October 7, 2013 • 145/6 • FREE
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STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY
October 7, 2013 · Volume 145, Issue 6
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At SFU, it’s difficult to register for courses that fit one’s schedule and align with one’s degree path, let alone one’s own interests. What’s more, many students are made to feel that their efforts are for naught, upon realizing their professor seems more interested in returning to their lab than actually teaching their class. If you’re unable to switch schedules, these weekly lectures become four months of frustration at having a teacher whose expertise does not translate into the ability to communicate the material. Of course, professors all have their own strengths: some are happier to discuss with a small group than a full lecture hall, while others are better able to communicate material orally than through email or syllabi. In the end, however, some professors are simply better researchers than they are teachers. At an institution responsible for both pursuing research and educating students, the two functions need to be valued equally. Yes, students should recognize the benefits of learning in close proximity with experts in their fields, and yes, SFU is a research university, but that label is twofold.
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This is not to say research isn’t a crucial component of a university — the fact that it employs active researchers and scholars is one of its distinguishing features. SFU turns out innovative studies every week, from diagnosing skin cancer, to unlocking the key to evolution, to analysing how stereotypes affect one’s housing options. This research puts SFU on the academic map, the benefits of which can be seen in the millions of dollars the university is given towards future projects.
The issue arises when a professor’s research skills are valued more than his or her teaching abilities. In some departments at SFU, professors are reviewed every two years regarding their research. If they aren’t making a certain amount of progress, they can lose merits, which sometimes results in them being given more classes to teach. The problem with this formula is that increased teaching responsibilities are framed as a punishment to these professors. Moreover, by giving classes to researchers who are struggling or who would prefer to be behind a desk, animosity and tension is created, which is, in turn, felt by students — no one wants to be taught by someone who does not want to be there.
SFU reviews a professor’s teaching skills through course evaluations at the end of a semester and by vetting professors when they are first hired and when they apply for tenure. Yet, many students are still made to endure disinterested lecturers and incompetent instructors. Even if a professor is engaging and expresses excitement about their topic, poor communication skills can leave students with more questions than answers. One of the most difficult problems to address is the evaluation of an individual’s teaching skills. Course evaluations can be made irrelevant by students who argue that a lot of readings and tough marking equates to bad teaching. Since this is not the case, this process of evaluation clearly isn’t entirely reliable, meaning SFU needs to develop a better way of assessing its teaching staff. All things considered, many researchers possess expertise that is thought to be invaluable to a university, and one could not expect the university to turn away the next Einstein because he has trouble lecturing in large lecture halls. That said, 300 students should not be subjected to his lectures. The balance between being an educator and being an expert is vital to the university as a haven for innovation, as well as an institution fostering future experts. If SFU truly values these points equally, perhaps the students, as well as the professors, will see their efforts in the classroom better recognised.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, SFU Surrey played host to “Our Future, Our Voice,” the first event of the weeklong 2013 Community Summit: Charting BC’s Economic Future, hosted by SFU Public Square. The day-long forum invited youth between 16 and 25 years old to participate in roundtable and panel discussions, and weigh in on the economic future of the province. Of the 90 students who attended SFU Public Square’s second annual youth forum, many weighed in on the event through Twitter under #OurVoiceBC, which was projected on a screen in front of the main theatre for the entire duration of the event. Participants were encouraged to tweet questions to the three panelists — BC education minister Peter Fassbender, Surrey councillor Barinda Rasode, and NDP MP Jenni Sims — who would be speaking at the end of the day. The youth engagement factor played a large role in shaping the design of the event, said organizer Jackie Pichette, Research and Communications Officer with SFU Public Square. Pichette facilitated “idea jams” over the past two months where young people were asked to design a youth forum that they would want to attend. Twitter was a unanimously desired element, as were smaller break-out groups where participants would be able to meet people currently in job industries they were interested in entering into after graduation. In response, the event featured small roundtable dialogues held over lunch, where community and industry representatives from law enforcement, media, tech, construction, and other sectors, were open to questioning. Only a handful of attendees were post-secondary students, with the overwhelming majority being from high schools across
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the Lower Mainland. This turnout which surprised Pichette, who said that at last year’s youth forum, there was a more even mix of university and high school students.
For many of the attendees it was their first time being able to engage with politicians in such a direct manner. “I didn’t know anything about this forum when I decided to attend, but now I’m excited for the opportunity to ask actual politicians some questions,” said Sunaina Paudel, a grade 12 student at Johnston Heights Secondary, who heard
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about the event through her student leadership group. Other attendees had a more developed interest in politics. Amie Johnson, a third-year political science student at SFU, works for the city of Surrey as a child and youth engagement assistant. She facilitated one of the 100 Community Conversations that had happened in the past two months, which were events also hosted by SFU Public Square. “I hope to run for office in the municipal government someday, so this is important to me,” she said. The event began with a morning icebreaker, followed by SFU professor Matt Hern, founder of Car Free Day and Purple Thistle Centre who spoke on the GDP as a poor measure of the economy. The final segment of the day was the panel, moderated by exCTV reporter Kai Nagata. There was friendly tension between the three panelists, all of whom represented different opinions along the political spectrum. Youth-centric
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issues, such as education and jobs, dominated the discussion, though gender and race also featured prominently. “You’re in the minority here,” Rasode and Sims joked to Fassbender in reference to one participant’s tweet, which noted that women of colour outnumbered white men on the panel.
“There was no way I was making a panel with more men than women,” said Pichette. On education, Rasode spoke to the importance of including students and teachers in the discussion rather than keeping the dialogue behind closed doors among
elected representatives — a statement partially directed at Sims, the former president of the BC Teacher’s Federation. When asked about employment opportunities in the province, Fassbender said that many BC jobs simply were not located in Vancouver, but in the interior province, like Dawson Creek. “You ladies can go up there and buy a truck, and not have to sell drugs,” he said to appeal to young women in the audience. He also talked about managing resources more sustainably, rather than shutting down the operations altogether, though he did not mention renewable sources, a sentiment that proved unpopular among the live tweeters. In response, Sims said that economic and environmental sustainability should not be seen as two separate entities. The panel proved to be popular with attendees, who were allowed to direct questions at the attendees for the last half hour of the session.
This fall, SFU Health and Counselling Services is launching its newest initiative with the hopes of eliminating the stigma attached to mental illness and mental health issues. The Hi F.I.V.E. movement, which stands for Friendship, Invite Conversation, Value everyone’s gift, and Eliminate stigma‚ aims to increase on-campus dialogue of mental health issues through student-led outreaches, cross-campus partnerships, and various campaigns. The goal is to create a campus-wide safe space where students feel comfortable disclosing mental health issues without fear of judgement from peers, staff, and faculty. Erika Horwitz, Associate Director of SFU Health and Counselling Services, has been developing this program over the past four years with the help of a small committee made up of professionals working in postsecondary institutions. The purpose of the committee was to look at the university and assess how it could support mental health and intervene better when students were struggling. The group eventually developed a mental health pledge that embodies the values of the Hi F.I.V.E. initiative: embracing everyone; understanding the facts; not treating people as if all they are is their diagnosis; treating people with respect; and standing up to people who disrespect those with mental health problems. For Horwitz, this is an issue that hits close to home. Horwitz’s daughter, now 24, began at age 14 to have very bad anxiety and depression. During her eight year struggle, Horwitz says her daughter did not receive much support from her peers or even some health professionals. “Seeing her journey through the mental health system . . . I’ve become aware that many students don’t want to come and
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get help because they carry the stigma,” said Horwitz. “We need to become more compassionate and caring and informed so that we can make their life more successful and make them feel like they’re part of our community.”
Although Health and Career Counselling at SFU developed a mental health strategy six or seven years ago, this is the first three-campus-wide initiative that SFU has undertaken to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma attached to mental health issues. The initiative also marks a
desire to involve student volunteers, who may be better able to engage their peers. One of 30-plus volunteers, Vivien Low was initially hired by Health and Counselling Services through co-op in January and has continued to work with the program since then. Along with SFSS Health Sciences Representative, Dhylan Verzosa, these Hi FIVE’rs (as Horwitz affectionately refers to them) have created Hi F.I.V.E. travel diaries, which were inspired by Facebook sites like SFU Confessions and Overheard at SFU. “My observation was that ,under this veil of anonymity, students were able to be very honest and open about their stories,” said Low. “We came up with this physical, tangible diary where students can actually pick it up around campus, write their story in it, and pass it on to other students.”
The goal, says Horwitz, is to get everyone talking and sharing their own experiences bringing awareness to the fact that having mental health issues does not mean you are “crazy” or “wonky.”
“Mental health includes all of us at different degrees,” explained Horwitz. “This initiative is really based on the values that the SFU community holds, and that is to embrace everybody. What is very important is that it will change
attitudes and behaviours towards issues of mental health — not just mental illness.” Horwitz herself will be featured in a video on the website as part of a series that invites “regular” individuals to share their own stories of struggles with mental health, from stress to schizophrenia. Currently, Health and Counselling is inviting faculty or student groups, who hold space on campus, to read the pledge, commit to it, and advertise their facility as a Hi F.I.V.E. safe and respectful space. Students are also invited to take the pledge and put a Hi F.I.V.E. button on their bag, indicating themselves as “mobile safe spaces.” The initiative will also be retraining staff and student volunteers to incorporate the elimination of stigma in their peer training sessions.
