Page 1

Table of Contents ON THE COVER

WHAT’S NEW? What you need to know as a 20-something in the loop.


IN THEIR PRIME 7. Canadian girl-next-door

shares the secret of her active High times: students’ thoughts life on marijuana legalization Rockstar plays for fun, not


3. Sports over sex: Western believes Olympics are more than sexuality

4. Call me maybe? Students



9. Chasing passions: the

political fashionista with a culinary flare

choose cell phones over free rent

4. Western reacts to York

student’s gender accomodation refusal


5. Female students suffer

without access to birth control test

FEATURES Unveilling truths about the world around us, one topic at a time.

10. Health versus hype: the

juicy story behind the freshlysqueezed diet fad


11. Yoga leads to peace of

Youth in their prime leading the way on their own paths.

12. Western gives Habitat for

6. Young dancer takes center stage

6. Future grad primed for


Humanity a helping hand

3. The construction of music: from mind to machine


PRIME theeditors Editor in Chief – Caitlin Martin Newnham Managing Editor – Alyson Douglas Assignment Editor – Arienne Good Copy Editor – Lindsey McKie Proofreader – Jodi Negin-Ulster

thecontributors Sandy Martin Alanna Howe Lindsey KcKie Stefanie Cimini Liam Thompson Mathew Silver Alyssa Agnew Paige Exell Adam Bornstein Aidan Murphy

theguidelines PRIME is a magazine for twenty-somethings interested in relationships, health, beauty, and hobbies. Our content focuses on those interested in getting the most out of life! We are looking for articles on topics that reinforce ideas of empowerment, positivity, personal inspiration and perspectives, as well as human-interest stories.Our readers are those in the PRIME of life, and expect stories that are relevant to the lifestyles of young people.

What’s New?


High times: students’ thoughts on marijuana legalization By Sandy Martin Marijuana should be legalized in Ontario, according to some Western students, and legalization won’t make much difference in how the student population treats the drug. “I do think [marijuana should be legalized],” said fourth-year music student, Emilie Mover. “Everybody knows that every student smokes pot already.” The issue of legalization has drawn considerable interest in the media since Colorado’s Amendment 64 effectively made the drug legal on January 1 of this year. Initiatives to decriminalize or legalize the drug have also been passed in Washington and Rhode Island. Several other states are awaiting votes on similar ballot initiatives, including Florida, where the current Governor is a conservative Republican. “There’s no longer the stigma that

weed is the devil’s drug, “ said Mover. “As long as you’re educated about the risks, then you’ll be cool.” Mover also believes that marijuana is a less dangerous drug compared to legal alcohol. “Alcohol is just as bad, if not worse. In terms of the detriment to the human psyche and society in general,” she said. “Imagine O-Week with pot instead of booze.” Third-year Gender Studies

student Emily Pickard agrees. “You don’t hear about anyone getting high and beating their wife,” she mused. “There’s no danger of addiction and you can’t overdose or get ‘marijuana poisoning’ like with alcohol. Absolutely I think [pot] should be legalized.” Don’t expect Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to push for legalization any time soon. They have openly mocked Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for featuring marijuana legalization in his platform, with Justice Minister Peter MacKay calling it “strange” that Trudeau would make “legalization […] a priority at this time.” But with Trudeau’s Liberals supporting all-out legalization and the federal NDP in support of marijuana decriminalization, it may not be long before laws similar to those passed in Washington and Colorado are put in place in Canada.  

Sports over sex: Western believes Olympics are more than sexuality

By Alanna Howe Students at Western feel that although it may not be right to restrict athletes and coaches’ freedoms of expression, the Olympics are about something much bigger than the issue of sexual orientation. Russia’s anti-gay legislation has been a highly talked about issue as the 2014 Sochi Olympics get closer. “The Olympics aren’t about sexuality just like they’re not about race, it has to do with athletes and competition and that’s what we should be focused on,” said Katie Evans, fourth-year philosophy student.

Last week the U.S Olympic Committee stated they would defer the Olympic Charter. By doing so, athletes and coaches are prohibited from political demonstrations at the games and the government threatens to prosecute anyone who breaks this law. Many students’ feel that the Russian government does not necessarily have to take a stance on the issue. Students believe that people should be more concerned about the Games, rather than whether or not the pride-flag can be displayed. Kate Levitt a fourth-year Spanish

major had a lot to say about the issue. “In the modern world we have to be respectful of other countries’ choices, even the ones we may not agree with. The Olympic Games are about something much bigger, and are attempting to bring people together in a different way. It’s not necessarily right for them to defer to the Olympic Charter, but it is however fair for the Russian Government to conduct the Olympics in their country in a way they see fit. If people want to address gay rights it should be done outside the Olympic arena.


What’s New?

Call me maybe? Students choose cell phones over free rent By Lindsey McKie


t Western University, seeing students glued to their cell phones is not an uncommon sight, and some scientists claim this increasing dependency in young people could be classified as an addiction. A study in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions claims young Americans check their phones 60 times a day, on average, and the use is becoming an impulse that stems from addiction. Western student Conor Paterson, a second-year Economics major, did not hesitate to admit his cell phone dependency. “I’d say I’m romantically involved with it,” he joked, “I don’t think I could live without my phone.” He stated that the average use seemed low to him: “I mean, I use my phone for everything…texting, checking emails, Twitter, Facebook… everything to connect me to other people.” When asked if he would give up

his cell phone for two weeks in exchange for a month of free rent, he unsurprisingly responded with a resounding “no”. Other students seem to live more in denial of the socalled addiction. “I wouldn’t say I’m addicted,” fourth-year English student, Grace Locke, claimed, her iPhone clutched firmly in hand, “That seems like such a strong word.” Though she rejects the term, Locke says she too wouldn’t give up her phone for the free rent. “It would disconnect

you from so much. It’s just the way people communicate now. It’s not an addiction, it’s just a part of life.” Indeed, cell phones have permeated the everyday lives of our youth, but for now, the “addiction” classification remains an opinion.

