June 24, 2013 · Volume 144, Issue 8
CANADIAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER AWARD 2013
Western society is captivated by “firsts,” because milestones are markers of healthy development and are celebrated as achievements. These accomplishments are the foundation for abilities to be later developed. For example, walking leads to mobility, and speaking leads to effective communication. If we recognize the importance of these “firsts,” why do we place such a stigma around the loss of one’s virginity? Sex is an important part of being human. One’s first time is a step towards maturation and a foundation that will be built upon in future experiences. Sex plays a huge role in adult relationships and the furthering of the human race. For this reason, I disagree with the negative stigma surrounding it. Sex, like one’s first words, leads to a refined ability in an area that is natural. There is nothing wrong with having sex; though there may be issues related to the safety, both physical and emotional, of those involved, the act itself is nothing to cast shame on. Some of this shame results from our linguistic interpretation of virginity. We do not describe it as gaining something, or being a
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valuable or impactful experience. Instead, we term it as a “loss,” giving it the connotation of losing a part of ourselves in the process. Though the words themselves may not seem important, language influences how we see the world, and subsequently, how we perceive virginity. By describing one’s first time as a loss, we leave room for stigma to sneak in. Loss is a transitive verb and requires two arguments: a subject and an object. In this case, it selects the person as a subject and the term “virginity” as the object. However, virginity is nothing more than a label, and this creates semantic ambiguity for varying interpretations. What do we lose when we lose our virginity? The answer becomes a fillin-the-blank determined by societal norms.
We should prepare youth for intercourse by arming them with knowledge and resources of how to be safe. It makes more sense to guide adolescents in the right direction than to perpetuate the idea that having sex means losing something. I have never heard anyone describe a child’s first trip
to the dentist as something to be ashamed of, and sex should be viewed the same way. Intercourse is something that happens to most people over the course of their life. It is not something bad or impure — it just is. We accept the idea of a first legal drink as exciting and okay. This is a choice made in one’s ascent into adulthood. Sex should be the same. If a person is old enough to consciously make the decision and is past the age of sexual consent, why can we not respect this as a milestone free of stigma? Parents sometimes allow younger teenagers a glass of wine at dinner to teach them moderation, hoping this will translate well in the future. If we recognize the value in opening dialogue as a proactive measure, we should also be able to see the value in educating about safe sex and consent before teenagers are put in situations that may lead to intercourse. Partaking in healthy and rewarding sexual experiences is something every adult should experience. In losing the label of “virgin,” one gains valuable knowledge leading to future success in procreation =, enjoying oneself, and strengthening bonds with partners. Virginity is not much of a loss, and is definitely not something that should be associated with shame. A first time, sexual or otherwise, is a step in the maturation progress and should be treated as such.
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The Build SFU project has officially narrowed down possible sites for the future Student Union Building (SUB) to three choices: the Transportation Centre, the space between the Maggie Benston Centre (MBC) and the AQ, and just to the north of the West Mall Complex (WMC) where there once used to be a gas station. The three sites were approved by the university’s Vice Presidents and taken to the SFSS board of directors’ last Thursday, where they gave the go-ahead to continue investigation on the chosen sites by the architectural firm for the SUB project: Perkins+Will. Build SFU started the site selection process during the spring semester. With consultation from Perkins+Will and the campus master plan — which dictates what is planned for spaces on campus in the future — eight possible sites were identified. The architects then created numerical ranking criteria for the sites which considered site limitations and positive attributes. The top ranking sites were sites two, four, and five, as labeled on the map above. Sites four and five are already identified as the homes of future projects in the campus plan, leading the VPs to land on sites two, three, and six, which were also highly ranked. Surprisingly, the Lorne Davies Complex, site one, was deemed unfit to be the home of the new SUB due to issues with the quality of the building, and the huge disruption construction would create to student programming. “Many students use the recreation programs, such as the fitness centre, the pool, the change room, etcetera,” explained Build SFU General Manager Marc Fontaine, “To have a large renovation project there would impact those students for several years.” Tim Rahilly, SFU Associate VP
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Students, said that the university’s VPs’ decision was informed in the same way. “The discussion focused on the proposed size of the building in relation to the capacity of the sites, what is known today about the future of transit hubs . . . We also were informed by what is known about the LDC and the limited options available to run Recreation and Athletics should the building be under renovation for a few years.”
Fontaine said that each of the proposed sites has its own unique advantages and challenges, but that the transportation centre is ideal for a number of reasons, including its capacity for space, views, and its prime location. “The Transportation Centre
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is located right at a bus stop that is convenient for students and it’s very prominent on campus as you arrive,” Fontaine said. “So even as a first year student on your first day on campus, you can get off the bus here and travel up glass escalators into the student union building, into the hub of campus. You know you’ve arrived in student space.” While the Transportation Centre would cause some disruption to students during construction, Fontaine expressed a belief that any inconvenience would be far outweighed by the long-term benefits of a SUB in that location. He also spoke of the potential for improvement there: “That entire area of campus is rundown and could really use a facelift. It could be an exciting central hub for student activities on campus.” While the other two sites also have their advantages, crucial factors such as location and space make them less desirable for the SUB location. The site across from the WMC is more removed and would be more of a destination building, not providing the pass-through
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opportunity that Fontaine and the architects are hoping for. The site between the MBC and the AQ, while central to campus, is restricted by size and its neighbours.
“A challenge we will need to overcome if [between the MBC and the AQ] is the site that is chosen, is how to make it as prominent as it can be so that it doesn’t turn into the SFU Theatre for instance, which is a very nice space inside but you don’t know it exists unless you’re right in front of the doors,” said Fontaine. He also mentioned that the Shrum Science Centre Chemistry is planned to extend farther westward in the future, further closing in the site. In the immediate future, the architect will spend the summer evaluating the three sites and
the fall in consultation with students, and will submit a report to the university and the SFSS based on that. The ultimate SUB location is set to be finalized officially by January. Fontaine expressed that the student consultation process will factor hugely into the final decision. “A prime consideration for us in the Build SFU project is the average undergraduate student, who comes to class, does not stay afterwards, goes home right away . . . we’re trying to create a building not only for students who are involved in clubs or departmental student unions or other activities on campus, but those who are not involved.” Rahilly and Fontaine both mentioned that although the sites have been narrowed down, they aren’t set in stone. Rahilly said, “While we believe all three sites are viable options . . . if those sites are not acceptable to students there remains an openness for further discussion.” Fontaine echoed the same sentiment, saying “It’s good that the university hasn’t closed all doors to the ideas of sites if these ones don’t work out.”
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to help people suffering from chronic pain. The summit was held in support of the New Surrey Cultural Plan, which was adopted by the Surrey Council last year. The Plan aims at “enhancing urbanization in the city through the development of arts and heritage services.”
SFU professors joined a panel of experts at the City of Surrey’s Creative Economy event on Tuesday, June 11, to discuss how our economy would benefit from investment in the creative sector and what can business do for arts and culture. The panel of experts was joined by Dr. Rowland Lorimer, director of the Master of Publishing program at SFU’s Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, and Catherine Murray, a professor in the School of Communication. Additionally, SFU IAT students presented interactive art displays at the event that included a virtual reality piece
According to Councillor Judy Villeneuve, “this plan includes a specific goal to enhance the economy by fostering local artists, preparing a cultural marketing plan, a cultural economic development plan, a cultural tourism plan, and to develop policies that lead into affordable spaces for artistic and heritage endeavours.” The council hopes that by pursuing this goal, the Plan will “foster,
enhance and expand the development of the rich human, cultural and natural resources of the community, resulting in a more competitive economy and one of the nation’s most livable communities.” Lorimer was invited to participate in the summit because of his work with BCreative 2012, a conference oriented to trying to encourage the provincial government to create policy to further build the creative economy. “Of all the provinces in Canada, BC spends the least amount on the creative economy,” said Lorimer. “At the time [BCreative 2012 was held], all of the policies were being challenged . . . The province wasn’t really making any positive moves. There are lots of creative initiatives being put into place around the world, and BC isn’t engaging.” At BCreative 2012, the panel brought statistics that show how the municipalities of BC spend the most amount of money on the creative sector on average across all of Canada, even though BC, on a provincial level, invests the lowest.
In addition to monetary gains, Lorimer proposes that by investing in the intellectual and creative sector, BC is remaining competitive on an international scale.“It’s incredibly difficult to compete with people in China and Vietnam who get paid a whole lot less than do workers in Canada,” said Lorimer.
He continued, “One of the ways of remaining competitive is to develop the intellectual and creative sector. It does pay off: for every dollar that government invests, there are three effectively that get returned to the government.”
“If you look at all of the creative sector, the cultural industries (innovation and the digital economy, and so on) . . . that’s a really growth area, and what the Europeans — led by the British — have realised and what Ontario and Quebec are also doing is spending on supporting the creative economy, it pays off in spades.” When asked why our country would choose to shift to this new economic model rather than concentrate on industry and today’s status quo, Lorimer replied that the creative economy is not only the path to revenues; it is also the path to a greener world, in every sense of the word. “The reason is partly the environment,” said Lorimer. “There’s all kinds of activities, especially mining and forestry, that are environmentally devastating.” “The eventual return that society gets from [investing in the creative sector] is the same as investing in, say, highways going to mines, but culture and creativity have positive environmental, social, and economic impacts.”
