Features

Long-form investigative articles covering people, events and issues that affect the student body. If you have an idea for us to cover, contact us at [email protected]

Haunted San Diego offers thrills and chills

If you ever hear strange noises when you’re alone or have ever felt a cold breeze when nearby windows and doors are shut, you might not be alone. Courtesy of Hotel Del Coronado Step inside the history of San Diego and you will soon discover that our city is host to its own paranormal activity. Psychics and parapsychologists have flocked to numerous sites in downtown San Diego, documenting enough spooky appearances and disturbances to scare even the most level-headed person. Visitors to such sites claim to hear strange sounds, while others experience bizarre sensations that they attribute to alleged supernatural activity. Whether or not you believe in ghosts or the paranormal, check out some of the following attractions this Halloween. They might just send chills down your spine. The Whaley House Located in Old Town, the Whaley House is by far San Diego’s spookiest attraction. Built in the 19th century, this Victorian-style house was once San Diego County’s seat of government, and it has a creepy history. In the second half of the 19th century, a man named “”Yankee”” Jim Robinson was accused, under conflicting reports, of stealing a large boat. Although he attempted to elude the police, he was quickly caught by a civilian who took the liberty of whacking him over the head before officials threw him in jail. Robinson received a trial, but was probably only semi-conscious during the proceedings due to his head injury. The court found him guilty in no time and ordered him hanged. However, due to a calculation error, Robinson did not die immediately. His feet touched the ground and he suffered a long, painful death. It is believed that Robinson’s spirit still lurks in the house. Visitors report hearing sounds of heavy footsteps upstairs and recall feeling strangled while passing through the archway where Robinson was killed. Also, the house’s original owners, Thomas and Anna Whaley, their daughter and one of her childhood friends are said to remain on the property — in spirit, at least. The smell of Thomas’ cigars and Anna’s lavender perfume linger in the rooms, and the children’s laughter can be heard. Even Regis Philbin, who spent the night at the house in 1964, left in a bit of a nervous panic after seeing an apparition at 2:30 a.m. The Whaley House is located at 2482 San Diego Ave. It is a museum in the Old Town San Diego State Historic State Park and is open every day except Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is $4. For more information call (619) 297-7511. La Casa de Bandini Also located in Old Town is La Casa de Bandini, a beautiful adobe hacienda built in 1829 for Juan Bandini and his family. In 1850, it was converted into a hotel and it is now a Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately, dinner out may be more than you bargained for. Some claim that a female ghost in a long dress who glides along the balcony and through sealed doors is a permanent resident. Reports also allege that lights will turn on and off by themselves. Others hear footsteps on the wooden floor upstairs. Casa de Bandini’s address is 2660 Calhoun St. and the phone number is (619) 297-8211. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. Sundays. Hotel Del Coronado This gorgeous hotel is not exempt from its own mysterious events and paranormal activity. Kate Morgan, a visitor at the hotel around the turn of the century, died here. The circumstances surrounding her death were never completely put to rest, leaving others to speculate about murder or suicide. There are two rooms that are believed to be haunted: 3312 and 3502. One supposedly contains Morgan’s soul, and the other contains the soul of a hotel maid who also died under mysterious circumstances. The Del is hard to miss if you’re in Coronado. Its address is 1500 Orange Ave. and it can be reached at (800) Hotel-Del. La Casa de Estudillo This adobe house in Old Town was built in 1829 for Captain Jose Maria de Estudillo. In 1910, the house was restored to feature a functioning kitchen and furnished rooms. Although La Casa de Estudillo is beautiful, it is also spooky and its history is tainted with unexplained incidents. Visitors report feeling sudden cold spots in certain rooms and hearing faint sounds of prayer. There are also reports that a young Victorian girl wills a rocking chair to sway back and forth in a bedroom. La Casa de Estudillo is located on Mason Street in Old Town and is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily and is free of charge. Whether you’re a believer or you think these reports of the paranormal are all bunk, head out this week and check it all out for yourself. It just might make your Halloween that much spookier. ...

