Lifestyle

Gary Jacobs, Class of 79

The Jacobs family name is plastered on buildings and benefits all over San Diego, closely linked to technology and high-class education. It’s no surprise that Gary Jacobs — UCSD alumnus and son of Irwin and Joan Jacobs, after whom UCSD’s engineering school was named — has carried on the Jacob legacy in his own life’s work. Founder and chair of High Tech High — a network of eight K-12 charter schools based in San Diego — 1979 graduate Gary Jacobs received his Bachelor of Arts in management science. After graduation, Jacobs worked as a programmer and software engineer at his dad’s companies: Linkabit and Qualcomm. By the time he left behind the not-so-quaint family businesses in 2000, he had earned the title of senior education specialist at Qualcomm and was striving to improve the math and science programs in local public schools. At the time, the business community was beginning to realize that traditional public high schools were not preparing students with the tools they needed to succeed in the 21st century. As somewhat of a fluke, Jacobs attended an organizational meeting on this issue when a colleague couldn’t make it. “I got hooked at that meeting, and the rest is history,” he said. Jacobs went on to found and chair High Tech High, which takes a revolutionary approach to education: All students participate in community service and internships, with the aid of no textbooks nor traditional subject divisions; for instance, a single class consolidates art, biology and multimedia. Classes revolve around hands-on experiments — like, say, using DNA analysis to identify pieces of African bushmeat that are actually endangered species, illegally poached. It’s an unorthodox but successful formula: Every one of High Tech High’s graduates has been admitted to college. On top of the countless hours he spends fostering High Tech High, Jacobs works in investments, owns minor-league baseball team Lake Elsinore Storm and stays involved in numerous philanthropic organizations in the San Diego area. Gary and his wife Jerri-Anne even managed to one-up Mom and Pop Jacobs in 2006, when they donated $1 million to UCSD — the largest single gift ever made by an alumnus. Despite his success, Jacobs said he still wishes he had established deeper connections with faculty and students at UCSD. “When one is out in the real world, it is extremely valuable to bounce ideas off of people you trust and have a shared experience with,” Jacobs said. ...

Byron Washom

[caption id="attachment_14693" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo Courtesy of Rex Graham"][/caption] The green movement at UCSD has gathered substantial momentum over the last five years: Already, the university generates 80 percent of all the energy it consumes. Aside from having all the right scientific resources at our fingertips, a good amount of UCSD’s sustainability efforts can be credited to a dedicated few: students, faculty and volunteers donating their personal time and prowess to make good on the campus’ claim to be one of the greenest universities in the nation. For the last two years, solar-energy entrepreneur Byron Washom has been doing just that: applying his vast knowledge of energy grids, renewable energy, recycling natural gas and creating zero waste to our current situation. “It’s like jumping on a train already running down the tracks, and it’s already headed where I wanted to go,” Washom said. “I haven’t worked this hard in 20 years. I love it.” After two decades as president of Advanco Corp. — the self-founded environmental-technology consulting firm that set a world record in 1984 for converting 29.4 percent of solar energy to the grid — Washom said he is hoping he can preserve the campus spirit that attracted him to UCSD in the first place, when his son began attending the university. Washom soon came on as a volunteer for the school’s sustainability efforts. This past September, Washom became the campus’ first director of “strategic energy initiatives.” The position was specially created for Washom to oversee the implementation of sustainable technology on campus, act as a consultant for green student organizations and oversee a new plan that’ll ensure UCSD meets its energy needs in the most environmentally safe and cost-effective manner possible. He has advised organizations like the World Bank, International Finance Corp., the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy on employing clean-energy technologies here and abroad. According to Washom, green technology is rapidly gaining international attention, and — in the dour face of a stagnant economy — UCSD’s initiatives are pushing the envelope. Not long after being hired, Washom spoke on behalf of the university when he voices his support for a proposal led by SDG&E (in conjunction with 28 other businesses and organizations including CleanTech San Diego and Qualcomm). The plan suggested creating a smart grid — a state-of-the-art electricity network connecting consumers and suppliers in San Diego — and would produce up to 3,200 jobs in Southern California. The proposal was directed at the Obama administration, which set aside $4.5 billion for smart grids nationwide. Just as Washom was entering his new position, the university was also installing one megawatt of photovoltaic solar panels atop the Gilman Parking Structure and initiating construction of a 2.4-megawatt fuel-cell system powered by Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Facility — which will replace carbon-based fuel with a methane-based alternative. Washom said a substantial push for the university’s green ambitions has come from activists within the student body. And, as a host of energy initiatives pick up steam, he said students are becoming more and more involved with the innumerable projects and operations on campus. But good intentions can’t go anywhere without the funds to back them. This past November, a huge chunk of funding was gifted Jacob’s School of Engineering students, who wrote a grant proposal that secured $154 million of federal funds for the development of clean, renewable energy. According to Washom, it comes down to momentum: Once you start getting grants, it’s a lot easier to get even more. “I defy anyone to show me another campus which has the same composition of support for sustainability as UC San Diego,” Washom said. “To know us is to love us.” Readers can contact Kerry Fugett at [email protected] ...

