Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Babette!? Una nuova voce!

Tonight was a pretty cool night. I got a lot of reading done this afternoon after one of my labs, so I thought it I'd take a stroll up to the Stereophonic concert that was at the chapel tonight. They had some amazing performances, not all that I could stay for, but the ones I did get a chance to see were amazing.

My friend Elizabeth (Also known as Liz, Lizzy, Eliza-beth, Lizzard, and most recently Babette) was performing tonight, and it happened to be the first chance I've had to see her live since her emergence as an artist on the East Coast music scene. If someone had played me one of the pieces from her Myspace Page a few years ago, I would not have believed that it was the hippie hearted Liz Hayward. If I had to figure out a way to describe her voice and style, I would have to say she's got a voice like Imogene Heap, but with more of a folk voice and a guitar focused accompaniment, though Liz plays a mad glockenspiel.

Pat Lepoidevin played right after Liz, and he was amazing. He is always a good act to watch because it is more than just the music, it is the production of the music that is really interesting to watch and listen to. He uses peddles and some pretty fancy footwork to loop his own harmonies and accompaniment. I would really like to see what Pat and Liz would sound like if they did a performance together. I'm not sure if it would be too much of a good thing, or if they would make an amazing sound, but I think it would be interesting nonetheless. This is going to sound really weird, but he reminds me of Dolly Parton, in the sense that he plays so many instruments when he's on stage, and likewise Dolly does too. And to answer the burning question in the back of your mind, Yes I have been to a Dolly Parton concert and it was one of the best shows I have ever been to! She sits way above So You Think You Can Dance, and just below the Rankin Family, who are pretty much on par with Coldplay (if for no other reason than blind loyalty to them). I'd have to say that Stereophonic beats SYTYCD by a bit, it was just that good.

When I was going through Pat's MySpace page tonight, I remember that he had a song on the Conduct Becoming album a few years ago. I remember this song pretty well, because it is one that I associate with traveling, having left home and making your way back and how places change after being away. I looked back through my old iPod playlists, and it happened to be on a playlist from when I moved out west for a while, when I lived in Whistler, and traveled around Vancouver a bit. It also happened to on the playlist I made for my flight back from Vancouver to New Brunswick.

I can't forget to mention Landon! He was the first act of the night, and Babette was such a rarity for me to see that I forgot to mention Land0(n) and his Rock-opera stylings! He's been writing a few different shows over the past few years, even had a workshop perform one of them last year. He's had some pretty awesome reviews on campus, you may remember him from his MtA Blog - and now his MySpace page!

Well, not that you've found out a bit about my very weird music tastes, go check out Babette's MySpace Page, and Pat's MySpace Page and check out their tunes!

If you didn't notice, though I am sure you did, I figured out how to hyperlink text (make text take you to a website when you click on it) so I went a bit crazy in this post... but with the best of intentions!!!

Till next time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Valor; Valeur; Value

I'll be the first one to admit it, I love getting presents. I love birthdays and other occasions like them for that very reason. My favourite one this year sort of caught me off guard. Not that I didn't appreciate each and every gift my family sent (or Deposited!) there was something to be said for the type of value that comes along with any gift.
My cousin Hannah had posted a picture of her Grandfather, my Great-Uncle, on facebook. It was an amazing picture of him when he was probably 9 or 10 (at most) during the great depression, standing on a train car with a giant grin on his face. I had mentioned it in passing or in an MSN conversation to her, and yesterday I got an email full of pictures of my Grandmother from when she was growing up. This one was probably taken during the late 1940's or early 1950's, from what I can tell. It is amazing to me to see these pictures, I've never known or thought of my Grandmother in any way but as, well. An older lady, a grandmother, or as we always called her Nanny.

There is something to be said about reevaluating how we value and see different things (or people!) as we get older (and hopefully, but not always, wiser). Thanks Cousin Hannah, and of course her Grandfather (Lou Lou) Louis, these pictures made my birthday.

Till next week!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Moving On, settling in.

So it has been an interesting few days. Since council last Wednesday evening I've just been tying up some loose ends with SAC business, getting settled into this terms classes, the usual. The question that keeps coming up when asked about my resignation is, What now? I guess I haven't a specific answers, there are lots of things that I want to get more involved with on and around campus. I haven't burnt all of my bridges... at least I don' t think I have.

I've been working with a few friends to try and tighten up the Young Liberals group, at the provincial level. It's been a lot of policy review so far, but I'm sure it'll turn into something I put a lot of time into this term.
Tomorrow I will be legally allowed to drink in the US, Gamble in the US (Las Vegas anyone?), and pretty much do everything in the US that I've been able to do in Canada since I was 19 (some provinces 18!) That's right, it's my 21st birthday tomorrow. I will end up celebrating in Sackville on Saturday evening, when everyone else is free to have some fun. I think I will end up in Moncton for the night though, go out with a friend there. My twin brother has the benefit of being in the city. Happy Birthday Kevin, hope you're enjoying your big city birthday bash!

Just getting out of Sackville is usually exciting enough, getting to "go out on the town" in a city bigger than Sackville, makes it a night I am looking forward to. Love the small town, but I've been enjoying spending more and more time in Moncton, while I've had a car here. You'd be surprised how much you just forget about certain things when they aren't in front of you every day. It's a good thing and a bad thing, I guess.

One thing that any student at Mount A can tell you, is that there is no where to go shopping in Sackville, aside from the Salvation Army and the occasional Jean Coutu emergency "I'm too lazy to do laundry, so I bought myself another weeks worth of underwear for $15" (Yes, Suzette, I did that once...), there isn't much beyond restaurants and one café to spend your time and money in. As much as I love Joey's gets a little old after a few nights. I didn't notice this until I spent some time in Toronto this summer, and realized how much someone could spend on any given day if you were walking down a street that had lots of things to catch your eye.

