October 25, 2012

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NEWS: local

Do you do anything to fight climate change? Or do you feel like your actions make too negligible a difference in the face of corporations' effects on the environment? Email letters@martlet.ca.

Local libraries lending climate action kits > TIA LOW “I’ll take a bucket of climate action to go, please” is a phrase people may soon hear around local libraries. The Capital Regional District (CRD), partnered with B.C. Hydro and the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL), is offering resources to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at home in the form of kits that can be borrowed from any library in the city. The CRD came up with the idea for Climate Action To-Go kits through its Climate Action Program, which hopes to help businesses and households address climate change. “We’re constantly looking for new ways for people to be engaged with energy conservation,” says Sarah Webb, manager for the Climate Action Program. Each kit comes in a compact plastic container. Each contains a Kill-A-Watt Meter, which measures the electricity use of household appliances, a thermal leak detector to discover air leaks in the home, an LED light bulb, a plastic measuring bag for testing showerhead efficiency and three books and a DVD on climate change and sustainability. The books and DVD vary depending on the particular kit. “The tools are designed to show what people can be doing, what they are doing and what they can do to improve it,” says Climate Action Program assistant Nikki Elliott. For example, a thermal leak in a home’s window or door sill would mean any heat turned on in that space is getting sucked outside. Adding insulation or a proper seal would reduce the need to pay more for electricity. B.C. Hydro says space heating is the largest portion of energy consumption on an average energy bill for homes that heat with electricity. The capital region emits more than 1.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, according to the CRD. Collectively, the region spends around $700 million on energy and fuel each year. “So a household kit is a small part of the solution. It really comes down to behaviour, technology and how we engage society in reducing energy consumption overall,” says Webb. She adds, “We need technology, policies, changes on a larger scale, but ultimately we know this is a gateway for people to learn about these issues and then want to do something more.” Webb and Elliott say the GVPL is an ideal partner for the CRD.

“You have people very young and old; you have small and big communities accessing [the libraries]. It’s free and convenient and kind of fun,” says Webb. “They can reach people the regional district can’t on its own,” says Elliott. Take the LED light bulb — it is more expensive than the incandescent bulb, but B.C. Hydro says LEDs use 75 per cent less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs and can last for a minimum 25 years based on average household use. Kit borrowers can try out the LED light bulb in their homes and use the Kill-A-Watt Meter to measure the different levels in electricity use, and then determine for themselves if it is worth the investment to buy one. “By facilitating action, even if it’s on a trial period while the kits are on loan from the library, we believe households are more likely to realize how easy it is to save energy and then adopt the new technology or change their behaviours,” says Eric Beevor-Potts, a marketing communications specialist at B.C. Hydro. B.C. Hydro forecasts that current supply will not meet the province’s electricity needs if demand grows the 50 per cent that is projected over the next 20 years, so it sees conservation as an important step. The CRD is a member of B.C. Hydro’s B.C. Conservation Community of Practice, which supports energy conservation through community-based initiatives. The goal is to have other organizations around the province replicate and execute proven success models (such as the Climate Action To-Go kits) around the province, explains Beevor-Potts. The Climate Action To-Go concept is now also running in the Sunshine Coast Regional District, after the CRD showed how to do it. “The whole goal is to learn from others and leapfrog and continue to build momentum in different communities, both rural and urban,” says Webb. This climate action kit is the first of its kind in the Capital Region, although perhaps not globally. “Portland might have a similar program,” says Webb. Starting this month, the to-go kits are available at all 10 branches of the GVPL for one year. Depending on its success, the initiative may continue after that. Kits are also available at the Sooke, Sidney/ North Saanich and Port Renfrew branches of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, as well as the Salt Spring Island Public Library.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE “CLIMATE ACTION TO-GO” KITS KILL-A-WATT METER The meter measures the consumption of electricity for any home appliance and provides values (in kilowatts per hour) for calculating how much it costs to use them. It also allows you to check for “phantom loads,” which is when the appliance uses electricity even when it is turned off. I was most interested in testing for phantom loads, or “vampire power” (as I’ve heard it called), so I plugged some appliances, such as my heater and floor lamp, into the meter and found they did not use electricity when turned off, to my relief. THERMAL LEAK DETECTOR The CRD says its climate action kit is meant to be a fun way to address climate change, and I finally understood what this meant after trying the thermal leak detector. Shaped like a mini hair dryer, the thermal leak detector uses infrared sensors to find air leaks like those that often exist around draughty windows and doors. This will help you better insulate your home in these areas, so that when you turn on the heat, the warm air (and money spent on electricity) won’t escape. When it detects air that is hotter or colder than the reference temperature, the light will turn red or blue, the reference temperature being green. I enjoyed pointing it at random things and watching the light change colour (at my place, this was usually the window sills). Then again, I’m easily entertained. LED LIGHT BULB Compared to the incandescent light bulb that I use at home, the LED light bulb is quite

heavy. It’s also twice the price, so I appreciated the opportunity to test one out without paying for it. I tried it in my floor lamp, and it worked just like the incandescent, only it is more efficient. Unfortunately, you can only borrow the kit for three weeks, so you just have to take their word for it. SHOWERHEAD EFFICIENCY TEST You need a towel handy for this one. To test the efficiency of a showerhead, the kit comes with a plastic bag with measurements on it. You let your shower head flow cold at full power into the bag for five seconds. Checking the water level on the bag will show you how many litres or gallons of water flow out of your showerhead per minute. If it is at 9.5 litres (three gallons) or less per minute, then your showerhead is efficient. Mine was at 11.4 litres, meaning I might consider replacing it with a more efficient one. BOOKS AND DVD The books and DVDs vary from kit to kit. The books and DVDs aren’t necessarily just about household energy use, but also topics related to climate change and sustainability in general. My kit came with the books Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard, The Everything Guide to Living Off the Grid: A back-to-basics manual for independent living by Terri Reid and a children’s book called There’s a Barnyard in My Bedroom by David Suzuki. The DVD was The Economics of Happiness by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick and John Page.


UVic Environmental Law Centre co-chair wins NDP nomination > VANESSA HAWK In a landslide vote, environmental lawyer Murray Rankin won the nomination to be the NDP candidate in the upcoming Victoria byelection. The seat has been vacant since Denise Savoie, who held office as Victoria MP since 2006, announced her resignation on Aug. 23 for health reasons. Almost 600 NDP supporters attended the nomination on Oct. 14 at UVic’s Michèle Pujol room, which exceeded expectations so much that an overflow room was used and extra ballots were printed to accommodate all attendees. Rankin received 352 votes on the first ballot—almost two-thirds of the vote. The remaining votes were distributed among runners-up: Elizabeth Cull, former deputy premier of B.C., received 96 votes, while former Victoria school board trustee Charley Beresford and Victoria City Councillor Ben Isitt received 51 and 36 votes, respectively.

“I wasn’t surprised that he won, but by the margin he did, definitely. It was very impressive, and he did do a very good campaign,” says Clinton Nellist, co-chair of the UVic NDP club. Rankin joins Green Party candidate Donald Galloway, who is a UVic professor of law, Liberal candidate and UVic adjunct professor Paul Summerville and the Conservatives’ Dale Gann, president of UVic’s Vancouver Island Technology Park, in the race for Victoria MP. Prime Minister Harper has called the byelection to be held on Nov. 26. This nomination was Rankin’s first time seeking office, though he has been involved with the NDP since he was 17, working on other party members’ campaigns and assisting in the Saanich constituency. Why did he put his name forward now? “I think the only two words that I could come up with would be ‘Stephen Harper’... I really, really am concerned about the direction he is taking Canada in, and I wasn’t about to stand on the sidelines,” says Rankin. “I was just so inspired by

the need to continue [Savoie’s] record, because she’s really well respected and was a terrific MP. Secondly, I really felt that I had to stop Harper whatever possible way I could.” Rankin is an expert in environmental law. He runs a private law practice and co-chairs the student-run UVic Environmental Law Centre. Rankin was a professor of law at UVic for 12 years and continues to teach at the university occasionally. He has been involved in several precedent-setting cases at both provincial and national Supreme Courts. Rankin also acts as advisor to the B.C. NDP caucus in exploring provincial legal options against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project in the case the pipeline is approved. “Most people don’t realize that the province has not been involved in setting the terms of reference or participating as appointed members on the review panel. It’s all been done by Harper’s people. I thought that this is really unfair to the majority of British Columbians

who, poll after poll, indicate they’re opposed to this thing,” says Rankin. “It’s only one part of the picture why I have to go to Ottawa and really make a difference, because that is where it will ultimately be decided.” Enbridge is one of the most significant issues for B.C. politicians, says Nellist. “I think that having another New Democrat voice at the table, talking about B.C. issues and fighting for environmental protection, is going to be really key in this discussion moving forward.” Rankin also hopes to work on resolving issues such as homelessness, Indigenous rights and dissatisfaction with the government, particularly in young people. “We’ve got to give [young people] confidence that the system is worth repairing. I’m not saying it doesn’t need significant work. It does. But I want people to work together,” says Rankin. “I want to restore confidence in Canadians in the parliamentary system.”

CORRECTIVE - "CAMPUS BRIEFS: SPRING BREAK MOVED, PIPELINE MOTION STALLED" The Martlet erroneously reported in its Oct. 18 issue that the UVic Senate “voted by majority to move reading break from Feb. 18–22 to Feb. 11–15, 2013.” In fact, the reading break will not be moved until February 2014. The 2013 reading break will still take place from Feb. 18–22.

October 25, 2012 MARTLET • NEWS 3

NEWS: provincial

Check out martlet.ca for more news coverage, including an account of this month's Defend Our Coast rally in Victoria.

Growing fibre, growing concern Last stages of B.C. forest plan disquieting for environmental groups > JOSHUA ZAPF An insect five millimetres in length, roughly the size of a grain of rice, has been devastating B.C.’s pine forests for over a decade. In 2001, the government began a forest management and economic plan to counteract the mountain pine beetle and “assist forestry-dependent communities [to] diversify their economic base.” The final stages of the governmental response, which to date has cost $884 million, have made environmental groups concerned that the next step to diversifying is opening protected land for logging within the next 20–60 years. In a recent news release, the Ancient Forest Alliance stated that the government’s “new forestry action plan for B.C.’s Central Interior . . . would open the ‘back door’ for logging in currently protected forests.” The release states that “by the spring of 2013 the B.C. government plans to create frameworks for a ‘science-based review’ and ‘community-engagement’ process to potentially open up forest reserves that currently protect old-growth forests.”


