graduation may 2012
m u s i c • c u lt u r e • a c t i v i s m • e d u c a t i o n • c o m m u n i t y
A class in confidence
word to the wise:
rose and the pope Advice on post-graduation life
Basterd Students: Heavy Mahogany:
when will you
Compassion, wisdom, and turtles meet may’s PAGE 5 GIRL
Is Is the the four-year four-year plan plan a a thing thing of of the the past? past? brick road magazine A collaboration of ideas, passions, and interests.
issue 04 May 2012
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brick road magazine VOL. 01 • issue 04 • mAY 2012
Editor in Chief
Managing Editor David J. Olender
Contributing Writers Kelly Callas
Cameron Cook Bill Crotty
Tanya Huang Ryan Kelly Carolina Kyzer Luisa Lewis Tara Millspaugh David Pope
2. Chancellor’s Corner SDSU Administration
24. NEW BUSINESS Solo Eyewear
5. Page 5 Girl Meet Barbara A.
12. BASTERD STUDENTS The death of the four-year degree
6. White Bread Gangsta Kitchen Luisa makes Cottage Pie
14. STRIP TEASE Self-exploration through Sultry Eyes and Seduction
28. Word to the Wise Life after Graduation Advice
8. Entertainment Make Beer, Not War
16. THE DALAI LAMA Compassion without Borders
30. Erotically Neurotic Commencement 2012
10. News Quarter-Life Crisis
18. LOVE A’FARE Russian Romance
26. Fiction Kalyeo
36. Final Thoughts You’re ready to swim...
Gail Bowman Keith Brown Evan Dunning Stephanie Fong Jonah Gilmore Jeff Lewis Tim Mantoani Cecilia Polkinhorn
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Presidential salaries fit for a king by vox populi
Many couldn’t point out the president in a crowd or even spell his name. This is a problem because a lot of students are quick to complain about rising tuition and the faults of people in charge — myself included in the latter. Last semester, the San Diego Union Tribune pandered to special interests at SDSU with a story about how Hirshman is underpaid compared to predecessors. The statistic is telling, though only true if you compare him to his peers across the board and include systems not directly related to California and CSU budget issues. The article cited a new council that has been assembled in an effort to make presidential salaries fair. “It continues to show, at least preliminarily, that this board has been very conservative when it comes to compensation,” said Lou Monville, chairman of such a committee, which develops oversight procedures for CSU president selections and wages.
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This committee was appointed by the same people who approved Hirshman’s salary and a tuition increase for students. I’m no rocket scientist, but those numbers seem to represent a glaring hypocrisy. What genius said, “YES, the people who have been key in misappropriating funds should appoint the oversight committee”? Lack of checks and balances aside, they seem to have missed the point in this decision, too. What matters to me, and hopefully to most students, is not whether Hirshman is being paid too much for his position, but if the quality of his work on behalf of the university and its students warrants such a paycheck. Nobody is going to roll back the salary of an organization’s leader, but analyzing the value of that leader can provide insight on tenure. So, what has he done? With a little effort, my eyes found a few positives. Indirectly, Hirshman may have helped put an end to raises for executives in the CSU system by way of the backlash that ensued from his acceptance of a $400,000 annual salary. Although Governor Jerry Brown has a tax proposal on November’s ballet that would help stabilize tuition, the CSU board has promised there won’t be another tuition hike even if the tax does not pass (for now). Keep in mind, though, that the most recent tuition hikes won’t even go into effect until this coming Fall. For those who will still be at SDSU then, enjoy the extra fees you will pay during Fall registration that you probably didn’t know about.
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r g a g l 5 p e i l r i g 5 e g a p
Major: Business Marketing
favorite place to chill: The beach How I relax: I enjoy doing yoga and releasing stress through movement. Or I jam out to Maroon 5 and pretend Adam is serenading me. last book i read: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Perfect Night Out: Go for a run on the beach at sunset, then head downtown with friends and create our own adventure. The evening isnâ€™t complete without a late night stop for ice cream. If I could Go Anywhere: I would travel to Bora Bora or Italy. I love beach culture and both countries have amazing landscapes.
ke a difference: How i would like to ma itive influence in the world is by living with
I believe the best way to make a pos ugh example. Maintaining a kind and an open heart and encouraging charity thro can change a personâ€™s day for the sympathetic heart and an uplifting spirit w! better far more often than you might kno Somthing interesting about yourself: I live everyday as though it could be my last. I try to appreciate everyt hing I have, never fear new experience or taking chances, and love living life.
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re. gazine.com to learn mo Go to www.brickroadma
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Photographer: Gail Bowman www.gailbowmanphotography.com
Makeup & Makeup Artist: Melina Ruiz Wardrobe Stylist: Julia G. Clothing and Accessories: Eden Boutique www.edenboutiques.com Featured: Barbara A.
Location: Gail Bowman Photography Studio 4011 Avenida de la Plata, #302 Oceanside, CA 92056
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o n i V & n o ir
BY Luisa Lewis
How to explain what has only come to be known as a flair for the unusual combined with the technical ineptitude of a gal who really just wants to learn. There are a lot of things that have kept me from a good, healthy interest in cooking for most of my life, including but not limited to: my mother’s helicopter parenting in the kitchen, being too lazy to do dishes and celebrity chefs. This does not pertain to every celebrity chef. Paula Deen is a totally badass for taking a frozen turkey to the face and not missing a beat. But it’s ladies like Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, and Gwyneth Paltrow with their can-do attitudes that truly isolate and expose my insecurities about being a white woman in the kitchen. Not only did we not inherit any sort of ethnic food specialization, but now more than ever we are expected to produce impossible culinary ideals. For example, Gwyneth once wrote an entire article on her website newsletter (goop.com) dedicated to the usefulness of her backyard wood-burning pizza oven. In the article, she admits to the stove being a frivolous luxury, but then tells her readers that she can’t imagine life without it. Oh really, Gwyneth? How is that supposed to help the rest of us with just a damn tire swing in our backyard? This is why I was more than pleasantly surprised to read Julia Moskin’s article in the New York Times on March 13th, “I was a Cookbook Ghostwriter.” And guess whose picture appears with the article? That’s right. Suck it, Gwyneth. The article outlines the recognition-free life of a celebrity cookbook writer. She speaks in depth about perfecting the often thankless craft of writing someone else’s book, in someone else’s voice, under someone else’s name. And she brings up one very distinct point: Are we really to believe these women create hundreds of original recipes, are masters of the kitchen and have the ability to translate all of their work effortlessly onto the page? It’s no wonder I am paralyzed by the thought of entering the kitchen. What if I can’t do it all? These ladies have built empires based on the sales pitch that white women can in fact produce creative, inspiring meals to impress, under 110 calories, that will of course make you beautiful while you pose in the perfect outfit to match. Now, there are bigger lies that marketing has tricked me into believing. For example, the idea there is a boss out there who wants to help you succeed, that leggings can be pants and that if a man really loves you he will freeze to death in the ocean so you can survive floating on a door made for one. However, despite what they claim, we must not let ourselves believe the lie. They cannot cook, act, host television shows, look beautiful, create delicious recipes, have a family, be a fashion icon, entertain the world with their smile AND write effectively. We should not allow ourselves to be force-fed this ridiculous notion that a woman has to be everything or she is nothing. We must exercise solidarity in our quest for reclaiming the white woman’s kitchen, having more than one glass of wine with dinner and listening to something other than Michael Bublé. A$AP Rocky, anyone?
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not your celebritie’s
Cottage Pie Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef or turkey ($5-9) 1/3 c. of Ketchup ($3) 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce ($3) 8 oz. frozen mixed vegetables ($4) 1/4 c. of shredded cheddar ($5-7) 1 16-oz. Package of mashed potatoes (refrigerated or frozen and thawed) ($2-3)
Instructions: Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Brown the meat in a saucepan on medium heat until there is no pink left. Spoon off the excess fat. Add the frozen vegetables and cook until they appear thawed. Add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and mix until heated through. Transfer saucepan contents to a pre-greased 8x8-inch baking dish and evenly distribute. Cover the meat with an even layer of mashed potatoes and sprinkle on the shredded cheese. Put in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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by Andrew Sale // photo by Cecilia Polkinhorn
There was a time when my first thought of beer was Bud Light, and a red cup was the natural thing to drink it out of. I was young, I was ignorant, and I was missing out. That was a long time ago though. I have since seen the error of my ways and repented. My love of beer started when I traveled to England and the bartender slid me a brown, room temperature liquid. After looking at it with suspicion, I sipped it and my eyes were immediately opened to a bigger, far better world. I was immediately hooked, and I needed to try as many different beers as I could. The complex and diverse flavors each beer had were so different from one another, and delicious for their own unique reason.
