Library Field Study at Simon Fraser University

Don’t be fooled by the title: Last week’s trip to SFU was more than just a “library field study”.

A selfie with Melanie!

Prior to our arrival at Simon Fraser University, I decided to participate in some TALONS bonding. I sat next to Melanie, a grade 9, and we both discussed our anticipations before the trip. We both agreed that we were looking for experience in a university campus. Our goal was to put ourselves in a university students’ shoes and explore the real-life schedule of a typical university student. In addition, we were hoping to feel less intimidated by a university campus, reassuring each other that we would be able to navigate through each and every hallway and classroom. Lastly, we took a “selfie” to capture our moment of bonding!

My view from the solo spot… I was lucky enough to be sitting by a window!
My view from the solo spot… I was lucky enough to be sitting by a window!

There were four main parts to the library field study: the solo spot, the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the campus tour, and the SFU library. The solo spot is a common TALONS practice used for independent reflection and observation. Personally, I found it quite uneventful because of the lack of new discovery. Usually when we do this outdoors, I always find something very interesting about nature. I have the opportunity to inhale the scents of mother nature’s home while observing the different patterns of certain trees, plants, and sometimes animals. Here, at SFU, there was nothing to really observe other than the abundance of students passing through the hallway aiming to arrive at their class in 2.5 minutes. Looking back at it, it was actually kind of nice in a way because it gave me an opportunity to put myself in the students’ shoes, something I anticipated prior to our arrival.

IMG_1183Following the solo spot, my TALONS peers and I entered the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Although this museum may not relate to everyone’s eminent person, it definitely relates to the units of study we will be addressing in Social Studies 10 next semester. Although the museum was small, it contained a variety of very unique art pieces, some of which I had the opportunity to touch! One particular item I generally enjoyed was the snowy owl because of its soft fur that was as white as pearls. Another artifact I loved was a calligraphy piece of Chinese writing. I was very intrigued by it because last year I studied the language of Mandarin Chinese for my in depth study and seeing the piece last week allowed me to think and reflect on how much I had learned during that 5 month period.

Before continuing, I would like to take a pit stop at the Himalayan Peak restaurant, where we dined. The Himalayan Peak offers fine Indian cuisine and excellent service. I enjoyed taking a small bit of India as well as continuing my bonding with my TALONS peers. Here is a photo:

Christal (left) and Andrea (right)
Christal (left) and Andrea (right)

After our eventful lunch, the TALONS class took a tour of the SFU campus, lead by Jamie’s sisters, Katie and Zoe. Katie led my tour, and she did an incredible job describing the SFU campus life and history. Katie walked us through the campus in such a way that educated me every time we took a stop. One event I particularly enjoyed was walking through the convocation stage and climbing the stairs to the “reflection pond”. I questioned the emotions I would feel during my undergraduate commencement.

A view of the reflection pond (featuring Emma and Eric!)
A view of the reflection pond



The final component of the day was the SFU library, named the W.A.C Bennett Library. I was not expecting to find much on Miranda Sings because of the fact that she is very recent. Nonetheless, I took a search through the library catalogue. I found no books on Miranda Sings (or Colleen Ballinger), however the library catalogue did say there were some newspaper articles available about her. This is where my search mission began. I travelled up to the sixth floor in search of at least one of the three newspaper articles offered. After half an hour of searching, I came out with no luck! I was very disappointed, however I knew that I could recover from this obstacle. I was not expecting for a breeze through this project… that would not be much fun, right?

Although I didn’t gain much from my personal eminent person study, I did learn what life is like in a university campus setting as well as some interesting facts about SFU. Although I did not find any books, I did widen my library research skills by searching for newspaper articles and helping my peers find books on their eminent person. To me, the overall theme of this trip was “connection”. Not only did I bond with my TALONS peers, I also found many relationships to past, present, and future topics of study TALONS has and hopefully will address in the near future. Thanks for taking the time to read through this detailed post, it’s time for me to keep researching and start focusing on my interview!


