Page 1


Student-run magazine of Pierce College spring 2014


For more exclusive content, visit us at


his moment is so surreal. Thank you so much for taking the time to pick up the spring issue of The Bull. The making of the magazine has been a journey of ups and downs, late nights and constant self doubt, but my team has been my everything. This is their magazine and I couldn’t be prouder of all the work that they put into finding their stories and having to adapt to things changing. The theme for the magazine is taboos and it came about through wanting to do a very raw magazine. The goal was to tell stories that would start conversations about topics that may make certain readers uncomfortable. In fact, there are some stories in the magazine and on our website - - that make me uncomfortable, and some that I do not agree with, but I gave that freedom to my writers and I dared them to go outside of their own comfort level. While others make me smile and remind me that the magazine is so diverse. I wanted to take a moment and encourage you to read the “My story” articles found throughout the magazine. These handwritten pieces are an inside look at personal taboos that were shared with me. These writers have asked to remain anonymous as they expose themselves to our readers. Your bravery inspires me. It is my desire that you read the magazine with an open mind and share with us what you like and what you don’t like by emailing us at Thank you for supporting the arts <3

Monica Velasquez Editor-in-Chief

Special Thanks: I would like to take this time to thank a few of the people that have made all this possible. Jill Connelly, Jeff Favre and Stefanie Frith for their constant support and encouragement. For always keeping me on my toes and allowing me to make mistakes. Raymond Garcia, for all your help on the website, I’m so blessed that you’re around. Julie Bailey, for always listening and looking out for me and the whole department, I can’t imagine life without you. My previous instructors Sean McDonald, Mitra Hoshiar, Paul-Anthony Quintero, and Blanca Adajian for guiding me. Each one of you has influenced me tremendously whether you know it or not, Thank you. Calvin Alagot, for protecting me when I was reporter, for guiding when I was editor, and for correcting me when you knew better. What can I say, “you da bess.” Carrlyn Bathe, for trusting us with the cover, and withstanding all the pain of that mask. My executive board: Michaia Hernandez, who is my left hand, my right foot, and like a lung. I would not have taken on this project if I didn’t have your full support. Jasson Bautistia, you have a way of seeing the beauty in things, but you speak your mind and make no apologies. Carlos Islas, “Usa Lo” it’s funny how things work out. I smile every time we’re together and I know I can call you friend.


My mom, Tony Son, and Alejandra Leon, Christina Pena, and Gena Schwartz for all your understanding of my passion, I can’t thank you enough and I love you.

Meet the staff of the spring/summer 2014 Bull

The Bull is a supplement of The Roundup

Alternative Nurses

Tim Toton & Kristen Aslanian take on a burgeoning business within a barely legal marijuana culture. Trip out on page 4

Delicate Business

Stacy Ellen & Jasson Bautista show readers how little control a creator has in the entertainment industry. Get the inside scoop on page 10

More than just a Pet

Morgan McNair & Kristen Aslanian explore the question “how much is too much when it comes to puppy love?” Visit the dog park on page 16

Tough Love

Kayla Akil & Kristen Aslanian analyze a mother’s choice to discipline her son with controlled physical force. See her reasoning on page 20

More than Rituals

Kevin Finkelberg & Jasson Bautista take a swing at the superstitions that come along with the great American pasttime. Play ball with them on page 25

Third Eye Wide

More than a heart

Jonathan Andrino shares the story of an inked father, whose daughter sees beyond his tattoos. See their bond on page 7

Generations Apart

Michelle Back & Jonathan Andrino learn what it is like to be in an intergenerational relationship.

Close the gap on page 13

Price of Prescrptions

Raymond Rodriguez & Jonathan Andrino follow a teen who is finding a substitute for pills. Take your daily dose on page 18

Breaking the Barrier

Michel Williams & Jasson Bautista discover what it’s like for an interracial couple dating in the 21st century. Fall in love on page 22

Cherry Lips

Marielle Stober & Kristen Aslanian spend a day with a college student who has mastered the art of high heels. Get dolled up on page 27

Jeffrey Howard & Jonathan Andrino Social Media Outcast cast a spell to reveal what modern day Richie Zamora, Diego Barajas & Jasson witchcraft means to those who practice it. Drink the potion on page 31 Bautista find life outside of the web to explore a world without social media

Sign in on page 34

Michaia Hernandez Managing Editor

Jasson Bautista Photo Editor

Kristen Aslanian

Find your taboo inside...


Maria Salvador Cartoonist

Additional thanks to:

Nelger Carrera, Mohammad Djauhari, Monica Salazar



The U.S. pot economy is

smoking hot

By: T. Toton Photographs by: K. Aslanian


er grass green hair is neatly pulled back, ruby red eyeglasses rest mid-bridge, a medallion with bronze leafy fingers rests atop the opening of a tight pink tank top and light snatching stud crystal earrings sparkle energetically as she talks business. The company is 420 Nurses, a combination of word play off medicinal marijuana and a numerical sequence synonymous with pot since the 1970s. It is a trademarked brand name that provides models, social networking and sales promotion within a quasi-legal industry, said co-founder Vanessa Sahagun. This budding marijuana culture is poised for major growth as nationwide ballot initiatives have given citizens the right to smoke if they have a prescription, to use one ounce or less legally or to only suffer small fines in 32 states—and those users are igniting an economy. “Having it not legal—having it in a taboo manner where if you see cannabis painted on you or you’re


promoting it—it changes the vibe within the room,” said 27-yearold Sahagun, who goes by the alias ChaCha VaVoom. “We keep it very 420—very friendly.” The 420 Nurses website sells numerous items, including a line of clothing, glass pipes, jewelry and health products all based on the cannabis culture. Sahagun said the company makes money through advertising and online sales such as modeling and photography kits for women who wish to promote themselves as 420 Nurses at related events. She said that no booking percentage is taken from models or photographers. “420 Nurses already has that whole network set up where it’s— boom—you’re entering there, you have a dream, you’re going to promote it; it’s going to be seen,” Sahagun said. “There’s chapters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Texas, Arizona, Washington and Colorado. Any business, model or photographer can sign up and start promoting themselves on the site. If you are interested in being a part of the network, you have to get an intern kit ($79.99 $99.99) so you are able to promote with the group.” Grand openings, concerts, festivals and activist events where Sahagun said those with kits gain entry and may promote their services are advertised on the website. “The demand in creating green jobs was my spark,” she said. Vice President Summer “Rain” Pelletier, 19, explains how they promote legal issues. “We were just putting in support for the California Cannabis Hemp initiative,” she said. “A lot of the volunteer work goes hand in hand with the activism that we do in collecting signatures and informing the people.” California Cannabis, the Hemp Act of 2014—the so-called Jack Herer initiative after longtime critic of marijuana laws— strived to legalize all uses of hemp. It did not qualify for a spot on the ballot, according to its official website, In cannabis activist Jack Herer’s 1985 book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” he recounts a conversation he had with a high-ranking officer in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who refused to promote Hemp because of existing laws. “No, not even to save the world. It’s illegal. You can’t use it. Period,” Herer writes of the officer’s reply. There continues to be prominent contemporaries who oppose

(L-R) Model Denielle Montgomery, 20, vice president Summer Pelletier, 19, model Synthia Zavala, 18, president Vanessa Sahagun, 27, and model Andrea Holmes, 20, take a smoke break during a company orientation at Bam Tattoo, Reseda Calif. 420 Nurses promotes marijuana gear and businesses at events in multiple states. Opposite page: Pelletier and Sahagun pose in company gear and show off matching tattoos.

legalization, including California’s Gov. Jerry Brown, who position on banks being used by these dispensaries for financial recently said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he believes too many needs. To me that sounds like a conspiracy with the government. “potheads” will hurt the state’s competitiveness. I don’t know how they can propose to continue to prosecute Legal expert Bruce M. Margolin is an attorney who has criminal cases when the government is in on the deal. The whole successfully argued against punishment of those arrested under thing is so irrational,” Margolin said. what he said he considers foggy marijuana laws for more than 40 “I say [current marijuana law] is irrational and unreasonable, years. He maintains a legal guide on to help users unfair, unjust, and arguably so out of whack that it denies due avoid trouble, according to his process to the public,” Margolin assistant Roseann Boffa. said. “If you act like you’re Margolin founded the Los confused, don’t feel that you’re Angeles Chapter of National naïve or uneducated. It’s Organization of Reform of confusing.” Marijuana Laws (NORML) in 1973, Both Drug Abuse Resistance which supports and sponsors issues Education America’s regional in opposition to the criminalization director for California Scott Vanessa “ChaCha VaVoom” Sahagun of cannabis. Gilliam and the anti-drug non420 Nurses Co-founder “We are not promoting profit’s chief executive officer marijuana here,” he said. “But we Francisco X. Pegueros refused are promoting legalizing herb and The Bull’s repeated requests for ending the criminal sanctions.” an interview, citing business Despite the might of Margolin and the national lobbying travel. strides of NORML, he said his law office has been, and foretold it In an email statement to The Bull, Patricia Rillera, executive will remain, consistently busy. director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Los Though these nouveau growth businesses reach skyward, Angeles and Ventura counties affiliate, replied. traditional support for them, such as banking systems, provide a “MADD does not take a position on marijuana one cloudy climate, even as President Barack Obama’s administration way or the other. Our mission is to stop drunk driving, acquiesce. support the victims of that terrible crime and prevent “[Eric] Holder, our United States attorney general, changed his underage drinking. Any form of impaired driving,