Western reacts to York student’s gender accomodation refusal By Stefanie Cimini Western students are split on whether a York University student should have been excused from working with a group of females. “If religious reasons can excuse stuff like that, what else can it excuse?” said second-year engineering student, Alexander Tashos. “What’s he going to do in the real world when he gets a job, continually refuse to work with females? It sounds like this guy just wanted to get out of the assignment, maybe he was just way too lazy to go meet up with his group and didn’t want to do it.” Many like Tashos agreed the professor did the right thing, despite York U administrators giving him trouble for breaking their “obligation to accommodate.” Others, like third-year Ivey student Lindsay Hamilton, differed in opinion. “He built up the courage to ask to be excused from the assignment because of reasons that actually meant something to him,” she said. “You don’t know what a person has been through and why they think the way they do, so if they feel uncomfortable about something for whatever reason I don’t think they should be forced into it.” Hamilton, like many others, felt the assignment was not worth the trouble the incident caused the school. “He should have had other options,” said a first-year business student, Michael Giulian Depierro. “Would it really have been that much of a problem to make him do a solo assignment? It’s called compromise.”

What’s New?


Female students suffer without access to birth control test By Caitlin Martin Newnham

Western University’s female students are suffering from birth control side effects because they do not have access to a simple hormone test. Birth control pills can cause debilitating physical and psychological changes if the individual’s hormones do not match that of the pill. Practitioners at Student Health Services of Western University are not currently using an efficient saliva test

that could prevent severe cramps, mood swings, dizziness, headaches and nausea. Unfortunately, the disruptive side effects of taking the pill are not valid reasons to Academic Counseling to grant excuse from exams and assignments. “I have missed classes, spent days in bed with a pain that for me is unbearable,” Kelly Grady, a fifth-year history and anthropology student, said. “We are supposed to magically get to school and be productive.” The option to take the test could help current users of birth control to find a better fit. “I’m happy with the pill I’m on, but if I could find one that would be even better I would be interested,” Carly Jackson, a fourth-year psychology and pharmacology student, explained. The simple saliva test is currently

being used around the world, but has not yet been made available to Western University students. “I don’t know why it isn’t available,” Jackson said. “If it had any ties to specific pharmaceutical companies I would probably avoid it because it may be biased.” Western University’s Student Health Services were unable to answer any questions about the test. However, the test has the potential to improve women’s health and decrease the cost and time spent trying various birth control pills.

To legalize, or not to legalize: the great weed debate By Aidan Murphy

We all know what it is, and we’ve all come into contact with it in one way or another, but is it time we legalize it? The legalization of marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington occurred approximately one year ago, and a few Ontario students may believe that it’s time we do the same. “Regardless of whether [the government] plans on legalizing it or not, it’s going to happen,” said Daniel de Lion, third-year music major at Western University. “At least this way it would get rid of the stigma, and [the

government] can make some money off of it and regulate it.” Legalization means taxable product, making the purchase of marijuana much like that of alcohol. de Lion elaborates that pairing taxation with the regulation of the substance, and people will be given safer product, while the government gains more tax money to use on education programs and other beneficial facets. A second-year political science major at Ryerson University, Jake Drynan, notes that if marijuana were

to become legal the scope of criminal activity would become narrower. With the courts congested, cases can take months, if not years to try. He states, “less people in the courts equals faster trials for cases that matter.” When asked of the negative effects marijuana may have, Drynan stated, “the only downside is it may be introduced to someone before it should be.” After thinking for a moment, he added “but hasn’t that always been the case?”


In Their PRIME

Young dancer takes center stage

By Liam Thompson

Stefanie Cimini, age 20, puts down her tea and explains how her last Friday night didn’t go as planned. The innocent-looking Western student, with only slight melancholia, speculates as to why she and her hip-hop crew couldn’t perform as planned. “Just one of those things” she offers. But she enjoyed herself anyway. “I really like to go out” Cimini says, smiling “but I don’t want to be like ‘I like to party’. I’m just a very social person, I’m kind of an extra…” She holds back the vert, thinks for a moment and then returns: “I don’t know what I am.” The trouble Cimini has labelling herself is completely valid, for her intriguing mix of self-described “bar-star” tendencies and her being a member of a hip-hop dance crew make for a unique mix. Though she was not always such a “bar-star”, Cimini has always been identified as a dancer, and again finds a way to avoid easy classification. “I always just loved to dance. Always!” she says, but is quick to add “I never took dance, I just always loved to dance.” Different from so many apathetic 20-somethings, Cimini has an obvious passion for dance. Moving from dancing in her

