Wearing Green This Holiday

Time to scramble through your closet looking for something green to wear in honour of St. Patricks Day. But what to do if you find you have nothing green to wear? 

You could ask your friends to borrow something to wear, use some food dye or permanent marker to wreak havoc on some poor white article in your closet, or dart over to a thrift store to grab a shirt. If none of these are working, here’s a more daring alternative: body paint in the nude. 

Grab some body paint and go wild. Then, as a means to both celebrate the warming weather whilst simultaneously acknowledging that this is in fact Manitoba and the bar for warmer weather is pretty low, do a mad dash in all your green-nudist-mildly-inebriated glory. I’d recommend some sort of undergarments of course, less out of concern for the individual partaking in this particular event as they will be having more pressing problems shortly, but rather to spare the eyes of those unfortunate enough to witness this newfound all-natural tradition. 

And who says you have to stop at body paint? Toss some glitter in there, green streamers to attach to your nipples, a cape, a hat, maybe even a mask to cover up your face so your parents don’t end up realizing that studying isn’t the only thing you’re doing at university. 

Partake in some of the spirits of the holiday (ex. Whiskey, and more whisky? Some Lucky Charms maybe. Whisky and Lucky Charms smoothie? Who cares, you’re streaking on a religious holiday God holds no power here.) as a means to gain motivation and liquid courage. Grab a friend and make it a group activity. Whatever your decision, don’t forget to wear green this St. Patty’s Day!

Cheating The System

While advice for amassing your own pot of gold to hide away is sadly beyond reach (unless chocolate gold coins count), in the spirit of this gold encased holiday let’s talk about taking advantage of holiday themed treats. 

Each holiday retailers are frantic to get consumers to spend hard earned cash or digital funds on seasonal themed goods. For instance, Valentine’s Day had chocolate ranging up and down the aisle in cute little hearts, affection is bought after all, then the next day they place all of it on sale. Within days of that Easter takes over the scene with the occasional nod to the in between holidays like St. Patty’s Day. 

So take advantage of this weakness in the system. Wait a day after the holiday- don’t fall for those fake day before sales, wait for those desperate clear-out sales that’ll give you the most bang for your buck. Think, if you wait a mere day after the fact it’s like boxing day for every minor seasonal money grab. 

pc; https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1368929

Expensive stuffed toys? Fancy and financially straining treats!?!? Seize the means of production and make it yourself! Grab a pre-made brownie mix and add extra chocolate, search the ground for dropped treats. Pinch those pennies till they’ve made like coal and turned to diamonds. 

All the leprechaun does is run around one day of the year and chill at the end of the rainbow with his pot of gold- and you too can have this means of financial fulfillment. Hoard up that money in a stray cooking pot or classic money jar and watch the money grow until you’re set up to flee into the wilds and live at the end of rainbows. 

St. Patrick's Day Beverages

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner! The time of year that everyone wears green and consumes a large amount of Irish alcoholic beverages. A time of year that everyone goes leprechaun hunting and speaks in a classic Irish accent. It comes every year, on March 17th, and every year it provides people with a sense of joy and a variety of activities to do. One of these activities involves St. Patrick's Day drinks. Although the Irish cultural and religious holiday is often associated with alcoholic beverages there are a variety of unique and tasty drinks to enjoy in the dead of March that do not contain alcohol. Below are two recipes that are a great fit for the day dedicated to Saint Patrick.

First up is the Shamrock Smoothie. Everyone loves a good smoothie and a green smoothie is even better! It looks healthy, is healthy and tastes delicious. It is also incredibly easy to make. All it requires are a few ingredients and a blender. In a matter of minutes you'll have a full, fresh and tasty glass of a St. Patrick's Day Smoothie. The ingredients are as follows. 

St. Paddy’s Day Shamrock Smoothie

1 banana

1/4 of an avocado

1/2 c. full fat coconut milk

1-2 drops of peppermint extract

1/4tsp. vanilla

1 handful of spinach

First, cut up the banana and avocado into little chunks. Then combine the fruit and the 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk in a blender. Add the few drops of peppermint extract, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and a handful of spinach. Blend on high until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy! 

Another recipe that is a must around St. Patrick's Day is the Shamrock Shake. Indeed, we all know the signature Shamrock Shake from McDonalds. However, sometimes it’s more convenient, and healthier to say the least, to make it yourself. The Shamrock Shake is easy to make, only requiring a handful of ingredients and ten minutes to prepare. It’s perfect for a student who doesn't have a lot of time but still wants to enjoy the Irish holiday. Ingredients for the Shamrock Shake are as follows. 

Shamrock Shakes

2 cups of vanilla ice cream 

1 1/4 cups of 2% milk

1 teaspoon of mint extract

9 droplets of green food colouring

2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup 

2 tablespoons of whipped cream 

To start combine the ice cream, milk and mint extract in a blender. Then, proceed to add the green food colouring and blend the mixture until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate syrup into a tall glass and then pour some of the mixture into the glass. Top with the whipped cream and enjoy!

