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Approaching graduation causes long hours of contemplation on years past

One more quarter. That’s what I keep telling myself as I huddle in the corner of my room in a fetal position. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but this is true enough: The pressure is building, and boy, can I feel it weighing me down. For me, and hundreds of others who will be graduating in June, this is a culmination of four years’ worth (some longer) of blood, sweat and tears. I am starting to feel the expectations of family, friends and even myself. My parents expect me to find a good job after graduating. Friends from back home, most of whom are still in city colleges or attending state colleges, expect the same: that I succeed, that I make loads of cash. Needless to say, I expect the same of myself, or at least the “”finding a good job”” part. This is, after all, the ultimate reason we are forking out $15,000 a year to attend UCSD. Graduating. I never thought I would be saying — well, typing — that word in this regard. Not to sound macho or anything, but there are few things that freak me out; truthfully, this is one of the few things that does. I’m placed in a situation that I’m sure most graduating seniors are in: limbo. We’re caught between the memories of the past and the possibilities of the future at the same time. I’ve had some great memories of college and a few bad ones. So what, then, is there for me to fear now that I’m nearing the end of another chapter in my life? Allow me to explain. Lately, I’ve been pondering this question: Have I been successful in my tour of duty here at UCSD? Success can be measured in different ways, particularly in a university environment. Getting A’s in every single class is certainly successful (no, I’m am definitely not talking about myself). Attending every frat or sorority party is pretty impressive too (not me), as is hooking up with an Alpha Zeta Phi girl (I wish it were me). So is being editor of the opinon section. In my opinion, having a successful college career involves attaining experience. A question we should all ask ourselves from time to time is: “”Have I experienced enough?”” This is a question that I ask myself, as it leads to the answer to the first question regarding success. Experience, as the wise man would confess, comes with age. Experience comes from exposure; it comes from how willing a person is to set himself up for the risk. It comes from the glory of victory and the agony of defeat. It comes from merely living and, more importantly, being able to recognize it. After all, it is quite pointless to have something if you don’t know what it’s for. Have I experienced a lot since I first stepped foot into V Building in the Marshall residence halls? At the very least, I can give a laundry list of the things that I’ve done in my time, but that would be pointless. However, I do still have my regrets. They’re not just petty ones about relationships or classes. “”Have I experienced enough?”” is again the question. And perhaps my trepidation about graduating revolves more around this than even the possibility of not being able to find a job afterwards. I’m afraid that, despite the multitude of things that I’ve been through and accomplished, it’s still not enough. Have I made the most of my time here in college? After talking with a friend, Caroline, I realized how much I had missed out. You see, she’s been to 13 countries and me, well, the farthest place I’ve been is Las Vegas. This is, perhaps, the biggest regret I have about college: not studying abroad. Of course, it was an initial consideration of mine, but I never put the effort behind it. I was thinking about Sweden, actually, as strange as it would seem for an Asian to consider. Hockey is great over there during the winter. But, unfortunately, I didn’t take the opportunity. Here’s some advice to the underclassmen: Go abroad! Though I didn’t, I can assure you it will be the one of the best experiences you will have not only in college but also in life. I’ve been told enough stories from friends who have traveled to know. If you don’t go, you’ll be writing about your regret of not going (maybe even in the school newspaper). That’s where I am now. Don’t get me wrong; college has been thoroughly enjoyable, even though there are some lingering regrets about certain missed opportunities, and I am not referring solely to studying abroad. This takes me to the future and the possibilities in store. For once in my life, I am truly clueless about what will happen in the future. When I was younger, the choices were simple: I’d continue on with school; one grade leads to the next. After high school, I knew I would attend UCSD. But now, things are different. I’ve reached another chasm to cross and all I can do for now is look out into the horizon. There are a dozen bridges that I can cross and it’s nearly impossible to choose between them. Maybe this is where the fear comes from. It’s not from the unwillingness to graduate. Trust me, I’m ready to leave. It’s not the fear of committing myself to an 8-to-5 job. It’s the initial step onto one of the creaky bridges. It’s forcing oneself to take that important step. And there are no nets. Do we, do I, have the experience to choose correctly? Ultimately, there is only one way to find out and that is to take the initial step. And quite a big step it is indeed, but I have the confidence to take it. I’ve gone through a great deal since I came here, both good and bad experiences, but experiences nonetheless. And with each came a lesson and memory to remember. Four years’ worth of hard work and great times leads to this and the pressure is building to show that all that I’ve worked for wasn’t for naught. I’m ready to get the hell out of here, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not scared. ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) This week, Aries, a friend or relative may ask for detailed explanations of yesterday’s relationships and social promises. Before Wednesday, expect loved ones to focus on past discussions and delicate social events. Don’t shy away from difficult questions, Aries: Before next week both friends and lovers will rely on your honest reactions. After Thursday avoid new debts and large purchases: Resources may be low. Taurus (April 20-May 20) New social plans or fresh forms of entertainment will bring increased physical and emotional energy this week, Taurus. Some Taureans may also encounter a series of workplace flirtations or inappropriate attractions. If so, Taurus, take all as a compliment: Although flattering, new romantic proposals should be carefully considered. Gemini (May 21-June 21) Work routines or daily habits may now need revision, Gem: Before midweek expect a sudden flurry of messages, errands and small details. Use this time to outline your priorities and make important schedule changes: For the next 11 days authority figures will push for fast results. Offer your wisdom, Gem; your emotional input and social insight are accurate. Cancer (June 22-July 22) Try to avoid boastful moments this week, Cancer: Even though confidence is high, others may not be receptive to proud displays. Before midweek many Cancerians may also find that romantic partners or close friends are silent and emotionally withdrawn. Let others have extra time to reflect or gather insight, Cancer: Soon relationships will again move rapidly forward. After Thursday attend to parent/child relationships: Loved ones may now require your daily dedication. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Friends and relatives may be self-involved this week, Leo. Early Tuesday watch for loved ones to be overly focused on past disappointments and distant relationships. Some Leos may also experience the return of an old friend or colleague. After Friday watch also for fast financial changes or newly amended records: Research and small money matters may be in error. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Romantic energy is high this week, Virgo, but it may also be confusing. Before Thursday expect a friend or lover to introduce a new acquaintance. Over the next few days a temporary division of loyalties may be bothersome: Expect social or romantic triangles to be difficult to avoid. No long-lasting or serious overtones can be expected here, but do watch for brief social conflicts and inappropriate flirtations. Wait for clarity: New romantic passions will calm by early next week. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Lovers or family members may present unusual past information or make contact with an old friend this week, Libra. Unfinished emotions, nostalgia and incomplete relationships will have a tendency to resurface over the next few days. Use this time to release unwanted fears or address long-standing differences with loved ones. Pace yourself and wait for valuable insights. Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Thoroughly discuss new projects and research findings with others this week, Scorp: For the next eight days, work information, facts and figures can easily be mistaken or lost. Some Scorpios may also find that intense romantic flirtations now cause an ongoing distraction. If so, plan for social invitations to sharply increase: New attractions will bring unusual romantic choices before early April. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Heavy or negative social obligations will now fade, Sage. Over the last few days many Sagittarians have felt restricted by the emotional demands of another or frustrated by a lack of time for personal relationships. All of this now changes: Early Wednesday expect friends, loved ones and colleagues to adopt a more cheerful and optimistic outlook. Social and workplace atmospheres will soon improve, Sage: By early next week expect new group instructions and rare social introductions. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Relationships from the past will now begin to make sense, Cap. Much of this will directly affect outdated love affairs and lingering memories: Expect the past actions or words of loved ones to no longer be distracting. Subtle emotions are at work this week, Cap: Watch for intense dreams, key adjustments in present relationships and a newfound bond with loved ones. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Let others handle their own problems this week, Aquarius. Now, a new social and romantic era arrives: after Wednesday expect others to briefly admit their mistakes or offer unique explanations. Trust your instincts, Aquarius: Long-standing differences will not easily fade. Late Thursday a colleague may require extra time to complete an important task: Be patient. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Before midweek, Pisces, a colleague may request your daily assistance or guidance. Over the next three days many Pisceans may feel pressured to adopt the role of instructor, group facilitator or public mentor. Offer support but protect your own ideas, Pisces; at the moment friends and younger colleagues may be highly stressed and limited in their skills. If Your Birthday is this Week: Physical and emotional energy will return in the coming five to six weeks, Pisces: Watch for a four- to five-month period of daily social and romantic challenges to now steadily fade. Many Pisceans will now begin a serious effort to improve home relationships and bring greater intimacy into their lives. Romance will gain momentum by early June, Pisces: Remain patient and watch for a variety of new invitations and social opportunities to trigger important emotional decisions. Later this year, group investments, team assignments or fast workplace changes will bring much excitement: By late September a unique career proposal will require serious consideration. ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) Work mates or daily companions may now need to publicly discuss recent events, policies or group projects. This is an excellent time to establish a bond with close colleagues and review common interests. Some Aries natives may also be asked to solve a difficult calculation or scheduling problem. If so, Aries, go slow: the next few weeks may bring unexpected reversals and fast reassignments. After Thursday a past romantic attraction will be revitalized: Watch for subtle and seductive invitations. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Daily routines may be disrupted early this week, Taurus: Expect a colleague or close friend to suddenly change his approach to ongoing projects or duties. Key areas involved may be compiled information, research, financial paperwork or records. Some Taureans, especially those born prior to 1954, may also experience new money decisions or debts: Go slow and watch for hidden clauses. Later this week, older relatives or roommates may be moody and distant: Expect minor home tensions. Gemini (May 21-June 21) Official duties, time schedules and project instructions will now intensify. Over the next few days, expect team dynamics and social outlets to work in your favor. For many Geminis this is a time when others will offer highly creative ideas and worthwhile solutions. Be optimistic, Gem, but also expect miscalculations or ongoing time restrictions. After Wednesday new messages and quick decisions will change a key friendship: Social versus romantic priorities may require added discussion. Cancer (June 22-July 22) After a period of social disagreements and competing jealousies, many Cancerians will now find stability in key relationships. Before March 24, expect negative social influences, misinformation or overly sensitive friends to change their attitude. Ongoing criticism and daily restrictions will now fade: Watch for loved ones to be expressive and passionate. After Thursday, money promises will change. For the next three weeks authority figures will be cautious, Cancer: Remain patient. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Romance and long-term friendship are accented this week, Leo. Over the next few days many Leos will begin an intense period of emotional growth in close relationships. Long-standing issues of romantic reluctance or divided priorities will now slowly be solved, Leo: expect loved ones to express a new awareness of freedom, seductive attraction and intimacy. Single Leos may now experience powerful and potentially disruptive flirtations: Be selective and watch for rare social complications. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Social comfort, romantic belonging and shared goals will this week arrive in long-term relationships, Virgo. Loved ones will now rekindle their original feelings of attraction and romantic enjoyment: Expect past memories and old sentiments to soon create a deepening trust. Single Virgos, over the next two weeks, can expect a slowly developing sensuality in a new relationship. Be receptive, Virgo, and explore fresh emotions: New commitments will bring added confidence and renewed vitality. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Over the next few days, Libra, your practical wisdom will offer solid rewards. Before mid-week, watch for a close colleague or friend to introduce new information, social contacts or key proposals. All are positive, Libra, and will soon lead to expanding optimism, fresh work options and renewed faith in long term career goals. After Thursday romantic communications may be difficult: Give friends or lovers extra time to settle family or home differences. Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Dreams and emotional flashes will be a strong theme this week, Scorp: Late Tuesday, a brief but intense period of moody reflection arrives. For many Scorpios, contemplation and deep thought will now help clarify their long term needs and beliefs concerning key relationships. Romantic or social commitments may be more involved than previously anticipated: Before next week take extra time for informed, appropriate decisions. An emotionally demanding week, Scorp: Stay focused. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Early this week, Sage, your creativity and sensitivity are extremely high. Over the next few days, watch loved ones closely for indications of change: Many Sagittarians will now greatly expand their emotional commitments, social promises or daily home activities. Some Sagittarians will also experience improved work relations: Fading power struggles will be an important issue. After Friday artistic and social insight are accented: Enjoy sudden flashes of awareness and fast invitations from friends. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Before midweek, Cap, a brief but intense period of reflection and inward thought arrives. Key issues may involve recent social events or new changes to long-term relationships. For most Capricorns this period of contemplation will be the precursor to two to three days of quick social changes or highly public emotional discussions. After Thursday expect lovers or long-term friends to initiate new home ideas or romantic proposals. Be expressive but sensitive, Cap: Loved ones are now vulnerable. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) The past fights back this week, Aquarius: Late Tuesday watch for both lovers and close friends to return to old ideals or re-introduce outdated concepts. Some Aquarians may now experience minor conflicts with loved ones concerning family issues, romantic decisions or yesterday’s roles in close relationships. Don’t expect others to make emotional sense over the next few days, Aquarius: Frustration, lagging confidence or regret may be a strong theme. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Let romantic partners or long-term friends set the tone this week, Pisces: before midweek, loved ones will strongly benefit from publicly expressing their views or helping plan group events. Expect others to adopt a more active and outspoken role in relationships: This is a positive time for displays of social confidence and romantic love. Later this week a workplace setback may be bothersome: Watch for delayed records, misinformation and revised assignments to disrupt daily duties. If Your Birthday is this Week Social relationships will dramatically change over the next two to three months: Watch for several fresh introductions or a new circle of friends to arrive before the end of March. Many Pisceans will now gain powerful business alliances or rare future career opportunities through new social contacts. After mid-April, family restrictions and misunderstandings with older relatives will temporarily fade: expect a five- to six-month period of approval and social acceptance from previously cautious loved ones. Romantic commitments will build slowly this year, Pisces: Don’t press for quick or final decisions before mid- to late September. ...

Lying For Liquor

With over half of UCSD’s student population under the age of 21, fake identification cards are used frequently to purchase alcohol and to get by security at bars and night clubs. Although most minors know that possession of alcohol and the use of a false identity are crimes with heavy penalties, that doesn’t stop the masses of liquor-hungry minors who successfully cheat the law each weekend. In San Diego, which is home to three large universities and many junior colleges, liquor-selling establishments and police officers are on guard for drinking and the use of fake IDs. Minors who use false identification to purchase alcohol should be on guard as well, especially at establishments close to university campuses. Both Ralphs and a local mom-and-pop liquor stores admit that they urge their employees to be suspicious because of the volume of underage shoppers trying to buy alcohol. These establishments have on hand the Alcoholic Beverage Control identification manual, their “”bible,”” said one owner. However, employees do not necessarily have training for spotting false IDs. ABC officer Carl DeWing said that ABC does run a voluntary program called “”Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs,”” in which they train employees and employers on how to spot fake IDs, intoxicated people and drugs. Most establishments, however, opt not to participate in the program. When faced with a shopper who looks to be under 30, their guess is as good as yours. Employees who unknowingly sell alcohol to a minor usually lose their jobs. They can be taken to court and can be fined or penalized. The liquor-selling establishment undergoes a different set of penalties. The 1995 ABC Three Strikes Law was passed in California due to the state legislature’s realization that “”a serious problem”” with drinking among minors exists in the state, DeWing said. For a first offense, ABC enforces a 15-day license suspension, substitutable with a fine of 50 percent of an establishment’s total income for 15 days. For the second offense in a three-year period, the establishment’s liquor license is suspended for 25 days with no possibility of a fine. The third offense is a revocation of the liquor license, the equivalant death sentence for a business in a majority of cases. While the ABC deals with the establishment’s penalties for the crime, the local police department handles the criminal aspect for minors. Minors caught buying alcohol with a fake ID will get between 28 and 32 hours of community service, a $250 fine, and may have their driver’s licenses suspended for up to one year. This is a zero-tolerance offense. The charge is possession of alcohol. If the ID used is a California one, both a California vehicle code violation and a business and professional code violation are tacked on. If the ID is out of state, only the latter is charged. According to the San Diego Police Department, there is no difference in penalties between using a fake ID and using someone else’s borrowed ID. However, simply possessing a fake ID does not necessarily come with heavy consequences. Police detained Muir sophomore Philip Miller one night, and they searched his wallet. “”I had an out-of-state ID, a really shitty one that only worked in high school,”” Miller said. “”But they just confiscated it and never said another word about it to me.”” The police department sends undercover officers into liquor-selling establishment to see if they are furnishing alcohol to minors. They also patrol nightclubs and places of high concentration of people for overintoxication, overcrowding, drugs and other activities in the crowd. The local law enforcement also sends minor decoys into establishments to make sure they’re not furnishing alcohol to minors. The decoys are usually police cadets, boy scouts, relatives of police officers or members of the local Boys Club, and are supervised by a police officer. They must reveal their true identity to the employee to avoid entrapment. The Minor Decoy Operation was challenged in 1992, but in 1994 it was proven a valid method, granted that the decoys don’t try to bribe, lie or otherwise induce sale, and that they look over the age of 21. The hesitation and precautions that liquor-selling establishments use when selling to a shopper who looks to be under 30 are well-founded. The owner of a mom-and-pop liquor store near UCSD said that officers come in two to three times a year and hang around the store for 10 to 20 minutes, pretending to read magazines. He cards every shopper because he is near campus and has a lot at stake because the store is a family business. As a result, he said, he has refused sales to up to 20 customers in a weekend. The Ralphs Corporation denies sale to out-of-state