Monday, April 26, 2004
Win a free X
Supposedly, if we read the Daily Cal this week, we're supposed to be able to try to win something. Or some such. I'm not sure of the details, though. Maybe it's a theme contest. Today's theme was "Absolutely no news that has to do with the university."
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Tuesday, April 20, 2004
How gay is that?
Sometimes, newspaper editing takes out some details, leaving some interesting comments behind which you'd never expect to see in a paper. This article looks like it suffers from some of that:
Panel participants represented interests as diverse as those of Alan Chambers, a former homosexual...
Chambers said if gay marriage had been legal in 1990, he would have married. But he argued that had he married, he would have never been able to make the willful choice to move forward and that legalization would prevent other homosexuals from doing the same.
Now, this is probably the only time you'll ever see someone referred to as a "former homosexual" in this kind of newspaper. But more interesting is what "move forward" refers to. Is this referring to Chambers becoming straight? Is that "moving forward"? Would marrying prevent him from having the choice to... uh... go straight? Get married? What? I'm confused. If anyone can interpret this, I'd love to hear from you.
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Monday, April 19, 2004
Don't rape on me
Someone put up all the rape statistics again. Most of those statistics are really full of pretty nasty statistical flaws, but I won't point them out, because that would make me pro-rape, if I understand the rhetoric correctly.
Take Back the Night, after being raped by apathy and sexually assaulted by alternative causes, apparently finally woke up from its roofie-induced slumber. Once again, they're taking to the streets to declare "Rape is bad!" A small contingent of pro-rape counterprotesters were not present. How boring of a cause can you people choose? Even if we were pro-rape, we'd never say it out loud, because we still want to get laid, and most chicks just don't dig the rapist. And those that do are pretty scary.
And while I strongly support sexual harassment in the workplace and at school, I draw a hard line at rape. Rape is no laughing matter, in many, but by no means all, cases. And, as we all know, the only way to fight rape is to yell out a bunch of statistics. That's right, there's a 33% chance that I raped your grandma. What? Avoiding dangerous situations also works, you say? Don't be an apologist.
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A look back
I've almost graduated and stuff. I think this is supposed to be important. For me, it's not, because despite graduating, I still failed to escape Berkeley, as I'll be going to grad school here. Still, it's worthwhile to take a look back at four years of amazing life.
Well, okay, let's make it two years. I can't remember my first year at all, and can barely remember my second year.
The best way to approach "looking back" is comparative. I should compare my college experience at Berkeley with my college experience at other universities. Oh. Wait. That won't work. Well, I guess I should compare my college life experience with my life experience as an old man. Ooh. That won't work either. Maybe my life experience as a slightly younger man. Except that I don't have a memory that reaches back that far. That makes looking back rather troublesome.
I've learned that people can be cool, if they don't try to be people. I've seen people who try to live "lifestyles," and they're the most annoying and boring people I've ever met. But people who are happy just trying to live and such, and don't worry too much about living up to an identity, those're cool people.
This is why blog people are not cool. As bloggers, we're supposed to live up to identities. So all of a sudden, folks'll get pissed at you for no good reason (I'm looking at you, Hugo and Tom). It's simply crazy. I wasn't born with all the right answers, and, like any normal person should do, I ask questions when things don't make sense. But no, no, we're supposed to already have opinions to hammer down everyone else's eyes, I suppose. Not that they'll listen, of course, but still, if you aren't an inflexible ideologue, well, you're just an asshole. (Yeah, I thought that seemed counterintuitive, too)
Still, Berkeley has provided me with a first-class education. Like most first-class educations, my first-class education is probably going to turn out to be a job-getting tool, rather than a on-the-job-using tool. Which also seems pretty counterintuitive, but this one's worked out in my favor, so I won't question it too hard.
In summary, my four years can be encompassed in one simple word: "Meh."
. . .
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Well, have fun
It looks like The Angry Clam has indeed retired, after a successful few years as blogger. He certainly was the most famous of the Cal Bloggers, although he discovered the hard way that blogging is a product of free time, and law school certainly doesn't encourage it. The Clam was the one who inspired me to begin blogging, interestingly enough.
