Author Archives: Magda Heilborn

About Magda Heilborn

Magda Heilborn has been drawing and writing about common and unusual events since she was a child, but only recently learned the abbreviated style of a true journalist. She currently publishes card games, including Hungry Hungry Hipsters and Buffet Master, but hopes to go deeper into the field of publishing, probably in the realm of books or other media.

Athlete Profile: Will Carter

Will Carter is a Mass Communications student at Chabot College, and while he doesn’t currently plan to continue football, he has a lot of respect for the game and the people who helped him learn and grow.

“Will showed me a picture of how he looked in high school, he was a heavyset little kid, I couldn’t believe it, even from when he got to Chabot he’s changed his body, but I guess he already made some big changes to his body during high school too. He was there for the voluntary stuff and worked hard for himself and his teammates,” said head football coach at Chabot College, Eric Fanene.

“Getting into a sport is a leap of faith, you don’t know if you’re gonna like something unless you try it. I had no intention of getting into football, but a couple of my friends were trying out and said I should join, and I felt like, What? Football? I don’t have no business playing football, but 6 years later, I was still at it,” said Carter.

Carter said he feels everything he is today is due to football, “It’s taught me a lot of things, like time management, ethics, accountability. It’s helped me grow in so many ways that I can’t even explain.”

“One thing I really praise coach Fanene for is he always gives you a reason for doing what you’re doing. Over time you’ll start to realize the work is actually paying off. We’re working so we get faster, so we get stronger, and build a better relationship with each other, and within ourselves. I appreciate the method to the madness of football,” Carter said.

Carter isn’t the only one who praises football’s methods. Evan Tucker wrote in his blog last year that football made him a better teacher. Oddly enough, while part of it is the team goal of winning, Tucker said an even more significant part is learning how to accept defeat.

“Having to do that time and time again made me able to accept struggle in life, and it made me a better learner. I think it made me a better middle school teacher, too.” Tucker wrote.

Will’s father wasn’t around when he was in high school, but he said the regimen, the integrity and effort football expected of him, helped him learn life lessons that he would have expected to learn from his dad. In that way, football was a replacement father figure, and he is grateful for that experience.

Football students are expected to spend time in classes to watch films, and learn football theory. They must also spend significant time in the weight room, for conditioning and plyometrics, and any other exercise needed for the position you’ll play on the field.

Can You Control Your Willpower?

How good is your willpower? Professor Walter Mischel wants to find out how your willpower affects you, from childhood to adulthood, and if waiting for rewards can allow us to be more successful adults.

“If I could, I’d want money or treats right away as a kid, I wouldn’t have saved anything. My parents pretty much told me, ‘hey you made $20 bucks save ten of it.’ It wasn’t my first choice, but I’m pretty grateful for it now,” said firefighting student, Zack Andersen.

We asked Comm studies professor Zeraka Mitchell how her attitudes trended. “When I was little I collected pogs, you know those little discs. I did like to save things if I could. Now I budget at the beginning of each month, I lay out all my expenses for rent, my bills, groceries, and savings. Savings first, actually. When those are all paid, I have a little entertainment fund too.”

In 1974, Professor Mischel started testing children in this way; a child is told they may have a marshmallow right away, however, if they wait until the tester returns, they can have double the marshmallows. The tester would then leave the room for about 3 minutes. Mischel started to study how a child’s willpower at 5 to 7 years old could affect their attitudes and lives into adulthood.

Mischel asked, “When you draw a whole picture without breaking your crayon, is that because you were very careful? Or because it was a good crayon?” Or, “when somebody brings you a present, is that because you are a good boy/girl? Or because they like to give people presents?”

Part of the question is not only what a child’s attitude can predict about how they will behave into adulthood, but if they can consider and shape their thought process to become better adults.