The lawyer representing Kayla Bourque, the former SFU student and animal killer with 46 court-ordered conditions of probation, is arguing for the loosening of some of these conditions, including the lifetime ban on owning a pet. “There have been cases where people have been banned from owning animals for up to 25 years and I have asked the court to look at those for an appropriate limitation”, said Andrew Bonfield, Bourque’s lawyer. Bourque was sentenced to eight months in jail followed by three years of probation for “causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to animals, willfully and without lawful excuse killing animals and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.” Bourque had confessed to disemboweling a cat and videos had surfaced of her eviscerating a dog while narrating the scene. She had also confessed to a desire to kill humans, and a “kill kit” including items such as a knife, razor blades, a mask and
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a syringe had been found in her room at SFU residence. Bonfield argued before the BC Court of Appeal that her stringent probation conditions, which included constant surveillance, a ban from all social media, and owning pets for the rest of her life, were “excessive” and limiting to Bourque’s chances at rehabilitation. “How does Ms. Bourque advance?” Bonfield asked the threejudge panel on Wednesday September 11, according to the Vancouver Province. “How does she show any progress? How can you gauge rehabilitation if your life is so limited?” “We want her to be involved in mental health,” Bonfield later told CBC News. “We want her to be involved in lots of other things so that she can hopefully not end up with any problems in her future.” Diagnosed by psychologists as a psychopath with narcissistic disorder, Bourque has been described by director of
criminology Rob Gordon as a “functioning human being without a conscience.” According to the National Library of Medicine, among the many symptoms associated with psychopathology, a person suffering from this condition displays manipulative behavior, callousness, and a complete lack of remorse. It is also considered a “lifelong condition,” says the Mayo Clinic, with some improvement possible over time but no guaranteed method of treatment and rehabilitation. Bourque has shown an interest in treatment, but after being evaluated by psychologists, they agreed that she had no remorse or insight into her crimes. “Given Bourque’s pattern and escalation of offenses, why should we think treatment can perform the miracle of instilling a conscience where a natural one seems to be lacking?” wrote Huffington Post’s blog managing editor Marni Soupcoff.
Following the debate between SFSS board members and Food and Beverage Services general manager, John Flipse, over whether or not the Highland Pub should charge cover on Wings Wednesday, the SFSS board of directors has come to a resolution. The board has decided to allow event bookings with the stipulation that cover not be charged before 9:00 p.m. and that those who enter the pub before the cut off will not have to pay to stay. The pub had just recently starting booking events regularly on Wednesday nights, which allows clubs and DSUs to play host and charge cover at the door in exchange for paying half of the pub’s security fees for the night. In order to allow this and still cover some of the security fees that clubs and DSUs pay when they book events, the SFSS will be offering a pub sponsorship package to clubs who demonstrate a need for financial assistance with throwing their event. The financing will come from an existing fund that has already been budgeted. The funds from the SFSS will cover half of the security costs
for events, approximately $575, as well as $50 for advertising. The decision to contribute the funding to clubs hosting events comes after the SFSS Commercial Services Committee passed a motion recommending to Flipse to not charge cover before 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. Events on different nights will not be subject to the cut-off rule. Formerly, when patrons wished to remain inside the pub on Wednesdays when clubs were hosting events, they were required to pay half of the cover being charged at the door. The SFSS subsidy will alleviate the need for this charge. Moe Kopahi, SFSS member services officer, pointed to an event two weeks ago, hosted by the the fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi where the group fundraised $1,300 in four hours, as an example that student groups will still be able to fundraise large amounts under the system. There is a stipulation with the sponsorship package that requires clubs and DSUs to attract a certain number of people to their event in order to gain funding from the SFSS, in order to incentivize them to promote heavily. Kopahi indicated that they are currently working on a table to account for different attendance possibilities. Kopahi sees the arrangement as a good compromise between Flipse’s attempts to lessen the pub’s deficit, and the SFSS’s aim to meet student needs.
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The article, “Engineering students show need for speed,” incorrectly stated that totem poles from Nahino Park are stored in the former Shell gas station building. Phil McCoy from Facility Management clarified this point and explained that various facilities use the building for storage. The area has also been used for the softball team’s batting practice “for about ten years,” says head coach Mike Rennie.
“We had a very strong season locally, and we’re always working on improving and I think we made some gains in a number of areas,” he continued. Bevan pointed specifically to a new medley that the band worked on for the past year that actually beat the current world champions on the day of the qualifier round. “We felt really good, we had a strong performance,” said
Bevan. “It’s always a bit of a risk when you take a new competition set out, because you don’t know how it’s going to go over with the Scottish judges, and we only get one crack at them.” Bevan has already taken over the pipe major position, though the band is currently on a break. They’ll resume practising later this month. Lee is not leaving the band entirely, but will remain involved with tuning, music construction, and band administration, something that Bevan described as an “unusual transition.” “Usually when a pipe major steps down he actually leaves the band or he just doesn’t have anything more to do with leadership,” Bevan explained; “In our case Terry is going to be very involved. I find that quite comforting that I’m going to have access to all that experience.” Once band practices resume, Bevan plans to make some music changes, but to mainly keep the band on the same trajectory that they are presently on. “I forsee it being a very smooth transition,” said Bevan, “not a lot of bumps. Hopefully. I really don’t think there [would be a reason for that]; the band’s not really rebuilding. It’s not broken and I’m certainly not going to try to fix it.”
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After 36 years, the SFU Pipe Band has a new leader. Terry Lee, who was been the band’s pipe major since 1977, is retiring, leaving the position in the hands of piper Alan Bevan. Bevan, who along with his wife Bonnie has been involved with the band since 1995, was formerly the pipe major of a competing band, the Abbotsford Police Pipe Band, but always had his eye on the SFU band. “It’s great. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do from when I first heard the band play when I was really young,” said Bevan. “I’d always aspired to play with the band. I finally got the opportunity and have never looked back.” In his years with the band, Bevan has been involved with the tuning team, whose job it is to ensure that all the sets of bagpipes are in tune and moving at the same rate. The changing of the guard comes on the heels of the band
placing fourth in the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow this past August, a result that Lee described at the time as, “Not what we came for, but we’re in the prizes.” The SFU pipe band has six championship wins under their belt, but were overcome by bad weather on the day of this year’s competition. Bevan described his reaction to the results as “kind of mixed feelings.”
In the article “TransLink to review public art policy,” it mentions that TransLink is reacting to public opinion with their decision to review the policy. However, according to Derek Zabel, TransLink media relations, TransLink had undertaken this initiative prior to any public interest.
AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING Nominations are now being accepted for Awards for Excellence in Teaching. All continuing full and part-time faculty members (tenured and tenure-track professors, lecturers, and lab instructors) who have taught a minimum of 5 years in a continuing position at Simon Fraser University are eligible for the awards. Nominations may be made by Simon Fraser University students, alumni and/or faculty. To make a nomination, please write by October 15, 2013, to: University Committee for the Excellence in Teaching Awards c/o Office of the Vice-President, Academic Simon Fraser University Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6 Phone: (778) 782-3925
Fax: (778) 782-5876
Include your name, address and telephone number, and reasons why your nominee is deserving of this award. The winners of the Awards will be selected based upon the following criteria: t"CJMJUZUPTUJNVMBUFTUVEFOUTUPUIJOLDSFBUJWFMZBOEDSJUJDBMMZ t%FNPOTUSBUFEDBSJOHGPSTUVEFOUMFBSOJOH t"CJMJUZUPQSFTFOUDPNQMFYJOGPSNBUJPODMFBSMZ t%FNPOTUSBUFEFOUIVTJBTNBOEJOOPWBUJPOJOUFBDIJOH t4VTUBJOFESFDPSEPGFYDFMMFOUUFBDIJOH t%JWFSTJUZPGDPVSTFMFWFM More information on the nomination and adjudication of the Excellence in Teaching Awards can be found on our website at: http://www.sfu.ca/vpacademic/Committees_TaskForces/Standing_Committees/Teaching-Excellence/ Or you may contact the Office of the Vice-President, Academic at (778) 782-3925.
By the time this article is in your hands, I sincerely hope the impending US crisis will be over. It will have been almost a week since the Government of the United States shut down over Republican refusal to allow the implementation of “Obamacare” or the Affordable Care Act. While this seems ridiculous — especially to Canadians who have had subsidized healthcare for decades — it isn’t actually unusual for a US governmental shutdown to occur. The US federal government has shut down on 18 occasions since 1976; during a shutdown, essential services continue to operate until the two parties can figure out what to do next. This time, however, the shutdown hides a potentially world changing threat. On October 17, the United States government will breach its debt ceiling. In layman’s terms, this means that the Treasury
Department will no longer be able to borrow money to make up the deficit between government spending and tax revenue. This, in turn, means that the American government will no longer be able pay its bills, which is clearly not a good thing. This is not the first time the US government’s debt ceiling has made the news. In fact, it’s only been a couple of years since the last time the United States was going to breach its debt ceiling. In that instance, last minute maneuvering by Congress led to the debt ceiling being raised, and a crisis situation was averted. What makes this instance different is that Congress is not in session because of the shutdown, and, if they don’t get back together soon, a world of financial trouble will brew over. All of a sudden, a ridiculous political debate filled with equally insane rhetoric — US Senator Ted Cruz compared the threat of Obamacare to Nazi Germany — becomes an issue that could have global ramifications. What are these ramifications, exactly? No one can truly know. In the history of the nation, the United States has never breached its debt ceiling. Furthermore, it’s not even an event
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that has been planned for — unlike a shutdown, there is no contingency plan in place. Many economists have started to speculate what it would look like if the American government were to breach its debt ceiling. The general consensus is that if the United States is unable to pay its bills, this would provoke a global financial crisis, as it would cause the safest asset in the financial system — US treasury bonds — to default. If this happens, it could very well lead to a global economic crisis due to the number of world economies reliant on America and the power of its economy. For the sake of the world, I am begging America to come to some sort of an agreement. Republicans, we get that you don’t like Obamacare, but it was signed into law three years ago and is merely awaiting proper implementation. You lost, so get over it. And Democrats, figure out some way to compromise with the Republicans before you drag the entire world down around you. Do the jobs you were elected to do, and figure out how to make the government run. The clock is ticking.