Future grad primed for success Alyson Douglas is a communicator. Sitting comfortably in a wooden chair, her posture remains as effortless as the words that flow from her lips. She pauses purposefully between questions, taking time to process the perfect response. When she finally speaks, her cadence is smooth and to the point, as if she were reciting prewritten poetry. This isn’t her first time being interviewed, and by no means will it be her last. Douglas knows the importance of effective communication. In fact, the fourthyear MIT student says it’s exactly what has made her so successful in the classroom and on the Ultimate Frisbee playing field. “As for communication, well that’s my key to success,” she said. The 21-year old will graduate with an honors specialization degree from Western’s MIT program in the spring. But the native

of Nobleton, ON, a small farming village in the Township of King, will be the first to admit that the road to her undergraduate degree wasn’t necessarily a smooth one. “It has been a bit of a bumpy ride. I came in not really understanding what critical studies was all about, so at first it took some time to adjust. I found what made me successful was my ability to talk to people,” she said. After graduation, Douglas plans to leave the world of academia to pursue a career in marketing. Her first taste of the corporate atmosphere came last summer when she accepted a scholarship position in marketing at BrandHealth, a pharmaceutical health care company based out of Peterborough, ON ­— a position she says, gave her valuable experience in the industry. “I was constantly the liaison between the client services department and the creative

bedroom toward more public expression, she gradually found her current genre of choice. “As I grew older and started learning about different genres of dance, I realized hip-hop was the one I gravitated towards.” Cimini continued to grow as a dancer by joining different dance crews and immersing herself in the counter-culture of hip-hop. “I learned things like b-boying and popping and the history of hip-hop,” all things she is explicitly interested in. Even though she may not look like a typical hip-hop dancer - during her high school days there was even a brief overlap between her emo/scene phase and her love of hip-hop - she appreciates the unique dynamic. “One of my favourite crews — actually, my favourite competition ever — was me and five guys, and they were all these big ‘b-boys’, and I was the one little girl in their group”, she says. In keeping with her cheerful character, she adds “it was fun.” Having fun is important to Cimini and separates her from so many apathetic 20-somethings. She has a passion for dance, an energy that is evident while she talks about her hobby. “[People] are so surprised that [I] can keep up with all the guys, so they would applaud me for, like, taking on the challenge.” And Cimini clearly has no problem rising to such a task.

By Mathew Silver team [at BrandHealth]. I learned how important simple communications skills are.” But Douglas’ talents aren’t limited to the field of marketing. “I play Ultimate Frisbee,” she says with a smile. “I do it because I love it, and I love the people.” Formerly the captain of her squad at King City Secondary School, Douglas now competes for Western’s varsity women’s team, the Sharks. And it’s probably no surprise that her communication skills translate to success on the playing field. Douglas serves as one of the team’s elite “handlers”, a position that relies on communication for the effective distribution of the disc. “As a handler it’s incredibly important to communicate clearly. Like a quarterback in football, it is our job to direct the play and make things happen,” she said.

continued on page 7...

In Their PRIME


Canadian girl-next-door shares the secret of her active life By Alyssa Agnew From being a Harry Potter fanatic, to dreaming of writing her own book, to her competitive edge in sports, Lindsey McKie is an all-around Canadian girlnext-door. With all of her interests, McKie has always had the support from her family to aspire to be whatever she may choose. With a 21-year old brother, 18-year-old sister, 16-year old sister, and even the family dog, Gizmo, McKie is stuck in the middle but never lost in the commotion. Although she is close with her family who live in Toronto, McKie has always dreamt of coming to Western University. She explained it was the atmosphere that really drew her in and made her want to be a part of the school community. “It really wasn’t an option to go elsewhere,” McKie said. McKie is in her third of an honours specialization in English with a minor in creative

writing in hopes of becoming a publisher, editor or writer. “I’d love to write. I know the odds aren’t great, but if I could do anything I’d be an author,” McKie said. Like many other English enthusiasts, McKie has obsessed over Harry Potter ever since she was a young girl. She has read all the books multiple times and has seen all the movies. Because of this she has always dreamt of traveling to England. “As a kid I was convinced that England was this place with wizards and magic and everything was just better there.” Although McKie spends much of her spare time indoors reading and writing, she is also all about the outdoors and team sports. She has previously enjoyed playing hockey and soccer and is currently on an intramural ball hockey and soccer team with Western. “I’m easy going just generally but I can get pretty competi-

continued on page 8...

Student set for future success continued from page 6...

And her on-field presence doesn’t go unnoticed by her teammates either. “Alyson has unbelievable decision-making skills,” said team captain Erin Bussin. “She played a huge role in our success at the Canadian University Ultimate Championships in Ottawa this fall… the team depended on her controlling the tempo of the game.” Douglas doesn’t anticipate she will keep playing Ultimate competitively when she graduates, but hopes to join a recreational league when she trades in her country roots for city living. “I am a country girl. I really want to take a chance and live in the city. Somewhere unexpected. It would be cool to live in the hustle bustle of city life while I’m still able to tolerate it,” she said. While she looks forward to the next

chapter of her life, Douglas doesn’t forget the importance of enjoying each day along the way. “I think a successful person is one that can find balance between motivation and satisfaction. It’s great to have goals, but it’s important to find happiness in the moment.”