On Wednesday, June 19 the Graduate Student Society (GSS) held its first Research Speed-Dating event in the GSS Lounge. The event was meant to be a forum where SFU graduate students could interact and learn about their peers’ research, making connections that might lead to future collaborations or networking opportunities. Nineteen graduate students attended, representing a multitude of departments, from linguistics to criminology, to art education to mathematics, to biomechanical engineering and more. As with many first-time events, everything was a bit chaotic. Students began trickling in a little before 3:30 pm and it seemed that GSS organizers were still trying to decide on a system for registering participants. However, this informal atmosphere gave the whole event
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a social gathering feel. Students mingled snacking on veggie sticks and chocolate chip cookies. Some, like Meghan Jeffrey (MA, linguistics), just came to meet new people, while others like Dominic Trevisan (MA, education) came looking for research contacts. After a half-hour of visiting, Narek Nalbandyan, GSS Professional Development Coordinator, took the floor, introducing the event and outlining its goals. “This event is for being more aware, sharing our
experience, sharing our knowledge and passion so that collaboration can happen and we can learn from each other, or at least we can become friends,” Nalbandyan concluded. And then it was time for a little research “speed-dating.” Students were told to find a partner and were given five to six minutes to discuss their research, ask each other questions, and swap stories. After six minutes, Nalbandyan shouted above the din that it was time
to find a new partner. One enthusiastic student shouted in mock-despair that she still had so many more questions; she was assured that there would be time afterward to continue conversing with anyone that had been of particular interest. These mini-discussions went on for an hour until Nalbandyan announced the final “speeddate.” He then brought everyone together for a short discussion. The whole event lasted about an hour and a half.
“Frankly, we weren’t expecting 20 people and when we saw 20 people attending and really being interested and being engaged in these conversations, that felt like success,” said Nalbandyan, after all was said and done. “That motivated us to actively continue working on this program to make it better, make it bigger and possibly host in other campuses later on.” GSS Relations Officer, Eleonora Joensuu chimed in, saying, “One success that I think was huge was that we had a really great range from across faculties, departments and programs. “I think intellectual community is something that is lacking at SFU. . . . It’s so exciting to think of the amount of work, that we are here in a setting where research is happening and we don’t talk to each other. Even if a research collaboration didn’t come out of last night, we can feel connected to this institution.” GSS plans to hold a Research Speed-Dating event monthly. “Next time, maybe we’ll have more food,” laughed Joensuu.
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Can SFU students look forward to more studentfriendly spaces? The Board will be discussing in the near future whether it should be the SFSS’ responsibility to invest in and fund student space or if instead they should motivate the university to invest in student spaces. “[ We need to] decide what kind of a board are we going to be,” said Jade K. Anderson, Faculty Representative (Sciences). The Board has tabled the discussion on student spaces for this week, but will be addressing the topic in the near future.
conjunction with the Covenant House Vancouver. Held at North Vancouver’s Carson Graham Secondary School at 2145 Jones Avenue from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the clothing swap took in gently worn clothes, especially those geared towards summer, and also accessories such as shoes, bags, and even sports equipment. Green recycling has been a relatively new concept in the 21st century; we are accustomed to the phrase “out with the old and in with the new.” However, SFU student Leah Bjornson has been challenging this mindset, promoting green recycling of clothing with her non-profit organization. June 15 marked the third annual Wear to Care clothing swap, a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the green philosophy of recycling clothes while collecting donations for homeless youth aged 13 to 24 in the Downtown Eastside, in
Anyone who donated three or more items was eligible to take home one free item of their choice. People who were looking to swap clothes also had the opportunity to take home great steals such as a BCBG Maxazria
dress or even new items with the tags still on them. The clothing swap was not only geared towards the less fortunate or those who wanted to swap items, but it also stressed the importance of “going green” and reusing what is already available. The idea was started by SFU student Leah Bjornson and friend Alyssa Salt, and it came about as a hobby of swapping unwanted clothes between their group of friends as a means to recycle and reuse those items that they no longer wish to own or wear. “It became apparent that the clothes that were being swapped were not the particular styles that we would wear or had the right fit. We wanted to expand, to get the word out, and to enact change,” Bjornson explained. Missing the extracurricular activities that they had once participated in during secondary school, this hobby of theirs
quickly transpired into a worthy cause in partnering with Covenant House Vancouver in the Fall of 2011. With winter approaching, Bjornson and Salt wanted to help the homeless population stay warm by providing them with the necessary clothing. Covenant House was chosen in particular because, unlike other charities such as the Salvation Army, they do not resell the items and are not profit-based. In the past two clothing swaps, geared towards winter and spring donations, upwards of 500 items were donated at each swap with approximately 50 or more people in attendance. A large part of the donations were collected before the actual event, which Bjornson laments, “It’s crazy how difficult it is to get people to come and take ‘free’ things!” Nevertheless, Bjornson feels proud of what her and Salt have accomplished.
After discussion last week, the Board has approved a budget for the welcome-back event this fall. The motion, which passed unanimously, increased the line item “Special / Large-scale Projects” by $63,000. The budget has been approved ahead of schedule, giving the board more time to organize the large event. Now that a budget has been approved, decisions can be made such as who might perform during the afternoon concert — Board is hoping to have four different artists — and what might an afterparty at the Highland Pub look like.
“It’s nice to have an initiative that you started yourself and that you feel you are making a difference even if it’s small. We’re aiming to show the younger generation that they do not have to go out and buy expensive things and that they can learn to recycle to make the earth a greener and more hospitable place to live in,” stated Bjornson.
On May 25, Helen Crofts, an SFU cross country and track runner, was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Female Co-Athlete of the Year, a title shared with Seattle Pacific University’s Ali Worthen, and the GNAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. The titles come at the end of her time at SFU, as well as after a host of her wins and records in 2013. “I was obviously very excited to win the championship,” said Crofts. “It was a great way to finish my collegiate career and it is always nice to see all your hard work pay off.” She was invited to speak at her ceremony during spring convocation about her university experience. While working towards her bachelor’s degree and running with the SFU track and field team, Crofts also volunteered with the SFU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and coached track and field at Burnaby elementary schools. Though she divided her time, Crofts’ stats show that those other activities didn’t detract from her athletics. Crofts won many awards and events in the NCAA indoor and outdoor national championships, including finishing in first place in the 800-metre event at 2:05.96, the 400-metre in a meet-record time of 54.46, and the 1500 in 4:26.85. She also came in first in Pueblo, Colorado, for the NCAA Division II 800m running title with a time of 2:08.18. Earlier in the year, she finished ninth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s USA Track & Field High Performance Distance Classic at Occidental College in Los Angeles, with her time of 2:02.10 breaking a GNAC record, and being this spring’s third fastest time of a collegiate athlete on any level. Crofts, who majored in biological science, sees the fruits of her hard work at the events. She trains six days a week
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throughout the year for both cross country and track, and has been a part of the SFU track and field team for the last five years. Crofts said that it is important to her “to be able to represent SFU and Canada in the NCAA and to show just how strong our middle-distance program at SFU is.” Her Female Co-Athlete of the Year title was awarded to her and Worthen after each athlete received 18 points submitted by the conference’s 10 athletic directors. Her most recent title of Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.85. The title makes her eligible for the 2013 Conference Commissioners Scholar-Athlete of the year award, the winner of which will be selected in the summer. Crofts achieved a 4.14 GPA during her academic career, and was awarded the Bill DeVries Award for academics and athletics for having the highest GPA among Clan athletes in 2012-13.
Amongst her accomplishments, she was also named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Athlete of the Year, and led the Clan’s second-place finish in their 4x400 metre relay with a time of 3:46.04. In the immediate future, Crofts plans to take a year off of academics, continue training at SFU, and to continue racing. This summer, she will be heading to Russia with Team Canada to compete in the World University Games. After that, she plans to work towards a master’s degree in science, or to attend medical school. For anyone else pursuing athletic success, Crofts advice is simple: “Be consistent. There isn’t any secret to improvement other than being committed and believing that you will get better.”
