Thursday, February 28, 2013

UTSC Profiles - Professors Profile

As promised my friends this week I've decided to risk my neck and poke some fun at the establishment.

General disclaimer: None of the characters depicted here are of a specific person. They are all intended as general exaggerations of stereotypical characteristics.

Now that we have that out of the way...



  • Is extremely offended that you aren't keeping up with the latest trends in string theory
  • Thinks being dressed up entails wearing jeans 
  • Does not notice if you dyed your hair from black to purple
  • May have used science themed pick up lines (Hey there, you turn my software into hardware) or at the very least will find that hilarious.
  • Does not know who the Kardashians are thus lives in blissful ignorance


  • For someone with Socialist (almost Commi) political leaning wears awfully nice clothes
  • Has long hair, because its awesome thats why
  • Says no more than a five-minute critique, talks for 15 minutes straight
  • Is offended if someone thinks Marcel Duchamp's upturned urinal is stretching the definitions of 'art'
  • Has been vegan for so long that dark chocolate and tea makes them hyper


  • Likes to talk about how much money they make every year
  • Has three companies, is working as a consultant, teaching, fathering children, playing the stock market and then will think about your emails
  • Has an affinity for nice cars
  • Uses 'business people speak' and is thus constantly questioning your 'core-competency'
  • Teaches 'ethics in business', laughing the whole time


Once in a while ladies and gentlemen we come across a prof so awesome, so unique that placing them in any category is a challenge. That prof is the renegade prof. 

Like Batman he swoops into a room swift and heroic. The boring three-hour lecture becomes a riot of laughter and group discussions. Godwin's Law is broken several times and stories of sketchy trips in Morocco (that he doesn't remember all that well for many reasons) are told. 

This prof is the reason I stay in school. The monster of Academia has yet to suck their soul dry and so they fight the good fight. To the examples of such epicness I have encountered so far, I salute you all. 

That is the end for today's mildly offensive stereotyping. May the force be with you for midterms and assignments! 

<3 Z

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Five ways to combat post-reading week blues

When I was in grade school, I used to spend the last night of summer crying in my bed. The thought of a new year, new stationery, having to wake up at six, the whole shebang terrified me. Then day one would come and I’d go back to being excited about friends, homework (It was grade school!) and the lunchbox.

Not much changed at university; we are all usually more depressed than ever at the thought of returning to school. Returning to life, and COURSES and early mornings is an intolerable thought to reconcile one’s self with.  After all, what could be worse than returning from Montreal to Scarborough? Well, a lot actually, but this is the average UTSC’ers head we’re getting into: Scarborough is the monster that often refuses to leave us alone.
SO back to the original point. After refusing to unpack my suitcase for four days after I returned to UTSC residence lest my vacation actually end, I decided to put myself through the ‘de-depressing’ process. 


  •         Be reasonable; don’t overbook/over pack your schedule. If you’re just getting back from a week of lazing around or travelling with your friends, nothing will suck your soul out more than four classes, three meetings and a commute all in one day. Be careful when prioritizing your schedule so that it doesn't irritate you and stress you out. We have another half of a semester to go!

  •            Instead of spending your time reminiscing and allowing yourself to feel frustrated with life, try to do something constructive with your memories. This is a good time to write about whatever you feel like; you have a free pass to spend hours photoshopping/collaging/uploading photos. That process is more therapeutic and enjoyable to you than for anyone who may see them. It’s the best kind of walk down memory lane, without actually being there. The fun will be multiplied if you get together with whoever you spend some of your vacation with and share photos together!

  •          Go back to a new year. Remember the resolutions you DIDN'T manage to keep? Start again. People don’t need new years or months to get started on new goals, the just need a fresh state of mind -- the feeling of having accomplished something so that they may come back for more. Now that the week is over and midterms may have crashed upon many of us, make the time more optimistic for yourself by focusing on the positive changes you want to bring in your life.

  •              CLEAN. Every time I decide to unpack a suitcase (which is actually way more often than I realized), I am also hit with the truth about how messy/unorganized my room is. Start the new month and the second half of this semester by de-cluttering your life. You may have done just that during reading week, but most of us aren’t that ninja productive despite the fact that we can be. Now is the chance. The euphoria of having finished a dreaded task will most definitely offset the post-holiday blues.

