Allow me to stand atop this magnificent soapbox and indulge in a moment of shameless self-promotion, or give background information, depending on whose side you are on.
I play four musical instruments. I have played the clarinet for nearly a decade. I have played the guitar for nearly three years. I also dabble with the piano and I sing, though the quality of my voice may be called into question. I own dozens upon dozens of CDs, including diverse names such as Tricky, Chicane, My Bloody Valentine, Depeche Mode, Miles Davis and Sasha & Digweed.
I have spent many hours and a lot of cash so my band could cut five tracks in a recording studio. My experience in a recording studio has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences in my life.
My mother is a fantastic piano player. My father has dabbled with the guitar and the trumpet, and he also has a wonderful voice. My 13-year-old sister has been playing the violin for many years and has also picked up the flute with much enthusiasm.
Music is the perfect friend. Music will never turn its back on me nor will it stab me in the back. I suppose I have an unhealthy obsession with all things musical, but music has been able to console me and lift me out of the low points in my life. Beautiful lyrics and passionate melodies have been able to grab me by the arms and drag me forward when I have fallen by the wayside.
That being said, I hope it has become obvious that I have a great passion and love for music. It causes me great pain when I see that music or any of the arts are being neglected, or that funding for the arts is the first to be cut.
There seems to be too much focus in this world on higher test scores and making six-figure salaries. Children are being pushed to become doctors, lawyers or engineers. It seems rare to me for a parent to tell his children to grow and become a rock star or an artist or a fiction writer. I know many people regard music and art as mere accents on their sparkling college transcripts.
Music, art and other forms of creativity must be nurtured at a very early age. Studies have shown that musically oriented people have better study habits and seem to be more focused. Music and art must not be lost, because they define what we are as a society. Currently, we are being defined by the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. I find that highly disconcerting.
Music, art and writing allow people to express themselves outside of the confines of an office. The arts allow people to express feelings about themselves and to comment on society in a vibrant way. I believe that the arts create a well-rounded person, not a selfish, career-oriented person who will step on anyone to reach the top. Ambition makes you look pretty ugly.
That is why we must continue to fund and support federally funded programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts.
Since its creation in 1965, the NEA has been dedicated to helping everyone in the United States. Over the decades, the NEA has awarded over 111,000 grants in all 50 states. It has supported the design of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, the original production of ""A Chorus Line"" and jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis.
The NEA has funded thousands of ""schools for arts"" education programs as well as in-school and after-school arts programs. The NEA is currently funding projects that implement programs to help children get involved with music in their communities. The NEA's ArtsREACH program is dedicated to supporting artists, musicians and local governments in rural areas and small towns to ensure that art and music continue to represent the culture in these places.
A three-year study of the NEA's YouthARTS program has shown that arts programs have helped lower the delinquency rate among youth. This study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and was the first to show statistical information that offered quantitative evidence on how the arts enhanced the development of a child and how the arts improved behavior and academic performance.
With a presidential election year upon us, I shall provide an interesting bit of information. Upon researching the candidates, I found a large difference in their views on the arts.
On http://www.algore.com I searched for ""NEA."" What I found was that the NEA had recommended Al Gore for president due to Gore's progressive education program. On http://www.georgewbush.com, I had a difficult time finding anything about Bush and the NEA. What you get from that bit of information is up to you.
Here is an interesting comparison.
Over the next four years, the United States will spend nearly $1.6 trillion on defense. That means $1.6 trillion on bigger and better weapons to kill people faster and more efficiently.
Over the next four years, a mere $390 million will be spent funding the National Endowment for the Arts -- a paltry $390 million to give children the opportunity to express themselves through art and music. A paltry $390 million over the next four years to promote art and music in small towns, inner cities and suburban communities. I find this quite troubling.
Now the part of the soapbox where there seems to be some wise parting words or a bit of advice.
I urge everyone not to forget about how important art is. Go to your local museum. Buy paintings from local artists. Buy local music. Go to jazz shows at small coffee shops. Vote. And vote for someone who will support art in the schools. Find a way to express yourself through art or music or writing. Discover that creative outlet within yourself. You might discover that your creative outlet is the best part of your day.
