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]

An Encounter Leads to Personal Awareness

From time to time, we have all asked, “”Who am I?”” in a desperate search for identity, both in terms of cultural makeup and personality. In a world where national barriers are quickly falling down, globalization is picking up momentum and marriage between people of different ethnicities is on the rise, another question some people may ask is, “”What am I?”” Poet and writer Paisley Rekdal addresses these questions in her book, “”The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee.”” A nonfiction work about Rekdal’s own experiences, the book examines how a person of mixed heritage is viewed through the eyes of native Chinese, Koreans and Japanese people. Rekdal herself is mixed; her mother is Chinese-American while her father is Norwegian. However, she looks almost entirely white. Rekdal’s duality is set against the duality with which she examines her own identity: the micro sense of self-analysis and the macro sense of how the world views her. Rekdal humorously writes on her travels in China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines and critically explores how people in each nation view her. At the end of the book, she comes to a conclusion about ethnicity, about who she is, what she is, and likewise helps us come to our own conclusion. What is most memorable for me is that Rekdal does so through a compassionate and humorous lens, setting her book apart from other, drier, critical ethnic studies literature. She unabashedly retells anecdotes, whether embarrassing or personal. But because of this, the reader’s attention is captured and keeps him reading, even if the book is used in an Asian ethnic studies course or an Asian-American literature course. The book starts off with what the title implies: the night Rekdal’s mother met Bruce Lee. Her mother, still a teen-ager at the time, was working in a restaurant. While the introduction goes on and describes the situation in which her mother met Lee (I’m going to skip it and let you laugh about it yourself). The story humorously continues with Rekdal’s experiences living in China with a group of foreign students. It also talks about her hearing what they think about Asians, living with a conservative Japanese family, teaching English in South Korea, her travels in the Philippines and even in her own bedroom. Again, the narrative shifts back and forth between her own developing views on her identity and how the world views her. Readers are given the chance to witness how she comes to her resolution on identities and how she comes to terms with herself. I am purposefully holding back on much of the detailed descriptions of “”The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee.”” Moreso than with other books, to even hint at what transpires in this book is to give away the meaning of it: how to view oneself. While Rekdal does come to a conclusion on who and what she is, the book must be read on a personal level and the reader must come to his own conclusions. In essence, it is a book that must be enjoyed selfishly. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Asian-American literature and ethnic studies. It takes a different approach to exploring Asian identities and ethnic identity, filled with smiles and laughter. “”The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee”” will keep the reader interested, yet still provide the critical analyses that are found in similar literature. Buried beneath the humor and embarrassing moments are the opinions expressed in many Asian ethnic studies courses on racial and ethnic identities. “”Perhaps I am afraid to become as my appearance suggests — ‘merely white’ — because then I have nothing to distinguish myself,”” she writes, looking at her own identification as white and what it means to be white in relation to other races. If you’re an ethnic studies major, you know exactly what she is referring to. “”The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee”” is a fantastic book that critically examines race and identity in the 21st century, where people of mixed heritage are more and more common. It looks at the same old beliefs of racial analysis through the lens of humor and anecdotes, leaving the reader with a smile on his face, while nodding his head in understanding.”” ...

Bearing Questions: Advice on Current Issues

Good fellows, I greet you during the continuance of this great experiment. For the remainder of the quarter, I will attempt to provide you with spiritual and divine guidance, drawn not from the stars, but from the ancient Chinese Oracle, the I-Ching. I undertake this endeavor with the humblest reverence for Fu Hsi, the originator, respect for all the interpreters after him and with sincerest hopes that my labors may be of benefit to you. If you wish to delve further into the Oracle than I am able to here, there are several good volumes available at Geisel and numerous online resources. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] for guidance, or with any question I can ask of the Oracle for you. For the eighth week of the UCSD spring quarter, beginning Monday, May 21, I will continue last week’s inquiry and explore one more. You asked me: Dear Zopyra, every time spring rolls around, I get very nervous about my housing situation. On top of finishing this school year, I have to find a place to live for the next. What can I do? I asked the Oracle: “”What is the best course of action to secure housing in the San Diego Area for next year?”” In response, I received Hexagram 8, the Kua of Holding Together, with an old broken line in the first and second place, both of which will soon become solid and produce Hexagram 60, the Kua of Setting Limitations. This immediately identifies the topic of the inquiry as deserving of careful and conscientious attention. Not only has the Oracle provided a detailed response, it has begun with a judgment that strongly urges active self-examination. Entering into group housing will be highly fortuitous this year for those who do so with great care and caution. Danger comes not from duplicity on the part of potential housemates or landlords, but from within. If you arrange group housing with any devious or hidden motives, great misfortune will befall you. As ever, the I-Ching Oracle provides guidance for the present moment. As with any book of wisdom, it is filled with excellent life lessons, but the literal meaning of the Chinese title, “”The Book of Changes,”” indicates that the Oracle works by revealing the most vital of its lessons and wisdom for the context of the particular moment in which we inquire of it. In this case, the Oracle paints a picture of a group of people just beginning to gather around a leader and predicts good fortune to come. If you can gladly join a group in pursuing housing for next year, do so with haste. Make yourself an ally of the group leader in the argumentative process of finding housing by knowing yourself and your limits well. Communicate clearly and then allow the situation and the group to work things out. This last instruction is drawn from the second half of the judgment, Hexagram 60, or Setting Limitations. The groups that will prevail in the search for good housing in San Diego will be those with leadership. This is not a good year for unbalanced households, for excesses of drinking or studying. A leader who can provide balance and moderation among the group will reap great rewards for herself and all those around her. You asked me: “”I’m too stressed to figure this out for myself — should I drop this class and take a ‘W’?”” The Oracle cannot tell you what to do, only how a certain thing may be done and what to expect from doing it. I asked: “”How should students decide whether to drop a class and receive a ‘W’?”” I received another complex response, this time Hexagram 44, Meeting with old solid lines in the second and fifth places, which will both soon become broken, producing Hexagram 56, The Traveler. As you might suspect, the emphasis of this judgment is on logistical details of who and when, much more than why. The first Hexagram, Meeting, can also be called The Return of The Dark Force, and does not describe a gathering or summit, but rather the arrival of a potentially devastating temptation. This may be the slothful desire to avoid work by dropping a class. Or, if you took on extra classes for pride or other unhealthy motivations, this earlier unbalanced decision may be coming back to haunt you. Which part of you wants to drop and which part wants to persevere? Have you asked others for advice? Some of these motives and some of these people are strong and some of these are weak. You must decide which is which. It may take strength to finish the course, or strength might be required to admit that you are overburdened. If you follow the path of strength, the Oracle assures me that you will prevail. The Oracle has also provided clear wisdom for the timing of your decision: It must be soon. The arriving Hexagram 56, The Traveler, points out that whether you drop or persevere, you must move from your current moment of indecision to one of resolve. If you follow the path of strength, this movement will bring you face to face with difficulty. You are like the judge arranging punishment for the criminal. A prompt decision may be wise or foolish; a firm decision may be harsh or lenient. But delay and facilitating back and forth is always cruel. Do not spend the next few weeks torturing yourself with this decision. Identify the weak or evil inclination; have faith that you are strong enough to contest it and do so. ...