  •        START PLANNING YOUR SUMMER. IF you are coming back for courses, you have a week in between to live it up. If you aren’t, you have fpir months at your disposal. Whether you chose to work, volunteer, sleep the time away, travel, get hitched, graduate, and prepare for grad school. It doesn’t matter; the official year will be coming to an end in just five weeks. There is so much NEW to look forward to. There’s money to save, and treadmills to run on (summer means NO lumpy coats to cover up every food baby ) and websites to bookmark.

Everybody will have spent their reading week differently, well except the * cough cough SCSU*. Everybody can continue that vacation however they please. It’s time to embrace the exam time and own the semester. Maybe you can go out with a bang ?!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Saving the day one conversation at a time

After hearing about this "Spotted: UTSC" page on Facebook I decided to check it out. After reading an obscene amount of posts about people talking about other people through an anonymous medium. I thought to myself, "You've got to be kidding me." I know that there have always been people that are shy or scared to talk to a select group of people but I had no idea it was this bad.

I know social media is supposed to be a way for people to connect but I think it's doing the complete opposite. Once a computer or phone is removed as a medium for communication people get completely lost. They have no idea how to carry on a conversation or are too scared to talk to people in real life. Just a quick fact for everyone who didn't know, before social networking, people actually had to approach somebody and introduce themselves to them! (I know it's crazy!)

After going through multiple pages and what seemed like an infinite amount of posts I decided to help out the UTSC community. I decided to make a list of ice breakers to help people overcome this fear of talking to new people. So here it is:
  1. Yeah, no, that girl’s not my girlfriend or anything.
  2. Hi, I’m [name].
  3. Hey, sorry, you probably don’t remember me but the other day you asked for a pen and I said no, and I felt like I was kind of rude, I mean I really didn’t have a pen to loan you, I just had the one and I needed it to write that, but I felt like maybe I came off rude and, I dunno, I worry a lot about that I guess, and I didn’t want you to be thinking like ‘wow that dude sure was an asshole’ all week, which you probably weren’t, I know, you probably didn’t even give it a second thought, but like honestly I was just sitting here kind of hoping you’d sit there again so I could apologize and this isn’t really turning out as planned, so sorry, for this too, and um, my name’s [insert name here].
  4. So you went to school with him?
  5. You sound drunk.
  6. Can I call you Brittany? You remind me of a Brittany.
  7. No, I’m not going to add you on Facebook.
  8. Hi, is anyone sitting here?
  9. You played basketball? I throw crumpled up pieces of paper in the garbage bin! TWINSIES!!
  10. So, you’re a Senators fan?
  11. You’re the girl from the bus right?
  12. Do you live around here?
  13. Hi, so… uh… my mom told me to come over here and talk to you.
  14. Cool hair. Purple’s my favorite color.
  15. Wow, you’re a great kisser.
  16. Um.. can you teach me how to play four square?
  17. Hey, is the Internet working?
  18. I like your beard. (this one never fails, girls.)
  19. Yo' girl, lemme holla at you for a quick sec?
  20. Which Harry Potter book is that? My favourite is the fifth.
  21. Well, that’s the second time I literally ran into you today. But you don’t have tacos in your hand this time. I like tacos though, so I wouldn’t mind if you were holding them again. My name is Moiz, by the way.
  22. Your eyes are like brown diamonds. Beautiful.
  23. Wow, what an awesome Led Zeppelin t-shirt!  I love Zeppelin.
  24. So… how about we go on a date?
  25. Is anyone sitting here?
  26. Hey shawty.
  27. Sorry, I know this is a weird question but do you know anyone who could sell me ecstasy?
  28. Do you know where the bathroom is?
  29. Hello.
  30. A/S/L?
  31. Can I lay with you?
  32. I’m drunk messaging since I need alcohol in order to get the nerve to ask you…
  33. What would you do if a car came at us right now?
  34. So, you wanna make out?
  35. You have a very beautiful smile. Why aren’t you smiling more often?
  36. Can I borrow your sweatshirt?
  37. Hey, can I see your book? It’s a really cool book. I like old books.
  38. Hey, how’s it going?
  39. I like your shirt.
  40. I wanna Channing all over your Tatum.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Your guide to UTSC government

