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Central Connecticut State University December 2010 Central Connecticut State University February, 2011



Featuring... featuring... The Debate THEVampire GREAT VAMPIRE DEBATE ToTo Date, or or NotNot to Date? Date, to Date?

REALWorld? WORLD, Smeal SHMEAL WORLD! Real World! LifeAfter AfterGraduation Graduation Life LIFE’S A A DRAG Life’s Drag

Experiences a Drag King Experiences of of a Drag King




OFF-CENTER STAFF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Melissa Cordner ASSISTANT EDITORS Jen Glifort Vanessa Johnson Michael McClellan LAYOUT/PRE-PRESS Kasey Gordon MEDIA EDITOR Rob Capossela COVER ART Kasey Gordon

Have a different opinion? Want to contribute? Write to Off-Center Magazine at or find us on facebook


3. Letter From the Editor 4. Overheard In New Britain 5. CCSU Says:Video Games! 6. Club Profile: Riflery and Marksmanship Club 7. Bad Teachers! 8. ResLife Beat: Door Locks 10. Real World, Shmeal World! 12. Free-Flowing Hostility! 13. Sodexho or Swastixo?

General Interest EXECUTIVE BOARD PRESIDENT Melissa Cordner VICE PRESIDENT Rob Capossela TREASURER Justin Blain SECRETARY Jen Glifort Views expressed are not necessarily the views supported by Off-Center Magazine or CCSU.

15. Holiday Contest Winners! 18. Life’s A Drag 20. Queer Suicide 24. Ally Week at CCSU 25. The American Dream

Arts and Entertainment 26. Why Vampires? 28. To Vamp or Not To Vamp? 30. Creeper Corner 31. Texts From Last Night 32. Games!

Dear CCSU, I probably don’t have to tell you this, but my New Year’s resolution is all about time management. Please, consider this my formal official apology for the glaring lack of a December issue in your hands. To make it up to you, we’re shooting for one issue a MONTH this semester.You know what they say—shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars, right? That’s up there with ‘start with a dream, finish with a future.’ Corny tagline aside, I’m glad school’s back in session; way more happens during the school year. For example, PRIDE is looking forward to the Day of Silence, the True Colors Conference, and of course another drag show this semester. I know—I shouldn’t abuse EIC privileges to promote my other club—but it’s got to be okay in a queer-themed issue, right? I deserve to be a little bit more rainbowy than usual. Actually, my rainbow identity overlaps with my existence as a writer pretty often. I wrote the first draft of this letter in (where else?) poetry class, during an interactive exercise in writing from new perspectives; naturally, I turned my partner into a drag queen. A couple days later, a couple people came to a lobby table I was staffing to ask about a PRIDE event fighting homophobia. We had a great conversation about all forms of discrimination, and got to introductions afterwards (I’m good like that). One of the people I was talking to, get this, knew my name because of Off-Center! Well, CCSU, I was just flabbergasted—yes, flabbergasted! Obviously I played it cool, but on my way to class I texted everyone on staff, “I just met an avid reader—did you know those existed??” I really did, too. I’m a classy kid. Oh… and now they’re going to read about it. So… let’s take a look at what we’re offering our avid readers in this issue, shall we? Like I said in my last letter (oh no, she’s recycling), we’re trying to offer you an exploration of some aspects of queer culture (first and foremost, of course, being the concept of gay time!). The articles contained in these pages offer you just a glimpse into a couple different worlds. In one, a drag king reflects on the concept of drag and how it has made him who he is today; in another, a student attends a PRIDE event that celebrates the straight people in queer communities. Lastly, I discuss the queer youth suicides of last fall and attend several events organized right here in central Connecticut as responses to the phenomenon. Of course, not everything in the issue is queerthemed; we also rant about campus politics (as usual), explore what it’s like to live in a room you have to swipe into every single time, and debate the pros and cons of

dating a vampire.Yeah, we’re a pretty eclectic bunch—and that’s why we think YOUR article would fit right in, too! To prove that you CAN in fact write and DO in fact have a place in these pages, we recently held our first ever writing contest. Because it was the first one, and because our printing schedule has been ridiculous to the twelvitieth (that’s a LOT) degree, we didn’t get a whole lot of submissions—five, to be exact—but the pieces we

photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner

got were all good, all enjoyable to read, and best of all, not written by the imaginary friends of staff members who wanted to make me feel better (at least, I think they weren’t…). The work of our three winners—Ari Goldman, Cherilyn Bonin, and Stephanie Bunney—appears in our “Arts and Entertainment” section starting on page fifteen. Each writer will receive a $25 gift card (that’s no typo, we upped the winnings) to the campus bookstore. Here’s where you come in, CCSU—we need to pick one of these three winners to receive a bonus $25 gift card for submitting the best overall story. I’ll be looking for your votes in my inbox over the next month! Get your voice counted at! Yeah, I’m back to our slogan—I’ll never turn down a chance to remind you that the magazine you hold in your hands is a space for your voice to count. I hope you enjoy this issue, CCSU! Meanwhile, I’ll be working on that time management thing, and maybe start trying to make up words less often. —Melissa



OVERHEARD IN NEW BRITAIN: Strange Things Our Instructors Say...

compiled by Jen Glifort

“My dog speaks Spanish because my family speaks Spanish. It was a little adjustment at first.”

“If someone gets arrested and they’re poor, fuck ‘em. We’d rather they die.”

“The Black Plague equals one-third of Europe very dead, as opposed to kind of, sort of dead.”

“(As the construction in Willard drowns him out) I think that’s the Advising Center trying to give us some advice!”

“What started the Renaissance?” “Spaghetti?” “Yes, actually! Ever heard of Marco Polo?” “The Council of Cantaloupe. I mean, Constance. Sorry, I store all the c-words in the same part of my brain.” “(Reading newspaper aloud) A corrections officer in Connecticut was arrested for running a drug ring inside the prison. (Looks up) In Louisiana, that’s how you get a promotion.” “When I drink I get nuts. I get apeshit nuts. If I were drunk, I’d be dancing on this roof. Naked. I get crunk.” “Genes are responsible for crime, honestly. What kind of genes, you ask? Well, did you ever know a parent who was real fucked up and their kid was fucked up too? ‘Fucked up’ is genetic.”

“I don’t know what has happened to Halloween over the years. It used to be about ghouls and ghosts. Now it’s about slutty ghouls and ghosts.” “There is a strong theme of racisis-ism…rac-is-is…Racism. Phew. Don’t discriminate.” “Is that ANOTHER fire engine?! If this school falls to pieces before I retire, so help me God…” “So, this quotation exercise is called ‘Make Me A Sandwich.’ Yes, I was hungry when I wrote this. I have since had my sandwich, and am not hungry anymore.”

“(Discussing an old post-World War II film) So what is Edmund supposed to do? He’s twelve years old, he’s killed his father, and now he doesn’t even have his pedophilic ex-teacher to go to!” “If my wife divorces me, she gets the house, she gets everything! So what are you women always complaining about?!”


What is your favorite VIDEO GAME and why?

compiled by Michael McClellan

For this issue, we asked our readers what their favorite video game is! Since most answers were typically just the name of the video game, we decided to make a chart of the most popular selections. Since so many games were suggested, we decided to group them by the overall series. So for example, all the various Mario games were grouped under the heading “Mario.” Since Mario Kart requires a different kind of gameplay, we kept that separate.

“The Romans have such nice roads. Please bring the Romans in to fix I-84.” “We’re not going to read these chapters, because you will all go to sleep and I will be sitting here all alone.” “This is the voice of God. Don’t put your final under my office door or you will die.” “Did any of you throw up while reading this?”

“As you may know, I love this kind “Step 1: They go hardcore. of analogy. As you may also know, Step 2: If they go hardcore, then you’re probably sick of it.” there is glitter on the floor. Step 3: Therefore, there is glitter on the floor. That, students, is Logic, with a little help from Ke$ha.”

Did your professor say something awkward? We want to know! Send it to us at!

Some other games that were mentioned at least once were Pacman, Modern Warfare 2, Metal Gear Solid, Prince of Persia, Starcraft, Donkey Kong, and FIFA Soccer. Here are some stand-out quips we got about some of the games: Zelda: It rocks my socks. Mortal Kombat: A good way to relieve stress. Duck Hunt: Because you kill ducks.



