March 2, 2009
Volume 2, Issue 3
Flu Season starts, institutionalizes tragic love story Jenessa Hernandez Staff Writer
“The Flu Season” a play written by Will Eno and directed by Drama Faculty Jodi Jinks, is scheduled to open Fri, Feb 27 in the Gallery Theatre. The play runs on Feb. 27 and 28, Mar. 1, through 6-8, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
The name “Flu Season” is because the play takes place between Fall and Spring, or flu season. It is a romantic tragedy, set in a mental institute where two disturbed patients, and two deranged doctors have found love. This complicated play is supplemented
by an epilogue and prologue that help the audience follow the story, and also explains how the play was written. “I was drawn to this piece because of the style. It’s not a realistic or naturalistic play, and I chose this play because of the language,” said Jinks. Jinks is also involved in productions such as ArtsAloud, SafePlace, and Carnival ah!. The student actors feel confident that the audience will be engaged in this play. “The play embodies every emotion in the human spirit,” said Theatre major Nathan Kinsey. The play consists of seven cast members with the
epilogue role divided between two actors. The language of the play is heightened prose, with dark humor. “Our own life experiences [are] reflected [in] what we think of the play”, said Astronomy major, James Leach. ACC student actors are getting involved in the Austin community as well as in the ACC community. “When I came here, I had never done this before, and I decided to try. It’s a close big group of people, and its amazing the quality of productions that goes on here at ACC. Its fantastic,” saidEnglish Major Corey Goerke.
Left: David Yeakle, faculty member of ACC drama department. Below: Bobbie Oliver (left) and James Oliver (right), members of the Austin community. Right: Avery Ferguson, theater major at ACC and James Leach, astronomy major. Teodora Erbes • Staff Photographer
Stimulus package provides funds for Texas education Karissa Rodriguez Staff Writer
Within his first month in office President Obama has pushed Congress to act quickly, passing a $787 billion economic stimulus package. However, even if a college student had an inordinate amount of time to watch and read the news, the likelihood is that they still wouldn’t understand all the details and logistics of how the stimulus package is going to affect their life. President Obama signed the stimulus package into law as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009(ARRA) on Feb. 12. With a total price tag of $789.5 billion, the bill includes numerous programs that will benefit community college students and enable the colleges to expand critical job training programs, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Among the highlights of the bill are increases in Pell Grants, higher tax credits for higher education costs, increased funding for job training programs, and increased state funding for education. The Pell Grant maximum will be increased by $500 in each of the next two fiscal years and the maximum grant will increase to $5,350 for the
award year beginning July 1, 2009, according to a report released by the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 12, detailing the ARRA. Federal Work-Study funding will also be increased by $200 million. The new “American Opportunity Tax Credit” will be created, and for the next two years will replace the existing “Hope Scholarship Tax Credit” of $1,800, according to the report. The maximum tax credit is $2,500 and covers 100% of a student’s first $2,000 of eligible expenses and 25% of the next $2,000. The legislation phasesout, based on income, starting at $80,000 for single filers and $160,000 for joint filers. The credit is 40% refundable. The tax credit will also extend eligible tax-deductible expenses to include “course materials;” currently, only tuition and fees are eligible expenses. The addition of “course materials” to eligible expenses means that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of community college students will receive substantially greater benefits than they do now through the Hope Tax Credit, according to AACC. Many students will receive a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement for their book and related course expenditures through the credit.
In addition to increased grants and tax credits, the bill will also provide $3.95 billion for the Department of Labor to spend on training and employment services. Almost $3 billion of that amount would support programs under the Workforce Investment Act, a 1998 law that provides vouchers to individual students to use for job training, according to the House’s report. Under the new legislation, local Workforce Investment Boards would be able to sign contracts with community colleges, and provide job training to groups. Previously, the boards gave only vouchers for small amounts to individual students who attended different institutions for training. The House’s report also details a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” to help state and local governments avert budget cuts amid the growing state fiscal crisis. The Stabilization Fund will provide two block grants for states and together these provisions provide about $48.3 billion in fiscal relief for state and local governments. Texas will receive over $3.25 billion in education block grants and $723.2 million in flexible block grants, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Carnival ah! plans for April art fest Jodi Jinks explaines ACC’s upcoming role as host of Carnival Ah! Jodi is excited about all the student performers. Austin Green Art, Art from the Streets, Austin Museum of Art and the Theater Action project are among the groups participating.
Sheli Harris • Staff Photographer:
Shawn Hinojosa Staff Writer
In the first week of April, a celebration of Arts & Humanities called Carnival ah! will be hosted at ACC’s Rio Grande Campus. Program Director Jodie Jinks, the theater director at ACC, and Dean of Arts at ACC, Lyman Grant, have organized meetings with a few dozen local art groups, including representative Grady Hillman, who is
quoted as saying that “Austin does not have a good reputation of being a community arts town.” Meetings, like the one that occurred Feb. 20, served as a planning stage for Carnival ah!, as representatives from all kinds of art groups pitched ideas with intention of building a communal arts service. Hillman stated that community art began as a way to reach out to hospitals,
immigrants, the homeless, etc., and now, it has filtered into architecture and the environment. Hosting the event at RGC will, they hope, be a way to get students involved as well. While the partnership of organizations has every intention of becoming a widespread community, some smaller ones like Austin Green Art seemed a little disheartened to be in competition with the bigger ones. Executive Director Randy Jewart expressed concerns about “not having enough resources or volunteers,” but Grant tried to diffuse the conflict, declaring that Carnival ah! is just a component of a “broad outreach of small and large organizations to promote to all kinds of community arts audiences.” Along with Austin Green Art, some other groups participating include; Art From the Streets, who provide resources for the homeless, Austin Museum of Art, and the Theater Action Project, which serves thousands of children in 50 Austin schools. Janet Seibert stressed that the end result is bigger than Carnival ah!, stating that “community arts is not an event, it’s a process.”
