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The Martingrove



Lawrence Hill Visits MCI

From left: Alec Goodwin, Aquila Akingbade, and Evan Yeung with Lawrence Hill

Campfires, Warm Fuzzies, & Obese Sumos at Dinner

The wonders of Grade 9 Leadership Katie Chen, Gina Kwon and Denton Lin Just how often do you get to fall backwards off a picnic table four feet above the ground, completely helpless and trust strangers to catch you? It’s literally a breath-taking and life-changing experience, just like the entire Grade 9 Leadership Camp. Over the weekend of November 25-27, forty lucky Grade 9s got to head up to Albion Hills and unleash their crazy side. Now all you so-called ‘cool kids’ might be thinking, “Camp? Who even goes to camp anymore— like, obviously not me, I’m in high school. Albion? Psht, that’s like the place we went to in Grade 7... been there, done that.” Well, hate to break it to you all, but you missed out on something absolutely marvelous. Everyone was so energetic, bursting with so much excitement that even the niners who always sit in the back, not speaking a word, were soon shouting as loud as the rest of us.

Beyond the tremendous amount of time we spent giggling together, Grade 9 Leadership was a very emotional experience. There were tons of activities that made us work together with people we’d never met, and even more, we had to trust them with our lives. That moment when your feet are just leaving the picnic table and you’re just waiting, hoping, for someone’s arms to wrap around you? It’s terrifying. But the fear passed and we all landed safely, strengthening the ties between us. It created a heartwarming bond, sending warm fuzzies through every camper. A camp is never complete without some good, o l d f a s h i o ned Photo: Katie Chen Capture the Flag, except at Leadership, where everything is much more special. We played Quest, a highly competitive game where your team must be the first to capture the scattered puzzle pieces and put together your puzzle.

Continued on P. 3

Jelena belenzada Anyone who’s read it will tell you that The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill, is nothing short of breathtaking. It chronicles the journeys of Aminata Diallo, from her capture as a slave at age 11, through all the hideous injustices she endures, and her lifelong battle for freedom. Spanning six decades and three continents, the scale of the story is massive, yet it is ultimately the simple humanity, the fight for dignity, that speaks to readers. Aminata loses everything short of her life, yet she refuses to lose sight of who she is, to let go of the hope for a beautiful life. Lawrence Hill glances lovingly at her young, defiant face on the cover of the novel. “I thought of her as my daughter,” he says. “I always asked myself, what if this had been my daughter? How would she have survived?” These questions, he admits, tormented him every day. “I was with that book for five years, and the early phases – the childhood, the kidnapping, the Middle Passage in the Ship – those were extremely, brutally hard passages to...

Continued on P. 4

Check out Semi P. 7

Photo: Christine Chung

Photo: Mrs. Parsonson

“The thing that matters is that you write...a lot”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The Martingrove Beacon

Staff Advisors Mr. Kay Mrs. Parsonson Mr. Sommerfelt management editors April Qu, Sara Shahriari editors of layout Sanchari Banerjee Berber Xue Editors of Copy Jelena Belenzada Hana Carrozza Head of Sports Catherine Gao Photography Christine Chung Jeanette Cooper Michelle Han Mukul Kapadia Tancred Yip Head of Production Emily Pollock Heads of publicity Laina Timberg Jenny Williams Executive secretary Sharleen Fisher Featured Columnist Sarah Jama, Lily Liao Abdullah Manzoor STAFF WRITERS Siera Carrozza Katie Chen Gina Kwon, Denton Lin,Guru Mangat Marko Markovic Suhasini Rao

Editor’s Notes

April Qu It’s that time of season, everyone! No, not the cold, freeze-your-toes-off winter weather or the celebratory holiday season; it’s a time of love handles, tighter jeans (that seem to have suspiciously “shrunk in the wash”) and belt loosening, ladies and gentlemen. When we finish school for the winter break, our next two weeks will be spent lazing around, munching on high calorie comfort foods, going out to family dinners and eating more than our body weight in one sitting. Have you ever tried saying “no” to your grandmother offering you food? Hah. Not possible. No means yes. No means more. After this two week extravaganza, when we weigh ourselves and the scale screams from the crushing weight, don’t be alarmed! This is the norm. Don’t worry about losing the extra padding my friend; the New Year scholastic stress will cause you to shed those pounds in a flash. Senior students especially don’t have to worry since they have university applications and marks to worry about. (If you’re one of those teens that go out and enjoy winter activities such as skating at the local rink or skiing with the family, you are exempted from the inevitable monstrous weight gain due to your disturbing affinity for physical exercise.) My winter holiday will consist of lazing around at home, getting comfortable in my sweatpants (extra-large), donning a classic ugly Christmas sweater and looking forward to spending my time converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. It is my time as an MCI Bear to shed my student responsibilities and go into ‘school hibernation.’ Two weeks of no homework, tests or jeans. That’s the life. Have a safe and happy holiday MCI Bears, and if you’re looking forward to the break from school, I sincerely hope that you have ‘bearly’ anything to do for two weeks.