In Their PRIME

Active student Rockstar plays for fun, not fame continued from page 7...

tive,” said McKie. McKie started playing soccer when she was just three years old. She played every summer and joined her school team the second she got the chance. Enjoying the sport so much, she decided to play through the winter indoors. “I’ve always been interested in sports, probably because of my brother. He’s only a year older than me, so we were very competitive growing up.” McKie also started playing hockey at age seven and hated every minute of it. However her mother convinced her to try it once more and ever since then she has loved the sport. “My parents were always really supportive of my sports. It was actually really time consuming for them because there’s a lot of travelling. My dad absolutely loved bringing me to hockey games, and he would take me out for hot chocolate and donuts at Tim’s after,” said McKie. With her supportive parents and competitive siblings by her side, McKie moved up to competitive leagues quickly for her age. Running is also another passion of McKie’s. She started in high school as a cross-country runner and has loved it ever since. “I really just love the physical exertion and pushing your body to the limits. You get such a sense of accomplishment beating your best times, and I love the fact that you can always improve,” she said. With her busy hockey and soccer schedules McKie didn’t participate in running activities until entering university as she found herself needing a new athletic outlet. At first McKie ran to stay in shape, but this past summer participated in the Sporting Life, which is 10k, and the Warrior Dash. “It was more for fun than for competition,” McKie said. “I also like the idea that it raises funds for various charities. It’s a win-win.” This summer McKie plans to run in the Colour Me Rad, Sporting Life run, Warrior Dash, and Midsummer Night’s runs. She has also been encouraged by friends to train for the half marathon in Toronto which takes place at the end of August. However, she is unsure if she’ll be ready for the challenge but hopes to one day face it.

By Caitlin Martin Newnham

Sandy Martin peers through his shaggy bangs with the nonchalance and sarcasm of a rocker who simply plays ‘for the fun of it’ in his band, Jackets. The fifth-year English and creative writing student explains that his band’s sound is unique thanks to their one-of-a-kind recording studio. “We record at our other guitar player’s barn. […] You walk out the door and you can see the sunset. It’s just this awesome.” Martin explains. “He’s got Christmas lights up all around and chandeliers and disco balls. It’s the coolest place to record. It’s got nice Indian rugs and it’s really cool. It sounds perfect; it sounds huge because it’s in a barn. It sounds really cool.” Unlike most bands that pay for time in a recording studio, Martin’s band has the luxury of not rushing through recordings and allowing for spontaneity in their raw-edged music. “We’ve never done it, I’ve never done it, but I’ve seen other bands do it — friends of mine. You’re in there and you need to run through your songs and you need to get out because you’re paying for the time that you’re there,” Martin says. Martin intends to move to Toronto

with his band mates next year. However, his end-goal is to be an English professor. He intends to apply for a Masters of Arts or a Masters of Fine Arts in the future. “I was looking at all the programs and just decided that I wanted to take a year off after my degree because I haven’t had a year off since high school. I’m just kind of burnt out,” Martin explains. He doesn’t know what sort of employment he will find in Toronto, but he will certainly be developing with his band. Jackets perform regularly in Waterloo — where two of the band members currently live — and participated in Canadian Music Week in Toronto last January. “A paper from Regina wrote an article about us, which was so weird,” Martin explained. “[Canadian Music Week] is really like this industry circuit. People are trying so hard to get a record deal and we were just like: ‘We’re just here to play. We’re just here to have fun!’ The bands before and after us were so polished and so obviously ‘we-came across-the-country-to-try-and-get-arecord-deal’. […] It’s funny to see how desperate it is.” Jackets has a unique sound that Martin had difficulty explaining using a modern reference. He compared the tone to The Beatles album Let It Be, which has a raw and relaxed edge. Martin’s band recorded their latest album the past summer and intends to have a release show in the next few months. The album is still untitled because the band members were focused on changing the name of the band to Jackets recently. However, they have already released their first single from the new CD. Martin’s laid back demeanor sets the tone for his character, music and style. With any luck, Martin’s experience with Jackets may inspire him to teach the written word in university from a new, potentially musical, perspective.

In Their PRIME


Chasing passions: the political fashionista with a culinary flare By Paige Exell

It may be true that 20-year old Jenna Kelos would rather sleep than spend time putting herself together in the morning, but don’t let the laidback style and baggy sweaters fool you. The Western University political science student is a glamourous fashionista at heart that has recently landed herself an interview with the Art Institute of Vancouver where she hopes to be accepted into an exclusive fashion marketing graduate program. “I really like fashion”, says the Thunder Bay native with big city dreams. “So I thought a career in that field would be a really good thing for me. Actually it’s between fashion and baking,” Kelos says. “But if I pursued my dreams of going to culinary school I would probably just get really fat. I actually have no clue what I want to do with my life and it scares me every day.” Sporting a stylish new Aritzia scarf, Kelos reflects on her personal style, which consists of a lot of black, and chic, baggy sweaters. She embraces

a natural, carefree look and is inspired by designs of Gaby Aghion and Valentino. “My favourite trend right now would have to be oversized scarves,” says the fashion-lover who enjoys relaxing yoga sessions. “But for summer my favourite would have to be beachy, wavy hair because it’s easy and carefree and it looks nice without having to try. And that always helps during the summer months because you just get so sweaty.” When asked what her main piece of fashion advice would be, ironically, Kelos’ advice goes against everything her personal style represents. “Always look put together. Actually, that’s something I should listen to myself because I’m not put together more than I am [right now],” she says jokingly. If there’s one thing Kelos knows for sure it’s that honesty is the best policy. “I’m mostly too lazy to follow my own advice, but I mean, if I actually have something to do I’ll kind of put myself together a bit.” Despite her love for fashion the political science student still struggles

to find herself in a world filled with society’s pressures and the high demands of university. Throughout the years, she’s learned a fulfilling stress release technique that involves baking anything from classic chocolate chip cookies to crème brule and sour cream glazed donuts. “I bake at least once a week. I started baking when I was six or seven years old because my mom always baked so I enjoyed helping her,” she says. Kelos hopes to eventually put her passion for baking to a good cause. “I usually give all of my baking to friends. I want to start maybe bringing it to the shelter house though because that would be really nice of me.” Kelos may not know exactly where life will take her, but the 20-year old seems to have found her two biggest passions in life, and embraces the idea of pursuing a career based on the things she loves the most. “I just want to graduate, get a job, and become successful by doing something that I love do to.”