CLUB PROFILE: Riflery and Marksmanship


by Vanessa Johnson

Museum. These trips are not only informative for members, but help them to bond and become closer. This club is important to Adler not just because of her interest in guns, but because she believes society should stress the importance of using firearms safely. She started this club to educate students on gun safety since people are injured in accidents involving guns every day. “I think that kids should be taught firearm safety in schools, then maybe there’d be less accidents,” said Adler. Because her father taught her how to use a gun safely at a young age, she believes she is better off. There have been many changes in the Riflery and Marksmanship club since it first started. Adler said that many new people have joined, more importantly freshmen and people who want take over when she graduates. She doesn’t have to worry about her club falling apart when she is no longer there to hold it together. Adler also thinks that members are able to find meaning in this club through discussions they have each meeting about current events. She feels strongly that the club has more of a purpose now than it did back in 2008. To become a part of this club, attend a weekly meeting on Tuesdays at 7PM in the Blue and White Room, or contact Sara Adler at

photos courtesy of Sara Adler

Sara Adler, like many students at CCSU, takes on a full load of classes and responsibilities each semester. One of those responsibilities includes being President of the Riflery and Marksmanship Club. As many student leaders on campus know, being the president of a club is no easy task. Adler said that it wasn’t too difficult to start the club in the fall of 2008, however it was tricky to find a club advisor and figure out how to establish the club in the system. She said that the easiest part of starting this club was gaining members, which is often an issue for other clubs. Between tabling, posters and the club fair, the Riflery and Marksmanship club now has 250 members on its roster and 30 to 50 active members. Many may be surprised by the fact that a girl is the leader of this group. Adler says, “A lot of people don’t take me seriously.” However, she has been interested in guns for most of her life, the appeal stemming from father-daughter bonding time at shooting ranges. As a result, she works in a gun store, worked with the National Rifle Society over the summer, is the President of this club, and hopes to pursue a career involving guns and gun safety. Although this club doesn’t have a problem with membership, Adler would like to see more students join, girls especially. She says that currently she is the only girl in the club besides those that attend meetings with their boyfriends. It seems that the boys are mainly interested in learning how to use guns, but girls could enjoy being a part of this club as well. In addition to weekly meetings, this club takes a hands-on approach to using guns. The club has shooting events monthly, which involve going to a shooting range in Simsbury where professionals help them practice shooting guns safely. Members bring their own guns to these events. The club also goes on trips to Washington D.C. to visit museums. In the past they have gone to the Crime and Punishment Museum and the Smithsonian. This spring, members will be going to D.C. to visit the National Firearms

! s R E H TEAC

There’s nothing that bothers me more than bad teachers. Throughout all of my schooling I’ve experienced many different kinds of teachers: ones that give a lot of pointless busy work, ones that give barely any work, ones that care about their students, ones that give out arbitrary grades, ones that start discussions, and ones that want their classes to agree with and think like them. Clearly, some of these are good qualities and some of them are bad. The type of teacher that bothers me the most is the one that wants their classes to adopt their ways of thinking and just accept everything they say as truth. I have had one of those teachers, and it’s usually easy to tell when you have one to this degree of suck. Ask yourself some questions about him or her; it’s not usually just one of these things that makes this person a bad teacher, but a combination of all of them. For example, are the majority of reading assignments given by this teacher actually written by him/her (this isn’t a bad thing of course, but for some teachers it just multiplies their cockiness)? Do they, throughout class, preach their beliefs on the subject matter as well as on other facets of life? Do they talk at you rather than to you? And perhaps the most important question, do they ask and answer questions in such a way that you are forced to reiterate his/her beliefs? In this case, everything you say is wrong unless it’s what they want you to say. Yeah, all of these things equals bad teacher. I lost respect for a teacher


by Anonym

who had all of these qualities rather isn’t it reasonable to expect a teacher quickly. to listen to your entire answer before I came to the conclusion that dismissing you? Even if the answer is this guy sucked by an experience I wrong? had in class one day. He was rambling I actually have a good teacher on about our reading assignment who will attempt to steer you toward and started asking people to define the right answer when your answer is certain ideas from the reading. When wrong. On top of that, she even tries no one wanted to respond, I raised to see how your answer is relevant my hand and read what I had written instead of just saying “nope, you’re in my notes. He flat out told me I was wrong”. I know that can be a lot to wrong and made me feel like an ass in ask from some teachers, but hey, if front of the entire class. Then, when one can try then why can’t they all? At I tried to find in the article what I the very least I deserve to be heard had written down about it because I rather than discarded, especially when knew it was there, he told me that this I’m paying to be here. Especially when wasn’t the time to read. Whaaaaat??? I’m trying to take something out of I can’t look through the article for the class instead of sitting there like five minutes, but everyone else who is a zombie. Most teachers actually answering questions is literally reading appreciate participation, but I guess out of the article. Of course, I did from now on I should just keep my end up finding the exact statement I mouth shut. said in class in the article. But it didn’t matter because I was just wrong, right? Later on in class, he asked another question about the reading and called on me to answer. My hand wasn’t raised, but I still attempted to respond. The question he asked was pretty open-ended: what was that paragraph saying? I’m sure there was a right answer, but since I’m not telepathic I told him what I got out of that paragraph. God forbid I share my opinion about a reading assignment in college. Of course, before I could even (c) 2006 Ibon San Martin finish my thought, he shot me down Have you had a horrible or fantastic professor? again and picked on someone else We want to hear your story! for the right answer. And it was the Send it to us at: answer HE wanted to hear. Because! HE thought it was right. Now, I didn’t think that my answer was right, but




By Vanessa Johnson

Don’t you find it annoying to swipe your ID card every time you enter the quad-style dorms? Well, although it may be an inconvenience, the card/combination locks are a good idea for a few reasons. For one, they are clearly instrumental in discouraging people from breaking into a room. In addition, students living in quad-style dorms only have access to their own kitchen, lounge and bathroom, which prevents vandalism. Also, it could possibly discourage students from drinking too much since those combinations are a little tricky to press if you’re completely trashed. A card lock is much more effective than an actual key because it provides students with much more security. It’s more likely that a vandal will try to break into a room with a lock they can pick than a room with the card lock. Sure, it’s probably more likely that if you lose an actual key, the person who finds it will have no idea which room it goes to, while an ID obviously has your name and student ID number on it. People argue that someone could probably look you up on Facebook and, on the off chance that you put your dorm and room number and other necessary information on your profile page, then the vandal could probably access your room and steal your stuff. But the likelihood of that is pretty low, unless you have some sort of crazy, obsessed stalker. If that’s the case, you have more problems than just worrying about getting your laptop or iPod Touch stolen. I don’t trust people, but

I’m not really paranoid that someone is out to take my possessions. And you could argue that someone could access your room while you’re in it to hurt you in some way, but that could just as easily happen if you open the door to a stranger, anyway. And although you may say “I’d never open my door to a stranger,” you could end up doing it anyway, especially if you think it’s a maintenance guy or someone handing you a flyer for something, which actually does happen. I think it’s also a good idea that our ID cards only give us access to our dorm building, room, bathroom, laundry room, computer room, and the kitchen and lounge on our floor. These locations may differ from dorm to dorm, but that’s the way it is in Sheridan Hall. Gallaudet Hall, Barrows Hall and Vance Hall also have bathrooms guarded by the card locks. The fact that students living in other dorms don’t have access to these locations definitely reduces the risk of vandalism. Also, if people across the hall from me want to use my shower because theirs is occupied, they can’t! And I don’t even have to tell them to “back up off my bathroom” because their ID won’t open the door. It’s a nice feeling. In addition, if students living on a floor other than mine want to come and mess up the kitchen on my floor, or fail at making ramen noodles and set off the fire alarm and destroy our microwave, they can’t do that either! The combination locks can be tedious if

photo courtesy of Vanessa Johnson

you’re in a hurry, but they definitely have their perks. The campus is consistently trying to curb underage drinking and drinking on campus, as that’s not allowed. But what better way to keep us from doing this than putting these locks in place? I don’t think people who have actual room keys understand how aggravating it can be to punch in the combinations when you’re sober. I mean, obviously it’s not rocket science, but I know plenty of people who have fumbled with the combination when in a hurry.You try to punch it in too fast, then it doesn’t work.You try again, it still doesn’t work.You try a third time and the red light doesn’t even come on when you punch in the numbers.You might think you broke it, but nope.You just have to stand there and wait for five minutes while it has time to recover, or something. It’s not a huge deal, just very annoying at times. Now, imagine doing all that, but drunk. Ha! Some people drink so much that they can’t even lift their own arms, let alone operate a door. In this way, Central wins because no one wants to deal with this, drunk, at 3 in the morning. So, as you can see, the card locks really aren’t that bad. They’re a plus for the school, since it can be hard to get into if you’re drunk, therefore students may try to be more coherent when they return to their rooms. Also, I like that people can’t get into my room or wreck my floor’s kitchen and lounge. And if they really want

to, they’re going to have to work for it. That’s the way it should be. Having these locks gives us a sense of security that when we come home from the weekend there will actually still be stuff in our rooms. Plus, even if you lose your ID, it’s not a big deal. It’s inconvenient, but you just have to pay for another one. If you lose an actual room key then you have to pay for the key and pay for the locks to be changed. I think that’s more annoying. So, if you live in a dorm with these card locks, be thankful. It could be worse.

