OSPREY Humboldt State Student-Run Magazine
Est. 1973 Fall 2014
On cover: Velella seen from below the surface during a dive off of the coast of Washington state. Photo by Janna Nichols
N. Hunter Cresswell
Asst. layout editor:
Jacob Cheek Lorrie Reyes
Asst. photo editor:
Nick Garcia Joanna Quintanilla
Jack Castle Ian Cochran N. Hunter Cresswell Mike Kelly Tyler Marshall Shareen McFall Janna Nichols Dan Pambianco Carmen Peña Ashley Villavicencio
KK Flory Isabella Vanderheiden
24 06 A Skeptic Hypnotized by Nick Garcia
10 The Cost of College by Jane Matthews
12 No Snow Day by N. Hunter Cresswell
18 River Otters Return by Ian Cochran
20 Building For Peace by Connor Jepson
24 By-the-Wind Sailors by Joanna Quintanilla
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Clockwise from left, photos by N. Hunter Cresswell, N. Hunter Cresswell and Tyler Marshall
Clockwise from top left, photos by Ashley Villavicencio, Shareen McFall and Carmen Pe単a
38 26 Szechuan Sessions by Ashley Villavicencio
28 Rancheras y Recuerdos by Shareen McFall
36 Life After Basketball by Jacob Cheek
38 louise.com by Carmen Pe単a
40 Opinion: THC by Jack Castle
Fall 2014 | 5
A Skeptic Hypnotized One Studentâ€™s Hypnotheraphy Experience by Nick Garcia
Illustration by Isabella Vanderheiden
lemistine Victor sits alone, staring at a blurry screen in an empty movie theatre. Really, though she is sitting in front of 15 students and Kyle Wannigman, a certified medical hypnotherapist, in Humboldt State’s Rec. Center. The imaginary theatre is part of a trauma reversal exercise to help her overcome a fear of public speaking. “I’d say it’s a three,” she tells Wannigman, rating her fear from one to 10. “Let’s see if we can get that down to a one or zero,” he says, and they try the exercise. Victor closes her eyes, and Wannigman asks her to imagine a time she was comfortable talking in front of a crowd and to imagine watching that moment on the imaginary screen. “How do you feel now?” Wannigman asks. “Much better. Probably a zero,” Victor responds. Therapists like Wannigman are using hypnotherapy to treat a variety of conditions. According to reports in The Journal of Pediatrics hypnotherapy can help reduce depression, anxiety, addiction and even cancer. Elizabeth Connors-Keith is a hypnotherapist practicing in Eureka. She uses hypnotherapy to help people quit smoking and overcome anxiety and other ailments. “Hypnotherapy can help with almost any error of life,” Connors-Keith explains. “I have training in weight loss, stress and pain management, and I recently started practicing hypnobirthing, helping women through the birthing process using hypnosis. It’s also good for working through fears, for habit breaking, trauma and to boost motivation and focus.”
ments, deep-seated issues or phobias. If I was hoping to get anything from hypnotherapy, it was to become more confident and motivated. My goal was to leave with a positive outlook, but I was admittedly skeptical, perhaps even more so after my first appointment. “I want you to find a spot on my hand to stare at,” Wannigman tells me with his arm stretched out in front of my face. “Bring all of your attention to that spot. Focus completely on that spot. Let it absorb everything. Let everything around you go.” I’m in Wannigman’s Arcata office, laid back with my feet up on an overstuffed leather recliner. The office walls are adorned with pieces of his history: a certification from the International Board of Hypnotherapy, a certificate noting his honorable discharge from the Air Force and an Air Force Achievement Medal. Breathing deeply, I try to relax and my eyelids grow heavier until they shut completely. My arms fall limp on the armrests. His words are methodical and rhythmic, like water dripping from a leaky faucet. “Absorb your full... attention... to my voice,” he says. In my mind, the word “attention” appears in block letters. Listening to Wannigman read the script he prepared for our session, he sounds noticeably softer than when I first came in. No longer is he joking about the stereotypical pocket watch swinging hypnotist to quell my preconceptions. He is calm and attempting to put me into a trance. “There is a set of seven stairs in front of you. With each step, you go deeper and deeper into your subconscious,” Wannigman reads from the script.
A misconception is that hypnotism leaves the patient unconscious. Not so. Wannigman says hypnosis is a natural yet altered state in which that voice in our head is relaxed and we go into the subconscious.
I try to picture the stairs.
“Hypnosis happens all day, every day, to all of us,” Wannigman says. “It’s that experience where we’re driving our car and we get home and we don’t really remember driving. Hypnosis is just where we are so engaged perceptually that the external world kind of dissolves.”
For nearly two hours I was the focus of conversation. Normally, I would have been terribly uncomfortable in such a situation. But here I was openly discussing my goals, aspirations and insecurities, not as if Wannigman was a close friend, but more as if he wasn’t even there. I was openly expressing myself, effortlessly.
I had always thought of hypnosis as a trick — merely entertainment. I was set on finding the truth, so I set up a one-on-one session with Wannigman and signed up for his six-session hypnotherapy workshop. I have no physical ail-
“When you get to the bottom, you are going to step into your own, personal garden of healing,” he says.
When I came out of trance, it was startling. As Wannigman began to count up from the number one, I was overcome with the feeling that my eyes might not open, my limbs may Fall 2014 | 7
stay lifeless and I may be stuck in the trance. But, when he reached the number four, Wannigman said I would feel a wave wash over like being splashed with cool water. And, I did. Once he got to the number five, my eyes were open, struggling to adjust to the light.
I was able to enter trance, but like my first experience, part of me was still not completely in it. The chairs in the Rec. Center are much less comfortable than Wannigman’s office recliner. I tried to focus on Wannigman’s script but drifted off.
I tried my best to be cooperative. But during my first session, I couldn’t suppress the skeptic voice in my head, telling me that this whole experience was shrouded in a thin layer of bullshit.
The group hypnosis was preferable to the individual one. I was able to relax more easily when other people were doing it too and didn’t feel like I was under a spotlight. We came out of trance and everyone wanted to know the same thing: How long were we hypnotized?
Workshop Day 1 I started Wannigman’s six-day Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming Workshop. Day one was a general introduction with some hypnotherapy exercises. The participants were mostly HSU students whose reasons for attending varied from wanting to manage pain to being able to better understand themselves. Others, like me, were simply curious.
It had been nearly 35 minutes but seemed like half that time. In the following days, I noticed some changes. I recognized the pre-formed behaviors I was exhibiting and found ways to break them. For example, I started raising my hand in class — something I typically would not do. And I worked up the nerve to approach a stranger on the street.
Discussing mindfulness, Wannigman explained one way the Workshop Day 3 brain typically works that hypnotherapy works to change. He wrote it on a whiteboard: On day three, I arrived early to the Rec. Center. Before the workshop started, Wannigman, Mike Bishop and I were Event > Thought > Belief > Behavior > Results (Repeat) there alone for a few minutes when Bishop started to air doubts about what we were learning. As he explained it, something happens, triggering a thought about the event. That thought forms a belief. That belief In the previous session, Wannigman introduced us to Edgar dictates the behavior that occurs the next time a similar Cayce, a healer born in 1877 whose psychic abilities allowed event happens. This leads to the same results each time the him to diagnose illnesses and memorize books just by sleepsituation comes up. ing on them. Bishop is a Psychology major who took classes with Wannigman at HSU. Wannigman taught us that the brain is a survival tool, and many of our behaviors are learned and habitual. I realized “That’s where I have to put the Kool-Aid down,” Bishop said, that if I wanted to make a real change, I would need to break questioning the lesson on Cayce. “I just can’t believe that old habits. someone could sleep on top of a book, wake up and know the contents of it.” “We all have learned patterns of behavior from childhood,” Wannigman explained. “But now, those same behaviors can It was what I needed to hear. Bishop affirmed that I was create limitations and sorrow.” not the only person with reservations about what we were doing. Workshop Day 2 I came to know Wannigman as this relentlessly happy guy. On day two, Wannigman hypnotized all 15 of us at the He always had a huge smile and often silly, welcoming pressame time. ence. He ended each workshop with a running high-five for
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each participant. He lacked the gruff, macho energy I generally associate with military veterans.
Workshop Day 6
I questioned his incessant positivity and his motivation for leading the workshop. But he was not only open to questions about his work, he encouraged them. It became apparent that his goal was to share his knowledge in the hopes it would have as profound an effect on us as it did on him. His role as hypnotherapist is not to take over somebody’s mind but rather to guide us to tap into our subconscious.
the group beforehand. Together, we wanted our deepest hypnotic session yet. Wannigman prepared a script similar to the
“And that’s the thing about hypnotherapy,” Wannigman said, “It’s not one person controlling another person, it is two people working together.” Workshop Days 4-5 During days four and five, Wannigman demonstrated exercises he performs on clients such as trauma reversal and using a “color anchor” to manage pain. Wannigman had no trouble finding a volunteer in our group to try the color exercise. HSU junior Stefan Flores was an eager student and had something to say in each discussion. “I call it a super nova solar plexus,” Flores said in an earlier session, “It’s like a ball of light or energy I feel myself carrying around in my chest.” Flores was standing, eyes closed, in front of the rest of us who were arranged in our usual half-circle. Wannigman asked him to imagine how he’d like to feel on a test day and associate it with a color. Then Wannigman asked him to picture that color as a huge beam of light. “Now take a step forward, into that beam of light,” Wannigman said. “Feel that feeling wash over you.” To my surprise, Flores, the person I was sure was a plant if there was one, had trouble achieving what Wannigman asked for, and they tried again. On the second go, Flores claimed to have felt that motivated, test-ready feeling wash over him and stepped forward into his light beam.
