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inevitable tuition hike Why STU needs your money

Remedying the Fourth Year Blues pg.5

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Jian Ghomeshi talks con- R emembering Adam formity, 80s music and coming to Fredericton

Wright

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London to Jell-O: STU shells out 20k in grants STU professors receive research grants to study subjects such as the Inquisition and the marketing of junk food MacKenzie Riley The Aquinian

Professor Robin Vose is headed to the British Library in London soon thanks to a $3,625 research grant from St. Thomas University’s Research Committee. Vose will continue the research he began with his friend who worked at the University of Notre Dame. “[He] managed to secure the purchase of a major, never-before studied collection of inquisition materials. I was invited to help organize the collection and together we decided to create a web-based display for students,” Vose said. Vose’s friend, Scott Van Jacob, passed away from cancer in 2009. In memory of his friend, Vose decided to keep working on the project. He also decided to examine texts outside of the Notre Dame collection. The STU history professor has examined texts in the U.S., Spain, Mexico, and Chile. Studying these texts will allow Vose to “provide new insights into how the Inquisition itself changed over time and how it adapted its practices to deal with new circumstances, such as the emergence of Protestant churches, globalization and encounters with previously unknown peoples in the Americas,” Vose said. “This STU Research Grant will allow me to continue the project later this year at the British Library in London—one of the world’s biggest and most important libraries but one I have never had the chance to visit. My student research assistant and I

are currently putting together a full list of inquisition manuals there, but I already know it contains rare manuscripts composed by Bernard Gui among others. I will examine these and compare them to others, significantly building my knowledge both of Gui’s work and of the genre as a whole,” said Vose. Gayle MacDonald, chair of the STU Research Committee, said they gave Vose the biggest award because they thought it was the most well-articulated, feasible, and worthy project of the eight that applied. However, said MacDonald, “all of the major grants were interesting and worthy projects.” MacDonald says Vose is intelligent and knows how to give his research purpose. “All of his research is directed to teaching students how to do research…his research and teaching is seamless.” The research committee consists of six faculties from different disciplines. Two members are nominated each year with three-year rotations. When the committee chooses applicants they look for the quality of research presented. MacDonald says most faculty are more accustomed to writing academically and writing for funding is a different type of writing. The Research Committee has created workshops on how to write for funding because getting funding is strategic. “Research is the life blood of a university,” MacDonald said. “Research drives ideas, critical thinking, good teaching, policy…etc.”

STU awarded $20,000 to 10 professors to further their research in various subjects (Cara Smith/AQ) This year eight people applied for the major award. MacDonald says the numbers are increasing every year because the cost of research is going up. In the past, there have normally been two or three applicants. “Funding gives the professor the motivation, the assistance, and the support needed to do the project,” said MacDonald. The Committee holds two competitions per year. The major research grant (MRG) is only awarded to one faculty member, this year it was Vose. There are also general research grants (GRG), which are awarded to many applicants. One recipient is history professor Michael Dawson. Would you take a class on the history of Jell-O? Dr. Dawson hopes students will. Dawson plans to invent a course at STU on junk food. The class will be a stepping-stone to a book he is co-writing with his partner, Catherine Gidney, called Junk

Food and In-Digestible Food. One of the chapters will be on Jell-O. Dawson describes himself as a historian on popular culture. He’s interested in the industrialization of food. He’s also intrigued by the idea of Jell-O as a non-food food. Dawson will be using his grant money this summer to visit a Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, NY. At the museum, he will have access to commercials, old packaging, and most importantly how it was marketed. He also plans to visit the library at the University of Guelph in Ontario. This library is full of recipes and cookbooks. There are about 25 recipe books produced by the Jell-O Corporation. “With the use of these recipe books I will be able to see the corporate view point of how to use the product,” Dawson said. However, the course and the book will not just be about Jell-O. Some other foods he

has been researching are pizza, Happy Meals, Twinkies, and soft drinks. In Dawson’s studies so far he has learned about how Jell-O’s marketing has changed over time. “For example, during the depression Jell-O was marketed as a food stretcher. It was something to add to things to stretch the food’s use and to feed more people. In the 1950s and 60s when women were entering the workforce and had less time to cook, Jell-O was marketed as a time saver,” Dawson said. STU psychology professor, David Korotkov, was also awarded a research grant. He will be continuing his research he presented in 2012 to the Annual International Society for Humor Studies Conference in Kracow, Poland. In this new research, he will look at several other different roles that humour takes in relation to human behaviour and health.

New learning technology at STU Student accessibility now offers pens that record as you write Amanda Jess The Aquinian

Technology can often be seen as a distraction in the classroom, a toy to divert students away from education. While for some that may be true, technology can also be used as an assistive tool for others. Robyn Young, secondyear psychology student at St. Thomas University, is doing just that by using an electronic pen that not only takes notes, but also records lectures and allows playback of certain parts of the recording by touching the connected notepad. “It kind of gives you that sense of independence and the ability of knowing I can

do this myself. I don’t have to wait for someone else to send me my notes. You’re not in class, thinking, ‘Is my note-taker going to get this down?’” Young has a type of dyslexia that is auditory based, which makes it harder for her to process things she hears. She says the pen allows her to listen to it again. “It gives me a chance to really pay attention and not have to worry about missing something because I didn’t get it down. It’s in my pen, so I can go back and listen to it later.” Before Young purchased the Livescribe smartpen, she used a note-taker from the student accessibility services at STU. Rick Sharpe is an advisor for student accessibility

services. Sharpe says more students are using their services as they start identifying as having a disability and realize they can attend university, despite it. “The help is in place now, the tools are in place. We can give them an even playing field where they have the opportunity, just like the person sitting next to them, to fail or pass that class.” SAS has been its own separate unit since 2005. That’s when Marina Nedashkivska was brought in as coordinator. She hopes that students will discover new ways to use technology through their services. “The goal is that students wouldn’t be afraid to use it [technology] and that they will find the assistive

technology changes how they study and how they think.” They have technology for blind or deaf students, students with lesser hearing or visual impairments, as well as those with mental health issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or dyslexia. Some of this technology includes the same pen Young uses, a computer program that scans textbooks and reads it out loud, a program that increases the font size on a screen and dictating technology for students to write essays without needing to type. They also organize notetakers, alternate exam rooms and other accommodations for those in need.


STU proposes tuition increase for next fall The 2013-2014 budget development report shows raising tuition will be necessary to balance budget, STUSU launches campaign in protest Whitney Neilson The Aquinian

For students who struggle to make ends meet, next year’s proposed tuition increase could be a tough reality. St. Thomas University expects to barely break even this year with a surplus of $1,100, a problem that will likely lead the university to increase tuition for the third year in a row. “We’re forecasting just a very slight surplus but it is very tight so we know that operations are very tight. Part of that is because we had budgeted our enrolment of 2,475 students and in the end we were short about 100 students,” vice president of finance and administration, Lily Fraser said. One hundred students equal roughly a loss of $350,000, depending on the students’ programs and if they’re domestic or international. STU increased tuition by $175 two years ago and $200 last year. The New Brunswick government has had a tuition cap of $201.75 for the last two years, but STU is considering asking the government to allow them to increase tuition by more than this. The 2013-2014 budget development report was presented to the university’s Senate on Jan. 16. It outlines STU’s expenditures and revenues, along with the intention to hold focus groups with students about how the university should balance their budget without burdening students. These focus groups will happen between Jan. 29 and Jan. 31. “Our goal is to deliver a balanced budget. That’s what we’ve always done and we’ll continue to do,” Fraser said. Fraser said the estimated gap between revenues and expenditures for next year is $1.4 million. St. Thomas University Students’ Union President John Hoben says the average student in New Brunswick pays for 37 per cent of their own education and the rest is paid for by the government and other programs. STU students pay 45 per cent of their education. While STU may be concerned with breaking even, Hoben sees the benefit in aiming for larger profits. “The idea behind running big surpluses is planning for the future, so they can be banking a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, so when they want to build a $5 million building they have half of it paid for,” Hoben said. STU has the lowest tuition in

the province, at $4,945, compared to the average tuition in the province which is $5,797. This gap of $852 would be addressed over multiple years, according to the budget development report. “If you were to bridge the gap between our current tuition to the provincial average over a three year period, what would that look like? But our question really is what should be our tuition policy, what should be our student financial aid policy? It’s not been determined,” Fraser said.

a website for approximately $2,600. “What it is essentially, it will give students the opportunity to fill out a boarding pass, a one way ticket out of the province. On this website we want to have students’ names, their age, their expected debt load, their destination,” vice president education Alex Driscoll said. “Where do you want to go when you graduate? Because we all know not many people want to stay. And that’s the message we have to get to the government.”

in enrolment. He also doesn’t believe that increasing tuition will deter students, something STUSU executives disagree with him on. “I have no difficulty calling this year a setback for us in recruiting because our first-year enrolment was not where we wanted it to be,” Carleton said. STU was less successful in recruiting New Brunswick students, especially males, than in previous years. Carleton is unsure if this was because of less recruiting efforts or if the students just weren’t there.

The 2013-2014 budget development report shows STU will barely break even (Cara Smith/AQ) If this example was used, STU Driscoll says tuition is going would have to increase tuition to go up next year regardless of by $284 for three years. what the union does, but they aim to influence the government to increase it as little as possible. New Brunswick universities received a one time increase in their operating grants of $116,900 last year from the provincial government. STU doesn’t expect to see this increase again. The operating grant was $13.5 million, including the increase. The grant is partly based on enrolment, something STU struggled with this year. “If you look at our provincial operating grant it’s 84 per cent “There is no way we would go of the province’s operating grant from what we are now to the pro- in the end. Some of the other vincial average in a year. That’s universities are a lot higher than not the intent,” Fraser said. that,” Fraser said. STUSU is launching a camCommunications director, paign against the proposed tu- Jeffrey Carleton, says he’s not ition hike. It’s called “Reason convinced the increase in tuition to Stay” and they are creating last year is related to the decline

“There is no way we would go from what we are now to the provincial average in a year. That’s not the intent.”

