Saturday, August 19, 2017

Track and Field Sweeps

The UCSD track and field team hosted the UCSD Spring Break Invitational on Saturday.

The event featured more than 110 competitors from various divisions, many from above the college level.

The Tritons' John Wong had an NCAA qualifying mark of 3:52.24 in the 1,500 meters.

Audrey Sung had a great day, taking the 3,000 meters in 10:15.16, also a NCAA qualifying time and one of the top times in school history.

Rob Ewanio launched the shot put 56-10 3/4 for a school record and a place as No. 2 in Division II.

Next up for UCSD is a meet at Point Loma Nazarene University on Saturday. In addition to the Tritons and the Crusaders, competitors from Azusa Pacific and Cal State San Marcos will be there.

The first field event will be at 9 a.m. and the first track event starts at 10 a.m.

UC Speech Policy Unconstitutional, Oppressive

In its meeting last month the UC Board of Regents approved new systemwide regulations, dramatically changing the university’s free speech policy — nonaffiliates are now banned from spontaneous public assembly on the university’s 10 campuses. This blatant and disgusting disregard for the Constitution’s First Amendment was inexplicably pushed through the regents’ finance committee, with minimal consideration of public input or notice for students.

Aside from how offensive this unconstitutional policy change is, it’s also absurd. The university is a public entity, funded largely by taxpayer dollars. How can the regents expect to exclude citizens from a resource they fund? Limiting the free exchange of ideas at the university is nothing if not detrimental to its students. Supporters of the measure argue that nonaffiliates are sometimes bothersome, preaching to co-eds. But a real-world education exposes students to new ideas, some of which they may find uncomfortable. In addition to being arguably illegal, the new policy artificially isolates the university — it’s all harm and no good.

This policy approval comes amid wage negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which have sparked several on-campus protests. While the university denies that this influenced the change, it’s obvious how convenient the regulations are for regents, now allowing them to silence nonaffiliate protests with the threat of legal action.

Both the committee currently reviewing UCSD’s free speech policy and the A.S. Council have already expressed outrage over the decision. But UC Office of the President spokesman Trey Davis defended the new systemwide policy, asserting that “several changes” were made in response to input from both the public and UC community. Davis’ claims are as outrageous and laughable as the unconstitutional policy he’s attempting to support. Attachment C of the UCOP finance committee report recommending the policy adoption is a 12-page list of such comments, the vast majority of which express objection to or concern over the banning of nonaffiliates. Each of these comments received the same response: “The university has determined that these comments do not warrant a revision of the proposed regulations.”

This university decision is as corrupt as it is shocking, severely calling into question the credibility and validity of the UC Board of Regents.

Hardcore vs. Casual = Gaming FTW

I find it surprising that a gaming column for the Guardian
has yet to exist — the gaming industry is one of the fastest growing markets in
the world. Though I don’t consider myself an expert in the field by any means,
I thought it necessary that I somehow contribute as someone passionate and
willing to write about my favorite hobby. I didn’t start this column to play nice
to gamers, or to attract more people to gaming; the purpose is to discuss
aspects of gaming culture that deserve to be noticed. For example, crappy
over-hyped releases will get bashed and under-hyped gems will be praised. For
this introductory article, I specifically want to address two main types of
gamers: the hardcore and the casual. As a disclaimer (the only disclaimer
you’ll ever get), I’m a cynical gamer with strong opinions, so take what I say
with a grain of salt.

Everyone has their own image of the typical hardcore gamer,
but I personally don’t have any problems with World of Warcraft players, or
those cosplay types at every anime convention that look like cracked-out
Halloween kids. The problem lies with the competitive gamers. See, unlike their
role-playing counterparts, these assholes suck the fun out of games. I don’t
join Halo matches to get insta-killed for the two seconds I get to step on the
map. I play these games online so I can enjoy that familiar single-player
experience with other people — hence the term “multiplayer.” But multiplayer
just doesn’t fucking work; there’s no reliable difficulty scaling. Ideally, the
matchmaking system implemented in every console game is supposed to bypass this
problem, but it’s almost always broken and it doesn’t apply to online PC
gaming. Ultimately, I’m left to play matches against people with way too much
time on their hands. Though I should put the blame on inconsistent matchmaking,
I blame every hardcore gamer for being so damned good. Fuck you all.