“When I was little I was pretty bad with money, I’m trying to be better now, and adult more. I get financial aid, I try to save from my job, I’m also trying to budget because I want to move out on my own soon,” said Chabot student Andres Guzman

“I think they should teach a money management course for college. I budget monthly, I don’t have a longer-term plan yet, but I know it’s going to work. I saved money like crazy when I was little. As a kid, I usually saved things for later, I was a smart kid.” — Vanessa Wells

Some people change their habits as they grow up, but still have to fight impulses regularly. One student said she tries to save, but she also has an expensive shoe habit. Impulses like these are okay, but there’s a risk of getting into debt because of a purchase you made on a whim. It’s better to budget ahead of time for fun things and entertainment.

“As a kid, I usually saved my money, I did collect Yu-gi-oh cards for a little while. I don’t have a full-time job, so I don’t really have a long-term plan for money, but I do try to be economically frugal,” said Chabot student, Nicholas Kwong

Taming these impulses are tied to what Professor Mischel calls “hot” and “cool” systems in the brain. He had another trial study that scanned children’s brains while being shown pictures of food, and asked them to either imagine the delicious food was right in front of them, and the heat and smells — or to imagine the food was far away, and focus on the abstract, such as the color or shape of the food.

When asked to consider the food was close and delicious, the children’s brains had increased “hot” areas in the brain, cravings, appetite, and less activation in the prefrontal cortex. Using far away and abstract “cool” terms created fewer cravings, and when both were given the Marshmallow Test, those who linked food with desire could not wait as long for a treat as children who could focus on the abstract.

Mischel’s studies have shown that a large part of patience and even addictions are related to how we think about something we want. When thinking about the short-term effect, like “it will feel good” or “people will like me” it’s easier to give in to cravings that might lead to bad habits, like overspending, smoking, or eating too many sweets.

“My savings are all right, but I spend too much on food probably, I go out too much,” said Chabot student, Edward Lai.

Food may be the biggest downfall, the easiest thing to spend money on without thinking when we should be planning. If we focus on our longer-term results and goals, it’s easier to distance ourselves from those over-indulgences.

A Tour of Chabot’s Bathrooms

Before, after, or during class, we all have to use the bathrooms at some time during the day. Is there a preferred restroom for most students? Is there a restroom students avoid? Do the conditions of the restrooms vary so much that we must ask these questions? In no way is this article intended to criticize Chabot staff. It is designed instead to raise awareness of the bathrooms and how their overall condition(s) can be improved.

“Most of the men’s rooms smell like guys are having an “aim for the ground” contest in there. Not only do we need more urinal cakes, but it should be a common thing for a janitor to check on them during college hours,” said Chabot student, LaRoy Fitch.

“The stench in most of the men’s restrooms are unbearable. I haven’t had that problem with the 400 and 700 buildings, which means a solution is available,” said Joan Cortes.

Many people contact security when they have issues with the bathrooms, but if you have an issue to report related to cleanliness or maintenance, it should be reported to someone in building 3000. Maintenance and Operations can be reached between 6 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at (510) 723-7206.

Researching this article included surveys for most restrooms on campus. The sample days were in December and May. The number of sinks, paper towel dispensers, hand dryers, soap dispensers, ventilation, graffiti, and aroma were collected. Due to the number of bathrooms and limited space in the article, only unusual findings and their locations will be revealed.

In building 2600, the restroom featured 7 urinals and 3 out of 4 sinks were operational. The aroma was horrible, the best way to describe it without getting explicit is “fermented urine.” Conversely, Gina Johnson said, “the women’s restroom in 2600 is my favorite because it’s the cleanest one.” The price of tampons is also higher in 2600 compared to other buildings.

The women’s bathroom near the cafeteria has what appears to be an ongoing message board on at least one of the stalls — mostly in pencil.

A common theme in the women’s bathrooms seems to be poor locks on stalls. Some latch, but then a little wiggle will let the door loose, leaving you no choice but to hold the door closed with your foot while completing your business.

“My favorite bathroom is probably in building 400. I used to go to one in 800, but actually, I think both the women and men’s bathrooms have been closed there over a month, there’s a sign saying there’s been vandalism, I dunno what happened there, I mean how bad was it? I’ve also noticed the women’s bathroom on the back side of the doors will often have writing like “Girl, you’re beautiful” and “Girl power” But that’s positive, so I’m not sure if that’s considered vandalism.” Zeraka Mitchell, Communications studies teacher.

