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The Days of the DEAD

Each culture has a different way of mourning those who have passed on. Death is very hard to deal with, to accept and to appreciate. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. Sky Frostenson/ Guardian In America, death is dealt with in a very dark way. It is very solemn and quiet. A few miles away, however, people deal with death with a very different attitude, as it is celebrated in a two-day festival known as “”dias de los muertos.”” Dias de los muertos translates to “”days of the dead.”” It is a time when people in Mexico recognize, and at the same time celebrate, those who have died. It is a happy celebration where the dead come back to the world of the living for a day to be with loved ones. They come back to eat, drink and have a good time. Deceased children come home to visit on the night of Oct. 31 and must be gone by the afternoon of Nov. 1. That is when the adults come home to visit and stay until mid-day Nov. 2. David Pilz/ Guardian The family greets the deceased adult with several offerings, including aromas from candles, copal incense and food, among other things. They are then thought to remain with the living, silently enjoying their company like in the old days. On the evening of Nov. 2, they are thought to have left, though some try to stay a little longer. These ghosts are chased back to their graves by people wearing bright and colorful masks. Performers abound at the cemetaries, playing tunes enjoyed by those who have died. People everywhere are happy, celebrating with friends as well as family. The days are filled with prayer and festivities, a mixture of respect for the dead and the happiness of life. How it is celebrated This celebration has many traditions, some of which are universal and some that vary among regions. Perhaps one of the most common traditions is the making of altars, mostly in people’s homes, although they are seen at the workplace as well. Altars consist of flowers, candles, pictures of the person to whom the altar is dedicated, food, water, clothing and things that describe the person’s personality. For children, there may be toys and candy. There is usually a candle for each spirit. Religious symbols are also used, such as figurines of Jesus and Mary, and crosses. The altars are bright and beautiful, as much time is given to them by the deceased’s friends and family. Decorating gravesites is another common tradition. They are often painted freshly and covered in flowers. Marigolds are used very often in covering gravesites, as well as to make trails leading to homes. This lets the spirits know how to get to their friends and family. People hang out at the gravesites, visiting friends, both alive and dead, in addition to deceased family members. Other traditions include “”pan de muertos,”” a sweet bread made for the dead that is placed on the altars. The living will often eat the pan de muertos the day after the spirits have left and contend that it was kissed by the dead when they came to visit. They say that it tastes a little sweeter after the dead have come to visit. Pan de muertos is sold all over Mexico at bakeries whose windows are covered in paintings of skeletons enjoying the bread. Skulls, or “”calaveras,”” are seen everywhere in decorations, paintings and food. Sugar calaveras are seen in many places. Some people celebrate the tradition of eating a sugar calavera with one’s own name on it as a memorial to one’s body. The skulls and skeletons seen everywhere in Mexico are not portrayed the way they are here. In America, on Halloween, skeletons are very dark and foreboding. They are something to be feared. In Mexico, they are joyful. They are often dressed in certain attire, an imitation of life. The affection for the dead is displayed by the time, effort and money put into preparation for the dias de los muertos. Decorations are very elaborate and heartfelt. The respect for the dead is very evident everywhere one goes. Overcoming death All societies must have a way to deal with death, of overcoming great loss. The sadness that comes with losing a loved one is inescapable, but at some point there must be acceptance. The Mexican days of the dead are a way for people to transition from the cold feeling of loss to the acceptance of death. By feeling that the spirits are with you again, you feel close to them again and feel their warmth. It is not a sad time, because the living and the dead are reunited, which calls for a happy celebration with a lot of festivities. The tradition is similar to the Irish wake, in which after mouring the death of someone, the person’s friends and family get together to drink in celebration of the person’s life. It is a way to gain peace with the passing of a loved one. A common attitude toward death in Mexico is the belief that life is suffering, and that death is a release from that suffering. Life is unpredictable and is filled with worry, but will eventually end in a liberation from this: death. This is why there are such happy attitudes toward the days of the dead. The dead are free from this world. And so the spirits once again leave, sometimes stubbornly, back to the world of the dead. They are happy to have been back for a day to visit, but it is not their world anymore, and must return to the infinite, and peace between the living and the dead is achieved — at least for one more year. ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) Let your conscience be your guide on Monday. It’ll be harder on Tuesday because that little voice may tell you something you don’t want to hear. Around Wednesday you start feeling agitated and eager to take action. If you wait until Thursday and plan all the possibilities before making your decision, your chances of success will improve. On Friday you may have to defend your position, especially if money’s involved. Hold off on shopping until Sunday, when you’re more apt to choose things you can live with. Taurus (April 20-May 20) You and a partner can bail out a friend on Monday. Don’t take a financial risk on Tuesday. Wait until it looks like a sure thing. Confer with your partner on Wednesday and then push your plan forward. You’re pushed on Thursday, but that’s OK. Stick up for your rights on Friday. Don’t budge from what’s right on Saturday, and the others might bend your way. Relax on Sunday and give thanks for a valuable gift. Gemini (May 21-June 21) You’re anxious to get going Monday, but don’t jump the gun. Something you learn by Tuesday could change the direction you’re headed. A friend’s in a tizzy Wednesday and Thursday. Advise discretion and guard against gossiping yourself. You’d only make matters worse. Settle in for the long haul Friday and Saturday. It’s OK to be stubborn then. Everybody else is. Your plans start flowing on Sunday. Cancer (June 22-July 22) Monday’s a hassle, but that night could be romantic. Check out a new foreign restaurant. Surprises at work add stress Tuesday. Try not to get rattled; the outcome is positive. You should be prepared for an exam on Wednesday. The boss has a short fuse both then and on Thursday. By Friday the pace slows, not a moment too soon. Plans may change on Saturday, so be flexible. Hide out and read a good book most of Sunday. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) The money’s tied up most of Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday you’re ready, but your partner’s not. More complications surface on Thursday and Friday. Don’t rush, or you’ll have even more messes later. Consult with an older adviser Saturday. Then forget your troubles with friends by playing on Sunday. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Support your mate’s ideas on Monday and Tuesday by adding a measure of good common sense. The money is flowing on Wednesday and Thursday, and quick action’s needed to stop up the leaks. Work messes with travel on Friday and Saturday; just focus on going as soon as you can. A parent’s delighted to see you on Sunday, and then loads you down with goodies and love. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Creativity’s challenged on Monday and Tuesday. It isn’t all easy, but work could pay well. Your partner’s obnoxious on Wednesday and Thursday. Don’t let your own stresses get into the mix. Check over your checkbook to be sure on Friday. Then shop on Saturday as if you were broke. That way, you’ll have plenty for travel on Sunday. Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Watch for surprises when bartering Monday. Find out what you’re getting first; then set the price. Wonderful romance could sour on Tuesday. A household project’s expensive on Wednesday. Measure it three times before cutting once. A co-worker’s advice helps you fix it on Thursday. Familiar hassles with your mate on Friday go through Saturday without relief. Agree to disagree by Sunday; then get yourselves a big treat. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Household affairs have you jittery Monday. Keep talking Tuesday, and wisdom prevails. True love emerges from the chaos Wednesday. By late Thursday the bond will be made. Business demands your attention on Friday. Study Saturday to get the best deal. Hand the car keys to your partner on Sunday. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Something you’re learning could explode on Monday, making a mess that takes days to clean up. Exercise caution most of Tuesday. Financial woes are annoying on Wednesday. You can’t buy that great thing you want. Try another store Thursday. Romantic feelings stir on Friday. Don’t spend too much, though, because that’s a turnoff. On Saturday later is better for dating. Finish your paperwork Sunday and read. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Leave your checkbook in a safe place on Monday. If they’re still pestering you for cash on Tuesday, offer your skills as a way to help. You and an older jerk clash on Wednesday. Too bad this person’s the one who signs the checks. Thursday is better, due to a new interest. Friday is slower, but don’t give up hope. Sleep in for most of Saturday. You won’t compromise and neither will they. Sunday’s better for good conversations. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) You could have the winning idea on Monday. Something you’re planning starts happening on Wednesday. It’s not quite what you thought, but it’s OK. Ask for the money on Thursday and get it. Study on Friday to upgrade your skills. Postpone your travel for most of Saturday. You can find everything closer to home. Hang out with family and talk on Sunday. Birthdays This Week: Nov. 6: If at first you don’t succeed, try another tactic. Don’t take a risk with your savings, though. Nov. 7: Polish up your act the first half of this year so you can take it on the road. Start by listing all your promises. Nov. 8: Frustrations with work lead to action this year. The results may be better than you thought possible. Nov. 9: Expect lots of action this year. Once you make up your mind, you’ll be unstoppable. Nov. 10: Looks like a good year to clean house. Something’s lost, but more is gained if you do it right. Nov. 11: You’re breaking free, but not wildly, this year. It’s a carefully calculated maneuver. Nov. 12: Experience is a tough teacher this year, but you’ll never forget the lesson. You’ll be a better person for it, too. ...