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All These Amazing Women: Decisions, Decisions – Eminent 2014

Well, as with any project that comes with a big choice that will largely impact the project in its entirety, I struggle to make that choice. Decisions are certainly a weakness for me, although, if Mr. Albright is correct, then they are also my strengths. So in light of my indecisiveness, in this post I will explore my top four considerations for the project and my reasoning for my difficulties, and hopefully along the way my thoughts will be cleared and the light will appear, shining on my eminent person for this year.

As you can probably tell from my title, I have been able to agree with myself that I will most certainly be doing a woman for my study. I have always been very passionate about equality of all types especially equal rights for women, so this was a fairly straightforward decision. I also decided that I wanted to study an athlete, seeing as I am an athlete myself and I feel a strong connection to female athletes. Also, all the skills that must be present in high level athletes both on the court, or playing field, and off, is truly remarkable. However, that’s where the clarity ends. When I am making a decision like this, I always struggle because I try to find the absolute perfect match, but really perfect doesn’t exist so you may say it’s a waste of my time. The way I look at it though, is rather I am trying to find the one topic, in this case person, that I am the most passionate about, this will allow me to have the most fun and get the most out of my project, which I think is a lot of what the eminent project is about. That being said, the decision takes just as long. Over the past few days, and hours, I have managed to narrow down my options to four: Clara Hughes, Teresa Gabriele, Becky Hammon, and Silken Laumann. These four women have many things in common, however they also have many experiences and characteristics that set them apart.

Teresa Gabriele
Becky Hammon
Silken Laumann
Clara Hughes

You may be wondering who Teresa Gabriele and Becky Hammon are. I suppose you may also be wondering who Silken, and maybe even who Clara, is too, but we’ll get to them later. To start, Teresa and Becky are both retired women’s basketball players who have succeeded undeniably and outstandingly in their respective ways. Teresa grew up in Mission BC and is about 5’6 in height. Similarly, Becky is below the basketball average at about 5’6 in height, however Becky grew up in Rapid City South Dakota. Both of these phenomenal players generally played the point guard position, often the leader of the team.



I started playing basketball in grade three, and ever since the first time I knew who she was, I have been idolizing Teresa Gabriele. Basketball is my passion and I look up to Teresa for many reasons, including the fact that she is somewhat short, in basketball terms, and I am about her height and not sure how much more I am going to grow. Also, she is from BC.  What makes her so amazing though, is her unwavering commitment to the game of basketball in Canada over the years. She played on the national team for an incredible 16 years, and while fighting through countless injuries, changed the face of women’s basketball in Canada. She has inspired me so much and showed how anything is possible for anyone, and any country if you try.

From the beginning, Becky was not the favourite. She was short and grew up in a somewhat outlying region for basketball, but she didn’t let any of this stop her. When she finished her years playing at college, unbelievably she went un-drafted in the WNBA, but even this didn’t stop her. When she was invited to a tryout in New York, she blew everyone away and ensuingly did the same to the entire WNBA that year. She is now the first full time female assistant coach ever in the NBA, just to give you a few of her achievements. It touched me this summer when her retirement was announced at the end of the WNBA season and she made history in the NBA. She has left such a legacy in women’s basketball and continues to develop her legacy in basketball in general, paving the way for more women to follow.

On a different note, my other two athletes have done much more than just sports. While they each have engaging and inspiring athletics stories, they have also done much more for their communities, and the world at large. This is very important to me as I also love many things outside of sports, especially helping others. I have been in me to we for the last 3 years and am continuing this year along with having a very strong passion for other charitable work in the community and globally.

     Clara is a renowned speed skater and cyclist, she has won medals for Canada in both the summer and winter Olympics, but her success is really off the field of play. She has committed countless hours to her work for mental health awareness and several other charities in Canada and around the world. Her recent campaign that happens annually in Canada ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ is an initiative dedicated to mental health awareness, and this past summer she cycled across Canada for the cause. Clara herself went through mental health struggles which have contributed to her passion to help others who are going through the same thing. For me, Clara is such an inspirational person, every time I see her either competing, doing charitable work, and being interviewed, she seems so happy. Her light and energy spread and her smile lights up the atmosphere in which she is in and also to anyone who is watching, at least me.