40 minutes to go through it. His script asked us to imagine ourselves in a garden, and I found myself imagining the same garden from my one-oncontrol of my thoughts, and after a few minutes I was hardly listening to Wannigman’s voice — more focused on my own internal dialogue. In the time I attended the workshops, I stayed intent on my
and motivated, but I was exuding those qualities in my dayto-day interactions. During my last session of hypnotherapy, I was in a trance for maybe 20 minutes, exploring my imaginary garden, Wannig-
“One,” Wannigman says, “and you feel yourself preparing to come out of trance.” I thought, even if I had not achieved what I wanted, I would keep making changes for the better. “Five,” Wannigman counts on, “And you feel the sensation coming back to your limbs. Hands are moving, you can wiggle your toes.” Instead of anxiously anticipating the end of my trance, I embraced it, coming out when Wannigman reached “nine.” I opened my eyes, rubbed them to adjust to the brightness of the room and stretched my arms. My journey was done. “10.”
Fall 2014 | 9
The Cost of College Education Expenditure by Jane Matthews
ccording to the Federal Reserve Bank, student loan .debt in the United States exceeded $1 trillion in 2013. What’s more, it said 11 percent of student loan balances were either severely delinquent or already in default. That is spooky to think about, but the good news is college graduates made an average of $57,000 that year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to a $34,000 annual salary for 20-something-year-olds who didn’t go to college. Who is making the most money? Apparently, engineering graduates. The U.S. Department of Education says engineering majors between the ages of 25 and 29 have the highest salaries of college graduates, ranging from $58,000 to $65,000. On the low end are anthropology/archaeology majors, who graduate to earn an average salary of $33,260. Elizabeth Eschenbach is the department chair of HSU’s Engineering program. Engineering majors make the most money because they have a large responsibility in society, according to Eschenbach. “Engineers are making things that peoples’ lives depend on,” she said. “Engineers probably
make more because they spend a lot of their time doing school work. I know a lot of my students don’t really go out and party like most college kids. They are dedicated to their academics and their eventual salaries are just a result of that.” That doesn’t mean that anyone who majors in something time-consuming is guaranteed a job in their chosen field. Even engineers have a five percent unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Department of Education. HSU students are concerned with the value of their education. In a forum in October, students asked HSU’s new president Lisa Rossbacher to address their concerns. “Most people don’t end up working in the fields that they studied but, instead, use all of the knowledge they gained in college to help them in the job market,” Rossbacher said. An online survey by Harris Interactive showed of the 2,134 college graduates who responded, 683 of them, or 32 percent, have never worked in their field of study. Frank Whitlatch, HSU’s Associate Vice President for Advancement, graduated from Chico State University in 1994 with degrees in Journalism and Religious Studies. He says that despite still being in debt, the experience was valuable.
Graphic by KK Flory
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Unemployment rate in 2013 (%)
3.4 4.0 5.4 7.0 7.5 11.0
Median weekly earnings in 2013 ($)
1,623 1,714 1,329
Some College, no degree High school diploma Less than a high school diploma
This chart compares the unemployment rate to the median weekly earnings for different levels of education. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics | Graphic by Shareen McFall
“It completely changed my life and who I am,” Whitlatch said. “The older I get, the more I look back and think, ‘Wow that was four or five years that really altered the course of my life for the better.’” Joy Soll, the Career Advisor for Professional Studies at HSU, graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Geography. She went on to obtain her graduate degree in Experiential Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder. “I think college is worth it,” she says. “Not only academically, but economically and emotionally as well. It really rounds you out as a person and helps you thrive in this world.” As a career advisor, Joy deals a lot with preparing students for the “real world” (otherwise known as the “job market”) and says that most students, as expected, don’t go into the field that they thought they wanted. “The university qualifies you for a lot of different things.
It teaches us a lot of things like critical thinking, analysis, communication skills, nonverbal skills, leadership skills, ability to work with others, and so on. All of those things qualify you for any job, that’s why the psychologist might become the cartoonist. When we ask employers, they are looking for those skills. Of the top ten skills, only one of them is the information that is wrapped up in the job itself. The rest are general skills that you’re going to get with any college degree.” Matt Goldberg graduated from HSU in May with a degree in English. He is looking for a job but still stands by the idea that college is worth the money. “I got to learn things that I never would have sought out myself,” Goldberg said. “I got to read books that I never would have read, I got to meet people that I never would have met. I’ve been a part of a community that you don’t really get to experience without going to college. I definitely feel like a better person having gone to college, even better for having graduated college because a lot of people don’t.”
Fall 2014 | 11
by N. Hunter Cresswell
Mt. Shasta seen from the Ski Park Highway. Photo by N. Hunter Cresswell
Arid winters leave some ski areas high and dry
ario Marchi only trained ski race coaches for two days at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park this past winter. He remembers skiing on a crowded trail from the top of Marmot hill down to the lodge, a run lasting maybe two minutes.
“It was one little strip maybe 10 feet wide,” said Marchi, founder of the Mt. Shasta Ski Team.
“It’s just like an empty bathtub,” Stubblefield said.
For the 2013-2014 winter season Mt. Shasta ski park opened Dec. 26 and closed Dec. 29. A four day season, in contrast with a typical four month season. In January 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency. California has been locked in a severe drought for the past three years said Humboldt State hydrology professor Andrew Stubblefield. Stubblefield skied in New Hampshire during his youth. During his teens the closest ski resort was open less often and then closed altogether due to lack of snow. “Then, they were gone,” Stubblefield said.
Even California’s primary reservoirs are below capacity, the Trinity reservoir is down 30 percent.
Steve Conney is one of the nation’s top powder hounds. He is also a medical equipment salesmen, but that is to fund his snow addiction. Conney forecasts for storms weeks in advance to ride deep snow all across North America. Conney skied Kirkwood Mountain Resort near Lake Tahoe last March but noticed an overall decrease in snow consistency in California. Consistent snow is a combination of depth and density Conney said, meaning the snow is deep enough to ride and light enough to not slow riders down. Conney comes to California less often these past few years because the snowpack is lousy.
“The ski industry as a whole is having a challenge,” said Jamie Schectman, the Mt. Ashland ski area interim marketing director.
Before the drought, during the 2009-2010 winter, Mt. Shasta Ski Park had an estimated 81,000 visitors. 20102011 winter had 80,000 visitors. 2011-2012 had 36,000. Then 52,000 visits for 2012-2013. Last year only had about 2,000 visitors said base operations manager, Jason Young.
Last year, Mt. Ashland was closed during the entire season for its 50th anniversary because there was no snow.
Outdoor sports stores that specialize in snow gear were also hit hard by the recent dryness.
Both Mt. Shasta Ski Park and the Mt. Ashland Ski Area received a $75,000 loan from the government for recreational businesses as a result of the drought.
“This last one was just devastating,” said Curtis Stevenson, ski shop manager at Redding’s Sports LTD , in reference to the last winter.
“Without that we wouldn’t even be having this conversation,” Schectman said.
The prior winters were average. Sports LTD lost hundreds of thousands dollars in winter sales last season because of the lack of winter, according to Sports LTD owner Dave Kepon.
If this coming winter mirrors the past one, both resorts say they will run lean and wait for snow. Both resorts are exploring other opportunities to make money without snow on the ground. The Mt. Ashland lodge hosts parties, weddings and business retreats, said Mt. Ashland public relations director, Mike Dadaos. Mt. Shasta is looking into zip lines and ropes courses, Young said. Snow is the water supply for the state, its second reservoir. On top of the man made lakes and reservoirs, unmelted snow is a water source for the state once it melts Stubble14 | Osprey
Stevenson noticed people buying less gear so the store spent a quarter of what they usually spend stocking skis and are only buying from one company as opposed to five. “The snowboard section doesn’t have any new 2015 stuff,” Stevenson said. Over the past five years, Jacques Bleisae, the manager of the Fifth Season outdoor store in Mt. Shasta has noticed a decrease in storms that bring snow to the area. According to Bleisae the drought has affected his business; he sells
Winter Sports by the Numbers Over Five Years
60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000
2014 season, Mt. Shasta received a total of 905 visitors and Mt. Ashland could not open due to the lack of snow. Source: Jason Young, Mt Shasta and Mike Dadaos, Mt. Ashland | Graphic by Shareen McFall
mostly backcountry equipment. Since people could not ski in bounds last year they went to the backcountry. What snow the Mt. Shasta area got last winter was warm, wet and heavy Bleisae said. Bleisae also kept out his bike selection, which he usually puts away during the winter. “Fall never ended, it just got colder,” Bleisae said.
Before the drought Bleisae would have between 16 to 20 models of skis in stock, this year he only brought in 10 models.
because most of his business is in the summer, he has low overhead, and mountain bikes are recession proof, joked store owner Styles Larsen.
“We owe it to the public to have new stuff,” Bleisae said. Shasta Base Camp, another Mt. Shasta outdoor store, has had similar issues. Before the drought he would have over 200 pairs of skis in stock, now he will only have 40 to 50.