Satin Lounge

[caption id="attachment_14690" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Tyler Kern/Guardian"][/caption] Pitched as “San Diego’s newest 18 and 21 hot spot,” Satin Lounge revolves around the idea that 18-year-olds can enjoy a great clubbing experience without a drop of drink. And if elder folks don’t mind running into their baby cousin and her “Mean Girl” posse while drowning their collegiate sorrows, they might have a pretty good time, too. Probably due to its close proximity to San Diego State, Satin is a far cry from the glamorous nightclub it makes itself out to be. Patrons are required to make their way down a seedy, dimly lit alleyway to reach the entrance of the club, and — if they survive the trek — are then segregated by age into two separate lines. Those of age are welcomed in by a bright-orange wristband reading “OVER 21” in big black letters, while all eager under-agers are shepherded inside one door over, stumbling from pregame overcompensation. The venue itself is a cross between a garage party and rundown strip club, complete with a disco ball and stripper pole in the middle of the dance floor. As for furnishings, red and white circus tent drapes fail miserably at disguising the lounge’s concrete walls, and the sound from scattered TV sets never seem to match up with the on-screen visuals. Though Shirley-temple bars are plentiful in Satin Lounge, the only counter that serves alcohol is caged by a chain-link fence. The ugly orange stripe, of course, is necessary to gain access to this player’s paradise. (Unsurprisingly, it seems a favorite hangout for older clubgoers of the male persuasion — perhaps having something to do with its perch over the wannabe strip-club area, conveniently swarming with young girls). The other drink stations cater to the underage crowd, where younger guys can practice their bar lean as they order a Red Bull or a root beer for the cutie in the corner. Bottom line: Satin Lounge is the perfect destination to meet creepy older guys — and plenty of them. It’s also one of the only places you could get away with wearing sweatpants at a club (but don’t forget your Reeboks with the straps). Whatever the case, you’ll probably have a better time at the Taco Bell down the street. ...