Hallway Traffic and Long Commutes

Presidential Address

Lily Liao I usually mark my school year with three milestones: my birthday, Christmas, and the last day of school. Now that November 21st has gone by, the second best time of year is finally here! This means it’s finally okay for me to wear my tacky Christmas sweaters to school, eat lots of chocolate, take advantage of the SAC Core Exec at Rosehill Lounge extended shopping hours to shop on a school night, and burst into carols for no apparent reason in the middle of class. In the spirit of the holidays, the SAC hosted Deck the Halls, our annual Semi-formal at the Rosehill Lounge. When the time came to cross Semi-formal off your calendar, I hope you didn’t worry too much about the mole on your shoulder that looked monstrous enough to jump out and eat you alive, because I certainly wasn’t worried about my embarrassing traits. My social skills were at an all-time low that night, but being a social butterfly is totally overrated anyway. Honestly, knowing that I was able to fit into my dress and not get stuck if I were to ever jump for joy was good enough for me. I stood by the food table all night, stuffing my face with handfuls of delicious homemade cookies when I thought no one was looking. Fortunately, the other 257 students were much more socially active than I was; most of them danced for almost three hours straight. Dr. Scholl’s Fast Flats, we salute you. Their dance moves would probably send their grandmothers straight to the ER room. But thank goodness for the considerate soul who invented dim lighting. Finally, what’s a high school dance without “Fix You” by Coldplay to end off the evening? Of course, some lucky ducks got more than just a slow dance with their special someone. If you were one of the lucky recipients of a steamy smooch under the mistletoe, be sure to thank our fabulous Grade 12 Reps Christine and Emilija for that brilliant idea. I am 98.9% biased when I say

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Photo: Christine Chung


Busy school hallways could prepare students for life in the workforce.

siera carrozza Doesn’t it bother you when you’re walking down the hallway to your next class, when the person in front of you suddenly stops to talk to a friend? You can only step out into the flow of oncoming students, hoping that you won’t collide before ducking back to the correct side of the hall. However, if you end up walking into someone while trying to avoid hitting another person, it will always be you who receives the dirty look, not the brilliant person who just decided to stop the flow of traffic. One of the biggest challenges that we must face as hallway-walkers in our inter-period commute is a large group of slow-moving people that span the width of the hall. It is impossible to safely manoeuvre around the mass without crashing into people walking in the opposite direction. And attempting to push through the group is a big nono, even if you add in a “Sorry!” or an “Excuse me!” The only reasonable solution to these jams is for people to be more observant as they travel through the halls. If you feel like you are forming a group pattern, change your pace to keep the flow of traffic moving. If all else fails, dress in bright colours to increase your visibility. This will heighten others’ awareness of you and if people are aware of your presence, they will be less likely to block your path. Although hallway traffic backup is a huge nuisance to us, it can be argued that it helps to prepare us for life in the real world. After all, many students could end up as one of those workers with a stressful, gridlocked, early morning commute to work every day. It could be considered a good thing for us to learn what it is like to shuffle along at a snail’s pace, praying we don’t get into an accident and arrive late for work (assuming we will get jobs one day).

this, but this year’s Semi Formal was the best one I’ve been to in my four years of high school. My sincerest condolences go out to those of you who missed out. Thanks to all for making our Holiday Charity Drive such a huge success and in the process, allowing us to show the potential of the Bears’ once again. Are you like me, wondering about the annual Holiday Assembly? What will it be this year? Will Britbrit hit the stage, baby one more time? Will Kisstory repeat itself ? Will Shawn… let it all hang out? There is no way of knowing for sure. After all, anything can happen when it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Enjoy the holidays, everyone!