This Year Has Had Many Enriching Experiences that Will Last a Lifetime

Well, here it is: my last Editor’s Soapbox as the features editor of the Guardian. I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on this year at UCSD. In retrospect, this has been a solid sophomore year for me that followed an enviable freshman run. The year has had its ups and downs, but has made me a better person overall. (I know this sounds really sappy, but allow me to get nostalgic and mushy for a few lines.) Coming into this year, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I was living with three other guys in an on-campus apartment. For the first time in my life, I was one of the people in charge of maintaining a domicile, including cooking and cleaning. That in itself has brought about some interesting situations. I remember that after I had been in the apartment for just two days, our refrigerator contained only two things: pizza and beer. I happen to think that that situation reflected positively on the residents of the apartment, but my roommates thought otherwise. That brought on a whole new experience: shopping. It’s incredible how funny four guys can look while value shopping at the local supermarket. Four 20-year-old college students arguing about which box of macaroni and cheese is the best deal can be quite amusing to passers-by. We even put a few old ladies to shame with the amount of coupons that we had shamelessly pilfered from another student’s Sunday newspaper. As I began to settle into my apartment, I also had to settle into my classes. After breezing through my freshman year with minimal studying, I was rudely awakened by the hell that is upper-division classes. Entering my sophomore year, I had yet to take an upper-division class. I simply figured that they would be a little more in-depth, but just as easy. Wow, was I in for a treat. For literally the first time in my life, I found myself forced to actually study. It was quite a foreign concept to me. I tried to study in my room a few times, but that just led to embarrassing grades on midterms that clued me in to the fact that I needed an alternative ambiance for studying. That is when I found the place that would become my Mecca for the rest of the year: Denny’s. What other 24-hour, white-trash haven caters to poor college students looking to further their academic enrichment? None, I say. Denny’s is a great place to go and get some serious work done. You can get your grub on and pound endless cups of coffee while learning the area of three-dimensional objects being spun around the x-axis. As I grew accustomed to the rigorous workload of my sophomore classes (I was up to an hour or so of studying per week), I found that I needed to find a social outlet or two for my deep love of women, alcohol and cheap adrenaline rushes. I found parties at UCSD to be exactly what they were my freshman year: few and far between. The good parties cost money and were usually broken up just when they really got rolling. I did notice that the student body seemed to make a more concerted effort to have fun this year, but not nearly enough. I still contend that we should party like it’s Sun God once a week, even though it would probably kill some of us. While I’m on the social scene, I have to take a moment to write a little something about the ladies here at UCSD. Before my freshman year, I basically heard one word to describe the women of UCSD: unattractive. When I got to campus last year, I’ll admit, I didn’t see it as having a gorgeous student body. I’m not saying that everyone here was Elephant-man ugly, but they were attractively challenged. However, since I have been at UCSD, I have noticed a fantastic trend in the girls of the second- and first-year classes this year: they are hot. This year’s freshman and sophomore girls are very attractive. I’ve even noticed quite a few upper-class girls who are looking pretty good as well. In all, I think that the stereotype of UCSD women as generally being ugly is completely outdated. I think that a simple stroll down Library Walk around noon will show that. Another part of my social outlet was taking advantage of the fine Native American gaming establishments that are located so conveniently close to campus. In particular, I gambled at Viejas quite a bit (they should give me a share of the casino for all the money I’ve dropped there). There is nothing better than randomly deciding to take a midnight stroll up to see Dale (lovingly pronounced “”Dah-lay””), Bong, Malachi and the other wacky dealers that are so eager to take your money. With so many other things going on in my life, it’s amazing that I was actually able to hold a job. As the year began, I also had to settle into my new position as features editor at the Guardian. I’d worked at the paper my freshman year but honestly didn’t know what it took to run a section of the paper on my own. Suddenly I was responsible for a full quarter of the paper’s output. My name was on it, so if it looked like ass, I was to blame. It was a lot of pressure early in the year, but I would like to think that I adjusted nicely and did a nice job with the section (I guess that you readers are the final judges of that). I’ve tried to listen to the readers and cover the kinds of things that you wanted to read about. I tried to make the section interesting. I wanted the readers to realize that there was more to the features section than simply the crossword puzzle (which, despite my efforts, remains the most popular part of the section). In the end, I hope that I’ve made it a more enjoyable experience for you guys. Who knows, you might have even learned a thing or two from the articles that we’ve run. In any case, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] with any feedback that you have. I’d be interested to hear what you have to say. As far as next year is concerned, I don’t know what my place in the paper is going to be. I don’t know what my place in this school is going to be, for that matter. My second year at UCSD has been completely unforgettable. I’ve met so many amazing people and had so many more incredible experiences that have made a permanent impact on my life that I can hardly believe it. I’ve heard that these are the best years of my life. Reflecting on that statement, I wouldn’t mind it all too much. I feel that these years have been good to me. I can only hope that the next two years here will be as good as the first. One can only hope. ...