Health versus hype: the juicy story b By Jodi Negin-Ulster There is an unspoken rule of topics to be avoided at social gatherings: the legalization of marijuana, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and juicing. There is no more controversial subject today - besides, maybe, Rob Ford. “I think the juicing trend brings out two extreme opinions,” Christine Tardif, a foods and nutrition masters candidate at Brescia University College, said. “Either you are very pro and would recommend that everyone eat this way, or you are very anti and think this diet will be the death of society.” Exactly what it sounds like, juicing is the newest diet of choice, which consists of extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables. Juicing can either be used as a supplement for a single meal, or all three meals during the day. Like its many predecessors, Atkins, South Beach, and even Cookies, millions of people are jumping on this trend in an effort to get healthier and live longer. Everyone from celebrities to twenty-somethings are eagerly adapting this new health craze. But does juicing really hold true to all its health claims? Or is it just another hyped-up diet trend? For people whose intake of fruits and vegetables is low, juicing provides a valued nutritional benefit. “A person should include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables in his/her diet each day,” said renowned Toronto dietitian, Nicole Shuckket. Juicing allows individuals to get their daily intake; however, it elimi-

nates a lot of the fibre typically found in whole fruits and vegetables. “Most people don’t eat enough fibre to begin with,” said Tardif. “I would not recommend juicing and instead would recommend eating a variety of whole fruits and vegetables.” Besides its recent emergence into the mainstream market, Hollywood royalty has heavily endorsed juicing for some time. Celebrities from Nicole Ritchie to Ryan Seacrest and Gwyneth Paltrow have praised green juices for their weight loss benefits. “People are looking for the quick fix to lose some weight, but once they resume their old eating habits, the weight will creep back on,” said Shuckket. “I really feel it is just another fad diet.” Compared to the glamorization

by Hollywood elite, Lindsay Cohen, a twenty-something University of Guelph student acknowledges now, “Society and the media have idealized the ‘perfect body’ — so, if someone tells a vulnerable young girl that drinking juice will make her lose weight and look better, of course she is going to do it.” Cohen has had personal experience with friends’ going to the extremes with dieting. So what about the claims that juicing is healthy for ‘cleansing’ the body after a wild weekend of partying, or binge eating pizza and ice cream after that horrible break-up? Tardif, once again, discouraged it. “We need all kinds of different bacteria and cells working to help us digest and absorb nutrients,” she said. “Cleanses are made to wipe out all the clutter and give us the ability to start anew…but if we continually eliminate



behind the freshly-squeezed diet fad

the clutter, we inadvertently eliminate our body’s ability to regulate itself.” While skeptics of this controversial diet have a stronger foothold in this debate, advocates of juicing say that digesting fruits and vegetables in liquid form allows the body to more easily absorb vitamins and antioxidants. Supporters of juicing also believe that it benefits a much longer time frame than just boosting energy and losing weight – results of its short-term effects. The Mayo Clinic, a not for profit organization involved in the education and clinical research of medical practices, suggests on its website that juicing can be credited with alleviating skin diseases, cancers, and immune disorders. It is important to realize that the juicing diet is not as simple as it seems. Juicing and juice cleanses can

be very expensive. Juicing machines can cost upwards of $300 and one cup of juice can require about 15 lbs. of fruits and vegetables. An alternative to juicing and perhaps a less controversial diet substitute is smoothies. Adored by Hollywood socialites, but also preferred by many respected dietitians and nutritionists, smoothies may contain yogurt or milk – “good sources of protein and calcium that the body needs,” said Shuckket. Juice fanatics, and juice skeptics may disagree with the health claims provided by juicing; however, the juicing trend follows the same evolution and controversy previously upheld by other fad diets. Atkins, South Beach, and the Cookie diet all offered pros and cons on their benefits, demonstrated results, and caused a great deal of debate amongst nutri-

tionists, celebrities, and non-celebrities alike. In the end, these extremist diets were all just major fads. Will juicing be just another fad diet added to that list? Only time will tell. But with summer fast approaching, many twenty-somethings are trying to get swimsuit ready and the spring months are when people begin adapting different diet trends. For those who find juicing appealing, Shuckket recommended fruits and vegetables that are “bright and dark.” “Bright and dark fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and full of vitamins and minerals,” Shuckket said. When asked for suggestions for the best types of fruits and vegetables to include when juicing or smoothie-ing, Shuckket mentioned that, “Berries, spinach, carrots, kale and oranges – would all be great.” The controversy surrounding juicing continues, and it seems like it will be a debate left unsettled. Advocates and skeptics vary in their opinions and the issue of health versus hype remains in question. While this may be just another fad diet, it is most certainly a diet that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Tardif hopes that it does not last and said “like any diet, it can be dangerous if used incorrectly.” She strongly suggested that regardless of one’s stance on the diet trend, “it is important to help people think logically about what they are doing!” And just like debating politics or religion at a party never ends well, juicing can now be added to that list – only this time you may shed a few pounds in the process.