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Research Roundup A spotlight on groundbreaking research from the university Kelli Gustafson Peak Associate
Diagnosing skin cancer? There may soon be an app for that. Maryam Sadeghi, an SFU Computing Science alumna, is working to develop an app to help in early diagnosis of malignant melanoma. The hardware and software Sadeghi is developing can be used on smartphones to photograph a mole, and analyze it for any visual symptoms pointing towards skin cancer. The app then recommends if further medical attention is required. In order to better understand the visual indicators found with malignant melanoma, Sadeghi has spent the past 4 years working with UBC dermatologists, along with the BC Cancer Agency. The visual symptoms of melanoma discovered were then applied in combination with computer algorithms and visual imaging technologies in order to
potentially diagnosis skin cancer. Skin cancer is 90 per cent curable with early diagnosis. According to the BC Cancer Agency, melanoma is “the most aggressive and dangerous of all skin cancers.” The affordable app will allow consumers to photograph and evaluate their moles for symptoms of melanoma, and assist in early diagnosis of the disease. Risk factors for this disease include exposure to UV lights, and it is most common among fairskinned people who have many freckles or moles. Sadeghi and her friends have also already launched two smartphone apps hosted by the Save Your Skin Foundation. These apps give daily warnings regarding UV exposure across Canada and the US. “UV Canada” and “UV U.S.” have been downloaded 35,000 times since 2011.
Sadeghi explains that she was motivated to create an educational app for skin cancer prevention after she received the CIHR Skin Research Training Scholarship, which allowed her to work closely with dermatologists and receive feedback towards her research. Sadeghi’s research and thesis landed her the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Innovation Challenge Award in 2012, as well as a Doctoral Dissertation honorable mention from the Canadian Image Processing and Pattern Recognition Society (CIPPRS). “We are now working on new products to empower patients with a professional tool for skin cancer self-screening,” said Sadeghi. The products are still under development, and are expected to launch by January 2014.
A new study involving SFU, published in science journal PLOS One, looked at the relationship between food insecurity and survival among HIVpositive injection drug users who are receiving life-prolonging antiretroviral therapy (ART). Food insecurity is defined as insufficient quantity and quality of food. The study found that drug users who were food insecure when first starting ART were twice as likely to die as their food secure counterparts. “[ This] study specifically aimed to explore whether food insecurity potentially influenced increased risk of mortality among injection drug users across BC,” said Aranka Anema, first author on the study and BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/ AIDS (BC-CfE) epidemiologist. The study followed 254 HIV-positive injection drug
users receiving life-prolonging highly active ART across BC. After 13.3 years of follow-ups, they discovered that those individuals who reported being food insecure in the beginning of the study were nearly twice as likely to die than those who were food secure. “We found that food insecurity, and not hunger, was significantly associated with all-cause mortality,” Anema explained, “suggesting that other aspects of food insecurity — such as poor dietary diversity and / or anxiety regarding food access — may be driving this association.” Senior author of the study, Robert Hogg, an SFU health sciences professor and director of the HIV/AIDS Drug Treatment Program at the BC-CfE, says this is the first study to observe the impact of food insecurity on the survival of HIV-positive injection drug users.
Although life-prolonging antiretroviral therapy has helped to decrease HIV-related mortality, the findings of this study suggest food insecurity has a great impact on mortality and HIVrelated illnesses. “Our results suggest that addressing food insecurity, in addition to other known social and structural barriers to HIV-related health among illicit drug users, such as incarceration, homelessness, and gender-related factors, is [of ] paramount public health importance,” Anema concluded. Anema suggested that, although further research is necessary to understand the means through which food insecurity drives this association, “public health organizations should prospectively evaluate the possible role of food supplementation and socio-structural supports on survival among IDU within HIV treatment programs.”
I think we all have that one friend we end up bickering with. These are the types of debates where no matter how logical you feel your argument to be, it’s usually the person with the loudest voice who wins, because you can’t stand to continue such a raucous and ignorant display. This is what it seemed like in high school. I remember debating in my Grade 12 English class on whether sweatshops are bad or good (a ridiculous topic, in my opinion). A member of the opposition stood up and said in a rather blase tone: “I mean, we can all agree that sweatshops are the best alternative, can’t we guys?” While I scoffed at the lack of any real meaning behind his words, I was shocked to see a sea of nodding heads and thoughtful glances. “Well, he sounded confident, so he must be right,” was how they seemed to be processing his position. The reality is that our generation has lost the ability to debate logically and respectfully. When, in our education, are we ever taught how to craft an argument step-by-step? Where has rhetoric gone? It’s disheartening to say we have lost this crucial part of our education, one which we use in our everyday lives. I’m not saying everyone has to be Plato, but we need to be able to debate and speak without championing whoever has the loudest voice. Thankfully, SFU’s clubs provide an opportunity to reclaim these skills. First, we have the
SFU Debate Society, which meets twice a week for three hours, either holding training seminars — in which members cover styles of debate and focus on academic topics — or practice debates on current events.
The skills learned in this club harken back to the days of Plato and Aristotle: public speaking, analytical skills, and introductory logic and philosophy. Outside of the classroom, the Debate Society competes in provincial, state and national conferences, even reaching the semi-finals
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of the British Parliamentary Nationals last year. Of course, not everyone is the confrontational type, but don’t feel as though this hampers you from improving your speaking skills. Our second club, which “aims at improving members’ public speaking skills and expanding their social network,” is the Burnaby Mountain Toastmasters (BMTM). You might ask, “what is a Toastmaster?” Traditionally, the term describes someone who introduces after-dinner speakers and announces toasts at public or formal dinners. Nevertheless, the position has evolved far beyond this definition. There are thousands of Toastmaster Societies around the world, each offering “a program of communication and leadership projects designed to help
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people learn the arts of speaking, listening, and thinking,” according to Toastmasters International. At Burnaby Mountain, the mandate does not differ. At its weekly meetings, the BMTM hosts Table Topics, where guests and members speak on a range of prepared topics, such as the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, with attention to such questions as: “Is time the wheel that turns, or the track it leaves behind?” The BMTM is also competitive, participating in speech contests at the national and international level. For those of you who become infuriated when idiots win arguments, either of these clubs could be for you. Their members learn how to debate and speak at an international level, and it doesn’t hurt to make some great friends along the way.
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office for four years, before being re-elected in 2012. Again, he kept the position and will most likely continue to perform the duties of president until 2016. It is because of this that I firmly believe that he’ll go down in history as one of the United States’s presidents. In fact, I consider him to be the 44th president, just ahead of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who both also served as president after being elected to do so. Now, of course I understand that there are a lot of counter-arguments to these claims, but as far as I am concerned, you cannot have a presidency retroactively taken away based on suspicions of being a secret Muslim (in America, at least), nor do I believe that the last five years have in fact all just been a dream. Although I feel uncomfortable revealing these political beliefs of mine, I feel that this is an important issue, even if it will never stop being argued. At the same time, though,
As the Humour Editor of this paper, I try my hardest to keep my writing as fun and lighthearted as possible. Since day one of writing for The Peak, I’ve always insisted on never divulging any of my real opinions or political beliefs, and have been
committed instead on simply providing objective, clean, and wholesome comedy for the nice people of this school. With that said, I would like to sincerely apologize for breaking that vow and writing this scathing Editor’s Voice, but I honestly think that Barack Obama is going to be remembered as having been one of the Presidents of the United States. I realize that this is a controversial opinion, and I completely understand if you’ll never be able to read any of my comics, or fake news articles,
or hilarious musings about the difference between men and women in the same light ever again — but before you come down too hard on me, let me just make my case. In 2008, Barack Hussein Obama was elected by the American people as their country’s president. He received over 50 per cent of the vote and beat out his opponent, Senator John McCain, who I believe will not go down in history as one of the US’s presidents. Shortly after winning the election, Obama was sworn in and then proceeded to hold
I guess it’s just one of those classic debates for the ages like “Were the Beatles one of the 100 most popular bands of the 60s?” or “Was JFK really born in Brookline, Massachusetts?” No one will ever agree completely.
Anyways, I’m sorry to have gotten so political and expose myself as an “Obama is the President of the United States” supporter, and I hope you haven’t become too disillusioned to read my Humour section. Hey, speaking of the Humour section, it’s only a couple of pages away from here! Why not go there now? It might be a nice break from such a bitingly contentious opinion piece.
If you’re anything like the male dark fishing spider, you know it’s a dog-eat-dog world as far picking up chicks is concerned. Always being at odds with other males of your species, it can be hard to find the right girl for you — especially one you deem worthy of making ‘lil Mini-Mes with. But once you’ve secured that lady-gal and established the
right connection for the both of you, all systems are a-go for you to climb aboard with those spindly legs of yours, insert your love-maker into her genital opening, and ride that temporary wave of ecstasy. Now all that’s left is the waiting game while your she-spider makes eggs on your behalf, lays ‘em, and succeeds in getting them to hatch!
This sexy bliss doesn’t last long, though. After you’ve done the deed and planted your seed, your legs will curl up underneath your body while you dangle motionless from your lover. It would seem that the heat of the movement proved to be too much, because your heart has literally stopped beating. You’re dead, yo. All in the name of love and procreation!
You may find solace, though, in the fact that your body won’t be going to waste. She-spider will now make a meal of your sexy corpse, providing herself with post-coitus nutriment. Not only that, but she has reduced her receptiveness to other males, so the odds are greater that you will remain the father of her offspring. But who am I kidding? You’re dead!