These two classic St. Patrick's Day recipes are just a few of the delightful beverages to enjoy in the month of March. It may not be St. Patrick's Day yet but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a refreshing Shamrock Smoothie or dive into a chilling Shamrock Shake. 


St. Patrick’s Day Baking

It’s almost that time of year again. St. Patrick's Day is not to far away, which presents a perfect opportunity for firing up the old oven for some classic holiday baking. When most people think of holiday baking they usually resort to thoughts of Christmas, which is understandable. However, St. Patrick's Day can be filled with just as many cookies and cakes as when Santa Claus comes to town. There are loads and loads of recipes dedicated to the classic and iconic Irish holiday. Below are two of my favourite recipes to use every time March 17th rolls around. 

First up is a delicious and devilish brownie recipe. Luck of the Irish brownies are easy to make and taste fantastic. Not to mention they go incredibly well with any of the classic Irish alcoholic beverages. They don't take that long to prepare and can provide you with enough snacks for days. Perfect for a late night bite or a study snack! Ingredients are as follows.

Luck of the Irish Brownies

Brownie

4 squares of unsweetened chocolate

1 cup of softened margarine

2 cups of white sugar

3 eggs

4 teaspoons of vanilla extract 

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of butter

4 cups of confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon of milk 

2 teaspoons of peppermint extract 

Green food colouring 

Topping

1 1/2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

6 tablespoons of melted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 


To start preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a 9x13 pan. Then proceed to melt the unsweetened chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave. Transfer the chocolate to a large bowl and begin to mix the margarine and white sugar in. Once the mixture is well blended beat each of the three eggs into the large bowl then add the vanilla extract. Stir in the cup of flour and mix well. Then pour the mixture into the bottom of the pan. 

Bake the mixture in the oven for 20-25 minutes then allow it to cool. Beat the 1/2 cup of butter and the confectioners' sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Gradually add in the milk along with the peppermint extract and drops of green food colouring. Once this is well blended pour it over the original mixture in the 9x13 pan. Refrigerate the brownies for half an hour. Once this is complete proceed to make the topping. In a medium sized bowl melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave. Following this stir in the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then proceed to pour the topping mixture over the brownies. Once cool, cut into squares and enjoy!

Another recipe that is popular around St. Patrick's Day is Irish Potatoes. Ireland is often associated with potatoes so it comes at no surprise that such a prominent Irish holiday would have recipes dedicated to the iconic staple. However, this recipe is actually not for potatoes but rather cookies that look like potatoes! That way, you can enjoy a delicious treat while celebrating a symbol of Irish cuisine. Ingredients are as follows.

Irish Potatoes

1 cup of confectioners' sugar

1 cup of shredded coconut 

1 tablespoon of cream

2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon 

To begin, sprinkle the sugar on the shredded coconut in a large mixing bowl. Then add the cream and blend together. If needed, you can add another couple teaspoons of cream until the mixture forms into a dough. Following this take approximately half a tablespoon and roll the dough into balls. Proceed to place the ground cinnamon into a plastic bag and add the balls of dough. Shake well until the balls are completely covered. Once this is done, the Irish potatoes are ready to go!

These two iconic St. Patrick's Day recipes are a must every time the Irish holiday rolls around. Both are easy to make and can last for days! Although it’s still cold outside on St. Patrick's Day, you can keep warm by firing up the oven and baking these delicious delicacies. Most of us can't jump on a plane and go to Ireland to celebrate March 17th but with these recipes it will feel like you’re already in the plains of Ireland. 


Robbing Leprechauns: Better Alternatives

Tis the season for rumoured sightings of little bearded men running around bearing the secrets of eternal wealth. The misty rainbow takes on a different meaning as resting at its end is a pot of gold. However, while such a possibility is tempting- those broke student jokes and failing economy references aren’t just witty one liners- robbing a mystical teeny tiny guy who has made the location of his life savings very obvious doesn’t read as a wise idea. Sure, maybe he’s just really really bad at this whole secret business, maybe he’s never actually moved his very public secret stash during the time since he’s become a popular figure. Or maybe a trap is the only thing at the end of this particular rainbow, maybe a pot of chocolate gold pieces awaits you that while delicious has little bearing on your current financial prospects. So, if taking a risk on a dubious rumour isn’t appealing, consider some other forms of theft to line your pockets with funds.

The ol’ classic bank robbery. Mind you this isn’t the wild west and security camera’s are a thing, along with an array of law enforcement, and security has really advanced in the last few decades, but if you’re ambitious don’t let a pesky little thing like self preservation stop you. 

Similar to the leprechaun and a little closer to home, consider your older relatives who don’t trust banks! You don’t have to get past the security of a bank and risk the daunting legal repercussions, just a complete and utter betrayal of trust! If you can live with the emotional turmoil you’re set. 

