By Skyler Wang

We’re all mortals living with a due date

Every single day, we deal with our own evils

Some days we make it through, some days we surrender to temptations

We all have heartaches

We all cry sometimes

And no matter how many times we tell ourselves to be strong

The haunting will return

And the great torment will repeat

Sometimes we tell ourselves to isolate ourselves

And kiss the concept of solitariness

A beautiful manifestation

That brings about no cool grandeur

We are made to propagate in another’s soul

With victory materializing only with the presence of evil

Sometimes we do things without thinking about the repercussions

And end up with ramifications we have no intent to clean up

We then strip ourselves defenceless

Permitting the world to judge In the end, we will hold hands

And find ourselves lying motionlessly in the crater of all creations

Amongst piles and piles of decayed memories

And in the midst of this timeless disintegration

We will fight to hold on to that one important memory

Of how this unwavering beauty began


Quick and Easy Avocado Recipes

By Amanda Kettler

Although avocados are sometimes known as a high fat food, the fats that they contain are what we call ‘good fats’.  Meaning that they are monounsaturated which help to maintain good heart health and lower blood pressure.  Alongside this they are packed with other good for you nutrients like folate, vitamin A and even contain a significant amount of fiber.

Nutrition for 1 avocado:

Calories: 250

Total Fat: 23g

Saturated Fat: 3g

Potassium: 760mg

Dietary Fiber: 10g

Sugars: 0g

Protein: 3g


Basically, they are a great addition to any meal….so now what to make?


Baked Avocado & Egg

Ingredients: Avocado, Small or Medium Eggs, Salt, Pepper, and any other seasonings you’d like.  I’d suggest a splash of chili flakes or some fresh green onion sprinkled on top.

Step 1: Cut avocado in half and remove pit.

Step 2: Scoop out some avocado to make room for the eggs.  This is super important because no one wants to have raw egg dripping everywhere.  Put excess to the side-this can be used as an extra topping once they have been cooked.

Step 3: Season with salt + pepper, and any other toppings you want.

Step 4: Bake at 425degrees for about 15 minutes, or until desired consistency.

Step 5: ENJOY!

Avocado Alfredo

Ingredients: Avocado, 2 garlic cloves, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper, water.

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a blender.  If you don’t have a blender you can also do this by hand so long as you chop your garlic into teeny tiny pieces.

Step 2: Use as a sauce over pasta! You can also try this as a dip or as a spread on sandwiches.

Avocado Caprese Salad

Ingredients: Avocado, Tomato, Basil, Salt & Pepper, Balsamic Vinegar.

Step 1: Chop avocado and tomato into slices.

Step 2: Place avocado and tomato, alternating on a plate.

Step 3: Season with Salt & Pepper, drizzle with balsamic and top with some fresh basil.

Step 4: Serve & Enjoy!


*This is great if you have guests or if you are avoiding dairy-it gives you a similar dish but accommodates those who don’t eat dairy!


Grant Snider

By Anna Murynka

Today I’d like to highlight my favourite comic artist, Grant Snider. And, because of the nature of his cartoons, I also appreciate Snider as a writer, designer, and teacher. He has a particular ability to take complicated sets of information and reduce them into an amusing visual narrative, which, as a student, is something I aspire to. Here are some examples of what I mean:

A lot of his work is posted on Google and Tumblr, and is highly worth checking out (if you’ve got a lot of time to kill; reading his comics is highly addictive).

Agora Café: Laid Back and Tasty

By: Tori Pollins

In the lower level of MacMillan there is a small vegetarian café called Agora. The coolest thing about this spot is the pastries, sandwiches and lasagnas all rock the casbah, yet the prices are surprisingly reasonable. The laid back atmosphere makes it the ideal space to collaborate on group projects while getting some quality eats that wont break the bank. Another plus, if you’re into saving the planet… the establishment is sustainable. They offer classically quaint dishware made of porcelain and silver on site, and if you decide to take your food to go all of the utensils and containers they offer are compostable. Good job Agora!  But let me stop myself before a start speaking too highly, one of my issues with the otherwise awesome joint is that it’s cash only, which can be a tad inconvenient. Also, they are without a bagel supplier at the moment L which means for all you bagel lovers out there might have to spread your smear somewhere else. But wait! Hope is on the horizon, Agora is looking to secure a new bagel supplier who can turn out bagels that are up to their standards. If you or someone you know has a bagel supplier contact in your phone book, give Angora a call at 604-822-4651. Check the place out anyway, its got Tori’s four thumbs out of five thumbs up. Good deal.



