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Contributors: JEWEL NICHOLSON ZAMEER HASSIM RACHEL CLARE TRAVIS BARON CODY ARNOLD DANIEL SERRANO INGRID ROSALES SARAH PROTHERO WESLEY VERNER BEN NOVOTNY
LETTERS TO AND FROM THE EDITOR CHELSEA STEVENS
CHEL ME ABOUT IT
TANYA PAZ JAIME GOMEZ KEVIN O’BRIEN ANDREW STOCKWELL FOLASHADE ALFORD MELISSA CASAS COREY LEIS SHEREEN DUDAR FRANCISCO QUICANO JON GARCIA
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The Union Weekly is published using ad money and partial funding provided by the Associated Students, Inc. All Editorials are the opinions of the writer, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Union Weekly, ASI, or of 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 publication. However, CSULB students will have precedence. All outside submissions are due by Thursday, 5 PM to be considered for publishing the following week and become property of the Union Weekly. Please include name, major, class standing, and phone number for all submissions. They are subject to editing and will not be returned. Letters may or may not be edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and length. The Union Weekly will publish anonymous letters, articles, editorials and illustrations, but must have your name and information attached for our records. Letters to the editor should be no longer than 500 words. The Union Weekly assumes no responsibility, nor is it liable, for claims of its advertisers. Grievance procedures are available in the Associated Students business office.
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e’ve survived the first week! Well, I mean, you might be reading this from the pits of hell, but most likely you are alive and nursing the cuts and bruises you acquired over your first few days back. This past week has definitely been my craziest back-to-school experience in a long time. Juggling two part-time jobs with full-time school hasn’t exactly turned out to be the soothing walk in the park it advertises itself to be. I’m not complaining though, because CSULB hasn’t been as absolutely intolerable as I remember it to be, either. I got into all of my classes, unexpectedly have some of my favorite professors, and haven’t gotten one parking ticket. Yet. For the most part, I don’t yet have a reason to block out the harsh realities of this semester with alcohol poisoning or cocaine. Instead, I’m attempting something I’ve never really tried before: finding the good things in my everyday life. How can I complain when there’s a four-week-old kitten (pictured below) nestled in my shirt as I write this? Life really isn’t all that bad when you force yourself to forget that it’s terrible. My favorite example of this exercise gave way to our feature this week, entitled
CONNOR O’BRIEN PHOTO EDITOR
“Why You Aren’t Making Friends.” I’m not taking many classes with people I already know this semester, which is kind of a bummer for me, because I make new friends about as well as I cook turducken (not well). So, instead of trying to befriend my classmates, I judge the shit out of them in my head. Probably not earning myself any brownie points for our future acquantanceships, but oh well. Everyone does it, right? Right? I sat down with the Union editors, and we narrowed down the most recognizable campus stereotypes that most people would probably admit to blatantly hating. Hipster snobs with combat boots and undercuts, welcome to our list. Nose-picking, front-of-theclass sitters with a burning inner urge to comment on every single thing the professor says worse than a kid with Tourette’s, you’re on there too. I know we sound like we’re living up to our reputation of being complete assholes right now, but this feature has a moral side to it too. The people we claim aren’t able to make friends aren’t those who fit these stereotypes; rather, it’s us, the judge-y, pretentious jerks that aren’t able to look past the unfortunate exteriors and get to know the potentially
valid personalities underneath. See, I told you we weren’t complete assholes. Alright, enough mushy-gushy shit, onto my very first letter to the editor. My name is Alexander Borg and as an incoming freshman, I found your editorial welcoming the students of CSULB to Hell both acerbic and delightful. I was wondering what the weekly open meetings at the union office mentioned at the bottom of your editorial entail and if one is being held this week. Your publication is a refreshingly poignant and sharp alternative to the Daily 49’er which is most definitely a piece of shit. - Alexander Borg Alexander, thank you for your kind and accurate words. Union Open Meetings are nothing to be afraid of, I promise. They’re a chance to meet our editing staff and talk about ideas. Please bring every person you know to them. To everyone else, thanks for picking up the Union Weekly. Here’s to surviving our next four days.
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6 SEPTEMBER 2011
WHAT WAS SO GREAT ABOUT THEM, ANYWAY? OH YEAH, EVERYTHING JON GARCIA
leven years ago the world woke up from the one-night stand that was the 1990s, walking out the front door as quietly as possible without leaving a number for her to text us back ever again. Geez, a girl probably would have actually called back then instead of texting (what a backwards society that was). Nevertheless, society is safe and sound in the 21st century and the bubbling shithole that was the ’90s is nothing but a glimmer in Courtney Love’s coked out gaze. Thank goodness she’s fallen under the radar and we’ve traded that salty wench for such celebrity personalities as Lindsay Lohan, the Kardashians, and the women of every Real Housewives series aired to date, each of whom is a more pristine example of a classy woman.
When one thinks of the ’90s in comparison to post-Y2K, one must think about how far so many facets of pop culture have come. Movies back then were crippled by inferior technological developments. The advent and popularization of 3D viewing technology has cemented the past decade as a touchstone of cinema greatness. Not to mention such great directors like Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, and George Lucas finally hitting their stride to blow simplistic and boring films like Pulp Fiction, Toy Story, and Schindler’s List out of the water; all great films for falling asleep to while updating your Facebook status. Mainstream music has experienced a revival of electronically driven sound, evolving the world’s pallet into something momentous. Popular music of the ’90s was
too reminiscent of hard rocking musicianship of the ’70s, leaving listeners plagued by dirty hard-rocking nonsense from Nirvana, Beatles wannabes Oasis, and cheesy rap artist Will Smith (not to mention that laughably hip-with-it sitcom, The Fresh Prince he was in). Even hip-hop icon Ice Cube straightened out his act by growing out of that gangster thug façade into one of esteemed movie producer and silverscreen star. It’s undeniable that such video-gaming consoles as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 have utterly dated what passed for gaming entertainment in the ’90s. Nintendo’s latest marvel, the Wii has changed the way people think about getting together for a good time around the TV. Where over 11 years ago, people were stuck with poorly
designed N64 controllers in hand and pixilated picture quality, now they can immerse themselves into the interactive motion-based games that double as exercise mediums. Truly, such titles as Super Mario 64, Goldeneye, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Ocarina of Time have zero replay value in the wake of modern day games. So, that’s the ’90s a lot of kids experienced in a nutshell, where the President was a cool pervert, the world was less connected, and half the population hadn’t developed A.D.D. from all the distractions in the 2000s. A frightening place, indeed. By the way, if by this point you didn’t realize this was written ironically and you find that you subscribe to any of the aforementioned opinions discussed in this article, piss off. The ’90s kicked ass.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF PROGRAMMING TV SHOWS ARE SO BAD THESE DAYS THAT KIDS ACTUALLY HAVE TO PLAY OUTSIDE MELISSA CASAS CONTRIBUTOR
In this day and age, television is almost passé in comparison with the multitude of entertainment available to our technologically-spoiled generation. With iPods, iPads, iPhones, Netflix, Hulu, and hordes of websites from which we can illegally stream any and all types of media, sitting down to watch your favorite show and dealing with annoying commercials isn’t as appealing as it used to be when we were kids. However, our generation’s technologically-influenced short attention spans cannot be entirely attributed to why most choose to forego TV shows in place of other more entertaining ventures. During our childhood, not watching popular cartoons was a sin worthy of social exclusion and being pelted with whatever your classmates brought in their tin
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lunch boxes. Although we may not have as much time to laze about in front of our giant flat screens as we did over a decade ago, the stigma associated with ignoring much of what occurs on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network is virtually non-existent. The descent of engaging, enjoyable television programs into what can only be described as a shit-filled pit of unoriginal plot lines and insipidness has only served to make a mockery of the American public’s intelligence (which may not be too substantial, but we’re not all easily entertained simpletons) and of the greatest era of children’s programming: the ’90s. I have never encountered a living soul who enjoys current kid’s television more than the old school, hand-drawn anima-
tions that were our lifeblood before we reached adolescence. Even elementary school-aged siblings of my friends choose to watch episodes from the golden age of children’s programming rather than peruse the offerings of the 21st century garbage dump that’s known as Disney Channel. For years, it seemed like the apocalypse was truly on its way in 2012; it’s common knowledge that all great civilizations began their declines when their kids’ television shows went down the drain. Alas, the younger set wasn’t the only group to notice that the TV shows aimed at their age group had been pulled from the asses of talentless bottom-feeders with no sense of innovation and quality. After years of badgering, protests, and the creation of passion-fueled Facebook
groups, Nickelodeon decided to take the stick out of their ass and bring back shows that everyone knows and loves. For now, those of us yearning for quality kiddy programming are relegated to watching Teen Nick on weeknights and confined to a measly four programs per evening. However, the re-emergence of Kenan & Kel, All That, Clarissa Explains It All, and Doug, programs that retained creativity and some bits of moralistic intellect while not totally alienating children, presents a glimmer of hope for the future. The success of these re-runs should be an indicator as to what the public truly wants to watch. However, if quality kid shows once again fade to black, the world ends, and my sarcastic, sinful self bites the dust, I hope they have ’90s cartoons in hell.
