25 April, 2008

game, set, match.

I should be writing my paper. . .

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22 April, 2008

Eden hits below the belt

My bastard boyfriend Eden Hart decided to send this video to me. It hurts Eden, thanks a lot. I'm going off to cry in a SUB bathroom now.

I guess that's what I get for having an open relationship.

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UBC SDS are a bunch of fakes!

Those of you with too much time on your hands may have noticed the cute article on UBC Insiders explaining the historical origins of Students for a Democratic Society (aka the SDS)

What I find interesting about this is that, despite all the quaint black and white pictures, the SDS of the 1960s is a completely different organization than the SDS of today, which is just two years old.

If you really don't want to study for that astrophysics exam tomorrow, check out the wiki here for the complete SDS history, but basically the movement that culminated with stand on top of cop-car mounting awesomeness in Berkeley was hijacked by radicals and fell apart by the end of the decade. Step into my time machine and let us fast forward 40 years. Wave when you pass Reagan.

2006. A group of students decide to create a movement based on participatory democracy. An interesting concept, and the definition varies depending on who you ask. As far as I can tell, to the SDS this means a non-hierarchical structure so everyone can have their voice heard equally (this also allows for infinite buck passing) I've also heard definitions that go from randomly choosing 20 UBC students to sit on a committee to projects like VFM to displays of asshatery like this. Now that last one is just silly.

Recent events seem to have shown that UBC SDS prefers the "being annoying" form of action. Take small issues and beat the crap out of them. Way to go guys. But I got to wondering - are all SDS chapters like this? Just by looking at their website they don't seem that batshit (though my agents at Berkeley tell me otherwise)

Regardless, I must give them credit. They did a good job organizing protest to the Iraq war, and now at least they are vocal, which is important in the US especially given how much our media sucks. But when they finally get attention they don't know what to do with it. Or at least that's how it works at UBC.

But here is the amazing thing:

There is no UBC chapter of SDS. Wha? I'm gonna say that again: according to the wiki attached to the official SDS website, there is no SDS chapter at UBC. So, while it is entirely possible they just suck at keeping their site up to date (which is lame if their big thing is participatory democracy, but entirely possible especially since they use fucking listservs) or it is possible the organization at UBC calling itself SDS never bothered to join. Which one is is kids?

Looks like the latter. The UBC SDS site even says they are only "inspired by" the SDS of the US. As in not actually part of. This wouldn't be a problem if they didn't write articles justifying their legitimacy as a continuation of the original SDS movement. To me this sort of seems like shitting in a Starbucks cup, calling it a Frapachino, and selling it out of your van. Sure it looks the same on the outside but whoa!

I don't know. Part of me wants to cry "shame!" for co-opting the name of another organization and the other part of me doesn't care. Or I could be completely wrong. Or maybe just beautiful. Damn beautiful. Tell me I'm beautiful. That's what the comment thing is for.


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18 April, 2008


Make sure you register to vote in VFM - voting ends on the 30th. So far only 15 people have registered. . . go here to vote.

Also check out this blog: http://knolltruth.blogspot.com/

Oh wait. It is by invite only. Guess you can't handle the truth. Maybe when they discover the truth they'll let us know. Sorry Knoll folk, I like a lot of your ideas it is just your execution. . . leaves something to be desired.

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12 April, 2008

Jasmine Rezaee supports freedom of speech!

As some of you may know, yesterday (last day of class aka the one day alcoholism is socially acceptable) a little group calling itself Kno to the Knoll held a protest. Almost immediately, the famous campus activist and ardent free speech advocate Jasmine Rezaee arrived to show her support. Thanks to Gerald, as always, for having his camera present.[sorry about the formatting - I'd sort it out if I had the time - just click "see full post" at the bottom]

Here we see Jasmine arriving. Note how both parties use body language. Jasmine, a seasoned activist, has much to teach Kno to the Knoll about the nuances of a proper demonstration.

Here Jasmine shares her sign making skills. As any environmentalist can tell you, conservation of scarce resources is important. Jasmine makes sure nothing goes to waste.

Another lesson in non-verbal communication. Sometimes fringe elements can take over an otherwise peaceful event and turn it ugly. Jasmine shows the proper way to respond to vile chants of "peaceful protest" in a way sure to earn her the respect and admiration of her followers.

Jasmine shared much of her knowledge of activism with Kno to the Knoll on Friday, all of which helped contribute a successful rally. I think this will be a beautiful partnership. See you at P.F. Changs! I'll be having my sauce extra spicy.

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09 April, 2008

Once Upon A Grassy Knoll or Never Cry 'Shame'

Erin Rennie

I am amazed at how hurt the knolligarchy is at the antagonistic response to their, in all seriousness, harrowing experience last Friday. Although I feel really sorry for the kids who went through this, I also feel like there is some kind of lesson to be learned, but none of the asop's fables that I can recall quite fit. So wrote my own.