The Martingrove Beacon


Continued from P. 1

Photo: Katie Chen

But there was a catch—to get a piece on the other team’s territory you had to bring one of your own team’s pieces with you. Later that night, we had a memorable campfire (CAMPFIRE! WE LOVE CAMPFIRE!) filled with glee, contentment, and laughter as we spent the night laughing together at witty pranks and performances, ranging from a Leadership Rap to people dancing like Mario to a round of councillor impersonations. On the last day, all of the campers were given a seemingly impossible task: to find out which devious councillor had stolen our dinner hall keys. Whodunit? The only guy cool enough to dress in a sumo wrestler air suit, Emre Serpkenci (obviously). Coming home, a couple of us were crying and all of us were definitely a little sad. Who knew that you could make so many friendships and inside jokes and bonds within such a short amount of time? Looking at the faces around us that were unknown only two days earlier, our minds were filled with all the special moments we shared with each camper and councillor. Leadership is forever (and we’ve got the bracelets to prove it!).

“I practiced violin in the washroom”

sanchari banerjee Which city was your high school located in? I went to a Music and Arts School in Arad, Romania. What is your best high school memory? It would have to be just being a part of the orchestra, and playing Photo: Sanchari Banerjee the violin. What is your worst high school memory? I got suspended for a week. What happened was my best friend was caught smoking a cigarette within the school by the principal. As a punishment, he had to shave his head. I started to tease him, and one day smeared ice cream over his bald head. He got really angry, and we both got into a physical fight. While fighting, we broke the window, and the pieces of the window landed one metre behind a female pedestrian walking by. So, I got an in-school suspension for a

week, and then I had to shave my head too. For one week, I had to stay in the school library, practicing violin for eight hours a day. When we returned after the week, my friend and I were the best violinists in the entire school. The worse thing was that my father was the President of the School Council. So you can imagine what happened at home …. One word to describe yourself in high school? Funny. Describe your favourite teacher. He was my homeroom teacher. He was the music theory teacher, and he treated us all like family. It wasn’t a teacher-student relationship. We were more like brothers. He taught me a lot, and that’s why I’m so “liberal” now. What was the craziest thing you have ever done to a teacher? Once, one of my teachers was wearing a hideous white and blue striped jacket. While he was doing the homework check for the class, I snuck up behind him and coloured im the white stripes of his jacket with a blue pen. What did you do during your spare time? I always practiced violin. If the library was closed, I practiced in the washroom. I put my case on the bathroom sink, and practiced violin while looking into the mirror. I got into a lot of ‘arguments’ with other students because they wanted to use the sink to wash their hands.

Dance, Dance, Dance!

Sarah Jama Have you heard about the Martingrove Dance Production? I hadn’t either until a few days ago. Each time I asked somebody about the club, I either received a blank stare or was told to go talk to some Asian guys. Eventually, I got the chance to speak with a girl named Iris Zhai, the president of MDP, and she filled me in on all the details. So what is the Martingrove Dance Production? The MDP is a club filled with students who love to dance. They have roughly thirty members and their staff advisor is Ms. Kovacevic. Meetings take place once President, Iris Zhai a week during lunch in Room 172. Currently, the MDP is planning So You Think You Can Dance M.C.I. This event will take place Friday, January 13, after school in the auditorium. One of the main goals of the MDP this year is to get more involved in the school by making their club better known amongst the student body. They’re constantly looking for new members, regardless of one’s dancing skills. And if you go to the meetings you may just get to see Ms. Kovacevic shake a leg or two.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Photo: Sanchari Banerjee

