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Vol LXIII Issue 12

Tuesday March 23, 2010

What's Inside Since 1947

Presidential Showdown Credit Card Debt Page 5

What do your candidates have to Say?

Poetry is Fun Page 7

Justin Rodrigues

feat. Kristian Mandarano

Fiume hates Kids? Page 8

Dammit Yankees! Page 11

Hello Everyone! My name is Justin Rodrigues and I am running for President of SMCSU for the 2010/2011 school year. SMCSU is desperate for a change in culture and Kristian and I want to start the process by hitting the ground running. President's and vice-presidents in the past have told myself and Francesca that you don't really know what you're doing until the year's done and by then its hard to accomplish all the goals you set for yourself and your council. I don't want to fall prey to that; thanks to my experience this year, I can come into the role of president with the experience needed to know what to do right from the beginning of SMCSU’S next term. there will be no learning curve for myself, and Kristian has such an intimate knowledge of all the commissions, and commands such a great deal of respect already, that as a team we can ensure that the council works more efficiently, diligently, and with more professionalism than has been seen in the last few years. With that being said, one of biggest problems that exist out there is that SMCSU’s fabulous performance does not match our public perception here on campus. Next year we want to

elevate our performance, but also have our public image match its high standard. SMCSU at times has been defined as a group of individuals who are cliquey, power tripping and feel they are better then others. This identity association needs to come to an end. SMCSU members need to re-connect with their roots and remember what we are here to do: Serve the students! Kristian and I want to implement this change in culture beginning with the assertion of a renovation to the office to create a more professional space which will hopefully reflect a new professional attitude on our members. With a fairly new and young council comprising SMCSU this upcoming year, we will implement best practices and equity training to ensure the 2010-2011 council operates efficiently, professionally and appropriately. Some of our other platforms include: Transparent Council - Our monthly meetings will be advertised and postered so everyone feels welcome to sit in on them. If anyone has a concern, issue, question or point they want to raise at a meeting,they can feel comfortable to drop by and express their thoughts.

(con't on pg. 5 Rodrigues..)

Deryn Robson

feat. Adriano Marchese 1. Leadership We have started to recognize how powerful our voice is on this campus, we need leaders who will continue to assert this voice and push for SMC interests. This year Deryn Robson brokered a deal that ensured SMC received 60% percent of the revenue when collaborating parties (other Colleges received 20%). 2. Access SMCSU needs to shift towards a more participatory government that is accessible and inclusive to non-elected members. This year Deryn Robson effectively used a committee that utilized non-elected members of SMC to plan the Renaissance Formal. We will ensure that similar committee systems will be used for all commissions to ensure your participation in decision making. 3. Community Spirit We will raise clubs funding. We will keep frosh spirit going year long , and increase spectatorship at intramurals. We will publish an events calendar on the website that shows upcoming SMCSU and SMC student club events. 4. Accountability-We have proposed and pushed for an AGM this year where, SMCSU would

report directly to our constituents once before each semester. -This will be your opportunity to show exactly where you want to take this student council and college. -We will keep UTSU more accountable to SMC students and their levy. 5. Transparency -You are all members of our Union, we will strive to make our meetings open and better advertised to ensure your attendance and participation. -We will have The Mike at all meetings to ensure a properly functioning democracy. -We will encourage student papers to give alternate views. - We will ensure that the minutes and budget are available to all students from start of the year, posted promptly, consistently and accurately. 6. Professionalism Financial reforms -There have been cases of money missing over the years. Adriano Marchese knows exactly what reforms are required to keep your levies safe and to ensure fiscal responsibility for the future. Such as changing the combination on our safes, and switching to a drop off safe so that fewer people have access to the contents. He even

(con't on pg. 5 Marchese..)


2 THE MIKE

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Letter from Editor

Message from SMCSU

THE MIKE 3

the.mike@utoronto.ca

News

The News In Brief Canada VALEMOUNT- A third fatal avalanche has taken more lives in British Columbia. This most recent incident killed two skiers at Wells Gray National Park. The three British Columbian avalanches have claimed a total of five lives this week.

Graduation? Huh?

Look how excited I am! I am intensity personified!

Change at The Mike

After the failed run for UTSU by the orange-clad members of the Change campaign, it may seem to some that change is dead. But change is happening, albeit in a far more literal sense, here at The Mike. One only has to look at the new type-set and layout to see that. Yes, change apparently means we now look more like a real newspaper. But more importantly, change also means the author behind this Letter from the Editor has changed. No longer will these letters be typed by the delicate and feminine hands of Victoria Asikis, but by my hands, which in all honesty are only slightly more masculine, and are still manicured. I owe a lot to Victoria, and I hope that if I cannot build on what she has done this year, I can at least match her level of dedication and competence. What else does change mean? It means a change in direction. The Mike has been excellent this past year, but I’ve always felt that we never specified what exactly we were trying to do. We may be a

student newspaper, but what does that mean to the average student at SMC? I will try to bring the focus back to students. In this coming year expect more of a focus on happenings here at the UofT, and at St. Mike’s in particular. Not only that, but a strong divide will be made between the (relative) objectivity of The Mike and the opinions of the students, in order to establish The Mike as a (relatively) nonpartisan newspaper. Note: I have inserted these relative terms, because as most people will tell you, there is no way to establish true objectivity. That won’t stop us from trying, though. Some change should have happened a long time ago. Frankly we have been in the age of the internet and digital photography long enough that The Mike should have been on board long ago. We will get a real website up and running, and get more photographers out to events to capture you, the students we serve, in action. Despite all these promises,

I remain hesitant to sound so optimistic. By publishing these goals in print, I have set the bar for myself and the staff of The Mike very high. However to reach this level, we at The Mike need your help. Frankly, none of these promises will come to full fruition without some involvement on the part of students here at SMC and on the UofT campus. If what I have said in this letter appeals to you, if you have dreams of working in the field of journalism, or if you are interested in learning about writing, photography or newspaper layout, I encourage you to send me a quick email at the.mike@utoronto.ca. I look forward to working on establishing The Mike’s place here at UofT as a campus paper with a high level of quality and integrity, with the occasional glimmer of the fun and irrelevance that have made us (in)famous in the past. I hope you all of you that share this vision contribute, or at the very least keep reading. Sincerely, Daniel Seljak

THEMIKE

It blows my mind. I think I can speak for most graduating SMC students when I say where the heck did four (or five) years go? Do not worry. I will not risk sounding like the cliché Vitamin C song (although I love it and it always makes me want to cry) and go into too much detail about how it feels like yesterday I was a frosh…but it does. I did not think anything could beat high school…until I came here. Although U of T kills you hard every single day, being a part of St. Mike’s made my university experience. I realize that often I sound like an SMC recruiting pamphlet, but it is only because I love it so much. I ca not believe now that I have to leave. Walking onto the SMC campus felt like coming home. The community is so wonderful and there is always a friendly face around to chat with. But what probably influenced what I take the most from university is my time on SMCSU. First year, I tried out the ropes, joining a bunch of intramurals and clubs. Second, third, and fourth year were all devoted to SMCSU. By serving the SMC students, I myself had fun. I just wanted everyone to have as good of a time as I have had. I have summed up some lessons that I have learned in my four years as an undergrad; lessons you learn outside the classroom: 1) Although you will waste hours and sometimes entire weeks in Brennan Hall, it is here that you will have the most laughs and make the best friends.

writers

Editor-in-chief Dan Seljak

buisness manager james jee

Opinions editor Sarah jane vassallo

Editor-at-Large Alex Greco

arts editor Cassandra sottile

sports editor Sasha kalra

PRODUCTION MANAGER Blair macdonald

news editor Rachel Venturo

Copy editors sal rawdat sarah-jane vassallo laura sabatini melinda michael joseph uranowski

francesca imbrogno

andy pignataro fred caprara Cassandra sottile Victoria asikis Sasha Kalra Amanda Fiume Melissa tarsitano

