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Interning: Pre Mortem

I’m in the final stretch of my internship, and I’m starting to get the itch.  To be honest, the only reason I’ve hung on this long is because I’m a serial abandoner.  There’s something about the final stretch that makes me restless to get onto the next thing.  I was missing two courses from university when I dropped out (I finished two years later).  I dropped out of college with one final semester after I was offered a handful of jobs and an internship.  And if I didn’t have those two priors glaring at me, I’d probably be long gone from my internship.

I enjoyed the experience.  It’s nice to be young and to get to work downtown and be close to the city.  The problem is that I failed to ask the right questions, and I fear that the next generation of interns will follow suit, as few of us have many role models in interning.

I was offered an internship pretty quickly.  It was within the first handful I applied for, and I know a lot of people may have had difficulty, but I was an eager beaver and applied more than six months ahead of the pack.  The memory of summer interns was still fresh in the minds of employers when I came a-knocking.  I dressed for the part, I packaged a professional looking portfolio with my best work, and I familiarized myself with the magazine.

The problem was that I had asked what I could do for them, and not what they could do for me.  I was trying to sell them on giving me an internship rather than figure out if it was right for me.  In retrospect, I should have made sure the internship was tailored to my needs.  I came into it looking for a job and some real world experience.

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TRAVIS Goes to The Autoshow

If you’re a gear head like me then making the pilgrimage to Toronto every February for the International Auto Show is a sacred tradition. It’s like church for people who buy tickets to ‘The Fast and the Furious’ movies and who lose sleep checking out clips of ‘Top Gear’ online.

However, if you go every year, then you’ll probably start to notice some repetition. Not every manufacturer brings a completely new line up every year. Some things start to become predictable. Rest assured that companies like Toyota are still building family friendly, fuel conscious and completely boring vehicles. But that’s not why you should go to the Auto Show. You should go to see what’s new and exciting.

Let’s talk tomato sauce. Ferrari is showcasing their awesome new 458 Italia. You can’t afford one so just get it out of your head now. Stop thinking about those gorgeous curves and how those three exhaust pipes must sound. Definitely don’t think about how the new 5.0L V8 and the duel clutch F1 7-speed transmission will carry you to over 200mph. Just stop it.

This year the government of Canada has their own booth in the North Hall of the convention centre.  The reason for their presence is to showcase their picks for the most fuel efficient vehicles of 2011 in each class. Winners of the government’s ecoENERGY Vehicle Awards include the Honda CR-Z, Ford Fiesta and of course the fan-favourite Toyota Prius.

While Ford and GM have reinvented themselves after the economic collapse, Chrysler had been stagnant up until this year. For this reason, there’s been a lot of attention on Chrysler. All eyes have been watching to make sure that the folks in Detroit were putting American tax dollars to good use. And they have been. This year the Chrysler booth is teeming with new, exciting, quality products.

I could talk about Chrysler’s new 3.6L Pentastar V6 that puts out 290hp while only sipping gas. I could talk about the new beautifully crafted Chrysler 200 or the brilliantly redesigned 300C (seen above). I’d also probably like to mention the Call of Duty: Black Ops edition Jeep Wrangler (yes, it’s a thing). But, this year, it’s MOPAR or no car.

Say hello to the all new Dodge Charger. If any car is representative of Chrysler as a company right now, it’s the 2011 Dodge Charger. It’s not so much a car as it is Chrysler’s positioning statement. Refocused and redesigned with performance and quality at the top of the priority list. The exterior styling makes us remember the legendary 1969 Charger while the interior is drop dead gorgeous. Everything is leather wrapped and there are no more boring, bland, cheap plastics. This new Charger is available with red leather seats and voice activation control. A too cool for school aluminum dash is standard on all models.  There’s also some comfort to back up the Charger’s either 290 or 370hp. The suspension has been reverse engineered from BMW.   This is the kind of car you can jump into through the window, peel out down your street, and then comfortably drive to work in.

While the Charger is leading the ‘charge’ into the future, the 2011 Dodge Challenger 392 has some more then titillating nods to the past. A new 6.4L HEMI V8, cranks out 480hp to the rear wheels. This beast is hooked up to a 6 speed manual transmission complete with classic pistol grip shifter. Oh, did you want Viper stripes with that? Just kidding, of course you wanted Viper stripes with that!

While Chrysler may have come with the most improved line up this year, Ford easily has the most impressive booth. Their entire corner is bathed in blue and silver lightening in every direction. On display are standards like the new line of F series pickups, the Edge, the redesigned Explorer and the new Fiesta.

