Does Your Education Ever Feel Like Military Training?

By Meg Susong

Prepping for the military is normally done in military schools—that only makes sense. If one wanted to go into a career in the armed forces, they would attend such notable schools as West Point, Annapolis, and so on and so forth.

However, in today’s dangerous world, with the war going on and terrorists in our own backyards, the government has decided that they need to step up what we learn at college. They have cited the need for the “bigger picture” of militarization. The ultimate goal is the total annihilation of civilians, or people not in the service. Think of it like a draft, except that they neglected to mention it to several million people.

A key component of this militarization is the food. Studies have shown that food is an essential part of life, and is needed to survive and prosper in the world. Without it, scientists have found that you are likely to perish, or at least not perform quite up to par.

So, as part of the “bigger picture”, the cafeteria now serves the students sub-par food. Yes, little known to society today, school cafeterias once served 3-course meals, complete with the fine dinning experience of serenades and ballroom dancing.

Eventually, however, the same scientists who found that food is essential did another study that found that ballroom dancing interferes negatively with studying. They found that students were spending an average of 3 hours per meal in the cafeteria, which was beginning to hurt grades. So, the fine dining experience was removed, and the food made average.

Several years ago, the government then funded the schools (private or not) to serve worse food, which brings us to the sub-par level we are currently at in our not-so-fine dinning experience. The reasoning behind this shift is to prepare us for the worst. In wartime, food is not exceptional, nor usually all that good, so if that is what our bodies have adjusted to, then we will have already adapted for harsh times.

Another way of preparing us for dire times is by manipulating our sleep schedule. Have you ever wondered why it is that the students receive the 3rd highest workload? It is all for the purpose of sleep deprivation. The professors hand out work that they know, combined with the average college’s student desire to party, cannot possibly be completed on a normal schedule of eight hours of sleep along with attending classes regularly.

The reasoning behind controlling our sleep is to prepare us, again, for the trials of war. We need to be able to function at a high capacity on little sleep, hence the amount of work presented to be completed properly and promptly.

There are other ways that students are adapted into a military lifestyle. The constant presence of golf carts prepares us for armored vehicles, which, in a warzone, would be prominent.

Why do you think we have to take FRAs? Physical fitness is key in the military, and being fit greatly increases chances for survival and a hostile takeover of a country.

The professors prepare us for the inevitable control of dictators. Even the landscape is shaped to resemble the woods or open field, to prepare for different terrains.

The first-years, like real trainees, face the harshest conditions. They are denied Pirate bikes in order to be prepared for grueling work. Then, once they complete enough hours (remember, it is all part of the “bigger picture”), they earn the right to hoard them at their apartments. In truth, this only furthers the cycle, but those who have gained the advantage rarely think of those who haven’t. This also ties into teaching survival of the fittest. The fittest (in this case, the upper-class people), have the vehicular advantage over the new recruits (being the first-years).

Pirate Training is also a first-year initiation. Teamwork is an important skill to have in the presence of the enemy, and thus every first-year attends a “fun workshop” to teach such skills. On a side note, the people selected for the various team activities are really being singled out to assess those who might be pulled aside later to perform specialized tasks.

Paideia is also a way to reach those who might have transferred a semester or two in. The government is going all out on this one and leaving no stone unturned. In Paideia, those conversations and reading all have subtle meanings towards, of course, the “bigger picture.”

Why, you might ask, are all these actions necessary? Why does the government desire to end the notion of civilians?

The simple answer is that the government is trying to curb these so-called radicals and people with independent thought that they have heard about. Some even say that democracy itself is coming to an end, but those are simply absurd rumors. My Paideia professor explained that to me.

In the end, it is all part of making us the greatest nation ever. Bring it on Russia.

Writer's Guild Strike Shakes Hollywood

Written by Caitlyn Buckley

On November 1, the Writer’s Guild of America began a strike. This is the first large-scale strike by writers since 1988, when the strike lasted 22 days and cost the television and film industries more than $500 million.

In the wake of DVDs and online movie and T.V. show purchase becoming popular, writers aren’t being compensated with fair share of royalties while the acting, directing, and producing talents are being paid a higher amount of said royalties. The producers are getting the largest percent of revenues, and it is possible that as time wears on, the other divisions of television and movie workers will add their voices to the strike.

This may seem like a distant issue to the average student until they realize that it means that when the stockpile of previously filmed material runs out, their favorite shows won’t be on the air any longer. No more “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Heroes”, “Ghost Whisperer”, “Private Practice”, “The Office”, “My Name is Earl”, “The Daily Show”, “The Colbert Report”, “Desperate Housewives”, “30 Rock”, “Friday Night Lights”, or any late night talk show.

Some have halted production immediately, while others will continue showing until January or February. Hopefully, the parent media corporations will resume negotiations with the WGA and end the strike. If not, college students across the nation will be forced to study to fill the time formerly occupied by television.

