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The definitive host: November 2008

The definitive host

de·fin·i·tive host (duh-fin'eh-tiv) n. 1) An organism where a parasite undergoes the adult and sexual stages of its reproductive cycle 2) Someone you go to for interesting stories and/or facts, and puts on one hell of a dinner party 3) This blog, devoted to science and other geeky subjects

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Ok, I have officially had enough of this stuff. Well, almost.

So, let me set the record straight about my current situation here in Ottawa.

The work here never ends, it just keeps on building and building. Imagine blocks of Jenga. You remember Jenga? It's a game where you have a bunch of sall rectangular blocks that you make a tower of (see picture). And, you take a block from the bottom and you put it on top. The goal is to NOT tip the tower, while still successfully taking blocks from the bottom and building the tower upwards.

My life is akin to a Jenga tower.

Every damn time I finish an assignment, another one immediately pops up. For example, I finish an assignment for Bootcamp, something for my optional course pops up. I finish that, I have a history piece to write. When that is finally done, another Bootcamp assignment is assigned. It's like a never-ending loop, a feedback loop that never ends. Just like Jenga, you removed one assignment, another one appears up top. And the only way to survive is to prevent the tower from falling.

I know a few people, along with myself, you has experienced a temporary mental breakdown due to the workload. Or, as I shall begin to refer to it now: a "Jenga collapse."

I live in fear of experiencing yet another Jenga collapse.

The first one occurred after just over a week into the term, when I was so unbelievably stressed about all the work and not knowing a single thing about Journalism. I panicked and experienced a Jenga collapse. Luckily, a talk with my dad calmed me down, and I re-built my tower.

It has not happened again, but, there have been a few close calls ... or, "Jenga wobbles."

With the term coming to a close, I finally finished two out of three of my end-of-the-term assignments. Just ONE more assignment stands between me and freedom!!

That is, until, my apprenticeship. I will be working for about two weeks at a scientific magazine here in Ottawa. I finish there on December 23rd, and then I hitch a ride back to Toronto early the following morning, so that I can be home in time for Christmas.

I can just feel the Jenga tower beginning to tilt and sway in the wind. But, like all good buildings, I have taken some preventative measures to prevent it.

- I watch TV, it relaxes me
- I watch movies, as it removes me from my current predicaments
- I read, to temporarily escape my reality
- I talk to my new J-school friends, as they are in the same predicament
- I talk to my family
- I sleep (well, at least try to)

Here is a video that makes me happy every time I watch it. It is the trailer for the Watchmen movie, coming out early 2009, which I am very excited for.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day in the Life

The first term of my new school in my new city in my new life is coming to a close. I have three more essays left to finish before I am free. However, there is no real break for me, as I begin a two week apprenticeship immediately after my last assignment is handed in.

So, before this term is done, let me describe for you a day in the life of a first year Journalism school Master's student.