Of course, the most exciting part of the Ford booth is always the Mustangs. This year is particularly exciting because on the floor, not roped off, is the new BOSS Mustang. A remake of the classic racer from 1970, the new BOSS Mustang 302 comes packed with unique retro styling features, a race focused interior and a 440hp DOHC V8. What’s the coolest thing about this new BOSS? It comes with not one, but two keys. The first standard black key is for normal street driving. But, when you insert the red key, the computer stiffens up the suspension, loosens up the traction, enables launch control and sends more torque to the lower end.  What does the BOSS run on you ask? M3 owners tears.

This year is all about two cars for GM. The Chevrolet Cruze and the Chevrolet Camaro. You’ve got to give it up for the Cruze.  Chevrolet has had a lot of woe in the compact market in the past but it looks like this could be the one.  The Cruze features a cut and carved exterior and a roomy, functional interior made with quality materials. A 1.8L ecotec motor and a six speed transmission for under $16,000 set this car apart from the competition.

Everywhere you look this year you can’t avoid the new 2011 Chevrolet Camaro. Aside from all the various giveaways and the historical exhibit, Chevrolet is pushing their new convertible Camaro. The convertible was missing from the car’s launch last year. After seeing the concept back in 2008, we all wondered where it was. What we get is a very well done, crisp clean folding top. Ok, granted, there no extra features from last year’s car. This means it still doesn’t do anything faster (including putting its top down) than its Mustang counterpart, but it is still very cool.  You just have to love it because, well, it’s a Camaro.

Chris D’Alessandro with Photography by Ashley Edmonds

Rez Morning Routines

My mornings have drastically changed since the start of the school year. They’re more interesting and just as confusing as why cats chase laser pointer beams.

The first month, I always wanted to be on time for class. Coming from high school where you have to be on time, I thought if I was late once, it was all over. Nowadays, I like to take my time and be a bit late for class. The cool thing is all my teachers don’t have a problem with me showing up a few minutes past the hour. Where am I when I should be in class? I’m in line at Tim Hortons or enjoying my shower too damn much to rush. This doesn’t mean I don’t care; I definitely do give a shit about my schooling since it burned a hole in my wallet. There are just some days where I like to take it slow.

Since I’m a hard person to wake up in the morning, I have an iPod docking station with an app set to get me up an hour before class starts. Five late classes and one missed class later, I’ve learnt The Asteroids Galaxy Tour and Bob Marley aren’t the best artists for “wake up” music. Lately, the old iTouch blares “Baby, One More Notch!” by Blind Witness. Nothing says good morning like a 20-something-year-old French-Canadian yelling “Tabernak” at me.

Aside from pounding caffeine into me to get me energized for the day, I’ve tried and failed with different techniques. Exercise didn’t mix with an early morning wake up and yoga told me I couldn’t balance. Even if I added them to my daily routine, I don’t think I’d be any more ready for the day.

One time, I woke up thirsty and being the kind of person that hates tap and bottled water, I broke out the Brita filter. Being half asleep, I wasn’t exactly all there. Next thing I knew, I was back in my bed with the sheets all over the floor and some wetness on my Ghostbusters t-shirt. Apparently, while I was in zombie mode, I turned the shower on, put some clothes next to the sink and plugged in my Nintendo 64. I still don’t know how I accomplished that but I was pretty proud I could do more half asleep than fully awake.

Overall, my routine is pretty basic. Wake up, check emails, shower, bathroom stuff, eat, head to Tim Hortons then to class. I don’t know how I got through high school on four hours of sleep without a large double double. Since I live in Rez, I can easily go back to my room during one of my four-hour breaks after an early morning class. However, when noon rolls around and the caffeine kicks in, I can’t bother dragging myself back to my room for a mid-day nap. Living right beside the school also pisses my friends from Mississauga and Burlington off when I tell them how hard it was to get to class. Can’t wait to see what mornings are like when I start on the Sheridan Sun.

– Matt Main

Do We Really Need a Day to Celebrate Love?

I was in the bathroom of a swingers club just outside Toronto when I really started giving thought to Valentine’s Day. I was on a documentary shoot as an extra with some fellow students. A gorgeous blonde haired, blue-eyed friend of mine was fixing her make up in the mirror. When I asked her what her and her beau were doing for this magical, annual day of love, her answer was nonchalant.

“The thing is…. We don’t really care about it,” she said in a voice that was almost a whisper of confidentiality. It was like a secret that she did not care. In fact, she couldn’t give a flimsy paper heart or an overpriced box of chocolates about it.