DUAL MOVEMENT

Rebecca Anshell is a Marshall sophomore. Anna MacMurdo Guardian She is an active member of UCSD’s chapter of the International Socialist Organization and of the UCSD Peace Coalition. She is eloquent and graceful. The T-shirts she wears bear political messages, such as one listing reasons for abolishing the death penalty. Her blue eyes are intense when she speaks. She is uncompromising when it comes to her commitment against U.S. military action in Afghanistan, and in the importance of making the voice of peace advocates heard. These efforts, she believes, have been successful. Scott Thomas Guardian “”People are really ready to get active,”” she said, citing rising numbers at ISO meetings and the large number of students who came to the “”United for Peace, Not for War”” rally Oct. 4. She was also pleased with the lack of response from the war hawks. “”There has been right-wing retaliation to the anti-war movement,”” she said. “”But so far it has been ridiculously small.”” Anshell characterized those responsible for such counterprotests as “”frat boys.”” She and the other students speaking and acting for peace feel that their movement has power and is gaining momentum. Warren sophomore Renee Elliot senses the change in the air on campus. “”I think [activism] has been a really positive factor in my UCSD experience,”” Elliot reflected. “”It’s kind of changing my opinion of UCSD, [about] them being kind of apathetic.”” She said she was “”pretty cynical”” before, but her outlook is improving. “”People are coming out of the woodwork,”” she said. “”I’m optimistic.”” The ISO brought its message to Balboa Park on Oct. 13 for a citywide peace demonstration organized by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice. And more than just attending, one of their members, UCSD teaching credential student John Patel MCed the event. Patel is a graduate of UC Berkeley, and so his political intensity is unsurprising. He has been a vocal opponent of sanctions on Iraq and the bombing of Serbia. His experience from those efforts is apparent in the savvy he displays when speaking about his politics. He opened the rally by reading the SDCPJ’s point of unity. “”We condemn the attack on Sept. 11 and mourn the victims,”” he read, with an interpretor following in Spanish. “”We call for an end to terrorism not through war but through international cooperation, justice and law. We oppose anti-Islamic, anti-Arab, anti-immigrant and all racial, ethnic and religious bigotry and violence. Fear of terrorism has led to attacks on our civil liberties; we call for their vigorous defense, for citizens and non citizens alike.”” The people at the rally, who spanned all ages and carried signs with slogans such as “”Wage Peace,”” “”Ignorance Is the Most Violent Element in Society,”” “”Y Trust W?”” and “”Israel Is Founded on Palestinians’ Death and Disorder,”” applauded and cheered. “”Wow,”” one attendee observed. “”Nice turnout.”” Roosevelt sophomore Renee Maas agreed that the number of people there was impressive, but she says she is is looking for more response from college students. “”There’s not very much discussion,”” she said about the war while stretching out on the grass. “”That’s really disappointed me.”” “”TAs and professors haven’t talked about it much,”” she noted. “”I understand there’s a set syllabus, but it’s not every day that our country’s involved in a war. It’s kind of disappointing — it’s really disappointing.”” Muir junior Andrew DeCaminada explained why he felt student involvement and awareness are important. “”I think if there is a lot of [involvement], it could make a big difference,”” he said, “”but if it’s just little groups all over the place, we won’t make much difference.”” Maas pointed out, “”Being at a university, there are a lot of students who will end up in a position of power … what happens today is going to affect everything in the future.”” Maas, like the members of the ISO, is firmly opposed to the war in Afghanistan. DeCaminada, however, attended the rally to learn more and hoped other students would adopt a similarly open-minded attitude. “”Whether they agree with the war or not, it’s just a matter of forming an opinion and taking a stance”” he said. When the speakers finished, the rally became a march, and attendees formed a long block, moving down the Prado into the park. Some chanted “”One, two, three, four — break the silence, stop the violence,”” or, “”Not my president, not my war — we’re fired up and won’t take it anymore.”” Some of the loudest voices were those of the students. Vince Vasquez is a Revelle senior. He is president of the Conservative Union, an active member of the College Republicans and a contributor to the California Review. He describes himself as “”tall, dark and handsome.”” He wears headrags and wire-rimmed glasses. His soft voice and relaxed demeanor belie the obvious passion with which he speaks and acts. One of the things Vasquez is passionate about is the United States. He loves his country. He is quick to point this out. “”The idea that there are limits to patriotism, limits to how much you can love your country — to freedom-loving Americans, it’s absurd,”” he said. There are people, he believes, who do not love this country as they should, as he does. For him, those people are the ones involved with the peace movement. He said their “”anti-war rallies”” have actually been “”anti-American.”” “”A minority of people … honestly hate their country,”” he said. Those who counter “”what we have decided upon”” are anti-American, Vasquez said. “”If we see ourselves as Americans and America is attacked, we’re going to support President Bush and the military 110 percent”” he said. “”We support them. We’re not going to question them.”” Vasquez speaks often of the need for unity, which he feels is being disrupted by the anti-war activists. “”We need unity to have peace,”” he said. That desire to promote unity was part of what motivated Vasquez and College Republicans president Lucas Simmons to organize the Oct. 23 “”Pro-America Rally.”” Vasquez also said he felt it was important to make sure students “”hear our side”” — that is, the side of the organizations with which he is involved. “”It’s very disheartening to see that there was maybe one voice coming from UCSD,”” he said, meaning the voice of the anti-war movement and the media coverage of its rallies. Indeed, at the rally, Vasquez explained to the crowd, “”Our hope today is that the UCSD community will grasp a greater acknowledgment of our perspective.”” Warren senior Brian Brook was a featured speaker at the rally. He is a co-founder and co-chair of the United Campus Coalition. This organization tries to foster understanding among students of differering ethnic, religious and ideological backgrounds. He is passionate about the need for student involvement and student activism. We must realize, he said, that “”apathy can no longer carry us forward.”” “”We see people around here not caring about what’s going on,”” Brook told the Price Center crowd. “”How many people have to die before we do something about people dying and suffering in the world?”” He advocated an aggressive role for the Unites States in encouraging and supporting democracy throughout the world, and stressed that Americans must involve themselves personally. “”As lovers of freedom, we must fight for freedom not only for ourselves, but also each other,”” he said. “”We have to believe that democracy is the only way to peace.”” Brook and many of the other speakers at the rally may have viewed war as a means toward peace, but that viewpoint was not shared by all in attendance. Early in the rally, banners were hung next to the American flag, on the Price Center marquee. From the balcony above, Anshell and Patel lowered the red paper, revealing the slogans “”War Makes It Worse”” and “”Give Peace a Voice.”” Down on the ground, other ISO members held up signs. Reactions to the protest were mixed. Simmons was gracious. “”That’s what makes our country: they have a right to have that opinion and express it, whereas in other countries, they wouldn’t have that right,”” he said. “”That’s what democracy is all about.”” Roosevelt junior George Davids criticized the dissenters. “”It’s good that we have a pro-American rally and not an anti-American rally,”” he said. “”There have been too many of those lately.”” He added of the protestors, “”I think it’s really funny that a lot of these guys say, ‘No more racist scapegoating’ on their signs, and we’re, preaching the same message here.”” Marshall senior Clint Greene cheered the speakers and listened intently. He was pleased with that turnout and with those at other recent activist rallies on campus. “”It’s good to see students, regardless of their points of view, getting involved in some way,”” he said. These rallies are only the beginning of UCSD’s dual response to the growing conflict in Afghanistan. Many campus organizations plan to hold events such as teach-ins and panels in the next few months. Though they may differ ideologically, both sides of this swell in student activism suggest that more is to come — and more may soon be involved. For more information on the UCSD ISO, e-mail [email protected] The UCSD Peace Coalition can be reached at [email protected] ...