What Do YOU Think?

Of the Residents We Interviewed,

LOCK SYSTEM: 85% Like the card-swipe lock system 7% Don’t like the lock system 8% Don’t care about the lock system CAMPUS SAFETY: 89% Feel safe on campus 11% Don’t feel safe


Real World, Shmeal World! by Lillian Brabner

“Thank you for calling My Company, this is Lillian. How may I help you?” Graduating college seemed like a big step—a leap into the real world. I had a lot of thoughts, mostly worries, but that’s normal. I mean, when you’ve gone to school full time ever since you were five, it’s scary sometimes thinking what your life would be like without school. “Well, the best way for me to get you the best pricing and promotions is to get some basic information from you first, is that okay?” I mean, what if there was no school, and there was just work? The real world. You wonder sometimes if you’re ready, if you can handle it. Will you be able to just work forty hours a week at a job for the rest of your life? Will you be able to be happy doing one thing, every day, until what seems like forever? “What is the address where you would like the service? What city and state is that located in? Do you happen to know the zip code?” And what about your friends? The people you have known for the last four (or maybe eight, since we are talking about graduating from Central) years of your life. Will they still be there? Will they still have time to hang out with their forty-hours- a-week work schedules? Will they be around to hang out or will they get a job and move away? Will they even want to hang out anymore? “Thank you so much. Now we do offer cable, internet, and phone at your location; what type of services are you looking for?” Now back to that forty-hour work week. Would you have

11 time for yourself? Would you have the time or the energy to do not only things for yourself but fun things too? Or will you just want to wake up every morning, go to work, and then just want to come home after? “Well a lot of our offers depend on what types of channels you like to watch, so are there any certain channels or type of programming you are looking for?”

“Perfect. Bear with me for just a moment while I do a bunch of clicking to get this set up for you.” Do you send application after application out in hopes of a call back? And then there are the interviews. Sure there were interviews for that local lifeguarding, camp counseling, daycare where your mom worked types of jobs. Everyone knew you or you already had an in.

“Alright, so you are all set for…”

All the things you did when you were in college, that you had the time to do, that you could afford to do, would you still be able to? Would you still want to? What about that daily Starbucks run at Devil’s Den? When you’re working part time, either living at home or in the dorms, with not a care in the world, you can spend a few dollars a day on the frivolous things. What if you don’t have those few dollars in the beginning? What if you have to give up that Carmel Apple Cider on a cold morning?

“Now have you already moved in? Okay, let me see what the soonest date I have for you is.”

“And do you have an HD television or a regular television?”

“The first available date I have is…”

For me, working in the real world meant saving money so I could move out of the comfort of my home. I was Daddy’s Little Girl… “So right now we do have an offer going on which is…” I shouldn’t lie, I still am a Daddy’s Girl and I will admit I have been spoiled for some time. But it was now time to save money, become a true adult, and work for things on my own. What if I couldn’t have them? What if I had to *GASP* wait for something I NEEDED. And by “needed,” I mean clothes, heat, hot water, a roof. Sure Daddy would be there if I needed him, but now the sad realization comes in that he won’t ALWAYS be there. One day you will be off on your own and he won’t be there to have you back anymore. Then what do you do? That is a HARD realization when you didn’t think about it, or, well, want to admit it to yourself for the first time in twenty-two years of your life. “Does that sound good for you?” Then you wonder, will you find a good job? You hear the economy sucks. Sure your part time job at the moment is okay, but it’s not something you want to do for the rest of your life. Heck, you don’t even know if you can do it for forty hours a week once you become full time. Then what do you do?

work every day, you still have the energy to do OTHER things you like! I still had time to go out to dinner with my friends, hang out at their houses on the weekend. I was still invited to parties! Not everyone went away and avoided me like the plague. Best of all, the people that did move away gave me a place to visit when I need a vacation!

Then there are those jobs that want “experience.” So maybe you didn’t have time to do an internship, or didn’t want to do grunt work for someone for no pay. Then what? It seems like a never-ending cycle: you can’t get this job because you need experience, but you need this job to GET experience.

I realized that I still had enough money for Starbucks when I wanted it. Heck, I could even have a Subway sandwich for lunch whenever I wanted. Also, saving wasn’t even that bad! When you get a larger check, but still have the same amount of bills, there is this stuff called “extra money” that you can put into a savings account and every few years it grows by like a dollar from this thing called “interest.” Who knew?

But sometimes you get lucky.

“Give me just one moment to make a note on your account of what I did for you today. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“If that doesn’t work for you, I have additional times any day after that including Saturday if you need a weekend appointment.”

Why didn’t someone tell me this sooner? Then I wouldn’t have had to waste my time worrying. Silly college, they never let you know what you need to know.

In my case, I was able to get a promotion at my part time job to a great full time position. All my worries started to drift away. Working forty hours a week at a job you enjoy WASN’T exhausting after all! If you like going to

“Thank you so much for choosing My Company. I hope you have a great day!”

(c) 2004 Ben Hussman



free-flowing Y T I L I T S O H (c) 2006 Charlie Balch


When a student enters the hallowed halls of Central Connecticut State University, a few things happen right away. One is that you will start looking into clubs and organizations regardless of it being of your own volition or your FYE professor making you for an assignment. When you start to join these organizations a realization is quickly made. A trend begins to show with almost any organization; you begin to learn about something that plays a major role in these miniature societies. Politics, politics, and more politics; everywhere you go on campus there are politics. Even worse, the lesser groups then have to play politics with the head organization for more funds. It’s all a wicked web of politics. The politics start with the want to create a club or organization. First you must go to Student Activities/ Leadership Development (SA/LD) and get your organization approved to be recognized by The University and gain a multitude of privileges over a simple group of students gathering because they can. That could be a bout of political battles in itself that includes paperwork and debating with the head of that organization.Your organization might not get approved for many reasons including not having enough support or interest on

campus, or any multiple other things that could cause your organization to not get approval at all. Though let us move on as though our mock organization has gotten University recognition. There’s a lovely organization on campus called the Student Government Association (SGA). If you have not heard of them, now you have. SGA gets to decide how much each “recognized” organization gets for a budget each year, but they don’t just go and decide how much money each organization gets all willy nilly. Each recognized organization has to go create a proposed budget and ask SGA for their budget, but if that wasn’t enough SGA just gets to tear apart the budget and decide what is and isn’t necessary for a club. For example a club may want to go on a retreat, and for a group to get someplace a bus may be necessary to get to the retreat location; however SGA decides that it doesn’t make sense to pay for this bus. Thus the poor organization is stuck scrounging up money just to fund an enjoyable event for its members.

SODEXHO OR SWASTIXO? by Michael McClellan

Not only does the SGA have this power they also get to decide whether or not organizations get any extra money for anything that a club might want to do, but would cost out of their budget also. This process comes with some lovely pieces of paperwork and an SGA meeting of some sort which ensures a political debate on top of that. Essentially SGA has the power of the purse; they get to control who gets what money and where it goes. From what I’ve heard SGA has quite the budget to spend how it pleases or not, and not seems to be the case most often. Overall everything and anything you want to do here on campus is a political battle. There is a committee to oversee absolutely everything that could possibly be done, and most likely an overseeing committee for that as well. Personally the more I find out about campus politics, the more I get sick over just how many hoops you need to jump through in order to: A. right a wrong, B. create something beneficial to the community or C. just create a club that students on campus would find enjoyable.