On the other end of the spectrum lie casual gamers, the
people too pretentious to admit that they play games. I don’t know how many
times I’ve seen someone pull out Brain Age on the DS and claim that they’re not
playing a game, but rather enjoying a “brain-enhancing experience.” If you’re
holding a mobile gaming device with a gaming cartridge inserted into it, you’re
playing a fucking videogame. This faction is too ignorant to understand what
makes a game a game, and to make matters worse, they can’t discern good games
from great ones. I’ve seen people at game conventions waiting in lines longer
than the reproductive organs of horses to play Wii Sports. Wii Sports isn’t
even a game; it’s a tech demo. I guess I’m more afraid than angry at these
casual gamers for what they represent, which is the potential future of the
industry. If big-name developers start making titles continually geared toward
the casual gamer, will we lose our epic blockbusters? With the rise of games
like Wii Fit, a glorified jazzercise mat that’s currently the most popular
title in Japan,
I sure as hell don’t want to find myself five years from now “playing” Pilates
with Mario as my instructor, as pictured.

Despite my problems and concerns with these two gamer types,
I can’t be completely cynical and claim that they are both detrimental to
gaming. If anything, the hardcore and casual gamer provide the foundations on
which the medium can grow. I’m glad that some people love games enough to want
to play them like a part-time job, and I’m glad that more and more people are
gradually becoming interested in games, whatever form they may come in. As long
as people are willing to enjoy the pastime for what it is, then our industry
will have no choice but to prosper. So I say, rock on, gamers, rock the fuck
on.

Hollywood Confidential

""I’ll be your narrator,"" announces Harry (Robert Downey Jr.), the main character of “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” setting the audience up for a familiar noir-detective framework. But not so. Harry, a small-time New York crook who accidentally lands in Hollywood and discovers its underbelly — with the help of a girl and yes, lots of guns — turns out to be an admittedly awful narrator. He stops the reel, points out a “terrible scene” and gets mixed up trying to give the back story. All this self-reflexivity is good fun for about two minutes, but by the time he comments on yet another “dumb movie thing,” you want to answer, “You’re right. It is. Now either make it better, or shush up.” Of course, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is a satire of the movies — you don’t have to look much further than the film’s title — but instead of running with that, it’s used as an excuse for a shiny, speedy and ultimately flat story.

There’s a reason for all this self-consciousness. After a decade of hibernation, big-deal screenwriter Shane Black (of “Lethal Weapon” fame) is finally back with a new film that he not only writes, but directs as well. After years of making the (very) big bucks handing his scripts over to others, Black evidently tries to pour too many elements into his comeback effort, hesitating between genres until it seems he’s going to achieve the improbable feat of cross-pollinating “Pulp Fiction” and “There’s Something About Mary.”

In the end, though, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” settles for being a poor man’s “Pulp Fiction,” trying to please the crowds by adding more laugh-out-loud funny and more morality (a discordant incest story somehow seeps into the otherwise irreverent tone). The mystery’s plot twists are loosely based on actual pulp fiction novels that both Black and his characters love; yet just like those novels, plot twists sustain interest only momentarily thanks to the dizzying speed at which events unravel.

What gives the audience something to hang onto is the oftentimes hilarious banter between Harry and gay Gay Perry (played by Val Kilmer), a tough private investigator who’s supposed to train Harry for his role in an upcoming detective film before the real bodies start piling up. Black hasn’t forgotten how to write the partners-in-crime dynamic that made action flicks like “Lethal Weapon” palatable, and he really lets loose this time around. None of it has a thing to do with the plot, but the constant flow of tangential humor offers momentary relief from a story that otherwise requires too much effort to keep track of. Since the writer/director is cueing you to take the whole thing as an elaborate prank, but gets his gears stuck in the reality of the action, it’s easy to stop caring before the end.

The good news for Black is that he’s unearthed a hidden resource: directing. The style is seamless Hollywood, but it’s fresh and effective. He also manages to pull great performances out of both Downey and Kilmer, neither of whom are reputed to be easy to get along with. Downey’s found his perfect fit in the sarcastic yet kindhearted loser-turned-hero Harry, and Kilmer, though relegated to second billing, pumps the no-nonsense private eye character for all it’s worth. And there’s also the girl: Michelle Monaghan plays the eye candy in the role of Harry’s long-lost high school sweetheart in dire need of a detective. She is spunky, charming (read: repeated boob shots) and smart, too.

It’s too bad, but it’s impossible to truly care for the cast of characters in a film that is all too transparently about one man’s plea for recognition. Thankfully, you can easily choose to ignore the misguided pretensions, sit back and enjoy the one-liners.

Album Reviews

Gwen Stefani first came to us as an awkwardly sexy, ska-coiffed punk tart, a musing half seductress and half feminist who fronted a band of Orange County new-wave kiddos called No Doubt.

