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4 February 2013 Volume 72 Issue 3 The Students’ Newspaper

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS Entrepreneurship from Start-ups to Staples Page 7

Almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death...Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Issue 72.03

—Steve Jobs

Vincent Chavez, Editor-in-Chief Colleen Brown, Managing Editor Gabe Ferreira, Managing Editor Marco Beltran, Senior Editor Michael Wood, Opinions Editor Brianne Schaer, News Director John Villanueva, Music Editor Connor O’Brien, Entertainment Editor

Vin’s Two Cents Letters to and from the Editor

Wes Verner, Literature Editor Colleen Brown, Culture Editor Rose Feduk, Comics Editor Duchess of Spain, Grunion Editor Gabe Ferreira, Art Director Brian Mark, Art Director Connor O’Brien, Photo Editor Nichole Daniels, Illustration Editor

Illustration by Nichole Daniels Illustration Editor

Leo Portugal, Web Manager Assitant Editors: Camile Hove, Ingrid Rosales, Tanya Paz, Tyre Jones. Staffers/Contributors: Joseph Phillips, Jon Bolin, Kevin Ng, Sierra Patheal, Amy Patton, Mike Cleland, Rachel Clare, Tyler Dean, Nate Musser, Melissa Casas, Wes Young, Mariha Lowe, Jordan Khajavipour, Roque Renteria, Alia Sabino, Robert Turner, Gabriel Moura, Irene Thaiss, Nathan Moore, Eddie Viramontes, James Delahoussaye Disclaimer and Publication Information: The Union Weekly is published 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 publication. However, CSULB students will have precedence. Please include name and major 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 illustration, 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

CA 90815. E-mail:

Vincent Chavez Editor-in-Chief In my interview for this job, I remember looking the panel of students and professors in their encouraging faces and trying to explain my feelings for the Union. I told them I considered the paper my baby and I wouldn’t feel comfortable if she was in the hands of someone who didn’t know how to care for her. I saw the paper as this weird little something I helped create each week with my friends, and though internally I was terrified by the responsibility that comes with taking care of a helpless newspaper, it would kill me to see the Union run by someone else. My first semester as Editor-in-Chief taught me that no one is going to love your baby as much as you do. In fact, most

people won’t even give said baby the time of day. But that only fuels your ambition to improve and polish her. This year, my baby has experienced some serious growing pains. With our new office, overhauled website, redesigned layout, and some freshly hired staff, I’m honestly blown away by how she’s turning out. And we’re only getting started this semester. If it sounds like I’m gushing, blame it on the hormones. And yet this whole baby metaphor falls short in one major respect: I didn’t give birth to the Union. Her true parents (so the story goes) were a band of renegade students who, fed up with the corruption of their student government, created an outlet

to expose said corruption. Me? I’m just a caretaker, a foster parent if you will. I, along with my fabulous staff (I can say that word because I am a registered homosexual), have the opportunity to make this paper what it is for a year and then it’s in the hand’s of another generation. But for the business owners we had the pleasure of chatting with for this week’s feature on page 7, their companies are truly their children. These are people who had an idea and took the risk of realizing that idea to its fullest potential. Some of these local companies may only be in their infancy, but all four represent the blood, sweat, and tears of their founders, stretch marks and all.



Union Weekly—4 February 2013

Tune Out! Television is America’s favorite narcotic Robert Turner Contributor

Illustration by Rose Feduk Comics Editor So everyone likes Star Wars right? And even if you don’t you know what it is (unless you live under a rock). What made it so great? Was it the groundbreaking special effects? Or the captivating music score? Or the brilliant performance given by the cast? Whatever the reason may have been, Star Wars has made an incredible impact on both Hollywood film and on modern-day culture. From fans crying the moment they meet an actor, to having $50,000 worth of collectibles, it is obvious this movie has impacted the lives of many. Despite its fantasy setting, the battle between father and son is something present in both the movie and our world as well, which I’m sure many readers can relate to. This hyperbolized storyline has

made something of a father’s neglect into intergalactic warfare. Don’t we all want to be the hero and face our problems and live happily ever after? That must inspire someone right? Star Wars is only an example, but I fear the dependency people may have on their television, as if it were a drug. It is hard to argue with the vast amount of people who watch television and play video games, many of which very functional. But it’s the same thing with potheads: some have 4.0s, some don’t leave their couch. Especially in this day and age, where technology is a dominant form of entertainment for the masses, reality has become something of a bore. Breaking the reality boundary is not something

new, but it is interesting to think how we use these hyperbolic forms of media to capture an audience. Even in the more realistic television shows and movies, the coincidences and absurdity of the events are something of a fantasy, just one that has actually been reached. Many stare at the clock, waiting to return to their game or favorite television show. While it’s entertainment and should be seen as so (I love video games as much as anyone else), it scares me when these forms of media are reaching kids at younger ages more effectively each year. Who’s playing the video game about asking out the high school cheerleader? We don’t escape to reality. I myself have often found my city dull

and boring, particularly during my high school years, but not when I was a kid and focused more on playing outside than going to the movies. But now, especially with how technology has advanced and been incorporated into everyday life at a price most can afford, it seems as though these larger than life spectacles will create a lackluster view of reality, especially for younger generations. Television is like a drug, except withdrawals lead to possible productivity instead of relapse. A drug that is socially acceptable, in the center of almost every household. A drug that takes us to another world so we can escape the problems of our own. The overdose? Getting trapped in the semireality of our television screen.

24/7 Kindness

It is the worst of times, it is the age of foolishness. It is the epoch of incredulity, it is the season of darkness, it is the winter of despair. We have nothing before us, we are all going directly to hell. On Christmas Day, my home was burglarized. The combined loss between my roommates and I would total about $2000. The day before a Retro Row merchant had $6000 worth of products stolen from her store - another B&E. The most unsettling fact is how accustomed we have grown to news like this or even worse. Someone pulls a gun on a store owner. A drunk driver runs over a child. A troubled teenager kills innocent students. A crazy man unloads at a movie theater audience. I hear stories like that, and in my mind I say, “Again?” But that’s it. There’s no shock factor anymore. It’s almost routine. We are desensitized by repetition. And we know it will happen again, but when? Where? Heaven forbid that I should compare a burglary to a massacre. Not in a million years. But it seems to me that the

incidence of crimes in general has risen drastically in recent years. If you follow the news, you already know it. If not, ask your parents and grandparents for further confirmation. Perhaps you haven’t thought about it, but there was a time when society functioned without surveillance cameras and locks. But now, the “safe zone” is shrinking. And with each passing year, you see more and more windows with security bars. We’re locking ourselves in with makeshift Band-Aids that only mildly mitigate the symptoms but don’t remedy the real problems. And I don’t know what the real problems are, nor do I know how to effectively remedy this situation. What I do know is that what we’re doing has not worked. Ignoring hasn’t worked. Prisons haven’t worked. No Child Left Behind didn’t work. Begging Wall Street for equality didn’t work. It’s time to change tactics. Let’s try something new. How about reaching out to those in need? Not just the homeless on Thanksgiving, but everyone everywhere? You don’t have

to go out of your way to do it either. Just tune yourself into your surroundings. People could use an extra hand, help them. Don’t censor anyone based on age, religion, nationality, race, or gender. We are all humans. Unfortunately, we are so distant from each other we call them “strangers,” when they are simply people whose names you don’t know yet. The issue is bigger than me, and I confess I wouldn’t know how to tackle it. Though I’ll tell you what I’d like to see: random acts of kindness 24/7. Every single person in the planet has their own personal conflicts and battles. Whether it is a family issue, a life goal, or an illness... everyone already has obstacles in their lives. Why can’t we help each other out? Hold the door open, pick up the trash, donate a dollar (if nothing else), give directions, ask a person “why are you crying?” and “how can I help?” I call it: random acts of kindness 24/7. I have a feeling it’s long overdue, and I think it could be contagious.