(c) 2010 Kasey Gordon

You know, I’m normally totally fine with Sodexo. The food on north side is usually real food, and sometimes I’m just really in the mood for some white pizza or fake ice cream from south side. But today something happened that just really pissed me off. I was getting lunch at north side, since I wasn’t in the mood for a fake chicken patty, and I was perusing the goods they had for consumption. The vegetarian side

had nothing to interest me (I’m sorry, but I can’t trust a meatball if it’s made out of chickpeas), so I headed over to the normal people side. They were offering General Tso’s Chicken and ravioli. Now if I see General Tso’s Chicken in a Chinese restaurant, I’ll order it. I like it. But Sodexo’s version is to take a chicken nugget and drench it in Slanty-Eyed Sauce. I feel that such things are a blasphemy to actual Chinese food (even though

what we call Chinese food is not really eaten in China, go figure), and there was also Sodexo’s weird habit of throwing weird shit into perfectly good recipes, and there were some stringy things in the General Tso’s Chicken that I found highly suspect. So I moved on to the ravioli. The server gives me three ravioli. That’s it. Just three. On my empty, lonely plate. I keep holding my plate out, emanating a silent plea for a normal sized portion of food. He fishes up another ravioli. My plate stays out. He gives me two more. All this while I’m thinking, why is he giving me one ravioli at a time? He’s got a big fucking serving spoon, why doesn’t he give me a fucking serving? I’m not a bird. Do I look like an anorexic? Give me more pasta! Finally he just stops doling it out. At this point there are maybe seven ravioli on my plate. I don’t know about you, but when I get pasta, I better not be able to count the number of pasta I have on one hand. So I keep my plate held out. He ignores it. Finally I say something like, “Dude, give me more. This is not a serving.” So he glares at me like I’m some upstart good –for–nothing (yet still endearing) British orphan, and says “You only get three, dude. I already gave you three times as many.” And he stalks off. I have lots of problems with this. First off, he needs to learn how to multiply, because there


were seven ravioli on my plate, not nine. Second, why is Sodexo so fucking cheap with their food? It is not their job to regulate our portions. This is not Communist Russia. This is not a breadline. We are capitalist pigs (and yes the pun was meant as emphatically as possible, that was the whole point of writing it). Finally, why are they only so stingy with this one area of the cafeteria? I see no server at the falafel station. Aren’t they afraid people will take too many chickpea meatballs and make themselves so fat they break their ankles getting out of bed? And when I ask the guy at south side for another fake chicken patty, he gives me another fucking fake chicken patty. I can take all the fucking fake ice cream I want to. So why hoard the ravioli? Last time I checked, ravioli is not that expensive. If you want to save money, you can start by stopping dropping little bits of red pepper on everything. Red peppers do not belong on green beans. They do not belong with carrots. And they most certainly don’t need to mingle with my ravioli. I feel like a dog on medication – Sodexo is putting little vegetable pills into my food. But just like the dog, I’m just going to spit them out. And if they’re


going to add vegetable bits, they could have picked better bits. Red peppers are not exactly my favorite vegetable. Why not peas? Everyone loves peas. Or carrots – everyone loves carrots! But I swear, the next time I’m facing a server with a big-ass spoon who only ladles out three ravioli for me, I’m going to take the fucking bigass spoon and give myself a fucking big-ass portion. I don’t care if I spend the next week with diarrhea, I will fill my plate with ravioli, eat it all, right there in the line, and puke it all over the server. Or to avoid this unpleasant situation, they could just let me serve myself in the first place. Eliminate the servers. Then Sodexo could use the money they’ve saved to buy more ravioli. And one last thing before I let you go – now they expect us to separate our cups, plates, and silverware when we go to put away our dishes. Really? Really? Isn’t that what they pay people to do? You’re not paying me to separate my dishes. I’m paying you to give me food. I’m not paying to make your job easier. I’m paying to be served. You will serve me, because that is what you are paid to do. Putting cups in the cup pile and forks in the fork pile is half a step away from rinsing the gunk off our plates before we stack them in the dishwasher. And then it’s all downhill from there. So no, I’m


going to throw everything into one pile, and then you can sort it out. I already paid for the crappy food in the bite-sized portions; I’m not going to pay to put away my dishes. And I think I’m done now. You all have fun with So-crap-co. Or actually, So-dick-co would be a better pun. I’ll let my editor pick. Ciao! Addendum: Today, I went to North Side, and the server there gave me as many manicotti as I asked for. Imagine that!  If I try the same stunt at South Side (and with the same exact food!) they refuse, and only give me one.  I actually was in South Side at 7:30, right before it closed, and the server had half a tray of lasagna left, and she still only gave me one piece.  I mean, at Dunkin Donuts, they’ll give you free donuts if you come at closing time.  Same policy at Panera.  The establishment is out to squeeze every last penny you have, and they’re more charitable than Sodexo.  I have come to the conclusion that South Side Sodexo are real-life Soup Nazis.   NO (fake) SOUP FOR YOU.

CONTEST finalists Writers submitted holiday articles in three categories: funny, heartfelt, and sad. The following are the winners of each category.You get to choose the overall winner of the grand prize!! Email and tell us your favorite article. The grand prize winner will be announced in the next issue!

Category 1: Heartfelt


by Stephanie Bunney

The heaven touches of Earth glisten in the sparking light as I peek through the window. Gravity pushes me through the front door as I race to feel the winter breeze. Cold air smacks me in the face as I trudge though the soft, clean, featherweight snow. Even though it is just an inch, my whole body emanates excitement as my mind wanders for a taste of Christmas. Christmas is a time that brings family and friends together to celebrate the joys of one of the most festive holidays of the year. I myself am one of those early birds who shops the day after Thanksgiving. The anticipation of waiting in the freezing cold with crowds of sweaty people, all fighting for the same gift. People pushing and shoving in line as your body thrusts back and forth like a ball, grasping for a hold of the last Toaster Oven. Now that is Christmas to me.

(c) 2009 Jesse Victor

(c) 2010 Fabrizio Troiani

16 took place on Christmas Eve. Our home was filled with the bustle of holiday cheer. Everyone was busy wrapping gifts and baking treats. Christmas carols could be heard from the kitchen, and the ground outside was covered in brilliant white snow. Everyone was glad to have some time off from both work and school, and there was a feeling of joy radiating from all of our hearts. It was the kind of simple joy that only comes from spending time with your loved ones during the holiday season. When that kind of happiness is in the air, it’s very difficult to bring the mood down. But I will never forget the sinking feeling I had when a man I did not recognize came to our front door. He moved slowly, and his face appeared to be contorted with pain. I knew something was wrong. My mom and my stepfather went to the door photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner together. I strained to hear what the man said to them, but my parents quickly rushed outside as soon Category 2: Sad as he spoke. My stepfather walked down the sidewalk, and my mom stayed on the porch with the man. I still had no idea what had happened, but I was afraid to find out. Instead, I watched out the window from across the room. Joyful Christmas music still rang by Cherilyn Bonin from the kitchen and I was tempted to turn it off, but I simply could not move my feet. What felt like hours When I was growing up, my family had a later, my stepfather came back into sight. It took me a small dog we called Donzi. He was a West Highland few moments to see what he was holding in his arms, white terrier, and we had named him after my dad’s but I soon realized it was Donzi. boat. That might seem like an odd thing to do, but if “I hit your dog,” is what the man with the you knew this dog, it would make perfect sense. He pained expression had said to my parents. My was very hyperactive, so it was only logical to name stepfather had him cradled in his arms. His legs were him after a speed boat. Donzi grew up alongside my limp, and his eyes were empty. He brought him inside sister and I, and despite getting on in age, he always maintained his youthful spark. He was quirky in every and laid him in his bed. My mom yelled for me to call the vet, and I did. I still hadn’t grasped the seriousness way; he couldn’t sit still if there was food around, and of it all until my mother told me to inform them that he would incessantly bounce whenever someone it was urgent. Once the vet was anticipating their came to the door. Sometimes he was irritating, but arrival, I went over to Donzi to say my goodbyes— always loving, and for that we adored him. just to be safe. Donzi was about to turn twelve last year I bent down and placed my hand gingerly on around Christmas time, and his age was really starting to show. We had gotten him his winter haircut about his head. The sound of his struggled breathing was deafening. When I looked into his eyes, I could tell a week before Christmas, and because of it he had a he was gone. He was no longer our little Donzi. I constant chill. He was shivering quite a bit, and we started finding him nestled into blankets on the couch, kissed him gently, and then my mom scooped him up and rushed out the door. As I stood there in my living with his nose stuck between the cushions. His eyes room, in shock, the words of a Christmas carol came were tired, and we knew his time was coming to an end. But nobody could have predicted the events that into my mind.

“Sleep in Heavenly Peace”


“Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.” To this day, that song is not the same. My mother called me from the vet shortly after they left to tell me that Donzi did not make it. He had been struck in his abdomen, and suffered too many internal injuries to be saved. The air was thick with sadness that Christmas. Donzi had been more than just a dog to our family, and it was difficult to celebrate without him. The toys we had gotten him remained unopened under the tree for several days; it was too painful to get rid of them. Over time, I have been able to see that the manner of his death was a blessing in disguise. He passed quickly, and we were told that he felt little or no pain. Being such a lively spirit, it would have been hard for Donzi to slow down with old age, and I am grateful that he did not have to suffer. I believe that this Christmas, and all Christmases to come, we will be able to reflect on that day and all of the joy he brought to our lives right up until the moment he left this life. To my little angel, sleep in heavenly peace. We love you, we miss you, and merry Christmas.