The demand in creating green jobs was my spark.


including medical marijuana or prescription drugs, etc., is a safety issue of increasing public concern. Our focus is on victim services, which we provide to victims of drunk and drugged driving at no cost.” But such legal, moral and political hindrances have not stopped ancillary businesses from blossoming around the contentious female plant. Pelletier expounds their trademark relative to others in the industry and how frustrating it is to have their company efforts fall flat as they strive for legitimacy. “You go to these trade shows and you won’t see that many that really go to the extent of registering the brand and really staying consistent with it,” Pelletier said. “We don’t sell weed. On our online store, you can log on and we sell marketing, we sell our cute little clothes. Even though we don’t deal with anything that is marijuana products, we’re even banned from Paypal. We just sell gear to girls. Being banned limits our ability to market and work with businesses.” Sahagun said the company uses other services such as Square to accept credit cards and has even gone to the effort of offshore banking to keep in business. “I love the USA and really wish I could keep my money here. Because of Paypal I am forced to get another merchant account oversees where I have to do business,” she said. “420 Nurses is affected directly because it’s not legal and we don’t even sell cannabis.” Some critics of the company’s multimedia presence on Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms, which are loaded with scantily-dressed young women smoking or holding nuggets of marijuana, say it’s evidence that the unintended consequences of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, has come true, while sympathizers offer an explanation. Kellina Pelletier, Summer’s stepmother and a past Pierce College student, said she undergoes painful treatments for Lupus and a connective tissue disorder. “I go through chemo. I go through a lot of different things, but I choose no pain pills. I myself use marijuana,” Kellina said. “[Summer] has actually educated me on different things that help me not feel pain. It makes me just relax and not be scrunched up

We are not promoting marijuana here, but we are promoting legalizing the herb. Bruce M. Margolin Attorney

in pain.” Recreational use of marijuana is apparent, and users should become informed on “what’s legal, what’s not legal, what they’re allowed to do and what they’re not,” Summer said. “For a parent it’s a double edged sword. I see what they are doing. I see their advocacy. I see their inner views. I see her researching and everything that she studies,” Kellina said. “They’re young and they’re good looking, and sex sells, so they dress more provocatively to bring attention to their cause.” 420 Nurses empowers women, said Sahagun and Pelletier, to want to improve their appearance, to be more confident, to learn and to write about the issues and bridge the generational gap between older “hippies” and the youthful marijuana culture. “The negativity—of course you put yourself out there and people will judge you no matter what and that’s the reality of it,” Sahagun said. “It’s really how you maintain it and how you manage and how you are going to take it.”

420 Nurses fans and members

by the numbers 102,786 followers on Instagram 30,951 likes on Facebook 23,972 members on 12,300 followers on Twitter 5,162 followers on Youtube


Top: Pelletier and Sahagun smoke bongs at the St. Fatty’s Day Expo in Placentia, Calif. Bottom: 420 Nurse intern Laurel Anne Nance compete at the St. Fatty’s Day Expo Sexiest Girl in Green competition.

More than a heart

on his sleeve Fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s story is more than skin deep


ead to toe, finger tip to finger tipâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;there is no missing the tattoos on Edgar Acevedo. Those tattoos often come with discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices. Where do these stigma arise? Story & Photographs by: J. Andrino

Edgar Acevedo shows off his extensive body art.


You can’t be a bad person when you love your daughter as much as I do. Edgar Acevedo Father

Jose Martinez, a security officer at the Pierce College Sheriff ’s Station, said tattoos were originally used to keep track of slaves in Ancient Greece. Certainly, things have changed. But Acevedo, 27, a native of Van Nuys, Calif., understands that his extreme tattooing means many people may judge him negatively at first glance. A Mexican-American raised in Pacoima, Acevedo grew up an orphan. He was taken in by his great-aunt and uncle. At 15, Acevedo received his first tattoo—an entire back piece. For some years he hid the tattoos, but when he was 18 he stopped hiding the work. His following piece was a tattoo covering most of his neck. “The rest came easy,” he said. “The hard part is the other people—the assumptions they make. I don’t really see any adversities. That’s the thing, I don’t really care what people have to say.” Acevedo embraced traditionalist tattooing and became a body artist. The first tattoo he made was on his brother. After leaving his first job, which he had held onto for five years at Red Zone, a local punkrock store inside the Panorama City Mall, Edgar toiled as a henna artist on the Venice Beach boardwalk along with picking up side gigs. Acevedo was offered an apprenticeship by Rockabilly Ray, where he worked as his apprentice for three years. Rockabilly Ray has been a storied pioneer in the Latinopunk tattooing community. His third year of working at the shop he met a girl, who became the mother to his daughter. “I left the shop when Jazzmine was born,” he said. “I’m an orphan. That was the best day of my life.” Acevedo said he doesn’t care what people think. “Once they hear my voice it all changes,” he said. “Plus you can’t be a bad person when you love your daughter as much as I do.” Long time friend Daniel


Edgar and Jazzmine Acevedo feed the ducks at Balboa Lake on their weekly play date.

Mooney said, “He’s kind of like a pit bull. If you’re nice to him, he’ll be nice back. He’s always been this way.” As a junior in high school, Acevedo pushed to break the stereotype, bypassing his final semester with a 4.1 grade point average. Jazzmine shares her dad’s passion. “She tends to be nicer to people with tattoos than without,” Acevedo said. He rarely adds a new piece to his collection. “Times are rough,” he said. He’s worked as a bodyguard and head of security at former jobs prior to finding his most recent and full-time job as a maintenance mechanic for Moultan Logistics Management. ”I was very fortunate to apply to an agency that got me the job,” he said. “Neither the agency or the company cared.” But Acevedo’s co-workers did have an issue with it. “They first thought that I was a white supremacist,” he said. According to Pierce College Adjunct Professor of Philosophy Paul Hicks, who has several tattoos, more people are accepting of them.

Jazzmine, 4, embraces her father’s lifestyle by showing a rock ’n’ roll hand symbol.

“But there are exceptions and I have to worry about those exceptions.” Hicks said. “I want to offend people in the right way, the way they should be offended.”


By: Anonymous Illustration By: M. Salvador


fter many breakups with people I had absolutely no compatibility with, I was confused about what I wanted—or thought I wanted— when dating someone. As a hopeless romantic, I just wanted everything to feel right. I had started dating this girl and we instantly clicked. She understood me and my strange mannerisms. Her face was the first and last image my eyes focused on for several weeks. We were inseparable from the moment we looked at each other. I didn’t know anything about her, yet I didn’t have any problems because we were always happy together. Everything was going great until her birthday. We were celebrating by clubbing, drinking and smoking. The night was winding down as we walked back to the car holding each other’s hands. She was thanking and kissing me for such a great night on her birthday. We had been dating for several weeks at that point, and she had said that she really wanted to share her birthday with someone special. “I’m so glad I spent my birthday with you. My boyfriend is SO lame and hates going to clubs, drinking and the whole party scene,” she said as she leaned in for another kiss. I was in shock for a few hours until the feeling went away. I mean, all is fair in love and war after all, right? After her birthday, she tried to assure me that she was done with her boyfriend. She said that it had been difficult for her to leave him after so many years, but she was finally able to do it. So I was faced with a dilemma: Could I, in good faith, actually be with someone who lied to me about her previous (or current—I wasn’t even really sure she broke up with him in the first place) boyfriend? Yes, I could. It turns out that it was a lot easier than I had initially thought. I managed to cheat—the ultimate dating taboo—but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong. I was happy; she was happy... why would anyone else’s feelings get in the middle of that? We continued for a couple more weeks until she succumbed to her guilt. I was a living, breathing reminder of her lie. She ended up leaving me for her ex-boyfriend. I was left alone thinking about the taboo that I don’t think should exist. They eventually got engaged. As far as I know, she never told him about me.


creativity is a delicate business

Not everything that sparkles is gold in the land of glitz and glamour


By: S. Ellen Photographs by: J. Bautista


he entertainment business looks glamorous from far away, and walking into a room filled with vintage televisions and TV memorabilia, that seems to be the case. Tucked in the city of Los Angeles, a retired television director and editor works with his brother on their latest project. Surrounded by artifacts not only from their own careers, but even Jackie Kennedy’s Emmy, there’s a sense of Hollywood royalty. Scanning the visual overload of antiques, an unusual piece stands out. It is the first electronic television transmitter. Invented by Philo Farnsworth, it was famously stolen by RCA, which sent a Russian spy to befriend him. The beginning of the modern entertainment business of television started with an unjust act. This piece is so significant to director Phil Savenick and his brother, Jeff, that they are attempting to have it placed in the Museum of Television and Radio. Jeff, a veteran TV editor, started as a homeless Pierce College student after his father died. During his struggle to succeed as a student he kept asking himself, “How am I going to find something I love to do that is going to help me thrive financially?” He does not recall how long he asked this question, but when the answer came to him he was in front of his brother’s editing bay. Jeff Savenick sits in front of a vintage TV playing his Billy Joel Grammy production.