Fraser uses Mount Allison University as an example where tuition and enrolment don’t appear to be related. Their tuition is $7,095 with approximately 2,275 full-time students. STU’s retention rate for 2011 was 71 per cent. Fraser says it would be almost impossible to have 100 per cent retention because many students switch schools during their undergraduate degree. Next year’s tuition won’t be officially decided until April. Fraser says they are being as open as possible about the budget process in the hopes that students will better understand STU’s financial situation. “Our goal is to inform the community of our current situation and to obtain input in terms of developing our budget for next year,” Fraser said.

STUSU briefs Meredith Gillis The Aquinian

Clubs and Societies fair There will be a winter Clubs and Societies fair in James Dunn Hall on Jan. 29 from 10 to 2. All clubs and societies are invited to attend, please contact Fin Mackay-Boyce to sign up for a table or for more information. Student Services will be partnering with the students’ union for the fair. $250 was allocated from the Clubs and Societies line to pay for table prizes and booths at the fair. Student Services paid for prizes last semester. There is $5,077 remaining in the line. Money to charities STUSU donated $339 from the charitable assistance line to Relay for Life. Council discussed donating more but decided not to after Emily Sheen suggested a STUSU team for the relay or a donation of manpower to help out. STUSU donated $150 from the charitable assistance line to the Multicultural Association of Fredericton. The request was made before Christmas, but did not make it to the finance committee in time. There is $500 left in the charitable assistance line of the budget. No precedent for $800 The STUSU gave $200 from the academic assistance line to former communications co-ordinator Meryn Steeves. Steeves is on an exchange to Sweden this semester. She requested $500 towards the cost of her exchange after she resigned from her position in December. John Hoben reminded council Steeves had received academic assistance during the summer for an internship. Emily Sheen expressed discomfort at setting a precedent of $800 for one student. Council agreed that that much money to one person was a bad idea and capped the amount of academic assistance per student per year at $500. Online Voting Report released Chief returning officer Justin Creamer presented a report from the online voting committee struck in the fall. The committee found online voting would likely be a good way to increase voter turnout. They also investigated the cost of online voting and presented the proposal of Simply Voting to council. Creamer said online voting was found to be more cost effective than the current system of polling stations and poll clerks. The proposal from Simply Voting estimates savings of at least $500 to the STUSU. Council approved a motion to use the unlimited voting plan offered by the Quebec based company in the spring general election.


Remembering Wright Controversy at meeting over Hoben’s STU alumnus and former AQ columnist passes Shane Rockland Fowler The Aquinian

four years with the paper,” said Tara Chislett, former Aquinian Editor in Chief. “I figured the next time I wrote a story about Adam would be when he sold his first script to a network. I never expected to be marking his death instead.” Wrights website, www.tvdonewright.com, was centered on his love for television shows. He critiqued and reviewed massive amounts of Canadian and American television. He also penned and submitted television pilots to major networks and provided material for The Huffington Post. Wright also prided himself on a pair of addictions; Tim Horton’s coffee and television. Tim’s mugs and a giant coffee thermos were displayed during the funeral next to Colorado Avalanche clothing and pencil sketches he did. The empty electric wheelchair sat next to them. At 15, a letter he wrote to the doctor who diagnosed him was published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. He pushed to have his name attached to his condition, giving Adam Wright syndrome a face and personality. “You diagnosed me with my own syndrome. It is a bone and muscle disorder,” he wrote in 2004. “It would be nice to hear from you so that you can tell us the steps to make my syndrome known in the world. Please contact my mom.”

The wheels on Adam Wright’s chair have stopped turning. His exposed heart is no longer pumping. His jokes will be shared only in memory. Wright, St. Thomas University and Aquinian alum, died Thursday. While the journalism graduate may not be familiar to many students, he was responsible for changing the layout of our campus. Wright challenged what was termed accessible and changes were made in response. “I only ever saw him crack twice in the years I worked with him,” said his former aide Mike Jardine, talking about his determination to not let his wheelchair and breathing mask limit him. “He was fiercely independent.” The 24-year-old man from Bathurst was a writer. He contributed to these pages for many years, up until last February. His “smartass” humour, in life and on the page, gave people insight on what it’s like living with a syndrome named after him. It’s the reason there were more laughs at his funeral at Sunday than tears. His piece “How I Roll” was read aloud over his closed casket, giving him voice at his own funeral. Wright contribted to this paer heavily duirng his four years at St. Thomas. He gave his perspective on his condidtion to the world, and he gave the world perpective on itself. Wright leaves behind his “The day his last column ran, I mother, his father, and his two wrote a tribute piece to mark his sisters.

proposed board of directors

STUSU Town Hall brings out questions of under-19 representation on council

John Hoben took questions at the Town Hall (Cara Smith/AQ) Meredith Gillis The Aquinian

About 45 people turned out to a town hall meeting which was called to discuss proposed changes to the structure, constitution and by-laws of the students’ union before a final vote on Thursday. John Hoben, Fin MackayBoyce and Alex Driscoll presented the plan then opened the floor up to questions. One of the chief concerns expressed by students was the potential shift to a board of directors. In New Brunswick, you must be at least 19 to sit on a board. At-large representative, Luke Robertson, is in contact with the New Brunswick Legislature trying to get the law changed

or an exemption made for students’ unions, but it is highly unlikely such a change would go through before the spring general election. Not everyone was concerned about the disenfranchising of most first years and a significant chunk of second years. “It would actually probably be a good thing as everyone on the board of directors would already have a year under their belts, so they would know how the system works, what’s going on and what needs to change,” Megan Aiken said. Second-year student Gabby was worried about how the STUSU plans to ensure online elections aren’t rigged. “Our biggest defence against that is that we don’t have a computer science department,”

Hoben said. He explained some of the recommendations to be made in the report from the online voting committee, including the hiring of a third-party company to administer the election. “This is a company that is professionally running these as their only thing,” Hoben said. Gabby’s second question was about how the board of directors would eliminate fighting. She said her father works with boards and being hired versus elected did not eliminate infighting. “I was yelling at Alex a half hour ago but it’s different when it’s something productive and we’re having a legitimate disagreement, which is I think something that’s a lot more inclined to happen in this system where it’s about the policies,” Hoben said. The STUSU’s general manager, Tina Reissner, was not at the town hall meeting on Tuesday, but she spoke about infighting at the students’ union meeting on Thursday. “In my 18 years there has probably only been four years in that 18 where there has been that kind of a situation, and probably only one year that compares to last year and actually was probably more problematic. I don’t know if hiring them is going to stop that,” Reissner said.

STUSU votes on radical structural amendments Last week’s meeting lasted more than four hours due to an extensive list of proposed constitutional changes Meredith Gillis The Aquinian

The St. Thomas University Students’ Union voted on 28 amendments to the proposed structural changes to the constitution on Thursday night. The meeting was four hours and 15 minutes long. In order to keep the meeting brief and still have a discussion on each of the amendments President John Hoben motioned for the speaking time on each to be capped at 15 minutes, and for speakers to limit their remarks to two minutes. The following list is a summary of the amendments passed at the meeting and a breakdown of the votes. Anything pertaining to hired vice-presidents be removed from the proposed constitution and by-law changes. 10 for, six against. 1. New rules allowing holding more than one position, with strict limitations to include “In the case of a resignation or any other situation deemed appropriate by council.” Eleven for,

three against. 2. Removal of the single transferable vote system from the proposed constitution and by-law changes. Seven for, six against, two abstaining. 3. Removal of the age requirement from the Board of Governors representatives. Unanimous. 4. Changes to the Human Resources Committee policy manual which would allow someone not on the committee to sit in on the interview, for example, a past employee or someone else with pertinent knowledge. Unanimous. 5. The online voting act be added to the proposed constitution and by-law changes. Unanimous. 6. Based upon the lawyer’s recommendations, to suspend by-laws and on contracts of over $1,000 the STUSU would need to move unanimously. All in favour. The following list is a summary of amendments discussed at this week’s meeting to be discussed further on Jan. 24. 1. The addition of an international students’ representative.

2. Changes to the transition committee referenced in the proposed changes. The following list is a summary of amendments which were discussed but did not pass. 1. Removal from the proposed changes of a switch from the current structure of the STUSU to a Board of Directors. The vote tied with eight in favour and eight against, the change to a Board of Directors remains in

the proposed constitutional changes. 2. Changing the name of the external action committee to the external affairs committee. Most of the amendments used their entire 15 minutes of discussion time. Emily Sheen and Alex Carleton both argued against some amendments for the sake of ensuring a discussion was had. The removal the single

transferable vote system from the constitutional changes to be further discussed and voted on next week was one of the most contentious issues. It was initially thought to have failed as those present had voted six for, six against, with two abstentions. The meeting ended at 9:46 p.m. “This was the longest and most civil meeting we have ever had,” Emily Sheen said.