On the other hand, I have a friend, and this friend is single. She hates February the 14th. No, that’s not right. I would have to say she loathes it from the top of her head to the core of her being.

Going out with her around this time is hazardous because anything pink or red might make her gag. She’ll roll her eyes at cards, and the very mention of the day itself makes her cringe. Forget about any kind of love song. She’s not alone. I know a people who have plans to sit around with their single friends and be bitter.

What the f$#! is the deal? The dating girl couldn’t care less, and the single people have to sit around and hate it?

Single? You spit on Cupid.

In a relationship? It’s just money you have to spend. Bingo.

This is what we call common ground, kids. This is a complete revelation on behalf of this day, which has been the subject of love, and possibly even more hate over the years.

My totally bitter friend said that even if she were in a relationship she would hate today because it’s commercialized. My dating blonde friend realizes it’s hype.

Lisa Simpson said it best: “…it was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized, and sold off piece by piece.” Every word in that sentence summarizes V-Day to a T.

Yes, the corporations pump cash into today and they play your heartstrings like an electric violin. The thing is: WE ALL KNOW IT. We are smart capable human beings who know we’re being sold stuff we don’t need. These are syrupy messages of what the media thinks real love and true romance is, dyed a blinding pink or purple and covered in sparkles. If we’re all aware this day is essentially mass manufactured why do we care? Why don’t we just treat it as another day?

We give corporations too much power if we know this day is just about cash flow and it still gets us angry, depressed, upset. There is one way to have a possible happy Valentine’s day.

Whether you’re seeing someone or you’re doing the single salsa, don’t buy cards or candy. Tell the people in your life you appreciate them with your words. Sit down to coffee with your parents, your best friend, your roommate and tell them why they make your life better without so much as a single bouquet of roses.

-Riley Wignall

Identity Crisis

I’ve made the joke before, but it’s true that I decided to get into journalism because of Spiderman. Actually , it was because of Peter Parker. I was on my marketing co-op this time last year, driving around Scarborough, stuck in traffic on a particularly unpleasant day.

I was in debt, I was destroying my car and I was driving around for up to 12 hours a day in questionable areas to say the least. All this was in order to service a promotion program for some already rich company who wanted to gather some extra (and possibly entirely useless) market research.

It was at that very moment in Scarborough that I decided I wanted to do something different with my life. I wasn’t immediately sure what that was. After all, it had been two solid years of marketing at this point, being groomed for a career in the industry.  So I asked myself, WWSD?  “What would Spiderman do?”

The main problem was that I needed a career, I needed money but I wanted to be happy. Well, when Spidey wants to blow off steam he swings to the nearest crime scene and beats thugs into a pulp.  The only problem there was my apparent lack of super powers. So crime fighting was, sadly, not an option.

But the great thing about Spiderman is that he’s really Peter Parker. The great thing about Peter Parker is that he has real problems. He needs money, he has to pay rent and take girls out on dates. So what does Parker do for cash? He’s a journalist.

Ok granted, he’s more accurately a photo-journalist, and for the longest time he was a free-lance photographer, but that’s where I got the inspiration.  If it helps, we’ll just say Eddie Brock, who was a journalist of the regular variety, was the real inspiration.

So, when I went back to school for my summer semester, I got a hold of Josiah, he forwarded some of the things I had written in the past to former editor Ryan. Ryan started sending me assignments for the print, I got in touch with Bryan who was kind enough to post my blogs and I’ve been writing away ever since.

Not to kiss ass, but the TRAVIS experience has been great. It’s rewarding, fun, challenging and everybody has been super cool, encouraging and helpful. I feel like I’m learning a lot and (hopefully) getting better.  It’s been driving me to get into journalism as a career in a big bad way.

But it’s been hard to break away from marketing.  Marketing has been good for me in a lot of ways. It makes you more aggressive, competitive and knowledgeable for the real world. Principals you take away from marketing can aid you in just about any field of interest you have.

So I don’t regret my 3 years of marketing, but the conflict is do I continue on this path, or move on to journalism? Sure, finding a job will be easier in marketing, and a much more lucrative one at that. Also, two more years of school isn’t exactly appealing, but journalism is just so much more liberating.  It’s not that I think it’s the “easy” path either.  Like anything worth doing, I can see that it requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

Thus, my identity crisis. I’m trying to decide who I’ll be after college. Spidey has gone through a few identity crises, but most famously, when the wall crawler was torn between his classic red and blue outfit and his sinister black one.

