Day Trip: The Annex

One of the best things about having family come from out of town is that you have an extra excuse to go out.

My mom and brother are in Toronto for the week. When my mom went off for day trip, my brother and I were left to entertain ourselves. I took that as an opportunity to take my him to one of my favourite areas around the university: The Annex.

Our first stop was food. One of the staple foods of Eastern Canada is poutine. So when my brother insisted, weeks before he arrived in Toronto, that he simply must have poutine, I took him to a place that does it with its own flair – Smoke’s Poutinerie.

"Love it," says my tummy. "Hate it," says every other organ.

The gooey mess picture above is Smoke’s Pulled Pork Poutine. My brother and I bought a large to share – I swear that thing weighed three pounds. Definitely not something my mom would want us to eat.

Next, we visited DavidsTea. If you’ve never been there before, it’s this marvelous tea shop that has all the teas you can possibly want on one wall. Perfect after a very heavy meal.

Those are all teas. Photo courtesy of my tea-junkie friend at Tea Time in Toronto.

Sadly, our Annex adventures ended there because the heat was unbearable :(

What are some of your must-go places to see/vist in the Annex? Here’s a list of mine:

  • BMV Bookstore
    One of the nicest bookstores close to campus. It’s independently owned. They buy and sell used books too! I like to go through the used book carts on the sidewalk. I once got a book for 50 cents. It’s better than the dollar store.
  • Sakura Japanese Food (All you can eat lunch!)
    I’ve mentioned Sakura before – It’s the best all you can eat sushi place that is close to campus! Seriously, for $12.99+tax you stuff yourself with sushi goodness. If you like beef short ribs, well… they make some of the best I’ve ever had.
  • New Generations Sushi
    You might have heard someone on campus mention New Gen. My roommate would bring up the name for months before we finally went. The lunch menu is pretty good. For about $7+tax you can get a pretty satiating meal. It’s not all you can eat, but really, there’s only so much sushi a person can eat, right? Um no. 
  • Honest Ed’s
    When I laid eyes on Honest Ed’s in my first year, I thought it was this permanent circus arena. I mean, look at it! It’s crazy! The lights! The signs! The clowns! Okay, maybe no clowns. While I can’t say this is my favourite place in the Annex (it still freaks me out a bit), it is definitely a must-see. It’s part of the Toronto experience. I can honestly say (perhaps as honest as Ed himself) that you haven’t been to the Annex if you’ve never been inside Honest Ed’s.
Do you have a restaurant or store that you absolutely adore? Let me know! I want to see as many places as possible!

- Crystal

The bugs are back! Toronto Entomologists’ Association’s Student Symposium.

Soon they will be back. They are starting to wake up again. Pulling themselves out of sleepy, snow-covered cocoons where they spent the winter. Emerging from between crevices in ice-encrusted bark. Eating their way out of eggs and onto the leaves of budding deciduous trees. Defoliators, trunk feeders and parasitoids alike – now that spring has reared its sunny face once more, the insects are reviving.

Cicada.

Cicada.

The thing I like about insects is that they surreptitiously rule the world. They ravage our important natural resources. They pollinate a huge percentage of our food (not to mention providing us with coffee). They kill vast numbers of people annually, acting as the vectors of major diseases. But they also pollinate – and thus bring into existence – some of the most important pharmaceuticals in our medicinal repertoire. Insect pollination worldwide is said to have an annual value of more than $200 billion

Insects are nature’s garbagemen, eating the world’s detritus – the main reason we’re not knee-deep in it right now. They live everywhere on Earth- in cities, ice fieldsoceans, even in you. They’ve existed on land and ruled in the skies long before most other animal life forms- and will most likely be here long after we are gone. They can be beautifulgross, smallgargantuan. Insects do it all.

Lepidoptera under a Dissecting Microscope.

Lepidoptera under a Dissecting Microscope.

What better way to welcome them back than to visit the Toronto Entomologists’ Association‘s annual Student Symposium that took place last Saturday in Ramsay Wright? Here, a number of students from different Ontario universities (Brock, Carleton, Trent, Windsor, U of T and Guelph) talked about their own entomological research projects. Insects studied included mosquitoes, crickets, mayflies, blackflies, bumblebees and  some aquaticinsects. Another presenter discussed the hot (and controversial) subject of DNA barcoding.