Finally, Silken Laumann. For those of you who have not heard of her before, she is a former Team Canada world champion and    multi-Olympic medallist rower, but she is most widely known for her miraculous comeback only weeks before the 1992 Olympics. Ten weeks before the games, her scull was broadsided by another boat while training. Her boat’s shell shattered and tore into her skin, ripping it apart as well as her muscles and damaging her bones. However, like the other women I have talked about, this incident wasn’t stopping her. The doctors in Germany, where she was, told she may never be able to row again, but she determinedly set out on a mission to compete at the Olympics in less than 10 weeks and make her Olympic dream come true. She asked the doctors for a rubber band and asked them to tie it to the end of her bed. Over the course of the next few weeks, she pulled on the band from the head of her bed providing mild training. She went through intense rehabilitation and only ten weeks after the accident, she competed at the Olympics and won bronze. If that doesn’t seem like enough, her impact also extends far beyond her rowing comeback. She currently talks as an inspirational speaker and contributes to many charities and initiatives. Her recent self-written memoir shows not only her struggle in her athletic times, but also in her childhood.Her story is unbelievable and really shows the power of true grit and determination, and how when you set your mind on something, you truly can achieve anything.

So obviously I am not going to be able to do all four of these spectacular and inspirational women, but also, I think it is clear that I am having some difficulty making up my mind. Silken Laumann once said “Change is essential to growth. Embrace Change!” . Well, my thoughts are certainly going to have to change or at least settle, my mind’s mettle will have to emerge for me to concur with myself on one of these phenomenal athletes; and when it does, I will dive whole-heartedly into the cause.

Tim Burton Trumps

So for the mystical Eminent Person Project, my first pick was Tim Burton.


But, for obvious reasons, this posed a problem due to our difference in gender. With that in mind I had been tasked to scope out 3 women who were similar to the great Burton and see if I could select one of those brilliant minds to study in his place.

Going about this I did several searches and came up with the following:

  • Only 6% of women are directors.
  • Directing is a male populated occupation.
  • No female directors match up to Tim in style and method.
  • When searching artists instead, the only female artist who came close, or that I could find was Marion Peck, but her art is too bright and colourful.

But do you think I could succeed?


Good guess. After getting to the bottom of the barrel, I retraced my steps, but to no avail. At the end of my internet travels, I was still left with Tim Burton sitting in a tab, his life story staring back at me, ushering me to just close all the other tabs and come back to him.


And so, my friends, that is exactly what I did. The remainder of this blog post shall be devoted to Tim and an intro to the wonderful things he has done. At the end I will mention my goals for this project and such.



As you may know him, Tim, our dearest Tim, is a director with a very unique art style. You may have been witness to works such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or “Corpse Bride”  (Those are two of my favourite animated works he has produced). He began his run in animated films back in the 1980’s when he took up an apprenticeship offered by Walt Disney’s Production animation department. He was a cog in the creation of movies such as “The Fox and the Hound” and “The Black Cauldron.” Unfortunately Tim’s style clashed with that of Disney, for obvious reasons.


Tim yearned for a chance at solo work. As he continued to help that Disney animation machine move forwards, he began making shorts such as his very first, “Vincent”,  or “Frankenweenie”,  which we would later know as the full length film released in 2012. His passion for working in his own art style grew, and he became a well-known director and artist in the world of film.


In his personal life Tim had several marriages, the last and current (to Helena Bonham Carter) resulting in two children, both of which have Johnny Depp as their godfather (Ooooh). In fact, Johnny is a close family friend and thinks the world of Tim. He has been starring in many of Tim’s films since he started out, and is continuing to do so today.



Because I trust in your knowledge of at least one piece of work that Tim partook in, I shall leave the information flinging there. I need to keep as much as I can to delve into on a further date. And to be honest, I’m sick, tired, and lazy so I can only type so much fact at once…

Anywho, on to my goals and ideas and all that jazz.


With Tim I am hoping to delve more into his artistic tastes and styles more so than just his job as a director, though that will also be a part since he is very unique in that field as well.