Some acting talent has crossed the picket line, much to the dismay of the writers who work with them. Ellen Degeneres is under fire for continuing her show instead of supporting her writers on the picket line, like casts of some other shows are doing. Her writers compare their work to what is written for late night talk show hosts like David Letterman, Jay Leno, or Conan O’Brien, but she compares her show to the Oprah show, Dr. Phil, or The View. She opened her first show after the strike was initiated by saying she would not be doing a monologue to open the show in honor of her writers who were striking. As a daytime talk show, however, her show is expected to run without writers, which it easily can. Since it was necessary for her to continue doing her show, some of her writers currently striking have stated that the WGA could be a little overzealous in their censuring of Degeneres.

Another huge issue that is an impact of this Writer’s Guild strike is that most major stations are threatening to fire the stage crews for shows if the writers and talent don’t return. A man who worked as a key grip on the set of The Office wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times newspaper outlining what happened to him. The show was shut down until further notice and all “below the line” (meaning those not obligated to join the strike by union rules) employees were laid off. This includes camera people, hair and makeup artists, wardrobe people, assistant directors, script supervisors, and so on. In all, for that one show, 102 people were unfairly laid off by the powers that be at NBC. Apparently, all the major media corporations are threatening to do the same with other shows if their writers do not cross the picket line. Blackmail can be an effective tool in some cases, but the use of people’s livelihoods as a means of convincing the writers to return is seen by most as completely unfair.

Some SU students, like Carlos Barron, are put off by this strike.

“They should be working for the sake of producing art, not for the money. It sounds kind of harsh, but if they are looking for money, why are they writers?” Barron says. “There are certain professions that people respect, like doctors, that are paid well because they are accomplishing something tangible. Writing is noble and important, but it should be done for enjoyment instead of a desire for money.”

Like every story, this strike has two sides, but it is obvious that the viewer and the below the line employees are the ones caught in the middle of this struggle. Writing is not an easy thing to do sometimes, and seeing others be over-compensated for work done by the writers would clearly frustrate the WGA, but perhaps they should also remember for a moment why they chose to become writers in the first place. Hopefully, a compromise will be reached in this strike before too many people are laid off or too many viewers are disgruntled by the reality programming that will be taking the place of scripted shows.

Racism is Alive and Well, and Here at SU

Written by Vickie Valadez

This morning, on the day that I intended to write this story about dominant Eurocentricity on campus, I woke up with Alanis Morrissette’s “Ironic” playing in my head.

Not really related to the subject matter at all, but I thought it would serve a good introduction;

Isn’t it ironic that we support multiculturalism, but still the vast majority of students and faculty here are white?

Isn’t it ironic that we embrace diversity, but most of the artistic events on-campus were made by white people and/or have a white audience in mind?

I can’t help but ask myself these questions when I see events like etiquette dinner, most of the Cove and FNL events, The Country Wife and many other theatrical productions (at least those from this and last year). There are obviously attempts to break this pattern, with performances from Overlord, Locos por Juana and probably others. I am not trying to blame any of these organizations or departments, as I personally know and respect people from all of them. But it’s important for me to point out these observations.

I can guess what you’re thinking. Oh no, not race talk again. We’ve already gone over this. I know I’m bringing out skeletons from the closet. We all had this talk last year in the discussion groups, and since we’ve talked it all out it should be better now.

What was wrong about these groups was that we were not prepared in any way to discuss race. I know a lot of people left feeling disappointed. I think I know why; we’re all too afraid to offend one another. We’re afraid to express our naivety and ignorance, because we’re educated and not supposed to be ignorant. We’re too afraid to even acknowledge difference, as if it’s not really important and we are all treated equally.

I would like to make a few points clear:

First, racism is NOT over. It never ended at any point. I just wanted to eliminate that thought that may be lingering in anybody’s mind. I mostly say it because of dumb advertising for news stations covering the Jena 6 as if it is an isolated incident, as if racism had died and now come back from the grave, hungry for more oppression. No. Racism never went away. The fact that it is regarded as such shows how ingrained it is in our society; that it can perpetuate without us even noticing its existence until a very blatant act occurs.

Second, not everyone is treated as equal. We are in a society that favors some people over other for very specific attributes. Those that are not favored have felt the repercussions of an oppressive society. Think about it; they probably want those pains understood by others, and that means acknowledging difference in the first place.

Third, education does not necessarily equal understanding. I’ve heard very educated people say very ignorant things. Education should expand our understanding, but such is not always the case. I, for example, would not be writing this article were it not for the fact that I am a Communications major and content about race/gender/class/orientation/ability/etc. has been drilled into my head. You’ve probably learned something about the diversity spectrum too, assuming that you are a student at our fine liberal arts university. But you and I can choose to take other classes, or simply not subscribe to the information that widens our understanding. At the least, we can still be ignorant because we are all at least middle-class, likely upper class, because we (or should I say our families?) can afford the tuition here. We likely do not understand what it feels like to eat aging food or otherwise go hungry (no, the Commons doesn’t count).

