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Snapshots: “Contrary to popular opinion”

Curtailed commentary on current conditions based on a particular theme. This week’s theme: Contrary to popular opinion



Print Edition: May 7, 2014

(Illustrations by Anthony Biondi)

(Illustrations by Anthony Biondi)

Inbox inundation

For the past few days, I have been hard at work cleaning out the inbox of what I’ve sheepishly begun to call my “spam email.” It’s the account I cite whenever a clerk at a retail outlet asks for my email address.

Well, let me rephrase that … they don’t really ask anymore. They prompt for “email,” “postal code,” and “phone number” in the same expectant voice they use to tell me my total. “Twenty-two fifty” — even the word “please” has disappeared. And yet something about their tone of voice triggers a kneejerk delivery of my personal contact information.

The resulting daily influx of emails is impossible to maintain. It seems like every store I’ve shopped at over the past three years or so sends me a daily update on shoe shipments and electric kettles, or offers a discounts on things I’m not remotely interested in purchasing.

From here on in, I’m taking a stand. Apparently contrary to popular belief, my contact information is private; I do not have to provide it to complete my transaction at any store. My answer, from now on, to retail solicitation is: “No, thank you.”



Brooms up

Quidditch is real, it is a sport, and I’m a fan. No, there are no actual flying brooms, but you can see grown men and women, mostly college students, running around a field with brooms between their legs while they throw balls at one another.

Of course, it’s far from what many would consider to be a mainstream sport. It’s not something you’ll likely ever see on Sportsnet, but it’s out there. It’s physically demanding, has complex rules, and has opposing teams just like hockey, football, or tennis.

There is even an international organization of quidditch teams that puts on tournaments each year. One of these tournaments is coming to Burnaby on July 19, and I will be going. I will watch from the sidelines with some of the more colourful Harry Potter fans dressed as their favourite characters from the series. This fictional sport has made its way from the written word into the real world, and I, for one, am excited to see it.



Print is not dead

The arrival of the internet has changed the way we view media. We currently live in a society where many young adults have lived with the worldwide web in existence for their entire lives. Quite significant when you think about it.

Not coincidentally, the industry of print is no longer the juggernaut it used to be. Ad sales are migrating to cyberspace, mail volume is down, and newspapers have been using paywalls to get readers to pay for their online content.

But print is not going down without a fight. People need to realize some of its merits — one of which is our privacy. Our internet browsing profiles are being packaged much more efficiently to advertisers while we deal with an incredible amount of ads bombarding us relentlessly.

Copyright issues are taking some interesting turns as well. When you buy a book, you can share it with anyone you want. Is that the case with an e-book? Not so much. If you hadn’t noticed recently, some of the art and design gracing magazine covers have been amazing.

Print will never be dead.



Worth the cram

Contrary to popular opinion, I actually don’t mind exams. Don’t get me wrong, the load of studying still makes me feel like Atlas at times, and is not fun at all.

The exams themselves, however, are surprisingly fun. It’s a great feeling when you start an exam and soon realize you both understand the concepts, and can write a heap on the subject.

There’s a certain pleasure in watching your somewhat sloppy words take over page after page, pouring your answers onto them. Plus, after being hyped up on caffeine for days in an attempt to ensure a good grade, it’s rewarding to see your studying pay off as you mark off answers in quick succession.

Writing exams also provides a sort of adrenaline rush, which mercifully replaces the gut-twisting anxiety. As long as I know the answers, exams are a rewarding experience; the ice cream I treat myself to afterward is just a bonus.


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