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Where do you learn to be kind?

It was probably when you were really young.  A toddler.  Not wanting to share, not wanting to be nice.  It was probably your mom who told you to treat others the way you want to be treated and to be kind to everyone.  Then maybe you heard it again on Sesame Street.  Maybe you saw how well Big Bird and Snuffy got along.  Maybe you understood the deep meanings behind Aesop’s fables.  Maybe you had a religious upbringing.  Maybe they taught you a thing or two about “respect” and “tolerance” at school.


Under 13s on Facebook?

A recent statistic shows that 7.5 million Facebook users are below 13. What’s more is a whopping 5 million are under 10.  At the same time, Ofcom’s (in the UK) study shows that the increase of 5 to 7 year olds using Facebook has grown from 7% to 23% from 2009 to 2010.

And this just in: Zuckerberg is ok with it.  In fact, he thinks that under 13s should be allowed on Facebook.


Montreal fashion

It’s a gruelling process…this thesis thing.  It tests every fabric of your existence.   Not an easy task, and I find myself needing momentary breaks in the midst of it all.  I start to scan the Internet for fashion blogs, news from around the world, websites in other languages, pictures of European escapades.  Longing to escape.  Knowing that I shouldn’t before I finish.  Sigh.

So in my quests I came across The Sartorialist.  Not to say I came across.  That’s not what happened, I found it again for the first time.  I’ve always been a fashion blog reader.  My new addictions are Nerd Boyfriend and Garance Doré.  Yet, what I find is missing is a blog about Montreal street style.  No one’s capturing some of the unique personal expressions of fashion on our own streets.  All you see is New York, Paris, Milan, London, Los Angeles, Chicago…Toronto.  You never see Montreal on the map.  Well, if you read NightLife, you see some of the quirky (and not so fashionable, sorry, I’m a snob) styles on some dead-end streets.  I’m not sure where they find these guys, they’re unique, but I’m not so sure about their style.

Of course, I can’t take on fashion photography right now, as much as I’d like to try to find the perfect SLR and start snapping away at all of the fabulous street looks on Saint-Laurent, Saint-Catherine and that corner of René-Lévesque and Peel (so chic), I just don’t have the time.  I was sitting one day at a café and decided to people watch.  Here are the categories of style that I noticed:

the fashion victims.


15 things to make thesis-writing easier.

We don’t live in an ideal world – but one has the right to dream nonetheless. It used to be that you had to go to the library and sort through thousands of journals until you came across the right page of the right journal, with the right reference for your paper. Now, with McGill VPN, you can access anything – anytime – anywhere. No questions asked. McGill VPN makes me feel omnipresent. I can access all of those journals and databases that are private and all of the premium articles that I don’t want to pay $70 to read once and realize it isn’t what I’m looking for.

So, thank you for that McGill. I love you, VPN. If it wasn’t for you, Google would have nothing to offer!

There are still 15 things that would make it much easier on me to finalize my thesis. Here they are:

15.  Starbucks delivery. Yes it would be easier if Starbucks delivered.  Because from the privacy of your home, it is hard to just “step out” and find Starbucks.  Plus, even if you do step out, this eliminates any problems with lines – endless lines.

Image source:


Generation Us and Them.

Us and Them.  The digital divide.  The generation gap.  The age gap.  A sign of our times.  The Net Generation.  Generation Y.  It has always been that way – different generations have gotten different labels.  Now with the widespread use of social media (although, in reality the statistic is that only 23 percent of the world’s population has access to the Internet) there is a lot of talk about this notion of “Generation Me” – a narcissistic, self-centered generation.  We used to talk about the Hippies and then the Yuppies (both baby boomers), Generation X and Generation Y and now I think we’ve reverted to talking about the “net” generation.   (more…)

Summer breeze…makes me feel fine…blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

The title of my blog post is quoted from Seals and Crofts – a great band, one member of whom I met personally (along with his family – it was Seals, not Crofts – and he was really nice).  Anyway, there’s my side note.  It was warm today! Finally!  Montrealers were actually walking around outside with light jackets.  It was difficult to walk in the streets because they were so crowded down town.  The day was supposed to be rainy and 20 degrees, but it wasn’t so rainy.  It felt tropical – it was moody all day – with warm winds and a threat of drizzle but mostly sunshine coming through the clouds.   (more…)

iLove iBurger

So let’s side track.  I haven’t written in a little while and here’s why:  I’ve been working on my…yes…thesis. And no that’s not up for discussion, not on any online forum.  Nowhere.  That’s it.  The mention of the word is there, and that’s it – so what was I saying?  Yes.  iBurger. (more…)

The White House takes on bullying

This afternoon at 12:20 pm, the White House put together a panel discussion on cyberbullying, which was available on Facebook through a live feed.  The event was hosted by Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle) and attended by President Obama’s Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes, Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, author and teen behavior expert Rosalind Wiseman, and MTV Vice President of Public Affairs Jason Rzepka. Some of the points brought up by the users were very interesting, but, unfortunately poorly responded to.  The “experts” on this matter were – let’s just say – in need of more expertise in this matter.  Athinline is an initiative by MTV and as far as I know, is not really being spearheaded by any particular person.  I always thought it was a stand-alone website which is continuously maintained and is really there for PR purposes.  Although I like Wiseman’s work in the field of conflict resolution among teens, I’m not sure that it quite encapsulates what is going on in the online realm.  She’s beginning to familiarize herself with that domain.  As for Facebook’s Joe Sullivan, he said that “cyberbullying is traditional bullying, but, using technology.”