7 a.m. - Alarm goes off, turn it off
7:10 a.m. - Second alarm goes off, and get up
7:13 a.m. - Bleary-eyed, begin the morning ritual (shave, shower, etc...)
7:15 a.m. - Make breakfast
7:17 a.m. - Read the paper
7:30 a.m. - Brush teeth and get changed
7:45 a.m. - Leave the house and walk to the O-Train in the snow, whilst listening to my iPod
8:03 a.m. - Catch the O-Train straight to Carleton
8:18 a.m. - Arrive in class, read another newspaper and prepare for the onslaught of the day
8:35 a.m. - BORED
8:42 a.m. - Start falling asleep
8:53 a.m. - Begin doodling to stay awake
9:07 a.m. - Actually pay attention
9:47 a.m. - Buy a drink for something to do to stay awake
10:10 a.m. - Class resumes, and am bored again
10:22 a.m. - Begin reciting lines from TV shows in my head to stave off boredom
10:36 a.m. - Daydream
11:01 a.m. - Daydream
11:06 a.m. - Pay attention
11:08 a.m. - Ask an insightful question to give the illusion that I'm paying attention
11:10 a.m. - Bored again
11:25 a.m. - CLASS ENDS
11:26 a.m. - Talk to class mates about life
Noon-ish - LUNCH, followed by work
2:00 p.m. - Make way to afternoon class
2:15 p.m. - Arrive at afternoon class, talk to people
2:30 p.m. - CLASS BEGINS
2:33 p.m. - Contemplate life
2:36 p.m. - Think about science
2:44 p.m. - Contemplate next blog entry
2:47 p.m. - Doodle
2:53 p.m. - Look across the room and marvel that everyone appears just as bored as I am
3:00 p.m. - Daydream
3:04 p.m. - Daydream
3:12 p.m. - Feel the world crashing in upon myself
3:16 p.m. - Mini-heart attack
3:19 p.m. - Brain crashes........re-boot............re-boot.......re-boot.....
re-boot............re-boot.......re-boot.... system restore....
4:05 p.m. - Eat a snack to keep brain on life-support
4:07 p.m. - Ponder the mysteries of the universe
4:08 p.m. - Ponder the greatness of cheese
4:11 p.m. - Solve the world's energy crisis, but cannot find a pad of paper ... vow to remember
4:12 p.m. - Forget
4:15 p.m. - Think about girls
4:18 p.m. - Think of random movie quotes
4:19 p.m. - "With meditation, there's no limit to what you can ... imagine"
4:20 p.m. - "Do or do not, there is no try"
4:21 p.m. - "My. What a clever girl"
4:22 p.m. - "I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar"
4:23 p.m. - "Ray, if someone asks if you are a God, you say YES!"
4:24 p.m. - "The lord tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he's pretty sure, you're fucked"
4:25 p.m. - "Are you telling me, you made a time-machine ... out a DeLorean?"
4:26 p.m. - "The dude abides"
4:27 p.m. - "60 per cent of the time, it works all the time"
4:28 p.m. - "Don't touch that please, your primitive intellect wouldn't understand things with alloys and compositions and things with... molecular structures."
4:29 p.m. - "I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life"
4:30 p.m. - Sleep
5:25 p.m. - Class ends
5:33 p.m. - Dash to the O-Train
5:36 p.m. - Walk home
5:57 p.m. - Arrive home
6:02 p.m. - Turn on laptop and do work
7:45 p.m. - Make dinner
7:53 p.m. - Eat dinner and watch some TV, followed by work
9-12 a.m. - WORK MORE
12-2 a.m. - Work and doze off a little
2-2:30 a.m. - Do some readings
2:30 a.m. - Get ready for bed
3:00 a.m. - Read for pleasure
3:30 a.m. - Try to sleep
3:30-4:15 a.m. - Dreading the next day
4:15-4:30 a.m. - Plan the work to do for the next day
4:30 - 7 a.m. - Sleep

Well, there you have it, an average day in the life of me, a lowly Journalism student. Keep in mind, I did not include:
- Deadline assignments
- TA duties
- Various internet activities
- Interviews
- Shopping, haircuts, cleaning, etc...
- Actual FUN activities

As you can see, I do not have a lot of free time on my hands, but I make the most out of it. And now, I need to do some work before the whole process starts anew. Ain't a Master's of Journalism program GRAND?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let There be Snow!

First off, I'll let everyone know that my sleep schedule is ALMOST back to normal. It was touch and go there for a few days, but it is pretty well back to normal after sleeping for 11 hours last night :)

Today in Ottawa, it snowed. I know that I should not be surprised, as it IS winter after all. During my walk in the snow, I almost tripped, my right pant leg got soaked and I have a nagging feeling that I am getting sick.

Truly, this is a Winter Wonder-Hell.

During my contemplation of the wicked white weather that was being thrust upon Ottawa, I began to think about snow.

We have all heard the saying that, "You are unique like a snowflake."

And that is partly true, as snow is formed by the random assortment of water molecules up in the atmosphere when they freeze.

But, think about a snow storm. The are trillions upon trillions of little snowflakes in a snow storm. Yet, probability states that no two snowflakes will be similar in that one storm.

But, with every snowflake that has EVER been created in every storm, the odds of two snowflakes actually being similar is highly likely.

Therefore, there is a good chance that there have been two snowflakes that are exactly identical to one another. That's right, two snowflakes that are the exact same. Doesn't that just blow your mind?

And even if you don't believe me, that's fine.

Just consider this if every believe that single snowflake is special:
"You are unique like a snowflake ... just like everybody else."

Doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside?

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Friday, November 21, 2008

No Rest for the Wicked

Friday night. Ottawa. My place. No plans.

The first Friday night in any number of weeks where I have not had plans, which is a good thing. I had a lot of stuff that I had wanted to get done, not work, but stuff that needed to be done.

I had an early dinner, while watching some TV. TV watching is relaxing ... sometimes too much.

I began to doze off, and was forced to rewind the show probably about half-a-dozen times, so that I could catch the ending.