Category 3: Funny


by Ari Goldman

Irony is bitter for those who have lessons to learn. Usually it is just the base of satire and comedy, but for those in morbid situations, it provokes statements such as “Really? Hit me while I’m down” or “Wow. This would be a lot funnier from someone else’s point of view.” So, despite my attempts to look at the situation objectively as an outsider, I have been granted this extra sting because the heavens seem to shine with a sense of coincidence or divine sense of humor. I got arrested and suspended on October the th 19 of 2010. That is one day after World Menopause Day and on Evaluate Your Life Day. However, these

days are trivial in comparison to the 20th. It was on this day that I actually realized the severity of my situation. The 20th was Medical Assistants Appreciation Day; this offered no comfort for me. On the previous days, I was at least spurred on by the inevitability that the cosmos deemed those days that people should be depressed on, but on the 20th I was even more depressed. I later laughed at the following list: - Ordered Chinese food twice (Bad Chinese food— Triple Star General Taos’s Chicken off the lunch menu and Beef Lo-Mein off the dinner menu) - Didn’t leave the house - Watched Hook - Watched Dating on Demand - Watched Model Latina - Made YouPorn a favorite on my computer - Thought that the highlight of my day was contemplating how much better my life would be if I were my own poop. It’s a good thing I ordered Chinese food twice, so I actually had six highlights to my day. - I downed like six O’Doul’s; I wanted to avoid future alcoholism. - Watched Sex and the City for 4.5 hours. Well not exactly. I watched Entourage. I didn’t actually want to be suicidal. - I talked to my ex. If someone asked me if I had learned something from this experience, I don’t know how I would answer. I did learn something. I learned that Chinese food and milk don’t go well together. I learned that Model Latina is actually a good program and that not shaving is actually a pro for being a bum. I’m not sure how much of this I would convey to a future employer.

photo is (c) 2006 Linnell Esler



life’s a


by Bryce McKinzie

“D.R.A.G.”— a term created by William Shakespeare, roughly translated to “Dressed Resembling A Girl.” Of course nowadays drag has pushed on to mean anything that bends gender and stereotypes. I was first introduced to drag while I was in high school, watching performances at an LGBT conference I went to. Soon after, I was actually introduced to a performer, and was surprised because the queen was nothing like I expected. When you hear about queens you think drama— and yes drama and performance is part of their act, but the queen I met wasn’t the stereotypical selfish person that you might think of.

Little did I know our paths would cross again when I too became a drag artist. You see when I met this queen I was female— a girl in all legal aspects. It wasn’t until a year later that I realized my true gender identity— basically not a woman. We won’t get into the trans issues too much at the moment because that isn’t what this story is about, though they are closely related. Drag is about expressing yourself; you may not want to be the gender you are portraying but you’re having fun acting as something you aren’t every day, whether that is a different gender or a different personality.

For me, being a drag king has allowed me to show a different side of myself, because I am Calvin Inclined and Calvin is Bryce. Putting on a persona allows me to do things and be comfortable with things that I wouldn’t normally do. That includes perform; it took me a long time to be on stage, and to be honest, as Bryce I still feel uncomfortable in front of a large group of people. Still, I am better than I was. I started really looking into drag when I came to CCSU. I say came because I hadn’t started school yet— I just had many friends here. I had joined the PRIDE group and it became an integral part of my life, including their events. Every semester they hold a ball. This includes drag artists, music and contests. For four years I was watching all these performers, wishing I could take part in it, but feeling too afraid to take the first step. I am very afraid of being the center of attention.

“She said I better get ready because in a week I would be on stage performing.”

photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner

One day at a PRIDE event a couple weeks before the ball, I inadvertently mentioned to the

hostess of the balls for years now— the Divine Spice— that I had been wanting to do drag for years but was too afraid to start. I never even participated in their contests, let alone actually performed on their stage. She said I better get ready because in a week I would be on stage performing. Was I freaked out? Sure. Did I not know what to do? Of course. But I took that in stride and tried to set myself up to not fail. I’m still not sure how I did it because I’m the type to over-think things. To be honest, I remember basically nothing of the week leading to it, and mostly just panic on the day of. Now, after the performances, people message me or text me or pull me over to them to tell me that every time they hear the song I performed they think of me. I certainly hope that means a good thing. Really all I can do is take those positive reactions and put what I get from them into other performances. I do it for many reasons— to give back to people, to show a part of my personality I wouldn’t normally display, and to just have fun. My whole idea of drag, the reason why I do it, is to give back to people— to help lighten their moods. That reason is why I eventually joined the Imperial Sovereign Court. The Imperial Sovereign Court is a non-profit organization that raises money for other nonprofits. They are a group of people, many of them drag artists, who perform in fundraisers.You do not have to be in drag to join, and

you don’t even have to perform. My parents have actually joined because they enjoy going to these events and helping in any way they can, including making food or putting together events. It’s about wanting to help people, and by doing that, making ourselves better.

of this, I can without a doubt say that family is not necessarily by blood, but by the people you allow in it, the people you keep close to you. Now I am here, writing this months before it will be published, about to head to Canada. It’ll be

photo courtesy of Bryce McKinzie

Yes it can be rather extravagant, but do you know any queens who aren’t? These eccentricities are what keep it entertaining and lively. So here I am, jumping into this relatively new world and family for me, and I am loving it. I really don’t know how I would have survived last semester without it. These people have given me so much knowledge and hope for the future. Because I’m basically the baby of the group, they make sure I’m taken care of and safe. Because

my first out-of-country coronation, as well as my first time out of the country in general. And, I’m lucky enough to be with both types of my family. I may not be sure where this will lead— but I’m damn sure it will be a lot of fun. For me, life really is a drag.



(c) 2010 Kasey Gordon

QUEER SUICIDE By Melissa Cordner

“…Asher Brown! …Billy Lucas! … Caleb Nolt!” Since this fall, it seems that suicide has become an undeniable trend in the queer youth community. It used to be

that our suicides were reported on insensitively or not at all, as if no one was supposed to care if a queer teenager took his, her, or hir own life. Current media attention is bittersweet; while the headlines guarantee some public awareness,

the names memorialized belong to only a few of the countless young people who believed there was no other option. The simple, unfortunate truth is that suicide is and always has been prevalent in our community. The statistics haven’t changed in years: about 90% of queer students report feeling unsafe at school, and queer youth are at least four times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual youth of similar backgrounds. The question isn’t where the recent suicides are coming from, but rather, why the media is suddenly infatuated with the topic. Have twitter and tumbler changed the way we share news? Does the constant spotlight on queer issues like marriage and the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy make the loss of queer life more relevant? Are the schools these students went to trying to save their reputations in the face of examinations of bullying and harassment policies? Regardless of why the coverage exists, it remains true that an untold number of suicides don’t get their names in the papers, aren’t memorialized by Facebook newsfeeds, and won’t be used to forward any political agendas. “…Joseph Jefferson! ...Chantal Dube!” The media has also paid a substantial amount of attention to the public’s reactions to the recent suicides. On October 20th,

news cameras watched as over seventy people took part in a candlelight vigil at the University of Hartford. My friends and I each lit a candle from the flame of our closest neighbor. Cradling our tea lights against the slight wind, we leaned into the people we knew for warmth and comfort, and exchanged supportive smiles with the ones we didn’t. A window in one of the buildings was lit purple—the color symbolizing ‘spirit’ in the queer rainbow— reminding us of the support of those that couldn’t attend. Orange light flickered over purple scarves and T-shirts in the group facing the keynote speakers; bullying, education, and isolation were popular topics. Experiences were shared, hopes were voiced, and songs were offered in the names of those we were gathered to remember. We closed the night by extinguishing our candles all at once; the still-warm tins were dumped unceremoniously into cardboard boxes as we left the lawn. Hugs were exchanged, dinner plans were debated, and through the formless chatter I heard a relieved voice exclaim, “We did it! It’s over.” I looked around at the friends I came with—all of whom were past or present members of the executive board that runs our college’s gay-straight alliance, Pride—to see who’d overheard. “E-board,” I announced unnecessarily. We wandered over to shake hands, give congratulations, and make tentative future plans. Organizing these events can be difficult, but one of the silver linings is the opportunity to connect with people who will

help us strengthen our future endeavors as well as our current selves. “…Tyler Clementi! …Raymond Chase! …Justin Aaberg!”

“The simple, unfortunate truth is that suicide is and always has been prevalent in our community.”