Small sincere acts to improve the world Gabriel Moura Contributor

Union Weekly—4 February 2013

One is the Loneliest Number And it’s all your fucking fault!

Colleen Brown Culture Editor

Bad Romance No more roses, no more cliches, just a good time, this Valentine’s Day Rachel Clare Union Staffer



#1643: I’ve had sex in literally every bathroom on campus. A few times, squirrels were present, which was pretty okay. But despite this, I’m just so lonely. I wish someone would talk to me. It’s like I don’t know what any of this is for anyway, man. Sound familiar? It will, if you’ve been keeping up with the latest Long Beach State phenomenon: the “CSULB Confessions” Facebook page. The profile regularly posts anonymous “confessions” from students, only identifiable by number, and they generally fall into a few categories: where people are having sex on campus, the number of squirrels we have, how hot that guy/girl is, or how lonely someone feels. I have very mixed feelings about this page. I understand that its point is to entertain us, as well as make us all feel connected, but when I scroll down the feed, I usually just get disappointed. To begin, I don’t care about where people are having sex. But not in the sense of “Ew! I don’t want to know what you deviants do!” It’s just that I actually don’t care, or mind. People keep commenting about how disgusting it is, or how they’ll “never use that bathroom again,” but really? People have definitely had sex on whatever you’re sitting on right now. Almost every bed you’ve ever sat on has been sexed. Your parents have probably had sex all over the house you grew up in. I’m not saying that it’s not gross to picture people boning on the table you’re eating off of, but

it’s completely impractical to worry about. If you cram 38,000 young adults together at a university, sexing is going to happen, and everywhere. Also, I don’t appreciate squirrel posts, mostly because they’re redundant and unoriginal. Are you confessing that there is an abundance of squirrels? Are you admitting that you saw one and then had a thought about it? Was it you that brought them here? It’s not entertaining or revealing. It’s just clogging up my news feed. But the posts that are the worst talk about how lonely the anonymous person feels, or how beautiful some stranger looks. Now, before I tear these people apart, let me make the disclaimer that it is perfectly acceptable to feel lonely. It’s especially acceptable on our commuter campus, where it’s incredibly easy to come to school and go home without any human interaction. It’s also great to find people attractive, and the posts end up being a nice, positive message among the sea of anonymous complaints. But here’s the thing, folks: As lonely and frustrated as you feel, it is your fault. You have every opportunity to make connections with people here. There are hundreds of specialized organizations on campus, so “not fitting in anywhere” isn’t an excuse. Don’t get me wrong; putting yourself out there, whether it’s asking to sit with someone or going to a club meeting alone, is terrifying. You feel awkward before you do it, and many

times, you feel awkward afterwards, too. I was so tongue-tied at my first Union Weekly meetings (I once sat in the office until 2am without talking to anyone) that it’s a wonder I’m here as an editor at all. But that’s exactly what college is about. It’s not supposed to be something comfortable; it’s about taking risks and fucking things up and trying again anyway, because what else are you going to do? Lament about your loneliness for four or more years? It’s not that it’s “easy” for people who have friends to approach people out of the blue, it’s that they’ve weighed the costs of “being perceived as awkward“ or “being alone,” and they decided that taking a chance and ruining it was better than years of self-imposed misery. I guess I don’t have any problems with the CSULB Confessions page. It’s entertaining, and I never seem to be able to scroll past an update without reading it first. But really, to all of those lonely people, I understand you. I never know what to say to people I don’t know and I’m intimidated by people who “mingle” at parties, but I’ll hang out with you. You’re reading this paper, so you may as well stop by our office. Every single one of us who works here is awkward, sometimes insecure, and totally hilarious, so come hang out with us. Write lonely poetry, we don’t care. It’s up to you.

Little kids have it made when it comes to Valentine’s Day. That shit’s a legit holiday. Parents send them to class with some supermarket heart-shape cookies and boxes of cupcakes decked out in red and pink icing, and then the whole day is spent inhaling sugary nonsense and stuffing bags full of mass-produced superhero and cartoon cards. If your teacher is rad, you get to devote a nice 30-minute chunk of that day to the Peanuts Valentine’s special (because, y’know, it’s not truly a holiday without Charlie Brown and Snoopy). But somewhere between elementary school and the whole boyfriend/ girlfriend/”real life” thing, we swapped out generic boxes of cards and lollipops for expectations of pricey candlelit dinners and other stupid things of the sort. I mean, if that’s your sort of thing, have at

it, but I’m passing on the bouquet of roses and heart-shaped box of chocolates. I wouldn’t want them on a normal day, so why would I suddenly change my desires because the calendar has told me I must celebrate February 14th with teddy bears and balloons? What is this? A “Get Better Soon” holiday? Um, no thanks. Go out and indulge in something you enjoy. Don’t fall prey to societal expectations of racking up the numbers on your credit card bill so you and your date can split a heartshaped cake, all in the name of “love.” And honestly, if you’ve got $50 to blow on that special person in your life, why spend it on that expected batch of roses that’s only going to wither away shortly after the holiday? Buy them something they’ll enjoy! Pick up some concert tickets or spend an evening playing arcade games

at the Santa Monica pier. Make some memories with that hard earned cash! Personally, I’ll take some diner food, a cheap movie at the Regency Charter Theater in Huntington, and a box of those lil’ candy hearts. And hey, if you’re on your own come the 14th, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself for Valentine’s Day. If you want to go out and have a milkshake or take a walk in the park or something, go do it! You don’t need some boy or girl to dote on you and validate your existence on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year. That being said, if you somehow end up with unwanted pocketfuls of those beloved little candy hearts, come find me. I could use a good sugar coma to get me through to May.