4 NEWS • MARTLET October 25, 2012

The Oct. 9 press release from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations highlights a “10-year forest inventory strategy, innovative silviculture practices to grow more trees faster, and landscape fire management planning to reduce risks to the mid-term timber supply.” Kimberley Veness, board member of the UVic Sustainability Project, explains, “Mid-term timber supply refers to the amount of harvestable timber within the next 20–60 years.” She acknowledges that timber exports are important to B.C.’s economy and that the government wants to avoid sharper economic downturn in the mid-term timber supply. In response to accusations that the government is putting forest reserves in danger, Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, wrote in a recent opinion piece, “Government is not advocating logging in reserves. Reserves have been set up to manage crucial wildlife habitat, biodiversity, viewscapes and old-growth forests.” He added, “If a community believes the reserves no longer serve these purposes, they can initiate a discussion with government. Only then would government consider altering any of those designations.”

TJ WATT In its August report, Growing Fiber, Growing Value, the Legislative Assembly of B.C. found that “since the mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation became an epidemic in 1999, an estimated 18.1 million hectares of forest land in British Columbia have been affected. The latest projections indicate that the MPB will have killed between 53 and 70 per cent of merchantable pine by 2021.” Veness agrees with that 70 per cent prediction. “It is down from an earlier projection of 80 per cent. The timber targeted for logging is 60 years old, which is around the same age that the mountain pine beetle prefers to attack. This is why there is such a steep loss in the mid-term timber supply.” As long as winters remain too mild to kill off the pine beetle population, the infestation will continue. However, as climate change drives temperatures higher, the infestation may migrate north. “The province’s main policy in regards to the pine beetle was to ‘uplift’ the annual allowable cut. The amount of logging in the Interior went through the roof to get the wood before the pine beetle made it unmerchantable,” says Valerie

Langer, the director of B.C. forest campaigns for ForestEthics Solutions, a non-profit environmental coalition. Part of the $884 million was meant to prepare logging-based communities for the inevitable depletion of mid-term lumber supplies. However, in Langer’s opinion, the government has not done its job in preparing the Interior communities. “It was predicted by the province that we would be where we are now, and they allocated millions of dollars to the Interior communities to diversify their economies,” says Langer. “The money has been spent, but apparently not on diversifying their economies and preparing for the predictable.” The Ministry’s action plan recommends that “any harvesting in areas set aside for old growth, wildlife and scenic values only be considered if it is scientifically and ecologically sound to do so, and has the support of local communities and First Nations.” The Ancient Forest Alliance says in its release the government is using “the guise of ‘science’ and the politically correct phrase of ‘local community input’ ” to put forests in danger.

NEWS: campus



Government grants $41.7 million to UVic’s ocean observation network More coastline radars and new tsunami array planned for NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS projects > VANESSA HAWK The NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS undersea observatory projects recently received a $41.7 million grant from the B.C. government and the federal government’s Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The UVic-run projects are the North-East Pacific Time-Series Undersea Networked Experiments Canada and the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea, respectively. Both provide continuous live-streaming data to researchers, educators and policy-makers around the world through sensor technology and the internet. The NEPTUNE Canada offshore cabled network covers 800 kilometres over the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, while its coastal counterpart, the 50-kilometre VENUS network, monitors Saanich Inlet and the Strait of Georgia. The NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS projects are regional-scale systems, making them the first of their kind and the largest in the world. “The Strait of Georgia is one of the most active water bodies in the world in terms of commerce and use, for example. So it’s very important to understand the oceanography there,” says Kate Moran, President and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada (OCN), the non-profit organization based at UVic that manages the two projects. “And then NEPTUNE is off the west coast of Vancouver Island — it goes all the way up to [the Endeavour mid-ocean ridge, 300 kilometres offshore] and covers a wide range of environments in the ocean.” The significant financial support will ensure that the 800 active researchers and more than 9 000 users will be able to continue to access the online database that stores images and video in real-time. NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS allow researchers to study several science themes, including marine ecosystems, earthquakes, tsunamis and the effects of human activity and climate change, all of which are recorded with underwater microphones, sensors and cameras. Moran notes the importance of maintaining a broad information base on our oceans. “We study the life in the ocean and how it can change as the ocean changes with climate change. For example, the oceans are becoming more depleted in oxygen, and they’re also

becoming more acidic, so we’re trying to understand how that might affect the food web and all of the life in the oceans.” Other major deductions can be made from the knowledge storehouse, such as more accurate measurements of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as the impact of ferry traffic and the stability of gas hydrates (methane stored in oceans that may become unstable and pose risks if released into the atmosphere). Ocean observation not only benefits scientific research, but also offers insight for government decision-makers, educators and the public. It was for this reason that the Major Science Initiative, through the CFI, contributed to the UVic-based projects. The CFI grant is designated for subsidizing operations costs of “big science” innovation. The Initiative has $185 million available for different projects across Canada (to be allocated from 2012–2017) and chose to allocate a total of $32.8 million to NEPTUNE Canada and VENUS. The remaining $8.9 million of funding was provided by the B.C. government. Previously, system construction costs of $150 million were covered by the CFI, the B.C. government and several industry partners over the 10 years it took to complete the oceanic infrastructure. NEPTUNE Canada is part of a larger, $250-million bi-national project with the United States, and although it is based at UVic, NEPTUNE Canada is a consortium of 12 Canadian universities. VENUS and NEPTUNE Canada have been operational since 2006 and 2009, respectively. Since then, the networks have functioned with the help of 70 staff members on campus, as well as volunteers, co-op students and UVic alumni. Their efforts, along with the hundreds of associated researchers and database users, have facilitated research across marine studies and led to dozens of publications across the globe. Continued support for the projects means that ONC can more easily expand the scope of its work. The VENUS project plans to add more coastline radars to the two existing antennas that have gathered data on surface currents and waves since their installations in fall 2011 and August 2012. Also on the horizon for ONC is a new tsunami array that will more accurately predict the height of hazardous waves.

UVSS.CA October 25, 2012 MARTLET • NEWS 5


Have you ever painted your body in support of your favourite sports team? You should probably write for our Sports and Lifestyle section (look for it here next week). Email sports.martlet@gmail.com.

Business minors can round out degrees




All stuff tells a story > MICHAEL HEMMINGS In my last article, I asked you to do an exercise: to take a sheet of paper and divide your monthly expenditures into what you need to spend your money on, what you want to spend your money on and what you could save. If you were honest with yourself in making these three columns, then what you have in the “want” column will indicate what you can potentially save to put towards debt reduction. One way of underscoring the difference between what we want versus what we need is to watch a brilliant and disturbing account of just where all our stuff comes from and where it goes, as well as how quickly our stuff becomes disposable in secondary or tertiary use. This column is an invitation — a dare, if you will — to rethink our consumer behaviour. The movie that I would recommend to help you get started is The Story of Stuff. Made in 2007 by Annie Leonard, an American sustainability activist and filmmaker, this short film is a graphic presentation of where the stuff we buy comes from, how it is created, how long we use it and where it ends up. By “graphic” I mean that while Leonard speaks, an invisible hand writes on a white board, drawing pictures as she narrates. It caught my attention when it first came out because one of my children was doing a school project on consumption. It made me rethink what I buy, why I buy and how I can change my spending habits. Perhaps the movie’s most dramatic moment occurs when a box is drawn around a small part of the display, which

demonstrates our narrow view of the entire process, and therefore our ignorance. From coffee cups to cars, Leonard takes examples, shows their life cycle and demonstrates the imperative of examining our spending habits chiefly in terms of their environmental impact. She also shows that a change of mind and heart about our spending habits will have a dramatic effect upon our savings over time. Once we thoroughly grasp the life cycle of all our stuff and the constant demand of the debt/consumption cycle (in which we often seem to run blithely like rats in one of those plastic balls), our view of need versus want will change. Human beings crave to be known as individuals, and many of us, I suspect, think we are. However, many of us are caught in the cycle so powerfully that we are actually just one of the rats in the balls. Are you someone who thinks for themselves, including the financial choices you make, or are you one of the ubiquitous herd? I am not contending that we should all become luddites. Rather, any of our choices, especially our financial ones, need to be made in a state of awareness of what they mean. We should not be driven by immediate gratification, but by our long-term goals and the state of our planet and our island home. When we start to make conscious decisions about need versus want and begin to protect our planet from our habits, we will also be able to build up our own financial assets more quickly, thus protecting ourselves and our loved ones.

In the current shaky job market, students are sometimes pessimistic about their career outlook post-graduation. According to staff from UVic’s business school and a major employer in Victoria, certain undergrads could benefit from having a business minor, whether or not they are pursuing a career in the business world. “It gives a bit more teeth to their degree,” says Jennifer Oakes, admissions officer and student advisor at UVic’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. “It shows the potential employer that the student has some familiarity in the language of business . . . Those kinds of things are pretty important to prospective employers no matter what career you’re going into.” The Business minor at UVic’s Business school has no admission requirements and includes six courses. Four of them are basic courses: an organizational behaviour course, a marketing course, a finance course and a combination financial and managerial accounting course. The other two can be either specialty upper-level courses designed for non-Commerce students (i.e. those who are not majoring in it), such as international business or entrepreneurship, or fourth-year commerce electives. The Business minor also offers a co-op option. “It’s really intended to give students some fundamental business foundation that they can take with whatever degree they’ve got,” says Sheryl Karras, the associate director of UVic’s Bachelor of Commerce program. At UVic, any student can declare a Business minor, provided they are not majoring in a professional degree such as Commerce or Law. According to Oakes and Karras, the business minor classes are full each semester, and the waitlist for the courses has been growing each year. As an admissions advisor, Oakes often recommends the Business minor to students whose main interests are in a different subject but who still want a business background. She says students sometimes opt for the minor because it offers more flexibility in course selection and is not as competitive as the Business major program. “We recognize that if history or economics, for example, is your passion and interest, absolutely go for it and get a deep and broad understanding and expertise in that area,” says Karras. “On top of that, layering a Business minor makes you that much more marketable in a business environment.” For those hoping for a career in business,

getting a bachelor’s degree in Commerce isn’t necessarily the only route. But it could be a longer journey otherwise. Randy Decksheimer oversees the recruiting process in Victoria for KPMG, an international company that provides audit, tax and advisory services. Decksheimer says student employees at KPMG pursuing the Chartered Accountant (CA) designation without a business degree need to first take a number of business classes in order to get into the CA School of Business (CASB). KPMG hires six to 10 students per year through its Victoria office for co-op, part-time and full-time positions. “Periodically, we have someone with an arts degree, say, and they don’t have all the prerequisites [for a CA designation]. They would have to pick those up in order to actually register to become a potential CA,” says Decksheimer. That being said, because UVic doesn’t have a CA designation program, he says “We’re used to students working with us who still have some courses to do at college level.” Decksheimer says that some people with Business minors may be aspiring entrepreneurs looking for skills to start their own business. They could start out as employees for KPMG and end up being clients of the company. “The best thing I can do is find someone who has great business ideas and converts them into their own business. I’m probably going to have a client there because they’re going to appreciate what we do and will want us to help them while they do that,” he says. “It’s a good opportunity for KPMG, playing a part in how they get there and afterwards.” Having employees with a diverse background in education and experience creates a strong workplace, says Decksheimer. Without any official statistics from KPMG, he estimates somewhere between 10–25 per cent of company hires are nonBusiness majors. “It’s a bigger number than one might expect,” he says. Karras says it’s hard to say if employers are generally appreciative of a Business minor on a resumé the same way they might be of a Business major. “Ultimately, I think they want bright, creative minds. Any employer will train you how to do tasks [specific to their organization], but they don’t want to have to train you how to think or put things together, how to write well . . . or basics like that. I think they want students to come out of university having those sets of skills,” Karras explains.