Making new connections reminds us that the names we’ve been chanting belong to real people. We tend to discuss suicide as a ‘phenomenon,’ a trend, or perhaps an ultimate symptom of some mental illness, forgetting that each person who commits the act was responding to a unique situation and left a unique family behind. Suicide is not a product (c) 2010 Melissa Cordner

of mere frustration, and cannot (usually) be explained away by chemical imbalances alone. It is an irrevocable, personal, and painful decision, consciously made, usually after much debate. The attempt comes, not from a bad day or a single encounter with a bully, but from a long struggle with isolation and hopelessness. Negligence of this fact becomes a real problem when one considers the ‘copycat phenomenon’ associated with media reports of suicide. Suicide is powerful; the decision of a loved one or a stranger can emphasize and amplify the pain and isolation that another person is feeling, and may lead to the conclusion that suicide is a viable alternative to facing the situation at hand. The greatest fear of almost every student leader that I know is the potential domino effect should one of us fall. Ironically, this fear may serve to keep potentially suicidal individuals alive; if I give in, they won’t have a reason not to.


23 “…Jeanine Blanchette! …Alec Henrikson! …Aiyisha Hassan!”

photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner

“…Seth Walsh! …Zach Harrington!” Identifying yourself with someone who’s committed suicide can also be a powerful tool for change. The “die-in” tactic has been used to protest things like transphobia and lack of adequate HIV/AIDS treatment for years. In November, another group of student activists organized a die-in at the state capitol to protest the many factors that can lead a young queer person to suicide. When the whistle sounded, over thirty of us collectively fell to the ground between the building and the road. One at a time, we repeated the names of the recent suicides back to the megaphone. Eighteen names later, we armed ourselves with drums, flags, and posterboard signs for a march around Hartford. Trying to take pictures of everything at once let me see things from all positions of the line, which encompassed at least twice as many people as the die-in. When a police cruiser first blocked the traffic on the road we were crossing, I observed the respectful-yet-rebellious stance

Many believe the “solution” lies in eradicating the things that encourage the isolation and hopelessness that lead to suicide: bullying, harassment, discrimination, and a glaring lack of legal protection, safe spaces, or resources. Shelters and centers need to be built, antidiscrimination laws need to be passed, school officials and teachers need to be trained, school curriculums need to be reevaluated, homo/transphobia needs to be eradicated from our health care and legal systems— and the list goes on. It’s daunting to look at, but keep in mind that your added vote, voice, dollar or halfhour could be the last straw that tips the scale in our favor. Throughout this struggle, we also need to think about suicide and queer experience on a personal level. We know that these factors lead to an increased suicide rate in queer youth compared to their heterosexual peers, but we

of the event leader who first approached the car. From the middle, I appreciated a bus full of people waving encouragement; at the tail, I could overhear snippets from bystanders—some less than friendly, of course, but many were pumping their fists in solidarity with the group disrupting their afternoon routine. The march culminated in a rally on the capitol steps. Speakers worked up the pride and energy of the crowd while encouraging us to keep fighting. Statistics on queer youth and depression, suicide, homelessness, harassment, school safety, and dropout rates photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner were reiterated; demands for safer schools, queer-inclusive curriculums, and more LGBT youth shelters were made. The whole thing ended in a spoken word performance and an open mic, which focused on the love and energy that wove its way through the night and the encouraging existence of events just like this one. Affirmed, invigorated, ticked off and ready for change, a group of us gathered at a nearby café to discuss next steps.

also know that changing any of the systems currently in place will take years of hard work—and while that change will prevent many future attempts, it won’t directly affect the people who are already in trouble. While we focus our energies on reforming the country into a place that celebrates queer life rather than hinders it, we have to remember to personally do the same thing—that is, celebrate, affirm, and support the queer people we know. Suicide is isolating even before the attempt; suicidal people often keep their intentions a secret in order to avoid upsetting the people they care about, which only intensifies the feelings of shame, guilt, and loneliness that magnify the suicidal urge. I should know. I survived.

dishonest to even try and address the issue without disclosing my experience with it. I was able to speak with a level of candor and credibility that I never associated with the topic before. I didn’t have as many observations, suggestions or statistics to offer as other speakers, but I gave what others couldn’t: my story. “…Harrison Chase Brown! …Felix Sacco! …Cody J. Barker!”

Statistics claim one in ten people are queer, and at least thirty photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner percent of them have attempted and the experience played through suicide. Chances are you know my mind during our discussions of someone who’s tried. The statistics everything from media treatment to are conservative; the reality in the the changes public transportation queer student culture that I live and could make. I took some notes, breathe is that it’s impressive to formed some halfway intelligent meet someone who hasn’t. responses and additions, and then, “…Corey Jackson! …Chloe Lacey!” I hate to be the one to when my name was called, flipped break it to you—and I hate to admit my paper over and spoke from the that I believe this—but you’re not The student leader who heart. invited me to speak on a panel going to save the world by yourself. It was a little surreal to be However, just by being aware of the about queer suicide on campus confessing my deepest secret to a people around you, you CAN save a didn’t know my history. She knew room of mostly strangers; the few life—and that’s a world of difference that I had peer counseled several friends I had in the room made suicidal people during my time on right there. me more nervous, not less. I didn’t the executive board of Pride, and see another option, though; it felt that I’d had plenty of experience talking about the topic during club meetings and events. I showed up on November 18th still unsure of how much I was willing to divulge. 1. Sadness I listened to the other 2. Fatigue speakers reiterate points made 3. Lack of interest in friends or activities at the die-in just a couple weeks 4. Skipping class, failing grades before. The speeches were good, 5. Cryptic Facebook postings the points solid and inarguable, but 6. Talk of suicide I found myself growing frustrated 7. Self-injurious behavior with the lack of attention paid to If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms, know that people as individuals. I had very you are NOT alone, and there IS help. recently “talked down” a depressed friend from doing something stupid, CCSU Counseling and Wellness: (860) 832-1945





Ally Week at CCSU by Vanessa Johnson

Ally Week was an event at Central Connecticut State University that allowed students to make connections between the gay and straight communities. Ally Week was a week-long event that was hosted by CCSU’s GLBT (Gay/ Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender) club, PRIDE. The purpose of this event was to bring the campus community together to have fun and to break barriers between gay and straight students. From Sept. 20-23, activities such as karaoke, game night, arts and crafts and tie dying took place on campus. photo courtesy of Jackie Hennessey

Previous President of PRIDE and current Vice President Melissa Cordner was happy with the number of students that participated in Ally Week. “I think we had more people come this year than before, which was nice. Our best-attended event was definitely Devil’s Den karaoke,” said Cordner. According to PRIDE club member and Treasurer Justin Blain, Ally Week is important because many straight people on campus think that Pride is a club only for the GLBT community. Holding these events lets straight students know that they are welcome to join the organization. He stressed that straight allies are an integral part of PRIDE’s membership. “The idea for Ally Week originated as a means of saying thanks to the straight allies for their support for the GLBT community and also to raise awareness for the GLBT community to gain more support for straight allies,” said Blain. PRIDE was started at CCSU in 1985 so that gay students could be part of a group without experiencing judgment. In addition, this club serves to educate students about the gay community.

AMERICAN dream by David Brown

photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner

Senior Rob Arendt believes that this club’s existence provides a sense of comfort for gay students. “It’s a great resource for a college campus to have because it allows those who are ‘out’ to have a connection with others. And for those who are not ‘out,’ to have a welcoming environment,” said Arendt. Although some people are against same-sex marriage and gay rights, there are straight people who are willing to stand up for the gay community. Student Sara Weller believes that everyone, gay or straight, should have the same opportunities. “I was brought up not to judge others and their actions,” said Weller. “I’m all for gay rights and I totally support PRIDE.” Blain expressed his hopes that Ally Week will help PRIDE to continue growing and be a big part of the CCSU community because it serves a great purpose to a lot of people. “With the rise in suicides of GLBT students as the result of anti-gay bullying, I want CCSU and the community to work together to end anti-gay bullying. I feel that when PRIDE continues to grow together the goal can be accomplished,” said Blain.

