0

My Day on the Anthem of the Seas

This tale begins about a month ago. I received a marketing email from my favourite travel company Maritime Travel. It offered a talk about the offerings by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, lunch, and a tour of the Anthem of the Seas when it was in port on September 13th. I had never received one of these invitations before but was in envy of those who did. I was kind of in an when I showed it to a colleague, her eyes lit up and said: “I’m your plus one right?”

So, I replied back that I was interested and quickly go a reply back that I was on the list.

About a week before the trip, I received an email with the details that basically confirmed the times.

Meet at the “Port of Saint John” by 9:30 am. There were no specifics. Let’s face it, if I can find a ship in San Juan, Saint John would be a walk in the park. I mean how could you miss it on a beautiful sunny day.

When we got to the terminal the commissioner let us into the terminal and gave us directions to go to the furthest door. We passed through the “Fundy Cruise Market”, which carried all the typical local wares. (Including Maple Syrup). Once in the terminal, it was a flutter of activity with people being directed to their excursions or tours to see the city. Once at the far gate as directed we were then pointed to the group of people sitting at the near door. I then proceeded to the guy checking off names from the list.

We waited there for about a half hour before proceeding up to the ship. This was an incredible people-watching opportunity to see the different types of tourist from the ship and to judge them. Especially the “I’m wearing the T-shirt from my last port” guy.

We were then led up in the group to the security gate, after checking ID they gave us a ship pass and then we were directed to the security gate. The first sign this was not an NCL ship was the lack of “Washie Washie Happy Happy” although there were hand sanitizer stations everywhere. The metal detector part went really fast. I am really good at that even at airports.

The ship itself is like I giant beautiful mall and hotel at sea. There are so many things to do and things to see. It is also well suited for winter in New York(ish) as most of the pools have the ability to be glassed in and there are incredible pools on the front solarium where you can get incredible views.

There are also tons of exercise options from basketball, running, soccer, free falling, wall climbing, roller skating dance hall, and gym.

There are also enough bars that you probably never have to use the same one twice. Although there is even a self-serve bar that has a robot make the drinks for you.

After the tour, we were seated for dinner and there was a mini menu of some of the best dishes on the ship. I ordered the Swordfish which I never knew I would love.

The main discount was pretty much just access to the on-ship Next Cruise desk what had some deals. After we wandered the ship a bit more and took some more photos.

If the economics worked out I would like to travel on this ship or another RCL ship sometime. This ship is incredible. The elevators even have a floor pattern that tells you what day of the week it is. The ship speaker music in common areas was really pleasant and diverse.

1

Paramount Theatre Doughnuts

Here are some pictures that I took Saturday night, except for the clouds picture from Friday morning. There are pictures of the Paramount Theatre and Doughnuts.

0

Haven’t we learned how to settle our differences?

This morning I was reading the Political Blogger Charles LeBlanc’s site when I came across the following little gem.

Worker was confronted by a nut with a Machete because he was making too much noise while shoveling snow on Regent Street in Fredericton.

Doesn’t that just make you want to say OMG! The sad thing is that this is not the only recent event like this. Last week there was the 15-year-old Hampton NB native charged with 2nd degree murder for bringing a kitchen knife over to an alleged sexual assulting drug dealer and killing him in the back or side.

Then about a year ago the guy chasing after another down the streets of uptown Saint John with a freaking broad sword.

I once heard that you are more likely to get stabbed than shot in Canada, does that really make you feel any better?

0

2008 Saint John Santa Claus Parade

Update: The show was cancelled due to the weather. Night-Rain-Fog-TV Cameras don’t mix well.

Believe it or not the Santa Claus Parade is one my my favourite shows to work on each year. I also like seeing whatg is new each year and really enjoy coming home later to actually watch it. As a bonus for my readers I have the float list for this year’s parade.

Continue Reading

0

Making a TV Show

Note: This article was originally written for Journalism 2023 Journalistic Writing in November 2002.

The 50th Annual Saint John Santa Claus Parade comes around for another year. This was a difficult production for producer Don Ferguson to organize volunteers. In addition, the float list was only available late on Friday afternoon. Three hours before the parade was to begin, we headed down the hill to set up the equipment. On arrival, we realized the taped introduction had the old TVNB logo and Parade 2001 on it. It was determined that we could just cover it up with graphics, but at about the time the parade was about to start to come down the hill the tape got jammed in the machine and I had about 2 minutes to come up with an alternative. Then the parade went really well until the floats stopped coming down the hill in order of the list and then it was a scramble of; What float is it, type it in, bring it up and take it down and repeat for about forty or so floats.

After a hard day of work, after the family dinner, many families sit down to feed their brains with hours of Television. For a small dedicated group the night of TV starts differently, this group is not home watching TV they are making it. This is the story of the dedicated group of staff and volunteers at Rogers Television in Saint John. These people come together to get together and have a good time to make community television. One of the part-time staff members is often quoted saying, “This is not working it is a hobby.”