European Elm Bark Beetle.

European Elm Bark Beetle.

In a nutshell, the TEA is a bug club. It’s an independent scientific organization that promotes knowledge about insects and works to bring together people – professional and amateur – who are interested in entomology.

The TEA meets monthly throughout the year in Victoria College (and occasionally in Ramsay Wright) and a guest speaker usually discusses their research. The TEA organizes insect counts, which involve catching, identifying and counting insects from different orders and families. The organization then publishes a newsletter (now if colour!) three times a year that’s full of information about counts, reviews of entomological literature and articles about insects.

The TEA also organizes field trips during the summer and fall. There have been trips to collect and identify moths and spiders, including one to High Park that invited family and friends to participate, and visits to a lepidoptera farm, where moths and butterflies are reared for the Montreal Insectarium.

Last but not least, the TEA organizes the annual student symposium. All the more reason to get involved, students can become TEA members free of charge upon completing a membership form.

Tussock Moth Larvae and Pupae.

Tussock Moth Larvae and Pupae.

The poster presentations, oral discussions and the general activities hosted by the TEA  provide a fun way to meet people in the field, learn about current entomological research, find out more about insects in general and (most important) get excited about the upcoming invertebrate season.

- Mary

 

Your college at U of T: St. Michael’s

How was your U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, dear readers? Lady Gaga was fantastic on Saturday night — why, thank you for asking, Monsters! She’s my final treat before buckling down for exams, and it was absolutely worth it!

Today for our saga, we have Associate Dean Kevin Dancy of St. Michael’s College.

Can you tell me briefly about the history of the college, and where the name came from?
St. Mike’s was founded in 1852 by a group of French priests known as the Congregation of St Basil. Since then, things have changed a lot.  We’ve grown tremendously to become one of the largest colleges at U of T, and our teaching and administrative staff are now regular lay people, not priests and nuns — except for a few notable exceptions among our senior scholars and administrators. What hasn’t changed is our mission (helping those in need through education), our identity (we’re the Catholic college at U of T), and our spirit (we’re hard-working and fun).

Our name comes from St. Michael, the Archangel, who is also the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He’s often depicted with a sword since he’s considered the leader of the armies of heaven. So, he’s a leader and a warrior, and in general he’s the defender of all those who need defending. Not a bad choice for a patron.

What’s unique about your college?
Many things! We have a rich history whose roots go right back to the foundation of the first universities in Europe, during the middle ages. But for us, that’s not just a part of our past; it’s a living heritage that shapes who we are and what we do today. Our commitment to excellence in humanities scholarship comes out of that, as well as our specialized academic programs, like Theology, Medieval Studies, Christianity and Culture, and Book and Media Studies.

Our campus is special because, instead of one big building, we have many smaller buildings, which gives St. Mike’s the feel of a little village right in the heart of the city. And the people you meet walking around this little village are quite amazing. For example, you’ll be bumping into scholars who read, write and edit medieval manuscripts. These are people who can look at these scrawl-like texts, which are written in a kind of compressed code that’s a little bit like the abbreviations people type on IM clients, and they can understand and decipher them, and then publish them for everyone else to read. Or there’s another professor you might bump into in the quad who is fluent in Phoenician. Marshall McLuhan used to work here, and there are always visiting poets and writers on campus as part of the Celtic Studies program.

Another thing that sets us apart is that we have a huge sporting tradition at St Mike’s. Basically, we love sports. U of T tells us that our students are among the most involved in intramural sports at the university, and this year alone we’ve won the Mulock Cup (for intramural rugby), as well as the championships for volleyball, flag football, soccer and hockey. I know Hart House is only a few steps away, but we also have our own cardio room and a weight room for residents who want to squeeze in a workout between classes.

And, as I’ve said, we have a huge commitment to social justice, to helping those in need. This is supported by many student clubs and the work of our excellent Campus Ministry team. Just as an example, every week, St Mike’s runs a location of the “Out of the Cold Project,” which is a place where people can come in, warm up, get some company and food.

