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UBC Publications

UBC Publications

The Ubyssey Mar 9, 2001

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Array mC Archive S^iiai
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Are protein
really going to
pump you up?
is secure m
HIS MANHOOD! I Friday. March 9.2001
Page Fridav-the Ubyssey Magazine
Salaries + free air and accommodation.
Easily save 15K in one year. Degree
required. Tel: 408-3760 Fax: 408-3761.
Info at: www.asia-pacific-
CREW CHIEFS are needed for the Vancouver area. Pay is based on skill, tenaci-
-, and efficiency. Call Chris at 221-8223
for more info.
SWIM DIRECTOR & instructor/lifeguards for summer kids camp near Montreal. Send resume JOBS<?pripstein-
Opportunity to make a real difference in
high functioning 2 year old autistic boy's
life. Valuable training provided. Flexible
hours, men and women welcome. Please
call Cindy 9 827-0014.
OTHER STUDENTS from around the
world. Looking for volunteers to go
canoeing, hikings skating, bowling etc
with our internadonal students. Especially need volunteers to help with a soccer
league. Call Jim 515-7535.
RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS NEEDED for doctoral student research. Virtual
Reality Treatment study for driving phobia. Call Jaye 868-3890
VEGGIE LUNCHES, every Tuesday
12:30-2:30 pm in the Penthouse (3rd
floor) of the Grad Cenrer, 6371 Crescent
Rd, vegetarian and vegan food, suggested
donation: $4.00
22-28A. 10-80% off. Philosophy,
Anthropology, Education, Sociology, Psychology, Ecology, Geography, Literary
Theory ... Development, Cultural,
Media, Labour, First Nadons', Queer and
Women's Studies. 311 W. Hastings
(Hasting & Cambie)
FEST1VA 2001, A Multi-Cultural Celebration! Friday, Mar 23 5-10pm. Come
and Celebrate! Tickets $3 in advance $5
at door, www.international.ubc.ca, adri-
cnne.bouris€,ubcca or 822-1265.
GET READY FOR GO KART RACING!!! This exciting event is brought to
you by Chinese Art Student Society,
March 24, Richmond Go Kart Track.
For mote info call Mandy <3> 603-1726
LEARN ENGLISH NOW - Conversation, Writing, College survival,
Private/group lessons. 7 yrs. Teaching
exp. Nancy 984-0116.
ESSAY SERVICE - Need help with any
of your essays? Take the help of highly
qualified graduates. Call toll-fee to Custom Editing and Essay Service: 1-888-
345-8295, customessay@sprint.ca
TUTORS AVAILABLE For All Elementary, High School, and Undergraduate
Subjects! Toll Free 1-866-888-8677
DIAL: 25-Party, Ads'Jokes'Stories &
MORE! Free Call!* 18+ *Try it NOW!!!
Come check out "The Originals" line of
jewelry at the AMS Used Bookstore,
"SUBTITLES", in the display case,
(located in the bottom floor of the SUB).
Unique handmade earrings for between
$0.99 and $2.49!
or Classified,
call 822-1654
or visit SCU^
fi&om 245,
.-¥?_■  '>■';■"■:',■''■'. "■-'.    .t ,,,•■' -; .v. ,; -.- ,.\^ ■-  ■ ~.V;7_-_
Oi'juslha^aii I
If y oil ar 9 a ^iiiteii 11
classifieds for FREE!
Room 245 in the SUB
or call 822-1654.
Between classes
^^^i^7 •- ^>" ^>-^®i^»rof l**h(, of' cii JtMtS^is ;yV ^"; -;- yS ■"^-Ai y
-UNiCEpllBCis hosting an evening^including d: multicultural dinner *
.arid perfprnian.Ces. Ffiday/YM^r. '9> 6:30prn, in the SUB Ballroom,
Tickets $10 at the door or: irtYadyance at Unicef@club.ams.ubc.caY
:: k    International Women's Etay ev^nt       %
■ Wpmeft "will gather at 4 rally at.pjafidview. Park (Commercial Drive and,'
Ch4rIes,Street) on^^ Saturday/Man lOY 11 lOOani in celebration of the
;■' International Women's Day; ajid the World March of Women. Speakers
at the; eyent, "Struggle and Celebration;" include JMoirrie Baradarart;
Yreceipient of the 2QQ0 International^^Hurnariftigrits Award, Faye Blaney.
of the Aboriginal Women's Action NetWork, an iriany others'. For moret
: infprin'atiphY contact Michelle Dodds (984-.4697Y kdodds@sfu:daJ or}
Children, (arid their parents) interested in traveling to the'heart of
irriaginatiph and fantasies are invited to Storytirtie at the Fraricophone /
Cultural Centre lobby, 1551 7t>i;Ave. Saturday, Mar. 10, 11:00am. Free v
" Admission. For more inforrhatiori, call Sylyain Aumohj; at (6Q4) 736-'
:9806Y Y:;;7;sYV '''-'.Y,'7Yf7-Y7 H• • K'7''■';.'■•■"'■■ ^'V - ^ ?'■ .^77
^..J^C^i^ pup y7>7
Brent arid Mara Akins pferfprrn works by Vivaldi, leleinanri, Prokofiev,'
and others'oh violinS. Saturday/ fer. 10, 2:00prii, at the Roedd4 House ;
rv|usetim, 1413 Barclay Street; $25.00. Includes refreshrhehtsY For '
:reservations; call 684^7Q40.Y'Y 7 7 v':(''-4 .".•,'■ Y.'.':>'■■'.•'■
-; 1V y Jvi 7:; k ;yC :. ;-;^ llq jly ■ for-; Tiber v; -: ^ Yy7y:
r For th£ anniversary of the Tibetan people's uprising against the 6ccu->
patioil oftheir hbineland.by the People's Rep^ublic of China; supporters
wijl gatheraf Robson Square at ijOOpm on: Saturday; Mar, 10, arid
rnafch to the Chine'sfe consulate. Speakers include Svend Robirisoh,
■ Ljbby Davies, arid Kafe^Woznpw, Fpr more information, call Tenziri
^ Lha^rigpa at 732-991^
Y ;       Betvveen clashes is a free puplic serviceof the Uiyssey.
'224       Y '•* 7! K^a^e fax submissions to 822-92 79Y '..77 '   .7'"7
7      ;j^
7 7 m^
rfiore piepe. IVIaybc3 two, If you
thihl|tHat you're one of them,,
cotr\e talk to Daliah in room
;MlkiOr call her at 6i22-2301.
Aiicfa Miifer V ;
rDOncan MeHtigh
Ernie Beaudin
Graeme Worthy
Holland Gidney
Hywel Tuscano
Laura Blue
Michelle Mossop
Nicholas Bradley
Regina Yung
Ron Nurwisarv f
Sarah Morrison ;
Scott Bardsley
Tara Westover
Tom Peacock
Tristan Winch
G p<drU I Hat i n g if d ftp $
S pdr ts Ed ito r w(^0$
Gofcfy idit0rv^ ;7^ffg
iy<3M{S gcjitdr's (^^7
P fdc(M h t j o n Ma nag e r
Expected tinrie commitrverjl: i$ at leasit 50 flQCits p&rS/v6ek per position.
Le^ters/BeseareH GpprdiHdtpil %tfi     7
Expected time commitment is at least 15 hours per week per position^.
Position papers are due by Wednesday, March 14 at
12:30pm. Voting will taKd
March 22 to Wedn^sda^ ^
Ubyssey staff mehnfer^in good standing. For ahy
queistions, or to see a jdb description, please contact
Daliah at 822-2301, or come to SUB 241 K. Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
Friday. March 9.20011
The controversy rages over protein supplements,
with athletes on one side and doctors on the other.
Kimberly Payne wipes the sweat from her
brow with a fresh white towel as she finishes teaching a session of BootCamp, a
high-intensity conditioning class offered at
UBC's BirdCoop, the popular gym in the
Student Recreational Centre.
Still out of breath, she walks across the
chalk-dusted concrete floor, past the treadmills,
stair-climbing machines, and weight benches to
the staff lounge. After her 90-minute class, she
needs to refuel. Payne, a bodybuilding champion in 1999, opens a cupboard and pulls out a
plastic container of chalky white powder. She
dumps one scoop into a blender, adds water,
and mixes for a few seconds. She pours the.
frothy mixture into a glass and drinks, just as
she will during three of the eight meals she will
eat today, 25 grams of protein—the same
amount found in a small piece of chicken.
The amount of protein an athlete needs is a
highly controversial topic and the subject of an
ongoing debate between nutritionists, health
professionals, and athletes themselves. At the
heart of the controversy are protein supplements, products that some athletes say help
build and maintain muscle mass, but that
nutritionists declare a waste of money and a
poor replacement for 'real' food.
Government health boards recommend
that healthy North Americans consume 0.8
grams of protein per kilogram of body mass
each day. Someone weighing 70kg (154
pounds), therefore, requires about 56g of protein each day. Keep in mind that one cup of
milk has 8g of protein, a slice of bread has 2g,
a half-cup of cooked legumes (beans and peas)
has 7g, and a piece of chicken the size of a
computer disk has 26g of protein. By eating
three complete meals in a day, this 70kg person would easily meet their recommended
protein intake.
'Most North Americans eat in excess of the
recommended amount,' says Kathy Keiver, a
professor of nutrition at UBC. She explains
that 'safety factors' are considered in the recommended amount, which accounts for individual differences. The average person really
needs only about 0.6g/kg, but the value is
inflated to insure the needs of the majority of
people are met
"The requirements for protein for athletes
may be a bit higher," says Keiver, "but we're
talking about an elite athlete, not just the average work-out two to three times per week." She
adds that some evidence suggests that serious
athletes may require 1.2g-1.6g of protein per
kilogram of body mass, "but I'm not sure if
eveiyone believes it*
Using this suggested requirement, a 70kg
athlete would need between 84g and 112g of
protein per day. 'Still, with these highly augmented requirements,* says Keiver, "you can
do it by dietary means."
"Even if you're a vegan athlete you can do
it," she quips.
Payne, who weighs 60kg (130 pounds), and
is 160cm (5'3") tall, says that it would be too
difficult for her to complete her protein consumption of at least 150g per day simply by
eating food. "I'd be bringing in two coolers of
food every morning," she jokes. By consuming
such high levels of protein, Payne says, she is
able to work out longer and harder. She also
says that using supplemets makes it easier to
maintain her current level of fitness, an
important consideration should she ever
decide to return to bodybuilding competitions.
The reason for the protein supplement
hype among athletes, says Susan Barr, another professor of nutrition at UBC, is "the simplistic belief that they want to put on muscle so
they need to eat protein.' But she explains that
it's easy to show that you need only consume
an extra 15g of protein per day to increase
your lean muscle mass by one pound per
week. She finds the enormous amounts of protein consumed by athletes 'mind-boggling,'
stressing that to build muscle, a body needs
three things: 'enough protein, which is a small
amount, exercise stimulus, and some rest'
After Payne finishes her workout, her body
keeps working. For several hours after the
physical activity, the muscles of her body
increase their rate of protein synthesis. Her
muscles grow as they assemble the proteins to
be used later to perform specific tasks. The
building blocks for protein synthesis in
Payne's body come from the protein in her
diet Once ingested, dietary protein is broken
down into a pool of individual amino acids,
which.the body then draws on to construct the
particular proteins it needs.
Payne, 26, says that the most common reason for using supplements is convenience. In
addition to working 30 hours per week at the
by Eric Jandciu
BirdCoop, Payne is taking three courses in
preparation for medical school, and has a
four-year-old son, 'Being busy, it is a lot easier
to take some protein than to plan your meals
in the morning.'
"There is no sector of the population that is
as busy as the student athlete,* agrees Rob
Lloyd-Smith, a sports physician at UBC
Student Health Services. So he 'can appreciate
where the pressure to get their nutrition in
that fashion comes from." Still, he says, the
preferred way to get protein is from a balanced diet "It tends to be more complete and
it's not devoid of other nutrients.'
'Anyone with a diet that high in protein is
probably short on fruits and vegetables, vitamins, minerals and fibre," says Barr. "They
are also missing out on constituents of food
that we don't know a lot about" A class of compounds called phytochemicals just recently
began receiving widespread attention, but is
far from being understood. Barr points out
for example, that mushrooms are composed
of over 500 chemicals. Surely a supplement
can't account for all of them, since we don't
even know what all of them are.
But this logic hasn't spread to many members of the gym community. "I don't eat'fruit
because I don't find it all that useful. It
reminds me of sugar water," says another
BirdCoop employee, who prefers to reniain
anonymous. He's not worried about missing
out on any of fruit's nutrients because, he
See "Protein"on page 4 I Friday. March 9.2001
Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
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Cecil & Ida Green Visiting Professorships of Green College
Fred Dretske
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Stanford University
Senior Lecturer, Duke University, North California
What Psychologists Can Learn from Philosophers
Tuesday, March 13th at 4:00PM
Seminar in Buchanan Penthouse
Why Are We Conscious?
Wednesday, March 14th at 12:30pm
Green Public Lecture in Buchanan D-239
How Do You Know You Are Not a Zombie?
Thursday, March 15th at 1:00pm
Seminar in Buchanan B-216
Is Seeing Believing?
Thursday, March 15th at 7:30pm
Fireside Chat in Graham House, Green College
Animal Minds
Saturday March 17th at 8:15pm
Woodward IRC 2
Vancouver Institute Lecture
Wfiase Clip and -Sua!-   FREE PUBLIC LECTURE?
"Protein"continued from page 3
says, they are included in the 'meal
replacement' he uses at levels above
the recommendations. Meal
replacements contain some carbohydrates and fat in their powdery
mixture to balance out the protein.
"I'm taking around 250 grams of
protein,* he boasts, which is equivalent to eating about eight steaks or
roughly 20 peanut-butter-and-jelly
sandwiches on whole-wheat bread.
"And that's very moderate,' he
continues. Some of the people I
work with are up to around 400
grams per day.' This athlete
includes some vegetables in his diet
to fulfill his fibre requirement—a
friend of his, "who lives off of meal
replacements and cottage cheese,"
has some problems with regularity.
"You can't live on bio-engineered
food Your system will break down,"
says Claudine Delisle of Genesis
Nutrition, a Kitsilano store. Delisle has
many.customers who come in looking
specifically for protein supplements.
She adds that 'anyone involved in
sports can benefit from using protein
supplements,' but stresses the importance of using them as supplements.
Payne says that she doesn't
"know any bodybuilders who don't
use protein,' and that she suspects
that almost everyone in the gym
uses. them. Lloyd-Smith says that
'university students are smart people,' but the decision to use protein
supplements 'often tends to be an
emotional issue.' He says that
health food stores tell people what
they want to hear, while a nutritionist's or physician's recommendation
sounds boring in comparison.
"Really they get too much,' says
Cath Bray, a health consultant at
Semperviva, a high-end health food
store on Broadway. She always asks
customers about their diet when
they inquire about protein supplements, because often they don't
think they're getting enough protein, when in reality their food
intake is providing them with more
than the recommended amount
Apart from convenience, Payne
says, cost is the major factor in athletes' decisions to use protein supplements. She claims that it would
be too expensive to consume the
same amount of protein through her
diet alone. She says that by purchasing protein supplements in bulk,
she spends roughly $ 1 per serving,
so that in total she spends about $20
per week. The cost depends on the
brand name of the supplement and
the protein source, commonly whey,
soy and rice protein. Protein bars
are an even more convenient, but
also more expensive, option. These
range anywhere from $1.50 to $4
each and contain 21-32 g of protein.
"They like to have expensive
urine," says Jeremy Rezmovitz,
about athletes who take supplements. Rezmovitz, a personal trainer at the BirdCoop and a Master's
student in Human Kinetics says that
there is nothing else the body can do
with extra protein, so it is excreted.
Rezmovitz agrees that planning
bring meals requires more effort,
but says that 'you have to do it*
Rezmovitz goes by the rule of lg
of protein for every 1kg of body
mass. At about 6'4" tall and weighing almost 100kg, he needs lOOg of
protein per day, which he obtains by
eating a well-balanced diet As evidence for this, Rezmovitz scurries
around the staff office, displaying
what he has brought for dinner that
night two cans of tuna (32g of protein per can), four pieces of bread
(2g each), an apple, an orange, and
two bananas (about lg each). That's
76 g of protein in his dinner alone.
His other meals mean that he will
likely exceed his lOOgrecommenda-
LITTLE MISS MUFFETT... The BirdCoop juice bar will blend you
up a protein shake full of tasty whey, tara westover photo
tion without the use of supplements.
Also in the BirdCoop office is
Michael Wilson, a personal trainer
and third-year Human Kinetics student All this talk of food must be
making him hungry, since he opens
a can of beans in tomato sauce and
joins the conversation while eating
straight from the can. His mouth full
of beans, he points to the can, and
mumbles 'very low fat, very high
carbohydrate, and high in fibre and
protein.' There's about lOg of protein per half-cup of beans.
Neither Rezmovitz nor Wilson
claim to have a perfect diet. They
mention Chicken McNuggets and
pizza from the SUB. Rezmovitz adds
that on days when he has had a
mostly vegetarian diet, he may take
some extra protein. "It's called a
supplement for a reason,' he says.
"Unfortunately some guys that go
to the gym don't have moderation
and common sense,' says
Rezmovitz. "They feel that protein is
the only way to achieve their goal,'
when really they are excreting huge
excesses of protein, and wasting a
lot of money in the process.
Mike Elliott, a third-year history
student at UBC, started using protein
supplements this semester to
achieve a certain goal. He wanted "to
bulk up' to around 200 pounds so
that he would have more of an
advantage over his opponents while
playing winger on the varsity rugby
team. He put on ten pounds in two
weeks and the difference in his training was 'almost instantaneous,' he
says. The amount he was able to lift
at the gym increased significantly in
a matter of two weeks, something
that would normally take months.
Elliott had also increased his amount
of dietary protein, and was also supplementing his diet with Creatine, a
substance believed to enhance athletic performance but which has also
recently been linked to a potential
cancer risk. This combination makes
it difficult to know where the benefit
came from, but he says that 'even if
ifs a mental thing, I would be willing
to spend $50 every couple
months...if it gives me that extra
edge." Elliott recently reached his
original goal and stopped taking a
protein supplement "Within a week,
I dropped five pounds."
One perceived advantage of using
supplements is that they provide protein without the fat that usually
accompanies dietary protein. But
nutrionists question this logic,
because many "lean* or "low-fat*
meat and dairy products are now
available. Legumes, too, are low in fat
and relatively high in protein. Some
athletes claim that the digestibility of
plant protein is not as high. Barr says
that this is true, but notes that 'plant
proteins are 85 to 90 per cent as
digestible as non-plant proteins,' so
the difference is minimal.
Saying that an athlete's activities
are better fueled with extra protein
doesn't sit well with nutritionists. The
main difference between the exercising and non-exercising individual is
the amount of carbohydrate needed.
"You don't fuel your exercise with
protein," says Keiver, who explains
that protein is not a major source of
energy during normal physical activity. It's needed for building and maintaining muscle mass. Only for
endurance events and in.starvation
situations will protein become a significant source of energy.
Perhaps the only good news that
nutritionists have for athletes is that
there is no existing evidence to suggest that protein has any negative
effects in otherwise healthy people.
However, "you don't want a high
protein diet if you have any sort of
kidney problem,' says Keiver, or if
you have a condition that makes you
susceptible to kidney problems such
as diabetes. Lloyd-Smith says that
'as long as your kidneys are healthy
and you are reasonably hydrated,
there is no particular disadvantage."