edress of R Grievances
Sleeping off spring fever Jamie Carpenter Campus Editor
As most anyone who is in college knows, school can be pretty stressful. Fortunately for us, someone invited spring break. According to TripSmarter. com, spring break dates back to as far as Ancient Greeks, when people began noticing a sense of restlessness during the spring. America did not pick up the spring break bug until the First World War after witnessing Europeans heavily partying during this period. The Great Depression put a halt to our party-hardy ways and it never really picked up again until the 60’s when it seemed like spring break never ended. Lately, though, it doesn’t feel like it’s almost spring time. It’s hard to feel festive with the current state of the economy. The truth of the matter is that many students can not afford to live the party lifestyle this year regardless of whether or not spring break is coming up. It always seems like students lack money for essentials like rent, gas and groceries but seem to be able to afford to small luxuries. Now is not the time to squander your money on a bottle of Crown Royal or have a cup of Starbucks everyday and then wonder at the end of the month why you have no money. My suggestion to college
students everywhere, who are having a hard enough time getting by as it is, find ways to enjoy yourself on spring break AFTER being responsible. Make sure you have enough money for rent. If not, maybe you shouldn’t go to Sixth Street every night just because you don’t have school for the week. If you never have enough money for gas, you should fill up your gas tank as soon as you get paid. There is, however, one essential activity that must be done during spring break: Sleeping. With class not in session, your time, the most valuable asset you have anyways, is free. There are no forty minute trips early in the morning stuck in traffic to get to school, no rushing to get homework done at the last minute and no tests. So your time is freed up to do the more important things like sit on the couch and stare at a wall, daydream in your nice cozy bed or stay up late talking to your friends on the phone without worrying about having to get up early. The focus of spring break has often been to party and party hard at that. What about relaxation, rejuvenation and rest? Maybe if we took advantage of the spring break to just chill, we would gain a greater appreciation of what we have and not feel the need to spend money we don’t have.
Death by Peanut
Karissa Rodriquez Staff Writer
Peanuts and peanut related products are a staple of the average American’s diet. It is very disturbing, therefore, to learn that on Feb. 9, the Texas Department of State Health Services ordered Peanut Corporation of America to recall all products ever shipped from its Plainview plant, according to a press release issued by the department. The order was issued after dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers were discovered in a crawl space above a production area during an in-depth DSHS inspection. The sickening details of the inner working of the Texas plant have led me to wonder just how safe is the food we eat? Congress asked the same question of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the hearings they held earlier this month. The answered surprised me: it was unknown to anybody. Laws and regulations controlling the inspection and obtaining of information from many types of food processing plants are very ineffective or non-existent, Congress concluded. Regulators didn’t even know the company’s Plainview plant existed until the salmonella outbreak began, the Washington Post reported.
I don’t understand how that is even possible. The salmonella outbreak is a result of failed management within the Peanut Corp. and failed regulation practices. More needs to be done in order to prevent future outbreaks. Laws relating to monitoring the food supply should be enacted, and sufficient funding needs to be provided to agencies to enable them to provide meaningful monitoring. One proposal is the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). This bill would create a strong Food Safety Administration, led by a presidentially-appointed administrator. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the administration would require frequent, rigorous inspections of food processing facilities here and abroad, provide mandatory recall authority and tough enforcement penalties when corporate negligence causes food safety hazards. Over 600 people have become ill and nine have died as a result of the salmonella outbreak. A food safety administration is a step in the right direction, but until such a group can be created you should be wary of anything you eat that contains peanut-related products. In fact, you should just avoid peanut products completely. As of Feb. 19 there are nearly 2,400 products that have been recalled related to peanuts distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America, according to the FDA.
Accent • March 2, 2009
w w w.the Accent.org
Tax free textbooks leave students wanting more change
Our View Staff Editorial
Sarah Neve Editor-in-Chief • David Rodriguez Assistant Editor Jamie Carpenter Campus Editor • Alma Hernandez Photo/Web Editor Jana Lelek Layout Editor • Chris Scott Layout Intern
Another bill proposing tax free textbooks has been filed. This time for the 2009 session. This is a great start in helping college students weather a worsening economy and raising tuition cost. However, given the drastic changes in the Texas Legislature, most notably a more moderate Joe Strauss as speaker, and the control and popularity Democrats are enjoying in Washington, it seems a little anticlimactic. With everything that is wrong with higher education funding in Texas, and the promise of millions of dollars for education coming in as part of the stimulus deal, one would think that Texas Democrats would use this chance to really clean up the huge mess the last few sessions made of education. The textbook bill should be an easy enough bill to pass. Removing the tax on
textbooks has been proposed in the last two sessions by Senator Judith Zaffirini. In 2007 it passed unanimously in the Senate, only to die in committee in the, then Craddick controlled, House. This bill has a real chance at passing this time, especially now that it has much less time allotted for the tax free sales than has been asked for in the past. In the 2005 session equivalent of this bill, there was a proposed two ten day periods, one per semester, in which students could buy books tax free. The projected loss of state revenue for last session’s version of this bill was just under 70 million, opponents worried that it would hurt the state to lose that money, but students are just going to take the money they save on textbooks and put it right back into the economy. So, while the tax free textbook bill
is getting a lot of much deserved attention and support, all the other education reform ideas that have been floating around for the last few years are nowhere to be found. For years these proposals were seemingly on hold because there was no way they would pass in such a conservative legislature, a watered down tax free textbook bill was the best anyone could hope for, but now, when truly system changing laws have a chance to pass, no one is stepped up to ask for them. There has yet to be a bill filed for tuition regulation, or one making financial aid easier to obtain. No one is fighting to overturn the ridiculous six drop rule, or help students get cheaper health insurance. If even one of these were to pass into law, the tax on textbooks would seem like a small price to pay.