SATURDAY MORNING FLASHBACKS
‘90S NICKELODEON BEN NOVOTNY CONTRIBUTOR
It’s been 12 years since I last saw Doug Funny write in his journal, Helga profess her love for Arnold, or Kel profess his love for orange soda. This summer I have come back to the couch and rediscovered what I loved about these shows in the first place. Since its debut on July 25, The ’90s Are All That two hour block has been a huge success for the Teen Nick Cable channel, with shows like All That, Kenan and Kel, Doug, and Clarissa Explains It All (this past Monday the latter two have been replaced with Hey Arnold and Rocko’s Modern Life). According to Entertainment Weekly, not only has Teen Nick experienced a double increase in viewership from midnight to 2 a.m. EST (9 p.m.-midnight our time), but these reruns also have more viewers among 12-24-yearolds than all the late night talk shows. If that’s the case, then that means that more college students would rather watch old school Nick cartoons than watch a celebrity on Conan hype up their upcoming movie. Sorry Conan, but no matter how cool or hip you may be, you are no match for Kenan, Kel, Arnold, Rocko, and the rest of the Nick gang. What makes this phenomenon so cool and so unusual is that it wasn’t cooked up by some old TV executives smoking cigars around a huge big ass conference table. Rather, this is a phenomenon created by our generation, for our generation, thanks to Facebook and the hundreds of thousands of teenagers and college students who have demanded that Nickelodeon bring back the shows that many of us fondly remember from our childhood. I’d go farther and say that this is not just a phenomenon but a revolution, a revolution that shows if young people pull together and make their voices heard, then those old TV executives would have no choice but to listen to us and meet our demands. What makes these shows so cool and so popular, and why I believe most of us relate to them, is that they are about the everyday American teen and pre-teen, the one who had the one best friend, the one who had the huge crush on the boy/girl but didn’t know if he/she liked him/ her back, or in the case of Kenan and Kel, the ones who got into mischief from time to time. I also believe that at this particular time, with many of us facing uncertain unemployment after graduation, that these shows reflect on our desire for ’90s nostalgia. For many of us the ’90s were a time where we didn’t have to worry about student loans or the rising costs of tuition, where our biggest problems were that huge zit on our forehead and that upcoming spelling test. We can’t go back to those days, but luckily we can all sit on the orange couch for two hours and just be a kid again.
ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE SHEREEN DUDAR CONTRIBUTOR
Slapstick, surreal, and satire—not exactly words you would associate with the childhood of a spawn of the ’90s, but a look back proves otherwise. One of the original Nicktoons programs, Rocko’s Modern Life relied heavily on parody that went far above the heads of us all. (Before I go any further in assuming we were all sucked in by this Nickelodean animated series, let me clarify: Rocko’s Modern Life dealt with an Australian wallaby’s life in America. The series focuses on encounters with dilemmas in more or less a normal, dull life. All caught up? Good. And if not, there’s always Google.) Rocko encountered many typical life situations; however, the notable ones are those laced with racy humor and sexual innuendo. Naturally, when we think back to the fond memories of this childhood show, we find it nearly impossible to find the “dirty stuff ” because we never even noticed. Let’s open our eyes now, shall we? All the characters loved to hang out at local restaurant, Chokey Chicken, a clear euphemism for selfpleasuring. The restaurant also suffices as a parody of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Rocko was briefly a telephone operator of naughty intents. Rocko’s second hand man, or rather, cow, Heffer, was also the hub of numerous risqué experiences. He has a brief love affair with a milking machine, the episode featuring his reactions of pleasure. I questioned how most of this footage was aired, but hey, it was the ’90s. Rocko and Heffer were once mistaken for extremely sexually active homosexuals when they rented a motel room for the night. In a scene where Rocko is picking berries, he reaches for some and is greeted with a bear running out the bush and grabbing his crotch. Both these scenes were later censored. It calls into question what the producers were thinking when they chose to permit most of this footage, but it seems the network gave the staff of the program a large amount of creative freedom in order for the writers to target a broader age range. The writers themselves were almost certain that most of these ideas would not be okayed, but the network was rather lenient and made minimal requests to change anything. The show was successful in attracting adults; they made up more than one-fifth of the audience during the show’s original run. Now that we’re adults, I suggest returning to this beloved series via Netflix or YouTube or whatever magical technology you own and finally appreciate the previously incomprehensible references. The free spirit of the ’90s also loosened the media filters of today. Rocko’s Modern Life certainly raised the bar for children’s programming then and now. Cartoon Network has joined the fun with cartoons full of surreal humor and satire, such as The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Chowder, Adventure Time, Regular Show, and The Amazing World of Gumball.