I feel that me and Tim are similar in that we both are on a bit of a tangent to the rest of society. While our views might not make sense to all, when we pour our heart into it, that becomes irrelevant. As artistic creatures we quite enjoy producing personal works that leave our audience enthralled and wanting more. I have always found his movies to be quite enlightening, despite their gothic appearance, and they have been friends of mine since childhood.

In this project I am hoping to show my audience just who Tim Burton is, and hopefully a little bit about what goes on in that marvellous mind of his as his fingers dance and art flows forth.


Okay, with that vaguely outlined for you, I bid you adieu. I am saving many little treats for the lot of you, so be patient.


Tank Man

A man, whose identity to this day is still unknown,  but his bravery has been recognized by many, including Time Magazine. “Tank Man”, is an incredibly brave man, known for the way he stood his ground in front of several Chinese tanks, blocking their path. The picture on the right, spread worldwide, becoming one of the most iconic images of the 20th century.

This event took place on June 5, 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests, in Beijing, China. The student-led protest was set in Tiananmen Square, where they exposed the faults in China’s political leadership. In response, Chinese leaders used military power to put an end to the protests with force.

Just off Tiananmen Square, on Chang’An Avenue, a long line of tanks were approaching, when this unknown Chinese man stepped in front of them, shopping bags in hand, preventing the tanks from advancing. He continued to move side to side to stop the tanks from moving around him. After the tank engines turned off, Tank Man climbed onto the first tank, and from the footage, looked like he was having a conversation with the man inside. After their short conversation, the engines restarted, and the man was ready to stand off. Soon after the engines restarted, two men pulled him off to the side, into a crowd.


The fate and identities of Tank Man and the two men who pulled him away or unknown, but there are speculations of who they were, what happened afterwards. The identity of Tank Man may never be known, but his eminence lives within the iconic photos that were taken at the time. Tank Man is a symbol of courage and rebellion, that I have the utmost respect to.

My goals for this Eminent Person project, is to learn more about Tank Man, and the influence he has had on others. One thing I admire personally is his confidence throughout the whole event. One personal goal this year ,is to be more confident in what I do, both inside and outside the classroom. Tank Man and I have some similarities in gender, race, and class, but I live on the other side of the world, so I can’t relate to what it’s like living in that part of the world.

Overall, Tank Man’s actions and influence has struck interest, and I am looking forward to what I will learn, and I know this Eminent Person project will be a lot of fun.

Eminent Person 2014: An Introduction to Miranda Sings

“R u kidding me? What da heck? Haters back off!” Do any of these phrases sound familiar? You may know her by accidentally scrolling through YouTube and finding her quirky personality and lipsticked-face, or by hearing your peers do countless impersonations of the comedic superstar. Nonetheless, whether you are familiar with her or not, it is definitely not hard to find out what she is all about.

Miranda Sings

Her name is Miranda Sings. Miranda is not exactly a person, rather an alter-ego of her creator, Colleen Ballinger, who is an American comedian and theatre performer. Miranda was created in 2008 and was never intended to go viral on YouTube. Colleen Ballinger created the character in satire of the cocky and lazy theatre students thinking that they could get famous off YouTube without trying very hard. In fact, Miranda Sings was originally an inside joke, until Colleen created a video titled “free voice lesson”. Upon releasing this video, YouTube viewers were all over the video! Some knew that this behaviour was too unordinary to be real while others took Miranda Sings seriously and began to flood the “Comment’s” section with vulgar and rude comments. The amount of hate Colleen received from her viewers was so harsh that  the catch-phrase, “Haters back off” was created and is now used widely in Miranda Sings’ videos and performances aiming to go against bullying and cyber-bullying.

Colleen Ballinger, the creator of Miranda Sings

If you had clicked that link and saw Miranda Sings’ “free voice lesson” video and then watched a recent video of hers, you’ll likely notice the vast development in her character over the years. As mentioned before, Colleen Ballinger is a performer in the musical theatre field, a trait that I possess as well. A reason why I was so interested in Miranda Sings was because I adore the message she conveys within her character. Miranda Sings’ way of making fun of her hate mail symbolizes the irrelevance it has to herself: You can type anything online to anyone and it won’t mean anything because the “bully” will most likely not even say it to your face. Now reading this, you may have never thought that a character this odd and hilarious is trying to voice an important message. By doing Miranda Sings for my Grade 10 eminent person, I hope to inform my audience that Miranda Sings is more than red lipstick and a funny voice.