Have you ever wondered how UTSC works? I mean, like, how is it structured or laid out? Is it like a corporation? Do we have a CEO? A president? How much input does the government have in our institutions? I found myself wondering, so I made an outline of UTSC and brief explanations for the various councils, and bodies with links for your further studies. These are especially poignant with the current governing council and campus council elections going on right now. I hope you enjoy and tune in next week as we explore the various student associations that the students of UTSC are part of, and that represent us on our behalf.
General Layout of the UTSC Governing Bodies
Governing Council
The Governing Council is the Governing Body of the University of Toronto. It’s been responsible for all the top level academic, business, and student affairs decisions of University of Toronto since it was established in the University of Toronto Act, 1971 by the Commission on University Government. (Former Ontario Premiers William Davis and Bob Rae  helped, btw). 

It consists of 50 members, 25 from within the community and 25 from outside.The two heads of the University, The President, and the Chancellor, serve by virtue of their positions, Ex Officio. Eighteen positions are appointed, 16 by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council (it is a public University after all), and two senior administrators are appointed by the President of the University. The Council elects a Chairman from the officials appointed by the lieutenant-governor-in-council.

Thirty positions are elected. They consist of 18 teaching staff, eight alumni, eight students (four full-time undergrads, four part-time undergrads, two grad students), and two administrative staff.

Students and the senior administrators appointed by the president serve one-year terms, everyone else serves three-year terms. Elected members may serve for up to nine consecutive years.

The Governing Council meets around six times a year, anyone can attend a meeting and it is live-streamed for your convenience. Check their website, for details.

The Governing Council has three Boards, The Academic Board, Business Board, and University Affairs Board, and several standing committees, some of which specifically serve each board.

There is an executive committee, made up of members of the Governing Council, which sets the agendas for the Governing Council, among other functions, which might be considered to be the actual inner circle of top governance at the University.

The Chancellor
The Honourable Michael Wilson serves as our Chancellor. He is the titular head of the University (like the Queen is the titular head of Canada). He represents the University of Toronto to an external committee, and “plays an essential ambassadorial role inadvancing the University’s interests within the local, provincial, national andinternational arenas.” He is also the head of Convocation and is responsible for conferring your future degree.

He is elected for three years by University alumni, and since he is at the head of the University, he has a seat on most councils and committees by Ex Officio.

The President
President David Naylor serves as the University of Toronto’s CEO. He is expected to have “general supervision over and direction of the academic work of the University and the teaching and administrative staffs thereof.” He has several vice presidents that serve directly under him, including our own Vice-President and Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough, Franco J. Vaccarino.

He also has a seat on most councils and committees, as per his Ex Officio status as the president.

Vice-President and Provost
Cheryl Misak serves as our Vice-President and Provost. She is responsible for “academic and budgetary matters at the University of Toronto.” As such she has several Vice Provosts under her. Her office’s organisational structure is very clearly laidout and there's even a cool chart! 

Council of the University of Toronto Scarborough
The Campus Council is similar to the Governing Council, but primarily concerned with campus wide affairs. It has three very distinct committees (Agenda committee, Academic Affairs Committee, Campus Affairs Committee), which provide separate roles from the Campus Council per se, and hold separate elections from Campus Council. Members of the Governing Council are also present in the Campus Council, and half the members are again from outside of the University of Community. Until recently it was called the College Council and operated under different rules, in fact it is going through a transition right now, with new rules going into effect in July. This article will reflect the upcoming rules.

Campus Council changes and amends bylaws by which the council and the university act, creates committees as needed, and broadly influences policy in its early stages. 

Members of Campus Council, chart taken from
University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council Terms of Reference
 Please note: “Other members of the community” are defined as “individuals in the broader community who have an interest in, commitment to or affiliation with the campus.”
LGIC stands for Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council, and is the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

The Agenda Committee is the overseer of the Campus Council, it directs the council’s decisions, motions, proposals, and acts on them. It also oversees constitutional changes, certain scholarship awards, and the electoral process for the councils. Members are representatives of other school councils and committees. Only one student representative, the current SCSU President sits on the agenda committee. Think of it as the Campus Council's equivalent to the Government Council's Executive Committee.

Members of the Agenda Committee, chart taken from
University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council Terms of Reference

Oversees and approves curricular and academic matters, such as programs, courses, academic regulations, and academic policy. Largest Committee, almost half of it consists of teaching staff.