POKÉMON FRANCISCO QUICANO CONTRIBUTOR
I’m going to state the obvious here: the ’90s were awesome. I’m biased, of course, but I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up in that time. As a child, I was very particular about the shows I watched. If it wasn’t Power Rangers or animated, I would instantly shun anything that didn’t adhere to my strict criteria. Fortunately, the ’90s delivered. For the sake of brevity I’m not gonna go into the specifics, but trust me when I say that there were a couple good shows. However, no other show was able to captivate me quite like Pokémon. Yes, in fifth grade I caught Pokéfever. I was initially oblivious to the whole fad, despite its huge presence at my school. It started with the trading cards. Every recess, the playground would transform into a crazed bazaar, complete with fervent negotiations and bartering. I watched with mild intrigue, but never gave it much thought. Out of curiosity (foolishness), I asked a friend of mine to explain what I was clearly missing. He mentioned something about catching ‘em all, battling and other such jargon that flew completely over my head. Flummoxed, I decided to just watch the show, but I would keep a strictly skeptical stance. The first thing I noticed was that the theme song was so damn catchy, which was practically a prerequisite for any respectable show of the ’90s. Following the good will created by said song, I continued watching with loosened reservations. The show followed the exploits of slacker/goofball/perpetual dreamer (clearly a man of great complexity) Ash Ketchum as he travels with his friends Brock and Misty on his quest to become Pokémon master, whatever that meant. While the show was interesting enough, I became smitten with the whole premise. Basically, once you turned 10 (yes, 10) you were given your first Pokémon and thrown into the wilderness to fend for yourself, where you would either flourish or expire, depending on fate (only in retrospect do I see how dangerously close to child neglect this was). Of course, the world of Pokémon was a near utopia where humans and Pokémon co-existed harmoniously. The show was inexplicably devoid of war, poverty, pollution, animal cruelty laws, or any other problems plaguing modern society. It was a world where you befriended any stranger who crossed your path. Finally, there was the thrill of adventure and the complete freedom to go wherever you wanted, whenever you wanted. There was also the appeal of catching and raising an unrivaled team of elemental demigods, but I digress. Besides, the only thing our protagonists had to worry about was where they were getting their next meal and a pair of incompetent thieves and their talking cat (or Meowth, if you want to be nit-picky about it). Overall, the show became my primary means of escapism. Just don’t ask where they got their meat from, unless you’re ready to deal with the horrible implications. UNION WEEKLY
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MEETING MISTY MAY OUR OLYMPIC ALUMNUS VISITS THE REC CENTER CHELSEA STEVENS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
ast Thursday, my favorite building on campus celebrated its first “birthday” with kitschy party hats, cardboard banners, straight-out-of-adirty-cooler Robeks samples, and a twotime gold medal Olympian athlete. Misty May-Treanor, who attended Long Beach State from 1995 to 1999 and led our women’s volleyball team to an all-out demolishing and only undefeated record in the NCAA in 1998, has since become the most decorated athlete to graduate from CSULB. After her illustrious collegiate career, she joined up with partner Kerry Marsh to bring home two gold medals in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, as well as being voted “Favorite Female Athlete” in
CONNOR O’BRIEN PHOTO EDITOR
Nickelodeon’s 2010 Kids’ Choice Awards. Personally, I’ll never forget the moment in the 2008 Olympics when May-Treanor and Marsh were on the court in China, about to take the semi-finals, and the entire nation watched as NBC cut to a shot of Legends Sports Bar with hundreds of roaring fans pouring into 2nd Street. This girl reps Long Beach harder than Snoop. Misty returned to Cal State Long Beach last Thursday for our recreation celebration, set up at table with copies of her new autobiography to sign and a line of well over 50 people waiting to snatch them up. Before she began the signing, the Union Weekly and a few of the lesser media outlets on campus had the oppor-
tunity to interview her. I was fairly intimidated by her ridiculous girl-muscles and exuberant geniality at first, but her goodnatured humor soon put us all at ease. “It’s like I never left,” she said of her return visit to CSULB. May-Treanor spent the vast majority of her time at Cal State concentrating on school and her sport. “Looking back, it would have been fun to do something else,” she said. “I did track my freshman year, but volleyball and academics required a lot of focus and dedication.” Going along with our feature this week, I asked if she fit into any campus stereotypes during her time here. “‘Beach’ pretty much sums it up,” she admitted. “I mean, right now, everyone is nicely dressed with their boots and everything, but give that one more week,” she said with a laugh. To her, the ‘beach’ part of “Go Beach” encompasses a lot of what the school is about. “This campus is just very relaxed… with the big trees, the breeze, all of the different buildings, you don’t feel blocked in.” Now, at age 35 and after a two-year training hiatus, May-Treanor is back on the sand preparing for the 2012 Summer Olympics. After their most recent international tournaments, the May-Treanor and Marsh duo finished 2nd in the world, which is important for their Olympic aspirations as the games have decided to eliminate the preliminary rounds in beach volleyball and judge participants solely on overall records. Not only have their worldwide competitors gained skill in the past two years, but new, young faces have entered the ring as well. “We’re the dinosaurs out there,” Misty joked. “We don’t move like dinosaurs, but compared to the others we are.” Besides her goals for a third gold medal, Misty is on her way to a Masters degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration She’s also planning on starting a family with her husband, pro-baseball player and Rangers catcher Matt Treanor, after the 2012 games. We’re going to see a lot from Misty May-Treanor in the next few years, and I’m sure she’ll give us plenty more reasons to be proud of our awesome CSULB alumni.
JOIN THE TRANSFER STUDENT ASSOCIATION TRANSFER STUDENTS UNITE WITH FOOD AND BEVERAGES PROVIDED COLLEEN BROWN OPINIONS EDITOR
This summer I worked as a SOAR advisor, and through that, I have been able to meet a great deal of the students who are just starting their careers at CSULB. I would always give the same speech to incoming freshmen about the importance of getting involved, because nothing can enhance your college experience more than immersing yourself in activities outside your academics. But with transfer students, it can be a completely different story. Some students were transferring from community colleges where it had been nearly impossible to get classes, only to find out that they had the same problem again here. They get presented with an entirely
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new university system that can be difficult to navigate and incredibly impersonal. It wasn’t unusual for a transfer student to express to me, “I’m just trying to get out of here as fast as I can.” But let me say this: even if you’re only here for a year or two, get yourself involved. Build a community of people here. Trust me, your experience will be a whole hell of a lot nicer if you have more of a reason to be here than sleeping through lecture classes. This year, some folks at SOAR created the Transfer Student Association (TSA) specifically for those individuals trying to transition smoothly to life at CSULB. The TSA serves as a way for transfer students
to have a place to talk about common issues and concerns, as well as to meet other new transfers at The Beach. If you are interested in joining the TSA, you can register on-line at www.csulb.edu/soar. Click on the link Transfer Student Association, located under the Transfer Resources header on the right-hand side of the page. If you are interested in learning more about the TSA, we encourage you to attend our first TSA mixer on Friday, September 16th, from 12:00pm-2:00pm in USU 205. Food and beverages will be provided. Your experience at Cal State Long Beach will be what you make of it. We’re here to help.
STATE OF THE BEACH
YOUR WEEKLY CAMPUS NEWS IN BRIEF ALISON ERNST NEWS DIRECTOR
Hey, all you snakes, you guys should come out and support your school at various events to show CSULB pride. Our University has so many different sports teams and events going on all the time, it’s hard to keep track of everything. State of the Beach is here to help y’all stay on top and help you discover how much you love your school. You might even be able to make a few new friends by going out of your comfort zone and attending something new. For all you sports fans out there, this week offers multiple opportunities to see some of our Women’s teams in action. On September 9th, Women’s Volleyball has games at 11am and 7pm in the Pyramid. Women’s Soccer has a game at 4:30pm at the George Allen Field. Or you could throw on some running shoes and go see the Cross County team on September 10th at the UCI Recreation Center Field (and when you’re done go hit the Irvine Spectrum to do some shopping). For more information or to purchase tickets for the above events, you can call (562) 985-4949 or search online to find the correct website for the sport you’re actually interested in. Also starting September 10th, you can check out the University Art Museum for the exhibit titled “Peace Press Graphics 1967 – 1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change” from noon to 5pm. It sounds interesting enough, doesn’t it? Anyways you can find out yourself by checking it out or getting more info from this website: http://www.csulb.edu/org/ uam. This event is free to students of CSULB as well as faculty and staff. Go get yourself cultured! If you ever find yourself bored on campus, you could check out the student art galleries near the buildings FA-2 and FA-3. They’re always free and open from noon to 5pm. If you come at the right time, you might actually get to meet the student behind the art sitting at a table at the entrance to the gallery. Exhibitions usually open on Sunday evenings and show until Thursday at 5pm. Each week showcases different artists (fellow CSULB students that could be in any one of your classes or sitting next to you right now!). Remember, the Union Weekly has open meetings every Friday at 2pm in the USU, right in between the Police Department and Wells Fargo. You could write something and have it published in the next issue!
