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    By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

    I never thought in a million years I would be the one standing at the helm of this ship. Me, writing a lettitor? Being the face of a student newspaper? Being responsible for an entire team? Scream! I never imagined myself as the role of a leader or captain. Yet, here I am—manning the proverbial wheel of this great paper. I know there may be some rough seas ahead, but as far as I can see it’s all smooth sailing.

    This paper, and student journalism has done a lot for me in my college career. I have met many wonderful people, had many crazy, (and alcohol-induced) nights, wrote copious amounts of articles, stayed up many late night’s way too often till the wee hours of the morning. I have met some of my best pals, and some of my worst enemies because of this paper. I’ve come a long way since walking past the OP room repeatedly before getting the guts to take the extra step inside the elusive room 1020 three long years ago.

    As much as I hold these experiences dear, I can’t say working for the Other Press was always perfect. Admittedly, there were times I felt stifled, burnt out, or like I was in an echo-chamber that never ceased. There were things I wasn’t allowed to write about or say. On a couple occasions I would pitch articles that would be turned down as “too controversial.” But isn’t that what journalism, and especially student journalism is about? Pushing the envelope? Getting the people talking? Hearing two sides of every story? Facilitating dialogue between two different perspectives? I think so, and it’s what I base my vision of this lovely paper on. It’s a new year, a new dawn, and a new Other Press.

    That is one the reasons I decided to do my first issue as a throwback and republish some of my old favourite articles. With many new and returning students coming for the fall, I wanted to re-introduce the paper in my vision. Some of my favourite pieces are about controversial, fun, or interesting topics. That’s what gets people engaged, isn’t it? Articles that spotlight funny topics or controversial clubs. Articles that tell you why making out is good for your health or what alcohol you should get crunk on this weekend. Articles that tell you about different experiences and opinions. Articles that make you laugh, or make you feel things you never knew you could. Also, an incredible feature about the rich history of the Other Press. It’s a testament to how much I love this paper, and how proud I am to be a part of it.

    Every new Editor-in-Chief has a vision of what they want their paper to look like. For me, I am basing my paper on what I think are the important aspects of student journalism. Freedom of speech, hearing different voices and experiences, dialogue between two people who think very differently. To me, this is the foundation of student journalism. Hell, of journalism in general, and is the reason I am proud to sit in the big EIC chair, and to be writing this lettitor to you today. Hey, thanks for reading!

     

    Limes,

     

    Jessica Berget


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  • 09/10/19--07:57: When in doubt, uke it out
  • By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

     

    For some, fall is a cozy season. Wrapping yourself up in blankets and sweater, drinking hot cups of tea and soup while watching your favourite fall themed program is how I used to remember Autumn. Now, for many students going into classes again and working their many part-time job, it’s the season for stress. Fortunately, I have a solution. The ukulele.

    I hate to sound like your basic quirky indie girl doing a ukulele cover of “Can’t help falling in love,” but playing the ukulele is actually a lot of fun, fairly easy, and I think it sounds beautiful. If you have tiny baby hands like I do, the guitar can be a challenge to play. Plus, six strings? Fuck that acoustic noise.

    The ukulele is a smaller, making it more mobile and easier to get a hang of certain chords and finger-picking styles. You can learn a few chords, or possibly a whole song in less than an hour if you practice enough. You can also learn many guitar songs on the uke which adds a lively and tropical sound to even the most depressing songs. Think Hawaiian emo. There are also many songs made for ukulele that can be fun and easy to play. Steven Universe for example has a ton of beautiful songs made for the ukulele.

    Playing ukulele, or any instrument for that matter, is extremely therapeutic. If you also tend to get anxious, depressed, or even just bored, singing and playing ukulele will be the best thing you ever did. It allows you to release any tension or stress you might be feeling in a fun and rewarding way. It also allows you to let all your frustrations out in a healthy and productive way.

    Learning the chords to songs you love and playing them for yourself or playing with or for your friends is a great way to practice your singing and live performance skills, to sing your heart out to your favourite songs, or scream into the void that is your bedroom. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought about breaking out “Hey there Delilah” at parties (it’s still a great song!) I find it can also lighten your mood if you’ve had a rough day, week, month, year, life.

