The Unit

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Dating 101 with Sarah Jay

1. When was your first date and what was it like?

We went to Millennium skatepark, smoked cigarillos and talked about marrying each other. I was 14 at the time, I should mention. It was really romantic and I lied to my parents about it and told them I was seeing a Lindsay Lohan movie in the theater with my brother.

2. On average how many dates do you go on every week?

I usually go on 1-2 dates per week, 2-4 if I am seeing someone exclusively.

3. What was your best date like? What about the worst?

The best date I had was with Vincenzo, an Italian banker. He knew the owners of Prego (this nice Italian place in Eau Claire) and got the entire restaurant booked just for the two of us. There were rose petals everywhere and they let us smoke on the patio. Then we went for a walk down by the Bow and it was really beautiful.
My worst date was my Ikea date. I met the guy when I worked at Chinook Centre. He worked at Le Château and I worked at XXI Forever. He took me to Ikea to furniture shop—it was weird first date material. “Let’s plan out our future together,” type of thing. And then he told me that he was an extreme Christian and that his dad beat him with a belt when he was little. Then he tried to give me a foot massage in Second Cup and asked if I would be okay with a hickey. It was just odd.

4. Do you think it’s acceptable for a guy to take a girl on a date using Calgary transit, or does he need to have a car?

I used to be a twat about this, but I think that some of the best dates are the nice casual ones. Cars are over-rated. I don’t even own a car so I feel like it’s a double standard to expect the guy to have one. I rep public transit.

5. You’ve probably been taken to a number of fancy restaurants and Operas. Are your standards permanently high now? If a guy wanted to do something like smoke cheap cigars in that park downtown across from Crack Macs would you be down?

I used to be really pretentious about where I went and what I did, but I’ve come to realize that I am not an extravagant person. I’m a student making minimum wage. One of the best dates I had was drinking lukewarm coffee and playing 007 on N64 until 2 in the morning. For me, the best component of a date is definitely conversation. What makes a date ‘great’ is if you can talk openly with one another, and share a similar sense of humour. I’ve done the sugar-daddy dating type-of-thing and it was so depressing. Sure Vegas is nice, and it feels fancy to eat a $200 steak, but if the date is boring, there’s no amount of money that can make it interesting.
Cheap cigars+crack mac park= awesome date.

6. Do you have a policy on how many dates you need to go on with a guy before you take things to *~the next level~*. Do you think that’s something that the guy has to initiate?

I’ve had sex on a first date. I’ve waited two months to have sex. It really depends on the guy. Some people are worth it, and some are not. I think it’s always best if the guy initiates it, but when its supposed to happen, it’s usually a mutual thing. Oh, I should mention. Erectile dysfunctions are a lot more common than people think. Especially during the first time. There’s such a stigma against it, but it happen to a lot of guys.

7. Have you ever had a guy try to jump the gun and take things to *~the next level~* after the first date? How do you deal with that?

In the past, I used to just go along with it and have really unsatisfying sex. Now I’ll just tell him that I don’t have sex on first dates (even though sometime I do. It’s a great cop out). Or I’ll make up an excuse. (Late night coffee with a friend is always a good one). I’ve had to slam a door on a guy once because he was being too persistent and I kneed another in the groin.

8. What are some things you wish all guys knew about going on dates?

Hygiene and style. I don’t go on second date with guys who wear flip flops. I think that how a guy takes care of himself is representative of how he’ll treat me.
Also, I hate when guys try to pretend that they are much more than they are. I dated a guy who took me out to extravagant places and vacations, only to find out that he was $300,000 in debt. I would have been perfectly content if he had been upfront about his situation and taken me for McDoubles.
And women are actually pretty easy to impress. I’m not even kidding. Just don’t bring up your childhood trauma/drug addiction/deep rooted emotional issues until the third date.

9. Do you think it’s okay for the girl to pay?

I am more comfortable if it’s an equal thing. I love paying, but some guys have told me its emasculating to have a woman pay. I like being able to organize dates though, and feel like I’m taking the guy out. It doesn’t happen that often though. Boys are silly.

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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance review

The comic books of 30 years ago contained binary characters who were often completely good or completely bad, simple plots that involved preventing a bomb or a world takeover and sensationalist writing.

Descriptions like “And before Doctor Octopus could move, Spider-man shoots his amazing web directly at the startled scientist’s face,” were not uncommon.

The comic books of the modern era are more like an episode of “Lost.”

The characters and the plots are extremely complex, and more emphasis is placed on subtlety than sensation.

