Achieving Presentness and Focus in the Digital Age

BY MIA ARCINIEGAS / STAFF WRITER

Whenever Tik Tok reminds me that we are indeed living on a floating rock in the middle of space, my mind can’t help but spiral. This happens at least once a week, and I am constantly full of existential dread (don’t fret, this piece is meant to be encouraging, not nihilistic).

That being said, how can we cope with so much new and readily available information seeping through our devices, yet still manage to remain focused on the tasks right in front of us? In my case, I am easily distracted by pretty much anything, and achieving a state of focus and presentness is not simple. I consider my phone a great distraction, and social media does not help either. Whenever I am trying to accomplish a task, I keep thinking about picking up my phone and cycling through my social media accounts as a distraction. Only, I look at this distraction as more than just a disruption of my workflow, but as an escape from the present.

By actively seeking media as a distraction, one is actively rejecting the present and the task at hand. Additionally, the information that appears in our algorithm often presents content far removed from our lives. This consumption of information foreign to one’s intended purpose at the moment subconsciously communicates that the present is not important. That being said, even if a particular present reality or task is not ideal, what I have learned to do is to actively remind myself why I’m doing said task. Also, imbuing every small component of your task with purpose helps reorient the narrative of the present. By recalling the necessity of the present moment as foundational in achieving a bigger goal or feeling, each small accomplishment becomes more fruitful.

When I am working on something particularly monotonous, I ask someone I trust to hold onto my phone and not give it back until a said amount of time elapses. By removing distractions, silencing notifications, and giving one’s mind a chance to focus on one thing, the practice of mindfulness in the present becomes easier each time. This practice can be extended to various moments, even ones where you are relaxing. I have even started implementing days where I do not permit myself to open social media for most, if not all, of that one day. This has helped me establish a sense of presentness and reduce the mental “noise” caused by too much consumption of transient digital information.

Hopefully, these somewhat scattered observations can encourage more consideration of the present, whatever that may look like for you.

The Augustana Psychology Club: Building Community and Promoting Mental Health

BY ISCA V. IRANGWE / STAFF WRITER

The main focus of The Augustana Psychology Club is to engage individuals on campus with psychology and bring more awareness to mental health on campus. The club aims to build a community through academic events such as peer tutoring, psych information night, and future opportunities. In addition, non-academic events are done to increase awareness and promote good mental health on campus by having activities such as yoga night, bake sale to raise funds for mental health resources, and movie night.

The ASA

We want to form a community of students who are interested in mental health and psychology outside of classes, where people can come in and enjoy themselves.

Ava Lang, Psychology Club president. Photo submitted.

President of the Psychology club, Ava Lang. Ava is a 4th year psychology student, who, at academic advisor of the club Dr. Paula Marentette’s suggestion, decided to get the club going this year. Photo submitted.

. . .

The Dagligtale sat down with Ava Lang, the president of the Augustana Psychology Club, to chat about the club’s upcoming events and goals for the future.

The Psychology Club, like most clubs on campus, was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the club has not been as active as its members–or potential members–would’ve liked, and they have had few events in the past three years. However, as everything is being held in person this year (so far!), that is all about to change, as the club has a few events planned for this academic year. 

Dag: What kind of events has the club held recently?

Ava: We did an info night about how to apply to grad school. So we had Dr. Rebecca [Purc-Stephenson] come in and she gave a very nice and informative presentation on that. There was lots of great feedback from everyone that went; they loved it. That’s the only one we have had so far. 

D: What upcoming events is the club planning?

A: We have trivia night coming up on [November] 23rd. Anyone can join, come out and learn while having fun–hence the trivia. We are also going to do a Kahoot, and the winner gets a gift card. 

As part of Wellness Week, we have an art therapist coming on December 1st. She is going to give a presentation and talk about how she uses art, colours, and shapes to improve mental and emotional well-being. We are still in the process of planning, but she might even have an activity planned! After the presentation, participants will get to sit down and draw or paint, whatever they want to kind of get the stress out. And lastly, we are planning a movie night on December 7th–there might be a $3 entry fee–where we’ll watch Shutter Island and have people unwind before finals.

(If you are interested in stimulating conversation, there will be a short discussion after the movie, sharing your thoughts and possibly analyzing the movie from a psychological perspective.)

D: Is the club still looking for executive members?

A: At the moment, no we are not. Next semester for sure, as most people on the board right now will be graduating. We will be sending out a notification to club members via email and posting on instagram as well to see if anyone wants to apply to be on the executive board. It is an excellent opportunity to get involved with the school and the psychology professors on campus, plan activities and be there for the community!