2) Kelly 2nd Floor (a.k.a. the Brennan of St. Joseph’s St.) will never be completely quiet. Expect it. Embrace it. 3) An all-nighter of partying on a Thursday is definitely worth the 2-3 all-nighters of studying you will have to do to make up for it. 4) Do all your papers on cold days. Because once the sunshine comes out, you will not want to leave the quad. 5) The best way to meet people is to get involved. I will always say SMCSU is a group of people who for the most part would never have been friends or even have met. Here is where I have found some of my best. I personally am really not looking forward to living in a world that cannot give me a Hoikity Choik on C, but it is something we have all got to face. Although I would love to pull a Van Wilder and stay here for another couple of years, my time is up, no matter how morbid that is to say. So thank you all for making my time here so memorable. To my best friends for putting up with me “pencilling” them in between meetings and events, I love you more than words. SMC holds some of the greatest people and I cannot wait to see what they will bring to the world. And yes, Green Day, I did have the time of my life. Peace and Love for the final time, Francesca Imbrogno SMCSU President 09-10

contact information the.mike@utoronto.ca 416-926-7272 81 st. mary st. toronto on m5s 1j4 looking to contribute? drop us a line interested in advertising? Buisness.themike@Gmail.com

Community-building Initiatives an Opportunity for Students Ahmad Hathout Writer

During the Reading Week of February 16-19, while many students on the University of Toronto campus vowed to actually do what the week intended, a brigade of 200 students trekked to North Etobicoke to participate in the Centre for Community Partnership’s annual Alternate Reading Week Days of Service. The week is intended to be a volunteer opportunity for students seeking to build communities across Toronto. This particular week saw the group work with the Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF) in the disadvantaged Westmount Community in the city of York. The ability of the CCP and the LEF to branch out to struggling communities is nothing short of astounding, especially considering where the CCP has come from. “The CCP started as an initiative by the University (of Toronto) as a result of a task force created in 2004” says Karen McCrank, co-curricular community service coordinator at the CCP. “Task forces were put together to help combat some of the problems in the community”. It eventually spawned the CCP. The group was able to reach out to clubs and departments to get interested students to join. The three day volunteer program started with students being introduced to the LEF site via tour on the first day to acquaint themselves with their environment. After the tour, students were treated to lunch from the staff chefs and then were encouraged to participate in a hard hat-decorating competition wherein students designed old hard hats with a concoction of random materials that were later voted on via Facebook. Students were also given program schedules for events

that they previously signed up for. Among the many community-building events was a sustainability program where students were encouraged to brainstorm ideas for the financial sustainability of the LEF. The LEF will use the lists towards promoting more fiscally-responsible attitudes on expenditures for their many programs and activities that helps their students and workers. Other activities also focused on building bridges to troubled communities across Toronto. The LEF organized chartered bus routes to different troubled communities and schools around Toronto for students to interact with other younger students. Volunteers were expected to participate in four activities throughout the three day program, with two programs on each of the last two days. Such activities included Winter Olympics activities with preschoolers and sports activities with school agers, reading buddies, and a talent show. Many communities were centered on the Finch area. Outside of activities, the LEF served as a venue for community gathering. Throughout the week, the LEF arranged gatherings in its lounge room where students came together to eat and socialize during downtime. Free lunches were served by staff chefs who were once struggling to cope with rough economic times but where given the opportunity to learn and work under the guidance of the LEF. “The fact that they (the LEF staff) are doing it (work) for other people and not necessarily for the money is nice”, says Julie, a fourth year Life Sciences student and team leader at the event. “They are not trying to be the CEO’s of a big organization; they are doing it (helping) on a small scale”. The student-LEF partnership was summed up by the building of

a 15, 000-square-foot town square. The town square, which was built with the help of the students, will house a large cafeteria, a stage for performances and a child’s play area. The demolition of walls and the noisy clamouring of hammers and nail guns resonated throughout the community; an opportunity for community development was knocking, and it was loud. After the walls were cleared, a party was held and hosted by the LEF to thank the volunteers and the CCP. Commenting on the cooperative experience between the LEF, CCP, and UofT students, Peter Frampton, LEF executive director says: “Working with the UofT is like drinking through a fire hose, but it’s like drinking good wine through a fire hose”, alluding to the long needs of the community and the wide and vast resources of the UofT. McCrank hints at opportunities for students to volunteer for similar activities outside of reading week. “If you are wanting to do one day of service or a whole program, we can help with training, resources, and planning guides”, she says. “Most of the programming we do is longer term, like volunteer placements”. “What we’re (CCP) really about is providing meaningful opportunities for students to step outside of their comfort zone, work in communities that they might not be familiar with, have a meaningful interaction with someone who they may have not met before. Community service is an amazing way to build leadership skills, communication skills, to learn about issues in your community, and we are really trying to inspire students to be more engaged in their communities”.

WHISTLER- The 2010 Winter Paralympics were officially closed on March 21st by Sir Phillip Craven. The Canadian flag was carried into the closing ceremonies by Lauren Woolsencroft, who won five gold medals. SCARBOROUGH: University of Toronto Scarborough students have voted to assist in financing a high-performance athletic centre that will be used during the 2015 Pan Am Games hosted in Toronto.

World WASHINGTONOn Sunday, March 21st, the House of Representatives passed President Barack Obama’s health care legislation in a vote of 219-212. The bill was already passed in the US Senate in December. President Barack Obama will sign the bill into law after a final reevaluation by the Senate this week. ROME- On Sunday, March 21st Pope Benedict XVI delivered an extensive apology to the Irish Church on behalf of the Vatican

in regards to their failure to investigate allegations of child molestation. The Pope’s words were highly criticized for failing to adequately take responsibility for the child abuse that occurred within the Catholic Church. ICELAND- The Eyjafjallajokull volcano has been dormant since 1821 has forced hundreds of citizens to evacuate because of a recent eruption. Although the eruption was relatively weak, geophysicists fear it could trigger the neighboring Katla volcano to erupt which would result in much greater consequences. KANDAHAR- As a result of growing violence in Southern Afghanistan, the United Nations has been forced to reduce its presence. A great debate surrounds this decision as some individuals criticize the UN’s choice to retreat while others acknowledge that there has may be a severe increase in the number of civilian causalities in this region with new NATO offensive. TIBET- Archeologists have discovered an 4,000 year-old cemetery in the Chinese desert containing the corpses of a longextinct people. Anthropologists found the excavation particularly interesting because most of the coffins that encase the mummies contained unidentifiable phalluses. Seriously. -Rachel Venturo News Editor


4 THE MIKE

NEWS

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Help cure my sister of FOP! Vennesa Herse Writer

Imagine not being able to brush or wash your own hair, not being able to look over your shoulder at something just behind you, not being able to reach the cupboards in your own kitchen. This is just a fraction of what people with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) have to live with every day. FOP is an extremely rare and, as of yet, incurable disease which causes the connective tissues of the body (the muscles, tendons, and ligaments) to turn to bone. Often people who suffer from FOP lose degrees of mobility in their joints until they can no longer move that part of their body. The speed with which this happens varies with each patient, but the disease is an inexorable path to eventual immobility for each person that suffers from it. My name is Vanessa Herce and I’m a third year International Relations student at U of T and my big sister Val suffers from this disease. Val is only 22 and already she has had to completely revise her goals and ambitions in life, aware of the limitations that FOP has placed on her. Whereas once she dreamt of having a big, happy family, now if you ask Val

what she would most like to do, it’s likely she’ll respond that she wishes she could give those she loves a hug. Because of the way that FOP has affected her body, Val can’t curve or lift her arms enough to hug somebody, and to have a conversation with more than one person gets difficult, as she needs to constantly move her entire body in order to keep the people she is speaking to in her field of vision. As I’m sure you can imagine, there are many ways in which the life of somebody who lives with FOP is extremely affected, and much of the battle of living with the disease is trying to find ways to maintain some modicum of independence. Val was diagnosed when she was 15, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to do something – anything – to help her. Unfortunately, it is easy to convince yourself that you are much too busy, or that it wouldn’t make a big difference anyway, and continually procrastinate, or put off what you hope to do. I’ve procrastinated enough, however, and have decided that it’s about time I do something for my sister. Because FOP is so rare, a huge part of the struggle is raising awareness. Because so few people know about FOP, it becomes nearly impossible to raise enough money for adequate research.