Members of the Academic Affairs Committee, chart taken from
University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council Terms of Reference

Campus Affairs Committee
Responsible for matters that directly concern the quality of student and campus life, as well as directing and planning uses of campus resources. 
Members of the Campus Affairs Committee, chart taken from
University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council Terms of Reference

Vice-President, Principal of University Toronto Scarborough
Franco J. Vaccarino is the University of Toronto President. He leads the executive group of Vice-Principals and the Office of Business, Operations and Strategic Affairs, and sits on the campus council as well as its committees.

Vice-Principal Research
Professor Malcolm Campbell serves as the Vice Principal of Research, he works with the U of T Vice-President of Research to direct research at the University, so that they are in alignment with each other. He is the chair of the UTSC Research Advisory Board.

Dean and Vice-Principal Academic
Dr. Rick Halpern serves as the Vice Principal of University of Toronto. His office is responsible for oversight of faculty appointments and career progression, development and administration of academic policies, and development and review of academic departments and programs, as well as management of the academic budget.
Dean and Vice-Principal Student Affairs
Desmond Pouyat is the Dean of Student Affairs, his office is responsible for most of the campuses student services, including student clubs.  It is also responsible for maintaining a healthy relationship with student leaders on campus.

Headed by CAO Andrew Anifuzzaman. This office is responsible for operating the complicated school institution. Functions include, communications and public affairs, government and external relations, financial services, information technology, facilities management, business and space planning and planning, capital construction, campus safety and security services, health and safety, emergency planning and business continuity, hospitality, retail, and conference services. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What kind of lover are you?

I promised to do a professors' edition this week but lo and behold I totally forgot about the special day my blog is on. Valentines Day, or as some of us like to call it, 'Singles Awareness Day'. Having almost exclusively fallen into the latter (more appropriate) designation, I would like to offer everyone that feels badly about it a hug. For those of you who have someone, great job. I'm going to eat my body weight in Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream now.

 I am offering you this coupon and if you see me on campus you can cash it in.

Thus, I decided that instead of professors this week we shall poke fun at Valentines Day/Singles Awareness Day shenanigans.

Target #1: The Happy Couples.

Don't know if it's super cute or super questionable
Scorned by the lonely single vultures, you must feel like this 'holiday' is a celebration of the love between you and the present love of your life. Revel in it. Throw it in the faces of the green monsters that rear their ugly heads! Just remember, don't take your friend on a date with three couples and one single person, aka the situation known as 'the 5th wheel'. Fortunately, I have yet to experience this. I simply know a victim. 

Target #2: The Haters

Those who are very outspoken about the stupidity behind this most auspicious of holidays, you need a hug. Refer to the coupon in the beginning of this article. Now I will not lie to you. I was one of these folks. I gave those couples sitting around UTSC the stink eye. Now I have evolved. You see, you get nowhere by emitting these hater vibes. Sometimes you need to recognize it just isn't your time yet but there is hope out there! Or you know what they say, haters gon' hate, potatoes gon' potato. (Which I'm pretty means you can't change facts..I think.)

Target #3: The Forever Alone

Besides the usual image of cats, old lady sweaters and Saturday nights watching the shopping network till 3 am, I give you my anthem.

Target #4: Everyone in between

So chances are there are people without dates, without boundless malice and without the deluded ice-cream-stuffing-forever-alone syndrome. At the end of the day them chaps are the ones that know maybe not having a date this year isn't the end of the world. Even if that was the case last year. Why not just accept that Cupid's arrows are off target for now and you need to express affection for those other love-starved entities in your life. Give your Mama a kiss, hug your bffl (best friend for life) and maybe just smile at a stranger who looks like they've been stepped on a few times.


The best Valentine's Day I had was in 11th grade when my bffl and I ran around school giving out chocolate to everyone we knew. I bought a tub of singles and felt the need to give them to everyone and their mothers. There were some genuinely good vibes floating around school that day. So lets end off this week with, Lonely Boy by the Black Keys. Dancing like a bua5 never looked so pro (before PSY raised the standard off the charts).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three colours

My main program of study is journalism, but that alone doesn’t describe me. I’ve taken English courses, economics, management, stats, media, and enough psychology courses for a minor. I feel full, in a way; three-dimensional. I can talk some management to a management student, or a little bit of science to a science student. More importantly, I’m at an advantage when my subjects play into each other. When statistics show up in a humanities class, I know what the hell a standard deviation is, or a z-score, or a confidence interval. In a creative writing class I can explain a character’s motivation in terms of psychological theories, theories which also broaden my understanding of management principles. Economics helps me when I read journalistic articles; English lit courses help me with  life and the big questions.

