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ISSUE

VINCENT CHAVEZ

editorinchief@lbunion.com

COLLEEN BROWN

colleen.union@gmail.com

GABE PHORREIRA

gabe.union@gmail.com

Editor-in-Chief

Managing Editor Managing Editor

MARCO BELTRAN

marcob.union@gmail.com

Senior Editor

MELISSA CASAS

opinions@lbunion.com

Opinions Editor

BRIANNE SCHAER

news@lbunion.com

JOHN VILLANUEVA

music@lbunion.com

News Director Music Editor

NATHAN CRUZ

Entertainment Editor

entertainment@lbunion.com

WES VERNER Literature Editor

COLLEEN BROWN Culture Editor

ROSE PHODUK Comics Editor

DUCHESS OF SPAIN Grunion Editor

literature@lbunion.com culture@lbunion.com comic@lbunion.com grunion@lbunion.com

GABE PHORREIRA

art@lbunion.com

NICHOLE DANIELS

nichole.union@gmail.com

CONNOR O’BRIEN

connor.union@gmail.com

Art Director/Cover Illustration Editor

Photo Editor/Cover Photo

LEO PORTUGAL Web Manager

NATHAN CRUZ

Advertising Executive

web@lbunion.com advertising@lbunion.com

Contributors: JOSEPH PHOLLIPS, JON BOLIN, KEVIN NG, CAMILLE HOVE, SIERRA PATHEAL, AMY PATTON, MIKE CLELAND, JOSEPH FLORES, IRENE THAISS, KRISTIN DELFS, GENEVA TRELEASE, MAXIMILIAN MARES, RACHEL CLARE, MICHAEL WOOD, TYLER DEAN, TYRE JONES, ALLEN TOLKOFF, ASHLIE BONSER, JOHNNY OSKAM, ANDY BRADFORD, ARIELLA RAMS, TYRE JONES, NATE MUSSER, ALEX MIKLOVIC, MADELINE WALKER, MARIA LOGUE Disclaimer and Phoblication Inphomation

The Union Weekly is phoblished using ad money and partial funding provided by the Associated Students, Inc. All Editorials are the opinions of the Union Weekly, not ASI, or CSULB. All students are welcome and encouraged to be a part of the Union Weekly staff. All letters to the editor will be considered for phoblication. However, CSULB students will have precedence. Please include name and major pho all submissions. They are subject to editing and will not be returned. Letters may or may not be edited pho grammar, spelling, punctuation, and length. The Union Weekly will phoblish anonymous letters, articles, editorials, and illustrations, but must have your name and information attached pho our records. Letters to the editor should be no longer than 500 words. The Union Weekly assumes no responsibility, nor is it liable, pho claims of its advertisers. Grievance phocedures are available in the Associated Students business office.

Questions? Comments? Quazars?! Mail: 1212 Bellpholower Blvd., Suite 116, Long Beach,CA 90815 Phone: 562.985.4867 E-mail: inpho@lbunion.com Web: www.lbunion.com

VINCENT CHAVEZ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

H

ey pholocirapters, I’d like to take you on a journey. A journey that requires no suitcase, carry-on, or even footwear, for the trip we are taking is a figurative one. It is a journey through time and space, one that documents my relationship history with pho and may very well change your life. Pho and I go way back, all the way back to my sophomore year of high school when I was the star of my JV tennis team (and by star, I mean I had the fewest nosebleeds and sometimes my serves went over the net). Besides being the best ball-handler on the squad, I was also the only non-Asian player. If you think I’m exaggerating, just take a look at our team photo in the yearbook. There’s Joseph Chung, Sam Chung, Kenny Cho, and sandwiched between Peter Nguyen and Stephan Chang, there’s chubby cheeked, mop-topped me. Now, because our coach was a total cool guy, whenever

Illustration

ROSE PHODUK COMICS EDITOR

our team won a game, he’d treat us to a steaming bowl of victory pho, which, my teammates informed me, was the best kind (the broth being flavored with the tears of your bested opponents). What should have been cause for a celebration, the camaraderie, the free food, and the general sense of accomplishment, was always marred by one thing: I was terrified of pho. You see, back then, my regular diet consisted of cherry oke, chicken tenders, and chili and lime Fritos. The daring and cultured foodie who you are now journeying with did not exist yet. When I envisioned eating pho, I imagined fatty beef chunks swimming in tepid meat water. So instead of accompanying my teammates after a hard-earned win, I would make an awkward excuse about having to feed my grandma. They’d all head over to the local pho joint while I waited for my mom to pick me up, feeling a mixture of

guilt and self-inflicted isolation. Three years would pass before pho noodles passed my lips, but not a day goes by that I don’t regret my palatal prejudice. Simply put, pho is spectacular. Like ice cream or Korean BBQ, it’s the kind of dish that seems to fill up the spaces of both the body and soul that have grown empty from years of lovelessness. Pho is hardy; pho is soothing; and by god, it is cheap (a bowl of pho will usually set you back a measly five bucks). For these reasons and more, this week’s feature, on page 7, is dedicated to pho. We sampled some of the best and most mediocre (as there is no such thing as a bad bowl of pho) Long Beach has to offer, scoring restaurants based on their atmosphere, service, taste, and price. Whether you’re a phonatic, neophote, or simply a lover of phons (that’s pho puns for the uninitiated), our guide is sure to satisfy you.

THANKS, TURKEYS This being our last issue before Thanksgiving, I would like to take this opportunity to list what I am thankful for just in case, during all the holiday festivities, I choke to death on a turkey leg.

Gabe’s Mom

For making us crazy delicious cakes that we do not deserve. This woman is both the boss and ace of cakes.

JG Quintel Vietnamese People For inventing pho.

My Parents

For letting me mooch off their livelihoods for 22 years, for not punching me in face after I came out to them, and for unconditionally loving me. Or whatever, I guess.

For creating Regular Show, the coolest thing since sliced cucumbers. And, as a large number of internet users have noted, for being a stone-cold cutie.

Louis C.K.

For creating the bleakest, most insightfully honest comedy around. And, as a small number of internet users have noted, for being weirdly fuckable.

Rose Feduk

For being my emotional, spiritual, and often times, physical rock (we do this thing where she lies on top of me completely still to relieve my stress). Oh, and for illustrating this whole damn paper.

My Darling Staff

For volunteering their time to make this rag every week. I don’t say it enough, but I appreciate the hell of you guys. I know that sometimes I can be a demanding bitch/ passive aggressive asshat, but the amount of figurative blood, mind sweat, and happy tears you put into this paper means the world to me. So thanks. UNION WEEKLY

13 NOVEMBER 2012

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OPINIONS

SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE

SIERRA PATHEAL UNION STAFFER

Photo

THE WORLDWIDE CELL PHONE TAKEOVER

W

hen I was younger, I didn’t want a cell phone. I’m from the mountains in Northern California, and there’s no service in my hometown; I saw no point in an expensive, breakable gadget which wouldn’t work 90 percent of the time. If I needed a phone and wasn’t at home, I’d drop into a restaurant to borrow theirs, no problem whatsoever. Cell phones were, as far as I could tell, taking over the world, and I wanted no part in the debacle. Then I came to college in our sunny, populous locale of Long Beach, and not only did everyone have a phone, if I didn’t get one, I wouldn’t be able to call home. So I bought a Verizon Blackberry, promptly mixed up the charger with the bluetooth cord, had an inordinately stressful first week because I thought the phone was dead, figured things out, and had a phone. I haven’t gone back since.

I mean, they’re useful little things. Not only do they make memorizing phone numbers a thing of the past, but they put everything—planner, GPS, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and thousands of other things—at fingers’ length. Although I’m still a little oldfashioned—I like my paper planner, thank you very much—I’ve learned to respect smartphones. As my suitemate said yesterday, “They’re literally everything. They are the Internet, and the Internet is all.” And yet, that’s a little terrifying. What happens if we get separated from these fountains of superficial wisdom? A friend of mine, for instance, was recently taken to the hospital via ambulance; her injury was pretty minor, but her purse, which had been thrown under a table earlier in the day, was left at the work site where she’d been volunteering. Stranded with only her student ID, she had no idea how to get

home. The phone numbers for all the people she knew in Long Beach were in her cell phone, and her emergency contact was over two hours away. If I were stranded without my phone, the only people I’d be able to call would be in my hometown. I could call my parents (five contact numbers total), my best friend, my best friend’s parents, my high school, a couple of restaurants and shops in town, the cook at a local restaurant...and absolutely no one within eight hours of Long Beach. I haven’t had any reason to memorize numbers since I’ve moved here. And that’s pretty scary, when you think about it. I’m not challenging the usefulness of cell phones, but I’m starting to realize that there’s a distinct danger in relinquishing the organization of all our daily tasks to breakable, losable pieces of technology. Sure, everything is backed up, (or at least, the companies always pretend it is)but what

CONNOR O’BRIEN PHOTO EDITOR

happens when it gets lost anyway? How do you know your assignment due dates when your phone’s planner resets itself? How do you maintain connection with friends you rarely see after your contacts disappear? How do you find your way home without your phone? I don’t quite know the answers to these questions either, but I’m determined to work on them. I’ve picked the numbers of two of my Long Beach friends, and I’m memorizing them. Because I love the convenience of my cell phone, but you never know, and I don’t relish the idea of surrendering my connection to everyone in town to a mercurial, fragile piece of massproduced metal and plastic. We have powers of memorization for a reason, and I plan to use mine, successful cell phone world takeover notwithstanding. Old-fashioned ideas aren’t necessarily outdated.