Start up a fraud gofundme page. If you’re inclined to creative writing this one could really be promising- let your creativity run as you come up with a persuasive means to get into both people’s hearts and pocket books. 

If you live with a roommate, try selling some of their stuff! Just be careful in regards to pacing, they might believe they misplaced some things but if their entire worldly possessions go missing it’s a little more challenging. 

Good luck on your new hobby! And please keep in mind that this article doesn’t actually offer any professional advice or condone these financial tips.

MEDITATION AND MODERN BUDDHISM AT LADY OF THE LAKE

Every first and third Wednesday of the month, Lady of the Lake hosts two classes instructed by Kadampa Buddhist nun, Gen Kelsang Rigden from the Kadampa Mediation Centre in Winnipeg. Gen Rigden has been sharing the knowledge of Buddhism for over 16 years in Ontario and the Caribbean. 

These drop-in classes are designed for both beginners and experienced meditators to develop a peaceful and calm mind through the meditation and teachings of Buddhism. Simply Mediate is offered from 3 to 4pm and offers instruction in the basics of mediation practice. The class includes two 15 minute mediations that can be used in daily life. From 7 to 8:15pm, the Meditation & Modern Buddhism class provides a comprehensive introduction to mediation and Buddhism. The goal of this class is to gain tools for the modern day from ancient wisdom by developing and deepening your mediation practice. Both classes include two guided meditations and opportunities to ask questions. Classes are offered on the same day, so you can purchase a $10 day pass to attend both, or $10 per class. You can also purchase a $40 pass, good for 5 classes with no expiry, that can also be used at the facility in Winnipeg. 

Needs Of A Newspaper---People

Whether the newspaper is distributed by means of paper or done electronically, some basics of how the newspaper goes from beginning to the hands of the readers never change. It still needs people to help get what is going on around that location out to the people who want to know what is going on in that domain.

      The news room of the Quill may not be used that often within the course of the week, since many of the people who would be in that room have other, more important, matters to deal with. In addition, there is only 1 edition of the paper that is distributed within a 7 day period. 

      The constant of a college newspaper is CHANGE. Everyone, from the chair through to the news writers, will not have a long time in the positions they hold. However, when people believe in what they are doing at a newspaper when they are connected with it, that is how a college newspaper can survive for 110 years. In fact, a newspaper can be like a college basketball team. There are times where that team can be made up with upper-class players; and there comes the time when many of them will move on at the same time.

      For the Quill, what I described above is what will take place this year. When the fall of 2019 begins for the Quill, there will be only 3 people that will be truly in a position to continue getting the newspaper out to the students of Brandon University. The 2 are people who are connected to the paper through an outside position. The Chair is someone who was asked to come on board through a member of the Board of the paper, who was also a previous Editor-in-Chief. The General Manager has the longest tenure connected to the paper, and almost like a student, is juggling more than a few interests apart from the paper. There is hope that a new Editor-in-Chief will be in place to help with the day-to-day and issue-to-issue dealings of the paper. THAT WILL BE ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE WORKINGS OF YOUR STUDENT UNIVERSITY PAPER. 

      What I am challenging the students of Brandon University to do is decide that you have a good paper that is worth reading, and ask if you would like to be part of the paper. If the answer is yes, contact the paper and let us know how you would like to help out. My e-mail address tied to the paper is always available for comments. The Quill’s AGM will also take place in the coming month on March 26th, all are invited to come out, share their voice and take part in the discussion of the future of the Quill.


HEALTH HIGHLIGHT: Why You Should Get (and Give) More Hugs

1. HUGGING REDUCES THE RISK OF GETTING SICK.

The stress-reducing effects of hugging might also work to keep you healthier.

In a study of over 400 adults, researchers found that hugging may reduce the chance a person will get sick. The participants with a greater support system were less likely to get sick. Those with the greater support system who did get sick had less severe symptoms than those with little or no support system. 

2. HUGGING REDUCES YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE.

Hugging can be good for your heart health. In one study, scientists split a group of about 200 adults into two groups:

  • One group had romantic partners hold hands for 10 minutes followed by a 20-second hug with each other.

  • The other group had romantic partners who sat in silence for 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

People in the first group showed greater reductions in blood pressure levels and heart rate than the second group.

According to these findings, an affectionate relationship may be good for your heart.

3. HUGGING CAN LIGHTEN UP YOUR MOOD, EVEN ON THE WORST DAYS.

Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.” This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress.

Scientists have found that this hormone has a strong effect on women. Oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure and of the stress hormone norepinephrine.

One study found that the positive benefits of oxytocin were strongest in women who had better relationships and more frequent hugs with their romantic partner. Women also saw positive effects of oxytocin when they held their infants closely.