"SLEEP! I NEED SLEEP!!!" shouted my brain. "I'm tired from a long day of class, as well as a stressful week. Why won't you let me sleep?" it said.

After a short amount of time, I had to give in. I have been fighting sleep for months, and just needed to give in.

I walked to my room, set my alarm for an hour from then and napped.

SILENCE. Dead calm.

Wind howling outside my window, a tree scraping against a fence, a dog barking in the distance. None of those mattered, as I slowly closed my eyes and lapsed into unconsciousness.

My eyes open, bleary from sleep. I look at my clock, 11:55 p.m.

My mind slowly starts working again. Slowly at fist.

"What day is it?"
Check watch
"Friday, almost Saturday. Ok... what happened?"
I pause and breathe, getting oxygen to my brain
I do not recall going to bed, but I remember that I napped.
I check my watch again.. 11:56 p.m.
"Did I.... no... no way," I say to myself.

I napped for almost 5 hours. What does one do in that situation?

I sat on my bed, and contemplated my options:
1) Go back to bed, and wake up early in the morning
2) Go back to bed and try to sleep as long as possible
3) Get up, do some stuff and go to bed later

I chose option #3.

So, here I am at three in the morning updating my blog. My head hurts, my eyes hurt a little and I'm kinda hungry.

I wanted to go to the school library tomorrow morning to do research for a couple of hours before coming back home and doing a bunch of work. I am not too sure I am going to, as my entire day's schedule is now going to be messed up because of my nap need.

I am officially done with naps. The divorce papers are signed, bags are packed and I asked for my CDs to be mailed to me.

I will stay up for a bit longer, before heading off to bed. My PLAN is to wake up and still go to the library tomorrow to start the work I need to get done in this home-stretch of the term.

I pray I have the mental faculties to commit to this plan and actually end up getting work done, as I haven't gotten anything done today.

Or, maybe I'll just stay up ALL night and sleep during the day to slowly become a vampire ... or a nocturnal mole-person.

Any preferences?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Shit Sherlock ... Keep diggin, Watson!

Nothing too interesting has happened to me these past few days. That was, until, last night.

Yesterday was someone in the program's birthday, and she wanted to go out to celebrate, so, most of us obliged. We all met up at her apartment and, after spending some time there, we went to a bar. We stayed at the bar until closing and all parted ways. It was a good time.

Now, here is where it gets interesting.

For those of you who know me, this will seem like old news, but for those who don't, here's an insight into David.

I have little to no sense of direction.... seriously. It's a miracle I make it anywhere. Usually, I use Google Maps and public transit, and I sort of figure out my way. But, I get turned around quite often, and often end up walking in the wrong direction.

Back to last night, I was walking with a few people back home, and I mentioned about how I have no idea where I am and that I was just following someone who lives in the same direction as me. Ben, one of the guys from the program, turned and said, "You know your house is behind us right?"

"Really? Are you sure?" I said.

"Yeah, you're going the wrong way," said Ben.

"GODAMN IT!" I screamed in the cold and dark silence. After I wished my friends goodbye I turned around and walked in the CORRECT direction.

After abut 5 minutes, I saw a cab and flagged it down.

I got in, told him my closest intersection, and sat back.

About 5 minutes in, the cab lurched forward, stopped, lurched, stopped and then just died. The cabbie banged his hand on the dash to no avail, before turning to face me and said in a thick, thick accent, "Uh oh."

"What now?" I said, looking around the cab. The entire dashboard was dead ... except, magically, the money counter, which kept increasing by $0.16 every 20-ish seconds or so. Just my luck.

Finally, I ask the cabbie what to do now, and he said that he is going to call the cab company and they will send a replacement taxi. So, he calls them and speaks in a language I did not understand at all. Meanwhile, the time kept ticking away and I could actually feel my wallet getting lighter.

FINALLY, after about 7 minutes of awkward silence, another cab comes and we just switch taxis. The driver, before leaving, jotted something down on a piece of paper, but I paid it no mind, I was just happy to get back on the road so I could go to sleep!

We got in the new cab, he started up the distance-money thing and starting driving me home.

When we were about 3 minutes away from my house, I heard the driver yell something and then the car jump (as if over a speed-bump)...twice. The cab then skidded to a stop, turned behind and said, "Did I just hit something?"

