Sodium Podium IV

Your semesterly dose of salt, from a distance

There was much to be salty about this semester. Illustration: Reslus/The Peak

By: Juztin Bello, Madeleine Chan, Meera Eragda, Jessica Garcia, Danielle Li, Marco Ovies, Devana Petrovic, Paige Riding, Joy Tian

Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

The BMI scale? More like the BMBYE scale

CW: mention of weight, self-image

Alright kids, it’s time for a race. Now, everyone, line up. On your marks. Get set — wait, wait. Something’s wrong here. BIPOC individuals, take 10 steps back. Those with a larger frame, take another two steps back. Your wrist bones look too wide, back! Good. Now we’re looking fair.

At least, that’s what Belgian mathematician Adolphe Quetelet thought was fair when creating what would later become the body mass index (BMI) scale — a scale apparently used to determine body fat content in all individuals. Simply put, Quetelet believed that the ratio of your height and weight would be a good all-around way of determining if you had a “healthy” body fat content. But this system is more flawed than my first working drafts.

When making the index, Quetelet used predominantly European men as a sample. I’m no statistician, but I don’t think you can use such a limited sample size to represent all individuals in the world, dude. Also, other genders can apparently get fucked. We’re not representing you in this data, suckers.

I don’t have the space here to get into Eurocentric beauty standards being “the global norm” and the racist connotations behind this. In short, this scale is quick to place anyone who is not an average-height person with a slight build — traits often associated with those of European descent — much too close to the “overweight” side of the index. There are vastly different builds within and among different ethnic groups. This one Belgian guy didn’t care.

Further, it doesn’t differentiate between muscle and fat. If you’re significantly shorter or taller than “the norm,” your numbers will be skewed. Tough luck, I guess. Many medical professionals, schools, and more use this scale despite its blatant flaws. And this flawed system does little more than compare bodies in an unscientific, unhealthy way.

Overall, the scale is so problematic that it’s almost shocking that it’s still in use today. Just another aspect of life placing white men as the “ideal.” I need a drink.

Paige Riding


Things are bad enough right now without porch pirates

Illustration: Maple Sukontasukkul/The Peak

It has been difficult these past couple months. I’m stuck at home, separated from all my social circles, staring up at a grey rectangle of sky from my tiny basement suite windows. Pretty much the only thing that brings me any joy these days is the small fragments of retail therapy I can still engage in while under quarantine.

Or at least, I could be enjoying the delight of a package delivery if it weren’t for the packs of goddamn porch pirates roaming the streets. I’ve lost spatulas, books, and clothes for job interviews so far. I mean come on! Everyone is suffering through this global pandemic together and your response is to nip a pack of MUJI pens off of someone’s porch? Way to be an asshole, dude.

What makes this worse is that I literally never leave my house. I am always home. I have to be. Which means that the delivery people are just leaving packages right out in the open, no attempt to hide them, no attempt to knock, ring, smoke signal, nothing. And I get the importance of no contact delivery, believe me. But if you won’t knock on a window politely could you at least make an effort to hide the package somewhere other than the brightest, most open space on my goddamn front stoop?!

I have things to do. Textbooks to read. Zoom lectures to attend. I can’t be sitting outside from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the off chance that my order of cartoon cat socks will arrive on the day Amazon says it will.

Can we all just agree to help each other out a little right now? I don’t want to have to become the neighbourhood privateer over summer break just to dish out some justice to suburban corsairs.

–Jessica Garcia


Stop taking advantage of your artist friends!

Illustration: Marissa Ouyang/The Peak

If you have an art friend who is trying to sell their work — don’t be the fucking asshole who tries to take advantage of them. I’m an illustrator, and I’ve experienced everything from casual NSFW requests to professors trying to scam my undergraduate ass. However, in all my time doing commissions, there is one guy who takes the cake for being the worst client ever. If you want to learn about everything you shouldn’t do, read on.

So I’ve just started doing commissioned work when a friend contacts me via Instagram asking for not one, not two, but 40 pieces of art for a video he’s working on. Someone is willing to support my passion financially, it doesn’t get any better than this, right? 