These days, she’s traded her radical edge for the instant accessibility of the bobby-soxer pop star wannabe. Stefani has become almost a household name and her music has followed suit.

Instead of No Doubt, her album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. has Stefani working with a number of producers, including Andre 3000 and the Neptunes, to widely mixed result. Except for the latter’s track — Gwen ought to get Chad and Pharrell to give her her money back for the annoying and arid “Hollaback Girl” — the songs are pretty much as good as their producers. Dr. Dre lays down edgy piano between bass kicks on the inescapably catchy “Rich Girl,” while No Doubt guitarist (and Stefani ex-lover) Tony Kanal shovels up a fresh pile of cheesy ’80s shitpop on “Crash.”

Style over substance is obviously the point here, but it only works when the producer has enough to let Stefani borrow some. She can spin the sexy diva web on bump ’n’ grinders like “Luxurious,” and attitude skits like “What You Waiting For?,” but not because she gives them unmistakable style. Rather, Stefani shines when playing an assigned role — which makes one wonder, was she really such a punk in the first place?

Choose your destiny: The 2002 Guardian election endorsements

The Guardian editorial board grants its endorsements to the statewide propositions and those candidates most deserving of victory on Nov. 5. Discover whether that guy on TV is a dedicated public servant or simply the lesser of two evils.

The views expressed in this section represent a majority vote of the editorial board. The editorial board consists of: Josh Crouse, Editor in Chief, Lauren I. Coartney and Charlie Tran, Managing Editors, Carrie Elizabeth Sklar, Copy Editor, Claire J. Vannette, Opinion Editor, Evan McLaughlin, News Editor, Rinaldo Dorman, Hiatus Editor, and Lindsay Boyd, Features Editor.

Governor

Gray Davis

The race for California's governor is arguably the most disappointing that this state has seen in many years. Gov. Gray Davis has been criticized by both republicans and democrats during his last term. He has been blamed for the energy crisis, unemployment, access to quality health care, a possible water shortage and California's low education ranking. Even so, Davis did what he could with an incredibly tough term in office, and he remains the best candidate on the ballot. The other candidates lack the political experience and savvy needed to run the fifth-largest economy in the world. With that in mind, the Guardian endorses Davis in this year's gubernatorial election for California.

Lt. Gov.

Bruce McPherson

Republican Bruce McPherson should succeed incumbent Cruz Bustamante as Lieutenant Governor of California because he is not afraid to take the necessary measures to affect change.

McPherson values the independence of the office, which is not included on a ticket with the governor. He plans to work with both democrats and republicans to stand up for what he believes is right, even if it means speaking out against the governor or legislature and proposing alternative solutions to problems facing the state.

McPherson has made a career out of making his voice heard. As a former newspaper editor, he spoke out on issues concerning his readers. As a California state senator, he used his voice to influence policy debates that shaped laws that have increased funding for schools, improved public safety, created jobs, reduced taxes and protected the environment. McPherson will continue to use his voice to keep the government honest.

By avoiding special interest groups or a die-hard adherence to party lines, McPherson's key loyalty is to the people of California. Through his leadership, the office will play a greater role in the state government and will become more visible in state affairs.

McPherson's problem-solving skills are well-documented: he wrote California's ""Son of Sam"" law, cast the deciding vote to ban offshore drilling and co-sponsored the largest tax cut in state history.

McPherson's opponents lack vision and experience; McPherson clearly knows how to turn plans into action. And unlike other candidates for the office, he won't waste his time with empty campaign rhetoric or intolerant, impossible or irrelevant issues.

Tritons clinch CCAA repeat

The UCSD women's soccer team clinched its second consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association South Division title Oct. 22 with a 2-0 win over UC Davis at Triton Soccer Stadium.

Colin Young-Wolff
Guardian

This game made up for a Sept. 28 match that was postponed due to fog. In that game, the teams were deadlocked in a scoreless tie until the 57th minute, when the referee ruled it unsafe to play.

The Tritons are now 11-1 in CCAA play and 14-1 overall. The team is now ranked fifth in the nation.

UCSD struggled early against the talented Davis squad.

""We came out flat in the first 15 minutes,"" said head coach Brian McManus. ""They were playing to stay alive. This game meant so much to them.""

With a win, the Aggies could have taken the lead in the CCAA's North Division.

Despite being outplayed early in the first half, UCSD managed to get a goal against the flow of play. In the 14th minute, Megan Mendoza stripped Davis defender Carly Broaddus and pushed the ball up the right side of the field. The sophomore midfielder worked a one-two with Kristin Jones, creating space for a shot deflected by Aggie goalie Christine Ogden. Triton defender Jessica Cordova got the rebound first and easily put it back from 15 yards out, giving UCSD the 1-0 lead.

