Opinion » Street Talk

Too cool for school


Well, tra la la. Cal Poly's inducting a new crop of potential alumni donors and cramming San Luis Obispo full of steaming hormones and leaking vandals once again.

Against all my recommendations, New Times got suckered into the back-to-school-season hype and cranked out yet another special issue, packed with supposedly useful and insightful information for clueless freshmen and older students who just didn't get it their first time around.

Against my better judgment, I decided to share a few tips of my own, mainly because I had nothing better to write about this week.

First off, you may think that President Warren Baker runs Cal Poly. The man has his own 24-hour parking spot next to the administration building, but the only time you'll ever see him is at graduation, when he'll recite the same speech and Gandhi quotes he's recited the past 150 years in an attempt to fill you with pride and an overwhelming desire to sign your next 20 years' worth of paychecks over to the school - unless you're a liberal arts major. Alumni associations don't accept welfare.

The best advice I can give those of you crammed into those dorms like veal cattle is to wear your sandals in the shower. Not everyone's considerate enough to pee straight into the drain.

No, the real power at Cal Poly is Foundation. Not the Foundation. Just Foundation. Be very clear on that.

The organization is as mysterious as the men in black, as impenetrable as Fort Knox, and as boring as the Tribune , which is SLO's daily paper. (By the way, you can read all of the Tribune 's best Friday stories a day earlier in New Times . Not the New Times. Be very clear on that.)

Foundation is a corporation that determines things like whether you're allowed to drink Coke on campus. You're not. If they catch you sipping anything other than a Pepsi product, you can be fined at least and have your kneecaps broken at most.

It's not really that bad, but you will have a hard time finding a wide selection of drink options on campus or at school-sanctioned events. Foundation, in its good-natured plan to "provide a diverse range of services and resources to students, faculty, and staff," manages to control much of what you see, read, and eat. Basically, it's like your parents, only stingier with the money.

My main tip for you newbies is to question authority, especially if you live on campus. Your "residential advisors" or "RA's" will try to keep you from personalizing your room in just about any cool way by telling you it's a fire hazard. Posters on the ceiling are a fire hazard. Fliers taped in windows are a fire hazard. The best part is, they all say it with a straight face, even though most of them know that some dorms have curtains that hang directly over the heaters.

Short of spontaneous combustion, you're safe - at least in my humble opinion. Of course, I wouldn't for a second consider letting you stay in a room at my house, so you've got a less-than-zero chance of my overseeing your living conditions. You're stuck with the bogus fire hazard-enforcing folks who, don't forget, used to be students just like you.

The best advice I can give those of you crammed into those dorms like veal cattle is to wear your sandals in the shower. Not everyone's considerate enough to pee straight into the drain.

You know, you've been a great audience, and you seem pretty bright - not like last year's group of freshman at all. Those mouth breathers couldn't piss on their own shoe if it was hanging in a urinal. They couldn't dump water out of a boot with instructions on the heel.

Since you're so special, I'm going to let you in on some serious insider information. The best-kept secret in San Luis Obispo, the one that packs a wallop better than a simultaneous bong hit, cash influx, and orgasm, is - ooh, hey. Something better to write about just popped up.


Set your Sites high

Ah, Kevin Sites . The one-time Cal Poly journalism instructor and New Times correspondent-turned media darling golden boy. I'm used to hearing his name and the word "yahoo" used in the same sentence, so I didn't much pay attention when I heard that he's now working for Yahoo!, which uses an exclamation point in the same way Cal Poly's Foundation doesn't use "the." Yahoo! is trying to throw more muscle into the news business and is using Kevin as a camera-friendly steroid injection for its Yahoo! News service. Fortunately, Kevin's presence doesn't show up in urine tests, although health officials are still investigating whether prolonged exposure to him causes breast enlargement.

Kevin made something of a name and more of a face for himself by working for CNN and NBC, maintaining a controversial blog, and getting chummy with Marines in combat until he filmed a soldier shooting a man in a mosque, which is a big military no-no. If our time in Iraq has taught us anything, it's that soldiers don't like it when they're caught doing things like killing unconscious insurgents in Falluja or taking pictures at Abu Ghraib for Creative Memories scrapbooking back home.

No matter how close reporters and soldiers get, it's just like Billy Crystal said in "When Harry Met Sally": "Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way." Except, in this case, it wasn't so much "men and women" as "one man with a camera and one man with a gun," and not so much "sex" as "possible murder." Potato, potahto.

I lost track of Kevin ever since that incident, but now he's back on my radar. All of the dirt and blood under his otherwise usually well-manicured nails qualified him to head up "Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone," a project that intends to cover "every armed combat in the world within one year," which means I'll probably see him at my family's Thanksgiving dinner.

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