EVERYDAY I’M HUSTLIN’ THIS SEMESTER IS KICKING MY ASS MELISSA CASAS OPINIONS EDITOR

All work and no play makes anyone a dull person. Sorry, Jack Torrance, but you’re not the only one with a one-way ticket to the loony bin. Your madness was brought on by being cooped up in an isolated hotel with ghosts that drink and eat spirits (cue the ironically placed rimshot), and my madness is forthcoming, brought on by a specter that all of us know and have our ups and downs with: life. Particularly, school and everything that has come into my life along with it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all too grateful for everything and everyone that has come into my life upon accepting admission at CSULB. If I had acted on the ideas that had occurred to me before graduating from high school, to attend a junior college for the sake of saving money before applying to UCLA as a transfer student (I still hadn’t given up hope after they rejected me during my senior year), I would most likely be stuck at LBCC or Cerritos College with many of the idiots that I hated in high school. With the budget crisis being as dire as it is, though blessings are due to everyone involved in the passage of

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Proposition 30, my dreams of becoming a debt-laden UCLA Bruin within two years would have become a much more distant, dimmer light at the end of the tunnel. Taking two years of community college classes for an associate’s degree has become more like three to four years of taking whatever classes you can get as you crawl your way to a degree before moving on to even higher education. Either way, I never had to live through what could have been my present day hell and wouldn’t give up anything that being a forty-niner has given me. Thanks for dissuading me from that path, mom. Although I can think of what could have been and be thankful that it never came to be, sometimes I can’t help feeling overwhelmed. Doing unpaid work that steals away part of my weekends, having professors that love to schedule their exams on the same days, trying to keep up with organizations I’m involved in, taking care of rather rambunctious pets, making time for loved ones, taking on projects to gain experience and add to the resumé (making a movie in a week although I

barely have time to breathe—why not?), on top of taking care of myself, from going to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center to attempting to sleep well, eat well, and keep my home from being a pigsty (uncleanliness is a step toward psychosis, and I’m well on my way there as it is)—every day I go through the motions of the hustle that seems never ending. We all do. And frankly, I get sick of it. There are times when I’ve daydreamed of not needing sleep, like the vampires from Twilight who most everyone loves to hate. Imagine how much more you could get done without needing six to eight hours of recuperation from the day’s work. At other times, I’ve been envious of friends who have seemingly easier majors that aren’t in the social sciences, those who have no homework and are able to laze the hours away while I’m stuck inside a dark, dimly lit room, hunched over my desk with a highlighter glued to my hand and my eyes glued to a textbook. It’s sadly reminiscent of the Crypt Keeper poring through a tome of stories in his tomb of terror, right?

At times when having a social life is feasible, it can cause even more stress because guess who ends up planning gettogethers from beginning to end? Yours truly. Even when I’m supposed to be having a good time with friends, sometimes the weight of making sure schedules are coordinated and that everything is perfect gives me premature gray hairs. But through the blood, sweat, piss, and tears, there’s a greener side to the seemingly brown, dead, dry grass. Without doing what I do, I wouldn’t be gaining knowledge and experience that will help me pursue what I hope to do in the future, I wouldn’t have the satisfaction that comes from the completion of all of my accomplishments, I wouldn’t have strong bonds with loved ones if I didn’t make time for the important people in my life, and so much more. The weight of your world can bring you down sometimes; that’s just life. It’s knowing that what you do with your time now will benefit your future that makes the loss of sleep, lack of food, lack of money, and lack of free time a little less painful.


OPINIONS

AND THE WINNER IS... A REVIEW OF MEDIA COVERAGE IN THE ELECTION MICHAEL WOOD UNION STAFFER

Based on reports from 37 states, we can declare the winner of the election. The winner is the incumbent candidate, CNN! For the past several months, many of us have tuned in, logged on, and spouted off about this election constantly. It’s a real great event for the politically minded among us, and I tend to think of it as my own version of the Super Bowl. But all the entertainment and fun wouldn’t have happened without the news media. Without CNN, Fox News, Nate Silver, Karl Rove ,and the dozens of other pundits whose names I’ve already forgotten, we wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun picking the next leader of the free world. Fox News, you’re first up for my thanks. The wildly skewed poll numbers were always a pleasure to read whenever I tuned in to hear the voice of angry white guys in our society. Really, I don’t know how we ever had an election before your innovative style of mud slinging, where truth is relative to popularity. And might I

add, the racist overtones of your coverage were a joy from day one. I don’t think that David Duke would’ve been able to top your stories of Black Panthers intimidating poor defenseless white voters at polling stations. You had me so scared, my heart skipped a beat every time a black man walked by me while I waited in line at the polling place! The sensationalism kept me glued to the screen even on election night itself when your own decision desk called the election in favor of Barack Obama. Karl Rove’s temper tantrum was a classic moment in television news, showing a man’s tragic downfall into irrelevance in one panicked facial expression. And when you sent your anchor in to interview the decision desk in an attempt to cajole them into rescinding their declaration, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Bravo, Fox News, bravo! Oh, but I couldn’t leave out CNN in this discussion, either. Their antics were oftentimes just as priceless but in a

different way. Every possible gimmick and attention grabber was thrown out there for all of us to hear in a desperate bid for ratings. For example, there was John King with his oversized iPads lining the wall showing electoral maps of every single size and scope. With a nearly Marxist reliance on history over all else, CNN, you spent countless hours of my life detailing the election results of every county in every swing state that may end up mattering at some point or another. I assume you did this only because Karl Rove told you that “exit polls are for wimps!” right? Well, you sure showed him. Only once a considerable amount of the vote was in did you mention exit polls, only to confirm the writing on the wall for any informed observer. Nothing can top your gimmick of having Will.i.am appear via hologram during the last election but you came close, with so many touch screens lining the wall, just to convince us at home that we are in the future despite the relatively unremarkable

campaign. Your ratings game was A+ work as well, leaving your anchors breathless by the time the election was called after several straight hours of convincing us this would be a very close election. In the end, Obama led by 3 million votes and 130 delegates. Very convincing of you, CNN. Your ratings gambit paid off! And due to the performance of these stellar candidates on the campaign trail, we can declare our winner very early. No, it wasn’t Obama, Romney, the Democrats, or the Republicans. It was the 24/7 news cycle as a whole! In its desperate bid to remain relevant in the face of competence on the Internet, with amateur political bloggers and Nate Silver casting more accurate forecasts than the news networks, it was a tough battle. But somehow, they’ve come out as the true winner in the face of adversity and for that I salute CNN, Fox News, and the entirety of the mainstream media. Facts and quality reporting are secondary to ratings, and you proved that!

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

A LEFT-WINGER’S PERSPECTIVE ON AMERICAN POLITICS ANDY BRADFORD CONTRIBUTOR

I call myself an Obamunist. I’m a leftist fanatic. The financial system? Nationalize it! Health care? Socialize it! Immigration? Throw open the borders, give me your tired, your poor! But the far left didn’t win Tuesday’s election. We didn’t lose either. So now it’s time to compromise. Our country is more polarized now than any time in the last hundred years. Congress is deadlocked between a Democratic Senate and a Republican House. Both sides declare that only their philosophy can prevail. Once, when half the country was unwilling to compromise, it plunged this country into four years of bitter, ugly bloodshed that killed millions and destroyed the infrastructure of the South. Then came the long, agonizing process of reconstruction, which left scars that linger to this day. So, my fellow fanatics on all sides, when you think about politics and refuse to compromise, ask yourself this: “How many people am I willing to kill to see it done my way?” That’s not a rhetorical question. Violence is often used toward political ends that can’t be achieved any other way. The

Prussian martial philosopher Clausewitz wrote that “War is a continuation of politics by other means,” and it’s true for conflicts from Syria to Libya to Colombia, to our own Civil War. The South wanted to keep slavery, the North wanted to keep the country intact, and the two sides fought it out until the South surrendered, burned and battered and torn apart by Union armies. All too often, in our politics, we turn a disagreement into an existential threat. We say “That person believes differently from me, and if I let them, they’ll destroy everything I value.” When you’re thinking that way, it’s all too easy to turn to violence in order to destroy the threat. So, my fellow Americans, whether you’re Obamunist, Tea-Partier, or somewhere in between, politics did not end with the election. Politics is the art of free people, with different cultures and backgrounds and interests and beliefs coming together and finding a compromise that’s not perfect for everyone, but that most everyone can live with. The real politics—listening with open minds, and speaking our views with respect, of finding common ground—has just begun. UNION WEEKLY