Larsen has not noticed the drought affecting his business much because he does most of his business in water sports rental, repairs and mountain bikes. High alpine lakes are not drying up like man made reservoirs so people still enjoy natural lakes, according to Larsen.
This is not a huge hit to his business
Everyone from the smallest shop Fall 2014 | 15
The lower lodge at the Mt. Ashland Ski Area. Photo by N. Hunter Cresswell
owner to the biggest corporational ski resorts have been hit hard by modest snowfall in California last year. Tim Cohee is the chair of the Sierra Nevada College ski business and resort management program, he also has owned China Peak Mountain resort for 35 years. “2013-2014 was by far the worst winter,” Cohee said. The biggest thing for resorts will be snowmaking capabilities and water reservoir capacity.Resorts with the biggest reservoirs and most snowmaking machines will fare the best this winter, Cohee said. The five resorts with the most snow making capabilities are Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, Mammoth, Northstar and Heavenly. These also have the most access to water, Cohee said. The same type of large corporation run resorts that are taking out the mom and pop resorts, Schectman says. “If it snows, all bets are off,” Cohee said. So, if regular snowfall returns this winter all resorts could have a good winter. 16 | Osprey
Mt. Shasta’s reservoir is short about 1.5 million gallons of water, according to Richard Coots who has been the Mt. Shasta Ski Park mountain manager for 30 years. The drought has gotten to the point that Mt. Shasta is pumping municipal water up to their reservoir instead of letting a creek fill it. Mt. Shasta has been hit the hardest since the drought started. “They got their clock cleaned,” Cohee said. Mt. Shasta has experienced drought before. Shasta opened in 1986 and had to survive seven years of drought, Marchi said. “If it’s another drought year everyone in the north state will be in trouble… Economy wise it would be a disaster,” Marchi said. Cohee says customers are not confident after three years of drought. Both Mt. Ashland and Mt. Shasta reimbursed ticket holders who were unable to ski or snowboard. Mt. Shasta rolled over season passes to next winter. Mt Ashland gave back half of the price of a season pass to pass holders. Even Mt. Bachelor near Bend, OR offered
a spring ski pass for Mt. Shasta season pass holders for around $49, Marchi said. Since the 1980s, top climatologists have expected droughts. “Now they are here,” said Auden Schendler, Vice President of sustainability at Aspen Ski Company. Snow making efficiency will come more into play these next winters, Schendler said. Snow must be made under 26 F and resorts must have full reservoirs and efficient technology. Schendler says snow making guns have become more efficient. They first used 100 kilowatt-hour, now they use four kilowatt-hour. “Industry must unite, one voice, to change climate policy,” Schendler said.
picture. Cohee does not know why the drought is happening but guesses that California could be unlucky or it would be global warming leading to permanent weather changes. Resort managers like Cohee try to be eco-friendly in a carbon intensive industry by using electric cars, giving carpool and bus benefits, and having no-idle zones. Reducing a resorts carbon footprint is important, but will not solve everything, Schendler said. “This is the beginning of the things you love disappearing,”Stubblefield said. “California beaches will be cliffs.” Post-clear cut forests are much denser than regular forests and use more water. These forests could be thinned to provide more water down the watershed, Stubblefield said. We must create the breakage,” Stubblefield said. “We must walk away from the culture we grew up in and reject fossil fuels.”
“It’s (the resorts managers) jobs to stay in business,” Schendler said, but industry leaders need to think of the bigger
Otherwise, all our home resorts will shut down like the one Stubblefield used to ski.
A barren Mt. Shasta seen from Weed, Calif. Photo by N. Hunter Cresswell
Schendler admits that skiing is carbon intensive but so is everything now a days.
Fall 2014 | 17
River Otters Return by Ian Cochran
eff Black is kneeling down at the edge of Arcata Marsh. His pant legs are covered in green and black sticky muck. He pushes away the tall wetland grass to get a view of the area, when all of a sudden, splash! Out of the water less than a foot away, pops out a river otter pup. “Ah!,” yelled Black.“I think we both kind of scared each other.” Black is a wildlife professor at Humboldt State University. For 10 years, he has been studying the North American river otters in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Black started the Citizens Science Project which gets the community involved in counting the river otters.
“I don’t go to the marsh looking for them, because I am more interested in birds,” Cedric Duhalde said. Duhalde, an HSU wildlife major, saw three river otters at the marsh but didn’t report them to Black’s database. The people who spot river otters are asked to enter their data on Black’s website under the river otters link where it is then sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Gabrielle Ruso, a senior wildlife student at HSU, met Black and talked about an opportunity to help him with grading for one of his classes. But, when he asked her about learning how to use the database for the Citizen Science Project, she couldn’t turn it down.
Left: A mother river otter leads her pups to the next pond. Right: A river otter pup swims in the Allan Marsh with it’s mom and siblings. Photos by Ian Cochran
“Being in a community like the one in Arcata allows us to conduct a study like the one we have,” Ruso said. “We have a lot of participation from the community, and I don’t think that we would have the same participation if we did this study in a place like Fresno County.” While Black is in charge of the data collection, HSU wildlife professor Micaela Gunther supervises the fieldwork.
“We can tell they are consuming these feathered animals because we can visually see the feathers left in the scat,” Johnston said.
Last year, one of Gunther’s students took DNA from river otter scat that helped her identify between 41 and 44 river otters. Gunter said that compared to other coastal environments, Humboldt Bay has a high density of river otters.
Down in the San Francisco Bay Area, the River Otter Ecology project is doing similar research. The project was started by Paola Bouley and Megan Isadore around two and a half years ago.
“In wildlife research, we don’t need to be 100 percent accurate when estimating populations within a certain area,” Gunther said. “It is impossible to be able to count every single animal in a study that we are doing.”
In 2009, Isadore was up on the side of the bank of the Lagunitas creek in the Bay Area when she saw four river otters.
Another one of Gunther’s students, Phillip Johnston, is researching river otters at Lake Erie, about 10 miles north of Crescent City. Johnston hikes a 12-mile loop around the lake looking for areas where the river otters poop. “I wanted to see how the different previously documented latrine sightings had changed since the last records were recorded,” Johnston said. “The focus of study was to find out how the diet of river otters in Lake Erie changes throughout the seasons.” So far, Johnston’s data shows that river otters are eating ducks and other birds.
“I kept seeing them sniffing under every root and rock,” Isadore said. “They would come up with crayfish. They knew that I was there on the bank and were keeping watch on me.” The River Otter Ecology Project follows Black’s research model by having volunteers help with river otter sightings. Since the project was started, there have been over 900 river otters sightings in the San Francisco Bay Area. Back at the Arcata Marsh, Black continues looking for scat samples that might help him find out more about the North American river otter. He puts on his rubber gloves and pulls out a clear plastic bag hoping to spot the otter pup he saw earlier that day.
Fall 2014 | 19
Building for Peace by Connor Jepson
n 1958, four men sailed their little ketch-rigged-sailboat directly into the center of the U.S. militaryâ€™s nuclear test site in the Pacific Ocean. They were protesting the testing of nuclear weapons off the Marshall Islands. On their first attempt, the U.S. Navy stopped the Golden Rule before it could reach the site. The four men were brought to jail in Hawaii before being released on the condition that they would not attempt to sail into the test site again. They did, and were quickly swooped up by the Navy, arrested and served light sentences, but the Golden Ruleâ€™s mission was a success.
The sail plan for the Golden Rule shows what the boat will look like with masts and sails. Photo by N. Hunter Cresswell
Restoring the Golden Rule
Zerlang came to the boat’s rescue. Again. He sent a crew to drag it off the bottom and back to his boatyard.
“What those four guys accomplished on this little boat was huge,” Chuck Dewitt says. “She’s the grandmother of the protest boats.”
“We porpoised it,” Zerlang says. “We have a diver go down and tie a line around it. We just start pulling on it and the boats come up and they come up and they go back down into the water. And we drug it over to the beach. We didn’t know what to do with it.”
Dewitt stands with his thumbs tucked into his suspenders. He’s got a grizzled face, white hair. Dewitt looks as if he was born and raised at the boatyard. His hands bear the stains of diesel and grease, his pants are marked with paint and puddy. He rocks back and forth on his heels, smoking a cigarette as he recounts the tale of the Golden Rule’s first protest voyage. Today, the Golden Rule is beached at Leroy Zerlang’s Samoa boatyard, where it is nearly finished being rebuilt after falling into years of disrepair and sinking in Humboldt Bay. Zerlang is a boat fiend. A robust business man, he’s comfortably slouched back in his big office chair, going over his first experiences with the Golden Rule. The boat’s previous owner kept the it at Zerlang’s docks back in 2010, but Zerlang says that he all-but-abandoned the ship. “March winds. Northwest winds. Our dock gets beat to hell. I walk out in the morning, the Golden Rule’s gone,” Zerlang says. He and his son found the boat some hours later, beached and battered just down the coast from Zerlang’s boatyard. They hooked a tug to it, pulled it off the shore and brought it back to the boatyard for repairs. “We basically got it ready for the next time it sunk,” Zerlang says. “We cleaned all the crap out of it the best we could, painted the bottom and we tied it back up to the dock.” And sink it did. When the boat went missing and Zerlang’s crew couldn’t find the boat washed up on one of Humboldt Bay’s beaches, Zerlang was certain of the boat’s fate. “I said, ‘Well, there’s only one solution to this problem,’” Zerlang says. ”And we went out and she was on the bottom.”
