Should all university staff make a living wage?
THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA’S INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FEBRUARY 28, 2013 • VOLUME 65 • ISSUE 25 • MARTLET.CA
V SFU-based report calls for university wage policy that reflects cost of living > VANESSA HAWK A report encouraging Simon Fraser University (SFU) to become the first campus in Canada to pay all its employees a living wage rather than minimum wage is currently under review by that university. The Living Wage for Families Campaign by First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and its faction at SFU put forward the research report on Feb. 20, calling for SFU to give all employees the living wage for Metro Vancouver: $19.14 per hour. A living wage is the hourly rate at which a family can afford basic needs according to the region’s cost of living. Victoria’s Community Social Planning Council used the same methods as the SFU study and found that the 2012 living wage in Victoria was $18.07 per hour; it has steadily increased since 2006, while the province’s minimum wage reached $10.25 per hour in May 2012 after a series of increases. Living wages are meant to address child and family poverty that results from low-wage work. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), which published a 2012 update to its “Working for a Living Wage” report, B.C. has had the highest rates of child poverty in Canada for the last eight years, and, in 2009, 43 per cent of poor children lived in families with at least one adult working full time. Michael McCarthy Flynn, who helped start the SFU Living Wage Campaign a little over a year
ago and was the primary author of the campaign’s report, says educational institutions can play a positive role in the community and can use social policies to combat poverty. “We’re hoping that this will be an inspiration for other universities and other [educational] institutions to develop similar campaigns,” says McCarthy Flynn. “It isn’t just SFU. All institutions would employ some low-wage workers, and we feel that it’s perfectly manageable to address this through a living wage policy.” For Victoria, the calculation of living wage is based on a typical family in the Capital region consisting of two adults working full time and two children under the age of 10, one of whom requires child-care, according to Statistics Canada demographics. Living wages are re-calculated each year to suit updated costs of living. Only the necessities are accounted for, such as housing, child-care, food, clothing, transportation and health care. Longterm and extra expenses like children’s education, mortgages, retirement savings, credit card bills and debt are not included in the living wage. The SFU report looks at other institutions that have implemented a living wage policy. These include all eight U.S. Ivy League schools and 14 other top universities in the U.S., 13 institutions in the U.K. and 28 corporate and non-profit organizations in Vancouver. The SFU study found that jobs in food, janitorial and security services, as well as research as-
sistant positions at SFU, often do not pay living wage rates. Of the low-wage workers included in the SFU study, 73 per cent earned less than the living wage, and both maintenance workers and janitorial staff earned less than the industry average in B.C. The majority of CUPE Local 917 positions, which comprise approximately 500 maintenance, security, janitorial and food service positions at UVic, pay more than Victoria’s $18.07 per hour living wage, with the exception of house worker and lifeguard positions and a few others. Junior academic and science research assistants, however, make $14.25 per hour after a lower-paid probationary period. Some research assistant positions, often filled by graduate students or recent alumni, are paid by third-party organizations, such as government internship programs. “One of the areas that we looked at was research assistant,” says McCarthy Flynn. “They gave us very similar stories to the other workers — that they had struggles making ends meet, that they were often in poverty, that they often had to decide whether they paid for food for their family or paid for rent. Some of them indicated that they had to survive by going to food banks.” Student work study positions at UVic are paid at least $11 per hour to a maximum of 340 hours between September and April, or roughly
$110 per week over the academic year. However, some positions offer department top-ups to that wage, and positions designated by CUPE pay $11.58 per hour. “One way to help people on low wages is to increase wages, but another way is to reduce their expenses,” says McCarthy Flynn. “The two biggest items on the living wage calculation are child-care and housing. So, if we had more social housing and more affordable child-care, their expenses would be reduced, and in turn the living wage would be reduced.” According to a living wage study by Victoria’s Community Social Planning Council, a threebedroom rental with utilities and insurance plus child-care accounts for over 40 per cent of a basic monthly budget based on a living wage income. As a poverty reduction strategy, living wage policies have drawbacks in that they do not help people who are unemployed or unable to work. “Poverty is a complex issue that affects numerous types of people, and there are different types of solutions,” says McCarthy Flynn. “A living wage . . . is probably the most important one for those who suffer from low-wage poverty, but obviously it’s not going to affect seniors or people on welfare, so they would have to have other solutions.” Other poverty reduction strategies include raised minimum wages, guaranteed annual income, the universal child-care benefit and a negative income tax.
KELSEY MECH SOLE UVSS CHAIRPERSON CANDIDATE (P. 4)
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Armed forces veteran cautions against smart meters > TIA LOW Smart meters, which record electrical consumption and transmit the data to B.C. Hydro periodically, have been a contentious issue for some B.C. residents who feel they have been forced to install the wireless technology in their homes despite having concerns about unknown health and safety hazards, particularly from the electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Retired Canadian Armed Forces captain Jerry Flynn gave a presentation in Victoria on Feb. 20 about the dangers of longterm EMR exposure. Flynn spent 22 years of his career specializing in electronic warfare and radio warfare. Presenting to a crowd of around 250 people in the St. Andrew’s Regional High School gym, he said he was compelled to come out of retirement after doing research on smart meters. All of what he presented can be found online from various sources; the research is not his own. Much of the research on adverse health issues that stem from EMR is based on cell towers and cellphone use. There are currently no studies about the health impact of smart meters — a reason why some residents don’t want them. Both the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters and the Citizens for Safe Technology organized the Flynn presentation. In an email to the Martlet, Victoria resident Sherry Ridout, who has signed a Citizens for Safe Technology petition, wrote, “I am not opposed to technology but feel we need to be cautious with new developments until we learn more about their accumulative affects on humans and the environment. We humans are quick to jump on the bandwagon only to find out after that a precautionary stance would have been better for all concerned.” In 2011, the International Agency for Re-
search on Cancer reported that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on the increased risk for a type of brain cancer associated with cellphone use. This is the only such research acknowledged on the Health Canada website, which also states more studies on the topic are needed. Since B.C. Hydro announced in 2010 that it would be making the switch to smart meters, opponents have been vocal. “It is apparent that it is up to us, the public, to take action through educating ourselves, demanding action through our elected officials, refusing to buy dangerous wireless products and, finally, protests. This is too important for us to ignore any longer,” said Sharon Noble, the director for the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters. B.C. Hydro has stated that 20 years of exposure to a smart meter is equivalent to 30 minutes of cellphone use. Conversely, Flynn cited statements by nuclear policy lecturer Daniel Hirsch of the University of California Santa Cruz, who has said some reports comparing cellphone use to smart meter exposure don’t use consistent units of measurement, so they don’t provide accurate results. In January, B.C. Hydro announced that it would no longer be forcing the installation of smart meters on residents who do not consent to it. Ninety-five percent of residents in B.C. already have smart meters installed. Concerns about smart meters aren’t limited to the impacts of EMR exposure; people are also worried about protection of personal data, fire hazards, corporate conflicts of interest and billing problems, among other issues. Ridout said she is “heartened” by this decision. “But that comes after installing them without consent on millions of home owners; many would have not consented if they knew anything about them and are now wondering how they can get them removed,” she wrote.
Jerry Flynn, a retired Canadian Armed Forces captain specializing in radio warfare, spoke about the risks associated with smart meters on Feb. 20.
February 28, 2013 MARTLET • NEWS 3
For more UVSS election coverage, check out the Martlet's candidate questionnaires online at martlet.ca.
Only one candidate for chairperson in upcoming UVSS election Students must still vote on current Director-at-Large Kelsey Mech as chair > TIA LOW It’s the time of year again for students to exercise their democratic rights. Elections for the UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) open March 6, and students will be able to vote on the candidates hoping to fill the executive and director-atlarge positions on the Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Governors and UVic Senate positions. The Martlet’s candidate questionnaires and responses will be available on Martlet.ca.