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David Gilmour, an English professor at the University of Toronto, has been the recipient of negative attention recently for admitting that he elects not to teach women authors in his lectures. This confession is problematic, in that it judges and discredits an entire group of talented writers simply because they are women. While the way in which he defends his choice is poorly argued and riddled with sexism, there is nothing wrong with a professor opting not to cover female writers. Personal preference is an important factor in decision making for any medium and Gilmour’s rationale for teaching books written by men is that he likes them better. If we suspend the implications attached to how he words his assertion, this is a fair point: everyone who takes an interest in literature has preferences when it comes to what they study. As a person, Gilmour is allowed to prefer male authors in the same way that I can prefer post-modern authors.
This is not necessarily a judgment on the authors themselves, or their ability to write — it’s about who one is as a reader. When I say I dislike sci-fi written by those with a background in science, it centres on me as a reader who does not have the patience for technical terms. Professors are also allowed to have preferences when it comes to literature, and to claim otherwise would be a double standard. The best professors are always those who have an interest
in what they are teaching, and this passion noticeably carries over into the way in which they lecture. Taking this into consideration, it seems fitting that in a subject with content flexibility, professors should select texts with attention to their personal preferences. As a student, I would much rather get a passionate series of lectures about novels written by men than have a professor teaching me something that he dislikes out of mere obligation. Moreover, it would be detrimental for an instructor to teach an author they dislike conveying their biases throughout the course, than to simply refrain from teaching them at all. Those of us who like books written by women are far better off without people like Gilmour attempting to teach us about them. In one of his comments, Gilmour states that students looking to study women’s contributions to literature can “go down the hall.” Essentially, Gilmour is doing the University of Toronto a favour by letting other instructors cover what he is ultimately less enthusiastic about. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of us who do enjoy literature written by women for many reasons, and there are professors who are not only willing, but excited, to teach their works. And, in all fairness, there are a considerable number of courses dedicated solely to women authorship. Gilmour choosing not to include women in his reading list is not going to change this fact. There is also a chance that some students might enjoy taking a course which focuses on male authors only. So, at the end of the day, Gilmour is free to teach novels written by men if it makes him happy and students continue to enrol in his classes. Professors have the freedom to design their courses within the required parameters, and students have the freedom to choose what they want to take. While his public opinion on the matter is contentious, choosing books he likes is not.
PRINCE GEORGE (CUP) — In recent years, the Arctic has become a hot commodity, and Arctic issues are increasingly making their way into international headlines. Russia is only the latest Arctic nation to follow this trend, and Canada in particular should pay closer attention if we desire to preserve our Arctic environment for the future. According to Daniel Sandford of BBC News in his article “Russia’s Arctic: Mission to Protect Wildlife,” “Russia is planning huge oil and gas developments in the Arctic Ocean off its northern coast–drilling that could threaten pristine wildlife habitats.” Despite warnings from Russian scientists that large populations of walruses and polar bears could be put at risk, the Russian government is continuing early exploration of potential production areas and may begin activity within the next two decades. This future activity will depend on fluctuations in international oil and gas prices. Polar bears and walruses in Russia — and around the world — are already facing hardships resulting from climate change and environmental degradation, the most significant of which is retreating ice due to melting. This melting has forced numerous Arctic
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animals away from their traditional feeding grounds to further inland where food is both more dangerous and more difficult to procure. Instituting large-scale oil and gas production would only prove to further disrupt their
lifestyles because of the noise and pollution it would result in, ultimately chasing away food sources that are already growing scarce. These activities would also risk potential oil spills that are devastating to the environment, and are
dangerous, costly, and time consuming to clean up. Like Russia, Canada is now facing a similar dilemma where it comes to dealing with our own Arctic interests. Arctic Canada is rich in culture, biodiversity, and natural resources.
It has a longstanding history of being a place of intercultural exchange through interactions between Arctic explorers and vibrant Inuit communities. Arctic Canada is interspersed with unique ecosystems and life that exist nowhere else on the planet, though both the Inuit and these unique ecosystems have recently faced the challenges of climate change and continued environmental degradation. Canada’s Arctic also possesses great political and economic potential. First, it has gained increased attention recently with regard to the Northwest Passage, which may serve as an efficient and viable international trading route upon further glacial melting. Second, our Arctic holds enormous potential for large oil and gas reserves, which makes it extremely valuable to the international community. However, this current and future oil and gas mining threatens the environment in which it is housed. Arctic nations around the world are gradually realizing this fact, and placing more of a focus on protecting their habitats because of it. This gradually increasing awareness remains, even if some do not appear to be on the same page, and Canada should take note. Given the challenges Canada’s Arctic is already facing, we must be cautious not to follow such an environmentally damaging route if we wish to continue to enjoy a vibrant and sustainable Arctic in the future. Should we fail in this respect, we may not be the “true north” for much longer.
dŚĂŶŬƐŐŝǀŝŶŐtŽƌƐŚŝƉʹKƉĞŶ/ŶǀŝƚĂƚŝŽŶ Sunday, Oct 13, 10:30 AM www.ellesmereunited.org ĞŝŶŐ'ƌĂƚĞĨƵůĂŶĚ'ŝǀŝŶŐdŚĂŶŬƐ͊ Minister: Rev. Deb Hinksman firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday Worship and Children’s Sunday School -‐ 10:30 AM † GLBT friendly † Social justice action † learning opportunities Burnaby Campus -‐ Cornerstone Building -‐ Unit 160 -‐ inside beside SFU Trust Ellesmere United Church @SFU
Like many people, I’m very good at hiding my prejudices, even from myself. For the longest time, I did not even realize how unfair my beliefs about bisexual people were. This discrimination — like other forms of it — is not only harmful to its victims, but to its perpetrators, too. I did not realize
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what I was missing out on until I dated a bisexual woman. For years, I believed that bisexual women were fundamentally heterosexual. Some were undoubtedly hypersexual, I acknowledged, and found it necessary to branch out from their preferred male partners to satisfy themselves. Others were simply experimenting, confused. They did not identify as Questioning, because they were trying to find entrance into a community to which they knew they did not belong. For these reasons, I simply did not believe that bisexuals truly existed. It’s not difficult to see how prejudiced these beliefs of mine were, but they were never challenged, and so I held onto them.
As someone who is comfortable with the label “lesbian,” I have privilege over those with sexual orientations that are not as readily recognized by those within the heterosexual and homosexual worlds. I exercised this privilege without a second thought. Perhaps more than others, I should have known better. I had identified as bisexual all my life, until I was able to accept that, despite living in a heteronormative world, I had no interest in men. I thought I was exceptional: a bisexual who loved women. My experience of dating outside of the homosexual/heterosexual binary was nothing like the one I had ascribed to bisexual women, yet I maintained it — until I met Cali.
R U O Y E FAC FEARS
I met Cali on OKCupid, which I was using because it took a lot of the usual guesswork out of dating; I know a person is queer, and therefore a potential partner, because their profile tells me so outright. Cali was listed as “bisexual” on OKCupid. Despite this, I thought she was intelligent, beautiful and funny. I do not think Cali was ever aware of my prejudice because I hid it from her.
I generally try to be as authentic with potential partners as possible. However, I thought she was out of my league, despite her sexual orientation. Telling her that I suspected she was promiscuous, confused, and disingenuous was not a good move under those circumstances. Predictably, she shattered my concept of bisexual women, and made me a very happy person in the process. I have been forced to completely
revise my general beliefs about bisexual people and I have benefited from the change. I repeatedly remind my heterosexual male roommate about Cali. While looking at profiles on OKCupid, I often hear him say things like, “She’s cute . . . oh, she’s bisexual,” while scrolling along to other profiles. I believe this prejudice is less obvious to him than it was to me, because he has never been discriminated against because of his sexual orientation. It was not only unfair, but hypocritical, for me to think poorly of bisexuals. It’s also unfair for other members of the queer community to do so. Perhaps it’s more detrimental to us in comparison to heterosexuals, because we have fewer possible partners available to us to begin with. Regardless of our own sexual orientations, we must work towards a uniform respect for all. In this instance, I did not extend my recognition of the prejudice I faced to people unlike me. The solution was to address my privilege over more marginalized orientations head-on. This approach is continual and difficult, but well worth it.
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THE MONSTERS OF SCHLOCK*
Whether or not you support a particular war, I think we can all agree veterans deserve to be respected. They gave their blood, sweat, and tears for their country, and possess an invaluable perspective on the world to impart to others. One way we honour veterans is through war memorials — sites dedicated to those who helped defend their country’s
freedom, and, in many instances, the lives of those in peril. One cannot imagine war if one has not experienced it first hand, myself included. But that doesn’t mean we can’t go out of our way to let our veterans know we respect the sacrifices they made; it was their lives on the front line, after all, and their bravery deserves eternal recognition.
On October 1, a group of veterans arrived at the World War II Memorial to pay homage to their fallen comrades. However, the US federal government shutdown proved to be an obstacle to their tribute, because it meant the closure of the war memorial. They had travelled from Mississippi as part of the Honor Flight program, which, as the Washington Post explains, helps veterans across
the US travel for free to visit the memorial. The group had paid $80,000 to charter an airplane, and plans were too far along to postpone when the government shut down. War memorials belong to the public, especially those who served their country. What kind of a government would close a memorial when it was known that a group of veterans was coming?
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“I think it was a fluke,” laughs Maeghan Hermansson, as she explains how she became president of Kappa Beta Gamma, one of the few Greek letter organizations at SFU. “My older brother, who is in the fraternity at the University of Victoria, got me in touch with [their sorority]. At the time, I thought, ‘oh, Kappa seems like a good fit for SFU.’” Maeghan claims she was “super shy in high school.” Coming from a graduating class of only 130 people, community has always been a large part of her education. When it came to university, SFU was the only fit for Maeghan. “I missed the city,” she admits. As someone who enjoys helping people, she knew that the school’s Health Science department would feed her desire to do so. “A big thing for me is the ability to learn how policy works, taking classes on mental health [and] infectious diseases,” she explains. “It’s just kind of cool to put all of the aspects together instead of just looking at the one principle.”