Speaking of the eminent person study, I am doing something very different this year, something that has never been done in the 10 years TALONS has existed: I am studying an eminent woman. I was always shocked at the statistic that said no TALONS male has ever studied an eminent female. Some male learners might want to study eminent women because they want to “break” history, but when I was looking for my eminent person I didn’t choose a woman, I chose Miranda Sings. In my opinion, it’s not about the gender, it’s about the person and the personal connection you share with that person. Sure, I am obviously not a female but I do love theatre, music, and performing! I also really care about anti-bullying because no one should ever be feeling hurt about something rude that is said about you, especially if it is on the internet.

Lastly, here are 3 goals I have for my eminent person study:

  1. To prove that Miranda Sings is more than a youtube sensation and that she has a point behind her
  2. To improve my research skills and effectively manage my time during this project
  3. To put myself in Miranda’s shoes and see the perspective she has on the world: How does it relate to Colleen’s intentions?

Before I end, I would just like to say that I am very excited to study Miranda Sings this year and I am very curious to see where my eminent person takes me. Although I will be referencing Miranda Sings and Colleen Ballinger, Miranda Sings is my focus and she will be the person I perform as on Night of the Notables.

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23 Sep 1969, Los Angeles, California, USA. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
23 Sep 1969, Los Angeles, California, USA. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Angela Davis: Political activist, scholar, social justice extraordinaire – and still going strong. Here’s a little background info about her life and rally for social and political change:

Born 1944, currently 70 years of age. Angela lived in Birmingham, Alabama USA, an area well known for segregation and nicknamed “Dynamite Hill” for the bombings it went through. She grew up in a tight knit black community, surrounded by her mother and community leaders, all of whom were influenced by the Communist Party. She was also influenced by her professor Herbert Marcuse in university, where she was 1 out of 3 black students in her class. Her first encounter with the FBI was an interview after attending a communist-sponsored international event for a youth and students festival. She became an assistant professor of philosophy at UCLA but was fired for her political associations with communism. When it was ruled that she couldn’t be fired for her politics, the regents of the university fired her for “use of inflammatory language” in her lectures. She was later arrested and charged for kidnapping, conspiracy  and murder when a guns used in a kidnapping attempt were traced to be registered under her name.

Being a woman, Angela Davis got a lot of notoriety as one of the “Top Ten Most Wanted Women” on the FBI’s list.

However, she did not take part in the kidnapping and was cleared after supporters of her cause rose up in protest of her imprisonment. That was the defining moment of her career. After being in a US prison, her passion about the social justice system solidified, and she has committed herself to this work for nearly her entire life.


I’m hoping this project will lead me into learning more about justice, and the different ideas people have about it. As I learn more about Angela Davis’s work, I intend to be doing some work of my own researching who decides how the justice system works, how we are currently fulfilling “justice” with our justice system, and what challenges it faces and points that can be improved on. Because of my eminent person’s area of expertise, I will probably focus on prisons specifically. For the same reason I’ll look at racial discrimination and inter-racial tensions in the justice system.

The Ferguson shooting is an example of how, even now, unter-racial tensions are still very much present within the justice system.
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If I have time, I may dig deeper into my own wonders about culture: how can we preserve it without singling out or stereotyping individuals based on it? Last year, Lyle’s word sonder tied into this topic really well – but more on that later.

 In some ways, Angela Davis and I are worlds apart, despite both living on the same continent. She’s black, I’m white. Nowadays we may not consider this to be that different, but as the Ferguson shooting proved, there are still many inter-racial tensions between black and white peoples. Also, in Angela Davis’s lifetime, she experienced the segregated schools and black/white zoning that was commonplace in the 50s and 60s. Black people were:

  • more likely to get arrested for the same crimes as white people
  • rarely ever got paid as much as whites
  • and were denied economic loans made available to white people

Our age gap also separates us, and I have both the privilege of being white and the era of equality. However, this supposed era highlights the similarities between us: we’re both female. Though more acceptable today, feminism is still a widely spread issue, and takes place throughout all genders (not just women). angela-davisquotecompositebymeOn top of this, we were both born into middle-class families, and while schooling was definitely more difficult for her due to segregated schools, we both have the financial stability to go to post-secondary schools. This obviously opens up a lot more options for a career, and intellectual discussion for society’s advancement.