THE CHAIRPERSON CANDIDATE Fourth-year Biology and Environmental Studies student Kelsey Mech is running to be the next UVSS chairperson. Mech has a history of working for environmental and sustainability issues on campus, particularly as a director of student group Common Energy UVic, and has held one of the 11 director-at-large positions for the past year. “I’ve learned how important it is to work with multiple stakeholders from all different backgrounds to achieve any progress,” says Mech. “I have really valued that experience as director-at-large.” If elected, Mech says she wants to continue her work with sustainability and create a voice for students with the administration of the university. In the last year, Mech chaired the environmental sustainability council of the UVSS, trying to ensure students have a say in the physical changes at UVic through campus planning — including the $2-million Student Union Building (SUB) renovation project — within the next year; she hopes to continue this as the chairperson of UVSS. Mech, who currently holds a position on the UVic Senate, is also interested in social sustainability, which includes advocating for more gender-inclusive washrooms like the ones implemented in the SUB last August and reaching out to groups that may feel underrepresented. “As chair especially, I need to set my own experiences and feelings aside and just really be fair and equitable to everybody,” she adds. As director-at-large, she advocated for increased late-night study spaces and adding a second bus loop on campus, both of which will come up during campus planning in the next year and which Mech’s slate, EDGE, will continue to work on if elected. There is a second slate in this year’s elections, IgniteUVic, which did not put forward a chairperson candidate. IgniteUVic’s platform includes lowering student fees by $20 and attracting major food and beverage outlets to campus. During Mech’s time on the board, the UVSS made some decisions that resulted in controversy. Last December, the Catholic Student Association (CSA) distributed some booklets that the board felt were in violation of harassment policy. The board passed a motion that included asking the CSA to apologize, which raised ac-
Kelsey Mech is the sole candidate for UVSS chairperson, a situation chief deputy electoral officer Shawn Slavin calls rare. cusations of censorship. Mech says she believes the harassment policy is very strong and plans to uphold such policies as chair. “ ‘What is harassment?’ is a difficult question to answer. It’s very much a case-by-case basis,” she says, adding that some complaints were filed about the booklets. “I would really, really hate to have to feel the need as a board to censor a group in any way . . . beyond that, I really support a safe space on campus,” says Mech, who defines safety as “the ability to express your individuality in whatever shape or form that may be without feeling negative pressure from other people.” Mech says she is just starting to dig her teeth into policy development, but looks forward to hearing feedback on policy from students. “To be honest, I do have a lot of learning to do in the next couple months . . . I haven’t thought about it a lot in detail what needs to be changed.” The UVSS chairperson receives a $26 299 annual salary.
THE ALTERNATIVE While Mech is the only student in the running for chairperson this year, students may vote
yes to acclamate her as chairperson, or no if they prefer another option. The last time only one candidate ran for chairperson of the UVSS was the 2003 election. Jude Coates was elected chairperson that year with 1 319 yes votes and 249 no. In an interview with the Martlet and CFUV, the chief deputy electoral officer of UVSS, Shawn Slavin, explained the electoral office is independent of the UVSS and oversees anything elections-related that involves the UVSS. This includes referenda and elections to the board of directors. The UVSS electoral office also assists with administering the UVic Senate and Board of Governors student elections, which happen concurrently with the UVSS board elections. Slavin says it is not the electoral office’s responsibility to encourage nominations. Slavin notes a big drop in students running for elections beginning with last year’s election. This time, there are two sole candidates for executive positions: the chairperson and the executive director of external relations positions. This is rare, particularly for the chairperson role. The sole candidate for chairperson still has to be elected, which implies she still needs to campaign to earn votes. In previous years, the
chairperson candidates would participate in a debate and answer questions from the Martlet and CFUV. This will not happen this year because, says Slavin, “We felt it would not be a fair opportunity to all candidates to just be like, ‘We’re putting on this event for one candidate to promote herself.’ ” Instead of a debate, the electoral office will extend the Q&A period for Mech at the all-candidates forum at Cinecenta on March 4 at 12:30 p.m. Nominations closed on Feb. 8 revealing only one chair candidate, but Slavin is still unsure what will happen if Mech is not elected. “I believe what would happen is that a director-at-large might fill that position temporarily, and a byelection will have to take place in the fall. [But] I’m not positive about that,” says Slavin. Voting will be done online only with a NetLink ID and password at webvote.uvic.ca. The voting period begins at 9 a.m. on March 6. For UVSS Board of Directors, the voting periods ends at 9 a.m. on March 7. For senate and board of governors, the voting period ends at 4:30 p.m. on March 8. Voter turnout for the election was 21 per cent last year. This was higher than it had been since 2001, when voter turnout was 25.15 per cent.
UVSS Board down four members after round of resignations > SHANDI SHIACH Three elected UVSS directors-at-large resigned their positions two months early on Feb. 25 at a board meeting not listed in the regular schedule. Tribesty Nguyen, one of the directors who resigned, received 1 576 votes back in March 2012, more than any other director-at-large candidate who ran concurrently. “The board isn’t healthy for me right now,” said Nguyen. He feels his time is not best spent in active board participation at this time.
4 NEWS • MARTLET February 28, 2013
Justin Fontaine, elected by 1 474 votes, and Andrew Fortune, elected by 1 445 votes, were the other two directors to step down last Monday. Fortune was not present when the board accepted his resignation, and Fontaine declined comment. Society for Students with a Disability (SSD) representative Leah Grantham also recently left her position on the board. That vacancy has been filled by an emergency hire of the SSD, Pamela Savage, but with Executive Director of Finance and Operations Ariel Tseng on unpaid leave, the board is still down four members.
“I thought that it wasn’t the right type of advocacy for me. I think that it takes a special kind of talent to thrive in that particular type of student advocacy,” says Grantham. She feels she’s more the type of advocate to be outside protesting with a sandwich board than sitting in meetings getting things done bureaucratically. Chairperson Emily Rogers says she’s disappointed to see board members step down but recognizes that personal well-being must be prioritized. “Given the complexity and weight of the issues that we deal with on a daily basis,”
says Rogers, “being on the board can be incredibly taxing on one’s emotional, physical and mental resources. I support the decisions of the directors and am grateful for what they have contributed over the last 10 months.” Campaigning for positions on the 2013–2014 board of directors is currently underway, with webvote polls opening March 6. To read a full description of Nguyen’s reasons for resigning, visit martlet.ca.
What should the UVSS focus on next year?
Second year (on hiatus) Social Sciences There’s not a whole lot of notice about the different clubs that go on. Although there is Club Day, I don’t know how well known the student union makes that. I went here last year, and I didn’t know what was going on, really, not that I really put myself out there. If there’s stuff kind of more spread out, not just in the Student Union Building, but spread out in actual class buildings and classrooms, so people who might not necessarily care enough to come to the SUB to check out what’s going on could still see what catches their eye.
Third year Financial Math Everybody’s going to have to talk about the sustainability issue. I think some more important things are to stimulate the university’s total [gross domestic product] GDP, give the students the proper opportunities in that sense. Other than that, I think the UVSS should invest in their students and give them opportunities and attempt to create a green model for the university.
KELSEY LEE Third year Social Sciences, Pre-Business We don’t really know exactly what they do. I feel like a lot of people might not. But I don’t want to be like, “You should just make yourself more well known.”
KRISTEN KANES Fourth year Biology I think that the UVSS, for things that it wants to spend lots of money on, should do more fundraising and less taking money from the entire population, even students who are graduating and won’t get to use what they’re spending their money on. And also, for fundraising events, one thing I noticed a lot in first year was there’s a lot of UVSS fundraising events that happen in 19-plus areas, and there’s a lot of students that that’s not accessible to, because they’re either not old enough to drink, or they suffer with alcoholism, or, you know, other reasons that they can’t go to drinking areas, when the event doesn’t have anything to do with alcohol, and is just a way to raise money. And I think that’s a really inefficient way to raise money if you’re making it inaccessible to a lot of people who would donate.
DIRK SLOT Third year Chemistry One thing that [the UVSS] needs to improve over last year is, not big events, but small events. They need get more advertising out because, for instance, Clubs Days: there wasn’t a big turnout for that. There’s usually more emphasis on getting it happening, but not promoting it. ’Cause I know there was a low turnout for Clubs Days. But . . . it shouldn’t be that way. Just the simple things need to be promoted more than the big things. The big things will fall in.
