Archive | November, 2012

My Favorite Podcast

28 Nov

I was writing the first would-be sentence of this blog post when I realized something rather intriguing: a squiggly line doesn’t appear under the term “podcast”, suggesting a spelling error. Curiosity got the better of me and I looked “podcast” up in the Oxford Dictionaries Online. Sure enough, there is a definition. While the word is only 8 years old, it’s used to the point where it has made legitimate dictionaries! That’s certainly a reflection on how popular podcasts have become.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about my favorite podcasts. It’s hard to list a few favorite podcasts, since there’s so many of them covering countless topics. But there are some that stand out to me at least. I suffer from sever fanaticism that could be considered borderline lunacy when it comes to soccer, so the podcast I follow most is called the Bundesliga Fanatic. It’s all about Germany’s top domestic soccer league. Following every match-day, there is a podcast analyzing the games and the league overall. It’s by far the most comprehensive and in-depth podcast about the German league in English. It makes life a lot easier for me, since my German has become rusty over the years.

Another podcast that tickles my fancy is called “Mike Filey’s Toronto Podcast”. It hasn’t been around for long, but offers great content. It’s about Toronto’s history and the many things that have happened in this city over the years, long before I was born. It covers anything from a hurricane that hit Toronto decades ago to how stores were closed on Sundays back in the day. While this podcast has been around for a few months only, it became one of my favorites almost instantly.

I also really like the Ted Talk Podcast. Ted Talks is pretty famous for covering a variety of topics, with speakers from all over the world chiming in on pretty much everything. Whether it’s global warming, a brand new gadget, or a high intensity particle accelerator, there’s always something new to learn. What I like most about this podcast, is that it covers a very diverse range of topics by experts. Every new podcast by Ted Talks gives me something interesting to think about, and adds to my general knowledge. It makes me know of things I would never have bothered to look up on my own. And that’s pretty much why I love podcasts. I hope after reading this, you’re convinced to check out at least one of the podcasts I’ve mentioned in this post!


The World’s Most Popular Sport

21 Nov

My first memory of soccer goes back to 1994. I chose a pretty good “first match” to ever watch in my life: The 94′ World Cup final between Italy and Brazil. Even as child I was blown away by the immensity of the game, as Brazil claimed the World Cup. Everything from the game itself, the fans and their impact on the game to the vibe around the whole world regarding a game of soccer really got the better of me. I was suddenly interested in soccer, even though most of my friends were involved with hockey, baseball, or American football.

Soon after the 1994 World Cup, my family moved back to Düsseldorf, Germany. This was perfect timing considering my curiosity in soccer, as it is the most popular sport in all corners of the country. Düsseldorf was my birthplace, and soccer was my new pastime. This automatically turned me into a die-hard fan of Fortuna Düsseldorf, the main soccer club of the city. I spent most of my leisure time playing soccer with friends and following Fortuna’s progress in the German league, even though they weren’t a top-notch team. However, the team is renowned for its fans, some of the loudest and most supportive in the whole country.

Fortuna was in a miserable state in the late 90s, as they slipped all the way to 5th division regional league from Germany’s top league. Despite that, I followed many other leagues from across the world as well as international tournaments with a lot of interest. Even as a neutral spectator, I have learned to enjoy the game for its awesomeness.

As a Fortuna fan, the disappointing days came to end — finally! It only took 17 years and a few near heart-attacks for this to happen. While I was visiting Düsseldorf last spring, only a playoff game stood between them and the country’s first division. By beating Hertha Berlin, we were back in the top league after 17 dreaded years. The celebrations were massive, and the beer was amazing! And I got to be a part of it. It felt great, especially after waiting for a day like this since my childhood. Although the ups and downs of soccer can be really frustrating, and each game is like a 90 minute session of mini heart attacks, I love this sport to death. With that said, I can’t wait till World Cup 2014!