Members of the STUSU spent four hours voting on various amendments (Meredith Gillis/AQ)


Coming down with the fourth year blues What happens when graduating students are faced with the trials and tribulations of the real world? Anxiety ensues Jordan MacDonald The Aquinian

I realized this summer I would be graduating in less than a year. Afterwards, a number of thoughts flashed through my head, all with an undercurrent of panic. What if I don’t pass my courses? What if I’m not a good enough journalist to succeed in the real world? What if I don’t get a job? As graduation day looms closer, with the “last first day of a semester” safely behind us, the reality of actually leaving school is shifting to the front of people’s minds. To Samantha Both, a fourthyear sociology student, the fact that school is coming to a close is a “surreal” experience. “[I’m] worried about getting a job, excited to be done and back home with my boyfriend because spending the week away from him is not fun,” she said. “[I’m] overwhelmed that it’s over. I feel old to be honest.” Not all fourth year students are graduating this year. Nicole Pozer, a fourth year psychology student, is going to take another year to finish off her degree. “It is a disappointment. Especially around this time when for instance, whenever people came back from winter break and they were, like, ‘Last first day,’ said Pozer. “And they’re really close friends of mine. And, of course, I don’t blame them at all for being excited for their final semester, but at the same time, it’s…personally unfulfilling that I have to take the fifth and I won’t be able to say that for an entire year from now. So, it’s kind of

Traveling made courteous

Robin McCourt The Aquinian

Like many other university students, I had a busy Christmas break. I went to three cities, and was on what seemed like a ton of buses, flights, and cab rides. Over the course of this and other journeys, I’ve noticed some passengers assume the attitude that their trip is all about them, and forget some of their travel experiences are really going to be shared with others. So when you’re in airports, bus terminals, and train stations, try

The inevitable job search is enough to make anyone consider putting off graduation (Megan Cooke/AQ) melancholy.” But, as all the graduates get closer to their final day of undergrad, you have to wonder: what’s next? I’m not sure about most people, but I’ve been in school for most of my life. I took a year off between high school and university, but that wasn’t the real world. I lived at home and worked at Canadian Tire. So, the real world is all but a mystery to me. Granted, I’m

sure the year doesn’t start in September and end in April like it does here and grades aren’t as important. But, other than that, it’s a big question. When Pozer does graduate, her plans involve going to school for a little bit longer, but even then, the questions don’t end with a single answer. “And then there’s the idea that if I did go on to…another postsecondary education, would it

be within New Brunswick or outside New Brunswick,” said Pozer. “And…I don’t know if this applies to anyone else, but you’re starting to kind of establish a home away from home. Where do you want this home to be and who, if anyone, do you want that home to be with?” Student loans are also always a fun thing to contemplate when you’re looking towards the future. I owe more money to the

government than I expect to see in my lifetime. Both said, “[I’m] worried, for sure. I have this plan in my mind that I get a job right out of school and try to pay off as much of my line of credit as possible before I have to make student loan payments. But I’m very much aware that there is a good chance that won’t happen and it bothers the hell out of me.”

to be aware of your surroundings. These places are usually busy, making it confusing and hectic to make connections. Since you’re not going to get anywhere faster by pushing someone out of your way, I find its best to remain calm and try to bring out your reserves of charm. One time, I was trying to read signage in a foreign language and walked smack into somebody. They were alright, but I apologized, smiled and was on my way. To avoid being lost and confused, take precautions by checking your itinerary ahead of time, so that you know what gate you’re expected at and what time you are required to board, or also how to get from one place to another. If you allow lots of wait time before your departures, you have one less thing to be stressed and cranky about. Travel usually means long lines and waits, so there’s no need to be cranky about this when you’re in the

lines. If you know what to expect, you’re going to deal with it better. Try to streamline your visit to the station/terminal/airport by having things on hand you’re going to need. I always get a new book or magazine to pass the time. They’re perfect because I don’t need to commit large amounts of time to them, and can stop and start easily. Bringing water with you can be helpful when you don’t have time to go grab one from an overpriced kiosk. It’s refreshing if you’ve trekked with your luggage for a while or if you just need a little break. If you’re flying, the high altitudes are dehydrating and drinking water helps to diminish the effects of jet lag and dry skin. Don’t plan to do anything of importance while you’re traveling since it’s not a reliable situation. Although you might have planned for a smooth trip with lots of room to pull out some work you’ve been meaning to catch up on, that might not

happen. This summer, I was on a tenhour flight home from Europe. The plane’s entertainment system (and although they didn’t admit it , I think their heating system) was down for the whole ride. The girl behind me starting audibly complaining the minute they announced these limitations, and didn’t stop for the rest of the trip. She sat with her knees in the back of my chair and complained that there wasn’t enough room in coach for her to use the tray to do homework due the next day. Bad plan. So, let me clearly say this: keep your elbows, knees, feet, hair, and all other protruding bits where they’re supposed to be so that you’re not making the trip worse for the people around you. If you’re the social type and want to talk to the person beside you, it’s perfectly natural to try to speak with them. But if they start to appear uncomfortable with the chat you should probably change the topic or take a

break. If they just don’t appear into the conversation by giving one-word answers, or not looking at you when you talk to them, don’t take it personally, just ease off the talking. Last but not least, take care to travel clean. I mean shower, use soap, deodorant, breath mints, gum, mouthwash, or floss, whatever it takes to present a clean, smell-free you. It’s courteous to the other people you’re going to deal with that day. Put your garbage where it belongs; take extra care not to spill liquids. I’ve had a full glass of water spilt on me just after takeoff on a chilly night flight overseas. Since it’s hard to anticipate the temperature of your conveyance, bring some layers to keep warm. I usually bring a large scarf and thick socks with me. Be prepared by thinking your travels through ahead of time and be a pleasure to deal with by using extra patience and being liberal with the smiles. Bon voyage!


Commentary

Jodie Foster and the acceptance speech gone viral Did she come out? Does she want to continue acting? Why we should talk about it, and why Hollywood should care what she has to say Liam McGuire The Aquinian

Jodie Foster surprised the world during the 2013 Golden Globes, when she announced -indirectly, of course - that she is a lesbian,and that she was in a relationship with her former partner Cydney Bernard for over 15 years from 1993 to 2008. Now, the fact she is a lesbian wasn’t the surprise, since Hollywood gossip rags have speculated for years. The more surprising fact was Foster made the announcement on one of the most watched award shows on television - and she had the sense of humour to do so in a light-hearted way. Foster’s had a long career, but little of her personal information has become public knowledge. She’s been in the business since she was six, first appearing in Mayberry R.F.D., a sitcom about postal delivery in 1968. Since then, she’s has kept her personal life private, despite a legendary Hollywood

career, and her connection to John Hinckley Jr. and the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The reaction to the announcement was huge. Richard Dreyfuss, Rosie O’Donnell, Ricky Gervais, Chelsea Clinton and Kelly Osbourne among others took to Twitter to announce their support of Foster’s announcement. But it wasn’t received positively by all of Hollywood. Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho and The Informers, who at times has refused to identify his sexuality, (he announced he was gay while writing an apology for The Daily Beast after criticizing the It Gets Better campaign), posted on Twitter: “What is everybody talking about? Didn’t I just hear Jodie Foster fake a coming out speech? I’ve never heard the word PRIVACY said so loudly. The Hollywood hypocrisy is complete: Jodie Foster accepts her Lifetime Achievement award at The GG’s and then demands PUBLIC PRIVACY..”

New Year’s resolution checkup The resolutions that stick? Short and simple goals. And helping people doesn’t hurt, either Alyson MacIsaac The Aquinian

Walking into the gym in early January, the smell of sweat is in the air. Lineups are out the door for treadmills and ellipticals. Each person waiting jogs in place. Not a weight can be found on the rack. Yoga classes are so crowded that people struggle to keep their balance, and every girl wants to get her Zumba on. It can be overwhelming, but don’t worry. It will be over by February. Henri Thibeau, a third year STU student, doesn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions like these newfound gym rats. “I feel like if anyone wants to resolve to better their life in any way, to be nicer to their friends, to be healthier, to go to the gym, they shouldn’t need a holiday to start that in their life,” says Thibeau. “I don’t think they needed to wait for New Year’s for it to start.” For many people, a resolution is something of little consequence. After a few weeks, they

stop and brush it off. Thibeau can only recall one friend making a drastic change and sticking to it for years later. “He started going to the gym and eating healthy and he lost an unbelievable amount of weight. I’m not super close with him now, but I still get to see status updates and such on Facebook and he’s doing super good.” For Emily Sheen, a third year at St Thomas University, 2013 brings a reality check for her health. Three years ago, Sheen was in a car accident that fractured her lower vertebrae in her back. It wasn’t until last semester she realized how she needed to take the injury a lot more seriously. “It’s one of those things where it’s easier to ignore because I can just say, ‘It’s going to be here forever I’ll deal with it later’ because it is going to be a problem with me for the rest of my life.” “I fell last month and I was out of commission for three weeks. I couldn’t do things, I couldn’t bend forward, and I couldn’t pick things up off the ground,” said Sheen. “I realized I have to start taking care of this now

He’s right. In her speech Foster said, “You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child,” a reference that her life wasn’t a reality TV show. This is a generation where The History Channel runs reality shows such as Pawn Stars, Swamp People, and American Restoration among others. Perez Hilton runs a gossip website mostly concerned with unflattering shots of celebrity private parts, which is the 433rd most viewed site in the United States over such websites as PBS Online (477th) and NASA’s website (458th). Hell, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit Perez daily. That’s our world, but that’s not Foster or, likely, her generation. The Internet has made it so a picture can be snapped, sold and published in seconds. Celebrities don’t have privacy, and it’s one of the reasons Foster felt the announcement should be made. Maybe now people will leave her alone. Twenty-nine-year-old paparazzo Chris Guerra died after

because I’m 20 and I shouldn’t be hobbling around like an 80-year-old lady.” Sheen doesn’t take Tylenol often, but during November, she ate two bottles in a month. “The chairs here aren’t great if you have a back injury. My three hour classes were rough and I’d have to take a Tylenol to get through,” said Sheen. Sheen recognizes changes will have to be made. She anticipates strengthening her core and back muscles, losing weight and going to physiotherapy. “I need to get everything tight and toned -- like Jersey Shore -gym, tan, laundry,” said Sheen. “This is the year I’m going to start taking care of myself for the rest of my life because it has to start sometime and last month really sucked,” said Sheen. Jillian Hanson, fourth year STU student, set her resolutions around having a more positive self-image. This is her last year at STU and needs extra amounts of confidence for the career she wants to pursue. “I have auditions for theatre programs this semester, and I have to believe in myself and I need to not let any self-confidence issues get in the way of how much I love doing what I do,” said Hanson. When prompted by Twitter, many responded with having more positivity, being more organized, and not being so hard on themselves. Hanson’s past resolutions were often about her needing to be more organized, or writing

getting struck by a car, following a vehicle he thought was driven by Justin Bieber. Guerra capturing Bieber driving his Ferrari would have likely sold for a lot of cash. But why? Because we as a society crave what celebrities do 24/7. Johnny Depp, Beyoncé and Jay-Z refuse to talk about their personal life in interviews, a strategy Foster adhered to, up until her announcement. It creates the opposite of the desired effect, since instead of respecting their privacy, we crave information even more. Why? Because their lives are lavish. People Magazine paid $4.1 million for photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their baby Shiloh. And the proof is in the pudding, as that copy sold 2.2 million copies. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, commonly known as Kate Middleton, is arguably the hottest celebrity in terms of people wanting information. Pictures of her sun bathing semi-nude brought up the biggest of ethical questions in

junk-magazine history. December 3, she announced she was pregnant and a week hasn’t gone by that she hasn’t appeared in People or Us Weekly. The same month, Australian radio hosts called a hospital where the Duchess was a patient, and pretended to be the Queen and Prince with nurse Jacintha Saldanha, and asked her personal questions about the Duchess’ state. Public backlash lead to Saldanha committing suicide. This is a horrifying repercussion. Jodie Foster’s announcement was important because coming out despite her desire for privacy will likely inspire other celebrities -- and non-celebrities -- to come out, when they’re ready. Canadian actor Victor Garber came out two days after Foster, saying he has been in a relationship with his partner Rainer Andreesen for more than 14 years. Their announcements are both top stories, because we do, and always will, care about the lives of the Hollywood elite.