ECO TIP #2: THE MINIMALIST TIN CAN > NINA NEISSL While last week’s pickle jar basically reused itself, the tin can is a trickier piece, but also very shiny. Unfortunately, some cans may have sharp edges, so be cautious while handling them. This danger, of course, rules out its usage as a drinking glass or food container, but there are still plenty of ways to turn a simple can into other kinds of useful items. After enjoying the can’s hopefully delicious contents, remove the paper wrap, if it has one, wash it thoroughly and dry it completely so that it doesn’t get rusty — then you’re good to go. One creative way to use tin cans is to build a little shelf for your desk. As you can see, my version is a mere prototype of what it could look like, but it’s still effective. Besides metal cans, all you need is love, a thick piece of cardboard or, in the best-case scenario, a wooden board. You can glue the tin cans to the board, but 6 BUSINESS & TECH • MARTLET October 25, 2012

the construction should still be stable enough without the glue to hold a few notebooks and some stationery. Of course, if you are going for something big and load-bearing, you might want to consult a handyman. To transform tin cans into sturdy bookends, you can fill them with your spare change. You’ll literally save money by reusing a tin can. You can also use a can (in addition to your converted pickle jar) as a stylish penholder or turn it into a jewellery case (some cans have golden insides and look quite fancy).

If you have some good tips of your own, just let us know at businesstech.martlet@gmail.com. Pictures of Eco Tips realizations are definitely welcomed as well.

“What do you think of online course material being used in classes?”


CHARMAINE CHARD First year Geology “Online materials are better than textbooks. Basically because textbooks are very very very expensive and online materials are provided free for you . . . And if you have to pay for the online materials, it’s still cheaper than the textbooks themselves.”

MARCELLE KITENGIE Third year English/French


Build brick by brick > NINA NEISSL Video gamers can be judgmental, just like anybody else. And by gamers, I mean me. In my last column, I sarcastically mentioned that millions of Tetris clones exist in the world of free games. I implied that innovation is missing in such games. Well, I have to admit now that there is at least one positive exception. This game is based on a principle similar to Tetris but adds an alluring new angle to the classic gameplay. Before revealing this column’s game recommendation, let’s dig a bit deeper into Tetris itself, the grandfather of modern video games. Thanks to Russian scientist Alexey Pajitnov’s love for puzzles and gaming, we now have one of the most famous video games ever. In 1984, he developed Tetris in his free time on an Electronika 60. Later, the game was ported to the IBM PC. After becoming a success in Russia, Tetris was released on PCs in North America and Europe in 1987. Henk Rogers, a video game designer and publisher, saw the game during a trade show in Las Vegas and was immediately convinced of its potential. He bought the handheld rights, and in 1989, Nintendo’s Game Boy was released together with Tetris. Accurate sales numbers

for the game are hard to find, as it has been released on more than 50 different platforms so far, but according to the official website of the game, “hundreds of millions of Tetris products have been sold.” It is fair to say that Tetris is one of the most famous, groundbreaking and long-lasting video games of all time. This is because of its gameplay: simple, yet fun enough to keep coming back to. Enough of history, though. This week, I present you with an ideal lunch or study-break puzzle game based on a real classic: 99 Bricks. Published in October 2008 and created by the Dutch developer WeirdBeard, the game looks similar to Tetris and still uses the beloved bricks, but there are two important parts missing: namely, both side walls. Plus, 99 Bricks adds one new enthralling yet simple aspect: physics. And unlike Tetris, you don’t need to keep the tower low; you have to do the exact opposite. The higher the tower, the better the score. But you’ll soon discover that putting one brick above the other won’t get you far. Without the two side walls, and with gravity pulling, you have to plan your construction carefully. After a while (depending on your architectural skills), the top starts to sway, first slowly, but then faster, until every new block becomes

a threat. If you don’t manage to stabilize it, the tower will crash and you’ll need to start from further below with your foundation messed up. To build the tower, 99 Bricks gives you, as its name hints, 99 bricks. These can fall off your tower or leave holes in your construction if not properly placed. With the arrows on your keyboard, you can navigate and flip the bricks. The Z-key allows you to zoom out to see your tower in its full glory or its fall, which is sad, but still funny to watch. By pressing the C-key, you can skip bricks if they are not helpful to you at the moment, but you’ll also lose one brick, so make clever decisions. If you are interrupted during the game, just click outside the playing field and you’ll be automatically in pause mode. 99 Bricks might not have the most complex gameplay, but Tetris didn’t either, and the latter became one of the most successful video games ever. A game does not always have to be extremely innovative to grab you. Well-proven gameplay mixed with creative new elements can also be the recipe for a great game. In my next column, I’ll switch genres again and explore a retro-style MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), so stay tuned.

“Personally, I’m not a fan of it, only because I’m old-fashioned. I like getting my textbook, doing my homework and handing it in — physical thing. The online thing, it’s like you have to go on and check all the time. You get these emails from your teachers at random times; I got a French email at 12 o’clock last night about what’s due. I like syllabus, paper, and I’m old-fashioned like that.”

DANIEL GOODFELLOW Third year Anthropology “Well, it’s good, because it cuts costs, I guess, and it’s accessible. But on the other hand, I like reading books as opposed to reading stuff online all the time, so . . . I don’t know. It’s good and it’s not so good, I guess.”


October 25, 2012 MARTLET • BUSINESS & TECH 7


Do you ever say, "That's ridiculous!" when you read a piece in the Opinions section? Or maybe shout something more explicit? Why not write an op-ed of your own? Email opinions@martlet.ca.




Harper trades away Canadian rights

A disenchanted view isn’t the only view

Man, isn’t democracy great? It’s so nice to be able to elect a prime minister who can take care of all that confusing policy and just manage the country for us. There’s no need to pay any attention to new trade agreements or anything boring like that. In Harper we trust, right? Not so much. This Halloween, one of the biggest trade deals in Canadian history will automatically become law. The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (Canada-China FIPPA), quietly signed by Stephen Harper more than a month ago, will rob Canadians of a significant amount of control over the development and management of our own natural resources — without any discussion or voting in the House of Commons. And it will force open the door for the acquisition of Nexen by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), chaining Canada’s oil fields to a foreign Communist government with a bloody history of human rights abuses. The energy sector in Canada is projected to need $630 billion in foreign investment over the next decade. Chevron (which also owns Texaco), ExxonMobil, British Petroleum and Shell have all already made investments and set up offices in Calgary. But CNOOC is not a solely private company, and it doesn’t compete on a level playing field with the other members of the free market. And the reciprocity isn’t there; a Canadian company trying to buy into China’s energy market would never be granted the same freedom. Why would Canadians want to let a state-owned Chinese corporation ship off our natural bounty, filling Chinese tankers bound for Chinese refineries? And we aren’t only talking oil here; the Canada-China FIPPA potentially covers all natural resources. “Chairman Harper” doesn’t just want to sell our resources; he’s putting our democratic sovereignty up for grabs, too. According to the Canada-China FIPPA, Chinese companies that purchase Canadian assets can sue Canada — outside of our courts. Proceedings would take place behind closed doors, with decisions being made by unelected arbitrators. And only the federal government can take part in the arbitration — provincial governments and Canadian companies can forget about it. On top of that, while our existing treaties with American companies under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) usually have open arbitrations, the results of any lawsuits with Chinese investors can be kept secret from the Canadian public. In short, Chinese firms can sue Canada and we won’t know why. These Chinese companies will even be able to sue based on decisions made at the municipal and provincial level, and even based on the actions of ordinary Canadians. If specific projects are delayed by public protests, resulting in decreased revenue for Chinese companies, they can sue us. Notorious military nut Harper is even ignoring warnings from security experts about the risk of putting strategic Canadian assets in the hands of state-owned foreign companies. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has reported that these companies receive secret intelligence and can threaten Canadian interests — but most worrying is a quote from CNOOC chairman Wang Yilin in which he referred to China’s deep-water oil rigs as “mobile national territory” and “a strategic weapon.” This is a bad deal for Canada. We have to speak up before it’s too late.


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> TAYLOR ROCCA — THE OMEGA (THOMPSON RIVERS UNIVERSITY) KAMLOOPS (CUP) — Too frequently, I see editorial columns that are simply dripping with negative observations about the world. Sure, there can be a lot of less-than-awesome things occurring on a regular basis. But how about all of the great things most people either fail to (or choose not to) acknowledge? Go ahead and call me a naïve sap, but just because there is negativity in the world doesn’t mean it has to be the primary focus of our lives. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had plenty of moments in my life where I’ve been the classic “glass half-empty” guy. But more and more these days, I try to look at the world through a positive lens. And to my shock and amazement, it actually makes life more enjoyable. Earlier this week, I witnessed a group of students come to the aid of a fellow pupil in need. This young individual had lost their balance and fallen awkwardly, causing what appeared to be an excruciating injury considering how long the individual remained prone. Before I knew it, multiple people had rushed to this student’s aid. One volunteered to call campus first aid. Another asked the student where their next class was, offering to head up there to inform the professor about the impending absence. In the meantime, two passersby helped the felled individual to a bench in the vicinity and continued to hang around, waiting to ensure the arrival of campus first-aid. The response time for the first aid was certainly not something I would have written home about. And for a while, I was far too appalled by

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8 OPINIONS • MARTLET October 25, 2012

the tardiness of the first aid administrator to appreciate the efforts of a much larger group of caring students who took time out of their day, out of their busy schedules, to help someone in need. In hindsight, it saddens me that my foremost thought about the situation was in regards to the slow first aid response time, as opposed to the extra efforts put forth by people who had absolutely no obligation to help out in the first place. Without even realizing it, I was subconsciously choosing not to acknowledge the positive angle of what I had witnessed. Eventually the first aid arrived and the person administering the care was more than kind to the individual in need of attention. And in the end, that is what matters in a situation such as this. What should be commended are the aboveand-beyond efforts of regular, everyday people to help out someone in a time of need. Sure, it might seem like second nature to most people to come to the assistance of someone in distress. But too often we focus on the negativity of the experience. Oh, the injury was so gruesome. I can’t believe it took first aid so long to show up. Why did only “X” number of people stop to help? Every other person walking by without a care is such a jerk. It might be a tired old cliché, but life truly is more enjoyable when you approach it through a positive looking glass. I look back on this particular event and smile now, proud to know that campuses are full of individuals who genuinely care for their fellow students — and that is how it should be.