In our modern era characterized by ten-second download times, microscopic MP3 players, and casually thrown-together workout mixes, it’s hard to think of a time where the act of buying and listening to music was one that required patience. Though the history of those who make music has, at its best, been one of people striving to find new and inventive ways to create art, the history of those who listen to music has a very clear, drawnin-the-sand before and after period: the days of analog music and the days of digital music. In essence, the way that people listen to music has changed in the last 30 years, and I’m willing to bet the way they think about music has changed, too. Though I’m surely painting a picture of myself as an incurably urban, too-hip-to-function elitist, I can’t help but prefer the subtle hiss of a vinyl record. I’m an analog man in a digital world, and proud of it. I’ll concede that the digital era offers us an opportunity to listen to more music than ever before: with the click of a button and enough searching, I can find just about anything I’m even the least bit interested in hearing. Music nowadays is more convenient and portable, often with no tangible aspects. Arguably, there are more music collectors today than there were 30 years ago. After all, meticulously categorizing and labeling an iTunes collection is a lot easier than building a record collection. Believe me, I’ve been there.
don’t trade records or painstakingly record mix tapes on cassettes one track at a time anymore; they download albums from people they’ve never met and drag files into columns and categories. Online stores have eclipsed record stores in sales and popularity, and the majority of music discussion takes place on the internet. But isn’t there something magical in the timing and concentration required to record songs off an album, all in a specific order, to make the perfect mix tape? In putting on a record at a dinner party, and turning it over after 25 minutes? In placing that needle gently on the grooves of your record and just watching it spin? Of course, there was a time where listening to music was only possible when it was being played in front of you. Until the invention of the phonograph, credited to Thomas Edison — although, as per usual with Edison, this is widely debated — music was either something written on a page that you’d play for yourself, or something that someone would play for you. David Byrne, formerly the lead singer and guitarist of Talking Heads, sums up this concept perfectly in an article he wrote for Wired magazine: “In the past, music was something you heard and experienced — it was as much a social event as a purely musical one.” With the invention of the phonograph, music became a commodity: it could be bought and sold, preserved and shared in a way that had been impossible before.
There’s an elusive quality that we’ve lost with the forcible takeover of the digital format: music may be easier to acquire and easier to listen to than it was in the past, but it’s also harder to connect to. I find I have trouble connecting emotionally with a file on a computer, but the feeling of holding a record in my hands — the artwork, the fragility of the disc, the tactile experience of handling the music I’m about to listen to — is something that my iTunes library just can’t live up to. The decline in analog popularity has also changed the way that people connect through music. Young people
Music had actually been recorded before the phonograph: The phonoautograph, invented by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, was able to record sounds by tracing lines on smoke-blackened paper with a vibrating stylus. But unlike the phonoautograph, the phonograph was able to play back the sounds it recorded. A large cone known as a diaphragm would amplify a sound, and a small metal needle would vibrate in the same way as the sound. The groove that it etched into a tinfoil cylinder would be able to be replayed through the diaphragm, recreating the music that the needle had recorded.
The phonograph was considered state-of-the-art when it was released in 1878, but it had its share of problems. Its fidelity, which is essentially a fancy term for the quality of its sound reproduction, was very low. The tinfoil records it created would eventually fade from repeated playings, and its recordings couldn’t be edited. Emil Berliner’s gramophone, released ten years after the phonograph, replaced Edison’s tinfoil cylinders with gramophone records — an early predecessor of vinyl records — which could be more easily stored and played on both sides. Early records were made of wax instead of vinyl, and were played much faster. By 1925, 78 RPM was the industry standard, more than twice as fast as the 33 1⁄ 3 RPM records released today. Fidelity also improved in the twenties: whereas sound had up until that point been recorded acoustically — louder instruments were recorded from further away, whereas quieter ones were recorded in close-up — the invention of “electrical” recording introduced microphones, which gave artists greater opportunity to experiment with volume and sound quality. Since 78 RPM records could only play a few minutes of music at a time, they were often sold together in bound collections referred to as “albums.” The name stuck, and modern records are often referred to as albums by artists and listeners. By 1950, records began to be released as plastic vinyl discs. These could be played at slower speeds, since it was possible to make smaller grooves, known as microgrooves, in the material. The 12 inch 33 1 ⁄ 3 records became known as LPs, or Long Plays, due to the amount of music that could be stored on a single side (about 25 minutes). Since then, vinyl records have been the industry standard. Until the 1970s, when the sound quality of the cassette tape became comparable to that of the LP, records were the most popular format for music. It wasn’t until 1983 that vinyl saw a significant dip in popularity. The Compact Disc, or CD, was smaller, able to store more music, less expensive to produce, and more difficult to scratch or damage. Being the first popular digital format of music, the CD marked the beginning of the end for the analog format: By 1986, CD players were outselling record players, and in 1988 CDs outsold vinyl records for the first time. Although records were considered obsolete until very recently, the past few years have seen a resurgence in the format’s popularity. Whereas only about 300,000 records
were sold in 1993, by 2008 sales were at 1.9 million, and last year the number was up to 3.2 million. Once considered the best place for music lovers to meet like-minded people and discover new bands, record stores across Canada and the United States are seeing this status beginning to be restored. So what’s the difference between analog sound and digital sound? Whereas analog recordings are made through physical reproductions of sound waves which can be replayed by small metal needles, digital recordings are created by converting physical sound into a sequence of numbers that can be read by a computer and reproduced. Even though it’s no vinyl, digitally recorded audio has its upsides, too. Firstly, it’s much smaller and easier to store, which is why you can keep more music on your iPod than you could ever possibly afford on vinyl — or fit in your house for that matter. Secondly, music files can be condensed to make them even smaller, although this often reduces the fidelity of the recording. And finally, digital recordings are exempt from the fragility of vinyl records; whereas the latter might hiss and pop after repeated uses, digital audio will play back the same no matter how many times you listen to that new single you can’t get out of your head. However, digital audio also has its shortcomings. Since numbers on computers can only represent a finite range of values, the amplitude of some digital recordings is sometimes rounded, resulting in a distortion known as quantization. Errors in digital clocks can also distort digital recordings, as the periods between signals can become inconsistent: these deviations are known as jitters. Some vinyl lovers also cite the “warmth” of analog recordings versus digital, a reference to the emotional disconnect of CD players and computers. The jury’s out on the objective proof of those claims, although I’m inclined to agree: the pops and hisses on old records seem to remind of the glow and comfort of a crackling fireplace. So, now that I’ve convinced you, what’s the next step? Record players and vinyl records are reasonably easy to find and, and if you’re smart, won’t break the bank. Modern record players, or turntables, are more inexpensive than their bulky seventies counterparts, and vary in price and quality. A decently reliable record player can go anywhere from $100 to several thousands. Do your research, and find a record player
that works for you. Some modern record players have ports for USB drives, which allow you to turn the tracks on your LPs into digital files. Once you’ve got something to play your records on, there are several places to start building your collection. Several websites have great selections of vinyl records
Commercial Drive, surrounded by some of the best cafes and bookstores in the area. The staff here are incredibly nice and accommodating, and although this store is the smallest of the three, they’re always well-stocked with a healthy mix of new and old LPs and 45s. Make sure to check the till for records they haven’t priced yet, and, if
that will usually cost you anywhere from $15 to $35. Insound and Discogs are two of my favourite sites. The former is good for new vinyl, whereas the latter is the perfect place to find rarer, out-of-print albums. Also, most modern record labels have websites where you can purchase vinyl for the bands they represent, usually at a lower price than you’ll find offline. But, at the end of the day, nothing beats visiting a record store. Vancouver has a very respectable selection of record stores. Although there are about ten notable shops around town, the three best record stores to start with are Zulu Records, Audiopile CDs and Records, and Red Cat Records. Zulu Records is on 1972 West 4th Avenue in the Kitsilano Area. The biggest of the three, Zulu sells CDs, tickets for local shows, music magazines and, of course, vinyl. This isn’t the place to go for new vinyl: they don’t often stock new records, and when they do, they sell fast. This is the kind of record store where you dig around for hours for a good deal. If you’ve got the patience to flip through their vast array of records, you’re sure to find something you didn’t even know you wanted in the first place. The staff sometimes include hand-written descriptions of their albums and CDs with purchase, and they’re always happy to answer any questions you might have. There’s also a small DVD and Blu-Ray store located inside Zulu Records called Videomatica. If you’ve got money left over after finding some dusty old soul LPs, check out this funky video store for their impressive collection of art house flicks. Audiopile CDs and Records is located on 2016
you sweet talk the cashier, they’ll sometimes even give you a better price than they otherwise would. Red Cat Records is my favourite record store in the city. Located in the incredibly cool Mount Pleasant neighbourhood on 4332 Main Street, this store has some of the best prices for used vinyl in Vancouver, and certainly the most comprehensive selection. It’s owned by Dave Gowans and Lasse Lutick, former members of the Vancouver indie band Buttless Chaps. These guys know music. Check out their impressive collection of electronic and soul records, and make sure to search through the new arrivals for a good deal. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a well-priced Neil Young record or a Flaming Lips reissue. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, just ask the people at the counter to order it for you; they’ll be happy to search the dark recesses of the Internet for whatever you have in mind. Analog music might never regain its former glory. For every new vinyl convert, there’s hundreds of people downloading the new Katy Perry single off iTunes. But where records used to be the standard for music listeners of all kinds, nowadays it’s reserved for those of us who are really passionate about it. We meet at record stores, go to shows and post photos of our collections on online forums. We make social connections through music, and we connect to artists through the music they make. So if you’re looking for a new way to listen to the music you love, or to discover your next favourite band, stop by your local record store. There will always be people there who are just as excited about music as you are.