Don’t wait for Jan. 1 to make a change (Megan Cooke/AQ) more. “I always tell myself that I should start a journal and write about what’s going on, so I can look back and be like, ‘Oh yeah, good times were had,” said Hanson. “I just end up being lazy or work gets in the way and I don’t have the time to write every day.” Resolutions can become problematic when they take up a large portion of your day, or it’s not something you’ve adjusted your schedule toward. Sheen and Thibeau agree that resolutions could be more successful if they were divided into smaller goals. “Some people try to like jump the gun and have a whole lifestyle change, and stuff like that just doesn’t happen overnight,”

said Thibeau. Sheen believes that the first step can be simple. “Sometimes it starts with lying on the floor… or whatever that first step is for you to get better,” said Sheen. Hanson realizes that this resolution is one to carry through life, and an important attitude change. “I found that this year I need to start feeling differently about myself because I have the future just waiting on my doorstep, and that’s scary,” said Hanson. “I felt like I needed to get a grip on myself and actually prepare myself for what’s out there for me instead of just worrying about everything and freaking myself out.”


A foreigner in Rwanda The AQ’s Matt Pain visits the East African country notorious for its 1994 genocide, but returns with a sense of what Rwanda could teach us all My earliest impressions of the Rwandan culture were that the climate was pleasant, the terrain was marked by thousands of hills, and the people cherished a strong sense of community that made me feel more welcomed and comfortable as each day passed. I spent over three months living in the mountainous northwest of Rwanda last summer, as part of the Intercordia Canada program. While there, I lived with a local family in the town of Musanze, while volunteer-teaching at a nearby primary school with two other Canadians. Before arriving, my excitement for experiencing such a radically different culture gave me a naïve overconfidence and made me feel unstoppable in the face of “difference”. But reality settled in soon, when I started to feel sick early on (likely a combination of jet lag, an entirely new diet, and initially very long daily school-teaching schedules). Convinced I had malaria, I asked my 17-year-old host brother what was wrong with me, and he laughed at my idea, as he had experienced the disease in the past. He told me the climate’s too cool in the mountainous north for mosquitos, and “everyone gets sick” during the rainy season. When the dry season rolled around, I was told the same thing, due to the dust, so I figured it was just a bad flu. A few days passed and I felt good as new, and began adjusting much more easily from then on. *** Speaking French helped me adjust to a nation that only recently switched to Englishtaught education.

While the memories of the 1994 atrocities have remained in the minds of the Rwandan people, they are driven to prevent such violent conflict from ever happening again The local languages of Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili took time to pick up on, but I could eventually hold basic small talk. This, of course, is crucial if you want to become less of an obnoxious tourist, and begin connecting with those around you, in a country where you simply can’t pass someone on the street without exchanging some form of greeting.

My stomach eventually adjusted to a simpler and healthier diet, and general eating pattern. Lunch at the school would typically be served around noon and would consist of “posho” (made from maize flour) and beans, sometimes with cassava. Dinner would often be served at around 9 pm, once everyone in the family had returned from the day’s work, consisting typically of rice, beans, squash, and cassava, with the occasional treat of either chicken - killed on the day- beef, or locally-caught fish. In the hours before dinner, preparing meals was a great opportunity to learn about food (obviously), but also some Kinyarwanda, and about Rwandan culture and history. Vincent, my host brother, taught me so much. He taught me about Rwanda today, Rwanda at the time of independence, Rwanda during the Genocide and related ongoing violence in Eastern Congo, today, and how to cook Rwandan dishes. The three I’ve had the most success with are chapatti, beignet (originally French, but common in Rwanda), and “Merci Madame” (deep-fried potato balls, filled with various vegetables). *** Not only was I learning about Rwandan culture, bits and pieces of the languages, and how to make tasty treats, but things at school were steadily going smoother. My version of English was gradually shifting to the Rwandan way of speaking. I became used to using words like “rub” instead of “erase”, “extend” instead of “move”, and saying “sorry” not as an apology, but as a more general expression of sympathy to someone. I began sitting in on other teachers’ classes to learn effective teaching methods and learned a lot myself in Rwandan “social studies” class. The teachers soon became some of my better friends and, naturally, had much to teach me about East African ways of life. Before going to Rwanda, all I really knew was that the country suffered through a terrible genocide in 1994, resulting in almost a million deaths. After all, that’s really the only image of Rwanda that’s been exposed to the western world in recent years. The reaction of most people when I mentioned I’d be going to Rwanda was they figured it would be a dangerous experience. To say that the whole area is peaceful and without conflict would be wrong, as violence has persisted in recent years across the border, in neighbouring

Pain and his Rwandan host brother, Vincent (Submitted) Congo. But while the memories of the 1994 atrocities have remained in the minds of the Rwandan people, they are driven to prevent such violent conflict from ever happening again. The general character of the people nowhere near reflects attitudes of hostility, anger, or

violence. Whether it was with my hostfamily, the other teachers, or walking down the street, encountering swarms of children or a complete stranger, I always felt a strong sense of “togetherness” in a country that feels like a nationwide community.

Rather than the common misconception of East Africans needing help from the western world, I learned, on the contrary, Rwanda and its people have many valuable characteristics from which the much less “community-oriented” western world could learn.


The Face-off With the NHL returning after a long hiatus, will fans return with it? Chris Morehouse

Former pro hockey player With the season underway, NHL fans now have a decision to make. Do they return to

watching the game they love, or do they stay away to make a point? A lot has been written throughout social media about why fans should stay away from the rinks and television sets, and

how they will no longer be fans of the game. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I am not writing to argue that. The lockout was a very messy situation, and both sides -- the owners and the players -- are to blame, but the situation as a whole is much more complex and in depth than many fans can understand. The important thing is it’s over with. Now the players, owners, and fans can move on and enjoy watching the greatest sport in the world. There are three main reasons I think fans should return to watch the NHL and here they are, in no particular order. Stars of the game- Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, and the list goes on. All these players and the many other stars around the game bring an amazing product on the ice. Watching the stars play is often worth the price of admission. With a shortened season, these stars will want to leave their mark and do whatever they can to push their team over the top. With a game on every day of the regular season you will never be without a star. Teams and NHL trying to make amends The Toronto Maple Leafs are making their first home game of the season free for their fans. Many teams around the league are donating money to charities, and almost all teams are offering great prices and merchandise. The NHL have also made full-page apologies in newspapers and have been very public about how bad they feel about the lockout. Traditions Many Canadians have grown up spending Saturday nights glued to the television watching Hockey Night in Canada, and that shouldn’t change. In the long run, however, the game should be better with more parity in the league. The love of hockey goes far beyond Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr. It’s about back yard rinks, and rooting for your favorite player and favorite team. It’s about an unconditional love for a sport that at either moment can bring you to your feet with excitement or on your knees with tears. It’s about the best players of the best sport playing the best game on earth. Don’t let a labour dispute fought in a boardroom make you forget how special the game is on ice.


Scott Hems Jilted fan

The NHL is back. It’s a rich market, and Canadians take pride in our ability to play. So of course many people are simply relieved the lockout has ended. However, I question the professionalism of this franchise, and what it really means now that the pros are back to work. As someone who has spent a great deal of my life walking the streets of Toronto, let me share with you some basic facts. I’ve been to several Blue Jays games. I’ve sat in homerun territory, shoe-throwing distance of third base, and usually close enough to have a pro toss me a ball during warm-ups. Not once did I spend more than $50. I’ve seen international rugby, QMJHL, and pretty much every sport North America offers, not once was the pricing as ridiculously overpriced as hockey was. I even took in some Raptors games over Christmas while in town as they were on a 5-game winning streak. They play in the Air Canada Centre, same as the Maple Leafs. Both games I saw, I paid about $40 to sit in the lower bowl, no more than 20 rows from the court. Now let’s look at the NHL. I saw the Leafs take on the Ottawa Senators three years ago. Me and two friends drove 15 hours across the country for the one game. Our tickets were $230 each. We were standing at the very back of the rink against the wall as far as possible from the ice. Something else to think about. I was privileged to spend the last day of the season downtown. I toured the Hockey Hall of Fame, took in a Jays games, then went a few blocks north to Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant to watch the Kings play the Devils for game six. The Kings were my team in the West so I thought about buying a jersey with goaltender Jonathan Quick’s name and number on it. When I was a kid, NHL jerseys were about $80, and currently cost about $130. This jersey though was $300 before taxes. I understand inflation and profit, especially in the heart of Leaf’s nation. But really? I went back to the HHOF in the midst of the lockout with the sole purpose of seeing if the same jersey still cost the same amount. It didn’t, it was now $200. Think about minimum wage in New Brunswick. It’s $10 an hour. Therefore, someone has to work a full 40-hour week just to buy a jersey and have these idiots fight over the profits. But $200, what a great deal right? Now these are just things to keep in mind. Hockey is surely a more expensive sport than most others, we all know and accept that. But where is this money going? So NHL players and owners can argue over who gets the biggest percentage of it to the point where they cancel games and refuse to work? Who loses here? The franchise loses about $18 million everyday when this happens and we should just feel sorry for them apparently. However, I know a single mother who works three jobs so her child doesn’t go to school naked and doesn’t freeze to death while sleeping. But let’s not feel sorry for her; these poor rich idiots are the ones all over the news, and the ones that we look up to for some reason. I do realize that not every player is to blame here. Some really do make an honest living; some really would play in the NHL for free. By the same token I’m sure there are a few owners who do the same, for the love of the sport. But we consumers are the ones who spend this ridiculous amount to feed millions into the NHL economy, just so we can see the third stoppage of play since 1994. I’m not saying they don’t deserve to be paid, I’m not saying it’s not a sport worth watching. I’m saying when an NHL star stands in front of a camera and says, “it’s one thing for someone to hold a gun to your head and say give me money or I’ll hurt you, it’s another thing for them to say give me money and I’m going to hurt you,” it’s a little pathetic. Some stars say they were “taken advantage