Energy Drinks: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Robyn Turner

Energy drinks, they seem like a quick and , easy solution to pulling an all-nighter, but depending on the amount and how it is consumed, theyit can negatively impact your health depending on the amount consumed as well as how it is consumed.

The Ugly
The ugliest thing you could do with an energy drink is combine it with alcohol. Energy drinks mixed with alcohol are not permitted to be sold in Canada, and for a good reason. Energy drinks even sport the mandatory statement, “do not mix with alcohol,” because of Health Canada recommendations. This is due to the high level of caffeine that is found in energy drinks. It is also because caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant and they are not to be mixed! Research is currently determining the consequences of mixing caffeine and alcohol. One study found that those who combined the two beverages drank more alcohol then they would normally. That might sound great, but the negative after effects are the same or even worse, and often result in the involvement of health professionals and hospitals.

The Bad
Now the bad part about energy these drinks. Health Canada issues warnings to everybody when consuming caffeine. There have been because there have been reports of irregular heartbeat and nervousness as a result from drinking one of these highly caffinated beverages. The recommended intake of caffeine is a maximum ofup to 400 mg/day, which is the equivalent ofto three 8oz (237mL) cups of coffee, that which is three tall coffees from Starbucks or three coffees from the dining hall. In just one energy In these energy drinks, you can consume the maximum recommended level of caffeinejust as high of a dosage all in one go, which is where the concern arises. There are other negative consequences to drinking caffeine. For example, it such as it impairs calcium absorption. Calcium is an important mineral for the body that helps our bone health, prevents certain diseases, and keeps our overall body functioning (if you are in Science or LFS you will learn about calcium and its vital importance in upper year courses).

The Good
The good part about caffeine is that it can increase alertness or the ability to concentrate, but that depends on your tolerance level. Some individuals can consume minimal caffeine and get headaches, insomnia, irritableness or nervousness.

Ultimately, if you are a regular consumer of caffeine, be mindful of the risks. Consider taking a caffeine supplement if you drink it excessively. Also, be aware that the caffeine in energy drinks comes from herbs, like guarana and yerba mate. This will show in the ingredients list, but the caffeine content will not be listed. This is a potential issue and that is the problem as you do not know how much you are consuming. Because of this, so it may out- weigh any potential benefits may be outweighed. Be careful when choosing what to drink. The tTake home message is to drink caffeine in moderation and to not mix it with alcohol.

Robyn Turner
East Tower Advisor, 15-17


The Power of Negative Thinking

By Maria F.

Colombia, my country of birth, ranks every year as one of the happiest countries in the world. Last year, when it hit number one1, I was interested in finding out why. I mean, everyone knows the social problems this third-world nation has faced and it is by no means wealthy in cash. It is wealthy in happiness though and this is why: people in poor and war laden countries like Colombia always focus on the worst case scenario. What?! How could this be? Weren’t we taught that positive thinking, along with a clear vision of our goals, will help us reach them and make us happy? I know my mom always told me I wasn’t happy because I was too negative…

In a place where so many things go wrong every day… And I don’t mean like when you work on your paper for five hours and forget to save it (like I did yesterday!)… But where job opportunities are scarce and the safety of your loved ones is not a sure thing, people focus on the worst thing that could happen because what does happen (working at McDonald’s), although still bad, is never the worst (not finding a job at all!). In this way, they try to live each day to the fullest and happy, because tomorrow is not a certainty. On the contrary, the best thing that could happen (you get 100% on your twice-written paper!) is almost always not what happens. This could be what lies behind the increased rates of depression in wealthy countries like Canada and the United States, where tomorrow is virtually a certainty.

While I was searching for answers, I came across an interesting read by a controversial author, Oliver Burkeman. His book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, is a refreshing eye-opener.  Let’s face it. For a nation that is fixated on achieving happiness through positive thinking, we seem remarkably incompetent at the task. He speaks of encounters with people of different religions, occupations and places in the world who have a radically different way of thinking about happiness. Yes, we’ve all heard that being thankful for what we have and not wishing for more could make us happy too. Well that just contradicts the capitalist mentality above! This is different. When you make a mistake or something doesn’t go as planned, think of how it could have gone worse and you’ll instantly start to feel better. You can’t change the past. But you can change how you feel about it to help you move forward. Maybe I forgot to save this paper that’s worth 10% of my grade, but it could have been the longer paper I handed in yesterday that was worth 30%!