Union Weekly—4 February 2013

The Science of Happiness It’s possible to overcome your terrible childhood after all

Alia Sabino Contributor Illustration by Rose Feduk Comics Editor Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is explicitly stated in the Constitution that we are all entitled to these things, yet happiness is something that seems to elude most of us. With all our busy schedules and day-to-day responsibilities, it is easy to leave this “pursuit of happiness” on the backburner. But now it’s time to take a step back. What exactly does it mean to be happy? Well, let’s take it from a more scientific standpoint. According to studies of happiness, better known as “positive psychology,” 50% of our happiness levels are predetermined by our genes. This is called our genetic set point. This means that after a profoundly positive or negative experience, we usually return to this set range. Most of us think that one’s happiness is directly related to the number of positive and negative events in one’s life, but this isn’t true. The rush of something good happening

(getting a promotion, graduating, winning the lottery) only lasts for so long. Also, we tend to over exaggerate the negative effects of a tragedy (human resilience is quite mind-boggling). Surprisingly, other factors such as age, gender, marital status, religion, economic status, and even education level only account for 10% of it. (But don’t go dropping out of college now.) So what constitutes the remaining 40%? Well, that is where you come in. Forty percent of one’s happiness is determined by intentional activity—the way one deliberately chooses to think or act. For those of you that have taken a basic Psychology 100 class, you know that the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a large part in our overall sense of well-being and happiness. When engaging in an activity that is pleasurable and rewarding, the body reacts by flooding the brain with

dopamine, creating that sense of giddiness we all enjoy. So the more you engage in fun activities, the higher the chances of your happiness being less fleeting. Research has discovered that four big factors that promote the release of dopamine and greatly improve one’s overall sense of happiness are physical activity, strong social relationships, the occurrence of “flow,” and altruism. Physical activities, whether exercise or sports, gives us that rush we feel after a good workout. Strong social relationships provide us with the support we need to go through life and give us a sense that we aren’t alone. Human beings are social creatures by nature, and weren’t made to live in isolation. In fact, the mere act of cooperating with someone elicits dopamine signals in the brain. “Flow” is the feeling of being completely immersed in something that you love so much you

lose yourself in it, much like how athletes and musicians describe “being in the zone.” And the last one, altruism, gives one a sense of purpose and meaning, and the feeling that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Although making your own happiness a priority may seem a bit self-absorbed, the truth is, it’s not. Your own happiness should be a priority. Happier people not only manage stress better and live healthier lives, but they also increase the chances of happiness of those around them. Positive energy attracts positive energy, while on the other hand, misery loves company. By taking care of your own well-being, not only are you helping yourself, but you’re helping those around you as well. So go ahead and take a step back. Is your life heading the direction you want it to? Are the choices you’re making affecting your happiness for the better?

Sashimi in Sweats

It’s Tuesday evening and suddenly you’re starving. The prospects of eating leftover leftovers doesn’t seem as appealing as it did five hours ago when you opted out of going grocery shopping. A 40-minute bus ride to In-N-Out seems like a mission to Mars—and besides, you just put your comfy sweats on. What do you do? How about sushi? That’s right, ladies and gentleman. You can have delicious handcrafted rolls for dinner in less than an hour without even crossing the threshold of your musky studio apartment! From California to Caterpillar, with the click of a button, you can have it all! At you can order your food online and have it delivered. And it doesn’t stop at sushi. This website shows you all the local food joints in the LA area that so graciously deliver for a small fee, or even free in some cases. Most popular are pizzerias,

Thai, and Japanese restaurants. The website is simple: you type in your zip code and results for all local eateries that deliver show up. Each restaurant has its menu and prices listed. Place your order and in 40-60 minutes, you will be noming on Bai Plu’s Spicy Beef Salad, or maybe Pizza Man’s most popular dish, Shrimp Fettuccini. Eat24hours allows you to sort results by cuisines, coupons, delivery fees, and more! Upon discovery of this gift from Heaven for a carless dormer, my roommates and I decided to order sushi from Your House Restaurant. We got five rolls for just under $50, including tax and tip. Delivery was free, even though the website said it would be $2.00. Whether it was our large bill or the fact that we answered that it was our first time eating their food, we’re not entirely sure why delivery fee was gratis, especially after

the hell we put the deliveryman through. As it turns out, delivering to the Housing Office wasn’t as simple as we thought it might be for the poor fella. By the time he found us, he seemed a bit annoyed (understandably—it took him 20 minutes to find the building) but he still kept a pleasant demeanor. The food was delicious and filling. I would give Your House 4.5 gleaming stars out of 5. Some of their rolls can be a bit overpriced and you have to spend at least $20 to have it delivered. But I’d say it is well worth it if you have a group of hungry unfussy fish eaters to order with. Next on my personal list of delivery places is Pizza Man because of the largevariety menu and free delivery, as well as Eddie’s Market, which serves pizza, pasta, hotdogs, burgers, and breakfast. Even better, they have coupons!

A website that delivers deliciousness Amy Patton Union Staffer

Union Weekly—4 February 2013



MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS Entrepreneurship from Start-ups to Staples Intro by Colleen Brown Managing Editor

When you first step on this campus for orientation, it’s impossible not to feel hopeful. Though the slogan “Graduation Begins Today” is admittedly cheesy (or threatening, when you consider the Timely Graduation Policy), on that first day, it’s so exciting to imagine all the new experiences college will offer up to you. Being a university student is the last step before you become a “real adult.” As we all eventually realize, once you start actually approaching graduation, prospects seem grim. Ask virtually anyone our age, and they’ll gladly spend an hour raving about how terrible the job market is. Not wanting to graduate into poverty, school has become a safe haven for those of us who are jobless. With 19.5 million unemployed 16 to 24 year olds, few of us are eager to finish out studies in four short years. The fact that no one wants to hire recent grads without much experience can be a harsh reality to face while we’re trying to pay off student loans. To all of the hopeless students out there, the Union Weekly would like to pose a challenge: create your own job. Seriously. Take whatever it is you’re good at or passionate about, and make a career out of it. Don’t waste time trying to get hired, just start working. Does that sound too crazy? It didn’t to the four people we talked to this week. The owners and founders of Old College Comics, Esquire Grooming & Barber Shop, The Rubber Tree, and Fingerprints Music were kind enough to talk to us about what it means to be an entrepreneur start your own business. With the end of college looming closer every day, starting our own companies could be a viable option for some of us—at least, for those of us who can stomach it. Starting a business is one of the most terrifying, rewarding, infuriating, and satisfying endeavors that someone can take on, and these four individuals can show you how it’s done.



Union Weekly—4 February 2013

ADRIAN TEAL—ESQUIRE GROOMING & BARBERSHOP WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF? Adrian Teal: That’s a good question; going into business for yourself is a real challenge. It’s proving to yourself that you can create an idea and act on that idea. I think for me, business is being your own boss, having your own challenges, and taking that risk. It’s one of those things in life, it’s easy to have a job. [But] if somebody has an idea, they have a vision, you really don’t want to wake up in a few years thinking, “Why didn’t I act on that?” WHY LONG BEACH? AT: I think the great thing about Long Beach is that it’s a very prideful community. It seems Long Beach likes to support local business, so there was that. I like the mix of demographics, I like that you have every sort of race. It has a lot of diversity and pride; it’s a very active community. It

just seems to be a good community. If you look at Orange County, it seems to be very sterile, the same ol’ strip malls everywhere. But Long Beach is far more eclectic.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFICULTIES IN STARTING A BUSINESS? AT: The difficulties are that the economy is still slow. That’s one of the difficulties. The difficult thing is that it’s still not stable and when we started out, there were a lot of things weighing on people’s minds. In terms of volume, it slows down. Other difficulties would be getting word out that we’re here. We just have to keep marketing ourself. There was never a barbershop in that location; we set it up from scratch. Those few things have been very difficult and we opened in a weird and crazy period of time. But in the new year now, business should pick up, but those were the main challenges for me.

HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’VE MADE IT? AT: I suppose when I have a shop full of barbers and they’re constantly busy. The volume is a big thing, that contributes to the feeling that I’ve made it. That’s going to take time, it doesn’t happen overnight. You just have to keep the doors open and provide a good service at the right cost. Eventually it will happen. Compared to someone who creates a gadget, it takes a lot more time. I think I’ll make it when I have a shop full of barbers and it’s a busy and I have a good reputation in the neighborhood. With social media like Facebook and Instagram, we can help ourselves and spread word of mouth and really show people what our work looks like. We can take advantage of that and we do.

SHAWNA STARR—THE RUBBER TREE WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO GO INTO BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF? Shawna Starr: My father and I are gay and we’ve lost 20 friends to the AIDS virus since 1981, so we wanted to open a condom store where we could actually tell you about condoms and explain condom usage to help promote more safe sex for the future, so that was our beginning. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES WERE ALONG THE WAY? SS: There really weren’t [that many] along the way, they were all in the beginning because we were the first sex store that ever opened in Belmont Shores. The residents and the Belmont Shores Business Association were in an uproar, and we had picketers here every day—Christian picketers with signs that said, “God hates sex,” and you know, you’re going to turn our community into a prostitution drug ring and we were like, no, no, no, no, we’re clean, we’re nice. We’re trying to make sex more normalized and clean and safe, and have it in a nice neighborhood where

the store doesn’t feel scary and dirty. Sex already has a dirty connotation tied to it, so if you offset that with a really nice boutique, where you’re friendly, we can tell you about the product. That’s what we’ve continued to do over the years. So the difficulties along the way were just in the beginning. And not to get political but, Bush, for eight years, put a huge dent in our industry for small businesses. So the challenge was the eight years that Bush was in office. That was the challenge. To try to keep afloat when he was only supporting corporations and not people like me and our taxes just skyrocketed.

HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAD A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS? SS: When we opened in 1992 we started to really feel the success going into ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99. I mean we were just—not to be negative or anything or blow smoke up my ass—but we made so much money in those years and if I could just go back and really appreciate what I made at that time, you know, those days are over. ‘Cause Clinton had us in the best shape,

you know, as far as our country goes, and we really felt it in our business, you know? I mean, it was awesome. Another way that I kind of knew that I made it a little bit was I had never heard of Yelp. What I do as an owner is that if you come into my store and I don’t recognize you, I’ll say, “Oh, is it your first time in our store?” and if you say, “Yes,” I’ll ask, “Oh, how did you hear about us?” And all these people started saying “Yelp.” And I’m like, “Excuse me, what is ‘Yelp?”’ And this was like seven, eight years ago. And they said “Oh it’s this site where people go on and they review stores, restaurants, and people have you up there.” And I’m like, “What?” “Oh yeah, go read! People write the most incredible letters about you.” So that’s when I kinda knew that what I was doing was successful, because if someone is going to take the time to write a letter about me that they don’t really have the time to do, but it’s that important to them to go on and on about me and my store, then that shows that I’m doing something right and to a certain level that I’ve made it.

RAND FOSTER—FINGERPRINTS WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO GO INTO BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF? Rand Foster: It has been about 20 years since this past year. WHY LONG BEACH? RF: I had been managing a store that was a record store that was part of a chain, and they didn’t allow us to play any loud music or anything like The Replacements. It was a really corporate gig and I wasn’t really enjoying it. I had a friend that had recently opened up a store of his own and I decided

to follow that route.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES WERE ALONG THE WAY? RF: Definitely cash flow was a problem within the first year. Not having a lot of money then and wanting to put out a good product was difficult. We had about 2000 records that were essential to the inventory, we had a large used section, but we had these 2000 that we wanted as new records and it was hard stocking up. We

spent a lot of money that first year, a lot of time stocking up on the new section and slowly adding stuff in.

HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAD A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS? RF: I still don’t know how we made it this far, we’re a small family business and we’ve been lucky to have the opportunities we’ve had thus far. It’s a day-to-day business, so anything could happen really.

Union Weekly—4 February 2013



MIKE PALLOTTA—OLD COLLEGE COMICS WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL PLAN FOR THE BUSINESS? HOW HAS THAT EXPANDED? Mike Pallotta: When we first started, we had a really specific goal: publish comic books and get them to Long Beach ComicCon, then go from there. And now we’re going from there. We’re gonna be at the One Day [Long Beach Comic] Expo that they’re having on May 11th; we’re gonna be attending WonderCon in Anaheim. It’s gonna be awesome. So, we’re looking to get whatever we can get at future conventions, because now we have two books under our belt and we’re looking to publish more. We have a web comic that goes up on our blog called Gutter, and we’re working on more projects right now and getting them out there. You can’t just make something and expect everyone to come to you. You still have to go to people, so we take ‘em to conventions and we put ‘em in people’s hands. There’s this whole process of setting up the business; being the creative person; writing it and creating it and putting it out there; and being willing to take rejection but at the same time really getting a kick off of when people do respond to you... and having enough self-esteem or selfworth to be okay with rejection and not get egotistical if you do get an amazingly

good response, and then just trying to turn around and start over, moving onto the next project, and putting yourself out there again with that next product. You have to get a thick skin, doing that all over again. It can be rough, but it can also be awesome.

YOUR GROUP HAS MOSTLY BEEN MADE UP WITH FRIENDS; HOW HAVE YOU FOUND STARTING A BUSINESS WITH FRIENDS TO BE? HAS IT BEEN MOSTLY HELPFUL OR HURTFUL OR BOTH? MP: It can be a mixture of both. If they don’t respond well to something and they don’t necessarily like what you’re doing... but at the same time, you put your ego aside and you do what’s best for everyone, because you know, it’s a collaborative effort when you’re putting out a comic book. You just listen to the other person’s point of view and you take it into account, and most of the time, the suggestions are good. But for the most part, it’s been positive, because you have this support system involved. At the end of the day, you have a group of friends that you can talk to, you can shoot the shit with, and you can kind of bounce ideas off of. So you’re gonna be better for it. It’s just like being in any creative workshop; you’re

So, there you have it folks. There’s actual proof that you can have your dream job, be your own boss, and make a ton of money (sort of). Starting a project and seeing it through is something that we are all capable of, though it’s obviously not easy. It takes painful amounts of perseverance and tenacity. Luckily, Cal State Long Beach has your back. If you’re considering or even interested in creating a company, CSULB offers a minor in Entrepreneurship. It’s only available to non-Business majors, so all of the unpleasant people will be filtered out (just kidding). There are only five required classes, and you can choose courses like International Business, Marketing, and Retail Concepts and Policies. If you have business plans for the future, this is a minor that can augment your major course studies. If you aren’t ready to commit to the full minor, or if your schedule is already full, the College of Business Administration partners with Long Beach City College to offer an Entrepreneurship Certificate. It’s an eight-week long program that is free to all CSULB students, and is recommended for ambitious students, “whether they want to start a business now or sometime in the future.”