    It may sound intimidating learning a new instrument, but as far as most instruments go, I’d say ukulele is one of the easier ones. If I can learn how to play it, anyone can.

     

    Limes,

     

    Jessica Berget

     


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  • 09/17/19--00:00: Sans the hate
  • By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

    What’s everybody’s problem with Comic Sans? It’s really not that bad of a font. I mean, just look at it! The way the edge of each letter is so beautifully soft and rounded. It’s goofy yet formal demeanor almost like a tuxedo t-shirt. They way they look like they were drawn by a kindergarten student. Isn’t there something so whimsical and child-like about it?

    Not convinced? Well, don’t just take my word for it. Even Vincent Connare, the creator of the elusive typeface praises its design. In a 2017 Wired conference, he calls his textual invention “the best font in the world.” I mean, he did create it, so he should know something about good fonts, right?

    So how did the world come to be blessed with the presence of Comic Sans? In 1995, Microsoft released a software called Microsoft Bob. It served as a user-friendly program to introduce young users to the operating system. A cartoon dog named Rover served as the guide by speech bubbles. Connare was not a fan of Rover talking in the very formal Times New Roman and thought it needed a more comical feel. Hence, Comic Sans. Drawing on inspiration from comic books like Watchmen and The Dark Knight, he initially wrote the new font by hand. In the end, Microsoft Bob didn’t end up using Comic Sans, but the font still lives on. Love it or hate it, it’s going to be around for a long time.

    There are so many other bad fonts to dislike, but too many people have jumped on the Comic Sans hate train. Have you seen Papyrus recently for God’s sake? Mistral? French Script? CURLZ MT?!?!?! These are all fonts that should never have been birthed into creation, yet here they are. And people still want to hate on good ol’ salt-of-the-earth Comic Sans. Well I won’t stand for it any longer.

    What has Comic Sans ever done to you? Did a harmless font kill your crops, kidnap your family, and burn your house down? I doubt it. Comic Sans has done nothing wrong except be a fun and silly font, so to see so many people hating on it makes my heart weep with Comic Sans font tears. Surely, there is nothing comical about the abuse this font endures.

    Comically yours,

    Jessica Berget


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  • 09/24/19--00:00: Live and let lime
  • By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

     

    Have you ever wondered why limes are so expensive? Some supermarkets charge more than a dollar for a tiny, singular lime. As someone who buys limes for cooking Mexican, Vietnamese, or Thai food, I’ve always wondered why these small, green babies are so costly. I can see why weather or production would make a good become expensive, or the price of shipping them to Canada would also make sense. One answer I was not expecting is Mexican drug cartels.

    It’s true! According to a 2014 CBC article, the reason that these limey bastards are so expensive is because these cartels are branching out to other means of business. Since they are one of Mexico’s key exports, they are shifting to also becoming lime cartels. Interesting, no?

    You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about limes. Although, why shouldn’t I? Limes are great, I shouldn’t need a reason to talk about limes. They’re a delicious hybrid citrus fruit, they taste good in salsa and in curries, it’s my favourite Starbucks drink that they no longer sell (rest in peace Cool Lime Refresher), and you know what? They’re just neat. Oh yeah, and I guess since my sign off for these lettitor things is literally “limes,” that probably raises some eyebrows.

    To tell the truth, I don’t really remember how my obsession for limes began. It was as an inside joke with my friends when we killed ourselves laughing talking about well, limes but I don’t remember how it got started. Ever since then, whenever we yell out “limes!” to each other, it’s guaranteed to get a chuckle. When I first thought about becoming Editor-in-Chief of this paper, I had trouble deciding what my sign-off could be. My friends recommended as a joke to just put “limes,” But I actually loved it, so I did. If you ask me, limes are an underrated fruit anyway, and they should be in the limelight.

     

    Limes,

    Jessica Berget


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    By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

     

    Last year, the Vancouver Public Library was protested because they allowed a controversial feminist writer, Meghan Murphy to speak there. As a result, they were rejected from the 2019 Vancouver Pride Parade.