WHY YOU AREN’T MAKING FRIENDS A Breakdown of CSULB Stereotypes CHELSEA STEVENS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
By week two, as your professor has exhausted the syllabus and is attempting to squeeze out more ways to put off teaching the class, you inevitably delve into the dingy underworld of icebreakers. These agonizing, awkward exercises force you to meet your classmates, people you wouldn’t normally speak with to save your life, let alone ask their favorite type of cereal. After sopping your hands in Purell, you now have faint recognitions of sorority girls wearing the same black Be Greek shirt, the quiet glasses kid who’s only discernible trait from all the other silent ones is his khaki cargo shorts and Nintendo shirt, and the few other face-
STEVE BESSETTE ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
less figures with limp, clammy handshakes. Someone’s favorite movie was “The Love Guru” and you laughed, even though you know it’s a godawful movie. Another told you where they lived, and you politely asked, “Oh, where is that?” They answered with some place that might as well have been found in a Vonnegut novel, but you nodded and said you’d heard of it, then replied to their reciprocal question expecting them not to have heard of your hometown. They answer the same way you did. That feeling of ease you get when the instructor finally commands you to take your seat is a wave of relief. It’s kind of pitiful. When the painful charades are over,
Feature Illustrations you’ll most likely never speak to any of these people ever again. Soon enough, you’ll be able to relax into the safe confines of your own mind, forget all of the pithy fun facts you learned about your classmates, and place them into nicely formed categories some call stereotypes. But they aren’t really stereotypes, right? Just easier ways to pick your friends. The class is easily split into three groups, and then smaller subcategories from there. First, there are the people who care: nerds and cause-pushers. Whether it’s class discussions or BornAgain Christianity, they’re likely to give a shit and let you know about it. Then, there are the more popular groups of
CHRIS FABELA COMICS EDITOR
people who don’t care: hipsters, beach bums, hippies, and those proudly sporting their Greek letters. It’s easy not to care about any of these people when they fit into such neat, easy-to-loathe categories. They’re all so annoying in their own lovable ways. But what cosmic force is stopping you from talking to them? Is it their obvious social ineptitudes that are holding you back from lifelong friendships, or your own shameful fear and hideous lack of self-esteem? There’s really only one way to find out: sit back, relax, turn the page, and get ready to stereotype your peers.
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STEVE BESSETTE ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
You can see these buddies from a mile away, and they know you do, too.Â Walking past them undeterred is like walking through a waterfall of molasses, inside a giant cube of yellow Jell-o, with no feet. Armed with clipboards and the honorable burden of educating us, saving us, or getting us to petition something we otherwise wouldnâ€™t waste one second thinking about, they dot the campus hot spots like New York hot dog stands. Theyâ€™re always there, always wanting to pull you in for a quick chat, a quick survey, a quick signature here and there. All youâ€™re trying to do is get to class unencumbered, but their will to power supersedes yours. These â€œcause pushersâ€? come in all beautiful shapes and sizes. Although angsty countries that try to keep their sly and antienvironmental hoopla hush-hush sink GreenPeace ships, the ones around school arenâ€™t half as annoying. But really, who cares about the environment when youâ€™re stomach is beating up your
ALLISON ERNST NEWS DIRECTOR
other organs because all you had for breakfast was a Clif Bar. The weedies (operating in their own â€œGreen Peaceâ€? so to speak) will yell out things like, â€œHey, man, vote Prop 19 if ya like freedom.â€? Hey, freedomâ€™s great, mainly freedom from passive aggression. We already create enough of that ourselves. Those appearing courtesy of the Long Beach Bible Belt and other various religious organizations have the knack for getting us riled up the most. Theyâ€™re like odd-smelling car fresheners, because you see and know what to expect, but still something bugs you about it. You might think that all these groups are pretty irritating and wasting everyoneâ€™s time (mostly their own), but your classmates standing by the bookstore with a plastic puzzle table and butcher paper etched with Magic Marker really arenâ€™t that bad. At least they believe in something and arenâ€™t up to their neck in apathy and narcissism. The truly passionate ones usually let you go with a wave and bid you â€œgood day.â€? You really should do the same.
VINCENT CHAVEZ CULTURE EDITOR
You know that one kid in your class that wonâ€™t stop asking questions, and when called on, gives obnoxiously long answers that highlight his obscure knowledge? Yeah, the one who has produced a small, learning-induced jizz stain on his pants, specifically pants that do not match his shirt (which is a stupid shirt to begin with). Well then, you have also come in contact with a socially awkward, know-it-all, nerdy outcast. These geeky guys and gals are generally about as cool as a cucumber left in the sun to rot. As with most nerdy types, glasses are practically a prerequisite. And donâ€™t get me started on those animal hats they wear. Good grief. Thereâ€™s a chance youâ€™ve passed one of these awkward types in the hallway. They whiz by with their rolling backpacks, awkward and embarrassed as they dart from class to class. With their eyes lowered and their heads downcast, they nearly knock you over. â€œCalm down, egghead!â€? you exclaim, but these freight trains of weird have a mission: to find a seat in the front row of their next class. Sitting in the front and being on first name basis with the professor is a necessity, and youâ€™ve just become a humansized speed bump. When theyâ€™re not mowing you down in the hallway, you can expect to find them sweating and panting in your classes. One of the nerdâ€™s favorite pastimes is hand-raising. Youâ€™d think these Clark Kents and Lois Lames would tire after holding their hands in the air for fifteen minutes, but theyâ€™ll wave those noodley arms till they get the attention they crave. Did I mention they know of every Anime film and television series ever created since the dawn of time? â€˜Nuff said.
LEO PORTUGAL MANAGING EDITOR
VINCENT CHAVEZ CULTURE EDITOR
You see them in Kumbaya circles on the Friendship Walk lawn, staring blankly like pod people (more like pot people, if you ask me). They paint â€œartâ€? with political phrases like â€œMoney is Badâ€? and â€œFlowers are the Futureâ€? and â€œTelevision is too fancyâ€? and â€œCeci nâ€™est pas une pipe, ceci est une pipeâ€? (translate this, itâ€™s kinda funny). If they notice you watching them, theyâ€™ll flash you that goofy smile that says, â€œIâ€™m not not licking toads.â€? And by the off-chance one of these munchy junkies stumbles into your class, do your best not to stare. Donâ€™t let those stupid smiles fool you; I watched Reefer Madness, so I know how crazy these tokers and jokers can get. And those hippie girlies with their gross dreads and moon cup-filled vaginal areas? I know what that cup is for! That period shot glass! Weâ€™ve all been there, flirting with that groovy chick, when things are getting heavy, maybe even hot, and you go for the finger bang! And sheâ€™s all like, â€œWait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I said wait! Chillax for a second. Fuck, I gotta empty out my moon cup.â€? Errrrrrrr! *record scratch* Finger blast mission aborted. If I could get these paper-wasting wastoids to focus for five seconds, Iâ€™d say, â€œHey, weedfor-brains, pull the marijuana leaves out of your ears and get the fuck out of my personal space. No, I do not want a free hug. You wanna know why? Well, Iâ€™m going to tell you. For one, you donâ€™t bathe. For two, the perpetual weed cloud floating around your body is giving me a second-hand high. And for three, youâ€™re giving off bad â€˜vibes.â€™ Do you even go here? Go hug a dick.â€? Stick that in your (weed) pipe and smoke it.
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!! DO YOU SUFFER FROM:
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Long Beach Location
CHELSEA STEVENS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
What can I say that would penetrate your elitist sensibilities? Well for starters, if you’re too cool for school, why are you here? Also, everything is wrong with you. And thirdly, why is only one portion of your head shaved off? Ugh, we get it; you’re supposed to be counter-cultured. Your courage and strength in the face of the mainstream, while managing to follow the mainstream to a tee (I also have the ability to buy that V-neck tee and vest combo at Urban Outfitters), is truly awe-inspiring. It’s lucky your trust funds can afford all of those foreign film tickets and thrift store boutique outfits. Oh please, don’t let me interrupt while you masturbate to The Suburbs on vinyl. By all means, Non-ironically.