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States of America. It includes a promise of prosperity and success through the American experience. It is the idea that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Furthermore, the land of milk and honey that is filled with wealth and many opportunities for one to thrive and prosper. The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which states that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Historian James Truslow Adams, in his 1931 book Epic of America, coined the phrase “American Dream”. He stated that “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, also too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest

stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” He also went on to write: “The American Dream that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class.” Since the inception, there have been millions upon millions of people from every walk of life that have visited this great nation, but even more importantly, many have migrated here for the opportunity of success and a better life. The United States has always been appealing to many because of its inclusive culture, its constitution and its promise. This is a nation which prides itself on being a cultural mosaic, a salad bowl and a place where the people rule and can be masters of their own individual destiny. We humans are

innately wired to want to improve ourselves and achieve progress over time. We feel the need to climb Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It states that first we need to satisfy our physiological, safety/security, love/belonging, and esteem needs, and then at the top of it all comes the need to be Self – Actualized. Self –Actualization can be explained by a quote I once read. It states “What a man can be, he must be.” This describes the desire to become everything that one is capable of becoming. People feel as though their desires and dreams can be fulfilled here in America. Everyone, no matter who you speak to, has dreams. Our dreams might differ, but we all have dreams. These are dreams to become doctors, lawyers, musicians, athletes, engineers and so forth. Furthermore, many people wish to own a house/home, own a car, have a family and have a circle of friends in our lives. To many people, this is what the American dream is. All of these things are in fact attainable by hard, honest work. Many people have achieved it and many more are on a steady path to achieving it someday. I guess this all goes back to the saying “Life is what you make it”. Maybe, just maybe, this is what makes this nation the greatest on earth.



Why Vampires? by Vanessa Johnson



(c) 2005 Martin Walls

So, I’m as into the vampire craze as anyone else, minus the Twilight movies. But lately I’ve been thinking…why do people want to date vampires??? They would pretty much make the worst boyfriends/ girlfriends ever. Let me give you a few reasons why. For starters, vampires are cold, pale and strange-looking. I don’t understand how someone can be completely attracted to a vampire. Who would really want to hold someone that was as cold as ice? Their complexions are so unnatural and they always have some weird attribute. For example, in Twilight, the vampires sparkle. SPARKLE! Who wants a girlfriend or boyfriend who is literally sparkly? In True Blood, they cry blood instead of tears, which is also awkward. Imagine the horror that a mortal friend would feel if you introduced them to your lover and he/she was sparkling or bleeding from the eyes? It’s just odd. Also, vampires never die. This means that if you do something terrible to your lover, they will always be there to get revenge. If you leave him/her for someone else, they’ll remember that until you die. They could wait until you were 85 years old and feeble, then in their youthful body they could strangle you when you least suspect it and you’d be too weak to fight back. Not that that would happen or anything, but…. you get what I mean. Also, how much would it suck to be old and saggy while your lover is still

young and beautiful? And they’d be attracting younger people. Adding jealously into the mix would not be good for your relationship. Not to mention that you would always look like a creepy sex offender or cougar (if you’re a girl) when you were together. Here’s the big one: vampires can only come out at night. That would make a relationship so limiting. Imagine if your car breaks down on the way to work or something. Going by the True Blood rules, your lover may be able to sense that you’re in trouble and try to rescue you. But if they do, they will be half roasted by the sun by the time they reach you. Now that is unattractive. Not to mention you guys can never go out to breakfast or lunch, go to happy hour after work, do homework together (that is if your vampire

(c) 2009 Candice Cusack

takes night classes), or do any other fun daytime couple-y activities. If you really love him/her then maybe nighttime visits can be enough, but it will leave you feeling empty during the day sometimes. In all, I understand how dating a vampire could make you feel dangerous, spontaneous and cool. He/she may have strong protective instincts, make you feel safe, and even be sexy.You may feel like you’re living on the edge and “taking life by the balls”. However, a relationship with a vampire may leave something to be desired, probably not in the sex department (watch True Blood), but definitely in the normalcy department. The next time you have the chance to choose between a mortal and a vampire, make sure that you consider all of the pros and cons.



To Vamp or Not to Vamp:

This Should Hardly Be a Question! by Colleen Cordner

The vampiric influx has reached epic proportions these days. Between the mountains of young adult fiction, the intellectual valleys of vampire-themed cinematic slop, and the endless oceans of painfully written fanfiction available online, one cannot seem to escape the constant bombardment of vampirethemed media. At least, that’s what I would be saying if I was of a curmudgeonly disposition. Luckily for my lovely readers, what I am is a prophetess of the toothy truth! As a lifelong bookworm, these times of fanged plentitude have seeded in me a constant giddiness that will not be denied. Everywhere I look, every medium I know of, there are vampires. The downside to this fanciful dental wonderland is the sudden burst of naysayers. We all know who they are. Those misguided souls who advocate vocally against the obvious charms and advantages of the fanged fold. In these times of need, my purpose on this earth has become abundantly clear. The time has come for someone of the pointed persuasion to set the record straight; and who better to do that than me, your batty bard? Imagine for just a moment, you’ve found your perfect mate. Attractive, down-to-earth, intelligent, lets you have the last piece of chocolate cake and doesn’t judge you for it; take a moment and

imagine what that person would be like. Got it? Good. Now, what I want you to do is add a few more details to it. Imagine, for instance, that you’ve had a toothache for a number of days, and you simply can’t put if off any longer; you have to go to the dentist. Problem is, you’re terrified of them!

reason are impossible to please. Perhaps they have unfairly high standards. Perhaps they hardly read English. Perhaps they secretly lust after you and blame you for it. Whatever the reason, if you’re having a problem with any such thing, introduce him to your cuspid consort. Within seconds, you’ll be well on your way to a 4.0 GPA! Romance is another important part of any good relationship, and vampires are masters at that if nothing else. I’ve heard a number of dental detractors complain about not being able to be with their vampish valentine for picnics in the park, sun-filled days spent on the beach, blah blah blah, whine whine whine. Now, what we of the sanguine set know is, they simply aren’t trying hard enough. I ask you, what would be more romantic than a moonlit (c) 2010 Millie McGuirk stroll on the beach? Lazily drifting If you’re dating a vampire, down a silvered river, gazing into problem solved! Everyone knows the luminescent eyes of your that vampires have mind control battish beau as the gondolier pops and hypnotism tactics; it’s clearly the cork to offer you a flute of the best way they have to grab champagne– a wonderful image, an on-the-go dinner. Have your isn’t it? Especially when you significant other fire up those factor in the ability many vampires baby-blues (or greens or browns, have to control the weather; no whichever), and in no time, presto! ruined dates! Never again will You’re EXCITED to go to the you be strolling arm-in-arm with dentist! your beloved only to have your Following this vein (pun fully new shirt ruined by a surprise intended), we’ve all had teachers rain shower. Conversely, should and professors that for some you be interested in some, well,

extracurricular activities during, perhaps, a rainstorm in a meadow, or a thunderstorm on a mountain, well. All you’ve to do is ask. Show me a mortal who can pull that one off, and I’ll munch my own eyeteeth. In addition to the romantic aspects, there are more practical ones as well. Many vampires and their consorts are known to have a psychic link; never again will you have to worry about being lost! Going up to visit Crazy Aunt Mildred in her cabin in the woods where “they” can’t find her is no longer a dilemma. No cell coverage? GPS can’t find a satellite? Contact your batty beau mentally and you’ll never have to worry about hearing banjos in the woods again. Have him look up the directions and directly message them to you, or, if you’re in the mood for a romantic interlude in the woods, have him fly directly there! Aunt Mildred may not understand why you’ve begun visiting so much, but she’s sure to appreciate it, even when she makes you wear the tinfoil hat. By this time, you’ve no doubt sunk too far into your own vampthemed daydream to pay me much attention, and this is as it should be. I strongly encourage you to search for your own wolfish wayfarer as soon as possible. If you’re reading this during the day, do it tonight. If you’re reading this at night, why are you STILL READING?! There’s no time to waste! And don’t worry. When I see you strolling with your new fanged flame around town, I won’t say a word about our secret. Not even after I see your cheating ex doing the chicken dance wearing their underpants on their head a bit down the street.

