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The 432 Nov 5, 2002

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 ilCili- s y"4* v*»*i«i<j
VOLUME SIXTEEN ISSUE FIVE
5 NOVEMBER 2002
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"Altruism is a fine motive, but if you want results, greed works much better.
■Henry Spencer
Protest Organized Against
Water Shortage
Police brutality expected
(Vancouver, Reuters)
The Save our Sewers (S.O.S) Association is organizing a rally against the
water shortage in Vancouver. Supporters have already started to distribute
pamphlets and notices warning the public
of consequences of a water shortage.
Although absence of drinking water is not
an issue for the richer people who can
afford to buy five dollar per gallon spring
water, poorer people are at risk. Among
other consequences, there could be less
water available for leaky toilets, extremely
long showers, and the necessary continuous flow to drown out the sound of brushing teeth.
"The people of Vancouver by no means
should have to tolerate such restrictions;
everybody has a right to water, and to tell
us that we have to reduce our use is ridiculous," stated the S.O.S President, Barney
Glotz.
When it was pointed out that other countries such as Australia, Japan and India
face water shortages every year and have
successfully implemented water conservation strategies without compromising living standards, Glotz retorted that "conser
vation has nothing to do with the water
shortage, and such conservation practices
do not apply to most Vancouverites
because Vancouverites use only the water
that they need."
Such comments bring up the age old issue
of people not thinking they are a problem.
GVRD conservation educator Jill Hills says
that, on average, a Vancouverite uses 340
litres per day around the home - far more
than is necessary. Currently, Vancouver
water is free, not charged on a meter basis
like in many other cities in Canada. On
average, a single toilet flush uses 6-30 liters
of water, and showering uses 6-19 liters per
minute. Hills was also quick to note that
many Vancouverites unnecessarily wash
items of clothing too frequently resulting
in incomplete loads on high water-volume
cycles. The average washing cycle uses 180
liters of water, far too much water for a single pair of pants.
"Hogwash," stated Glotz, "those are necessary laundry activities."
Angry protesters were quick to place the
blame on members of society other than
themselves. Among the accused were notedly students on student loans, who are
known to be freebie grubbing leeches that
hoard anything that they can get without
paying for it.
"Just because water is free, it doesn't mean
that they can continually fill up their water
bottles and stash them in their knapsacks,"
remarked Richard "Richie" Edington.
Other accused culprits of high water
usage are senior citizens, who no longer
have the strength and manual dexterity to
turn of the taps, leaving them dripping and
wasting water.
"It is people like these that we need to
ostracize, not ordinary Vancouverites,"
Glotz explained.
Similarly, students interviewed at Gage
residence pointed the finger back at richer
people living in the Westside of Vancouver
saying that they use the most water, washing their fancy cars, watering their lawns,
and having cleaning people (several of the
interviewed students were cleaning persons) wash every single thing in their huge
houses, despite the fact that items were
clean and unused and had been washed
just the day before.
Joining the S.O.S Association is the Anti
City Wildlife (ACW) committee, claiming
that seagulls are causing the water crises in
Vancouver.
John Peters, member at large of the group
commented, "Those damn birds gather in
outdoor public swimming pools dirtying
the water so that the pools have to be continually cleaned and refilled. If it weren't
for the damn birds, everything would be
better. And those pigeons, those feathered
rats..."
An urgent call is being made out by supporters of the S.O.S. for the provincial government to alleviate the water crisis, either
by getting more water, or by controlling
those members of society that use too
much water. Plans for a waterless internment and rehab camp are on hold.
"Something has to be done now, or there'll
be no water left for the more deserving
members of society," explained Barney
Glotz.
Citizens who, naturally, use water sparingly and are concerned about Vancouver's
impending doomed water crisis can join
protesters at 7:30AM this Saturday in SUB
south plaza.
New Health Study
University takes four to six years off your life
Lest We
(UBC)
Anew health study released by the
Mayo clinic has revealed that individuals who attend university for
undergraduate degrees have, on average,
four to six fewer productive years in their
lives.. Further, those who continue on to
graduate studies may lose as many as ten
to twelve years.
The results of this study are somewhat
shocking and have created much turmoil
among undergraduate and graduate students alike.
Undergraduate students just beginning
their degrees are particularly upset by the
results of this study, feeling that they may
still have the opportunity to drop out and
salvage some of their time. However, those
further into Master's degrees seem to feel
that they are already a lost cause.
"Here at the Mayo clinic, we're all doctors,
we've had more university education than
just about anyone. We're doomed," stated
an agitated spokesperson.
This health study has given those of the
uneducated working class reason to be
proud. Garbage collectors and taxi drivers
everywhere are less hostile.
The Mayo study did find one additional
surprising result; when the amount of time
wasted was decreased using either of two
proven methods as independent variables,
there was no improvement in time wasted.
In fact, as the independent variables went
up, more time was wasted. These results
might be invalid due to concerns as to the
ethics of the study, raised due to uncommonly high complaint rates from subjects.
"They just wouldn't stop asking for chips
and pop and other junk food, and griped to
no end when we ran out," one confidential
inside source revealed. "Both the video
game and the weed group had the same
baffling high rate of complaints.
"Clearly, more studies will have to be
undertaken, but we need more Grad students to do the work. If these early results
are indicative, we could be needlessly
endangering the very people that we are
trying to help."
In the meantime, it is recommended that
all people avoid any unnecessary educational activities. Page Two
THE FOUR THIRTY TWO
5 November 2002
A Look Back at the Chemistry
Complex Renovation Crisis
Timeline of a Construction Disaster
Volume Sixteen
Issue Five
5 November 2002
Captain
Benjamin Warrington
the432@hotmail.com
Lieutenants
Per Bengtsson
Will Chao
Fiend (Dan Anderson)
Jane Gingrich
Miyako Hewett
Grunts
Emily Casey
Death (Death is my foot soldier)
Fiend (Dan Anderson)
Gill Gunson
Graeme Kennedy
Jo Krack
Andy Martin
Angelique Myles
Jason Rogalski
Ben Tippett
Sameer Wahid
Benjamin Warrington
Frank Yang
Dan Yokom
Eggy Yuh
Chris Zappavigna
Printed by
College Printers, Vancouver, BC
Legal Information
The 432 is published fortnightly
from the pancreas of the Colonel
Klinck Building. All views expressed
in this issue are strictly those of the
-individual writers, and as such are
not the responsibility of the 432,
The Science Undergraduate Society,
or the Faculty of Science. Writers
and cartoonists are encouraged to
submit their material to the 432.
Submissions must meet the requirements of making the editor chuckle
thrice, and contain the author's
name and contact information.
We would like to encourage reader
feedback. If you have something
bad to say, disregard your mother
and say it (If you have something
good to say you may also say it)!
Contact us at: fne432@hotmai7.com
You use too much water. There I
said it. Go home and cry to your
mommy. Oh wait, no. Your mommy
is the one with the wicked left hook
isn't she? Don't tell her. I'm sorry.
Please forgive me ...