*+#,)&&-&).+.+/,/") I’m not going to lie, we have a ton of hot people on this campus. Many girls treat their every day on campus like a photo shoot, waking up at four in the morning to perfect their hair and makeup, and you can always find twenty or so ridiculously ripped men working out at the Rec Center. The problem is, most of these beautiful people have gone Greek. No matter how attractive you may be, there is nothing so distinctly unattractive as being involved in a fraternity. There are only about 100 words in the collective vocabulary of a single frat, and the majority of these words are something similar to “like,”“bro,” or “let’s get fucked up.” Your sleeveless shirts, frat letter jackets, and unnecessary muscle flexing lead us to believe that you are compensating for the fact that you have to masturbate with tweezers. And girls, your screeching giggles and low self-esteem are
CHELSEA STEVENS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
VINCENT CHAVEZ CULTURE EDITOR
None of you will even own up to the title of hipster. Look, if one leg of your skinny jeans is rolled up because you rode your fixie to school, you’re a fucking hipster, okay? No use in denying it. Just drink your Pabst, smoke your American Spirits and shut the fuck up about that time you went backpacking through France or Norway or whatever fancy European country. I know it’s hard to find an identity to latch onto. Hell, I’m still looking for one. But you are, by no means, an original human being. I mean, Jesus Christ. You are not an artist. Artistic expression is for people who are suffering. And I don’t mean from bulimia. You, my confusingly tattooed friend, are just a bicycle owner with a bad haircut.
COLLEEN BROWN OPINIONS EDITOR
equally as annoying as the faults of your male counterparts. At first I don’t talk to you because you’re way too pretty to want to be my friend, and then I continue not talking to you because you are stupider than cardboard. Putting aside their blatant stupidity, why would anyone willingly pay to hang out with members of the same sex? Because it helps you meet members of the opposite sex, right? False. You’re just too dumb to make friends on your own. In truth, my Greek friends, we only want you to read more books and be less damn pretty. Envy may be a large factor in our hatred, because we know you’re going to get by on your fake breasts and weatherman smiles, while the rest of us will need to work for our livings. Have fun being shallower than a spaghetti strainer.
CHELSEA STEVENS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
This group is the strange and mutilated cross between frat bros and hippies. Their desire to be tan and attractive goes with their insatiable love for Mary Jane, and they most likely applied to this school because it’s the only CSU with “Beach” in the name. Their carefree attitudes and tan lines are equally defined, and their dark skin and bleach-blonde hair is the skin cancer kind, not from a bottle. Waterproof clothes are their true loves, so much so that they’re afraid to suffocate them with normal clothes. They always couple these scanty outfits with Rainbows on their feet and Raybans on their heads, even in the rain, maybe with a Kanvis by Katin sweatshirt in the wintertime. If they’re ever in class, the beach bums tend to stick to-
gether, and enjoy asking the professors questions they’ve already answered because they weren’t paying attention. Don’t blame them, though, these guys have been up since 5 a.m. to hit their favorite surf spots, which also causes them to permanently smell like B.O. and red tide. They’re fun to sit next to because they’re usually attractive, and sometimes you can overhear them whispering stupid jokes to each other like, “Dude, my girlfriend’s hot and all, but my surfboard can’t get pregnant.” For the most part, these beachy kids aren’t too hard to get along with. Because they smoke a little too much pot and spend enough time in the sun to kill brain cells, they’re lovable like Patrick Star.
STEVE BESSETTE ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Look, icebreakers are awful and childish, but if you really put in the effort to break through with a pickaxe and fight this supposedly inherent and crippling judgmental grip, you could make a few lasting friends. It’s going to take work, for some more than others, depending on how many weeks it takes in a top floor room in LA-2 to break your shell and let your guard down. We hope you’re able to find the redeemable in the broad range of groups usually unfairly lumped together in these sweeping generalizations. Don’t put people in a box and write some-
thing stupid on the side with Sharpie. Don’t do that to your group of prospective friends, either. That’s how we end up with the comfort-zone-induced mess we have. This is far from a prerogative to throw in the towel and take it all in as-is, to passively accept everything at face value and allow snap judgements to fly. If you can find a genuine belief inside you that says you can get along with everyone, then you will. Or at least get pretty darn close. You don’t need to hold hands, sing songs, and start making PSAs in the tradition of an after-school
special. If you want to, go right ahead, that’s great, but realistically it starts with you. You can’t look outside before you look in. You can’t cheat off of your neighbor’s Scantron or copy their homework the night before it’s due. Who knows if the teachers were right when they said that real friends would never let you cheat? Apparently, even after all the times we’ve been dragged through the Museum of Tolerance, sat through hours of Holocaust footage, and have been raised on the idea that we can learn from the mistakes of our
past heritage to create a better coexisting humanity, they always manage footnote the end of it with a finger-pointing contradictory: that we as humans will always be subject to prejudice, and never entirely free of its clutches. We’re doomed to be judgmental jerks for the rest of our lives, even if we do our damndest to be better than our Confederate Aunt Ruth. You don’t even have to take Spike Lee’s word for it because he’s a Jerk-at-Large shaking his own fists right along with us. Just because some get a label doesn’t mean it sticks. UNION WEEKLY
06 SEPTEMBER 2011
INDIE SUPERGROUP GIVES THEIR OWN SPIN ON 50’S POP
JOHN VILLANUEVA MUSIC EDITOR
ndie rock supergroup Mister Heavenly are out to make a statement. Composed of Nicholas Thornburn of Islands, Ryan Kattner of Man Man, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse, the trio have skyrocketed into popularity within only a year. Partly do to the success of their respective bands, as well as the publicity gained from recruiting Michael Cera on bass for their tour, Mister Heavenly have been on a fast rise to fame. It’s not all talk though. Taking cues from 1950’s doo-wop, swing, and even reggae music, the band’s strangely addictive blend of influences is exciting to listen to and even more so to see. I was able to get ahold of Joe to answer some of the questions about the band, the release of their new album Out of Love, and their life on tour. Union Weekly: Okay, so for those who haven’t heard, what and who are Mister Heavenly? Joe Plummer: The band is me, Joe Plummer on drums, Ryan Kattner who does keys and vocals, and Nicholas who sings and does
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guitar. The band started last year in New York, and we did demos and sent them to Sub Pop and they liked it. UW: Reading all the buzz surrounding your band, I’ve seen the term “doom-wop” thrown around a lot. Could you tell where it came from? Did it come from the band? JP: Doom Wop is a reference to the doo wop music of the 50’s with a doom twist. The lyrics are dark and gloomy, rather than the light hearted lyrics from 50’s doo-wop music. UW: The term doo-wop does fit quite well considering the music you guys make. The theme musically seems to be very doo wop/50’s ish, a lot of vocal harmonies and piano based melodies. When I was listening to “Charlyne”, I couldn’t stop thinking of the song “Run Around Sue” by Dion. Was it a group decision to pursue that sound as the basis for this album? And if you decide to go for a follow up, are you going to stick
with the doo-wop theme? JP: Ryan and Nick brought the idea to do doo-wop, and they brought it to me and we all liked it. I don’t really know about doing a follow-up yet, we still have the freedom to do what we want. The next album may just be doom. UW: Besides the obvious doo-wop influence, there are quite a few different musical stylings that pop up in your music. Obviously, “Reggae Pie” kinda speaks for itself, but in songs like “Bronx Sniper” and “Doom Wop” which are a lot heavier then most of the other songs, and the chorus for “Mister Heavenly” sounded like a spaghetti Western. Are there any other sort of musical influences, stylistically or band wise that affected the creation of this album? JP: Well, “Charlyne” has kind of a country swing feel rhythmically, and then of course there’s “Reggae Pie”. In one sense, the music is all over the place. We feel like we are
owning it and making good songs. We don’t have confines being a new band and not having a defined sound, so there’s a lot of freedom there. UW: Was there any thing irreplaceable in the studio? Was there a favorite keyboard that you guys used or something along those lines? JP: We used a Kawasaki omnichord on the record. We also had an old acoustic piano in studio. Ryan also used a big old organ that had pull stops on the song “Doom Wop”. UW: Okay, something that you’ve probably heard, how did you get Michael Cera to play bass for you guys? Who’s going to replace him? JP: Nick was friends with Michael, and we needed a bassist, so Nick asked Michael to fill in. Right now, I don’t know who’s going to replace Michael.