Sex-ed ignores modern issues
Devon Tincknell Staff Writer
There were pamphlets, popcorn, and plenty of prophylactics to be had at the Student Life sponsored Sexual Responsibility day on Feb. 10. As one of the first generations to become sexually active in the 21st Century, we face a radically different sexual landscape than any of our ancestors. Homosexuality, AIDS, oral sex, female orgasms, internet porn, vibrators, and even condoms would have shocked, confused, and horrified our puritanical progenitors. Now the divorce rate has surpassed 50 percent, and abstinenceonly education has proved to be not only ineffective, but irresponsible. Young adults, no longer willing to wait, must consider what it means to lead a sexually active, sexually safe, and sexually responsible lifestyle. Sex, like every other activity adults engage in, involves risk assessment and risk management. Is climbing this mountain worth the risk of falling and dying? Is riding my bike worth the risk of getting creamed by a texting teenager in an SUV? Is having sex with this person worth the risk of contracting a disease or creating a child? Be it mountain climbing, bike riding, or getting busy, once risk is minimized through the use of proper safety gear the answer is often, “Yes.” The first step to
proper risk management is to be well informed. ACC’s Sexual Responsibility Day did a commendable job promoting awareness of the traditional sexual hazards: disease, pregnancy, and heartbreak. But we already learned most of that stuff back when Salt-n-Pepa talked about sex in the early 90s. As we approach the close of the double zero decade, there are some other sexual pitfalls people need to be made aware of. Decent sex-ed programs teach teenagers about syphilis and gonorrhea, but who will teach our youth about the dangers of digital media? How many celebrity sex tapes and MySpace photo faux pas does it take to understand that everything filmed will eventually end up on the Internet? A Google search for “ex girlfriend” immediately pops up a pornographic site devoted to publishing pictures and videos of unwitting amateurs engaged in the act. According to a recent survey 20 percent of teens say they’ve sent a nude picture of themselves over the Internet. Thanks to the rapid proliferation of web cams and video chatting, long distance relationships are more fun than ever. This technology is revolutionizing the way we communicate, but it is also a double edged sword. A sexy video for a current boyfriend can quickly become embarrassing evidence in the hands of a bitter ex. Even unrecorded, today’s couples are engaging in all kinds of previously unheard of sexual practices. Aside from investigating what the other orifices have to offer, people are subverting gender, talking dirty, dressing up, and testing out all manner of
sex toys. In order to navigate these uncharted territories safely it is important to follow the penultimate principle of sexual responsibility, informed consent. The only acceptable sexual acts are the ones that both partners agree upon and willingly engage in. Whether its heavy petting or heavy S&M, constant verbal communication is the best way to make sure everyone involved is okay with what’s happening. Communication is not only the most valuable tool in the safe sex arsenal, it’s also the most fun. Rather than merely rolling on the latex, it is important to talk to your lover about their sexual past, erotic
preferences, and previous partners before beginning any bedroom magic. If making out is first base, then explicit conversation should be considered stepping up to the plate. The first sexual revolution began with birth control and ended abruptly with the AIDS epidemic. As we enter into sexual revolution 2.0, it’s important that our generation learn from the mistakes of the past and use the new tools we have to make the best decisions possible. So talk to your partners, wear a condom, explore kinks consensually, and ladies, don’t forget to delete those dirty pictures before you break up with him.
OFFICE OF STUDENT LIFE RGC, 1212 Rio Grande St., Room 101.1 Austin TX 78701 Editor-in-Chief.........................................................................................................Sarah Neve Assistant Editor............................................................................................... David Rodriguez Photo/Web Editor...........................................................................................Alma Hernandez Layout Editor..............................................................................................................Jana Lelek Layout Intern............................................................................................................Chris Scott Campus Editor................................................................................................. Jamie Carpenter Copy Editor............................................................................................... Julie Gorkowski-Day Accent Adviser............................................................................................. Matthew Connolly Accent Coordinator................................................................................................Lori Blewett Student Life Director......................................................................................... Cheryl Richard Writers Sarah Vasquez, Shawn Hinojosa, Adam Oliphant, Karissa Rodriguez, Shane Yount, Lindsay Preston,Devon Tincknell, Scott Richardson, Anne Boyd, Janessa Hernandez, Christopher Smith, Matt Thompson, Tovah Olmo Photographers Teodora Erbes, Kevin Forester, Hanlly Sam, Sheli Harris, Karen Kuhn, Shawn Hinojsa, Scott Richardson Artists Karen Kuhn, Anny Ibarra ACC President Dr. Steve Kinslow Board of Trustees Ms. Nan McRaven– Chair; Ms. Veronica Rivera—Vice Chair; Dr. James McGuffee—Secretary, Dr. Barbara P. Mink, Allen Kaplan, Mr. Jeffrey Richard, John-Michael Cortez, Tim Mahoney, Raul Alvarez All rights reserved. All content is the property of Accent and may not be reproduced, published or retransmitted in any form without written permission from the Office of Student Life. Accent is the student newspaper of Austin Community College and is printed by the Texas Student Publications. Accent is published biweekly. ACC students may submit articles for publication in Accent to RGC’s Office of Student Life Room 101.1; e-mail articles to email@example.com or fax submissions to 223‑3086. ACC does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation or disability. Accent offers ACC’s faculty, staff, students and surrounding community a complete source of information about student life. Accent welcomes your input, as well as information about errors. If you notice any information that warrants a correction please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Individual views, columns, letters to the editor and other opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Accent.
March 2, 2009 • Accent
To Be Brief ACC to party for 35th birthday
The All Access ACC, an “Education Celebration” in honor of ACC’s 35 birthday, will be Mar. 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Eastview Campus. The city of Austin will present a proclamation to ACC on March 28, declaring it ACC Day. The event is free and open to the public. Various musical performances will be taking place throughout the day, including Austin Praise Ensemble, SKYROCKET! (Voted Austin’s Best Cover Band), Public Offender and B.L.U.E. A classic and custom car show, an “I AM ACC” photo booth, chair massages and robot races are among the variety of events and activities for the public to enjoy. Information will be given out on ACC’s programs and the public will be able to learn about the colleges’ role in helping secure financial aid. Volunteer applications are available online.
Film screening will be held at Eastview for Women’s hist. month The film screening of To Save the Land and The People by Austin filmmaker Anne Lewis, sponsored by the Women’s History Month Committee, will be held on Mar. 5 at the Eastview Campus from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in room 8500. A reception, including a chance to win a gift certificate, will start off the event. Winners of the Student Essay Contest will be announced, and prizes sponsored by Student Life will be given out to the recipients. The film, which focuses on Eastern Kentucky occupants fighting against the strip mining of their Appalachian homes, will be followed by an audience discussion with Lewis. The event is free for all students.
Video games, mushroom cupcakes and a free X-Box at SGA blackout
Blackout, an event organized by the Student Government Organization, occurred Friday Feb. 13 at the RGC campus. 169 students and their guests attended. Multiple video games were available for students, including Halo 2 (X-box), Super Mario Kart (Wii), Madden 2009(PS2), and Guitar Hero on Mac Computers. Food and refreshments were provided, including 200 cupcakes designed to look like mushrooms. “Student Government is looking to create this as an annual event...We are hoping this will set off a chain of events that other organizations can follow,” Joshua Bacak, South Austin Senator and Organizer of the event said. The event was sponsored in part by Apple Mac computers.
w w w.the Accent.org
New solar arrays celebrated, attract national attention
Jamie Carpenter Campus Editor
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as well as Austin Energy and representatives from ACC will be attending the ceremony celebrating the completion of two solar panels, one on Riverside campus and one on Rio Grande. The ceremony is taking place Mar. 4 on the Riverside campus at 10 a.m. The solar panels were funded by the DOE, Austin Energy, ACC, and Grid Point as part of the DOE’s Solar America City award, whose purpose includes accelerating solar adoption. “Students with the Renewable Energy Students
Association are playing a big role in planning for the event… We’re expecting about 20-35 renewable energy students. They will be helping to demonstrate the power of the sun with a simulated rooftop installation and debuting the city’s brand new “Egos,” solar powered scooters.” Brette Lea, Executive Director of Public Information and College Marketing said. According to a statement from the College Marketing Department, the students will also demonstrate how to install a solar panel and the DOE is expected to give information on future plans. The event is free and open to the public.
