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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Attention Span of a Goldfish

Somewhere between my early and middle twenties, my attention span began deteriorating, as if I felt something physically cubical in my head dissolve at an alarming rate. Around this time, I had read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “This Side of Paradise” twice, a manageably sized book for a college kid whose priorities involved watching anime and playing video games, while performing satisfactorily in his creative writing classes. I was 22 then; I am 29 now and that is the last novel I have read. Although I no longer possess the endurance to read a novella, I still challenged myself by trying to read Adam Levin’s “The Instructions” and David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest,” both over 1,000 pages. I stopped at page 150 with Levin’s novel, and the page-length text with no paragraph breaks in Wallace’s tome exasperated my cognitive abilities. YouTube became a presence in my life around this time. At first, I was cautious about visiting the YouTube website because I feared I would be partaki..

An Open Letter To My Car

By Russ Davis Okay, I get it: My car is an inanimate object. Unlike some men, I get that. But I can’t help but think otherwise at times. I wonder sometimes what my car would tell me if she, er, it could actually perceive the fiery hell I put it through. I wish I could tell her, um, I mean, it how thankful I am for her, uh, its service. So let’s pretend that my car is a living, feeling, entity with literacy. If this were true, this is the letter I would write her. It. Dear Car, You are a 2000 Toyota Solara. Bush v. Gore, 9/11, the War in Iraq, the entire “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise———all these things occurred in the time that’s passed since you’ve rolled off the assembly line. And yet, you’re still going. I don’t even give much thought to that when I call on your services. It doesn’t mean much to me that you’re still operative, even with 13 years and 153,000 miles under your belt. I take it for granted that you’ll get me where I need to go. I simply assume that your sunro..

Does Our Generation Really Care About Privacy?

By Brittany Hale “How much do we really care?” I found myself asking after taking part in a brief, impromptu class survey of students who felt threatened by NSA data mining our emails and phone records. I was a little surprised to join only two other students who didn’t feel threatened by it at all. There’s no doubt that we live in a digital age in which everything is overshared and increasingly public. Is it really that surprising that an agency like the National Security Agency has likewise moved into the 21st century? Isn’t it hypocritical to cry foul, especially when a majority of people are okay with posting every detail of their lives online? Is privacy something that we embrace when it comes to Uncle Sam, but toss aside when we log on to social media? I find it hard to believe that most people are overly concerned with privacy. We all have those people who show up on our news feed, sharing what most would consider incredibly private or personal thoughts. There have been inst..

A young man’s guide to ‘being’

You won’t change the world- But you can make a difference in your community. You will see this trend in all aspects of life, even politics. While it’s fun to attempt to decipher a White House address to the nation, it’s actually more practical to participate in you’re local and state elections. You know, the one’s we all participate in by waving to the senior citizens holding the signs on our way to not voting? Be the first to make fun of yourself- As there are terribly hostile youths out there who absolutely must project their hatred upon your person and it’s delicate sensibilities. Learn this early and learn to make fun of yourself before anyone gets a chance to. Learning how to take a joke is quite hard, especially for those of us whose aspirations in life springboard from confidence in ourselves, so throwing a jab at yourself after one of your manifestos makes any additional jab by another just tacky. And if this happens anyway, get some new friends. Arguments aren’t about making..

A veteran’s story

By Kristin Dellavecchio In recognition of Veteran’s Day, The Ledger spoke with 29-year-old veteran and UW Tacoma student, Sergeant Joe Kloby. Born and raised in Chugiak, Alaska, he signed up for the Delayed Entry Program in 2001, and officially joined the military at the age of 18. He dedicated five years to the Army as a Cavalry Scout, specializing in reconnaissance. The general responsibilities of a scout include gathering information about enemy forces, and maintaining the location of and reporting movements of the enemy. During his time served, he took part in two 13-month deployments in Iraq. He trained at Fort Knox in Kentucky and completed the training in the year of 2002. Soon after leaving Kentucky, he was stationed at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in January of 2003. Two months later, Sgt. Kloby was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF-1). This was his first 13-month deployment where he traveled from Kuwait to Iraq, proceeding to Baghdad, Fallujah, Rama..

Library Thefts on the Rise: Keep Your Backpack Close and Your Laptop Closer

By Chelsea Vitone The expansion of the new Tioga Library building has increased study space and room for library materials, but with more space has come more theft of personal property. Purses, wallets, backpacks, laptops, and phones have come up missing more frequently than ever before, and the library administration think they know why. During planning and design for the new building, the number of exits and entrances were a main point of contention, and a compromise was finally reached that included two entrances and exits instead of the previous one. But more exits can also mean easier getaways. Charles Lord, Director of the UWT library, also points out that in a larger building the staff is no longer concentrated at central points, but spread throughout, limiting the ever present watchful eye. A number of factors have contributed to the rise in theft, but Lord also credits clever thieves: “When people are sitting at a split study partition, it is easy to slide a purse from o..