FOR MORE INFO ABOUT HOW HUGS AFFECT US: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-asymmetric-brain/201811/can-i-have-hug-the-surprising-neuroscience-embracing 

OLAF PICTURE: https://www.google.com/search?q=hi+im+olaf+and+i+like+warm+hugs&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_-YjZ7OHgAhUKw4MKHbXGBfEQ_AUIDigB&biw=1366&bih=657#imgrc=wptDyw1IPweyHM 


BU Mental Health Researchers: Men Of Westman

There is a new research project taking place in the Westman region which focuses on the mental health of men in the region. This has been part of a two year study that seeks to address the growing mental health concerns in the Prairie provinces. The research is founded in previous studies which looked at the suicide rate of men on the prairie which lead to the highest rate in Canada outside the Territorial North.

The research is focused specifically on the local region cause although progress has been made in the mental health awareness and destruction of harmful stigmas areas, different initiatives can only do so much. Movember helps bring some awareness and the Let’s Talk campaign normalizes the sharing portion but specific challenges of the region and men of the area is whats being specially studied. The team is looking for men across the region to participate in small group discussions or share stories one-on-one. Anyone interested in participating in the project can contact Rachel Herron, Canada Research Chair in Rural and Remote Mental Health and a member of BU’s Department of Geography, at 204-727-9771 or at HerronR@BrandonU.ca.

Dreams About Someone I’ve Never Met

Another dream of thee again

Even when we never met, explain

Why my mind likes thee so much.

Moments of thee are worth clutching


Thy more appealing then all known

Starry Nights over Rhone

It might be the smile that has shone

Light revealing my shadow’s glow


Perhaps once upon a dream I

Will not be full of such shyness

And relieve my own agony

Or once upon the reality


Endeavour the truth as to why

My anima chose to be thee

I’ve been caught by a siren

Distant from thee, a tragedy

Optional Commentary:

The first two lines is me asking a question about why I keep having dreams about a girl I had never talked to before. In the third line “mind” refers to the unconscious mind, and what I am inferring here is that maybe unconsciously I have a crush on this person without even knowing so. The forth line has to do with one of the things I believe about dreams. I do not think dreams are just random nonsense and have no meaning. So, I try to remember all the moments of this person while attempting to decipher what they mean. In terms of Aristotle’s view on dreams I am just dreaming about this person because I was near this person during the day. Or in other words like when you look at something bright and an after image persists. From Freud’s perspective dreams are manifestations of unconscious wishes and desires that are left unfulfilled. Fifth line is talking about how this person like a Japanese cherry blossom flower, is attractive and almost alluring. The sixth line is an allusion to one of my favourite paintings by my favourite painter, Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Nights over Rhone. I am comparing the beauty of this person to an incredibly stunning piece of art. The seventh line hints at the fact that I am not sure why this person is appealing. The eighth line has to do with the fact that, brighter lights tend to make more prominent shadows in certain cases. “Shadow” is an allusion the to Jung’s archetype the shadow. So, when I am around this person my shadow becomes more prominent and visible. In line nine and ten, even in a dream I have never talked to this person, so maybe in a dream one-night I might be able to change that fact. In line eleven agony in my case is describing immense curiosity and wonder, I am so curious about it that it has caused an invasion of the mind. Line twelve and thirteen like line nine, is now suggesting maybe in the real world I will speak to this person and find out who they are. In the fourteenth line “anima” is a reference to another one of Carl Jung’s archetypes the anima/animus. Which in a nutshell is the unconscious feminine side of a male. Line fifteen, is referring to the fact that the animus can behave like a siren and lure people with its voice and beauty. Siren in this case is an allusion to a mythological creature that lures sailors with their enchanting voices. The final line is talking about how I feel like my anima has captured me under its spell, and thus it is a tragedy.

Single Life As Your Best Life: Doing Valentine’s Day Alone And Its Perks

While all your friends that are shacked up with someone else you might be looking (not) forward to spending another year eating meals for two but spending Valentine’s Day alone doesn’t have to be a bad thing. After getting out of a long-term relationship myself, I’m looking forward to going into this cliché holiday single and let tell you why.

  1. You Save Money: No flowers, no picking up the tab for your date, no sappy (and severely overpriced) cards to purchase and that bottle of wine is just for you. Relationships can be nice but not when you’re on a budget.

  2. No Expectations: See a cute person across the bar (like at Shred the Ex at Houstons)? Go flirt. Or don’t. You can go out with friends or spend a relaxing night at home. When you don’t have to plan dates, you can roll with however you’re feeling.

  3. No Food Thieves: Ever had that ex who only wanted “a couple” of fries? Yeah, say no more.

  4. Your Needs Come First: Without a partner you’re free to focus solely on your goals, career and hobbies. 

  5. You Can Be A Hot Mess: Does your apartment look like a tornado ripped through it? When you’re single your apartment can be trashed without judgement (except by roomies or parents) and the covers are all yours.

Now that we’ve covered why being single rocks we can run through a few options on how to spend Valentine’s Day alone:

If you’re a social creature, then get out there! Whether you want to go with friends to Erotic Bingo or meet someone at Shred Your Ex, there’s events happening around Brandon to get you in the festive mood. I Love You Queerly is a place for our LGBTTQ* readers to hang out with other queer people or take their partner(s) for a nice date.