Lastly, it’s okay to offend/be offended if it is for a good purpose. One of good things that did come out of the discussions was the point that we are all racist and prejudiced. I didn’t point out all those specific examples of performances and events to lay blame on any particular people. Ignorance is everyone’s problem, whether or not you perpetuate it. It is something always present in our society and we should be aware of it, in order to attempt any change. From what I have learned, the only way we will overcome ignorance is to openly talk about and learn of the experiences of the less privileged. If this discussion is to be useful, some people

Parents Should Decide if Their Kids Receive Birth Control, Not Middle Schools

Written by Regan Lemley

As a junior high girl, I wasn’t too concerned about sex or pregnancy or STDs. I cared about basketball, pink nail polish, sleepovers and my annoyingly painful braces. Getting a coke after school with friends was more fun than what happened on most weekends. Riding bikes and walking downtown offered more enjoyment than being awkwardly alone with a boy. Sure, I had boyfriends, but I didn’t even really like them. They were just guys to sit with on bus rides.

So maybe it’s my upbringing, or maybe it’s my history of being a tomboy, but I can’t possibly imagine junior high girls willingly having sex. Having been one, I can say that the desire never crossed my mind. Sex was something dirty and animalistic, and I certainly would have screamed if anyone had tried to offer me any kind of contraceptive.

But the reality is that junior high and middle school girls are indeed having sex. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Columbia University in a joint research report, about one in five kids had had sexual intercourse by age 14. Boys are more likely than girls to have sex at an early age, but two to four percent of girls have still been sexually active before the extremely young age of 12.

Knowing this information, King Middle School in Portland, Maine decided to take action and offer young girls contraceptives through the school’s health services. The girls have to have parental permission to go to the school’s clinic, but once they enter into the waiting room, the girl’s care becomes confidential. Simply put, an 11-year-old girl can legally get a prescription for birth control, in form of a pill or patch, without her parents knowing.

I like the idea of preparing middle school age kids for the reality of sex by teaching them about contraceptives, but to give out and explain condoms to junior high age kids is one thing. To give out chemical altering pills is quite another.

Condoms don’t change a girl’s or boy’s mood. Condoms don’t cause cancer after using them for eight years. Condoms don’t have to be used at approximately the same time every day in order to be effective. Condoms don’t need to be prescribed.

Birth control pills and patches are a big deal. They play with and change hormone levels to such an extreme degree and can modify moods in a number of women, especially growing teenage girls. Because birth control increases a woman’s chances of cervical cancer after eight years of use, girls who start taking birth control when they are as young as 12 or 13 will need to stop taking it in their early twenties, which is when the majority of women need to use highly effective contraceptives.

To middle school girls who are similar to the junior high version of me, the offer of contraceptives won’t make a bit of difference in their sexual lives. They will probably ask a good deal of questions, but in no way will they somehow be convinced to have sex. To girls that are having sex anyway and can’t talk to their parents about it, the offer of birth control could be a saving grace. Birth control could be the very thing that keeps their lives from being ruined.

But, for parents that truly care about the welfare of their daughters, the secret distribution of birth control creates an extremely unfair situation. Instead of parents being able to make major medical decisions for their young and carefree girls, a physician—who doesn’t even know the girls personally—gets to make the decision for them.

Before any other arguments can effectively come into play, the girls’ health at King Middle School needs to come first. I am all for women being in charge of their bodies and being in charge of reproduction rights, but the key word is “women.” A 12-year-old girl is hardly considered a woman and can hardly be expected to make major medical decisions. A doctor shouldn’t make the decision for her, so the responsibility is best left with the girl’s parents.

Keep offering contraceptives, but if it’s going to be offered through a school system, then parents have a right to know.

Sigs Welcome World-Renowned Lama to SU

Written by Megan Metzger

On Tuesday, November 20 the Kappa Sigma Fraternity will be hosting Lama Ole Nydahl. He is a world renowned, fully qualified, meditation master of the Karma Kagyu Buddhist tradition.

Nydahl’s education in Buddhism began when he and his wife met the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa on their honeymoon in Nepal in 1968. Karmapa was a spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu linage, which is one of the main schools of teaching in Tibet. Nydahl and his wife studied for three years in the Himalayas where they received teachings of Buddhist traditions and further developed the necessary experience for meditation. In 1972, Karmapa instructed Nydahl to establish the first European Karma Kagyu center. This was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is Nydahl’s hometown.

From then on, Nydahl has made a name for himself and has become one of the most well-known Western teachers of Buddhism. He has established Diamond Way Buddhist centers in over 50 countries, which is over 450 centers. Approximately 100 of these centers are in English speaking countries.

Nydahl has spent over 35 years traveling around the world spreading the message of the Diamond Way teachings. He not only lectures to audiences but is also known for his inspiring meditation retreats.