Sometimes the most interesting pieces of writing are inspired by the most unassuming things. This is certainly true for Dr. Benjamin Woo, a recent graduate of the School of Communication, whose doctoral thesis was inspired by an NES belt buckle and the responses he got to wearing it. On top of writing what his thesis supervisor, Dr. Gary McCarron, deemed “the bestwritten dissertation [he has] seen,” Dr. Woo also received the Governor General’s Gold Medal Award, officially recognizing him as the most outstanding graduate student in his area of research. A self-described “metanerd,” Woo’s work focuses on nerd culture more broadly. When I asked him to define his thesis in five words (I’m a cruel interviewer), he whittled it down to “geeks already
have a life.” Focusing on one unnamed city, Woo’s thesis, “Nerds!: Cultural Practices and Community-Making in a Subcultural Scene,” is almost an ethnography of nerd-dom. “I was trying to understand how people use consumption, culture, fandom . . . these sorts of things to carve out meaningful space in their life with other people.” After graduating in October, he’s been doing the “Inde pen dent Scholar Shuffle, try ing to keep body, soul, and research agenda together,” which means he’s been talking at a number of conferences and working on his own to get published as much as possible. When I met up with him, he was just returning from the Congress of the Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities in Victoria, where he presented
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two papers: one focusing on the consumption aspect covered in his thesis, the other a collaboration with a friend and colleague, Jamie Rennie, focusing on scenes (like a punk scene, not a movie scene) and using them as a means of organizing sociological-type research.
Dr. Woo is also the recipient of the 2013 John A. Lent Scholar ship in Comics Studies, sponsored by the Interna tional Comic Arts Forum (ICAF). Beyond securing
him major nerd-scene street cred, it also meant he gave the Lent Award lecture at the ICAF in Portland, titled “How to Think About Comics as Social Objects.” Despite such an impressive rap sheet, Woo hasn’t let any of it go to his head. He shrugs off his achievements and awards, acknowledging how many other talented people there are. For himself: “I played RPG’s in high school, read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy novels, and generally I was the kind of kid that thought school was interesting, and that pretty much explains how I got where I am today.” Woo’s humility transcends his accomplishments, manifesting as an approach to all things geek that’s definitely anti-elitist. He’s like a Leonard Hofstadter that works with culture instead of subatomic particles. “The more
people who have a chance to enjoy comic books the better,” he quips, before explaining the positive benefits Dungeons & Dragons has on a variety of mental muscles. An interest in the actual act of drawing comic books is the “biographical core” of his next project, a SSHRC-funded post-doc at the University of Calgary focusing on labour in the comic book industry. It’s no surprise that Woo’s research took the direction it has though.“There was a time as a child when I entertained great hopes of someday becoming a comic book artist,” he explains. If the whole academic thing doesn’t pan out — although I’m sure it will — there’s still hope yet. When I suggested I might have our layout assistant Eleanor illustrate his grad photo, he offered to draw it himself.
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education provided by educational institutions is a cause for concern. While students belonging to all the school sectors in Alberta must sit for diploma examinations in order to graduate, the reality is that performance is skewed towards private schools.
The Fraser Institute recently published a ranking of every private, public, charter, and separate school in Alberta. This assessment purports to provide a snapshot of the quality of education through eight quantitative measures, relating more or less to the successful completion of secondary education. While many may be tempted to take such statistics at face value, the reality is that the report provides an oversimplified methodology of evaluating school performance by failing to consider various factors affecting student success. The use of statistics to assess the completion of secondary education and the quality of
In this sector, a prominent distinguishing feature involves selective admissions policies, which enable the schools to create student bodies on the basis of academic performance. Considering prospective students’ marks from previous schools as grounds for admission enables their student bodies to have students who perform relatively well.
While contestable, it is logical to expect that students from private schools may outperform their public school counterparts, because of these differences in admissions policies. Not only are admission standards left out of the picture when looking at average diploma examination marks, but the same may also be stated regarding unquantifiable factors like student abilities and family background. Even though is positive and necessary to have quantitative measures to monitor schools, their use can create an oversimplified relationship between the quality of education and test scores. It is tempting to think of education as any other commodity in which the providers of education — the teachers — are wholly responsible for the wellbeing of their students as consumers of education. In other words, teaching staff are viewed as wholly responsible for the academic performance of their students. However, education is unique,
because the outcomes do not depend exclusively on teachers. Various major factors include, but are not limited to, work ethic and family background.
Holding everything else constant, students who are committed to their education are more likely to experience greater success. The Alberta Teachers’ Association’s website explains how children in stable family structures are more likely to do well. Further, students with parents who are more involved in monitoring their schoolwork are also more likely to be successful in school. Such factors have a strong correlation with academic success, regardless of the
instructional quality provided by teachers. Because of these factors lurking in the background, there is no way to determine for sure the extent to which student performance is affected by a teacher’s performance. The inability to control and quantify these factors prevents any conclusive interpretations from being made regarding the relationship between teaching ability and student performance. Because various factors influence student achievement in schools, the issue of how best to improve student success is an ongoing conversation. This requires the active involvement of parents, students, non-profit organizations, and teachers. More importantly, complicating factors show that our Canadian society should not look for shortcuts, such as the use of quantitative measures, when addressing student achievement, because the entire picture of a student’s educational experience is not being captured.
accounting for 29 per cent of all deaths in our country (69, 703 deaths a year). Further, heart disease accounted for 29.7 per cent of all female deaths in Canada in 2008. And what is its financial toll? Altogether, heart disease costs the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion annually. When the discussion of women’s health comes up, breast cancer is the automatic go-to concern for most people. This makes sense, considering one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. However, this isn’t the greatest risk women face. Heart disease affects one out of every three women, according to Time magazine, and not enough education and awareness is being spread to inform of this. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, one person dies of heart disease or stroke every seven minutes in Canada,
In the past, it was common for people to approach heart disease dichotomously, teaching that men and women exhibit different symptoms. This is untrue, and causes confusion that hinders people from knowing what signs to look for.
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The most common sign in both sexes is chest pain and discomfort. Other symptoms such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, sweating, and heaviness of limbs, vary between individuals, not sexes. These warning signs should be ingrained in the minds of everyone, starting at the grade school level. I, for one, only ever learned what a heart attack and stroke are, but was never educated on what signs to look for in myself or others. In terms of prevention education, there is also a lot of room for improvement. The list of risk factors a woman can control (obesity, the lack of physical activity, high blood cholesterol, smoking, excessive drinking, and more) outweigh those that she cannot (family history, ethnicity, sex, age) and of these, appropriate lifestyle choices can and should be adopted during childhood to best prevent heart disease as an adult.
Childhood obesity rates are higher now than ever before. The Childhood Obesity Foundation states that 30 per cent of Canadian children and youth are overweight or obese. This rate is double what it was in 1978, and demonstrates just how real the threat of heart disease really is.
The Participaction campaign is a step in the right direction, because it aims to get young people more active. Its slogan, “bring back play”, encourages parents and children to go outdoors and make physical activity a priority. I guess I’m not the only one who’s noticed
the lack of children riding bikes and playing in the park. However, with as much as 63 per cent of a child’s free time spent being sedentary, it’s obvious that this easy, fun, and cheap preventative measure of heart disease has failed to be properly promoted. Moreover, active lifestyles have been put on the back burner for far too long if obesity rates have risen to what they are today, and with heart disease claiming the number of lives that it is. By targeting the youngest demographics, preventative measures can be most effectively instilled, because adopting healthy lifestyles — like learning a second language — is much easier when one is young. Additionally, education of the signs to look for will create quicker response times in lifethreatening situations, and can help get individuals to seek out medical intervention before a heart attack even strikes.