Experimenting with the editing equipment intrigued him, but Jeff admitted that when he told his brother about his interest in the business, Phil’s response was not positive. Jeff lacked the experience to be successful in the industry. Looking for and getting the next project was not easy for Jeff, despite landing gigs with popular shows, including “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami.” “After I wrapped this show, I was out of work for about eight or nine months,” Jeff said. “At this point, I had just had my son and was married, so the pressure was on to find another job. It was at the height of the stock market-real estate crash, and the entertainment business was hit hard.” Jeff sat in front of his brother’s collection of vintage TVs as a project that he edited—Billy Joel’s 1989 performance at the Grammy Awards—played on one of the televisions. Learning to be of service to a company gave Jeff the right frame of mind to eventually get his first directing job on “The Simple Life.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for Film and Video Editors, there is only a 3 percent expected growth in the field in the next decade, not giving much room for the established individuals and even less for the newcomers to the entertainment business. But Jeff is at peace and in the zone of the creative process. “Life is about intrinsic and extrinsic forces,” he said. The editing bay screens show an image of Howard Hughes and the aftermath of him crashing his plane into a building in Beverly Hills. Jeff is working on his latest project, “100 Years of Beverly Hills.” Phil, a TV director and editor for more than 35 years, added, “Mary Pickford was the biggest movie star of her generation, but not many people these days even know her name. Douglas Fairbanks, Pickford’s husband, was the founder of the Beverly Hills we know today.” It’s a hard fact that many people in the entertainment business have to come to terms with being on top at one point, while not even being remembered by the next generation. Hallie Gnatovich, a marriage and family therapist specializing in the entertainment industry, sees her clients struggle with breaking into the entertainment business every day. A former actor from Boston, she found her way into therapy while she pondered the question of how the family dynamic works and how we relate to the situations


Pierce College student Porscha Stephen, 21, works on the set of an upcoming play.

around us. “For actors to be their authentic self is the best gift to their craft and themselves,” Gnatovich said. While there are some actors who do not have a backup plan, and therefore struggle to make it their entire lives, others, like Pierce College student Vani Lamba are practicing practicality. Lamba, 19, said that even though her true passion is makeup, she realizes that having a degree in nursing will always afford her a steady job. So, while taking the class Make-up for Theater, she is also pursuing a degree in nursing. “I know that I will always be able to get a job as a nurse,” Lamba said. Edward Salas, a professor’s assistant in the Theater Department at Pierce, also reflects on the fact that many aspiring acting students try out every season for the semesters production, but few get the roles. Porscha Stephens, a 21-year-old technical theater student, was one of the many who didn’t make the cut this time for the production of “Incorruptible.” “At least I get to audition. When I was in elementary school, because I was shy, they always just gave me the non-speaking roles,” Stephens said. According to the Huffington Post article “Unemployment is a Lifestyle for Actors, and Now Too Many Others,” 90 percent of actors are unemployed. The number of new acting jobs is only expected to increase by 4 percent in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving slim pickings for the experienced actors and the newcomers as well.

The quality of your life will always be equal to the quality of the question you are asking yourself. Jeff Savenick

TV Editor

Stephens’ dream is “to win the lottery, so I can continue to study for the rest of my life.” Until that unlikely day, she “wants to do everything—commercials, television, movies—and from there hope it just takes off.” For Jeff, much of his answers that led to success came from always asking others in the business, “How can I be of service?” He considers himself a facilitator of his boss’ creative ideas. “Life is about balance, and the quality of your life will always be equal to the quality of the questions you are asking yourself,” Jeff said. By going with the flow instead of resisting it, the onetime homeless student turned TV editor found his true passion, and success followed.


A P A R T Age not an issue for one couple By: M. Back Photographs by: J. Andrino

Don Bachardy sits in front of his favorite painting of his late partner, Chris Isherwood.



Flipping through pages of sketches, Don Bachardy holds up a drawing of his late partner, Chris Isherwood.

he Santa Monica home that overlooks the place where Don Bachardy and Chris Isherwood first met is filled with an array of color, drawings, sculptures and paintings—55 years of art accumulated in Bachardy’s brightly-lit home. Little clay reminders of his life sit on glossy white shelves.

Had it not been for Bachardy’s older brother Ted, he would have never met Isherwood. At that time, Bachardy said, he was 16 at the oldest, and Isherwood would have been 46. Ted would always make sure Bachardy accompanied him to the beach every weekend. It would take them two hours to get from their home in Glendale to Santa Monica using public transportation. Ted always wanted to walk north up the beach, and although Bachardy didn’t know the reason, he soon learned Ted’s intentions. “I soon found out it was the queer beach, and all the guys were waiting for Ted. I assumed it was because he was very beautiful.” One of the men that happened to be waiting there for Ted was Isherwood. Today’s society differs from society 60 years ago in many ways, which has changed relationships. Age differences of 10 years is becoming well established. There is no longer a five-year constriction between couples. Although a 10-year age gap is making its way to become normal, 30 years is still widely seen as unacceptable. Bachardy had always felt attracted to older men. “I always gravitated to people older than my age, which I think is a sign of intelligence. One not wanting people like me, but older people who could probably


teach me something, and oh boy, did he,” Bachardy said. “Chris had this great charm. That charm was turned on to the maximum strength, and it was irresistible. He was interesting and so witty and funny.” As each year passed, the relationship grew and flourished. Although the age gap required a higher maturity level from Bachardy, patience was also necessary from Isherwood. “He put up with all kinds of difficult behavior from me. He educated me and nurtured me. He was my home, and he was everything to me,” Bachardy said. Isherwood being a year older than Bachardy’s father was only one issue brought to the family’s dinner table. “My father refused to meet Chris for 15 years. He thought he was supposed to disapprove. It was a hard time, especially for queer young men. I would go to dinner with my parents by myself, and Chris was not even to be mentioned,” Bachardy said. After writing “The Berlin Stories,” which inspired the musical Cabaret in 1972, Isherwood’s work was recognized on a higher level and reached a much larger audience. The attention and fame that wrapped around Isherwood’s life was only another obstacle that had to be conquered within their relationship. A large age difference in a relationship might sound intimidating, even forbidden for some, particularly in a time

when society was much less accepting of these things. For Bachardy and Isherwood, not being taken seriously, and the condescending views that came from the public surrounding them only motivated them to continue their relationship. “The concept of what age means in our society is changing very rapidly,” said Ian Alger, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Age gaps, as well as ethnicity, cultural backgrounds and family values are all included in relationships one way or another. The reason why some are seen as more unusual than others is still being answered. David Buss, a psychology professor, researched various topics within relationships. One of the topics Buss researched was age gaps in relationships. Buss surveyed 37 cultures from six different continents and found that in every culture men preferred to marry younger women and women preferred to marry older men. According to, “Buss collected actual age differences at marriage for 27 of the 37 cultures, and across the board men normally married women who were younger than themselves.” A person is no longer defined by their age. Maturity levels are being closely examined by the people of today. Attitude and status is seen as more relevant to finding a mate than age is. Elizabeth Velasquez, 22, a third year biology major at College of the Canyons, strongly believes in the success rate that can be found in intergenerational dating. “At first, I would say to myself that’s gross, or I could never date someone five years older than me, but when it happened everything just sort of fell into place, and it was the most perfect relationship I have ever had,” Velasquez said. After four serious relationships and dating more people than she can remember, Velasquez’s current relationship with Oliver Romero has lasted three years. Velasquez believes the age difference between them has been a motivating force for her to become successful. Her fiance, who is 22 years older than she is, has found prosperity in managing and owning businesses, and will continue to be a stimulant for Velasquez’s educational future. “When I look at Liz, I don’t see a little girl. I see a young woman I can laugh with and relate to. If I can help motivate her, that’s enough for me,” Romero said. As for Bachardy and Isherwood, public acceptance was not something that came

Bachardy looks at an old sketch he did of Isherwood.

easy, but love for each other did. “He never gave up on me, as mean and nasty as I could be when I was young and silly, he always understood and always made me know that I mattered to him more than anyone else. I knew I could rely on him, and that he was always there for me,” Bachardy said. Having that kind of support in his life influenced Bachardy to further express his artistic abilities. Because he had someone older in his life pushing him—similarly to Velasquez—he was able to become a successful artist. According to Bachardy, Isherwood was the most important influence in his life. “With every success that I had he was so delighted. That was reassurance to him. He said he couldn’t have been prouder of me if I had been his own son,” Bachardy said. After 33 years of being together, Bachardy believes the last 10 years were the best because they could function as equals. “By then I was older, I had established my own identity, I was a professional, I had all kinds of satisfactions, and I had all kinds of wonderful reviews of my work in newspapers and magazines,” Bachardy said. To help him cope with his lover’s death, Bachardy drew Isherwood for the last six months of his life. “I even drew his corpse. I did 11 drawings of his corpse in the bedroom,” he said. Drawings from that point are now

A framed copy of a documentary movie poster starring Bachardy and Isherwood is prominently displayed.

carefully stored in his art studio outside of his beach view home. Memories and illustrations are what Bachardy has left of his once beloved partner. Bachardy believed he owed it to Isherwood to prosper. “I had to return this trust in me and by being as successful as I could and loving him as much as he loved me, what better success story can there be?” he said.