Frank Yang
Cold and Hungry
It has been over two weeks since the
conclusion of the Chemistry Complex
renovation crisis. Now possessing the
knowledge of hindsight, the 432 takes a
look back at the sequence of events which
led to over 250 students becoming trapped
behind an impassable blockade of fencing
and construction tape.
October 10
Renovations begin at the walkway
between B and D wings of the Chemistry
building. Some students complain of
delays from taking alternate routes, but no
major disruptions are noticed.
October 14
Construction crews can be seen conducting maintenance work on the lower
entrance to the basement level of the building. Both north entrances into Chemistry B
are closed. Numerous students arriving for
morning classes from the bus loop find
themselves in a dead end and are forced to
retrace their steps.
October 16
Repairs partially complete, lower entrance
reopened. Many chemistry students
breathe a sigh Of relief.
October 17
Lower entrance once more closed due to
safety concerns.
October 18, Day one
Both the south doors and fire escape stairwell are sealed for repairs at around 9:00
am, inadvertently trapping over 250 students inside four floors of Chemistry B.
Confused students attempting to leave the
building are told by staff to use exits not
sealed for maintenance, of which there
were none. Outside parties are unaware
anyone is even trapped until some thirty
minutes later, when one student finally
notifies friends using his cell phone. Many
attempts at crossing areas under renovation occur during the following hours, all
are unsuccessful. Those outside found
removing barricades are stopped by campus security for unauthorised interference
with a construction site.
October 19, Day two
Confronted with desperate students,
trapped staff members sequester themselves within laboratories. The majority of
those gathered outside have dispersed for
the weekend. After nearly a day of continuous use, it is obvious to all but the most
optimistic that the cell phone batteries -of
those trapped will run out before the day is
through. Later, while trying to stay warm
in the evening, a number of students start a
fire in the hallway between the north and
south doors, only to set off the fire alarm.
However, their hopes for an evacuation are
dashed when the fire is put out by sprinklers and the fire department subsequently
called off. The distorted faces of the desperate, pressed against tinted windows on
the second and third floor, can be seen by
the small number of onlookers who
remained to comfort those still within.
October 20, Day three
A desperate note scrawled on the back of
an old lab report is found on the south
lawn, likely tossed from a broken window
on the third floor. The author writes, "Our
situation is desperate. Tolietfsic] clogged.
We're all cold and hungry. Vending
machine empty. No food. Get us out! Get
us out!" adding, "P.S tell my family I love
them." Hysterical cries for release echo
from the hallways. Meanwhile, friends and
loved ones hold a candlelight vigil on the
south lawn for those who have been
trapped for more than 48 hours.
October 23:
West sections
undergo repairs
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North upper
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October 17:
North lower
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October 18
South entrances
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October 19:
Fire
October 20:
Note found
i   r
October 21, Day four
Finally at around 7:30 am barricades and
taped fencing are taken down. A mass of
students rush out into the cold morning
air. Some are reunited with waiting loved
ones while others can only stare blankly at
the cloudy sky after enduring this hellish
ordeal. Yet despite all doors being opened
later in the day, a number of students,
including the one whose name appears on
the back of the note found earlier, are initially unaccounted for. Several are later
found scattered throughout the building
and unconscious.
October 23
Renovations begin on the west lawn in
front of the old Chemistry building. We
can only hope those involved have learned
from the events which concluded just days
earlier.
Life is a Lemon
e^jib»    Ben Warrington
Wants his money back
I have heard rumours that there are complaints about the content of the 432.
Complaints that are so dire that people
are asking for their $12 SUS fee back
because they don't want to support a paper
that doesn't carry their point of view. I will
forego the obvious rant about how narrow-
minded that attitude is; didn't Voltaire say,
"I don't agree with what you said, but I
will defend to the death your right to say
it."? I will, however, point out that only a
small fraction of that $12 goes to the 432.1
would dearly love to have a 70 to 80 thou
sand dollar budget to play with (can you
say sky-writer?), Jjut alas, the Science
Undergraduate Society has decided to
spend most of your money on other
endeavours. Feel free to contact us if you
are curious about the budget.
Frankly, I cannot think of anything that we
have printed recently that would illicit
such a response. Everything has been pretty mild by the standards that the 432 has set
over the past fifteen years. There hasn't
even been any nudity for at least eight
months. I might have a better idea of the
problem, however, if any of the people in
question had bothered to contact me.
Needless to say, I was a bit surprised to
hear that I had raised a bit of a "shit storm"
when I have only received one complaint
this year, and that only indirectly (contrari
wise, I have received dozens of compliments).
See the email address over in the side-bar?
Use it. If you have a complaint, send me an
email, and unless your complaint is especially retarded, I will give you a fair
response. I can't respond if I don't know
there is a problem. Don't like my response?
Send another email; open a dialogue. Better yet, write a witty, biting retort for publication in the paper. If you really think that
we print the bullshit opinions of campus
nutbars, do you think that we won't print
your well reasoned reply? Quality of writing is the key, not humour (though
humour does help).
Who do you think decides what goes in
the paper? Complain to me, not to anyone
else. 5 November 2002
THE FOUR THIRTY TWO
Page Three
Food Review: Japan
Jo Krack
Gourmet
It's officially winter in Japan, as far as
I'm concerned. The Japanese all became
cold much earlier than me, a few weeks
ago, and were shivering in 25C weather
and asking how I could bear the weather in
just a t-shirt. I got to be all smug and give
the "I'm Canadian!" reply, which to them
brings up images of The Land Of Perpetual Blizzards. But alas, I got what I
deserved, and now I'm frikkin' cold. I finally discovered a little thing called an electric
blanket, which I had dimly been aware of
earlier, but had written off as something
for the old and feeble. Now, I can't fathom
spending the night without it! (Awww ...)
I can hear those of you with very little
Japan-knowledge scoffing, saying "It's got
to be colder over here! What's she whining
about?!" And you're right, it IS colder over
there in good ol' Vancouver. The major difference is that at least when you come
inside, it's warm. Not so here. My apartment can actually get colder than it is outside; I don't have to worry about "letting
the heat out" if I leave the door open! In
fact, in the morning I open the front door
to let heat IN! I could heat my apartment,
though ... if I wanted to pay through the
nose. Eventually I'll break down and do it.
For now, I'd rather spend my money on the
exorbitantly-priced subway and train systems so I can escape my cold little hovel
and go hang out with friends.
OK. So you understand that it's cold. I
can't leave you with that impression of
Japan, though, so I'm going to take the rest
of this article to convince you to hop the
next plane over here. Think that's a bit
tough? Well you haven't heard me rave
about the food yet.
The food. The FOOD. The Japanese sure
know how to eat! From the healthy to the
sinful, they've got it in a million different
flavours. I went to an all-tofu restaurant in
which each course was somehow comprised of tofu. I wasn't a tofu fan when I
entered, but I sure was by the time I left! I
also got taken to an all-fish restaurant, but
I'd rather not get into that. Let's just say
that I prefer my fish (a) cooked (b) gutted
and (c) de-boned . . . and this restaurant
was definitely operating with a different
philosophy. But then again, they also
brought a bucket of freshly-killed, flopping, skewered fish to our table, which we
were supposed to cover in salt and stick in
a little oven until their little eyes popped...