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That’s when Zerlang put the boat up for sale on Craigslist. When museums and schools started contacting him about the posting, he realized he was holding onto a pretty big piece of history. “It wasn’t too much later that my friend Chuck shows up, smoking a cigarette. He asks, ‘What the fuck is the Golden Rule?’” Zerlang says, laughing so hard between words his whole body shakes. “And I go, ‘That’s it, come down tonight, we’ll get a bottle of Maker’s Mark, get drunk and burn the son of a bitch.’” Chuck Dewitt is the Golden Rule’s restoration coordinator and part of the organization Veterans For Peace. “I started getting calls from Vets For Peace people interested in the boat. So I said I’d go check it out,” Dewitt says. Vets For Peace is an anti-nuclear, peace advocacy group. The Garberville Chapter in SoHum stepped up to save the boat from becoming fuel for one of Zerlang’s bonfires. Freddy Champagne took the lead in getting the Vets For Peace to authorize the boat’s restoration. He says the boat struck a chord with his own worldviews. “She’s the original protest boat. Once a protest boat, always a protest boat,” Champagne says. “The Veterans For Peace has always been anti-nuclear and that was the boat’s original mission. In 2011, they passed a resolution to be anti-nuclear energy too. This boat is a perfect way to protest nuclear energy and war, which is what we’re all about.” The Vets For Peace began the Golden Rule’s restoration in 2010 after Zerlang pulled it off the bottom of Humboldt Bay. The boat was in pretty bad shape. It was also nearing senior citizen status, but once the boat passed a local boat builder’s inspection, the work began.
“We re-planked the whole thing,” Dewitt says. “It took us a whole damn day to get one plank on and the boatwright comes out and says, ‘Not bad for your first try. Now rip it off so we can get this thing planked.’” Rebuilding a boat is not easy. Or cheap. The restoration crew’s resident boatwright Breckin Van Veldhuizen, who goes by the Dutchman, says it is common for projects like this to run a budget upwards of a million dollars. “What we’ve spent on this boat is almost unheard of in boat building. It’s way low,” says the Dutchman. Dewitt says that, so far, the project has cost nearly $85,000. “Boatwrights usually want $120, $150 an hour. We’re ripping the Dutchman off,” Dewitt says. “We’re still getting donations, but not enough, so we’re doing things that don’t cost money.” Dewitt turns to the crew and jokes about how much money they could get for putting the Nike swoosh up on the sails. Both Dewitt and Zerlang agree that the project has been extremely successful because of the generous and supportive local community. The list of donors to the project--donors meaning people and businesses that have donated tools, supplies, equipment and labor — is extensive. Freddy Champagne, the guy who got the ball rolling on the Vets For Peace end, is worried about the project’s current money situation. He’s no longer involved with the project. There was some infighting between his chapter, based in Garberville, Calif. and the Humboldt Bay Chapter of Vets For Peace over ownership of the project. Champagne’s biggest contribution was bringing in a lot of the startup cash. “I’m afraid that they’re going to put 150 grand into the boat and then the guys involved with the maritime museum at the boatyard aren’t going to let a bunch of hippies jump in this thing and sail it away to protest an aircraft carrier,” Champagne says. “These guys know boats, they aren’t activists, they aren’t radical.” Dewitt and the restoration crew share a different vision than Champagne.
“We’re just now starting to form the bylaws and search for a captain so that this thing can sail away,” Dewitt says. Michael Gonzalez has been working with Dewitt on the boats restoration since the project started. He’s also the first person to be guaranteed a spot on the crew. “I love sailing, being out on the water. And I love peace,” Gonzalez says. “This is the perfect boat for me.” Gonzalez has been hard at work building the mainmast for the Golden Rule these past few weeks. Once the mainmast is ready, he says the crew will need to finish up the boat’s interior, then they’ll take the roof off the boathouse and place the masts with the help of a crane. “It’s been wonderful working on the boat,” Gonzalez says. “Now when I’m out sailing, I’ll really know her inside and out.”
“What the fuck is the Golden Rule?” Steve Nienhaus is another old sailing salt working on the project. On the day we met, Nienhaus rolled up to the boatyard in a little sedan. He climbed out of the car wearing a five-gallon cowboy hat, holding a chocolate milk in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Nienhaus captained a few protest boats in his day. He is particularly excited for the Golden Rule’s voyage. “You know those first four guys and Albert Bigelow, their skipper, they had principles,” Nienhaus says. “We need that again. We need people to be responsible.” Nienhaus is opposed to the military industrial complex. He’s also anti-corporate America. “You look around the world and responsibility is in short supply. People just want to pad their wallets. That’s not America. At least, not the America I want,” says Nienhaus. “That’s not the world I want for my grandchildren and I guess that’s what sparked my involvement with the Golden Rule.”
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Unusual weather brings sea creatures to shore by Joanna Quintanilla
bout a dozen small blue jellyfish are floating onto shore .at Moonstone Beach in Trinidad.
Despite their appearance on our shores every few years, not much is known about velella.
“That one’s dead,” Ann Valdes says, who was hanging out at the beach on a summer day with friends. She points to another one of the blue jellyfish. “That one’s dead too.”
“They’re very unique organisms, they’re related to jellyfish,” Tissot explains. “They’re a group of siphonophores. If you think of a jellyfish, it’s like several different types of jellyfish that live together as a colony.”
Those are not really jellyfish. They are velella-- a round, jelly-like animal with tentacles hanging from its bottom and a clear sail on top of its round, blue body. Late last summer, beaches from Southern California to Washington were covered with velella. “I hadn’t seen them for several years,” says Jennifer Savage, the Coastal Programs director at Northcoast Environmental Center. “They used to show up more regularly but its hard to pinpoint exactly what brought so many so late in the year other than we’re having a very unusual year weather-wise anyway.” Savage works with conservation groups monitoring sea life and conducts cleanups on the beach. “I live out in Manila, so I go out to the beach a fair amount,” Savage says. “They were just everywhere. It was pretty stunning.” The velella normally live in colonies in warm ocean water, but heavy storms brought them to our area.
Velella on Mad River Beach Photo by Mike Kelly
“When the winds become strong, especially when they blow towards the shore, it blows these things out from the ocean towards the beaches,” explains Brian Tissot, Director of the Telonicher Marine Laboratory in Trinidad. It is not uncommon to see velella wash up on shore in the spring. “Velella are really beautiful live,” says Gabby Benschop-Castaner, a Humboldt State zoology major who studied the velella at the Telonicher Lab. “It’s pretty weird. It’s like a gelatinous paper when they’re alive, but if you look at the dead ones they’re super papery and kind of raspy.”
Velella grow to be less than three inches long. Their toxic tentacles sting and catch prey but their stings are not strong enough to be harmful to humans. According to Tissot, ocean waters have been growing abnormally warm from the Gulf of Alaska to Southern California. “It has been a really strange year for the ocean,” Tissot says. “One of the most unusual years that we’ve ever studied. It’s kind of a symptom of that, that this washing up of them was a part of that.” In fall, two green sea turtles washed up on the beach near the Telonicher Marine Lab — highly unusual because sea turtles live in the tropics. Like the sea turtles riding the East Australian Current in the movie “Finding Nemo,” velella, squid and other sea animals are following the warm waters closer to shore and farther north. “It’s possible that the number and the timing of all the velella is somehow related to all these other unusual incidents, and there’s maybe a connection with climate change,” Savage says. “Obviously there’s a problem with our ecosystem and I definitely think global warming is a factor and the wind is blowing in different directions,” Benschop-Castaner says. “I think that’s a huge factor as to why the velella came up so late onto shore.” Velella may appear next summer or maybe they will not. It depends on the winds. But for now, we have these photos of the spectacle of the blue jellyfish-like creatures.