of,” yet they make millions off Reebok, Nike, Gatorade, Sport Chek, and all other industries. They all make more than we do. So why should we just forgive and forget? Everything is back to normal now, and who cares about the lock out as long as they make their millions right? Many wanted to boycott the NHL if it came back. I visited the official sports store across from the ACC. This summer, Leafs products were everywhere. Christmas break came around and much of it was replaced with Toronto Marlies merchandise, their AHL affiliate. I asked staff about it and was told a story of a Leafs player who was refused service in the pub across the hall. When he made a fuss about them selling jerseys with his name and number on it, they told him to start playing hockey again.

Canadians take hockey seriously. Everyone remembers where they were when Crosby scored the golden goal on home soil at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics . We know stories our parents told of school being cancelled for game eight in the Summit Series and Henderson scoring the series clincher late in the third. It kills me to see pros go on like this. Many would play in the NHL for free if bills were paid. But with the NHL, many are happy to see them making millions. Is this what you want your kids to fight for when you sign them up for minor hockey? I’d think not. It’s a little sad that pros can only take their kids to Hawaii for three weeks this year because of the owners taking advantage of them.


Jian Ghomeshi stood out to fit in Host of CBC’s Q to answer questions on his journey from awkward teen to radio host in Saturday’s capital visit Meghan O’Neil The Aquinian

In 1982, Jian Ghomeshi put on the pointy boots, picked up the purple eyeliner and went through countless bottles of hair gel hoping to fit in with the cool kids. Despite a fortunate change in Ghomeshi’s fashion sense, the host and co-creator of CBC’s cultural affairs show, Q, said he hasn’t entirely escaped his teenage insecurities. “If you take a position in favour of gay marriage, or against a war, or for funding to the arts, there’s going to be people who don’t like that,” said Ghomeshi over the phone from his Toronto office. “Sometimes that can send me right back to the kid who wanted to fit in, but it doesn’t ever prevent me from making my case. So I think that’s always been in me.” Ghomeshi’s “somewhat naive” 14-year-old voice takes readers through one pivotal year of his teens in 1982, which hit bookstores in September. He will read from the memoir and answer audience questions at The Wilmot Church on Saturday as part of Fredericton’s Shivering Songs festival. “I’ve really had a good time in New Brunswick in general but I’ve got a good feeling with Fredericton. We were there very early on with Q in 2008 for the ECMA [East Coast Music Award]s and it was pretty sweet. So, I’m looking forward to coming back and saying ‘hi’ to the folks in Fredericton.” Of Iranian heritage, Ghomeshi was born in London, England. When he was seven, his family moved to Thornhill, Ontario, a white-bread suburb of Toronto. He wanted nothing more than to be like his idol, David Bowie. This was seemingly impossible because of his olive skin and “industrial-sized” nose. He includes the word “nose” 18 times in 278 pages. They aren’t all references to his nose, but noses in general. An impossible-to-ignore, defining feature for a young immigrant. “It was very obvious I was different from others, and there was this real desire for acceptance and wanting to fit it, but having said that, I’ve also, from a young age... I did have a critical mind.” That inquisitive nature has helped earn him a national audience that’s spilled over the United States border. Q airs on CBC Radio One, shown on CBC Television, and was picked up by Public Radio International. Q is the highest-rated show in the late morning time slot in CBC history and enjoys the largest national audience of any cultural affairs program. Ghomeshi’s smooth voice first greeted

Jian Ghomeshi has been confidently hosting Q on CBC since 2007 but still holds onto some teenage insecurities (Submitted) listeners over the airwaves on Q infamous on-air set-to with Billy in 2007. Bob Thornton. “On a visceral level, music always affected me. I can listen to “It was very obvi- some of that now, whether it’s ous I was different The Clash, or Bowie, or Dépêche Mode, music of that period, it’ll from others, and set me back there right away. It’s there was this real such a trigger for me, and it’s been such an important part of desire for accep- my life and obviously continues tance and wanting to to be.” 1982 is told in 12 tales, each fit it, but having said appropriately titled with a song that, I’ve also, from and musicians ranging from The a young age... I did Clash, Rush, Culture Club and of course, Bowie. have a critical mind.” New Wave music was emerging, experimenting with electronic sounds. Ghomeshi tried Since then, he has conduct- desperately to be a New Waver, ed a range of high-profile inter- which meant looking like you views from Vice President of the didn’t try. This proved difficult. United States, Al Gore, to music He hung around the theatre icons Paul McCartney and Leon- room at his high school, and ard Cohen, not to mention the eventually became part of its

coveted theatre troupe. He also formed a few bands and was in the vocal group. Despite his desire to fit in, he was constantly putting himself in situations to stand out. Ghomeshi bought tickets to an alternative music festival outside Toronto, The Police Picnic. This is where the book forms its spine. “It’s a major coming-of-age moment. It all kind of comes to a head.” Ghomeshi recounts discovering his new favourite band, Talking Heads; inviting a girl to come with him who looked like David Bowie; and letting go of the one thing that was holding him to childhood – his red and blue Adidas bag. “Here I’m dealing with trying to impress this blonde cool girl; I’m younger than everyone else at this amazing music

festival that’s all about the music that’s such a trigger for me... All of that’s happening on one day and it was pretty epic.” His parents are still not used to their son on such a public platform and profile. In the book, his mother compares him to the white neighbour’s children; and his father never could understand the passion he had for music and theatre. He dedicated the book to them and gave them a copy before publication. “It can be really annoying and difficult for them, even though I think they are ultimately proud of me,” he said. “Given their druthers, they would prefer that there would be a book called ‘How I became successful in medicine and also engineering, by Jian Ghomeshi.’”


Mo Kenney: Plaskett approved Catchy tunes and compelling stage presence earn Plaskett protégé an audience of her own Meghan O’Neil The Aquinian

The buzz around Nova Scotia’s Mo Kenney’s debut album hasn’t quieted down. Last week, Kenney was nominated for an East Coast Music Award for Rising Star Recording of the Year for her self-titled album. “It was pretty crazy. I knew we applied for me to be nominated. My mom called me in the morning and told me [laughs],” said Kenney. “I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen with [the album] but it’s been great so far,” said Kenney about the response. Kenney will now open for Juno-winner and Fredericton Shivering Song headliner Sarah Harmer. The two will play the festival’s main stage, The Wilmot Church on Friday. Kenney will return to the venue for a second show the next day. Her self-titled album was released in September and produced by folk-rocker and fellow Nova Scotian, Joel Plaskett. Her album was created under Toronto label Pheromone Recordings and Plaskett’s New Scotland Records. After her album release, Kenney set out on a cross-Canada tour opening up for Plaskett and his band the Emergency. Plaskett not only produced the album but also co-wrote two songs. Kenney and Plaskett’s guitars are the only two instruments on the album. “I met him when I was 17 for the first time. I was doing

Rocker Joel Plaskett produced Mo Kenney’s ECMA nominated debut album (Submitted) makeshift recordings at a school in Halifax with local bands and he came into to listen to the music and liked my songs.” Kenney said she was a fan of his and remembers hearing Plaskett and the Emergency’s “Come on, Teacher” from his 2003 album Truthfully Truthfully. “I got a call from his manager [Sheri Jones] three years later and invited me to a song-writing camp with [singer/songwriter] Gordie Sampson.” Jones invited Kenney to The Gordie Sampson Songcamp in

Cape Breton which accepted only a handful of aspiring songwriters. Jones knew of Kenney through Plaskett and suggested they meet up. Kenney is now under Jones’ management along with Sampson, Fredericton’s David Myles and Nova Scotia’s David Guthro. Most songs on Kenney’s album sit around two and a half minutes and a few feature Plaskett’s guitar playing along. Plaskett contributes to the catchy “Déja vu,” which has the duo strumming together. Even though Mo Kenney can be seen as Joel Plaskett’s

protégé, it’s easy to distinguish a style all her own. There’s something honest in Kenney’s voice. It’s not dressed up with a backing of instruments or drastic changes in range. Plaskett’s voice compliments the honesty, but doesn’t overwhelm it. Her stage presence is somewhat androgynous, not unlike one of her idols, David Bowie. The only song on the album not written by Kenney is her cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years.” Kenney said her dad bought her 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the

Spiders from Mars when she was 17. She’d just moved out and listened to the song repeatedly in her apartment. “I was a little nervous about doing it justice. I’m a huge fan of Bowie and I didn’t want to butcher his song, so hopefully I didn’t [laughs].” Kenney said she was always a writer, but started writing songs when she was 15 years old. “Well, I’ve always written as a kid like short stories in elementary school and I used to really enjoy that,” she said. “It makes me feel good to write my thoughts down on paper.” Kenney started playing guitar when she was 11-years-old and said she couldn’t stop. She remembers staying up late in her room playing and her mom yelling at her to go to sleep. Kenney talked about the late Elliott Smith as an influence. “I really loved his music. I think he’s a great songwriter and comes up with memorable melodies and the way he plays guitar... he was the one that made me start finger picking.” Now 22, she has moved out of the privacy of her bedroom and onto the stage. This wasn’t a particularly easy transition for Kenney, who admits to stage fright. “I hated performing. I was scared to be in front of people. Anyone who does that for the first time would be scared unless you’re super outgoing which I’m not,” said Kenney. “But it got easier as I went on and now I love it.”