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Will work for money > BRAD MICHELSON Looking for a job sucks. I’m not the first person to complain about this. Even once you’ve finally found something somewhat close to what you’re looking for, the dreaded online application process can be even worse. I don’t know if anyone has ever exclaimed, “I love applying for jobs anonymously online. I find the process completely satisfying and I really feel like I’m being considered.” There’s nothing worse than having to type out your biggest weakness or your ideal customer service experience. I understand that these are somewhat standard questions, but what kind of response is being sought? I can imagine how uniform those answers must be. Employers, if you’re looking for creative answers, please ask creative questions. And when I say creative, I don’t mean those double-edged questions, like “While at work, do you ever find your attention drifting or lose focus?” Obviously an ideal employee (read: robot) would answer “Never” to this, while only the most brain-dead lunkhead would say “Very Often.” Are employers asking you to lie, or hoping to catch you lying? Imaginary survey says everyone and their mother just writes “Occasionally.” Another big issue with internet applications is lack of personal interaction. When I was 16, you put on a button-up shirt, some dress slacks and your confident face. You walked up to store managers, offered your hand and asked for a job. Now, at 22, I haven’t met a single person my resumé has been passed off to. Most of my applications are done online. Supplementary and secondary questioning is done online. Preliminary interviews are done over the phone, and then, finally, if

KLARA WOLDENGA you’re lucky, there will be the first round of multiple in-person interviews. I wish that were an exaggeration. It can take two weeks or more from your application to your first day. For someone who might be low on rent money and needs to start their job as soon as possible, this can be a painstaking process. It’s so dragged out that I’d almost argue we should get application pay while we wait to hear if we’re good enough to stock these companies’ shelves or serve their customers. Traditional interviewing skills are much more important to good hiring than being able to fill out an exam. The importance of

a good first impression and firm handshake is becoming a lost pleasantry. Having a competent hiring manager who knows what to look for is also going to help a company more than investing in an automated application system. Posting jobs online is fine, but asking people to fill out a questionnaire with irrelevant and pointless questions wastes everyone’s time. It also underscores the fact that most retail employees are just interchangeable drones — doesn’t everyone who works at Abercrombie & Fitch or Hot Topic look the same? This whole process also hurts employers. Applicants often have to apply for multiple

jobs at the same time. When one employer takes weeks to respond, they’re likely to miss out on potentially awesome employees like myself and the thousands of other new grads in this country. Why can’t employers call applicants shortly after their application is received to let them know whether the company is hiring or not, or whether or not they are being considered for the position? This way, the applicant doesn’t have to wait for a call. If they are kept waiting too long, another business could snatch them up. Employers, decide soon. Decide well. Decide me.


Money: no substitute for freedom > SOL KAUFFMAN I got fired this summer. It was awful. There’s no feeling quite like that shocking, sinking pit that opens up in your stomach, the frantic worry about how you’ll support yourself, the incessant self-interrogation about whether you really deserved to be fired, and what you might’ve done wrong. It certainly built a lot of character, as Calvin’s dad might say (though it would have been nice to have Hobbes around). I lost a steady job that paid more than twice minimum wage and felt suddenly aimless and cut adrift. It forced me to prove I could find enough work in 30 days to cover the next month’s rent. Now I juggle four part-time jobs, which add up to 40 hours a week. Along with editing this section of the Martlet, I train people on (and sell) computers, staff a pop-up calendar shop, manage social networking and tournament reports for a gaming store, and do some freelance writing work. Despite having a full-time workload on top of my two courses, and even with the stress of juggling four different schedules, I find myself

more relaxed and happy than I was at my 30-hour-a-week, 9-to-5 job. The variety keeps me interested and challenged. I’m not signed to any contracts or beholden to any single boss, and most of my downtime is mine to schedule. I’ve been taking advantage of that flexibility and recently spent an evening knocking back brews and talking with a friend of mine. Considering that these heart-to-heart discussions were the genesis of Growing Pains, it felt like an investment in my writing. I vented to him about the pressure I felt to solidify my career, how I was constantly either pushing myself or berating myself for laziness. How I was always reaching for the bar my parents had set, with their useful post-secondary degrees and semilucrative middle-class careers. How I hoped to find a wife I love, have 2.5 kids, get a house, a car, a mortgage. How I was always struck by how unmotivated some of my friends seem, still working for minimum wage with no career path, or jumping into a trade with no lofty ambition beyond a solid living. How I was so afraid of waking up at 40 with nothing solid to my name. Afraid of failing. My friend heard what I was saying but had

trouble relating to my thought process. He referred me to a book he’d read: The Queer Art of Failure by Judith Halberstam, which had given him a lot of perspective on the “traditional” definition of success. As a gay man, he argued, he had already failed to succeed by traditional standards: he is ignoring the “biological imperative” and doesn’t plan to have kids. He cares little for renown or career advancement and doesn’t measure his life by the benchmarks set by others. He knows what makes him happy: playing cards, writing and reading, drinking tea, making stir-fry and discovering new music, among other things. As he sees it, what else is there besides doing the things that make you happy? We only work to earn enough to let us do the things we want to do. And there’s no point in working anywhere you despise; if you’re sharp enough, you can usually find enough work to cover one person’s minimal lifestyle. I know that a big part of my happiness is the satisfaction I derive from working, and that I’m ambitious enough to want to make some kind of dent in the world. But that conversation helped me realize just how much I had been

blinded by the dollar signs in my paycheques this summer. The money represented freedom from worrying about my budget. I had more money to invest in my hobbies, which was supposed to balance out my work. But I was drastically undervaluing how much I cared about scheduling my own time and how much freedom I really needed in directing my own work. The money I put into my entertainment budget was only as good as the time I had to enjoy it and the headspace I was in as I tried to relax. It might take me longer now to save up for the things I’m dreaming of, but at least I’m dreaming, not just crashing into bed, mentally exhausted every night. As I near graduation from UVic, these last few months have changed my perspective on where I want to end up. I’m starting to wonder if the Leave it to Beaver American Dream is really where I see myself, or just the default set of goals to aim for. If I turned what I do right now into a career, would I feel like a success 20 years from now? I’m still working on that one.

October 25, 2012 MARTLET • OPINIONS 9


| āˌ m e n əˈ r ē ə |

How missed periods can lead to bone loss, infertility and the end of athletic careers story: Jenny Aitken On a fall day in 2011, Jessie Nordin’s* doctor asked her when she last had her period. The question seemed irrelevant; she was there because of an ankle injury. She had rolled it in volleyball practice at McGill University. She told her doctor she last had her period six months ago, April 2011. She sat patiently on the examination bed, her ankle swollen and purple. Her doctor explained the good news: her ankle wasn’t broken. The bad news: a lack of menstruation is common in female athletes and can affect bone density. Nordin was suffering from amenorrhea. Amenorrhea occurs when a previously menstruating female stops menstruating for three months or longer, a phenomenon common in female athletes. This lack of menstruation causes an imbalance in hormones necessary for bone mineralization, and can cause irreversible bone loss. Although typically associated with aesthetic sports like gymnastics or figure skating, where low body weight is encouraged, it can affect athletes from any background. Studies reported on the Sports Women Fitness website show that 1.8 to five per cent of the female population suffer from menstrual problems. In athletes, the numbers are far higher, and studies of women engaged in aesthetic sports record a range of 25–60 per cent suffering from menstrual problems. COACHES’ CONCERNS According to Catherine Gaul, faculty member in the School of Exercise & Physical Health Education at UVic, the main causes of amenorrhea are intense training and a lack of adequate energy or fuel to compensate for this training. Banners adorn the walls of UVic’s McKinnon building, home of the Vikes basketball and swim teams. The sharp scent of sweat permeates the building, extending into Gaul’s second-floor office. Within its close confines, Gaul seems like a caged animal: her trim runner’s body vibrating, knee bouncing vehemently even while seated, as if at any second she might run away. She explains that amenorrheic patients can suffer from bone loss because they have inadequate estrogen and progesterone levels. Along with their role in reproduction, these hormones are also necessary for bone mineralization. Gaul encourages athletes to talk to their coaches, trainer or health practitioner after the first missed period. “Most coaches know something about this, but it’s hard to bring it up with the athletes,” she says. Even if a woman is only amenorrheic for a few months, the condition still causes irreversible bone loss and can lead to osteoporosis if it persists. “You can get a healthy 25-year-old woman with the bones of an 85-year-old,” Gaul says. Brent Fougner, head coach of the UVic track team, knows how difficult it can be to communicate with athletes about these issues. In his 14-year tenure as coach of the female track team, several of his runners have suffered from amenorrhea. Each athlete must undergo a medical examination when she first joins the team, and Fougner can request a medical test at any time if there is a concern. For Fougner, a very low body fat percentage is a warning flag that there could be a problem — be it amenorrhea or an eating disorder, both common in runners. He offers skin fold fat analysis to the women to gauge their body fat percentage, but is careful to remind them, “It’s to make sure they’re not at a dangerous level — not because I think they’re too big.” Fougner fidgets with the zipper on his navy Vikes tracksuit, zipping it up and down while delving in to what is undoubtedly not the most comfortable topic: menstruation. “It’s not easy having a young girl in your office and asking, ‘So are you regular?’ Not exactly everyday conversation,” he says. Fougner encourages his runners to talk to the medical staff or the team captain so he can get a heads-up if there is a problem. In one extreme case, a runner was dangerously thin and had stopped menstruating. The medical staff told her she needed to start eating more and training less, but she refused because she didn’t want it to affect her performance. Because of her lack of co-operation, Fougner banned the athlete from practice until she started returning to a healthy weight. He says, “Sometimes you have to take away what they want more than anything, and what they want is to train.” One of the main reasons that amenorrhea is so common in female athletes is that they are unwill-