Once Upon A Grassy Knoll or Never Cry 'Shame'

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a large forest ruled by a mighty king. Many different creatures lived in this forest all with different personalities and interests. There were ducks and pigeons, raccoons and squirrels, lumbering bears and mindless seagulls, lady bugs, lizards, chipmunks, rabbits, moose and many many more. They were happy there in the forest where they all lived and learned and played together. One group, the little lambs lived together on top of a lovely grassy hill. The lambs were very smart and very good. They were worried about the forest they lived in. They worked hard to make the forest a better place and did many good works.

But the little lambs were sad because many of the other little woodland creatures did not share their concerns or their ambition to improve the forest. The seagulls would strut by, plugged into their ipods and ignorant of everyone else. The lumbering bears cared for nothing but drinking lots and lots of honey and having a nice time. The rabbits spent all their time at the Pit, looking for other scantily-clad rabbits to hump and make more baby rabbits with. Even the squirrels ignored the pleas of the little lambs and drove around in gas guzzling SUV's. Yes many of the other creatures were very naughty and the little lambs began to say to themselves: "how naughty they all are, how evil, how stupid." The little lambs would then look at themselves and say "how nice we are, how peaceful and conscientious. How good we are! How righteous we are! Everyone should be like us."

But even though the little lambs were very very good, they could not convince the other creatures to become like them. And they began to get very cross with the lazy, wasteful creatures, and even the creatures which were just different. The lambs thought they were doing good by pointing out the flaws and misdeeds of the different animals. The lambs would say "you slimy Liberal Lizards! Shame on you!" And "you miserly, cruel Conservative Crows! Shame on you!" They even began to say "you lazy New Democratic Party Donkeys! Shame on you, for you are poisoning the class struggle!"

They shamed everyone who had something to be ashamed of, for their mistakes, their accidents, their differences of opinion, or even just their differences of method. They shamed each creature in turn except themselves of course because they had nothing to be ashamed of. They even published their censures for all to see, writing brilliant articles like "AUS Aardvarks: if they aren't with us, they are racist, imperialistic capitalists!" or "Ubyssey Newspaper Newts: biased, right-wing, hypocrisy!" or "IRSA Iguanas: somehow funded by the military therefore violent oppressive war-mongers!" They were especially rigorous to shame the leaders of the forest for any misdeeds, they even managed to discover moral ramifications for the misdeeds that the perpetrator was not even aware of. Works of this amazing undercover journalistic magnitude included "Alex the Alligator an anti-democratic cheater votes up to 12 times!" and "Tyrannical Student Council impedes on hypothetical judicial independence! Colin the Coyote suspected as right-wing political ring-leader." They shamed the idea of anyone even trying to oppose their right to shame because, "to disagree with good little lambs is akin to hate speech!"

By the bye, it came to light that the mighty king intended to bulldoze the entire forest to build a new 548-car garage to house is collection of BMW's and SUV's and yachts. The garage would be so large as to include a food court, Laundromat, spa, and gift shoppe! The forest creatures were horrified and grew anxious. The lambs especially endeavored to prevent this terrible thing from happening to their beloved forest, especially their beloved grassy hill of a home. They also increased their public shaming for logic clearly dictates that those ignorant and apathetic animals who did nothing, or did something in the wrong way were enemies to the creatures and friends of the mighty king.

But one night the little lambs made a mistake themselves. They built a great big dangerous bonfire to skip and dance and celebrate with. But they built their fire bigger and bigger, it grew to the same dangerous, uncontrollable proportions as their smear campaigns and public shaming had. But even when it was time to put the fire out, the little lambs refused. They fought and resisted. The fire a symbol of their solidarity! Of their righteousness! For this they got into deep deep trouble with the King. The next day they felt very silly for their folly. Surely going to jail had not been worth the fun of a great big fire. Jail sure wasn't "an experience they'd want to repeat!" They laughed it off as a simple mistake. They did not understand why they were being so unfairly punished by the forest authorities. They appealed to their fellow forest creatures for support – the king was being a great big unfair meany right?

But the forest creatures were not interested in coming to their rescue. The forest creatures even said mean angry things like "they got what was coming to them." How could their fellow creatures, their friends say they deserved such harsh punishment? What ever happened to forest-friendliness? Forest-solidarity? Forest unity against the King? Why were their friends not coming to their aide in their time of need?

The other creatures did feel sorry for the little lambs. Jail was icky and not fair - it was true. But the other little creatures were angry and resentful with the lambs. The lambs with their self-righteous attitude, their snarky comments at student council, their harsh criticism of every mistake, every difference of opinion. The creatures were tired of being constantly shamed for every little mistake or failure to care. They were happy to see that the lambs could make mistakes too. They were happy that they could have a turn at shaming the lambs after being so cruelly treated in every news article.

