Monday, December 22, 2008


I spent this month going through our archive of past issues. 2009 marks our 30th anniversary, and we are going to be donating a complete set of papers to the City of Edmonton archives so that they are properly stored and accessible to the community.

Seeing the development of the paper over the years was quite an interesting experience. I saw photos of parts of the neighbourhood where I walk through all the time. I saw faces of long-term volunteers who are still with us (and a few who are no longer with us, through moving away or death).

I read stories about community issues, some of which still affect us today. And I saw the editorial content and graphic design go through several transitions over the years as technology evolved and the paper went from being all-volunteer to having paid staff.

We are going to be including content from past years in all of the issues in 2009. We are also going to profile people who have been involved with the paper since the beginning (or, almost the beginning). Although my history with the paper is nowhere near as long as some of our volunteers, I am really excited to be a part of Boyle McCauley News during this milestone anniversary.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December Issue

It's beginning to look a lot like winter. Actually, it is beginning to feel a lot like winter also. Finally, the temperatures are cold and there is snow on the ground. I know some people are happy about this, but I prefer to do my neighbourhood photo walks without fear of slip sliding away.

Anyways, the December 2008/January 2009 issue of the paper is now online and available to be downloaded here.

From all of us at Boyle McCauley News, have a safe and happy holiday season!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Paper Trail

"The Paper Trail" is a new feature in Boyle McCauley News Actually, it isn't a feature, but one of those quirky space-fillers that lets readers in on a behind the scenes look at what goes into producing the paper. Specifically, "The Paper Trail" documents my journey as an avid walker. I walk all over the neighbourhood, and also in other places, on BMC News-related business. Especially when I am finding cool and interesting general interest photos, I find myself walking around sometimes for an hour or so at a time (weather permitting). One day it occurred to me that it would be very revealing to keep track of how much I am actually walking. So, wearing a pedometer, I began charting my walks with the intention of totally the number of kilometers from one deadline to the next. The December issue will feature the first result of this endeavour. I myself was surprised to learn how far I had gone. Stay tuned for the December issue to find out - it should be online very soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Our AGM Video - Version 2008

Last year, when we were getting ready for our Annual General Meeting, I decided to bring my video camera along and tape some of the fun and frantic preparations in the kitchen. This year, even though we decided to go a slightly different route with the food, I still thought it would make for a fun memory to catch some of the highlights. So here, it is, the Boyle McCauley News official 2008 AGM video:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November's Issue

November's issue is online. Actually, it has been for a while now, but silly me forgot to blog it. Oh well - without further ado: November 2008.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We're On YouTube

At our Editorial Committee meeting this afternoon we toyed with the idea of putting some of the video I shoot at events around the neighbourhood online. The result of this discussion is our new channel at YouTube!

So far, I have added as favourites the videos I previously uploaded to my own channel, but original content is coming soon. It will feature local events as well as some BMC News happenings.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning the Mac

I am using this blog post to practise working with a Mac laptop we now have. This Mac will help me take a more active role in the production and design aspects of the paper, as well as be a backup if anything ever happens to Vikki's system. I used a Mac in high school and in University for a couple of years until PCs took over everything. So, this is a real adventure familiarizing myself with all the different menus and commands once again. Actually, it is also a lot of fun. Combine this with a Blackberry I recently was upgraded to by my cell phone provider, and I have had to learn a lot of technological things over the past few weeks. But that is okay because I like technology. In this line of work, I don't really have much of a choice!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What We Put Into It

At our Editorial Committee on Sunday, Vikki and I decided to put a little more of ourselves into the paper -- namely, getting specific on what goes into producing Boyle McCauley News. We won't be going into huge details, but rather presenting graphs and statistics demonstrating how many proofs go back and forth, how many hours spent online, and in my case, the distance I travel around the neighbourhood and surrounding areas.

Now that cycling season is winding down, I am taking to heading on my photo walks. However, this time, I am going to be walking around wearing a pedometer. We will see just how much distance I cover. It's far too late in the season to start calculating my cycling distances, but I am hoping to acquire an odometer/speedometer next spring.

I hope to also create some Boyle Street and McCauley walking plans, with routes, maps, and distances. It is my way of encouraging people in the area to be physically active and healthy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

October Issue Is Online!