Attention Quasi-Marxists: Let's Try Critical Thought for a Change

I was walking to my Tuesday afternoon political science class at Peterson Hall the other day when I saw something truly amusing. As I made my way across the winding cement paths in front of the Sun God, I saw what appeared to be a life-sized paper mache army figure toting a bazooka over its shoulder. It appeared to be taking aim at the Sun God and was sporting a T-shirt with something to the effect of “”UCSD Administration”” painted on the back. Surrounding the figure was a series of golf tees and holes, essentially trying to convey that student fees are being funneled into the already rich pockets of the regents and administration. A similar anti-administration protest took place during Admit Day. I was showing my brother around the campus and decided to attend the “”Welcome to UCSD”” lecture offered on the hour. Just before Vice Chancellor Joseph Watson and others were set to begin speaking, the stage was rushed by a protester. Before a crowd of hundreds of potential students and their families, he explained that the administration was a greedy, cold-hearted beast that cared only for its corporate interests and not for students. He also asserted that UCSD was a “”very political campus.”” I had trouble containing my laughter. This diatribe was followed by a brief chant with fellow protesters scattered throughout the audience. “”UCSD equals corporate greed,”” they half-heartedly repeated, sensing that the crowd of anxious parents was getting agitated by the outburst. They eventually left, allowing the lecture to continue. So why do I bring these two instances up? Is it because it’s the most political activity UCSD has seen since the 1960s? No. Is it because paper mache army men give you something fun to look at on the walk to Peterson? Not exactly. More than anything, I’m prompted to write and address the idiocy of these events. Over the past month, there have been protests and articles in this newspaper damning the administration and any form of bureaucracy as the tool of capitalist greed and corporate manipulation. Come on, are we really that foolish? Let’s take a look at where this all begins — Marxism and the undeniably profound work of “”The Communist Manifesto.”” The 1848 treatise is effectively Marx and Engel’s critique of 19th century European society. The manifesto was written in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, when the interests of the manufacturing elite were continually adverse to those of the workers. It was, as Marx put it “”shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.”” It seems, however, that these modern readers of the manifesto have discounted the context of the work. Taken aback by the passionate prose that invokes a spirit of indignation and self-righteousness, they have effectively attempted to transpose Marx’s world to the one we live in. This isn’t to say that we should walk through life with the naive belief that corporate interests serve those of the population. A cautious skepticism of all faceless, power-welding entities — whether corporations or government — is a healthy practice in any free-thinking society. What these protests illustrate is the tendency of anti-corporate leftists to adopt a catch-all ideology, such as class struggle, in place of critical thought. Clearly, it is easier to demonize capitalism than to search for explanations that more effectively address the issue. Instead of rudely disrupting hundreds of parents and students on Admit Day and discouraging enrollment at UCSD, these protesters could have found a more rational and credible approach. If you want to be mindful of the administration, form a watchdog group of concerned students and monitor the cash flow of the university — UCSD is a public institution and all records have to be disclosed. If there is something fishy going on, write a letter to the Guardian and create some commotion with your evidence. Sure, it’s not as easy as making paper mache dolls and a nine-hole golf course in front of Muir college, but researching the hard truth shouldn’t be. I respect Ralph Nader for this very reason. I can’t recall a TV or radio appearance where Nader unleashed a criticism of corporate America using archaic, Marxist maxims. His concerns over the excessive money and corporate interests in our political system have always been based on solid, well-reasoned arguments. Say what you will about his politics, at least his criticisms go deeper than an ingrained hatred of the establishment. This contrasts what happened during Admit Day. Upon interrupting one of the speakers, a protester was told that he could address the audience at the conclusion of the current speech. Rather than articulate the position of the protest in a credible and diplomatic manner, the protester denied the invitation and shouted anti-administration slurs as he was booed out of the Price Center Ballroom. Not only did the protest fail to garner support, it created a backlash against it and its fundamental ideological base. Marx’s critique of 19th-century Europe was an innovative and thoughtful examination of a society amid rapid change. The criticisms recently expressed against the administration embody a similar form, but lack the substance and circumstance of their predecessors. These pseudo-Marxists scream to the heavens against corporate evils, administrative greed and the exploitation of students, but denounce the opportunity to engage in discourse over these concerns. Instead, they formulate arguments composed of lofty rhetoric and simpleton art projects. Because I am an employee of the Guardian, these people are likely to write off anything I say about their activities. After all, the check I receive for this article will come from the university, the oppressive and malicious entity that has been keeping us all down. I’m just a propagandist of the administration. Let me offer a more thoughtful explanation. This Editor’s Soapbox is a contribution to the dialogue and free exchange of ideas on this campus, not a four-word protest chant or an oversimplified view of a complex issue. I’m not writing this because I’m a “”wage slave,”” or because I’m being exploited by the university. It’s a matter of expressing ideas in a constructive and thoughtful way. If you disagree with what I’ve said, write a letter to the editor; don’t just show up at the Guardian office with a paper mache effigy of me with “”dumb”” written on it in crayon. This is a university — we should be able to do better than that. ...