Interview with Health

Guardian: What did you guys try to do on Get Color to branch out from the first record? In what ways have you succeeded? John Famiglietti: More repetition, making everything more “song-based” and more grooves. I think we mostly succeeded in evolving and progressing our sound, but we’d like to go much farther. G: Do you see the band moving toward a more dance-oriented sound on the next release? Where are your heads at right now in your vision of HEALTH for this year? JF: Well, yes actually, because our next release is DISCO2, the sequel to our remix album, which is naturally dancey. But for future HEALTH projects, yes with an ‘and,’ and if with a ‘but,’ not gonna make an album of dance beats, but definitely want to keep streamlining the “groove” aspect and produce things in a way that is more electronic bassy. G: How do you engage the audience in spaces that might not be as conducive to your frantic live show? The Loft is a fairly upscale bar and lounge, for example. What’s your mentality when getting ready to play at a space like that? JF: We just do it. We’ve really conditioned ourselves from years of playing; We can do it anywhere. Also for college shows, it’s par for the course. G: What band is inspiring you guys most right now in what you’re doing with your own music, and why? Any new bands from LA you want to shout out? JF: No one really, and I’m not being a dick. We do keep taking influence from other music, but it’s mostly just song concepts or musical tricks. At the moment we’re listening to Top-40 radio … really dying for a good new record to listen to at the moment. There’s a new band in LA called TEARIST, which I think is pretty cool. Also, I’d love to shout out Pictureplane from Denver — his 2009 album Dark Rift is amazing. G: After the SD show, you guys are going to quickly tour Canada and then it’s off to New Zealand and Australia. What was it like getting that tour booked? JF: Well, there’s never really much of an adventure of getting a tour booked, its just some e-mails, and you cross your fingers. G: Do you have any vacation plans while you’re there, aside from playing music? JF: Totally. We’ve never been, so we’re taking days off to hang (which we rarely do on most tours). Hoping to hit up the black sand beaches and see some countryside. G: What’s HEALTH’s dream collaboration? If you could do a song with any artist working now, who would you pick and why? JF: We’ve always wanted to do a song with Johnny Jewel of Glass Candy. G: P.S. My funny HEALTH fact: Way back when, there was a post on Craigslist wanting a vocalist for a band based in LA, listing influences like Liars and the Locust … it was you dudes. My hometown is Thousand Oaks, a suburb about 45 minutes north of Los Angeles, but I answered the post because I was looking to join a new band and I loved all the influences you had put down. At the time, it bummed me out that I couldn’t join (I think I was still in high school). Just thought I’d share that, take it easy guys. JF (laughing): I forgot about that. We never used anyone from the ad by the way. ...

A Track A Day Will Prep You for Health's Difficult Bliss

Do you enjoy blasts of white noise? How about harnessed feedback anarchy, when instruments turn incoherent? At first, HEALTH might not seem like your sonic bag. The LA foursome culls power-tronics and abrasive beats from bashing experimentalists like Liars and manage to cram in post-punk, hardcore and techno sheen. But get this: no screaming. Just Jake Duzsik’s ghost-in-the-machine monotone syllables, a lulling counterpoint to the madness behind him. Not as immediately tasty as last week’s Vampire Weekend expose, but you need bands like HEALTH to yank your mind in disparate directions with guitar stabs and tempo shifts. Dip your toes into the great, murky pool that is HEALTH’s alienation with new single “Die Slow,” and watch the morphing chords and ’90s rap-speed beat grab you. Intrigued? Wade further with “We Are Water,” a hardcore drill sergeant wrapped in dance gauze, to keep the head nodding and tease at something more visceral. Finally, to prepare your body for the show this Saturday, try “Triceratops” off their self-titled debut. A feedback swirl and crash cymbals lead into a robo-strobe beat, riding in like a freak train, barely waiting for you to hop on before devolving into A.D.D. squalor. The last third of the track reaches ambient tremolo bliss as BJ Miller slams the shit out of his toms until they fade to paced drums. HEALTH proves rock can still shock — it hasn’t all been done before. Weirdo-poppers Tape Deck Mountain open for HEALTH. ...