Psyche! A few months later, I’m laugh-crying as I stare into a never-ending hellscape that’s somehow worse than Itachi’s Infinite Tsukuyomi. 

In this hellscape, 40 illustrations morph into 50, then 60, then 70. Negotiations start, then finish, then start again. Somehow I ended up with less time than initially agreed to finish the pieces. His entitled ass found me on every platform, hassling me for updates while attempting to squeeze extra work in (again). He’s changed his mind so many times, I’m still haunted by the phrase, “Actually, on second thought . . . ” 

As I screamed into the endless void of this fever dream, I questioned why I ever gave him a “friend discount” in the first place. Out of misplaced sympathy, I’ve taken the time to critique his shitty project (which contains plagiarized jokes), and drafted free storyboards for him — which he later took credit for. 

To him and any other “friend” like him, I say: pay artists what they deserve for the work they do, asshole.

–Danielle Li


The size range for men’s clothing is XS, and yet they don’t make enough in that

Illustration: Marissa Ouyang/The Peak


Alright, let me start by saying I’m a short dude. And when I say short, I mean short. Not like short as in “in class photos I sit in the bottom row” — no, I’m not even on the bottom row, I probably wasn’t even invited to be in the picture because I’m that short. I have friends who sometimes can’t hear what I’m saying because they’re so much taller than me and need to bend over to hear me talk. I still wear my commemorative hoodie from the fifth grade because it still fits.

Long story short (ha) I’m 5’4, and I am constantly reminded of how short I am.

So you can imagine when it comes to shopping in the men’s section of any clothing store, I tend to struggle finding clothes that fit. My desired shirt size tends to gravitate towards XS and S, but very few stores carry XS in men’s clothing. Over the years, I’ve begun moving towards the oversized look; whether that’s out of changing my aesthetic or because it’s my only choice, who can really be certain. But when it comes to buying anything that goes on the bottom, I might as well walk straight to the children’s section and slap on a pair of boy’s 8–14+ jeans. 

Look, I’m a pint-sized man with a loud personality and a big heart — but I’m not trying to find pants to fit my heart, I’m trying to find pants that don’t swallow my short legs. There’s nothing more disheartening than looking at outfits online and being inspired to replicate them, but going to stores to discover pants are either too long, too baggy, or specific styles aren’t made in anything less than a 30 waist or 30 length. Basically, when it comes to trying to reach the looks I aspire to have, I always come up a bit short. 

This might be a tall order, but please, clothing stores, could you just come out with smaller men’s clothing? 

Juztin Bello


Please tell me how big this plant will grow

Illustration: Marissa Ouyang/The Peak

So lately, I have gotten into plants to the point that it is making it inconvenient to actually get any work done. As of writing this I have 16 plants all crowded around my one basement window. They’re cute, small, and the perfect size for a desk . . . at least for right now. 

I am growing three trees. You heard right, trees, like those big boys you see in the park kind of trees, and I had no idea I was even doing it. Why did nobody tell me that a palm plant is actually just the baby version of a palm tree? Shouldn’t there be some sort of disclaimer?

Nobody stopped me when I was buying my cute baby coffee plant at the store and was like, “hey buddy I don’t think you know what you’re walking into, those grow 10 feet tall.” 

10 fucking feet tall.

With plants becoming the latest trend for apartment decorating everywhere, some sort of warning is needed here. I can’t be the only one who has this problem . . . right?

–Marco Ovies


Do the whole chore properly or don’t do it at all, Kyle!

Illustration: Joy Tian/The Peak

I give off the impression of being a very easygoing person. Little do people know, there are many things that aggravate me, and every once in a while my annoyance is pushed over the edge by the tiniest thing. This causes me to sit back and start internally screaming for an entire day.

A recent such incident involved, unfortunately, my younger sibling. Anyone with siblings (especially younger ones) can relate to me here. Sometimes it just seems that their existence is annoying.

So here’s what happened:

For the sake of anonymity, let’s give my sibling a fake name and call him “Kyle.” Kyle and I don’t have a set list of rules of who does what chores in the house. It’s more of a matter of who wants to do what at a time that is convenient for them. This usually works. However, a problem I have is that when Kyle sweeps the floor, he leaves the pile of dust on the ground for someone else in the family to pick up.