""Be scared and don't piss your pants.""
Those are the rules given at the beginning of the tour of the Haunted Hotel, located in the Gaslamp Quarter at 424 Market St. in downtown San Diego. This place is one of the many scary spectacles in town during the Halloween season. Although entertaining while it lasts, the tour is a mere 15 minutes long, which is not worth the lengthy wait and the steep $9.95 admission price.
The tour begins with a shaky elevator ride, setting the mood for the chills ahead. Then comes a descent into complete darkness, as the spectator fumbles through the corridors to reach the rooms in the hotel. There are re-creations of scenes from horror films such as ""Scream,"" ""The Exorcist,"" ""Nightmare on Elm Street"" and various others. There are real actors portraying characters from the films, staying still until an unsuspecting person passes by.
During the blind walk, chain-saw-carrying-madmen and other nightmarish ghouls frighten and chase people. One of the rooms has a moving floor that shakes the spectators as they tear at the walls to stay on their feet. Another room, which is filled with optical illusions and psychedelic lights, could very well resemble an LSD trip. Both rooms make the audience lose their sense of balance and leave them feeling vulnerable to the horrors ahead.
There are more rooms which put the observers ill at ease as they maneuver around body bags hanging from the ceiling, avoid the grasp of a caged maniac and witness the levitation of a possessed woman.
But those who cannot take the jolt of a good scare should proceed with caution, so as to avoid a ride to the hospital. One unfortunate spectator has already experienced this fate.
If you have the time and money, the Haunted Hotel is a marginally enjoyable place to go.
The negative aspect of the tour is that it progresses very quickly, which leaves you feeling cheated out of the ticket price that could have gone towards a couple beers at Porter's Pub.
Halloween provides not only a perfect chance to go out and party, but also the perfect opportunity to view scary films that will cause sleepless nights. Here is a look at great horror films that can be rented at a local video store for Halloween:
Halloween: An escaped insane asylum patient goes on a murderous rampage on Halloween in this scary thriller. The film provides the standard to which all other teen horror flicks are held. Music by director John Carpenter adds to the nerve-wrenching anticipation as the murderer, Michael Myers, starts killing off his victims.
Friday the 13th: When a group of teens stays at a summer camp, a killer starts to pick them off one at a time. The movie is fairly predictable, but it is one of the classic teen horror films. Many should know by now the real killer from the first film. (Hint: It was not Jason.)
The Exorcist: Considered the scariest movie of all-time by many, ""The Exorcist"" is a dark, haunting and thrilling drama packed into two hours. Linda Blair does a memorable performance as Regan MacNeil, an innocent child possessed by the devil. Trouble ensues when her mother and a priest try to understand what has happened to her. Re-released in theaters just in time for Halloween, ""The Exorcist"" can be seen once again on the big screen.
Nightmare on Elm Street: Several teen-agers are held captive in their own minds by Freddy Kreuger, a character who enters people's dreams and goes on to kill them in their sleep. It is an ingenious way to murder that keeps one up at night.
Scream: Wes Craven's smart parody of other teen horror flicks is full of twists and suprises that many will enjoy. The story revolves around Neve Campbell's character, Sidney Prescott, and a killer that seems to know everything about Prescott's life. The numerous references to other horror films make this film enjoyable for its tongue-in-cheek comedy.
The Shining: Here's Johnny! A boy and his parents travel to an isolated hotel in order to maintain it during the winter. During their stay, the boy's father, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), loses his mind and starts to attack his family. Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of a Stephen King novel provides a surreal look at the mind of a man gone insane.
Children of the Corn: Stephen King's short story about a group of children that takes over a city is very scary, despite primitive special effects. The cult is frightening and builds suspense throughout the film.
Poltergeist: A family moves unknowingly into a haunted house and is tormented by spirits. Gore is not used much in this film; instead, it relies on a good story line.