Tweets to Success

14 Nov

This story involves coolness — and Twitter! Unfortunately, it doesn’t involve me. It revolves around my other half, the apple of my blogpost: my GF, Arina. She’s been far more active in the Twittersphere than I, and since I’m apparently considered a “Tweep“, this post will be about one of her epic tweet-speriences… ummm, experiences.

It was only this past summer, when she was finishing a long work week at Canada’s very own factory of desire, Harlequin, that she checked her tweets. On her way to the bus, she came across something rather unusual. She had received a tweet from @CollegesOntario asking her to contact them about her writing. The excitement turned Arina’s usually strenuous commute home into a guessing game of what they could possibly want from her.

When she finally got home and called the Colleges Ontario office, they were closed for the weekend. On Monday morning, she received a phone call from a representative at Colleges Ontario who was putting together a higher education summit in Toronto to discuss the issues affecting young people’s education. The lady in charge wanted to know if Arina could be a part of their panel on youth unemployment. Colleges Ontario had found out about Arina by following her on Twitter. She had just published an article about the shortage of students going into skilled trades, which she obviously tweeted about. After calling me and freaking out for a bit, I had the chance to Google this whole conference, and I was delighted to find out it was quite a prestigious event. Famous economist and author of The World is Flat, Thomas Freedman, is the keynote speaker, along with the presidents of colleges across the GTA leading other discussions throughout the two days. I had actually read The World is Flat and was probably as excited as she was!

The moral of the story is that it all happened thanks to Twitter. Maybe this is a sign from the god(s) of the Twitterverse that I should convert, and embrace this spectacle of social media.

Why Radio?

7 Nov

“Why radio?!” It’s a question I’m often asked by my friends, relatives, peers, broadcast teachers – heck, even myself! It’s a question that begs an elaborate answer. My deep interest in news and what goes on around me is the main reason I chose broadcast. I’m interested in current events that affect us humans, whether it’s happening in my backyard or halfway across the world. From new bike lanes on my street, to the Euro-zone crisis, it’s something I find conversation-worthy. Why radio specifically? Because I love communicating the ideas I’m passionate about, with many people, through talk. I can talk to multiple people one-on-one all at the same time, through radio. I can potentially engage each listener individually, as if I’m telling a friend what’s going on in the world. My dream job in radio is to one day host a talk-show on a news station. Yet even as a newscaster, I could still see myself making an impact on my listener. Not only through telling them the news, but delivering it in a manner that impacts them and makes them realize why it should matter to them.

I think the main culprit for my interest in news is having lived in very different parts of the world. I find that we have so much to learn about each other as humans, and from what goes on around us on this earth. When I live in a country, I always strived to talk about what goes on in the other countries I’ve lived in. I ran for my life from armed vigilantes on the streets of Tehran, after mass election fraud. I felt betrayed; I wanted the world to know that my vote didn’t count. I took one of the eight subway lines in Düsseldorf to school every weekday at 8:13am for a few years. Every morning, at exactly the same time! Never a delay except for the one occasion there was a strike. Efficiency and order to such a degree is a phenomenon I’ve only experienced in my birthplace: Germany. I learned deeply about more cultures than I can count with my fingers and toes combined in Canada. I heard a dozen languages in one day on the streets of Toronto. I became a Canadian. And the list goes on. Whatever I experienced in these three countries, all fueled my passion for sharing stories of what goes on around the world. How trains arriving on time somewhere, can be a lesson elsewhere. How oppression somewhere, means not taking your freedoms for granted somewhere else. How living in a country with so many people from other races/ethnicities and getting along is a possibility. And this list can go on forever too!  

Back to the topic: radio. The main challenge I’ve faced in Radio so far is that “good enough” is not good enough. That I’m always reminding myself to try my hardest, even in courses that are not my main area of interest. At least with all the effort comes reward. One thing I’m really glad about is that I’m a pretty punctual person, and it has proven to save my rear-end from losing 5% on days when I faced unexpected delays!