We both want to make a positive change in the world; however, in different areas. Angela was very politically involved from a young age, being in communist youth groups and growing up with politics embedded in her family life. I’m not – I’m more into sustainability and the environment. It’s only recently that I’ve started to take interest in politics since I’m getting closer to the voting age, and of course Mr. J has helped me realize that we need more people to care about where the country is headed.

As Dr. Seuss said in The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”


My personal learning goals for the year are to broaden my horizons and take meaningful risks. I’m curious about the prison-industrial complex, and why it is easier to go to jail than get a public education. Seriously, does that sound right to you?

The prison-industrial complex is a termed coined by Angela Davis to describe the state of prisons in the US.
The prison-industrial complex is a termed coined by Angela Davis to describe the state of prisons in the US.

Eminent will help especially with developing me interpersonal and technology skills when preparing for interviews, and gathering resources and synthesizing information. I’m going to try and connect to more people this year, have more informal discussions with classmates, and reach a mutual understanding between my person and myself about how we relate to each other. Hopefully this project will lead to the discovery of new interests, and go in-depth on the passions I share with Angela Davis: equality and acceptance. I want to develop my understanding of  who I am, what I really believe in, and find or make a place for myself in the world – though I suppose that’ s more of a life goal than one for just this year!

Eminent Person 2014 Intro Post – Banksy

I set into my Eminent Person 2014 project with a goal in mind, and that was to do this year with passion, ideally a lot more of that than last years. So for this reason, I’ve chosen someone who I frankly care a lot more about than my Eminent person last year – Jimmy Wong.

My Eminent person this year has one little twist, and that’s that no one actually knows he is.

Banksy, my eminent person this year, is a world famous graffiti artist operating in England. He is however, completely anonymous and despite his blatant displays of work on public walls and other spaces that have large regular traffic, has never been caught. Banksy is known for his contempt of government labeling graffiti as vandalism, and his work primarily involves satirical works on government, poverty, and social justice.

There is only a little information available about Banksy, most of it from the book Banksy’s Bristol: Home Sweet Home. According to the book, Banksy is a male born in 1974, he was born and raised in Bristol, and was the son of a photocopier technician. He was trained as a butcher, but became involved with graffiti during the ‘Great Bristol Aeresol Boom of the 1980’s’.

Bansky has never sold his work, although many auctioneers have sold the graffiti works to buyers, with some ‘pieces’ selling for as high as £30, 000. These deals are under questionable legality and the actual removal of the work before it is covered up or washed off by city workers is left to the buyer. To me, this shows Banksy is not interested in money, as he could easily be making a lot of bank (haha) off of these pieces, but chooses not to. I believe he is far more invested in the cause of spreading awareness of the issues he paints about than in the fame or money he has the potential to accrue as a result.

I am interested in studying Banksy, because becoming as eminent as he has without ever revealing his identity shows me he has a sort of humbleness that not every person of his stature might have at this point in their career. I respect that about him and find his views on issues interesting and similar to mine.

Because there is so little information on Banksy, I can’t draw many conclusions between the two of us besides our views on the world. He has painted images talking about public display of gay affection (See police picture above), poverty, first world versus third world, and much more.

Over the next few weeks, I will be going much more in-depth into the work of Banksy. My goals for the project are to go into the idea of being both eminent and anonymous, and modern eminence in a man who is still alive.

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    Tags: person, eminent, project, work
  • 37
    Two blog posts in one day? I know, I'm a force to be reckoned with. The truth is, I don't even know if I'm supposed to put this here, but really, what can you do? To be frank, I am not that far from where I started in regards to information on my Eminent person.…
    Tags: person, lot