Psycho: Taking a shower was never the same after Alfred Hitchcock's classic film was released. Something strange is going on at the Bates Motel. A missing woman's sister is searching for her whereabouts. ""Psycho"" pulls on all the emotions of the viewer with its plot twists and eerie music.
Pet Semetary: A film based on a Stephen King story that revolves around Louis Creed's (Dale Midkiff) family and a nearby pet cemetery. There are some strange happenings at the cemetery and the Creeds make a startling discovery.
The origins of many Western holidays lie in ancient pagan celebrations, and Halloween is no exception. Halloween conjures images of people dressed as ghouls, ghosts and witches.
Leslie, who reads tarot cards at Psychic Eye Bookshops in downtown La Jolla, happens to be a real-life witch. On Halloween she celebrates the traditional pagan holiday of Samhain (pronounced sah-wen).
""Because it is a big party season I usually work. When I'm not working I have a religious ritual,"" Leslie said. ""Samhain was traditionally the time in which it was believed that the dead could communicate most freely with the people on Earth.""
On the night of Samhain, Oct. 31, the veil between the living world and the dead is said to be the thinnest, and ""is a very strong divination holiday"" for witches, according to Leslie. Samhain ""primarily is about connecting with [the witches'] sense of tradition, our ancestors, our spirit guides, the invisible world. ... Often there's an offering of food, or something like that is left out for the ancestors ... to let them know we're thinking about them,"" Leslie said.
Even newcomers to pagan lore can celebrate Samhain right here in San Diego, and no this does not include sitting at home with a Ouiji board. While Samhain celebrations may seem scarce compared to the gluttony of Haunted Houses on Market Street, Witches' Night Out 2000 offers a traditional pagan celebration.
Witches Night Out 2000 is an annual ritual, put on by Covenant of the Goddess, and took place Saturday at the Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South, in Mission Valley. Nonetheless, Samhain rituals are still often difficult to discover.
""The pagan community in San Diego tends to be pretty loose knit. ... So there's not a lot of public ritual in San Diego"" Leslie said.
Another reason that Samhain celebrations are not as prevalent as trick-or-treating and jack-o-lanterns is that there are many misconceptions about the holiday.
""There is no sacrificing of babies that goes on,"" Leslie said. ""Nothing spooky and terrible. It is much more about connecting with our sense of history and our past and honoring that, and respecting that, and respecting the people who have gone before us.""
If spiritual gatherings are not your cup of tea, you can still have some metaphysical fun this Halloween without leaving the posh security of La Jolla.
At Psychic Eye Bookshops, located at 702 Pearl St., readers, including Leslie, will gladly deal the cards and decipher the runes for you. Leslie has been reading Tarot Cards since she was 10 years old. While attending University of Missouri at Columbia, earning her degree in journalism, she began reading at psychic fairs. She started working at Psychic Eye when she moved to San Diego in 1996.
Like the celebration of Samhain, fortune telling is also victim to many misconceptions.
""I cannot immediately access all information that is relevant to every single person's life just by looking at them"" Leslie joked ""There are a lot of misconceptions about what we do and what we are capable of doing ... just because you go to see a psychic and you get a 15-minute reading, that does not mean that they can channel your dead grandmother; that does not mean they can give you the exact time and place of your death. There are some things that are not very feasible, particularly in a short period of time.""
There is also a difference between psychics and tarot card readers. ""Psychics can use any number of different methods, "" Leslie said. ""Some of them will just read intuitively ... some of them work with tarot, some of them work with runes, some of them work with numerology or astrology.""
Most professional fortunetellers use a combination of methods. If you have your heart set on a particular type of reading, make sure you let your reader know before hand.
It is important to find a trustworthy reader. Leslie warns people about phone psychics because ""the vast majority of them, in my personal experience, are unreliable,"" she said.
Wicca, paganism and divination are often lumped together under the generic title ""new age."" However, unlike witchcraft, tarot and other forms of divination ""are not religious or spiritual systems per se. ... They are not a faith or a spiritual practice in the same sense that witchcraft or wicca is,"" Leslie said.