Alma Hernandez • Photo/Web Editor
Solar panel in front of the annex on Rio Grande campus.
Weekend College program expands up to 3,576 Christopher Smith Staff Writer
Enrollment in the Weekend College Program is up 36 percent from last year, bringing the total number of students attending a weekend class this semester to 3,576. “We’ve actually had classes on the weekends now for at least a decade,” said Charles Quinn, Dean of Business Studies, but he explains that “The push to really promote Weekend College and expand it has been going on for about three years now.” The program has grown
69 percent over the last three years Quinn said. To meet the demand ACC has expanded the program to five of its seven campusesCypress Creek, Eastview, Northridge, Riverside, and South Austin. “Weekend College just opened at the Cypress Creek Campus this semester and they already have four hundred students,” said Brette Lea, the Executive Director of Public Information and College Marketing. The WCP gives students, who may have work or family obligations during the week,
the opportunity to take the classes they need on the weekends. Students can choose from a number of associate degrees, and certificates that can be completed entirely through weekend courses, in anywhere from two to seven semesters. Transferable core curriculum classes are also available on the weekends. Dan Hudson, a Nautical Archaeologist, who took a week class last semester, would like to see more degree specific classes on the weekends. “If a weekend class were available for this advanced
GIS (Geographic Information Systems) class I would take it for sure,” Hudson said. Lea believes that more weekend classes are sure to come. “Weekend College replicates much of what you can take during the week and as interest in the program grows, so grows the number of offerings,” said Lea. “The weekend option is really helpful,” said Hudson, “It makes learning a little bit more accessible for those folks with families and jobs, and other responsibilities.”
Warrant Round Up starts March 7 Phi Theta Kappa rallies at Capitol Adam Oliphant Staff Writer
Matt Thompson Staff Writer
Now is the time to take care of outstanding tickets. Over two hundred law enforcement agencies across the State of Texas are gearing up for the third annual Great Texas Warrant Round up to start Mar. 7. The round up includes defendants with offenses such as parking, traffic, unpaid fines, penal code, city ordinance, and higher offense warrants. Anyone currently with a warrant out is highly encouraged by the city to contact the municipal court before Mar. 7. Payments are accepted online, by mail, or in person. The city promises that voluntary responsibility of offenses, taken care of in person, will not result in an arrest.
Alma Hernandez • Photo/Web Editor
A familiar sight around ACC’s Rio Grande Campus, outstanding parking tickets can easily turn into a warrant. Beginning Mar. 7, law enforcement will be participating in the Great Texas Warrant Round Up.
According to the City of Austin, if violators don’t have the money, payment plans are available. For those short on cash, community service plans are available.
The offenses must be addressed before Mar. 7, otherwise authorities will be going to homes and workplaces to serve the warrants.
Phi Theta Kappa, the honors society at ACC, participated in Community College Day on Feb. 19. This event was hosted by the Texas Community Colleges Teachers Association. Many community college students and teachers participated in a rally in front of the Capitol where several legislators spoke about the importance of community colleges in the Texas higher education system. Bills affecting community colleges that have been filed this session were also discussed. “The experience was very enlightening,” said Phi Theta Kappa Historian Julie Campbell, “I had no idea how much influence the state legislature has on community
Photo courtesy of Dean Campbell
Julie Campbell, an ACC student and member of Phi Theta Kappa rallies at the Capitol Feb. 19 as part of Community College Day.
colleges that really affect me.” One piece of legislation of particular note to TCCTA is House Bill 100, introduced by Rep. Fred Brown (R-College Station) that would reduce the number of government and history classes in the Texas Core Curriculum plan. Currently, the law requires
students to complete a minimum of 6 credit hours of government and history in order to receive a bachelor’s degree. If HB 100 passes, the minimum would be reduced to three hours for each, thus reducing the number of government and history classes most students have to take by half.
Pres. Kinslow to sign Climate Commitment Adam Oliphant Staff Writer
ACC will strive to procure twenty percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020. Committing to use a substantial amount of renewable energy is a lofty goal, considering that ACC has only recently begun to examine ways as an institution to reduce its impact on the environment. ACC has made great strides in incorporating environmental sustainability when the ACC Board of Trustees adopted their policy on sustainability which will guide the college for years to come. “The board has been looking into sustainability for about a year. At first we were focusing on how new campuses were constructed, but through student efforts the discussion grew to include recycling and carbon emissions,” said Veronica Rivera, Vice Chair of ACC’s Board of Trustees. The ACC Board of Trustees approved their wide-ranging policy on sustainability at the
last board meeting on Feb. 2. An administrative policy with guidelines and procedures accompanied the board policy and will spell out how the college will address sustainability. However, the administrative policy will have to be reviewed by students and ACC employees before the policy is enacted. One of the requirements of the proposed guidelines and procedures will mandate that all new ACC buildings be designed and built to a minimum standard equivalent of LEEDTM Silver rating, which the new Round Rock Campus will be built to. “I’m definitely for a greener campus here and nation wide. I think colleges and universities should set the example, and nurture new ideas in order to become greener and more sustainable,” said ACC student Arnold Perez. The policy also calls for ACC to calculate and track its carbon emissions from various sources including electricity production, ACC police cars, and other fleet vehicles. Students in the Carbon
Emission Assessment Committee are currently calculating the carbon emissions from South Austin Campus, which in addition to electricity usage, also includes staff and student transportation. In future years, the carbon inventories will be completed under the direction of the ACC Director of Sustainability, a position currently being filled. “I think it’s awesome that ACC will track its carbon output. Eventually this is going to be the standard,” said Addie Broussard, president of Students for Environmental Outreach. Several student groups have asked ACC President Kinslow, to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The commitment requires that institutions set a “target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible”. 614 higher education institutions thought the nation have already signed the commitment. Dr. Kinslow has agreed to sign the commitment at a later date.