13 NOVEMBER 2012

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NEWS

SEXTIVAL SERVES STUDENTS’ NEEDS

SHOOTIN’ THE SHIT

THE EVENT PROMOTES HEALTHY REPRODUCTION AND SEXUAL ACTIVITY JOSEPH PHILLIPS UNION STAFFER

S

extival is about building awareness for issues that can change lives. The event, featuring all the traditional festival excitement with a more adult twist will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the Speaker’s Platform in front of the Bookstore. The basis of Sextival is to promote healthy reproduction and sexual activity. “We want students to focus on being responsible with their sex lives while also taking care of their own health by getting regular checkups,” Jazmine Contreras, secretary of women’s affairs for ASI. Heidi Burkey, coordinator of the Health Resource Center, organized the event with Contreras through the Health Resource Center, and numerous organizations will participate, such as the Nursing Student Association and the Gay Straight Alliance. Those who attend will enjoy an array of festival-style games with prizes, food options, and *GASP* free condoms. So if you are someone who is not willing to drop ten dollars for a box of twelve, swing by and get them for no cost at all. Various other tables will also have resources concerning what to do if you need questions answered. There will also be a mobile HIV station in Parking Lot 3. Contreras will work at a table that will focus on healthy relationships and communication with your partner. “A lot of college students have a difficult time talking about STD testing and contraceptives with their significant

WITH THE EXECS JONATHON BOLIN ASI VICE PRESIDENT

other,” she said. “The table will help students with that process and encourage both positive dialogue and responses for these issues.” One of the goals of this event is to make students aware that some of them may be eligible for free family planning and consultation. This University offers many services to students that many are not aware exist on campus, such as the Family Pact Program. Family Pact is a free, confidential way to obtain condoms, birth control, STI testing, and more. The requirements are

that the student be a California Resident with a low income and either does not currently have insurance coverage, or has insurance but needs confidentiality from a spouse or parents. In a way, it offers many of the same benefits of Planned Parenthood, but the services are offered on campus, which makes it more accessible and comforting. Depending on the level of interest, attendees may learn a few new facts, or just cruise through and scope the scene. Either way just go out, get some free stuff, and remember to be safe.

ONE STUDENT, ONE ACT OF PHILANTHROPY A UNION WEEKLY CONTRIBUTOR COLLECTS CANNED GOODS FOR A GOOD CAUSE MARIA LOGUE CONTRIBUTOR

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and the very thought of it makes my mouth water! I can’t help but think of a huge helping of mashed potatoes and fresh turkey smothered in hot gravy. But wait, Thanksgiving is not just for the food but the reflections of what you are thankful for. I am thankful for my family, friends, Yogurtland, my record player and all of my sweet vinyl, the ocean, my turtle, and the opportunity to go to CSULB. However, when I started to dig a little deeper, there are many things I take for granted like the roof over my head, food, clothes, transportation, and feeling safe. The women at the WomenShelter of Long Beach struggle with these basic needs many of us take for granted. While we are at home worrying about what

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movie to watch, they are making sure that their children are safe and fed, not to mention also worrying about themselves. These women have overcome many hardships, like domestic violence, drug addiction, and poverty. In spite of everything, they are moving forward on the path to self sufficiency and recovery; not only to give themselves a better life, but also to ensure that their children have a better life. I have a tremendous amount of respect for these women and their courage. The WomenShelter of Long Beach is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1977 by a psychologist who realized that her patients had nowhere to go when they needed to leave their domestic violence abusers. The shelter takes in families for 30 to 45 days and provides food, shelter,

support groups, counseling, and much more. These programs help the victims of domestic violence start over and create a new life that is peaceful and safe. Since the holidays are coming up, I can only imagine the amount of stress such an abundant amount of change could put on a family. We can make the difference during this time of transition when their need is the greatest. That is why on Sunday, November 18 I am holding a canned food drive (nonperishable foods are also welcomed). The event will take place in front of Chase Bank on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore from 1 to 5 p.m. Please come down and help support the WomenShelter of Long Beach, everything helps! As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change, you want to see in the world!”

After taking a break from writing for this god-forsaken paper, I am back, writing once again. I am none other than Jonathon Bolin, your ASI Vice President, and this is my column, Marty. Marty the Column. In case you haven’t heard yet: Proposition 30 passed with 54 percent. Barry won the big dance, and the Democrats hold control of the Senate, with increased margins! All my dreams came true Tuesday night, including that weird dream about midget strippers...but that’s for a different column. This column is going to get real serious, real fast. Firstly, I want to thank all students. In California 28 percent of the electorate was made up of citizens ages 18 to 29. Out of that electorate 68 percent voted in favor of Prop 30. Do the math: The young voters of California decided the outcome of this proposition. So thank you for realizing that K-12 education, higher education, and various social services are worth your tax dollars. On Tuesday, we proved that our votes really do matter, and no matter how much money millionaires threw at the NO on 30 campaign, the young voters, with little wealth to their name, beat the millionaires. Our votes are truly priceless. There is still much work to be done; this is only the beginning. If you are tired of paying more and receiving less, then we need to do something about it! We need the students of the CSU system, all 440,000, to stand up and say, “Enough is enough; fund higher education!” We need to prove to Sacramento that we are not apathetic. On Tuesday we began to show how loud we can be, but the work does not stop there. Our country will not have a viable or competitive future if we do not educate our youth to the highest degree and prepare them for a life of success—if California keeps trotting down the same road where they value incarceration more than higher education. Right now we spend more than $50,000/year per prisoner, yet only $3,000/ year per student. Something is wrong with the fact that someone who has murdered another human being gets 17 times more money/yr. This is not a partisan issue, this is an American crisis. Get involved and let your voice be heard. —Bolin’s office: USU 311 email: asi-vicepresident@csulb.edu The opinions expressed here are the author’s opinions alone and do not reflect the opinions of ASI, ASI government, or CSULB in any way.


FEATURE

CROWNING THE

PHO KING Our Review of Long Beach’s Pho Restaurants

Intro

MARCO BELTRAN SENIOR EDITOR

When I was younger, I spent most of my time alone. My parents worked all day and my sister wasn’t born until I was six, so the only thing I had that was close to a human voice was the television. I would spend hours listening to voices through the small speakers on our small television sitting on top of two old cabinets, about the size of the TV stacked on top of each other, and imagine I was the main character in whatever show or movie I was watching. I never had to say a word, just listen to whatever was said and repeat the whole scene in my head with me as the lead. It was fun. I could be anyone that I saw on TV. The problem came when I had to talk to people. I’d been experiencing the world through a screen for so long that I grew accustomed to my silence. I would communicate with my family through a series of shrugs and nods, trying really hard to say as little as possible. It was frustrating for both parties involved when it came to

Photography

CONNOR O’BRIEN PHOTO EDITOR

food because we wouldn’t talk. If I didn’t like eating something, my mom, as she did with things I didn’t like eating or doing, would forbid me from leaving my chair until my plate was empty and complain about how the plate would be clean if it were pizza or spaghetti, and would even go as far as to convince me that an angel living beneath my chair would die if I got up. With soup, it was worse because my mom has the habit of serving food boiling hot. I would sit in front of the bowl for hours, hoping the soup fairy or my dad would help me finish it, but they never came. It was this lack of communication that tarnished the idea of ever ordering soup at a restaurant. Fortunately for me, I was saved. Pho brought a light into the darkened area of my heart and soul that all soups had inhabited. The first time I tried pho was a religious experience, and it’s now become an obsession. If you are like me, a born-again soup enthusiast of the Church of Pho, a collection

of Vietnamese restaurants that serve pho would probably be the greatest thing in the world. We’ve got you covered with this week’s feature. We went out and tried a few of the pho restaurants in the area and put them in a list so it can serve as your guide for some of these local Vietnamese spots. Each one has it’s own personality, so feel free to visit all of them to make your own decision about which is the best. It’s the perfect way to get out of the weekly Carl’s Jr, Sbarro’s, Subway routine you’ve gotten yourself into this semester. As always, if you know of a better one, send us an email and we’ll share it the following week. If you’ve never been to a pho restaurant, here are a few rules to live by: 1. For some, not all, you have to pay your check at the counter. If you leave money on the table and walk out, people will think you’re dining n’ dashing. 2. Bring cash. A few of them accept

card, but it’s better to be prepared in case they don’t. Also, if you go in a group, it makes splitting the check so much easier. 3. Taste the chili paste before dumping a mound of it into your pho. Some places make their own paste, so it may be mild or molten. I like pouring obscene amounts of it into my soup because I like living fast and plan on dying young. 4. Pho is pretty low maintenance, so most places will give you a bowl of pho and a glass of water and forget about you until it’s time to pay. Make sure you order everything you want when they come by or else you’ll be hard pressed to get their attention. You have to be a little extroverted or go with someone extroverted to get their attention, but it’s just easier to order everything at the beginning. 5. Check the times and go early. Most places close around 5 p.m. and don’t serve people if they arrive in the last few minutes. But I’m sure you’ll be fine if you ignore all these rules.