Stress can overwhelm students, but relief is within reach

Imagine that your midterms were canceled. Life would be easy; you could sit back, relax and not have to stress over your classes until finals, which are still weeks away. That’s what happened to Warren senior Wendy Strangman last year. Her anthropology midterm was canceled and she was off the hook. That was, of course, until her 17-page final research paper was due, which was worth 90 percent of her grade because of the canceled midterm. “”I had, of course, left it until the day before it was due,”” she said, although she’d had the entire quarter to work on it. Sound familiar? Although not many of us are lucky enough to have our midterms canceled, most of us are probably familiar with this kind of procrastination — and the stress that it brings. Stress among college students runs high and for long periods of time. With so much pressure on students from trying to balance school, work, family and friends, stress is inevitable. It is important to be able to recognize the sources of stress, its signs, symptoms and how you can reduce occurrences of stress. For Strangman, the stress was incredible. “”All day I was excited and stressed,”” she said. “”My brain started to shut down and wouldn’t do anything. So instead of doing all of the many things I had to do that day, I did nothing.”” She also felt shaky, experienced problems from her asthma and had neck pains. These symptoms are very common indicators of high stress levels. They can vary from person to person, but some general signs include chronic fatigue, increased irritability, a change in appetite, changes in behavior or emotional patterns, and body aches and pains not caused by exercise. A highly stressed individual can also increase alcohol, drug or cigarette use, experience a change in bowel or bladder habits, changes in sleeping or waking patterns and an inability to focus on tasks effectively. According to UCSD psychologist Linda Young, common stressors are issues of achievement and relationship. For students, achievement issues may include academics, time management, finances, status among peers and personal identity development. Students can also feel stress over new relationships at school, maintaining friends from high school, changing family relationships and issues with romantic relationships. “”We often feel stress when we think about expectations we have of ourselves, or expectations others have of us, and we fall short of these expectations,”” Young said. Specifically at UCSD, Young noted, stress can come from an intense feeling of competition among students. “”Freshmen come in who were big fish in a small pond.”” she said. “”Now they are small fish in a big pond but still feel pressure to rise to the top.”” Many students’ reports of stress concur with Young’s laundry list of stressors. Dana Vander Houwen, a Warren senior, said she gets stressed out by trying to spread herself too thin. She also noted, however, that there is a thin line between stress that can have a positive influence on a student’s performance and stress that affects students negatively. Young agrees, and said that levels of stress that are too low can hamper performance as well as levels of stress that are too high. “”Just the right amount of challenge motivates students to do their best work,”” she said. Unfortunately, finding this “”just right”” amount can be difficult for students. Many students use procrastination to motivate them, but can misjudge their mark and raise their stress levels too much, creating anxiety and the inability to perform well. Because the workload is usually higher at UCSD than in high school, entering freshmen may miscalculate how long they can afford to procrastinate before studying hard. Often, if symptoms of high stress levels go untreated, they can accumulate to cause even more stress and anxiety. According to Dr. John Barrow at Duke University, “”stress that is ineffectively managed and remains too high for too long can contribute to physical breakdowns of the body. Examples of medical conditions that are related to stress include heart and circulatory diseases, ulcers, colitis, asthmatic conditions and lowered immunity leading to infectious illnesses.”” So what should we do to manage our stress? Barrow gives useful advice at Duke’s Student Health Web site, http://healthydevil.stuaff.duke.edu/info/ healthinfo.html. First, he states the importance of recognizing the cause of the stress and asking what can be done to change it. Alternately, it may be better to accept the situation with a positive attitude. It can then be helpful to talk with supportive people, take a bath, listen to music or otherwise distance yourself from the stressor. On the physical side, techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, mental imaging and diaphragmatic (deep) breathing can help as well. He stresses the importance of adequate sleep, regular exercise, balanced eating and keeping hydrated. Barrow writes, “”Identify ways you think yourself into higher levels of stress, including catastrophizing (making mountains out of mole hills), overgeneralizing (jumping to conclusions), dichotomous thinking (right-wrong, good-bad) and perfectionist thinking (‘I’m no good unless I’m perfect’). Then find ways to nudge yourself out of these mental ruts.”” Strangman took advantage of several of these stress-reducing techniques during her anthropology paper crisis. “”To combat my stress, I took a break and ran campus loop, made myself a salad, and drank OJ and water to re-hydrate myself,”” she said. “”And I turned to my friends for support.”” For especially stressful life events, nearly all experts agree on what to do: Seek professional help. Students at UCSD seem to practice many of these techniques. Exercising, sleeping and going out with friends are popular methods of reducing stress. Efrat Stark, a Muir junior, said she tries to “”look at the big picture and realize it’s not a big deal”” when something is stressing her out. Amelia Winslow tries to prioritize her time by making a to-do list and checking off each item as it is completed. Under normal circumstances, Strangman prevents stress by trying to schedule things out in advance so she does not leave important things until the last minute. She also tries to remember “”that most things aren’t worth getting stressed out about,”” and while they might seem important at the time, she tries to maintain a healthy perspective. UCSD Psychological and Counseling Services offers a number of resources for students feeling too stressed out or who want to learn better time- and stress-management skills. In addition to individual counseling services, two workshops are being offered this quarter for all UCSD students. “”Stress Management Skills”” is a six-session workshop that will teach specific, personalized skills to help students cope with stress. “”Time Management”” is another series of workshops designed to assist busy students with managing their time and energy. For more information about other resources available at Psychological and Counseling Services, visit their Web site at http://www.ucsd.edu/psychserv.com or call them at (858)534-3755. ...