Teacher Interview: Mr.Stoica



The Martingrove Beacon

Photo: Mrs.Parsonson

Continued from P. 1

Break Boredom Get off that couch! suhasini rao

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? With food, snow, and cheesy seasonal movies, the countdown to the holidays has ended. A beautiful two week break, with oodles and oodles of time to spend! Time that you can spend studying! Just kidding. Let Beacon help you waste your time. Head down to your local library. If you are one of the unfortunate people burdened with a hatred of reading, don’t worry. Toronto Public Library has a lot of interesting events and programs. Everything from making cupcakes to having a tea party happens at the library. The best part? Most of it is free. Go skating. What’s more cliché than a winter’s day drinking hot chocolate? A winter’s day drinking hot chocolate, after skating. Don’t know how to skate? Make sure to grab a friend; you can use them to break your fall. Make stuff. Build a snow fort, or decorate a gingerbread house. Cooking food is easy and leaves you with something delicious. Learn how to crochet, make bad home videos, or finish all your old colouring books. Get out of the house. Many of the big parks (Centennial Park included) are hosting flower shows with winter themes. There is a carriage ride (of course), drinks and cookies. Take advantage of freebies. The AGO is free for high school students from Tuesday through Friday, anytime between 3:00-5:30 pm. If that’s not good enough, there is a myriad of free dance shows, art exhibitions, and concerts that take place at Harbourfront Centre. No matter what you end up doing, we hope you have a good break. Have a good holiday and see you again in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

research and write, emotionally …The way to transcend those demons was to try to let out a few shafts of hope into the story so that there always is some hope that things will improve. Maybe not today, but perhaps tomorrow.” Aminata’s remarkable story grew from a single idea. About 15 years before he began work on the novel, Hill “borrowed” a book from his parents, one that would shed a whole new light on the history of slavery in America. The Black Loyalists, by James Walker, details the settlement of black Americans in Nova Scotia, and the enormous injustices experienced there that led to a mass migration to Sierra Leone just ten years later. The one idea that gripped Hill’s imagination was the astonishing discovery that many of the blacks going to Sierra Leone had actually been born in Africa. He could not resist the notion of a back-to-Africa exodus, and from that moment on there was no turning back. In all the years that passed between the reading of the book and the beginning of his research, Aminata’s story churned and hissed inside him, simply waiting for the right time to burst forth. Hill admits to often feeling intimidated by the scale of the project. “I was very fearful that I’d never finish it or that it’d kill me before I finished it,” he says of the writing process. “…I was worried the whole time that I might totally screw it up. It was a hard, hard book to write.” The novel has launched Hill to super-stardom in the world of Canadian literature. Having won numerous awards including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and, more recently, CBC’s Canada Reads, Hill has effectively debunked the myth that novels about blacks are a hard sell. Despite his success, modesty has been wired into Hill’s very being, and it shows. He humbly casts his eyes downward at the mention of awards, and easily admits that the success of The Book of Negroes far exceeded all his wildest dreams. He had written six other books

previously, none of which had enjoyed a similar level of commercial success, until recently. Hill speaks with brutal honesty about the life of a writer. “Do not criticize yourself, do not tell yourself how much it stinks. It surely will, mine always does... Do it over and over and over again until you hate the thing. Around the time you start to hate it, then maybe it’ll be good… Despite everything, you could spend years before you have any ability to make a dime off your talent.” For Hill, staying afloat financially was “a big juggling act,” a combination of journalism, speechwriting, and teaching along with writing. It all seems a little overwhelming, but he smiles as he speaks, as if it all makes perfect sense. In a wild and insane way, it sounds so wonderful, to have a life driven in any and every direction by a true and relentless passion. He tells us about the very moment writing seeped its way into his life. As a six-year-old, Hill wanted nothing more than a cat to call his own, but in order to get one he would have to write a letter to his father. “I wanted that cat so badly that I just poured my whole heart into this letter,” he says, grinning from ear to ear. “And I wrote because I wanted something, I wanted to change my life, I wanted to change my world, and that’s a great place to write from.” His eyes dart hungrily around the room, meeting the gaze of each student as he spirals into an impassioned monologue. “You want something. You wanna change something…It’s not dry, sterile, academic, writing with no heart. It’s writing that has purpose and movement… And so part of it is about craft, but part of it is about heart and soul. Readers don’t just want a well-turned-out sentence; they want something that seems authentic, personal, believable, fresh!” He pauses, clutching the microphone as he retraces his words. “And so I got that cat.” The truth of his words is evident in everything he does. Talking to MCI students, Hill’s face lights up with a youthful delight, and he seems reluctant to leave. But he is on a tight schedule; currently working on several projects, including two novels, he is restless, incomplete without a gnawing hunger to speak and create.