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FEATURE

PHO BASIL LEAF

Are you vegetarian or vegan? Are you tired of going to shady-ass restaurants that are cheap and claim to be vegetarian, but probably still use some form of meat products in their food? Whether or not you fall into either of those two categories, I’d highly recommend Pho Basil Leaf in Seal Beach. It’s conveniently located on Main Street and they have one of the cleanest pho restaurants I’ve ever

136 Main Street, Seal Beach, CA 90740

been too. The restaurant is also owned by a Vietnamese couple, so you know it’s legitimate. Since I am a pretentious vegetarian, I ordered their bowl of vegetarian pho and I was in pho heaven. So much so that I suggested they rename their restaurant Pho Heaven (or maybe I should copyright that). Pho is always there to heal the soul. If you’re having a bad day, pho can cure

PHO HONG PHAT

NEW PHO

four bowl sizes. For the quality of food you’re getting, it’s super cheap. For my boyfriend and me both, it was less than $15. The only bummer is that they charge a quarter for water, which according to Comics Editor Rose Feduk is “against the law.” I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, since the pho is so cheap. The service was good in that we got our pho within five minutes of ordering it, but our server wasn’t particularly friendly. Again, I don’t

mind this that much, because I’d much rather talk to the person I’m eating with than the waiter. The atmosphere was pretty quiet while we were there, too, so it was nice. I am annoyed by the fact that Pho Hong Phat is cash only, but that seems to be the case with most pho restaurants. If it weren’t for that and the fact that they’re only open until 5pm (and completely closed Wednesdays!), Pho Hong Phat would be ideal.

1036 E Anaheim Street, Long Beach, CA 90813 The trip to New Pho was, in all honesty, purely the result of Pho Hong Phat being closed only on Wednesdays. After skimming through Yelp reviews that were overwhelmingly positive and reading that “Pho Ga” was the soup to get, we decided to give it a shot. The meat was plentiful, but I was dismayed to realize that the chicken was boiled without any seasoning and mostly tasteless. The broth was a little reminiscent of Lindsay Bluth’s creation of “hot ham water” in Arrested

UNION WEEKLY

Pho Basil Leaf without being familiar with pho is like being a smart kid who skips kindergarten and goes straight to 3rd grade. Seriously. The downsides are that the atmosphere can feel a bit bougie at times and the prices are a bit more expensive than your average pho restaurant. However, if you care about the quality of your pho, (if you know what I mean) then pay up, bitches.

3243 E. Anaheim Street, Long Beach, CA 90804 I have to admit, I’m not a pho expert. My trip to Pho Hong Phat was only my second time enjoying the noodles, but trust me: this place is delicious. I’ve often heard complaints about pho broths being too bland, but the broth here is amazing. I ordered a medium-sized pho with beef balls, which was incredible. The meat was tender, the broth was tasty, and there were just enough noodles to satisfy my appetite. If you’re hungry, sizes go up to extra-large, because Pho Hong Phat uniquely offers

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that. If you are feeling sick, pho can cure that too. If you just broke up with your significant other, grab a friend and go grab bowl of pho. For you carnivores, my friends ordered a bowl of chicken pho and beef pho, and they both enjoyed it immensely. They were unfamiliar with pho, but they enjoyed it nonetheless. For one unfamiliar with pho, going to

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Development. Even with the tablespoons of Sriracha, Hoisin sauce, lime juice and brown mystery seasoning, nothing could affect the taste. The other editors I was with seemed to enjoy their soups, saying that the beef broth was good but overall their meal was “nothing to write home about.” I was relieved to know that at least my meal was decently priced. Around $5 for a small bowl of pho, with a size upgrade to a large being only a few cents more, is not too shabby. The service could

have been better, as we were given water once and then never thought of again, which would have been forgivable had we not been the only ones in the restaurant. Looking back at the Yelp reviews to double check if I had actually gone to the right restaurant in the first place, I stumbled upon this quote: “My boyfriend liked it and he did not get sick from eating it but he is Indian and doesn’t know any better.” Racism towards loved ones aside, perhaps it is simply a matter of personal taste.


FEATURE

PHO AMERICA

1826 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90806 Pho America was a pleasant surprise to our staff. We were hesitant to step foot in the restaurant because of its sketchy surroundings, but we decided to risk it; according to a source that asked to remain anonymous, nobody has ever died from eating disappointing Pho. The inside of the restaurant was clean and simple, but lacked the refinement and interior decoration that make you feel you are at a restaurant and not at your poorly

BINH DUONG

replaced them as soon as we were out. Our party of eight was served well, but we did have to wait quite a bit considering there were only six or seven other people at the restaurant at the time. While I wouldn’t particularly recommend Pho America to someone who is looking to have great Pho, it isn’t a bad option if you find yourself starving in that not-so-welcoming part of Long Beach. Good simple food, but not much else.

2232 E. Anaheim Street, Long Beach, CA 90804 For the price and how good the food is, I’d expect there to be a little more people eating in Binh Duoung than there are every time I go. It might be that the street next to it, Raymond Ave, is always full, so it’s tough to find parking, which can be a little upsetting if you’re hungry (one of the few drawbacks to this place). The dining area is huge (making it all the more obvious how empty it is if there are two or three groups eating at a time)so it’s perfect for bringing large groups. The wait staff is nice and attentive, probably due to Binh Duong being usually empty,

PHO LONG BEACH

511 W. Willow Street, Long Beach, CA 90806 I visited Pho Long Beach on a Friday night and the place was buzzing with conversation and energy. After surveying the room, I noticed the large number and diverse mixture of patrons: interracial couples with gorgeous offspring, unselfconsciously loud Filipino tweens, Asian grandmas, and one table that looked like a teenage version of TV on the Radio. Oddly, one server was expected to wait on all these hungry people (12 or so tables). For this reason, I felt the service was a bit too rushed. But once my pho arrived, trivial things like hasty waiters or water refills were the last thing on my mind. I ordered large bowl of rare steak pho and I was not disappointed. The broth, though on the salty side, was excellent. Meat lovers will be happy to know that they are not skimpy with their meat. My whole meal, pho and iced coffee, came out to just under ten dollars,

furnished one-bedroom apartment. The bathrooms were hidden in a corner of the restaurant, the menus were a graphic designer’s worst nightmare, and the service was a bit slow for our impatient, hungry selves. We ran out of things to complain about, though, when the bowls of steaming Pho finally arrived at our table. The broth was tasty and so was the beef. There were plenty of sides to add to the soup, and the server

which is not too shabby. Also, the Chinese zodiac place mats and the complimentary tapioca pudding at the end of the meal were nice touches. My experience of Pho Long Beach was absolutely solid: a well-balanced mix of lively atmosphere, bountiful meat, and thoughtful touches.

and they bring your food quickly. Pho is a two-step serving process, so if it takes more than ten minutes to bring it to my table, I automatically assume that they’re spitting in it. I usually get the chicken pho, but most of the soups on the menu are a safe bet because the broth is flavorful. Even on it’s own, the broth is good, which makes drinking it when you’re all out of noodles all the more satisfying and makes your stomach a little sad that it can’t hold a bit more soup when you reach the bottom of the bowl. I’d suggest getting any of the coffee drinks. They’re cheap, taste good,

and go well with the soup. The menu also has several items to choose from if you’re not in the mood for eating pho, but why would you go to a place that serves pho and not get pho? It’s the self-proclaimed “best Vietnamese restaurant in town” and you’d have a tough time arguing with that. My one problem with this place is that you can’t lock the door in the bathroom so I had a very awkward moment with one of the servers when she accidentally walked in on me in the bathroom. I wasn’t peeing but the look she gave me made me feel like I should have been.


MUSIC

VANESSA PALOMA HYBRID VOCALS DON’T TRANSLATE WELL ON STAGE

Words & Photo

I

ARIELLA RAMS CONTRIBUTOR

’m Jewish (shocker, I know… I have a traditional Israeli name, kept company by a traditional Jewish nose). And normally I’m totally gung-ho about anything related to religion. And no, it’s not because I’m a fanatic—I love bacon and I’m dating a Catholic. It’s just that I like to support my people, seeing as how we make up such a giant percentage of the world’s population and all. So, in the spirit of supporting my people, I decided to go to the Vanessa Paloma concert on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Daniel Recital Hall. Vanessa is a Judeo-Spanish singer originally from Puerto Rico who sings in a Spanish, Hebrew mix. With that being said, I lived in Israel for a semester so by default can understand a good portion of the Hebrew I hear. Conversely, I grew up in Southern California, so by default I can understand a good portion of the Spanish I hear. Put the two languages together in song? No chance. I couldn’t understand a damn thing.