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Maeghan understands that there are many ways to help people, which is why creating the Alpha Gamma chapter of KBG was so important to her. “It’s so frightening to not know anybody . . . you make friends in class, but after the semester is over you don’t really see them anymore.” Maeghan wanted to change that. She understands that “joining a sorority isn’t for everybody,” but she admits that doing so helps “you break out of your shell.” Overall she believes it is “nice to have that support system around you for all the things you do.” She found it hard when people around her would talk about transferring to a different school — they would tell her that they wanted to go and “have a blast at UVic.” She couldn’t help but think, “You could have a blast here!” It’s the we that stands out most as Maeghan speaks of the sorority, one that she played a founding role in. “We are Kappa Beta Gamma,” she begins. “We also go by KBG. [There are] 17 active chapters, and we are
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currently expanding in the States and in Canada.” The sorority itself was founded in 1917 at Marquette University in Marquette, Milwaukee, with the aim to promote leadership skills for young women.
wasn’t easy, and although Maeghan would “say [she] did a lot of the leg work” in the beginning, she would not have been able to do it without the help and support of the other girls. As she puts it, “It takes one per-
There were originally just 12 members, but KBG has expanded immensely, and has had an impact in the lives of many female SFU students. “We have girls from White Rock, Ladner, Coquitlam, and North Vancouver. We have girls that are international students . . . It doesn’t really matter where you come from, as long as you see yourself staying at SFU.” Maeghan saw an opportunity for SFU to develop a better community around campus. Starting the organization
son to start something, but it takes so many more than that to finish it.” So, the question remains: what exactly does Kappa Beta Gamma do? The president wants to put a stop to the idea that it’s just about socializing. “Yes, it is a social thing, you do make a lot of friends. But you also make professional connections.” Meaghan herself has been offered internships as a result of her involvement with the sorority. Volunteering is also an extremely important goal for these young ladies,
who meet regularly each semester to have a “brainstorming session” to make sure everyone is on the same page. “Right now our goal is to get more involved in the community. We work with School Building Schools. We have done a lot of volunteering with them . . . We were involved with Relay for Life last year with a bunch of other Greek letter organizations at SFU, as well as getting involved with the Special Olympics,” she says. “It’s so nice to see people of all abilities getting involved and having fun. Everybody is laughing and having a good time, which is great.” For Maeghan, the job has its own rewards. “I love helping people make friends,” she smiles. “We actually have a house full of girls who live together, who met through the sorority, girls that went through rush this semester. Whether they found out that [our sorority] was for them or not, they met friends, and that’s a huge opportunity for everybody. Sometimes, it just takes that push to help make friends.”
Over the past few years, there have been some incredible and noteworthy art discoveries made by art conservators and happenstance archaeologists alike. Whether they’ve been forgotten amidst family heirlooms in attics and discovered decades later, or carted onto the set of Antiques Roadshow, these unexpected finds are more valuable than their appraised price tags: they suggest a whole iceberg of arts and culture just waiting to be found beneath the surface.
Antiques Roadshow is, more often than not, addled with lessthan valuable tea sets and grandfather clocks, but for one woman in 2009, it proved to be worth the leap. The woman brought four ornately carved jade pieces to the show, including two dishes, a vase, and a sculpture. Lo and behold, the collection turned out to be a set of genuine antique Chinese pieces. The woman’s father had been stationed in China in the 30s and 40s, acting as a liaison for the war. On the episode, she recounts tales told to her as a child from her father, who was just a “Kentucky farm boy.” According to her, he learned Chinese and met a Mr. Liang who lived at “number ten Jade Street.” She recalls her father telling her about how this Mr. Liang would call him over and say, “I have some pieces you might want to look at.” Evidently, the friendship with Mr. Liang proved fruitful. After being appraised, it was discovered that the collection was worth over $1 million. The appraiser, James Callahan, an expert in Asian Arts, informed her that the pieces were all of very, very high quality. One bowl’s design was based off of an Indian style, referred to as Mogul, and dates back to the 18th century. Another piece is set with a ruby, a carving of an animal-like creature called a bixie, which was thought to ward off evil. Another piece is inscribed with “by imperial order” on the bottom, indicating that it was made specifically for the emperor. Callahan suggested they date back to the Qianlong period during the years 1736 to 1795, and probably belonged to Emperor Qianlong himself. Callahan called it the best thing he’d ever seen on Roadshow.
2010 was a remarkable year for art discoveries, including a work by Renaissance master Caravaggio. On the 400th anniversary of the painter’s death, the Vatican suggested that a previously unattributed painting, found among their archives and titled Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, may actually be a work by the revered artist. The painting, property of the Jesuit Order, depicts the young Saint Lawrence, loincloth-clad, crying out in pain as he is roasted over a grate. While the Vatican did concede that more information was needed to confirm the attribution, there were some who remained unconvinced of the work’s merit. According to an article by The Telegraph, Antonio Pinelli, an art historian from Florence, suggested that the work was more likely by one of Caravaggio’s followers, not by the master himself. He claimed that the texture of the skin and the execution of the loin cloth were poor, and that the “blue rag is really a very poor thing.” Whether or not the piece can rightfully be attributed to Caravaggio is still up in the air, but the 400th anniversary seems a suspiciously convenient time for this discovery to surface.
Ever wondered what a young, naked Sean Connery must have looked like? Wonder no longer! An oil painting of the young 007 has been found in a Scottish artist’s home. The artist, Rab Webster, from the Scottish Borders, died in 2010 at the age of 83, and, when his family went about cleaning up his things, they discovered stacks upon stacks of old canvases. Webster, who worked as an art teacher before his death, had a large collection of previously unseen works, among them the brushstroke-perfected tush of Mr. Connery. Connery, before landing his breakthrough gig as Mr. ShakenNot-Stirred, worked as an artist’s model at the Edinburgh College of Art. Nick Behel, a family member of Webster, noted in an article in The Telegraph that “[Webster] said Connery treated it just as a job and that he didn’t say very much.”
A new van Gogh painting has very recently been discovered, more than 120 years after the painter’s death. The stunning landscape painting — having spent most of its life hidden away under sheaths of dust in a Norwegian attic — was originally thought to be a fake. This discovery is particularly astonishing because the work is from the same period as some of van Gogh’s greatest, such as The Yellow House and Sunflowers — a period when the artist was living in Arles in southern France. Experts from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have called the discovery “absolutely sensational,” “a once in a lifetime experience,” have said that and that “a discovery of this magnitude has never before occurred in the history of the Van Gogh Museum.” Indeed, the discovery of the painting — titled Sunset at Montmajour — is a tremendous addition to the oeuvre of the famous painter. Montmajour depicts the bright countryside of Arles, where van Gogh was working during the time, in shades of mustard and vivid green; a ruined
abbey dots the hillside in the distance. The story behind the discovery is a common thread: the original owner of the painting had his doubts about its legitimacy, and so — rather than face embarrassment by his peers for being in possession of a phony — he thrust the painting up into the attic, where it would sit for years, untouched. The owner, Christian Nicolai Mustad, a Norwegian industrialist, bought the painting in 1908 upon the suggestion of art historian Jens Thiis, the director of the National Museum in Oslo at the time. A French ambassador later visited Mustad, wryly insinuating the painting was either a fake or wrongly attributed. With the
number of forgeries floating around during the time, Mustad became wary and rather than research the painting, he hid it away, to be kept from art admirers and collectors until this year. Mustad passed away in 1970, and the painting has been rejected as a fake several times since, but after extensive research into the style and technique, experts are finally comfortable calling it an official work by van Gogh. As of September 24, the painting has been put up on display as part of a “Van Gogh at Work” exhibit at the museum.
There are virtually no paintings remaining from the Hellenistic period (321 BC–31 BC), save for a few fragments hinting at the composition and colours used by the decadent ancient Greek and Mediterranean cultures. Recently though, a work has been discovered and restored at the world heritage site at Petra, Jordan, one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. The location, most famous for its mix of ancient eastern traditions and Hellenistic architecture, can now also claim 2,000 yearold — circa the first century Anno Domini, if not older — Hellenistic-style wall paintings.
In 2010, 271 new works by Picasso were discovered in Paris. Pierre Le Guennec, a 71-year old retired electrician, was arrested by French police officers when it was found that the unlikely art collector was in possession of hundreds of neverbefore-seen works by the cubist master. The works, dated between 1900 and 1932, include portraits of Picasso’s first wife, Olga, nine cubist collages valued at 40 million euros, a watercolour from his “blue” period, as well as around 30 lithographs and 200-odd drawings. The works were at first thought to be fakes, but art experts have suggested that
F R I DAY O C TO B E R 2 5 , 2 01 3 7:00am – 5:30pm Presented by Eaton Educational Group At the Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver, BC Educators, parents, psychologists, counsellors, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, Faculty of Education students and anyone interested in the connections between the fields of education and neuroscience are welcome to register to hear this amazing line-up of speakers.
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Tucked into a book amidst Boldini’s preserved belongings was a love note written by Boldini himself, as well as a reference to the date of the painting, 1898, proving its authenticity. The painting had, evidently, never been listed or exhibited. It sold at an auction for nearly $3 million.
there’s no way that a counterfeiter could have copied the wide range of styles found in the collection. Le Guennec claimed that the works were gifts from Picasso in return for odd jobs performed around his Côte d’Azur home and studio, but the Picasso family said that the story seems unlikely, as none of the pieces were dated, something Picasso never omitted when gifting his work. According to an article published by The Telegraph, Picasso’s son Claude said: “To give such a large quantity (away) frankly doesn’t stand up. It was part of his life . . . he always dated, signed and wrote dedications in his gifts, knowing that some people would go on to sell them to meet their needs.” Le Guennec later changed his story, suggesting that the works were a gift from Picasso’s second wife, Jacqueline Roque, who committed suicide in 1986. The fate of the works hang in the balance, as it was last reported that the rightful possession of the drawings and paintings would be determined in a legal battle.