If you’re more introverted or want absolutely NOTHING to do with this expensive or overhyped holiday, you can keep it low-key. If you want to have some popcorn and watch horror movies over romance then you go, Glen Coco! It’s your day. Buy yourself something nice. Cook yourself a nice meal. Drink as much or as little as you want. Bonus: The 15th is cheap chocolate day.

There’s a lot of things that one can be sad about but single shouldn’t be top of mind (for example, if you’re not thinking about those puppies and kitties that need their furever person, I’m disappointed in you). There’s so much freedom in being single, so get out there and make the best of it!

GTF Out There: Where To Go For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day: Love it, hate it, take it or leave it, you’ll probably still be asked what you’re doing for the (un)romantic holiday. Maybe you have a special someone or a “friend” that you’ve made plans with or you intend to hermit that evening.  If you want to get out and do something different Wheat City has a few options for you:

Erotic Bingo: Located here at BU in Harvest Hall starting at 6pm with a cash bar running until 9pm. This game isn’t for the faint-hearted but can be a hell of a good time. Prizes are supplied by Smitten and presented by Flora Cowen in collaboration with the Women’s Collective.

Shred Your Ex: Running from 9pm-2am at Houstons, bring a picture of your ex (or a letter) to shred to have a chance of winning a date night package! $5 entry and $4.50 for drinks, it’s the perfect occasion to blackout drunk if your heart has recently been broken or to meet someone for a good time but not a long time. This event is not advisable for students who have the intention of going to their 8:30am classes on Friday.

I Love You Queerly: For out LGBTTQ* readers, this is the event for you. Hosted at the Lady of the Lake by Brandon Pride there will be a variety of board games and card games for those who want to meet up with other members of the community. Independent tables are also an option and gender-neutral washrooms are available on-site. The event runs from 6-9pm. Bring your partner(s) or a friend along for a low-key evening.

If you’re single, not working, and not sure you want to go out? We have you covered. Read

Single Life as Your Best Life: Doing Valentine’s Day Alone and its Perks.

The “Post-Credits Scene” That Changed The Way I Read Comics

The post-credits scene has become synonymous with superhero blockbusters and the conversations that bring fandoms together. But in a world of clickbait and instant-gratification, how many of us are willing to read the comics that spawn those films, let alone explore the pages beyond the main story?

I’m not going to lie to you, there really isn’t a single post-credits scene that changed the way I read comics. But, realizing why I was willing to spend (what seemed like) an eternity to see Thanos’ smile did change how I read comics.

When the credits role at the end of your typical comic book film, it’s always an interesting game to look at the audience and see who’s likely wearing Avengers gitch and who just came to see a movie. If you come from a lifetime of geek-inspired love affairs, chances are you won’t be standing up to leave until you’ve seen the post-credits scene. 

Sometimes better than the movie you just watched, the post-credits scene gives viewers something to look forward to, a little teaser to test your comic knowledge and debate about with your friends. So, when the superhero blockbuster is over, most of us are willing to sit through a lot of names that we don’t recognize in order to see even the tiniest hint of something new. But is waiting in a sticky theatre to see Howard the Duck really about being in the know or is it about something more? 

The truth is, there isn’t much geeks won’t do in order to connect with others about what they love. This includes, but isn’t limited to, sitting in a theatre while awkward teenagers wait to pick up your garbage. For me, this begged the question: if waiting for a post-credits scene with a bunch of strangers makes me feel connected, why don’t I feel the same excitement and connection after reading an issue of my favourite comic? The answer, it turns out, was after the credits. 

As an English major, it may be surprising to some to learn that I am not a reader – at least not in the conventional sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading. But I only tend to read what I’ve signed up for. I will gleefully read through a comic, taking in every punch and grimace, when I get to the letter column page, I stop. Issue over, good stuff, NEXT! It’s not that I don’t care what fans have to say or how the creators came up with their latest ideas, but when I see the long-form text of the letter column page my brain instantly shuts down. It’s the same feeling that I get when a “Stupidest Celebrities” link leads to an article about poor financial decisions, instead of a slideshow about morons.

But everything changed this past year when I started reading horror comics again. I like horror as much as the next person, but what I really enjoy is reading about what scares individual people. I love listening to the experiences that haunt someone, stories that give the speaker chills with each re-telling. Late last year, I realized it had been a long time since I read a decent horror comic. So, I decided to pick up the first issues of Wytches written by Scott Snyder with art by Jock, as well as Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook’s Harrow County. Both issues were great, but what really intrigued me were the post-credit tales of terror. The spine-tingling stories that inspired both series were just as good as the comics themselves. In follow-up issues, fans flooded the letter columns with similar stories of creep-tastic escapades. I quickly found myself just as excited to read the letter columns as I was to read the issues themselves. But the quality of the letter columns couldn’t be this good for every comic? I mean, had I really been missing out on post-credit gold for years? In short, yes. 

