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Snapshots (Lego, app evaluation, Roll up the Rim, wasted votes)

Curtailed commentary on current conditions: Lego colours, app evaluation, Roll up the Rim, the politics of a wasted vote



Print Edition: February 27, 2013

Nick Ubels

Ballad of a pink brick

Anytime you bust out those little Danish-made interlocking bricks among a couple builders, there’s always a bit of a mad struggle for the “best” bricks. I clearly remember not wanting to admit to such a brick-race, holding back any overt aggression, but making sure my search through the blue-tinged Rubbermaid container was as deft and speedy as possible.

Lego is a brand synonymous with unparalleled childhood creativity and imaginative possibility. It’s every parent’s dream toy: one that not only stimulates thinking, planning, creativity and learning, but can capture a kid’s (or kid-at-heart’s) focused attention for hour and hours at a stretch.

In addition to third-party branding, Lego has made a renewed effort to market to girls with Lego Friends, which introduces more realistic looking Lego mini-figures and ample pink and purple pieces. It’s every marketer’s go-to plan to attempt to attract a new demographic and such efforts are all-the-more transparent in kids’ toys, where the store itself is divided according to gender.

My question is why create this kind of a division when there are few signs that building with Lego is an exclusively-male activity? It reinforces the idea that girls should be only playing with pink bricks, building horse stables or salons in Lego Friends’ Heartlake City, rather than construction sites or spaceships. It might make a girl feel embarrassed to pick the city building sets from the boys’ aisle where such a distinction has only just been artificially-made.


Amy Van Veen

Reviewing men: there’s an app for that

Ever see a guy at a party and think there aren’t enough ways to stalk him and find out the truth without actually talking to him?

Well, you’re in luck because there is, in fact, an app for that.

No longer does Lulu just mean comfortable and expensive lounge-turned-daywear. It’s also the name of a review site where women can rate the men they know and date just like their restaurants or hotels.

And that’s not even the worst part.

According to their website FAQ section, “Lulu is cheeky, but definitely not evil. Our quiz is sweet, not tacky or vulgar.” Sure.

Women log in through Facebook which means only women who have identified themselves as female can log in. Reviews are done anonymously and can only be viewed by other women, which means men cannot log on to see if they are mentioned or what is mentioned about them. The creators of the site threw men a patronizing bone called Lulu Dude where men can select their own relationship status and profile picture while also offering them “self-improvement tips.”

And as the icing on top of the topsy-turvy cake, drop-down answers include such gems as “wears Ed Hardy” and “kinky in the right ways.”

This app seems to be useful in all the wrong ways.


Dessa Bayrock

Roll up the Rim is the worst time of year

This time of the year is hardest for me. The weather is dreary, it always seems to be raining, midterms are approaching faster than anyone is really comfortable, and the lack of sleep is starting to really get to me.

Worst of all, it’s the season of Roll up the Rim.

A myriad of reasons contribute to my over-arching hate of Roll up the Rim. For starters, Tim Horton’s coffee tastes like salt. I heard a rumour a couple years ago that they put MSG in their hot beverages, and I even half-believe it. What other excuse could they have for coffee that tastes the way it does?

I’ll tell you how it tastes. Unforgivably bad.

Roll up the Rim is just the cherry on the cake of hating Tim Horton’s. Sure, it’s kind of a cool contest – but they clearly advertise better odds than 23 losses before a measly donut win, which is what happened to me last year. I heard someone say that the adrenaline rush of rolling up that rim is worth the spike in coffee-purchasing, but I disagree.

Tim, I will no longer gamble at your counter. We have a bad relationship, and I’m calling you on it.

I don’t even like donuts.


Joel Smart

Sick of my vote not counting

The most annoying thing about politics is the amount of people who don’t get a say – whose voice is left out of the decision-making process. It has to change!

That’s why I supported the Single Transferable Vote (BC-STV) electoral reform in the 2009 provincial election, and was crushed when it failed. It would have enabled a system where each voter could choose the candidates that most appealed to them, instead of just voting to keep their least-favoured party from winning.

Our current system is broken. A vote for the Green Party is deemed a “waste” of a vote because it has less of a chance of winning than some of the other parties – but that starts a negative cycle that prevents less-established parties from ever competing. The BC-STV system would have let me rank whatever candidates I liked in my preferred order – if my favourite candidate was eliminated, my second choice would count instead, and so on. That way, after the final tally, more people would be happy with the winning candidate.

I was excited to hear that current Liberal party leader candidate Joyce Murray—who recently made headlines when David Suzuki pledged his support—understands the importance of ensuring that more of us get our voice heard. One of her major goals is to bring about electoral reform, which would bring proportional representation and a fair vote for all Canadians. Maybe more of us would vote if we knew it would really count.


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