The advice I’m giving is, be full. I overhear from students a lot of, “I’m a science student, so why does the university make me take a humanities course?”

Because you’ll learn things outside of your main area of study. It’s that simple. Every student mired in the minutiae of plants and algae beneath their feet should take a philosophy course, and learn to look up. Every student lost in the space-time abstract should learn to pay attention to people and why people behave the way they do. Scientists should moonlight as poets, and artists should be rationalists, and everyone should be a student of history.

In orientation week they give you a colour-coded shirt for your main area of study; arts, science, or management. It fosters a clannish sense of belonging. Back in first year I, too, wore a red shirt and felt familial pride, but in hindsight I feel that the message the shirts send is a mistake. The shirts say that you are one type of person; an arts person and nothing else. You’re immediately taught to not associate with anyone outside your discipline through competition, separation, and slogans of (good-natured) hate.

The ideal Frosh shirt
The attitude that this instills is “I am an ­­­____ student” instead of merely a “student”. Perhaps his discourages students from becoming true interdisciplinarians. Maybe a science student who’s interested in music wouldn’t take that music course, because it’s not where they’re taught to belong. It’s on that other side, the arts side, where everyone smokes cigarettes and wears berets and talks about Marxism and existentialist hooey; an unbreachable gap.

The message I want you to leave with is this: overcome that gap. Be an interdisciplinarian. Know at least a bit everything. There’s a reason that many grad schools want their applicants to have had a wide range of experience. You’ll not only end up knowing a bit more, but you’ll be forced to think in new ways. And you’ll come to the end of your university career richer and fuller, coated in three colours.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Five great study spaces

When asked what one of the fundamental issues within UTSC’s student services is, the answers usually circulate within one sphere of nagging and complaints. My number one is a crowd favorite: Study Space! Or rather, lack of it. I have found myself whining so much about my inability to study properly on campus, that once I got over the complete shock of actually WANTING to study, I decided to jot down a list of place I believe would benefit the greater populace here at Scarbs. These are study areas that are tolerable during the DAY as well as after hours. Commuter students have the chance to get some work done in an environment that isn’t as hustling and bustling as Hogwarts.  You may find that may of my suggestions require sitting on the floor, or stealing chairs and couches. Fear not, what is education without mild theft here and there? We’re in Scarborough friends, we must adapt.

Five great study spaces

  •         Quiet study rooms in the MW (now the social sciences wing), they are located on the 3rd and 4th floors. Science students rarely have the opportunity to spend time in the MW, and when they do, they pop in and out of their late night classes as fast as their worn out bodies will take them. The MW has study rooms that are more conducive to concentration than those in the library; heavier doors and thicker walls. If you can manage to grab a spot there early on in a jam packed day, consider yourself lucky, there aren’t many and (guurll) they are POP-U-LAR.

  •        The stacks. Our library is usually crowded and let’s be honest, people book study rooms for many purposes OUTSIDE OF STUDYING. My greatest pet peeve: the lone guy sitting in a 10 person study room going hard at his homework. It’s impressive and inspiring... BUT STOP HOGGING 9 OTHER SEATS. Unless these students are clinically proven to be claustrophobic or something, it is necessary that students NOT be allowed to book the larger study rooms for just them. My personal solution to that is studying upstairs in the stack, and I am often surprised by how few people do the same even during the day. Yes, pop culture teaches us to use the dusty old areas of a library for the best kinds of ‘fun’, but if you can get over whatever may or may not have happened in those stacks last Valentine’s Day, it’s a good idea to give it a whirl. The stacks near the back have a lot of outlets and chairs, and most importantly, IT IS QUIET OVER THERE. You can here a pin drop, you can hear yourself procrastinate and log onto Facebook. It’s actually a wonderful place to study, and keep your productivity in check. Also, you can eat a foot-long sub and not worry about people noticing you chew like and animal and spill ranch sauce or meatballs all over yourself.

Well, if Mr. Prez can do it...