Athletes sometimes complain of
cramping if they don't drink enough
water while using protein supplements. Payne also says that when
she consumes high protein and low
carbohydrate levels she gets
grumpy. Gas and bloating are other
common complaints.
Brian Warnke, a nurse at
Spectrum Health Care, says that in
some isolated cases a patient may
benefit more from taking a protein
supplement; "because it is easier for
them to take in." In the case of HIV
patients, for example, medication
can make patients nauseous, meaning that nutrients don't have a chance
to be absorbed. Warnke adds, however, that if you think you require extra
protein for intense physical activity,
"you can get it from food.'
Keiver claims that athletes'
obsession with protein supplements
is just another example of people
trying anything to enhance athletic
performance. But she calls it just
another fad, saying, 'people like to
take their supplements. We've
become a supplement culture.'
"Nutrition ranks right up there
with religion and politics—people
believe what they want to believe,
says the frustrated Barr. "If I'd gone
into theoretical math, people wouldn't argue with me as much.' ♦ Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
Friday. March 9.20011
Me &r\<i .ryiij art
at the SUB Art Gallery
until Mar. 9
Although the show is disjointed and of uneven
quality, I: A Collection of Thoughts, is worth
having a look at Well, maybe just a glance.
After all, once you realise that the three
students who put on the show have no formal
fine arts training, the show's rough edges soften a bit
Larry Ho, Kaveh Djahanshahi, and Sandy
Jakkavanrangsri are marketing, genetics, and
communications students, respectively, who
collaborated on what they hope is the first in a
series of shows.
Which brings up a significant (or maybe not
so significant) point: in the show's title, T' is
meant to be Roman numeral "one'-not the
first-person pronoun. A relief, really, as trying
to find a coherent "I" voice in this diverse show
would have been difficult
Jakkavanrangsri's installations and Ho's
photography are by far the stronger works,
showing both a maturity of content and
greater technical skill absent from
Djahanshahi's melodramatic ink and water-
colour pieces.
Jakkavanrangsri's work is intruiging but,
without explanation, loses some of its relevance. "2nd State'—a series of self-portraits
overlaid with images of rice bowls—would
have been much more interesting if she told
you the piece is based on a Chinese saying that
equates how satisfied you are in life with how
much rice you eat
The installation piece "Paper Dress* is a
life-size dress propped above a box of shredded paper. The dress is made out of newspaper articles about yuppies and New York architecture. Like the previous piece, this one doesn't really make its point unless you happen to
overhear that the shredded paper at the bottom was made.from Gap and Nike clothing
bags, implying a weary irony that might have
had a chance at cleverness if that detail were
apparent. '99 Encounters* is true interactive
art, where the viewer becomes the artist by
pulling out a popsicle stick and writing a message for the next viewer. Funny, though, how
getting a message like "Smoke weed every day'
doesn't feel like what Jakkavanrangsri had in
Ho's black and white photos of Australia
and Thailand are appealing and have an elegant quality to them, partly due to the fine
framing job. He deals nicely with the chaos of
floating Thai markets, swooping Sydney architecture, and two portraits of friends, and
although none of the photos are particularly
novel, they are clean and inviting.
In contrast, Djahanshahi's drawings, with
the exception of "Swingmen," are so heavy-
handed in subject that ifs difficult to care
much about the mediocre artistic style of the
ink and watercolour pieces at all. Solitary
chained figures with titles like "Helpless,
Nothing Matters Anymore...'—call me callous
but I can't quite swallow it Still, it's impressive
to see these students showing their work,
especially when you know they're writing
genetics midterms at the same time. ♦
good description of the installation piece
"Paper Dress." duncan m. mchugh photo
ietmrherchi Ciinerm: the best ads ctostreeio
-*.f.,?l   's
tgA'p*\      \
^K?#"-^iM if
at the Ridge Theatre
No longer playing
In 1927, at the ripe-old age of 21, Philo T.
Farnsworth, an uneducated farmer's son
transmitted the first electronic image, setting
the stage for the television revolution. Philo,
who I can only assume intended for his invention to further society's search for knowledge,
had to watch as his genius was bastardised
and used to pollute the minds of generations.
He told his children that 'there's nothing on it
worthwhile, and we're not going to watch it in
this household, and I don't want it in your
intellectual diet' What would he say if he had
lived to see the endless stream of unfunny sit
coms, Temptation Island-style debacles and
daytime talk shows? Well, there are always the
Every year, members of the Cannes
Advertising Film Festival sit down and sift
through thousands of commercials from
around the world to identify the cleverest, most
unforgettable 30-second mini-movies. The
commercials are divided into different categories—bronze, silver, and gold lions—though I
have yet to find the criteria for determining the
winners (I think that several of the bronzes
should have received golds and vice versa).
The show opened with the full-length J am
Canadian Molson's commercial, the only
Canadian commercial in the series, and winner of a bronze lion. Budget Rent A-Car's took
home multiple honours with its humorous
series of ads showing great deals combined
with not so great co-promotions, featuring
relaxing aromatherapy, personal jetpacks and
the Rent a Ranger be a ranger program. To-
trade also walked away with triple honours for
its ingenious commercials. Wasting million is
the infamous Superbowl ad that featured
nothing but a dancing chimp; Fund Manager
has a disgruntled traffic cop' confiscating a
freewheeling fund manager's golf clubs for
failing to beat his competitors; and Blow'd Up
shows an investor selling his stock after a
movie company announced its megabucks
movie would 'really blow.' But the winners'
content wasn't all just fun and games.
The Anti-Smoking Coalition's entries were
darkly humorous, but hit home. Each ad featured
individuals who are easily disliked—the nasty
stranger, the shallow debutante, the self-centred
boyfriend—being given cigarettes by a smiling
"friend* and then flashing the motto "If you really
hate someone, help them start smoking."
Amnesty International's ad went straight to the
jugular, depicting ayoung man being checked out
by a doctor. After listing all of his injuries, the doctor pronounces him ready for more beatings—the
audience did not utter a peep. Several entries,
however, had me reaching in vain for a remote.
This is one of those 'movies* that would
make a great rental, as you can switch it on
when the regular commercials come on, fast
forward through the slow points, and you
don't risk missing a whole lot ♦
• Designed primarily for non-business undergraduates
• For careers in Management, Finance and Accounting
Key features:
Extremely high job placement rates
The core of a great MBA, plus
• all course requirements for professional accounting designations
• co-op work terms integrated into the academic program
• advanced standing for students with business degrees
Please consult our website: www.rotman.utoronto.ca/mmpa
CICC & Not On Our Campus
A Poster contest
CONTEST CLOSES: March 14th, 2001
PRIZE    $500.00
3RD PRIZE    $250.00
Imagine a place without hatred, discrimination, stigma or prejudice. How would
you depict such a setting of understanding and respect for diversity?
The Cultural Committee for an Inclusive Campus Community at UBC and the "Not On
Our Campus" group are hosting a poster contest. The theme for the poster contest is
inclusivity. What does inclusivity mean to you? The winning entries will be the ones
that best reflect this theme. A cash prize of $1,000 dollars is being offered to the first;
■place contestant. All entries have to be submitted by March 14, 2001.
For contest rules and registration, please visit us at our web site at
http://www.geocities.com/inclusivity/index.htlml or contact the Information Desk at the
Student Union Building at 822-3777 or Natasha Aruliah in the UBC Equity office at
822-2153. 7 1 Friday. March 9.2001
44y42v-fi(*t*. Art, Theatre, Poetry Aid ttsistinc* ^
Page Friday-the Ubyssey Magazine
Friday. March 9.2001
Aim Activist  Film aimo  Cultural Showcase
Vancouver Independent
Media Centre
Buck Cat Video
Check Your Head
Under the Vouano
Pride UBC
UBC Student
Environment Centre
And Others...
March 12-13th
UBC Norm Theatre
UBC Student Union Building, 6138 Student Union Blvd.
Sliding Scale Donation by Karma
For a performance schedule or more information, visit
htfp://www.ams.ubt.'a/clubs/sjc or call 822-9621.
Storming the Wall
The Wall Centre, that is. In the harsh midwinter, under cover of darkness,
the Ubyssey visited Vancouver's now-infamous landmark, going where we
really, really weren't supposed to go...
ami 7
In a continuing effort to increase the level of service provided by
the Faculty of Arts Academic Advising Office, the Faculty intends
to hire three to five students to serve as the first point of contact,
for students attending the Academic Advising Office.
Successful applicants must be entering diird or fourth year in the
Faculty of Arts and have completed at least thirty credits at UBC.
■They must possess good communication skills, and be reliable and
conscientious workers. Their duties will include offering assistance
to students in finding the correct path to resolution of their
inquiries, referring students to appropriate Academic Advising
Office staff, and scheduling appointments for the Faculty advisors.
Pre-employment training is offered and required.
Employment will be 3 to 10 hours per week on regular shifts of
between 3 and 3.5 hours, morning or afternoon. Payment is at the
rate of $12.79 per hour. Term of employment is September 2001
to April 2002.
Applications, including a resume, two letters of reference, and a
statement indicating the qualities the candidate would bring to th
position, must be submitted to:
Ms. Grace Wolkosky, Academic Advisor
Aits Academic Advising Office
Buchanan A201
by John E. Pseudonym
you've never seen it before.
Centre as
Top:The view of downtown Vancouver
from the roof of the Wall Centre, the tallest
point in the city.
Left: One of the semi-furnished suites in
the tower. Note the romantic mood lighting, the tasteful decor, and the seductive
shrink-wrapped furniture. Not shown are
the mattresses that we put to the jumping
Below left: One of the gas heaters providing much-needed heat to the, um, entirely
unoccupied building.The phrase "money to
burn" came to mind, as did the hope that
the whole tower wasn't going to fill with
gas and explode.
Bottom:The ground floor of the tower.The
Wall Centre is expected to be completed by
April 1. We assume that date is just an early
April Fool's joke.
Like a giant, venereal disease-ridden penis, the
Wall Centre, Vancouver's highest structure, has
had more than its share of difficulties. Whether
because of discolouration, its cumbersome size, or
having stuff fall off it, the building has become a
part of Vancouver folklore even before its completion, last estimated to be April 1.
The first rumblings about the $110 million
hotel/residential tower, meant to accompany two
other towers on the same block, came soon after it
was proposed to Vancouver City Council. The
building was supposed to be 137m tall, about 50
storeys. This alone was not unusual for Vancouver.
But the Wall Centre was also slated to be built on
the highest point on the downtown peninsula, in a
height-restricted zone. This would mean that, not
only would the Wall Centre be the highest point in
the downtown area by some 10m, it would dwarf
its neighbours, who had been limited to a height of
But getting the proposed building past City
Council wasn't too difficult for a developer as
shrewd as Peter Wall, the founder and 56 per cent
shareholder in the Wall Financial Corporation. Not
only had he gotten Peter Busby, an architect popular and influential at City Hall, to design the soon-
to-be landmark, he paid $1.2 million for 44,000
square feet of the Stanley Theatre, a historical site
that risked losing $500,000 in provincial funding
if the city couldn't find a financial backer. Oh, and
we'll get to Mayor Philip Owen's re-election campaign fund later.
Then there were those who opposed the structure. Residents from Fairview Slopes, the area
around Vancouver General Hospital and City Hall,
objected to having their view obstructed, and advocates for Nelson Park worried about the 'shadow
belt' that a building as tall as the Wall Centre
would create. But city council decided to go ahead
with the construction anyway, which was at the
time being described as having a "gently elliptical
profile swathed in what looks like polished steel
but is actually silvered, translucent glass.* Sounds
great And it got better.
"This building," said Wall in a July 26, 1996
interview in the Province, "with its light grey glass,
which is more transparent and lighter than existing towers, will actually create more light' Right
And bits of it won't fall off, either.
And so construction began. Not long after the
building emerged from the deepest excavation in
Vancouver history, people started to question just
exactly how much light was going to be shed upon
the corner of Hornby and Nelson. Slowly it
emerged that Wall had changed his mind about the
'polished steel" glass curtain planned for his
namesake edifice. Despite heavy opposition from
Busby, whose design tends to be characterised by
lightness, Wall chose dark grey, almost black,
glass. Suddenly, what was once a silver needle
assumed the form of a dark, forbidding monolith,
a Death Star in tube form.
City Hall, naturally, was incensed, and
launched its first major lawsuit against a developer in 20 years. However, faced with the possibility of losing a major lawsuit and Darth Wall's
threat to lay off the more than 1000 contractors
and workers employed on the project, the city
backed down. Perhaps Wall's $20,000 contribution to Mayor Philip Owen's re-election campaign
fund played a part. Maybe not. Who can say?
Nonetheless, Wall and the city reached a compromise: the first 31 stories (the hotel) were to be
kept in black and the subsequent 17 stories (luxury condos) were to be wrapped in the originally
agreed-upon glass.
And as if all this controversy weren't enough,
late last year a load of drywall fell about 30 storeys,
some of which landed right on a pedestrian, who
received minor injuries. Could a building possibly
get any more evil? Well, yes, as it soon proved
'A/.' »
* * j* » i
« €<. <•■
i $ t   :*   (
« ft  V ■  ;
when a window fell out in late January.
But as groupies everywhere know, 'evil' is
spelled S-E-X-Y. Suffice it to say that I fell in love
with the building—pantingly, droolingly in love
with a building so diabolical, such an unbelievable
eyesore, that I just couldn't resist
So, when some friends and I found a gap in the
fence that enclosed the construction site during a
drunken wander downtown, we couldn't help ourselves. We figured, 'Well, we'll poke around a little
and then get busted by a security guy and leave
quickly.' Little did we know to what dizzying
heights we would soon climb.
The front doors weren't yet complete, so we
slipped in without knocking, and quickly headed
towards the nearest staircase—we figured that running into the Man would be less likely the further
up we went. When we reached the eighth floor, we
decided that we could take a look. We were faced
with a stark hallway. We found an open door, took
a look inside, and immediately began jumping on
the two plastic-wrapped, queen-sized mattresses.
The room was reasonably well furnished, and had
electricity and running water. The nagging feeling
that we really shouldn't have been allowed to be
there was getting more and more troubling.
Eventually we explored more floors, but the
novelty wore off quickly. Somewhere around the
18th floor, we began encountering terrifying
heaters. Each heater was little more than a
propane tank, a flame, and a shield. We briefly
considered extinguishing the flame and allowing
the building to fill with explosive gas, but then
thought better of it.
As we ascended, the floors became less and less
complete. As soon as we passed from the hotel section, the layout changed completely. Gone were the
hallways and rows of rooms; now there were just
open floors, with plastic wrap breaking up the
space. The tour was starting to get boring. The only
thing left was to aim for the top. The roof was waiting.
Climbing 48 flights of stairs was not an easy
task. By floor 47, I was sweating, having already
shed my toque, jacket, and sweater. I was also now
thoroughly sober. But the exhaustion washed away
as we made it past the 48th floor. There was no
door, there was nothing but the sky. It was all a little too much.
We walked past a bunch of turbines and other
machinery and got out to the edge. Above us was
still the 30' 'cap,' kind of like the Wall Centre's top
hat, allegedly there for the elevator and other
mechanical needs, but I suspect it's really there to
bump the height of the building up to 146.3m,
making it the tallest structure in our fair city. We
found a scaffold staircase. I tried to think of all the
burly construction workers that must bound up
and down it all day, and figured it was probably
safe. One by one, we climbed up. And then, we
slipped and plummetted...no, actually we just sat
and watched.
It's a strange perspective up there. We were up
above all the other buildings, above everything
except the mountains. The Art Gallery and Law
Courts began to look like miniature models of
themselves. The view stretched for miles.
Slowly, still in awe, we filed down the stairs and
back inside. We casually checked out the penthouse, soon to be the 'Constellation Suite,' a two-
storey reception area, complete with sloping staircase. We began the long trip downstairs, stopping
occasionally to jump on some more beds. We started to worry slightly as we got closer to the ground.
What if we got busted now?
But we didn't We stealthily headed to a win-
dowless section of the ground floor and, once
again, slipped through the fence. We walked quickly down Hornby Street, fleeing the scene. The Wall
Centre may have its difficulties, but we could hardly love it more. ♦ AMS Has the Best
Jobs on Campus!
Best Pay - don't worry, we'll make it worth your while
Best Experience - implement changes in your
university and learn about your field or interest
Best Fun- fantastic people, events, connectio
Now hiring Vice Chairs and
Commissioners for:
Student Administrative Commission; Finance
Commission; University Commission;
External Commission
pick up an info package from SL/B 238 or download from out website,
application deadline: Match 23, 2001
www. ams. uhc. ca
your student society [
Want to get rid of some
books and journals?
Why not donate them to the
Science and Arts Foundation?
We collect books, National
Geographies up to seven years
old and journals up to 2 years
old for students in
underdeveloped countries.
Drop your books off in the
yellow collection bins located
SUB, UBC Bookstore, the
Graduate Student Centre,
CSCSR-Computer Sciences.
Lend a hand. Give the
Gift of Knowledge.
info? science-arts@c-b.ca
Hix orvisi,:
Eats, Beats
Rhymes & Life
Thank you to those who
gave their input for our
events survey
Your thoughts make a
Congratulations to the
winners of our draw
Palm Pilot-Bonnie Hum
2 Passes to Playdium -
John Alvarez
your student society
The AMS Needs You!
AMS Annual Safety Audit
Volunteers are needed to help evaluate safety issues on campus and in
residences. Please call 822-3092 for more information.
Thursday March 15, 5:30-7:30
SUB Council Chambers
Free pizza/pop, prizes, and a chance to improve the safety of your campus!
What could improve safety on campus?"
We are listeningl Speak you mind at feedback@ams.ubc.ca Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
Friday. March 9.20011
Clinical professors cutting classes
 by Alex Dimson
UBC's clinical professors are demanding
increased benefits and recognition from the
university after staging a week-long walk-out
from their classes in the Faculty of Medicine.
Last week, clinical professors boycotted
classes to protest what they see as a lack of
support and compensation from UBC. Clinical
professors are medical doctors who instruct
medical students and residents part-time.
Derryck Smith, spokesperson for the professors, and the head of psychiatry at the BC
Children's Hospital, said that the professors are
seeking higher fees, more administrative support and recognition for their trade association.
Under the current arrangement, UBC's
1600 clinical professors are treated as independent contract workers, and therefore have
little collective bargaining power with the university.
UBC has refused to recognise the association Started by the professors.
"The long and short of it is that we've tried
working through the internal system for 11
years. We tried negotiating and they wouldn't
recognise us. Having nothing else left to do we
withdrew services for a week," Smith said.
The walkout did not greatly impact UBC's
500 medical students, as enough notice was
given to allow full-time faculty to cover the
threatened classes.
John Cairns, the dean of the UBC Faculty of
Medicine, declined to comment on the situation.
UBC Director of Public Affairs Scott Macrae
said UBC is open to discussion with the clinical professors. He said that the professors'
exposure to clinical practice offers important
education to medical students.
"I think the university wants to discuss,
and wants to be able to trade ideas back and
forth and to improve the conditions in which
clinical faculty work and want to do that in a
collaborative way with them," Macrae said.
The university recently raised clinical professors' hourly wages from $50 to $75, and
began to pay them for time spent instructing
Smith said that the clinical professors are
seeking a mediated settlement which would
give them a formal procedure to express grievances, along with more administrative support
"We work in a system in which the full-time
faculty are members of a union, the faculty
association and even the people that are teaching the residents are members of a trade
union. We're the only group that doesn't have
recognition/ Smith said.