I decided that whatever I chose to do for FOP had to accomplish two things: to get a significant amount of people aware of what FOP is and what people who live with it go through, and also to raise money so that the people who have dedicated their lives to finding a cure for FOP can continue their work. And so, I decided that on June 17th, 2010 I will ride my bike from Niagara Falls to Queen’s Park, Toronto to accomplish my goals. I created a group on Facebook, hoping to develop some kind of community in support of my efforts and what my sister goes through. I was blown away as expressions of support came in from every corner. I also created a personal donations page where people can support my bike ride by donating, with all proceeds going directly to the Canadian FOP Network. So, how can you help? Check out the blog I started to document in more detail what I’m doing and why I’m doing it at www. curemysister.blogspot.com. From there you can find links to my Facebook group and personal donations page. Please, invite your friends and donate what you can. For a disease as rare as FOP, every little bit makes the biggest difference. Thank you!

the.mike@utoronto.ca

THE MIKE 5

NEWS

My Big Fat Greek Student's Association Why culture is the true measure of wealth Christos Dodas Writer

As the academic year winds down to an end, I would like to take the time acknowledge an association at U of T that has contributed a great deal to the burgeoning student life on our campus. Holding numerous events throughout the course of the year, they have grown fourfold and continue to aspire to the sense of community that holds our college, and this university together. The Greek Students’ Association (GSA) at U of T is a student run group whose mission is to bring students of Greek descent together as often as possible to celebrate Greek heritage and share in the experience of university life. The GSA acts as a social network by taking part in and organizing many events throughout the year including: academic lectures and dinners, barbecues, pub nights, soccer tournaments and intramurals, movie showings, and of course the famed and extremely successful annual reading week trip to Montreal. Many students at St. Michael’s

College over the past year have become enthusiastic members of this budding Association. To you the GSA owes the utmost thanks and appreciation for your ongoing support and partnership, which has propelled the Association to new and unimagined heights. That being said, the GSA does not cater solely to students of Greek background. In the spirit of philhellenism (an appreciation and friendship for Greek culture), the GSA promotes an open and inclusive doctrine of membership. Students from all corners of the world are encouraged to become members and immerse themselves in famed Greek culture and hospitality to see and experience what it can offer to you. On this basis I implore each and everyone to become involved with the GSA and attend their events. In fact, the GSA is by no means the limit; strive to educate yourself through all the cultural associations at U of T. For the true measure of wealth in this world is that of the culture and understanding of collective humanity. We all attend

a university in the most culturally diverse city in the world, which for anyone who has traveled outside of Canadian borders, understands that this is truly a remarkable accomplishment. Thus we should never take such an opportunity for granted and should take advantage of the possibilities at our doorstep. I challenge every student in the coming year to learn from each other and to explore each piece of the cultural mosaic here at U of T while you still have the opportunity to do so. I know that the GSA will share their piece with open hands. Like a mosaic our community at St. Mike’s is composed of many intricate pieces that play an integral part to completing the overall picture of who we are. The GSA this past year opened my eyes to who I am and who I can be when I meet and work with diverse groups of people. So if you take anything

away from what is written here, remember to at least be involved with your community and to get to know your neighbours. On a final note, elections for the GSA Executive Council 2010/2011 will take place March 30th and 31st. You can vote if you are a member at the GSA office located in the Lillian Massey Building across from

Victoria College or at Sid Smith. For more details on the GSA, a calendar of events and membership information visit their website at, www.gsa.sa.utoronto.ca or join the Facebook group, Greek Students' Association @ UofT. Good luck on exams everyone!

Plastic Imperfect

Stefano Tesoro Writer

Robson and Marchese

Rodrigues and Mandarano

pushed for a money sign out/in system to better track the large amounts of money that come through the office. Deryn saved $6000 to put towards our Formal. We are dedicated to save money and ensure your levies go to good use in all SMCSU In the past year the office has become increasingly more unprofessional and messy. We will keep the office in a balance between an approachable and a professional space. We will find new storage space for SMCSU and clubs 7.Renewal - We will improve commuter spaces, add basic amenities which have been neglected such as a water fountain and microwaves and a better access to internet in student space. -We will push for Chartwells (our contracted food provider) to publish

Sustaining accountability of our council is key! Spreading the Wealth - After reviewing the SMCSU budget, we have discovered multiple ways to save money and spread the wealth across all the council's commissions. With more money to go around, our commissions for example will be able to throw more DSAC events, afford more athletic jerseys and increase funding for student clubs. Modernizing SMCSU without sacrificing SMC’s traditions - Starting a SMCSU Committee on making student politics more inclusive at SMC. This committee will have SMCSU members and members of the SMC community and will focus on making SMCSU and SMC a more inclusive environment. Kristian and I will be the President and

(con't from cover..)

nutritional info to encourage smart food choices. -We will continue to push for an Equity commission which Deryn proposed and supported. - Deryn has worked in coordination with our photographer and webmaster Lenny Poplianski to make sure the SMCSU website is more interactive and well used for double blue events. -This is a year where our website had more traffic than all previous years combined -We will make sure that the website is well used next year to promote events from all commissions and clubs, as well as continue to get your feed back through surveys, and participation through an interactive blog.

(con't from cover..)

VP, but our job is thankless. Were not doing this to gain fame, but rather help provide a solid foundation for our council members to succeed. A true President and Vice-President do not stand in front of their council, they do not take on all the burdens and problems and protect their council from harm, a true President and VP stand behind their council, they let their council encounter problems and defeat their adversities, they will let their council take SMCSU to heights that it has never reached before. A true President and VP stand behind their council and hold them up. If their council gets hit or is unable to overcome their adversity, they will make sure they never fall, never falter, never fail." This is the type of President and Vice President we want to be….

I may not be a math major, nor can I adequately calculate a restaurant tip without turning to an app on my cell phone but when it comes to matters of student debt I know enough to realize that any figure in the red means an extra shift flipping burgers. For most of us unlucky enough to be saddled with a large amount of student debt, I take little solace in the fact that an undergraduate degree should not decrease in value before I am able to pay off the financial debt of a university education. Though I realize that student debt is a fact of university life, what I cannot understand is the voluntary debt students take on by owning a credit card. Though I am not in a position to judge what I cannot help wondering is why students favour paying with a credit card as opposed to cash or debit. Though whipping out one’s credit card may seem glamorous or hassle free, the interest payments alone are enough to make me think about carrying around cash instead of plastic. Though it is not my intention to openly criticize the

credit card companies, they are a billion dollar industry that deliberately goes after college and university students so as to create a customer base that they can feed off of for years to come. The credit card industry, much like big tobacco, knows to get them while they are young so as to create a dependency on their product that cannot be broken. Companies such as Visa and MasterCard know that when you are reaching into your wallet to pay for a round of drinks at the local pub, the first action in mind should be to pull out that credit card while not contemplating the penalties that arise from one late payment. With special offers that promise reward points or bonus miles, how can we refuse a card that charges an exorbitantly high rate of interest? Though a credit card may be the tether between parent and child or the symbol of financial independence, let us not lose sight of the fact that with each card swipe you are indebting yourself to another corporation that will keep you on the hook for as long as they can. No matter how high the interest rate, people are not willing to part with their plastic. For those of us unwillingly to say

no to Visa or MasterCard, what we must do instead is exercise a little common sense the next time we are out spending money that we do not physically have. Try sticking to one card as opposed to a wallet full and make sure that monthly payments are made on time otherwise what can be a low-interest rate can skyrocket to upwards of 21% a month, all because you forgot to pay that one credit card bill that sadly got “lost” in the mail. Although there is a clear downside to using your credit card as a form of payment I would be remiss if I did not say that during certain times it is safer and easier to use one’s plastic as opposed to cash. Though this form of payment may seem convenient, most people forget the amount they’ve spent, having only to rely on purchase receipts to puzzle together the total cost of day’s spending. While we live our lives on borrowed credit we have to understand that when it’s time to settle up the bill it’s better to forgo the things we thought we wanted than to pay for the things we really did not need.