Er, I think I'll get back to what I LIKE about
Japanese food now ...
Autumn is sweet potato season, and these
potatoes are way sweeter than any you'd
get in Vancouver. They're so sweet that I've
eaten them in a dessert-basically little fried
balls with sweet-potato centres ... oh god,
if I hadn't been getting drunk on chu-hai
(another must-try), I would've finished the
entire basket of 'em, dining partners be
damned!
But for sweets, you really can't beat mochi
and anko. Mochi is a sort of rice paste,
which can be sweet or plain. I, of course,
gravitate towards the sweet. Anko is red-
bean paste, which those of you who live in
Richmond are surely familiar with. Now
put some anko inside some sweet mochi,
and oh . . . the tastebuds are in heaven!
That's some gooood sheeet! I went to visit
a temple in Kyoto, and all the tourist shops
along the way were selling mochi with various sweet fillings, and green-tea flavoured
sweets (cakes, cookies, you name it). But
the best thing was . . . they had samples.
Samples upon samples upon samples. I
basically scored lunch on the way up to see
the temple, and dinner on the way back
down after (I suppose both meals would
more aptly be termed "dessert", for those of
you traditionalists who still cannot accept
a meal consisting only of sugar . . . damn
your narrow culinary worldview!!).
A little more satisfying than sweets, however, would be some of the big'n'hearty staple foods. The first is my new favourite:
okonomiyaki. It basically consists of a
bunch of shredded cabbage held together
with egg, and some sort of meat or tofu in
the middle. Fry it until it's lightly browned,
slather it in mayo and okonomiyaki sauce,
and ta-da! Dinner. Some people call it the
Japanese pancake, mainly because it's usually round, but really it has almost no
ingredients in common with our beloved
pancakes so I wouldn't go that far. Another
major staple (but eaten only in winter) is
nabe. At first I was apprehensive, because
the word "nama" means raw, but luckily
for me it's a completely different word and
there's nothing raw about it. Basically, it's
kind of a hot pot with different veggies in
it, and whatever meat or tofu you like. The
best part, however, comes after you've finished it: then rice is added to the leftover
soup stock, along with rice and green
onions and whatever else your host
decides to throw on it, and that's cooked
up into a mixture I can only describe as
delicious. I really wish I'd eaten less of the
soup so I could've saved more room for
that rice concoction!!
Well, now my stomach is really paining
me, so I'm headed home to see what I can
cook up for dinner tonight. I'm getting sick
of ramen so I found a library book on
Japanese cooking; let's hope I can handle it.
After all, I managed to burn my French
toast this morning, but then again I knew I
shouldn't have been allowed near a stove
before fully waking up ...
Ja ne! (Japanese for "later!")
Mata saraishu madeni. -MH
Disappointing Appointments
Angeligue Myles
Doctorific
Many people fear the doctor, the
dentist and even the hairdresser.
And by all means they very well
should. The fear begins when you make
the appointment. You circle the date on the
calendar, mark it in red pen and the anxiety just builds from there.
These appointments, as stressful as they
are, are nonetheless extremely important.
How would you like to live with rectal
warts for the rest of your life or an overgrown mullet? Better to just suck up your
pride and get some sort of bum jelly
because damn those things have got to
hurt when you sit down.
Now, the making of the appointment has
got to be the easiest part of the ordeal. I
mean you can get your kid brother or your
pet parakeet to do it for you. However,
once the date is set, the waiting will be
what drives you insane. Each day that
passes is one closer to your ultimate consternation. You sleep well the night before
but then wake and feel as though you had
n't slept at all. You can't eat anything for
breakfast and for some reason you are now
writing with your left hand - wait a minute
you could do that before. Every event that
occurs throughout the day is marred by the
burden of this dreaded engagement.
The moment has arrived and as you place
your jacket on the coat rack you think to
yourself, "just a trim" and take a seat
amongst the glossy hairstyling magazines,
hoping that if you stack enough in front of
you no one will even know you came in. A
chipper, wide-eyed lady greets you with a
smile and tells you to sit in one of those
spinning chairs that go up and down. Now
with your unfortunate coordination you
never seem to be able to mount one of the
chairs with elegance and precision. After a
couple of twirls you manage to place yourself in front of the mirror. The hairdresser
then arrives and this is the moment when
you must sit and talk about your hair. You
'if and 'um' and 'er' about not wanting a
big change. Then it is off to the wash basin
and then back into the chair.
The scissors are out. A look of panic
moves slowly across your face as the
blades touch your locks and then the hair
falls down onto the tiled blue floor. Snip,
snip, snip and away she goes in a mad
frenzy. A bit of mousse, some gel and a
quick blow dry later - an eighties rock star
is staring back at you. You smile and nod
your head hoping that she can't hear you
growling. You quickly pay and exit the
salon. As you walk down the street you
start to feel triumphant that you stayed
strong until the end and mortified because
you are now going to have to start wearing
headbands and leg warmers all over again.
A trip to the hairdresser, now that is pretty low on the fear factor rating scheme. A
trip to the doctor, however, is definitely
worth a clean pair of underwear, because
man, you never know what the day can
unveil.
Your first task is to make it past the receptionist without revealing to the rest of the
waiting room attendees why you are here.
So you attempt to whisper your situation,
the receptionist, of course, does not hear
you. You then say 'personal' and avoid the
quizzical stares as you take your seat
amongst the fake potted plants. The room
is meant to have a calming effect. It is
painted in soothing ochre and the chairs
are just hard enough so that it hurts to
slouch. The magazine that you picked up is
not only 3 years old but it has great advice
on how to decorate for your next big social
event. Just as you begin to immerse yourself in an article about bees wax candles
and potpourri holders, your name is called
out. You recoil in pain and your stomach
gurgles. Mental note: don't eat the spicy
bean and cheese burrito before an appointment with the doctor. You are taken to a
room and must wait once again. More
magazines and a few disturbing posters
later the doctor finally enters the room.
You discuss the usual health issues and
then it is time to speak the words that even
you wouldn't whisper to your cat. Once
they are out there floating in the air, you
must wait for the response. Is it bad? Am I
sick? Or am I just making this up? The doctor jots down a few notes, hands you a prescription and off you go...your heart skips
a beat and the perspiration on your forehead is starting to cool. Is that it? Am I finished? You leave the room feeling exhausted. As you pass by the other people in the
waiting room, you overhear someone say
"personal" and can't help but speculate
why they are here. Constipation? Painful
urination? Uncontrollable bowel movements?
So whether it be a trip to the orthodontist,
the chiropractor or herbal therapist, fear
will always be there for some. For others it
may come easier. Either way, a clean pair of
underwear is a must no matter what. Page Four
THE FOUR THIRTY TWO
5 November 2002
Yum, Ewan McGregor
Eggy Yuh
f*1       Likes 'em in skirts
A friend of mine has a thing for redheads. Another has a fetish for
curly hair, and yet another won't
date anyone shorter than her (neither will
I, but I'm only five feet tall to begin with). I
have three initial criteria: clean fingernails
(shows attention to detail and hygiene,
both very important), nice shoes (nice
enough to show that he cares, but not too
nice so as to indicate homosexual tendencies), and a nice phone voice. And he can't
be prettier than me. Four criteria, I guess.