If insight into your life and the decisions you make is what you are interested in, a tarot card reading may be just what you are looking for. But of course if you are confused about what classes to take next quarter, you should stick with Academic Advising.
So, if you are disappointed with the same old Halloween parties and VH-1 rerunning the ""Rocky Horror Picture Show,"" remember there is a lot more to Halloween than face makeup and ""The Monster Mash.""
Like Santa Clause, Disneyland and the Easter Bunny, Halloween loses some of its magic with the passing of childhood. But hopefully discovering its ancient heritage will revive its mystique. No matter how you celebrate this Halloween -- the modern or the old way -- happy haunting and blessed be!
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Make trivia your passion on Monday, and your chances of success improve. You'll want to travel that day, but it's not a good idea. On Tuesday and Wednesday your partner comes to your rescue. The two of you can fit all the events you want to attend into your schedule. Your group wants to spend money Thursday and Friday. If you lose control of the finances, you could end up in the hole. Do paperwork and errands on Saturday. On Sunday travel to investigate something interesting you've heard about.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Romance finds a way on Monday. You're persistent, so this won't be impossible. Improve your financial situation Tuesday and Wednesday with careful preparation and a few long-distance phone calls. On Thursday and Friday expect pressure to cinch the deal. Catch an error first. If you're selling or giving things away, wait until Saturday. Tithe to yourself, too, on Sunday. The money you're saving provides security sooner than expected.
Gemini (May 21-June 21)
Fears that you'll lose are unfounded Monday, but pay back an old debt. Thereafter, you'll start to see possibilities. By Wednesday you can achieve one. Go ahead; take the risk. Pull back on Thursday. A new venture then won't work as well as hoped. Ditto Friday. Curtail travel both days and fix broken things instead. Do housework Saturday so you can invite a favorite friend over Sunday. Take care in a game of chance, however. The other guy has a trick up his sleeve.
Cancer (June 22-July 22)
A conversation with your sweetheart on Monday leads to new plans. You're eager to take action, but don't start until Tuesday. An older friend can help with a household plan Wednesday. Get something for free that would have cost good money. Spend Thursday and Friday nights with the ones you love. Nothing else is more important. Your list spills over into Saturday, so be flexible. Turn down another invitation in favor of family. A healthy outdoor exercise is great for Sunday, but get back home before dark.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
You may have trouble deciding which way to go on Monday. Your social and love lives are in competition. Don't get all tangled up, or you'll miss a career opportunity Tuesday. Study Wednesday and flush bugs out of your systems on Thursday. You may have to get expert help with that job on Friday. Dump your trash on Saturday and find a treasure in another's discards. You're in for a pleasant surprise on Sunday.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
The others don't know what they're doing Monday. If you do, you have the advantage. Take charge and reap the rewards Tuesday. You'll work for the money on Wednesday, untangling a puzzle. Go back to the rule book Thursday and Friday. Don't take any chances with that mess. New information gives you a new perspective Saturday, and that improves your odds. Fix your place up just the way you want it Sunday.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23)
Travel's enticing Monday but could be fraught with peril. Make a phone call instead. The money you save will be welcome on Tuesday. Go on Wednesday, as far as possible. Your sweetheart's in a blue funk Thursday. Dig deep to help bail that one out. On Friday pinch pennies to get by and sell something to bring more Saturday. Or, get what you need for free from a neighbor. A party with close family and friends goes well Sunday.
Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21)
Financial woes keep you hopping on Monday. You're dancing fast to keep everyone happy. Wait until Tuesday and Wednesday to write the checks. Also, watch for a wonderful household item at a price you can afford. Save your time and money Thursday and do the reading instead. Clip ads and coupons, but don't rush off to shop on Friday. On Saturday a friend or your mate finds the missing piece to the puzzle, and things fall into place. You could profit nicely from your castoffs Sunday, with a sale or trade.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Your head is full of worries Monday, from too many options. They start to thin on Tuesday. Chill out and heed a friend's advice. The solution becomes apparent around Wednesday, with help from a textbook. Obligations keep you busy until late Thursday, so postpone a meeting with friends. Check incoming information for errors on Friday. Schedule your coming month Saturday and make it a lot easier. Drop a bad habit on Sunday and launch a new lifestyle. Get yourself a new outfit to match your new persona.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Don't bother to get an early start Monday; you'll run into a traffic jam. The later the better on travel. An older adviser can help you increase income on Tuesday. Extra work brings in extra bucks Wednesday. On Thursday the money's flowing to a worthy cause. Make sure you know how it'll be spent before you write the check. Don't waste any on Friday, either. An outing with friends interferes with family plans on Saturday. Reschedule private time with loved ones for early Sunday. Chores get in the way later.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
A sweetheart's concerns upset you on Monday. By Tuesday you can solve the problem. You love that. Romance and travel look good on Wednesday. Start new projects, too. Don't argue with an older person Thursday or Friday. Your meaning could be misunderstood. Write a note, instead, and keep it. Be respectful of an older person on Saturday to avoid a power struggle. You won't win that one, either. Plans with friends on Sunday go awry and take longer than expected. Let family know you may be late.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Things are changing fast on Monday, but skill gives you the advantage. If you've done the homework, you'll win on Tuesday. Find a tech-gadget that you want, on sale Wednesday. Contact with a distant friend brings up dreams of far-off places Thursday. Don't travel then or Friday. There are way too many complications. If you go on Saturday, you can't do something else. That's OK; you didn't want to do that other thing anyway. Visit your folks or another respected older person Sunday. There are changes you'll be glad to hear about.
Birthdays This Week
Oct. 23: A passion for perfection is your motivation. Keep at it and achieve the wealth you're after.
Oct. 24: What you learn through the grapevine gives you the advantage. Make networking a fine art and succeed brilliantly.
Oct. 25: People love to tell you secrets, and you love to collect them. Put together the clues to find the buried treasure.
Oct. 26: Your plans could lead to success, but keep them private for awhile. Let worries motivate you, not slow you down.
Oct. 27: This year you're powerful and smart. Use those brains to avoid repeating a mistake you made before.
Oct. 28: You're holding all the aces this year. Make this hand count!
Oct. 29: The money's available to you. Don't let it slip through your fingers.
For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, they patrol the UCSD campus to keep students safe. They are the UCSD police officers. In their navy blue uniforms, metal badges and patches that read ""University of California Police Department,"" these officers can be seen all over campus.
One of them is Jeff Cox, who has worked at the UCSD campus for 11 years. He is also a UCSD Revelle College alumnus who graduated with a political science degree.
UCSD has one police department office, located behind the Price Center near the cluster of ATMs. This police department takes care of all crime on campus and within a one-mile radius around the campus. Despite any misconceptions, the police officers in this office are not just hired employees of UCSD.
""This is an actual police station,"" Cox said. ""We have all the same authority as the city police have. All the police officers here have been through the training at the police academy and are fully sworn police officers. Anything you can think of that a city police officer would do is what we would do. With any problems or domestic violence problems that occur on campus, we would be the ones they would come to, and we deal with it from there.""
The UCSD police office is a typical one with the difference being that it provides service mainly for UCSD students.
""There are 28 sworn officers, including patrol sergeant, detective sergeants, training officer, motorcycle officer, chief and assistant chief,"" Cox said. ""There are also RSOs, part-time dispatchers, full-time dispatchers, and some student clerical staff working there.""
Dispatchers are the people who answer the phone calls, either when students call 911 or (858) 534-HELP. They are always in radio contact with the police officers around the campus so that in the event of an emergency, police officers can get to the crime scene quickly.
The UCSD police department also offers other services.
""We provide a full range of police services, from investigating traffic collisions, writing traffic tickets, writing traffic citations all the way on to crime against people and crimes against property,"" Cox said.
