The photographer titled this photo of me “A Journalist in his Natural Habitat.” It has been. Photo Arinn Westendorf
Well, this is it, then.
The Ubyssey has ended its fall and winter term production. Stay in touch for updates on what’s happening in the summer. As of 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, the editorial board is switching over, as well. Here is the list (that we promised two issues ago) of new editors, with where they were last year in brackets:
Coordinating Editor: Geoff Lister (Staff photographer/somewhere in Europe)
Managing Editor, Web: CJ Pentland (Sports and Recreation Editor)
Managing Editor, Print: Jeff Aschkinasi (Returning)
Art Director: Carter Brundage (New)
News Editors: Will McDonald (Returning) and Ming Wong (Senior News Writer)
Culture Editor: Rhys Edwards (Senior Culture Writer)
Sports and Recreation Editor: Natalie Scadden (New)
Features Editor: Arno Rosenfeld (Returning)
Video Producer: Lu Zhang (Videographer)
Paid staff leaving the paper include Jonny Wakefield, David Marino, Laura Rodgers, Anna Zoria, Kai Jacobson, Karina Palmitesta and myself. We thank them (including myself, I guess?) for fine service.
I will be handing off the blog (and my desk) to CJ Pentland, who will treat it (and those of you who stuck around for Year One) kindly.
For me, this ends five years of employment in student journalism, a period that started with sticking my head in the door of the Phoenix at UBC-O pestering for a job and ended in a career I am determined to pursue and two years as a Ubyssey editor that were transformative personally and professionally. Thank you to everyone who helped me, printed my articles, and consented to interviews along the way. These two years have been a wonderful time that I have felt honoured to be a part of, and I will always love the detestable lushes (and Matt Meuse!) who I got to meet. This newspaper is a special institution, and the best in Canada.
One month after a B.C. teen went into medical distress on a party bus and died, Transportation Minister Mary Polak said it may be time to put the brakes on the entire industry.
Ernest Azoadam collapsed on a party bus in Surrey on Feb. 15 and died not long after in hospital. Investigators said they found evidence of alcohol on the vehicle.
Critics claim teenagers frequently use the buses for unsupervised, underage drinking, particularly during graduation season in the spring. But it’s illegal even for adults to drink in a moving vehicle, and Polak said she’s consulting with municipal police chiefs to determine whether party buses belong in B.C. at all.
“I have to ask myself as a minister, is there even any place for party buses to be operating?” Polak said. “I’m concerned we have a class of operators not in compliance at least with the spirit of license requirements.”
These buses are incredibly easy to find and book. But they’re operating on the outskirts of the law, given that there has probably never been a sober party bus trip in history. All the time, university clubs and groups book them to get to and from fratty nightclub parties, and to make people feel like you’re in a rap video. You get hammered.
At its heart, this media hullabaloo isn’t really about party buses at all; it’s about a basic truth of being a teenager. Teenagers are always going to find a secluded place to stuff hard liquor into their faces, despite the fact that the whole experience of purchasing liquor in this province is revolves around preventing them from doing just that.
A party bus, a bush party and hiding behind a shed in a sports field all serve the same purpose for teenagers trying to put substances into their body. They’re places to go at night where your friends are and your parents aren’t. But party buses, unlike other clandestine drinking venues, are crazy expensive — making this the most suburban problem ever. Who’s paying for the driver and the gas? How can teenagers afford to pay $200 an hour for these things?
People need to stop fretting about the concept of a party bus itself. Parents, figure out who is paying for the buses and get them to stop doing that. (Start by checking your credit card history.) Let’s consider holding the organizers of party bus trips responsible if someone, you know, overdoses and dies on one — like we do for bars.
And for legal adults who want to rent a party bus, keep in mind that drinking in a moving vehicle remains illegal despite the fact that it’s been a status symbol for glamorous people basically forever. One benefit of party buses, though, is that they discourage drunk driving: regardless of how drunk college students get on a bus, at least they aren’t driving home afterward.
In the end, it’s not about party buses. This is about kids trying to find new places to drink, and somehow getting the money to do so. So if you want to solve this “problem,” start there.
The B.C. provincial election is only nine weeks away, and hopefuls have begun to throw their hats into the ring. How many of them come from universities, whether faculty, students, or administration? We have an interactive graph.