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When I came to San Diego, I found myself in a beer loverâ€™s paradise. With over 30 different craft breweries to visit, thereâ€™s never a problem finding some new and exciting brew. Soon I found myself trying different brands and comparing the styles, noting the differences in ingredients and how they were brewed. Soon ideas started creeping into my mind, imagining how I would alter the taste with different portions and ingredients. It was pretty obvious what had to be done: I needed to learn how to brew my own beer. I started down a road that gave my head a serious buzz. Sure anyone could brew something akin to the piss-in-a-can 30s they sell at
Keg N’ Bottle with a cheap brewing kit and easy-to-do directions, but if I’m to be perfectly honest, I’m a snob about a host of things, and beer is now one of them. I’ve never actually tried the beer from one of the cheaper brew it kits (they start from as little as $40), but the sense of triumph and glory seems far greater if done from scratch. It’s similar logic to mom baking brownies from scratch being better than the ones coming out of an Easy Bake Oven, even if that plastic oven did produce some fine snacks. That of course means things will be much more complicated. The essentials: a 7-gallon pot for the brewing, a thermometer made to withstand heat that would melt your face off, a carboy (essentially the jug on the water cooler found in any respectable office), a bucket, and a lot of little things for bottling the beer. With all my accoutrements assembled, I began brewing. With careful instructions, the actual brewing wasn’t very difficult, a lot like baking a cake. The hardest part is sanitizing everything and doing all in your power to eradicate every living thing that could contaminate your creation, but I got through everything just fine. As my beer finished fermenting, I waited. And worried. If that Chemistry class taught me anything, just because you followed directions right doesn’t mean it’s going to turn out all right. Like a new father waiting anxiously for his child, I stood outside the fridge until the beer was finally cold. I cracked open the first bottle and poured a luscious, dark liquid into a tall, chilled pint glass. It looked enticing and it smelled of spices. So far so good. I lifted my glass and brought the brim to my lips where I slowly sipped the brown beer. Success! A very smooth, yet strong flavored Oatmeal Stout, it tasted of cinnamon and spice, and as most home-brewed beers do was a sleeper in terms of alcohol percentage. Although the science wasn’t precise it ran about 10% ABV, quite steep for any Stout. While I’m still a rookie at brewing my own beer, I already love it. It’s fun to make your own special beer, one that’s different than any other out there, tweaking your recipes to try to find that perfect balance of taste and texture. I’m already working on other batches, reading books and websites for brewing tips and ideas. For anyone who is curious about brewing your own beer, it’s not hard to get in to, as information and help is easy to find, especially anyone living in a city like San Diego. Not only that, it’s really fun to do, especially with friends and of course a few beers. So here’s to drinking well and the pursuit of happiness that is home brewing!
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Well, it’s that time of year again: graduation. And finally it’s your turn to escape the chaos of school and enter the real world. But it hits you, and hits you hard: The quarterlife crisis — a real issue becoming more and more prevalent among those in the age range of 19-30. It’s a shattering self-revelation: I’m still living with my parents. I have no
job. I’m 23. I haven’t found my soul-mate, and I have $20,000 in student loans which I have to start paying back in six months. It’s like a smack in the face by reality. There is no escape, there is no end game, and all you have left is to ask yourself is, “What now?” by Cameron Cook // photo by Keith Brown
Is this quarter-life crisis real or is it just another figment of our consumer imaginations, like the mid-life crisis? Well, it’s real and if it hasn’t hit you yet it’s coming. Let’s put down the hard facts. First, a college graduate has $12,000 on average in student loans, double that of their parents when they graduated, according to the American Council of Education. The U.S. Census states the average American between the ages of 18-30 has held 7-8 different jobs. And the American Sociological Association states two-thirds of young adults in their early 20s still depend on financial assistance from their parents while 40 percent in their late 20s still receive assistance. Was it always this way? No. Look back to the 1960s: 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had reached adulthood benchmarks such as graduating, leaving home, getting a full-time job, marriage, having a baby and financial independence by the age of 30, according to the ASA. In 2000, the same survey discovered something entirely different: 46 percent of women and 31 percent of men had reached those same bench markers. What happened? The eventual recession? Increased competition for degree-required jobs? Student budgeting issues? Society’s impossibly high expectations? All of the above? Nancy Herbst, executive director at the International Professional School of Bodywork with a master’s in business administration has been providing professional consulting services pertaining to education and business, including accreditation, financial aid,
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losing a $10,000 dollar scholwould be only $25,000, the student sees it as ‘I’m result in a much lower debt.” would UCSD arship’ but doesn’t see that going to ts and only make, on averparen their of debt the e Today, students have doubl ts made. Trying to minimize this age, 90 cents to the dollar of what their paren ng the crisis altogether. avoidi debt straight out of college is the first step to significantly worsen the circumFailing to prepare for the next step in life can parents earn and believe that stances. Students expect to achieve what their s a full-time, high-paying equal e hard work, investment and a college degre the 1970s, it’s a whole difsince nt perce 53 job. But with college enrollment up longer about who has the no It’s job. a g landin to s ferent animal when it come degree but who has the most experience. s the new game. For her, the Herbst, who’s been an employer for years, know g writing skills, some kind stron are ant applic an for most impor tant attributes nalds), and most impor tant, of work experience (even if it’s a few years at McDo iences from the past. A exper the ability to answer interview questions with start planning years in d shoul nts Stude degree no longer guarantees a job. , obtain a part-time job during advance for the job hunt, learn from internships college, volunteer, practice in their field. Plan. graduating, students have to And it doesn’t just stop at planning for a job. After ntials and certifications, stay ask: Now what? Take extra classes, earn crede about education after earning a up-to-date with technology. Don’t just forget to plan for rainy days. It’s never t degree; always keep learning. And don’t forge too early to start saving.
policy, governance and employment since 2007. According to Herbst, the three main issues triggering the quarter-life crisis among college students are poor financial planning, not preparing for the “next step” in life, and not advancing education after graduation. But all three of these points and the ensuing quarter-life crisis could be completely avoided: Always plan one step ahead. In high school prepare for college, in college prepare for a job, at the job prepare for promotions, and after that prepare for retirement. The current generation, typically labeled and chastised for being impatient and myopic, doesn’t look that far ahead, and it’s hurting them. Things students ignore or leave behind today come back to bite them in the ass later down the road. Those student loans don’t vanish, and the lack of work experience does not look good on a resume.
When employers review job Thinking a few steps ahead is always a good thing. same degree and educathe have applications, the two final candidates could date with work expericandi the hire will yer tional background, but the emplo in the field and the willingness to ence. Working shows dedication, experience with someone who’s never seen work. Employers don’t want to take that risk a job. the quarter-life crisis conductBut don’t panic just yet. Lucky for us, a study on London by psychologist Oliver ed last year at the University of Greenwich in looked back positively at their s Robinson showed 80 percent of the interviewee slap in the face is something the e Mayb all. crisis. Maybe it’s not so bad after in life. Do you want to be livon passi true their find to graduates need in order supply of Hot Pockets and a $50 ing in your mother’s basement with a limited rolls around? monthly allowance at 40 when the next crisis
The first and probably biggest issue is financial planning. Though the cost of going to college has increased by 6 percent per year over the last decade, the amount students borrow to pay for their education has risen an estimated 10 percent a year. Why? Students are borrowing more than they have to in order to pay for rent, food and recreation. That borrowed money is going to haunt them for four to six months after graduation, and the federal government is a fierce debt collector. Did you know the IRS can take away a certification? If someone earned a physiatrist certification from schooling but can’t pay off their bills, the IRS could actually take away that license to practice. Students need to learn how to budget better, Herbst says. “For example, if you get a scholarship to Boston University for $10,000 but are paying out-of-state tuition, which is $50,000, but going to UCSD your loans
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WHEN WILL YOU
by Tara Millspaugh // photo by evan duning
BRICK ROAD MAGAZINE
GRADUATION Do you plan to graduate college in four years? Well, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 30 percent of students graduate within four years at San Diego State, and 66 percent within six years. The funniest thing about this statistic is that when admitted into college, it is a point of pride for most to say, “I go to a four year university.” However, realistically, students should say “Wow, Mom, I got into a six year university.” What are students doing wrong? Changing majors sure isn’t helping. According to Dr. Fritz Grupe, founder of MyMajors.com, 50 percent of students change their major two or three times during their college career. A degree focus will most likely reflect the career you will have the rest of your life, so it is a big decision, but if you are going to change your major, it is absolutely crucial to do it within the first three semesters because delaying further will lengthen the time to graduate more significantly. Adriana Jones Lima, a freshman, is considering changing her major from public relations to sociology. Staying in college for more than four years would be too costly, so forcing herself to take summer classes became a viable option when switching. Summer classes aren’t the only way to stay on track though. Academic Advisors recommend students should be taking 15 units every single semester, though many register for only 12. Although 12 units is still considered “full time,” taking fewer than 15 is another reason students are falling behind, but sometimes it’s an issue of scheduling, not choice. Advisors at SDSU have noticed that fewer students enroll into a class if it has a Monday, Wednesday, Friday meeting schedule. Maybe next semester will have more sections with alternative class days. To be fair, having classes spaced out does make partying a little more difficult to manage, but with how impacted SDSU has become with budget cuts and an overflowing applicant pool, it’s time to suck it up and take what’s available, when the classes are there. Planning ahead helps too. All majors have requirements that need to be met prior to graduation, so start looking for them. According to the SDSU course catalog, journalism and media studies require a 3.0 GPA, while almost all engineering majors require only a 2.0 GPA. Is the coursework equal? Of course not — but knowing the requirements to graduate enables you as a student to understand the expectations. Students who do not plan ahead will run into speed bumps, such as: missing out on classes only offered next semester, when this semester would be more convenient, or having to stay an extra semester in order to boost their GPA. Elan Levy recently transferred from SDSU to UCSD after two years. Not only did he transfer, but he also changed his major from mechanical engineering to electrical engineering. He was supposed to graduate in 2013 from SDSU, but will now be graduating in 2015 from UCSD. “I guess I didn’t realize how many more years it would take me to graduate if I transferred. But, UCSD has a better engineering department, and in the end, that’s what matters to me,” Levy said.