Yoga leads to peace of mind By Alanna Howe Her muscles are tensed, the sweat pouring down her pale white skin. Her feet are rooted deeply into her yoga mat; her eyes are focused intently on her reflection in the mirror. She places all of her intention on her breath as she gently closes her eyes. The clutter of her mind slowly slips away, giving each thought a chance to resonate and then she allows them to drift away. Her mind begins to truly focus only on her body; this practice brings her to a place of calmness. Chantal Chevarie, a second-year Animal Biology student at the University of Guelph, has struggled with anxiety for over a year now. She feels her commitment to practising yoga has drastically improved her mental health and allows her to cope with her anxiety. “As soon as I step into the room I feel like I’m home, my anxiety becomes nothing more than a dull noise in the background and for that hour I truly get to relax,” said Chevarie. Chevarie explains how her anxiety isn’t always a constant issue, and how stressful events tend to heighten it. She never used to feel as intensely as it has been over the past couple of months. School has become a source of anxiety for her, as she has been placed on academic probation twice now. Her father was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, causing her to constantly battle with her anxiety more than ever before. The worry in her face was evident as she said, “It comes in waves, but certain events can really trigger it. My fears about

my dad’s health have really been a huge struggle for me lately.” Chevarie has tried psychotherapy before and found it to be ineffective. As someone who is hesitant to take prescription medication everyday, yoga helps to ease some of her symptoms, she says. The American Yoga Association reports that yoga is said to have originated around 5,000 BC in India. The word yoga means to join together; this is where the importance of

“Teaching yoga is not just a passion for me, it has become more than that. I love knowing that I’m helping people transform their bodies and in the process exploring their spirituality.” — Yvonne Osondu, co-owner of Vidya yoga studio bringing the body and mind together comes from. By placing intent on the fusion of mind and body, yogis can regulate their stress response systems. This decreases physiological arousal and allows a person not only to cope with stress better but also improves their overall mental state. Yoga often triggers a spiritual transformation, along with this comes enormous benefits not only for one’s physical health but more importantly mental health. The American Yoga

Association explains how by stretching the muscles yoga releases built-up tension, which relaxes not only your body but also your mind. As Chevarie described it, yoga becomes a release for not only the pains in your body but also the stresses of your mind. “For me it is important to take the sense of calmness you gain from practice into your everyday life; I think this is key to managing my anxiety.” The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that approximately 20 percent of Canadians will experience a mental health illness at some point in their life, and approximately five percent of the population suffers from an anxiety disorder. A study found in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Medicine by Kerena Eckert et al, looked at 131 subjects from South Australia with moderate levels of stress and anxiety in their lives. The study had them participate either in 10 weekly sessions of one-hour relaxation or yoga. The findings indicated that after 10 weeks anxiety levels had been reduced and overall quality of life scores had gone up for both groups. Earlier signs of improvement, however, had been found in the yoga group. This demonstrates that the mental rewards from yoga do not take long to appear. Yoga can be positive for a person’s overall lifestyle. Eckert found that after the study was completed 20 per cent of the subjects reported making changes with their diet and finding more time for the things they enjoyed doing. An additional 41 per


cent felt their sleep had improved. Yvonne Osondu co-owns Vidya, a yoga studio in downtown Toronto and has been teaching yoga for eight years. She is a firm believer in practicing yoga for the maintenance of physical and mental health. “Teaching yoga is not just a passion for me, it has become more than that. I love knowing that I’m helping people transform their bodies and in the process exploring their spirituality.” Time Magazine conducted an analysis of studies done on yoga and its abilities to reduce symptoms of psychiatric disorders. The analysis revealed that yoga does have effects on the body similar to those from antidepressants and psychotherapy.


Yoga affects different chemicals in the brain, such as increasing levels of serotonin and reducing oxidative stress. Of course, there are skeptics of the miracles that yoga can reportedly do for you. Many studies have found that yoga can do more harm to one’s body than good. Physically speaking, improper practice of yoga often results in serious injuries. These types of physical injuries are preventable; however, experts warn against people believing yoga can fix all their health concerns. A study conducted by Serena Gordon for Health Day on WebMD found that many experts say yoga should be used in combination with other forms of therapy and not as a replacement entirely. If you have anxi-

ety you should still take your anxiety medication in combination with practicing yoga and not replacing medication with yoga. Despite what the skeptics have to say, the pros of yoga seem to truly outweigh the cons. Yoga, when practiced safely and correctly can improve fitness, reduce stress, release muscle tension, and aid in reducing symptoms of mental illnesses. “I know some people think my firm belief in practicing yoga to cope with my anxiety might be silly, but I don’t think everyone can really understand how difficult it can be to cope with a mental illness. If you find something that works for you in more than one way, then why wouldn’t you stick with it?”