I, on the other hand, have too much free time, which leads to the other problem with blogging. If you live an interesting enough life to have lots of stuff to blog about, you just don't have time to blog about it, and if you have time to blog, it's because you don't live an interesting enough life to have anything to blog about.
That said, I'll probably be closing up shop soon, too, as I seem to have run out of a point for this blog. It began as a place to tell jokes, became a place to whine about protesters, became a place to whine about newspapers, and then became... uh... well, whatever it is, now. No one seems to have the same sense of humor I do, though, so I think it's time to break free of the "Cal Blogsphere" and enter the "Uh... you know... stuff blogsphere."
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Friday, April 16, 2004
I guess it's that time of year again, when high school students get underfoot doing completely irrelevant reconnaissance despite having already made their decisions about colleges (or, more accurately, having had their parents make the decision for them). The interesting eye-opener was seeing several groups of students wearing "Caution: Educated Student of Color" shirts, sponsored by some multicultural mentorship thingie. Now, I know that it's supposed to make fun of the stereotypes of "People of color" (here, I'm going to apply the rules of English and say "Colored people," which is racist, apparently) as being uneducated, although really all these shirts do is reinforce the stereotype of educated "People of color" as assholes.
Still, that's not the punchline. The punchline was that almost all of the people wearing these shirts were asian. That's correct. ASIAN.
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Rules are great
(Most info shamelessly stolen from Calstuff)
Paul's suing CalSERVE, mostly on the broad violation of "can't spend student government money to get elected to student government." And for those of you asking "What's wrong with that," well, I could go into the theory, but the basic idea is "that's crazy!" Not that our real government doesn't do that.
Still, Student Action doesn't have a clean slate for itself. Andrew on Calstuff reports on "an ASUC Presidential Candidate" (kept quasi-anonymous for reasons I don't understand, but whatever, I'll do it, too) sending mass e-mails saying "Vote for me!" I'm not sure how the rules go on this issue, though. I received this e-mail, too, but through the address I leave here on my blog, so I can't imagine that it's a violation for this candidate to send an e-mail to everyone this candidate knows, and I have received e-mail from this candidate before, so it's no mystery how I ended up on some mailing list. Still, I don't know the extent of this mass e-mail, so it may extend into the realm of "dude, that's so uncool."
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Thursday, April 15, 2004
Looks like elections are winding down, and, as usual, elections suffered from severe crappiness in certain areas. Some parting thoughts:
Candidate slates: Duuuuuude. What're you guys thinking? Do you honestly expect us to vote for these people?
Computers: Traditionally, democratic republics have been run by dead trees. Trying to run them on computers is challenging tradition and is bound to have many problems. Do not anger the democracy gods, for they will vote to smite your ass.
Campaigning: Well, either it wasn't as annoying as usual or I just took different paths this year. Singing was kept to a (rather high) minimum, which is always pleasant.
C-words: I swear that was coincidence.
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Monday, April 12, 2004
Looks like someone hit the "Turn Power Off to Entire Campus" switch again.
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And the endorsement
I still don't know what the ASUC president is supposed to do, either, besides look pretty. Kris has done exceptionally well in that regard. I don't know if he's accomplished anything else, though.
BUE: Misha Leybovich
I couldn't possibly care less who switches to what party. Misha has done the one thing that no other candidate for this or any other executive office has done: Accomplished something I noticed. And I didn't even participate in the ASUC Bookswap. So yeah, vote for the guy who's done something.
Next up: Vivienne Lee. I haven't a clue who she is, but anyone who wants to fight evil is okay by me.
Dan Freedman comes next. It's not like the ASUC does anything better with the money.
Jake Kloberdanz. Hmm. I don't know what to think. He says:
“I don’t want to focus on international, national and statewide politics,” Kloberdanz said. “Before we focus on statewide politics, the ASUC has got to function in a professional manner and be done in a formidable organization.”