Though attaining a diploma within four years has become a problem, the blame does not rest solely on students’ shoulders. The university is also culpable. Budget Analyst and Director of Finance Larry Stirling took a closer look at what SDSU’s administration does wrong. In his findings, he noted that SDSU profits from every student admitted, and that this opportunity has proved a tempting incentive for the school to over-admit students. One of the problems presented by this relatively open-door policy is that the faculty is too few in numbers to accommodate the influx of students. Also, students who do not pass the ELM and the EPT — two tests that represent basic math and English skills — must take remedial classes. These students cannot go forward with their basic GE classes until they pass said remedial classes, most likely delaying their graduation. Stirling proposes a solution from an economic perspective: SDSU should raise standards for admitting people who do not pass these entry-level tests. He recommends that the school only admit students whom are expected to graduate in four years. College is supposed to be fun, but students must realize that each year they remain in school costs them roughly $7,000. SDSU’s overcrowding issues won’t be resolved overnight, so students who want to graduate in four years better think ahead or they’re liable to be here for a while.
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Fantasy -E-X, S f o d worl
e ore th l p x e We e at a time k o r t s e n o
In a studio perched atop Candelas restaurant, on the outskirts of the Gaslamp Quarter, an exotic dance lesson awaits me. I’m 15 minutes early, a little hungover, and definitely regretting that late-night California burrito — not feeling my sexiest. Upstairs, the studio sits adjacent to Pretty-Is, a blockbuster-esque boutique where members can rent clothes, purses, shoes and accessories.
BY Tanya Huang // photos by stephanie fong
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“I don’t possess the sassy confidence to shake my butt in the faces of total strangers and be the butt of endless jokes, or the subject of feminist dismay...” Across the hall two other participants and I have arrived, waiting in an empty sun-filled room overlooking the corner of Third Street and J Avenue, each staring idly out the angled, three-panel, bay windows. A deafening, thick silence looms in the air. It’s not too late to run. Just as I begin to weigh my options, the instructor enters the room. She asks if we’re still interested. Confused, we stare at each other and blindly follow her back down the hallway to Pretty-Is. Apparently we’ve been waiting in the wrong room this entire time. I had my reservations about partaking in a strip tease course. I don’t possess the sassy confidence to shake my butt in the faces of total
strangers and be the butt of endless jokes, or the subject of feminist dismay. If I were single, I might be more compelled to step up my game. That is, after all, why one of my girlfriends enrolled in a strip tease class. But since my man and I are nearing our six-year anniversary, it couldn’t hurt to spice things up, right? I’ve been to Cheetahs (and was not impressed). I’ve seen all the typical teen movies. I have an idea of what the stereotypical stripper looks like. I imagined Resa Weinstein, the instructor, might come in wearing leopard-print stilettos and gobs of makeup. Instead, her appearance and demeanor reflect those of an ordinary woman. Her fresh face and the dark, oak-
stained hair just past her shoulders radiate a natural beauty. She dons gray yoga pants and a fitted moss-green V-neck, topped off with a modest Star of David pendant. Her warm presence immediately lifts the initial awkwardness among us as she recounts her excitement for family time at Passover, as if we’d been friends forever. Resa danced exotically for over six years before pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams of establishing her own company, EbyResa, where she instructs an assortment of exotic lessons. “E stands for exotic, erotic, a form of S-E-X, whatever you want it to be,” she says. A San Diego native for more than 16 years, Resa graduated with a Business Marketing degree from San Diego State in 2000 and has been teaching exotic dance lessons since 2005. “A few things make EbyResa different and unique: small, intimate, comfortable classes where you don’t start moving right away,” Resa says passionately. “We really focus on opening your mind on new and different ideas … I teach continued on page 20
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the dalai-lama by ryan kelly // Photo by Tim Mantoani
This is not one of those “I’ve seen the light” articles. It is not written in the style and voice of some Catholic school kid coming back from a service trip in a Third World country. There will be no forced quotes from brighteyed freshman about their half-baked revelation or enlightenment. Because His Holiness deserves better than that. 16
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It’s Thursday April 19, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is giving a speech in San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena, of all places. The same venue that hosted rapper Drake and Jimmy Buffett earlier in the year. And even though His Holiness doesn’t spit lyrics about dim sum or sing ballads about margaritas, the venue still makes the event feel too much like a rock concert for my taste. There’s a lot of buzz and static just before the Dalai Lama emerges from the curtains, aided by the tom-tom drums of the Native American opening act. Then thousands of pixels come together on the JumboTron to show His Holiness’s bald dome capped by a red SDSU visor. Click after click. Flash after camera flash. Some chosen public figures like Mayor Jerry Sanders and SDSU President Elliot Hirschman are being adorned with colorful shrouds. The Dalai Lama receives the key to the city. It’s a bunch of ritualistic pleasantries with a hint of self-aggrandizing.
dalai lama And it’s not just the venue that irks me. My surrounding peers in the audience fail to grasp the reverence of the situation. The Dalai Lama’s soft voice and partially broken English in his greeting appear to confound them, and rather than sit still and listen, they voice their distress to one another in poor excuses for whispers. And, hold up. Why is that guy on his Droid? Did I just hear the chime of an iPhone text message? I start to imagine the worst. Petty Bragbook statuses about getting to see him live in person. A bunch of kids checking into Viejas on foursquare. Don’t they realize the gravity of this experience? The Dalai Lama is the closest thing we have to a modern-day prophet. Hell, he’s the closest thing we have to Yoda. But I suppose there’s nothing that truly demands our attention anymore. It’s a shameful sign of the times. A bunch of Judases live tweeting the Last Supper – what or whom do my peers betray? Of course, these critiques have nothing to do with the Dalai Lama himself, and I quickly realize how unrealistic and elitist I am being – imagining myself as a VIP in some intimate setting with exclusive guests, directly interviewing him, cracking jokes and scheduling a meditation session with him the following week.
There are also jokes, parables and anecdotes about his preconceived notions of Europe, turtles, and Fidel Castro, followed by a lackluster Q & A segment full of clichéd Qs like “What can I do as just one person?”
I may be slightly delusional, but at least I’ve done a little homework. Before this event, I have watched (via the Internet) his other lectures at the University of California, San Diego and the University of San Diego, addressing “The Global Impact of Climate Change” and “Cultivating Peace and Justice,” respectively.
As I’m recording as much as I can glean from the speech, I start to wonder and hypothesize why he has chosen this topic of compassion for his address to SDSU. He could have talked about climate control, or justice, or whatever, really. I would have paid $10 to see the Dalai Lama talk about anything. His golf handicap. Rhododendron bushes. The odds of the Mega Millions.
So there I am, posted up in my nosebleed bleacher seat with my yellow legal notepad, anxiously awaiting the third installment of this symposium called “Compassion without Borders.” I can’t possibly imagine what this holy man will say to the likes of Marty MuscleMilk and Heather HeartPink sitting next to me. And despite the sincerity of His Holiness’s assertion that we’re all just people, that we’re all equals, I can’t help but think that this comparison is too generous for many members of the student body.
But I do my best to stifle my curmudgeonly attitude and absorb his musings about “Upholding Universal Ethics and Compassion in Challenging Times.” I scribble fervently as he speaks in simple, universal truths. As one might expect, it is a grand-sweeping discussion of many topics, so to save some time, I paraphrase His Holiness’s words into a nice little highlight reel: 1. Our policies and laws must reflect our inner selves.
ment to our desires in order to discover our true selves and our inherent courage.
2. All 7 billion people on earth are mentally, emotionally and physically the same. We all have potential for construction or destruction.
9. Competition can lead to progress, but extreme competition often leads to a sacrifice of values.
3. Life is framed by fear and affection, both at birth and death, but only the latter is necessary for survival. 4. What we see on the surface is not an indication of truth. The underbelly a culture hungers for answers to its anxiety. 5. Money can only rectify physical discomfort, not the health of the mind or soul. 6. Discussions of ethics and morals do not make politics secondary to religion. Religion narrows the idea of ethics. It is insufficient to merely promote religious faith. Religious faith must invite a discussion of ethics with the secular world. 7. People are conditioned and socialized to disagree and hate one another. Children do not discriminate based on ascribed statuses, and it might be foolish to believe that adult brains are somehow more sophisticated. 8. We need to avoid dependency and attach-
10. We should use our talents for the well being of others. “Otherness” itself is a social construct that only creates distance. 11. Technology gives us yet another way to distract ourselves. Thinking brings unrest, so we don’t do it. We generally avoid activities that cause us to stop and consider, like reading, studying and creating meaningful dialogue with friends and family. 12. “Peace” does not mean “no problems.” Peace means a non-violent solution to problems that arise. We should seek real understanding, not assimilation or a forced coexistence. 13. The word “best” is often misused in Western culture, within which it only really means “the quickest” or “the cheapest.” 14. Narrow-mindedness makes no sense when the future is wide open. 15. Outer peace can only be derived from inner peace.