So aside from the initial hoops that
prospective dates have to jump through,
what makes someone different enough to
warrant your precious attention? There are
enough distractions to begin with: school,
work, Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
beer...who has time to really sit and ponder whether or not someone is worth
spending time on? It comes across as
superficial, but everyone makes an initial
judgment based on looks. That's not to say
that the best-looking people are autorriati-
cally the chosen ones; a lot of the time it's
some strange quirk of appearance or personality that piques interest.
Sometimes other factors come into it:
accents, for example. I went to the International House Ball (sounds much more
impressive than it wants to be; in any case,
it was fun) a few weekends ago, and found
myself surrounded by international students. People that I would have glanced
ovef or completely disregarded were suddenly very attractive. For example, this
guy in a kilt that I noticed across the dance
floor. Never would have picked out his
face if he weren't wearing a skirt, but
between the traditional garb and copious
amounts of alcohol we started talking
about British music, Canadian liquor and
whether he might be commando underneath that sexy sexy attire. Did I mention
my slight fetish for Scots? I blame Ewan
McGregor (pre-Star Wars) and Trainspotting for that. And maybe Sean Connery.
Anyway, Mr. Kilt (I never was very good
with names) ended up leaving with a girl
from Barcelona draped all over him/but
whatever. Accents can work against someone's favour, though: a very cute guy in a
suit opened his mouth to make a snotty
comment in a French accent and I groaned
inwardly. Too bad.
Somehow, foreign-ness is attractive. Given
the right accent, I think I could be told the
alphabet an infinite number of times and
still swoon. The wrong accent, on the other
hand, just invites disdain and contempt.
So is that any better or worse than judging
someone based on their appearance? It's
the same principle, really. You're putting
someone in a box (good or bad or maybe
just tonight) based on something they really can't help. Which is not to say that people are incapable of creating accents or
using a different one, but you know what I
mean. Somehow it's slightly more acceptable, because someone's accent, while
beyond their control, has less to do with
appearance than with personality. Really,
it's neither. It's just another arbitrary thing
that people might use to find someone.
A friend of mine swears by the number
system, although it's incredibly hard to
implement. He thinks that everyone
should be assigned a number from 1 to 10,
based on attractiveness, personality, intelligence, sense of humour, etc; etc. So some
one who might not necessarily be considered good looking might make up for it if
he or she is wickedly funny. So people
would go around with their number, and
simply date people of their own number,
thus being assured of the quality of their
date. "Can I have your number?" gains a
whole new meaning. While the number
system reeks of totalitarianism (of course,
my friend gets to assign the numbers) but
it's a cute theory. It should be instituted in
some small test population of people. Bzzr
garden, anyone?
Further, then, it depends on where you
intend to meet someone. If you meet at the
Pit, you're guaranteed a bit of necking
action and maybe more if you're lucky. In
terms of long-term stability and settling
down...maybe you should try your luck
elsewhere. Meeting in class is another
viable option, though slightly more effort.
But do you really want to date someone in
your program? Think of the incredibly boring conversations you could have about
school. Or hey - go on exchange, and thereby become the international student with
the endearing Canadian accent, eh? I hope
it works both ways...
T/MMY MAKe:S fW Of THINGS
"TT)G Quest ofT3i1lu)13adl^^a^J0
-part X
-&AJ
MISS  Z RULER  VEHTt CO
Grade A teacher bohaohdihare!
-LHithTCL-ss    Does
iHTCNE KNOW WHY THE H
H HAMILTON ONTARIO
>■ <iO SHOCGY"
ANYONE? ANYONE OTHER THAN BILLY?
[DAMMITS WHY CANT I?)
\ tl mmy makes-fun-of-thinc5
Billy Badly-Drawn, h i s best fhi end
CUZ You re Too Badly
Drawn! Ugly!
;x  <v
Hey! it's Billy
Badly-Drawn
V Why do you
always call
me that? «^
Cuz That's your
NAME, Moron!
Well, what
gives you
the right to
make fun of
things all?
the time?
CUZ THAT'S MY
NAME, SUCKA1
BILLY!
w«30U* illy l^cilj Lf
one. I waist to k
they all hate me.
grade lour, thai, doesn't i
ease. .1 in a yv&iicing
iiicoixslsteacry, I wish 1 was'
Billy!
This is the Lerd, Bill.
You get picked on cuz you are
weak! It is ray will that You
become Tough! You are to
leave your home and not return
until you are both mighty and
AWESOME!
and build mean
ark while
you're at it.
willya?
and don't worry about the
hair... you got a kind of...
uhh... George Clooney thing
goin...
AND
BILLY'S
QUEST
BEGINS!!!
Dead Pool
Death
Got Gas?
Like Russian mystery gas spreading
through a Moscow theatre, death
spreads around the world.
Take, for instance, an estimated population of 6 billion people on the planet. Let's
give them each an average life span of 60
years. Probably, this is too high, but I will
take it as a mathematically convenient
value between the 70 or 80 that people in
Western countries can expect and the 30 or
40 that people in the most destitute countries might have. This means 100 million
people die per year (and slightly more than
that are born). This works out to roughly
274 thousand per day, 11 thousand per
hour, 190 per minute, or a whopping 3 per
second. In the roughly half minute it took
to read this paragraph, 95 people have
died. How's that make you feel?
One such unfortunate, Richard Harris,
who recently played Headmaster Albus
Dumbledore in Harry Potter, died on October 25 at the age of 72. Born in Ireland,
Richard Harris has played roles in many
famous films including The Guns of
Navarone (1961), Mutiny on the Bounty
(1962), Hawaii (1966), and Unforgiven
(1992).1 All told, he has acted in no less
than 64 movies between 1958 and 2002.2
The second Harry Potter film is due to
come out on November 15, so you will be
able to see Richard Harris in one last performance this fall. Kind of like watching a
movie from beyond the grave. And you
call me morbid.
I am not aware of anyone having listed
Mr. Harris on their Dead Pool form,
though, so the pool is still wide open. This
means that no points have been awarded,
yet. It is anyone's contest. Never fear, people are bound to start kicking off sooner or
later. Someone is likely to take a shot at
George Bush or perhaps Britney Spears
within the next few weeks, aren't they?
Remember, no points if you kill them yourself.
And remember, don't fear the reaper.
1 http://www.infoplease.com/
2 http://www.eonline.com/ 5 November 2002
THE FOUR THIRTY TWO
Page Five
So my girlfriend left for 8 months
Jason Rogalski
Lonely
So my girlfriend recently left for 8
months, for the purposes of tromping
through western Asia, learning about
the history and culture of the area, seeing
wilderness untouched by humans and,
presumably, getting the hell away from my
whiny ass for a little while. So lately I've
felt more lonely and left behind than Gordon Campbell's sense of morals.