Brewing the Nectar of the Gods

Editor’s Note: Before you go running off and trying to brew your own beer, use your head. Making moonshine in your bathtub can lead to serious health, as well as legal problems. We don’t encourage underage drinking. James P. Pascual Guardian Sun God is just around the corner. You’ve read the Guardian beer issue and are psyched about getting piss-drunk on Friday, but you’ve got a problem. Either you’re underage and can’t buy beer, or you’re of age, but broke. Either way, this sweet nectar is simply out of your grasp. Rather than sulking, you should have been planning ahead. If you had actually taken a few moments to think about it, you would have come up with the perfect solution: brewing your own beer. In addition to having a slew of alcohol at your disposal, you could probably sell a lot of it to beer-hungry freshmen (although we at the Guardian do not condone such things, as stated in the editor’s note) and make yourself a nice profit. Brewing beer could actually turn into quite a lucrative business — just ask Al Capone. While making beer is a very involved process, this is an attempt to simplify the process and give you a glimpse as to what it takes to brew your own suds. Preparation According to John Palmer’s “”How to Brew Your First Beer,”” there are three key things that you must keep in mind throughout the brewing process. These are cleanliness, preparation and good record keeping. Without these, you might as well be drinking rubbing alcohol, because the beer you make will taste awful. Cleanliness is very important in the brewing process. Since brewing beer involves providing a healthy environment for the yeast to grow and ferment, it also leaves the door wide open for bacteria to form and grow. Lack of cleanliness can lead to entire batches of ruined beer. Preparation is another key to brewing good beer. This includes having all of the ingredients ready, having your equipment clean and being ready to execute the brewing steps in a timely manner. Leaving the yeast out too long while you wait to clean the fermenter can cause it to go bad. The final key to brewing a good batch of beer, according to Palmer, is record keeping. The brewer should keep track of the amounts of the ingredients that were used as well as how much time was spent in each process. The purpose of the extensive record keeping is to allow good batches to be duplicated in future endeavors and to learn from bad batches. Equipment As nice as it would be to simply be able to look around the house, grab a few items and be ready for brewing, that simply isn’t the case. Several pieces of equipment must be purchased prior to beginning the brewing process. Again, this goes back to the preparation aspect of brewing. Three of the biggest pieces of equipment are the airlock, boiling pot and fermenter. The airlock comes in several styles and should be filled to the water line with bleach water. The boiling pot should be stainless steel, ceramic-coated steel or aluminum. It should be able to hold a minimum of three gallons of liquid. The fermenter is a large container. A six-gallon food-grade plastic pail is recommended for beginners (that means you). Next on the list are two cases of recappable 12-ounce bottles. Heavy glass bottles are recommended. Twist-off caps are not advisable. In addition to the bottles, you should purchase a bottle brush to scrub out the bottles, bottle caps (either standard or oxygen absorbing) and a bottle capper (either a hand capper or a bench capper). You should also purchase a bottle filler, which is a hard plastic, or sometimes metal, tube that has a spring-loaded valve to fill the bottles. Additionally, you will need to purchase a siphon hose, which is a clear, plastic tubing; a racking cane, which is a rigid, plastic tube with a sediment stand-off; a stirring paddle, which is a food-grade plastic paddle or spoon and a thermometer that has a range of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Ingredients In order to brew the perfect ale, you will need several different ingredients, including five to seven pounds of hopped pale malt extract syrup, five gallons of water, one to two ounces of hops, one packet of dry ale yeast and three-fourths of a cup of corn sugar. The malt extract syrup consists of concentrated sugars removed from malted barley. According to Palmer, a rule of thumb is one pound of malt extract syrup per gallon of water to produce a light-bodied beer. The water is very important in the beer-making process. It should be boiled before use to kill any chlorine or bacteria in the water. Brewers should also avoid distilled water since the minerals are what gives the beer flavor and allows the yeast to grow. Hops comes in two main categories: bittering and aroma. The bittering hops contain more alpha acids, which give the beer its bitter taste. For the purposes of this recipe, bittering hops should be used. Aside from hops, yeast is the next most important thing in determining the flavor of the beer. There are several different types of yeast, including dry and wet, ale and lager and so on. A dry ale yeast is to be used for this recipe. The Process The brewing should start by rehydrating the dry yeast. This is a relatively simple process that involves putting a cup of warm (90 degrees Fahrenheit) boiled water into a sterilized jar that contains the yeast. The jar should be covered in plastic wrap and left for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes you should stir in a teaspoon of sugar and then recover the jar and place it in a warm area out of the sunlight. The yeast will be ready after thirty minutes and should be actively churning and foaming. While rehydrating the yeast, you should begin the brewing process by boiling two and a half gallons of water in a large pot. When the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the wort while being careful not to let any of it stick to the bottom. The pot should now be put back in the heat and brought to a boil. You should keep a constant eye on the pot and stir it frequently. It should remain at a boil for an hour. During the initial stages of the boil (5 to 20 minutes), there might be a foam that forms at the top of the pot, making a smooth surface. This is normal. The only thing to watch out for is it boiling over. In order to keep this in check, you can adjust the heat, or as Palmer suggests, use a spray bottle full of water. The next stage of the brewing process is a crucial one: the cooling of the wort. While bacteria will not form at temperatures over 130 degrees Fahrenheit, it is very likely between 80 degrees and 130 degrees. For this reason, the wort must be cooled below 80 degrees Fahrenheit at a rapid pace. This can be accomplished several ways. Palmer suggests placing the large pot in a tub of ice-cold water circulating around it. Stir the wort while it cools. It should get below 80 degrees Fahrenheit in approximately 20 minutes. The pot may still be warm to the touch, but it will be OK. Now you should add the remaining 2 1-2 gallons of water to the fermenter and add the wort to that. You should allow it to splash into the fermenter, allowing it to oxidize. The mixture is now ready to ferment at a temperature between 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, you need to take the dry yeast that you rehydrated and add it all into the fermenter with the wort. Instead of placing the airlock on the fermenter, simply apply plastic wrap and shake the fermenter, allowing the wort to mix in with the yeast. The airlock should then be added and the fermenter and left alone in a protected area like a bathtub. Active fermentation should start within 12 hours. A constant temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit should be maintained. For ale beer, the primary fermentation should be done in approximately three days at that temperature. However, the beer should be left alone for two to three weeks to allow it to go through its final fermentation process. After this process, you are almost ready to bottle your beer, but first you need to prime it. This is done by boiling three-fourths of a cup of corn sugar or 1 1-4 cups of dry malt extract into some water and letting it cool. The mixture can then be added into the fermenter and stirred into the beer. Wait half an hour before siphoning the beer into the bottles. You should fill the bottles until three-quarters of an inch from the top and cap them. The bottles should be placed out of direct sunlight, in room temperature, for a minimum of one week. After that, enjoy the sweet nectar that you slaved so hard for. It will all be worth it in the end. Information for this article was drawn from several sources, including Palmer, www.vinotheque.net/brewing.htm, http://byo.com and http://realbeer. com/spencer. ...