The story goes that a woman left her apartment for the south of France before World War II, but she continued to diligently pay her rent for decades after. When she died at the age of 91, her apartment was finally opened up, after 70 years of being closed off. Those who were left to disassemble her dusty belongings were astonished to find a large painting of a woman in a rosecoloured dress. As it turns out, the painting was discovered to be by the renowned Italian artist Boldini, and — get this — the subject of the painting was actually the grandmother of the woman who previously inhabited the apartment.
The paintings were found by British conservation specialists who, at the urging of the Petra National Trust, recovered the works over three years, removing thousands of years’ worth of soot, grease and graffiti. Experts have called the discovery “exceptional,” and have even claimed that the uncovered paintings are superior to some Roman works at Herculaneum, the ancient Roman town that was destroyed by volcanic activity in 79 AD. The realistic depictions of life in the paintings are so vivid that specific species of flowers, birds and insects have been identified. The images include three different vines of grape, ivy and bindweed, the latter of which is associated with the Greek god of wine, Dionysus. There are also depictions of a demoiselle crane and a Palestinian sunbird, all done in vivid colours. The paintings are thought to be done by the Nabataeans, a group of people who traded with the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian empires, and whose land stretched from Damascus to the Red Sea, and Sinai to the Arabian desert.
Improving Cognitive Functioning
BARBARA ARROWSMITH YOUNG (MA) The Intimate Connection Between Mental Health Issues and Learning Disabilities
DR. GABOR MATÉ
DR. RICK HANSON
Afternoon Keynote: From Emotion to Cognition: Love As The Ground For Learning
Hardwiring Happiness: Growing Inner Strengths in Children, Parents, and Teachers
Danny Brown’s stream of consciousness style and obscene wordplay have won him a legion of admirers since he burst onto Detroit’s emaciated rap scene a few years ago. Old, his first proper studio LP and the successor to his wildly popular free release XXX, paints a more complete portrait of Brown than we’ve seen so far. For every lewd sex joke and over-the-top boast, the rapper’s newest features an admission of loneliness or a plea for nonviolence. By striking a precarious balance between youthful abandon and cinematic gravitas, Old obnoxiously
“Back in the days when I was a teenager, before I had status and before I had a pager . . .” From Q-Tip’s first couplet in album opener “Excursions,” I was hooked. Like many other hesitant hip-hop listeners, The Low End Theory — A Tribe
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announces itself as a frontrunner for hip-hop album of the year. After months of arguments with label heads and studio tinkering, the build-up proved to be worth it — the production is immaculate, from the industrial grind of “Way Up Here” to the ambulance synths of “Break It (Go)” to the muted R&B of “The Return,” Old is an inventive sound collage that never gets, well, you know. Brown’s lyrics are similarly all over the place: “Handstand” may be the most depraved fornication fantasy the rapper has cooked up to date, while “Wonderbread” is, as far as I can tell, a song about purchasing sliced bread (with pan flute accompaniment). “Torture” features Brown’s most vulnerable verses committed to tape, while “Red 2 Go” is an aggressive call to arms for listeners and rivals alike. Old’s saving grace is Brown’s versatility: his raps range from smooth and melodic to harebrained and manic, sometimes within the same stanza. Some will argue that Old tries to do too much, and there’s something to be said about the album’s overzealous attention span. But it’s hard to deny that Brown is one of hip-hop’s strangest, funniest and most creative figures, and Old proves that he’s even more versatile than we thought.
Called Quest’s sophomore opus and the Rosetta Stone of jazz hop — was my rap gateway drug. Effortlessly listenable and calmly anecdotal, the trio’s second LP was the antithesis of Public Enemy’s political manifestos: Q-Tip and his partner Phife Dawg kept their ideologies subtextual, preferring to focus on the wiles of rap promoters and the opposite sex. Though many had noted the parallels between jazz and hip-hop before, The Low End Theory was the first record to truly fuse them into one pulsing, cohesive whole. From its stand-up bass grooves to DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s pitch perfect bebop samples, the LP’s atmosphere is warm and inviting. The group’s twin MCs maintain a lively equilibrium: Q-Tip’s lyrical talent shines through his gentle cadence, while Phife Dawg’s youthful bombast is grounded by his seamless syllabary. Despite its apolitical nature, The Low End Theory is anything but delicate. Few hip-hop albums are as quotable: each stanza stacks reference upon reference in an endless circle of one-upmanship between the group’s leads. The result is some of rap’s finest
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The Bones of What You Believe is a lot of fun. It’s catchy, danceable and ticks the appropriate boxes on the List of Musical Influences. If you’re searching for a new album to listen to while you passively browse Facebook or lift weights at the gym, look no further: this Scottish trio is the group you’ve been looking for. They even have an appropriately non-threatening lead vocalist who looks a little bit like that girl you had a crush on in seventh grade. The problem is that, as the Barenaked Ladies once said, it’s all been done. Chvrches are adequately talented, and they clearly have an ear for hooks. Opener
wordplay, all against a backdrop of smoky jazz instrumentation and deceptively simple drum beats. Despite their casual rivalry, Tip and Phife were never more in sync than on this LP. “Check the Rhime,” the album’s centerpiece and the group’s strongest track, sees the two trading verses without
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“The Mother We Share” and single “Recover” are sure to be mainstays on your local indie station, and rightfully so. But are they saying anything new? I think you already know the answer. There’s something to be said for the album’s immaculate production: these mixes are so squeaky clean, listening to The Bones of What You Believe feels like going through a car wash. Not a single guitar is plucked throughout the LP’s 16 tracks, but the group’s repertoire of bleeps and bloops are more than enough to make up for the absence. Even lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s voice feels obsessively micromanaged, equal parts socially acceptable quirkiness and milquetoast lyrical clichés. (Though, to her credit, Mayberry recently penned a damning op ed in The Guardian about online sexism towards female musicians. So there’s that.) On its surface, The Bones of What You Believe is a perfectly enjoyable and effortlessly marketable slice of pop music pie — maybe a little on the long side, but far from bloated. Still, it’s hard to get excited about amiable, derivative synth pop anymore. Like so many albums before it and many more to come, Chvrches’ debut full length is just another step into the brave new world of indie pop homogenization.
missing a beat. Though their differences would eventually lead the group to split in 1998, The Low End Theory is the high point of the duo’s professional partnership. This is the album to try if you’re new to the genre: if you’re not a convert by the last chorus of “Scenario,” you might as well stick with Coldplay.
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BAWA SINGH’S GARDEN A poem 2630 lines long
Dr. Gurdev S. Boparai An e-‐book at Amazon/Kindle for $5
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criminal underworld. Right out of the gate, GTA V changes up the formula by having three protagonists, each with their own character arcs and unique personalities. The three leads (Michael, Franklin and Trevor) all have one thing in common: they are destined to a life of crime. The Grand Theft Auto franchise has always been a haven for controversy, innovation, and ambition. Creating a world where a player can roam freely and participate in nearly any illegal activity that they can think of is what has made the series so popular, but it’s also what has spawned the most public outcry. Grand Theft Auto V still provides plenty of reasons to get the pitchforks out, but the offbeat, tongue-in-cheek humour that the series is known for helps to alleviate the offensiveness and create a biting satire of America, as well as a pretty great game. With any Grand Theft Auto, the focus is generally on one protagonist and his rise within the
Michael gets out and is brought back in; Franklin aspires to make something of himself outside of gangbanging; and Trevor is an uncontrollable, unstable psychopath. The chemistry between the three is electric, and the three-person narrative comes together to form an interesting, cohesive story that stands above many of the other games released during this console cycle.
Mamie Taylor’s is a modern American-style restaurant located in Chinatown, and besides offering tons of yummy food and drinks, the joint is also stuffed with taxidermy (pun intended). If you’re looking for something simple but hearty, try their corn bread and biscuits with jalapeño butter, or the white cheddar grits with grilled mushrooms, fava beans and bread crumbs. Or if you’re really hungry, order the pork chops with bacon wrapped apples and roasted kale. Consider pairing those yums with a cocktail or two, like the Aviation (gin, maraschino, lemon, and liqueur de violette).
Come out to The Cobalt this Sunday, Oct. 13 for a performance by Har Mar Superstar, Sex With Strangers, and Looks to Kill. Har Mar is releasing his latest album, Bye Bye 17, which follows the musical traditions of James Brown, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. The guy has a huge personality and puts on an incredible show. I know it’s Thanksgiving, but why not stuff your face with turkey, then stuff your head with music, and give thanks to the music gods. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, which opens at 8 p.m.
The mechanics of the game have not changed much since Grand Theft Auto IV, but there are some noteworthy additions and tweaks that make the game more engaging than previous iterations. Most satisfying for myself is the driving, which has become less realistic, but more fun as a result. Another new aspect is the ability to switch between the three main characters at any time off-mission, with certain missions being tailored to specific characters. Each character also has his own special ability (i.e Trevor can take inhuman amounts of damage) which makes the game a bit too easy. The forgiveness in GTA V can really be felt in the implementation of checkpoints during missions which means no more having to replay a mission from the very beginning again. By going for a less realistic approach, Rockstar has eliminated a lot of the difficulty in the game, which is both welcoming for those who could never finish the games, and
The Visible Verse Festival kicks off this Saturday, Oct. 12, at The Cinematheque. The theatre’s annual festival of video poetry and film returns, this year curated and hosted by Heather Haley, a poet, author, musician and media artist. The festival integrates verse with media arts visuals produced by a camera or a computer. This year, more than 200 entries were received from all over the world and 37 have been chosen by Haley to be screened. R.W. Perkins, a Colorado poet and filmmaker, will also give a talk on poetry and filmmaking.
infuriating for those who want a challenge. Main missions aside, GTA V should be able to attract new players to the series with its inclusion of plenty of extracurricular activities like golfing, tennis, drag racing, hunting, and more, as well as instant access to the entire map
Poetry is Dead is launching its eighth issue, “The Sound Issue”, Thursday, Oct. 10. This same night will also be the launch of Jordan Abel’s first book of poetry titled The Place of Scraps. Taking place at Western Front, located at E 8th Ave, the evening will include readings by Lauren Kresowaty, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Karen Correia Da Silva, Kevin McNeilly, and Andrew McEwan. Copies of the magazine are available for $5, and subscriptions for $10. There will also be a live DJ’d sound poem made from sound clips of the audience, performed by Daniel Zomparelli.
of Los Santos. There is no limit to what you can do in GTA V. The colourful cast and narrative will keep some intrigued, but the massive scope of the game will prevent many players from progressing through the story, as they drive through Los Santos simply admiring the far-reaching vistas.