The goal of the Diamond Way Buddhist teachings is to help people develop clarity and independence at any point in their lives. He believes that just like Buddhism promotes, you cannot be enlightened by only listing to lectures. You must incorporate them into your life. The enlightenment will ultimately come from real experiences and the changes they bring about in your life.

Nydahl believes that there are six liberating actions that are meant for direct use in one’s life. These are generosity, establishing a life that is meaningful and useful to others, knowing how not to lose future happiness through anger, harnessing joyful energy that insures our growth, meditation that makes life meaningful and the recognition of the true nature of mind.

Other than the six liberating actions, Nydahl lectures on how to find lasting happiness and how to remove the causes of suffering within our lives. His lectures are filled with not only important Buddhist teachings, but with some Danish humor blended in.

The lecture will be on Tuesday, November 20th at 7:30 p.m. So before leaving for Thanksgiving break, make sure to drop in to the Kappa Sigma house to get a sense of how to obtain happiness that might make the break a little more enjoyable.

In addition, to learn more about Lama Ole Nydahl, visit his website at www.lama-ole-nydahl.org.

Soon to Get "Seuss"ed at SU

Written by Leslie Lube

At the end of this month, a cast of 16 SU students will present “Seussical” to over 1300 children from nearby elementary and middle schools. “Seussical the Musical,” which is the musical adaptation of the works of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, is a full, two-act show that premiered on Broadway in 2000 with music by Stephan Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.

The original show is a fairly complex compilation of 17 of Seuss’s most famous stories, and it was only moderately successful on stage. The show has experienced greater success, however, since it began touring in regional theatres. Music Theatre International produced a special, 70-minute, one-act version for the Theatre for Young Audiences. The shorter version leaves out a few characters and songs as well as the military subplot of the original to create a story that has been extremely popular with children across the country.

The SU thespians will be performing the Theatre for Young Audiences version of “Seussical”, which includes characters from “Horton Hears a Who”, “The Cat in the Hat”, “Myrtle the Turtle”, “McElligot’s Pool”, “Horton Hatches an Egg” and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

“This is a perfect opportunity for us,” Dr. Rick Roemer, theatre professor and the show’s director, said. “We were looking for a musical that could engage kids and that had a good message.”

Roemer teaches a class called Musical Theatre Workshop, and the students in this class make up the cast of “Seussical.” The interview they completed to take the class took the place of an audition for the show, which will also serve as their final. Roemer has taught the class every other year for the past several years, but this is the first time that a full-scale musical presentation will be a part of the class since the theatre department now offers a degree in musical theatre.

The class meets on Fridays from 2-4:30, and the students have been using class time to prepare the show. Now that “The Country Wife” is finished they have added extra rehearsals during the week.

“The rehearsal schedule is pretty rigorous,” Junior Michelle Haberl said. “We meet for three hours a day, four days a week.”

The cast includes Bradley Acree as Horton the Elephant, Claire McAdams as the Cat in the Hat, Taryn Stafford as Gertrude, Natalie Kabenjian as Mayzie and Evan Faram as the Wickersham brother.

All of the students have been working hard to get the show ready before Thanksgiving because the performances start the week after the break.
“Rehearsals are going well,” Haberl said, who serves as assistant stage manager. “We have a couple more weeks until we perform, and I think that we’ll be prepared.”

“The students have been incredible,” Roemer said. “They are really bringing the show to life. It is a very time-consuming project, and we spend a great deal of time together, but they have been terrific.”

While the main goal of the class is to produce the show, Roemer tries to use class time to share ideas with his students that they can apply to any theatre experience.

“I want to help them understand that the performance itself is just one part of the overall experience,” he said. “It’s like the basic performance is the shell of the egg, and the passion and character and everything that you put into your performance is the yolk of the egg. That’s the important part, and what I try to help them discover.”

Roemer feels that performing “Seussical” for so many children is a special opportunity for the students in his class. The show’s message stresses the importance of tolerance and acceptance of others.

“It teaches these kids about the importance of non-bias and speaks out against prejudice,” he said. “It’s a great show, and I’m not saying that we’re pushing these ideas on kids, but they’re a part of the story and something that the kids can pick up on.”

Haberl agrees with Roemer’s analysis of the story’s message.

“I love the show so much because it tells the story of the human race through the characters of the Whos without the darkness and graphic detail of a more adult drama,” she said. “I think that it conveys a poignant message about dealing with fears and a lack of control over life that is embodied in the Whos’ experience. The essence of the play is expressed in the quote, ‘A person’s a person no matter how small,’ and I think that this is meaningful to children because they are small people who have to deal with fears and feelings of helplessness.”

Another important aspect of the show is the opportunity that the cast has to introduce children to live theatre. For many of the students attending the performances this is their first experience with a play or musical.

“We hope that the experience stimulates them in a fun way,” Roemer said. “I mean, we’re creative people so we think that these kinds of things are important, and we want to share them with as many people as possible.”