March 2, 2009 • Accent
w w w.the Accent.org
Former ACC student creates Pocketful of Thank Yous keepsake coins for soldiers Anne Boyd Staff Writer
The purpose of Veterans Day and Memorial Day is to honor the sacrifice and dedication of people in the military, but it isn’t often that anyone takes a moment to personally thank a veteran. Austin based jewelry designer and former ACC student Carianne Schulte created a keepsake called A Pocketful of Thank Yous to make it easier for people to do just that. A few years ago, a young soldier caught Schulte’s attention as she walked through the El Paso airport. Like hundreds of other servicemen, he was wearing fatigues and carrying a duffle bag. He was likely back from a tour of duty in Iraq, but there was no one waiting to greet him. To Schulte, the serviceman seemed very alone. “There was this look in his eyes that made me want to find out what he had been through,” Schulte said. For a moment, Schulte thought about approaching the young man to say thank you. “I pulled back because I didn’t feel that saying thank you was enough ... and I regretted it. I didn’t want that to happen again,” Schulte said. Schulte’s sense of missed opportunity led her to create A Pocketful of Thank Yous
using some of the skills she learned as an art student at ACC. A Pocketful of Thank Yous is a keepsake about the size of a quarter that can be given to military personnel and their families. The coins are two-sided. One side displays a bald eagle and a flag with the words ‘Thank You’ written across it. On the other side is Schulte’s wish for all members of the service, “May you have a pocketful of thank yous.” To further aid the soldiers, Schulte has arranged to donate 25 percent of proceeds from coins sold in Austin to the Samaritan Center’s Hope for Heroes project. Hope for Heroes provides free and confidential counseling services to military personnel and their families impacted by tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It is Schulte’s hope that all soldiers and their families receive one of the thank you coins. “Having something tangible to give makes it easier to approach our service men and women to say thank you,” Schulte said. Receiving gratitude from Austinites was a new concept for some servicemen as local artist and former ACC instructor, Adele Riffe, discovered the first time she presented one of the thank you coins. While out at a local restaurant, she approached a man
and woman in uniform and gave each a coin. Their reaction surprised her. “They didn’t look at them and seemed really closed off,” Riffe said. One of those servicemen, 1st Lt. Rich Salinas, said he wasn’t sure what to think when Riffe approached them. Feelings about the war run strong in Austin and some people take out their frustrations on the military, which makes the servicemen more cautious. Salinas said A Pocketful of Thank Yous ties in perfectly with Army tradition. Army officers have coins made to recognize people in their command. “It’s an honor,” Salinas said, “to be coined by a commander.” Salinas added the thank you coin to the collection he displays on his desk. It’s a unique piece that attracts attention from others in the military. Salinas found Schulte’s e-mail on the coin packaging and sent her a note saying how much he appreciated the coin and why he had been guarded when he received it. When Riffe heard about the e-mail it changed her view of the encounter. “It must be really odd to feel that conspicuous,” Riffe said. “It made me appreciate their situation even more.” Riffe immediately bought five more coins to give out. “Anytime you say thank you to a soldier it means
Hanlly Sam • Staff Phtographer
Carianne Schulte, jewelry designer and former ACC student, designed a coin to say ‘Thank You’ to the men and women who have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Called, “A Pocketful of Thank Yous” and at about the size of a quarter it is small enough to keep in their pocket.
a lot,” said Joyce Cordell, marketing director at El Paso Community College. Coins purchased by the college were given to soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Unit during an event to raise funds for scholarships for dependents of service personnel. Cordell says the soldiers were tearing up as the college
president, Richard Rhodes, handed out the coins with a personal message of thanks to each of them. Schulte believes that regardless of one’s feelings about the war, most people in Austin recognize that the men and women of the military are making physical, financial and mental sacrifices in the
name of country and duty. As Cordell said, “A Pocketful of Thank Yous is a perfect way to express what a lot of Americans feel but can’t really say.”
Available at: www.carianne.com
Students work in teams to advise Obama on current affairs Scott Richardson Staff Writer
The President, First Lady, and fifteen secret service agents visited campus Feb. 20th 2009. Director of Student Life Cheryl Richard, along with Student Life coordinator Quevarra Moten, and her assistant, Tynisha Wooley, hosted the 2009 Student Leadership Conference, including “The Presidential Advisors Game.” This lively debate tackled twenty-one of pressing issues that face America today. The goal was to encourage students to believe they can become leaders while experiencing the political process and show how policy can be changed by a group of people who share a common interest. “It’s not just a conference, it’s an interactive experience,” said Moten. Students got a chance to share their opinions on current affairs. “We are showing student how to voice their opinions on real life affairs that impact all U.S. citizens. Students today that have to deal with hardships such as jobs, schooling, housing and health care, are provided help with ways to cope with these problems and provide solutions through Student Services. Even with all these difficulties, helping people is very rewarding and it’s shocking that they pay me to do this job”, said Moten Special guest Medard Gabel, author of several current affairs solution books, presented the event. He directed students how to debate the issues and accommodate their opinions for a common solution. Students were split into groups and worked together on a specific topic. Each group was able to present their work before the crowd. With over one hundred and fourty students attending,
Kevin Forester • Staff Photographer
Everything’s bigger in Texas! A giant sized balloon imitation of President Obama overlooks ACC’s Student Government President Brad Burnett(blue) addressing a full crowd at ACC’s “What Should Obama Do” day Feb. 20, 2009 at the Eastview campus.
including some high school students, some points were greeted with loud applause. Traveling around the U.S. and world, “this was the largest group of students that has ever gathered for this event, [and] I am impressed [at] how ACC created a remarkable event. The student’s had such an impressive representation of the President, First Lady and staff,” Gabel said. Gabel intends to present the suggestions to the president’s administrative staff on lower levels and in different departments. Also, he will post them on a government public web site
and the company web site, BigPictureSmallWorld.com. Although there is no way to confirm that these ideas will reach President Obama, the fact that he now has students paying attention to public policy may influence his agenda. “Why were we here today, we wanted to make this real, to capture all these ideas and make them digital for the world to see. There are hundreds of ways to get involved with local and national government. You can influence leaders by the actions you take today,” Gabel said.
Accent • March 2, 2009
w w w.the Accent.org
African American Cultural Center’s first health fair
Rio Grande Campus Life
Shawn Hinojosa Staff Writer
Where to Shop Cheapo Discs
If you like a huge selection of used DVD’s and LP’s, Cheapo’s is the place to go at 914 North Lamar. According to manager Chad Pearman, they receive between five hundred and one thousand used selections every single day. While 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays are their busiest hours, they receive standard new releases at midnight Tuesday, and their prices are a few bucks cheaper than major retailers. During SXSW, Cheapo’s will host free in-store performances throughout the entire weekend in addition to their standard 1 to 2 per month. Pearman stated that “students are a big part of our clientele,” so it’s up to you to see why!