So why compassion? And why this topic for SDSU? Sure, there’s a really good chance that the topics were settled far in advance by people with no actual relation to the Dalai Lama and that he had no real way of distinguishing the three universities before his arrival to San Diego. But take a second to humor me, if you will. There are some SDSU wounds that need mending. According to the Campus Crime Alerts, there have been seven attempted or strong-armed robberies, one battery case, one sexual assault, a few cases of peeping toms and tampering with automobiles, all within the last four months. And then most recently, the morning after the speech, the school suffered the tragic death of 20-year-old Barzeen Barzanji, the president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. With these events in mind, we should consider the idea that His Holiness was trying to tell us something about our little academic bubble in Southern California. If what the Dalai Lama says is true, that humans are not like horses with blinders following a narrow track, then maybe our path can truly be blazed through optimism and self-confidence in our own ability to make positive changes. But if these are really “Challenging Times,” then I challenge everyone present at the speech to dig deep for an answer to my personal favorite quote from the man of the hour: “Don’t say I have wisdom. I learn every day. What do you think?” BrickRoadMagazine.com
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L ove A’fare
at i n g : D o t e r Guid e t s p i Th e H Romance n a i s s u R – Volume TWO BY Lauren Ciallella // photos by stephanie fong
The hipster handbook predicts how to find a hot spot before its even lukewarm. The secret is scanning beneath the surface, ignoring distractions of flashing, neon lights and instead focusing on the seemingly blank canvases whose revelations disclose their true value like a Picasso found in someone’s basement. And even though Pomegranate’s stark storefront might not catch the eye, this hole-inthe-wall is a hole-in-one. 18
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Boom – an immediate hit to the face. A solid wall of simmering smells becomes an intangible yet undeniable presence that hovers like a friendly ghost in Pomegranate’s dining room. Similarly to Homer Simpson detecting hamburger fumes, we’re carried by our nostrils to a table bearing a large, nautical-themed lamp more fitting for a living room than a dinner table. Inky names of past patrons are scrawled in loopy swirls, covering the walls and ceiling as a yearbook of those that graced these halls before us. Pomegranate is old school – a visit to Grandma’s, if Grandma lived in a Siberian lodge. Benches covered in heavy blankets and twine sit in direct contrast to delicate juice glasses perched beside place settings. Pomegranate’s owners, Dimitri Shteynbuk and Dimitri Sakaliuk, pride themselves on serving traditional, Georgian fare (as in borscht, not chicken and waffles), but the similarities to Southern cooking are surprising. And while staying true to their roots, Pomegranate brings a fresh face to the world of comfort food. DRINKS: Georgian wines (bottle) $29.00, House wine (glass) $8.00,
Finest Eastern European beers (17 oz. bottle) / $7.00 “Light, medium or dark?” is Pomegranate’s way of differentiating between types of Baltika, an import available in 17 oz. bottles of pilsner, wheat or porter. The frosted mugs accompanying each beer hold around 12 oz., so the overflow left in the bottle summons the same joyful nostalgia as a metal sidecar arriving with a milkshake. RUSSIAN VODKA This doesn’t appear on the menu, but they serve vodka by the inch if you ask them, giving a whole new meaning to the expression “getting whacked by the ruler.” Scary soft drinks and complex coffee Even run-of-the-mill beverages sound enticing with their comical, menu descriptions, like, “scary, extra strength or drop dead ginger ales” and Turkish coffee that’s “black as night, hot as love, sweet as sin, and powerful as damnation.”
Overwhelms the defenses of all your senses. $8.00 This salad radiates a neon aura that reminds me of plutonium, but its pulsing electricity lights up every tastebud. Shredded carrots are mixed with mayo, garlic and ginger. It’s creamy, crunchy and packs a bite unlike anything I’ve had before.
Ikra Badrijannaya: (“Poor man’s caviar”) Eggplant with a delicate infusion of herbs, onions, olive oil and garlic. A vegetarian’s dream of heaven when in hell / $9.00 I don’t see how this compares to caviar, except that it’s served cold. Bulky, purple squares reveal a soft underbelly of pliable flesh, and even though this eggplant seems comfortable in its own skin, I would prefer they peel it. The rest of the mixture - tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs and garlic - remind me of bruschetta, and I am thankful for the crusty, white loaf and sliced, rye bread brought in the beginning of the meal. The homemade garlic herb butter is also topnotch. Vareniki:
Potato-cheese dumplings with caramelized onions. The acme of comfort food / $9.50 These dumplings could teach a scorned woman how to love again. They offer a soft place to fall as pillows of pasta and mashed potatoes fluff themselves into the picture perfect pierogi Piero-what? Don’t’ automatically assume gnocchi when you hear potatoes and pasta. Perogies don’t incorporate the potato into the actual pasta mixture, but instead use them as the filling (like a Russian-style ravioli). A smidge of pasta water left at the bottom of the bowl bonds with a spoonful of sour cream for an impromptu broth sweetened by the crunch of caramelized onions and salted by my tears of appreciation.
a beaut. Its vivid fuchsia color is an immediate eyecatcher, but upon second glance, it’s also noticeably loaded up like a bowl of Stone Soup, as if the entire neighborhood brought their bounty of meat and veggies to swim in this community pool (vegetarian option also available at $9).* *About half the menu is vegetarian.
mered in a variety of ingredients, one being greens similar to collards. But right when I think I’ve got a handle on the flavor profile, it shifts and reveals a note of mint or a spice that reminds me of curry. It’s a Rubik’s Cube of culinary combinations and even though I can’t decipher all its complexities, everything squares up by the time I swallow. Dessert:
Toad Sweat Ice Cream: Not for the faint of heart / $6.00
Village-style cabbage rolls filled with a ground meat mixture / $16.50 If you come here for one thing, these cabbage rolls are it. Acting as the edible poster-child for homecooking, golubtsi arrives like an ornately wrapped gift of ground beef and onions, burrito-rolled in steamed cabbage leaves then smothered with a creamy, shredded carrot sauce. It sounds odd, but the natural sugars from the carrots and the meat’s juices form a symbiotic sisterhood of savory and sweet. Without fail, whenever I eat this, I develop an acute case of narcolepsy and can’t help but shut my eyes in an involuntary spasm of comfort – my mouth’s favorite lullaby. Chakhokhbili (Georgian Eagle):
This casserole will make your mouth water. Large pieces of chicken simmered with onions, tomatoes, lemons, basil -- plus, of course, the chef’s secret spices. Even Stalin melted at the prospect of this aromatic dish. Try a glass of young red wine with it, and you’ll fly like an eagle / $16.50 The Georgian Eagle truly reminds me of Southern cooking. Dark meat stays on the bone and is sim-
French vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce appear like two boring bumps on a log, so with my first bite I ask, “Why’s it called toad sweat?” But that’s when I choke on my words and try to suppress the burning. Apparently, habanero peppers are the main ingredient in the chocolate sauce, ensuring a frog in the throat while giving a new definition to “hot chocolate.” But the novelty and unexpected twist are worth at least one test drive in their take on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Ripe pick Hiding behind Mother Russia’s apron strings and a non-descript storefront, Pomegranate keeps a low profile but welcomes its patrons like family. The menu’s playful sentiments are endearing but sometimes a bit vague, so feel free to ask the amiable, Georgian staff for assistance. Though oddly enough, when faced with their laundry list of unusual dishes, there’s a feeling of having visited these flavors before like dining déjà vu. And that’s how Pomegranate plants their seed. They take the unfamiliar and make it personal with their proud yet humble roots that nurture this shrinking violet into a genuine Georgia peach.
A meal in itself if ordered with Khachapuri. Beet roots, potatoes, cabbage leaves, and other vegetables and meats, simmered for hours to produce culinary magic. Served with a dollop of sour cream, at your pleasure / $9.50 I’m not the biggest fan of beets, but this Borscht is
Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant
2302 El Cajon Blvd. | North Park | 619-298-4007
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sdsu community continued from page 15
“A white tank top is a necessity,” Resa said. “You can do so much. You can cut it and show the underneath of your breasts—they love that. You can make it long and wear a tie, and make a school-girl outfit...”
everything without a pole. Most women don’t have a pole. You can walk out the door and practice wherever.” She is now pursuing her PhD in Sexology. It was during college that she became an exotic dancer, which helped with the burden of school and travel fees. Resa began teaching these various lessons in a range of dance studios, rental rooms, and lingerie and clothing stores, until she met Pretty-Is owner, Lupe, in December of 2010 and acquired this intimate studio. The boutique’s wooden interior is lined with an extensive color-coded selection. And just at the center of the wall is a barely noticeable wooden door leading to Resa’s studio, like finding Narnia within the mysterious wardrobe. Her studio resembles an open-air balcony wedged between two buildings, surrounded by lush green foliage. It’s almost reminiscent of a hidden tree house or a secret sex lair — a hideout for lascivious lovers. It’s not dirty, grimy or intimidating. Instead, two shiny metal poles are planted firmly over a large, rectangular rug and wooden benches line the walls with plush, embellished pillows. My class includes Resa, me and five other students. A few girls chickened out, according to Resa’s attendance check. This always happens, she says. The thought of ditching certainly crossed my mind. The women’s ages range from early twenties to late thirties. To my right is Cindy*, a shy mother of four with an impressively fit body, thanks to her profession as a personal trainer. She purchased Resa’s threeclass package through Living Social, and she’s here in search of new ways to please her insatiable husband, who even after four kids, “keeps wanting more and more.” Across the room are Amy and Britney, two college girls who are returning customers from a previous class; Serena, a veteran who is training as Resa’s protégé to teach her own classes; and Jen, a semi-dorky, free-spirited single gal. To break the ice, Resa prompts us to share introductions as well as our preferences in music, outfits and smells. Our music preferences vary between top-40, house, hip-hop and R&B. As for outfits, some feel sexy in matching lingerie sets while others like to get a little raunchier with role playing outfits — fishnets, ties and all.
