Student Life

My Day in the Life of a Zombie

Waking up tired from staying up a bit too late on Friday night, I felt like I was already getting into character for the zombie walk. Though I had intended to plan a costume days earlier, I looked through my drawers, found some clothes I had been meaning to mend, and decided that they would become part of my zombie costume.

Zombie jogger, Jade Adams, before taking to the streets for the Montreal Zombie Walk

I remembered I had a pair of black tights and a t-shirt that I had been intending to get rid off, but instead made into my outfit for the zombie walk. Since the clothes were a little plain, I smeared on some skin and blood makeup from the dollar store, sprayed on a little too much hairspray, and applied excessive amounts of dark eye makeup.I added some old running shoes, a headband, and a stopwatch so I could build my character: a zombie jogger!

Finally, within an hour and with under ten dollars spent on a costume, I had gone from half asleep morning zombie to a blood covered, flesh-eating zombie.

On my way to the metro to meet up with friends, I got a few weird looks, but was also greeted by some little kids waving at me, and chanting, “Zombie! Zombie!” The looks and interest in my new zombie look continued until we reached the thousands of other zombies hanging around Place des Festivals. Here, my friends and I found our kin. Until the walk started, we spent our time checking out all of the other costumes, and trying to figure out where and when the walk would start. Though it was supposed to start at 3:00, everyone started slowly trudging down de Maisonneuve around 3:30.

As more and more zombies poured into the streets, we were all slowed down by the hundreds of cameras. It took a while before the flashes slowed, but soon the hoards of zombies spilled out onto the street to walk at a more leisurely pace. This was when the real fun started. Instead of posing for pictures, groups of zombies began to moan, climb scaffolding, and bang on the windows of buildings, bus booths, and phone booths. Unknowing citizens both on the streets and in buildings, could surely hear the cries of the undead from blocks away, while others looked down from their hotel rooms to see thousands of zombies reaching up towards them with bloody hands.

Even as a zombie myself, some of my undead associates were really giving me the creeps. More than a few times, I would look to my side to see someone with rotting flesh and blood staring at me as they lurched forward. Just like reading books about zombies or watching movies, the scariest thing about a hoard of zombies is their sheer numbers, and the resemblance zombies maintain to their once living selves. Throughout the walk, I saw zombie nurses, doctors, postal workers, business executives, and families. In contrast to other figures of horror, the zombie really could be anyone, including someone you once knew or loved.



Quebec undergoes literacy test and fails

Organizations like Frontier College offer services that reach out to over five hundred adult learners. Photo Jade Adams

A recent study published by Quebec’s Conseil supérieur de l’éducation explores data from a 2003, Statistics Canada survey that says, according to the five levels of literacy outlined, 49 per cent of Quebecers fit into categories one and two. These two categories represent the lowest levels of literacy and fall below level three, which is considered to be the minimum level needed in order to function in everyday society.

Though the study suggests ways to boost literacy levels through looking at various trouble areas, the study received a lot of media coverage that focused on the shocking fact that almost half of Quebecers were found to be illiterate. This statistic and others in the study, however, are not as straightforward as they seem.

The original study had individuals answer various questions that were ranked by difficulty with one being the lowest difficulty level and five being the highest. Categorized in the lowest level did not mean a person could not complete any difficult tasks. Instead, it meant this person was most at ease with the lower level questions. Level three was defined as the level needed to function in society, and the study showed that many participants fell within levels one and two — the lowest on the literacy scale. Researchers conducting the study combined the numbers of levels one and two to make up the 49 per cent.

“The statistics overshadow the strong message that the report was proposing,” said Linda Shohet, executive director at The Centre for Literacy.

She clarifies that levels one and two are discrete and says that these levels should not have been added together to obtain the alarming overall number. Instead, Shohet hopes people can look away from the statistics to focus on the positive recommendations of the report since the report does bring the issue of literacy into the spotlight and calls for the government as well as other organizations to action in order to solve the problem.

Melanie Valcin, Quebec manager of the National Literacy Organization at Frontier College, describes the study’s recommendation as a call for the mobilization of all adult education actors to develop efficient policies and practices to curb the problem. Interestingly, the study focuses on a multifaceted approach that involves learning in both formal and informal environments.

“At Frontier College, we do our part by reaching over five hundred adult learners and more than two thousand children in Quebec,” said Valcin. “We develop partnerships with other organizations such as women shelters, family resource centres, immigrant worker organizations and aboriginal organizations to reach our learners.”

New data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) will be released within the week. This new survey will take technology’s role into consideration which will make a big difference due to our society’s changing relationship with society.

In addition, this new survey will eliminate level three as a literacy cutoff. Therefore, there will be no literacy levels seen to be below or above what is needed to live in contemporary society. As Linda Shohet from The Centre for Literacy explains, “there was no data to support the idea that people ranked in levels one or two could not function in society.”

These new statistics will give the government, different literacy organizations, and the general public an idea of how statistics have changed since 2003. Though even without seeing the statistics, we can all be sure that literacy will continue to be an important issue in Quebec that demands the participation of many groups in order to see improvement.

Student Life

“When I say sake, you say Imadake!”

Imadake is located at 4006 Sainte-Catherine St. West.

Youkoso, or welcome, in Japanese, is the first thing I hear as I walk into Imadake near Atwater metro. It’s my third visit so I’m used to employees quickly looking up to address each patron but I love catching first-time customers who are startled by the welcome. Although its always better to reserve for groups or visits later in the evening, the hostess looks over her reservations and has no problem finding a table for three.