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I was shocked when I heard that the beautiful Centre for Performing Arts that is used by many Vancouver arts organizations and touring shows was about to be sold to an evangelical church. Four Brothers Entertainment, the current owner of the theatre, is reportedly in the midst of arranging a sale to Westside Church whose pastor is looking for a new place of worship for his congregation. Since this pending sale, Four Brothers have cancelled all contracts with groups who had booked the theatre, including the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Goh Ballet who have performed their annual Nutcracker there since 2009. Without any warning, the Goh received a letter that simply stated their contract had been cancelled. “They didn’t say why and they have not responded to phone calls,” said Katie Weber, Communications Associate for the Goh. “We found out about it through the Vancouver Courier, so we found out through the media ourselves . . . it was pretty shocking,” said Weber. This news that The Centre is no longer available for their use has put the Goh Ballet in a difficult position. “The show is built based on the fact that it is performed in that theatre,” explained Weber, and not many other venues in Vancouver can accommodate a 30-piece orchestra or their huge sets. The only other venue that really makes sense for their show is the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which is of course already booked for all of December this year. Ticket sales, which should have launched already, are on hold for the moment as the fate of the production is up in the air. There are also the guest artists such as internationally renowned maestro Ken Hsieh and dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet to consider. They have turned down other job offers and been contracted to
participate in this show. The same week the Goh heard of this news from Four Brothers Entertainment, they held auditions to complete their cast, and now 200 local children have been informed that they will have the tremendous opportunity to dance in the show.
“We are wanting to talk to the church about accommodating us . . . there’s not much else we can do this year,” Weber continues. “The church has returned our calls, and they are quite friendly.” Since the sale is also not confirmed, everything is still very uncertain, but the
Goh is hopeful that it can work something out with the church to still use the space at least for this year. If that doesn’t work out, I’m not sure what will happen to the show as it is too late for them to find another home. The Goh dancers and their parents are all very concerned, but Weber says they have been supportive and willing to help out however they can. At a recent council meeting where a motion was put forward to ensure that 2013 contracts are honoured, some of the young dancers spoke about what it means to them. The three girls cast as Clara have been dreaming of this role, and it is the opportunity of a lifetime. Weber says that the Goh has no ill feelings towards Westside Church, but they will definitely miss The Centre as it has been their home since they began producing The Nutcracker. “It’s a wonderful venue, and I’m sure
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it will serve them well,” said Weber. The Goh will have to start thinking about what they will do next year, and Weber said that the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is a frontrunner, but since the Alberta Ballet uses this venue for a Nutcracker each year as well, they will have to see if the venue would allow two shows with the same name.
With so many logistics involved in a production of this scale, it will be a huge endeavor for this company to find a new home. “This is Vancouver’s Nutcracker ; it’s locally produced with all local kids, and
Vancouver has really embraced the show,” said Weber. “We were hoping to increase the run from six shows to eight since it has done so well at the box office.” They are just hopeful that they can keep the show alive this year and work with the new owners to still use the space in December. Although this is an extremely difficult situation, especially because nothing is finalized, Weber seemed optimistic: “We hope it works out well for everyone involved.” The Vancouver Sun reported in early June that “It appears the Goh Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker will go ahead this December after all,” and Executive Director Chan Hon Goh was quoted as saying, “It’s going ahead for sure, but we’re still working out contractual obligations.” So it looks like Westside Church is willing to work with the Goh, as long as they can work out a contract.
“I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push boundaries, to show people: ‘This is the level that things could be at.’ So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities.” West’s recent interview with The New York Times is just one in a series of public relations bombshells in the rapper’s much publicized quest to become the most infamous celebrity since Billy Corgan. But though West’s ego is surely among the biggest in music today, his music often acts as his safety net: brilliant and thoughtprovoking, even when the man himself rarely seems to be. Yeezus, West’s first studio album in three years and his follow-up to critical darling My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, continues the MC’s streak of
Most of what you’ll read about Joni Mitchell’s Blue — and, if you’re so inclined,
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challenging, thematically rich albums. Where Fantasy was a lushly produced, deep-dish slice of Behind the Music-style self-flagellation, Yeezus looks outwards with an industrial, racially charged conviction that challenges the rapper’s most audacious and engaging work. Working with producer Rick Rubin — famous for his minimalistic, bare-bones production style — Yeezus’ 10 tracks are among the most skeletal and aggressive of West’s career. The electronic march of “Black Skinhead” and the haunted Atari 2600 beats of “New Slaves” remind of the stripped-down hip-hop of Death Grips and Public Enemy. Elsewhere, the melancholy Nina Simone sample on “Blood On the Leaves” and the high-pitched soul on album closer “Bound 2” remind of Kanye’s early LPs, and the production that launched his career in the first place. Though Yeezus makes for an inconsistent first listen — tracks like “On Sight” and “Hold My Liquor” pitch tonal curveballs, and there isn’t a serviceable radio single to be found — West is working at the top of his game, and his rapid-fire flow and provocative yet playful lyrics have never been stronger. The album is sure to alienate many fans expecting Fantasy part two, but West’s unwillingness to repeat himself is one of his greatest strengths. For a man who believes himself to be God’s gift to music, he sure is hard to prove wrong.
there’s a lot to read — will tell you how the album is about a break-up, or the musical embodiment of depression. But ultimately, the best word to describe the album is ‘transparent.’ Mitchell’s 1971 magnum opus is melancholic, sure, but it’s also prone to flights of sheer joy and complex self-reflection, the work of a woman completely unwilling to hide any part of herself. The 10 songs on Blue show Mitchell at her best and her worst; they read like short stories and land emotional body blows. Mitchell’s vocal, as expressive and organic as her lyrics, aches and yearns for something intangible. “All I Want” sees Mitchell embracing the full spectrum of romance, from blushing beginning to acrimonious end. “A Case of You” is a cryptic halfremembrance of Mitchell’s brief affair with Leonard Cohen. “Little Green”, the only song not written for the album, is Mitchell’s tribute to her daughter, whom she gave away for adoption, penniless and in the throes of depression.
Kveikur is a palate cleanser, an album unlike any Sigur Ros has ever made before, with an element of aggressiveness and cacophony they’re unlikely to repeat. In nine tracks, the band have managed to tear down their sound, reorganize it, and rebuild. Spanning a relatively slender 48 minutes, the album is the band’s first as a trio, having lost keyboardist and founding member Kjartan Sveinsson last year. Sveinsson’s influence is clearly absent from Kveikur — the lush, orchestrated crescendos the band has become so well known for have been stripped down and economized. Album opener “Brennisteinn” is fast-paced and claustrophobic; “Stormur” is percussive and groovy; the obscured vocal samples and anxious reverb of “Yfirboro,” sound like the work of a different band entirely. The only
From a musical perspective, Blue is undoubtedly Mitchell’s strongest effort. Eschewing the expansive arrangements and heavy percussion of her peers, the album is centered around Mitchell’s passionate vocal, unconventional guitar chords and her use of the Appalachian dulcimer. But the reason that Blue has persevered in the minds and record collections of so many is Mitchell’s honest, courageous performance. She acknowledges her struggles and exhumes them with striking artistry. “At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses,” Mitchell said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I felt like I had no secrets in my life and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.” Profound and poignant four decades after its release, Blue is one of the greatest works of its time, one that still has the power to break hearts and mend wounds.
remaining souvenir of Sigur Ros’ previous sound is lead singer Jonsi Birgisson’s otherworldly falsetto, which seems angelic against the backdrop of Kveikur’s end-of-the-world aesthetic. “Isjaki” and “Blapraour” lean closer towards the band’s more typical fare, building towards life-affirming crescendos while factoring in the album’s increased rhythmic focus. Instrumental album closer “Var” caps off the album in unexpectedly understated fashion, building towards a subtle drone-and-piano coda. Sadly, Sigur Ros’ audacious aural reinvention seems stifled by its production: whereas in concert, these new tracks were overpowered by the bedlam of drummer Orri Dyrason’s schizophrenic stylings, the album’s mix seems to favour Jonsi’s fragile croon, which detracts from the songs’ magnitude. Still, the album pulsates with a vitality largely missing from last year’s lifeless career low point, Valtari. The Icelandic post-rockers, who’ve built their sound on a foundation of seraphic soundscapes, have proven they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Kveikur is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and idiosyncratic additions to the band’s catalogue, and re-injects the trio with a much needed sense of livelihood.
Food Cart Fest is back! Starting June 23 and running until September 22, the festival features more than 20 food carts set up each Sunday at West 1st Ave near the Cambie Bridge. A similar festival took placeduring the summer last year in the parking lot of the Waldorf, and proved to be wildly successful, becoming one of the largest food cart festivals in North America. There will also be community markets, live music, DJs, and activities for kids. The festival will run from noon until 6:00 p.m. and it will have a $2 admission. Grab your bike, ride the seawall, and enjoy some of the best street food our city has to offer.
Walking into newly-opened Tractor, we were greeted with a casual and bright vibe, and a friendly hostess-type who explained the concept to us. It is healthy, light food served cafeteria-style — soon made apparent once we saw the dishes of quinoa, kale and broccoli lined up at the counter. We got the Moroccan chicken stew with chick peas for $8, a hearty and tangy meal that comes with pieces of multigrain toast, and the lentil vegetable soup for $6. To put it into perspective, the servings are approximate to a large soup
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Looking for something to do on a Tuesday night? Pop into the Colbalt for their weekly Multiball evenings. The evening’s highlights include free pinball and music provided by DJs Justin Gradin and Tyler Fedchuk. There’s no cover, and pints and highballs are only $3! Where else can you stop in for dirt-cheap beer and pinball on a weeknight? Don’t worry, I won’t tell mom.