Two dogs share a stroller at Woodley Dog Park after competing in an agility competition. Photo: K. Aslanian


By: M. Mcnair

More than just a pet?


Two pet owners adopt different practices when taking care of their dogs

woman carefully puts a red American Apparel sweater around her black cocker spaniel poodle mix and grabs a Perrier bottle from her refrigerator for her dog before leaving for the park. She secures a harness to ensure his safety and then lets him run around and adventure through the fresh cut green grass and large magnolia trees, sniffing the crisp air. Jillian Zale, 29, feels a connection to her dog Simon that other people would find excessive because she buys him the best food and clothes. She, on the other hand, thinks it’s normal. Dogs are becoming more important as family members, almost like children. There are owners who consider themselves to be pet parents rather than pet owners. “He eats better than most of us. He eats the most expensive food that’s all organic, no by-products. It even has craisins in it and dried apple pieces. It looks delicious. And we also mix it with wet food. If he does not get the wet food on the dry food, he will not eat it,” Zale said. Zale also finds joy in putting certain pieces of clothing on Simon, such as a tie, or an accessory for a special occasion. “I want to get him a little tuxedo tie collar for my sister’s wedding, because I thought that would be so cute. That would be his little tux. And I got a sweatshirt for Simon from American Apparel,” she said. According to a 2011 study published by the American Psychological Association, owning a dog improves the well-being of people, and it can serve as an important source of social and emotional support for people from all walks of life. Psychologists at Miami University and Saint Louis University also found through a series of experiments that dog owners “had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.” In contrast to Zale, Adriano Bertolotti, 63, is a business owner and father who has been a dog owner most of his life. He does not view his dog in the same manner. Currently, he and his wife have a 2-year-old white Labrador named Bailey. Bertolotti was born and raised on a farm in Italy, and he quickly realized the difference between livestock and a pet. “A pet is different from an animal because you establish an emotional, personal relationship with it. You can still care for livestock, but you don’t do any more than that because you know you’re going to eat it,” Bertolotti said. From food to toys, Bertolotti finds Bailey easy to take care of; he enjoys having her around, and he never dresses her. “I used to buy her expensive toys, which she would tear apart in a matter of minutes. But now we go out for walks and I’ll find random sticks which

Jillian Zale, 29, enjoys the company of her black cocker spaniel poodle Simon at a local park. Photo: M. McNair

Adriano Bertolotti, 63, plays with his 2-year-old white labrador Bailey in his backyard. Photo: M. McNair

will last a lot longer, and she really loves those,” he said. expected to get over it, go back to school, back to work, ‘What Bertolotti says that Bailey is lovable, sweet and has endless are you blubbering about, it’s just a dog.’ But I think in the ‘90s, energy. Buying her the cheapest Costco food in bulk, he does not and nowadays, pet loss, and the understanding of the relationship see the point in feeding her organic food. between a pet and an owner, has grown tremendously,” White “I think more so today than when I was growing up, people said. treat their dogs like a child,” Bertolotti said. She believes that it is all about people’s individual opinion and According to a study from, scientists that society has segregated into owners that think it is acceptable at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna have found and others that do not. that the bond between dogs and their owners shares striking “I don’t think that people who baby their dog care about what similarities to the relationship between human parents and their other people think, because there is a large enough segment of the children. population that see where they’re coming from and do the same The study terms it Secure Base thing,” White said. Effect, which is a fundamental part of According to a study from parent-child bonding. Human infants, a recently stipulated view their caregivers as a secure base idea is the one that dogs are able when it comes to gaining confidence to emotionally relate to people I do believe that dogs can be a for interacting with the environment through what seem to be humansubstitute for children. inside and outside the home. like visual cues. Until now, Secure Base Effect had Dogs trigger a biological Elizabeth White not been thoroughly examined in dogs reaction in humans. Director, Pierce College RVT program and their owners. More specifically, when dogs “The Vienna study provides the first gaze upon their owner, people have evidence of the similarity between the shown increased levels of oxytocin, Secure Base Effect found in dog-owner a hormone more popularly known bonds as it parallels child-caregiver as the love hormone. relationships,” the report concluded. The research discovered that “the most important role of this Elizabeth White, the Pierce College Registered Veterinary hormone is that it creates emotional bonds and facilitates the Technology Program director, has been practicing since the 1970s. development of trust, decreases levels of fear, and it facilitates She believes that it has nothing to do with age, but the needs of the social recognition in human beings.” individual person. The fact that humans release this hormone while interacting “I do believe that dogs can be a substitute for children. I with their dogs is a huge finding with biological implications in the don’t think it has anything to do with age, I think it’s need. I role of determining not only the significance of the relationship think everybody has needs throughout their entire life, so that between the two, but also for understanding what medical and relationship is created based on the need that they are facing at psychological effects can be induced through this bond. that time,” White said. “It really comes down to personal opinions about the best way White believes that society’s opinion has changed in recent to treat a dog, and the individuals’ actual connection and bond years about whether it is healthy or not to “baby” your dog. that they have to the animal,” White said. “Many people “I think actually it is more widely accepted. In the ‘70s and have an opinion about whether or not it is OK to treat even the early ‘80s, it was not accepted at all. It was totally frowned your dog like a child; however, it comes down to what upon. If a dog was euthanized, a child and even an adult were makes the dog and the person happy.”


Aaron Isaac, a 22-year-old student from University of California, Los Angeles, stands in front of a board with an inspirational quote written on it. Isaac has Inattentive Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The price of prescriptions

When the side effects are more dangerous than the diagnosis


By: R. Rodriguez Photographs by: J. Bautista

child is born and parents hope for perfection. There’s no concern for a while, but as the child grows, problems arise. A diagnosis comes—Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Medication helps the issue, but the question becomes, do you stay on meds when you get older? It’s the choice facing those suffering whether or not to take it. That is the case for Aaron


Nobody is normal. Aaron Isaac Student

Isaac, a 22-year-old University of California, Los Angeles student who is living with inattentive ADHD. “ADHD is negative to me because it’s hard for me to focus. I get distracted a lot,” said Isaac, who was diagnosed with the disorder at the age of 7. “I’m struggling in life with ADHD. It’s hard for me to get my

school work done.” When Isaac found out he had ADHD he didn’t fully understand what it meant. But at 16 he was re-diagnosed. “It was strange but kind of expected,” he said. Isaac sees a therapist. He used to take medication but he quit because of the side effects, including depression and loss of appetite. Inattentive ADHD, (previously known as ADD), is marked by impaired attention and concentration. It’s hard for Isaac to get a job, and he has a hard time getting his schoolwork done. A therapist is helping him with his treatment by giving him socialization methods, such as sitting and talking about specific things to get focused when his

There are medications that can cover the symptoms well, but the medicines are not replacing the cause. Sharon Pollock


Isaac sits with his mother, Toni, in the garden of their home.

mind is drifting. Isaac first got a therapist when he was 7, then at age 16 he started taking the drug Concerta. But he stopped a year later, and he started to see a therapist again. Having ADHD has some ups and downs. He did a lot better at Pierce College with his condition because schoolwork wasn’t as demanding as it is at UCLA. Pediatrician Sharon Pollock, who works at Pediatric Care Physicians, said ADHD is not a disease you can catch. She said it’s also difficult to diagnose. “If the world you are in is chaotic, you can feel fragmented or have jumpy feelings that might make you appear attention challenged, when actually you are scared or disorganized.” “Think about what are you studying now,” said Pollock. “With four different things going on at once­—a computer with Facebook, music playing, the TV with

basketball finals on, and you are doing your essay. Doesn’t that look like someone who can’t focus?” Those properly diagnosed may be given medication, several of which have been proven successful. But Pollock doesn’t rely simply on a pill for treatment. “There are medications that can cover the symptoms well, but the medicines are not replacing the cause,” Pollock said. Pollock said it’s important for patients to know how their brain works, and that there is help for the frustration that comes with ADD and ADHD. She works with her patients on lifestyle changes and coping mechanisms. Pollock said that about 30 percent of patients will outgrow ADD and ADHD, but those with a chemical imbalance may battle the condition for their entire lives. Toni Isaac, Aaron Isaacs’s mother, said, “We kind of suspected that my son had

ADHD, mostly ADD. But he was in a gifted program, he was able to compensate, and he was able to work in school. So it didn’t affect him academically.” Toni found out Aaron had ADHD when he was in the fourth grade. Now that he’s an adult, she said treatment options are his decision. Toni believes ADHD is genetic. She hasn’t been diagnosed with the condition, but other family members have. She thinks he will learn different methods to deal with his condition, including being more organized and structured. Isaac has spent the several weeks in Paris this spring for school and for an internship. When he returns from his trip, he plans to look for jobs in the film industry or working with various non-profit organizations.