Our Engineering and Business schools have also partnered to create the CSULB Innovation Challenge. They encourage students of all majors to participate in coming up with new business ventures, and they “will provide resources for student to put their ideas into action and reality.” The winning team can win $10,000 to put their plans into action. Visit their page online to find out more. Finally, we also have the Global Business Development Architects organization on campus. It is an apprenticeship program that encourages college students to be “intrapreneurs” as well as entrepreneurs. For more information, call 213-784-8831. Our campus is filled with resources to help you succeed, but you really do have to take advantage of them yourself. After all, you’re on your way to being an entrepreneur.

gonna be in a situation where you have to show yourself. If you really put your heart and truth into what you made, criticism is gonna be tough. So don’t take it personally when people say, you could have done this differently, etc. You’re gonna be a better person for it; you’re gonna be a better creator. Not only did it make for a support system; it made it so I’m not gonna stop doing it, because I have people relying on me, and I’m relying on them.

WHAT WAS THE HIGHEST POINT SO FAR? MP: The most rewarding was taking it to LB ComicCon, because that’s where you’re on stage finally. We had family and friends come to the convention and support us there. It was just this culmination of all of our work, good times and bad, resulting in a tangible product that people were responding to. People responded positively or negatively or apathetically, but we really got a lot out of it. It brought on a lot of growth. And it was really cool; we got to meet a lot of people there. Eric Bryan [my Managing Editor] and I stood there and talked to Tim Bradstreet, who’s done like a hundred covers of Punisher and done a tone of stuff, he’s a great artist—he stood there and talked to

us for like a half hour. He flipped through Freshman 15 and Aftermath and he gave us compliments, advice, solid criticism... We got to hand our stuff to Amanda Connor, Mike McCone, Richard Starking, you know—these people that we’ve admired for years and years. I had Tim Bradstreet’s art on my binder in high school. This guy stood there for a half hour and talked to me and Eric and gave us solid man-toman, almost like we were sitting at a bar together. It was awesome.

WHEN WILL YOU KNOW YOU’VE MADE IT? MP: I don’t know; everyone has different ideas of success and of making it. I just want to be able to make a living at writing comics and making/editing comics, working in comic books. Whatever the case may be. I guess the day that I can just be doing that and being okay with doing that, you know, sustaining myself both creatively and financially by making comic books, I’ll be happy. I’ll finally achieve happiness. [laughs]



Union Weekly—4 February 2013

Sales Pitchin’ CSULB students travel to Las Vegas to deliver a sales proposal

Sierra Patheal and Joseph Phillips Union Staffers

Jon Bolin ASI Vice President Cal State Long Beach’s chapter of the National Association of Home Builders ranked highly at a national competition held in Las Vegas early this January. Chapter President and Team Captain David M. Glover led the project team, which consisted of Construction Engineering Management (CEM) students: Jordan Kath, Sunny Patel, Jonathan Flores, Robby Sison, Nick Madamba, and faculty advisor Dr. Tang-Hung Nguyen. The CSULB team competed against 61 other schools from across the United States. The CSULB team was faced with writing a 150-page technical sales proposal for a 118-acre plot of land on the northeast shore of Lake Utah in Saratoga Springs, Utah. They then gave an oral presentation to a panel of five judges (one of whom was the actual land owner). In November 2012, the team downloaded the problem statement and created a fictitious company known as

“Beach Builders.” They then set out on an eight-week project in which they met up to four times a week outside of class time to complete the written proposal. After weeks of hard work, the team traveled to Las Vegas, NV in early January to present their proposal to the judges. Glover was pleased with the judges’ reception of his team’s plans. “Among the judges’ positive feedback was the ‘Unique Beach Culture’ that our team brought to this Utah project,” he said. “They loved the bonfire pits, sand volleyball courts, jogging paths, private marina, beachside diner, and kayak rentals, all of which the Lake Utah region lacks at this time.” Amid the luxurious amenities such as a private marina, the group did not forget about green technology, either. Some of the sustainability features included the use of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and solar powered water heaters; native plants and rainwater harvesting to cut

This Nickel Breaks the Bank Really, this is cool Brianne Schaer News Director

The famous Walton 1913 Liberty Head nickel will make an appearance at the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo this week. The nickel is worth more than $2 million and is one of five 1913 Liberty Head nickels. This nickel with a super cool backstory will be on display from February 7-9 at the Long Beach Convention Center. In April it will be up for auction. The hundred-year-old nickel has lived an interesting life, as it was illegally cast

back on water use; and large overhangs, a light colored exterior, and properly placed windows to reduce heat gain and increase natural day-lighting. “At the end of this project, I felt like this was my baby,” Glover said. “It was really fascinating to watch the other schools present and see how they developed the same project using completely different ideas. I picked up some great design and engineering concepts that I will consider the next time I design a project like this.” The team accomplished their goal with four months of hard work and fundraising, including a grant from the Associated Students, Inc. for $1,750, which helped pay for travel, lodging, and competition fees. All in all, Glover thought it was worth it. “Our team gained so much valuable insight into the construction management process by competing in this competition,” he said.

and originally a part of a set of five. In 1962, it was salvaged from a car crash that killed its owner, George Walton. After that, it was declared a fake and stored in a closet for roughly 40 years. Now that its legitimacy has been proven, it will go up for auction, where it is expected to fetch anywhere from $4-5 million. Walton’s heirs are to divvy up the profit. If that story isn’t exciting enough to make you jump out of your seat and find out how to catch a glimpse of history, maybe the special guests at the Expo will. Sports stars Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Laffit Pincay, Jr. will sign autographs on February 9 at the expo. There will also be a Honus Wagner baseball cards exhibit. Special silver Panda medals minted under the People’s Bank of China will also be available for purchase. They really look pretty cool. Tickets for this event cost $8 for all three days, $4 for seniors and children.

Glam it up with Amalgam It’s only the third week of the semester, so if you’re lucky, tests and papers will still be specters of the future for a little while. If the resulting free time leaves you looking for things to do, accomplishments to admire, and creations by which to be inspired, stop by the art galleries this week. The annual Amalgam Metal Group Show is back, and it’s bound to be good. The exhibition showcases outstanding creations. The pieces range from enameled work to casting, fabrication, and copper inscription, and the exhibition looks like it’ll be well worth a visit—if only for a chance to stare at the artwork and envy those with the talent to create it. The show will be in the CSULB Gatov Gallery, between FA-2 and FA3, from February 3-7. The hours are 12 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Calling All Artists The College of Liberal Arts Student Council has announced a call for artists for their Art Auction at the Long Beach Playhouse from 7-9 p.m. on February 21. The theme of the auction is “The Roaring Twenties.” This could be paintings, illustrations, drawings, or whatever form of art you wish to have auctioned off to support CLASC. Any interested artists should contact James Suazo with their ideas at Mix and Mingle The American Studies Student Association is having its beginning of the semester mixer at E.J. Malloy’s this Wednesday at 10 p.m. It’s a good opportunity to meet the faces you see every semester. The cross streets for E.J. Malloy’s are Broadway and Redondo Blvd. Got an event? If you know of or are organizing an upcoming event, please send the info to You know you want to see your event here, so people will actually come.

