Archive for December, 2008

Lots of changes have happened at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS). The incoming September 2008 class was treated to a surprise while over the summer, the faculty drastically made changes. The old silos surrounding the departments within  Environmental Design, Environmental Science, Industrial Design, Urban Design, and Urban Planning were removed. Architecture was driven in a new interdisciplinary design approach. The faculty became non-departmentalized and offered everything accept M.Arch under the thesis based M.EDes (Masters of Environmental Design). It is sad to see the only professionally accredied planning program in Alberta disappear. That is the one mistake I see from the restructering, however it did drive the faculty in a new direction that after spending one term in the program I have to say that I like.

Now more changes are about to occur…

There is a tentative unapproved plans to offer the M.Arch as a 3 year accredited program. If you are new to architecture (undergrad in unrelated field) you take 3 years of course based work. There is no MDP!!! Apparently the MDP is not needed for accredidation and some school in the USA offer this sans-MDP solution. EVDS has decided to differentiate itself in two ways. 1) By offering a shorter degree to professional designation and 2) by offering a non-deparmentalized interdisciplinary design approach.


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This is a call out to currently enrolled and recently graduated students from any architecture faculty in Canada. I need your help in ranking your school! I am looking to create a ranking system so that students entering into the Masters of Architecture have the ability to easily compare schools. It is time to bring accountability to a very opaque process.


Dalhousie University

McGill University

Carleton University

Ryerson University

University of Toronto

University of Waterloo

University of Manitoba

University of Calgary, Faculty of Environmental Design

University of British Columbia

NB: I am missing the French speaking architecture school in Quebec… Any help?

We need to develop a credible ranking system with standard questions and rating system. We will need many people from each faculty to help.

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The Gym

Originally Written: November 6, 2006

Well it happened again. Every year I find myself at a low point, almost like a depression. It happens every year usually around this time too. I find that I look in the mirror and realize that I have a long way to go to reach all my goals. Goals being bigger shoulders, squaring my abs, better biceps, thicker legs, and a bigger chest. I look in the mirror contemplating the work I will need to do, the amount of healthy eating I will have to undertake, the more supplementation I will need to intake… and then it hits me. The depression, the feeling that I want to quite, I want to stop… just stop working out. Eat how I would like to and live my life. I get tired of working out, just like everyone else. I don’t feel like going to the gym I just want to stop because it’s time consuming, its cold outside, and the whole thing is superficial. The things I hate most at this point is doing shoulders because I never see results, abs because they are a chore, and legs because I just never can seem to fit in a leg day.

So what do you do in a low point? Well this is the time where you look yourself in the mirror and realize all the reasons why you workout. Why it makes you happy and more importantly the friends that help you to achieve your goals. And… to boost your energy levels some old-fashion supplementation of non-essential amino acids, vitamin mixes and testosterone precursors. Lets forget the superficial first of all. Yes I started working out because I was fat in high school and I couldn’t get a date. The more important reasons for working out is confidence, self-esteem, achieving goals, to feel good about yourself, and to be healthier.

I started going to the gym beginning of OAC (grade 13, old curriculum) when I was 18 after realizing that I was too fat and couldn’t get a date. I was a little obsessed I saw results after a month or so and this just boosted my self-esteem. I was more outgoing friendly and in a better mood. I completely gave up smoking, even casually at parties which I had a habit of doing in grade 11. I felt healthy, I ate healthy and I felt alert and awake. It was a great feeling. My initial goals of boosting my self-image worked. It did have its downside, by December I had a bigger ego, I thought I was the “shit” and did not have a problem showing my body which seemed to be a common theme in my first year of university. Luckily this year I hung up my crown, refusing to strip anymore. I guess it got old.

Now my reasons for working out have grown from these initial selfish reasons to a more goal oriented work-out. Yes, there are obvious benefits of being in shape especially with the opposite sex, but I do not go the gym for them anymore, I go for myself. I have goals that I want to achieve, some were listed above, others include beating Jeffrey in a sprint (even though I can smoke him long distance). This is why going to the gym makes me happy, I love seeing results and achieving goals. Still, I am in my low point, a depression, and this is not enough.