One of the goals of the theatre department is to introduce young people to the theatre. Roemer talked about the fact that recent generations of children have seen far more movies and television programs than live performances, and the SU theatre students and faculty want to show children what a special experience it is to watch a play or a musical live.
“This goal [to introduce children to the theatre] gives a purpose to our performance of ‘Seussical’,” said Roemer. “I told the cast that if just one person in the audience has never been to a live performance it is worth it for us to give it all we have so that they enjoy the experience.”

Haberl also feels that a musical has a lot to offer to children and adults alike.

“Music colors drama in a very beautiful and powerful way. There are emotions that can be conveyed through music better than through words alone,” she said. “That’s not to say that musicals are better than straight plays. They just provide a different way to express and experience emotion.”

Haberl encourages everyone to come to the public performances of “Seussical” because it is not meant solely for children.

“I just love this musical drama, and I think that the show is a priceless experience for anyone who watches it,” she said.

“Seussical” runs from November 27 through December 2. The Tuesday through Friday performances will take place during the day and are reserved for local children. The Saturday and Sunday performances will take place at 3:00 p.m. and the entire SU community is invited to attend. As with any other show, students can reserve two free tickets by visiting the Jones Theatre box office.

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All Hail, King of H-B/M-S Complex

Written by Alma Aguilar

Many women out there may say that men are not faithful companions, but from my experience there is one that knows his duty as a male. Everyday after class, I can count on Leo to be there to welcome me.

He walks me to my door every other day in hopes of getting something in return. At the end of a long day, you may see us hanging out or just resting outside my dorm room.

Even though it is a co-ed dorm, my roommates do not like for him to linger around our living room since he may leave a mess. Who can blame him though—he’s a man. Most men are rugged and a little rough around the edges. That is what distinguishes them from women. Therefore, we should accept them for what they are.

Leo is pretty quiet. However, when has something to say, he makes sure to make it known. Even though he is not very tall, his presence is always noticed. Everyone who knows him makes it a point to say “Hello” or acknowledge him. He is usually pretty shy, but once he gets to know you, you can be sure that his friendship will last forever.

I know that his love for me is unconditional and until I do something to deeply upset him or stop giving him what he wants, he will continue to be there.

Leo is full of love. He’s an equal opportunity flirt. He does not care about gender, only if you will take care of him and take care of his needs. I usually get jealous since he spreads himself too thinly, and at times I do not get to see him all day. However, I do realize that he is a free spirit who lives on the wild side.

Leo is a Georgetown native. No one truly knows how and when he got here. It is a mystery, and we will never ask since he is very secretive. Instead of thinking about the past, everyone around him decided to adopt him into the Southwestern family and make him one of our own.

If you ever catch a glimpse of Leo, you will see and hear the “bling” he carries around his neck. For all that anyone knows, it was a gift from one of his close friends since he never takes it off, even to sleep. It reads as so: “Leo, King of H.B.”

Since our school has a very strict “No Pet” policy we have grown very fond of Leo the cat. I have always shied away from felines, but Leo is very different. He is kind to everyone and knows to keep his distance from those who do not want to be disturbed.

He mainly lingers around the North side of campus and has made the courtyard between Herman Brown and Moody-Shearn his home. Everyone has assumed the responsibility of feeding him some fresh milk or meow mix. On occasion I go all out and offer some tasty tuna.

Throughout the day, you can catch him just being a cat. He usually plays with the crickets in the grass. From what I have noticed, I have never seen any crickets harmed during one of their friendly feuds.

Everyone loves to have pets around since they bring a rare sweetness to the atmosphere. It is a nice change from the squirrels, possums or pooping birds. Leo is a very friendly and clean cat. He only bothers people when his belly begins to rumble or wishes to play with you.

Without Leo, many of us would not have much to look forward to in our dorms. He gives us a reason to enjoy living in Herman Brown or Moody-Shearn, since everyone knows how horrible the rooms really are.

Fun Fun Fun Fest Proves It Is No Misnomer

Written by Nicole Licea

I have never heard people say “fun fun fun” as many times as I have in the last couple of weeks. If, for some reason, you didn’t know about FFF Fest, perhaps you need to rethink your current living situation (under a rock?).

The two-day event, held at Waterloo Park on November 3 and 4, showcased an impressive variety of bands, from Against Me! to Zykos.

Since a total of only 5000 tickets were sold, the crowds were not nearly as ridiculous or desperate as they were at ACL. Also, with the chance to choose from over 60 acts for about thirty bucks a day, concertgoers got more bang for their buck at this alternative music festival.

It was sunny and breezy when we arrived in the early afternoon on Saturday. One of the first bands to play on the more indie-rock-heavy Stage 1 was Austin-based folk rock getup Brothers and Sisters. Apparently, Conrad Keely from And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead occasionally contributes violin and/or keyboards to this band, but he did not make an appearance at this event.