Delving into East-Asian Philosophy Reveals Answers to Life's Mysteries

Good fellows, I greet you at the advent of a great experiment. For the remainder of the quarter, I will attempt to provide you with spiritual and divine guidance, drawn not from the stars, but from the ancient Chinese oracle, the I-Ching. I undertake this endeavor with the humblest reverence for Fu Hsi, its creator, and respect for all the interpreters after him, and with sincerest hopes that my labors may be of benefit to you. If you wish to delve further into the oracle than I am able to do here, there are several good volumes available at the Geisel Library, and numerous online resources. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] for guidance, or with any question I can ask the oracle for you. For this sixth week of UCSD spring quarter, beginning May 6, I make my inquiry with concerns from you. Zopyra, I keep hearing bad news about Sun God. What’s it going to be like this year? I asked the Oracle: What can we expect from the Sun God Celebrations? The judgment: Hexagram 2, The Receptive: “”The greatest possible success, sublime success, is obtainable if you are willing to follow good counsel.”” Wu Wei I infer: The best course of action is to join with friends of like mind with regard to festivities of this sort. The best course of thought is to remember that, however humble, the whole of the festival is an offering for your enjoyment. It costs little to partake and will reward in great measure those that receive it without too much expectation. Avoid arrogance and arrogant leaders. For those inclined to doubt, I will say that this reading of Pure Yin is exceedingly rare and extremely positive for those with virtuous goals or minimal ambition. It bodes very well for all who are willing to enjoy this year’s Sun God Festival on the face of its own merits, without resort to wishful thinking. Zopyra, I voted in the A.S. election, and I know some people who won, but what actually happens next? I asked the Oracle: How can students best contribute to the transition in A.S. government? The judgment: Hexagram 7, Collective Forces: “”When a large group of people is brought together, whether by design or incident, achieving success and good fortune requires a strong leader and strict discipline. This is true of an army, a social or political organization, a public or private gathering, even a mob. For the mass to be effective, its members must be controlled, for then they can act in concert. The leader gains control by providing clear-cut, worthy goals to which individuals can dedicate themselves, thereby awakening the group’s enthusiasm. If the leader is not the ultimate authority, those in the position of ultimate authority must give the leader their full confidence, total authority to act in their behalf and complete support.”” Wu Wei I feel this needs little embellishment on my part. I offer it as relevant to all involved. Administrators may choose to read themselves as the ultimate authority and Jeff Dodge and the A.S. Council as the leader. All new councilmembers may read themselves as leader or follower. There seems to be a clear relationship between this judgment’s call for concerted action and the sweeping victory of the Unity slate. Zopyra, it’s spring and I want this girl, but don’t know if I should make a move or not. I definitely want a relationship, but it seems like there’s not much time left for that this year. I asked the Oracle: What can people expect if they pursue the initiation of a romantic relationship this late in the academic year? The judgment: Hexagram 15, Modesty, with old yin in line 5 and old yang in line 3, which cause movement to hexagram 8, Holding Together: “”Things are easy for the modest person.”” Richard Wilhelm. “”It is difficult to maintain modesty in the face of acclaim. Modesty, however, is essential to your continued success.”” Wu Wei, line 3. “”An aggressive action could, in fact, be consistent with humbleness if the inner self remains modest.”” Wu Jing-Nuan, line 5. I find joyful, favorable results from pursuing closeness at this time. There are limits to all actions, but only arrogance is afraid of limitation. Let circumstances reduce your expectations but not your actions. All the judgments favor the involvement of groups, be they neighbors or friends. Constancy, perseverance and other qualities that lend themselves to durability in relationships hold the key to your decision. If you have these within yourself, proceed immediately and you can only advance. This moving judgment arrives finally at hexagram 8, interpreted by Richard Wilhelm as follows: “”Holding together brings good fortune. Inquire of the oracle once again whether you possess sublimity, constancy and perseverance; then there is no blame. Those who are uncertain gradually join. Whoever comes too late meets with misfortune.”” The oracle clearly urges both participation and reflection. Discard any idle infatuation. Contemplate only relationships you are ready to involve yourself with, and then do so. ...

A Lesson in Life at The Ole Guardian Might Enlighten Some Students

