Campus

Banning beach booze

In the upcoming March primary election, voters will have to decide whether they want to ban alcohol at some San Diego beaches 24 hours a day, as opposed to the current ban, which prohibits alcohol from 8 p.m. to noon. This measure, which would affect Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, is known as Proposition G. You are probably thinking, “”Now I won’t even be able to enjoy a simple drink at the beach? F*%# that.”” There’s more to it than that, and you know it. Alcohol in crowded public parks and on beaches creates major public safety problems: underage drinking, drunken driving, violence, vandalism and other disturbances. It is no wonder that every major beach community in Southern California except San Diego prohibits alcohol consumption on the sand. While to some people, prohibition may seem like a crusade against the wiles of alcohol, to many it is an issue of public safety and quality of life. It’s not to punish those who bring champagne as a part of a romantic beach picnic or those who bring a cooler on a hot summer day to enjoy a cold one. Proposition G is there to ensure beachgoers a safer and more pleasant place to hang out. The beach has become the underage scene for drinking. Why? Because it’s easy. Underage drinkers can come out to the beach and ask unsuspecting beachgoers for a share of their booze or keg, and just like that, they leave, having acquired alcohol without identification. According to the Policy Panel on Youth Access to Alcohol and The San Diego Union-Tribune, 733 minors were caught in possession of alcohol in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach in the last two years. Only seven adults were charged for distribution to minors. Of course, that doesn’t include the statistics for other San Diego-area beaches or other alcohol-related arrests. It definitely doesn’t include the minors whose alcohol exploits go undetected. In the last three years, police have made 17,393 arrests and citations for alcohol-related violations in those areas. This comprises over one-third of all of San Diego’s alcohol-related violations in that period. According to research by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 1,361 of these citations were for drunk driving and 2,583 were for minors in possession of alcohol. According to San Diego City Council statistics, the 92109 ZIP code, which encompasses the areas to be affected by Proposition G, has the highest percentage of drunken driving arrests in San Diego. On busy holiday weekends in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, 50 or more police officers are often assigned to beach patrol — officers that could be protecting your neighborhood and making more meaningful arrests. In 1991, when La Jolla Shores Beach was made alcohol-free, reported crimes dropped 80 percent and arrests dropped 43 percent. By contrast, in 2000, 18 police officers were injured in the line of duty in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach due to alcohol-related violence. The last two major beach holidays — Labor Day weekend and Independence Day — were also considered the deadliest, because San Diego drunken-driving arrests jumped 8 percent higher than normal, the highest for San Diego since 1993. Banning alcohol 24 hours a day at Mission Beach and Pacific Beach would drastically reduce the staffing of beach patrol officers and the proliferation of crime at the beach. Eventually, the ban could reduce violations and rowdy crowds on major holidays. While everyone cries about the implications of Proposition G, it is important to note that under it, alcohol would not be completely banned: If voters make the proposition law, there will still be a procedure for securing alcohol permits for large beach functions. Additionally, should it be passed, Proposition G would be a short-lived law. The referendum specifically states the dates of effect: June 1, 2001 — yes, 2001 — through Dec. 31, 2002. After that, it could either be extended or abolished. That time would allow for tallying safety numbers and evaluating the true value of alcohol on our beaches. While this ban will undoubtedly ease some concerns about violence, many believe that drunken driving and underage drinking will not be curbed, regardless of the referendum’s passage. They are right. But at least the beach will become one less place to condone alcohol-related problems. Most of us are surely willing to curb our need for alcohol if it means fewer arrests, less vandalism, fewer alcohol-related accidents and fewer deaths around our beach cities. It shouldn’t take personal loss to bring about the realization that an alcohol ban on beaches is not the end of the world. ...