Where to eat Texas Chili Parlor
Located on 14th Street and Lavaca, the Texas Chili Parlor is just a short four block jaunt down a side-street (14th), so there are no worries about crossing any major intersections. From 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., the restaurant (which was used for filming the bar scenes of Grindhouse: Death Proof) serve their Legendary Bowl of Red Chili in three sizes; the taster, small, and large at assorted prices under $10. The meat is incredibly tender, and the chili is served with just a bit of onion and a few sets of crackers. With three flavors of X, XX, and XXX, how much heat do you think you can take?
Where to hang out
The Tavern is incredibly easy to find at the corner of 12th and Lamar. The exterior of “Austin’s Best Sports Bar” is rustic and retro as they announce that they are air conditioned, and undeniably so. With two floors, three bars, and two patios, space is not a problem. The interior decoration of plai d picnic tablecloths give a very homely vibe. Upstairs, an arcade room and $1 pool table will help keep you occupied in case the all-day happy hour Monday through Friday or one of the fifty two large TV’s is not playing a game that interests you with their NBA League Pass, NFL Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, March Madness, or UFC broadcasts don’t interest you.
Poets come to College Jamie Carpenter Campus Editor
The Creative Writing Department will be sponsoring a reading of Poets John Poch and Usha Akella on March 5 at the RGC Gallery Theatre at 7 p.m. Poch and Akella are both awardwinning poets and have new books out. According to Creative Writing Interim Chair, “Both are also excited about visiting ACC and interacting with students. Although I don’t know the exact pieces they’ll read, it’s a safe bet they’ll read from their new work along with their existing work.” “The poets,” according to Chelsea Biondollio, Creative Writing student on the website, “each have a very distinct voice and subject matter, both use language to paint a sensory–rich landscape of imagery.” The event is free and open to the public.
Shawn Hinojosa • Staff Photographer
Clay Aziz checks out the selection of used CD’s at Cheapo Discs which is located at the corner of 10th and N. Lamar streets. Up to 500 CDs are put out daily at Cheapo’s. Scott Richardson • Staff Photographer
ACC’s African American Cultural Center sponsored their first health fair at the Eastview campus on Feb. 18. Free testing included blood pressure, diabetes, and HIV.
pus m a C e d i s r e Riv
Students get free testing, info about chronic disease
24 hour to empower bike ride for global poverty awarness Adam Oliphant Staff Writer
The 24 Hours to Empower Bike Ride, sponsored by Students for Environmental Outreach, Fox 7, and Whole Foods, has been changed to Apr. 2-3. The ride will start at the Whole Foods Market west of downtown located at Sixth and Lamar. Students will ride in shifts continually throughout the twenty four hours to promote visibility for global poverty. The ride
will be hosted to raise funds to help support the whole planet foundation, who partners with the Gramewn trust. 100% of all donations go into the hands of the poorest women as micro loans. For those interested in being involved, the next orientation session for the bike ride will be March 3 at 5:00 p.m. in RGC room 125. Rider training sessions will also be made available previous to the event. Contact Addie Broussard at email@example.com to get involved.
Hip Hop at Pinnacle
Scott Richardson Staff Writer
The first Health Fair, sponsored by ACC’s African American Cultural Center, occurred Feb. 18 on the Eastview Campus. Austin and Travis County’s Health and Human Services (Community Health Initiative Division) provided an African American Quality of Life Van so that students were able to have a range of free tests including blood pressure tests, blood sugar tests and HIV testing as a part of the Black History Month events. “Statistics show that out of the 10 leading causes of death in Travis County, African
Phi Theta Kappa officer organizes Rio Grande Campus Cleanup
Scott Richardson Staff Writer
Hip Hop into Black History, an event sponsored by Student Life, took place Feb. 17 at the Pinnacle Campus. Adam Pfluger, Student Life Assitant and Megan Fullen, Student Life Coordinator invited DJ Elijah Woods, who played music from the 70s to the present, to spin for this event . More then 60 students attended the event. “The goal was to show how Hip Hop influenced artist views and styles over the years and appreciate these differences” said Pfluger.
Karen Kuhn • Staff Photographer
Julie Gorkowski-Day, a Phi Theta Kappa officer picks up trash on the Rio Grande campus. Julie is the chair of Clean Communities, a Phi Theta Kappa committee dedicated to cleaning up Austin.
Editor In Chief
Scott Richardson• Staff Photographer
Americans lead in [five] of these categories: blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, heart attack/stroke were the main concerns.” Herman Gentry, Community Worker for Health and Human Public Health Divisions said. “Simple life changes,” according to Gentry, “like decreasing the amount of fried and processed food can make a major difference between those people living a healthy life and those constantly suffering from chronic diseases.” KAZI FM. 88.8 on Tuesdays morning from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. provides more health information on the City of Austin’s weekly radio show, The Health Show.
Honors society students spent two and half hours picking up trash and cigarette butts outside the Rio Grande campus on Feb. 18. Julie Gorkowski-Day, a Phi Theta Kappa officer who chairs the Clean Communities committee organized the event. Gorkowski-Day, Taylor Flanagan and Latif Almanzan, both Phi Theta Kappa members, worked to clean the campus. “It was disgusting. I don’t care if people smoke, but throw it away when your done with it. The most disgusting places had trashcans right next to them,” Gorkowski-Day said.
Phi Theta Kappa has four Hallmarks: Scholarship, Service, Leadership and Fellowship. Under these Hallmarks, there are committees chaired by Phi Theta Kappa officers. GorkowskiDay is the chair of the Clean Communities committee. She also chairs the Ronald McDonald House committee, and Minis and Friends committee (a pet therapy organization that works with miniature horses, founded by her mother). Campus Clean-up is run through Clean Communities. Gorkowski-Day chose the Rio Grande campus because while attending classes there, she noticed all the cigarette butts and trash around the building. “There is a criteria for certain levels of membership with Phi Theta Kappa and these community events help members clock hours” GorkowskiDay said. Even though they worked for nearly three hours, Gorkowski-Day said that she wished they had made more of a dent. “I was hoping to leave feeling like we had made a cleaner campus, but i didn’t...we had, I would say, 90 percent cigarette butts, and it’s hard for three people to pick up nothing but that for three hours. I would like to do it again with more people so we could get more done.”
Accent • March 2, 2009
w w w.the Accent.org
mus i c rev i ews
South Park Coalition crushing ATX Swedish indie-folk songstress
David Rodriguez • Assistant Editor
Rapper Dope E performs at the Karma Lounge in Autin Feb. 19.
David Rodriguez Assistant Editor
Mississippi born, and Houston raised, legendary and influential producer, rapper and trend setter, known as Dope E or Murdoq, has been residing here in the Capital City, and playing shows of a different nature than fans of his are probably used to. On Feb. 19 at the Karma Lounge he performed with Hatch, a Denton based “jazz fusion, drum and bass, hip hop” group as described by their bassist Elliot Morgan. Dope E has produced and rapped on legendary hard core rap albums since 1991, with himself and his collaborators being based out of South Park, and hailing from the S.P.C.