Most clinical professors work no more
than a couple hours a week, but Smith points
out that the time spent teaching is in addition
to their regular practice.
Both Macrae and Smith agree that the
issue is broader than just compensation.
"It's an issue that's larger than money,*
Macrae said. 'Certainly the medical school is
looking to make changes...that will bring the
clinical faculty more closely in line [with other
Smith said that the two sides may be close
to agreeing on mediation to discuss the
issues, but he did not rule out the possibility
of another walk-out if the grievances are
Anand Karvat, vice-president of the
Professional Association of Residents of BC,
agreed that the physicians have not been properly treated by the university.
"We do empathise with what's happening,*
he said."In the clinicians absence we don't
want to someone to fill in the teaching role."
The professors are also concerned about
what Smith said are growing ties between UBC
and teaching hospitals like St Paul's.
He worries that because the heads of the
hospital departments are also the heads of the
respective UBC departments, hospitals may
compel their doctors to teach, for,fear of losing operating table time.
"We want to uncouple any linkage between
having to do teaching at the university and having the practice at any of the local hospitals."
But Macrae said that hospital decisions are
kept within the facility.
"Decisions about operating rooms are.. being
done as a hospital matter," he said. ♦
AMS health plan advertisements spark criticisms
_____         by Sarah Morrison
The student petitioners who spearheaded this week's health
plan referendum are concerned with the advertising tactics
used by the Alma Mater Society (AMS).
This week, students have been going to the polls to vote on
the questioa 'Should the AMS withdraw from the AMS/GSS
Health and Dental plan at the end of the current contract
(August 31st 2001)?'
While the AMS has promised to remain neutral in the referendum, computer science students Matthew Laird and Kathy
Lo, who are leading the Yes' campaign, are unsure if the
promise    has    been
Laird pointed to an
AMS advertisement
posted in washrooms
and published in on-
campus publications.
In the ad, the AMS
announces the upcoming referendum under
the title "Your health-
your vote."
Two-thirds of the
AMS ad describes the
health    and    dental
plan's benefits,   and
the location of polling
stations. But, as Laird
points out, there is no
mention of the health
plan's cost nor the
fact   that   students
require    equivalent
Should the AMS withdraw from the
AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan at
tha end of Via currant contract
(August 31, 2001)?
ti you vein Yo*. you warn tfce AMSK>$$ Kiwltfi and
Ontaf PIm* (and your covti*a$e tw\i«f <t> to «&s* »»
OfAvgu* 31,2001.
irjfil't vo;» No, you v.nlt the AMSX3SS Koa 1ft and
Oc-ninl Plart land ><xjf coverage y*fcf A) to coY-n^a.
isfileas* See.fevefS* of. ballots
BAD BALLOT? Students are concerned about referendum ballots
health and dental coverage to opt-out of the plan.
"It's disturbing that the AMS' own advertisements seem to
be biased," Laird said, "It may be an oversight on their part, but
the fact that it does not seem to show both sides of the argument is'a bit concerning."
But AMS President Erfan Kazemi defended the ad, saying
that the student society simply wants to inform students of
what the plan offers.
"The one thing that the AMS is committed in making sure
happens is students are aware of what the plan is,' he said. "I
think that's more important We have a neutral stance on the
health plan—it's their health, they can vote whichever they see
The mandatory health plan was implemented last January,
after a majority of students voted in favour of it in a referendum in the fall of 1999.
AMS Elections Coordinator Jo McFetridge said that the
AMS's current ads are similar to those designed for the initial
1999 referendum.
"We thought that because the AMS was obviously taking a
totally neutral stance, that the best way to conduct a referendum would be to be totally consistent and provide exactly the
same information as was on the ballot last time.'
But Laird said that the initial ads shouldn't have been used
as a model for this year's ads.
"It's something last year as well, that [the ads] seemed to be
very much pushing how great this plan is without anything
about drawbacks. That's partially why we began all this is
because we pointed out the drawbacks and were brushed off."
Laird was also concerned about the referendum ballots.
The ballots, printed by the AMS, list the benefits of the health
plan on the back, and list the 'no' box before yes' box.
"Normally, standard sort of practice, it's usually yes—no.'
But the ballots are actually 'no—yes,' which is just odd...All
these little things, it sounds nit-picking, but they just seem to
add up."
But McFetridge said that the AMS had no reason for putting
'no' before 'yes' on the ballots.
"There's absolutely no significance whatsover. It's just the
way it came out I don't know," she said.
"I wasn't aware that yes' is usually put before 'no'. I would
have thought that in a 50-50 chance, then it doesn't matter
which ones on the left and which one's on the right It's not
going to influence anything, I'm sure."
Laird said yesterday that he plains to bring his concerns to
Referendum results will be released on Sunday. ♦
The Ubyssey's health and
dental plan poll
Are you aware of the AMS's health and dental
Year 143, or 94 per cent
No: 9, or 6 per cent
If you are aware of the health and dental plan,
da you know how much students pay for it?
(The plan costs $168 a year, we accepted anything within $10}
Year 23, or 16 per cent
No: 120, or 84 per cent
Total students polled: 152 •>
Gunman taken down at University of Alberta
by Christie Tucker
Alberta Bureau Chief
EDMONTON (CUP)-Police wrestled to the ground a man
armed with a semi-automatic shotgun at the University of
Alberta Wednesday afternoon, after receiving a tip that he was
on campus to "settle a score.*
Police reported that the suspect was returning to his vehicle with the gun in a case under his arm when two plainclothes
officers tackled and restrained him. Former second-year mining engineering student Fareed Wijdani has been charged with
two counts of armed robbery and three weapons-related
charges. He will also be undergoing psychiatric examination.
Staff Sergeant Dick Shantz, of the Edmonton Police Service
said that it was a relieving end to a stressful situation. "His
intent was obvious by the fact that he had a weapon. He was
coming for a purpose, and it could have been a shooting."
The police were alerted to the suspect after he caught a cab
to the university campus from his home, bringing the shotgun
with him. As the taxi approached his destinatioa the accused
man asked the driver to turn around. Police suspect that he was
spooked by dialogue between the cab driver and his dispatcher.
The suspect allegedly pulled out a knife and robbed the cab driver, then carjacked another man's car, and returned to campus.
Police simultaneously received a tip which suggested that the
accused was heading to the university to 'settle a score." They
contacted campus security, who in turn notified parking services.
The vehicle was soon spotted by a parking services employee.
The man allegedly approached the building with his gun
under his arm and, according to bystanders, asked a student
outside the doors for a cigarette. Police did not find the
accused until he returned to the car, and are uncertain
whether he went inside any buildings or why he came back
to the car.
University Vice-President of academics Doug Owram maintained that the accused 'did not get into any buildings,' though
officials admit that they did not know the man's whereabouts
for the half-hour between the university's notification that he
was approaching the campus and the man's arrest
When the university was first notified at 11:30am to
watch for the suspect, employees locked down six buildings,
as well as several offices. People on campus who security
believed might be at risk were notified and evacuated.
'They called at about 12:10,' recalled Dorte Sheikh, an
assistant registrar who was notified by campus security. "They
told me they were aware that there was an individual on Campus who had abducted a personal car and had a shotgun."
Sheikh was identified as one of many possible targets
because of her position as a contact for students who have been
suspended or banned from the university. After Sheikh received
the warning, registrar's office staff closed down the front desk.
Campus security had the man's picture on file, and friends
of Wijdani say that he had been barred from campus in
October. People who know Wijdani said that he is quiet and
kept to himself.
TAKE IT WITH A SMILE: Fareed Wijdani, armed with a
semi-automatic shotgun, was arrested at the University
of Alberta, photo courtesy of cfrn news
"He was pretty quiet He was kind of a loner. I'm not surprised—it just seems typical. You always hear about guys who
lash out really quiet guys who keep to themselves," said classmate Derek Nivens.
Shantz said that police have searched Wijdani's house for
further evidence. ♦ ■j QIFrldav. March 9.2001
Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
Daliah Merzaban
Alex Dimson
Sarah Morrison
Michelle Mossop
Tom Peacock
Nicholas Bradley
Tristan Winch
Tara Westover
Holland Gidney
Graeme Worthy
Laura Btue
Ernie Beaudin
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of tha
University of British Columbia.  It is published every
Tuesday and Friday by The Ubyssey Publications Society.
We are an autonomous, democratically run student organisation, and aH students are encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by tha Ubyssey staff.
They are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not
necessarily reflect the views of The Ubyssey Pubfications
Society or the University of British Columbia.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University
Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP'S guiding principles.
Al editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot
be reproduced without the expressed, written permission
of The Ubyssey Publications Society,
Letters to tha editor must be under 300 words. Please
include you phone number, student number and signature
(not for publication} as we_ as you year and faculty with al
submissions. ID wi be checked when submissions are
dropped off at the editorial office of The Ubyssey, otherwise verification wil be done by phone.
"Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but
under 750 words and are run according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff
membera Priority wil be given to letters and perspectives
over freestyles unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion
pieces wil not be run until the identity of the writer has
been verified
It is agreed by al persons placing display or classified
advertising thai if the Ubyssey Pubfications Society fails to
publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the
liability of the UPS wil not be greater than the price paid
for the ad The UPS shal not be responsible for slight
changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the
value or the impact of the ad
Room 241K, Student Union Building,
6138 Student Union Boulevard,
Vancouver, Ba V6T 1Z1
teL- (604) 822-2301
fax: (604) 822-9279
e-mail: feedback@ubys$ey.bc.ca
Room 245, Student Union Building
advertising: (604) 822-1654
business office: (604) 822-6681
e-mail: ubyssey_ads@yahoo.com
Fernie Pereira
Jennifer Copp
Shalene Takara
'Rata,* Alei Dimson said, and pointed to the ruined sofa. Daliah
Merraban's pet was chewing on the innards of the upholsteiy, after
peeing on Helen Eady. 1 hatt ratal* he continued. Tristan Winch
was very much not of the same opinion, ha. Christine Paul and Tara
Westover wera such big fans of iha despicable rodents that they'd
bought Holland Gidney'* house just to hold aH of their cages. Their
first rat was named "John E. Pseudonym' and when it turned out to
be Jane' and had an amazing Utter of 2 4. one third of them whita,
the other two thirds black, and so the collection started. Thty'd
called Michelle Mossop at the Sarah Morrison Centre foe Rodent
Health to find out the optimum population size for i breeding
colony, and began pestering Kathleen Deering to front the start up
capital for their dream. White rats, black rats, big rats, small rats,
cute rats, ugly rats, the place was crawling with them. The bribes
they paid to Scott Bardstey and Alicia Miller from the centre for
animal control and been steadily increasing, so much so that Ron
Murwisah. the house manager, had formed ties to the local mafia
headman. Hywel Tuscano, in an effort to cover the costs. Al a result
of these underworld dealing* the rat-house was falling increasingly
under the control of Mr, Tuscano'* nephew, Greg Ursic, whose minions Anna King, and Eric Jandciu were dreaming up ever more
devious uses for the infernal pests. Duncan M. McHugh't body was
never going to be found, Laura Blue came down with a suprising
case of the bubonic plague, and Tom Peacock'* restaurant was condemned by the board of health. Now that every mobster in the
country was clamouring fee a rat-house, business was booming. ♦
%V^ JV %*>
referendum 2001
Your health - our wealth.
March 5-9, 2001
A referendum will take place March 5-9 to decide whether the AMS should withdraw from the AMS/GSS student health plan.
Take your health into your own hands (or we'll take your health into our hands—wait, we've already done that by
starting up this health plan...) and answer this very simple question: "Should the AMS withdraw from
the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan at the end of the current contract (August 31,2001)?"
If you vote Yes, your plan will end and maybe your health will too—don't take that risk! If you vote No, you get to keep the
plan—woo hoo, that means we keep getting your $4€_ (oops, we don't want to mention that..,)
Polling stations: somewhere, sometime, but we're not going to~waste space on that because we want as much space as possible to tell you about...
Health Benefits:   - 80% of for the cost of Ant Depressants! (no more happy insects at UBCr
Dental Benefits:   - Unlimited coverage for any Dental Accident! (for when your teeth cause accidents!)
Other Benefits:    - The love of your AMS! and, most importantly, Health! (maybe, it's not guaranteed, actually only 80% health)
This has been a non-partisan, NEUTRAL, informational advertisement brought to you by your AMS!
(The cost of this plan has been excluded from this advertisement so you won't be reminded about how much it costs. Also, we don't want to remind you
that this plan is MANDATORY and that you can't opt out unless you already have both health AND dental coverage. Nobody needs to know that!)
Only you can make ants happy again
Your health—your vote.
Or so says the Alma Mater Society (AMS).
That's the student society's advertising slogan
for this week's referendum on the future of the
mandatory student health and dental plan.
It may seem like a simple enough slogan. But
think about it How would you vote if you saw
these words? They clearly imply that one's
health could potentially be at stake. Does that
mean that if students vote in favour of revoking
the health plan that they are endangering their
health? Does your student society really have
the right to intervene in your personal health?
The AMS has cleverly diverted attention
away from the actual rationale behind the referendum—1000 students signed a petition to hold
the referendum, since many were concerned
that students were hot properly informed about
the drawbacks of the plan when it was first
voted on in the fall of 1999.
Drawbacks like the fact that the plan is
absolutely mandatory—students have no ability
to opt out of it unless they have comparable
extended health and dental coverage. At the
time of the original referendum, students were
not clearly informed of this requirement, nor
were they adequately informed of the plan's
hefty price tag of $168.
And this made some students angry, so they
signed a petition to hold another referendum—a
referendum that is completely within their right
But rather than supporting the students it
purports to represent, the AMS, which has
promised to be responsible for informing students of their options in this referendum, is
once more withholding information that could
very likely influence the votes of many students.
Just like the misinformation campaign of the
first referendum, the AMS has taken a far-from-
neutral stance.
A quick glance at the AMS's so-called "informational* posters and ads makes the bias of the
AMS clear. While the AMS posters provide a
detailed breakdown of the health benefits (down
to covering 80 per cent of the cost of oral contraceptives and anti-depressants), they fail to
mention some of the plan's most fundamental
aspects, such as its restrictive opt-out rules, and
even its cost
The AMS has every interest in seeing the
health plan continue, given that from the plan's
inception it was an AMS initiative. The AMS executives will have egg on their face if the efforts of
the previous executives go to waste and the plan
is revoked only a year after it was implemented.
So even though one of the main goals of the
student petitioners who started the referendum
was to right the apparent miscommunication
that happened when the plan was originally
passed in October 1999, it seems inevitable that
this year's referendum will follow the same path.
From the campaign's very beginning the
AMS' bias was clear. Former AMS President
Maryann Adamec was unduely quick in quashing Elections Administrator Jo McFetridge's plan
to implement a telephone-based voting system—
a plan unique enough to have possibly given the
referendum a chance to achieve quorum—
despite indications that the plan could have been
implemented if enough effort was made.
Then there's the ballots. First, there's the odd
placement of the 'no' checkbox before the yes'
checkbox and then the listing of health plan benefits (again no listing of the cost or any potential
drawbacks) on the back of the ballot Are these
really 'neutral' polling procedures?
The AMS has clearly taken on the 'no' campaign in this referendum, which is hardly fair
considering it has a lot more money to spend on
campaigning than the yes' campaign does.
Under the guise of neutrality, the AMS has once
more used its resources to effectively misinform students.
We aren't saying we support or oppose the
health plan. It has its drawbacks and its benefits. It's really up to each student to decide
whether this plan is right for students. And its
up to each student to decide whether this referendum is worth her/his vote. But we should be
able to make this decision based on a reliable
list of neutral facts. It's a shame that your student society couldn't be the one to provide you
with these. ♦
Canada Port Safe* AarMnMnl Htmbai 0732141
AMS presents bias
in health plan vote
When I went to vote in the referendum on the Alma Mater
Society/Graduate. Student Society
(AMS/GSS) Health Plan, I noticed a
serious omission from the information presented by the AMS.
While the AMS posters, ads, and
the ballots list all the benefits of the
Health Plan, nowhere do they mention the $168 cost I would like to
thank the 'No' side for having the
honesty to include this information
in some of their posters. It's ironic
that the 'No' side provides more
balanced information than the supposedly neutral AMS.
The AMS' duty is to fully inform
students about both sides of a referendum. Listing all the benefits of
the plan while ignoring the costs
hardly satisfies.this responsibility.
On Wednesday, I managed to
speak with someone at the AMS
Elections Office about the problem, and suggested that the AMS
put up additional posters at the
voting booths to provide the missing information. He didn't know
who was responsible for the omis
sion, but assured me that it would
be "brought up.' I'll be pleasantly
surprised if the problem is corrected before the end of the referendum.
As I mentioned in an earlier letter to the Ubyssey ("Health and
Dental Plan referendum is not
about selfishness,* Letters [Jan.
23]), one of the major motivations
for this referendum was the lack of
information provided by the AMS
in the original referendum.
Students were not clearly told that
the opt-out procedure was only
available to students with equivalent medical and dental coverage,
and were instead led to believe that
anyone could opt out, as is the case
with student health plans at some
other universities. In light of this,
the most recent omission is all the
more alarming.
While I don't want to see Florida-
style recounts and legal wrangling,
these repeated errors and omissions by the AMS are unacceptable.
The referendum process should be
reformed to prevent these kinds of
mistakes in the future.
-Travis Beats
Science 3
Penis envy
I am writing you in concern with
one of your 'writer's' (Duncan
McHugh) in-depth articles on the
subject of my penis ("Lolitas no
longer,* [Feb. 27]). I find Duncan's
obsession with my male sex organ
quite flattering, yet frightening. I
may not have the biggest penis in
the world but, according to
Cosmopolitan magazine, I am average and I am quite secure with
being this way.
Duncan also seems to think that
I fake drunkenness. But as anyone
who knows me knows, I have a great
relationship with whisky that is so
strong his poor attempt at slander
comes across as idiotic'falsehood. I
believe that how big or small your
dick is should have nothing to do
with rock 'n' roll, nor should how
pretty you look, but I guess poor
Duncan is into cock-rock pretty-boy
bands. So before I go I've come up
with some theories that may help
Duncan understand his problems.
(After all I am a caring individual).'
1) Maybe Duncan is obsessed
with putting down my penis
because he feels like such a worthless little prick that he is in fact jeal
ous of yours truly and most humble
2) Maybe Duncan is just sexually frustrated and really thinks I'm
his perfect mate but has heard that
I'm married and deep in love, thus
causing him to resent me due to
the feelings of rejection that he
must learn to face.
3) Maybe Duncan is just an idiot
who thinks he's actually got the
power and writing skills to do some
form of damage to my already bad
reputation and does not realise that
his fantasies are only harming his
own credibility as a writer..
Anyway, it doesn't really bother
me, but I think that if Duncan has
any friends they should be concerned with his state of mind. Oh,
and Duncan, if you're reading this,
just remember: it's OK to be different and just because I can't be your
lover this doesn't mean that there
ain't some one else out there who's
perfect for you.
Hearts and aces. FFTS
PS You can't beat 'em and you
can't join 'em. What's a lonely girl
named Duncan to do!
-Billy Hopeless
lead singer, the Black Halos Page Fridav-the IHm-ev Magazine
The woman GAP: redefining hate literature
        by Hannah Roman
When news of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) first hit
UBC in 1999,1 went to the rally, taped the Students for Choice
leaflet to my door in res, and, to be honest, I didn't do much
My life has taken several difficult and highly emotional
turns since then, which have made it much harder to keep
quiet I've spent a lot of time crying about GAP, a lot of time
talking about it a lot of time holding up banners that say
'Choice.* I've been threatened with a lawsuit I've been
accused of trying to stifle free speech at UBC, I've come up
against a university administration that just won't budge for
fear of being sued by the California-based Center for Bio-ethical
Reform, which created GAP.-And I have come to believe more
firmly than ever that the Genocide Awareness Project is hate
literature, and that it should not be displayed publicly at UBC.