The restrooms in building 500, 1700, 100, and 3900 have horrible odors with students comments ranging from rancid to explicit. The restrooms in buildings 400 and 700 have little to no ventilation and odor problems. Building 700 features administration services while 400 contains many offices for the Chabot faculty.

Only five buildings contain mirrors that are not etched with graffiti, only three do not contain graffiti or erased graffiti remnants on any of the walls. Only two buildings feature men’s restrooms with baby changing stations. On the top floor of 2300, building 1500, and building 3500 contain the only gender-neutral bathrooms. Building 2300 does not feature a mirror.

Building 500 has graffiti of a male’s genitals etched into the bathroom sign on the right of the door, and building 200 features an etched “g-a-y” above “Men” on the sign to the right of the bathroom door. It’s unclear how long that offensive material has been there nor is there information on whom to contact to change this properly or for any other bathroom related incident.

Some initiatives to improve restrooms are underway, lead by students. The Get Woke Stay Woke organization’s push to provide free menstrual products in all bathrooms regardless if its men’s or women’s restroom. “Menstruation is not a choice, and for many its an added cost in life to have to purchase menstrual products,” Stephanie Contreras declared at an equity meeting in early December.

Some of the tiles, walls, and flooring in most of the bathrooms date as far back as the 1970s except for buildings 400, 700, and 1700 as they are newer buildings. The bathrooms need renovating and a method to inform Chabot staff about bathrooms that require attention needs to be implemented.

All we can do now is be more mindful and courteous when leaving the bathroom, since we must all share this resource together. Perhaps our aim can be a little better, as well as our cleanliness. Many people can recall several times this semester, seeing people exit the restroom without even washing their hands.

Disability Awareness

On October 25, Chabot College held an event for Disability Awareness, with many vendors and entertainment. The focus of the event was mostly about what resources there are for those who need a little extra help, and those who help someone else.

The Disabled Students Resource Center (DSRC) offers a wide range of services and accommodations for students with a documented disability. “We get a lot of students coming to us who have accepted their disability, but a lot of people are nervous about being labeled, or, like in the deaf community, they don’t see it as a disability, but if they don’t come to us, they can’t get an interpreter or note taker. A lot of teachers come to learn more about what they can do for their students as well.” said Alise Smith, an assistant counselor at the DSRC

“Using blocks or a strap in a yoga pose isn’t cheating, it’s actually going to help you get the most out of a pose,” explained Mariella Morales, a yoga teacher at Chabot. The same can be said for many services and accommodations in disability programs. For many, getting a little help when it’s really needed, benefits you much more in the long run, and could prepare you to succeed without that help later on.

“I talked to DSRC my first day on campus, they definitely helped me, but I was nervous at first, I didn’t know what to expect. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been determined to be more independent, I’m in a wheelchair most of the time, my doctors don’t want me to put pressure on my legs right now. When I learned more about what resources they gave to students, I was more comfortable, and I have appreciated having test accommodations.” said Jorge Duarte, Radio & TV broadcasting major at Chabot.

“Back when this started, it was called ‘Dare to be Aware’ because most people aren’t aware of disabilities until something happens to them, or a family member. So you want to bring awareness to students and others campuswide, as to just what is out there, so we can create an equal playing field. That’s possible now with some of the newer technology that’s out there.” said Richard Blair-Keeney, Counselor at Chabot’s DSRC.

Blair-Keeney has worked at Chabot for over 26 years, and plans to retire soon, he was honored at this year’s event. When asked to clarify the goal of the event, Blair-Keeney agreed, “The event is about raising awareness for some of the many programs that can help with accessibility, and resources for anyone who needs a little, or a lot of help.”