When a student calls 911 on campus, the call immediately connects to the dispatchers inside this police office. Computer screens display the exact location from which the phone call is made, and the police officers are dispatched to respond to these phone calls. The dispatchers also reply to the phone calls from the yellow call boxes that are all over campus. These yellow boxes are intended for use when there is an emergency, a crime in progress, or if a student needs to call for an escort home.
The Campus Security Officer escort program is also affiliated with the police department. This program is designed so that students will not have to risk walking home alone at night. Students can just call (858) 534-WALK or approach a CSO who is not with another student in order to get a CSO escort. They are usually in uniforms that distinguish them. This service is available during night hours.
Cox strongly advised against females walking alone at night.
""Walk in groups, walk in well-lit areas, and use the escort service because that is what it's there for,"" Cox said. ""Don't walk alone at night. It is not a good thing.""
The UCSD police officers also patrol around the campus, both on foot and in cars.
""We do routine patrols through the buildings and vehicle patrols through the roadways,"" Cox said. ""There are also Residential Security Officers, which are not sworn in as policemen, who patrol the dormitories during nighttime hours only. One can distinguish these officers because they wear a patch that says RSO. They also do not have the guns and batons that other officers will have.""
The most common reason students go into the police office is to report crimes. According to Cox, the police station typically receives up to 70 -100 calls per day, and an additional 70-100 students go in the office. Most students report missing backpacks, keys or other valuables. The more extreme cases are when vehicles are stolen. In addition, students also return lost items to this office. Fingerprinting service are also offered.
""This is a safe campus, but crime does happen,"" Cox said. ""We get a lot of crime against property. A lot of times people leave their backpack unattended for a few minutes, but that is all it takes for it to be stolen. We get one or two rapes reported in a year, but obviously more go unreported. If a suspect is known, it would be just like if it happened in the city. Arrests will be, and have been made. The victim will be taken down to the hospital.""
Cox also recommended some safety precautions.
""Don't walk alone at night,"" he said. ""If you see something suspicious, don't hesitate to call us. Even if it turns out to be nothing, we would rather go out there and have it to be nothing. Any suspicious people you see on campus, give us a call. Make sure you always lock your doors at night, on or off campus. That's a big thing where people go into dorms and steal things. It is a safe environment, but crime does happen. Everyone should take precautions.""
In addition, Cox said there is always a chance that many criminals see the campus as a good opportunity to commit a crime because there are a lot of cars concentrated in small areas. Students should always lock their cars, and if possible, use devices such as the Club and an alarm system in their cars and never leave valuables in the car.
The police station is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure student safety. In the event of an emergency, students can use the yellow call boxes to ask the dispatchers for help, or call 911. For issues that are not emergencies, call (858) 534-HELP.
OK, so I didn't get an apartment like I wanted to last year. That's no big surprise. Despite this minor disappointment, I've grown quite fond of my living situation. After all, being surrounded by first-year UCSD students isn't exactly a bad thing. Where else can you find in one place so many people who haven't yet experienced all our school has (and doesn't have) to offer? Even after half of a quarter, it's still nice to see that they are relatively content with their brand-new lives.
Living with freshmen as a sophomore has taught me a lot. I've noticed that, for many, the transition from home to dorm has been a smooth one. Unfortunately for others, the shock of living in a completely different environment with strangers, all the while managing a heavy class load, has been a lot more dramatic. It's precisely this drama that I feel compelled to elaborate on during my rant. Perhaps in the process, a few readers may even find my suggestions on leading a life less turbulent a little helpful. Now, I acknowledge that we all have problems, no matter how old we are. How we deal with our problems, however, makes all the difference. It would be nice to think that as we climb the ladder from freshmen to seniors, our problems would lessen. Alas, this isn't the case.
Should I be optimistic and say that problems are not bad, and that they make life interesting; in other words, that it's all about having perspective in a bad situation? Of course it is. Maybe it's also just a matter of being mature. Let's not forget that maturity is a relative thing, independent of factors such as age or sex.