Lights & Sirens

Monday, Feb. 11: 8:25 a.m.: Officers impounded a silver 1987 Mitsubishi Starion at 9900 Genessee Ave. for being a traffic hazard. Stored at Star Towing. 9:57 a.m.: Staff member reported a burglary at Urey Hall 2060. Loss: $187.95. 10:44 a.m.: Staff member reported the theft of a wallet at Canyonview Pool. Loss: $57. 2:27 p.m.: Units and SDFD responded to a dumpster fire near Regents Road. 3:12 p.m.: Student reported vandalism to a blue 1993 Saturn near 4059 Miramar St. Loss: $1,000. 4:00 p.m.: Student reported the burglary of a white 1989 Toyota Camry in Lot 608. Loss: $100. Tuesday, Feb. 12: 12:23 p.m.: Staff member reported the theft of a cellular phone from Thornton Hospital. Loss: $350. 7:24 p.m.: Staff member reported the theft of a purse from Main Gym. Loss: $290. 8:43 p.m.: Student reported the theft of a cellular phone from the seventh floor of Tioga Hall. Loss: $70. Wednesday, Feb. 13: 10:24 a.m.: Student reported the theft of a wallet from room 223 of the Medical Teaching Facility. Loss: $30. Thursday, Feb. 14: 12:56 p.m.: 25-year-old female student suffered stomach cramps at the Price Center. Transported to Thornton Hospital by paramedics. Friday, Feb. 15: 3:12 p.m.: Student reported the theft of a wallet from Sierra Summit. Loss: $20. Saturday, Feb. 16: 12:33 a.m.: Officers detained a 21-year-old female student at Porter’s Pub for being drunk in public. Transported to detox. 1:32 a.m.: Officers detained a 20-year-old male nonaffiliate on Muir College Drive for being drunk in public. Transported to detox. 2:38 p.m.: 25-year-old male nonaffiliate suffered a head injury while diving at Canyonview Pool. Transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital by paramedics. 6:39 p.m.: 18-year-old male student suffered a finger injury while cooking at Goldberg Hall. Transported to Kaiser by a residential life staff member. Sunday, Feb. 17: 1:08 a.m.: Officers detained a 20-year-old male student at Pepper Canyon 1800 for being drunk in public. Transported to detox. 2:44 a.m.: 32-year-old student arrested on Regents Road for driving under the influence of alcohol and for violation of a court order. Transported to central jail. 4:45 p.m.: Student reported the theft of a cellular phone and camera from Challenger Hall. Loss: $130. –Compiled by Evan McLaughlin Associate News Editor ...

BRIEFLY

Sara Gille of UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography has documented an increase in water temperature that has occurred over the past 50 years in the sea region surrounding the Antarctic continent known as the “”Southern Ocean.”” Since 1950, a 0.17-degree Celsius increase was found in the 700- to 1,100-meter depth range, nearly doubling the global average. According to Gille, the implications of warming in the Antarctic region include the probable reduction of sea ice around the Antarctic continent, which could potentially alter the sea levels of water bodies worldwide. Because cold water holds carbon dioxide more efficiently, the temperature rise could have an adverse effect on the earth’s atmosphere, forcing it to store more greenhouse gases. A fleet of marine “”robots”” deployed by the World Ocean Circulation Experiment in the 1990s obtained the evidence for Gille’s report. The robots, known as Autonomous Lagrangian Circulation Explorers, were released into different oceanic regions and at varying depths for 10 to 25 days. After gathering temperature data, the ALACE surfaced to transmit the information to a satellite. Gille used thousands of ALACE data points in her research. Gille’s study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and can be found in the Feb. 15, 2002 issue of the journal Science. Professor named associate editor for medical publication Martin Stein, a professor of pediatrics at UCSD’s school of medicine, will serve as an associate editor on the newlylaunched Journal Watch Pediatrics and Medicine. The journal will be produced by the Massachusetts Medical Society, which also publishes the renowned New England Journal of Medicine. Stein will serve as an expert of behavioral and developmental medicine on the newly formed editorial board. He will primarily focus his efforts toward articles dealing with the early recognition and intervention of adolescents with developmental delays, behavioral self-control deficiencies and setbacks in educational achievement and considerable family problems. JWPAM will be the newest addition to the Journal Watch project, a series of investigative newsletters that provide clinicians with brief summaries of studies published in other medical journals relating to that area. JWPAM surveys over 28 prestigious medical publications on a monthly basis, seeking out studies that are significant to the field of pediatric medicine. Stein became the first full-time practicing pediatrician to serve on UCSD’s medical school faculty in 1975. He has since worked to develop the medical school’s division of primary care pediatrics. In his work and teaching, he has integrated child development fundamentals into his general pediatric instruction. Stein authored the book “”Encounters with Children: Pediatric Behavior and Development,”” while also contributing work to the newest edition of Dr. Spock’s “”Baby and Child Care.”” JWPAM will be published 10 times per year. For more information about the new journal, you can visit the Journal Watch Web site at http://www.jwatch.org. UC announces naming of new head of University Libraries UC President Richard C. Atkinson announced the appointment of Daniel Greenstein as the new university librarian and executive director of the California Digital Library last week. Greenstein currently acts as the director of the Digital Library Federation in Washington, D.C. Effective May 1, 2002, Greenstein will assume the management of a digital library project that boasts content and services ranking among the largest in the United States. The CDL is a joint program between the 10 UC campuses, and it concentrates on building increased access to content and services electronically for the academic community. Greenstein will also be responsible for library planning for the entire UC system. Greenstein began his academic career as a senior lecturer in modern history at Glasgow University. It was at Glasgow that he became founding director of the university’s Arts Faculty Computing Facility. In 1996, he was appointed founding director of the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Data Service. ...