A few of the organizations at the event were:

  • 211 — Offering nonemergency help, in urgent situations. is the website, but you can dial 211 on your phone to connect to a free, confidential advice line on finding services to help with domestic violence, housing problems, health, financial, if you need help, they can probably point you in the right direction.
  • IHSS — They work together with Medicare and Medi-Cal, if you are caring for an older person, or a disabled person, they can subsidize your time, i.e. pay you for caring for your grandparent. (510) 577-3517
  • Beyond Emancipation — Designed to help foster kids and teens become independent, offer housing and job opportunities, and offer some support outside the system. (510) 667-7694
  • Echo — The Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity, designed to promote fairness in housing, they offer services to provide housing assistance, tenant/landlord counseling, and other counseling related to renting and housing. (510) 581-9380
  • Ability Tools — Offering short-term device loans, or low-cost used devices for disabled Californians, tools to make life easier. 800-390-2699
  • Futures Explored — A vocational program to assist individuals with developmental disabilities with learning film production, multimedia development, and supporting role skills for positions which can help lead to employment in the Film and Media Industry. (916) 416-5487
  • CRIL — Community Resource for Independent Living is a peer-based organization advocating for and providing resources for people with disabilities to improve quality of life, and make communities fully accessible. (510) 881-5743

Easy Does It — Initially began as emergency services for Berkeley residents, for those who are disabled, who need immediate help, but not an ambulance. They now also provide casework and logistical and technical support for people with disabilities and seniors so that they can live their lives with dignity and liberty. (510) 845-5513

Rolling Out Some New Ice Cream

Also known as stir-fried ice cream, Thai rolled ice cream is the freshest ice cream preparation available, and it’s becoming popular in the Bay Area.

We visited two shops to compare this unusual style of ice cream. The process starts as liquid sweet milk and is mixed on a specially made, negative 20-degree steel surface right in front of you. They mix in the flavors, fresh fruits, tea, or whatever flavor you desire, and it freezes as they mix and spread it on the cold table.

“The rolled ice cream reminds me of the Thai snow shaved ice, it’s a light flavor.” Susan Luker said, at Freezing Point Creamery in Oakland. Susan Luker continued, “I didn’t eat breakfast so I would have room for this ice cream. I really like it.”

“It’s really creamy and very very cold. The Thai tea flavor seems to be the strongest one, of the ones I’ve tried so far.” Isaac Mirviss said, “It could bother your teeth if they’re sensitive to the cold.”

“There are two distinct flavors,” said Susan Luker, when comparing Icicles rolled ice cream to Freezing Point Creamery, “I think Icicles is more like a frozen yogurt shop, the flavors are very bold, and it tastes more like custard, and they have a lot more toppings you can add on top. Whereas [Freezing Point] had a lighter, and fresher flavor, they also had some options I don’t think you’d find anywhere else, like chrysanthemum.”

Icicles carries a much larger menu, as well as a toppings bar to choose from. Icicles also enjoys keeping their flavors relevant, with puns such as “Bae-sic,” “Cereal Killer,” and “Butterface.”

Freezing Point Creamery has flavor options such as Ube, Thai Tea, chrysanthemum, and Green Tea, along with more traditional fruit flavors like banana, strawberry, and mango. Both shops prepare the specialty rolled ice cream in full view of the customers, allowing you to see the whole process.

“Icicles is more American or Western-style, and Freezing Point just seems more Asian in their options, and also the atmosphere.” Sarina Luker said, after visiting both.

Susan Luker told us, “I usually judge ice cream on their vanilla, you can taste the consistency as well as the flavor and fat content.”

“We should have gotten a vanilla, to test the most basic flavor.” Isaac Mirviss said.

Freezing Point Creamery in Oakland opened about two years ago and maybe the closest option for Chabot students who want to give rolled ice cream a try. They have very fresh, and light flavors. Icicles in Pleasanton could be more familiar for some, as their flavors are more bold and sugary.

Nick Harvey: Running for Everything

A resident of Fairview, Nicholas Harvey is an avid cyclist and uses the AC buses often. Harvey has been fed up with the poor conditions of Hayward and Fairview roads, sidewalks and the efficiency of the bus lines.

Harvey decided to run for office because he felt the unincorporated areas surrounding Hayward (such as Castro Valley and Fairview) were not being properly represented. This has led to potholes, damaged or missing sidewalks, and poorly run busses.