Couch Classics

[caption id="attachment_14648" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Kevin Wu/Guardian"][/caption] For the next six weeks, Landmark Ken Cinema on Adam’s Ave. is showing $7.25 classics every Saturday at midnight. That’s right: one big steaming pile of nostalgia for the price of a decent hamburger. Though the Ken may be a couple miles more distant than our local La Jolla Village Cinemas, the newly made-over “Midnight Madness” series is well worth the trek — and what its film selection has lost in subversive overtones, it’s gained in cult cred. Jan. 23 Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ The anthem of volatile youth, Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ dark, violent novel is equally offbeat and haunting. Set in futuristic London, the film centers on Alex (Malcolm McDowell), A psychopathic gang leader who settles down for a nice glass of milk and some Beethoven after ripping open young girls’ throats. When Alex is arrested for rape and murder, he undergoes behavior therapy to purge his violent tendencies — only the therapy itself is brutal and sadistic. It can be quite a sobering surprise if you go in unaware, but “Orange” remains a horrific favorite for its exhilarating pace, perversity and harsh honesty. So if you and the droogs can’t make up your rassoodocks about what do to for the evening, head to Kensington for the bets kind of violence. Jan.30 The Coen Brothers’ ‘The Big Lebowski’ Jeff Bridges is the Dude — a bathrobe wearing, White Russian-drinking bowler who keeps to himself. That is, until two porn-industry gangsters invade his home in a case of mistaken identity, and soil one very important rug that really tied his living room together. Seeking retribution for his prized carpet, el Duderino locates the perpetrator: Lebowski. During their meeting, Lebowski commissions the Dude to rescue his kidnapped trophy wife. Throw in ultra-feminist daughter Maude, a Vietnam vet with anger issues, a handful of nihilists and a very wet ferret, and you’ve got “The Big Lebowski” — it never disappoints. The Dude always draws a large slippered crowd, mostly belligerent, so grab a Russian, pour it in a discrete thermos and get there early. Feb.6 John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ With the tagline “Man is the warmest place to hide,” how could this film go wrong? “The Thing” details the story of a research team in the Antarctic that discovers a parasitic alien presence. Aside from being the biggest sausage fest in the known universe (even the dog is male), “Thing” is an excellent horror movie that exploits the classic thriller theme of mysterious rabid disease. Though you might have seen it done since in “The Invasion” and “The Faculty,” the idea originated from this fresh take on claustrophobic paranoia. It’s an enjoyably tense ride on which no one and nowhere is safe. Feb. 13 Steven Spielberg’s ‘E.T.’ Though most of us can’t remember the 1982 release of this cutesy alien flick, only the unborn have never heard E.T’s heartwrenching request to “phone home.” What childhood would be complete without the story of Elliot (Henry Thomas) and Gertie (Drew Barrymore), two siblings who discover a pint-sized alien in their backyard? They teach their wrinkly visitor everything about Earth culture, from basic language to Halloween dressup. In return, E.T. eats all of their candy and establishes a psychic connection with Elliot that makes everyone think he’s psychotic. Before Spielberg developed a bad habit of throwing money into terrible Shia Labeouf films, he invented the warm, fuzzy feeling with golden-age “E.T.” Feb.20 Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ This classic made QT’s last name a verb (Tarantino: to upset a film’s time sequence so severely that all heads in the audience cock to one side in confusion and awe). If you’re unfamiliar with Tarantino’s particular blend of blood and verbal lyricism, this is the perfect introduction. In 1994, he had just enough popularity to garner a decent budget, but not so much that it clouded his judgment (see “Kill Bill, Part Douche”). Three seemingly unrelated stories cross each other unexpectedly in this masterly woven tale of a mob boss and his heroin-addicted wife, the boxer he paid to throw a match and two very Travolta and Jackson hitmen. Feb. 27 Jim Henson’s ‘The Labyrinth’ What happens when Jim Henson abandons his Muppet family to team up with David Bowie for an ’80s fantasy film about a Goblin King? Pure magic. In a style characteristic of the time (think “Gremlins,” “Big Trouble in Little China” and “Legend”), a caterpillar-eyebrowed Jennifer Connelly has to traverse a magical labyrinth to retrieve her baby brother from the clutches of Jareth the Goblin King — complete with fairy dust and an embarrassingly large codpiece. You’ll love this film (if you don’t already) for its unabashed camp and knee-slapping puppetry. After all, Henson isn’t happy unless his hand is up the skirt of one character or another. [caption id="attachment_14650" align="alignleft" width="614" caption="Ronnie Steinitz"][/caption] ...