And, as frustrating as that was, it wasn’t nearly as frustrating as the internal conflict the music was giving me. The drums and guitar reminded me of bullfighters, or maybe a beautiful Spanish shirtless hunk, standing on a wall with a sword and a cape, ready to rescue me from a castle…or something. Then the lyrics, that I couldn’t understand, reminded me of Temple and all the years leading up to my Bat Mitzvah in which I had to sit and pretend to pay attention to my rabbi and cantor as they read and sang the Friday night Shabbat prayers. So here I was, sitting next to someone’s grandma thinking, should I go get killed by a bull? Or am I like Ice Cube, am I a scared motherfucker, should I go to church (I mean temple)? All in all, I decided neither was for me, as I prefer whiskey to bulls and temple. After all, it was Thursday. Sorry Vanessa, the music was melodic and all, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to expand their musical horizons, it just wasn’t my genre.

SWEET CHILD OF MINE MUSICIANS TALK ABOUT THEIR FAVORITE INSTRUMENTS JOHN VILLANUEVA

JOHNNY OSKAM

MUSIC EDITOR

I’ve been fortunate as a drummer to play many of the best. Sonor to Tama, C&C to Ludwig, I’ve tried some of the top lines of the most prominent brands. As much as I may desire another kit (save for DW because they’re shit), I always seem to come back to my baby. She’s a Gretsch New Classic, a fourpiece beauty that’s been with me through every gig and recording. The story starts with my start as a drummer. I originally wanted to play bass, but was told that the bass would be too loud due to amp volume. So my mom decided to let me play drums, because, of course, drums are a much more quiet instrument. We went the next day, and I picked up the cheapest, most basic piece of shit that I could beat on. It was a Mapex Q, it was 400 dollars, and no amount of tuning or head changing could make it sound good. From the first day I had that kit, I vowed that I would raise enough money to purchase a high-end kit, something that would be a be all end all. I saved up a little bit of money each day. Every gift that I got and every gig that I played I put a little bit of it away. That went on for six years. Then the day finally came when I found her. After going to Guitar

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13 NOVEMBER 2012

CONTRIBUTOR

Center and finding only overpriced DW kits, I went to the local music store Alan’s, and saw what I knew I had to get. It was a Gretsch New Classic, with a gold glass wrap that was reminiscent of the vintage ‘50s and ‘60s pieces. I picked it up the same day. I’ve used that kit for every gig and every recording that I’ve done since that day. The kit is beautiful, with tone for days. A maple kit with gumwood, the entire kit sings, especially the ten-inch tom. The bass drum has great volume without losing a lot of tone. Every piece of the kit tunes extremely well and maintains their sound. On top of that, it’s a beauty! The glass nitron wrap sparkles under the stage lights. Every part of the kit screams old school vintage. It has class and I’ve gotten many compliments on it. I’ve entertained the thought of getting other kits, particularly a C&C kit. Yet, I feel at home whenever I sit down behind my Gretsch. Especially when I pair it with the other components of my kit, which are a Ludwig Supraphonic snare and Sabian Artisan cymbals. These pieces have made my job as a musician so much easier by allowing my musical expression to flourish. With them I have been able to make and will continue to make music.

Her name is Penny. I met her a couple years ago in March of 2011. As soon as I heard her voice I was instantly won over. The power, yet the subtlety in tone made it so dynamic, so precious. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before. She was so beautiful. The curves of her body and the delicate uniqueness of her neck made me fall in love. We saw each other only briefly that first day, but I made it my goal to see her more often, and so I found ways to see her. I knew where she would be, so I would sneak over there on my way home from school and talk with her a while. Soon, it was not just looks or her great voice that made me like her. I found I could express myself with her in a way I never could before. Everything I was feeling just found its way out of me so easily. She was really easy to talk with, really easy to express myself with. I had to tell someone about this relationship. I had to tell someone about this new love of mine. My heart was so big and emboldened with expression that I had no choice but to let this desire out and share it with someone. So, I told someone else I’m very close to about this new relationship, about this new love in my life. I told my girlfriend.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention… Penny is a guitar. She’s a Gibson ES 339. She’s modeled after her older sister the ES 335, made famous by B.B. King and Eric Clapton, among many other blues players, and many artists of other genres. But this guitar, the 339, is a little different. It’s smaller. It’s more the size of a Gibson Les Paul. This is exactly what makes this guitar so unique. It has the dynamic character and warmth of it’s hollow body predecessor, the ES 335, but it has the boom and power and solid body feel of the Les Paul. It was a match made in heaven, at least to my ears. How was I to get this guitar though? I really didn’t have any money, or steady flow of income. So I asked my parents if I could get it for my birthday, May 1st, 2011. There was hesitation, but after a long examination of the instrument by my wine-buzzed father (that’s the best way to bribe a parent for a big purchase, by the way), she was mine. Sadly, I couldn’t open the guitar and play it until my actual birthday, which was about a month away. But on that May day in 2011, when I finally relinquished Penny from her anguished isolation, we were once again together, making beautiful music.


CELLULOID’S DARK SIDE W

EXPLORING THE CONTROVERSY AND INTRIGUE OF THE NOTORIOUS NC-17 RATING

ENTERTAINMENT

Intro

NATHAN CRUZ

ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

hen I was a child, NC-17 films were films that were just a mystery to me. It wasn’t until I had access to Direct TV in my own room as a teen, that I was finally able to binge on all the films I was restricted to as a child (take note future parents). The history and process of how a film comes to be rated NC-17 is intriguing. According to The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) website, “An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.” In the late ‘80s the chief of the MPAA got rid of the outdated X rating that had been

used for “explicit” films description prior to the adoption of NC-17. First implemented by the MPAA in 1990, the NC-17 was called an “artistic” alternative to the X rating, which had gone on for decades misappropriating films that were not necessarily pornographic, and made the films off-limits to anyone under 17. The process of how a film gets the NC-17 rating is very confusing. What usually happens when directors get their film rated NC-17 is they with either accept the rating and leave the film as is, or don’t accept the rating and then continue cutting and resubmitting the film until it falls under an R rating. However, when a director contests the NC-17 rating, the MPAA will make directors sign an agreement stating that they understand and accept the

rating. Then the director has no choice but to accept the rating because that is the only way the MCAA will discuss it with the director. Then the MCAA will inform all theater chains about the rating and most theaters will choose not to accept the film after it has been dubbed NC-17, because theaters want audiences and that usually means bougie moms and dads who can afford to take their kids to the theater. Since the NC-17 rating was first implemented, the number of films rated NC17 has plummeted, and those with the rating do not typically do well at the box office. Most theater chains won’t play them, conservative media outlets will not accept advertising for them, and some retailers won’t sell their DVDs (fuck you Wal-Mart).

Not all films rated NC-17 have been groundbreaking, but some have. It’s a matter of what society deems admissable (and sees as mainstream). Violence obviously is, but when it comes to sex and gender that’s another story. The idea of a man going down on a woman isn’t decent, but a woman going down on a man is. It all goes back to the black and white, red and blue, good vs. bad stance we have in America. Life is shades of gray people! Needless to say, the NC-17 rating is outdated and needs some much-needed revision to reflect societies ever-changing view of what is and isn’t accpectable to watch. A certain element of controversy and hype surrounds most NC-17 films, and here are four of our favorites.

THE DREAMERS

AMERICAN PSYCHO

BLUE VALENTINE

PULP FICTION

NATHAN CRUZ

ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

My first experience with any film under the NC-17 rated labeling was an accident. I was 15 and I had access to IFC. One night The Dreamers was on and my life was forever changed. The film takes place in Paris in the middle of the 1968 student and worker riots that took place in the city at that time. Protagonist Matthew (Michael Pit) is an American exchange student who has come to Paris to learn French. Matthew is a cinephile and spends most of his time at the cinema and is a lover of the “classics.” The Cinémathèque Française is where Matthew meets Isabelle (Eva Green), a fellow cinema lover, and her brother Théo (Louis Garrel). Personally, The Dreamers didn’t just serve as an introduction to the world of NC-17 films, it also served as an introduction to the style known as French New Wave. The film is known for some exceptionally explicit sex scenes. There is full frontal nudity, incest, threesomes, and some dysfunctional family stuff going on. Little did I know then that director of the film, Bernardo Berolucci, is known for his voyeristic style in cinema (The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris). Sounds like a recipe for a great film, does it not? My 15-year old-self was shocked. I will say that this is definitely not a film for everyone. I enjoyed the film then and I still do.