  •           The hallways in the Science Wing. Most students know where these are, the eerie orange lockers (with an unusual amount of anarchist movement stickers and memorabilia on them), and all the clandestine lecture halls reserved mostly for science students, and the occasional French class. It is not the classrooms that are great, but all those wide, open corridors that no one visits unless they absolutely have to. It’s always fruitful to just drag one of the tables from the Meeting place into a hallway, and set up camp there. The general guarantee is that you probably won’t be disturbed, there’s lots of lighting, and once in a while, you may find a leather couch hanging out somewhere near you. DO NOT TAKE A NAP ON IT.

...Unless you're a genius like her and brought a cushion with you
  •         The second/third/fourth floor of the AA building. For some unknowable reason, the Arts and Administration building seems like a gigantic waste of space most of the time. There are too few lecture rooms and too much space for people to dance to Gangnam Style. However, this place is the Narnia of the UTSC campus, the place where a lot of the magic happens and study spaces are available at will! First off, the second floor is  rarely visited after 5 p.m and has benches and floor space that will motivate you to study your life away. The tutorial rooms are usually not locked and can be accessed frequently. Moving on, the upper floors belong to the department of visual and performing arts, you will find little ‘lounges’ where students either chill on couches, study on couches, or sleep on those same couches. The important thing to take away from this is that those areas are ALWAYS QUIET. The hallways are big if you want to just plop down on the floor and get started. On your lucky day, you may even be serenaded by some fantastically talented person practicing their Mozart four rooms away.

  •         Student Lounge. Not the little gamer-corner right upstairs in the student centre, but the corridor to the left, where the health and wellness centre is. Honestly, nobody ever goes there, except for sick students, and pretending-to-be-sick-so-I-can-miss-my-tutorial students. There is a gigantic, unheard of conference room up there that can both be booked, and walked into at any time, especially if you are with a group of friends and need a private space. If not, many students often take a chair or couch from the outside lounge and make their own study space there. Precedent would say that it helps.

Midterm season is fast approaching, for many of us it is already here! It may actually be time for us to accept that we desperately need to crack a book open or maybe log on to portal for the second time this semester. Try checking out these study spots and see if you get any work done there. At the very least, a change may just help our somewhat rusty study habits.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh, I’ll do it on the weekend…

So this long weekend consisted of horrible weather and hours upon hours of shoveling driveways. But hey, I can’t complain. The weather this weekend gave me an excuse to stay in bed and do nothing but eat pizza and catch up on my TV shows without feeling guilty. Needless to say, I did not get anything productive done this weekend.

This lead to the concept of my blog this week – 12 things you said you’d do this weekend (or every weekend) but never did.
  1. Do a real, actual cleaning, where you get into the grimy corners that you’ve been completely ignoring every time you slide that mop across the floor.
  2. Catch up on that amazing TV show everyone is talking about like it cured cancer or something. I usually just watch re runs of my old favourites. 
  3. Find farmers market and get those wonderfully perfect bottles of milk with the cream still on top. Or those cookies… MMmmmmm those cookies.  
  4. Do groceries. 
  5. Make that thing you saw in that cooking magazine you read last week.
  6. Finally read that book you bought which has been sitting on your night table for a good six weeks. 
  7. Get caught up on things from school/work to be super ready for what next week throws at you. (Yeah right!) 
  8. Clean out your closet and donate that 80% of clothes that just stay there untouched week after week after week.
  9. Volunteer somewhere, doing things that help make the world a better place.
  10. Go to a yoga class to relieve all that stress built up inside.
  11. Spend meaningful time with your significant other by actually going out and making an effort.
  12. Wake up early and get a nice run in before your day begins! (HAHAHAHAHA now I’m just talking crazy).

Friday, February 8, 2013

UTSC Profiles #3: Library creatures

Hi Everyone! Welcome to the 3rd edition of my visual mind vomit. This past week has been about as pleasant as a steaming pile of cow dung on a hot sunny afternoon with nothing but petrol to drink, but enough about me. This week is


Contrary to popular belief these are not the predominant species that grace the library. 

Let me tell you the real story.....

All the frustration.

This actually happened to me multiple times in the BV Mac labs..

Would have been me if I hadn't waited till I was 21 to buy an Xbox

These people should just move in and pay rent.

These are all based on observation and bear no resemblance to actual persons.