My point is that how we deal with our problems has a lot to do with who we are. On one hand, if you're more level-headed and arguably more mature, you'll probably deal with emotional problems much better. On the other hand, if you're really losing your mind, I suggest a more proactive approach in alleviating your madness. It's true that some deal with their issues productively, whether by means of work, music, art or simply through the most direct approach, which is talking to a person, like a trusted friend, counselor or even a psychologist. The truth is that too many students cope by avoiding their problems or simply acting out their impulses. Whether it is by experimenting with the latest available drug on campus, having promiscuous sex with various partners, or just being over-the-top with their personalities, students often resort to making drastic changes to divert their anxiety.
While I'm all for college being a time of challenging one's beliefs, trying new things and having a great time, I'm still an advocate of most things in moderation.
It's one thing for college students to occasionally act like idiots, get drunk or smoke a little weed if they have a grip on their lives and don't have any serious issues. What's entirely different is when a person who does those same activities as a means of coping, or perhaps more accurately, fleeing from problems, most of which can be rather severe and repressed.
It's very impressive to see how bright and ambitious the incoming class of 2004 is. Many have already become good friends of mine. Sadly though, this year's same pool of bright freshmen are no different than many of the classes that preceded them, at least emotionally speaking. At the risk of sounding overly cynical, they may even be worse off.
With each passing year, competition into higher education is more and more cut-throat. No doubt, the stress levels of this year's incoming class is at a record high. Many of them already seem burned out, both mentally and physically. College offers them a refreshing change of pace, but by the time fifth week rolls by, all the stresses they thought were gone pay them a familiar visit. It's important not to forget that school isn't the only cause of stress in students' lives, however. There are innumerable other factors. For the majority, growing up is still a pain and remains at the root of emotional problems.
Already, I've been fortunate enough to have a few students open up to me in deep ways, exposing a side of themselves that they would normally hide from others. Their problems include everything from family abuse to high school alienation. What fascinates me is how so many of these same people with deep-seeded issues are the ones we usually envy.
They are the ones who always seem to get the highest grade on an impossible test or appear to be having the most fun at a party. They are the valedictorians speaking at graduation or the select few who made up the ""in-crowd"" in high school.
In short, we never would expect these sort of people to have problems, but they do. As trite as it sounds, people who are ""successful"" are no more resistant to
emotional suffering than the rest of us who aren't successful. In one respect, we probably have it easier, for at least we have no qualms about admitting our frailties. The ""successful"" ones, on the other hand, run a much higher risk of damaging their reputations as perfect people. For them, admitting that they have serious problems is almost unthinkable.
So what's the solution? There are many options, but the common denominator is always common sense. It's something we all learn about (one would hope) from when we're little: If you have a problem, talk to someone about it. Bottling it up and pushing it back further and further only perpetuates the problem. Take it from someone who has experienced his share of bad moments, both firsthand and from those closest around him.
Dealing with any emotional problem head-on feels so much better in the long-term than avoiding it for the short-term. In addition, acting out only seems to mask the problem, albeit in a sometimes pleasurable way. The bottom line is being honest with oneself and seeking help to deal with it, if necessary.
For everyone out there who is happy, healthy and content, more power to you. As for everyone else, keep fighting and always remember that you are not alone. I am reminded of what a dear friend once told me. It is something I won't soon forget. She said, ""We're all in the same boat, so let's paddle together.""
Those were wise words, indeed.
Think back to Welcome Week of your freshman year. What was the one thing you were most excited about? Was it the new environment, lack of parental authority or the proximity to Tijuana? If you were like most freshmen, it was probably none of the above. The most exciting thing about college life for many students is the incredibly fast T1 Internet connection to which each student in the dormitories and apartments has access.
However, many students soon become disappointed at the severe limitations that are thrown at them from their e-mail servers and digital music lockers. There are problems ranging from a lack of file sharing between Yahoo! Mail and Myplay to there being only six megabytes of storage capacity on Yahoo! Mail.
Students need not worry about these problems any longer, as a new Internet-based company is revolutionizing the electronic industry. In 1999, Edward C. Yu, along with his brother, Irving Yu, created e24/7 Inc., operating out of their Santa Monica home.