Since my last visit, they have added pictures to the menu to help with selections. Imadake actually means “only for now” because the website says the restaurant aims to keep the menu new and interesting. The pages show a great range of appetizers, different types of ramen noodle dishes and a range of Japanese beers and cocktails. The prices are moderate but the servings are small so I negotiate which appetizers to order with my friends. Luckily, the food always comes quickly and you are welcome to order more than once.

Japanese pop songs play as I sip my deliciously sweet Imadake Slammer and my friends drink their Sapporos. I always enjoy trying their cocktails and my friends appreciate the selection of beers you cannot always find elsewhere in the city. The whole atmosphere of the pub makes it feel like we have left the west end of Montreal. When our food arrives, we feel transported by the perfectly cooked dumplings, lightly battered pumpkin tempura and mashed potato covered in a unique spicy sweet sauce with mayonnaise. We finish by splitting the green tea cheesecake. It’s a small portion but enjoyable enough to make it hard not to order it at each visit.

For those who seek thrifty options, Imadake offers lunchtime specials and it can be great to order with friends to share. Overall, I always enjoy my visits but limit them to once every few months when I really want somewhere nice to have a drink or am craving their delicious ramen.

Imadake is located at 4006 Sainte-Catherine St. West.


Student Life

Oxytocin can help make the best of a bad situation

Oxytocin, sometimes called “the cuddle hormone,” promotes trust in romantic relationships, and is known to be partially responsible for bonding between mother and child through breast feeding. However, Concordia University researchers Mark Ellenbogen and Christopher Cardoso have taken a different approach with the hormone and conducted a study that tested the effects of oxytocin on a person’s mood, during an episode of social rejection.

The study simulated  and studied negative social interactions by having participants interrupt, disagree with, and ignore one another. Afterwards, it was found that the subjects who were given oxytocin in the form of a nasal spray, instead of a placebo, were more likely to have trust in people despite the social rejection experienced. These individuals responded more positively to questions such as “I believe that most people are basically well-intentioned”, “I tend to assume the best about people”, and “I have a good deal of faith in the human nature.”

Though the effects of oxytocin remain a topic of debate, Cardoso believes that, “oxytocin probably works on limbic brain areas responsible for motivation and the regulation of stress. Whether it affects these brain areas directly or indirectly once it is administered is still an open question in human research.”

Ellenbogen and Cardoso’s results add to the ongoing debate about how oxytocin functions, but they believe this particular finding will aid people with mood disorders.  According to their results, oxytocin could play an important role in promoting social bonding after negative social experiences. Rather than hiding from social interactions, oxytocin may encourage individuals to look for help and build trust with others.

“Our culture is quite individualistic, and people lose sight of how much we are biologically wired to rely on each other for support,” said Cardoso. Researchers will no doubt use studies such as this one to help better understand human emotions and relationships in the future, but results so far show that when stressed out the answer might be as easy as venting to a friend or as simple as asking a loved one for a hug.  (breastfeeding and oyxtocin)



Montreal fall fests find friendly faces frolicking

As the warm season draws to a close, the happiness that comes along with it seems to fade faster than that summer glow you worked so hard to achieve. Living in a colourful and diverse city such as Montreal, there is truly no need to worry as summer is not the only time to enjoy what the urban centre has to offer. These fall festivals prove that when the temperatures begin to drop, the heat radiating from the city doesn’t have to stop.

Press photo by Chloe Laetitia Thomas.

Until Sept. 2, the Montreal World Film Festival will be presenting films from all over the world to foster cultural understanding and promote innovative works. The festival has student films, emerging artists and even a number of categories that attendees can vote for. A great part of the festival is the Movies Under the Stars programming which presents free movies during each night of the festival in the Esplanade de la Place des Arts.

The third edition of OUMF (Festival d’Art Émergant) takes over the streets of the Quartier Latin from Sept. 4 to 7. The festival focuses on design and visual arts, literature, cinema, knowledge and music. These five components will be available to experience both on the street and at various venues. The events range from a dance battle Friday night called “Danse ton age” to a deathcore show at Café Chaos on Friday night whereas Saturday you can check out a DJ show by Radio Radio or play some free board games at Chez Geeks.

Art Tattoo Montreal takes place this year from Sept. 6 to 8. Not only will this festival have beautiful art to admire but tattoo artists from Canada, the United States and Europe will be available for appointments if you reserve your spot early. Whether you are headed to the festival to satisfy your curiosity or you’re craving a new piece for your sleeve, there will be seminars, burlesque dancing, live drawing, vendors and other activities going on throughout the weekend to add to the experience.

Photo by LP Maurice

There’s still time to put together a quick costume for Montreal’s Comic Con which will be bringing panels, workshops, and tons of merchandise to the city from Sept. 13 to 15. The costumes alone are enough reason to want to explore but come ready to get pictures or signatures from one of the many special guests in attendance, such as Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Laurie Holden and Michael Rooker as well as some professional wrestlers and Lou Ferrigno.

Another movie-fest to look forward to later in September is the Montreal International Black Film Festival. Starting on Sept. 18, it aims to diversify the types of films shown in Canada, showcase independent films and provide a fresh look at black cinema from around the world. This year, the festival pays tribute to Danny Glover with its Humanitarian Award during the opening night ceremony followed by a screening of Chasing Shakespeare by Norry Niven.

Later in September, POP Montreal will return for its 12th edition. The festival will last five days starting on Sept. 25. It will showcase visual arts, musical performances, fashion shows and, undoubtedly, some great parties. With hundreds of musical guests, there will be something for everybody so get a head start looking around the website to see which shows you need to mark down on your calendar. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Portugal. The Man and Local Natives are just a few of the names that are sure to draw some big crowds.

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