HELLA’S TRIPPER: BACK TO BASICS MATH ROCK DUO SCALE DOWN THE CONCEPTS, REV UP THE JAMNESS JOHN VILLANUEVA MUSIC EDITOR
I’ve always been a fan of the band Hella. The Sacramento based duo have consistently put out some solid, if extremely varied releases. Starting with Hold Your Horse Is, the band released the sonic fury that they have come to be known for. Zach Hill bum rushing his drum kit into oblivion while Spencer Seim lays down furious finger tapping goodness. The sheer musical ability of these two, the technical ability, the complex changes, the way they both resemble Jesus, has allowed them quite a dedicated following. As that following grew, so did their sound, and their musical concepts. “Total Bugs Bunny” on Wild Bass had them go beyond the basic guitar and drums setup and venture into a bit of electronic territory. “Church Gone Wild/Chirpin’ Hard,” allowed the pair to explore their own musical identities, each creating an album and releasing both as a double album. There’s No 666 in Outer Space, which some consider a flop but I embrace as a welcomed venture, expanded the group sound by including a full band and vocals. With each of these releases, their palettes have expanded, but sometimes it’s nice to just go back to the basics. Which is why their new release, Tripper, is so welcome. Going back to duo format, which many of their fans will be quite ecstatic about, the release also has them reverting to
the sounds of their heyday. The sound harkens back to the days of Hold Your Horse Is, fast finger tapping, extremely busy drumming, insane time changes and stop/starts. In fact, Tripper might just be their most accessible album to date. The opening track “Headless”, gets a running start at the gate, furiously blasting away before settling down and finding its groove. Songs like “Self Checkout” and “Netgear” showcase the talent of drummer Zach Hill, his extreme speed and precision, as well as the fact that the double bass runs heard in the songs are the product of one foot. “Yubacore” is a slow burning jam that shows that there is such a thing a slow tempo, while “Osaka” might be the closest thing to a pop song Hella has ever written. For those who did enjoy the experimentation of Seim and Hill, certain ideas resembling their later works permeate the album as well. “Netgear” slowly fades into a drone of reverbed drums and fuzz, and “Kid Life Crisis” uses a drum machine and samples for the intro. Even elements of country make an appearance in the song “Furthest” with Seim laying down a country-esque riff while Hill pounds away. Overall, this is a fantastic album by an extremely hardworking band who do should and will gain the recognition they deserve.
6 SEPTEMBER 2011
TODAY’S TRIBUTE: RON SWANSON
A MINOR TRIBUTE TO A GREAT COMEDIC PRESENCE STEVE BESSETTE
eople of Long Beach! Come assemble ‘round this campfire and spin a yarn with me. For every noun on earth, there is probably at least one individual who likes it. This is actually quite an awful revelation because this world is a filthy mean chump. Today we’ll hop the rails and depart from those sorts of things and pay tribute to things we like. Look at this: campfire, hopping onto moving trains, making broad generalizations, this is great. It’s like a Wes Anderson movie. Without further ado, let’s pay tribute to a quintessential comedic character of our generation: Ron Swanson. Years after The Office hit American shores and integrated itself into our cornfields and collective consciousness, countless amounts of people said Michael Scott was a spitting image of their own boss. By now Parks and Recreation has stolen nutrients and willpower from The Office like a weed and has now grown a flourishing patch of its own, but rarely have I heard someone likening their work environment to Parks and Rec. Sure, a Leslie Knope would be a great boss, but an even-keeled, system skeptic, breakfast idolizing, Ron Swanson would be way cooler. Ron Swanson is the counterweight to Leslie Knope’s franticly earnest approach to management. He has a stone temper that goes along with his usually furrowed brow. If every vegetable on the planet turned into bacon, eggs, or red meat, he’d be just fine with that. If you asked him why government matters, he’d say “it doesn’t” in clear-cut
libertarian fashion, only showing unabashed glee during budget-cutting sessions. He’s had two ex-wives, both named Tammy (“both of them bitches”) and it doesn’t matter that his mother’s name is Tammy too. Before this turns into a Dos Equis commercial, let’s spin it in a different direction and say he’d be the most interesting leader in your local what-have-you. He respects his underlings and has admitted he would sacrifice himself for Leslie if the budget needed to trim someone. He only gets personal when he absolutely needs to, usually to stifle some in-office dramatic tangle between characters or to give young April a timid, but fatherly pat on the back. This aspect of Ron bred one of his best lines: “I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.” Even with his “I don’t care” mentality and repulsion to getting involved in people’s lives, his greatest foible is also his greatest secret: the middle-aged lady loving, smooth jazz tenor saxophone playing alter ego, Duke Silver, who’s been tucked away from his coworkers for sometime, cultivating an underground presence. All in all, Ron Swanson’s just a badass and a great reason to keep watching Parks and Recreation. Cool, collected, distant, unrepentant, whiskey gurgling Ron Swanson. Speaking of fire, let’s put this one out and turn off that Rolling Stones record. The Darjeeling Limited was good, but not like this.
RIGHT ON QUEUE
NEW ADDITIONS TO WATCH INSTANTLY ON NETFLIX SOME LIKE IT HOT Revered as one of the greatest American comedies of all time, Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot is now available for instant watch throughout the month of September. Starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe, this screwball comedy develops with two musicians, Joe and Jerry (Curtis and Lemmon, respectively), witnessing the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre and then promptly running away to Florida dressed as women. The pair snags a gig with a women’s band where they meet “Sugar Kane” (Monroe) and the plot evolves from there. While most would watch for the famously sultry Monroe, who does indeed smolder in all her scenes even when delivering several hilarious one-liners, the actor that shines in this film is Lemmon. His comedic performance is outstandingly perfect and keeps this film lively, though it’s not to say the film needed help. The movie is constantly engaging thanks to
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INGRID ROSALES CONTRIBUTOR
Wilder’s script, which is smart, clean, and genuinely funny. Some Like it Hot is a comedy with humor that’s racy but not raunchy, outlandish but not completely unbelievable, and appropriately tones the laughter down with a pinch of romance. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s got the best last line I’ve heard—ever.
KITCHEN NIGHTMARES (U.K.) In Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, chef Gordon Ramsay journeys to failing restaurants and employs his expertise in an attempt to save them. The show ran in Britain for five seasons from 2004-2008 before being exported to the United States on Fox. After having watched all of the original U.K. Kitchen Nightmares, I was excited for new episodes. But I was being naive. Fox took the show I loved and slathered it with American reality show bullshit. Fortunately, the U.K. version is now on Netflix, so watch that instead. Here, Ramsay’s passion is palpable. At the heart of every episode is Ramsay’s desire to help improve the restaurant’s primary ingredients: the staff and the food. It’s a show with a heart; a show that is a refreshing change from the manufactured drama inherent in reality shows in the U.S., including, but not limited to, the U.S. Kitchen Nightmares. There isn’t the focus on heavily edited montages Frakensteining
LEO PORTUGAL LITERATURE EDITOR
scenes together in an effort to make the owners of the failing restaurant look stupid. A majority of an episode won’t be a sensational melodrama where the family members who own the restaurant are pitted against one another. It’s a show where the people are actually people.
WIZARDS AND SPACE LIZARDS!