Brothers and Sisters’ down-home country melodies were clean and poppy enough to be appropriate for the sunny afternoon, with the added goodness of pedal steel and tambourines. Lead singer Lily Courtney reminded me of a blonde Jenny Lewis with a bit more of that traditional country wail.

On the more hard-hitting Stage 2, punk rockers Down To Nothing opened up, but I would highly doubt the punk cred of people who actually got there that early and stood in the sun at 12:40 p.m. to see them.

Viva Hate, a fierce three-piece rockabilly band from California, got things swinging at that stage around 2:00 p.m. The lead singer’s wild, growling expressions and the double bassist’s clipping bass-lines kept show-goers on their toes and moshing for more. Madball, Sick of It All and Angry Samoans also performed there.

Stage 1 also showcased Zykos, The Lemurs, Evangelicals and Emma Pollock and her band.

At 4:30 I snagged a great spot at the riveting performance put on by Final Fantasy, a solo project by young Canadian musician Owen Pallet.

He carried on one of the most adept and unique performances of the entire festival, all by himself! Playing and looping back precise violin parts and then layering keyboard and vocal harmonies, he managed to pull off the one-man-band thing with skill and meticulous attention to purity of sound.

Along with playing several of his original songs, he did covers of Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” and a song by Destroyer. This was, to the audience’s delight, followed by an actual appearance by The New Pornographer’s Dan Bejar, with whom Pallet then re-performed the song.

Another much anticipated highlight of the evening was Of Montreal’s 6:30 p.m. slot, which directly followed the hyped up, well received but slightly drawn-out set by Okkervil River.

The first thing to appear on Of Montreal’s stage was a white-suit-clad dude with a tiger’s mask, and then, on came the extravagant glam-happy plumage, the dancing ladies, the trippy technicolor video displays and the sparkling diva frontman, Kevin Barnes. Some songs they played were “Suffer for Fashion”, “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse”, “Oslo in the Summertime” and also a brand-new, self-dubbed “soft-porn” song from their upcoming album. The band was expectedly sloppy, but still managed to please their ecstatic crowd. That is, until the lights went out—and stayed out—for the remainder of their final song.

The New Pornographers and Explosions in the Sky were up next to play Stage 1, but I was off to see Neurosis on Stage 2, followed by Girl Talk on Stage 3 (both began to play around 8:30 p.m.)

Far fewer people showed up to see Neurosis than I had expected, but I guess more people preferred the non-stop dance party happening at the opposite end of the park for Girl Talk’s set.

I made it to Girl Talk for the last 20 minutes, and was unable to make my way through the pulsating crowd. But I could hear just fine, and everyone was getting down, no matter how far they were from the stage.

Okay, so Greg Gillis doesn’t actually play live music during his set, but I will give him props for being able to command a primal, dance-crazy crowd like nobody’s business. My only big complaint is that the mixing in of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” would have been a lot less annoying had he not left the sample so intact.

But, true to his nature, Girl Talk put on a relatively eclectic mash-up of rap, rock, classic, R&B and indie songs for a truly unique dance experience. The entirety of the small stage was filled with dancing fans, even one particularly adventurous fellow who stupidly decided to jump into the crowd. Nobody caught him.

Neurosis’ hypnotic set was on the completely opposite end of the spectrum, the doom metal night to Girl Talk’s day. Their throbbing soundscape reverberated and lulled the almost immobile audience into a head-banging stupor, as cryptic visuals of black-and-white flowers uncurling on the screens behind them.

Interspersed with heavy-hitting waves of sound, their dark, ambient songs of this experimental heavy metal band were appreciated at least by the fans that came out to see them.

We showed up a bit late on Sunday, but just in time to see Don Caballero on Stage 1 at 4:00 p.m. Their set was filled with angular mathematical rhythms and song structures that would make any math-guitar nerd weep.

Between 4:00 and 5:30, Ocote Soul Sound and Clap Clap! played on Stage 3. Having not heard of them before, I was delighted with both of their performances. Clap Clap! commanded the crowd with dance rhythms reminiscent of Q and Not U. With a pretty big (eight-member) setup on a pretty tiny (usually reserved for DJ’s) stage, they did well with what they had.

A female vocalist provided cute accents to the frantic screams (and sometimes croons) of the three or so males who contributed vocals.

There was one random member of the band who didn’t seem to be playing anything, but luckily he jumped around aimlessly and sang, although not into a mic, so that he was at least contributing somehow. Car Stereo (Wars) and MC Chris, and Diplo followed, in that order.

At 5:40 p.m. on Stage 1, electro-pop girl-guy duo Mates of State played to a huge crowd, followed by Ted Leo and The Pharmacists.

I secured a spot a couple of people back from the stage for Battles while Ted Leo was still on, so I did get to hear them while we waited. They were upbeat, powerful, and to me, highly reminiscent of high school. They also managed to get the crowd dancing when they did a cover of Daft Punk’s “One More Time.”