ID holders, and although disputes naturally arise, its policy holds fast. Unlike the mom-and-pop store, however, it confiscates suspect identification that does not conform to the ABC handbook. The average confiscations vary from 10 to 15 every few months. Moondoggie’s Restaurant in Pacific Beach confiscates IDs as well. Its policy includes the use of flashlights to check ID cards, and close examination to see if the ID matches its owner. It accepts out-of-state IDs and confiscates one to two IDs per night on average. The restaurant’s owner said that the number of IDs confiscated is larger during spring break and other times of high patronage. Muir sophomore Nicole Caven had her ID taken by Moondoggies on a weekday afternoon. “”The guy was a real asshole,”” Caven said. “”He asked me a lot of questions, my age, when I graduated from high school and ended up confiscating my ID. It cost me 50 bucks.”” Even with these restrictions and the possibility of legal penalty, minors have always found ways to get around the rules. For those who own fake IDs, fraudulently using the state seal is a misdemeanor. However, for those who make fake IDs, illegal reproduction of the California insignia is a felony. A local student and maker of fake IDs said he is aware of these consequences, yet he still does it “”to help people out.”” He makes IDs for underage friends, for those 21 and over with underage significant others, and even for people wanting to reap the financial benefits of youth ski passes. The process is simple. One creates a template from scratch on a computer, then fills in the necessary information and photo. “”All you need is a good scanner and a Photoshop program,”” the student who makes the IDs said. The type of fake ID he makes usually costs between $60 and $100, but he charges $40 because he said he’s not in it for the money. He and his friends only used a few key tools and the smarts they came to school with to create the IDs. He said at universities with students who are smart, driven, underage and who have the desire to purchase alcohol, it is ridiculous for authorities to assume that minors won’t find a way. The Internet is also a growing source for purchasing illegal identification. There are dozens of Internet sites devoted to the sale of fabricated identification. These sites describe their products as “”novelty”” and “”souvenir”” items, and many have disclaimers notifying the buyer of the legal repercussions. IDs can cost up to $100 on these sites but mostly range from $40 to $60. The business is growing and the locations of the sites are difficult to track. Although these sites are illegal, law enforcement would rather spend their time and effort preventing the sale of alcohol to minors than tracking down small-time hackers. Using false identification is a crime commonly committed by minors, especially in university towns. Police will continue to crack down just as minors will continue to rebel. Minors, however, should be aware of the legal penalties for this crime and the hazard it brings to the establishments from which they buy. ...

Questions Regarding Career Choices Often Plague College Students

When I was about 5 years old, I remember filling in some kind of personal survey — the precursor to those that inundate everyone’s e-mail inboxes nowadays — with a variety of questions. The questions were of the sort that one could expect a small child to be able to answer, relating to favorite color, food, animal and so on. The question that sticks in my mind is, however, “”What do you want to be when you grow up?”” I remember printing “”a dentist”” in clumsy capitals that hovered above the line. My response was wholly arbitrary. I don’t ever even recall having any particular interest in dentistry. I likely forgot about my answer soon after I wrote it. I think about the times I’ve pondered my career path since then, and I realize that if I were asked the same question today, my response would probably be just as arbitrary. Unlike many people I have known who have struggled arduously with the prospects of finding a job once they have left college, I am unconcerned with the future because I know I can be content with just about anything I find myself doing. I’ve found that my happiness with a job comes in knowing that it’s a helpful and morally enriching experience, not in worrying about finding enjoyment in the actual tasks I’m completing. I have realized that when it comes to a career, it comes down to this: All work should be useful, productive and honorable. Anything beyond that is just details, and secondary to the importance of the three criteria I have mentioned. As long as I am fulfilling my obligation as far as being useful to others in my occupation, I feel that I can be very happy with whatever I do. This outlook, however, has caused me problems as I try to figure out what I’m going to spend most of my life doing. I’d be just as happy driving a bulldozer as editing the poetry of Seamus Heaney for the next 50 years, as long as someone needed me to do it. It’s not that I cannot find a passion; it is just that I have too many of them. I would just as soon throw myself into archaeology as medicine, and probably with the same amount of gusto. Many of my friends aspire toward very specialized career paths. I’ve never been like them. I admire the drive that spurs them relentlessly on, stomping over all that impedes their pursuits. My best friend has wanted to become a doctor ever since he was small, and he has not lost sight of that desire. Others I know are intent upon law school or graduate study in a particular field. I’ve thought about going to graduate school, but I realized that whatever I might study, it would be because it seemed like it might be something fun and enriching to try — not because I have a driving passion to study a particular field. If I decided to try law, I would go to law school “”for fun,”” taking it in as an interesting experience (much to the horror, I’m sure, of those cooped up every weekend with their LSAT books). I would study medicine because it would be interesting to be able to help people in such a specialized way, not because of a passion I’ve held since childhood. The ambivalence that characterizes my outlook on setting for a lifelong career is equally in force when it comes to the work I do now. I split my time between two realms: the literary and the technological. Neither has ever really held sway over me. I enjoy the editing I do at the Guardian, and I like the computer work that I do at my other job. However, when I picture myself cooped up in a high rise reading newspaper articles all day for mistakes, or spending 70 hours per week in a cubicle in Silicon Valley, I confess I don’t feel a great deal of excitement. Perhaps I have yet to find that one magical thing that will wed me to a particular career path, but I believe instead that everything’s the same to me at the end of the day, as long as it has been helpful. In time, I know I will tire of computers and editing, and it will be time to move on. I’m not pressed for time to decide on what I want to do. I’ll be here at least another year-and-a-half — and I’m toying with the idea of adding another major, which would give me nearly three years before I have to hit the job market or try to sell myself to a graduate school. Somehow, though, I don’t think anything’s going to change in the interim. I can see myself becoming one of those people who spends her life doing a variety of anomalous and varied things. Summer jobs will afford me the opportunity to try new things, but that doesn’t lead me to believe that ardor for a particular career is lurking around the corner. I am pretty sure that I have already found it — not in the choice of a particular pursuit, but in the assurance that whatever I do, I know it will not be a waste of time for others, nor for myself. ...