I can never predict what type of reaction I will get when I tell people that I’m an editor at the Guardian. It’s pretty much 50-50 odds that people will either cringe or act honored to meet me. Whether people are impressed by the Guardian, my revelation is almost always met by tirades chock full of advice and constructive criticism. However, the criticism people typically offer usually reveals that they actually know very little about how UCSD’s official student newspaper is run — which encourages me to attempt to familiarize our readers with the methods behind our madness. First, I will attempt to explain the editing process through which our stories are processed. A writer does his duty, and the fruits of his labor are edited by his section editor. Meaning, for example, that a sports article first undergoes the editing of our sports editor, and a news article first faces the red pen of the news editor — sometimes the associate section editors take the reigns on this one. After being groomed by section editors, our stories meet the copy editors. These individuals perform most of the heavier editing — they correct grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, incoherent and incomplete sentences, etc. They also edit according to Associated Press style, which in light of outsiders’ critiques, is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of our editing process. I state this only because I have heard many individuals complain that the Guardian consistently contains many mistakes. I used to be one of those people: Three years ago, I applied to be a copy reader specifically because I thought I was seeing errors all over the official UCSD student newspaper, and I was embarrassed for their obvious blunders. However, what I did not realize is that the Guardian edits according to the policies set forth in the AP Stylebook. In short, the AP Stylebook is the copy editors’ Bible — it is a dictionary-style index of almost every term or word that could end up in a newspaper article, and it explains the official Associated Press stance on how and when each term should be used, technically and grammatically. So, when I watch students pick up Guardians in front of Center Hall and study their contents during lecture, it’s my turn to cringe when I hear people idly complain about the errors they see. Yes, too often we let misspellings and misuses slip through the editing process, but most of the time, those “”errors”” are strict renditions of the rules of our Bible. Back to the editing process — after the copy editors do their thing, the article switches paths and enters the realm of design. Our design editor isn’t responsible for editing the content of any story like section editors and copy editors are. Instead he ensures that each story nicely falls into place among the plethora of advertisements, photographs, graphics, etc., that fills the rest of our pages. This is also the stage during which the art produced by our photography and graphics editors, and their respective departments, is placed into our pages. After all is said and done at this stage, each section of the newspaper enters the two-stage final editing process. First, an entire section (i.e. news, sports, hiatus, features, or opinion) is printed onto 11- by 17-inch paper, and these proofs are placed into the welcoming, dedicated hands of a managing editor (that’s what I am), where most of the screw-ups that the section editors and copy editors didn’t catch are corrected by way of red ink. But don’t let me toot my own horn — after my corrections are made, another set of proofs is given to the editor in chief, who hacks ’em up and continually reminds me that I will never catch every error, no matter how closely I edit. It’s a very humbling process. After the chief’s corrections are made, every section goes through a final printing, and these proofs are driven by the chief to our printer’s office, which is in El Cajon. Our deadline is midnight on Sundays and Wednesdays (because the Guardian comes out on Mondays and Thursdays, which I hope you already know). With every article going through at least four pairs of editing eyes (e.g. section editor, copy editor, managing editor, and then editor in chief), one might find it disheartening to know that we rarely catch every mistake. However, rest assured that we do our best to be thorough (come on — a minimum of four editors for every story is a lot of manpower), we are certainly open to suggestions (as long as it isn’t another complaint about the fact that horoscopes and the crossword puzzle only run on Mondays), and the AP Stylebook is responsible for the rest. Perhaps a better method of attack for those of you still dissatisfied with your newspaper, a method which I can surely vouch for, would be to take a look at an AP Stylebook and come fill out an application with us — we are on the third floor of the Student Center and we are open during regular business hours. Getting involved might be a good way to make some of that criticism I keep hearing just a little more constructive. ...