Scripps professor appointed to two prestigious spots

John Orcutt, professor of geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has been voted president-elect of the American Geophysical Union. He will assume the presidency of the 39,000-member organization July 1, 2004. “”It pleases me greatly,”” Orcutt said of the news. “”It’s a great honor to be elected for an organization with so much history. There have been some great presidents of the AGU over the course of 50 years.”” The AGU is a nonprofit organization established in 1919 by the National Research Council. It has operated for the past 50 years as an unincorporated affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences. One of Orcutt’s top priorities as AGU president will be converting written forms of research to electronic publications. “”The AGU is more than 100 years old and it has published the results of its research on paper,”” Orcutt said. “”We’ve just made the transition to electronic form while continuing paper form, but that transition is very expensive, so selling this idea of electronic publishing is not trivial given these increased costs.”” Orcutt also added that if the transition were to fail, it would be a disaster, because the AGU depends on income from publications to a large extent. Nevertheless, he does not foresee this to be a problem. Serving two terms as head of the publication’s department before being voted president-elect, Orcutt said he is very aware of the dynamics of the situation. “”I’ve been general secretary for four years in this organization, and what I do largely in this job is take care of the money and worry about the bottom line each year,”” Orcutt said. “”So I don’t go into the job of president without knowing that we have a lot of problems to deal with.”” In addition to his involvement in the AGU, Orcutt acts as director of the San Diego Branch of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. As for his thoughts on the future, Orcutt said he is optimistic of the possibilities in oceanography that today’s advanced technology allows. “”It’s really a great time for oceanography,”” Orcutt said. “”Advances in satellite communications and technology — all these things have come together at a time when it makes it remarkably practical. Technology is there and certainly the scientific need [is there] as well.”” Orcutt added that many scientists would like to see permanent research sites studying the world’s oceans. He said to really understand and study them, something needs to be underwater permanently. Statewide director of the IGPP professor Bernard Minster said Orcutt’s being elected did not surprise him. “”He has an extremely distinguished record,”” Minster said. “”It was no surprise. I think he’s extremely well-respected and has the devotion of everyone at the IGPP.”” Dr. Mark Zumberge, deputy director of the San Diego branch of the IGPP, agrees. “”It’s going to be very good for the AGU because he’s an excellent leader,”” Zumberge said. “”He has high standards of scientific integrity and he just sets a great example of how to be productive in the world of science.”” Orcutt is a fellow of AGU and a member of the Seismological Society of America and Society of Exploration Geophysicists. In addition to serving as AGU president, Orcutt has accepted an appointment on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy was mandated by the Oceans Act of 2000, an act that reviews the effects of federal ocean-related laws and programs. This federal legislation requires the commission to make findings and offer recommendations for improving the structure of federal agencies involved in the world’s oceans. Orcutt is among 16 commissioners appointed by President George W. Bush and nominated by Congress. ...