Book Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Charlie Brown and the Rest of the Gang

Have you ever questioned the existence of God? Have you ever had a crush on someone and gotten too choked up to say anything whenever that person is near? Have you ever daydreamed? If you said yes to any of these questions, then I would recommend picking up “”Peanuts: A Golden Celebration.”” This is compilation of the best, most thoughtful comic strips from the “”Peanuts”” collection by the late Charles M. Schulz. The selection of the strips, which includes the very first “”Peanuts”” strip published Oct. 2, 1950 and even prototype strips called “”Li’l Folks,”” epitomizes Schulz’s long and distinguished career. Schulz died from complications from a stroke last year, only weeks after the legend decided to retire after 50 years. But “”Peanuts: A Golden Celebration”” is much more than just a collection of comics, just as “”Peanuts”” is much more than a simple children’s comic strip. It is a history book of Charlie Brown and the gang and also the history of Schulz. So much of his life was ingrained into the comic that his name is synonymous with “”Peanuts.”” He is “”Peanuts”” and “”Peanuts”” will always be him. “”Peanuts: A Golden Celebration”” gets readers up-close and personal with the life of Schulz — his influences, the people he has influenced, his interpretation of religion (Christianity in particular) and adaptation of his life into the strip. In a sense, the comic strip is a history of his life. Many look at “”Peanuts”” (a title that Schulz disliked and never understood), and see a child’s comic. True, it is that. But it is much more than a child’s gleeful laughter. “”‘Peanuts,’ like any great work of art, can be read on many levels,”” Sharon Begley wrote in “”Newsweek.”” “”For every child who giggles over Sally’s jump-rope troubles … an adult nods at the strip’s tragicomic view of life,”” Begley stated. Tragicomic is a term often used to describe one of William Shakespeare’s greatest and final play, “”The Tempest.”” “”Peanuts”” is not a simple story of a moon-faced child and his gang of friends. It is a story of children placed in adult-like situations. The blatant truth of life, the harshness of reality and the pains of love are not what we expect children to face, yet these characters do. Anxiety, self-doubt and the betrayal of innocence plague them. How many times has Schroeder spurned Lucy? How many times has Lucy pulled the football away from Charlie Brown? How many times has Charlie Brown got too nervous to speak when the Little Red Haired Girl is around? “”Peanuts”” is a story of juxtapositions. The characters live in innocent times yet they are not, by any means, innocent. The scene is set in the post-World War II era, yet there is no Vietnam. The Plumbers never broke into the Watergate Hotel, there is no Monica, no Cold War, no racism. True, these things may have actually occurred, but through the veiled eyes of children, they did not happen. After all, we can always expect to see Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. And we can always expect to see him disappointed. This is the reality of life pitted against the innocence of children. As innocent as they may be, they are at, the same time, not innocent. Lucy enjoys torturing Charlie Brown, the every-man that represents us. Charlie Brown suffers from failure and disillusionment, as we all do. He has desires that we all have: “”All I want is a normal life …”” he said to Lucy during one of their psychiatric sessions. Peppermint Patty’s secret crush on her “”Chuck”” does not, and never will, end the way she wants it. As many times as Lucy pulls the football away, Charlie Brown still has the innocence to fall for it again. Schulz was a devout Christian and his beliefs surface in the comic. The strip puts into question faith in God and man, something we have all done, lying in bed in the dead of night. “”Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, ‘Why me?'”” Charlie Brown says in the middle of the night. Then a voice answers, “”‘Nothing personal. Your name just happened to turn up.'”” Despite all that transpires around their lives, the children have a devout following to God. The same applies to their belief in the goodness of man. Charlie will always attempt to kick the football; Lucy will always try to catch the baseball. Linus and Franklin often quote from the Old Testament, particularly the Book of Job. The significance of this lies in the story of Job, a man who had everything. God, sure of Job’s love and trust, allows the Devil to tempt and torture Job. But at the end, after many trials and tragedies, Job arises from the decay with his devotion to God still intact. The same type of devotion to God and man applies to Charlie Brown and his friends. The characters posses an unwavering belief in what is right and moral, something we all aspire to have, yet fail to achieve. Each major character possesses a human quality that represents each of us. Lucy is the mischievous, frank one. Linus and Franklin personify our religious sides. Snoopy represents the many faces of our character. Pig Pen “”may be carrying soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan.”” And Charlie Brown epitomizes our innocence, our pains and ultimately our redemption as he is the Christ-figure that suffers for his fellows. “”Peanuts: A Golden Celebration”” represents all of these aspects. Every strip was chosen to represent everything that “”Peanuts”” represents. Perhaps the most poignant line from the book was one rather uncharacteristic of Lucy: “”Happiness is a warm puppy.”” ...