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“A white tank top is a necessity,” Resa said. “You can do so much. You can cut it and show the underneath of your breasts—they love that. You can make it long and wear a tie, and make a school-girl outfit. You can cut it and rip it off. You can also do a really sexy — in the bathtub or shower — wet T-shirt contest.” Smells are not something many of us have considered. These ladies either have no preference or stick with the standard scents of lavender and vanilla. As my turn approached, I muttered, “Gucci.” “If it’s something you wear, it’ll remind him of you,” Britney said, smiling. “But is there ever any perfume where you’re like, ‘Wow, I can smell that all day long?’” Resa interjects, laughing. “Yeah, the guys that douse themselves with Cool Water,” Jen answers. Guys, take the hint. As for fantasies, some like to play in the water, some like the thrill of getting caught doing the dirty in public, and others like it fairly simple. Amy, for instance, wants to break in her new car the way she used to christen her car in high school. Ah, the good ole days. “If he’s coming home at 7, I’ll have my outfit on, I will have the music set, the candles lit, and right when he comes in that door I’ll have my heels on and I will open up the door and he will be surprised. His jaw will drop,” Resa says of her tried and true way to start a strip tease. Yes, she has a boyfriend. “My boyfriend loves that I’m an entrepreneur,” she says. “When people ask him what I do … that is the hard part. Sometimes he tells them what I do, but if people don’t meet me, they will stereotype. He will sometimes say that I teach confidence classes and workshops.” Ironically, there are a great number of men who would frown upon the occupation but would love the idea of their women learning new tricks.
strip tease “You can touch things if you need to hold onto things,” Resa says, grabbing the pole. “I wanna see that smile. Make me melt.” This relatively innocent scene segued to the rest of our strip routine. And I have to say, while some of the things may have been common knowledge, I learned some things, most of all how to powerfully wield my femininity. Ladies, when your man walks in, give him your most unfaltering “Do Me” eyes and circle him slowly as he registers the pleasant surprise before him. Tease him by lightly stroking your own arms and neck for a little preview. Then slowly turn your back to him and maneuver into hip rolls so he can revel from behind. Straighten out your legs and bend over for a little booty shaking — and maybe a little peeka-boo. Then drop your arms, and flip back your luscious hair as you drop your booty to the floor. As you extend back up, give his crotch a little grind and walk — or crawl — away, peeking back ever so slyly. “Men are simple,” Resa says. Women, however, are not. “I believe everyone should work on themselves, men also,” she said. “They should go to workshops, read books on romance, be spontaneous at home and on dates, do more foreplay, compliment their lady.” These participating ladies may not be looking to be dancers, or even to please a significant other, but every single one of them — myself included — left the class feeling noticeably more sexy, confident and vibrant. No wonder she has so many returning customers, not to mention great ratings on Yelp.
Many of Resa’s students are sent by their boyfriends. Some women, like Cindy, hesitantly but dutifully oblige to fulfill their role as a pleasing wife. And others, like Britney, take the initiative to introduce new things in the bedroom because their men are becoming too complacent, or to avoid getting stuck in a rut. The circle of shameless girl talk is suddenly thrown off balance as Resa initiates the first exercise: eye contact. We are partnered up and told to stride past our partners and seduce them with confident eye contact. After that, we glide around in a circle and practice eye contact with every set of eyes in the room, whether in front of us or our own in the mirror. I am by no means prepared to give any of these strangers my untrained sex eyes, which may be awkward at best outside the bedroom. Cindy is my partner. Her eyes flutter momentarily with crippling panic. I, too, suddenly feel the desperate need to stare at anything besides these six pairs of hungry eyes. Jen, on the other hand, is no first-timer. Her smoldering cat eyes are already melting away the frigid air of discomfort. Now I’m locked under Resa’s unwavering “come hither” gaze. Fuck it, I can do that too. Soon we are all gliding around the circle, giving the eyes, maybe a wink, and a few subtle brushes of the arms and neck.
“I don’t think most ladies are really open and comfortable with their sexuality until they’re in their 30s or older.” Resa said. “I believe a lot of young women — or older — who are not confident will do things with men or party to fit in and not be smart about it.” This problem is prevalent among many young, insecure women, whether or not they are in the exotic dance industry. The lack of confidence can leave women hopelessly tangled in the dangerous world of sex, drugs and abuse. Not only is Resa preparing to become a sex coach, she is already a connoisseur of all things S-E-X. Ladies go to her for lessons in strip teases, pole dances, lap dances, floor routines, blow jobs, hand jobs and also passion parties, where they can snag new toys for the goodie drawer. Whether you’re a man or woman, you can bring your fantasies to life with guidance from instructors like Resa. In the bedroom, practice makes perfect. “The more you do it and start looking at the positives — not the negatives — you start coming out of your shell,” Resa says. “We think too much. Enjoy it.” Happy anniversary, baby. *Names of participants have been changed.
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HOW TO LISTEN: kcr.sdsu.edu or download the Tunein Radio App and search "KCR" HOW TO JOIN:
e-mail Program Director at email@example.com or General Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
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What will your re sume look like when you graduat e? Get valuable experience in the publication indus try. brick road magazine
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EYEWEAR e v i g o t n o i s i v e h t y b d e r i p s In by Terri Harel // photoS by Jeff Lewis
Graduates in America are facing an economic reality unseen since the Great Depression yet are living in a fantasy of expectations a world away from the youth of the turbulent 1930s. Sure, there was also the severe recession of the 1980s, but that was a time of environmental and social ambiguity in the United States and it was also, in fact, a time in which the seeds of today’s financial meltdown were beginning to be sown as neoliberal economic policies of the Reagan era ballooned. 24
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So here we are, a generation of abandoned, listless revolutionaries who hoped for a changed world and received a worn one instead. American youth has been born a symptomatic juxtaposition of great American capitalism, educated by the benefits reaped by this generation’s predecessors and thrown to the wayside by its irresponsible wastefulness. Yet, in this void of existential architecture there is valuable opportunity, demonstrated and proven by entrepreneurs who still believe that an improved world can exist. Developing SOLO Jenny Amaraneni was a graduate student in the San Diego State MBA program when an international business course assignment required students to pitch a business idea pertaining to a social cause. Having read “Out of Poverty” by Paul Polak and moved by his discussion of unsatisfactory eye care throughout the world, she began researching the topic. What she found shocked her: 80 percent of the blindness in the world is actually preventable by procedures like cataract surgery, but approximately one billion people do not have access to eye care. That statistic struck a chord, and Amaraneni focused on building a business around achieving focus for people universally. SOLO Eyewear was conceived, although not yet matured. Cofounder Craig Stern had been a friend of Amaraneni’s through the SDSU Entrepreneurship Management Center. An undergraduate at the time, he was already working on entrepreneurial projects when the two first shared ideas about SOLO. They knew their end goal was to improve the devastating statistic Amaraneni had uncovered about global eye care. This socially responsible and philanthropic business would need to be marketable with relation to the cause. The duo decided on sunglasses as their product. By graduation in the spring of 2011, Amaraneni and Stern had successfully set up SOLO Eyewear and began the journey of establishing a sustainable business.
SOLO EYEWEAR The SOLO Cycle The company exists in what they call their SOLO Cycle. “It all starts with a customer buying a pair of sunglasses, and then us being able to take that purchase and use a portion of those profits to fund an eye surgery,” Amaraneni passionately recites. The one-for-one model, in which the sale of a product is matched with a donation to an altruistic cause, gained popularity with the success of TOMS Shoes, a company SOLO Eyewear calls an inspiration. TOMS was established in 2006 and has been wildly successful in fashion in the developed world and altering lives in the underdeveloped world. For each pair of shoes purchased, they donate another pair to a child in need. Amaraneni and Stern hope they can achieve a similar change in the lives of people suffering from eye-related disabilities by selling sunglasses in exchange for eyeglasses and cataract surgeries. Stern says the model of business based on reciprocity has been gaining momentum because our generation embraces a more fiscally and socially responsible lifestyle and, furthermore, is eager “to support a more even distribution of wealth. And so one-for-one business models are just part of that much larger mindset.” The financial crisis in the U.S. seems to have empowered those interested in business to abandon dreams of corporate America and high finance in pursuit of a moral high ground through entrepreneurship, a complete ownership of business practice and ethics. The success of TOMS, says Amaraneni, only proves the feasibility of both making a living and initiating change. To enact the one-for-one model SOLO has partnered with Restoring Vision in San Francisco and two major eye-care institutions in India, LV Prasad and Aravind, to distribute eyeglasses and perform cataract surgeries. “Cataract surgeries can actually be performed in a short period of time and for under $15,” says Amaraneni, and are a means of preventing blindness. LV Prasad is a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for the Prevention of Blindness and is an expert in performing such surgeries.
Gaining global (in)sight SOLO traveled to India to witness firsthand the work their charitable partners would be contributing with the profits from sunglass sales here in the States. The cofounders say the trip, aside from being an incredible cultural experience, only highlighted the change they dreamed of could become a reality. There are many organizations willing to get involved with socially responsible start-ups in order to produce tangible improvements in the lives of others. To date, 750 pairs of eyeglasses have been distributed and 105 cataract surgeries have been performed through the SOLO Cycle. The Cycle has impressively reached people in 12 countries, including the underprivileged in the United States. Amaraneni and Stern aspire to reach one million people over the next five years. Their tagline, “Vision to Give,” embodies the core of the future of business, the transmutation of profits into a pay-it-forward, humanizing practice rather than a greedy, industrializing one. Besides all the philanthropic benefits of the business, the sunglasses’ bamboo and plastic composition is a stylish, unique and environmentally friendly product. Supporters can contribute to the SOLO Cycle by visiting soloeyewear.com for a pair. The founders also have plans to sell their sunglasses in retailers throughout the nation in the future. Stern says, “It just takes one idea, one action, one person and you can change the world. You just have to make that decision.” Envision. Enact. Engender a new world.