Students give analysis of GOP gubernatorial debate

Immediately following the Feb. 13 California Republican gubernatorial debate held at California State University Long Beach, UCSD and UC Irvine students went live on UCTV to give their analyses of the debate. The group analysis, titled “”UC Students React,”” was hosted by Cynthia Gorney of UC Berkeley’s graduate school of journalism and was broadcasted from UCTV’s studio at UCSD. The panel featured students from various majors, representatives of the A.S. Councils at UCSD and UCI, representatives from speech and debate teams, the UCSD Chancellor’s Organization of Allied Students and The UCSD Guardian. The Republican gubernatorial primary debate featured businessman Bill Simon, California Secretary of State Bill Jones and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. The three men are competing for the republican candidacy in the fall elections. “”UC Students React”” presented responses to the candidates’ performances, as well as views on issues important to the next election. Democratic, Republican, independent, liberal, moderate and conservative views were expressed. Heated topics included abortion, education, the economy, the budget, the energy crisis and the way the candidates presented themselves. After watching the gubernatorial debate as a group, most of the student panel agreed that the debate was more of an assault on each candidate’s character than a debate addressing the topics important to voters and to the state of California. “”I was a little disappointed at the first part of the debate,”” said Steve Platt, A.S. president at UC Irvine. “”It seemed as though they were just attacking each other instead of the issues.”” Fellow panelist Jason Fellner of UCSD agreed. “”Some major issues are immigration and campaign finance reform,”” Fellner said, “”neither of which was mentioned.”” Riordan’s moderate views, which present him as more of a democrat that a republican, gave him an advantage over the other candidates, according to some panelists. “”Riordan’s got some more moderate values that are going to help him get elected,”” said UCSD student Amy Kolombatovic. “”Too much GOP conservatism won’t win the electorate in California.”” This was the first time that such a program was produced by UCSD TV. Producers of the program hope that the pilot succeeds and there will be more demand for future political forums. If all goes well, future shows will include other high-profile elections such as the 2004 presidential election. “”We’d like to do it again at UCSD,”” said UCSD TV Public Affairs Producer Shannon Bradley, “”and invite more students from other UC colleges. Hopefully, this pilot will arouse systemwide interest.”” The intent of “”UC Students React”” was to present the panelists with intelligent questions directed in a fair manner, and to allow the students to respond to the issues that viewers should concentrate on in the fall gubernatorial elections, according to Bradley. “”I was very impressed by the caliber of questions and answers given by the host and by the students,”” Bradley said. “”We wanted a nonbiased host, and, being a journalist, Gorney was perfect.”” ...