The Editor's Soapbox

Two of my favorite people right now are the men who have insulted me the most in the past week. The first is George Lee Liddle, III, editor in chief of the illustrious Koala. The second is former Guardian editor in chief and current California Review pundit Ben Boychuk. In an Oct. 18 letter to the editor, Liddle said I have “”puerile opinions.”” In a piece in the California Review, UCSD’s conservative publication, Boychuk all but called me a “”half-wit.”” And while I bristle at the barbs, I’m also grateful for them. They piss me off. I like being pissed off. I also like criticism, and while I prefer that it be slightly more constructive and specific than, say, “”blow me,”” I’ll take what I can get. And I won’t let a few potshots distract me from the legitimate points being made. So I am now going to climb up on the soapbox and respond to my detractors. Dear George, (Can I call you George? I’ll assume I can skip some formalities with someone who likened me to a “”6-year-old”” calling him a “”poopy-head.”” I would never call you a “”poopy-head,”” by the way.) Thank you for your letter. It made me laugh at a time when I needed to be distracted from falling grades and new wrinkles in my love life. Don’t think I’m trivializing your letter by complimenting its humor. Your letter was surprisingly well-aimed. I should clear up a misunderstanding evident in your letter. The Guardian’s editorial criticizing The Koala’s publication of bigoted jokes never advocated censorship or the withdrawal of student funds from your publication. What it did do was say that you crossed a line from funny to shameful and suggested you consider some restraint in the future. The Guardian is not, as you claimed in your response, trying “”to stop The Koala from continuing to be heard.”” But what’s a little misrepresentation among friends? You hit on something intriguing in your letter. You wrote to the Guardian, “”When [student] organizations allow The Koala to print material that makes fun of white people, fat people, handicapped people, etc. and only take action when members of a particular ethnic group are made fun of in The Koala, I call that racism.”” I agree that it’s completely ridiculous that everyone is getting their panties in a bunch over The Koala only now, when you guys have been offending the hell out of UCSD for years. If “”cum-guzzling drag queen”” (see the “”Special Sungod Pornstar”” issue of last spring) isn’t hate speech, then what is? Do I think what you print is offensive? Sure. Am I breaking out my torch to set alight The Koala office and string up your senior staff in the eucalyptus grove? Hell no. Personally, I think when you come to a university like ours, you accept that your funds are going to be used to foster the free and open expression of people who don’t agree with you and, in fact, make your stomach turn. Obviously some disagree, as we saw last year during Anti-Zionism Week and are seeing again now. I don’t know what the solution to all this brouhaha is. I didn’t know when I sat on the editorial board that puzzled over what stance to take on the developing Koala controversy. I do know that I, for one, am occasionally uncomfortable with what I find funny. I’ve been known to laugh hysterically at a clever but unquestionably racist joke, and then go red and squirm. I know I’m supposed to thunder down from the heavens against such “”hate speech.”” But if it’s funny, and I know that I don’t actually think Mexican kids get “”my bike”” for Christmas, is it still wrong? Are we bigoted because we find bigotry amusing? Or is humor the best way to diffuse such tension and point out how ridiculous it is? These questions aren’t rhetorical: I want responses from anyone and everyone. I want debate. I want people to get pissed off. When people are pissed off, they act up and things get changed. I like change. Once again, George, thanks. You’ve got me thinking, which is something I never expected from The Koala. Sincerely yours. To Mr. Boychuck: You graduated seven years ago. Stop reading the Guardian. Stop picking on our writers. Your demand for a more balanced opinion section at the Guardian is justified. However, if you want an intelligent, conservative voice to be heard on a campus you’re not even affiliated with anymore, give the space you so pointlessly consumed in the California Review to someone with something more to do than hurl hollow insults at liberals. Or send your College Republican friends to the Guardian office. We’d love to hire them — if they write better than you do, that is. And if you’d care to stop belittling my intelligence long enough to give me some constructive criticism on my section, e-mail me at [email protected] Or you could just kiss my ass. Cordially yours. ...