So that has been my week really, spent some time in Moncton, getting settled into courses, and tying up some loose ends with the SAC. If anything exciting happens, I'll let you know! I'll try and take some pictures of birthday festivities to go up here or on Facebook.

Till next week! Cheers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A learning experience...

Have you ever had that gut feeling, that feeling in the pit of your stomach. It usually shows up when you're waiting for that grade you weren't too sure about, or that you're going to tell your parents that you want to quit university and become a performer in Cirque de Solie. Well, I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach today, and it was there yesterday, and it's been there for the past month or so. I think it is there because I am not 100% sure of myself in the stance I've taken on an issue, or perhaps that I don't know for certain that my stance and course of action will be supported.

Well to start with, I've resigned from the Students' Administrative Council, from my position as Vice President Campus Life. I resigned because of what I see as an unethical decision that was made by other members of the SAC executive committee, that I did not agree with in any way. While I know that I will lack their support in my decision, I look to the student body and the members of the union to see if I have theirs, to see if I resigned for a good reason or not. Essentially, I'd made arrangements for the funds from an event that I coordinated and ran through the SAC to be donated to two charities, UNICEF and the local food bank in Sackville. The event went really well (it was a halloween party), the best attended and financially successful event we'd run all year.

I was so excited that we'd raised over $4000 worth of food goods that night participating in Trick or Eat, and on top of that, we'd brought in over $5000 at the door of the event we'd held. After the basic costs of the event itself, the money was to be donated, the event itself was advertised as a fundraiser. It was really upsetting to me, as the coordinator of the event, as the one who'd made the arrangements to have this money donated to these two charities, to be told that they were only going to be getting a portion of what we'd raised, and that nearly $1000 was going to be kept by the SAC to cover the costs of other unsuccessful events that were held in November and December, and to help pay for one of the parties hosted by the SAC in January.

Last year the SAC sued a bar owner in Sackville for not honouring a verbal contract. In doing this is the organization not doing the same thing that they fought against?

I know that I see this as taking food from hungry community members, from our own neighbours. I see this as taking a step backwards with respect to AIDs/HIV prevention education, preventing families from ensuring that their children survive and reach school age healthy and well nourished, intellectually curious, socially confident and equipped with a solid foundation for lifelong learning. These are the things that the donations from the event that I'd coordinated through my position on the SAC would have helped with.

While some on the executive argued that they thought that the charities should be happy with what they've received and we should move on, put the issue to bed one might say, I can't help but think of what the difference in our donation could have meant to someone. I am outraged as a student who'd contributed to advertised an event as a fundraiser, to be the coordinator of this even and to then be told that it was more of a money-grab for the SAC than the fundraiser it had been advertised as. It was in my opinion such a dishonest decision and has made me dislike an organization I've put so much of myself into over the past 10 months

I resigned on the basis that the other executive members made these decisions after students gave us money, that they thought would be going to a charity, and that the organization is changing the way it is distributing the funds, after the fact to benefit itself. I just see it as wrong, and unethical.

I hope that the SAC council can keep the executive accountable, and make sure students know what is going on with the money they're giving to an organization that does dishonest things like this.

As a student, and as a member of the union, I no longer trust all of them to lead the SAC as an organization. How can they? This incident was a misstep on their part, and I hope that students and community members see it that way, and I hope that this gut feeling I have, that little knot in the bottom of my stomach, is because I am right. And not because I am scared of being wrong.

**Edited January 13th 2010**

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back at it! Bring it on 2010!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good break!

It's funny though, I was discussing this with my friend Ryan today, that we always feel more exhausted after a vacation than we did before. I could use another week off, but to be honest I am very glad to get back into classes and get back to book-learnin'!

I spent my holiday at my parents house with my family, but not all of us made it home this year. It was my sister Katie's first time away from home for Christmas, but I doubt she noticed the difference, with her husbands family being just as large and perhaps as loud (maybe louder? I doubt it...) than ours. Next year is our turn to have them both for Christmas. My mom and I have bets on whether or not she'll be pregnant by that point, and if she is, she may be too pregnant to travel... Perhaps her husband just wants to spend Christmas in Toronto again? Who knows, we'll have to wait and see.

Classes started today, and I screwed up my schedule a bit. I thought my first class started half an hour later than it really did. I ended up walking into a lecture hall with half the class staring at me while the prof was still going on about the Syllabus, and of course the only seat left in the entire room was in the most inconvenient place. I spent a good 40 seconds saying, s'cuse me, pardon me, sorry, while trying to shuffle past a row of already seated, comfortable, and on time people. I was a few different shades of red I was so embarrassed for disrupting the class.

Beyond that, my other classes are really small, the smallest is probably going to end up around 5, others around 20, and then the largest one- the one I was late for- has close to 60 students. It's not a bad mix of seminar and lecture classes, I think it should make for an interesting semester. Lots of reading to get done, lots of papers to write. It's only just beginning and I'm already at the library for a good chunk of my evening.

I love Sackville, I do, but at times it does feel rather small. When you've been here for 3 years already, and lived here during the summer, it feels even smaller. My parents let me bring a car up for a little while this term, and it has made a world of difference so far! Groceries in Amherst or Moncton, just knowing that I don't have to stay here all the time, is really really relieving and making life a bit easier for now.

Beyond that, I don't know what else there is to say! I'll be back on later this week, but for now I'm off to watch the gold medal game with some friends!