Union Weekly—4 February 2013



Photo by James Delahoussaye Contributor

KBeach takes on the Future of Radio Party with KBeach on Feb.13 as they switch to HD Joseph Phillips Union Staffer KBeach Radio will be celebrating their change to HD on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. outside on the USU lawn. University President F. King Alexander will attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with more than 50 KBeach alumni and staff from the 12 years the station has been in service. The switch from digital to HD radio has been years in the making for KBeach, due to bumps in the road along the way. From the generosity of KKJZ (KJazz), our own student-run radio will now have a way to extend its range of listeners from Orange County to Los Angeles through an extension of their frequency. KBeach will now be accessible on the

same station as KKJZ 88.1 on HD 3. Evan Dixon, KBeach general manager, explained the significance of the switch to HD and its role in the future of radio. “About 60% of new cars have HD radio as part of the package, and this is a whole new audience that we are expanding on,” he said. “What is important for KBeach is that some years down the line when everyone has this technology, we will have already had HD established and known for some time. This is the first time in Los Angeles a student-run radio station has gone on free air in 30 years.” HD does not mean high definition as it usually applies to television sets or computer screens. Instead, HD is a term

that stands for “Hybrid Digital.” This is a step up from KBeach’s old digital form which was accessed only on the Internet. Amber Dill, a graduate student studying Ancient History, agreed with the idea of the HD upgrade. “I love listening to KBeach while I do my homework,” she said. “Even though I don’t listen in every day, I think it’s good that they are changing with the times. If they have the opportunity to switch, then why not do it?” For those who are not familiar with KBeach, the station airs many radio personalities, including students. There are a wide variety of shows on the air that include both talk and music.

Our Associated Students, Inc. President and Vice President have a popular segment called “The John and Jon Show.” Nicholas Smith, a junior student in Geology had his own take on KBeach and the new changes. “I listen to the shows that I find linked on Facebook,” he said. “My thoughts are that it is good that they are exploring new mediums, though it wouldn’t hurt to maybe try to get on regular FM radio.” KBeach is ready to take on the future of an entire industry. To tune in, you will need an HD Tuner either in your car or at home. If you don’t have one, you can always tune in online at

Become Hirable: Attend a Workshop Meet the Industries Expo can help you navigate the professional world Alison Ernst Union Staffer Are you trying to find an internship or career? Do you want to further your professional development and gain insight on the recruiting process? The Meet the Industries Expo (MIE) is a great way to learn about how to network and navigate the professional world, while providing a forum for students to meet with recruiters and potentially find employment. MIE is currently in its 41st year, which makes it the third longestrunning student event on campus. This year’s MIE will be held on Friday, Feb. 15 at The Grand Event Center in Long Beach—only 2.6 miles away from campus. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. There will be workshops in the morning, a formal sit-down

luncheon with recruiters, and a career fair in the afternoon. There are four different workshop sessions to choose from, with the following topics: Social Media Branding, Creating Personal Wealth for New Graduates, the S.T.A.R. Interview Technique, and Negotiation Skills. Dr. Robin Lee, an associate director of the CSULB Career Development Center, will host Social Media Branding. She also founded and owns Lee Success Consulting, LLC. Creating Personal Wealth for New Graduates will be hosted by Steve Lindholm, who currently works as managing director of Northwestern Mutual in Newport Beach and serves on the Board of Directors for the CBA’s Student Center for Professional

Development (SCPD). Brandon Shelby, the account manager and Pacific Southwest So Cal Alumni Chapter President for INROADS, will be hosting S.T.A.R. Interview Technique. The Negotiation Skills workshop will be led by Marlene Heyser, president of Workplace Law Solutions and former director of Employee Relations at the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA). Our keynote speaker is John C. Molina, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Molina Healthcare. Since becoming CFO, Molina has become a public company, doubled its number of lives covered under Medicaid, and tripled revenues. There is a $20 registration fee to attend this event, but it’s worth every penny

(Again, this pays for workshops, lunch, and the opportunity to network). Business professional attire is required. The deadline is register is Wednesday, Feb. 6, but don’t wait until the last minute! You must register through BeachSync and you will need to upload your resume. If you need help with your resume, you should check out job_search/resume/index.htm. If you’re interested in learning more about MIE, you can visit http://csulbmie. com/students/. I cannot stress enough how much students of all majors will benefit from the professional development workshops. The skills taught by the guest speakers are applicable to any student.



Union Weekly—4 February 2013

White Girl Problems

John Villanueva Music Editor

Examining the lyrics of Taylor Swift Dear John

You Belong With Me

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

“Dear John, I see it all now it was wrong/ Don’t you think nineteen’s too young/ To be played by your dark, twisted games/ When I loved you so, I should’ve known”

“I’m in the room, its a typical Tuesday night/ I’m listening to the kind of music she doesn’t like/ And she’ll never know your story like I do”

“I’m really gonna miss you picking fights/ And me falling for it screaming that I’m right/ And you would hide away and find your peace of mind/ With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine”

The assumption that this song was written about John Mayer, the king of white boy croon, can be contested. What can’t be contested, however, is Taylor’s immaculate use of the lover scorned/super bitch theme. Taylor really knows how to amp up the victim card, peppering the line, “Don’t you think I was too young?” throughout the song, blurring the line between sad song and pedophelia. Oh wait, she says she’s 19. Okay, keep it going John, drain that well dry.

Move the fuck over, Sting. When it comes to weird white girl stalking, Taylor Swift slinks her way creepily to the occasion. Pining over the football captain and bitching about his stinky bourgeois girlfriend, Taylor waits at his back door (she literally says she’s waiting at his back door) for his approval. She knows he’s the one for her and she won’t take any excuses (he’s taken/she’s creepy). She knows what she wants, and if she has to take him to a cabin and break his legs, she’s gonna do it. Props to you, Taylor.

Taylor states in this song that her man candy is too busy listening to an indie record to appreciate her talent. She’s right of course, indie records are much cooler than any of her records. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, yup. Hummingbird, most definitely. Merriweather Post Pavilion, not really. Plus, in the video, her boyfriend gets busy with a chick that at first glance looks like Skrillex. So not indie.

Taylor Swift before the accident

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to examine some of the lyrics of one of the greatest bedroom poets of today. Taylor Swift, with her command of the 4th grade level English language, crafts doe-eyed love letters marked by their heavy handed sincerity and lack of mutual reciprication. Taylor knows what love truly is, which is the reason she’s had close to 20 boyfriends in the last two years. That’s why she’s the topic of today’s discussion. I will examine some of her greatest lyrical feats here, so you can witness the lyrical wunderkind that is Taylor Swift.