Busting the Flu Myths

By Chelsea Vitone Tis the season for runny noses, scratchy throats and phlegmy coughs. The common cold runs rampant between October and March and, unfortunately, so does the flu – but at least the latter can be prevented. In the 1950s, the first influenza vaccine was created, and by 2004 it was added to the vaccination list of all school-aged children. Since the high–risk range for complications due to the flu mainly affect young children and the elderly, not to mention those pesky side effects of the shots, many college students may decide to forgo the vaccination. But is that the best choice? Wednesday, November 6, 2013, Student Health Services (SHS) provided a free flu shot clinic for UWT students, packing the Mattress Factory. Licensed Professional Nurse, Erin DeGraffenreid, acknowledges that the biggest misconception about flu shots is that people think they will get sick. DeGraffenreid reminds students that the virus in the vaccine is not active, and cannot give them the fl..

Yoga for Dudes

I’m a dude, and I do yoga. How provocative, I know. I’m no athlete short of being a gym rat, nor trying to make some sort of statement. What originally started as a favor to the wifey grew into a damn fine hobby. My first class was a Bikram Vinyasa (Hot Yoga), where toiling in the heat was as challenging as the stretches itself, until I found myself getting one of the best upper body workouts since I stumbled upon the age old bench press. Once you get past the initial awkward butt-staring and funny names for the stretches, it’s actually one of the best workouts for a guy. Using a combination of your own body weight and isometric resistance training, it’s safe to say that you can get ‘swole’ from Bikram. This didn’t hook me though, as I never really achieved that Nirvana everyone raves about. This is why dudes would be great at yoga: I noticed some buff old dude in attendance, and I made it my personal goal to defeat him in every herculean exercise. Competitive yoga? How avant garde! S..

Lakewood Playhouse Presents ‘Pride and Prejudice’

It was the first dress rehearsal day on November 4th for the cast of “Pride and Prejudice,” and the air buzzed with both excitement and trepidation. Luckily, my friend and I got the chance to witness the behind-the-scenes madness that ensues before the beginning of a play. As avid fans of Jane Austen and the traditions of English Romanticism we were beyond excited. As soon as we entered the stage area, actors ran around trying to perfect their costumes, conversations between actors were said in an aristocratic British accent, and last minute adjustments to the props were being made. In the middle of all this organized madness was the director of the play, Casi Wilkerson. Her enthusiasm and fervor for the play shined through the chaos, as we were warmly greeted and introduced to the cast. I got the opportunity to speak with Casi on the phone and I was enlightened on her passion for the performing arts. She has been directing plays for the past 23 years and has performed professionally ..

Free deodorant, and other fringe benefits of tuition

By Russ Davis Usually—far too often, possibly—I find myself complaining about the cost of attending the University of Washington Tacoma. I mean, okay, it isn’t as expensive as other four-year universities, and the education you get is well worth it. But once in a while, I’ll find something that will feel like what I’m getting isn’t worth the $3,950 (give or take $50) I pay for a quarter of being a student here. For example, I once griped to someone about how bare-bones the Financial Aid office is. If you need financial aid help, there are only two people who can see you. Granted, my financial aid counselor is awesome (Kim, this shout-out’s for you), but sometimes I wonder how they can manage. “There are 4,000 students at this school,” I’ll say. “I’m paying $4,000 per quarter in tuition! Some students are paying even more! Why are there only two financial aid advisors? What is my tuition paying for, apart from nicer office furniture and more deputy administrators?” That part deserves..

Please! Somebody kiss me!

The month of October marked my twenty-ninth birthday, and though conventional knowledge maintains that with old age comes added experience and wisdom, I have yet to experience my first kiss. The inexperience of puckering lips pressing themselves against my own has not heightened my wisdom of one of the rituals of love. What does a kiss feel like? I can only speculate, using what I know from watching television and movies and playing video games: Before the magical moment, my beloved looks into my eyes, her eyes shimmering with a radiant vibrancy, as if flames blaze behind her irises. She gently pecks the sides of my neck with precision, tingling my senses. I see a tiny pearl of sweat slide down from her forehead; I dab it off with my thumb. She reciprocates my gesture. My nervousness and inexperience cause me to sweat profusely. She wipes my cheeks with the backs of her fingers. She tells me not to worry. Now the moment has arrived. We wrap our arms around one another; our body heat ..