October's issue is online, and will hopefully be hitting the streets soon. Until then, you can check it out here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

October on the Horizon

Vikki and I are working away at the October issue. Yes, September is almost at an end. I have been going on a number of bike rides lately to enjoy the vivid fall colours. A couple of weeks ago I was riding my bike past Giovanni Caboto Park, down 108 Avenue, and I was showered by yellow and orange leaves. I think a few of them got stuck in my helmet. Poetry in motion. This season does not last long enough.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Deadline Time

Today is the day: the deadline for the October issue. I always get excited around deadline time. The contributors always keep me on my toes and I am constantly amazed by the quality of submissions as well as the wide range of subject matter. Deadlines can also be a stressful and busy time because a lot of the paper's content tends to come in around the same time. Such is life in the newspaper business.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wake Me Up When September Ends

The September issue has been picked up, mailed to Boyle, distributed to carriers, and placed in various businesses throughout the neighbourhood. Yesterday, I filled in for a route with no carrier, putting a note in each paper requesting volunteers. It's fun, it's physical, and I'm tired. Bagging up the papers for the carriers is a good workout. Now - we have to focus on October!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

September Issue Is Online

Our September issue went online today. It is also at the printer, but due to the upcoming long weekend, we likely won't be able to distribute the hard copy until later next week. In the meantime, you can download the entire paper and read it here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gearing Up for September

Well, it's that time again: time to put the next issue of BMC News together. Most of the articles are in, and right now I am working on what I call a "mock layout" for Vikki. Basically, I take all the articles and place them into one long Word document, specifying approximately where I want everything to appear on the pages. We have a "code" we use on the document to specify where the photos should go and how certain elements are to be formatted. We will start the actual layout this week.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Stubbing in McCauley

A stubbing took place early this evening in McCauley. The incident happened at about 5:10 p.m. on 95 Street near the corner of 106 Avenue. The victim, a woman in her mid-thirties, experienced pain, loss of balance, and extreme embarassment when the big toe on her right foot hit a crack in the sidewalk. The woman, who works as the Editor of area's community newspaper, was reportedly on her way to Padmanadi to meet family members for supper. As of this evening, she is still experiencing discomfort, numbness, and difficulty walking. The sidewalk was unavailable for comment. No charges have been laid.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


  One of the things I most enjoy about hanging out in McCauley, is taking long walks through the neighbourhood and gazing at the incredible landscapes and flowers that many of the properties have. The residents of this area take great pride in gardening and the result are some colourful and beautiful displays, like these tiger lillies.

  There was a hard rain right before I took this one. I think you can see some of the raindrops on the flowers.

  I don't think I have ever seen this flower with this particular colour.

  A simpler approach by using bedding plants in planters.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

McCauley Clean Up - I Really Did Help

  I really believe in immersing myself in a story. That is exactly what I did in late May when I covered the McCauley annual clean up. I was on site for most of the day taking photos. However, sometimes my camera got away from me, and I ended up the centre of attention. Someone dropped off a skateboard that I decided to try out, while Diana took a shot of me. Cowabunga, dudes!

  Then, I went out in one of the trucks with Tim and Andre to scour the neighbourhood for discarded items. Yes, that is right -- dirtaphobic me actually handled garbage. Tim felt this moment should actually be captured for posterity, so here I am with a community member, enthusiastically cleaning up.

  This is the colour shot of the main photo in the spread on the clean up that appeared in the July/August issue. That's Tim in the foreground, as well as a very full trash bin. I was amazed at how much these bins could actually hold.