Finally, Tyondai Braxton and his crew took the stage. The extremely concentrated musicians took their time tuning to get everything just so. They played a relatively short set, but got in most of the songs off of “MIRRORS”, including “Atlas”, “Race:In”, “Ddiamondd”, “Leyendecker” and “Tonto.”

Braxton and Ian Williams put on an amazing show, both pulling double duty, playing guitar and keyboard simultaneously. The endless, driving drum sequences, chugging baseline and Braxton’s cartoonishly modulated vocals and whistles worked to create an overwhelming, unstoppable matrix of electro-analog sound.

Cat Power took over Stage 1 afterward with Dirty Delta Blues.

My mind is still blown by Battles. I drifted over to Stage 2 to catch the end of Murder City Devils. A lot of people were already there because Against Me! had just finished playing. Unfortunately, they and Battles went on at the same time, and I opted to see the latter.

Before Against Me! went on, Youth Brigade, Lifetime and Riverboat Gamblers all put on quick hit-and-run punk performances, with more crowd-surfers and air-punching goons than I have ever seen collected at one place at the same time.

All in all, I was pleased with the location for the event, cleanliness of the porta-potties (they had hand-sanitizer inside!) and cheapness of the tickets. There were also several after-shows at places like Beauty Bar (21+), Red 7 and Deville, where a ticket stub could get you in for half-price or sometimes even for free.

Fun Fun Fun Fest was a great alternative event for cross-genre music fans that prefer the coolness of November to ACL’s blazing heat. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Soccer Season Ends

Written by Clair Booher

After an exciting season, the men’s and women’s soccer team season came to an end at the hand of the Trinity Tigers. Although both teams are disappointed, they have every reason to hold their heads high. Both teams have had an impressive season and proudly finished 2nd in conference.

The women played Trinity first on Saturday to determine who would place first in conference. They fell victim to unfavorable penalties called by the referee. In the first ten minutes of the game, Trinity was given a penalty kick and scored. Trinity was then given a free kick in the 34th minute and scored. These two unfortunate plays weighed heavily on the Lady Pirate’s mentality. Even though the second half was well fought, Trinity scored two more goals and sealed their place at the top of the SCAC conference. The Lady Pirates still finished second in SCAC, moving up three places from their 5th place finish last season, and will most likely have some players recognized in post conference awards.

The end of the season for the Lady Pirates also brought an end to the soccer careers of four seniors. Senior defender Amanda Gunzelman, defender Andrea Garcia, defender Mimi Tan, and midfielder Jess West played their last game for Southwestern.

Gunzelman, a senior captain this year, finishes her career having started as a defender since her freshman year. Gunzelman was also just named to the ESPN The Magazine academic all-district second team along with junior Casey Greir. Garcia was also a senior captain this year and a great team leader. Tang was a third team All-SCAC award winner as a first year and All-SCAC second team as a sophomore. West, after being abroad in China for a year, rejoined the team as a senior and made a great impact.

The men’s team played after the women’s team in a back and forth match with Trinity. The referee was once again not on SU’s side when Trinity scored their first goal off of a penalty kick in the second half. With less than five minutes left in the game, Junior David Lozano tied the game and took it to overtime. This was the first time the nationally ranked Trinity was taken into overtime this season. Unfortunately, with 21 seconds left in overtime Trinity scored and ended the game. The match was back and forth and was hard fought. The Pirates proved that they have what it takes to play against some of the best in the nation. Although the Pirates were disappointed, they still finished 2nd the SCAC conference and also have the opportunity to win post-season SCAC awards.

The men’s team also has to say goodbye to ten seniors this year. Defenders Troy Hutchens and Nate Ellis, midfielders Brian Kasper, Scott Smith, Kyle Strine, Daniel Webb, Cory Fujimoto, and Preston Hollis, and forwards Ben Hoffman, and John Yi. Hutchens and Ellis have both helped the Pirates have a dominant defense and both started the majority of their careers at SU. All the midfielders have their own strengths that have greatly helped the team. Strine was SCAC third team All Conference three years in a row, and many others can expect recognition this year.

All these seniors will be very much missed and contributed great to the success of the Pirates. Both the men’s and the women’s soccer teams have every reason to hold their heads high at the end of this season. With this successful year, both teams have every reason to believe that they can be win conference next year and make it far in the playoffs.

Pop Culture Invades the Public Media

Written by Caitlyn Buckley

I am an information junkie.

I have a strange desire to know everything that I can possibly know, preferably immediately. I watch news on the television, I read online news, and I read newspapers whenever I can come by them. My family makes fun of me, saying that one of the first full and coherent sentences I said in my life were “I want to know, and I want to know now!” I also get teased for asking “who-what-when-where-why-how” in the rapid-fire fashion of a reporter. This is why it frustrates me to find news about pop culture on mainstream news channels.

When I want to find news about entertainment or celebrities (which admittedly I do), I know where to find it. There are websites, magazines and television channels dedicated solely to the pursuit of entertainment news. If I want to read about Lindsay Lohan’s latest escapade, I can.