Are you stressed about midterms? Do you need some giggles, or even some bellyshaking laughs? Check out Calabash Bistro’s Funny Talk, an evening of stand up comedy and music, taking place on Wednesday, Oct. 9. This edition of the show will feature Graham Clark, who’s been featured on Reader’s Digest King of Comedy edition; Sunee Dhaliwal from Just for Laughs and Comedy Now; and KatieEllen Humphries from the Bridge Port Fest and Bumbershoot Fest. The special musical guest this time around will be Kate Alexandra Morgan. If that isn’t enough to get you excited, Calabash Bistro also has an amazing poutine and spicy-as-heck ginger beer.
Tracy Stefanucci is a powerhouse of creativity. Not only has she been publishing a magazine since 2006, but she also operates a local artistrun space, and is now producing an annual art book fair. “A book fair is something that our organization has mused over for many years,” writes Stefanucci, catching spare moments between tasks to respond to my questions via email. “However, the idea for an art book fair began to take shape in 2010. “We discovered that we were no longer creating a literary magazine and were actually creating an artist magazine.” Now called OCW Magazine, the former “vancouverlogue” of art and writing is a cornerstone of Vancouver’s artistic voice and creative community. However, since 2011, it has become an intermittently published platform for the curatorial interests of Stefanucci and her partner, Jaz Halloran. The magazine, published by the non-profit OCW Arts & Publishing
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Foundation, also runs Project Space, a bookshop, publisher, and alternative art space in Chinatown. While Stefanucci credits local book fairs like Word Vancouver and Canzine West for enriching the local literary landscape, she could still see a “glaring gap for publishing grounded in a visual arts context.” In fact, when Stefanucci started planning the first Vancouver Art/ Book Fair in 2011, there was no
other international art book fair in Canada or on the West Coast, so she travelled to the New York Art Book Fair to research possibilities for a Vancouver fair. This past weekend, on Oct. 5 and 6, the second annual Vancouver Art/Book Fair (VA/BF) took over part of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The fair has expanded to a two-day festival of artists’ publishing featuring nearly 100 exhibitors,
workshops and programs, performances and installations.
“There is artist publishing being produced by artist-run centres, individual artists and photographers, artist collectives, graphic designers and writers,” lists Stefanucci. “We try to capture this spectrum at VA / BF, and we also try to capture a range of the forms a ‘book’ can take: a traditional paper and ink booklet or piece of print ephemera, a magazine, a zine, an in-person engagement, multimedia, etc.” The programming included diversity and variety, as Stefanucci managed to host speakers from as
near as Victoria or San Francisco, to more distant places such as Manchester, Stockholm, and Istanbul. “We have presenters who centre their art practices on publishing and others who publish alongside graphic design studios or who identify primarily as writers . . . female, queer and aboriginal artists are represented. And the programs themselves vary from performances and artist talks to panels, workshops and installations.” VA / BF featured three rooms full of exhibitors who are “local, national and international publishers of books, magazines, zines, printed ephemera and digital or other experimental forms of publication.” Jason Vanderhill, creator of local blog Illustrated Vancouver, believes the vast array of exhibitors was one of the best parts of the weekend. “You don’t always get to see these art indie publications all in one place,” says Vanderhill. “So you might see a handful or a small sampling at Blim or Canzine West or the Art Gallery, but it’s a unique moment when they all converge.” Running parallel with VA / BF was the Artists’ Books Weekend. Inspired by the London-based Arists’ Books Weekend, Stefanucci described ABW as an event series programmed by the community — any organizations, curators, publishers, artists, or artist-run centres can host an event in celebration of artist publishing and post it to the ABW webpage. It’s one of the ways they are encouraging the local community to get involved. As one of VA / BF’s goals is to foster greater visibility for artist publishing and artists working in this medium, the fair continues to remain free and open to the public. “There is always room for improvement,” admits Stefanucci, “but for our second year I am really pleased with our ability to create space for so many voices and practices.”
It was a nice change of scenery for the SFU crosscountry teams, getting out of the Vancouver rain and racing under the California sun. But for both the men’s and women’s sides, the results of their races at the Stanford Invitational were quite familiar. Racing against some of the top competition in both the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I and II programs, the Clan men finished seventh and the women second at the Invitational. Lindsey Butterworth, a senior on the squad and the women’s captain, led the way for the Clan finishing 35th in the 5km race, with a time of 22:40. Kirsten Allen finished second for the Clan, with a time of 22:54, and teammate Kansas Mackenzie was right behind her, finishing 46th in 22:55. Nanaimo native Rebecca Bassett, a freshman, and sophomore Emma Chadsey filled out the top five for the Clan women, finishing 61st and 74th respectively. After three strong finishes to start the crosscountry season, the Clan will get a week off from competition before heading to Bellingham, WA for the Western Washington Tuneup next week. “We’ve been very consistent through the first three races and it will be good to get a week off from racing and have a hard week of training,” said Butterworth. “We are excited to see what we can accomplish at our
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conference meet and regionals after that.” The week off will be used as a chance for improvement. “I know the women can be better,” said head coach Bit Townsend. “The women were only 10 points behind first-place Chico State. With a week off and a hard week of training, they will be motivated to get things going.” Meanwhile, it was a freshman leading the Clan men in their seventh-place finish. Chilliwack’s Oliver Jorgensen, finishing the 6km race in 26:28, placed 76th. Finishing only four seconds behind him was senior team captain James Young, who finished 87th with 26:32.
“Overall we ran well considering we have raced three weeks in a row,” said Young, as his men’s side prepares for their first 10km race of the season in Bellingham. “Moving forward we are excited to do a 10km and are hoping to close the gap between our top five runners.” Austin Trapp, Cameron Proceviat, and Ephraim Tadesse rounded out that top-five. “I’m very happy with how our men competed. This was a really tough race. We have had some sickness and nagging injuries that we hope will sort itself out with a week off,” said Townsend. “The Stanford Invitational is one of the top meets in the nation and by racing here, it makes us mentally tougher.” That, with a week off to prepare for their next race, points to improvement on an already successful start to the 2013 season.
After a breakthrough non-conference season the Clan women’s volleyball team struggled to get things going in their Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) openers, in Montana and Seattle. The SFU ladies opened strong in their first game, taking the first set against Seattle Pacific University, 25–16. Unfortunately, they would not be able to hold the momentum, dropping the next three sets straight. Aggressive play by left side Kelsey Robinson and libero Alanna Chan with 14 kills and 13 digs in the game respectively, put the Clan within striking distance in the fourth set but they ultimately dropped the match 3–1. The game also saw the return of sophomore setter Tamara Nipp who was injured in the non
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conference season and recorded 12 assists in the match. Her return allowed the team to play a 6–2 rotation as opposed to the 5–1 they had been running with a sole setter. After winning five straight to go 5–1 in the non-conference season, the loss was a disappointing way to open the conference schedule, but the team showed improved poise and confidence from the past few seasons, battling for every point.
Two days after the loss to SPU, the Clan visited Montana State University-Billings, who proved even tougher competition beating the visitors in three straight sets. Robinson again led the Clan’s effort with 10 kills while Chan recorded eight digs. Transfer setter Brooklyn Gould-Bradbury
had 42 assists between the two matches working in tandem with Nipp. “We are still coming together and that takes time,” said Chan following the team’s return to Burnaby. “It’s important after a loss like that to have a short memory as our assistant coach Kim [Stonehouse] always tells us. We just need to focus on the next games and the new scenarios they will bring.” Looking ahead, the ladies will be focusing on recording their first conference win of 2013, as they aim to improve on their dismal record from last year. “It’s great having our new coaching staff, Gina has so much experience playing as well as coaching and connects very well with us,” continued Chan. “After the weekend she didn’t make us feel bad about the games but encouraged us to focus and prepare on the battles ahead.” The Clan return home to host three games at the West Gym before hitting the road again as the quest for the season’s first GNAC win continues.
Alan Koch, head coach of SFU’s men’s soccer team, will be the first to tell you how little rankings and pre-game hype mean to any given game. His Clan worked hard to climb the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) rankings, from the third spot entering last season to first place late last week. But, after a dominant 8–0 start to the season, including a pair of victories at home last week over two South Dakota-based schools, the Clan finally suffered their first defeat. Things were going fantastically for the Clan — they hadn’t just been winning games, but trouncing their opponents. In their conference home opener, SFU trumped the South Dakota School of Mines, a school in their first year of Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) play, 5–0 a score that, given the balance of play, could’ve been even more lopsided. “The chemistry is really coming along,” said midfielder Adam Staschuk post-game, as five different players found the back of the net for the Clan. “Everyone is starting to buy into the system. We are all getting more comfortable with it and it showed tonight.” That comfort showed in their second game of the week: SFU shut out the University of Mary Marauders 6–0 in the Clan’s second home game of the week. “A lot of guys got to play tonight and it really showed our depth,” said Alexander Kleefeldt, a transfer from Germany in his first season with the Clan, after the match. He also tallied the second and sixth goals of the game for the Clan. “In the first half we should have kept possession a little bit more. The result is good but I still think we can play better, keep possession more and keep our opposition down. “It was good to score two goals but I think I could have
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done a better job on the defensive end. The next road trip is going to be difficult so we need to step it up and work hard to be prepared,” he finished. Until the start of that road trip, the Clan had faced little adversity, save for a pair of comefrom-behind victories on the road earlier in the season. But there was no doubt that the Clan were in for their biggest test of the season on the road against Seattle Pacific University — arguably SFU’s biggest rival since entering the GNAC. Seattle Pacific opened the scoring early, before junior midfielder Chris Bargholz tied the game at one apiece in the 23rd minute. The score would stay the same until late in the second half when the Falcons would scrape ahead 2–1 in the 79th minute — a deficit the Clan could not overcome; the game would finish with a 2–1 score for SPU. Call it an upset if you want, but Koch will tell you his squad beat themselves.