10 Questions

What has been the funniest thing you have seen happen at UCSD? I think it’s funny how the water polo team made a calendar of themselves. What do you do for fun on weekends? Smoke weed and go to the beach. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop? I usually suck on it for awhile. What illegal act have you committed lately? Smoking weed. Boxers, briefs, panties or thongs? Thongs. How would you spend a first date with someone? I’d go for a walk on the beach. What is the weirdest thing in your backpack right now? A little paper boy. His name is Flat Stanley. My cousin in second grade sent it to me and he is on “”vacation.”” What are you dressing as for Halloween? Possibly “”Gilligan’s Island.”” I would be Ginger. If you could be anyone right now, who would it be? I would be a photographer that gets paid to take pictures of islands. Are you a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore? Herbivore. ...

Carving a path

Wings are no longer the highways to the sky. Ground-zero flight is now possible. Armed with the shoes of Mercury, he skims swiftly over concrete like a jet hurtling over clouds. He sweeps past dreary masses of pedestrian students who are doomed to a life of sore feet and raw blisters. Buildings blend together and the students of UCSD blur into a diverse rainbow of yellow, white and brown. People and obstacles become cones in his slalom course as he weaves in and out like a skilled tapestry artist embroidering a quilt that says “”Walking Sucks.”” He is riding a longboard and he is free from the burly grasp of this earth. To many, the preferred means of transport around school is a longboard. The elongated wooden deck, extended wheelbase, wider stance and larger wheels meant for smoother riding differentiate a longboard from a skateboard. Often, longboards will have oddly shaped decks. Many are pointed for aerodynamics. Some pay homage to longboarding’s surfing roots and have flat decks. Others have curves and are molded to induce an eerie, floating feeling when riding. The length can range from a tiny two feet to a massive six feet. One constant for all longboards is their larger, softer wheels designed to soak up bumps, dips and cracks. Simply put, skateboards are designed for tricks while longboards are meant for cruising. Their capacity for higher speed and ability to handle cracks and pavement irregularities make longboards a hit among UCSD students who prefer a fast route around campus. Longboarders are everywhere at UCSD. Though not as prevalent as skateboarders, they are an undeniable presence between classes. The only quick mode of transport that does not require hands, longboarding frees the rider to eat, drink or chat on a cell phone while getting from point A to point B. However, longboarding has its dangers. There have been 11 reported longboarding injuries on campus in the last five years, and many more unreported. Forty-five percent of the accidents took place on Voigt Drive — that enormous hill coming down from RIMAC toward Warren College. This year, a novice rider received multiple stitches after his accident on that hill. The love of boarding is also seen in the organizations on campus. The Board Club gathers boarders of every genre through parties, trips and other social events. Skating, surfing, snowboarding, mountain boarding and longboarding are all united under the [email protected] banner. Board Club President Sean McPherson explained, “”Longboarding is soul. Carving the streets is like no other. When you get the power slide going, it’s so much like surfing, so much like snowboarding, but like neither one.”” Since longboarding holds its roots in surfing, the two sports tend to have many common participants. Freshman and skilled surfer Gavin McClintock owns many boards and has been hitting the swells for the past decade. But when the surf is weak, he longboards. “”Long skateboards are cool because you don’t get speed wobbles bombing big hills, and if you do the blood stains are cool,”” McClintock said. Another ardent surfer, freshman Justin Kleffman, is also an avid board rider. He has been skateboarding for the past eight years, so longboards are nothing new to him. A surfer since junior high, Kleffman said, “”There’s nothing like the feeling of hauling ass down the line — sitting right in the pocket. It’s like you are one with the wave and the ocean. With skating, it’s the same, whether you are carving down a huge hill, weaving through traffic, gliding down the sidewalk to class or busting huge tail-slides on a cement bank. It’s all that same feeling.”” The longboarding craze here at UCSD is a reflection of its popularity far and wide. The San Diego region was instrumental in the growth of longboarding, and Mission Beach and other local spots are magnets for longboarders. Even though the sport tends to be male- dominated, women, such as old-school boarder Stacey Peralta, have shown up generations of men with their incredible longboarding skills. Women everywhere are riding and keeping up with their male counterparts. Senior Kathleen Hentz started longboarding when she came to UCSD. She uses it as transportation around campus because it is “”way easier”” than other modes of locomotion. Sector 9, a local skate company, was founded in 1993 with a few regular guys looking for a good time. While messing around, they began making cheap boards for cruising and carving. Someone offered to buy a board, and eight years later Sector 9 exploded into a multimillion-dollar worldwide enterprise. Sector 9 President and co-founder Steve Lake said, “”It’s all about fun — just doing something different. It’s about the carving, like we were surfing or snowboarding.”” Longboarding is a joy for those who do it. Every mile, foot and inch traveled is a pleasure — at least downhill. Next time you see someone swoosh by on a longboard, know that they are enjoying their commute more than they would be if they were walking. Breaking into the world of longboarding is not beyond your reach. “”I just started, and if there’s any one thing I’ve realized in my short time riding, it’s that you all need to get out of our way,”” said freshman Austin Reid. “”Damn it, I have places to be.”” Visit your local surf or skate store and take a look at their selection. The Internet has many good resources. Web sites such as http://www.gearheadalley.com and http://www.eBay.com offer deals worth your time. A good board will cost between $100 and $150 depending on where you buy it. Though expensive and not easy to learn initially, longboarders feel it is well worth the investment of time and money. Expect to eat it (slang for “”hurt yourself””) many times, but bear the scars with pride. If you ever dreamed of flight, now is your chance. Like they say, “”ride or die.”” ...