Thank you universe!

And far from being productive, chronic negative self-criticism, which is what we do when our positive thoughts don’t manifest in real life every day, is also physically harmful as it manifests through symptoms of depression. Positive reinforcement has been proven to be more efficient than punishment in learning because punishment does not explicitly indicate a desired course of action (Yay PSYC 101!). Similarly, self-criticism leaves us defeated and usually with no plan to move forward for change.

I challenge you to recognize that you do not do your absolute best every single day, but to not use it to sabotage the effort you do put in most days. I challenge you to think that today may not have been your most productive day, but it could have been worse! For example, “I didn’t finish my paper today, but I wrote more than I did yesterday” or “I only went to the gym twice this week, but I could have not gone at all like last week.”  In this way, you will remain happier, healthier and it has been proven that your productivity levels will increase if you reward yourself with these thoughts. Why would that be? Because a lot of us, when faced with three hours of unproductiveness or three days without a work-out, give up on our unrealistic goals such as “I’m going to be productive all day today!” or “I’m going to go to the gym every day this week!” and actually end up not accomplishing anything. Reward yourself for what you do, and you will do more of that one-day-at-a-time.


Here’s a quick intro to Burkeman’s book:


… I promise I have no affiliation to him whatsoever and will make no profit if you buy this book

… Although I do think you, and the world, will benefit from reading it J


Be A Tourist—Even In Your Own City

by: Yena Kim

I spent most of this past weekend out and about in Vancouver. My sister was out

visiting for Thanksgiving and we decided to enjoy the sunshine and make the most

of her visit. By the time the weekend was over I felt more thankful than ever to be

able to live in such a beautiful city.

But then I asked myself: why don’t you push yourself to spend more time exploring

all that Vancouver has to offer? The obvious answers—wanting to sleep instead,

needing to study, being too cozy in bed and needing to study but watching Youtube

videos—suddenly sounded to me more like excuses than real answers. Yes, studying

and sleeping is important, but getting the most out of my experience here in

Vancouver is important too. Plus, studying is for rainy days, and there are more than

enough rainy days in a Vancouver school year.

So, whether you have lived your whole life in Vancouver or are only here for a

semester on exchange, I encourage you to toss off the cozy blankets and take

advantage of the fact that you get to call Vancouver your home.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas.

Spend a sunny afternoon lying on the beach. Be it Jericho, Kits, or English Bay, there

is nothing quite as lovely as watching happy dogs and dog-walkers go by as you

listen to ocean waves from your blanket on the sand.

Visit Granville Island. Get your friends and family members cool Christmas presents

from the market, go beer tasting at the Granville Island Brewery, and stick around

for an improv show! Oh, and make sure you go sit in a hammock chair from the

hammock store.

Go out to eat. I know—from unfortunate personal experience—that this can be hard

on your wallet. However, Vancouver has some truly delicious and unique places to

eat so if you can, try to budget in a few trips to Sophie’s Cosmic Café, The Naam, or

The Noodle Box. You won’t regret it.

Pay attention to posters! Vancouver has tons of festivals (Hot Chocolate Festival

anyone?), concerts, readings, dance-offs, and other fun happenings going on all the

time. Check out what’s going on, try something new, and make sure you don’t miss



Immortal Hot Dogs, Dead Dirt, and Global Warming: The Dangers of Not Composting

by: Anna Murynka




It’s time to stop talkin’ trash and start talkin’ compost. Residents at Gage have been selected for a special Waste and Recycling Pilot: Sort it Out! Maybe you’ve seen signs about it. Maybe you’ve even said hi to Campus Sustainability (link to http://www.sustain.ubc.ca/) reps at an info booth (some pretty great people). But one way or another, we hope we can get it across to you that this is important.


We have a question. “What’s the best methodology for the food scraps program?” More specifically, and frankly, how the heck do we get residents to sort out there food scraps? Maybe you can help us find the answer.


So here goes: Top Four Reasons to Compost


1. Immortal Hot Dogs
What’s the big deal? Doesn’t it just decompose in the landfill? No. I used to think that too. If you want more info, check out this post by the University of Washington (http://students.washington.edu/uwseed/waste/) , but the short-and-sweet of it is this: the conditions of a landfill don’t allow much organic waste to decompose. Archeologists analyzing an older landfill found more then half of the waste was composed of organic material. Including a decades-old hot dog. (As if the concept of a hot dog alone isn’t bad enough.)