Thanks for reading! Next week I'm thinking of doing a Professors' Profile edition tantantantaaaa

Good luck with all the midterms!!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Favourite Quotes from TEDxUTSC

While there's no replacing watching the actual thing, it's seven hours long. We have it hard enough staying focused on half an hour of chemistry homework. Therefore, I thought I'd cherry-pick the best easily-digestible moments of TEDxUTSC, pithy kernels of undeniable truth. I hope you'll gain a thing or two from the great, smart people who took the stage at UTSC this Saturday.

About the question What are you good at?:
 “Unfortunately, in therapy we don’t ask this question because for more than a century therapy has been a place where clients go and discuss their troubles, their deficits, their disorders, their syndromes, their symptoms…. And we stop therapy when symptoms remit. And what we’re left with, I can tell you, we’re left with empty clients…. We treat strengths as inauthentic.” -Tayyab Rashid

"What makes your life worth living?"

“What makes your life worth living? My data, and also confirmed by some colleagues of mine, have robustly shown that it is your capacity to love; hope and optimism; your curiosity, the sense of wonder; your zest and vitality; and finally, your gratitude.” -Tayyab Rashid

“Ninety-nine percent of people will tell you that university and college was the best time of our lives. So you have to wonder why that was. It’s because you meet amazing people, and dive into deeper connections, and have the most incredible conversations, and explore the most incredible aspects of living.” -Bobby Umar

“[My parents] didn’t get me. And it’s understandable because from the age of 17 to 23, you go through an incredible fundamental shift of who you are, what you believe in, and what you stand for.” -Bobby Umar

“Of course university is a great experience. But in order to fly you also have to go through the crap. And my fourth year was, you know, very depressing, I had times where I was crying, I was crying, I felt lost, I felt like no one cared, I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do because I was forced into some definition of success, or some path that wasn’t me. And that happens a lot. But you have to be willing to understand who you are and fight for it.” -Bobby Umar

“For me [when I was growing up], freedom, independence, and self-expression came when you bought a car… Now you guys are born connected. The ability to do that is a switch that’s turned on but we don’t know how to turn it off.” -David Shing

“Personal expression is the new form of entertainment.” -David Shing

“Don’t worry about online and offline; we’re going to talk about it as awake and asleep… And by the way, don’t worry about social as a place you go; it’s a thing you do. In the future it’s just going to be like water and electricity; it’s a utility.” -David Shing

"I've never ever ever felt so alone."

“This is the world we’re moving into…as much as we’ve got all these devices, I’ve never ever ever felt so alone. So as much as I’d say we are the connected generation, my friends, I think the next step we need to move into is the connection generation.” -David Shing

“When you care about humans you kind of end up caring about anything, so being a humanist activist kind of means you end up being a feminist activist, an animal rights activist, an environmentalist.” -Jesse D’Andrade

“We kind of want to tell our stories in black and white—either I can save the world, or I can do nothing, but it’s not like that…. We can only ever do our best…. We can’t ask to be the most thoughtful or the most caring or the most disciplined, but we can always try be a little more than we are.” -Jesse D’Andrade

“Climate coverage in this last year with all this happening got a total of eight minutes on the Sunday news channels in the U.S.; not much better in Canada. Meanwhile a viral media YouTube sensation got 1.2 billion views, and yes that’s ‘Gangnam Style’…. We’re getting engaged with stuff that’s funny, that’s exciting, things you want to be a part of. And we need that now for a movement. We need virality in activism…. Traditional activism needs to be shaken up.” -Emily Hunter

“When it comes to personal finance, I’m a firm believer that it’s 90% psychology and 8% math, and usually people say ‘well what’s the last 2%?’ The last 2% is a testament to how unimportant the math is, because it doesn’t add up to 100%.” -Preet Banerjee

"We need to start hating debt again."