The Internet company, which can be found on the Internet at http://www.e247.com, provides all-in-one e-mail, audio/video streaming and storage, free of charge. This is welcome news to poor college students looking for a quality e-mail provider and storage system for their precious digital music.
Edward, who is the chief executive officer of e24/7 Inc., previously worked as an international financier and ventures investment fund professional, a job that required him to travel frequently. In order to lighten his load on cross-country trips from New York to Los Angeles, as well as trips throughout Asia, Edward was inspired to find a way to stay connected to his office without having to carry his laptop and suitcases full of office files, presentations and CDs.
After searching for a centralized service that would allow him access to his communications, data and entertainment, Edward was prompted to create one of his own. The result was the genesis of e24/7 Inc.
Edward became the CEO of the company, while his brother, Irving, became the company's chief strategy officer.
The primary target audience for e24/7 is college students and online entertainment enthusiasts. Its secondary market is small businesses and home offices.
Online companies are getting an increasingly larger audience. Recent estimates from the eStats Report of Oct. 1999 state that more than 92 million people use e-mail. The report speculates that the number of people using e-mail will grow to 135 million people by 2002.
The company is targeting this audience because, according to a Greenfield Online survey from this year, 15 million college students are e-mail enthusiasts. Of those 15 million, the survey reports that 27 percent of them cannot send or receive large files because it exceeds their online mailbox limits. Of those who were able to receive the files, over 25 percent reported not having enough virtual storage space with which to save the files.
In the same survey, 75 percent of college students reported that a service similar to e24/7 would be extremely valuable.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS
The technology used by e24/7 is an open-source platform that was developed using the Java language. It utilizes Java servlets on the backend and Java server pages on the front.
The site architecture is powered by LinuxOS on a server farm. The site also uses foundry gigabit switches, routers and multiple Network Appliance F760 Filers on the site, all maximizing the storage and speed it offers.
One of the main features on the e24/7 Web site is its e-mail service. The e-mail centric service allows users to access the system from any Internet-capable PC or Mac, ideal for working from home or on a business trip.
The service allows users to transfer files of up to 25 megabytes and also offers features such as consolidation of up to 10 different accounts, advanced bulk filtering and an e-mail attachment manager that saves and organizes incoming files automatically to the user's audio, video or document storage folders. The e-mail centric service attachment manager is a patent-pending application available only through e24/7.
Another service offered by e24/7 is its virtual storage, which can be fused with other applications such as e-mail or content streaming.
The company also offers up to 100 megabytes of free storage, which allows for fast files transfers via the e-mail centric service.
Unlike other online companies offering virtual storage, e24/7 does not require the download of any special software or the need to accept any Java applets.
The services provided by e24/7 also includes streaming capabilities. The company has optimized its infrastructure so that it will not be a limiting factor at any connection speed. The content can be easily retrieved and stored with the e24/7 service.
With this service, users can send and receive high-bandwidth files such as MP3s and digital video without having to download the file to their computers. The transfer will also not degrade the user's connection speed, regardless of his connection method (broadband or dial-up).
The video and music manager is another service offered by the company. It allows users to store music and video files, create personalized audio playlists and stream audio and video files directly from their e24/7 accounts.
When compared, e24/7 holds several advantages over some of its major online competitors, including Yahoo! Mail, Myplay and X-drive.
While e24/7 and Yahoo! Mail both offer Web-based e-mail, neither Myplay nor X-drive do so. The maximum e-mail attachment for e24/7 is 25 megabytes, while Yahoo! Mail only offers two megabytes.
X-drive is the only other company that offers file sharing to its users and virtual storage for all content.
Out of the four companies, e24/7 is the only one that offers streaming video and an e-mail attachment manager.
While X-drive offers 50 megabytes of storage capacity, compared to six megabytes on Yahoo! Mail and none on Myplay, e24/7 offers 100 megabytes of storage.
Finally, e24/7 offers 100 megabytes of music file storage, compared to 50 megabytes on X-drive, three megabytes on Myplay and none on Yahoo! Mail.