    At the time, they claimed that “Free speech and intellectual freedoms are fundamental values of public libraries.”

    Recently, they have updated their booking policies and require pre-screening for events.

    According to their new draft “The Library’s values include diversity, respectful spaces, intellectual freedom and access for all.” It goes on to say “The library believes that freedom of expression and access to ideas and information are essential to the health and development of a democratic society. We acknowledge that the library’s spaces may be used by those who express ideas that may be contrary to the Library’s vision and values.”

    The new draft the Vancouver public library puts in place is one I think all institutions should base their policy on. Emphasis on intellectual freedom and free speech. It’s certainly one that I base this paper on. I stand with Vancouver Public Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom.

    They reiterate their stance by saying “In some instances they may, on a personal level, view them as offensive or harmful. However, in keeping with its value of intellectual freedom, the Library will not restrict freedom of expression beyond the limits prescribed by Canadian law.”

    The library has taken a strong position with intellectual freedom, and it is much needed. Healthy discussion and debate cannot happen unless there is conversation on both sides. Institutions should be able to let these discussions take place without having to defend their own political affiliations or be scrutinized. Just because they host controversial talks, doesn’t mean they have the same views or ideologies. They are simply exercising their commitment to free speech and intellectual freedom. Whether they agree with it or not is no matter, they don’t have to agree with every speaker they book. I certainly don’t agree with everything that is published in this paper, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to publish it because that would go against everything democracy stands for.


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  • 10/08/19--00:00: Growing pains
  • Photo by Jessica Berget

    This month marks the sixth month of me moving out of my family’s home. It’s fantastic to be out of my hometown and so close to my school, work, and friends. Additionally, having that bit of distance from my crazy six-person family has been great; they were driving me absolutely nuts right before I moved out.

    It’s been a dream not waking up at the wee hours of the morning to the sound of my younger brothers screaming at their video games or singing Nirvana songs loudly on guitar—teenagers, am I right? Now though, I miss the hell out of those little bastards.

    It’s funny, the things I often chastised them for while living at home are now the very reasons why I miss them so much now: the messes they made, how loud and obnoxious they could be, and their stubbornness. I’ve come to realize after living with a roommate that I am just as messy, obnoxious, and stubborn. As mad as they made me when I lived with them, I am a product of my family. We have been through a lot of change together—they understand me best.

    A few years back when I had vastly contrasting political opinions to my family, I fully hated them. When I lived at home, I would always stay in my room only to come out for food. I detested the thought of talking to them because they would always say something that I thought was offensive, and I would always turn it into an argument. Since they had opinions that differed from mine, I felt justified in labeling them as toxic human beings and vowed to never see any of them again after I moved out. Looking back on that, I want to slap my younger self for thinking it—but I guess we’ve all had that thought. I wish I could hang out and play football with my family more, play guitar with my brothers while appreciating their goofy obnoxious jokes, and listen to their constant hollering and to be annoyed by them again to the point of screaming. The thought of not seeing them as often now is beyond depressing, but I needed that distance to realize how much I miss and appreciate them.

    With Thanksgiving coming up, I think a reminder of the importance of family is fitting. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, they will always be there for you to listen, or even to make you laugh. If you still live with your family, they may irritate the piss out of you constantly—but they are your family. As much as you probably don’t want to admit it now, you’re going to miss them when you move away. They won’t be around forever, so appreciate them while you can.


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    By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

     

    As someone who is an avid viewer of all things horror, and in theme with this week’s horror movie feature, I’ve always wondered why the art of practical effects has declined over the years. I think it’s unfortunate that more and more movies are opting to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) effects over practical ones. Especially in the horror movie genre, where these effects are more impactful. In truth, CGI just doesn’t do anything for me.

    I can totally appreciate what CGI can do; Jurassic Park is a great example how impressive visual effects can be in film, and it has had a huge impression on the film industry. Movies like Godzilla, Star Wars, Blade Runner and the like all have their place in movie history as fantastic showcases of how impressive special effects are. I just wish movies used practical effects more often, instead of relying solely on computer generated effects—which is often where some movies suffer. They get boring after awhile, and I find that it just isn’t as impressive to me anymore since almost all movies use them to the point of overkill.