(South Park Coalition formed by K-Rino in 1987). Before there was Z-Ro, Soldiers United For Cash, Chamillionare, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, and the whole Swisha House camp, not to mention the wealth of other rappers and rap groups that have come out of Houston, and the south in general, Dope E and the S.P.C. are the patron saints, and innovators of the unique sound and rhyme pattern that has given Houston its premiere title as a city that produces some of the truest in the rap game. Klondike Kat’s “The Lyrical Lion,” Point Blank’s “Mad At The World,” Gangxta NIP’s “Psycho Thug,” and K-Rino’s “The Worst Rapper Alive” are
just a few of the projects Dope E holds production credits on. The greater fan base of southern rap music may not know these albums, or artists, but what these artists did for the genre is unparalleled, rhyme wise, beat wise, and attitude wise. Klondike Kat’s melodic mix of street tales composed with raw soulful singing preludes a genre saturated with vocoder (a pitch control midi tool used by artists T. Pain and Lil Wayne) R&B rap. Gangsta NIP pioneered the “horror core” style of rap, honing his psychostyle in the late eighties in Houston rap battles. K-Rino, the godfather of S.P.C., has consistently delivered intelligent, thought provoking, Afrocentric raps for almost a quarter of a century while going virtually unnoticed by the greater rap community. S.P.C. paved the way for other legendary rap groups and according to Dope E when asked about where he feels S.P.C. fits into the whole legendary Houston rap group discussion concerning the volcanic rise of the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C./Soldiers United For Cash) and then their namesake and many its members’ tragic deaths, he had this to say, “a lot of S.P.C. members have been told by other Screw members…those our protégées man you know, the younger cats that came up under us that were influenced, by us, probably not totally lyrically, and in beats and things like that, but it’s okay…we gave birth to a nation, by years and years of hard rap…” While the raps Dope E delivered over Hatch’s driving bass, keyboards, and various percussions was not what I anticipated, it shows that this unsung veteran of the rap world is out there, and still undaunted by the status quo. Dope E also stated that “being around live band activity is nothing new to me bro…” Concerning Houston’s well deserved echelon in the rap world Dope E said this, “we were the pioneers of hip hop in Houston, Texas….so much good has come from giving birth to that nation,”
Psychedelic White Rhino, clad in leather, flatten Red River’s Mohawk Tovah Olmo Staff Writer
White Rhino, a bold Austin-based rock band who is relatively new, emerged into the music scene with avid designation. I went to their Feb. 4 Mohawk show and was joined with a fervent audience. The show was loud and raw as White Rhino played from their self titled debut album to be released during SXSW in Mar. The trio of estranged cousins has only been together a little under a year, yet already seem to have an enthusiastic following. White Rhino recorded their soon to be released album at Stinson Studios, located here in Austin. The album has a seventies French rebellion and metaphoric police brutality lyrical theme. White Rhino pounded out a mesh of vintage metal and classic rock sound, consisting of lead guitarist/ vocalist Michael Anthony Gibson, bassist Douglas Andy Anderson IV, and drummer Wesley Cargal. Their lyric’s topics and raw sound stands out among the deep pool of Red River bands. “I write about what interests me and what rocks, period,” Gibson stated, who also does most of the song writing. Albeit, the track
Photo courtesy of White Rhino
Austin’s own White Rhino comprised of a trio of estranged cousins will be playing this years SXSW. Catch them at Jackalope Mar. 18 or Spiderhouse Mar. 20.
Symbionese Liberation Army has a slight punk influence, the rest of the tracks stay true to their classic psychedelic rock influences. Motorhead, DMBQ, and the new wave of Japanese psychedelic rock were named as some their influences. I’m positive my dad would have loved this band twentyfive years ago, and would have
matched them in leather. With so much talk about them rocking, my expectations for the show were pretty high, but as it turns out White Rhino didn’t disappoint. The set was shorter than I had hoped, but these guys are as talented as they are passionate, and the show confirmed the pending onslaught of their anticipated debut.
serenades crowd at Waterloo
Likke Li, just hours before her sold out show at Antone’s, gives a free, instore performance at Waterloo Records Feb. 19.
Shawn Hinojosa Staff Writer
A couple hundred people filed into the walkways of Waterloo Records and waited in anticipation of Lykke Li’s arrival. Fans rummaged through the record store for an hour and a half, biding time before her free in-store appearance on Feb. 19, preceding her sold out
Shawn Hinojosa • Staff Photographer
performance at Antone’s later that night. The twenty two year old Swedish indie-pop singer traveled to Austin for the first time since garnering attention at SXSW last Mar. Like a Hollywood starlet, she emerged wearing a flowing bohemian shirt with gold chains dangling from her neck.
She began her short set with the haunting and ethereal “Hanging High,” her quivering jazz voice ascended to the forefront of the music with the minimalist percussion, and light guitar work serving merely as support. Lyrically, the former dancer is playful and flirty, and she brought a precociousness to the stage with a commanding presence, and poise, while rocking a kazoo on the crowd favorite and a remixartist’s dream, “Dance, Dance, Dance.” If you’ve seen Heidi Klum’s Victoria Secret commercial, you’ve heard the sultry “Little Bit,” which was the song that followed “Dance Dance Dance.” After engaging the crowd, a man requested she perform a Kings of Leon cover called “Knocked Up,” but his request, instead, enabled Li to engage the crowd with hand-clapping participation during the incredibly catchy female anthem, “I’m Good, I’m Gone.” Her U.S. debut, “Youth Novels,” was released in Feb. of 2008 and was produced by Björn Yttling of Peter Björn and John. Three singles of Li’s have been released throughout the past year, and exposure in commercials and television shows has catapulted her into the elite class of indie folk songstresses.