  Here I am again, at the clean up site unloading the trees I had gathered. All in all it was a very fun day. It was great to be a part of such a well-organized and worthwhile community event.
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Paula at Heart of the City

  This is for those of you who asked why there was no photo of me included in our multi-page spread about the 2008 Heart of the City Festival in the July/August issue. We had so many great photos of all the performers, that it was a struggle to get in as many as we could. I was not about to take space away from another act or artist. Besides, my photo appears in every issue along with my Editorial. I am not a *complete* narcissist, after all!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One Year of Proofing

  The June issue marked one year that my mother has been doing the proofreading for the paper. To honour her contribution as a volunteer, we got her a thank-you card and a bouquet of flowers from Zocalo. She really appreciated the gesture.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Non-Home Computing

I am on a wireless connection in a coffee shop. I sometimes need to get away from my desk for a while and work in a different atmosphere. September's issue is already coming together even though I haven't even sent out the assignment list yet. Already articles are coming in. This week, I will spend some time writing a restaurant review and getting a jump start on what will likely be a central feature for September (hint: it has to do with Father Jim, the park beside Sacred Heart Church, and some signs that were hung there).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Substitute Carrier

A few days ago I found out that one of our carriers was away and won't be back until the end of July. This afternoon I delivered to his route. I've never delivered to a route before, so it was quite an interesting and fun experience. The block in question was in an area of the McCauley neighbourhood I usually only pass through, as it is a distance away from most of the people I know and places where I hang out. I saw some houses and businesses I was not previously aware of, met a few dogs, and chatted with some residents. I finished up right before the big rain hit, which cut short my bike riding adventures through the neighbourhood.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The storm on Saturday right after Colleen and I did our rounds dropping off paper to the carriers did have some ill effects. I heard from two carriers whose papers got totally ruined. So, on Monday, I loaded about 200 papers on my bike to re-distribute, as well as drop off at some of the businesses we missed the first time around. It's amazing how much you can actually carry on a bicycle if you are creative (and careful. Plus, a rack and some bungee cords help.).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Internet Problems

Sometimes I feel more like a computer technician than an editor/writer. Today was one such time. This morning, I downloaded a Windows update and installed it onto my computer, as I do routinely. Immediately thereafter, I lost my Internet connection entirely. After spending an hour on the phone with tech support from my ISP, I was told it was a hardware problem. I switched to my laptop and connected via dial up. The same update downloaded and installed and -- you guessed it -- I lost my connection on that machine as well. At this point, I began to think that the problem had something to do with the update so I did a System Restore to yesterday and behold, my Internet was working once again. Apparently, there is a compatibility issue between the update and the ZoneAlarm firewall, which I have installed on both computers. We don't have ZoneAlarm on the office computer, so when I did the update on our computer this afternoon, there was no problem at all. All in all, I basically did little productive at all today except deal with computer issues.

Monday, July 7, 2008

July/August Online

The July/August issue of the paper is now online. We have readers literally from around the world, simply because we offer a free, downloadable PDF file.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Distribution Day

Distribution is the most physical process of producing the paper. Sorting, bagging, and delivering the papers to our carriers often leaves me exhausted, and sometimes with a few cuts and bruises. Colleen and I delivered yesterday in the beautiful sunshine, which lasted just long enough for us to finish. Then, the skies opened up and it started to pour. I pulled the last few stacks of papers from the back of Colleen's car and ran down with them into the office, narrowly avoiding them getting wrecked by moisture. So far, I have only heard from one carrier whose papers got soaked and am likely going to have to do another distribution run this week.

The best part about doing distribution on a sunny, warm weekend is that we get to run into a lot of people. Some of our carriers were outside or saw me coming up to their doors, and came outside to chat for a bit. When we got to John & Kim's, we got invited to watch the cob fence building workshop that was in progress. A cob fence is an ancient, environmentally sustainable way of building, using clay mixed with straw. People were dancing around in the wet clay, getting it to the right consistency before balling it up and adding it to the growing fence. I took some pictures for the September issue.

We stopped for lunch at a new restaurant in Chinatown, Longan. It is a family business, and our servers were some of the younger family members. Service was very friendly, and the food was impressive. Look for a review in the September issue.

I hid out in the office during the storm, then came back up when the sun returned. I had to go for a walk to take some pictures of the incredible flowers blooming in the gardens and alleys of McCauley, in particular Caroline's front yard (I have never seen so many colourful flowers before on a private property) and Tim's flowerboxes that were very simple, but had excellent composition in terms of the arrangements.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We Picked It Up!