    I’m a big fan of old classic horror movies that relied mostly on practical effects. I think movies like An American Werewolf in London, The Fly, and The Evil Dead have all stood the test of time because of their incredible effects and the gruesome imagery that is created by it. They’re also more stunning—sticking with you because of how lifelike they are. The effects are made from real-life materials, and because of that, look more natural.

    CGI is more expensive, it’s less impressive, and it’s not as influential. For instance, are you more terrified by the shark from Jaws, or the computer-generated shark from the many modern shark horror flicks? Personally, the shark from Jaws still freaks me out, and when I was young it was the reason I never went into the deep end of the pool—which speaks to how much more practical effects can imprint on you.

    I think it’s so much more interesting to see how people can replicate gore, violence, or terrifying images with the limited resources they have. Computer effects can make literally anything and as the old Shania Twain adage goes, “that don’t impress me much.”

    When it comes down to it, practical effects are just more fun. Personally, I find computer gore effects lazy and it can look pretty goofy sometimes if not done correctly. For example, the troll from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. CGI effects try so hard to look real and focus so much on that aspect that it often looks goofy and undermines the impact. It loses the flare and the charm that practical effects have, which comes from people creating it with their own two hands. Not to say that practical effects can’t also be pretty outlandish sometimes, but I’m more impressed and convinced by effects people have created from organic materials.


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    By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

     

    Perusing the world wide web for something spooky related to talk about in my Lettitor this week, I was surprised at the number of articles discussing Canadian schools opting to ban Halloween costumes, or towns banning kids above a certain age from trick or treating.

    Some of the reasons for these restrictions are that some younger kids may find the older students’ costumes scary, or that some kids may not celebrate Halloween and feel left out, or that some kids are simply too old to trick or treat. Who are these people policing kids on how and when they can celebrate Halloween?

    For the costume ban, school is supposed to be a fun and creative environment for kids to learn and socialize. Banning costumes and Halloween fun gives kids nothing else to celebrate and prevents learning about the history of the holiday. How can kids learn about an event the majority of our society engages in if they don’t celebrate it at school?

    Instead of dressing up in fun or scary costumes, some schools will be doing “orange and black” days, or “tie and scarf days.” These spirit days don’t relate at all to Halloween, nor do they allow or encourage kids to be creative and have fun showing off the costumes they maybe made or were excited to wear. Plus, the proposed days are lame as hell. What’s fun or scary about wearing a tie or the colour orange? Nothing. Halloween is a time in children’s lives to make memories and enjoy the particular type of creative pleasures the holiday offers.

    Personally, I trick or treated until I was about 16. Some might say 14 is the cut-off, but since I didn’t want to go to Halloween parties and drink or stay at home alone—trick or treating with my friends or family was the only way I could get my need for spook satisfied.

    Have Halloween costumes gone too far? Maybe sometimes. Are some kids too old to trick or treat? Depends who you’re asking. Regardless, I don’t think kids should have to suffer the consequences of no Halloween fun in their school or neighbourhood because some schools find it’s too much trouble to deal with costumes, or some adults don’t want to give candy to some who may be a little older.  Costumes are worth the trouble, because they generally bring a lot of joy to those creative types who enjoy participating in the holiday and highly value this outlet.

    If kids are really frightened by some costumes, I think they should be encouraged to learn that there is nothing to be afraid of, as it’s only a costume. By putting the kibosh on costumes, kids will never be exposed to them and may never become comfortable with these Halloween festivities or any type of spooky festivities, and that’s more of a long-term problem then being a little scared, isn’t it? There will always be scary things in the world, so having a child confront their fears is the best way to deal with them—sheltering the child will only exasperate the fear further.

    If some parents don’t want their kids involved in celebrating Halloween, they should have the choice to opt out, but Halloween festivities and costumes being banned from school is not a viable solution. Parents can explain to their kids why they don’t want them to be involved in the revelry but taking away everyone’s fun because one’s own personal disagreement is cruel and unjustified.