Bard on the Beach begins June 26 and runs until September 14. This season features performances of Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, and Elizabeth Rex. This season is bound to be well-talked about, with its various bold reconfigurations of the Bard’s classics: Hamlet is set in the 21st Century; Twelfth Night takes place in a 1913 European Spa; Measure for Measure is located on the streets of early last-century New Orleans; and Timothy Findley’s critically acclaimed Elizabeth Rex takes the stage once more. Check the schedule at bardonthebeach.org.
at the Ladle and the styles are comparable as well. If you’re in a soupy mood, definitely go for the chicken stew. They also have a braised beef short rib and mushroom stew that looked like a winner. You can’t go wrong with braised beef, I always say. Being the glorified Whole Foods it is, Tractor offers a lot of salads. There are two $6.50 protein salad options: one with curried prawns and a curried yogurt dressing, and one with albacore tuna, avocado, cucumber and a ginger soy dressing. We got the latter, which was probably the tastiest thing we had here.
with quinoa, various cheeses, nuts, portobello mushrooms, and creative vinaigrettes. We got one with kale, granny smith apples, julienned radicchio, and white balsamic vinaigrette, which had a crisp and fresh taste, and another with jicama, watercress, grapefruit and orange segments, drizzled with honey lime dressing. I definitely had to Google what the hell jicama is. Turns out it’s a Mexican root vegetable. Like a turnip, but South American. So, there you go. It’s good. Their sandwiches are $5 for a half and $9 for a whole. The options are chicken, veggie and beef short rib. We got the short rib, which came with portobello mushroom, tomato, arugula, smoked gouda on multigrain bread. I don’t generally like paying more than a fiver for sandwiches because I’m adamant that I can make it myself, but realistically, this isn’t your average PB and J. You can also add proteins to your salads: chicken breast for $6, sauteed prawns for $8,
There are another 10 salad options for $3.25 — of course, they’re relatively small options, but there are plenty of choices available
June 29 marks the opening of three new exhibits at the Vancouver Art Gallery: Portraits in Time and Martin Honert, running until October 14, and In Dialogue with Carr Gareth Moore: Allochthonous Window which will be exhibited until October 27. The works in Portraits in Time will present people in a variety of narrative contexts, exploring how individuals work with their environment. Martin Honert’s sculptures are described as “obsessive depictions of ideas connected to collective experience.” Vancouver artist Gareth Moore responds to Emily Carr’s travels to remote locations.
and albacore tuna steak for $9, and they do have beer and wine but at $6 and $8 (respectively), it’s not going to be your next watering hole. They also have snacks for your sweet tooth; no doubt granola bites and gluten free cookies will satiate that craving, and both are $3 each. Tractor isn’t the kind of place to go if you’re feeling ravenous
Looking for some really good salami or other assortments of cured meat? Check out Rainier Provisions for their incredible selection of Moccia Urbani salami, including Spicy Fennel and Fig Toscano, or DOriginal Sausage, with their mouthwatering spicy Bierbeisser smoked sausages. Ranier is also working on building an outdoor patio area, so soon you’ll be able to enjoy that Bierbeisser the right way: with a cold beer out in the sun.
or gluttonous; it’s ideal for a light lunch before the beach. The food is reasonably priced and served in a casual and unpretentious environment, so it’s a comfortable place to sit down and people-watch. The fact that you’re eating kale should mitigate the inferiority complex of watching Lululemon-clad passers-by.
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eccentric contemporary films of Japan. While finding a perfect translation for any word is difficult, Kibatsu essentially means unconventional, but also connotes something unusual, strange, novel or original. And wonderfully strange the featured films of Kibatsu Cinema are. Throughout its long and rich history, Japanese cinema has always had a reputation for being wildly imaginative, original and slightly bizarre. Unfortunately, while many Japanese films are revered as classics, most of them do not make it overseas. Finding an abundance of Japanese cinema is often quite difficult without the aid of a great video store, a DVD-equipped foreign friend or an illegal download. Luckily, us Vancouverites also have The Cinematheque, and its annual event, Kibatsu Cinema. Returning for its fourth year, Kibatsu Cinema is currently running a double feature each Thursday until June 28th. Appropriately titled, Kibatsu Cinema celebrates the strange and
From science-fiction anime to explorative documentaries, Kibatsu Cinema offers a different experience than the usual Hollywood blockbuster. Although I can only vouch for the two films I have seen, the remaining six films seem just as quirky, fun, wondrously imaginative and deeply profound. The synopses of the eight films may not
seem overwhelmingly different from North American cinema, but Casting Blossoms to the Sky and The Dark Harbour definitely proved their distinction. Casting Blossoms to the Sky is directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi, and is, fittingly, an unconventional tale of wartime tragedies. Exhibited as a “film essay,” each new shot flips like the page of a book, quickly revealing the film’s themes. In a kaleidoscopic, whirlwind melding of intertwining story lines, the film chronicles Reiko, a reporter, travelling to Nagaoka to write an article on the people displaced by the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011. Reiko gains a little more than she bargained for, though; she does not simply experience the aftermath of Mother Nature’s wrath, but also the catastrophic long-term effects of previous wars. Set against the annual fireworks festival in Nagaoka, Japan, Casting Blossoms to the Sky offers a glimpse of the shared cultural identity of a nation scarred from the tragedies of Second World
War. Obayashi makes great use of low budget effects, and creates a colourful world that blurs the lines between the past and present. Although the underlying story is bleak, the film is balanced with quirky characters, true stories, humour and optimism.
While Casting Blossoms to the Sky is long, clocking in at 140 minutes, the pace is quick, keeps your attention and stirs your emotions. Although my back hurt at times, and I really wanted more Pocky sticks from the concession, this film showed a perspective that is uniquely post-war Japan, and succeeded in (almost) bringing tears to my eyes. The Dark Harbour is directed by Naito Takatsugu, and was a fantastic juxtaposition next to Casting Blossoms to the Sky. While
Casting Blossoms to the Sky expresses the quick-paced, bright and noisy portrayal of city life, The Dark Harbour shows the quiet solitude of life as a fisherman, with minimal dialogue, dreary colours and a slow pace. The Dark Harbour follows Manzo, a lonely fisherman, who desperately wants a wife and a family. Fortuitously, Manzo doesn’t have to wait long for what he is looking for because a woman and boy randomly show up in his closet. With perfectly punctuated humour, this film has more than a few hilarious moments. The laughs do not depend on punchlines, but absurd scenarios and misinterpreted actions. While much of the plot is quite sad, The Dark Harbour is also a heartfelt story of a man who is given the chance to have a family. With only a handful of screenings left of Kibatsu Cinema, I would highly recommend you go see at least one of these films, or at least plan ahead for next year. Judging from the opening night, any one of these films won’t be a disappointment.
DIVERSIONS / ETC
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ACROSS 1. Latin origin of the words ‘captain’ and ‘capital’ 6. Typing speed abbreviation 9. Mythical merry-making man-horse 14. First Hebrew letter 15. “Are you a man ___ mouse?” 16. “Farewell, mon ami” 17. Astronaut’s attire 19. New Zealand’s political envoy, for short 20. Inquires 21. Otherwise 22. What “carpe” means 23. OKCupid nice guy’s headwear 25. It’s north of Afr. 26. This puzzle’s theme 32. One bigoted remark 33. US Navy code for Aviation Rescue Swimmers 34. With 37-across, first French-Canadian PM 37. With 34-across, first French-Canadian PM 41. Celebration 42. With “Podge”, a crafty glue 43. Our 14th PM, resolved the Suez Canal Crisis LAST WEEK’S SOLUTION
48. Short-termed PM Campbell 49. PM Paul ______ 50. Young sheep 53. Jordan’s Queen ___ 54. Spun or scratched 58. West Indies sorcery 59. Problems with Google’s picture lookups 61. CIA declassified project MK_____ 62. Quarterback Manning 63. Atop pork 64. French heads 65. Ladner’s largest high school 66. Not under another dict. heading
4. General-purpose product tags 5. With 3-down, you’re reading it 6. A rhetorical enthusiastic response 7. The ‘big house’. 8. Type of girl Madonna is 9. Minus 10. Axe-like tool 11. More orderly 12. Recently-leaked Kanye album 13. King or czar 18. Appear to be 23. Domesticated polecat 24. Largest continent 26. Animal hand 27. Carpal tunnel or tennis DOWN elbow 28. Under the weather 1. Mexican house 29. Ear warmers 2. Swiss mountain range 30. Writer Capote or The 3. With 5-down, you’re read- ______ Show ing it 31. Typo
35. Tabloid twosome 36. Insane 38. Driver’s licences and others 39. I, to Claudius 40. Stimpy’s cartoon pal 43. Likely or responsible 44. Murdered African-American boy ______ Till 45. Grills 46. Drooping eyelid, medically 47. Leprechaun’s land 48. Social media scoregiver 51. Unadorned or exposed 52. Doo-wop syllables 54. First Bond film (or its villain) 55. Abbot, Diefenbaker or A. Macdonald 56. Historical periods 57. Upcoming edition of a psychiatric bible 60. Friend of Harry and Hermione
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is being adapted into a feature film starring Jonah Hill and Tony Shalhoub.