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Szechuan Sessions by Ashley Villavicencio
ina Zhao rushes through the swinging kitchen doors as she delivers food to customers at Szechuan Garden. The walls are decorated with red dragons and dangling hot peppers and a sound of a bamboo flute and strings of the pear-shaped pipa pluck in the background. At one table, five Chinese students wait for their dinner. Zhao, the restaurant owner, carries a large tray of food to them — juicy pork dumplings and spicy string beans with vinaigrette. As the business phone that’s hanging from her apron rings, she drops off the plates in time to answer the call. “It’s always busy. People always coming in and out, order food to-go,” Zhao said. Chinese students frequent Szechuan Garden when they are not at school. It is a place where they feel comfortable celebrating their cultural festivals and socializing in their language. Hang Li works at the restaurant as a waiter and cashier. He is from Xi’an, China, and is spending his second and last year at Humboldt State University studying business administration. “Working there is more an experience thing than a making-money thing,” Li said. “And according to my observation, the owner of Szechuan Garden has a really good relationship with students, especially the Chinese students.” She goes by Nina in America but was born as Ligun Zhao in Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in central China, where she grew up with her parents and five sisters. Zhao moved to Nevada in 1998 for 10 years then moved to Los Angeles where her sisters and mother currently reside. There, Zhao met her future husband, Jinging or Jack. Zhao and her husband have no children, but she said maybe someday they will. She spends most of her time working at the Szechuan Garden or her other restaurant Sushi Kyu in Crescent City. Zhao said the relationship with the Chinese students is just business, but she spends time with them outside of the restaurant. 26 | Osprey
“It’s more like a friend relationship instead of an elder who’s taking care of the youth,” said Li. “Because China is more like a collective society, it’s not individual, but people together.” According to Jack, sometimes when students are feeling sick, Zhao delivers soup to them. The couple has gone to students’ houses to play mahjong, a traditional Chinese tile game based on characters and symbols that focuses on memory and observation — similar to the American card game Rummy. Jack shared a story about a Chinese student who returned to China after attending HSU. The student called Zhao and explained that her luggage was lost. After hours of calling airport managers in China and the U.S., Zhao found that the luggage was at a post office in Xi’an. As a way to give thanks, some students offer help around the restaurant, like a student who typed up and printed the menus for free, or cook her dinner, Zhao mentioned. Marylyn Paik-Nicely, director of HSU’s Multicultural Center, organizes cultural events on and around campus. She and Zhao organized the Lunar New Year with at least 35 Chinese and Asian Pacific Islander exchange students. “It was in February sometime,” Nicely said. “When I asked the students if we should get food from a Chinese restaurant in Eureka.” The Chinese students told Paik-Nicely that Szechuan Garden had taken over the Hunan Village. They would collectively tell her, “It’s the best. We go there all the time.” “It was really the students who had found the restaurant. I went and met Nina. She was so helpful. She just really understood what the students wanted,” she said. Over time, Zhao developed closer relationships with the local Chinese students as they kept going to her restaurant. A lot of the Chinese students come from Xi’an International Studies University to the U.S. for the two-plus-two program; two years in China and two years in Humboldt. Admission into the U.S. grants them a new educational experience and
a chance to exercise their freedom. The students can access Facebook and YouTube with no problems. They can say anything they want publicly, because unlike China, there aren’t as many restrictions in the U.S. “Mainland China is more like, everything is under control,” Li said. “It should be my right to decide what is good or bad for me. It’s my right. 40 years ago China is close to North Korea. But now it’s more like the mix between North Korea and America.”
if they want to find a job because that’s the only place who take Chinese kids to have job.’” Yimo Wang has eaten at Szechuan Garden four times since she came to the U.S. in the fall. “Nina talks to us each time when we go to the restaurant,” Wang said. “It’s just pleasant talk, like ‘What do you think of the food? Do you need more?’ She is very friendly and nice to us.”
Many of the Chinese students depend on each other for comfort during their time away from home. Aside from the culture shock of moving to California, there is a financial struggle. Li’s parents pay for his tuition, books, travel and living expenses.
Wang attends HSU because she wants to improve her English and learn about American culture.
“I feel kind of guilty. And you know what? It doesn’t hurt anyone’s interest, that’s how I see it — like if I work here,” he said.
Zhao has done something incredibly impactful at her restaurant. She has essentially made Szechuan Garden a place for students to feel welcomed in an environment similar to the one they are used to in China.
Li is reluctant to say how much he earns under-the-table but hints it’s enough to pay expenses.
“They are in different countries. Everything they do themselves,” Zhao said. “Sometimes it’s very hard — lonely too. China and America is totally different, culture is different too. We help all the students.”
Owner of Szechuan Garden, Nina Zhao, poses for a quick shot. Photo by Ashley Villavicencio
“Before I came here, my friend here told me there is a place where you can work,” Li said. “He said, ‘there’s a Chinese restaurant, you can go there. All the Chinese kids go there
“Another reason is that it’s a chance to open my eyes,” Wang said.
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Rancheras y Recuerdos El Mariachi Real de Mexico... in Humboldt by Shareen McFall
alf of Juan Cortes’ face was painted white like a calavera as he entered Rita’s restaurant in Arcata. Holding his guitarron to his stomach Juan guided behind him el mariachi. The trumpets blared, the strings of the violins vibrated and the guitarist and vihuela strummed away to the song, Cielito Lindo: De la Sierra Morena, Cielito lindo, vienen bajando It was Día de los Muertos. “Thanks for the applause and don’t forget to leave a tip in the jar,” Juan said. The restaurant was crowded and smelled of chips and salsa. The band stood by the entrance of the kitchen and as they performed the servers were constantly clashing into them, it looked like a cha cha with two left feet. “It’s a disgrace that the mariachi is not as well respected,” said Juan. “The mariachi is used for celebrations but we only play while people are eating, we don’t really play for dance parties and it seems like people respect us less because of it.” After each song the crowd looked up from their plates and gave an applause until the band made a mistake. Mario Galvez, 25, and Jeronimo Cortes looked at each other and smiled amidst the frustration of being off key. The applause was more reserved. “We were used to having set pieces where everyone knew where to come in,” said Galvez. “We would learn it the right way, I guess, the musical notation way. They learn stuff in a different way, they just hear it and then play it. It’s not as technical, but its still almost the same thing.” Only a step away from a customer who sat consuming his burrito stood Hector Cortes, his salt and pepper hair revealed he was the oldest from the group. After two songs Hector put down his trumpet and picked up a violin.
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Hector, 65, is the founder of the band, El Mariachi Real de Mexico. During the summer Hector had a stroke. He was on the second floor of his apartment building and on his way down the stairs, it happened. While unconscious from the fall he was taken to the hospital and then airlifted to Santa Rosa. The doctors told Hector to not play the trumpet for at least two months. “With the trumpet you make force with this,” Hector said pointing at his head. “I felt lightheaded and I couldn’t play but since I know how to play the violin I picked it up and continued playing with it.” His first attempt at forming a mariachi band in the United States was in 1998, when Hector moved to Humboldt County from Mexico. He tried forming a band with family members that would commute from Bakersfield and Santa Rosa, but it was not successful. “Here my father always suffered because there weren’t enough musicians and so he encouraged us to learn how to play so we could help him,” said Jeronimo who plays the vihuela. Rufino Cortes, 50, is Hector’s younger brother. Both their father and grandfather were part of mariachi bands in Mexico but Rufino believes the death of his father was what really pushed him to learn mariachi. “I think that my childhood pushed me to be a mariachi because I became an orphan, so to speak, at a young age,” said Rufino. “I began to notice that living in poverty was very tough and all my brothers were already mariachis.” Following his brothers footsteps at the age of 13 Rufino moved to Garibaldi, Mexico. “There my brother had a group called El Mariachi Rancho Alegre,” Rufino said. The Mariachi Rancho Alegre was also a family band composed of uncles that would teach them how to perform. Hector performed with the group for many years before he
Hector Cortes, trumpet player and founder of the band waiting to perform at a birthday party in Eureka. Photo by Shareen McFall
moved to the United States. In 2012, El Mariachi Real De Mexico was in business with its first performance on Cinco de Mayo in Ferndale. “We walked down the main street and played at the same time and we also played at the party hall, it was a very beautiful occasion in Ferndale,” said Rufino. The band originally included only family members, until recently when they added Galvez and Gladys Arechiga. “Any musician who plays with us is part of the family,” said Armando. “We understand each other and I think we treat them like family.” When Armando was younger his father Hector paid for him to learn mariachi in Mexico. Armando, 38, is the eldest brother and the only one who
had formal training in mariachi music until Arechiga and Galvez joined the group. “They are musicians who are a little more experienced than we are,” Armando said. “They used to play a lot of classical music but in Humboldt we play a lot of rancheras and that is where we get confused a little because they know many beautiful songs but we have to please the audience and play a different type of music.” When Arechiga lived in Southern Calif. she learned how to play mariachi and much like the Cortes family the musical tradition has been a huge part of her family. “My great grandpa was a violinist, in Cocula, Mexico,” said Arechiga. “He was one of the first mariachis out there.” In the book “Origen e Historia del Mariachi,” Hermes Rafael mentions the town of Cocula in the state of Jalisco, Mexico as the birthplace of mariachi. Fall 2014 | 29
In spring of 2014 Arechiga, 25, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from Humboldt State. As a student in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Arechiga could recall how different HSU was in terms of diversity back in 2007. “I remember my first year, pretty much everyone that was a minority was in EOP,” said Arechiga. “You pretty much knew all the minorities even if they were older and about to graduate you knew who they were and as the years passed by you could definitely tell there was more minorities, it changed a lot.” In May of 2006, prior to Arechiga’s freshman year in college The Diversity Plan Action Council released its first report. “The DPAC was created to address issues of diversity on campus,” said Radha Webley, Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion . “It eventually helped with the formation of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.”
One of DPAC’s top priorities was to increase the recruitment of students of color. In the most recent Diversity Report, in 2013, Latino students accounted for 36 percent of incoming freshmen. The change in demographics was obvious for music professor Karen Davy who decided to adapt the curriculum in her Chamber Music class because of her students. “They were all of Latino decent and I had just been studying a lot about our first generation students here and the importance of feeling connected to cultural roots,” said Davy. “I pulled out some mariachi music one day and I think one of them was kind of home sick too, so I wanted to sort of boost up their self esteem a little bit and it took off, they loved it.” The class which began with about four students grew as they invited their friends to join. They even performed for an audience twice during the semester. “It was so successful and I would love to do something like
The bride and groom arriving to the old dairy mill in Eureka being greeted by the mariachi, Gladys playing the violin as they kiss. Photo by Shareen McFall
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that again under a more formal music department ensemble because of its popularity and the great joy that it gave the audience and to the students,” Davy said. After teaching mariachi in her chamber music class Davy tried forming a mariachi club but was unsuccessful because the student who was helping her graduated. Davy expressed how she did not know much about mariachi history prior to teaching the class but learned from research and her students who were willing to share their tradition. “Gladys wasn’t actually in the group but we talked a lot about it and had heard that around that time, I don’t know if they are called the Humboldt Mariachi group or whatever was looking for a member,” said Davy. “I remember talking to her about that and saying, ‘Gladys maybe you should look into this,’ because it seemed to be very important in her life.” Mariachi music was a way to connect Arechiga to her culture. For her senior recital she was adamant on having a mariachi performance and her boyfriend Galvez, a business major at HSU, helped her search for a band. “I didn’t know that there was a mariachi here, but we started calling the local restaurants and they all directed us to the same group,” Arechiga said. El Mariachi Real de Mexico helped Arechiga with her recital and three months later they were asked to join the group.