UBC’s politics alums count faculty members Moira Stilwell (BCL) and David Eby (BCNDP), School of Journalism advisory board member Teresa Wat (BCL), and student Regan-Heng Zhang (BCG), running against Stilwell in Vancouver-Langara.
This probably isn’t an exclusive list: the methodology is necessarily spotty. Candidate pages are rarely complete or provide a clear record, and some current MLAs are on this list that haven’t been involved with a university for years. I’ve drawn the line at the point where, to be listed, a candidate had to be involved when they made their decision to run. (Which rules out former UBC student senator Doug Bing as well as former Capilano, NCC and Kwantlen board members Naomi Yamamoto, Jennifer Rice and Harry Bains.) Also, a good chunk of the candidates haven’t been announced yet. So, if you have a correction or addition to make (or you can find me a BC Conservative,) please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the full-text list after the jump: Read More…
I hope you like DJs! The line-up is three of them (including one that played here already), a local folk band, and an as-of-yet-undetermined student band that wins a Pit contest. But who are these people, and are they good? Our crack panel is here with their totally informed opinions, garnered from watching at least one video on Youtube.
Bio: Dillon Hart Francis is an American electronic-dance musician, known for being one of the pioneers of moombahton, a fusion genre of house music and reggaeton, and moombahcore, a sub-genre of electronic-dance music deviating from moombahton. (Wikipedia)
The panel said:
“Hey Dilly, Pac Man called and wants his song back. His songs sound like he’s just pressing buttons on a phone. His name also makes him sound like he should be doing my taxes.” -CJ Pentland, Sports and Recreation Editor
Bio: All the AMS site has on them is that they are a particular website’s breakthrough artist of the year. This is probably because I couldn’t find any more detailed bios about him (despite 2m Youtube views and a Coachella spot), and the AMS did not write a paragraph about a musician they are paying to come to their marquee event. Here is his Facebook bio: “70% of my body is made of video games. Arpeggios, wobbles, 1-up mushrooms and disco basslines”
The panel said:
“Semi-clever wordplay aside, Mord Fustang feels like your run-of-the-mill, generic electro-house DJ duo who’s into dubs and wobbles and record scratches. But by the time he takes the stage, you’re probably be drunk off $4 beers anyways to discuss the finer difference between dub and step so whatevs let’s just fist pump the night away. As for the cool factor, the fact that he’s playing Coachella on both Sundays (granted, they’re one of the smaller acts) and have over 1600 likes on Facebook obviously means they’re totes cool.” -Ming Wong, Senior News Writer
“Meh. Sounds like Passion Pit teamed up with Skrillex, but it gets old quickly. And seriously, Mord Fustang is one of the worst names I’ve ever heard. Does he tour with Conda Hivic and Coyota Torolla?” -CJ Pentland
Good for Grapes
Bio: Good For Grapes is a Folk/Alternative band from Vancouver, Canada. Innovators of the ‘Folk Stomp,’ and the national winners of both the Rogers urMusic Battle of the bands, and Supernova’s ‘Band on the Run to the UK.’ (AMS)
The panel said:
“For this review, I will proceed from a basic premise: Good for Grapes are an indie folk band. I think this is an indisputable fact. Do I hear any objections? No? Alright, hearing none, we will proceed with the assumption that Good for Grapes are an indie folk band.
Where do indie folk bands come from, you ask? Well, it turns out indie folk bands are crafted through a highly scientific and controlled process. Many use generators like the one below to eek out the perfect mixture of style and content, while ensuring that the artists don’t stray too far outside the boundaries of good taste.
We ran the simulation for Good for Grapes to find out what lies at the heart of their unique brand of indie folk.
Step one: personnel (Check all that apply:)
Dudes with bangs √
Female multi-instrumentalist √
Some guy who plays a drum (not the drums, just like a single drum) √
Girl in a sundress who plays the shaker
Vocal harmonies √
Guy in a fedora √
Guy in a vest √
Beards (seriously, this band doesn’t have a single beard in it. I applaud them for their restraint).