Movies based on Marvel comic book often imitate the comic books of 30 years ago, not of today.

They usually follow the same formula:

A hero is introduced, a villain is introduced, then after an amazing display of special effects the villain is vanquished and the hero gets the love interest he’s been eyeing all movie. 

With “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” the story of how Johnny Blaze became a motorcycle-driving skeleton on fire was already portrayed in the previous film.

The film begins with Blaze, portrayed by Nicholas Cage, hiding out somewhere in Europe.

He is then approached by a mysterious figure who offers to lift the curse of the “Ghost Rider” under one condition, Blaze must drive the Devil’s son to a sanctuary.

The interesting thing about the character of Ghost Rider is that he is a perfect example of a complex character.

Rather than protecting the innocent he punishes the guilty, often by igniting them or eating their soul. 

Blaze can’t control the rider, and once the rider is out it attacks anything guilty of sin.

This represents a dilemma for the good natured Blaze. 

Much of the film is focused around Blaze trying to find a compromise between these two extremes, between remaining human or unleashing the rider.

In essence this is a modern tale of “Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

It’s a film with a serious plot and premise that still manages to include the special effects splendor found in other Marvel movies.

Finally Marvel has made a film that truly captures the essence of it’s comics, not just in plot but also in presentation as well.

The rider is wise-cracking yet thoroughly haunting.

Cage does a good job of portraying a character who is teetering on the brink of insanity.

Although a flaming skeleton is one of the most special effects-intensive characters Marvel has ever portrayed, it feels like real characters are being portrayed that the audience can relate to on a personal level.

This film will undoubtedly go down as one of the top Marvel films made to date. 

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The Brakumentary

The summer of Brak, the Autumn of Brak, the Winter of Brak.

In a city where there’s a DJ on every block, 27 year old Bracken Townrow, known by his stagename “Brak!,” has quickly gone from being relatively unknown to being one of the most discussed names in the Calgary underground. 

After a string of appearances at high profile venues including the legendary Sal’s on 17th and Modern Math, many have been wondering exactly where Townrow came from.  

For Townrow, the journey began when he went to school to become a recording engineer.

“I have been producing on reason and a bunch other software for years and wanted to do something live, I figured that mixing would be a good route to take” he said.

Luckily Townrow’s friend had some spare equipment that he wasn’t using. Townrow borrowed it and quickly got to work learning the art of DJ mixing.

Learning to DJ can be hard and even frustrating at times. But thankfully Townrow got a boost from the United Kingdom’s DJ Dan O’Driscoll, who happened to be living in Calgary at the time. 

“I met Brak partying in Calgary. Nearly every show I went to, I would run into him and that Racoon toque of his,” says O’Driscoll. 

I think it was actually a night in HiFi we started hanging out, after that it was every time we went out. I think we went to nearly every Modern Math together and countless nights at HiFi. Amazing times.”

Townrow ended up buying the DJ equipment from his friend. Initially he began making mixes of Hip-hop, however O’Driscoll’s affinity for the fast rising genre of UK bass soon wore off on him.

“When I started to mix I was spinning mostly dubstep and grime tracks with Dan. I liked to toss in a few top 40’s to be a goof and because I thought it was funny,” says Townrow. 

“We would spend hours mixing together and bouncing ideas around. I’d say I didn’t teach him anything he didn’t already know, I just got him thinking about it differently. 

It was more motivation from each other that allowed us to push our interests forward in a positive way,” says O’Driscoll. 

Despite the growing demand for UK bass music in the city, it would be a new form of music from the underground of Washington D.C., that would drive Townrow into the spotlight.

This style is called Moombahton, a mix of latin Reggaeton and Dutch house. 

Townrow first discovered the style when he was playing at a house party and saw some Moombahton songs on his girlfriend’s computer. He made the spontaneous decision to play it and was hooked from the start. 

“It’s just so fresh and bouncy, plus it has a bit of everything in it, like its got a lot of bass and you can just move to it. No matter who you are it will more than likely make you want to move, also I like that there’s a lot of vocal samples in it that aren’t english. That spices it up a bit too.”

O’Driscoll believes that Canada’s open mindedness is responsible for the success of Moombahton here.

“Moombahton seems to be getting a huge response everywhere. In my opinion most Electronic based music succeeds in Canada because people are very open minded to it. 

Canada has a great bass scene and is expanding in so many ways and I feel this is leading to the hype in Moombahton because you can clearly see its influences from all this other genres. (and also because BRAK is on a mad hype ting!)”