Western gives Habitat for By Adam Bornstein Wiping the sweat off of my forehead, I can’t help but acknowledge how surreal it is to be spending my reading week in 30-degree weather. Even more unbelievable is that I am standing in the middle of the first Mardi Gras parade to pour down Bourbon Street this year. Taking in the lavish and vibrant sites and sounds of the city of New Orleans, it is tough to remember that the city was decimated by Hurricane Katrina merely eight years ago. As I make my way through the packed and intoxicated crowd I pass by the source of the invigorating jazz music that has been filling the air. I stop for a second to listen to the street performer while I adjust the ever-increasing amount of the beads hanging from my neck. The way the syrupy notes and melodies pierced through the street noise – like a delicate sowing needle through a thin sheet – leave me speechless. I can’t believe that such a withered and damaged looking man could play a trumpet with such profound ease and finesse. But what was even more unbelievable was that I would spend the rest of my week helping to build this man’s house. New Orleans, Louisiana, or ‘NOLA’ as I came to refer to it as, is a brilliant city full of culture and cuisine that I was thrilled to experience. While the true purpose of the trip was philanthropy, getting to participate in Mardi Gras wasn’t a bad addition to the bucket list either. But the true opportunity that attracted me and my fellow peers on this incredible journey was to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. After leading a Habitat for Humanity trip to Winnipeg last year I had no questions as to how I wanted to spend the reading week of my fourth and final year at Western U: leading another Habitat trip. This time I was clever enough to pick a warmer destination. Gathering at the Natural Science building in the early morning hours of

the first Saturday of our reading week, 26 brave souls from Western’s Habitat Club set off on a 27 hour bus ride south; leaving the below zero temperatures happily in our dust. The trip, while extremely grueling at times, gave us all a great chance to get to know each other and spend some time learning about where we were going and what we would be getting up to. While the vacancy rate in London, Ontario is almost as high as 30 percent; poverty in less fortunate areas leaves millions without hospitable or affordable housing conditions. This ravaging social issue is exactly what Habitat for Humanity founder, Millard Fuller, wanted to address when he established this international non-profit organization. Contrary to popular belief, Habi-

tat is not about giving away free homes or handouts. In fact, their actual slogan is, “A hand up,” – not a hand out. Habitat is dedicated to offering new or newly renovated housing with no-interest mortgages to hard working citizens that are down on their luck and are subsequently toeing the poverty line. The selection process is fair, yet firm. Applicants must meet all of the financial, background, and character checks in addition to putting in 500 manhours on the job site. While their mortgage payments will be used to help fund the next project, the ‘sweat equity’ that they are required to contribute beforehand helps keep them to stay committed and motivated to following through with the rigorous application process. It is also what makes volunteering with Habitat



Humanity a helping hand

unlike any other experience – you get to actually work side-by-side with the person whose house you’re building. So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when Joseph Curtis, the trumpeting street performer, rolled up to the job site on our second day of work. He was just as shocked too, but for different reasons. “Haha, well I’ll be damned. They really lettin’ y’all kids near da power tools?” he exclaimed upon seeing our large group milling about his future property with both the pace and persistence of a thousand ants working on a new colony. “It makes my heart swell to know there exists such kind souls like you willing to come help lil’ old me,” he said with the genuine drawl and candor of a true southern gentleman.

While he only recognized a few of us from earlier that week on Bourbon Street, we all got to hear his story. He talked about how he loves to spend his free time busking, playing the blues, and how much this new home is going to mean to him and his family. Unfortunately, they have been barely scraping by since his house was foreclosed during the 2008 recession. He told us that despite the annual hurricanes, he would never leave New Orleans because the city had his heart. That heart came through to us, and is tangibly evident in the people of the city, state, and Habitat organization in general. After Katrina destroyed the entire region, the only houses that were left standing were built by Habitat for Humanity. That fact has much to do with the love and care that Habitat homes are made with. While an average contractor would build a house according to standard code, using the required ten nails to secure a frame, a Habitat house would have 100 nails per frame because every volunteer wants the chance to drive their own personal contribution home. That is also yet another exceptional instance of how all-encompassing the Habitat experience is. The site managers do a fantastic job of integrating volunteers of all skill levels into participating with the process. Even the skinny-armed female first-years, who had never held a hammer before in their lives, were able to get out of their comfort zones and contribute to construction. We ended up spending most of our time installing siding and landscaping; however, despite planning our trip months in advance we were unable to know what tasks we would be challenged with until we arrived at the job site. The house could be in any phase of construction and it is up to the site manager to assign the daily jobs. Habitat generally provides the site manager positions to people that need help getting back on their feet and

are maybe even already living in their own Habitat house. However, most of their workers are volunteers or retirees like Robert Thompson – who was in charge of our work site. Thompson, or Big Bob as his underlings like to call him, has been volunteering his time with Habitat since its inception in 1976. “I was back in San Antonio then, just trying to keep out of trouble,” he recalls, “and heard about it from my brother who was applying for a home at the time.” Now, living in NOLA, Big Bob remains dedicated to Habitat even at the ripe old age of 78. “You gotta admit I’m damn spry for my age – I could still whoop all your asses,” he jokes, “but now I do it cause I love the volunteers. Y’all remind me of my grandkids with your shiny young faces.” It was that kind of warm sentiment that bonded our group together over the course of the week. Getting to meet and learn about so many amazing people through a variety of rare and life changing opportunities was extremely special; I would recommend the trip to anyone. That being said, it’s not exactly like we were saints on our mission trip, although everyone down there is a fan of Drew Brees and his Saints. Sure, we spent our days holding hammers instead of getting hammered on a beach for spring break, but the construction work experience was equally balanced with fun, tourist type outings. We got the chance to take in an NCAA basketball game at LSU, see live alligators in the wild on a swamp tour, and we even saw Nicolas Cage’s obnoxiously sized future tomb on a cemetery tour. The memories and pictures we made will surely last a lifetime, or at least as long as the house we worked on will. So the next time your friends suggest an idea for reading week, remember how lucky you are to have even one in the first place, and maybe put off plans to hand out drinks but instead offer a hand up.