When I went back and read the letter column in IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I found that it was full of nostalgia-inducing stories of the 80s and memories of growing up with four pizza-loving brothers. I also discovered Jason Aaron’s love-filled rants on the people and politics of the Deep South in the back pages of his series Southern Bastards. What’s more, most series I revisited had other delicacies hidden beyond the credits, such as character designs (often with artist commentary), fan art, and the general hilarity of geekdom that oozes out of passionate fans.

For years, I skipped over letter columns and avoided author commentaries, all under the false pre-tense that the actual comic panels were the most important part of a comic book. What I forgot, in the addled age of instant gratification, is that every single page of a comic, from cover to cover, is part of what makes up that issue. Every word, every letter, every ad and every sketch, is a piece of what makes reading a comic great – and, unlike a movie, you can actually be part of that creative experience. You can send in a nostalgic letter or share a pulse-pounding story and become, immortalized in ink and paper, part of your favourite comic-reading experience. The connection to my geeky passions, and the camaraderie that comes from sharing that passion, had been at my literal fingertips for years. I rarely skip a letter column now, and I feel that I am a happier comics fan for it.  Because, unlike a scene of Deadpool’s decapitated head, I rarely find myself disappointed that I’ve spent a little more time in the worlds that I love. And, to be totally honest, letter columns are the original post-credits scene… and the original is always better.                         

ACC To Launch New Advanced Diploma Options For Fall 2019

ACC is further expanding its available programs, with a notable increase in advanced diploma options available. These advanced diplomas require students to have previous post-secondary education, as these diplomas are designed to build on previous experience and sharpen critical thinking skills that students acquire in post-secondary settings. Current advanced diplomas offered at ACC include Early Childhood Program Management, Sustainable Food Systems and Geographical Information Systems.

“In less than a year, a person can graduate and put what they’ve learned into action, seeking out new job opportunities, or advancement along their current career path,” said Bobbie Robertson, the current Dean of Business at ACC, “These programs are designed for learners to sharpen their skills in focused subject areas and ladder their existing education to branch into new fields.”

New to the college this fall will be advanced diplomas in Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Agribusiness, Human Resource Management and Indigenous Financial Management. Students can expect to study for eight months or up to a year, depending on the program.

While these advanced diplomas aren’t required for many positions that require post-secondary education, the increase in options highlight the changes in the job market. As there is less assurance that a diploma or degree will equate to a career, advanced diploma options may give students a competitive edge in the job market. Visit https://assiniboine.net/programs for more information on available programs.

The Book That Toppled The Scales Of Humanity

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is arguably one of the best books of its time. This book can be seen as a sort of warning flag to the world about creating a dystopian civilization that has the facade of a utopian society. 

1984 contains probably what is the prime example of dystopia and highlights some of the real-world issues that still exist today. One example of the dystopian world in the book, people are always under surveillance by a “telescreen” or are being constantly watched by the so called “thought police”. 

Most people I have observed on their laptops appear to cover up their cameras. How poor must the quality of privacy be for a large majority of society to distrust a product that they do their business on, bills, banking and so forth. Almost everyone tends to have a smartphone of some sort with access to a camera 24/7 and yet few people have these covered up. Smartphones would be just as easy to hack as the camera on your laptop if not easier, in my opinion. However, with social media like Snapchat, Instagram etc. One probably doesn’t even need to access your cameras in order to discover private information. This is because people take endless photos of where they are and what they are doing, also in those photos there can be people in the background. So in a way, everyone is already under constant surveillance even if they do not have a phone!

The slogan from 1984 “WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” appears to be filled with contradictory statements at first glance. Perhaps though it is possible for these comparisons to be closer related than they appear originally. “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” might be the easiest statement to draw similarities from. Let us look at the definition of freedom from the dictionary. “Freedom: the power to think, speak, or act without restrictions, or hinderances.” There are things people are not allowed to do and things we are not allowed to say without facing consequences or scrutiny. This hardly sounds like freedom. People must obey laws, pay taxes and serve “the man” in order to make a decent living in our society. We are slaves to the everyday luxuries we seek to maintain. Hence, “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.”

“IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH,” is a tricky concept to understand. We are often taught to not question things which challenge certain beliefs. We are often taught to turn a blind eye to subjects and situations that can be considered uncomfortable or taboo. People too often become familiar with taking the easy answers instead of considering whether the material is true or not. How often do you fact check your sources? When was the last time you looked on anything other than the first page of Google for a solution to an issue? Many of us take the fastest route possible without ever considering “Is this really true?” Some articles will try to back up their claims with a phrase “a study done by blank has shown blank”. More often than not when trying to find these “studies” used by articles, I find they don’t seem to hold much academic weight. The last statement “WAR IS PEACE,” I will leave you to figure out on your own.

There are countless ideas and symbolic meanings in 1984 that could make for a week-long topic. It is similar to the work of Nietzsche in the sense that each sentence is so dense with thought and material that they need a significant amount of time to be digested. Revolutionize the way you view the world by reading the work of Orwell. 