The moral of the story? Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones? Don't burn your bridges with those who could be your greatest allies in times of need? Don't alienate your friends? Play nice with other woodland creatures? Or maybe just to treat others as you would have them treat you? Political criticism is important, but being a self-righteous, judgmental, holier-than-thou jerkface to your fellow students won't get you anywhere with your battles with the man.

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The Soldier and the Student

In the interests of talking about something not directly related to the recent Knoll-Shenanigans or the Lougheed-Crompton-Hissy-Fit, here's an article only tangentially related to hippies. Enjoy.

The first things I noticed were her shoulder pads.

“The woman wearing us is no ordinary pair of X chromosomes,” said the shoulder pads and, quite frankly, I believed them. Her eyes were piercing, her hands strong, her starched uniform stiffer than a pedophile at Disneyland. I wanted to ask her name, I wanted to ask her sign, I wanted to ask her if she was tired from running through my mind all night. I wanted ask her if she would hold me close and protect me, if only for a moment, from this cruel, cruel world I call home.

Instead, I asked “What the fuck is the military doing on Campus?”

Admittedly, the next few minutes are a blur. It may have been my narcolepsy or my alcoholism or even the roofies my stalker had slipped me earlier that day. It may have been the head trauma from a rifle butt to the face dealt to me by this strange, starched Valkyrie. It may even be that I was suddenly abducted by aliens, probed, and then brainwashed into forgetting the whole horridly erotic ordeal. More likely I simple glossed over once she handed me a pamphlet. I really have to stop signing up for things just because pretty women are handing out fliers. Every time I enter the SUB, I risk losing myself in a sea of helpful women and soothing introductory spiels. Even as I write these words I wonder: did I sign any damning documents that day and, if so, how long do I have before the fascists knock down my door and drag me off to boot camp or, worse, an International Peer Program meeting?

By the time my memory rejoined me, I was out back from the SUB. I’d just had the pamphlet in my hand; where it was now, no man could say. One thing was clear: the army was here. But why? And how? Did they invade us? Did we even put up a fight? Weren’t universities places of peace and learning? “You rat-fink, peacenik idiots!” I cried, “I told you we needed a military of own! If we only we’d had guns, and students to fire them, these swine would never have sent their goons to seduce our youth and steal our research.” But it was too late. UBC hadn’t built its own armed forces and now, it had paid the price. We’d been occupied. We’d been conquered.

The resistance contacted me that night. Apparently they were looking for converts, freedom fighters in the war against these fascist bastards. I noted the time and location of the anti-military gathering. Perhaps, if I followed this Facebook invitation, it would lead me down a rabbit hole of truth. Perhaps, they could explain the military’s presence.

“…Because, of course, the purpose, the sole purpose of the army, is to kill people. That’s the point,” he said, speaking with that thick, cream-cheese smugness that typifies his people, the burn-outs of academia. I’d describe him, but memory plays tricks. I know he didn’t have dreadlocks, he wasn’t wearing tie-dye, not that I could see. A Castro-beard, maybe, but even that may be an illusion. He looked normal enough, aging, but not aged. I can only assume that he was hiding the signs of his condition. The longer I looked at him the more certain I was: this man was wearing tie-dye underwear and I’d bet my second ex-girlfriend’s kneecaps that he’d twisted his pubic hair into dreadlocks. Yes… Our man was a stealth-hippy: the worst kind.

The crowd was entranced, nodding along placidly, as if a goddamn thing this man was saying made a mouse turd of sense. “Research Universities didn’t exist before the birth of the military-industrial complex,” the stealth hippy rambled, “they just didn’t exist.”

The room was small, but the crowd was smaller. One of the organizers tried to shepherd me into a seat nearer the front, one of the conspicuously empty ones. I refused. No way was I getting away from the door. One wrong move, one wrong sentence, and these granola-munching, tree-molesting hipsters would tear me limb from limb.

“The military funded my friend’s research,” continued Stealth-Hippy, “he was a marine biologist. He was researching bacteria clinging to rock. Do you know what that means?!” I made eye contact with one of the girls across the room and, for a moment, I thought she was flirting with me. Her eyes caressed my figure, scanning every inch of me. I felt bold. I felt invigorated. I felt like I could fuck a bull elephant to death. And then it hit me. YOU FOOL! My subconscious screamed, She’s probing you! And she was. She had noticed my leather jacket, my leather shoes, my lack of a Che Guevara t-shirt. I didn’t belong there and she knew it.

“It means,” proclaimed the Stealth-Hippy, “that somewhere, some Vice-Admiral or something, made a pitch, made a sales pitch. He convinced the army that bacteria cling to rocks could be used to kill people. I know this because WHY ELSE WOULD THE ARMY FUND HIM?”

