Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not MY Alberta Blog

Let me apologize now, this whole thing has me irked, and well, this may go all tangenty once and a while. Also, this is going to be long. I have been holding this in for a few days.

I am an Albertan. I know I live in BC now, but I am definitely an Albertan. Edmonton is my home. I grew up in Slave Lake. I spent Easters in Kananaskis and May Long Weekends in Jasper. Alberta is my home and I love it.

A lot.

Recently, my lovely home province suffered a bit of a PR ... snafu. Alberta launched a new branding campaign: Alberta - Freedom To Create. Spirit To Achieve.

The campaign was developed by the Government of Alberta and Calder Bateman. (A communications agency in Edmonton)

Sure, whatever. Really, I don't remember our last slogan, and this one doesn't stick out more than that. And I know I am not the only one that sees 'Slberta'. It is the same problem that existed with the previous brand - you couldn't tell it was an 'A'.

I was totally ready to ignore the whole thing all together. I really didn't care that much.

Until I found out it was a $25 million campaign.

Yup, you read that right. $25 million campaign.

Sure it's over three years. No big deal. Especially when for the first time in 15 years, the province will be running a deficit.

No big deal. NOT!

At this point I got pretty annoyed. $25 million for a branding campaign and three-year rollout?

Then came the kicker, the campaign features images that aren't of Alberta!

Listen, I know the Province of Alberta. I know how beautiful and majestic it. I know how many amazing pictures could be provided courtesy of Alberta's background.

These are things I know.

But apparently, the Alberta Government and Calder Bateman don't know.

Because they used an image from England's North Umberland region.


And this story gets so much worse.

So, the Premier goes ahead and spins the slip as best he could. "It's more broad than Alberta ... because we do care, not only about Alberta environment but the world."


Through all of my irritation, I had been following this screw-up through blogs and online news.

And finally, I decided to take my concerns to the "Your Alberta Blog".

While my exact words escape me now, the comment I tried to leave mentioned how these were stock photos used, and stock photos always have location information on them and that Calder Bateman should be apologizing as well.

So, I posted my comment, interested to see if there was going to be any follow-up comments, you know, the usual bloggy geeky stuff.

I check my email and there is one from David Sands, with the Public Affairs Bureau of the Government of Alberta.

This is what it read:

Hi Irisdias;
You concern over the use of stock photos is fair comment
and I'd like to post it. However as the blog moderator I am uncomfortable with
your singling out Calder Bateman as blameworthy for something that the PAB
If you would repost your comment without that (undeserved) aspect, I
will approve it. Thank you for considering this.

David Sands
Moderator - YourAlbertaBlog
Wha? I have never posted a comment on a blog that has been rejected. I am not that person.

So, I emailed back:

Mr Sands,

I am a little unclear as to why the PAB believes that blame being place on
Calder Bateman is undeserved - are they not the group that developed this $25
million campaign?

As the government put this contract out to tender, and the tax payers of Alberta paid for the $25 million price tag, I expect some accountability on the side of the contractor, as I am sure many more Albertans do. It seems absurd that the PAB is shouldering all the blame, when blame should be distributed to deserving parties, including Calder Bateman.

In my head, it made sense.

Sorry Iris, to be clear, the buck stops here, period. We will not use
our own forum to publish the suggestion that someone else is responsible for our

Again, you raise a point regarding stock photos that is
worthy and fair public discussion, and I'd rather not "lose" the chance to
put that up because you and I don't agree on the fairness or
appropriateness of your ancillary point.

I'll watch the blog site to see if you can reconcile my concern with your
point of view and promptly post your comment if so.

Ok, so now I am really annoyed and now we are here. To this blog post. About
freaking time hey?


Calder Bateman should shoulder some of the blame. They should apologize - and please, do so in a Google-able way. They are an Albertan company - they should just know better.

How many other shots in this campaign aren't from Alberta? Does anyone know? Didn't they think they could capture as impressive of a shot within the Alberta borders? Or by not using stock photos? The North Umberland shot was almost definitely NOT done by some Albertan dude, who got flewn over to the UK to get the shot.

Could the partnership of the Government of Alberta and Calder Bateman not come up with something more ... I don't know, authentic? Something that highlights Alberta, Albertans and Alberta talent.


I would welcome a list of the photographers and locations used in every shot of this brand.

I generally get over this shit really quickly, rant for a second, next day it's gone. But this has been a few days now and well, here I am. Blogging about it.