Mental Health Week At BU

Last week the Brandon University Students’ Union hosted Mental Health Week. From Monday, January 28th to Friday, February 1st various activities took place for student’s to partake in and enjoy. The weeks activities brought forth a new level of awareness for mental health issues, which are often shot down as being unimportant or even nonexistent. As many students have come to realize, your mental health is just as important as your physical health! In order to properly and effectively tackle the semester, students have to have a good grasp on their mental well being.

Kicking off Mental Health week on Monday, January 28th was some De-Stress booths. The booths were set up in the mingling area, inside the KDC building, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Many students and faculty of the Brandon University campus took advantage of the De-Stress booths as a chance to sustain their mental health and let go of some of life’s worries. Things didn’t stop there. On Tuesday, January 29th BUSU hosted a free yoga session from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The session was put on in partnership with Campus Recreation and the Healthy Living Centre. Students who attended the free yoga session had the opportunity to de-stress and learn more about the mind freeing exercise. Therapy dogs also visited the campus last Tuesday to assist students in carrying on, despite what life throws at them. The dogs were located in the mingling area from 10:00 a.m. to noon and received lots of company throughout the morning.

On Wednesday, January 30th the campus was, once again, a hotspot for mental health activities. The Brandon University Students Union hosted a grab and go breakfast station in the mingling area. The breakfast started at 9:00 a.m. and continued until the food was gone! January 30th was also Bell Let’s talk Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mental health. In recognition of this day Student Services and Student Wellness Leaders gathered in the mingling area from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to discuss mental health issues with students. Like the previous Mental Health Week events, this one was also well attended. Moving into Thursday, January 31st, the mingling area was once again in use. From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. community mental health organizations from around the Brandon area set up booths in an effort to assist students in any mental health difficulties they were facing. Organizations that took part included Prairie Mountain Health and Westwind Counselling. The various community booths had information on everything from depression to eating disorders, and various resources to assist in eliminating them. Finally, on Friday, February 1st free massages were offered on campus. On of the best ways to kick back and relax is to get a soothing massage, something many people took part in from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Library. To make the first day of February even better, BUSU hosted a cookie decorating session in the mingling area. The delicious and delicate activity saw packs of students take part. 

It is fair to say that the 2019 Mental Health week was a tremendous success. Like usual, it brought awareness and understanding to various mental health issues. These issues can make even the simplest of tasks impossible for some people. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that students know what resources are out there and how to access them.

PC: Creatice commons

Changes To The Quill: Our Goals And Aims

The Quill has been doing the same thing for several years now. We publish our physical copy of The Quill every Tuesday and get it out on stands, after slaving all day Sunday to make sure it’s altogether. Over the next few days we would get our stories on our website and try to get people to pick up a copy of The Quill as they walk by some of our stands.

It’s tough and has been really difficult trying to get a higher readership. One of things we are trying to change is just how accessible The Quill is on campus and how we can ensure students are getting the news they deserve to hear. I personally have had to semi embrace the age of social media. That’s right The Quill officially has a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account. What ever will we do with it? Try to get the students of BU to read the bloody thing of course! That or come join us as a reporter, or come to us with stories, or offer your opinions on the stories we write.

Our material isn’t always great and our resources are finite. We need support from the student community to try and get our stories out their. We need people to come forward with ideas and with suggestions. We can’t report on whats going on around campus if no one ever says anything or just assumes we know it. We have a small team and limited amount of resources to utilize. Not to mention, every reporter is also a student and likely has another part time job or responsibilities to answer to. Sadly, there are never enough hours in a day.

Now I could blame apathy or busy lifestyles on campus for why people don't pick up the paper but ultimately it is up to us as part of The Quill to uncover the stories students want to read. So in an attempt to remedy this I have been working on several aspects of a plan to try and get: more accessibility for readership, better quality of stories and more relevant stories people want to read about.

How will this get done? A literal shit ton of coffee and excess sleep deprivation. Here is my plan for better accessibility and phase 1 has already begun. We will now be publishing paper copies of The Quill every other week and on the off weeks we will be posting material strictly online. We are aiming to have articles put up both on our website and on our social media. We began that last week with our 16th issue which was our first strictly digital copy. Now we will just continually post what we can and try getting our ideas off of paper and instead on the minds of the student body. Another way to increase accessibility and readership is through scanning QR codes. We want students to be able to scan a story they want to read then be taken right to it on their smartphone.

My goal to create more digital content on social media will hopefully offer opportunities for people to share opinions on topics and have conversations online. This is how I am hoping to create more relevant stories, once people are able to share their opinions online. I would like to utilize polls and different options on social media in order to get a feel of what stories people want told. Once we know more about peoples opinions and what they want to talk about, then we will have the chance to focus on more relevant stories for students.

The final goal of having better quality of stories will have to come through either hiring an editor or going through PD sessions. What I am planning is to have a freelance journalist or professional editor come forward and offer some methods for how we can improve as a staff and as a team.