A typical shoot will begin with the Producer ironing out the technical details, arranging for sponsorships, and going down the volunteer list trying to assemble a crew together. The task of gathering a crew can sometimes be the most difficult task of all. There are three categories of volunteers. The first group are the extremely dedicated ones. This group will sign-up for just about everything that they can. This group is relatively small about a half-dozen or so. The next group is the regulars they are usually quite dependable. The regulars usually have a certain focused interest, like bingo or sports. Then there is the third group that are either always extremely busy, lost interest or do not even remember why they are on the list. This last group is where most of the difficulty in forming a crew comes from after the first two groups are exhausted the producer has to spend hours of trying to get someone from this group interested.

The volunteers all have some interesting stories that occurred during their years. This group comes from all lifestyles, call centre workers, retired tax collectors, former professional TV people, and car dealers. They range in the spectrum from students to retired. In general, they get together to make TV, not in a deadline setting like a commercial TV setting, but one of just to have a good time and make some TV.

After everything is in place the producer and graphics person get started doing research and graphic design as this usually takes up most of the preproduction time. Then there is set up, which could be as simple as turning on and adjusting a studio camera and wiring a few microphones. This can also be a daunting task like a hockey game which involves miles of cables to be haled all through the arena and taped down to avoid tripping setting up and adjusting a half-dozen cameras, half-dozen microphones, set up a replay machine, a fibre feedback to the station, and lighting for the dark areas.

In November is typically a busy month. The month started out with the Kiwanis TV Auction. This is a relatively simple event, to begin with, at the beginning of October J-P Quinn the producer begins with organizing the crew and booking a mobile production truck to come down for the shoot. Then comes the cancellations, of the cancellation, including the Audio, Graphics, and half the camera operators. On the Tuesday in the morning before the auction, I received a call to see if, I would be available to take over the graphics. Only two of us on the list that could do the advanced graphics required for the auction. I really started my job the day before the show. The auction required an animated introduction, over 300 lower thirds, or graphics on the bottom of the screen, and a credit roll for the end of the show. While I was working on this J-P and several volunteers went down to the Trade and convention center to set up.

 Then the long-awaited show day came, it started with setting up the lights, microphones, and phasing or adjusting the colour of the cameras. The show went abnormally flawless. The second major production was the annual Remembrance Day Ceremony this was the worst show I have ever worked on. It started badly by the fact that we could not acquire a mobile for the show resulting in ripping out the rack used for the weekly common council meetings. Since there was, only one graphics computer in Saint John the plan was to send the signal back to the studio by Fibre-optics and put them on there. The first problem was that the computer crashed ten minutes before the event was to start and I forgot to save the graphics. In addition, the fibre feed did not work so they recorded the show on site. When Don Ferguson the producer for the show returned with the tape, we put the graphics, music and taped interviews on the tape. After we finished there was barely enough time for us to rewind the tape. The show looks so awful there was almost no sound and the camera cables were not good enough to see anything but backs of the head.

0

Royal Visit

It is a typical Friday morning in Uptown Saint John. There are a few people sitting around casually chatting to one another. The big issues on peoples minds are focused on what cuts the Mayor and City Council are going to make in their budget, that the one time great Saint John Flames hockey team are having their season opener later tonight, or that tomorrow is the first day of the long-awaited Thanksgiving Day long weekend. In all there is not much thought being given to the fact that in a small city an hour and a half to the north the queen is arriving.

Earlier as I waited what seemed to be an eternity for the bank to open, an elderly man slowly entered and joined me in the wait. Casually I asked him what was his thoughts about the queen. “She is not of great concern,” he said gasping for air, “There are worse ways for the government to waste money, but I like things the way they are, and I would miss it if it was gone. She (the queen) is a magnificent person.”

After leaving my table in Market Square, I took a stroll out on to the board walk. Out there I ran into two nice and polite women, who I later found out were Americans from the southern state of Texas. Apparently they had just arrived on the cruse ship, Royal Princess, that was docked down the street at the Pugsly Terminal. “Oh God!, I don’t know about these things but,” the older one said, ‘the current queen is nice, although I don’t know about her successors.”

When I approached a friendly, middle-aged man on my way down Prince William Street to my old high school he said, “It is not costing us anything, why change it?”

Questioning the high school students at Saint John High School on a smoke break went no where, many of them following my questions with, “What is a monarch?,” and, “What is a head of State?” This from a school that when I went there was renowned for being the intellectually advanced school in the city. I was puzzled is this going to be another generation of people who don’t really care, who cares is it comes or goes.

One student that understood the question felt that the queen should be replaced by Jean Chrétien after he retires in the winter of 2004 because, “He’s done a lot for Canada.”

Later on I ran into another man who felt that like most of the people who it does not really matter if the royalty came or went. He felt that before getting rid of the monarch they should get rid of the Senate. “They both don’t do anything but the queen does not cost a fortune like the Senate does.”

According to the Monarchist League of Canada the queen does not really cost us anything because we would have to pay for a President anyway if we got rid of her. According to the Parliament of Canada Website the Monarch costs about $1.02 per Canadian where the Senate costs about $6.73 per Canadian.