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6 THE MIKE

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Exam Survival Guide For those of you cracking under all the pressure of exams and finals, we here at the Mike have prepared this humble respite from your year-end woes. So sit down, take a break and read through these relaxing articles. We've got a poem, eclectic thoughts from a philosophy major, a de-stress guide, and a review of the best caffeination-stations around campus. Remember, doing poorly at the University of Toronto only means that you've wasted thousands of dollars on admission, and failed both yourself and your family, but at least you aren't at York.

Practical Philosophy with Adam Simonini Part 1

We talk. You tell me a story. You are in your story, but not as 'You'. You are an object in your story: "I did this, and I went there, and I met you". When you tell your story it's about you being out there, in the word, and that's not what I'm interested in. You are right here, for me, right now! I see you, I look into your eyes; I look into you and it's

Coffee Snobs Ahmed: The Oxford dictionary defines pretentious as…actually we will let you judge us yourselves. I’m Ahmed Abdulhussain, a Muslim student at UofT. By definition I have a plethora of restrictions on my dietary intake. I have to look for Halal beef and chicken, I have to make sure the fish is something that I can eat, and I avoid anything that has alcohol in it. This restricts my choices significantly, yet – as all my friends will acknowledge – this does not prevent self-introduced limitations from being introduced. I am already restricted, so why not make sure I only eat and drink the best. This pretentious attitude is especially apparent when I choose my coffee. Dan: Hi, I’m Dan, and I have no excuse; I am just really pretentious.

Ahmed’s Pick - Dark Horse: Ahmed: In my opinion Dark Horse undoubtedly surpasses all of its competition. Dark Horse is inviting and has an incredible ambience. I love the communal table and the area behind the espresso bar. As soon as you walk in you are greeted with the smell of freshly ground beans and brewed coffee. The environment is great, but more importantly the

staff and the coffee itself shine. Dan: I agree with Ahmed on almost all counts. I found, however, that the crowd was very business-like, bordering on yuppie, which put me a little on edge. Our cappuccinos were excellent, however, and of all the places it definitely had the nicest interior. I hate to be redundant, but the communal tables were a huge plus. Ahmed: The cappuccino was my favourite among the four places. It had a wonderful crema (the foam on top) and a smooth body. I disagree with Dan; Dark Horse is comforting and I can find myself studying there or talking to a friend for hours. Easily my choice, but I am biased – I have been going to Dark Horse for months and developed a bit of a soft spot for them. Dan: Again, I am not saying Dark Horse is bad in any regard, it just was not my style. If I ever found myself in the neighborhood it would be my first choice.

Dan’s Pick - Sublime: Dan: Hands down my favourite of the places we visited. Located deep in Kensington Sublime has a bit of a pretentious bohemian vibe, but that is what I love about it.

that - you - that I am interested in. I ask you a question: "How do you feel?" And with that your story instantly folds, collapses, implodes in on itself and gets tossed out of the world and into your world. You reflect on you, your self-hood, your mind, and most importantly your emotions. So, how do you feel? Yes, I noticed that your

story - the one about the word - was saturated with how you feel (in fact it could not be otherwise). But now, now what you tell me is inherently different, it is self-reflective, and it is true in some pure and fundamental way. Now You are talking to me and I am listening.

Dan and Ahmed review the best places for a cuppa joe. All cafes were judged on cappuccinos and atmosphere.

Ahmed: It is one of those places that makes you feel like you belong there from the first time. The owner is friendly and warm. The coffee has a wonderful light aroma. The crema is very creamy and the body of the coffee is excellent. The cappuccino starts off bitter and mellows out quickly. Dan: The blend they use here is called Super Bar Espresso. It is used by the place I worked at back at K-W, and every time I have a coffee here it is like going back home. Not only that but they sell a wide variety of old records and the owner always has an awesome one playing, so it feels like you have stepped into some sort of time portal; a time portal with delicious coffee and jazz music. Ahmed: The atmosphere is ideal for socializing. But, the place is cramped. On the other hand, the staff is limited to the owner and as such you can guarantee that each cappuccino will share a single standard. Sublime came very close to Dark Horse but was outshone by its competitor. Although I say Sublime is second, I would have a cappuccino here regradless. Dan: I disagree with Ahmed again. The coffee at Dark Horse is not quite as good in my opinion,

and I much prefer the ambience of Sublime. I would recommend this place for anyone who sports thick black-rimmed glasses with no lenses or body piercings. Also anyone self-aware enough to recognize they are “alternative” or an “obnoxious hipster” should check it out.

Notable Mentions: The Bean: The Bean is a place that in our opinion has a lot of potential. It is a small, fun place and the coffee is alright. The beans are roasted in house and that is a plus – you get marks for taking the chance and doing it right. Also, the place boasts more food choices than the other, making it a better lunch with coffee spot. If latte art is something that you must have, then you ill find no such thing here. The place is “young” in a sense and we can not wait to see how it turns out in a year or two. Manic: Manic is a place that screams pretentious. In this case it is not something that is a huge plus. Starting with the positive aspects, the latte art is fabulous and consistent. The atmosphere is ideal for studying. That is around the point where we run out of nice things to say. The cappuccino was a little too bitter (Ahmed didn’t

even finish his). The atmosphere invited studying but nothing else. As we talked the other customers seemed disturbed that we would distract them from their work. Furthermore, the cappuccino is more expensive than both Sublime and The Bean, but it is not as good. Don’t get us wrong, Manic has excellent brewed coffee but in terms of a cappuccino and a nice place to chat, we were pretty disappointed. While Dan supported Sublime and Ahmed supported Dark Horse, given the chance, we would drink at either one. It may make us pretentious, and it definitely makes us coffee snobs, but we would not drink a poor cup of coffee, even if we paid for it. Considering three out of these four places passed the test you should definitely check them out. Not only that but all four cappuccinos that were compared were around three dollars each, so they are a better deal than most chains. Finally, when drinking coffee remember Ahmed’s first postulate: the second cup is always better than the first. Ahmed Abdulhussain & Dan Seljak

THE MIKE 7

the.mike@utoronto.ca

Exam Survival: Take Care of Yourself and Study Effectively

Sarah Gagliano Writer The countdown to final exams has begun! Here is what you need to know to make it through this stressful time both physically and academically. Physical Health One cannot sacrifice physical health for academics. Do not neglect yourself! Think about it this way: if you do not take care of yourself, then who will? Pay attention to the following tips as we slowly but surely approach the end of the winter term. (1) Eat healthy! You need your brain food. (2) Exercise! Stretch those stationary legs and go for a walk. In addition, ensure that you take breaks when working in front of the computer for long periods of time. (3) Sleep! You will not absorb much information if you are sleep deprived. The preceding three points probably seem like common sense, and they should.