Symptoms Pediatrician Sharon Pollock of Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have at least six symptoms that start in the first 12 years of their lives. The following is a list of symptoms that may manifest to someone with ADHD. *Get distracted easily and forget things often *Switch too quickly from one activity to the next *Have trouble with directions *Daydream too much *Have trouble finishing tasks like homework or chores

*Lose toys, books and school supplies often *Fidget and squirm a lot *Talk nonstop and interrupt people *Run around a lot *Touching everything that they see *Be very impatient *Blurt out inappropriate comments *Have trouble controlling their emotions




A mother disciplines her son by spanking By: K. Akil Photographs by: K. Aslanian


andom photos and Afrocentric art plaster the alabaster walls gave the petite home an aura of a close-knit family. While the television played the infamous show “Out of the Box,” a few scattered toys rested on the Maplewood floor and awaited attention. A furry chestnut and ebony Yorkshire terrier barked from the top of the narrow staircase, it sensed a stranger in its territory. Glancing at her son adoringly, Shaniece Dinkins watched Kayson, 3, try his best to play with his toys while he watched his favorite show at the same time. “Kayson, come and be a big boy and say hello, ” Dinkins said. The boy sheepishly grinned and waved his hand frantically before returning his attention back to the show. It is evident that Dinkins has principles and Shaniece Dinkins, 25, stares back at her 3-year-old son, Kayson, as he talks back to her o expectations for her son. “I go back and forth between disciplining, him to the bathroom to discipline him. I’m scared to discipline depending on what he does. If it’s a teaching moment then I’ll him in public. Someone can take it the wrong way and I don’t teach him, but if he is off the chain, yes, he’s getting his butt want to deal with that,” Dinkins said. whooped—no belts or anything, just straight open hand,” Dinkins California State University, Northridge, Department of Child said. and Adolescent Development assistant professor Nancy Miodrag One of those parents who discipline their children, Dinkins, gave her views on child discipline. an assistant supervisor at an adolescent probation facility for “Tell children what you want them to do instead of always boys ages 13-18, has witnessed first hand the outcome of lack of telling them what you don’t want.” Miodrag said. “You have to parenting. learn how to teach in every moment. I always say that there is a “I see a lot of this. If some of them had a little more structure consequence for every action.” and discipline, none of this would be happening,” Dinkins said. When Kayson became restless and turn his attention back to “Some of the parents are looking more to be their friend as his toys, Dinkins looked at him, concerned. opposed to being their parent,” Dinkins said. “Honestly I’m scared for when he becomes around 15. I want Parents of various cultures disciplined their him to stay on the right track. Discipline is so crucial in a child’s children differently, but it becomes taboo when the life,” Dinkins said. act is performed in public. Michelle Eastman, a human development major at California “I discipline in private. While in public, I’ll take State University, Long Beach, said, “One study found that


Don’t just hit your kids for no reason. Teach in every moment; it’s really about teaching them. Shaniece Dinkins Mother

effects. It may be an easy way for parents but perpetuates violent behavior. Age is important; talking to a child at an appropriate age level is crucial. It’s very monkey see, monkey do. Parents should model the appropriate behavior and find a positive way to communicate with their child,” she said. “Don’t just hit your kids for no reason. Teach in every moment; it’s really about teaching them,” Dinkins added. Kayson abruptly came over to his mother and they shared an intimate moment. She sat the boy on her lap, and he then gazed into space, visibly sleepy. Dinkins suddenly mentioned a trip to ride the train in the mall, and Kayson then regained all energy and jumped off of her lap and landed on the floor in jubilee. “If you’re there for your kid, and you discipline your kid, hopefully they will turn out better. Is society going to wave its ugly hand on them? Yes, but they should have your guidance along the way,” Dinkins said. While spanking is condoned in the United States, according to The Daily Mail outside their Woodland Hills apartment. She uses physical discipline to teach him discipline. it is banned in 20 European countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. spanking as a controlled form of punishment, open hand, on the The Daily Mail also noted, “Professor bottom was beneficial to the child, as long as it wasn’t done out of Gunnoe questioned 2,600 people about being smacked with a frustration and anger from parents. That is when it does damage.” quarter being chastised.” According to an article produced by The Daily Mail website, The article reported that in certain predicaments it is necessary “The study, by Marjorie Gunnoe, Professor of Psychology at to spank children, only in certain cases and not every case. Calvin College … found there was not enough evidence to prove “I got the name ‘Momma S’ at the probation facility because I that smacking harmed children.” care. I have a really big heart. But with my son I know I am facing The study also explained that “children who were smacked a lot of taboos, a lot more stigma, and many statistics. It’s a lot before the age of 6 performed better at school when they were more pressure. Working with the boys at work teaches me I need teenagers.” to really play an important role in his life. What values to put in Parents often shaped their way of discipline from personal his life is key,” Dinkins said. experience. With a big smile, Kayson came to his mother and observed the “I was a product of belts, but I use only open hand on Kayson. conversation. You don’t hit a child for everything. My mom taught me that,” A look of adoration came to Dinkins’ face as she Dinkins said. looked at her son. Miodrag suggested different methods instead of spanking. Discipline is evident in their relationship, but so is “I think spanking can have a short term and a long term unconditional love between mother and son.


Adam Mendelson and Miranda Mendoza, an interracial couple of two-and-a-half years, share a warm smile on a Sunday afternoon.

Breaking the barrier By: M. Williams Photographs by: J. Bautista


dam Mendelson is no stranger to misconceptions about his race. Strangers seem to mistake him for everything but what he actually is. The issue doesn’t faze him anymore, but just because Mendelson isn’t affected by people’s thoughts doesn’t mean that he is not aware of the negative connotations that come with having darker skin. The reactions he receives are magnified when people around him see he is dating a woman from a different ethnic background than himself.


A young couple shows that love knows no color There is nothing that sets us as humans apart. We only limit ourselves. Rebecca Romo

Pasadena City College professor According to the 2010 census, interracial non-marital relationships have increased by

16 percent, and marriages between mixed couples are up 28 percent and steadily rising. These statistics are a reflection of the change in the America’s’ progression to a socially equal society. Mendelson, a criminal justice major at Pierce College, hopes to one day become a police officer. His olive-colored skin and dark curly hair makes his ethnicity a little tricky to guess. Mendelson is the child of an Ethiopian father and a Caucasian mother. He and his girlfriend of two-and-a-half years, Miranda Mendoza, complement each other well. Mendoza is Mexican and Caucasian with dark, chestnut-colored hair, ivory skin and bright engaging brown eyes. A communications major at California

State University, Northridge, (CSUN), she has her own beauty-on-a-budget blog,, with more than 2,000 followers. Mendelson and Mendoza first met each other at a fraternity party during the first week of their freshman year at CSUN, and they have been together ever since. “To be perfectly honest, when we met, I was completely wasted,” he said. “But once I saw her, I was compelled to know her.” The interaction in this couple’s relationship is so natural that it’s hard to believe that in June of 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, a black woman and a white man, were arrested for marrying. While the country recognizes these relationships as legal, there are still repercussions that follow some couples, the majority of it due to families. “My grandmother is very traditional, so when my Mexican dad married my white mom that raised a lot of problems for her,” Mendoza said. “As soon as she met her those problems went out the window, but when I began dating she would ask ‘Why are you dating him? You need to stay within the culture.’ Now she’s like, ‘Well, as long as he treats you OK then I’m fine with it.’” “Just to point out, I’ve never actually met the woman.” Mendelson said, reaffirming the lingering awkwardness. “But, overall, we’ve had the full support of our parents because they were in mixed relationships themselves; it’d be pretty [hypocritical] of them to have a problem with us being together.” James McKeever, department chair of the Pierce College Philosophy and Sociology Department, is a product of a mixed marriage, and he is also interracially married. “Family is the biggest pressure right off the bat because you don’t have the support. There’s this pressure that if you don’t stay within your own race, you’re a race traitor,” he said. “You’re not down for the cause.” If anyone approached Mendelson or Mendoza to confront their relationship, they said their responses would be gracious. “In high school people poked fun because I would only date African-American guys. But I was always in a really diverse crowd, so it didn’t bother me.” Mendoza said. “But I’ve learned in my communications class that people try to put other people in boxes either to connect with them or to judge them. Anyone who has a problem with us at this point is a lost cause.” Popular primetime television drama “Scandal” illustrates a captivating love affair between an African-American woman and a white United States president. This script is praised by blogs and magazines as “boundary breaking” and “refreshing,” but, in reality, there are more interracial relationships now

Mendelson throws 21-year-old Mendoza over his shoulder playfully.