In response to these problems, he decided to run for not one, but FIVE offices.

He has interests in each of these, particularly EBMUD, as he is concerned with rate increases. He studied desalination processes in Israel and plans to advocate for that process here in the Bay Area.

In AC transit, Harvey would like to decrease bus size for some lines, but increase bus service, which he says would support the community better. “I would advocate for more bus service in general and specifically having more forms of on-demand service for less traveled routes. However, the 22 was known as a well-used route so it confounds many people as to why it was eliminated in the first place. The motto for the new rollout of AC Transit is “better, smarter, faster service” and this could not be further from the truth for residents of South Hayward.” Harvey said.

Harvey is running for a seat on the school board because the sidewalk issue near the school falls under their jurisdiction, not AC transit, or the Department of Transportation.

Harvey has been challenged by opponent Frank Mellon, the incumbent from EBMUD, who has run unopposed since 1994. Mellon claims Harvey is running for too many offices, hasn’t released candidate statements, and if he wins more than one, might be in conflicting roles, which would require a special election, which could cost the city over $1 million.

Harvey responded that “Mudslinging Mellon is just upset that someone less experienced is challenging his position on the board, and none of the offices I’m currently running for will conflict.”

Mellon refused to comment further on the issue.

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Prop 10 Could Make Rent More Affordable

This November, Proposition 10 could make rents more affordable for Hayward, and other California residents by changing rent control limits.

In 2015, across California, almost half of all households had unaffordable housing costs. More than 1 in 5 households statewide have to pay more than half their income toward housing expenses. Renters in California pay 50-percent more than the national average, and only 20 percent of Californians live in cities with rent control, according to the California Budget and Policy Center.

The Spectator conducted an anonymous survey of Chabot students, on the topic of landlords, rent control and expectations of rent increases. One student said, “Housing is a human right, property ownership is not. Moreover, in no other industry is there an expectation of Return On Investment that compares to property owners’ expectation of ROI. We should be resetting the narrative for a more reasonable definition of ‘fair return on investment.’”

But does it reflect “fairness” in terms of setting the value for current residents to afford versus investing an amount most cannot afford; on the basis that someone else could afford it?

According to our poll, almost 20-percent of students pay 60-percent or more of their monthly income on housing.

Prop 10 will not change existing rent control laws, it would allow cities and counties to regulate rents without limit to what type of building it is, or when it was built. It also keeps the landlord’s right to a fair rate of return on their investment.

According to the California Budget and Policy Center, households paying more than 30-percent of their income toward housing are categorized as “cost-burdened.” Those with housing costs that exceed half their income then become “severely” cost-burdened.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan voter education group summarizes the effects of Prop 10, “If passed, it would repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Act, which was adopted in 1995, this allowed rent controls to be lifted from single-family homes and buildings of 1995 and later. Landlords could also raise the rent to market rates if a tenant left the rental property.”

When asked if Prop 10 will enforce rent control, Hayward City Councilwoman Sara Lamnin said, “It will depend on what the city decides to do, Prop 10 doesn’t enforce any changes, but it does give Hayward more freedom to set policy.”

Currently, if your home is covered by rent control in Hayward, your rent cannot exceed a five percent increase in a 12 month period. However, if your rent has not increased in several years, the landlord may “bank” those increases, and make the next increase greater than five percent.

So what are the effects? David Stark, Public Affairs Director Bay East Association of Realtors, explains “Expanding rent control to apply to single-family homes and condominiums could compel property owners to sell their rental units — effectively reducing the supply of rental housing and making rental housing even more expensive. Hayward is the only city in southern and eastern Alameda County with a rent control ordinance. Since there are no other communities with rent control it’s impossible to determine what impact it may or may not have.”

As of now, a fair return is defined in parameters of dollar amount reflecting money put into the building.

“The constitutional right to a fair return exists so that landlords are able to turn a profit on their rental properties,” states Sarah M. Winfield.