From the beginning, Students for Choice has fielded accusations that our position is contrary to freedom of speech and
the ivory-tower principle of 'a free exchange of ideas.* Our
challenge has been to provide a feminist analysis of hate in
this context While the campus body (or society at large) may
be ready to accept that racist or anti-Semitic literature is not
deserving of 'free speech* rights, there exists a willingness to
characterise any challenge of sexist hate literature as an
"infringement of freedom of speech." Further, few consider
that hate is in fact counter-productive to a "free exchange of
ideas." It should be obvious that in an environment in which
women are compared to Nazis, the ability of women to
"freely" engage in a debate around reproductive rights is hampered.
GAP knowingly exposes women and abortion providers to
hate. By arguing that abortion is genocide, GAP states that
those who have abortions are perpetrators of that genocide. To
say that women who have abortions are like Nazis or that abortion providers are like the KKK is hateful speech. Meanwhile,
the "war against abortion' being waged by the anti-choice
movement consists in part of a series of terrorist attacks on
abortion providers. In such a context, the clear equivocation
made between perpetrators of genocide and abortion
providers should more than meet the test of "likely to expose a
person or a group or class of persons to hatred or contempt'
as defined in the Human Rights Code.
Rather than being convinced that abortion is wrong, as
Lifeline claims, pro-choice students and women who have had
to face a difficult decision about pregnancy often feel that GAP
is an emotional and political attack upon them. As Pavel Reid
of the Office of Life and Family of the Arch-Diocese of
Vancouver stated in a recent article in the BC Catholic, "GAP is
designed to create a climate of heightened tension...It is
designed to disturb the consciences of women and men.'
A recent Vancouver Sun article informs me that pro-choice
feminist students are no longer the 'campus radicals.' Instead,
Lifeline gets to claim that title. And perhaps they're right What
I'm doing certainly doesn't seem radical to me. To some people, however, it is a radical notion that women as a group
should be protected by hate literature laws in the same way
that other groups are, and that they have the right not to be
harassed and attacked because of the choices they have made
or might one day make. I would like to claim the title of 'moderate' in this Sght It so rarely happens, after all, that I get to
be in the middle of the road. But it seems that in our society,
demanding that my university not allow itself to be a platform
for the promotion of hatred toward women and abortion
providers is still a radical thing to do. ♦
-Hannah Roman is a co-president
of Students for Choice.
Some naYve science guy'1 responds to his critics
by Patrick Bruskiewich
When it came time to close the 20th century
people around the world were asked who was
the most influential individual of that century.
People throughout the world decided it was
Albert Einstein. He was chosen not because of
his scientific achievement nor because most
people recognise his well known equation
E=mc^. He was chosen because of what most
people feel deep down in our hearts. We want to
live in peace and better understand our place in
the universe.
One of the finest books written about
Einstein was written by his friend at the
Institute for Advanced Studies, Dr. Pais, and is
entitled Subtle is the Lord. It is a book that goes
far to explain the physics and philosophy of
Einstein. It is a book that also goes far to explain
why Einstein is a positive figure in a century
full of war, disease, famine, mediocrity and
A copy of Pais' books sits on my shelf next to
my D.H. Lawrence, my Conan Doyle and the
complete works of that dead English fellow who
wrote Hamlet Subtle is the Lord is more
thumbed through than these other books
because it is more important to me than these
other books.
I would lend Subtle is the Lord to the two
young men who wrote the goofy letters to the
Ubyssey recently ('Science supermen clearly
superior?* and "Why waste your time arguing if
you're so smart?' Letters/Opinion [Feb. 16]),
but you see my copy is special to me. It was
given to me in 1984 as a gift by Dr. II Rabi a
colleague and friend of Einstein. Dr. Rabi was
in his own right one of the finest scientists of
the 20th century, and a very influential man in
cultural and political circles.
I will however share with you the inscription
on the inner page, "To Patrick, I hope this book
will serve to keep up your interest in the culture
of science and the human values which it exemplifies." Dr. Rabi died in 1989 at the age of 88.
In 1984,1 had decided against going on to
graduate school. I am thankful that Dr. Rabi
gave me this book to remind me to follow my
dreams. While I worked for 15 years in industry it was the kind of book that kept my dreams
alive while I did work in. the engineering and
high technology sector. It made it easier for me
to understand what the
important things are in
Despite the passage of
15 years, I remember
what Dr. Rabi told me
when he gave me the book.
Something that his friend Einstein told him:
"We live in One World. We have an ability to
lift ourselves above poverty, war, disease,
mediocrity and prejudice."
When I decided to return to UBC in 1999 to
expand my horizons, I was very happy. I view it
as an honour and a privilege to be a student at
When I look to see how much knowledge
has accumulated in the sciences since 1984 it
is a humbling experience. This is one of the
main reasons why I hold the undergraduate
science students in high regard. They are the
ones who are carrying the brunt of the explosion in human knowledge and understanding.
They are working very hard to become full participants in this incredible scientific and economic revolution and doing a very good job of
Whenyou look closely at who these students
are and the work these students are doing you
understand why science is a cultured thing and
why it is the most artistic thing we do. As for me
I believe the gift and advice given me by Dr.
Rabi many years ago is one of the main reasons
I am a straight-A graduate student I kept my
dream alive.
Frankly I was taken aback by the criticism
that was leveled at me recently in the Ubyssey.
To suggest anything other than the 'orthodox
view' seems to cause some people to get really
mean and nasty. This leaves me at a disadvantage.
When I studied philosophy a number of
years back at UBC I
was taught that ad
ho mine n attacks and
the use of straw scarecrows were disrespectful and undignified.
However I see meanness and nastiness as
being par for the course for some people
because it has become part and parcel of the
'Corps Politique* here in BC. This having been
said, I think a rebuttal is in order.
I would be pleased to share a copy of
my paper that was recently published at
the Niels Bohr Institute with the two
young men who wrote the goofy letters,
but I am afraid they would not understand it for it is far outside their areas of
understanding. In this paper, I looked at
how Einstein's Equivalence Principle and
a proposition set out by Dr. Andrei
Sakharov in 1968 may lead to a bridge
between gravity and electromagnetism.
I could also give them a draft copy of my
paper on "Lense-Thirring Frame Dragging and
Galactic Structure" but I suspect they would
have problems reading this paper as well. But I
am a bad boy (as one of the two young men
implies) since I am not allowed to see how subtle the lord is....
Perhaps instead I should give them a copy of
the letter I sent last summer to the Prime
Minister, to the Premier of British Columbia
and to the President of UBC suggesting that renovations to the Main Library be"considered as a
"National Infrastructure Project"
The PM thought it worth looking into and
sent it to his Minister for Infrastructure. It is my
understanding that the Government of BC has
thought it worth pursuing and the University of
British Columbia has said they are prepared to
allocate their share towards the $60 million
project I have been told that discussions are
ongoing. A lot may depend on mending a few
It would give me great pleasure to see this
project reach fruition. The most important
thing I own is my library card and the UBC
Main Library is one of the six most important
libraries in Canada.
However, I don't think these two young men
could understand even this, simply because it
was a dignified and respectful letter I sent the
prime minister, the premier and the president
of UBC. Perhaps I should have been mean and
nasty. Maybe my mistake is I was a little lightheaded the day I wrote that letter-because I
spend too much time with my head in the
Ah, but then what do I know, I am just some
naive science guy.... ♦
-Patrick Bruskiewich is a
graduate student in physics.
Protecting our natural heritage
Jean Fau is a chief park warden for Parks Canada. He and his colleagues
protect the plant and animal life in our national parks. They also help
Canadians explore and enjoy these special places. This is just one
of the hundreds of services provided by the Government of Canada.
For more information on government services:
• Visit the Service Canada Access Centre nearest you
• Visit www.canada.gc.ca
• Call 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232)
TTY/TDD: 1 800 465-7735 Canada ■?_v.
4 QI Friday,
. March 9. 2001
Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
H#S5 _ ¥#5!
Live and Learn
The Waseda Oregon Programs take North American and international students to the prestigious Waseda University,. Tokyo, Japan
for academic programs of Japanese language and comparative US-
Japan Societies study:
• Waseda Oregon Summer Japanese Program
July 5-August 17,2001
• Waseda Oregon Transnational Program
January 15 - June 23, 2002
Scholarships of up to $1000 are available for the Transnational
Program. For more information, contact:
Waseda Oregon Office
Portland State University
(800) 823-7938 www.wasedaoregon.org
Summer Jobs!
a personnel employment agency,
will be on campus in the SUB Concourse
March 13 from 10 am - 3pm.
We're hiring students with office experience
and good computer skills NOW for
temporary and permanent work with
our clients around the Lower Mainland.
689-8558    www.hunt.ca
Women set for club playoffs
UBC rugby team to host UVic on Saturday
by Laura Blue
The UBC women's rugby
team is hoping for a strong
showing in its first game of
the British Columbia
Rugby Union (BCRU) playoffs this weekend.
The team—currently
ranked fourth in the BCRU
premier division—is set to
play its first quarterfinal
match this Saturday at
11:30am on Wolfson field
against fifth-placed UVic.
Despite the current rankings, however, UBC coach
Simon Quinto thinks his
team is strong enough to
finish overall in the top
"They've really gelled
together, especially with
captains like Paula Sharpe
and Sabrina Celms—
they're great at keeping the
team really tight,' he said.
Team co-captain
Sabrina Celms is also
hopeful about the upcoming game
against UVic, but added that,
although UBC has managed a win in
all three of their games against UVic
this season, those games were
extremely close and the team doesn't expect victory to be easy this
"It's always an awesome game
playing at UVic. We always feel challenged by each other and throughout the years we've always been
kind of neck and neck," she said. "I
guess for us to come against them at
the beginning of playoffs is big news
for us.'
"I really...think we can beat
them—it's going to be tough but I
feel like we're really fired up and
ready to go, really pumped up for
this game,' she added.
Paula Sharpe, the second team
co-captain, is even more confident
"0h, we're going to beat them. For
sure,' she said.
Although neither team will be
formally eliminated from the play-
WRAPPIN': UBC women's rugby team at play, tara westover/ubyssey file photo
offs if it loses the game this weekend, the teams' success in the playoffs will be largely determined by
Saturday's result, as the losing team
will have to face stiffer competition
in the next round.
Quinto, a former varsity football
player who played his fifth and final
season for UBC just last semester, is
a new addition to the rugby program—he took on the job in
January. Although he was initially
"hesitant" about taking the position
and was unsure about what it might
mean for his own career prospects,
Quinto said he'd 'felt bad that the
varsity-level team was without a
coach after Heather Miller left last
term. Since working with the team,
Quinto said he has been really
impressed by the women's work
ethic and has enjoyed coaching
'I love it,' he said. "They work
hard by themselves, they push themselves. I'm actually really surprised
at how much work they put in for
this on their own time as well as on
the field, and so far I've really
enjoyed coaching them," he said.
And the team agrees that the new
coach has bonded well with the
team. "It's working out really well.
It's been really positive,' said
But the team remains hopeful
that in the future it will have more
financial support to allow for paid
coaches. Currently, both Quinto and
long-time assistant coach Ian
Stewart are unpaid.
'It's hard because ojjj coaches
are always volunteers and so'what
happens is Sabrina [Celms], who's
president..she does all the [managerial] stuff that a coach would do,'
said Sharpe.
And she thinks that more support, both financially and more generally, would mean a lot to the team.
"We're still not well-known,' she
said. "We are a varsity sport and I
know a lot of people don't know
that' ♦
The UBC track team is in
Sherbrooke, Quebec this weekend
for the CIAU Championships. The
women's team is sending third-
year Karen Ruckman to compete
in the I500ia. Ruckman missed
the medal podium at the Canada
West Championships {CWCj, but is ranked sixth in the
CIAU in the event Her best time this season of 4:39.08
is just under seven seconds slower former UBC runner Kerry MacKelvie's bronze-medal time from last
. year's championship.
On the men's side, UBC has five athletes competing
in Sherbrooke. The men were well represented on the
podium at the CWC, and have more than an outside
shot at collecting medals at the nationals.
DaVid Milne, who won gold in the 3000m and
bronze in the 1500m at the CWC, is UBC's top
prospect Byron Wood won bronze in the 3000m at the
CWC, and should also be running with the leaders.
; Matt Coley, who was injured during the CWC, will run
in the 3000m as well.
Chris Williams won silver in the 600m and Jon
Lockhurst won bronze in the 1000m at the CWC. Both
. runners are expected to do well in Sherbrooke. The
• Thunderbirds will also field a 4x400m relay team.
Last year at the championships, the UBC men's
: 4x400m relay team finished second in the nation.
'. Williams won a bronze in the 600m, while Milne finished third in the 1500m and fourth in the 3000m. On
the women's side, Kerry MacKelvie earned a gold medal
in the 1000m a3 well as her bronze in
the 1500m.
UBC sent 15 athletes—six women
and nine men—to the track and field
championships last year. Since the
field and sprint events have been
dropped from the program as a result
of UBC Athletics budget cutbacks, UBC
is only sending six middle distance
runners this time around.
Meanwhile, UBC runner Chris Durkin recently
returned from an international cross country race in
Fukuoka, Japan where he finished 72nd in the 364-
member field. He ran the 8k course in 2 6:31. (Editor's
note: that's fasti)
The UBC Thunderbirds are on the road again this
weekend They travel to Lewiston, Idaho for another
Lewis and Clark State Tournament They are scheduled
to play the host team and Western Oregon Friday, and
St Martin's Saturday. The tournament finals will be
played Sunday. The Birds are 10-5 so far this season.
The UBC triathlon and duathlon will take place this
Saturday. The action starts at 8am with the kiddy runs,
and lasts all day. Several members of the Canadian
national team are registered to compete in the event
Their races start at 8:30am. ♦
MARCH 9, 2001
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Rant. Seethe. Fume. Yell. Scream.
Explode. Roar...
Perhaps this year's issue of RANT is inappropriately
named. Dealing with topics ranging from the death of
beloved pets to consumerism in contemporary society, this year's group of winners share stories that are
sometimes nostalgic, often sombre, but always intriguing. Rather than embarking on a writing rampage,
these writers evoke sincerity and subtlety in their use
of language. Although their topics are diverse, each
writer explores what it means to live and exist in this
But isn't this what every storyteller does? Maybe.
However, these writers are UBC students who speak
about experiences and imaginings unique to them.
Like the boy who teaches his chickens to sing, or the
pianist whose music is a total sensory experience.
Our theme for this issue is "perceptions'—of self,
music, poets, writing, strippers, presidents, pets,
birth, life and death.
The purpose of RANT is to provide an open forum
for UBC students to gain some exposure and recognition for their writing. This year we had hundreds of submissions and are unfortunately only able" to showcase
the finalists. UBC students have proven themselves to
be more than just ranting, fuming, seething, yelling,
exploding creatures. They are also thoughtful and perceptive writers aware of all the subtleties of language.
The Ubyssey would like to thank the sponsors and
judges that made RANT possible, and extend special
thanks to all the writers who submitted their works.
—Diana Stech, Kim ThS, and Lisa Denton
RANT Coordinators
Charlie Cho is the Editor of Rice Paper, the national Asian Canadian arts and
culture magazine. He also reviews books for subTerrain magazine. He is on
leave from CBC Radio in Vancouver. Epic fiction judge
Annabel Lyon is the author of Oxygen, a collection of short fiction published by
Porcupine's Quill. She works as a sessional instructor in UBC's creative writing department a freelance writer, and a piano teacher. Snap Sctionjudge
Matthew Mallon is an associate editor at Vancouver Magazine, and a frequent contributor to the Vancouver Sun. He has worked as a journalist since
he was 19, when he started a small magazine in Victoria. He was born in
Kuching, Malaysia, and raised in the Canadian Arctic. Epic non-Bction judge
Angela Mackenzie is a transplanted Torontonian who moved to Vancouver
in 1992. She is currently working as a community newspaper reporter in
Coquitlam. A former editor of Rice Paper magazine, she also freelances
when possible. Angela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC in english
literature and political science. She went on to graduate from the journalism
program at Langara College. Snap non-Bction judge
Andrea MacPherson is currently completing an MFA at the UBC. Her work
has most recently appeared in The Antigonish Review, Copious Magazine,
Chameleon and is forthcoming in Descant Presently, she is a freelance book
reviewer for January Magazine, and the poetry and drama editor of Prism
International. Poetry judge
f • \
' » *       s
t".    f*
*% -   ;
A practising witch, Madeline Sonik started writing when
she was 14 as a journalist for community newspapers and
business tabloids. Her first collection of short stories,
called Drying Bones, has been recently published.
Julie Lees is in first year of her creative writing Master's
degree. Her hope is that we will have a world forever full of
happy dogs, musical trees, and nature-smelling dirt
Christina Wright is a first-year Music student. She writes
mostly poetry and short stories. When she was twelve, her
grade seven teacher committed suicide, which prompted
her desire to write. She has studied piano since the age of
five as well as the flute.
Crystal Buyze is a fourth-year English Literature student. She
recalls writing her first short story at the age of five, which happened to be apocalyptic—the sun turned blue and then people
stripped off their shirts. Eventually, Crystal would like to complete
a MFA in creative writing at UBC.
Jada-Gabrielle Pape, who comes from the Saanich and
Snuneymuxw nations, does not like to call herself a 'writer'
because it sounds 'too accomplished.' She writes because
she "really likes the craft of it" This year she will receive a
degree in creative writing. Occasionally you may hear her
reading her poetry in Vancouver.
Kate Bond is a first-year student in the Foundations program.
She would like to pursue a double major in creative writing
and math. At the age of five, she wrote and illustrated her
first short story about a sad and lonely donkey.
University Blvd., Vancouver, B.C.
M        A        O        A        Z        I        M        -
www.mincoast. com
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Putting the finishing touches on a degree in Creative Writing
from UBC, Larissa Buijs is happy to say that she just got a job
without removing this fact from her resume. In 1999, she self-
published a chapbook called Cover At The Door, and, for the past
few years, has been writing jazz reviews for 52ndstreetcom. She
enjoys being sarcastic and has recently become a vegetarian.
Lindsay Mah Diehl is studying English and art history at
UBC and also attends a program at Capilano College
called Writing Practices. She was recently published in
Fireweed, a feminist literary magazine.
Robert Marthaller is a third-year English literature student who
is also taking a few creative writing classes. He wants to thank Al
Purdy for helping him to see poetry, his country and life in a different way. Unfortunately, he didn't have the chance to thank
him in person while he was alive, and so his only hope is that
they deliver RANT to wherever he is now.
Stuart Rothgiesser says that 'writing is no longer a passion, but a
necessity. I cannot function without being able to write as all other
media become vacant of meaning. I have to write for physical reasons, as if to clear the body of excess energy.'