10 FEATURE • MARTLET October 25, 2012

photo: Hugo Wong ing to eat more and reduce training, thinking it will affect their success in their sport. Although banning an athlete from training can be necessary for her to get better, some coaches are reluctant to take such measures, despite the risk faced by their athletes. Fougner explains that even though the women are dangerously thin, the ratio of body weight to muscle mass is relatively low, and this often leads to improvement in performance. This improved performance is dangerous because it reinforces the athlete’s behaviour. “As a coach, you have to think of the health of the runner first, not rankings or team points,” Fougner says. “There are some universities that I think are ethically doing the wrong thing; the girls are skeletal but still running.” In fact, during a recruiting camp a couple years ago, there were a few runners who Fougner deemed underweight, and he told their parents they wouldn’t be allowed to run right away because they were too thin. “The parents just said, ‘Fine, we’ll just bring them somewhere else.’ I still see those girls running at competitions for different universities, and I just wonder what their coaches are thinking,” he says. MORE THAN MISSED PERIODS Nordin had always been thin growing up, and at five foot eleven had earned herself the nickname “The Gangler” for her gangly arms and legs. During high school, she fell in love with volleyball and started lifting weights to increase her muscle mass. When she started playing for McGill’s university squad in her first year, she headed back into the weight room for long workouts. These workouts, combined with her many team practices, left Nordin with a very low fat percentage of 16 (the average for women being 21–25). “I stopped getting my period regularly; actually, I just stopped getting my period altogether,” says Nordin. She was not concerned about her lack of menstruation because it seemed like a gift. “I knew it might not be normal, but there were other girls I knew who weren’t getting it either, and I wasn’t really itching to get my period again,” she says. This outlook, according to Gaul, is common in young female athletes. “There’s an urban myth out there saying that it’s okay, that we don’t need to have our menstrual cycle. Girls look at it like it’s a blessing, but it’s not. It’s a sign there’s a serious problem,” she says. In “Secondary Amenorrhea leading to osteoporosis: incidence and prevention,” published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dr. Cheri McGee of the University of Maryland explains that amenorrhea causes adverse effects on skeletal strength that can devastate the woman in question. Although osteoporosis is commonly accepted as a “woman’s disease,” McGee states that “the fact that this disease can affect premenopausal women experiencing menstrual dysfunction is less commonly known.” Amenorrhea can also be linked with infertility. According to the article “Infertility: Amenorrhea and Female Fertility” from sharedjourney.com, a fertility website, some women afflicted with amenorrhea are “anovulatory,” meaning that they are not producing viable eggs. Although this may not be a concern for a young athlete, over time their amenorrhea could cause other fertility conditions, like uterine fibroids (muscular tumors in the uterus, usually benign, that occasionally cause infertility). Having children may currently be the last thing on these focused athletes’ minds, but they may want that option in the future. After Nordin’s doctor diagnosed her with amenorrhea, a bone density test revealed lower results than are normal for her age and gender. The T-score compares bone density to the optimal peak bone density for your sex — one being normal. Nordin’s T-score reading was minus one, which is categorized as osteopenia and leaves her at risk for developing osteoporosis. Nordin was forced to cut down her training sessions and increase caloric intake. For many high-performance athletes, this would be a hard pill to swallow. Most athletes attribute their success to the long hours spent sweating in practice or pushing themselves in the gym, so reducing training may not seem like an option. Gaul disagrees with this view, saying, “Is having a career-ending fracture an option? Is developing osteoporosis at 18 years old an option? I don’t think it is. Sometimes it’s better to choose moderation than to risk it.”

Fougner knows the importance of recovery for his athletes, so he builds recovery days into the runners’ training program. When in training, the women are running six days a week, but two of those runs are focused primarily on recovery. They also do strength-training workouts in the gym, but are required to take a day off once a week to let their bodies rest. “If you don’t recover and refuel the body, you can never train to full potential; your improvement comes in your ability to recover,” says Fougner. Three months after Nordin’s diagnosis, she managed to put on five pounds and, after consultation with her coach, cut down two of her weight-training sessions. Even though her period has restarted, the bone density she lost during this amenorrheic period will never be regained. Nordin no longer sees her period as a curse, and she is glad to know that her hormonal system is back on track. “Of course, I wish I had done something about it sooner, but at least I know that I am moving in the right direction,” she says. Even though discussing your period, or lack thereof, with a coach or doctor may be the last thing you want to do, it is important that young women realize that menstruation is a natural

process, and not something to be ashamed of. Amenorrhea causes irreversible bone loss and threatens fertility, and it should not be taken lightly. Nordin believes that public awareness about amenorrhea is crucial. “If I had known the damage I was doing to my body, I would never have let it go on so long. I don’t want other girls to make the same mistake.” *Not subject’s real name

October 25, 2012 MARTLET • FEATURE 11


Love architecture? How about interior design? Write for the Martlet about your passion for clean lines and fine workmanship. Email culture@martlet.ca.

L to R: Cecilia Liu, Celina Chan and Jason Jaw, grade 12 students at Mount Douglas Secondary, hold up their poems. Students like them will be submitting poetry in the hopes of becoming Victoria's first youth poet laureate.


Victoria shows poetic innovation By year’s end, Victoria could have first youth poet laureate in Canada > TIA LOW Victoria will soon crown its first youth poet laureate, which may also be the first in Canada. One young, talented applicant will have the opportunity to use poetry to engage and empower youth in the community. Local poet Jeremy Loveday, Victoria’s reigning slam champion, said the idea synthesized through his work with talented youth poets throughout the city and through performing with Victoria’s adult poet laureate, Janet Rogers, who is currently one year into her three-year term as the city’s literary ambassador. “We have amazingly talented youth poets, and Victoria should know that. It gives another platform for youth to speak and for Victoria to hear about the youth experience living here, to give official recognition of it,” says Loveday, who offers poetry workshops to high school students through the Victoria Poetry Project and holds an annual youth poetry slam event called Victorious Voices. He brought the idea to the Victoria Youth Council last spring. “We had the mayor as a judge for Victorious Voices last year, so it was like . . . the city loves it,” Loveday says. “So I got in touch with [a] youth councillor.” Made up of individuals between 14 and 24

years old, the Victoria Youth Council represents the city’s younger generation and provides an opportunity for them to engage on a municipal level, says the council’s co-ordinator, Kluane Buser-Rivet. “[The youth poet laureate program] raises the profile of youth poetry in the city of Victoria, and it’s really valuable to give adults access to a really strong, powerful young voice,” says Buser-Rivet. She adds, “The youth council tries to achieve little successes that will eventually add up to our end goal to make Victoria the best place for young people to hang out, go to school, work. We see this as a step in the right direction, for sure.” The selected poet will perform his or her work at city council and youth council meetings, as well as community events. The poet will also come up with a project to connect youth in the community through poetry and carry out the project during the position’s one-year term, from January to December 2013. “We want a youth poet with leadership capabilities and a desire to engage other youth and be a voice for youth in Victoria,” Loveday says. Young people will feel empowered by seeing a person their age being celebrated and embraced in the community — that’s how the youth poet laureate will be a leader, says Buser-Rivet. Victoria City Councillor Lisa Helps heard the idea through Loveday, whom she met after a

city council meeting where he performed. She presented the idea in a city council meeting, and Victoria City Councillor Shellie Gudgeon quickly offered $2 500 in funding through Il Terrazzo, a local restaurant Gudgeon owns with her husband, Mike. “Both of our children have been positively impacted through poetry, and we feel that it should be celebrated and encouraged in our youth,” says Gudgeon, who also expresses an appreciation for Janet Rogers’ work. Buser-Rivet says Gudgeon’s donation covers two-thirds of the needed funding, providing the youth poet laureate with a $1 500 honorarium and $1 000 for the project. They are still looking for $900 to cover a $750 honorarium for the mentor who will be supporting the young poet and $150 for a youth council alumnus to create the poster for the initiative. “The momentum has just been incredible,” says Loveday. In his high school days, Loveday was inspired by his English teacher to start writing poetry. He says the youth poet laureate initiative and the youth poetry slams he organizes today are outlets he would have liked to be a part of at that age. For the program’s first year, Loveday will be taking on the role of mentor for the youth laureate. “I think the relationship will depend on who the youth poet laureate is and what their projects

are. It’s really [about] having an experienced poet who they can come to. I love working with youth and find it inspiring . . . so part of that is just sharing that inspiration,” he says. Youth poet laureates exist in cities throughout the U.S., but Loveday couldn’t find any in Canada — at least not through Google. “If there is [one] in Canada, they do a terrible job of promoting themselves,” he quips. Buser-Rivet feels the lack of an apparent Canadian youth poet laureate is a sign of a greater issue: that youth don’t often have a big enough voice in the community. “At least, not to the degree that the youth council would like to see them involved. For example, we don’t think there’s enough of a youth voice in municipal politics. Especially in Victoria — we don’t feel youth are consulted enough in processes and policy-making that will affect our future,” she says. Poets have a unique opportunity to express and reflect on the happenings in the community, says Loveday. “That also comes with great responsibility, but I think putting something in a beautiful way makes people more open to hearing it.” The City of Victoria is accepting applications until Nov. 7, and anyone 21 and under can apply by sending in three original poems, a letter of intent including three project ideas and a resumé to youthpoetlaureate@cvyc.net.