Virulence Bonanza

The deadliest virus we haven’t seen yet guru mangat

Quick! Try to name the deadliest biological weapon that you know! No, it's not your smelly gym socks. Good guess though. Scientists have created one of the most lethal influenza viruses in a lab in the Netherlands. It is a mutated strain of the H5N1, or bird flu. Now, don't be placated by the lacklustre performance of the swine flu; this is in a whole other league. More than half of the reported cases end in death and as microbial geneticist Paul Keim has to say "I can't think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one." This virus was created by a team led by virologist Ron Fouchier. They improved upon the wild virus by increasing the its ability to spread between hosts, one of the reasons why some scientists dismissed the H5 viruses as uncapable of creating a pandemic. The virus was passed between ferrets multiple times for many generations in an attempt to make the virus adapt to its host. This attempt succeeded and made the virus airborne, able to infect a healthy ferret who is housed next to a sick one. The implications of this are drastic, since in all past studies, influenza strains that were able to pass between ferrets were also transmissible in humans. This new virus has 5 mutations from the

normal strain, all of which have been found in nature, but never all together. Another implication of this research is that it may be used for biological terrorism or warfare. Many other scientists are afraid that terrorists will use the research to create a super virus of their own. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, says that it would be possible to omit key details from the published papers and to only make them available to people who need to know. He stated, "We don't want to give bad guys a road map on how to make bad bugs really bad." Your first reaction is probably, "Why create the virus in the first place?" That is a very astute question. You must be paying attention. The logic behind creating such a virus is to better prepare ourselves for when a similar virus develops in nature. By knowing how the virus operates and how to treat it, we have a better chance of containing it in the wild and avoiding a pandemic. This type of research is necessary because presently without it, if a similar virus develops in nature, in the words of Osterholm, "We’re screwed."


The Martingrove Beacon

Saving Najera

All things lost in the Mexican Drug War

Catherine Gao Brendan DeCaires Luis Najera It is my fourth time seeing Brendan DeCaires. He is one of those people you can never miss, in an impeccably pressed shirt tucked into light wash jeans. His hair is silvery white and sticks out in tufts. He looks like a distinguished scholar on vacation. His cohort, however, Luis Najera, stands by the projector with an entirely different demeanour. He leans against the bookshelves with the defiance of a man who has seen too much in his lifetime. He has a stern face; it is serious and intense. When he talks you are compelled to listen; he’s intimidating and honest. The Mexican Drug War has been ongoing for five years, bringing with it blood and death in the core regions of the country. The illicit drug smuggling has caused disarray in the political structure and created corruption within the establishment. It is not unusual to see men with rifles walking the streets of Mexico, or hear gunshots most evenings. And you go there to party during Spring Break. As the situation worsened, journalists in Mexico have tried to print the truth about the situation, only to find themselves captured, silenced, or in Najera’s case, forced out of the country. After discovering he was on a ‘hit list’, Najera and his family left Mexico and moved north of the border, to Vancouver where they worked for a year before claiming refugee status. He speaks of his life back in Mexico with disgust. The smuggling of weapons, the violation of human rights, the trafficking of drugs—these are all reminders of the shambles left of his home. Najera, however, isn’t afraid to share the details. He provides photos of the friends he’s lost, the acquaintances he’s seen killed. Catherine Gao interviews Luis Najera “We need to show society how we live...

So You Want to Go to University? Here are some things to keep in mind berber xue The general formula for selecting your programs is to include a mix of reaches, matches, and safeties. What I mean by that is to have a few competitive programs, a few programs you’re pretty sure will accept you and a few that you are almost positive will want you. A few examples of competitive programs would be McMaster Health Sciences, Queen’s Commerce, University of Toronto Engineering Science, Western’s Ivey AEO, basically any life sciences program at McGill, and University of Ottawa’s combined Bachelor of Music and Science.

A more conclusive way to gauge your matches and reaches is to look at your average. Each program will have an average the university suggests you have in order to be considered for admission. Say your average was an 85%. Competitive programs for you would have averages of high 80s to the 90s. Matches would be from low to mid 80s. Safeties would be high 70s and below. When choosing your programs, think about the number you’re applying to. It’s different for everybody. Some factors to keep in mind are the cost of applying to many programs, as well as the effort to apply for some programs.