The combination of Moombahton’s energetic, international flavor and Townrow’s determination and personality was a hit. Views quickly started pouring in to his page on the website Soundcloud.com, a social media platform for artists. 

Townrow tries to use Soundcloud and other social media to connect with his listeners and promote himself.

“I will post that I’m spinning and send out invites to events on Facebook,” he says.

He also uses these platforms to stay on top of what’s happening in the music world.

“My girlfriend helps me find a lot of new stuff too because she’s on the computer a lot more often than I am,” he says jokingly. 

Despite the prevailing stereotype that DJ’s are rockstars, at the end of the day Townrow still enjoys some of the same quiet hobbies that he’s enjoyed for years. He likes painting, skateboarding and also making music. 

“I want to work on getting some new tracks recorded in the near future,” he says. 

His girlfriend Shani also belies that Townrow remains unaffected by the hype. 

“He remains humble with his interest in pursuing the joy of dj-ing, rather than the hype, which is another great quality about BRAK!”

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Year End Countdown 2011: Top 5 Songs

5. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

I’m only putting this here because if I didn’t my lovely internet wife Chelsea would probably hunt me down. This probably wouldn’t be a bad thing because i haven’t seen her in like 4 months and i really miss her. 

4. Azari & iii - Manic World

Canadian house icons Azari & iii (pronounced Azari and third), had a massive year. On August third they dropped their first album ever, a self-titled release overflowing with massive hits like this track, Hungry for the Power, Manhooker and their new single Reckless. Azari & iii was on absolute fire in 2011 and it looks like their reign is going to continue well into the future. 

3. Tittsworth and Alvin Risk - Pendejas

2011 was the year of Moombahton, and although Munchi was responsible for turning out the most heavyweight anthems it was this gem that truly demonstrated the power of the genre. Although this track probably falls more into the “core” side of Moombahton, it managed to escape the novelty shock-value feel that many other Moombahcore tracks slipped into. This track simply delivers a well crafted burst of energy that will dismantle any floor. 

2. Breakage - Fighting Fire

In 2011 the dubstep scene split into two halves. On one side were the truskoolers, loyal to the ancient ways of England. On the other half were the brosteppers, loyal to the new drill-filth style of America. This track managed to unite both halves, a feat rarely accomplished. It delivers heavyness in a sublime way, combining haunting vocals with fiery synth pads to create a sound that even people not familiar with dubstep can get into. 

1. Tyler the Creator - Yonkers

I didn’t really grasp the full significance of this track until the MTV VMA’s where Tyler was juxtiposed with all the puppets of the pop music industry. For years the industry has attempted to make rap music more accessible to a white audience by infusing it with faux-electro, RnB vocals and lyrics about opening and consuming alcoholic beverages inside of a night club. This track represented a complete negation to that. The instrumental and the video are incredibly stripped down and the vocals echo the macabre and raw style of Gravediggaz, which Tyler has resurrected and brought to a younger audience. This track also arguably returned real American-style rap music to the public conscience. Many kids who previously worshipped Kanye were now demanding more of the raw vocals from a kid wearing skinny jeans and a supreme hat. The fact that he also overtly endorses satan means that many of today’s youth are undergoing a very pronounced change in values. Bottles in the club won’t cut it anymore. This is the age of rawness. 

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Year End Countdown 2011: Top 5 Albums

5. Tom Waits - Bad as me

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If I didn’t include Tom Waits’ first album of original material since 2004 I would probably be hunted down in the night.

4. Buraka Som Sistema - Komba

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I decided to include this because I think more people should listen to stuff like this. When international flavor meets electronic music the result is always a fun time. While Mediterranean sounds (balearic) and even African flavor have long been part of house music, it’s only in the past five years that music infused with sub-equatorial stylings have emerged into the public conscience thanks to acts like Major Lazer. Komba represent a flawless marriage between African, Portugese and south American sounds with western styles like House and Techno. A must have for any collection.

3. The Weeknd - House of Balloons

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I think most year-end countdowns will have one of the Weeknd’s albums on their lists. We could probably go into detail about how raw and powerful each track on this album is, but for me the amazing part was that this was entirely free. This album left many people shook in the summer when it dropped, and it’s tracks will continue to grip people well into the future.

2. SBTRKT - SBTRKT

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One of the most discussed crossover acts of the year. The soaring vocals of Sampha and Little Dragon, among others, created a post-dubstep album that many North Americans were able to get into. Even the biggest filth-heads stop dead in their tracks when the bells at the start of Trials of the Past come on in the club.