(Anyone can apply to be on the executive board, and the club is looking forward to having people from different years be involved in the club as to expand the club’s demographic.)

D: How does the club get involved in the Camrose community? Do you do activities with local charities or organizations?

A: We did want to do a fundraiser for the women’s shelter in town. It probably won’t happen until next year but we would love to give back to the community. It’s hard to find the right charity or shelter or organization to donate to, but we think the women’s shelter would be a good fit.

. . .

The club meets up at least once a month, and you can get in touch with the club through their email: augpsyc@ualberta.ca and follow their instagram page @augpsychclub where they post all of their upcoming events.

Upcoming Psychology Club events:

Nov 23: Trivia night @ 7 pm, AULIB 2-102

Dec 1: Art Therapy @ 7 pm, place TBD

Dec 7: Movie Night @ 6:30 pm, C 167

Asking Around

BY PRECIOUS AKANINYENE / STAFF WRITER

If you could have a superpower, what would you pick and why?

“Flight. It’s something that you can’t do naturally.” – Della.

“Stopping time. I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want.” – Mayowa.

“Super strength, so I can take all your girlfriends.” – Judah.

“I’d like to transform into any animal that I want. It would be useful when escaping a difficult situation.” – Ezra.

“I’d like to predict the future. It would help my financial investments and I would win all my bets.” – Elamin.

“Telekinesis. It’s a cool power to have.” – Katrin.

“Flight. ‘Cause I can go anywhere I want.”- Ona.

“Speed. I can perform tasks faster and my thinking speed increases.”- Ansh.

“Gravity manipulation. It’s convenient and I can do things easily.”- Hisham.

“Stopping time. I can finish my assignments easily.”- Lalight.

“Invincibility. Torment my enemies, cherish good times with friends, experience nostalgia, gain knowledge and transform society.”- Saim.

“Mind reading. Knowing what people think.”- Leon.

“Reading people’s minds. You can win people over easily and get whatever you want.”- Mirah.

“Teleportation. To run away from my problems easily.”- Husna.

“Teleportation. I’ve always wanted to travel around the world, and experience new cultures and life.”- Aishi.

The Meaning of Pride

BY MIA ARCINEGAS / STAFF WRITER

Pride comes in many forms, can be expressed in countless ways, but what exactly is pride? What does it mean to be proud? Usually, the term is applied when one is proud of something they’ve done, or proud of an accomplishment. But pride in terms of queer identity is different; it is more than being proud of this part of yourself, it is about embracing a side of you that can sometimes be met with antipathy.

The purpose of pride week, pride events, and pride representation isn’t to sway people who aren’t already queer or allies to accept the queer community; rather, it is meant as an act of celebration. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where queer people can safely express themselves for the most part. That being said, let’s not forget we are in a rural-ish community in (what I think) one of the most socially conservative provinces in Canada, which is why it is even more important to show our pride. Queer people exist everywhere, not just in big cities, and it is essential to keep having outlets such as pride week where like-minded folks can gather and have a gay time.

Pride is more than just being bright, merry and open, it is also about bringing forth issues we tend to shy away from. Let’s talk about queer health, homophobia, transphobia, misconceptions, and violence, as these things are topics that aren’t always addressed. In my opinion, pride events are meant to bring queer and allied people together, but hopefully, having them can also have a ripple effect, and attract people who may want to learn about the queer community and either support it in ways big or small, or even feel at home in it. The Antithesis to ignorance and discrimination is knowledge.

Pride is something conscious, yet unconscious, ubiquitous, and with us every day, not just during the span of an event or a week. Pride is not just an active rally for change, or effort, pride is simply living your life, pursuing your dreams, loving openly, dressing how you want to dress, doing what you want to do, saying what is on your mind and not having to think twice about it. Pride is aspiring to be your best self and reach your goals. Pride is about living comfortably in the skin you’re in and then some.

Having pondered the question “What is the meaning of pride?” and having discussions regarding it, I have come to the conclusion that there is no definitive response for it. It means something different for everyone, and from what I’ve gathered, pride for a lot of people means just being able to be your authentic, unapologetic self without being chastised, or discriminated against. I will end this with a not so famous quote which some may have forgotten or never heard of, but is still relevant to this day.

“Ain’t nothin’ wrong with bein’ a little gay”.

– Honey Boo Boo child, (2012).