STERLING PRIZE IN SUPPORT OF CONTROVERSY RECIPIENT
Dr. Anke Kessler “Tonight we didn’t score on the chances that we created and this allowed SPU to grow more and more confident as the match progressed,” he said after the Thursday night game. “Big games are won and lost by little things. We made some unnecessary mistakes tonight that really hurt us.” Despite the loss, the Clan are still set up well to compete for a GNAC title. The loss drops the Clan’s record to 8–1, still very much good enough for first in the conference, while secondplace SPU improves to 6–1–1. And the Clan still lead the conference in goals by a shockingly wide margin: 33 for SFU compared to 14 for Western Washington, second in that category. The Clan have all the tools to get back on track. “We need to regroup and increase our collective focus ahead of our next match against Saint Martin’s,” said Koch. “This conference championship is going to be a dogfight to the end.”
Does Misinformation Demobilize the Electorate? Measuring the Impact Of “Robocalls” on the 2011 Canadian Federal Election Tuesday, October 15 | 7 pm
Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver (enter from Seymour Street courtyard)
This event is free, but seating is limited. Please reserve online at www.sfu.ca/reserve. Reception follows.
SPONSORED BY THE VICE-PRESIDENT, ACADEMIC
ANKE KESSLER joined SFU’s Department of Economics in 2003 and holds a PhD from the University of Bonn, Germany, specializing in organizational design. Combining elements of public economics and political economics with contract theory, her current research focuses on the design of public institutions.
SFU: Sterling Prize Lecture 2013 Peak (6x8”)
Things started out well enough for the SFU football team in their home opener on Sept. 28. The Clan jumped out to an early lead, had a couple of long drives deep into Western Oregon territory, and for a long while stymied the WOU Wolves offence. Then, like the weather the game was played in, things got messy. The Clan would twice drive into the red zone, before being forced to kick field goals. On a third offensive opportunity from inside the Wolves’ 20-yard line, quarterback Ryan Stanford threw an interception. In horizontal rain and droves of fog, the Clan struggled to put points on the board when they had the chance — mistakes that would cost the team later in their home opener when their opposition found ways to score touchdowns.
To say the SFU and UBC hockey teams do not like each other would be an understatement. The two clubs met in the Third Annual University Hockey Classic, a home and home series over the weekend, which featured plenty of high flying action and bone-crushing hits. Unfortunately for SFU, their crosstown rivals would sweep the two-game series in convincing fashion. The first game took place at UBC’s home rink, the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. SFU potted the first goal of the night, when Nick Sandor converted a pass from Jono Ceci. Although UBC controlled most of the period, outshooting the Clan
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Granted, the Wolves had lots of help from the Clan: SFU took 11 penalties for a whopping 117 yards in the game (by comparison, Clan running back Chris Tolbert ran for 112 yards in the contest). Big penalties — pass interference calls, personal fouls, and a roughing the kicker penalty — gave WOU plenty of second chances on third- and even fourth-downs. No matter who the opponent, give a team that many chances and they will capitalize.
“The penalties we took and the response to some guys having to miss plays wasn’t the image of Clan Football,” said head coach Dave Johnson. “Western Oregon is a good enough team that if we make mistakes we’re going to get a result like we did today.” The result was the Clan’s offense being kept on the sidelines while the Wolves were handed
12-7, it was the away team heading to the locker rooms up by a 1-0 score. The second period however, was a different story. The Thunderbirds struck just 17 seconds into the frame when Dillon Wagner broke in off a textbook breakout and fired a top corner rocket. Wagner’s goal was the first of five in a ten-minute span for UBC as
extra plays. The Clan scored only three points in the second half, while WOU scored three touchdowns. The result was a 30–9 loss, the Clan’s first defeat of the season. But it wasn’t the football team’s only loss of the day. Adding injury to insult, Stanford, who had been a star for the Clan early in his first season with the team, was forced out of the game with an apparent shoulder injury. After rolling to
his right on a play, he was belted by a defender for a sack — but when the defender got up off the ground, Stanford didn’t. Clutching his shoulder, he was eventually helped to the sidelines before having his arm put in a sling. It’s unknown how long the injury will keep him out — he didn’t play this past weekend at Dixie State — but after already losing superstar wideout Lemar Durant to an ankle injury in Week 1,
the Clan can ill-afford to lose their starting quarterback. That said, head coach Dave Johnson is no stranger to injuries and adversity and steps were made this offseason to help ensure the team’s success. Of course, only time will tell whether Johnson and company can cope with the losses of players, but if the Clan can’t stop beating themselves, it will be tough to keep the losses off the score sheet.
SFU couldn’t find their legs and were constantly second to the puck and losing battles along the boards. SFU eventually began moving their feet and finished off the latter half of the period strong. The Clan’s Aaron Enns scored one of the prettier goals you’ll see all season to begin the third, breaking in one-on-one with a T-Bird defenseman, turning him
inside out and finishing with a slick backhand. Enns’ effort was much too little too late however, as a sloppy 10-minute stretch resulted in a 6-2 victory for UBC. The bad blood spilled over into Saturday when both teams took to the ice at Bill Copeland Sports Centre, SFU’s home rink. After almost every whistle, a scrum ensued between the two sides, but the scoreboard reflected the previous game; UBC flew around the ice, winning most of the battles along the boards. UBC scored the first goal of the night 5:34 into the first period, off of a good transition, which resulted in an easy tap in for Scott Macdonald. The TBirds found no problems skating through the neutral zone as their second goal came off a two-on-one. The away team added a short-handed goal late to take a 3-0 lead after one. SFU was caught flat-footed in the middle frame for the second straight night and UBC was rewarded with a Greg Fraser goal from a sharp angle.
The rough stuff really started to pick up late as the scrums became more and more violent. It cost SFU: on UBC’s fifth goal, SFU’s Jesse Mysiorek went in for a big hit, but his attempt resulted in a two on one chance down low, which found the puck in the back of the Clan’s net. SFU’s Enns scored his second goal in two nights on the power play late in the frame. The lone win for the Clan over the weekend was a fight Trevor Esau took handedly, delivering huge haymakers on UBC’s Ilan Cumberburch. The third period ended without any additional scoring, with UBC heading home pocketing a decisive 5-1 victory. The SFU hockey team heads to Boston next weekend to take on NCAA Div. I opponents and will look to bounce back from a tough weekend. This is a team still looking to find chemistry after adding 14 new players, and once they do, SFU will be back to winning hockey games.
DIVERSIONS / ETC
Across 1- Field yield 5- More cunning 10- Understanding words 14- Move labourously 15- Synagogue scroll 16- The closest one to us is the sun 17- Unclean 19- Boney M sang “__ __ Rasputin” 20- Many 21- Intestines 23- Infuse 25- Luster 26- Great Lakes tribesmen 28- Muslim teacher 31- Henry VIII’s sixth 34- Short letter 36- What Luongo becomes during the playoffs 37- Eisenhower nickname 38- Base or shameful 40- Saint in Spanish 41- Stopwatch-holder 43- Wolf’s call 44- What a snake says 45- Hemoglobin deficiency
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CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA
47- Marner’s creator 49- Less 51- On the loose 55- The Cornhusker State 58- Diner 59- Olive genus 60- Superintendent 62- Chipper 63- The L Word writer Chaiken 64- Basic monetary unit of Ghana 65- Gently place 66- Respected aged one 67- Eye problem Down 1- Hot stuff 2- Babbled 3- Deposes or forces to leave 4- Calcined gypsum 5- Suffocating
6- Destiny 7- Dies ___ 8- Makes or deserves 9- Beat 10- Examples include Sharon and Netanyahu 11- Resistant to staining 12- ____ Grey, tea type 13- Periods of history 18- Chiaroscuro film genre 22- Employ again 24- Bleeding Love singer Lewis 27- Mall unit 29- Belongs to Ava 30- Coop group 31- Middle Eastern bread 32- Related by blood 33- Recalls 35- Deadly virus 38- One of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”
39- Vagrant 42- An Emir’s kingdom 44- Science of bodies at rest 46- Outback resident 48- Norwegian king 50- Cranium 52- Do-over button 53- Sleazy 54- Eagle’s nest: var. 55- Slang no 56- Zeno’s home 57- Imitated 61- Closer to East than Northeast
Hope to see you there!
October 7, 2013
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NEW YORK — LGBTQ, the initialism which currently encompasses those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning, is set to increase its letters more than two-fold by the year 2016, so say some prominent queer-activists.
YKAMPALA — In an effort to raise awareness about the rising rate of obesity in America, citizens of Uganda are showing solidarity by refraining from any sort of physical activity for 30 straight hours; an event known as the ‘30 Hour No Sweat.’
BUENOS AIRES — Despite being believed by many to have died years ago, a former “grammar nazi” has been found to be living in a remote town in Argentina and, according to the man who caught him he “will be brought to justice for his annoyingness.”