(c) 2008 Zeeshan Qureshi



by Paxton Moynihan

What, you’ve never heard of it? Neither had I until I learned I had it. So what is it? Well, let’s break it down: hereditary means it’s genetic. This means it’s passed down through families. However, not everyone who has the gene for it will be affected. Some people are called carriers, which means they may have a child who has the disorder, but they themselves do not have it. Spastic. If someone has spasticity, it means that their muscles are too tight and this can cause them to have abnormal movements, or cause a body part to be fixed in one position. Are you with me so far? OK, good. Paraplegia. This is where most people get lost. Most people think that paraplegia means being completely paralyzed from the waist down. That is a type of paraplegia, but it’s a specific type called “flaccid paraplegia”. The word itself means that the lower extremities have an impairment in motor function. So, something that’s passed down and causes tight muscles in the legs. Right? Well, that’s part of the picture.Uncomplicated HSP, the most common type, is exactly that: a genetic disease that causes spasticity in the legs. Other types (there are over 30!) start to involve other systems in the body. Complicated HSP can involve spasticity in the arms, hands, neck, and also in the intestines and bladder. It can also cause other

photo courtesy of Paxton Moynihan

neurological symptoms like seizures, skin problems, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and in extreme cases, the ability to talk. In my case, it very closely mimics the outward symptoms of a type of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia. It’s progressive, but not everyone progresses at the same rate. Some people progress very quickly and very severely. Some progress slowly, but the end result is still the same. Some will progress and then plateau off. Some people need to use a wheelchair; others use a walker or crutches. Being diagnosed with HSP answered a lot of questions for me, but raised 100 more. What can be done about it (Unfortunately, aside from medications to control spasticity and seizures, not very much)? Are there a lot of people who have this (About 20,000 people world-wide)? And most importantly, why did it take so long to diagnose?! HSP is what’s referred to as a diagnosis of exclusion. There are still blood tests in experimental phases, but they are not yet reliable or readily available enough to use as a diagnostic test. I had symptoms for years before I was diagnosed with HSP. Losing the ability to do certain things and not knowing why is SCARY. I went from walking with leg braces, to using a cane, then crutches, then a manual wheelchair in a span of six years. During this time, I was tested for everything that can cause walking problems. I went through physical and occupational therapy to see if that would make anything better, had enough MRIs that I’m shocked I don’t glow in the dark, and had a muscle biopsy that put me in the hospital for over a week. Since it can take so long to diagnose, oftentimes people are accused of faking their symptoms. Because I can walk short distances, but use a manual wheelchair for most of my mobility outside my house, I have been told I’m “just doing it for attention”, that

I’m “pretending to be a paraplegic”, and that it’s “all in my head”. Unfortunately, even after being diagnosed, I still hear those things from time to time because it seems like the only people who know what HSP is are the neurologists who specialize in it, the people who have it, and their friends and family. I don’t want this article to be all negative. I’ve met some wonderful people online through HSP and CP support groups (United Cerebral Palsy includes folks with HSP in their support groups). I’ve also met some amazing people who are fighting battles of their own, completely different than mine, but the shared experience of having to go through something like that has brought us together. I have a whole community of friends in the world of adaptive sports. I also feel like having a disability has helped me become a more outgoing person. Over the years, I’ve adopted Marilyn Hamilton’s philosophy of “If you can’t stand up, stand out”. Do I wish things were a little different? Yeah, sometimes. But if I had to go back and change it all, I don’t think I would. It’s part of me and it helped shape me. And right now, I’m pretty OK with the way things are.

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CREEPER CORNER photo courtesy of Rob Capossela

A CITY OF CREEPS by Vanessa Johnson

When I went on vacation with my family this past summer, I ran into a lot of creepers on the streets of Philadelphia. I always thought there were a lot of homeless people in New York City, but I’m starting to think that at least half of them moved to Philly. So the hotel I stayed at with my parents was right in the city, which was convenient but also scary at times. One day when we decided to go get breakfast at Reading Terminal Market (an excellent place for food), a middleaged, dirty looking man ran up to us on the sidewalk. He stared at me and proceeded to tell my father, “I’m gon’ have your daughter!” The man repeatedly commented on my appearance and clothes and even hit on my mom. Needless to say, I was more than a little grossed out. At the time I wished my dad would’ve punched the guy in the face, but I guess it doesn’t solve anything because he was just a crazy old man. Usually when you escape the clutches of a creeper, you’re relieved it’s over and that you’re far, far away from him/ her. But of course we went the wrong direction, and not five minutes later we were forced to walk past him again and endure his remarks. Oh, and he was there the next day as well. One day during our trip, my dad was looking for a pair of shoes. The specific brand he wanted was

only found in a few stores in the area, so we had to take a taxi to West Philadelphia to track down the shoes. I was excited and started to sing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song, until I realized that this place was not so nice. Walking down those streets I felt like a woman walking through a prison where all of the predatory men haven’t seen boobs in three years. Never have I felt so violated and creeped out by men staring at me. Then when we finally got to the shoe store, there was a homeless man knocking at the door for like 20 minutes. I felt really uneasy. He was staring at my parents and me and making jibberish comments. Not to mention he started clapping. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I was relieved when the man finally walked away, but I was also scared he might approach us when we left the store. Thankfully he was nowhere to be found. However, we did almost get stranded because the shoe salesman told us that taxi’s don’t really come to that part of town. Being trapped in West Philly on a rainy day is not exactly my idea of a vacation. Overall the trip was fun because we got to visit my brother and do some shopping, but the creepers in that city make me want to bring a bodyguard with me next time. (c) 2006 Corvussolus,

texts from last night: local edition compiled by Vanessa Johnson

860: DINNER FOR TWO IS BACK AT CHILIS HOLY FUCK 860: so guess who I work with. Her greeting was “you work here too? We should have a meeting and overthrow something!” 860: Well idk how would you say someone is classy about fucking on the second date lol. 1-860:You should smoke a cigarette in a holder, like Marilyn Monroe. And say something like “so, fella, are we doing this thing or not?” You know. Classy. 860: I mean its cool that he has a hobby, something to aspire to, but its going too far. He burnt all his furniture. 860: Hey. Can you and your boyfriend work on making some babies? We need adorable children to be our ringbearer and flowergirl for our wedding and Walmart was out. 860:Yay *hugs* Make out in the back seat? 203: Oh snap, that’s so middle school lol 860: So we got slammed at the ice cream store tonight. Real hard. Not fun. 1-860: Same at the theme park. Last weekend of summer. Seasonal places are all gonna be madhouses. 860: Kill me lol 1-860: Me first, you work in air conditioning. 860: So he told me I taste like guerrilla warfare. I really need to drink more often cuz its an interesting night. Woot. 860: …um... Awkward. Totally tried to text my bffl not you. I might be inebriated. K<3youbye. 860: I wonder what some people see when they leave their homes. I hope it’s a better outfit than what I see. Forgive me. I’ve been up 25 hours and think people are interested in my thoughts. 860: after that performance you better be leaving with some numbers!

860: I see your sexiness from here! ; ) 860: would it be bad to use sex as a motivator to get you to go to class for the rest of the semester? 203: she is hot. Willing to have a threesome? 860: yes, but only once. She seems a little unstable… 203: the doctor hasn’t called me back I don’t know what to do 1-203: if he doesn’t help ill find someone better. HE’LL HAVE TO FUCK WITH ME IF HE IGNORES YOU.You’re my kid! Lol 203: wow… um… thanks mom lmao 860: getting on top of you makes you angrier? That’s never been my experience. Well. Maybe that once… 203: what are you guys doin, it’s been a while. What are you having sex or something? 860: he’s so much prettier naked! 203: um…. Anything I can help you with? O.O 860: yeah. Get us some whipped cream! 860: the weird thing with you being a drag king is that as time goes on it gets more and more difficult to listen to the radio and not think about you. 203: so, she told me they’re going out on a date and I squealed for like 20 minutes!!! 1-203: well that’s cute, I’m glad we helped stuff work out. 203: I knowwwwwww! We’re going to be such good hooker-uppers! 860: so he told me he got me something and its “not too gay”. I told him he knows who I’m sleeping with. Too gay. Puh. 203: you’re an ass. But, im not sure how to take that….. thanks? (c) 2010 Rachel Johnson


OCM GAMES! Who’s Who?

Can you correctly identify these staff members from Off-Center Magazine?


by Justin Blain

UPHILL VS. DOWNHILL If you’ve ever lived in a dorm on campus, you know what the difference is. But which is better? MUSIC Everyone has their preferences—about genre, era, and volume. How do YOU feel about music? CROSSWALKS C’mon, you know you want to push the button...

A.) Bryce B.) Alan C.) Rob

A.) Jen B.) Vanessa C.) Melissa

AND... OVERHEARD IN NEW BRITAIN The craziest things our teachers say! PROFESSOR INTERVIEWS Maybe we’ll talk to your favorite teacher next!

photo courtesy of Melissa Cordner

A.) Jen B.) Vanessa C.) Melissa

A.) Bryce B.) Alan C.) Rob

CCSU SAYS CCSU community members tackle our random question!

Do you want your 15 minutes of fame? Do you love writing, drawing or taking photographs? We’d LOVE for you to submit your stuff to Off-Center Magazine! Speak your mind — because YOUR VOICE COUNTS. Submit your work to! Would you rather work behind the scenes? C Do you just want to read the magazine? That’s great too! Thanks for your support!

Off-Center Winter 2010  

Off-Center Winter 2010

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