Last but not least, St. Mike’s is fun. We have a very active students’ union and a great social life — in fact, we have the reputation for throwing the best parties on campus! One of those is Winterfest, a week of festivities that we started years ago with our neighbours at Victoria College.

Do you have any mentorship programs at the college?
Right now, our mentorship opportunities are primarily associated with our academic programs. For example, one of the special programs we run at St Mike’s is Intercordia, which combines a winter course, mentoring and a placement abroad during the summer. The aim of the placement is to expose students to a very different cultural environment and it’s been a very transformative experience for those that participate. For example, this past year, one of those students was working at an AIDS clinic in Swaziland. The Campus Ministry is open to everyone at St Mike’s and offers a range of programming and discussion groups, as well as individual counselling. From there, many mentoring relationships can be established.

How does the selection process to the college work?
All you need to do is make St. Mike’s your first choice of Arts and Science college, and you’ll be admitted! If you want to be here, then we’ll welcome you.

What are some of the common stereotypes of your college, and what do you think about them?
A stereotype that’s common is that, since we’re the Catholic college at U of T we’re just for Catholics, and that all the staff are priests and nuns. Is St. Mike’s just for Catholics? Absolutely not! Are all the staff priests and nuns? Maybe 150 years ago, when there were only 50 students and five staff — but we’ve changed a lot since. Although we’re a Catholic college, we’re very open and diverse, culturally and religiously. St. Mike’s was founded to provide a place for higher education in an environment that recognizes the importance of the spiritual dimension of human life, and the importance of having a good moral and ethical foundation. As it turns out, that actually makes us very attractive to many people who have a very different faith tradition, because they know that although their beliefs differ, they will be respected here. And others who don’t have a faith tradition, and aren’t interested in religion, choose us because of the other great things we offer.

What are some of the clubs that are unique to your college?
The Medieval Martial Arts Club. (I know, everyone’s a little nervous about this one — after all, people with swords! But we’re giving it a try.) We have all kinds of other clubs too — some focused on cultural groups (like the U of T Italian club, whose home is here), some related to our programs, many focused on volunteering and charitable work, and of course, plenty of intramural sports teams.

What resources are available for commuting students?
For commuting students, and really anybody else, the ground floor of Brennan Hall has a huge lounge that is open all day. There’s a large-screen TV, internet access and a pool table. The offices of the SMC Student Union (SMCSU), and student newspaper (The Mike), are also there, along with other club space. SMCSU also has a commission in charge of commuter life and they’ve sponsored a lot of very popular events on campus during the day, including free food events.

Down the street from Brennan Hall, the Kelly Library is a huge study hub, with a café on the ground floor and an enormous computing facility on the first and second floors, with scanners and laser printing.

What about scholarships and bursaries at the college?
All SMC students qualify for U of T entrance scholarships, but we don’t actually invest our own resources in trying to attract people with big entrance scholarships of our own. Instead we want to encourage you and reward hard work all the way through your studies with “in-course” scholarships. So, after your second and third year (or 10 and 15th credit), if you have a 3.7-3.9 annual GPA, we automatically give you $1,500; if you have a 4.0, you’ll get $2,500.

What’s available to eat at the college?
The Canada Room is the residence dining hall and our main cafeteria on campus. It offers all-you-can-eat dining, all day, for residents on a five-day or seven-day per week meal plan. You can also buy meals individually at the door, or get a commuter plan. We have lots of options for students with special dietary needs: vegetarian, halal, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, etc. We have a big salad bar, sandwich bar, and a stir-fry station. But of all our offerings, my personal favourite is Perogy Day!

What are the residences like?
We actually have two residences at St Mike’s. One is Loretto College, and it provides accommodation for women only. The other residence we simply call the SMC Student Residence, and it offers accommodation for men and women, in all-male or all-female floors spanning a number of buildings. Some people ask me if it wouldn’t be better to mix it up and make everything completely co-ed. Certainly there’s a lot of residences at U of T which already offer that. But when I ask prospective students why they are thinking co-ed might be the better choice for them, they often say, “Well I want to have my boyfriend or girlfriend over whenever I want.” That’s fair enough, but then I ask them, “How would you feel if your roommate had his or her girlfriend or boyfriend over all the time?” Most of them haven’t thought about that part of the deal and aren’t too keen on it when they do. The fact is, sometimes you want your guests (or your roommate’s guests) to go home, and when you’re living in a double room during your first year, it’s better to have that structure in place to help negotiate that give-and-take. It also has other benefits, but the main point is that in fact, our rules are very well received. We have a 90 per cent return application rate, and that usually that means we can’t have as many people back as we’d like to.