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Don’t listen to your mother. When you sign up for martial arts lessons, she’ll warn you about “this feeling” she gets from your swarthy taekwondo instructor. Don’t listen. You’re 17. You can make your own decisions. by Kelly Callas
You’re not an idiot. You’ll decide to take the class after hearing a report on the local news. Some girl, a friend of a friend of a friend, was jumped while walking home from a party on the other side of town. It was past midnight. You’ll hear from a friend she was alone. She’d just broken up with her boyfriend and was hammered drunk. The guy who attacked her was tall and heavyhipped. He tore at her clothes and into her skin like a ravenous bear. At least that’s what she said, you’ll think. But she was drunk. When police asked if she recognized the man who attacked her, or if she thought anyone had followed her from the party, she said she didn’t know. She didn’t recognize him. He must have been a stranger. You’ll take the class because you’re terrified of the same happening to you. You’ll take the class because, even though you’re certain the fat deposits in your thighs and belly long ago consumed any trace of muscles past, you want to be strong and brave like Athena. You’ll take the class because stories of vulnerable women have been beaten into your brain since you were a little girl who couldn’t even tie her own shoes, let alone travel far enough to taste the sour lick of danger’s strange candy.
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Your first class will be nothing remarkable. You’ll learn a few stances and blocks, maybe a kick or two. You’ll learn the names of your classmates and decide, between Dick, the limp-armed octogenarian, and Jackie, the blustering Amazonian, you won’t be making many friends during water breaks. You’ll learn the name of your instructor, Daniel. Dan. You’ll notice the leathery wear of his skin. How his exposed parts look as if they’ve been glazed in a kiln. You’ll notice the slightness of his build. How, when he turns to demonstrate a turning kick, you can see his ribcage protruding through the thinness of his T-shirt. But there’s something to him, you’ll think. There’s something powerful in the sway of his body. He moves with experience. As if every ocean current could combine and find harmony in his limbs. And his eyes. They’ll be something fierce. Sharpcornered and hazel-yellow. Something dangerous. Like they could penetrate a lion’s gaze and make it quiver. Like they could frighten death. They’ll make you think about sex. Wondering if they ever soften in front of a woman he loves, you’ll blush. Ashamed and unfit for desire. A vir-
gin. What would you know about sex? The only time you came close was with Jeremy Warner in the back of his dad’s Volvo last Fourth of July. You’ll remember how he lured you with the promise of sparklers and how he kissed you hard in the backseat, licking your lips and feeling at the button of your shorts before you pushed him off. You’ll remember running home, secretly pleased by your brush with womanhood, wishing you hadn’t pushed it off so quickly. The following week you’ll go to class early, hoping Dan will be impressed by your eagerness to learn. You’ll prepare yourself with a list of Korean taekwondo terms you found online, planning to sprinkle them into a fantasized conversation. Maybe he’ll ask why you’re taking the class, where you go to school, or something about your family. You’ll imagine responding with something calm and clever, proving you’re mature for your age. Maybe even a little mysterious. You’ll imagine he’ll be amazed when you say you’d like to work on your chagi. “Kae sok,” you’ll imagine him saying, further impressed CONTINUED ON PAGE 32
T H G I N GE E L L O Y C A D S R U H T EVERY
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6164 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego 619.229.9800
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e s i w e h t o t d r wo
from mother rose and the infallible pope
se who have Words of wisdom about college from tho n a n d s h i t. w o r g l l a y e b e e n t h e r e a n d d o n e t h a t. Th
cket List There’s a Hole in My Bu rely) about to graduate.
ba senior who is (just t, and we Question: I’m a an SDSU bucket lis g tin ea cr en be ve ha I d lot of weed, a an e My friends ses. We smok we covered all ba re su e about the ak w m Ho to . ed want a bit of options ite qu d ke loo er ov favorites? We’re so we’ve probably and we’ll pick our 5’s top ur yo us e two of you giv is shit. kind of winging th
MOTHER ROSE answer: Hoping to patch a leaky bucket list mere months from the end of your college experience? I never would have expected this procrastination from the pothead type.
3. Take an elective class that you’re actually interested in. Forget business, biology, history or other vacuous subjects you have to take to get the green plus signs on your degree evaluation. Take Underwater Basket Weaving or a Cyberporn and Society course (I did not make these up). Appreciate gaining some knowledge that you can actually use (or not) down the road. Treat yourself to allocating one fraction of your exorbitant tuition fees to something that will truly and meaningfully enhance your college experience. 4. I probably lost ¾ of my high readership with number three, so I’m going to quit now with the hopes that I hit home the first two.
THE INFALLIBLE POPE answer: Excellent question. Probably the first I’ve ever been excited to answer.
I think it’s safe to assume that your bucket has been sufficiently sloshed with the college “high” life by now, so I will focus my top five on experiences I suspect you might have missed while abandoning your bucket for the bong.
1. Get kicked out of a bar in Pacific Beach. The reason doesn’t matter (starting a fight, vomiting, falling asleep), but being forcibly removed from a drinking establishment is an important rite of passage.
1. Travel abroad. Pick up a map, take it to your “chill spot,” and before you roll a joint with it, scheme up an epic traveling excursion with a friend and buy your plane tickets while your judgment is hazy (the best way to commit to daunting projects). This exercise is short, “user” friendly, and an essential to any college bucket list.
2. Stumble to Trujillo’s at 3 a.m. I almost didn’t put this on here because it’s such a given. If you get to your 3rd weekend as a freshman without doing this, you’re doing college wrong.
2. Live at the beach. As much as we love Trujillo’s, the ARC and saving gas money, I think we can agree these (admittedly awesome) perks do not compensate for the criminally overpriced rent we pay to live in the armpit of SD. The beach has dirty taco shops aplenty, and the DUI you will save yourself walking to the bars exceeds the gas money spent getting to the class you’re probably ditching anyway.
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3. Travel with The Show to Las Vegas for an SDSU basketball game. If you don’t know our student section is called “The Show,” then you don’t deserve to read this magazine. Your most important duty as an Aztec fan is to get drunk and scream obscenities at the children of opposing fans in their own building. 4. Take a midterm or final whilst hung over. If you take any tests after a relaxing full night’s sleep, you’re basically cheating.
r Fast Bradeuaaktin?g, it suddenly feels like a lothemlporme ise inat the Post Up oNow that I’m gr at might really
th Question: could get paid internship iends said they fr offer for an un e an m ve So ha e. I m e. stak ant to live at to live at ho -end. I don’t w probably have ad de ty et u pr d future, but I’d ey soun ad. What do yo er jobs, but th ets down the ro gr re y an me paid summ ve to ha so don’t want home, but I al guys think?
THE INFALLIBLE POPE
ANSWER: Although the idea of returning home after graduation is unappealing, the benefits of doing so can definitely be worth considering, especially on a short-term basis. In your case, retreating home for a summer to revitalize your wounded wallet and advance yourself professionally doesn’t sound like a bad plan. It would enable you to gain valuable field-related experience, live expense-free in a house stocked with food and amenities, and provide possibly the last chance for you to spend weeks at a time with your family and old friends before your “real world” lifestyle ships you to God knows where, for God knows how long. Besides, if the alternative option is slaving away at P.F. Chang’s all summer long to break even, why do so when your money is going towards living expenses that you could avoid having in the first place?
ANSWER: I had to move home with my parents after I graduated, and at the time, it was the worst fucking thing imaginable. Not just leaving San Diego and my friends behind, but knowing I had a college degree (that they paid for) but still needed mommy and daddy to help support me.
Remember, making decisions based on practical considerations and long-term gain is not something to write off post-graduation, even if it means shackin’ up with the parents for a month or two to make it happen. Now if your family has the misfortune of residing in the crop fields of Iowa somewhere and your impetus for returning home is free food, a job at Dairy Queen and endless hours of free time to play Mario Kart, you would be the exception to my advice.
MOTHER ROSE ANSWER: I completely sympathize with your desire to escape the raucous college lifestyle and live in a place a bit more refined and wholesome, where kegs are enjoyed right side up and Jäger is sipped socially rather than pounded down with toxic energy drinks. Therefore, I would scratch PB and the College Area right off your list. What remains are options that might seem too ritzy (La Jolla), less “yuppie”-friendly (North Park), or a bit too, err … colorful (Hillcrest). This leaves Downtown as a viable option, but this will be both expensive and probably overbearing for a college graduate trying to escape the San Diego party scene. My best recommendation for you is Mission Hills. This neighborhood is just north of downtown, bordering Old Town and Hillcrest and overlooking the ocean. It is mainly residential, with housing options ranging from Spanish-style mansions (next joke) to modest bungalows (sold!).
That being said, it worked out really well. I found a job pretty quick and moved out after just a few months. And look at me now – I’m a volunteer columnist for a startup college magazine! FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS. I say take the internship that could lead where you eventually want to end up. And to all you assholes who found a high-paying job right out of school and never had to leave San Diego: fuck you and your stupid hard work and determination. Dicks. Editor’s note: Pope’s rage and jealousy aside, the rest of us here at Brick Road love and admire you. Smooches.
Question: I am so over this whole colle ge thing. I can’t wait and start working. Bu to get my diploma t I don’t know where to start. I think I’ll be downtown, so I’m try working ing to decide about sig ning a lease somewh do you guys think is ere. Where the best spot for a yu ppie to post up? I’m avoid the college sce trying my best to ne. I can only do so ma ny Jäger bombs and keg stands.