However, in times of stress, it is easy to forget these basic rules. Taking into consideration that the student stress level is generally high during the last couple of weeks before exams, this section definitely has an important place in this article even though it is shorter than the second section. This second section, which is on academic preparation, can involve a more strategic approach. Academic Preparation Even if you take care of yourself physically, you still need to study in order to be rewarded with the satisfaction of getting good grades. We all know how to study, but are we studying effectively? The following is a compilation of a series of tips that you may find useful. Section (a) deals with general academic preparation, while section (b) focuses on the studying process itself. (a) When exam time is just around the corner: (1) Set priorities! Which exams are worth the most? Which exams do you

Gordon Bennett

A short stress induced poem by Nickolai Arto

The page is blank and I cannot think, My mouth is begging the mind to drink, What to write when the agony of emptiness, Does naught more but fill me with haziness? Procrastination creeping up my veins, A plague amongst the students’ brains, Driving us all quickly into hysterics, May it be arts, engineering,literature, perhaps physics? Countless chapters to divide and kill, Yet they are facing me like a countless army, Solid and somber batallions with much skill, How to break through without going balmy? Every page is a labyrinth of words that confuse, Gordon Benett, they smile at me, bastards, bemused. By now inanimate objects on my desk are so intriguing, I glare at them for hours, ha ha, the cup of sanity brimming! Finding oneself at the bottom of a bottle keeps all at bay, The tick tock demon is dancing and prancing away, It is all so convenient for tomorrow is exam day, Gordon Benett, St.Patrick, darling, the bottle...if I may? Suddenly I recall "Molon Labe" was what Leonidas said, Facing a force that we all, metaphorically, dread. Shall all of us in moments of despair curl up and die? Oh no... my friends, stand firm, Godspeed...and fly.

have first? Answering these questions will help you figure out when and for how long you should study for a particular subject. However, this category also involves prioritizing school over social life. During exam time it is essential that you find an appropriate balance between studying and social time. (2) Study ahead of time! Not many people are good at cramming. Cramming only deposits information into your shortterm memory. (3) Go to the Academic Success Dropin Centre in the Koffler Student Services Centre for advice. Check out http://www. asc.utoronto.ca/Drop-in-Centre.htm for hours. (b) The following is a list of suggested actions to take while studying: (1) Take breaks! A common rule is to study for twenty-five minutes, take a five minute break, study for another twenty-five minutes, take another five minute break, and the cycle continues. Several hours later, take longer breaks. For example, go eat lunch with a few friends for an hour or so before hitting the books again.

Practical Philosophy Part 2 Don't be a romantic. Don't love to love or love to be free, because you will be determined, freely and by your own choosing. Choose not to be limited by hope, by expectations, by aspirations or the like. Desire desires, not their ideals; ideals lead to pain, loneliness, shock, discouragement and hopelessness. Love, hope, expectations and aspirations chain you, they bind you and limit you and hold you captive to yourself (i.e., to your conceptions of this things, or rather, your ideals of them).

(2) Anticipate plausible exam questions. Basically, think of potential questions and answer them. Brainstorming questions with a group of fellow students may be useful. If you have an essay on the exam, has the professor hinted at the topic? For multiple choice exams, reviewing past exams for an idea of the type of questions asked (but not necessarily the content) may be useful. Check out http://eres.library. utoronto.ca for past exams. (3) Connect main ideas and themes. It is not enough to just memorize everything. You want to be able to understand and apply what you have learned. Learn the material in a more interactive way. Depending on the course you may want to compare and contrast central concepts, make a timeline summarizing main ideas, or use arrows to relate concepts to central themes. In conclusion, take care of yourself, study effectively, and good luck on exams!

Hatred is real whereas the others are not. Where there is hatred there is a real concept: unmet expectations, unobtainable aspirations, hopelessness, loathing, etc. Hatred is the real, necessary result of the unreal and unnecessary products of our human condition: love, hope, expectations and aspirations. Hatred is undesirable; it is preferable to avoid hatred. Your challenge is to limit your hate (i.e., your inward disdain, your outward aggression, your anxiety, your loathing, your fear, etc.) while

not using the offenders: love, hope, expectations and aspirations. It is intuitive that you should feel that the latter are good things, that the offenders are inoffensive. However, they perpetuate hate, disdain, aggression, anxiety, fear and death by presenting us with reasons to hate. The trick is not to hate hate, or love, hope, expectations and aspirations. The latter three don't exist, and the former exists only as a reaction to the lack of the others, as a shock to their 'unmetness'.


8 THE MIKE

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Opinions

Arts

Idol Fever: Judges Overrated?

Grinds my Gears: Sick Kids

Cassandra Sottile Writer

Does Amanda hate this child? Read on! Amanda Fiume Writer Spring hath sprung and those moral crusaders are at it again. They have crawled out from the holes where they were hiding all winter only to annoy, harass and berate the good students of U of T who are innocently enjoying their leisurely walk to class. While sprinting down Harbord this morning, I passed WWF, Sick Kids and Greenpeace; luckily I was able to duck into Sid Smith before the World Vision campaigners spotted me. Does the whole idea of begging students for a monthly monetary donation make sense to you? If not, then you’ll probably join me in my hatred of these hollow minded do-gooders. While I concede their quest to raise funds for charitable causes to be admirable, they counter this nobility with a logical capacity which makes George Bush look like Albert Einstein. Firstly, what kind of university student do these people think has the money to sponsor a child in Africa or give a monthly donation to stop the clubbing of the seals in

Alaska? Clearly none of these people have ever been university students (York does not count) because if they had then they would be aware of the oxymoron that is presented when you put the words university student and financially stable in the same sentence. Hell, we even have to photocopy our textbooks just so we can cover tuition costs with our OSAP funding. I do not know what it is with these people; maybe it’s a bad sense of direction or lack of common sense, but I sometimes I feel compelled to buy them a map and point them in the direction of Bay Street. Another facet of this ridiculous marketing scheme which absolutely kills me is the fact that the big wigs in charge of managing these gofers clearly have no idea how to appeal to a student demographic. Students are quite possibly the most zealous age group on the planet: students are passionate about things, students like to get involved and students genuinely care about and want to better the world in which we live. Blame it on the naiveté, but if these organizations actually want to inspire youth towards the common

good then they need to do it in a way which makes contributing to these organizations appealing and accessible for students. Volunteering, for example, seems to me like a much more effective way to get students involved in charitable initiatives then asking them to give up their bus money for the week. These organizations could be successful in actualizing their goals, EXCEPT for the fact that they are going about it all wrong: paying these guilt wrenching gargoyles nine dollars an hour to harass starving university students instead of saving their money has not yet proven to be an effective way to yield results. My run-ins with campaigners have been less than friendly, to the point where I have been heckled for politely declining to give them five minutes of my time when I was late for a class at Lash Miller. I still walked away, but that little act of fuckery caused me to blacklist their entire initiative. The worst part of it is that they don’t JUST want five minutes of your time, oh no my friends, they want the opportunity to tug at your heartstrings so you end up being guilted into giving them five

minutes of your time, $50 a month (which you do not have), an email address, phone number and your first born child. But Amanda, if you do not like them then why don’t you just ignore them? HA! Not only is that a naive assumption but has also proven ineffective. Believe me, in my three years at U of T I have tried everything; listening to my iPod, texting, looking at the floor, spontaneously crossing the street, huddling close to the centre of a group of strangers, even faking an urgent call from my mother— none of these tactics have yielded results due to the fact that this legion of doom has the ability to make you feel more guilty than an Italian mother. Not only do they make you feel like a soulless, emotionally crippled jerk when you say you are simply not interested, but they also completely destroy any hopes you had for continuing on with the rest of your day. I can only hope one campaigner reads this article, so I can explain to you just how annoying you actually are.

The Mike Proudly Endorses:

It is with supreme humility and overflowing handsomeness that the Alvaro/Uranowski campaign asks for your vote in the SMCSU Election on March 23 and 24th. Michael Alvaro was President of SMCSU and Joseph Uranowski was Education and Government Commissioner from 2008-2009. The Alvaro/Uranowski ticket is the only presidential ticket that knows what it is like to actually be President of the St. Michael’s College Student Union. During this campaign, we have not been making many promises because until a few weeks ago we had no hope of being elected. “The Mike” has been gracious enough to allow the juggernaut that is “Michael Alvaro and Uranowski for SMCSU” to present our platform to the students of the University of St. Michael’s College: We will add 2250 councilor positions to SMCSU so every undergraduate student has their own representative on council.

We will lobby for the institution of a “Free Bagged Lunch” program by calling your parents in the morning.

We will add a focus on equity and representing marginalized groups with SMC to the portfolio of the Religious and Community Affairs/Education and Government Commissions.

We will start a compost pile in the middle of Brennan Lounge to make SMC the most sustainable college.

We will create a “Clubs Bill of Rights” so that the SMCSU Clubs Recognition process is more open and the excellent clubs that call SMC home know their rights and responsibilities. We will work to put textbooks on Blackboard while lobbying for lower student fees.