> DOCUMENTED BY JP ZACHARIAS
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SPORTS & LIFESTYLE
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Other B.C. schools have softball teams — why not UVic? UVic student seeks softball players for women’s team > ALEX KURIAL UVic boasts a wide range of varsity sport options, including basketball, soccer, rugby and swimming, among others. It also has dozens of club sports. However, there is a glaring omission of one of the most popular sports in Canada, especially for women: softball. That could all change soon, however, thanks to efforts by second-year student Sarah Lewanski to ensure softball comes to UVic and perhaps even see it one day become a varsity sport. Softball has been part of Lewanski’s life since she was seven. When she started applying to universities, she was disappointed to learn that UVic did not have a varsity or even a club softball team. In fact, the only form of softball available at UVic is in the form of slow-pitch intramurals, far below the skill level Lewanski hoped for. The lack of softball at UVic leaves few options for women wishing to pursue the game in Victoria. The Victoria Women’s Fastball League offers a 13team competitive level of play during the summer months. Lewanski is hoping to put together a team for the upcoming season; however, the games’ timing often conflicts with students’ summer work commitments, and a summer season does not work for the many students who return home for the season. While UVic does not offer a men’s baseball team either, there are more options for men looking to play baseball in Victoria, including the Peninsula Baseball and Softball Association and Victoria Mavericks Baseball Association. Lewanski coaches at the Victoria Fastball Club, home of the Devils, which runs junior teams at the Squirt, Peewee, Bantam and Midget levels. It also offers a women’s fall ball league, in which Lewanski’s Devils team will participate this fall. However, Lewanski says the potential for growing the sport and attracting student athletes would be much greater if UVic had a team of its own. “There’s so many girls who want to play,” says Lewanski. “The Devils Association had six girls age out last year, and they all went to UVic. They all would have wanted to play on a team if
UVic student Sarah Lewanski hopes to start a UVic women's softball team, saying, "There's so many girls who want to play." there was one.” This is in addition to the many prospective players Lewanski knows already attend UVic. With players who have graduated from the Devils program, as well as a constant feed of new students, she says the demand for softball is certainly high enough to warrant a team. She estimates she has around 20 girls ready to join a team, and aims to grow that number through her connections with the Devils organization. Lewanski also believes a softball team could attract students from elsewhere in B.C. and the surrounding areas, such as Alberta and Washington, who might otherwise choose a university with a softball program like Simon Fraser University or the University of British Columbia. “It would definitely make more girls want to come here. I definitely think it would be a draw,” she says. With the demand clearly present, the next issue
to be tackled is finances. Lewanski doesn’t believe this should be a turnoff in integrating a softball team. “Once you buy the equipment [at about $150 per player], you have it forever. You don’t need to buy new ones every year. Girls buy their own cleats, their own gloves, their own bats; once I supply the uniforms and bases, we don’t need to buy anything else.” She adds she would try to find sponsors to cover equipment costs. One obstacle to overcome, however, will be getting an appropriate field, something for which starting costs are in the tens of thousands of dollars. The current baseball field at UVic is made up of AstroTurf, while softball requires a shale infield. A suitable location for the softball diamond would also need to be found. Further complicating the matter is that a men’s varsity baseball team would likely need a separate field due to the game’s different field dimensions. This would bring up further cost and location issues.
If fields could be secured, Lewanski is optimistic that a UVic women’s softball team, as well as a men’s baseball team, could be a reality in the near future. “I think it could happen really soon. I just need to get the word out there for all the girls,” says Lewanski. Lewanski’s vision for the future of women’s softball doesn’t stop with the creation of a UVic team. She hopes to see other softball squads form at schools on Vancouver Island, such as Camosun and Vancouver Island University (VIU). “What I’m hoping for later in a couple years is . . . we could make a fall ball league with all the other universities and colleges on the Island and maybe SFU, maybe UBC.” For now, Lewanski’s main goal remains to bring a softball team to UVic and give women the opportunity to pursue their athletic goals.
UVic Curling Club offers student-tailored recreation > ROWAN GRANT It may sound natural to hear university students dismiss curling as “not their thing.” They might say that it moves too slowly for them or that it lacks the flair of a certain other popular Canadian ice sport. Perhaps they know it as the game their grandparents play on the weekend and don’t consider it a sport for people their age. Trystyn Berg, president of the UVic Curling Club, is out to suggest the opposite: that in almost every way, the sport offers the perfect pastime for the university student. First, he says, its mental and strategic aspects, as well as its reputation as a thinking person’s game, complement the student lifestyle, which already requires endless amounts of planning and critical thinking. “[Curling] is a sport where you’re always
thinking. It allows its participants to get the strategies and develop short- and long-term planning skills that are useful to any student,” says Berg, president since 2009. “The club is about getting students off campus and into a social environment where they are required to focus on a challenging game instead of schoolwork,” says Berg. While curling may not come across as a physical sport on TV, Berg says the game also serves as a perfect activity for getting rid of high levels of stress students know all too well. “When you’re piled up under assignments and studying, nothing feels better than throwing a couple of hard-hitters,” he says. “Curling is more physically demanding than it looks, and after all that sweeping and throwing and sliding, you feel a lot less stressed out by the end of a game.” Students seeking a new hobby and possibly
6 SPORTS & LIFESTYLE • MARTLET February 28, 2013
new friends will be pleased with the UVic Curling Club’s unique social dynamic. As a mostly recreational club that meets one night a week, it accommodates players of all levels, and those who come alone with no experience are introduced to the sport through a free group lesson. After players are grouped in teams of four, the club carries out its season in a round-robin format while continuing to welcome new players with free lessons. This gives students looking to meet people the perfect opportunity to do so, according to Berg. The club divides its experienced players evenly among teams, so newcomers have the opportunity to learn the sport from skilled curlers — as well as win games. “We try and balance the skill level between teams by giving each team an experienced player,” Berg says. “This way everyone has a mentor that can help them. The club is meant
for all levels of experience, and we want to help everyone learn as much as they want.” For experienced curlers, the club puts together teams to compete in friendlies against local clubs, like the Victoria Curling Club, and in interuniversity matches. Next season, Berg hopes to recruit enough talent to have a team compete in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Canada West Playdowns, the winners of which compete at the Canadian Championship Events. The club’s season ends on March 3 and will restart next September. For fast-thinking, overstressed students seeking a new hobby or new friends, curling may offer the recreational fulfillment they can’t find anywhere else. “Just come try it,” Berg urges. “You can’t judge this sport until you’ve tried it.” Students interested in joining the UVic Curling Club can email Berg at email@example.com.
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Spring break is, for some, the fabulous noncommittal period when you fly off to an exotic destination and hump someone with an accent in an unfamiliar setting. Words like “getaway” and “all-inclusive” come to mind as you picture yourself, youthful, fabulously tanned and being coated in baby oil by someone even more tanned than you. This is only the case if you’re one of the lucky few with trust funds, generous parents or loose morals regarding credit card debt. For the rest of us, there are road trips: the closest thing you can get to a vacation using half the cash. Now, there are all kinds of road trips: the solo burning-the-midnight-oil kind, the group of friends and a lot of bad decisions kind, and the romantic getaway kind. Being that the first two usually only involve sex with strangers passing the night (otherwise known as “no strings attached”), I’m going to focus on the latter. First off, “romantic” is perhaps not the right word to describe this kind of road trip. There will be tons of sex: sex in hotel rooms, sex in cars, sex in bathrooms with regrettable levels of cleanliness and much, much more (if you’re feeling adventurous). But, you will also have to poop. That’s right, folks. The thing that everybody does and very few admit to doing. The shitty (pun intended) thing about road trips is that you become a being dominated by bodily needs. A small stomach and a steel bladder are your two biggest allies, but who the hell has those? Close quarters mean taking the next step up the relationship ladder and revealing aspects of your very un-sexy humanity. For those lovers who don’t live together, this is a make or break event. Multiple days in close quarters mean not being able to hide anything. One minute it’s all sunshine and new adventures, and the next minute you’re peeing not-so-discreetly behind a car door while trying to avoid eye contact with the truckers passing by. But the great news is, if your road trip partner(s) still want to hump you after that, you are going to have a good time. You’ll never look at a hotel room quite the same after you explore all the nooks and crannies it has to offer, if you know what I mean. And the shower sex! Oh, the shower sex. The only thing better than a hot shower after a long day of driving is humping somebody’s brains out when you lather, rinse and repeat. So enjoy the ride, and look forward to a summer road trip and a Student Bawdy guide to pitching tents.