This point is where my friends come in. Their support and encouragement makes going to the gym so much more rewarding. As an aside, I have a secret for girls, in the gym is where guys gossip. It is a prime location to talk for hours about what is happening, rumors and all that jazz. It’s a way of passing time and making a workout fun. These days when I need the support, I won’t go workout unless I am going with someone else. They provide the support I need that my increased supplementation doesn’t provide. So right now, I would like to say thank you and to ask that you please keep pushing me!

Some highlights recently that have kept me working out are:
-Sunnie’s “best workout ever!” and all the other stories that he entertains me with.
-Mike and the Napoleon Bonaparte bet
-Lorenzo’s crazy aerobics workout
-Watching people take those certified trainers courses… you can’t learn to workout through books, you need to get into the gym!
-My discussion of what i am calling my arms… “The weapons of Mass Destruction”
-Watching the Toronto Argos hit on every girl in the gym. Sometimes I wonder if they even workout
-…The list will grow as i remember more!

My love for the gym, my dedication all began with the TV show Smallville, based on the Superman character. I was watching the show when I was 18 and realized I could look as good as he does, and I then realized that this would get me more girls. I started working out after this realization. My love for the gym has grown from this initial focus and reminding myself of the reasons why I workout help me get past this low point/depression.

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Whatever happened to having an opinion?

Why is it such a crime to say something bad about Israel’s handling of Palestine and Lebanon? Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Yes, some comments border on “inflammatory” and “racist,” but this is the problem of controversial topics such as this one. Having an opinion that goes against the grain can illicit anger. This doesn’t mean that any negative opinion is invalid, it just means there is need for a healthy debate. Let me put this in perspective, I was reading on Google News a couple interesting stories from different newspapers. The one I would like to comment on is that McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario has banned student organizations from using the term “Israeli Apartheid,” which I agree with. I want to highlight through this news item that it is alright to talk negatively about Israel or Palestine, just choose your words carefully.

I looked up in a major dictionary the meaning of apartheid because honestly I did not know if English definition covered what was happening in Israel and Palestine. My verdict was no, there are similarities to, however it is not an apartheid. I think it is quite wrong to label Israel’s handling of Palestine as an apartheid as it takes away the power and historical meaning that the word carries to the South African struggle. What is happening is Israel and Palestine is wrong, there is no question about it. When people are dying, on both sides, we know it’s wrong. Palestinian supporters have every right to demonstrate in universities including McMaster, however they do not have the right to misleadingly label it. It does nothing for the Palestinian cause and paints a slightly warped picture. I think the problem was poor word choice more then the whole idea of Palestinians suffering being incorrect. I would call what is happening an “Israeli Occupation.” Until there is a proper and agreed upon definition of what Gaza and West Bank are then they are territories that aspire to be independent. Therefore, they are occupied by Israel.

International Politics is a precarious game. I can say these controversial things and get away with it because I am just student on a blog who will be read by few. I am not the head of country who has trading relationships and voting blocks from Israel or Palestine. I am not a university administrator who hopes to attract students from these countries/territories. I do not want to protect myself from scrutiny I am free to say what I want. Still I pick my words carefully. I do not want to misrepresent the situation. I believe that Israel’s handling of the occupied territories is terrible. I wish Israel would stop creating settlements because it helps no one. I wish Palestinians would stop firing rockets into Israel because its countervalue strategy is not working to instill enough fear.

Maybe it’s time the United Nations did what is was suppose to do and put a stop to this. If it can’t because of the security council vetoes, than maybe its time that it went the way of the dinosaurs… or League of Nations.

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Its 3:00 AM and I am doing some house cleaning. I have an old Blogger account and I am transferring over my whole blog to wordpress.

I will pick and choose some of my old posts to get start me off. However, my new blog will take a different approach.

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