“Debt used to be a four-letter word. Technically it’s still a four-letter word, but I mean, it used to be a four-letter word. You go back far enough in history, and if you borrowed money to buy something that depreciated, that went down in value, people would look at you funny. Today, debt is everywhere. It’s so normal that if you told people you don’t carry a balance on your credit card, you’re the weird one. We need to start hating debt again.” -Preet Banerjee

“Think of borrowing money today as negotiating a pay cut with your future self. Because that’s exactly what you’re doing. Except your future self doesn’t really have a say in the matter, do they. Imagine telling your future self ‘you need to work an extra eight years [due to interest build-up] because I want to shift my income forward a little bit’. Eventually you’re going to become your future self and you’re not going to be very happy.” -Preet Banerjee

“Now we have all this media, and are we transforming education and research and dissemination of research in any significant way? To a large extent I would say no… In order to get your work read and recognized and promoted by your institution, you need to publish in recognized academic journals.… Much of the practices of how academic journals are shared still remain in the mold of the 17th century.” -Leslie Chan

“[Aaron Swartz] felt that a private company taking control over public resources and putting locks on them…and putting unfair terms on their use really is a form of social injustice…. His act [hacking into MIT and downloading journal articles] was really a demonstration to show how ridiculous the system is and how much that system needs to be challenged.” -Leslie Chan

“A lot of people make a lot of decisions in our lives. A lot of people make decisions for us. When it comes to the question of ‘What are you going to study? What are you going to do as your career?’ people make the choice to take the safe option, or they go for the lucrative option, as opposed to pursuing their passions.” -Karthik Kanagasabapathy

“Consider this. You are almost always going to be better off being in the top 1% of a field that may not be considered lucrative as opposed to being average in the lucrative field. And if you’re not enthusiastic about something, you’re destined to be average or you’re destined to be bad at it. While if you’re enthusiastic, you have a shot to be the best…. Life is too short to spend 40 hours a week on something you’re not enthusiastic about.” -Karthik Kanagasabapathy

“I feel like I should probably apologize for what I’m about to do to you, before I do it. But I won’t, because it’ll be great.” -Steve Joordens, before cover of “We Don’t Need No Education”

"Something about the way we educate students can kind of suck the fun out of learning."

“Sometimes, something about the way we educate students, can kind of suck the fun out of learning. I went to school, as we all did, and I learned. But I went to school primarily for two reasons. One, my friends were there, and two, my dad would kick my ass if I didn’t….
          “The learning I would almost describe as uphill learning. I kind of learned despite the system. It wasn’t that I was eating every new piece of information up; I was kind of digesting them somehow intravenously through a drip that the system had put into my arm. Which is fine. But if we could ever capture that really excited learning, the kind of learning that the student embraces, then that would be great.” -Steve Joordens

“We ask to students to create an essay, or to work through some problem set, or to do a case in a business course, and do all this stuff, but ultimately every student knows that all of their work is not going anywhere. It’s just a hoop they’re being asked to jump through so that they can be marked and that’s it. And then we as educators are sometimes depressed because the students aren’t into it…. They’re not engaged. And engagement is the front door to learning.” -Steve Joordens

Monday, February 4, 2013

Shopping redefined

It was another weekend of studying, working and trying to figure out what to write about for my blog this week. Then as I was on one of my infamous “study breaks,” aka what I spend the majority of my time doing, it dawned on me. Shopping.

I think it’s become obvious that malls are a remnant of the '90s and early '00s. Online retail has exceeded the mall in convenience, variety, and cost; shopping online, rather than the mall, has become more rational. This is not big news.

Since online retail has become the most rational choice for shoppers, one of the ‘problems’ of shopping, for consumers, can now be said to be one of finding the most convenient way to shop online. One of the first successful attempts at streamlining online shopping experiences was PayPal (a personal favourite). Another was the online ‘superstore’ Amazon. eBay, among other game-changers, reinvented thrifting, and iTunes turned our music-spending behavior upside-down.

As online shopping continues to cement its position as the shopping paradigm, a greater amount of resources will go to innovating better online shopping experiences. This will mean, among other things, more places to shop online, new ways of purchasing products.

Enter Visa’s new thing: is a new “digital wallet” service from Visa that can be used across a range of online retail sites to make purchases with one quick click. They don’t have many competitors. Amazon does allow streamlined purchasing when you have an account with them, but it’s only convenient when buying products on Amazon (and if you have an account on Amazon, obviously). There are few major services that allow one-click buying across the web. In other words, when you use, you don’t have to enter personal info, shipping info, and your credit card number — ever again.

I bought a few things this weekend using and it was faster, and definitely a lot easier. Aside from actually deciding what I wanted all I had to do was click a button.

I was done. And back to my life offline. It was just that easy. And why I’m never going to the mall again.

And Lastly,  nothing beats shopping with no pants… Nothing.