In fact, I do, and more often than I’m willing to admit. The thing is, though, when I want to catch up on the latest goings on in Iraq, or who the current forerunners in the presidential race are, or to see what else is going on in our world, the very last thing I want to see is the latest on Britney’s custody hearings.

An incredibly maddening example of this was over the summer, when Paris was released and subsequently returned to jail. CNN was covering the drama outside the courtroom, reporting on every minute detail of the case. They interrupted with a 30-second blurb about a change of leadership in Iraq. It’s almost laughable that the broadcasters think the people watching CNN care more about Paris Hilton and her jail term than Iraq’s leadership.

Just as an experiment, this weekend, I turned my television on MSNBC for an hour. 13 minutes of the allotted hour were focused on celebrities, movies, television shows, and other tidbits of pop culture.

Why is it so hard, with so much going on in the world, to fill up a “World News Hour” with world news? People tuning in to watch world news might be interested in policy changes by the British Parliament, but could care less about Prince William’s girlfriend and when they might get engaged.

I’m sure that I could have learned much more about current events and more about the state of the world had the broadcasting organization not been so interested in telling the viewers about pop culture news.

Another annoying case of pop culture news being forced down our throats can be found at any given time on ABCnews.com (my current news source of choice). On the main page, out of 28 main featured stories, 12 are about pop culture, and another three are news related but incorporate an entertainment news angle. This bothers me because the web page has a section especially dedicated to entertainment news, yet these stories are considered even higher priority than the featured stories on the entertainment page. This is supposed to be a reputable news source, yet it chooses to focus on petty information that could easily be located in the entertainment section.

It’s a little depressing to see how much pop culture has infiltrated society. Most people can’t point to Iraq, or even the United States, on a map but they know every detail about Britney’s custody battle or who is currently in rehab or which washed-up celebrity is the current frontrunner in “Dancing with the Stars”.

So for the people who would rather learn about which famous people have run marathons, what Senator Obama did on Saturday Night Live, or how many awards Avril Lavigne at the MTV European Music Awards, they should just have to click on the “Entertainment” section or go to a specialized website.

I find it a bit unfair for people who are seeking only news to have to sort through information they find uninteresting or irrelevant. It’s also something of a pain for someone (like me) who is interested in entertainment news, but is already informed on that and seeking news only. When a reader goes to a source that proclaims itself to be news, that should be exactly the content of the source, nothing more and nothing less.

Those seeking something else can suck it up and check another website.

Korouva Gets Lit: Faulty Wiring to Blame

Written by Nicole Licea

When the newly-formed guitar club scheduled their very first meeting at Korouva Milkbar on October 26, they had no way of knowing just how hot their gathering at the student-run coffee shop would end up being.

Around midday on that Friday, a small fire broke out in Korouva’s well-graffitied bathroom. Contrary to an anonymously provided rumor that it was Korouva employees’ collective pot stash that fueled the flame, the actual cause of the fire was an improperly wired exhaust fan.

Upon smelling burning plastic and seeing smoke, the students at the guitar club meeting notified the campus police, whose station is located directly alongside the café.

The police then took over the situation and got in touch with the fire department. Within minutes there was a fire truck on the scene.

At the sight of the fire truck outside of the tried-and-true alternative haunt, anxious students began calling the coffee shop’s workers to find out what was happening. That was how Korouva co-executive Walker Lukens found out about the entire situation.

“When I started getting calls from friends telling me Korouva was ‘on fire’, I assumed the worst,” Lukens said, “but by the time I got there, everything was pretty much under control.”

Since the fire was put out promptly, the only real damage done to the building was a charred hole on the wall space above the toilet.

“Luckily [the fire] didn’t spread.” Lukens said. “Nothing else outside the bathroom was affected, which was especially good since there was artwork still on display from a show the night before, by Houston artist OMFGLMFC.”

Besides having to clean up the soot-strewn restroom and repair and rewire the fan, there were several measures that had to be taken before Korouva could re-open its doors.

“Someone from physical plant told us that the mess would be cleared up in the next couple of days,” Lukens said, “but then they said the building would have to be checked out for safety reasons because Homecoming weekend was coming up. The fire fighters said that it was the worst wiring job they had ever seen.”

A week passed by and Korouva regulars were still left with no place to go for their fix. This caused an interruption of general procession of events at the café.

There are normally events scheduled there on Thursdays and several clubs regularly make use of the cozy indoor space or outdoor patio for meetings, including the Art Association and SEAK.

“Ideally we can re-open in a couple of weeks,” Lukens said, “but I’d place my bet on it being Thanksgiving before we can get everything sorted out.”

Expect some sort of celebration, perhaps with dancing, chanting and drumbeats, once Korouva gets back on her feet. You can refer to those effervescent campuswide e-mails for the 4-1-1 on the Clockwork-Orange-inspired café’s fate.