THE INFALLIBLE POPE
ANSWER: Honestly, in my mind, Downtown really only has one area: Downtown. I don’t know the area very well. I only know various bars and restaurants The Daily Aztec has been banned from after its holiday parties. So, forget Downtown. You need to move to PB. It’s cheaper and drunker. What it lacks in a trolley stop it makes up for in the form of cool breezes carrying the scent of the ocean air and vomit. Plenty of great bars within walking distance of everywhere and all the flannel shirts you can imagine. Also, fuck you. JÄGER BOMBS AND KEG STANDS AND FOUR LOKOS FOREVER!
This neighborhood would offer the advantage of peace and quiet while still being within close proximity to Downtown, Old Town and PB. It is right next to the 5 and 8 interstates and Hwy 163 for easy commuting as well. Also, the houses are all set upon hills, almost San Franciscostyle, which makes it seem a bit more cultured and unique – a refreshing break from the college living you’ve been used to.
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brickroadmagazine.com May 2012
BRICK ROAD MAGAZINE
mer a e r d x e s
neurotic by Carolina Kyzer // Photo by Jonah Gilmore
As my college years come to an end, I’m more excited than anything. I’m trying to ground myself by tallying up the things I’ll miss, and so far … nothing but razor scooters.
I’m graduating this month. I find myself inspecting this fact, parading through my 2008-2009 catalog, circling and highlighting everything just to let the book know that I did it in four years. What have you done lately, book? Shut up. And it’s strange that on the verge of one of the most remarkable transitions I’ll ever experience, be it from student to transient or student to corner office, I am overwhelmed. With relief.
BRICK ROAD MAGAZINE
While everyone else is painting “College4lyfe” on their chests and screaming, “I never want to leave,” I’m wondering if there is something wrong with me. Now that college is over, isn’t it okay to want to leave?
Similarly, The older lady in the front row with questions for days: You go, lady! Am I right? But why is she talking about her Maltese and its IBS?
The ones who never come to class: They are partial to Blackboard mass Of course, I haven’t always been this eager to get out. I remember visiting State with my dad the year before I started here. There’s a picture of me hugging that huge, stupid tree in front of Hardy tower. I’m fresh-faced and wearing flip-flops, embodying a comfy, laidback sense of cluelessness. The campus was beautiful. I loved being lost in it. It even smelled good.
emails, which is appropriate since their only identifying characteristic is their email, “Xxtweetybird89.”
In my first year on campus, I voted in my first general election. I had my heartbroken. I drank lots of homemade Adios Motherfuckers through straws. I made some friends and wrote a lot, spending about half of my freshman year digging through my purse looking for my class clicker.
The one who brings a lot of food to class: I can understand a protein bar, but
The one who complains about hand cramps while bubbling in their name on a Scantron: “Ugh, my name is long as balls.” are they carving a turkey? Why the lobster bib? Set Design
Library graffiti: I mean, whoever does this is an asshole, but at least they Then maybe I got boring, or maybe I grew up, but I found myself less enthralled with partying and more into writing the script. I’ve loved college for the people I’ve met and the people I’ve never met, but also for those who have become fodder for my stories. It’s my time to leave, but I hope the rest of you can learn something from my archives, even if it is just appreciating the guy on the razor scooter. (Which you should.) The Unsung Heroes of the Story Razor scooter owners: Anyone riding a scooter around campus is badass. I don’t know where they come from or what their family crest looks like, but they must come from a long line of revolutionaries. They must smell of gunpowder. They’re not afraid to forge the path, and I commend them.
The people who fill the hot sauce containers at all the Mexican restaurants around State: Miracle workers.
The lady who wipes down the table in West Commons: She can hear crumbs fall. She is amazing. People who can fall asleep in the library chairs: The few, the sleepy, the meh. The Villains of the Story 1. Parking enforcement / Parking structure 4 2. The tuna sandwich from the market
cared enough to spend time in the library. It has been so surprising to me to see how many people are still doing this. I’d like to distinguish a few (dis)honorable mentions: There was one in a library cubby that said, “If you want to be loved; Love” and underneath it, someone else wrote, “Improper use of semi-colon.” Artistic medium: green and black pen, wood. Another classic library scrawl was the “666 Fuck God!!!” tag on the desk. I loved this one for the triple exclamation points and for a scribble at the beginning where a malfunctioning pen made the first six nearly illegible. If ever a pen should work, it should be when you’re trying to make a play for the devil. Artistic medium: black pen, wood. And lastly, “SDSU is a dumb-down university.” Artistic medium: pencil, white wall. I mean, maybe if you spent less time tagging up the joint you’d get this whole thing right. The dénouement - Graduation 2012 I’ll miss it here, but I’m in this graduation thing pretty deep already. I bought the cap, gown and other accoutrements. My dad suggested I use my brother’s gown, and I suggested that he was 6’4”. Luckily, the gown is some degree of biodegradable, so I can add it to my compost when I’m done, and in 13 years, I’ll have a wonderful batch of tomatoes that taste like commencement.
5. The bug that crawled on me in Little Theater
I plan on showing up on May 19 dressed like a Dementor. Then, it’ll be over. I’ll take off my costume, go out to eat with my family and then come home. That night I’ll lay my heavy, college-educated head down, and it’ll be lights out for 17 years of school.
6. The bird that pooped on me outside Love Library
3. X lot stairs 4. Attendance points
7. Homicidal Skateboarders 8. The Adams Humanities maze The Extras
The token loudmouth: These people have been blessed with the gift of voice projection and are responsible for the social strife in many parts of the world. Their voices create shockwaves that offset the earth’s axis and tweak the velocity at which it rotates. This, in turn, caused that guy to get bitch slapped at the party the other night and A-Rod to shoot up with roids in ‘03. They’re why Cher got that ass tattoo and showed it to the world, and yes, they’re solely responsible for the time my friend puked up pizza on my patio.
I’ll always think of State that same way I did when I visited the first time. In time, I’ll be less familiar with the campus because of new construction, or my own senility. If I ever visit, it will probably feel less like home and more like a museum. If I touch something, I’m sure a docent will walk up and scold me. But that’s OK. State and I have had our fill of each other. Things only end up in museums if they meant something to somebody.
BRICK ROAD MAGAZINE
“Come ooon,” they’ll say. You knew they wouldn’t let it slide so easily. “You must have an idea!” “30. Maybe. Maybe more.” You’ll know this too is a lie. You really think he’s closer to 40. But to say so would be unthinkable. “Seriously? That’s kind of gross,” one will say. “Yeah, 30’s old. I cap my sexual fantasy age at 26,” another will agree, stupidly smacking a piece of pink bubble gum between smirking teeth.
when you understand and go on to explain your favorite command, Kalyeo. “It’s a term referees use to keep attackers from pursuing down opponents,” you’ll say. “It means break.” You’ll imagine shifting the conversation quickly so he doesn’t call your bluff. You heard it on YouTube and you’d rather not continue long enough for him to find out. When you arrive, mouthing each term to memory, you’ll be disappointed. He’ll be there, but not alone. He’ll be teaching his 6:30 group, forcing you to wait awkwardly at the back of the room. Twenty minutes early to twiddle your thumbs. You’ll pretend to be intrigued, as if you came to watch another bunch of white belts flail misplaced karate chops across the room like you do. When your class begins, you’ll wait for him to offer a look of acknowledgement or a lighthearted joke about your punctuality, but he won’t. Class will go as usual. He’ll teach two or three new moves and you’ll go home without one word, feeling like a foolish little girl. At home, you’ll undress for a shower and wait for the water to heat, inspecting your curves in the bathroom mirror. Disgusting, you’ll think as you trace white stretch marks, drawing maps along your waist. Fluorescent light will call self-loathing to saturate your body, burrowing through your skin and nestling in your bones. You’ll gaze at the black hair between your legs and notice how it resembles the twine on your head. All curly and unkempt. Who could want this, you’ll think.
BRICK ROAD MAGAZINE
As the bathroom mirror begins to fog, you’ll jump into the shower quickly, eager to avoid your critical-eyed reflection. You’ll pull a probably-toorusty razor from the shelf and gaze over your belly at the shrub between your legs, knowing it’s going to end up all irritated and bumpy when you’re done. You’ll know there’s no point because no one will see it. But you’ll go ahead with it anyway and remind yourself to undress in the dark next time.
Your friends’ reactions will make you feel insecure, as if they just drew attention to a booger in your nose that won’t brush away. You’ll walk around all day hoping no one notices this gross spectacle of self-doubt. I should have kept my mouth shut, you’ll think. I should have lied and said he was 20. But when you go to class the following week, your doubt will dissolve. You’ll remember the guilty tingling in your limbs as you watch him prep the class, wondering why he doesn’t wear a dobok. He must be some kind of rebel, you’ll think. A martial arts maverick. Wild. Hot.
At school, your friends will bring up the girl from the news — the assault that inspired the class. They’ll talk about her boyfriend, who they know through a friend of a friend, and speculate if he feels guilty for what happened to her. They’ll wonder if he took her back. Because if he didn’t, he would be a total asshole.
When he calls your name to demonstrate a cat stance, you’ll hope he doesn’t notice that you’re nervous and excited. Thrilled by the sound of his voice uttering your name. Terrified by the sensation of his penetrating gaze.
When the conversation lulls, you’ll tell them about your new taekwondo class. How you think it’s going to be fun. How you think your instructor is kind of cute in a weird way.
You’ve never had a talent for veiling emotion.
“What does he look like?” they’ll ask, always eager for potential gossip. You’ll describe him, embellishing the muscularity of his physique and completely leaving out the age in his complexion. “How old is he?” they’ll push, as if they can read your mind. “I don’t know,” you’ll reply. “I just started. It’s not like we’ve shared life stories.”