Let me properly set the scene for you. It is now approximately 3am on a Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning, if you wanna be a stickler for time) and I was sitting in a smelly cab with a man who hardly spoke English I could understand, in my second cab of the night, on a dark stretch of road by my place and the driver may have just hit something. At this point, normal people would have probably lost their mind, gotten out of the car, yelled some obscenities and walked home. However, I am not normal.

"DID YOU SEE ANYTHING DASH OUT IN FRONT OF THE CAR?" I told the cabbie, enunciating every syllable so he could understand me. He shook his head. Then, I said, "Go outside and check if you hit anything."

He left the cab, while it was still running, and found what he had hit: A now busted up Blue Box and a large bag of leaves. There were little and big pieces of blue, strewn among the leaves on the street. It looked as if someone killed a Smurf in autumn.

"Ok, enough is enough, he could have killed someone or something. Time to get out and walk the 8-10 minutes home," I thought to myself.

I grabbed all my stuff, and told the driver that I was going to leave. He then stopped the time (which was still running!), took out the little piece of paper and said that I owed him the the first fee PLUS this one. I don't remember the exact amount, but it was INSANE.

I then proceeded to get into a verbal disagreement with the guy, debating about how much I should pay for this terrible and way over-priced taxi ride. Eventually, after about 15 minutes, he relented and I only had to pay the second fee. I gave him the cash, with basically no tip, and grabbed the door handle.

I pushed and nothing happened. I pulled it back and the handle CAME OFF. I turned to the cabbie, held up the handle and said, "Get...me...out...of...this...cab."

He left the cab, opened the door and went back to the driver's seat. I then proceeded to exit the cab and closed the door.

"HEY!" he shouted, "Why you slam door?"
"I did NOT slam the door," I replied, calmly
"Why you slam door?" he asked, again.
"I did NOT slam the door," I replied....again
"Why you slam door?"
"Maybe your door hates you," I replied with a smirk and walked away.

Suffice to say, I got home much later than I wanted to and slept through my alarm.

Luckily I have no classes on Wednesday.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

A Biological Lament and a Realization of Thought

A few words will sum up the end of my week nicely:

Pot-luck. Professor's house. Alcohol. David. Talking.

As you can imagine, some of these ingredient's do not bode well together and cause a rather volatile mixture. The potentiality of disaster just increased exponentially with every passing minute, as I was constantly in conversation while I kept imbibing alcohol.

Some stuff was taken out of context of what I meant, and that is all. I explained it to those who got worked up, and I believe all is well in the world. Let's just chock it up on the list of "Embarrassing things David has done."

Now, on to the true purpose of this post.

The first term is almost done, and it has been an interesting, intriguing, stress-filled and whirlwind of an experience.

In the last term of my undergraduate degree, I decided to change everything. I stepped back from the world of Biology/Zoology, and took a clear look at myself.

I LOVE Biology, I really and truly do. I felt that I was put on this planet to learn, study and teach it to others. I also love animals, as they are a constant source of amazement and inspiration to me. They are something I enjoy immensely to learn about, as anyone who knows me well can attest to.

I miss Biology and Zoology. I miss it very much. I miss the lab work, the experiments, the thrill of a test working out properly, of understanding a difficult biological concept ... all of it.

I loved learning about the subjects that interested me. Biology, Zoology, Ecology, Microbiology, Physiology, and many more. Not many people know the excitement of getting a slide JUST right, perfecting an enzymatic assay and getting results that show something you cannot explain and having to solve that puzzle.

I don't miss a few things, but we all look into the past with slightly rose-tinted glasses.

And yet, I decided to pursue a different path. One that was drastically different from anything I have ever done before. It was, and still is, a drastic life change.

It is not an easy thing to do, to change the direction you thought you were going to head in life. Believe me, it is harder than you think.

A recent conversation with another person in my program really highlighted this for me. I had not thought about it too recently, as I had delegated it to the back of my mind, until she brought it up. This conversation made me think about the changes that I have made in my life, and if I still would make them.

Science is what I love, it's the field that I believe I was born to work in. Writing is a past-time, something that I have enjoyed doing since I picked up a pencil and started creating my own stories. The mixture of these two concepts into a possible career path, into scientific journalism, was a revelation, and the closest thing to an epiphany that I have had in my life so far. I want to do this, I am going to do this. This is what I want, this is what I am going to do and I am going to do EVERYTHING I can to make this a reality.

So, to the person I had this conversation with ... thank you.

It made me really think about the vastness that I, and everyone else in the program have accomplished in the short time we have been here. We should all be very proud and excited for what happens next.