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for AI Purdy
a poet died
then more
then another
and new ones came
(forgot the countiy that loved them)
and wrote what they pleased
-an ignorant assurance all the while that
t if fie? one else
Al would still write about Canada
carry the culture of a nation
on broad shoulders *
something like
that fool of a giant
tricked into it
or not
or like a lone stone warriorln
a valley on the tundra
that still steers caribou
though the others
have cracked or toppled
or   - ""'
mow like  -
-.    the single floating strand of a
clinging at one end to spruce
remnants of the night's rainstorm'
as you pass ^
it glistens for an instant with the sun \
the warming hope of it closing your
to see the land (our land)
and after a time
we learn to open them for ourselves t
-   • but when we look back
to thank him
he is gone <*
by R obert Marthaller
(winner snap fiction)
Hungry ravens inched over the bones until
they glistened like polished teeth
the rib cage becoming
a p riso n of oblong insects —
we poked with our sticks
Later, you took the carcass
home, a trophy as bright
as any gold angel you hid
in your secret drawer
of stolen pornography
Your left hand spilled around
the clean contours, hunting
obsolete hollows
ruthless with pleasure
for what
it felt like to possess something
so harmlessly naked
by Madeline Sonik
Our Babies
This morning, I ate my piano etude.
As I practiced, notes dropped off the page
suspended in air by their strings,
the ringing of their black bells falling into me.
Tongues tasted each
e flat in ecstasy—Schumann watched from above
experienced his melodies too
pretended it was the first time.
Tonight notes pore out from
skin in rainbow waves.
I'm crying in minor thirds
Musical infections reproduce into
symphonies ana, three, live,
out of iny fingers in black f sharps
white c harmony, until I give birth
right there on the stage  .
crescendo allegro coda
• — silence broken by applause
greedy hands of the modern music lover.
This One Has Diamonds
by Christina Wright
by lindsay diehl
suz walks by me. a couple of steps
and she pauses, hands me her wrist have you
seen it yet she asks, she leans forward,
jeanie came up beside me to have a smoke, she
looked across the bar, rolled her eyes.
i remember my first day. there was a dancer
on the stage, the other waitresses hurried
around me. some of them pushed me out of
their way. the customers couldn't hear me over
the music, i was distracted by the girl on stage,
the other waitresses just walked by.
it's like that when you start suz told me. it's a
good job though, it'll pay for your education,
. she said laughing.    *
last year, sua threw her bag under her chair
and smiled at me.
when she smiles her Hps stretch to the sides of
her face and expose her upper gums, i failed,
she said, when i asked her more, she smiled
again, i failed, she answered, every single
this year, she didn't go to the same school as
me. she couldn't get back in because of her
grades, it's okay, she said, as long as you still
come out with me. and i did. at least three or
four times a week, she'd call she'd stop me
from'studying, or watching tv. sometimes
she'd even wake me. come on, she'd say, lef s
and she got me this job* be here tomorrow at
one, she told me over the phone, it's the most
money you'll ever make.
some of the bartenders gave me a hard time,
the new girl they leaned over the bar, and
looked at my chest jeez, they baited, when are
you going up there, meaning the stage.
jeanie came up beside me to have a, smoke,
jesus, she said, this bunch is horrible,
she tilted her head and her hair fell, softly,
against the side of her face, her hair was a gei>
tie shade of blond, but in the dim light it
appeared gray, she curled her hps around her
cigarette and her eyes narrowed as she looked
across the bar. cheap bastards, she said under
her breath, and turned to look at me and
. smiled.
i smiled back, i don't know how you do it, i
said, and she shrugged just stay close to me,
|dd. (she called me that but i didn't mind she
meant it in a good way.) just stay close to^me^
and keep your clothes oa she said and winked
the girls that go up on stage get $45 a show.
i've grown accustomed to the familiar orange
and pink lights that illuminate and reflect off
the mirrors, the music, the clapping of hands,
and whistles.
sometimes, ill look up, not knowing, and a girl
will be there, walking from side to side, walking in triangles, walking with a bounce to her
step, and a smile on her face, once, when she
saw me looking, jeanie put her hands in the
air. she put her arms above her head, and
shook her breasts, laughing, she looked like a
child in the snow, and making an angel, or a
diver, running towards the spring board, about
to jump in, and longing for the cool water
• it's not that great she told me later, i just need
the money, she said, i like my body...I'm showing men the beaufy of a woman's figure, my
student loan is maxed out film school is
expensive, she explained i bought a piano.
, don't worry about me, she said, but motioned
her finge| in my direction, just you, she said,
don't you get into it
suz is always around now, i think she quit
school, she's always working, or sitting, having
a beer with a smoke in her hand,
hey, she said the other day. she waved her
hand, smiling, a new watch glimmered in the
lights, don't worry about me, she said, i can
afford it
jeanie and i had e'xams last week, we both had
too many hours, but so did the other girls, no
one would pick them up. god dammit jeanie
swore, you'd think this place would change,
you'd think something would change.
jeanie dropped some plates.
Fuck, fuck, i hate this place, she screamed, I
hate it '
oh she's gone, suz told me, that's it
i worked the hours i didn't want but jeanie
didn't Fuck it she told me, I'm getting out you
should too, she said, forget the money, that's
suz walks by. a couple of steps, and she pauses,
hands me her wrist have you seen it yet, she
asks, she leans forward,
t traded it in, the last one, and got this one, she
explains, this one has diamonds. ♦ Passdge
by Madeline Sonik
Enagihe^ the giieerf Maxy, 81,237 gross tons
of stoet 'wood, and homey comforts, coursing"
4irQUgr\ the codfish grey Atlantic Although it
iq mid-August, the sun's sheathed in a misty
hak> Cabin Cl^ss passengers in neat -white
sweaters 'and suit jackets brace sturdy deck
chairs, accept wariri plaid blankets, and hot
lea, The chilioff the ocean is numbing, j et for
most this is a once in a lifetime trip ,
The year is1 1959 On the 21st of August,
less thafi a week away, l(awaii will become the
SOth state in the union. I£w know or care
about this The brackish air fills their nostrils,'
the icy mist puckers their flesh. The ship pitches and rolls like a thousand-foot cradle and the
passengers murmur their contentment
The first-class restaurant, located on deck
'R', is plush and elegant There are twin brass
doors, a parquet floor—and the foodl The food
alone is worth the price of the passage: grapefruit au kirsch, croquette of duckling, sauce
mousseline for halibut, roast turkey, devilled
ham, orange souffle. There are 2400 bottles of
champagne aboard for this journey, and an
equivalent amount of scotch and aperitifs.
Black ties and evening gowns are worn in the
dining room; after dinner there is dancing.
Imagine my parents on the Queen Mary.
My father's name is Boris, and my mother's
name, the same as mine-Madeline. They are
spinning and laughing together on the dance
floor. My mother is wearing black high-heeled
shoes with ankle straps; her dress is one she
made herself, g>old and burgundy with long
satin slee-tes \iy father smells of sweet after*.
shave. He smi|es; he has a space between his
two front teeth, hke me.' My parents are
returning to the United States1, instead of going
to Switzerland where my father was offered a
second chance. They are taking the Queen
Mary "home/ although, "hopta" for my mother
is really Manchester, England For my father,
it's Canada^ unless; he's been dnnking-then
it's Russia. They are dancing and giggling,
gulping champagne, recalling together how
they met, how my father first danced with my
mother on a bet. It is a starry evening, yet
warm. The winds from the north have died
a>vay, and a bubble of silence contains them.
My parents stroll the promenade deck arm in
arm. It is 724 feet long and feels to them deliriously endless. Memories, champagne and
this great expanse of ship allow them to avoid
discussion of the future. There are 12 decks, a
Turkish bath, a cinema, a shopping arcade,
and a chapel. It is 3:00am; nothing on board is
open. The dance band packs away its violins,
its cello, its soft drums. My parents go to their
cabin on deck 'M'. It is 1959, the year the
Dalai Lama flees Tibet
They fling open their cabin door, teeter at
the threshold, fall upon the soft double bed.
Only the thrum of the engine, the crinkling of
my mother's gown, the slap of my father's
shoe falling hard to the floor can be heard. It is
1959, a year before birth control pills are
made available to women, 23 years before the
All?S epidemic makes condoms accessible
everywhere and politically correct The^un is
jising through a starboard hatch. My parents
wake with; splitting heads. My father' hunts
down a cabfn steward for Aspirin and coffee
My mother stumbles lo the bathroom arid
retches in, the toilet, trying lo remember the
nighfc before The Queen Mary glides hfce a
sharp knife dividing the surface blackness of
water mto separate fields, surrounding itself
with white steaming spume       '
'Three months from now, my mother will
be told by a doctor in Detroit she is pregnant
Imagine me, a few splitting cells in my
mother's belly, a'fraction of a millimetre
across, an alien life form making my way
down her fallopian tube in order to leach
blood from her cushioned nest It will be six
weeks before my sexual identity emerges,
before the YY combination of my chromosomes unfold, before my mother starts to
question the lateness of her period, xthe
tremendous inescapable nausea of her mornings that began on the ship and didn't end for
eight months. It is 1959, three years before
the structure of DNA is discovered, 21 years
before recombinant DNA technology will
make it possible to add moth genes to tomatoes in order to prevent them bruising. In the
future, there will be controversy over the
speed with which genetically manufactured
crops are marketed. A modified corn crop in
the Umted States will prove lethal to. harmless
monarch butterflies Its toxin will shov< up hi
organic corn chips imported to Europe^ No
one will have considered that corn pollen naturally, blows, beyond the cornfield m which it
occurs But tfiil is a problem f°f lh.e futurje;
one my mother will nqtbe ali\e to witness.''
'' Right now, my mother is combing her thinning hair, looking into the bathroom mirror,
considering my father He's broken his contract in England, quit his job told his bosses
he's tired of being told where to h\e His company was good lo him, though' E\ en after he
refused to go to Switzerland, they paid his way
home. My mother wonders, whjle damaged
black strands of her permanent waved hair
fall mto the gleaming sink, if she made a mistake in marrying him. It is a fleeting thought,
and she turns on the tap, washes her severed
hair away, puts on red lipstick.
The ship leans and lunges over unknowable grey depths. Somewhere, beneath us,
there are mountains. Small finned herring
and mackerel swim. A few years before this
voyage, stabilisers were installed on the ship
to stop her from rolling on her side and hanging there. Imagine waiters, carrying trays at
30-degree angles, of third-class passengers
falling down stairs; their stairwells, unlike
those in Cabin Class, have no safety rails.
My mother drinks a glass of water, yet still
feels queasy. Her hangover, her motion sickness, will last for the next eight months. The
(Snap JVon>fiction)
OtlUnOllS Warning by Stuart L. Rothglesser
Itvpdd'riiake a sudcessful'plot£oe th^ next Le Carre or Grisham
nofeh eight^eart later, the trturhphaht son returns to the White
House—albeit with a questionable mandate—to continue the
cause of compassionate conservatism after an unwelcome interruption. With Bill Clinton working a last minute deal not to be
prosecuted for the Lewinsky affair, the supporters of liberalism
have been vanquished, like rats running from a sinking ship.
The old cronies—Powell, Cheney, et al—look none the worse for
wear and cluster around George W. Bush as if he is their Moses,
leading them to the Promised Land. With Republican control of
both the White House and the Houses of Congress for the first
time in almost half a century, Americans may see a very different country shaping up in the next four years.
Compassionate conservatism is an oxymoron. As the world
becomes increasingly global, and as new standards of what is
morally acceptable appear (e.g., gay marriages) and technology
progresses, there is a need to use this modernity to uplift others.
Bush and his court, however, are not only "declinist" as Robert
Kaplan puts it m the Globe and Mail, January 23, 2001, but are
actively promoting their conservative agenda. The first day in
office was indicative of Bush's agenda; showing support for anti-
abortion rallyists, cutting funding to international groups
involved with abortion education, introducing a tax cut and
planning an education bill were some of the executive orders of
the day. By selecting those conservative programs he sees fit to
support Bush is displaying neither compassion nor caution.
What these orders show is that Bush and his supporters
have been ready for this day for the last eight years. They hit
the ground running, and are intent on not only turning back
the clock on the Democrats' advances in the areas of environment, women and gay rights, abortion and affirmative action,
but will further make every effort to limit progress in these
areas. In his inaugural speech Bush mentioned that
"Americans are called to enact this promise in our fives and in
our laws." Bush sees his mission to reclaim America from the
amoral freedom of the nineties, and in order to do so will pass
laws to whittle away at personal freedoms, limit free speech
and freedom of information, and to curtail the powers of nongovernmental organizations and watchdog organizations.
, What} is worrying is that with the impending economic
dpwnturk the White House could wield an inordinate amount
of pbweriand use this power to entrench the elite. Bush's education but for example, would encourage the use of vouchers
($1500 per child) to allow parents to take children out of the
public school system and place them in private schools. As the
rest of the fees will have to be made up by the parents (approximately $8000 per child per year) only those of the upper middle class would benefit The proposed $1.3 trillion tax cut from
2001 to 2010 is another means of dividing the haves from the
have nots. By assuaging the electorate with tax cuts, Bush
makes them dependent on him remaining in office.
Bush sees himself as a messianic figure, on a mission to rid
the nation of the debauchery and excess of the Clinton years.
His first words to the new White House employees were to
"expect every member to stay within the boundaries that define
legal and ethical conduct." By holding his administration up
against the supposedly tarnished Clinton one, Bush is claiming
that he is pure, wise, and somehow fated to lead. He spoke in
his inauguration speech that "every child must be taught these
principles [ideals]' and will hold schools accountable if these
morals are not taught Bush believes that the executive can
judge not only what American children should be taught but
also how they should be taught. Bush's resolve to 'reclaim' the
schools smacks of arrogance, suggesting that no learning has
been taking place at all for the last eight years. Finally, Bush's
numerous references to Christianity suggest that separation of
church and state seems to be a thing of the past
The United States is in danger of being ruled by a benevolent despot. Bush sees himself as an 'angel to direct the storm,'
again from his inauguration speech. The obvious question to
ask is who or what is Bush going to storm against His appointment of a former general to Secretary of State (Colin Powell)
and a former Defense Minister as Vice-President (Dick Cheney)
speaks volumes. The new executive clearly perceives the best
defense against China and 'rogue' states is a good offense, and
we can expect major rearmament of the US forces as well as a
restart of the Reagan-era Star Wars missile-deterrent system.
We can further surmise that the Bush administration will be
antagonistic to the European Union as it follows isolationist
and defensive economic and foreign policies- -
Certain questions arise concerning the new president that
should be asked by all Americans First how is it possible that
a son can rule eight jears after his father? How far has America
really moved froni a monarchy? The Bush family is undoubtedly the Republican version of die Kennedys, what with Jeb
Bush being governor of Florida. Another example of 'keeping
it in the family' is Colin Powell's son being made head of the
Federal Communications Commission. We can anticipate the
Bush administration to fill key appointments with firm
Republican supporters, "notably in the Supreme Court By the
end of his tenure, Bush will want to avoid repeating his father's
mistakes of not having a clear mission and underestimating
the Democrat leadership threat, ^
The second question that Americans must ask of themselves is, "What legacy will the 2<300 election campaign leave?"
How is it possible that the person with the fewer popular \otes
can emerge the victor? Is it realistic that a few thousand \ otes
can make the difference in a nation of hundreds of millions? It
is doubtful,- however, that the Bush administration will deal
with these and other questions regarding the electoral college
system judging from the way it has avoided Senator McCain's
calls for limiting campaign financing—as Bush Chief Of Staff
Andrew Cail said, 'It (campaign finance legislation} is.not a priority.' The Texas court has come to Washington, and with it a
swaggering bravado that "seems to posit that only those issues
deemed important by the advisors will gain its full attentio n.
With few feasible candidates for the Democrats in sight it is
highly likely that the Biish peerage may extend fop the next
eight years. Americans will want tobe extremely vigilant,
guarding against executive limiting of personal hberti.es and
government mandating of school cumculumYand religious
propaganda. As the economy begins to squeeze ordinary
Americans, they would do well to observe how committed Bush
is to helping therrj through the hard times or whether he will
merely further siphon power, to his immediate family and supporters. What is clear is that by the end of George W. Bush's
term America wiU baa very different placed *>    „    - .* Winner
(Non-fiction essay)
doctor she will visit in Detroit will offer her
samples of thalidomide, which some intuitive
part of her will reject, although my father,
angrily, will call her 'martyr,' and they will
argue for the rest of her pregnancy. I will be
born on May 12 in an inner city hospital,
which will metamorphose to a psychiatric
institution, then a drug rehab centre, before
finally being torn down to accommodate a
freeway. My father will get a job with New
York Central Railroad, we will move to
Cleveland, Ohio, then Chicago, but my father
will never again find a job that pays as much
as the one he left in England. In spite of his
dislike of travel, he will frequently be away on
business. The night I am born, he will be in
Milwaukee. My mother will curse him as I take
my first breath. She will damn him, every time
she remembers how she had to struggle into a
taxi all alone, in the middle of the night, damp
footed, with amniotic fluid staining her precious alligator shoes. Often, over the course of
the next 14 years, she will know regret She
will waste, year£ starching' and irorung,bed-
sheets fmy father's white cotton handkerchiefi
and shirts, although 'wash and wear" clothing
has been available since the summer of J.952
The Civil Rights Act will be passed m 1964
and \\ifi prohibit the discrimination 'against
women by any company with 251 or more
employees. My' mother will npt wprk outside
the home until I am tea when my father is
fired from his accounting job at the railroad.
She will make a mere one hundred dollars a
week as a sales clerk and become the breadwinner of the family.
My father will spend a good part of the
summer of 1970 at the dining room table typing his resume with one finger, and shouting
for me to make him screwdrivers. I will spend
the summer trying to figure out ways to avoid
him or at least keep him sober. I will serve
him drinks made with only a quarter of a shot
of vodka; I will pour half a bottle of vodka
down the sink and replace it with water; I will
drop the bottle on the floor and smash it
My mother doesn't have a driver's license
and will never get one. At five o'clock she will
finish work. My father will inevitably be too
drunk to pick her up. She'll make her way
home on the bus. When she arrives, I will be
hiding under blankets in my bedroom closet
My father will be breaking things in the
kitchen. For the rest of their married lives, my
father will be a violent alcoholic He will chase
me'all over 'the house and try to push my
mother down the stairs, In spm£ states, a
woman who shoots and kails her husband is
accused of "homicide," while a man who
shoots his wife has committed a "passion
Shooting' My mouW tells me often that she
plans to leave my father, but she never doe$.
My parents sell the house, because onfe hundred dollars a week barely*bujs groceries
They have gone mto debt to make mortgage
payments and buy vodka, and by the winter of
1970 my father will still be unemployed.
The Queen Mary slices water, drives
through peaks and valleys of unremitting
green. The rudder of this vessel weighs 140
tons. For every 13 feet it travels, its engine
uses one gallon of fuel. Imagine the cerulean
sky suffocating in its openness, the dizziness
of passengers who panic for dry land.
Although there is daylight, it is like darkness,
overwhelming. Twenty-four lifeboats, suspended near the funnel ailerons, moaning and
creaking, protesting their emptiness.
It is 1959, and I am a bundle of symmetri- '
cal cells that looks something like a blackber-
parenjs are 30 years old, and already have a
sense of life's Inevitability. Both fear death In
the next (Jpzen years, my mother will put an
additional 150 pounds on her small frame.
My father will make reference to her. weight
when he's drinking, which will always make
her cry.