Motorcycle Tacoma

I see you guys out there in the student lot, with that hog, the mid-sized Rebel, and that incredibly quaint Vespa. More and more Tacomen and Tacowomen are choosing the cooler way to get to school. Environmentally cool, that is. With most motos yielding anywhere from 35 to 60 mpg, it just makes sense. Here are a few short local motorcycle rides and their preferred musical accompaniments for the McQueen at heart. Industrial Playground– This route is best in the A.M. hours and accompanied with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7- li, also known as “Speaking Unto Nations” from “The Kings Speech.” This route starts with ONE hard cider at Bob’s Java Jive on S. Tacoma WA and then spelunks you into downhill switchbacks in total darkness. If you are lucky, you can race the train to your left. Just watch out for hobos, naturally. When you reach the bottom, take a hard left at the light and enjoy a seemingly deserted city. All of the lights are bestowing their illumination upon you, as you zip past cent..

Fix our roads? Yes, please

By Brittany Hale It’s nearing: November 5th. And that means more and more signs littering the sides of the road, telling you to vote ‘yes’ on this, or ‘no’ on that. On my way home from school one day, I noticed fifty or more signs urging me to vote ‘no’ on Proposition 1. I began to wonder what is this Proposition 1, and what about it is so dangerous that it needs to be denounced at every single traffic light. After a little research, I discovered that Proposition 1 is a measure that would fund things like safety improvements near schools, pothole repairs, and basic street maintenance. It turns out the funding for the measure is what has people, or more likely corporations, up in arms. However, with a little research and some common sense, most individuals will agree that Proposition 1 will ultimately be beneficial to our community. According to the City of Tacoma’s website, Prop 1 receives its funding from a 2 percent utility company earnings tax. Opponents of Prop 1 contend that the..

Reddit 101

Joining the trend of 20-something-year-old IT protégées who change the world with a dot-com, Reddit was created by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian not even a decade ago. It is now one of the easiest ways to find the best of what the Internet has to offer. Redditors often say to think of Google as where you go to search for things, and Reddit as a place to find them. This is all accomplished through a well-thought-out system of user feedback and balloon systems. Balloons, in theory, can carry things further up the more you attach to them. Reddit attaches and/or detaches these balloons from posts depending on their date published, relevance, and popularity. This is how you can be confident that the news you are getting is current and you aren’t missing any big stories. This job isn’t left to Reddit alone. This is where an interactive Internet comes into play. You can up-vote something, which acts as a form of validation, and the same works for down votes. Up-voted posts will be at the ..

Console Wars—The XBOX One vs. the PS4

Ah, the console wars. I never really got wrapped up in them, but even so the concept seems dumber to me as I get older every year. With the PlayStation 4 hitting store shelves on November 15 and the Xbox One rocketing behind on November 22, the controversy has become too fiery and massive to ignore. Like a massive zit on the face of gaming, console wars are regrettably still a puss-filled and throbbing blight that may never be popped. And I’m not talking about the people who don’t want an Xbox because of Microsoft’s old draconian policies that they announced when the One was announced. I’m personally not in a hurry to get either of the new consoles myself, but One’s history has put me off of it enough to lean towards the PS4 in this debate. (And the fact that it’s $100 cheaper helps a bit too.) I’m not really interested in watching sports on my game console, and even though they reversed on the always-online requirement and no longer force you to keep your personal HAL 9000 plugged in..

Tacoma News Tribune to focus on online consumers

By Lenartha Christian Guest contributor The News Tribune is aware that its consumers are using different outlets to reach stories they want to read because technology gives them the ability to freelance. So, how does The News Tribune counter that? Dale Phelps, Managing Editor, of The News Tribune said, “The News Tribune business is moving from just a paper–sells platform to a content wholesaler. People are buying the content we create for the Internet, tablet, phone apps, and the kindle.” When asked if the website or the printed paper was better, Karen Peterson, the Executive Editor, said, “The website is better because it has more stories than regular print. The website adds multimedia to the stories like video, photo galleries, and interactive comments — stuff that you can’t do with paper. Online stories have a tracking/update element for readers to follow along with during the day and there’s cyber archive for the reader to find a past story.” Peterson continued, “Advertisers ..

‘Drunkoerxia’ a growing college trend

“The college experience” is laden with stereotypes, from frat parties to frivolous hook-ups, and a growing trend of disturbing behavior is one associated with counteracting “the freshman 15,” the tendency for incoming college students to gain weight. Apparently, more students, mostly women, are maintaining extreme dieting or exercise habits in order to consume more alcohol. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time, equating to about two hours. A study featured in the Medical Daily cited information from 40 universities that showed “vigorous exercise and disordered eating uniquely predicted binge drinking.” The study also revealed that “those who dieted or exercised to lose weight were over 20 percent more likely” to binge drink and those who had “vomited or used laxatives in the previous month to shed pounds were 76 percent more likely” to consume five or more drinks in a sitting. Neeru Bakshi, M.D., FAPA, an adult psychiatr..