Strutting Toward Success

Express to Success, a Revelle-based organization, was created last year to help students improve their interpersonal and public speaking skills. However, this group is doing more than giving students confidence and public poise. This week, ETS will host its second annual charity fashion show competition, “”Remember the Time … ’80s Flashback,”” to help a San Diego-based charity known as Becky’s House. Becky’s House provides shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. The YWCA, which coordinated the project, also offers supportive services such as psychological and educational counseling, child care and job training. Crucial to the development of the program were its founders, DJs Jeff & Jer from STAR 100.7 FM. When a woman, fictitiously named Becky, called the Jeff & Jer morning radio show years ago, the idea for Becky’s House emerged. After it became apparent that the caller was suffering from domestic abuse, STAR listeners donated over $40,000 to help “”Becky”” and her 4-year-old son. What followed was a partnership between Jeff & Jer, STAR 100.7, the YWCA and City Councilwoman Barbara Warden that has made Becky’s House a reality. Jeff & Jer remain ardent supporters of the program, while Councilwoman Warden has led the way in procuring funding for building a 10-unit transition house. The San Diego YWCA is operating the program for the city. Stage and lighting director Ping Huang emphasized how both ETS and Becky’s House benefit from the event. “”Obviously I would like to see the fashion show generate a lot of support and publicity for Becky’s House,”” Huang said. “”But just as important is that our ETS students gain something from it as well. Modeling is not something all of us do every day, and it can be very difficult to do for the first time — especially when it is right in front of your peers and classmates. After the show, I hope that they all walk away with a new sense of confidence, poise and a sense of what they can accomplish.”” ETS member Diana Wong has already benefited from ETS. “”I’ve gained more confidence as a result of ETS,”” Wong said. “”I’m less shy, and I can communicate better.”” Monica Zakowski returns as co-master of ceremonies this year. “”I’m honored to be coming back,”” Zakowski said. “”This is all going for such a wonderful cause.”” According to ETS adviser La Verne Williams-Schoonover, talks about the fashion show began early fall quarter. ETS has striven to host a community service event each year. In response to the phenomenal success of last year’s fashion show, which raised over $4,000 for Becky’s House, ETS decided to host the event once again. This time, the goal is $5,000. “”I think the caliber of the show has definitely increased this year. We have entertainment, a live band and it’s all for free,”” Williams-Schoonover said. Unlike last year, however, ETS has received more help from organizations on and off campus, including S.O.L.O. organization Activation Energy Productions and the Girls League at La Jolla Country Day. Founded by Revelle student Ben Parcher, AEP aids in the production of charity-oriented organizations. La Jolla Country Day is a national organization whose San Diego chapter was founded by Jessica Adler. The Girls League participates in community events and has already raised $1,500 for Becky’s House. Williams-Schoonover would like to express her heartfelt appreciation to both organizations for their endless support. In addition to the entertainment and fashion show, there will also be prizes raffled off at the event. AEP Finance Producer Diana Kim sees the incentives of buying a raffle ticket as two-fold. “”I think primarily people should buy them for the prize,”” said Kim. “”But I think it’s also good knowing that when you buy one, every penny is going to Becky’s House, and it’s for a good cause.”” For everyone wondering why the ’80s was chosen as the theme, Williams-Schoonover offered the reason. “”It was a fun time — a time to dare to be different,”” Williams-Schoonover said. “”I think ETS models that belief that it’s OK to be different. It’s OK to step outside of the box.”” Also participating in the event are Old Navy, Banana Republic, Guess, Sun Diego Surf and Sports, Forever 21, Georgeou/Giorgio Armani, Wilsons Leather and Giorgio Tuxedo. Donations to be raffled will be provided by UCSD Parking and Transportation Services (eight “”A”” parking passes), Sony Corporate, Sam Goody, Sephora (UTC), Guess, Ben Bridges Jewelers (UTC), Wilsons Leather, MAC, Louis Vuitton, Duty Free (National City), Radio Shack, Starbucks (UTC), Warner Bros., Disney (UTC), Eddie Bauer, Pottery Barn (UTC), Kenneth Cole, AMC Theaters, book store certificates, Aveda, Georgeou (UTC), Sea World, Rocco (UTC), Gap Corporate, Sun Diego Surf and Sport, as well as several others. Joe Lake, an ETS graduate and model for the show, sees the show as a great way for the program to end the year. “”I see this show as the culmination of this program in bringing out the extrovert in all of us,”” Lake said. “”And I want to shake my little tooshie on the catwalk.”” Kris Schmidt, another member of ETS and model for the show, agrees. “”It’ll be a blast,”” Schmidt said. “”Remember the Time … ’80s Flashback”” the second annual charity fashion show competition and raffle for Becky’s House, presented by Express to Success, will take place at 6 p.m. on May 10 in Revelle’s Plaza Cafe. Immediately following the raffle, Club 911 will host a free dance. The charity raffle/fashion show will have no administrative costs and all proceeds will be donated to Becky’s House. Raffle tickets are $5 each or three for $10. ...

