Breaking fingers, destroying guitars and taking names

Fans of Winnipeg indie band Boats will be pleased to know that the band has been holed away producing their third studio album, To a Fairway Full of Miners. While three records in five years may seem impressive to some, frontman, Mat Klachefsky, doesn’t think they’ve done enough.

“I work pretty slowly; write songs pretty slowly. There’s not a lot of B-sides on these records.”

Klachefsky says he’s not afraid to abandon a song that he isn’t in to . . . 

This is an exerpt from an interview I did with Boats frontman Mat Klachefsky, published in the in the April/May edition of Stylus. For the whole thing, you can go to the website of Stylus Magazine

Fast, cheap and in control

The results of the 2012 Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) election are in, and while the results aren’t surprising — especially considering all candidates ran unopposed — there was one big surprise; the turnout. 

After years of steadily increasing voter turnout, culminating with last year’s impressive 16.9 per cent figure, 2012 saw only 371 students — or 9.9 per cent of the graduate student population — log on to cast a ballot; numbers Chief Returning Officer (CRO) Kendra Magnusson called disappointing.

This was originally published in the April 2012 edition of the Gradzette. You can read the full version version by following one of the links provided. 

Are U of M employees happy?

In June 2011 the University of Manitoba performed its first Employee Experience survey, and while a majority of university employees indicated that they were satisfied with the U of M as an employer, part time academics took the opportunity to send the university a message. 

While 82 per cent of part-time academics reported that they were at least satisfied with the university as a work place, the majority felt negatively about being treated fairly regardless of rank or position, confidence in senior leadership and career advancement opportunities . . . 

Originally published in the February 2012 edition of the Gradzette. You can read the full article here

I also apparently took the picture, although I don't remember taking it. 

Ford Focus Review

The 2012 Ford Focus is a great looking car that is easy to drive, economical and so chock full of technology that you’ll be finding gizmos to play with for years after purchase — but is it a good car for a student?

That question is hard to answer, especially in the compact segment the Focus finds itself in, lined up against rivals such as the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze . . . 

Originally published in the Manitoban. Follow the link to read the whole thing. 

Where are all the women at?

Despite the fact that women make up the majority of the students at the University of Manitoba — close to 57 per cent according to a recent study — women make up the vast minority of students in the faculties of science, agriculture, engineering and environment. 

According to soil science professor Annemieke Farenhorst, the new Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) prairie region chair for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE), the number of women “varies with the program,” but is extreme in some cases . . . 

Originally published in the Gradzette. Read the full article in the January 2012 edition of the magazine.

Adventures in Solitude, an interview with CBC Radio 3's Grant Lawrence


You can always tell which books on a student’s shelf are their favourites. They have been read so many times that the spine is creased, the pages dog-eared and they refuse to stay closed unless you put a heavy weight on top of them.

The publisher of Grant Lawrence’s Adventures in Solitude, a history of British Columbia’s Desolation Sound, knew this and gave the soft-cover book a “distressed” look straight from the printer . . . 

Originally published in the Manitoban. Read the full article on the CUP newswire.

Image from

PhD legal battle comes to a close

A case that saw the University of Manitoba embroiled in a highly publicized legal battle with one of its professors for close to a year came to a conclusion in late August.

On Aug. 24, more than eight months after reserving her decision, Justice Deborah McCawley ruled that U of M math professor, Gabor Lukacs, lacked “public- and private-interest standing” and supported the university’s application to strike his application for judicial review of the decision to award a PhD to a student who did not pass a comprehensive exam requirement . . .

Originally published in the Manitoban. Read the full article on the CUP newswire

Man. Budget good news for students

Students and universities in the province of Manitoba should be happy with the province’s 2011 budget.

The budget will link the rate of tuition increase with inflation. This means Manitoba students can expect to pay about one to two per cent more for their education this September, as opposed to the five per cent or higher some students and organizations had feared . . .

Originally published in the Manitoban. Read the fill article on the CUP newswire

This ain't your grandmother's record player

As a child who grew up in the 1980s, I saw a lot of technologies come and go. I watched the video cassette mature only to be killed by the digital video disc; the compact disc player replace the tape deck, only to be replaced by the MP3; and the dawn of digital photography. And while I have seen a lot of technologies come of age, nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of progress that defined the first decade of the 21st century.

What follows are five game-changing technologies of the ‘00s, each of which redefined how people interact with the arts and left the competition twitching uncontrollably, like a zombie whose head has been recently stoved in by a well-placed shotgun blast. And because I hate lists that are in no particular order, this is from my least to most favorite . . .

Originally publshed in the Manitoban. Read the full article on the CUP newswire

Image by Kevin Doole

Sudoku: behind the scenes

Upon meeting Will Gibson, two things become abundantly clear: this man knows his computers and he knows his Sudoku.

For those not familiar with the puzzle phenomenon whose popularity has grown exponentially since 2005 when it left puzzle books and started hitting the mainstream, Sudoku is a puzzle involving nine blocks each divided into nine squares. Some of the 81 squares are left blank, while others contain a clue consisting of a single digit from one to nine. The goal of the puzzle is to fill in the blank portions of the puzzle such that each row, column and block contains each of the numbers one through nine only once.

Originally published in the Manitoban. Read the full article on the CUP newswire.

Photo from flickr creative commons. By Paul Downey

Those hot-blooded bastards

Pop quiz, hotshot: you’re walking through the woods. It’s a chilly day autumn day. Birds are chirping and a light breeze licks the treetops. You hear a rustling ahead to the right, but before you can even wonder what it is, a Tyrannosaurus bursts through the brush and stares you down from 30 metres away. What do you do?

To answer this question you first need to contemplate a feature of dinosaur anatomy, which has been puzzling paleobiologists for as long as there have been paleobiologists: were dinosaurs warm- or cold-blooded?

Originally published in the Manitoban. Read the full article on the CUP newswire.