Eight years after: this voyage, the Queen
Mary will be sold to the city of Long Beach,
turned into a floating conference centre and
hotel Large parts of her will be gutted, transformed. Candy machines and litter will
diminish the elegance of the first-class dimng
room, and third-class cabins will be used for
In 1973, we will be living in Ontario, the
ry, tumbling down a slide, finding my way to __j)lace-of my father's birth He will be a discon-
ground. This earth, I find, is lush in its pink-
ness, sweet in its blood. Already, it is determined I will have my father's small pupils, his
analytic gaze, his hair, his voice. My mother
will bequeath her hps, her tiny nose, for which
I will be ridiculed all my days of grade school,
and with which I will later curse one of my
Own two daughters It is 19§9, and American
Airlines starts its 707 service from New York
to Los Angeles Before the year i3 oyt, the USSR
"will have sept a translunar satelhte to photo
! gr^ph the far sidqpt the; mOon
By day, my mother takes advantage of the
Shopping arcade and the ship's pool, while, my
father plays shuffleboard and drinks, Both my
tented loans officer, and will lose his job once
again before discovering he has cancer of the
colon. After surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, he will remain in hospital. My mother
will not go to visit him. I will go instead, to
watch over him in his coma, and notice how
he dies. In the jears" that follow, I will drop out
of school and work in England comeback to
Canada and start a family My mother will die'
of a heart attack in 1986 And when I am
cleaning her house, in preparation for its sale,
I will find pictures and menus, from this vdyr
age on the Qi}etn Maty, and a small leather^
bound journal, which begins, "Imagine , the
Queen Mary\r And \ will'* s ti
'   \
\ '
n >*
7    • ; > • '
4    7   .    ,
A kind of bird
it    M
by Jada Gabrielle Pape
ott'ficiion essay)
M16pen the'wmdow I see ntprrung: a myriad of (.rows mov-
iiigo\ er houses away1 from the sun. The liglit behind them, the
skyjs fiii) with crews I stand, watchitig limn pass.
My pet' name, Sq'u qWa'ta Crow. fzr. the language of
$encholh,en-$peaking people it means. Little Dear One, the
name gi\en to the little cousin of Raven — Dear One. Tkcquifed
this name because my personality^ that of a icow. Chatty* curious %ndf always'getting into trouble. §u.t like Crow, I znaite big
discoveries 0 the prpcesst of learning 'and one day, after
enough £m?e has passed between me^and 4#«.£he trouble I get
mte'i mil be" able ta turn around and c^U it all experience.
s ,
It was reces$'and I was paired with tylfoever was my best friend
of the week. I can still see this boy walking towirds me. Slightly
slack-jawed and droopy-eyed His walk leaned forward'and his
arms hung loose at his sides. He had, as always, a half-cocked
grin: He was-Roberto, and he was in the fifth grade too.
I see him in a beige velour shirt the same colour as his hair.
The collar is wrinkled and tucked under. He drags his feet
slightly and I think they are too big for his body. Looking back,
I realise he must have failed a grade or two, as he was far too
big compared to the rest of us in the fifth grade.
The term today for people like Roberto is "mentally challenged" and I've even heard "exceptional" used. But in grade
five, as I stood cockily leaning against the school building, I
greeted him with "Hey Retardo Roberto."
Unfazed, he just smiled, blushed and looked down to the
ground. He didn't walk past, just stood there, only feet away
from me. He wanted to say something. So I told him, 'Go
ahead. Say it"
He stumbled with his words and kept his blushing cheeks
facing downward until he mustered up all he could. Then he
looked me square in the eyes and told me he loved me. Just
plain and unfrilled, said the words: "I love you."
I thrust my body forward and shoved him with all my might
I shouted, "Take it back," but his smile, widened and he said it
louder and with confidence: "I love you." My heart was pounding loud enough that I could hear it in my own head and I
shoved him again. This time he fell and landed with a loud
thud. He kept on smiling though, and repeated the ugly words,
T love )Ou.' My friend had sWpped bacjc from the scene and
her fa<^- was contorted with disgust. N
He lay on the ground without making any attempt to protect
himself. When he finally stopped speaking, he jU'si remained
there on hi6 back, his head lifted plightl/ Qff the^ ground and
sinillng;. Always smiling-1 hated his smile and so I kicked him
ip the ribs. A sound came out of him, but he didn't atteplpt to,
escape I kicked him again, this time in the a$s, and althpugb.
my foot meeting his body forced him to rock slightly, it wasn't
nearly as satisfying as the contact of my shoe ineetmg his ribs,
1 ! kic&ed him again, 'on hia back; this lime^ 'as he rolled over
to cover himself, "Take it back," I ,spit ou? again.1 But He just
laughed his gutteral laugh and shook his head no and again, he
repeated the words^J "Ilove you." So t summoned, eveiy bit of
physical strength I had and mov ed hko a machine. I kicked him
over and over and over. I leaned down and punched him all.
over his body. He received all my blows with grunts and eventually curled onto his side. I didn't stop though. I stood over his
big body and continued to kick and punch and hiss words of
hatred until the school bell told me it was time to quit
Out of breath and sweaty, I turned to walk back mto class. I
stopped only for a moment as I opened the heavy orange door
and looked back at him lying on the ground. He was still smiling; he never stopped smiling. And he never told on me.
Crow families are labeled a murder of crows. Some crows
are albino. You don't see them much though; they are killed off
in the wild. Their common black counterparts consider them
mutants and some feather-trigger instinct drives them to gang
up and kill the bone-white birds. Murder. How geese got flock
and crows got murder is only partly a mystery.
I have green eyes. They are small, not particularly striking,
but in my family they attract a lot of attention. Both my parents
have dark eyes, as do most other Aboriginal peoples. In
younger years my siblings always got a kick out of teasing me
about my green eyes. My big sister gave me a card on my 14th
birthday that said: J think you are old enough now that you
should know the truth. On the inside of the card it read: You
were left on our doorstep by Gypsies. She wrote in big bubbly
letters right below: Nice eyes, Freak-Show. I laughed, because
that's what we do on birthdays, we celebrate. But I kept my eyes
sdown for the rest of the party. -
Within tiiat teasing though, there was a kind of safety.
Because evpn if my e>es didn't make sense,„my family still
knevi I WaV, part of the .flock. It was the challenges that I
received When I left our home on the reserve that really, got to
n^ The lAnodent dribs and drabs that people would drop in
my, lap, "Oh; you don't'even look Native," often followed up
wjth some yersios of, "Butyou can't be full though"
, My auntie found a baby albino crow once. It was still alive
and shfttOqkit to a pet store where it still lives today A rare
breed; 'p oiryot on display I visit it every time I go home to the
island I stand beside its cage and: wag shiny objects for it to
gnaw on;. Heg likes my walrus-tusk" ring. Crows who look like
comic,book-c'6lour versions of themselves are still crows, they
still hav e normal crow~des}res As I walk away I know his head
is cocked to the side and his eyes are following me out the
door.   *
I have an internal ctoW who i$ attracted to shiny things.
Things I can't afford'and things that I don't need. Buttons.
Hair clips. Bicycles. I am 30years old and I have six bicycles.
I buy them at garage sales and store them Irjj the basement. I
finger the details on their frames, enchanted by the possibilities. The plausibilities." The probabilities! My boyfriend calls
me a Nutter for faithfully oiling their stiff chains and rust-
proofing their handlebars. But each bike has taken me out of
the basement. I have felt the rhythm of the street rushing
underneath me. I have captured the wind in my sleeves and
taken it home to bed.
In the park I watch crows fall from the sky in clusters of
chatty playmates. Flaunting their ability to. spill and dive,
catching themselves at the lasj moment and skillfully darting
back up to avoid the ground. It is as if they ara laughing together at their own recklessness.'Later, sitting on tops of trees,
they balance precariously, barking to each other. Always barking. Always chatting They are the most social of birds, almost
mammalian in their relationships with one another" Ani as
the sun sets in the west, I ie'e the beginning of night: a myriad
of crows moving over houses awayjroih the sun. The light
behind them, the sky is full with croivaf J Stand swaying and
watching them pass ♦• "   .    7. " 2-~~~ 7
(epic fiction)
* #
Cathy Yange smelled of delicious rubber erasers, the
kind shaped like small strawberries and watermelons and green butterflies, sweet and cool and chemical. The scent came from between her breasts, behind her ears,
the nape of her neck, the small of her back. John de Gama fell
in love with Cathy's eraser smell. One rainy Friday night he
dragged his friends Alan Gladstone and Malcolm Liang to the
perfume floor at Eaton's, looking for a replica of her scent.
They wandered in, sodden. The space was almost deserted,
white and sparkling, with filtered music that complimented the
silent motion of the escalators. Frosted white pinpoints of light
hung over a labyrinth of polished counters and off-white tile.
Rain sloshed from the soles of their shoes.
Alan Gladstone gripped John de Gama's shoulder as they
approached the Calvin Klein counter. "John," he hissed, 'that guy
is wearing eyeliner."
'Shut up,'John said nervously. 'As it happens, my sister was
telling me that as a result of post-postmodernism the sexes are
being...irrevocably intertwined. It doesn't mean he's a cross-
"Where was she reading this?" Alan said nastily. 'Black
Turtleneck and Ganja Cookies Weekly?"
They walked up in silence, reflected in fragments in dozens of
"Excuse me," John de Gama said to the eyelined clerk at the
Calvin Klein counter.
He looked up from a copy of Wallpaper. "Yes?"
John licked his Hps and began, "There's this girl that I know—"
"Ah," said the clerk immediately. "Design's the key. Take
this," and he held out what looked like a plastic Evian bottle with
a piece of burlap wound like a small turban around the lid. 'It's
responding to the high-end urban consumer's desire for the
avant-garde health commodity—mineral water, in this case, the
ultimate in transparency—in a minimalist mode of expression,
and blending it with the appeal of ethnic diversity. We're targeting the kind of consumer who—"
"No, actually, I'm looking for something that sort of smells
"The non-smell," the eyelined clerk said. "I know. Here, smell
this," he added, handing the Evian-shaped bottle to Malcolm
John de Gama and Alan Gladstone watched as Malcolm took
off the fid and sniffed it cautiously. "It doesn't smell like anything," he said.
"I know,' said the clerk. "The ultimate expression of contemporary irony. You know what's actually in that bottle? It's imitation water.'
'How do you make imitation water?' said Alan Gladstone
"There's no such thing—it's just water. Isn't it ironic? Isn't it
disgustingly, depravedly ironic? Isn't that just the final blow?
We're selling water as imitation water as perfume—and you want
to know the finishing touch? That-bottle,' said the clerk, his
words coming out like bullets,' costs $69.95. Sixty-nine dollars
and ninety-five cents. It's the ultimate expression of taking the
most basic human need and making it mto a fucking commodity. Even water can't escape being branded! Packaged!
Overpriced! Trendifiedl'
He's not stable, thought John de Gama, beginning to back
away. He bumped mto Alan Gladstone, who was peering over his
"Excuse me," Alan said, "but is the guy on the cover of that
magazine wearing lipstick?"
John de Gama felt the joints in his knees start to soften.
The clerk flipped to the cover of the Wallpaper. "Yeah, actually. I think it's Acapulta Sex on the Beach Number Nine. You
know—from the new Cuba Libre line of cosmetics for men." He
paused and added, "I'm wearing Sambucca eyeliner. It's not like
I'm gay or anything."
"Jesus H. Christ," said Alan to John, under his breath.
Malcolm Liang gave the Evian-shaped bottle back to the
Calvin Klein worker. "What's it called?"
"/like to call it let's-reafly-fuck-over-the-money-sucking-sheep-
this-time," said the man, "but actually it's called Di-hydrogen
oxide. To make all the idiots who took grade 11 chemistry think
it's very white-background and tres sophisticated."
"I think maybe you're in the wrong line of work," said
Malcolm Liang.
"I'll bring them down from within," said the man, turning
back to his magazine.
They continued through the silent, white labyrinth of perfume
counters, A teenage girl in a clear plastic jacket approached them
with a tray. "Hello, sir, would you like to try a sample of Cuba
Libre's new scent for men, Samurai}" The tray held what looked
like stoppered glass cubes, some black, others dark red and
The girl's dark green sports bra was visible in every detail
through the plastic. "Urn, no, thanks," John de Gama began, "I'm
looking for a perfume that smells like—"
Malcolm Liang took a glass cube from the tray, unstoppered
it and smelled it. "It smells like vinegar," he said.
"I know," said the teenage girl, whose name tag read
Invincible Sword Goddess. "It's a pheromone thing. We did a
study and vinegar is the single most saliva-inducing smell known
to the human species."
"You people are all insane," Alan Gladstone said with conviction. "How much does that little thing cost? Sixty-nine dollars and
whatever cents?"
'God, no,' said the Invincible Sword Goddess. "Who do you
think we are, Calvin Klein? One hundred and eighty for the small
'Holy Saint Francis," said Malcolm Liang, putting the glass
cube back on the tray. He leaned forward and focused on her
name tag. "Have you seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon one
too many times or something?"
"Nineteen," said the Invincible Sword Goddess, putting her
free hand over her heart "As soon as I get enough money from
this crappy job I'm going to open up a cosmetics line called
Green Destiny Sword Wielder."
"That's great," said Malcolm Liang sarcastically. "That only
destroys all the laws of copyright and artistic integrity I've ever
heard of. I think I'm going to go start a perfume fine called The
Godfather and it's going to smell like used coffee grounds. I don't
know what's happening with you people. You think consumers
are so moronic that they'll actually—"
"Buy $49,000 worth of vinegar and glass this week," said the
girl, delighted.
"I am looking," began John de Gama desperately, "for a perfume that smells like erasers, please."
"I'm sure you couldn't come to a better place," said Malcolm.
"They probably sell shaving water here, but unfortunately it costs
two bazillion dollars a molecule, and it'll be obsolete in three and
a half hours. Still, until then you're keeping up with the media
whitecoats' idea of what constitutes intelligent consumerism."
"You'll want to try stationeiy, level four," said the Invincible
Sword Goddess, who had misheard John de Gama's request
"Unfortunately, we're closing now. It's nine o'clock."
"Wait a second," said John de Gama, who had noticed a faint
scent separate from the heavy, glassy perfume smells surrounding them. "I think that's it! Your top—your thing your plastic
thing. Can I smell it?"
She extended her arm and he pressed his nose to her sleeve.
Subtly sweet, smooth and crinkling exuding waves of faint,
moist fruity scent "That's it," he said ecstatically, 'that's exactly
the smell I want. That heavy-plastic smell.' He gripped her hand.
'Can I buy this from you, please?'
"Well," said the Invincible Sword Goddess doubtfully, "I don't
know. I bought it from Versace. It was pretty expensive."
John de Gama grabbed at bis wallet, opened it and took out a
handful of twenties. "Here," he said, "here's $120. Please."
She counted the money. "Well,.it doesn't come near what I
paid for it, but that was almost three months ago. I guess I can
give it to you for that" She drew it off, and it squeaked and crackled, making John de Gama's eardrums tremble in ecstasy. He
folded it into his arms and breathed in its roiling maddening
smell. The Invincible Sword Goddess stood wearing nothing but
her forest green sports bra and matching jeans.
"I can't thank you enough," John de Gama said, his eyes
Alan Gladstone and Malcolm Liang dragged him away to the
exit "I can't believe you just spent your entire paycheck on a plastic jacket," Alan said, as they waited in the rain for the bus.
John had folded it, the plastic still squeaking and crinkling
and making him tremble with desire, into the front of his hooded sweatshirt. Its cool smoothness rubbed against his stomach.
"/ can't believe you're a member of the Green Parry," said
Malcolm Liang, as a kind of Greek chorus.
"Mm-hmm," John de Gama said. "I think I'm calling in sick to
work," he said to Alan Gladstone. "Willyou tell them I'll be there
tomorrow, though?"
"Jesus H. Christ," Alan said, disgusted. "Why can't you jerk off
to something normal, like Tropic of Cancer or something?"
John de Gama kept his eyes closed for the entire bus ride
home, in a state of straining erotic euphoria.
He didn't need to satisfy himself with the plastic jacket for
long. Three weeks later he made love to Cathy Yange in the back
of his older brother's Nissan. It was another dark Friday night,
pouring rain. They were parked in an almost deserted lot by the
beach where parking was illegal after 11 o'clock. Fifty feet away,
Malcolm Liang's Lexus stood with the headlights off; he was
locked in with the Invincible Sword Goddess.
Cathy's irresistible plastic smell rose in heady waves, steaming the windows and skylight. They were both naked, gleaming
with sweat, crushed together and drinking from each other's
mouths thirstily. The rain turned to sleet and pounded the car
roof with a noise like kettledrums, and her legs locked around
his waist, and he pressed his mouth into the hollow of her collarbone to keep his scream behind his teeth.
Afterwards, feeling lanced, light as vapour, and sleepy, they lay
naked in the dark. Cathy Yange's darkly freckled thighs were
steaming slightly. John de Gama could smell something else now,
hotter and darker than the fight eraser smell. It was the smell of
hot steam rising from a melting pot of different metals, platinum
and nickel, mixed with the smell of warm whole milk and
unsweetened chocolate. A heavy, languid smell. John de Gama felt
happiness flowing slowly down the back of his neck, the insides
of his ribs and eyelids and down his legs to circle his ankles.
Cathy Yange crossed her legs and sat with her back against
the steamy window. "John, what would you do if you had a
quadrillion dollars?"
John de Gama said with his eyes closed, "Is that question, like,
in lieu of a cigarette?"
"Yes," Cathy Yange said, reaching mto the pocket of her soft
corduroys, which were lying on the floor of the car. She took out
a brand-new pack of Jolly Ranchers, and began opening it with
familiar, tiny crackling noises.
John de Gama said, "If I had a quadrillion dollars, I'd buy a
gigantic satellite. Well, first I'd use billions of dollars to get all the
major world powers to agree to this new system of world government that I'd propose. Then I'd commission NASA to build
this gigantic satellite, with living quarters and hot water showers
and an oxygen-producing system, and so on. Then I'd—"
' What new system of world government?" said Cathy Yange.
John de Gama opened his eyes and looked at her. She was
running a clear cube of red Jolly Rancher over her bottom Up. It
gleamed sticky-smooth and dark red, and unbelievably, he felt
another stab of desire. "A kind of dictatorship, where the dictatorship is composed often people of equal power. And the ten of
them would five in this satellite—untouchable, and incorruptible—and they'd have unlimited access to all information and
media and so on, and they'd make all the world's major executive decisions."
"Have ajolly Rancher," Cathy said, reaching towards his lips
with one that smelled strongly of sour green apples. He felt the
salivary glands break out beneath his tongue as she pushed it
between his teeth.
"Because the point of it," John said, the hard little square clicking around his mouth, 'would be that for once we'd have some
people who'd be able to see the big picture-so, you know, they
could force people to do stuff that they wouldn't like in the short
term, but in the long term would be necessary. Like being forced
to recycle and cut out aerosol and cotton and so on. And complete
nuclear disarmament And very, very high taxes; like three times
as much as now. More equal distribution of resources to the third
world.' He sucked hard on the little square of sour-sweetness.
"I forgot,' Cathy Yange said. "You're a member of the Green
John de Gama focused his eyes on the dark silk of Cathy's
underpants, lying in a small shining puddle on the felt of the
back dashboard. There was a Ralph Lauren logo sewn to the back
of the waistband. He decided not to say any more; he might get
on to brand names and what he thought of them.
Instead he leaned forward and entangled the fingers of both
his hands in her hair, which was very coarse and dark. He pulled
her face toward him and closed his mouth over her tantalising
licked-candy lower lip. It tasted of everything fruity and chemical
that he loved—he sank his eyeteeth gently into the tender flesh
inside her mouth. She dug her short nails into his back.
Cathy Yange discovered she was pregnant six weeks later. She
told John de Gama on a warm, damp April evening full of cherry
blossoms, while walking him to the video store where he worked.
He arrived at work with the soles of his feet numb and his knees
"You look terrible," said Alan Gladstone, who was shelving
videos. The store, which was very small and specialised in
obscure European and East Asian movies, was empty.