As with most projects, these types of things take time and money to properly implement and I’m not saying it will be easy but I do think we are capable of doing it! Please keep an eye out for our posts on social media and our papers in the hallways. I hope to be hearing some of your opinions soon. Cheers.

An Ethical Attack On Genetic Engineering

What was once considered science fiction, is becoming embedded within our reality much like many other ideas of the 20th century that came to life before our species eyes. Simple questions with complex answers are surfacing at ridiculously quick rates as each new answer gives us multiple new questions. Genetic engineering is no longer science fiction as one would like to believe. Things like CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), and other bioengineering methods will soon allow us to genetically alter genomes in the human body. 

Endless possibilities and millions of doors to new things are now open to things like permanently getting rid of diseases, new medicinal methods to treat injuries, and so forth. However, this might also open the door to modifying human genetics such as creating intellectuals on par with Leonardo Da Vinci or physical characteristics like Olympic athletes. Why not make these changes to the human genome all at once? While this may look like a benefit to society, we must ask ourselves, should we? 

If we can genetically create any type of human we want for a particular environment or particular purpose, how do we know we will not create the dystopian world from Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”? Where people from birth have a predetermined fate never to be able to do other tasks. A society with certain classes in which people cannot change their status. 

One might argue that the solution is to just give everyone the highest qualities, the problem with this is that naturally some people will still appear better then others. Or in other words, using one of Alan Watts’ arguments on why having a large amount of virtuous people might not be a good thing. If you have a virtuous person, it can be easy to see that. If you put a bunch of virtuous people together, some suddenly become better than the others, despite them all being virtuous. Conclusively if you give everyone high quality and “good” genes naturally, a sort of hierarchy forms, because some suddenly appear better. 

Thus, similar to the Alpha, Beta, and Epsilon classes in a “Brave New World”, even if you tried to give everyone equal qualities, these classes would appear on their own. The only real way to eliminate this from happening is for everyone to have the exact same genetic structure, or in other words, you would have to clone someone. Everyone would be the exact same person and obviously we all know this would not work well at all. If everyone is not a clone, then there must be an imbalance somewhere for things to be different. But if there is an imbalance this implies something is better then something else, which leads to the classes once again. It is paradoxical trying to escape from this.

Another problem is how do we prevent determinism, or anti-free will? If we can change every gene in a child before they are born, this is practically determining everything about them, and their entire future; even though Nietzsche has taken quite a stab at free will, refuting the idea of free will without any genetics. 

This genetic editing is not such an easy question as it appears to be. This is just one example of a serious issue Huxley tries to portray in Brave New World, it is sort of a warning flag. Or as Peter Parker’s Uncle said, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

Brandon University Security?

In October 2018 posters were placed on the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art that contained hate speech. The posters were similar to the ones that surfaced at Brandon University last year around the same time in the term, and similar messages were placed on campuses around Canada this year as well. It quickly became apparent that there was a need for Brandon University to become safer, as the Galley is located on the very edge of Brandon University and there is very little in terms of security for students walking over to the building or working late at the building. Security meetings were organized with concerned students, groups on campus, and administration from the University. During these meetings it became clear that work needed to be done to ensure students on campus felt safe. Professors spoke out at the meeting about their concerns for both their own safety and the safety of their students when they were on campus after hours or in a secluded area of campus. Some security changes were made due to these meetings. First, cameras were purchased to be placed around the outside of the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art. This would assure student’s felt more secure but also if there were any more posters put up, the individual/s would be caught on camera. Second, landlines were placed in the basement of the library building, another region on campus that was noted as being unsafe and an area that students often worked late in. Third, the University had added a daytime security officer to patrol the entire campus during the weekdays. An email was sent to BU students introducing Ishtdeep Khalsa as the new security officer, and this reporter has since observed Ishtdeep patrolling the campus. The email also asserted students should call 911 if they see a crime or are in danger. The process of holding security meetings also brought forward more concerns about campus safety. Professors were concerned about the university’s public response (or lack thereof) to racism on campus, a lack of support for professors dealing with disruptive and problematic students in their classrooms, and conflicting direction on calling 911 when hate speech/racism appears on campus. There was also some suggestion toward developing a safe space for students to go speak to someone if they knew anything about the hate speech posters, etc. It was suggested that BUSU or Student Services might offer such a space for students to come forward with any knowledge about racism on campus. A thought from the final safety meeting was that it would be appreciated to see various members of the university community speaking out against racism when it occurs on campus. When posters and stickers began appearing at the University of Manitoba around the same time as the ones at BU, many members of the university took to social media to speak against it. There was an immediate reaction from the university community which united people in the community but also made minority students feel safer. That type of response was not seen at Brandon University. 

If you see one of these posters or stickers around campus, please call the physical plant to remove them. If you see them around Brandon, report them to the police. It is not recommended that an individual removes them themselves as they have been known to have blades or needles hidden behind them.