2. Global Warming
And if the immortal hot dog hasn’t convinced you yet, know that if organic waste does decompose, lack of available oxygen (did you even consider what’s it like to breathe at the bottom of a landfill pile?) means that any food decomposition happens anaerobically, producing methane gas. You know, one of those green house gasses (don’t even get me started on greenhouse gasses). Fun fact! Methane is 20-25 times stronger than CO2. Yup.


On the bright side, putting your organic waste in your food scraps pail and putting that in the compost bins (in the Gage basement) sends it off to the UBC Composting Facility. Which happens to be a very good facility. That decomposes your hot dogs and banana peels and so on and so forth without producing methane gas.
Imagine that.


3. Dirt is Dead

There’s major disconnect between people and the food they eat. (Link to: http://voices.yahoo.com/american-food-disconnect-between-people-plate-10904247.html) This is a growing problem, and there’s no easy fix. We’re talking genetically modified food, preservatives, processing, etc. We’re eating bad food, and we don’t know where it comes from. There is a growing push to overcome this and reconnect with our food: organic produce, whole foods, urban gardening, and composting. Part of the problem is the depletion of soil nutrients.

(embed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKPcuwOOGqY)

Soil is alive. It is full of microorganisms and nutrients, but dirt, displaced and stripped of its nutrients, is dead. Food grown in starving soil lacks the vital nutritional qualities we need, and creates a negative feedback cycle of fertilization and water pollution. Organic waste in landfills doesn’t end up as living soil. But through composting, it can. By reconnecting with our soil, we are reconnecting with our food.


4. To Behave Like a Responsible Global Citizen

Because I secretly judge people who throw out their banana peels. I’ve been a long time composting enthusiast and to me, throwing food scraps into the garbage is as bad as littering. And that’s a serious comparison! Putting your organics (food scraps) in the trash is like dropping your coffee cup on the middle of the sidewalk. It’s just not a very useful place for such a thing to end up.



Composting Made Easy: Ten Tips


1. Make sure the scrap pail is more accessible than your garbage. This is a good motivator.  Seriously.


2. Take out the compost about as often as you shower. (So like, every two days. Doesn’t that work out nicely? Clean up and then get clean!)


3. Keep your Sort it Out! Guide handy (like on your fridge!), in case you ever need to check something or troubleshoot a problem.

4. Place the Pail Sticker on top of your food scraps pail. If you forget what goes

where, this will tell you what to put in and what you keep out of the pail.


5. If you take the stairs, it counts at exercise. And that’s always a good idea.

6. Work it into your chore schedule. (And if you don’t have one, make one! You will definitely see a decrease in the amount of mold in your suite.) It creates another job, which can make it easier to divide tasks. Ex. In my apartment, I do the composting, one roommate does the recycling, and a third does the garbage.


7. Talk about it!
-If you ever need a conversation starter, consider: “Have you heard about the immortal hot dogs?”
-Unless you’re on a date. In which case you might prefer: “Did you know I take actions to behave like a Responsible Global Citizen?”
-Unless you’re at a noisy party and feeling daring, in which I challenge you to say, “Let’s talk dirt.”


8. If you ever have a question, as your RA. They’re super friendly. (And if you have any really tough waste and recycling questions, ask me, Anna, a.murnka@gmail.com, because I’m definitely a waste and recycling nerd.)


9. Remember the two Ps: Paper goes in, plastic stays out.
That means you can compost any napkins, cardboard take-out containers (unless they’re wax-lined) tea bags, and paper bags, etc. But you can’t compost lastic bags.  If you really feel the need to use bags, empty them into the compost bins and then throw the bags into the garbage. Plastic bags are not compostable (even the ones that are labeled as compostable or biodegradable, which is confusing, I know).

If what does/doesn’t go into your food scraps pail confuses you, make sure you watch this video about the UBC Composting facility:




10. Remember that together, we are all working towards becoming a zero waste campus.



How to Eat Healthier Under the Time Crunch

by: Marta Biernacki

We’ve all been there, two midterms and a paper due this week, with no time to wash our socks let alone cook a healthy meal.  But it IS possible to be healthy under a time crunch!  Here are some tips and tricks that can help.