But he will.
First, you’ll feel it in a hot breath on the back of your neck while he adjusts a rising block. Then, in a light brush against your left thigh while he rotates your leg for a roundhouse kick. His hands will be rough and calloused. You’ll wonder how they got that way. Those breaths and brushes will continue for weeks. So discrete, you’ll wonder if it’s all in your head. Eventually, you’ll convince yourself of it. Excusing each touch as the misinterpretation of a man at work, the manifestation of an awkward schoolgirl crush. You’ll find yourself oddly let down by this conviction, but still looking forward to Thursday nights, class nights, and the promise of his quiet touch, his professional seduction.
In six weeks, give or take, you’ll realize you were wrong.
“I’ve been wondering. Pretty girl like you…”
First he’ll wait for the class to end and for the others to disband. Then, he’ll ask you to stay after class, saying you have potential. He would like to refine you. “There’s a yellow belt test in a few weeks,” he’ll say. “With a bit of extra training, you’ll be ready.”
Without your classmates, the room will feel cold. You’ll call your mom and ask if you can drop by a friend’s house after practice. “She just found out her grandma died,” you’ll say, knowing her suspicion would never approve of a personal lesson. In a class full of people, sure. But not alone. Not with him. You’ll glance to the side and notice a smile flicker across his mouth. Crooked. It will send chills up your neck. You’ll blame the air conditioning. He’ll walk to the studio window and pull the blinds. “This place is like a fishbowl at night,” he’ll say. “All these lights, you wouldn’t want some creep walking by and getting a free show.” You’ll let out a clipped giggle. Free show. Ha ... what? You’ll feel your lunch cartwheel in your stomach, then curious relief when the lesson starts as a lesson. More rising blocks, more roundhouse kicks. More familiar breaths, more familiar brushes. Though, for some reason, the aloneness will intensify it. The room’s wall-to-wall mirrors will draw attention to your bodies. How they move. How different they are. How his body is taut behind yours, which is flaccid. You’ll tighten up, praying for precision to smooth the ripples around your body. So focused, you won’t notice the silence that hangs heavy in the room. You’ll only hear him pant. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Beautiful. You should have a boyfriend.” You won’t say a word. You couldn’t if you tried. All you’ll think is, wow. That’s it. But it will just come out as something like, “Wa…” Though it won’t matter because, before you know it, he’ll have used his grip around your rising block to rotate your body in his direction.
“No. I … Why do you want to know?” You’ll feel something white and fuzzy tickle the back of your eyelids and catch in the back of your throat. Rogue cotton balls blurring the mirror’s edge and soaking up the moisture in your mouth.
They’ll be so empty of concern, it will stun you. You’ll realize, hand over mouth, he’s banking on your silence.
“But it’s better you don’t.” You’ll remain silent as he clutches his fingers around your shaky wrist, using his other hand to graze your shaky body. And you’ll think you want it. That your nerves are from excitement and pent-up lust. That you’ve fantasized about this moment for weeks, so you must be excited. Not scared. No way. You’re 17. It’s time to grow up.
The pain will make time feel black-hole slow. But it won’t take long. Not really. You’ll just lie there and close your eyes until he comes, choking a moan out of the back of his throat and falling on top of you like a carcass. Trapped under the weight of his body, you’ll let your limbs play dead. He’ll roll off of you and stand in one expert movement. You won’t budge. “Don’t lie to yourself,” he’ll say. “You know you wanted it.” You’ll hold your breath.
“Much better.” He’ll push you to the ground and you’ll think, this must be normal. He’ll start tearing at your belt and you’ll think, I’ve watched scenes like this in the movies, this must be right. You’ll feel his erection brush against your leg and find yourself excited by his excitement. He’ll keep tearing. Top. Yes. Pants. OK. Bra. Underwear. Wait. “No.” He’ll shove his fingers inside of you before you’ve even processed your own nakedness. Those penetrating fingernails will cut you and make you cry out in pain. He’ll cover your mouth and slide his nylon workout pants to his ankles. It will start so fast. You won’t even move. You’ll just lie there like a limp fish as his rip-current movement pulls your will out and away from your body, incapacitating you. You’ll be shocked by this corporal betrayal. You never pictured it like this. You wanted to be strong. You wanted to be brave. You wanted him. Now you just want to go home.
“What?” Your face will be hot. So hot. Body on fire. “I said, do you have a boyfriend?”
For a moment, your eyes will meet. Yellow and small, his will be lined with cracks and sweat, knifing you with a look like murder. As if his body was a weapon with which he longed to kill. No love. No softening.
You’ll go dry as he enters you, smelling yourself on his hand as it muffles your sobs and collects your tears. As he begins to thrust, you’ll hear his pant legs scrape against each other, cutting through the room’s thick silence. You’ve never experienced this kind of pain. It will feel like an Indian burn from inside, a sadistic schoolyard prank. But one that won’t stop. One that will rip and tear. Flesh splitting flesh. No crying uncle.
He’ll adjust his pants and walk noisily to the bathroom at the back of the studio while you keep holding it, waiting for the water to run. The sound of the sink will bring you to surface, gasping for air. For a moment, you’ll lay the way he left you and breathe, thoughtlessly fingering patches of skin where the carpet burned and textured your back. You’ll feel a fire smolder between your legs and notice a patch of blood soaking into the wool-fibered floor. You’ll listen to the water run. He must be cleaning himself, you’ll think. Washing my blood down the drain. Bloody hands. Bloody skin. Bloody sink. My blood. Slowly, you’ll rise and collect your clothes, catching a reflection in the studio mirror. You’ll watch a girl’s body move across the ground, grabbing at garments on all fours. It will seem paler than yours. Plump, but hollow. You won’t meet her eyes. You’ll just ask her, silently: This is what you wanted, right? You’d be lying to yourself if you said you didn’t… right? Over and over. She won’t respond. So you’ll keep on. You wanted it. Don’t lie to yourself. You wanted it. Over and over until you hear the water stop.
BRICK ROAD MAGAZINE
final you’re ready to swim
final from Matthew Doran, Managing Editor You are a fish. In a river. In a school with many other fish. Swimming downstream, you’re heading toward something unknown, determined to reach it. Everyone else is going there. You don’t want to be left behind. You’re excited about getting there, starting this new phase in your life. You and your friends made plans for what to do once you arrive. The destination is a ways away, and you still have time. It’s frightening, though. You’re having fun and enjoying yourself, but you can feel the end of the river coming closer. The certainty of the end and the uncertainty of what lies beyond terrifies you. You are getting closer and closer to your destination. Where the river ends. You’re not sure what it’s going to be like. You’ve heard rumors. You believe everything. How can you argue? You have no idea what to expect. They’ve been there, done that, so you try to heed their advice, but, deep down, you know it’s not going to help. You can’t shake the anxiety. The river is so demanding. The current is getting stronger. It’s pulling you faster toward the end. You’re powerless to stop it. You want to go. Everyone else is going. But it’s pulling you so fast and you worry you’re not ready, not ready to go beyond the river. And then you enter the open ocean. It’s huge and endless and intimidating, but you’re not a guppy anymore, green behind the gills. You’re confident. You’re ready to swim. Your experiences from the
BRICK ROAD MAGAZINE
river have made you a talented, wise fish. You don’t know exactly where you’ll go or what you’ll do once you arrive, but you’re out there now, swimming in the deep.
busy learning about the world in a vacuum. But like it or not, it’s time. Just like 22 years ago, you’re being evicted from your warm, happy cocoon where you had no responsibilities and weren’t expected to do much except lie around and mooch.
And you’re fine. *** I could wish you hollow congratulations on your graduation, perjure myself and praise all your hard work and dedication in the face of intense academic rigor. I could feign excitement at all your potential, how you’re going to go on to accomplish incredible feats, make valuable contributions and set the bar high for future graduates. But we both know that’s a lie. Let’s ignore the statistics of how X-number of you will become upholstery salesmen or child molesters. Let’s momentarily forget the bleak job market. Let’s shelf the likelihood you’ll continue to live off your parents’ good graces for at least another two years. And let’s try very hard to forget this is San Diego State, a school, despite its declarations to the contrary, known for overcrowded classrooms and an unhealthy obsession with muscle shirts and spreading VD. All that aside … you’re young! What the hell do you know about the real world? My guess is less than that bio class you were forced to sit through as a freshman. You haven’t had the opportunity to learn about the world as it is because you’ve been
You’re not prepared for what’s out there. How could you be? Impacted majors and overworked, underpaid TAs like myself are not a means of preparation for the challenges of life. But fear not. I promise, you will land safely on your feet. I earned my bachelor’s seven years ago, and not a day goes by I don’t wonder how the hell I went from an English degree to selling life insurance to Polish immigrants, to teaching English in China, to working construction in the Hamptons, to delivering pizzas, to teaching high school in Baltimore, to being a personal trainer, to coaching crew, to teaching English in Japan, to being a graduate student studying Creative Writing at San Diego State, and now that I’m graduating, who knows? Your arc won’t make sense. But you’ll be fine. You’ll find a job. And hate it. And leave it. Then find another job. And hate that one, too. But you’ll figure it out. We all did. The ocean is vast and the current will take you many places, but you will never forget your time in the river. Years from now, you’ll be bored at work, and your college years will come to mind. You’ll smile and say, “That was bitchin’.” You’re ready. Keep swimming. Keep learning. Keep it gangster.
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Our special graduation issue. PLUS, coverage of the Dalai Lama's visit to San Diego.