The SMC Student Residence offers a lot of variety as far as housing style goes. We have one building that’s modelled on the quad-style collegiate buildings of Oxford and Cambridge, and two others that are modelled on the “long corridor” dorm buildings you’ll see at most universities. But in addition to these we’ve also got these fantastic Victorian homes which were completely renovated a year ago and hold 15–30 people each. They are real architectural jewels. So there’s lots of choice in housing style.

Why should students choose your college?
Lots of reasons! We’re one of the oldest colleges at U of T; we have a beautiful campus and a vibrant community life. We have a fantastic tradition of excellence in the humanities, and amazing resources for scholarship. We’re committed to helping those in need, to social justice and to making the world a better place. If that’s what you care about, come to St Mike’s. If you like sports, if you like parties, if you want a small community feel where people care about you, then come here.

Can we close off with a fun fact?
Tim Horton lived at St. Mike’s!

My photographically annotated ramblings

I have to say that, of all the colleges, St. Mike’s is the only one I have never set foot in throughout my three years at U of T. It’s in the most southeastern part of campus (not counting the stuff on College Street), and I’ve had no need to venture that far. So I was very excited to do this interview, simply because there was everything to learn.

I think Kevin’s description of St. Mike’s as a little village is very apt. It’s surrounded by a gate, and as I explored the area, I felt I’d entered a completely different part of the university*.

*Technically, I did.

As with New College, it’s a bit hard to find your way around St. Mike’s. In fact, it took me 10 minutes to find the registrar’s office! It’s funny how a contractor finally pointed me in the direction of Alumni Hall. None of the students I asked knew where it was.

When I entered Alumni Hall, I saw one of those ubiquitous hand sanitizer stations. But something was different about this one… No, not the fact that the photo on the sanitizer container is creepy and the hand looks like it’s reaching out for you, but the fact that it wasn’t filled with Purell! So they don’t have a monopoly after all! I’d never seen “deb” before (I just went on the website. Creepy hands are a theme.)

The registrar’s office is also similar to New’s in that it has a separate entrance and exit. But the inside is completely different.

The office is huge. I haven’t seen Woodsworth’s yet, but it’s bigger than all the others. In fact, I’d wager that SMC’s office is bigger than UC’s and Trin’s combined, excluding the administrative office. The waiting area is bigger than my doctor’s! And from what I’ve seen, the wait time is infinitely shorter.

There were many other different buildings that I wanted to explore, but time was tight and I had to go and meet Kevin for the interview at Kelly Cafe. So I headed down to the Kelly Library. Once there, what did I spy with my little eye? A press machine for newspapers from back in the day!

And also, the Rare Book Room. Oh-em-gee, the Restricted Section, anybody?

I made my way over to the cafe. Every night of the previous week, I’d had about as many hours of sleep as the number of territories Canada has had in its history*. My uncaffeinated state must have been scary, because Kevin treated me to tea before starting our interview.

*From one to three.

After the interview, Kevin took me to tour the dining hall. It’s a comfortable little space, but it’s very well equipped. In fact, check out the lemonade machine! Kevin said the only other like it in Toronto, that he knew of, was at Holt’s! How’s that for fancy?

I really have to eat here one day, because it’s among the food places I’ve been to at U of T that aren’t operated by Sodexo or Aramark, and isn’t named 89 Chestnut. Can any readers comment on the comparative quality of Chartwells? Because check out that hamburger station!

Looking at these pictures again is making me hungry, so I’m going to run and grab some food. I hope you enjoyed the tour, dear readers, and I will be back next week with our final installment in the heptadic saga, Woodsworth College! This is my penultimate post for TCOTUOTSG-AEHS. Can you believe how fast time flies?

- Cynthia

Coffee vs. tea, free hot water, and other things about foody places

I drink, like, three cups of tea a day. Sometimes four. It’s getting kind of ridiculous. And I love trying new kinds of tea. If you bought me a basket of 20 kinds of tea for Christmas or something, I would … explode.