Originally founded in the 1980s as “LGB,” the initials eventually added “T” in the early nineties and the increasingly popular “Q” in the last decade. Now, many believe that serious letter expansions are on the way.
A Ugandan spokesman for the charity told the press, “It’s all about making people in Uganda aware of the terrible issues that are taking place globally.”
Hal Lee, a 37 year-old man who graduated with an English degree from the University of Colorado, was once one of the most notorious correctors of minute grammatic details on his friends facebook posts before disappearing almost four years ago.
“The original three worked well for us in the old days but, at that time, we were really just trying to avoid being called other three-letter words” explained Carol Krantz, a Brooklyn queer-rights activist. “Now that we’re getting more accepted, though, we’ve got a chance to really complicate this term.” Although it’s unclear what the letters will represent, possible expansions that have been floated around include “I,” “W,” “R,” “P,” another “Q,” a third “Q,” and “H.” “Of course we’d love to get a “Z” or an “X” involved but those are probably more long-term projects,” Krantz said as she searched for more colours to add to her rainbow flag. “Ideally, I’d like to see it eventually be a 30 or 32 letter-word that includes all people but getting to 12 is a good step, it shows that we mean business.” With their sights on 2016, Krantz and the few other people who are with her on her quest to make LGBTQIWRPQQH a reality, have serious hopes that someday they will have a term that truly incorporates all people, hopefully without ever having to resort to just calling them “people.”
“Right now a lot of people are suffering in America from a lack of having to do any sort of physical activity at all and having too much food intake, and we need to raise this issue on Uganda’s moral conscience,” added the group’s spokesman. Organizers of the charity say that the issues of low self-esteem and feeling uncomfortable in most standard-size chairs in cars, movie theatres, and airplanes are big concerns for the Ugandan charity. “Some Americans want to go on vacation, but they don’t feel like it because the seats on most airplanes are slightly uncomfortable, and they are worried about people staring while they eat their inflight meal. Something has to be done.” Some are even taking their solidarity with American social issues to the extreme by also partaking in the overeating of fatty, high-calorie foods and sugary soft drinks. “We want to show Americans that they are not alone in their pain,” said the spokesman. The Ugandan charity will be raising money to build gyms in the state of Mississippi, where the obesity rate amongst adults is currently 31.7 per cent.
In 2010, when the term “grammar nazi”found its way into the popular lexicon and had already effectively destroyed all people like Lee, he was nowhere to be found and since no one really bothered to inquire what happened to him, he was assumed to be dead. But now, thanks to Grammar Nazi-Hunter, Dave Simpson, a man who has dedicated his weekends to tracking down grammar-nazis who didn’t pay their debt to society, Lee will finally be brought to justice. According to reports, Lee didn’t seem all too remorseful when he was confronted by Simpson saying only that he “missed conversing with his friends online in America ever since he left to teach English to underprivileged children.” While Lee has not participated in any grammarnazi like behavior since he arrived in Argentina and has supposedly turned over a new leaf, Simpson has said he will still punish him severely and is busy working on a peeved e-mail to send him.
BURNABY— One of SFU’s newest clubs, the “Wizard’s Chess Club,” a club based on probably the most unimaginative activities of the Harry Potter world, is complaining that they have experienced significant bullying from members of the university’s popular Quidditch team. According to the SFU Wizard’s Chess Club’s president, Geoff Malone, their group has been the target of a lot of ridicule since they formed but nothing compares to the way the Quidditch team has treated them. “It’s typical jock behaviour,” Malone explained during a rare moment of peace, “Just because they were blessed with the athletic ability to pretend to fly around on broomsticks they think they can do whatever they want, it sucks.” Members of the WCC have told The Peak that they are hardly able to pretend a single piece is moving on its own across the board before they’re interrupted by some Quidditch meathead insulting them or knocking over their board.
“It’s really disappointing for us,” Malone told The Peak on behalf of all four of the club’s members, “most people would assume
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whatever they want and everyone just turns a blind eye because they’re so goddamn popular.” Malone went on to say that even though he wishes they would just leave him be, he’s still comforted knowing that being on the Quidditch team is going to be the highlight of these peoples’ lives while he and his friends will surely go on to bigger and better things.
that we would get along because of the Harry Potter connection but that’s ludacris, it’s like saying detectives would be best pals with people who play ‘Clue,’ no way, just like them we’re classic rivals.” According to Malone, the Quidditch team has tormented the Wizard’s Chess Players in a number of ways. From whipping them with towels, to stealing their clothes from their lockers, to hiding their equipment in the showers, the Quidditchers are ruthless, although even Malone admits
most of it could be avoided simply by not sharing a locker room with them. “They’re such cocky assholes” complained one WCC member who preferred not to be named, “I just want to play chess, while pretending I’m a wizard, is that really so weird?” The unnamed student went on to say that their brutal harassment was having devastating effects on his life and that he had already missed two football practices out of fear that some Quidditch players would find him and tease him.
Malone said that this sort of treatment didn’t even cross his mind when he decided to form a club based on a series of children’s fantasy novels and really wishes there was a place at SFU where students could enjoy the wizardversion of intellectual pursuits instead of just macho wizard sports. “They act like they own the school, it’s ridiculous,” complained Malone. “I thought university would be different when it comes to these stupid cliques but no, just like in high school, the Quidditch team is allowed to do
“People just don’t give Wizard’s Chess enough credit” Malone complained in a disappointed tone, “even J.K. Rowling gave up on it after the first book and theer were plenty of moments that it could’ve come up . . . instead of the Tri-wizard tournament in the fourth book it could’ve been the ‘Wizard’s Chess Championship’ and instead of battling Voldemort in the seventh book why couldn’t Harry and Ron just have played Wizard’s Chess instead? That would’ve been a lot more fun . . .” “We’ll show them though,” Malone continued trying not to think about how Wizard’s Chess is pretty much just regular chess, “today’s Wizard Chess players will be the people running the world tomorrow, meanwhile these Quidditch jocks will be working at some gas station, limping around from a bludger injury thinking of what could’ve been.” At this point Malone whispered “it’s still barbaric though” referring to the Quidditch bullies’ harassment, “but I guess . . . that’s Wizard’s Chess.”
24 LAST WORD
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he record-breaking release of Grand Theft Auto V has sent ripples of controversy through the media. Its explicit content has shocked and appalled many, but entertained thousands more. Mainstream media has pinpointed problematic elements of the game such as prostitution, torture, and racial profiling. It seems that people like it: selling over $1 billion worth in the first week of sales, GTA V is breaking entertainment records worldwide. Anyone who has dabbled in products developed by Rockstar Games shouldn’t be surprised by these features; explicit content has been a mainstay in many of their ongoing series, often portrayed in a satirical manner that is as rude as it is intelligent. It’s these cultural nuances, ones that an adult audience will pick up on, that can soar over the heads of the younger demographic of gamers. Unlike mature gamers, who can form informed opinions on the game’s subject matter, the younger demographic will likely take the graphic content at face value. A pre-teen brain just cannot compute the cynical messages being presented to them underneath the flurry of violence and profanity. All that’s left is the message that cruelty is funny, and an acceptable form of humour.
have purchased their little elementary school prodigies GTA V. Maybe they’ve done so because a friend has it, or because they
Even if your sibling or child understands the difference between reality and video games, they will still relay the lessons they have learned from popmedia among friends — and behind adults’ backs. Kids don’t have the ability to read between the lines of the game’s satire, and its humour will be lost on younger players. Given its popularity, I find myself wondering how many parents
believe their kids know the difference between right and wrong. But parents might think twice if the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) helped inform them on a deeper level. Games are typically given ratings by at least three trained “raters.” These are adults with prior experience with children, such as teachers or parents. Testing games is part of their job, but full playthroughs are not required;
heck, even playing the title at hand isn’t required. While assessing games, the professionals analyze the most extreme content the game has to offer, taking into consideration themes such as violence, coarse language, sexuality, and drug reference or use. Beyond these things, the raters will also look at the game as a whole, taking into account the frequency of the more explicit content. Given the nature of video games, they will also review the interactivity, rewards systems, and the degree of control that the player is given. Unfortunately, today’s rating system isn’t properly addressing the spectrum of content that is present in the modern game space. The ESRB has six official ratings for released games: Early Childhood, Everyone, Everyone 10+, Teen, Mature, and Adults
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Only. Anything that displays violence with blood exists in the Teen to Adults Only range. With all the content being analyzed, it’s amazing that the more extreme themes are usually found in one of two categories: Teen and Mature. The most extreme rating a title can acquire is the AO rat-
is huge, from the light-hearted sword fighting of Fable to the crushing-skulls-in-with-scissoradorned-sticks combat of The Last of Us. But it’s not just the violence and language that needs to be taken into consideration, it’s the themes that drive these titles. The latter is an incredibly adult experience, as it tackles themes of humanity, parenting, rape, and constantly questions what actions are justifiable when it comes down to survival. It’s inconceivable that a title such as this is lumped into the same category as Fable, a game about saving a fairytale land from an evil wizard. Sure, Fable has its share of violence. But its content and themes can be easily comprehended by adolescents, as they are presented in a stylized and cartoonish fashion. How can two extremes coexist within one rating? It’s because of examples like these that ESRB needs to rethink the AO rating — not only as a way of communicating to parents the graphic content being represented, but also the more complex themes at hand. If it were easier for parents to distinguish between games with violence and games for adults, they might think twice about buying little Johnny the latest FPS bloodbath. The AO rating shouldn’t be reserved for explicit sexual content, and should include games that are truly made for an adult audience that is hungry for advanced themes in this entertainment medium.
ing. At the moment, a game with this rating is denied sale at large retailers, such as Walmart or Future Shop. This results in most violent games being lumped into the M rating. The spectrum of content represented in the M rating
AO needs to truly embody its title, and redefine what it means to be an Adult Only game. Lift the ban on these AO titles, allow them to be sold in larger stores, and let these titles have a rating that truly represents the content inside their boxes.