Exploring the Human Psyche

The question of who we are and why we exist has plagued mankind for centuries. Millions of theories have been forwarded in an attempt to answer this question. One of the most recent in this barrage of intellectual thought comes from the mind of Dr. Ron Shane, a postdoctoral visiting scholar at UCSD. Shane will be presenting his ideas at a lecture titled “”Revealing the Mystique of the Human Psyche”” Thursday March 8, at 5:15 p.m. in Cognitive Science Building Room 002, here at UCSD. All are welcome to attend this four-part lecture that promises to be stimulating and highly interactive. “”The whole focus is to bring to light that today’s science in neurobiology can begin to give some indication as to how the brain is affected by culture,”” Shane said. “”The brain is a highly complex, ever-changing milieu that is constantly putting up different matrices to different stimuli. In other words, the brain is highly affected by the environment that surrounds it.”” The evening will open with a lecture on “”Man’s Ontological Stultification.”” This lecture will discuss how culture affects us in our everyday lives and how it shapes us as people. According to Shane, the overcrowding of our society, coupled with a government that is making decisions for us, is causing human beings to become more stressed and unhappy. Shane cites studies of rats that showed that, while they are an adaptive species like human beings, they still showed more anxiety and stress when put in an overpopulated environment. He likens this to the current overcrowding situation in the human population. “”The current stance for most people in society is to just go with the flow and not question things,”” Shane said. “”We have to find ways to change and make the environment more adaptive to the natural architecture of our brains.”” Shane will lecture for about 50 minutes before opening up for questions and discussion. During the discussion, he will also read from some of his scholarly works on these topics to spurn questions and debate. After the discussion, Shane will switch gears for a lecture on “”Classical Theosophy and Metaphysics Incensing the Essence of Today’s Artist.”” This lecture will focus on how art should go beyond the naturalism of everyday life and needs to be both stimulating and intoxicating. “”Art can’t be scanty with respect to how it activates the self,”” Shane said. “”In our current society, art is almost baneful. It no longer rejoices in being happy.”” A discussion will again follow the approximately 50-minute lecture. Throughout the evening, Shane wants the audience to be relaxed and to have a good time. He encourages the audience to bring in food and drinks to enjoy during the lectures. Shane, a former English professor at SDSU and UCSD, originally received his doctoral degree from UC Santa Barbara in the social psychology of literature. His doctoral thesis was centered on the Romantic poetry of Blake. He went on to do postdoctoral work on Renaissance literature and theater at UCLA. He is now a postdoctoral visiting scholar at UCSD in the cognitive science department. In addition to his scholarly achievements, Shane is a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has also studied yoga, Taoism and Indian philosophy. He said that his diverse combination of knowledge gives him a keen insight into the nature of human beings. “”I want the evening to be a mental party,”” Shane said. “”My goal is to make this into a liberating, creative experience. I am going to combine the stuff that I am currently studying with the knowledge that I have previously gathered to come up with what I hope is an interesting insight into the human psyche.”” Though Shane promises that he can talk for hours and will stay as long as there are people willing to listen, the room is only reserved until 9 p.m. ...

You Bet Your Bottom Dollar

For people who constantly get that itch for games of chance, Las Vegas has always been the ultimate land of opportunity. There isn’t anywhere else in the world where somebody can find so many different places to gamble or so many different ways to gamble. In recent years, Las Vegas has become even more alluring after the building of such world-class resorts as Bellagio and the Venetian. James P. Pascual Guardian Unfortunately for UCSD students, Las Vegas is rarely a reasonable option for quenching their gambling fantasies. The five-hour drive puts a crimp into everybody’s style, especially with gas prices as high as they are right now. Also, more then half of UCSD’s population is under 21. For this group, Las Vegas seems more like a dollar peep show downtown; they let you look but not touch. Well my friends, there is a way to stay local and still find a way to lose your money in a blaze of glory: the Native American reservation casinos. The Law Prior to 1988, Native American tribes were prohibited from having gaming establishments on their reservations. This all changed that year, however, when federal law granted Native Americans this right. The federal rights provided, however, were very limited. The law would not allow the casinos to provide money for card games. Players had to offer an ante to the house and could only bet against each other, meaning the dealers could not play hands. The law also did not allow lotteries. Low limits on slot machines were also enforced. For these reasons, the reservations were forced to innovate some games that were strikingly similar to the Las Vegas classics, but they could not offer the actual games. This problem looked like it was to be settled in 1998 after the overwhelming passing of Proposition 5, which aimed to clear up the wording in the original federal law and also to extend the gambling opportunities Native Americans were allowed to offer in their casinos. This, however, was not what happened. Proposition 5 was held up in courts by lawsuits filed on behalf of Las Vegas casino owners. In 1999, after almost a year of arguments, the courts overturned Proposition 5 based on technicalities in the law. Taxpayers were given another opportunity to fix the squabbling between the government and Native Americans in March 2000. Appearing on this ballot was Proposition 1A, which claimed to fix the confusing wording in the state law. When the smoke cleared on March 8, the tally wasn’t even a close one. A whopping 64.6 percent of voters were for 1A. The effect of Proposition 1A was not clear at the time it was passed, but in retrospect, it is easy to see the differences in the Native American casinos. First of all, the limit on slot machines has been raised to $2,000. For this reason, many of the local casinos are adding new buildings and revamping their old ones. Proposition 1A also allows Native Americans to play house-banked games like blackjack and run lottery-type games. All in all, Proposition 1A made the reservation casinos much more like those of Las Vegas. The Games Although the reservations vary as to which games they offer, the variation is quite small. Most of the favorites from Las Vegas are offered at all the casinos, and some offer the more obscure games. The reservation casinos all offer a wide variety of slot machines for your playing enjoyment. These machines, thanks to Proposition 1A, are now the same types of machines found in Las Vegas. If you like slot machines, any of the casinos in the area should be to your liking. All of the local casinos also offer the old favorite of the gerontology crowd: bingo. Everybody played this game when they were little kids and it doesn’t really need much explaining. They call a number and if you have it on your card, you mark it. The first person to get a straight line of called numbers wins. There are a few variations on this, but that is the basic game. So if you are over 70, you should be very happy with your bingo options around San Diego. Blackjack is also offered at all of the San Diego area casinos. Blackjack is a game in which the players and the dealer each get two cards. The players play solely against the dealer and do not lose simply because another player has a higher total than they do. Face cards are worth 10, an ace is worth either one or 11, and all other cards are worth their face value. The object is to get higher than the dealer without going over 21. The wide allure of blackjack can probably be attributed to the fact