Now/in order that I live out the remaining
221 days (as I write this) until I can see her
again, whilst retaining what is left of my
sanity, I started looking for other things to
occupy my mind and keep me content.
After seemingly endless seconds of deliberation, I went immediately back to my
good friend, beer. Oh how I missed thee.
It's not that I didn't drink with my girlfriend, it's just that I didn't drink 6 nights a
week. But, alas, I soon realized that my
glass was empty and my bladder full, and
I found myself staring at a Mazda advertisement above a urinal wondering who
the fuck cares that you get $750 off of a
Miata if you're a new grad ('cause new
grads always have 25 grand burning a
whole in their pocket), and also, more to
the point, that there must be more than
beer that makes me smile. After all, I don't
remember being all that miserable when I
was single. Then slowly, over a few days,
things started occurring to me that made
me feel better, even made me smile. Here's
a short list of things that I realized make
me feel better about myself:
The look on the face of an arts major who
is trying to do math in their head.
That glazed-over 'deer in the headlights'
look when trying to figure out what a 15%
tip on $20 would be. It warms my heart for
the 30 seconds I'm willing to wait before I
yell out, "IT'S $3, YOU STUPID BASTARD!"
I like my job.
I recently had the misfortune to have to go
to UBC payroll to ask a few questions,
(namely "Where the fuck is the paycheck I
should have received two weeks ago?")
and man, did I ever come out of there feeling sorry for them. These people couldn't
hate their job more if they were making
artillery rounds in a Nazi concentration
camp. Now I realize that most of the people they have to deal with are dumber than
a bag of hair, but come on, the job can't be
paying enough to justify staying there if
you're that miserable. Anyways, in a soothing voice I gently tried to explain my situation to one woman, and she cut me off
faster than an Albertan who spotted an
open half car length, in a desperate attempt
to pass the buck as if it were a conditioned
response. (Ding ... I'm not responsible ...
Ding ... I'm not responsible) By the time I
got out of their newly-renovated-but-still-
very-unwelcoming office, I had a new
found appreciation for my job, and felt
very lucky to have scored a decent, relevant job right after graduation.
Plant Ops' now legendary 3:1 supervi-
sonworker ratio.
These guys have inefficiency down to an
art form. It's apparent everywhere, from
the 3 guys standing around an open manhole watching the one guy inside, to the six
months it took them to redo the stairs outside the sub, to the 2 months it takes to get
a light bulb changed on campus. This story
is my favorite: At one point, a friend of
mine, while studying in the library,
observed 3 grown men take almost an
entire working day to move a not-so-large
bookcase from Main library to Koerner.
Bravo. And you just know these guys go
home at night and complain about how
politicians and athletes are getting paid
way more than they're worth. I enjoy
laughing at the absurdity of it all.
The GAP crazies.
Now, I'm all for standing up for what you
believe in, but could the way they're sending their message be any less effective? I
mean it's dumb enough to simply go for
shock value when, on a university campus,
the majority of people pride themselves on
reasoning out a decision as important as
their stance on abortion. But if someone is
riding the pro-life/pro-choice fence, and
then gets compared to Hitler for thinking
that there might be at least some merit to
the pro-choice argument, they may start
thinking that they want to choose the side
that has a little fewer crazy people. Granted, the anti-GAP people aren't a whole lot
better. What it comes down to is that
nobody's opinion matters except that of the
pregnant woman, and if you're trying to
'educate' her to make the decision that you
think is right, fanaticism takes your cause
one giant step backwards. Sometimes you
just have to shake your head.
People with shitty facial hair.
I'm including myself in this one. From that
guy in the Backstreet Boys who looks like a
rat, to Scott Morrison from sportsnet, to
that woman at a will-remain-unnamed
Subway on campus, >-hitt\ facial
hair is all around us. I'm a bit ; IV
of an asshole, because I'm _//,
guilty of it too. These aie
the people that take a
look in the mirror in the
morning and say, "Yup,
that's pretty good" and
then leave the house
totally unaware that
they look like they've
given up on life.
Here's a bit of help: If
you have a chiclet-sized
tuft of hair on your chin
or just below your lip,
shave. If you find yourself
thinking 'if Brad Pitt can pull
off the unshaven look, so can I
shave. If you're a woman, and you
notice a constant barrage of 'Teen Wolf
jokes whenever you are around, please,
please shave. I am quite thankful to all of
my good friends who let me know when I
look like an asshole. Isn't that what friends
are for?
Harleqwhipped, Part III
Listening to arts majors spew bullshit.
We've all been there, sitting at a party or
bar when all of a sudden the conversation
turns from making fun of everything under
the sun, to obscure topics like biblical contradictions, middle eastern human rights,
and what, exactly, that falling frogs scene
in Magnolia was all about. And of course,
all the science majors sit back, and let the
artsies go to town. Why? Because we don't
have time to worry about irrelevant shit
like that while pursuing our useful
degrees, and nobody wants to hear about
how you totally fucked up your chem lab.
But sitting back listening to this, you realize that the only reason this person has that
much confidence is because they just got a
B+ on their paper on gender roles in Tess of
the D'Urbervilles because they managed to
eloquently restate everything that had
been talked about in class. But I let them
feel superior to me for the duration of the
conversation, secure in the realization that,
despite their assumptions, I've read Heart
of Darkness too, but I think it's a blatant rip
off of Apocalypse Now* It's also slightly
-■,. '•ati<=fying that, as soon as I graduated, I got a cool job, that is both
interesting and relevant to my
degree. Too bad there isn't a
(.urrent demand for political
scientists.
Having Smart Friends.
The one thing that keeps
me  afloat  though,   even
more than beer, are my
friends. I'm talking about
the   ones   that   can   have
meaningful        discussions
about politics, religion, sports
and relationships, while still
making, fun of everything under
the sun. And when a good Oedipus
joke is in order, they understand what
I'm talking about. It's a beautiful thing real-
iy-
*}ust a note for those with a sub-par grasp of
the obvious: The Apocalypse Now thing? Yes,
I was joking.
Dan Anderson
One Interesting Fellow
Hey ffifoj ^'m s***$ .wmttfat}
-fo ink 419 Pm&^W%%6^^°^ * ^^
1 «.^u ^^^^t^^-     %
3: Page Six
THE FOUR THIRTY TWO
5 November 2002
Insani-Ichty What?
Gill Gunson
Fish Foiled
I'm having a problem with my fish. But
before I tell you why, let me give you
the background information.
Fish: for when you can't have a REAL pet
As much as I miss having something furry
to feed and cuddle, in lieu of a boyfriend I
decided to get a fish, the only live-in companion I'm allowed in residence. I bought a
fishbowl the size of a beer mug and was
given the fish on discount. Because really,
it is the plastic container one wants, and
not the pet itself, in the same way that
hamster wheels are so much fun to play
with on their own.
Anyway, my fish is a betta. That's what we
used to call Siamese fighting fish until the
name became politically incorrect along
with killer whales and other gratuitously
violent words that invoke hostile behaviour in children exposed to such language.
And speaking of violence...