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The best in bad guys > JACK DERRICOURT
B.C.’s new budget and you The B.C. Liberals released their provincial budget on Feb. 19, which they are promoting as a measured attempt to rein in the deficit while supporting British Columbian families as part of Premier Christy Clark’s campaign platform. As the guide for how our 7 per cent PST (among other taxes) is spent, it’s an important look at where the provincial government plans to go from here on out — assuming the Liberals stay in power long enough to implement it. There’s been lots of coverage of how the new budget helps families, but as university students, we are bound to ask: what can students look forward to in the 2013/14–2015/16 budget? Much has been made of the government offering one-time funding of $1 200 for RESPs for prospective students — sadly, if you’re over the age of six, you don’t make the cut. So, what does the budget mean for students and their universities right now? In terms of government pressure to find savings, not much has changed from 2012, when the government stated it would work with post-secondary institutions to find savings of $50 million by 2014/2015. The government has now stated it will bump back the final deadline for reaching $50 million in savings to 2015/2016, giving schools a little more time to scrimp, save and ultimately compromise the educational experience for thousands of students. Sure, the government claims the cuts will not affect research, students or education programs. But nothing exists in a vacuum at a university (unless you’re talking about a vacuum in a physics lab); cuts are cuts, and they are felt everywhere. In terms of funding in the immediate future, taxpayer-supported capital spending is scheduled to increase for 2013/2014 in most budget areas, including K–12 education and B.C. Transit, but will decrease for post-secondary education — by $191 million compared to 2012/2013. Even though taxpayer-supported capital spending is slated to increase for higher education by 2016 — the end date for the three-year budget — it will still be $76 million less than the $749 million updated forecast for this fiscal year. Meanwhile, the government expects revenue from post-secondary education fees will increase every year by, on average, $47 million, while the number of student spaces decreases. Despite Amazon’s stock price, it turns out you still have to make money to spend money, and the new budget is also a little weak on where revenue might come from. Aside from the sale of unspecified government-held land and assets, the budget also relies on an optimistic outlook on revenues generated by natural gas exports. It’s hard to believe that the market for that resource will be so stable, especially over such a long period of time, not to mention the possible environmental impact of natural gas development in the province. And it’s not as if B.C. is the only place that produces the stuff — China can get natural gas for a cheaper price from Australia and Russia. Though we might be dismayed now to see this year’s numbers, it’s important to remember that preelection budgets are often nothing but fluff. The May election is only two-and-a-half months away, and government projections are so often wrong.
VOLUME 65 • ISSUE 25
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Richard III is back from the grave. No, I’m not talking about a heap of bones found beneath Parking Lot A, Leicester, England. The new Netflix-exclusive series House of Cards offers audiences a protagonist equal to scheming old Richard or any heavy-hitting bad guy anti-hero HBO can throw at television viewers. During the show’s first scene, our man, dressed in sharp evening dress, throttles a dog injured in a hit-and-run. He is Senator Frank J. Underwood, and he has a lot more than just mercy killings up his sleeve. The senator seems like the next contender in a line of dastardly television anti-heroes: Tony Soprano, Dexter, Nucky Thompson. Frank can swear and shout with the best of them, pulling the strings on each of his political puppets all the while. But this politician is more than just brutish; the senator represents a type of character that stretches beyond the television anti-hero into the realm of ancient myth. Frank is a trickster, an archetype from mythology that lives to create chaos and come out ahead. According to Alexander Eliot’s The Universal Myths, trickster figures appear in folk tales to shake things up, displacing the established order of man and nature, using the weapon of words to accomplish their deceit. The gods or creatures that lay the trickery on thick advance society — taking the unbeaten
path to undermine the equilibrium and push mankind forward — whether their acts are kind or malignant.
LETTERS RACIAL EXCLUSIVITY CROSSES A LINE In late January, a friend and I went to a movie night hosted by the Students of Colour Collective (SOCC) at UVic. When we arrived, a host told us the event was for community building and not open to the public. This host explained it was only open to people of colour and indigenous people, and with that asked my friend and I to leave. This individual apologized for the inconvenience, said they didn’t want to assume our backgrounds and added that they were sorry, but it was a closed event. My friend and I both appear “white,” but we are both Indigenous. We left feeling unwelcome. We didn’t feel comfortable testifying to our
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8 OPINIONS • MARTLET February 28, 2013
Ulysses and the Polynesian hero Maui outwitted every strange, one-eyed beast that came their way. In one story, famous from New Zealand to Hawaii, Maui even tried to take on death, hacking at its jaws with a weapon made from the bones of his grandmother. I can easily see Frank taking on his own mortality, swinging a piece of a dead relative — or maybe he’d just have an unpaid intern do it for him. Coyote and Raven are two famous aboriginal tricksters; both use language as a weapon, manipulating gods and humans to do their bidding and reaping the rewards of their ingenuity. This is the kind of scheming and fast-talking Frank lives for: he never appears happier than when he outwits whatever giant political machine lies in his path, toppling allies and enemies alike along the way. The senator for North Carolina is a refreshing kind of character, one that is rarely put to work in a television series so well. Al Swearengen was a solid trickster figure – but the writers of Deadwood fell too much in love with the barkeep, and the show turned into Alapalooza by the third season. I’m confident House of Cards will continue as it started: balancing the plots with Shakespearean grace and preventing Frank’s asides from curdling with overuse. Senator Underwood may be the best baddie yet, a type of anti-hero that’s both relatively novel and archetypal at the same time. We’ll have to see what new trickery he has in store as season two unfolds. President Underwood?
aboriginalness in front of a room full of people who just watched us essentially be kicked out of the movie night. In my opinion, we experienced extreme racism from a student group that claims to “actively work against oppression.” After scouring the SOCC website, I could not locate any information on “closed events,” but this idea in itself seems racist and highly exclusionary. If a room of “white” people told a person of colour they were not welcome due to their racial appearance, uproar would result. Racially closed events should not happen on our campus. Victoria Perrie UVic student
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Dealing with grief > MICHAEL MILLER Feb. 1 marked the 10th anniversary of an event that has had more impact on my life than any other. On Feb. 1 in 2003, when I was in the 10th grade at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, a group of kids from my grade were on a school ski trip near Rogers Pass in the Columbia Mountains. The group, consisting of 14 students and three adults, was caught in an avalanche, and seven of the 14 students died. My school wasn’t very large — we only had about 80 students in the entire grade. Everyone knew everyone. In addition, my school went from Grades 1 to 12; I had been there since the fourth grade and had known and been friends with some of those who died. When I first heard the news, I didn’t react. I just couldn’t process it. It took a little while for the reality of it to fully sink in, but I remember exactly when it did. I was just walking up the stairs of my house to my room, and at the top of the stairs it hit me. I collapsed, sobbing. Everyone was affected. They might not have been close with all who died, but it was impossible to find someone at the school who was not close with some of the victims. Because of this, we supported each other, the school supported us, our families supported us and we could relate to and help each other. We knew our pain was not our own — that it was shared by everyone. The sense of community that was formed out of this tragedy never disappeared. These were the first friends I had who lost their lives too soon, but they were not the last. What I have really become aware of is that losses such as these happen often. The scale of tragedy that struck my grade was rare, but many of us have had friends die. No matter the size, it is still a tragedy, but as we move into larger environments, the loss of a friend does not reverberate across a community of 18 000 the way it does in one of 80. I will never forget the friends I have lost. I do not think that anyone who has lost a friend will forget. I tend not to discuss the friends I have lost with people who did not know them. I avoid stories from my youth that involve them because these memories have such an emotional aspect to them. But I don’t think I should. We hear about losses, we see crosses beside roads, but most of the time we never know who they were or feel their absence affect our lives. In the same way, it can be difficult to talk about the losses you have felt with people who did not go through the same thing. It is isolating to keep your grief to yourself. We shouldn’t prevent ourselves from talking about our loss if we feel the need. Sharing who our friends were allows us to remember their lives instead of focusing on their deaths. I have had too many friends die, and I couldn’t write this article without breaking into tears. But I want to say, if you have lost anyone and you feel alone, you are not. While I may not have shared your loss, or you mine, we have both shared the same experience, and in that way we can empathize with and support one another.