Bullied boy on The View

Today I watched The View, and cried.  I rarely cry during that show because it’s usually light and funny. But, today, there was a boy who came on as a guest, with his parents and sister.  He had been really badly bullied and beat up at school.  To help him cope and encourage him, The View had invited three famous football players to join him.  It was very touching.  Watch the story, Bullied Penn. boy gets surprise on The View.

What role should schools play in preventing or responding to bullying?  What should teachers do?  What can they do?  And what if the bullying is taking place just a few yards away from the school, where school staff really have no jurisdiction?

It’s snow good.

It really is no good.  It stifles creative thinking.  It blurs the mind.  It causes anxiety and unhappiness.  Every time I have to be outdoors for any amount of time – even 30 seconds – it has an averse effect on me.  Having all of this snow fall out of nowhere on Groundhog Day – the very day that the Groundhog, Chuck, did NOT see his shadow and predicted an early spring.  Well, an early spring would definitely do us some good.  But so would a nice, warm, toasty summer.  In February is when things really start to get difficult (when it comes to coping with the winter) – and since “spring break” is happening late February/early March, there are literally no flights available if you book too late to actually leave Montreal.  Your best bet is to drive down to Florida.  As sad as that sounds.  And now, with the amount of snow on the ground in the entire Northeast, that won’t be easy to do either.

In any case, it always amazes me to see that people choose voluntarily to live here, when the entire globe is available to them.  It always makes me ponder why they do.  I always think – it must be some sort of cognitive dissonance that people are resolving.  That, or they enjoy winter sports.  You know, all we really need is just one day per month (during the winter months) of complete summer.  Just one day.  And we could survive it.  Just one day out of life.  It would be…it would be so nice…

Let the sun shine.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and it’s not because I have midterms or finals.  But my life has been equally hectic.  As well, with the awful weather in Montreal, there isn’t really much positive to focus on unless you’re looking at buying tickets to leave town and go someplace warm.  Amazingly, people still live here.  Amazingly.  With several kilometres of snow each year and temperatures reaching -50 celsius, I often wonder why people do live here.  Yet, Montreal has been voted one of the happiest places in the whole world – go figure!  Maybe it’s the people?  Because it’s definitely not the weather.

According to this article, written in July 2010, Montreal is the second happiest place in the entire world.  Second only to Vanuatu.

Although McGill was ranked 12th in the world and 1st in Canada in 2007, this year McGill was ranked 35th.  But, it’s still good!

So, there are definitely happy people somewhere and happy and educated people going to McGill.  Perhaps all you have to do to appreciate your home sometimes is travel elsewhere and you come back with a new attitude, appreciating all the things that you resented before.  You cannot underestimate how friendly people are here, and it’s not because they are being polite – because, in reality, their politeness doesn’t measure up to many cultural standards of courtesy around the world – it’s because they’re genuinely friendly – and that’s one thing that sets Montrealers apart from the rest of the world.  People here may look grumpy when they’re sitting on the metro, and they may look sleepy when they’re walking on the street, but, if you approach them – they are very nice and quite happy.  This is not the case in New York city.  In New York city, you never know what you’re going to get.  And in London, people are very polite, and seem quite pleasant, not quite like New York, but, you just can’t tell.  So, even though the temperature is cold and the snow is miserable, the sun is shining in people’s souls – and that’s what’s important.

And I have no compass, and I have no map. And I have no reasons, no reasons to get back.

 On a cloudy, rainy …late October day such as today…I find it hard to find focus to do work.  Part of me wants to nap all day, but part of me wants to reconnect with something inspirational and start writing.  Because this isn’t my personal blog, there are certain opinions and ideas that I will have to leave out.  However, I was reflecting on certain things today about my “grad life” experience.



I’m not like them, but I can pretend.

If you went to high school in the 90s you know those lyrics.

Even if you go to high school today.  You know those lyrics.

And why am I alluding to them?  Why do I want to remind us of high school? Well, simply because in the past week CNN has had a lot of coverage on the topic of bullying and cyberbullying.  And so have many other news channels.  In fact, on the cover of People magazine, they’re talking about cyberbullying and bullying. “Teen suicide tragedies: Deadly bullying.” it reads.

Culture, values, and cyberbullying.

So I started off my Master of Arts at McGill, after having commenced graduate studies at Concordia in the Educational Technology department.  Having worked as a Spiritual Care and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator, I had some previous experience working in schools and teaching.  I then went on to work at the National Film Board of Canada on a program called CITIZENShift where I was able to do some research about alternative education, and that lead me to where I am today – McGill. (more…)

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