"Cathy's pregnant," John de Gama said.
"You idiot," Alan said.
"I know," John said. He sat down behind the counter and
watched his hands shake. "I told her I'd marry her," he said.
'What? Alan said, turning around so hard that Flame Trees
ofThika toppled from the top of the stack he was holding.
"It was an instinctive reaction," John de Gama said.
Alan Gladstone glared at him, clutching at his unsteady armful
'I knew this whole thing would lead to trouble. The smell of erasers,
for Jesus H. Christ's sake. And now Malcolm's gone all haiku and
meditation over the Invincible Sword Goddess. I thought those who
sought to be kings of the post-postmodernism movement—such as
it is—would be a little more careful about using a condom."
John de Gama felt his nose start to get prickly and wet. 'Snkf.
I know."
"What happened?"
He sought an explanation. "We did use one, the first time.
Then afterwards she started rubbing her lips with a cherry Jolly
"You have got some very, very strange fetishes, you know,"
said Alan Gladstone coldly. "Hundred and twenty dollar plastic
coats and Jolly Ranchers."
John de Gama wiped his nose with the back of his wrist
"Snkf—well, if it's any consolation, of course it's not going to happen. Snkf. She said she didn't want to spend the rest of her life
in a well-lit studio apartment, in a brown housedress with dirty
hair, reading The Catcher in the Rye and nursing a baby and getting mto yoga—and, snkf, I don't know-and yogurt and health
food— snkf-;Jesus."
'So is she going to have an abortion?" Alan said.
John de Gama looked down at the counter, where his hands
lay trembling. The clear golden fall of April fight fell across them,
lengthening their unsteady shadows. "I don't think I want her
to," he said.
Alan Gladstone put down his videos and walked over to the
counter so that he stood nose-to-nose with John. "Don't be a
moron," he said.
The bell over the door chimed and a customer walked in. It
was a teenage boy, in boarder shorts and a hooded sweatshirt
with dark-green smudge marks around his eyelids. "Hey," he
said. "Do you have Kurasawa's Throne of Blood}'
'Over in Asian, Japanese, sixties," said Alan Gladstone automatically, his face still centimeters from John de Gama's.
"I'm trying to teach myself Japanese from subtitled movies,"
said the boy chattily. "I already learned Italian from Divorce,
Italian Style and Dolce Vita. I watched each of them about 50
gazillion times, but it worked. Japanese is a lot harder."
Neither Alan or John moved or replied.
"Hey," said the boy, "is something wrong?"
John de Gama turned to face him, wiping his cheeks hard
with his sweatshirt sleeve, and said, "I just found out my girlfriend is pregnant"
"Ohhh," said the boy..
"It's not such a catastrophe," Alan Gladstone said irritably.
"She can just get an abortion."
"I don't know," said the boy doubtfully. "My ex-girlfriend got
pregnant about six months ago and she had an abortion, and
while she was in the clime they rushed out this other girl who'd
been having one—I was in the waiting room—and she was bleeding to death because it had sort of gone wrong. She was on the
gurney and the whole lower half of it was soaked through with
"Did she die?" John de Gama said, stricken.
"I don't know," said the boy.
'Are you wearing eyeshadow, you fucking little postmodernist?' said Alan Gladstone.
"Yes," said the boy. "From the Cuba Libre fine—you know.i'm
not gay, you know. The sexes are blurring irrevocably."
John de Gama went into the back room and sat down on the
floor, not sure his legs could hold him any longer. He drew the
folded plastic jacket out of his backpack and sat hugging it, drinking in the smell thirstily, pressing it to his nose and teeth. ♦ I  o
(Non-Fiction Essay)
I  y
t takes some creatures less than one second to die.
to the
Decisions are sometimes made that fast too. Once my father and I had finally convinced my mother that our dog
was in irrevocable pain, I called the vet before she could change her mind. My take-charge persona surprised me. I
was about to kill my best friend of almost 15 years. Susie was a Labrador collie cross. She was sandy-brown but black
at the tip of her tail and tip of her snout People constantly commented on her great disposition. A woman even
stopped me on the beach one day to tell me Susie's personality shone through her face. Susie's round, doleful, brown
eyes made a dog lover out of anyone.
"I'd like to make an appointment to have my dog put down," I said, hearing my voice echo through the miles of
phone cord. The Vet Hospital was in Lakefield, about 20 minutes from our cottage on Stoney Lake.
'Oh dear, I'm sorry." (Why do receptionists make things worse by dripping with understanding?)
The tears welled up behind my eyeballs but I refused to let them come out I was going to wait until after Susie
was buried. Then, when I was alone in my room and everyone was asleep, I would cry.
It's Thursday morning and I'm driving my aunt's car to Lakefield from Toronto. My parents are taking their own
car so they can get groceries on the way to the cottage. Mum doesn't think fresh milk and dead dog mix very well.
Susie's burgundy duvet is in the back on the floor behind the passenger seat It's got a red, pink, and white-striped
slip cover over top that Mum washes weekly. She made the duvet after Susie had worn out an old chesterfield cushion. My aunt's passenger seat is forward as far as it will go so Susie has lots of room. I wanted her in the front seat
with me but it's not safe (like that really matters now). It's hot and I'm worried Susie will sweat too much—she can't
be uncomfortable for her last car ride. She's panting and the tiny drops of saliva are creating a dark patch on her
duvet cover.
Now that I'm on Hwy. 115 and I know the trip is more than half finished, I can feel the burn behind my eyes
again. I was fine on the 401. My mouth is generating the saliva that always comes right before vomit or tears. Once
I taste it I start sobbing. Now when I turn to smile at Susie I see she knows. I realise I'm projecting, but it hits me
in the gut nonetheless and her life flashes in front of my eyes.
Over the last month I had been waking up about five times a night not
because I couldn't sleep but because Susie couldn't sleep. She kept thinking
that she had to go to the washroom. I'd go outside with her at midnight,
one o'clock in the morning 2:30, 3:45, and five o'clock, thanking the stars
that we were in the Kawarthas and it was hot even in the middle of the
night. I was lucky if she did anything. Susie couldn't go out by herself anymore because she frequently fell and I didn't want to wake up mid-morning to find her dead at the bottom of a hill. One morning Susie fell down
the step into my room about 5:15.1 woke up to the sound of her feet scrambling on the wood floor as she tried to stand back up. When she needed to
go to the washroom she'd yelp periodically, which she did on this occasion.
I got out of bed, lifted her out of my room (she only weighed 15 pounds or
so because she'd stopped eating), carried her out the front door and followed her around outside. I carried her down the hill to the waterfront and
was spellbound by the view. The sun was just rising and the entire east
horizon was a soft pink, with weightless mist floating atop the lake. The
water was glass and the air was silent. I took a quick look at Susie, ascertained she'd be okay for two minutes and ran up to the cottage to grab my
camera. When I came back Susie wasn't where I'd left her. I called her name
but didn't hear a response. I scanned the shoreline. She wasn't in sight. I
walked over to the west property line and saw her. She'd fallen into the
rusted barbed-wire fence and was stuck. I tried to lift her but she snapped
at me. I cried as I finally got her free and carried her back to the cottage. A
week later I noticed a black patch on her belly. It was dried blood from the
fall. I cleaned the area, which prompted her to lick at it and bite away all
the fur around it. I took her to the vet in Lakefield. Dr. Coates was kind to
Susie. I asked her if she could tell me when I would know it was time. She
said when Susie stops eating when she needs help getting up and down or
when she snaps if touched.
The air conditioning in the car is on full but there is no air—it's too weak to provide any relief for Susie. The puddle of saliva on her duvet is fading because her mouth is now dry.
"We'll be there soon, don't worry," I say towards the back of the car. Another turn-off and we're on Hwy. 3 2. Ten
minutes to go. We were lucky to find Dr. Coates. She's part of the reason for our decision to put Susie down because
she demonstrates such compassion. The vet we take her to in Toronto is a renowned homeopathic vet He has articles published nationally, maybe even internationally, but his bedside manner is full of disdain. His lack of concern
for Susie's emotional well-being put a bad taste in my mouth the first time I met him. I feel a surge of shame. At
times, I'd been no different
iN&V'7- f1/'     'III* • •••*• :\   i '  H
.V^V*J~&.i It '.-■
• * .    *
,\.   V-    -7' ?;
For about a year I worked in the head office of a bank. My days were
rarely less than nine hours long. Not only did the job zap my self confidence, it also coincided with a period of extreme loneliness in my life. I had
brought Susie to Vancouver when I'd first moved, which was a few years
prior to starting at the bank. At first we'd had good times together, taking
long walks along the beach, hiking through mountain trails, even renting
a double-seater kayak together. But, then I got the job at the bank. After
that, Susie was stuck in a one-bedroom apartment for ten hows every day.
She wasn't allowed on the furniture so she couldn't even spend her day
looking out the window. I'd race home and, within half an hour, walk and
feed her before I raced out again to some loneliness-fighting function and
she'd be alone for another four hours. It was like this for close to a year and
Susie became lethargic and almost contracted Cushings disease due to the
stress. Instead of seeking comfort with my best friend, instead of receiving
love from a loyal companion, I treated her like a burden. I scolded her for
wanting too much attention. I yelled at her for trying to get love. Although
Susie probably forgot about it only a few months after I shipped her back
to Toronto, I still harbour great regret and sadness over my behaviour.
I pull into the parking lot at the vet's. Lakefield seems unusually quiet today; probably because it's hovering
around 32 degrees Celsius. I am early so Susie and I make an incredibly slow walk down the side street to the
Otonabee River. I want her to have one last cool-down, one last swim. Susie was never a dog to jump in the water
and swim about with the rest of us but she did like stepping in alone and cooling off. Gingerly, I help her mto the river
water and she swims about The whole moment is in slow motion; even the trees are blowing languidly in the breeze.
Susie is swimming in circles. She is still attached to her leash because I don't trust her strength at staying afloat for
long. If I'd brought my bathing suit I'd swim with her because the sun is beating down hard on top of my head. I'd
float down the river with her, away from the pain, away from the task at hand, away from my remorse. The water
lifts her tail to the surface and I swear it's wagging. She is weightless and buoyant Pain-free. Maybe even cheerful.
I let her swim for quite some time because we're that early and she looks that happy.
by Julie Lees
The first winter we had Susie, I was in charge of her training. I had promised. I was circling the perimeter of the yard with her, trying to teach her how
to heel. The ground was covered with fresh snow and even though it was only
4:30pm it was dark. Susie was a typically rambunctious puppy—frolicking in
the snow, eating it, rolling in it, tugging on the lead. I kept saying, "heel," hoping she'd catch on, but why would she have? She wasn't even a year old. My
mind wasn't on Susie but on a teenager's lot. I'd just fought with my mother. I
had no freedom; no one understood me. Susie tugged on the leash. I yelled into
the dark, "Why can't you heel! Why can't you just fucking heelV'My boot found
her flank and I started to kick her. I prefer to think I kicked the snow more
than her young body but I can't be sure. My frustration exhausted, I sank to my
knee$ in the powder, grabbed her helpless frame and hugged her to my winter
coat. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I cried into her silky fur. Long after she'd had
enough of the affection and had run off to dig in the snow I stayed hunched
over, my tears falling to the frozen water below me.
Susie and I sit patiently in the waiting room for our number to be called. It's the first vet visit at which Susie's teeth are
not chattering from fright She knows. Why do they put tiles on the floors of vet hospital waiting rooms? The sound of
dozens of little claws clattering their anxiety is unnerving. Inside the examination room, Dr. Coates has laid a soft yellow
blanket over the metal table. She is talking in soft tones and introduces me to Gloria, an attendant ready to assist if necessary. I wonder how messy this is going to get
"Just hold onto her head in case she reacts a little bit," Dr. Coates tells me gently.
"Exactly what's going to happen?
'How long does it take?
'What's in the needle?"
"It's an overdose of anesthetic," Dr. Coates says. 'I'll inject it into Susie's vein in her front leg and almost immediately
she'll fall asleep.'
Dr. Coates re-emphasises that it won't hurt Susie's head rests in the crutch of my arm so trusting. I'm stroking her body
and trying not to cry but the tears are flowing freely. They mix with the river water on her fur. Dr. Coates injects the needle. Within one second Susie's head slumps in my arm. She's asleep and there's no turning back. I want to yell, "Stop. I'll
take care of her, I promise." But I don't
We stay in the room for about ten minutes while Dr. Coates checks Susie's heartbeat I stroke her head, her torso, which
is still twitching. As long as my hands are on her body she's still with me. All that envelopes me is a great warmth of unconditional love. Not from me but from my dog.
"I think we're done," Dr. Coates half whispers. She and Gloria leave me alone with Susie and the soft yellow blanket
'Good girl,' I gurgle through my tears. My sobbing is now uncontrolled. Susie's face is serene, her eyes closed. She looks
comfortable for the first time in years. She smells like wet dog. I love that smell and I love her wet hairs sticking to my
hands as I stroke her. I undo the collar from around her neck and bring it to my nose. I want to reassure myself that I'll
have her smell with me at least for a little while.
Gloria is the last to carry Susie. She walks across the parking lot with Susie in her arms, wrapped in the slip-cover that,
half an hour before, covered her duvet. I open the trunk and Gloria puts Susie's body in the cedar box Dad and I made for
her two days before. Once the trunk is closed I just want to get on the road so I can cry in peace. I say my thank yous, get
a condolence hug, and hit the Stoney Lake Road to the cottage.
There are a n umber of ways one can reach the cottage. Fifteen years ago
my paren ts and I decided to take Hwy. 35. They say they still regret the day
but I know they no longer mean it. That was the day I started campaigning for a dog. We passed a farm house with a sign, "Free Puppies."
"Oh, can we—" ! * '•   7 »
"No," my Dad's firm voice cut me off. . ''   '-
All week I talked of no th ing else, until Mum and Dad agreed we co u Id just
look at the puppies next trip.
By the following weekend I had convinced them I would look after her t
forever so we pulled into the farmer's driveway, my parents reluctant, me - '
excited. There were 11 puppies scrambling on top of each other and one sitting in the water bowl. The one in the water was the one I wanted The * %
farmer gave us a little stash of food to last the weekend and a cardboard box
in which to put the puppy. She squeaked and whined in the oversized box on
the back seat beside me all the way to the cottage. Mum wanted to call her
Chien-deux because she was our second dog. Chien-deux soon turned into
Shandy which turned into Sandy. I didn't want a dog named Sandy so I arbitrarily picked Susie.
Another aunt. Aunt Lorna, is at the cottage when I arrive. I walk into the living room where she was napping, and
we chat After a few minutes she asks, "Why is your face all puffy?"
I tell her what I've done. "She's in the trunk. Do you want to see her?"
Aunt Lorna declines. Uncle Mike gathers up some tools and we start the long process of digging a 30-inch hole
in pre-Cambrian Shield bedrock. We want to make sure it's deep enough so the animals don't dig her up.
Mum and I were talking a few days later. She'd wanted Susie to stay on the verandah a couple of days just
so we could look at her and make sure she was dead. Any normal person would have known she was
dead but with the periodic twitching I witnessed and the warmth of her body Mum felt when she touched
Susie one last time, we couldn't be sure we hadn't buried her alive.
My nieces and nephews came to the cottage for a visit They wondered where Susie was and my ten-year-old niece
asked if they could see her. I walked them all to the gravesite by the compost heap. The two youngest, both four, were
"Where is she?' they asked. "We want to see her."
I tried to explain that Susie was dead and buried. They couldn't understand why we couldn't dig her up and play
with her.
Last week our family got a card in the mail. On the cover was a picture of a young girl with blonde hair in a white
frilly dress playing with a sandy-coloured Labrador. It was a note from the veterinary clinic reassuring us we'd done
the humane thing and that it was Susie's time to go.4>
V- Jit    .   - *"
This story is about a boy who set
himself apart from the rest of
the world by teaching his chickens to sing. He is an only child. His
name is Kyle and he used to have an
older brother. But something happened
to him in the river when Kyle was still
just a baby. Kyle doesn't ask what. Kyle
doesn't have a dad and he never has.
That's just the way it is, he says to the
kids at school.
Kyle has one friend. The name of the
friend is Robert. Robert is taking Grade
7 for the second time and is bigger than
the other kids. He smiles when they run
away from him and he laughs when
they bleed from the concrete.
Sometimes, walking home from the
bus stop, Kyle pretends that Robert is
his big brother. But he doesn't tell this
to Robert. Often, when Robert spends
time at Kyle's house after school or on
the weekend, he pretends that Kyle's
mom is his mom. He never tells this to
Edna. This is the name of Kyle and
Robert's mom. She's a big woman with
tired eyes, thick arms, and a slow,
heavy walk. If the school counselor or
teacher calls to find out why Kyle was
away again, she will tell a story like a
long poem that twists and winds and
the person on the other end will stop listening and write excused beside the day
in question. This isn't even something
that Edna considers a skill. Edna doesn't believe in fried food, she puts everything in the big brown crock pot that
lives beside the sink and turns the dial
to stew. Kyle doesn't even remember
that vegetables start out brightly
coloured. Robert's favourite food is the
deer-meat stew that Edna makes. He
says to Kyle with his mouth full, what is
it again? Say it again in that language.
It's hychqua Kyle says with a big sigh
and puts another fork full of stew in his
mouth. Thank you is hychqua. Edna
just stands leaning backwards with her
head out the kitchen window and
smokes hand-rolled cigarettes. She
picks tobacco from her teeth and says
quietly, Fuck, when the sill of the window digs into her back.
Kyle decides that it's Robert's turn to
do the dishes and this is what he says as
he slips on his gum boots by the back
door. The tall rubber boots fwapaty fwa-
paty on the back of Kyle's 12-year-old
calves as he crosses the yard to the
coop. The chickens hear this sound and
start to get restless. They automatically
start to duck and weave like plump little
boxers. They parade back and forth
across the tightly packed dirt and
scratch to the sound of some Latino
Evening girls, hp ;■ ivs to thorn js
he squeaks open the wire door. They quietly
cluck and coo. He moves into the cenlie < f the
coop and scatters their feed. As his girls h< -t' > i^y
with eating, he carefully steps through -Kin
to the edges of the coop and sprinkles the '
compost. He then stands solid. Their ■&
pudgy plumed bodies brush across his ***   Vt
calves and bump gently into his shins. Jhis^"*^*
makes him smile. As the one with a zebra-
striped coat scratches across the toe of his boot
she bursts mto song. She needs no music and
although she sings a little off tune, Kyle knows it
is only because she hasn't warmed up. This is a
foreign song from a far-off land and as some of
the others finish their dinner and start to join
in, he wonders where the girls learned it. He
doesn't question them but rather, rocks back
and forth on his heels concentrating on the new
We're going to be rich, he says to his girls.
We'll take this show on the road and you'll never
have to eat feed again. Yep. He says, you'll have
your own personal driver and we'll line our
gold-plated wallets with hundred dollar bills.
That night, Robert wins the arm
wrestle and chooses the bottom
bunk   with   the   built-in   fort.
G'night sucker, he says and snaps
the blanket door closed. Kyle hears
him laugh for a moment and then
breath heavy for a while before
The next day at school
the     principal     takes
Robert from class. Robert
flashes his middle finger at
Mr. Clark's back but none
of the kids in the class laugh
and Ms. Andrews only makes
some soft clicking sounds with
her tongue against her teeth.