FRIDAY Oct. 19


Fred Penner


Tight & Bright Party

(9 pm)

MONDAY Oct. 22

Local Music Mondays:

Isobel Trigger & Aivia (9pm)


Trivia & Pool (7pm–11pm)


Battle of the Bands



FRIDAY Oct. 26


Karaoke (8 pm)


Lawn Social & DJ Kyle Gilmar Formula SAE (9-11pm)

www.felicitas.ca 12 CULTURE • MARTLET October 25, 2012

w/ Good For Grapes (9-11pm)


Small room, small worlds, big stories Bill Gaston and Marjorie Celona launch latest novels > JULIA KOCHUK The lure of food, drink and two talented authors drew a crowd of more than 70 students, teachers and bibliophiles to the Bard and Banker’s Sam McGee Room on Oct. 17 for the launch of two new Hamish Hamilton publications: Bill Gaston’s seventh novel, The World, and Marjorie Celona’s Victoria-based debut novel, Y. Waitresses parted seas of faces, carrying trays of drinks through the mahogany-accented room to the small patio and hallway; each small space quickly filled with more people standing shoulder to shoulder, like the books that lined the walls. UVic writing alumna Celona took to the microphone first, reading an excerpt from Y, the story of a young woman who was abandoned as an infant on the doorstep of the Victoria YMCA. Y has received glowing reviews in national publications, as well as a nomination for this year’s Giller Prize. Gaston is no stranger to critical acclaim; his fiction has received much praise, and previous works have garnered nominations for the Giller Prize and Governor General’s Award. When it was his turn to read, Gaston congratulated Celona for her success and joked to the audience that The World is “much harder, much better.” The World is a tough beast to describe. It’s

the interwoven telling of five worlds: a newly divorced/retired Stuart Price, who burns down his Saanich house the day after paying his mortgage; Stuart’s friend, Mel, who plans to end her days ruled by esophageal cancer; Mel’s father, Hal, who’s forgetting his life as an author and Buddhist in a Toronto facility for Alzheimer’s patients. Then there’s the story within the story: Hal’s book, The World, which tells the story of a professor, who acquires a collection of letters from the D’Arcy Island leper colony; and the story within that story of Li, the lone female leper who lived on D’Arcy Island. “I burned my house down. That’s what gave me the idea [for The World]. Then I just kept going and going,” said Gaston of the real-life accident that inspired the complex novel, which took nearly four years to write. However daunting The World may seem, it’s honest and tragic and funny in the complicated ways of the world. The novel is character-rich, well researched and told with an innovative structure. And, Gaston assured his audience, it all makes sense. “It sounds like a dire and depressing book. There’s a leper colony, an Alzheimer’s ward, cancer, all that stuff,” said Gaston. “But, I hope readers can take from the book — without sounding corny — that it’s possible to find humour, maybe

Bill Gaston's latest novel, The World, was inspired in part by his experience with setting his house on fire.

even some kind of light, in moment-to-moment life, in the smaller worlds.” Gaston teaches fiction at UVic and acts as the Department of Writing chair. “I don’t write when I’m working, when I’m teaching,” he said. “So, summers and leaves are good. I take leaves whenever I can, whenever I save my pennies. It’s a good job where I can take off when I want and have a job, probably, when I get back.” The launch’s turnout suggests he’s good at his teaching job, as, once he finished his reading, his students congratulated him with hand-


shakes and hugs. Gaston has a completed collection of short stories, House Clowns, to be released by Hamish Hamilton later in the year and a “sort of memoir” in the works. After the readings, Celona and Gaston mingled and signed copies of their hardcover releases, sold by Munro’s Books in the corner. People stayed a while to talk. Smiles and stories and empty glasses filled the space. There were no more fish bites or nachos on the tables. Slowly, the warm room grew roomier and people trickled out into the night, back to their own worlds.


The duck-infused flavour of victory Local bartender conquers prestigious cocktail competition using meat ingredient >TYLER LAING For the second time in as many years, Josh Boudreau has claimed the title of Best Bartender of the Pacific Northwest. The 25-year-old Veneto barkeep won this year’s Art of the Cocktail competition with a concoction he coined the John Coffey — a tribute to the devious days of Prohibition. “When it came together, it was the colour of espresso,” Boudreau says of his blend. “They used tricks like that during the ‘20s, mixing alcohol with a bit of coffee so it didn’t look like they were drinking.” But Boudreau’s cocktail had nothing to do with coffee. The theme of this year’s competition was The Whole Beast, encouraging contestants to get creative with meat ingredients. Veneto offers a duck confit dish — duck leg slow-roasted in its own fat for hours until it falls from the bone — that, Boudreau says, is “the most tender and delicious meat on the planet.” “I can’t get enough of it,” he says, “so I knew I wanted to use duck.” Through a process known as fatwashing — a term Boudreau admits isn’t all that appetizing — he first mixed hot duck fat together with tequila, then froze it. The fat travelled to the top of the mixture where it could be removed, leaving nothing but a duck-infused tequila behind. From there, Boudreau “started messing around with ingredients.” Experimentation is a big part of his job. He has a clientele base that enjoys trying new things and trusts Boudreau’s inventiveness. “[It] allows me to . . . come up with new recipes every single day and always stay in shape when it comes to my palate.” Boudreau has been playing around with vinegar in his drinks lately. He says tequila and balsamic blend well. Balsamic vinegar, along with apricot liqueur, Averna bitters (from Italy), and bianco vermouth all joined the duck-

flavoured tequila in the winning drink. Contestants were aware of the competition’s theme well in advance. “Customers were coming in over the last few weeks and allowing me to experiment on them,” says Boudreau. The challenge itself consisted of three parts — a written test, a blind tasting and original cocktail mixing. Each part carries the same weight in terms of marking. After Boudreau aced the tasting, he knew he was in good shape. In last year’s competition, Boudreau did so well on the first two components of the contest that he guaranteed himself at least second place before he even attempted the cocktail. “It’s an all-‘round competition,” he says. “Making drinks is only about 10 per cent of our job. Knowledge is really important.” Since this second victory, Boudreau has been “overwhelmed” by the attention he’s received. “Customers are coming because they’ve heard we won the competition and they want to have drinks from me,” he says. “From when I started out bartending [four years ago] to be getting recognition like this, after paying my dues — it’s just so flattering.” But while Boudreau’s creation has earned him the accolades, he’s quick to acknowledge his support network, particularly co-workers Simon Ogden, Katie McDonald and Ken Gifford. “None of this would be possible without them. We help each other all the time.” Boudreau is proud to be working at an establishment that focuses on what he calls “classically inspired contemporary bartending.” At Veneto, the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced; care for detail is everything. “I just always want to be pushing the boundaries and always learning,” he says. “I never want to stop experimenting. It’s important to me to keep making high-quality cocktails.”

Josh Boudreau has won the Best Bartender of the Pacific Northwest award for the second year in a row.


October 25, 2012 MARTLET • CULTURE 13





(9 pm show

or later ings undergrfaor uvic ds)

OCT 26 & 27 (3:00 matinee, 7:15 & 9:00)

THE CAMPAIGN separate admission

OCT 26 & 27 (11:00)

THE SHINING Aidan Knight, though not a Jedi Knight, still has a lot to offer, musically speaking. Check him out on Nov. 1.

RECREATION SATURDAY, NOV. 3 FABULOUS FUNGI I remember going on a biology class field trip in high school. I was walking with this girl in my class who could identify every tree and plant she encountered. “She’s awesome,” I thought to myself. “All I know about is Star Wars, guitars and video games, and that information is actually pretty useless.” So take this chance to be awesome: go and learn all about local fungi with CRD Regional Parks’ guest naturalist Kem Luther. Be a fun guy; learn about fungi. (I had to put that bad pun in here somehow). Pre-registration is required, so call 250-478-3344 to see if there’s still space. Francis/King Regional Park (in Saanich). 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. $7 plus HST. SUNDAY, NOV. 4 TREE APPRECIATION DAY AT UPLANDS PARK Do you ever find that, at the end of the day, you’re feeling drained and you’ve got a bit of eye strain? Well, maybe it’s because you’ve spent way too much time in front of a computer screen. I realized that myself the other day. I was all like, “Jeez, I feel so buggy,” and then I was all like, “Well, of course you do, you’ve been looking at your computer all day!” I’m not trying to be preachy here. We have to use our computers quite a bit. It just makes you realize you really have to balance things out. So what’s the solution? Go plant a tree! The Friends of Uplands Park are hosting Tree Appreciation Day where you get to plant Garry oak trees, among other native plants, at the Uplands Park entrance, as well as go on a nature walk. Don’t forget to bring some gloves and a shovel! For more info, visit recreation.oakbaybc.org/ event-calendar/. Uplands Park entrance on Beach Drive. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Free.

14 CULTURE • MARTLET October 25, 2012

MONDAY, NOV. 5 (AND FOLLOWING MONDAYS UNTIL NOV. 26) VFF AT THE CENTRAL LIBRARY The Victoria Film Festival is laying the groundwork for next year’s event by screening new short film submissions every Monday until Nov. 26. In addition to seeing all these great examples of independent cinema, you will get to vote on your favourites. Hey, I just thought of an independent short film drinking game: take a shot every time a short indie film ends with “Fin.” For more info, email ccavanagh@gvpl. ca. Greater Victoria Public Library (735 Broughton St.). 12 p.m. Free.

MUSIC THURSDAY, NOV. 1 AIDAN KNIGHT (WITH ANDY SHAUF) There are two things you should know about singer/songwriter Aidan Knight: he’s not a Jedi Knight (so don’t expect any lightsaber action onstage, but if that is part of his show, please let me know), and according to one of his promotional pictures, he has a tendency to collapse into a big bowl of Cheerios. If I were to collapse due to depression or fatigue, it wouldn’t be into a bowl of cereal. Cereal has always been, and always will be, too exciting (and tasty!) for me to ever collapse into a bowl of it. So let’s hope the Force is with Aidan Knight during his show, and no bowls of cereal get ruined. Tickets available at Lyle’s Place, Ditch Records and ticketweb.ca. For more info, visit atomiqueproductions.com. Alix Goolden Hall (907 Pandora St.). Doors at 7:30 p.m. $18 advance. MONDAY, NOV. 5 (AND EVERY MONDAY) STEVE BARRIE'S SENSATIONAL OPEN MIC Hey, you! Yeah, I’m talking to you. You’re a musician, or at least someone with a musical inclination. You’re also in university, and now is the time to grow, explore, learn and push yourself. Or maybe you’re not in university . . . but there’s no time like the present to grow, explore, learn and push yourself. Well, what better way to push yourself than to perform music in front of an audience? It’s scary — whoa, let me tell you. But you’ll get used to it. Having a beer or two before going onstage also helps. But you have to get the drinking part just right — enough to relax, but not so much that you can’t properly finger a G chord anymore (never mind a G7#9b5!). Just don’t get too worked up about it; you’re here to have fun. It’s rock and roll, man. Go have a blast at one of Victoria’s best open mic nights, hosted by Steve Barrie. For more info, visit loganspub.com. Logan’s Pub (1821 Cook St.). Doors at 9 p.m. Free.


FoR THe WeeK oF oCTobeR 23Rd, 2012

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 31 (AND FOLLOWING WEDNESDAYS) ASTRONOMY OPEN HOUSE Sponsored by UVic’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, this open house is a chance to really take a look at what’s out there in our solar system. I went to one of these open houses years ago — for the first time in my life, I got to see Saturn and Jupiter in their full glory, through a big telescope. I tell you, that makes astronomy a lot more interesting than looking at a bunch of little dots in the sky. Maybe one of these open houses will make you want to fork out for a big telescope yourself. So what do you say? Don’t let those poor telescope-makers lose their jobs! For more info, call 250-721-7700 or email physgen@ uvic.ca. UVic Wright Centre. Fifth floor. 8–10 p.m. Free.