CAMILLE HOVE ASSISTANT EDITOR

“Don’t just stare at it, Sabrina, eat it.” Patrick Bateman orders. Thus begins the racy and sexually disturbing scene with two prostitutes that was edited out of the R version of American Psycho. Bateman is a psychologically disturbed man who works on Wall Street and has a fondness for prostitutes, chainsaws and committing multiple homicides. Beginning by telling the audience that he isn’t exactly sure of his sanity, the film starts off showing Bateman and his lifestyle, which he hates. Business cards are whipped out and compared like the sizes of penises. With women, we see Bateman’s disturbing love for role playing. Christie is a whore whom he picks up on the street. He slaughters her with a chainsaw after pretending she is his cousin. Another blonde’s head is found within the refrigerator, next to the peach sorbet. His assistant Jean is the only one lucky enough to escape. He stabs the whore Sabrina while having sex with her, blood spreading throughout the bed like spilled wine. By the end, he estimates that he has killed 20, maybe 40 people. But did he really? The NC-17 version of this erotic, psychological thriller starring Christian Bale is for the blood loving, sex addicts who question their own stability.

MELISSA CASAS OPINIONS EDITOR

Starring former mousketeer Ryan Gosling and the late Heath Ledger’s wifey, Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine details the romance of college-aged lovers. The film chronicles their story from when they meet to the dissolution of their romance, when they have not only themselves to support but a daughter as well. Dean is a charming slacker trying to get lucky in the dating game and Cindy is a college student who hopes to become a doctor and cares for her grandmother at a nursing home. It’s in this sterile environment for the nearly deceased where the two first meet, and their courtship carries on. The atmosphere of loss surrounding their meeting place foreshadows the demise of their relationship. Because of a scene detailing cunnilingus between the pair, the film was given a NC-17 rating. Various adult scenes are shown, the least violent of which is the tender moment that the MPAA so disliked. If female pleasure is too indecent for mainstream movies, why is male pleasure at the expense of females allowed in PG-13 and R-rated films so often? I’ll stop my rant on chauvinism and applaud the cast and crew, who refused to cut the scene, fought the MPAA, and garnered an R rating for their movie. Even if you’re not a romantic, watch the film to catch a scene of Michelle Williams dancing to a song played by Gosling.

BRIANNE SCHAER NEWS DIRECTOR

I’m not edgy, artsy, or rebellious enough to regularly watch NC-17 rated films. I am, however, just hip enough to have seen Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The film was originally rated NC-17, but Tarantino cut it in order to comply with the MPAA’s R-rating. When the film was released in 1994, NC-17 was still a burgeoning rating, and Tarantino’s decision to cut Pulp Fiction, was definitely a factor in exiling the rating to that of pornographic smut. The racy qualities of the film are simply necessary to encompass the viewer in the gangster reality that the characters lived in. Honestly, that is not too far from the life that many of us experience daily. Take the fact that the word “fuck” and it’s various conjugations is used roughly 265 times throughout the movie (that averages to more than once per minute). Try taking the Metro Blue Line to L.A. and I guarantee you’ll hear it at least that much, probably more. Sure, there’s sex, drugs, violence, and profanity, but that’s life. A moviegoer can’t simply walk into the theater to see a movie about a group of gangsters and expect a watered down, censored version of the thoughts and actions of the characters. It simply doesn’t offer the full experience of the drama. Besides, there’s a badass motherfucker deep down in all of us. Embrace it. UNION WEEKLY

13 NOVEMBER 2012

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LITERATURE

TIME TO FINISH WHAT WE STARTED FINALISTS FOR THE “FINISH THE STORY” CONTEST

Illustration

SURVIVAL

ROSE FEDUK COMICS EDITOR

SIERRA PATHEAL UNION STAFFER

The days were growing shorter. John put down his shovel. The ash on the ground puffed up around it, hanging in the air for a moment before being pushed down by the slow, inevitable fall of the heavens. The box was rusty and scratched, but as John pulled it out into the evening gloom, he could feel the weight. His lips cracked painfully as he smiled, and he ran a dry tongue across them. Hopefully there would be water in the kit. He hadn’t had water in a long while. People had started hiding their survival kits after the gang activity started up, sometime after the fourth bomb fell, wanting to have something left even if the house was cleared. John’s own family had hidden whole crates of supplies, water, toiletries, chocolate, and canned food. John remembered his mother burying a whole box of canned corn, showing him exactly where it was. He’d dug that box up years ago, a few weeks after his mother had been harvested; he remembered huddling in an abandoned apartment with Lace and eating it by candlelight, kernel by kernel. It had kept them alive for weeks. He sat cross-legged in the ash, turning the

box over in his hands. The house he’d found it behind had been picked clean long ago, but it was large, so its previous owners had been rich. Hopefully, that meant their survival kit was well-stocked. It was about the size of a shoebox, and it was locked closed, but the lock was old, and after a few moments’ work with his knife, John snapped the fastening off. He held his breath in anticipation as he lifted the rusty lid. The barrel of a pistol, cold and unmistakable, nestled itself against his neck as he looked inside. “Thanks for finding dinner for me, kid,” a voice said, rough with disuse, as the hammer fell into place. “You gonna give it up easy, or do I have to make a mess of you before I eat?” John began to chuckle. The man grunted, but John couldn’t stop, his dry lips cracking in the gloom as he laughed. Four years of surviving in this war-torn, dark and ashy world, and now he was probably going to get his brains blown out—and for what? A box full of ladies’ jewelry. He couldn’t think of anything more useless. Around them, the ash continued to fall.

ANYTHING IS BETTER

RUDE MADELINE WALKER

RACHEL CLARE

CONTRIBUTOR

UNION STAFFER

The days were growing shorter. John laid down his shovel. Or rather, he spit it out from between his teeth. Unicorns can’t properly grasp shovels with their hooves, you see. John had been scavenging through the depths of this forest for two weeks now, digging up stunted vegetation for sustenance. Zeus had been fed up with him prancing through the flower gardens of Mount Olympus, and banished him to this endless expanse of wood somewhere in the world of mortals. Where the shovel came from, John wasn’t sure, but it wasn’t helping his search for food. The ground was packed thick beneath his hooves, as if it had been trampled into flatness over time. John’s muzzle was dirtied from pressing through debris on the forest floor. All he found were fallen berries and an old rodent skeleton. He ate both, his silver tail flicking in dissatisfaction. The berries were sour and the rat’s bones were stale and musty between his blockish teeth. They didn’t make for easy digestion either. He missed his diet of rainbows and honey. During the summers, Dionysus always spoiled the unicorns with

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fresh barrels of wine. The forest was lacking in all of the above unicorn dietary staples. Frustrated, John kicked at the ground and turned to follow the sound of flowing water nearby. At least he could wash down some of the moldy taste of his insufficient meal from his tongue. His ears perked as something rustled on the other end of the forest stream. Other than an owl who flapped from tree to tree each night, John had encountered no other life forms since his arrival in the mortal world. He kept his head lowered, ears flat, waiting for a bird or mammal to emerge for water. He wasn’t a unicorn on the hunt for companionship, but a unicorn on the hunt for food. And here food was coming, in the form of a little boy shuffling into view; a lost little human being entreating upon John’s space. A little boy, he noted, whose skin would spurt and gurgle with blood as his horn stabbed through his chest, and whose bones would crack fresh between his teeth. And so John approached, horn poised for attack. Anything was an improvement from the musty rat skeleton.

The days were growing shorter. John laid down his shovel. He sighed, wiping the sweat off his brow as the sun’s rays beat down upon his scorched face. There were only a few more flowers left to be planted into the new garden, and hopefully then he would gain redemption from his wife for “accidentally” destroying the old garden the week before. Deciding to take a break, John slowly sat down on the ground and closed his eyes. He was starting to feel dizzy and tired from being in the hot, grueling weather for three hours. A sudden scratching noise at his side caught his attention. Out popped a large, furry mole from underneath a freshly planted tulip. It shuddered, flinging dirt everywhere and destroying the hard work John had put into the new garden. Frowning fiercely, John picked up his shovel to smack the creature away. “You pea-brained moron! Look at my home!” snapped the mole in a deep voice, standing up on its hind legs and glaring at him with its beady black eyes. John blinked, hardly believing his eyes and ears. “What?” he said, bewildered and astonished, for it is not everyday you meet a talking mole.