I had to though. PAB didn't want to share my comments in their entirety.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh thank God

I went to Bloc Party tonight at the Commodore. I was really nervous for this show - not because of the social anxiety stuff, but because the last time I saw BP, they rocked my world.

I wasn't sure if it was them, or the location (a former pool in Brooklyn) or my whole 'New York' haze.

And well, I was nervous that seeing them again would tarnish my memory of their shows. Tarnish, what up until this point, has been the best concert experience of my life.

Thankfully, tonight's show didn't ruin my memory. In fact, it reinforced it. It wasn't just the location - they really are that good.

In fact, they fucking rocked.

High energy, good mix of old and new, with a good chunk of the old coming at the very end of the show, to act as the best exclamation point on the show.

So fucking good!

There you have it, not everything in life will disappoint you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Two posts in a row.


So, why the second post? Well ... I had a great weekend. Like a lot of fun.

Here is the breakdown of it:

Friday, I went over to Priscilla's for a little dinner and some company. Miss Priscilla has become a really solid friend, and has moved beyond just being my only friend in Vancouver, but to being one of my favorite friends. Period.

Saturday was great too. I have talked about my friend Josh - he is my rockstar friend. Well he was playing at the Biltmore. So I dragged Priscilla to an early (it started at 8pm) show.

First of all. I don't think I have ever been on the guestlist before. But he got me on the freaking guestlist! Who's a big deal? Yup, it's me.

Christer (the band Josh is playing with) is leaving for Australia really soon. So they played. Again, it is so interesting to see your friend up there playing music. I hate to be nice, but he is a pretty talented dude.

Anyways, after he played, we found this random Mexican place for some tacos and beer. It was great! The food was good, the place was interesting. It was like we stepped out of Vancouver for a minute and into Mexico.

Post burritos, we headed back to the Biltmore for some dancing. And dance we did.

Also, I was super popular. I saw a dude from the climbing gym, who came by to say hi. And then my new cubie randomly showed up. Random. I also knew another girl there, but didn't say hi - I think I have talked about the whole, don't say hi to people thing.

Anyhoo, we drank, we danced, and then we went to Josh's friend's place afterwards.

It was just a lot of fun. Like a lot. And totally not expected.

Also, I like that I am finding my groove. It is likely only fleeting, but there is groove. I have friends. I have people that like me enough to cook me dinner and put me on a guestlist.

That is pretty fucking cool.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moms, moms everywhere.

No, I am not pregnant. There is, in fact, no way for me to be pregnant.


But, my friend Lis and I have joined forces to present baby bump consignment boutique.

It is a pretty cool idea - a one-day maternity consignment sale. New moms can earn back some of the money they spent on those maternity clothes and soon-to-be-moms can save some money on the clothes they have to buy.

Although I might just buy all of the elastic pants, just so I don't have to undo any buttons. That would be great. Restaurant relief.

Sorry, tangent.

Ok, so yeah, check it out. I did the website and I feel REALLY cool about it. And smart.

So far the coolest things about this project are:
  • Lis and I are having a freaking BLAST! We are chatting all the time, getting stuff done, but having fun at the same time.
  • It is cool to see what I know. During my workdays, the only thing I know for sure is what I don't know - but with this, I know stuff, and I get to remember that. It's a nice feeling.

So, yes, if you have any maternity clothes you want to get rid of ... holla!

Friday, April 10, 2009

the harsh light of day

I never really got what was meant by that. Sure hangovers hurt, but the harsh light of day? That seems a little extreme.

Today, as I work on the website for a new business-venture, I am engulfed in the harsh light of day.

I have lost a friend, a climbing partner and a puppy, all at once. And it kinda sucks.

My world, my Vancouver-life, my whole existence has shifted.

After a fight, of which I won't go into details here, I am left feeling ... lost. P3 is such a big piece of what Vancouver is to me. He has shaped my experience here for he better. He has helped shape my life for the better.

And now, all I can do is smoke and work and smoke.

I know what the opinions are out there about my friendship with my ex. Believe me, I have heard it. I am a lot of things, but I am not stupid. I see how dysfunctional it is. But, believe me, the benefits far out-weigh the liabilities.

FAR out-weigh.

He has been my best friend for some time now - dysfunctional as it may be. He has accepted me for my shitty ways and given me Sia. I can't imagine my world without them - and it breaks my heart that I may have to.

Thank god I have a lot of work to do this weekend.