Posts Tagged ‘mcgill’

Back at it!

06/09/2012 Leave a comment

Wow, it’s been 10 months since I tossed a post up. How time flies.

Speaking of posts, the VFFs I mentioned in my last post still look almost-new. Even after subjecting them to this. Love those things.

So what’s new? Well, I’m back at school in Montréal. Almost have my classes sorted out; it’s been registration hell thanks to a needless hold and some general Minerva stupidity. I’m so glad to see things haven’t changed since my run-in with it last time.

Another sidenote: that 400-level labour economics course I was forced to register into last time? In it again. Joy. No really, I’m ecstatic.

I took this last year off, in part due to that Minerva SNAFU I mentioned above, and spent it working in Vancouver. Most of my time was spent working at the Café for Contemporary Art, in North Vancouver, and at the Keefer, Vancouver’s premier cocktail bar. I learned a lot and had oodles of fun. Also spent a lot of money eating and drinking, which goes with the territory of working in restaurants and bars >.> Now spending much of my thoughts on maligning Montréal’s poor bourbon selection and the trouble to which one has to go to get a bottle of bitters, even the ubiquitous (but still awesome) Angostura.

In other news, my pelvis is still seriously messed up, surprise surprise. I was literally glowing when I stepped onto the plane in Vancouver – several X-rays, a bone scan, an ultrasound, and a 2.5-hour MRI marathon will do that to you. On the positive side, I might finally find out what’s going on down there!

I’ve also gotten really into working out with kettlebells recently. In case you’re not familiar with them, they kind of look like a cannonball with a handle. It’s coming along very well, with the exception of a nasty little rip on my left hand. Currently swinging, cleaning and pressing, and get-upping with a 45lb and will be moving to the 50lb. soon. McGill’s gym will be needing larger kettlebells  🙂 I’ve named the 40lb I have at home Betsy, and the 40lb here Princess Donna (a sadistic-sounding name, no? Fitting, as she did rip a chunk of my skin out). Now taking petitions for other names.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Don’t worry, the next post will come along much more quickly than this one!




Great Way to Start the Day

05/04/2011 1 comment

<sarcasm> This is one of the best starts to a day I’ve ever had. </sarcasm>

Course registration opened today at 8am. I got up at 7, logged in to Minerva, and kept the window active so I wouldn’t be logged out due to inactivity. Smooth sailing so far. Registration opened and I must have been the first person to click the link – 7:59am, thank you very much! And who says I’m not punctual?

Then stuff got weird. I submit my course codes to be registered for the fall semester, and it takes ages to load, which is normal because everyone going into U2 is trying to do this at the same time. I accidentally click a link and before I can freak out, a box pops up telling me that my changes have been submitted. How reassuring.

To verify this, I check my schedule. Not registered in any classes? Huh? Then what was the point of that reassuring box? So I try to go back to the quick add-drop section. I can’t. Next thing I know, I’ve been logged out. Huh?

I try to log back in and the system is full. Huh? I see where this is going now…

By the time I get logged back in, every class that I actually WANT to take is full. What sounds more interesting to you: the Underground Economy or 400-level Labour Economics? Guess which one I wanted. Guess which one I’m taking.

I must have been one of the first people logged into Minerva. I was probably the first person to click on the registration link. And still I get shafted.

I don’t get another shot at taking these classes. I won’t be able to take them the year after because I’ll need to be taking mostly 400- and 500-levels in my final year. These are classes I really wanted with professors I know. I was one of the first people to get in today, and still I get screwed.

I am completely befuddled as to how such a prestigious and well-regarded institution of higher learning can be so comprehensively incompetent.

Surely McGill has realized, after years of online registrations, that there will be a massive registration rush at this time of year, every year! You could set your watch to it and it would be as accurate as an atomic clock!

So why do Minerva glitches persist? Why is performance so low when the university knows that the system will be heavily strained at this point?

How about adding some additional capacity around registration time and getting some more bandwidth so things don’t take forever? How about ensuring students won’t have a year ruined by Minerva glitches? How about ensuring students aren’t forced to fill their schedule with classes that don’t interest them because of said Minerva glitches?

How about throwing students a bone now and then? Or would that ruin McGill’s reputation as a hard university?


A pissed off Tim

PS – and to top it all off, I haven’t slept, my throat feels like I’ve swallowed razor blades, I can’t really turn my head, and my lymph nodes are so swollen that you can probably see them from space. I feel great.

I R Disappoint.

16/11/2010 Leave a comment

I have a sneaking suspicion that McGill is turning me into a pretentious twit….