Like, who does that?

Don’t you just love coming home to see a pile of dust on the ground after you’ve already accidently stepped into it? No matter how many times I tell him to stop doing that, he just ignores me like any younger sibling would. In fact, I think he’s doing it on purpose now. 

Long story short, people who choose a chore only to do half of it and leave the rest for someone else to finish is something I find really annoying. If anyone has any tips on how to get Kyle to listen to me, please let me know so I can stop crying. Thank you.

–Joy Tian


Speed up, slow players

Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak is a fun game to play with your friends in quarantine, but there’s always that one player who always refuses to draw the actual word until the last three out of 80 seconds.

You know, that person who etches a line drawing so painfully slow that you thought time somehow broke and you’re now living on a different temporal plane. They say that they’re “setting the scene,” but they’re really just adding unnecessary and confusing details, only to produce a drawing of a quality I could have made in the womb. I mean, the word “knife” doesn’t need to be accompanied by an elaborate murder scene for someone to be able to identify it.

Essentially, these people just want to screw everyone else over. They’re trying to make other players obtain fewer points by having them answer later, but guess what dumbass, you get points when everyone guesses faster, too! So really all you’re doing is trying to be a cunning bitch and making yourself lose points.

It’s called, not take-a-fucking-week-to-attempt-the-best-possible-thing-you-could In the end, you’re not a bigshot artist, you’re just slow.

–Madeleine Chan


Wear a mask if you’re going to take public transit, it’s not that hard 

Illustration: Marissa Ouyang/The Peak

Call me naïve, but I thought a global pandemic would be a good enough reason for people to start being hygienically considerate in public places. So, when a couple of weeks ago I used public transportation for the first time again — leaving my house fully COVID-equipped with a mask, gloves, and hand-sanitizer — I assumed that it would be safe. Instead, I found myself in a SkyTrain car where people did not consider staggered seating, most were unmasked, and here’s the worst part: amid a respiratory virus crisis, a person open-mouth coughing (toddler-style). 

There I was, boiling in annoyance. Having spent the past couple months in crippling self-isolation to do my part in flattening the curve and then seeing someone so careless about the well-being and health of other passengers was infuriating. 

I understand that masks make it a little difficult to breathe, can be uncomfortable, and a bit of a hassle. But this pandemic is beyond our personal comfort. At this point, it’s selfish to not take these measures seriously. A face mask is at worst a little irritating, but the repercussions of not wearing one and spreading germs to people who cannot afford missing work or getting sick, is just irresponsible and downright screwed up. Even if the risk of infection is “low,” wearing a mask on public transit is a small price to pay to make other passengers feel safe. 

Some time has passed since this incident, and clearly I’m still alive and healthy. I will probably not be taking public transit anytime soon, though. I have only one thing to say: wear a fucking mask. 

–Devana Petrovic


My phone has enough processing power for a moon launch but it can’t accurately

Illustration: Michelle Chiang/The Peak

predict the weather

Despite the fact that the weather has been pretty consistently sunny for the past week or so, living in Vancouver, that’s not the case 90% of the time. And that’s fine. We live in a rainforest, I get it. 

But lately, I’ve been riding my bike a lot and the one thing that would make a huge difference in my life is if weather apps could be accurate for at least a day. I feel like that’s really not asking for much. I just want to know if I can ride my bike for half an hour without getting completely drenched mid-ride, even though the weather app said it was supposed to be sunny for the whole afternoon, and it was sunny when I started my ride! 

Or if I want to go sit in a park, is it actually going to be nice enough to wear shorts? Do I need a sweater? Am I going to be too hot? Too cold? Honestly, I’ll take five hours of accuracy. A weather app that could be accurate for five hours would be amazing. I just don’t want to have to carry around 50 layers of clothing anymore. 

We literally have sent people into space — we walked on the moon! We can’t figure out how to make a weather app that can accurately predict the weather for even two hours? Am I just destined for a life of either being too hot, too cold, or getting rained on?

–Meera Eragoda


Leave a Reply