For Armando the most valuable thing sacrificed is his time with loved ones. “The event is never the same without my father and I know that one day he will leave us but we never thought we would perform at an event without him,” said Armando. “Something was missing and from my point of view I was only playing because we had an obligation to the client but I wasn’t fully there, I was not happy. My father was in the hospital.” During the drive to Juan’s house Galvez pointed to the McDonalds in Eureka where he works. “At one point everyone in the band worked at McDonalds,” Galvez said. When Galvez and Arechiga arrived at Juan’s apartment where they practice Juan and his son Oliver Cortes, 5, came running around the corner of the building and opened the door. Once inside everyone made themselves at home in the living room. “You should go get your guitar and show it to Gladys,” Juan told Oliver. Oliver ran into his room and returned with a toy guitar he is using to practice mariachi music.
Arechiga, 25, and Galvez drive to Fortuna from Arcata to practice with the band weekly.
Gladys sat on one of the plush couches which takes up most of the space in the living room. In the center of the room is a circular glass table and against the wall is a stand holding a television and hidden behind it are miniature wooden figurines of mariachis.
“People think we charge a lot but in reality we don’t make that much, you waste time practicing at least three hours twice a week,” said Juan.“Those hours, no one pays you for them.”
On the main wall of Juan’s living room next to a 12 inch statue of Jesus on the cross hangs the portrait of the mariachi band that was formed four years ago. Two family members in the picture are no longer in the band.
The band charges $350 per hour and divided by seven people it is $50 an hour.
“The one who played the violin got a job which did not allow him to continue with us, the other member, one of my nephews, became an alcoholic and is now in rehabilitation,” Rufino said.
Juan mentioned how although it may seem like a lot of money in order to provided quality music they must practice, spend in gas and commute. Rufino drives his minivan to the events because it is difficult for him to meet up and carpool with the the others. “Sometimes we have to drive all the way to Crescent City,” said Rufino. “We spend $120 in gas or even $140 and sometimes $150 depending on the distance.”
The members formed a circle as best they could. Some pulled up chairs from the kitchen table and they sat sandwiched in the living room. The first song they practiced was one they had trouble with at a retirement party the weekend before, the song Guantanamera:
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera Fall 2014 | 31
Left to right: Juan Cortes playing the gitaron, Jeron imo Cortes on the vihuela and Mario Galvez playing the guitar while performing at a birthday party in Fortuna. Photo by Shareen McFall
Everyone listened to each other as they tried to learn the notes for the song. “Do, Re, Fa,” Mario told Juan as they plucked the chords on the guitarron. In the background as the group practiced, Oliver and his cousin Jonathan Cortes were playing with a soccer ball in the kitchen. Jonathan, 8, is Jeronimo’s youngest son and currently learning how to play the violin. Jeronimo, 36, the middle son said that he and his brothers were stubborn when they were younger and did not want to play mariachi. “The reasons why I am now making sure my children learn how to play mariachi music is because I don’t want them to later regret not learning as I did,” Jeronimo said. Armando and his uncle Rufino Cortes are the only members who are unable to practice with the band. “I come out very late from work and also I feel like I already know how to perform the music so when I can attend practice I do and when I can’t I don’t,” said Rufino. “For them to be at the same level as me they must study more.”
“Here you pretty much play whatever the crowd asks,” Arechiga said. “For example even if I don’t know a song, we play it and I have to come up with the music right there on the spot, and it’s extremely difficult.” On Sept. 20 the band performed at two events in Eureka. The first was a boda and the second was a retirement party where no one spoke Spanish. “When people who understand spanish are present there is a greater chance they know about mariachi music and you know that they will request more songs,” said Jeronimo. “For people who don’t understand spanish we play songs we know that they will like, with different rhythms.” When Arechiga and Galvez arrived to the Sacred Heart Church in Eureka the Cortes’ were already in the parking lot. They were tuning their instruments. As they waited outside for the ceremony to begin they joked about how everyone in the band was chubby and how their pants and jackets were too tight. “I’m actually supposed to wear a skirt as part of the uniform but it doesn’t fit so I wear pants now,” said Arechiga. “ Jeronimo was changing in the car as Juan tossed Galvez a bow tie.
The practice session came to an end. The room radiated body heat, humidity fogged the kitchen windows and everybody wiped pearls of sweat off their brow. Arechiga and Galvez packed their instruments, said their goodbyes and headed back to Arcata.
“A charro suit is just the suit that a mariachi uses, it is the pants with the decorations on the side, with the buttons as decorations, and then it has a vest with the coat on top and then you have your bow,” Galvez said.
When Arechiga and Galvez agreed to join the band they were ill-prepared for the learning curve.
The mosaic stained glass in the church shone an array of colors as the wedding ceremony began.
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“Good afternoon I invite you to prepare for the celebration, I ask that all those present who have a cell phone to turn it off at this moment so it wont interfere with the ceremony, also if there is anyone chewing gum can you please throw it out now so we can continue with the mass. I Invite you please stand because we are about to start our celebration,” Father David Galeana said. The music intertwined seamlessly into the ceremony. The priest would speak then they would play a song, El Ángel del Cielo:
El ángel del cielo anunció a María que Dios la escogía. Toda la tierra callaba porque un lirio florecía. After the bride and groom tied the knot before their God each Cortes made the sign of the cross before leaving the church. “There are some mass services where the people from the party pay us but there are also services where we volunteer our time. We do it because it makes us happy and to serve God and thank him for the work and health he provides us with,” Jeronimo said. Although Jeronimo and his family express a strong connection to the Catholic religion and recite the prayers during the service, Arechiga does not feel the same way because she is not Catholic. “I see my fellow mariachi players, they follow along with the mass and they know what is going on,” said Arechiga. “Since its not what I believe in I feel disrespectful if I just do it without knowing why I’m doing it.” The band met in the church parking lot after the ceremony and as they put their instruments away Juan received a call. “Bueno?” said Juan as he answered the phone. The call was from a friend asking if they could perform in Eureka on Oct. 3.
The mariachi performed for an hour at the reception and greeted the bride and groom with, Gema:
Tú Como piedra preciosa Como divina joya Valiosa de verdad A few minutes after the newlyweds walked in the mariachi was out the door and moving onto the next gig, a retirement party. “Oh shit. Don’t tell me it’s over there, it’s a bunch of white people,” Galvez said as they drove past an outdoor gathering. It was there. When it comes to performing Galvez and his peers believe that they are providing the same quality of music no matter who the audience is. “When someone doesn’t really understand the music you are just there as a show,” Galvez said. The demeanor of the mariachi was offbeat as they walked out of their car and towards the party. A group called The Tumbleweeds was playing their last song, the banjo hit a final note and they were done, it was the mariachi’s turn to perform. After they were greeted, told to set-up anywhere, they performed La Bamba:
Para bailar La Bamba, Para bailar La Bamba Se necessita una poca de gracia, Una poca de gracia Para mi, para ti, ay arriba, ay arriba
“100 dollars is fine or any amount you can afford,” Juan told his friend over the phone.
The band members interacted with one another speaking only in spanish, nothing out of the norm but it left Juan to interact with the public on his own since he was the only Cortes present who spoke english.
The wedding reception was in an old dairy mill. It was decorated in purple, white and cheetah print. When the mariachi arrived the people in the kitchen told them that if they wanted anything to eat or drink to let them know.
“You can’t express yourself therefore you can’t express the music well because you can’t interact with the whole crowd and for it to be a good event you need to bring the people into the party by interacting with them,” Juan said. Fall 2014 | 33
Someone in the audience screamed, imitating a mariachi shout, or at least they tried.
because my children and my children’s children will come here,” Hector said.
Although no one from the band mentioned being treated as less when performing for an all white audience they still were reluctant when interacting with the crowd at the retirement party as if tiptoeing around trying not to make a scene and playing what they believed the audience wanted.
Whether or not Hectors prediction of Humboldt County is true one thing is certain, mariachi music can be appreciated no matter who the audience is.
It was Claire’s retirement party and as she danced with her friend their arms were flailing about, her friend asked where she found them. Mariachi groups are hard to come by in Humboldt County unlike Southern Calif. “There is more competition down there than up here. We don’t really have any. That makes it harder down south to find jobs and gigs and when we do they are not as big as they are here,” Arechiga said. Although El Mariachi Real de Mexico is the first mariachi they are not the only one in Humboldt County. “One of the guys that works with them is the cousin of my wife,” Juan said. Hector can remember a time when there were not very many Latinos in Humboldt County. Being part of the first mariachi in Humboldt makes him feel glad because he is playing a big role in bringing Mexican culture to Humboldt. “Although Humboldt County is changing slower than the rest of California, the Latino population is increasing and we know this because most of our students at HSU are from California and as it changes our student demographics change as well,” said Radha. The United States Census Bureau states Latinos account for 10.5 percent of the population in Humboldt County. For many like Francisco Rivas, the brother of the groom, it is difficult living in Humboldt County because it is so far from home. “It feels very good to have a mariachi because it allows us to remember our Mexican heritage,” Rivas said.