WHY YOU SHOULD BE READING SCI-FI AND FANTASY
LEO PORTUGAL LITERATURE EDITOR
CONNOR O’BRIEN & PHOTO EDITOR
ELEKTRA ELIOPOULOS CONTRIBUTOR
hole groups of novels are often ignored by readers of “serious” literature because of their science fiction or fantasy genre labels. If you are a reader who would never consider picking up one of these genre novels, the Union Weekly is here to ask you to consider expanding your horizons. I mean, I understand the inclination to shun the nerdy writer who tells stories about faeries and C3POs, but there really are many superb selections. Genre fiction, if well-done, avoids being cliché-ridden while taking ad-
URSULA K. LE GUIN A MASTER OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY
THE ELECTRIC CHURCH DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP IN CHURCH? WESLEY VERNER
What is the difference between science fiction and fantasy? There is no real, clear answer. There are certainly basic differences between the two. Fantasy utilizes stories and themes of the past to comment on issues of the present, while science fiction takes issues of the present and applies them to the future. While these differences are certainly real, for authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, these two genres are more alike than different. Le Guin is one of a small but growing group of authors who have successfully written in both genres, and whose work begins to close the gap between the futuristic and the fantastic. Le Guin is considered to be one of the pioneers of soft science fiction, often dealing with issues of culture and gender in both her science fiction and fantasy works. During a time when most science fiction authors were male, Le Guin brought new depth and a unique point of view to the genre with The Left Hand of Darkness, perhaps her most famous and best-regarded novel. Published in 1968, the book has received both the Hugo and Nebula awards in recognition of its ground-breaking and exquisitely written portrayal of a world where gender does not exist as we know it. In it, she challenges gender stereotypes by imagining a planet where people are neither male nor female, but can fulfill either role. Refusing to restrict herself to one genre, Le Guin also published the first book of her beloved fantasy series, the Earthsea Cycle in the same year. A Wizard of Earthsea, while considered a classic of high fantasy today, differed greatly from the works which had come before it in that it drew on a multitude of mythic influences beyond the Northern European mythic tradition and incorporated
vantage of the creative freedom inherent in being able to craft a whole new world. I personally recommend Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy novels to everyone. Start with The Name of the Wind, and you’ll be hooked in no time. Sure, they’re books about a wizard, but they’re so much more than just that! Rothfuss’ series breaks the genre boundary. It’s like the Jackie Robinson of books. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out the following pair of sci-fi/ fantasy picks.
Taoist ideas. The characters of the novel inhabit a fantasy realm made up not of the mountains and plains of Euro-centric fantasy, but of the islands of an archipelago whose peoples and cultures reflect the diversity of our own world. The world of Earthsea contains the familiar fantasy tropes of magic and dragons, but these elements are utilized in unique and interesting ways. Le Guin has continued to add to this well-respected series, expanding her original trilogy with three more books, including a collection of short stories and her most recent addition to the series, The Other Wind, published in 2001. Le Guin continues to write prolifically nearly 50 years after her first books were published, and her writing today is just as insightful and skillful as it was at the beginning of her career. One of her most recent works, Lavinia, published in 2008, is a novel in which she has once again blurred the lines of genre by dabbling in fantasy and historical fiction, and inevitably settling in neither category. Lavinia re-tells the story of Virgil’s Aeneid from the perspective of Aeneas’s Italian wife, Lavinia, who is given the voice denied her in the original work. Once again, Le Guin addresses issues of culture and gender in an interesting and literary way and with this work she proves that her themes are still relevant to a 21st century audience. Le Guin believes that each story she writes represents its own unique genre, drawing on the traditions of science fiction and fantasy in order to create new perspectives. Le Guin’s fantastical works show that perhaps the greatest similarity between science fiction and fantasy is that they both allow the reader to explore possibilities.
The Electric Church by Jeff Somers is on the fringe of science fiction, as it is a work of fiction. It is science-y only in that it takes place a long time in the future, after an event called “Unification.” Now if that doesn’t seem ominous to you, you clearly need to get a better sense of theatricality, because the first time I read that I nearly crapped myself. That’s a lie. But it is still a pretty cool concept. Unification is the cool concept, not the concept of me shitting in to my pants. In the future, Unification takes place when the nations of the world are coerced into forming one vast, unworkable government. This, in turn, splits global society into an exacerbated haves and have-nots pyramid. Amidst all this, two things are growing rapidly: the criminal underground and the Electric Church. The Electric Church maintains that life is too short to contemplate the mysteries of the universe; eternity is the key to understanding. The missionaries of the EC are the Monks, people who have traded flesh and muscle and free will for gleaming metal and cybernetic bodies. These people are not willing converts either, as we find out through Avery Cates, the narrator. Avery is a Gunner. Part assassin, part enforcer for hire, completely illegal. Avery is constantly ducking the System Security Force. The SSF are essentially gunners for the government. Many of them are psychotic. They also enforce the law. You’ll have to read to find out everything else, but trust me, it gets crazy. So The Electric Church is a good book, and I recommend it. But that’s not what you’re looking for now, is it? You want what
makes it bad, so you can tell if it’s a good fit for you. Well, do you like bleak settings, like westerns and post-apocalyptic stuff (they’re not that far removed from each other)? If not, get the fuck out. No seriously, this is not the book for you. Go on, that’s it. Keep going, go on, okay good. Now for the rest of you. A problem I had with The Electric Church was the swearing. Now, I’m all for a little creative cussin’ every so often, but sometimes it’s too much even for me. The Electric Church borders that limit, and then blows it out of the water. They say the f-word a lot. I mean a-lot a lot. The other thing is how ruthless a lot of the characters are. Again, this problem is about limits. It seems that Avery is the only decent person anywhere. Especially when the SSF rolls around. So I’m reading this book, and I’m usually a pretty cold-hearted bastard. And all the killing innocent people is getting to me. Not from an emotional stand-point, of course. What do you take me for, some kind of patsy? No, it’s more about logistics. I know most of the population has died from a combination of malnutrition, disease and just being fucked-up, but come on. Are you telling me that in a city like New York the bodies don’t stack up when there’s a riot and the cops bring out the chain guns? Above criticisms aside, The Electric Church is a really good book. It’s got action and a good balance of humor and drama. It really comes together. The only thing it leaves you wanting is a good cleaning. They go pretty in-depth with the description of how dirty the world has become. UNION WEEKLY
6 SEPTEMBER 2011
DINNER AT TIFFANY’S
FASHION’S NIGHT OUT PROMISES FOOD, FINE CLOTHES, AND FRUGALITY MELISSA CASAS CONTRIBUTOR
hether your idea of dressing to the nines is simply grabbing whatever was tossed onto the grimy floor of your room or spending hours posing and smizing in front of your mirror, America’s Next Top Model style, in different snazzy outfits, style is undoubtedly one of the few mediums through which anyone can express themselves on a daily basis. Each person’s idea of what looks good and what looks garish varies between gender, social class, age, and ethnicity. You may have thought that you looked like the raddest motherfucker on the campus with your new shades, suede Pachuco hat, and lemon-colored argyle socks, but your more modestlyattired girlfriend didn’t have the heart to say that you looked as if you had escaped from the travelling hipster sideshow that just arrived in town. Generally speaking, fashion has no concrete definition. The ever-intimidating Prada-wearing devil and editor-inchief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, succinctly encapsulated this concept in one of her recent public appearances: “As you see, fashion means different things to different people.”
You may ask, why am I stating the obvious? It’s no secret that everybody is unique and has their own distinct personal style, et cetera, et cetera, insert another cliché here, ad nauseum. There’s a method behind the madness, my friends. On Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, cities across the world will help host the third annual after-hours fashion extravaganza known as Fashion’s Night Out. It’s one night for clothing and accessory enthusiasts to come together to celebrate the reason why their credit scores are horrible, to mingle with the companies that suckered away that painstakingly-earned, or inherited, money in the first place, and to party away in the name of garments that whisper sweet nothings in your ear as they urge you to empty your wallets for the sake of being the best-dressed bitch on this side of the Atlantic. And yes, those garments seductively whisper in whatever foreign accent appeals most to the vulnerable shopper. Leaving most sarcasm behind, celebrities, designers, and fashion mavens alike will crowd the fashion districts of cities such as West Hollywood, Atlanta,
ALISON ERNST NEWS DIRECTOR
The Seal Beach Animal Care Center (SBACC) still needs you! While the Union Weekly took a hiatus over the summer, the shelter was in full force. Volunteers were working hard to ensure that all animals were well taken care of. Cats and dogs were still coming into the shelter in the hopes that one day they would all have permanent homes. Activity at the shelter never stops. Teemu, a cute orange tabby, is a current resident of the SBACC. He came to the shelter four months ago with his stomach torn open, most likely the result of an animal attack. Teemu went through two different surgeries to close everything up. The vet had to use mesh, hoping that his skin would grow over the wounds. Teemu is now about a year old and still needs a loving home. He is sweet, affectionate, and in great need of a good person to give him shelter.
