pretty glamorously. How can you relate to that? Or then there are shows such as Gossip Girl or 90210, that will most likely make any girl, especially a preteen entering high school, feel bad about themselves, or have a high expectation for high school that is merely a Hollywood image, far from reality.

I certainly miss the shows that I grew up with. I guess it’s not only the tv shows that have changed, but the way society views things certainly has changed too. I certainly appreciate when I grew up, how I grew up, and what I grew up with. This is making me want to write a whole new blog about how kids these days act as opposed to when I grew up. Yes, it sounds silly to say, seeing as I am only 18, but the difference in such a short time is incredible! Or maybe it’s just my small town background…?


Not ‘just a horse’

As most of you know, I’m a horse person, there’s no hiding it. I always have been, and always will. I grew up with horses in the backyard, and began taking lessons when I was very young. I was told so many times that ‘it’s just a phase’ and that I would grow out of it when I was a teenager, finding boys and girly stuff more interesting. I surely proved them wrong.
In 2004, after years of ‘Mommy, Mommy, I want a pony!’, and trying out many psycho horses, I finally got one as a surprise. Her name was Bobbie, and she was a 15-year-old paint pony. This pony proved that a horse is not just a horse, she was so much more. I learned so much out of this pony. I gained so much confidence, and learned many new things that helped me improve my riding, whether it was by the bareback rides that I would sneak before I got on the bus in the morning, galloping flat-out across open fields, or cleaning up for a weekend competition. After a few years, I learned all I could from Bobbie, and simply needed something that was more advanced, and could help me challenge myself. However, I’m not one of the spoiled rich girls who have numerous ponies that come and go when they need them. I developed a strong bond with my horse, and I could not just sell her to some stranger and never see her again.

Now what most of you don’t know about me is that I have an older sister who is severely disabled. When she was younger, she also took riding lessons like me, but at Brave-Hearts Therapeutic Riding Club, a program in Apple Hill which allows kids, with disabilities or not, to experience the joys and freedom of riding. When she began taking lessons, I always came to watch, while my brother volunteered with the program. The atmosphere of the barn was so calming, cheerful, and positive, and the volunteers who worked there, the horses, the kids, and the parents were always smiling, and there to help with anything. As soon as  I was old enough, I started volunteering there myself, and have ever since. Aside from being a role model for the kids and helping them around the barn, my main job was handling the horses while the kids were around. The horses are one of the most important parts of the program, as they are handling precious cargo. When the issue arose that there wasn’t enough horses to handle all the lessons, I knew what I had to do.

In 2006, I decided to donate Bobbie to the Brave-Hearts program. I accepted no money, it was just a simple act of kindness that meant the world to me, the program, and all the children. Rather then selling my pony and never seeing her again, I was able to watch as she lit up the faces of sad children, or give wheelchair bound kids the sense of freedom they would not be able to experience otherwise. She made tons of children just as happy, if not more, then she did for me.
However, what makes this pony stand out, is her impeccable ability to understand who was on her, and what her job truly was. When she had a severely disabled child on her back, who was only able to ride lying down backwards on her, supported by pillows, and ‘sidewalkers’ (the volunteers who walk along side the horse) Bobbie would take extremely slow, careful steps, and would inch around the ring. If a riders balanced slipped, she stopped to let them regroup. She may have been a lazy pony, but this something more than laziness. When I would go up to the barn and ride her for old times sake, the minute we got into a hay field in the back, there would be a spring in her step, and at the slightest cue, she would take off at a full gallop, because she knew that’s what we always used to do. On many occasions, she would rub against me in the barn, just wanting a scratch on the head, and nearly knocking me over, however she would never dare when she was around a child in a wheelchair, or who was clearly uncertain of getting close to an animal. She seemed to sense what was needed of her, and went above and beyond that standard.
Most people just think a horse is a regular animal, four legs a head and a tail, that are perfectly easy to ride. I know better than that. Seeing such a large creature become so soft, and so careful around kids, leave them with huge smiles across their faces, give them the freedom they couldn’t get while in a wheelchair, a chance to escape, gain confidence in themselves, and have such a positive experience, proves that they are more than just an animal.

It still warms my heart to think of everything she has done for not only myself, but all the kids that had the opportunity to ride her. She was not ‘just a horse’.

And she certainly will be missed by many!

Superstition, anyone?

Superstition is a pretty wide topic, and after talking to many people, everybody seems to vary in how superstitious they are. Whether it be staying inside on a Friday the 13th, fearing something awful will happen, believing it will rain if you kill a spider, or the classical black cat crossing your path, or walking under a ladder gives you bad luck, most people are superstitious to some extent.
I recently had a conversation with my brother about the recent Costa Concordia accident, and the superstition that has been floating around this particular topic. Of course the two factors that are up for discussion are the fact that the Concordia crashed on Friday the 13th, and its original launch as it set sail for the first time. I’m not fully sure on the origin of the whole breaking a champagne bottle on the ship as it sets sail, but back in 2006, the bottle did not break when the Costa Concordia took off on its maiden voyage. Apparently that’s bad luck.

So what do you guys think? Are you superstitious? Do you think that because the bottle did not break, or because it was on a Friday the 13th, that the ship was destined for disaster? It’s sort of a superficial or silly topic, but fun nonetheless. I’m curious to hear your views on this!

– Jentry

Rally North America

Hello all!

After sitting here for a while, debating what would be worthy of posting on this blog, an idea finally came to me. This summer, my brother, a friend and I will be participating in the Rally North America, a car rally that runs from Noblesville, Indiana down to Fort Walton Beach in Florida over the course of four days. My brother found out about the event from his coworkers, and they decided that why not make it into a summer road trip?

The rally of 80 cars plans to stop at famous checkpoints along the way, and includes a stop at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and driving two laps around the Talladega Raceway in Alabama. I’m not a big car person, but I still think that’s pretty awesome! After looking at the lineup of cars registered, I look forward to embarrassing ourselves. Compared to the many Mustang GT’s, Corvettes, and BMW’s that are registered, we will be one of the few doing the drive in a pickup truck, nothing fancy, just a 2005 GMC Sierra 1500. May not be fancy, but comfort at its best (and an awful lot more space than half those fancy cars!).
This rally does not only allow one to show off their fancy sports cars, or explore the southern states, but it also has a mission of raising money for a cause. Last year, the Rally Appalachia raised money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and this year its mission is to raise awareness and help accelerate the cure of Multiple Sclerosis. The starting lineup for the rally is based on which team raises the most money, which obviously gives them the advantage to win. Considering we’re driving an old pickup truck, mainly used to transport loads of hay and bop around the country, we don’t plan on winning! We’re in it for the cause, and for a great summer road trip.

If anybody is interested in donating towards MS, you can donate to our team at:
Any donation helps out, and are definitely appreciated.

You can check out the website at to read more about the cause, the teams, and the shortened itinerary.