To the future.... and come what may.

Below is a picture I took from one of my slides when I worked with frogs. This is a cross-section of a kidney. The blue stain represents DNA, the green is an ion pump and the red is for the proteins that glue cells together. Not many people have seen this, and I thought it would share it. I did everything to make that slide what it is, and I know it is not the best that it could be, but I'm very proud of it, as it was one of the last things I did.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

That Which Does Not Kill You, Makes You Stronger


It has been a busy few days over here! Let me catch you up.

I had a 3,000 word essay due on Monday about the Species at Risk Act (or SARA) in Canada. I was very, very, very worried about it. I mean, I had all my research and everything, it's just that I don't know the first thing about environmental politics, and I've been in the course for a few months!

A bunch of my friends in Ottawa were going out on Friday night, but, I wanted to stay home and do work.
"Come on," they said. "Leave the work for the weekend," they PLEADED.
I was stoic and firm... I said, "I'm going to stay home and do work, no matter how much I'd rather go out."

SO, I did. I stayed home and starting writing the essay. It took me a long time to get my thoughts organizes and I had only written about 600 words before my mind shut off at like 10 p.m. In hindsight, I could have gone out... and MAN, do I wish I did. I like having fun with my Ottawa friends. And besides, the essay is unbelievably boring, long and I pity anyone who has to read it :P

Saturday was also spent on the essay, and at about 5 p.m., I finished it! It was over 3,500 words, but it was DONE! I took the night off and caught up on some of the TV I had been missing.

Then, Sunday, I re-read it and made changes. THEN, because I had to present it on Monday as well, I made a handout and drafted my presentation outline.

My brain was essentially all tapped out, but, because I am a glutton for punishment, guess what I did next?

I did a READING CRITIQUE for a different class! I read 2 articles, and then responded to them in 4 pages. I didn't understand them at all, and this is the conversation I had with my brain:
David - "Let's do this! It's our last one! We would have done 6/6, and can relax the rest of the term"
Brain - "Are you INSANE! You JUST finished a really long paper, and you want to do more work?"
David - "I wanna be productive!"
David - "I wanna do work"
Brain - "I hate you. I'll get you for this!"
David - "What are you gonna do? Think me to death? What a loser."
Brain - "I'll think of something"
David - "Hahahaha, brain made a pun. Get it..... think... and he's a brain?"
Brain - "You're an idiot"
David - "Owwwww, my head hurts"
Brain - "Told you I'd get ya, you bastard"

And that is why, I believe, I have had a headache since Sunday.

My presentation went fine, and then I came home on Monday and fixed my essay.

Now, Tuesday was Remembrance Day, and we were told to write an article about something going on. So, a bunch of us went to the National War Memorial and saw the service. Stephen Harper was there, as well was the Governor General and Jack Layton. It was a nice ceremony, but it was COLD! Like, wear a jacket, hat, scarf, gloves weather so you don;t get hypothermia kinda cold.

Now, I don't know if any of you have tried this, but try writing in a small notebook while wearing bulky gloves. Frankly my friends, it just ain't happening. SO, I abandoned my gloves so I could interview some veterans. They were all really, really nice and were more than willing to talk about their service history.

As soon as I got home, I wrote the article, and it only took me about an hour. It was really quick. Either I'm getting better or I just suck even more and only think I am getting better.

And now, here I am, after being home for about 5 hours, and my fingers are STILL cold. I guess you have to sacrifice things to be a journalist ... just never thought it would be my fingers.

Next time, I'm gonna conduct interviews in Hawaii! Think Universities cover that sorta thing? Oh well, maybe just in a heated room with hot chocolate :)

I have a personal issues with the saying that's the title, "That Which Does Not Kill You, Makes You Stronger." Does anyone actually believe that?

Maybe for like emotional and psychological issues, and small injuries. I mean, I don't get tears in my eye when I scrape my knee like when I was a kid, I hardly even react now. My issue is with the BIG things.

What if I were to hypothetically jump off the CN Tower and survive? Firstly, it would be a miracle that I wasn't liquefied on IMPACT and survived. But, I would most definitely break almost every bone in my body. HOW would that make me physically stronger? Anyone care to comment and defend it in this specific scenario?

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

David the Hero, Karma the Saviour and Sara Palin

So, I got quite the response from my last blog post. Apparently, it even freaked a few people out!