We will include all executive members of SMCSU in the budgetary process. We will not only stand up to the UTSU but we will get up in their business AND flex on their grill. We will get you, no not you, yes you, free tickets to every sporting event, cultural event, movie and party that you want to attend.

THE MIKE 9

the.mike@utoronto.ca

We will clean up the SMCSU and ensure that it always, always smells lemony fresh. We will pay for all SMC Signage to be written in both English and Latin in spiritu verarum bilinguarum. We will build a solid gold statue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to enhance the SMC experience. We will revive the great medieval tradition of placing the most foolish student at SMC in “The Stocks” and throwing rotten vegetables at them. We will increase funding for the Arts.

A Vote for Alvaro/Uranowski is a vote for unspecified change! A Vote for Alvaro/Uranowski is a vote for limitless happiness with no cost! A Vote for Alvaro/Uranowski is a vote for free pie (five varieties available)!

You know the drill: singers sing; judges judge; Idol (usually) becomes idle. So what is the big deal? Why has American Idol been the number one show on television for the past five years? I will tell you friends: the answer is power. For nine seasons now, viewers across the globe have tuned in to watch the crowning of the supposed top undiscovered singers in America. Idol does a great job of making the audience feel completely part of the judging process. During the auditions, we get to laugh at people making fools of themselves and nod knowingly at our early favourites. See, it is about power: the power in being able to say, “I always knew they would go far.” People, in general, love to feel as if they have control over destiny through heightened knowledge, and American Idol feeds directly into this as the people have to pick up their phones each week to vote for their favorite singer. Whether or not FOX’s Emmy

award-winning reality show is truly better than any other television program on the air is irrelevant, as millions of viewers tune in each week to guiltlessly and harshly pass judgment on others from the comfort of their own homes. Other networks have even rearranged their programming in order to ensure that their ratings wont be injured by people tuning into Idol instead. The fact that Americans get to cast that empowering telephone vote raises the question of popularity versus talent. The originality and unreal vocal talent of Lilly Scott and Alex Lambert were among the casualties of the recent cut of four talented musicians in the naming of the Top 12. To say that outrage ensued would be an understatement (Yes, I too am victim to the tantalizing, hypnotic power of American Idol), as a few less talented, but arguably more attractive, singers were left standing. Hey, I know my eyes twinkle just as much as the next girl each time Tim Urban sets foot on stage and makes me fall

in love all over again, but even I would not vouch for him staying over some of the recent cast-offs. However, if Idol history teaches us anything, a contestant with any iota of talent that makes it past the finals will most likely get a record deal anyway. Aside from chart-topping Idol winners Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and (debatably) Jordin Sparks, the best success stories come from those who were not awarded the highest honour, namely Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Kellie Pickler, and most recently, Adam Lambert. This long list of successful cast-offs makes us wonder who has been getting this wrong: the viewers or the judges? In my opinion, they are one in the same as the contestants who receive the lowest number of votes each week are almost always those that the judges ripped apart. Sure, you could believe that the nation just happened to come to the same conclusion as Simon Cowell on their own. Really, you know that people only vote for someone because either they know them personally or because Simon and

the others pretty much told them too. In the end, I have learned to only have faith in my own judgment as it is obvious that the voters are easily swayed by the sometimes questionable comments from the judges. This season in particular has irritated me to no end with the judges’ constant conflicting and irrational advice. Telling seventeen year-old Katie Stevens that she needs to sing “younger” songs is simply preposterous: have an open mind people! If the poor girl is only allowed to perform the songs of people her age or younger, let me tell you, it is pretty slim pickings. This girl has a voice that can belt out Michael Buble songs with ease, so why are they forcing her into a pre-packaged teenage bubble? Now, are you sure you want to trust Simon, Kara, Randy and Ellen? I did not think so. Idol airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays on CTV at 8pm EST and from one music lover to another, watch out for Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, Siobhan Magnus and Didi Benami. ‘Nough said.

which it is markedly not “sexy”. At least, it deviates from the typical conventions of establishing sexiness such as demure or wanton female stereotypes, soft lights and voyeuristic camera angles. Instead, when the phone “rings” her head vibrates like a receiver, looking more comical and disturbing as opposed to “sexy”. Gaga’s imitation of a Martha Stewart-like character portrays a version of female domesticity, complete with an apron and controlled blonde curls. She is happily whipping up some dinner in a kitchen with the punch line being that it is of the poisonous variety. And after wrapping up their homicide of an entire dinner of people, whose only fault seems to be bad table manners, Gaga and Beyonce set off on the road once again. But not before the duo and their backup dancers break out in a patriotic jig to celebrate their accomplishment. Why they decided to, essentially, wear the American Flag is not quite clear. No doubt it is some kind of deep and thoughtful political statement... The absence of males in the video serves to make dominant versions of femininity stand out. In the prison playground, the masculine-looking woman shares a kiss with Gaga—who unconventionally, takes a liking to this, not shirking from locking lips in otherwise frightening circumstances (the fact that she is virtually blindfolded by a stack of cigarettes adds another aspect of powerlessness). Nonetheless,

she seems to regain power back by affirming her sexuality. And what of Beyonce? Well, there is not much to say. She falls into the backdrop, saying things like “You’ve been a very very bad girl”. She delivers the lines in a lacklustre way, not wholly inappropriate for cliches. The only question is: where do we go from here? Lady Gaga seems to have reached the pinnacle of excess. Is there any potentially offensive material left or have all venues been exhausted? Is this postmodernist montage of lesbian sex, murder, and leopard print body paint the metaphorical “end of the road” for the duo? We can only cross our fingers. “Telephone” arguably captures the modern female situation—at least insofar as MTV can be said to account for the demographic— by showing a power struggle between young female club-goers and their persistent boyfriends. How does this intersect with the heroines portrayed in movies like Chicago and Kill Bill? Well, for one, mature, sexy and empowered women like to have fun with the girls. They do not appreciate oppressive males who do not recognize their independence. If these wishes are not respected, they are capable of aggressive retaliation (beware of food poisoning and decapitation!). As has been recognized by men centuries past, there is nothing like a woman’s wrath...especially when her “favorite song is gonna play”.

Lady Gaga: “You’ve been a very, very bad girl.” Julia Mazurchuk Writer

A common sentiment after viewing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video may very well be summarized with an expletive. The movie-like introduction leaves one wondering if the singing will ever begin or if Gaga is trying her hand in acting. Eventually, “Telephone” comes on—its popularization on the radio already setting up expectations for what the accompanying video will feature. My “educated” guess was that the two megastars, Beyonce and Gaga, would don scantily clad outfits and dance provocatively i n

a club, all the while ignoring a battery of phone calls and texts from their unfortunate beaus. Needless to say, I was wrong. Now, in the psychotic hallucination that is this music video, I admit that there may be a variety of interpretations; the plot is not always coherent and I may have missed a comic book reference or two. Nevertheless, it seems as though there are a few separate stories and themes interwoven into the picture. While on the surface it may border on the profane and pornographic (MTV deems it too “inappropriate” to air), it is nevertheless difficult to look away. Nor is it possible to get

rid of the sense that each scene is loaded. How can you argue with seventeen million hits within a few days of airing? Amidst the various pop culture allusions are Kill Bill (Beyonce’s car is the “Pussywagon”), Chicago, and Bonnie and Clyde…err I mean Thelma and Louise. The Chicago reference is established when Lady Gaga is brought to the female prison. With the exception of the matrons escorting her in, the prison population consists of attractive twenty-somethings who look like they just stepped out of a hair salon. And no standard orange prison garb will do either. The girls opt for “badass” leather jackets and heels, the latter of which may have some kind of survival advantage—as displayed by what looked like an awfully painful kick to the spleen during a prison brawl. Although it is not explicitly stated that the women have been jailed for killing their lovers, after viewing the rest of the video, it seems a safe assumption. Another layer to “Telephone” is that of female empowerment. Gaga may be redefining femininity, and not only in the comical sense. Disregarding the warden’s remark on her lack of a male appendage (which served the dual purpose of clearing up popular rumor), Gaga naturalizes nudity. Even though she is half-naked, wrapped in chains or strategically placed yellow tape, there is a sense in