than ever in American history. “For the media [interracial relationships] are news, but as for myself and the people around me it’s not news.” said Kyle Brauer, a sophomore student at Pierce College. “But [popularizing this in the United States] may serve as an example for places around the world where this practice isn’t mainstream.” Rebecca Romo, a professor at Pasadena City College and wife of McKeever, completed her doctorate dissertation on “Blaxicans” in 2011. Her studies explored individuals, specifically Mexican women, that choose to reject cultural tradition by marrying outside of their race. Romo believes that the cause of this conflict is derived from a negative societal and global mentality toward people of color. “We live in a world where lighter skin tones are more desirable,” she said. “People base their knowledge [of other races] off what they see on television [but they never] seek the truth out for themselves.” Romo’s brother was opposed to her relationship with her African-American boyfriend before her son was born. “Interracial relationships should no longer be considered taboo because racism is a stigma that man created,” Romo said. “There is nothing that sets us as humans apart. We only limit ourselves.” America is striving to overcome these limits. As seen in the lives of Mendelson and Mendoza, and McKeever and Romo, it has been made clear that dating beyond the color

Pasadena City College professor Rebecca Romo stands with her 12-year-old son, Emilio.

barrier isn’t a recent phenomenon. “The question that I hate being asked the most is ‘What are you?’ I hate that question,” Mendelson said. “I’m human. If you think I’m unique, call me unique. If you want to know my ethnicity, ask me about my ethnicity. Just don’t ask me ‘what are you?’ I’m a human being.”



By: Anonymous Illustration By: M. Salvador


n 2008, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, a hereditary condition that involves an overactive thyroid gland that releases too many hormones. My mother had it a couple of years ago, and some relatives were also once affected. It was almost inevitable that I would also be afflicted. My symptoms included extreme restlessness and low stamina, sensitivity to temperature, mood swings and heart palpitations. It doesn’t sound that bad on paper, but my condition is fatal; in fact, it’s called Graves Disease. It affects practically every aspect of my life: my grades have plummeted due to constant naps that never seemed to rejuvenate me, and I almost never talk to my family because I have no reason. Also, I can’t do anything too strenuous with my body because I would tire too easily, and it becomes difficult to breathe. I have even changed physically. In addition to the weight losses and gains, my face looks different. I recently noticed, for example, that my innate eye shape has slowly given way to my ‘hyperthyroidism eyes.’ Also, my hands never stop trembling. I’ve been to four or five doctors, but after six years, I’m still sick. I might even be in worse shape than I was when first diagnosed. The problem isn’t my thyroid gland; it’s me. Ever since my first consultation with a specialist, I’ve been consistently non-compliant about taking my medication. I can’t say that it’s a difficult pill to take. I just choose not to. I remember throwing away the pills I’ve missed, just so it would look like I was actually taking my medication. Against better judgment, I also lied to my doctors. I know that my condition is affecting my family, both financially and emotionally, but I still didn’t realize just how much I was draining us of everything until one day a few years back. I just broke down and seriously contemplated killing myself. For years, I’ve wondered what was wrong with me. Nothing could convince me to take my meds, not my doctors’ warnings, nor my parents’ pleas. It didn’t even “break” me when I saw my mother cry for the first time. We had just gone to my latest endocrinologist for an appointment, and my doctor had drilled me for not complying to the medication. When we got home, my mom called me over and started crying. She pleaded with me not to be so selfish. My dad was sick at the time, and he couldn’t even afford to get a check up because of how expensive my medical fees were. Of course, I felt like the worst person in the world, so I started taking my meds. That lasted for a few weeks. To be absolutely honest, it’s gotten to the point where I scheme to get away with what I’m doing. I haven’t seen a doctor in months, because I keep putting off my appointments. At least my parents don’t have to pay for anything, right? You probably think I’m horrible and ungrateful, but trust me—nobody feels worse than I do. I have reasons for my behavior, but they’re not excuses. Six years later, I still haven’t developed the discipline to take my meds. To be completely honest, I only take them when I feel the symptoms starting to flare up. They’ve become more for treatment than preventative measures. I’m slowly killing myself, and I can’t even care.


Third baseman Alex Sawelson, 21, has an in-game ritual of biting on his bat after every pitch with the Pierce College baseball team.

More than rituals

Players put skills aside and turn to lesser-known tactics


he pitcher is the leader of the baseball diamond. The inning starts and ends with him. The starting pitcher for the Pierce College Brahmas continued his warm-up pitches before the start of every spring game. The velocity of his throws matched the stern concentrated look on his face. Michael Knopf, 19, is a product of Notre Dame High School and a freshman starting pitcher for the baseball team. Knopf, a business administration major, looks to continue playing baseball at a local university. But wherever he goes and whatever team colors he wears, he will be bringing along his lucky socks and compression shorts he has had since high school. Taboos, rituals and fetishes are part of

baseball, from high school through the major leagues. In baseball, a taboo is something a player avoids doing, like not eating a certain food on game day. A ritual is a routine that is done on every game day in the exact same way as before. A fetish is a good luck charm, like a pair of shoes or a crucifix, to help give the player supposed supernatural power. The Pierce baseball team is no different than others—filled with players that employ these superstitions. Knopf has adapted a fetish of wearing the same apparel, no matter the condition. “It doesn’t matter if they are washed or not. I’ve done that every game since I was 16,” he said. Superstitions start in a variety of ways, such as copying a teammate, seeing a major leaguer on television, or simply creating it

By: K. Finkelberg Photographs by: J. Bautista

from personal habits. For Knopf, it came from pitching a good game while wearing those specific compression shorts and socks. “I had a good game, I thought,” he said. “I felt really good that last game so I thought I’d try it again, and I had another good game, and then I just stuck by it whether I had a good game or not.” Baseball players frequently continue their superstitions even if they don’t work all the time. “It’s a superstition along with comfort for me,” Knopf said. Knopf also picked up a game day ritual from a former Brahma and two-time World Series champion, which helped him get into a zen-like state before taking the mound. “There is a famous pitcher who went here—Barry Zito,”


Knopf said. “When I was 11 or 12, I read that when he was here he listened to classical music every game day to just give himself peace of mind, and now that’s something I do to keep myself calm on game days in the mornings.” After Knopf got the third out, the Brahmas came up to bat. To the plate walked No. 26, who took a practice swing or two, and then took a swift bite of his bat before stepping into the batter’s box. Ball one was low and outside, and 26 stepped out, took a half practice swing before taking another bite. No. 26 is Alex Sawelson, 21, who is the starting third baseman for the Brahmas. Sawelson played ball for Taft High School and will be playing at the University of Hawaii in the fall. He will take his unusual batting ritual with him. “I bite my bat. Every pitch, I bite my bat,” Sawelson said. “I’ve done it since I was in tee ball. I only feel comfortable and confident at the plate if I do it.” This uncommon ritual just happened. “I’ve always done it and never seen anyone do it,” Sawelson said. “It’s just natural. I would just get a weird feeling and I’d have to bite it.” Aside from these two individual superstitions, the team has a few rituals, which have been instilled throughout the current season. Seat selection helps get the team mojo started off right during away games. “When we go on road trips, in the vans, we all take the same seats. It always works out like that, and, yeah, it is definitely on purpose,” Sawelson said. The team also has two rituals for different pitch counts throughout a ballgame. The first ritual is with the players’ hats. “When the count is three balls, two strikes, and one out, someone from the dugout yells, ‘Boys, 3-2-1, rub-em-up,’” Knopf said. “We rub our hats a certain way, against the rim of our hats with our fingers in the shape of a Brahma until the pitcher releases the ball.” The other pitch count ritual the Brahmas have is the “Zoltan,” which comes on a two-ball, two-strike, two-out count. “Someone from the dugout will yell out, ‘twos’, or ‘deuces,’ and then we grab our crotch, rub our hands together and then make your hands form the letter ‘Z,’” Sawelson said. Knopf added, “You rub your hands until the pitcher lets go of the pitch, and that’s when you make your, hands in the ‘Z’ form.” Current athletic director and


Some members of the Pierce College baseball team demonstrate a team ritual, the Zoltan.

former Pierce College baseball coach Bob Lofrano noticed similar actions during his playing days. “You see three guys sitting on the end of the bench in the same spot because that was the voodoo that got them the win the game before,” Lofrano said. Brahma baseball head coach John Bushart, who has had baseball experience from high school to the pros, noticed that

I would jut get a weird feeling and I’d have to bite [the bat]. Alex Sawelson

Third baseman, Brahmas

these rituals are at all levels. No matter where baseball is being played, these beliefs come down to the primal view of controlling a situation. “Magic is the belief that there is an energy source beyond our natural experience that if we perform the right ritual at the right time, the right way, we can access that energy,” said anthropology professor Noble Eisenlauer. “If you are playing a position where you are trying to hit a baseball going 90 miles an hour at you or throwing a strike over a small plate, your outcome is uncertain. Uncertainty results in resorting to magic or superstitions to improve your

performance,” he said. “Superstitions give us a way to control situations.” Part of wanting to control your situations in a baseball game to get maximum comfort out there could be in part because baseball is a hard game. “There is luck in all sports, but baseball is a highly skilled game,” Lofrano said. “Many people said hitting a baseball is the hardest thing in sports to do.” Rituals and taboos are easy to acquire, and they have relatively no negative aspects. “The interesting thing about rituals is that there never seems to be a downside,” Eisenlauer said. “If it literally will not kill you or get you kicked off the baseball team, well what do you have to lose?” If players couldn’t keep their ritual, not all of them would fare the same. Knopf believes that not having his ritual could mess with his comfort, but it won’t affect him if he’s mentally ready to go. Sawelson, on the other hand, wouldn’t know how to react because his ritual is as natural to him as putting his arms out when he falls. “It’s just comfort, but I don’t even think about it because it’s just natural to me,” he said. Regardless of the superstition, there’s no scientific proof that magic has any impact. But Eisenlauer said it may help a player be more effective because “your mind is focused on a ritual and you want the ritual to work to know you’ve actually tapped into something, so you actually concentrate and play better.” “We extend these out to the athletic field. It’s not just baseball. It’s part of our make up as a human being to like to think there is a power out there bigger than us.”