lil bub thinks it’s cool
The politically correct society A Mild Suggestion > SEAN WEEKS Today’s world is filled with far too much controversy. Hacks of artists and opinionated devil’s advocates run rampant over society, pitting races, sexes and creeds against one another in a cruel battle of wills that leaves nobody unoffended. What our culture must do to combat this insanity is clear. We must sterilize our media and phase out profane influences. I shall put forth a few suggestions to this effect in this, a Mild Suggestion. In entertainment, any thematic or topical messages should be stifled, as messages invariably discriminate against existing viewpoints or persons. Characters in plays, movies and books are to have no defined religion, ethnicity, or acknowledged features (beauty, obesity, etc.), and their names and genders are to be obscured. Stories are to take place exclusively in the present in order to avoid historical gaffes such as slavery or apartheid. Furthermore, complaints against entertaining narratives are to be silenced, as they discriminate against the writer’s vocation. Art criticism will be a fortunate casu-
alty, with the common man finally safe from the assaults on his favourite films and taste, and we shall once again be able to fool ourselves into thinking that Donnie Darko is a fantastic film. Political elections, a form of persecution of personality, should proceed normally by necessity. However, those who vote for a winner should send a letter of commiseration to the loser apologizing for their choice and expressing confidence that the losing candidate’s personality is fantastic, that they have a nice smile, that their children must be very handsome, etc. Most importantly, the voter’s letter must characterize their choice as a mishap, turning the victor’s triumph into the result of a misaddressed ballot rather than of disapproval of someone else’s political opinions. In the world of public information, news services should be careful to strip crime reportage of commentary that suggests bias and instead couch events in detached, passive terms. A man did not “shoplift” — certain items were carried away from a store and found in someone’s bag. An executive did not “embezzle” — certain funds wandered from their rightful place in one account and were discovered in another. Brutus
and his cohorts did not commit “murder” on the steps of the Roman Forum — their knives were merely misplaced in Caesar’s belly. Offences will thus appear accidental and not prejudiced by circumstance. As an extension of this, we will have to disband the courts: they’re too caught up in nasty details like “judgment,” “motive” and “context.” Punishments are instead to be carried out wordlessly and autocratically, so as to appear incidental to the crime. This is a way to dispense with racial, social or political commentary that might slight a disadvantaged group such as dictators. These notions will sustain us until we are able to cut away our traits, defining features and bodies and evolve into blobs, which will communicate by vibrations and secretions. Eventually, though, the quandary of political correctness will resurface with the self-awareness of inanimate objects. We shall have to ask ourselves whether or not it is the fault of the gun that it was born to shoot, and, by extension, whether guns kill people or people kill people. Either we take these actions, or maybe, just maybe, we realize that we don’t have to agree with everything we hear, read, say . . . or write.
February 28, 2013 MARTLET • OPINIONS 9
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Local YouTube personality releases rap mixtape > PATRICK CWIKLINSKI When he’s not busy roaming the streets of Victoria searching for the next victim of his ongoing YouTube comedy videos, Yousuf Yousuf is in the studio doing what he does best — rapping. With the Valentine’s Day release of his latest mixtape, House of Hipster, the Victoria rapper known as YYou presents a body of work that ranges in influence from Jay-Z and Kanye West all the way to Coldplay and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “The mixtape is … weird,” says Yousuf. “It’s got a lot of songs people wouldn’t expect to hear a rapper on at all — I prefer to rap on tracks that are in the realm of the fringe.” A natural entertainer, Yousuf has already made a name for himself online thanks to his YouTube videos, which have amassed more than 800,000 views in total. Despite his success producing videos that make people laugh, his music is certainly no joke, even if he kept things relatively casual during the recording process. “The mixtape was a lot of work,” says Yousuf. “But I really realized that my writing as an artist improved when I cared less. I wrote some of my best flows by literally not giving a fuck and just having fun with it.”
While his flow brings to mind a slew of different rappers including Drake, Travie McCoy and even Shyne, Yousuf wants his listeners to hear the range in his voice and hopes to show them he’s not a onedimensional artist who can be easily labelled. “They will never know what the next song I jump on will sound like,” says Yousuf. “I want [listeners] to know that I’m very versatile and not afraid to rap on different music.” The mixtape is an independent release and includes an eclectic blend of hip-hop tracks that operate outside of the standard rap formula that promotes drugs, guns and, shall we say, loose women. “I think my favourite [track] to record was ‘Floating Scorpions’ because it was a track I don’t think people would expect from a hip-hop artist, ever,” says Yousuf. “‘Hentai’ is a track that anyone can relate to — it really helped me release my thoughts on past relationships with different women.” In addition to the mixtape, Yousuf is headed to Los Angeles in late March to participate in the second season of Internet Icon, a major YouTube talent competition, where his two-minute comedy video submission of an Arab prince attempting to seduce college girls was selected along with 19 other entries and will be judged by a panel of famous YouTubers including Ryan Higa, Jenna
The great reveal The writing of TV period dramas > MYLES BLACK “Soap opera” has always been a dirty term, shorthand for our guilty pleasures. But the episodic world of TV drama is very like the respected opera house: the masks are never finished falling. I keep seeing more and more period dramas on TV. Shows like Downton Abbey, The Hour and Mad Men are popular. I find it interesting to see contemporary audiences so eager to project themselves into the past, to emotionally attach themselves to characters and events set 40 years, 50 years or even a century back in time. I imagine the writing of a period drama like manoeuvring Hitchcock’s dolly zoom, where the camera moves physically backward while the lens zooms forward. The writer has to move the audience back in time while projecting their characters forward. They must have one eye on the past and one eye on the future. Their subject, right in the middle, is transformation. These shows are created out of the writers’ earnest desire to reveal to the public a piece of history that has been largely overlooked. They want to show us what life looked like for those involved in the birth of the American advertising industry and British television broadcasting, or the decline of the Edwardian aristocracy. This desire to share reveals new facets of historic events that, for many of us, had previously been but dates in a textbook or vague stories. When I first saw Mad Men, I was impressed by how unapologetic it was. It seemed to be confronting American audiences with the blatant sexism of the country’s past. It wasn’t pointing any fingers, but the writers made no attempt to create a single character without ethical shortcomings. I respected the way they focused on a specific historical setting and pulled all the cobwebs away, even if what they were revealing was unsightly. The period drama writer works like a magician. It is their job to show us the commonplace, something we have seen before, and then pull something new out of it, often with a dramatic flourish. A large part of the writers’ and produc-
10 CULTURE • MARTLET February 28, 2013
ers’ jobs is to make their series continually appealing. More so than in any other genre, each period drama character is required to constantly change. And that change, so that it may be all the more satisfying, must be revealed. Certain key facets of each character’s personality must be unveiled as if they have been there all along, even though we know this to be impossible. As viewers, we know that the show is being written as it goes. The first time we meet Don Draper, in Mad Men’s opening episode, he is just another slick-haired suit smoking in a bar, all subtle hints and foreshadowing. We only gather a sense of who he is slowly, by observing the way he interacts with others. In fact, this revealing process is still underway as we await the sixth series. It’s typical of the ensemble drama that the characters continue to be shaped and moulded even until the finale. The writers are peering into their characters’ futures with the same expectancy as us. Does this not make their job all the more miraculous? To reveal something that they themselves, as creators, did not know was there? In watching the ensemble cast, we are asked to follow the exploits of a collection of very singular heroes. We see them evolve, manoeuvre; we witness their changes, confident that we are getting to truly know them. But we also ask that they have secrets. We ask that they expose themselves to us even when they seem to have exposed all. It’s like lying in bed with someone you’ve known intimately for years, pressing them affectionately to divulge another secret, something they might have held back. With television, it is all the more appreciated when the secret is scandalous; when each episode unfolds like the tragedy of Oedipus. In the beginning of any ensemble drama, we have no characters. We are presented merely with a situation and a system of relationships. The writers are working away with that one eye on the future, looking for the great reveal. Each character develops as their relationships do, slowly becoming themselves. The cast enters and their faces are a series of masks falling slowly, theatrically away.