Step two: content
Song about how great summer is √
Ballad written from the POV of a depression-era farmer √
Song that mentions sunsets/back porches/pine trees √
Seven-minute epic about a car crash
Chorus about whiskey
Aborted attempt to write an album about every province/state
Song about “Europe” (feat. excessive horn section)
Step three: equipment
Inaudible accordion √
Slide electric guitar √
Somebody who “plays” the mandolin √
Overused horn section √
Fitted collared shirts (mix of earth tones, pastel colours)
Step four: Band name
(Select one of the following from each category, and our generator will create an evocative name that looks nice in an ornate serif font)
Which of the following artists best captures your band’s general aesthetic?
John Steinbeck √
From which of the following iconic locales do you hail?
Greenwich Village (ca. 1968)
Pacific Northwest √
“Europe” (Montreal counts)
Which beverage do you consume when you’re sad?
Red wine (from a large jug)
How do you get around?
’78 GM van √
Toyota van (with right-side drive)
Are you CanCon?
Please wait while the Indie Folk Band generator calculates your results:
Congratulations! Your indie folk band is called Good For Grapes! Enjoy you few years of moderately successful regional tours/daytime gigs at music festivals.” -Jonny Wakefield, Coordinating Editor
“What, was Hey Ocean! playing a housewarming party in Kits that afternoon and unavailable? Actually, these guys are pretty decent – they sound kinda like a poor man’s Fleet Foxes / Local Natives #CanCon” -CJ Pentland (again)
Bio: M!G!H! is one of Vancouver’s most popular DJ’s with a gangstarrish skill for mashups and some crazy rockin grooves thick as funky fatback. (AMS)
The panel said:
“I’m on board with this. The songs actually have decent beats and catchy rhythms. Should be the headliner.” -CJ Pentland
“Last Band Standing Winner is still in the experimental stage and trying to figure out their sound, but their ability to harmonize and include brass instruments into their songs is impressive. Their influences include the Flaming Lips, Randy Bachman and Nat King Cole.” -CJ Pentland
I love the old SUB, and a part of me will always miss it when the Ubyssey office is turned back into a storage room or something. But it’s getting to be a bit worse for wear. Flaky paint! Half of the tiles on one side of the third-floor partyroom are gone! A garbage can is collecting water from a leaky ceiling — in the basement.
And then that ceiling caves in.
Photo Andrew Bates/The Ubyssey
At some point last night, the creepy molding bulge in the ceiling of the SUB basement men’s washroom gave way. I shot this at 1 a.m., when it hadn’t been cleaned up yet. It did not look pretty.
This morning, all the bits are gone, but there’s still a big old gaping hole in the ceiling. UBC Custodial Services reports that they still haven’t figured out what caused it in the first place. In the meantime, it will keep smelling awful.
With modern audio editing technology, making a mashup is easy. But making a good mashup? That still takes some skill. In light of a particularly clever mashup that’s been blowing up my various social media feeds for the last 24 hours, today’s Study Break is devoted to the fine art of playing two songs together at the same time.
DJ not-I: ToxicToxicity
This outstanding creation — this unholy union between Britney Spears and System of a Down — is the one mashup that drops my jaw every time. I mean, these tracks are in different time signatures and they still work together, without even having to cheat by re-pitching the vocals or other trickery. And the original song titles? Icing on the cake.
DJplaceboing: Tik Tok & California Gurls Are The Same Song
This one walks the line between mashup and indictment of the music industry as whole. It’s one thing to throw around accusations that all pop music sounds the same, but DJplaceboing’s hyperactive crossfade shows just how alarmingly identical these two tunes — by Katy Perry and Ke$ha, respectively — really are. Trying to make sense of the resulting lyrics is what I imagine aphasia probably feels like.
Party Ben: Galvanize the Empire
Take one part John Williams’ iconic ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars. Add to two parts Chemical Brother, seasoned lightly with A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip. Mix on high heat and serve loud. Two great tastes that taste great together!
I think I would make a great cast member on your show and here’s why:
Youth and Vitality
As part of the demographic I assume your target audience to be, I am hip to the things modern youths enjoy: social media (because we are all vain and self-obsessed), alcohol (to numb the pain of our youth and beauty) and irony, delicious irony. I have a gaggle of friends who are equally underfed and detached, but in a hot way. We could have conversations about experimental short fiction or each other’ sex lives or reality tv, but that might be too meta.