Therefore, this an official statement. I AM NOT DEAD! MY HEAD DID NOT EXPLODE, I AM PERFECTLY OK. I thought you all should know ;)

The reason behind it was, I had a VERY bad and stress-filled Monday. So, on the walk home, I thought, "My head hurts because of all the stress. I wonder if my head could explode? Huh, there's an idea for a blog post." And that's it.

The rest of this week has been pretty blah, except for a few interesting tidbits.

On Wednesday, I went to the library to do some photocopying and reading for an essay. While I was photocopying, this very pretty woman beside me was having trouble with a computer terminal. She turned to me and said, "Do you know anything about computers? I'm having a terrible time here."

I crookedly smiled, and said, "I can fiddle."

She then, she explained to me her problem downloading an attachment and printing it off. I spent a minute and found her document. She looked at me with this huge look of admiration and said, "Thank you SOOO much! You literally saved my life. I don't know what I would have done."

She then smiled, a very pretty smile, gave me a hug and whispered, "You're my hero. I'm Ariel. Thank you." And then she left.

Weird, huh?

The next interesting thing was today, when I went to the library to do some more photocopying. I had forgotten my photocopy card, so I was out of luck. And then, for some reason, a girl behind me offered me her photocopy card.

"Really? I cannot believe that you would give this to a total stranger. I'll give it back as soon as I'm done," I said. I then ran to do my copying, and came back where she was.

"Thank you once again," I said.

"It's good karma," she said. "Just remember, pay it forward." And then she winked and walked away.

Well what do you know, good people do exist! They're just exceedingly RARE.

For those of you who do not know, Pay It Forward was a movie about a child, played by Haley Joel Osment, who got the idea to do something good for someone. There is no catch, just that you must "Pay the good deed forward" to 3 other people.

And lastly, I was watching the Daily Show with John Stewart, where he lovingly discussed the ever-entertaining Sarah Palin.
Apparently, certain facts about her were off-the-record until the election was over. For example:
- Sarah Palin was not aware of certain civic liberties in the U.S.
- She would have tantrums about her press-clippings
- And lastly, she had difficulty accepting the fact that Africa was a continent, and NOT A COUNTRY.

Ohhh, I hope she doesn't disappear from the news, as she is very, very entertaining.

This upcoming weekend is going to be very, very stressful. I have a 3,000 word essay and it's respective presentation due on Monday. The topic is very complicated and highly confusing to someone who doesn't know anything about Political Science.

Wish me luck, wish me speed, wish me coherency and lastly, wish me good mental health. Cause if this keeps happening, my wall is going to have a very significant David's-head-sized dent.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Impending work load causes student's brain to explode

A Carleton University student has suffered what doctor's are calling a bizarre case of sudden brain explosion.

David Manly, 24, was a first year student in Carleton's prestigious Master's of Journalism course. He was one of only 20 other students accepted this past September.

Friends cannot believe that David died so suddenly and without warning. "I'm shocked," said best friend Nicole Willman. "I cannot believe he is gone, and I never got to say goodbye!" she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

Natalie Stechyson, a fellow journalism student was so broken up, that her words were completely unintelligible. In between the sobs and the gasps for air, only one sentence was audible, "Who will I talk to about gossip now?"

According to the medical examiner, "David's ever increasing stress levels and workload caused a change in his brain. He was a ticking time bomb," Dr. Ron Albert said. "I would advise ALL students to relax immediately and de-stress. For their own safety," he said.

David's Monday began like any other, as he went to class at 8:30 a.m. and attended his class. One of his fellow students, Colin Zak, sat beside him and said that, "He looked a little stressed, but he said that it was a bad morning. He seemed to relax after a little bit," said Zak.

Following that, he went to his afternoon class with fellow student Chloe Fedio. "We had presentations all day today, and it wasn't that bad of a class," she said.

"After class, on the way to the bus, he did seem a little stressed. But I didn't pay it much attention," said Fedio.

At 7pm, his body was found by Officer John Johnson on a routine patrol of an old woodlot, where he takes as a shortcut home.

"I have never seen anything like it," said Johnson. "He looked perfectly normal, just laying there, like he was asleep."

"I expected him to be in class tomorrow," said Claire Brownell, a fellow Master's student. "He will be greatly missed," she said.

His family has declined comment, wishing for privacy in their grief.

"Students are experiencing an exponential increase in workload and stress as the term comes to an end," said Dr. Albert.

"Do something that relaxes you, anything! So that David's death not need be in vain," said Dr. Albert.