Yousuf Yousuf, or YYou, has garnered both YouTube followers and attention HUGO WONG for his hip-hop. Marbles and Timothy DeLaGhetto. But despite all his new-found YouTube fame, Yousuf is focused on taking his music to the next level, and that means getting it out to the people who care to listen. “I want to take this music and spread it to the
world. My goal is to become a well-rounded entertainer, and I think I’m slowly laying down the footwork step by step.” House of Hipster is available for free download exclusively at hotnewhiphop.com. Yousuf’s YouTube channel is Yyoulives.
Nothing peculiar about the Odds’ success > BLAKE MORNEAU You probably know Canadian rock icons the Odds. And if you don’t think you do, you probably do anyway. Songs like “It Falls Apart,” “Eat My Brain” and “Love is the Subject,” among others, have burrowed their way into the Canadian consciousness, even though many people can’t place the band that created them. “That’s kind of been the joke of our reemergence since 2007 or so, that whole cliché of ‘Man, I just forgot that you guys did those songs. I didn’t know!’” says Odds vocalist and guitarist Craig Northey, speaking to me from his home in Vancouver. “Drawing a parallel between who we are and what our music is seems to be difficult for people. So [we’re] always having to remind people, ‘You know, we wrote this song. It was us!’” One of those songs, the tender ballad “I Would Be Your Man,” had a profound impact on me during my adolescence. The song became a touchstone for me, something I could return to any time my young, teenage heartsickness came flooding back to me. It was like a friend who was there to teach me it was okay to pine and wouldn’t ever judge me as I let my lonely-boy tears run. There was no way to resist bringing up what this landmark song meant to me during my conversation with Northey. “It’s a great compliment and the biggest compliment anybody can receive — any kind of artist — is that whatever they did becomes part of someone’s life and is a go-to thing for them. My favourite compliments are, ‘When I needed this, I went to my shelf and I took your album off it and I listened to it.’ So that’s great. Thank you. I’m sorry that it made you cry, though.” Despite my clear memories of one of the biggest downers in the Odds’ catalogue, most of the band’s music is laced with humour and wit. Songs like “Heterosexual Man” and “Someone Who’s Cool” utilize playful satire to embed themselves into the listener’s memories. “I think most things that Canadians do,
from our exporting of comedians and things we do in the arts, involves understanding humour as a complex way of communicating,” says Northey. When asked how he and his bandmates write such consistently catchy hooks to accompany that trademark humour, Northey is quick to reveal the secret. “I use a magic wand tool in Photoshop. I drop a song in there and I just put the magic wand tool on it, and then it just changes a few chords,” says Northey with a laugh. “I’ve learned a lot from writing a lot of music over the years. Some people don’t like it, other people like it, but my instincts are tuned toward catchy things. For all of us as a band, because we write together, a lot of things just fall by the wayside — that we don’t explore. Now, the challenge is always to push each other to try something different and see if we can put a new spin on what we’re doing,” says Northey of the Odds’ predilection for catchy power-pop. Releasing music that can cross generational lines and appeal to a large scope of people is not just coincidence. Northey understands where and why those lines are drawn and continues striving to make music that can cross those imaginary borders. “There’s something good in everything. People divide themselves along musical lines and cultural lines; they’re always dividing. ‘This is good. This is isn’t good. This is what my group of people likes and we think that what you like is not good,’” says Northey. “That’s something you learn as you get out of high school and keep going, is that that’s not the way to go. If somebody likes something, there’s something good about it. What is that thing? Go looking for it and find out why — don’t judge it all the time, and it will make your make your life better.”
THE ODDS Upstairs Cabaret (1127 Wharf St.) March 22 @ 7 p.m. $20
Accessories: well worth wearing all year round > KATRINA WONG With Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year both having recently taken place, many people likely received some kind of love-laced necklace or gold family heirloom. There was even a proposal on Holy Ship this year (Google that ship if you haven’t already heard about it). You don’t need a special occasion to whip out those accessories. I have to admit, though: winter makes me lazy. But then I remember my affinity for metal. It wasn’t the first pair of earrings that I stabbed into my ears when I was eight that unleashed this bond between metal and me, oh no — it was Metalli, a company that carries tarnished bronze, silver and gold accessories of all kinds that add edge to any glamorous outfit. (Plus, they had a perpetual 20 per cent discount on all items.) I must apologize, because this particular line is only available in Singapore, where I was raised. Still, I will share what I’ve found to be worthy accessory replacements since my retreat from the equator. VICTORIA - VIOLETTEBOUTIQUE.COM AND JANETTHERESA.COM
find her phantasmal jewelry at Janet Theresa Jewelry (588 Pandora Avenue). WILLIAMSBURG, NEW YORK CATBIRDNYC.COM
page on their website shows readers how to pursue designing a custom piece. The blog is also good for revealing the work that goes on behind the scenes. NEW ZEALAND - ILOVEUGLY.NET
Now, stepping off the Island and into the States, there’s a gem in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that I must introduce you to. Catbird has everything for your accessorial needs. (Yes, it has stuff for men, too.) Catbird reels in masterpieces from all over the world on top of their locally derived loot. Fear not; there’s an online shop, which has a delightful “Surprise me!” link that will lead you to a randomly selected product. A sailor fancy had me fall for the battle diagram ring Catbird carries that’s designed by Digby + Iona. The knuckle rings trend has sprouted there, too. Rose gold, anyone? The prices, however, vary widely — from US $14 into the thousands. Now, why would anyone spend so much money on so little metal? Well, it’s not the kind of street stall you’d find in Seoul selling $3 rings. My advice would be to really save it for someone who deserves it, which includes yourself. Keep it for those in your heart.
A special for gentlemen: I Love Ugly from New Zealand sells anything but ugly. Check out their online store, iloveugly.net, created only last year. Their black nut watch could wrap itself around my wrist anytime, but damn; it’s out of stock. The brand is only a few years, old but I must say it looks promising.
I Love Ugly carries an outrageously sweet selection for those with a thing for caps. I have never seen caps quite like these. The crown becomes worthy of its name with the degree of artistry going on up there with prints of everything from foxhunters to tiny watchdogs. And don’t fret about that little grey out-ofstock box; Deadstock.co.nz, Fallenfront.co.nz and shop.thanksyo.com carry I Love Ugly’s items and then some. Soon be upon us, spring will. So check out these sites, grab an item (or none) and put some mileage on your accessories — don’t wait ‘til the sun graces us with its warmth.
PHILADELPHIA - BARIO-NEAL.COM I’m sure most ladies have already heard of this store, but for those who haven’t: Violette Boutique (1303 Government Street) has an eclectic line of accessories. My personal favourites are Leah Alexandra’s wishbone necklace (with a touch of turquoise) and basically anything made from Pyrrha’s multifarious wax seal collection. Donning something symbolic of the 18th century would be simply sublime. Also, if you missed the February Fox Fair at the Fernwood Community Centre on Feb. 11, Google it to check out the artist lineup, which included the wonderful Janet Theresa. You can
Bario-Neal jewelry, by Anna Bario and Page Neal, is the perfect combination of precious stones and intricate metal. A popular pick for engagements is the knottedrush ring, a simple metal ring with the kind of knot you tie with a cherry stem. Bario and Neal engrave money clips for those shopping for sophisticated lads and make my favourite kind of bracelet: thin and complicated. They do custom work, including a filigree ring with a rose-cut diamond that I dearly admire. Their research blog link from the Custom Work
"Three Graces," a sterling silver Pyrrha pendant carried at Victoria's Violette Boutique, goes for $238, including the chain.
February 28, 2013 MARTLET • CULTURE 11
MARCH 1–23 EVENTS CALENDAR
ELSIE ESQ. VIA FLICKR Learn all about slugs at the "Ugh! A Slug" guided walk on March 14.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1 DECOLONIZING THE LAND This lecture is presented by the UVic Native Students Union (NSU) as part of Indigenous Resurgence Week, which lasts from Feb. 26 to March 2. This event’s featured speaker is Jeff Corntassel, assistant professor in the Indigenous Governance program at UVic. There are a lot more related events happening as well; contact the NSU to find out more. For more info, email email@example.com or visit UVic Native Students Union on Facebook. UVic First Peoples House Ceremonial Hall, 1 p.m. Free.