Journalism is my red and blue suit. It’s my true colors, it’s a suit I really like wearing (no tights jokes please) and who I’d really like to be.  Marketing then is the black suit. It’s got some definite benefits and it looks cool, but it’s stuck on me. Like the alien symbiote, marketing and I are two separate things, and the longer I keep wearing it, the more it sinks its claws into me.

So, do I rip off the venomous black suit and don the classic, true to myself red and blue threads? Or do I stay with the slick black suit and reap the full benefits?  I’m torn between the two.

Of course I’d ultimately like to be able to combine the two and use skill sets from both in my life and I’m sure I will. But we can’t always be two people.  Oh well, the identity crisis continues.

Your friendly neighbourhood,

– Chris D’Alessandro

What’s Going on in Egypt

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard something about the protest going on in Egypt. If geography isn’t your forte, Egypt is a country in North Africa. They are bordered by the

Hosni Mubarek

Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.


The protests began on January 25 with tens of thousands marching through the streets of downtown Cairo to the beat of the ousting of their president Hosni Mubarak who has been accused of corruption throughout his administration.

The protests sparked worldwide attention due to the increasing use of social media like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube that allow activists to coordinate, communicate and document the events as they occur.

Prior to the Egyptian protests, major demonstrations were occurring in Tunisia that began in December. The protests began after thousands of Tunisians became dissatisfied with high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, suppression of freedom of speech and poor living conditions. The ongoing conflict has resulted in 219 deaths and 94 injuries. It also led to the ousting of the now former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 28 days after the protests began.

The Egyptian protests, like that in Tunisia, have focused on issues like food inflation, corruption, suppression of freedom of speech and high unemployment. But unlike Tunisia, Egyptians are also fighting against police brutality, state of emergency laws, and the lack of free elections.

In Egypt, the death toll currently stands at 300, including 135 protestors, 12 policemen, 12 escaped prisoners and 1 police chief.

Mubarak dissolved his government in late January. In response to mounting pressure from protestors, he announced he would not seek re-election in September.

On February 4, “The Day of Departure,” Ahmad Mohamed Mahmoud was the first journalist to die while covering the protests. He succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained on January 28.

As recent as February 6, protestors continue to camp out in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. Journalists continue to be targets for prosecution. A journalist named Ayman Mohyedlin was arrested by soldiers in Tahrir Square. Protestors against the regime now exceed 1 million people.

International reactions to the protests have varied. Most western states have announced that only peaceful protests should continue.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said that Egypt remains an important partner for Canada and that “We urge the Egyptian government to ensure full freedom of political expression for its citizens.” He added that the Canadian government “continues to stand by the people of Egypt as they demand democratic reforms and respect for human rights. We urge the Government of Egypt to begin an immediate transition toward democratic reform.”

U.S. President Barack Obama stated that his first concern is preventing injury or loss of life and said: “What’s needed right now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people. Ultimately the Egyptian people will determine the future of Egypt. The United States will always be a committed partner to that future, with the Egyptian government, and with the Egyptian people.” He also said that the Egyptian protesters have rights that are “universal,” with the right to peaceful assembly and association, free speech and “the ability to determine their own destiny. “These are human rights and the United States will stand up for them everywhere.”

— Curtis Sindrey

What’s Cooler Than Being Cool (Ice Cold)

What is “cool”?

Of course I know it’s a step below cold but that’s not what I’m talking about. The reason I ask this is when Bryan asked Matt Barnes if he was cool in the photography issue of Travis, it made me think what my answer would be if I was asked the same thing. Does having a fancy haircut or a date this weekend automatically make someone cool? If that’s the case, I’m not too cool right now.

Growing up, I was taught by numerous rude school kids that being cool involved using swear words and making fun of other kids that were labeled as “uncool”. When all the fads of the 90s rolled along, having the best trading card or a new video game automatically crowned you the ‘king of cool’. Kids probably still think this way when in actuality, just being yourself is the best way to be cool.

Whenever I hear the word cool, I think of James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. A man that’s smooth and says, “Hey danger, let’s dance” with his eyes. There’s a certain vibe that he gives off when you see him intensely driving a car at full speed towards a cliff that makes you mutter, “damn, he’s cool” Same goes for most of the guys back then such as Johnny Cash, Steve McQueen and Elvis.

Everyone has his or her own opinions on what’s cool and what’s not. According to Alexa Buendi-Pereira, Justin Bieber is cool while Josh Smith thinks it’s spaced ears and cardigans. A few will say it’s all about how you act, what you say, what you wear or what you like. At the end of the day, what’s really cool is doing something you enjoy that puts a smile on your face.

What does “cool” mean to you Travis readers?

-Matt Main