He   is
__,„•" gone Lr ilie rest ■ 'f 'he
period and doeMi t ■-how
up for gym class. At lunch time he
catches Kyle talking to Edward Choi
and gives him a what are you doing with
one of them looks before expressing his disappointment by giving Kyle a noogie. Edward
watches them from a perch on the wooden jungle gym. Robert flips him the bird and together,
Kyle and Robert leave the school ground.
Goddamned Mr. Clark, Robert says to Kyle as
they walk across the gravel field. He busted me
for firecrackers and says I have to pick up
garbage for a week. Says he'll call the cops on
me if he catches me with them again. Robert
pushes open the grocery store door and looks
up at the ringing brass bell. Kyle looks at the old
woman who works behind the counter and
hunches his shoulders forward. He shuffles his
feet to the candy section and darts his eyes
around. He picks up lots of little wrapped things
and then puts them back where he finds them.
He plunges his fingers to the bottom of candy
baskets and makes crinkling sounds with wrappers. This makes him think of his chickens, but
he doesn't get distracted. He tilts his head forward and shakes his hair out from in front of his
eyes. He looks up at the old woman again and
sees that she still has her eye on him. He crosses to the grocery section of the store and turns
his back to her. Robert coughs twice and they
both leave the store listening to the bell as the
door slides shut
They move quickly, despite knowing she
could never catch them even if she tried. There
is a spot in a lane close to the school where the
boys go. A tattered orange-and-red-plaid couch
sits, smelling of urine, beside a falling down
garage. This is where they like to sit.
Robert pulls a car magazine and two packs
of chocolate M&Ms out of his jacket lining.
Kyle doesn't talk. Robert doesn't talk. Thuy t-it looking at
the magazine across both their laps and eatinj M&Ms lhey don t read
words, only look at the glossy pictures.
The boys sit until the first buzzer sounds then they race back through the side streets
to the schoolyard. They sprint up to the classroom two steps at a time and land in their
seats giddy and out of breath. The second buzzer sounds and Ms. Andrews looks at them
over her little half-moon glasses and makes that clicking sound. The boys look at her
and then at each other and grin.
Robert tells Kyle he wants to go to your place and make bologna sandwiches. But Kyle
wants to sit in the coop. My mom said I have to do homework tonight, he lies. Robert
lies back, Yeah. I have to go home anyway.
Kyle hops on the 3:10 bus and sinks into his seat, leaning his head back against the
metal bar. He thinks of his chickens and of never having to walk his mom up to her
room after a late night out He thinks of the stains on the carpets and the walls of their
house, and of how last week they finally got rid of the guy named Goldy who arrived
after a particularly big bender and stayed. Goldy called Kyle's mom Eddy and said, your
mom's some fine meat, son then slammed him up against a wall when Kyle said, I'm
not son, I'm Kyle. Goldy stayed for eight months to teach the boy some respect. The guy
before Goldy stuck around for close to ten.
Edna's tired eyes don't shift She is sitting in the Lazy Boy recliner with her feet up.
Kyle takes the end of her cigarette from her fingers and drops it in a glass ashtray. He
covers her in a blanket and starts, to cut potatos into cubes. While he chops he looks out
the kitchen window to his coop across the yard. He cuts carrots, slices celery, squints at
onions and then dumps them all mto the crock pot with some deer meat his uncle
brought over after last month's hunt up in the Okanagan. It's early yet and the stew will
take several hours. He puts on his gum boots, grabs the yellow compost bucket and
heads across the grass to the coop.
A brown and white biddy launches into a dramatic opera for Kyle upon his arrival.
It's been cold the past few nights, and this is what she sings about. Kyle is particularly
partial to this old girl as she was the first to arrive. She wandered from a house down
the road, freed from her old coop after a violent and ferocious weasel attack. She arrived
in the middle of the night in the middle of the week the summer it snowed in June when
Edna and her current bully were still in a phase that made her smile to herself while
standing alone at the kitchen sink. Edna would lean her thick body on the counter with
her big brown hands soaking in warm dish water while Kyle looked on from behind.
It was a night when he slept until the scratching on the roof above the top bunk woke
him. Then he slid out of bed to the floor. The biddy stopped scritching the shingles when
she heard him and stayed still until he climbed up to meet her. In the cold of the night
they sat together on the roof. He tucked her into his sweatshirt and she told him about
the feathers and fur flying everywhere. She told him she could never go back there and
he told her she would never have to. She told him everything but her name and to this
day that part of her is still a secret.
The other chickens came later. Came to see what all the fuss on the Cooper land was
about Brown & White was living in an old car in the back of the house. She built a nest
in the seats and when others arrived, she agreed to let them share her torn vinyl and
rusted home. It took Kyle several weeks to build a proper coop out of found materials,
and all six girls have been living there since. None of them can lay eggs, but they sing a mean capella. Tonight it is opera. And Kyle sits on a fit-
tie blue stool to listen.
Edna can't hear the chickens sing from inside the
house, so she doesn't understand why Kyle keeps
them. One time after the cheap wine had begun to sour
in her mouth she threatened to go out back and chop
one of the girls for tomorrow night's stew. But she didn't call them girls, she called them those fucking birds.
Kyle just turned his back on her and walked away. She
laughed. Just stood there, swaying and laughing, Until
Kyle was out of sight and she was alone in the living
room. Then her knees buckled and she crumpled to the
floor and cried. Kyle found her there the next morning.
He tucked a blanket up around her shoulders and got
on his way to catch the bus mto town. If he hadn't
already been late for school, he would have tried to
wake her and half carry, half drag her up the stairs to
her bedroom.
Kyle says to the chickens, We're going to be rich
girls. We're going to be rich, he turns to go warm up in
the house and check the stew. He holds a fork firm in
his hand and stabs a square of meat. It has been almost
four hours and the meat is tender, all the vegetables
are soft and a thick gravy surrounds it all. Mom, Kyle
says, gently shaking Edna by her shoulder. Hey Mom.
She has floated out of her fog and fallen into sleep and
even when Kyle says a third time. Mom, she doesn't
stir in the Lazy Boy. At this point, Kyle knows if he succeeds, she will wake up slow and angry. He lets her
sleep and watches her, like she is a TV, while he eats
his dinner.
The next day at school Robert waits until noon and
then puinhes Kvli" and accu-i-s
him of lying / ( tiled yju
last   night   and  }uu
weren't doing homework.   Whcit'  11 f,
T 11
you? He hisses at him
while straddling Kyle's chest
and keeping him pinned to the
ground.  Got a girlfriend or something? he demands. Fuck off, Robert, Kyi
shouts and flails his legs around trying to free
himself. Fuck off, Robert, echoes Robert in a high
pitched nasal voice keeping him pinned to the ground.
Robert warns him solidly that he'd better keep still
for ten seconds when I get off or you 're dead meat Kyle
doesn't move for more than twenty and for the rest of
the week, and mto the weekend Kyle and Robert will
eat lunch separately.
Sunday night closes the bar and brings Edna home
with a guy in a plaid shirt They spill through the side
door into the kitchen. Kyle wakes to hear Edna slurring
in a loud whisper, Thiss my boyss room. Shhhhhh. And
then fits of throaty laughter. When she comes in to kiss
her son on the forehead, Kyle can hear heaving in the
hallway closet Oh shit, she says, interrupting her good
night wishes! That's not the bathroom. She stumbles
Before school on Monday, Kyle has to clean up the
vomit from the closet floor and him and Robert are the
same land of friends again. At lunch they steal four
Cokes from the corner store and drink two on the
couch in the lane. The boys skip afternoon gym class
and Mr. O'Ryan's art class to take the 1:15 bus out of
Kyle's out feeding the chickens, says Robert when
Edna walks slowly into the kitchen. You want a Coke or
anything? She nods her heavy head and the boy moves
quickly to give her his seat and open a warm
Coke from his back pack. You're a good
', she says thumping mto the wooden chair, and then, Thanks son.
Robert sits beside her watching
her guzzle the Coke in one gulp and
then waits patiently for the belch.
Neither one of them look up when
Kyle opens the door and slides out of
his   boots.   Kyle   plods   across   the
linoleum with his socks hanging inches
off his toes. He sits down next to his
mom and asks her, What happened to your cheek? She
looks at Robert and says,
Leave us be for a minute,
Robert pushes back his
chair, lifts his backpack
and leaves. I'll just sit in
the yard, he says to Kyle
JH@Ef and gives Edna a closed
HKI i nouth smile.
 £&-      Edna doesn't speak right
i way and while Kyle waits
lie goes on a trip in his head
to sit with his chickens. They
Mire pretty quiet this afternoon and Kyle figures their
t-nYnce is due to the same
plaid shirt that bruised Edna's
cheek. He's gone for quite a
while, and when he gets back,
Edna is finishing a sentence and
getting up from the table. Doesn't
matter, he thinks, and waits for her
to reaih the top of the stairs before he
goes out to find his friend.
From across the yard Kyle sees
Robert sitting on his stool in the coop.
The last can of Coke is sitting by his feet
and he is siniling. The wire door is open
and only three of his chickens are moving. Kyle's legs won't take him to his
girls fast enough and the No that is roaring in his head can't escape. He watches
as Robert clicks off the safety latch on a
child-proof lighter and feeds a firecracker to Brown & White. She takes it right
from his hand and thrusts her head forward to get it down. Before it blows,
Robert looks up at Kyle and grins. He
tips back m the stool and leans away
from the blood as it bursts out of her. He
kicks over the can of Coke and Kyle
watches it spill together with the feathers and blood. There were feathers and
fur everywhere, she had told him that
summer it snowed in June.
Kyle watches the feathers settle.
Robert is completely still in the middle
of the coop and everything, save for the
leaves dropping from the trees, is
silent. The only human movement
comes from Edna's big brown figure in
the window of the kitchen. She smiles
and lifts one hand and waves to the
boys in the yard. ♦ _titt_Mffr
Second Thoughts for the Student of Creative Writing
(winner snap
non- fiction)
by Larissa Buijs
Creative Writing, as a major subject of so-
called study in a handful of Canadian universities, is barely recognisable as part of a valid
university degree and often irrelevant to
future employers as they search through a
pile of resumes for that perfect new recruit.
Lacking a good reputation, an instantly-marketable set of skills and a particular field of
employment, a degree in Creative Writing is
Some say that any degree is a degree
nonetheless, but the fact is that many employers view "major: Creative Writing* as foreign
(without being mystical) and different (without being unique). What is an employer to
expect from a freshly graduated Creative
Writing student? They already know what
they'll get in an Anthropology Major or
Toothpick Engineer so why go for the
unknown? Until I shortened my resume profile to read "University of British Columbia,"
smartly omitting my degree (BFA) and major
(Creative Writing), I'd sent 60 applications to
an unconcerned audience last summer. Post-
revision, seven employers piped up from the
crowd. And though I was eventually offered
summer work for my superb written and verbal communication skills, I'd never have been
in a conference room showing off my charming personality had I not kept my major a
Roundtable workshops are known to build
more character than mindless lectures, but
what good are four strong rewrites if you have
to beg and lie
for a job? Some would say the exercise of critiquing student works-in-progress trams a
critical eye and big mouth, but what sincere
and self-interested corporation is going to
return your call when you stand outside their
front door cussing about the lower case company name and screaming for them to let you
That's not to say all Creative Writing students will bang on corporate doors. The odd
graduate wiggles her way mto the editing
room while a handful more sip coffee with the
story-editing team of the latest TV series
filmed in Vancouver. Precious few sign book
deals. It's certainly possible to lead a word-
concentrated life, at the reasonable price of
dozens upon dozens of returned manuscripts
and wasted stamps. Some of these once-
poverty-stricken job scavengers have actually
paved a path of success.
If, however, years of patient waiting and
recurrent butt-smooching don't yield the ideal
job or publication credits, bowing down to the
almighty corporate world may seem like the
only option. Well, that or working in the food
industry. f
As a Creative Writing student, manipulating the application process by omitting the
truth from your resume is an excellent
method to solve unemployment By keeping
your major a secret, admitting only to having
a university degree, you can safely get yourself to an interview before the employer
demands more details. At this point, a polite
and modest description of your course of
study (along with imposing charm) might get
you a second interview.
Creative Writing is abstract, excessive and
self-indulgent. The corporate job is based on a
pre-set standard for which your opinion is
irrelevant; once leaned, the daily routine is
largely repetitive, feployera axe looking fbf /
students who are willing to join an enthusiastic team already familiar with these important prerequisites. Creative Writing, by its
subject title alone, is too pompous for entry
level positions.
It might be useful to remember that the
enigmatic major in Creative Writing will
always require an explanation for friends
and family as well. Eventually it's easier to
simply dodge questions or develop an
acceptable back-up answer to substantiate
the invalid nature of your studies.
Acceptable back-ups include: 1) Sure, 1 can
go into Journalism, 2) I'm planning to write
fiction soon, instead of poetry, 3) I know my
chances of getting a job related to Creative
Writing are almost non-existent, but it's
what I'm learning that counts. If you're
really put on the spot, a simple "I don't
know what I'm going to do with my life, so
stop asking" might do—acknowledging the
inferiority of your chosen career path—
though one should always exercise caution
when using this response.
The ultimate solution to avoiding the
danger in pursuing a degree in Creative
Writing is, of course, to choose another
major. By completing a degree in English,
for example, you can still immerse yourself
in literature and practice writing essay after
essay for four whole years. Unfortunately,
you will have to let the professor do most of
the talking. If desired, you can, without
much opposition, quietly partake in the odd
Creative Writing class and no employer,
friend, or family member will ever find out.
You have the power to withhold this information and avoid uncomfortable questioning.
For^those confined to the program, a
series of bad choices has already shaped an
unavoid&bjf life of unhappiness. After uni-
^ versify, it may be produc-
tiVe to live off your parents or
friends until part-time work at a ,*
coffee shop can fund your first
stageplay.    Moving    to    Los
Angeles to pursue a career in
writing for television, however, is not advised. Once accepting the fact that you cannot
sell your art, working for a
large  corporation is entirely
feasible with the manipulative
no-truth method.
And,  surely, most gradu-.
ates of the Creative Writing
program will find themselves
begging for an interview, one
way or another. Creative solu-   ,.-      '
tions   for   employment   are, 5"
plausible though discouraged,
as  recent  grads   are   rarely V
hired for anything other than *„
well-greased    starting   positions. Be wary of improbable ,
expectations. Creative Writing,
as an area of specialty, is not
beneficial to the formal, estab- ■
lished world of employment.
When you stand in line for a
promotion    from    database ,
entry to administrative assistant, the Business Major will
be ahead of you.
So save everybody a step and
strap on your Dunce Cap. If.
more students are informed -
about  the   dismal,   disadvan-   •     >
taged life they will lead with a        j,
degree in Creative Writing, we       j'
can work to eliminate this nega- * - ■*
tive potential that dangles somewhat invisibly over dozens of unfortunate students   with   lofty   dreams   to^f'-j,
become published writers. ♦
Why are yoti
(runner-up Snap Fiction)
by Crystal Buyze
"Do you like reading kid's books?" Jennifer asks. She's afraid
of me. It's my glasses. I know my response is significant I
stare with ever-increasing scorn at her very dark roots.
'I find inspiration everywhere." I say this quietly, like I'm
susceptible to attacks of inspiration. Like I'm randomly zapped
by the spirit I put the copy of Where the Wild Things Are back
on the shelving truck. I know I should walk away, but the scene
is too tempting. I am wearing these glasses.
With my back turned to her, I speak.
"Max spoke to me in a dream last night," I say quietly, but
loud enough for her to hear. I try to remember what the paja-
ma-ed kid does in Where the Wild Things Are. Jennifer is the
one with kids, not me. She laughs a little, so I turn to her, grim-
faced. She stops.
"Wh.. what did he say?'
I close my eyes briefly. 'Dance by the light of the moon,' I
respond. I'm winging it
"What happened?" she asks.
"I danced," I say simply.
She sucks in her breath and gives me a suspended smile,
her eyebrows raised to express her dubiousness. "How long
are you on for?'
She has decided to end the conversation so she can move away
and report to Phyllis and Rob. I decide to let her go. "Til five."
I watch her dark roots disappear among the stacks and I
head to the periodicals.
Nina, the periodical librarian, is constantly trying to
remind us that she's cool. Everyone buys it but me. I let her
talk of course, about Prada bags and local theatre, but I don't
at me" that way^
let hjf be COj^-afound me. She says. PradaTl say Justina
McCaffeiyJ'She says Neil Simon, I say George F. Walker,
She says we're 'mates.'
"Have you read the latest "Hello?" she asks,
tucks her iron-dry blonde hair behind her ears.
Another dye job. "Fab spread on Princess Sophie
Her idea of the latest Hello is two weeks
old. There's a newsstand near my place
that's always a week ahead of her
Sometimes I read the newer Hello just so I can bring up some
of the crap they talk about I'll be like, "I've just got to get one
of those emerald faux snakeskin belts. They are sooo fab," and
then she'll show me a picture of those same belts the edition
the next week like I'm some sort of soothsayer, her mouth
open wide and her eyes giving me the T-can't-believe-this look.'
I also modify my language around her. She's not British, but
she likes to pretend she is. We use words like "snog" and "brill"
and "posh."
I begin dating and organising this week's magazines and
newspapers. I notice Nina has ordered more British magazines: The People's Friend, Now, and Bunty. Nina sees the
library as a free subscription to the world. I don't see what she
wants Bunty for. Kids don't even like Bunty. Bunty is for dorks.
I want to ask her where Pyle is. Pyle is the only cool magazine. It's not slopped through with gaudy lipstick ads and boring editorials on faux emerald snakeskin belts. I used to read
it at the newsstand by my place, until they stopped carrying it
After a trimester of withdrawal, I secretly ordered it under
Nina's name. She never said anything about it But it's a month
overdue. I need that magazine. I won't ask her though. If she
knew that I thought Pyle was cool, she'd be reading it and min
everything for me. I'd have to find a new cool magazine.
I organise and label until noon. Then I re-file the returned
CDs. I wish they'd pay me. Most people here are too scared to
talk to me so the day drags. The front desk ladies are the worst
They smell like my Oma's sock drawer and have really
/ bad hairstyles. And big glasses. Not like my glasses.
At about two this new guy Darren comes up to Nina and
asks about Pyle. Usually I pretend I can't hear new people for
the first six months. Then they've passed my test Anyway, I
only listen because he was talking about Pyle. He doesn't look
like a Pyle reader: his lips are always flaking and peeling and
he wears really, really boring clothes. I'll bet his mother shops
for him. I may have to re-assess my magazine choice after finding out that Darren reads it too.
Nina replies too quietly for me to hear, and he nods and
walks away. His pants are hiked up to his ribs. I wish I could
hear what just passed. I can't read Darren's expression,
because he's too pathetically dull to have one. But then he
turns around and calls back to her in his nasal monotone: "I
can get it elsewhere." She nods and turns to me with an insipid
smile and waves. Her feigned innocence doesn't fool me.
I don't wave back.
The cops showed up at my place yesterday. They asked me
why I didn't come to work. Then they asked me if I knew about
Nina's death. What do they think I am, a freak? I
watch TV. I faked shock and backed up until my legs
hit the back of the couch. Then I sank down and
buried my face in the armrest I told them about
Pyle magazine and how Darren was upset that
Nina canceled the subscription. I didn't let them
use the bathroom. I locked the door from the
inside. I'll have to break it down next time I have
to pee. I haven't had time to clean it up yet The
carpet took forever. I'll need at least a week to
clean the bathroom.
Nina had the last four issues of Pyle at her
house. I have them now. If you're wondering, I
didn't kill her. Really.
So that's that, I guess. ♦


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