FRIDAY, MARCH 8 MINECRAFT: THE STORY OF MOJANG (CINECENTA) This looks like a compelling documentary about the popular video game Minecraft. And even if you’ve seen this already, there’s a very good reason to see it again: the director and producer of this film will be at Cinecenta to answer audience questions after the screening. I must admit, I’m not up on my games at all; I actually thought Minecraft was one of those idiotic Facebook games, like Farmville, where I keep seeing annoying posts about other players’ accomplishments (although it seems no one plays it anymore, or is it just that I’ve hidden all those people from my Facebook feed?). Anyway, now I’m realizing what an idiot I am for not knowing about Minecraft. Bad events calendar writer! Bad! For more info, visit cinecenta.com. Cinecenta (UVic Student Union Building), 7:15 p.m. $5.75 (UVSS students).
MONDAY, MARCH 4 – FRIDAY, MARCH 15 IDEAFEST 2013 Do you like using your brain? Chances are you answered that question with “Yes, I do like using my brain.” Okay, we’ve got that covered. The next question is, do you like ideas? Do you like it when good ideas pop out of your own brain, or they pop out of other people’s brains but you hear about them and like them, too? Yes? Good! Then you’ll feel very at home at UVic during the first couple of weeks in March, as you’ll get to hear about a wide range of ideas covering everything from politics to art and science, and much more. For more info, visit uvic.ca/ideafest. UVic campus (various locations). Free. MONDAY, MARCH 11 (AND EVERY MONDAY) MICROSCOPE MONDAYS AT THE SHAW OCEAN DISCOVERY CENTRE If you’re new to Victoria, there usually has to be a compelling reason to go somewhere and explore. Well, if you haven’t really been out to Sidney yet, the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is reason enough to head out in that direction, especially with the octopus and the eels (trust me, the octopus alone is worth the trip). But those are just the big guys — Microscope Mondays shows all the little critters you can’t see so well with the naked eye. Some people complain that the sea monkeys they had when they were kids were just boring little brine shrimp; if you didn’t find your sea monkeys to be at all boring, then this will be a great way to spend a Monday afternoon. For more info, visit oceandiscovery.ca/events or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre (9811 Seaport Place, Sidney), 10 – 4 p.m. $15 adults, $8 youth, $5 children. THURSDAY, MARCH 14 UGH! A SLUG (GUIDED WALK) Bored? Why not head out to the Mill Hill Regional Park in Langford and look at some slugs? A park naturalist will take you on a guided tour, digging around for the slimy little guys. I know not everyone is into slugs, but for those who are, I’m sure this will be a blast. I’ve got nothing against slugs, but I have to confess — as a kid, I’d look at them, and I’d always wish they were snails. Sorry, slugs, but I think your curly-shelled cousins are just more appealing and interesting. Now excuse me while I wait for the inevitable deluge of hate mail. For more info, email email@example.com or call (250) 478-3344. Mill Hill Regional Park (Langford), 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Free.
12 CULTURE • MARTLET February 28, 2013
SUNDAY, MARCH 10 DIGGING ROOTS IN CONCERT The Toronto-based bluesy jam band Digging Roots will be coming to Victoria. If you want a feel of what this band is like, just go check ‘em out on YouTube: a rootsy musical vibe based around the metallic drone of the resonator guitar. Without having seen these guys play, I can definitely guarantee a good live show. The “jam band” classification may work for marketing purposes, but I suppose it always leads to a comparison to, for better or for worse, the Grateful Dead or Phish. But as a music fan, every jam band I’ve seen had its own sound and put on a fantastic live performance. Oh, and for all you guitar geeks, the band’s guitarist, Raven Kanatakta, is no slouch, either! This sounds like a show worth checking out. For more info, visit auditorium.uvic.ca/tickets or call (250) 721-8480. Univeristy Centre Farquhar Auditorium, 8–10 p.m. $30 adults; $15 students, seniors and alumni. THURSDAY, MARCH 14 – SATURDAY, MARCH 23 YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN Here’s a classic play based on the lovable Peanuts comic strip (which ranks at number three for me, behind Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side). I remember seeing the local high school put on this play when I was 11 years old, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed, because the guy playing Charlie Brown didn’t shave his head. Which raises the question — is Charlie Brown really bald? And if he is, should actors who play him go all-out and shave their heads for the role (with the requisite curly hairs drawn on via Sharpie)? To any actor who would do this, you have my unending respect. For more info, call (250) 721-7991, or visit finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/phoenix/plays. UVic Phoenix Theatre, 8 p.m. $22 adults, $18 seniors, $16 students on weekdays; $24 (all tickets) on weekend evenings. $7 tickets available for preview shows (March 12 and 13). Preview tickets go on sale at 5 p.m. the night of the performance.
> ALAN PIFFER
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For The week oF FeBrUArY 25, 2013
CFUV Top Ten
1. DOLDRUMS * Lesser Evil (Arbutus) 2. UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA II (Jagjaguwar) 3. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS Push The Sky Away (Bad Seed) 4. HAYDEN * Us Alone (Arts & Crafts) 5. PILLOWFIGHT Pillowfight (Bulk) 6. LEE HARVEY OSMOND * The Folk Sinner (Latent) 7. SOLANGE True (Terrible) 8. VARIOUS ARTISTS R&B Hipshakers, Vol. 3: Just A Little Bit Of The Jumpin’ Bean (Vampisoul) 9. MID PINES * Corpse Pose (Circuit Song) 10. BIG BOI Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors (Def Jam)
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EATS, CHEWS AND LEAVES
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> KAITLYN ROSENBURG If, like me, you’re a fan of Portlandia, you’ll recall the season two finale, “Brunch Village.” In it, all characters converge on a hot new breakfast spot, Fisherman’s Porch, for Sunday brunch. The fictional restaurant has become so popular that a line of hungry customers snakes around the city. The reason for all the hype? Marionberry pancakes. I experienced a similar situation while visiting Jam Cafe. A friend who I can always count on for great restaurant recommendations raved about Jam Cafe and its pulled-pork pancakes. With a chance to recreate the Portlandia episode for myself, I wrangled some friends and set out to linger in line one rainy Sunday morning. Unlike the show, we waited for less than 30 minutes — not hours — to be seated. While we didn’t rub elbows with Portlandia star Fred Armisen, any of Jam Cafe’s clientele could have been Urban Outfitters spokesmodels with their love for Aztec-patterned garments. For those who might face a longer wait, consider chowing down at the large, eat-in bar, which is the heart of the restaurant. The space is long, narrow and full of antique window frames, chalkboards, vintage sporting equipment, maps of the world, street signs, bowling pins, children’s toys of yesteryear and an armadillo. Yes, a strikingly real-looking armadillo. One friend noted that (much like the Portlandia set or an Urban Outfitters store), “It appears they’ve taken everything possibly considered hipster and hung it on the walls.” Our table ordered the pulled-pork pancakes ($13.95), as well as the gravy coupe breakfast
($13.95), along with coffee ($2.50) and hot chocolate ($4). Since most restaurant coffee is more or less the same quality, I judge java based on how many times I see the bottom of my mug. For someone who requires ample caffeine to fully awaken, I love when my coffee is continually refilled. This was not the case at Jam, where our server was repeatedly too busy to notice my empty cup. The pancakes lived up to their reputation, a delightfully sweet and savoury combination. Two thick cakes layered with pulled pork in a maple BBQ glaze are crowned with jalapeno sour cream. The pancakes and maple flavour ground each bite in the familiar, while the smoky, spicy pork tricked our table into thinking it was dinnertime. I strayed from the mainstream and opted for the gravy coupe. An enormous homemade biscuit is split down the middle and piled with fried chicken, sausage gravy and two sunny-side-up eggs. In case that’s not enough food, sides of hash browns, roasted tomatoes and blueberry jam find room on the plate. The gravy made me nervous, but I was won over by Jam’s lighter version. I’d return solely for the chicken if I could, which was both crispy and tender. With all the protein, the eggs seemed redundant. Not usually a tomato eater, I devoured the roasted version. Perhaps my body sensed I needed one vegetable amongst a meal of heavy ingredients. There’s no doubt the meal could be shared, as I left a large amount untouched and still departed full. Jam Cafe deserves at least one visit while they’re still current. In other words, visit soon, before the vibe tires.