The construction of musi

By Aidan Murphy

Music has been a sign of culture dating back as far as “civilized” man. Today, there is music all around us. From the radio stations we listen to, to the television shows we watch, to the shopping malls we inhabit, music has become a constant stimulant. But because of this constancy, the many steps of making a song go unnoticed. Mike Sloane, local musician, has spent the year performing with his band Some Men, while also focussing on his solo project Mountain Gator. Sloane is a talented lyricist and guitarist, and believes music to be a medium of art that

“You never really know where you’re going to find your inspiration.”

— Mike Sloane, local musician, poet and Western University Ph.D. student captures raw emotion in an aesthetically pleasing and sometimes challenging form. Sloane is also a local London poet and Ph.D. student at Western University for English literature, and has been writing poetry and lyrics for upwards of 15 years. So where does a song begin? Sloane relies on free association, self-reflection, and a mix of observation and imagination to inspire his writing. Sloane believes that a song should capture the sincerity and spontaneity of a moment or feeling. “You don’t have

to wear your heart on your sleeve,” he says, “but what comes naturally to me are all of these free associations to things around me.” These inspirations are turned into lyrics that are then intertwined in layers of instrumental accompaniment to create the song. When discussing the chronology of lyrics and musical accompaniment, the question is something of a chicken or egg complex. This is because every individual has his or her own method and style of composing a song. “In terms of lyrical composition and construction, I’m all for taking a concept and then trying different ways of going about it,” Sloane says. He also makes a point to state the importance of indulging in other means of self-expression. “You never really know where you’re going to find your inspiration.” After an artist has worked through all the kinks of writing their songs and is happy with the way each song sounds, it is time to record. Local musician, Jonathan Sookram, a multi-instrumentalist and producer currently working on the final touches of his first full length album, explains the many steps a song takes from the recording of it to the final product. Perhaps the most essential piece of equipment for recording any audio file is a music production program. Some common names on the market being Pro Tools, Cubase, Ableton, and Logic (for Apple). At the end of the day, the program you choose is based primarily on preference. Now an avid user of Logic Pro X, Sookram began his path toward becoming a sound technician in high-school when introduced to Cubase 4. “I guess you couldn’t really even say I was recording music back then. It was more like sculpting beats,” he laughs. Any professional program works

similar to the others. They each interpret the sound signals sent to it via the interface box (discussed below), and can alter the sound of these signals using sound samples known as patches and preamps. Sookram further explains the necessary tools needed for recording. Assuming that one already has the cables, amplifiers, and instruments necessary for performing each song, they will also need a condenser microphone for vocals, one or more dynamic microphones (the most popular in the industry being the Shure 57) for instrument recordings, and an interface box to transfer the sound waves created into signals for the production program to interpret. Once all of the raw material is recorded, a sound technician works through the layers of the song ensuring that each sound fits exactly how it



ic: from mind to machine

should within the context of the other instrument. Sookram explains that creating his album has been a healthy balance of work and play. “The trickiest part of it all is finding a space where each sound can live, without getting in the way of another sound. Do this a thousand more times, and that’s pretty much mixing” he says. Mixing is the process of balancing each layer of music within itself to achieve the sound the artist is striving for. This is done by manipulating the raw tracks recorded. Sookram explains that there are a number of ways of doing this. The first method is setting the volume of each track by altering the overall track volume, or by automating the volume to crescendo and decrescendo (rise and fall) throughout the song. Sookram explains that the first

is used to set the overall volume of the initial tracks to ensure that the song doesn’t clip. Clipping is unwanted distortion from a track that is too loud for the dynamic range of the program. The latter is more time consuming, but is necessary to achieving a professional sound. Once the producer has found a good dynamic range for the song, they rely on the use of an equalizer to define the quality of the sound. The equalizer determines the intensity of frequencies heard, so as to accentuate the highs, mids, and lows of each track. Once the track’s sound has been polished, the sound technician uses panning to place the sound. To pan a track means to move the origin of each sound left or right between speakers. This helps create depth within the project. Using this on equalized tracks allows each recorded layer to find its own place within

the spectrum of sound. Once a project has been equalized and balanced the sound technician must master the final project. Sookram explains, “mastering is just like mixing, only mastering polishes the project as a whole unit, whereas mixing is the breaking down and reconstruction of each layer of sound.” In the process of mastering, the artist determines an overall volume and fixes any final touches necessary for the song as a whole. In this process, the artist compares the project to other songs that have already been produced. This allows them to determine a constant volume across the record. “After I had mixed a couple songs, I started wondering how they would flow into one another,” Sookram says. “I think it’s important that each song knows its neighbour.” Being an English student, Sloane is an enthusiast of narrative. With this in mind he explains that determining the sequence of songs on the album is important for understanding the narrative the album tells. This is to say that the proper organization of songs enhances the overall atmosphere that the artist is trying to convey. While a minor detail, this is something the artist must be mindful of. After the completion of these steps, the sound technician transfers the project from the program to an audio file that can be played on iTunes, or any other music player. These files are easily transferable onto a CD if desired. “The world is digital now,” Sookram states, “you can sell your stuff on the interweb, which is crazy!” While technology is ever advancing, perhaps it is art that keeps us human.