“Because it is the music itself, everyone now a days listens to music in different languages anyway because we are so global now,” Davy said. “Music is one of those inexplicable forces within our lives that creates bonds which bring up feelings and associations with very deep and important issues within our lives.” Although Davy believes music can be global Galvez’s parents were initially confused on why he wanted to learn mariachi. Galvez is not Mexican. His family is from El Salvador, a country in Central America where mariachi is not part of the tradition. “I would say I’m not prideful of mariachi music however I do enjoy performing and experiencing all the benefits that mariachi music brings,” said Galvez. “My parents never played mariachi music or anything of that sort at home compared to my friends that is all that they played in their house.” Galvez and Arechiga are a couple, Arechiga is the only woman to have ever been part of the band. “There are a lot of women playing but it’s kind of hard, Gladys is here because Mario is here you know,” said Juan. “In the parties many times there are drunk people but I’ve noticed that many women have formed groups of only women and although it is rare to see a woman in a group with all men it does happen.” In the Cortes family, only the young boys are learning how to play an instrument. “Mariachi is more like a boy thing, I know that there a lot of girl mariachis and all that but, I don’t know, the boys are always in music,” Juan said. Armando mentioned he has encouraged his daughters to learn but they do not want to. Rufino said his daughter was interested in learning the trumpet and he bought her one but she has been so busy with school she hasn’t had time to learn.
Keeping the tradition alive is the key. “I think that in a few years Humboldt will be like Mexico 34 | Osprey
“None of the ladies want to learn, I asked them ‘if some of you want to learn’ and they say, ‘no not now,’ but if there is
any girl that wants to learn we can teach them,” Juan said. Although Juan believes that the party starts when the mariachi walks in there are also events that are less like a party. “A couple of times we have gone to a birthday earlier and we have to go to a funeral later and then we have to go to another birthday later,” said Juan. “At one party you have to be happy and joking and at the next party you have to be serious because there are a bunch of people crying...and sometimes its hard.” Having to change your mood depending on the event can be difficult but there are also events that are dear to their hearts. Recently Juan’s uncle, Lorenzo Ruiz, passed away
and there were hundreds of mariachis who performed and attended in his honor. “We felt bad because it was our family member but happy because all those people went to acknowledge him and mariachi. It was the way he wanted it,” Juan said. Teaching the younger generation is a way of keeping the mariachi alive. “Right now I’m happy because I have my sons playing with me, and I will be even happier to see a mariachi with all my grandchildren in it,” said Hector. “My thought is that I would die first but the music will never die.”
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Fall 2014 | 35
Life After Basketball Former HSU Superstar Shoots for Degree by Jacob Cheek
randon Sperling dribbles the ball up the court, he sees a lane and drives to the basket for a huge slam dunk to add to HSU’s lead in the conference championship against Chico State. The Jacks beat their rival 89-76 that day in March 2012. Sperling’s dunk was typical of what he would do in every game -- a star basketball player who finished with a game high of 20 points. “What has always stuck in my mind is the image of me and my teammates putting on those championship t-shirts and holding up the championship banner,” Sperling said. Brandon Sperling playing in the Lumberjack arena. Photo by Dan Pambianco
Sperling, 24, was an all-conference player at HSU from 2010 to 2012. He dropped out of school to play professional basketball in Mexico and Colombia. After two years out of the country, he’s back at HSU and ready to get his degree. “I came back to school because I want to coach and possibly teach one day,” Sperling said. “In order to do that I need my degree, and I felt after winning a championship in Colombia this was the best time to return and finish. I don’t want to get to the point where I keep playing and playing and I get to 28 or 30-years-old and I haven’t finished school.” In June, Sperling was playing for the Cimarrones del Choco, who were up by two points against the Guerreros de Bogota with just a few seconds left in the league championship game. The Guerreros had the ball. One of their players attempted a pass and a Cimarrones player stole it mid-air and dribbled until time runs out. Sperling’s team won. “Once the time ran out we stormed the court,” Sperling said. “My teammates and fans were crying. It was a great win for the city.” Sperling helped the Cimarrones win the championship with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. “During my time in Colombia the whole team spoke Spanish except for us Americans,” Sperling said. “The coach would call the plays in Spanish and the two national players who spoke English would translate it to us.”
36 | Osprey
After that game, Sperling realized that he won’t be playing professional basketball for the rest of his life. In the fall, he returned to Humboldt State to earn a degree in Kinesiology. According to the NCAA, graduation rates of all student athletes in Division II schools was 71 percent from 2004 to 2007. Humboldt State’s graduation rate for basketball players from the same time period was 27 percent, higher than the national average, but still low. The NCAA started monitoring student athlete graduates in 1995, and by law, all universities must now report these statistics. Fortunately, Sperling is graduating in spring. Sperling’s former teammates and friends are happy to see him back at HSU.
“I think it’s huge that he came back to finish to finish his degree,” said David Broome, Sperling’s former teammate and good friend.
“I don’t want to get to the point where I keep playing and playing and I get to 28 or 30-years-old and I haven’t finished school.” “I know it had to be a tough decision to take a year off playing professionally to get the degree,” Broome said. “But I think in the long run it’s the right move, especially for life after basketball.” Sperling’s former coaches are impressed at the fact he is able to come back and finish his degree. “We are especially proud of our academic excellence the past four years, and Brandon is a perfect example of our classroom achievements,” Humboldt Basketball Coach Steve Kinder said. When his basketball career is over, Sperling still wants to be involved in the game. “Once I do decide to move on from playing the game, I want to coach basketball,” Sperling said. “I would hope to start from high school varsity and move up through college and hopefully move up to coach professionally. Coaching professionally would be the ultimate goal.” Returning to Humboldt State as a coach isn’t out of the question. “Brandon would be a great addition to our coaching staff at HSU,” Kinder said. “He knows the system, understands our university and is a proven winner.”
second best on his team. “After two years playing for Fresno State he wanted to transfer to HSU,” Kinder said. “He was granted a release from Fresno State and we signed him to a full scholarship.” Sperling was recruited by Kinder, so he was comfortable going to HSU. “Guys I came in with my freshman year were transferring schools or entering the NBA draft,” Sperling said. “I decided at the time I wasn’t sure where the program was going so I decided to make a change. I told Coach Kinder I wanted to come to HSU and I thought it was a good place for me.” Sperling’s new teammates welcomed him. “Playing with Brandon was a lot of fun,” Broome said. “He was a gifted player and also very knowledgeable, so I was able to learn a lot. We competed very hard in the two years he was here. He’s definitely one of my favorite teammates I have had the chance to play with.” Broome says Sperling is a humble guy who led the team by his performance on the court. “Sperling was a great teammate,” Broome said. “He was quiet but still our leader. He said things when they needed to be said but definitely lead by example. No one outworked Sperling.” Sperling continues to be professional and dedicated off the basketball court. He begins his days at six in the morning in the gym shooting jump shots. After that, Sperling heads to work at Danco Builders as an administrative assistant. Once work is over, he heads back to school for classes and studying in the library. “I don’t have too much free time with all the things I have going on,” Sperling said. “Once I do get that free time I just like to relax.”
According to his former teammates and coaches, Sperling was a phenomenal player. At 6 foot 5 inches he is a great ball handler, consistent scorer, tremendous defender and strong leader.
The dream of playing professional basketball remains a short-term goal. Sperling has a different outlook on what his long-term goals would be.
Sperling made an immediate impact coming to HSU leading the Jacks to the CCAA Championship two years in a row. During his senior year he averaged 13 points per game,
“At the end of the day, I just want to make my parents proud and be able to take care of my family,” Sperling said. “But most of all just be happy and live a successful life.”
Fall 2014 | 37
louise.com By Carmen Peña
ith a red plump tomato in her mouth, her hands cuffed behind her back, and a rope tied around her ankles, Louise is being oiled, spiced, then “broiled” by her boyfriend in her Arcata bedroom. “It’s hard to be sexy when you are pretending you are being cooked for dinner,” says Twenty-one-year-old Louise’s real name is Brandi. A male customer is watching Louise on her computer. He paid $75 for her to pretend she was cooked, sliced and served to a table of family and friends. It is the second time this customer requested this scenario. Louise asked us not to use her real full name to protect her from customers who might try to find out where she lives. See, Louise is a cam girl: someone who models over the Internet for money. And she’ll do almost anything, including pretend she is a chunk of meatloaf. “I just do this to help me get by and pay the bills. Plus, it’s fun,” Louise says. In the past eight months, she says she earned $6,000 for modeling live on a webcam, what is now commonly called camming. That money helps supplement her part-time receptionist job at Eureka Salon and Spa.
able stripping and getting intimate with herself on camera for others to see. “There is something about messages from random strangers saying ‘Oh, you’re so pretty,’” says Louise. “And getting like hundreds of them; that’s really satisfying.” In spite of camming for only 10 months, Louise has been interested in working in the porn industry since she was a teen. “When I was in middle school, I was really interested in doing porn,” Louise says. “I think that’s why I was able to do it so quickly because I’ve been attracted to something about this ever since I was younger.” Within arms length, on the edge of her bed, is a box filled with sex toys including butt plugs, dildos and nipple clamps. “A lot of the times people just really want me to slap my boobs with the paddles,” she says. “I have tits out, spanking, just being naked the whole time, nipple clamps, fucking with the dildo in my cunt, anal with the dildo, toe sucking...”