A contagious fear

A panic seems to have spread through the United States in the past few weeks. Americans are wondering if they are at a high risk of biological or chemical warfare and if such an attack could effectively be conducted against the United States. Pat Leung Guardian Fears of an attack intensified last week after Robert Stevens died from inhaling anthrax in Florida. While the circumstances surrounding his death are still unclear, many fear it is a harbinger of biological warfare as a new form of combat. The scare is reminiscent of other attacks in which chemicals were used as weapons. In 1995, terrorist group Aum Shinrikyo spread aerosols of anthrax and botulism through Tokyo on eight occasions. Most of these attempts were only marginally successful, killing a total of 12 people. In 1979, 64 people died of an accidental release of weaponized anthrax in Sverdlovsk, Russia. Other possible biological agents include smallpox, cholera and plague. An outbreak of smallpox would be “”devastating,”” according to Gerard Spahm, director of occupational health at the Salk Institute. “”It would be horrendous. But we have every indication that there is no other smallpox.”” While small amounts of smallpox still exist in laboratories in the United States and Russia, it was declared eradicated in 1977. Of the biological and chemical agents that could be used in an attack, anthrax seems to be on most people’s minds. There are three types of anthrax infection: inhalation anthrax, cutaneous anthrax and gastrointestinal anthrax. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common form, with about 2,000 cases reported annually and a 20 percent death rate, according to the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies. FBI officials and Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York, spoke Oct. 12 in a press conference about the NBC employee who has been diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax. “”There is nothing that ties it firm and hard to the Sept. 11 events,”” Barry Mawn of the FBI said. However, Dr. Brian J. Murray, director of Student Health Services at UCSD, is skeptical. “”Cutaneous anthrax is fairly uncommon,”” Murray said. “”I would say the relation between the NBC woman and terrorist activities is highly suspect.”” The cutaneous form of anthrax is usually transmitted by infected animals, which places wool sorters at industrial mills at the highest risk. Gastrointestinal anthrax is less common, since it is spread by eating undercooked, contaminated meat. The strain of most concern is inhalation anthrax. When distributed as an aerosol, it is an odorless and invisible enemy, and can travel many miles before spreading. Inhaling airborne spores causes infection, but it is not contagious. Once the spores grow, the disease follows two steps. The first stage shows symptoms of fever, cough, headache, vomiting, chest pain and weakness. The second stage is red-flagged by a sudden fever and shock. From the time that the first symptoms appear, most victims last from 24 hours to three days without medical treatment. However, many victims do not show symptoms for a long time. But if a victim is treated with antibiotics such as Cipro at the first signs of the disease, anthrax is not fatal. There is also a vaccine against anthrax, though it is almost exclusively used for the U.S. military and its reserves. The vaccine is not recommended by public use because of its harsh side effects, as well as the cost and logistics of a large-scale vaccination. Authorities are also trying to discourage people from creating a personal stockpile of antibiotics in case of an anthrax attack. Dr. Jeffery Kaplan, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Oct. 2 that the centers “”do not recommend that physicians prescribe antibiotics at this time. “”We currently have enough antibiotics to prevent the disease in two million persons exposed to anthrax,”” Kaplan said. “”We could rapidly get preventative medicine to those who may be affected by the disease, which cannot be transmitted between people.”” As nice as that sounds, this statement has done little to allay people’s fears. “”There is no doubt in my mind that they [terrorists] have the capacity to unleash a biological offensive,”” said Muir senior Elijah Zarlin. “”And if it happens, it would be devastating, no matter how many precautions you take.”” While terrorists may have the ability to unleash these agents, it could be difficult to effectively spread it. A successful attack would use a confined space to discourage dilution into open air. The effectiveness of a chemical attack would also depend on the location and weather conditions. Spahm said that San Diego residents would not be prime targets for a chemical attack. “”The prevailing winds from the ocean to the mountains would disperse the particles, therefore dramatically reducing its effectiveness,”” he said. Since the primary symptoms of inhalation anthrax resemble that of influenza, there is a growing concern that an increased public panic could lead to a psychosomatic reaction. That means that people could convince themselves that they have inhaled anthrax spores instead of simply acquiring influenza. Following the death in Florida, for example, over 60 people who had an affiliation with the man, or the company he worked for, convinced themselves that they had acquired the disease. “”We would encourage people with possible complications to come in first for the flu vaccination, which comes out in the end of October,”” said Sylvia Wallace, assistant director of public affairs for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. “”Those without complications should wait until November and December, when supplies trickle in to get this year’s flu shot.”” Flu shots will also be available at the UCSD Student Health Office on Oct. 23 for $15. Officials have also reassured the public, which is unaccustomed to living in fear of terrorist activity. The CDC and the World Health Organization urge citizens to continue their normal daily routines. Wallace pointed out that the government has “”stockpiles”” of antibiotics to treat most of the possible diseases from biological or chemical pathogens. “”As a system, [hospitals] have emergency preparedness and [practice] simulated drills,”” Wallace said. “”We also work in cooperation with the fire department and other regional and federal systems. Many thought healthcare would fold in New York, but it didn’t fail.”” Most authorities interviewed said that there are few practical precautions for a biological or chemical attack. “”In order to be protected, you must wear [a gas mask or air-tight suit] 24 hours a day,”” Spahm said. Student and faculty seem to favor continuing a normal routine. “”I don’t take any precautions,”” UCSD employee Katy Pilikova said. “”I think we have to be worried. But still, I am going on vacation.”” ...