Ichthyarmageddon
A friend of mine and his roommate were
woken up one night by a loud crash, and
found that their shelving unit had collapsed under the weight of their 30-year-
old fish tank. Personally, I believe that it
was the amount of organisms and algae
growing on the sides of the tank that
brought its total weight past the shelf's
maximum capacity, but that's another
story. In any case, the tank fell to the
ground, and tipped over. Luckily it hadn't
spilled that much and all fish were
accounted for, minus one, which was
either buried under the gravel at the bottom of the tank, or is behind the TV (in any
case, never to be found again). How sad for
the fish, a victim of IKEA furniture instructions.
The problem
I seem to have a lot of problems with fish.
Even in high school, and when I had a
boyfriend, I once had three goldfish. One
morning I noticed that one of them was
practically dead but I left it to die naturally. I came back from school that afternoon
to find that same fish floating about the
tank, missing its torso. Like in cat cartoons,
the dead fish contained only a head, tail,
and a skeleton in between. It seemed that
the other two goldfish were cannibals and
had probably plotted that third fish's death
for days (I'm sure a day is like a month in
fish years). But the deceased was avenged
as the two evil ones died soon after. The
moral of the story? If you're going to be
eaten, be sure to catch a contagious, fatal
disease beforehand.
Insaniquarium
There's this game on the Internet called
Insaniquarium, or as I like to call it, Insani-
carpaltunnelsyndrome, in honour of the
WCB forms I will have to fake when the
game's incessant mouse clicking cripples
me completely. This game gives you a fish
tank where you buy fish and feed them
and eventually they start to shit coins. Life
on the fish farm isn't all happiness and
profits, however: "Beware! Aliens will try
to eat your fish! Click to zap them!" it
warns on the sidebar. Boy, am I impressed
when video games are so realistic. Because
really,%that's the greatest threat to fish owners today: invaders from outer space eating
their money-minting guppies.
The problem, really
So now that I've padded my article
enough to meet the 432's minimum word
count, I'll get back to the issue at hand. My
fish is obsessed with self-pleasuring.
Which really isn't that strange considering
I had renamed it Wanker when its previous
namesake had ruined England's chances at
the World Cup (David Seaman, whose
name in itself would be worthy of a pun if
I didn't consider myself better than that
sort of base humour).
Wanker spends all day swimming in circles, rubbing itself up against its plastic
tree. Now, far be it from me to deny it such
pleasure as it might have learned by example; I mean from other fish, of course. Yes.
When have I rubbed myself up against a
tree? But the tree keeps getting dislodged,
so I keep finding it floating at the top of the
bowl (the tree, not the fish). And to replace
the tree I have to remove the fish itself
from the bowl, because the bowl is so
small, and Wanker bites. Hell, this fish
fluffs its gills at my webcam, it's so aggressive. Friends of mine suggest that the fish
deserves a larger tank, but the fish bowl
manufacturer insisted that this is the correct size for a betta. If it's not, somebody,
quick, call the SPCA!
Last time I found the tree floating about I
took it out and promptly lost it somewhere, so my fish has been without its
marital aid for over a week now. Boy, does
it look frustrated. Or bored. Actually, I'm
not really sure what it's feeling, but it has
stopped moving to the point where I have
to tap the glass every once in a while to get
it to make a reaction.
I am going to find the plastic tree, and I
am going to try to find some way to secure
it in the gravel so that Wanker may continue its sexual expression unhindered. Also
because it's much more entertaining, for
me, since the fish won't excrete loose
change.
I Couldn't See The Forest
For The Trees In My Ass
roadkill
Graeme Kennedy
ia2L fenderbenf
the plot is hatched
Nature has vowed to make my life
miserable. I don't blame her,
though, as I pretty much started
the relationship on the wrong foot. The
story starts in preschool when we were
hatching eggs in an incubator. The plan
was that the class would put a few eggs
under a lightbulb and in a few days,
presto, a flock of cute little friendly chicks
would be underfoot. This plan went awry
in moments, as you might expect, since
preschoolers and eggs don't mix. They do,
however, perform a good approximation
of 'beat'.
Well, it wasn't all that bad, but I have a
special extra billion years in purgatory for
my egg treatment: I decided to help the little chick along by puncturing the shell in
advance with a tack. You know, give him a
little head start, that sort of thing. What a
horrible mistake that was. Especially for
the chick. Not at all daunted by the fact
that my chick ("Ralph"), which I expected
to be the first to materialize due to the
handy, easy-to-open shell, was well overdue after the other victims limped their
ways out of their shells, I continued to be
optimistic about Ralph's apparent shyness.
However, eventually the smell alone was
an irrefutable indicator that I was not to be
responsible for living things in the future.
And Nature's plans for me began to
unfold.
is it okay to get a buzz before noon?
You have to understand that I was a child
of the 70s. This meant that women everywhere were relying on the authority of Dr.
Benjamin Spock to help them raise their
children. One of these suckers was the
woman I refer to as 'mom.'
Part of this disturbing set of advice Dr.
Spock doled out in his famous tome in an
effort to help a generation of children live
longer and prosper was for mothers to
meter out their attention in strategic quantities. Specifically, he advocated that
attending every call for mommy would
stunt an independent personality. Maybe,
but the problem is that a mother can't
determine the importance of a call without
getting to the child. So you see the problem: what if the mom ignores an emer
gency?
Like my bee sting. Which wouldn't normally be more than a painful experience,
except for my allergy. So, one swollen blue
kid later, mom decided it was time to toss
the first of several baby owner's manuals
into the trash.
never cry, coyote
Which brings me to the most current
episode, which I refer to as 'the rollerblade
incident.' Again, some background information: I suck at rollerblading. Nevertheless, I am determined to improve. So, that's
fact number two: I am bone-headed about
going beyond my abilities.
Which in the case of rollerblading took the
form of the Seymour Demonstration forest
. . . about a 20km blade, mostly up and
down long steep hills. So, to start, I handled hills by jamming the brake into the
ground until it either started to melt from
the friction, caught a twig (it is fall, after
all), or tripped me up on a pebble. Eventually I discovered that what goes down
must come up, and it just became common
practice to ride out the hills and slow down
when the slope gradually tilted upward. I
got quite good at this.
The fundamental flaw in my plan was the
assumption that speed was irrelevant
because I would not have to stop for obstacles. Like wolves. Like the coyote I hit in
the ass. Like the coyote who would go to
the right when I went to the right; left
when I went left. The slow motion pas de
deux that only an imminent collision can
inspire. The little shit wanted to get hit.
So as I catapulted through the air and into
the ditch, time slowed down and I had
opportunity to think about three things ...
one: that contrary to popular myth, wild
animals can be pretty clueless, even when
there's a 1501b monkey on wheels hurtling
toward them. Two: that when I land, one
pissed off lupus is going to jog over and
casually pull a vein out of my neck, and
three: that this would be a really bad time
for somebody to come by and see me die.
Fortunately, the coyote chose to call it
even, snapped out of his daze, and darted
off into the woods. I live to tell you the tale,
and moreover, to head of for a Lions hike
this weekend.