Union Weekly—4 February 2013



Bullet to the Head Sylvester Stallone has bullets to shoot and asses to kick Roque Renteria Contributor During the past few years, many once-relevant ‘80s and ‘90s action stars have taken it upon themselves to engage in career resurrections. Some of these attempts (The Expendables 1 & 2) have been ass-uppercutting, testicle-dropping adrenaline rushes that remind us of how awesome these GOP loving, steroidtaking macho men are. Other attempts (The Last Stand) remind us of Guile’s old taunt recited after each victory in Street Fighter, which is: “GO HOME AND BE A FAMILY MAN.” In his latest action flick, Sylvester Stallone endeavors to disprove the notion that he is an antiquated icon and an old fart. Is Bullet To The Head the right movie to silence the naysayers? Or should he just retire and live out the rest of his days watching Divorce Court in his sweatpants and Crocs? Bullet To The Head follows the typical revenge story template. Jimmy Bobo (Stallone) is an assassin who is set up by his employers. Bobo teams up with Detective Taylor Kwon (Kang) so that they may both avenge the deaths of their fallen partners. Legally, I cannot give away the movie’s entire story; therefore, I will end the synopsis here. Based upon the graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete (known by English-speaking audiences as Headshot), the movie’s tone

borrows heavily from elements of crime fiction and neon-noir, genres that director Walter Hill is familiar with. The Long Beach-born director broke his ten-year hiatus making this film and has once again demonstrated his directorial skills. The chemistry between Stallone and Kang is passable. At times the dialogue and quipping between the two seems contrived and unnatural. I assure you, none of the witticisms in this movie are in the same echelon as those of Oscar Wilde. Also, you are not going to find any Oscar-worthy performances in BTTH, but you will encounter some badass shootouts and fight scenes that are well captured and well choreographed. Stallone kicks the most ass and shoots the most goons in this movie, but Kang has his moments too. Each action scene contains an adequate amount of blood and gore. The bloodiest and goriest scene involves Kang launching a bad guy from a flight of stairs, who then lands on his head, causing his skull to crack open and his brains to splatter all over the pavement. This scene is similar to Michael Caine’s balcony-throwing kill in Get Carter, which Stallone remade, but it sucks. Don’t watch the Stallone version. The most surprising and yet most pleasant compliment to the action was the excellent choice of music for the

soundtrack. Inspired by the New Orleans setting, the movie contains bayou blues, Cajun rock, and synthesizer scores. Ominous sounds reminiscent of those used in Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic The Warriors are masterfully inserted before and during each action sequence. I will admit Bullet To The Head had me worried at first. Going into theater, I thought the movie was going to suck, and the last thing I wanted was to watch a shitty movie. Honestly, I like Sylvester Stallone’s movies. He might be getting old, but he is one of my childhood heroes and I don’t want to see him throw in the towel just yet. Oh yeah, you better believe I am going to

include a Rocky reference in this review. While Bullet To The Head is certainly not Stallone’s best work, it is far from his worst. Ever watch Rhinestone? Of course you haven’t. Overall, the movie is watchable and will satisfy indiscriminate moviegoers. It is not without its flaws, but those flaws are minor transgressions that are forgiven by the action-packed awesomeness this movie offers. If my opinion is worth anything, then I recommend it. Still unsure about the movie? It has nudity. If that doesn’t win you over, I don’t know what will. FINAL VERDICT: Sylvester Stallone can continue making movies...for now.

You Sly Devil

John Villanueva Music Editor

Marco Beltran Senior Editor

Connor O’Brien Entertainment Editor

I remember the first time I saw Rocky IV. I was five and it was the first of the Rocky movies that I had ever seen. There were a lot of things that stood out to me. First off, the fact that they had a robot, even though it was a fat piece of shit that made Alfalfa look like Iron Man, was rad and helped start an obsession with robots that continues to this day (but not really). Secondly, Apollo Creed died, and while I was only five and had only been recently introduced to cinema, the fact that the black guy died seemed strangely appropriated. His name was Apollo, who has that name? He had to die, but I digress. There were really mean Russian people, and Rocky had a mountain climbing montage. At the end, Rocky gets the hostile Russian crowd to support him, and everything turned out alright, besides the fact that Rocky sustained massive brain damage.

I think I’ve always been a fan of Sylvester Stallone. It was ingrained into the minds of many guys my age that he and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the epitome of what it meant to be manly. He’s like the embodiment of not giving a fuck. Just watch Demolition Man and you’ll understand. Here’s a movie that itself is sort of a weird parody of the type of Stallone action movies, but the way he plays the character of John Spartan leaves you thinking, “Does he understand what’s going on in this movie?” I’m pretty sure he doesn’t or will ever understand that his movie choices usually terrible. Granted, Rocky and the First Blood are awesome and have, unfortunately, cemented Stallone as Hollywood gold, but it’s like people are too afraid of his muscles to tell him that everything he’s done since is just repetitive shit. I mean, I’ll still watch his movies in hopes that one day he’ll make something that isn’t an hour and a half of him masturbating into his own mouth.

I watched The Expendables a few years ago so bear with me as I try and remember how it went. Alright, so it starts with Sylvester and Jason Statham on a plane. They fly to Colombia and land in a lake. I think they’re on a mission to save a lady that is being held hostage, but they run into drug lords! No, I’m wrong, they are actually going to shoot a diplomat! Then they meet the lady and shoot some drug lords and the lady gets left behind. So they gotta go back to Colombia to fight the drug lords again and save the lady. This time, they bring the sword master Jet Li, but the poor little guy is named Ying Yang. Ex-cop Bruce Willis comes, along with some old action stars that haven’t worked in a while. So they get in a car chase that ends up in a warehouse, (Spoiler alert, maybe). They fly their plane directly into the warehouse and it explodes! Then they all escape with the girl in a submarine.

The Union staff recalls Stallone’s best and worst screen moments

Illustration by Nichole Daniels Illustration Editor



Union Weekly—4 February 2013

The Most Dangerous Game Game of Thrones is a good read, if you have the time Sierra Patheal Union Staffer I heard a lot about the A Game of Thrones series before I finally decided to give it a try. It was one of those things, like ‘Gangnam Style’, Once Upon a Time, and The Avengers, which popped up simultaneously in recommendations from friends, and although I put it on the to-read list, I wasn’t overly excited by the prospect. Epic fantasy is always a commitment. With thousand-page books, ridiculously large sets of characters, and entire world sagas worth chronicling, sitting down to read an epic fantasy series can take a month or more, so I begin them with caution. Until this winter break, A Game of Thrones was pretty low on my list. Then the first novel showed up under the Christmas tree, so I figured, Why not? I had all of Christmas break to finish it; I assumed I’d be done with the series by the time school started again, burned out on epic fantasy for a while and ready for textbooks once again. How naive I was. I’m on the fourth book now (there are

five books in the series so far, with at least two forthcoming), and while I wasn’t wrong with any of my preconceptions—the series is horridly long, there are enough characters that I periodically forget who’s who, and the geography is almost a plot device in itself—A Game of Thrones has, over the course of the last few weeks, managed to catapult itself to the top of my list of worthreading epic fantasies. From world- building to characters to simple narrative grace, this is a series to contend with the best. The world is intriguing, a medieval-style kingdom with eight-hundred-foot-tall walls of ice, gods whose faces are in trees, and bizarre castles built in strange places (One is clinging to the upper spire of a mountain; the “Sky Door” is exactly what it sounds like, and “flying” is only slightly euphemistic). One of the most interesting differences between Martin’s world and ours is the fact that the seasons operate on a very long period, and it’s been summertime for years. Winter is

coming, though, as the characters from the northern reaches of the realm are fond of saying. Winter is coming—and chances are, I’ll be there to see it when it comes. This series has me well and truly hooked. The main reason for my interest lies not with the world, though, but with the characters. Every one of them is a real person, not narrative devices. The cast consistently denies the labels applied to it. While the stock characters of fantasy do appear in A Game of Thrones, none is quite what he seems. There are quite a few princesses, but only one of them is the demure, Rapunzel-esque child protecting her maidenhead of fairy tales and myth, and in what I’ve read so far, she’s been betrothed four times (and never for her superior needlework skills), married to one of the most universallyhated characters in the realm, spirited away by a jilted suitor of her mother, and held captive in a castle that’s almost