The Editor's Soapbox

If you’re one of those people who has ever said, “”I think I’m going to take the LSAT just to see how I would do,”” I have this to say in response: Don’t even toy with the idea of law school unless you have hundreds of dollars to throw around. Now, when I mention dollars, you probably think I’m referring to the astronomical tuition fees associated with most of the top-tier law schools. Harvard, Yale and Stanford all demand something around $25,000 per year. Even the lower-ranked, but still noteworthy schools — such as USC, Cornell and Columbia — will cost you a pretty penny. Still, the steep tuition is expected. What you might not expect from law school is just how much it could cost you to simply take the test and apply. Let me enlighten you, dear prospective LSAT-takers, with a few insightful bits of wisdom that constitute the sum of all I learned while studying for the Big Test over the last three months. It costs $96 to register for the LSAT. On top of that, most test-takers register for the “”Basic Law School Data Assembly Service 12-month subscription fee”” for $95. The $95 buys you one free score report and ensures that your letters of recommendation will be on file with the LSDAS. It already sounds like an expensive proposition. The average applicant applies to 10 law schools. You get to pay $9 for each additional score report that the LSDAS sends out. After registering to take the LSAT and deciding which 10 schools you’re applying to, you’ve got a bill of $281. Let’s be fair and imagine that you’re taking the test just to “”see how you would do,”” and that you thus have no need for 10 score reports or for the filing service. Being there on test day is still going to cost $96 and if you ever do apply, you’ll still have to register for the LSDAS for $95. Now, let’s imagine another scenario: You paid the $96 just to see how you would do, but now that the economy and the world seem a tad wobbly, you want to apply to your 10 schools and ensure your position on the student deferment list rather than your position on the front lines in Afghanistan. First, you’ll be hit by that $95 fee and then you’ve got to order those additional score reports at $9 each. Then, a month later, you’ll forget that you’re a communications or political science major and you’ll think, “”What the heck? I might as well apply to Harvard. I mean, I do have a 3.90.”” Now you will have gotten your little legalistic self into a quandary — you only ordered 10 score reports! Never fear, of course. The LSDAS loves to predict your blunders and make money off them, and they predicted this one perfectly. You can order additional score reports for Harvard at a later date, but the price goes up from $9 each to $11 each. Now that’s $95 for the test, $96 for the LSDAS subscription, $90 for score reports and $11 for the Harvard decision. That adds up to $292. And you haven’t even paid your application fees yet, which run between $50 and $70 each. Ten applications at an average of $60 per application is $600. The grand total has now risen to $892. Oh, and what about those preparatory courses you’ve heard such wonderful things about? They must be worth something — I mean, they’re the reason the LSAT is getting harder every year. Well, don’t even consider trying one unless you’ve got about $1,000 to drop. New grand total: $1,892. Before I go on, I’ll admit that the LSDAS does offer fee waivers for U.S. citizens. The general condition upon which such waivers are granted, however, is an “”absolute inability to pay for the LSAT and other essential applicant services.”” That seems sort of reasonable, but LSDAS also states that, “”Because the cost of these services is only a fraction of the cost of a legal education, the need criterion is considerably more stringent than for other financial aid processes.”” Here’s my reading of that very fishy statement: “”If you can’t afford to take the LSAT, you probably can’t afford law school. You should be intimidated by these looming costs and shouldn’t even bother applying.”” At first, it seems like I sound a lot like the LSDAS booklet. But here’s how my LSAT philosophy differs: Even if you’re empty-pocketed, you should save up and apply, you should still go if you get in, and, of course, you should apply for the fee waiver no matter what. Just be aware of the price tag attached to your decision and prepare for it. I wasn’t and now I’ve got a new $1,300 student loan. ...

10 Questions

What exactly were you thinking before I stopped you? I was thinking about what I’m going to eat for lunch today. If you could go to another university, where would you go and why? I would go to UCSB because it’s almost as beautiful as San Diego. Has there been any improvement in student events since you started UCSD? I don’t know — I’m not much of a participant. How many times have you been to Tijuana? About four. What do you think the biggest slacker major is? Why? Undeclared, because you don’t have to make any commitments. In any major there will be slackers, though. Who would win in a street fight between Peter Jennings and Dan Rather? Dan Rather. Actually, I don’t know who either one of them are. Are they football players? If you could go anywhere for spring break, where would you go? Mallorca — it’s an island off Spain. Although Jamaica would be cool too; I can’t decide. What radio station is your radio tuned to right now? Z90. If you had a hot cousin, would you hook up with him or her? No. If I didn’t know they were my cousin, it would be OK, but I just wouldn’t do that. If your partner wanted to give you an olive oil massage, would you be down for it? Yes ...