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Jam Cafe serves up hip breakfasts worthy of a Portlandia sketch
It's the cat's pyjamas! You know, because pyjamas for cats sound pretty awesome.
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February 28, 2013 MARTLET • CULTURE 13
Celebrating Undergraduate Research at UVic The 2013 Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards Fair: Discovery, Exploration, Creativity Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM Student Union Building 11:30 Opening remarks and welcome 12:30 Visit research booths and artistsâ€™ installations (MichĂ¨le Pujol Room, Upper Lounge and Cinecenta) Free! Everyone welcome and no registration required. Enjoy cake and punch! Find out how you can apply for one of the Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards. Information: www.ltc.uvic.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't be alarmed. Next week we'll have some comics for you. We promise!
Going number two
Things I believed for too long (as a child and maybe an adult) Breaking the taboo of poo > PATRICK GRACE
Trolls live in mailboxes.
Trolls live in that antique sewing machine box in my parents’ living room. (I get the feeling trolls live in everything I wasn’t supposed to touch as a child.)
If you press the button to cross the street once, the crossing will activate. If you press the button twice, it will deactivate. (How many times did you press the button, Meg?)
“Pedestrian” is a bad word for “poor person.” (My aunt told me the word “pedestrian” meant “a person who walks”; I was confused by alliterative association.)
You have to lock your doors on road trips because there are men in the forest who attack cars and snatch the children sleeping in the backseat.
It is illegal to chew gum in movie theatres.
Similar to number four — the words “menstruation” and “masturbation” are interchangeable.
If you step on a rain beetle, it will start raining. (I grew up in Canada’s wettest city, where it rains about 240 days a year; if you stepped on a rain beetle, it probably would start raining.)
Lumber kilns and pulp mills are cloud-making factories. (How else do clouds get up there?)
If you don’t eat your dinner, it will go to Africa. (My dad had lived in Africa; this seemed semi-realistic. But I guess Africa is just what my parents called the compost bin.) > MEG CUTHBERT
Everyone does it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It usually hits you when you least expect it: you’re sitting in a 300-person lecture hall or stuck in traffic on the Malahat, and that burrito you ate for lunch finally comes back in a mutated form to haunt you. The pressure’s on. Do you brave the sneers and jeers from your classmates, or do you stay patient like your mother told you to? Do you park your car on the side of the road and make a dash for the woods, or do you keep your eyes on the car in front of you, all the while avoiding the brown bumper sticker that reads, “I like big dumps”? What’s so taboo about going number two? As toddlers, we’re content to let loose in our diapers and broadcast to everyone in the supermarket lineup that yes, mommy, I just pooped my pants. But as adults, many of us refuse to use public washrooms for fear of what others may think (and for hygienic reasons). Don’t get me wrong — I understand that children have no screening mechanism when it comes to speaking on taboos. And yet, the taboo of poo outside of one’s home seems to have subconsciously worked its way into the architecture of the one place you’d think would offer ample restrooms: restaurants. Most downtown eateries are equipped with just a single washroom. What genius thought up that design? This might work in Europe, where most meals are about the size of a fist, but in North America we love our consumption, so shouldn’t this be reflected in washroom availability? This problematic lack of loos even includes all those fast-food chains popping
up around town, serving oh-so-delicious fatty meals that quickly lead to gas and bloating. How embarrassing for the unlucky patron who ordered an enchilada with extra beans or a spicy beef burger with chipotle mayo. Coffee shops are not exempt from this mucky category. Think of every Starbucks in town, with its single locked bathroom among dozens of patrons. What goes in must come out, and coffee is a sure-fire way to get things flowing. Public poo is so taboo that we end up whispering our request across the counter for the washroom key. Baristas must have a wicked sense of humour, attaching the bottom half of a hockey stick to the key, just so everyone knows about the dirty deed you’re soon to commit. It’s surprising that no one has made a stink about this yet, but then again, no one likes talking about it or where to go to do it or reasons why it happens so soon after supper. Except kids. They come back from the can spewing verbal diarrhea, gabbing about their deposit’s heft and colour and funny shapes. They’re some of the few in today’s society who don’t mind spilling the beans about bowel movements. Perhaps city council should empower children to give the last sticker of approval on restroom availability in restaurants. Heck, why not give a group of kids a free meal in there and see how well the single-stall idea stands up when 30 tots are jumping up and down with their legs squeezed together? Let’s rediscover the kid in each of us. Go on — talk to your family and friends about your poo. Embrace the truth of your number two. And let’s break that taboo. Yes, you.
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www.victorialaw.ca February 28, 2013 MARTLET • HUMOUR 15
Strange gas leak at UVic results in increased student focus > KLARA WOLDENGA A second-year physics class got quite a shock yesterday morning after a mild paralytic gas leaked into the classroom, leaving each student unable to move or speak. The classroom the students occupied shares a wall with a chemistry lab and hasn’t had a problem until now. New construction in the lab was unfinished, and the fourthyear students creating an experimental paralyzing gas for an extra-credit assignment failed to notice the now-permeable wall between the two rooms. “We were told the construction was done,” says Daniel Ferin, a fourth-year chemistry student who worked on the gas. “The warning signs must have been taken down prematurely.” At 9:30 a.m., the gas began to leak into the back of the lecture hall, affecting the physics students but not Professor Herbert Heribel, who was lecturing from a raised platform. The gas was colourless and difficult to detect. “It was really scary,” states Derik Francis, a second-year physics major who attended the class. “I couldn’t talk or move. I couldn’t even text or check Facebook. All I could do was pay attention to the lecture. It was horrifying.” All 40 students were paralyzed by the gas. “Lucky for us, we could still breathe,” states Francis. “The professor was completely unaware of our peril.” When asked why it went unnoticed, Heribel stated that there was no alarming difference in students’ behaviour. Heribel assumed that
16 HUMOUR • MARTLET February 28, 2013
KLARA WOLDENGA everyone was just very involved in the lecture. “Everyone was just sitting still and not saying anything. That’s the same as every other class, except that this time, no one was looking toward their electronic devices. I just thought they were actually enjoying my lecture.” Only when he had finished his lecture did Heribel notice that something was wrong. No one pulled out their cellphones or fled the room when it was time to go. Leaving his platform to investigate, he noticed a chemical smell in the air. “I recognized the smell to be a hazardous chemical gas and panicked,” says Heribel. He called 911 after fleeing the room. Soon after, paramedics equipped with gas masks arrived. They took the students out of the room and brought them back to health quickly.
“The chemicals were just a mild paralyzing gas and were quick to leave the body. Thankfully, it was not prolonged exposure,” says one paramedic. “All students came out of the incident feeling healthy and there was no harm.” The chemistry students have not been charged, and construction has been finished in the lab with no further issues. “Luckily, that class was only 50 minutes long,” says Heribel. “Who knows what kind of damage the students could have suffered if it had been my three-hour theory class?” This incident may have another silver lining. The gas is being inspected by UVic experts to assess whether or not it can be altered and implemented in other classrooms. According to UVic chemistry professor Linda Grey, this might be a solution to the unexplained rising problem
of student disinterest in lectures. “If we can recreate the gas so it’s even more mild, we can release it into classrooms to fight the growing attention problem during lectures,” she says. According to Grey, there’s been a large spike in student disinterest in the material presented in class in the last five years. “We aren’t sure what has been going on. We’ve always provided the most interesting subjects in the most engaging ways,” states Grey. “We go to great lengths to find the most stimulating and captivating articles and textbooks. We make sure the lecterns are polished so there is no distracting grime. We ensure professors speak in a soothing monotone. We are very unsure why this lack of interest in lectures is happening.” If refinement of the gas is successful, Grey hopes to launch the project in fall of 2013.