“A long hot day and I come home to this incredible nonsense! Where is your permit, you nitwit? I demand to see it now! Look what you have done to my house!” shouted the mole, obviously irritated with the current situation. It pointed with a claw to the pile of dirt that was its “home”. “I don’t have to show you anything,” John said staring at the mole, shovel still grasped in his hand, “you’re not even real. It’s this damn heat…” “Excuse me?!” gasped the mole, deeply offended, “I demand to hear an apology! You empty-headed idiot, do you see the damage you’ve done to my house! The Feds will be hearing about this! You’re going to get thrown in the slammer, you boorish, nose-picking, ass-scratching dummy! And for god’s sake, put down that damn shovel! Have you ever heard of a little thing called manners? Obviously not since you’re acting in such an obnoxious, selfcentered manner! Your mother probably cries herself to sleep every night!” The mole continued to rant angrily at John, waving its claws around in frantic motions. “I think I’m going to go get some water now,” John said to himself, and he got up and headed to the house.


LITERATURE THE DIGGER

IN BETWEEN

NATE MUSSER

AMY PATTON

UNION STAFFER

The days were growing shorter. John laid down his shovel and hoisted himself out of the finished ditch. The setting sun doused his shoulders as he walked away from a new cluster of perfectly square final resting places. He made his way down the hill and could see Roger sitting outside the office eating a sandwich. “How many today, Johnny?” Roger asked with a mouthful of bread and meat. “Eight,” John said. “Not bad, Greenie,” Roger said as a rogue drop of mustard spurted onto his beard. “First round’s on me.” John changed his shirt, stomped the mud off his boots, and walked with Roger across the street. The two sat in their usual booth. Roger nodded to the server then searched the room without restraint. John rubbed his sunburnt face, felt the callouses against his cheeks. “Your four o’ clock. Red shirt. Real dime piece,” Roger said. A waitress set two beers on the table and walked off. John glanced over his shoulder and saw a woman sitting alone at the bar drinking a beer. Her hair was brown. Her skin looked like it had never seen the sun. “Not tonight,” John said. He sipped his

UNION STAFFER

beer, then spun the ring around his finger. “Take that damn thing off. Been too long.” Roger stared at the woman. “C’mon man, she’s perfect.” The condensation from the beer bottle pulled the dirt out of John’s hands. Brown sweat dripped from his palms as he glanced again toward the woman. “She’s probably waiting for someone,” John said. The woman ordered another drink, something stronger this time. Roger scoffed. “We’re all waiting for someone, Johnny.” John feigned a smile as the mustard-stained grave digger across from him sounded a little like Socrates. “It’s just,” John started, before pausing to sip his beer. “All those holes I dug today are gonna be full of dead folks by this time next week.” Roger put down his beer and looked at John. He leaned in and smiled like he knew how everything was supposed to be. “Kid,” he said, “Ain’t that a damn good reason to live tonight?” John leaned back and felt cool air on his shoulders. He filled his lungs then let all the breath out of his chest, just to make sure he still could.

CONTEXT

The next morning John awoke bright and early, put on his boots, and set out to find his keys again. Madge peeked out the curtains, wondering if he would find it again. The box. It held Skip’s decomposing remains. Every few weeks John finds it, confused about its contents. Madge tries to explain, but he just thinks she’s lying and conspiring against him. He could never face that he killed the dog. He loved that dog like his own son, up until the accident anyway. John didn’t mean to do it. He was finishing plowing the field and it was dark out. He didn’t see the little fella, right? No, that wasn’t it. John wasn’t quite the same after the lobotomy. The doctor had said it would help with his insomnia. He was having such a terrible time sleeping. The doctor said it was the most advanced technology science had to offer. And it had worked. That’s what the doctors said. True, John slept soundly through the night. Too much so, in fact. It seemed as though he never quite woke up. Every morning he arose and went through the motions of life. But he wasn’t all there; he was still asleep socially and emotionally. He was stuck in a world between his dreams and reality.

PROPOSAL CAMILLE HOVE

ALEX MIKLOVIC

ASSISTANT EDITOR

CONTRIBUTOR

The days were growing shorter. John laid down his shovel. “Goodbye, Mr. Parker,” he said in an ominous voice as he tamped down on the long mound with his foot. “See ya!” said Mr. Parker, waving at John from the adjacent driveway. Mr. Parker stepped into his Porsche and drove off to work. John chuckled to himself under his breath. He reached for the bag of ground limestone. “They have no idea,” he thought, grabbing a handful, “that my secret to a beautiful pumpkin patch is using a high-quality limestone fertilizer.” He tossed a white cloud over a row of pumpkins on the ground. John took the bag and shovel into the garage then headed to his bedroom. His wife was lying on the bed reading a book. “What have you been up to?” she asked. “Just fixing some problems.” He walked over to the night stand. “Are you almost done?” “Almost.” He opened the night stand drawer where he kept his gun. “There’s just one more problem I need to fix.”

The days were growing shorter. John laid down his shovel. Not here, he thought as he relentlessly dug hole after hole. That damn dog. Always burying my keys. Why can’t he just stick to burying the chew bones I give him? Covered in smudges of exhaustion and grime, John gave up his digging efforts. The sun was setting, turning the trees to blazing fires and he was running out of oil for the lamp. Soon he wouldn’t even be able to see the rusty shovel in his hands. “Well, I guess I’ll just continue to look tomorrow,” he halfmuttered to himself. John went inside and set the shovel down in the muck room before taking off his muddy boots. “Honey!” He hollered out to his wife, “I’m going to ride the horse into town tomorrow afternoon. Damn dog hid my keys to the Model T and I have to visit the office.” His wife, Madge, came out of the kitchen with a soggy dish towel in her hand, slowing and coming to a stop as soon as John mentioned the dog. Her face drained of color. Does she always have to look at me like that? I know she doesn’t like the dog, but why does she have to look at me like I’m a sick puppy?

He pulled out a screwdriver and walked over to the bedroom door. “This goddamn door handle has been driving me crazy.” He began tightening the screws. “I’m so proud of you. You’ve been very productive lately.” “Thanks, babe.” “Hey um…did you…you know.” She put down her book and became very concerned. “Did you take care of the…body?” “Just finished burying it.” “Oh thank God. I would have helped you, but I just cannot stand the sight of dead animals.” “I know, babe. It’s okay.” Delighted, she jumped out of bed and skipped to the closet. “So,” she said, opening the closet door. “What should we do with the mailman’s corpse?” A naked body dangled in the middle of the walk-in closet from a meat hook. “Well,” said John. “I suppose we should cook it a little before we eat him.” “I’ll get the oven ready,” she said.

The days were growing shorter. John lay down his shovel. He wiped the smell of his mother’s bones off his hands. He held up a sliver of diamond, smiled, and shoved it deep into a wooly pocket. The cemetery only contained graves from three families. John was pleased the girl he had picked to marry would be buried here. He wondered what the bones would feel like once her golden skin had flaked off, how silky the eye socket would be to his stroke. Jogging home, John glanced at the moon, its exterior as pale and pock marked as his flesh. Opening the door to his home he called out, Pricilla, grab your coat! His godlike bride-to-be peeked around the corner, large green eyes matching the peeled avocado she held in her palm. John! She cried, You’re covered in dirt! Are you all right? Did you get mugged? No, no, I’m fine. Are you cooking? Oh no, I was just nibbling on some fruit. Why, are we going someplace? Yes. Ready? In the car, John rechecked his pocket. Pulling into the lot of the restaurant,

Pricilla squealed, her ringlets bobbing like excited puppies. Fleur de Lys? Oh John! He couldn’t wait. He pulled out the ring, brushed away any leftover grit and smiled. Pricilla will you— Oh my God. Is that your mother’s? But she- she was buried with it— …marry me? You dug up your mother’s grave?! For you, darling. I knew you adored— Pricilla stopped him. What else do you think people are wearing in their caskets? John’s smile was gentle. Now Pricilla, this was a one time thing. She pouted. Then— What did she look like? Was she...bones? Or what? He hesitated. I don’t think you should be asking these kinds of questions. It’s not normal. Normal? And digging up your mother is? Well I had a reason. You don’t. I want to see her. Take me to her grave. John’s smile faltered. His hand slowly withdrew the small ring. No. UNION WEEKLY

13 NOVEMBER 2012

13


CULTURE

BEST 331: THIS WAY TO MADISON AVENUE AN ON-CAMPUS ADVERTISING ART SHOWCASE Words & Photo

T

ARIELLA RAMS CONTRIBUTOR

his is my fourth and final year at CSULB, and every year I stumble across something that makes me think, “Holy shit, I’ve done nothing.” Today was one of those days. I went on campus to check out the setup of the first ever Art 331 advertising show that was open to the public on Sunday, November 11 from 5pm 9pm in the Merlino Gallery on campus. If you missed the show…sucks to suck. Just kidding! It runs on campus all this week. If you see it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say: holy talent, I’ve been wasting my years here. Not only am I envious of every student that has the talent to create those ads, I’m pissed I didn’t

think of them first. The ads displayed in the gallery were so professional and convincing, they made me want to go out and buy just about everything in there way more than any billboard or ad I’ve seen on TV (except any Taco Bell commercial, you had me at “yo quiero,” chihuahua). For example, the ad for a simple Black & Decker Laser Level (for those that don’t know, it’s that thing that you put against the wall that shows if what you’re hanging or nailing is straight…that’s what she said…) was a picture of a dude walking a straight line in front of cops, with a caption that read, “Sometimes we all need help with straight

lines.” And I thought to myself…fuck yeah, sometimes we all need help! I definitely do. Quick, Siri, where’s the closest Home Depot?! Another ad was for the Dog Whisperer that read, “Some of the baddest bitches on TV.” Which really hits home, because I hate the Dog Whisperer, but I love me some bitches. Other ads our students created were for Steve Jobs, Tide, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Cheetos and many, many more. Everything displayed was innovative, creative and seriously persuasive. I never needed a Laser Level, nor did I wash my clothes with Tide, but for some reason, now I own and use both. Hm...weird thing about consumerism, isn’t it?

SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT, TWO BITS SUPPORT A CAUSE ALONGSIDE YOUR BUDDING MASCULINITY MICHAEL WOOD UNION STAFFER

Tis the season to be hairy! For all you menfolk out there, it seems like finding a barbershop is a rite of passage. As we grow older, we move beyond the hole in the wall shops and the huge salon chains into shops that fit our personal style, where you don’t simply spend half an hour in a chair and look at outdated copies of People magazine as the person who cuts your hair tries to move you out of there as quickly as possible. No, a haircut is supposed to be more! A haircut should involve a good conversation with someone who is a fixture of his community and to boot, a damn good job that leaves you exiting the store not only feeling much more clean and handsome but also leaves you a little bit smarter as you share a good dialogue with your barber. Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to get the whole experience and talk to the owner of the newly opened Esquire Grooming Barbershop at 4240 Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls. Adrian is the owner, a very intelligent and sociable man who can discuss international economics with as much ease and interest as music or his own life. I asked him about the philosophy behind his barbershop and he had this much to say:“We’re creating a social atmosphere where you’re gonna leave feeling sharp and feeling good about yourself.” Well, what better way to see if this was the truth than to sit down for a haircut myself? I sat down with Kyle, the barber on duty and he knew what he was talking about. From 80s punk music, to what sort of pomade I should use, he never failed to engage me with conversation as he masterfully cut my hair down from the disheveled mess it was to a neat cut that made me feel twice as handsome by the time he was done. As Adrian said “I want people to know that they can come in for a chat anytime, regardless of whether or not they’re having a haircut.” I know that I would feel comfortable

14

UNION WEEKLY

13 NOVEMBER 2012

coming in there for a chat anytime myself. But the cut wasn’t all that stood out to me about this barbershop, there was also his interest in activism, in the community and in a more global context. He is a promoter of “Movember” known more commonly in the United States as No Shave November. The movement to promote male health and fight against two major killers, prostate cancer and testicular cancer is originally an Australian movement that has spread like wildfire all over the world, with 1.9 million registered participants last year. One part awareness campaign and another part charity, men are asked to grow out their mustaches for the month and when they are asked why they are growing out their mustache, they are supposed to detail the charity, the cause, and link folks

to their own accounts on the charity’s website where people will be prompted to donate to funds fighting prostate and testicular cancer while promoting male health. Adrian had this much to say about his role in the cause, stating,“Being a barbershop, we deal with grooming of men; within that is the wellness and health of men. We’re all about men, male health and male grooming.” But Movember isn’t the only social work they involve themselves in. Being an active member of the Long Beach community, they have held fundraisers for local elementary schools and are active participants in the Bixby Knolls business improvement community. “We can’t just be another shop on the row, we have to be a fixture of the community, the neighborhood barbershop that involves itself with the affairs

of the community as a whole,” said the owner and operator Adrian. So if you’re looking for a good old school haircut with community values, a greater social consciousness, a fantastic shop aesthetic and a friendly environment, I couldn’t recommend Esquire more strongly. And if you’re still not convinced, I highly recommend you take them up on their offer. This Wednesday, November 14th, you can go into Esquire and receive a free haircut with a five dollar donation to the owners Movember page to prostate and testicular cancer charities. So with a cheap and amazing haircut to gain and nothing to lose, why not head over there and give their experienced barbers a chance? I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.


UNION WEEKLY

13 NOVEMBER 2012

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HARD

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EASY

PHODOKU

HARD

CONTRIBUTER

COMICS PAGE BUM

TYRE JONES

HOBO HARRIS

PHOGLY AND PROUD JACKASSES

DISSECT MY BRAIN

UNION STAFFER

KEVIN NG

COMICS


DISCLAIMER: This page is satire especially for people over the age of sixty, sixty being the new forty since forty is the new twenty and twenty year-olds are still kids. We’re going to live it up like we never have on this page with large print and no references to anything abortion or sexlike. I am not ASI nor do I represent the CSULB campus. Email the Duchess at grunion@lbunion.com

Isn’t the word union a religious word?

Volume 71 Issue 12

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

MADNESS AT BINGO HALL CLAIMS TWENTY The city of Hawaiian Gardens had never seen such a noteworthy bingo night as that of last Wednesday, November 7. After Mitt Romney’s landslide defeat, all the old, white

TECHNICALLY SPEAKIN’ WITH BILL PEEBLE

reproductive sexual activity. “Mary Tibbons must go! Marriage B4 NOT AFTER!” the crowd chanted like the

bingo hall to drink away their sorrows in complimentary tea and coffee while squandering what little was left of their social security checks.

bingo hall and all the people therein. Despite the ever-increasing chanting of the mob, the diligent bingo caller continued to call number after number. This must have been a record for the longest ever string of bingo numbers called without anyone scoring the ultimate win. This was anarchy. There was no escaping the force that is an extra-large room full of 60+ year-old women, with the odd underthan-30-er sprinkled in amongst the crowd.

reelected,” said Mary Tibbons, avid bingo regular. “But then I scored a bingo. I remember it clear as day, they called out ‘O69’ and I shouted BINGO O69— DINNER FOR TWO!” Tibbons’ uncontrolled excitement caused an uproar throughout the hall, as women old and old jumped to their feet, yelling at Tibbons’ disregard for non-

Newton, as she tossed her chair aside and ripped open her shirt revealing her giant brazier. Utter chaos ensued as several women raised their walkers to the sky as if empowered by some ancient spirit. “The tumor is B9,” shouted another follwed by “B11 turkey legs.” Police had to be called to quell the old madness and get the seniors to bed, Brown said.

By LaZOMBIE GOMEZ

LBUNION.COM

Salutations, loyal “Tech Talk” readers. Griselda Mubbins here again, and I’m afraid that our old pal Bill Peeble, the usual tech By GRIZELDA MUBBINS genius behind this column, is feeling a little under the weather. Something about losing his pecan sandies in a hurricane? Which reminds me, I have an excellent recipe for those somewhere in the back of my spice cabinet. But I don’t use spices in my baking anymore, not since I found out that my old cat, Mr. Doodles, had used that cabinet as a restroom. Well hip-hip hooray! I just got a hip replacement, so I’m in tip top condition to give you lots of top tier tips. Remember to also take a gander at my regular column, “Griseldo’s and Don’ts for Baking,” where this week I teach you how to make meatloaf cookies. Now let’s see what technology-related problems our readers are having this week that I can sink my dentures into. Dear Billium, I overheard a co-worker saying that leaving your electronic devices to charge for too long will damage them and lower their battery life over time. Is this for true or for false? I’d really like to know. —Micheal Doof, Gurglegutter, South Carolina

Oh Micheal, This question reminds me of when I met I was considered by many to be, as we used to say, the “tart of the town.” I mean, I wore a giant tart suit with little pink stockings and waved like the dickens in front of Tommy’s Tart Truck to draw in customers all summer long. One particularly hot day, I saw a man that looked good enough to eat. In fact, think. My memory isn’t what it used to be. But I do believe I may be meandering a bit through this reply. To answer your question, you should soak it in a brine bath for about three hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 600 degrees. Dear Billo Pet, The screen on my Kindle Fire seems to be frozen, but it still charges when it’s myself or will I have to take it to a specialist? Hey, Cindy. How are you? Well if it’s frozen, why don’t you just heat it up, you dense Debby. Lord help me, when women don’t know their way around the kitchen it really grinds my goiters. It’s all those radical women like you who want to start wearing pants and voting instead of cooking nice home-cooked meals for their loving husbands and kids. Learn some respect, you harlot!

INSIDE

JAVIER BARDEM AS THE DUCHESS OF SPAIN IN

SKYFALL

TAILOR LAWLTNER TRADES STUPID FACE FOR JELLYBEANS

MITT ROMNEY TELLS IT LIKE IT IS IN NEW STAND-UP COMEDY SPECIAL

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