Track and field holds alumni meet

The UCSD men’s and women’s track and field teams took to the track Saturday for some friendly competition against the UCSD track and field alumni. Anna MacMurdo Guardian Over 40 alumni competed against the 2002 Triton track team, and with a new format, the Triton alumni were surprisingly close to upsetting the current squad. The format had the men’s and women’s teams mixed then split into equal teams designated as blue and gold to compete against each other and the alumni. With a little help from past and present Triton coaching staff members competing for the alumni team, the alums were just seven points away from defeating the blue squad. “”This was a great way to begin the season,”” said freshman Angelo Vargas. “”The alumni performed well. We can use this performance as a team to get better and see where we are in the big picture.”” Anna MacMurdo Guardian In the javelin, Lynne Brinkman scored an all-time record by posting a 132′-8” throw, the longest in school history. In the men’s 100-meter dash Wale Olagunju beat captain Sam Denes by .06 seconds to take the race, proving that the alumni could compete with the younger Tritons. Another highlight included Meredith Perry’s performance in the 100-meter hurdles as she posted a time of 15.20 seconds, ranking her second in the all-time performances in Triton history. Senior Megan Bergin recorded a hammer throw of 158′ 11″”, ranking her second all-time in Triton history. On the men’s side, the top performer was that of sophomore Marcus Keller, whose 45′-10″” triple jump put him fifth all-time among UCSD track and field athletes. “”Perhaps the biggest benefit of the meet is the chance for our current athletes to meet some of the alumni,”” said head coach Tony Salerno. “”We had over 40 alum show up to compete and help officiate. I think it is really inspiring for our current athletes to put a face to name for the record book.”” When the day was done, the gold team won by 35 points over the blue team, and the Alumni finished a close third, just seven points shy of beating the favored Tritons. For most of the alumni, however, just competing again for their alma mater was enough. “”A lot of the people on the team are still friends so it was fun to see them and compete against them,”” said alumnus Steven Sorensten. “”Experiences in Triton track gave me a lot of friends and taught me how to interact and how to not interact with people in authority.”” Sorensten went on to comment about how difficult it was to get back on the track in full form; that most of the alumni felt the difficulty of competing due to their age and lack of consistent training. Few freshman have been added to the squad this year, and performers such as Ryan Vincent, Jeff Conkey and numerous others will determine how far UCSD will go this season. “”We are definitely a better team than last year on both the men’s and women’s sides because most of the freshman now on the roster are much higher caliber athletes than in the past,”” Salerno said. “”Most of the freshman will be ‘impact’ athletes for us.”” As the Tritons look forward to a long and rewarding season, coach Salerno was quick to note that the team is experiencing no major injuries heading into the major meets. He expects “”to have everybody healthy when it counts for conference championships.”” Another tuneup meet lies ahead for the UCSD teams as they travel to Pomona-Pitzer to face strong competition from Division II opponents. “”I suspect we will send about 75 percent of our squad to Pomona-Pitzer,”” Salerno said. “”We will likely rest many of our higher caliber people and give some of the new people a chance to compete. The meet at Pomona-Pitzer will be a non-scoring meet with all ranges of competition.”” The team acknowledges that its first real test will be Feb. 23 at Cal State Los Angeles when it faces all the Southern California schools from the CCAA. “”Cal State Dominguez Hills on the women’s side and Cal Poly Pomona on the men’s side could challenge us,”” Salerno said. “”We know we are better than last year but we really don’t know what they have.”” With bright, upcoming athletes ready to shine, as well as veterans performing at their peak, the Triton men’s and women’s track and field teams look to eclipse their achievements from last year. But as Vargas remarked, it is “”too early to decide.”” ...

Potions might be the alternative

In the memorable words of Ewan McGregor in “”Moulin Rouge,”” “”Love is a many splendid thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love.”” Lyon Liew Guardian For some people, love is just like magic, while for others, it takes a little magic to find love. If you’re feeling like Cupid needs a helping hand this Valentine’s Day, a love spell may sound like a more attractive option than a blind date. However, if you decide to call on the help of Venus, the goddess of love, rather then your match-making friends, there are a few things to know before casting a love spell. Andrea Hall, who works at Starcrafts, a metaphysical bookstore in Ocean Beach, Calif., points out that the most important consideration in casting spells is not to focus on a specific person. “”You shouldn’t try to change the will of another person,”” she said. “”If you specifically focus on an individual, you would be changing their will, and that wouldn’t be fair.”” While it is tempting to bewitch the one your heart desires, Hall explains that you should focus on attracting the attributes of that person. The purpose of a love spell is to attract love of any kind into your life and to make it easier for love to find you. However, according to Hall, “”as a Wiccan, you don’t change the will of another person.”” With that disclaimer, there are tons of herbs, flowers, oils and candles that may make it easier for love to find its way to your heart. Rose and jasmine oil are commonly used, as is dragon’s blood oil, which is actually the resin from a drocana palm that is named for its scarlet color. Vanilla is used in love “”magik,”” as is used to refer to ritual magic, as well, and amber greis is used for lust. Also try burning pink and red candles to create some love energy. If you still feel like you need an elaborate ritual, there are hundreds of books on casting spells and attracting love. Hall recommends “”Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner”” by Scott Cunigham for those new to the craft, as well as “”Witches Circle”” by Maria Kay Simms. If love spells are all you’re after, “”Wicca Love Spells”” by Gerina Dunwich ranks high on Hall’s reading list. Or you can stop by Starcrafts at 1909 Cable St. and talk to Hall yourself. She’d be happy to mix up a potion to send Cupid’s arrow flying your way. Visit Starcrafts on the Web at http:www.starcraftsob.com. ...