Thom Swift sings the blues to Memphis, TN Blues singer/songwriter was chosen by Harvest Jazz & Blues to represent Atlantic Canada at international festival Meghan O’Neil The Aquinian

Halifax-based singer/songwriter Thom Swift is taking his blues to Memphis. Swift is a Fredericton-native and was Harvest Jazz & Blues’ pick to represent Atlantic Canada at the International Blues Festival . The International Blues Festival welcomes over 180 blues musicians who compete for prizes, cash and industry recognition. He spent 15 years recording and touring with blues/jazz group Hot Toddy Trio who enjoyed multiple awards have shared the stage with the likes of Dolly Parton and Guy Davis. Swift’s successes didn’t stop there. He broke from the group and began his solo career in 2007 with his debut album Into the Dirt, blending blues and

roots music. The album won an East Coast Music Award, the Galaxie Rising Star prize and two Music Nova Scotia Awards. Three years later, Swift released blue sky day which was nominated for three ECMAs and was chosen as one of Canada’s stop songwriters for CBC’s 2010 “Great Canadian Song Quest.” blue sky day features Swift’s band the El Caminos. Swift is working on a new album with a March 5 release date. Dolan’s Pub hosted a fundraiser Jan. 16 to send Swift to Memphis at the end of the month. When did you find out you were going to represent Atlantic Canada at the International Blues Challenge? How did you feel

when you found out you were chosen? I guess I heard about it around Harvest this past year, probably at the end of September. When I heard I was humbled and flattered to be chosen to represent the festival and East Coast region.

atmosphere? The show at Dolans was great. Lots of people were there.The venue was fantastic and the sound in the room was really good thanks to Martin Robichaud doing sound! It was very festive and very successful! People were very generous with their time and money to help You’re currently working send me off in style! Thanks to on your latest album, what all who came and supported me! can fans expect? Fans can expect my best efWhat kind of expectations fort yet. The songs are stronger do you have for attending and the players on the album the Blues Challenge? are all master musicians. Also, My expectations? Well, I want I wasn’t so rushed with this to represent Harvest and the realbum. I think that had a lot to gion in a very professional mando with it feeling stronger and ner by playing my absolute best and informing those who will more cohesive. listen about the wonderful talHow did the IBC fun- ent we have here on the East draiser go at Dolans Coast and what a world class Wednesday? From your festival we have here in Frederperspective, how was the icton, NB each year. I also will be

networking with folks from all over the world. A good portion of the industry from what I understand are attending this conference so it’ll be great to meet and hang out with like-minded people, agents/managers/artistic directors for Festivals/record labels/musicians, etc. What have your experiences been like being a singer/songwriter in Atlantic Canada and how do you feel about representing the region internationally? I have been playing and writing music professionally for a long time now and I have always called the East Coast home. I love living in the region and will always do so. To represent the region internationally is an honour that I will not take lightly. I will sing our region’s praises to all I meet.


Brothers play their way Sam Laidman The Aquinian

The Fredericton band Brothers say they’re related through music. They celebrated the release of their debut album, Let It Rain, at the Capital Friday by rocking out for their first album-length set. It lasted over an hour, but there was no sign of fatigue. Lead singer and guitarist Logan Colter said it best, describing their performance as the “meat-and-potatoes rock n’ roll, with a little bit of spice.” Brothers is a trio, rounded out by bassist Keegan MC and drummer Joseph Burton. Colter and Burton were both in high school jazz bands and would jam before rehearsals. MC picked up a bass and completed the sound. The band recorded a demo and upon its release, MC left. The band welcomed a new bassist for a period, recorded a few songs, and then had to deal with his exit as well. Brothers returned to a duo until MC asked

Brothers, with shout-along lyrics like “I’m not quitting, I’m not done” and “Don’t you feed the beast.” The band takes a keep-it-simple-stupid approach to writing choruses, and it worked well with the Friday’s audience. “I’d never played for a crowd like that, where everyone was really jumping and screaming for more... and after, I received a few messages from family and friends saying it was really good, that I should be proud,” said Burton. Both on the recording and live, Burton and MC’s ability to build up a song and then pull it back to a tight groove is impressive. This is exemplified on the track “Too Old to Die Young.” “They’ve had great chemistry since the first day,” Colter said. Let It Rain is their fuel to keep going. “One thing we’ve been talking about trying is bringing a different show every night we play, and as we write more material we can do that,” said Colter. “We can start subbing out different songs and moving the set list around. Just keep it different, you know, ‘cause you can go see bands all the time, especially local bands, and so many of them just play the same set all the time. It’s like... ‘Why would you want to pay to see the same thing again?’”

if he could rejoin. With new momentum, Brothers recorded Let It Rain, which features fuzzed-out blues-inspired rock similar to The Black Keys, but delivered with grungy aggression and sloppiness. No one seemed to notice the imperfections, not even the frontman, as his mop of blonde hair whipped around, and his frenzied movements energized the crowd. During his solos, you could see the sweat Colter was throwing around on stage. He jumped and thrust to the beat with little regard for his fingers’ positioning on the neck of his guitar. They played nearly the entire album, plus two new songs. Brothers captured the spirit of what a live show should be with reckless abandon and a sense of urgency. The room was full from the front of the stage to the back exit, but no one was standing shoulder to shoulder. This was fortunate, because most of the house Brothers next show takes was rocking for the entire show. The audience often echoed place Feb. 15 at The Cellar.

From left to right: Logan Colter, Keegan MC play at N.S summer fest Evolve 2012 (Submitted)

The growth of animation

Justin Cook The Aquinian

Comic companies are now multimedia empires. Blockbuster movies, video games, and toys are a few avenues comic properties are being pushed into. There

are also cartoons for children on Saturday mornings. But animation has grown up in the past decade. Comics aren’t just for kids and now neither are cartoons. Animated straight-to-video films are a relatively new way for comic companies to expand their brand. In 2006, Marvel released their first animated film, a watered down version of the acclaimed Ultimates volume one. Then, in 2007, DC released Superman: Doomsday. It built off the Superman animated series, but was a bit more mature. Marvel has released a handful of animated films since, but the quality of these movies suffers because of Marvel’s indecision. They stand in the middle of the road between kid-friendly and artistic.

This is less of a concern for DC. Marvel has had more luck in live-action films, but DC is unrivaled in its animated features. While some of the films have diluted stories for wider appeal, most keep the sometimes-gory details. DC utilizes the medium to its full potential. Live action movies are limited by technology and various other factors. Some things that work on the printed page don’t on the silver screen. Animation is the median between movie and comic. Through this medium, beloved comic stories can be adapted into films without straying from the source material. The very words and panels from classic comics such as Batman: Year One and Justice League: The New Frontier leaps onto screen with dazzling

The pain, porn and protégés of Kathy Mac Professor shares stage with her writing students

Kathy Mac launches her book at STU on Jan. 18 (Cara Smith/AQ) Karo Comeau Kathleen McConnell opened up her book launch to student writers, many she’s taught herself. “Kathy Mac, both heart and soul are in this department,” said Paddy O’Reilly, editor-inchief of the university’s student arts journal, Stuart. The journal shared its launch with McConnell’s book Pain, Porn and Complicity: Women Heroes from Pygmalion to Twilight Friday. “She makes stuff happen and just being able to work in such close corners with her, discuss issues we’re having as writers and editors, anything at all, and knowing she has that extra experience is a godsend really.” McConnell, chair of the English department, writes under the pen name Kathy Mac. She’s released two books of poetry The Hundefraulein Papers and Nail Builders Plan for Strength and Growth. The latter was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2002. The event was also opened to 10 of her advanced prose students, who read their stories and memoirs. The students’ stories were workshopped last semester by McConnell and Giller Prize winner David Adams Richards.

McConnell’s Pain, Porn and Complicity: Women Heroes from Pygmalion to Twilight is a collection of essays on female heroes. McConnell explores the portrayal of women such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Catwoman in popular culture. “I’ve been working towards this for decades,” said McConnell. “My other two books are pretty much poetry books and this is a hybrid of poetry and prose.” McConnell was pleased to have her students join the event and present excerpts from their work. She teaches creative writing and other literature-based classes such as women writers. “At first, it was going to be just my launch, then I realized we won’t have time for the readings in my class so I figure we’ll just roll them into the launch,” said McConnell. “Then last week we found out they needed a launch for Stuart so I thought, well that just makes perfect sense with the students reading and with my launch. It was just perfect.” O’Reilly was one of the students in McConnell’s prose class last semester and participated in the readings. McConnell is a great asset in the English department, he said. “It was very generous of her and we are very grateful to her.”

results. Comics will never be adapted so accurately in Hollywood. It wouldn’t be possible. The nature of animated films also allows for multiple features in a year without compromising quality. They’re more economical. There’s no need to pay millions for a leading actor, or special effects. Animation is simpler. The budgets for these films are small, so it takes much less revenue to be profitable. It’s a shame other companies have yet to take advantage of these conditions. Marvel is gearing up to release another shallow action feature, Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United. DC, however, is releasing its crowning achievement thus far. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part II concludes an adaptation of one of the most

influential, acclaimed, and thoughtful graphic novels ever. It’s the best Batman story I’ve read, and the animated film keeps all the grit and violence from the original work. Besides being a must-watch for comic/ Batman fans, it’s a shining example of how to adapt a graphic novel. The other companies haven’t even dabbled in the market. Dark Horse comics character Hellboy has had two animated movies, but that’s it. As DC continue to develop excellent features, their competitors will hopefully take notice. There’s no shortage of classic stories that fans are begging to see translated in animation. As the DC films gain more attention and critical success, it’s likely others will try and take it from them.