  1. Buy quick and easy to prepare foods, and ones that last a long time

One of the best ways to maintain healthy eating is to make it easy.  When you’re grocery shopping, for fruits and veg especially, buy things that are simple to prepare and have a longer shelf life to prevent buying something you won’t use.   Some of my favourite quick fruits and veggies are apples, bananas, carrot sticks, and anything frozen – frozen chopped spinach is a great source of vitamins, if you want to get those leafy greens in.

Add some protein to give you energy!  Eggs are amazing for the fact that they are a complete protein and super quick to cook!  Have some quinoa (it cooks just like rice), or some tofu.  Nuts are a great source of protein, and canned tuna can be added into salads, pasta sauces, and put on sandwiches.  If you want to get something more substantial in, grab a sweet or regular potato, poke it a couple times with a fork and zap it in the microwave for ten minutes (just don’t put it in tin foil).  Potatoes are super quick to cook and really nutrient dense!  I like topping mine with some avocado and salsa.

  1. Bring a healthy snack with you

Keep yourself from noshing on bakery goods or candy by bringing a snack with you to your study spot.  I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I like to bring some fruit, like an apple or a banana, and peanut butter (it makes me feel like I’m eating frosting…), Other options include dried fruit or some trail mix,  some veggies and hummus or a cheese stick would be great too if you favour the savoury side.

  1. Drink LOTS of water

If you have a headache, are feeling tired or even feeling hungry, you may be dehydrated.  Try to have a glass of water before you eat a meal, and drink water throughout the day.

  1. But I NEED FOOD

If you do eat out, get something that will keep you full, and aim for lots of nutrients.  Get whole grain bread, and pick things with lots of veggies.  Try to get something with protein (like cheese, tofu, meat, eggs, yogurt, etc.) to keep you full longer.

  1. Add in the good stuff

If you’re making mac and cheese, add in some frozen peas or corn to add a boost of fiber and nutrients.  Make instant noodles more filling by cracking an egg into the broth while it’s cooking in the microwave or on the stove, or add some veggies like green onions or broccoli.

I hope these tips have helped, and good luck to everyone this midterm season!


Top 5 reasons why you should GoGlobal with UBC!

by: Amanda Kettler

Have you ever wanted to study abroad but weren’t sure if it was the right choice for you? Here are my top 5 reasons why you should GoGlobal with UBC!


  1. Learn a New Language

There’s nothing like learning a new language in a country where the language is actually spoken. Going on exchange allows you to practice your skills in an everyday environment.  You’ll probably also get the chance to pick up some fun slang words you wouldn’t otherwise learn too.


  1. Personal Development

The experience of living in a new country is a good mix of terrifying and awesome.  The challenges may seem overwhelming at times, but they will push you to experience new things and further your own personal development.


  1. Travel

Being on exchange gives you a unique opportunity to live in a new place.  Not only this but there are likely a bunch of opportunities to take a weekend, or longer to explore a new city or even a new country! Experiencing new places is also a great way to learn about them.  Spending an afternoon exploring Versailles is a lot more exciting than reading a textbook about it in my books.

  1. Meet new People

One of the most exciting parts about exchange is all of the people you get to meet from all around the world.  Not only does this give you an awesome friend group, and a couch to sleep on in a bunch of different cities around the world it also helps to expand your network which can prove very useful when looking for a job after graduation.

5.Internationalize your degree

Not only does it look good on your resumé to have a wide array of experiences, but going abroad can help you to garner a new understanding and perspective of the world.  Teaching and learning are not the same all over the world and experiencing this variety is a great way to open your eyes to different possibilities.  This is also a great opportunity to take a new to you class.  All of the credits you take on exchange are guaranteed to transfer back to UBC so why not try something you never have before?

5.5 The Food

This isn’t really a top five-er but enjoying all the yummy new food is always a highlight. From eating fermented shark in Iceland to perogies in Poland it is always an adventure!


Where to Go?

Now to decide where to go! This can be overwhelming, especially because UBC has partner universities in 38 different countries on every inhabited continent.  I’d suggest making a list of all the places you are interested in and then slowly narrowing it down.  You can do this by making a separate lists of ‘must-haves’ for your exchange school, like guaranteed housing or class size, and then go from there.

Also, If going far from home sounds like it’s too much of a commitment for you, you can always go on exchange to the University of Washington in Seattle…only a short bus ride away!

Exchange still sound like to much of a commitment? Check out UBC’s short term international programs, like Group Study or International Service Learning offered over the summer!