In my oh-so-humble opinion, I would say tea is a better choice than coffee for any student using caffeine to stay awake during class, during study periods, during late-night essay forays, or during the perilous commute home (so you don’t miss your stop -_-). Tea can normalize your blood pressure; it abounds in “flavonoids,” amino acids and vitamins, and can aid in the prevention of coronary disease and diabetes by “reducing blood-glucose activity” (this must mean “lowering blood sugar level,” but it’s better to be specific). Ah, and everyone’s favourite, antioxidants: black and green tea are full of those cancer-fighting molecules.

Coffee has its own benefits, but it can raise your blood pressure in high quantities, and make you a bit … crazy. It’s also not as easy to get on campus. “But Liesl!” you say, “Coffee vendors are everywhere! Haveth you not laid eyes on the new Tim Hortons at Sid Smith, and its lack of English toffee-flavoured cappuccino*?!” Oh yes, my children, you can buy coffee everywhere. But, if you have your own mug, you can make tea anywhere.

Find some hot water, and bring tea bags from home. There you go. Free caffeine.

Methods that would have been described as “cheap” in past years are now being praised as “frugal” or “DIY” or “smart” this year, because of the stupid recession. People would have laughed at the idea of using vinegar as a household cleaner when one could buy Windex, but I swear I read an article in Metro advocating the use of vinegar and lemon. Now your babies can eat off the floor. I’m going to avoid ranting about the hypocrisy of our society and get back to the tea, which I kind of lied about: It is slowly getting more difficult to get hot water for free.

Let’s start with major chains.

Tim Hortons will try to charge you an indeterminate amount of change for hot water, even if you have a mug.

Second Cup previously offered hot water for free; now it does not. The charge is suddenly one full dollar, even if you have a mug.

This leaves Starbucks. For now, Starbucks gives out hot water for free. Could it be because, economically speaking, it is doing the best out of the three? I wouldn’t know.

In terms of the St. George campus, it appears one can get free hot water at some of the Aramark cafeteria thingies, if one has a mug. Free hot water is also usually available from “smaller” vendors, or places where a huge chain is not nearby: Diabolos’, Sammy’s Student Exchange (the Arbor Room, Hart House), Wymilwood Café … and all the Starbuckses.**

While we’re at it, this map is awesome. Provided by Campus Food and Beverage Services, it shows every location on campus that has food, and which locations are “Eat Smart” (whole grains, low-fat, healthy), halal, kosher; which have full meals and/or light snackage; which establishments are licensed, vegan- and/or vegetarian-friendly; which have wireless, accept “flex dollars,” sell local food, AND …

-

which have microwaves. There goes a whole post on that.

-

So kids, be healthy, be frugal.

- Liesl

PS. I can no longer advocate the slight awesomeness of Starbucks; I bought some coffee today, and my stomach just told me, quite violently, that the soy milk was not lactose-free. Make your own beverages, people!


^o^

* like every other Tim Hortons in the city?!

** Starbucki?

Information pilfered from here:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Diet/story?id=2123324

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea

A Deliciously Lethal Combination: Chocolate and Everything Else

Alrighty Valentiners…

Here’s my next post – Short, but sweet :)

With the impending Valentine’s Day, authors and bloggers alike attempt to entice the public with stories ranging from how to get a date, how to keep your date, how to look good on your date, and so on and so on. The news publishes romantic love stories, magazines give ideas to not gain weight while satisfying your sweet tooth.

Generally, the majority of the articles fail to impress one category of individuals – the single, the dating, the dieters and more. So rather thank risk my neck, I’d like to share some interesting ways to enjoy your Valentine’s Day chocolate.

Valentine’s Day, along with Halloween, is the a good excuse to enjoy fantastic chocolate. Below are some ideas about what you can add to your chocolate. Some options are safe, others are daring, some have a cultural twist and others are just plain crazy. Give them a shot and tell me how they taste!

