After 10-plus years in the newspaper business, my career is headed in a curious new direction.
Last week, I accepted a marketing and communications position with an established Central Alberta oilfield contracting company — and life has been a bit of whirlwind ever since.
Changing jobs is scary enough, never mind changing industries.
It’s taken a long time for the reality to set in. I’m bracing for a few months of intense personal and professional change.
As the Red Deer Advocate’s news and new media editor, part of my day is spent gauging reader response to the material we post to our website and social media portals like Facebook and Twitter.
Despite the constant complaint that ‘news is too negative,’ our online readers continue to click on headlines of a tragic nature — and that’s understandable. People are inherently fascinated by the human condition, and that includes death and disaster. It’s been that way since cavemen started painting on walls.
But if I were asked to describe today’s typical online reader in a single word, that word would be ‘unpredictable.’
The Advocate newsroom produces more than 9,000 local news items every year. On many occasions, stories I might expect to spread like wildfire elicit little response, while those seemingly innocuous items can go totally viral without warning.
It starts with a series of ear-piercing screams, each boy vying fiercely to out-shriek the other.
Eventually, one boy squeals so shrill and so long that the other cannot top it, so the vanquished screamer lashes out at the winner and an all-out brawl ensues.
I’d estimate this happens in our house two or three times every day.
Such is life with two boys under the age of three.
The right to gripe and grumble about winter is something we exercise freely in Central Alberta.
Each year, the snow comes with a fury and each year we all freak out as if winter were some unjust punishment handed down by God himself.
Although it’s only been a few short months since the previous winter’s snow melted away, we seem to forget how to drive, how to dress and how to cope with the cold each time it comes anew.
It’s high time somebody crafted a basic how-to guide for surviving winter in Red Deer — something to remind us how to endure Central Alberta’s harshest months with as little suffering as possible.
I awoke Sunday morning with the feeling I was being watched.
Still foggy with sleep, I looked to my left and saw the gleaming blue eyes of my three-month-old son Grayson staring at me. My wife, Amanda, had him propped up on her pillow in anticipation of me waking up to my first Father’s Day as an honest-to-goodness daddy.
“Hey dude,” I said, and he replied with a happy gurgling sound and an ear-to-ear grin.
I couldn’t imagine a better way to start that day — or any day, really.