Because people need to know they can trust in journalists. Honest journalists.” Najera reminds us of what is relevant. The United States cannot stop the drug wars because it is feeding the addiction of an entire nation. They are no longer capable of ending this long reign of terror from organized crime, much of which is in our own backyard. “You have to be aware because the problem is here already...” Najera says, of Canada’s apathy, “You have Columbian and Mexican and Asian and Italian criminals here in Canada...And you don’t want to see that...” According to The National Human Rights Commission, Mexico is the most dangerous place in the world to practice journalism. Reporters are targeted by both members of organized crime and members of the federal forces and wear bullet proof vests as a matter of course. They go to work and do their job staring death in the eye every day, while their peers are falling all around them. It is the startling facts of reporters that illuminate the importance of social media. Members of Twitter who provided information on cartels were murdered. More than 80 journalists have been killed for reporting on the drug war. About 74% of journalists killed since 1992 were members of print newspapers. Organized criminal are no longer the only enemies of journalists—police are now also turning against them. With the increased corruption of the established forces, police are afraid of the possible exposure of their actions and turn against photojournalists. We have criminals pointing at reporters... And now we have police pointing guns at reporters. Something isn’t right. We need to do something to help them, to save people like Luis Najera. Photo: Christine Chung

Queen’s University requires a Personal Statement of Experience for all of their undergraduate programs. If you’re applying for Concurrent Education, Commerce, or Kinesiology, you have to submit an additional supplementary essay. Be sure you know what each program requires of you, so when you apply you are able to follow their requirements. If your marks in grade 11 were strong (i.e. High 80s to 90s), don’t be too surprised if you’re accepted to some of your programs as early as January. Some universities, like the University of Ottawa, are known for their quick

acceptances. Remember that the deadline to submit your applications through OUAC is January 11th! Make sure to have everything prepared at least a few days beforehand. The night of January 10th is going to be insane and nobody wants to take a chance with crashing servers when it comes to their university applications. For additional resources, check out and collegeconfidential. com under the Canada forum. Take everything posted on there with a grain of salt and exercise common sense. Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The Martingrove Beacon


The Young Guns look to make some noise marko markovic

P Ra

Photo: Christine Chung

l ly

This year, the Martingrove Bears Boys’ hockey team is a bit like the Maple Leafs. They are young, quick underdogs who are turning people’s heads. In a very competitive five team Tier-1 league, which features Etobicoke, Richview, Silverthorn, Lakeshore and our very own Bears, MCI faces a tough task. Most players in the league are senior students who play ‘rep’ hockey at the AA or AAA level, while MCI has only two grade 12s and far fewer elite skaters. In fact, half of the team consists of grade 9s, meaning the majority of the team is behind by two or three years of experience, not to mention many pounds and inches compared to other teams. These qualities make all the difference in such a physical sport. The team has played one league game so far this season, facing one of the better teams in the city: Etobicoke. Despite falling behind 5-0 in the first ten minutes of the game, our Bears fought back and didn’t give up another goal for the rest of the game. The final score was a respectable 5-1 against the talented and veteran Rams. An earlier game, scheduled against bitter rival, Richview, was cancelled and will be made up later in the season. The Saints may regret not facing the Bears early in the season. The boys will be in a tournament just before Christmas, where they will face off against top tier 2 teams in the GTA. In the past few seasons, MCI has fared very well in this tournament and is looking forward to another excellent performance. It will be a chance for the team to bond, work on their defensive strategies and give everyone a chance to play. Led by captain Luca Tirelli, one of two grade 12 students on the team, the Bears hope to use their team speed and impressive heart to take on the rest of the league. Tirelli admits that they need to play a more physical game and work harder on the forecheck to put pressure on their opponents. With the experienced coaching of Mr. Vujacic and Mr. Parker, the Varsity Boys’ hockey team, like the Maple Leafs, are looking to make believers out of their fans.


Varsity Boys’ Hockey

Wednedsay, December 21, 2011


The Martingrove Beacon

On December 24, 2011, thousands will be jolted awake by the sudden realization that, once again, they have bought no presents for their loved ones. They will clutch their heads in despair, believing themselves to be doomed to life as friendless, disowned outcasts, and will attempt to salvage their shattered social lives by presumably creating gift wrapped presents of breadsticks and celebrity key chains. As they raise their hands to the heavens and ask for guidance, for ideas, for an easy way out, all for under $50, a Beacon bearing the 2011 Holiday Gift guide will descend. This is that guide.