I use words like meta
Is this meta? Am I being too meta?
I have been to a show at Interurban Gallery in the last week
This is pretty self explanatory, though I did leave halfway through because the show didn’t start until 10pm and the busses to Kitsalano don’t really run after 1am.
I don’t think I’m a hipster
As with most people of my generation, I was brought up to believe that I am a snowflake unique among snowflakes and, as such, I wouldn’t label myself as anything but me, you know? I like what I like and sometimes that’s stuff that most people haven’t heard of, but I don’t think that makes me a hipster and that’s what makes me perfect for your show.
Nothing is more hip than trying to find new ways to make lentils interesting.
I have thoughts about gentrification
But they’re complicated and I’m entirley sure what they are? Support Little Mountain Gallery! No fun city! Portland is what Vancouver could have been if they had done everything right.
So that’s what makes me “tick”. I hope you’d like to have me on your show. Even if you don’t, I will probably still watch because there’s no way this won’t be a fucking train wreck.
When we asked him why he doesn’t have a Twitter account, this was his reply:
No, I was asked that at an AMS Council meeting once and I have a very clear answer on that one.
I despise Twitter, truthfully. I think it’s one of the worst things that’s been created in my lifetime, and so there’s no way I’m going to go on it. I dislike everything about it. I think that the notion of the immediate reaction to something without any reflection, the idea that you can say anything that matters in the limited number of characters you’re given, and that you have to do it immediately, and everyone will respond immediately with no reflection, I think it’s the worst of our society, so no.
You know what? That isn’t exactly fair. Twitter can be scary, but it is not one of the worst things created in the last 50-ish years (Toope is 55). Not on an absolute scale that includes atrocities; not even just compared to other entertainment/media things and whether or not they’re a waste of mental energy.
Reality shows? Crocs? The Star Wars prequels? FarmVille? Hot Or Not? Radio stations that play Larry the Cable Guy 24/7? There are far, far worse things out there.
And, I’m so tired of people complaining about the 140-character limit dumbing us down. People have been worrying about the so-called decline of the written word since long before the first Tweet was ever Tweeted. The advent of Twitter’s 140-character limit seemed like the event horizon, but it wasn’t.
Tweeting and writing aren’t mutually exclusive because, fundamentally, Twitter (along with Google Chat, and Facebook Chat, and, hell, text messaging) isn’t composed writing at all. It’s speech. It does a different thing.
And let’s finish with the worst part of all: Toope’s main problem with Twitter is that it’s immediate. It lacks reflection.
Twitter is interesting because it’s authentic and instant. It lets people broadcast their thoughts, and it makes them widely available for conversation. Toope is well-known but hard to approach, and it’s those people who benefit from Twitter accounts because they make them more accessible.
I like Toope. He’s an affable guy, an administrator of legendary competence and a fine leader for UBC. But his image as “Professor Toope” makes it unsurprising that he despises Twitter because it isn’t always polished or measured. The university, too, is tightly branded and managed, and sometimes feels empty of the kind of individuality that makes Twitter lively.
Twitter is merely a tool, and each of us can choose whether to use it for good or for inanity, or not at all. (I’m not saying Toope must like Twitter against his will, just stepping up to bat for a wonderful and flawed service.) Being able to speak your mind widely, being able to converse with those who couldn’t hear you otherwise — those things are valuable. Twitter lets people do those things.
Twitter allows for free, instant emotional expression. That’s not always a bad thing, and it’s certainly not the worst thing to be created in the last half-century.
(I’ve figured it out. That infamy should go to the first Soulja Boy album. No question.)
I’ve always been one who is really down to just sort of be happy on the holiday, wear a bunch of red and be cheerful. Regardless of whether or not you’re in a relationship, I’m sure there are people you love, family you love, friends you love. Things you love to do. Live fully today, without expecting results! You won’t regret it.
Three tunes: First, to recognize where the love comes from. (Hint: It was inside of you all along.) Have There Is XXXX (Within My Heart) by You Say Party:
Next, a little dreamy electro Swoon by the Chemical Brothers, suggested by regular tunester Matt Meuse:
And finally, another Matt suggestion, the too-perfect Write About Love by Belle and Sebastian.