Categories: Musings Tags: , ,

“Cheap and Accessible”

06/09/2010 1 comment

Here comes a rant…

One of the many purported virtues of Canada is our “cheap and accessible” post-secondary education system, especially when compared with the United States’ obscene tuition costs. To those who promote Canada as a nation of accessible education, I will concede that our tuition is much lower. Many of my friends here in Montréal are here because even as an international student, education is cheaper here than in the US. Yes, it’s cheaper here. Is it good enough? No.

Tuition fees, however, are another rant entirely. This one is about textbooks, and the McGill bookstore.

This semester alone, I will be spending close to $800 on books alone. Hardly bang for your buck – cheap and accessible my ass.

Last semester, I paid $100 for a textbook that was about 1/2″ thick, and that wasn’t even at the campus bookstore. Had it been, I’m sure I would have paid more. This is why monopolies suck.

Where the hell does McGill get off, gouging its students so badly on books? Last I checked, universities are not profit-making institutions.

It has been pointed out that perhaps publishers, and not campus bookstores are to blame. In that case, we need to start putting some serious pressure on book publishers to be less ridiculous with their prices.

Bottom line: if we are going to claim to have cheap and accessible education, let’s make sure that it is actually cheap and accessible.



The Meaning of Life

17/04/2010 1 comment

What is the meaning of life? Today in the last lecture of my Philosophy class we talked a little bit about this.

It’s pretty clear that if there is any meaning to life, it has to come from us – facts about the universe such as God’s existence are distinctly unhelpful as we can’t ascertain their validity. So the universe doesn’t help us.

That would suggest, it seems, that the meaning of life is communal (coming from humanity as a whole).

Let’s approach this problem from a different angle: I think it can be taken as a given that to be truly happy, a life must also be meaningful. A meaningful life may not be happy (how happy was Nelson Mandela when he was in prison?), but a happy life is meaningful.

A study was done in the field of positive psychology, which deals with happiness, love and the like, that involved taking people and asking them to rate on a scale how happy they were. Next, their brains were scanned to see which areas were active. The conclusion was that there was a positive correlation between brain activity in one area and the reported degree of happiness.

Just for fun, the researcher called in one of his friends, a scientist-turned-Buddhist-monk. This man had been practising Buddhist compassion meditation for over 30 years, so he could just “turn it on” whenever he decided. They put the monk in the scanner, and asked him to do the compassion meditation – the resulting activity in the brain centre identified with happiness was off the charts.

This suggests a correlation between happiness and compassion/concern for others. As numerous studies on volunteer workers have shown, people who do volunteer work are generally happier than their counterparts.

Maybe the meaning of life is compassion. Is that really so hard to believe?




21/03/2010 Leave a comment

Some recent developments:

  • BMH had their Caribbean night on Thursday – calypso music, roti, and punch included. An awesome change from the usual.
  • I’ll be seeing Xavier Rudd in Vancouver in June…so excited!
  • McGill Improv will be performing at the Carleton Improv Summit on the 27th. Road trip!

And lastly, I’m almost finished The Shock Doctrine. It’s a fantastic book, and you need to read it. It’s been called the most important book on economics in the 21st century – high (and deserved) praise, considering the century is only 10 years old.

In fact, if you read it and it doesn’t worry you, you should probably have your head checked. Scary stuff, but education is the only way to stop disaster capitalism. A little sample:

“Israel’s laws and practices in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories] certainly resemble aspects of apartheid,” said John Dugard, the South African lawyer who is the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, in February 2007. The similarities are stark, but there are differences too. South Africa’s Bantustans were essentially work camps… What Israel has constructed is a system designed to do the opposite: to keep workers from working, a network of open holding pens for millions of people who have been categorized as surplus humanity.

…This discarding of 25 to 60 percent of the population has been the hallmark of the Chicago School crusade since the “misery villages” began mushrooming throughout the Southern Cone in the seventies. In South Africa, Russia, and New Orleans the rich build walls around themselves. Israel has taken this disposal process a step further: it has built walls around the dangerous poor. (The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein 532)

I’ve posted once or twice on this before, and it may sound like I’m plugging this mercilessly (I suppose I am), but this is really important. Unless we get our heads screwed on straight, we are going to be royally screwed.



PS – I’m not picking on Israel, it was just the page I opened to.

Another Meeting at the Caf

27/02/2010 Leave a comment

The a couple days ago at the caf, another girl came up to me and said she found my blog, also while looking for Wacky Wednesday. Apparently if you google it, this blog comes up first – who knew? So anyways, here’s a shout-out to Sara. Nice to meet you and I hope you found what you were looking for 🙂