Dolly in the Snack Car, Okie J.R. Are Memories of Traveling on Amtrak

I traveled frequently with my family while growing up, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the pleasures of traveling alone. I use the term “”alone”” loosely; I wasn’t traveling with people I knew, but I was meeting people all the time. The people I met on the road were all very interesting to talk to. Over winter break, I embarked on a train trip that took me across the United States and Canada. When I wasn’t sleeping on the train, I was sleeping in hostels. I have since fallen in love with these forms of traveling, primarily because they foster social interaction. Trains and hostels are more interesting, stimulating and dollar-saving than the usual hotels and airplanes. Airplanes are filled with people traveling on business. They enter, sit and basically don’t get up until arrival. Sure it’s quick, but if I have the time, I would prefer to see the country. Hostels, like trains, are another great place to meet people. Strangers eat together, they drink together and talk with each other. My first trip on Amtrak came at the end of last summer, when I spent two months in Chicago. Being a native of Chicago, I have flown between Chicago and San Diego several times a year since I was 4 years old. It was time to ditch flying and really see what lay between the two cities. I set out on a Tuesday afternoon, and almost immediately met a guy named J.R. I was somewhat scared of him, as I later found out he had done time in San Quentin. But when I told him I was going to Oceanside, Calif., he got excited. He left Oceanside years ago to get away from his drug problem, stopped in Oklahoma, where his truck ran out of gas, and has lived there ever since. The drug problem explained his San Quentin time, but it was obvious to me that the problem wasn’t entirely behind him. He once grimaced in pain while sitting down because he had a pipe in his back pocket. Not a tobacco pipe. “”Oops, you didn’t see that,”” he said to me as he moved it to his front pocket. I did see it, and later when he came out of the smoking lounge with some other people, I could tell that they had put the pipe to use. I was surprised that someone would do such a thing on a train, but there was little doubt as to what had happened. They came out very amused at the most mundane things. Corn fields were entertaining to them. Train life was beginning to entertain me. Often I am most interested in talking to train personnel. Apparently I am not the only one, as they seem to have heard many of my questions a thousand times before. I now know where the crew sleeps, how well they sleep, how their shifts are scheduled, what their favorite routes are and why, how fast the train travels, and even how often people commit suicide by lying on the rails. I found it a very interesting life, and so did many of them. I also found that not all Amtrak employees enjoy their jobs. This winter, I traveled to Seattle, riding coach on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. There were plenty of drunks on this two-day trip. Many started drinking in Los Angeles and didn’t stop until Dolly the snack car attendant closed the bar completely, much to everyone’s dismay. Some guys called her a bitch, almost in front of her face, and while I thought they were rude, they weren’t that far off: I tried to start a conversation with her by asking her how her day was and it didn’t go well. She wasn’t having a particularly bad day, it was almost like any other, she said. She hated her job. She sold snacks and drinks all day, and no, traveling wasn’t an interesting aspect of her job. It got old after four months, and that was 17 years ago. She advised me to pick a career I truly enjoy and told me her life was a sad story of someone who didn’t do that. I felt sorry for her and after talking to her over a two-day period I began to understand that she was having a rough time with the drunks on the trip. When she found out I was a writer, she told me I could write a book about the people on our trip, calling them the worst group of people she had seen in over six months. Little did she know I would end up writing about her. If any of you are ever on the Coast Starlight, seek Dolly out in the snack car and make some small talk with her. She’s an interesting person and needs someone to talk to. On the last leg of my winter journey, I spoke briefly with another interesting character, a former psychic reader. She wasn’t a true reader, but a former phone operator. She said she initially wanted to be a phone sex operator, but got talked into being a psychic. Claiming to have experienced deja vu was all it took for her to get hired as a qualified reader. I didn’t ask her to “”read”” me, but I watched her do a “”psychic reading”” on another passenger. She explained why she said what she said and it all seemed very logical, as she was trained to pick up on little hints from people and work her psychic magic from there. It was all very fascinating. The interesting people that I have met during my train and hostel travels are almost too numerous to count: the owner of an Internet company in Amsterdam, a widow whose husband was a big-time editor for a Toronto newspaper, a student from Hungary, a bartender from Scotland, and a man who, as a baby, was allegedly held by William Faulkner. Inevitably, the discussions would turn to cultural differences. I discussed music in the United States compared to music in Britain and the Netherlands. I explained several times to several people how our nation’s electoral college functions. I also learned a lot about the attitudes Canadians have about Americans. Apparently I don’t “”sound like an American.”” I wasn’t sure how to take that, but assumed it was a personal compliment from Canadians. These experiences have taught me the value of traveling alone and the value of alternate modes of travel. It seems that people who ride trains and sleep in hostels are of a different class than those who rush through airports and check into Hiltons. They are often working-class people, and I think that is what makes them interesting. They are not uppity or snobbish. I may travel by myself, but with this crowd, I will never be alone. ...