THE FIGHT TO BE HUMAN

BY DANIELA CARBAJAL / DAGLIGTALE FREELANCE WRITER

As the diversity of our global society grows to extents of onlooking promises of a more just future, so do the conversations of what this diversity means in a world that had for so long refused it. The laws of life and nature dictate that where there is light, there must be dark. Many great individuals, who in their time faced the world, advocated for those that had been silenced by their very government and society; these leaders have created a more just society, but this is not to say that there is an absence of damaging attitudes.

Many minority groups continue to face injustices even though our society continues to promote having reached some sort of ultimate just world. However, the silencing of minority groups continues, and in this perceived just world, many individuals who bring this silencing into light are accused of speaking of such unfairness that does not exist anymore, further silencing them.

As minority groups, in some respects, have become more popular, particularly within the social media world, individuals claim the attractive aspects of these minority groups yet continue to enable their oppressions. By doing this, the little voice that the minority had, has been taken over by the majority. What were once safe spaces for many individuals have been overtaken,

The majority must understand the power they have been systematically given. Still, the perception of a just world can create the illusion that there no longer exists responsibility for the majority to give minorities a voice. While it may seem simple to converse with the majority, many continue to refuse the existence of a system that enables the majority, making it difficult even to begin the conversation and for minorities to be heard.

Many minorities have been taught to accommodate the majority, avoiding discussions that make them uncomfortable, because many privileged individuals do not like hearing they are privileged. This mentality requires revision; minorities should not be afraid to voice their concerns regarding their agency as humans; no individual should remain quiet and suffer at the cost of someone else’s comfort. There must also be a consideration for minorities that are at a more significant disadvantage than others. As minorities, understanding the setbacks shared as well as those unique to different minority groups becomes important to upholding each other and recognizing that some face more discrimination than others. One must stand for their humanity and that of others.

“…only those of us who carry our cause in our hearts are willing to run the risks.” – Rigoberta Menchu

(Originally published February 5, 2020)

 

“Hello Brother”

BY FEISAL KIRUMIRA / Community Submission  

“Hello brother” – these are the first and last words a Muslim man at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch New Zealand said to Brent Tarant, a 28 year old self-identifying Islamophobe and white extremist, before the latter opened fire and killed him. To date, we know that Brent Tarant murdered 50 people and injured 50 more. The victims included children, the old, and women and men who, in the eyes of Tarant, deserved to die because they were Muslims, refugees, migrants, and yes, not white.  

As a Muslim, I find it extremely difficult to put into words the gut-wrenching pain that tears through the very core of my being when I think about what my sisters and brothers endured in those horrifying moments. I no longer ask myself where the hate towards Muslims comes from because we all know where it comes from, but we are too scared or preoccupied to face it. How can the hate stop when even the media continues to refer to the mass murderer Tarant as a “suspect” as if by some miracle he may turn into an angel who did not commit the atrocity? If this had been a Muslim migrant who killed 50 people in a church, would we be talking about a “suspect”, even he streams his killing spree live on social media? How can the hate stop when the first reaction by a police commissioner is to temporarily close all mosques in the country? Why is it that after a terrorist attack, say by Muslim extremists on non-Muslims, the first response is to show strength and resilience? Why not in response to the Christchurch massacre? This Islamophobic bias runs so deep that an Australian senator, Fraser Anning, had the audacity to claim that immigrants were to blame for the Christchurch massacre. A courageous teen, who in my opinion is an unsung hero, calmly took out his smartphone and filmed the senator while he smeared an egg on the his head.

Embed from Getty Images

 

I take solace and courage from the words “hello brother” that a Muslim man said to a hate-filled mass murderer. To me, that is what Islam is about. Islam means peace and submission to the will of God. It means retaining your humanity and love in the face of hatred and death. When faced with the passing of a loved one, we say “In a lilahi wa ina ilayihi raj oon” meaning “ We belong to Allah, and to him is our ultimate return”.

 

An Interview with a Canadian Comedy Icon

BY ISABELLA BOURQUE

I recently got to sit down (on the phone) with the star and creator of Corner Gas, Canadian comedian Brent Butt, to ask him a few questions before he comes on down to Camrose for his stand-up show March 19.

Butt is originally from Saskatchewan and, for those who may not know, he based his hit TV show on a fictional farming town in Saskatchewan, named Dog River. The show skyrocketed to the number one show in Canada and the United States, averaging one million views per episode, and still remains in the top 10 of the Greatest Canadian Television shows in history.

The first question I wanted answered was where Butt got his start to comedy.