March 2, 2009 • Accent
enterta i nment
rev i ews
book rev i ew
Burma Chronicles speaks for itself Lindsay Preston Staff Writer
While working as a supervisor for European and North American animation studios outsourced to Asia, Guy Delisle documented his experiences in two previous graphic novels, “Shenzhen” (2000) based in China, and “Pyongyang” (2003) in North Korea. Both are excellent and worth reading, however, his most recent travelogue, “Burma Chronicles” has been even more rewarding. As an avid fan and follower of graphic novels, although by no means an expert, I am aware of the vast amount of narrative styles, illustrations, and talents to be found within this medium. The graphic novel embraces and blends many specific literary genres such as fantasy, autobiography, mythology, and science fiction, all depicting their stories through pictures, with dialogue, and sometimes without. Guy Delisle fulfills an important role in the breadth of genres that graphic novels offer, namely, the travelogue. In “Burma Chronicles”, Delisle finds himself suddenly, but eagerly shipped off to Burma along with his infant son, Louis, and his wife Nadege, a supervisor for Doctors Without Borders. Burma, still so-called by France, Australia, and the U.S., was taken over by a military junta and they renamed the country Myanmar in 1989. The legitimacy of the government in Myanmar, while officially recognized by the UN, has the reputation of one of the world’s most oppressive dictatorships. It is within this environment that Delisle finds himself uncharacteristically taking the back seat, and floating through the beautiful, mundane, and
v i deo game rev i ews
Platinum 1 ups Pearl Shane Yount Staff Writer
Graphic courtesy of Drawn and Quarterly
surprising encounters of life in Burma. He cares for Louis, with the help of the local Burmese community, while his wife is often off supervising rural and inaccessible medical clinics. Through these encounters, he comes to experience a more domestic ex-patriot life that is surrounded by other non governmental organization
families and locals, as they perpetually attempt to decipher the political reality within Burma, which is mostly speculation and gossip, form the hard, party-line dogmatism given as fact from its authoritarian rulers. Very little information gets in or out of Myanmar. Spanning a year, Delisle wonderfully documents his
daily encounters and adventures within the country, and the profundity of “Burma Chronicles” is drawn from its simplicity of narration and illustration. It requires no adornment. His reality of personal experience speaks for itself.
mov i e rev i ew
Pokémon Platinum, soon to be released on the Nintendo DS, is an enhanced remake of 2007’s Pokémon Diamond, and Pokémon Pearl. Platinum focuses on a strange disturbance on Mount Coronet in the Shinnoh Region which opens up a portal to the Distortion World, and causes the temperatures there to drop dramatically. Pokémon has become a global phenomenon ever since the original games were released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996. Since then, millions of gamers have caught Poké fever. The concept of traveling across an expansive world, collecting numerous creatures, and engaging in fun turn-based battles along the way is still just as addictive as it was over a decade ago. It should come as no surprise that the latest installment, Pokémon Platinum, plays identically to previous games in the series. Graphically, Platinum looks better than its blueprints Diamond and Pearl. Sharp colors, new sprites, and different animation really brings the game to life. Platinum features several additions that were not present in its predecessors. Platinum offers new characters to interact with, and new types of Pokémon to catch. The most exciting addition is the dungeon, located in Distortion World. Here, players will find one of the most
Graphic courtesy of Nintendo
creative dungeons in any role playing game, complete with floating platforms, odd angles, and disappearing and reappearing items. Other nifty additions can be found after completing the game also. After defeating the Elite Four, the player can unlock the Battle Frontier, a large facility where numerous Pokémon challenges and tournaments can be found. Another new feature that is able to be unlocked post-game is the Battle Recorder, which allows the player to record battles fought at the Battle Frontier, and save them for later viewing. Platinum also includes a few Wi-Fi enhancements where players can use the Wi-Fi Club mode to play various mini-games with other players. Pokémon fans that already have Diamond, and Pearl will find enough new material (i.e. side quests and contests) to warrant purchasing Platinum. As always, the traditional Pokémon elements are a delight for most gamers. Pokémon Platinum will be released in North America on Mar. 22. Gotta catch ‘em all!
Examined life philosophy documentary Suikoden: Tierkreis, epic surprisingly entertaining, balanced Lindsay Preston Staff Writer
Socrates famously stated at his trial for heresy that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” and with this in mind 29 year-old independent filmmaker, Astra Taylor, embarked on her second film, Examined Life (her first film, Zizek!, followed the Slovene philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, who enjoys a rock-star like status within certain academic circles). Through a series of interviews with eight prominent philosophers and theorists, Taylor invited each to offer their own perspective on what the examined life entails. The philosopher egghead in me was excited about this project, but skeptical nonetheless of what had the potential to be a tedious 80 minutes of boring, stagnant lecturing. Taylor, herself, confessed she feared the film would be “disastrous.” Instead, Examined Life is a real gem, due largely to Taylor’s casual, down-to-earth engagement, and creative framing. Each philosopher is interviewed while in motion: Cornell West pontificates on meaning, dogmatism, and death from the backseat of Taylor’s car as she navigates the streets of New York; Kwame Anthony Appih debates the effect of cosmopolitanism versus universalism world views while towing his luggage through an airport; Michael Hardt ponders the
Graphic courtesy of Konami
Graphics, features impress Shane Yount Staff Writer
Graphic courtesy of Sphinx Productions
face of modern political and social revolution while rowing a boat in Central Park; Slavoj Zizek discusses the historical significance of the ecology movement while roaming between giant heaps of trash in a waste processing plant.
Taylor’s energetic and playful approach conveys the relevance of each theorist’s perspective by, quite literally, bringing philosophy to the streets; showcasing the passion, ethical contemplation, and color of contemporary
thinkers. Rather than being heavyhanded, Examined Life is extremely well balanced, enjoyable, and often inspiring.
The Suikoden series is known for epic storylines about conflicting nations, intense war battles, and huge casts of characters. The latest installment, for the Nintendo DS, to the distinctive role playing game franchise is entitled Suikoden: Tierkreis, and will hit US shores on Mar. 17. Tierkreis follows a young man from Citro Village on his quest to recruit the 108 heroes (yes, this game really has 108 characters that join your party!) to prepare for an attack against an antagonist known as “The One King.” Tierkreis separates itself from other Suikoden titles, as it focuses on parallel worlds and other such phenomena. The graphics of Tierkreis are aesthetically pleasing, combining 3D sprites, an anime art style, and vibrant environments, as far as Nintendo DS games go. The musical score is equally impressive, the game contains sweeping orchestral numbers, and beautiful melodious tunes. The voice acting is also decent.
The battle system, just like previous Suikoden games, is turn-based. The player gives commands to a team of four characters, after which, the enemies are allowed to attack. Characters can attack with their weapons, cast magic spells, use items, and engage in powerful combination attacks with other characters. For battles where winning is a snap, the option to have the computer control the team for a round is available. One reason why Tierkreis is great is the headquarters system. Upon establishing a headquarters at a fortress, the players will be excited to see visible changes to their home base as more characters are recruited. For example, some characters open up shops and mini-games. The trading system is also fun, allowing the player to sell and trade items in various regions to make money quickly. With an interesting storyline and a huge cast of characters, Tierkreis is the most epic RPG experience available for play with the DS as of late.