“It’s a Statewide problem, and someone needs to enforce the city ordinances. Supposedly we have rent control, but if no one makes landlords follow city policy, what good is it?” Marquez continued, “I won my case against the city, but I was the first person in the county to take it that far. It’s not an easy process, I think Prop 10 is going to be crucial for most people to afford to live in the bay area.” Gina Marquez, Chabot student, and San Leandro resident said. Marquez has been fighting the county on their practices related to rent and rent control.

“In Hayward, having rent control versus not, often means being able to stay in one’s community versus being displaced. This is especially true at this time because Hayward is developing, and gentrification is beginning to reach Hayward.” says, Sarah M. Winfield Staff Attorney, Tenants’ Rights Program, Centro Legal de la Raza.

Sarah continued “Improving rent control or expanding it would protect my clients, who are all low-income and mostly people of color, from displacement from their homes and the Bay Area.”

Marquez states, “In Castro Valley, many tenants have complained of astronomical rent increases of $400 and above. Majority of tenants are served improperly because they are unfamiliar with The Alameda County Renters Ordinance. Politicians are in denial that landlords are violating rules and laws, therefore, the massive rent increases result in displacement, homelessness and the vicious homeless shelter cycle.”

Marquez continued, “People, like my neighbor, on fixed incomes in their 80s shouldn’t have to face eviction and all that entails because landlords are greedy.”

At Solis Gardens of Hayward, Kathleen Souza, the 69-year-old tenant moved out after receiving a rent increase of 135 percent for her studio apartment, from $700 to $1,650 without utilities included, as mentioned in a previous issue of The Spectator.

According to California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, almost $26 million has been contributed to advertising in support of this proposition (voting yes) and about $75 million has been contributed to advertising in opposition of this proposition (voting no). That’s a difference of almost $50 million in support of voting No. Draw your own conclusions about advertising.

In Hayward, a few families argued that rent control is what allowed their family to inhabit their apartment during an unlawful eviction. Due to litigation in process, they chose to remain anonymous.

If you currently have problems with your rent policies, your landlord, or other items related to the city, there is help. For city and community resources, or dialing 211 could be your refuge. This is a free and confidential service designed to help people find local resources. Most importantly, if this issue affects you or someone you know, vote!

Serena Williams Fined for Breaking Racket

Serena WilliamsSerena Williams

Serena Williams called out for being a poor sport during the U.S. Open, but was she out of line, or the umpire?

Time magazine reported that during the first set of the U.S. Open, on Sept. 8, Williams was given a violation from chair umpire Carlos Ramos for illegal coaching from coach Patrick Mouratoglou. “I’m honest, I was coaching. I don’t think she looked at me, so that’s why she didn’t even think I was.” Mouratoglou said later.

After the violation, Williams told Ramos on the court, “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose. I’m just letting you know.” Williams lost the match to Naomi Osaka, 20, after a total of three violations — including one for smashing her racket — which added up to a fine of $17,000. She later said she felt the entire incident was “sexist.”

Many athletes have defended Williams, including tennis icon Billie Jean King and soccer player Abby Wambach.

“Serena is a 23-time Grand Slam champion, both she and her sister are very focused when they’re playing, so I don’t blame her for getting upset that the umpire accused her of being coached. On the other hand, the umpire didn’t do what umpires usually do for other players, and make an effort to de-escalate the interaction.” said Steve Nuget, local tennis player of 30 years.

While Williams’ behavior may have been heated, it certainly wasn’t outside of the norm for a frustrated tennis player, and it seems many men have done the same or more, with no fines or reprimands.

“I think Serena has always had it hard, growing up in Compton, and being female, and being black, she just had to fight and overcome hurdles every step of the way. Overall, I don’t think the umpire was entirely unfair, but he didn’t give her the same treatment other players would have gotten.” Nugent said.

The crowd jeered and backed Williams in the dispute with the umpire, but ultimately, Osaka fired an unreturnable serve and won the U.S. Open. Even during the trophy ceremony, the crowd continued to boo loudly.