1. Chocolate and Fruit: A real fantastic combination – give chocolate covered strawberries, apples, even blueberries a try, and combine the healthy side of eating with a sinfully good treat. Even if you don’t have any fruit that has been properly dipped into melted chocolate and then cooled, you can grab an Aero Bar and an apple and take turns biting out of each…trust me, it works :)

2. Chocolate and Pop: Another inexpensive way to add some fizz and zing to your chocolately fling – drink something safe, like Sprite, or mix it up with a Dr. Pepper and eat chocolate at the same time – it’s always a cool combination.

3. Chocolate and Tea: its actually becoming a rather popular combination – try out earl grey, green tea, or if you are looking for something more subtle, you can try rose tea. Did you know there is actually something called Earl Grey Tea Truffles?

4. Chocolate and Chilli: rumour has it that in Mexico, the addition of chilli to chocolate provides the perfect kick off into a festive mood… it’s an old Aztec tradition, and it’s hot enough to get anyone’s knickers in a twist!

5. Chocolate and Wasabi: while this may be a foreign to the North American taste buds, in Japan, Wasabi (like horseradish) provides a balance to counteract the sweetness of chocolate…if you are daring, give it a try!

Amazing how, around the world, chocolate has been adjusted to incorporate a cultural twist. Have any ideas to spice up chocolate? Leave a comment :)

Happy Valentine’s Day, my dear Readers…make it a day to love yourself :D

Until next week!

Fariya

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned?

Alrighty Penny Pinchers! This post is for all of you who empty all the change from your wallet and start counting pennies, just barely scraping up enough change just to pay for cookie at Tim Hortons.

Almost two years of University have taught me some awesome tricks to saving money…so here we go:

Eight (Crazy, Practical, Wild, Unique, Ridiculously Cheap) Ways to Save Money.

1. Get a re-usable water bottle: The amount of money you can save from buying a water bottle and filling it up with water from a fountain as opposed to using those plastic bottles is really enough to buy yourself the cookie :)

2. Get a thermos: A lot of coffee places, like Tim Hortons, Second Cup and even Starbucks, (I think) will give you a discount when you use a thermos. Even if the discount is small – like 25 cents, after 5 or 6 hot drinks, you could get a free one with the money you save! (like buy six and get the last one free!) A good deal for those tea or coffee lovers.

3. Re-use the tea bag: Okay, this one is a crazy one – I’ve seen it been done before, but I’ve never actually tried it. Lets say you get tea from second cup. After you are done, pour boiling water again into the cup, let the tea bag steep, add milk and sugar and voila! You have another cup. Rumour has it, the tea bag can last two rounds.

4. Use the free stuff: Hey, you’re real cheap? Sid Smith & Koffler Centre Second Cup, have milk and sugar outside their locations. If you’re like me, and you’ve bought a box of tea (a good way to save if you are a heavy tea drinker – buy a box, and get 25 tea bags for $7!), use the milk and sugar provided from the coffee shops.

5. Take advantage of the discounts: I always come near the U of T bookstore on Fridays to discover the array of books available…I picked up a 600-page book that was $0.99! Now, a good deal doesn’t mean you have to buy what you don’t need, but take advantage of the opportunity to save money in areas you would have to spend anyways.

6. Use coupons: Grocery flyers, newspapers and other publications all have coupons available that can cut down your cost expenses. You’d be surprised how much $2 here and there can really save you.

7. Take advantage of your Health and Dental Plan: You pay a lot of money every year to have a plan – very few people take advantage of the services you plan offers (I know, they don’t exactly make it easy by explaining exactly what’s covered and how to get reimbursed), but check out what’s covered, and use the plan!

8. Tokens or a Metropass: Yes, it makes a different. You can get 4 tokens and a loonie for inputting a $10, and you can save about 10 bucks every month by using a Metropass…if you travel a lot, or would like to travel more, do get a pass. But even if you only travel once a week (as I do, being in residence and not needing to use the subway), tokes are still a way to save.

Any More Ideas?

Be sure to leave a comment or suggestions :) (Don’t worry, your email address won’t be published)

Happy Saving!

Fariya

An Emo Story of Melancholy and Resurgence…and Free Tea

Pish with being cool and etc. I’m going to take a giant leap and be honest: It’s weird being a fifth year student.

The buildings are all the same but now, the people in them are…different.

I’m feeling like I did in first year– like I have to act upbeat and happy and interesting around the strangers I meet on campus/in class in order to get to know them—it gets exhausting.