CFUV Top Ten



1. KID KOALA * 12-Bit Blues (Ninja Tune) 2. LADYHAWK * No Can Do (Triple Crown) 3. FLYING LOTUS Until The Quiet Comes (Warp) 4. VARIOUS ARTISTS Country Funk: 1969-75 (Light In The Attic) 5. CODY CHESTNUTT Landing On A Hundred (Vibration Vineyard) 6. CONVERGE All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph) 7. BETTYE LAVETTE Thankful n’ Thoughful (Anti-) 8. THE HOOD INTERNET Feat (Decon) 9. TY SEGALL Twins (Drag City) 10. RICARDO VILLALOBOS Dependent and Happy (Perlon)


101.9 FM c f u v. u v i c . c a CFUV is an award winning campus/ community radio station based at the University of Victoria. For more information about CFUV (including volunteering info, our program schedule, complete charts and much more) please visit us at: www.cfuv.uvic.ca twitter.com/cfuv

Hear the weekly top ten on Charts and Graphs Tues-

* Canadian artist

+ local artist

days at 3:00PM on CFUV 101.9FM or online!

visit martlet.ca IT'S ON THE INTERNET.



Shine Cafe: a glowing brunch review > KAITLYN ROSENBURG I’m a total night owl. I’ve always been drawn to the stillness that only 2 a.m. can achieve. Those close to me know mornings don’t provide my finest hour. This is why rolling out of bed at a leisurely pace and wandering into town for brunch is a much-loved pastime of mine. I made sure to stay up late Friday so I could visit Shine Cafe in an appropriate state of mind on Saturday morning. I’m so glad I did. While our group of four had to wait almost half an hour to snag a table at the Fort Street location, I’m going to let it go unnoticed. I’ve always had to wait at any brunch establishment in town. Victoria folk love their eggs — it’s a fact. Despite the overcast sky outdoors, Shine Cafe lived up to its name. Every wall emits a jovial glow due to the bright yellow paint coating the small dining space. All four of us dove into decidedly different plates, but none were disappointed. One friend satisfied her sweet tooth with raspberry pancakes ($9.95 for two). Whole berries dotted the cakes, which were fluffy and not too sweet. Another ordered the full breakfast ($12.95), which is a smattering of three eggs, two pieces each of bacon, ham and sausage, grilled tomato and a choice of two sides. Over the course of the meal, the hash browns (one of her side options) were crowned the best she’d ever had. I got creative, choosing to make my own omelette ($12.95). For you copy-cats out there, I picked avocado, brie cheese, bacon and mushrooms. The amount of avocado

stuffed in those eggs really impressed me. I chose cornbread and fruit salad to accompany my omelette. The salad included kiwi, pineapple and pear, a nice alternative to the melon-fest usually associated with the dish. Because we weren’t seated until almost noon, our fourth member went straight to lunch. Her “sophisticated green wrap” ($11.95) completely held its own at the table. Filled with avocado, brie, chickpeas, pesto mayo and plenty of vegetables, it was both creamy and crunchy. When I dine at Shine for lunch, I’m ordering this wrap. A note about service: an ample number of servers scurried around the restaurant, but water and coffee refills were difficult to come by, and my friend’s order of fruit salad wasn’t delivered until we finally inquired as to its whereabouts. The next time your nighttime activities keep you up late, consider Shine for the morning after — or even for the afternoon after, if you really sleep in. Shine Cafe serves breakfast all day.





The power of comedy in the face of tragedy > BLAKE MORNEAU “I named this album LIVE as in ‘to keep not dying’ — not ‘live’ as in ‘I saw her live performance.’ This title not only makes sense to me considering the subject matter, it simply makes me laugh to think of having to correct everyone that pronounces it incorrectly.” - Tig Notaro, liner notes from Live. Great art peels back layers of life’s veneer and exposes hidden, often painful truths about the artist and the audience. Comedy stands apart from other art forms because there’s no way for a great performer to avoid their truth. There are no brush strokes to hide behind, no costumes to cover up in, no musical notes with which to communicate the pain. Unlike other artists, the best comedians stand alone on a stage, emotionally naked, hoping not only that their problems don’t get thrown back at them, but also that an audience will actually laugh with them. Recorded approximately 48 hours after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the last in her incredibly rapid stream of life-altering tragedies, Live documents Tig Notaro taking the stage at Largo in L.A., not to tell her usual, self-described “silly jokes,” but to laugh in the face of adversity and to get other people laughing with (and maybe, more importantly, for) her. In doing this, the 41-yearold proves that the most important art is the most personal — art that rewards audience members for their discomfort in dealing with the tragic. Notaro opens with, “Hello. Good evening. Hello. I have cancer.” The audience (and listener) is immediately disarmed. They have no idea whether or not to laugh or, perhaps, even how to laugh. But Notaro is quick to assure them,

“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.” Then, just as quickly, she says, “It might not be okay, but I’m just saying” — a statement that receives more, but still subdued, laughter. It’s a precursor to an incredible set that finds Notaro working back from her breast cancer diagnosis through the four months prior; months filled with one tragic event after another (a bout with the stomach-eating virus known as C. diff, a breakup and the sudden death of her 65-yearold mother). Laughing in the face of tragedy is indeed one of the only ways to deal with it, but as most of us laugh at such tragedies with only ourselves or a small circle of friends and family, to hear someone do it in such an open, public way is truly moving. The heart-opening moments on Live are numerous, piling on top of each other furiously as awkward laughs turn into genuine belly laughs. Notaro reflects on the way the tragedies have affected her relationships with other people. “ ‘Somebody talk to me!’ ‘I had a rotten day.’ ‘Well, what happened?’ ‘Well, no, I don’t have cancer . . . ’ ‘No! Please talk to me! My time is limited!’ ” She lays bare her desire to meet a new significant other, pondering what her online dating profile would look like: “I have cancer. Serious inquiries only.” This was a set that was never supposed to be released (and only done so because of the insistence of one Louis CK). It is raw, gritty and genuinely human. To find the best performers this unguarded and honest is a rare thing, and it makes Live an important document for both stand-up comedy and new media as a whole. It’s a shining example of what the finest art can do for both the performer and the audience.


It’s all summed up as Notaro, near the end of her set, asks if the audience would like her to just go into her usual “silly jokes” and turn away from the tragedy. The question is met with a heartfelt “No!” from the entire audience. One man yells, “This is

fucking amazing!” Nothing brings people together like tragedy. You can buy Tig Notaro’s Live for $5 at buy.louisck.net. $1 from every sale goes to breast cancer research.

With Former Lives, Gibbard proves too good for his own good


> JENNIFER LEBBERT Former Lives (Barsuk) Benjamin Gibbard

16 CULTURE • MARTLET October 25, 2012

It was a dark day in Hollywood when Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard announced their divorce in December 2011. However, while gossip sites mourned the loss of an undeniably cute couple, I found the silver lining. A heartbroken Ben Gibbard could mean only one thing: a fabulous Death Cab for Cutie comeback. I expected him to

translate the pain of his broken relationship into another musical masterpiece like Transatlanticism or Plans, with songs that build up slowly, wrench your insides into a knot and finally explode. Much to the dismay of my 17-year-old self, however, I have come to a conclusion: Gibbard has been seeing a therapist. Former Lives, the first album Gibbard has released under his own name, didn’t punch me in the face with the sting of heartbreak. In fact, it’s kind of cheery. It’s a pop album from start to finish, and although I can appreciate a great pop song, I can’t help but wonder if Gibbard is selling himself short. If anyone is capable of producing pop music with substance, it would be him. Former Lives maintains a comfortable familiarity while exploring a range of new musical territory, dabbling in the sounds of country, blues, Latin and even a little a cappella. His efforts are admirable, but not quite enough so to validate the album’s overzealous metaphors and predictable lyrics (e.g. “All I want to do is tell her that my love is true”). As ambitiously as Gibbard may have attempted to depart from his usual sound, the album’s gems

are actually the ones that most remind me of early Death Cab. “Dream Song” and “A Hard One to Know” are head-bobbing singalong songs that could easily be an extension of 2001's The Photo Album. Maybe it’s the nostalgic side of me, but these tracks were at least comforting, if nothing else. “Bigger Than Love” is the only song that reaches for something bigger than itself, but even so, it’s unable to grasp the transformative moment it seems to be looking for. Perhaps I was the one looking for something that wasn’t there, judging Former Lives by the standards that Gibbard set with his previous works. Or, maybe he’s just another frontman trying to separate himself from the sound he’s come to be associated with. That being said, Gibbard is the mastermind behind computerpop project The Postal Service, with which he proved more than capable of going it alone. Former Lives is a lovely album that’s easy to listen to. I can admit that it’s the daunting expectations of listeners like me that sabotage perfectly adequate music produced by more-than-adequate musicians. This time around, Mr. Gibbard, you’re just too good for your own good. Check out martlet.ca for more album reviews.


Want to be like Conan O'Brien (but maybe with better hair)? He got his start at his university's humour magazine. He also went to Harvard. But hey, you should still write for Humour.


This week: astrology for daytime television archetypes (Wait, people besides my aunt Bernice still watch this crap?) > ALAIN WILLIAMS Aries (March 21 – April 19) Welcome to the show! Many lingering questions will be answered this week, the most important being: is Aries the father of Pisces’ baby? Aries says that the baby couldn’t be his because Pisces has been with four other astrological signs! Well, we have the results: Aries, you are not the father!

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan.19)

Welcome back to the show. You should trust in your natural foresight, be prepared for your week and bring protection. Because today, Pisces is back to prove that Cancer is the father of the baby! Cancer says that that’s impossible because the rubber never came off! Well, the results are in: Cancer, you are not the father! Wow, this is getting embarrassing for Pisces.

And we’re back! Next up is Libra, who should be out taking new risks and embracing new challenges. Instead, Libra has been brought here by Pisces in a third attempt to find a baby daddy! Libra, we have the envelope here with the results . . . You are . . . not the father! (See what I did there? I paused a second so that you thought you were . . . ahem. Yeah, sorry Pisces.)

Welcome back to the show. Something that you have spent a long time practicing will come in handy this week. So when I read out loud that, “you are not the father” (because you aren’t), you can stand up and show Pisces your new electric slide, windmill, backflips and other dance moves! Never mind if Pisces runs off crying — that’s great for TV!