basically

Last weekend, I was blessed by a visit from my younger sister, Allie. Of course, by “”blessed,”” I mean I was driven completely insane and will never fully recover. Same difference. What you need to understand about Allie is that she is very concerned by how she looks. Mind you, she looks good — ask anyone with a penis. But she also cares how her mind looks, and this is where she runs into problems. Most of the time, my sister is so preoccupied with looking smart that she fails to take the time to actually be smart. In other words, she’s so busy arguing that she isn’t stupid that she sometimes fails to realize that she is, at that very moment, acting stupid. Not that I don’t love her. I do. But God help me, when she acts like that, I want to kick her ass. Friday night, after preparing a lovely bed fit for a queen (I put a pillow and blanket on our couch), I instructed Allie on protocol should she wake up before I did. Me (instructing very patiently): “”Allie, pay the fuck attention!”” Allie (not paying attention at all, I can tell): “”I am!”” Me (getting a grip on myself): If you wake up in the morning and you get hungry, this is the only cereal I have. At this juncture, I hold up a bag of plain Cheerios that my mother had sent me, even though I don’t eat cereal and I hate Cheerios. Whatever, it’s the thought that counts. So I am holding a huge bag of cereal Vanna White-style, showing it off to the best of my ability, making it clear that Cheerios are all that is on the menu in the morning. But, knowing my sister as I do, I must stress this point still further. Me (stressing the point and still doing a damn good Vanna White impression): “”Do you see that this is the only cereal you can eat?”” Allie (getting vexed): “”Yes, Carrie, I see the cereal. I get it.”” Me (still hammering the point home): “”I am going to put it here on the counter, so you don’t even have to look in the cabinet for it.”” Allie (working up some serious sass): “”Carrie, I am not an idiot. I get it. Geez!”” Me (just messing with her at this point): “”So, what you’re saying is, you don’t know where the cereal is?”” Allie wasn’t amused. Now, I must point out here that I was not just really eager to get rid of that cereal. My roommates own several varieties of cereal themselves, and they get … let’s just call it “”possessive”” of their food. Not that I blame them. I just don’t want to get bitched out by a hungry woman because my sister can’t tell a cheerio from a lucky charm. OK, so all is secure. The cereal is on the counter. It is all by itself. There is no way Allie can miss that bag. Unless she is struck from behind and consequently blinded (which I totally would do, by the way), Allie’s gonna know where the Cheerios are. Fine. The next morning, I wake up and discover that Allie is still asleep, despite her protests that my waking up at 11 a.m. is “”way too late”” for her. I go to the rice cooker and start making some rice for sushi. (Oh yeah, baby, I can make sushi. I am a freakin’ gourmet.) Allie wakes up a few minutes later. We exchange half-hearted good mornings (she is groggy and I am annoyed that I have no cucumber). Then the moment of truth arrives. Allie gets up. She has that look in her eye that lets me know she is hungry. She moves to … the cabinet. I know it’s coming. I know she is going to make an ass of herself. And do I stop her? Of course not. What kind of sister do you take me for? Allie (pulling out the Corn Pops): “”Can I have this?”” Me (remaining calm): “”Are you fucking kidding me?”” Allie (whipping out that Sklar sass again): “”Carrie, I am sick of you treating me like an idiot. Can I have the Corn Pops or not?”” Well, I lost it. You can’t blame me, really. I went out of my way to make sure she knew what cereal was mine, and it just popped out of that vacant little blonde head anyway. So I called her an idiot (and she was — admit it) and gave her the cereal, and then I made myself some sushi. And then I gave her some, too, because that is the kind of philanthropic elder sibling that I am. So basically, yes, my sister can be dumb. And yes, I call her on it. But the important lesson to learn here is really this: Never send me Cheerios. Just look at the trouble it causes! ...