For more detailed diagrams of the human penis, please turn to any page of any of your textbooks . . .
Public School Sex Ed
JOIN THE CLUB is a feature that highlights SFU’s lesser known clubs and non-existent organizations.
The Simon Fraser University Anti-Acronym Society, or as it’s more commonly known, the SFU AAS, is an organization dedicated to the elimination of acronyms at SFU. Although the group’s status as an officially sanctioned SFSS club remains TBD, the club is hoping to be approved ASAP and start the process of removing acronyms from SFU. According to the AAS, A’s are needlessly confusing and don’t actually save much time because they almost always have to include the the long form version in brackets later anyways (A’s is short for Acronyms). The AAS meets every Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in the AQ and also holds a monthly closed meeting for the group’s VIP members which alternates between different rooms in the LDC, MBC, WMC and TASC 2. The AAS requires RSVPs from all VIPs for these CMs (Closed Meetings) and expects all VIPs to give their ETAs beforehand. PS: The club’s official motto is “you only live once.”
humour editor email / phone
Brad McLeod email@example.com / 778.782.4560
June 24, 2013
like that,” explained Sanders’ mother “his mortgage was being foreclosed on him, he was about to lose his kids . . . no one in his situation would’ve thought they had to give up their hard earned money for some stupid kid’s sports fundraiser!” VANCOUVER — In a misguided attempt at empathy, a local man was arrested by police yesterday after a lengthy chase in his neighbour’s Converse All-Star. According to inside sources, the incident is believed to be the result of an argument that accused robber, Chris Patterson, and his neighbour, Tom Sanders, had over two weeks prior. The argument was concerning the victim’s refusal to donate money to Patterson’s daughter’s softball team fundraiser. “I remember hearing a lot of raised voices, and an unusual amount of idioms for that hour,” spoke Gladys Brown, a retiree who lives across the road from the men and who overheard the 10:00 a.m. conversation believed to have set off the robbery. “Now, I don’t remember all the details of why the man wasn’t willing to give even a dollar to the AAA Vancouver Titans . . . but I recall that a shoe walking invitation was presented at that time.” Family members of the victim, Tom Sanders, have stated that their relative has been recently transitioning in between jobs and is in the process of a nasty divorce, but that Patterson had refused to be understanding. “He really just didn’t have the money to spend on something
After several minutes of Patterson’s incredulousness that Sanders was the only person on the block who wouldn’t give even a dime and that there couldn’t possibly be any more important way to spend that money, the victim is believed to have asked him if he would consider ‘walking a mile in his shoes,’ although it is unclear whether that question was rhetorical or not. Despite most residents of the neighbourhood believing that this would be as far as the situation would escalate, Patterson spent the next two weeks reflecting and planning his empathetic heist. Then, at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, using a believed-to-beimpenetrable fake-rock key holder, Patterson stole Sanders red and white Converse’s and proceeded to briskly walk down the street. Woken up by the sound of his alarm, Sanders quickly became aware of the crime and ran to stop
Patterson but, without shoes, was unable to make it further than his front porch and was forced to call the police. A nearly 15 minute pursuit between the police and Patterson then ensued, not because they were unable to catch a man on a leisurely walk up the street, but
because they couldn’t figure out what “crime” they were witnessing. Although Patterson would be taken back to the police station, he was promptly bailed out and has said he takes full responsibility for his actions and has grown to have a greater understanding of the world as a result of the whole affair.
When asked about the shoes on the other hand, Patterson simply stated that the pair of Converse shoes were “really comfortable and had good traction for a mile-long walk” and that he “still doesn’t understand what the fuck Sanders was complaining about.”
24 LAST WORD
features editor email / phone
Rachel Braeuer firstname.lastname@example.org / 778.782.4560
When I came to Istanbul, I really believed I was an educated person who had a general idea of what culture and life was going to be like here. After all, I’d taken several undergraduate courses on Middle Eastern, Ottoman and Turkish history. I was going to dress conservatively, so as not to offend anyone, and I was completely prepared to give up my university alcoholism. It was a Muslim country, right? Wrong. So wrong. Imagine my confusion when I was severely underdressed for my first day of university in my typical attire of jeans, a t-shirt and Toms. And then the first night we went out for drinks? I was the loser for wanting to be home by 4:00 a.m. This country surprised me in so many ways within that first week. Even in my last week, I was still being shocked by the people of this city, but in a much bolder way. When it occurred to me that I couldn’t even get the whole dressing and drinking thing right, I decided to probe a little bit more about culture and values in Turkey. My new friends must have hated me as I grilled them about things I perceived to be prominent issues in the country: Kurdish people, Ataturk, and the role of the military and the government.
the government was Islamist at heart. The people I had met were disgruntled with their government for one reason or another, but no one would ever directly stand up to them, even when we were just talking. However, on May 31, hundreds, and then thousands of protesters stood up and refused to back down. What started as a protest to protect Gezi Park, near Taksim Square, soon became a protest for all of Turkey. I had just finished dinner with my parents on their first night in Istanbul, and was heading out to meet some friends for a few ‘end of exchange’ drinks. My friends had been dodging through the side streets of Taksim, attempting to get a few visiting friends to their hostel. After realizing that they weren’t getting anywhere near it, they tried to catch a cab and head back to the university. It only worsened once I was able to join them, and after futile attempts to get a cab, we realized we were stranded. We all decided we’d hunker down for a few hours, wait for things to settle, and then be on our way. They had already been up to the Taksim area, and said the southern part was fine, so we went to a chill little bar
Some of what I was told didn’t surprise me, some of it blew me out of the water. I started to get a sense of the suppression in Turkey. I was told how the government was becoming increasingly authoritarian, playing on the beliefs of the religious population — although my friends never believed
we knew and settled in for some drinks. We were relaxed, catching up with friends, one of whom had just come from Chile to surprise his girlfriend — the beginnings of a perfect night, or so we thought. We hadn’t even finished our first round when one of the employees started talking
to us about smoking and going up stairs. Confused, we told him we weren’t going to smoke, but wanted to stay at the street level. He persisted, so we hesitantly took our beers and moved upstairs. By then, people started rushing in from the street, so we moved quickly, still very confused. I headed to the window to see what was going on. A few of us gathered, and watched the cloud of smoke move through the empty street. At first, our group had one of those inevitable douchey exchange kid moments. We’re at a bar in Taksim, and there’s tear gas outside. THIS IS CRAZY! And then it started to set in. The tingling in our eyes and cheeks turned to burning. Our faces were leaking fluid out of every hole. The burning I felt in my throat made me struggle to breathe. As I stood there, struggling with the effects of being tear gassed, a complete stranger, who had clearly been through much more than I had that night, insisted I take his surgical mask. I knew he was in rough shape, so I insisted he keep it to no avail. He almost put it on for me. That was my first impression of who the people of this protest really were. We spent the next few hours talking the protesters. One guy told us how he had been hit in the abdomen with a tear gas canister, next to his friend who began to suffer from an asthma attack. Luckily, someone in the crowd shared their inhaler with him. Although the news had not confirmed anything, we heard that others hadn’t been so lucky. Our new friend started to tell us about himself. He was studying culinary arts, and working in a high-class French restaurant. He was just like us: an educated, twentysomething who believed in the potential and power of peaceful protest. These were the faces of Taksim Square: a man who handed me his mask without a question, people who were warning us of the dangers out there, and a man and his
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friend — battered by the police — who just wanted democracy. The next day, after leaving my parents again, I was making my way home. I passed through Besiktas, an area which stayed peaceful in the previous night’s chaos. It was hectic, cars were constantly honking, and passersby clapped back to them, creating a metaphorical handshake of support. Hundreds of people were walking through the street, waving Turkish flags. Two middle-aged women walked together with masks around their necks, just in case. Despite the number of the people, the group remained peaceful, even singing together. An hour later, when I finally reached my dorm, I came home to the news on our lobby television. That same neighborhood was now filled with tear gas. And there I was, in my room, drafting this article to the sound of cars honking, banging on pots, and people shouting in support of these demonstrations. I’m now back in my quiet neighborhood of North Vancouver, relaxing in my apartment, thousands of kilometers away. Still, there is something wildly inspiring about witnessing the beginnings of this movement — to have seen not only how sudden, but also how strongly people’s passions can be ignited. I witnessed a country was falling further and further backwards into authoritarianism, only to see its people stand up and fight for what they believe in. And best of all, I got a glimpse of who these people really are. They are kind-hearted and supportive people who will go out of their way to help one another, even me, the foreign-looking, blonde, white girl. These protestors aren’t just hooligans who just want to stir shit up, they are people who are fighting in solidarity for the liberty and love of their country. And I think the faces and actions of all these protestors and supporters is something we can all be inspired by.