The July/August issue was ready for pickup, so Colleen and I drove out to the distribution centre, filled up the back seat and trunk of her car with papers, and headed to the post office downtown to mail out to Boyle Street. This was the first time I had ever been to the distribution centre. Basically, a very strong woman brought the papers over to the vehicle on a dolly, and helped load them in. At the post office, a friend of mine was working the loading dock, so she helped us get them into the Canada Post bin. Next? Getting the papers into the hands of our volunteer carriers in the McCauley area.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Waiting Game

We're in that in-between period of finishing the paper, and waiting for it to come back from the printer. Then comes distribution, when we get it out to the carriers (and mail to Boyle Street via Canada Post). I usually have to keep my schedule flexible, because distribution can happen any time after we get the paper back.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Working Late

Imagine if you will, a graphic designer spent from working all day at another job plus feeling not so great from a bout of food poisoning, and an editor in her nightgown with wet hair after taking a shower. They are working together over the Internet in real time via chat and e-mail, doing some final edits to the proof of the July/August issue. This scene is taking place tonight, right here, right now. In this line of work, there is no such thing as nine to five.

Monday, June 23, 2008


My mother is BMC News' proofreader -- that is no secret. She gets a credit in the masthead and everything. Vikki and I refer to the draft my mother handles as the "motherproof." And indeed, having your mother as a key volunteer can make the process rather interesting. For example, when we disagree on a change, it can turn into a major argument that can end up being about a whole lot more than just whether or not a comma should go in that particular spot. There is always a risk of tempers flaring when working with someone you're related to or intimately involved with. Isn't it so ironic we tend to get along better with acquaintances and those we know casually, than the people closest to us in our lives? That is my profound question of the evening. Over and out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Proofing the Paper

Proofing the paper is one of the most intense processes of putting BMC News together. Vikki and I send changes and corrections back and forth until we have a working proof, which then goes to my mother for official proofreading, then back and forth again until everything is in place. It can be a stressful time, but once it is sent off to the printer it is out of our hands. A fact of the publishing business is that you can have ten proofreaders, and you will still end up with some errors in the finished product, but the goal is to produce as clean copy as possible. Of course, there are some people who enjoy hunting through the paper trying to find small errors and typos - my feeling? If that is all they have to do with their time then I am glad we're giving them something productive to do.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about commitment lately -- and not just because of recent developments in my personal life. A volunteer-driven, non-profit organization require a lot of commitment on the parts of the people who run it. Most of those people are volunteers, donating their time. I have a lot of respect for people who have full lives, and yet find the time to give to BMC News. I also respect people who say no when they have to. After all, it's better to be upfront than take something on knowing one does not have the time or resources to fulfill the duties. I am a volunteer with various organizations, so I know how busy life can get when one gets overcommitted. But I also know the rewards of volunteerism, especially knowing the impact of my work for a cause or in a community. Our volunteers rock, and I never hesitate to say so!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Production and Spiderwebs

Vikki and I are in that nebulous zone called "production." We often like to call it our monthly Tetris game, as we try to get all of the articles and photos to fit clearly and cleanly on each page. This is our July/August issue, and after we put this one to bed we have a one-month break until things start to gear up for September's paper.


Our office is in a basement, which has worked out pretty well thus far. It's a wonderful building and location. But, being a basement, sometimes we have a few unwanted visitors. Like spiders. I hate spiders. A couple of evenings ago we were having a board meeting, and I felt something light tickling my leg off and on. I looked down from where I was sitting, and there was this strand of a spider's web bouncing on me. I tried to brush it away with my leg, but it kept swinging back. I tried to step on it, but again, it would just spring back as soon as I lifted my foot up.

While John, our Treasurer, was trying to give his report, I stood up and started stomping on the thing. But still, it kept coming back. I told John just to ignore me and keep going. He said that was probably impossible. Tim, one of our co-chairs, got up and grabbed the web with his hand and sort of dangled it as Deb (our other co-chair) and I were gasping in horror.

I have no idea how long the web was there -- I had been working at my desk much of the afternoon and noticed nothing -- but I am glad it is gone!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome to Our Blog!

Welcome to the Boyle McCauley News blog! So much happens behind the scenes when producing this community newspaper, that we thought it would be interesting to try to document some of it. Every month we have a lot of work, laughs, fun, and sometimes even tears. We invite you on the ride with us!