I mean….

Grrr…

Sometimes I feel like being boring or quiet… or just unafraid of saying something wrong/inaccurate/stupid (curse you u of t for your supply of intellectual undergrads).

*sighs*

[WARNING: - This could be some kind of left over melancholy from my sister getting married, and having to face up to the fact that life changes, people move on, and things just don’t stay the same.]

But then there are the things that do stay the same.

I was in the mood for tradition and stability, so I did the whole “tea” thing at 91 79 St. George Street. It’s a 35-year-old University College tradition (but not just for UC students), and really, it involves a help-yourself spread of tea and cookies. It happens between 2:30 and 3:30, but the cookies tend to disappear quickly.

You know, I never really liked tea, but last year this dude from my “Post Colonial and Transnational Literatures in English” class told me it was free, and then I was on the thing like white on rice, because I’m shameless and cheap (which is probably kind of clear by now.) Now, I enjoy tea—more than the cookies, actually.

It’s funny what repetition can do.

Anyways, last year the whole thing was pretty cool because it was there that I met his entire circle of friends, and they were, frankly, the kind of people you really want to meet when you’re an arts student at university: articulate, intelligent, witty and just down right interesting.

Now, as of last week, the wooden floors are still shiny, the watercolor paintings are still random, the cookies still in existence and the tea is still toasty.

But there’s something vaguely ghostly about being in a place that’s empty of the people who used to go there. Now that those people are working, or in grad school, or in class…it just became really clear to me then that last year is over and done with.

It didn’t help my depression.

It sort of made it worse.

But then, out of nowhere, was a person I had met once and vaguely knew.

Listen, I have a problem, and maybe you can help me with it…if we know that a triangle and a square share the same surface area, how can we possibly find the dimensions of the square in question…?”

People gathered around.

“ I took first year calc! I can help you with this!”

“Who has paper?”

“ I think I can get this! Who has a lap top?”

As I sat down beside him in a newly formed circle filled with eager undergrads, I realized that his question was a hard one, and that he was probably somewhat screwed…. but at the same time, suddenly I felt my first little bit of optimism all day.

-Heather

I Have Rented a Mug! (And I’m Happy About It)

Is it just me…or at the folks at Diabolos a little… “questionable content”-esque sometimes? Don’t worry ya’ll. It’s charming. Don’t change. Ever. And keep it up with all that Soko on the speakers. Soko never gets tired. (side note: why do people who sell beverages prized for their energy giving qualities–re: coffee and tea– always play mellow music? It just seems like a big marketing confusion.)

*What I’m thinking about right now* —>

coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee

Tea

tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea
tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea tea
tea tea tea tea tea tea

Coffee…

coffee tea coffee tea coffee tea  coffee tea coffee tea coffee tea
coffee tea coffee tea coffee tea  coffee tea coffee tea coffee tea
coffee tea coffee tea coffee tea  coffee tea coffee tea coffee tea
coffee tea coffee tea coffee tea

—–> this is my mind on mid-terms.
And what does it really equal?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ (in change, that is)

=(   —-> this is my mind on min. wage. (frowny)

hmm, solution though. Yes. Really.

Let’s watch an English Major do math…

Diabolos (JCR [University College]) + $6.00 = a special little
mug….OF MY OWN!

And it’s no ordinary mug. It’s a super special very magical wonderful
mug that is helping me not only save the world (reduce wasteful paper
cup use! yes!) but also taking off 25 cents from my coffee/tea
purchases at Diabolos.
Look ma, I’m being economical and ecological…at once. Suddenly I’m
remembering Stephan Dion’s “green collar” thing. *Onslaught of
election emotions and memories*
—> stream of consciousness narration. Augh! Too much Virginia Woolf!

So…basically I’m renting a mug right now.
And it feels like a really good idea, but that could be the caffeine
speaking…
(did you KNOW that tea [now, 85 cents for me!] has more caffeine than
coffee [now $1.00 for me]!? It’s true. I read it once on Wikipedia. And
wiki never lies)
Oh, and in honor of that one Diabolos Barista that keeps on playing
Soko…..I give you…..SOKO!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25AsfkriHQc

- Heather