Cherry Lips Take a walk in the shoes of a drag queen By: M. Stober Photographs by: K. Aslanian

Edward Murillo, 21, reveals his alter ego, Ruby Sparkx, during a photoshoot.



bony hair cascades down her shoulders, framing a well-featured face. Peeking through a thick rim of lashes are honey brown eyes. As the shutter sparks, taking another snapshot, the model’s berry stained lips twist at the ends into a smirk. Beneath the femme fatale façade of Ruby Sparkx is Edward Murillo, a man. “Edward is more polite,” Murillo said. “When I’m Ruby I say all sorts of things that aren’t acceptable, because the moment I put on drag I am not socially acceptable.” The Los Angeles transplant originally hails from Lake Tahoe, Nev. Living the life of a gay man was difficult when tied to a traditional Latino family with Catholic beliefs. Murillo, 21, started dressing in drag to escape the strains placed against him. It was “just for fun,” he said. His first time moonlighting as a woman was on Halloween, “I just decided I feel like looking like a lady today. That sounds like fun,” Murillo recalled with a chuckle. With the aid of the friends he had made at a local sex shop, Murillo shed his skin and became Sparkx. Outfitted in a tight nurse’s costume, black stockings and seven inch light-up heels, the outside matched the inside. Murillo liked the shoes, saying, “the higher the heel the better I feel.” After Halloween, Murillo attended school in drag—heels included. Most classmates showed enthusiasm or curiosity while others were not as accepting. He said disapproving peers would call him a “f**king faggot.” As a boy, Murillo withheld from reacting. This changed when he dressed as Ruby Sparkx. “I remember one day I had had enough of their [the bullies’] ridicule, so I took off

Edward Murillo, holds his wig as he sits in a bathtub. It took him two hours to complete the makeup for half of his face.

one of my heels and threatened to hit them with it,” Murillo said.

While drifting between the two identities in the summer of 2009 Murillo

enlisted to be a Marine. Officially, he was registered with the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Stationed in Washington, his superiors at Leadership Academy gave him the nickname “Sweetheart,” he said. It was in part, due to his overly polite personality and well-groomed manners. To this day, the pet name remains with him. During his senior year of high school Murillo was kicked out of the house by his mother for his lifestyle. With nowhere to go, the teen slept under bridges and befriended a kindly homeless man. Seldom a friend would lend him their couch for a night. The following month, he was hospitalized on prom night for heat stroke. That same evening his boyfriend left him. “The picture of my prom night is the only one I kept of myself from back then,” Murillo said. “I keep it to remember what happened, and also to make sure I don’t pick my friends based on their appearance alone.” Returning home only to be thrown out 11 more times, Murillo left Lake Tahoe to live with his aunt and uncle in Los Angeles. There, he enrolled at Pierce College and joined the Gay Straight Alliance. As the new treasurer, Murillo found a place where he felt accepted. Among his new friends is GSA President Steven Sheldon. “What I like about Ruby is that she just doesn’t care. She says what she wants and has that kind of confidence that I sometimes wish I had,” Sheldon said. For four years, the two have worked alongside one another. At first, it was difficult for Sheldon, 21, to accept Murillo’s big personality. He was loud, outspoken, and would on occasion “take over as president without permission.” Over time he grew to accept him for who he was.

I don’t pick my friends based on their appearance alone. Edward Murillo Drag Queen

But Murillo still he dealt with the stigma of living as a drag queen. “During Club Rush people would see Edward dressed as Ruby and quickly walk away or laugh at him,” Sheldon said. “They didn’t take it seriously.” This same ridicule, however, did not affect Justin LaMonte, 20. Though the Agoura Hills native was accepted by his parents, he could not dodge the judgment of others. Where Murillo experienced outwards ridicule, LaMonte was watched with heated stares and hushed whispers. “People will judge no matter what,” LaMonte said. “It’s alright though, because haters make me famous.” A queen of many guises, LaMonte began dressing in drag when he was 14. Like Murillo, he too first experimented with women’s clothing on Halloween. He said that the experience was exhilarating. Now he works as a professional makeup artist at Sephora in Thousand Oaks. “The biggest letdown is when you have to take off the makeup,” LaMonte said. Applying foundation layer by layer, LaMonte does his own take on Ruby Sparkx. Sculpting the cheekbones and shadowing the nose for a slimming affect, the transformation is halfway done. As the pieces fall together the line

between male and female blur. “When I am in drag I like to be addressed as a woman.” Murillo said. “When I am dressed as a man I like to be addressed as a man.” The finishing touch to polish off Murillo’s look is his signature “Liza Minnelli” beauty mark. No outfit is complete without it. Slipping into a sky blue dress and a burgundy wig, Ruby Sparkx takes center stage. With an attitude all her own, Sparkx flashes a flirtatious smile at the camera. When posing as Sparkx, Murillo faces new difficulties. Although he is no stranger to wandering eyes, the new-found positive attention Murillo receives while in drag can be staggering. Last year at Comic Con he was harassed by an obsessed attendee while dressed as the supervillainess Poison Ivy of DC Comics Batman. Scott Ladell of DC Comics even noted that Sparkx made an “impressive Poison Ivy.” “There’s definitely a sex appeal to dressing in drag.” Murillo said. “It makes you bolder and more outgoing.” Despite his enjoyment while masquerading as Sparkx, there are days when Murillo just wants to be himself. He rarely attends class in full makeup and costume. It is only when his club mates at the GSA request for Ruby that he switches sides. Anchored with a new boyfriend, school and two jobs, Murillo is content with things as they are now. “I’ve come a long way from what I used to be. I want people out there that are like me to know that it does get better,” Murillo said. “I’m still here.” Edward Murillo, 21, is transformed into Ruby Sparkx by makeup artist Justin LaMonte. The process took LaMonte more than four hours to complete.


By: Anonymous Illustration By: M. Salvador


ommy loves you so much,” I whispered to my nonexistent baby bump. “But you have to go back home.” He was no larger than the size of grape, the first—and only—time I saw my son. The doctor could not tell if it would have been a boy or a girl, but they say a mother knows. Then again, they also say that a mother would die for her child. I guess that makes me a horrible mother. My child died for me. When people meet me they are surprised that I hate kids. “They’re annoying,” I say. Some laugh and say, “Wait until you have your own, then things will change.” But to be honest, I do not think I deserve a baby. I had my chance and I threw it away. I’m a monster who deserves to be alone. I’m not really religious anymore but I still pray that if God forgives me, then one day I’ll be able to hold my little one. He would have been a December baby, the perfect gift for an unwed, 23-year-old supposed Christian. In my mind, I didn’t have a choice—no understanding mother to turn to and tell that her virgin daughter, was not a virgin, but was also pregnant. A life of shame as an outcast surely awaited me. While it is true that now I will never know what would have happened, I also never intend to find out. My mother and I are not close, so I do not forsee a day we sit down and talk about her grandson that she will never meet. My then-boyfriend was supportive of my choice to abort our baby, but in his eyes I knew that he wanted a family, our family. We didn’t last two weeks after our visit to the clinic. I like to tell myself that it was for the best. That I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t take care of myself back then, let alone another person. It makes me feel better for a little while, but I know that there’s no excuse. I used to call girls who got pregnant stupid, blaming them for being irresponsible. Oh karma, always on time. I sat alone and waited for the doctor in a white room filled with pamphlets about abuse and birth control waiting for the doctor. I don’t remember her name, but she told me I had to be strong. After asking me one last time if I made this choice to abort the fetus of my own free will and with a sound mind, she handed me a pill. I started crying ,took the pill and walked out. That was it, I thought. I would never hold him, worry about his grades, chase after him or kiss him goodnight. “I love you Jacob,” I whispered, hoping he would hear me one last time before the pill took effect.