Learning the Voting Process is Important

For many students at UCSD, this will be the first presidential election in which they will be allowed to vote. One would hope that after years of waiting for this chance to assert their political preferences in the voting booth, these eager young voters would have a firm grasp on the election process. However, the sad but true fact of the matter is that many students are still left without a clue as to how the president and vice president are elected. The candidate that receives the most votes does not always win the election. In fact, there have been two instances in the nation’s history in which the person who won the majority of the popular vote failed to win the election. The first instance was in 1824 when nobody received a majority of electoral votes and the House of Representatives narrowly selected John Quincy Adams for president, despite the fact that Andrew Jackson had received the plurality of the popular vote. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison won narrow victories in several big states to win the election over incumbent Grover Cleveland, despite Cleveland getting more than 110,000 more popular votes than Harrison. The fact is, presidents are not elected by the people. They are elected by the Electoral College, a system that has been around since the beginning of the country and has evolved over time to fit the needs of the election. Each state is allocated a number of electors that is equal to its number of U.S. Senators, which is always two, plus the number of its U.S. Representatives, which changes based on the state’s population. Each political party submits a list of individuals to the state’s chief election official. These individuals pledged their vote to the party’s presidential candidate. The number of individuals is equal to the number of electoral votes the state was allocated. When voters vote on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, they vote for the slate of individuals from the party that will in turn vote for their presidential candidate. The party that wins the most popular votes in a state gets to have its slate of electors cast that state’s electoral votes. This is true of every state except Maine and Nebraska, which have two electors chosen statewide, while the other electors are chosen by each congressional district. Each elector is given two votes. One vote is for the president and the other vote is for the vice president. In the event of a tie in electoral votes, the U.S. House of Representatives will determine who becomes president. Some students may ask themselves why such a system would be used if it did not always represent what the majority of the people want. The early United States was made up of 13 states of various sizes that fought hard for states’ rights while remaining suspicious of a central government. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 considered several options for electing the president and vice president before settling on the Electoral College, according to William C. Kimberling, the deputy director of the Federal Election Commission Office of Election Administration, in an essay of his titled, “”The Electoral College.”” One of the first ideas was to have Congress choose the president. This idea was quickly rejected because many people at the Constitutional Convention felt that this would cause too much political bargaining and corruption among candidates and members of Congress. Others thought that it would upset the delicate balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. Another proposal was to allow the state legislatures to select the president. This idea was rejected because some feared that candidates may become too loyal to the influential legislatures that they would shift the balance of power from the federal government to the states, undermining the idea of a federation and central government. A third, and more practical option, was simply to have the president elected by a direct popular vote, with the candidate receiving the most votes winning the election. While this might seem to many people today as a viable option, it was rejected by the framers of the Constitution. The early citizens of the United States were very spread out along the East Coast. A national campaign would be very difficult for a presidential candidate. The framers feared that without sufficient knowledge of candidates, some voters might simply vote for those in their home state that they had heard about. This would cause the large states to gain a majority of the power in electing a president and leave the small states with little say in the election. The framers finally decided on the College of Electors. According to Kimberling, the original idea was that the most knowledgeable and informed people from each state would select the president based on merit alone, without any regard for his political party or state of origin. The structure of the Electoral College bares a strong resemblance to the Centurial Assembly system that was used by the Roman Republic. This was no accident, as many of the framers were well-schooled in ancient history. Under the ancient Roman system, adult males were divided into groups of 100, called Centuries. These Centuries each had one vote on proposals submitted by the Roman Senate. In the Electoral College system, the states act as the Centurial groups. The Electoral College has undergone several different phases since its inception in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. The initial model of the Electoral College differed in that the initial electors were not chosen by the people on election day, but rather by the individual state legislatures. The electors were each given two votes for president. One vote had to be for someone outside their home state, in order to prevent electors from voting for their home-town candidates. The vice president was not elected as a running mate with the presidential candidate. The vice president was the person who had the second-highest total electoral vote in the presidential race. After the first four presidential elections, the Electoral College was changed. The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution states that each elector only gets one vote for president, while the other vote would go for the vice president. The amendment also stipulates that if no one receives an absolute majority in the election that the U.S. House of Representatives would select the president from among the top three candidates. Also, if no candidate received a majority in the vice presidential election, then the U.S. Senate would select the vice president between the top two candidates. Through the years, the Electoral College has evolved into what it is today. While the manner of choosing the electors is still left up to the State legislature, all states now have systems where the voters choose the electors. All states except for Maine and Nebraska use direct statewide elections to choose their electors. The Electoral College is not without its criticisms, according to Kimberling. Among the questions raised about the Electoral College is the risk of electing a president who won the electoral vote but lost the popular vote, the risk of “”faithless”” electors who vote for a candidate other than the one that they are pledged to, the possibility of the Electoral College discouraging people from voting and the college’s failure to accurately reflect the national popular will. The current system is not, however, without its merits, according to Kimberling. Some arguments for the Electoral College that he cited are that it requires a distribution of popular support to be elected president, it enhances the status of minority interests and it maintains a federal system of government and representation. That is our system for electing the president in a nutshell. Hopefully you will be a little more informed about the process as you shuffle into the voting booths tomorrow. ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) On Monday, travel looks like fun, but don’t ignore an important item on your list. Perform perfectly under pressure Wednesday, and by Thursday you’ll have made a profitable impression. Your group can get a lot done Friday, but keep it confidential. A friend’s idea can help you make a long shot Saturday. Reality could mess with your fantasies Sunday, however. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Financial shenanigans could leave you sadder but wiser Monday. Negotiate and shop Tuesday through Thursday. Follow instructions on Friday and turn a tidy profit. Understanding what others want on Saturday may be tough. Take it slow and remember what you’ve learned on Sunday. Gemini (May 21-June 21) Tensions at home mar the ambiance Monday. Keep talking Tuesday and Wednesday. By Thursday the compromise should be obvious. Clean house as fast as possible Friday so you can play from Friday night through Saturday. If you don’t get too rowdy, you’ll avoid a familiar problem on Sunday. Cancer (June 22-July 22) A deal that looks sweet on Monday could turn sour by Tuesday. Wait until Wednesday or Thursday to make agreements, in romance or business. Friday’s promising possibilities could poop out by Saturday, however. Talk it over with your best friend on Sunday and discover the lesson you’ve learned. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) On Monday ditching work to play isn’t a good idea. A significant topic requires attention on Tuesday. The work’s pouring in from Tuesday through Thursday. Follow your partner’s lead on Friday, but don’t take leave of your senses. Your good judgment’s required all weekend to keep a fun time from becoming a fiasco. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Speak up if you disagree on Monday. Seek what you want on Tuesday, and you’re apt to find it. An expectation is unmet Wednesday. If you keep pushing, it’s possible by Thursday. You may be swamped Friday, but don’t freak. You can always come in to work on Saturday if you must. Don’t work on Sunday, though. You’re too apt to mess things up then. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Leave dreams of last weekend behind on Monday. Tuesday’s off to a difficult start, but a fabulous idea pops up later. You may have to turn down a child’s request Wednesday, but heed an older relative’s advice to save money. Play wisely Friday. Hide out with your sweetheart on Saturday, but don’t talk too much. Save the serious topics, like finances, until Sunday at the soonest. Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Don’t bankroll a friend on Monday. Start your new project late Tuesday. You’ll hit a few snags on Wednesday, but by Thursday you should be in the clear. Fix an old problem at home Friday night. If you go out, you’re apt to find a new one. Keep it light on Saturday. Keep trying to get your message across, and by Sunday you should succeed. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Monday begins well, but don’t get reckless. Excesses could lead to a clash with reality on Tuesday. On Wednesday a friend’s idea can be profitable if you follow through on Thursday. Mum’s the word on Friday. Stick to the facts — and not even those unless asked. Let a neighbor steal your heart on Saturday. The best conversation’s at your place on Sunday. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) A beautiful dream leads to a money-making scheme on Monday. Don’t jump the gun Tuesday. Play the ace you’ve been holding on Wednesday. You can win with it then and on Thursday, too. Promised funding may be tardy on Friday, however. Let friends take you out on Saturday. Keep your wallet tucked away on Sunday except for a gift you love giving. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Friends spark your imagination Monday, but don’t get too crazy. On Tuesday and Wednesday study the ideas from all angles before launching your plan or project late Wednesday or Thursday. Don’t flirt on company time this Friday. Visit friends Saturday, but don’t stay too long. Rest on Sunday; you’ll make better choices. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) A pleasant surprise inspires you on Monday. Don’t bet too heavily on it. The action you’ll take could change greatly by Tuesday. Wait till Wednesday or Thursday, and friends help you succeed. A good partner’s good to have, too. Listen and learn from a wise person on Friday. Staying in works better than going out then. Your dreams are bouncing with insights on Saturday, but give them some time to mature. A drive and a private conversation on Sunday help you leave an old worry behind. Birthdays This Week: Oct. 30: You could strike it rich, but can you keep your winnings? This isn’t a gamble; it’s a shrewd move. Do the calculations. Oct. 31: This year you’ll learn through experience. Move cautiously, or the lesson could come the hard way. Nov. 1: Update old skills and acquire some new ones. The more you learn, the more confident you’ll become. Nov. 2: Your determination plus practice make your aspirations achievable. Want the home of your dreams? Start planning. Nov. 3: Your focus is on home and family. A situation that looks impossible is your excuse to make changes. Nov. 4: Get rid of the stuff you don’t need and replace it with better. Nagging doubts are the ghosts of issues you’ve left hanging. Nov. 5: Once you’ve got your nest just right, love takes top priority. Devise a plan with your partner. ...

The Editor's Soapbox

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. ...

Several Local Attractions Offer Spine-tingling Fun

“”Be scared and don’t piss your pants.”” Jayme Del Rosario/ Guardian 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. ...

Top 1O Halloween Movies

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. ...

It's in the Cards

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. Melissa Chow/ Guardian 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! ...

Horoscopes

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. ...