Now, I like the idea of not focusing on external politics, but if the ASUC functions in a professional manner, we're going to be deprived of one of the most reliable sources of humor on campus. You can't very well increase funding for Squelch but then decrease material for it.
Renita Chaney has some good ideas. I'm sure she does, because everyone has some good ideas. I couldn't tell you what Renita's good ideas are, though.
Renita Chaney is not promising unfeasible projects for the students, which she said is what past candidates have done. Instead, Chaney sees the president’s role as one to unite students and educate them about the ASUC.
Because "uniting students" is very feasible.
The DAAP person comes last, blah blah we all know.
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The ASUC Prez is pretty screwed up
With names like Leybovich, Kloberdanz, and last year's Cuaresma-Primm and Frankenstein, it's clear to me that there's something seriously wrong with the ASUC President's election. The Daily Cal's picture of three of the six candidates is horribly done. The colors are all wrong. Renita is put with the green background, which almost certainly should belong to Kloberdanz and his dreams of bringing "a business-oriented approach to the ASUC," as green is the color of money. Renita should almost certainly have the red background, for communism, or the black one, for the only accomplishment she's had on campus. Maybe yellow is appropriate for Misha, if you consider him "yellow-bellied" for joining Student Action. I do have to say that Renita wins both the name contest and the "least ridiculous-looking smile" contest among the three. Too bad she's a woman, so I can't vote for her.
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Friday, April 09, 2004
How lethal is lethal?
In the Berkeley Daily Planet's rather one-sided article on the anniversary march of a bunch of protesters who didn't appreciate being shot last time (go figure), check out this quote:
During last year’s demonstration, called to protest the invasion of Iraq, members of the Oakland Police opened fire on demonstrators with supposedly "less-than-lethal" weaponry. Several protesters came away with serious injuries.
Did any protesters come away dead? If not, what's the "supposedly" in there for?
"It’s really critical that the message be sent by the courts that this is not acceptable, that this is a violation of the Constitution. We want them to change explicit policies that will assure that they never again shoot less-than-lethal weapons at peaceful non-violent protesters."
I must be rusty on my constitution, because I can't remember this being addressed. In any case, if they "never again shoot less-than-lethal weapons" at you, guess what kind of weapons they will have to shoot you with.
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Free... Free Palestine!
You guys sound really stupid when you chant that. Really. It makes lectures about probability density functions sound enlightening.
On a related topic, I realized that I had given my SAO endorsements without finding out the candidates' positions on Zionists. That's my mistake.
. . .
Even The Daily Cal is making fun of Ronald Cruz. "A perennial candidate for executive office..."
The Student Advocate Office does things, I think. Probably advocates for students. It's always the funniest segment of the election, though Dave Madan may ruin that trend this year by actaully being a pretty good candidate.
BUE: Dave Madan
Because he's the only reasonable candidate.
Then comes Zein Obagi, Jr., whose parents apparently thought one "Zein" wasn't enough for this world. He wants to add lawyers to the advocate process. That'll be great. More lawsuits means more fee increases, you know.
Next is Kevin. My thumb is pretty weak. Still, Kevin's voting Madan as things stand now.
Finally comes the DAAPer, of course. "Nine years of being involved in a 'New Civil Rights Movement'" is nothing to be proud of. More years should be spent in "pursuing a career."
"He would combat the proposed changes in the Student Code of Conduct by holding a rally in front of California Hall, where the offices of the campus’ senior administration is housed." You know, the length of a term is a year. That's going to have to be one long rally.
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Thursday, April 08, 2004
Well, it looks like I've got a few hours before I can log into my calmail account. Goooo Calmail. Here's the EVP BUE:
While the Daily Cal says "As head of the 20 senators, the executive vice president will have to take command of the politically charged senate and demand professional efficiency," I'm still not really sure what the EVP is supposed to do. This is further compounded by Christine Lee's statement which suggests that the EVP is supposed to make sure senators follow through on campaign promises. I say "Whoa! That's queer."