that any novice can sit down and win, while there are advanced strategies that make the game interesting for even the most seasoned player. All of the San Diego area casinos offer a poker room where players can match their wits against each other in classic card games such as seven-card stud and Texas hold `em. Some, but not all, also have variations of poker that you can play against the house. These games include Caribbean stud poker, three card poker, let it ride and pai gow poker. The rules of these games are too lengthy to explain in text, but if you enjoy classic poker games, picking up the rules to these games shouldn’t take you very long. The Casinos Pechanga Pechanga is a Native American casino in Temecula. To get there, you take Interstate 15 north for about 40 miles, exit on highway 79, turn right and go one mile to Pala Road, where you again turn right. Stay on Pala Road for about 2 miles and Pechanga is on the right. Pechanga offers blackjack, slots, bingo, Caribbean stud (which they call Pechanga stud, but the rules are the same) and classic poker. Barona Barona is settled right here in the San Diego area, but getting to it can be a challenge if you don’t know exactly where you are going. Take Interstate 8 east to Highway 67 north. Exit on Willows Road, then take a left on Wildcat Canyon Road. If you follow that six miles through a winding mountain road, Barona will be on your left. Barona offers all the games that Pechanga does, but also offers three card poker, pai gow poker and casino war (yes, it is basically the same game you played with your dad when you were five, only this time it’s for money). Viejas Viejas is possibly the easiest of all the area casinos to get to. You take I-8 to Alpine and exit on Willows Road. Turn left and follow the street a mile-and-a-half. The casino is on your left side. The Viejas outlet stores are on the right. Viejas has a similar set of games to Barona’s, but does not offer casino war. It does, however, offer let it ride and baccarat, two games that no other casino in the area offers. Sycuan Sycuan is geogaphically the closest casino to UCSD, but the drive takes about as long as the drive to Viejas. To get to Sycuan, go down I-8 and exit at El Cajon Boulevard. Follow this until you hit Washington, then turn right. Follow this for three miles until it becomes Dehesa. Stay on it for another five miles and it will take you right to the casino. Sycuan offers a somewhat more limited selection of games as compared to the other casinos. In addition to the standard poker, slots and blackjack (which they call Sycuan 21), Sycuan offers pai gow poker and Sycuan stud (which, again, is simply a dressed up name for Caribbean stud). A Good Alternative So for those of you who don’t have the time to go to Las Vegas or aren’t 21 yet, check out the Native American reservation casinos. They don’t have the same glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas resorts, but they are a good substitute if you are in the mood to lose a little money at the tables or sitting behind a one-armed bandit. ...

An Active High School Party Life Can Lead to Apathy in College

I’ve peaked too early. There’s no other way to really describe it. I’m in college and parties are raging every weekend (maybe not here at UCSD, but we do live in San Diego), but all I feel like doing on a Saturday night is sitting at home with some friends. I know that this concept must be foreign to many UCSD students who have been starved of parties throughout their high school careers (and probably throughout college as well), but trust me, you’ll all get there someday. Many of you are probably sitting there right now and speculating about my past. You might be guessing that I’m a fifth-year senior who has seen his share of parties, or perhaps an SDSU transfer student. Well, I’m neither. In fact, I’m a second-year Warren student who could probably count the number of parties he’s gone to here at UCSD on his two hands. Now that I’ve thoroughly confused the hell out of all of you, let me explain. I went to high school in a small Northern California town. It was hell for an adventurous youth like me. Weekend activities were narrowed to bowling, miniature golf, roller skating, laser tag or the mall. While these activities were enough to keep me busy in my younger days, I soon grew bored of them when I entered high school, as did the rest of the kids in town. We quickly learned that the various fields and orchards that filled our quiet little town were great for concealing parties. It wasn’t long before we were drinking almost every weekend. Occasionally, somebody’s parents would go out of town and we would have a house party, but we remained content in the orchards for the most part. As we got older, the parties intensified and grew. The weekends melded together into a single memory of friends, women and free-flowing alcohol. We were thoroughly enjoying our high school years. When we became juniors in high school, we made one of the greatest discoveries of our young lives. We found the Greek system. Situated in our small town was California State University, Stanislaus. This wonderful college had been home to many a football or basketball game in our youth, but it had never crossed our minds that it was also home to some of the greatest parties known to man. Since it was a college that was basically in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing for those poor students to do on the weekends other than party, and party they did. We would have probably remained oblivious to these parties had we not been friends with (and partied constantly with) older people who graduated from high school and went on to “”study”” at CSUS (it was very common for students from our high school to stay in town and go to college there). As they filtered into the college, they embraced the Greek system as something to keep them sane during the long hours of boredom that the town had to offer. The result was our first connections to college parties. At first we were a bit cautious as we entered the new plateau of parties. We were used to hiding in orchards while we drank on weekends. Now we were in houses filled with people, loud music and, most importantly, alcohol. The first few fraternity parties that we went to were very awkward. We were the youngest ones there and only knew a few people. We spent the first few hours of the first party just sitting on the couch and sipping our beers. People would occasionally come and talk to us, but we remained shell-shocked and speechless for the most part. The proverbial ice finally broke during the second party when my friend asked me to mix some drinks for a few of the guys (this was a talent that I had aquired at a young age). After I whipped up some of the best drinks that these guys had ever tasted, we were accepted by pretty much all of the guys (and a lot of the girls as well, but that’s a different story. We soon grew comfortable and were likewise embraced by the college party scene (it helps to hit the beer bong a few times and gain credibility early on). Our popularity around the high school inevitably skyrocketed, and we were soon the kings of the school. We began hosting our own parties at various locations, drawing large crowds on a regular basis. With our popularity came added cockiness. We would start to take stupid risks with our illegal activities. We once tried to sneak alcohol into a movie theater on the night that it opened. It might have worked if we weren’t wearing huge jackets in 90 degree weather. Needless to say, we were busted and had to run from the cops to escape prosecution. Toward the end of my senior year, my house became party central. Even after I left for college, I would be bothered by people to throw a party every time I came back to visit. It was almost expected. As one can imagine (or maybe you can’t), this grew tiresome. The constant barrage of friends, women and alcohol was growing too much for me to handle. Some of my close friends felt my pain. We were getting burned out on the whole party scene. We would sometimes take weekends off and just drink and watch movies at a person’s house. “”Goldeneye”” became a great pastime and an escape from the party scene. That brings me to where I am now, sitting at home on weekends and just enjoying the company of my friends. I’m not saying that I don’t drink or wouldn’t go out to a party if I heard about a good one, but I’m no longer desperately seeking one out every weekend. This attitude has crept into the rest of my life as well. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a player. Back in the day, that title may have fit (but it would have been a stretch). Granted, I can be very flirtatious, but that does not make me a player. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not just looking for a girl to fool around with for a one-night stand (not any more). I guess I’m just looking for something more substantial. I realize that right about now, there are probably a lot of guys out there calling me a “”pansy.”” To that, I can just say “”whatever.”” In years past, being called names and challenging my ego like that would have probably made me go out and find the nearest good-looking girl for a quick score, but I’m over that now, along with the whole party scene. I’m not saying that I’m ready to settle down and become a grandfather tomorrow — I’m sure I have a few parties left in me — but I am ready to calm down. It is unavoidable that we will all hit this point at some time in our lives. For some it will be in a few years. For some it will be in a few decades. For me, it’s now. ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) Workmates or daily companions may now need to publicly discuss recent events, policies or group projects. This is an excellent time to establish a bond with close colleagues and review common interests. Some Aries natives may also be asked to solve a difficult calculation or scheduling problem. If so, Aries should go slow: The next few weeks may bring unexpected reversals and fast reassignments. After Thursday, a past romantic attraction will be revitalized: Watch for subtle and seductive invitations. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Daily routines may be disrupted early this week, Taurus. You should expect a colleague or close friend to suddenly change his or her approach to ongoing projects or duties. Key areas involved may be compiled information, research, financial paperwork or records. Some Taureans, especially those born prior to 1954, may also experience new money decisions or debts: Go slow and watch for hidden clauses. Later this week older relatives or roommates may be moody and distant: Expect minor home tensions. Gemini (May 21-June 21) Official duties, time schedules and project instructions will now intensify. Over the next few days, expect team dynamics and social outlets to work in your favor. For many Geminis, this is a time when others will offer highly creative ideas and worthwhile solutions. Be optimistic, Gem, but also expect miscalculations or ongoing time restrictions. After Wednesday, new messages and quick decisions will change a key friendship: Social versus romantic priorities may require added discussion. Cancer (June 22-July 22) After a period of social disagreements and competing jealousies, many Cancerians will now find stability in key relationships. Before March 24, expect negative social influences, misinformation or overly sensitive friends to change their attitude. Ongoing criticism and daily restrictions will now fade: Watch for loved ones to be expressive and passionate. After Thursday, money promises will change. For the next three weeks, authority figures will be cautious, Cancer: Remain patient. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Romance and long-term friendship are accented this week, Leo. Over the next few days many Leos will begin an intense period of emotional growth in close relationships. Long-standing issues of romantic reluctance or divided priorities will now slowly be solved, Leo. Expect loved ones to express a new awareness of freedom, seductive attraction and intimacy. Single Leos may now experience powerful and potentially disruptive flirtations: Be selective and watch for rare social complications. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Social comfort, romantic belonging and shared goals will this week arrive in long-term relationships, Virgo. Loved ones will now rekindle their original feelings of attraction and romantic enjoyment: Expect past memories and old sentiments to soon create a deepening trust. Single Virgos, over the next two weeks, can expect a slowly developing sensuality in a new relationship. Be receptive, Virgo, and explore fresh emotions: New commitments will bring added confidence and renewed vitality. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Over the next few days, Libra, your practical wisdom will offer solid rewards. Before midweek, watch for a close colleague or friend to introduce new information, social contacts or key proposals. All are positive, Libra, and will soon lead to expanding optimism, fresh work options and renewed faith in long-term career goals. After Thursday, romantic communications may be difficult: Give friends or lovers extra time to settle family or home differences. Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Dreams and emotional flashes will be a strong theme this week, Scorp: Late Tuesday, a brief but intense period of moody reflection will arrive. For many Scorpios, contemplation and deep thought will now help clarify their long-term needs and beliefs concerning key relationships. Romantic or social commitments may be more involved than previously anticipated: Before next week take extra time for informed, appropriate decisions. This will be an emotionally demanding week, Scorp: Stay focused. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Early this week, Sage, your creativity and sensitivity are extremely high. Over the next few days, watch loved ones closely for indications of change: Many Sagittarians will now greatly expand their emotional commitments, social promises or daily home activities. Some Sagittarians will also experience improved work relations: Fading power struggles will be an important issue. After Friday, artistic and social insight are accented: Enjoy sudden flashes of awareness and fast invitations from friends. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Before mid-week, Cap, a brief but intense period of reflection and inward thought arrives. Key issues may involve recent social events or new changes to long-term relationships. For most Capricorns, this period of contemplation will be the precursor for two to three days of quick social changes or highly public emotional discussions. After Thursday, expect lovers or long-term friends to initiate new home ideas or romantic proposals. Be expressive, but sensitive, Cap: Loved ones are now vulnerable. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) The past fights back this week, Aquarius: Late Tuesday, watch for both lovers and close friends to return to old ideals or reintroduce outdated concepts. Some Aquarians may now experience minor conflicts with loved ones concerning family issues, romantic decisions or yesterday’s roles in close relationships. Don’t expect others to make emotional sense over the next few days, Aquarius: Frustration, lagging confidence or regret may be a strong theme. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Let romantic partners or long-term friends set the tone this week, Pisces: Before midweek, loved ones will strongly benefit from publicly expressing their views or helping plan group events. Expect others to now adopt a more active and outspoken role in relationships: This is a positive time for displays of social confidence and romantic love. Later this week, a workplace setback may be bothersome: Watch for delayed records, misinformation and revised assignments to disrupt daily duties. If Your Birthday is this Week Social relationships will dramatically change over the next two to three months: Watch for several fresh introductions or a new circle of friends to arrive before the end of March. Many Pisceans will now gain powerful business alliances or rare future career opportunities through new social contacts. After mid-April, family restrictions and misunderstandings with older relatives will temporarily fade: Expect a five- to six-month period of approval and social acceptance from previously cautious loved ones. Romantic commitments will build slowly this year, Pisces: Don’t press for quick or final decisions before mid- to late September. ...