Third eye wide

Jillybean, an in store cat of Eye of the Cat an occult supply store in Long Beach, Calif. watches over the store By: J. Howard Photographs by: J. Andrino


Traditional methods still practiced with modern-day witchcraft

itchcraft. It has been around for centuries, yet it’s still one of the least understood fringe cultures. Shrouded by myth and mystery, witchcraft has been subject of speculation since the lifestyle was first created. The truth is modern day witchcraft is a lot more practical than one might think. To dive deeper into the differences between witchcraft and works of fiction, Pierce College Adjunct Instructor of Anthropology Erin Moran sheds light on some common modern witchcraft practices. Her class covers a wide array of practices considered witchcraft such as divinations,

palm reading and astrology. “We also talk about uses of magic, positive and negative,” Moran explained. “We do it from a perspective that’s comparative around the world. We look at African cultures, and we look at Asian cultures, and we’ll compare those with western traditions.” A key aspect of Moran’s objective for her students is to bring tolerance to people who otherwise have negative connotations about witchcraft. “It’s not just something weird that people do. We tend to see it like that,” Moran said. “Whether or not we dismiss it, you’d be surprised how many people perform superstitious acts without even knowing it.” Crossing your fingers, knocking on wood, and using wishing wells are prime

examples of superstitious activities that factor into most people’s lives. Some of the more well-known forms of modern day witchcraft today are psychics, spiritual healers and wiccans. Wicca is a witchcraft religion that was created in the first-half of the 20th century. Founded in England, Wicca is a mixture of ancient pagan beliefs and 20th century hermetic motifs. This often misunderstood lifestyle meant Wiccans were often made outcasts in the general community. Read more about witchcraft and a Long Beach-based occulist shop called “Eye of the Cat” at



By: Anonymous Illustration By: M. Salvador


n the recent film in the long Rocky series, Balboa hands down a piece of advice to his son that accurately portrays life. He states, “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently, if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life, but it ain’t how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward.” From personal experience, I can testify that at times, life hits you hard when you least expect it. Throughout my high school years, I was at the order of a person whom I grew close to. We met in middle school and our friendship flourished from there. As we moved into high school, we grew closer and closer. People in our classes would think we were a couple because of the way we acted toward each other. I was there for this person time after time, never thinking twice about helping my friend. We grew so close to the point where we would get each other gifts for Valentine’s day, birthdays and Christmas; we even met on our separate vacation trips to Mexico. We knew everything about each other and we would not keep secrets. We


met each other’s families and shared many memorable moments together. Sometimes being this person’s friend would force me to stop talking to my other friends. I grew apart from people to spend more time with her. I would go above and beyond for her, and I did not care. I was a fool in love is the best way I can describe my actions. I was happy. This person had become my best friend, a term I do not use. I never thought this person would change so much after high school, especially after expressing my feelings toward them. How could a person I was close to and did many things for not feel the same way? Did I waste my time trying to prove my

worth to someone that didn’t deserve it, or was I just not good enough? This is where I lost myself. I resorted to seclusion to hide my shame and pain. I decided to turn my back on the world. I went to a dark place, a place where I did not express emotions or socialize with anyone. I stopped talking to people who once considered me their friend. I kept myself busy with work and school so that I would not have to think about it. Two years after high school our paths crossed again. Instead of telling her how I felt, I acted like nothing was wrong and it killed me inside. That same year, we talked again. At the time, I did not know that would be our last time speaking. We talked over a social media website. The message she sent was to inform me that she was married and expecting a child. Instead of holding a grudge, I rolled with the punches and replied politely with false excitement. I have always wondered why she would go out of her way to inform a person from her past about her future. This sent me in an even faster downward spiral. I don’t know how I eventually came to forget about this person. I guess all it takes is for you to sit and drink with friends in a car and be forced to truly express your bottled-up emotions.

Social Media Outcast

At a time where a majority of people have instant access to social media, 23-year-old Kevin Fernandez prefers to not participate in online networking.

With social networking so prevalent, does someone limit themselves by not participating? By: R. Zamora Photographs by: J. Bautista, D. Barajas

Check out other taboos throughout the magazine, and follow our social media accounts. The QR code requires a reader on your device.


n alarm goes off and is silenced by a sluggish hand belonging to a student who gives in to a little more time in bed. His next drowsy move is toward the phone. Checking the time he sees he is already running a few minutes late for class, just enough time to check Facebook. Something as insignificant as a picture of a stack of pancakes is transformed into an Instagram sensation with the simple addition of #stacked, #likehotcakes, #wakeandcake. If the scenario sounds familiar, then you are one of millions of individuals that uses social networking platforms designed to help keep the web of connectivity running smoothly. Those ages 18-29 that use social networking sites increased from 7 percent in 2005 to 90 percent in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center Internet project

The trajectory that we’re moving toward is more and more communication electronically. Chadwick Snow

Professor of Social Psychology

library survey conducted in 2013. Kevin Fernandez, a social administration major at California State University, Northridge, is part of the 10 percent without social media ties. For him Facebook is nothing more than a distant thought. Fernandez holds no account with any of

the multitudes of social networking outlets that have interfaces and iconic color schemes familiar to most people. Some may think of him as withdrawn or antisocial, but he said these assumptions would be inaccurate. He still finds a way to communicate and have social interactions with those around him. Chadwick J. Snow, a professor of social psychology at Pierce College and current chair of the Psychology Department, recognizes how technology provides easy accessibility to social media. “When you talk about social media, especially now, you have to recognize that it’s often going to be linked to technology. The trajectory that we’re moving toward is more and more communication electronically,” Snow said. “So you can imagine that the day will come when something is just maybe even in your head, and you would blink or something and then you’d start chatting, so it’s constantly


Emily Adad’s use of social media sites has increased since she began concentrating on her schoolwork.

around you.” While that kind of technology isn’t being used yet, social media is no longer confined to computers. A smartphone allows for access to social media and networking sites from anywhere. More than 250 million Facebook users access the site from a phone in addition to a home computer or laptop, while 189 million exclusively access Facebook with mobile devices, according to Belle Beth, a technology and social media reporter for the Fernandez has no interest but that’s not because he’s opposed to technology. In fact, he frequently uses the Internet for work and as an information-gathering tool. “I use it almost everyday for emails and to check the newspaper. All my information I get online,” Fernandez said. “I tutor foster kids right now for L.A. County, essay structure and mathematics, so I communicate with my boss through email.” What Fernandez takes issue with is the way in which social media is being used as an almost manipulative entity. “I’m opposed to it because it’s mainly just marketing honestly. When you think of social media you see people kind of following whatever they see,” Fernandez said. “They see a famous actor posting their status and mimic whatever they’re doing.” Companies have found effective ways to engage potential customers through Facebook by using keywords such as “event” or “winner” to get likes on their pages. About 35 percent of Facebook users


liked a page to enter a contest, according to Chris Rawlinson of Buddymedia, a page dedicated to helping businesses grow their social media effectiveness. Forty-two percent of users liked a page specifically to get a coupon or some kind of discount, said Dana Kilroy in the article “Why people become Facebook fans,” for Then there’s Emily Adad, a Pierce College communications major with hopes of switching to journalism. Adad’s social media usage consists of more than just an occasional check-in. It can become a troublesome distraction. Adad is a social person and actually had little use for Facebook until recently. In Adad’s case the inability to interact has led to a supplement social experience. “When I was going out a lot, I was such a party girl. Before I got serious into school I barely used Facebook,” Adad said. “Now that I’m studying more and I’m at home I use Facebook more because it’s like an outlet to the social world.” Fernandez isn’t an antisocial person. He prefers other outlets, such as hiking or going to baseball games, and for personal interaction that online activities can’t offer. “I enjoy being around others. It just takes a lot for me to open up around other people,” Fernandez said. “For people who aren’t comfortable talking to others it’s like a safety net because they’re basically talking to a screen, which is another reason I’m opposed to it. You’re talking to a screen. You’re not talking one-on-one. You never know who you’re talking to on the other side.” An estimated 25 percent of Facebook users don’t look at their accounts privacy settings, according to statistics compiled

I enjoy being around others. It just takes a lot for me to open up. Kevin Fernandez Student

by Mike McGrail of Velocity Digital. However, it’s possible that with the number of interactions online the worstcase scenarios may be a relatively small percentage. “Certain stories are often selected because obviously there’s a need to draw in an audience. Often times those are sensational stories. Sometimes stories are picked that may not be the most informative events of the day,” Snow said. “But they’re going to grab your attention. You just try to be cognizant of where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re interacting with, and try to make the best judgment you can so that you don’t get into an uncomfortable situation.” Fernandez gets along fine without the need for networking sites of any kind. He said he finds that the more prevalent something seems to be in the world the more it pushes him away. “I have an Android. I don’t like iPhones,” Fernandez said. “Honestly I don’t have an iPhone because everybody has an iPhone. I’m the type of person that if I see something that everybody has then I don’t really follow the hype. It just turns me off. I don’t like following what people do.”

Fernandez prefers being active and he regularly goes hiking.



Profile for Pierce College Bull Mag

The Bull spring/summer 2014  

The Bull is the official student-run magazine of Pierce College. For more content visit

The Bull spring/summer 2014  

The Bull is the official student-run magazine of Pierce College. For more content visit