Holiday Gift Guide

What will be under their tree this holiday? ABDULLAH MANZOOR

FOR HER: H&M Gift Card

In the past, the giving of gifts was a simple affair. Men would bedeck women in the pelts of wild beasts they had slain using nothing but their rock hard abs, and all would be well. However since Velociraptor pelts fell out of fashion in the 70s, the giving of gifts has evolved into a much more complex ritual. That’s why this year, let her do all the work by giving her the gift of an H&M gift card, available at all H&M stores. Through the gift card, you have given her the benefits of a gift without actually finding a gift, and store employees are spared from the sight of an individual in a trench coat and dark glasses nervously wringing his sweaty hands next to the women’s underwear section.

$50 $45 $50

FOR MOM: The Body Shop’s Flavoured Shower Luxury Gift Pack

Although the new, articulated Hoover vacuum cleaner with its retractable head may seem like a good gift idea for Mom, extensive research has proven otherwise. Even though it may give your Mom the unprecedented ability to remove the Cheetos dust from under your computer table without you having to raise your feet, scientists have discovered that, contrary to popular belief, these activities are not eternal fountains of enjoyment and euphoria for most Moms. However, with the gift of The Body Shop’s Flavoured Shower Luxury Gift Pack, you can give your Mom all the benefits of a spa treatment while still keeping her within hollering distance for when you light the kitchen on fire using the microwave.

FOR DAD: Smarthome Motorized Tie Rack

As of 2011, most dads will have amassed enough Santa Claus ties to stitch together a trendy full body suit, with enough left over for a fashionable cape, giving them the ability to forgo all other items of clothing. This raises the age old question: what do you give to he who has everything? You give them an automatic tie rack. Smarthome’s Motorized Tie Rack ensures that your dad will never have to sift through acres of festive themed ties by hand ever again, with the ability to hold 70 ties and holders for additional accessories such as belts. Never again will you have to worry about your dad drowning amongst the garishly coloured depths of his closet, for the Motorized Tie Rack will serve as his vessel in his pursuit of locating the perfect tie for any occasion.

FOR HIM: Sennheiser HD203 headphones


If there is one thing most males enjoy more than deep, stimulating conversation, it is the complete destruction of their auditory nerves. Help aid him on his quest this year through the gift of Sennheiser HD203 headphones. With unmatchable acoustics and the cleanest bass sound in its price range, walking into traffic has never been more musical.

Photo: Christine Chung

Deck the Halls! Semi -formal 2011

Wednedsay, December 21, 2011


The Martingrove Beacon


Happy New Year! You’re all going to fail! Emily Pollock

The hand-wringing over our inability to keep New Year’s resolutions reaches critical mass in mid-January. Every year, the front pages of the latest self-improvement magazines are plastered with handy tips on how to keep your resolutions, all for the low price of $9.99. So in the spirit of the holiday time-creep, where Halloween candy is on the shelves in July and stores put up Christmas lights in November, it was deemed appropriate to publish a pre-holiday study about why New Year’s resolutions fail. Maybe the problem is that we pick the least appealing month to get things done. Seriously, who wakes up on a January morning and decides to become a better person? You’re more likely to look outside and crawl back into your bed to hibernate forever. Or maybe it’s that we make unrealistic resolutions, like trying to better our lives in a way that would require effort. According to the media, all young people are complete write-offs who can’t think beyond their iPads and laptops, so why bother setting long-term goals anyhow? Some handy statistics about the problem: 76.9% of people, when looking at statistics about how many people break their resolutions, report a sense of creeping superiority that lasts until they break their own a week later, and even in some cases afterwards. Though this evidence may not be as strong as they think it is. 61% of statistics in these kinds of articles are made up or skimmed off Wikipedia when the writers are on a deadline anyway. In any case, the abandonment of the New Year’s resolution happens stage by stage, a steady decay of expectations leaching into your moral fibre. 1. Enthusiasm: “Oh yeah, this is going to be awesome, this is the first day of the rest of my life!” 2. Rationalization: “Well, I’ve been doing well for the first five minutes, I guess I can take a quick break” or, “This doesn’t count as breaking it. Why? Because I said so.” 3. Denial: “This never happened.” So this year, embrace your inner slacker, and don’t do anything for New Year’s. Statistically speaking, the likelihood of anyone keeping their resolutions is negligible, especially if you go by what you read in the papers.

Comic: Joanna Liu

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sudoku from

Comic: Diana Pham

Holiday Fun!

2011-12 Beacon  

Volume I, Issue II - Dec 21st, 2011

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