“I started in comedy pretty [the] standard route, really. I started on an amateur night at a comedy club back in 1988. The comedy club [was] in Saskatoon and just kind of, you know, [I] started going there every week doing amateur night … it was going well and so then they invited me to do some spots on the weekend. [T]hen I got invited to do some shows out of town. Next thing you know, I was getting paid to be a working stand-up comedian. Although … technically the first time I did stand-up, I did it twice in high school like a variety night drama night kind of thing. And that went well, it encouraged me enough to take the next step and that was to try it at a club for strangers that I didn’t know.”

I then asked Butt how it was like going from rural Saskatchewan to the big screen.

“It was a very gradual build. I went from Tisdale, Saskatchewan to Calgary, Calgary to Toronto, then Toronto to Los Angeles for about six months. I’ve been living in Vancouver now for 25 years. So, for me it was a gradual step-by-step. When the opportunity came along to do Corner Gas, I had done an hour-long special on Comedy Now on The Comedy Network and I got nominated for a Gemini Award for best comedy performance and I think that kind of put me on the radar of the network to see if I had any TV show ideas.”

With that, I was curious as to how his recent project of turning the live-action Corner Gas series into an animated series.

“The response to season one was amazing; the biggest debut in Comedy Network history and highest rated show on the Comedy Network. So, the response from the people is great. None of us knew if it would be able to translate or if people would want to see it because you’re dealing with a product that people know, and in a lot of cases, people know it and love it. People have really strong feelings about Corner Gas[and] there’s always a risk that people are not going to want the new incarnation of it.”

Then I asked Butt if he had any other new and exciting projects he’d been working on recently, and where he gets his inspiration.

“Just writing scripts and writing a feature film right now that I want to try and get produced. Inspiration [is] all over the place that could really come from anywhere. You know, just as a stand-up you kind of train yourself; your eyes and ears pick up things that could become bits in your act. I always used to carry little pad and paper around with me. I use my phone more now to record thoughts and ideas, but that’s just kind of you know, you go throughout your day, you see something that twigs a thought or sometimes you just have a thought out of the blue. Sometimes you’re working on one thing and it triggers a whole different idea. You just kind of make note of those thoughts and then you have to find time to sit down and actually try and flush them out. And then if it’s stand-up material,  I tend to go down to a club somewhere, and just go up on stage unannounced and see if I can work out five or seven minutes of new material.”

I was curious as to where Canadian comedies are headed or if it has changed much since Butt started in the industry.  

“Yeah, I think there’s a lot more opportunities to create television now in the industry. You know, when I first started out, it was it was difficult to get any network executive interested in any Canadian project because it’s just, you know, it’s an expensive endeavor. It’s much easier and cheaper to buy American programs that are already made but they all have a mandate: they have to do some Canadian programming, thankfully. When I first started out, it was really hard to get the network’s attention, any network – they just weren’t interested. But I [talked to] Mark McKinney from the Kids in the Hall. He said Canadian television will always be divided between pre-Corner Gas and post-Corner Gas because Corner Gas is the number one comedy on TV, U.S. or Canadian. We grew higher than any of the U.S. shows so that kind of opened eyes from TV executives and the notion was, ‘Oh, maybe we can have homegrown shows that actually do well and draw an audience.’ It seems like there are a lot more executives [who] are much more open to hearing Canadian pitches and producing Canadian shows.”

Finally, I talked to Butt about his upcoming trip to Camrose to perform in the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre and what we can expect from that.

“Expect a balding guy talking. Yeah, I mean, it’s just me doing stand-up. One of the things that I love about stand-up is when I’m waiting in the wings ready to go on stage and you know, I kind of know the first couple of bits that I’m going to do, but from that point on it’s a feeling out process and you start adjusting your material based on how the crowd is responding to it. It changes show to show because I don’t always know what bits I’m going to do in what order and that makes it very fun for me.”

Butt will be in Camrose to perform a stand-up comedy show at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre March 19. Tickets are $48.50 and can be purchased from the Lougheed Performing Arts Centre at their Box Office or online at http://www.camroselive.ca.

 

How Could I Resist You? Getting to Know the Mamma Mia! Cast

BY AMIELLE CHRISTOPHERSON

If you’re looking for something to warm you up during this cold snap, look no further than the Mamma Mia! production currently happening at the Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. A Churchmice Players production, Mamma Mia! features all your favourite ABBA songs, as well as several Augustana students! We asked them to answer a few questions about how they got involved with the Churchmice Players, how they’ve enjoyed community theatre, and we hope you’ll make your way out this weekend (from Feb. 14-17) to take in the production. Tickets can be purchased online through the Lougheed website or in person at the Box Office from 9 – 4:30.