1. James Blake - James Blake

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A timeless classic in the vein of O.K Computer and Dark Side of the Moon. He powered up his computer systems and out flew his soul.

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Year End Countdown 2011: Top 5 Fashion Items

5. Bolli Imports

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In what can only be described as some kind of strange sequel to last year’s spirit hood phenomenon, this year saw the emergence of a new kind of hood into the western Canadian bass scene. Instead of representing animals, the majority of these hoods, including the famous shambhala version, represented… No one really knows. What is evident, however, is the fact that no bass party this year went without one of these strange head-dresses flying through the air.

4. Crewnecks



I really have no idea why these became in style. Without a hood you can’t sneak around and pretend to be Altair, master assassin.

3. Snapbacks



The main advantage here is that you don’t have to worry about ordering the wrong size off karmaloop.

2. Rolling up pant legs

I actually never saw anyone rocking this but pretty much every mannequin at every store had rolled up pants so I assume I was just hanging out at the wrong place all the time.

1. TOMS

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The last time a fashion trend hit this hard was probably that one year when fashion Keffiyehs were big and everyone had like six of them. TOMS combined the two things white people love the most - being trendy and feeling philanthropic. With colorways to suit every personality and an array of different styles, TOMS remained in beast mode the entire year.

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The New 52

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This holiday season more students are heading to their local comic store thanks to DC comics’ “The New 52.”

Launched on August 31st of this year, the New 52 was a relaunch of DC’s entire line of comics.

Each of the 52 titles, some old and some new, also started at the first issue.

Superman, for instance, which was previously at issue 714 is now at issue 4.

Many of the characters had new costumes and were portrayed in younger and more contemporary ways.

"For us, it’s always been about the fans and we wanted to channel all of the excitement they’ve shown by giving back with a big event," said Dan DiDio, co-publisher, DC Entertainment in a press release.

"We’re really excited about ‘The New 52’ and we think all fans - old and new - will love the journey we’re about to embark on."

Since then the response has been huge.

“So far the reaction has been really positive,” said John Tinkess, manager of Another Dimension comics in Kensington.

“There’s been a lot of people who haven’t looked at DC in a while who are checking it out again.”

Tinkess believes that the strength of The New 52 lies in the decision to restart every title at the first issue.

He’s noticed that people who have abandoned comics for the last few years are now returning.

“It gives them a nice easy place for a fresh start,” he says.

Within six weeks, DC comics sold six million issues, allowing it to surpass rival Marvel comics in sales for the first time since 2002.

Ironically, it’s been some of the newer titles such as “Animal man” which have seen some of the biggest increases in readership.

The readership of this particular title increased by 14% in the second issue.

For those that don’t have time to check out a comic store, DC is releasing a hardcover that contains each of the first issues of The New 52 on December 13th for only $150.00.

 DC also broke new ground by releasing the digital copies of each issue on the same day as the physical copy.

Each issue is available for iphone, Android, PC and Mac.


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As Bold As Lions “Deliverance” review

No one really understands what happened to metalcore.

 What started out over 10 years ago as an extremely emotionally gripping genre with bands like Botch and Nodes of Ranvier has now transformed into kids from Chinook station, Tiger streaks, Monroe piercings, infinity clothing companies owned by lead singers, more synths than band members, whiney-ass clean singing, wobble basslines and crab stances.

 The only thing deep about metalcore these days seems to be the V-necks of the Chinook station kids as they crabwalk through a maze of Korgs. 

 Yet there are some groups that have survived the goblinification of metalcore. 

 One of these groups is As Bold As Lions.

 As Bold As Lions makes classic metalcore for classic hardcore kids who want to have a classic time at a classic hardcore show. 

 There’s no pretentiousness or marketing gimmicks here.

 I doubt any of the band members even know what a tiger streak is.

 The album opens with “Conviction,” a stripped down yet violent and imposing burst of chaos. 

 From there it travels from panic inducing sections reminiscent of vintage August Burns Red to soaring melodic heights reminiscent of vintage Hopesfall to energy charged slowdowns reminiscent of A Perfect Murder.

 This package is then sent barreling through the speaker at speeds of over 9000, propelled by the weaponized voice of vocalist Jon Maheswaran. 

 Maheswaran truly treats every word like a creation within a creation, expertly crafting each one from an infinite arsenal of tonalities to keep the listeners on their feet. 

 Deliverance is an album that will pull metalcore away from Chinook station and give aficionados of the genre something to be proud of.