10 THE MIKE

ARTS

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Love Made in Factories Far Away Dan Seljak Editor in Chief

The first time I listened to the new Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, the same thought kept going through my mind; It is not Demon Days. Demon Days was, to me at least, the best album of the last ten years. It was catchy, it was smart, and it came out at a time when the theme of living in a Western, post-9/11 country whether it was Britain, Canada, or the United States - was especially relevant. It had smart songs, slow songs, song designed solely to peak the charts, overall it was an incredibly crafted masterpiece that was perfectly planned from start to finish. Unfortunately, Plastic Beach does not share this expert polish, which was a little surprising since it has been five years since the last Gorillaz album. There doesn’t seem to be the same coherency as there was on Demon Days. The songs no longer flow into one another, and the story telling aspect of a clear beginning, middle and end is lacking. Furthermore it is a far less accessible album in that its influences are not nearly as

main-stream. Demon Days was genre-defying in the sense that it crossed from laid back trip-hop into American hip-hop and dance territory to deliver hits like Feel Good Inc. and Dirty Harry, Plastic Beach on the other hand is genre defying in that it reaches to past and outdated genres: Super Fast Jellyfish is built around an old TV jingle, Some Kind of Nature features Lou Reed, and the first single Stylo has old soul legend Bobby Womack wailing away on it. After getting past the disappointment I felt after the first listen-through, I did have to admit Plastic Beach is a very good album, albeit not nearly at Demon Days’ level. The most interesting thing, and the most positive thing I will say about this album is that unlike past Gorillaz works that relied upon guest appearances to augment their strongest songs (like Del the Funkee Homosapien in their first hit Clint Eastwood, or De La Soul in Feel Good Inc.), this album’s greatest songs rely solely on the core talent of the group, Damon Albarn. This really should not come as a surprise though. Between these two albums Albarn has directed a Chinese opera, formed a super

Living

SMC Gaming Expert

Gaming Myths Blair MacDonald Gamer

“Oh god – he’s so weird and antisocial. Why doesn’t he do something more productive with his time?” This is the reaction I get when I tell people that I’m a gamer. Well... not directly. But it’s fairly obvious what’s running through someone’s head when they’re suddenly compelled to give me an awkward, blank stare, devoid of interest, usually coupled with the words, “Oh, really? That’s nice,” and the remarkable ability to change subjects instantly. Now, in that person’s mind, I’m a gamer. And with the label of “gamer” come some unpleasant assumptions. I’m sure by now you’ve gotten

wind of how the stereotypical gamer acts and thinks. But it’s weird that people even think of gamers as odd individuals in the first place considering the fact that in Canada, 40% of all households own a video game console and 60% own a personal computer. In reality, a vast amount of the distasteful associations with gaming are false. For instance, there exists the stereotypical “gamer image”. South Park (which I love) satirizes this in their episode Make Love, Not Warcraft, in which the typical gamer is regarded as an obese, acneprone, antisocial, nerdy, nacholoving, unhygienic outcast. Any gamer watching this most likely found it hilarious, but those who are unfamiliar with the gaming world

band with members of The Clash and Queen, and recorded with an Arabic orchestra. In short, his musical style has evolved greatly since the last release, and it really shows on tracks like Rhinestone Eyes and Melancholy Hill, two fantastic songs. Another song that really stands out is Some Kind of Nature, Albarn’s collaboration with Lou Reed. Their voices are very similar in a lethargic and soothing way, but at the same time contrast rather nicely. Other songs missed the mark entirely. Glitter Freeze was repetitious and boring and Super Fast Jellyfish, pegged to be the group’s second single, is either kind of catchy or really annoying depending on how you are feeling when you listen to it. In short, the only reason I have been so harsh on this album was because I loved the first one so much. If this had been any other artist, I would have had many more nice things to say about Plastic Beach. Following the trend of Gorillaz as a whole, however, I would have to say Plastic Beach is good, but not nearly the same calibre of Demon Days. Hopefully it will take less than five years to hear an improvement.

might have looked at this as if it were a window into the mysterious and unchartered territory of gaming, known only to a select few social rejects. Fortunately for you guys, I’m here to dispel these myths. I assure you that the vast majority of us are not what’s portrayed by society as the “typical gamer”. Anyone who still disagrees with this view is more than welcome to come into The Mike office and see what I look like, as a gamer. And to all of you hardcore gamers who think that I’m just some casual gamer who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, then I too welcome you to come and play against my MLG experience in Halo, my fall-camouflaged FAMAS in COD, my L4D levelrunning and death-charges, my running-shotgun from Gears, my hydralisk/guardian strategy as Zerg in SC, or my fully-geared level 80`s in WoW (undead mage, BE pally and tauren DK). I’ll stop boring you with this list in an attempt to save you an endless amount of time reading credentials that spill into single-player game experience and continue across different consoles... And I wonder why I don’t have a girlfriend... Anyways, I assure you that I`m a gamer and I`m not some stereotypical obese loner. So why am I telling you all this? Video games and gamers are not as bad as you think. We do not turn into the violent, creepy, desensitized zombies that society tells people we do. And many studies and media coverage on video games are, in my opinion, skewed. Before I explain myself, I must inform any nongamers out there that as an online

gamer I talk to and learn about a lot of people’s lives from all over the world. I`m not only basing my opinion on my own experience but also on the lives of the thousands of people I`ve made connections with from across the globe. Let`s talk about the issue of video games and obesity. The problem that I have with studies that link the two ideas is that a lot of them are conducted in the US – a country where two-thirds of the population is considered officially overweight, with about half of them considered officially obese. My counter to these accusations can be found through experience. The vast majority of gamers that I know are surprisingly thin, and anyone who has played WoW knows the real truth. This truth is known as the “WoW diet” - a “diet” that basically involves six steps: 1. Get hungry. 2. Realize that you`re in the middle of a raid or you`re with your arena team. 3. Think about it for a moment. 4. Say, “**** it” and finish the raid/fight. 5. Forget that you were even hungry. 6. Lose weight. Video games and gamers are not as bad as everyone thinks. Video games do not cause you to become a fat high school dropout, who’s never played a sport in their life and who has zero social skills. I’m living proof of this. My name is Blair MacDonald, and I’m your new source for insight and opinions on gaming.

THE MIKE 11

the.mike@utoronto.ca

Sports

Hate the Players, Not the Game Mel Tarsitano & Sal Lo Iacono Writers

There are seventy-nine days until legends make their mark on the pitch. Seventy-nine days until countries make their marks on the biggest international athletic tournament. Seventy-nine days and chances are every one of those days we are going to have to hear about Beckham. It is unfortunate that one of the world’s “greatest” (and…er’-overrated) players is not going to be playing in Africa this June. I mean everyone should feel sorry for the Bloke who will never sport a star on his jersey and forget about his smoking hot wife, adorable children, buckets of millions and the fact that an entire country adores him – and any woman who has seen the Armani ads. It is upsetting, and no not because we are Italian supporters, which the defending champions dropped to fourth place in FIFA rankings and is not seen as real contenders anymore. Then again, that takes you back to 2006, right? When Italy was viewed as “weak, aged and hopeless”? So, maybe us Italian fans should not mind

the harsh criticisms and look towards a flag-waving summer on St. Clair! Okay, we will stop glorifying Lippi’s far-from-dream team and discuss who to watch, when to watch them and predict what will go down in the thirty day competition that will have every one around the world doing the Samba De Janiero – just in Africa this time, not Brazil. In no specific order, let us tackle – pardon the pun – the go-to players that are sure to shine in this tournament. FIFA’s million-time player of the year and Barcelona’s fabulous forward Lionel Messi had a difficult time with Argentina last time making it to the group stages. It will be exciting to see how Messi carries his baby blues against Nigeria on the second match day, rightly recognized as one of the top ten matches of the group stage. Landon "Benedict Arnold" Donovan - assuming he does not take on British citizenship - the second striker is sure to do well for the strong American side this session. Despite being limited by the low standards of the MLS Donovan, despite stinking of mediocrity, should be itching to

outshine on the international stage. Mel has actually marked every Ivory Coast game in her agenda because Didier "Diamond in the Rough" Drogba is that good. Can the Chelsea megastar lead the underdog Ivory Coast squad to a knockout stage? Portuguese fans will deny it, but the African Footballer of the Year winner and his undeniable finishing will make him an extremely difficult player to mark. We are predicting a major upset, as the firepower of the Brazilians and the finesse of Drogba will surge through to the next round. One cannot mention the group of death without mentioning Brazil and Maicon "No last name so no nickname" is underrated seeing as he epitomizes the Brazilian squad. He may not diddy-daddle and dangle like Ronaldinho but he is tough as nails on defense and lethal when on the run in attack. Many teams in the tournament are not considered challenges because you do not hear about their matches or cannot find them on ESPN’s homepage daily. It is obvious why Group G is the group of death with Portugal, Brazil,