Kristin Bergman’s Answers:

  1. What character do you play in this performance? I don’t play a principal character in Mamma Mia! but I am an extra as well as a member of the chorus and dance troupe.
  2. How did you get involved in Mamma Mia!? What drew you to trying out and getting involved? I was told about the show by a friend who auditioned with me. Being a fan of acting, singing, dancing, and of the show itself it was impossible to say no to the chance to be a part of it.
  3. What’s been something you’ve learned doing this that surprised you? I’m surprised at how much I’ve learned about acting and putting on a show just by being a background character. I assumed that being an extra would just mean smiling and singing, but it’s amazing how much fun and personality you can put into it that really brings the whole show to life. Also, watching the fabulous leads we have has given me a lot of ideas about how to improve my own acting.
  4. What’s been your favourite part of getting involved in the Camrose community in such a different and creative way? The show has been ton of fun, and the best part has been working with this whole community of wonderful people to create such a great product. I feel so much pride in myself and everyone around me every time we perform a scene that we’ve spent months trying to perfect and finally nail it!
  5. Why should students come out and see this play? Students should come to the show to laugh, dance, and support the actors and Churchmice Players community that has put so much time and dedication towards this production. Any fan of ABBA and/or musicals is going to have a lot of fun watching no matter what.
  6. Would you recommend trying out for something like this to other students and why? I would absolutely recommend trying out for community theatre. It’s a great way to build confidence and step outside your comfort zone if you haven’t done anything like it before because you have a whole community of people right there with you for support. If you do have experience with theatre it’s still a lot of fun and provides many opportunities to learn.
  7. Would you do something like this again? I plan to audition again and do as many shows as I can while I’m in Camrose. I’m having a blast!

 

Day Bulger’s Answers:

  1. What character do you play in this performance? Sophie Sheridan

  2. How did you get involved in Mamma Mia!? What drew you to trying out and getting involved? I love the story line! It is my mum’s favorite movie and we watch it together all the time. Also, I have never had the opportunity to do musical theatre, so it was a great opportunity to try something new and get involved in the community.

  3. What’s been something you’ve learned doing this that surprised you? I was surprised to meet such a welcoming and enthusiastic community of people. Since I am new to acting, I have relied on the guidance of the production team and my fellow actors in Churchmice Players. They have really helped me to explore my role and adapt to the demands of the stage. 🙂

  4. What’s been your favourite part of getting involved in the Camrose community in such a different and creative way? I have greatly enjoyed attending rehearsals and taking an active role in creating the scenes. Singing and dancing alongside this dynamic cast has helped me to replenish my energy stores after a long day of studying.

  5. Why should students come out and see this play? Several Augustana students are involved in the production and we have all been working hard to make this a great show. You won’t want to miss it!

  6. Would you recommend trying out for something like this to other students and why? Absolutely! It is a great way to meet new people and do something outside of school. It has been a lot of work of course, but it has been worth it!

  7. Would you do something like this again? Doing this production has helped me to discover a new passion. I definitely intend to get involved in Churchmice productions in the future!

 

Jamie Grunwald’s Answers:

  1. What character do you play in this performance? I’m a chorus member – which doesn’t mean that I’m not important, it just means that I get to dance more and worry about memorizing lines less.
  2. How did you get involved in Mamma Mia!? What drew you to trying out and getting involved? I did theatre for a number of years throughout junior high and high school, and I missed being in theatre productions and wanted a chance to re-engage my creative side. Day (Bulger) was also an influence in encouraging me to come out; plus, ABBA music is always a good idea.  
  3. What’s been something you’ve learned doing this that surprised you? I have learned a number of singing tips while rehearsing for the show. I have not sung on stage for close to five years, so it was fun to learn some new things and build up my technique a little bit again!
  4. What’s been your favourite part of getting involved in the Camrose community in such a different and creative way? It’s really enjoyable to get to know people from the community outside of school. Even just recognizing other cast members at the grocery store or seeing them at volunteering events has increased my sense of community with Camrose as a whole and it’s fun to be connected through the experience of this theatre production.
  5. Why should students come out and see this play? Students may already be familiar with Mamma Mia! through the movie, but the musical has extra songs and details that add to the show and the story. I also really enjoy going to theatrical productions because of the experience of theatre, and, as previously stated, ABBA music is always a good idea.  
  6. Would you recommend trying out for something like this to other students and why? Although the Augustana community is great to be a part of, engaging with the larger Camrose community is also incredibly rewarding. Community theatre is a lot of fun because it’s open to people of all theatrical backgrounds and newbies are always welcome. Plus, musical productions are a great opportunity to let loose, make some new friends, and dance your heart out.
  7. Would you do something like this again? Absolutely – once a theatre kid, always a theatre kid.