Also common are comments about how underutilized the student union is. I still can't get over how dead that place is. The K-State student union has a gigantic, bustling food court, Bar/Bowling Alley, Bookstore, plenty of lounges where people actually do sit and hang out, and parking. Haha, yeah, I said parking. Most of these things are sort of in the vicinity of our student union, I guess, but the union itself still feels like that old haunted house where the evil vampire hides and sucks out your blood every few months, during the blood drive.
BUE: Rebecca Brown
I don't want the ASUC in my uterus, either.
Next up, Clee. Not because she has any ideas that look like they might work, but just because she seems to be the lesser of four evils. "'Every single executive vice president has made this their promise, but I haven’t seen a final product,' she said." And I doubt we'll see one from you, either.
Then, there's some independent senators. I dunno who they are. Vote not them.
Finally, another hyphenated name, Karina Sarabia-Delgado. "Plans to emphasize the advocacy agenda" pretty much clinched her spot at last place on my ballot.
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Wednesday, April 07, 2004
And now for something different
Next up: Academic Affairs Veep. No one ever really cares what the AAVP says, so this election isn't all that important. Still, I have to provide a BUE.
BUE: Matt Holohan
Unlike voting for Duman, voting for Holohan is more of a protest vote than anything else, because no one in this race has any accomplishable goals. I've never had a hot professor, so I'm not particularly moved by Holohan's plans to allow student-faculty relationships.
Rocky Gade wins a dubious second in this race, if only because he actually has an idea. I don't agree with him that later drop deadlines are generally better, but allowing later drop deadlines for non-impacted courses isn't a bad idea. No one will care, of course, and he won't get anything done, but it's still an idea.
Mike Sheen, on the other hand, does not have any actual ideas, so comes in last on my ballot. Also, look at this quote:
"Sheen hopes to create a more tight-knit campus and intellectual community.
"I want to reconnect faculty with students and bring folks together," he said."
We already saw One Campus twice, I don't think we need to see it a third time. He also uses the term "holistic," which has come to mean "arbitrary" in today's Berkeley world. Don't vote for someone who uses the word "holistic."
. . .
I've already mentioned Student Action's stupid slogan ("Giving Students What They Deserve" or some such). Next up is CalSERVE: "Real People. Real Issues."
While it's reassuring that CalSERVE is indeed made up of real people, and not just imagination figments, or robots programmed to behave like humans, or maybe shapeshifting aliens trying to usurp the election, I think Student Action can make that claim, too.
How real are the issues? Issues are ideas, so thinking about them actually makes them real. Worrying about being overrun by evil bunnies is not a real issue, but once you actually start worrying about it, it becomes a real issue.
So CalSERVE's slogan is trivially true, but hardly unique to CalSERVE. Student Action's is impossible. Which is better? We report, you decide. Or maybe you'll decide based on the candidates themselves. That'd be new.
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Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Know thy audience
How wrong can one editorial get? Pretty damn wrong. This one's not as wrong as one editorial can get, but it's still wrong.
UC Berkeley students tend to take one of three attitudes toward ASUC. There are those who tolerate the institution and its over-bearing bureaucracies in order to serve their own group’s interests by securing money from it. They represent a pragmatic middle ground flanked by those who resent the association’s very existence and others whose lives are zealously dedicated to the student government.
Interestingly, they forgot the gigantic fourth group, which is likely larger than the other three groups combined: people to whom the ASUC is entirely irrelevant. On the topic of Occidental College's student government getting smacked down to irrelevance:
While it’s easy for some to make jokes about the administration’s action or even wish for such actions here, one must not forget the dramatic consequences. The college has taken away from students’ control more than $400,000, the campus radio station and the publications board that oversees its weekly newspaper. This was possible since students were too busy bickering among themselves to stop the administration from over-stepping its authority.
I suppose we're supposed to take a lesson from this, but keep in mind that if the UC Berkeley administrators decided to axe the student government, they wouldn't be over-stepping their authority at all. That authority is pretty explicitly given. What happened to that $400,000 at Occidental? I hope they put it to something useful. We could only wish for such luck here.