Blind date opens young couple's eyes

Love at first sight might not necessarily be in the air, but the Guardian Blind Date was trying to at least spark some flames. She was looking for a tall guy who makes her laugh. He was looking for someone with a sense of humor who is fun to be around. Kristen Santerre and Nate Jones were the lucky winners of the Guardian Blind Date contest, and they were just looking to have some fun. “”I’m really excited, and I think it’s going to be really fun,”” Santerre said before meeting Nate. “”Me and my roommates always watch dating shows like ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Fifth Wheel.’ We’re obsessed with them. And when I saw that there was a blind date, it just sounded like a lot of fun and I never thought I would win.”” On the other hand, Nate had some persuasion to sign up. “”My volleyball buddies signed me up for it,”” Jones laughed. “”I just gave them my information and didn’t expect much. I didn’t think I had a chance.”” After the two met each other for the first time, they were swept off into the limousine idling downstairs and treated to the posh La Jolla restaurant, Forever Fondue, which was voted as the best date restaurant in the Guardian readers poll. Hours later, they came back and the two seemed to be happy and in a pleasant mood — a good indication that the blind date wasn’t a disaster. “”The date was great! And he was easy to talk to,”” Santerre said. Jones also seemed to have enjoyed himself. “”The date was lots of fun. We went to a good place and we didn’t run out of anything to talk about. One of the worries I had before was that we’d run out of things to talk about, but eventually we talked about sports, movies and whatever we had in common,”” Jones said. Both agreed that besides the fantastic food, there wasn’t anything exciting, though the date was laid-back. When asked if they would go on a second date, Jones replied, “”She’s lots of fun, for sure. And she’s a cool girl. I don’t know. We’ll see.”” Santerre replied, “”Yes, I think I would if he asks.”” Nate, go for it, man. ...

Holiday pays homage to materialism

I hate Valentine’s Day. It should be lumped together with all those other made-up holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Winter Solstice, which are just more excuses to bolster the greeting card industry. No, this is not the angry rampage of some bitter, single, self-righteous hag who is merely jealous of the girls with admirers to shower them with flowers, balloons and chocolates. Not entirely, anyway. It’s just that I believe in doing something because you want to, not because there are big, shiny cardboard cupids plastered all over the place telling you that you should. Valentine’s Day has been commercialized so much that it is pointless, self-defeating and vaguely insulting. Love, affection, sentimentality — these are things that should never be degraded into a matter of merchandise. These are the most treasured aspects of relationships and companionship. When they are twisted and morphed into some commercialized mating ritual, it doesn’t serve as a declaration of love, but rather as a tribute to the pathetic nature of our meaningless, consumer-driven lives. That people actually celebrate Valentine’s Day and take it seriously just adds one more contribution to my ever-growing pile of problems with pop culture. If you really care about someone to the point that you are willing to show your affection by purchasing something, then doing so solely in accordance with social custom defeats the purpose. When you grab a card and scribble a generically maudlin note for no reason other than that it’s Feb.14, it eliminates any sincerity behind the gesture, assuming there even was any. How pathetic that we have to designate a day to demonstrate affection. I would argue that instead of being a symbol of how much one cares, buying someone something just because it’s Valentine’s Day is actually a mark of not really caring at all. Surprises and spontaneity mean much more than conforming to social custom. Maybe if it were less of a deal, it wouldn’t be as vexing. Just on campus, Valentine’s Day has taken over with a vengeance. We have our own version of “”Singled Out”” — yes, that oh-so-charming MTV mishap with the epitome of superficiality, Jenny McCarthy, playing co-host, later replaced by every girl’s role model, Carmen Electra. There’s the two-minute date night at Warren college, which is 120 seconds of fake friendliness shared with whatever socially handicapped hopefuls are there. There are frat parties and sorority socials, all aiming to celebrate Valentine’s Day, albeit in a variety of ways. And it is all so utterly ridiculous. What’s the big fuss? Why the big deal? Why cater to someone else’s idea of what it means to be romantic? Why can’t we just treat Feb. 14 like any other day? In a perfect world, Valentine’s Day would be obliterated as an insult to love and companionship. Things like love are supposed to be above our material tendencies. It is so shallow that we are asked to stain the sentimentality of a relationship with obligatory demonstrations of delving into the commercial triviality. Don’t give in to those cardboard cupids. Don’t be a victim of those candy hearts with preservatives and food dyes galore. If you want to demonstrate your affection, don’t wait until some arbitrary day to show it for the perfunctory reason that everyone else is. If your feelings are worth the effort of showing, they are worth the effort of being shown outside the tainted glare of consumerism. Love deserves better than that. ...