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)

Dun-dun-dun-dun! Meet the plaintiff: Leo. Leo is suing the defendant, Virgo, after Virgo had a really good day last week, even though it was Leo’s turn to have a good day. Leo is confident of victory in this case, because this week the stars have shown signs of positive financial gain.

Finances and dealings with money should be closely monitored this week, as things are going to get tight. That doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a new Dice’N’Chop! It handles all of your kitchen needs! If you order in the next 20 minutes, we’ll throw in a second Dice’N’Chop free! What are you waiting for? Call now!

Taurus (April 20 – May 20) The movement of Saturn spells out additional complications in an already complicated love life. I don’t mean Saturn the planet; rather, Saturn the receptionist. She’s only moving offices to be closer to Dr. Francis, who had an affair with her before his wife Cassandra fell into the coma. Now Saturn wants Dr. Francis back, but Dr. Zhivago wants Saturn and Dr. Francis needs Dr. Zhivago to operate on Cassandra! Oh to be young and restless again . . .

Gemini (May 21 – June 20) Illness and misfortune approach this week, but don’t worry. It won’t be anything that some soup, bed rest and back-to-back episodes of The Price Is Right can’t fix. So come on down! With a cold.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22) Dun-dun-dun-dun! The defendant, Virgo, claims that last week’s horoscope did not suggest that Leo was supposed to have a good day instead of Virgo and that Leo needs to simply “get over it.” Virgo is counter-suing the plaintiff for emotional damages, which were predicted in this week’s horoscope.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21) Important decisions will need to be made regarding your health and lifestyle. Put simply, you don’t need Dr. Oz to tell you that weed and Cheese Puffs don’t make the most complete breakfast. Also, coconut oil is great for the skin and hair!

This week, you will really begin to reap the fruits of your labour. Approval is just around the corner! So keep on dancing for them, and soon they’ll love you just as much as they love Oprah.

Pisces (Feb.19 – March 20) Well that’s our show for the day. Sorry things didn’t work out, Pisces. There’s always Jerry Springer. As a final thought, you could try to solve your life problems in private, but that wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining for the rest of us. Take care of yourselves and each other. Check martlet.ca for past editions of Horoscopes for Very Specific Groups of People.

by halloween , we'll have a shiny new website! visit martlet.ca!

October 25, 2012 MARTLET • HUMOUR 17


Tactless Tom: An MA student for the ages PHOTOSTEVE101 (FLICKR COMMONS)

Excuse me, I’m a writer An in-depth look at literistas' paraphernalia and pretension > REANNE DERKSON Put your hand up if you’ve ever faked something. In my four years of writing school, I have learned that being a writer goes way beyond the actual physical and mental act of writing. Being a writer is about persona, and embodying that persona is mandatory for survival in the fine arts. The first ingredient in the writer’s persona is alcohol. Bourbon, Scotch, gin, vodka, rum (dark or white) — pick your poison. Think I’m joking? Think back to every great writer you know — F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, Faulkner, Capote and my personal favourite, Dorothy Parker — and think of what they have in common (aside from a spot in the literary canon). They’re all alcoholics. A further idiosyncrasy of our multifaceted cornucopia of personalities entails using a plethora of substantially sizable, obscure words in unusual contexts so as to perplex any multitude of persons we might chance upon, and in turn manufacture a hyperbolized impression of our acumen and intelligence. Did that work? Thirdly, we writers love to boast about our individual writing processes, which I have found to be more or less the same and likely an exaggerated version of the truth. For every 10 minutes I spend actually putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), I spend 60 minutes moping, crumpling papers and purposely missing the garbage can for dramatic effect, or staring at a blank Word document with a cigarette that desperately needs to be ashed dangling from my lips — and I don’t even smoke. Also, it’s important to note the hours that the writing process takes place in. We’re night owls. We do our best work after midnight, and anything written before midnight can be deemed garbage and added to the

crumpled-paper pile. Props are another imperative element to the writer’s persona. If you’re not carrying at least one piece of canonical literature around with you at all times — forget it. Switch majors immediately. Choose something like biology, where you may not be judged as harshly for reading Twilight. Every writer knows to carry a pen and journal with them everywhere they go, preferably one of those hipster Moleskine journals that look good in our Herschel backpacks. And if you catch us writing in them, we probably haven’t had some great epiphany. We’re probably just writing cheesy poetry and doodling hearts around the names of future soulmates. Whether or not you have a prescription for glasses, it is essential to own a pair. Look like a writer. Feel like a writer. Be a writer. I keep a pair of tortoise-shell Pradas in my book bag at all times, and I have 20/20 vision. The last and arguably most important dimension to the writer’s persona is drama. If you ever have the chance to date a writer, tread very carefully. One wrong move and we’ll go all Carrie Bradshaw on you. One false step and you’ll become the next antagonist in our stories. Nothing is simple inside the persona of a writer. A bedroom is not merely a bedroom; it is a Tranquility Rejuvenation Suite. A library, not merely a library, but a Literature Consumption Silo. The point is, we are a very melodramatic bunch. We’re not just writers for fun — we were born to write. If we don’t write, someone may die. If we don’t write, aliens might strike. If we don’t write, wine and spirits sales may plummet. We take our personas very seriously. We have molded ourselves to fit into this writer’s world. We may come off as highfalutin and egotistical — but hey, put your hand up if you’ve ever faked something.

> NICHOLAS BURTON-VULOVIC Deep in the bowels of the Clearihue Building, there exists a man of legend and myth. A man who floats in the clouds and hides in the shadows and spits hatred at the sun. He runs after cars and arm-wrestles dogs and lives for the very danger we all seek to avoid. He is a graduate student named Tactless Tom. The story of Tactless Tom stretches back eons ago to a time when recipients of MAs first began to assemble for the purpose of reasoned thought and co-operative drinking. In the early days of such productive adventures, undergraduate students would often pass blustering TAs arguing verbosely over cheap lager and flimsy burgers. Nowadays, the lager is pricier and the burgers have been replaced with dried noodles, but the TAs remain just as blustery, and Tom just as Tactless. Once, in conversation with a French exchange student, Tactless Tom got into an hour-long argument over whether the French student’s hometown was part of Germany or not. The professor, destined to become his supervisor several years hence, was finally forced to correct him, thereby setting off what was to become an academic love

story for the ages. It’s said that once, at a faculty party, Tactless Tom snuck off to go through the drawers of his thesis advisor. Not in a creepy way; he was simply fond of her academics and wanted to peruse her work. He also wanted to live in her attic, and asked his thesis advisor’s babysitter to email him pictures of the house’s interior. Nowadays, he isn’t as young or flexible as he used to be, which makes it harder to get away with breaking-and-entering, so he mostly limits himself to awkward hallway encounters and cameras with powerful zooms. He doesn’t mean any harm, and for the most part he doesn’t cause any. His booming voice and jovial personality serve to overcome his fondness for writing blustering comments on the essays he marks. I’m not sure he’s ever been to Europe, but he’s got an opinion on every country there just the same. If, perhaps on an overcast day in the middle of winter, you should ever pass by Tactless Tom in the hall, fear not. For even if he should make a comment about the size of your nose or ask if you’re pregnant or just frequently hungry, he means nothing by it. That’s just the way he is. Good old Tactless Tom.

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Minimum wage at a Mexican restaurant > CELINA SILVA Have you ever made so many no-whip, low-fat soy lattes that you thought you might gouge your eye out on the espresso machine? Or so many veggie burritos with no dairy, less beans than rice and sauce on the side that you might have to shoot yourself? Have you ever realized you may be too good at your minimumwage job? There is a moment that arrives in a twentysomething’s life when they reach a calamity equivalent to a midlife crisis. This moment occurred for me one August afternoon as Marvin Gaye howled about love in the background as the dishes piled up in the bins and on the tables and in the kitchen. The oven beeper cried in the background; Marvin Gaye said something about getting it on. The oven beeper joined in, and soon they were serenading each other in a duet. A bald man entered. I asked if he would like rice and beans or a salad with his meal. His sweating forehead creased. He then pulled his sandy beach towel out of the straw basket hanging on his arm and wiped the sweat off of his forehead. The sweeping motion shot particles of sand into my eyes and neck; I twitched and fought the urge to duck behind the counter. “Rice and beans together,” I mimed with


my hands, first exaggerating to my left, “Or a salad?” I mimed to my right in a huge sweeping motion. My hand whacked the bean pot for the fifth time that night, and brown mush spilled over onto my apron and hand. Sweating, I wiped my forehead, smearing on a huge brown unibrow. “What is a hoochy bowl?” he said to my unibrow. “Hue- ee- ch- oh bowl,” I corrected. I said this extra slowly. “It’s a burrito in a bowl.” “I’ll take a meat hoochy bowl.” His eyes roamed down to my breasts. “And what kind of meat would you like? “Meat hoochy bowl.” He was confused. So was I. His wife, who stood on his right, talked to him like a small child. “Dear, what kind of meat would you like for your hoochy bowl?” “Beef.” The word came out as a primal, manly grunt. A piece of spit hurled itself onto my cheek.

“And what’s your name, sir?” I asked. “Sexy Thang,” he beamed. His wife rolled her eyes. I wrote it down, all serious-like. Rainbow Child, Clark Kent, Justin Bieber and Oh Baby all congregate at this restaurant for their weekly huicho bowls. I slid the sheet onto the order rack and looked above the dish pit at the clock. Only six minutes since I last checked. Marvin and the oven were really getting it on at that point. They wailed in the background at the top of their lungs. I turned off the beeper. As if insulted by this, Marvin became silent. Michael Jackson entered next. “A-B-C, it’s easy as one, two, three.” I turned to the next person and smiled. “Would you like that with rice and beans or a salad?” Michael continued singing the ABCs. “And what kind of meat would you like?” It’s easy as . . .

“Chicken, chorizo, beef, or pulled pork?” One, two, three. “And what’s your name?” Michael sang, “Get up girl! Show me what you can do!” I yelled at Michael, “No, it’s not that easy!” Rainbow Child howled an “amen!” One of his teeth had a bean stuck in it. This made him look oddly sexy, like Johnny Depp from that pirate movie. Justin Bieber was groaning along to MJ, moonwalking drunkenly across one of the plastic tables. I shouldn’t have given him that last tequila shot. Clark Kent sauntered up to the counter, leaned over the register, and told me he liked my hair clip. His burrito breath blew into my face. I wondered if he really was Superman and could rescue me. And then I realized I am supposed to be saving myself.

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October 25, 2012 MARTLET • HUMOUR 19



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20 HUMOUR • MARTLET October 25, 2012