    Halloween is a great holiday that we celebrate here in Canada and in the Western world. It allows kids to be creative and have fun dressing up to get candy, or at least be where the Halloween happenings are. Even if you don’t personally celebrate this spooky holiday, it’s fun to be a part of the games and festivities. Don’t tell kids they can’t innocently enjoy themselves and be a part of the communal fun for the comfort of other people.


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    Still of deleted scene from ‘Ghostbusters’

    By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

     

    I never thought I’d begin a sentence this way—but I was watching a Joe Rogan podcast yesterday.

    Dan Aykroyd was on the show as a guest and they were talking about supernatural encounters. Aykroyd was talking about his experiences with the paranormal (namely his infamous scene in Ghostbusters where it is insinuated that he receives oral sex from a ghost). While discussing this, he mentions that in California when you are trying to sell a house, in every real estate contract there is a clause that says you must report all unusual activity. Aykroyd indicates this is compelling evidence that there is something going on, or that ghosts are real and recognized. But I’m skeptical.

    Despite the obvious fallacy in his argument I thought it was interesting that the possibility of ghosts haunting a house is so real and scary to some people that they require people by law to report the house’s history. It got me thinking about the haunted house real estate market.

    According to a study by business professors at Wright University, if a house has had a death happen, whether it be murder or suicide, it takes 50 percent longer to sell, and for about 2 percent less than other homes. Apparently, people fear buying a house someone has died in so much so that there is even a website in the US called diedinhouse.com where you can look up if your home has a violent history.

    I mean, it’s fair; I don’t think I would want to live in a house where I know someone was murdered, but then again, some things are better not known. How many people have died in their homes? Probably a lot. Should we have to report every single death that occurs in a house before we sell or buy it? I don’t think so. What’s funny to me is that this law will make many people believe the house is haunted because of its history, or influence people to think that the presence of ghosts is real.

    Even Daniel Warner, a legal scholar, argues that sellers shouldn’t have to disclose murders or supposed hauntings because these laws may be viewed as belief in ghosts or could influence people to believe in them—as Aykroyd has shown can and will happen.

    When it comes to reporting houses’ histories with death, I’m on the cemetery fence. While I think I would like to know if someone died in my house, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference if I don’t know. In fact, it’s probably better that you don’t know. I don’t believe in ghosts, so I’m not afraid of my house being haunted. Unless of course some ghost tries to give me head.

     


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  • 11/05/19--00:00: Union schmunion
  • Still from ‘Frasier’

    By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief

     

    There’s a lot of talk about strikes right now, and it has got me thinking about unions.

    I’ve worked a union job before, and as much as I appreciate job security, good pay, benefits, and some of the other perks that come with those jobs, there are some downsides to them. Unions have done a lot of great things for working conditions. They are the reason we don’t work 12-hour days seven days a week. They helped create the working class fighting for better pay and work conditions, so they’re super important to have. But I think it’s also important to look at some of the problems with unions.

    For instance, that extreme job security may sound like a pretty sweet deal, but it is something that can and will be exploited. A nurse by the name of Elizabeth Wettlaufer killed seven people over two decades in an Ontario nursing home. She was fired from the homes that she worked at, but she was still able to work as a nurse because the Ontario Nurses Association intervened. According to a previous article from the Other Press, they defended Wettlaufer twice, changing her firing to a voluntary resignation and even giving her $2000 and a letter of recommendation in 2014 as part of a union settlement. Talk about taking job security too far.

    I’m not saying unions are the blame for this, or that this is proof that they are all like this, but it is a good argument for why we need to modify unions since certain aspects can be detrimental.

    In my experience working a union gig for a year, I have also seen my fair share of negative side effects. Because it is fairly difficult to get fired from a union job—albeit in cases of stealing or other extreme examples—there is a problem with employees taking advantage of this and putting no effort into the job besides showing up on time everyday, or even being difficult or aggressive with the other employees. In my time working there, an employee threw a chair at another worker and they only got suspended for a week. Any other non-union job—they definitely would have been fired.

    Of course, not all union employees are like this, but this is just my experience in my one year as a union worker. Unions serve an incredibly important purpose, but sometimes the benefits they provide can be taken advantage of.


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