Despite her frustrations, Williams showed her sportsmanship by wrapping an arm around Osaka, who was crying and calmed the crowd. “She played well, and this is her first Grand Slam,” Williams told the fans. “Let’s make this the best moment we can, we’ll get through it. Let’s give everyone credit where credit’s due. Let’s not boo anymore. We’re going to get through this. Let’s stay positive. Congratulations, Naomi. No more booing!”

After the match, Osaka was asked about the confrontation on the court, but she didn’t have more insight for them. “I don’t know what happened on the court, so, for me, I’m always going to remember the Serena that I love,” Osaka said. “It doesn’t change anything for me. She was really nice to me at the net and on the podium, so I don’t really see what would change that.”

Williams defended her choice to speak out during the match. “I’ve seen men call other umpires several things,” she told reporters. “I’m here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality … and for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist reaction.”

“The fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person [who] has emotions and wants to express themselves, and they want to be a strong woman, and they’re going to be allowed to do that because of today,” Williams continued, “Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”

A Trip to Egypt Station

Four Chabot College students gathered around a table discussing the Egypt Station album while they listen to it together.

Students discussing the Egypt Station album while listening to it.

The launch of The Spectator’s new Listening Party was held in The Spectator office (2325), above the cafeteria. This trial run featured Egypt Station, Paul McCartney’s new concept album.

During this early event, only a few students attended but seemed to have a good time.

“I’m not exactly sure what a listening party is,” said Tasha, Chabot student. For the uninitiated, a listening party is an event to listen to a whole album, have free pizza, and at the end, you share your opinions about the music. “That sounds pretty cool, it might be cooler if it was pizza AND dessert,” said Anna Lisa, another student.

Many students don’t listen to whole albums anymore, “Of course I love music, though I usually just find one song, and buy or download that.” 19-year-old student, Hualani said.

This does seem to be a trend, although the album isn’t dead, “I usually listen to an album once, and then the songs I really like, I add to my playlist.” Ovi, a 26-year-old student, said, “I love music, I think a listening party is a great idea.”

Ovi continued on the issue of most people not listening to albums anymore. He expressed the feeling many agree with, when you hear a song on the radio, it’s only a small snapshot of someone’s work. If the radio plays a popular song, who decided its popularity?

If you listen to an album, you learn more about the artist, the ideas behind not only one song, but that song in relation to the album as a whole. When only one song is picked out of the album for you, by someone else, perhaps with an agenda, the message you receive may be entirely different from what was intended.

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Lane splitting: Legal, But Safe?

California is the only state in the union who has made lane splitting, when a motorcycle straddles two lanes of traffic, officially legal.

“I only lane-split when traffic is stopped or crawling, and I don’t go more than 10, or 15 miles per hour faster than traffic, I’m pretty conservative.” said motorcyclist of 15 years, Danae Zoule. While California has made this legal, in 37 states it is illegal, and the rest have a large grey area on the legality of the practice.

“It’s not really safe for cyclists to crawl along with the rest of the traffic,” Joshua MacAran, motorcyclist for the last 2 years, says, “other drivers don’t seem to understand how fast a motorcycle can brake, and they don’t leave enough room to not crush us during a fast stop.”

“One time I had to bail out when I was on my bike,” said Sean Vansnickel, motorcyclist of 12 years. “The car behind me didn’t allow enough time to stop, so I jumped in the bed of the truck in front of me.”

According to one of the very few studies on motorcycle behavior and safety, lane splitting has been found safe, when traffic is going up to 50 mph, and the motorcyclist does not exceed 65 mph. This UC Berkeley study also found only 17 percent of motorcycle accidents occurred during lane splitting, and less than 2 percent were fatalities.

The California Highway Patrol declined to be interviewed at this time.

“I do get mad at other motorcyclists I see speeding recklessly through traffic at high speeds, they give the rest of us a bad name.” Ms. Zoule said.

All the motorcyclists agreed that the best thing drivers can do for motorcycle safety is to be aware and give them more space than you think they need. The best thing motorcyclists can do is take a motorcycle safety course, wear your protective gear, and be conservative when passing.