I made excuses to the hippy-bouncer and escaped. Thankfully, I made it out before they could stop me. Any one who can listen to (or worse, actually give) a lecture like that and not vomit blood in disgust is capable of anything. I’m damn lucky I got out of there before they tied me to the floor and gang sodomized me with hemp dildos or gave me a boiling fair-trade enema. Or worse, they could have kept talking.

As I ran from the hippies, I reached a conclusion. Was I happy that the armed forces had occupied my campus? Not really, no. But on the other hand, it wasn’t all bad. The army has been giving young people direction, discipline, and education since this country began. Historically, nations that have maintained a large and well trained military have been prosperous. Positive social change has often arisen out of the unity that a well staffed military provides. From women’s rights, to racial equality, to Canadian nationalism: on the whole, being a soldier seems solid. It’s a noble career path and it makes sense to promote it on campus. In order to rise above being a simple mob of thugs, every armed force needs educated, intelligent young members, people willing to make a difference from the inside. If corporations, motivated by love of money, can recruit on campus, why can’t an organization motivated by love of your country?

I figure joining the military is like having an abortion: if you don’t want an abortion, shut the fuck up and don’t have one. If you do want one, that’s your choice, and you have the right to do what’s best for you. Don’t like the military recruiting on campus? Then don’t join the military. Don’t like military funding for campus research projects? Then refuse their donations to your projects. It’s that simple.

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07 April, 2008

An open letter to the AMS

Dear Alma Mater Society,

There have been a number of recent controversies involving AMS elections, executives, and members. In the interest of students, can I ask you to please blatantly ignore these in order to go back to the important job of getting shit done?

Please heed the calls on internet message boards to move on, to forget these "childish acts of silliness," as one commentator calls them. Please ignore the students who (perhaps justly) have grievances against the Royal Canadian Mounted and Vancouver Police forces. Please ignore the significant number of students who (perhaps justly) feel their elected student representatives are no longer able to represent their interests. And pretty please, in the name of executive cohesion, can we just put our differences away and agree on some things. I'm past caring what we agree to - just make it something unified.

Because we all know, the little demon we call accountability haunts the angel of getting shit done like a hound on its back. (Apologies, AMS, for the mixed metaphors, I felt I needed them to get the point across.) We all know that you are responsible for representing the student body on a wider scale, and to be honest, it looks really really bad when there are scandals. And of course since people will assume the entire student society is behind the recent events, a lack of transparency can't hurt either. So please let's agree to just put these meaningless buzzwords of democracy behind us in an effort to please get shit done.

What about the internal divisions between students? Don't worry, once pushed under the rug those will heal up pretty quickly - much sooner than if we had a frank, open discussion about the events in question. You know, since Council doesn't seem to be even able to hold politically unmotivated, frank open discussions, let's just give the decision-making power to the President and be done with our democratic pretenses altogether.

Anyways, this focus on holding the Exec and members accountable for their actions is starting to tire me out. Back to my large computer science group project.

Stephen McCarthy

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05 April, 2008

In case you spent last night in the basement of Koerner and missed the excitement, here's some video. Check out UBC Insiders (http://ubcinsiders.blogspot.com/) for the full story. Apologies for the compression job; I didn't have time to look for good software & the full file is 60 mb - google doesn't like uploading something that size. I hate papers almost as I hate attention whores. But enough of that - real commentary will be up soon.


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Police 19, Knollies 0

Images for comic from CBC, the Ubyssey, Blake Frederick and Geoff Dunbrack. I believe it is fair dealing to use them.
Check out UBC-I for a poorly organized but well updated story.

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01 April, 2008

A serious take on the elections debacle

So I've been thinking for a while and decided I need to add a serious voice to the debate concerning the Student Court's decision and Council overturning it. Here goes.

First, I'm really concerned with what I've heard - and no, I wasn't there - about why council disregarded Student Court's decision. In my eyes, it would have been fine if, in the opinion of council, the court had significant procedural problems to the point that a fair hearing did not happen. From what I can see, this did happen - and the Court even made sure Mr. Lougheed had his day in court, being an important "witness" to this case. I'd also tenuously agree with the Ubyssey editorial that if the court's decision was just downright unreasonable - which it wasn't - Council could have thrown it out.

But from what I've heard, most of the debate - and thus probably most of the decision - was based on what councillors thought of the case itself, and not the procedure or reasonableness of the decision. And council: Student Court doesn't have the final say on interpretation of bylaws so that each of you can decide afterwards your own stance on the issue and vote that way.


I really hope you didn't fall for that serious crap. Happy April Fool's Day everyone. No seriousness will be had at the D.A., not even from Serious Steve.

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