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It's BUE time
It's time for "Beetle's Uninformed Endorsements" for the ASUC, based on Daily Cal articles, party literature, and vague rumors. I'll be paralleling the DC on these:
For External Affairs Veep:
General: As David Duman has pointed out at another time, though it doesn't come through all that clearly in the article, is that while External Affairs Veeps can boast sending lobbyists to the legislature, holding conferences on things, and other such things, they can't boast convincing legislators to do anything, accomplishing things at their conferences, and other such things. Add to that my feelings that the ASUC should only be worrying about students on campus, and I conclude that the best External Affairs Veep is the one that does nothing at all.
BUE: David Duman
I'll probably be endorsing straight-ticket Squelch on principle, but Duman comes off as actually caring a bit.
In second comes Liz Hall, because she's the hottest of the remaining three candidates. (not by much, though) As far as plans to actually accomplish things, she is planning on wasting a lot of money in the government, but so is the competition.
Next comes Pammy O'Leary. She's an RA, and I had a bad experience with my RA (The Millenium Falcone), so summary point-deductions for RAs seem entirely appropriate. She's thinking a bit more locally, with a plan which may accomplish something: "Cal's List," where folks can post their housing needs and ASUC will do something or other to help. It's a bit light on detail, though, so don't hold your breath. She also plans to decrease sexual harassment, which is a serious negative for most of us males. (and females, admittedly)
Finally, as is traditional, Josie Hyman, of DAAP, earns last place. Everything's wrong with this person, right down to her last name. (I voted against Kris for the same reason) "Hyman believes the external affairs office should lobby on behalf of the campus’s progressive students." Umm... how about the rest of us? Anyway, I can't find a picture (i.e. I haven't looked for a picture) of Hyman, but not even her looks can save her from a last-place finish on my ballot. Sexual favors might, though.
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Monday, April 05, 2004
Apparently, it's Kurt Kobain's 10th anniversary for being dead. Congratulations! We never thought you'd make it this far, and we were right!
. . .
Pick one already
Either write funny articles, or don't write funny articles. Let's have none of this pun-insertion crap.
. . .
It was the first Monday of April
It's the first Monday of April, which means the effect of having magical gnomes spirit away one of our precious hours over the weekend really sinks in. Did you wake up on time this morning? My professor sure didn't.
But in truth, we should be grateful that we have Daylight Savings Time. The dire consequences of not having it should not be overlooked. When would we change our smoke detector batteries? How would we learn how to work the time-setting functions on our microwaves, ovens, VCRs, phones, cars, and other time-telling devices (maybe clocks and watches, if you use those antiques)? The magical gnomes are already vastly underemployed. If they don't even get their two days of glory, what will happen to them?
. . .
Friday, April 02, 2004
Will the real...
The real Wednesday columnist has been revealed: Andro Hsu.
The San Quentin inmates have a visceral understanding of what a college education means to one’s life. After all, they voluntarily give up their free time to take classes, anticipating their eventual release. They know that if they are not to fall back into the spiral of hopelessness that drives so many to commit crimes in the first place, it will only be because they have lifted themselves out of ignorance and despair.
That, or maybe they're just bored as hell. What is there to do in prison? Free time in prison? No one else finds that ironic?
. . .
How about those Giants?
Student Action's campaign slogan for this year is "Giving Students What They Deserve." I seriously doubt that SA is going to go around and punch particular students in the face (which certain students undoubtedly deserve), but what else is this slogan supposed to mean? What makes students in general think they deserve anything? What is it that students deserve? Respect? You're supposed to earn that, and you don't earn it by whining loudly. Better treatment by the state? We've been assholes to the older generations for a couple of decades each. If anything, we owe the state.
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Thursday, April 01, 2004
So, it's April Fool's Day, so I think I'm supposed to pull some sort of stunt. But then, the day ends in two hours, so, it hardly matters.
The sad part about April Fool's Day is that April is the name of a month, but also the name of a person. Fool means both fool as a verb and fool as a noun. And Day can mean a 24-hour period or the time that the sun is up.
There's a hidden meaning in all of this, you see. And I swear on the grave of Abe Lincoln that I will find it by the end of the day.
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