The Aquinian


Moving forward

John Hoben The Aquinian

On the potential $1000 increase in tuition (Brandon Hicks/AQ)

The most important amendments to the SRC

Alex Carleton The Aquinian

The SRC meeting on the 15th was the longest one this year, nearing five hours. Most of it was spent on amendments to the upcoming constitutional reform package. There was so much to cover that one column barely does justice, but I will give my take on what I think were the two most important amendments. The first amendment was to remove all references to hired vice presidents from the constitutional proposal. This was the most unfriendly of all amendments, in that hired VPs were the heart of the proposed

changes. The main reason for this suggested reform was last year’s “unproductive SRC”. In particular, the president and the VP administration did not get along well, and this hindered the body’s ability to accomplish anything. The unamended document would have made the president the only elected position on the executive, and allow the president express preference in hiring the remaining VPs, though the final say would belong to the SRC. The amendment passed, so core of the proposed structural changes will not be in the document being voted on next week. The loudest supporters of the amendment voiced concerns that hired VPs were less democratic, and the proposal concentrated too much power in the hand of the president. On the other hand, there is a strong argument in favour of the suggested changes: a united executive mandate

is more effective, and it would still be accountable to the SRC. I voted in favour of the amendment, and therefore against the proposed changes. Generally, I am not predisposed to large or fast change, and I thought that there was not strong enough reason to reform the executive in one swoop. As well, I would prefer to see more student involvement with the SRC before we give it the huge task of holding a united executive accountable. I felt a lot of the opposition to the changes lacked substance. A common reprise was that the changes were “undemocratic”. The problem with this is that democracy is not necessarily a good in itself, and more elected positions does not necessarily mean a better government. Surely judges and secretaries of state function well despite not facing elections. Keeping in mind I voted for it, I have the feeling that in part this

Thursday’s SRC meeting, clocking in at just over four hours, is certainly the longest meeting since I’ve been on council. It also demonstrates the importance of what’s being discussed. I don’t think anyone would say our governing documents are perfect, and I’m certain we’re all in agreement that there are definitely things that should be changed. Right now, the discussion we’re having is essentially what we’re going to talk about. I put forward a list of things I thought merited discussion, we discussed it at our meeting, we discussed it with students, and then everyone had the opportunity to put forward things they wanted to be added to the list of topics or removed. Then we discussed it all again. Next week, once we’ve finished discussing what to discuss, we’ll put it forward for a vote. Alex Carleton probably put it best when he described the entire process as very “meta.” Overall, this two-month process is probably the most open, public and democratic amendment passed for the wrong reasons. The second most important change at the table was to amend the “board of directors” back to being the SRC. In the proposed changes, the SRC would become the board of directors for legal reasons. Currently, legally speaking the executive is in charge of the STUSU. SRC decisions are not legally binding. This was demonstrated last year when a few members of the executive unionized STUSU employees without a vote in the SRC. By changing the SRC to the board of directors, the executive could no longer make legally binding contracts without consulting the entire board. The downside is that to sit on a board in New Brunswick, one must be 19 years old. No one wanted to exclude those under 19, but until SRC lobbying is successful in changing the law, this would be the effect having the board of directors.

discussion that’s been had at the STUSU in a long time. With our discussions on CASA last year, the vote was pretty much settled in a secret meeting in the president’s office on a weekend morning. I agree that there were valid points made there, but they should have been made at an open meeting. This year everything we’ve discussed has been public, civil and productive. We have a team of people who genuinely care about their constituents, and the future of the students’ union. A more open union is something I’ve strived for this year, compromising only to protect individual privacy or legal requirements. Certainly there is still more that can be done to engage students and bring more discussion to these issues, and that’s something for the STUSU to work on moving forward. The place we end up next week is going to be different than where we started these discussions at, but that’s the point. It’s been long. It’s been exhausting. But it has been free and fair. Everything I put forward were ways to make sure our council was strong and had the information they need in making decisions, and that’s the way the process has been operated. We’ve engaged students and made it a topic of major discussion on campus. Nobody has won or lost, we’ve worked together for the betterment of the students’ union and the STU community. Now, all that’s left is a handful of ideas that were tabled, and then to put the completed version to a vote.

The debate was about whether it was worth having the board of directors have legal control at the cost of not allowing those under 19 to hold a position. The amendment failed, and so the board of directors will survive into the final document. I voted against the amendment, and to keep the board of directors in the document. As much as I appreciate the concerns of those who feel everyone ought to be able to hold a position, the fact that the SRC’s decisions are not legally binding was the more pressing matter for me. Around $160,000, 60 per cent of our budget, is contracts with employees. Only the executive are legally privy to this information. Though it is true that if the constitutional package passes those under 19 will not be able to hold a position, the positions held will be more meaningful in their powers.


Tommies’ struggles continue STU loses three times in four nights in tough week to UNB, U de M and UPEI Matt Tidcombe The Aquinian

The Tommies season struggles continued with another pair of losses this weekend. The Tommies lost 5-4 Friday on the road against the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus was followed by another loss, this time 7-2 on home ice against the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. “I was embarrassed by the way we played as a team tonight,” goalie Jon Groenheyde said after Saturday’s loss. The Tommies got off to a good start Saturday as Robert Zandbeek’s shot from the slot squeezed through UPEI’s goalie Wayne Savage. Chris Morehouse and Felix Poulin got the assists on Zandbeek’s third goal of the season. However two UPEI goals gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead after the first period. Assistant head coach Tim Smith said that the first period “wasn’t that bad for us.” UPEI would score two more times in the second to open game up, but Yuri Cheremetiev would pull the Tommies closer as he banged home a rebound for his third goal of the season. Morehouse and Matthew Hobbs got the helpers on the goal. The third period saw UPEI blow the game open, adding three more goals for a 7-2 win. Dana Fraser and Mike MacIsaac each scored two goals for the surging Panthers. Groenheyde was pulled with 10 minutes left and was replaced in goal by Tyler Piercy, who played well in limited minutes. “Piercy played well, I was happy for him,” Groenheyde said. Groenheyde certainly received no help in goal, often being left out to dry by his teammates.

Matt Hobbs puck handles in his own zone during Saturday nights loss to UPEI (Matt Tidcombe/AQ) “Horrendous, just horrendous breakdowns we had,” he said. “Like 3 on 1’s, 2 on 1’s, and breakaway after breakaway after breakaway. It’s sometimes hard to deal with mentally.” Smith concurred, adding “It doesn’t fall back on Jon by any means. You can’t expect a guy night in, night out to make those [saves] all the time.” Friday night saw a rally from the Tommies come agonizingly short. The Tommies were down 5-1 heading into the third period with the Tommies lone goal through two period coming from Poulin, with Labonte

getting the assist. The Tommies would score three times in the third period, but couldn’t find the tying goal late to force overtime. Stephen Sanza, Zandbeek and Cheremetiev had the goals in the third. “Friday night was almost against the norm. As a short staffed club our third period should be our worst but our third period was our best,” Smith said. Wednesday however was one of the worst games of the Tommies season as they travelled across campus to take on the University of New Brunswick

Superstition in sports Kevin Underhill

CUP (University of Victoria)

For centuries, athletes have dedicated their lives to sports training. What many people don’t realize is that this includes their mental game as well. Legendary baseball player Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90 per cent mental, and the other half is physical.” Superstitions, traditions and rituals have worked their way into sports and show no signs of stopping. From titanium lace necklaces

and pump-up tunes to tattoos and pre-game snacks, athletes all around the world adhere to all kinds of weird pre-game routines. These rituals have evolved over time and can be specific to certain sports, teams or players. Many Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers refuse to touch the baseline on their way to and from the dugout. No one really knows why, though some think it stems from a respect for the pristine quality of the lines before the game begins. A perfect example of a sport ritual is the playoff beard. From

late April to June, the sports channels feature more goatees, chops and moustaches than you see during lumberjack week. Some hockey players tape their sticks the same way every game or put their skates on before their shin pads, but they certainly don’t say the word “shutout” during a shutout. Despite their tough exteriors, most athletes are very fickle individuals. From a young age, athletes find out what works and what doesn’t. They figure out what food to eat on game nights and what lucky undershirt has

Varsity Reds. The results weren’t pretty as the Tommies were drubbed 7-0 by the third ranked nationally V-Reds. The Tommies played Wednesday night with only 14 skaters. The three losses puts the Tommies record for the season at 3-19-1, and they remain dead last in a number of statistical categories such as goals scored, powerplay percentage, goals against penalty minutes. The Tommies have just five games remaining this season and Smith says they will try to work on some things for next season.

“[The players] should want to get better now so they’ll be better next year. There are some goals of ours to work toward so we can be better,” he said.

the best winning percentage. If an athlete remembers taking 12th Avenue before winning the big game, you will likely see them on the same road again. The importance of a good pregame routine is critical. Not only does it prepare you to play, it also makes you feel the confidence of the last time it worked. The confidence a good superstition can provide could make the difference between a win and a loss. Swimmers, for examples, slap their arms and legs before a race to keep their muscles loose. They also spit water in their goggles before every race. Sometimes there doesn’t have to be a reason why. It just has to work.

Even fans get in on the action. If your favourite team lost a heartbreaker in the finals, you certainly aren’t going to that bar to watch the game again. If your team has a better record when you listen to the American broadcast, then you will be tuning into that network when your team goes to the championships. You may even have to wear the same socks for two weeks if your team is on a roll. During the sports season, we will inevitably run into all kinds of weird superstitions and traditions. As players and fans, we are creatures of habit and in order to keep peace of mind, we stick to those habits even if they are bizarre.

Groenheyde agrees, adding that the team are doing everything they can to get the desired results on the ice. “We’re together in everything. We understand what needs to be done. We just need to start doing it on a consistent basis, guys are invested. They want to win. They want to be successful.”