Nature, my old enemy, we will meet
again, but this time, on my terms ...
next time: graetne gets "grouse ground"
HEY EVERYONE! IT'S BACK
Outside between
Chemistry A-block and Hebb Theatre
Want to be published?
Write for the Paradigm, SUS's serious Science magazine.
If you are interested in writing or have any other questions,
email the432@hotmail.com as soon as possible.
Officially, the deadline is November 6, but if you are keen,
I might let you squeeze in an article after the deadline. 5 November 2002
THE FOUR THIRTY TWO
Page Seven
The Drawers of SUS
Dan Yokom
VP External
YES!! Planning for Science Week is
finally under way. We had a general
committee meeting on Tuesday, 29
October to meet everyone and go over
what this year will involve. We decided to
break the committee down into three
groups, which will all meet independently
once a week. These sub-committees will
be:
1. Planning and Charity: Meets Mondays,
5pm, in LSK 200. This sub-committee will
be responsible for the planning and organization of the events, speakers, and chari
ty fundraising that will take place during
Science Week.
2. Promotions: Meets Tuesdays, 5pm, in
LSK 200. They will be responsible for the
advertising, and promotional materials
before and during Science Week.
3. Sponsorship: Meets Wednesdays, 5pm,
in LSK 200. These people will be responsible for producing materials for and communicating with Science Week sponsors
(who donate prizes and money to be given
away during Science Week.)
If you are interested in getting involved in
any of these committees then please come
out to our meetings or email me at
dwyokom@interchange.ubc.ca for more
information.
Chris Zappavigna
Senate
The October Senate meeting was cancelled, but the committee work never
ends. I recently had a Senate Admissions Committee meeting and a document
was distributed regarding the province's
changes to the high school curriculum.
If you would like to see this document,
simply e-mail me at cjzappav@inter-
change.ubc.ca, and I will forward it onto
you. I'd like the opinions of as many science students as possible, as it is my job to
relay your thoughts and concerns back to
Senate.
Other than that, I hope you had a safe and
Happy Halloween.
BOO!
Sameer Wahid
Public Relations
SUS is proud to announce the return of
Kiss The Pig! Kiss the Pig is SUS's
annual fundraising event for the
Canadian Gene Cure Foundation as part of
their Jeans for Genes campaign. A number
of teachers have been selected to participate in this event, and starting Thursday
Nov. 14th, they will be taking donations in
class. Make sure that you come on out and
donate to your prof! The professors who
receive the most donations will then get
the honour and privilege of kissing a swine
at the Kiss the Pig event on November
22nd, outside the SUB. So, stay tuned -
maybe your professor has been selected! If
you have any questions regarding the
event, please e-mail me at wahid@inter-
change.ubc.ca
AMS Access
Dan Yokom
VP External
23 October 2002
U-TREK (a.k.a U-Pass)
Representatives from UBC and Translink
gave presentations to AMS Council regarding the progress of the U-Pass deal
between AMS, UBC and Translink. Negotiations are still going on but here are the
important points of the currently discussed
deal:
1. Full bus pass through all GVRD zones
2. $20/month for each semester a commuting student is registered at UBC
3. $15/month for each semester a residence student is registered at UBC
4. No fee increase for 2 years
5. Increased service to UBC including the
Night-Owl Service on Friday and Saturday
night (woohoo!!)
6. The pass would be mandatory for all
UBC students except Co-op students outside of the GVRD, and areas not serviced
by transit.
7. The pass would be a photo-id magnetic
strip card and will hopefully be incorporated into the SmartCard when that comes
to UBC.
However, negotiations are still underway
so this deal may change. If all goes according to plan then we may see a referendum
later this year to add the cost of the U-
TREK card to your student fees. If you
have any questions or concerns please
email me, Daniel Yokom, SUS External VP
at dwyokom@interchange.ubc.ca or Tara
Learn, AMS External VP at
vpexternal@ams.ubc.ca.
AMS Safewalk Sustainability Fund
AMS is looking to the university to pick
up the funding lost due to government
cuts. This money would not only support
the lost funds but also go towards upgrading the radio system used by Safewalk, add
an additional 2 person shift each night to
help relieve high demand for the service,
and hopefully they will also be able to add
a new dispatch center in the South Campus
to increase walker efficiency.
Differential Tuition
Despite the results of last year's referendum the university is still looking into
applying differential tuition. This basically
means that students in each faculty would
pay different tuition costs. If you have any
thoughts or concerns with this issue that
you would like us to relay to the AMS and
the university then please email me at
dwyokom@interchange.ubc.ca.
Alcohol Policy Review
The university is currently looking into
their alcohol policies. Research is currently
ongoing so if you are having a bzzr garden
or attending one, or even just enjoying one
of our on campus establishments, please be
responsible and show the university that
we are indeed mature students that
deserve the right to control our own pubs
and alcoholic events.
Inter-Faculty
Publications Office
Ben Warrington
Publications
As was recently printed in the
Ubyssey, we are indeed currently
in the process of developing the
Inter-Faculty Publications Office idea. The
main point to this endeavour is to provide
a location where undergraduate newspapers, such as the 432 and the nEUSpaper can
work together on developing ideas and
sharing resources. It is meant to develop a
community among the various papers on
campus. Secondly, the office is intended to
be a place where other faculties or even
clubs can go to start their own publications. This would make available the
resources necessary (computers, printers,
office space, and so on) to start a publication without requiring the organization to
lay out large sums of initial cash. It would
also provide a pool of knowledge and talent of which the-new publications could
take advantage.
An office space is currently being worked
into the next round of SUB renovations
which will go before the AMS council on
Wednesday. After that, final plans for the
design of the office will be developed in
the coming weeks.
Also, a variety of grant opportunities are
currently being sought to cover the startup costs of this project. Any remaining
costs would be shared between the major
members, which currently look to include
the Science Undergraduate Society, the
Engineering US, the Commerce US, and
possibly one or two others. Once the office
is in place, other groups could then make
use of the space and resources for a fee
covering supplies and other costs.
Finally, discussions are underway to finalize the administration of the office. Most
likely, things will be run by a committee
consisting of the directors of publications
from each major partner.
If all goes well, the office could be ready
as early as summer 2003.
No Offense, but. . .
Emily Casey
Offended
Isn't it just great how polite today's society is? We hold open doors for each
other, mind our p's and q's, and box
with nice cushy gloves on to soften the
blows. Then there are the other gloves people wear, the ones to protect themselves.
These gloves can be referred to as the "No
Offense Clause". This is a practice often
used by people attempting to appear helpful or nice when really they're just being
bitchy.
Here is an example of the NOC in practice: "No offense, but you look really ugly
today." Now, would you be offended?
Well, too bad, you have no right to be
because they said "No offense". They carefully covered their own ass before kicking
yours.
Clever users of the No Offense Clause
may disguise it in another form. For example: "I'm not trying to be mean or anything,
but your butt looks really big in those
pants." Or, my own personal favorite;
someone says something clearly offensive,
you protest and then receive a defensive:
"I'm just saying." No apology, just a
description of the previous action. Yes, I'm
aware you were 'just saying' that I have a
fat ass, but I'm pissed off nonetheless.