The Editor's Soapbox: Quest for 'hotness' misguided, insincere

It happened nearly a year ago, but I don’t forget things quickly. Late one night in October, my normally quiet, mild-mannered roommate stumbled into the house fresh from his company’s Halloween party. Drunk as a pig, he was full of brilliantly witty declarations regarding the disposition of the female gender, most of which boiled down to the statement, “”Women are bitches.”” Another of my roommates, ineffably amused, asked him, “”Just how drunk are you?”” at which he burst out, with a grin, “”Drunk enough to think that Jennifer is hot!”” He quickly guffawed and tried to reassure me with a slurred, “”Just kidding.”” I smirked back at him, but things were already working within my mind. I did not know which should have been more offensive: the first statement, or its retraction a moment later. What I did know was that whichever way his words were taken, he was speaking not just his own point of view but indeed even my own, and that he reflected, to a degree, what others around me are prone to think as well. The difference between the way I feel about my appearance and the way some others do, however, is that I don’t feel any obligation to change anything. “”Nine out of 10 UC girls are hot, and the tenth goes to UCSD.”” Doubtless many of you, especially the older ones, have heard this self-satisfied sneer at some point or another. I could easily counter it with the presentation of any of my female acquaintances, but I could not exhibit myself as a counter-example. So sorry, boys — I’m that 10th girl who’s ruining your statistics. However, most of you lads aren’t so hot yourselves, so you may want to think about that the next time you sit down for a laugh at the expense of your female classmates. After several years of contemplation, I have noticed a couple of things about “”hotness””: First, it’s a sin not to have it, but second, it’s an even greater sin not to want it. I am content with my lot, so don’t think this is a rant about how bitter I am that I look nothing like Catherine Zeta Jones. Like the mindless masses, I worship at the delicious altar of beauty and pledge my undying zeal without a second thought. However, I wish people would quit trying to make me want that distant, unattainable zenith for myself when I know I am demure enough not to try to be so. While a person can be perfectly comfortable for failing to meet the criteria that make for “”beauty,”” it makes others uncomfortable as hell when they have to deal with someone who willingly steps outside that fold. People seem to take a particular delight in trying to play dress-up with those who won’t subscribe to conventional standards of beauty. I can’t tell you how many slumber party friends have asked to do a makeover on me, and how many times I have squeamishly refused. Finally, though, something gave way during my first year here, and I consented to become a mannequin to my roommates for an evening. I found it uncomfortable but bearable, goaded on as I was by their compliments, and I decided to make small changes in my appearance for a while. I occasionally ditched glasses for contacts, dared to wear my hair down — I enjoy a famous reputation from Walnut Creek to San Diego for always keeping it pulled back — and started shopping for things other than sweatshirts and baggy jeans. People reacted positively to how I looked. They found it novel and impressive that I would have consented to appear more as a 1990s girl than a late-nineteenth century portrait. When I would revert back to what I considered my normal appearance, they would ask when I was next going to appear in my “”hot”” guise, as some called it. I used to laugh this off with embarrassment, but as the summer after freshman year wore on, I began to feel the first tinges of offense creep into me. I noticed that I was becoming less comfortable with the style that I had adopted; that I felt it did not encapsulate the side of me with which I was at ease. Dressing up in that manner was more like putting on a mask or a persona, and I felt untrue to myself. I am not one to do things that go against my instinct; I reverted more and more to my normal appearance, with which I was perfectly comfortable and content, though I did keep the wardrobe changes. And then it started. I had ceased to change my appearance any longer and stayed the same old comfortable me, the one I like the best. But some of my friends began to ask more insistently when I would next be playing dress-up, and would even urge me to come out to certain social functions only if I’d be “”properly attired.”” This had always made me uneasy, but after two years of this badgering, it had begun to make me downright angry. I would dismiss their beleaguering questions absent-mindedly, or laugh sardonically at the mention of my alter ego. Nobody was any the wiser. I realized that people had taken to the other appearance I created for myself; there was nothing wrong with that, in my book. What was infuriating was that I considered it a fake incarnation of myself, and many people seemed to prefer the fake persona to my real one, the one with which I was happy. This vexed me considerably. It doesn’t bother me to walk by the Bebe store and see an enormous poster of a model whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie. It is bothersome, however, to imagine the indignation of those who stand behind me, condemning me just because I don’t want to try in vain to make myself look like that same model. Before my sophomore year, I stopped scrambling for the unattainable and realized that I was most content with what I had been given. Some of those around me are not, however, and I’ll still get the occasional request to be my “”other self.”” I got over my perpetual irritation with others’ pointless pleading when I realized that I was comfortable with my appearance, no matter what others might have thought of it. Indeed, I came to realize that their nagging actually reflected more on their discomfort with my own desire not to conform than on any objective notion that I could actually be good-looking. Hotness is delicious — on the people for whom it was intended. But most can’t get it through their heads that not everybody can be hot or want to be. This comes as a shock to many people, since hotness is certainly one of the more lauded and thirsted-after values of our society. I’m not a mover and shaker, though; I stay within the comfortable boundaries of my locative realm. Not to want to be hot, and to be truly satisfied with that state, seems to be too much for some. Even if you come to accept yourself, it’s funny to realize that there are still going to be a lot of people who won’t accept you, particularly if you go against the grain. ...