Davis nearly leveled the score in the last seconds of the first half, but as time expired Triton goalie Kami Poma made an incredible kick save on Aggie forward Tristan Ngoon's shot.

UCSD controlled much of the game in the second half, thanks to its stingy backline. Julia Cuder, Molly Carlson and Christine Wensel combined to contain Davis' potent attack.

""Our defense played well,"" McManus said. ""Most of their shots were not very dangerous from long range.""

Midway through the second half, Erika Alfredson scored a goal -- her team-leading ninth of the season -- beating her defender before finishing far post from 15 yards out.

Davis continued to press after the second goal and forced Poma to make another outstanding save in the 71st minute when she deflected Broaddus' 25-yard shot out of play. The sophomore keeper made nine saves as the Tritons recorded their seventh CCAA shutout.

The Tritons hosted 11th-ranked Cal Poly Pomona on Wednesday night at Triton Soccer Stadium in a showdown of national powers. The score was unavailable at press time.

UCSD hosts Grand Canyon University in its final home game of the year at Triton Soccer Stadium. The women's game kicks off at 4:30 p.m.

In a related matter, it was recently announced that UCSD will host the 2001 CCAA Championships, which will take place from Nov. 2 through Nov. 4 at Triton Soccer Stadium. It is there that the Tritons will begin their road to a repeat as Division II national champions.

Men's Soccer Downs San Bernardino 2-0

With the playoffs weeks away, The UCSD men's soccer team helped its cause by defeating rival California State University San Bernardino 2-0.

The victory improved the Tritons' season record to 11-2-2, 9-2-2 in conference play.

Junior Daniel Appel scored an early goal and freshman Jonathan Costabile scored later on to seal the win for the Tritons, who improved their unbeaten streak to eight games.

""We got a quick goal early on that helped to set the pace of the game,"" said freshman goalkeeper Jeremy Cookson. ""This time they came out very tough and it took us a while to start stringing things together. In all, though, I think that San Bernardino played a better game this time, and we did well to beat them.""

The victory, however, was marred by the knee injury of Ryan Mizumoto, one of the top midfielders the Tritons have in their lineup. He will miss the remainder of the season.

""Ryan's injury is a major one and a major blow to the team,"" said head coach Derek Armstrong. ""He was the unity that kept everything going, and we will sorely miss him.""

Freshman Sean Summers also commented that with Mizumoto out of the lineup, someone will have to step up and play well in the midfield.

""When Ryan was taken out of the game we struggled to find our rhythm,"" Summers said. ""After halftime we came out hard and put the game away early. After that, they were done and we were able to experiment a little.""

As for the rest of the season, the men's soccer team has an away game with Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 27. The last match against Pomona ended in a thrilling overtime goal by Tyler Girimonte to lift the Tritons to victory.

After that comes a UCSD alumni match; the time has yet to be announced. United States International University comes to town for a final nonconference showdown with UCSD on Monday, just before the California Collegiate Athletic Association championships begin.

When asked how the Tritons would approach facing teams as CSU Dominguez Hills and Sonoma State -- the only teams to defeat the Tritons this year -- the response was clear: revenge.

""Revenge would definitely be nice against Dominguez Hills and Sonoma,"" Cookson said. ""Who doesn't want another shot at Dominguez Hills? They're definitely a great team and I'd really like a chance to play them again. From here on out all that matters is the next game. We can't get ahead of ourselves.""

A similar response was given to the question of teamwork. The amount of unity this team has is quite evident.

""I think we have had success in the past month because we play for each other,"" Summers said. ""There are no players on the team who think only of themselves. Our team is very close and we have learned to play well with each other.""

The next two matches will be a test to see how the Tritons fill the void Mizumoto filled up so well. The team has bounced back from two major injuries this year, so adversity is its oyster.

""We look forward to going against the best the conference has to offer this next week,"" Armstrong said. ""We, however, have two games to find out what we can do to fill the shoes of Ryan.""

Record-Breaking Weekend

Sarah Lizotte makes history as UCSD goes 2-2 on the weekend Senior utility Sarah Lizotte broke the UCSD women’s water polo career all-time scoring record at the Annual Triton Invitational last weekend where the Tritons...

Crew Rows in Last Races Before Nationals

Tritons’ Varsity 8 crew finished in third, while Freshman 8 crew took top honors.  After a solid performance at the Stanford Invitational, the UCSD men’s crew team traveled to Sacramento, California this past Saturday for...