It's almost more annoying when someone
expects you not to get angry with him or
her just because they have acknowledged
ahead of time that they are out of line. As if
allowing you to brace yourself will diminish nastiness of a comment. If they know
ahead of time that you will be offended,
they should just not say whatever the hell
they were going to say. Being consciously
bitchy is far worse than accidentally
putting your foot in your mouth. At least
when it's accidental you can claim spontaneous stupidity and legitimately apologize.
In this time of wordplay and
innuendoes, insults are the one thing you
really shouldn't mess with. Say what you
mean, and don't sugarcoat it. Or keep your
mouth shut and your dumb comments to
yourself. No offense.
My Urinal Runneth Over
Con-
by
I 5hiri""Dc25ian Contest
Are you a SciencertJnderg'aduate'7
Get Creative, Let t^e colours flow.
WIN!
The prize is $101.00
Simply design a T- Snirt wit^ t^o Slogan:
"SCIENCE UBC"
and drop il off at the SUS office (LSK 2m2).
Deadline: November 1 A, 2002
Include your ^ame and o-maii _
IT IS that SIMPLE!
:      ■    ■       ■■■ •= .■o^ra,j*j "..'Hi-v Ei-"o: .-. Ibejudged
._ -.._".     -   _ _■  " ' -■-_ ■.;...: ..■_■ ■■■     _   "    :_■_ ..-".'._ J byemail.
For more information contact FYC at fycsus@hotmail.com.
I Page Eight
THE FOUR THIRTY TWO
5 November 2002
Come Fail Away
Andy Martin
Meticulous Apathy
I'm facing my first possible fail in my
scholastic career. Five years of near
straight-As has comes to a head as a
string of bad scheduling, customary comic
misfortunes and grad school's new rule
making anything sub-80% a failing mark
have combined to force my Ph.D. future to
one bloodied knee. The harder I tried, the
better I became, and the rules got harder
and stupider until it became no fun anymore. And if I FUBAR this one, that's it. 'IT'
it! Done. Thanks for playing, tell the security guard on your way out I said you
could have a lollipop.
Which honestly bears the question: 'Why
am I writing this when I should be working?' Maybe it's to exorcize my procrasti-
natic demons for the couple of weeks it'll
take to get back on track (tho' it's interesting how quickly an exorcism becomes
short-term appeasement).
Or maybe it's that little voice (Ben) asking
me to write every other week. I've always
found it amusing that the word 'conscience' starts with 'con', as in opposite or
'pro' and as in 'conning me out of a good
time'. Then it ends with 'science', which
really makes no sense whatsoever.
Or maybe I just need a couple of hours
with the speakers applying large doses of
aural frustration-relief while I make pseudo-sense of the latest twisting junction in
my life.
But I think it's just that I've ceased to care
anymore, and have decided to just enjoy
the ride. The deeper I get into the world of
ecological research, the more bullshite I
find myself in, and the less I want to do it.
From my first job after the B.Sc, working
for high-school dropouts, to getting 2 M.Sc.
thesis projects cut down by other people's
incompetence/apathy last year, it has
become slightly disheartening. I've always
been one to enjoy a good struggle towards
a virtuous goal, but I've evolved an even
more admirable skill over the last few
years: the ability to realize when something's futile and to cut all ties to the detrimental situation. Truly, disenchantment is
a virtue.
And what happens when the uber-jaded
version 2.0 comes in contact with its antithesis?
In the latest annual batch of frosh I am
guiding through the harrowing Biol, I was
put in charge of one particularly extreme
case. Every lab requires an outline to be
handed in, which I mark either 'check' or
'check-minus' (75%).
A little math: There are 20 labs. Outlines
are worth 7% of the lab mark, which is
worth 40% of the course. Therefore, each
outline is worth 7/20 x 0.4 = 0.14% of the
final mark.
I handed down a check-minus to one
character, and she came up to me minutes
later on the verge of tears, asking how this
could have happened to her. I looked at
her, and illustrated my precise level of
compassion with the timeless adage
'You're fuckin' pre-med, aren't you?'
She then went off on all these marks she
said she had to get, in 1st year, to get into
med school. I gave her the extra assignment of going home and figuring out
exactly how much of her finalmark she
had lost. I kept myself from asking her to
undergo the brutal task of calculating her
odds at med school, as I have a sense of a
shred of compassion left. This deterred her
reaction only slightly when I handed the
next outline back with the same mark.
I think a lot of people don't consider the
costs of actually succeeding before they do
it. I've seen countless people addicted to
jobs they hardly enjoy. And I've seen it kill
people, literally. And they'll be the first
ones against the wall when the revolution
comes. Think aboot it. Who is the target of
even uprising, coup or similar outburst in
history? The guy in charge. In some countries, a king's reign lasts about as long as
the palace air freshener. Then it's out to the
gallows with the infidel as the next flash in
the pan absolute power comes into effect.
All the while, the lowly evil advisor who
caused all the problems keeps his place.
And isn't it better to be left alive after the
revolution to hatch another evil scheme?
And is there not a grand beauty in true
failure? I mean really really fucking up? A
79% B+ makes you feel like crap, yet a 2% F
really give you something to cheer about
and makes a fabulous story. And that
recorded voice on the phone sounds so
happy when it belts out '...Ffffffff...[shave-
and-a-haircut-2-bits!].
Like the fact that any extreme sport's
'bails' video far outranks any true display
of skill in terms of true entertainment. I've
been skiing more than half my life, and
nothing beats the thrill of causing a yard
sale in the middle of a run after a brief
argument on solid state physics with an
inconvincible spruce, or taking a jump that
God never intended you to.
But I have to admit that nothing would get
accomplished without perseverance.
Almost everything in my life can be interpreted as the result of some form of less-
than-perfection when I was aiming for
100%. But then I can look around again
and see that I've accomplished a lot of cool
things, and it's only through the struggle
that I got here and can get further. That
79% may not be perfect, but it gets you to
Level 2, where you get another swing and
another step. I guess there's nothing to do
but keep trying, and take what comes my
way. The trials and cheap shots may be a
bitch, but that's how it goes. My marks
may not be the best, but they'll get me
where I want to go. I may never reach the
top, but I'll enjoy the view from wherever I
can get to.
So there's nothing to do but make an
appropriate mix tape, lower the shoulders,
and make a spectacle of it. A glorious
recovery or a spectacular crash. Either way,
always give 'em a show.
"I cannot be beaten, I cannot be like you, I
cannot be otherwise, no matter what you
do."
"This life is played for keeps. Once More
Into The Breach."
"Why do you build me up, buttercup,
baby, just to let me..."
Dammit, so close.
— -■        v. \u   iv *
I want to see the 4,32 logo painted on the engineering cairn. Do this for me and you will be showered with praise and four tick
Cold Fusion on January 31. Be the first to paint a reasonable facsimile of the logo covering most of at least one side of the cairn, take a
picture of yourself with your artistic triumph, and send the picture in. This contest is open until January 31. Don't let me down.
Science Undergraduate Society
LSK 202
We
ARE
HERE.

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