“Automatically people want to be like, ‘Oh, you’re my slut, I’m gonna top you no matter what’ or have the attitude that because they paid me they can do whatever they want to me.”
“Sometimes what I make in a week working my desk job, I can make in a few hours right here at home,” she says.
In addition to her live webcam chats, Louise records homemade videos and does one-on-one Skype sessions. She charges four dollars per minute for a private show and two dollars per minute for a video.
Louise models on KinkLive.com. According to Compete. com, a site that measures Internet traffic, popular cam sites like Livejasmin, Myfreecams, and ImLive get up to 30 million visitors each month.
One customer even paid $30 to see Louise’s boyfriend pluck her pubic hairs.
Clients pay for cam models by purchasing “electronic tokens” that are converted into dollars and deposited into the model’s bank account. Louise casually glides the end of her blood-red lipstick on her lips. She unravels her stockings up to her thighs, adjusts her garter belt and straps on a black lacy bra. Louise says she has developed confidence camming. She feels comfort38 | Osprey
“I think that everyone could be doing exactly what I’m doing. There’s a market for every person,” Louise says. Before she became a cam girl, Louise studied at HSU and majored in Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She was in charge of Kink On Campus in Fall 2013 and put on an event during Campus Dialogue on Race. Studying sexuality, Louise learned about the objectification of women. Now, she sometimes feels a victim of it.
“People think that you have no respect for yourself and that means they can do whatever they want, which isn’t okay,” she says. “It doesn’t really matter if you have respect for yourself or not; people aren’t allowed to be jerks to you.”
“There are some things I don’t want to do because I am transgender,” Max says. “I don’t want people to ask questions. I‘m not ready for that. I’m not comfortable enough with my body yet to be naked in front of a bunch of people.”
Melinda Myers is a psychology instructor at HSU and the owner of Good Relations, a Eureka sex boutique. She says that sex work isn’t the problem, but that women feel like they have to commodify themselves to earn a living.
Louise is an ally to the LGBT community and she makes sure to express that in the industry. She is a God’s Girl, a model for an alternative porn site that is trans-inclusive.
“They do make a lot of money in a short amount of time, but the personal cost is a lot,” Myers says. Most of the time, Louise does not see the face of the customer during a cam session. “Not having to see the person, you can pretty much pretend they don’t exist,” she says. Even so, there are downsides to the work. “Automatically people want to be like, ‘Oh, you’re my slut, I’m gonna top you no matter what’ or have the attitude that because they paid me they can do whatever they want to me,” Louise says. “We still get to set limits. The expectation that we are owned afterwards is really shitty.” Sex work has negative social stigmas. Myers says sex workers do not report sexual assaults because they are afraid they won’t be treated fairly.
Louise logs onto her cam site and waits for her customers. Photo by Carmen Peña
“If we can take the shame away from sex then that’s how we are gonna deal with it. Our society views about sex are the root of the problem,” Myers says.
Louise is comforted by the fact that she does not share the same physical space with her clients. “I’m sure a lot of people feel more comfortable having a computer between them,” Louise says. “They can’t hurt you, they can’t do whatever they want with your body. They can’t overpower you and take control of the situation, which is something a lot of people in porn crave.” On a somber Tuesday evening, Louise logs onto KinkLive and only a handful of members are in her chat room. She is wearing her favorite lacy bra and panties and drinking a concoction of Squirt soda and tequila. She shows off her new nail polish as if the people on the computer screen are friends, not complete strangers. Despite her casual demeanor, Louise prefers to keep her private life separate from her online identity. “Once you’re naked on the Internet one time, it can potentially come back and surface and be seen by people who you don’t necessarily want to be seeing you,” she says. “But once you’ve been naked on the Internet as much as I have it’s not even a chance that might happen; it is going to happen. I’m not going to get punished super bad by the people I know, which is a privilege I have. So, really for me, what would I be afraid of?”
Max Lopez, 28, is Louise’s boyfriend and occasional camming co-star. He is one of her biggest supporters despite knowing hundreds of online strangers see his girlfriend naked. “I think it’s really cool. I don’t feel like I have any right to tell her that she can’t do that,” he says. Max and Louise have been together for over a year. Once in a while, he naturally feels jealous. “Things happen sometimes. There was a nickname used for me that she used for someone in her video, and I don’t know; that made me feel weird,” he says. “I thought that was for me, you know?” Max is transgender. At times his sexuality makes him wary of participating in cam sessions. Fall 2014 | 39
By Jack Castle*
*The author is using a pen name to protect his identity for legal reasons.
he first heavy rainfall of the season hit Arcata on a Wednesday in September. It’s almost 10 a.m. and the local medicinal marijuana dispensary, Humboldt Patient Resource Center, is about to open for the day.
At any given time, the dispensary has anywhere from 10 to 15 patients who are part of the Compassion Program. The focus is towards making these terminally ill patients as comfortable as possible.
The dispensary is located two-blocks from the Arcata Plaza, between J and Sixth Streets. Inside, Bob Marley T-shirts hang on the walls and the day’s display of cured marijuana stretches across the front counter. Inside hides a vast selection of medical relief.
Knowing what is in your medication has great impact on your treatment and what strain is right for you. Patients are given educational resources in order to make informed decisions on the medication they consume. All medication is lab-tested and the results are displayed for patients.
Many people depend on medical marijuana. Many of those dependents are hospice patients.
Testing provides information on potency as well as pesticide information. This allows patients to see which cannabinoids are in the particular strains. By doing so, patients can find the right strain that will help their various ailments. All the testing is done by SC Labs in Santa Cruz.
The Compassion Program is unique to HPRC, according to the dispensary supervisor Bryan Willkomm. The dispensary works closely with patients from the Humboldt Hospice and provides them with medication at little to no cost. “For these people, this is their last line of hope,” Willkomm said.
Jar of joints at Humboldt Patient Resource Center. Photo by Jack Castle | Graphic by Shareen McFall and Jacob Cheek
In every direction, racks of bright green clones, cannabis ready for planting, are neatly placed and accounted for. A pristine stainless-steel refrigerator contains cannabis foods, known more commonly as edibles. Chocolate, cookies, brownies and tinctures all containing medicinal cannabis are stacked in the refrigerator. Shelves are filled with pre-packaged and weighed marijuana labeled with names like Girl Scout Cookies, Master Kush, 101 Headband, Poison OG, Skywalker OG and The Crippler. The smell of pine, skunk, earth, grass, fruit, and citrus fill the room. “We give away 30 to 35 percent of marijuana” Willkomm said. “Fluctuation unfortunately occurs with the passing of some of the ailing patients on the program.” Patients and dispensary owners share a common concern. The size of Humboldt County in combination with rough terrain is a serious problem. Not being able to have access to needed medication could leave a person feeling helpless. Mary Ellen Jerkovich, director of HPRC, imagines participation with city administrators fundamental. “The whole idea of collectives is to take care of patients,” Jerkovich said. “We’re not doing that by shortening the leash of how many we can have. I’m not saying we should have tons either, and I think them putting guidelines together is a good thing.”
Willkomm has a background in banking. This has helped him create a dual computer system linked to the stores inventory. “It’s like setting up that same infrastructure as banks set up around their negotiables, things of value,” Willkomm explained. This system also allows budtenders to verify a patient’s medical marijuana recommendation from their doctor. In addition, the budtenders can better help patients by reviewing what medication a person purchased and what strains were most effective. Knowing the inventory helps prevent some problems that other dispensaries encounter. “At any given time, we are able to pull up what’s in demand of our inventory and we have to be able to plan ahead,” Willkomm said. “That’s where you run into some dispensaries that are always sold out of something for months or weeks. It’s a very intricate balance.” While people with ailments such as cancer, bipolar disorder, depression, and pain use medicinal marijuana as treatment, others will still enjoy marijuana recreationally. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this. Marijuana can also ease the mind and relaxation. Some may view marijuana in a negative way. Despite this, from my personal observations, marijuana is a wonderful treatment for all types of ailments. I would be more concerned with drinking alcohol and how that can severely impair someone. Marijuana on the other hand is beneficial because it helps the ill.
Illustration by Isabella Vanderheiden
Editor’s Note The Osprey has been a Humboldt State student-run publication since 1973.
A new staff forms twice a year to put out one issue per semester. Everyone on staff comes up with, reports and writes their own story. This magazine you hold has a bit of flair from everyone’s personality on staff. What you hold in your hands is a reflection of the staff. Here is a short list of some of the topics covered in this issue: Dank medicine for hospice patients Abundant beached velella No snow Is hypnotherapy BS? Szechuan is delicious Sunken ship rises Otters! Freaky cam-girl Total cost of university We hope you enjoy this magazine even more than we did making it. Special shout out to our faculty advisor Vicky Sama, without her expertise and guidance who knows what the outcome of all this work would look like. And big ups to Lorrie Reyes for helping out with layout ideas.
— N. Hunter Cresswell
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