Lady Tommies woes continue STU loses their fourth game of the New Year, but recover to win Sunday afternoon

Kayla Blackmore battles for the puck against the boards Saturday (Cara Smith/AQ) Meredith Gillis The Aquinian

It was a rough game against St. FX for the Lady Tommies as they lost 3-1 at the Grant Harvey Centre on Saturday afternoon. Kayla Blackmore opened the scoring for the Tommies, scoring 3:35 into the first period. Things went downhill for Blackmore shortly after; an elbow caught her in the face and got under her mask somehow. She went off the ice thinking her nose was broken. “I thought maybe I had some blood coming down, but it was good,” said Blackmore, who joked “it [her nose] can’t really get much worse.” Both teams played hard and Coach Peter Murphy

was pleased with the team’s performance. “I can’t fault the girls, I thought they played an excellent game today,” he said. Blackmore was pleased with the on ice effort level of the team. “I’m obviously disappointed that we didn’t get the two points out of it, but we went in wanting to have a really good effort and play a full sixty minutes and that’s what we did” said Blackmore. Murphy noted improvement in when the Lady Tommies are taking their shots on goal. “I thought they were more inclined to put the puck to the point and then just go to the net, and just put it down. Don’t look for the perfect play. And

previously, I think that’s what they were doing.” The Lady Tommies had 22 shots on goal to St. FX’s 33. St. FX tied the game with a power play goal from Alex Normore at 6:11 in the first period. Catherine Civitarese scored two more goals for St. FX, once in the second and once in the third. “She [Kristin Wolfe] played really well. She made some really nice stops for us in the game. And I think it boosted her confidence as well to know that she can go in and play against that team,” said Murphy. Some of the 253 fans in the stands weren’t pleased with the way referee Chris Towler called penalties. Amy Duffield and Kelty Apperson both took penalties in the first period,

for tripping and head contact respectively. “I have an opinion, I’m not allowed to say it. He sees the game one way, we see it another,” said Murphy. Apperson’s four minute penalty for head contact was the most questionable call of the game, not because it was made, but because it seemed unfair to most spectators that Apperson was given a penalty but not the player from St. FX. Thankfully, Towler did assign a two minute head contact penalty to St. FX at 12:40 in the second period when things got rougher following an intense push for a second goal by the Lady Tommies. A fan heckled the St. FX player a little bit on her way to the box yelling “sit down and think about what you’ve done.” Despite an intense game, the Lady Tommies weren’t able to get the goals needed to get back in the game, and lost their fourth game of the New Year. *** The Tommies however were able to pick up a much needed win Sunday afternoon against the St. Mary Huskies with a 2-0 victory. Cassidy McTaggert opened the scoring with five minutes left in the second period. Jordan Miller and Erin MacIsaac had assists on the goal. Miller would score the Tommies second goal of the game a little over four minutes into the third period with Paige MacDonald and McTaggert grabbing the helpers. Julia Sharun made 27 saves to earn the shutout. The much needed win means the Tommies are now 13-6-1 and are second in the AUS standings.

Sports schedule Jan. 23 Women’s Basketball UNBSJ @ STU LB Gym 6 p.m. Men’s Basketball UNBSJ @ STU LB Gym 8 p.m. Women’s Volleyball STU @ MTA 7 p.m. Men’s Volleyball STU @ UNBSJ 7 p.m. Jan. 25 Men’s Hockey STU @ Dal 7 p.m. Jan. 26 Men’s Volleyball STU @ UKC 2 p.m. Women’s Basketball STU @ MSVU 4 p.m. Men’s Basketball STU @ MSVU 6 p.m. Women’s Hockey STU @ UPEI 7 p.m. Men’s Hockey STU @ Acadia 7 p.m. Jan. 27 Men’s Volleyball STU @ UKC 11 a.m. Women’s Volleyball MSVU @ STU LB Gym 12 p.m. Women’s Basketball STU @ Dal AC 3:30 p.m. Men’s Basketball STU @ Dal AC 5:30 p.m.

with

Nova Pelletier Matt Tidcombe

strong team, but I would say the It is a great accomplishment to one thing we need to work on be nationally ranked. It is someis our mental toughness a little thing that every team across How would you assess the more. Canada is looking to do and from first half of the season? here we can only look forward to What are the expectations moving up. I think that the first half of for this half of the season? our season went really well for How far can this team go us. We got closer as a team and Our expectations for this half this year? Can you win the learned how to play better with of the season is to come first in ACAA and make Nationals? each other. You can really tell our league and eventually move how much we have grown as a on to win Atlantics and qualify It is always our goal at the team from that 1st semester. for Nationals in Alberta. start of every season to not only make Nationals but win them as What do you think this What does it mean to the well. We are working like crazy team needs to improve on? program to have been na- and are excited to take the court tionally ranked? in Saint-Anna in the last weekI think that we have a very end in February. The Aquinian

Volleyball player Nova Pelletier. Plays right/left side (Submitted)


That’s how I roll by Adam Wright

I woke up in the intensive care unit after more than 10 hours in the operating room. I’m no stranger to procedures – I’ve had over 40 surgeries in my life – but this one was the biggest and riskiest. The week before, I’d been rushed to the Montreal Children’s Hospital from my home in Bathurst. Upon arrival, they took blood tests and told us the startling news. My CO2 was up to 120 and my ribs were constricting my heart and lungs, causing them to fail. I couldn’t believe my ears; I was going into heart and lung failure. They would have to do something new, and do it fast. The first step was to give my lungs and heart a rest by putting me on a respirator. The intubation was done while I was awake. It was a week later that they rolled me into the operating room. When I awoke after the 10hour, life-threatening surgery, I looked around – groggy from the anesthesia and the pain meds, and full of tubes. A nurse walks over and asks: “How are you feeling? Are you in pain?” I nod a bit. She asks me “Where?” I can’t speak with the tube down my throat, so I wrote groggily on a pad of paper. She reads it out. “My catheter.” As I grin, everyone bursts into laughter. My family shook their heads. When things look the worst, I come up with something to brighten the mood. Sure, my body was sore, but why complain about the obvious. Besides, that catheter wasn’t exactly pleasant. *** Living with a disability, you have to have a sense of humour. Doctors had little hope I would survive two months past birth. They’ve never seen a condition like mine. Even the I.W.K in Halifax couldn’t help. But days turned into months, and I was still alive. My first trip to Montreal happened when I was just three months old. The Shriners Hospital welcomed me with arms wide open. Later on, I was finally diagnosed: This rare bone and muscle disorder would carry my name, the Adam Wright syndrome. My muscles and bones were constricted at birth. As I grew, things got tighter, which required corrective surgery. Muscles were released in my feet, knees, hips, neck, wrists and more. To this day, it’s the only case in the world. My biggest surgeries were the spinal fusion to correct my scoliosis, which took 14 hours, and this one, on my chest. For the weeks that followed, I remained in intensive care, the breathing tube still down my throat. With no television, and practically no food, it was hell. Not to mention the lack of caffeine! I counted the days since my last Tim Hortons. “Can you put some coffee through this tube?” I would write. They thought I was joking – I wasn’t. One of the worst parts of being in a children’s hospital as an older patient is the clowns. Now don’t get me wrong, I respect what they do, but when a patient says no clowns, it means no clowns. It isn’t the first time I’ve been mistaken for a younger kid. One time when I was in the tenth grade, I went to this restaurant with Tammy, my older sister. When we get there, the waitress sets us up at a table. She gives Tammy a menu, but not one for me. Then she kneels down to my level, and with a patronizing voice, she asks, “Do

you want a colouring book?” Now, I could’ve gotten offended, but I smirked, looked at her and said, “No, but I’ll have a beer!” The waitress didn’t make eye contact the rest of the dinner. Poor girl! I would have killed for a dinner – even from that waitress – after a month in intensive care. Living on Popsicles and apple juice has its limits. After nearly six weeks, the breathing tube finally came out. Although still on a ventilator mask, it was good to be able to talk again. The first words out of my mouth were, “Tim Hortons coffee please!” Everyone laughed. I wasn’t joking. *** Then came the day I finally saw what they’d done to me. Holding a mirror to my chest, I was getting my first look at this groundbreaking procedure. The nurse slowly took off the bandages. When the bandages were off, I was in state of shock. Because my ribs were compromising my inner organs, they took out some of my ribs and sternum. I saw my heart beating over my skin. I slowly put my fingers on it, I couldn’t believe it. Feeling my heartbeat under my fingers was scary at first, but it soon became amazing. Who else can do that? Seeing and feeling your own heart. After two months, I was out of intensive care, but still in the hospital. Two months away from your home, it starts to get to you. Back home, my little sister Isabella was at school. Mom arranged for her to fly to Montreal; it was a surprise. When I saw her come in the room, I immediately broke down in tears. I hugged and kissed her. I can’t imagine how much she was worrying about me when I was in Montreal. It broke my heart. *** There are positives to being in a wheelchair. Great parking, no need to buy shoes every year, and I don’t walk up flights of stairs. People treat you differently. It can be a doubleedged sword, as some tend to be too nice, almost condescending. I don’t take advantage of that often, but it does come in handy. Like one summer, before a trip to Moncton, I went to Toys’R’Us to buy a new water gun. I ended up buying the biggest, most expensive one. I had a blast with it in Moncton, but after the trip, I didn’t really want it anymore. I went back to Toys’R’Us, put the watergun on the counter with the receipt and said, “I would like to return this.” The clerk looks at me and asks if there was a problem with it. I look down with a frown and lift my hands up. “With my poor little hands, I can’t pull the trigger,” I said, in a broken voice. I slowly looked up, and she was already in the cash register getting my refund. I thanked her and stormed out before breaking down laughing. OK, I know, it was horrible of me! But it’s not like I use the pity card often. *** Looking back on this surgery, I still get emo-

This article was written by Adam Wright for a journalistic writing class and was published in the Aquinian in 2010. tional. It was one of the most trying times of my life. I was so close to the end, and many times, I just wanted to give up. Getting through it would’ve been impossible without my sense of humour. It’s how I live my life. Sure, I may seem quiet, but folks who know me call me a sarcastic smartass. It’s really a big compliment. The campus first saw that side of me during the faculty strike/lock-out. During the student march, I had a sign that said, “This strike has crippled my education.” I thought it was hilarious, and the best part was the reactions. It got a lot of laughs, although some were not sure if they should. I say to them, “yes it is OK to laugh.” That’s my point. That’s how I roll.

Vol77 issue 14, Jan. 22, 2013  
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