Champ was found near PCH, cold and lifeless. He was brought to the shelter by someone driving by who happened to notice him. By the time Champ reached the shelter, his body temperature was 90 degrees and he was struggling to breathe. He had flea anemia and hypothermia. After a blood transfusion, he made a fast recovery. The vet said he was only moments from death. Thankfully, Champ is well now and looking for a new home. He is a handsome, playful, and happy cat who would enjoy a fellow cat in the house. These are just two of the wonderful animals that live at the SBACC and are looking to move into a more permanent residence. The shelter is perpetually in need of volunteers as well as people to adopt cats and dogs. Teemu and Champ (and many others) are waiting for you to be their new best friend!
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Milan, and New York City to take advantage of shopping deals, to scoop up free swag, food, and liquor, and to share the vogueinduced love. Beginning at 6 p.m., stores in West Hollywood, from 3.1 Phillip Lim to Balenciaga, will host events that feature food trucks, salon makeovers, and trunk shows. Celebrities that have attended Fashion’s Night Out of years past have included designers such as Vera Wang and Diane von Furstenberg, Gossip Girl star and Chanel spokesmodel Blake Lively, tennis player Serena Williams, and Posh Spice. I mean, Victoria Beckham. If you choose to go to a local event simply for the chance to see your favorite celebrity, please keep in mind that most of them head to New York for these trendy festivities (don’t say you weren’t warned). For the bourgeois who can’t be bothered to brave the crowds of the wealthy and the wannabes, various online events will be available for one to enjoy in the comfort of their house, dorm, apartment, or whatever hovel they choose to call home. For more details on the events taking place, visit fashionsnightout.com.
PPHRASE THAT PAYS PAYS
Work this newly minted phrase into conversation and I’ll let you live.* verbal vogueing: hyper witty, über-gay riffing on celebrities and pop culture delivered at a breakneck speed (it’s like def jam poetry, but fiercer) For examples, please visit Lous Virtel’s YouTube channel (louisvirtel) and follow him on Twitter (@louisvirtel). You’re welcome. *maybe…
6 SEPTEMBER 2011
SHITTY COMICS SO OMG
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CHL?<MN>%&6' N6IHF& By Octopus Girl My inbox has been flooded with loads of letters asking for advice on a variety of topics since I started as Editor of the Grun. I just want to let you guys know that I’m here to help you with whatever I can. Just email me your problems at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get this party started! I’m going to post the brilliant advice I’ve been giving this guy, Romantic Frank, since issue zero. It feels good to help. Dear Octy, I’ve been trying to figure out if I should marry this girl. We’ve been going steady for almost a year, and I’m really into her, but I’m trying to figure out if she even knows how I feel about her. I’ve been dropping hints here and there, hoping she feels how romantic I can be. Last week, as I was helping her carry her books and her backpack to her car, I asked if she would let me change her socks for the rest of our lives (that’s how my dad got my mom) but she just got in her car and drove away. I stood there for three hours, hoping she would come back. She didn’t, but that didn’t deter me. We’re destined to be together. That’s where you come in Octy. How can I make her love me? Sincerely, -Romantic Frank Dear Romantic Frank, I’m not sure if you realize this, since you’re a male, but it’s considered to be the highest honors for someone to make you wait. It’s kind of like wine. The longer you
By Kitty Titties
wait, the less like piss it tastes, or whatever. I think that’s how that saying goes. Don’t quote me on that, because I’m not allowed to taste wine. I would get in so much trouble if my mom found out. Just walk up to her and tell her how you feel. I’m sure she’ll look you right in the eye and say, “Frank, I want to make several babies with you and do the laundry together.” Dear Octy, I told her how I felt, but she said asked me what I was talking about and that I shouldn’t feel that way about her because she could be my grandma, and, in a way, she sort of was. I told her that thing about the wine, as she was taking a sip of her diet coke and she spit it up all over my face before driving away again. Sometimes I look at her, in her pink cat print track suit, and feel a slight tingle in that space between my testicles and my butthole. My dad tells me it’s what true love feels like. What do you think? Slightly Depressed, -Romantic Frank Dear Romantic Frank, HOLD ON A BLEEPING SECOND. You asked your dad for advice? What the bleep! You’re two timing me with your asshole dad? I thought we had something special? I’m here to help you, bleepbag, so if you’re going to ask your dumb dad about love stuff, a guy who has probably never had sex, then we’re bleeping done. You know what. I’m sorry about that. Just projecting some stuff on you about my
I was rushing out of my house this last month, trying to cram slices of toast into my mouth so that I could get something into my stomach before heading to school, when I remembered that I forgot to get my laptop from my brother’s room. I snuck in quietly, thinking he was still asleep, but I was not ready for what I saw. There he was, standing completely naked in front of the mirror flexing. The worst part was seeing his dick. He was a baby the last time I saw it. But now, now it was, uh, bigger. His dick. It’s haunting me. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t even hold a door knob without thinking about his dick. I see it everywhere. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even look at a person without thinking about their whole body as a giant dick. I think I’m a lost cause after what happened
today. I was trying to turn in a late assignment to my Poli Sci Professor, it was the first time I’ve gone to class since it happened. I had been standing behind him for a few minutes, trying to get his attention, but he was too busy putting his stuff away. I accidentally startled him when I tapped him on the shoulder; I guess he didn’t know anyone was still in the room. He jerked his body up, elbowing my stomach in the process. As the elbow dug into my belly, the only thing I could think of was my stupid brother dragging his boner across my stomach. It made me sick. I screamed, at the top of my lungs, “get your boner off me!” before throwing up all over my professor’s back. Since then, I haven’t left my room. I’ve removed everything phallic from my room and nailed the doors shut. As an added precaution, I’ve chopped off all my fingers and toes. He’s not getting his dick in here.
dad. Last week he refused to let me go to the spring dance with my friend Terry because he thought it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to go to a middle school dance since I’m already 23. I’ve never heard about the tingling thing, but I’m not sure it was that area. I think it was if you feel a tingling in your left arm, it’s that your heart is so full of love that it has to stop itself. That’s what my mom said happened to my little sister. Dear Octy, You sound like a very cute person that I would very much like to meet. Maybe we
could meet up under the old oak tree on 2nd Street and microwave some kittens, if you catch my drift? Here’s my pic! XOXO -Romantic Frank
:<&I&'J"=+E'0&K'J"= Last week fruit guy Steve Jobs stormed out of his office yelling, “You can’t fire me, I quit! I’m Jerry Mafuckin’-guire!” The CEO, turned crazy homeless man, has been putting up flyers all over town looking for a job—blow jobs to be exact. And he’s not giving, he’s asking. The headline of the mostly Comic Sans flier reads “Wanna blow Steve Jobs? It’s gonna cost ya.” There’s no indication of how much the privilege of giving head to someone who was once considered a technological maverick will cost, but either way it will be a waste since the new Steve “Blow” Jobs 4GS will be out in a few months. page SBJ
*'6"DE<'<?HDR'*'+?"$#6'=&' K7<F?HDL'<?H+';7><9'4"% page Turt
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