Short Story Corner: Man Nears, for Nick White

Jordan Khajavipour Contributor

Chris always made a point to say people’s names when speaking to them. Either at the start of a sentence, or by forcefully attempting some poetic-sounding natural prose at the end. It mostly bothered me because we shared our name, and it sounds so harsh and empty when hearing it out-loud. I can overhear him as he’s ringing up his friend in the record store that shares space with the coffee house I’ve wasted my best years in. Chris is a good man, kind and hurt. I’m split in half, recently torn by Veronica, who has still not responded to my latest round of pleading voice messages. She says I’m incapable of living alone, but alone is what I’ll end up with. This thought allows for an unwanted glimpse into my make-up. Half of me is joyous, pleasant, polite, and

mouth smile to say hello while maintaining a purposely-apparent awkwardness that is poorly hidden through his charming, sexually-ambiguous manner. “Hey man, how’s it going” I spit out without realizing. My signature male-approach falls short on the one customer who ignites me. The short interactions we’ve shared have consumed the surface-thoughts that fill my everyday. “Good, um, red tea?” he whimpers with a smirk as our customer-barista dialogue plays out so predictably I almost walk to the back to wash off the self-pity I’ve begun wearing to work. After I hand him a medium cup of Africa Bush leaves soaking in hot water we both know is overpriced, he trails off with an abrupt goodbye—probably his most masculine expression in the times I’ve

driven. The other half is being driven by a suicidal snipe, ready to stab with the dark vocabulary and shared memories learned from the first half. I find a dark element exists in both these halves, but determining their ratio will take time, therapy, and effort I choose not to afford. I’ll bury myself in a body, like everyone else: sum it up as love. Chris’ friend exits the record store through the graying sensor shields that separate the two businesses. I recognized his friend, jerking past an unsubtly rushed stare before he looked over at me. He plants himself by neatly arranging his belongings in the farthest corner of the coffee house, particularly choosing a twoseater table near the door. He turns towards my direction to order, flashing a closed-

literally a tower. Only in this tower is she beginning to realize that relying on princes to save her is a good way to get raped, abused, or married for birthright alone, depending on the prince. The beautiful queen could hold her own in a competition for the craziest character in the series, the strongest swordsman is also the most emotionally scarred, the ugliest is the most intelligent, and in the critical moment, the forces of good frequently fail. I’ve given up on predicting the twists and turns of Martin’s plots. Suffice to say that absolutely everyone is fair game for comedy and tragedy both, and a happy ending is not by any means guaranteed. A Game of Thrones is one of the most masterful series I’ve read in a long time. It’s truly worth the time commitment involved in opening the first book...although I must admit, I’m still not done. Who knows— maybe, if I keep pushing through I’ll be done by finals. I’m not holding my breath, though.

served him. I watch as he pours honey into his cup, and notice I am not the only one observing. The attraction to this individual is something beyond me, something I may have learned or read about had I gone to college, or continued to read books after “Catcher in the Rye” made me cry one high-school day in the backyard of my parent’s house. This connection occurs so seldom, yet the rarity of it is the underlying motivation that keeps my worn body in this hard, thinly cut apron. ‘An old friend you haven’t met yet’ was how I explained it to Veronica once. Like the moment we crossed paths, we knew a mutual bond exists. We nod, exchange money, and carry on, all the while knowing bonds like this lack value unless one of us breaks through formality.

For the rest of the story, visit

Union Weekly—4 February 2013



Working Title Irene Thaiss Contributor

Student Groans



Tyre Jones Assistant Editor

Incontinental Breakfast

6 5 3 8 9 1 2 7 4

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7 3 9 5 2 8 6 4 1


8 1 2 4 7 5 9 6 3

7 5 4 9 3 2 6 1 8

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8 3 2 1 7 6 4 5 9

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Nathan Moore Contributor

Volume 72 Issue 3

Monday, February 4, 2013


DISCLAIMER: This page is satire. Mama always man to take care of me. I wonder what her thoughts are on Pokey men. Gotta catch ‘em all! In mah butt and mouth, that is. Old school, campus. Email the Duchess at

FERGIE FINDS LOVE OF THE FOUR-LEGGED KIND, NEW ALBUM It’s been six years since we’ve heard from the former Black-eyed Pea front woman Fergie. Despite her strong presence on Twitter and a semi-rabid fan by Stacy Ferguson base that are up to date on every facet of her life, most simply forgot she existed. But lurking deep in a pit, sharpening her nails on Taboo’s back, Fergie was trying to think of something that would help boost her back into the limelight: a new album. “It took me such a long time to


“I went down to the depths of the internet to understand what it was that people wanted in their music and their videos and my extensive research lead me to one thing that perfectly embodies how I look at life. Now whenever I can’t decide what I want, I say to myself clear. My next video is going to feature sixteen minutes of Queen Elizabeth’s corgis dancing. I’m going to eat dog food for my favorite charity. I’ve even undergone a radical procedure to

Even though I’m a famous songstress and everything, I don’t think anyone takes me seriously for some reason. I mean, I won a Grammy, guys.

by Taylor Swift of the musician community, I think I’m entitled to express my opinions

a hookah. So listening to that song takes me back to those summers when I would just shoot up a bunch of Mr. Just like, get really heated. another good song of theirs. When I wrote “Teardrops on my Guitar,” thinking about that song. It just moves

music review. There’s this new super-

me, I went to his house and just ate

Okay well, they’re not an indie band, per se. But they’re totally retro now.

mom came out into the kitchen and

my life,” she told People Magazine, “and

play at my wedding.

it out. I thought I would get pregnant like so many other strong celebrities, maybe even adopt. It wasn’t until my good friend gave me the wisest words I could ever receive, ‘Scream and shout, and let it all out’ and I was like, ‘hell yes.’” While the new album has yet to be

that I’m just some silly country girl, but

told her that she had a fat butt and that her son was a really big jerk but also the love of my life. my socks, went upstairs into my room,

is really underrated as far as grunge bands go. I’m pretty sure they did all kinds of cocaine (like, the crack kind) “Higher” is about drugs. They’re asking you if you can take them higher, but they’re really talking about their gross drug dealer. I don’t want to name any names or anything, but I heard that he hangs around with Kenan Thompson and his name is Kel.

hit the internet to mixed reviews and great confusion since it was basically the “Fergilicious” song with the name

hungry again and did the exact same thing again twenty minutes later. I’m such a dork. But what I really mean to say is that that song got me through really hard emotional stuff. I’ve dated a lot of guys, but I know what I really want now. Harry Styles is so yesterday. you’re on my list, you sexy, sexy ’90s pop god.





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