Ivory Coast and North Korea at war but that does not mean other teams are not in for a challenge. Paraguay may not be equipped with award winning strikers or a world-renowned head coach but as much as qualifying results are irrelevant, silent strikers like Man City’s Santa Cruz work well with a defense that allowed only two goals in twelve games. Also, check out Slovakian midfielder, Marek Hamsik; the kid has scored nearly thirty goals this past season for Napoli! It is obvious that the world will most definitely tune in on June 25th for the match between an

overhyped pretty boy in red and a Milan traitor in yellow, but should that overshadow group B equipped with Geka, Obi Messi and Ahn Jung-hwa (who found a way to leap over 6’3” Maldini in 2002)? A change in kit may not mean anything, but stats aside, you cannot make a fair comparison between playing for your club and playing for your country. Everything is different on an international pitch and on June 11, let us hope Africa is ready for a tournament that is sure to be talked about for years - or at least until Euro 2012.

the Yankees in the 2006 playoffs when he helped catapult the charging Tigers past the Yankees in the ALDS. Granderson becomes a younger, cheaper, faster, more athletic, and better-defending replacement for departed freeagent Johnny Damon. His arm is also an upgrade over Damon. Cashman then brought back a former Yankee: Nick Johnson was signed for just $5.5 million. Johnson is an on-base machine with a career OBP of .402, which is ninth amongst active players. The key for Johnson is to stay off the disabled list; he has played in just 171 games since 2008. Johnson will be the primary DH for the Yankees, so this should help lessen the risk of injury for him. Adding the two left-handed bats in Granderson and Johnson to the line-up in a stadium where fly balls to right field is likely to be home runs is a good move. Next, the Yankees added starting pitching depth by trading for another former Yankee: Javier Vazquez. Vazquez is coming off probably the best year of his career in which he struck out 238 batters and posted an ERA of 2.87. Since 2000, the durable Vazquez has pitched over 200 innings every year except 2004, his first stint with the Yankees. That year, Yankee management quickly decided that Vazquez was a player who could not handle the pressures of New York and

traded him away. But a more mature and experienced Vazquez could be a key starter behind C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. What is worse for Yankeehaters? Reports from spring training are that the Yankees are hungry for another World Series. “These guys act like they have not accomplished anything”, noted new Yankee Granderson. Manager Joe Girardi has set the tone for the season by changing his number to 28, which symbolizes the drive for championship number 28. But hunger and a number change are not going to be enough to repeat as champions in 2010. To go back-to-back in any sport takes more than having a good team; other key factors include team health, the ability to overcome adversity as every team who wins a championship plays the next season with a target on its back, and of course, good luck. Moreover, if we look at teams that have won backto-back World Series in the last 20 years, we note the Toronto Blue Jays (1992-1993) and the Yankees (1998-2000). What is common here? Management of these two teams were not content to stay status quo the year after a championship. Both of these teams made big changes to their roster the year after winning it all. What is scary is that the 2010 Yankees have done the same thing.

Those Damn Yankees Nick Rossi Writer

November 4, 2009 left a bad taste in the mouth of many baseball fans. When the final ground ball rolled to Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano (or Robinson Crusoe, as I like to call him) and he slung it over to first base, Yankee-haters’ worst nightmare came true: New York was back on top of the baseball world. The Yankees had just completed an off-season in which they spent over $400 million on three top free agents. But the Yankees are infamous for throwing bags of money at players and not getting the desired results. What was different this time were two things: 1) they finally addressed their pitching issues and brought in a true ace to pitch behind the most powerful line-up in baseball, and 2) they added key role-players (the most important being Nick Swisher) with great personalities who helped to loosen the atmosphere in the clubhouse. Baseball fans are ready to get over that sickening feeling as the 2010 season draws closer, but the scary thing is that the Yankees have gotten even better. GM Brian Cashman did not make a splash in the free-agent market, but he did pull off the second biggest trade of the off-season, acquiring Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers. Granderson hurt


12 THE MIKE

Tuesday March 23, 2010

Tyranny Rules at UTSU Andy Pignataro

Late Night Replacement For James Finlay

So the UTSU elections have come and gone, and once again, any hope of democracy for the students of University of Toronto has died along with the hopes and dreams of the members of the “Change” slate. To a first year student, this has been a very close election, with the two strong parties fighting tough battles to try and represent the student body. However, to anyone who has any experience in UofT politics, or has read any student run publication at any point in time this year, this was far from the case. As was completely expected, the incumbent party “Stronger Together” party swept the UTSU executive, with “Change” being shut out. While “Change” candidates did pick up a number of seats on the Board of Directors, the executive remained in the hands of the current UTSU dynasty. And let’s not mince terms about the UTSU executive over the past 6 years, it is a dynasty. Each and every member elected has been either an incumbent or a hand-picked successor to those already in power. It may be hard for some of you to believe, but there was actually a time in which UTSU actually did make an honest attempt to

represent the students who elected them. Unfortunately, sometime around six or seven years ago, the members of the SAC (the former and still official name of UTSU) decided that instead of using their positions to actually do something for students; they found it would be much easier to do a minimal amount of work while collecting a big fat paycheque and pushing their own political agendas. It was at this time that the current incarnation of UTSU was born, and needless to say UofT has never quite been the same. Every year another scandal has arisen surrounding the principles of practices of UTSU, whether it is electoral fraud, transparency issues, budgetary mishaps, questionable connections with the CFS, or arrests made in

Simcoe Hall. I could describe their entire catalogue of misdemeanors throughout the past six years, but the editor has told me I only have five hundred words, and that would not even get me through one year of the administration. However, in my opinion, it is none of these numerous mistakes that accounts for the greatest flaw of the UTSU dynasty. What is most grievous is the attitude that UTSU holds towards the student that it supposedly represents. Throughout the years, instead of attempting to actually build bridges between students, they have instead sought to unite the university through strong arm tactics while advocating the position that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.” One need only look at the

current situations surrounding the election results currently under review. Thousands of spoiled ballots, a Chief Returning Officer responsible who judged these ballots as being spoiled who was hand-picked by the administration, and an electoral system in which even calling these spoiled ballots into question could equal a disqualification for whoever actually raises the issue. This is the legacy of the UTSU dynasty, a group so focused on it’s own political goals and agendas that it has completely lost sight of any sort of representation for the students it is supposedly in place to serve. While the Change campaign is to be commended for their attempts to break the chains that bind UofT politics, their loss comes as no surprise.

UTSU has created the ultimate watershed, a system which they control, where you have to play by their rules, and they always win. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed a time in which the ideas, opinions and votes of the students actually mattered, but there are students who have began and ended their entire university career seeing their money wasted by a left-wing extremist clique that refuses to relinquish power to anyone with even the slightest notion of dissention. Make no mistake, whether they call themselves “Stronger Together,” “Demand Access” or any of their five other names they’ve taken for themselves over the years, UTSU is in control, and they’re not letting go anytime soon.

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The Mike March 22nd 2010